Monday, November 13, 2017

Why Is US So Russiaphobic? Inconvenient Truths About Foreign Policy

Submitted for your consideration by Gabrielle Jones Price 
with permission from the author and copyright holder.

Excerpt from Crossing the Rubicon: 
The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Published in 2004 / Chapter 6
Laying The Foundation: Destroy Russia, Prepare The Battlefield
by Michael C. Ruppert
[with footnotes]

Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives laid a foundation for what  became the 9/11 attacks. Some four years before the fact, the book articulated what purpose that disaster served in the creation and extension of an openly imperial new American order. But in doing so, Brzezinski gave us all a vivid glimpse of the remarkable foresight and planning that was brought to bear upon world events by the players who participated.

If what we find predicted in that book has been validated by events since September 11, 2001, we must infer that Peak Oil is no surprise to the Bush Administration. And given the timing of the book, Brzezinski's background, and the patterns of strategic continuity that have dominated US foreign policy since the height of the Vietnam War, Peak Oil was never far from the minds of the Clinton administration, or the first Bush administration, or the Reagan administration, or the Carter administration. The Nixon administration faced the peak of US domestic oil production and the first massive OPEC-induced oil price shocks. To anyone whose head isn't totally submerged in the conventional wisdom, it's always been clear that a production cut must be either artificial or natural. Whether or not OPEC cuts oil production today, geology will be cutting it tomorrow.

When American oil production peaked in the early 1970's, there were hopes that oil discoveries -- particularly in central Asia -- would mitigate the peak. Still, there was one major obstacle to US control of the Middle East: Russia.

Brzezinski is [was] a member of the elite that presides above the American political system, which is frequently and accurately described as two factions compromising a single (corporate) party. He is best remembered as the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. But his influence and power are better understood in light of his ongoing service as an intelligence advisor to both President Reagan and Bush I. In 1988, he served as co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force. He is a Professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University. And perhaps most importantly, he's a colleague and friends of both David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger. Brzezinski is a past member of the board of directors of the Council of Foreign Relations and a co-founder with Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission (Jimmy Carter is also a member of both CFR and the Trilateral Commission). Brzezinski also served, as recently as 1998, as a paid consultant  for BP-Amoco, one of the three largest investors in the Caspian basin.(1)

On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Army occupied Afghanistan and seized the capital, Kabul. It was the beginning of a decade-long, Vietnam-like conflict that debilitated the Soviet Union. Afghanistan was so much like Vietnam that it quickly developed a self-sustaining dynamic of massive heroin smuggling from a neighboring country, a dynamic that ran parallel to the war while remaining linked to it -- not least by turning a percentage of the invading troops into addicts. In the case of Vietnam, the neighboring country was Laos, which then hosted the largest CIA station in history under the direction of legendary covert operative Ted Shackley. In Afghanistan, the neighboring country was Pakistan, where a massive CIA operation sprouted to support Mujahideen freedom fighters.

In both wars heroin became the dominant note in the theme music behind the action. As noted by Professor Alfred McCoy, in 1975 none of the heroin entering the US came from Pakistan. By 1980 some 40 percent of the heroin in the US came from Pakistan, which had virtually become a CIA protectorate by that time.(2) Another striking similarity is that in both conflicts the CIA created powerful local warlords who were very well armed and who effectively prevented any national government from restoring stability. In both cases, the warlords derived their power from their direct involvement in the drug trade.

In Afghanistan Brzezinski demonstrated that he and his colleagues were capable of preparing the stage for conflict long before the fighting -- or the stakes -- became visible to the world at large.

Just before the Soviet invasion, a Soviet-friendly regime had taken over Kabul in a coup and had instituted broad social reforms. But agitation believed to be backed by the regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran soon led to an uprising that prompted the first official request for limited Soviet military assistance to maintain control of key facilities in Herat.(3) In July, five months before the Russian invasion, President Carter, at the urging of Brzezinski, signed a secret directive for clandestine assistance to enemies of the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan (i.e., agents of our allegedly sworn enemy in Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini).(4)

This was the first indication that a major conflict was being engineered behind the scenes. US assistance created more battles, threatening the Kabul regime and, ultimately, threatening the Soviet troops. That was what sucked the Russians into making a move that the United States immediately portrayed to the world as a massive and unprovoked invasion. An important question, asked frequently at the time, was, What in the world could the Russians possibly want with Afghanistan? There were very few good reasons. Afghanistan wasn't producing much opium in those days.

Brzezinski admitted the setup and much more in 1998 to a French interviewer: "We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we consciously increased the probability that they would... Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap. You want me to regret that?" When the interviewer asked if he regretted having supported the Islamic fundamentalists and giving arms and advice to future terrorists, Brzezinski replied: "What is more important to the history of the world ... the Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"(5)

By 1997 the Soviet Union had been dead for six years. A new world had emerged in which the United States alone ranked as a superpower. Yet Russia still remained a threat -- a potential block to the complete imposition of US economic and military will. So, to a lesser extent, did China, which, although it had a huge population, was technologically and militarily no match for the United States. China also represented the possibility of huge profits for American business. Another obstacle was the American people, who, as Brzezinski would note, were not psychologically built for the ways in which America would have to exercise dominion in absence of a fair fight. It was to these and other issues -- especially energy -- that Brzezinski turned his attention in 1997 when he wrote The Grand Chessboard. Russia, as it turns out, is mentioned more frequently than any other country in the book.(6)

