9/11 Truth: WTC Debris and The Debate on Nano Thermite

May 10th, 2014 by Dimitri Diamant

Briefly, as an introduction, this otherwise lengthy article deals with recent new developments as to the events of September 11, 2001. The nature of these developments is such that additional review in terms of Internet closely related and sometimes subtle topics is warranted; and so the discussion here is presented now in an outline format:

1. Earlier, prominent independent research as to 9/11 was conducted by Steven Earl Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University, Utah. Dr. Jones is an expert in an area of science known as muon cold fusion, and, from the point of view of physics, this is somewhat related to the various uses of thermite. Naturally, Dr. Jones was somewhat concerned about the presence of thermite residue afterwards at Ground Zero, suggesting the possibility of demolition. However, thermite can also be used when cutting steel, such as the large columns of steel remains that then had to gradually be removed from the scene. Thus, the concerns of Dr. Jones were confronted by his being placed on paid leave, and he then resigned his tenure at Brigham Young University.

2. A discussion as to the American Society for Quality, website address www.asq.org, can now be of interest. Their mission statement includes:

“Long-known as the American Society for Quality and established in 1946, ASQ has been the sole administrator of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program Award since 1991. ASQ marks the 25th anniversary of its International Team Excellence Award at the World Conference on Quality and Improvement in 2010. ASQ’s participation and influence in international standards includes its role as the administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group of the ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility, to be released in 2010.

“Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., ASQ supports membership services and business operations through ASQ Global, ASQ China, and ASQ Mexico; with ASQ WorldPartners® around the globe; and through its work with ANAB and RABQSA.”

The ASQ conducts periodic examinations leading to the award of the title Certified Quality Engineer. This is an area of expertise that can convey the aspects of one being an expert technician, although those with both BS and MS degrees are more recently entering the field.

3. Consequently, Congress has created a federal agency known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, often known as the NIST. A few years ago, an Environmental Health Manager with Underwriters Laboratories, Kevin R. Ryan, CQE, became concerned with assigned 9/11 evaluation activities being conducted by the NIST, and so he communicated with them accordingly. It happens that the work of CQE’s exactly matches the work of the NIST. Similar, one could say, to the outcomes concerning Dr. Steven Jones, Kevin Ryan was then dismissed by Underwriters Laboratories.

4. Next, there is the question of peer review. All Ph.D. faculty members of major universities, especially in the sciences, are expected to conduct periodic research, and they then send papers, always with an introductory abstract, to professional journals, which then have confidential referees who conduct a peer review to see if the paper warrants publication.

 By means of the Internet, one can find www.bentham.org. This is an organization that now sponsors a relatively large number of scientific journals, and their offices are located in the United Arab Emirates. This is the small country that has put up the Burj Tower, a building actually twice the height of the Sears Tower. After you arrive at their home page, you can then click Bentham Open Home, and then click Journals A-Z. After a bit of a search, you can then find the Open Chemical Physics Journal, and then click View Journal Articles, and then Volume 2, Year 2009. The following entry is then found:

Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe

 pp.7-31 (25) Authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen

Some have expressed concern that peer review activities have traditionally taken place in America and Europe; but the world is changing now, and an adequate review of www.bentham.org shows that responsible scientists from all over the world are, in fact, properly represented here.

5. Here, a certain digression is needed, in the interests of Internet verification. There is a company known as RealVNC, Ltd., with offices in Cambridge, England. VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing, and this appears to involve quite extensive communications, mutually agreeable, between a computer A and a computer B at two different locations. The Internet address for this company is www.realvnc.com, and they do make available, apparently as a starter, a free version known as vncviewer4. Of course, this company will be expanding this technology for use by the iPhones, etc.

6. Next, there is a website known as cipshare.com. The letters cip probably stand for (British) Columbia Internet Providers. All their website does is to make available a free download of vncviewer4.exe. At the upper left, if you click View and then Source, all their very brief html does is to exactly provide you with this free, and nothing more. This turns out to be satisfactory as to the legalities of RealVNC, Ltd., but one might ordinarily want to get this instead from the usual location, realvnc.com. Meanwhile, after consulting whois and internic, the owners of cipshare.com do what many do, and they maintain their privacy. Otherwise, their Registrar is Wild West Domains, Inc., website wildwestdomains.com.

7. Now, as what amounts to a conscientious gesture, cipshare.com has added a subpage (no need for reference within the html) known as:

 /NielsHarrit_org

Notice the clever substitution of the underscore for the usual period. This is actually a reference to the lead author cited in 4. above, Niels Holger Harrit. What the sponsors of cipshare.com have done is to, in effect, relieve the additional burden otherwise necessitated here. It turns out that /nielsharrit_org provides a full description of the credentials and a full description of the work of Prof. Niels H. Harrit, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. After adding all of this up, we find that everything here is responsible and correct. -

8. Now, the introductory Abstract to the relevant paper of Dr. Niels Harrit and colleagues is presented:

“We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in all the samples we have studied of the dust produced by the destruction of the World Trade Center. Examination of four of these samples, collected from separate sites, is reported in this paper. These red/gray chips show marked similarities in all four samples. One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later. The properties of these chips were analyzed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The red material contains grains approximately 100 nm across which are largely iron oxide, while aluminum is contained in tiny plate-like structures. Separation of components using methyl ethyl ketone demonstrated that elemental aluminum is present. The iron oxide and aluminum are intimately mixed in the red material. When ignited in a DSC device the chips exhibit large but narrow exotherms occurring at approximately 430 °C, far below the normal ignition temperature for conventional thermite. Numerous iron-rich spheres are clearly observed in the residue following the ignition of these peculiar red/gray chips. The red portion of these chips is found to be an unreacted thermitic material and highly energetic.”

9. Further discussion of all of this is now warranted. Whereas Prof. Steven E. Jones is a physicist, Prof. Niels H. Harrit is a chemist. There is a German website known as www.gulli.com, and a search here (suche) can be made for wtc 9/11. A rigorous interview, also presented there in English, of Dr. Harrit can be found. During the interview, Dr. Harrit stated that the debris material that they collected was actually, in effect, weapons grade nano-thermite, aspects of which are classified information. In a colloquial sense, one could say that this is something that a Manhattan resident isn’t going to ordinarily find lying around, let us say, at the Bronx Zoo. The question then becomes, this being the case, how could Dr. Harrit have access to the specifics of this substance? The answer is that Dr. Harrit specializes in nano-chemistry. This means that whatever material you might present to someone with this background, he or she will know how to gradually diagnose just exactly what the substance amounts to, or, as turns out to be the conclusion, just how powerfully explosive the diagnosed substance at hand happens to be. During the interview, Dr. Harrit stated:

 ”Yes, the particles are much smaller. But it is prepared in a radically different way compared to ordinary thermite, where the small particles are made by making bigger particles smaller. In nanomaterials, the particles are prepared from atoms and molecules.”

Some have suggested that iron oxide and aluminum were naturally present within the collapsed structures, eventually scattered here and there with concrete, etc.; but this is totally different from weapons grade nano-thermite, prepared as a uniform powder, from atoms and molecules.

10. The interview also rigorously probed as to exactly how the debris material was collected for analysis. Dr. Harrit then referred the interviewer to his paper. Here is a detailed, and somewhat surprising explanation as to how this was done:

“It was learned that a number of people had saved samples of the copious, dense dust, which spread and settled across Manhattan. Several of these people sent portions of their samples to members of this research group. This paper discusses four separate dust samples collected on or shortly after 9/11/2001. Each sample was found to contain red/gray chips. All four samples were originally collected by private citizens who lived in New York City at the time of the tragedy. These citizens came forward and provided samples for analysis in the public interest, allowing study of the 9/11 dust for whatever facts about the day might be learned from the dust.

“The earliest-collected sample came from Mr. Frank Delessio who, according to his videotaped testimony [17], was on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge about the time the second tower, the North Tower, fell to the ground. He saw the tower fall and was enveloped by the resulting thick dust which settled throughout the area. He swept a handful of the dust from a rail on the pedestrian walkway near the end of the bridge, about ten minutes after the fall of the North Tower. He then went to visit his friend, Mr. Tom Breidenbach, carrying the dust in his hand, and the two of them discussed the dust and decided to save it in a plastic bag. On 11/15/2007, Breidenbach sent a portion of this dust to Dr. Jones for analysis. Breidenbach has also recorded his testimony about the collection of this dust sample on videotape [17]. Thus, the Delessio/Breidenbach sample was collected about ten minutes after the second tower collapsed. It was, therefore, definitely not contaminated by the steel-cutting or clean-up operations at Ground Zero, which began later. Furthermore, it is not mixed with dust from WTC 7, which fell hours later.

“On the morning of 9/12/2001, Mr. Stephen White of New York City entered a room in his apartment on the 8th floor of 1 Hudson Street, about five blocks from the WTC. He found a layer of dust about an inch thick on a stack of folded laundry near a window which was open about 4 inches (10 cm). Evidently the open window had allowed a significant amount of dust from the WTC destruction the day before to enter the room and cover the laundry. He saved some of the dust and, on 2/02/2008, sent a sample directly to Dr. Jones for analysis.

“Another sample was collected from the apartment building at 16 Hudson Street by Mr. Jody Intermont at about 2 pm on 9/12/2001. Two small samples of this dust were simultaneously sent to Dr. Jones and to Kevin Ryan on 2/02/2008 for analysis. Intermont sent a signed affidavit with each sample verifying that he had personally collected the (nowsplit) sample; he wrote:

“‘This dust, which came from the “collapsed” World Trade Center Towers, was collected from my loft at the corner of Reade Street and Hudson Street on September 12, 2001. I give permission to use my name in connection to this evidence’. [Signed 31 January 2008 in the presence of a witness who also signed his name].

 ”On the morning of 9/11/2001, Ms. Janette MacKinlay was in her fourth-floor apartment at 113 Cedar St./110 Liberty St. in New York City, across the street from the WTC plaza. As the South Tower collapsed, the flowing cloud of dust and debris caused windows of her apartment to break inward and dust filled her apartment. She escaped by quickly wrapping a wet towel around her head and exiting the building. The building was closed for entry for about a week. As soon as Ms. MacKinlay was allowed to re-enter her apartment, she did so and began cleaning up. There was a thick layer of dust on the floor. She collected some of it into a large sealable plastic bag for possible later use in an art piece. Ms. MacKinlay responded to the request in the 2006 paper by Dr. Jones by sending him a dust sample. In November 2006, Dr. Jones traveled to California to visit Ms. MacKinlay at her new location, and in the company of several witnesses collected a second sample of the WTC dust directly from her large plastic bag where the dust was stored. She has also sent samples directly to Dr. Jeffrey Farrer and Kevin Ryan. Results from their studies form part of this report.

“Another dust sample was collected by an individual from a window sill of a building on Potter Street in NYC. He has not given permission for his name to be disclosed, therefore his material is not included in this study. That sample, however, contained red/gray chips of the same general composition as the samples described here.”

11. We are now at a time when very large numbers of professionals in the United States and Europe, and in other parts of the world as well, are becoming increasingly aware that, to say the least, something is wrong here. Meanwhile, those who continue to push the Bush story on this are dwindling in number, they are becoming more desperate, and they are using more and more language that is crude.

For example, there is a Mr. Joseph Nobles who has changed the top level domain name of org to info, and, although he is neither an architect nor engineer, he has registered his domain name as ae911truth.info. Within his website, Mr. Nobles describes his background as follows:

“I am currently a live voice writer, which means I produce captions for live television using voice recognition software. I used to be a working actor with the various “day jobs” such a profession requires. I also graduated from International Bible College (now Heritage Christian University) with a BA in Bible, and attended Harding Graduate School of Religion for two years pursuing a Masters in Christian Theology. I am now an agnostic on all matters religious.”

Then, as an example or two of the language that Mr. Nobles uses, we find:

 ”They pretend to be spreading real and valuable information, but their website and presentations are filled with misinformation and lies.

“The Top 10 Boneheaded Mistakes made by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.” (available there for clicking)

12. At the website globalresearch.ca, can be found an excellent article by Elizabeth Woodworth that provides an ample anthology of how the responsible media that they still have throughout Europe are already reacting to the findings of Dr. Niels H. Harrit.

Has America Lost its Proxy War on Syria? What Now?

May 10th, 2014 by Dr. Ismail Salami

Thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Iran and Russia, Syria is gradually recuperating a callous crisis wrought by Washington and its regional Arab puppets.

According to an agreement brokered by the UN, Russia and Iran, foreign-backed militants left the Syrian city of Homs on Thursday and the city is now fully under the full control of government forces.

“Old Homs is totally clean of armed terrorist groups,” a banner on Syrian TV read.

“What has been achieved was a result of efforts that lasted for months starting through evacuating hundreds of civilians from the Old City and settling the cases of nearly 820 gunmen who have given up and handed over their weapons to authorities,” said the provincial governor, Talal al-Barazi.

A country hitherto reduced to desperation and dereliction, Syria has sustained wounds which will take years to heal. Barely is there now any hope whatsoever for removing President Bashar al-Assad from power and installing a US-friendly regime instead in the country.

That is a fact we can’t deny and nor can Washington.

The naked truth is that Washington has by now relinquished all hopes for putting this pernicious plot into a practical shape. In fact, the foreign-backed militants fighting in Syria will soon have to leave the country with their tails between their legs.

 Interestingly, there is a mounting fear that the homegrown brainwashed European Takfiris in Syria many of whom hailed from Britain and France may now return to their countries with their overblown ambitions for inspiring terror and atrocity in their own lands. In other words, there is a great angst that chickens come home to roost.

In an Op-ed for the New York Post, John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, implicitly confessed to the manifest debacle of the West in handling the situation in Syria, their political ineptitude and gargantuan miscalculations on a systematic paradigm of regime change followed by Washington in different parts of the world.

An amusing character whose knowledge of events is chiefly culled from the figments of his imagination rather than from the realities on the ground, Bolton has blatantly accused Syria of trying to use chemical weapons for a second time.

 By now, the entire world knows that the use of chemical weapons by Damascus is a threadbare lie and even the UN report pointed with all force to the absurdity of this claim by the West. However, Mr. Bolton does not bother to read or watch news and relies instead on his truncated perceptions. Or maybe he prefers to turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the realities like his American compeers.

 He states that

“chaos is growing, with increased fighting among the opposition groups … and fresh evidence that Bashar al-Assad is again using chemical weapons. But the chaos of US Syria policy is growing too, with the news that the administration is now supplying the rebels advanced weapons.”

 In the end, Bolton who has come to a similar conclusion concerning Syria, comes up with a genius idea: i.e. Washington should focus on “the real threats, neither minimizing nor dismissing them, and not be distracted by Syria’s conflict… Iran’s unrelenting pursuit of nuclear weapons may yet awaken our president from dreamland.”

The question is: when the West in cahoots with the Arab puppet regimes participated in a dangerous game in Syria, destroyed the infrastructure of the country, demolished the dreams of a nation, and caused the deaths of over 150,000 people including innocent women and children, were they fundamentally propelling a popular uprising in Syria?

It is now more than naïve to presume that Washington entertains humanitarian objectives in Syria. Basically, the country was viewed as a definitive road to Tehran and a subsequent empowerment of Tel Aviv in the region much to the chagrin of resistance movements such as Hezbollah.

As for Iran there is almost a general consensus that the country’s ‘nuclear weapons program’ is a lie invented by the US government to foment Iranophobia on the one hand and vindicate an eventual invasion of the country in the eyes of the international community on the other hand.

This farcical notion has been recently rejected even by the Israelis. In a recent interview with Israel’s Ynet, Israeli Brigadier General Uzi Eilam berated Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies on Iran, saying he and “other politicians have inspired terrible and unnecessary fear into the hearts of the Israeli public.”

Eilam who headed the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) from 1976-1985 said, “The Iranian nuclear program will only be operational in another 10 years… Netanyahu is using the Iranian threat to achieve a variety of political objectives” and that he was pursuing his personal goals.

After all, Iran does not need an Israeli to prove that it is pursuing a civilian nuclear program and that it does not have the least intention of using the achieved nuclear technology to produce nuclear weapons as the idea runs counter to the very principles upon which the Islamic Republic has been built. Besides, it violates the binding fatwa issued by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei against the production and proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Any Syria-style conceived plot by Washington against Iran is sure to end in failure– a more mortifying debacle indeed.

In the final analysis, Iran is apparently seen as a geopolitical thorn in Washington’s side and any desperate attempt to remove this thorn will only intensify the pain. 

Africa Is Up For Sale By The Acre To The Highest Bidder

May 10th, 2014 by Atheling P Reginald Mavengira

Africa is up for sale by the acre to the highest bidder. But how can rice exports from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia be justified?

Land grabs have grabbed global attention. It’s on the agenda at the World Economic Forum this week, and as the trend for large land acquisitions accelerates, it has moved from being primarily a story about Middle Eastern petrodollars pouring into Africa, to a much more widely spread phenomenon affecting many parts of south-east Asia, such as the Phillipines, as well as Latin America.

In Cambodia, 15% of land has been signed over to private companies since 2005, a third of which are foreign. A new set of research studies from the International Land Coalition find the competition for land increasingly global and unequal.

Many of the deals are shrouded in secrecy, so the scale of what is happening is not clear, nor is it clear who is benefiting from these deals; a number of new reports try to tease these issues out, such as theInternational Institute for Environment and Development’s analysis of legal contract, which is published on Monday.

It’s not hard to see why the subject generates so much attention. It’s partly the secrecy element, partly the fear: who is buying up the future? Large-scale land acquisition prompts all too vividly visions of a dystopian future in which millions of the hungry are excluded from the land of their forefathers by barbed wire fences and security guards as food is exported to feed the rich world.

This is no longer just a fear for the future. The US environmentalist Lester Brown points out in his new book, World on the Edge, that in 2009 Saudi Arabia received its first shipment of rice produced on land it had acquired in Ethiopia while at the same time the World Food Programme was feeding 5 million Ethiopians. Similarly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China has acquired 7 million hectares for palm oil production and yet millions of people in the DRC are dependent on international aid for food.

Brown warns that “land grabbing is an integral part of the global power struggle for food security”. He argues that geopolitics for several centuries have been dominated by the issue of access to markets, but increasingly in the future this will be replaced by the overriding importance of access to supplies. Food importing countries are anxiously securing their food supplies, all too aware that exporting countries can impose export bans to meet their needs. In 2007 both Russia and Argentina, major grain exporters, put in place export bans and it sent waves of panic around the world, which have probably played a big part in fuelling land acquisition deals.

Much of the attention so far has focused on Africa. Most of the biggest deals have been in countries such as Ethiopia, Mali and Sudan. The imminently independent south Sudan has seen investors queuing up to exploit one of the areas of greatest potential for as yet under developed agricultural land. In comparison with many other areas of the world, land in Africa is very cheap; in Ethiopia, land can be leased for as little as $1 an acre.

China is acquiring land at the fastest rate, but South Korea is not far behind. It has now set up an agency specifically dedicated to making direct agreements with farmers and landowners to secure supplies.

Many African governments are defensive about the deals. Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi is expected to talk on the subject in Davos this week; in the past he has argued that investment in African agriculture is crucial to improve the continent’s low agricultural productivity. He has argued that foreign investors bring in mechanisation and expertise which is vital for development. Many campaigners would agree that investment is badly needed, but insist that the future for African agriculture is not mechanised monocultures for export but supporting sustainable smallholder agriculture. They argue that the latter is far more likely to ensure food security for the poorest Africans.

Some land deals claim to try to meet the needs of smallholders and bring investment at the same time. When I visited Mali recently, a number of local campaigners argued that the Millennium Challenge Account project had invested in the irrigation needed and was training local farmers.

But this small example was outweighed by the enormous anxiety in Mali about the foreign investors who were leasing hundreds of thousands of hectares in a country where the population is rapidly expanding and the land suitable for agriculture is shrinking as the desert expands. Lester Brown rightly points out that the real issue here is not so much land deals as water deals. What is driving the land grabs is the scarcity of water. Saudi Arabia used to produce a lot of wheat, but it is the decline of its aquifers that is forcing it to look abroad to secure its future food.

Leasing and buying land are always ultimately about access to water, and in many parts of Africa this could be a major source of future conflict. Sudan and Ethiopia both feed water into the Nile; intensifying production in these areas could divert water. The Libyan lease of 100,000 hectares in Mali has involved the construction of a massive dam, diverting water from the Niger, a river on which several countries, including Niger and Nigeria, depend.

So what can be done? The World Bank has proposed guidelines for these kinds of deals, but has no way of enforcing them. Many campaigners, such as the international NGO GRAIN work with groups in affected countries who demand accountability and transparency from their governments. In Mali I heard how the CNOP, Coordination Nationale des Organisation Paysannes de Mali was bravely challenging the government, but it was far from clear what success it had had in checking the pace of land acquisitions.

This phenomenon reflects all too starkly the powerlessness of smallholder farmers across the world. They lack the formal land rights or the access to political power in their countries which would enable them to ensure these deals worked in their interests. Instead, the future of their children is being sold over their heads.

Atheling P Reginald Mavengira is founder and Chairman of APRM Capital Holdings.  He is incredibly effective at analyzing both unstructured and structured data/information and thus have an unequaled capacity and capability of converting/manipulating that into effective intelligence.

As most in the former USSR celebrated the 69th Victory Day over Nazi Germany today, the US-backed government in Kiev (which took power after the February coup) decided to launch one of its bloodiest military operations thus far, this time against the anti-coup protesters Mariupol, eastern Ukraine. As much of the Ukrainian military has proven unreliable to the post-coup regime in Kiev, the new interim authorities have assembled their own “national guard” and other militias from the extreme nationalists who were behind the violence in Kiev just two months ago. The result is an extremely aggressive “shock troop” force that seems to shoot first when faced with protesters.-Bloodukraine

Mariupol May  9, 2014
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The US government has repeatedly claimed that protesters in eastern Ukraine who reject the legitimacy of the post-coup government in Kiev are in fact Russian agents. With an intelligence budget of nearly $100 billion, however, US authorities have only been able to put forth debunked claim after debunked claim. First it was satellite imagery proving Russian troops massing on the border. Debunked. Then it was the blatant “anti-Semitic” forgery which Kerry insisted he was certain had been issued by the anti-Kiev authorities in the east. Debunked. Then it was photos hustled by the State Department said to show Russian special forces active in Ukraine. Debunked. And so on. It seems that to the US government, facts simply do not matter. In pre-February 22 Kiev, the legitimate government was warned against using any force to put down an armed revolt. That rebellion, now in power, is actually encouraged by the US to use military force against civilians in eastern Ukraine.And force it uses. Here, protesters armed only with folding chairs found themselves under live fire from Kiev forces. Warning: two unarmed protesters are shot in the video, which is extremely graphic. One of them is shot in the head, to the horror of the crowd all around him. Here is another angle. Here, Kiev forces open fire on a police station in Mariupol that announced it would no longer take orders from Kiev. You can see one of the troops — in a civilian neighborhood — fire a rocket-propelled grenade directly into the police headquarters. The police building was demolished with an unknown number of dead. Still, protesters continue to resist the rule of Kiev. Today, as the pro-Kiev governor of Kerson oblast spoke fondly of Hitler’s forces trying to “liberate” Ukraine from communist rule, one brave mother could take it no longer. She marched right up to the podium (starting at 1:40) with her baby in arms, told the politician off, grabbed his microphone, and threw it to the ground. That’s non-violent resistance at its best. Things weren’t much better for coup-installed president Turchynov and prime minister Yatsenyuk.
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In Kiev, capitol of the revolution, they were heckled by the crowd at the Victory Day gathering, who drowned them out chanting “Hitler Kaputt! Bandera Kaputt!” Nevertheless, they retain support from the force that still matters: the US government and its NATO war machine, which seems totally uninterested in military violence against civilians. In fact, the US administration has called these military operations against unarmed civilians “proportionate and reasonable.” US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who had just two months ago cheered on armed protesters seeking to overthrow the elected government in Kiev and warned that government against any response to the violent protests, was singing a different tune now that the US-backed insurgents have attained power.
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As Ukrainian military forces launched a bloody operation last week in the eastern city of Slavyansk, she told her UN counterparts that the Kiev “response is reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any one of our countries would have done in the face of this threat.” Even Salon.com is finding it difficult to stomach the odious Samantha Power, calling her a “brazen hypocrite.” What other word could be used to describe the sickening silence from the White House and State Department as their allies burn unarmed protesters alive in Odessa (warning!), murder civilians at random in Slavyansk, and shoot Victory Day celebrators in the head in Mariupol?
Hypocrisy. Sickening hypocrisy.
The next battle against Wall Street may be brewing and this one is in Los Angeles City Hall.

If it erupts, the soldiers will be a scrappy, wonky, and sophisticated phalanx of labor, neighborhood, and religious activists. Their research has exposed the fact that Wall Street banks were paid $200 million in fees alone last year by the City of Los Angeles; many millions more than the city spent on fixing its streets.

The comparison between City Hall and our streets makes City Hall officials wince; claiming it mixes apples with oranges. But there’s more than catchiness in the comparison. The new report, Fix LA, shows that at least $106 billion in public money overall, from airports, seaports, utilities and pension funds, goes to private financial institutions that profit from fees, lending and leveraging those funds.

Citizens and elected officials often are overwhelmed and under-qualified to understand the weird and complicated transactions – debt swaps and derivative trades, for example – that Wall Street employs to extract maximum profit from all that public capital. There is no single Los Angeles official mandated to bargain with Wall Street. No official consumer watchdog, no fledgling Elizabeth Warren or Ralph Nader. No inspector-general to investigate financial industry fraud. No mainstream investigative reporters on the case, not so far anyway. While insiders and advocates will pore over the city’s multi-billion annual budget this month, no single monitor is minding the hundreds of millions funneled to Wall Street’s predatory care, as the report charges.

City officials will have their chance to respond in public hearings over the next several weeks, based on a motion being introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz this Friday; one seconded by Council member Gil Cedillo. Budget and Finance Committee chair Paul Krekorian, waiving the report, promised thorough public scrutiny of its data and claims.

Koretz is challenging the prevailing notion that the main role of local government is to cut its budgets for essential services, embrace austerity as inevitable, and pray that Wall Street investors notice. The city’s budget already has been cut 19 percent per capita since the Wall Street crash. The city paid out $133 million in taxpayer money last year alone to Wall Street firms for managing its pension funds.

While labor contracts are always “on the table” in budget talks, no one ever suggests that the city should put its Wall Street contracts “on the table” for cuts or renegotiation.

While public employers are blamed perennially in the media and politics for making excessive wage demands, when was the last time anyone questioned Wall Street for making excessive fee demands?

While the public absorbs sixty percent cuts in the city budget for picking up debris and trash, who complains about banks charging $7.9 million for managing the city’s cash?

The Koretz motion calls on the city to either renegotiate or terminate a financial deal involving the City of Los Angeles and Bank of New York Mellon, which turned sour after the 2008 Wall Street crash. Koretz says the deals like this have cost the City $65 million since 2008.

According to a Brookings Institute report, “A growing body of evidence…suggests that borrowing costs are too high. Given that the value of municipal bonds outstanding is $2.9 trillion, municipal borrowers and their investors are leaving billions of dollars on the table every year because of borrowing costs, fees, and other transaction costs. These costs are a drain on state budgets; (and) make investments in education, infrastructure, health care and utilities more expensive…”

From a Wall Street perspective, cities look like large and inviting pools of public capital waiting to be privatized, just like Social Security on the national level. But in the progressive tradition, the role of government is to deploy public resources to maximize returns in the public interest. Progressive public officials are tasked with striking the best deal for their constituents. From the Wall Street perspective, financial transactions should be carried out in milliseconds, which leaves no role for public hearings, oversight or regulations. Campaign contributions are meant to lubricate the bureaucratic machine.

The Fix LA report just might force a debate over the role of a democratic government in a market economy because the report is potentially much more than fifteen pages plus an appendix. The research is sound enough to embarrass many observers who claim to “know” Los Angeles. The effort is led by the Coalition of LA City Unions, including SEIU Local 721 and AFSCME District Council 36, representing collectively 22,000 city workers with the resources of staff, structure, and a budget for organizing. Only last week they sent out tens of thousands of glossy campaign-style pamphlets complete with readable headlines and charts. Union members are pouring over the report’s findings. The question is whether their campaign takes root with a broader public. The issues are complicated. The injuries inflicted are harder to notice than home foreclosures. The ideological argument over austerity has divided even liberals. The power of campaign contributions can be chilling. The public mood may be too cynical at the moment.

A truly grassroots campaign might begin change all that. The Fix LA organizing effort, which already has sponsored a town meeting in South Central and advocates’ visits to Council offices, relies on neighborhood-based organizations like Community Coalition, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a roster of clergy with roots in the past and present campaigns for a living wage. If the forces that were aroused by Occupy Wall Street in 2011 are ready for ignition, there’s a possibility of bringing the fight with Wall Street to Main Street LA, the address of City Hall.

Update May 5, 2014

As promised, the City Council budget committee held a several-hour hearing Monday on the issues raised by the Fix LA Coalition’s research paper on Wall Street profits from LA city funds. Chaired by Council member Paul Krekorian, the hearing saw five Council members engaging intently with the report’s authors, labor leaders and community-based representatives. The hearing was uniquely significant in that the labor-community advocates for the first time were invited to have a seat at the table as part of the official city agenda. The hearing, which lasted several hours, was televised live on the LA city channel.

In a few weeks, the Fix LA Coalition will also hold another lengthy and detailed dialogue with City Controller Ron Galperin and experts from his office. Galperin, who is one of only three LA citywide elected officials, has independent audit powers. Recent Controllers’ reports have questioned whether the city has gotten the best return on its investments, and whether passively managed investments are sometimes perform better than actively-managed ones, which obtain the higher management fees.

Normally, Wall Street fees and management practice are evaluated by methods comparing other cities and pension funds. Therefore if all comparable fees are within the same range, they are considered acceptable. In the growing debate in LA, officials are being asked to compare Wall Street fees with budget cuts for essential services like street repair and with the long-term costs of downsizing urban services.

For full testimony, see A Balanced Plan to Fix LA and the Coalition of LA City Unions Presenation to the LA City Council Budget & Finance Committee

AFRICOM Prepares for More Conflicts in Mali, Nigeria and Somalia

May 10th, 2014 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

This incisive text first publish by GR in March 2013 sheds light on the hidden agenda behind Washington’s R2P military intervention in Nigeria. 

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Northern Mali is a direct threat to US national security interests according to Major General Carter F. Ham during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on March 15th, 2013.  Ham said that although there have been progress in AFRICOM’s mission; new threats have emerged this year that is a strategic importance to the United States and its allies.  According to American Forces Press Service of the U.S. Department of Defense:

“The general said three violent extremist organizations are of particular concern in Africa: al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, active in northern and western Africa; Boko Haram in Nigeria; and al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

Ham’s main concern however was in Northern Mali because it threatens U.S. national security interests directly.  With France’s invasion back in January 2013 to stop al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has not been a military success obviously since AFRICOM’s leadership is concerned.  AQIM is tied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) the same group France intervened with in Libya during NATO’s invasion of Libya that provided weapons, aircraft and Special Forces to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s government.  Now AFRICOM who supported NATO’s intervention in Libya is now fighting AQIM in Mali.  A convenient excuse for AFRICOM to expand its military operations in Africa to fight terrorists:

“The growing collaboration of these organizations heightens the danger they collectively represent,” he said. “Of the three organizations, AQIM, which exploited the instability that followed the coup d’état in Mali and seeks to establish an Islamic state in northern Mali, is currently the most likely to directly threaten U.S. national security interests in the near- term.”

Ham admitted that AFRICOM is aiding the French and African military against AQIM and other affiliated terrorist organizations in northern Mali with drone operations operating in Niger.

“We are supporting French efforts with information, airlift, and refueling, and are working with the Department of State to support the deployment of West African forces to the African-led International Support Mission to Mali,” he said. “Recently, we began unarmed, remotely piloted aircraft operations from Niger in support of intelligence gathering efforts in the region.”

Ham said that AQIM is spread across the Sahel region of north-central Africa south of the Sahara Desert and that it requires a regional effort to challenge the threat with AFRICOM, the State Department and USAID under the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership.  Ham said that “The partnership involves 10 northern and western African nations and the United States, he said, and aims to develop partner militaries’ counter-terrorism capabilities and build regional cooperation against AQIM and related extremist groups.” Expect AFRICOM to expand its footprint throughout Africa since terrorist groups are still considered a formidable threat.

However, the real threat to “US national security interests” in Africa is not AQIM, Boko Haram or al-Shabaab, it is China’s demand for natural resources for their growing economy. The US and France plan to counter the threat along with Africa’s puppet government’s that will pose a challenge to China’s economic and diplomatic influence in the region.  The new Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will have to confront this reality in the near future.

The US and French governments want to assure themselves that the new Chinese leadership will not continue its beneficial relationships with resource-rich African nations that have been a success in the past.  Therefore, the ‘War on Terror’ will create instability and will disrupt China’s economic growth.  AFRICOM mission is to create war in the name of fighting terrorism and that is what “US national security interests” in Africa is really about.

 

The establishment media has yet to report on a deadly attack in Gamborou Ngala in the Borno State. According to a report posted today by Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper, the jihadist terror group Boko Haram stormed the town and killed around 300 people.

Boko Haram’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which translated from the Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” The group is a Takfiri offshoot of the Salafi movement. Salafi-Takfiris attack other Muslims and Christians they consider apostates. Boko Haram has worked to impose sharia law in Nigeria, north Cameroon and Niger. It has killed Christians, bombed churches, attacked schools, police stations, government installations, and has kidnapped western tourists.

Prior to the attack, the establishment media covered an announcement on Monday issued by the Obama administration stating the United States will send military, intelligence and law enforcement advisors to Nigeria to help the government there locate and rescue more than 270 teenage girls abducted by Boko Haram.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the team will not be used for military purposes and will share intelligence investigative services in the search for the students kidnapped April 14 from a rural high school in Nigeria’s predominately Muslim northeast. Obama said the abductions may “mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization.” In October 2013, the U.S. designated Boko Haram a terrorist group.

In 2012, Obama invoked the War Powers Resolution to increase the number of U.S. military personnel deployed to Nigeria. The incoming Commander of the U. S. Africa Command (Africom) at the time, Gen. David M. Rodriguez, said Boko Haram operations threatened Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Mali and Chad. Rodriguez said the U.S. has authority in Africa in response to the threat posed by al-Qaeda.

In 2012, The Nigerian Tribune reported Boko Harm’s funding was traced to the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund. In 2005, The Center for Security Policystated “Al-Muntada has, incidentally, been particularly active in promoting Wahhabi-style Islamism in Nigeria… Al-Muntada… pays for Nigerian clerics to be ‘brainwashed’ in Saudi universities and imposed on Nigerian Muslims through its well-funded network of mosques and schools.”

Similar schools, known as madrassas, were established in Pakistan during the CIA’s covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. They were financed by Saudi Arabia and its network of charities. “Between 1982 and 1992, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 43 Islamic countries in the Middle East, North and East Africa, Central Asia and the Far East would pass their baptism under fire with the Afghan mujahideen,” writes Phil Gasper. The Afghan mujahideen would ultimately produce al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

In addition to support by the Saudis, Boko Haram has received indirect assistance from NATO via Libya’s al-Qaeda mercenaries.

“During an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera with Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud, the AQIM leader states that Algeria-based organizations have provided arms to Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement ‘to defend Muslims in Nigeria and stop the advance of a minority of Crusaders.’ It remains highly documented that members of Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who fought among the Libyan rebels directly received arms and logistical support from NATO bloc countries during the Libyan conflict in 2011,” writes Nile Bowie.

AQIM and Boko Haram, however, pose less of a threat in Africa than China does. “The US and France plan to counter the threat along with Africa’s puppet government’s that will pose a challenge to China’s economic and diplomatic influence in the region,” writes Timothy Alexander Guzman.

Nigeria is the 13th largest oil producer in the world. The western Africa nation’s other natural resources include natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and arable land.

“The US and French governments want to assure themselves that the new Chinese leadership will not continue its beneficial relationships with resource-rich African nations that have been a success in the past.  Therefore, the ‘War on Terror’ will create instability and will disrupt China’s economic growth.  AFRICOM mission is to create war in the name of fighting terrorism and that is what ‘US national security interests’ in Africa is really about.”

This incisive article by Nile Bowie was first publish two years ago by GR in April 2012 sheds light on recent events.

While the atrocities committed by Boko Haram are being used to justify an R2P “humanitarian” intervention in Nigeria, it is worth noting that covert financial support as well as military training has been channeled to Boko Haram by two of America’s staunchest allies: Saudi Arabia and the UK.

Boko Haram receives funding from different groups from Saudi Arabia and the UK, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund, headquartered in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society [8]. ..

Moreover Boko Haram has ties to two Al-Qaeda affiliated organizations namely Al QWaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), both of whicha were supported covertly by Western intelligence and NATO (during the war on Libya).

What is the hidden agenda of this diabolical covert operation directed against Nigeria?

Weaken and destabilize Nigeria as a Nation State of 160 million people, trigger sectarian divisions and then come to the rescue of Nigeria under a humanitarian military banner.

Michel Chossudovsky, GR Editor, May 10, 2014   


CIA Covert Ops in Nigeria:  Fertile Ground for US Sponsored Balkanization

by Nile Bowie

Global Research, April 11, 2012

While the Sahel security crisis continues to deteriorate following Tuareg rebels’ declaration of an independent state in Mali’s troubled northern territory [1], recent events in Nigeria indicate a potential for increased regional instability. Boko Haram, a Salafist organization seeking to overthrow the secular administration of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has recently killed 38 civilians in a suicide car bomb targeting nearby churches holding Easter services in the northern city of Kaduna [2].

As part of an ongoing campaign of sectarian violence, the group has strived to implement sharia law through the establishment of an Islamic State in northern Nigeria [3]. The group’s belligerent acts of violence claimed more than 500 lives during 2011 [4], prompting President Jonathan to call the current security crisis more dire than that experienced during 1967’s Biafran civil war, adding that jihadi sympathizers have successfully infiltrated his government and security agencies [5].

The group has claimed responsibility for the August 2011 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja [6], and its adoption of sophisticated tactics indicate that Boko Haram is receiving arms and training from abroad. Mainstream outlets can now be seen readying public opinion for an increased presence in Africa under the Right to Protect Doctrine (R2P) by warning of increased terrorist attacks in Europe, following shifts in Islamist activity away from Iraq and Afghanistan, to the “ungoverned spaces” of the Sahel [7]. While the ongoing War on Terror provides the needed justification for the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) to expand its base of operations throughout the Sahel and the troubled regions of east and central Africa, the modus operandi of Boko Haram indicates foreign nurturing in numerous mediums.

The Nigerian Tribune has reported that Boko Haram receives funding from different groups from Saudi Arabia and the UK, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund, headquartered in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society [8]. During an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera with Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud, the AQIM leader states that Algeria-based organizations have provided arms to Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement “to defend Muslims in Nigeria and stop the advance of a minority of Crusaders” [9].

It remains highly documented that members of Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who fought among the Libyan rebels directly received arms [10] and logistical support [11] from NATO bloc countries during the Libyan conflict in 2011. While top AFRICOM General Carter Ham claims terrorist networks pose a “real challenge” to the United States [13], warning of the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and the stock of chemical weapons they obtained after raiding Gaddafi’s weapons bunker [12], the confirmed reports accusing the US of arming and training Islamist terrorist groups remain safely neglected in official Pentagon press statements.

While NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Admiral James Stavridis openly acknowledged the presence of Al-Qaeda fighters among Libya’s rebels [14], the New Yorker has recently confirmed that the US has trained members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq in Nevada [15], a US State Department listed terrorist organization (#29) [16] responsible for the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists [17]. As the UN warns that weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades and explosives from Libya may reach Boko Haram [18], armed Tuareg fighters in northern Mali have been seen operating in army issue Toyota Hi-Lux technical trucks [19], armed with mortars, machine guns, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons originally belonging to the LIFG, al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan rebels [20]. UN reports also disclose that Boko Haram members from Nigeria and Chad had received training at Al-Qaeda camps in Mali in 2011 [21].

Nigerian recruits were reportedly trained in an earlier incarnation of AQIM, referred to as the Algerian Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC) [22], and superficial aspects of Boko Haram’s operations reflect Nigeria’s 1982 Maitatsine uprisings, a fundamentalism movement countering perceived government oppression [23]. As sectarian violence continues unimpeded, the prospects for a civil war between Nigeria’s economically dominant Christians in the South and marginalized Muslims in the North remains ever present. Although most Nigerians find themselves less divided by religious differences and more victimized by the nations notoriously corrupt political institutions, outside forces funding Boko Haram’s deplorable campaign of violence are bent on exploiting tension between Nigeria’s two largest religious groups.

A divided and warring Nigeria ultimately serves the interests of the United States as cited by Zbigniew Brzezinski, top adviser to Barack Obama and leading US foreign policy theoretician. Brzezinski, who co-founded the Trilateral Commission and openly credits himself with the creation of the Afghan Mujahideen [24], has influenced policy that encourages the division of existing nation-states by the succession and emergence of microstates, based on all cultural, ethnic and religious peculiarities. Author and historian Dr. Webster G. Tarpley writes, “For Africa, Brzezinski recommends the so-called ‘micro-nationalities’ concept, which means that national boundaries established in the 19th century should be swept aside in favor of a crazy quilt of petty tribal entities, each one so small that it could not hope to resist even a medium-sized oil multinational” [25].

Following the mass exodus of Chinese business interests during the Libyan conflict, a shattered Nigeria would ultimately create conditions where China’s growing cooperation with Abuja can be challenged and ultimately, disrupted. China has provided extensive economic, military and political support to Nigeria, an important source of oil and petroleum for Beijing. In addition to sponsoring Nigeria for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council [26], China has invested in Africa’s booming telecommunications market by building and launching a geostationary commercial satellite, owned by Nigeria and operated in Abuja, [27] as a gesture of increased partnership between the two nations. In 2010, China and Nigeria signed a $23 billion deal to construct three fuel refineries in Nigeria, adding an extra 750,000 barrels per day of domestic refining capacity [28].

While Algerian intelligence confirms a direct link between Boko Haram and western-financed AQIM [29], Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa claims to have visited Mecca with Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, where the group received financial and technical support from Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia (AQAP) [30]. While US officials acknowledge the presence of Al-Qaeda within the militant Syrian opposition [31], the Saudi Arabian Monarchy and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have created a multimillion-dollar fund to pay salaries to members of the rebel Free Syrian Army, to encourage soldiers to defect from the Syrian military and join opposition ranks [32], as part of an ongoing regime change program. A recently released subcommittee report issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security entitled “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland” [33] further indicates the long-term objectives of counter terrorism operations in the region. The document reiterates the importance of sensitive resources within the Niger Delta region, and calls for using extrajudicial assassinations and unmanned aerial drone bombardments to combat the growing threat of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

The United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM under the Obama Administration. One scenario tested the US Africa Command’s capacity to respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war, by sending 20,000 US troops to battle vying rebel factions seeking to control the Niger Delta oil fields [34]. At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, former AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward stated that AFRICOM would operate under the theatre-goal of “combating terrorism” to prioritize the issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil [35]. At an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared the guiding principle of AFRICOM is to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests [36].

In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” [37] As covertly supporting terrorist organizations to achieve foreign policy aims appears to be the commanding prerequisite of foreign policy operations under the Obama Administration, Boko Haram exists as a separate arm of the US destabilization apparatus, aimed at shattering Africa’s most populous nation and biggest potential market. As Russia and China continue to assert themselves in the UNSC against calls to intervene on behalf of Syria’s militant opposition, the international community must adequately investigate the sources responsible for orchestrating insurgent activity in the Sahel and reprimand those parties accordingly.

Notes

[1] Triumphant Tuareg rebels fall out over al-Qaeda’s jihad in Mali, The Telegraph, April 07, 2012 
[2] Suicide Bomb Attack in Divided Nigeria Damages 2 Churches, The New York Times, April 8, 2012
[3] Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists? BBC, January 11, 2012

[4] Nigeria stunned by Kano attacks that killed more than 150, Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2012

[5] Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan: Officials back Boko Haram, BBC, January 8, 2012

[6] Abuja attack: Car bomb hits Nigeria UN building, BBC, August 26, 2011

[7] Mali’s coup matters in London, too, The Guardian, April 3, 2012
[8] Boko Haram’s funding traced to UK, S/Arabia, The Nigerian Tribune, February 13, 2012
[9] Al-Qaida makes a move on troubled Nigeria, UPI, June 17, 2010
[10] France defends arms airlift to Libyan rebels, Reuters, June 30, 2011
[11] Surveillance and Coordination With NATO Aided Rebels, The New York Times, August 21, 2011
[12] Top US General warns of coordination between al-Qaeda-linked African terror groups, The Telegraph, March 01, 2012
[13] Statement of General Carter Ham U.S. Army Commander, United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, February 29, 2012
[14] Libya: al-Qaeda among Libya rebels, Nato chief fears, The Telegraph, March 29, 2011
[15] Our Men in Iran? The New Yorker, April 6, 2012
[16] Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Bureau of Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State, Janurary 27, 2012
[17] ‘US operated deep in Iran, trained assassins’, YNET News, April 8, 2012
[18] Spiking Arms Proliferation, Organized Crime, Terrorism, Part of Fallout from Libyan Crisis Afflicting Sahel, Security Council Told, United Nations, January 26, 2012
[19] Arab Spring Bleeds Deeper into Africa, Asia Times March 24, 2012
[20] Qaddafi’s Weapons, Taken by Old Allies, Reinvigorate an Insurgent Army in Mali, The New York Times, February 5, 2012
[21] Arms from Libya could reach Boko Haram, al Qaeda: U.N. Reuters, Jan 26, 2012
[22] An Interview With Abdelmalek Droukdal, The New York Times, July 1, 2008
[23] Is Nigeria al-Qaeda’s new frontier? Geneva Centre for Security Policy, March 20, 2012
[24] How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen, Counterpunch, January 15, 1998
[25] Obama: The Postmodern Coup: Making of a Manchurian Candidate, Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, Progressive Press, 2008
[26] UN Security Council: China Backs Nigeria, AllAfrica, October 29, 2004
[27] China Builds And Launches A Satellite For Nigeria, The Washington PostMay 14, 2007
[28] Nigeria and china sign $23bn deal for three refineries, BBC, May 14, 2010
[29] Algeria says Nigeria’s Boko Haram tied to al Qaeda, Reuters, November 13, 2011 
[30] Boko Haram vows to fight until Nigeria establishes sharia law, The Guardian, January 27, 2012
[31] Al-Qaeda infiltrating Syrian opposition, U.S. officials say, The Washington Post, February 17, 2012
[32] Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries to fund Free Syrian Army, The China Post, April 2, 2012
[33] Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland, United States Department of Homeland Security, 2011
[34] Africa: U.S. Military Holds War Games on Nigeria, Somalia, AllAfrica, August 14, 2009
[35] Ibid
[36] Ibid
[25] China and the Congo Wars: AFRICOM. America’s New Military Command, Centre for Research on Globalization, November 26, 2008

Nile Bowie is an independent writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;Twitter: @NileBowie

Israel has carved economic inroads into Asia deep enough to compromise the traditional Asian political support for Arabs. If this trend continues, the growing economic Israeli-Asian relations could in no time translate into political ties that would neutralize Asia in the Arab-Israeli conflict.   

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s official visit to Japan from May 11-15 is not an historic breakthrough per se in bilateral relations that date back to 1952.

Neither is the normalization of relations in “a matter of weeks” between Israel and Turkey, which was the first major Muslim country to recognize the State of Israel in 1949, as promised by the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on last April 27.

However both events should highlight the historic breakthrough Israel has discreetly and quietly achieved in pivoting to Asia, once an Arab reservoir of support in their conflict with Israel over Palestine .

“For the first time, in 2014, Israeli exports with Asia will exceed trade with the US, pushing it from second to third place (behind the EU),” director of the Foreign Trade Administration at Israel’s Ministry of the Economy, Ohad Cohen, was quoted as saying by Israeli “Globes” on April 27.

While opening more trade attaché offices in Asia, the Israeli Ministry of the Economy has closed a number of European trade offices in Austria , Hungary , Finland and Sweden “in order to refocus on emerging markets,” Cohen explained.

“Today we have five offices in China , three in India , and we have added attaché in Vietnam and an office in Manila ,” he added.

US President Barak Obama was in Asia last April trying to demonstrate that his promised Asian strategic shift was at last real. Meanwhile, the Israelis were already secured in their strategic shift to Asia .

  While Obama was trying to forge a US-Asian counterbalance to China in what Chinese commentators described as “Cold War mentality,” Israel was courting the emerging Chinese economic superpower as well as India, which the World Bank on last April 29 reported it had overtaken Japan as the world’s third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.

“‘Pivot to Asia’ is a term that might be applied to Israel ,” Roger Cohen wrote in The New York Times on April 24, citing a boom in its trade with China to more than $8 billion in 2013. Israel ’s military and technological cooperation with China had once created a crisis in the U.S. – Israeli relations.

Cohen noted that while the US and Europe continue to “huff and puff” about the illegal Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank “ Asia does business. India has already bought sea-to-sea missiles, radar for a missile-intercept system and communications equipment from Israel .”

India a case study

India could be a case study of Israel ’s historic breakthrough.

According to the web site of the embassy of India in Cairo, Egypt, “Much of our external trade passes along the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” all almost exclusively Arab sea routes, and “Our total bilateral trade with the Arab countries is over US$ 110 billion and the region is home to 4.5 million Indians and caters to 70% of our energy imports.”

Indian Defence Minister Shri A.K. Antony told the 15th Asian Security Conference in February last year that “West Asia is a critical region” for India and the “Gulf region is vital for India’s energy security.”

During 2011 to 2012, India’s trade with the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was more than U.S. $145 billion (with exports and imports from the region standing at 20 percent and 14 percent, respectively), Antony said.

The “links” with West Asia “have got deepened and further strengthened in the era of globalization.” Former Prime Minister of India ’s Special Envoy to West Asia, Chinmaya R. Gharikhan, was on record to attribute the Indian economy growth at more than 8% to India ’s “dependence” for 70% of its energy needs on West Asia .

Former Indian ambassador to Oman , UAE and Saudi Arabia , Talmiz Ahmad, on last December 29, wrote in Deccan Chronicle:

“The security and stability of the Gulf and West Asia are crucial for the long-term interests of the Asian countries. This calls for a review of the Asian security role in the Gulf.”

Yet, despite these vital Indian – Arab relations, India is now the largest customer of the military equipment, the largest military partner and the largest Asian economic partner of Arabs’ arch enemy, Israel .

  Such Indian and Chinese exchanges with Israel have neutralized Asian pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian influence or at least created a contradiction between Asia ’s economic dealings and its verbal political speech.

These Asian-Israeli exchanges deprived Israel of an influential incentive for making peace. They should have been at least postponed as an Asian prize for ending the Israeli military occupation of Arab lands in Palestine , Syria and Lebanon .

Until peace is made with Arabs and Palestinians in particular, Israel will continue to be the main destabilizing factor in the region.

Even then, it will continue to consider itself an integral part of western culture and strategy and to be a western influence doing its best to make the region a free market for western interests and a strategic monopoly of western powers.

Adding to the US empowerment of the Hebrew state by bolstering its strategic power will only bolster a formidable obstacle to peace in the region.

Controversial explanation

  Writing in Forbes on May 14 last year, professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver , Jonathan Adelman, and the acting executive director for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), Asaf Romirowsky, had a controversial explanation of Israel ’s breakthrough in Asia :

 Historically, “Asia largely lacks the anti-Semitism that was so prominent in Europe” and “ Israel was like most Asian states … a new state born after World War II after a struggle with a Western colonial power, in this case Great Britain ,” they said.

“Geographically, Israel is in West Asia, only four hours by air from India and 11 hours by air from China .

  “Economically, Israel ’s rapid transition from Third World power to First World ‘start-up nation’ echoes the great transformation underway in such Asian countries as India , China and the Four Tigers.

  “Scientifically, Israel has emerged as a high-tech superpower, thereby very attractive to Asian high tech powers.

  “Militarily, the Israeli military, a world leader in anti-missile technology (Iron Dome) … is attractive to Asian countries developing their own militaries.

“Politically, the growing threat of Islamism draws many of Asian countries towards a country that is in the forefront of fighting this threat.”

In intelligence matters, Israeli “Mossad, with its strong human intelligence capabilities, is attractive for helping these countries overcome foreign threats.”

Adelman and Romirowsky sound like labouring to produce an academic commercial to “sell” Israel to Asia .

  Ironically both of them had nothing to say about Israel being promoted mainly by its US strategic sponsor as “the only democracy in the Middle East .”

Historically Israel was not born after a struggle with the colonial power of Great Britain but was imposed by this colonial power by force on the region and born after military ongoing ethnic cleansing of the native Arab Palestinians of the land.

Militarily, the anti-missile Iron Dome technology has not proved a success in three Israeli wars on Gaza Strip and Lebanon since 2006.

Politically, the Israeli logistical support of the most extreme among the Islamist insurgents who are fighting against the government of Syria doesn’t vindicate that Israel is “in the forefront of fighting” their threat.

  Taking the wrong side 

The argument that Mossad is attractive for helping Asian countries overcome their threat deserves more elaboration.

The fact that the Muslim population in Asia is almost double that of the Arab countries combined is a factor that could potentially create a cultural bridge for more interaction between the overwhelmingly Arab West Asia and its mother continent, but nonetheless there is a worrying negative side.

The rise of Islamist extremism could make use of this cultural bridge as well, but the Israeli occupying power is making the best use of it by exploiting this threat to cement its intelligence ties with Asia .

But these extremists are at war with the Arabs and not with Israel , which was so far safe from their threat not because of its defence capabilities against them, but because it was not and is still not targeted by them.

Of course Asia could not idly watch the rise of Islamist extremism and could not avoid taking sides and embark on a defensive battle against it outside its borders otherwise it will be risking fighting this evil within its own borders sooner or later.

However, Asia seems to take the wrong side. The Israeli occupying power is not Asia’s best ally to pre-empt this threat, but the Arabs who have gained enough intelligence about them and enough experience in fighting them from Morocco in the far west of the Arab world to Iraq in the far east.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. An edited version of this article was first published by Middle East Eye. ([email protected])

Putin displays Ukraine Chess Mastery

May 10th, 2014 by Pepe Escobar

Russia’s celebrations of the 69th anniversary of the defeat of fascism in World War II come just days after Ukrainian neo-fascists enacted an appalling Odessa massacre. For those who know their history, the graphic symbolism speaks for itself. 

And then a geopolitical chess gambit added outright puzzlement to the trademark hypocrisy displayed by the self-proclaimed representatives of “Western civilization”. 

The gambit comes from – who else – Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is now actively mixing chess moves with Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. No wonder all those American PR shills, helpless State Department spokespersons and NATOstan generals are clueless.

Unlike the Obama administration’s juvenile delinquent school of diplomacy – which wants to “isolate” Putin and Russia – a truce and possible deal in the ongoing Ukrainian tragedy has been negotiated between adults on speaking terms, Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then discussed and finally announced in a press conference by the president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Didier Burghalter.

The deal will hold as long as the regime changers in Kiev – which should be described as the NATO neo-liberal, neo-fascist junta – abandon their ongoing “anti-terrorist operation” and are ready to negotiate with the federalists in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. [1]

Putin’s gambit has been to sacrifice not one but two pieces; he’d rather have the referendums this Sunday in Eastern Ukraine be postponed. At the same time, changing the Kremlin’s position, he said the presidential elections on May 25 might be a step in the right direction.

Moscow knows the referendums will be erroneously interpreted by the misinformed NATOstan combo as an argument for Eastern Ukraine to join Russia, as in Crimea. They could be used as pretext for more sanctions. And most of all Moscow is keen to prevent any possible false flags. [2]

Yet Moscow has not abandoned its firm position from the start; before a presidential election there should be constitutional changes towards federalization and more power for largely autonomous provinces. It’s not happening anytime soon – if at all.

With the Kiev NATO junta making an absolute mess of “governing”; the International Monetary Fund already running the disaster capitalism show, Russia cutting off trade and energy subsidies, and the federalist movement growing by the minute after the Odessa massacre, Ukraine is so absolutely toxic that Moscow has all the time in the world on its side. Putin’s strategy is indeed Tao Te Ching meets Art of War: watch the river flow while giving enough rope for your enemy to hang himself.

You’re with us or against us

Putin asking the people in the Donbass region to postpone the referendum – which will take place anyway [3] – unleashed a fierce debate, in eastern Ukraine and across Russia, over a possible Russian betrayal of Russian speakers in Ukraine.

After all, the NATO neo-liberal, neo-fascist junta has unleashed an “anti-terrorist operation” against average Ukrainians where even the terminology comes straight from the “you’re with us or against us” Cheney regime.

And once again the Disinformer-in-Chief is – who else – US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is “very concerned about efforts of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, in Lugansk to organize, frankly, a contrived, bogus independence referendum on May 11″. It’s “the Crimea playbook all over again and no civilized nation is going to recognize the results of such a bogus effort”.

It’s hopeless to expect Kerry to know what he’s talking about, but still: the people in Donbass are not separatists. These are average Ukrainians – factory workers, miners, store clerks, farmers – who are pro-democracy, anti-NATO junta and – oh, the capital crime – Russian speakers.

And by the way, you don’t need to be Thomas Piketty to identify this as classic class struggle; workers and peasants against oligarchs – the oligarchs currently aligned with the NATO junta, some deployed as regional governors, and all planning to remain in charge after the May 25 elections.

The people in Donbass want federalism, and strong autonomy in their provinces. They don’t want to split from Ukraine. Against the US-prescribed, Kiev-enforced “anti-terrorism” onslaught, they have their popular defense committees, local associations and yes, militias, to defend themselves. And most of all “bogus” referendums to make it absolutely clear they won’t submit to a centralized, oligarch-infested junta.

So the referendums will go ahead – and will be duly ignored by the NATOstan combo. The May 25 presidential election will go ahead – right in the middle of an “anti-terrorist operation” against almost half of the population – and will be recognized as “legitimate” by the NATOstan combo.

Way beyond this cosmically shameful behavior of the “civilized” West, what next?

Nothing will make the ironclad hatred the NATO neo-liberal neo-fascist junta with its Western Ukraine neo-nazi Banderastan supporters feel against the eastern Donbass go away. But then, in a few months, all Ukrainians will feel in their skins what the IMF has in store for them, irrespective of location. And wait if the new president – be it chocolate billionaire Petro Porashenko or holy corrupt “Saint Yulia” Timoschenko – doesn’t pay Gazprom’s US$2.7 billion energy bill.

Once again, Putin does not need to “invade” anything. He knows this is not the way to “rescue” eastern and southern Ukraine. He knows the people in the Donbass will make life miserable for the NATO junta and its May 25 offspring. He knows when Kiev needs real cash – not the current IMF self-serving Mob-style loans – nobody in his right mind in the political midget EU will be forthcoming. Nobody will want to rescue a failed state. And Kiev will have to beg, once again, for Moscow’s help, the lender of first and last resort.

Lao Tzu Putin is far from going to checkmate. He may – and will – wait. The exceptionalist empire will keep doing what it does best – foment chaos – even as sensible Europeans, Merkel included, try somewhat for appeasement. Well, at least Washington’s prayers have been answered. It took a while, but they finally found the new bogeyman: Osama Bin Putin.

Notes:

1. Putin-Burkhalter talks: an elusive chance for Ukraine, Oriental Review, May 8, 2014.
2. Ukrainian forces prepare provocation against Russia in Donetsk, Voice of America, May 6, 2014.
3. 2 southeast Ukrainian regions to hold referendum May 11 as planned, RT, May 8, 2014. 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).  He may be reached at [email protected].

So, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror.

And how did this latest example of American foreign-policy exceptionalism come to be? One starting point that can be considered is what former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates says in his recently published memoir:

“When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, [Defense Secretary Dick Cheney] wanted to see the dismemberment not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.”

That can serve as an early marker for the new cold war while the corpse of the old one was still warm. Soon thereafter, NATO began to surround Russia with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members, while yearning for perhaps the most important part needed to complete the circle – Ukraine.

In February of this year, US State Department officials, undiplomatically, joined anti-government protesters in the capital city of Kiev, handing out encouragement and food, from which emanated the infamous leaked audio tape between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, former US ambassador to NATO and former State Department spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. Their conversation dealt with who should be running the new Ukraine government after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown; their most favored for this position being one Arseniy Yatsenuk.

My dear, and recently departed, Washington friend, John Judge, liked to say that if you want to call him a “conspiracy theorist” you have to call others “coincidence theorists”. Thus it was by the most remarkable of coincidences that Arseniy Yatsenuk did indeed become the new prime minister. He could very soon be found in private meetings and public press conferences with the president of the United States and the Secretary-General of NATO, as well as meeting with the soon-to-be new owners of Ukraine, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preparing to impose their standard financial shock therapy. The current protestors in Ukraine don’t need PHDs in economics to know what this portends. They know about the impoverishment of Greece, Spain, et al. They also despise the new regime for its overthrow of their democratically-elected government, whatever its shortcomings. But the American media obscures these motivations by almost always referring to them simply as “pro-Russian”.

An exception, albeit rather unemphasized, was the April 17 Washington Post which reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom the author interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear of “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder:

“At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.”

Arseniy Yatsenuk, it should be noted, has something called the Arseniy Yatsenuk Foundation. If you go to the foundation’s website you will see the logos of the foundation’s “partners”. Among these partners we find NATO, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs in the UK), the German Marshall Fund (a think tank founded by the German government in honor of the US Marshall Plan), as well as a couple of international banks. Is any comment needed?

Getting away with supporting al-Qaeda and Nazi types may be giving US officials the idea that they can say or do anything they want in their foreign policy. In a May 2 press conference, President Obama, referring to Ukraine and the NATO Treaty, said:

“We’re united in our unwavering Article 5 commitment to the security of our NATO allies”. (Article 5 states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them … shall be considered an attack against them all.”)

Did the president forget that Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO? And in the same press conference, the president referred to the “duly elected government in Kyiv (Kiev)”, when in fact it had come to power via a coup and then proceeded to establish a new regime in which the vice-premier, minister of defense, minister of agriculture, and minister of environment, all belonged to far-right neo-Nazi parties.

The pure awfulness of the Ukrainian right-wingers can scarcely be exaggerated. In early March, the leader of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) called upon his comrades, the infamous Chechnyan terrorists, to carry out further terrorist actions in Russia.

There may be one important difference between the old Cold War and the new one. The American people, as well as the world, can not be as easily brainwashed as they were during the earlier period.

Over the course of a decade, in doing the research for my first books and articles on US foreign policy, one of the oddities to me of the Cold War was how often the Soviet Union seemed to know what the United States was really up to, even if the American people didn’t. Every once in a while in the 1950s to 70s a careful reader would notice a two- or three-inch story in the New York Times on the bottom of some distant inside page, reporting that Pravda or Izvestia had claimed that a recent coup or political assassination in Africa or Asia or Latin America had been the work of the CIA; the Times might add that a US State Department official had labeled the story as “absurd”. And that was that; no further details were provided; and none were needed, for how many American readers gave it a second thought? It was just more commie propaganda. Who did they think they were fooling? This ignorance/complicity on the part of the mainstream media allowed the United States to get away with all manner of international crimes and mischief.

It was only in the 1980s when I began to do the serious research that resulted in my first book, which later became Killing Hope, that I was able to fill in the details and realize that the United States had indeed masterminded that particular coup or assassination, and many other coups and assassinations, not to mention countless bombings, chemical and biological warfare, perversion of elections, drug dealings, kidnapings, and much more that had not appeared in the American mainstream media or schoolbooks. (And a significant portion of which was apparently unknown to the Soviets as well.)

But there have been countless revelations about US crimes in the past two decades. Many Americans and much of the rest of the planet have become educated. They’re much more skeptical of American proclamations and the fawning media.

President Obama recently declared: “The strong condemnation that it’s received from around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.”Marvelous … coming from the man who partners with jihadists and Nazis and has waged war against seven nations. In the past half century is there any country whose foreign policy has received more bitter condemnation than the United States? If the United States is not on the wrong side of history, it may be only in the history books published by the United States.

Barack Obama, like virtually all Americans, likely believes that the Soviet Union, with perhaps the sole exception of the Second World War, was consistently on the wrong side of history in its foreign policy as well as at home. Yet, in a survey conducted by an independent Russian polling center this past January, and reported in the Washington Post in April, 86 percent of respondents older than 55 expressed regret for the Soviet Union’s collapse; 37 percent of those aged 25 to 39 did so.(Similar poll results have been reported regularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. This is from USA Today in 1999: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.”)

Or as the new Russian proverb put it: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”

A week before the above Post report in April the newspaper printed an article about happiness around the world, which contains the following charming lines:

“Worldwide polls show that life seems better to older people – except in Russia.” … “Essentially, life under President Vladimir Putin is one continuous downward spiral into despair.” … “What’s going on in Russia is deep unhappiness.” … “In Russia, the only thing to look forward to is death’s sweet embrace.”

No, I don’t think it was meant to be any kind of satire. It appears to be a scientific study, complete with graphs, but it reads like something straight out of the 1950s.

The views Americans hold of themselves and other societies are not necessarily more distorted than the views found amongst people elsewhere in the world, but the Americans’ distortion can lead to much more harm. Most Americans and members of Congress have convinced themselves that the US/NATO encirclement of Russia is benign – we are, after all, the Good Guys – and they don’t understand why Russia can’t see this.

The first Cold War, from Washington’s point of view, was often designated as one of “containment”, referring to the US policy of preventing the spread of communism around the world, trying to block the very idea of communism or socialism. There’s still some leftover from that – see Venezuela and Cuba, for example – but the new Cold War can be seen more in terms of a military strategy. Washington thinks in terms of who could pose a barrier to the ever-expanding empire adding to its bases and other military necessities.

Whatever the rationale, it’s imperative that the United States suppress any lingering desire to bring Ukraine (and Georgia) into the NATO alliance. Nothing is more likely to bring large numbers of Russian boots onto the Ukrainian ground than the idea that Washington wants to have NATO troops right on the Russian border and in spitting distance of the country’s historic Black Sea naval base in Crimea.

The myth of Soviet expansionism

One still comes across references in the mainstream media to Russian “expansionism” and “the Soviet empire”, in addition to that old favorite “the evil empire”. These terms stem largely from erstwhile Soviet control of Eastern European states. But was the creation of these satellites following World War II an act of imperialism or expansionism? Or did the decisive impetus lie elsewhere?

Within the space of less than 25 years, Western powers had invaded Russia three times – the two world wars and the “Intervention” of 1918-20 – inflicting some 40 million casualties in the two wars alone. To carry out these invasions, the West had used Eastern Europe as a highway. Should it be any cause for wonder that after World War II the Soviets wanted to close this highway down? In almost any other context, Americans would have no problem in seeing this as an act of self defense. But in the context of the Cold War such thinking could not find a home in mainstream discourse.

The Baltic states of the Soviet Union – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were not part of the highway and were frequently in the news because of their demands for more autonomy from Moscow, a story “natural” for the American media. These articles invariably reminded the reader that the “once independent” Baltic states were invaded in 1939 by the Soviet Union, incorporated as republics of the USSR, and had been “occupied” ever since. Another case of brutal Russian imperialism. Period. History etched in stone.

The three countries, it happens, were part of the Russian empire from 1721 up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, in the midst of World War I. When the war ended in November 1918, and the Germans had been defeated, the victorious Allied nations (US, Great Britain, France, et al.) permitted/encouraged the German forces to remain in the Baltics for a full year to crush the spread of Bolshevism there; this, with ample military assistance from the Allied nations. In each of the three republics, the Germans installed collaborators in power who declared their independence from the new Bolshevik state which, by this time, was so devastated by the World War, the revolution, and the civil war prolonged by the Allies’ intervention, that it had no choice but to accept the fait accompli. The rest of the fledgling Soviet Union had to be saved.

To at least win some propaganda points from this unfortunate state of affairs, the Soviets announced that they were relinquishing the Baltic republics “voluntarily” in line with their principles of anti-imperialism and self-determination. But is should not be surprising that the Soviets continued to regard the Baltics as a rightful part of their nation or that they waited until they were powerful enough to reclaim the territory.

Then we had Afghanistan. Surely this was an imperialist grab. But the Soviet Union had lived next door to Afghanistan for more than 60 years without gobbling it up. And when the Russians invaded in 1979, the key motivation was the United States involvement in a movement, largely Islamic, to topple the Afghan government, which was friendly to Moscow. The Soviets could not have been expected to tolerate a pro-US, anti-communist government on its border any more than the United States could have been expected to tolerate a pro-Soviet, communist government in Mexico.

Moreover, if the rebel movement took power it likely would have set up a fundamentalist Islamic government, which would have been in a position to proselytize the numerous Muslims in the Soviet border republics.

 Notes

  1. See RT.com (formerly Russia Today) for many stories, images and videos
  2. Robert Gates, Duty (2014), p.97
  3. If this site has gone missing again, a saved version can be found here.
  4. Voice of Russia radio station, Moscow, April 18, 2014; also see Answer Coalition, “Who’s who in Ukraine’s new [semi-fascist] government”, March 11, 2014
  5. RT.com, news report March 5, 2014
  6. CBS News, March 3, 2014
  7. Washington Post, April 11, 2014
  8. USA Today (Virginia), Oct. 11, 1999, page 1
  9. Washington Post print edition, April 2, 2014; online here

The New York Times– bullhorn of lies for Washington – reports on 8 May 2014, with skeptical intonation and depreciative connotation on Mr. Putin’s press conference of Wednesday, 7 May, where he made a number of important steps of good-will towards easing the tension in Ukraine.

He recommended that the pro-Russia protestors postpone their referendum until after the Ukraine vote on 25 May. He also declared withdrawing Russian troops from the Ukrainian borders and suggested dialogue-dialogue-dialogue among the warring parties, including the opposition. He supported Ms. Merkel’s proposal of a round table discussion – and foremost, he asked all parties to abstain from violence.

This all happened in the context of a high-level meeting between Mr. Putin and the head of OSCE, who also happens to be the President of Switzerland.

However, the NYT article does not mention with one single word this important act of mediation between the Mr. Putin and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of which Russia is a member –meeting that prompted the press conference in the first place.

Why would the prominent NYT not even mention the high-level OSCE mediation attempt?

Simple. Mentioning the President of OSCE conferring with Mr. Putin, would render the paper’s subsequent lies and slanders of the Russian leader, the only real statesman the world knows at present, highly questionable.

This is how the reporting on the ‘press conference’ is framed, “President Vladimir V. Putin, faced with rising violence in southeastern Ukraine that threatened to draw in the Russian Army at great cost and prompt severe new Western economic sanctions, pressed pause on Wednesday in what had started to look like an inevitable march toward war.

“But it remained unclear to analysts and political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic whether he was truly reversing course on Ukraine or if this was just another of his judo-inspired feints”.

While Mr. Obama apparently welcomes “a Russian military pullback” – the white House spokesman gratuitously and without a shred of proof added“there has been no evidence that such a withdrawal has taken place.” A statement that was confirmed by NATO officials – of course, what else! – And reported by the NYT.

The House of Brits, aping the White House, reacted equally with strong skepticism, putting more negative spin on Mr. Putin’s good-will. At least, according to the NYT,

“one official said that satellite photos that would better verify Mr. Putin’s assertions [of troop withdrawal] would take a while to come through.”

Later in the day more deprecating news appeared in the western media. References to Mr. Putin’s alleged untrustworthiness wereaccusing him of deliberate lack of influence over the pro-Russian demonstrators, to earlier broken promises of troop withdrawals (a sheer invention by Washington)and finally the ‘Crimea annexation’. For those who are still in doubt, Crimea was NOT annexed. By an act of self-determination as part of Crimea’s constitutional status of autonomy, 96% of Crimeans voted to re-join Russia of which they were part until 1954, and the Duma, the Russian parliament ratified their decision.

Such negative statements a few hours after Mr. Putin’s pronunciations are sowing but bad blood. No credit is given to the Kremlin’s good-will – good-will to mediate, good-will to stop the western inflicted violent disaster in Ukraine. There is never even an iota of a mention in the western media of the CIA-NATO-State Department evil troika’s instigation of the illegal coup and to its continuous support – financial and with military personnel. The continuation of US-led western anti-Russia propaganda is only aiming at increasing public pressure for war.

Whatever Mr. Putin does is not good enough. He will be forever criticized by the West and demonized with falsehoods, lies and slander.

This is an unequivocal war campaign carried out by the United States of America; until now with the connivance of European puppets. However Europe, led by Germany, is increasingly realizing that conflict with Russia will have nefarious consequences for Europe, as their dependence on trade with Russia, especially on energy, far outranks that with the US.

In its quest for absolute world hegemony, Washington closely follows the Road Map PNAC – Plan for a new American Century – a Road Map of endless wars and conflicts comparable to the 300 years of PaxRomana, the bloodiest period of the Roman Empire. The United States of America has developed during the last century into a sledgehammer culture, a culture of brutal wars at any price. It is no coincidence that the PNAC was originally called Pax Americana. The similarities of unwarranted violence and deception of populations are striking.

The sledgehammer culture has a distinct disadvantage. Due to its sheer rudeness  it has lost its susceptibilities to what is really going on around it and within it – increasing, though so far unspoken dissent for the former, and abject poverty, unemployment (in contrast to official statistics, real unemployment exceeds 20%), child malnutrition, in case of the latter. This insensitivity may turn into an advantage – a backlash by the people from within as well as from without, may come as a surprise.

The American Empire reached a point of no return: its economy is entirely dependent on war – bloody violent wars to bend non-conforming nations into its fold and at the same time aliment the mighty and all powerful US war industry. The US military / security complex and its related industries devour more than 50% of the national budget and contribute a similar amount to the US GDP. Without it the economy would collapse.

With the addiction for power, the US economic needs are hell-bent towards a never ending rise of weapons manufacturing, similar to the times after WWII, when the arms race – the Cold War – was the pillar of the growing US economy.The US economy (sic) has become an economy of destruction. The Western boundless neoliberal free market economy, nurtured by a nefarious Machiavellian banking system is the instrument that makes the machinations of this killing machine possible.

As Bill Dores eloquently compares in his piece in Global Research (May 8, 2014)

“In the Cleveland massacreof 1872, John D. Rockefeller drove hundreds of independent [oil] drillers out of business to create the Standard Oil trust. Apologists for capitalism have justified such practices as creative destruction.In its time of decay, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and its state apparatus must destroy in order to survive”(emphasis added).

 The time of the empire’s decay has started. It must not be allowed to destroy more civilizations, more of the environment and cause more bloodshed until the world lies in ashes. In fact, the only way to prevent such disaster of global dimension is by introducing a new economic and financial monetary system; one that does not thrive on fiat money, unchecked banking and unlimited corruption of a reigning elite, but rather on an economy that is backed by its founders labor, scientific and cultural output, as well as by its sense of protecting the earth’s resources and societal health.

Such a system is in the making – by the BRICS(A) – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (and Associates). Just to repeat, in case you have not read this before, the BRICSA control about one third of the world’s economic output and comprise about half of the world’s population. First steps towards analternative economic system havealready been taken some two years ago, when the BRICS established their own development bank to gradually replace the western world’s instruments of deception, the IMF and the World Bank. The BRICS new trading model is slanted to make a huge dent in the western neoliberal world’s third instrument of deception – the World Trade Organization – WTO.

The BRICS development bank acts at the same time as an initial central bank, that is not linked in any way to the western monetary system, manipulated by the FED, Wall Street, and the BIS – the Bank for International Settlement – also known as the central bank of central banks.

In the meantime, the BRICS and associates are using their local currencies for international trade among each other, instead of the traditional money of reference, the US dollar. Russia has recently announced that all its trading in hydrocarbons – estimated at about a trillion dollars per year – will be carried out in rubles and currencies of their trading partners. It is expected that other oil and gas producers will eventually follow suit – reducing considerably the demand for the US dollar.

To back-up this new international trading deed, on 9 April 2014, the Central Bank of Russia has introduced a new logo, which just happens to be a gold ruble –  , meaning the Russian ruble is henceforth backed by gold, becoming a fully convertible currency, no longer vulnerable to western banks speculations and manipulations.

In December last year, the Vice-President of the Bank of China has declared that China will no longer buy US Treasury Bonds. In fact, what China has been doing since then, is gradually divesting their huge dollar reserves (about 1.6 trillion) into other currencies, closer to the Chinese markets.

Last week was made official what many economists already suspected – China will overtake the US economy later this year, thereby becoming the world’s largest economy.

Washington doesn’t like these developments one bit. Of course, it doesn’t spell out its displeasure, and the obedient mainstream media are quiet about it. However, part of Obama’s infamous and ridiculous war of sanctions lashed out against Russia and any nation or anybody linked with Russia, are a desperate attempt to damage Russia’s economy. Western (bought) economists go out of their way to declare how much these sanctions will hurt Russia, when in fact the long-term perspectives for the Russian economy which in trade and political savvy is closely related to that of China – are excellent – and getting better as the empire’s economy of destruction is faltering.

Clearly a new economic system is emerging.

Such Washington imposed destructive, totalitarian and inhuman calamities as are happening in Ukraine since 22 February 2014 should soon be a thing of the past – as an alternative world economy may bring the United States of America to its knees – even without spilling a drop of blood.

 Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research,  ICH, the Voice of Russia and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, lied by denying that there were armed Nazis supporting the ouster of Ukraine’s “free and fairly elected” President Victor Yanukovych, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday, despite repeated questions posed by Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) about pictures of neo-Nazis armed with guns in the Maidan, and their affiliations with neo-Nazi groups in other countries.

The full committee hearing on the Ukraine crisis featured an opening statement by Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), as Chair of its Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia. Rohrbacher stated that the situation in Ukraine is “much murkier” than is being pretended. It is not simply a case of Russian aggression. Chaos began, said Rohrbacher, when the elected President of Ukraine (Yanukovych), who won an election — an election which observers from the OSCE declared “free and fair” — was forced out of office by street involvement. (emphasis in original). The problem started without any Russian involvement. It started when the Ukraine President decided to make an economic agreement with Russia, not the EU. It gets murkier. We should not be jumping into it.

Later, in his turn to question Nuland, Rohrbacher asked:

Rohrbacher: What will [intervening in Ukraine] cost the U.S., bottom line?

Nuland: $187m + $50m + $18m DOD budgeted for security services and border guards.

Rohrbacher: Did we guarantee any loans from the World Bank to Ukraine?

Nuland: $400m for Treasury of $1 billion from the IMF.

Rohrbacher: Do we have preferential payback?

Nuland: I don’t know; I’ll get back to you….

Rohrbacher: I think I know the answer.

We had a legitimate election before, but [the President] was removed. About the violence. There are pictures of neo-Nazis. Were the neo-Nazis involved in the street violence?

Nuland: The vast majority were peaceful protesters. We saw firebombs being thrown, and people people shooting into police ranks. All of these incidents are subject to investigation.

Rohrbacher: Guns were involved.

Nuland: As the demonstration became more violent both…

Rohrbacher: Was the neo-Nazi group affiliated with Nazi groups in other countries?

Nuland: I don’t know about the early period. Later, we see recruiting on neo-Nazi websites in Russia. We don’t have any information against neo-Nazi groups from Europe. There is no information to corroborate. Ukraine is investigating…

 

Victoria Nuland with leader of the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Part (left)

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) also pointed to the anti-Russian bias of U.S. foreign policy in the alternating cases of U.S. support at times, for territorial integrity, and at other times, independence, as shown in South Sudan, South Ossetia, Moldova, and other cases. “It seems haphazard,” Sherman said, but “Every decision we make is anti-Moscow.”

Sherman: Has the Right Sector militia been disarmed?

Nuland: Ukraine has made a massive effort—

Sherman: How successful has it been?

Nuland: There’s progress, but more to do.

Sherman: Kiev wants to repeal the Russian language law.

Nuland: Language rights will be protected.

Other useful questioning of Nuland occurred. Rep. Albio Sires (R-NJ) asked Nuland why, if the Russian people were impacted by the sanctions, “Putin is getting more popular.”

Nuland’s testimony made clear that the plan for the May 25 referendum is a large vote turnout, with thousands of observers, and she claimed that 39 million voters had been registered online, while the International Republican Institute is predicting 84% are likely to vote. (Note: Non-quotes are paraphrases.)

Image: Western Mercenary forces in Ukraine

The following videos were sent  to us from a Correspondent in Eastern Ukraine:

Soldiers and Paramilitary are shooting indiscriminately at civilians in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Mariapul on the explicit orders of the Kiev Neo-Nazi regime.

In the words of Julia Timoshenko, with reference to the Odessa Trade Unions building massacre:

“We need to be tougher, Excuse me, I would just shoot them all,

Today’s reaction is absolutely legitimate,  Our people died. That is why these alien creatures [Russian speaking Ukrainians] who have come to Ukraine deserve only one thing, they should be killed”

This position not only describes official government policy, the CIA is advising Kiev on the conduct of these “counter-terrorist” operations directed against innocent civilians. 

Meanwhile the Western media remains silent, tacitly supportive and complicit in the conduct of crimes against humanity in the name of “democracy”.

 Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, April 09, 2014

Videos:

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Emblem of Third Reich’s “Operation Nightingale” in Ukraine. Supported by the  CIA after World War II

“Today’s massacre is Mariupol. They are just shooting people. They shot 12 cops that would not take part and about 18 (number on the fly right now). They are using rpgs, tanks and mounted guns. It’s still going on. In Slavyansk they just shot a 12-year-old twice for wearing a St George ribbon [marking support for Russian-speaking Ukrainians].” Message from an eastern Ukrainian, to me on May 9th

The  conservative newspaper Kyiv Post  headlines, also on 9 May 2014, “Ten People Injured Brought to Mariupol Hospital,” and reports that,

“Ten people with gunshot wounds have been hospitalized in Mariupol, where shooting continues since morning, local mass media outlet reported. … According to the information of the media outlet, ‘representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic have seized a tank at the crossing of Lenin and Torhova [Streets].’”

The same day, the same newspaper banners, “Avakov Says 21 dead in Mariupol After Clashes Between Police and Separatists,” and reports:

“At least 21 people died in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast, according to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. He said that some 60 ‘terrorists’ with automatic weapons attacked the city police headquarters earlier today and attempted to take over the building ‘without any preliminary demands.’

‘There was a fight in the building, which turned into a full-scale military clash after reinforcements arrived from the police and Omega unit of the National Guard,’ Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. He said 20 separatists died and four were arrested on the separatist side, and only one dead on the government side.”

So, according to the central government official Avakov, some “60 ‘terrorists’ with automatic weapons” who were “separatists” had fought against Avakov’s forces, and “20 separatists died,” while there was “only one dead on the government side,” even though they had been fighting “some 60 ‘terrorists’ with automatic weapons.” Who, then, were really the ‘terrorists’ here? The Ukrainian central government is having trouble lying: they’re not as skilled at it as their sponsors inside the U.S. White House and State Department are: they need lots of professional training.

Radio Liberty headlines, also on May 9th, “Heavy Clashes In Mariupol As Ukrainian Security Forces Target Separatists,” and reports not just Mariupol, but that:

“In separatist-controlled Luhansk, veterans rallied beneath flags of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic.” Moreover, ”In Odesa, a crowd of some 70 pro-Russian separatists marched to the trade union building to lay wreaths at a makeshift memorial to the dozens of people who were killed in a fire there during clashes with government supporters last week.”

On May 7th, Kyiv Post bannered, “Donetsk: Eastern Ukraine descends into chaos, lawlessness,” and reported that men in the east were secretly forming self-defense forces and “are armed with everything from wooden clubs and daggers to double-barreled hunting rifles and Kalashnikovs.” Another story in the same paper bannered “Ukrainians form militias to defend nation against chaos,” and reported that, at the same time, “Andriy Tarasenko, a high-ranking member of nationalist group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), told the Kyiv Post that its military wing is cooperating with authorities on forming partisan units.”

In other words: this is going to be a war between, on the one side, Russian-speaking Ukrainians armed with hunting rifles; and, on the other side, Ukrainian Nazis armed by the U.S. Then, a third story in that same day’s edition of that same paper was headlined, “Odessa: Who is to blame for 46 Odessa deaths?” It reported that, “Despite rumors [which were being spread by Kiev’s central government] that there were Russian citizens among the dead, all the identified victims turned out to be from Odessa.” (The central government pretends that their enemy is Russia, not the majority of residents in the eastern half of Ukraine, even though that’s what they’re actually attacking.)

On May 5th, Reuters had bannered “Ukraine Moves Forces to Odessa, Helicopter Downed in East,” and reported that, “The violence in Odessa marked a watershed for Ukraine.” It certainly did. The myth that the Obama Administration is on the side of democrats in Ukraine is now ended forever.

That “violence in Odessa” had occurred on May 2nd. That’s when neo-Nazis, called “Right Sector” or “Pravy Sektor,” were sent in by the Kiev central government (the government that the U.S. installed to run Ukraine), to do what the local government officials in Odessa had refused to do, which was to kill all of the people who were occupying that city’s Trade Unions Building, where the workers were overwhelmingly sympathetic to the people who opposed Ukraine’s central government and thus didn’t resist this occupation of their building. The building’s occupiers also set up tents in front of the building, from which they distributed political literature that was unfavorable to the central government in Kiev.

The central government ordered the local Odessa police to assist the Pravy Sektor people in this killing operation. At the start of that operation, a large number of the local police force publicly threw down their shields and walked off, very publicly resigning from the police force.

All of this — the invasion of the Trade Unions Building, the throwing-down of shields, and the massacre of the people inside the building — is shown in cellphone videos that were posted to the Internet and youtube on May 2nd, as these events were unfolding. Those videos are shown here. The entire massacre is shown there, from start to finish. That report opens with an introduction describing it:

“For the first time in history, an organized massacre of civilians has been filmed by many people from many different angles and perspectives while it was happening, and is documented in extraordinary detail in ‘real time,’ the perpetrators having no fear of any negative consequences from their endeavor, and even cheering and celebrating the tortures and deaths as they were being imposed upon the helpless victims.

The perpetrators were unconcerned, because what they were doing was what the government (which the U.S. had imposed upon their country and which U.S. taxpayers had spent more than 5 billion dollars to bring about there) had wanted them to do, and had helped to organize them to carry out. These people were just having fun, like a party to them, nothing really serious at all. Sort of like Stanley Kubrick’s movie A Clockwork Orange, more than, say Auschwitz (such a bore!). But, if so, a hundredfold more. And none of these people (tragically including the victims) were actors!”

I wrote that, as the introduction to my news-report on that massacre, because after watching all of those videos, I was crying, and I wanted people to be prepared for a documentary experience that I had found, while preparing it, to be, in a way, even more gruesome than the documentaries on the anti-Semitic Holocaust were, because, this time, the perpetrators weren’t grim at all: they didn’t need to be paid to do this; it was play not work for them; you look at what they are doing and you see that it’s just one huge party for them; so many times their voices burst collectively into cheers as someone jumps from a window of the burning Trade Unions Building and isn’t even allowed to die in peace but is instead immediately attacked and beaten to death and the corpse is promptly just dragged off to who-knows-what, who-knows-where. (According to one account presented there, it was to someplace “six kilometers from Odessa,” but nobody other than the authorities and their perpetrators can really know for sure.

Also included there is the still-photo of the first published list of the identities of the first 36 of the corpses that remained on the premises and were able to be identified.

So many roasted corpses strewn around so many rooms of that building are hard to take, but the ones with gouged-out eyes are even harder to take; and the still photo of the young very pregnant woman who was lying on her back, half-draped over what was perhaps her work-desk there, after having been strangled to death by use of an electrical cord — a two-for-one killing occurring so late in a pregnancy — has a poignancy about it that is simply classic: this photo-image should be pinned to Barack Obama’s desk, perhaps near his Nobel Peace Prize.

Will Mr. Obama now return his Nobel Peace Prize? Will the Nobel Committee demand it back? After all, he installed this central government (see here and here), and he spent more than five billion dollars from U.S. taxpayers on the effort to install it (according to Victoria Nuland, his agent who had selected the people to lead the Ukrainian central government after having booted Viktor Yanukovych and installed Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his fascist team in their stead). (Nuland was especially famous for her “F–k the EU” remark, but Obama now is seeking the support of EU leaders.)

Just as there is resistance to Obama’s people on the part of the local policemen in eastern Ukraine, there also is resistance to Obama’s people on the part of some European Union officials and heads-of-state. On May 9th, Reuters headlined “EU’s Barroso Says Europe Divided Over Ukraine Crisis,” and reported that, “He said settling on a united response was ‘still a work in progress’ given different views by EU member states. ‘And this, let’s be honest, this is the issue,’ he said. EU countries have moved slowly towards agreeing a tougher line on applying sanctions against Russian companies but Barroso’s comments underline how difficult it will be to reach any more far-reaching agreement. Differences within the 28-member bloc, much of which depends on Russian gas supplies, have stood in the way of agreement on toughening the limited sanctions against members of the Russian elite. Germany, Europe’s most powerful economy, is urging more room for diplomacy while others, including Britain and France [are] pushing for tougher action. German growth could be reduced by up to 0.9 percentage points this year if the EU imposes tougher sanctions, a German magazine reported, citing a European Commission study.”

Barroso said that he personally favors the EU’s participating in Obama’s operation on this, because he wants the U.S. aristocracy to continue controlling the world: ”Barroso, who said he had met Russian President Vladimir Putin more than 20 times during his time in office and had spoken frequently with him during the crisis, said Putin’s ambition to strengthen ties with some of the former Soviet Union states to create a new Eurasian Union was behind the crisis. ’He wants to build on that and enlarge it to become a Eurasian Union, a kind of a pole of power opposed to the European Union, unfortunately,’ he said.” Barroso equated “the European Union” with Obama; and “a Eurasian Union” with an anti-European union, both positions being at least very questionable, and probably outright false. (After all, Nuland had said “F–k the EU.”) Yet, he acknowledged that perhaps Germany, and some other EU nations, might not agree with his dubious assumptions on this.

In a remarkable lapse, by reporting with a significant modicum of honesty, The New York Times headlined on May 4th, “Ukraine’s Reins Weaken as Chaos Spread,” (even the headline there was honest) and Andrew E. Kramer reported, with some accuracy, on the immediate sequel to the world’s best-documented massacre, which had so transparently been carried out on behalf of the Government that we had installed in Ukraine. He opened by transmitting the Obama Administration’s line, as represented here by the man whom Obama (through Nuland) had chosen to run Ukraine for the time being, Arseniy Yatsenyuk:

“Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine spun further out of the central government’s control on Sunday [May 4th] as a mob [on the Russian side, the NYT calls them 'a mob,' though it was actually our own side here, which was that: they operated like a ‘mob’] stormed a police station in this Black Sea port [Odessa] and freed from detention 67 pro-Russian militants [that's the NYT's term, 'militants,' for people who simply wanted protection from our actual mob, of not 'militants,' but straight-out Ukrainian fascists], on the same day that Ukraine’s prime minister was visiting the city. It was intended to be a chance for the prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, to express condolences for the dozens of people who died here on Friday in street fighting [the NYT's euphemism for the massacre inside the Trade Unions Building] and in a horrific fire at a trade union building, and to reinforce the government’s narrative that Russia and inept or disloyal local police were to blame. Speaking at a news conference, Mr. Yatsenyuk cast aspersion on the police, suggesting that if they had done their jobs instead of concentrating on soliciting bribes at an outdoor market, ‘these terrorist organizations would have been foiled.’”

Thus far, Mr. Kramer has done the usual NYT thing of serving as the U.S. President’s stenographer, not a journalist at all, though this time through the President’s agent, “Yats” as Nuland had so famously and endearingly referred to the man she selected to run Ukraine. Thus far, Kramer’s “reporting” is no different from what the NYT’s star reporter on Iraq, Judith Miller, had done during the build-up to our 2003 invasion of Iraq in order to eliminate equally fictitious “Saddam’s WMD.” And there is much more in Kramer’s story that comes straight out of the same playbook. However, there also was this morsel of almost straightforward truth in the story:

“As the building burned, Ukrainian activists [a euphemism intended to confuse the reader which side was which, because these people were on our side, against the Ukrainians who were being massacred] sang the Ukrainian national anthem [because they were fascist Ukrainians, which the NYT also doesn't want you to recognize], witnesses on both sides said. They also hurled a new taunt: ‘Colorado’ for the Colorado potato beetle, striped red and black like the pro-Russian ribbons [worn by the people who were being massacred]. Those [fascists who were] outside chanted ‘burn Colorado, burn,” witnesses said. Swastikalike symbols were spray painted on the building, along with graffiti reading ‘Galician SS’ [Hitler's Ukrainian Waffen SS division], though it was unclear when it had appeared, or who had painted it. [That statement by Kramer is a pro-U.S.-Administration lie.] ‘The biggest thing they ever did to make me hate this country was sing the anthem,’ Mr. Milteynus ['Yanus Milteynus, a 42-year-old construction worker and pro-Russian activist' who survived the massacre] said. ‘I was going to die, and they sang the anthem. [He did it to save his life.] I hate them deeply.’”

Kramer closed by quoting the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, the man whom Nuland had instructed to appoint “Yats” to run the country, and our Ambassador used here the same line that his chosen stooge, Yatsenyuk, used at the start of Kramer’s story:

“Geoffrey R. Pyatt, in a telephone interview with CNN, called for an investigation into the violence here and suggested that local police [who refused to participate in it] were complicit [in it].”

Then came Kramer’s capstone lie:

“The causes of the fire at the trade union building and [of] its terrible toll in lives is [are] sure to be carefully parsed.”

If he really cared about such things, he could have just looked at those videos and seen the answer to that question — and reported on that matter — but it’s too hard to lie when the evidence is so blatant, so his newspaper wouldn’t do such a foolish thing. Even Judith Miller wouldn’t have done it. So, instead, Kramer just issued here the question, as if (and pretending that) it didn’t already have an awesomely documented answer, which he’s essentially not being permitted to report.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

La manipulación del tipo de interés LIBOR

La forma laxa con la que las autoridades de los principales países industrializados tratan la manipulación de los tipos de interés demuestra a las claras que la nueva doctrina “demasiado grande para ser condenado” se aplica a gran escala. En 2010 estalla el escándalo de la manipulación del LIBOR (siglas de su denominación en inglés, London Interbank Offered Rate), realizada por un grupo de dieciocho bancos durante el período 2005-2010. El LIBOR es el tipo de interés de referencia para el cálculo de los tipos en un mercado que supone 350 billones de dólares en activos y derivados financieros, y constituye el segundo tipo de referencia más importante del mundo después del tipo de cambio con el dólar. Su valor se determina a partir de la información que aportan dieciocho bancos sobre sus costes individuales de financiación en los mercados interbancarios. En 2012 se obtuvieron pruebas de que hubo colusión entre grandes bancos como UBS, Barclays, Rabobank (Países Bajos) y el Royal Bank of Scotland para manipular el LIBOR según sus intereses.

Si bien es cierto que las autoridades de control han abierto expedientes sancionadores en todos los rincones del mundo (Estados Unidos, Reino Unido, el resto de la Unión Europea, Canadá, Japón, Australia, Hong Kong), hasta el momento no se ha incoado ningún procedimiento penal contra los bancos y las multas impuestas son de un montante ridículo si se las compara con la magnitud de la manipulación realizada |1|. Aún no se han cerrado todos los procedimientos en curso. Grosso modo, hasta el momento presente las multas que se han abonado alcanzan una cifra cercana a los 10.000 millones de dólares. Además, la parte que ha pagado cada uno de los bancos es mínima en comparación con el daño causado. Varios cargos directivos de los bancos dimitieron de resultas del escándalo. Es el caso de Barclays (segundo banco británico) y de Rabobank (segundo banco de Países Bajos). Otra consecuencia fue el despido de decenas agentes de negociación (“trader” en la terminología inglesa). Sin embargo, y esto es lo más importante, a ninguno de los bancos se le ha retirado el derecho de operar en los mercados en los que han actuado cual una banda organizada, y ninguno de sus dirigentes ha terminado entre rejas.
A pesar de que los bancos en cuestión reconocieron las acusaciones de manipulación y, en consecuencia, aceptaron las sanciones que les impuso la justicia británica, la estadounidense procedió de forma escandalosa a la hora de dictar sentencia. El 29 de marzo de 2013, Naomi Buchwald, juez de distrito en Nueva York eximió a los bancos implicados en el escándalo de toda responsabilidad legal para con las personas o las instituciones afectadas por la manipulación del LIBOR |2|. Para proteger a los bancos de posibles demandas por colusión y prácticas monopolistas elaboró una motivación según la cual el cálculo del LIBOR no está sujeto a la legislación sobre la competencia. Por ello, a partir de ese momento los bancos pueden ponerse de acuerdo para fijar el valor del tipo de interés sin que ello suponga una infracción de la legislación antimonopolio de los Estados Unidos. Dado que la determinación de los tipos en los mercados de permutas (“swaps” en inglés), así como en los de permutas para cobertura de impagos (“CDS” en inglés) era similar (es decir, calculando la media de los tipos notificados por los participantes), con esta sentencia se sienta un peligroso precedente, ya que abre la puerta a que las grandes instituciones financieras manipulen sin más los precios y los tipos clave que rigen en funcionamiento de los mercados financieros mundiales. En marzo de 2014, el escándalo del LIBOR resurgió en Estados Unidos: la agencia de garantía de los depósitos bancarios interpuso una demanda contra más de una docena de grandes bancos (JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS, Crédit Suisse, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ,…) |3|. Está por ver si, lo mismo que con el caso precedente, todo termina con el sobreseimiento del caso. También es posible, desde luego, que se cierre con una multa pero sin condena.

Volviendo al caso del LIBOR, la Comisión Europea, por su parte, ha impuesto multas por un valor total de 1.700 millones de euros a ocho bancos tras haberlos acusado de haber establecido un cartel que manipuló el mercado de derivados |4|. Cuatro bancos se coaligaron para manipular el tipo de los derivados relacionados con el mercado cambiario del euro mientras que otros seis manipulaban el conjunto de los tipos de los derivados ligados al del yen. Una vez más se aplica la lógica de no condenar.

Además, como los bancos han accedido a pagar la multa, se ha reducido su cuantía en un 10%. Los bancos multados son: JP Morgan y Citigroup (primer y tercer banco de EE UU respectivamente), Deutsche Bank (primer banco alemán), Société Générale (tercer banco francés), Royal Bank of Scotland (tercer banco británico), y RP Martin. Dos bancos, en concreto UBS (el primer banco suizo) y Barclays (el segundo banco británico), se han librado de la sanción por haber denunciado al cartel.

En resumidas cuentas, hemos vuelto al sistema de las indulgencias: « Pague por redimir sus pecados y podrá usted permanecer en el paraíso de las finanzas. Retráctese de sus faltas y denuncie a los otros ladrones, así obtendrá dispensa y no se verá obligado a pagar las indulgencias, perdón, las multas ».

En Australia las autoridades han dado un giro de tuerca más a la farsa: se han limitado a amonestar a BNP Paribas por una conducta potencialmente ilícita (en inglés, literalmente, “potential misconduct”) relacionada con los tipos de interés interbancario de 2007 a 2010. BNP Paribas ha despedido a agentes de negociación (“traders”) y ha declarado que haría una donación de un millón de dólares australianos para fomentar la literatura financiera |5|. ¡Qué generosidad! ¿Pero de quién se están burlando?

Conclusión: hay poner punto y final a los mercados no regulados y prohibir la especulación y los productos derivados. Los bancos deben contratar seguros clásicos para cubrir los riesgos ligados a los tipos de interés.

Eric Toussaint


TRADUCCION : Fernando Lasarte Prieto y Verónica Lasarte Prieto

Notas

|1| Matt Taibbi, “Everything is rigged : The biggest price fixing scandal ever”, 25 de abril 2013,http://www.rollingstone.com/politic… Véase igualmente http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libor_…

|2| The Wall Street Journal, “Judge dismisses antitrust claims in LIBOR suits”, 29 de marzo 2013,http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100...

|3| AFP, « Le scandale du Libor rebondit aux Etats-Unis », 14 de marzo 2014,http://www.rtbf.be/info/economie/de…?

|4| Comisión Europea, “Antitrust: Commission fines banks € 1.71 billion for participating in cartels in the interest rate derivatives industry”, comunicado de prensa del 4 de diciembre de 2013,http://europa.eu/rapid/press-releas…

|5| Financial Times, « BNP Paribas sacks staff for interbank rate-fixing attempt », 29 de enero de 2014.

Eric Toussaint, maestro de conferencias de la Universidad de Lieja, preside el CADTM Bélgica y es miembro del comité científico de ATTAC Francia. Es el autor de los libros Procès d’un homme exemplaire, editorial Editions Al Dante, Marsella, 2013 ; Una mirada al retrovisor : el neoliberalismo desde sus orígenes hasta la actualidad, editorial Icaria, Barcelona, 2010. Próximo libro : Bancocratie, Aden, 1er semestre de 2014

25 verdades sobre Reporteros Sin Fronteras

May 9th, 2014 by Salim Lamrani

La organización francesa pretende sólo defender la libertad de prensa. En realidad, detrás de esta noble fachada, se esconde una agenda política muy precisa.

1. Fundada en 1985 por Robert Ménard, Jean-Claude Guillebaud y Rony Brauman, Reporteros Sin Fronteras tiene como misión oficial “defender la libertad de prensa en el mundo, es decir el derecho a informar y ser informado, conforme al Artículo 19 de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos”.

2. No obstante, a pesar de esta profesión de fe oficial, RSF dispone de una cara oscura y de una agenda política muy precisa, a menudo ligada a la de Washington, y arremete particularmente contra los gobiernos de izquierda en América Latina, preservando al mismo tiempo los países desarrollados.

3. Así, RSF ha sido financiada por el Gobierno de Estados Unidos mediante la National Endowment for Democracy. La organización lo reivindica: “Efectivamente, recibimos dinero de la NED. Y no es ningún problema para nosotros”.

4. La Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (NED) fue creada por el antiguo presidente estadounidense Ronald Reagan en 1983, en una época en que la violencia militar había tomado el paso sobre la diplomacia tradicional en los asuntos internacionales. Gracias a su poderosa capacidad de penetración financiera, la NED tiene como objetivo debilitar a los gobiernos que se opondrían a la política exterior de Washington.

5. Según el New York Times, [artículo de marzo de 1997], la NED “se creó hace 15 años para realizar públicamente lo que la Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ha hecho subrepticiamente durante décadas. Gasta 30 millones de dólares al año para apoyar a partidos políticos, sindicatos, movimientos disidentes y medios informativos en decenas de países”.

6. En septiembre de 1991 Allen Weistein, padre de la legislación que dio nacimiento a la NED, expresó lo siguiente al Washington Post: “Mucho de lo que hacemos hoy lo hizo la CIA hace 25 años de modo clandestino”.

7. Carl Gershman, primer presidente de la NED, explicó la razón de ser de la Fundación en junio de 1986: “Sería terrible para los grupos democráticos del mundo entero ser vistos como subvencionados por la CIA. Vimos eso en los años 60 y por eso pusimos término a ello. Es porque no podíamos seguir haciéndolo que se creó la Fundación”.

8. Así, según el New York Times, Allen Weinstein y Carl Gershman, RSF es financiado por una oficina pantalla de la CIA.

9. RSF también recibió un financiamiento del Center for a Free Cuba. El director del organismo de entonces, Frank Calzón, fue anteriormente uno de los presidente de la Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA). Ésa está gravemente implicada en el terrorismo contra Cuba, como lo reveló uno de sus antiguos directores, José Antonio Llama.

10. RSF recibió fondos de la Overbrook Fondation, entidad fundada por Frank Altschul, promotor de Radio Free Europe, estación de la CIA durante la Guerra Fría, y colaborador cercano de William J. Donovan, jefe de los servicios secretos estadounidenses en los años 50 y fundador del Office of Strategic Services, antepasado de la Central Intelligence Agency.

11. En el pasado, RSF silenció las exacciones que cometió el ejército de Estados Unidos contra los periodistas. Así, RSF sólo se acordó tardíamente  -cinco años después– del caso Sami Al-Hay, periodista del canal catarí Al-Jazeera, arrestado y torturado en Afganistán por las autoridades estadounidenses y luego trasladado a Guantánamo. Al-Haj fue liberado el 1 de mayo de 2008, tras más de seis años de calvario. Entonces RSF necesitó una investigación de cinco años para descubrir que Sami Al-Haj fue arrestado, secuestrado y torturado sólo por ser periodista.

12. En un informe del 15 de enero de 2004, RSF exoneró de toda implicación a los militares estadounidenses responsables del asesinato del periodista español José Couso y de su colega ucraniano Taras Protsyuk en el hotel Palestina de Bagdad. Según la familia Couso, “las conclusiones de este informe exculpan a los autores materiales y reconocidos del disparo al hotel Palestina en base a la dudosa imparcialidad de los empotrados, y al propio testimonio de los autores y responsables del disparo, trasladando esa responsabilidad a personas no identificadas. La realización del informe ha sido firmada por un periodista, Jean Paul Mari, con conocidas relaciones con el coronel Philip de Camp, militar que reconoció su implicación en el ataque y las muertes de los periodistas del hotel Palestina, y que, además, su informe se apoya en los testimonios de tres periodistas empotrados en las fuerzas de EE.UU, todos ellos estadounidenses, habiendo formado parte alguno de ellos -Chris Tomlinson- de los servicios de inteligencia del ejército de los Estados Unidos durante más de siete años. Ninguno de los periodistas españoles que se encontraban en el hotel ha sido consultado para la elaboración de este documento”. El 16 de enero de 2007, el juez madrileño Santiago Pedraz emitió una orden de arresto internacional contra el sargento Shawn Gibson, el capitán Philip Wolford, y el teniente coronel Philip de Camp, responsables de los asesinatos de Couso y Protsyuk y absueltos por RSF.

13. RSF hizo apología de la invasión de Irak en 2003 al afirmar que “el derrocamiento de la dictadura de Sadam Husein puso término a treinta años de propaganda oficial y ha abierto una era de libertad nueva, llena de esperanzas y de incertidumbres, para los periodistas iraquíes. Para los medios iraquíes, decenios de privación total de libertad de prensa, llegaron a su fin con el bombardeo del ministerio de Información, el 9 de abril en Bagdad”.

14. El 16 de agosto de 2007, durante el programa radial “Contre-expertise”, Robert Ménard, entonces secretario general de RSF, legitimó el uso de la tortura.

15. RSF apoyó el golpe de Estado contra el Presidente haitiano Jean-Bertrand Aristide, que organizaron Francia y Estados Unidos, con el título: “La libertad de prensa recuperada: una esperanza a mantener”.

16. Durante el golpe de Estado contra Hugo Chávez en abril de 2002 que organizó Washington, RSF publicó un artículo el 12 de abril de 2002 que retomaba sin reserva alguna la versión de los golpistas y trató de convencer a la opinión pública internacional de que Chávez había renunciado: “Recluido en el palacio presidencial, Hugo Chávez firmó su renuncia durante la noche bajo la presión del ejército. Después fue llevado a Fuerte Tiuna, la principal base militar de Caracas, donde está detenido. Inmediatamente después, Pedro Carmona, el presidente de Fedecámaras, anunció que dirigiría un nuevo gobierno de transición. Afirmó que su nombre era el objeto de un ‘consenso’ de la sociedad civil venezolana y de la comandancia de las fuerzas armadas”.

17. RSF siempre se ha negado a ocuparse del caso de Mumia Abu-Jamal, periodista negro encarcelado en Estados Unidos desde hace treinta años por denunciar en sus reportajes la violencia policial contra las minorías.

18. RSF organiza regularmente campañas contra Cuba, país donde ningún periodista ha sido asesinado desde 1959. La organización está en estrecha colaboración con Washington al respecto. Así, en 1996, RSF tuvo un encuentro en Paris con Stuart Eizenstat, embajador especial de la administración Clinton para los asuntos cubanos.

19. El 16 de enero de 2004, RSF se reunió con los representantes de la extrema derecha cubana de Florida para establecer una estrategia de lucha mediática contra el Gobierno cubano.

20. RSF lanzó varias campañas mediáticas difundiendo mensajes publicitarios en la prensa escrita, radia y televisual, destinados a disuadir a los turistas de viajar a Cuba. Es lo que preconiza el primer informe de la Comisión de Asistencia para una Cuba Libre que publicó el presidente Bush en mayo de 2004 y que recrudece las sanciones contra Cuba. Así, este informe cita a RSF en la página 20 como ejemplo a seguir.

21. RSF afirma abiertamente que sólo le interesan los países del Tercer Mundo: “Decidimos denunciar los atentados contra la libertad de prensa en Bosnia y en Gabón y las ambigüedades de los medios argelinos o tunecinos… pero no ocuparnos de los desmanes franceses”. ¿Por qué? “Porque si lo hacemos, corremos el riesgo de molestar a algunos periodistas, suscitar la enemistad de los grandes dueños de prensa e irritar al poder económico. Ahora bien, para mediatizarnos, necesitamos de complicidad de los periodistas, el apoyo de los dueños de prensa y del dinero del poder económico”.

22. Jean-Claude Guillebaud, cofundador de RSF y primer presidente de la asociación, abandonó la organización en 1993. Explicó las razones: “Yo pensaba que una organización de ese tipo solo podía ser legítima si incluía un trabajo de crítica del funcionamiento de los medios en Occidente. Ya sea sobre las derivas del trabajo periodístico (falsas entrevistas, etc.) o un trabajo profundo de reflexión sobre la evolución de esta profesión, sus prácticas y los posibles ataques a las libertades en las democracias. Si no, nos verían como neocolonialistas, como arrogantes que pretenden dar lecciones. Cuando se llama la atención a los líderes de los países del Tercer Mundo sobre los ataques a la libertad de prensa en sus países, la cuestión que se plantea automáticamente ante nosotros es saber qué uso damos nosotros a nuestra libertad. Aunque los objetivos no sean los mismos, es una interrogante esencial y yo pensaba que teníamos que dedicarle el 50% de nuestro tiempo y de nuestra energía (…). A medida que se desarrollaba la asociación, las operaciones se hacían más y más espectaculares. Se plantearon dos interrogantes: ¿no había una contradicción en denunciar ciertas derivas del sistema mediático y utilizar los mismos métodos en nuestras acciones de denuncia? Por su parte, Robert Menard pensaba que había que pasar por alto toda la actividad de crítica sobre los medios para obtener así el apoyo de los grandes diarios y de las grandes cadenas de televisión (…). A mí me parecieron demasiado cercanos a la prensa anti Chávez en Venezuela. Es indudable que había que haber sido más prudente. Me parece que se les oye muy poco sobre Estados Unidos”.

23. El diario francés Libération, fiel patrocinador de la organización, apunta que RSF permanece silenciosa sobre los abusos de los medios informativos occidentales: “En adelante, la libertad de prensa será exótica o no será. Muchos “le reprochan su ensañamiento contra Cuba y Venezuela y su indulgencia hacia Estados Unidos, lo cual no es falso”.

24. RSF no ha disimulado nunca sus relaciones con el mundo del poder. “Un día tuvimos un problema de dinero. Yo llamé al industrial Francois Pinault para que nos ayudara. (…) Enseguida respondió a mi pedido. Y eso es lo único que importa” porque «La ley de la gravedad existe, queridos amigos. Y también la ley del dinero”.

25. Así, a pesar de las reivindicaciones de imparcialidad y de defensa de la libertad de prensa, RSF tiene efectivamente una agenda política y arremete regularmente contra los países de la Nueva América Latina.

Salim Lamrani

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

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In the second half of his second term, Obama and his crew seek to rewrite the history of his administration. Attorney General Eric Holder now declares that no bank is too big to jail. But the reality is, Wall Street’s “impunity is infinite. Holder and Obama work for them.”

The Obama administration is in a makeover frenzy, cosmetically cleaning up its corporatist act for the sake of the lame duck president’s legacy and endangered Democrats in Congress. Evils must be reapportioned in the public mind, so that the balance between lesser and greater abominations is perceived to tilt in the Democrats’ favor – a tough trick, given the beating the party’s base constituencies have taken since 2008 at the hands of the duopoly Dem-Rep tag-team. Historical revisionism is, thus, the order of the day.

Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General who successfully intervened in federal court to prevent the retroactive release of thousands of mostly Black prisoners convicted under the old 100-to-1 crack cocaine laws, now acts as point man for his boss’s program of charitable sentencing commutations. Obama’s compassionate mood-swing occurred at whiplash speed; in his first six years in office, he had granted fewer clemencies than any president since Dwight Eisenhower. Obama’s brazenly hypocritical and slap-dash new program “will not represent any significant or permanent change to the nation’s universal policy of mass incarceration, mainly of poor black and brown youth,” as Bruce Dixon has written, but is designed purely to rehabilitate the president’s image among Black voters. With one empty gesture, the president’s record on criminal justice is revised.

Obama then takes his political theater troupe on a comedy tour. Attorney General Holder pretends to threaten Wall Street bankers with jail time – a notion so hilarious it should have had them rolling on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. Jail the bankers? Obama has been their staunchest defender, the man who saved George Bush’s original bank bailout from defeat (weeks before the 2008 election), and has since configured the entire financial structure of the American State to the service of his most important constituents: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs. “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” Obamareminded the banksters in his Oval Office, back in 2009. He has never failed them, presiding over the infusion of roughly $30 trillion (2011 figures) directly into their accounts or as guarantees of their business transactions – roughly twice the Gross Domestic Product of the United States. Ain’t that love?

Eric Holder told his joke about jailing the bankers during a stand-up that was posted on the Justice Department’s website on Monday. Actually, it was only an inference – a bit of comic relief. “I intend to reaffirm the principle that no individual or entity that does harm to our economy is ever above the law. There is no such thing as ‘too big to jail,’” said Holder, clarifying his statement of last year, that “the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult to prosecute them.”

Has the Obama administration picked up the pitchfork? Could JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon, whom Obama called a “friend” and “one of the smartest bankers we’ve got,” be headed for the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado?

Does the Syndicate take orders from street hustlers? Barack Obama has a better chance of winding up behind bars than Dimon and his fellow oligarchs. Let’s not forget who the boss is, here in the U.S.A.

Holder failed to mention the names or corporate logos of those who might be targeted for doing “harm to our economy,” but his office no doubt encouraged the press to speculate that French bank BNP Paribas and some Swiss banks might be on the list – which makes sense. The French bank is charged with violating U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran and other targets of U.S. economic aggression. That puts them at odds with the national security state. The Swiss banks are alleged to have helped Americans hide their money from U.S. taxes, which is mainly a crime of individuals. Neither of the cases directly involve the Big Five U.S. banks that are the core institutions of U.S. finance capital, the guys that “are so large that it does become difficult to prosecute them,” as Holder said last year. They are the circle in the center of the Ruling Circles. Their impunity is infinite. Holder and Obama work for them.

Routine prosecutions of corporate crimes are actually at historically low levels under Obama, despite tsunamis of scandals, including several “Crimes of the Century.” Under the pressures of Obama history revisionism, Holder will snare some fat white faces to create the impression of a crackdown on corporate bad actors, confident that all Wall Street types look alike to the average consumer of news. Most people make little distinction between a Bernie Madoff, who lived like a king on a giant Ponzi scheme, and Jamie Dimon, who IS a king of the American Empire, with all the immunities accorded to those at the top of the Ruling Class. Bernie Madoff will die in prison. Jamie Dimon, whose bank turned ablind eye to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and profited handsomely from it, remains on the top of the world (although JP Morgan Chase was fined $2 billion).

Throughout the whole of this administration – the past that Obama now wants you to forget – Holder “ruthlessly maneuvered every case against the oligarchs into his own jurisdictional arena, in order to protect the banksters from aggressive prosecution,” as we pointed out in BAR in November, 2013. Holder acted, not as a prosecutor, but as the Lords of Capital’s defender and guardian.

JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and each of his peers in the top U.S. banks could be sentenced to 20 years and $5 million fine for violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a law passed following the 2001 recession that requires corporate chiefs to personally certify that documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are accurate and that the corporation’s internal controls are adequate. Every case of bankster wrongdoing “settled” by Holder’s Justice Department is, almost by definition, proof of chief executive guilt under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

A report from the Real Economy Project shows how Wall Street’s (known) crimes are methodically decriminalized by Justice Department “settlements.” Holder uses his offices to immunize the big fish, and allow the corporations to escape with a fine. His own pattern of behavior is so clear as to also be indictable – if there were a State apparatus that was not controlled by the Ruling Class.

But, there is not, because Wall Street’s rule is “hegemonic”; both the Democrats and Republicans are their servants, as are the main media.

The history of the last six years tells us, unequivocally, that the five biggest banks, and the people who run them, are not just beyond the reach of the State, they control the State.

There can be no fundamental change without the utter destruction of the banks and the financial Ruling Class. Not broken into smaller pieces, but broken, totally. All else is reform and tinkering – which is worthwhile, but don’t call it Revolution or Social Transformation or Socialism.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].

25 verdades sobre os Repórteres Sem Fronteiras

May 9th, 2014 by Salim Lamrani

A organização francesa pretende apenas defender a liberdade de imprensa. Na verdade, por trás da nobre fachada, se esconde um agenda política muito precisa.

1. Fundada em 1985 por Robert Ménard, Jean-Claude Guillebaud e Rony Brauman, a Repórteres sem Fronteiras tem como missão oficial “defender a liberdade de imprensa no mundo, isto é, o direito de informar e ser informado, conforme o artigo 19 da Declaração Universal dos Direitos Humanos.”

2. Entretanto, apesar dessa profissão de fé oficial, a RSF tem uma face obscura e uma agenda política muito precisa, ligada à de Washington, e arremete particularmente contra os governos de esquerda da América Latina, preservando, ao mesmo tempo, os países desenvolvidos.

3. Assim, a RSF tem sido financiada pelo governo dos Estados Unidos pela National Endowment for Democracy (Fundação Nacional pela Democracia, a NED, por sua sigla em inglês). A organização o reconhece: “Efetivamente, recebemos dinheiro da NED. E não é nenhum problema para nós.”

Wikicommons

 

4. A NED foi criada pelo antigo presidente norte-americano Ronald Reagan em 1983, em uma época na qual a violência militar tinha tomado a dianteira da diplomacia tradicional nos assuntos internacionais. Graças à sua poderosa capacidade de penetração financeira, a NED tem como objetivo debilitar os governos que se oporiam à política externa de Washington.

[RSF nunca se pronunciou sobre o caso do jornalista Mumia Abu-Jamal, que cumpre prisão perpétua nos EUA]

5. De acordo com o New York Times (em artigo de março de 1997) a NED “foi criada há 15 anos para realizar publicamente o que a Central Intelligence Agency (Agência Central de Inteligência, a CIA) tem feito sub-repticiamente durante décadas. Gasta 30 milhões de dólares anuais para apoiar partidos políticos, sindicatos, movimentos dissidentes e meios de comunicação de dezenas de países.”

6. Em setembro de 1991, Allen Weinstein, pai da legislação que deu luz à NED, expressou o seguinte ao Washington Post: “Muito do que fazemos hoje tem sido feito clandestinamente pela CIA há 25 anos.”

7. Carl Gershman, primeiro presidente da NED, explicou a razão de ser da fundação em junho de 1986: “Seria terrível para os grupos democráticos do mundo inteiro serem vistos como subvencionados pela CIA. Vimos isso nos anos 60 e por isso demos um fim nisso. É porque não poderíamos continuar que a fundação foi criada.”

8. Assim, segundo o The New York Times, Allen Weinstein e Carl Gershman, a RSF é financiada por um escritório de fachada da CIA.

9. A RSF também recebeu financiamento do Center for a Free Cuba (Centro para uma Cuba Livre). O diretor da organização à época, Frank Calzón, foi anteriormente um dos presidentes da Fundação Nacional Cubano-Americana (FNCA), gravemente implicada no terrorismo contra Cuba, como foi revelado por um de seus antigos diretores, José Antonio Llama.

10.  A RSF recebeu fundos da Overbrook Foundation, entidade fundada por Frank Altschul, promotor da Radio Free Europe, estação da CIA durante a Guerra Fria, e colaborador próximo de William J. Donovan, chefe dos serviços secretos estadunidenses nos anos 50 e fundador do Office of Strategic Services (Agência de Serviços Estratégicos), predecessora da CIA.

11. No passado, a RSF se manteve em silêncio sobre as exações cometidas pelo Exército dos Estados Unidos contra os jornalistas. Assim, a RSF somente de lembrou tardiamente — cinco anos depois — do caso Sami Al-Haj, jornalista do canal do Qatar Al-Jazeera, preso e torturado no Afeganistão por autoridades norte-americanas e em seguida enviado para Guantánamo. Al-Haj foi libertado no dia 1 de maio de 2008, depois de mais de seis anos de calvário. Ou seja, a RSF precisou de uma investigação de 5 anos para descobrir que Al-Haj foi preso, sequestrado e torturado apenas por ser jornalista.

12. Em um relatório de 15 de janeiro de 2004, a RSF exonerou de qualquer envolvimento os militares norte-americanos responsáveis pelo assassinato do jornalista espanhol José Couso e de seu colega ucraniano Taras Protsyuk no hotel Palestina, em Bagdá. De acordo com a família de Couso, “as conclusões desse relatório isentam de culpa os autores materiais e reconhecidos do disparo contra o hotel Palestina baseando-se na duvidosa imparcialidade dos envolvidos e do próprio testemunho dos autores e responsáveis pelo disparo, deslocando essa responsabilidade para pessoas não identificadas. A realização desse relatório foi assinada por um jornalista, Jean-Paul Mari, que tem conhecidas relações com o coronel Philip de Camp, militar que reconheceu seu envolvimento no ataque e nas mortes dos jornalistas do hotel Palestina e, além disso, seu relatório se apoia no testemunho de três jornalistas das forças dos Estados Unidos, todos eles norte-americanos, tendo alguns deles feito parte — Chris Tomlinson — dos serviços de inteligência do Exército dos Estados Unidos durante mais de sete anos. Nenhum dos jornalistas espanhóis que estavam no hotel foram consultados para a elaboração desse documento”. No dia 16 de janeiro de 2007, o juiz madrilenho Santiago Pedraz emitiu uma ordem de prisão internacional contra o sargento Shawn Gibson, o capitão Philip Wolford e o tenente-coronel Philip de Camp, responsáveis pelos assassinatos de Couso e Protsyuk e absolvidos pela RSF.

Sami Al-Haj, jornalista do canal do Qatar Al-Jazeera, preso e torturado no Afeganistão:

13. A RSF fez apologia à invasão do Iraque em 2003 ao afirmar que “a derrubada da ditadura de Saddam Hussein pôs fim a 30 anos de propaganda oficial e abriu uma era de nova liberdade, cheia de esperanças e de incertezas, para os jornalistas iraquianos. Para os meios de comunicação iraquianos, décadas de privação total de liberdade de imprensa chegaram a seu fim com o bombardeio do ministério de Comunicação, no dia 9 de abril em Bagdá.”

14. No dia 16 de agosto de 2007, durante o programa de rádio “Contre-expertise”, Robert Ménard, então secretário-geral da RSF, legitimou o uso da tortura.

RSF

 

15.  A RSF apoiou o golpe de Estado contra o presidente haitiano Jean-Bertrand Aristide, que foi organizado pela França e pelos Estados Unidos, com o matéria “A liberdade de imprensa recuperada: uma esperança a ser mantida.”

[Campanha contra Cuba organizada pelos RSF]

16. Durante o golpe de Estado contra Hugo Chávez em abril de 2002, organizado por Washington, a RSF publicou um artigo, no dia 12 de abril de 2002, que retomava sem reserva alguma a versão dos golpistas e tentava convencer a opinião pública internacional de que Chávez tinha renunciado. “Recluso no palácio presidencial, Hugo Chávez assinou sua renúncia durante a noite, sob pressão do Exército. Depois foi levado para Fuerte Tiuna, a principal base militar de Caracas, onde está detido. Imediatamente depois, Pedro Carmona, o presidente da Fedecámaras (Federação de Câmaras e Associações de Comércio da Venezuela), anunciou que dirigiria um novo governo de transição. Afirmou que seu nome era fruto de um ‘consenso’ da sociedade civil venezuelana e dos comandantes das forças armadas.”

17. A RSF sempre negou tomar nota do caso de Mumia Abu-Jamal, jornalista negro preso nos Estados Unidos há 30 anos por denunciar em suas reportagens a violência policial contra as minorias.

18. A RSF organiza regularmente campanhas contra Cuba, país onde nenhum jornalista foi assassinado desde 1959. A organização está em estreita colaboração com Washington a esse respeito. Dessa forma, em 1996, a RSF teve um encontro em Paris com Stuart Eizenstat, embaixador especial da administração Clinton para assuntos cubanos.

19. No dia 16 de janeiro de 2004, a RSF se reuniu com os representantes da extrema-direita cubana da Flórida para estabelecer uma estratégia de luta midiática contra o governo cubano.

20. A RSF lançou várias campanhas midiáticas difundindo mensagens publicitárias nos meios de comunicação escritos, de rádio e de televisão, destinadas a dissuadir os turistas de viajar para Cuba. É o que preconiza o primeiro relatório da Comissão de Assistência para uma Cuba Livre, publicado pelo presidente George W. Bush em maio de 2004 e que recrudesce as sanções contra Cuba. Assim, esse relatório cita a RSF na página 20 como exemplo a ser seguido.

21.  A RSF afirma abertamente que somente lhe interessam os países do Terceiro Mundo: “Decidimos denunciar os atentados contra a liberdade de imprensa na Bósnia e no Gabão e as ambiguidades dos meios argelinos ou tunisianos… mas não tomamos nota dos excessos franceses”. Por quê? “Porque se o fazemos, corremos o risco de incomodar alguns jornalistas, suscitar a inimizade dos grandes donos de imprensa e irritar o poder econômico. Agora veja, para nos tornamos midiáticos, precisamos de cumplicidades dos jornalistas, do apoio dos donos de imprensa e do dinheiro do poder econômico.”

22. Jean-Claude Guillebaud, co-fundador da RSF e primeiro presidente da associação, abandonou a organização em 1993. Explicou as razões: “Eu pensava que uma organização desse tipo poderia ser legítima se incluísse um trabalho de crítica do funcionamento dos meios de comunicação ocidentais. Seja sobre os desvios do trabalho jornalístico (falsas entrevistas etc.) ou fazendo um trabalho profundo de reflexão sobra e evolução dessa profissão, suas práticas e os possíveis ataques às liberdades nas democracias. Caso contrário, nos veriam como neocolonialistas, como arrogantes que pretendem dar lições. Quando se chama a atenção dos líderes dos países do Terceiro Mundo sobre os ataques à liberdade de imprensa em seus países, a questão que se levanta automaticamente contra nós é saber que uso nós damos à nossa liberdade. Ainda que os objetivos não sejam os mesmos, é uma questão essencial e eu achava que tínhamos de dedicar a ela 50% do nosso tempo e de nossa energia (…). À medida que a associação se desenvolvia, as operações se tornavam mais e mais espetaculares. Foram levantadas duas questões: não havia uma contradição em denunciar certos desvios do sistema midiático e usar os mesmos métodos nas nossas ações de denúncia? Por sua vez, Robert Ménard achava que tinha de passar por cima de toda a atividade crítica aos meios de comunicação para conseguir o apoio da grande imprensa e das grandes cadeias de televisão (…). Para mim, pareciam próximos demais da imprensa anti-Chávez na Venezuela. Não há dúvida de que era necessário ser mais prudente. Eu acho que eles ouvem muito pouco sobre os Estados Unidos.”

23.  O diário francês Libération, fiel patrocinador da organização, aponta que a RSF permanece em silêncio sobre os abusos dos meios de comunicação ocidentais: “No futuro, a liberdade de imprensa será exótica ou não será. Muitos “reprovam sua ira contra Cuba e contra a Venezuela e sua indulgência em relação aos Estados Unidos, o que não é falso.”

24. A RSF nunca dissimulou suas relações com o mundo do poder. “Um dia tivemos um problema de dinheiro. Eu liguei para o empresário François Pinault pedindo que nos ajudasse (…). Ele respondeu meu pedido em seguida. E isso é a única coisa que importa” porque “a lei da gravidade existe, queridos amigos. E também a lei do dinheiro.”

25. Assim, apesar das reinvindicações de imparcialidade e de defesa da liberdade de imprensa, a RSF tem efetivamente uma agenda política e arremete regularmente contra os países da nova América Latina.

Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

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petition to the President and the Attorney General has just been posted by several organizations, including one I work for, asking that the Department of Justice stop threatening New York Times reporter James Risen with prison if he refuses to reveal a confidential source.

This story, among other stunning features, I think, threatens to expose an unknown known of the highest magnitude — by which I mean, not something lying outside Donald Rumsfeld’s imagination, but something that everyone paying attention has known all about for years but which would explode the brains of most consumers of corporate media if they ever heard about it.

Here’s a great summary of the matter at the Progressive.  The focus there and in the petition is on the threat to freedom of the press.  But read this offhand bit of the explanation carefully:

“The information concerns a source for a chapter in Risen’s terrific 2006 book, ‘State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.’ That chapter dealt with a scheme to give the Iranians faulty blueprints for a nuclear weapon.”

Not only is the Justice Department (universally understood to take its orders from the White House) trying to pressure a reporter to reveal a source, but it’s trying to pressure a reporter to reveal a source who told him that the United States gave Iran plans for building a nuclear bomb.

Imagine if the general public had a clue that this had happened!

Rather than reporter, I should probably be saying author.  And I should stop attaching the insulting modifier “New York Times” in front of “reporter”.  Because this was a story published in a book.  The same book included several interesting stories that I don’t think ever made it into major media outlets.

One exception was a story about NSA mass-surveillance.  The New York Times had sat on that story for over a year and explained that failure as a desire not to inform the public of what its government was up to prior to an election (the 2004 election).  When the book came out, the New York Times finally reported the story.  But if the Times or other outlets have informed the public that the CIA gave Iran nuke plans, I’ve missed it.  This shocker certainly has not been extensively covered.

The genius plan was to give Iran nuclear bomb plans with some little portion altered. But reportedly it was quite clear to scientists — yes, even in Iran they have scientists — which bit had been altered.

The result was not the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb program.  As Gareth Porter’s new book documents in detail, Iran has never had a nuclear bomb program, and we’ve simply been lied to about that fact for 35 years.

But, here’s the point: if your Uncle Homer knew the sort of moron stunts the CIA was engaged in with a nation marketed for 35 years as a force of evil, the result would out-do by far the outrage heard last summer when Obama and Kerry proposed joining a war in Syria on the side of al Qaeda (which everyone had been told was Evil Inc. up to that moment).

Don’t Obama and Holder risk bringing more attention to this lunacy by prosecuting James Risen? Can they really trust the Press Corpse (sic) to bury the substance of the story?

More to the point: Will we let them? Please sign the petition to the President and the Attorney General.

Sodier arresting child in Beit Omar, 2010 (Anne Paq / Activestills)

In a January 2014 New York Times op-ed that I somehow just noticed now, a South Africa-born Jew insists that Israel is not an apartheid state. Hirsh Goodman, a journalist and political commentator who immigrated to Israel in 1965, agrees that the occupation must end. Not because it’s evil to deprive a whole nation of its basic civil rights, but because it looks bad.

For Goodman, the problem is not the human rights abuses committed by Israel, but rather that anti-occupation activists, “some of whom have graduated from the best universities in the world,” are waging a campaign to “delegitimize” Israel by using the “buzzword” of apartheid. This is a false label, he asserts, which is sticking because Israel’s enemies are good at propaganda. Then, in a remarkable feat of unawareness, he goes on to make the case that Israel does preside over an apartheid-like system.

In apartheid South Africa, people disappeared in the night without the protection of any legal process and were never heard from again. There was no freedom of speech or expression and more “judicial” hangings were reportedly carried out there than in any other place on earth. There was no free press and, until January 1976, no public television. Masses of black people were forcibly moved from tribal lands to arid Bantustans in the middle of nowhere. A “pass system” stipulated where blacks could live and work, splitting families and breaking down social structures, to provide cheap labor for the mines and white-owned businesses, and a plentiful pool of domestic servants for the white minority. Those found in violation were arrested, usually lashed, and sentenced to stints of hard labor for a few shillings per prisoner per day, payable to the prison service.

None of this even remotely exists in Israel or the occupied territories.

In fact, almost all of these conditions exist in the territories controlled by Israel. Tweak this paragraph a bit, and you have a pretty accurate description of the system over which Israel has presided for 47 years —five years longer than apartheid existed in South Africa. Here’s the Israel-Palestine version:

Masses of Palestinians were forcibly moved from their ancestral lands to arid Bantustans in the middle of nowhere. An opaque permit system stipulates where Palestinians can live and work, splitting families and breaking down social structures, to provide cheap labor for the settlements and Jewish-owned businesses, and a plentiful pool of manual labor for the Jewish minority. Those judged to be in violation, even children as young as 8, are arrested by soldiers, usually beaten, tried in a military court that has a conviction rate of 99 percent and sentenced to stints of jail time for a few shekels per prisoner per day, payable to the prison service.”

Israel has been displacing Palestinians from their ancestral lands since the state was founded. After it conquered the West Bank in 1967, it systematically uprooted Palestinians from their homes there, starting with those who had the bad luck to occupy homes near the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City (Moshe Dayan gave the order to raze those homes, which stood where the plaza leading to the Western Wall is today). Over the past year or so, the army has been in the process of forcibly removing 27,000 Palestinians from their homes in Area C of the West Bank, most of whom have lived in the same place for at least 50 years. The human rights NGO B’Tselem has documented this extensively, as has Haaretz journalist Amira Hass. Soldiers evict the families by force and destroy their homes with bulldozers. Sometimes a whole village is bulldozed, including the local school. No alternative housing or compensation is provided. “Go to Area A or B,” the Palestinians are told. If anyone tries to stop the soldiers or offer aid to the newly homeless families, they are forcibly removed from the scene or arrested. Including EU diplomats.

A woman from the Palestinian Ghaith family stands amidst the remains of her home,  demolished by Jerusalem municipality workers in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of At Tur, April 29, 2013.

In Jerusalem neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah, settlers protected by court orders and paramilitary police forcibly evict Palestinians from the homes they have lived in for decades, tossing the residents’ belongings on the street and leaving them homeless, with no recourse and nowhere to go. In the Negev, the Israeli government is trying under the Prawer Plan to uproot Bedouin from their ancestral homes, which have been systematically deprived of  amenities, like electricity and running water, that illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank are granted as a matter of course, and herd them forcibly into urban areas. Paramilitary police have demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib several dozen times.

In the West Bank, the Israeli army regularly deploys soldiers to carry out pre-dawn arrests, rousting minor youths from their beds at 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, as documented in this video (there are dozens of similar videos). The children are cuffed, taken in an army vehicle to a police station, and questioned aggressively, with neither a guardian nor a lawyer present. It is not uncommon for children as young as eight to be arrested by soldiers on suspicion of throwing stones. As this illustration shows, there is a stark disparity in the way Israel’s justice system treats Palestinian children, as compared to Israeli children who live in the same territory. A Palestinian child, for example, can be detained in military prison, an adult facility, for 180 days without being charged.

It’s true that since the separation barrier went up a decade ago, Israelis have largely replaced cheap Palestinian laborers with guest workers from places like the Philippines. But with the Palestinian economy crippled by Israel’s control over its borders and resources, unemployment is sky high and people are desperate for work. Some obtain permits to do construction work on Jewish settlements, enduring the humiliation of building houses for Jews on land that was stolen from them just so they can put food on the table for their children. A very lucky few obtain permits to work in Israel, queuing up like cattle early in the morning to pass through Israel’s military checkpoints. Still others, unable to obtain permits, travel for hours via circuitous routes that circumvent the checkpoints, then sneak through the porous parts of the wall in search of a day’s manual labor. Sometimes, they get shot and killed by border police as they are sneaking in. All for a day’s work that might pay $25 or so.

Palestinian women wait to cross from Qalandiya checkpoint outside Ramallah, West Bank, into Jerusalem to attend the Ramadan Friday Prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, July 19, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens of Israel (often referred to as “Israeli Arabs”) who marry Palestinians from the occupied territories are prevented by law from obtaining residency or citizenship for their spouses. This means that families are torn apart, just as South African families were sundered by the apartheid policies Goodman describes. The same applies to West Bank Palestinians married to Gaza Palestinians. Israel controls the borders and population movement for both places, and refuses in all but a handful of cases to issue permits that would allow families to live together in one of the two territories.

Fortunately, Israel has a free and lively media that does often report on these violations of Palestinian human rights. But unfortunately, the Israeli public is not sufficiently moved to express vociferous disapproval, as witnessed by the fact that these reports elicit mild protest but never change. In fact, the situation of Palestinians has steadily deteriorated with the years, with more land confiscations and increased limitations on their freedom of movement.

The asylum seekers from countries like Eritrea and Sudan, writes Goodman, should be treated better. Not because helping people who survived desperate journeys across the desert after escaping war and torture is the right thing to do. And not because Israel has a legal obligation as a signatory to the 1951 UN treaty on the treatment and status of refugees. Rather, because jailing these poor souls instead of providing succor results in  ”…reams of footage to those who want to prove Israel is a racist society.” Goodman neglects to mention the racist incitement of members of Knesset like Likud’s Miri Regev, who infamously referred to the African refugees as “a cancer in our bodies.” According to a poll carried out by the Israel Democracy Institute, 51 percent of Israelis agree with Regev. No wonder Israel has a reputation for being a racist country.

African asylum seekers participate in a silent demonstration in front of the African Union office in Tel Aviv, calling for international support in their struggle for recognition as refugees, January 22, 2014. (photo: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

But for Goodman, Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and the asylum seekers are not a problem because they are cruel or deeply unjust. Nope. They’re just bad for hasbara. They make him worry about his image abroad. That is a shockingly immoral perspective. The occupation is not bad because it makes Israel look bad. It’s bad because it’s evil.

Don’t like the term apartheid? Okay. What’s in a name, after all? So here’s the question: Whatdo you call a system by which a colonizing government has controlled 2.5 million people for 47 years, depriving them of their basic civil rights based on their ethnicity?

As headlines in the main stream Western media, and Britain’s little Foreign Secretary, William Hague obediently echo White House propaganda and duplicity regarding Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s boasted $5 Billion illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government (1) trumpeting Russian aggression rather than Western duplicity and illegality, correspondence has come to light which demonstrates that the US Administration was aware to the last detail exactly what the ramifications of their actions would be.
Further, the author of the minutely detailed cable outlining the complexities and dangers of US-EU-NATO meddling in Ukraine is William Burns, currently Deputy Secretary of State. From November 2005 to May 2008, he was US Ambassador to Moscow.
On 1st February 2008, in correspondence (2) marked “Confidential” and obtained by Wikileaks, he wrote in words that are positively clairvoyant. Here are some extracts:
“Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit (Russian) Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat.
“NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains ‘an emotional and neuralgic’ issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia.  In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.
“Additionally, the (Government of Russia) and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on … Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally.  In Georgia, the (Russian government) fears continued instability and ‘provocative acts’ in the separatist regions.”
Under: “NATO Enlargement, Potential Military Threat to Russia”, Burns writes:
“During his annual review of Russia’s foreign policy January 22nd-23rd, Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that Russia had to view continued eastward expansion of NATO, particularly to Ukraine and Georgia, as a potential military threat.
“While Russia might believe statements from the West that NATO was not directed against Russia, when one looked at recent military activities in NATO countries (establishment of U.S. forward operating locations, etc.) they had to be evaluated not by stated intentions but by potential.
“Lavrov … acknowledged that the U.S. and Europe had ‘legitimate interests’ in the region. But, he argued, while countries were free to make their own decisions about their security and which political-military structures to join, they needed to keep in mind the impact on their neighbors.” Hardly the reflections of an unreasonable aggressor, but of a thoughtful, realistic, diplomatic pragmatist.
The Foreign Minister also: ”emphasized that Russia was convinced that enlargement was not based on security reasons, but was a legacy of the Cold War.  He disputed arguments that NATO was an appropriate mechanism for helping to strengthen democratic governments …
“Russia understood that NATO was in search of a new mission, but there was a growing tendency for new members to do and say whatever they wanted simply because they were under the NATO umbrella – e.g. attempts of some new member countries to ‘rewrite history and glorify fascists.’ “
Moreover, in a government press briefing on 22nd January a spokesman stressed: “that Russia was bound with Ukraine by bilateral obligations set forth in the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Co-operation and Partnership in which both parties undertook to ‘refrain from participation in or support of any actions capable of prejudicing the security of the other …’ “, further noting: “Ukraine’s likely integration into NATO would seriously complicate the many-sided Russian-Ukrainian relations”, leading to Russia ‘considering appropriate measures.’ “
Ambassador Burns remarkable insight, perception and understanding of the regional complexities are reflected further:
 “Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region.  Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests.
“Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war.  In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.”
What a crying shame on him that William Burns, Deputy to John Kerry and with the ear of President Obama, arguably the most unworthy Nobel Peace Prize winner since Henry Kissinger, has fallen cravenly silent and apparently forgotten his very wise, detailed predictions.
In Kiev on Wednesday, William Hague accused Moscow of disruptive behaviour, threatening larger numbers of NATO forces in eastern Europe: “in a way that should worry Russia in the long term … we will exclude Russia from the G8 and the OECD.” And please note: “Taken over the next decade these events will have a major effect on Russia.” (3) Wait until Russia cuts off Europe’s oil and gas supplies Mr Hague.
Yesterday (8th May 2014) Victoria Nuland outlined to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in some detail the US ongoing meddling in Ukraine and the propping up of an entirely illegal government and interference in the upcoming election on 25th May.
Washington is offering “financial, technical and non-lethal security assistance”, for the election.
“In addition to $92 million in 2013 State/USAID funds and $86 million in 2014 funds, we are providing an additional $50 million in technical assistance and the $1 billion dollar loan guarantee under the authority passed by Congress on April 1st.”
US “electoral assistance” includes “$11 million for non-partisan election activities, including efforts to support voter education and civic participation”, as well as participation as observers in the upcoming poll.
“In addition to the one hundred OSCE observers we are sending, the United States is supporting two hundred and fifty five long-term observers and over three thousand three hundred short-term observers,” Nuland said.
Also added is “$18 million in non-lethal security assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces and State Border Guard Service to enable them to fulfill their core missions.”(4)
Read fixers, manipulators and spooks at every level.
As I write and Russia commemorates the twenty six million souls who died fighting on the side of the West in World War 11, the Cold War is back. The US, UK, EU and NATO just could not countenance “giving peace a chance.” Beyond shame on them all.
Notes

Bashing Putin’s Diplomatic Proposal

May 9th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

It bears repeating what other articles stressed. Putin represents responsible geopolitical leadership. Obama is polar opposite.

Responses to Putin’s diplomatic proposal didn’t surprise. According to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki:

“(W)e need to see more from President Putin than simply calling for (Eastern Ukrainian referendums) to be postponed.”

“And we believe and we would call on Russia to use its influence to – with the militant groups to ensure a safe and secure environment for all Ukrainians to cast their ballots on May 25th. And that’s how they can deliver on these words.”

Russia is withdrawing its forces from close to Ukraine’s borders. They never threatened Ukraine. They engaged in Western-monitored military exercises.

Putin said Western nations can use satellite intelligence to confirm what he announced.

Not according to Psaki, saying: “We have not seen evidence of such movement to date.”

“(T)here are still efforts underway to hinder the preparations for the May 25th elections,” she claimed.

Tougher US sanctions are being considered, she added. She ludicrously called Kiev’s coup-appointed government “legitimate.”

She blames Russia irresponsibly for US crimes. So do other US officials. They represent the worst of Washington’s dark side.

Mainstream media support what demands denunciation. The New York Times responded dismissively to Putin’s responsible diplomatic proposal. It did so offensively, saying:

“(I)t remain(s) unclear to analysts and political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic whether he was truly reversing course on Ukraine or if this was just another of his judo-inspired feints.”

According to Times editors:

“NATO officials said they saw no pullback of the 40,000 Russian troops who have been threateningly massed on the Ukrainian border for several weeks now.”

Ongoing Eastern Ukrainian events “may have demonstrated to the Russian president that his strategy of manipulated rebellion could be getting out of hand.”

“Moreover, a referendum on secession in rebel-controlled zones would have produced a predictably lopsided vote without a shred of credibility, but would have curtailed Mr. Putin’s exit options.”

Fact: Putin’s announced pullback was genuine.

Fact: He wouldn’t have publicly said so otherwise.

Fact: Redeployment takes time.

Fact: By now, satellite images may show it clearly.

Fact: Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Fact: Eastern Ukrainians acted solely on their own volition.

Fact: No evidence whatever suggests Russian involvement.

Fact: As of May 8, Donetsk and Lugansk referendum will be held as planned.

Times editors irresponsibly accused Putin of initiating a “lightening-fast annexation of Crimea.”

He “use(d) the threat of similar annexations in southeastern Ukraine to press Kiev and the West to agree to a federation structure (to) give Russia a strong influence over the eastern provinces and an effective veto against Ukraine forming alliances with the West,” they said.

False! Putin annexed nothing. Nearly 97% of Crimeans voted for reunification with Russia. Turnout was 83%.

Putin endorsed their wishes. He could do no less. No evidence whatever suggests he seeks territorial gains anywhere. Nor does any exist showing he’s meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

He respects Ukrainian unity. He supports democratic governance. It’s up to citizens of countries themselves to pursue it.

International law prohibits outside interference. Putin respects its core provisions honorably. Washington consistently rejects them.

Times editors call Kiev’s coup-appointed government “legitimate.” They turned truth on its head claiming it.

Putin “deviously…exploited divisions in Ukraine,” they said. They lied. They do so in numerous anti-Russian editorials.

They suggested Putin’s diplomatic initiative may “prove to be another feint.” If so, they added:

“(T)he United States and Europe are left with no choice but to press ahead with extensive and stern economic sanctions against Russia.”

Fact: Times editors are notorious.

Fact: They’re irresponsible.

Fact: They march in lockstep with the worst of Washington’s dark side.

Fact: They substitute misinformation, distortion, and bald-face lies for truth and full disclosure.

Fact: It’s longstanding Times policy.

Washington Post reporting matches the worst of Times’ disinformation.

On May 7, it misinformed readers saying “key questions remained about whether Putin’s efforts would actually rein in violence, including whether Russia retained control over the bands of armed separatists who have taken over cities across eastern Ukraine and whether his proposals were palatable to the Ukrainians.”

Fact: Eastern Ukrainians aren’t “separatists.”

Fact: They’re ordinary people.

Fact: They’re freedom fighters.

Fact: They want rights everyone deserves.

Fact: Putin has no involvement in their activism.

Fact: Coup-appointed putschists unleashed violence.

Fact: They did so at Washington’s behest.

Chicago Tribune editors asked if Putin “blinked on Ukraine.”

They irresponsibly accused him of perhaps wanting diplomacy to resolve crisis conditions “he had a huge hand in creating.”

Fact: Since trouble erupted last November, he’s gone all-out to resolve things responsibly.

Fact: Washington escalated conflict lawlessly.

Fact: It deplores peaceful conflict resolution.

Fact: Longstanding policy prioritizes violence and instability.

Former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinsk is a notorious Russian hater. Tribune editors irresponsibly quoted him, saying:

“What is at stake is a secure and open Europe.” The alternative is “some sort of a Russian imperial enterprise next door, based largely on force, and as a result probably quite unstable. So the stakes are really enormous.”

Tribune editors added:

“Russian tanks may or may not roll into Kiev one day, the way Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest in 1956 or Prague in 1968.”

“Europe can’t pursue business as usual with Russia. Not unless it wants to be responsible for losing Ukraine.”

Fact: Soviet Russia bears no relation to today’s. Any more than Berlin matches Nazi era harshness.

Don’t expect Tribune editors to explain. Putin bashing remains official policy.

Coup-appointed prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk accused Putin of “talking through his hat.” His appeal was “hot air,” he added.

Leading Kiev presidential aspirant/multi-billionaire Petro Poroshenko said:

“We are even ready to have a (national) referendum but not under the barrels of machine guns or automatic rifles.”

“After the presidential election. After restoring law and order, we are ready to discuss any referendum and…constitutional changes…with anyone.”

Fact: After Kiev fascists solidify power!

Fact: After they crush democratic resistance.

Fact: After they eliminate freedom initiatives.

Fact: After more Odessa massacres.

Fact: After potentially replicating Cambodia’s Killing Fields.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reacted dismissively to Putin’s proposal, saying:

“This is not yet the moment when we can announce with enthusiasm that the crisis is over. We both hope that perhaps Putin’s words indicate some kind of a more optimistic scenario, but today it is too early for us to confirm that.”

Poland marches in lockstep with lawless US policy. It’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk added:

“The Nato assessment, in line with ours, is that we should approach President Putin’s statement with great caution.”

Washington reacted as expected. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns accused Russia of heading down a “dangerous and irresponsible path.”

He promised stepped up US pressure. He ignored Washington full responsibility for ongoing events. He turned a blind eye to Russia’s forthright efforts to resolve them peacefully and diplomatically.

Anti-Russian political economist Nicolas Eberstadt got featured Wall Street Journal op-ed space.

“History is full of instances where a rising power, aggrieved and dissatisfied, acts aggressively to obtain new borders or other international concessions,” he said.

“In Russia today, we see a much more unusual case: This increasingly menacing and ambitious geopolitical actor is a state in decline.”

Irresponsible Russia bashing infested his op-ed. He outrageously accused Putin of “leading a country in serious decline.”

“If his dangerous new brinksmanship” continues, “we should expect more of it in the future, possibly much more, ” he claimed.

He ignored out-of-control US imperial adventurism. It’s risking possible WW III.

Francis Boyle addressed the threat, saying:

“The Ukrainian crisis had been planned as well as the war. There was a war plan. Then it was revised and implemented.”

“We are seeing steps now being taken that were planned in advance.” It’s despite no threat other than Washington invents.

It’s “being used as a pretext to” involve NATO belligerently. Things “are clearly going ahead” as planned.

“The US has already resumed the Cold War with the neo-Nazi coup d’etat in Ukraine that the United States sponsored, controlled, and directed.”

Washington wants “to provoke Putin to invade Ukraine. I think they plan to take over all of Ukraine to solidify control of Ukraine by the neo-Nazi thugs in Kiev, and then at least de jure to bring NATO military forces into Ukraine under one pretext or another.”

Former CIA analyst/State Department official  Larry Johnson fears something similar. A dangerous dynamic is unfolding, he said.

“Now there is a very strong element in the United States which is pushing for really almost a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and they haven’t really thought through it,” he said.

“When they talk about arming the dissidents or arming folks opposing Russia in the Ukraine, they don’t appreciate the possibility of the escalation that that can create.”

“We tend to try to portray these things in a way that doesn’t really take into account all the dynamics that are involved. And I think it’s really dangerous,” he added.

Sergey Lavrov repeated earlier statements about “fostering a national dialogue aimed at carrying out fair constitutional reform that would take into account the interests of all political forces and regions” in Ukraine.

“Otherwise, the presidential elections in Ukraine scheduled for May 25 will be senseless,” he added.

Responsible comments like Lavrov’s fall on deaf ears. Reprehensible ones head things recklessly toward potential East/West confrontation.

Francis Boyle is right. Things are headed dangerously in the wrong direction. It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. The worst of all possible outcomes may follow.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Yesterday, officials in Washington and in the US puppet regime in Kiev dismissed attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, vowing to step up attacks on anti-Kiev regime protesters in eastern Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Putin had asked the protesters, who are calling for a May 11 referendum on autonomy or separation from the unelected regime in Kiev, to postpone the vote. He also endorsed the May 25 presidential elections planned by the Kiev regime and announced that Russian troops along the Ukraine-Russian border had returned to their normal bases.

The Kiev regime responded by threatening that military operations that have left dozens dead across eastern Ukraine and in last Friday’s fascist massacre in Odessa would continue. Yesterday, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk mocked Putin’s statements as “hot air.”

“Ukraine hasn’t planned any referendum on May 11. If terrorists and separatists, who are supported by Russia, were ordered to postpone what wasn’t planned, then it’s their internal affairs,” he said.

Defense Secretary Andriy Parubiy—a founding member of the Social-National Party, the precursor of the fascist Svoboda Party that now holds top ministerial posts in Kiev—said attacks would continue, whether or not pro-Russian protesters canceled the referendum.

“The counter-terrorist operation will continue unhindered, despite the presence of terrorist and insurgent groups in the Donetsk region,” he said.

Bloody clashes are in particular feared for today and the weekend. Today is the anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union and the Allies over Nazi Germany. Earlier this week, several reports emerged of fears of a new fascist massacre in Odessa, directed against participants in May 9 rallies. Several officials in eastern Ukraine canceled planned festivities, citing the risk of bloodshed.

Obama administration officials turned reality on its head, denouncing Russia as the aggressor, and US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland attacked the Kremlin, saying that to date, Russia “has fulfilled none of its commitments” to reduce tensions in Ukraine.

With monumental hypocrisy, Nuland—who was caught on tape plotting the installation of Yatsenyuk during the right-wing protests that led to the putsch of February 22 in Kiev—attacked the Kremlin for its “efforts to destabilize eastern and southern Ukraine.”

US congressmen echoed the hard line of the Obama administration. “Despite the warnings issued and sanctions imposed by the US and our allies, Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine,” said Representative Ed Royce (R-California) in a House hearing on the Ukraine crisis. Royce also called for harsher sanctions to bring down Russia’s economy: “Instead, we must adopt a proactive strategy that will convince Putin that his aggression will have a significant and lasting cost to the Russian economy.”

The response of the anti-Kiev protesters in eastern Ukrainian regions around Donetsk and Luhansk undermined claims that the protests are simply an intelligence operation concocted by the Kremlin. They said they intended to ignore Putin’s request to postpone the referendum.

“The referendum will happen on May 11,” said Donetsk People’s Republic leader Denis Pushilin. “The date of the referendum will not be postponed.”

Officials in Slavyansk—which has been besieged by forces from the pro-Kiev Ukrainian National Guard and fascist Right Sector paramilitary group, suffering dozens of casualties in repeated Kiev regime attacks—also dismissed Putin’s advice to postpone the referendum.

“If we don’t have a referendum on the 11th, then we will lose the trust of the people,” a spokesman in Slavyansk said. “We face the choice: referendum or war, and we choose the peaceful way.”

The rejection by Washington and Kiev of Moscow’s attempt at an accommodation exposes the fraud of the presentation of the Ukraine crisis by Western governments and media outlets. The aggressor is not the Kremlin, which is ineffectually seeking to work out a truce that neither the Kiev regime nor its Western backers wants.

Rather, it is Washington and its European allies that have stoked up the situation by installing and encouraging an unpopular, far-right regime in Kiev that is determined to drown internal opposition in blood.

A recent poll by the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center found that only 41 percent of Ukrainians support the Kiev regime. Disapproval ratings are above the national average of 59 percent in the eastern Ukraine, reaching 67 percent. Popular opposition can be expected to grow this month, as the Kiev regime’s unpopular 50 percent price increases for natural gas go into effect.

As for Kremlin oligarchs, while they are stunned by the drive for regime change and civil war in Ukraine unleashed by Washington and Berlin, they are above all afraid of the risk that popular opposition to the Kiev regime in Ukraine and in Russia could trigger a movement in the working class.

May Day rallies in Russia—the first since before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991—reportedly gathered millions throughout the country and over a hundred thousand in Moscow for the international holiday of the working class.

Members of the anti-Kiev self-defense militia in Slavyansk denounced Putin for making concessions to Kiev. “He is a coward. He is afraid of losing his money,” one fighter, who gave his name as Rustem, told the Guardian .

“Instead of helping Russian people here, he is betraying us. He will pay for this with a revolution in Red Square,” Rustem added. “Russian people will not stand by and watch this happen.”

Rustem spoke during the funeral in Slavyansk for four men killed in the nearby town of Semovka by units loyal to Kiev—three anti-Kiev militia fighters and a truck driver who died when his truck became trapped in the crossfire and burned. A separate funeral had already been held for Irina Boevets, a 30-year-old teacher who was killed by a stray bullet when she walked out onto her balcony.

As mourners filed by the coffins of the four men, they chanted slogans against Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the two heads of state who have led the imperialist intervention in Ukraine: “Glory to Russia, shame on America, shame on the EU, Shame on Obama and Merkel!”

A Slavyansk housewife said, “It is impossible to turn back to Ukraine after the events in Slavyansk. We will not forgive the killing of our people.”

The Obama administration has entered into direct talks with the leader of the political front for Syria’s Western-backed “rebels” on arming them with US surface-to-air missiles, amid fresh confirmation that these forces are dominated by Al Qaeda-linked militias.

Ahmad al-Jarba, the chief of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, met Thursday at the State Department with Secretary of State John Kerry. He is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House in the coming days. Meetings are also scheduled at the Pentagon and with members of the US Congress.

The visit is part of a shift toward renewed US escalation of its proxy war in Syria, fueled in no small part by the ongoing confrontation over Ukraine with Russia, a key ally of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

In conjunction with al-Jarba’s arrival, the State Department announced that Washington is providing another $27 million in so-called “non-lethal aid” to the “rebels”—bringing the total reported aid thus far to $287 million—and is granting diplomatic status to missions set up by the Syrian Opposition Coalition in Washington and New York City. Last March, after the breakdown of talks in Geneva between the Western-backed forces and the Assad regime, the Obama administration ordered the shutdown of the Syrian embassy in Washington and Syrian consulates in other US cities.

Ahmad al-Jarba, however, left no doubt that the principal aim of his visit is to obtain new and more powerful weapons to stem the accelerating rout of the anti-Assad militias, which were compelled this week to evacuate Homs. Syria’s third largest city and an industrial center, Homs is strategically decisive because of its control of supply routes from the country’s Mediterranean coast to the capital, Damascus.

In both an interview with the New York Times and a speech Wednesday at the US Institute of Peace—a government agency tied to US intelligence services—al-Jarba stressed that the main item on his US agenda is procuring shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, known as manpads.

He also confirmed that Washington had already supplied Free Syrian Army (FSA) “rebels” with at least 20 TOW anti-tank missiles. According to theTimes, he claimed that the shipment “had enabled the opposition to demonstrate that it was able to use and maintain control of advanced American weapons.”

Similarly, in his speech at the US Institute of Peace, he declared: “We need efficient weapons in the right hands, the hands of professionals, and we commit to keep them in the right hands. This is the only way to bring stability.”

But even as al-Jarba and his cohorts were making such claims, the Wall Street Journal published an article Thursday citing sources within the Free Syrian Army, reporting that the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, part of the supposedly “moderate” and “secular” FSA, have been operating jointly for the past few weeks with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front in the southwestern province of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occcupied Golan Heights. It is on this southern front that the US has been most active in training and arming the “rebels.”

“The FSA and Nusra Front are closely cooperating on the front line,” Abu Omar Golani, a media coordinator for the Syrian Revolutionaries Front told the Journal. He added that the two factions were coordinating battlefield operations in five joint “military operational rooms” where they plan battles. He assured the US newspaper that the FSA and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamists had no intention of carrying out any action against neighboring Israel.

Even more damning was a report in the National, a United Arab Emirates daily, that a key commander of the US-backed FSA on the southern front had been captured by Al Nusra, which is vowing to try him for treason. The newspaper said that the incident underscored “the growing power of Al Qaeda on a battlefield in which its influence has long been considered minimal.”

The commander, Col. Ahmed Nehmeh, is a Syrian air force officer who joined the “rebels.” The paper stressed the “humiliation” that the detention represented for the US-backed “moderates,” noting that the FSA had issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the officer’s release, and, when the deadline passed, backed down, calling for “negotiations and conciliation.”

The National also reported that Nehmeh was unpopular even within the FSA, and that other officers may have welcomed his capture “in the hope that they can take over his role … and build up their own client networks through distributing weapons and cash.”

The newspaper concluded, “In taking Col. Nehmeh, Al Nusra has made it clear that inside Syria, even on the more moderate, better organized southern front, it, not foreign intelligence agents, call the shots.”

The “foreign intelligence agents” referred to include principally the CIA and its counterparts from Saudi Arabia and the other reactionary Gulf monarchies. The Obama administration placed the training and arming of the “rebels” on the southern front under the jurisdiction of the CIA, on the pretense that the operation was meant not only to further regime change in Damascus, but also to advance the “war on terrorism” by combating the influence of Al Nusra. This is a fraud and a farce.

If the administration moves ahead with the arming of the FSA with manpads, there is every probability that these weapons will fall into the hands of the Al Qaeda elements and may be used sooner rather than later in the downing of a civilian airliner.

It may do so anyway, however, because of the increasingly desperate position of the Syrian “rebels.” The retreat from Homs, which was brokered by Russia and Iran in return for the release of a group of captured Syrian soldiers, an Iranian woman and some 40 Alawite women and children taken hostage by the Sunni Islamist fighters, represents a strategic defeat in the US-backed war for regime change.

Combined with a series of truces negotiated with Islamist fighters in the Damascus suburbs, the regime has largely neutralized any immediate threat to its grip on power and defeated the opposition’s strategy of encircling and cutting off supplies to the capital.

While fighting continues in the north of the country, where the Islamists blew up a historic building facing the city of Aleppo’s 13th century citadel Thursday, much of the combat is between rival factions of the “rebels” for control of territory and loot.

The Obama administration’s main aim appears to be to keep the civil war and the horrendous bloodletting in Syria going, in order to prevent the Assad regime from restabilizing the country.

Meanwhile, as part of the Western strategy to demonize Assad and lay the political basis for overthrowing his regime, France has drafted a resolution for the United Nations Security Council to refer the Syrian war to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The cynicism of this strategy was made clear by a report in the New York Times on the difficulty in “tailoring” this resolution to suit the interests of Washington, which has refused to ratify the Rome Statute establishing the court and rejects its jurisdiction.

In the first place, the French have had to strictly delineate the time frame for the acts to be investigated— after 2011—so that a case involving Syria cannot extend to the crimes carried out in the country by Washington’s main ally in the region, Israel. The US wants a guarantee that the Zionist state cannot be called to account for occupying Syria’s Golan Heights since 1967 and expelling its population.

Secondly, the resolution specifically exempts “current or former officials or personnel” of any country that has not ratified the Rome Statute, with the exception of Syria. The aim of this clause is to assure Washington that US officials and military personnel cannot be held accountable for war crimes, if and when the US decides to invade Syria to directly prosecute its war for regime change.

Stalin was certainly a tyrant: But U.S. warmongers have also been hyping the Russian threat with self-serving lies – and committing atrocities and telling lies – for some 70 years.  As an American, my concern is keeping America from destroying itself.  And – unless we learn our history – we could get in a lot of trouble.

America Launched the Cold War Even Before World War II Had Ended

Joseph Stalin and the Soviets were key in helping the U.S. to defeat the Nazis.  20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis in World War II.

And yet the U.S. started competing against Stalin – and treating him like an enemy – before WWII had even ended.

Specifically, dropping atomic bombs on Japan had a dual purpose: defeating the Japanese, and sending a message to Stalin that the U.S. was in charge.

History.com notes:

In the years since the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, a number of historians have suggested that the weapons had a two-pronged objective …. It has been suggested that the second objective was to demonstrate the new weapon of mass destruction to the Soviet Union. By August 1945, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States had deteriorated badly. The Potsdam Conference between U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Russian leader Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill (before being replaced by Clement Attlee) ended just four days before the bombing of Hiroshima. The meeting was marked by recriminations and suspicion between the Americans and Soviets. Russian armies were occupying most of Eastern Europe. Truman and many of his advisers hoped that the U.S. atomic monopoly might offer diplomatic leverage with the Soviets. In this fashion, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan can be seen as the first shot of the Cold War.

New Scientist reports:

The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was meant to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.

Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add.

***

[The conventional explanation of using the bombs to end the war and save lives] is disputed by Kuznick and Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US.

***

New studies of the US, Japanese and Soviet diplomatic archives suggest that Truman’s main motive was to limit Soviet expansion in Asia, Kuznick claims. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union began an invasion a few days after the Hiroshima bombing, not because of the atomic bombs themselves, he says.

According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was “looking for peace”. Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb.

“Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan,” says Selden.

John Pilger points out:

The US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

University of Maryland professor of political economy – and former Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and Special Assistant in the Department of State – Gar Alperovitz says:

Increasing numbers of historians now recognize the United States did not need to use the atomic bomb to end the war against Japan in 1945. Moreover, this essential judgment was expressed by the vast majority of top American military leaders in all three services in the years after the war ended: Army, Navy and Army Air Force. Nor was this the judgment of “liberals,” as is sometimes thought today. In fact, leading conservatives were far more outspoken in challenging the decision as unjustified and immoral than American liberals in the years following World War II.

***

Instead [of allowing other options to end the war, such as letting the Soviets attack Japan with ground forces], the United States rushed to use two atomic bombs at almost exactly the time that an August 8 Soviet attack had originally been scheduled: Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9. The timing itself has obviously raised questions among many historians. The available evidence, though not conclusive, strongly suggests that the atomic bombs may well have been used in part because American leaders “preferred”—as Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Martin Sherwin has put it—to end the war with the bombs rather than the Soviet attack. Impressing the Soviets during the early diplomatic sparring that ultimately became the Cold War also appears likely to have been a significant factor.

***

The most illuminating perspective, however, comes from top World War II American military leaders. The conventional wisdom that the atomic bomb saved a million lives is so widespread that … most Americans haven’t paused to ponder something rather striking to anyone seriously concerned with the issue: Not only did most top U.S. military leaders think the bombings were unnecessary and unjustified, many were morally offended by what they regarded as the unnecessary destruction of Japanese cities and what were essentially noncombat populations. Moreover, they spoke about it quite openly and publicly.

***

Shortly before his death General George C. Marshall quietly defended the decision, but for the most part he is on record as repeatedly saying that it was not a military decision, but rather a political one.

General Dwight Eisenhower said, “Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary” and “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

And Truman’s chief of staff, Admiral William Leahy, who chaired the meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claims:

The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

America Has Waged a Brutal Dirty Tricks Campaign for 70 Years

Right after the end of WWII, the U.S. backed Nazi fighters in Ukraine in an attempt to dislodge Soviet control of that country.

Moreover:

In late September 1947, [George] Kennan urged Forrestal to establish a “guerrilla warfare corps”—a suggestion Forrestal heartily endorsed—although the [Joing Chiefs of Staff] recommended against establishing a “separate guerrilla warfare and corps.” In December, Truman approved secret annex NSC 4-A, authorizing the CIA to conduct covert operations. He had dismantled the OSS’s covert parmilitary operations capabilities in September 1945, but now he brought them back in force. In the summer of 1948, he approved NSC 10/2, which called for “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.” These activities were to be done in a way that would always afford the US government plausible deniability. In August 1948, Truman approved NSC 20, which authorized guerrilla operations in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe ….

***

Beginning with Truman’s first day in office, his receptiveness to the views of hard-line anti-Communists, his denial of Roosevelt’s understanding with Staling, the provocative and unnecessary dropping of the atomic bombs, his spreading a network of military bases around the world, Churchill’s speech at Fulton, Truman’s call for fighting Communism in greece, the division and remilitarization of Germany, the continued testing of bigger and bigger atomic and hydrogen bombs which he used to threaten the Soviet Union, Truman’s deliberate exaggerations of the Communist threat both overseas and at home and his persecution and silencing of those who challenged these distortions. In all these matters, with few exceptions, the United states, after successfully liberating Western Europe, was now signaling fear and aggression ….

The U.S. also admits that the U.S. and NATO also used false flag terror attacks to discredit the Soviets.  For example:

  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

The U.S. and NATO Have Been Trying to Encircle Russia Militarily Since 1991

President George H. W. Bush promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that – if the Soviets broke up the Soviet Union and dissolved the Warsaw Pact – then NATO would not move into those former Soviet countries. This assured the Soviets that NATO would not encircle Russia.

http://i.imgur.com/xgBMhBb.jpg

 

Similarly, Germany promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch to the east.”  As Andrew Gavin Marshall explains:

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 prompted the negotiated withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe. The ‘old order’ of Europe was at an end, and a new one “needed to be established quickly,” noted Mary Elise Sarotte in the New York Times. This ‘new order’ was to begin with “the rapid reunification of Germany.” Negotiations took place in 1990 between Soviet president Gorbachev, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and President Bush’s Secretary of State, James A. Baker 3rd. The negotiations sought to have the Soviets remove their 380,000 troops from East Germany. In return, both James Baker and Helmut Kohl promised Gorbachev that the Western military alliance of NATO would not expand eastwards. West Germany’s foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, promised Gorbachev that, ” NATO will not expand itself to the East.” Gorbachev agreed, though asked – and did not receive – the promise in writing, remaining a “gentlemen’s agreement.”

But Bill Clinton broke America’s promise, and the U.S. has pursued a campaign of encircling Russia ever since:

http://caelumetterra.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/bases-overseas.jpg

 

 

And NATO has also broken its promise, and now largely encircles Russia:

Credit: Small People Against Big Government

Download video (106.91 MB)

Radicals set the building with innocent people inside on fire in Odessa, then strangled the survivors and finished them with bats, while police did nothing to prevent the bloodshed. That’s the scary picture a survivor of the massacre told RT.

“First of all, nobody expected such cruelty, and secondly, it was too late to escape,” Tatyana Ivananko told RT’s correspondent Alexey Yaroshevsky about the Odessa tragedy on May 2, after which at least 46 people died in flames, when radicals set ablaze the local House of Trade Unions with anti-government protesters trapped inside.

According to the witness, pro-autonomy activists wanted to hide from the radicals by barricading themselves in the building.

“On our way up the stairs, we were taking plywood sheets inside so that we could block the doors and prevent them from getting into the building,” she says.

 

Tatyana Ivananko, Odessa massacre survivor (Still from RT video)

Tatyana Ivananko, Odessa massacre survivor (Still from RT video)

However, the crowd of pro-government supporters who were trying to enter the building was quickly becoming bigger.

“They were coming from everywhere,” she added.

According to Tatyana, the radicals started hurling Molotov cocktails, after which the first and the third floors of the House of Trade Unions burst into flames.

Tatyana also recalled that the outraged crowd outside was shouting that they wouldn’t let anybody out.

“They were also throwing firecrackers, so people in the halls were sitting on the floor, blinded.” She added, “At that moment you realize there is no way to help these people so you’d better rescue yourself.”

Public services such as police and fire brigade were not rushing to rescue the injured people.

“The police were idle not doing anything,” she recalls. “When firefighters arrived it was too late – too many people had already died, even though the closest fire station is 700 meters away from the site.”

According to the numerous videos released in the Internet, many victims of the Odessa massacre received bullet wounds. On some of the videos a man in a bulletproof vest who introduces himself as sotnik Mykola (“sotnik” is what Maidan group leaders in Kiev call themselves) is shooting several times in the direction of the burning House of Trade Unions.

“Have a look at the video,” says Tatyana, pointing to the footage where Micola is pictured. “This armed man in a vest is carrying a gun.”


 

People wait to be rescued on upper storeys at the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters / Yevgeny Volokin)

People wait to be rescued on upper storeys at the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters / Yevgeny Volokin)

According to her, the shooting started in Grecheskaya Street, in the north of the city.

Tatyana said that after the pro-government activists managed to enter the burning building, “many people were strangled. I didn’t know how they [pro-government activists] were able to get through the fire but they did,” she added.

She recalled that the radicals “finished off some of the people who managed to escape, and threw from the windows those who didn’t, to kill them on the ground.”

“17-year-old hooligans were finishing people with bats,” she added.

Meanwhile, the next day after the clashes, Ukraine’s Vice President, Vitaly Yarema, said that some of those who were killed in the Trade Union building were foreign nationals.

However, Tatyana denied this information saying that all the people who were killed on May 2 came from Odessa.

“They all loved their city deeply. We stood shoulder to shoulder from the very first day,” she said. “A regional council deputy, Vyacheslav Markin, is also known to have been killed in the flames.”

She also commented on the reports from mostly western outlets, which claim that some of those killed were “mercenaries from Russia.”

“If we had indeed been mercenaries, there would have been fewer victims, and not on our side,” adding that the only thing they received from Russia was “moral support.”


 

Mourners grieve at the coffin of Vyacheslav Markin, a regional parliament deputy who died in a fire at the trade union building on Friday, at his funeral in Odessa May 5, 2014. (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

Mourners grieve at the coffin of Vyacheslav Markin, a regional parliament deputy who died in a fire at the trade union building on Friday, at his funeral in Odessa May 5, 2014. (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

Those who died in the ablaze “were innocent civilians who wanted to live a normal life rather than just ‘survive’ – as is now the case in Ukraine,” Tatyana said, adding that the Kiev coup-appointed authorities are to blame for these crimes.

“The guilty party is the current government, which clearly seeks to divide Ukraine,” she added.

Numerous videos have been released on the Internet in which a woman’s voice is heard from the House of Trade Unions screaming for help and the pro-government activists in the crowd surrounding the building say, “that’s not a woman, she’s a separatist!” and “beat the s**t out of her, so that she finally shuts up!”

“Yeah, women sit at home with their children and this one’s an animal!” added another.

According to the acting Prosecutor General Oleg Makhnitsky, it is too early to say what exactly caused the blaze but the investigation is looking into several theories. The cause of the fire could be both Molotov cocktails thrown by the anti-government protesters and the blaze made by pro-Kiev activists, he said. Ukraine will invite independent experts mostly from the US to investigate the case, added Makhnitsky.

On Wednesday, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said that what took place in Odessa on May 2 is “typical fascism” and Russia “will pursue the truth,” adding that Moscow will not permit Odessa’s events to be “swept under the carpet.”

 Repairing the “Broken Window” Fallacy

Extremely influential economists like Paul Krugman and Martin Feldstein promote the myth that war is good for the economy.

Talking heads like senior Washington Post political columnist David Broder parrot this idea.

Their ideas are based on the main economic myth encouraging war … the “broken window” fallacy.

David R. Henderson – associate professor of economics at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and previously a senior economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers -  writes:

Is military conflict really good for the economy of the country that engages in it? Basic economics answers a resounding “no.”***

Money not spent on the military could be spent elsewhere.

This also applies to human resources. The more than 200,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan could be doing something valuable at home.

Why is this hard to understand? The first reason is a point 19th-century French economic journalist Frederic Bastiat made in his essay, “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen.” Everyone can see that soldiers are employed. But we cannot see the jobs and the other creative pursuits they could be engaged in were they not in the military.

The second reason is that when economic times are tough and unemployment is high, it’s easy to assume that other jobs could not exist. But they can. This gets to an argument Bastiat made in discussing demobilization of French soldiers after Napoleon’s downfall. He pointed out that when government cuts the size of the military, it frees up not only manpower but also money. The money that would have gone to pay soldiers can instead be used to hire them as civilian workers. That can happen in three ways, either individually or in combination: (1) a tax cut; (2) a reduction in the deficit; or (3) an increase in other government spending.

***

Most people still believe that World War II ended the Great Depression …. But look deeper.

***

The government-spending component of GNP went for guns, trucks, airplanes, tanks, gasoline, ships, uniforms, parachutes, and labor. What do these things have in common? Almost all of them were destroyed. Not just these goods but also the military’s billions of labor hours were used up without creating value to consumers. Much of the capital and labor used to make the hundreds of thousands of trucks and jeeps and the tens of thousands of tanks and airplanes would otherwise have been producing cars and trucks for the domestic economy. The assembly lines in Detroit, which had churned out 3.6 million cars in 1941, were retooled to produce the vehicles of war. From late 1942 to 1945, production of civilian cars was essentially shut down.

And that’s just one example. Women went without nylon stockings so that factories could produce parachutes. Civilians faced tight rationing of gasoline so that U.S. bombers could fly over Germany. People went without meat so that U.S. soldiers could be fed. And so on.

These resources helped win the war—no small issue. But the war was not a stimulus program, either in its intentions or in its effects, and it was not necessary for pulling the U.S. out of the Great Depression. Had World War II never taken place, millions of cars would have been produced; people would have been able to travel much more widely; and there would have been no rationing. In short, by the standard measures, Americans would have been much more prosperous.

Today, the vast majority of us are richer than even the most affluent people back then. But despite this prosperity, one thing has not changed: war is bad for our economy. The $150 billion that the government spends annually on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and, increasingly, Pakistan) could instead be used to cut taxes or cut the deficit. By ending its ongoing wars … the U.S. government … would be developing a more prosperous economy.

***

Whatever other reasons there may be for war, strengthening the economy is never one of them.

Indeed, we have thoroughly documented that war makes us poor.

Postscript: While war is bad for us, it is very good for a handful of defense contractors and banksters who make huge sums from fighting or financing unnecessary war.

Every month, rise or shine, the Federal Reserve Bank, an institution that most Americans believe is a branch of government, or a federally run Central Bank has one of its computers add $55 billion—that’s dollars with a B—to its ledger and balance sheet.

In actual fact, the FED, as its known is actually a private institution in government trappings,  owned by,  and run by,  the very banks it is thought to regulate.  It actually has kept the economy afloat since August 2007 when the financial crisis began (not 2008 as most media outlets have it with a printing press with an infusion of $3.4 TRILLION.

At first, the Fed’s Economics Professor turned Bank president,  Ben Bernanke was called “Heliopter Ben” in an allusion to all the money he was bombing the economy with His term ended, but the practice, now barely questioned, goes on.

And why is that? To put it simply, the financial crisis is still with us, whatever talk there is of “recovery” because of structural realities that haven’t changed. A weak “labor market, depressed housing market, and little economic growth keep unemployment up and misery high for our shining middle class and growing poverty class.

The folks in charge know how bad things are,  but they are committed to a monetary magic elixir of constant intervention by keeping interest rates low and purchasing mortgage backed securities in the so-called free market, Capitalism remains in deep crisis but you never hear officials use the “C word.”

Of course not: that would suggest a problem with the system.

Instead, we have a constant refrain of double talk, lips moving without saying anything and conjuring up that old joke:

Q: How do you know when they are lying?

A: When their lips are moving.

On the right, groups like Americans for Limited Government still harbor the illusion that this is all some kind of Socialist plot, while noting that new Fed head Janet Yellen, who recently replaced Bernanke is now admitting that there is little recovery in the supposed recovery.

Says she, “the recent flattening out in housing activity could prove more protracted than currently expected rather than resuming its earlier pace of recovery.”

Translation:There is no growth that is meaningful. The economy that tanked is still in the tank despite everything they have thrown out it,

The right and the left rarely address the same issues.

The right is in the Blame Obama demolition derby business, wrapped in misleading slogans in pursuit of a partisan agenda that seeks no deeper explanations.

The left is focused on growing inequality with Nobel Prize economists like Paul Krugman saying we are in “a new gilded age.”

He cites a new study by the French economist Thomas Picketty who analyzed economic statistics and tax records over 200 year and found the rise in the concentration of wealth is growing, and, more importantly, not self-correcting. His remedy is a global tax on wealth.

His book Capital has inspired a debate with some on the left arguing he doesn’t go far enough—but then, he does not come out of, or identify with leftist thought.

Critics  say that a wealth tax is unlikely to be passed or redistribute wealth adequately. Obama’s chief economist quibbles with his forecast, but at least, acknowledges his argument.

None of these perspectives reference what else is and is not going on: the lack of prosecutions of bankers who created the financial bubble and then profited by it, the persistence of a massive growth of student loan debt outpacing the mortgage debts that fueled the crisis in the first place,

And then, there’s the growth of poverty and the cutbacks in social services amidst  transfers of funds from the public sector to the private sector.

Obama has been blocked by a right-wing Congress in pursuing badly needed stimulative initiatives for the economy.  His opposition sees what use to be called‘priming the pump’ as examples of out of control government or covert Marxist plotting.

In response, he seems to have recognized what earlier Presidents saw:  that America needs new and scarier threats to justify more spending on security and spying to which there are fewer political objections.

He knows very well about the waste and inefficiency built into the military procurement process but it doesn’t matter because, politically, he keeps the military industrial complex on his side when he expands drone wars and military base building and global intervention. In essence, he buys their support along with the backing of the workers in military industries.

The Pentagon has become the manager of what there is of a real jobs program with no shortage of projects to spend money on.  These projects are well distributed in key Congressional districts so all the pols, Democrats and Republicans alike, can claim credit for funneling in federal dollars.

The President couldn’t be happier by the revival   of a cold war that requires more spending like this. The challenge posed by Vladimir Putin also gives our media machine someone to demonize now that old enemies like bin Laden, Saddam and Gadaffy are gone.

As international journalist Diana Johnstone notes, in Germany anyone who objects to the Russia bashing now underway in western media is a  “Putinversteher”,  (a Putin understander).

“That says it all,” she writes. “We are not supposed to understand.  We are supposed to hate.  The media are there to see to that.

 While the West doggedly refuses to understand Putin and Russia, Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, seems to understand things pretty well.

He seems to understand that he and his nation are being systematically lured into a death trap by an enemy which excels in the contemporary art of “communication”.  In a war situation, NATO communication means that it doesn’t matter who does what.  The only thing that matters is who tells the story. 

The Western media are telling the story in a way which depends on not understanding Russia, and not understanding Putin. Putin and Russia become fictional villains in the Western version, just the latest reincarnation of Hitler and Nazi Germany.”

Americans also seem to need a tough guy enemy to despise inorder to promote and engineer more defense spending on a massive scale.  Fear sells and national security isstill an issue that unites liberals and the right in a bought and compromised Congress.

 You can just hear the sigh of ‘quiet as its kept’ relief in Washington when Russia backed the annexation of Crimea.

 In just a days, new US missiles and planes were heading to Eastern Europe, while the President moved even further East to promote his “ Asia pivot” to insure that an “aggressive” China publicly becomes branded as a new Soviet Union on the media-driven chess board of geo-political game playing.

 Thank goodness, too, for the kidnapping of those girls in Nigeria so we can upgrade our US Africa Command and move more forcefully into Africa in a constant search for enemies the public can despise and new conflicts to become part of to justify our bloated budgets.

Thank you CNN for mounting an around the clock campaign to save victims of terrorism, however selective it is.

 It is events like these—a hot war in the Ukraine or a cold war in the offing that pumps up media attention and, then, in short order, comesnew requests for expanded Pentagon appropriations.

This jobs program, aided and abetted by building and buying of weapons that quickly become obsolete’ and must be replaced under the terms of endless cost-plus contracts.

Militarism in America has become essential to both bulking up the economy and controlling an insecure population. As the former struggles to produce jobs and exports, the latter is kept in check by an alarmist media that warns us of constant dangerswhile an unrestrained NSA keeps electronic tabs on us.

The reason for the connection is simple: people in power know how restless and angry the American population has become and have a legitimate fear of economic and political unrest.

The uprising in Ukraine as the one Egypt before it have serious economic underpinnings. In both countries, the military now is trying to put the cork back in the bottle.

Don’t think what is happening there cannot or will not “blow back” into our own fragile and seemingly permanent economic crisis.

News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org and blogs at NewsDissector.net. He has made two films and written two books on the financial crisis. Comments to [email protected]

Police State USA: Call the Cops at Your Peril

May 9th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

“Live free or die” is the motto of the state of New Hampshire. I hope the residents are  prepared to die, because living free is not what they do. NH is merely a cog within the Amerikan Stasi State, but I am referring to what goes on within NH itself, not the police state existence imposed by Washington.

On May 5 attorney William Baer was arrested at a school board meeting at which he went over a 2-minute speaking rule while trying to get some explanation from the Gilford, NH, school board for assigning sexually explicit reading material to his 14-year old daughter’s English class. The evasiveness of the school board angered Mr. Baer, and he spoke out again in support of another parents protests, and was promptly arrested by a goon thug cop.

http://www.dailypaul.com/318393/fox-news-to-interview-william-baer-father-arrested-in-new-hampshire-for-going-over-two-minute-rule-in-school-board-meetin

The school board chairman, Sue Allen, who has no legislative power nevertheless managed to create a law backed by police violence. After all if Bush and Obama can create laws by edict, why not a school board chairman? Under Allen’s edict, if a parent violates the 2-minute rule that Allen imposed, she has the parent arrested. The goon thug cop wasn’t embarrassed to arrest a parent for making a legitimate complaint during the public comment period of a school board meeting.

Remember, we “freedom and democracy” ‘mericans have free speech and protest rights. Actually, don’t remember that, because you no longer have any such rights.These rights are dangerous. They enable terrorists and extremists such as those dangerous people who don’t believe The Government.

This is Amerika today. Mr Baer offered no resistance, but nevertheless was lucky that the goon thug cop did not taser him, pepper spray him, and call for a backup SWAT team to beat him senseless or even murder him.

Last month wedding guests at at the San Luis Hotel in Galveston, Texas, were set upon without reason by 34 crazed goon thug cops. The guests, including the father of the bride and the bride’s brother were brutally beaten and maced along with many guests including 13 who were arrested for asking, “what is going on?” The brother was so badly injured by the goon thugs that he had to be rushed via helicopter to a hospital.

The mayhem resulted from an off-duty goon thug witnessing a guest walk outside with an alcoholic beverage, thus violating the city’s “open container” law. Instead of advising the guest of the open container law and recommending that he step back inside, the goon thug called the cops who arrived on the scene in mass and enjoyed themselves by beating up the wedding party.
See http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38424.htm [2]
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/07/kangaroo-court-convicts-occupy-protester/ [3]

This is Stasi Amerika today. And it gets worse. In Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Eileen Battisti, a 53-year old widow, had her $280,000 home seized by Beaver County officials and sold at auction for $116,000 because of an unpaid $6.30 interest fee on the late payment of her school district taxes. A corrupt judge did not insist upon justice for the widow but instead upheld the robbery that benefitted both the county and the purchaser at auction of her home, S.P. Lewis. Lewis offered to sell the widow her home back for $250,000.

http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/eileen-battisti/[4]

To see what cops are really like, read this: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/justice- [5]

Whatever you do, never call the cops. However bad you might think the situation is, it  will be much worse once the goon thugs arrive: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/candy-middleton/ [6]

And do not show any compassion for animals. Showing compassion for animals is proof that you are an animal-rights extremist which lumps you in with terrorists. In Albion, Michigan, extremists who feed a stray cat are fined and locked away for three months. Mary Musselman, an 81-year old Alzheimer sufferer was locked away for 90 days for feeding stray cats on her own property. When you see a starving animal, turn your back and walk away. Your inhumanity will be rewarded but your humanity will be severely punished. http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/albion-michigan-cat-feeding/ [7]

Just keep in mind that “we have freedom and democracy” and we are “the exceptional and indispensable people.” Our president told us so. This designation removes you from any responsibility to other humans, much less animals. Don’t lose sight of the fact that Amerikans are so exceptional and indispensable that we have murdered seven entire countries in the new 21st century, and we are just getting started. As it is perfectly acceptable for Amerika to murder countries, how can it possibly matter if a goon thug cop murders you, your pet or your wife or husband or daughter or son?

What is so discouraging is that this article could be hundreds of thousands of pages long. I could sit here writing this article for the rest of my life, adding one incident after another, and not get beyond the tip of the iceberg.

The inhumanity of which Americans are capable and indulge in every day must scare Satan himself.

Parents arrested for protesting the assignment of pornographic reading material to 14-year olds by school boards, elderly and ill people imprisoned for feeding starving animals, pets murdered by police who are supposed to protect the citizens but instead mace them, beat them, body slam them, and shoot them and their pets gratuitously for the thrill of committing violence against life are the reason the public sector is in disrepute.

The worst people in the country are in our public institutions. This is why there is so little sympathy for the public sector unions now under attack by the Republicans. Americans look at their county commissions, their city councils, their criminal justice (sic) system, their governors, state legislatures, Congress, and the White House, and all that they see is evil and corruption.

There is nothing else there.

Americans who trust the criminal justice (sic) system are completely stupid. A case of mass wrongful conviction that I wrote about years ago finally came to trial last November. Annie Dookham, a Massachusetts state chemist who falsified drug tests, thus sentencing thousands of innocent people to years in prison, destroying their lives and the lives of their families, was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison. Dookhan sent thousands of innocents to prison in order to aid prosecutors in attaining high conviction rates and in order to achieve her own rise as a highly productive state employee. The judge noted that Dookham had cost the state millions of dollars in settling wrongful convictions and had shaken to the core the integrity of the criminal justice (sic) system.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/11/22/annie-dookhan-former-state-chemist-who-mishandled-drug-evidence-agrees-plead-guilty/lhg1mwd9U3J8eh4tNBS63N/story.html [8]

State officials say that Dookhan’s fake evidence could have tainted 40,000 cases. Ask
yourself, what kind of person would destroy so many people in order to advance herself? And progressives think that the public sector is the answer.

You can ask the same question about the New York State Police and the Texas police who dropped little bags of ground up wallboard in cars stopped at random, conducted illegal searches, and arrested the occupants for drugs. Hundreds of innocents were convicted until finally one brave public defender demanded presentation of the alleged drugs and had the evidence tested. It came back: wallboard. All other public defenders had accommodated the conviction scheme and arranged plea bargains for their clients. You can read about these and other atrocities in my book, coauthored with Larry Stratton: The Tyranny of Good Intentions. [9]

Notes

[1] http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/galveston-wedding-beatdown/:http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/galveston-wedding-beatdown/

[2] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38424.htm:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38424.htm

[3] http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/07/kangaroo-court-convicts-occupy-protester/:http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/07/kangaroo-court-convicts-occupy-protester/

[4] http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/eileen-battisti/:http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/eileen-battisti/

[5] http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/justice-:http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/justice-

[6] http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/candy-middleton/ :http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/candy-middleton/

[7] http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/albion-michigan-cat-feeding/:http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/albion-michigan-cat-feeding/

[8] http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/11/22/annie-dookhan-former-state-chemist-who-mishandled-drug-evidence-agrees-plead-guilty/lhg1mwd9U3J8eh4tNBS63N/story.html:http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/11/22/annie-dookhan-former-state-chemist-who-mishandled-drug-evidence-agrees-plead-guilty/lhg1mwd9U3J8eh4tNBS63N/story.html

[9] The Tyranny of Good Intentions.:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307396061/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0307396061&linkCode=as2&tag=paulcraigrobe-20

 A number of years ago I read portions of a book entitled The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker by Phillip Knightley.

Knightley points out in that book that in order to start (and then perpetuate) a war, a nation’s leaders have to lie, and the lies usually start with the war correspondents or “embedded” journalists who obediently only tell pre-approved sugar-coated, heavily censored versions of what is really happening in the war zone. Conservative editors, who are sensitive to the demands of patriotic advertisers, typically edit out the unpleasantness that has been written by their more progressive journalists, who want to write the truth, even if it is gory truth.

It is a historical reality that aggressive nation-states often cunningly provoke their intended nation-victims into drawing “first blood”. That is a tactic that most bullies employ, even inexperienced playground bullies. 

All militarized aggressor nations that are spoiling for a fight try to find ways to lie themselves into war, often by claiming “self-defense”. Invasion, occupation and colonization can easily be obfuscated by the nation’s propaganda machine by calling it “liberation” or “protective custody” rather than criminal acts of theft, rape and murder.

Sadly, whistleblowing truth-seekers who try to expose the dark underbelly of war usually are silenced and accused of being unpatriotic or subversive or, in the case of capitalist and fascist nations – “soft on communism” and insufficiently punitive.

Promoting lies and half-truths about a nation’s wars has certainly been true of most kingdoms, empires, dictatorships and other totalitarian states, and that includes the Greek and Roman Empires, the British Empire and the various Fascist imperialist powers like Hirohito’s Japan, Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, and it has also been true of almost every American war in recent memory.

Part of the propaganda campaign to glorify American war-making via propaganda was the change in the name of the pre-World War II Department of War to what is now benignly, and falsely, called the Department of Defense. Tellingly, the DOD has been behind many overt wars and hundreds of covert acts of lethal violence, many of which have met the definition of international war crimes and/or crimes against humanity – none of which have even come close to fulfilling the Christian Just War Theory precepts.

Lies Which Soldiers Kill and Die For

Examples of the “Lies that Men Kill and Die For” would include the following short list of just the last two American wars. In the first Gulf War, President George Herbert Walker Bush lied when he claimed that US satellite photos showed Iraqi troops massed on the border of Kuwait. Then he promoted the false testimony of a Kuwaiti girl (actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US) who tearfully told a lie about Kuwaiti babies being thrown out of their incubators by cruel Iraqi troops. Both these and a number of other propaganda stories were soon shown to be lies, but most of us gullible Americans had already bought into the stories and enthusiastically endorsed the illegal invasion, led, of course, by paid war correspondents and uber-patriotic retired generals on CNN and all the other major media outlets.

In the second illegitimate Bush-led Gulf War (George W. Bush’s Operation Iraqi Liberation), this short list of lies was aggressively spread and dutifully repeated by the media: 1) Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (no WMDs were ever found); 2) Hussein’s had plans to build a nuclear weapon (no yellow cake uranium or aluminum centrifuge tubes existed); 3) Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden (they hated each other’s guts); and 4) Hussein’s military threatened the US. Bush also lied about his intention to ‘liberate’ Iraq and form a truly democratic government.

Then Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, along with their assorted henchmen and henchwoman, lied about the progress of the war. They lied about the torture, the “extraordinary rendition” and the true economic costs of the war, and they refused to discuss the psychological, physical and spiritual costs to the returning soldiers. It seemed like there were more lies told than there were truths.

Gallipoli and the ANZAC Spirit Myth

Years ago a young Australian actor named Mel Gibson starred in a movie titled Gallipoli. The last half of the film told the story about First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill’s disastrous plan to invade World War I Turkey in 1915. The plan was hatched after Churchill realized that the western Front war against Germany had turned into a stalemate so he assigned the King’s Navy to reinforce the Eastern Front where Britain’s ally Russia was losing its war against Germany.

The ill-conceived plan was to open sea lanes to the Black Sea (in order to supply Russia with armaments) by invading Turkey and conquering Istanbul, one of the choke points in gaining naval access to the Black Sea. The necessary first step was to conquer and occupy the narrow sea lane that was called the Dardenelles strait, which was bordered on each side by land that was held by Turkey, an ally of Germany.

The Gallipoli peninsula, on the Adriatic side of the Dardenelles, was the initial target of Churchill’s invasion plan, and on April 25, 1915, a massive invasion force of mainly British Empire soldiers, including green Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (aka, ANZAC) troops. It was the first time Australian and New Zealand conscripts had fought a major battle, and they found themselves, on day one, suffering massive casualties as they tried to disembark from the ships. Those that managed to get to land found themselves trapped on the beach below the machine gun nests of the Turkish army that inflicted massive casualties. The water turned red with ANZAC blood.

35,000 Anzac troops died in the 10 month campaign, with the troops mostly immobilized beneath the well-protected cliffs above them. The botched invasion was a military misadventure of huge proportions and a logistical nightmare that should have been seen by the military strategists beforehand. A total of 120,000 deaths (and 250,000 total casualties) occurred among all combatants before the campaign ended in humiliating defeat for the United Kingdom.

Gallipoli was just another example of the many shameful episodes in the history of warfare that were lied about or unreported by the war correspondents, military leaders and politicians who were witnesses to the disaster but who refused, or were not allowed, to tell the horrifying truth.

And yet, 99 years later, Australia and New Zealand still seem to be in denial about the reality of Gallipoli, and, somehow, proudly celebrate the senseless death and dying every April 25th.

Down Under, April 25 is called ANZAC Day in New Zealand. In Australia it is called Australia Day, and the Australian national anthem, “Waltzing Matilda”, is played reverentially on that day (and often during the rest of the year as well). Most non-Aussies don’t understand the meaning of the lyrics, but they like the catchy tune.

“Waltzing Matilda” tells a strange tale about a loveless, solitary outback vagabond (whose knapsack he calls “Matilda”) who inadvertently poaches a sheep from some One absentee landowner and then drowns himself in a deep pool when the police are about to arrest him for his crime. To me, an American, it seems an odd theme for a national anthem that is more of a drinking song, but it is far easier to sing than the “Star-spangled Banner”.

An internet site says this about “Waltzing Matilda”):

“To non-Australians it must seem strange that this much-loved Australian song does not refer to the land itself, but rather mourns the suicide of a thieving vagabond. Nevertheless, “Waltzing Matilda” somehow speaks to the strong anti-authoritarian and independence streak in the Australian psyche, as it represents the battler struggling against the wealthy and being one with the Australian bush.”

Most Australians and New Zealanders have been led to believe in the heroic nature of the “Anzac Spirit”. As I understand the concept, it represents the courage and loyalty to the Crown that the first ANZAC infantrymen exhibited in their baptism by fire, obediently (and blindly) following the suicidal orders of their commanding officers to go “over the top” over and over again into the deadly machine gun fire.

Certainly ANZAC soldier’s misbegotten sense of loyalty to the British Crown was facilitated by the patriotic history book version of war which, as always, was written by the victor’s nationalistic pseudo-historians in order to divert attention from what were often fiascos. Not only was the Gallipoli campaign badly bungled, but it was then misrepresented in order to avoid admitting that tens of thousands of innocent troops had suffered and died in vain.

 In the following antiwar song, “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, singer/song-writer Eric Brogle tells the poignant truth about the futility of war and the cognitive dissonance that keeps Australians focused on their national anthem/drinking song rather than on the many unwelcome truths about war. Brogle wrote the song in 1971 and provides a dose of reality to a world awash in militarism, war profiteering, and pro-war propaganda. We Americans and our mis-leaders could learn a few lessons by acknowledging the many inconvenient truths about our own nation’s military misadventures. They are so numerous as to be uncountable.

 The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

 By Eric Bogle 1971 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG48Ftsr3OI

 When I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over

 Then in 1915 my country said: “Son,
It’s time to stop rambling, there’s work to be done”
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers
We sailed off for Gallipoli

Well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter

 Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
He nearly blew us back home to Australia

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When we stopped to bury our slain
Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Oh those that were living just tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
While around me the corpses piled higher

 Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
I never knew there was worse things than dying

Oh no more I’ll go Waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla

 And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the Band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
Oh nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then they turned all their faces away

And so now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reviving their dreams of past glories

 I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But as year follows year, their numbers disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong
Who’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

President Vladimir Putin has overseen military drills on countering nuclear strike. The planned drills come ahead of the May 9 celebrations dedicated to victory in World War II.

“We are carrying out tests of the readiness of the Russian armed forces. It was announced last November. The exercises will involve all branches of the armed forces across the country,” Putin told reporters at the Defense Ministry.

Modern challenges and threats to the country’s national security demand that the army and the fleet are maintained in readiness for quick and effective retaliation in any conditions, the Russian Defense Minister and army general Sergey Shoigu told Putin in a report.

During the drills, it was demonstrated how the missile corps, artillery, aviation and anti-aircraft defenses can be used – for instance, to destroy troops on the ground or to counter massive missile, aviation or nuclear strikes by an enemy.

Plus, it was shown how to inflict a launch-through-attack strike with nuclear missiles.

RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky

RIA Novosti / Alexey Nikolsky

The training exercises, which are due to include ground troops and artillery as well as the air force, were held during a summit of heads of state of a security bloc made up of former Soviet states.

Led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian aerospace defense troops have successfully overridden a massive nuclear missile strike, an official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti news agency.

“At the Priozersk training area (Kazakhstan), a successful interception of a ballistic target by a short-range countermissile was carried out. A massive rocket nuclear strike was repelled by a ballistic missile defense unit of air and missile defense troops,” the representative said.

The representative also detailed that the combat crews of Armies of Aerospace Defense have discovered and accompanied the ballistic targets with the launch of a short-range interception missile of the Amur complex.

“The anti-missile system successfully struck the target that imitated a ballistic rocket,” the representative added.

The strategic weapon carrier Tu-95MC conducted launches of six cruise missiles aiming at targets on the ground in the aviation training area of the Western military district, as part of the drills.

The simulated targets were key facilities of military infrastructure of a hypothetical enemy.

All the targets were hit as planned, Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed.

The presidents of Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan observed the drills from the Russian National Defense Command Center.

Strategic bomber aircraft and underwater missile carriers of the Pacific and Northern fleets were involved in the drills. Also, strategic land-based mobile missile systems, as well as the missile corps of the Southern and Central military districts, participated in the tests.

Introductory Note

From October 12 to 15, 2010, I had extensive and detailed discussions with Fidel Castro in Havana, pertaining to the dangers of nuclear war, the global economic crisis and the nature of the New World Order. These meetings resulted in a wide-ranging and fruitful interview.

The first part of this interview published by Global Research and Cuba Debate focuses on the dangers of nuclear war.

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. We have reached a critical turning point in our history.

This interview with Fidel Castro provides an understanding of the nature of modern warfare: Were a military operation to be launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US and its allies would be unable to win a conventional war, with the possibility that this war could evolve towards a nuclear war.

The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye.

How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will  “make the World a safer place”? 

A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in the interview is the ‘Battle of Ideas”. The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” could  change the course of World history. The  objective is to prevent the unthinkable, a nuclear war which threatens to destroy life on earth.

The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard;  people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.

The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.  

When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.

Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.

This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war. 

In his October 15 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:

There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”

The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons.  In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG),

Montreal, Remembrance Day, November 11, 2010. 


“The conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is no alternative for anyone.  On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global”
 
“I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear.  And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons.  We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction
 
“In a nuclear war the collateral damage would be the life of humankind.  Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
 
“It is about demanding that the world is not led into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.” 

Fidel Castro Ruz, Havana, October 2010.

CONVERSATIONS

Professor Michel Chossudovsky: I am very honored to have this opportunity to exchange views concerning several fundamental issues affecting human society as a whole. I think that the notion that you have raised in your recent texts regarding the threat against Homo sapiens is fundamental.

What is that threat, the risk of a nuclear war and the threat to human beings, to Homo sapiens?

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz: Since quite a long time –years I would say- but especially for some months now, I began to worry about the imminence of a dangerous and probable war that could very rapidly evolve towards a nuclear war.

Before that I had concentrated all my efforts on the analysis of the capitalist system in general and the methods that the imperial tyranny has imposed on humanity.  The United States applies to the world the violation of the most fundamental rights.

During the Cold War, no one spoke about war or nuclear weapons; people talked about an apparent peace, that is, between the USSR and the United States, the famous MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) was guaranteed.  It seemed that the world was going to enjoy the delights of a peace that would last for an unlimited time.


Michel Chossudovsky: … This notion of “mutual assured destruction” ended with the Cold War and after that the nuclear doctrine was redefined, because we never really thought about a nuclear war during the Cold War.  Well, obviously, there was a danger –as even Robert McNamara said at some point in time.

But, after the Cold War, particularly after September 11 [2001],  America’s nuclear doctrine started to be redefined.

Fidel Castro Ruz: You asked me when was it that we became aware of the imminent risk of a nuclear war, and that dates back to the period I talked to you about previously, barely six months ago.  One of the things that called our attention the most regarding such a war danger was the sinking of the Cheonan during a military maneuver. That was the flagship of the South Korean Navy; an extremely sophisticated vessel.  It was at the time when we found on GlobalReasearch the journalist’s report that offered a clear and truly coherent information about the sinking of the Cheonan, which could not have been the work of a submarine that had been manufactured by the USSR more than sixty years ago, using an outdated technology which did not require the sophisticated equipment that could be detected by the Cheonan, during a joint maneuver with the most modern US vessels. 

The provocation against the Democratic Republic of Korea added up to our own earlier concerns about an aggression against Iran.  We had been closely following the political process in that country. We knew perfectly well what happened there during the 1950s, when Iran nationalized the assets of the British Petroleum in that country- which at the time was called the Anglo Persian Oil Company.

In my opinion, the threats against Iran became imminent in June [2010], after the adoption of Resolution 1929 on the 9th of June, 2010, when the United Nations Security Council condemned Iran for the research it is carrying out and the production of small amounts of 20 per cent enriched uranium, and accused it of being a threat to the world.  The position adopted by each and every member of the Security Council is known: 12 member States voted in favor –five of them had the right to veto; one of them abstained and 2 –Brazil and Turkey- voted against. Shortly after the Resolution was adopted –the most aggressive resolution of of them all– one US aircraft carrier, embedded in a combat unit, plus a nuclear submarine, went through the Suez Canal with the help of the Egyptian government.  Naval units from Israel joined, heading for the Persian Gulf and the seas nearby Iran.

The sanctions imposed by the United States and its NATO allies against Iran was absolutely abusive and unjust.  I cannot understand the reason why Russia and China did not veto the dangerous Resolution 1929 of the United Nations Security Council.  In my opinion this has complicated the political situation terribly and has placed the world on the brink of war.

I remember previous  Israeli attacks against the Arab nuclear research centers.  They first attacked and destroyed the one in Iraq in June 1981.  They did not ask for anyone’s permission, they did not talk to anybody; they just attacked them and the Iraqis had to endure the strikes.

In 2007 they repeated that same operation against a research center that was being built by Syria.  There is something in that episode that I really don’t quite understand:  what was not clear to me were the underlying tactics, or the reasons why Syria did not denounce the Israeli attack against that research center where, undoubtedly, they were doing something, they were working on something for which, as it is known, they were receiving some cooperation from North Korea.  That was something legal; they did not commit any violation.

I am saying this here and I am being very honest: I don’t understand why this was not denounced, because, in my opinion, that would have been important. Those are two very important antecedents.

I believe there are many reasons to think that they will try to do the same against Iran:  destroy its research centers or the power generation centers of that country.  As is known, the power generation uranium residues are the raw material to produce plutonium.

Michel Chossudovsky:  It is true that that Security Council Resolution has to some extent contributed to cancelling the program of military cooperation that Russia and China have with Iran, especially Russia cooperates with Iran in the context of the Air Defence System by supplying its S-300 System.

I remember that just after the Security Council’s decision, with the endorsement of China and Russia, the Russian minister of  Foreign Affairs said: “Well, we have approved the Resolution but that is not going to invalidate our military cooperation with Iran”. That was in June.  But a few months later, Moscow confirmed that military cooperation [with Iran] was going to be frozen, so now Iran is facing a very serious situation, because it needs Russian technology to maintain its security, namely its [S-300] air defence system.

But I think that all the threats against Russia and China are intent upon preventing the two countries from getting involved in the Iran issue. In other words, if there is a war with Iran  the other powers, which are China and Russia, aren’t going to intervene in any way; they will be freezing their military cooperation with Iran and therefore this is a way [for the US and NATO] of extending their war in the Middle East without there being a confrontation with China and Russia  and I think that this more or less is the scenario right now.

There are many types of threats directed against Russia and China. The fact that China’s borders are militarized –China’s South Sea, the Yellow Sea, the border with Afghanistan, and also the Straits of Taiwan- it is in some way a threat to dissuade China and Russia from playing the role of powers in world geopolitics, thus paving the way and even creating consensus in favour of a war with Iran which is happening under conditions where Iran’s  air defence system is being weakened.   [With the freeze of its military cooperation agreement with Russia] Iran is a “sitting duck” from the point of view of its ability to defend itself using its air defence system.

Fidel Castro Ruz:  In my modest and serene opinion  that resolution should have been vetoed.  Because, in my opinion, everything has become more complicated in several ways.

Militarily, because of what you are explaining regarding, for example, the commitment that existed and the contract that had been signed to supply Iran the S-300, which are very efficient anti-aircraft weapons in the first place. 

There are other things regarding fuel supplies, which are very important for China, because China is the country with the highest economic growth.  Its growing economy generates greater demand for oil and gas.  Even though there are agreements with Russia for oil and gas supplies, they are also developing wind energy and other forms of renewable energy. They have enormous coal reserves;  nuclear energy will not increase much, only 5% for many years. In other words, the need for gas and oil in the Chinese economy is huge, and I cannot imagine, really, how they will be able to get all that energy, and at what price, if the country where they have important investments is destroyed by the US.  But the worst risk is the very nature of that war in Iran.  Iran is a Muslim country that has millions of trained combatants who are strongly motivated.

There are tens of millions of people who are under [military] orders,  they are being politically educated and trained, men and women alike.  There are millions of combatants trained and determined to die.  These are people who will not be intimidated and who cannot be forced to changing [their behavior]. On the other hand, there are the Afghans –they are being murdered by US drones –there are the Pakistanis, the Iraqis, who have seen one to two million compatriots die as a result of the antiterrorist war invented by Bush.  You cannot win a war against the Muslim world; that is sheer madness.  

Michel Chossudovsky:  But it’s true, their conventional forces are very large,  Iran can mobilize in a single day several million troops and they are on the border with Afghanistan and Iraq, and even if there is a blitzkrieg war, the US cannot avoid a conventional war that is waged very close to its military bases in that region.

Fidel Castro Ruz: But the fact is that the US would lose that conventional war. The problem is that nobody can win a conventional war against millions of people; they would not concentrate their forces in large numbers in a single location for the Americans to kill them.

Well, I was a guerrilla fighter and I recall that I had to think seriously about how to use the forces we had and I would never have made the mistake of concentrating those forces in a single location, because the more concentrated the forces, the greater the casualties caused by weapons of mass destruction….


From left to right: Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon, Fidel Castro Ruz

Michel Chossudovsky: As you mentioned previously, a matter of utmost importance: China and Russia’s decision in the Security Council, their support of Resolution 1929, is in fact harmful to them because, first, Russia cannot export weapons, thus its main source of income is now frozen.  Iran was one of the main customers or buyers of Russian weapons, and that was an important source of hard currency earnings which supported Russia`s consumer goods economy thereby covering the needs of the population. 

And, on the other hand China requires access to sources of energy as you mentioned. The fact that China and Russia have accepted the consensus in the UN Security Council, is tantamount to saying: “We accept that you kill our economy and, in some ways, our commercial agreements with a third country”.  That’s very serious because it [the UNSC Resolution] not only does harm to Iran; is also harms those two countries, and I suppose –even though I am not a politician –that there must be tremendous divisions within the leadership, both in Russia and in China, for that to happen, for Russia to accept not to use its veto power in the Security Council.

I spoke with Russian journalists, who told me that there wasn’t exactly a consensus within the government per se; it was a guideline.  But there are people in the government with a different point of view regarding the interests of Russia and its stance in the UN Security Council.  How do you see this?

Fidel Castro Ruz: How do I see the general situation? The alternative in Iran –let me put it this way –the conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is not an alternative for anyone. 

On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global.  Thus the danger in my opinion exists with the current situation in Iran, bearing in mind the reasons you are presenting and many other facts; which brings me to the conclusion that the war would end up being a nuclear war.


Filming of Fidel’s message on October 15. From left to right: Fidel Castro, TV crew, Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon

Michel Chossudovsky: In other words, since the US and its allies are unable to win the conventional war, they are going to use nuclear weapons, but that too would be a war they couldn’t win, because we are going to lose everything.

Fidel Castro Ruz: Everyone would be losing that war; that would be a war that everyone would lose. What would Russia gain if a nuclear war were unleashed over there? What would China gain?  What kind of war would that be? How would the world react? What effect would it have on the world economy? You explained it at the university when you spoke about the centralized defence system designed by the Pentagon.  It sounds like science fiction; it doesn’t even remotely resemble the last world war.  The other thing which is also very important is the attempt [by the Pentagon] to transform nuclear weapons into conventional tactical weapons. 

Today, October 13th, I was reading about the same thing in a news dispatch stating that the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were drawing up strong protests about the fact that the US had just carried out subcritical nuclear tests.  They’re called subcritical, which means the use of the nuclear weapon without deploying all the energy that might be achieved with the critical mass. 

It reads:  “Indignation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki because of a United States nuclear test.”… 

 “The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that suffered a nuclear attack at the end of WW II, deplored today the nuclear test carried out by the US on September last, called sub critical because it does not unleash chain nuclear reactions. 

“The test, the first of this kind in that country since 2006, took place on September 15th somewhere in Nevada, United States.  It was officially confirmed by the Department of Energy of that country, the Japan Times informed.”

What did that newspaper say? 

“I deeply deplore it because I was hoping that President Barack Obama would take on the leadership in eliminating nuclear weapons”, the governor of Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, stated today at a press conference.

A series of news items related to that follows. 

“The test has also caused several protests among the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including several survivors of the atomic bombs attacks that devastated both cities in August of 1945.

“We cannot tolerate any action of the United States that betrays President Barack Obama’s promise of moving forward to a world without nuclear arms, said Yukio Yoshioka, the deputy director of the Council for the Victims of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb.

“The government stated that it has no intention of protesting.”  It relegates the protest to a social level and then said: “With this, the number of subcritical nuclear tests made by the United States reaches the figure of 26, since July 1997 when the first of them took place.”

Now it says: 

“Washington considers that these tests do not violate the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) since they do not unleash any chain reactions, and therefore do not release any nuclear energy, and so they can be considered to be laboratory tests.”

The US says that it has to make these tests because they are necessary to maintain the “security of its nuclear arsenal”, which is the same as saying: since we have these great nuclear arsenals, we are doing this in order to ensure our security.  

Michel Chossudovsky:  Let us return to the issue of the threat against Iran, because you said that the US and its allies could not win a conventional war.  That is true; but nuclear weapons could be used as an alternative to conventional warfare, and this evidently is a threat against humanity, as you have emphasized in your writings. 

The reason for my concern is that after the Cold War the idea of nuclear weapons with a “humanitarian face” was developed, saying that those weapons were not really dangerous, that they do not harm civilians, and in some way the nuclear weapons label was changed.  Therefore, according to their criteria, [tactical] nuclear weapons are no different from conventional weapons, and now in the military manuals they say that tactical nuclear weapons are weapons that pose no harm to civilians. 

Therefore, we might have a situation in which those who decide to attack Iran with a nuclear weapon would not be aware of the consequences that this might have for the Middle East, central Asia, but also for humanity as a whole, because they are going to say: “Well, according to our criteria, these [tactical] nuclear weapons [safe for civilians] are different from those deployed during the Cold War and so, we can use them against Iran as a weapon which does not [affect civilians and] does not threaten global security.”  

How do you view that?  It’s extremely dangerous, because they themselves believe their own propaganda.  It is internal propaganda within the armed forces, within the political apparatus.

When tactical nuclear weapons were recategorized in 2002-2003, Senator Edward Kennedy said at that time that it was a way of blurring the boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons. 

But that’s where we are today; we are in an era where nuclear weapons are considered to be no different from the Kalashnikov. I’m exaggerating, but somehow nuclear weapons are now part of the tool box –that’s the word they use, “tool box” –and from there you choose the type of weapon you are going to use, so the nuclear weapon could be used in the conventional war theatre, leading us to the unthinkable, a nuclear war scenario on a regional level, but also with repercussions at the global level.

Fidel Castro Ruz: I heard what you said on the Round Table [Cuban TV] program about such weapons, presumably harmless to people living in the vicinity of the areas where they are to be targeted,  the power [explosive yield] could range from one-third of the one that was used in Hiroshima up to six times the power [explosive yield] of that weapon, and today we know perfectly well the terrible damage it causes.  One single bomb instantly killed 100,000 people.  Just imagine a bomb having six times the power of that one [Hiroshima bomb], or two times that power, or an equivalent power, or 30 per cent that power.  It is absurd. 

There is also what you explained at the university about the attempt to present it as a humanitarian weapon that could also be available to the troops in the theatre of operations.  So at any given moment any commander in the theatre of operations could be authorized to use that weapon as one that was more efficient than other weapons, something that would be considered his duty according to military doctrine and the training he/she received at the military academies.   

Michel Chossudovsky:  In that sense, I don’t think that this nuclear weapon would be used without the approval, let’s say, of the Pentagon, namely  its centralised command structures [e.g. Strategic Command]; but I do think that it could be used without the approval of the President of the United States and Commander in Chief.  In other words, it isn’t quite the same logic as that which prevailed during the Cold War where there was the Red Telephone and…

Fidel Castro Ruz: I understand, Professor, what you are saying regarding the use of that weapon as authorized by the senior levels of the Pentagon, and it seems right to me that you should make that clarification so that you won’t be blamed for exaggerating the dangers of that weapon.

But look, after one has learned about the antagonisms and arguments between the Pentagon and the President of the United States, there are really not too many doubts about what the Pentagon decision would be if the chief of the theatre of operations  requests to use that weapon because he feels it is necessary or indispensable. 

Michel Chossudovsky: There is also another element.  The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons now, as far as I know, is being undertaken by several European countries which belong to NATO.  This is the case of Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Italy and Germany.  Thus, there are plenty of these “little nuclear bombs” very close to the theatre of war, and on the other hand we also have Israel.

Now then, I don’t think that Israel is going to start a war on its own; that would be impossible in terms of strategy and decision-making.  In modern warfare, with the centralization of communications, logistics and everything else, starting a major war would be a centralized decision.  However, Israel might act if the US gives Israel the green light to launch the first attack.  That’s within the realm of possibilities, even though there are some analysts who now say that the war on Iran will start in Lebanon and Syria with a conventional border war, and then that would provide the pretext for an escalation in military operations.

Fidel Castro Ruz: Yesterday, October 13th, a crowd of people welcomed Ahmadinejad in Lebanon like a national hero of that country.  I was reading a cable about that this morning.

Besides, we also know about Israel’s concerns regarding that, given the fact that the Lebanese are people with a great fighting spirit who have three times the number of reactive missiles they had in the former conflict with Israel and Lebanon, which was a great concern for Israel because they need –as the Israeli technicians have asserted – the air force to confront that weapon.  And so, they state, they could only be attacking Iran for a number of hours, not three days, because they should be paying attention to such a danger.  That’s the reason why, from these viewpoints, every day that goes by they are more concerned, because those weapons are part of the Iranian arsenal of conventional weapons. For example, among their conventional weapons, they have hundreds of rocket launchers to fight surface warships in that area of the Caspian Sea.  We know that, from the time of the Falklands war, a surface warship can dodge one, two or three rockets.  But imagine how a large warship can protect itself against a shower of weapons of that kind.  Those are rapid vessels operated by well-trained people, because the Iranians have been training people for 30 years now and they have developed efficient conventional weapons. 

You yourself know that, and you know what happened during the last World War, before the emergence of nuclear weapons.  Fifty million people died as a result of the destructive power of conventional weaponry. 

A war today is not like the war that was waged in the nineteenth century, before the appearance of nuclear weapons.  And wars were already highly destructive.  Nuclear arms appeared at the very last minute, because Truman wanted to use them.  He wanted to test the Hiroshima bomb, creating the critical mass from uranium, and the other one in Nagasaki, which created a critical mass from plutonium.  The two bombs killed around 100,000 persons immediately.  We don’t know how many were wounded and affected by radiation, who died later on or suffered for long years from these effects. Besides, a nuclear war would create a nuclear winter. 

I am talking to you about the dangers of a war, considering  the immediate damage it might cause.  It would be enough if we only had a limited number of them, the amount of weapons owned by one of the least mighty [nuclear] powers, India or Pakistan.  Their explosion would be sufficient to create a nuclear winter from which no human being would survive.  That would be impossible, since it would last for 8 to 10 years.  In a matter of weeks the sunlight would no longer be visible.  

Mankind is less than 200,000 years old.  So far everything was normalcy.  The laws of nature were being fulfilled; the laws of life developed on planet Earth for more than 3 billion years.  Men, the Homo sapiens, the intelligent beings did not exist after 8 tenths of a million years had elapsed, according to all studies.  Two hundred years ago, everything was virtually unknown.  Today we know the laws governing the evolution of the species.  Scientists, theologians, even the most devout religious people who initially echoed the campaign launched by the great ecclesiastical institutions against the Darwinian Theory, today accept the laws of evolution as real, without it preventing their sincere practice of their religious beliefs where, quite often, people find comfort for their most heartfelt hardships.

I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear.  And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons.  We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction, to the Iranians as well as the Israelis.  Natural resources should be distributed.  They should!  I don’t mean they will, or that it would be easy to do it.  But there would be no other alternative for humanity, in a world of limited dimensions and resources, even if all the scientific potential to create renewable sources of energy is developed. We are almost 7 billion inhabitants, and so we need to implement a demographic policy.  We need many things, and when you put them all together and you ask yourself the following question:  will human beings be capable of understanding that and overcome all those difficulties? You realize that only enthusiasm can truly lead a person to say that he or she will confront and easily resolve a problem of such proportions. 

Michel Chossudovsky:  What you have just said is extremely important, when you spoke of Truman.  Truman said that Hiroshima was a military base and that there would be no harm to civilians.

This notion of collateral damage; reflects continuity in [America’s] nuclear doctrine ever since the year 1945 up until today.  That is, not at the level of reality but at the level of [military] doctrine and propaganda.  I mean, in 1945 it was said: Let’s save humanity by killing 100,000 people and deny the fact that Hiroshima was a populated city, namely that it was a military base.  But nowadays the falsehoods have become much more sophisticated, more widespread, and nuclear weapons are more advanced.  So, we are dealing with the future of humanity and the threat of a nuclear war at a global level. The lies and fiction underlying [US] political and military discourse would lead us to a Worldwide catastrophe in which politicians would be unable to make head or tails of their own lies.  

Then, you said that intelligent human beings have existed for 200,000 years, but that same intelligence, which has now been incorporated in various institutions, namely the media, the intelligence services, the United Nations, happens to be what is now going to destroy us.  Because we believe our own lies, which leads us towards nuclear war, without realizing that this would be the last war, as Einstein clearly stated. A nuclear war cannot ensure the continuation of humanity; it is a threat against the world. 

Fidel Castro Ruz: Those are very good words, Professor.  The collateral damage, in this case, could be humanity. 

War is a crime and there is no need for any new law to describe it as such, because since Nuremberg, war has already been considered a crime, the biggest crime against humanity and peace, and the most horrible of all crimes.

Michel Chossudovsky.-  The Nuremberg texts clearly state: “War is a criminal act, it is the ultimate act of war against peace.” This part of the Nuremberg texts is often quoted. After the Second World War, the Allies wanted to use it against the conquered, and I am not saying that this is not valid, but the crimes that they committed, including the crimes committed against Germany and Japan, are never mentioned.  With a nuclear weapon, in the case of Japan.

Michel Chossudovsky.-  It is an extremely important issue for me and if we are talking about a “counter-alliance for peace”, the criminalization of war seems to me to be a fundamental aspect. I’m talking about the abolition of war; it is a criminal act that must be eliminated.

Fidel Castro Ruz -  Well, who would judge the main criminals?

Michel Chossudovsky.- The problem is that they also control the judicial system and the courts, so the judges are criminals as well. What can we do?

Fidel Castro Ruz   I say that this is part of the Battle of Ideas.

It is about demanding that the world not be spearheaded into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life. 

We do not know, but we presume that if man becomes aware of his own existence, that of his people, that of his loved ones, even the U.S. military leaders would be aware of the outcome; although they are taught in life to follow orders, not infrequently genocide, as in the use of tactical or strategic nuclear weapons, because that is what they were taught in the [military] academies.     

As all of this is sheer madness, no politician is exempt from the duty of conveying these truths to the people. One must believe in them, otherwise there would be nothing to fight for.        

Michel Chossudovsky .- I think what you are saying is that at the present time, the great debate in human history should focus on the danger of nuclear war that threatens the future of humanity, and that any discussion we have about basic needs or economics requires that we prevent the occurrence of war and instate global peace so that we can then plan living standards worldwide based on basic needs;  but if we do not solve the problem of war, capitalism will not survive, right?          

Fidel Castro Ruz.- No, it cannot survive, in terms of all the analysis we’ve undertaken, it cannot survive. The capitalist system and the market economy that suffocate human life, are not going to disappear overnight, but imperialism based on force, nuclear weapons and conventional weapons with modern technology, has to disappear if we want humanity to survive.     

Now, there something occurring at this very moment which characterizes the Worldwide process of disinformation, and it is the following: In Chile 33 miners were trapped 700 meters underground, and the world is rejoicing at the news that 33 miners have been saved. Well, simply, what will the world do if it becomes aware that 6,877,596,300 people need to be saved, if 33 have created universal joy and all the mass media speak only of that these days, why not save the nearly 7 billion people trapped by the terrible danger of perishing in a horrible death like those of Hiroshima or Nagasaki?        

Michel Chossudovsky. -This is also, clearly, the issue of media coverage that is given to different events and the propaganda emanating from the media.

I think it was an incredible humanitarian operation that the Chileans undertook, but it is true that if there is a threat to humanity,  as you mentioned, it  should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world because human society in its totality could be the victim of a decision that has been made, even by a three-star general who is unaware of the consequences [of nuclear weapons].  

But here we are talking about how the media, particularly in the West, are hiding the most serious issue that potentially affects the world today, which is the danger of nuclear war and we must take it seriously, because both Hillary Clinton and Obama have said that they have contemplated using nuclear weapon in a so-called preventive war against Iran.

Well, how do we answer? What do you say to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama regarding their statements pertaining to the unilateral use of nuclear weapons against Iran, a country that poses no danger to anyone?      

Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, I know two things: What was discussed. This has been revealed recently, namely far-reaching arguments within the Security Council of the United States.  That is the value of the book written by Bob Woodward, because it revealed how all these discussions occurred. We know the positions of Biden, Hillary, Obama, and indeed in those discussions, who was firmer against the extension of the war, who was able to argue with the military, it was Obama, that is a fact.

I am writing the latest reflection, actually, about that. The only one who got there, and gave him advice, who had been an opponent because of his Republican Party membership, was Colin Powell. He reminded him that he was the President of the United States, encouraging advice.         

I think we should ensure that this message reaches everybody; what we have discussed. I think many read the articles you have published in Global Research.  I think we need to disclose, and to the extent that we have these discussions and harbor the idea of disclosure. I am delighted every time you argue, reasonably, and put forth these issues, simply, in my opinion, there is a real deficit of information for the reasons you explained.        

Now, we must invent. What are the ways to make all this known? At the time of the Twelve Apostles, there were 12 and no more, and they were given the task of disseminating the teachings a preacher transmitted to them. Sure, they had hundreds of years ahead of them. We, however, we do not have that. But I was looking at the list of personalities, and there are more than 20 prominent people who have been working with Global Research, prestigious people, asking the same questions, but they do not have hundreds of years, but, well, very little time.       

Michel Chossudovsky. –  The antiwar movement in the United States, Canada and Europe is divided. Some people think the threat comes from Iran, others say they [the Iranians] are terrorists, and there is a lot of disinformation in the movement itself.          

Besides, at the World Social Forum the issue of nuclear war is not part of the debate between people of the Left or progressives. During the Cold War there was talk of the danger of nuclear conflict, and people had this awareness.

At the last meeting held in New York on non-proliferation, under the United Nations, the emphasis was on the nuclear threat from non-state entities, from terrorists. 

President Obama said that the threat comes from Al Qaeda, which has nuclear weapons.  Also, if someone reads Obama’s speeches he is suggesting that the terrorists have the ability of producing small nuclear bombs, what they call “dirty bombs”. Well, it’s a way of [distorting the issues] and shifting the emphasis.         

Fidel Castro Ruz. - That is what they tell him [Obama], that is what his own people tell him and have him believe. 

Look, what do I do with the reflections? They are distributed in the United Nations, they are sent to all governments, the reflections, of course, are short, to send them to all the governments, and I know there are many people who read them. The problem is whether you are telling the truth or not. Of course, when one collects all this information in relation to a particular problem because the reflections are also diluted on many issues, but I think you have to concentrate on our part, the disclosure of essentials, I cannot cover everything.         

Michel Chossudovsky. – I have a question, because there is an important aspect related to the Cuban Revolution. In my opinion, the debate on the future of humanity is also part of a revolutionary discourse.  If society as a whole were to be threatened by nuclear war, it is necessary in some form, to have a revolution at the levels of ideas as well as actions against this event, [namely nuclear war]. 

Fidel Castro Ruz .- We have to say, I repeat,  that humanity is trapped 800 meters underground and that we must get it out, we need to do a rescue operation. That is the message we must convey to a large number of people. If  people in large numbers believe in that message, they will do what you are doing and they will support what you are supporting. It will no longer depend on who are those who say it, but on the fact that somebody [and eventually everybody] says it. 

You have to figure out how you can reach the informed masses. The solution is not the newspapers. There is the Internet, Internet is cheaper, Internet is more accessible. I approached you through the Internet looking for news, not through news agencies, not through the press, not from CNN, but news through a newsletter I receive daily articles on the Internet . Over 100 pages each day. 

Yesterday you were arguing that in the United States some time ago two thirds of public opinion was against the war on Iran, and today, fifty-some percent favored military action against Iran.

Michel Chossudovsky .- What happened, even in recent months, it was said: “Yes, nuclear war is very dangerous, it is a threat, but the threat comes from Iran,” and there were signs in New York City  saying: “ Say no to nuclear Iran, “and the message of these posters was to present Iran as a threat to global security, even if the threat did not exist because they do not have nuclear weapons. 

Anyway, that’s the situation, and The New York Times earlier this week published a text that says, yes, political assassinations are legal. 

Then, when we have a press that gives us things like that, with the distribution that they have, it is a lot of work [on our part]. We have limited capabilities to reverse this process [of media disinformation] within the limited distribution outlets of the alternative media. In addition to that, now many of these alternative media are financed by the economic establishment.            

Fidel Castro Ruz.- And yet we have to fight.          

Michel Chossudovsky .- Yes, we keep struggling, but the message was what you said yesterday. That in the case of a nuclear war, the collateral damage would be humanity as a whole. 

Fidel Castro Ruz.- It would be humanity, the life of humanity. 

Michel Chossudovsky.-   It is true that the Internet should continue to function as an outreach tool to avoid the war. 

Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, it’s the only way we can prevent it. If we were to create world opinion, it’s like the example I mentioned: there are nearly 7 billion people trapped 800 meters underground, we use the phenomenon of Chile to disclose these things.          

Michel Chossudovsky .- The comparison you make with the rescue of 33 miners, saying that there are 33 miners below ground there to be rescued, which received extensive media coverage, and you say that we have almost 7 billion people that are  800 meters underground and do not understand what is happening, but we have to rescue them, because humanity as a whole is threatened by the nuclear weapons of the United States and its allies, because they are the ones who say they intend to use them.        

Fidel Castro Ruz.- And will use them [the nuclear weapons] if there is no opposition, if there is no resistance. They are deceived; they are drugged with military superiority and modern technology and do not know what they are doing.      

They do not understand the consequences; they believe that the prevailed situation can be maintained. It is impossible.      

Michel Chossudovsky. – Or they believe that this is simply some sort of conventional weapon.           

Fidel Castro Ruz. – Yes, they are deluded and believe that you can still use that weapon. They believe they are in another era, they do not remember what Einstein said when he stated he did not know with what weapons World War III would be fought with, but the World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones. I added there: “… there wouldn’t be anyone to handle the sticks and stones.” That is the reality; I have it written there in the short speech you suggested I develop.          

Michel Chossudovsky .- The problem I see is that the use of nuclear weapons will not necessarily lead to the end of humankind from one day to the next, because the radioactive impact is cumulative.           

Fidel Castro Ruz. - Repeat that, please.          

Michel Chossudovsky. – The nuclear weapon has several different consequences: one is the explosion and destruction in the theater of war, which is the phenomenon of Hiroshima, and the other are the impacts of radiation which increases over time.           

Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, nuclear winter, as we call it. The prestigious American researcher, University of Rutgers (New Jersey) Professor Emeritus Alan Robock irrefutably showed that the outbreak of a war between two of the eight nuclear powers who possess the least amount of weapons of this kind would result in “nuclear winter”.

He disclosed that at the fore of a group of researchers who used ultra-scientific computer models.

It would be enough to have 100 strategic nuclear weapons of the 25,000 possessed by the eight powers mentioned exploding in order to create temperatures below freezing all over the planet and a long night that would last approximately eight years.  Professor Robock exclaims that it is so terrible that people are falling into a “state of denial”, not wanting to think about it; it is easier to pretend that it doesn’t exist”.  He told me that personally, at an international conference he was giving, where I had the honor of conversing with him.

Well, but I start from an assumption: If a war breaks out in Iran, it will inevitably become nuclear war and a global war. So that’s why yesterday we were saying it was not right to allow such an agreement in the Security Council, because it makes everything easier, do you see?

Such a war in Iran today would not remain confined to the local level, because the Iranians would not give in to use of force. If it remained conventional, it would be a war the United States and Europe could not win, and I argue that it would rapidly turn into a nuclear war. If the United States were to make the mistake of using tactical nuclear weapons, there would be consternation throughout the world and the US would eventually lose control of the situation.    

Obama has had a heated discussion with the Pentagon about what to do in Afghanistan; imagine Obama’s situation with American and Israeli soldiers fighting against millions of Iranians. The Saudis are not going to fight in Iran, nor are the Pakistanis or any other Arab or Muslim soldiers. What could happen is that the Yanks have serious conflicts with the Pakistani tribes which they are attacking and killing with their drones,  and they know that. When you strike a blow against those tribes, first attacking and then warning the government, not saying anything beforehand;  that is one of the things that irritates the Pakistanis. There is a strong anti-American feeling there.

It’s a mistake to think that the Iranians would give up if they used tactical nuclear weapons against them, and the world really would be shocked, but then it may be too late.  

Michel Chossudovsky .- They cannot win a conventional war.          

Fidel Castro Ruz .- They cannot win.        

Michel Chossudovsky. – And that we can see in Iraq; in Afghanistan they can destroy an entire country, but they cannot win from a military standpoint.          

Fidel Castro Ruz. - But to destroy it [a country] at what price, at what cost to the world, at what economic costs, in the march towards catastrophe? The problems you mentioned are compounded, the American people would react, because the American people are often slow to react, but they react in the end. The American people react to casualties, the dead.

A lot of people supported the Nixon administration during the war in Vietnam, he even suggested the use of nuclear weapons in that country to Kissinger, but he dissuaded him from taking that criminal step. The United States was obliged by the American people to end the war; it had to negotiate and had to hand over the south. Iran would have to give up the oil in the area. In Vietnam what did they hand over? An expense. Ultimately, they are now back in Vietnam, buying oil, trading. In Iran they would lose many lives, and perhaps a large part of the oil facilities in the area would be destroyed. 

In the present situation, is likely they would not understand our message. If war breaks out, my opinion is that they, and the world, would gain nothing. If it were solely a conventional war, which is very unlikely, they would lose irretrievably, and if it becomes a global nuclear war, humanity would lose.

Michel Chossudovsky.- Iran has conventional forces that are …significant.

Fidel Castro Ruz.-   Millions.

Michel Chossudovsky.-  Land forces, but also rockets and also Iran has the ability to defend itself.

 Fidel Castro Ruz.-   While there remains one single man with a gun, this is an enemy they will have to defeat.

Michel Chossudovsky.-  And there are several millions with guns.

 Fidel Castro Ruz.-   Millions, and they will have to sacrifice many American lives, unfortunately it would be only then that Americans would react, if they don’t react now they will react later when it will be too late; we must write, we must divulge this as much as we can.   Remember that the Christians were persecuted, they led them off to the catacombs, they killed them, they threw them to the lions, but they held on to their beliefs for centuries and later that was what they did to the Moslems, and the Moslems never yielded.

There is a real war against the Moslem world.  Why are those lessons of history being forgotten?  I have read many of the articles you wrote about the risks of that war.

Michel Chossudovsky.-  Let us return to the matter of Iran.  I believe that it is very important that world opinion comprehends the war scenario.  You clearly state that they would lose the war, the conventional war, they are losing it in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has more conventional forces than those of NATO in Afghanistan.

 Fidel Castro Ruz.-   Much more experienced and motivated.  They are now in conflict with those forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and one they don’t mention: the Pakistanis of the same ethnic group as those in the resistance in Afghanistan. In White House discussions,  they consider that the war is lost, that’s what the book by Bob Woodward entitled “Obama’s Wars” tells us.  Imagine the  situation if in addition to that, they append a war to liquidate whatever remains after the initial blows they inflict on Iran.  

So they will be thrust into a conventional war situation that they cannot win, or they will be obliged to wage a global nuclear war, under conditions of a worldwide upheaval.  And I don’t know who can justify the type of war they have to wage; they have 450 targets marked out in Iran, and of these some, according to them, will have to be attacked with tactical nuclear warheads because of their location in mountainous areas and at the depth at which they are situated [underground].  Many Russian personnel and persons from other nationalities collaborating with them will die in that confrontation.      

What will be the reaction of world opinion in the face of that blow which today is being irresponsibly promoted by the media with the backing of many Americans?

Michel Chossudovsky.-  One issue, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, they are all neighbouring countries in a certain way.  Iran shares borders with Afghanistan and with Iraq, and the United States and NATO have military facilities in the countries they occupy.  What’s going to happen? I suppose that the Iranian troops are immediately going to cross the border.

Fidel Castro Ruz.-   Well, I don’t know what tactic they’re going to use, but if one were in their place, the most advisable is to not concentrate their troops, because if the troops are concentrated they will be victims of the attack with tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, in accordance with the nature of the threat as it is being described, the best thing would be for them to use a tactic similar to ours in southern Angola when we suspected that South Africa had nuclear weapons; we created tactical groups of 1000 men with land and anti-air fire power.  Nuclear weapons could never within their reach target a large number of soldiers. Anti-air rocketry and other similar weapons was supporting our forces.  Weapons and the conditions of the terrain change and tactics must continuously change.

Michel Chossudovsky.-  Dispersed.

Fidel Castro Ruz.-   Dispersed, but not isolated men, there were around 1000 men with appropriate weapons, the terrain was sandy, wherever they got to they had to dig in and protect themselves underground, always keeping the maximum distance between components.  The enemy was never given an opportunity to aim a decisive blow against the 60,000 Cuban and Angolan soldiers in southern Angola.

What we did in that sister country is what, a thousand strong army, operating with traditional criteria, would have done.  Fine, we were not 100 000, in southern Angola there were 60,000 men, Cubans and Angolans; due to technical requirements the tactical groups were mainly made up of Cubans because they handled tanks, rockets, anti-aircraft guns, communications, but the infantry was made up of Cuban and Angolan soldiers, with great fighting spirit, who didn’t hesitate one second in confronting the white Apartheid army supported by the United States and Israel.  Who handled the numerous nuclear weapons that they had at that moment?

In the case of Iran,   we are getting news that they are digging into the ground, and when they are asked about it, they say that they are making cemeteries to bury the invaders. I don’t know if this is meant to be ironic, but I think that one would really have to dig quite a lot to protect their forces from the attack which is threatening them. 

Michel Chossudovsky.-  Sure, but Iran has the possibility of mobilizing millions of troops.

Fidel Castro Ruz.-   Not just troops, but the command posts are also decisive.  In my opinion, dispersion is very important.  The attackers will try to prevent the transmission of orders.  Every combat unit must know beforehand what they have to do under different  circumstances.  The attacker will try to strike and destabilize the chain of command with its radio-electronic weapons.  All those factors must be kept in mind.  Mankind has never experienced a similar predicament.  

Anyway,  Afghanistan is “a joke” and Iraq, too, when you compare them with what they are going to bump into in Iran: the weaponry, the training, the mentality, the kind of soldier…  If 31 years ago, Iranian combatants cleaned the mine fields by advancing over them, they will undoubtedly be the most fearsome adversaries that the United States has ever come across.   

  

Our thanks and appreciation to Cuba Debate for the transcription as well as the translation from Spanish.  

Fidel’s Message on the Dangers of Nuclear War

Recorded on the last day of the Conversations, October 15, 2010

TRANSCRIPT

The use of nuclear weapons in a new war would mean the end of humanity. This was candidly foreseen by scientist Albert Einstein who was able to measure their destructive capability to generate millions of degrees of heat, which would vaporize everything within a wide radius of action. This brilliant researcher had promoted the development of this weapon so that it would not become available to the genocidal Nazi regime.

Each and every government in the world has the obligation to respect the right to life of each and every nation and of the totality of all the peoples on the planet.

Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbour the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.

The World’s peoples have an obligation to demand of their political leaders their Right to Live. When the life of humankind, of your people and your most beloved human beings run such a risk, nobody can afford to be indifferent; not one minute can be lost in demanding respect for that right; tomorrow will be too late.

Albert Einstein himself stated unmistakably: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. We fully comprehend what he wanted to convey, and he was absolutely right, yet in the wake of a global nuclear war, there wouldn’t be anybody around to make use of those sticks and stones.

There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people.

In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 15, 2010

Lost and Stolen Liberty for Police State Security

May 9th, 2014 by Joachim Hagopian

Based on the May 2014 Supreme Court’s non-action regarding the 2012 NDAA law that allows the US military to come into our homes and arrest us and then throw away the key forever without any legal rights, I had to write the following article.

General Eisenhower as Commander-in-Chief knew better than anyone the ominous threat and fatal danger posed by a growing arms industry wedded to war makers and how its tyranny could destroy American democracy and liberty. Unfortunately his grave warning in his presidential farewell address in January 1961 went unheeded. And now as a result in this post 9/11 era, we face the monster that is now destroying America and our way of life, simultaneously taking seven billion of us on this planet hostage by making the entire world more armed and dangerous than any prior time in human history.

Meanwhile, since the 9/11 prearranged attacks, the Patriot Act and the prearranged Iraq and Afghanistan War debacles, American citizens have had their constitutional rights to privacy and due process totally stripped from them. Ever since the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act (AUMFA) voted in and signed by Bush within a week after the twin towers were pulled a little more than a dozen years ago, America’s president, regardless of party, has assumed God-like power to decide who the enemy is and destroy them through any means necessary. And now with this week’s Supreme Court decision, it’s official – if anyone important in the government now desires you behind bars, all they need do is label you an enemy sympathizer and all your rights to legal representation, due process protection, contact with family are now completely nonexistent.

After passage of Obama’s 2012’s the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), courageous author-journalist Chris Hedges and others representing all US citizens mounted a legal countersuit challenging the 2012 NDAA. A bold decision of one district court judge ruled in favor but was later overturned by an appeals court judge deferring the matter to America’s highest court the US Supreme Court. In a landmark decision that has nightmarish implications, earlier this week the Supreme Court elected to not even bother hearing the case, which in effect renders Hedges et al’s countersuit dead in the water, giving full power of the NDAA to authorize the misuse of the American military to legally break into our homes without a search warrant and arrest us, effectively eliminating our sixth amendment right to a speedy trial.

Now if you are suspected of being a terrorist or even a sympathizer, without any legal judge or warrant or charge, you can be arrested and not even notified of why you are arrested. As long as the US government’s open-ended “war on terror” (itself a convenient fascist fabrication) continues, you can be locked up forever. In this disturbing climate of increasing security surveillance and extreme punitive and oppressive control, the military’s role domestically at home insidiously expands to ensure total fulfillment of a fascist Orwellian police state.

A closer examination of US history sheds light on this dark cast that has been in the making for some time. Going back to the Second World War, purely out of racism and paranoia, President FDR in 1942 signed an Executive Order 9066 rounding up 120,000 Japanese Americans and placed them in forced labor camps for the next two and a half years for the duration of the war. Shortly after World War II, the Cold War produced the Red scare of McCarthyism that harassed and ruined the lives of many innocent Americans falsely accused of being Communist or Communist sympathizers.

Under the misguided bigoted leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI and US government have had a long history of illegally compiling government watch lists and targeting selected groups of the American population deemed a threat or danger to political status quo. Hence, Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Vietnam War protesters all became victims of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment campaign during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Selected Black Panthers in various cities as well as Native Americans at Wounded Knee were even assassinated in racist FBI raids and assaults. The FBI lied claiming that its counterintelligence operations were suspended by 1971 when actually government surveillance continued on indefinitely. In 1979 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came along as a national recovery plan set up in response to natural disasters to ensure that political and social order be restored.

In 1993 when agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) raided the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas, it quickly spun out of control. So under the direction of President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno, the FBI and US Army were called in to take over, mounting a 51-day siege. Under the Posse Comitatus Law that originatedin 1878 during post-Civil War Reconstruction and then updated in 1982, the US military role in incidents of domestic civil unrest is unlawful where state National Guard and civilian law enforcement have clear jurisdiction. But the FBI held press conferences repeatedly making false claims that the FBI was in charge of the operation. But in reality, a half dozen years before committing his war crimes over Kosovo, General Wesley Clark commanded the military operation that resulted in at least 82 deaths of family members, dozens of whom were women and children belonging to the religious cult. Yet the federal law at Waco was blatantly violated and covered up.

It was later confirmed that the initial BATF unit that raided the compound had just been given prior military training at the Army’s Home of the Armor branch, Fort Hood, and utilized two M1A1 tanks, one tank retrieval vehicle, nine Bradley fighting vehicles, and five combat engineering vehicles all operated by borrowed Fort Hood Active Duty Army personnel. Because original search warrants included suspicion of drugs, the BATF was authorized to receive Army training and equipment despite no drugs ever being found at the compound. However, with military involved in the attack, a federal law was definitely once again broken and many innocent Americans were needlessly murdered.

After the Oklahoma City bombings two years later, the FBI and federal government stepped up its surveillance toward potential homegrown terrorism. With use of corporate media, the public was barraged by hype of increasing danger from domestic terrorists like the Unabomber. Thus, numerous organizations on watch lists began being targeted for systematic harassment. Any citizens who were publicly promoting gun rights, property rights, constitutional rights, home schooling or religious groups labeled as cults all became prime suspects that were under highest priority surveillance and increasingly harassed throughout the 1990’s right into this century.

In 1999 the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle attracted 50 to 100,000 anti-globalization protesters from all over the world. Police brutality was rampant, multiple arrests were unlawfully made and many of the victims whose rights were violated were detained at a nearby Navy installation center, again a violation of both free speech and the Posse Comitatus law. These protests spawned the government’s first use of so called “free speech zones” designated far away from WTO activities, in effect cordoning off and limiting free speech dissidents from gathering where they can be seen and heard. Corporate media was overtly absent from the event, but then any coverage finally given was slanted and biased against the demonstrators. Independent media did ensure that evidence of unlawful abuse damning to law enforcement was documented, leading to the Seattle police chief’s resignation.

Those same restrictive, brutally oppressive tactics were also deployed against protesters in Denver in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention and more recently used to crush the Occupy Wall Street uprising in cities across the nation. The civil disobedience movement represents the growing awareness and unrest building amongst Americans that today’s extreme economic and social injustice must be challenged by us 99% have-nots.

Last year’s aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings was but a convenient preparatory practice drill for US martial law in the modern militarized US police state, a mere litmus seeing of how US citizens would react.

Of course ever since 9/11 under the Bush-Cheney neocons, the Patriot Act ushered in an era of over-the-top abuse with unconstitutional practices violating free speech, privacy and due process rights, many of which were secretly signed into law by presidential executive order. In 2002 Bush created a whole bureaucratic extension of the military industrial complex when he announced the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. The secrecy and lack of accountability of funding such a cumbersome unbridled entity that overlaps and duplicates both functions and agencies of both the State and Defense Departments have allowed enormous runaway federal expenditures again at taxpayer expense and burden.

In 2003 Bush placed FEMA under Homeland Security. Then in 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck, and the Posse Comitatus law again was violated when soldiers straight from the battlefields of Iraq were deployed to the designated urban war zone known as New Orleans. FEMA’s total lack of response many days after the flooding provided the overwhelming evidence that Bush’s mobilizing the military in a militarized police state took precedence over rescue efforts to save hurricane victims that were primarily the poor and black left behind in the most defenseless areas of the city. As a result, war criminal Bush has 1464 dead Americans on his bloody hands from that fiasco alone.

In that same year 2005 the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) was opened. MIAC was a fusion center that was 28% funded by Homeland Security to work with local and state intelligence agencies to sniff out terrorists. A MIAC report entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” was leaked to WikiLeaks exposing the illegal profiling of individuals driving cars with “Ron Paul for President” bumper stickers as tied to militia groups. The same month it was discovered this kind of homegrown fascism was quietly suspended and shut down in 2009, four years after it began. But many state fusion centers across the nation still remain open. As extensions of Homeland Security, they illustrate the covert nature of such far reaching entanglement as flagrant first amendment violations due to the over-arching abusive and monolithic security agency.

William M. Arkin, author of “American Coup: How a Terrified Government Is Destroying the Constitution,” states that this self-serving monster of a governmental entity has grown exponentially in the ten years it has existed to involving a colossal 33% of the total adult American population between ages 20-64. The Department of Homeland Security counts as “part of the regimented conglomeration of troops, government workers, first-responders, private-sector enlistees and civilian volunteers.” This level of intrusive, secret spying and informing on your neighbor smacks of Nazi Germany. Its abuse of power is massive and blatant, not to mention sinfully wasteful.

In October 2006 Bush signed the Military Commissions Act into law that if even as an American citizen you are deemed an enemy of the state by the government, your right to habeas corpus, or right to defend yourself in a court of civil law, is forfeited and replaced by military tribunal. The right to habeas corpus is the oldest human right in the English speaking world regarded to be among the most important parts of the 1215 Magna Carta. One by one, under the boldface lie of security, Bush was effectively killing our liberties and rights guaranteed under the US Constitution. Fortunately in 2008 the US Supreme Court found this law unconstitutional, restoring the writ of habeas corpus and access to federal courts to any detainee, American citizen as well as foreign. 
 
Army Regulation 210-35 drafted in 1997 and then reformulated on Bush’s watch in 2007 provides military installations with a civilian inmate labor program as well as prison camps on military grounds. In 2006 Kellogg, Brown and Root (or now known as KBR, formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton and the largest non-union construction company in America) signed a lucrative $385 million dollar contract with Homeland Security to refurbish old military posts into civilian prison camps. The government holds the not-so- secret plan to fill up these military prisons with American citizens.

Despite all these too obvious ties to the Bush administration with sitting Vice President Cheney Halliburton’s ex-CEO and their flaunting record of no bid contracts, corruption and cronyism during the Bush years quietly went unchallenged both legally and in the media. Meanwhile, KBR has had numerous lawsuits of women allegedly gang raped while working in Iraq as well as charges of exploiting human trafficking victims for cheap slave labor.

As a generously paid consultant of the Carlyle Group, GW’s dad had just cemented a huge defense contract. So where does junior decide to visit? A Carlyle owned company fresh off his photo ops session on an aircraft carrier where he infamously and prematurely declared false victory in Iraq, stopping off for yet another photo op to celebrate his family making millions more in another shady deal engineered by daddy Bush. Yet not one media outlet bothered to connect these all too obvious shameless dots. Bush and Cheney’s unprecedented level of in-our-face corruption was so out in the open, complete with those cocky, smug twisted smiles of pure evil personified, knowing with certainty there would be no repercussions or consequences for being such blatant war criminals or for being the most crooked presidency in American history. Money and Israeli-Saudi bin Laden connections simply buy impunity.

With the ultimate betrayal of the demonically executed inside job of 9/11, the Bush-Cheney regime set into monstrous motion what dictator Obama has only accelerated, an unholy globalized merger between US Empire bullied national governments and Fortune 500 transnational corporations along with un-repayable IMF and World Bank loans, all serve the controlling shareholder interests of one-one hundredth of one per cent of the total world population that owns and controls virtually everything on our entire planet. This most obscene and perverse abomination is what humanity has tragically devolved and degenerated into on a global power structure scale. A corrupt and sinister caldron of unprecedented epic proportions presently forecasts only doom and gloom for an ailing planet earth and all its inhabitants.

Operation Garden Plot is a military plan developed in response to the civil unrest in the 1960’s. Its 253 pages represent the established protocol the US Army and National Guard have in place for responding to any major domestic civil disturbances within the United States. The plan is now under the control of the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), providing federal military and law enforcement assistance to local governments during times of major civil unrest and crises.

For those who still dismiss all these in-our-face warning signs of how the US government has plans to lock up Americans who disagree with its unconstitutional practices and policies, declaring dissidents enemy sympathizers, as just more hocus pocus conspiracy theory gone mad, citizens need only check out the Department of Defense (DoD) document released in February 2010 entitled “Internment and Resettlement Operations” or FM-3-39.40. This document shows that with Obama in power, it predates the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that Obama signed authorizing without warrants the military to be able to round up, arrest and detain US citizens for an indefinite period of time, denying all access to legal representation and constitutional rights. This same Obama signed law nullifies the previous Comitatus Law protecting Americans by prohibiting US military from arresting US citizens. And now that the US Supreme Court this week has opted not to even examine much less challenge the 2012 NDAA, USA tyranny is officially here to stay.

