• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

dinsdag 28 maart 2017

'Niet-westerse minderheden integreren beter dan witte stadsbewoners'


'Niet-westerse minderheden integreren beter dan witte stadsbewoners' 


Autochtonen en etnische minderheden in Rotterdam-Zuid ANP
Wat gebeurt er met de oorspronkelijke inwoners van een wijk of stad als ze zelf een minderheid zijn geworden? Socioloog Maurice Crul van de Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam onderzoekt de komende vijf jaar hoe de integratie verloopt voor deze "vergeten groep".
Hoogleraar Crul heeft een Europese subsidie gekregen van 2,5 miljoen euro. Met een team van acht mensen gaat hij in zes steden in Europa na wat het betekent voor bewoners dat ze in aantal langzamerhand zijn overvleugeld door mensen met een migrantenachtergrond.
Crul en zijn mensen zoeken daarvoor de autochtone bevolking op in de havensteden Rotterdam, Antwerpen en Malmö en in drie financiële centra: Amsterdam, Frankfurt en Wenen.

'Blinde vlek'

Volgens Crul is het een "blinde vlek'' dat de situatie van deze groep niet eerder is onderzocht. "Onderzoeken richten zich al veertig jaar op de integratie van migranten en hun nakomelingen", zegt de socioloog. 
Hoe de autochtone bewoners zijn geïntegreerd in de huidige, "super-diverse", samenleving is volgens hem niet goed in beeld gebracht.

'Witte bubbel'

Crul heeft de indruk dat de oorspronkelijke bevolking doet aan "zelfsegregatie". De bewoners leven in een "witte bubbel", waarbij ze hun kinderen naar een "witte school" sturen en het liefst wonen in een "witte wijk". Ook hebben ze nauwelijks vrienden met een migratie-achtergrond.
Mensen met een niet-westerse achtergrond mengen volgens Crul veel meer: Turken, Marokkanen, Surinamers en Antillianen hebben een vriendenkring die volgens hem veel diverser is.

Verschillen tussen steden

Daarnaast onderzoekt de hoogleraar de onderlinge verschillen tussen steden en wijken waar meer migranten wonen dan autochtone inwoners.
Zo stemt in Rotterdam bijna een derde van de autochtone Nederlanders op de PVV van Geert Wilders, terwijl deze partij in Amsterdam veel minder steun geniet. "Waarom slaagt integratie in de hoofdstad kennelijk beter?'', is een van de vragen waarop hij hoopt een antwoord te vinden met zijn team.

Daesh, Creature of the West

This image posted online on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, by supporters of the Islamic State militant group on an anonymous photo sharing website, purports to show a gunman firing at an unseen target, east of of Palmyra, east of Palmyra city, in Homs provence, Syria

Daesh, Creature of the West

© AP Photo/ Militant Photo 
COLUMNISTS
Get short URL
Pepe Escobar
46326574

James Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Emerging Threats at NATO – now that’s a lovely title – recently gave a talk at a private club in London on the Islamic State/Daesh. Shea, as many will remember, made his name as NATO’s spokesman during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