It was in Russia's backyard, the central Asian republics of the old Soviet Union, where Brzezinski saw that the move would have to be made. The history of mankind had always shown that controlling the heart of Eurasia was the key to controlling the entire globe. Though motives had changed over 20 centuries, this area's strategic importance remained essentially the same. Brzezinski spelled out the compelling issue driving American policy: 
A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania [Australia] geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 percent of the world's people live in Eurasia , and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 percent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.(7) 
The energy theme appeared again later:
The world's energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the US Department of Energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy.(8)
With the Middle East safely but quietly included in the dissertation, Brzezinski again stressed the energy importance of Eurasia, particularly for the critical goal of diversification of energy supplies:
Moreover, they [the Central Asian Republics] are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.(9)
As for Russia, the imperative was clear:
Understandably, the immediate task has to be to reduce the probability of political anarchy or a reversion to a hostile dictatorship in a crumbling state still possessing a nuclear arsenal. But the long-range task remains: how to encourage Russia's democratic transformation and economic recovery while avoiding the reemergence of a Eurasian empire that could obstruct the American Geostrategic goal...(10)
But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger [i.e., Russia] emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.(11)
Brzezinski gave one of several reasons why the US supported the Taliban and, indirectly, al Qaeda:
In fact, an Islamic revival -- already abetted from the outside not only by Iran but also Saudi Arabia -- is likely to become the mobilizing impulse for the increasingly pervasive new nationalisms, determined to oppose any reintegration under Russian -- and hence infidel -- control.(12)
This is a clear signal and admission that the United States had fostered and encouraged radical Islamic fundamentalist movements as a means to an end in Central Asia. Their usefulness to that end, as we shall see in subsequent chapters, certainly did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Before going to the next Brzezinski quotation, consider the following ironic examples of how the United States created hatred and violence in Afghanistan. The first example concerns the actions of the US agency for International Development (USAID), long known to be a progeny of the Central Intelligence Agency. I am indebted to the incredible work of Paul Thompson for finding these illustrative and darkly humorous anecdotes. His entire timeline can be found at <cooperativeresearch.org> [This URL appears in the book, published in 2004. The URL is no longer valid but you can find the timeline at historycommons.org]
1984 - 1994: The US through USAID and the University of Nebraska, spends millions of dollars developing and printing text-books for Afghan schoolchildren. The textbooks are filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation. For instance, children are taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles, and land mines. In the absence of any alternative, millions of these textbooks continue to be used long after 1994, and the Taliban were still using them in 2001. In 2002, the US has started making less violent versions of the same books, which Bush touts will have 'respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry." Bush fails to mention who created those books.(13) [Washington Post, 3/23/02, CBC, 5/6/02]
Just three years later Unocal, then fiercely motivated and fiercely frustrated by the Taliban in its efforts to build a trans-Afghani pipeline, hired the University of Nebraska to train 400 Afghani teachers, electricians, carpenters, and pipe fitters in anticipation of using them for their pipeline. They had 150 attending classes in anticipation of successful negotiations.(14)

Brzezinski's maps
No doubt, Brzezinski had energy issues very much on his mind. He noted throughout the book that the region was becoming increasingly prone to violence. What he did not admit was that much of the violence was being initiated by US proxies. He placed two key maps in his book that would be of evidentiary value in the inconceivable scenario that the true 9/11 war-makers were ever brought to trial. One he labeled "The Global Zone of Percolating Violence."(15)

The second was a map labeled "The Eurasian Balkans" on which he placed a large circle indicating where he felt the next global conflict would emerge.(16)

Given that these maps were drawn and published a full four years before the first plane hit the World Trade Center, they would fall into a category of evidence I learned about as LAPD. We called them "clues."

As it turns out, The Grand Chessboard was a study prepared for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), also founded by the Rockefellers.(17)





Eliminating the competition
Two very important things happened immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991. The United States undertook a massive effort to help the FSU (Former Soviet Union), and in particular Russia, make a "successful transition" to capitalism, and the major oil companies stepped up their ongoing, oft-frustrated post-perestroika efforts to explore and establish joint ventures in the newly independent and oil-rich Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Oil companies frequently had a number of CIA covert operatives on their payrolls posing as geologists and oil experts.(18)

As it turns out, both efforts were intended to remove large amounts of wealth from the region. Both may have had the equally important objective of preparing the way for the unopposed massive US military deployments in Central Asia that began in October of 2001 after the World Trade Center attacks.

Though the seeds had been planted by the outgoing first Bush administration, the US assistance program to facilitate Russia's transition to capitalism took off under the new Clinton administration in 1993. A task force headed by Vice President Al Gore, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot(19) and involving exclusive US Treasury contracts with Goldman Sachs, the Harvard Institute for International Development, the IMF, and the World Bank worked in partnership with the government of Boris Yeltsin to remake the Russian economy. What happened was that Russia, in the words of Yeltsin himself, became a "mafiocracy" and was looted of more than $500 billion in assets: its economy was ruined, its currency destroyed, its population rendered desperate, and its ability to support a world-class military establishment smashed.

Journalist Anne Williamson was for many years a leading expert on Russian and Soviet affairs, writing for, among others, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and SPY. She lived in Russia, spoke the language, and saw first-hand what was done to Russia in the 1990s. In 1999 she completed a book on the subject, Contagion: The Betrayal of Liberty, Russia, and the United States in the 1990s, which despite a signed publishing contract has never been published, like so many other completed manuscripts that might have been vital to the world's understanding. According to Williamson, one publisher simply refused to read her first draft (October 1997), in which she explained the causes and mechanisms of the impending collapse of the Russian market that occurred in August of 1998.

But Williamson did present her knowledge of what had happened in Russia to Congress in 1999, and that record is available. She pulled no punches in describing the rape of a country and of a people who had already been victimized by seven decades of Soviet communism: 
And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e., Western, principally US, taxpayers and Russian citizens whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets.
Western assistance, IMF lending, and the targeted division of national assets are what provided Boris Yeltsin the initial wherewithal to purchase his constituency of ex-Komsomol [Communist Youth League] bank chiefs, who were given the freedom and the mechanisms to plunder their own economy in tandem with a resurgent and more economically competent criminal class. The new elite learned everything about confiscation of wealth, but nothing about its creation.(20)
Brzezinski had made it a priority to identify the motivating factors that drove the political elites in a country that needed to be managed. What Williamson described is the creation and installation of a whole new set of elites, the oligarchs, whose motives -- personal enrichment at any cost -- were already known. The Empire loved the oligarchs because they were simple and could be easily controlled with money.

