The British government is providing military training to the majority of nations it has blacklisted for human rights violations, a new report reveals.
In a report published on Sunday, the Independent revealed that 16 of the 30 countries on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s “human rights priority” watchlist are receiving military support from the UK despite being accused by London itself of issues ranging from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflicts.
According to the UK Ministry of Defense, since 2014, British armed forces have provided “either security or armed forces personnel” to the military forces of Saudi Arabia , Bahrain, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Britain is a major provider of weapons and equipment such as cluster bombs and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in its year-long military aggression against Yemen that has killed nearly 9,400 people, among them over 2,230 children.
Since the conflict began in March 2015, the British government has licensed the sale of nearly $4 billion worth of weaponry to the Saudi kingdom.
British commandos also train Bahraini soldiers in using sniper rifles, despite allegations that the Persian Gulf monarchy uses such specialist forces to suppress a years-long pro-democracy uprising in the country.
Bahraini forces visited the Infantry Battle School in Wales last week, accompanied by troops from Nigeria, the Defense Ministry said.
Nigeria’s top military generals are accused by Amnesty International of committing war crimes by causing the deaths of 8,000 people through murder, starvation, suffocation and torture during security operations against the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorists, according to the report.
Andrew Smith, with the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said Britain should not be “colluding” with countries known for being “some of the most authoritarian states in the world.”
World powers’ decisions to provide weapons to Libya’s unity government may lead to negative consequences as the arms will likely be used not only against ISIS but against all other sides, says Marko Gasic, an international affairs commentator.
World powers are ready to lift an arms embargo and to arm Libya’s internationally-recognized unity government to combat Islamic State terrorists.
The decision was announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday as members of the UN Security Council signed an official communique at talks in Vienna.
RT discussed the issue with experts.
RT: Libya is far from stable at the moment. Is this the right time to arm the country?
Diana Johnstone, political writer: There isn’t any right time. This would be comic if it wasn’t so tragic. We talk about the internationally recognized government. This is an internationally imposed government that was imposed by the supposed UN which has become really an instrument of US policy in this case. This government is called the government of national accord – but there is no national accord, this is a government of international accord that allows the US to bring in 20 countries to fight ISIS. Of course, ISIS is there because of the US bombing. So this is a perfectly circular situation: the US creates the chaos and then sends in soldiers…
RT: Is Libya ready to be armed? Or will this add more fuel to the fire?
Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of Pan-African News Wire: We have to look at who caused the crisis in Libya. It was, in fact, the Pentagon, the CIA and NATO that armed Islamist extremist organizations five years ago. NATO and the Pentagon [dropped] 10,000 bombs on the country over a period of seven months. It is they who created the crisis. This is just another method of justifying a ground intervention in Libya by saying they are willing to lift the arms embargo. The arms embargo was imposed by the Pentagon and NATO during the period of the bombing in 2011. They were the ones who prevented arms and other goods from reaching Libya.
RT: Is it a practical way to try and counter ISIS in Libya?
AA: I don’t think it is a method to bring stability to Libya. It was the US who created the conditions for the growth of ISIS in Iraq and later in Syria. Because of the intervention of Russia, of Hezbollah, of Lebanon and assistance from the Islamic Republic of Iran many of them have now been forced to flee to Libya, where there is a political vacuum in existence. I think that the US has to be honest about its overall intentions in Libya. They have destroyed the country. They turned it into one of the major sources of human trafficking across North Africa, the Mediterranean into southern, eastern and central Europe. They created the worst humanitarian crisis since the conclusion of World War Two with some 60 million refugees and internally displaced persons. No, I don’t think they can create a solution for the problem that they in fact are responsible for bringing into existence.
RT: How do you see this decision to arm the recognized government – decisive or destructive?
Marko Gasic, an international affairs commentator: I don’t know what there is to recognize here because what we have to recognize first of all, is that there is a degree of chaos in Libya. There are alliances which are shifting, which are in a state of flux, which you can’t predict probably more than couple of months ahead. It makes no sense to be pouring arms onto troubled Libyan waters because all that we are going to do effectively is give one side an encouragement to attack the other side, to create more refugees and problems for Libya and the wider region.
The problem is of course that ISIS will not be the only side that will be attacked. Because when a side has weapons it of course will use these weapons against all its enemies as convenient. It is not going to have a glass ceiling between one of the enemies and the other. It will simply act in a pragmatic way to achieve its self-interests. So, there is absolutely no guarantee that these weapons would purely be used against ISIS. And they are far more likely to be used against all other sides as well with negative consequences to the stability of Libya and also for the chance of creating an inclusive solution for the peoples of Libya because with an increasing killing, an upscale of killing we are not going to have less polarization – we are going to get more.
According to a leaked memo obtained by the Guardian in late March, 2016 King Abdullah of Jordan apparently briefed US officials on the fact that Jordanian Special Forces would be deployed to Libya to work alongside the British SAS. In that same briefing, Abdullah also allegedly stated that British SAS had been active in Libya since early 2016.
As Randeep Ramesh wrote for the Guardian at the time,
According to the notes of the meeting in the week of 11 January, seen by the Guardian, King Abdullah confirmed his country’s own special forces “will be imbedded [sic] with British SAS” in Libya.
According to the memo, the monarch met with US congressional leaders – including John McCain, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee, and Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. Also present was the House of Representatives speaker, Paul Ryan.
King Abdullah said UK special forces needed his soldiers’ assistance when operating on the ground in north Africa, explaining “Jordanian slang is similar to Libyan slang”.
Abdullah also allegedly pointed out that the British had been instrumental in setting up a “mechanized battalion” in Southern Syria made up of “local tribal fighters” (aka terrorists) and lead by a “local commander” for the purposes of fighting against the Syrian government forces.
The Jordanian king also stated that his troops were ready to fight side by side with the British and Kenyans for the purposes of invading Somalia.
According to the Guardian,
The full passage of the briefing notes says: “On Libya His Majesty said he expects a spike in a couple of weeks and Jordanians will be imbedded [sic] with British SAS, as Jordanian slang is similar to Libyan slang.”
The monarch’s apparent openness with the US lawmakers is an indication of just how important an ally Jordan is to the US in the region. Since the 1950s Washington has provided it with more than $15bn (£10.5bn) in economic and military aid.
However, the Jordanians had become frustrated over perceived US inaction over the Middle East in recent months. Five years of fighting in Syria have dramatically impacted on Jordan, which has absorbed more than 630,000 Syrian refugees, and the king has repeatedly called for decisive action to end the conflict.
Interestingly enough, the King also allegedly admitted that Turkey and specifically Recep Erdogan is hoping for the victory of “radical Islamists” in Syria and that Israel is tacitly supporting al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria.
Ramesh summarizes the King’s alleged statements by writing:
- The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “believes in a radical Islamic solution to the problems in the region” and the “fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy, and Turkey keeps getting a slap on the hand, but they get off the hook”.
- Intelligence agencies want to keep terrorist websites “open so they can use them to track extremists” and Google had told the Jordanian monarch “they have 500 people working on this”.
- Israel “looks the other way” at the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra on its border with Syria because “they regard them as an opposition to Hezbollah”.
In March, Stratfor analysts reported that UK Special Forces were already in Libya and that they were “escorting MI6 teams to meet with Libyan officials about supplying weapons and training to the Syrian army and to militias against the Islamic State. The British air force bases Sentinel aircraft in Cyprus for surveillance missions around [the Isis Libyan stronghold] Sirte as well.”
In October, 2015, it was announced by the White House that 50 Special Forces troops would be sent to Syria. This announcement came days after it was reported that U.S. Special Forces commandoes were working with Kurdish forces to “free prisoners of the Islamic State” in Syria. Later, the presence of U.S. Special Forces in Syria was tacitly acknowledged in 2015 when the U.S. took credit for the killing of Abu Sayyaf.
Reports circulated in October, 2014 that U.S. soldiers and Special Forces troops were fighting alongside Kurdish battalions in Kobane. An article by Christof Lehmann published in March 20, 2015 stated,
Evidence about the presence of U.S. special forces in the Syrian town Ayn al-Arab a.k.a. Kobani emerged. Troops are guiding U.S. airstrikes as part of U.S support for the Kurdish separatist group PYD and the long-established plan to establish a Kurdish corridor.
A photo taken in Ayn al-Arab shows three U.S. soldiers. One of them “Peter” is carrying a Bushnell laser rangefinder, an instrument designed to mark targets for U.S. jets, reports Ceyhun Bozkurt for Aydinlik Daily.
The photo substantiated previous BBC interviews with U.S. soldiers who are fighting alongside the Kurdish separatist group PYD in Syria.
The photo of the three U.S. troopers also substantiates a statement by PYD spokesman Polat Can from October 14, 2014, reports Aydinlik Daily. Can admitted that a special unit in Kobani provides Kurdish fighters with the coordinates of targets which then would be relayed to “coalition forces”.
