21st Century Conflict and Connections to the Past
It should come as no surprise that the UK is in breach of international law yet again. With its not-so-covert intervention in Syria, under the umbrella of the same ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) mantra which justified the murder of over 100,000 innocent Libyans, the UK government is happy once again to flout United Nations resolutions while claiming to be offering humanitarian assistance.
UNGA Resolution 2625 states:
No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements are in violation of international law.
This is the Libya 2.0 remix, once again starring civilians bombed into democracy and this time featuring Turkey; in the absence of the mission-creep-inducing UN security council resolution authorising a no-fly-zone (which Russia and China would veto this time around) those kind Turks have stepped in to fan the flames of civil war by allowing commandos from French intelligence and the British MI6 to setup military bases in Hatay in southern Turkey to train the Free Syrian Army in urban guerilla warfare techniques which include bombing heavily built up areas and random sniper fire to cause maximum confusion amongst the population.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is mostly made up of mercenaries, with a few disgruntled locals and some Syrian army deserters (Syrian government still has 70% support of the population). With the blessing of the Libyan Transitional Nation Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, 600 highly motivated troops, fresh from the rape, torture and murder carried out during the toppling of the Gaddafi regime, have been sent to fight alongside the FSA. Others include Qatari regulars (on leave and out of uniform) as well as ‘private contractors’ from NATO countries including some of those recently seen in Iraq. A huge contingent of mercenaries is drawn from Reflex Responses (R2), the outfit cobbled together last year by Eric Prince, CEO of Blackwater now Xe (Xe was recently sold to the biggest multinational engaged in the ‘science of death’, Monsanto) to fight in Libya. There’s no rest for the wicked!
The cover story for the Turkish command centre (and a similar base setup in Tripoli, northern Lebanon) is to engineer ”humanitarian corridors” to Syria.
According to Pepe Escabar “… these ”humanitarians” come from NATO members US, Canada and France, and [Gulf Cooperation Council] GCC members Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, their cover is that they’re only innocent ”monitors”, and not part of NATO. Needless to say these humanitarians consist of ground, naval, air force and engineering specialists. Their mission: infiltrate northern Syria, especially Idlib, Rastan, Homs, but most of all the big prize, Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, with at least 2.5 million people, the majority of which are Sunni and Kurdish.”
British MI6 operatives and UKSF (SAS/SBS) personnel have reportedly been training the rebels in urban warfare as well as supplying them with arms and equipment. US CIA operatives and Special Forces are believed to be providing communications assistance to the rebels.
If we know our history, this tactic of regime change by fomenting dissent leading to either civil war or military coup is nothing new; the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953 was orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States under the name TPAJAX Project. Following the nationalisation of the oil industry in 1951 (with the near-unanimous support of Iran’s parliament), Britain mobilised its military to seize control of the worlds largest oil refinery [in Iran] but Clement Attlee decided against a full scale invasion and instead opted to tighten economic sanctions while using Iranian agents to undermine Mosaddegh’s government. Following pressure from the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and a change to more hawkish governments in the UK and the US, Churchill and Eisenhower decided to overthrow Iran’s government. Under the codename Operation Ajax, the CIA-card-carrying Kermit Roosevelt was sent in with $3 million of US/UK taxpayer money to bribe, coerce and payoff the political and military opposition and recruit local mobs. According to the CIA’s declassified documents and records, some of the most feared mobsters in Tehran were hired by the CIA to stage pro-Shah riots on the 19th. Other CIA-paid men were brought into Tehran in buses and trucks, and took over the streets of the city. Even the ‘independent’ BBC got in on the action, announcing the coup was to begin by a subtle change in its Persian broadcast. 800 people were killed during and as a direct result of the conflict. Mosaddegh was arrested, tried and convicted of treason by the Shah’s military court. On 21 December 1953, he was sentenced to three years in jail, and then placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. Mosaddegh’s supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. After the coup, Pahlavi ruled as an authoritarian monarch for the next 26 years, until he was overthrown in a popular revolt in 1979
We have seen the same dark arts practised in South America: in ‘Dark Alliance – The CIA, The Contras and The Crack Cocaine Explosion’ the brilliantly thorough investigative journalist, Gary Webb, detailed how the CIA effectively controlled the Contras in Nicaragua in the early 1980’s. The initial, officially sanctioned financial support of $19 million was actually spent on Argentinean military personnel who were training the Contras, leaving the anti-Sandinista counter-revolutionaries the task of funding and arming themselves through the proceeds of cocaine trafficking. Eventually the US began efficiently financing and arming the entire operation, ostensibly by taking a more active role in drug smuggling while maintaining ‘plausible deniability’ of any involvement. In the US, as in the UK, the preferred method is still to always get somebody else to fight your wars for you.
Harold Pinter referred to this low intensity conflict in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed.
