Wolf Country

William T. Hathaway

This year marks the 20th anniversary of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park. From 66 released originally they've increased to over 300 and are no longer endangered. That they thrive here is not surprising, for they are creatures of this raw land in a way that we aren't. Wolves are fitted to this environment, and so to understand them, we have to know the country that nurtures them.

The area from Yellowstone to central Idaho has one of the lowest densities of human population in the United States. Those who do live here are held in thrall by land and weather, too harsh for most of our species. The elements keep us ever on the defensive without even noticing us.

People claim to own this country, but she owns us. Daily she teaches us how small our power is: we are like children clinging to a shaggy bison, helpless riders on a massive beast. We had enough power to exile the wolves, but then the wilderness was no longer whole, the grazing herds became unhealthy, and we had to bring back these culling predators. The banishment was short from their time frame.

The Police Threat Is Too High

Paul Craig Roberts

The hypocrisy of American police is beginning to bother even law and order conservatives. The New York Police Department is rivaling the black community in Ferguson in keeping alive the murders of their community members. We are constantly reminded of how dangerous it is to be a police officer.

A total of 50 police officers were reportedly killed last year in the “line of duty,” but the police themselves managed to kill 1,029 Americans during the same time period, most of whom were unarmed and innocent of wrongdoings. In other words, any encounter between the public and the police is more than 20 times more dangerous for the public than for the police.

That should raise questions about the absence of restraint on the ability of police to use deadly force as a first resort. Yet authorities and white communities invariably defend police violence against the public.

If Americans had half-decent educations, Americans would know that power comes from precedent. The police, like the executive branch, have now established themselves above the law. The laws that apply to the public do not apply to police, US presidents, presidential appointees, NSA, and CIA.

Charlie Hebdo and Tsarnaev’s Trial: Cui bono?

Paul Craig Roberts

UPDATE-3: Well known writers Thierry Meyssan and Kevin Barrett see the “terrorist” attach on Charlie Hebdo as a false flag attack. See here and here.

UPDATE-2: According to news reports, one of the accused in the attack on Charlie Hebdo when hearing that he was being sought for the crime turned himself in to police with an ironclad alibi.

UPDATE-1: According to news reports, police found the ID of Said Kouachi at the scene of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. Does this sound familiar? Remember, authorities claimed to have found the undamaged passport of one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers among the massive pulverized ruins of the twin towers.

Once the authorities discover that the stupid Western peoples will believe any transparent lie, the authorities use the lie again and again.

The police claim to have discovered a dropped ID is a sure indication that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an inside job and that people identified by NSA as hostile to the Western wars against Muslims are going to be framed for an inside job designed to pull France firmly back under Washington’s thumb.

Trifles for a massacre

Sam Kriss

Who is it that threatens free speech? When the French government bans all Gaza solidarity demonstrations at the height of a vicious massacre in Palestine, it’s not a threat to freedom of speech: it’s a public safety measure. When the French state bans Muslim women from wearing the veil in public, it’s not a threat to freedom of speech: it’s a defence of secularism. When fanatical Zionists plant a bomb under the car of a French Jewish journalist who won’t toe the party line on Israel, it’s not a threat to freedom of speech: it’s a criminal act, certainly, but not an existential threat to the general ability for you or for me to say whatever we want. In the UK newspaper offices are raided by spies and kids are sent to prison for burning artificial poppies; this isn’t a threat to free speech either. It’s strange. The capitalist state, once the existential enemy of all freedom, a monster to be kept constantly under watch, is now the armed guarantor of liberty. Threats to free speech don’t come from the powerful any more. It’s “the Muslims”: a mass both hydra-headed and faceless, like a handful of worms. A persecuted minority, the suffering conscience of Europe. (Did you know that it’s now illegal to build minarets in Switzerland? Or that several towns in Italy have banned non-Italian restaurants? Whose freedom is under threat?) Or if it does come from a state, it’s one far away, surrounded by barbed wire and guns pointing inwards. The poor and the despised: this is who we must defend ourselves against?

