While staying here in Damascus, I have heard the same thing said again and again from a whole array of sources, including foreign journalists, Syrian citizens and even Christian nuns. “This war on Syria is being fought by Al Qaeda operatives, fanatic Islamist jihadis, foreign fighters, terrorists and mercenaries for hire. And they are being financed by American money and given American weapons.” Yikes!
What this means to me personally is that my very own head (which I have actually become quite attached to) could possibly be blown off at any minute by fanatics and/or weapons bought and paid for by my very own tax dollars. Now that is a really confusing thought.
“War by proxy” is becoming a more and more frequently-used phrase here in Syria. The American military-industrial complex is now out-sourcing their war.
But, hey, that’s better than having American soldiers over here fighting and dying for Wall Street and War Street like they did in Iraq. Our soldiers’ jobs are being shipped overseas? That’s one example of outsourcing that is just fine by me.
Except, in the words of one local college professor I interviewed the other day, “We Syrians are fighting dirty enemies. This is a dirty war. The jihadists attack hospitals, power plants and schools. But the Syrian people are fighting back.” The professor also mentioned the discovery of vast new oil fields off the Syrian coast. And he found it ironic that the very first place that the jihadis, inquisionists, Taliban wannabes and Al Qaeda death squads attacked was in this oil-rich region. The original peaceful protests by Syrians themselves — before the Taliban wannabes arrived in force from overseas and turned Syria into a slaughterhouse — took place in Daraa, not in the oil fields. Hmmm.
“I also find it ironic that Americans are citing democracy as their primary reason for attacking Syria — while their biggest ally in this region is Saudi Arabia, a known dictatorship.” Not to mention the doubts that everyone has about American elections. Take Diebold for instance. And Florida and Ohio and that weird Supreme Court ruling that forced GWB down our throats. And voter ID cards and 92-year-old women turned away from the polls. But, hey, America is famous for exporting hypocrisy. Get over it, prof.
In Sweida, I talked with a young woman who spoke English and she said, “Living in Syria is like living in one of those Hollywood horror movies.” Slasher flicks. “These terrorists come here and they bomb our hospitals and schools, kill and rape women and children and even eat our flesh like cannibals. We Syrians just want this horror movie to stop.” And she was proud of Bashar Assad for standing up to these wannabe Freddy Kruegers. And most of the Syrians I have talked with feel the same way. “And you would too — if it happened to you.”
And it did happen to me too — sort of. I can hear the shelling outside Damascus going on night and day. Nerve-racking. I almost felt like a heroic citizen of London during the Blitz.
Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, has been playing the Great Game of political chess in this region like he is a grand master — and perhaps that’s why the American military-industrial complex hates him so much. But Syrians love him. They just do. It’s a Syrian thing. Remember what Maya Angelou said in “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings”? How she was being raped as a child and prayed for the Green Lantern to save her? Well President Assad, like it or not, is Syria’s Green Lantern.
Assad might have been a bit to enthusiastic in the past about suppressing dissidence. But please be aware that the inquisionist crazies and Al Qaeda freaks that have tried to invade Syria are so very much worse. Syrians weren’t totally behind Assad before the invasion — but they certainly are now, thanks to America’s military-industrial complex. Eisenhower warned us about the complex. He shoulda warned the Syrians too.
The only thing that I can truly fault Assad on presently are all those all-pervasive giant posters of him that you see everywhere — on buildings, in shops, on cars and buses, on T-shirts and even in elevators. Everywhere. He should stop doing that. He’s not just some Ken doll or even the next Brad Pitt. He’s a political genius who is trying save Syria from the bad guys. He should have understood by now that he has found a place in the hearts of the Syrians and just leave it at that.
PS: Observing the elections was fun. It was like attending a country-wide block party. Or, as Mother Agnes-Mariam said to me in an interview at the Dama Rose Hotel, “It would be impossible to coerce that many Syrians to vote out of fear. People actually went out from rebel-held territory to vote. Even the rebels voted.” So. Who are you going to believe about the authenticity of the Syrian elections? Mother Agnes-Mariam who said that they were valid — or Wall Street and War Street, who claim they were a fraud?
Are you going to believe the same people who lied to us about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction – or a mother-superior Christian nun?
PPS: In Homs, those nasty American-sponsored jihadists blew up a historic old Christian church — only to find an even older church lay buried under the newer church’s foundations. Built in 59 AD, this older church might actually been visited by the Apostles and Saint Paul himself. And these Taliban wannabes were happily trying to blow this older church up too. But apparently they got distracted by trying to break up the bones of some nearby Christian saints’ relics — and the old church was saved!
PPPS: I never did get to meet President Assad. “Apparently he has to keep his eye out for being assassinated by drones,” one journalist explained to me as to why Assad hadn’t come to the Dama Rose hotel. But still…I could have worn my cool “Berkeley High Water Polo Team” T-shirt that I had swiped from my daughter Ashley. I’m sure Assad would have been quite impressed.
“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” – Militia Captain John Parker at the Battle Of Lexington
Just a couple days ago, two armed assailants, a married couple purported by the mainstream media to be “white supremacists” and “conspiracy theorists,” ambushed two police officers at a CiCi’s Pizza in Las Vegas, killing the officers after screaming, “This is a revolution!” The suspects then reportedly covered one officer’s body with a Gadsden Don’t Tread On Me flag and then fled to a Walmart, where they killed another man with a CCW who attempted to reason with them, then committed suicide. Yes, it reads like a Southern Poverty Law Center fantasy story; and in many ways, it is.
As we all predicted the MSM has followed the pattern they have always followed, which is to equate the actions of one or two psychotics with the beliefs and principles of the liberty movement in general.
I remember when Jared Loughner fired into a crowd of people near Tucson, Ariz., killing numerous Federal and State employees; the immediate response by the media was to attempt to tie him to the liberty movement. In the end, he turned out to be a raving leftist. I remember the Boston Marathon bombing and the automatic reflex by the media to accuse “right-wing extremists” of the crime. So far, we have seen NO hard evidence to implicate anyone specific in that atrocity, including the Tsarnaev brothers. Of all the violent crimes dumped in the lap of the liberty movement over the years, how many have actually been committed or endorsed by the liberty movement? I can’t think of any.
This has not prevented the establishment media from doing everything in their power to associate criminal action with political ideals. Efforts to sully the success of the Bundy Ranch stand-off were swift, with Jared and Amanda Miller’s visit to Bunkerville splashed across the headlines. Luckily, the sound judgement of organizations like Oath Keepers led founder Stewart Rhodes to personally ask the two future shooters to leave the property. I can only imagine the weight of the slander if they had been allowed to stay.
When an activist movement holds the moral high ground against a repressive establishment power structure, the establishment’s primary recourse is to target the character of its principles. The secondary recourse is direct confrontation. If a dissenting organization is not mindlessly vicious in its methods, then simply make it APPEAR vicious. If it is not hateful in its rhetoric, then artificially tie it to people who are. And if a government really needs to kick-start a crackdown, it can engineer its own man-made calamities and blame the groups that most threaten its authority.
This was achieved to great effect in Europe from the 1950s until the 1990s by the CIA working in tandem with multiple European governments under a covert project called Operation Gladio.
Gladio was essentially a secret army of operatives and stooges, handlers and puppets, used to create false-flag terrorist shootings and bombings across Europe that were blamed on “left-wing extremists.” In reality, NATO alphabet agencies were behind the entire facade. The goal was to terrorize the citizenry through a nonstop campaign of indiscriminate death, blamed on a convenient scapegoat, so that individuals would hand over more freedom and more power to the central governments. The point is, whether real or staged, I believe such events are going to escalate within the U.S. today on an incredible scale and that, regardless of evidence, they will be blamed on “right-wing extremists.” In case you were wondering, that label will be foisted on most if not all of us.
That said, I think an important truth needs to be stated here: Whether the beliefs of the attackers in Las Vegas were actually liberty movement-oriented or not is ultimately irrelevant. To shoot random police and civilians and then commit suicide is an act of pure insanity, a product of mental instability that has nothing to do with political philosophy, and mental instability trumps belief and association anytime. Mentally unstable people exist within ALL belief systems and political groups.
At bottom, I do not care what their beliefs were. Their actions do not represent the values I hold dear, nor do I think they represent the values most of us hold dear. The shooting is a tragedy, but in the grand scheme of things, it means nothing, and I have little doubt it will be forgotten within weeks.
I relate the story because I do, in fact, agree with one thing: that a “revolution,” a second American Revolution, is inevitable. But I think I speak for the vast majority of the movement when I say that this revolution will not begin with the deaths of innocents or random government employees on our hands, and it certainly won’t begin at the doorstep of a CiCi’s Pizza.
The Bundy ranch incident, which occurred only a short drive from Las Vegas, has been a revelation for many people. Mistakes were made, provocateurs reared their ugly heads, and lessons were learned. But overall, America has been fundamentally changed, even if the average person does not realize it yet. The information war came within a razor’s edge of evolving into a shooting war, with the establishment in retreat, licking its wounds while planning how it can gain back its composure and carefully crafted image of “invincibility”.
What frightens the establishment most, I think, is that the American people have become active participants in their own national environment once again. At Bundy ranch, they stopped asking for mercy, they stopped begging the system to police itself, they stopped waiting for the rigged elections, and they stopped relying on useless legal avenues to effect change. Rather, they took matters into their own hands and changed the situation on the ground on their own. For oligarchy, this development is unacceptable, because one success could lead to many.
Already, we are beginning to hear whispers of possible Federal retribution against those who participated in the confrontation.
This has been cemented within the efforts of a new task force against “domestic terrorism” organized by none other than Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder.
After the recent exposure of Barack Obama’s Department of Defense Directive 3025.18, we now know that since at least 2010, the White House has been setting the stage for the use of military force against “domestic threats.” That is to say, for at least the past four years our government has been quietly maneuvering toward martial law. It’s been happening for much longer if you count George W. Bush’s Presidential Decision Directive 51, which has yet to befully declassified.
The exposure of Directive 3025.18 also came with information that the Obama Administration considered using it as a way to activate military forces and drones against the Bundy ranch. The burning question is, of course, why didn’t it? The Federal government is not known for its diplomacy in the face of a defiant citizenry. Waco and Ruby Ridge made that clear. I believe that it was not necessarily the people on the ground at Bunkerville, Nev., that they were most worried about. The terrain is admittedly a terrible place to mount a defense against a mechanized horde of jackboots.