The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America’s view of its role in the world, both then and now. I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s. The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: ‘Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.’ Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.’ There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
For those yet to see the pattern over the past 12 months and how this relates to the conflicts in the global south during the 20th century, this is simply the continuing policy of the deliberate destruction of nation states and/or the installation of puppet regimes, in the interests of the economic elite – the 1% – and its not confined to North Africa and the Middle East. The systems of representative democracy in Greece and Italy have already been lost with both countries now being led by unelected, banker-friendly technocrats. With no intention of running for election and therefore no need to garner popular support, Italian Prime Minister, Mario ‘the euro is not in crisis’ Monti (European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, leading member of the exclusive Bilderberg Group and former international advisor to Goldman Sachs and The Coca-Cola Company), and Greek Prime Minister Lucas ‘the problems will be solved’ Papademos (Governor of the Bank of Greece, overseeing the now infamous fraudulent currency swap with Goldman Sachs in order to falsify financial data prior to Greece joining the euro, former senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and member of the Trilateral Commission) are both in position to force through ridiculously unnecessary austerity measures while ensuring their government bonds are repaid without delay. Despite the danger they pose to the very fabric of society, they are both performing dutifully well and will be rewarded by the private banking cartel with lucrative posts following their departure later this year.
So we might ask – what determines whether a country’s change of regime is peaceful or not? To answer this is to accurately predict the next port of call for the marauding soldiers of empire. One need only look at a nation’s finances – in particular the nature of its central bank and its method of supplying money to the economy.
Syria, like Iran and North Korea (and Libya before the invasion last year) does not answer to western economic elites – it is not under the spell of private bankers, it’s not tied to the web of the Bank for International Settlements, it owes no debt to the World Bank nor is it controlled by the IMF. If the existing leaders cannot be bribed or assassinated, the military are called in, overtly or covertly, and regime change happens regardless of the will of the people.
For countries like Italy and Greece, they are part of the western banking system already; they are not so much a sovereign nation, more of an administrative district of the global capital machine. A change of prime minister is no more difficult to achieve in Europe than replacing the CEO of an international corporation.
So why is this happening? Is this a natural state of disorder following years of visible cold-war restraint? Is this the military-industrial complex running wild? Has the UN lost its way? Are our leaders psychopathic?
While there is no anti-communist propaganda to hide behind, and those awake are beginning to see the war on terror for the cruel hoax that it is, today’s conflicts and forced changes of regime are no different in their geo-political roots than those of the last century. What we’re witnessing is the predictable final throes of unfettered, rigged-market capitalism. We should know by now that wars are always fought over economic issues.
Like a dying star, the private global banking system which lies behind debt-based capitalism, expands one last time to capture the last resources of the planet, to entrap everything and everyone in its web of debt.
As Damon Vrabel explains in his ‘Debunking Money’ video blog series, as we go through the 21st century, as ‘globalism’ becomes more dominant, we’re going to see a shift in the relative economic strengths of the west and the global south. As globalisation matures, the regions of the world will reach economic parity. This does not mean that the third world will reach the affluent standard of living of the first but that as the means of production move to areas where return on invested capital is greatest, some regions will enter a high growth phase, some will stagnate and settle down, and others will collapse.
As a natural result of market forces, the west will decline in terms of economic activity and the global south will grow. This undoubtedly means we’ll see a new form of top down control in the west. Some may argue that we’re seeing the early signs of it today with militarised police forces, crackdowns on dissent and peaceful protest and harsher deterrents for those unwilling to yield to the system.
The debt-based form of capitalism, driven from banks with growth of debt, is a control mechanism over the population – when this goes into decline or at least reaches a steady state or potentially collapses, a new form of top down control will be required for the elites to remain shielded from the 99%. Some have suggested that this will be based on the China model – we’re seeing the same types of storm trooper cops, with batons and clubs instead of light-sabres, as they’ve had in China for many years now and we’ve been seeing this at G20 conferences around the world since Seattle. This army against citizens is being continually beefed up. Many police forces in the west are on a gear-buying spree, stockpiling high-tech combat-ready equipment, which seems only to be deployed during peaceful protests. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and paraphernalia; police at the G20 in London in 2009 were wearing more body armour than the average soldier deployed to Iraq.
We are moving inextricably towards global fascism. While some nations or regions may have been living under soft fascism or corporate type fascism, we’re now entering a harsher mode in order to maintain top down control. An alternative perspective on fascism is to consider it a restructuring process; taking a country through foreclosure, a form of reorganisation whereby debts and liabilities are exchanged for assets to align the nation with the capital machine.
As Michael Hudson says, debt that can’t be paid won’t be paid, but the owners, the creditors will insist on foreclosure and bankruptcy in order to reassign assets to those who have power. Countries in the west that have been sailing along on the high growth, consumer debt-based systems are reaching the point where more debt will not be possible or even desirable. Without a change in the method of supplying money to these nations, top down control will be maintained only by becoming more and more authoritarian.
Countries in the global south, disconnected from the private banking cartel will find themselves in debt to western banks, perhaps for the first time. New taxes will be forced upon an unsuspecting population just to service the debt. Private borrowing will soar with the attendant effects on disposable income. Inflation will ravage savings. Freedoms and automatic entitlements will be lost as people will inevitably suffer.
Whereas in the last century it was simple to distinguish between communism, debt-based capitalism, and fascism, the first half of the 21st century will see these systems gradually merge and become one and the same; the one system of top down total control.
For countries like Libya, Syria and Iran, the ability of the economic elite to increase their return on invested capital is only limited by the degree of freedom the population gives up. If we are to save our species, and ourselves, we must start by condemning the terrorist atrocities in Libya and Syria and showing solidarity and support for those bravely resisting the advances of the empire. If we are to have any hope of restoring fairness and equality, we must see through the political doublespeak and understand the real reasons for going to war. Only then will we know how to fight back.