The first public U.S. Special Forces raid in Syria took place in July, 2014 when Delta Force personnel allegedly attempted to rescue several Americans being held by ISIS near Raqqa. Allegedly, the soldiers stormed the facility but the terrorists had already moved the hostages. While the raid would provide evidence that U.S. Special Forces were operating in Syria in 2014, many researchers believe the story is simply fabricated by the White House to provide legitimacy to the stories of murdered hostages and thus the subsequent pro-war propaganda that ensued as well as to promote the gradual acceptance of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.
In 2012, an article published in the Daily Star by Deborah Sherwood revealed that SAS Special Forces and MI6 agents were operating inside Syria shortly after the destabilization campaign began in earnest. Sherwood writes,
Special Forces will help protect the refugees in Syria along the borders.
Last week as the president ignored an international ceasefire, plans were being finalised to rescue thousands of Syrians.
SAS troops and MI6 agents are in the country ready to help rebels if civil war breaks out as expected this weekend.
They also have hi-tech satellite computers and radios that can instantly send back photos and details of refugees and Assad’s forces as the situation develops.
Whitehall sources say it is vital they can see what is happening on the ground for themselves so Assad cannot deny atrocities or battles.
And if civil war breaks out the crack troops are on hand to help with fighting, said the insider.
. . . . .
“Safe havens would be an invasion of Syria but a chance to save lives,” said a senior Whitehall source.
“The SAS will throw an armed screen round these areas that can be set up within hours.
“There are guys in the communications unit who are signallers that can go right up front and get involved in close-quarter fighting.”
In addition, in March 2012, it was reported by Lebanon’s Daily Star that 13 French intelligence agents had been captured by the Syrian government, proving not only that Western Special Ops presence in Syria did, in fact, exist but also that it existed essentially from the start.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.
It sure trumps Hillary
Coming off a string of victories in the so-called Acela state primaries two weeks ago, GOP presidential candidate presumptive Donald J. Trump made what he described as a major foreign policy speech. Critics have blasted the effort as being short on details and long on generalities but, as ever, one’s perspective pretty much depends on what one expects or wants to hear. I admire Trump for two reasons. First is his uncompromising stance on illegal immigrants, which I fully support, and second is his willingness to challenge Republican orthodoxy on foreign policy by condemning the Iraq War and opposing nation building and military intervention overseas.
I wanted to hear two things on foreign policy: that Donald Trump is indeed committed to military non-intervention in other countries except in those rare instances where vital national interests are at stake and also that the United States would pursue a course of positive engagement with Vladimir Putin and Russia. I was not disappointed.
Trump actually used the words “peace” and “peaceful” a number of times, something that has been missing from GOP rhetoric for many years. He said that he would “view the world through the clear lens of American interests,” something that he went on to describe as “America First,” adding “Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war and destruction… war and aggression will not be my first instinct.” Paraphrasing John Quincy Adams, Trump concluded that “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies.”
Trump observed that there has been a fixation with policies that are both “foolish and arrogant” that have “led to one foreign policy disaster after another” in places like Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. “It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a western democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed: civil war.”
This is all good common sense, lambasting the twin plagues of military intervention and democracy promotion, the two false idols that have respectively driven the foreign policies of the GOP and the Democrats. Trump’s comments in those specific areas could have been made by Ron Paul.
Trump went on to observe that “our actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have helped unleash ISIS.” I would have added that the power vacuums that we have created actually gave birth to ISIS. Regarding Russia and China, he said “We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China. We have serious differences with these two nations and must regard them with open eyes. But we are not bound to be adversaries. We should seek common ground based on shared interests…I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia…is possible.”
On the negative side, Trump took obligatory swipes at Iran and the nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration, but he did not say that he would seek to terminate the arrangement and the only line he drew was that “Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” far less vitriolic than the neocon and conventional Republican demand that Tehran not have the “capability” to do so, which is a threshold that has already been passed and which many have viewed as a carte blanche justification of an immediate attack by the U.S.
Regarding Israel, Trump engaged in the usual American politician speak regarding “the one true democracy in the Middle East” that also serves as a “force for justice and peace.” He also has stated that he would be “neutral” in negotiating peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and turned around to endorse continued expansion of Israeli settlements on Arab land. Hopefully he knows better about what is going on in the Middle East or will have advisers who know better and are not afraid to speak the truth. At least he didn’t invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move in down the hall in the White House on Inauguration Day, which Hillary Clinton has de facto done.
And speaking of Hillary, comparing her record and promises with the Trump speech demonstrates the differences between the two. David Stockman has noted that Hillary “wants to use government to make government great again” while The Donald wants “to use government to make America great again.” Hillary is indeed the favorite candidate of the Welfare-Warfare State Leviathan, a monster that seeks to dominate overseas while simultaneously stripping Americans of their liberties at home.
Hillary’s record is one of unmitigated belligerency. She enthusiastically supported her President-husband’s devastation of the Balkans in the 1990s, a “police action” in which she repeatedly lied about being “under fire” when she arrived on a visit. And she also signed on to the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 carried out by the George W. Bush Administration.
As Secretary of State, Hillary was the driving force behind “surges” of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, in demanding the attacks on Libya and the overthrow of its leader and in the arming of jihadis in Syria to bring about regime change. Bombing Libya was indeed a Hillary project, initiated at her insistence in spite of misgivings by President Barack Obama. The Libyan fiasco led to government arsenals being looted with the weapons making their way to arm local militias and also to Islamic militants in Central Africa. It is widely believed that the four Americans killed in Benghazi in 2012 were killed while arranging for weapons transfers to the “moderate rebels” in Syria. If success as a diplomat is measured by the ability to destabilize entire regions, Hillary certainly takes center stage as the finest Secretary of State since Madeleine Albright, who famously declared that killing half a million Iraqi children through sanctions was “worth it.” Albright is currently regarded as Hillary’s closest foreign policy adviser.
Like several of the other women who have surrounded the president as top level advisers, Hillary is an enthusiastic advocate of the “R2P” doctrine, “responsibility to protect.” That means that the Washington can intervene in a foreign country even if that nation’s government in no way threatens the United States. The intervention is based on humanitarian grounds, allegedly to protect the local citizens against their own leaders, but it ironically and inevitably winds up killing mostly civilians in far greater numbers than would have otherwise been the case if there had been no military action. Libya and Syria are perfect examples of R2P on steroids.
Hillary has a team of strongly pro-Israel foreign policy advisers and she has frequently expressed her hostility towards Iran, which she has threatened to “obliterate.” One of her campaign videos includes “Iran seeks the destruction of Israel, Iran is a leading sponsor of terror in the region, Iran is flouting international law with its ballistic missile tests and its threats against our allies and partners.” None of the assertions are actually true.
Regarding the threat from Russia, Hillary has inevitably likened President Vladimir Putin to Adolph Hitler. She and her neocon acolyte Victoria Nuland were the driving forces behind cranking up the unrest in Ukraine, which eventually exploded into yet another pastel revolution that quickly became mired in corruption before dissolving into something approaching anarchy, which prevails to this day. She nevertheless wants to provide lethal arms to Kiev and also wants to expedite both Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO, even though it is a given that such action would provoke a major crisis with a nuclear armed and militarily quite capable Russia.
Hillary sees the conflict in Syria as an additional opportunity to confront Moscow, just like in the heady days of the Cold War, so she advocates a no-fly zone as a way for American and Russian flyboys to go head to head and is firm in her demand to replace Bashar al-Assad no matter what. She is one tough lady and she wants to make sure than everyone knows it. And of course her role model is Benjamin Netanyahu, who, she has promised, will be invited to join her in Washington as soon as her administration begins work in January.
So if one is concerned with foreign policy the choice between Donald and Hillary is no choice at all. Hillary may have the resume but it is essentially a bad one. If Trump does even a little of what he pledges to do he is a much better deal for the American people, as well as for most of the world, than is Hillary Clinton.
The Gulf monarchies are the main facilitators of Britain’s support for sectarian death squads in the Middle East. This should be no surprise because Britain brought them to power precisely because of their sectarianism.
“What we want is not a united Arabia: but a weak and disunited Arabia split up into little principalities so far as possible under our suzerainty, but incapable of coordinated action against us” – so claimed a memorandum written by the Foreign Department of the British Government of India in 1915.
A more succinct summary of British policy towards the Arab world – both then and now – would be hard to find.
As we outlined in the first piece in this series, Britain’s weapon of choice in its attempt to destroy the independent regional powers of West Asia and North Africa in recent years has been its sponsorship of violent sectarianism. Its support for racist death squads in Libya not only achieved the destruction of the Libyan state, but also brought terrorism to every country in the region from Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria to Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon; whilst its training and equipping of death squads in Syria has been directly responsible for the rise of ISIS.