No, what the White House feared was a larger response to such an attack. It feared the millions of patriots who would swarm down from all sides if it committed to a Ruby Ridge-style siege. It feared the reality that this time, Americans were not going to sit back and watch another family be slaughtered on national television. It feared the fact that it didn’t have the moral high ground in the public eye and that a kinetic failure on its part would be met with cheers, rather than tears, from much of the populace.
So where does this leave us? With the Bundy success besmirching the Feds, the next strategic program will likely include an unprecedented effort to demonize the liberty movement perhaps to the point of a Gladio-type false-flag campaign, leading to the eventual detention of activists as domestic security threats. It’s not going to end with shootings in pizzerias and slobbering hit pieces from the SPLC. Expect a landslide of violent acts. Expect another engineered large-scale calamity like the Oklahoma City Bombing. Expect dozens of Timothy McVeighs to be trotted out in the media. Expect the Liberty Movement’s name to be buried in an avalanche of bullshit. Mark my words; it’s going to get much worse from here on.
And this is where I will add my warning.
Before the Bundy ranch became a possible battleground, I stated in my article “Real Americans Are Ready To Snap” that the liberty movement was going to draw a line in the sand over Bureau of Land Management abuses in Bunkerville, and I was right.
It seems to me that time is growing short. As tyrants become more bold, so too must the citizenry; otherwise, we shrivel up and die. We cannot allow the movement’s momentum to be shattered and driven underground as the militia movement was after Oklahoma City. We know what is coming, and we must drive forward. We know we will be labeled as terrorists and villains, and ultimately, we must realize that such eventualities do not matter. The Liberty Movement is not going away. In fact, future clashes with our criminal government are only going to become more frequent.
The next family threatened, the next activist individual or group arrested or black-bagged without legitimate cause, the next major false flag, the next use of military forces as civil law enforcement, the next unConstitutional misstep, and I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that a revolt will erupt. It’s not about making grand predictions; it’s about examining the logical odds, and the odds are high. The knowledge that the establishment is considering using the full force of its military apparatus against the people has not dissuaded anyone. Bundy ranch was a very near miss. I do not expect a peaceful resolution the next time around. I also do not expect the government as it exists now to stop clamoring for more control or less corruption. If recent events have proven anything, they have proven that a second American Revolution is inevitable; and all we can do is ready ourselves.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
I’m here in Syria right now, and one of the big questions that journalists are asking both here and in America seems to be, “Is President Bashar Assad a good guy or a bad guy?”
Hard to tell.
Some people love him and some people hate him. As for me? I have mixed feelings about Assad.
I’m over in Damascus this week to serve as an observer for Syria’s presidential election. And I have discovered a few things so far:
First, under Assad’s government, anyone can get free medical care, free cancer medicine and a free eduction up through college — and with no usurious student loans attached either. To paraphrase the famous Pussycat Dolls, “Dontcha wish America’s government was hot like that!”
Second, after American and NATO militarists spent billions of dollars on sponsoring Al Qaeda and various other Islamic inquisitionalist/terrorist groups and those responsible for 9-11, and then encouraging these creepy guys to terrorize, brutalize and butcher Syrian civilians, bomb 300 Syrian schools and seize Syrian oil fields, then guess what the logical result might be? “Now Syrians really really really do not like the American powers that be.” Got it in one.
And so yet another country that used to be friendly to the USA now bites the dust. Yet another country now joins a really really really long list of other countries all over the world who already hate hate hate the American military-industrial complex. Wall Street and War Street.
Assad used to go along to get along with Wall Street and War Street. But those days are now long gone.
Now Assad and the Syrian people are fighting for their lives against a well-armed and well-trained group of brutal and fanatical butchers who are (literally in some cases) cannibalizing Syria.
If you were a Syrian citizen, who would you vote for in this election? What would you do if it was your home, your family and your city being attacked? I think that the answer is obvious. http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/06/03/365384/bombs-and-ballots-in-damascus/
So. Here I am in Damascus, being an official election observer — as compared to those other unofficial foreign-fighter/terrorist/fanatic election observers from 87 countries who are here as guests of the U.S., Britain, Turkey, France and Saudi Arabia. And these brutal unofficial election observers’ instructions are simple. “Off with their heads!”
But hopefully mine will still remain attached.
PS: I am so honored to be here now in this joyful time of the Syrian elections — but I don’t really have the time or technology to write about all the amazing things that I have seen and heard here. But after I have digested all the intake I’ve absorbed recently in this amazing country, I do plan to write about it in more depth — and after I can get access to a larger keyboard of course.
It is easy to stand up and cheer for your favorite government activity. It is quite another to acknowledge what it means in the real world.
I almost never try to speak for other people. However, I think it is fairly safe to say that the average military recruit firmly believes that he joins the military so that you and I can live and breathe in freedom. To be sure, he had other reasons for joining, but I think the defense of liberty is a fairly common characteristic.
That is certainly what I thought when I was in Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, in 1983. After all, this is what I had been told all my life: sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines defend freedom.
But is this actually what they do?
Consider the following:
- This Marine lost both legs in an IED blast in Iraq. He claims he was forced by TSA to remove both prosthetic legs before he could board an airplane in Phoenix.
- This Vietnam veteran in Spicewood, Texas, had flashbacks to his combat experience during a marijuana raid at a friend’s house. What police claimed was marijuana turned out to be ragweed.
- Jared Goering, who served 19 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was kicked off the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J. for walking with his service dog, Gator.
- Emily Yates, who served two tours with the Army in Iraq, was violently arrested by park police in Philadelphia for asking why she couldn’t play her banjo under some shade trees.
- Dimitrios Karras is a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Read about the ATF raid on his business in National City, California.
- Martin Goldberg of Brooklyn is a World War II veteran whose apartment was subject to a drug raid. Later, the cops realized they had raided the wrong apartment. His 83-year-old wife was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat as a result of the raid.
- In 1997, four sailors from the USS Saipan (LHA-2) were falsely accused of the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Virginia, woman. One spent eight-and-one-half years in prison while the other three were sentenced to life in prison. These three were pardoned in 2009. Even though the actual killer is serving a life sentence, four innocent men are still required to register as sex offenders and are still fighting to clear their names.
- Charles Loeks was 18 and fresh out of Marine boot camp. On a trip home to Covina, California, he was hanging out with a few friends when he was arrested for resisting arrest and nothing else. He spent 21 days in Los Angeles County jail, even though he had harmed no one.
- Carlos Jaramillo is a former Marine combat instructor who lives in Onslow County, North Carolina. Watch what happened when he recorded a sheriff’s deputy who arrested him for no apparent reason.
- Noel Polanco was an unarmed 22-year-old National Guardsman who was shot and killed by New York City police at a traffic stop near LaGuardia Airport.
- John Laigaie, a retired Army master sergeant, was threatened at gunpoint by police while legally carrying a gun in a park in Bellingham, Washington.
- Homer Wright is an 80-year-old Army veteran who was charged with felony gun use after he shot a burglar who entered his home in Englewood, Illinois.
- Mark Schmidter, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Orlando, is currently serving 145 days in a cage for passing out jurors’ rights information on the steps of a local courthouse.
- Justin Ross of Ankeny, Iowa, was recently discharged from the Army. Police used a battering ram to enter his home executing a warrant for some items purchased with stolen credit cards. They did not find any of these items.
- Saadiq Long is an Air Force veteran who was placed on a TSA no-fly list. He had to battle for months to be removed from this list just so he could fly home from Qatar to visit his ailing mother.
- Chuck Benton of Long Grove, Iowa, served 22 years in the Army. He was arrested and charged simply for living in the same house with his son who was growing medical marijuana.
- Cody Donovan is a former Marine MP who lives in New Milford, N.J. He was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after carrying a loaded gun into the Garden State Plaza mall when he attempted to help police apprehend the shooter.
- In 1932, 17,000 veterans marched on Washington to demand payment of bonuses they had been promised as a result of their service in World War I. Two were shot and killed by police. 55 were arrested and 135 were injured when the United States Army became an instrument of domestic law enforcement. Two of the chief enforcers were named MacArthur and Patton. Yes, those two.
- Mark England, an Army combat medic who saw action in Iraq and Kosovo was beaten and tasered by police at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.
- Air Force Staff Sergeant Matt Pinkerton of Glen Burnie, Maryland, faces second degree murder charges after fatally shooting a home intruder in September.
- Leo Hendrick, an army veteran who lives in Northwood, Iowa, faces up to 30 days in jail and a $600 fine for raising chickens in his yard.
- Yes, the cops had a search warrant. However that in no way excuses their vandalizing the home of Army veteran Dan Neary of Lakewood, Washington.
- These World War II veterans were threatened with arrest for visiting a closed war memorial in Washington, D.C. during the October “shutdown.”
- These Vietnam veterans actually were arrested for visiting a New York City war memorial after curfew.
- Denis Reynoso was a disabled veteran who saw action with the Marines in Iraq. He was shot dead by police in his Lynn, Massachusetts, apartment.
- Nick Morgan, an Iraq veteran, was pulled out of a crowd by police in Hempstead, New York, and trampled by their horses.
- Gary Shepherd of Broadhead, Kentucky was a Vietnam veteran. He used medical cannabis to relieve the pain in his left arm, which was crippled during the war. Shepherd was shot dead by a SWAT team, after they had threatened to cut down his cannabis plants.
- Valente and Manuel Valenzuela of San Antonio produced sufficient documentation to enlist, respectively, in the Army and Marine Corps. Both fought in Vietnam, where Valente won a Bronze Star. Now they are facing deportation to Mexico because of erroneous entries on their birth certificates.
- Jerome Murdough, a homeless Marine Corps veteran, died in a jail cell on New York’s Rikers Island after being arrested for trespassing. A heating malfunction caused the temperature in the cell to soar to 100 degrees.
- Kenneth Chamberlain was a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran living in White Plains, New York. Early one morning he set off his medical alert device. The first responders in this case were not medics, but rather police, who proceeded to kill Mr. Chamberlain.
- This group of combat veterans in Colorado organized to help legalize marijuana during the 2012 elections. They claim – and I believe them – that marijuana helps mitigate PTSD. If you support any punishment whatsoever for a combat veteran who heals himself with a plant that grows wild in some form within a few miles of you, I don’t care what you tell me. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN FREEDOM!
- Stanley Gibson, a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran was shot dead over a total non-crime by Las Vegas police in December, 2011.
- Army Specialist Michael Sharkey returned home from deployment in Afghanistan to find his home in New Port Richey, Florida, unlawfully occupied by two squatters. The local sheriff says that Sharkey has no grounds upon which to evict them.
- These veterans say they are being required to prove they are worthy of gun rights. Our rights are gifts from God that are inherent in our very humanity. We never have to prove to anybody that we have them.
