‘Liberating’ Iraqis, Limb by Limb

Via: Al-Ahram Weekly.

Ten years after the invasion, more evidence has been emerging of the US use of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, writes Felicity Arbuthnot

US War Crimes in Iraq

War Criminals Bush and Blair

War Criminals: George Bush and Tony Blair

War Criminal Rumsfeld

War Criminal: Donald Rumsfeld

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths… I mean, it’s not relevant, so why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” — Former US first lady Barbara Bush, 18 March 2003

In these days of the 10th anniversary of the illegal US-led invasion and near destruction of Iraq, answers are owed not only to the dead, but also to the cancer-stricken, the deformed, their parents, their siblings and all Iraqis. These people were left with a land poisoned by depleted uranium in 1991, the burden building over 12 more years of (illegal) US and UK bombings and then the enormity of 2003.

The victims in the Iraqi city of Fallujah have rightly come under medical and media scrutiny since the US military onslaught of April and November 2004, but throughout Iraq there have been no reports of areas that have been unaffected.

Activist Dahr Jamail writes from Fallujah that “official Iraqi government statistics show that prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991 the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and by 2005 it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.”

“As shocking as these statistics are, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases, the actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest.” Jamail also mentions the “dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births… particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred,” like in Fallujah. Continue reading

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The US-NATO Race for Syria’s Black Gold. By Manlio Dinucci

Art by Naji al-Ali

Via: Global Research.

Syria’s proven oil reserves, amounting to 2.5 billion barrels

Syria’s proven oil reserves, amounting to 2.5 billion barrels, are greater than those of all neighboring countries except Iraq: according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s estimation of its oil reserves. This makes Syria one of the largest producers and exporters of crude oil in the Middle East.

The country also has large reserves of natural gas, hitherto used for domestic consumption, especially for conversion to gas-fired power plants. But there is a problem, the U.S agency reported that since 1964 the license for the exploration and exploitation of mineral deposits has been reserved for Syrian government agencies. Until 201O an annual income of more than $ 4 billion was procured from the export of oil, particularly to Europe. But things are changing with the war. Continue reading

The Practice of Neoliberalism: How Think Tanks, Foundations, Big Oil and the CIA Undermine Democracy. By David Livingstone

Via: Global Research.

Canada’s Fraser Institute

How American right-wing foundations, Big Oil and the CIA collaborate to undermine the social democratic systems of Canada and other countries around the world.

Since the early 1970s, there has been a broad international agenda led by right-wing American foundations to sway public opinion towards greater acceptance of an economic philosophy called Neoliberalism, of which Canada’s Fraser Institute has been a pivotal part.

It is by tracing the connections between the Fraser Institute and several prominent Canadian politicians, like Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and other far-right conservatives, including BC Premier Campbell of British Columbia, that we can identify the source of their disdain for democracy, a penchant for slashing social programs, their unconditional support for American foreign policy expeditions, and an utter refusal to condemn the gross human rights abuses of Zionism in Israel.

Every year, the Fraser Institute announces a Tax Freedom Day, the first day of the year when the country of Canada has theoretically earned enough income to fund its annual tax burden, and its “Report Cards” of schools and the health care system, designed to convince Canadians of the importance of reducing public spending and privatizing these and other social services.

As reported in The Tyee, Paul Shaker, dean of the faculty of education at Simon Fraser University, said recently:

“Part of the international movement of neoliberalism is to treat schools as simply another service that can be commodified and deserve no special place in society. This movement has been coming along since Thatcher and Reagan, and reached a fevered pitch over the last 10 years.” If you want to analyze why things have deteriorated in Vancouver, Shaker said, “it probably has to do with this global and political movement.” The premise of Neoliberalism, and that of Neoclassical Economic theories in general, is the pessimistic view that human beings are selfish creatures. It develops from a crass darwinian attitude, that deems that people aught to be responsible for their own “failings”, like poverty, and therefore, that governments should not provide services to assist them when they are in need.

Ultimately, the pursuit of self-interest is thought to create efficiencies that should be favored over any form of government activity. However, while the profit motive is certainly tolerable in certain cases, it is actually contrary to the public good in others, as in cases of essential human needs, like education, health, water, energy sources and so on.

Essentially, Neoliberalism draws support from the philosophy of Adam Smith, who maintained it was not necessary for governments or any other social organizations to enforce a redistribution of wealth, because the free pursuit of self-interest would create enough surplus to benefit all. The disguised intent is to induce societies to expose what should be publicly held assets or industries to exploitation by private interests, and to then prevent governments from taxing these corporations, or regulating their activities in ways that might restrain their lust for profits.

The chief propagandists of Neoliberalism, were Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, who, in 1947, founded the Mont Pelerin Society, to coordinate the creation of an international network of think-tanks and foundations, to spread their philosophy of corporate greed. The basis of their propaganda was a scare-tactic of equating “big government” with totalitarianism. In Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Milton Friedman proposed that centralized control of the economy was always accompanied with political repression. Similarly, in The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek argued that “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.” Continue reading