Monday, June 29, 2009

Color Revolutions, Old and New

Color Revolutions, Old and New - by Stephen Lendman

In his new book, "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order," F. William Engdahl explained a new form of US covert warfare - first played out in Belgrade, Serbia in 2000. What appeared to be "a spontaneous and genuine political 'movement,' (in fact) was the product of techniques" developed in America over decades.

In the 1990s, RAND Corporation strategists developed the concept of "swarming" to explain "communication patterns and movement of" bees and other insects which they applied to military conflict by other means. More on this below.

In Belgrade, key organizations were involved, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and National Democratic Institute. Posing as independent NGOS, they're, in fact, US-funded organizations charged with disruptively subverting democracy and instigating regime changes through non-violent strikes, mass street protests, major media agitprop, and whatever else it takes short of military conflict.

Engdahl cited Washington Post writer Michael Dobbs' first-hand account of how the Clinton administration engineered Slobodan Milosevic's removal after he survived the 1990s Balkan wars, 78 days of NATO bombing in 1999, and major street uprisings against him. A $41 million campaign was run out of American ambassador Richard Miles' office. It involved "US-funded consultants" handling everything, including popularity polls, "training thousands of opposition activists and helping to organize a vitally important parallel vote count."

Thousands of spray paint cans were used "by student activists to scrawl anti-Milosevic graffiti on walls across Serbia," and throughout the country around 2.5 million stickers featured the slogan "Gotov Je," meaning "He's Finished."

Preparations included opposition leader training in nonviolent resistance techniques at a Budapest, Hungary seminar - on matters like "organiz(ing) strike(s), communicat(ing) with symbols....overcom(ing) fear, (and) undermin(ing) the authority of a dictatorial regime." US experts were in charge, incorporating RAND Corporation "swarming" concepts.

GPS satellite images were used to direct "spontaneous hit-and-run protests (able to) elude the police or military. Meanwhile, CNN (was) carefully pre-positioned to project images around the world of these youthful non-violent 'protesters.' " Especially new was the use of the Internet, including "chat rooms, instant messaging, and blog sites" as well as cell phone verbal and SMS text-messaging, technologies only available since the mid-1990s.

Milosevic was deposed by a successful high-tech coup that became "the hallmark of the US Defense policies under (Rumsfeld) at the Pentagon." It became the civilian counterpart to his "Revolution in Military Affairs" doctrine using "highly mobile, weaponized small groups directed by 'real time' intelligence and communications."

Belgrade was the prototype for Washington-instigated color revolutions to follow. Some worked. Others failed. A brief account of several follows below.

In 2003, Georgia's bloodless "Rose Revolution" replaced Edouard Shevardnadze with Mikhail Saakashvili, a US-installed stooge whom Engdahl calls a "ruthless and corrupt totalitarian who is tied (not only to) NATO (but also) the Israeli military and intelligence establishment." Shevardnadze became a liability when he began dealing with Russia on energy pipelines and privatizations. Efforts to replace him played out as follows, and note the similarities to events in Iran after claims of electoral fraud.

Georgia held parliamentary elections on November 2. Without evidence, pro-western international observers called them unfair. Saakashvili claimed he won. He and the united opposition called for protests and civil disobedience. They began in mid-November in the capital Tbilisi, then spread throughout the country. They peaked on November 22, parliament's scheduled opening day. While it met, Saakashvili-led supporters placed "roses" in the barrels of soldiers' rifles, seized the parliament building, interrupted Shevardnadze's speech, and forced him to flee for his safety.

Saakashvili declared a state of emergency, mobilized troops and police, met with Sherardnadze and Zurab Zhvania (the former parliament speaker and choice for new prime minister), and apparently convinced the Georgian president to resign. Celebrations erupted. A temporary president was installed. Georgia's Supreme Court annulled the elections, and on January 4, 2004, Saakashvili was elected and inaugurated president on January 25.

New parliamentary elections were held on March 28. Saakashvili's supporters used heavy-handed tactics to gain full control with strong US backing in plotting and executing his rise to power. US-funded NGOs were also involved, including George Soros' Open Society Georgia Foundation, Freedom House, NED, others tied to the Washington establishment, and Richard Miles after leaving his Belgrade post to serve first as ambassador to Bulgaria from 1999 - 2002, then Georgia from 2002 - 2005 to perform the same service there as against Milosevic.

Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" followed a similar pattern to Georgia and now Iran. After Viktor Yanukovych won the November 21, 2004 run-off election against Viktor Yushchenko, it erupted following unsubstantiated claims of fraud. Yanukovych favored openness to the West but represented a pro-Russian constituency and was cool towards joining NATO. Washington backed Yushchenko, a former governor of Ukraine's Central Bank whose wife was a US citizen and former official in the Reagan and GHW Bush administrations. He favored NATO and EU membership and waged a campaign with the color orange prominently featured.

The media picked up on it and touted his "Orange Revolution" against the country's Moscow-backed old guard. Mass street protests were organized as well as civil disobedience, sit-ins and general strikes. They succeeded when Ukraine's Supreme Court annulled the run-off result and ordered a new election for December 26, 2004. Yushchenko won and was inaugurated on January 23, 2005.

In his book, "Full Spectrum Dominance," Engdahl explained how the process played out. Under the slogan "Pora (It's Time)," people who helped organize Georgia's "Rose Revolution" were brought in to consult "on techniques of non-violent struggle." The Washington-based Rock Creek Creative PR firm was instrumental in branding the "Orange Revolution" around a pro-Yushchenko web site featuring that color theme. The US State Department spent around $20 million dollars to turn Yanukovych's victory into one for Yushchenko with help from the same NGOs behind Georgia's "Rose Revolution" and others.

Myanmar's August - September 2007 "Saffron Revolution" used similar tactics as in Georgia and Ukraine but failed. They began with protests led by students and opposition political activists followed by Engdahl's description of "swarming mobs of monks in saffron, Internet blogs, mobile SMS links between protest groups, (and) well-organized (hit-and-run) protest cells which disperse(d) and re-form(ed)."

NED and George Soros' Open Society Institute led a campaign for regime change in league with the State Department by its own admission. Engdahl explained that the "State Department....recruited and trained key opposition leaders from numerous anti-government organizations in Myanmar" and ran its "Saffron Revolution" out of the Chaing Mai, Thailand US Consulate.

Street protesters were "recruited and trained, in some cases directly in the US, before being sent back to organize inside Myanmar." NED admitted funding opposition media, including the Democratic Voice of Burma radio.

Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Washington tried to embarrass and destabilize China with a "Crimson Revolution" in Tibet - an operation dating from when George Bush met the Dalai Lama publicly in Washington for the first time, awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal, and backed Tibetan independence.

On March 10, Engdahl reported that Tibetan monks staged "violent protests and documented attacks (against) Han Chinese residents....when several hundred monks marched on Lhasa (Tibet's capital) to demand release of other monks allegedly detained for celebrating the award of the US Congress' Gold Medal" the previous October. Other monks joined in "on the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule."

The same instigators were involved as earlier - NED, Freedom House, and others specific to Tibet, including the International Committee for Tibet and the Trace Foundation - all with ties to the State Department and/or CIA.

The above examples have a common thread - achieving what the Pentagon calls "full spectrum dominance" that depends largely on controlling Eurasia by neutralizing America's two main rivals - Russia militarily, China economically, and crucially to prevent a strong alliance between the two. Controlling Eurasia is a strategic aim in this resource-rich part of the world that includes the Middle East.

Iran's Made-in-the-USA "Green Revolution"

After Iran's June 12 election, days of street protests and clashes with Iranian security forces followed. Given Washington's history of stoking tensions and instability in the region, its role in more recent color revolutions, and its years of wanting regime change in Iran, analysts have strong reasons to suspect America is behind post-election turbulence and one-sided Western media reports claiming electoral fraud and calling for a new vote, much like what happened in Georgia and Ukraine.

The same elements active earlier are likely involved now with a May 22, 2007 Brian Ross and Richard Esposito ABC News report stating:

"The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a 'black' operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on The sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity....say President Bush has signed a 'nonlethal presidential finding' that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions."

Perhaps disruptions as well after the June 12 election to capitalize on a divided ruling elite - specifically political differences between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader/Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on one side and Mir Hossein Mousavi, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on the other with Iran's Revolutionary Guard so far backing the ruling government. It's too early to know conclusively but evidence suggests US meddling, and none of it should surprise.

Kenneth Timmerman provides some. He co-founded the right wing Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI) and serves as its executive director. He's also a member of the hawkish Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) and has close ties to the equally hard line American Enterprise Institute, the same organization that spawned the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), renamed the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) for much the same purpose.

On the right wing web site, Timmerman wrote that the NED "spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting color revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques." He explained that money also appears to have gone to pro-Mousavi groups, "who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that (NED) funds."

Pre-election, he elaborated about a "green revolution in Tehran" with organized protests ready to be unleashed as soon as results were announced because tracking polls and other evidence suggested Ahmadinejad would win. Yet suspiciously, Mousavi declared victory even before the polls closed.