Williamson described two crucial mistakes made by the US fiscal experts who had exclusive contracts to manage the transition. First, they ignored the concept of private property (there had been none under Communism or under the Tsarist regimes). This gave the people no inherent rights to enormous physical equities such as real estate, manufacturing plants, oil refineries, mineral rights. Their only claim to ownership lay in the notion of post-Soviet assets as an abstract communal holding established by the Soviet Constitution inconvenient. In the privatization program Harvard University and World Bank operatives devised and US taxpayers unknowingly financed, those constitutionally guaranteed communal ownership rights were transferred to the state, and only then parceled out to elected individuals in rigged auctions. Second, the good guys from the West turned loose monopoly markets, which caused prices to skyrocket. What little money individual Russians possessed was transferred quickly into the hands of the corrupt oligarchs -- the "mafiya" with whom Boris Yeltsin had made his pact.(21)

Once all the assets had been transferred to the oligarchs, who were becoming fabulously wealthy, it was a simple matter for them to liquidate those assets by selling them to the US and other Western countries, and then laundering their money through US financial institutions such as the Bank of New York.(22) The money laundering and transfer of wealth made more than the Russian oligarchs rich. Billions of dollars accrued to Bank of New York executives and stockholders in 1999.(23) And during the years of the Clinton administration, as Al Gore worked in exclusive partnership with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin, the Harvard Endowment's value rose from 3 to 19-plus billion dollars.(24)

Compounding the pillage, a number of investment schemes sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and a number of congressionally mandated "enterprise funds" were designed for individuals, Russian corporations, and banks. In essence, these initiatives wound up being huge money laundries. The domestic bound market's highly unjustified returns, paid with IMF loans, attracted many eager investors, and soon developed into a classic pyramid scheme. As quickly as the IMF, the World Bank, and other financial entities lent the money to Russia to realize mind-boggling returns for favored players, the money was taken right back out of Russia. Those huge sums, initially provided by taxpayers, returned to Wall Street, US banks and Harvard.(25)  

Russia was literally a free lunch for American institutions and non-profits. Williamson observed: 
Even the Ford Foundations's Moscow office sponsored its own internal Russian bond shop for which the unthinking Russian managers once asked this reporter to drum up US investors.(26)
It's interesting to note that the Ford Foundation is actively involved in the funding of "progressive" American media outlets, including Pacifica Radio, FAIR, Progressive Magazine, and is indirectly involved in several other well-known progressive media outlets and pundits.(27) At the same time, the Ford Foundation has been linked to the secret society Skull and Bones (through the late McGeorge Bundy), the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the CIA.(28) Both George W. Bush and John Kerry are members of that secret society.

Remarkably, all that heavy Western investment in the Russian bond market was executed largely in defiance of Russian Federation legislation that limited foreign participation in that market. The Clinton administration and Harvard operatives looked the other way as major Clinton campaign donors employed corrupt Russian officials and financial notables to purchase bonds beyond the legal limits on foreign participation set by the Russian government. Williamson noted in her testimony, "The bread and butter of all equity markets are bonds. Wall Street wanted a debt market. You [USAID] build it and we'll come, they said."

Williamson's unpublished manuscript details how those firms got in on the ground floor, such as Goldman Sachs, were able to work from the inside through alliances with personnel from Harvard's Russia Project.(29) Bonds represent debt. As with any debt, if it can't be paid, then the collateral used to secure it is forfeited. In this case, throughout the 1990s, what was forfeited was Russia's ability to function as a nation, to feed its people, and especially to support its military.

In the end, literally starved for cash, Russia sold much of its military equipment onto the black market. Some of it wound up in the hands of terrorist organizations from Bosnia to Chechnya and Russia's southern frontiers.(30) Again, when the time came for the US Empire to militarily occupy Central Asia and surround the oil fields of the Middle East, Russia had grave economic and military problems to deal with.

In describing how one particular looting scheme operated, Williamson testified:
The CIA has determined that through Nordex, FPI [the International Foundation for Privatization and Private Investment] seized the export earnings from Russia's natural resource companies -- oil, gas, platinum, gold, diamonds -- and from industrial firms exporting items such as steel and aluminum, and then stashed the hefty profits in Western bank accounts. And only now, eight years almost to the day later, do US taxpayers learn that the 'eager, young reformers' to whom their resources were sent for the purpose of building a new Russia were in league from day one with the exhausted Soviet nomenklatura in a scheme to loot Russia's wealth and park it in the West...(31)
Directors stashed profits abroad, withheld employees' wages, and after cash famine set in, used those wages, confiscated profits and state subsidies to 'buy' the workers' shares from them. The really good stuff -- oil companies, metals plants, telecoms -- was distributed to essentially seven individuals, 'the oligarchs,'  on insider auctions whose results were agreed beforehand. Once effective control was established, directors -- uncertain themselves of the durability of their claim to the newly acquired property -- chose to asset strip with impunity instead of developing their new holdings.
Is all of this starting to sound a bit like Enron? Like WorldCom? Tyco? Halliburton? Like any of about 20 major US companies I could name? It is perhaps not by coincidence that we see some familiar names cropping up in the orchestration of this campaign to loot Russia that continued across two different presidential administrations. The US secretary of state who began the dialogues on privatization as well as the dismantling of Russia's nuclear weapons was James A. Baker. The James Baker Institute was the co-sponsor of the CFR report on energy in 2001, and James Baker was, in the words of one oil industry lawyer, "all over" the deals to get the major oil companies into Central Asia. The first official US envoy sent to aid Russia in its transitions was our current [2004] Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. 