After his talk Shea engaged in a debate with a source I very much treasure. The source later gave me the lowdown. 
According to Saudi intelligence, Daesh was invented by the US government – in Camp Bacca, near the Kuwait border, as many will remember — to essentially finish off the Shiite-majority Nouri al-Maliki government in Baghdad.
It didn’t happen this way, of course. Then, years later, in the summer of 2014, Daesh routed the Iraqi Army on its way to conquer Mosul. The Iraqi Army fled. Daesh operatives then annexed ultra-modern weapons that took US instructors from six to twelve months to train the Iraqis in and…surprise! Daesh incorporated the weapons in their arsenals in 24 hours.
In the end, Shea frankly admitted to the source that Gen David Petraeus, conductor of the much-lauded 2007 surge, had trained these Sunnis now part of Daesh in Anbar province in Iraq.
Saudi intelligence still maintains that these Iraqi Sunnis were not US-trained – as Shea confirmed – because the Shiites in power in Baghdad didn’t allow it. Not true. The fact is the Daesh core – most of them former commanders and soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army — is indeed a US-trained militia.
True to form, at the end of the debate, Shea went on to blame Russia for absolutely everything that’s happening today – including Daesh terror. 
Mr. Sykes and Monsieur Picot, you’re dead
Now let’s go back to the proclamation of the Daesh Caliphate in June 29, 2014. That was choreographed as a symbolic abolition of the Sykes-Picot border that split the Middle East a century ago. At the same time, abandoning the option of a military push to take Baghdad, Daesh chose to regionalize and internationalize the fight, creating their own transnational state and denouncing regional states as “impostors”. All that coupled with the amp up of any chaos strategy capable of horrifying Western public opinion. 
For large swathes of a Sunni Arab audience, this was powerful stuff. Daesh was proclaiming themselves, in a warped manner, as the sole real heir of the different Arab Springs; the only totally autonomous regional movement, depending exclusively on its own local base, made up of numerous Bedouin tribes.
But how did we get here? 
Let’s go back once again – now to Iraq in the 1990s, during the Clinton era. The strategic logic at the time spelled out an instrumentalization of UN resolutions — with Washington de facto controlling Iraq’s oil, manipulating the price as a means of pressure over trade competitors much more dependent on Iraqi oil such as China, Japan and selected European nations.
9/11 turned this state of affairs upside down – leading to the 2003 neocon ideological stupidity and subsequent amateurism managing an occupation in total ignorance of history and the ultra-complex dynamics between the Iraqi state and society. Saddam Hussein was the de facto last avatar of a political arrangement invented by imperial Britain in 1920. With the invasion and occupation, the Iraq state collapsed. And the Cheney regime had no clue what to do with it.
There was no Sunni alternative. So Plan B, under major pressure by Shiites and Kurds, was to give voice to the majority. The problem is political parties ended up being religious and ethnic parties. The partition of power, Lebanese-style — Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds – turned out to be a dysfunctional nightmare. 
Between 2005 and 2008, this American attempt to rebuild the Iraqi state yielded a horrendous confessional civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. The Sunnis lost. And that largely explains the subsequent success of Daesh in creating a “Sunniland”.
The US occupation-Arab Spring love affair
Now let’s turn to the Syrian version of the Arab Spring in February/March 2011. Initial protests against Assad’s iron rule were peaceful – multi-communitarian and multi-confessional. But soon anti-Alawite rancor started to radicalize a significant part of the Sunni majority.
As historian Pierre-Jean Luizard, a specialist in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon at the French CNRS reminds us, Syria was the favorite land of Hanbalism – a most conservative branch of Sunni Islam that highly influenced the emergence of Wahhabism in the Arabian Peninsula. That implies a virulent anti-Shiism. Thus the emergence among the Syrian armed opposition of multiple Salafi-jihadi groups, most of all Jabhat al-Nusra – a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria. 
Meanwhile, Assad fine-tuned a message to the West and his own Sunni bourgeoisie oscilating between allegiance and dissidence; it’s me, or chaos. Chaos ensued, anyway; horrendous structural violence, all-around institutional decrepitude, total territorial fragmentation. 
So it’s fair to argue that both US occupation and the Syrian Arab Spring ended up producing the same result. With some differences; in Iraq, Daesh enjoys the (silent) support of a majority of Sunni Arabs. In Syria, Sunnis are divided; Daesh may rule the desert — Bedouin culture, but it’s Jabhat al-Nusra that captured significant Sunni support in big urban centers such as Aleppo. In Iraq, the borders between the three large communities – Sunni, Shiite, Kurd – are more or less frozen. In Syria, it’s a never-ending jigsaw puzzle.
What happens next is a mystery. The de facto independence of Iraq Kurdistan may solidify. The Baghdad government may increasingly represent only Shiites. Yet it’s hard to see Daesh consolidating its control of Sunni Iraq – not with the ongoing Battle of Mosul.
Blowback rules the wilderness of mirrors
It’s easy to dismiss Daesh as the apex of barbarian cultural idiosyncrasies. Even wallowing in gruesomeness, Daesh has been able to project a universalist dimension beyond its Sunni Arab Middle Eastern base. It’s like the clash of civilizations playing in a wilderness of mirrors. Daesh amplifies the clash not between East and West, or the Arab world and the Atlanticist hegemon, but mostly between a certain (warped) conception of Islam and assorted infidels. Daesh “welcomes” everyone, even Catholic Europeans while persecuting Arab infidels and bad Muslims.
It’s no wonder the Caliphate — a concrete utopia on the ground – finds an echo among young lone wolves living in the West. Because Daesh insists on the colonial Franco-British – and then neocolonial American — history of Muslims being trampled upon by a dominating, infidel West, they manage to channel a diffuse sentiment of injustice among the young.
Everyone – US, France, Britain, Russia, Iran — is now at war with Daesh (Turkey only half-heartedly, as well as the House of Saud and the GCC petrodollar gang; for them this not a priority.)
But this is a war without a serious political long-term perspective. No one is discussing the place for Sunni Arabs in an Iraq dominated by the Shiite majority; how to put the Syrian state back together; or whether private donors to Daesh from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates will simply disappear.
The encirclement of Raqqa and the re-conquest of Mosul will mean absolutely nothing if the causes of Daesh’s initial success are not addressed. It starts with the West’s mission civilisatrice as the cover story for unbounded colonial domination, and it straddles the methodical, inexorable, slow motion American destruction of Iraq. Blowback will continue to reign over the wilderness of mirrors; an attack near the British Parliament by a knife-carrying lone wolf “soldier answering “its call” killing four people mirrored by US jets bombing a school near Raqqa killing thirty-three civilians.
Petraeus may have trained them in the deserts of Al-Anbar. But most of all that rough beast, slouching towards Camp Bacca to be born, bore the touch of a Western mind.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Operation Mosul: A Medieval Massacre