These forces, by setting Sunni against Shia, Muslim against Christian, and Arab against Black, are helping to bring about precisely that “weak and disunited Arabia” that the British officials in India dreamed of one hundred years ago.
Alongside the direct support and recruitment provided by British intelligence and the British government, one of the main conduits for arms and fighters has been the gulf monarchies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular. That the Gulf States should play this role should, of course, be no surprise – as they were very largely the creations of the same British Government of India that wrote that memo in the first place.
In 1857, British colonial rule of India was challenged as never before, as what started as a mutiny rapidly spread across the country to become a mass insurgency, the first war of Indian independence. One of the reasons it was so potent is that Hindus and Muslims had joined forces – leading to what became the biggest anti-colonial uprising of the nineteenth century. Britain learned the lessons – and began to cultivate sectarian divisions more assiduously than ever before.
As Mark Curtis notes in Secret Affairs: “After 1857 the British promoted communalism, creating separate electorates and job and educational reservations for Muslims. ‘Divide et imperia [divide and rule]’ was the old Roman motto, declared William Elphinstone, the early nineteenth-century governor of Bombay, ‘and it should be ours’. This view pervaded and became a cornerstone of British rule in India”.
Curtis quotes one document after another to demonstrate just how pervasive this view became: one Secretary of State advising the governor general that “we have maintained our power in India by playing off one part against the other and we must continue to do so. Do all you can, therefore, to prevent all having a common feeling”; another informing the Viceroy that “this division of religious feeling is greatly to our advantage”; a senior civil servant writing that “the truth plainly is that the existence side by side of these hostile creeds is one of the strong points in our political position in India. The better clashes of Mohammedans are already a source to us of strength and not of weakness”, and so on, ad nauseam. Yet, Curtis notes, it was not in India but in the Middle East that this divide and rule strategy “reached its apogee”.
The British Government of India began cultivating alliances with family clans in the Arabian peninsula from around the late eighteenth century, formalizing these relationships through official treaties over the course of the next hundred and fifty years. Even before the discovery of oil, the region was deemed strategically important as part of the land route from India, as well for its surrounding sea routes, and the Indian government took steps to ensure that it be placed firmly under British control.
By the nineteenth century, Britain was already the pre-eminent naval power in the region, and had become powerful enough to make or break the fortunes of those to whom it lent (or withdrew) its ‘protection’. So it is interesting to note that those families which Britain did choose to turn into ruling classes of the new states that were being carved out – the Al Saud, the Al Thani, the Al Khalifa and others – all seemed to have two things in common: a history of regular warring with their neighbours; and an, at best, shaky control of the territories they claimed to rule. These factors were not coincidental – for what they produced was a dependence on British protection that effectively turned them into little more than vassals of Empire.
The al-Khalifa clan, for example, today’s rulers of Bahrain, originally hailed from Umm Qasr in Iraq, from where they were expelled by the Ottomans due to their regular attacks on trade caravans. They first seized control of Bahrain in 1783 after Persian rule began to crumble, but lost control two decades later falling out with the Wahhabis with whom they were briefly allied. It was only after signing a treaty with the British in 1820 that their rule was consolidated. This treaty, and the others that followed, effectively placed foreign policy in the hands of the British in exchange for Britain propping up the al Khalifa’s rule of the country – an arrangement that has continued, to all intents and purposes, right up to the present day.
Being effectively an alien force in the country, the al Khalifa were permanently at risk from the population they sought to rule, especially given their persecution of the Shia majority. This made British protection that much more important, and increased British leverage accordingly; whenever any particular Khalifa emir began to act too independently, the British would simply replace them.
Lieutenant Colonel Trevor, the Deputy Political Agent in Bahrain after the First World War, put it bluntly when, after receiving a series of demands from the new crown prince he noted that “The Shaikh forgets that he and his father were made Shaikhs by the British government.” Shortly afterwards, the British sent warships to the gulf to force the Shaikh to sign an agreement ceding all powers to his other son – a British protégé.
Formal independence was granted in 1971, but given that power was being handed over to the same family that had ruled Bahrain on Britain’s behalf for the past century and a half, this changed little. The most notable difference was perhaps the flags on the foreign warships at the country’s naval base, which changed from British to US.
Fast forward to the present day, and it is clear that the essence of the 1820 treaty – al Khalifa rule propped up by Western armaments, with foreign policy in the hands of the West – is still very much in place. Whilst David Cameron was proclaiming democracy (a euphemism for state collapse) for Libya and Syria, he was in Bahrain selling weapons to the Khalifas to suppress their own ‘Arab Spring’; whilst three years later the US fifth fleet would be firing hellfire missiles into Syria from its Bahraini base.
But British support for the al Khalifas has never been absolute; rather they built up the al-Thani clan as a ‘counterweight’ to the Khalifa in order to guarantee their continued dependence on the British. Up until 1867, Qatar had been essentially a semi-autonomous province of Bahrain, its government effectively ‘sub-contracted’ to the Al Thanis. In that year, however, a war between the Al Thanis and the Al Khalifas broke out; Britain intervened on the side of the Al Thanis, carving out Qatar out as a separate political entity and recognising the Al Thanis as its rulers. The border between the two countries was left devilishly ambiguous, and remained a running sore in Qatari-Bahraini relations right up until 2001; a “weak and disunited Arabia” indeed.
Further agreements were signed with the Al Thanis in 1935, offering them protection against internal and external threats in exchange for oil concessions. Qatar too gained formal independence in 1971, but the deep links forged during the period of the protectorate remain; indeed both the Emirs that have ruled since then were educated at Sandhurst Military Academy, with the current Sheikh educated at elite English private school Sherborne before that.
The relationship between Britain and the ruling families of Bahrain and Qatar continues to follow that same basic principle forged centuries ago, and now also extended to the US: whilst the ruling families act as regional agents of Western imperial policy, their rule is maintained by Western weaponry. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the events of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. The protests breaking out across the Arab world in early 2011 soon spread to Bahrain, where angry crowds demanded an end to the monarchy’s policies of discrimination and exclusion against the Shia majority. Cameron’s immediate response was to head to the region to sell the embattled regime the weapons it needed to crush the movement. The following year, the country’s interior minister, Rashid bin Abdulla al-Khalifa, visited the Foreign Office to gather “lessons learnt from our experience in Northern Ireland”, according to a British government statement. This experience was particularly relevant; the problem faced by the British in the North of Ireland was, after all, broadly analogous to that faced by the Bahraini monarchy: how to maintain an oppressive sectarian rule and crush movements calling for equality. The sight of British APCs in the street shooting down demonstrators, now common in the Bahraini capital, will be familiar to Belfast’s nationalist communities; and so too will the latest human rights reports coming out of Bahrain describing “detainees being beaten, deprived of sleep, burned with cigarettes, sexually assaulted, subjected to electric shocks and burnt with an iron”, all common practices in British army barracks in 1970s Ireland. Britain’s Bahraini students are quick learners. The US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain and used to fire missiles into Syria and Libya, is in safe hands.
Qatar, meanwhile, was a lynchpin in not only the militarization of the ‘Arab Spring’ and its capture by violent sectarian forces, but also its ideological whitewashing. The Al Jazeera TV channel was established by the Qatari government in 1996, effecting to what amounted to a ‘brown-facing’ of the BBC Arabic channel, which was closed down the same year before transferring a large chunk of its staff to the ‘new’ station. Al Jazeera built its credibility across the region – and, indeed, the world – with its critical coverage of Western and Israeli attacks on Iraq and Gaza. But in 2011 it would use this credibility to serve as NATO’s propagandist-in-chief, amplifying and disseminating every lie it could get its hands on – from African mercenaries, to mass rape, to ‘bombing his own people’, to ‘impending massacre’ – in order to demonize Gaddafi and sell the case for war. It would be a war in which Qatar would play a major role.
In the early days of the West’s attack on Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebel forces (led by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise), even with NATO air support, proved spectacularly ineffective at capturing and holding territory from the Libyan government. For the first few months, most of the towns they ‘captured’ thanks to NATO incineration of government soldiers would simply be retaken by the Libyan army days later. But NATO countries were wary of risking a domestic political backlash by openly committing too many of their own troops or resources to tip the balance. The solution found was to let Qatar and the Gulf states carry out its dirty work. They played a leading role in training and equipping rebel fighters, allowing NATO to be pretending to observe the arms embargo to which UN resolutions committed them. As the Royal United Services Institute noted, “the UAE established a Special Forces presences in the Zawiyah district and started to supply rebel forces in that area with equipment and provisions by air. Qatar also assumed a very large role; it established training facilities in both Benghazi, and, particularly the Nafusa Mountains on May 9 and acted as a supply route and conduit for French weapons and ammunition supplies to the rebels (notably in June), including by establishing an airstrip at Zintan.” They added that, “Western special forces could have confidence in the training roles undertaken by Qatar and the UAE, because the special forces in those countries have in turn been trained by the UK and France over many years”.
