Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.
The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.
In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.
Parsons does not examine the American empire, but in his introduction to the book he wonders whether America’s empire is really an empire as the Americans don’t seem to get any extractive benefits from it. After eight years of war and attempted occupation of Iraq, all Washington has for its efforts is several trillion dollars of additional debt and no Iraqi oil. After ten years of trillion dollar struggle against the Taliban in… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 20, 2012
Information Clearing House
In 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of peace activists in several states and seized personal possessions in what the FBI–the lead orchestrator of fake “terrorist plots”–called an investigation of “activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”
Subpoenas were issued to compel antiwar protestors to testify before grand juries as prosecutors set about building their case that opposing Washington’s wars of aggression constitutes giving aid and comfort to terrorists. The purpose of the raids and grand jury subpoenas was to chill the anti-war movement into inaction.
Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.
Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government’s efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran. Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform. Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda. Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights to free condoms.
The western media demonizes those at whom Washington points a finger. The lies pour forth to justify Washington’s naked aggression: the Taliban… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts
September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.
Some of us have watched this day approach and have warned of its coming, only to be greeted with boos and hisses from “patriots” who have come to regard the US Constitution as a device that coddles criminals and terrorists and gets in the way of the President who needs to act to keep us safe.
In our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions , Lawrence Stratton and I showed that long before 9/11 US law had ceased to be a shield of the people and had been turned into a weapon in the hands of the government. The event known as 9/11 was used to raise the executive branch above the law. As long as the President sanctions an illegal act, executive branch employees are no longer accountable to the law that prohibits the illegal act. On the president’s authority, the executive branch can violate US laws against spying on Americans without warrants, indefinite detention, and torture and suffer no consequences.
Many expected President Obama to re-establish the accountability of government to law. Instead, he went further than Bush/Cheney and asserted the unconstitutional power not only to hold American citizens indefinitely in prison without bringing charges, but also to take their lives without convicting them in a court of law. Obama asserts that the US Constitution notwithstanding, he has the authority to assassinate US citizens, who he deems to be a “threat,” without due process… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 24, 2011 Information Clearing House — – -In a few days it will be the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. How well has the US government’s official account of the event held up over the decade?
Not very well. The chairman, vice chairman, and senior legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission wrote books partially disassociating themselves from the commission’s report. They said that the Bush administration put obstacles in their path, that information was withheld from them, that President Bush agreed to testify only if he was chaperoned by Vice President Cheney and neither were put under oath, that Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission and that the commission considered referring the false testimony for investigation for obstruction of justice.
In their book, the chairman and vice chairman, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, wrote that the 9/11 Commission was “set up to fail.” Senior counsel John Farmer, Jr., wrote
that the US government made “a decision not to tell the truth about what happened,” and that the NORAD “tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public.” Kean said, “We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth.”
Most of the questions from the 9/11 families were not answered. Important witnesses were not called. The commission only heard from those who supported the government’s account. The commission was a controlled political operation,… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts
May 17, 2011
In a sensational and explosive TV report, the Pakistani News Agency has provided a live interview with an eye witness to the US attack on the alleged compound of Osama bin Laden. The eye witness, Mohammad Bashir, describes the event as it unfolded. Of the three helicopters, “there was only one that landed the men and came back to pick them up, but as he [the helicopter] was picking them up, it blew away and caught fire.” The witness says that there were no survivors, just dead bodies and pieces of bodies everywhere. “We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing.”
I always wondered how a helicopter could crash, as the White House reported, without at least producing injuries. Yet, in the original White House story, the SEALs not only survived a 40-minute firefight with al Qaeda, “the most highly trained, most dangerous, most vicious killers on the planet,” without a scratch, but also survived a helicopter crash without a scratch.
The Pakistani news report is available on you tube. The Internet site, Veterans Today, posted a translation along with a video of the interview. Information Clearing House made
it available on May 17.
If the interview is not a hoax and the translation is correct, we now know the answer to the unasked question: Why was there no White House ceremony with President Obama pinning medals all over the… Continue reading
By Robert Parry (A Special Report)
As the Official Story of the 1980 October Surprise case crumbles — with new revelations that key evidence was hidden from investigators of a congressional task force and that internal doubts were suppressed — history must finally confront the troubling impression that remains: that disgruntled elements of the CIA and Israel’s Likud hardliners teamed up to remove a U.S. president from office.
Indeed, it is this disturbing conclusion — perhaps even more than the idea of a Republican dirty trick — that may explain the longstanding and determined cover-up of this political scandal.
