Friday, December 29, 2017

The Strange, Shadowy and Contradictory World of “Counter-Terrorism Experts”


In early December a meeting of 'counter-terrorism experts' took place in Melbourne as the war in Syria was drawing to a close. Billed as 'the global fight against terror' which was noted as having 'entered a dangerous and unpredictable phase' the gathering was coordinated at the highest level through the 'Five Eyes intelligence sharing community with Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Britain'. (1)

Behind the scenes of the Leadership in Counter Terrorism conference and bean-feast at taxpayers’ expense, however, some murky forces were at work. While the conference appeared generally concerned about dealing with the problem of domestic terrorism, military planners, elsewhere, were actually promoting it.


The war in Syria which began in September, 2011, has led to tens of thousands of deaths and an estimated five million refugees. It was also started by western-backed forces with military planning to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Syria has always been central to the Arab world. The Syrian Alawite government is also strongly allied to Iran, the centre of Sh'ia toward which the US imperialists use a diplomatic Cold War-type position. One of the intended outcomes of the war in Syria, therefore, was increased diplomatic hostility toward Iran.


Despite allegations of US-led western connivance being denied, the subsequent leaking by Qatar of an official US National Security Agency (NSA) document reference (TS/SI/NF) S2E332 in October, has confirmed the armed opposition in Syria 'was under the direct command of foreign governments from the earliest days of the conflict'. (2) Furthermore, the NSA document confirmed collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilise Syria.


Further sections of the NSA document have provided accurate information about the so-called moderate rebels and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Under the guidance of the Saudi Royal Family, the FSA were responsible for rebels firing 'several barrages of rockets' into Damascus including one aimed at the Presidential Palace on 18 March 2013. (3) The Saudi Royal Family, as a centre of Sunni Islam, have long held hostile diplomatic positions toward Syria and Iran. The targeting of the Presidential Palace and killing President Bashar Al-Assad was regarded as merely an extension of existing diplomacy.


The Syrian rebels also appear to have been well-financed and equipped with armaments provided by the US through contractors and their front companies in Eastern Europe. An estimated $2.2 billion Soviet-era weapons were actually made available by the Pentagon to rebel groups according to Scott Bennett, a former US Army Operations Officer. (4)


Fortunately for the Syrian people their country was saved by a large force of Russian Federation troops allied with Damascus. By November, the rebel stronghold of Deir ez-Dor had been captured by loyal Syrian forces. In the period leading to the liberation of Deir ez-Dor many rebels fled and attempted to hide among civilian groups. There are also credible reports of two evacuations of rebel field commanders by the US Air Force. The first, on 26 August, included two field commanders of European origin with family members. The second, two days later, using US military helicopters, included about twenty field commanders and militants. Both groups were thought to have been taken to northern Syria for future operations elsewhere. (5)


Further information about western involvement in evacuating jihadists from Syria was also released in December. It was noted an estimated 2,000 militants had left 'Manbij a town close to the Turkish border' with travel papers being purchased for 'as little as $200 to low level Islamic State members. For well-known emirs and foreign fighters, the price was inflated by several thousand dollars in some cases'. (6)


It was also noted in official military statements that some French and Algerian jihadists, 'some arriving from Syria', had been identified in northern Afghanistan. (7) They formed part of a larger group of about '200 foreigners' who had established a camp a short distance away from the village of Bibi Marian. They were identified wearing military clothing, riding motorbikes and responsible for training others in laying mines and suicide-bombing procedures. (8)


By December the Russian Federation declared 'mission accomplished' in Syria, with the country being 'completely liberated' from Islamic jihadists. (9) The official Russian Federation military communique stated, 'Therefore, as of today, there is no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria'. (10)


Much of the political stability achieved and the military victory in Syria was the outcome of successful diplomacy between Moscow, Ankara and Tehran which all had vested interests in resolving the crisis. The tri-partite summit to enable the end of the war, took place in Sochi on 22 November. Washington, it was noted, was always on the backfoot 'because it lacked leverage and a coherent strategic aim'. (11) The US-led western backed forces merely wanted to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad although they had little, if anything, of serious credibility to replace it with.


The same US-led western military planners, now, however, are working on destabilising the tri-partite diplomatic support around Damascus with the reasoning 'any leverage that Washington is likely to possess in Syria is likely to come from exploiting those differences'. (12) They want to further weaken and undermine the peace initiative. That is, the US-led western backed forces are potentially responsible for creating a further round of terrorism in due course.