In addition to this major training and arming role, Qatari jets also joined NATO in pounding Libya, and the country issued $100million of loans to the rebel groups. But most important was the Qatari ground invasion of Tripoli.
As Horace Campbell has documented in his book ‘Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya’, by the summer of 2011, NATO were nearing a crisis-point: the 60-day period in which the US president could engage in hostilities without Congressional support was over, and the UN mandate for military intervention was to expire in September. Calls were growing within the AU and the UN for a negotiated settlement, and rivalry between militias continued to dog the rebels’ progress. NATO needed to take Tripoli quickly if their regime change operation was not to be stalled in its tracks.
So in mid-August, NATO massively stepped up its bombing of Tripoli. Checkpoints, manned by citizens pledged to defend the capital were repeatedly targeted, and Obama sent the last two training drones left in the US to the Libyan front-line. That paved the way for what Campbell called “NATO’s triple assault – by air, land and sea”; not a ‘people’s uprising’ but rather a ground invasion to crush the people who had risen to defend their city. Troops were shipped in and disguised as ‘rebel fighters’, with, according to Le Figaro, five thousand Qatari troops chief amongst them. It was they who, finally, captured Tripoli for NATO, installing Abdul Hakim Bel Haj, now suspected leader of ISIS in Libya, as the new military chief of the conquered city.
Bahrain and Qatar are just two examples of the enduring alliances that the British government has cultivated over centuries as it groomed handpicked ruling families for their anointed role as agents of imperial policy. In exchange for a British guarantee of their absolute power domestically, they have provided military bases and have acted as willing agents for those tasks their patron was either unwilling or unable to carry out itself. Today, that means acting as an ‘arms-length’ distributor of both BBC propaganda and British violence, in far more ways than have been possible to articulate here (Qatar’s role in managing the various Muslim Brotherhood offshoots that have been destabilizing Syria, Egypt and elsewhere, for example, would need a full article in its own right). But even more significant than the British alliance with the al Khalifas and al Thanis is that which was established with the al-Saud family, the subject of our next piece. For it is this relationship, forged during the slow decline of the Ottoman Empire, that ultimately created a new multinational fighting force of fighters in the 1980s – the ‘database’ – that has been doing Britain’s bidding in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria ever since.
This is Part Two of Sukant Chandan and Dan Glazebrook’s series on British collusion with sectarian violence.
Read Part One here.
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
With only eight more months in office, Barack Obama shows no signs of giving up his role as the most aggressively imperialist American president in modern history. Liberal Democrats rightly point fingers at Hillary Clinton’s bellicosity, yet they say nothing about Obama as he continues on a path of destruction around the world.
Nations on every continent are victims either of outright American military violence or of war waged by other means. Venezuela sinks further into despair as a result of American manipulations of oil prices and sanctions that cripple its economy. Millions of people have had their homes destroyed by United States interventions in Somalia and Libya and Syria and are forced to make dangerous treks in hopes of finding safety.
While the American instigated war goes on in Syria, that country’s government and its Russian ally make gains against terrorists. Because they are winning the United States continues to make bizarre demands that “Assad must go.” Obama has to turn over the keys in January 2017 but Assad may sit in his presidential office watching as his enemy rides off into the sunset.
The least reported and yet biggest danger is taking place in Europe. The United States and NATO continue to provoke Russia in what could be a deadly game that spins out of their control.
In recent weeks the Russians have made clear that they won’t take the provocation lying down. While the corporate media follow the president blindly, they won’t tell viewers and listeners that Russia has territory on the Baltic sea coast. Kaliningrad is Russia, just as Hawaii and Alaska are America. Of course there are Russian planes and submarines in the Baltic. They belong there while American vessels do not. Russia has every right to “buzz” United States ships and escort spy planes out of its airspace.
These very simple facts are rarely presented to Americans who have no idea that 200 of their troops will perform exercises in Moldova, a small country located between Ukraine and Romania. It is an example of how American presidents from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama made a mockery of a promise not to encircle Russia.
Instead they do just that and keep adding to the NATO arsenal. Nations like Sweden, traditionally neutral, are being lured into that organization’s grasp. In the absence of the old Soviet block there is no use for NATO except to act as the foot soldiers for American dirty work.
It seems that the end of his presidency has made Obama more anxious and therefore more dangerous. There are now “boots on the ground” in Syria, so far just 300 Special Forces, but even that small number is too high and represents the extent to which the United States is committed to maintaining the imperialist project.
Only the now inevitable Republican nominee, Donald Trump, questions this premise of American foreign policy. Hillary Clinton assisted Obama in his designs and the supposedly left wing Bernie Sanders warns of non-existent Russian aggression, supports presidential “kill lists” and thinks that having U.S. troops in Syria is a fine idea.
While the United States threatens to start World War III, the corporate media go into overdrive in their determination to distract us from the dangers our government poses to the world. They turn trivialities into major controversy but rarely report anything we ought to know. For example, Larry Wilmore saluted the president as “my nigga” during the last Obama era White House Correspondents Dinner. There was much arguing back and forth about the propriety of the words but no one spoke of the impropriety of the event itself.
The media ought to have an adversarial relationship with presidents. At the very least they should be somewhat distant and skeptical. Instead they are very cozy and quite publicly too. They even celebrate their collusion at this love fest as a president makes jokes with television comedians who compete for the chance to be sidekick for an evening.
There is no longer any pretense of impartiality. The media want access so they play along and tell lies of commission and omission with every presidential administration. They tell jokes at Russia’s expense but won’t tell readers and viewers that it is the United States who is provoking Russia in its sphere of influence.
Obama apparently wants to commit more destruction than he has already. Turning Libya into an utterly failed state was not enough. That act unleashed ISIS and Boko Haram and a wave of refugees. The coup in Ukraine ignited a civil war. The Syrian government hangs on but at a terrible price. Russia answered the call to help but America doesn’t want that war to end and will continue to use its allies to prevent a cease fire or an end to the conflict altogether.
A lot of damage can be done between now and January 20, 2009. There is no reason to mourn or rejoice Obama’s departure because he will be followed by someone who likes his foreign policy as it is. That person will also like Americans as they are: mostly intelligent but uninformed even if they wish to know what is happening around the world. The expression to do something “like there’s no tomorrow” is poignant. If Obama and company continue down this path, we shall all find out what those words mean.
Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
Former UK diplomats are cashing in on their contacts and experience and advising despots, venture capitalists and Gulf regimes, according to a new investigation.
Britain’s ex-ambassadors to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, as well as former MPs, are legally profiting from conflict zones and poor countries in the Global South, according to the Daily Mail.
It has led to concerns that former diplomats are using their years of exposure to state secrets and their enviable contact lists to win lucrative paydays with big corporations.
One of the most high-profile figures involved is a former ambassador to Afghanistan, and one-time critic of the war and occupation, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles.
Cowper-Coles took a job working for British arms firm BAE in 2010 after taking early retirement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Critics have connected him with halting a major investigation into the UK/Saudi arms trade in 2006.
He left BAE in 2013 to take up a role with HSBC. Both appointments were approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA), which examines if any conflicts of interest arise from such appointments.
Another former diplomat named in the investigation is Sir Dominic Asquith, who served as ambassador to Libya between 2011 and 2012 – the period immediately after the UK’s disastrous intervention to remove the Gaddafi regime.
Asquith now advises the Libya Holdings Group, which seeks out investment opportunities in the war-torn North African state.
Former ambassador to Nigeria Sir Andrew Lloyd later became a vice president of Statoil, under the proviso from ACOBA that he not deal with the firm’s Nigerian operations.
The highly experienced Sir William Patey – a former UK representative to Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia – later became an advisor for private security firm Global Risks.
Elected politicians have also been involved in similar venture capital schemes in the developing world.
Former Tory Africa minister Sir Henry Bellingham once sang the praises of UK mining firm Pathfinder Minerals to the government of Mozambique when the company was involved in a legal dispute. He now chairs the firm.
Blairite ex-Foreign Secretary David Miliband is reported to have earned up to £1 million from his advisory jobs within two years of leaving office. That includes £15,000 for one day of advising a Pakistan venture capitalist and £65,000 for sitting on a foreign ministerial forum in the United Arab Emirates.
Recently a number of retired British military generals have been seen to be involved in similar activities.
On April 27, ex-general Simon Mayall, former Ministry of Defence advisor to the Gulf, told a parliamentary committee on the arms trade that its inquiries were “unwelcome and self-defeating.”
After leaving the military in 2015, he took up a role at Greenhill & Co, a major investment bank with global reach and Middle East energy interests.
On April 18, former general and ex-head of mercenary firm Aegis James Ellery was interviewed by the Guardian over allegations the company was using former Sierra Leonean child soldiers as private guards in Iraq.