Eventually, of course, the Russian economy collapsed so badly that it was necessary to secure an IMF bailout. That's the kiss of death for any country. Americans paid for that. Then in 1998 the Russian ruble inevitably collapsed because the debt couldn't be paid, and the people started starving in earnest. Consider these passages from a congressional investigation, the aforementioned Cox Report:
The culmination of the Clinton administration's fatally flawed macro-economic policy for Russia occurred in August 1998, when Russia's default on its debts and devaluation of the ruble led to the nation's total economic collapse. By all measurements, the disaster was worse than America's crash of 1929.
The disaster that began on August 17, 1998, spread immediately throughout Russia. Millions of ordinary men and women who had deposited their money in Russian banks lost everything. ATM and debit cards ceased to work. Dozens of banks became insolvent and disappeared. Angry depositors besieged Russian banks, only to learn they had been wiped out.
Millions of senior citizens, whose meager pension income had been suspended for months, were cut off completely. When the dust finally settled in March 1999, the ruble -- and with it, every Russian's life savings -- had lost fully 75 percent of its value.
The devastation of Russia's economy was worse than what America experienced during the Great Depression. By 1932, the US gross national product had been cut by almost one-third. But within just six months of the 1998 crash, Russia's economy, measured in dollars, had fallen by more than two-thirds. From $422 billion in 1997 [the year when The Grand Chessboard was published], Russia's gross domestic product fell to only $132 billion by the end of 1998.
At the end of 1929, following America's disastrous stock market crash, unemployment in the United States reached 1.5 million, representing 1.2 percent of the total population. The 1998 collapse of the Russian economy was far worse: 11.3 million Russians were jobless at the end of 1998 -- 7.7 percent of the nation's total population.
In the crash of 1929, stock prices fell 17 percent by year end -- and 90 percent by the depth of the Great Depression four years later. By contrast, the Russian stock market lost 90 percent of its value in 1998 alone.
"Most fundamentally," said Sergei Markow, an analyst at the Institute of Political Studies, "it is a crisis of the real economy -- Russia doesn't work."(32)
How much capital was looted out of Russia? Five hundred billion dollars, according to Congress.(33) And that $500 billion was not stockholder equity, a paper loss from some mutual fund. It was cash.

This congressional investigative report into what had happened in Russia came from the House Policy Committee under chairman Chris Cox (R-CA), a fierce Clinton opponent and supporter of the failed impeachment effort. It told some hard truths, but accomplished very little. Cox made the mistake of believing that what he had revealed -- e.g., that the Clinton administration and Al Gore had openly gotten involved with criminals, and likely engaged in criminal behavior themselves -- was something that would hurt his political opponents. Of course, it did not. What Cox failed to understand was that he was exposing an effort that was above partisan politics -- an effort that was therefore protected. On the other hand, James Leach, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, understood this reality perfectly. Once "instructed," Leach immediately buried the findings from his own committee's 1999 hearings into Russian money laundering.

Cox would not be the first experienced member of Congress to suffer for his own naivete. As we will see, another Republican Congressman would make the same false assumption about the Clinton administration's activities, this time with respect to the Taliban. 

Anne Williamson succinctly summed up what had been done to the people of Russia. She pointed out, "The Soviet Union was economically self-sufficient except for bananas, coffee, and coconuts."(34) By the dawning of the new century, except for small parts of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other cities where the oligarchs spent their money, it was as badly ruined as it had been at the worst part of World War II. It was a basket case that was self-sufficient in nothing except for its own oil that, incidentally, had already past peak of production.

Special thanks are due to Anne Williamson, who provided most of the research for the Cox Committee's report and received so little acknowledgement for it.

*******
[footnotes below]
Audio excerpts from Crossing The Rubicon are in development. 
This is a labor of love, connecting dots and honoring Michael's spirit. Help keep 
his vital research and this historic book in the public mind.

Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home. Thank you!
TRC's founder, Gabrielle is admin / archivist for Crossing the Rubicon Official Book Page.
All excerpts published with express permission from Michael Ruppert and the copyright holder.
TRC does not profit from sales of the book.

*******
About : Published in 2004, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil by Michael C. Ruppert, remains a book of great historic significance. Close to 700 pages long with over 900 footnotes, it is a testament to Ruppert's years of exemplary service as a detective and investigative journalist. Crossing the Rubicon's findings remain unchallenged, not a word was asked to be redacted, and Michael was never sued. It sits in the Harvard Law Library.
*******
Footnotes: 
(1) Bruce W. Nelan, The Rush for Caspian Oil, TIME, May 4, 1998.
(2) Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Lawrence Hill Books, 1992. [Wiki]
(3) Ibid, p. 447.
(4) John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars, Pluto Press, 1999, p. 12
(5) Interview w/Vincent Javert in Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, January 15-21, 1998, p. 76, trans. Bill Blum. Special thanks to Jan Rainwater, PhD.
(6) Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, Basic Books, 1997.
(7) Ibid, p. 31.
(8) Ibid, p. 125. 
(9) Ibid, p. 124.
(10) Ibid, 87. 
(11) Ibid, p. xiv.
(12) Ibid, p. 132.
(13) Paul Thompson, The Complete 9/11 Timeline, Center for Cooperative Research, <www.historycommons.org>.
(14) Oil Baron's Court Taliban in Texas, The Telegraph, December 14, 1997.
(15) Brzezinski, p. 53.
(16) Ibid, p. 124.
(17) Nafeez Ahmed, The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked September 11, 2001, Tree of Life Publications, 2002.
(18) Bruce W. Nelan, The Rush for Caspian Oil, TIME, May 4, 1998.
(19) "Russia's Road to Corruption: How the Clinton Administration Exported Government Instead of Free Enterprise and Failed The Russian People," Members of the Speaker's Advisory Group on Russia; United States House of Representatives 106th Congress. Hon. Christopher Cox, Chairman; House Policy Committee (Cox Report), September, 2000.
(20) Testimony before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the U.S. House of Representatives, presented, September 21, 1999. Archive || Anne Williamson testimony MP3 audio.
(21) Ibid.
(22) Michael C. Ruppert, "The Bank of New York Laundromat," in FTW, Vol. II, No. 7, September, 1999. Additional corroboration can be found in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post and SEC filings archive <www.sec.gov>.
(23) Ibid.
(24) See Catherine Austin Fitts, "The Money Lords of Harvard: How the Money Works at the World's Richest University," [original link not found] Archival link
(25) Williamson, op. cit; Cox Report op. cit.
(26) Williamson, op. cit.
(27) Bob Feldman, "Alternative Media Censorship: Sponsored by CIA's Ford Foundation"
[original link not found] Archival link
(28) Ibid., and James Petras, "The Ford Foundation and the CIA: A documented case of philanthropic collaboration with the secret police," December 15, 2001 [original link not found] Mirrored link.
(29) Williamson, op. cit.
(30) Cox Report, op. cit. 
(31) Williamson, op. cit.
(32) Cox Report, op. cit. (33) Cox Report, op. cit.
(34) Williamson, op. cit. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