How do you exercise free speech? You don’t do anything. You hoist up your Je suis Charlie placard, you queue in the cold to see a stupid and ugly Seth Rogen film, because this is your duty to the ideal of liberty and free expression. Freedom means obedience. Is this Hegel we’re reading? You must passively and dutifully admire the courage of those who dare to ruthlessly satirise any and all targets. In other words, those who have stockholders and distribution networks, while you have forty Twitter followers and the right to pen a letter to the editor. Freedom of speech belongs to the brave, the few, the moneyed.

Something Strange About ISIS

Gordon Duff

I recently returned from the Terrorism and Religious Extremism Conference in Damascus. While there, I had the opportunity to meet with Syrian militia leaders. What they had to tell me and show me confirmed some of my suspicions. I already knew that the United States had trained at least 3000 ISIS “cadre” leaders at camps in Jordan. Colonel Jim Hanke US Army Special Forces (ret) had accompanied me and spoke of this during the conference.

However, the militia leaders brought evidence. They had photographed not only ISIS dead but their identity papers as well. One group of 74 killed in fighting near Kobani included 15 Ukrainians and 8 Chechens. Others included fighters from Saudi Arabia, Yemen but the rest were from North Africa. There was no gloating over the dead despite the fact the exchange took place in a restaurant at the Damas Rose, a government owned hotel in Syria. There was a sadness, a solemnity about this as even ISIS dead, reputed to be mass murderers, looked no different than others, all young, bearded though many distinctly European.

What was surprising was the lack of curiosity as to how any of these fighters had gotten into Syria in the first place. I had travelled through Lebanon, was picked up by security at the airport and, on the way to Damascus, stopped many times at military checkpoints and subjected to 4 hours of background checks at remote border crossings. Even inside Syria it took hours to get clearance despite carrying a letter from the Minister of Justice.

Simply put, jihadists don’t just walk through Lebanon. This leaves only two possibilities, they travel through Turkey, something more than obvious or they receive transit across Israel. A cursory examination of the geography of the region leaves only two other remote possibilities. One is that they manage to cross the Red Sea like Moses or they are flown in somehow, magically passing through airport security checkpoints all overseen by Interpol, America’s Department of Homeland Security and NATO financed security forces.

The Guardian Proclaims The President of Israel as a Hero of 2014

A Short Comment by Gilad Atzmon

Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian’s prime Hasbara mouthpiece, praised Israeli President Reuven ‘Ruvi’ Rivlin yesterday. Freedland wrote that that in spite of being a “lifelong member of Israel’s Likud party, and on the right of that rightwing bloc… ever since his elevation to Israel’s largely ceremonial presidency in June he (President Rivlin) has acted as something like his country’s conscience.”

Let’s examine how Freedland justifies his dubious choice for 2014’s hero.

In November the Israeli cabinet backed a Jewish state bill that would enshrine discrimination against Israel’s 1.7 million Arab citizens, denying them the full rights of citizenship accorded to Jews. Liberals and leftists denounced the bill, but, according to Freedland, “ the most potent attack came from the presidential mansion.” Freedland doesn’t tell the entire truth. The Israeli ‘liberals’ (such as war criminal Tzipi Livini) and the hawk President who opposed the bill, didn’t deny that Israel is a Jewish State, instead they argued that Israel is the Jewish State anyway and the National Bill didn’t add any new powers.

Though President Rivlin spoke in favour of civil rights, his primary argument was with the true meaning of the new bill – it exposed the deep intrinsic discrepancy between ‘Jewishness’ and ‘democracy’. Speaking against the bill, Rivlin wondered, “Does this proposal (The National Bill) not in fact encourage us to seek contradiction between the Jewish and democratic characteristics of the state?” Yes it does.

The CIA's Inquisition: How Terrorism And Conspiracy Theory Became The New Blasphemy And Heresy

Saman Mohammadi

"The world is mental in some way that we do not yet understand, but that which we're edging toward understanding. And the world is made of language. I can't say that enough. Whenever we get into these discussions about reality, or effects in space and time, we are operating outside this assumption that the world is made of language." - Terence McKenna, from a talk he gave on September 11, 1993.