Too many powerful interests do not want the American people to accept even the possibility that U.S. intelligence operatives and a longtime ally could intervene to oust a president who had impinged on what those two groups considered their vital interests.
To accept that scenario would mean that two of the great fears of American democracy had come true — George Washington’s warning against the dangers of “entangling alliances” and Harry Truman’s concern that the clandestine operations of the CIA had the makings of an “American Gestapo.”
It is far easier to assure the American people that no such thing could occur, that Israel’s Likud — whatever its differences with Washington over Middle East peace policies — would never seek to subvert a U.S. president, and that CIA dissidents — no matter how frustrated by political constraints — would never sabotage their own government.
But the evidence points in that… Continue reading
with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone
April 7, 2010-
Lynne Stewart has for forty years defended the poor and the oppressed against
arbitrary authority and false charges
Lynne Stewart, together with former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark and Abdeen
Jabar defended Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was tried and convicted of plotting
to blow up noted landmarks, including the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln
Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Statue of Liberty, and to assassinate Senator Alphonse
D’Amato and U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali
Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was innocent of these charges and had no part in the
initiation, planning or execution of these presumptive plots.
Indisputable and massive evidence has demonstrated that the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, through its operatives, including Emad Ali Salem, was, in
fact, the author of these plots and planned, initiated and financed these and
other acts of terror, including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993
in a “false flag” operation.
Attorney General John Ashcroft launched a cynical campaign to persecute and
prosecute Lynne Stewart for “aiding and abetting terrorism” based upon her serving
as defense attorney for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.
The Justice Department has undertaken the persecution and prosecution of Lynne
Stewart because she defended her falsely accused client zealously and refused
to be intimidated by the drumbeat of government propaganda arising from its
false “war on terror”.
Lynne Stewart has been tried and convicted in District Court of JudgeJohn G.
Koeltl of aiding and abetting terrorism based solely on the fact that she defended
a man demonized by the State for the purpose of creating a climate of fear in
the United States and public acquiescence in global wars of conquest including
Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond.…
February 25, 2010
By Paul Craig Roberts
The Washington Times is a newspaper that looks with favor upon the Bush/Cheney/Obama/neocon wars of aggression in the Middle East and favors making terrorists pay for 9/11. Therefore, I was surprised to learn on February 24 that the most popular story on the paper’s website for the past three days was the “Inside the Beltway” report, “Explosive News,” about the 31 press conferences in cities in the US and abroad on February 19 held by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an organization of professionals which now has 1,000 members.
I was even more surprised that the news report treated the press conference seriously. How did three World Trade Center skyscrapers suddenly disintegrate into fine dust? How did massive steel beams in three skyscrapers suddenly fail as a result of short-lived, isolated, and low temperature fires? “A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7,” reports the Washington Times.
The paper reports that the architects and engineers have concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology provided “insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers’ destruction” and are “calling for a grand jury investigation of NIST officials.”
The newspaper reports that Richard Gage, the spokesperson for the architects and engineers said: “Government officials will be notified that “Misprision of Treason,’ U.S. Code… Continue reading
Originally published by Alex Lantier on February 3, 2010 at wsws.org
A January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security established that US intelligence agencies stopped the State Department from revoking the US visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The Nigerian student, whom US officials suspected of being affiliated with the Yemeni terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, attempted to set off a bomb on Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day. Revocation of Abdulmutallab’s visa would have prevented him from boarding the airplane.
The hearing was reported in a brief article posted January 27 on the web site of the Detroit News, headlined, “Terror Suspect Kept Visa to Avoid Tipping Off Larger Investigation.”
The revelation that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to allow Abdulmutallab to board the commercial flight, without any special airport screening, has been buried in the media. As of this writing, nearly a week after the hearing, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have published no articles on the subject. Nor have the broadcast or cable media reported on it.
This is despite–or perhaps more accurately, because of–the fact that this information exposes the official government story of the near-disaster to be a lie. President Obama, who has joined with top US intelligence, FBI and Homeland Security officials to insist that Abdulmutallab was inadvertently allowed to board the plane carrying explosives because of a failure to “connect the dots,” has… Continue reading
The new decade finds the US working class suffering a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment, poverty, hunger, utility cutoffs, homelessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies have become common experiences for millions.
But unlike in the Great Depression, when limited reforms were put in place in response to the crisis, the Obama administration, Congress, and state and local governments are taking no serious measures to provide relief. On the contrary, the two parties of big business are exacerbating the crisis through budget cuts at the state and local level and the federal government is preparing new austerity measures.