It gets worse. Henry Kissinger told BBC news that if Iran's color revolution fails, hard line "regime change (must be) worked for from the outside" - implying the military option if all else fails. In a June 12 Wall Street Journal editorial, John Bolton called for Israeli air strikes whatever the outcome - to "put an end to (Iran's) nuclear threat," despite no evidence one exists.

Iran's rulers know the danger and need only cite Iraq, Afghanistan, and numerous other examples of US aggression, meddling, and destabilization schemes for proof - including in 1953 and 1979 against its own governments.

On June 17, AP reported that Iran "directly accused the United States of meddling in the deepening crisis." On June 21 on Press TV, an official said "The terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) has reportedly played a major role in intensifying the recent wave of street violence in Iran. Iranian security officials reported (the previous day) that they have identified and arrested a large number of MKO members who were involved" in the nation's capital.

They admitted to having been trained in Iraq's camp Ashraf and got directions from MKO's UK command post "to create post-election mayhem in the country." On June 20 in Paris, MKO leader Maryam Rajavi addressed supporters and expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters.

In 2007, German intelligence called MKO a "repressive, sect-like and Stalinist authoritarian organization which centers around the personality cult of Maryam and Masoud Rajavi." MKO expert Anne Singleton explained that the West intends to use the organization to achieve regime change in Iran. She said its backers "put together a coalition of small irritant groups, the known minority and separatist groups, along with the MKO. (They'll) be garrisoned around the border with Iran and their task is to launch terrorist attacks into Iran over the next few years to keep the fire hot." They're perhaps also enlisted to stoke violence and conduct targeted killings on Iranian streets post-election as a way to blame them on the government.

On June 23, Tehran accused western media and the UK government of "fomenting (internal) unrest." In expelling BBC correspondent Jon Leyne, it accused him and the broadcaster of "supporting the rioters and, along with CNN," of setting up a "situation room and a psychological war room." Both organizations are pro-business, pro-government imperial tools, CNN as a private company, BBC as a state-funded broadcaster.

On its June 17 web site, BBC was caught publishing deceptive agitprop and had to retract it. It prominently featured a Los Angeles Times photo of a huge pro-Ahmadinejad rally (without showing him waving to the crowd) that it claimed was an anti-government protest for Mousavi.

Throughout its history since 1922, BBC compiled a notorious record of this sort of thing because the government appoints its senior managers and won't tolerate them stepping out of line. Early on, its founder, John Reith, wrote the UK establishment: "They know they can trust us not to be impartial," a promise faithfully kept for nearly 87 years and prominently on Iran.

With good reason on June 22, Iranian MPs urged that ties with Britain be reassessed while, according to the Fars news agency, members of four student unions planned protests at the UK embassy and warned of a repeat of the 1979 US embassy siege.

They said they'd target the "perverted government of Britain for its intervention in Iran's internal affairs, its role in the unrest in Tehran and its support of the riots." Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hassan Ghashghavi, wouldn't confirm if London's ambassador would be expelled. On June 23, however, AP reported that two UK diplomats were sent home on charges of "meddling and spying."

State TV also said hard-line students protested outside the UK embassy, burned US, British and Israeli flags, hurled tomatoes at the building and chanted: "Down with Britain!" and "Down with USA!" Around 100 people took part.

Britain retaliated by expelling two Iranian diplomats. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded an immediate end to "arrests, threats and use of force." Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected Ban's remarks and accused him of meddling. On June 23, Obama said the world was "appalled and outraged" by Iran's violent attempt to crush dissent and claimed America "is not at all interfering in Iran's affairs."

Yet on June 26, USA Today reported that:

"The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial" under George Bush. For the past year, USAID has solicited funds to "promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran," according to its web site.

On July 11, 2008, Jason Leopold headlined his article, "State Department's Iran Democracy Fund Shrouded in Secrecy" and stated:

"Since 2006, Congress has poured tens of millions of dollars into a (secret) State Department (Democracy Fund) program aimed at promoting regime change in Iran." Yet Shirin Abadi, Iran's 2003 Nobel Peace prize laureate, said "no truly nationalist and democratic group will accept" US funding for this purpose. In a May 30, 2007 International Herald Tribune column, she wrote: "Iranian reformers believe that democracy can't be imported. It must be indigenous. They believe that the best Washington can do for democracy in Iran is to leave them alone."

On June 24, Brent Scowcroft, former National Security
Advisor to Gerald Ford and GHW Bush, told Al Jazeera television that "of course" Washington "has agents working inside Iran" even though America hasn't had formal relations with the Islamic Republic for 30 years.

Another prominent incident is being used against Iran, much like a similar one on October 10, 1990. In the run-up to Operation Desert Storm, the Hill & Knowlton PR firm established the Citizens for a Free Kuwait (CFK) front group to sell war to a reluctant US public. Its most effective stunt involved a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl known only as Nayirah to keep her identity secret.

Teary eyed before a congressional committee, she described her eye-witness account of Iraqi soldiers "tak(ing) babies out of incubators and leav(ing) them on the cold floor to die." The dominant media featured her account prominently enough to get one observer to conclude that nothing had greater impact on swaying US public opinion for war, still ongoing after over 18 years.

Later it was learned that Nayirah was the daughter of Saud Nasir al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait's royal family and ambassador to the US. Her story was a PR fabrication, but it worked.

Neda (meaning "voice" in Farsi) Agha Soltani is today's Nayirah - young, beautiful, slain on a Tehran street by an unknown assassin, she's now the martyred face of opposition protesters and called "The Angel of Iran" by a supportive Facebook group. Close-up video captured her lying on the street in her father's arms. The incident and her image captured world attention. It was transmitted online and repeated round-the-clock by the Western media to blame the government and enlist support to bring it down. In life, Nayirah was instrumental in Iraq's destruction and occupation. Will Neda's death be as effective against Iran and give America another Middle East conquest?

Issues in Iran's Election

Despite being militant and anti-Western as Iran's former Prime Minister, Mousavi is portrayed as a reformer. Yet his support comes from Iranian elitist elements, the urban middle class, and students and youths favoring better relations with America. Ahmadinejad, in contrast, is called hardline. Yet he has popular support among the nation's urban and rural poor for providing vitally needed social services even though doing it is harder given the global economic crisis and lower oil prices.

Is it surprising then that he won? A Mousavi victory was clearly unexpected, especially as an independent candidate who became politically active again after a 20 year hiatus and campaigned only in Iran's major cities. Ahmadinejad made a concerted effort with over 60 nationwide trips in less than three months.

Then, there's the economy under Article 44 of Iran's constitution that says it must consist of three sectors - state-owned, cooperative, and private with "all large-scale and mother industries" entirely state-controlled, including oil and gas that provides the main source of revenue.

In 2004, Article 44 was amended to allow more privatizations, but how much is a source of contention. During his campaign, Mousavi called for moving away from an "alms-based" economy - meaning Ahmadinejad's policy of providing social services to the poor. He also promised to speed up privatizations without elaborating on if he has oil, gas, and other "mother industries" in mind. If so, drawing support from
Washington and the West is hardly surprising. On the other hand, as long as Iran's Guardian Council holds supreme power, an Ahmadinejad victory was needed as a pretext for all the events that followed. At this stage, they suspiciously appear to be US-orchestrated for regime change. Thus far, Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Basij militia, and other security forces have prevailed on the streets to prevent it, but it's way too early to declare victory.

George Friedman runs the private intelligence agency called Stratfor. On June 23 he wrote:

"While street protests in Iran appear to be diminishing, the electoral crisis continues to unfold, with reports of a planned nationwide strike and efforts by the regime's second most powerful cleric (Rafsanjani) to mobilize opposition against (Ahmadinejad) from within the system. In so doing he could stifle (his) ability to effect significant policy changes (in his second term), which would play into the hands of the United States."

Ahmadinejad will be sworn in on July 26 to be followed by his cabinet by August 19, but according to Stratfor it doesn't mean the crisis is fading. It sees a Rafsanjani-led "rift within the ruling establishment (that) will continue to haunt the Islamic Republic for the foreseeable future."

"What this means is that....Ahmadinejad's second term will see even greater infighting among the rival conservative factions that constitute the political establishment....Iran will find it harder to achieve the internal unity necessary to complicate US policy," and the Obama administration will try to capitalize on it to its advantage. Its efforts to make Iran into another US puppet state are very much ongoing, and for sure, Tehran's ruling government knows it. How it will continue to react remains to be seen.

"Swarming" to Produce Regime Change

In his book, "Full Spectrum Dominance," Engdahl explained the RAND Corporation's groundbreaking research on military conflict by other means. He cited researchers John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt's 1997 "Swarming & The Future of Conflict" document "on exploiting the information revolution for the US military. By taking advantage of network-based organizations linked via email and mobile phones to enhance the potential of swarming, IT techniques could be transformed into key methods of warfare."

In 1993, Arquilla and Ronfeldt prepared an earlier document titled "Cyberwar Is Coming!" It suggested that "warfare is no longer primarily a function of who puts the most capital, labor and technology on the battlefield, but of who has the best information about the battlefield" and uses it effectively.