Operation Mosul: A Medieval Massacre
By Stephen Lendman
March 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -  Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described it this way weeks after US-led terror-bombing and Iraqi ground operations began last October – long before the worst horrors ongoing now.
US-orchestrated operations are being conducted under “conditions of absolute information blockade,” Zakharova explained.
Nothing was done to protect, evacuate or otherwise help civilians. They’ve been on their own in harm’s way without humanitarian or any other type aid or consideration for their welfare and safety since last October.
Hundreds of thousands remain trapped in the city. Others getting out risk their lives to do it – as endangered by US terror-bombing as ISIS fighters.
In the battle for Aleppo, Russia and Syria established humanitarian corridors – without aid from the UN or other countries. Great care was taken to avoid civilian casualties, why liberating the city entirely took so long.
Moscow ceased aerial operations in October 2016 to protect civilians, long before the battle for Aleppo was won in late December.
The West and supportive media disgracefully portrayed a heroic Leningrad-type liberation as naked aggression.
They’re largely silent on the rape and destruction of Mosul. What’s reported falsely portrays liberation. Nothing about US terror-bombing mass murder. An orchestrated coverup of reality continues.
No help was provided for desperate city civilians, tapped in harm’s way. In months of fighting, likely thousands were massacred, countless others injured, hundreds of thousands displaced – by indiscriminate US terror-bombing and ground artillery fire.
Western media are complicit by silence with rare exceptions. On March 23, London’s Independent cited local media sources, saying Thursday airstrikes on Mosul caused “230” civilian deaths.
“A correspondent for Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency operating in northern Iraq, said that 137 people – most believed to be civilians – died when a bomb hit a single building in al-Jadida, in the western side of the city on Thursday.”
“Another 100 were killed nearby.  Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes,” according to Kurdish journalist Hevidar Ahmed, reporting from the scene of the massacre.

RT reported over 130 civilians massacred overnight in Mosul from US terror-bombing. The death toll could be much higher. Bodies are being pulled from rubble, a slow, arduous task.
According to a local eyewitness,

“(t)he entire neighborhood was fleeing because of missiles that hit, so people had taken refuge here.”

“I didn’t know if it was a shelter. I didn’t know we couldn’t go there. My entire family is inside, 27 people. We pulled only one of them out and don’t know about the rest. Yes, he was dead.”

