World

Call Seen as Retaliation for US Seizing Iranian Assets

Iran’s parliament today voted on a bill requiring the government to request compensation from the United States for damages caused by the CIA’s 1953 imposition of a coup d’etat against Iran’s democratically elected government.

In August 1953, Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh sought to Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP) and change the terms of the existing oil monopoly of the British company in Iran. The British government “invited” the CIA to force Mosaddegh from office, and they did so, restoring the monarchy which ruled Iran until the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Though at the time it was a “covert” action, albeit a poorly kept secret, US officials have publicly conceded that the coup was carried out, and the CIA has released some of the documents related to it, though they insist most were destroyed.

The move is unlikely to seriously secure money for Iran, but is rather a retaliatory talking point after the US Supreme Court approved seizing some $2 billion in Iranian central bank assets to pay for the 1983 Beirut bombing, an act which Iran insists they didn’t do.
The Iranian parliament also passed a bill calling for a complaint to be filed with the International Court of Justice over the US seizing those assets, arguing it violates international norms on sovereign immunity.

by Jason Ditz

The roots of the immigration crisis

Tens of thousands of Central Americans, many of them unaccompanied children and teenagers, have flooded into the US illegally in recent years: they are a growing part of a human tsunami that has hit the southern border and caused what many refer to as a humanitarian crisis, overwhelming the local and federal authorities – and becoming a major political issue.

On the one hand, we have immigration restrictionists like Donald Trump, who say that “we cannot be a country and have no borders,” and who vow to build a Wall – “and make Mexico pay for it.” On the other hand, we have Hillary Clinton, who says we should be “knocking down barriers, not building walls,” and claims that Trump and his supporters are motivated by “bigotry.”

Like most partisan political debates, this one gives off plenty of heat without shedding much light. Because the real question is: why are hundreds of thousands of people suddenly abandoning their homes, their families, and their countries to make the long and dangerous trek through Mexico and into the United States? And where are these people coming from?

Contrary to what the Trumpistas seem to believe, the influx of Mexican illegal immigrants has tapered off. Increasingly, the floodtide consists of Central Americans, who are coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. And while the circumstances surrounding the Great Migration have particular causes in each of these countries, in general the causes are the same: a wave of criminality and chaos, which has its origins in decades of misgovernment and repression. Grinding poverty, the rule of a landed oligarchy, and the de facto dominance of brutal militaries – supported by the US – have stunted and deformed these resource-rich countries, forcing their citizens into what is surely one of the largest population transfers in recent history.

The history of US-Honduran relations is the story of endless meddling by Washington on behalf of crony capitalists, notably United Fruit, now known as Chiquita. A series of invasions and military occupations in the early part of the twentieth century – seven between 1903 and 1925 – ensured that American investors would get good returns on their investments, while keeping the restless natives under the boot of local oligarchs. During the cold war era, the Jeanne Kirkpatrick doctrine of preferring “pro-American” dictators to left-wing democrats prevailed, and the Reagan administration used the country as a base for undermining the leftist Sandinista regime: the contras, funded by Washington, were based in the country, from which they regularly launched terrorist raids targeting civilians.

Ruled by a series of military dictators and juntas since 1955, Honduras returned to civilian rule in 1981, but the military – trained in the US and superbly equipped due to generous aid from Washington – retained its dominance over the political landscape and much of the economy. “Recruiting” consisted of forays into the slum areas and countryside by military patrols, who would then kidnap young men and forcibly conscript them. In this way, the Honduran military resembled a criminal gang, engaging in wholesale extortion, as well as murder and torture of political dissidents. Whatever party occupied the presidency and controlled the legislative branch, the same landed oligarchy, backed by the military, called the shots.

In 2006, however, change was in the air. Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the scion of a wealthy family and head of the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise, was elected President. Although he campaigned on a conservative platform, Zelaya soon turned to social reform, including the institution of free public education, free meals for poor students, government aid to small farmers, and other measures aimed at reducing poverty, with some 80% of the population living on a subsistence level.

This turn to the left enraged the oligarchs and the final straw was the entry of Honduras into the ALBA alliance, founded by Venezuela’s leftist caudillo Hugo Chavez. When Zelaya put a constitutional reform measure on the ballot, which would have overturned articles of that document deemed unchangeable, the military used this as a pretext to make their move: they invaded the presidential palace, and bundled Zelaya into exile while he was still in his pajamas. (Coup leaders and their American cheerleaders accused Zelaya of wanting to extend his term in office, limited by the constitution to one term, and set up a dictatorship: today, however, their narrative has undergone a curious reversal: the same people who supported the coup have changed the constitution to allow their candidate to extend his term.)

The role of the US State Department, with Hillary Clinton in charge, was to lurk in the background, quietly supporting the coup leaders while making ambiguous noises in public about the need for “reconciliation.” Meanwhile, behind the scenes, longtime Clinton confidante Lanny Davis, who served as Bill Clinton’s lawyer during the impeachment proceedings against him, was hired by the coup leaders to curry favor in Washington. Mrs. Clinton’s emails, released by the State Department as part of the investigation into her private server, reveal that Davis succeeded.