They cited an information revolution using advanced "computerized information and communications technologies and related innovations in organization and management theory." They foresaw "the rise of multi-organizational networks" using information technologies "to communicate, consult, coordinate, and operate together across greater distances" and said this ability will affect future conflicts and warfare. They explained that "cyberwar may be to the 21st century what blitzkrieg was to the 20th century" but admitted back then that the concept was too speculative for precise definition.

The 1993 document focused on military warfare. In 1996, Arquilla and Ronfeldt studied netwar and cyberwar by examining "irregular modes of conflict, including terror, crime, and militant social activism." Then in 1997, they presented the concept of "swarming" and suggested it might "emerge as a definitive doctrine that will encompass and enliven both cyberwar and netwar" through their vision of "how to prepare for information-age conflict."

They called "swarming" a way to strike from all directions, both "close-in as well as from stand-off positions." Effectiveness depends on deploying small units able to interconnect using revolutionary communication technology.

As explained above, what works on battlefields has proved successful in achieving non-violent color revolution regime changes, or coup d'etats by other means. The same strategy appears in play in Iran, but it's too early to tell if it will work as so far the government has prevailed. However, for the past 30 years, America has targeted the Islamic Republic for regime change to control the last major country in a part of the world over which it seeks unchallenged dominance.

If the current confrontation fails, expect future ones ahead as imperial America never quits. Yet in the end, new political forces within Iran may end up changing the country more than America can achieve from the outside - short of conquest and occupation, that is.

A final point. The core issue isn't whether Iran's government is benign or repressive or if its June 12 election was fair or fraudulent. It's that (justifiable criticism aside) no country has a right to meddle in the internal affairs of another unless it commits aggression in violation of international law and the UN Security Council authorizes a response. Washington would never tolerate outside interference nor should it and neither should Iran.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

America's "Bases of Empire"

America's "Bases of Empire" - by Stephen Lendman

Besides waging perpetual wars, nothing better reveals America's imperial agenda than its hundreds of global bases - for offense, not defense at a time the US hasn't had an enemy since the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.

So when they don't exist, they're invented as former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., suggested in a May 24, 2007 speech to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs:

"When our descendants look back on the end of the 20th century and the beginning of this one, they will be puzzled. The end of the Cold War relieved Americans of almost all international anxieties." As the world's sole remaining superpower, "We did not rise to the occasion."

"We are engaged in a war, a global war on terror, a long war, we are told....How can a war with no defined ends beyond the avoidance of retreat ever reach a convenient stopping point? How can we win (any war let alone the hearts and minds of millions) with an enemy so ill-understood that we must invent a nonexistent ideology" for justification.

In his 2006 book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic," Chalmers Johnson discussed the known number of foreign US bases by size and branch of service. According to the Department of Defense's Base Structure Report (BSR) through 2005, it totaled 737 but likely exceeds 1000 today with so many new ones built since then - some known, others secret and always others planned.

Johnson also highlighted the fallout - unacceptable noise, pollution, environmental destruction, expropriation of valuable public and private land, and drunken, disorderly, and abusive soldiers committing crimes that include rape and murder that often go unpunished under provisions in US-imposed Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs).

An excerpt from his book reads:

"Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies. America's version of the colony is the military base; and by following the changing politics of global basing, one can learn much about our ever more all-encompassing imperial footprint and the militarism that grows with it....even more than in past empires, a well-entrenched militarism (lies) at the heart of our imperial adventures." To such an extreme that "each year we spend more on our armed forces than all others nations on Earth combined" to garrison troops "in more than 130 countries."

The Pentagon lists them in its annual Base Structure Report, but "its official count of between 737 and 860 overseas installations is incomplete" because excluded are numerous secret ones - for espionage, unofficially shared with host countries, or other reasons not disclosed.

The bases reflect "force projection" for global dominance and are positioned to strike any nation that might challenge it, friend or foe. But they come at a great cost - well over $1 trillion annually with all homeland, foreign, and other budget categories included. According to Johnson, a far greater one as well, the same dynamic that doomed past empires unwilling to change - "isolation, overstretch, the uniting of local and global forces opposed to imperialism, and in the end bankruptcy" as well as the end of democracy, loss of personal freedoms, and tyranny.

During WW II, Brits complained that GIs were "overpaid, overfed, oversexed, and over here." Despite the war, some called it the US "occupation," and UK historian David Reynolds discussed it in his book, "Rich Relations: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942-1945." He borrowed the word from George Orwell's December 1943 comment that "It is difficult to go anywhere in London without having the feeling that Britain is now Occupied Territory."

Today, millions in countries globally feel the same, and with good reason. Even at peace, America's presence is intrusive, hostile, and at the expense of the host country populations.

A new book is now out titled "The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against US Military Posts," a collection of important articles on America's worldwide empire and military presence that enforces it.

It's edited by Catherine Lutz, Brown University Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Watson Institute for International Studies with a forward by Cynthia Enloe, Clark University Research Professor, Department of International Development, Community and Environment and Women's Studies.

Enloe dispels some common myths in her forward:

-- about Americans believing that foreign bases benefit the host country populations;

-- the notion that other countries request our presence;

-- that the US military is the most "civilized" in the world, and

-- their presence is for other nations' security "in an age of an allegedly diffuse (and ill-defined) 'global terror,' (that) trumps any other 'lesser' concerns."

Contributors to "The Bases of Empire" reflect a powerfully opposite point of view as well as Enloe in her forward and Lutz in her detailed introduction, discussed below.

Introduction - Bases, Empire, and Global Response

Lutz cites the " omnipresence and unparalleled lethality of the US military, and the ambition with which it is being deployed around the world." Its presence shows that America stands "able and willing to control events in other regions militarily" and proves it through numerous foreign wars and other hostile interventions, directly or through proxies.

Citing data from DOD's 2007 Base Structure Report (BSR), she states:

"Officially, over 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees are massed in 909 military facilities in 46 countries and territories. There, the US military owns or rents 795,000 acres of land, and 26,000 buildings and structures valued at $146 billion."

However, the numbers are misleading as they exclude the massive base and troop presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, former Soviet republics, and Warsaw Pact countries as well as unknown numbers of secret facilities in numerous other nations. They consist of three types:

-- Main Operating Bases (MOBs) like the Iraq Balad Air Base housing 30,000 troops, 10,000 contractors, and covering 16 square miles plus another 12-square mile "security perimeter." MOBs are large and permanent, have extensive infrastructure, command and control headquarters, accommodations for families in non-war zones, hospitals, schools, recreational facilities, and nearly anything available in a typical US city.

-- Forward Operation Sites (FOSs) that are also major installations but are smaller than MOBs, and

-- Cooperative Security Locations (CLSs) that are small, austere, called 'lily pads," - to preposition weapons, munitions, and modest numbers of troops.

Lutz highlights the fallout:

"The environmental, political, and economic impact of these bases is enormous and, despite Pentagon claims that the bases simply provide security to the regions they are in, most of the world's people feel (not at all) reassured by (their) global reach," and with good reason.

Farm and public land is expropriated for their use. Toxic pollution is enormous as well as extensive environmental damage. Noise levels from round-the-clock aircraft are intolerable, and around numerous bases America is at war. It also imprisons and tortures thousands, props up despotic rulers for its own advantage, and virtually holds the entire planet hostage to its extremist agenda.

Lutz says this book describes US militarism globally and campaigns to hold America accountable for the "damage and to reorient (host) countries' security policies in other, more human, and truly secure directions."

For its part, America occupies the world, reflects a hostile presence, trains about 100,000 local forces in 180 countries as partners, and turns a blind eye to human rights abuses, by its own troops and those of host nations.

Besides its presence in fixed bases, the Pentagon is involved in "jungle, urban, desert, maritime, and polar training exercises across wide swathes of landscape" - always intrusive and often provocative as in the Philippines. After it was forced to give up its bases in 1992, US troops remained in the country despite strong popular opposition and the Philippine constitution prohibiting the basing of foreign forces. No matter, US military and civilian personnel lobby to change local laws to accommodate America's access.

Laws are there for legitimate reasons, one of which is the focus of this book - the impact and costs that a foreign presence has on host countries' people. Lutz explores why it's there, how it's configured, popular myths, and "the global movement to push back or expel (it) altogether."

The Purpose of US Bases

They reflect empire, an aim to dominate everywhere, a sense of "racial, cultural, or social superiority," and a success when "wealth is extracted from peripheral areas and redistributed to the imperial center."

The Pentagon claims they're in place to:

-- defend the homeland with a forward or global presence; and

-- provide other nations with security.

In fact, they're to control trade, resources, local supplies of cheap labor, and political, economic, and social life of host countries. They also force them to support American imperialism, including foreign wars despite harmful fallout to local populations.