The issue of military planning elsewhere was not an agenda item during the Leadership in Counter Terrorism conference in Melbourne. In fact, official media releases appear to have concentrated upon delegates warning one another about the threat of renewed domestic terrorism, preventing people becoming radicalised and policing a growing problem of encryption through easily acquired apps which enable jihadists and their supporters with the ability to keep 'much of their communication beyond the Five Eyes view'. (13) At no time was any delegate reported as being critical of US-led western foreign policy, diplomacy and their military planning.


Those attending the Leadership in Counter Terrorism conference might have provided each other with more meaningful dialogue if they had listened and then discussed the report given to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly by Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. It provided a far sincerer approach to dealing with terrorism and challenging those actively responsible for supporting it in the corridors of power in western capital cities.


In his speech Walid al-Moallem said that 'our world is facing mounting challenges and dangers on the daily basis, and a persistent stand-off between two sets of forces: forces that seek to control and dominant nations and their riches, by turning back the clock, re-establishing a uni-polar world order, fuelling crisis and war, and violating international and humanitarian laws: and opposite forces that work tirelessly to create a more balanced, secure and just world, one that respects the sovereignty of the states and right of peoples to exercise self-determination and build their own future'. And, as a strong undertaking to challenge terrorism in Syria and elsewhere, Walid al-Moallem stated, 'We must all understand that terrorism and underlying Takfirist extremist ideology will continue to spread like a tumour throughout the world and haunt all of our people unless every one of us demonstrates a genuine will to cooperate to confront it altogether'. (14)


It is to the honour of the Syrian people that they have waited six years for peace in their country and the eradication of foreign financed and supported jihadists from within their midst.

1.     Terror experts warn there's life in ISIS yet, Australian, 17 December 2017.

2.     In Shocking Interview, Tyler Durden, Information Clearing House, 30 October 2017.

3.     Ibid.

4.     War Crime, Rodi Said, Sputnik/Reuters, 15 September 2017.

5.     US Aircraft Evacuates, Sputnik, 7 September 2017; see also, Rebuilding Syria, Adelaide Voices, December 2017-February 2018.

6.     Syrian forces 'sold safe passage' to fleeing ISIS fighters, Australian, 12 December 2017.

7.     French jihadists link with Afghans, Australian, 11 December 2017.

8.     Ibid.

9.     Russian military declares Syria 'ISIS-free' zone, The Weekend Australian, 9-10 December 2017.

10.   Ibid.

11.   The fight for Syrian peace, Australian, 12 December 2017.

12.   Ibid.

13.   Terror experts, op.cit, 12 December 2017.

14.   Website: 72nd Session, United Nations General Assembly; and, Quoted, Syrian Foreign Minister calls to defeat terrorism, scale up reconciliation, People's Voice, Vancouver, Canada, 16-31 October 2017.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Trump Administration: New initiatives a rehash of past political moves.


Moves by the Trump administration to launch their National Security Strategy (NSS) together with tax reforms in December are not new initiatives, having been tried before by previous administrations. They also form a typical far-right approach to the dysfunctional political malaise which is of their own making.

There is also an interesting link into a far-right, secretive organisation which would appear to have been instrumental in rallying support for Trump during his presidential election campaign last year.

In December, the Trump administration launched their much publicised NSS. The rambling document of between 55 and 70 pages can be reduced to four main areas of interest: Defence of homeland doctrines, US prosperity, advancing US interests, Peace through Strength policies. The same week the administration also introduced moves to reform the US tax system, which will greatly benefit those in the corporate sector and a minority of middle-income earners.

The US has been greatly troubled with domestic terrorism in recent years, in part due to US cultivation of 'intelligence assets' and jihadists to disrupt Sh'ia governments in the Arab world and a failure to introduce effective domestic gun control: intelligence assets have come back to bite the hand which fed them, far-right political groups have successfully lobbied for increased access to firearms and have become a well-known part in the Washington corridors of power. Moves by the Trump administration to introduce defence of homeland doctrines are therefore unlikely to be effective. In fact, they are much more likely to be used as draconian legislation against political opposition figures.


Secondly, the notion of US prosperity is closely linked to moves to reform the tax system with a 570-page document, reducing company tax from 35 per cent to 21 per cent. The package has also delivered temporary tax cuts to about 23 per cent of US earners although only enforceable until 2025. (1) There are two further factors which have to be taken into consideration: while the reforms will allow a massive spur to the US economy, it will also be likely to add a further US$1bn to the present deficit over the next decade. (2)


The moves have taken place at a time when government spending is already exceeding income and a general decline in world GDP growth in the period from 1961 to 2016 of over four per cent to about half its previous level, with US rates dropping in the same period from 2.30 per cent to 1.49 per cent (3) The US economy is in long-term decline together with most advanced, industrial countries. It has only been the rapid rise of China which has given world economic statistics any real credibility for two decades.