Ellery, who left Aegis in 2015, lamented the state of the mercenary market, saying: “I’m afraid all we can afford now is Africans.”
Ellery’s previous jobs include demobilizing Sierra Leone child soldiers as part of a UN program.
Although the era of US global hegemony is coming to a close, the Middle East – more than most regions – is still reeling from the nasty last jabs of that Empire in decline.
It is little wonder, then, that the US presidential election season is scrutinized carefully in all corners of the Mideast.
Over here, the debate over the likely victor is less about economic, political and social projects than it is about which candidate is least likely to launch wars against us.
Anecdotally, there seems to be a consensus that Hillary Clinton would be the worst for the region, though of course – like in the United States – that perception changes dramatically when the conversation is with regional elites and ‘liberals.’
And just like their American counterparts, Middle Easterners get bogged down in arguments about Donald Trump’s ‘racism,’ Bernie Sanders’ ‘viability’ and Clinton’s ‘hawkishness.’ Media, after all, has never been more uniform in its pronouncements – we all, universally, receive the same talking points.
But US Presidential Election 2016 means a lot more than US polls in decades past. From the Levant to the Persian Gulf to North Africa, borders have never been so frayed, terrorism so pervasive, security and resources so threatened.
The Middle East is a wretched mess. And at the heart of each and every one of these quagmires stands the United States, imposing itself, its military ‘expertise’ and its humanitarian ‘do-gooding’ into our suffering. Ironically, perhaps, there are few problems in the Mideast that have not been caused or exacerbated by the destructive hand of US foreign policy.
The last playground
The Middle East is the last global playground where the US can act with impunity. Part of the reason for this is that most of the two dozen states that make up the region are still headed by US-backed dictators and monarchs – American proxies that prioritize Washington’s interests over those of its citizenry. The US plays hard in this region because it wishes to maintain this remarkably favorable status quo, which it has lost virtually everywhere else.
Even as the Cold War was drawing to a close – vanquishing the old Soviet bloc proxy leaders in the Mideast and replacing them with US-friendly ones – the 1979 Iranian Revolution flipped the region once more, ushering in a new framework for independence from the ‘Anglo imperialist.’
In the aftermath of Iraq’s war with Iran, which had placed Iranian aspirations on hold for eight long, destructive years, Tehran began to forge regional relationships that formed the underpinnings of a new Axis of Resistance to US and Western hegemonic ambitions.
The US expanded its military role in the Middle East mainly to eradicate this ‘Shia’ thorn in its side – but it has not only failed to do so with each consecutive US administration, it has willfully unleashed the well-contained demons of sectarianism to achieve this goal.
Hello, Sunni Wahhabi fundamentalism. Hello, Al Qaeda. Hello, ISIS.
Why even get into this recent history? It’s important for one main reason. Even as the US now turns its guns on the Frankenstein monster it created from its invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now its intervention in Syria… Washington also has its guns aimed at Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and other entities that are fighting this very terrorism.
When Trump debuted his foreign policy vision earlier this week, he pointed out that current US policy was “reckless, rudderless and aimless” – “one that has blazed the path of destruction in its wake.”
It’s all we’ve heard in recent years – certainly since the start of the Arab ‘uprisings’ – with pundits and commentators alike scratching their heads in confusion over US goals in the region.
American policy is not confused – it is very deliberate. Get your head around this: Washington seeks to thwart the Iranian-led axis by unleashing sectarian, Wahhabi-influenced extremists into parts of the region viewed as Iran’s strategic depth, AND it seeks to counter the proliferation of these extremists by reaching out to Iran, tactically – hence the sudden P5+1 nuclear deal in the midst of all this conflict.
This is what I call America’s “strategic dissonance” – playing both sides to engineer protracted conflict in an effort to gradually drive the two sides into extinction.
Only problem is the unpredictability of it all – and the ensuing chaos, destruction and terrorism that has now poured over these borders into Europe and beyond.
Mr. America versus Ms. Beltway
It is clear that this strategic dissonance has once more led to an American “unintended consequence.” It is equally clear that it will take nothing less than a sledgehammer to alter the destructive bent of US foreign policy.
What’s interesting about this election year is that voters have put their backs behind unlikely candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, mostly, it seems, to buck the establishment.
The two long-shot candidates have delivered scathing reviews of Beltway politicos and the ‘interest groups’ that prop them up – foreign and domestic, both.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton – the ‘deserving’ establishment candidate who was a shoo-in until a few short months ago – has had to fight for every vote in her contests with Democratic Party newcomer Sanders.
And the easiest blows against Clinton have been in the foreign policy arena, where the Beltway hawk has a long record of backing the wrong plan – in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria.
In the Mideast, Clinton’s militaristic leanings scuttle any goodwill one would otherwise have for a Democratic Party candidate. Egyptians lobbed tomatoes, shoes and water bottles at her motorcade when the then-secretary of state made an appearance after the ousting of longtime US ally President Hosni Mubarak.
It was under her stewardship at the Department of State when “foreign hands” began to make their marks on the Arab uprisings – none to the benefit of the Arab masses.
Her support for the ill-conceived US invasion of Iraq, which led to the establishment of Al Qaeda in that country, is a constant refrain here in the Mideast – much as it is in the United States. And her refusal to acknowledge the disastrous consequences of US military intervention in Libya remain proof that she never learned from Iraq.
Like him or not, Clinton’s maniacal laughter over Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s violent death as she sanguinely declared “We came, we saw, he died,” has been forever imprinted on our collective memories.
We have since learned that US President Barack Obama’s decision to militarily intervene in Libya came down to her vote. Libyan blood cannot be washed off those hands.
And now Clinton wants to escalate in Syria by carving out a “safe zone” – which is how her Libyan adventure started.
If Clinton suffers from a likeability problem in the US, she is downright reviled in the Mideast – except among the usual suspects which include dictators, monarchs and other super-wealthy elites who have either contributed to the Clinton Foundation or are desperate to maintain their cushy positions within a US-dominated region.
Then there’s Trump
The highly controversial billionaire businessman Donald Trump has been roundly bashed in this region for his prejudicial comments against Muslims, but there’s a quiet parade of thinkers in the Mideast – from Arab nationalists to progressives to intellectuals – who have been casting coy second glances his way.
“Trump can turn the system upside down,” says a leading Lebanon-based Arab nationalist. “He’s his own man, he will not be dragged into the trappings of the deep state,” says an influential writer.
“Who else is willing to put the brakes on NATO, disengage from lousy alliances, hook up with Putin and others to fight terrorism the right way, prioritize diplomacy over military options? Not Clinton, no way,” a college student rants.
There is that.
Unlike Clinton, there’s not much we know about Trump. He has no foreign policy record, except of course his non-stop reminder that he opposed the US invasion of Iraq and warned that it would be a “disaster.”
But if you’re going to take a chance on a candidate – if you’re going to try to read between the lines of campaign promises – I suggest taking the unconventional, risky declarations more seriously than predictable, voter-friendly platitudes like “I support the state of Israel unconditionally.”
And Trump has some doozies.
On key US ally Saudi Arabia, arguably ground zero for the militant extremism rampant in the region – and a country that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says was prepared to “fight the Iranians to the last American” – Trump warns that he might halt purchases of Saudi oil unless Riyadh commits ground troops to the ISIS fight. His comments mirror those of Gates – as disclosed in a 2010 Wikileaks cable – who said of the Saudis that it “is time for them to get in the game.”
“If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don’t think it would be around,” suggests Trump, quite correctly.
On Russia, Syria and US support of rebels: “Putin does not want ISIS. The rebel groups… we have no idea who these people are. We’re training people, we don’t know who they are… we’re giving them billions of dollars to fight Assad… If you look at Libya, look what we did there, it’s a mess. If you look at Saddam Hussein, with Iraq, look at what we did there, it’s a mess…”
In what seemed like a swipe at US support of questionable militants in Syria and elsewhere, Trump says: “We need to be clear sighted about the groups that will never be anything other than enemies. And believe me, we have groups that no matter what you do, they will be the enemy. We have to be smart enough to recognize who those groups are, who those people are, and not help them.”
Asked if the Mideast would be more secure if Saddam and Gaddafi were still around and Assad were stronger, Trump boldly declares: “It’s not even a contest… Of course it would be.”
And this: “I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS. Putin has to get rid of ISIS because Putin doesn’t want ISIS coming into Russia.”
Trump is an unknown quantity, but he is delivering some home truths to restive voters in an unconventional election year.
Clinton is the quintessential establishment candidate, the sure-thing that voters wish they could like, who is running for president at the wrong time for a beltway insider.
Trump has defied all the odds thus far, and there is no reason he can’t continue to do that all the way to the White House. Whether or not he can keep surprising once he is there is anyone’s guess. Will he become co-opted by the system? Will he strike down entrenched Washington dogmas with his trademark arrogance? Nobody knows.