A Short History of US Bases

-- they go back to colonial America, then grew to a "frontier project" to remove Native Indians for a new nation with European settlers;

-- in 1938, 14 foreign bases existed; post-WW II "an astounding 30,000 (large and small) installations" were in about 100 countries; by 1948, it was 2000;

-- besides creating America coast-to-coast and the 1846 - 48 Mexican war, US history reflects three imperial periods:

(1) the 1898 Spanish-American war conquest and occupation of foreign territory and acquisition of bases in them;

(2) World War II and its Cold War aftermath established the "bulk of the US basing system;" even so, from 1947 - 1990, America was asked to leave France, Yugoslavia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, Peru, Mexico, and Venezuela; in the 1990s and later, the Pentagon was forced out of the Philippines, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico's island-municipality Vieques, Uzbekistan, and Ecuador, and decided voluntarily to leave elsewhere;

(3) post-9/11 militarism under George Bush neocons advanced the goal of "full spectrum dominance" over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively.

Common Myths about US Foreign Bases

Why do sovereign nations and the US public tolerate them? One explanation is that "the bases are naturalized or normalized, meaning that they are thought of as unremarkable, inevitable, and legitimate," and militarism supports these notions as the way to bring order to a dangerous world.

The Pentagon argues their legitimacy on these grounds:

-- "utilitarianism and realism" as follows:

(1) to secure America by deterring attacks and preventing or removing military challenges;

(2) overseas forces represent America's first line of defense; and

(3) "potential security challenges in Asia" require American intervention to prevent or intervene to "restore order."

Strategic language justifies them to project power anywhere in the world and "contend with (any) uncertainty (regarding America's) security challenges."

Bases also "serve the national economic interests of the United States, ensuring access to markets and commodities needed to maintain the American standard of living...." Also to react to any threat, maintain trade, keep commerce routes open, and assure the dollar remains the world's dominant reserve currency. In a word, to have America's footprint everywhere with a military presence for enforcement.

US forces are a "visible expression of the extent of America's status as a superpower" and its goal to keep it that way unchallenged. It suggests that more bases are better and a way to project a visible presence everywhere or close by.

A second argument "sees them as positive expressions of American character, and particularly its humanitarian ethos." The Pentagon portrays itself as a benefactor, a liberator, and helper on the scene at times of natural or other disasters. We claim bases are "gifts to other nations, both as defense sites and as wealth generators. They represent American altruism and sacrifice" when, in fact, they're for hardline dominance intolerant of opposition, national sovereignty, democratic freedoms, and social justice.

They also fail on their own terms. Instead of providing safety and security, they incite antagonism, opposition and blowback against an American occupier and enemy. Yet they proliferate on the notion that "humans are naturally violent and that war can be a glorious and good venture." It's also hugely profitable for the defense establishment and related industries, energy and technology to name two.

The World Responds

"Social movements have proliferated around the world in response to the empire of US bases." For some, just their presence is an affront to national sovereignty and pride. Others reject their purpose - aggressive wars, continued violence, and all the other above-cited fallout wherever they're located. Globally, these bases "represent a massive injustice" to host nations and communities where they're located.

Despite providing jobs for local workers, wages are poor, benefits few if any, and most Pentagon dollars flow to large military contractors, other major US corporations, and selected local business elites. Ordinary people are exploited and entirely left out, especially in developing countries, hence their opposition to militarism and foreign occupation.

"With the end of the Cold War, the central pretext for most US bases evaporated, and calls for their return were renewed." In 1991, a successful Philippine movement ousted them with a post-Ferdinand Marcos constitution declaring:

"foreign military bases, troops or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose."

In 2003, sustained direct action campaigns and political lobbying also succeeded in Vieques, Puerto Rico, in part because naval activities caused environmental and health damage - a core issue wherever US bases are located.

"The Bases of Empire includes 10 articles by different writers, divided in two parts: Mapping US Power and Global Resistance.

Part I includes:

-- Joseph Gerson's "US Foreign Military Bases and Military Colonialism: Personal and Analytical Perspectives;"

-- John Lindsay-Poland's "US Military Bases in Latin America and the Caribbean;"

-- David Heller and Hans Lammerant's "US Nuclear Weapons Bases in Europe;" and

-- Tom Englehardt's "Iraq as a Pentagon Construction Site."

Part II includes:

-- Roland Simbulan's "People's Movement Response to Evolving US Military Activities in the Philippines;"

-- Katherine McCaffrey's "Environmental Struggle after the Cold War: New Forms of Resistance to the US Military in Vieques, Puerto Rico;"

-- Ayse Gil Altinay and Amy Holmes "Opposition to the US Military Presence in Turkey in the Context of the Iraq War;"

-- Kyle Kajihiro's "Resisting Militarism in Hawaii;" and two other articles discussed below.

David Vine and Laura Jeffrey's "Give Us Back Diego Garcia: Unity and Division among Activists in the Indian Ocean."

Diego Garcia is an 84-square mile British-controlled Indian Ocean island in the Chagos archipelago, lying strategically half way between Asia and Africa, and the reason the Pentagon wants it.

It was home to indigenous Chagossians, British citizens, before being expelled between 1967 - 1973 to let America have their island-state as a military base. In flagrant denial of their human rights, the were mass-exiled to Mauritius and Seychelles, 1300 miles away, where they remain in abject poverty and despair. The population had no say, and those who objected were lied to and told they had no choice because their removal was "legal" under colonial rule.

In their new home, life was hellish. They were consigned to a society foreign to their simple ways and weren't able to adjust. On Diego Garcia, they had their own home, grew their own food, fished, and worked on plantations. In exile, they needed jobs to survive but couldn't get them. By the mid-1970s, most were unemployed, impoverished and began to die, but the British Foreign Office and High Commission told them to let the Mauritius and Seychelles governments handle it.

Chagossians are UK citizens entitled to the same rights as other Brits, but all they got was 1000 pounds (around $1600 today) in exchange for renouncing their right to return, agreed to on a document they couldn't read.

The history of this episode was hidden until the 1990s when declassified documents were found in the National Archives at Kew in London. They proved a conspiracy between Britain and America that the International Criminal Court's (ICC) Article 7 calls a "deportation or forcible transfer of a population (and) and crime against humanity."

Britain's action also violated the UN Charter's Article 73 that obliges a colonial government to obey its "sacred trust" to protect the human rights of its people. Instead, America and the UK engaged in cover-up and deception that continued for a decade and went to the highest levels of both governments. Involved were prime minister Harold Wilson and Queen Elizabeth along with presidents Johnson, Nixon and others.

Everything was hidden, including financial kickbacks Washington made that were concealed from Congress and Parliament. That changed once the truth came out. On November 3, 2000, the British High Court stunned the government, cited the Magna Carta, annulled the original deportation order, and effectively ruled that British subjects were entitled to go home. However, the victory was short-lived as a year later Chagossians were back in the High Court seeking compensation for their ordeal.

This time a hostile judge called their case "unmeritorious" and denied their claim. Three months later, the Foreign Office minister responsible for Chagos sent an "order-in-council" to the Queen for her automatic approval that overturned the High Court 2000 victory, banning Chagossians from ever returning home.

Nonetheless, they pursued their case, again before the High Court. On May 11, 2006, a damning verdict condemned the expulsion order as "repugnant" and overturned the Blair government's "order-in-council." Thus far to no avail, yet Chagossians still fight for their right of return and an end to their decades-long plight.

They held an April 18, 2009 meeting, met with the Royal Commonwealth Society in late May, made their case, but it remains unresolved. The UK Chagos Support Association said at the time:

"the original people of Chagos are dying of broken hearts and spirit. They are still waiting for justice to be done and it seems like this is dragging until all the people who really have the right to fight for the cause no longer have a voice. It has been 45 years and we believe it is time that justice is done and peace is found." Thus far, Britain and Washington won't agree. Imperial considerations take precedence over all else.

Kozue Akibayashi and Suzuyo Takazato's "Okinawa; Women's Struggle for Demilitarization."

Okinawa is Japan's southern-most and poorest prefecture. It's also home to dozens of US military bases since 1945. In his book "Nemesis," Chalmers Johnson cited a history of abuse - from 1998 - 2004 alone, 2024 reported crimes and accidents in which US forces were involved. Only one led to a court-martial, 318 others to administrative discipline, and the rest were absolved, yet they involved robberies, assaults, rapes and reckless homicides. Okinawa's women and girls suffered most.

Akibayashi is a researcher at the Institute for Gender Studies at Toyko's Ochanomizu University. Takazato is an activist fighter for women's rights, especially against the threat of US military personnel-committed rape and sexual assaults. She's also a City Council member of Okinawa's capital, Naha, and helped found Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence and the Rape Emergency Intervention Counseling Center of Okinawa, established after three US Marines gang-raped a 12-year old girl on September 4, 1995.

After Japan surrendered in 1945, America wrote its constitution, and occupied the country ever since, now with 88 bases in a nation smaller than California. Thirty-seven are on Okinawa, a tiny sliver of land about the size of a large US city, so it's easy to understand why its people are long-suffering and justifiably angry.

They've been practically pushed into the Pacific to accommodate America's occupation, forced to relinquish their most valued real estate, and put up with over six decades of all the above-cited abuses. Their greatest outrage is over the SOFA's article 17 covering criminal justice. It states:

"The custody of an accused member of the United States armed forces or the civilian component (shall) remain with the United States until he is charged."