Against a backcloth of declining US GDP, the statement by US Defence Secretary Jim Mathis that 'America's strongest weapon was its GDP' has remained curiously out-of-step with reality. (4) The country is, in his reckoning, only about half as strong as it was over half a century ago.


When making the statement 'our strategy is to advance American influence in the world, but this begins with building up our wealth and power at home', Trump looked out of touch with economic facts. (4) The world looks very different for the millions of working poor in the US dependent upon food banks and the dire position the US finds itself in across the world. In reality, their social-standing can only be described as dismal, and laughable. Trump, and his bizarre behaviour and attitudes have alienated even more support.


The notion of 'advancing US interests’ would also appear to have included to 'increase quadrilateral co-operation with Japan, Australia and India' as evidence the US is incapable of acting alone. (5) The economic rise of China has altered the traditional balance of forces, presenting a credible challenge to traditional hegemonic positions. In fact, the recent NSS document has stated the US must 'rally our allies and like-minded partners – to confront shared threats'. (6)  And, it has already been acknowledged in Canberra the proposed quadrilateral diplomatic relations have been taken to 'vow the US will remain closely engaged in the Indo-Pacific'. (7) Serious questions arise about why allies should act to promote US interests which might not be in their best interests, and why the Australian Prime Minister boasts of being ‘joined at the hip’ to the imperialist overlords. ‘Allies’ are simply those who allow themselves to be bossed around by US imperialism.


Finally, the notion of Peace through Strength is the legacy of the Reagan period where a spurious coalition of the same name was linked to the American Security Council and 171 affiliate organisations linked to 'authoritarian, collaborationist and fascist Right' groups. (8) While the stated aim of those lurking behind the slogan was to bargain from a strong position, they were pursing far-right agendas. It was noted some of those behind the previous coalition 'represent the extreme politics of the national organisation' including those associated with the Lyndon LaRouche networks which 'frequently organise around anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi themes' including collaboration with the Ku Klux Klan. (9)  


Both the NSS and tax reform documents reflect a growing credibility gap between the Trump administration and the vast majority of sensible people who view the exploits of those associated with the US presidency as evidence of dysfunction within the higher levels of the Republican Party and the corridors of power in Washington and the Pentagon. The mid-term elections are a year away, they are likely to provide a theatre of spectacular drama and not much else.

1.     Tax bill gives Trump a win at last, Australian, 21 December 2017.
2.     Ibid.

3.     GDP Growth (Annual Per Centage), World Bank.

4.     Prosperity is strength for Trump, Australian, 19 December 2017.     

5.     Tough-talking President takes a blunt instrument to the bullies of Beijing, Australian, 20 December 2017.

6.     Trump strategy proves US not in Asia decline, Australian, 20 December 2017.

7.     National Security Strategy, The Atlantic, 8 December 2017.

8.     Tough-talking, op.cit., 20 December 2017.

9.     Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant, (Boston, 1988), page 30.

10.   Ibid., page 50.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Australian compradors mount campaign for US's contest with China

Max O.

Much has been reported recently in the Australian media about China's 'aggressive role' both inside Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. A carefully constructed campaign has been mounted by the ruling class in Australia at the behest of US imperialism, to check whatever influence China might wield inside the country.

This coordinated campaign has seen: the Department of Foreign Affairs and Tourism (DFAT) release a new hard-line foreign policy White Paper; Australian Intelligence Security Organisation (ASIO) caution against China's influence over political parties and politicians; the Prime Minister Turnbull create a furore with his banning announcement of foreign political donations, compelling lobbyists to declare their foreign links and legislation of new treason and espionage laws.

The United States 'Pivot to Asia' military strategy, which Australia is a partner to, has now progressed to a further stage with the creation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, comprising Australia, Japan, the US and India. See Vanguard article, "Indian Ocean: Secret Bases (Part One)" for Australia's contribution of the Cocos Islands as a military ‘lily pad’.

The White Paper keeps Australia in the American camp

These military measures are reflected in the foreign policy White Paper which in contrast to past papers used stark and candid language to point out that our “great and powerful ally”, the US, is disappointingly on the wane. In keeping with Australia's dependent, client status the White paper describes the international order as being reshaped and a challenge to American, and hence Australia's interests.

In frank terms it points out, "The United States has been the dominant power in our region throughout Australia's post-World War II history. Today, China is challenging America's position."  The White Paper indicates that China's economy has virtually overshadowed America's (in the next 10 years China's economy will be double the US's), nevertheless Australia's compradors don't see the weakening of the US as a fait accompli, moreover they're sticking with the established conqueror.

The worry for Australia, argues the White Paper, is the Trump administration retreating from the region militarily and withdrawing into economic protectionism. If this happens it fears China will become the dominant replacement power, something our compradors don't want.