V for Vendetta or Victory? The Two Party System Unravels

submitted by Gabrielle Jones Price

Considering the absolute shit show that has occurred over this weekend, it is hard to know where to begin -- so let's start with the neoliberal/CON that occurred in Russia for an actual balanced report on why the Democratic Party and its flying monkeys are stuck on stupid with Russiagate.

There's about a dozen more hot messes to contend with afterward and making sense of any of it means we have to start with a little recent history. 

So grab a drink, or several as Abby Martin and American journalist Mark Ames break down the history of the neoliberal con that was perpetrated on the Russian people, courtesy of a dead, deep state psychopath: Zbigniew Kazimierz "Zbig" Brzezinski.

The Grand Chessboard is in play -- pay attention or you may miss something.




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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thoughts on Censorship || Banned Books Week 2017


submitted by Gabrielle Jones-Price

Around this time every year, I take time to celebrate the American Library Association's reading initiative called Banned Books Week. This year they asked readers to get involved on social media by creating videos, sharing 'selfies' with favorite banned books and asking us to reflect on and discuss issues like intellectual freedom and censorship.

I've been at this a long time but I'm hard pressed to think of anything more timely with the current state of affairs. When I decided to create this video, I found myself going back to the one book and author that changed my young mind in high school literature class. It was a pivotal moment in my education and the book I chose has turned out to be more than a little prescient.

Banned Books Week ends this Saturday, Sept. 30th, but there is still time to get involved. You can find resources and several ways to celebrate at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks and find banners to share on your social media pages below the video.




Please consider donating to keep the refreshments coming.


TRC is run solely on donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Sky Is A Neighborhood Part II: Permaculture, Heretics and Synchronicity

submitted by Gabrielle Jones-Price


The end of the Younger Dryas, about 11,500 years ago, was particularly abrupt. In Greenland, temperatures rose 10°C (18°F) in a decade.

"temperatures rose 10°C (18°F) in a decade."

It is that bit of data that has been keeping me up nights scratching my head and poring over as much data as I can find. Especially after learning about the work being done by Randall Carlson and Graham Hancock. I literally stumbled upon them discussing a theory during a random Joe Rogan podcast playing in the background. That's an interesting tale about synchronicity for another time.
Permaculture, Heretics, and Synchronicity...Oh My!

My chronicle of synchronistic phenomenon began in a hotel room where I sequestered myself for six months. I was there trying to wrap my mind around Mike Ruppert's work in Crossing The Rubicon while continuing news analysis and diving into study of peak oil. Late that summer, I had viewed the documentary he starred in called Collapse. This sequestration lasted from late 2010 after the BP Oil Disaster through early 2011 just before Occupy.

I didn't find myself in this hotel by choice initially. My daughter, myself and my cat had to escape an abusive roommate's home. This was a person I did a great deal of research with, protested with, sat and watched Mike's documentary with and a person who understood immediately the gravity of the information. A great bell rang, my mind was blown and this ranked as my first, and thereafter most difficult spiritual epiphany: everything really IS connected. Let's just say he handled the information differently.

After a time, my daughter took the cat and moved in with friends. I stayed in the hotel going through what other friends have since gone through, a few referring to it as our 'peak oil awakening'. I'd found these friends online in an intimate group familiar with Ruppert's work and in turn, introduced me to the work of others in the same vein. We discussed concerns openly and their support and friendship has been singular. Invaluable conversations were had and through those connections I discovered people practicing and sharing permaculture data. After a little digging, I was delighted to find a community in southern Indiana which at one time had its own peak oil task force.

I no longer felt alone with this information and my curiosity had paid off. A huge weight was lifted. Now I had a goal to focus on, and solutions for others seeking to have less impact on the environment at the local level. This was a huge 'ah ha!' moment. It seemed so simple, so intuitive...and mirrored how my grandparents had lived. The kind of wisdom one feels in the bones; that 'something' I'd known all along and could finally put a finger on it. I felt blessedly sane and the nonsense of the world unfolded with clarity. Everything made sense.
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Incidentally - mustn’t it be a peculiarly beautiful feeling to hit bottom in reality at least once, where there is no going down any further, but only upward beckons at best? Where for once one stands before the whole height of reality? ~ Carl Jung; Red Book; Page 266

Heretics Unite (or Reunite?)