Civilians suffer most in all wars. Contempt for their agony and trauma in Mosul and other US war theaters compounds their desperation.
Surviving is a daily struggle. Many don’t make it. Others are scarred for life.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.netHis new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html - Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Chris Hedges and The Feuding Kleptocrats

Published on 
by 

The Feuding Kleptocrats

 (Illustration: Mr. Fish / Truthdig)'The kleptocrats, in the end,' writes Hedges, 'have only one real enemy: us.' (Illustration: Mr. Fish / Truthdig)
The Trump kleptocrats are political arsonists. They are carting cans of gasoline into government agencies and Congress to burn down any structure or program that promotes the common good and impedes corporate profit.
They ineptly have set themselves on fire over Obamacare, but this misstep will do little to halt the drive to, as Stephen Bannon promises, carry out the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Donald Trump’s appointees are busy diminishing or dismantling the agencies they were named to lead and the programs they are supposed to administer. That is why they were selected. Rex Tillerson at the State Department, Steven Mnuchin at the Treasury Department, Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, Rick Perry at the Department of Energy, Tom Price at Health and Human Services, Ben Carson at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education are eating away the foundations of democratic institutions like gigantic termites. And there is no force inside government that can stop them.
The sparing of Obamacare last week was a Pyrrhic victory. There are numerous subterfuges that can be employed to cripple or kill that very flawed health care program. These include defunding cost-sharing subsidies for low-income families, allowing premium rates for individual insurance to continue to soar (they have gone up 25 percent this year), cutting compensation to insurers in order to drive more insurance companies out of the program, and refusing to enforce the individual mandate that requires many Americans to purchase health insurance or be fined. The Trump administration’s Shermanesque march to the sea has just begun.   
William S. Burroughs in his novel “Naked Lunch” creates predatory creatures he calls “Mugwumps.” “Mugwumps,” he writes, “have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor-sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each other to shreds in fights over clients. These creatures secrete an addictive fluid though their erect penises which prolongs life by slowing metabolism.” Those addicted to this fluid are called “Reptiles.”
"The kleptocrats, whatever their differences, are united by one overriding fear. They fear large numbers of people will become wise to their kleptocracy and revolt. They fear the mob. They fear revolution, the only mechanism left that can rid us of these parasites."
The addiction to the grotesque, to our own version of Mugwumps, has become our national pathology. We are entranced, even as the secretion of Trump’s Mugwump fluid repulses us. He brings us down to his level. We are glued to cable news, which usually sees a huge falling off of viewership after a presidential election. Ratings for the Trump-as-president reality show, however, are up 50 percent. CNN, which last year had its most profitable year ever, looks set in 2017 to break even that record and is projecting a billion dollars in profit. The New York Times added some 500,000 subscribers, net, over the past six months. The Washington Post has seen a 75 percent increase in new subscribers over the past year. Subscriptions to magazines like The New Yorker and The Atlantic have increased.
This growth is provoked not by a sudden desire to be informed, but by Americans’ wanting to be continually updated on the soap opera that epitomizes the U.S. government. What country will the president insult today? Mexico? Australia? Sweden? Germany? What celebrity or politician will he belittle? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Barack Obama? John McCain? Chuck Schumer? What idiocy will come out of his mouth or from his appointees? Can Kellyanne Conway top her claim that microwave ovens that turned into cameras were used to spy on Donald Trump? Will DeVos say something as stupid as her assertion that guns are needed in schools to protect children from grizzly bears? Will Trump make another assertion such as his insistence that Obama ordered his phone in Trump Tower to be tapped?
It is all entertainment all the time. It is the result of a media that long ago gave up journalism to keep us amused. Trump was its creation. And now we get a daily “Gong Show” out of the White House. It is good for Trump. It is good for the profits of the cable news networks. But it is bad for us. It keeps us distracted as the kleptocrats transform the country into a banana republic. Our world is lifted from the pages of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel “The Autumn of the Patriarch,” in which the “eternal” dictator was feared and mocked in equal measure.
The kleptocrats—and, now, those they con—have no interest in the flowery words of inclusivity, multiculturalism and democracy that a bankrupt liberal class used with great effectiveness for three decades to swindle the public on behalf of corporations. That rhetoric is a spent force. Barack Obama tried it when he crisscrossed the country during the presidential campaign telling a betrayed public that Hillary Clinton would finish the jobstarted by his administration.
Political language has been replaced by the obscenities of reality television, professional wrestling and the daytime shows in which couples find out if they cheated on each other. This is the language used by Trump, who views reality and himself through the degraded lens of television and the sickness of celebrity culture. He, like much of the public, lives in the fantasy world of electronic hallucinations. 