- Dwight Edwards, a disabled Marine veteran of Afghanistan, says that cops in Queens brutally beat him for no reason.
- Army Staff Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who won the Bronze Star with Valor, was forcibly disarmed for no good reason by a policeman while on a hike with his son not far from Fort Hood, Texas.
- Brandon Raub, a Marine who was decorated for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, was forced to spend a week in a Virginia mental hospital over some “anti-government” Facebook posts. (His interviewer here, John Whitehead, is a constitutional attorney, Vietnam infantry veteran and superlative anti-police state blogger.)
- Operation Vigilant Eagle is a project of the Department of Homeland Security that has led to numerous Iraq and Afghanistan veterans “finding themselves under surveillance, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, or arrested, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.” Indeed, merely being a “returning veteran” can have you designated as a potential terrorist.
- We will never know the whole truth about Navy veteran and former Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner, who was the subject of a police manhunt and media witch hunt in 2013. He never got the chance to tell his story in court.
- Hector Barrios came to America in 1961. He was drafted and served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam. In 1996, he was busted for possessing marijuana, which he used to treat his PTSD. As a result, he was deported to his native Mexico where he died.
- Matthew Corrigan of Washington, D.C. was a first sergeant in the Army Reserve and a veteran of Iraq. His home was destroyed in a SWAT rampage because it was reported to the police that Corrigan had a gun.
- Jamie Dean was an Army veteran of Afghanistan was diagnosed with PTSD. Upset about his impending deployment to Iraq, Dean had an intense emotional outburst at his Maryland home in December 2006. Even though he neither harmed nor threatened anyone, he was shot and killed by a local SWAT team.
- Bennie Coleman, 76, is a retired Marine who lost his Washington, D.C., home because of a $134 tax lien that District authorities had sold to an investor.
- Jeremy Usher is a former Navy hospital corpsman who lives in Greeley, Colorado. He faces jail time for using medical marijuana to treat his PTSD.
- Brittany Ball, a 23-year-old soldier at Fort Jackson, S.C., was manhandled by a cop at a local bar, even though she had done nothing wrong.
- Air Force Airman First Class Michael Davidson was shot in the stomach by police in Opelika, Alabama, at the scene of a traffic accident.
- Benjamin Wassell sustained traumatic brain injuries while with the Marines in Iraq. The Buffalo-area resident was the first person charged with illegal gun sales under New York’s new SAFE Act.
- Erik Scott graduated from West Point in 1994 and served as a tank platoon leader. In 2010, he was gunned down and killed by police as he peacefully walked out of a Las Vegas Costco.
- Scott Olsen saw action with the Marines in Iraq. Later, he would join the Occupy Oakland movement. In October, 2011, suffered a fractured skull after being hit in the head with a projectile fired by police.
- Derek Hale served honorably with the Marines in Iraq. Although, he had committed no crime, he died after being tasered three times and then shot three times by police in Wilmington, Delaware.
- Roderick King, an Iraq war veteran, was arrested in Philadelphia after he and his friends had criticized a cop’s driving.
- Howard Dean Bailey, a Navy veteran, was deported to his native Jamaica when immigration authorities discovered he had taken a plea bargain in a marijuana case in Norfolk, Virginia.
- To be sure, the recently deceased folk singer Pete Seeger could not have been more of a leftist. However, he did serve three years in the Army after being drafted during World War II. He was sentenced to one year in jail after refusing to reveal his political connections to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956. He appealed this sentence, citing the First Amendment, and ultimately spent only four hours behind bars.
- Larry Kirschenman of Nogales, Arizona, served 22 years in the Army and was decorated for bravery in Vietnam. Learn how he was brutalized by Border Patrol agents when asking why he was subjected to a warrantless search.
- We will never know for sure what happened in Army veteran Matthew Stewart’s Ogden, Utah, apartment one night in January 2012, as he will never have his day in court. He was in prison awaiting trial on charges of shooting and killing one of the police officers who raided his apartment searching for marijuana. Stewart, whose guilt was never proven, committed suicide in his cell.
- Sergio Arreola is a cop in Los Angeles who served with the Marines in Iraq. He was beaten by the police in suburban Pomona for no good reason whatsoever.
- This former Army paratrooper is appealing to the New York state legislature to legalize medical marijuana. He has severe multiple sclerosis and is “forced to break the law to have some semblance of a bearable existence.”
- On May 5, 2011, a Tucson SWAT team approached the home of Jose Guerena, who had served two tours with the Marines in Iraq. Guerena grabbed his AR-15 as is his right, but did not fire. The SWAT team let loose with 71 rounds, 60 of which perforated Guerena’s body.
- Marty Maiden lived a few blocks from Guerena in Tucson. and saw action with the Army in Afghanistan. He posted a suicidal note on Facebook which prompted a call to the police, who shot him dead.
- Steve Lefemine is a West Point graduate who was arrested for protesting against abortion in a “no-demonstration zone” outside the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Circuit Court justified the arrest based on a “compelling state interest in security”.
- Eileen Erickson’s husband Sid served in Vietnam and died of Agent Orange exposure. Erickson is now in the crosshairs of authorities in Venice, California, who want to tear down the tree house Sid built before he died.
- Listen to this disabled Navy veteran plead with then-Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) about the benefits of medical marijuana. Listen to the totalitarian response.
- John Wrana, a 95-year-old Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, was tasered and then shot to death by police in Forest Park, Illinois. His “crime”? Refusing medical attention.
- John Colaprete saw action in Vietnam as a Marine Corps officer. In 1994, his Virginia Beach home and restaurants were the object of paramilitary-style raids by the IRS. The raid was prompted by a false accusation by a former employee. While you need to watch this documentary in its entirety some time, for now just pick it up for a few minutes starting at the 55:40 mark.
- Boxing legend Joe Louis was also tyrannized by the IRS. The Brown Bomber enlisted in the Army in 1942 saying “Let us at them Japs.” Louis never saw combat, as he was assigned to the Special Services Division. While still a civilian, Louis fought some charity bouts and donated the proceeds to the Navy Relief Society. The IRS, however, viewed these proceeds as taxable income. IRS problems would plague him all his life. Please watch this video starting at the 53:17 mark.
- Adam Arroyo is a Hispanic veteran of the Iraq war who lives in Buffalo. Police shot and killed his dog while executing a drug warrant for a black man.
- Henry Taylor was a retired Air Force veteran in Louisville, Tennessee, who was shot dead by a local sheriff’s deputy while investigating a burglary at a rental property he owned.
- This is a fascinating article: When Johnny Comes Marching Home … He Goes to Jail. It is absolutely tragic how we chew up and spit out so many of those we send to “fight for our freedom.”
- Radio talk host Adam Kokesh won the Navy Commendation Medal as a Marine in Iraq. In recent years, he has been arrested several times for various non-violent protests. His most recent arrest happened after he loaded a shotgun in public in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2013. On July 10, police violently raided his home and arrested him. He was incarcerated for four months without bond, bail or trial. He is currently on probation for two years. You may not like Kokesh’s demeanor or approve of all of his antics, but he has been very courageous when so many of his critics can’t be bothered to put down the remote.
- James Moore, my brothah from anothah mothah, walked away from a very lucrative engineering position in San Jose to re-enlist in the Army following 9/11. He sustained significant physical injuries as well as PTSD while serving in the Special Forces in Afghanistan. On the afternoon of March 25, 2008, Moore, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, was beaten to the point of flat lining by Denver police.
- One of the coolest people I have never met is Antonio Buehler. Buehler graduated from West Point in 1999, earned his Ranger tab, and saw action in Kosovo and Iraq. (He also sports a Stanford MBA.) Early in the morning on January 1, 2012, Buehler was arrested for taking a few pictures of Austin police manhandling a young woman outside a 7-11. Buehler has been arrested four times since. He heads the Peaceful Streets Project, whose members work to expose abuse, brutality and overreach both in Austin and across the nation.
There are no doubt numerous other injustices against veterans that I do not know about. Enough to fill a book. None of these things would have happened if America were a free society. As Kokesh puts it, “The greatest enemies to the Constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far off land but rather right here at home.”
I cannot speak to the specific political beliefs of most of the veterans I have mentioned here. Some may be pacifists, while others may make John McCain look like a hippie in Haight-Ashbury. No matter what their individual views may be, the freedom they risked their lives for was flagrantly violated on the streets of the land they fought to protect.
Society endlessly applauds sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines for “fighting for our freedom”. It is in no way disrespectful to say that this is not what they do. No foreign government or terrorist group poses any threat to our liberty. America accounts for about half of the world’s military spending. We have 300 ships in our Navy, plus thousands of planes, tanks and nuclear warheads as well as 300 million firearms in private hands. Nobody is going to invade us.
In a constitutional country, which America ceased to be 100 years ago, the job of the military – a vital and most noble one – is to defend the borders, shores and airspace. It cannot protect you from being tyrannized domestically. Indeed, throughout history, armies have been instruments of domestic tyranny. Our Constitution forbids a standing army for just this reason.
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had enormous military establishments. How did things work out in these countries?
I am a Christian who believes liberty is a gift from God – Leviticus 25:10; II Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1. To quote Jefferson, liberty is preserved not by military might, but by “eternal vigilance” against one’s own government at all levels. It is the grossest form of disrespect to send young men around the world to “fight for freedom” while relinquishing that freedom on the home front.
For several years, America has had the world’s highest incarceration rate. Since 2001, Americans have gladly accepted previously unthinkable intrusions on their freedom in the name of “safety” and “security”. These include, but are not limited to: warrantless searches and spying, the suspension of habeas corpus, sexual assault as a condition of travel, rampant police brutality, indefinite detention without any semblance of due process, severe restrictions on peaceful protest, massive ammunition purchases by DHS and surveillance drones in our skies watching our every move. Can predator drones be far behind?
And in every election 98 percent of voters put their stamp of approval on perpetuating this monstrosity.
Stop thinking in clichés. Have a good hard look at everything your media and government tell you. This includes media outlets and parts of the government that you like. Study. Read. Ask questions. And learn that the defense of liberty is not the duty of the military. Rather, it is your duty and mine.
- Special thanks to Radley Balko and William Grigg for providing several of the above stories.
- Read this article by John Whitehead.
What is now called the Tea Party began in 2007 as a loosely-organized yet highly-motivated grassroots support effort for Congressman Ron Paul’s bid for the White House. Since those early days, a lot has happened to the Tea Party.
For one thing, the Tea Party is now much larger and broader than any one person’s political candidacy. And though a Tea Party candidate has not yet obtained the White House (Ron Paul was the lone Tea Party Republican candidate in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections), a host of Tea Party candidates have won several elections in the US House and Senate–as well as many State and local races. And to win these elections, Tea Party candidates have had to repel the attacks against them from the Republican establishment. In fact, the GOP establishment is far and away the Tea Party’s biggest enemy.
Republican leaders such as John Boehner, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Peter King, etc., have made one of their missions in life to defeat Republican Tea Party candidates–even if those candidates are incumbents. This is for good reason: the establishment Republican Party is diametrically opposed to the goals and principles of the Tea Party.
Based on the positions of most Tea Party candidates (which is all we have to go on as the Tea Party is not a real political party but only a grassroots activist effort being conducted mainly within the Republican Party), the goals and objectives of the Tea Party can be summarized generally as follows:
- They support a non-interventionist foreign policy.
- They support the Constitution and recognize the current attacks against the Constitution, especially against the Second, Fourth, and Tenth Amendments.
- They oppose the NSA spying on the American citizenry (including the use of drones for such purposes).
- They oppose the Patriot Act and the militarization of the Department of Homeland Security as well as local and State law enforcement agencies.
- They oppose the Import-Export Bank.
- They oppose the Federal Reserve Bank.
- They oppose CISPA.
- They oppose the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA.
- They support ending the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
- They support limited government spending–especially at the federal level.
One can easily see that many, if not most, of these goals and objectives are diametrically opposite the goals and objectives of the establishment Republican machine. And more than anything else, the Republican leadership in Washington, D.C., wants GOP congressmen and senators to be “team players.” Of course, by “team players” they mean good little Republican robots that will not buck party leadership.
Since Representative Ron Paul retired, the Tea Party leader in the U.S. House is Justin Amash of Michigan. And working side-by-side Rep. Amash is Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky. In the U.S. Senate, the Tea Party is being led by men such as Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ted Cruz of Texas. There are several other Tea Party supporters in both the U.S. House and Senate, of course. It is no accident or coincidence that each of these congressmen and senators has incurred (and continue to incur) the wrath of establishment Republican leaders.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY) reserves his harshest rhetoric, not for any Democrat, but for Senator Rand Paul. King said that Rand Paul “disgraced his office,” he “doesn’t deserve to be in the U.S. Senate,” and he “tells absolute lies.” Karl Rove has repeatedly lambasted Justin Amash. House Speaker Boehner has spearheaded well-financed opposition to Amash’s reelection campaign this year. Senator John McCain (the GOP standard bearer in 2008) recently called Amash, Paul, and Cruz “wacko birds.” So much for Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment to not speak evil of fellow Republicans. It would appear that commandment only applies to not criticizing the GOP establishment, while Republicans espousing Tea Party convictions are open-season for Republican leaders to lampoon and lambast without mercy.
Earlier this month, the GOP establishment spent over $1 million in a single House district race in an attempt to defeat 20-year Republican incumbent Walter Jones. The reason? Jones has a history of voting against the wishes of the party establishment–especially concerning the freedom issues listed above. Thankfully, they failed.
But all over the country, in national, State, and local elections, the GOP establishment is working feverishly to keep Tea Party candidates out of office or to defeat incumbent Republicans who support the Tea Party agenda. In fact, one way I can tell whether a candidate deserves my support or not is by the support or opposition he or she receives from the GOP establishment. If the Republican establishment supports him or her, I can pretty much know that I should vote for someone else.
The reason that Boehner, Karl Rove, and other big-government Republican leaders are trying so hard to defeat Justin Amash in particular is due to the fact that Amash has quietly but effectively spearheaded the momentum of small-government conservatives on Capitol Hill. Since the retirement of Ron Paul, Amash has successfully formed a potent coalition of constitutionally-minded Republicans within the Tea Party movement. He calls his coalition the “House Liberty Caucus.” Of course, most of the framework for this caucus was put together by former Congressman Ron Paul.
Since Justin Amash was elected to the House and Rand Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010, eight of the eleven Ron Paul-endorsed congressional candidates won elections in 2012, including Senator Ted Cruz. All of these folks had significant Tea Party support. Boehner and Rove have reason to be worried. No wonder Amash’s establishment-endorsed opponent has over $1 million to spend trying to oust him. No wonder the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a long-time establishment organization) has unveiled a $50 million war chest designed to defeat Tea Party congressmen nationwide.
And please know this, too: the establishment has done its best to infiltrate the Tea Party so as to dilute its message and weaken its effectiveness. In fact, some Tea Parties around the country are now mostly dominated by establishment neocons. Thank God, many, if not most, of the Tea Parties around the country are still mostly comprised of strong, constitutionally-minded, non-establishment folks who refuse to bow to the GOP hierarchy. But we must be aware of the neocon infiltration that has taken place among many Tea Parties.
In virtually every political race this year–including national, State, county, and city–the establishment will be working tirelessly to elect their hand-picked neocons. When you hear Tea Party-type candidates being lampooned as “wacko” or “far right,” etc., when you hear their critics and detractors say, “He can’t win,” please understand that you are listening to an establishment elitist whose job is to undermine the candidacies of those folks who refuse to go along with the establishment. Many of these critics will call themselves “conservatives.” They will say they are simply being “pragmatic” and “reasonable.” Hogwash! What they are doing is trying to ensure that non-establishment candidates never get elected.
The future of the Republican Party–or even if there is a Republican Party in the future–depends on the next few elections and whether or not the establishment will be able to bully and buy-off the votes of the American people. When John Boehner, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, etc., demand that Congress provide amnesty for illegal aliens, when they try to ram their elitist, big-government agenda down the throats of congressmen and senators, when they spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to defeat Tea Party Republicans, you can rest assured that they are not seeking the welfare of the country or even of the Republican Party.
The big-government establishment doesn’t give a flip about freedom, the Constitution, or even the constituent back home. What they care about is THEM. They have become part of a wealthy and powerful cabal of miscreants who are going to be well-taken-care-of NO MATTER WHAT. They are themselves the pawns of evil power-brokers; and in order to survive, they must make sure that there are other pawns coming to Washington, D.C., to keep the power base intact.
This is a war. It is not only a political war; it is a spiritual war. It is a war for both the soul of the Republican Party (which at present, there isn’t much of one left) and the soul of the country. It would really help if our pastors and churches could awaken to this war and help us fight it. The establishment knows it’s a war; and they are fighting it with every ounce of energy in their collective being. And they have declared the Tea Party as public enemy number one.
What started as one congressman’s presidential bid back in 2007 has now become a full-blown assault on the big-government establishment in Washington, D.C.–and around the country. The result is there is now a small army of Ron Pauls on Capitol Hill.
I urge you to ignore the shills of the establishment and go to the polls in the primaries this year and elect as many non-establishment candidates as you possibly can. Let’s give Karl Rove and John Boehner something to really worry about.
Imagine: you are dressed up for a night on Broadway, but your neighbours are involved in a vicious quarrel, and you have to gun up and deal with the trouble instead of enjoying a show, and a dinner, and perhaps a date. This was Putin’s position regarding the Ukrainian turmoil.
The Russians have readjusted their sights, but they do not intend to bring their troops into the two rebel republics, unless dramatic developments should force them.
It is not much fun to be in Kiev these days. The revolutionary excitement is over, and hopes for new faces, the end of corruption and economic improvement have withered. The Maidan street revolt and the subsequent coup just reshuffled the same marked deck of cards, forever rotating in power.
The new acting President has been an acting prime minister, and a KGB (called “SBU” in Ukrainian) supremo. The new acting prime minister has been a foreign minister. The oligarch most likely to be “elected” President in a few days has been a foreign minister, the head of the state bank, and personal treasurer of two coups, in 2004 (installing Yushchenko) and in 2014 (installing himself). His main competitor, Mme Timoshenko, served as a prime minister for years, until electoral defeat in 2010.
These people had brought Ukraine to its present abject state. In 1991, the Ukraine was richer than Russia, today it is three times poorer because of these people’s mismanagement and theft. Now they plan an old trick: to take loans in Ukraine’s name, pocket the cash and leave the country indebted. They sell state assets to Western companies and ask for NATO to come in and protect the investment.
They play a hard game, brass knuckles and all. The Black Guard, a new SS-like armed force of the neo-nazi Right Sector, prowls the land. They arrest or kill dissidents, activists, journalists. Hundreds of American soldiers, belonging to the “private” company Academi (formerly Blackwater) are spread out in Novorossia, the pro-Russian provinces in the East and South-East. IMF–dictated reforms slashed pensions by half and doubled the housing rents. In the market, US Army rations took the place of local food.
The new Kiev regime had dropped the last pretence of democracy by expelling the Communists from the parliament. This should endear them to the US even more. Expel Communists, apply for NATO, condemn Russia, arrange a gay parade and you may do anything at all, even fry dozens of citizens alive. And so they did.
The harshest repressions were unleashed on industrial Novorossia, as its working class loathes the whole lot of oligarchs and ultra-nationalists. After the blazing inferno of Odessa and a wanton shooting on the streets of Melitopol the two rebellious provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms and declared their independence from the Kiev regime. They came under fire, but did not surrender. The other six Russian-speaking industrial provinces of Novorossia were quickly cowed. Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa were terrorised by personal army of Mr Kolomoysky; Kharkov was misled by its tricky governor.
Russia did not interfere and did not support the rebellion, to the great distress of Russian nationalists in Ukraine and Russia who mutter about “betrayal”. So much for the warlike rhetoric of McCain and Brzezinski.
Putin’s respect for others’ sovereignty is exasperating. I understand this sounds like a joke, — you hear so much about Putin as a “new Hitler”. As a matter of fact, Putin had legal training before joining the Secret Service. He is a stickler for international law. His Russia has interfered with other states much less than France or England, let alone the US. I asked his senior adviser, Mr Alexei Pushkov, why Russia did not try to influence Ukrainian minds while Kiev buzzed with American and European officials. “We think it is wrong to interfere”, he replied like a good Sunday schoolboy. It is rather likely Putin’s advisors misjudged public sentiment. « The majority of Novorossia’s population does not like the new Kiev regime, but being politically passive and conservative, will submit to its rule”, they estimated. “The rebels are a small bunch of firebrands without mass support, and they can’t be relied upon”, was their view. Accordingly, Putin advised the rebels to postpone the referendum indefinitely, a polite way of saying “drop it”.
They disregarded his request with considerable sang froid and convincingly voted en masse for secession from a collapsing Ukraine. The turnout was much higher than expected, the support for the move near total. As I was told by a Kremlin insider, this development was not foreseen by Putin’s advisers.