I should mention that before this awakening, I'd been engaged in some form of spiritual practice for years. Meditation, yoga, mindful walking, Buddhist studies, a little medicinal to keep the ol' mind limber, and other modes of healing that are personal to me. The theme throughout these chosen practices has always been Earth focused. Grounding is necessary medicine for a sun/moon in Gemini.

Oh, I know some may stop reading, drop their jaws or maybe rolling their eyes just now. That's okay. I'm used to controversy. I've always been the 'paisley sheep' in my family but I wasn't the only one. My twice great Aunt Nella was named one of the top 5 astrologers in the United States, was featured in Life magazine in 1946, and even had her own radio program. Like the title of this post and the previous [thanks Foo Fighters]: The sky is a neighborhood. I'm not ashamed to be familiar with mine.

Aunt Nella, 1921 Follies dancer
Aunt Nella, 1946 Life Magazine
After my sequestration I was invited to travel with a seasoned cameraman to cover Occupy camps on the west coast in December, 2011. I'd covered the movement on my blog and it caught attention from others in media. I landed a quick and dirty interview with Mike Ruppert while traveling near his then home, Sebastopol, CA. This was only possible because of the friendships I'd forged in the online group. A few texts, a phone call and it was set up.



Both elated and intimidated, this was a peak moment for me personally as well as a professional woman in media. It was difficult to imagine that in less than a year, I'd discovered Mike's work, went through personal hell and six months of exile ... to find myself at the doorstep to interview the man considered a mentor to many. I really couldn't make this shit up. Much of what happened after our interview, the travels during and after Occupy are going in a book I aim to finish this winter. The photo below: my copy of Crossing The Rubicon with Mike's personal signature; one of the dearest things I own.





I'll dedicate a post about my Aunt Nella in the future. She was a truly fascinating woman.

Fast Forward

This past winter I took a pet sitting job offered by a professor of deep ecology with a focus on the Vedics. Another wonderful person I would never have met if not for a permaculture community in my chosen hometown in southern Indiana. It was not unlike being sequestered again, almost a six month gig, but this space was more a spiritual retreat; a lovely home with diverse books from floor to ceiling, Hindu art and sculpture, all surrounded by beautifully designed permaculture gardens.

Heaven.

Hell's 'honey do' list of healing: get closure on a heart-wrenching break up of a six year intimate relationship with a man I called friend for 30 years. [He 'ghosted'. In hindsight, I should've had a wake]. My favorite artist passed away tragically, as did friend and mentor, Mike Ruppert three years before. Loss of a job I was great at then ending a 15 year friendship whose heel-dragging, drunken drama lost me my apartment. Add collective shock over the election result and bonus bizarre email from my ex-ghost's not-so-new, saccharine-passive aggro-abuse-apologist girlfriend the same week...

Stick a fork in me. I was DONE and fresh hell waited unless I got serious about my work.

I put a Taoist proverb into practice: "Let go or be dragged." I let it all go: not my circus, not my monkeys, and definitely not my neighborhood. I fought to wrench my sanity back once and wasn't about to apologize for evolving past my old unconscious collective. I had been given the gift of a blessedly quiet, private, comfortable and sacred space to do inner work. I buried myself in studies, avoided other people's hell as much as possible and recorded a few podcasts. Thank goddess for like-minded friends and a little medicinal to keep the 'ol mind limber.


Cue Joe Rogan

One day during this retreat I had my Youtube channel on random play, listening to older and posthumously released interviews with Michael Ruppert in the kitchen. I'd recently been given the title Administrator for his fan page and Archivist for the official page of Crossing The Rubicon. This honor was humbling, indeed. I needed Mike's sober words and thought perhaps he'd impart something unknown in newer, unreleased footage. I left the audio on in the background.

After lunch and a little medicinal ... I had my nose in a book by permaculture genius and neighbor, Peter Bane, called The Permaculture Handbook. Peter was also publisher of Permaculture Activist which is now Permaculture Design Mag. He and his partner Keith were the same people who helped design the lovely gardens I was tending during my retreat. The professor left a copy of Peter's book out to study but I'd not opened it for a stretch. It happened to be sitting on the table in front of me.

While reading a portion of an entry enclosed in a sidebar, I gravitated to the words 'intuitive with the landscape'. Interesting, I thought...I'll keep reading. No more than a minute after seeing the words on the page, I heard "intuitive with the landscape" aloud from the monitor. Granted, it took me a moment to realize this actually happened outside my head. To prove that my mind wasn't a little too limber, I walked over to the device and found Joe Rogan interviewing Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson.

I was familiar with Graham but I didn't know a thing about this Randall Carlson fellow. What happened was the video before it was Joe's interview with Mike Ruppert. It had finished while I was distracted at lunch and the queue jumped to the next Joe Rogan Experience with Graham and Randall. I decided this instantaneous synchronicity was a sign and I shouldn't ignore it.

My ass got 'intimate with the landscape' of the couch. I settled in to discover what this interview was all about. Three hours of utterly mind-blowing epiphanies and several F-bombs later, I was overwhelmed, inspired and knew that more people in permaculture had to see this. Interesting to note, Mike Ruppert interviewed Graham Hancock in March of 2013, a little over a year before he shed this mortal coil.

I've watched this interview and others more times than I can count and I need more notebooks. I have developed great respect for Randall Carlson's dogged research and experience as well as Graham Hancock's storytelling abilities to bring this incredible data to life. It was Randall who used the words "intuitive with the landscape" while explaining his study of glacial flood-scapes in the northwest United States, including Washington, Montana and [drum roll please]...

Idaho.

I really couldn't make this shit up.
This is why I'm asking for your help so I can take
my unique perspective, cameras, research and writing skills to Idaho.
Please donate at the PayPal link below the video?


"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." ~ Carl Sagan
_____________

More on the way!