The battle over health care was all about the most effective way to hand money to corporations. Do we stick with Obamacare, already a gift to the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical industries, or do we turn to a sham bill of pretend care that gives even more tax cuts to the rich? This is what passes for nuanced political debate now. The courtiers in the media give the various sides in this argument ample airtime and space in print, but they lock out critics of corporate power, especially those who promote the rational system of Medicare for all. Health care costs in the United States, where 40 cents of every health care dollar goes to corporations, are double what they are in industrial countries that have a national health service. This censorship on behalf of corporations is the press’ steadfast lie of omission. And it is this lie that leaves the media at once distrusted by the public and complicit in Trump’s fleecing of America. When we are not being amused by these debates among corporate lackeys we listen to retired generals, all making six-figure incomes from the weapons industry, selling the public on the imperative of endless war and endless arms purchases.
Trump understands the effectiveness of illusions, false promises and lies, an understanding that eludes those in the Freedom Caucus, many of whom want to do away with health care systems that involve government. If the ruling kleptocrats strip everything away at once, it could provoke an angry backlash among the population. Better to use the more subtle mechanisms of theft that worked in Trump’s casinos and his fake university. Better to steal with finesse. Better to strip the government on behalf of corporations while promising to make America great again.
The kleptocrats, whatever their differences, are united by one overriding fear. They fear large numbers of people will become wise to their kleptocracy and revolt. They fear the mob. They fear revolution, the only mechanism left that can rid us of these parasites.
They are perverting the legal system and building mechanisms and paramilitary groups that will protect the kleptocrats and oligarchs when the last bits of the country and the citizens are being “harvested” for corporate profit. They don’t want anything to impede the pillage, even when climate change forces people to confront the reality that they and their children may soon become extinct. They will steal despite the fact that the ecosystem is collapsing, heat waves and droughts are destroying crop yields, the air and water are becoming toxic and the oceans are being transformed into dead zones. There will be hundreds of millions of desperate climate refugees. Civil society will break down. They won’t stop until their own generators have run out of fuel in their gated compounds and their private security forces have deserted them. When the end comes they will greet it with their characteristic blank expression of idiocy and greed. But most of us won’t be around to see their epiphany.
The kleptocrats have placed all citizens under surveillance. This is by design. They sweep up our email correspondence, tweets, web searches, phone records, file transfers, live chats, financial data, medical data, criminal and civil court records and information on movements. They do this in the name of the war on terror. They have diverted billions of taxpayer dollars to store this information in sophisticated computer systems. They have set up surveillance cameras, biosensors, scanners and face recognition technologies in public and private places to obliterate our anonymity and our privacy. They are watching us constantly. And when a government watches you constantly you cannot use the word “liberty.” The people’s relationship to government is that of slave to master.
The kleptocrats have used the courts to strip us of due process and habeas corpus. They have constructed the largest prison system in the world. They have militarized police and authorized them to kill unarmed citizens, especially poor people of color, with impunity. They have overturned the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which once prohibited the military from acting as a domestic police force, by passing Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1021 gives the kleptocrats the power to carry out extraordinary rendition on the streets of American cities and hold citizens indefinitely in military detention centers without due process—in essence disappearing them as in any totalitarian state. The kleptocrats have handed the executive branch of government the power to assassinate U.S. citizens. And they have stacked the courts with corporate loyalists who treat corporations as people and people as noisome impediments to corporate profit.
This omnipresent surveillance state and militarization of the forces of internal security are designed to thwart popular revolt. These tools are the moats the kleptocrats have built to protect themselves from the threatening hoards. Full surveillance, as political philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote, is not a means to discover or prevent crimes, but a device to have “on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” The most innocuous information will be twisted and used by the kleptocrats to condemn anyone considered a threat.
The kleptocrats, in the end, have only one real enemy: us. Their goal is to make sure we are mesmerized by their carnival act or, if we wake up, shackled while they do their dirty work. Our goal must be to get rid of them.
Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us MeaningWhat Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.