If Trump runs against Clinton, his campaign mantra has to be “Clinton: tons of experience, no judgment.” It’s pretty much the only way he can compete with a seasoned politician who is sure to throw his inexperience back in his face at every opportunity.
For the Mideast, this is not the time to pick the ‘devil we know.’ We know how that story ends every single time: destabilization, chaos, terrorism.
Trump is definitely the lesser evil, whichever way one looks at it. He simply cannot be worse than her.
But there is one solitary upside to a Clinton presidency. If Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States… we will see the world shift decisively into a new multi-polar order. The battle over Syria became a red line for the Russians, Chinese and Iranians, and they placed protective arms around key states, in turn forging closer relations with each other – some of these, military dimensions – and with a number of other ‘middle powers’ that threatened to up-end US hegemonic ambitions once and for all.
Imagine then, the reactions of Russia, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and other states irked by US-backed destabilizing campaigns, if a hawk like Clinton is ensconced in the White House.
We’ll slip into a new world order faster than you can say ‘Goldman Sachs.’
Follow Sharmine Narwani on Twitter at @snarwani
U.S. government hypocrisy is, as most everyone knows, boundless. It’s also utterly transparent. Our public officials evidently see no shame in belying their professions of benign intent with awesome malevolence and destruction. After all, there’s always the doctrine of American Exceptionalism to justify the unjustifiable. Take for instance Barack Obama’s global assassination campaign, or “drone war” in media-speak. It is now common knowledge (among the mildly informed, anyway) that said campaign is only nominally discriminate, and furthermore essentially pointless, assuming its point is not to foster Islamic extremism. Last year, leaked government documents confirmed what was already suspected: most of those killed by Barry O’s drone fleet are unidentified people who happen to be standing near the intended target, who for one reason or another (we’re not allowed to know) was selected for summary execution.
What is the effect of this policy? It’s not difficult to figure out. Let’s suppose for a moment that these remote control airstrikes really were “surgical”—that they didn’t result in dead civilians. It would still be an exercise in futility. Wiping out a single jihadist, no matter his rank, doesn’t eliminate his position: he can and will be replaced. Would it disrupt the relevant cell’s operation? Does it matter? Disrupt it enough and it will splinter, and now you’ve got two cells instead of one, and perhaps the new one is more monstrous than the original. ISIS, let’s remember, was first an al-Qaeda franchise. The latter group, whose side we’ve taken against Syria’s elected president, now seems like the “JV team” (credit to Obama for the awkward analogy) to the former’s Varsity. Needless to say, U.S. foreign policy, in its liberal interventionist form, facilitated the rise and expansion of ISIS; the group that now, according to most Republicans, presents the gravest threat to our national security.
To label the drone war as merely futile, however, is disingenuous. Counterproductive is a better word, although probably still too charitable. We take out one militant—reducing him to “a greasy spot on the ground”—and another springs up to take his place. That’s futility. But in the process, people living in Pakistan and Somalia and Yemen observe that the U.S. is not bound by any standard principle of law, least of all the one guaranteeing a criminal suspect due process. How, one wonders, are they expected to feel about that? If the American Empire says you’re fit to die, you’re fit to die, and that’s the end of it. Interesting concept. Of course, such tyranny would never be tolerated here at home, where a criminal defendant’s right to a fair trial remains (for the most part) inalienable and uncontroversial. Not so for foreigners suspected by the U.S. government of terrorist activity in their own countries, with whom the U.S. is not at war and over whom the U.S. has no jurisdiction in any reasonable sense of the word.
The American public may not care very much about the extrajudicial killing of a few supposedly dangerous Muslims living in Somalia. (CNN doesn’t tell them to worry about it, so why should they?) They do, however, seem to care about anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, the threat of global jihad, etc.—and rightfully so. These are serious issues; they should be treated as such. Here’s an axiom: if we’re going to take an issue seriously, the very least we can do is make an effort to understand it. Why does Salafism (i.e. Wahhabism, i.e. Saudism) continue to spread like wildfire over the Middle East and beyond? Why do so many Muslims have, in the words of Donald Trump, a tremendous, tremendous hatred for the U.S.?
It couldn’t have anything to do with the continuous, illegal bombing of Muslim-majority countries. That would be too straightforward an answer, and moreover contradictory to the narrative our policy-makers, always looking out for the weapons industry, like to spin for us. There is, however, Occam’s razor, which would insist that we stop dismissing simple, obvious explanations. One such explanation might be that Obama’s drone fetish, even without the civilian death toll, certainly doesn’t make the jihadist recruiter’s job any less difficult (and in fact does precisely the reverse). Another might be that, by shoring up the medieval sadists governing Saudi Arabia and oppressing its population, the U.S. indirectly (or perhaps directly) promotes the ideology underpinning every Wahhabi terrorist gang in the world, whether JV or Varsity.
Saudi Arabia. The world’s most prolific exporter of oil. Also the world’s most prolific exporter of Islamic extremism, that omnipresent threat to civilization we’re allegedly so bent on eradicating. It was reported that our dear leader was cold-shouldered upon his recent arrival to the great pious kingdom. The impudence! Have the Wahhabi princes no appreciation for the Obama administration’s generosity? After all, $50 billion in munitions sales is nothing to sneeze at, particularly when those munitions are earmarked for war crimes. The United States has given Saudi Arabia, and its Wahhabi coalition, carte blanche to commit atrocities against civilians in Yemen: American bombs, including illegal “cluster bombs,” are being used to blow up schools, hospitals, mosques, etc., in the name of… well, nothing, really. What more could the Saudis want! More weapons? All they have to do is ask. Obama distributes “smart bombs” like candy.
The civil war in Yemen represents the latest, though not quite the greatest (which says a lot), failure of American foreign policy. With our weapons and whole-hearted support, Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabi pals have managed to do to Yemen what NATO did to Libya. In other words, Yemen is now a failed state with no central government and a massive power vacuum—ideal conditions for terrorists, in this case al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, to exploit. Naturally, all of this is underreported by Western media, since we have no enemy on whom to cast blame. You may hear the occasional whisper about Ayatollah culpability, but that’s about it.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen… every time the same result. To say that the U.S. has failed to learn its lesson is erroneous. I’ve seen no evidence that U.S. policy-makers are interested in learning any sort of lesson, nor that they actually desire a better outcome to begin with. They’re not merely inept, as so many like to insist; they’re cynical, and profoundly so.
Terrorism is useful. It can be, and is, cited to justify almost anything: extravagant military budgets, abrogation of civil liberties, alliance with nefarious regimes, arbitrary detention, torture, war. They all matter, but the last one matters most. If the objective really is to defeat terrorism, as defined by us, then our policy is irrational; in fact it meets the famous definition of insanity. Plainly, bombing volatile societies and unleashing dormant sectarian violence does nothing to contain terrorism. Plainly, it has the opposite effect. Terrorists draw strength and support from chaos and carnage; if you think Cheney et al. were oblivious to that fact, I’ve a got a plot of land to sell you…. Bush may be simple, and it’s certainly possible that he derived his conception of war from the pictures, but his cabinet was a sly bunch; a bunch whose loyalty was not to our nation’s security but rather to the Pentagon and the weapons manufacturers.
Before Bush was sworn in by the Supreme Court, Dick was pushing for a bigger military budget. Little did he know that he needn’t bother! The events of 9/11 were a windfall for the jingoists, damage to the Pentagon notwithstanding. Terrorism was no longer an abstract threat; the threat was all too palpable, all too urgent, and nobody was prepared to question the government’s response, which was not to invade the country that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers, but rather the one in which the plot’s ringleader, another Saudi, happened to live. The U.S. could have invaded Canada that October (surely there were some Bin Laden sympathizers loitering in that country)—we just wanted a show of military might, projected wherever.
That’s the terrorism effect. That’s why Saddam Hussein, our long-time ally and Israel’s great “existential threat” of the day, was suddenly charged with sponsoring terrorism. Casting Saddam as a Bin Laden advocate, however false, gave us a solid pretext for war. The consequence of that war—ISIS—gives us a solid pretext for more war, etc. As long as terrorism exists, we can go to war, and as long as we go to war, terrorism will exist. Meanwhile the Pentagon’s budget continues to swell. The War on Terror, then, is a self-sustaining enterprise.
The beauty of Obama’s global assassination campaign is that it allows us to bomb without declaring war. We don’t have to worry about running out of countries to invade; we can drone our allies if we so choose. That being said, no war machine is complete, and no Empire content, without the occasional full-scale invasion. Iran has been in the crosshairs for a long time—ever since they had the nerve to overthrow the iron-fisted dictator we kindly installed for them. Predictably, the Iranian nuclear agreement, Obama’s most significant foreign policy achievement, has done nothing to curb the hawks’ appetite. Indeed, many Republican presidential candidates have assured us that, as commander in chief, they would make it their first order of business to tear up the internationally-recognized treaty.