"The Refreshment Center is an amazing source of information and fresh perspective."
- Mike Ruppert
The Lifeboat Hour on PRN 9/30/12

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Thank you!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Sky Is A Neighborhood: Younger Dryas, Red Herrings and A Troubling Theory

submission and photography by Gabrielle Jones-Price

Storm cloud 1, 2006
From the NOAA website: The Younger Dryas is one of the most well known examples of abrupt (climate) change. About 14,500 years ago, Earth's climate began to shift from a cold glacial world to a warmer interglacial state.

Partway through this transition, temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere suddenly returned to near-glacial conditions. This near-glacial period is called the Younger Dryas, named after a flower (Dryas octopetala) that grows in cold conditions and that became common in Europe during this time. The end of the Younger Dryas, about 11,500 years ago, was particularly abrupt. In Greenland, temperatures rose 10°C (18°F) in a decade.

"temperatures rose 10°C (18°F) in a decade."

It is that bit of data that has been keeping me up nights scratching my head and poring over as much data as I can find. Especially after learning about the work being done by Randall Carlson and Graham Hancock. I literally stumbled upon them discussing a theory during a random Joe Rogan podcast playing in the background. That's an interesting tale about synchronicity for another time.

Please bear with me. I do not claim special knowledge on climate science, nor do I claim to know more than half a dozen scientists through my work as a media analyst. Analysis requires I choose carefully what data I share. I've always been keen to share 'news you can use': the kind of information that may motivate people to prepare for consequences that mainstream media neglects to inform a (supposedly) democratic society. There is a LOT we're not told. There's also a lot more on the internet and wading through what means absolutely nothing or doesn't seem a damn bit useful to human beings trying to make sense of the world has been a lot like herding cats. Now it's like trying to catch a lone catfish barehanded from a barrel full of red herrings.

It is time to back away from the barrel and announce those waters have been intentionally muddied, making it more difficult to grasp a clear picture. As a photographer it is annoying for any subject to be out of focus. At the same time, focusing too much on the same subject gets increasingly dull and myopic. Even science can get stuck in a dogmatic loop when it ignores new data. So I must admit that when I see large corporations, mainstream media and multi-billion dollar NGO's parroting the same evidence as independent scientists [especially among what are known as 'doomer' or extinction groups], I simply cannot help but be a little skeptical...especially during an 'information drought'. 

Is this really ALL there is to know? Can this really be the end of the road? I'm finding the answers to these questions are as preposterous as the notion that America is still a 'superpower'

Anyone who has known me and the work I've done knows I'm jaded, but I'm in pretty fine company. I'm reminded of the words of Wendell Berry, from his poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
That's exactly how I'm viewing Randall and Graham's work. The picture is far bigger than the barrel of red herrings. Frankly, I consider most news an utter distraction, not at all useful, unless of course your favorite pastime is paying a cable company to supply your own lobotomy.

I Was Born A Victory Gardener's Granddaughter 

I know scientists familiar with economics, peak oil, limits to growth, botany, ecology and permaculture. By sheer proxy of living in Indiana and being a photographer, who used to be crazy enough to chase thunderstorms, I needed to employ keen and intuitive observation skills for abrupt weather changes. This also meant paying attention to radar, barometric pressure and even animal behavior. Tracking storms was how I came to know areas of my home state intimately...not to mention a cornucopia of music on the road.

Storm cloud 2, 2006
Something that is asked of those who study permaculture is to 'be intuitive with your landscape.' I suppose this is exactly how I earned the title analyst. After all, observation and intuition is what any good photographer possesses. However, when you decide to chase storms, you have to analyse data along with using your intuition. Otherwise mother nature will treat your vehicle like a child's toy or hand you your ass...literally. 'Game over' by lightning, flying debris, or flash flooding. Awareness is key.

Admittedly, it was a bit of an adrenaline rush but I wasn't in it for that. It was the feeling of sheer awe to witness the beauty of nature's rage and her calmness; the bounty of blooming fields, the brightness of flowers and budding trees, even after the most violent spring storm. Incredibly humbling experiences. Fascinated by those changes since I was a little girl, I always asked lots of questions about my surroundings. Such is the bane of most adults; an overly inquisitive child with questions they couldn't always answer. We didn't have Google then so it was 'Get thee to a library!' if I wanted some answers no one could give me.

It was in a library I learned that lightning has enough electrical energy to separate nitrogen atoms in the air. Once separated they can fall to earth with the rain water, and combine with minerals in the soil to form nitrates, a type of fertilizer. Nitrogen made the grass and the leaves on the trees a brighter shade of green with every storm. A circle of life which I've come to learn is fractal on many levels.

Thank goddess for Carl Sagan.

Storm cloud 3, 2006
Chasing storms was not sport but trying to capture lightning on film. A bit like fishing with a regular 35mm film camera, it was a game of chance. I had to read radar, pay attention to wind speed and direction in order to be out ahead of a storm, and then hope I was in the right place at the right time. I saw a lot more than I was ever able to capture but was never disappointed by a light show. Living in tornado alley, I thought humans who lived within it would, like me, automatically have great respect and reverence for nature. They certainly respect the destructive power, as evidenced by the large emergency/warning systems throughout the state. Many family farms employ their root cellars for cover during tornadoes. However, the little girl full of questions grew up to discover that farming techniques have changed for the worse. The rise of toxic fertilizer, pesticides and corporate seed has nothing to do with reverence but exploitation.

This is why I continue to support Farm Aid and those working to shift that agricultural paradigm.