Unemployment: At over 10 percent, the official US jobless rate reached in October and November was the highest since June of 1983. A broader measure of unemployment, taking into account those who have fallen out of the official workforce, reveals that something approaching one in five workers is unemployed or underemployed.
The economy has not added jobs since December 2007, and in that same time span has lost 7.2 million jobs overall. Coupling these losses with population growth–the economy must add about 150,000 jobs per month to break even–the net jobs deficit in the period is well over 10.5 million.
It is widely acknowledged that most of the jobs lost will not return for years, if ever. Even by the optimistic forecast of the Federal Reserve Board, the jobless rate will remain above 7 percent through 2011.…Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
October 21, 2009
The New York Times, on October 17, published a page-one story by Scott Shane about the CIA’s defiance of a court order to release documents pertaining to the John F. Kennedy assassination, in its so-called Joannides file. George Joannides was the CIA case officer for a Cuban exile group that made headlines in 1963 by its public engagements with Lee Harvey Oswald, just a few weeks before Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy. For over six years a former Washington Post reporter, Jefferson Morley, has been suing the CIA for the release of these documents.1
Sometimes the way that a news item is reported can be more newsworthy than the item itself. A notorious example was the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers (documents far too detailed for most people to read) on the front page of the New York Times.
The October 17 Times story was another such example. It revealed, perhaps for the first time in any major U.S. newspaper, that the CIA has been deceiving the public about its own relationship to the JFK assassination.
On the Kennedy assassination, the deceptions began in 1964 with the Warren Commission. The C.I.A. hid its schemes to kill Fidel Castro and its ties to the anti-Castro Directorio Revolucionario Estudantil, or Cuban Student Directorate, which received $50,000 a month in C.I.A. support during 1963.
In August 1963, Oswald visited a New Orleans shop owned by a directorate official, feigning sympathy with… Continue reading
September 11, 2009
Peter Dale Scott, with Michael Berger and Janice Matthews
In the last few days Glenn Beck and the Washington Times have forced Van Jones to resign as environmentalist “green jobs” adviser to the White House. His principal offense: having allegedly signed a 2004 Statement from 911Truth.org calling for a new investigation of the events of 9/11.(Van Jones has subsequently denied ever signing or supporting the 2004 Statement and his name has been removed from the list of signatories.)
This is a moment of truth for all who want America to be an open society. As the Los Angeles Times reported on September 8, “Other conservatives, smelling blood in the water, are sharpening their knives.” Why should they not? The White House has just capitulated to a dishonest attack claiming that Jones “thinks the Bush administration blew up the World Trade Centers and covered it up.” You can check Beck”s capacity for accuracy by comparing this claim to the relevant call in the Statement itself: “for immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”
Supporting Beck are authors like Charles Krauthammer, arguing that “truthers” — those of us who signed the 911truth statement — are creating “a hallucinatory alternative reality in the service of a fathomless malice.”
In the wake of these attacks, three of the original hundred signers — including the environmentalist Paul Hawken and Jodie Evans… Continue reading
Note: The author is indebted to a few particularly useful sources of information and inspiration, including Russ Baker’s book “Family of Secrets”, the websites nndb.com, sourcewatch.org and secinfo.com, and Richard Gage.
On occasion, the public has been asked by George W. Bush to refrain from considering certain conspiracy theories. Bush has made such requests when people were looking into crimes in which he might be culpable. For example, when in 1994 Bush’s former company Harken Energy was linked to the fraudulent Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) through several investors, Bush’s spokeswoman, Karen Hughes, shut down the inquiry by telling the Associated Press — “We have no response to silly conspiracy theories.” On another occasion, Bush said in a televised speech — “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th.”
But paradoxically, we have also been asked to believe Bush’s own outrageous conspiracy theory about 9/11, one that has proven to be false in many ways. One important way to see the false nature of Bush’s conspiracy theory is to note the fact that the World Trade Center buildings could only have fallen as they did through the use of explosives. A number of independent scientific studies have pointed out this fact [1, 2, 3, 4], but it was Bush’s own scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), through their inability to provide a convincing defense of… Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
May 8, 2009
One of the most frustrating features of observing American foreign policy is to see the gap between the encapsulated thinking of the national security bureaucracy and the sensible unfettered observations of the experts outside. In the case of Afghanistan, outside commentators have called for terminating current specific American policies and tactics — many reminiscent of the US in Vietnam.