At the other end of the aisle, H.R. Clinton, the “superprepared warrior realist,” derides the prospect of normalizing relations with Iran. Back in 2008, she demonstrated her warrior spirit, boasting of her preparedness to “totally obliterate” the 80 million people who live there, which would steer the U.S. into a nuclear conflict with Russia, quite possibly annihilating us all. (Lest you forget: Trump is the real danger.)
Clinton and her fellow jingos hate the nuclear deal, and the reason is simple: it eliminates a major pretext for war. After all, the case against Iran is identical to the case against Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism. And Israel at the center of it all. The Zionists lobbied hard for war with Iraq, and no one is lobbying harder for war with Iran. They intend to make Hillary’s obliteration fantasy into reality. Lucky for them, and unlucky for the rest of us, she is almost certainly our next president, and no one is more subservient to their will.
Unsurprisingly, no presidential candidate has been asked whether they plan to adopt Obama’s failed anti-terror policy, which is to fight terror with more terror, forever fanning the proverbial flames. Perhaps “failed” is not quite an accurate description, though, as that word implies a wish to succeed. Presently there’s no excuse to believe the Obama administration was ever serious about checking the scourge of Saudi-inspired terrorism. If Trump is right, and the Muslim world hates us, Obama was very much committed to aggravating that sentiment. He’s done a fine job.
Michael Howard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regime change, the term hundreds of millions hear on the nightly news is rendered innocuous by the sheer repetitiveness. But regime change is almost always accompanied by death and destruction, and after effects that affect us all, no matter where in the world it occurs. The overthrow of Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by an American president and co-conspirators is truly a case for an international tribunal. Here’s a starting lineup for an international war crimes double header.
Every time I think of Barack Obama’s former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, images of her gloating and bragging over Libya flood into my mind’s eye. Then my mind races cognitively, to a culvert in a ditch near the town of Sirte, to a bruised and bloodied figure, staring up and fearful of his captors, just before they kicked and beat him, then riddled his body with bullets, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al- Gaddafi’s life surely passed before his eyes. In the blink of a US drone electronic eye, the most powerful man in Africa was dethroned, and the Middle East was set on fire. History will inquire, “Who was it that set a whole people adrift in the world?” Well I have history’s answer.
Exhibit A: A US President Misleads His People
On March 28th, 2011 the Obama White House issued this transcript of the American president’s address to the people he swore to lead and protect. Within this insulting and misleading address, there are many lies and reversals of fact, but there are also great truths as well. For instance, the nations complicit in the violent coup d’é·tat in Libya were named by Obama, they were: the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Qatar along with the United Arab Emirates. Each of these nation’s geo-political interests in Libya and Gaddafi can be traced directly to big business or US surrogacy, this is irrevocable and irreconcilable. The involvement of US, UK and European agents inside Libya, the levers put in place to unseat the standing Libyan government, are just now coming into the daylight. I’ll shine more light on these further on, but right now characterizing the unmitigated audacity of Barack Obama is important. Not only did the US president mislead the American people on March 28th, 2011, his character would not allow him to pass up the opportunity to brag about how swiftly and decisively he had acted. On the mandate for unseating Gaddafi, the president said:
“It’s true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country -– Libya — at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.”
This statement is key for understanding the truth of not only Libya, but Syria, Ukraine, and even for policies as far back as the NATO agenda in Bosnia. In a caveat to this, Obama also frames a hidden strategy beneath by discussing what we now know as the larger European tragedy. The president claims “our interests” were served by preventing:
“A massacre (that) would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.”
Not only did Barack Obama and his administration sell this lie to the American people, he also committed one of his worst political mistakes ever.
“Of course, there is no question that Libya -– and the world –- would be better off with Qaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”
This was 2011, take note of this. The Obama team now openly professed a US and coalition plan to take down Gaddafi, they foretold of a larger scheme, the Arab Spring and western expansionism that grips the world today. Violence on a horrific scale, instigated by the Bush and Obama administrations. The refugee crises, which are clearly “ordained” in the quotes above as “warnings”, these were in fact part of a regional plan of destabilization.
Exhibit B: Obama – the Little Big Man 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not often wrong, but his statement last week about Barack Obama being “strong” enough to admit the mistake of Libya, it’s dead wrong. Barack Obama is not at all strong. He’s a decent actor, and can read a teleprompter like nobody’s business. Being strong in the Putin sense, it means serving the people, and not the hidden masters of the policy universe. In a now famous interview with Fox News anchor, Chris Wallace, Obama admits not planning for the aftermath of the ousting of Gaddafi was his biggest mistake as president. Obama says (via the transcript) on being asked “Worst mistake?”, by Wallace:
“Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”
This is not the statement of a strong president, it is weak and pitiful in so many respects. The man cannot even come to grips with a truth, let alone take responsibility. “Probably”, the “right thing to do”, “think” – the whole snippet hints at lying or misdirect. Wallace never returns to the issue, the “central issue”, as it were, for America’s role in world terror and upheaval. The “facts” of Barack Obama’s regime change agenda contravene any suggestion Libya was simply an error. Most Americans are completely unaware of the battle in the US Congress to forestall this coup.
“Despite its failure to obtain legal approval from Congress, the Obama administration continued to provide the bulk of the military support for the NATO operation until the overthrow of Gadaffi in October. Before the official termination of Operation Unified Protector, US Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo Daalder said that “the United States led in this operation… It led in the planning of the operation, it led in getting the mandate for the operation, and it led in the execution of the operation… the United States conducted more sorties than any other country in this operation, twenty six percent.”
Barack Obama, with the adamant support of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Neocons like Arizona’s Sen. John McCain, and military industrial complex lap dog, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, ousted Gaddafi circumvented the people of the United States of America. For those wondering at my vehemence here, General Dynamics and the US Navy will name a new destroyer after Levin, just in case any out there are reticent in disbelief of my assertions. The arrogance, the insolence of these people staggers the imagination, but I must frame another constituent’s part in America’s export of revolution. Obama was not owning up to a mistake in Libya, he was sliding past a question by a sellout Fox reporter. The only reason for him even answering the question was to insert a tenant of plausible deniability later on.
Accept Open Society or Else
No one reading this report will be surprised to hear George Soros’ Open Society Foundations is neck deep in this regime change. The man who essentially got Obama elected in the first place, he and his NGO have been implicated in many political machinations. This Arizona Daily Independent opinion piece casts a blistering light on John McCain, the aforementioned Levin, and a neocon system of levers most are aware of, but know not how to confront. I’ve not the space to go into McCain’s shady past here, but his face on crisis has been adequately established. It was the Soros connection to the defense spending champion that caught my eye.
George Soros’ gift of $100 million dollars to Human Rights Watch did not make big news back in 2010. Human Rights Watch was thrilled though. A few months later, Human Rights Watch reported on the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging both Muammar Gaddafi, and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi with crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch’s position in this strategy was to validate and provide presidents for a tribunal, at least in my view. This quote from the report by HRW is telling:
“Should the court issue an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, it would not be the first warrant for a sitting head of state by an international court. In 1999, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia issued its first indictment against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.”
Almost immediately after ICC head prosecutor Moreno Ocampo issued an arrest warrant for the Gaddafis on 7 June 2011, 30 nations recognized the Libyan rebels of the NTC as the legitimate government of the country. A key in understanding how collusion and influence parlay uprisings is in understanding how the Open Society Foundations grants and meetups operate. Central to the legitimacy of Gadaffi’s overthrow, was the notion he was a tyrant and a killer. Legitimacy for the White House agenda comes in many forms.
Legality: The Ultimate Lie
In December of 2005 the Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor was part of a Soros backed roundtable series, which was an initiative of OSI and the Security and Peace Initiative, which is a joint initiative of the Center for American Progress and an interesting think tank, The Century Foundation. The goals of these organizers, was ostensibly described in the title of published essays by these think tank elites, “Restoring American Leadership: 13 Steps to Improve Global Cooperation.” I believe it was the purpose of these meetings to establish Moreno Campo’s legitimacy and position within the greater scheme of things. After these meetings, and the associated United Nations meetups back then, the ICC played an ever-increasing and interesting role. Please remember, the Center for America Progress is funded by not only Soros, but Bill and Melinda Gates, huge corporations, and even the government of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE should ring bells for their part in the coalition to overthrow Gadaffi.
Subsequent Open Society Foundations rhetoric and policy showed us the ICC’s mission. First in Uganda, then in the crucial case of Sudan, the ICC allegedly became the tool of Soros and the people behind him. While I do not always agree with the controversial activist Lyndon LaRouche, there’s no denying his insight and investigations often bear fruit. In this report from 2008, the implications are black and white in this press release:
“The Soros organization also directly funded another agency at the Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which prosecuted and judicially murdered Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.”