It means when US personnel commit crimes, including rape and murder, Japanese investigative authorities have no exclusive access to suspects until they're indicted in court. That alone hamstrings investigations enough to make prosecutors reluctant to press charges because they can't get enough evidence for trials. Further, the longer things drag out, the easier it is for the Pentagon to whitewash crimes and transfer guilty parties to new locations, far removed from Okinawa.

The most serious incident was the above-cited 1995 rape. The 12-year old girl involved was also beaten, then left on a beach after which the three Marines returned to their base in a rented car. In October, 85,000 Okinawans protested. They demanded Japanese and American authorities address the issue after the Pentagon initially refused to hand over suspects to Japanese police. Usually they never do anywhere, but this case was an exception. Because of political pressure, the Marines were arrested, tried in a Japanese court, convicted and sentenced to prison terms for their crime - seven years for two of them and six and a half for the other.

This case highlights what Okinawans and other people have endured for decades. SOFAs let the Pentagon run its affairs unaccountable to host country laws, including on Okinawa. The result everywhere is that US personnel get away with rapes, drunken brawling, muggings, drug violations, reckless driving and related accidents, arson, and criminal homicide, especially in host countries with non-white populations - abuses unchanged for decades on Okinawa.

As a result, Akibayashi and Takazato concluded:

-- "Integral elements of misogyny infect military training....The military is a violence-producing institution to which sexual and gender violence are intrinsic....The essence of military forces is their pervasive, deep-rooted contempt for women, which can be seen in military training that completely denies femininity and praises hegemonic masculinity," and

-- "The OWAAMV (Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence) movement illustrates from a gender perspective that 'the protected,' who are structurally deprived of political power, are in fact not protected by the militarized security policies; rather their livelihoods are made insecure by these very policies." Gated bases don't deter violence outside them and result in local populations being oppressed and denied their rights when it happens.

America's "Bases of Empire" menace world societies. Okinawan women and young girls bear testimony to how grievously.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama's Financial Reform Proposal - A Stealth Scheme for Global Monetary Control

Obama's Financial Reform Proposal: A Stealth Scheme for Global Monetary Control - by Stephen Lendman

When politicians plan reform, it's wise to be skeptical and hold on to your wallets. So fixing the economy by bailing out Wall Street is wrecking it, and Obama's proposed health care reform taxes more, provides less, places profits above human need, avoids the most vital solutions, and leaves a broken system in place.

Now there's "Financial Regulatory Reform, A New Foundation: Rebuilding Financial Supervision and Regulation" - announced June 17 with Obama saying he'll send Congress a plan to create new government agencies, give the private banking cartel Federal Reserve more power, and address five major problems needing regulatory and legislative measures to fix.

Addressing business executives in the White House East Room, he said:

"A culture of irresponsibility took root from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street" with no mention that months of it worsened on his watch. "A regulatory regime basically crafted in the wake of a 20th century economic crisis - the Great Depression - was overwhelmed by the speed, scope and sophistication of a 21st century global economy." In fact, 30 years of deregulation since the late 1970s, not technology, caused speculative excesses, market bubbles, and inevitable collapses that always follow.

Of course, these problems are endemic under a system that's crisis-prone, unstable, anarchic, ungovernable, and self-destructive through repeated cycles of booms creating bubbles, then busts, followed by recessions or depressions with today's collapse grave enough for Michel Chossudovky to call it "far more serious than the Great Depression (because all) major sectors of the global economy are affected."

Proposed Financial Reforms

An 89-page Treasury Department pdf is available online for those inclined to read it. Along with an introduction and summary of recommendations, its five major objectives are to:

I. "Promote Robust Supervision and Regulation of Financial Markets

II. Establish Comprehensive Regulation of Financial Markets

III. Protect Consumers and Investors from Financial Abuse

IV. Provide the Government with the Tools it Needs to Manage Financial Crises (and)

V. Raise International Regulatory Standards and Improve International Cooperation"

The introduction cites "the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression," admits that its "roots....go back decades (and states that) the government could have done more to prevent many of" them. Proposed reforms include:

-- a new regulatory "Financial Services Oversight Council;"

-- more power to the Fed over "all firms that could pose a threat to financial stability, even those that do not own banks" such as insurance companies;

-- stronger capital standards for all financial firms;

-- a new "National Bank Supervisor" over all federally chartered banks;

-- registering hedge fund advisors;

-- new regulation of securitization and derivatives markets;

-- increased market transparency and the effectiveness of credit ratings agencies;

-- originators of loans packaged into securities to retain some of the credit risk;

-- broker and loan originator compensation changes away from income up front to spreading it out over time and making it dependent on the performance of loans they make;

-- a new "Consumer Financial Protection Agency" to safeguard them from potentially harmful complex financial products, including securities, mortgages and credit cards;

-- "stronger regulations to improve the transparency, fairness, and appropriateness of consumer and investor products and services;"

-- new ways to "resolve nonbank financial institutions whose failure could have serious systemic effects;"

-- changing the Fed's "emergency lending authority to improve accountability;"

-- establishing "wind down" authority to take over large financial firms like AIG, Fannie and Freddie; and

-- international reforms, including greater oversight of global financial markets and more control through a process whereby G-20 countries cooperate in regulating transnational companies. This looks like the most insidious, outlandish, and dangerous provision. More on it below and its likely importance.

The report suggests other proposals may follow and that "More can and should be done in the future." So what to make of it all given that it's still a plan, congressional and other critics are attacking some of its provisions, whatever emerges is still a ways off, and large banks, insurers and other influential financial firms have final say on new laws and regulations affecting them, so likely changes coming may further taint an already deeply corrupted system.

America has a legacy of failed public agencies as well as regulatory and legislative reform - for lack of teeth, oversight, and most important because financial and other industries end up self-regulating, consolidating, and growing more powerful at the expense of the public interest. Giving the Federal Reserve more power lets banking giants make their own rules, decide how and whether to enforce them, and thus mainly operate as they wish because no one in Washington dares challenge them.

Michael Hudson agrees in his new article titled: "Instead of Real Financial Reform, Obama's Plan capitulates to Wall Street." He explains that supposed reforms promote "Wall Street's 'product,' debt creation, at the expense of the economy at large, and lets financial chieftains continue to self-regulate the debt industry - and by the way, to keep all their gains from the past decade's worth of fraudulent lending, scot-free....(He) achieved what no Republican could have: rescuing the Bush administration's pro-creditor policies that fostered the Bubble Economy in the first place."

The plan is laden with a "false diagnosis" and "fatal flaws," so clearly what's proposed are "wrong-headed cures (but hardly) by accident." If it's largely accepted as is, Wall Street will get precisely what it wants - a veneer of regulatory cover to keep wrecking the economy and stealing the public blind.

Simon Johnson is also critical. He's a former IMF chief economist, now teaching at MIT's Sloan School of Management. After reviewing Obama's plan, he expressed great skepticism. Even though large banks and other financial institutions caused the global crisis, no wrongdoing on their part is cited nor are punitive measures proposed. He states:

"There appears to be no mention that corporate governance within these large banks failed totally. How on earth can you expect these banks to operate in a responsible manner unless and until you address the reckless manner in which they (a) compensate themselves, (b) destroy shareholder value, and (c) treat boards of directors as toothless wonders? The profound silence on this point from the administration - including some of our finest economic, financial, and legal thinkers - is breathtaking...."

"Based on what we see so far, there is little reason to be encouraged. The reform process appears to have been captured at any early stage - by design the lobbyists were let into the executive branch's (planning process), so we don't even get to have a transparent debate or to hear specious arguments about why we really need big banks."

Johnson (like Hudson) added that financial giants are pleased with Obama's plan, and why not. They or their lobbyists wrote it. On June 16, even The New York Times suggested it in Stephen Labaton article headlined: "Obama Sought a Range of Views on Finance Rules." Over several weeks, "executives from an array of industries caught up in the financial crisis came to make their case for how the new regulatory landscape should look. They came from big banks and small ones, insurance companies, stock exchanges, hedge funds and mutual funds" as well as consumer groups and labor for appearance sake only.

"Now lobbyists....will head to Congress to try to influence the final product" with no doubt they will so once again consumer interests will be shortchanged - perhaps globally given events reported earlier this year and discussed below.

Steps Toward Global Money and Banking Control

In her April 18, 2009 article titled "The Tower of Basel: Do We Really Want the Bank for International Settlements Issuing Our Global Currency," Ellen Brown quoted Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the London Telegraph (April 7) saying:

On April 2, "A single clause in Point 19 of the communique issued by the G-20 leaders amounts to a revolution in the global financial order."

"We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250 (billion) into the world economy and increase global liquidity...SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century."

"In effect, the G-20 leaders have activated the IMF's power to create money and begin global 'quantitative easing.' In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body."

Brown agrees and highlighted the article's subtitle: "The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity." What might it be, she asked? The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) - the secretive 55-member nation, central bank of central bankers. Based in Basel, Switzerland, it's run by the monetary authorities of six dominant nations - America, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and Britain.