"As always: combatting Terrorism is not the end of the War on Terror; the War on Terror is the end in itself, and Terrorism is merely its pretext." - Glenn Greenwald, "Since bin Laden’s death," May 1, 2012.

Jose Rodriguez, one of the CIA's inquisitors, defended torture and the Agency's destruction of evidence on CBS's 60 minutes on Sunday, April 29.

As the former Deputy Director for Operations, Rodriguez committed many war crimes, torture being among them. He is a 21st century version of a Spanish inquisitor. His job is to protect National Security orthodoxies, smear victims with false charges, and sell the lie to the American people that the War on Terrorism is a noble struggle which the CIA must fight with an iron will.

According to CIA inquisitors and their defenders in the press, no questions about CIA policies should be raised because the CIA is holy and pure, while its detractors are just a bunch of conspiracy theorists, left-wing radicals, and Islamofascists. — As we can see, there are many similarities between the modern charges of terrorism and conspiracy theory made by intelligence agencies and the medieval charges of blasphemy and heresy made by religious authorities. The Catholic Church promised its flock salvation; the National Security State promises its flock security. Neither salvation or security can be delivered by political and religious authorities, but that fact hasn't stopped religion and government from going out of business yet.

The Outlook for the New Year

Paul Craig Roberts

Dear Readers: The conflict that Washington has initiated between the West and Russia/China is reckless and irresponsible. Nuclear war could be the outcome. Indeed, Washington has been preparing for nuclear war since the George W. Bush regime.

Washington has revised US war doctrine in order to initiate conflict with a first strike nuclear attack. Washington has discarded the ABM treaty in order to build and deploy anti-ballistic missiles that are intended to prevent a retaliatory strike against the US. Washington is engaged in a buildup of military forces on Russia’s borders, and Washington is demonizing Russia’s government with false charges.

As the Bush/Obama regimes dismantled the safeguards put in place in order to minimize the risk of nuclear war, no protests came from the American public or the media. Washington’s European vassal states have also been silent.

Washington’s drive for hegemony has brought nuclear insanity to the world. Moscow and Beijing understand that they are Washington’s targets. As Larchmonter explains, Russia and China are conjoining their economic and military capabilities in order to protect against Washington’s attack. Read what Larchmonter reports. Open the URL in my column below and run your cursor over the bottom of the page and click “page fit.” Choose 50% and readable text will fill your screen.

Washington’s demonization of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad were preludes to military attacks on Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In view of these precedents, it is reasonable to regard Washington’s demonization of Vladimir Putin as a prelude to military action. Russia is not Iraq, Libya, or Syria. Russian war doctrine states that Russia can use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear or conventional attack on Russia. For the world to sit silent while Washington’s arrogance provokes armageddon telegraphs total political failure. Where are the voices in behalf of humanity?

The Victory of ‘Perception Management’

Robert Parry

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration pioneered “perception management” to get the American people to “kick the Vietnam Syndrome” and accept more U.S. interventionism, but that propaganda structure continues to this day getting the public to buy into endless war.

To understand how the American people find themselves trapped in today’s Orwellian dystopia of endless warfare against an ever-shifting collection of “evil” enemies, you have to think back to the Vietnam War and the shock to the ruling elite caused by an unprecedented popular uprising against that war.

While on the surface Official Washington pretended that the mass protests didn’t change policy, a panicky reality existed behind the scenes, a recognition that a major investment in domestic propaganda would be needed to ensure that future imperial adventures would have the public’s eager support or at least its confused acquiescence.

This commitment to what the insiders called “perception management” began in earnest with the Reagan administration in the 1980s but it would come to be the accepted practice of all subsequent administrations, including the present one of President Barack Obama.

In that sense, propaganda in pursuit of foreign policy goals would trump the democratic ideal of an informed electorate. The point would be not to honestly inform the American people about events around the world but to manage their perceptions by ramping up fear in some cases and defusing outrage in others – depending on the U.S. government’s needs.

Thus, you have the current hysteria over Russia’s supposed “aggression” in Ukraine when the crisis was actually provoked by the West, including by U.S. neocons who helped create today’s humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine that they now cynically blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yet, many of these same U.S. foreign policy operatives – outraged over Russia’s limited intervention to protect ethic Russians in eastern Ukraine – are demanding that President Obama launch an air war against the Syrian military as a “humanitarian” intervention there.