Observers decry the use of air strikes to decapitate the Taliban and al Qaeda, usually resulting in the death of other civilians. They counsel against is the insertion of more and more US and other foreign troops, in an effort to secure the safety and allegiance of the population. And they regret the on-going interference in the fragile Afghan political process, in order to secure outcomes desired in Washington.1
One root source for this gap between official and outside opinion will not be addressed soon — the conduct of crucial decision-making in secrecy, not by those who know the area, but by those skilled enough in bureaucratic politics to have earned the highest security clearances. However it may be more productive to criticize the mindset shared by the decision-makers, and to point out elements of the false consciousness which frames it, and which should be corrigible by common sense.
Why One Should Think of So-Called “Failed States” as “Ravaged States”
I have in mind the bureaucratically convenient concept of Afghanistan as a failed or failing state. This epithet has been… Continue reading
30 April 2009
By Dennis Loo
If you ask most people what Obama has done about Guantánamo, most would say,
“He shut it down.”
Most don’t know that Obama has said he might take as much as a year to shut
If you ask most people what Obama has done about torture and rendition, most
would say, “He’s ended them.”
Most don’t know that Obama has declared that he will continue rendition,
that he reserves the right to go beyond the Army Field Manual for interrogations,
and that by
not acting affirmatively to ensure otherwise, he has allowed conditions to worsen
If you ask most people what Obama’s done about restoring habeas corpus, most
people would first say, “What’s habeas corpus?”
Then, after you explain to them that habeas corpus is your right to challenge
your detention, most people would say, “He’s restored habeas corpus, hasn’t
Most people don’t know that Obama has said that Bagram prisoners have no
right to habeas corpus and that Gitmo detainees don’t have a right
to it prior to June 2008.
The latest news about what Obama is up to on these fronts follows.
Obama’s DOJ pressed the Court of Appeals to rule that Gitmo prisoners aren’t
“persons,” aren’t entitled to the rights of “persons,” and
that if the Court does find that they are indeed “persons,” then US
officials who ordered and carried out torture and abuse of prisoners should
be immune from prosecution for… Continue reading
April 23, 2009
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
Sibel gave a 75-min interview to Electric Politics on April 10. You can listen
to it here.
Mizgin has an overview of the interview here.
A partial transcript follows:
Heroin, money-laundering and terrorism
Sibel Edmonds: First of all, it has been documented in the past several decades, the importance of narcotics in the Turkish economy, but also the role of Turkish MIT – that is Turkish Intelligence – and the military having an active role. But you’re also looking at the increased role of certain Central Asian countries and the Caucuses, and if you look at some of these regimes, these are the regimes that we have been supporting. Their economies also have become dependent on narcotics, because they have become a major transit – and in some places, for certain countries such as Azerbaijan, they have become major production centers.
After they shut down the casinos in Turkey – around 1998 – many of the large casinos in Turkey which were used to launder a lot of money, that also had to do with the narcotics, they actually moved and relocated to Azerbaijan, and there were several that went to Kazakhstan. So if you go through some of those Central Asian countries and you look at the list of the casinos, and you look at the ownership, you will see mainly Turkish ownership, and these are Turkish holding companies that relocated in 1998 to those countries.
George Kenney:… Continue reading
April 13, 2009
Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales
and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture
Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.
The six defendants–in addition to Gonzales, Federal
Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University
of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John
Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William
J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington,
and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith–are accused of having
given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S.
detention in “the war on terror.” The case arises in the context of a pending
proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards
formerly held at Guantánamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally
filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges
against the six American lawyers.… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 5, 2009
I used to take a certain pride by association with prominent Bronxites who have “made it.” Cancel that for Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
You might think that as African-Americans, they would be especially outraged by torture, given what blacks have suffered at the hands of white torturers in this country and abroad.
Why is it that they seem to value more their admittance into a privileged white-dominated ruling class than doing the right thing? How else to explain their stunning reluctance to hold torturers accountable and thus remove the stain of torture from our nation’s soul and reputation?
One might say that Attorney General Holder is proving himself to be part of that “nation of cowards” that he called the United States in a different context, i.e. our unwillingness to address the issue of race. What about when the victims of torture are Muslims? Where’s Holder’s courage then?
Surely, I was not the only one stunned by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s public admission that he helped authorize waterboarding of detainees. But, on reflection, there seems to have been a method to his madness; and, so far at least, the method seems to be working.
Have Holder and Colin Powell forgotten from their days growing up in the Bronx the typical reaction of bullies when caught in the act? “Okay, so waddaya gonna do ’bout it!” It was an attempt at intimidation, and it was generally… Continue reading