Reflecting the dominance that America has over Australia the paper virtually begs the US to maintain the alliance with us. It envisages that the US will continue its military superiority in the years ahead and our dependence on them will provide Australia with the requisite security blanket.

ASIO securing Australia for US imperialism

Alongside this official policy stance comes the nicely timed political and intelligence machinations of the comprador ruling class. It is no accident that ASIO surveillance intelligence of “unreliable political and lobbyists” figures has been released recently to the media and public.

In particular the outing of Sam Dastyari, ALP Federal senator, by ASIO and the Turnbull government for his pro-Chinese activities has been the most sensational. It is reminiscent of the hatchet job done on David Coombe by ASIO during the 1980's Hawke government era, because of his dealings with the Soviet diplomat, KGB spy Valery Ivanov.

When it comes to rival foreign powers, there are no half measures. Other agents of influence have been put under the spotlight such as Bob Carr, former ALP NSW premier and Federal government Foreign Minister, and Andrew Robb, former Coalition Federal Minister for Trade for their high profile lobbyist roles on behalf of the Australia China Relations Institute and the Landbridge Group Chinese owned corporation.

It is surprising how foolish they appear when agents of influence change horses, plead innocence and ignorance to rebukes of their former overlord (America) for crawling off to another (China). Sell-outs and opportunists are not tolerated when it comes to the life and death struggles between empires, unless it is the empire itself doing the deal. 

This has provided fertile ground and ammunition to the Turnbull Coalition government and pro-US forces in Australia to whip up hysteria about agents of influence connections to foreign powers, meaning China, and put them under the blowtorch of treasonous behaviour. The slogan, "Australia must be sovereign, not reliant" that is used to defend the country's rejection of Chinese interference is ironic, coming from politicians who boast of being “joined at the hip” with their US imperialist masters.

The following organisations that promote American strategic interests and are funded by the US will no doubt not be placed on the Government's foreign influence register: Center for Strategic and International Studies, Alliances and American Leadership Project; Australian American Leadership Dialogue; Australian Strategic Policy Institute; and The United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney.

Australia's sovereignty has been surrendered totally to US strategic interests by both major political parties, the upper echelons of the state apparatus and military since the Second World War. The US is threatened by the rise of China's economic and military expansion and is making long term plans to repel its phenomenal rise and kill off the myriad of economic and military strategies that China is now undertaking.

What is China up to?

China has an impressive list of expansionist undertakings, such as: "One belt, one road" initiative, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS, and China's advance into Africa. Ultimately China's expansion is a challenge to US dominance of the world and will eventually lead each to the political choice of war.

Both powers are preparing for it. Hence China's military build-up on the artificial islands in the South China Sea to thwart US led sea blockade, and the United States led "Pivot to Asia" strategy and Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

Whilst  US aggression is the greatest threat of war in the world today, China is certainly no Florence Nightingale. Its economic expansion at home and abroad certainly has nothing to do with socialism.

Workers in China are subjected to ruthless forms of extreme exploitation, where there is submissive and alienated labour and the extraction of surplus value, in much the same way that capitalism operates in the West. However, its capitalism is different to the West's and the United States.

China does not solely operate commodity production for profit, based on spontaneous market relations, where the rate of profit determines its investment cycles and generates periodic economic crises.

State ownership of the means of production and state planning remain dominant in China.  Its economic rise has been achieved by a kind of state capitalist mode of production.

Consequently, its external economic activities with other countries around the world can't properly be categorised as imperialist like the West's. In contrast to the West's imperialism China is attempting to construct integrated and sovereign modern industries; manage a 'balance' between it's modern industrial infrastructure with rural private production; and control the country’s integration into the world system dominated by the monopolies of the imperialist trinity - United States, Europe, Japan.

In competing with the imperialist trinity, China carries out economic agreements with other countries that, whilst there is exploitation, do offer useful infrastructure to especially developing economies that will allow them to achieve economic independence from the West. In addition, the Chinese leadership continues to profess adherence to Marxism (as expressly stated by Xi Jinping at the recent 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China) and maintains that its economic system is socialist. Therefore, a better description of China's economic behaviour internationally would be social-imperialist (“socialist in words, imperialist in deeds”).

Competition from China as far as US imperialism is concerned cannot go unchallenged. Consequently, all avenues of combat - political, economic, cultural and military - will be employed by both sides to win supremacy.

The political machinations that are currently going on in Australia today, are not essentially a contest between Australia and China, but one between the global rivals, US and China. The comprador ruling class are carrying out their tasks to fulfil the strategic requirements of the US global order to the detriment  of Australia's independence, sovereignty and freedom.

Further reading: China’s response to interference allegations: