Tag Archives: who.what.why.

OBAMA TRIES TO WOO ALLIES IN FINAL PUSH FOR TRADE DEALS ONLY CORPORATIONS LIKE


President Barack Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews aboard Air Force One. Photo credit: Pete Souza / White House
President Barack Obama’s recent trips to Europe and Asia were more than farewell tours with photo ops. While the media focused on an admittedly cute picture of the president shaking hands with Prince George, and dutifully reported his official remarks in Vietnam and Hiroshima, Obama was busy pushing some of the policies he sees as integral to his “legacy.”

These include a military buildup against a newly assertive China and beating the drums for two international trade deals that are increasingly opposed in the United States, Europe and Asia as being too corporate-friendly.

To understand what is driving the opposition to both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), WhoWhatWhy spoke to experts on the countries Obama visited.

Britain is the second largest economy in the EU. This is not lost on Obama, who sees a unified Europe as more receptive to American economic and political interests. So says Robert Gulotty, a University of Chicago political science professor and author of “America and Trade Liberalization: The Limits of Institutional Reform.”

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REASONS TO DOUBT THE OFFICIAL OSAMA RAID STORY — FIVE YEARS LATER

Washington Post, Osama bin Laden

The Washington Post reporting Osama bin Laden’s death  Photo credit:  Justin Grimes / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
WhoWhatWhy exists in good part to serve as a kind of reality check. Its goal is to step outside the echo chamber, in which, no matter how improbable the “official” story, the media and the public reflexively accept it.

WhoWhatWhy exists to remind us that the powerful — whether corporations or presidents or national security agencies — often exaggerate, cherry-pick facts, and even construct total falsehoods in service of their agenda.

We see that again and again, with Vietnam, with Watergate, with Iraq, with the claimed reasons for invading AfghanistanLibya and, through surrogates, Syria.

The examples are legion. Each time the propaganda machine comes up with a new story, our society’s default response is to accept it. And the bigger the story, the harder it is for people to imagine they are being lied to.  And the more discomfort it causes, the more cognitive dissonance kicks in. Then we rally around the flag — and lash out at the skeptics.

Most recently, we encountered this with the Boston Marathon Bombing case, where so much doesn’t add up, but few seem to care.

An earlier case, which comes to mind now because this is its fifth anniversary, was the May 2, 2011, raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. On that occasion, we were told, the United States avenged the greatest terrorist attack ever on its soil, when U.S. special forces swooped into an allied foreign country and successfully killed the No. 1 archvillain of our time — Osama bin Laden.

While the full range of media organizations, mainstream and “alternative,” accepted the government’s account, within hours of the raid, we began raising questions — and we have kept on doing so. You can read those early articles here:

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DEEP HISTORY AND THE GLOBAL DRUG CONNECTION, PART 3: A DEADLY BUREAUCRACY

Opium poppies in Helmand

Opium poppies in Helmand Photo credit: U.S. Marines / Wikimedia
Introduction by Russ Baker:

More musings from Peter Dale Scott, the “father of Deep State analysis.” It’s heady and sometimes difficult material, but no one has gone as deeply as he has in trying to understand the nature of power in America, and ties between the state, the Underworld, and the criminal elements of the wealthy, or the Overworld.

In Part 3, we learn of the covert — but benign-sounding — government Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which formally institutionalized off-the-books financing of criminal activities. Its purpose was to engage in “subversion against hostile states.” But it went further than that. Much further.

This is Part 3 of a 5-part series. Please go here to see Part 1, and here to see Part 2.

Excerpt from American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014), Introduction. Deep History and the Global Drug Connection:

Deep Events and Illegally Sanctioned Violence

Max Weber defined the successful modern state as something that “successfully upholds a claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence [Gewaltmonopol] in the enforcement of its order.” (26)

It is against this illusory ideal, subscribed to by most political scientists, that many states have recently been judged to be weak states (if the monopoly is successfully challenged) or failed states (if its claim can no longer be sustained).

My own thinking is that Weber’s definition falsely invests the public state with a structural coherence that in fact it does not possess, never has possessed, and possesses even less as democracy develops. Even in America, one of the more successful states, there has always been a negative space in which overworld, corporate power, and privately organized violence all have access to and utilize each other, and rules are enforced by powers that do not derive from the public state.

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CORRUPTION AND CONTEMPT: THE HIDDEN STORY OF HURRICANE KATRINA- part 1 of 5

With tens of thousands trapped in the Superdome and looting out of control in the parts of the city still above water, FEMA was headed up by the least qualified person imaginable — Michael Brown. 
Photo Credit: Andrea Booher / FEMA Photo Library

With tens of thousands trapped in the Superdome and looting out of control in the parts of the city still above water, FEMA was headed up by the least qualified person imaginable — Michael Brown. Photo Credit: Andrea Booher / FEMA Photo Library
This article was originally assigned, accepted, and paid for in full by Vanity Fair — which never got around to publishing it, and graciously released it to the author. It tells the story of the cronyism, corruption, ineptness, contempt for the public and utter shamelessness of the Bush family apparatus and its extensive network. With yet another Bush now contesting the White House, and with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon us, we would do well to study this closely. It documents unequivocally how greed and self-interest in high places can tear apart the very fabric of American society. Originally written within months of Hurricane Katrina, it will still make your blood boil.

This week we publish it in five parts. It has been slightly updated from the original. 

Days after Louisiana’s Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency and the National Hurricane Center warned the White House that Hurricane Katrina could top the New Orleans levee system, the only FEMA official actually in the city itself — Marty J. Bahamonde — was not even supposed to be there. He had been sent in advance of the storm and was ordered to leave as it bore down, but could not because of the clogged roads.

Michael Brown, the head of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), was known to have made it as far as Baton Rouge but seemed out of reach.

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Part II

Part III