Perhaps the advisors had read it right, but three developments had changed the voters’ minds and had sent this placid people to the barricades and the voting booths:
1. The first one was the fiery holocaust of Odessa, where the peaceful and carelessly unarmed demonstrating workers were suddenly attacked by regime’s thugs (the Ukrainian equivalent of Mubarak’s shabab) and corralled into the Trade Unions Headquarters. The building was set on fire, and the far-right pro-regime Black Guard positioned snipers to efficiently pick off would-be escapees. Some fifty, mainly elderly, Russian-speaking workers were burned alive or shot as they rushed for the windows and the doors. This dreadful event was turned into an occasion of merriment and joy by Ukrainian nationalists who referred to their slain compatriots as “fried beetles”. (It is being said that this auto-da-fé was organised by the shock troops of Jewish oligarch and strongman Kolomoysky, who coveted the port of Odessa. Despite his cuddly bear appearance, he is pugnacious and violent person, who offered ten thousand dollars for a captive Russian, dead or alive, and proposed a cool million dollars for the head of Mr Tsarev, a Member of Parliament from Donetsk.)
2. The second was the Mariupol attack on May 9, 2014. This day is commemorated as V-day in Russia and Ukraine (while the West celebrates it on May 8). The Kiev regime forbade all V-day celebrations. In Mariupol, the Black Guard attacked the peaceful and weaponless town, burning down the police headquarters and killing local policemen who had refused to suppress the festive march. Afterwards, Black Guard thugs unleashed armoured vehicles on the streets, killing citizens and destroying property.
The West did not voice any protest; Nuland and Merkel weren’t horrified by this mass murder, as they were by Yanukovich’s timid attempts to control crowds.
The people of these two provinces felt abandoned; they understood that nobody was going to protect and save them but themselves, and went off to vote.
3. The third development was, bizarrely, the Eurovision jury choice of Austrian transvestite Conchita Wurst for a winner of its song contest.
The sound-minded Novorossians decided they want no part of such a Europe.
Actually, the people of Europe do not want it either:
It transpired that the majority of British viewers preferred a Polish duo, Donatan & Cleo, with its We Are Slavic. Donatan is half Russian, and has courted controversy in the past extolling the virtues of pan-Slavism and the achievements of the Red Army, says the Independent.
The politically correct judges of the jury preferred to “celebrate tolerance”, the dominant paradigm imposed upon Europe.
This is the second transvestite to win this very political contest; the first one was Israeli singer Dana International.
Such obsession with re-gendering did not go down well with Russians and/or Ukrainians.
The Russians have readjusted their sights, but they do not intend to bring their troops into the two rebel republics, unless dramatic developments should force them.
Imagine: you are dressed up for a night on Broadway, but your neighbours are involved in a vicious quarrel, and you have to gun up and deal with the trouble instead of enjoying a show, and a dinner, and perhaps a date. This was Putin’s position regarding the Ukrainian turmoil.
A few months ago, Russia had made a huge effort to become, and to be seen as, a very civilized European state of the first magnitude. This was the message of the Sochi Olympic games: to re-brand, even re-invent Russia, just as Peter the Great once had, as part of the First World; an amazing country of strong European tradition, of Leo Tolstoy and Malevich, of Tchaikovsky and Diaghilev, the land of arts, of daring social reform, of technical achievements, of modernity and beyond — the Russia of Natasha Rostova riding a Sikorsky ‘copter. Putin spent $60 billion to broadcast this image.
The old fox Henry Kissinger wisely said:
Putin spent $60 billion on the Olympics. They had opening and closing ceremonies, trying to show Russia as a normal progressive state. So it isn’t possible that he, three days later, would voluntarily start an assault on Ukraine. There is no doubt that… at all times he wanted Ukraine in a subordinate position. And at all times, every senior Russian that I’ve ever met, including dissidents like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky, looked at Ukraine as part of the Russian heritage. But I don’t think he had planned to bring it to a head now.
However, Washington hawks decided to do whatever it takes to keep Russia out in the cold. They were afraid of this image of “a normal progressive state” as such Russia would render NATO irrelevant and undermine European dependence on the US. They were adamant about retaining their hegemony, shattered as it was by the Syrian confrontation. They attacked Russian positions in the Ukraine and arranged a violent coup, installing a viciously anti-Russian regime supported by football fans and neo-Nazis, paid for by Jewish oligarchs and American taxpayers. The victors banned the Russian language and prepared to void treaties with Russia regarding its Crimean naval base at Sebastopol on the Black Sea. This base was to become a great new NATO base, controlling the Black Sea and threatening Russia.
Putin had to deal quickly and so he did, by accepting the Crimean people’s request to join Russian Federation. This dealt with the immediate problem of the base, but the problem of Ukraine remained.
The Ukraine is not a foreign entity to Russians, it is the western half of Russia. It was artificially separated from the rest in 1991, at the collapse of the USSR. The people of the two parts are interconnected by family, culture and blood ties; their economies are intricately connected. While a separate viable Ukrainian state is a possibility, an “independent” Ukrainian state hostile to Russia is not viable and can’t be tolerated by any Russian ruler. And this for military as well as for cultural reasons: if Hitler had begun the war against Russia from its present border, he would have taken Stalingrad in two days and would have destroyed Russia in a week.
A more pro-active Russian ruler would have sent troops to Kiev a long time ago. Thus did Czar Alexis when the Poles, Cossacks and Tatars argued for it in 17th century. So also did Czar Peter the Great, when the Swedes occupied it in the 18th century. So did Lenin, when the Germans set up the Protectorate of Ukraine (he called its establishment “the obscene peace”). So did Stalin, when the Germans occupied the Ukraine in 1941.
Putin still hopes to settle the problem by peaceful means, relying upon the popular support of the Ukrainian people. Actually, before the Crimean takeover, the majority of Ukrainians (and near all Novorossians) overwhelmingly supported some sort of union with Russia. Otherwise, the Kiev coup would not have been necessary. The forced Crimean takeover seriously undermined Russian appeal. The people of Ukraine did not like it. This was foreseen by the Kremlin, but they had to accept Crimea for a few reasons. Firstly, a loss of Sevastopol naval base to NATO was a too horrible of an alternative to contemplate. Secondly, the Russian people would not understand if Putin were to refuse the suit of the Crimeans.
The Washington hawks still hope to force Putin to intervene militarily, as it would give them the opportunity to isolate Russia, turn it into a monster pariah state, beef up defence spending and set Europe and Russia against each other. They do not care about Ukraine and Ukrainians, but use them as pretext to attain geopolitical goals.
The Europeans would like to fleece Ukraine; to import its men as “illegal” workers and its women as prostitutes, to strip assets, to colonise. They did it with Moldova, a little sister of Ukraine, the most miserable ex-Soviet Republic. As for Russia, the EU would not mind taking it down a notch, so they would not act so grandly. But the EU is not fervent about it. Hence, the difference in attitudes.
Putin would prefer to continue with his modernisation of Russia. The country needs it badly. The infrastructure lags twenty or thirty years behind the West. Tired by this backwardness, young Russians often prefer to move to the West, and this brain drain causes much damage to Russia while enriching the West. Even Google is a result of this brain drain, for Sergey Brin is a Russian immigrant as well. So are hundreds of thousands of Russian scientists and artists manning every Western lab, theatre and orchestra. Political liberalisation is not enough: the young people want good roads, good schools and a quality of life comparable to the West. This is what Putin intends to deliver.
He is doing a fine job of it. Moscow now has free bikes and Wi-Fi in the parks like every Western European city. Trains have been upgraded. Hundreds of thousands of apartments are being built, even more than during the Soviet era. Salaries and pensions have increased seven-to-tenfold in the past decade. Russia is still shabby, but it is on the right track. Putin wants to continue this modernisation.
As for the Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states, Putin would prefer they retain their independence, be friendly and work at a leisurely pace towards integration a la the European Union.
He does not dream of a new empire. He would reject such a proposal, as it would delay his modernisation plans.
If the beastly neocons would not have forced his hand by expelling the legitimate president of Ukraine and installing their puppets, the world might have enjoyed a long spell of peace.
But then the western military alliance under the US leadership would fall into abeyance, US military industries would lose out, and US hegemony would evaporate. Peace is not good for the US military and hegemony-creating media machine. So dreams of peace in our lifetime are likely to remain just dreams.
What will Putin do?
Putin will try to avoid sending in troops as long as possible. He will have to protect the two splinter provinces, but this can be done with remote support, the way the US supports the rebels in Syria, without ‘boots on the ground’. Unless serious bloodshed on a large scale should occur, Russian troops will just stand by, staring down the Black Guard and other pro-regime forces.
Putin will try to find an arrangement with the West for sharing authority, influence and economic involvement in the failed state. This can be done through federalisation, or by means of coalition government, or even partition. The Russian-speaking provinces of Novorossia are those of Kharkov (industry), Nikolayev (ship-building), Odessa (harbour), Donetsk and Lugansk (mines and industry), Dnepropetrovsk (missiles and high-tech), Zaporozhe (steel), Kherson (water for Crimea and ship-building), all of them established, built and populated by Russians. They could secede from Ukraine and form an independent Novorossia, a mid-sized state, but still bigger than some neighbouring states. This state could join the Union State of Russia and Belarus, and/or the Customs Union led by Russia. The rump Ukraine could manage as it sees fit until it decides whether or not to join its Slavic sisters in the East. Such a set up would produce two rather cohesive and homogeneous states.
Another possibility (much less likely at this moment) is a three-way division of the failed Ukraine: Novorossia, Ukraine proper, and Galicia&Volyn. In such a case, Novorossia would be strongly pro-Russian, Ukraine would be neutral, and Galicia strongly pro-Western.
The EU could accept this, but the US probably would not agree to any power-sharing in the Ukraine. In the ensuing tug-of-war, one of two winners will emerge. If Europe and the US drift apart, Russia wins. If Russia accepts a pro-Western positioning of practically all of Ukraine, the US wins. The tug-of-war could snap and cause all-out war, with many participants and a possible use of nuclear weapons. This is a game of chicken; the one with stronger nerves and less imagination will remain on the track.
Pro and Contra
It is too early to predict who will win in the forthcoming confrontation. For the Russian president, it is extremely tempting to take all of Ukraine or at least Novorossia, but it is not an easy task, and one likely to cause much hostility from the Western powers. With Ukraine incorporated, Russian recovery from 1991 would be completed, its strength doubled, its security ensured and a grave danger removed. Russia would become great again. People would venerate Putin as Gatherer of Russian Lands.
However, Russian efforts to appear as a modern peaceful progressive state would have been wasted; it would be seen as an aggressor and expelled from international bodies. Sanctions will bite; high tech imports may be banned, as in the Soviet days. The Russian elites are reluctant to jeopardize their good life. The Russian military just recently began its modernization and is not keen to fight yet, perhaps not for another ten years.