The 325 page document called FM-3-39.40 acts as undeniable evidence that in fact our government’s sinister agenda is very real, outlining in very specific detail how the DoD, FEMA, Homeland Security, and the United Nations together will be operating the military detention camps within US borders and beyond, targeting American political dissidents and citizens of the world for detainment. Psychological Operations Officers will be responsible for developing and executing indoctrination programs to reduce and remove antagonistic attitudes as well as identifying political activists. It calls for conditions that justify use of lethal force, in effect killing anyone caught trying to escape. This in itself proves detainees are not there for benign humanitarian disaster relief purposes.

Page 260 of this document covers the physical layout of these detainment camps that include interrogation areas, military tribunal areas and mortuaries. Mortuaries indicate that human deaths are part of the facility’s function that will house up to 4000 detainees. Clearly dissidents who oppose the tyranny of our government will be rounded up and imprisoned in these resettlement camps. Tactics utilized at these camps may well involve torture techniques similar to those currently used on foreign detainees at infamous Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib prisons. Another page describes civilian resettlement facilities housing 8000 people that include many rows of barbed wire fence areas within the camp as well as around the camp perimeter along with fourteen guard towers. This proves that any American citizen who dares to speak out and resists our government’s tyranny as a dissident will be locked up and incarcerated.

And with extreme surveillance and names being added daily on dissident watch lists, the government has been preparing and is ready to execute this demonic plan that to most Americans is just too unimaginable and unreal. But unfortunately this document proves that imprisonment of American dissidents in America is very real, signed by Joyce E. Morrow, Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army John McHugh.

Just as telling and alarming as civilian labor and resettlement camps on military installations might be, the fact is since 2009 the US Army actually has want ads out with the title for those military personnel who will be employed as prison guards at these military internment camps. The Army is currently advertising unlimited openings for “Internment Resettlement Specialists,” complete with a full training program preparing these soldiers to become armed prison guards at all the labor camps. The US prison industrial complex and Homeland Security complex right along with the military industrial complex are all growing exponentially gluttonous and ever more dangerous. The most shuddering, chilling thought is that our very taxpayer dollars we are now toiling away so hard to earn may inadvertently be funding the very same prisons where we end up incarcerated.

As if the civilian inmate camps manned by military Internment Resettlement Specialists is not shocking enough, a bill that died in committee in 2009 as of January 2013 was back in the House of Representatives, the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act (H.R. Bill 390). It proposed that six more massive emergency centers capable of holding thousands of people and families be built on military installations in America for “temporary housing under emergency situations.” What constitutes emergency situations? President Obama and the Director of Homeland Security will dictate those parameters.

Concerned skeptics of this massive proliferation and privatization of detainment centers across the country believe it is another ominous sign that proves what our government is expecting and planning for us. Multimillion dollar prisons for profit are not built to remain empty. So reasons why any particular group of American citizens risk being rounded up like the Americans who happened to be Japanese during World War II is a growing worry amongst those who see their once cherished liberty, rights and freedom being rapidly replaced by a tyrannical militarized police state. America is simply one false flag or natural disaster away from martial law and FEMA concentration camp roundups.

In this era of pervasive invasion of privacy, internet and drone surveillance and increasing dissident watch lists, it is not a paranoid stretch to speculate who will be the first group to be rounded up. To curb and/or eliminate any civil disobedient protest, unrest, riot and looting in the streets, angry, potentially armed citizens determined to take back their country, any persons caught outside their homes disobeying martial law curfew, the nation’s debtors, the chronically unemployed, anyone who looks like an illegal alien or “suspicious” at all, including anyone unwilling to go along with the government’s fascist agenda, all will most likely become targeted victims. Any and all of these reasons will meet the criteria our government sees fit to lock up American citizens. The scenarios are really endless as to who will be selected to end up detained indefinitely at one of these foreboding concentration camps.

Ironically as a cadet I stopped the unconstitutional practice at West Point that had been going on for nearly two centuries of railroading out any cadets at the academy deemed unfit, “suspicious” or unruly. Operating above the law meant that higher ranking officers possessed the right to arbitrarily run up demerits on false charges if they so much as did not like you and there was nothing a cadet could do about it for 170 years… until 1972 when I won in New York federal district court, forcibly ringing in the constitutional right to due process at this most honored service academy.

Now the same thing applies to all citizens in America. If someone higher up in the government happens to not like you, they now possess that same unconstitutional God-like power to round you up, throw you in prison and there is nothing you can do about it, since legal access when labeled an “enemy sympathizer” or even “political dissident” no longer exists. But instead of false charges in demerits, as a dissident it has now become false charges branding you an enemy sympathizer simply because you do not agree with the tyranny and fascism growing all around us. Just as I was vocally critical of an inhumane, unjust, totalitarian West Point system as a dissident, and without due process paid the price of being terminated from the Academy, with today’s stakes of no due process so much higher for all of US citizens, as dissidents our very lives can now be terminated.

Short of assassination for being a dissident, the government at the very least can indefinitely throw you in one of these prison camps where you no longer have any legal access to due process. Many of us aware of what has been unfolding fear that the government will next conveniently manufacture a national crisis in order to justify a population round-up, using typical propaganda ploys to demonstrate how Big Brother acts in our best interest to keep us safe, help take care of the poor, needy and most vulnerable among us during national emergencies and times of international crises.

By his repeated actions, in the name of security President Obama has declared war on anyone courageous enough to tell the truth about his administration’s misuse of power. The obvious question becomes whose security? Certainly not ours the public. If you dare disagree or speak out against this tyranny, you risk your life and freedom. Everything currently in America is inversely juxtaposed from the way it morally should be. Look at former Nobel Peace Prize nominee Private Bradley Manning’s fate – thirty five years in prison for exposing America’s war crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to Russia granting him asylum, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a fugitive on the run charged with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing how Big Brother and NSA are violating our privacy as never before.

More individuals under Obama have been indicted on espionage act violations than all previous presidents combined in US history! Labeled criminals by the true criminals in our government, these valiant whistleblowers are being excessively punished for their bravery, honesty and true patriotism. Exposed and on the defensive, Obama and company are out to hang them in a ruthless effort to set an example of what happens to those brave enough souls who in good conscience are willing to tell the truth about the government’s murderous web of lies and deceit.

Demonstrating how the tide of public opinion is slowly turning in favor of recognizing the truth, a new year’s Op-Ed article featured in the mainstream embedded New York Times stated unconditionally that Snowden has already been vindicated and should be credited and ascribed the rights of a whistleblower:

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight.” 

In the near year since 33-year old investigative journalist Michael Hastings was likely assassinated last June 18th, it is clear that he was not a victim of just a freak car accident. Weeks earlier the Obama regime had declared open warfare on free journalism with aggressive surveillance and punitive retribution on AP reporters, even selected corporate media news reporters, clearly targeting those willing to reveal potentially damaging or threatening information about the US government’s tyranny. Hastings had a very high profile history since his June 2010 Rolling Stone article featuring Afghanistan War commander General Stanley McChrystal and his staff’s harsh critique of their Commander-in-Chief, subsequently resulting in McChrystal’s forced resignation. Hastings also wrote an unflattering article about General David Petraeus in the February 2011 Rolling Stone indicating “King David’s” losing proposition for turning the war in Afghanistan around with his surge on that warfront clearly a failure.

The very day he died, Hastings contacted friends and associates to report that he was under an FBI investigation, that he feared his car had been tampered with, and was about to release a major bombshell of a news story involving unlawful covert operations deployed by US intelligence agencies, specifically focusing on current CIA Director John Brennan. The UK’s Daily Mirror published an August 15, 2013 article stating that the CIA contractor Stratfor’s president claimed that Brennan was on a “witch hunt” for investigative journalists… sounds just like his boss Obama. Also a friend of the journalist came forth with the statement that Hastings had actually asked her if he could borrow her car the very day he died sharing his concern that his car had been tampered with.

Another friend US Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs who spent three months with Hastings while doing the first Rolling Stone article also believes that Hastings was murdered. Biggs stated that the journalist’s life had been threatened should he proceed with publishing the McChrystal article. The sergeant was among those contacted by Hastings just prior to his death reporting the FBI investigation and that he needed to lay low to write the story exposing the US intelligence system.

His recent Mercedes Benz model was likely cyber-hacked. Research scientists at the University of Washington and UC San Diego three years ago released findings indicating how electronic systems in modern cars can easily be hacked and its functions remotely controlled, further corroborated since by the government’s own reputable Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Even ex-CIA counter-terrorism expert under Clinton and Bush Richard Clarke alluded to the possibility that the car explosion and expulsion of the engine 100 feet from the vehicle is consistent with cyber-hacking. That along with eyewitness accounts of a fiery explosion prior to the car hitting the tree all raise serious questions that foul play may well have caused the death of the bold young journalist who undauntedly vowed to expose shady truth no matter the risk. Michael Hastings’ uncompromising integrity and defiance to seek the truth no matter what most likely cost him his life.

While Obama is going after anyone bold enough to confront his lies of tyranny and oppression, he also has designs of turning groups like the Boy Scouts of America and AmeriCorps into an enormous civilian national security force to work alongside the government and military as their junior counterpart contingent – all too eerily reminiscent of prewar Nazi youth groups.

Even the US Census Bureau is doing its part to tighten the noose around citizens’ necks. For the first time during the 2010 census workers used GPS to identify and track any persons they encountered who failed to cooperate by refusing to fill out and submit required information. Those who resist are now violating federal law and subject to a $5000 fine and perhaps their names have been added to the next FEMA roundup list.

At the time of the so called 9/11 terrorist attack, West Point in all likelihood was still teaching the same outdated elective course that I took as a cadet thirty years earlier on counterinsurgency. Thus to quickly fill its obvious void, private funding established the Combating Terrorism Center
(CTC) at the US Military Academy a mere year and a half later. The single biggest financial contributor establishing the CTC was 1977 West Point grad Vincent Viola, former Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, current owner of one of the largest electronic trading firms Vitro and NHL team owner of recent Stanley Cup finalist the Florida Panthers. Another major CTC financier was Annapolis graduate, former third party presidential candidate and multi-billionaire Ross Perot. My West Point roommate, current Council on Foreign Relations member and longest running commander of both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars from 2003 to 2007, retired General John Abizaid, currently sits as the CDC’s Distinguished Chair. Though a private think tank for the US military, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center is additionally part of the Academy’s Department of Social Sciences providing instruction to cadets as well as compiling research and issuing reports on its findings.

A research report entitled “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right” was published last year by the CDC. According to Wikipedia, the report “provides a conceptual foundation for understanding different far-right groups and then presents empirical analysis of violent incidents to identify those perpetrating attacks and their associated trends.” In actuality the study seeks to brainwash America’s future leaders as well as Americans in general into believing that any and all US citizens who value and espouse lesser government interference in their lives, who oppose the US government’s totalitarianism and who support the US Constitution guaranteeing individual rights to privacy, due process, civil liberties and freedom are the real enemy of the state.

The 148-page report warns military personnel to be on the lookout for those individuals calling themselves true patriots standing up to the federal government’s oppression and tyranny. The research study’s author, Arie Perliger is an assistant professor in West Point’s Social Sciences Department and the Director of Terrorism Studies at the Combating Terrorism Center. Like the CDC’s Chair Abizaid, Perliger is also a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and former instructor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

The pro-Israel lobby and power in America and its foreign policy looms so large that critics contend the American government is but a puppet of Israel. The apartheid Israeli government’s subjugation and oppression of the Palestinians and the tacit approval by the US government has long been a barrier to peace and stability in the Middle East. Much has also been made of both the American banking and entertainment industries being controlled nearly exclusively by prominent Jewish Americans. Though some critics of the prominent Israeli-Jewish lobby in America may be fueled by underlying anti-Semitic bias, nonetheless there exists overwhelming concrete evidence substantiating the Israeli-Jewish connections’ inordinate amount of power. Perliger in his key position is but one anecdotal example. Speaking of the disproportionate power base of the Israeli-Jewish connection, it is worth mentioning the disclaimer that there is a complete difference between criticizing the strong Israeli-Jewish influence and power in America and criticizing Israeli citizens or Jewish people. Just as it is of paramount importance to distinguish between the American government and American citizens, the exact same principle applies.

In any event, in one broad stroke in his report Perliger appears to lump all American constitutionalists, freedom lovers, libertarians, progressives, left wing political activists and all government dissidents in with numerous ultra-conservative, violent far-right fringe groups, declaring all these citizens on both the left and right along with their A-Z group affiliations as serious threats to US national security.

In Perliger’s own words, he casts dispersions on those who “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights.” He even targets groups “driven by a strong conviction that the American political system and its proxies have been hijacked by external forces interested in promoting a New World Order.” In other words, anyone with awareness of what’s really going on in America and is highly concerned with these extremely disturbing developments since 9/11, is now on the government’s “shit” list, or more aptly put “hit” list. Perliger conveniently groups together all people critical of the federal government, both those leaning toward the left and the right. In this way he kills two birds with one stone, demonizing both those progressives critical of the government as well as all those so called fringe elements and organizations singled out during the 1990’s as potential homegrown terrorists – right wing extremists classified as anti-federalists, tea-partiers, fundamentalist Christians, survivalists, gun-rights advocates, pro-lifers and those who oppose high taxation.

When America’s Combating Terrorism Center’s research director and card-carrying CFR member, considered among the foremost experts on terrorism, emphatically declares anyone critical of the US federal government and its fascist agenda for increased police state security as enemies of the state, we are all in deep shit. The transparency of Perliger’s tactical move to link all government dissidents and political activists with violent far-right extremist groups is resorting to the age old slanderous ploy invoking guilt by association. This old divide and conquer strategy is designed to turn American citizen against American citizen, pro-constitutionalists vs. anti-constitutionalists, socioeconomic class against socioeconomic class and race against race.

As Bush alluded to in post 9/11 era, “You’re either with us or against us.” To have such dangerous, derisive, and toxic black and white thinking coming from someone in such powerful position to influence and mold the minds of America’s future leaders at West Point is but one more alarming sign of the times. President Obama and his power crew have been methodically prepping America for martial law and the hard times ahead by splitting the American populace into two opposing camps, the pro-government tyranny camp under the false notion of security and the anti-government individual freedom camp. Constitutional law professor and former dean of the Regent University School of Law Herbert W. Titus accused, “Perliger is not a serious scholar, but a propagandist for the existing regime.”

With last year’s IRS scandal that found the Internal Revenue Service guilty of singling out the exact same right wing elements that Perliger cited, conservative fundamentalist Christian organizations were clearly targeted for harassment with their filed applications to the IRS seeking federal tax breaks under religious tax code affiliation.

That along with the mounting draconian laws and the increasing militarized police state systematically now violating search and seizure laws and privacy rights of Americans, fast rising incidence of cold blooded murder of US citizens who posed no threat to SWAT teams police forces across America, all of this has become over-the-top evidence that America today is not the democracy we once thought it was. Scholars from Princeton and Northwestern Universities made it official last month, the US is now an oligarchy. With the US Constitution completely dismantled and rendered inoperable since 9/11, NSA and Homeland Security abuse have now become so blatant and utterly out of control.

Every personal aspect and private domain in every single American’s life are no longer personal and private at all, but compiled and stored data instantly accessible to be analyzed in one centralized location in an enormous NSA complex in Utah. With their across the boards practice of unconstitutional violations, systematic spying on every aspect and activity of our daily lives, scrutinizing and analyzing our every move that includes tracking all internet activity, all emails, all online instant message conversations, all filed documents, all website visits and contacts, as well as all personal phone calls, all text messages, and all postal snail mail correspondence, and with GPS tracking even our everyday comings and goings movement, the Orwellian nightmare is already here. We as a people are so closely monitored and controlled that anyone who dares to speak out against this unprecedented, insanely illegal, Big Brother government- run-amok tyranny and fascism is immediately placed on a watch list for even closer surveillance and control, and undoubtedly moved to the very top of the list to be rounded up under martial law and involuntarily imprisoned forever in FEMA concentration camps without any legal rights, representation or court access. This unfortunately is what America the land of the no longer free has become.

In the last decade alone a disturbing trend has unfolded nationally where one in three adult Americans is now in some way connected to either Homeland Security or the Department of Defense. Citizen turning in fellow citizen is fast becoming the despicable norm in this post 9/11 police state where a growing climate of fear, disinformation and propaganda not unlike prewar Nazi Germany rule. Obama’s crusade to amass an enormous “civil defense” corps amongst the US population that remains loyal to his tyrannical and sinister government abuses is but a case in point of what is happening right under our noses. And with an estimated eight million Americans already on an ever-expanding dissident watch list, the FEMA roundups of all dissidents and political activists are pre-eminent. A relatively benign glimpse into the dark future lay in our recent past with the post Boston Marathon fiasco. House to house searches and detainments conducted by armed active duty military personnel that we think can only happen in places like Africa or the Middle East in direct violation of the Comitatus Act is coming to a neighborhood near you sooner than you think or imagine. As the prophetic 1976 Paddy Chayefsky film “Network” sounds the alarm, it is high time we get “mad as hell and we’re not gonna to take it anymore!” if we as a people are ever to don’t let the bastards get us down.”

Sadly I must say as a West Point graduate, former US Army officer and still patriotic US citizen, I am no longer proud to be an American. Like millions of fellow citizens, I am both alarmed and outraged over how the US government has betrayed us all, resorting to the same totalitarian tactics of human rights abuse toward its citizens that Obama so frequently and hypocritically accuses of recently re-created cold war enemies Russia and China. With its Empire killing machine, America has tragically regressed into another pre-World War II Nazi Germany as the world’s worst human rights offender. With Americans the last to know, for years much of the rest of the world as victims of US Empire’s criminal aggression and oppression have viewed the US as global public enemy number one. It thoroughly sickens me to realize how this country I grew up loving, willing to at one time die for, and still very much love, has morphed and degenerated into the world’s most villainous “bad guy thug,” enslaving us who love our nation in police state bondage. How could our own government betray America and its own people? Stay tuned…

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now focuses on writing.

 

 

On 13th and 14th May an exhibition and conference on Shale Gas (fracking) is taking place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham UK. The exhibition is part of an international series, and is sponsored by Halliburton. The conference will be attended by CEOs and key personnel of the major gas companies, Members of Parliament and representatives from the majority of local councils and planning departments in the UK. There was an attendee list on Shale Gas World’s website but it was taken down after links were posted around social media (maybe coincidence) and is now only available upon request. In the lead up to the 14th PEDL licensing rounds this is an ideal lobbying opportunity for the gas companies.

Many UK citizens are concerned about the environmental damage and health risks connected with fracking. We are also opposed to the pursuit of fossil fuel extraction to the detriment of investment in the development of renewable clean energy and the subsequent effects on pollution and global warming. We are also appalled that despite a majority of public opinion against them our government is backing the gas companies to such an extent that they will change laws to prevent the public making legal challenges against them.

A group of concerned members of the public will gather in peaceful protest to demonstrate opposition to fracking outside the NEC Pavilion at 8am on the 13th May.

Conference website: http://www.terrapinn.com/conference/shale-gas-uk/index.stm

Protest event page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/256488157867845/

Las siglas HSBC significan “Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation”. Recordemos que el grupo mundial HSBC emplea a 260.000 personas en 2014, está presente en 75 países y declara 54 millones de clientes. |1| Desde sus orígenes, el banco ha estado mezclado con el comercio internacional de drogas duras. En efecto, fue fundado siguiendo la estela de la victoria británica contra China en las dos guerras del opio (1839-1842 y 1856-1860). Esas dos guerras jugaron un papel decisivo en el refuerzo del imperio británico y en la marginación de China que duró alrededor de siglo y medio. En el curso de esas dos contiendas bélicas, Reino Unido logró imponer a China la aceptación de las exportaciones británicas de opio provenientes de India (que formaba parte del imperio británico). China intentó oponerse al comercio del opio pero las armas británicas, con el apoyo de Washington, se impusieron. Londres creó una colonia en Hong Kong y, en 1865, fue fundado el Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation por un comerciante escocés especializado en la importación de opio (entonces, el 70% del flete marítimo que pasaba por Hong Kong concernía al opio venido de India).

Desde ese momento, la historia del banco ha seguido siempre estrechamente la política exterior del Reino Unido y los intereses de la gran patronal británica en Asia. Después de 1949 y la victoria de la China de Mao, el banco se replegó a Hong Kong, que permaneció como territorio británico. Luego, entre 1980 y 1997, desarrolló sus actividades en Estados Unidos y en Europa. Solo desplazó su sede social de Hong Kong a Londres en 1993, antes de la retrocesión del territorio a la República Popular de China anunciada para 1997. HSBC sigue siendo parte inseparable de Hong Kong: emite el 70% de su moneda (el dólar de Hong Kong). Hong Kong constituye un elemento clave en la cadena del blanqueo de dinero acumulado por la nueva clase dirigente china.

HSBC implicado en otros crímenes financieros

Además del blanqueo de dinero de la droga y del terrorismo |2|, HSBC está implicado en otros asuntos: la manipulación del mercado de tipos de cambio (el escándalo estalló en 2013 y trata sobre un mercado cotidiano de 5.300 millardos de dólares) |3|, la manipulación de las tasas de interés interbancario (entre ellas el Libor) |4|, la venta abusiva y fraudulenta de derivados sobre las tasas de interés, la venta abusiva y fraudulenta de productos de seguros a los particulares y a las PYME en Reino Unido (la FSA, la autoridad de control británica, ha perseguido a HSBC en este asunto que ha revelado que el banco ha vendido seguros que no servían para nada o para muy poco |5|), la venta abusiva de Mortgage Backed Securities en Estados Unidos, la manipulación en las cotizaciones del oro y de la plata (el escándalo estalló en enero-febrero de 2014 |6|) y la organización a gran escala de la evasión fiscal de importantes fortunas (ver más adelante).

Hervé Falciani, ¿el Edgar Snowden de HSBC?

Hervé Falciani, un ciudadano franco-italiano, trabajó en los servicios informáticos de HSBC Suiza en Ginebra de 2006 a 2008. Antes de abandonar el banco copió 127.000 ficheros que ligan a HSBC con operaciones masivas de fraude y de evasión fiscal en las que juega un papel a menudo activo. Luego pasó a residir en Francia. Suiza decide detenerle y lanza una orden de arresto internacional vía Interpol por “sustracción de datos”, “violación de secreto bancario y del secreto comercial” y “presunción de venta de informaciones económicas”. Hay que subrayar que Suiza no ha atacado a HSBC.

A comienzos de 2009, el domicilio en Niza de Falciani es objeto de un registro efectuado por la policía local. Las informaciones que posee son explosivas: entre los 127.000 ficheros se encuentran exiliados fiscales franceses (8.231 según Falciani), belgas (más de 800), españoles (más de 600 nombres), griegos (la famosa lista llamada Lagarde, pues la ministra francesa la entregó a las autoridades griegas en 2010, contiene alrededor de 2.000 nombres), alemanes, italianos, mexicanos, estadounidenses… Hervé Falciani entrega todo o una parte de las informaciones que posee a las autoridades francesas y a las de otros países.

Luego, según sus declaraciones, colabora con las autoridades de Washington, a las que entrega informaciones que hacen avanzar el asunto del blanqueo por HSBC del dinero de los cárteles de la droga de México y Colombia. Luego va a España en 2012 a fin de colaborar con las autoridades españolas. Es primero detenido en aplicación del mandato de detención lanzado por Suiza. Suiza insiste en que España le entregue a Hervé Falciani, lo que España rechaza en mayo de 2013 pues la justicia española considera que es un testigo privilegiado en varios grandes asuntos de fraude y de evasión fiscal |7|. En efecto, la comunicación a las autoridades españolas de los datos conseguidos por H. Falciani había permitido desde 2011 descubrir una gran cantidad de dinero (alrededor de 2 mil millones de euros) depositada en Suiza por miembros de la familia de Emilio Botín, el presidente del Banco de Santander. Éste, acorralado, ha entregado a las autoridades españolas 200 millones de euros de multa. Los datos entregados por H. Falciani han desembocado también en el escándalo de la financiación fraudulenta del Partido Popular, el partido del presidente del gobierno español, Mariano Rajoy |8|. La justicia española proporciona una protección policial permanente a Hervé Falciani. Las autoridades belgas y francesas se reúnen con él y utilizan los datos que les proporciona e instruyen expedientes. No es en absoluto seguro que esto desemboque en condenas por fraude, pues es más que probable que los defraudadores lleguen a acuerdos financieros (en Bélgica eso se llama regularizaciones fiscales) que les permitan evitarlas.

Hay que subrayar que en este asunto no solo Suiza intenta detener a quien ha dado la voz de alarma. Ocurre lo mismo en Grecia, donde la justicia detuvo al editor de la revista “Hot Doc”, Kostas Vaxevanis, porque se había atrevido a publicar en octubre de 2012 la lista Lagarde-HSBC-Falciani que las autoridades griegas habían perdido hacía tres años |9|. Como consecuencia de las reacciones ciudadanas en Grecia y en el plano internacional, el periodista ha quedado en libertad. No es fácil denunciar a un banco y a los ricos defraudadores que protege o, lo que viene a ser poco más o menos lo mismo: denunciar a los ricos defraudadores que protegen a los bancos y su sacrosanto secreto bancario. Hay claramente una verdadera simbiosis entre los grandes bancos y la clase dominante, igual que existen pasarelas permanentes entre los gobernantes y las grandes empresas, en particular las de las finanzas.

HSBC ha decidido esquivar una directiva de la Unión Europea

En 2013, la Unión Europea anunció que fijaba un límite a los bonus que podían recibir los dirigentes y traders de un banco. El bonus no puede ser superior al doble de la remuneración salarial fija. Si un dirigente tiene una remuneración fija de 1,5 millones de euros por año, los bonus no podrán superar los 3 millones de euros (por tanto una remuneración total de 4,5 millones). Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa: la dirección de HSBC anunciaba en febrero de 2014 que iba a aumentar considerablemente la remuneración fija de esos dirigentes a fin de que su bonus no quedara reducido |10|.

Conclusión

El grupo mundial HSBC debería ser cerrado, despedida su dirección sin indemnización y llevada a los tribunales (igual que los grandes accionistas). El mastodonte HSBC debería ser dividido bajo control ciudadano en una serie de bancos públicos de talla media cuyas labores deberían estar estrictamente definidas y ejercidas en el marco de un estatuto de servicio público.

Eric Toussaint

Traducido por Alberto Nadal.

Notas

|1| Ver su página oficial http://www.hsbc.com/about-hsbc

|2| Ver Eric Toussaint, “Los barones de la banca y de la droga”, publicado el 28 de abril, 2014,http://cadtm.org/Los-barones-de-la-banca-y-de-la

|3| Eric Toussaint, Los bancos especulan con las divisas, manipulan el mercado cambiario y la tasa Tobin está en el limbo, 21 de febrero 2014, http://cadtm.org/Los-bancos-especulan-con-las. Ver tambien en francès: ”Como los grandes bancos manipulan el mercado de divisas”, publicado por LeMonde.fr el 13 de marzo, 2014 http://cadtm.org/Comment-les-grandes-banques

|4| Ver la parte 5 de esta serie que aparecerá el lunes 12 de mayo 2014

|5Le Monde, “Cernée par les scandales, HSBC ternit un peu plus la réputation de la City”, 1 de agosto, 2012.

|6Financial Times, “Fears over gold price rigging put investors on alert. German and UK regulators investigate” (24/02/2014).

|7Le Soir, « Vol de fichiers bancaires chez HSBC: le récapitulatif », 8 de mayo, 2013,http://www.lesoir.be/239380/article/economie/2013-05-08/vol-fichiers-bancaires-chez-hsbc-recapitulatif

|8Le Monde, ’Evasion fiscale : le parquet espagnol s’oppose à l’extradition de Falciani, ex-employé de HSBC’, 16 de abril, 2013 http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2013/04/16/evasion-fiscale-le-parquet-espagnol-s-oppose-a-l-extradition-de-falciani-ex-employe-de-hsbc_3160636_3214.html The New York Times, ’A Banker’s Secret Wealth’, 20 de septiembre, 2011.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/business/global/spain-examines-emilio-botins-hidden-swiss-account.html?pagewanted=all ’The French government passed on to Spain data that it had obtained from Hervé Falciani, a former employee in HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, naming almost 600 Spanish holders of secret bank accounts. Among those was one belonging to the estate of Mr. Botín’s father.’http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/business/global/spain-examines-emilio-botins-hidden-swiss-account.html?pagewanted=all

|9| Kostas Vaxevanis, ’Pourquoi j’ai publié la liste Lagarde’, The Guardian, 31 de octubre, 2012
http://www.presseurop.eu/fr/content/article/2977791-pourquoi-j-ai-publie-la-liste-lagarde

|10Financial Times, “HSBC plans to sidestep EU Bonus cap revealed”, 25 de frebrero, 2014.

*Eric Toussaint, maître de conférence en la Universidad de Lieja, preside el CADTM Bélgica y es miembro del Consejo Científico de ATTAC Francia. Es autor, entre otros, de los libros Procès dun homme exemplaire, Editions Al Dante: Marsella, 2013; Una mirada al retrovisor: el neoliberalismo desde sus orígenes hasta la actualidad, Icaria: Barcelona 2010; La Deuda o la Vida (junto a Damien Millet) Icaria: Barcelona, 2011; La crisis global, El Viejo Topo: Barcelona, 2010; La bolsa o la vida: las finanzas contra los Pueblos, Gakoa: Donostia-San Sebastián, 2002. Es coautor junto con Damien Millet del libro AAA, Audit, Annulation, Autre politique, Le Seuil: Paris, 2012. Este último libro ha recibido el Premio al libro político otorgado por la Feria del Libro político de Lieja, http://www.cadtm.org/Le-CADTM-recoi...

En abril publicará su próximo libro Bancocratie en la editorial ADEN: Bruselas,http://www.chapitre.com/CHAPITRE/fr

“According to the evidence that I’ve seen …Odessa was a giant false flag operation. It… was one of those staged massacres that the pro-Western forces from Bosnia to Kosovo, now Ukraine, excel at staging, intended to draw Russia to overreact and commit military forces … I believe that the fact that they are willing to stage such a horrendous atrocity shows the depth of their desperation at this point.”

– Nebojsa Malic, political analyst, Russia Today

“Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected -
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.”

– “Requiem” – Anna Akhmatova

Photos of the victims of the Odessa fire which have been circulating on the Internet have cast doubt on the official version of events. It’s now clear that many of the anti-junta activists who occupied the Trade Unions House were neither burned to death nor died of smoke inhalation, but were savagely shot at point-blank range by agents and thugs who had infiltrated the building to kill as many of the occupants as possible, burn the corpses, and then slip away without notice. Some of the victims–like a young woman who was eight months pregnant –were strangled with an electrical chord and left slumped backwards over her desk in a room that shows no sign of fire or smoke damage. In another case, a woman was stripped naked from the waste down, raped, killed, and set ablaze.

In still other cases, victims with bullet-holes through their skulls, had flammable fluid dumped on their heads and were incinerated, leaving a charred head atop a corpse whose clothes were untouched by fire. The sloppily-executed killing-spree proves that the fire was not the result of a spontaneous clash between pro and anti-Kiev demonstrators, but a carefully planned black-op that likely involved foreign Intel agencies working hand-in-hand with the fascist junta government in Kiev. Did we mention that the CIA has taken up residence in the Ukrainian capital? Here’s the scoop from the AFP:

“Dozens of specialists from the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are advising the Ukrainian government … helping Kiev end the rebellion in the east of Ukraine and set up a functioning security structure…” (CIA, FBI agents ‘advising Ukraine government: report, AFP)

We all know about the CIA’s energetic efforts to create a “functioning security structure” in nations around the world. The CIA’s presence in Ukraine suggests that the US was either actively involved in the Odessa incident or knows who was. Either way, there should be an independent investigation before the case is referred to the ICC for prosecution.

The rampage in Odessa is part a broader strategy to provoke Moscow into a military confrontation. US war planners want to draw Putin into a conflict to justify NATO expansion, block further EU-Russian economic integration, and facilitate the “pivot to Asia.” The victims in this tragedy were sacrificed to advance Washington’s imperial ambitions and to establish US global hegemony. Obama has repeatedly reiterated his unwavering support for the crackdown on dissidents in the east. In a Rose Garden press conference just days ago, the president applauded the military attack on civilians saying, “The Ukrainian government has shown remarkable restraint throughout this whole process.”

Indeed, the Odessa graveyards are now full of people who can attest to the great restraint of the junta government that Obama so admires.

The coverage of the Odessa massacre by the western media is as bad as any in recent memory. The giant news conglomerates no longer make any attempt to pretend they’re anything other propaganda organs for the State. Even by that low standard, the coverage has been abysmal. Here’s a typical summary from an article on the liberal website, Huffington Post.

“Police said the deadly fire broke out in a trade union building, but did not give details on how it started. Earlier, police said at least three people had died in a clash between the two sides in the city of 1 million.

According to Ukrainian news reports, the pro-Kiev demonstrators broke up an encampment of Moscow supporters outside the trade union building. The latter took refuge in the building, which then caught fire.
Odessa police spokesman Volodymyr Shasbliyenko told AP the fire apparently was caused by Molotov cocktails. He had no further details or identities of the victims.” (Odessa Building Fire Kills Dozens, AP)

The author deliberately misleads his readers about what really took place. The fire did not “break out” in a trade union building. It was started. There’s no debate about this. There’s video footage of the whole incident and tons of eyewitness reports. Right sector goons started the fire by throwing Molotov cocktails through the windows. It’s all on tape.

Second, the “pro-Kiev demonstrators” (did not) “break up an encampment of Moscow supporters outside the trade union building…which then caught fire.” This is nonsense. The fascist extremists burned down the tent city, chased the activists into the building, barricaded the exits, and then set the building on fire with the obvious intention of killing the people inside. Again, there is no debate about this. It’s all on video. The US media is involved in a massive cover up, mainly because a investigation would undoubtedly point to US involvement. This is why none of the major news organizations are covering an incident which would normally be headline news. Odessa is unique blend of Waco and Columbine, a combo that editors typically use to boost sagging ratings by exploiting public empathy and outrage. Only this time, the media has minimized its coverage and refused to report on a story that would probably lead straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

While the New York Times has been widely criticized for publishing fake photos of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal wins the trophy for absolute worst coverage. In a piece titled “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”, the WSJ pushes the improbable theory that the anti-coup activists inside the building actually burned the building down themselves, a pathetic attempt to blame the victims of a ruthless government crackdown. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The fire began from the roof. There were extremists there, we found casings and firearms,” Mr. Chebotar said. “But something unexpected happened; their Molotov cocktails fell, and ignited the higher floors of the building.” (Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Wall Street Journal)

Utterly ridiculous. Are the editors of the WSJ aware of the fact that footage of the Neo Nazis throwing Molotov cocktails at the building are all over the Internet?

The article, of course, fails to explain how many of the people inside the building were either shot or strangled to death. Nor does the author speculate on why the police stood by while people hurled themselves from windows to escape the fire or were savagely beaten by right wing extremists on the pavement in front of the building. Instead, the WSJ tries to provide a plausible excuse for the one part of the story it chooses to focus on as if “who started the fire” can be separated from other important details. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the 40 victims of the incident were killed in a homicidal rampage that was perpetrated by Obama’s new friends in Kiev. No amount of whitewash is going to hide that one glaring fact. Here’s how Serbian historian and political analyst, Nebosja Malic, summed it up:

“According to all the evidence that I have seen, the entire thing in Odessa was a giant false flag operation. It was a provocation, it was one of those stage massacres that the pro-Western forces from Bosnia to Kosovo, now Ukraine excel at staging, intended to draw Russia to overreact…

“We have proof that the West is instigating this. And just the other day, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s commissioner for foreign policy, pretty much gave a green light to the extremists from Kiev. She pretty much said they had a right to establish law and order within the borders of the country. I would say that the EU has blood on its hands, especially Catherine Ashton. It’s the same thing they did in Yugoslavia in the 90s, when they started encouraging radicals, extremists, secessionists.” (Interview with Nebosja Malic, RT)

It’s true that Washington supports Neo-Nazi extremists who burned down the Odessa Trade Unions House. If that wasn’t the case, then Obama would have spoken out forcefully against the action, which he has not. That implies that things are going according to plan. Malic is also correct when he says the fire was a “giant false flag operation” which refers to a covert military operation where agents disguise themselves as members of their adversary’s group to initiate a provocation that will then be blamed on the other side. In this case, pro-regime fascists (and probably agents from the Security Services) disguised themselves as Kiev regime opponents, in order to throw bricks and stones at the police and Right Sector goons. This was the flashpoint that started the melee that ended in a massacre.

Videos on Russia Today show the agents in red arm bands mingled with the pro-Russia activists, initiated a confrontation with the cops, and then quickly switched sides when the fighting broke out. This is classic false flag operation. The police were obviously in on the scam, as they immediately opened their ranks to let the imposters slip by when the street-scrum began. These same imposters were later filmed shooting handguns and automatic weapons in the direction of the building just minutes after they had switched sides. (Take a look at this video from 3:30 minutes to the 6 minute-point and decide for yourself whether this was a false flag operation or not.)

Bottom line: There was nothing spontaneous about the clash that led to the catastrophic fire that killed 40 people in the Trade Unions House. It was a carefully planned and executed operation designed to shock Moscow into sending troops to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine. If the CIA is working in Kiev –as it is–there is no doubt that they either knew or actively assisted the operation.

In related news: Moscow has announced it will “deploy additional forces in Crimea as part of beefing up the Black Sea fleet…before year’s end”. According to RT: “The fleet will receive new submarines and surface ships of new generation this year.”

The Kremlin is responding to the buildup of NATO forces in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea where additional aircraft, warships and ground troops have been deployed in case war breaks out. Also, according to RT:

“NATO’s three-week ‘Spring Storm’ drills, involving a record-breaking number of 6,000 troops, have begun in Estonia….(bringing) together a record number of allied troops.” (Also) around 150 personnel of the US airborne division arrived in a military transport aircraft to Amari airbase (while) the UK and France deployed eight fighter jets to Lithuania and Poland to strengthen NATO air defense over the Baltic regions.” (NATO’s record 6,000-strong drills kick off in Estonia amid Ukraine tensions, RT)

So while the death toll mounts, the slide to war continues to gain momentum. Odessa was supposed to be the tipping point, the “catalyzing event” that would draw Putin into the fighting. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Putin has stayed on the sidelines and refused to take the bait. That means there’ll be more provocations to come; more false flags, more bloodshed, more stage-managed terror disguised as civil unrest. Eventually, people will see who’s behind all the trouble. But how many will have died by then?

Note: Here’s a 12 minute video on Obama’s fascist friends in Ukraine. Listen to the last minute of the video to hear neocon Victoria Nuland praise Ukraine’s development of “democratic skills and institutions” with the appropriate backdrop of balaclava-clad Nazis and brightly colored swastikas.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

“This is injustice writ large and these death sentences must be quashed. Imposing death sentences of this magnitude in a single case makes Egypt surpass most other countries’ use of capital punishment in a year.”

-Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.[1]

 

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In recent weeks, the governing authority in Egypt has escalated their crackdown on supporters of deposed president Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In March, news agencies widely reported that after a two day trial, 529 people, many of whom were tried in absentia, were sentenced to death over an attack on a police station in which a police officer was killed. [2]

In late April, 683 alleged supporters of the Brotherhood, including spiritual leader Mohammed Badie were sentenced to death over their supposed role in the August 14 incident. [3]

Likewise, the Egyptian courts have banned the April 6 movement, considered a pro-democracy group which played a role in instigating and organizing the Arab Spring movement which overthrew President Mubarak in 2011. [4] Numerous journalists have been jailed as well under the rationale that they are “spreading false news” and “part of a terrorist organisation.”[5]

This week’s Global Research News Hour examines two perspectives on the repressive measures being taken by the Egyptian military government against the Muslim Brotherhood, the April 6 movement, and other critics of the current authorities.

Film Maker John Greyson was one of two Canadians who got caught up in last summer’s mass arrests. After fifty days of detention without charge, he and his companion Tarek Loubani were released. [6] Greyson spoke to the Global Research News Hour about his harrowing ordeal, the conditions he and other prisoners faced, and about the need to intervene on behalf of other innocents being wrongfully held.

A geo-political analyst and frequent Global Research contributor who goes by the name Tony Cartalucci has a different perspective. He believes the repressive actions being taken by the military government and the courts need to be seen in the context of an ongoing foreign orchestrated insurgency not dissimilar to those that led Libya and Syria to disaster. Cartalucci engaged the Global Research News Hour in an email interview which is reprinted below in its entirety.

The email dialogue was voiced, for radio purposes, by Global Research guest host Jon Wilson and regular host Michael Welch.

 

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

 

Notes:

1) Amnesty International, March 24, 2014, “Egypt: More than 500 sentenced to death in ‘grotesque’ ruling”; http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-more-500-sentenced-death-grotesque-ruling-2014-03-24
2) Al Jazeera, March 25, 2014, “Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death”; http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/03/muslim-brotherhood-members-sentenced-death-201432481112672803.html
3) Democracy Now, April 30, “Egypt is a Police State: Senior Muslim Brotherhood Member Condemns New Mass Death Sentence for 683”; http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/30/egypt_is_a_police_state_senior
4) ibid
5) Al Jazeera, March 25, 2014, “Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death”; http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/03/muslim-brotherhood-members-sentenced-death-201432481112672803.html
6) CAROL BERGER,  Oct. 10 2013 , Globe and Mail, “Egypt clears Canadians Greyson, Loubani to leave”; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/greyson-loubani-free-to-leave-egypt-reports-say/article14796228/

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Tony Cartalucci interview (Transcript)

Interview on Egypt, and the spectre of cruel and unusual punishment of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Global Research: Much of the media, including progressive alternative media outlets like Democracy Now in the US are portraying the mass death sentences in Egypt as outrageous violations of human rights and the basic norms of due process. The Human Rights watchdog Amnesty International was cited as calling the mass death sentences handed out quote, ”a grotesque example of the shortcomings and the selective nature of Egypt’s justice system.”

In your recent writings on Egypt, you seem conciliatory toward the military regime taking these actions. Your thesis seems to be that these steps are being taken to mitigate the kind of foreign sponsored disasters that have befallen Syria and Libya.
I’ll give you a chance to develop that argument in a minute, but first I wanted you to clarify your views about the steps taken by the Egyptian authorities. You call the Military regime’s harsh crackdown on Morsi supporters ‘logical’. Does that mean you believe them to be acceptable or defensible?

Tony Cartalucci: Clearly, the situation in Egypt has been poorly framed to begin with. The Muslim Brotherhood’s history is one of violence, foreign-backed subversion, and the triggering of costly, protracted, armed conflicts that have taken their toll on the respective nations they have been active within. In Algeria, the “Black Decade” for instance cost the life of some 200,000 civilians. In Syria, the confrontation between the government then led by Hafez al-Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood, by the West’s own accounts, led to sectarian extremists fleeing the country and forming the beginnings of what many now call “Al Qaeda.”

Therefore the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. It is dangerous. It is armed. And worst of all, it is funded by foreign interests who seek to use their fanatical support base to destabilize and destroy existing political orders across the Arab World.

From this framing, it is very clear that the government in Egypt was quite “logical” in moving against them as they did. While the Western media covers up the violent nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, leaving question marks as to how hundreds from Egypt’s security forces are being killed, in Egypt and to observers who recall how a similar scenario unfolded in Syria in 2011, see the beginning of widespread armed militancy, and logical steps being made to counter it.

GR:Is this in your view essentially a ‘lesser of two evils’ argument?

TC: No. A nation has the right to protect itself from foreign aggression, be it clearly marked military forces marching over their borders, or proxy militants being armed and funded within their midst. Ideally, Egypt should commit to due process and proportional punishments as it wages its war against this foreign-backed militant front, but in reality it may not be able to, even if it wanted to.

To claim a government operating in the wake of 3 years of foreign-backed political destabilization that has left thousands dead and the country teetering on the edge of a Syrian-style conflict is “evil” or even the “lesser of two evils” would be poor judgement.
GR:Your point seems to be that The Muslim Brotherhood is acting as a proxy for US interests undermining the Egyptian military government, according to the same pattern that witnessed the overthrow of the Qaddafi government in Libya, and is undermining the Assad government in Syria. What evidence is there that the Muslim Brotherhood is advancing the interests of the West?

TC: The evidence is clear. The United States starting in 2008 began paving the road for their political comeback. The Arab Spring in 2011 was admittedly the work of the National Endowment for Democracy as stated in the New York Times and verified by NED’s own documentation of their work. The protests in Tahrir Square while led by presentable opposition party members like Mohammed El Baradei, consisted almost entirely of protesters mobilized by the Muslim Brotherhood – again, admitted by the West’s own reports at the time. The violence that swept the nation, from Cairo to Alexandria was carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood. Buildings were ransacked and burned, police killed, all done by armed groups. The only organization with both the means and the track record of carrying out such violence is the Muslim Brotherhood.

The West’s agenda was clearly to oust Mubarak and in that regard the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrably advanced their interests. Additionally, we saw as early as 2007 the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia assembling a united sectarian front to wage regional war against Iran and its allies in Syria and Lebanon – a war now openly playing out in Syria and to a lesser extent in Lebanon. In Seymour Hersh’s 2007 report “The Redirection,” the US was admittedly funding the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria for this very purpose. The goal of placing the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt would expand this sectarian front into one of the largest most powerful Arab nations in the Middle East-North African region and pose a formidable threat to Iran and its arch of influence.
GR: Could you explain the background of the Muslim Brotherhood and how it came to be formed? Is the Muslim Brotherhood a creation of Western interests, like the Mujehedeen in Afghanistan, or was it an autonomous entity that is being exploited, or co-opted or otherwise utilized by the West to further its aims?

TC: There will be debates on how and who created the Muslim Brotherhood. What it has been used for over the decades, however, is not up for debate. It has been a wedging force across Arab nations, arresting progress and dividing nations against themselves, leaving them weak, vulnerable, and susceptible to foreign exploitation and meddling. Whether it was from the very beginning or somewhere shortly thereafter that the British, and eventually the Americans began backing the Muslim Brotherhood to industrialize this regional divide and conquer methodology is irrelevant. Today, they are admittedly funding and arming networks either directly controlled by the Brotherhood or in league with them. This can be seen transparently in Syria, and increasingly so in Egypt.

While many are confused about the nature of the Brotherhood and the seemingly heavy-handed reaction of the government in Cairo today, a year from now if the West is successful, we will be united against yet another front of US-backed and armed sectarian extremists plying their deadly trade in yet another Arab nation – seeking regime change – and with no question in anyone’s mind as to which side the West is on.

GR: So what exactly was the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in Syria?

TC: Let me quote Seymour Hersh’s prophetic 2007 article, “The Redirection.” His article stated, “there is evidence that the [Bush] Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefited the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood.”

Hersh would go on to explain how the US and Saudi Arabia were funding the Brotherhood and providing them with diplomatic support and how it was determined that if the West wanted to move against Damascus, the Brotherhood would be the ones to work with.

We must keep in mind that the “redirection” was the US strategy of funding and arming sectarian extremists to begin conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon, overthrow the government of Syria, and confront Iran. Clearly the Muslim Brotherhood was the foundation upon which this conflict was engineered in Syria. The article would also mention that Egypt was expected to be unsettled by this policy. That is because while some may try to claim the Syrian and Egyptian Brotherhoods are two different entities, the Egyptian government knew they were not. Bolstering the Brotherhood in Syria would be bolstering it in Egypt and elsewhere.

I recommend everyone read Hersh’s 2007 article. It will wake people up seeing how this was all firmly laid out, and that the Muslim Brotherhood played such a prominent role in the West’s planning – this under a so-called “Conservative” US president who willfully sought to prop up and even expand the Brotherhood to advance US ambition across the Arab World.

GR: What evidence is there that the Arab Spring was foreign sponsored? OR was it in your view an autonomous uprising that was co-opted by the West?

TC: It was not autonomous. Starting in 2008, the leaders of the mobs in Tahrir Square were sitting in New York City in front of Hillary Clinton, getting training, cash, and marching orders alongside other “activists” that would lead (or try to lead) similar uprisings in their respective countries. So obvious was it that the US was behind the Arab Spring, that the New York Times in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” admitted that opposition groups were receiving training and financing long before the protests began.  Other admissions would trickle out, including by AFP which admitted up to 5,000 protesters from different countries received cash, training, and equipment up to two years before the protests began. There is nothing “autonomous” about any of it.

I have extensively documented the long lead-up to the Arab Spring in an article titled, “2011 – Year of the Dupe.” I am confident that when readers follow the myriad of links to the organizations that helped facilitate the subversion, there will be no question left in their mind over whether the “Arab Spring” was an artificially engineered geopolitical ploy or not.
GR: If the West likes autocratic governments which protect their resource and other strategic interests, then please explain the overthrow of Mubarak which I understand to be the thrust of Arab Spring in Egypt. Mubarak was friendly to US interests was he not?

TC: The overthrow of Mubarak mirrors the overthrow of Iraq’s autocratic government led by Saddam Hussein. While the West enjoys autocratic regimes, it enjoys them only in so far as they help them advance their agenda – not only domestically, but regionally and globally. While Mukarak may have been making concessions domestically and even partially across the region, the confrontation with Iran the West has been pushing for appeared to be beyond Mubarak’s interest. We’ll never know how Mubarak would have handled Egyptian-Syrian relations as the West’s war with Damascus escalated and pressure was put on Arab nations to cut ties with the Assad government, but we do know what Morsi’s policy was – to sever all ties, and call for regime change in tandem with the West.

One of the first orders of business of the military-led government in Cairo after ousting Morsi was reestablishing ties with Syria. Mubarak was friendly to US interests as a matter of self-preservation, but only to a point. What the US needed from him and his confidants was beyond their ability or interest to deliver. Just like Saddam who had been an ally of US interests at one time, the tides turned and regime change found its way into the cards.
GR: Was there an inevitability to the ‘revolutions’ across the Middle East and north Africa? Was Arab Spring essentially an effort by the west to control inevitable revolutions against tyrannical governments?

TC: The leaders of these “tyrannical governments” do not wake up each day and arbitrarily decide to be “tyrannical.” The West as a matter of systematic imperialism that can be traced back to its confrontation with the Ottoman Empire has intentionally sown economic ruination, social division, and inter-regional war across the Middle East as a means of “dividing and conquering.” Confronting armed political fronts like the Muslim Brotherhood, or maintaining order with belligerent nations like Israel on or near one’s borders requires a heavy hand.

The West didn’t co-opt the conditions within which their engineered destabilization would flourish, they created these conditions in the first place. One needs only look at the Brookings Institution’s 2009 document “Which Path to Persia?” where US policy makers openly conspire to sow the seeds of discontent by instituting crippling sanctions, arming opposition groups, and practicing covert subversion to undermine the government in Iran and create conditions that favor unrest and dissatisfaction across the Iranian population. They conspired to do so, and have visibly done so, in Iran, and elsewhere.
GR: In what ways is Iran’s establishment as a relatively independent regional power in 1979 significant or pivotal in terms of US military, covert and other manoeuvres in the Middle East?

TC: Iran presents a countervailing force in the Middle East whose influence stretches from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea and many places in between. Its escape out from under Western hegemony in the late 1970′s has been a source of ire for the West ever since. It could be argued that much of what the West has done since then has been attempts to encircle and contain Iran, and by proxy, Russia who has and is assisting it in many of its regional ambitions – the most apparent now being Syria.
GR: Another opposition group that has come under fire from the military government in Egypt is the April 6 Youth movement. Who are they? Are they a genuinely autonomous pro-democracy group or do you see foreign involvement evident in their development as well?

TC: April 6 was the opposition group sitting in New York City listening to Hillary Clinton, getting funds and training from the US State Department and receiving the full backing of the Western media monopoly from January 2011 onward. So clearly there is nothing genuine about them. They are a creation and perpetuation of American interests in Egypt, and the fact that they were co-occupying Tahrir Square with the Muslim Brotherhood should be a wake up call for those still laboring under the delusion that the Brotherhood is somehow some sort of legitimate anti-Western front. It could be argued that without the Muslim Brotherhood’s numbers and armed factions menacing Egyptian security forces in early 2011, April 6 would have been a brief and distant memory few would recall.
GR:You seem to be pointing to Western sponsored popular movements, including coloured revolutions as a staple in Establishing Western control or influence in geo-strategically critical parts of the world. How long has the US and other Western States applied this formula? Do we have official documentation of the West’s application of this as an actual tool of geo-strategy?

TC: Backing rabble within a targeted nation for the purposes of overthrowing and replacing a political order is as old as empire itself. The United States had attempted with limited success to politically reorder much of South America after World War II with similar methods and more recently, the Western media has admitted in retrospect that movements like the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004 were entirely the work of US cash and training.

The closest thing to general “documentation” regarding this methodology is Gene Sharp’s book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy” which through US foundation funding found its way into the hands of thousands of America’s proxy “revolutionaries.” A more specific example that covers everything from both the creation of conditions favorable for unrest, to the actual funding and arming of protesters, to the use of covert provocations to tip off war should the destabilization fail, is Brookings Institution’s 2009 “Which Path to Persia?” report. It is lengthy, but again, will lay to rest any doubts or questions readers may have as to whether or not the US really engages in this sort of insidious behavior.

For very technical descriptions of the methods the US uses to weaken, subvert, and replace extraterritorial political orders, one might read any of the numerous “Counterinsurgency” manuals circulating online and throughout the various departments of the US political and military establishment. The process of “counterinsurgency” works both ways and upon reading US materials on the subject, readers will instantly recognize the role Western NGO’s play in slowly and insidiously overturning targeted political order as we as done in the lead-up to the “Arab Spring.”
GR: What about sectarian violence? IS this an incidental or planned outcome of these faux-revolts?

TC: “Divide and conquer” is the maxim of building an empire. For those causally browsing headlines, they will conclude that Sunnis and Shia’a and other minority groups in the Arab World including Jews and Christians have been fighting since the beginning of time. In reality, these people have been peacefully coexisting for centuries. Sectarian violence is the result of faux-theological groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda intentionally fed a divisive and destructive ideology by extremist networks funded by Saudi Arabia – America’s closest Arab ally. The sectarianism is meant to further weaken and undermine the source of strength of any given nation by dividing its people against one another when otherwise they would stand united against foreign aggression. While the means may be sectarian, the motivation is political.

This could be seen most prominently in Iraq where Sunnis and Shia’a had initially supported each other in some of the most pivotal battles against occupying Western forces including the first sieges of Fullujah and Baghdad’s Sadr City. Even as sectarian violence spiraled out of control later on during the occupation, prominent clerics from both sides pleaded for unity – calls that were intentionally drowned out by the Western media.
GR: What then is the geo-strategic significance of Egypt to Western Powers?

TC: Egypt is a huge country. It has a population of over 80 million, it is militarily strong, and has significant geopolitical importance both due to its history and its geographical position. This includes its proximity to the Suez Canal and the fact that it straddles the Middle East and North Africa while sharing a border with the West’s premier beachhead in the region, Israel. Transforming it into a sectarian extremist safe-haven like neighboring Libya would pose a huge counterweight to Iran and its arch of influence. For that alone, it is significant and of great interest to the West.

One can only imagine what the West could do if it were able to transform the Sinai or other regions into a Benghazi like pipeline for terrorists headed to confront Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, or even Russia in its Caucasus region.
GR: A US sponsored military intervention into Syria appears to have been frustrated for the time being. Do you see other Western imperial defeats looming or will the West recover their advantage?

TC: It appears that in Syria, the West has all but lost. The government in Damascus has made significant gains all the way up to the borders where foreign militants have been flowing in. Despite threats of further arming militants with sophisticated weapons, whatever the West could have sent the militants, they have done so already and without much success.

The inability for the West to intervene directly in the conflict, even for the establishment of what they called limited “buffer zones” is indicative of an overall weakening of their global influence abroad as well as faltering trust and legitimacy at home.

The West’s failure in Syria is a sign of much wider, and perhaps irreversible decline. Their initiative elsewhere, say Ukraine for example, seems to exist in ever briefer windows of opportunity – perhaps so brief that nothing can be accomplished. While world leaders like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin enjoys immense popularity at home, Western leaders have never been so unpopular. To regain any sort of advantage would require first to recognize the faults that have brought the West to its current predicament – but when these faults include arrogance and megalomania, “seeing” anything becomes difficult if not impossible.
GR: Assuming you are correct in your assessment of Western geo-political manouevring in Egypt, how do you see things playing out over the next few years? Will Egypt successfully defy the West or will it end up like Libya or Syria or something else altogether?

TC: The speed at which the Egyptian military has moved may avert a protracted and destructive Libyan or Syrian-style conflict. Their disregard for the opinion of the “international community” means they either recognize a window of opportunity they must exploit, or perceive weakness across the West – or perhaps a combination of both. For now they have the advantage.

What will most likely transpire is a protracted, low intensity terrorist campaign aimed at the military in hopes of peeling away support within the government in Cairo, and undermining popular support across greater Egypt. Simultaneously, the West will attempt to lure Cairo into making concessions with the promise of stemming the bloodshed, improving ties, and through offering military and economic incentives. This would be the familiar “carrot and stick” formula the West has regularly employed elsewhere – aid being the carrot, foreign-funded terrorism and economic ruination being the stick.
GR: Do you have any other thoughts about what’s happening in Egypt that you’d like to bring to the attention of our listeners?

TC: To understand the future, we must understand the past. This requires tuning out the hysteria being broadcast about Egypt today, and instead learning where the Muslim Brotherhood has come from, what it has done for the Arab World, what role it has played in the destruction of Syria, and what role it is playing in the increasing violence now unfolding in Egypt. We are watching the “Arab Spring” trying to replay itself in Egypt, minus the Tahrir Square crowds and skipping straight to the armed militants now ruling Libya and currently gutting Syria.

The tired adage of “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” applies here – only the “history” of the “Arab Spring,” of how it turned out to be a foreign-engineered plot covering for long-planned militancy aimed at regime change favorable to Wall Street and London, is relatively fresh. While some people are going to fall for the same ploys yet again, especially those calling themselves journalists or analysts, it appears that leadership beyond the West’s “international order” have decided they will not.

Wired notes:

James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney, notes in his excellent lecture on why it is never a good idea to talk to the police:

Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.”                                                                                                                            

If the federal government can’t even count how many laws there are, what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?

The complexity of modern federal criminal law, codified in several thousand sections of the United States Code and the virtually infinite variety of factual circumstances that might trigger an investigation into a possible violation of the law, make it difficult for anyone to know, in advance, just when a particular set of statements might later appear (to a prosecutor) to be relevant to some such investigation.

For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.

Attorney Harvey Silverglate says that the average American commits 3 felonies every day … without even knowing it.  And that’s just federal laws.

Crazy State Laws

There are a lot of crazy state and local laws:

Image courtesy of Lawyers.com

Practicing New York attorney Nathan Belofsky has gathered a bunch of them. Do you imagine that it is possible for you to go through life without violating a federal, state or local law? It’s impossible. As Stalin’s notorious chief of secret police famously said:

Show me the man and I will find the crime.

Example: Copyright
Most Americans violate copyright law several times a day without even realizing it, as illustrated by a short video from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University:

 Given that copyright infringement may be labeled as terrorism, the Feds could harass you anytime if they wish. Blurring the Lines Between Average Americans and Bad GuysIndeed, law enforcement is blurring the lines between average Americans and potential terrorists. As such, even normal people can fall under unwarranted suspicion in America today.

NSA Spying Can Trap You In Suspected Wrongdoing

Top NSA whistleblower William Binney – the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – has repeatedly explained that just because you “haven’t done anything wrong” doesn’t mean you can’t be severely harmed by spying:

The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.

Binney explains that the government is storing everything, and creating a searchable database … to be used whenever it wants, for any purpose it wants (even just going after someone it doesn’t like). And he notes that the government will go after anyone who is on its enemies list:

If you ever get on their enemies list, like Petraeus did, then you can be drawn into that surveillance.

 Similarly, Edward Snowden said:

Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude … to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody – even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.[If people don't oppose the surveillance state now] it will be turnkey tyranny.

 Remember, it’s not just the NSA which is spying on your. Numerous government agencies are spying on all of your data, and sharing that information with federal, state and local law enforcement, the drug enforcement agency, the IRS and many others. So if any of those agencies thinks – rightly or wrongly – that you might have broken a law, they might target you. Get it? Mass surveillance is incredibly dangerous … and no one is immune.Many of the crazy laws which are on the books are normally not enforced. But there are two systems of justice in America … one for the fatcats and elites, and one for everyone elseSo if someone in law enforcement takes a dislike to you – for whatever reason – they could easily harass you with laws or interpretations which are seldom enforced.

The U.S. Created a Terrorist Safe Haven in Libya

May 8th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

The U.S. State Department released its 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism on April 30th, stating:

With a weak government possessing very few tools to exert control throughout its territory, Libya has become a terrorist safe haven and its transit routes are used by various terrorist groups, notably in the southwest and northeast.

***

Terrorists continue to utilize ancient trade routes across these borders. All of Libya’s borders are porous and vulnerable to this activity ….

Why has Libya become a safe haven for terrorists? The State Department’s 2012 Country Reports on Terrorism – the first Country Report to list Libya as a terrorist safe haven – explains:

In 2012, Libyan internal security suffered significant challenges and setbacks as it sought to reassert central authority following the fall of the Qadhafi regime ….

And why did the Qadhafi regime fall? Oh, yeah … in 2011, the U.S. launched a war in Libya and “regime changed” Qadhafi. As then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

We came, we saw, he died.

The Washington Post notes:

Moammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 with the help of U.S. and NATO air forces.

***

The Obama administration and its NATO allies bear responsibility for this mess because, having intervened to help rebels overthrow Gaddafi, they then swiftly exited without making a serious effort to help Libyans establish security and build a new political order.

And see this: 

 It probably doesn’t help that the U.S. backed Al Qaeda terrorists in Libya so  that they would overthrow Gaddaffi. Sadly, bad U.S. policy has largely been responsible for creating terrorists and terrorist safe havens for many decades. And see this.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court yesterday removed the elected Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and almost a third of her cabinet ministers for “abuse of power.” The anti-democratic ruling follows months of anti-government protests and legal chicanery aimed at installing an unelected “people’s council”—essentially a dictatorship backed by the military.

Yingluck’s supposed crime was to transfer National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri to another role in 2011 so that his place could be taken by Preiwpan Damapong, a former brother-in-law of Yingluck’s brother, ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The nine cabinet ministers were removed for endorsing the transfer.

The court admitted that Yingluck was within her rights to transfer Thawil, but asserted the decision was taken with a “hidden agenda” and not in accordance with “moral principle.”

Yingluck’s removal was denounced by legal experts. Ekachai Chainuvati, deputy dean of law at Siam University in Bangkok, told the New York Timesthe ruling was “total nonsense in a democratic society” and an example of “what I would call a juristocracy—a system of government governed by judges.”