Objective V in Obama's financial reform plan addresses "Rais(ing) International Standards and Improving International Cooperation" by promoting global control in a single paragraph:

"The United States is playing a strong leadership role in efforts to coordinate international policy through the G-20, the Financial Stability Board, and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. We will use our leadership position in the international community to promote (an) initiative compatible with the domestic regulatory reforms described in this report."

Near the end of the plan, it recommends "Strengthen(ing) the Financial Stability Board....complet(ing) its restructuring and institutionaliz(ing) its new mandate to promote global financial stability by September 2009." It also urges "work(ing) with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and standard setters to develop macroprudential tools" with Obama asking other nations to follow America's lead.

What is the FSB, and why is it important?

The Financial Stability Forum (FSF) Becomes the Financial Stability Board (FSB)

Founded at a Bonn, Germany meeting in 1999 when Bundesbank president, Hans Tietmeyer, recommend it to G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors, the FSF consists of central bankers and finance ministers of about a dozen key nations working together for their mutual self-interest.

A decade later at the G-20's April 2 London Summit, these nations agreed to let a new Financial Stability Board (FSB) regulate their economies henceforth as stated in a concluding communique:

"In particular we agree:

-- to establish a new Financial Stability Board (FSB) with a strengthened mandate, as a successor to the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), including all G-20 countries, FSF members, Spain, and the European Commission;

-- that the FSB should collaborate with the IMF to provide early warning of macroeconomic and financial risks and the actions needed to address them; (and)

-- to extend regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments and markets."

The G-20's same day's press release headlined: "Financial Stability Forum re-established as the Financial Stability Board (with an) expanded membership (and) a broadened mandate to promote financial stability."

It "consists of a Chairperson, a Steering Committee, the Plenary with member countries, SSBs (standard setting bodies) and international financial institutions, and a Secretariat. The Chair oversees the Steering Committee, the Plenary and the Secretariat. The FSB Plenary is the decision making organ of the FSB." It has a "full-time Secretary General and an enlarged Secretariat based in Basel (to) support the FSB." Membership also obligates countries to "implement international financial standards (including 12 International Standards and Codes)...." with no elaboration about them except in broad terms left for outsiders to imagine what's meant.

Plenary members include G-20 nations, Spain and the European Commission - represented by their central bankers, immediate deputies, heads of their main regulatory agency, deputy finance ministers, SSB chairs, central bank committees, and representatives of the IMF, World Bank, BIS and OECD - together the world's monetary movers and shakers.

The FSB appears to be a step closer toward global monetary control under the direction of the G-7 dominated BIS, IMF and other international lending agencies. Given its inclusion in Obama's financial reform proposal makes the entire package suspect and perhaps just cover for the above-outlined sinister scheme - as well as letting Wall Street be self-regulating.

In her June 21 article titled "Big Brother in Basel: Have We Traded Our National Sovereignty for Financial Stability," Ellen Brown cites Internet rumors "that the new agency benignly called the Financial Stability Board (FSB) is the latest sinister development in the covert consolidation of global financial power in a few private hands," - namely dominant G-7 central bankers controlling the BIS, IMF, and other international lending agencies.

She and this writer believe that Orwell was "25 Years Too Early," but might not have imagined the scenario now playing out as a way to "pull off a private global dictatorship (by): (1) creat(ing) a global crisis; (2) appoint(ing) an 'advisory body' to retain and maintain 'stability;' and (3) 'formaliz(ing)' the advisory body as global regulator" - supposedly to fix a broken system but in fact to be a "bloodless coup" with the public none the wiser until it's too late.

So far, there's still time to prevent it provided enough concerned people know the danger, spread the word to others, and urge them to pass it on. Otherwise, holding on to your wallets won't matter because everything in them will be emptied the result of (banker-controlled) regulatory bodies pulling off the greatest ever financial heist - a global coup d'etat. The time to stop it is now and expose Obama as a frontman for grand theft and power.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance:" Part I

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I - by Stephen Lendman

For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Engdahl's two previous books include "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" explaining that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.

Engdahl's other book is titled "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation" on how four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting all life forms to force-feed GMO foods on everyone - even though eating them poses serious human health risks.

Engdahl's newest book is reviewed below. Titled "Full Strectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order," it discusses America's grand strategy, first revealed in the 1998 US Space Command document - Vision for 2020. Later released in 2000 as DOD Joint Vision 2020, it called for "full spectrum dominance" over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems with enough overwhelming power to fight and win global wars against any adversary, including with nuclear weapons preemptively.

Other means as well, including propaganda, NGOs and Color Revolutions for regime change, expanding NATO eastward, and "a vast array of psychological and economic warfare techniques" as part of a "Revolution in Military Affairs" discussed below.

September 11, 2001 served as pretext to consolidate power, destroy civil liberties and human rights, and wage permanent wars against invented enemies for global dominance over world markets, resources, and cheap labor - at the expense of democratic freedoms and social justice. Engdahl's book presents a frightening view of the future, arriving much sooner than most think.


After the Soviet Union's dissolution in late 1989, America had a choice. As the sole remaining superpower, it could have worked for a new era of peace and prosperity, ended decades of Cold War tensions, halted the insane arms race, turned swords into plowshares, and diverted hundreds of billions annually from "defense" to "rebuild(ing) civilian infrastructure and repair(ing) impoverished cities."

Instead, Washington, under GHW Bush and his successors, "chose stealth, deception, lies and wars to attempt to control the Eurasian Heartland - its only potential rival as an economic region - by military (political, and economic) force," and by extension planet earth through an agenda later called "full spectrum dominance."

As a result, the Cold War never ended and today rages with over a trillion dollars spent annually on "defense" in all forms even though America has no enemy, nor did it after the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. So the solution was to invent them, and so they were.

Post-Soviet Russia, "The 'new' Cold War assumed various disguises and deceptive tactics until September 11, 2001" changed the game. It let George Bush "declare (a) permanent (Global War on Terror) against an enemy who was everywhere and nowhere, who allegedly threatened the American way of life, justified (police state) laws," and is now destroying our freedoms and futures.

The roots of the scheme go back decades - at least to 1939 when powerful New York Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) insiders planned a post-war world with one nation alone triumphant and unchallengeable.

Engdahl's book is a geopolitical analysis of the past two decades - peering into "the dark corners of Pentagon strategy and actions and the extreme dangers ('full spectrum dominance' holds for) the future," not just to America but the entire world.

Things are so out-of-control today that democratic freedoms and planetary life itself are threatened by "the growing risk of nuclear war by miscalculation" or the foolhardy assumption that waging it can be limited, controlled, and safe - like turning a faucet on and off. The very notion is implausible and reckless on its face, yet powerful forces in the country think this way and plan accordingly.

The Guns of August 2008

On the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year of the new century, a place few people in the West ever heard of made headlines when Georgia's army invaded South Ossetia - its province that broke away in 1991 and declared its independence. For a brief period, world tensions were more heightened than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when only cooler heads avoided possible nuclear war.

Like then, the crisis was a Washington provocation with tiny Georgia a mere pawn in a dangerous high-stakes confrontation - a new Great Game that former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski described in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard."

He called Eurasia the "center of world power extending from Germany and Poland in the East through Russia and China to the Pacific and including the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent." He explained that America's urgent task was to assure that "no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role." Dominating that part of the world is key to controlling the planet, and its the main reason for NATO's existence. From inception, its mission was offense.

Post-Cold War, Washington used the illusion of democracy to dominate everywhere - with the long arm of the Pentagon and NATO as enforcers. Euphoric East Europeans couldn't know that American-style democracy was even more repressive than what had ended. Decades of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe propaganda was soon revealed to be no different than the Soviet system they rejected and in some ways much worse.

Western-imposed "shock therapy" meant "free market" hokum, mass privatizations, ending the public sphere, unrestricted access for foreign corporations unemcumbered by pesky regulations, deep social service cuts, loss of job security, poverty wages, repressive laws, and entire economies transformed to benefit a powerful corporate ruling class partnered with corrupted political elites. Globally, Russia got billionaire "oligarchs," China "the princelings," Chile "the piranhas," and in new millennium America the Bush-Cheney "Pioneers" and Obama Wall Street Top Guns wrecking global havoc for self-enrichment.

As for ordinary people, Russia is instructive for what's heading everywhere:

-- mass impoverishment;

-- an epidemic of unemployment;

-- loss of pensions and social benefits;

-- 80% of farmers bankrupted;

-- tens of thousands of factories closed and the country de-industrialized;

-- schools closed;

-- housing in disrepair;

-- skyrocketing alcoholism, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, suicides, and violent crime; and

-- a declining population and life expectancy because the country was looted for profit and all safety nets ended; what Milton Friedman called "freedom."

Mikhail Gorvachev tried to revitalize Soviet Russia with Glasnost and Perestroika but failed. In return for agreeing to "shock therapy" and nuclear disarmament, GHW Bush promised no eastward NATO extension into newly liberated Warsaw Pact countries. The Russian Duma, in fact, ratified Start II, providing a firm disarmament schedule - contingent on both countries prohibiting a missile defense deployment as stipulated under the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).