But if they feel cornered, if NATO moves into Eastern Ukraine, they will fight all the same.
Some Russian politicians and observers believe that Ukraine is a basket case; its problems would be too expensive to fix. This assessment has a ‘sour grapes’ aftertaste, but it is widespread. An interesting new voice on the web, The Saker, promotes this view. “Let the EU and the US provide for the Ukrainians, they will come back to Mother Russia when hungry”, he says. The problem is, they will not be allowed to reconsider. The junta did not seize power violently in order to lose it at the ballot box.
Besides, Ukraine is not in such bad shape as some people claim. Yes, it would cost trillions to turn it into a Germany or France, but that’s not necessary. Ukraine can reach the Russian level of development very quickly –- in union with Russia. Under the EC-IMF-NATO, Ukraine will become a basket case, if it’s not already. The same is true for all East European ex-Soviet states: they can modestly prosper with Russia, as Belarus and Finland do, or suffer depopulation, unemployment, poverty with Europe and NATO and against Russia, vide Latvia, Hungary, Moldova, Georgia. It is in Ukrainian interests to join Russia in some framework; Ukrainians understand that; for this reason they will not be allowed to have democratic elections.
Simmering Novorossia has a potential to change the game. If Russian troops don’t come in, Novorossian rebels may beat off the Kiev offensive and embark on a counter-offensive to regain the whole of the country, despite Putin’s pacifying entreaties. Then, in a full-blown civil war, the Ukraine will hammer out its destiny.
On a personal level, Putin faces a hard choice. Russian nationalists will not forgive him if he surrenders Ukraine without a fight. The US and EU threaten the very life of the Russian president, as their sanctions are hurting Putin’s close associates, encouraging them to get rid of or even assassinate the President and improve their relations with the mighty West. War may come at any time, as it came twice during the last century – though Russia tried to avoid it both times. Putin wants to postpone it, at the very least, but not at any price.
His is not an easy choice. As Russia procrastinates, as the US doubles the risks, the world draws nearer to the nuclear abyss. Who will chicken out?
(Language editing by Ken Freeland)
The enormous energy spent on analyzing candidates and predicting elections is time wasted when the actual decisions are predetermined before the voting takes place. Even excluding voter fraud from the final count, the party selection process has made the decision. The pretense that primaries reflect the will of the electorate deceives the registered voter, amuses the party insiders and benefits the advertisement and media moguls. Ideas, policy positions and core principles take a back seat to the art of spinning and negatively defining the opponent.
Rivals start within your own party. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Republicans Tighten Grip on Debates in 2016 Race.
“Party leaders want to tighten their grip on a presidential primary season they believe has grown unruly and too long. This year, the party moved to set the nominating calendar by scheduling the first four contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — for February, allowing other states to begin voting in March and holding winner-take-all primaries starting March 15.
Taken together, these procedural steps could thwart an underfunded insurgent who needs the free exposure of televised debates and would be hurt by a series of rapid-fire contests in March that could be tilted toward an establishment-backed contender.
A few conservative stalwarts on the committee are nervous about the establishment’s consolidation of power over the primaries. “Do we want a committee of the national committee, which will surely be controlled by the national chairman, picking which candidates participate in all Republican presidential debates?”
This point is illustrated in the AP report RNC Changes debate Rules for 2016. “The RNC rules panel endorsed the creation of a 13-person committee that would limit how many presidential debates can take place and who can ask the questions. The full committee on Friday went along with that plan to ban candidates who participate in scofflaw debates from future RNC-backed sessions, by a 152-to-7 vote.”
Before the usual ceremonial indignation takes hold, ask yourself what is exactly sacrosanct about a stacked primary system that has little to do with an open contest. Patricians that make up the GOP establishment long ago graduated from the country club set.
Nonetheless, the bleeding hearts over at Salon would have you believe that the Democrats operate by different rules. Why Democrats need a primary, too offers advice why the anointed “Queen of Mean” that Rodman woman, would attain a benediction from going through an orchestrated charade before her canonization.
“Clinton would benefit from that input just as all incumbents and other party luminaries do, despite the fact that they would rather not have to have that fight. It is not good for a president to take the office without having taken the temperature of his or her supporters and understanding what they care about and what they expect. During a tempestuous period like this one, it’s even more important than usual. It would only be to her advantage to have a challenger who could bring forth those issues and allow the public to see them argued before she goes up against a Republican.”
Lost in the fervor of progressive rhetoric is that the Democratic Party is just as elitist as the Republicans are. Both operate as useful idiots and corporatist tools of a system that has long ago abandoned the practice of free enterprise.
Contrast this American version of a Punch and Judy show that has an elephant bully bemoaning the folk hero Robin Hood, who actually resembles an ass, with the exceptional Broadway Play, “The Best Man” by Gore Vidal. Watch the 1964 movie version and consider just how far the political system has collapsed in half a century.
The basic assumption in the play and movie is that the nominee of the Democratic Party will handedly beat their Republican opponent. Characterizing convention ballot voting by delegates as a genuine selection process may be strange to those who were raised on the myth that registered voters in a state primary really has a voice in the inauguration of the next President.
A system of party bosses and smoke room dealmakers, surely must be far worse from the televised mortifying pilgrimage and penitent self-flagellation that goes into winning the party’s nomination? Or, is it . . .
Remember the way the primaries served the faithful Democrats in 2008.
“According to news reports, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went out of their way to hold their long-awaited private meeting in a very specific location – not at Hillary’s mansion in Washington – but in Northern Virginia, which also just happens to be the scene of the 2008 Bilderberg meeting.The neo-liberal website Wonkette, which had previously ridiculed “conspiracy theorists” for ascribing power to Bilderberg, seemed to take a somewhat different tone when it made the connection between Obama and Hillary’s meeting and the Bilderberg Group.”
Orders from on high or more to the point, international deciders had their “heart to heart” with Hillary, passing her over, and giving her a maybe for 2016. George W. Bush liked to call himself the decider, but we all should know that decisions out of Skull and Bones are not based upon primary results.
Vidal’s screenplay portrayed a party convention as a real nomination fight. To whatever slime degree existed in the horse-trading to win delegates back then, the appearance in today’s selection makes no pretext of concealing the hidden hands behind picking the next President.
The partisan politics protection racket has but one goal; namely, serve and safeguard establishment interests of the elites, who really command the ultimate power. In addition to the Presidency, Congress shares broad similarities in their version of The Incumbent Protection Racket.
“In the U.S. House of Representatives, over the past five elections, incumbents have been re-elected at an average rate of 96 percent. According to my unscientific calculations, a congressman is more likely to be eaten by a polar bear while panning for gold in Key West than to be voted out of office.”
Serious challenges in Congressional district primacies are rare. The exception was in 2010 with the success of Tea Party candidates. However, such expression of the will of the people cannot stand in the polluted Potomac sewer that passes for representative democracy. Just look at the concerted efforts to sabotage populist support to retool the excesses in the federal government. Party Goers – What Do You Take With Your Tea?, indicates that all the sugar in the Caribbean will not prevent the political diabetes disease from going into shock. The bipartisan protection con knows how to close ranks among the political class.
“When main street middle class beleaguered taxpayers resonated that, the system was out of whack, the damage control team went into overdrive. This background helps to explain why the face of unprompted Tea Party individualism must be distorted, maligned and redirected.”
Great disappointment among Tea Party activists in the hostile welcome from establishment NeoCons has set in. The alternative to playing the no win beltway game provided in Dissecting U.S. Elections – the People vs. the Pols, best states the rational solution.
“What if a real grassroots national movement emerged that supersedes all ideology with a singular purpose – remove all careerist “pols” from office. Forget about the phony No Labels effort to diffuse popular disgust. The solution is to attract the very citizens who NEVER vote in elections.
A national campaign – No Confidence – would be the clear message that the arrogant confidence game crooks could understand.”
Drawing upon a universal appeal to break from the travesties of the two party frauds is necessary to register countrywide outrage. Only through vigorous dissention will The Meaning of Third Parties in America, bring the necessary pressure to collapse both the Democrat and Republican Parties.
“The solution to implement meaningful reform is to defuse the political power that is presently concentrated within the ‘Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle Dee’ parties. The notion that differences between them are based upon core principles, denies the unending descent into ‘collectivism’. The edges have varied shapes, but the centers are formed from the same sponge.”
You can always resolve that either party will never nominate “The Best Man”. If you are so delusional to believe that a woman is the answer in the oval office, look in a different direction. Elizabeth Warren the self-proclaimed Pinocchio-hontas, is a sorry excuse for an accomplished liar. Flush with law school disingenuous skills, this want-a-be feminine messiah would have you believe that Hillary is the New World Order’s favorite grandmother.
Nonetheless, fake opposition simply projects the image that there is a choice in candidates. Noam Scheiber, in the New Republic writes, “A Clinton-Warren matchup would have all sorts of consequences, none of them especially heartwarming. The most immediate is that Warren would probably lose.” Well so much for a contest between squaws, better suited for commitment to the Hiawatha Insane Asylum.Partisan politics is mostly a ruse designed to divert attention from service to the substantial interests of establishment globalists. The noise generated around campaigns and media coverage, ignores or conceals the existent deals that serve the real goals and intentions of the master puppeteers. The terminal lesson is that establishment politics treats the public as reservation squatters.
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; theTimes 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 fromUSA 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 blockthe 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.
- See RT.com (formerly Russia Today) for many stories, images and videos
- Robert Gates, Duty (2014), p.97
- If this site has gone missing again, a saved version can be found here.
- 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
- RT.com, news report March 5, 2014
- CBS News, March 3, 2014
- Washington Post, April 11, 2014
- USA Today (Virginia), Oct. 11, 1999, page 1
- Washington Post print edition, April 2, 2014; online here
History has been made. But few Americans are aware of it or angry about it. I say: Wake up Americans. A war has been waged against US democracy, from the inside. Time to pick a side and fight back.
If you are not totally brain dead, distracted by pain or pleasure, or consumed by narcissistic obsessions, face the ugly, painful truth.
Republicans with political power in Congress and the states and, even more appallingly, on the Supreme Court have succeeded in turning their beloved republic into a-money-buys-power oligarchy. One person, one vote was the enemy and it is being defeated. One dollar, one vote is the new Republican political value. American democracy is more delusional than ever. To think otherwise is even more delusional.
I present three arguments supporting the conclusion that there has been a conversion of US democracy into something worse than a plutocracy. Political power is more dependent on money than ever before.
First, Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and many controlling state governments, together with their rich supporters, have steadily and successfully eroded voting and election laws. Their goal has been simple: Fight the demographic advantages of Democrats that give them more voters by making it more difficult for those citizens to actually vote. This has been documented in a New York Times top story and many other places. Republicans see the obvious. Namely that their older,-largely rural, white male shrinking proportion of the population is insufficient to win many elections and, even more significant, that many of their policy positions will never prevail with many demographic groups.
As Damon Linker observed about this statistical reality, this is a “tacit acknowledgement by the Republican Party that it’s in dire demographic straits — and that one of the key pillars of its ideology over the last half-century is crumbling right before our eyes.” Their solution, besides vicious gerrymandering of House districts, is to make it ever more difficult for groups likely to favor Democrats to vote in all elections. This direct assault on electoral democracy depends considerably on money coming from the wealthiest people to finance the actions to change election laws.
Second, the Supreme Court is now controlled by a Republican majority that has been successfully producing decisions to remove limits to money dumped into the political system by the richest Americans. For example, recently the McCutcheon decision continued the Roberts Court program of gutting campaign-finance laws. Hard to believe, but this decision came to the aid of just 1,219 people in the US—that’s four in every 1,000,000 of our population, who ran up against a contribution limit. But this is consistent with the insanity that money is the same as free speech, which the Supreme Court has made the law of the land.
As Robert Reich correctly noted: “The court said such spending doesn’t corrupt democracy. That’s utter baloney, as anyone who has the faintest familiarity with contemporary American politics well knows.” Political money is used to greatly impact lawmaking and elections. Political power obtained through political spending is, of course, essential for the richest Americans to maintain and perhaps intensify the economic inequality that now distinguishes American society. It is how an oligarchy is obtained and sustained.
I hope that Brent Budowsky is correct. Namely that “Roberts and his four conservative Republican brethren will ultimately be impeached by historians who will condemn, and future courts that will reverse, politically illegitimate and constitutionally deformed rulings that would turn America into a constitutional oligarchy.” But change “would turn” into “have turned.”
Third, as still more proof of the profound historic change in the US, a recent study from Princeton University that analyzed considerable data concluded that the US has become an oligarchy. Here is what this important study said: “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”
Furthermore, “Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.” In other words, it is time for Americans to stop believing delusional truths and recognize that US democracy has become a myth, especially if there are ever to be serious actions by the majority to fix and restore democracy.
Americans, especially younger ones, need to understand the historical path from democracy to plutocracy to oligarchy. Most Americans are suffering because of economic inequality and they need to understand that the economic system is under the control of the perverted political system. Anyone who is not in the Upper Class or proverbial top one percent who votes for Republicans is living in some fantasy world. Such voters have been brainwashed and manipulated by, for example, FOX News and blowhards like Limbaugh.
Republicans want even more power. And if they get it, what would you expect from those working so hard to make US democracy a joke and replace millions of voters with one percent oligarchs? What Republicans have been doing is nothing less than domestic political terrorism. If Republicans and Tea Party loyalists were true patriots, they would rebel against the oligarchy created by Republicans.
Finally, make no mistake and think this condemnation of Republicans equates to advocacy for Democrats. The ultimate solution if a better, more democratic US system is to be obtained is not to rely on putting Democrats in control who also have some billionaires on their side. No, what is required is a number of constitutional amendments obtained through an Article V conventionthat are necessary to structurally reform the political system, especially getting rid of the power of political money. In recent months there has been a historic increase in support from important people for constitutional amendments and greater public support is desperately needed to finally use the constitutional option given by the Founders to the nation.
Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George W. Bush had made some of these statements, Obama supporters would not hesitate to shake their head, roll their eyes, or smirk. Here’s a sample:
– “In defending its actions, Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent – an example they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country, just as they’re doing now. But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years.”
Most people who follow such things are convinced that the 1999 US/NATO bombing of the Serbian province of Kosovo took place only after the Serbian-forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of Serbia’s extreme anger and powerlessness over the bombing. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, 1999, and the few days following. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation. [emphasis added]
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that nature.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
– “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized, not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”
None of that even came close to happening in Kosovo either. The story is false. The referendum the president speaks of never happened. Did the mainstream media pick up on this or on the previous example? If any reader comes across such I’d appreciate being informed.
Crimea, by the way, did have a referendum. A real one.
– “Workers and engineers gave life to the Marshall Plan … As the Iron Curtain fell here in Europe, the iron fist of apartheid was unclenched, and Nelson Mandela emerged upright, proud, from prison to lead a multiracial democracy. Latin American nations rejected dictatorship and built new democracies … “
The president might have mentioned that the main beneficiary of the Marshall Plan was US corporations , that the United States played an indispensable role in Mandela being caught and imprisoned, and that virtually all the Latin American dictatorships owed their very existence to Washington. Instead, the European youth were fed the same party line that their parents were fed, as were all Americans.
– “Yes, we believe in democracy – with elections that are free and fair.”
In this talk, the main purpose of which was to lambaste the Russians for their actions concerning Ukraine, there was no mention that the government overthrown in that country with the clear support of the United States had been democratically elected.
– “Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. … But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.”
The US did not get UN Security Council approval for its invasion, the only approval that could legitimize the action. It occupied Iraq from one end of the country to the other for 8 years, forcing the government to privatize the oil industry and accept multinational – largely U.S.-based, oil companies’ – ownership. This endeavor was less than successful because of the violence unleashed by the invasion. The US military finally was forced to leave because the Iraqi government refused to give immunity to American soldiers for their many crimes.
Here is a brief summary of what Barack Obama is attempting to present as America’s moral superiority to the Russians:
The modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state … the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly … the people of that unhappy land lost everything – their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile … The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lying in wait for children to pick them up … a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again. … “It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post. (May 5, 2007)
How can all these mistakes, such arrogance, hypocrisy and absurdity find their way into a single international speech by the president of the United States? Is the White House budget not sufficient to hire a decent fact checker? Someone with an intellect and a social conscience? Or does the desire to score propaganda points trump everything else? Is this another symptom of the Banana-Republicization of America?
Long live the Cold War
In 1933 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union after some 15 years of severed relations following the Bolshevik Revolution. On a day in December of that year, a train was passing through Poland carrying the first American diplomats dispatched to Moscow. Amongst their number was a 29 year-old Foreign Service Officer, later to become famous as a diplomat and scholar, George Kennan. Though he was already deemed a government expert on Russia, the train provided Kennan’s first actual exposure to the Soviet Union. As he listened to his group’s escort, Russian Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov, reminisce about growing up in a village the train was passing close by, and his dreams of becoming a librarian, the Princeton-educated Kennan was astonished: “We suddenly realized, or at least I did, that these people we were dealing with were human beings like ourselves, that they had been born somewhere, that they had their childhood ambitions as we had. It seemed for a brief moment we could break through and embrace these people.”
It hasn’t happened yet.
One would think that the absence in Russia of communism, of socialism, of the basic threat or challenge to the capitalist system, would be sufficient to write finis to the 70-year Cold War mentality. But the United States is virtually as hostile to 21st-century Russia as it was to 20th-century Soviet Union, surrounding Moscow with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members. Why should that be? Ideology is no longer a factor. But power remains one, specifically America’s perpetual lust for world hegemony. Russia is the only nation that (a) is a military powerhouse, and (b) doesn’t believe that the United States has a god-given-American-exceptionalism right to rule the world, and says so. By these criteria, China might qualify as a poor second. But there are no others.
Washington pretends that it doesn’t understand why Moscow should be upset by Western military encroachment, but it has no such problem when roles are reversed. Secretary of State John Kerry recently stated that Russian troops poised near eastern Ukraine are “creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine” and raising questions about Russia’s next moves and its commitment to diplomacy.
NATO – ever in need of finding a raison d’être – has now issued a declaration of [cold] war, which reads in part:
“NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday [April 1, 2014] reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, agreed to further support Ukraine and to suspend NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia. ‘NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake, this is what we will do,’ NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. … Ministers directed Allied military authorities to develop additional measures to strengthen collective defence and deterrence against any threat of aggression against the Alliance, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. ‘We will make sure we have updated military plans, enhanced exercises and appropriate deployments,’ he said. NATO has already reinforced its presence on the eastern border of the Alliance, including surveillance patrols over Poland and Romania and increased numbers of fighter aircraft allocated to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States. … NATO Foreign Ministers also agreed to suspend all of NATO’s practical cooperation with Russia.”
Does anyone recall what NATO said in 2003 when the United States bombed and invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”, compared to the Russians now not firing a single known shot at anyone? And neither Russia nor Ukraine is even a member of NATO. Does NATO have a word to say about the right-wing coup in Ukraine, openly supported by the United States, overthrowing the elected government? Did the hypocrisy get any worse during the Cold War? Imagine that NATO had not been created in 1949. Imagine that it has never existed. What reason could one give today for its creation? Other than to provide a multi-national cover for Washington’s interventions.
One of the main differences between now and the Cold War period is that Americans at home are (not yet) persecuted or prosecuted for supporting Russia or things Russian.
But don’t worry, folks, there won’t be a big US-Russian war. For the same reason there wasn’t one during the Cold War. The United States doesn’t pick on any country which can defend itself.
Cuba … Again … Still … Forever
Is there actually a limit? Will the United States ever stop trying to overthrow the Cuban government? Entire books have been written documenting the unrelenting ways Washington has tried to get rid of tiny Cuba’s horrid socialism – from military invasion to repeated assassination attempts to an embargo that President Clinton’s National Security Advisor called “the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind”. But nothing has ever come even close to succeeding. The horrid socialism keeps on inspiring people all over the world. It’s the darnedest thing. Can providing people free or remarkably affordable health care, education, housing, food and culture be all that important?
And now it’s “Cuban Twitter” – an elaborately complex system set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to disguise its American origins and financing, aiming to bring about a “Cuban Spring” uprising. USAID sought to first “build a Cuban audience, mostly young people; then the plan was to push them toward dissent”, hoping the messaging network “would reach critical mass so that dissidents could organize ‘smart mobs’ – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice – that might trigger political demonstrations or ‘renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society’.” It’s too bad it’s now been exposed, because we all know how wonderful the Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, and other “Arab Springs” have turned out.
Here’s USAID speaking after their scheme was revealed on April 3: “Cubans were able to talk among themselves, and we are proud of that.” We are thus asked to believe that normally the poor downtrodden Cubans have no good or safe way to communicate with each other. Is the US National Security Agency working for the Cuban government now?