The ruling follows the court’s decision in March to annul the February 2 election, which the ruling Pheu Thai Party undoubtedly won, on the pretext that voting was disrupted by anti-government protesters from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). The PDRC, supported by the opposition Democrat Party, has occupied government buildings and blockaded Bangkok streets since November to oust the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

The PDRC is supported by much of the state bureaucracy and powerful sections of big business, as well as the courts. It represents the interests of Thailand’s traditional elites, the military and the monarchy, who supported the 2006 coup against telecom billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. These layers of the ruling class view Thaksin and Yingluck as upstarts, who cut across their own interests by opening the country to more foreign investment and introducing limited social reforms, such as cheap healthcare and subsidies for rice farmers. These measures gained the Shinawatras a base of support among the country’s urban and rural poor.

During the past eight years of bitter political infighting, the Constitutional Court has played a key role supporting the country’s traditional elites. After the military overthrew Thaksin, the court dissolved his Thai Rak Thai Party. In 2008 it removed two prime ministers from the elected pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party and then dissolved the party altogether, leading to the installation of the Democrats, backed by the military.

Following yesterday’s ruling, the PDRC called a rally for Friday, described by its leader Suthep Thaugsuban as the “final all-out battle” to overthrow the rest of the government. The Democrats demanded the resignation of the remaining cabinet ministers.

The Pheu Thai Party remains in office, although its hold on power is extremely tenuous. Yingluck protested her innocence following the court’s verdict, but did not challenge its legitimacy. Pheu Thai legal expert Bhokin Bhalakula denounced the ruling as a “new form of coup” and urged the government’s supporters to “assemble, petition, file complaints and take legal action” against the court. According to the Bangkok Post, however, the party’s secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai “took a more positive spin, saying it was good that the court had not removed the entire cabinet.”

Yingluck’s deputy, Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, a former business associate of Thaksin, has taken over as caretaker prime minister. A new election is scheduled for July 20, but even if it goes ahead the Democrats are likely to boycott the poll and the PDRC has promised to disrupt it—which would pave the way for the Constitutional Court to annul the result again.

The government could be removed before the election. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)—another pro-opposition body—could rule as early as today to indict Yingluck on trumped-up charges that she “neglected her duty” by allowing losses linked to the rice subsidy scheme. Niwatthamrong could also face suspension because as commerce minister he helped set up the scheme.

In a separate case, the NACC has accused 308 lawmakers of breaking the law by trying to amend the constitution to make the Senate a fully elected body. Last week the NACC said it had found a “prima facie” case against 36 Senators who supported the law change. If found guilty, they could be banned from politics.

According to the Bangkok Post, many of the lower house MPs facing possible action by the NACC are seen as “likely leaders of a Pheu Thai Party campaign when a new election is called, with many also being groomed for leadership roles.”

The Post reported today that the military has not ruled out directly intervening through a coup. An unnamed army commander said the generals were monitoring political developments “on a day-to-day basis.” He added: “Events will let us know if a coup is necessary, so we stand ready for any situation.” This echoes previous statements by Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha that the army will intervene if violence erupts between the PDRC and the pro-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).

In order to contain the outrage among Pheu Thai’s Red Shirt supporters, who are drawn from the rural and urban poor, the UDD announced a rally on Bangkok’s outskirts on Saturday to oppose Yingluck’s removal. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend. But UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan played down the court ruling, telling Reuters that “the court chose a middle way.” At a rally in Nonthaburi on Tuesday, Jatuporn urged the Red Shirts not to protest outside the Constitutional Court.

Both the UDD and Pheu Thai fear losing control of their Red Shirts supporters and have so far avoided staging any significant rallies in central Bangkok. Yingluck and Thaksin represent layers of the ruling class that are just as hostile to any independent movement of the working class as their rivals and just as willing to attack democratic rights and living standards.

Significantly, the US government did not condemn the blatantly anti-democratic removal of an elected prime minister. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Washington called on “all sides to resolve Thailand’s political tensions in a peaceful and democratic manner” and move toward an election. Washington tacitly approved the 2006 coup that removed Thaksin. The Obama administration considers the Thai military an important ally in its military build-up in the Asia-Pacific region, which is aimed at encircling and preparing for war against China.

Behind the push to install a dictatorship in Thailand lies the country’s deepening economic crisis. According to the Bank of Thailand, the economy almost certainly contracted in the first quarter of the year, due to sharp falls in tourism, exports and investment, exacerbated by the political crisis. This compares to an average of more than 5 percent growth from 2002 to the start of the global financial breakdown in 2008.

Foreign and local capitalists are clamouring for the political impasse to be resolved so that the burden of the economic downturn can be imposed on the working class, by eliminating the rice subsidy and implementing other austerity measures. The Financial Times on Monday demanded the resignation of Yingluck in order to scrap the subsidy, on which millions of people rely.

Kesara Manchusree, executive vice president of the Thai stock exchange, told the Nation that the markets reacted positively to Yingluck’s removal, but warned that they could fall in the event of further unrest. Thai Chamber of Commerce vice chairman Pornsilp Patchrintanakul urged Niwatthamrong to compromise on “reforms” with the PDRC—but the PDRC has repeatedly rejected Pheu Thai’s attempts to reach a settlement.

Israel Assassinates Syrian General

May 8th, 2014 by Richard Silverstein

The respected publication,Intelligence Online, reported today that Samir al-Sheikh, the Syrian general responsible for intelligence operations in the southern sector bordering the Golan Heights, was assassinated on April 13th.  The publication notes that the typical Syrian resistance means of assassination are booby-trapped cars or grenades.  This killing was committed with a gun fitted with a silencer, indicating a different likely author of the crime.

The Hezbollah-aligned Al Akhbar noted that no Syrian resistance groups took responsibility for the killing.  It also said:

General al-Sheikh is one of the most senior Syrian army officers who runs the security branch responsible for all the Syrian borders, especially the southern borders with the Golan Heights and occupied Palestine.

While official Syrian sources refuse to comment on the issue, informed security sources told Al-Akhbar that “the assassination of al-Sheikh was done in a professional manner and is very similar to operations conducted by Israeli military intelligence and the Mossad against Syrian officers and scientists.”

Image: Gen. al-Sheikh takes oath of office as new governor of restive Syrian province in 2011. (EPA)

My Israeli source confirms the hit was organized by the Mossad.  The general was targeted because recently he’d begunusing Hezbollah fighters (Hebrew) to infiltrate the Golan and mount operations against the IDF.  In a separate incident, abomb exploded (Hebrew) next to an IDF patrol alongside the military fence wounding four soldiers, one of them severely.  These operations were thought to be the work of Gen. al-Sheikh.

Interestingly, there has been no coverage of the Syrian assassination in the Israeli media at all, which suits the Mossad just fine.  If they’d wanted this murder known widely as a form of deterrence or boasting, they’d have gone out of their way to leak it to the Israeli media.

Over the past two years, while declaring its neutrality, Israel has mounted six air attacks against Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah installations and convoys transporting advanced weapons systems.  In at least one of these incidents, Israel attempted to destroy some of Russia’s most sophisticated air to sea missiles, which were intended for Hezbollah’s use in Lebanon.  In another attack, Israel killed the IRG’s senior commanding general in Lebanon.  So though Israel feigns neutrality, and is quite happy to allow Syrians to continue blowing each other apart, it ultimately views Assad as the more potent enemy.  Secondarily, Israel views the al-Qaeda elements of the Syrian resistance as another enemy, and it has lent a hand in various ways to the Free Syrian Army, which is one of the weaker fighting forces.

Further, Israel has actually sent commando teams into Syrian territory to liaise with Druze rebel fighters.  For this reason, Assad has been willing to mount reciprocal attacks against Israeli forces letting them know that he’s unhappy with such Israeli intervention.  Israel’s assassination of one of his senior generals is yet another “message” from Israel about its red lines.

This isn’t the first time that Israel assassinated one of Assad’s trusted generals.  Some years ago, Mohammed Suleiman, who was said to have masterminded construction of the Syrian nuclear reactor and been a key coordinator of weapons transfers from Iran to Hezbollah, was killed at his beachfront villa by an Israeli team which infiltrated by sea and used a sniper to do the job.

This is part of Israel’s standard repertroire of “statecraft.”  Instead of negotiating with its neighbors to resolve its disputes it pursues its interests out of the barrel of a gun.  It does it with the Palestinians, Hezbollah, the Iranians, and in this case, the Syrians.

Washington Sends Military Personnel to Nigeria

May 8th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it is dispatching a team of US military advisers to Nigeria to aid the government of President Goodluck Jonathan in rescuing over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, which has threatened to sell them into slavery.

British officials told the media that the UK is prepared to send SAS Special Forces units and intelligence-gathering aircraft to the West African country if asked for assistance.

With 174 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest country and boasts the largest gross domestic product (GDP) on the continent. It is also Africa’s largest oil producer, ranking eighth in the world in terms of petroleum exports and accounting for 5 percent of US foreign oil imports. It also ranks number four in terms of liquefied natural gas exports.

The deployment of military advisers—who are to be accompanied by FBI and CIA agents and other US officials—was worked out Tuesday in a discussion between President Barack Obama and President Jonathan. It marks a major advance in the steadily escalating military intervention of Washington and its allies throughout the region.

There have been calls from members of Congress for a more aggressive US intervention, including from Senator Susan Collins (Republican of Maine), who demanded that US Special Forces troops be sent to rescue the girls.

Obama, in an interview with ABC News, suggested that the US intervention against Boko Haram would expand, declaring that “this may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization that perpetrated such a terrible crime.”

To promote such an escalation, the US administration and the corporate media have mounted a major campaign around the kidnapped girls, seeking to exploit the natural indignation and horror over their fate.

There is an unmistakable similarity between this campaign, with its use of social media around the hash tag #BringOurGirlsBack, and the one organized in 2011 around the demand for the capture of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which was responsible for abducting hundreds of children across Central Africa.

That campaign, which attracted the support of everyone from Christian fundamentalists to “humanitarian” imperialists like Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, has resulted in the deployment of hundreds of US special operations troops in Uganda and neighboring countries, which were reinforced and backed up last March by advanced CV-22 Osprey warplanes, capable of vertical takeoffs and landings. After two-and-a-half years of US military operations, Kony remains at large.

What is inevitably glossed over in such moral appeals for imperialist intervention is why one or another atrocity has been selected for the full-bore media propaganda treatment and a military response, and what is the social and political context in which such horrific acts take place.

Washington, for example, has been able to turn its back on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where some 5 million people have been slaughtered, in large measure as a result of the predatory interventions there by one of Washington’s closest allies on the continent, the Rwandan regime of President Paul Kagame.

The Nigerian reaction to the kidnapping of the schoolgirls was tepid, to put it mildly. President Jonathan waited for three weeks before making a significant public statement on the girls’ fate. In the course of it, he placed blame on the girls’ parents for failing to provide enough information about their identities. The president’s wife, Patience Jonathan, first declared her support for rallies in support of the girls, but then questioned whether the entire affair was a fabrication aimed at undercutting her husband’s administration and ordered the arrest of protest leaders.

The government’s initial reaction to the kidnapping was symptomatic of its attitude toward the country’s predominantly Muslim north, Nigeria’s most impoverished region. With a majority Muslim population—as opposed to the predominantly Christian south, the oil-producing region where Jonathan is from—it has been subjected to increasing marginalization and repression since the Boko Haram insurgency began five years ago.

The government has sought to manipulate regional, religious and ethnic divides in the country in order to divert mass social unrest and defend the monopoly of wealth and power exercised by a narrow wealthy layer.

Despite the rapid growth of the country’s economy due to energy exports—GDP nearly doubled from $263 billion in 2012 to $510 billion in 2013—the majority of the population is worse off than before independence in 1960. Social inequality is as stark in Nigeria as anywhere on the planet. While the looting of the country’s oil earnings has created some 20 billionaires, 99.5 million people, or over 60 percent of the Nigerian people, subsist in absolute poverty, with an income of less than a dollar per day.

Fighting in the north, which has been placed under a state of emergency since last year, has claimed the lives of over 6,000 Nigerians since it began in 2009 and over 1,500 just since the beginning of this year. The majority of the victims are civilians who have lost their lives both to Boko Haram terrorist attacks and brutal repression directed against the population by Nigerian security forces.

The US military has already involved itself in the bloody operations of Nigerian government forces, providing some $20 million in security assistance and intelligence from a drone base in nearby Niger. Last November, the Obama administration formally declared Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization, clearing the way for US military action against it.

The drive to escalate the US intervention in Nigeria, using the kidnapping of the schoolgirls as a pretext, is part of a steadily increasing US military buildup on the African continent. The Pentagon is currently involved in a $750 million expansion of the main AFRICOM (African Command) base in Djibouti, where thousands of US troops are stationed. It has set up forward operating bases scattered across the continent and has carried out military activities in at least 18 African countries.

The most notorious US military intervention in Africa—also carried out in the name of a humanitarian “responsibility to protect”—was the US-NATO war in Libya, which succeeded in toppling the Gaddafi regime and plunging the country into armed chaos. It has destabilized the entire region, with some analysts suggesting that Boko Haram has itself been strengthened by Islamists spilling over from the fighting that erupted in Mali following the Libyan war.

US military “advisers” are directing operations by African troops across the continent. This includes Ugandan, Ethiopian and Kenyan forces fighting against Islamist Al Shabab in Somalia, and Ugandan troops fighting to suppress rebel factions in South Sudan. And the US Air Force recently airlifted Burundian and Rwandan soldiers to the Central African Republic.

US operations have been supplemented by those of its NATO ally, France, which has recently intervened in both Mali and the Central African Republic.

In congressional testimony last March, AFRICOM Commander Gen. David Rodriguez explained that the US intervention was largely about oil and other mineral resources. He noted that “Africa’s increasing importance to allies and emerging powers, including China, India and Brazil, provides opportunities to reinforce US security objectives in other regions through our engagement on the continent.”

In other words, if the US can gain military control over the flow of strategic resources from Africa, it can exert greater pressure on other powers, particularly China, which is poised to supplant Europe as the continent’s number one trading partner and is engaged in massive investment in infrastructure. Fully one third of China’s oil imports now flow from Africa.

While the US was preparing to send military personnel to Nigeria, China’s premier, Li Keqiang, was already there, scheduled as the keynote speaker at this week’s World Economic Forum on Africa conference being held in the capital of Abuja. He brought with him a deal for a $13.1 billion upgrade of the country’s rail system and also offered China’s aid in finding the kidnapped schoolgirls.

Ukraine Cuts off Water Supply to Crimea

May 8th, 2014 by Global Research News

The dam is built from bags with sand on the side of the Armyansk – Kherson highway near a bridge in the town of Kalanchak.

Ukraine is building a dam on the North Crimean Canal in the Kherson Oblast about 40km from the border with Crimea, Crimea Inform news agency reported citing witnesses’ reports.

The dam is built from bags with sand on the side of the Armyansk – Kherson highway near a bridge in the town of Kalanchak.

“With the help of cranes and other construction equipment, the dam in the canal is being built right from the bridge,” eyewitnesses said.

Earlier, Ukrainian officials said Crimea was illegally taking water from the North Crimean Canal. Crimean authorities, in turn, have repeatedly stated their readiness to sign a contract on water supply to the peninsula, but received no answer.

Ukraine cuts off water supply to Crimea

On April 26, Ukraine closed sluices of the North Crimean Canal, halting water supply from the Dnieper River to the peninsula.

Crimea received 85% of fresh water through the canal, which was built in 1961-1971. It streches from the Kakhovka Reservoir to Kerch.

Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov told the Crimea Inform news agency that restrictions on the supply of water to Crimea is an act of sabotage.

“Ukraine’s act of sabotage to limit the supply of water to the republic through the North Crimean Canal is nothing but a deliberate action against Crimeans,” he said.

Aksyonov said “negotiations are underway with Ukraine at the federal level” to resolve the issue. “There are backup plans. In any case, Crimea will not be left without water. As for drinking water, there are no problems with it,” he said.

The prime minister said that the Crimean authorities were engaged in negotiations with all agricultural producers who have been cut off from water supply from the North Crimean Canal. “The rice situation is the worst. Crimea is redrawing the map of crop areas in regions where irrigation may not be available,” he said, adding that alternative areas were being offered to agricultural producers.

“We are also considering an alternative plan for drilling wells and we are working on this day and night,” he added.

Read more: Water supply problem in Crimea to cost $247- 417 million – Kremlin aide

Kiev Plans False Flag Against Russia

May 8th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Intense Russia bashing persists daily. It’s official US policy. Resolving Ukraine’s crisis diplomatically is systematically prevented.

Mainstream media march in lockstep with what demands condemnation. Stoking conflict is prioritized. Russia is irresponsibly blamed for US-orchestrated Kiev crimes.

Orders come from straight from Washington. Coup-appointed putschists salute and obey.

On May 6, Voice of Russia (VOR) headlined “Ukrainian forces prepare provocation against Russia in Donetsk.”

False flags are a longstanding US tradition. They go way back. They are used often. Previous articles discussed them.

Wars followed. The 9/11 attack was the mother of all false flags. It’s the biggest of Big Lies of our time. It launched over a decade of imperial wars.

They rage out-of-control. They continue after US forces withdraw. They persist at home. They target Muslims, Latino immigrants, whistleblowers, dissidents, activists of all stripes and other Americans.

They target independent nations lawlessly. They eliminate outlier foreign leaders. They aim to remove all challengers to US global dominance.

They prioritize conflict and instability. They create enemies where none exist. According to VOR, a false flag provocation against Russia is planned.

“Russian military uniforms and fake IDs of Russian officers have been taken to the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk,” said VOR.

A staged attack on Ukrainian border guards is planned. It’s reminiscent of how WW II began.

Nazis impersonated alleged Polish terrorists. They attacked the Gleiwitz radio station in Upper Silesia, Germany.

It bordered both countries. It was pretext to attack Poland. WW II followed.

Is Obama risking No. III? Is he mad enough to try? Is he beholden to crazies that extreme?

A Ukrainian official said on condition of anonymity:

“The task is to stage an attack on Ukrainian border guards by people dressed in Russian military uniforms and make a video of it.”

“The SBU (Ukraine Security Service) has transferred about 20 personal bodyguards of Dnepropetrovsk Region governor (Igor) Kolomoisky from Kiev to Donetsk.”

“(T)he group” will team with (neo-Nazi) Right Sector” hoodlums. It’ll “accompan(y) a cargo of about 200 sets of Russian military uniforms and about 70 (blank]) IDs of Russian military officers.”

At issue is crushing Eastern Ukrainian resistance. It’s eliminating freedom fighters for justice. It’s smashing all opposition.

It’s solidifying hardline rule. It’s blaming its crimes on Russia. It risks igniting a major East/West confrontation.

It risks potential global war. It risks what no responsible leader would dare.

Sergei Lavrov is a world class diplomat. He’s a bigger-than-life figure. He forthrightly stands tall.

He shames is Western counterparts. He makes John Kerry look illegitimate by comparison.

He’s gone all-out to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions diplomatically. He wants conflict contained. He wants it ended. He wants it kept from spinning out-of control.

He’s deeply worried. He sees fascism reemergent in Ukraine. It took millions of Soviet Russian lives decades earlier.

“For many years, Europe has been turning a blind eye to the fact how this ideology is acquiring new supporters, how former Waffen SS legionaries found as war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials stage marches,” he said.

In Ukraine, they’re “already not just marches with slogans glorifying Nazi criminals, but a ‘live’ manifestation of fascism.”

“What happened in the city of Odessa on May 2 is a sheer act of fascism, and we will not permit to sweep the facts under carpet as the ruling coalition tries to do so, concealing the investigation from the public.”

“We will seek for the truth, will seek for all evidence which was produced by eyewitnesses and which show that current Kiev authorities are hushing up consciously the scale of tragedy and will seek for all the truth to be investigated and made public.”

“We will not permit…fascism (again) in Europe (nor) in Russia,” Lavrov added.

He accused Western countries of “turning a blind eye to the true causes of” Odessa’s massacre. They suppressed neo-Nazi Right Sector crimes.

They irresponsibly accused Russia. They blamed victims for their own deaths. Extremists behind Friday’s massacre “didn’t hide that they were celebrating the victory of Russians,” he said.

“We have witnessed a frank display of fascism. None of the radical nationalists who committed this terrible crime has been arrested.”

“The Kiev authorities have vaguely expressed condolences, declared a mourning and opened (a less than serious) investigation.”

“(N)ot many people will be surprised if” it’s (whitewashed the same way as) fatal sniper shooting(s) in the Ukrainian capital in February.”

“(S)uch a fate was prepared for Crimea, but its multinational people with Russia’s support defended their future.”

Last Friday, Odessa clashes erupted. Neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs provoked them. Slaughtering 46 activists followed. Scores of others were injured.

Dozens remain missing. They’re unaccounted for. They’re either dead or in ruthless Right Sector hands. They’ll likely never be seen again alive. Fascists operate this way.

Right Sector hoodlums and likeminded extremists are some of the worst. Washington uses them advantageously. It does so to crush all opposition. It’s to solidify unchallenged control.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry was clear and unequivocal. It called what happened “criminal irresponsibility of the Kiev leadership indulging insolent nationalist radicals, including Right Sector, who are staging a campaign of physical terror against supporters of federalization and real constitutional changes in Ukrainian society.”

Lavrov said America and rogue EU partners ducked commenting on diktats straight from Washington and Brussels.

They ordered harsh crackdowns against Ukrainians wanting to live free.

“In the midst of February Maidan confrontations in Kiev, Nato Defense Ministers and Secretary General stated the inadmissibility of intervention of the armed forces of Ukraine in the political process, and insisted on the neutrality of the army,” said Lavrov.

“Today Washington and Brussels affirm the bogus legitimacy of so-called “anti-terrorist operation(s).”

Neo-Nazis thugs terrorize their own people. They’re praised for committing mass murder. Washington wholeheartedly endorses their ruthlessness.

“We don’t do regime change. We don’t do color revolutions, let alone brown-hued ones like those in Ukraine,”  said Lavrov.

At the same time, Russia is “not walking away from contacts with our Ukrainian counterparts, and one result of such contacts was the Geneva Statement of April 17.”

“Practical steps can be taken only by the Ukrainians themselves if they are not restrained from cooperating with each other. Alas, our Western partners are not ready to agree to the equitable participation of southeastern Ukraine in the national dialogue.”

“We honestly speak about that, in particular, with our American and European colleagues. They claim this is not so.”

If not, “then anything is possible and let us not tear Ukraine apart between the East and the West but pool efforts and help start the dialogue, which can coordinate practical steps towards the fulfillment of all agreements and statements.”

Lavrov is resilient. He’s extraordinarily patient.

Despite daily irresponsible Russia bashing, he persists seeking responsible conflict resolution.

He wants all sides represented in forthright dialogue. He urges compromise to settle things.

He wants four-party Geneva agreement terms observed. He urges more diplomatic discussions.

He wants all Ukrainians treated fairly and equitably. He wants each showing respect for others.

He wants Kiev to stop using its military, National Guard and Right Sector thugs against its own people.

“(T)he first and obvious step is to cancel the order to use the army and the National Guard for suppressing (legitimate) protests,” he said.

He calls presidential elections held under conflict conditions unrealistic. Resolving conflict conditions equitably come first.

Prioritizing geopolitical ambitions above responsible governance assures continued conflict. It means no end of fighting.

It keeps Ukraine on the boil. Perhaps doing so longterm. Maybe escalating things out-of-control.

previous article profiled Lavrov. It called him a true peace champion. His efforts represent the best of responsible conflict resolution.

He persists tirelessly for peace. He deserves Nobel award recognition. He’s polar opposite Kerry. Previous articles compared them.

Kerry represents the worst of America’s dark side. He mocks legitimacy. He’s an unindicted war criminal. He shames the office he holds.

Demagoguery punctuates his comments. It exceeds the worst of Cold War rhetoric. He’s been caught red-handed lying numerous times.

He disdains rule of law principles. He supports war. He deplores peace. He’s indifferent to human suffering. He’s a monument to wrong over right.

He disgraces his country, position and humanity. He belongs in prison, not high office. On May 6, he met with EU foreign policy chief Katherine Ashton.

They’re partners in crime. We “covered a lot of ground,” he said. We “shared strategy.” They discussed Ukraine.

He lied saying Russia “fail(ed) to live up to the very plain and simple, easy-to-interpret commitments that were made in Geneva.”

“Ukraine’s government, literally before the ink was dry, started to implement on that agreement. And they have held up their end of the bargain.”

“Ukraine has shown remarkable restraint. Almost immediately coming out of that meeting in Geneva, they ordered a cessation of any kind of counterterrorism activity, any effort to remove people from buildings based on the notion that both sides were going to work to bring people out of those buildings.”

“And the fact is that they have been committed in Kyiv to trying to move their country forward through nonviolence, through constitutional reform, through dialogue, and by reaching out to the disaffected parts of Ukraine.”

Fact: Russia fully complies with agreed on Geneva terms.

Fact: Washington systematically violated them straightaway.

Fact: So did coup-appointed Kiev fascists.

Fact: They launched aggression against their own people the next day.

Fact: They’re murdering them in cold blood.

Fact: They deployed neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs.

Fact: They ordered them to kill, torture and otherwise abuse Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters.

Fact: The Odessa massacre followed.

Fact: Expect much worse ahead.

Fact: Orders to commit mass murder come straight from Washington.

Fact: Kerry fools no one paying attention.

Fact: His game is coverup and denial.

Fact: It’s pointing fingers the wrong way.

Fact: It’s blaming Russia for US-ordered Kiev crimes.

We’re “very concerned about efforts of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, in Luhansk to organize, frankly, a contrived, bogus independence referendum on May 11th,” said Kerry.

It’s “the Crimea playbook all over again and no civilized nation is going to recognize the results of such a bogus effort.”

Fact: Eastern Ukrainian activists aren’t separatists.

Fact: They’re not militants.

Fact: They’re freedom fighters.

Fact: They’re ordinary people.

Fact: They’re factory workers, miners, farmers, store clerks, and defenders of right over wrong.

Fact: They’re acting entirely on their own volition.

Fact: They want their fundamental rights respected.

Fact: They want local autonomy.

Fact: They don’t seek separation from Ukraine.

Fact: Their planned referendums are entirely legitimate.

Fact: They deserve worldwide support.

Fact: Expect all “civilized nation(s)” to recognize their results.

“(I)f Russian elements continue to sabotage the democratic process and prevent Ukraine from holding a free and fair election 19 days from now on the 25th, then we stand ready to implement additional sanctions,” said Kerry.

“And the ‘we’ is Europe and the United States together.”

Fact: So-called upcoming elections have no legitimacy whatever.

Fact: So-called “Russian elements” don’t exist.

Fact: Washington and rogue EU partners disagree sharply on sanctions.

Fact: European nations have valued political and economic ties to Russia.

Fact: They won’t let Washington jeopardize them.

Fact: They won’t impose sanctions harming their own self-interest.

Fact: Washington is largely isolated on its own imposing harsh ones if planned.

“We are not going to sit idly by while Russian elements fan the flames of instability, instead of fulfilling the commitments that we made,” said Kerry.

“(W)e came together in a real spirit of trying to de-escalate. And we weren’t playing a game.”

“Regrettably, (it) was not met with reciprocity.”

“So the choice is really Russia’s. The United States, the EU, and our allies have made our choice very, very clear:”

“We are going to stand together united not just in support of Ukraine, but united in support of de-escalating; united in support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution…”

Facts on the ground are polar opposite Kerry’s scenario. Big Lies infested his comments.

He twisted truth to fit US policy. At issue is advancing America’s imperium. It’s controlling Ukraine.

It’s incorporating it into NATO. It’s targeting Russia. It’s eliminating a major rival.

It’s transforming it into a subservient vassal state. It’s plundering its resources. It’s exploiting its people.

It’s violating fundamental international, constitutional and US statute laws doing so.

It’s waging war on humanity for unchallenged global dominance. It’s recklessly risking WW III.

Kerry is Obama’s geopolitical front man. It bears repeating. He represents the worst of America’s dark side.

He supports war. He deplores peace. He risks possible WW III. At stake is humanity’s survival.

Policies he furthers risk what no responsible official would endorse. The worst of all possible outcomes may follow.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Global Research, 5 de maio de 2014

ersieesist.livejournal.com

O seguinte texto e as fotos foram mandadas à Global Research. Eles indicam a cuidadosamente planejada agenda para incinerar pessoas dentro do Edifício do Sindicato.

As imagens assim como os relatórios sugerem que o número de mortos seria muito mais alto do que o publicado pela mídia.

A mídia ocidental já anteriormente tinha se mostrado envolvida em ações de encobrimento de fatos assim como de distorções, descrevendo os Néo-Nazis camisas marrons como nacionalistas e “patriotas honestos”. Os governos ocidentais estiveram aqui muito simplesmente acusando as atrocidades em Odessa em paramilitares “Pró-Rússia”.

Os criminosos e assassinos Neó-Nazis estão sendo diretamente apoiados pelo Sector de Direita e [pelo partido] Svoboda-Liberdade, os quais tem um papél central no [atual golpista] governo de coalisão. O Sector de Direita é apoiado por Washington.

Os bandos Néo-Nazis em Odessa tem todas as insígnias e carimbos do terrorismo financiado pelos Estados Unidos, o exemplo maior aqui sendo a Síria, com bandos e esquadrões treinados para cometer atrocidades contra civís. O governo Néo-Nazi dos EStados Unidos instalado em Quieve é uma realidade. Foi confirmado pela publicação “Bild” alemã, que:- “Dezenas de especialistas da CIA e FBI estão instruindo ou aconselhando o governo ucraniano.”

Michel Chossudovsky, Editor da Global Research, 5 de maio de 2014

Uma grande tragédia aconteceu na cidade-porto de Odessa, em 2 de maio de 2014.

Os apoiantes de um federalismo para o país foram perseguidos para dentro do Edifício Casa do Sindicato por bandos do Sector de Direita. O edifício ficou em chamas logo depois, o que resultou em, pelor comunicado oficial, em 42 mortes.

O original foi postado por frallik at КакубивалиодесситоввДомеПрофсоюзовдеталисценария… +18

Já se comprende que no Edifício do Sindicato em Odessa foram mortos muito mais do que 42 pessoas. Os provocadores atiçaram as pessoas para dentro do edifício, onde essas poderiam ser mortas em impunidade, dando-lhes um gozo [mórbido], e sem testemunhas. Não havia fogo dentro do edifício – o fogo foi colocado, para eliminar nele o extermínio em massa desses cidadãos ucranianos.

No começo incendiaram-se as barracas e tendas na praça o que levou, a diversos focus incendiários no aberto da praça perto do edifício ao fundo. [pelos vídeos pode ver-se que os bandos, multidões mesmo, que incendiaram as tendas traziam armas as mais primitivas, como também armas de fogo com as quais atiravam no meio da algazarra, tiroteios e gritos]. O povo foi atraido pela segurança das massivas portas do Edifício do Sindicato. Os adéptos e partidários do federalismo não tinham na praça, em suas tendas e barracas, e não traziam desde antes, garrafas preparadas com misturas incendiárias. De onde teria então surgido o fogo dentro do edifício?

1399107468_1786633855

 

As pessoas que abrigaram-se atrás das portas do andar térreo, foram atacadas pelos bandos ligados ao Sector de Direita, os quais já se encontravam lá dentro do edifício bem antes do começo das execuções. Nesse andar térreo as pessoas foram queimadas até aos ossos. Primeiro junto a entrada principal…

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… Depois junto a todas as três.

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…os bombeiros só chegaram, de quando já se tinham queimado até as as massivas portas de entrada do edifício.

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No sólido edifício de cinco andares, com o teto a altura de 3 metros, fogo aberto via-se ainda só num dos escritórios

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Quem poderia ter entrado no telhado de um edifício administrativo de importância nacional? Talvez os que tivessem recebido de antemão as chaves das grelhas de aço protegendo as portas do telhado.

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Esses estranguladores e assassinos tem de ser encontrados. Eles poderiam dizer muito a respeito de quando o plano de implementação começou, e de como eles em antecedência trouxeram os abastecimentos dos chamados coquetéis Molotoves para dentro do Edifício do Sindicato.

Na foto acima tem-se vilões fazendo o papél de anti-golpistas e para um federalismo. Isso é típica maneira à la Hollywood (EUA/Israel) de fazer atentados com falsas bandeiras (carregar por exemplo num navio uma falsa bandeira para acusar a outros países, pessoas, ou grupos por suas ações criminosas.)

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Corpos completamente queimados no andar térreo junto as portas de entrada.

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Porque estariam esses corpos queimados nos andares superiores onde não se teve fogo aberto?

102

Os mesmos corpos de um outro ângulo:

- Painéis de madeira, corrimões de madeira e escadas e pedaços de lâminas/folhas não parecem estar queimadas;

- O oval azul aponta para a barricada feita de mesas, cadeiras e cabinetes. Esses não estavam nem tocados pelo fogo, ao contrário dos corpos carbonizados.

- De onde teria vindo a barricada? Teriam sido construidos pelos assassinos ligados ao Sector de Direita para fechar as pessoas tentando salvar-se nos andares superiores?

133

O corpo dessa mulher foi puxado pelo chão através da sala longe do lugar de sua morte. Quem e porque fez isso?

133a

Esse homem foi baleado na cabeça. Julgando-se pela claramente visível poça de sangue, o assassino atirou de muito perto, de maneira que a bala atravessou o crâneo.

104a

Já notou como os mortos tem em muitos casos só a cabeça e os ombros queimados? Que a roupa abaixo do peito/tórax não está afetada pelo fogo? Alguèm deve ter posto matéria inflamável na parte superior do corpo dessas pessoas e depois posto fogo.Seria possível que os óculos escuros continuassem no rosto desse homem sem que ele tentasse sacudir o napalm de sua cabeça? Preste aqui atenção como as mãos e os pulsos delas foram queimados até aos ossos, também.

On this and previous pictures, a strange “whitewash” can be seen on the floor. That is the powder from extinguishers used by the punishers after people died…in order not to burn themselves or suffer from carbon monoxide.

Nessa e em precedentes fotos, uma esquisita mistura branca pode ser vista no chão. Esse é o pó dos apagadores de incêndio usados pelos perpetradores depois das mortes… para não se queimarem ou sofrer da carvão monoxide.

103 (2)

Dois jovens, um rapaz e uma moça. Eles não estavam queimados, nem sufocados – não há sinais de fogo aberto no chão (que parece ter mais que cinquenta anos e deveria ter pego fogo como palha seca) e nem fuligem nas paredes. Eles foram mortos por outros meios. Muito provavelmente alguêm quebrou seus pescoços – “profissionais” entretendo-se.

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Também haviam barricadas em outros andares. Sangue no chão. Cabeça queimada.

A flecha vermelha: Aqui é possível que alguèm tenha roubado as roupas das vítimas. É uma história conhecida (em batalhas, roubos e guerras]

Nota: de acordo com uma das principais versões do que teria acontecido em  2 de maio em Odessa, o Sector de Direita teria posto em ação [o que, como dito acima, se conhece por] uma operação de falsa bandeira. Eles colocaram em si mesmos as fitas com o símbolo de São George (esse é o símbolo dos anti-golpe de estado ocorrido recentemente no país). Os apoiantes do golpe organizaram também daí uma violenta provocação contra outros apoiantes do golpe, seus aliados. Isso para depois colocar toda a culpa nos anti-golpistas, e também para que esses fossem vistos como os responsáveis pelas mortes de tantas pessoas. [Um perfeito exemplar do que se chama uma operação com uma falsa bandeira]

101

Mulher morta, perto do elevador, sem roupas abaixo da cintura. Muito provavelmente ela teria sido violada, e depois empapada com uma mistura incendiária e posta em flamas.
106

106a

Pessoas baleadas na cabeça

121

O mesmo cenário de novo: cabeças, mãos, e ombros queimados, com a parte inferior do corpo não tocado pelo fogo.

192

192a

Homem baleado várias vezes na cabeça.

172

Essa é a foto mais horrível. Muito provavelmente essa seria uma mulher grávida, trabalhando no seu local de trabalho durante o feriado, fazendo a limpeza e aguando as flores. Ela foi estrangulada com um fio elétrico. Ela tentou resistir – pode-se ver as flores jogadas no chão.

O vídeo seguinte gravou como essa mulher chorava e gritava por socorro enquanto sendo assassinada. (“SOCORRO! SOCORRO!” – os gritos começaram em 0:20)

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…provavelmente esse será seu assassino

139

Esse cartão acima, no qual a flecha aponta para a vítima, o provável assassino, e a cena do crime tem a inscrição: “Nós apagamos a Futura Mãe! Glória à Ucrânia!”.  Esse cartão foi sem constrangimentos postado por um dos “patriotas” da Ucrânia.

Nota: “Mommy Odessa” – “Mamãe Odessa” é um nome afetuoso para Odessa, semelhante a “Big Apple” para Nova Iorque, ou Esmeralda City” para Seattle.

Futura Mãe (mulher estrangulada) e Mamãe Odessa estão agora mortas. Assim como toda a Ucrânia

No próximo vídeo uma testemunha ocular diz, em russo, que haveria mais de cem vítimas assassinadas dentro do Edifício Casa do Sindicato.

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P.S. O número dos mortos poderá ser tão alto como 300.  A maioria das pessoas, especialmente crianças e mulheres, foram cortadas com machados e mortas a porretadas e pauladas no andar térreo do Edifício do Sindicato: http://vlad-dolohov.livejournal.com/ 876486.html

Como morreram na Casa do Sindicato as pessoas de Odessa-  cenário detalhado… +18

С переводом на английский (includes English version). Inclui uma versão em inglês

Nota: a versão em inglês foi corrigida, graças a  skydigger, panchul, ИванКрамской ,

 

Texto original em inglês :

ukraine-otanHow Neo-Nazi Thugs Supported by Kiev Regime Killed Odessa Inhabitants. Photographic Evidence,  5 de mai de 2014

 

Tradução para o português por Anna Malm para Mondialisation.

Ukraine gets its Mafia-type Loan

May 8th, 2014 by Pepe Escobar

The International Monetary Fund has approved a US$17 billion loan to Ukraine. The first $3.2 billion tranche arrived on Wednesday.

It’s essential to identify the conditions attached to this Mafia-style “loan”. Nothing remotely similar to reviving the Ukrainian economy is in play. The scheme is inextricably linked to the IMF’s notorious, one-size-fits-all “structural adjustment” policy, known to hundreds of millions from Latin America and Southeast Asia to Southern Europe.

The regime changers in Kiev have duly complied, launching the inevitable austerity package – from tax hikes and frozen pensions to a stiff, over 50 percent rise on the price of natural gas heating Ukrainian homes. The “Ukrainian people” won’t be able to pay their utility bills this coming winter.

Predictably, the massive loan is not for the benefit of “the Ukrainian people.” Kiev is essentially bankrupt. Creditors range from Western banks to Gazprom – which is owed no less than $2.7 billion. The “loan” will pay back these creditors; not to mention that $5 billion of the total is earmarked for payments of – what else – previous IMF loans. It goes without saying that a lot of the funds will be duly pocketed – Afghanistan-style – by the current bunch of oligarchs aligned with the “Yats” government in Kiev.

The IMF has already warned that Ukraine is in recession and may need an extension of the $17 billion loan. IMF newspeak qualifies it as “a significant recalibration of the program.” This will happen, according to the IMF, if Kiev loses control of Eastern and Southern Ukraine – something already in progress.

Eastern Ukraine is the country’s industrial heartland – with the highest GDP per capita and home of key factories and mines, mostly in the Donetsk region, which happens to be largely mobilized against the neo-fascist/neo-nazi-aligned regime changers in Kiev. If the current conflagration persists, this means both industrial exports and tax revenues will go down.

So here’s the IMF prescription for the oligarch bunch – some of them actively financing Right Sector militias: As long as you’re facing a popular rebellion in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, relax; you will get additional IMF cash further on down the road. Talk about a crash course in disaster capitalism.

We want you to invade

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s juvenile delinquent school of diplomacy remains on track: the plan is to entice Moscow to “invade.”  (2)

Benefits would be immense. Washington would destroy once and for all the emerging strategic partnership between the EU, especially Germany, and Russia, part of a more organic interaction between Europe and Asia; keep Europe perennially under America’s thumb; and boost Robocop NATO after its Afghan humiliation.

Well, they are not juvenile delinquents for nothing. Yet this brilliant plan forgets a key component: enough competent troops willing to apply Kiev’s designs. The regime changers dissolved the Berkut federal riot police. Big mistake – because they are pros; they are unemployed; and now, holding a monster grudge, amply supporting Ukrainians in favor of federalization.

What the Ministry of Truth script imposed on all Western corporate media insists on labeling “pro-Russian separatists” are in fact Ukrainian federalists. They don’t want to split. They don’t want to join the Russian Federation. What they want is a federalized Ukraine with strong, autonomous provinces.

Meanwhile, in Pipelineistan…

Washington is actively praying that the confrontation between the EU and Russia on the gas front spirals out of control. Natural gas will amount to 25 percent of the EU’s needs up to 2050. Since 2011 Russia is the number one supplier, ahead of Norway and Algeria.

The bureaucrat-infested European Commission (EC) is now concentrating its attacks on Gazprom on the South Stream pipeline – whose construction starts in June. The EC insists that the agreements already struck between Russia and seven EU countries infringe the laws of the EU (how come they didn’t find that out earlier?). The EC would like South Stream to become a “European,” not a Gazprom project.

Well, that depends on a lot of serious diplomacy and the internal politics of various EU member states. For instance, Estonia and Lithuania depend 100 percent on Gazprom. Some countries, such as Italy, import over 80 percent of their energy; others, such as the UK, only 40 percent.

It’s like the EC suddenly woke up from its usual torpor and decided that South Stream is a political football. Günther Oettinger, the EU’s energy commissioner, has been blaring the horn of EU competition laws called “the third energy package” – which would essentially require Gazprom to open South Stream to other suppliers. Moscow filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Rigorous application of recently unearthed EU law is one thing. Facts on the ground are another. South Stream may cost up to 16 billion euros – but it will be built, even if financed by Russia’s state budget.

Moreover Gazprom, in 2014 alone, has already signed extra deals with German, Italian, Austrian and Swiss partners. Italy’s ENI and France’s EDF are partners from the start. Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria are deeply involved in South Stream. No wonder none of them are in favor of more sanctions on Russia.

As for any substantial move by the EU to find new supply sources, that’s a process that should take years – and should involve the best possible alternative source, Iran, assuming a nuclear deal with the P5+1 is struck this year. Another possible source, Kazakhstan, exports less than it could, and that will remain the case because of infrastructure problems.

So we’re back to the Ukrainian tragedy. Moscow won’t “invade.” What for? The IMF’s structural adjustment will devastate Ukraine more than a war; most Ukrainians may even end up begging Russia for help. Berlin won’t antagonize Moscow. So Washington’s rhetoric of “isolating” Russia is just revealed for what it is: juvenile delinquency.

What’s left for the Empire of Chaos is to pray for chaos to keep spreading across Ukraine, thus sapping Moscow’s energy. And all this because the Washington establishment is absolutely terrified of an emerging power in Eurasia. Not one, but two – Russia and China. Worse: strategically aligned. Worse still: bent on integrating Asia and Europe.

So feel free to picture a bunch of Washington angry old men hissing like juvenile delinquents: “I don’t like you. I don’t want to talk to you. I want you to die.” 

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

In the weeks following the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, both the United States and European Union have issued a range of sanctions to punish the Putin administration. But a belligerent response aimed at “punishing Putin,” even if confined to economic measures, will probably just escalate the crisis.  Such actions increase ill will, freeze vital channels of communication, and damage the U.S. and EU economies. 

Military measures, such as deploying NATO, especially U.S., ground troops on Russia’s borders, staging military exercises, and sending military aid to the unelected interim government in Kiev are even more counterproductive and dangerous.  The Crimean annexation should be a wake-up call on another level.  If the United States and NATO violate international law as they have in the Balkans, Iraq, and other locales, other states will feel entitled to do so as well. 

 The most important goal should be to prevent current East-West tensions from getting any worse. An especially crucial step is to help preserve Ukraine’s unity and prevent the outbreak of a civil war. That requires a decent working relationship with Moscow. There is an even worse scenario than growing disorder in Ukraine, however.  The prospect of a full blown new cold war, and perhaps even an armed clash, with Russia is all too real, if the United States and the European Union powers do not adopt more sober, realistic policies soon.

Ominous Parallel: The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and Its Aftermath

When 80,000 Soviet soldiers invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, U.S. policy analysts and officials like National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski raised the alarm that the Kremlin had a “grand design” to push further into the Persian Gulf to seize oil and acquire more warm water ports.  The Carter administration imposed punitive sanctions on the U.S.S.R., including a grain embargo that hurt U.S. farmers and a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.  The policy of détente brokered in 1969 by Henry Kissinger came to an end.  Almost twenty years later, after a new cold war had developed, Brzezinski told a French newspaper that, unbeknownst to the world, the Carter administration had been funding the Afghan “freedom fighters” (mujahedeen) covertly as early as July 1979, a full six months before the Soviet invasion.  “I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention,” Brzezinski said.  As he explained to Carter, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the U.S.S.R. its own Vietnam war.”[1]

Thanks to declassified top-secret documents and oral histories published by the National Security Archive, we now know that members of the Brezhnev leadership believed they were acting defensively, fearing that the United States intended to move into Afghanistan, having lost neighboring Iran as an ally in the wake of the revolution and hostage crisis there.[2]  As early as 1982, the Soviet leaders realized the intervention was a mistake and actively sought international mediation to pave the way for withdrawal. Hardliners in Washington (“bleeders”), however, wanted to keep funding the mujahedeen via Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to make the Russians suffer in a quagmire, pauperizing themselves in the process.[3]  Steady funding of the mujahedeen by the United States, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, and China helped transform the Soviet incursion into a bloody nine-year war.

Although Moscow’s actions in Afghanistan were largely defensive (albeit brutal), that is not how U.S. officials portrayed the situation to the American people and the world.   Instead, Washington treated the Soviet intervention as an unprovoked act of aggression against a small, weak neighbor.  The American public accepted that narrative without much criticism and supported aid to Afghan “freedom fighters,” even though the mujahedeen included more than a few Islamic extremists and other unsavory elements.  Washington is still paying a heavy price for the consequences of that policy.

Russia’s Annexation of Crimea and the West’s Confrontational Response

Thirty-five years later, policy analysts focus on another “Russian incursion”, emphasizing (if not exaggerating) the extent of Moscow’s aggressive intentions, and exhort President Obama to take “strong” action in response.  After the overthrow of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich in late February, Vladimir Putin’s government moved quickly to implement ambitious policy goals regarding the Crimean peninsula.  On March 1, 2014, following an appeal by Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, Putin asked Russia’s Federation Council for permission to “use the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country.”[4]  The following day, hundreds of Russian troops advanced towards Simferopol, the capital of the Crimean Autonomous Republic.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s interim prime minister, accused Russia of declaring war on his country.  Although most UN Security Council members voted to declare any local referendum on Crimea’s secession to Russia to be illegal, Russian authorities went ahead with the balloting in mid-March. There is little doubt that the secession and change of sovereignty was widely popular among the reported 83.1% of Crimeans who voted. However, the referendum only presented them with two similar choices: either join the Russian Federation or restore the 1992 Crimean constitution, each of which amounted to de facto separation from Ukraine. The presence of Russian troops likely discouraged opponents of secession from voting.[5]  The formal annexation was completed the following day.  Encouraged by that annexation, “Anti-Maidan” demonstrations directed against the pro-Western interim Ukrainian government have taken place throughout eastern Ukraine, especially in cities such as Odessa, Donetsk, Kharkov, and Lugansk.

 The West Imposes Economic Sanctions

In response to the Crimean referendum and annexation, the Obama administration issued three executive orders (13660, 13661, and 13662) targeting Russian Federation policymakers, the inner circle that supports them, Bank Rossiya, and potentially certain sectors of the Russian economy.  These “Ukrainian Orders” have thus far frozen the U.S.-based assets of at least twenty Russian and Ukrainian (Crimean) officials deemed responsible for the crisis and banned them from entering the United States.  Targets include the exiled Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, Putin’s aide and chief ideologist Vladislav Surkov, co-founder of the left-wing nationalist party Rodina (“Motherland”) Sergei Glazyev, Federation Council chair Valentina Matviyenko, deputy prime minister Dmitri Rogozin, and four billionaires close to Putin (Yuri Kovalchuk, Gennady Timchenko, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg).[6] 

The U.S.-based Visa and MasterCard companies also stopped servicing the credit cards of customers at Russian banks like Bank Rossiya, Sobinbank, InvestKapitalBank, and SMP Bank.[7]  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) suspended all engagements with Russia’s Roscosmos with the exception of joint work on the International Space Station.[8]  President Obama and other leaders of the G7 nations (Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and Canada) canceled plans to meet in Sochi.  They met instead without Russia in Brussels on March 24, where they condemned the annexation and threatened further sectoral sanctions on the Russian economy if Russia “escalates the situation,” presumably by intervening elsewhere in Ukraine.[9]

European Union (EU) leaders, meanwhile, have frozen assets and banned visas for as many as 51 Russian policymakers and military personnel and senior political officials in the Crimean peninsula.[10]  As for loans to Ukraine, the EU has promised to provide $15 billion, the International Monetary Fund $18 billion in loans, Japan about $1.5 billion, and the United States has offered $1 billion in loan guarantees.[11]

The Campaign for Military Measures

Hawkish critics in the United States have derided the preliminary sanctions as mere “wrist-slapping” measures.  But Washington has also undertaken a number of military measures.  On April 18, the Obama administration announced the deployment of U.S. ground troops to Poland and Estonia for exercises.  Anders Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO, stated that alliance aircraft would fly more sorties over the Baltic region, and NATO ships would be deployed in the Baltic Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.  The Pentagon earlier had dispatched F-15 planes to Lithuania and about three hundred U.S. airmen and a dozen F16 fighters to Poland for joint exercises.  A U.S. Navy destroyer entered the Black Sea for training exercises with Bulgarian and Romanian navies.  Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) flights are taking place over the Polish and Romanian borders.[12]  At the Brussels meeting on April 1-2, NATO officials announced the suspension of “all practical civilian and military cooperation” between NATO and Russia.  NATO officials canceled an exercise that was scheduled to take place in July in the Russian city of Cheliabinsk, deciding instead to hold a twelve-nation exercise (“Rapid Trident”) in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.[13]  Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, announced plans to send more aid to the Ukrainian army in the form of water purification devices, uniforms, and medical supplies.

Despite these measures, Republican leaders fault the Obama administration for its allegedly weak response to the Russian annexation of Crimea and call for still harsher economic sanctions and more robust displays of military resolve.  Many claim that, having annexed Crimea, Putin will now attempt to seize other parts of eastern Ukraine, and they accuse Russia of fomenting unrest in Ukraine’s eastern cities.  Expressions of alarm are bipartisan in nature.  Hillary Clinton even stated that Putin is trying to “rewrite the boundaries of post-World War II Europe.”  Senator John McCain (R-AZ) opined that “President Obama thinks the Cold War is over, but Vladimir Putin doesn’t, and that’s what this is all about.”[14]

This pugnacious stance is foolish and risky for a number of reasons.  Deploying Western–especially U.S.–ground troops on Russia’s borders, staging military exercises, sending military aid to the vehemently anti-Russian government in Kiev, imposing sanctions, and adopting other punitive measures exacerbate an already tense situation.  That course merely increases ill will, freezes vital channels of communication, and risks damaging the U.S. and EU economies. Worse, such measures create the specter of a full-blown diplomatic and military cold war with Moscow.

Facing Reality: The Crimean Annexation is a Fait Accompli

What is the ultimate goal of sanctions and displays of military force?  If it is to induce Putin to return Crimea to Ukraine, that is highly unlikely to happen.  The annexation is a fait accompli, and, as mentioned, apparently a majority of the local population is happy to be part of the Russian Federation once again.  Prospects of compelling Moscow to relinquish territory that it already has formally incorporated into the Russian Federation are not good.  If the goal of military exercises and economic sanctions is to dissuade Putin from annexing other regions of Ukraine, that is at least a more plausible objective.  But how will Washington know when the goal has been achieved?  How long will the sanctions have to remain in place before the Obama administration is convinced that Putin has no “grand design” for the rest of Ukraine—much less for the rest of Eastern and Central Europe?  Moreover, Washington’s actions thus far fail to address the real grievances of the anti-Maidan, pro-Russian protesters, which include the dubious legality of the Kiev interim regime, the presence of ultranationalist Ukrainians in it, and the government’s unilateral decisions regarding highly controversial items, such as accepting IMF austerity measures.  U.S. officials openly cheered on pro-Western demonstrators and the overthrow of the Yanukovich government, much to Moscow’s displeasure.  Now, instead of considering a diplomatic retreat, the Obama administration flirts with making an already bad situation even worse.

Crimea has a unique importance to Russia that cannot be measured merely in financial terms. The peninsula contains some of Russia’s most important strategic assets crucial to the Federation’s self-defense, including the Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol, the shipyard at Mykolaiv, the air base at Kacha, another large naval air base at Gvardeyskoye, an anti-aircraft missile regiment in Sevastopol, and other installations. The Black Sea is Russia’s sole means of projecting power into the Mediterranean.

One should bear in mind that the annexation of Crimea, with its insolvent economy, will involve substantial costs to the Russian economy, an estimated $3 billion a year.  Moscow now needs to pay the pensions of roughly 620,000 senior Crimean citizens, costing about 70 billion rubles ($1.9 billion) per year, according to former Russian tax minister Alexander Pochinok.[15] The World Bank estimates that Russia’s GDP growth may slow to 1.1 percent for the year 2014.[16]  If Putin was willing to accept such an extra economic burden because of strategic and geopolitical considerations, Western sanctions and military displays will probably not influence his decisions to a great degree.

The Putin government plans to construct a new submarine power cable, local power generators, and a new gas pipeline from Krasnodar to Sevastopol, all of which could cost at least another billion dollars.  Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has also pledged to build a 4.5 kilometer bridge across the Kerch Strait to connect Crimea with Russia, which could cost another half billion dollars.[17]  Russian leaders surely had to recognize and accept such burdens when they made the annexation decision.  Foreign economic sanctions are only an additional cost.  There is no credible evidence that they will weaken the Russian leadership’s collective will to persist with the current policy.

Pursuing a Risky Policy toward Moscow

Analysts often point out the Russian Federation’s weaknesses: a consistently declining birth rate, widespread corruption, an export economy dependent on high energy prices, military technology inferior to the West’s, and growing competition from China and South Korea.[18] Nevertheless, the U.S. and NATO’s military escalation is provocative and unwise, given Russia’s status as a nuclear power with first strike capability.  The Russian military has extensive countermeasures planned in the event of a decapitation strike by the United States or another nuclear power.  Both the United States and Russia have abandoned policies of strict no first use, thereby making any escalation of a confrontation even more dangerous.[19]  Both countries have “launch on warning” systems that send off rockets before it is confirmed a nuclear attack is underway.[20]  In the midst of tensions over Ukraine, Russian commanders’ early warning systems could falsely detect evidence of an attack and retaliate reflexively.  NATO’s options are constrained by Russia’s concept of “de-escalation,” articulated in 2000 and influenced by the conflict in Kosovo.  It stipulates that if Russia were faced with a large-scale conventional attack that exceeded its capacity for defense, it might respond with a limited nuclear strike.[21]  Such factors should be a major incentive for the United States to exercise great caution and not casually provoke Moscow.

U.S. Aid to the Kiev Interim Regime Antagonizes the Kremlin

U.S. military aid to the Kiev government enmeshes the United States in the Ukrainian conflict even more deeply than do economic sanctions.  Indeed, those military measures risk creating a future proxy war in Ukraine between the U.S.-backed regime and Russian-backed protesters in eastern Ukraine.  Ukraine is not a NATO member and Washington will tarnish its reputation further by assisting a regime that lacks legitimacy with sizable portions of the country’s population.  Following CIA chief John Brennan’s visit to Kiev in April, acting Ukrainian President Aleksandr Turchinov ordered an “anti-terrorist operation” in the eastern city of Slaviansk.  It quickly failed when Ukrainian commanders refused to fire on civilians who were clearly not terrorists.[22] Vice President Joe Biden’s subsequent visit may have reassured regime leaders, but it also made the Kiev regime look even weaker and more dependent on the West in the eyes of the anti-Maidan protesters.

U.S. Ground Troops in Poland and the Baltic States: An Especially Provocative Step

Some hardliners in Washington argue that after the transfer of thousands of U.S. troops from Europe as part of the “pivot” to Asia, NATO’s Central European members are now vulnerable to Russian aggression.  When the Soviet Union fell in late 1991, the total U.S. troop presence was approximately 285,000 personnel.  Today, about 67,000 U.S. military members are currently stationed in the European theater, primarily in Germany (40,000), Italy (11,000), and Great Britain (9,500).  These and other NATO nations are “jittery” and “looking for reassurance,” claims Steven Pifer, a former ambassador to Ukraine.[23]  That is especially true of Alliance members in Central and Eastern Europe.  Some hawkish analysts on both sides of the Atlantic argue that U.S. ground troops should be stationed permanently in those countries, not just as part of temporary military exercises.  However, such an escalation is unnecessary and highly antagonistic, given Russia’s historic fear of encirclement. 

Just because Ukrainian citizens are protesting against the Kiev government in Ukraine’s eastern cities does not automatically entail a Russian threat to the territorial integrity of Poland and the Baltic states.  There is a big difference between the annexation of Crimea (which many Russians see as a reunification, since the region was part of Russia from 1783 to 1954), and an outright invasion of fully sovereign countries.  Moreover, since NATO allies enjoy the Article 5 security guarantee (an attack on one member is considered an attack on all), Moscow would hesitate to take such a grave risk, regardless of how Russian minorities within those NATO countries might be “mistreated.”[24]  It is important for U.S. and other Western policymakers not to exaggerate the extent of Moscow’s apparent territorial ambitions.

Broader Destabilizing Consequences of a New Cold War

In response to the series of confrontational U.S., NATO, and EU measures, Russia will retaliate.  Indeed, it has already done so to a limited extent.  Mirroring Washington’s visa bans, Russia quickly responded with entry bans on nine U.S. government officials.  More important, Moscow can also hurt U.S. interests in a host of other arenas. This is no time to alienate Russia, a member of the UN Security Council with veto power, whose cooperation is sorely needed to resolve crises involving such countries like Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan. 

In the spring of 2009, President Obama and Dmitry Medvedev (Russian Federation president at the time) pledged to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations.  Breakthroughs were reached on the new START treaty (April 2010), UN sanctions against Iran (June 2010), and–after Obama set the 2014 deadline for withdrawal–Russian support of the U.S. and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) war effort in Afghanistan.  Putin’s return as Russia’s president need not undo the “reset.”  For example, although the Syrian civil war continues, Putin’s diplomatic initiative in September 2013 gave President Obama a face-saving tactic to avoid the overt use of force against Damascus, something a clear majority of Americans opposed.[25]  If Washington’s pressure on Moscow continues to mount, though, Putin could renege on his promise to cooperate with the West in getting Assad to fulfill his pledge to destroy the country’s arsenal of chemical weapons.  We would then be back in crisis mode regarding Syria.

Iran

Working within the P5 + 1 forum on Iran, Russia helped to broker an interim agreement in November 2013 entailing a six month freeze of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran. The agreement expires on July 20, and P5+1 representatives hope to convert the interim deal into a comprehensive, permanent agreement.  However, new signs have emerged that Russia might link the Ukraine and Iran problems to obtain diplomatic leverage with the United States and EU.  According to Reuters, Moscow and Teheran are close to signing a barter deal amounting to about $20 billion.  In exchange for receiving Russian equipment and goods, Iran will sell up to 500,000 barrels of oil per day.  Although only food and industrial–not military–goods would be sold to Tehran, such a barter deal would significantly undercut the Western sanctions and oil embargo imposed to isolate Iran.[26]

Afghanistan

Working through the Russia-NATO Council, Moscow has cooperated in fighting drug production in Afghanistan and has permitted use of Russian air space and new overland supply routes to be established through Russian territory.  That is no small consideration, since U.S. and ISAF supply convoys using the Pakistan route have been attacked repeatedly by Taliban forces.[27] Considering the Soviets’ nine-year bloody quagmire, which some analysts term a catalyst for the Soviet empire’s collapse, Moscow could have chosen instead to fund the Taliban since the start of the NATO intervention in 2001, thereby making the U.S.-led mission far more perilous and gaining revenge against Washington for its support of the mujahedeen in the 1980s.  If further sanctions against the Russian economy are levied, Putin could close the supply routes or demand higher transit fees, obstructing the planned U.S. withdrawal of its 51,000 soldiers later this year.

A Possible Russia-China Axis

Washington’s adversarial approach toward Russia also motivates the Putin leadership to forge stronger military and economic ties with China.  The Beijing government, which abstained from voting against the Crimean referendum in the UN Security Council, also worries about the situation in Ukraine.  Zhao Jinglun, a correspondent for the official news service of the communist country’s State Council, denounced the “U.S.-backed fascist putsch” in Kiev, noting that ultra-nationalist “Svoboda party activists hold at least eight top cabinet positions.”[28] 

Moreover, the Chinese government often affirms the principle of noninterference in a sovereign state’s internal affairs.  Foreign sponsorship of separatist movements within a sovereign state is anathema to the Beijing leaders, who have their own restless regions, especially Tibet and Xinjiang.  While they do not condone Russia’s Crimean annexation, they understand that Russia is following the precedent set earlier in 1999 by NATO.  Citing the need for a “humanitarian intervention,” and with no authority from the UN Security Council, NATO intervened in Kosovo, and removed that territory from Belgrade’s control.  Administered by a UN mission for several years after the war, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia with enthusiastic backing from the United States and leading EU powers.  In 2010, the International Court of Justice judged the declaration legal, but nearly half of the countries in the world, including China, still refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence.  Interestingly, Russia used to oppose Kosovo’s independence, but after the Crimea’s declaration of independence from Ukraine, Moscow now states that such unilateral declarations are not inconsistent with international law.[29]

Some Possible Long-Term Adverse Economic Consequences to the United States

As Dwight Eisenhower warned half a century ago, a robust military depends on a healthy economy.  The long-range economic effects of Washington’s combative approach to the Ukrainian crisis cannot be ignored.  After the G7 leaders snubbed Russia, Moscow signaled plans to strengthen economic ties with the other members of the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group, which collectively control about a quarter of the world’s economy. They have discussed the possibility of buying each other’s sovereign bonds and swapping currencies to reduce their vulnerability.  Obama administration officials boasted about freezing Bank Rossiya “out of the dollar,” but Washington underestimates the potential power other countries have eventually to begin freezing the U.S. dollar out of its privileged status as the world’s reserve currency.  Politicians and officials from Russia and China have often articulated desires to do just that.  Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China announced plans on November 20, 2013 to limit U.S. dollar reserves and to allow the Chinese yuan to appreciate faster.  “It’s no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves,” he said.[30]  More recently, Sergey Glazyev–one of the Russian politicians the U.S. has sanctioned– hinted about the need to drop the dollar as a reserve currency.[31]

Beginning in 2010, Russia and China have conducted bilateral trade in their own currencies. In reaction to the possible loss of the European energy market, Russia will probably sell more gas and oil – in rubles – to China, which has already agreed to buy more than $350 billion of Russian crude oil in coming years.[32]  President Putin lobbied the Upper House of the Duma for a new ruble-based payment system on March 27. [33]  One day later, Andrei Kostin, the president of one of Russia’s largest banks (VTB), told Itar-Tass: “Russia should sell domestic products–from weapons to gas and oil–abroad for rubles and buy foreign goods also for rubles.”[34]  Should Putin start demanding rubles (or yuan) for the gas sold to EU countries, U.S. and EU officials may soon rue the initiation of even symbolic sanctions against Moscow.