Yugoslavia rises from the mist once again. I’ve drummed on the notion of “templates” enacted by western leadership, on think tanks and their roles, and Yugoslavia in the Clinton era was a crucial turning point. The “legality” in all this, the big lie of democracy’s validity as a new quasi-religious crusade, this is where Soros funding, American leadership role playing, and regime-policy change meet globally. Gadaffi was essentially assassinated. His son is now under a death sentence in Libya, and the old school Cold War warriors want to install a king in his place. It’s all illegality made to look legal, Soros the Nazi sympathizer transformed into the philanthropist. It’s Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the biggest killer of innocent civilians since Idi Amin.
In conclusion, the question I began with remains; “Who was it that set a whole people adrift in the world?” Why the very people swearing oaths to protect us, that’s who. The champions of industry, the philanthropist, their paid for brain trusts, the money has bought out the entire democratic system of governance. The world has the true war criminals by the scruff of the neck now. But the wrong men and women will die, just as sure as I am writing this. The mission of Soros, his NGO, and the elites in power in the west is the eradication of the idea of the sovereign state. Killing Gaddafi was central to this goal.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe.
It’s questionable now whether David Cameron will be able to survive 2016 as prime minister. The crushing combination of the #PanamaPapers and the UK Brexit referendum may well be enough to pulverize ‘Teflon Tory’ and bury him.
In Part One of ‘A Charmed Life’, I explained how David Cameron, a man born into great wealth and privilege, had been fast-tracked to power by influential neocons. After just four years as an MP he was anointed as Tory party leader, even though his rivals had much stronger credentials and greater public appeal.
Since his elevation ‘Call Me Dave’ has certainly not let his backers down! His governments, under the pretext of ‘austerity’, have cut welfare payments and social services and helped the one percent become even richer. The top rate of income tax was cut and corporation tax has also been slashed.
Remaining publicly owned assets have been privatized, or have been earmarked for privatization with rich City insiders and party donors benefiting. In 2013, the Royal Mail, in state hands since its inception in the 16th century, was privatized, with a hedge fund whose co-head of development strategy was the best man at Chancellor George Osborne’s wedding, netting a profit of £36m.
The government now plans to sell the Land Registry – in public hands since the days of Queen Victoria.
In foreign policy, Cameron continued where Bomber Blair left off. In the same way that Tony Blair helped destroy Iraq, ‘Tory Blair’ helped wreck Libya. A country that had the highest living standards in Africa was transformed, thanks to NATO’s ’humanitarian intervention’, into a failed state and a haven for radical jihadists and terrorists.
Cameron and his governments also played a very negative and destructive role in relation to Syria, enthusiastically supporting ‘regime change‘ and championing the cause of violent jihadists and terrorists – euphemistically labeled ‘rebels’- who were fighting to overthrow a secular government implacably opposed to Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
In 2013, Cameron, faithfully serving neocon interests, tried desperately to get Parliament to support airstrikes on Syrian government targets. Thankfully, that was defeated. Had it not been, then it’s likely that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda affiliates would now be in charge of the whole of Syria.
If ever a British Prime Minister deserved to lose a General Election it was David Cameron in 2015. ‘Call Me Dave’ had presided over the longest fall in living standards in the country for 50 years.
His government had pledged to improve public finances, but in fact had made them worse: the UK’s debt increased by 50 percent under Cameron‘s watch.
Furthermore, Cameron’s foreign policy has undoubtedly made the world a much more dangerous place.
However, helped once again by a very friendly media, and in particular the Murdoch press – which thought it of the utmost importance that we saw a photo of Labour leader Ed Miliband eating a bacon sarnie on the front page of The Sun, Cameron scraped home in last year‘s election.
As I noted in an RT op-edge about the election campaign: “There was little, if any, proper discussion of the Conservatives’ many failures in office… If there had been proper media coverage of the way Tories have sold off public assets to their City chums, and the future privatizations Cameron and Co have planned (Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to sell off £20 billion more of state assets by 2020), then the Tories would not get anywhere near the amount of seats they did.”
It’s clear that Cameron was chosen, from quite early on as the best ‘front man’ for taking the neocon project on to the next stage. The question now is: will those who helped put Cameron into power – and who did everything they could to help him stay in 10 Downing Street during the 2015 General Election campaign, continue to support him?
Up to now Cameron has been the ‘Teflon Tory’ – the man against whom no charge seems to stick. While Tony Blair is rightly reviled for what he did to Iraq, Cameron has largely escaped censure for his role in the destruction of Libya. Even allegations of Cameron taking part in a weird initiation ceremony involving the head of a dead pig at Oxford didn’t do too much harm to his ratings.
The #PanamaPapers leaks, however, could be a game changer. In Parliament last week, Cameron tried to draw a line under the revelations by making a Commons statement. Toadying Tory MPs stood up to declare that The Great Leader had done nothing wrong. One MP, the very wealthy oil trader Sir Alan Duncan, tried to make out that the outrage over the Panama Papers was due to envy over people’s wealth – and made a snobbish reference to ‘low-achievers’.
The smug, self-congratulatory mood was splendidly punctured by veteran left-wing Labour MP Dennis Skinner, who dubbed the prime minister ‘Dodgy Dave‘.
Shortly afterwards, I sent out a tweet saying that Skinner was a ‘National Treasure’ and asked people to retweet my message if they agreed with it. At the time of writing the tweet has been retweeted almost 6,000 times and liked over 3,000 times.
The tweet, I note, has got more endorsement than any from establishment gatekeepers and members of the elite punditocracy, who were keen to label Skinner as ‘rude’ for having the temerity to voice the views of millions of ordinary Britons.
It’s not just on social media that members of the public are making their voices heard. A poll in the Daily Mirror newspaper asked readers if they thought Skinner should have been thrown out of the Commons for his ‘Dodgy Dave’ remark: 95 percent voted ‘No’.
The Mirror is a Labour supporting publication, so perhaps you’d expect such a result. But another poll in the Daily Express – which does not support Labour – showed that 83 percent of readers thought Cameron should resign over the Panama Papers scandal.
A few days ago, Cameron was overtaken by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn in approval ratings for the first time, with almost 60 percent of people saying that he’s doing badly as PM.
‘Call Me Dave’ and his Chancellor George Osborne are now the least trusted politicians on tax avoidance. Meanwhile, over 160,000 people have signed a petition calling for a snap general election.
The neocons who backed Cameron in 2005 are divided over Europe, which also doesn’t help the PM’s cause. Michael Gove, who helped mastermind Cameron’s campaign in 2005, is one of six Cabinet ministers campaigning for Britain to leave the EU in a referendum that Cameron – given the dip in his ratings – could easily lose. Even if the ‘Remain’ side does sneak home narrowly, Cameron would still be very vulnerable.
We know just how ruthless the Conservative Party can be when they feel they’ve got a leader who’s gone past their sell-by date: even the fact that she had won three general elections wasn’t enough to save Mrs. Thatcher in 1990.
Cameron has already declared he won’t serve a third term as prime minister, but it must now be doubtful that he will even be able to survive 2016. Whether it’s the #PanamaPapers or the EU referendum in June which finishes him, the dream ride for the ‘Teflon Tory’ has almost certainly come to an end. About time, too!
Yesterday Philip Hammond, UK foreign secretary, visited a naval base in Tripoli to be shown docking facilities for British military vessels. The authoritative Jane’s Defence Weekly published that the 150 strong amphibious Special Purpose Task Group of commandos and special forces is in the Mediterranean on the amphibious warfare vessel Mounts Bay. Obviously purely a coincidence with Hammond’s visit!
Just as in Syria and in Yemen it will not be admitted that British forces are in combat. In classic Cold War fashion, they are “military advisers and trainers.” There is a specific development which disconcerts me in Yemen, where the SAS operatives supporting the devastating Saudi bombings of the Houthi population have been seconded to MI6. There is a convention that military operations are reported to Parliament and MI6 operations are not, so the sole purpose of screening the SAS as MI6 is to deceive the UK’s own parliament.
That of course only adds to the utter immorality of British support of the appalling Saudi bombing campaign. Britain’s supplying the arms to the Saudis and lending direct military assistance amounts to complicity in war crime.
Saudi Arabia pursued the overproduction of oil initially to force out high cost US fracking producers. That objective has largely been achieved with a substantive fall in US production. But Saudi strategists have now been struck by the potential for continued low oil prices to cause pressure for the Russian budget. This was a key factor in the Saudi decision to block any moves towards OPEC production curbs. The Saudis are now obsessed with the notion of full Sunni control over Syria, and aim to pile economic pressure on Russia to achieve this. But it is by no means clear that the level of pain which would be required to force Putin to end military support for Assad, would not also put so much strain on the Saudi budget that it would risk destabilising the Saudi regime itself.
Just what could cause western elites to acknowledge that Saudi Arabia is the largest single problem in the Middle East, and that continued support of the House of Saud is entirely counterproductive, it is difficult to envisage. The problem of course is that what is bad for the world can be very profitable for the 1%.