On December 14, 2001, the Bush administration withdrew from ABM and much more. It claimed the right to develop and test new nuclear weapons (in violation of NPT), rescinded the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, greatly increased military spending, refused to consider a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty to increase already large stockpiles, and claimed the right to wage preventive wars under the doctrine of "anticipatory self-defense" using first-strike nuclear weapons.

The door was now open for enhanced militarization, creation of the US Missile Defense Agency, and proof again that trusting America is foolhardy and dangerous. Both GHW Bush and Bill Clinton lied by enticing former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO, one by one.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Zbigniew Brzezinski described America's arrogance this way:

"Presidential travels abroad assumed the trappings of imperial expeditions, overshadowing in scale and security demands the circumstances of any other statesman (reflecting) America's anointment as the world's leader (to be) in some respects reminiscent of Napoleon's self-coronation."

Brzezinski understood the dangers of imperial arrogance, causing the decline and fall of previous empires. Even a superpower like the US is vulnerable. He was very comfortable with an American Century, only leery of the means to achieve and keeping it. In 2008, with 28 NATO country members, including 10 former Warsaw Pact ones, Washington sought admission for Georgia and Ukraine, and did so after announcing in early 2007 the planned installation of interceptor missiles in Poland and advanced tracking radar in the Czech Republic, both NATO members.

Allegedly for defense against Iran and other "rogue" states, it clearly targeted Russia by guaranteeing America a nuclear first-strike edge, and that provoked a sharp Kremlin response. Washington's deployment is for offense as are all US/NATO installations globally.

Vladimir Putin expressed outrage in his February 2007 Munich International Conference on Security address stating:

"NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders. (It) does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represent a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have a right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?"

Putin's speech drew a storm of US media Russia-bashing. Last August, it got this writer to comment in an article titled "Reinventing the Evil Empire," saying: Russia is back, proud and re-assertive, and not about to roll over for America, especially in Eurasia. For Washington, it's back to the future with a new Cold War, but this time for greater stakes and with much larger threats to world peace.

Over the past two decades, Washington upped the ante, encroaching on Russia's borders and encircling it with it with NATO/US bases clearly designed for offense and to block the spread of democratic freedoms to former Soviet Republics. "Diabolical propaganda" made it work by projecting imperial America as a colonial liberator bringing "free market" capitalism to the East. It succeeded as "long as the United States was the world's largest economy and American dollars were in demand as (the) de facto world reserve currency...." For decades, America "portray(ed) itself as the beacon of liberty for newly independent nations of Africa and Asia," as well as former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact nations.

Geopolitical Reality - America's New Manifest Destiny, Global Expansion to the Vastness of Eurasia

For over a century, America sought "total economic and military control over (Soviet) Russia" through the full strength of its military-industrial-security sectors - by war or other means. From 1945, the Pentagon planned a first-strike nuclear war, an "all out conventional war (called) TOTALITY (as) drafted by General Dwight Eisenhower" per Harry Truman's order, the same man who used atomic weapons against a defeated Japan instead of accepting its requested surrender.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, America's superpower supremacy depends on "precluding Eurasian countries from developing their own defense pillars or security structures independent of US-controlled NATO," especially to prevent a powerful China-Russia alliance capable of serious challenge, along with other Eurasian states, notably oil rich ones.

As geopolitical strategist Halford Mackinder (1861 - 1947) observed in his most famous dictum:

"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;

Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;

Who rules the World-Island commands the World."

Mackinder's World-Island was Eurasia, all of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Early in the last century and notably post-WW II, America determined to rule even at the risk of all out nuclear war. For its part, Britain intended to stay in the game, and in April 1945, Winston Churchill urged Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt "to launch an immediate full-scale war against the Soviet Union, using up to 12 captured German divisions (as) cannon fodder to destroy Russia once and for all."

Instead, Washington invented a post-war enemy, and got Europe and Asian countries to feel threatened enough to agree to US dictates, even ones contrary to their own interests. As for America, in 1945, Truman ordered Eisenhower "to prepare secret plans for a surprise nuclear strike on some (Soviet) cities (despite knowing the Kremlin) posed no direct or immediate threat to the United States" or its close allies.

A nuclear-armed Russia with intercontinental missile capabilities halted the threat - until the 2001 Bush Doctrine asserted the right to wage preventive wars, with first-strike nuclear weapons, to depose foreign regimes perceived dangerous to US security and interests. That was the strategy behind the 2008 Georgian conflict that could have escalated into nuclear war.

Defused for the moment, "a number of leading US policy makers (see Russia today) as unfinished business (and seek its) complete dismemberment (as) an independent pivot for Eurasia." Nuclear superiority, encirclement, and "diabolical propaganda" are three tools among others to finish the job and leave America the sole remaining superpower. Disempowering Russia and China will create an open field for a "total global American Century - the realization of 'full spectrum dominance,' as the Pentagon called it."

Today, under Obama as under Bush, the risk of nuclear war by miscalculation is highest in nearly half a century. With America the clear aggressor, Russia may feel its only option is strike first while able or delay and face the consequences when it's too late. The closer offensive nuclear missiles are to its borders, the nearer it gets to disempowerment, further dismemberment, and possible nuclear annihilation.

Its reaction left few doubts of its response. In February 2007, Strategic Rocket Forces commander Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said "Moscow would target US Ballistic Missile Defense sites with its nuclear arsenal if Washington" proceeded with its plans. Putin delivered harsh rhetoric and announced Russia would spend $190 billion over the next eight years to modernize its military by 2015 and that state-of-the-art weapons would take precedence. His message was clear. A New Cold War/nuclear arms race was on with Russia ready to contend "out of national survival considerations," not a desire for confrontation.

"Missile Defense" for Offense

On March 23, 1983, Ronald Reagan proposed the idea in a speech calling for greater Cold War military spending, including a huge R & D program for what became known as "Star Wars" - in impermeable anti-missile space shield called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The idea then (and now) was fantasy, but a glorious one for defense contractors who've profited hugely ever since.

The Clinton administration gave it modest support until the National Missile Defense Act of 1999 proposed an active missile defense "as soon as is technologically possible...."

When George Bush became president, Donald Rumsfeld wanted war preparations to include missile defense and space-based weapons to destroy targets anywhere in the world quickly for "full spectrum dominance." The strategy included "deployment of a revolutionary new technique of regime change to impose or install 'US-friendly' regimes throughout the former Soviet Union and across Eurasia."

Controlling Russia - Color Revolutions and Swarming Coups

"Swarming" is a RAND Corporation term referring to "communication patterns and movement of" bees and other insects and applying it to military conflict by other means. It plays out through covert CIA actions to overthrow democratically elected governments, remove foreign leaders and key officials, prop up friendly dictators, and target individuals anywhere in the world.

Also through propaganda and activities of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), and National Democratic Institute (NDI) - posing as NGOs but, in fact, are US government-funded organizations charged with subverting democracy, uprooting it where it exists, or preventing its creation by criminally disruptive means. Methods include non-violent strikes, mass street protests, and major media agitprop for regime change - much like what's now playing out in Iran after its presidential election.

Other recent examples include the Belgrade 2000 coup against Slobodan Misosevic, Georgia's 2003 Rose Revolution ousting Eduard Shevardnadze for the US-installed stooge, Mikheil Saakashvili, and the 2004-05 Ukraine Orange Revolution, based on faked electoral fraud, to install another Washington favorite, Viktor Yushchenko. The idea is to isolate Russia by cutting off its economic lifeline - the "pipeline networks that (carry its) huge reserves of oil and natural gas from the Urals and Serbia to Western Europe and Eurasia..." They run through Ukraine, a nation "so intertwined (with Russia) economically, socially and culturally, especially in the east of the country, that they were almost indistinguishable from one another."

Achieving geopolitical aims this way is far simpler and cheaper than waging wars "while convincing the world (that regime change was the result of) spontaneous outbursts for freedom. (It's) a dangerously effective weapon."

In 1953, cruder CIA methods toppled democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh - the agency's first successful coup d'etat to install Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.

In 1954, it deposed the popularly elected Jacobo Arbenz and replaced him with a military dictator - on the pretext of removing a non-existent communist threat. Arbenz, like other targets, threatened US business interests by favoring land reform, strong unions, and wealth distribution to alleviate extreme poverty in their countries.

Short of war, various tactics aim to prevent them: "propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, bought elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, transportation strikes, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination (culminating in) a military (or other coup to install) a 'pro-American' right-wing dictator" - while claiming it's democracy in action. For decades, countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and other world regions have been frequent victims.

Since the CIA's 1947 creation, "national security" and a fake communist threat justified every imaginable crime from propaganda to economic warfare, sabotage, assassinations, coup d'etats, torture, foreign wars and much more.

However, by the 1960s, new forms of covert regime change emerged along the lines that RAND studies called "swarming" - the idea being to develop social manipulation techniques or disruptive outbreaks short of wars or violent uprisings. After 2000, as mentioned above, they played out in Central Europe's Color Revolutions. According to State Department and intelligence community officials, "It seemed to be the perfect model for eliminating regimes opposed to US policy," whether or not popularly elected. Every regime is now vulnerable to "new methods of warfare" by other means, including economic ones very much in play now and earlier.