Instead of cutting off all aid to the Honduran government, as required by law, Clinton’s State Department continued it, albeit at a slightly reduced rate. And while publicly deploring the coup, behind the scenes the Secretary of State utilized her old friend Lanny to open up a back channel to the coup leaders, a process that culminated in a proposed “deal” that would keep Zelaya out of office, while supposedly allowing for his return. The coup leaders, however, broke their part of the bargain, pressuring the legislature to keep Zelaya out of the country. They then held “free” elections characterized by widespread violence, the shutdown of opposition media outlets, kidnappings, and intimidation. Unsurprisingly, the coup leaders won the “election,” and have retained control to this day.

The Clinton State Department rushed to give their imprimatur to the fraudulent election, and Lanny Davis made a pot of money.

In her memoir, Hard Choices, Hillary wrote about her efforts to make the return of Zelaya “moot” by brokering a phony deal, openly admitting her key role in legitimizing the coup. This section was deleted from the paperback edition.

She defends her actions to this day, but the reality is that Honduras descended into chaos and criminality. The drug cartels – who have strong links to the military and the coup leaders (the son of the ex-president and coup leader Porfirio Lobo recently pled guilty to drug trafficking) – instituted a reign of terror, motivating tens of thousands to flee the country. They wound up in the US, where they are welcomed by a woman who shares a large part of the blame for their predicament.

Create a problem – and then pose as the great humanitarian with a solution. That’s the Clinton method, in all its hypocritical sleaziness. Maybe we should send the tens of thousands of Hondurans victimized by her ruthlessly cynical policy straight to Chappaqua, where they can stand outside the gates of her palatial estate chanting “Crooked Hillary!”

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NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Jesse Freeston, the director of the documentary “Resistencia,” tells us how Berta Caceres has become a martyr in the struggle against the Honduran post-coup regime and how the Obama administration bears responsibility for the current situation in Honduras. –   March 3, 2016

The US wasted millions planning an elaborate cyberattack on Iran but it was spoiled by amerikkkas pimp isreahell.

US Military installations around Iran
US Military installations around Iran

In the early days of President Obama’s administration, thousands of American military and intelligence officers worked to develop a plan that could feasibly take down critical infrastructure in Iran, according to a new documentary called Zero Days, which premieres tomorrow. The plan was codenamed Nitro Zeus, and if it had ever been deployed, it would have taken down parts of Iran’s civilian infrastructure, including its power grid, phone lines, and air defenses. The plan cost tens of millions of dollars to design and involved the placement of electronic implants in Iranian computer networks, in case it were ever decided to be implemented.

The New York Times and BuzzFeed News independently investigated the documentary’s claims. The reports claim Nitro Zeus was created as a contingency plan if the US / Iran nuclear negotiations never came to fruition; the US worried Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear arsenal and drag the US into a conflict. The plan was intended to render a conventional conflict unnecessary, or at least minimize it.

American officials are worried that 50,000 Russian troops being massed near the Ukraine border and within Crimea, the pro-Russian peninsula recently annexed by President Vladimir Putin, aren’t there for just a training exercise

Despite Russian reassurances that Moscow’s troop buildup along Ukraine’s eastern frontier is for a military exercise, its growing scale is making U.S. officials nervous about its ultimate aim.

President Barack Obama on Friday urged Russia to stop “intimidating” Ukraine and to pull its troops back to “de-escalate the situation.” He told CBS that the troop buildup may “be an effort to intimidate Ukraine, or it may be that [Russia has] additional plans.”

Pentagon officials say they believe there could be close to 50,000 Russian troops bordering the former Soviet republic and inside Crimea, recently seized and annexed by Moscow. That estimate is double earlier assessments, and means Russian President Vladimir Putin could order a lighting strike into Ukrainian territory with the forces already in place. The higher troop count was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“We continue to see the Russian military reinforce units on their side of the border with Ukraine to the south and to the east of Ukraine,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday. “They continue to reinforce and it continues to be unclear exactly what the intent there is.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf played down the notion that there are as many as 100,000 Russian troops now bordering Ukraine, as Olexander Motsyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., said Thursday on Capitol Hill. “I hadn’t actually seen the hundred-thousand number,” Harf said. “There are huge numbers of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. … We are concerned about Russia taking further escalatory steps with whatever number of tens of thousands of troops they have there, and have called on them not to do so.”

Washington got those assurances that the Russian troop buildup was only an exercise from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu a week ago. But no one in the U.S. government knows if Putin agrees — or if the Russian leader has changed his mind as the West has debated what level of economic and political sanctions might be imposed if Moscow takes an additional chunk of Ukraine beyond Crimea. “They made it clear that their intent was to do exercises and not to cross the border,” Kirby said. “Our expectation is they’re going to live up to that word.”

There is no plan to involve the U.S. military in what is happening in Ukraine, even if Russia takes more territory. Ukraine borders Russia, and Ukraine does not belong to NATO, where an attack on one member is deemed to be an attack on all.

“Should the Russians continue to move aggressively in that region and in the Ukraine, what does that mean—and NATO would have to respond, for example—what would that mean for the United States Army?” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, asked the Army’s top officer Thursday.

“My responsibility is to make sure that the U.S. Army is prepared to respond as part of a joint force, as part of NATO,” General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, responded. “So what I’m focused on is improving our readiness in combat, combat service support and combat aviation capabilities to make sure we’re ready to respond whether it’s from a humanitarian assistance aspect or any other aspect.”

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