In other words, if the Russians act to shield ethnic Russians on their border who are being bombarded by a coup regime in Kiev that was installed with U.S. support, the Russians are the villains blamed for the thousands of civilian deaths, even though the vast majority of the casualties have been inflicted by the Kiev regime from indiscriminate bombing and from dispatching neo-Nazi militias to do the street fighting.

The Liberal Idiocy on Russia/Ukraine

Robert Parry

American pundits are often more interested in scoring points against their partisan rivals than in the pain that U.S. policies inflict on people in faraway lands, as columnists Paul Krugman and Thomas L. Friedman are showing regarding Russia and Ukraine.

Among honest and knowledgeable people, there really isn’t much doubt about what happened in Ukraine last winter. There was a U.S.-backed coup which ousted a constitutionally elected president and replaced him with a regime more in line with U.S. interests. Even some smart people who agree with the policy of going on the offensive against Russia recognize this reality.

For instance, George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, was quoted in an interview with the Russian liberal business publication Kommersant as saying what happened on Feb. 22 in Kiev – the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych – “really was the most blatant coup in history.”

Brushing aside the righteous indignation and self-serving propaganda, Stratfor’s Friedman recognized that both Russia and the United States were operating in what they perceived to be their own interests. “The bottom line is that the strategic interests of the United States are to prevent Russia from becoming a hegemon,” he said. “And the strategic interests of Russia are not to allow the U.S. close to its borders.”

Another relative voice of reason, at least on this topic, has been former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who – in an interview with Der Spiegel – dismissed Official Washington’s conventional wisdom that Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked the crisis and then annexed Crimea as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim territory lost when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

“The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest,” the 91-year-old Kissinger said. “It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia” – as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had suggested.

Kissinger noted that Putin had no intention of instigating a crisis in Ukraine: “Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

The Lawless Manipulation of Bullion Markets by Public Authorities

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler

Note: In this article the times given are Eastern Standard Time. The software that generated the graph uses Mountain Standard Time. Therefore, read the x-axis two hours later than the axis indicates.

The Federal Reserve and its bullion bank agents are actively using uncovered futures contracts to illegally manipulate the prices of precious metals in order to keep interest rates below the market rate. The purpose of manipulation is to support the U.S. dollar’s reserve status at a time when the dollar should be in decline from the over-supply created by QE and from trade and budget deficits.

Historically, the role of gold and silver has been to function as a means of exchange and a store of wealth during periods of economic and political turmoil. Since the bullion bull market began in late 2000, It rose almost non-stop until March 2008, ahead of the Great Financial Crisis, which started with the collapse of Bear Stearns. When Bear Stearns collapsed, gold was taken down over the course of the next 7 months from $1035 to $680, or 34%; silver from $21 to $8, or 62%. The most violent takedown occurred as Lehman collapsed and Goldman Sachs was about to collapse. This takedown occurred during a period of time when gold should have been going parabolic in price. The price of gold finally took off in late October 2008 from $680 to $1900 while the Government and the Fed were busy printing money to bail out the banks. While the price of gold rose nearly 300% from late 2008 to September 2011, the U.S. dollar lost over 17% of its value, falling from 89 on the dollar index to 73.50.

The current takedown of gold from $1900 to $1200 has occurred during a period of time when financial and political fraud and corruption becomes worse and more blatant by the day. Along with this, the intensity and openness with which the metals are systematically beat down seems to grow by the day.

Christmas in America

Stephen Lendman

Good tidings and cheer at Christmas and throughout the year are for America's privileged alone. No joy to the world for most others. Washington is the grinch that stole Christmas. Bah Humbug defines its agenda.

America's criminal class is bipartisan. Responsible for growing human misery. Unprecedented in modern times. Privileged Americans never had it better. Ordinary ones face lump of coal harshness. Hard times keep getting harder. Reflected in institutionalized inequality. Growing poverty.