There are other warning signs of Washington’s growing financial vulnerability.  According to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, although the U.S. dollar is still the most heavily traded currency, the Chinese yuan overtook the euro to become the second most-used currency in global trade finance in October 2013.[35]  Accordingly, even U.S. allies Great Britain and Germany have taken steps to increase use of the Chinese currency, and both London and Frankfurt have become centers for yuan-denominated transactions.[36]  Total U.S. public debt is now $17.226 trillion or over 100 percent of annual GDP, and roughly 47 percent of that debt is owned by foreign investors.  China is the largest holder of U.S. government debt ($1.294 trillion), while Russia is the eleventh largest foreign creditor ($139 billion).  In light of this reality, threats and sanctions against Russia are risky and counterproductive in the long run, especially if they serve to cement a Russian-Chinese diplomatic and economic partnership.

Economic Sanctions Are Rarely Successful Foreign Policy Tools

The Obama administration is making plans for a second round of more serious economic sanctions against Russia.  However, history shows that economic sanctions rarely influence foreign policy behavior significantly, and even more rarely cause a reversal of a fait accompli. Modern nation-states tend to resist external pressure; often such sanctions only increase a nation’s discipline to endure hardship rather than surrender.[37]  While the Russian MICEX index plummeted 20.4 percent after a two and a half month selloff, it partially rebounded in April, and Putin’s approval rating rose to 80 percent.[38]

Even in countries where the incumbent leadership elites are unpopular, they usually invent modes of self-protection and shift the economic burden of sanctions onto disenfranchised segments of the population.  Sanctions against Iraq lasted from 1990, after the invasion of Kuwait, until 2003 when the U.S.-led invasion deposed Saddam Hussein. Approximately 567,000 infants died from the sanctions’ effects, including malnutrition.[39]  If sanctions were imposed on sections of Russia’s economy, new and stronger trade alliances will probably develop between Russian and traditional U.S. competitors and adversaries like China, Iran, Syria, and North Korea, which would cause Washington greater problems in the future. Economic sanctions are a blunt instrument, which, in causing pain and financial hardship to others only harden decades-long animosities, as exemplified by U.S. sanctions regimes against North Korea (since 1950), Cuba (since 1962), Iran (since 1979), and Syria (since 1986).

Sanctions Will Damage U.S. and EU Economies

As the Obama administration ought to realize, such blunt instruments are ineffective, even masochistic, in the hyperconnected global economy of the twenty-first century.  Russian corporations like Severstal are the world’s largest exporters of crucial industrial metals like palladium, upon which global producers of cars and airplanes depend.  Granted, direct U.S. trade ties with Russia are minimal; exports came to $11 billion in 2013, equivalent to less than 0.1 percent of U.S. GDP, and imports from Russia amounted to $27 billion, or just under 0.2 percent of GDP.[40]  A natural target of sanctions would be the Russian energy sector, since oil and petroleum products comprise over two-thirds of total Russian exports and finance over half of the Russian federal budget.  However, sections on Russia’s energy sector, as well as the kind of sanctions imposed on Iran and North Korea (i.e. on investments, technology deliveries and financial transactions) would also hurt U.S. companies like Exxon Mobil, General Electric (including GE Capital Aviation Services), Chevron, and Boeing.  Exxon, in joint ventures with Rosneft, drills for oil and gas in the Arctic and on the island of Sakhalin, and has several other long-term drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) projects in Iraq’s Kurdistan and elsewhere.[41]

The EU–as Russia’s number one trading partner accounting for almost 41 percent of all the country’s trade–has more power than does the United States to hurt the Russian economy.  According to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, 75 percent of foreign direct investment in the Russian stock market came from EU member states.[42] However, EU countries also depend more heavily on Russian trade than the United States.  In 2012 alone, European countries exported as much as $170 billion in goods to Russia.[43]  If the EU and the United States curtail their exports, they will hurt their own balance sheets.

EU’s Heavy Dependence on Russian Gas

Moreover, the EU member states import 84 percent of Russia’s oil and 76 percent of its natural gas. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania are 100 percent dependent on Russian gas.[44]  A network of thirteen distinct pipelines spread from Russia across Ukraine like veins and capillaries, carrying more than half of Russia’s gas exports to Europe.  Because of the construction of the Nord Stream underwater pipeline directly linking Russia to Germany, the latter imports around 35 percent of its gas directly from Russia, bypassing Ukraine.  Germany has only about four months’ worth of reserves stored.[45]  At least thirty-three percent of EU countries’ petroleum is also imported from Russia. 

Tensions Between Washington and European Countries Over Sanctions

Further sanctions directed at the Russian economy, given the disparity in U.S. and EU dependence on Russia, risk increasing anti-American sentiment on the continent.  That is especially true at a time when the revelations of NSA spying of European allies still rankle. The EU is struggling to recover after the 2007-2008 mortgage crisis and consequent Great Recession.  After a series of bailouts by the European Central Bank (to Greece in May 2010, Ireland in November 2010, Portugal in May 2011, and others), European taxpayers are loath to bear the brunt of the EU’s $15 billion assistance package to Ukraine, which is not even an EU member.  Disrupting lucrative trade relations with Russia is the last straw. As Ewald Stadler, an Austrian Member of the European Parliament, said in a television interview, “I think we as the Europeans have to pay the price, and not the power that is behind the sanctions; that’s the United States of America.”[46]  Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt also criticized the idea of further sanctions against Putin’s Russia, telling Die Zeit newspaper they are “stupid” and will only hurt the West.[47]

According to a German public opinion poll on March 6, only 38 percent of German citizens think economic sanctions against Russia will be useful.[48]  President Putin has pledged not to cut off gas and, other than Russian television flashing pictures of violent fascists in western Ukraine, the evidence is mixed about whether Russia is providing significant logistical or financial support to pro-Russian activists protesting in eastern Ukrainian cities.  The murky nature of Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian turmoil makes Germany and other western European countries wary of embracing a more confrontational policy toward Russia.  Even if Russia is meddling in eastern Ukraine, the United States can hardly claim innocence either.  By its own admission, Washington has spent some $5 billion to influence Ukraine’s political evolution in recent years through some 65 projects run by so-called nongovernmental organizations throughout Ukraine.

Export of U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas: Not A Cheap, Quick Option to Undermine Russia’s Influence

Officials in the energy sector at the G7 summit in Brussels plan to strengthen the “collective energy security” of the G7 by developing alternative sources of gas for Europe, including exporting U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG).[49]  To raise U.S. gas prices that had fallen due to the recent boom in “fracking,” Fortune 500 energy companies had been lobbying Congress vigorously to fast-track export of liquefied natural gas.  But such capabilities cannot be developed until late 2015 and will cost billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.  Even then, it could be years before U.S. gas exports significantly eroded Russia’s dominant position in gas exports to the rest of Europe.[50]   Moreover, according to noted geoscientist J. David Hughes, shale gas production has plateaued since December 2011.[51]  Thanks to the Ukrainian crisis, though, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee passed bills on April 9, 2014 to fast-track LNG exports.

Even if EU countries stop or drastically reduce their gas and oil imports from Russia, it may only make a mutually damaging confrontation with Russia more likely in the long run.  The growing economic interdependence of NATO countries with former Soviet bloc countries since the end of the Cold War has been a boon to all parties; interdependent states would rather trade than invade.  Economic interdependence is beneficial and should be welcomed, not undermined.  For example, both China and Russia have had to make key, market-oriented changes to their economies in order to be admitted into the World Trade Organization in 2001 and 2012, respectively.  Spiraling sanctions and combative tactics between the West and Russia threaten to unravel that progress.  Such an unraveling could not come at a worse time, as the world economy struggles to recover from recession.

American Public Opinion: Against U.S. Involvement in Ukraine Crisis

The Obama Administration’s decisions, including the dispatch of U.S. troops to Poland, run counter to American public opinion. According to a Pew Research Center poll of March 20-23, 2014, 65 percent of Americans opined that Russia is “not an adversary”.[52] Of the 35 percent who believe it is important for the U.S. to “take a firm stand against” Russian actions, only 6 percent say military options should be considered.[53] (Americans apparently think better of Russia than Russians think of the United States).[54] In another poll of March 6-9, 2014, fifty-six percent of American stated that they do not want the United States to “get too involved” in the Ukrainian situation.[55]  Fifty-one percent opposed U.S. economic sanctions against Russia if the European allies do not participate fully. Washington’s abovementioned pledge of $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine means that if Kiev defaults, the United States will be obligated to pay $1 billion of Ukraine’s debts (ironically, mostly to Russia).  This comes at a time when fifty million Americans now live below the poverty line, at least eleven million are unemployed, 1.6 million children are homeless, and eight U.S. cities and towns have gone bankrupt since 2010.[56]  They wonder why, given such circumstances, Congress seems ready to send money to a non-NATO country.

Hard-Line Policies Will Inadvertently Harm Ukraine’s Economy

Unemployment and prices will soar in Ukraine as well, since Western sanctions against Russia will boomerang most forcefully on its weaker neighbor.  Unfortunately, amidst the momentum of the Obama-vs.-Putin drama, fewer people seem to be thinking seriously about the welfare of the Ukrainian people. The Maidan demonstrations resulted from widespread despair over the declining economy and the Yanukovych family’s chronic embezzlement.  Ironically, the Ukrainian people will be even more impoverished in the coming years as a result of the revolution.  Russian banks like Sberbank and VTB have already halted all lending to Ukraine. Should the United States and the EU levy further sanctions against Russia, that will also hurt Ukraine’s economy, since Russia has been Ukraine’s largest trading partner.

Moreover, President Putin has announced that from now on Ukraine must pay one month in advance for gas, and on April 10, he sent a letter to all European countries that might be affected by a termination of Russian gas because of Ukraine’s nonpayment.  He explained that Ukraine owes $1.55 billion for gas that it has already consumed.  As part of the aid package Russia had offered the former president Yanukovych on December 17, 2013, the gas price was slashed to $268.5 per 1000 million cubic meters (mcm) for the first quarter of 2014.  “Even at that price, Ukraine did not pay a single dollar,” Putin declared.[57] 

In any case, Moscow rescinded that discount after the February 21, 2014 power-sharing agreement was broken in Kiev by the opposition leaders, overpowered by ultra-rightist groups like Pravyi Sektor (Right Sector).  On March 21, Russian press secretary Dmitri Peskov announced that, beginning April 1, the price of gas would rise to $480 per mcm.  He explained that the gas discount had been granted in exchange for Ukraine’s extension of the lease to Russia of the Sevastopol Naval Base to 2042.  Since Crimea is now arguably part of Russia, the gas discount becomes void.[58]  Should Ukraine fail to pay in advance, the Russian government can retaliate by cutting off gas to Ukraine completely.  That happened briefly in 2006 and 2009, when Moscow suspected Ukrainians of illegally siphoning off gas meant for European countries.[59]

As a condition for receiving IMF aid, Ukrainians will have to pay 50 percent more in energy prices beginning May 1 and bear a four percent cut in pensions.[60]  Already one quarter of the population (eleven million) live below the official poverty line (1,176 hryvnia or $127 per month).  Rising prices and less disposable income will decrease consumer spending and drag down GDP for at least the next two years, according to Sergei Kiselyov, an economist from Kiev-Mogilyanskaya Academy.[61]  It is no coincidence that the most visible opposition leaders during the Maidan protests (Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleksandr Turchynov, Vitali Klitschko) do not plan to run for president in the May 25 elections.  After having agreed to meet all the IMF’s conditions, Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk famously said, “I’m going to be the most unpopular prime minister in the history of my country.”[62]

Ukrainian Ultra-Right Parties Will Grow Stronger

Thus, while Ukrainian citizens–humiliated by the loss of Crimea–may initially cheer the West’s punitive measures against Russia, they will likely rue them in the long run.  History shows that a failing economy, coupled with loss of territory, tends to breed ultranationalist, revisionist parties with racist, xenophobic attitudes.  (The extreme right-wing leaders in the anti-Yanukovich protests, Oleh Tyahnybok of the Svoboda Party and Dmytro Yarosh of Right Sector do indeed plan to run in the May 25 elections.)  Adolf Hitler became popular by denouncing the Treaty of Versailles, which blamed Germany for World War I and demanded draconian reparations.  His Nazi Party was the largest party following elections in 1933.  Likewise, Hungary’s loss of two-thirds of its territory after the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 ushered in the highly conservative regime of Miklós Horthy, whose alliance with Hitler was motivated by the desire to retrieve the lost lands.  His successor, the anti-Semitic fascist Gyula Gömbös, would have established a Nazi-like, one-party government in Hungary within two years, had he not died of cancer in 1936.[63]

Chances of an Anti-American Backlash in Ukraine

The effects of the West’s anti-Russian sanctions, combined with the IMF’s austerity measures, may also give rise to anti-American sentiments throughout Ukraine, especially in eastern cities.  It should be recalled that in Greece, a NATO ally, where GDP has plummeted after four years of austerity measures, 57 percent of Greeks expressed an unfavorable view of the United States, according to a Pew Research poll of March 2013.[64]  The neo-fascist Golden Dawn party won seven percent of the popular vote in 2012 elections, initially receiving 21 seats in Parliament.

Similar risks exist in Ukraine.  The atmosphere in the country has shifted since November 2013.  The main goal uniting the population in their initially peaceful protests was to remove Yanukovich.  They were divided about the issue of the EU Association agreement.  In a December 5, 2013 poll, 37 percent of Ukrainians supported Ukraine’s steps toward joining the EU, while 33 percent preferred joining the Russian-led Customs Union.[65]  (Incidentally, most Ukrainian citizens in conversation refer to the protests as simply “Maidan,” the name of the main square in Kiev, not “Euromaidan.”  The latter came from the Twitter hashtag of a young Polish student Ziemowit Jóźwik, on November 21, 2013, when Yanukovych decided not to sign the EU association agreement because of its austerity measures).  Now that roughly over one hundred citizens have been killed, Yanukovych has been ousted, and the IMF’s conditions have been publicized, the jubilation from the November-December period has been replaced with shock, dread, cynicism, and growing xenophobia.

After the loss of Crimea, combined with the YouTube postings of the Nuland-Pyuatt and Ashton-Paet hacked phone calls, indignant comments in everyday conversations like “Ukrainians can take care of themselves,” and “Ukraine is being used as a bargaining chip [razmennaia monetka] between Russia and the West” have become more frequent.[66]  A sign appeared at the barricades in Donetsk in mid-April: “Bloodthirsty America.  Despicable Europe.  Leave Ukraine alone.”  Increased U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian crisis via military aid and NATO military exercises threaten to exacerbate such sentiments, especially in the east.  Deepening divisions in the country may result in the fragmentation of Ukraine. 

Much intellectual energy in the West has been expended about how to punish President Putin–far more, perhaps, than would be required to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. And few analysts and pundits have considered seriously the long-range effects of an antagonistic economic and military approach and the ways Putin can retaliate.  Prudent troubleshooting should be a required step in foreign policy decision making, and optimistic wishful thinking eschewed.  Russia could cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and EU countries, sell nuclear-weapons technology to Iran and Syria, protect Iran at the UN Security Council, permit Russian banks to operate in Iran, stop using the U.S. dollar and dump its U.S. treasury bills,  seize U.S. assets in Russia (such as its oil-production facilities), forbid all U.S. companies from doing business in Russia, escalate support of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, and close all Russian-controlled supply routes to Afghanistan.  Any of those scenarios, much less a combination of several, would create major headaches for Washington.

A Strategy to De-Escalate the Crisis

The path of de-escalation would be to view the Crimean issue in the total context of the Maidan protests and their origins.  Efforts to understand Russian perceptions of the situation would facilitate fruitful dialogue.  The Russians raise questions about a number of issues.  Thus far, few portions of the Western news media have addressed the legality of the opposition leaders’ seizure of power on February 21, 2014, the extensive U.S. funding of Ukrainian NGOs leading up to the November protests, [67] the presence of extreme right-wing elements in the Kiev interim government,[68] and the identity of the snipers during the Maidan protests.   Suspicions will linger, zigzagging accusations continue, until these issues are examined.   (“Investigation into recent acts of violence conducted under joint monitoring” was one of the conditions in the February 21 agreement, but now the interim leaders do not want to investigate).  It takes a strong leader to face the truth; weak leaders refuse dialogue and rush to a military response.

According to the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, signed on December 5, 1994, Ukraine agreed to relinquish its stockpile of nuclear weapons between 1994 and 1996.  In return, the signatories (the United States, Russian Federation, and United Kingdom, and later China and France) pledged to respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty, refrain from the use of force, and avoid using economic pressure in Ukraine to influence its domestic politics. Putin’s annexation of Crimea is a violation of the Budapest Memorandum, as well as other international agreements.  But so, too, was the extensive economic pressure by the United States and EU on and within Ukraine–prior to the Crimean annexation–to influence its domestic politics.  While the Maidan revolution was not a “U.S.-backed fascist coup,” as Russian reporters claim, it was hijacked by Right Sector and other radical groups.  Moreover, clear evidence indicates that U.S. funds were a force multiplier for several opposition groups on Maidan working to overthrow Yanukovych.  Speaking to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Conference on December 16, 2013, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland announced, “We have invested more than five billion dollars … to promote Ukraine to the future it deserves.”[69]  In a Washington Post article on September 27, 2013, National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman referred to Ukraine as “the biggest prize.”[70]  It is hardly surprising that Moscow would react badly to such Western meddling in a neighboring country deemed essential to Russia’s security.  That is especially true because such actions occurred on the heels of NATO’s seemingly inexorable eastward expansion.

Since the February 21 seizure of power in Kiev has been the catalyst for the later events in Crimea and Ukraine’s eastern cities, a key U.S. policy objective should be to promote free elections on May 25.  A number of major decisions have been made by the interim regime in the intervening months without the consent of Ukrainian citizens nationwide.  They have not had a chance to vote on a number of crucial matters. These include voting for their representatives, reverting to the 2004 constitution, determining whether to sign the political section of the EU association agreement, and deciding whether the Crimean referendum was legal or not.

Washington should seriously consider ways it might help to preserve Ukraine’s unity, by encouraging Ukrainians to engage in national dialogue about possible solutions, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s federalization concept.  Washington should also consider endorsing neutrality for Ukraine, somewhat similar to what Austria achieved in 1955 or Turkmenistan in 1995.[71]  Such a treaty would enable the country to stay united and guarantee the rights of all minorities in Ukraine (Russians, Hungarians, Romanians, and Roma).  As part of such an arrangement, any further foreign annexations would be forbidden.  Ukraine would be free to trade with both the West and East to restore its economy, but would not join the EU, NATO, Eurasian Customs Union, or the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.  Ukraine’s status as a neutral buffer zone would eliminate the specter of NATO enlargement on Russia’s western borders and thus obviate Moscow’s rationale to mass troops near Ukraine’s border.  Likewise, NATO would have no justification to stage military exercises on Ukrainian territory, citing the threat of Russian expansion.

As Albert Einstein famously wrote, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”  Going forward, serious efforts should be made to stop promoting Russophobia in the Western media, which mainly serves to justify NATO expansion.  The achievements during the “reset” show that U.S. leaders can negotiate successfully with President Putin when they seek compromise outcomes.  But they must learn to accept Russia as an equal partner regarding collective security issues.

The annexation of Crimea is the first real “expansion” since the USSR’s collapse in 1991. Unlike the Soviet Union, however, Russia has no messianic communist ideology, nor does it directly threaten core U.S. security interests.  In contrast, since 1999, NATO has admitted numerous countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and Washington has withdrawn from the ABM treaty and constructed a missile defense system.  The expansion of NATO–originally an anti-Soviet alliance created in 1949—by admitting former Warsaw Pact countries while pointedly excluding Russia, was a grave mistake that helped lead to the current crisis in Ukraine.[72]

In sum, the perils of Russian retaliation and a renewed cold war far outweigh the short-term thrill of punishing Russia. Putin called Washington’s bluff and played the better hand over Crimea. Given the pot odds, the shrewdest move would be to cash out and end the game of deception. The United States remains secure, with its vast arsenal of sophisticated conventional and nuclear weapons, highly trained military personnel, and an annual military budget that far exceeds those of Russia and China combined.  It would be even safer if it adopted a more restrained foreign policy instead of pushing forcible regime-change goals and other objectives that generate fear and animosity around the world.  Washington should work closely with Moscow on joint problems and eschew attempts to encircle and intimidate Russia.  The United States would gain more respect worldwide if it promoted democratic processes as espoused in the U.S. Constitution, and withheld diplomatic recognition of unelected leaders. Only with such a restrained foreign policy can Washington now prevent the kind of cold war impasse that developed in 1979.

Notes

[1] “Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski,” Le Nouvel Observateur. Jan. 15, 1998, p. 76.

[2]  See pp. 14-15 of “The Intervention in Afghanistan and the Fall of Détente,” Transcript of discussion. Lysebu, Norway, September 17-20, 1995. National Security Archive. http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/carterbrezhnev/docs_intervention_in_afghanistan_and_the_fall_of_detente/fall_of_detente_transcript.pdf. Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Dobrynin flatly denied that the Soviet leadership had a “grand design” to move into Pakistan and Iran, as Brzezinski claimed.

[3] Artemy M. Kalinovsky, A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011), p. 63.

[4] “Sovet Federatsii razreshil Putinu vvesti voiska na Ukrainu,” Lenta.ru (March 1, 2014). http://lenta.ru/news/2014/03/01/sovfed/

[5]  Another vote was held in the 193-member UN General Assembly on March 28, 2014. After heavy lobbying, 100 members declared the Crimean referendum invalid, 11 members including Russia voted against the resolution, 58 members abstained, and 24 were absent. Sangwon Yoon, “Crimea Resolution Backed by U.S. Barely Gets UN Majority,” March 28, 2014.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-27/crimea-resolution-backed-by-west-barely-gets-un-majority.html#disqus_thread.

[6] Others on the U.S. black list include head of the parliament committee for CIS affairs Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the Parliament Committee for Family, Women and Children Yelena Mizulina, Ukrainian State Council Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, and leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement Viktor Medvedchuk. See The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 17, 2014. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/17/fact-sheet-ukraine-related-sanctions.  Also ITAR-TASS News Agency, “Russian Senator Says EU Sanctions ‘Comical’,” March 18, 2014. http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/724118.

[7] Later, the two credit card companies resumed processing transactions for SMP Bank. See “Visa and Mastercard Resume SMP Bank Transactions After Sanctions,” The Moscow Times (March 24, 2014). http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/visa-and-mastercard-resume-smp-bank-transactions-after-sanctions/496634.html.

[8] “NASA suspends cooperation with Russia over Ukraine crisis,” Russia Today, April 2, 2014. http://rt.com/news/nasa-suspends-relations-roscosmos-961/.

[9]  The White House Office of the Press Secretary, Background Briefing on the G7 Meeting, March 24. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/24/background-briefing-g7-meeting.

[10] Ewen MacAskill, et al., “EU and U.S. impose sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian officials,” March 17, 2014.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/17/eu-imposes-sanctions-21-russian-ukrainian-officials-crimea

[11] Steven Erlanger and David M. Herszenhorn, “I.M.F. Prepares $18 Billion in Loans for Ukraine,” New York Times, March 27, 2014.  A loan guarantee is a promise by the guarantor (the United States) to assume the debt obligation of the borrower (Ukraine) if that Ukraine defaults. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/europe/ukraine-bailout.html?_r=0

[12] Steven Erlanger, “Russian Aggression Puts NATO in Spotlight,” New York Times, March 18, 2014.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/19/world/europe/russias-aggression-in-crimea-brings-nato-into-renewed-focus.html?_r=0

[13]  “Ukraine Seeks Joint U.S. War Games After Crimea Takeover,” Agence France-Presse, March 26, 2014,

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140326/DEFREG01/303260039/Ukraine-Seeks-Joint-U.S.-War-Games-After-Crimea-Takeover.

[14] Igor Bobic, “McCain: Obama Is ‘Near Delusional In Thinking The Cold War Was Over,’” TPM Livewire (March 7, 2014). http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/john-mccain-cold-war-obama-delusional.  Also “Putin wants to rewrite Europe boundaries: Hillary Clinton,” March 19, 2014. See http://article.wn.com/view/2014/03/19/Putin_wants_to_rewrite_Europe_boundaries_Hillary_Clinton/ 

[15] Nana Chronaya, “Annexation of Crimea: Russian Promises and Reality” (March 21, 2014) UNIAN.

http://www.unian.info/politics/898909-annexation-of-crimea-russian-promises-and-reality.html. Also http://www.aol.com/article/2014/03/19/what-annexing-crimea-will-cost-russias-government/20852911/

[16] Birgit Hansl, Confidence Crisis Exposes Economic Weakness. Russian Economic Report, no. 31. Washington, DC: World Bank Group. March 26, 2014.  http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2014/03/19357185/confidence-crisis-exposes-economic-weakness.

[17] “Medvedev Signs Decree Creating Contractor for Kerch Strait Bridge Project,” The Moscow Times (March 4, 2014). http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/medvedev-signs-decree-creating-contractor-for-kerch-strait-bridge-project/495511.html.

[18]According to the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, Russia scored 28 on a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. Denmark and New Zealand had the highest scores of 91 each. The United States scored 73. Ukraine scored 25. Transparency International, http://www.transparency.org/cpi2013/results.

[19]Anne L. Clunan, The Social Construction of Russia’s Resurgence: Aspirations, Identity, and Security Interests (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), pp. 198, 200.  Also see Thomas M. Nichols, No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), p. 111.

[20]Ronald E. Powaski, Return to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1981-1999 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 200.

[21]Nikolai N. Sokov, “Why Russia Calls a Limited Nuclear Strike ‘De-Escalation’ ” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 13, 2014. http://thebulletin.org/why-russia-calls-limited-nuclear-strike-de-escalation.

[22]Spetspodrazdelenie ‘Alfa’ otkazalos’ podchinit’sia Kievu–CMI,” April 11, 2014.  http://thekievtimes.ua/politics/356195-specpodrazdelenie-alfa-otkazalos-podchinitsya-kievu-smi.html.

[23]Jim Michaels, “NATO Tries To Assure Allies As Ukraine Violence Spreads,” USA Today, April 15, 2014. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/15/putin-crimea-ukraine-pentagon/7743877/.  Also see “U.S. Could ‘Re-Examine’ Its Military Presence In Europe,” http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/18792.

[24]True, as Ted Galen Carpenter argues, it was probably unwise to admit as NATO members such small countries on Russia’s borders.  Should President Putin risk provocations on the Baltic States’ borders, it would force Washington to make a very difficult choice. See Ted Galen Carpenter, “Are the Baltic States Next?” National Interest Online, March 24, 2014.

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/are-the-baltic-states-next-10103?page=1.

[25] Andrew Dugan, “U.S. Support for Action in Syria Is Low vs. Past Conflicts,” Gallup Politics, September 6, 2013. http://www.gallup.com/poll/164282/support-syria-action-lower-past-conflicts.aspx.  U.S. support for military action in Syria was “the lowest for any intervention Gallup has asked about in the last 20 years.”

[26]Jonathan Saul and Parisa Hafezi, “Iran, Russia Working to Seal $20 Billion Oil-for-Goods Deal: Sources,” Reuters, April 2, 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/02/us-iran-russia-oil-idU.S.BREA311K520140402.

[27] “Russia broadens transit opportunities for NATO,” Russia Today, June 29, 2012. http://rt.com/politics/nato-transit-russia-afghanistan-059/

[28]Zhao Jinglun, “US Grand Strategy and the Ukraine Crisis,” China.org.cn, March 7, 2014.

http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2014-03/07/content_31706059.htm.

[29]For further analysis, see Luca j. Uberti, “Crimea and Kosovo: the Delusions of Western Military Interventionism,” March 24, 2014. http://www.opendemocracy.net/luca-j-uberti/crimea-and-kosovo-delusions-of-western-military-interventionism-nato-putin-annexation-legal.  Also see Ted Galen Carpenter, “Don’t Push China and Russia Together,” Cato@Liberty

April 10, 2014. Cato Institute, http://www.cato.org/blog/dont-push-china-russia-together.

[30] “PBOC Says No Longer in China’s Interest to Increase Reserves,” Bloomberg News, November 21, 2013. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-20/pboc-says-no-longer-in-china-s-favor-to-boost-record-reserves.html.

[31]  “Kremlin Aide Warns U.S. of Response if Sanctions Imposed,” Reuters, March 4, 2014. http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/03/04/ukraine-crisis-russia-us-idINDEEA2305J20140304.

[33]  “Putin: Rossiia sozdast natsional’nuiu platezhnuiu sistemu,” Vzglyad, March 27, 2014.

http://vzglyad.ru/news/2014/3/27/679258.html?utm_campaign=vz&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=newsanons.

[34] “Glava VTB: deistviia banka ‘Rossiia’ budut sposobstvovat’ uvelicheniiu raschetov v rubliakh,” ITAR-TASS (Moscow), March 28, 2014.http://itar-tass.com/ekonomika/1082230.

[35]Angela Cullen and Weixin Zha, “Bundesbank, PBOC in Pact to Turn Frankfurt into Renminbi Hub” Bloomberg Businessweek, March 28, 2014.http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-03-27/frankfurt-sets-sights-on-yuan-offshore-trade-as-xi-visits-merkel

 [36]London as a Centre for Renminbi Business,” http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/support-promotion-and-advice/promoting-the-city-internationally/china/Pages/London-as-a-centre-for-international-renminbi-business.aspx.  Also see Eva Taylor, “Frankfurt Becomes Europe’s First Renminbi Payment Hub,” Reuters, March 28, 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/28/germany-china-renminbi-idU.S.L5N0MP3DH20140328.

[37] See Robert A. Pape, “Why Sanctions Do Not Work,” International Security, vol. 22, issue 2 (Fall 1997): 90-136.

[38] Poll taken by the Moscow-based Levada Center from March 21 to 24 among 1,600 respondents across 130 cities in Russia. “Putin’s Approval Rating Rises to 80%” RIA Novosti.

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20140326/188776004/Putins-Approval-Rating-Rises-to-80–Poll.html.  According to a Gallup poll in the same time period, President Obama’s approval rating was 43 percent. “Presidential Approval Ratings — Barack Obama,” Gallup.com, http://www.gallup.com/poll/116479/barack-obama-presidential-job-approval.aspx..  Russian opinion on the Crimea issue is far from uniform, however.  Tens of thousands marched in Moscow on March 15, 2014 to support the Crimea referendum, while tens of thousands also marched to protest the referendum.

[39] Sarah Zaidi and Mary C. S. Fawzi, “The Health of Baghdad’s Children,” The Lancet (December 2, 1995), vol. 346, no. 8988,  pp. 1485-86.

[40] “2013: U.S. Trade In Goods with Russia,” United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c4621.html.

[41]“Exxon Mobil i Rosneft’ obsuzhdaiut sovmestnuiu rabotu v Irakskom Kurdistane,” Forbes.ru (March 26, 2014)

http://www.forbes.ru/news/253009-exxon-mobil-i-rosneft-obsuzhdayut-sovmestnuyu-rabotu-v-irakskom-kurdistane.  Also see Matthew Philips, “Post Crimea, Exxon’s Partnership With Rosneft Feels Weird,” March 20, 2014. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-20/post-crimea-exxons-partnership-with-rosneft-feels-weird.

[42] “European Commission: Russia.” See http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/russia/

 [43]“Russian Economy, Tycoons Take Hit In Crimea Crisis” Associated Press, March 20, 2014. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=291840966

[45] Valentina Pop, “Europe Looking At Alternatives to Russian Gas” EU Observer, March 14, 2014. http://euobserver.com/economic/123466.

 [46]“West sanctions against Russia stupid” (Interview with Ewald Stadler, Austrian Member of the European Parliament),  PressTV.IR, March 22, 2014.

[47]“Russia’s actions in Crimea Justified.”  Interview with German ex-chancellor Helmut Schmidt, March 28, 2014. http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_28/Russias-actions-in-Crimea-justified-German-ex-chancellor-Helmut-Schmidt-3229/.

[48]“Umfrage: Mehrheit der Deutschen befürwortet Hilfen für Ukraine,” Zeit Online, March 6, 2014. http://www.zeit.de/news/2014-03/06/d-eu-ukraine-russland-umfragen-umfrage-mehrheit-der-deutschen-befuerwortet-hilfen-fuer-ukraine-06235607.

 [49] White House Office of the Press Secretary, Background Briefing on the G7 Meeting, March 24. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/24/background-briefing-g7-meeting.

[50]Zachary Cikanek, “API Praises Congressional Action on Natural Gas Exports,” April 9, 2014. http://www.api.org/news-and-media/news/newsitems/2014/apr-2014/api-praises-congressional-action-on-natural-gas-exports.

[51]J. David Hughes, Drill, Baby, Drill: Can Unconventional Fuels Usher in a New Era of Energy Abundance? (Santa Rosa, Calif: Post Carbon Institute, 2013), p. 4.

[52]While 22 percent do not view Russia as a problem, 43 percent view the country as a problem, but not as an adversary. Twenty-six percent of Americans, mostly Republicans, view Russia as an adversary. Ten percent had no opinion. See Pew Research Center, “Concerns about Russia Rise, But Just a Quarter Call Moscow an Adversary”  March 25, 2014. http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/25/concerns-about-russia-rise-but-just-a-quarter-call-moscow-an-adversary/

[53]“Concerns about Russia Rise, But Just a Quarter Call Moscow an Adversary,” March 25, 2014. http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/25/concerns-about-russia-rise-but-just-a-quarter-call-moscow-an-adversary/

[54]In a poll of 1,500 citizens in 100 different cities, taken on March 15-16, the Russian polling organization FOM (Fond Obshchestvennoe Mnenie), found that 33 percent have a negative opinion of the US, 48 percent believe Russian-US relations are poor, and 31 percent believe Americans have a negative view of Russia. “Otnosheniia mezhdu Rossiei I SShA: Monitoring Mnenii,” FOM, March 26, 2014. http://fom.ru/Mir/11426

[55]“Most Say U.S. Should ‘Not Get Too Involved’ in Ukraine Situation,” Pew Research Center, March 11, 2014. http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/11/most-say-u-s-should-not-get-too-involved-in-ukraine-situation/2/.

[56]“That’s Rich: Poverty Level Under Obama Breaks 50-year Record,” Washington Times, January 7, 2014. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/7/obamas-rhetoric-on-fighting-poverty-doesnt-match-h/?page=all. Also Paul Krugman, “Jobs and Skills and Zombies,” New York Times, March 30, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/opinion/krugman-jobs-and-skills-and-zombies.html; and Andrea Elliott, “Invisible Child. Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life,” December 9, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/invisible-child/#/?chapt=1.  In 2012, the poverty level was defined as an annual income of $23,492 for a family of four.

[57]Message from the President of Russia to the Leaders of Several European Countries,” Russia Today, April 10, 2014.

http://rt.com/politics/official-word/putin-message-european-leaders-748/

[58] Anders Aslund, “How Ukraine Can Use Sanctions to Counter Russia’s Aggression,”

March 24, 2014. http://blogs.piie.com/realtime/?p=4259&wpmp_tp=0

[59]For background on the “gas war” and its effects on Europe, see Kjell Engelbrekt, Bertil Nygren, eds. Russia and Europe: Building Bridges, Digging Trenches (New York: Routledge, 2010).

[60]The salaries of elementary and high school teachers in the town of Berehove in Ukraine’s Transcarpathian oblast’ were at first frozen in March and then substantially reduced indefinitely. Author’s interview with high school teachers Timea Srek and Marianna Margitics, April 13, 2014.

[61]Alec Luhn, “Will the IMF Bailout Turn Ukraine Into Another Greece?” The Nation, April 7, 2014. http://www.thenation.com/article/179212/will-imf-bailout-turn-ukraine-another-greece#

[62]Kenneth Rapoza, “Washington’s Man Yatsenyuk Setting Ukraine Up For Ruin,” February 27, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2014/02/27/washingtons-man-yatsenyuk-setting-ukraine-up-for-ruin/.

[63]   Rebecca Haynes and Martyn C. Rady, In the Shadow of Hitler: Personalities of the Right in Central and Eastern Europe (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2011).

[65]See “Ukraine Public Opinion Poll Shows Dissatisfaction with Socio-Political Conditions,” International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), December 5, 2013. http://www.ifes.org/Content/Publications/Press-Release/2013/2013-Public-Opinion-Survey-in-Ukraine.aspx.  Many people I spoke with in cities and villages in Transcarpathian Ukraine, although disgusted with Yanukovych and his sons, were largely uninformed, much less concerned, about EU association.  Disinterest in politics, pervasive among both Ukrainian and Russian citizens, is a legacy of the Soviet period when they were bombarded with communist propaganda.

[66]In a leaked phone call on January 28, 2014, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that Yatseniuk (“Yats”) should be prime minister because of his experience, while Klitschko (“Klitsch”) should not go into the government.  In a second leaked call, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet discussed with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton some concerns voiced by physician Olha Bohomolets that the wounds she treated in both the protesters and the Berkut policemen were caused by the same bullets.  On April 5, 2014 former Ukrainian interior minister Vitaly Zakharchenko told reporters that the police were unarmed, that 86 received bullet wounds, and that 14 died. See“Berkut Policemen Were Unarmed. They Did Not Shoot,” ITAR-TASS, April 5, 2014. http://en.itar-tass.com/world/726640.

[67]Oleh Rybachuk–Viktor Yushchenko’s campaign chair, and later Yulia Tymoshenko’s assistant–played a key role in the 2004 Orange Revolution.  He leads the NGO “Center UA,” which received more than $500,000 in 2012, according to its annual report for that year.  Fifty-four percent of the money came from Pact Inc., a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.  In March 2012, Rybachuk boasted, “People are not afraid. We now have 150 NGOs in all the major cities in our ‘clean up Parliament campaign’ to elect and find better parliamentarians…. The Orange Revolution was a miracle, a massive peaceful protest that worked.  We want to do that again and we think we will.” See Mark Ames, “Pierre Omidyar Co-Funded Ukraine Revolution Groups With U.S. Government, Documents Show,” February 28, 2014.  

http://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/.  The Spilna Sprava activist organization, which on January 25 took over the buildings of the ministry of justice, agriculture, and energy has received grants from the Ukrainian International Renaissance Foundation founded by George Soros.  Christopher J. Miller and Katya Gorchinskaya, “Danylyuk’s Group Under Fire for Seizure of Government Buildings” Kyiv Post, January 27, 2014.  http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/danyluks-group-under-fire-for-seizure-of-government-buildings-335692.html.  The producer of the “I am a Ukrainian” video that went viral was exposed as a production by Larry Diamond, a senior consultant at the National Endowment for Democracy.

[68]Currently there are seven ministers in the interim government affiliated with the extreme right. They include Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council. He co-founded the Svoboda party with Oleh Tyahnybok in 1991. Dmytro Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, is Parubiy’s deputy secretary. Oleksandr Sych, the new Deputy Prime Minister, is a Svoboda party member, as are Oleh Makhnitsky (acting prosecutor general) and the heads of the ecology and agricultural ministries, Andriy Mokhnyk and Ihor Shvaika, respectively.

[69]Victoria Nuland, “Remarks at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Conference,” Washington, DC, December 13, 2013, U.S. Department of State. http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2013/dec/218804.htm.

[70]Carl Gershman, “Former Soviet States Stand Up to Russia. Will the U.S.?” The Washington Post, September 27, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/former-soviet-states-stand-up-to-russia-will-the-us/2013/09/26/b5ad2be4-246a-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html.

[71]For background on the conditions that made Austrian neutrality possible and the initial difficulties encountered, see Johanna Granville, “Of Spies, Refugees and Hostile Propaganda: How Austria dealt with the Hungarian Crisis of 1956,” History, 91, no. 301 (2006): 62-90. http://www.academia.edu/3541570/Of_Spies_Refugees_and_Hostile_Propaganda_How_Austria_dealt_with_the_Hungarian_Crisis_of_1956

[72]Many critics warned of the folly of NATO expansion back in the 1990s. For a review of the arguments, see Ted Galen Carpenter and Barbara Conry, NATO Enlargement: Illusions and Reality (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1998), and Johanna Granville, “The Many Paradoxes of NATO Enlargement,” Current History (April 1999), vol. 98, no. 627, pp. 165-170. http://jgm.hostzi.com/pdf/The.Many.Paradoxes.of.NATO.Enlargement.pdf.

Johanna C. Granville

We have already been regaled with reports provided by Wikileaks which identified the US embassy in Nigeria as a forward operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeria which include but not limited to eavesdropping on Nigerian government communication, financial espionage on leading Nigerians, support and funding of subversive groups and insurgents, sponsoring of divisive propaganda among the disparate groups of Nigeria and the use of visa blackmail to induce and coerce high ranking Nigerians into acting in favour of US interests.

But beyond what we know from the Wikileaks report, what many Nigerians do not know is that the US embassy’s subversive activities in Nigeria fits into the long term US government’s well camouflaged policy of containment against Nigeria the ultimate goal of which is to eliminate Nigeria as a potential strategic rival to the US in the African continent.

According to wikileaks article on ACRI which potrays the ACRI as a counterweight which was set up by the US to instigate mistrust in Nigerian dominated ECOMOG; the sense of Nigerian led anti-American opposition was first observed during the bush administration, when Nigeria without support from the west or UN led the first ever African intervention force on peacekeeping mission to Liberia while at the same time engaging Sierra Leone in forced peace combat, with predominantly Nigerian troops( over 90%) being spearheaded by then Military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

In this regard, the report further recalled Nigeria’s role in helping to liberate the southern African countries in the 70’s and 80’s in clear opposition and defiance to the interests of the United States and its western allies which resulted in a setback for Western initiatives in Africa at the time.

Both concluded with a recommendation that the US Government in conjunction with its allies should seek to contain the growing influence of Nigeria in the sub-region by forming a parallel organization to ECOMOG. But in order not to unduly alarm and antagonize Nigeria which the report admitted still had considerable influence in the region, the US government was advised to go about this using quiet diplomacy and instigating false propaganda.

Years, later the CIA while tactically taking advantage of growing sectarian violence in Nigeria, recruited jobless Islamic extremist through Muslim and other traditional leaders offering training indirectly to the group by use of foreign based terror groups. A detailed analysis is done below.

However, there many dots left to be joined together to find the truth;

  • In December 2011 an Algerian based CIA wing gave out 40 million Naira as a planned Long term partnership with Boko Haram with PLEDGE TO DO MORE.
  • On June 29, 2009 a United States cable leaked by wikileaks showed that the CIA public predicted the onslaught of deadly terrorist attack by Boko Haram, i.e even 2 months before boko haram started terrorist actions.
  • Disregarding advices from experts the us armed Saudi Arabia who in turned armed Libyan rebels that in turn armed Malian rebels and Boko Haram, a chain tactically predicted by the CIA.  US=>SA=>LIBYA=>BOKO HARAM.
  • Spy files a wikileak document indicates that SS8 a surveillance company in the us was producing viruses(Trojans) that hijack individual computer and phones (iPhone,blackberry,android etc), take over the device, record its every use, movement,GPS info and even sights and sounds in the room it is in. This software was however bought by the and used as tools by the CIA in its eavesdropping games on Nigerian politicians, thus detecting corrupt practices. As good as that may sound, but whichever politician refused to hijack policies in favour of the US was made to face financial espionage or “corruption charges”.
  • It is however remarkably outstanding or rather coincidental how Nigerian SSS agents personal information,including address,bank information,mobile numbers,etc were leaked and published on the web when the sss where jointly working with the CIA to gather intelligence Boko Haram thus compromising the identity/security of the agents as well as that of their family.
  • it is also important to note the “miraculous escape of Kabiru Sokoto” from a secret top security facility whose location was known to the CIA.

In the aftermath of the unfortunate bombings and sporadic attacks that took place in Damaturu the Yobe State capital and environs on the last Sallah Day, the Embassy of the United States in Nigeria hastily put out a public statement declaring that such like bombings should be expected in three well known hospitality establishments in Abuja the nation’s capital.

To discerning observers not only did that score high marks for bad manners as that was hardly what a nation still grieving and coming to terms with its losses expected from a supposedly friendly nation, but that the US embassy was being economical with information on what it actually knew about the incident, and more significantly, the role the US government itself has been playing in the whole gamut of acts of destabilization against Nigeria.

We have already been regaled with reports provided by the Wikileaks which identified the US embassy in Nigeria as a forward operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeria which include but not limited to eavesdropping on Nigerian government communication, financial espionage on leading Nigerians, support and funding of subversive groups and insurgents, sponsoring of divisive propaganda among the disparate groups of Nigeria and the use of visa blackmail to induce and coerce high ranking Nigerians into acting in favour of US interests.

But beyond what we know from the Wikileaks report, what many Nigerians do not know is that the US embassy’s subversive activities in Nigeria fits into the long term US government’s well camouflaged policy of containment against Nigeria the ultimate goal of which is to eliminate Nigeria as a potential strategic rival to the US in the African continent.

Today as Nigerians are reeling from the negative effects of the insurgency that has befallen our dear country and earnestly seeking answers to what all this portends for the future, the GREENWHITE COALITION a citizen’s watchdog can reveal the true nature of this silent, undeclared war of attrition waged against Nigeria by the Government of United States of America.

 BACKGROUND TO US SUBVERSIVE ACTS AGAINST NIGERIA AND TIMELINES

From ACRI to AFRICOM

ACRI stands for Africa Crises Response Initiative and it was set up during the Bush Jr. Administration as a counterweight to the Nigeria led ECOWAS Monitoring Group on the Liberian Civil War or ECOMOG as it is more popularly known.

ACRI came to being from the secret reports and recommendations respectively (and separately) by the Africa-America Institute and the Brookings Institute commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency, the American Government’s Directorate responsible for organizing foreign subversive activities, on the Liberian civil war and the intervention of ECOMOG.

Both reports zeroed in on the pivotal role Nigeria was playing in the ECOMOG initiative and noted pointedly the phenomenal success recorded by ECOMOG in containing the Liberian crisis without any significant role or intervention from any of the major western powers including the United States.

The report concluded that should ECOMOG be allowed to go the whole hog, the major beneficiary will be Nigeria and that might form the basis for a pax Nigeriana in the West African sub-region eclipsing the influence of former colonial powers France and Britain. The reports also called on the United States Government to note that Liberia being its creation should not be allowed to fall into Nigerian hands with consequences to US strategic interests in the country and the region.

Specifically both reports noted that should Nigeria be allowed to have a foothold in Liberia, it would further embolden Nigeria to challenge the US and the West in carving its own sphere of interest at their expense. In this regard, the report further recalled Nigeria’s role in helping to liberate the southern African countries in the 70’s and 80’s in clear opposition and defiance to the interests of the United States and its western allies which resulted in setback for Western initiatives in Africa at the time.

Both concluded with a recommendation that the US Government in conjunction with its allies should seek to contain the growing influence of Nigeria in the sub-region by forming a parallel organization to ECOMOG. But in order not to unduly alarm and antagonize Nigeria which the report admitted still had considerable influence in the region, the US government was advised to go about this using quiet diplomacy.

During the secret congressional hearing organized to consider the reports by both institutes on Nigeria’s role in the ECOMOG, the inter agency team comprising representatives from the CIA, Pentagon and State Department formed to push the case, endorsed the recommendation that Nigeria be kept out of the alternate arrangements on Liberia that was being proposed. The strategy was to win away some key African countries from participation enthusiastically in the ECOMOG initiative. The sweeteners for this were the promise and delivery of military and humanitarian aid.

This was the line the then US Secretary of State Warren Christopher pursued when he visited a number of African countries excluding Nigeria to sell the ACRI idea. Thus ensued, the stalemate in ECOMOG operations with some of the participating countries foot dragging in their commitment to the force and operations. On the diplomatic front, the US along with its allies namely Britain and France using the engineered stalemate as cover, proceeded to sell the idea that the ECOMOG initiative needed to be reviewed and given a new direction. The US and its allies then argued that the intervention of outside powers such as the US and its western allies was the tonic needed to move the ECOMOG operation forward. But in order to prevent any worldwide backlash against this blatant interference in what should be a regional African initiative, the US and its allies sought to present it under the auspices of the United Nations with a select Asian and Latin American countries participating.

By the time the tallies were counted, the US had achieved the one objective of all the diplomatic and strategic maneuvers; the containment of Nigeria led ECOMOG initiative to resolve the Liberian Crises. It was on the platform of this surreptitious American intervention in the Liberian crisis that the US Africa Command or AFRICOM was formed. African Crises Response Initiative and the new African Security (Dis)order {AJPS} Unlike its precursor, the ACRI which sought to disguise US intentions in Africa particularly as it pertains to Nigeria under the cloak of multilateral humanitarian intervention, AFRICOM which came to being on October 1, 2008 is clearly programmed to serve US military-strategic interests especially with regards to the ever expanding global reach and influence of China in direct competition with the United States.

In response to the growing influence of a rapidly expanding industrial China in Africa, the goal of AFRICOM is to seize key strategic areas in Africa and bring them under US control in order to block China’s access to vital energy and mineral resources for its expanding economy. But to effectively carry this out, such African countries of strategic importance must first of all be weakened internally and made to feel so vulnerable that they would have to inevitably seek US protection or intervention. A spur to this interventionist programme provides that any targeted African country that does not see the wisdom or resists the need to seek US “protection” will then have to suffer dismemberment with the pliant area carved out of the supposedly hostile area and given US“protection”. We have seen this happen in the great lakes area where US Special Forces have been deployed ostensibly to protect the countries there from so-called insurgents who in the first place were sponsored by the same US.

In Sudan we have seen how a blanket cover of international humanitarian cries orchestrated by the United States on the so-called Darfur crisis served as a prelude to the dismemberment of Sudan to punish the government of El-Bashir for daring to conclude oil deals with the Chinese to the detriment of American companies. We have also seen how Libya and Gaddafi was put to the sword for daring to sidetrack American oil interests.

{See: NewsRescue-The NATO “liberated” Libya Terror “tidal wave” over North Africa}

But the greatest prize for AFRICOM and its goal to plant a PAX AMERICANA in Africa would be when it succeeds in the most strategic African country, NIGERIA. This is where the raging issue of BOKO HARAM and the widely reported prediction by the United States Intelligence Council on the disintegration of Nigeria by 2015 comes into perspective.

BOKO HARAM: A CIA COVERT OPERATION

From the 1st October 2010 bombing that rocked Abuja till date Nigeria seems to be locked in a vice like grip of a growing and intractable insurgency manifested in bombings of public places and sporadic attacks on public institutions resulting in the loss of scores of lives and destruction of properties. Predictably there has been a discernible growth in panic and tension in the country and not a few people are beginning to think that perhaps the country seems headed inevitably for a long drawn insurgency leading to a split. With the exception of the 1st October 2010 bombing incident, a shadowy group which goes by the name Boko Haram has laid claim to most of the subsequent bombings that have occurred in the country.

nigeria-boko-haram-attack-afpPix-henry-chukwuedo201111

The seemingly intractable nature of the Boko Haram outrage has prompted a lot of questions from Nigerians. What really is this Boko Haram thing and what are their grievances if any? Why have they chosen to remain faceless in spite of the devastating effects of their activities on the psyche of the nation, and entreaties from Nigerian authorities to come forward for negotiations? Why are they able to perpetrate their attacks with relative ease and why has there not been a single clue at the scene of their acts to lead to them?

For sure, Nigerians are not unused to sectarian violence.  But the ones we have witnessed in this country have been predictable and the modus and fault lines have been well known to the authorities who have always done well to keep them within tolerable limits.

The Boko Haram of Mohammed Yussuf which predated this new one can be so categorized and was well known through its operations, leadership and locations.

But how did a ragtag collection of largely half literate unsophisticated persons operating mostly on Okada transform literally overnight to being able to design, manufacture and deploy bombs in buildings and in vehicles costing in excess of a million naira and carry out attacks in several locations around the country???

Related: News Rescue- Boko Haram – More Complicated Than You Think – Richard Dowden (RAS}

How have their reach grown from just a corner of Nigeria to virtually everywhere in the country? For them to be able to mount such a sophisticated operation, they must necessarily have a well structured command and control system which in spite of their best efforts at concealment cannot remain undetected for long. So how have they seemingly defied the best efforts of combined security agencies in the country in detecting and foiling their activities?

The GREENWHITE Coalition can reveal that the current Boko Haram campaign is a covert operation organized by the American Central Intelligence Agency, CIA and coordinated by the American Embassy in Nigeria.

For some time now, the CIA has been running secret training and indoctrination camps along the porous and vulnerable borderlands of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. At these camps youths from poor, deprived and disoriented backgrounds are recruited and trained to serve as insurgents. The agents who supply these youth lure them with the promise of better life and work of Allah and further indoctrinated to believe they are working to install a just Islamic order from the ungodly one that currently holds sway in Nigeria.

The American CIA programme officers of this project prudently remain in the background, living the day to day running of the camps to supervisors of Middle Eastern origin specially recruited for this purpose. After several months of indoctrination and training on weapons handling, survival tactics, surveillance and evasion techniques, the insurgents are now put on stand by for the next phase of the operation.

Related: News Rescue- Boko Haram linked to Qatar, Western Powers

The next phase of the operations involves the identification and selection of the targets which had already been mapped out by the American Embassy. If buildings are the targets for attack, the weapons and technical equipment to be used are kept in safe houses.

The countdown to the attack involves ferrying of the insurgents and quarantine at safe houses for the H hour. After the attack, in the ensuing panic, the insurgents make their escape into safe houses to dispose the weapons and disappear and dissolve later into the local population. The technical angle of sending out e-mails and messages of responsibility for the attack to the media in the name of Boko Haram is done through secure telecoms equipment by the American programmers of the operation which can hardly be traced.

If the selected target is to be bombed by an IED, the building is cased for days and the devise inserted when security is lax. The devise is then detonated by an in-built timing mechanism or by a hand held detonator some distance away from where the bomb is placed. If on the hand, the attack is to be carried out by a suicide bomber, the person to carry it out would have been severely drugged with CIA manufactured LSD to disorientation. In his state of mind he would have no clue as to what he is programmed to do having been turned into a veritable human robot.

HOW THE US PLANS TO DISMEMBER NIGERIA BY 2015

nigeria break up

It is neither a coincidence nor guesswork that the National Intelligence Council of the United States Government estimated that Nigeria will disintegrate by the year 2015. The whole report actually is a coded statement of intentions on how using destabilization plots the US plans to eventually dismember Nigeria.

The whole goal of the destabilization campaign is to ensure that Nigeria is weakened internally by intractable crises leading up to 2015 when the next general elections are expected to come up. By that year there will be so much mutual suspicion among Nigerians that the elections itself might not hold or if they did at all will set the stage for a full rapture of the Nigerian state. By its calculation and design, the Nigerian state will be so fractious by then; it will be fully ripe for intervention and break up. It is in actualization of this plan that the US strategic planners on Nigeria have devised a three stage plan of implementation.

Stage 1: Pakistanizing Nigeria

With the scourge of Boko Haram as an existential reality, in the coming months the spate of bombings and attacks on public buildings are likely to escalate. High value symbolic targets like churches, mosques and large congregations of people of both faiths will be targeted. There will also be escalation in provocative statements and incitements by groups to violence. For good measure and effect, the bombings and attacks will be staged on days of observance of religious activities. The goal is to exacerbate tension and mutual suspicion among adherents of the two faiths in Nigeria and leading to sectarian violence. This pattern of destabilization operation is taken out of the Pakistani manual of destabilization where a sustained spate of CIA sponsored bombings and sectarian violence stretched the ability and resources of the law and order agencies to cope rendering the country weak and vulnerable to foreign intervention.

Stage 2: Internationalizing the Crisis

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Having the set the stage for an intractable sectarian violence pitting Christians against Muslims and between the various disparate groups in the country, there will be calls from the United States, European Union and United Nations for a halt to the violence. A plethora of advocacy groups around the world will struggle for the photo opportunity to mouth concerns about the carnage and humanitarian catastrophe. They will try to make a great show of providing humanitarian aid. For effect, there will be carpet bombing coverage by the International media on the Nigerian crisis with so-called experts discussing all the ramifications who will strive to create the impression that only benevolent foreign intervention could resolve the crisis.

There will be a deluge of international conferences at various capitals around the world all ostensibly aimed to save Nigerians from themselves. Meanwhile away from all the public flurry of activities, the US which initiated the crisis in the first place will be secretly drawing up plans to carve outNigeria for its strategic and economic benefits.

Stage 3: the Great Carve out under UN Mandate

jos10

Following worldwide outrage at the scale of carnage resulting from all out war among various sections of Nigeria secretly induced by the United States and its allies, the stage will now shift to the United Nations where debates will take place on how the world body will work to resolve the crisis.

There will be proposals first for an international peace keeping force to intervene and separate the warring groups and or for a UN mandate for various parts of Nigeria to come under mandated occupying powers. Of course behind the scenes the US and its allies would have secretly worked out which areas of Nigeria to occupy guided as it were by naked economic interests.

It is trite really which power or powers eventually occupies Nigeria for whatever reasons. By the time the UN comes to take a decision to hand over Nigeria for occupation under its mandate, no part of Nigeria will emerge or profit truly from the exercise. The rump areas of Nigeria will all come under occupation and puppet governments will then be set up at the behest of the occupying powers. Nigeria’s fall will be like that of humpty-dumpty, into pieces beyond recognition.

The main beneficiary will of course be the United States which started all this in the first place and which will be there to profit at the end. By engineering the break up of Nigeria, the United States would have eliminated a potential continental rival paving the way to the institution of a Pax Americana in Africa and secondly it would have limited its main global strategic rival China from direct access to badly needed energy and other mineral resources on the resource rich African continent.

QUESTIONS WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES AS NIGERIANS

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Against this background Nigerians need to stop and ask critical questions:

What real purpose does it serve to deliberately leak a supposedly classified report from a US Intelligence organ normally restricted to only a handful of US policy makers only, to the media and for good measure ensure its wide circulation in the country against whom the action is targeted?

Does that not indicate a statement of intent by the country that originated the report to serve as psychological intimidation for the purpose of softening up the targeted country making it ripe for intervention?

In any routine investigation of an act, investigators usually call in the statements of material witnesses before or after the act whether deliberately uttered or inadvertently; does the statement by the United States National Intelligence Council on the break up of Nigeria in 2015 not amount to culpability in this regard especially in view of the escalation in the seemingly intractable acts of subversive violence taking place in Nigeria after that statement was released and also in view of US antecedents in matters such as this around the world?

Why is it that a country which has always been known for its resilience and ability to resolve its problems without outside interference? Is this not indicative of the very Nigerian saying that the witch cried in the night and the child died in the morning?

Why is someone somewhere hell bent on engineering Nigerians to form the un-Nigerian habit of harbouring and perpetrating desperate, extreme and unforgiving actions against themselves?

Should we all 160million of us stand idly by and allow the United States achieve its selfish and diabolical aim of sowing discord in our country leaving us with widows, orphans and humanitarian problems as it has done in other places? Are we going to allow the labour of our heroes past which bequeathed us a nation second to none and reputed to be the backbone of Africa to die in vain?

From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan and Latin America, America’s track record around the world has been nothing but ugly. In the words of its own statesmen, America has no permanent friends but permanents interests which translate into a healthy and utter disregard to the sensitivities and interests of other countries. That has pretty much formed the basis of US interaction around the world. The same situation will play itself out if we allow them in to our country.

Nigerians let us stop and think before we allow the big bad wolf in, for we will have nobody but ourselves to blame when our chickens start to get missing.

WATCH OUT FOR THE NEXT REPORT FROM GREENWHITE COALITION:

FOCUS ON TERENCE P. McCULLEY, AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN NIGERIA.

A few Posers;

He is one of America’s top Foreign Service officers and in the parlance of the State Department, an “old Africa hand”. Do you know that Terence P. McCulley, the current United States Ambassador to Nigeria was one of the architects of the Africa Crisis Response Initiative, ACRI which sought to undermine Nigeria’s involvement in ECOMOG?

Do you also know that he was also among the prominent resource persons that worked on establishing AFRICOM?

Do you also know that Ambassador McCulley’s alternate designation is State Department Coordinator of the AFRICOM from which position he is to diplomatically sell and smoothen the way for the entry of AFRICOM into Nigeria?

Do you know too that his main brief as Ambassador to Nigeria is to coordinate activities of the United States Government using the convenient cover of the Embassy of the United States inNigeria?

Do you also know that the full classified report by the United States National Intelligence Council on the possible break up of Nigeria which parts were only selectively released contains details of how the US plans to carry out this desired end?

The full details of the bombing of the UN Building in Abuja; who did it and how it was done.

You might also need to know real mission of the so-called foreign security experts who came to “investigate” the bombing. Did they really come to investigate the incident and provide the details of their actual findings to Nigerian authorities or their real brief was mop up any stray evidence from the bombing site in order to obscure the involvement of those who sponsored the act?

The US Embassy in Nigeria operates a network of so-called safe houses all over Nigeria from where it runs various subversive operations including electronic intelligence, surveillance, planning and carrying out of covert operations in Nigeria.

We will provide details of the locations and addresses of such safe houses in Nigeria in the next GREENWHITE COALITION Report.

About the GREENWHITE COALITION.

The GREENWHITE COALITION as the name implies, is inspired from the colours of the Nigerian flag and has set out to rally Nigerians to the flag in defence of the greater interest of the Nigerian nation in the face of plans by the United States to destroy our country and our future.

It is a citizen’s volunteer watchdog made up of Nigerians of all ethnic groups and religious persuasions who are alarmed at the dark plans of the United States of America to break up our dear country.

We have taken it upon ourselves to spare no effort to expose and thwart the United States Government from carrying out its diabolical plans in Nigeria. For this we are dedicated to ferreting out information and plan counter actions against any untoward moves by the United States Government in Nigeria.

In this endeavour we are fortunate to count on the support of well placed functionaries of the United States Government and other highly informed sympathizers who supply us with valuable inside information on the intentions of the United States Government as it affects Nigeria. These persons are themselves alarmed and appalled by the fact that the Government machinery of the United States has been hijacked by rogue elements denying the vast majority of American citizens their fundamental constitutional rights as envisaged by the founding fathers of America. Needless to say that these persons among who are those who served America diligently are aghast at the foreign policy of the American government which purports to act in protection of the American people but in reality protects the corrupt corporate elements that have taken America and Americans hostage.

In the coming days and months the GREENWHITE COALITION will manifest in many ways legally in the Nigerian public domain in its efforts to prevent our country from coming under the American boot.

This write up is the first in the series. Many more will come with pinpoint expose of the American Government plans against Nigeria.

The United States Government is hereby put on notice; we will not allow our women to be turned to widows and our children orphans as in Iraq, and elsewhere. We will not be turned to refugees at the mercy of so-called humanitarian charities. Nigeria must take its place under the sun.

Atheling P Reginald Mavengira is founder and Chairman of APRM Capital Holdings. APRM-Capital Holdings is a brokerage and investment advisory firm/

Drug Trade
Source: Top-Criminal-Justice-Schools.net

How Big Is the Drug Trade?

With the recent capture of “El Chapo,” the richest drug cartel leader in the world, let’s take a look at what he was known for — a global drug trade.

It’s a big question.
There’s a world of drugs out there:
Methamphetamine
Amphetamines
Cannabis
Heroin
Opium
Cocaine
Ecstasy
Hallucinogens

And a world of drug users…

Drug Users by Region:

Africa:

Cannabis Users-
Lower estimate-27,680,000
Upper estimate-52,790,000
Average-16,735,000

Opiate Users-
Lower estimate-680,000
Upper estimate-2,930,000
Average-1,805,000

Cocaine Users-
Lower estimate-1,020,000
Upper estimate-2,670,000
Average-1,845,000

Amphetamine Users-
Lower estimate-1,550,000
Upper estimate-5,200,000
Average-3,375,000

Ecstasy users-
Lower estimate-350,000
Upper estimate-1,930,000
Average-1,140,000

The Americas:
North America:
Cannibis Users-
Lower estimate-29,950,000
Upper estimate-29,950,000
Average-29,950,000

Opiate Users-
Lower estimate-1,290,000
Upper estimate-1,380,000
Average-1,335,000

Cocaine Users-
Lower estimate-6,170,000
Upper estimate-6,170,000
Average-6,170,000

Amphetamine Users-
Lower estimate-3,090,000
Upper estimate-3,200,000
Average-3,150,000

Ecstasy Users-
Lower estimate-2,490,000
Upper estimate-2,490,000
Average-2,490,000

Caribbean and South/Central America:

Cannabis Users-
Lower estimate-8,260,000
Upper estimate-10,080,000
Average-9,170,000

Opiate Users-
Lower estimate-1,000,000
Upper estimate-1,060,000
Average-1,030,000

Cocaine Users-
Lower estimate-2,550,000
Upper estimate-2,910,000
Average-2,732,500

Amphetamine Users-
Lower estimate-1,670,000
Upper estimate-2,690,000
Average-2,180,000

Ecstasy Users-
Lower estimate-550,000
Upper estimate-3,031,000
Average-1,790500

Asia:

Cannabis Users-
Lower estimate-31,510,000
Upper estimate-64,580,000
Average-48,045,000

Opiate Users-
Lower estimate-6,446,000
Upper estimate-12,540,000
Average-9,493,000

Cocaine Users-
Lower estimate-430,000
Upper estimate-2,270,000
Average-1,350,000

Amphetamine Users-
Lower estimate-4,430,000
Upper estimate-37,990,000
Average-21,210,000

Ecstasy Users-
Lower estimate-2,370,000
Upper estimate-15,620,000
Average-8,995,000

Europe:

Cannabis Users-
Lower estimate-29,370,000
Upper estimate-29,990,000
Average-29,680,000

Opiate Users-
Lower estimate-3,290,000
Upper estimate-3,820,000
Average-3,555,000

Cocaine Users-
Lower estimate-4,570,000
Upper estimate-4,970,000
Average-4,770,000

Amphetamine Users-
Lower estimate-2,500,000
Upper estimate-3,190,000
Average-2,845,000

Ecstasy Users-
Lower estimate-3,850,000
Upper estimate-4,080,000
Average-3,965,000

Global Numbers:

Cannabis Users-
Lower estimate-128,910,000
Upper estimate-190,750,000
Average-159,830,000

Opiate Users-
Lower estimate-12,840,000
Upper estimate-21,880,000
Average-17,360,000

Cocaine Users-
Lower estimate-15,070,000
Upper estimate-19,380,000
Average-17,225,000

Amphetamine Users-
Lower estimate-13,710,000
Upper estimate-52,900,000
Average-33,305,000

Ecstasy Users-
Lower estimate-10,540,000
Upper estimate-25,820,000
Average-18,180,000

Which equals A LOT of dough

Estimated annual value of global criminal markets in the 2000′s
Cocaine: $88 billion USD
Opiates: $65 billion USD

By comparison, only $1 billion in criminal firearms markets.
That’s 153 times bigger than the criminal firearms trade.
– (And that’s only counting Cocaine and Opiates)

By Value, most drugs originate in 3 nations.

Afghanistan, Colombia, and Peru manufacture a majority of cocaine and heroine.

Top destinations for Afghani Heroin:

  1. Europe
  2. Russian Federation
  3. China
  4. The Americas
  5. Africa

Top destinations for Afghani Opium

  1. Iran
  2. Europe
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Pakistan
  5. Africa

Top destinations for Peruvian and Colombian Cocaine:

  1. North America (40% of global annual users)
  2. EU
  3. South America/Central America/Caribbean
  4. Africa
  5. Asia

Once the money gets rolling…

Cocaine:
Pan-American Route:
With drugs, you pay for risk, as much as the product itself.
1 kilo = $2,000 in Colombia or Peru
1 kilo = $10,000 in Mexico
1 kilo = $30,000 in the U.S.
Or broken up into grams = $100,000 in U.S.

There’s no stopping it.

Even with a wall at the border drug traffickers use:
Catapults (to throw packages over the wall)
Planes (over the wall)
-Cesnas to 747′s.[2]
(747′s can carry 13 tons of cocaine)
(that’s $1.179 billion in cocaine once it’s in America and parceled out)
Boats (around the wall)
Tunnels (below the wall)
Sandbag Bridges (over rivers)

When your trafficking a 100 kilos, a wrecked Cesna, a sunk boat, or a broken tunnel is a cost you can deal with.

The U.S. is the single largest customer base of drugs worldwide.

Estimates for US drug expenditures:[in billions USD]
Cocaine: 28
Heroin: 27
Marijuana: 41
Meth: 13

Former Mexican President Porfirio Diaz–“Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.” [2]

Colombian and Mexican Cartels take in $18-$39 billion from US sales each year.
$6.6 billion = Mexican Cartel gross revenue.
50% of this is made by the Sinaloa Cartel
Equals $3 billion in revenue.
About 1/2 of Facebook’s revenue
Close to Netflix’s revenue
And that’s just the cartels of two countries.

These are some massive players.
With several drug kingpins landing on Forbes richest in the world list in recent years.

Drug Kingpins:

El Chapo Guzman:[2]
Forbes billionaire list: 2009-2012
Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1
Notable Achievements:
1st to traffic drugs through tunnel underneath border.
Known for using a catapult to throw drugs over the border.
Had a large pot farm guarded by armed guards in northern Wisconsin.
Escaped from a high security Mexican prison in a laundry basket.
Saw the future with methamphetamine, gave it away for free to establish a customer base.

Zhenli Ye Gon[2]
A Chinese-Mexican businessman believed to have sold precursors of meth to cartels.
And this is a lot of meth.
Meth ingredient seizures at ports:
22 tons in October 2009; 88 tons in May 2010; 252 tons December 2012

Zhenli is a notorious gambler. [2]
Losing so much at a casino that they gifted him a Rolls-Royce.
How much do you have to lose to be given a Rolls-Royce?
$72 million was how much Zhenli lost at one casino that year.

Pablo Escobar:[4]
At his height had a fleet of:
16 planes
1 Learjet
6 helicopters
Boats
Remote control submarines.

Largest load: sent 25 tons of cocaine on a boat.

Spent $2,500 a month on rubber bands to stack money.
Wrote off 10% of income from “spoilage” by rats nibbling at stacks of money.

This is too much money to ignore. In the drug trade, if you can make it, users will always come.

How-big-is-drug-trade

Copyright; top-criminal-justice-schools.net, 2014

Citations:

  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2012/03/13/billionaire-druglords-el-chapo-guzman-pablo-escobar-the-ochoa-brothers/
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/magazine/how-a-mexican-drug-cartel-makes-its-billions.html?pagewanted=all&_r=3&
  3. https://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/WDR_2010/World_Drug_Report_2010_lo-res.pdf
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Escobar
  5. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/policy-and-research/wausid_results_report.pdf

As the Ukraine situation has worsened, unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Journalists and pundits must scour the Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new epithets to describe both.

Wherever I make presentations across America, the first question ominously asked during Q&A is always, “What about Putin?”

It’s time to share my thoughts which follow:

Putin obviously has his faults and makes mistakes. Based on my earlier experience with him, and the experiences of trusted people, including U.S. officials who have worked closely with him over a period of years, Putin most likely is a straight, reliable and exceptionally inventive man.

Author Sharon Tennison (right)

He is obviously a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became Russia’s second president.

I’ve stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000s –– I pondered on computer my thoughts and concerns, hoping eventually to include them in a book (which was published in 2011). The book explains my observations more thoroughly than this article. Like others who have had direct experience with this little known man, I’ve tried to no avail to avoid being labeled a “Putin apologist”. If one is even neutral about him, they are considered “soft on Putin” by pundits, news hounds and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just a program developer in the USSR and Russia for the past 30 years. But during this time, I’ve have had far more direct, on-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington’s officials.

I’ve been in country long enough to ponder on Russian history and culture deeply, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders. As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous American officials and U.S. businessmen who have had years of experience working with him––I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish”, or the other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St.Petersburg during the 1990s. Since all of the slander started, I’ve become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I’ve read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone “talk-ins” with Russian citizens). I’ve been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role he never anticipated––and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances. If the latter is the case, and I think it is, he should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. It’s not by accident that Forbes declared him the most Powerful Leader of 2013, replacing Obama who was given the title for 2012. The following is my one personal experience with Putin.

The year was 1992: It was two years after the implosion of communism; the place was St.Petersburg. For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the two countries and hopefully to help Soviet people to get beyond their entrenched top-down mentalities. A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made. My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit. He inquired about my reason for coming in. After scanning the proposal I provided he began asking intelligent questions. After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question.

I became aware that this interviewer was different from other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners with hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for the Americans’ requests. CCI stood on the principle that we would never, never give bribes. This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor. After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not. A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all. He simply and kindly showed us to the door. Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, “Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn’t ask us for a trip to the US or something valuable!” I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight––it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

1994: U.S. Consul General Jack Gosnell put in an SOS call to me in St.Petersburg. He had 14 Congress members and the new American Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, coming to St.Petersburg in the next three days. He needed immediate help. I scurried over to the Consulate and learned that Jack intended me to brief this auspicious delegation and the incoming ambassador. I was stunned but he insisted. They were coming from Moscow and were furious about how U.S. funding was being wasted there. Jack wanted them to hear the”good news” about CCI’s programs that were showing fine results. In the next 24 hours Jack and I also set up “home” meetings in a dozen Russian entrepreneurs’ small apartments for the arriving dignitaries (St.Petersburg State Department people were aghast, since it had never been done before––but Jack overruled). Only later in 2000, did I learn of Jack’s former three-year experience with Vladimir Putin in the 1990s while the latter was running the city for Mayor Sobchak. More on this further down.

December 31, 1999: With no warning, at the turn of the year, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin. On hearing the news, I thought surely not the Putin I remembered––he could never lead Russia. The next day a NYT article included a photo. Yes, it was the same Putin I’d met years ago! I was shocked and dismayed, telling friends, “This is a disaster for Russia, I’ve spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent––he will never be able to relate to Russia’s masses.” Further, I lamented: “For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen: 1) The arrogant young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia’s 89 regions”. It was clear to me that the man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia’s overriding twin challenges.

February 2000: Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia’s oligarchs on edge. In February a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer: “What should be the relationship with the so-called oligarchs? The same as anyone else. The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop.” This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West’s capitalists nervous. After all, these oligarchs were wealthy untouchable businessmen––good capitalists, never mind that they got their enterprises illegally and were putting their profits in offshore banks.

Four months later Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs and gave them his deal: They could keep their illegally-gained wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they would not be nationalized …. IF taxes were paid on their revenues and if they personally stayed out of politics. This was the first of Putin’s “elegant solutions” to the near impossible challenges facing the new Russia. But the deal also put Putin in crosshairs with US media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The latter became highly political, didn’t pay taxes, and prior to being apprehended and jailed was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. Unfortunately, to U.S. media and governing structures, Khodorkovsky became a martyr (and remains so up to today).

March 2000: I arrived in St.Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit. My first question was, “Lena what do you think about your new president?” She laughed and retorted, “Volodya! I went to school with him!” She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education).

He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted. I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said, “Sharon in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural for Volodya to choose this career. My next question was, “What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?” Putting on her psychologist hat, she pondered and replied, “If left to his normal behaviors, he will watch them for a while to be sure what is going on, then he will throw up some flares to let them know that he is watching. If they don’t respond, he will address them personally, then if the behaviors don’t change–– some will be in prison in a couple of years.” I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to show up in real time.

Throughout the 2000′s: St.Petersburg’s many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the PEP business training program was working and how we could make the U.S. experience more valuable for their new small businesses. Most believed that the program had been enormously important, even life changing. Last, each was asked, “So what do you think of your new president?” None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia’s bureaucrats. Most answered similarly, “Putin registered my business a few years ago”. Next question, “So, how much did it cost you?” To a person they replied, “Putin didn’t charge anything”. One said, “We went to Putin’s desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were getting ‘rich on their seats.’”

Late 2000: Into Putin’s first year as Russia’s president, US officials seemed to me to be suspect that he would be antithetical to America’s interests––his every move was called into question in American media. I couldn’t understand why and was chronicling these happenings in my computer and newsletters.

Year 2001: Jack Gosnell (former USCG mentioned earlier) explained his relationship with Putin when the latter was deputy mayor of St.Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries. Jack related that Putin was always straight up, courteous and helpful. When Putin’s wife, Ludmila, was in a severe auto accident, Jack took the liberty (before informing Putin) to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland. When Jack told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by the generous offer, but ended saying that he couldn’t accept this favor, that Ludmila would have to recover in a Russian hospital. She did––although medical care in Russia was abominably bad in the 1990s.

A senior CSIS officer I was friends with in the 2000s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990s. He reported that he had no dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved dour reputation from U.S. media. Matter of fact, he closed the door at CSIS when we started talking about Putin. I guessed his comments wouldn’t be acceptable if others were listening.

Another former U.S. official who will go unidentified, also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.

I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin:

At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered:

“When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why? Without hesitating the answer came back: “

‘The knives were drawn’ when it was announced that Putin would be the next president.”

I questioned WHY? The answer: “I could never find out why––maybe because he was KGB.” I offered that Bush #I, was head of the CIA. The reply was, “That would have made no difference, he was our guy.”

The second was a former State Department official with whom I recently shared a radio interview on Russia. Afterward when we were chatting, I remarked, “You might be interested to know that I’ve collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say they had no negative experiences with Putin and there was no evidence of taking bribes”. He firmly replied, “No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin.”

From 2001 up to today, I’ve watched the negative U.S. media mounting against Putin …. even accusations of assassinations, poisonings, and comparing him to Hitler.

No one yet has come up with any concrete evidence for these allegations. During this time, I’ve traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin’s watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food.

Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.

My 2013/14 Trips to Russia: In addition to St.Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today’s Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China). Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow.

We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets. Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations looks like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared. It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia’s presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.

So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia???

Like Lady MacBeth, do they protest too much?

Psychologists tell us that people (and countries?) project off on others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow”when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.

Could this be why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?

Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?

Could it be that we condemn Russia’s corruption, acting like the corruption within our corporate world doesn’t exist?

Could it be that we condemn their human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven’t solved our own?

Could it be that we accuse Russia of “reconstituting the USSR”––because of what we do to remain the world’s “hegemon”?

Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don’t want to face it?

Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?

Some of you were around Putin in the earlier years. Please share your opinions, pro and con …. confidentiality will be assured. It’s important to develop a composite picture of this demonized leader and get the record straight. I’m quite sure that 99% of those who excoriate him in mainstream media have had no personal contact with him at all. They write articles on hearsay, rumors and fabrication, or they read scripts others have written on their tele-prompters. This is how our nation gets its “news”, such as it is.

There is a well known code of ethics among us: Is it the Truth, Is it Fair, Does it build Friendship and Goodwill, and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?

It seems to me that if our nation’s leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.

As always your comments will be appreciated. Please resend this report to as many friends and colleagues as possible.

Sharon Tennison

Sharon Tennison is President and Founder of  the Center for Citizen Initiatives, [email protected]Author of  The Power of Impossible Ideas www.ccisf.org (under revision)

The Soviet Union no longer exists. The Russian Federation is not a socialist state. But the U.S. military and political establishment still seek to destroy Russia. That’s the object of the crisis the Pentagon, State Department and CIA are orchestrating in Ukraine.

What drives this seemingly irrational course of action?

The same thing that drove the George W. Bush regime to invade Iraq in 2003. The same thing that’s driving the violent anti-China rhetoric from the Pentagon and the White House: financial need and cold economic ­calculation.

Not the financial need of the hungry and homeless, of the millions who need jobs at living wages, of those who can’t pay their rent or mortgages or who must choose between heating and eating.

It’s the need of Wall Street bankers and corporate CEOs to pump up their profits, stock prices and rates of return on their invested capital amid a global economic slowdown caused by capitalist ­overproduction.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that the United States will replace Russia this year as the world’s top hydrocarbon energy producer. It says the U.S. will replace Saudi Arabia as the world’s No. 1 oil producer by 2015.

This is the result of the U.S. capitalist class investing hundreds of billions of dollars over the past 10 years in fracking — the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas from shale rock. ExxonMobil, the world’s most profitable company, spent $41 billion in 2010 to buy fracking giant XTO Energy. ExxonMobil is now the largest U.S. natural gas producer.

Chevron, Phillips 66, Valero, Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric are other top 10 Fortune 500 companies betting billions on the superprofits they hope fracking will bring. Some of them have ascended to the top 10 based on these investments. Halliburton, the Koch brothers and hedge funds like KKR are heavily invested. So is every major bank.

But these environment-destroying investments would not be profitable without the triple-digit oil prices of the past decade. These record prices were made possible by the violent suppression of Middle East and North African energy production by the Pentagon through war and sanctions.

Iraq War a bonanza for Big Oil

The U.S. invasion of Iraq devastated that country. And it hit hard at working class and oppressed communities in the United States. For Big Oil and Wall Street it was a bonanza.

In 2002, before U.S. invaders destroyed Iraq’s state-owned oil industry, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, a benchmark used by the oil industry, hovered around $20 a barrel. By April 2003, when U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad, WTI crude was over $40 a barrel. ExxonMobil and Chevron, the biggest U.S. oil companies, saw their profits rise nearly 300 percent.

By mid-2008, war threats and sanctions against Iran combined with the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to drive oil up to $147 a barrel. It was ExxonMobil’s most profitable year ever.

War in the Middle East made profitable the plunder of Canada’s tar sands, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and new mountaintop removal projects in Appalachia. It enabled the building of the Anglo-U.S.-owned Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from former Soviet Central Asia to the Mediterranean and new U.S. energy investments in Africa.

But capitalists will do what capitalists do. When profits and prices are booming, they will produce “more than the market can bear.” The third quarter of 2008 saw a global capitalist economic crisis and oil prices began to fall. Sanctions against Iran and Sudan, the 2011 U.S./NATO bombing of Libya and the CIA-orchestrated war in Syria, which blocks a potential Iranian oil pipeline to the Mediterranean, have slowed the decline but not reversed it.

Some analysts predict prices as low as $50 a barrel by 2015. Oil and natural gas prices tend to move in tandem, and oil prices of $60 to $80 a barrel are needed for most fracking projects to break even. Shale reserves with a value of $26 trillion at today’s prices could become worthless.

A crisis that disrupts the flow of Russian energy to Europe would change the picture radically. On April 14, CNBC announced “oil hovers near $108 as Ukrainian crisis worsens.”

‘Cold War’ chained Western Europe to U.S.

In the 1970s the Soviet Union was the world’s top energy producer. Much of its production was consumed domestically or provided to other socialist countries in barter arrangements. Western Europe relied on Arab and Iranian oil and gas sold by U.S. and British monopolies.

In the early 1980s, German and French banks financed a massive Soviet pipeline project, called Urengoi 6, to bring Siberian natural gas to Western Europe. The Reagan regime launched an overt and covert campaign to sabotage the project. (“A Tale of Two Pipelines,” Workers World, June 10, 2005) Washington wanted to hurt the Soviet economy, of course. It also wanted to keep Western Europe dependent on U.S. energy monopolies. The project was completed, however, and Soviet natural gas poured into Europe.

In 1998, Russia, now capitalist, responded to a speculative attack on its currency by devaluing the ruble. Oil fell below $11 a barrel, throwing the Western oil industry into a panic.

The U.S. responded with missiles and bombs. The target was not Russia but Iraq. Within three months the Clinton regime came up with an excuse for a massive bombing campaign against Iraq, which was already suffering from U.S.-orchestrated sanctions. Two years earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had admitted that sanctions had killed 567,000 Iraqi children. She said the “price was worth it.”

As bombs rained on Iraq, Energy Secretary William Richardson was begging U.S. oil executives to build oil and gas pipelines to former Soviet Central Asia to cement U.S. influence there. They told him it would not be worth it unless he could guarantee oil prices above $40 a barrel for a sustained period. It took the 2003 invasion of Iraq to do that.

War to restrict production

Energy is the world’s most profitable commodity. But other interests are at stake. The Pentagon needs to protect and expand its bloated budget, which faces “mandatory” cuts in 2016. The generals want to expand NATO to the east and put U.S. troops in the former Soviet Union. The military-industrial complex wants more arms sales to Eastern Europe, with Ukraine as a customer.

Then there is the heart of the system — Wall Street itself. Bankers and politicians know that war and crisis abroad drive capital into the United States, cutting the deficit, propping up the dollar and helping keep U.S. banks at the center of the world economy. Wall Street analysts hope and predict that capital flight from Russia alone could reach $150 billion this year, more than twice what it was in 2013.

The monopoly-dominated world capitalist market is saturated with commodities and capital. It is in a permanent battle because of a crisis that is unique to the capitalist system: overproduction. Bankers sit on trillions of dollars they cannot reinvest at an “acceptable” rate of profit.

The world imperialist system cannot absorb the productive capacity of the vast industrial-technological-scientific apparatus that exists in the former Soviet Union — just as it cannot absorb the labor power, the minds and capabilities of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The imperialist market has no room for the Eurasian Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Economic Cooperation Organization or the rising bloc of BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which Iran seeks to join. It has no room for the African Union or the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America.

The dominant mode of production in the above-mentioned blocs Is capitalist. But an important factor in their economic growth is the state-powered economy of the People’s Republic of China, a product of the great socialist revolution of 1949. Moreover, the state-owned sector of Russia’s economy has risen to 60 percent under the Putin administration.

The “Cold War” did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union, because it was driven not only by hostility to socialism but by the internal contradictions of capitalism itself.

In the “Cleveland massacre” of 1872, John D. Rockefeller drove hundreds of independent drillers out of business to create the Standard Oil trust. Apologists for capitalism have justified such practices as “creative destruction.” In its time of decay, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and its state apparatus must destroy in order to survive.

Image: Ukrainian nationalists shout slogans and raise arms during a rally marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of a Ukrainian Insurgents Army (UPA) in central Kiev, 14 October 2007. AFP Genia Savilov

Exclusive footage

These two full length videos reveal what the mainstream media does not want you to know. The Right Sector Neo Nazis which are an integral part of the coalition “government” are depicted by the NYT and the Washington Post as True Patriots and Nationalists. The horrendous crimes committed against fellow Ukrainians are not mentioned.

Realities are twisted upside down. The CIA is involved in training and advising Right Sector Brown Shirts.

Neo-Nazis heralded as Nationalists and Ultra-Conservatives are tacitly supported by the self proclaimed “international community”.

In turn, the Western media is complicit in fostering the support of an illegal proxy regime integrated by Neo-Nazis.

The crisis is casually blamed on Moscow. But the lies are being confronted by World public opinion. The credibility of Obama and his European allies is being questioned.

Rebirth of Fascism in its purest form in today’s Ukraine.

U.S. warmongers along with EU/NATO politicians have installed (through violent, artificial revolution) a pro-fascist junta government in Ukraine which unlawfully armed Ukrainian Neo-Nazis and are now trying to start a civil war within the country.

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Second Video


 

In declining to hear the case of Hedges v Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America.  Carl Mayer, Attorney for Chris Hedges, May 2014

President Barack Obama’s administration has that curious quality that marks it as authoritarian even as it embraces principles of liberty; an enemy of freedoms even as it claims to be promoting them in bookish fashion.  The tendency is part schizophrenic, part conscious bloody mindedness when it is found out.  Obama has shown a particular liking for various draconian laws which he hopes will sail past judicial and congressional scrutiny.  The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, signed by the President last December, was devil spawn, engendered by a security atmosphere that has the executive and law makers enthral.

The indefinite detention clause – section 1021, more specifically 1021(b)(2) – allows for the “indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at the discretion of the President.” It actually made its ignominious debut in the NDAA Act of 2012.  The wording is astonishingly bruising to civil liberties, and has received considerable criticism from a range of sources.  Public polling by OpenCongress.com showed a 98 per cent disapproval rating.  The ACLU considered the statute “particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.”  It can, in fact, be argued that the provision makes the entire domestic and global space of US policy a potential battlefield, governed by executive fiat.

The subsequent bill of 2013 contained amendments made by Congress attempted, in part, to limit the reach of the indefinite detention clause.  Sections 1031 to 1033 ostensibly attained those goals, affirming the right to due process for American citizens and the right of habeas corpus.  But the legislative Frankenstein would not go away – indefinite detention was simply something too good to let go.

On the legal front, a constitutional challenge was mounted by Christopher Hedges, Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran, and joined by Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Alexa O’Brien, Tangerine Bolen of RevolutionTruth, Birgitta Jonsdottir and Occupy London activist Kai Wargella. They were to be rudely disappointed.

Things began promisingly enough. In 2012, US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest was sufficiently troubled by the offending section to rule it unconstitutional and grant a permanent injunction. “Here, the stakes get no higher: indefinite military detention – potential detention during a war on terrorism that is not expected to end in the foreseeable future, if ever.  The Constitution requires specificity – and that specificity is absent.”  She also repelled suggestions by lawyers for the Obama government that the section be re-instated as they appealed the decision.

The US Court of Appeal for the 2nd circuit did two things. It reinstated the law, swallowing the argument that it was needed for national security purposes.  The claimants immediately got suspicious[1] – was it already being used to detain US citizens “in black sites, most likely dual citizens with roots in such countries as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen”?  The national security premise seemed too pressing.

Second, the court decided to make a spurious legal exit in refusing to rule on the constitutionality of s. 1021(b)(2), citing the old issue of standing which was similarly used in the Supreme Court case of Clapper v Amnesty International USA (2013)[2]  In other words, those challenging the law could not show that the provision had any bearing on the government’s authority to indefinitely detain US citizens.  Those plaintiffs who were not US citizens could not show “a sufficient threat that the government will detain them” in the course of their conduct.  Similarly, in Clapper, the plaintiffs, of which Hedges was also one, could not show to the court’s satisfaction that secret wiretapping of US citizens under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was genuine in inflicting “real, unavoidable injury”.  The effects on such organizations as Amnesty International by wiretapping was “speculation”.

The refusal to hear the case of Hedges v Obama[3] by the Supreme Court on April 28, effectively affirming the appeals decision, threw the police state manual right back at the appellants.  A disgusted Hedges[4] showed justifiable frustration, calling it a “dirty game of judicial avoidance on two egregious violations of the Constitution.”

The rather contorted form of reasoning on the subject of proof and injury in surveillance and detention laws suggests that a patently authoritarian provision can’t be deemed unconstitutional unless it is proven to be directly exercised against the plaintiffs. If this can’t be shown, such reprehensible provisions will be allowed to remain on the books. If the proof be in the national security pudding, the judges were not interested in seeing, let alone tasting it.

As Daya Gamage[5], US national correspondent for the Asian Tribune suggested, “The United States set a precedent for other nations that face terrorist threats, internally or externally, letting the government indefinitely detain people – under military custody – it deems to have ‘substantially supported’ al Qaeda, the Taliban or ‘associated forces.’”

The hallmark of any tyranny is arbitrariness exercised without limits, without guardians, without those controls that soften the blows of authority.  Hedges argues that the United States has “entered a post-constitutional era.”  He sees courts compliant, subject to a corporate ideal that is propelling his country into a legal wilderness; where citizens are marginalised from legal redress against the abuses of state power; where the seemingly invisible hand of fascism is becoming more discernible.  But that era was well and truly marked by the Bush administration, whose legacy is being bolstered, rather than modified, by his duplicitous successor.  So much, it seems, for constitutional protections.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

On 14th April 2014, Boko Haram, an insurgent group operating in Nigeria, abducted up to 230 girls from their school in Chibok. The leader of the group, Abubakar Sheka, recently said in a video that the girls could be sold into slavery.

This is, by any standard, a horrendous crime.

In response to the abduction, there has been a campaign by people in Nigeria to draw attention to the plight of these girls, as a way of building up international pressure for their safe release.

In recent days, however, talk has also started to turn to a potential military response to the kidnapping. The Guardian have reported that ‘The United States and Britain have offered military and technical support to Nigeria to hunt down the Islamist group which has abducted a new batch of schoolgirls’. Britain itself is prepared  ‘to send special forces and intelligence gathering aircraft’.

The article also carries a quote from Barack Obama, which strongly suggests that any potential military response won’t just be about securing the release of these girls (if it’s even about that at all).

He has said that:

‘In the short term our goal is obviously to help the international community, and the Nigerian government, as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies’ but that ‘we’re also going to have to deal with the broader problem of organisations like this that . . . can cause such havoc in people’s day-to-day lives’.

Which does make it sound like any operation ostensibly designed to free these girls could just be the first shot in a wider war effort against Boko Haram.

The comments under the Guardian article are  utterly depressing, if you ask me.

A few examples of some of the more popular ones at the moment:

‘Hunt the bastards down and terminate them …. all of them’.

‘It is the morally right thing to do. But you know that this is one of those good deeds that won’t go unpunished by the frothing anti-West brigade’.

(This in response to someone pointing out that Nigeria has lots of oil)

‘There it is! Faux ‘left-wing’ intellectual and apologist for extremist religion in oil reference! Would you prefer we just let those innocent girls be sold into slavery then?’.

There is barely any dissent at all, and any dissent there is is being shouted down as callous, anti-Western nonsense.

I remember it being *exactly* the same in the run up to the French/British intervention in Mali in early 2013. That people needed our ‘help’, and that anyone who questioned France’s/Britain’s motives, and whether they were really ‘helping’, was similarly shouted down as a callous hater of Western civilisation. That French and Malian regime forces later went on to commit or facilitate major atrocities was all too easily overlooked. As was the fact that it was another ‘humanitarian intervention’, NATO’s bombing of Libya, which had helped destabilise Mali in the first place.

And when considering any military ‘intervention’ in Nigeria, it might be worth remembering a few things:

1. That the forces the U.S./U.K. et al would presumably be aiding – namely, the Nigerian Security Forces – are no shrinking violets themselves. According to Human Rights Watch’s 2014 World Report, they have been

‘implicated in various human rights violations with regard to the Boko Haram insurgency’, including ‘ the indiscriminate arrest, detention, torture, and extra-judicial killing of those suspected to be supporters or members of the Islamist group. Security forces razed and burned homes and properties in communities thought to harbor Boko Haram fighters. In Baga, a town in Borno state, Nigerian troops destroyed more than 2,000 buildings and allegedly killed scores of people, apparently in retaliation for the killing of a soldier by Boko Haram’.

2.  That the U.S./U.K. have no humanitarian credibility, and as part of other ‘anti-terror’ campaigns are employing things like extra-judicial execution, long term detention without trial, the bombing of funerals and rescuers, death squad activity, the treating of all military aged males as ‘militants’, and massacres. They have unaccountably killed thousands of women and girls in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, and strongly support formally misogynistic states in places like Saudi Arabia.

3. That Nigeria does indeed have considerable oil reserves. It is the largest producer in Africa, and Shell has a significant presence there, with a strong influence over the Nigerian government itself, according to leaked diplomatic cables. In February 2014, it was reported by AFP that ‘The leader of radical Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, threatened attacks in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region in a new video released on Wednesday’.

Could the U.S./U.K.’s apparent new found determination to take on Boko Haram be, in part, a response to these threats to the oil industry, and a desire to protect the oil industry and the corrupt Nigerian state in general?

I think these are all legitimate questions to be asking, or points to be making, and my hunch is that they won’t be asked or made too frequently in corporate media. And to ask such questions is not, as so many are suggesting, to express indifference to the fate of the abducted girls.

Personally, I very much doubt most of the people calling for ‘Western’ military intervention in Nigeria to ‘save’ these girls know a great a deal about the politics of the country. I will freely admit that I don’t either. That is perhaps why it’s so easy to frame this issue as a simple matter of Doing Good Vs Unspeakable Evil, and have people buy into that (there is also, if you ask me, a fair bit of racism and ‘white saviour’ stuff going on).

But I do know a thing or two about the politics of the U.K. and U.S., and how they regularly exploit humanitarian crises (real or imagined) to further their own strategic aims, often leaving a trail of destruction and misery in their wake – again, all too easily ignored by media and supporters of such ‘interventions’.

USAID has a history of working with the CIA as a front operation to help them spread that special kind of “democracy” (read as IMF inspired brutal repression) in nations where we have installed brutal dictators in support of our neoliberal economic agenda.

” In South Vietnam, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)provided cover for CIA operatives so widely that the two became almost synonymous.” Washington Post

As the bodies of labor union reps and dissidents are piling up on the stairwells of Odessa and the streets of eastern Ukraine, today it is reported that USAID needs another couple million to support pro-Western “media outlets” in the run-up to the sham election to be held in the troubled state.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has promised to beef up financial aid for Ukraine’s pro-Western media outlets amid a mounting dispute between the West and Russia. Press TV

Two weeks ago it was reported that the agency created a Twitter-like program (ZunZuneo) in Cuba with the express purpose of fostering dissent and creating unrest in the nation with the hopes of setting up yet another regime change color revolution. Turns out their efforts were not limited to Cuba.

“In a number of countries, including Venezuela and Bolivia, USAID is acting more as an agency involved in covert action, like the CIA, than as an aid or development agency.” Marc Weisbrot

It should be noted that USAID’s efforts aren’t limited to White Hat psyops.

“Guatemala: By 1970, USAID trained over 30,000 Guatemalan police to suppress local leftists, according to William Blum’s book “Killing Hope.” Just over a decade later, Guatemalan death squads under US-backed dictator Rios Montt unleashed a genocide on the Mayan peasants.” Pando Daily

— The Vietnam War: USAID trained police and ran civilian jails. USAID also participated in the “soft” side of the Phoenix Program — funding the failed“Land to the Tillers” program granting peasants small plots of land, a program that has a poor track record, but serves some important foreign policy/propaganda purpose every time it’s rolled out because it remains one of the most enduring boondoggles in the USAID kit. Pando Daily

“[I]n the early 1960s agents from the State Department, Green Berets, CIA, and USAID organized two paramilitary groups that would become the backbone of that country’s death squad system.”  Greg Grandin

They were even involved in Russia during the neoliberal Yeltsin disaster.

USAID funded Chubais through public-private organizations and a Harvard program that was so patently corrupt, Harvard and its program directors including economist Andrei Shleifer were sued by the US Department of Justice for “conspiring to defraud” the US government (not to mention Russians). USAID also paid public relations giant Burson-Marsteller to sell the disastrous voucher program to the Russian public, in a mass media advertising blitz that promoted Chubais’ political party on the eve of parliamentary elections. It was this USAID funded privatization, and the USAID-backed Russia “democrats,” which soured Russians on market capitalism and democracy (renamed “dermokratsia” or “shitocracy” in Russian). Pando Daily

This USAID effort in Ukraine is nothing new. They’ve been at this trick for years and years going back to a time when President Peace Prize was a toddler at his mother’s side in Indonesia working for another IMF/World Bank creation; one of the most brutal dictators in human history, Suharto (an argument can be made also for our “darling dictator” of Rwanda, Paul Kagame).

(Keep in mind, at that point, ’65, “(USAID) provided cover for CIA operatives so widely that the two became almost synonymous”)

“Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, worked on micro-financing projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ford Foundation, both linked to the CIA, that helped prop up dictatorships in Indonesia and Pakistan. After Suharto seized power in 1965, USAID returned to Indonesia, with Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro as one of its chief employees, to help Suharto create the New Order (Orde Baru) that would usher in decades of fascist and kleptocratic rule.” source

Her exact roll there is questionable at best. The “micro-financing projects” were simply cover for getting people on the ground in the targeted areas of Indonesia to rat-out the local leftists and political organizers. The “loans’ were probably payments for the information which was turned over to the CIA and from there to Suharto’s death squads for the formation of his infamous lists.

Indonesia, 1963-65. U.S. trained unionist spies laid groundwork for post 1965 coup gestapu massacre of leftists by gathering intelligence on leftist unionists. Counterspy, Winter 1979, p. 27

Indonesia, 1965-66. “U.S. officials’ lists aided Indonesian blood bath in ’60s.” U.S. officials supplied the names of thousands of members of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) to the army that was hunting them down and killing them in a crackdown branded as one of the century’s worst massacres, former U.S. Diplomats and CIA officials say. Robert J. Martens, Former member of embassy’s political section said, “it really was a big help to the army…. They probably killed a lot of people…” Martens said. He headed an embassy group of state Department and CIA officials that spent two years compiling the lists. He said he delivered them to an army intermediary. The lists were a detailed who’s who of the leadership of the PKI that included names of provincial, city and other local PKI members and leaders of mass organizations. Ambassador Marshall Green, his deputy Jack Lydman, and political section chief Edward Masters admitted approving the release of the names. Army intermediary was an aide to Adam Malik. The aide, Tirta Kentjana Adhyatman, confirmed that he had met with Martens and received lists of thousands of names…given to Sukarno’s HQs. Information on who captured and killed came to Americans from Suharto’s HQs, according to former CIA deputy chief of station Joseph Lazarsky. Lazarsky said “we were getting a good account in Jakarta of who was being picked up,”…”the army had a ‘shooting list’ of about 4,000 to 5,000 people.” Lazarsky said the check-off work was also carried out at CIA’s intelligence directorate in D.C. By end of January 1966, “the checked off names were so numerous the CIA analysts in Washington concluded the PKI leadership had been destroyed.” Washington Post, 5/21/1990, A5

Indonesia, 1965-66 Indonesian generals approached U.S. for equipment “to arm Moslem and nationalist youths for use in central Java against the PKI.” Washington responded by supplying covert aid, dispatched as “medicines.” Washington Post, 6/13/1990, A 22 Serendipity

So going back to Friday’s slaughter of dissidents and labor leaders in Odessa. Sound familiar?

And now USAID is right there on the ground, coincidentally enough, days after it became known that the CIA and the FBI are in Ukraine aiding yet another unelected brutal IMF-backed dictator on our behalf.

When India was neoliberalized, far-right thugs backed by and even steered by local police, roamed the streets at night targeting the homes of various leftists such as labor leaders, writers and political opposition and dissidents. Countless people were dragged from their homes and beaten to death by the mobs in front of their wives and children while the law stood by and did nothing. This was done too ensure the stability of the new neoliberal system for years to come.

Under the selective radar of mainstream media, Barack Obama has been carving out a whole new level of support for Monsanto and other destructive biotech giants.

From Scott Creighton, “Obama Pitches India Model of GM Genocide to Africa”:

“At the G8 Summit held two weeks ago at Camp David, President Obama met with private industry and African heads of state to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a euphemism for monocultured, genetically modified crops and toxic agrochemicals aimed at making poor farmers debt slaves to corporations, while destroying the ecosphere for profit.

“But African civil society wants no part of this latest Monsanto aligned ‘public private partnership.’ Whatever will the progressives do now that their flawless hero has teamed up with their most hated nemesis [Monsanto] to exploit an entire continent like they did to India not that long ago?…

“With a commitment of $3 billion, Obama plans to ‘partner up’ with mega-multinationals like Monsanto, Diageo, Dupont, Cargill, Vodafone, Walmart, Pepsico, Prudential, Syngenta International, and Swiss Re because, as one USAID representative says ‘There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.’

“Of course, that’s an outrageous lie. Private citizens have been building their own silos for centuries. But it’s true that only the biowreck engineers will foist patented seeds and toxic chemicals on Africa.”

Under the guise of replacing the “donor-recipient model” of charity with “smart business development that’s a win-win for everybody,” a new level of corporate-government colonialism is aimed at the continent of Africa. The new and improved strategy means bigger profits for the few and greater suffering and displacement for the many.

Support self-sufficiency for the small farmer? Expand the number of small farms growing nutritious and non-toxic food? Never heard of it. Not on the agenda—except in false propaganda statements and promises.

No, instead, the idea is putting small farmers into debt to Monsanto for GMO seeds and highly toxic herbicides, so they can grow (until they go bankrupt) noxious GMO food crops. Small farms will eventually be snapped up by big ag corporations.

Obama? A warrior against corporations on behalf of the people? It’s long past the time for ripping that false mask away.

 During his 2008 campaign for president, Barack Obama transmitted signals that he understood the GMO issue. Several key anti-GMO activists were impressed. They thought Obama, once in the White House, would listen to their concerns and act on them.

These activists weren’t just reading tea leaves. On the campaign trail, Obama said: “Let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.”

Making the distinction between GMO and non-GMO was certainly an indication that Obama, unlike the FDA and USDA, saw there was an important line to draw in the sand.

Beyond that, Obama was promising a new era of transparency in government. He was adamant in assuring that, if elected, his administration wouldn’t do business in “the old way.” He would be “responsive to people’s needs.”

 Then came the reality.

After the election, people who had been working to label GMO food and warn the public of its huge dangers were shocked to the core. They saw Obama had been pulling a bait and switch.

After the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:

At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.

As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.

As the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.

As the new counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont.

As the new head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had previously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture research.

We should also remember that Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm. That firm was counsel to Monsanto.

Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court.

The deck was stacked. Obama hadn’t simply made honest mistakes. Obama hadn’t just failed to exercise proper oversight in selecting appointees. He wasn’t just experiencing a failure of short-term memory. He was staking out territory on behalf of Monsanto and other GMO corporate giants.

And now let us look at what key Obama appointees have wrought for their true bosses. Let’s see what GMO crops have walked through the open door of the Obama presidency.

Monsanto GMO alfalfa.

Monsanto GMO sugar beets.

Monsanto GMO Bt soybean.

Coming soon: Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn.

Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol.

Syngenta GMO stacked corn.

Pioneer GMO soybean.

Syngenta GMO Bt cotton.

Bayer GMO cotton.

ATryn, an anti-clotting agent from the milk of transgenic goats.

A GMO papaya strain.

And perhaps, soon, genetically engineered salmon and apples.

This is an extraordinary parade. It, in fact, makes Barack Obama the most GMO-dedicated politician in America.

You don’t attain that position through errors or oversights. Obama was, all along, a stealth operative on behalf of Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, and corporate control of the future of agriculture.

From this perspective, Michelle Obama’s campaign for gardens and clean, organic, nutritious food is nothing more than a diversion, a cover story floated to obscure what her husband has actually been doing.

Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

We are talking about a president who presented himself, and was believed by many to be, an extraordinary departure from politics as usual.

Not only was that a wrong assessment, Obama was lying all along. He was, and he still is, Monsanto’s man in Washington.

 To those people who fight for GMO labeling and the outlawing of GMO crops, and against the decimation of the food supply and the destruction of human health, but still believe Obama is a beacon in bleak times:

Wake up.

Sources include:

http://redgreenandblue.org/2012/02/02/monsanto-employees-in-the-halls-of-government-part-2/

 http://redgreenandblue.org/2011/02/09/monsanto-employees-in-the-halls-of-government/

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/10/fda-labeling-gmo-genetically-modified-foods

http://fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2011/feb/15/update-obama-goes-rogue-gmos-tell-him-say-no-monsa/

 http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/genetically-engineered-foods/

http://news.yahoo.com/not-altruistic-truth-behind-obamas-global-food-security-174700462.html

Jon Rappoport is an and journalist. He was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at

 

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

I want to start by welcoming once more our guest, the President of Switzerland and current head of the OSCE, and I want to thank him for the attention he is giving to settling this acute crisis in Ukraine. None of us are indifferent to what is happening there. The situation has us all very concerned.

Press statements and replies to journalists’ questions. With President of Switzerland and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter.

Let me repeat once more that in Russia’s view the blame for the crisis that emerged in Ukraine and is now taking the worst direction in its developments lies with those who organised the coup d’etat in Kiev on February 22-23, and have not yet taken the trouble to disarm right-wing radical and nationalist groups.

But no matter what the case, we must look for ways out of the situation as it is today. We all have an interest in ending this crisis, Ukraine and its people above all. Thus I say that we all want the crisis to end as soon as possible and in such a way that takes into account the interests of all people in Ukraine no matter where they live. The discussion with Mr President [of Switzerland] showed that our approaches to possible solutions to the crisis have much in common. 

Russia urgently appeals to the authorities in Kiev to cease immediately all military and punitive operations in southeast Ukraine. This is not an effective means of resolving internal political conflicts and, on the contrary, will only deepen the divisions.

We welcome the release of Mr [Pavel] Gubarev, but we hope to see all the other political prisoners released too. We think the most important thing now is to launch direct dialogue, genuine, full-fledged dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine. This dialogue could give people from southeast Ukraine the chance to see that their lawful rights in Ukraine really will be guaranteed.

In this context, we appeal too, to representatives of southeast Ukraine and supporters of federalisation to hold off the referendum scheduled for May 11, in order to give this dialogue the conditions it needs to have a chance.

Let me stress that the presidential election the Kiev authorities plan to hold is a step in the right direction, but it will not solve anything unless all of Ukraine’s people first understand how their rights will be guaranteed once the election has taken place.

In this respect, I hold the same position as Mr President [of Switzerland], because we both believe that direct dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of southeast Ukraine is the key to settling this crisis.

But one of the essential conditions for getting dialogue underway is an unconditional end to the use of force, whether with the help of the armed forces, which is completely unacceptable in the modern world, or through the use of illegal armed radical groups. Russia is ready to contribute as it can to resolving the Ukrainian crisis and playing an active and positive part in the Geneva process.

QUESTION: President Putin,

The Ukrainian government has made recent statements to the effect that they are ready to begin broad decentralisation in the country. First of all, does this decentralisation suit you?

Second, we hear that the violence must end and we must settle the conflict. We already heard similar words in Geneva.

My question therefore is what concrete steps can you take, because the experts all say that Moscow holds the key to resolving the conflict. How can you influence people in eastern Ukraine, the so-called separatists? What concrete steps are needed to de-escalate the conflict?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: First, the idea that Russia holds the key to resolving the problem is a trick thought up by our Western partners and does not have any grounds in reality. No sooner do our colleagues in Europe or the US drive the situation into a dead end, they always say that Moscow holds the keys to a solution and put all the responsibility on us. 

The responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine now lies with the people who carried out an anti-constitutional seizure of power, a coup d’etat, and with those who supported these actions and gave them financial, political, information and other kinds of support and pushed the situation to the tragic events that took place in Odessa. It’s quite simply blood-chilling to watch the footage of those events.

Russia will take every necessary step of course and do everything within its power to settle the situation. I can understand the people in southeast Ukraine, who say that if others can do what they like in Kiev, carry out a coup d’etat, take up arms and seize government buildings, police stations and military garrisons, then why shouldn’t they be allowed to defend their interests and lawful rights?

As for whether proposed measures suit Russia or not, we are not a party to this conflict; the parties to the conflict are in Ukraine itself. We were told repeatedly that our forces by the Ukrainian border were a source of concern. We have withdrawn our forces and they are now not on the Ukrainian border but are carrying out their regular exercises at the test grounds. This can be easily verified using modern intelligence techniques, including from space, where everything can be seen. We helped to secure the OSCE military observers’ release and I think also made a contribution to defusing the situation.

You asked what we can do now. As I said, what is needed is direct, full-fledged and equal dialogue between the Kiev authorities and the representatives of people in southeast Ukraine.

I spoke recently with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, who proposed organising this dialogue in the form of a round table. We support this. I think it is a good idea and we will do everything we can to help make it happen. We must do everything possible to ensure that people in southeast Ukraine understand, feel and believe that after the Ukrainian presidential election on May 24 or 25 their lawful rights will be reliably guaranteed.

This is the real issue, not the presidential election, but ensuring that people in the southeast know that they won’t be abandoned and deceived. This is the crux of the matter, and it is for this that we need the dialogue we have been talking about today.

QUESTION: How realistic is a second round of talks in Geneva, Geneva-2? And how realistic is it to launch internal talks between the different groups in Ukraine in a situation when the parties have diametrically opposed positions to a degree never seen before in Ukraine’s history?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I don’t know how realistic a Geneva-2 round of talks or even internal political talks in Ukraine itself would be. I simply believe that if we want to find a long-term solution to the crisis in Ukraine, open, honest and equal dialogue is the only possible option.

Thank you.

Dialogue is probably the main thing. We have had past opportunities to talk. This is the third time this year that we are holding discussions. We met previously during the Olympic Games in Sochi and also just before the decision on establishing a special monitoring mission.

I would very much like to discuss the proposed roadmap with you today, and to look at it in real detail if possible, in order to start its implementation.

La Humanidad al borde del abismo

May 7th, 2014 by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

La  Humanidad se encuentra al borde del abismo.

Desde la llamada crisis de los misiles en 1962 nunca fue tan transparente el peligro de una guerra que podría conducir a su extinción.

La responsabilidad cabe al imperialismo, sobre todo al sistema de poder de los EEUU, la potencia que lo hegemoniza, aspirando a la dominación planetaria

El polo de la crisis está hoy en Ucrania. Partidos y organizaciones neofascistas tomaron el poder en Kiev con el apoyo y aplauso de Washington  y de los gobiernos de la Unión Europea.

Posteriormente a los acontecimientos de Crimea la campaña contra Rusia se intensificó, asumiendo amplitud mundial.

Sucesivas sanciones aprobadas por el presidente Obama y sus aliados europeos tienen como objectivo aquel país, acusado de crímenes que no cometió y de imaginarios proyectos de agresión. Son desde luego, regístrese, sanciones inéditas que inciden sobre personalidades y empresas, puniciones tan absurdas que Putin las define como «repugnantes».

En la ofensiva en desarrollo, Obama y sus aliados repiten diariamente que es necesario y urgente «frenar a Rusia», porque  ella se prepara para invadir Ucrania y anexar sus provincias orientales, mayoritariamente rusófonas que exigen mayor autonomía. Sin embargo, ni el presidente ni el Congreso presentan pruebas de esa supuesta intención.

Un gigantesco concierto desinformativo, montado por los grandes media internacionales, funciona como complemento de la campaña anti-rusa. Cadenas de televisión, periódicos, radios, webs de internet occidentales hacen la apología del «gobierno demócrata de Kiev» y presentan como bandoleros y terroristas los grupos armados que lo consideran ilegítimo.

Hay que recordar  que el Parlamento de Kiev exhibe su simpatía por el fascismo al discutir  un proyecto que suprime el feriado del 9 de mayo, conmemorativo de la derrota del Reich hitleriano.

En este contexto explosivo, EEUU reforzó su dispositivo militar en Polonia, enviando para el país 10 000 soldados y aviones de combate. El secretario general de la OTAN, perro de guardia del imperialismo, profundizó su discurso belicista.

Según Mike Whitney ( La Haine, 30.O4.14), Obama pretende instalar mas bases norteamericanas en Ásia Central , ampliar el cerco a China y crear condiciones para eliminar Rúsia como gran potencia euro-asiática.

El atentado contra el alcalde de Kharkov- defensor de mas autonomía para las provincias rusofonas – se insertó en una serie de acciones terroristas de bandos armaos y financiados por organizaciones occidentales.

Michel Chossudovsky ( odiario.info 22.04.14) iluminó bien detalles de la intervención militar indirecta de los EEUU en el sudeste ucraniano. Según el, unos 150 mercenarios norteamericanos de la empresa de «seguridad» Greystone Ltd, com sed en Barbados, siembran la violencia en el territorio con el objetivo de implantar allí el caos. El Departamento de Estado seria cómplice de la actuación de la Greystone.

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Rusia, Sergei Lavrov, confirmó la denuncia de Chossudovsky.

Los gobiernos de Polonia y de las repúblicas bálticas se esfuerzan para empujar los EEUU para el choque frontal con Rusia.

No sorprende que la extrema derecha europea acompañe con entusiasmo el agravamiento de la crisis. Según las últimas encuestas de opinión, los partidos neofascistas de Francia, Inglaterra, Holanda, Italia, Austria, Suecia, Dinamarca y Bélgica esperan ser beneficiados en las próximas elecciones para el Parlamento Europeo en consecuencia de la atmosfera de violencia  en Ucrania.

La angustia de las minorías rusofonas de Ucrania es comprensible. Mas sus pungentes llamamientos a la solidaridad de Rusia no ayudan a resolver la crisis. Al contrario.

No creo también que sea positivo el alarmismo de prestigiados intelectuales antimperialistas que esbozan el cuadro de una tercera guerra mundial con eventual recurso a armas nucleares.

Putin viene reaccionando con serenidad a las provocaciones de Obama y del Departamento de Estado. Está conciente de que el envio de tropas  rusas para el sureste ucraniano ofrecería a la Casa Blanca el pretexto para una intervención  militar directa de EEUU. Admitiendo que solo serian utilizados drones o armas convencionales , las consecuencias de una escalada militar en la Región serian siempre trágicas. Algo como prólogo a una guerra mundial.

Del imperialismo norteamericano se puede siempre esperar lo peor. La evolución y desenlace  de la situación creada en Ucrania  son imprevisibles.

Pero la fuerza más poderosa capaz de impedir una guerra apocalíptica es la lucha de los pueblos en defensa de la Paz.

Solamente  millones de hombres y mujeres tomando las calles en decenas de países para condenar la guerra pueden contribuir decisivamente para frenar la locura imperialista.

Tomar conciencia de esa realidad es muy difícil. Son tremendos los obstáculos .Mas es una exigencia de la defensa de la  Humanidad.

Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

Vila Nova de Gaia, 1 de Maio de 2014

 

 

 

Painting the World Crisis: Challenging Academic Ideas

May 7th, 2014 by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

Madrid Demonstrations 2012, Oil on canvas, 60cm x 60cm / 23.6 in x 23.6 in

‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly’. (Richard Bach)

Where does the work of art fit in during times of crisis? How does the internet influence the scope of art? Should the artist be looking at home or abroad? Why are many artists seemingly oblivious to the world collapsing around them? How can one be ‘authentic’ in an endlessly reproduced world? The artist can take on these problems of crisis, and try to understand and deal with them. Or the artist can retreat from the world, into the wilds of natural landscapes, forests and rivers (although with ongoing climate chaos even nature has become less of a stable retreat).

Recent years have seen the closure of many private art galleries in Ireland as the current economic crisis bites deeper and deeper. It has become more and more difficult for artists to survive financially from selling art alone. However, the crisis can free the artist up too in a number of ways. The artist can make art without any market constraints on size, content, medium etc. The artist is also forced into reconsidering what is art, what is the role of art in society and who is the audience for art?

Media Studies, Libya by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Oil on canvas
60cm x 120cm / 23.6 in x 47 in

Challenging academic ideas

The search for authenticity can be seen in the work of the nineteenth century French artist Gustave Courbet who managed to combine landscape painting with a social consciousness that was revolutionary in its challenge to academic ideas about art at that time. He painted the peasants and their harsh living conditions in a lively painterly way that married form and content. The difference with today is that the landscape has not changed as much as the social conditions in that the workers and peasants have been globalised and the extreme conditions are more likely to be seen now in ‘third world’ countries than at home.

As the ‘harsh conditions’ of life moved further and further away geographically, the artist became less and less affected by personal experience in the same way as Courbet was. The artist could live and survive in a bubble of wealth and produce whatever art that took their fancy. However, the economic and financial crises of the 21st century have burst that bubble and change at home often came from distant, exotic places we know little about. What has changed the distant murmuring into a loud, sometimes very chaotic, shouting has been the growth of satellite television and the internet. The instant communication of global digital technology can reveal problems on the other side of the world to us and, in turn, things happening here can be seen in previously ‘isolated’ parts of the globe.

Bangladeshi Factory by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Oil on canvas
60cm x 120cm / 23.6 in x 47 in

While the West has most of the advantages and products of a global market, the negative side of global industrial revolution reveals itself in the ghettos, slums and favelas that have grown up around the major metropolitan centres. Images, video and information about these situations have been uploaded to the internet the world over by travellers, reporters and by the local people themselves. The ability of people to empathise with the socio-political problems of complete strangers has led to the creation of many solidarity movements in the past and can be augmented by easy access to new material.

The growth of tourism has brought many of these problems directly to the attention of others as a knock-on effect of increasingly desperate governments relying on tourism to decrease unemployment. As awareness of the plight of others sparks empathy it also encourages self-reflexivity as some take up pro-active roles of political activism and education at home. Similarly, the artist today, like Courbet in his time, can highlight both the negative and the positive i.e. oppression and opposition on a global basis.

Can artists use visual art to explore the process of globalization in the same way that writers write about global events? In form there are major differences. Art must encompass many different ideas in one composition. Film and literature have narratives through time whereas a painting has to express many ideas in one moment in time. In this way a painting can distill down all the elements of a narrative to one symbolic representation.

The internet can be used by artists in the same way as the journalist as a basis for research. The writer has to research generally accepted facts from many different sources. So too the artist should be able to research imagery to be used as the basis for his/her art. Just as the writer often has to rely on other people’s writings, the artist often depends on other people’s images, unless, of course, the writer or artist has the time and the finance to visit the places themselves.

Just as we feel proud when people in distant lands take an interest in our culture (e.g. Riverdance in Japan) they also feel proud when we take an interest in their culture/problems/issues. In some cases the gathering weight of world opinion can make a huge difference in the outcome of a particular situation (e.g. Apartheid). We live in a globalised world and just as there are many people from all over the world in our country there are many of our countrymen and women in their countries. We like to think that they are doing good in those countries and are pleased when we travel to other countries and get a good reception when we mention our country of origin.

Climate Chaos by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Oil on canvas
60cm x 120cm / 23.6 in x 47 in

Social Realism must become Global Realism

As the world is becomes more and more globalised it can be seen that whatever happens in the 21st century will have implications for the whole world in a way that will be deeper and broader than the events of the 20th century. It is very likely that all that was national in the 20th century will become globalised features of the 21st century, e.g. the anti-colonialism of the Irish revolution, the hyperinflation of the German economy, the left/right battles of the Spanish Civil War, the economic depression of the USA or the revolution in Russia. The world is so interconnected now, facilitated by increased international trade, satellite TV and military communications, the internet etc. that a negative triggering of any part of the global financial, political or military systems would rapidly affect the whole world.

In some ways this potential for the local to become global democratizes the cause and effect that was more limited to powerful nations in the past. The economic crisis in Greece is a case in point, as the potential for a default to lead to a complete financial collapse across Europe – and potentially the world – was averted. The rapid spread of the Occupy movement to various countries around the world demonstrated that resistance had also become globalised. Thus, local activity can have global effect and global activity can have local effect. The artist can play a positive role in this global activity as a filter and commentator on many global issues. The artist in Ireland can work in this manner, as can artists elsewhere around the world.

Australia Mining by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Oil on canvas
60cm x 120cm / 23.6 in x 47 in

Painting the world

In recent centuries the history of art has seen movements from the Renaissance to Modernism to Postmodernism. During the Renaissance (14th to the 17th century) form and content came together in an unprecedented way as the combination of Science (linear perspective, human anatomy) and Humanism (emphasizing the value and agency of human beings, critical thinking and evidence) produced new levels of naturalism in representation. This in turn led to the Realism of Dutch and Flemish painters whose themes included still lifes, landscapes and scenes from everyday life and later to the 19th century Realist painters such as Courbet.

The later movement of Modernism saw a breakdown of form as artists experimented with different ways of seeing. However, content in the forms of Science (Impressionism, Cubism), Freudianism (Surrealism), and Marxism (Expressionism) retained its importance as human endeavour was further explored in visual ways. With Postmodernism we have the return of form but the collapse of content as the Grand Narratives (Hegelianism, Freudianism, Marxism) were seen to have all failed and a new cynicism took hold emphasizing parody, irony and skepticism towards science. More recently, the failure of capitalism and liberal democracy to solve fundamental global problems (the ‘end of history’ paradigm) has resulted in criticism of and disillusionment with the postmodernist credo.

New Renaissance

Only a global democratic movement encompassing the hopes, desires and aspirations of the majority of the world’s population can form the basis of a new renaissance in the arts and sciences. Like during the old Renaissance, a new reorientation of the arts towards science and humanism, emphasizing the ability of people to resolve various problems (from unemployment to poverty to unequal distribution of wealth) will result in a new progressive flowering of all the arts. For example, emphasizing the human means opposition to technology that is benefiting only a few, such as factory robots (destroying working class jobs) or to the development of advanced robotics (the potential to destroy many types of middle class jobs). Artists who bring form back to the modern, and content back to the postmodern will bring art back to a powerful place in society.

The work of the artist reflects the interests of the artist. The paintings of Irish artists John “Jack” Butler Yeats (1871 – 1957), William Conor (1881 – 1968) and Seán Keating (1889 – 1977) are examples of art that reflect the social and political ideas of artists in tune with their time. In fact, Yeats did not like the word ‘art’ as he was concerned with reality:

“The word ‘art’ I don’t care much for because it doesn’t mean anything much to me. … I believe that all fine pictures, and fine literature too, to be fine must have some of the living ginger of Life in them.” [1]

Keating also took a keen interest in the reality of life around him. He stated:

“To endeavour to promote a social conscience in the name of God and at the same time to permit – under the guise of modernism and advancement – the activities of a naked commercialism (which has fallen into disrepute among the very people who created it) is a process of auto-frustration. Unbridled self-interest and reckless exploitation of the moral and physical needs of the human race has brought about the state of things in which collapse is inevitable.” [2]

Mexican Border by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Oil on canvas
60cm x 120cm / 23.6 in x 47 in

Artists and the people

In the 21st century the world is the community and connections with other artists around the world will be the new artist’s milieu. The artist who takes a broad and open view of the world and the activities and actions of the people contained within it will become part of the forces for change for the better. In the words of the Austrian poet Ernst Fischer (1899-1972):

“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.” [3]

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (@cocroidheain) is a prominent Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes (http://gaelart.net/). His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

Notes

[1] Hilary Pyle, Jack B. Yeats: A Biography (London: Andre Deutsch, 1970) p.43
[2] Éimear O’Connor, Seán Keating in Focus (Limerick:The Hunt Museum, 2009) p.27
[3] Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art, (Middlesex: Penguin, 1959, trans. 1963) p.48