Myself and farmer friend, Megan | Greenhorns Tent, Neil Young ecovillage, 2015, Monsanto Years Tour, Ohio
You just aren't supposed to mess with natural cycles...but then again I've also learned that this is precisely what agriculture has been from the beginning. Agriculture is the birth of civilizations. Our industrial civilization which continues large scale mono-cropping is making the soil, the water, the air, the animals and all of us -- even our psyches -- incredibly sick. We did not remember the lessons of the Dust Bowl. We are disconnected from the circle of life; plugged into a mechanistic system that now hinges on the precipice of a cataclysm, known as 'peak oil' : steep energy decline. Growing seasons are unknown to many and younger generations don't understand that their food does not originate at a grocery store, or that water doesn't originate at the sink tap. To be fair, I may never have known these things myself had it not been for savvy grandparents; victory gardeners who were close to the land. What we now call organic is what my ancestors called, "food."

I miss their knowledge. The kind of folk wisdom that is passed down and sorely missing from our human experience.

We're A Species With Amnesia

This 'forgetting' is something that Graham Hancock reiterates often and I could not agree more. I would add that this is not simply because his work reveals more about ancient civilizations but that this amnesia continues through deliberate brainwashing of the current civilization. That barrel of red herrings we call 'news' is accurately described as propaganda, the brainchild of Freud's nephew, Ed Bernays. Public Relations has made us forget that we are human, that we are connected to the land, the animals, our food -- but we believe that a corporation is a person? This is dangerous amnesia. Revisionists have control of school books, newspapers, media, libraries and now work in the White House. Women's rights are being dragged into the dark ages. Racism is rampant. The social contract is in absolute tatters along with our psychological fabric when this is considered progress:


I'd say that is pretty cataclysmic...and fractal when we consider history we were never meant to forget. These things happened during WWII and what I learned from my grandfather about his service during his time as a field radio technician in France. He fought fascism, and so did I when I took to the streets during Occupy. Begging the question, if you are not anti-fascist...what are you if not an enemy of my ancestor who sacrificed greatly to secure Constitutional rights you're content to throw away? What we lose after that is basic human rights that are not handed to a soul but given by birthright.

These are heady and existential questions for another time. For the moment, I want to talk about a theory which is new to me, it is utterly mind-blowing and its consequences more dire than everything I have just mentioned...

...yes, everything.

After the storm - Mandelbrot tree reflection in pond, 2007
There are some problems we can collectively do something about. Some issues that are not muddied, not unfocused. The theory put forth by Randall and Graham will require a great deal of political will to evoke a response worthy of the challenge we face. I'm unsure any subject will ever be more important and here is where I know my stance will be irrevocably controversial; the following subject is more important than the theory of "human caused" climate change.

Why?

Climate change began a really, really long time ago before fossil fuels were even discovered by humans...and the theory is that Younger Dryas ended "about 11,500 years ago, was particularly abrupt" and points to cosmic impacts. In other wordsa comet [possibly a few] slammed into the earth and ended the ice age abruptly. The glaciers have simply been in steady decline and flux ever since.

Exactly like cheap, easy-to-get oil has been in decline since 1970. One thing we're certainly not running out of soon is a sky that is neighborhood to a LOT of comets. We just happen to be dodging some big debris that can effectively hand us our collective ass in an instant. Boom: No agriculture. No storm chasing. No libraries. No animals. No music, no art, no women, no men, no dancing, no books, no Democrats, no Republicans, no fascists, no Nazis, no money, no rights...no people.

Nothing.

This tragedy would not occur because of something any of us did but because of something we failed to do. We stopped paying attention and looking at the natural world with reverence. We stopped seeing the bigger picture of our Earth in the sky. We were hypnotized by red herrings, propaganda, celebrity culture, zit creme, alien conspiracies, shitty pop music, manicured lawns and steel belted radials. All the while, centuries of amazing knowledge has been lost to us, continues to be rewritten, censored, mocked and even burned. What of the clues left behind? What if Mr. Carlson and Mr. Hancock have stumbled upon a great truth -- the mother lode of all truths? A global reset button. The 'three finger salute' from the Universe. Control, Alt, Delete.

Reboot.

Now are you grasping what Graham Hancock means when he says 'we're a species with amnesia?' What has happened before, can happen again. Have mercy on us, goddess Kali! What I'm realizing in all the data they present is that climate change cannot be stopped. It is a natural cycle. It can only be mitigated and adapted to with as many permaculture principles as we can muster, teach en masse to heal the soil we've destroyed. Climate change did not do that -- humans did that. But we can evolve. We can adapt.

We also have the technology available to avoid another comet catastrophe. We'll not be able to avoid another one, unless and until -- we realize we're all one human family on this spaceship Earth and we start speaking loudly with one voice. A human voice. Like the heroic figures who fought Nazi's in WWII. Sophie Scholl comes to mind often these days because she understood that we will never survive what's on the horizon if we're at war with ourselves. The biggest questions left I can even think to ask is whether that one voice will be heard and if so, will it be the last cry of civilized humans to echo through the cosmos?

I don't know. I do not believe for an instant that any soul on this hurtling rock CAN know. What I can tell you is the curious little girl in my heart is amazed at the possibilities and in sheer awe of it all. She hopes you'll come back and see more data to be shared here and perhaps join her to work together to make something amazing happen. I am starting in Northern Idaho to follow some leads in the landscape to observe and continue study there. Along with permaculture, this is my work. The work.

No more red herrings!

My 50 year old self invites my fellow human beings to work to find themselves and their authentic voices. Cut your cable cord. Do your shadow work. Go outside for 24 hours. No. Go outside longer. Get away from social media. Dance. Sing a song. Heal. Write a shitty poem. Define yourself or this culture will destroy that, too. It's the most important freedom we still have. Our voice needs to be sober, focused, clear and it damn well better be loud.

In the spirit of a focused voice of clarity, please note that in the last 11,500 years of data, there is no proof that the Earth revolves around anyone's genitals...nor is it flat. Hail Sagan.
___________



"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." ~ Carl Sagan

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TRC is run solely on donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc.

Thank you!