Organizations like the Gene Sharp Albert Einstein Institution, George Soros' Open Society Foundation, Freedom House and others are very much involved, and Sharp's web site admits being active with "pro-democracy" groups in Burma, Thailand, Tibet, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and Serbia. They all conveniently "coincided with the US State Department's targets for regime change over the same period."

Eurasian Pipeline Wars

Central to the current conflict is control of the region's vast oil and gas reserves, and as long as Russia can use its resources "to win economic allies in Western Europe, China, and elsewhere, it (can't) be politically isolated." As a result, Moscow reacts harshly to military encirclement and bordering Color Revolutions - hostile acts, the geopolitical equivalence of war.

For America to remain the sole superpower, controlling global oil and gas flows is crucial along with cutting off China from Caspian Sea reserves and securing the energy routes and networks between Russia and the EU.

It's why America invaded and occupies Afghanistan and Iraq, incited Baltic wars in the 1990s, attacked Kosovo and Serbia in 1999, threatens Iran repeatedly and imposes sanctions, and keeps trying to oust Hugo Chavez. For its part under Vladimir Putin, Russia's economy began to grow for the first time in decades. It's rich in oil and gas, and uses them strategically to gain influence enough to rival Washington, especially in alliance with China and other former Soviet states like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, united in the 2001-formed Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with Iran and India having observer status.

Under Bush-Cheney, Washington reacted aggressively. "full spectrum dominance" is the aim with Russia and China the main targets. Controlling world energy resources is central, and nothing under Obama has changed. Iraq's occupation continues and Afghanistan operations are enhanced with increased troop deployments under newly appointed General Stanley McChrystal's command - a hired gun, a man with a reputation for brutishness that includes torture, assassinations, indifference to civilian deaths, and willingness to destroy villages to save them.

As long as Russia and China stay free from US control, "full spectrum dominance" is impossible. Encircling the former with NATO bases, Color Revolutions, and incorporating former Soviet states into NATO and the EU are all part of the same grand strategy - "deconstruct(ing) Russia once and for all as a potential rival to a sole US Superpower hegemony."

Vladimir Putin stands in the way, "a dynamic nationalist (leader) committed to rebuilding" his country. In 2003, a defining geopolitical event occurred when Putin had billionaire oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, arrested on charges of tax evasion and put his shares in giant Yukos Oil group under state control.

It followed a decisive Russian Duma (lower house) election in which Khodorkovsky "was reliably alleged" to have used his wealth for enough votes to gain a majority - to challenge Putin in 2004 for president. Khodorkovsky violated his pledge to stay out of politics in return for keeping his assets and stolen billions provided he repatriate enough of them back home.

His arrest also came after a report surfaced about a meeting with Dick Cheney in Washington, followed by others with ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. They discussed acquiring a major stake of up to 40% of Yukos or enough to give Washington and Big Oil "de facto veto power over future Russian oil and gas pipelines and oil deals." Khodorkovsky also met with GHW Bush and had ties to the Carlyle Group, the influential US firm with figures like James Baker one of its partners.

Had Exxon and Chevron consummated the deal, it would have been an "energy coup d'etat. Cheney knew it; Bush knew it; Khodorkovsky knew it. Above all, Vladimir Putin knew it and moved decisively to block it" and hit hard on Khodorkosky in the process. It "signaled a decisive turn....towards rebuilding Russia and erecting strategic defenses." By late 2004, Moscow understood that a New Cold War was on over "strategic energy control and unilateral nuclear primacy," and Putin moved from defense to a "new dynamic offensive aimed at securing a more viable geopolitical position by using (Russia's) energy as the lever."

It involves reclaiming Russia's oil and gas reserves given away by Boris Yeltsin. Also strengthening and modernizing the country's military and nuclear deterrent to enhance its long-term security. Russia remains a military powerhouse and displays impressive technology at international trade shows, including the S-300 and more powerful S-400, reportedly more potent than comparable US systems.

Controlling China with Synthetic Democracy

From the 1940s to today, America's China strategy has been "divide and conquer," only tactics have varied from "big stick" to "carrot-and-stick" diplomacy. Key is to keep Russia and China from cooperating economically and militarily, "maintain a strategy of tension across Asia, and particularly Eurasia" (that, of course includes the Middle East and its oil riches) - for the overarching goal of total "control of China as the potential economic colossus of Asia."

With America embroiled in Eurasian wars, policy now "masquerad(es) behind the issues of human rights and 'democracy' as weapons of psychological and economic warfare."

Another initiative as well is ongoing - the 2007 AFRICOM authorization, the US Africa Command to control the continent's 53 countries no differently than the rest of the world, using military force as necessary. China's increasing need for Africa's resources (including oil), not terrorism, is the reason.

The 2008 Army Modernization Strategy (AMS) focuses on "full spectrum dominance," controlling world resources, and the prospect of wars for three to four decades to secure them. China and Russia are most feared as serious competitors - the former for its explosive economic growth and resource requirements and the latter for its energy, other raw material riches, and military strength.

AMS also included another threat - "population growth" threatening America and the West with "radical ideologies" and hence instability as well as unwanted "resource competition" that expanding economies require - everything from food to water, energy and other raw materials. These issues lay behind AFRCOM's creation and strategy for hardline militarism globally.

America's second president, John Adams, once said: "there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt," or more broadly economic warfare. With much of US manufacturing offshored in China, both methods are constrained so an alternative scheme is used - human rights and democracy by an America disdaining both at home or abroad.

Nonetheless, in 2004, the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor targeted China on these issues with millions in funding, headed by a right-wing conservative, Paula Dobriansky. She's a CFR member, NED vice chairman, Freedom House board member, senior fellow at the neo-conservative Hudson Institute, and member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) at which she endorsed attacking Iraq in 1998. Now she targets China with "soft warfare" strategy that's just as deadly.

Other tools include the Dalai Lama organizations in Tibet, Falun Gong in China, "an arsenal of (global) NGOs" carefully recruited for their mission, and, of course, the Western media, including public television and radio in America and BBC globally.

Weaponizing Human Rights - From Darfur to Myanmar to Tibet

In targeting China, Washington's human rights/democracy offensive focused on Myanmar, Tibet, and oil-rich Darfur. Called the "Saffron Revolution" in Myanmar (formerly Burma), it featured Western media images of saffron-robed Buddhist Monks on Yangon (formerly Rangoon) streets calling for more democracy. "Behind the scenes, however, was a battle of major geopolitical consequence" with Myanmar's people mere props for a Washington-hatched scheme - employing Eurasian Color Revolution tactics:

-- "hit-and-run swarming" mobs of monks;

-- connecting protest groups through internet blogs and mobile text-messaging links; and

-- having command-and-control over protest cells, dispersed and re-formed as ordered with no idea who pulled the strings or why - a hidden sinister objective targeting China for greater geopolitical control and destabilizing Myanmar to do it.

Also at stake is control of vital sea lanes from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea with the Myanmar coastline "providing shipping and naval access to one of the world's most strategic waterways, the Strait of Malacca, the narrow ship passage between Malaysia and Indonesia."

Since 9/11, the Pentagon tried but failed to militarize the region except for an airbase on Indonesia's northernmost tip. Myanmar rejected similar overtures - hence its being targeted for its strategic importance. "The Strait of Malacca, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, (is) the shortest sea route between the Persian Gulf and China. (It's) the key chokepoint in Asia" so controlling it is key. China has close ties to Myanmar. It's provided billions in military assistance and developed the infrastructure. The country is also oil-rich, on its territory and offshore.

China is the world's fastest growing energy market. Over 80% of its oil imports pass through the Strait. Controlling it keeps a chokehold over China's life-line, and if it's ever closed, about half the world's tanker fleet would have thousands of extra miles to travel at far higher freight costs.

In summer 2007, Myanmar and PetroChina signed a long-term Memorandum of Understanding - to supply China with substantial natural gas from its Shwe gas field in the Bay of Bengal. India was the main loser after China offered to invest billions for a strategic China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline across the country to China's Yunnan Province. The same pipeline could give China access to Middle East and African oil by bypassing the Malacca Strait. "Myanmar would become China's 'bridge' linking Bangladesh and countries westward to the China mainland" trumping Washington should it succeed in controlling the Strait - a potential geopolitical disaster America had to prevent, hence the 2007 "Saffron Revolution" that failed.

India's Dangerous Alliance Shift

From 2005, India was "pushed into a strategic alliance with Washington" to counter China's growing influence in Asia and to have a "capable partner who can take on more responsibility for low-end operations" - directed at China and to provide bases and access to project US power in the region. To sweeten the deal, the Bush administration offered to sell (nuclear outlaw) India advanced nuclear technology. At the same time, it bashed Iran for its legitimate commercial operations, and now Obama threatens hardened sanctions and perhaps war without year end 2009 compliance with clearly outrageous demands.

Part II continues Engdahl's important analysis to conclusion.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

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