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The Middle East Pivot: Erdoğan’s Turkey Seven Deadly Sins

October 14th, 2017

James Petras

Introduction

Multiple wars ravage the Middle East. Turkey has inserted itself into the middle of most of these regional conflicts and ended up a loser.

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has intervened and formed alliances with a rogue’s gallery of imperial warlords, terrorists-mercenaries, Zionist expansionists, feudal potentates and obscure tribal chiefs, with disastrous economic, political and military consequences for the Turkish nation. In this paper we will discuss Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies and behavior over the past decade. We will conclude with lessons for middle range powers, which might help in future decisions

President Erdogan’s Domestic Disasters

Throughout the early decade of the 21st century, Erdoğan made a strategic alliance with an influential semi-clandestine organization led by a cult-leading cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who was conveniently self-exiled in the US and under the protection of the US intelligence apparatus. This marriage of convenience was formed in order to weaken the leftist, secular and Ataturk nationalist influenced opposition. Armed with the Gülenists’ treasure trove of forged documents, Erdoğan purged the military of its Ataturk nationalist leadership. He proceeded to marginalize the secular Republican Party and repressed leftist trade union, social movements and prominent academics, journalists, writers and student activists. With support from the Gülenists movement, ‘Hizmet’, Erdoğan celebrated his successes and won multiple election and re-election victories!

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Renegotiating NAFTA

October 14th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Many NAFTA terms are non-negotiable. Chapter 11 promotes offshoring, companies building plants abroad getting special protections - including private enforcement through the so-called Investor State Dispute Settlement.

US, Canadian and Mexican companies can sue governments before a tribunal of three corporate lawyers.

They can get unlimited monetary awards from taxpayers - compensation for loss of future profits by claiming the nation they relocated to violated NAFTA provisions.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid these predatory firms under what Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach calls “extrajudicial NAFTA” provisions - available only to relocated firms, a huge incentive to offshore, besides gaining access to low-wage labor. Companies only need to convince the corporate lawyer tribunal that laws protecting public health, digital rights or ecosanity violate NAFTA provisions.

Tribunal lawyer rulings are final, not subject to appeal. Chapter 11 is a corporate giveaway, a grand theft scheme, sure to remain part of any NAFTA renegotiated changes to the January 1, 1994 agreement.

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Fascist Madrid’s Ultimatum to Catalonia

October 13th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Rogue regimes don’t negotiate. They demand, offering no significant concessions.

Spain is no democracy. It’s a political dictatorship, exploiting its people to benefit its privileged class - why Catalans want independence, freeing them from despotic rule.

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy gave Catalan President Carles Puigdemont five days to clarify whether the region declared independence or not, another three days to “rectify” the current standoff - eight days to return to pre-referendum status quo conditions, demanding Catalans be denied their universally recognized right of self-determination.

Its modern concept dates from America’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

It affirms that governments “deriv(e) their powers from the consent of the governed, (and) (t)hat whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

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Columbus Day Honors a Genocidist

October 13th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Columbus Day was commemorated on Monday. The US federal holiday should have been abandoned long ago. It never should have been established in the first place.

The arrival of Columbus in what’s now the Bahamas and Hispaniola was followed by the mass slaughter of around 100 million native people - the most horrific genocide in human history, continuing for 500 years, before and after what’s now America became a nation. Columbus sought gold, other riches and slaves for Spain. A second voyage followed the first. Native people were slaughtered throughout the Caribbean.

No gold was found, just hundreds of human beings taken captive, those surviving the journey to Spain sold like sheep or goats, treated like vermin.

Arawak people in the Caribbean deserved better. They were friendly and receptive to new arrivals, greeting them with gifts, food and water, making them feel welcome, much like Native Americans, leaving them vulnerable to the viciousness of conquerors - their first exposure to the scourge of Western civilization.

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Iran to Give “Fitting Response” to Hostile Trump Actions

October 11th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “(a)fter Mr. Trump declares his views, (virtually) clear what he wants to say, the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a fitting response at an appropriate time,” adding:

“The United States has had a policy of imposing (illegal) sanctions on Iran for the past 40 years. Basically, they have immunized us to US sanctions. But from a global perspective, it seems that the United States is addicted to sanctions.”It’s a hostile imperial tool, wielded like a sledgehammer, harming ordinary people most, foolishly thinking they’ll blame their government and rise up against it.

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Another Phony Russia Conspiracy

October 11th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

They keep coming, new ones fabricated like others, part of longstanding Russia bashing, blaming the country for almost everything.