High unemployment. Multiples higher than phony Labor Department numbers. An epidemic of underemployment persists. Jobs paying poverty or sub-poverty wages. With few or no benefits. Households need two or three to get by.

Growing millions face "one impossible choice after another," according to Poverty USA. "(B)etween food and medicine(s), getting to work or paying the heating bill." Census data show around half the population living in poverty or bordering it. In the world's richest country. Affecting nearly 60% of children. America has a higher percent of working poor than any other industrialized country.

Human suffering is real. Neo-liberal harshness is official policy. Force-fed austerity reflects it. Social injustice is rife. Bipartisan complicity supports it. Ordinary people are increasingly on their own out of luck. America's social contact is targeted for elimination. Disappearing when most needed. Monied interests alone are served. Inequality is appalling. A race to the bottom persists. Class warfare defines it.

Most working Americans get by from paycheck to paycheck. One missed one away from possible homelessness, hunger and despair. Inflation adjusted median household income keeps dropping. Americans have less to spend on increasingly more expensive goods and services. People [need to] eat. Drive cars. Pay rent. Service mortgages. Have medical expenses. Heat and/or air-condition residences. Have children in college. Pay transportation costs.

Christmas Column

Paul Craig Roberts

Christmas Column, December 24, 2014

Dear Readers, thank you for your support in 2014. Although you have kept me working yet another year past retirement age, I find it encouraging that there are some Americans who can think independently and who want to know. As Margaret Mead said, it only takes a few determined people to change the world. Perhaps some of you will be those people.

My traditional Christmas column goes back to sometime in the 1990s when I was a newspaper columnist. It has been widely reprinted at home and abroad. Every year two or three readers write to educate me that religion is the source of wars and persecutions. These readers confuse religion with mankind’s abuse of institutions, religious or otherwise. The United States has democratic institutions and legal institutions to protect civil liberties. Nevertheless, we now have a police state. Shall I argue that democracy and civil liberty are the causes of police states?

Some readers also are confused about hypocrisy. There is a vast difference between proclaiming moral principles that one might fail to live up to and proclaiming immoral principles that are all too easy to keep.

The New York shooting and the bid to outlaw opposition to police violence

Andre Damon

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took the extraordinary step of calling for an end to ongoing mass protests against police violence in the city and across the country.

The move marks a capitulation by de Blasio to demands by police officials and union leaders that he repudiate any criticism of the city’s police. In his run for mayor last year, De Blasio postured as an opponent of the “stop and frisk” police tactics of his predecessors, Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, which have subjected working class and minority youth to continuous abuse and harassment.

Following Saturday’s fatal shooting of two New York City cops by a psychologically troubled man, police officials seized upon the incident to indict the protests against police violence and de Blasio’s tepid expressions of sympathy as being the direct causes of these killings.

Torture, police killings and the militarization of America

Bill Van Auken

If the torturers and the police killers enjoy impunity, it is because preparations are being made to turn them loose against a rebellious population.

The fact that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report exposing CIA torture has been released in the United States as the country is being swept by angry protests over a series of vicious and unpunished police killings has been little noted by the American mass media.

What are treated as unrelated stories are, in fact, two facets of the same phenomenon: the growth of a massive and criminal police state apparatus that enjoys absolute impunity. The crimes carried out abroad and the crimes carried out at home have a common source in an economic and social system that is in deep crisis and whose overriding features are social inequality, militarism and a relentless assault on basic democratic rights.

The cops who shot down unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, strangled to death Eric Garner in Staten Island and killed defenseless individuals in Cleveland, Phoenix and elsewhere go unpunished as prosecutors employ a deliberate system of exoneration by grand jury to prevent them from ever being called to account for their crimes.

The actions in the Senate report are sufficient to require the immediate arrest and prosecution not merely of the CIA’s killers and torturers, but of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and other top officials who authorized and oversaw a system of depravity and violence in violation of both US and international law.

Yet no one in the US Congress, the Obama administration or any other section of the American ruling establishment suggests that such prosecutions are even remotely possible. On Thursday, Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, himself implicated in the crimes, organized a press conference from CIA headquarters in Langley to defend the “enhanced interrogation” torture program and denounce the Senate report.

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