The latest one was concocted by Oxford University researchers, a study claiming Moscow exploits social media to target current and former US military personnel with propaganda and other misinformation. The so-called study covered a one-month period last spring, falsely claiming Russian cyberwar aims to undermine the trust of Americans in US democracy.

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Catalonia Declares Independence

October 11th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and majority parliamentarians declared Catalonia’s right to be a sovereign independent state.

A 92% referendum “yes” vote demanded it. For democracy to have meaning, it’s essential to enforce the will of the people.

“It is not a personal decision,” Puigdemont explained, adding “(t)his is a special and historic moment having a long outreach.”

Catalans long awaited independence from fascist Spain. Puigdement and parliamentarians seek dialogue with Madrid.

PM Mariano Rajoy earlier ruled it out, saying “(w)e are going to prevent independence from occurring. That is why I can tell you with absolute frankness that it will not happen.”

It remains to be seen what’s coming. Rajoy may invoke Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, suspending Catalonia’s autonomous status, contravening international law, along with likely sending in thousands of national police, civil guards and soldiers.

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NATO “Concerned by Russia’s Military Buildup Close to Our Borders”

October 11th, 2017

Eric Zuesse

The Secretary-General of NATO said this on October 9th, speaking in NATO member Romania, right across the Black Sea from Russia’s region of Crimea (which had always been part of Russia except for the brief period 1954-2014, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 — i.e., the Soviet dictator had made Crimea ‘Ukrainian’, and only in 2014 was a plebiscite actually held there in order to determine what the people there wanted, and more than 90% chose to be restored to the Russian Government). He said, on October 9th, that NATO is “concerned by Russia’s military buildup close to our borders”, but NATO actually had expanded up to Russia’s borders; in no way had Russia expanded up to NATO’s borders. NATO’s leader was importantly misrepresenting history, there.

In fact, Romania, itself, used to be a member of the former Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact military alliance of nations, which had been set up by the Soviet Union in response to America’s having established in 1949 its NATO military alliance with Western European nations. After the Cold War ended, on Russia’s side, in 1991, and has been secretly continued by the U.S. Government and its allies right up to the present time, Romania became a member of the NATO anti-Russian alliance in 2004, under George W. Bush’s Administration. But Bush’s father, President George Herbert Walker Bush, had, as the U.S. President, established, in 1990, the foundation for what NATO now is doing in Romania, against Russia — even though Russia had, in fact, ended the Cold War on its side, in 1991.

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DPRK Leader Justifies Development of Nuclear Weapons and Ballistic Missiles

October 9th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, Kim Jong-un addressed North Korea’s Second Plenum of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers Party.

According to Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), he said “nuclear weapons of the DPRK are a precious fruition borne by its people's bloody struggle for defending the destiny and sovereignty of the country from the protracted nuclear threats of the US imperialists.”

“And they are a powerful deterrent firmly safeguarding the peace and security in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia…guaranteeing the Korean nation’s sovereignty and rights to existence and development…”

He noted the DPRK’s technological advances “despite the escalating sanctions of the US imperialists and their vassal forces.”

He accused Washington of “making last-ditch efforts to completely stifle the sovereignty and the rights to existence and development of the DPRK by cooking up UNSC (UN Security Council) sanction resolutions one after another.”

He “affirmed that the prevailing situation and the reality show that our (Workers) Party was absolutely right when it dynamically advanced along the socialist road of Juche (self-reliance), holding fast to the line of simultaneously pushing forward the economic construction and the building of nuclear force and that our Party should invariably keep to this road in the future…”

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Vladimir Putin Turns 65

October 9th, 2017

Stephen Lendman

Saturday, October 7, was Putin’s 65th birthday. Numerous leaders and others sent good will messages.

Happy birthday Vladimir Vladimirovich. Wishing you many more. If you tire of running Russia, maybe you’d consider straightening things out in America - a peace president urgently needed here.

It was just another working day for Russia’s leader, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained saying:

“Usually Putin celebrates his birthday with relatives and dear ones. Sometimes with his colleagues. The list of telephone conversations for tomorrow is long. The president will be getting greetings.”

It’s unclear if Trump called - doubtful. Putin’s Saturday schedule included chairing a Russian Security Council meeting.

Earlier he said he’s too young to retire. He’s overwhelmingly popular. His approval rating exceeds 80% - compared to dismal Trump’s 32%.

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