The Associated Press, which broke the story, asks us further to believe that the “truth” about most things important in the world is being kept from the Cuban people by the Castro regime, and that the “Cuban Twitter” would have opened people’s eyes. But what information might a Cuban citizen discover online that the government would not want him to know about? I can’t imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television programs from Miami and other southern cities; both CNN and Telesur (Venezuela, covering Latin America) are seen regularly on Cuban television”; international conferences on all manner of political, economic and social issues are held regularly in Cuba. I’ve spoken at more than one myself. What – it must be asked – does USAID, as well as the American media, think are the great dark secrets being kept from the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?
Those who push this line sometimes point to the serious difficulty of using the Internet in Cuba. The problem is that it’s extremely slow, making certain desired usages often impractical. From an American friend living in Havana: “It’s not a question of getting or not getting internet. I get internet here. The problem is downloading something or connecting to a link takes too long on the very slow connection that exists here, so usually I/we get ‘timed out’.” But the USAID’s “Cuban Twitter”, after all, could not have functioned at all without the Internet.
Places like universities, upscale hotels, and Internet cafés get better connections, at least some of the time; however, it’s rather expensive to use at the hotels and cafés.
In any event, this isn’t a government plot to hide dangerous information. It’s a matter of technical availability and prohibitive cost, both things at least partly in the hands of the United States and American corporations. Microsoft, for example, at one point, if not at present, barred Cuba from using its Messenger instant messaging service.
Cuba and Venezuela have jointly built a fiber optic underwater cable connection that they hope will make them less reliant on the gringos; the outcome of this has not yet been reported in much detail.
The grandly named Agency for International Development does not have an honorable history; this can perhaps be captured by a couple of examples: In 1981, the agency’s director, John Gilligan, stated: “At one time, many AID field offices were infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people. The idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas, government, volunteer, religious, every kind.”
On June 21, 2012, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of USAID from their nine member countries, “due to the fact that we consider their presence and actions to constitute an interference which threatens the sovereignty and stability of our nations.”
USAID, the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy (and the latter’s subsidiaries), together or singly, continue to be present at regime changes, or attempts at same, favorable to Washington, from “color revolutions” to “spring” uprisings, producing a large measure of chaos and suffering for our tired old world.
- William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export – Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, p.22-5
- Walter Isaacson & Evan Thomas, The Wise Men (1986), p.158
- Washington Post, March 31, 2014
- “NATO takes measures to reinforce collective defence, agrees on support for Ukraine”, NATO website, April 1, 2014
- Sandy Berger, White House press briefing, November 14, 1997, US Newswire transcript
- Associated Press, April 3 & 4, 2014
- Washington Post, April 4, 2014
- Associated Press, June 2, 2009
- George Cotter, “Spies, strings and missionaries”, The Christian Century (Chicago), March 25, 1981, p.321
We are almost 3 months away from the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. If we are lucky, Wall Street’s puppet government in Washington will not blow up the world by June 28, 2014.
I have always despised President Woodrow Wilson for getting America into World War I. I want to cure the world of reoccurring Depressions through Worldwide Debt Cancellation and Monetary Reform. As I have explained before, Depressions in the West are caused by the accumulation of Unpayable Debts. These occur because Bankers have the right to charge us interest on money they created out of nothing. We need a non-interest bearing currency like President Lincoln’s Greenbacks. And we also must end fractional reserve banking which allows a bank to lend out ten dollars for every one on deposit. Woodrow Wilson gave us the Federal Reserve bank and WW I. We have had cycles of wars and Depressions ever since.
I would like to compare 1914 to what is happening today. Let me begin by quoting something I wrote about World War I a few years ago.
Edith Cavell made a fatal mistake. She mistakenly believed she lived in a democracy. She was a British nurse working in Belgium in 1915. She saw first hand the horrors of trench warfare. She also saw a quick and easy means for England to end the war with a victory. She wrote a letter to the Nursing Mirror which was published on April 15th, 1915. She said that ‘Belgian Relief’ efforts were actually being sent to Germany which would have to sue for peace without this aid from the allies. England was quite literally feeding the German army that was killing millions of French and British soldiers. What she did not know was that similar allied war materiel was being sent to Germany via Sweden and other neutral nations so the war could continue for several more years.
Sir William Wiseman heard about her letter. He was the head of British Intelligence in North America for MI6. He was a partner at the Rothschild owned Kuhn and Loeb Investment Bank. He ordered the Germans to arrest Edith Cavell. She was subsequently shot as a spy. Her mistake was to think that she lived in a democracy where the people could vote, write letters to the editor and have a say in the life and death decisions of the nation. She did not live to see what we have seen.
Americans ought not to believe they live in a democracy. Our politicians cannot prove to us that our votes are honestly counted. Every President since 1989 has been a CIA asset. The CIA is allowed to fly heroin and cocaine into America by the plane load. And the CIA is allowed to go into Senate Intelligence Committee computers and erase documents proving the Agency guilty of torture.
The media seems all too willing to cover up every plot against the American people from the assassination of President Kennedy to the controlled demolitions of the Murrah Federal building on April 19, 1995 and World Trade Center Towers 1, 2 and 7 on September 11, 2001. They also were willing to let the previous administration tell us lies to justify the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. And now the current administration tells us lies about Crimea. Believing their propaganda could get us all killed.
The US paid the opposition $5 billion to start riots before the May elections could be held. Then they hired snipers from as far away as Israel to shoot both the protesters and the police. They installed a Jewish banker as President without elections because they were not sure the people would vote to join the European Union in May. The coup leaders passed laws making the minority Hungarian and Russian languages sort of illegal. And just as they did in Libya the Americans stole the Ukraine’s gold and looted their banks. This plan to seize the Ukraine was mentioned in print by Zbigniew Brzezinski in 2007. He assumed Russia would respond by taking back the Crimea which Khrushchev had given away in 1954.
Barack Obama and his advisers are probably even more incompetent than Woodrow Wilson and his crew. The Obama crowd has announced war game exercises for Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltics. Hopefully, Putin understands America cannot do anything militarily against a real Army. Obama’s advisers would like to crush Russia with sanctions. That will never happen. Russia has gold, oil, natural gas and other products that people all over the world want to buy. Nobody wants to buy America’s Genetically Modified Organisms. Even with retail stores dying America is still importing far more than it exports. And the Government Accounting Office said that the alleged 680 billion 2013 US budget deficit was really a trillion dollars. America by design has a permanently sick economy. America cannot survive sanctions.
Russia intends to announce the Holy Grail of energy deals in May when Putin visits China. China will buy Russian oil and natural gas with yuan. The United States has been occupying Afghanistan, funding Al Qaeda against Syria and killing people in Pakistan and Yemen with drones to prevent pipelines from distributing natural gas to Europe and to China. This restraint of trade has forced the price of natural gas and oil higher. Americans pay what they think are high rates for electricity but their natural gas prices are low. I am not familiar with the details of English utility bills but their utility bills are a lot higher than ours. And their government allows really outrageous gouging. European Union energy rules do not seem to be helping either. Barack’s forcing Russia to sell oil and natural gas to China will severely harm our allies in Great Britain and Europe. The economy of the EU cannot survive a 40% rise in their utility bills. They are near collapse anyway you say. Yes. But sanctions if not stopped now will push them over the edge sooner rather than later.
NATO wants to bring the Ukraine into their military alliance. This means if the Ukrainian coup leaders want to start World War III, we are all obligated to die. I once heard a Scotsman say that NATO stands for Not Altogether Thought Out. The Russians as part of that May Summit with China will be selling them Sukhoi SU-35 jet fighters. They can out maneuver the American F-22 and F-35 both of which are not really operational.
Prior to Putin’s visit to China in May the Chinese are expected to announce their gold holdings late in April. The last time they announced those holdings was in April of 2009. Sun Tzu in The Art of War said ‘when you are many pretend to be few.’ As I have said before, China has at least 7,000 tons of gold. They might announce a much lower number or delay the press release if they are not yet ready to reveal a gold backed yuan. They might prefer to do that in May or at least to announce something like the End of the Petrodollar which would be Phase I of the destruction of the US economy. That could take the form of an announcement that oil and natural gas would henceforth be bought and sold only in yuan, rubles and gold. That would send the dollar into a tailspin from which it will never recover.
All of this will come to a head at least a month before the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on June 28, 2014. This time around I am hopeful that the US military which several times has had to say No to launching World War III by attacking Iran will refuse to get us and themselves killed. Why should we die because Wall Street cannot manage the economy without stealing our money by the tens of trillions, starving people to death by the hundreds of millions and killing people in their wars by the billions?
People from Yemen and Pakistan and elsewhere have told me, and have testified in the U.S. Congress, that they have a hard time convincing their neighbors that everyone in the United States doesn’t hate them. There are buzzing killer robots flying over their houses night and day and every now and then blowing a bunch of people up with a missile with very little rhyme or reason that anyone nearby can decipher. They don’t know where to go or not go, what to do or not do, to be safe or keep their children safe. Their children have instinctively taken to crouching and covering their heads just like U.S. children in the 1950s were taught to do as supposed protection from Soviet nuclear weapons.
The good news is that, of course, we don’t all hate Yemenis or Pakistanis or Somalis or Afghans or Libyans or any of the other people who might suspect us of it. The bad news — and the news that I’m afraid would be almost incomprehensible to many millions of people around the world — is that most of us have only the vaguest idea where any of those countries are, some of us don’t know that they ARE countries at all, and we pay far greater attention to our sports and our pets than to whom exactly our government is killing this Tuesday.
This obliviousness comes into sharpest relief perhaps when we elect the officials who are legally called on to decide on our wars. The extent to which Congress has handed war making over to presidents is also brought out by observing Congressional elections. It is not at all uncommon for U.S. Congressional candidates’ platforms to entirely ignore all questions of war and peace, and to win support from either Democrats or Republicans despite this omission — despite, in particular, taking no position on the area funded by 57% of the dollars they will vote on if elected, namely wars and war preparations.
Here in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, a man named Lawrence Gaughan recently announced as a Democratic candidate for Congress. I’d never heard of him, so I took a look at the “Issues” section of hiswebsite. Not only WAS there such a section (some candidates campaign purely on their biography without taking positions on anything), but Gaughan’s site had clear forthright statements on a number of important issues. He backed labor unions despite their virtual nonexistence in his district. He admitted the existence of climate change. He backed Eisenhower era tax rates (!!). And his statements made commitments: “I will not vote for any tax cuts for those making over 250,000 dollars a year.” “I support the Dream Act.” “I would vote for any legislation that would bring back jobs in construction, manufacturing and production.” Either this guy had real principles or he was just too new for anyone to have explained to him how to make his promises vague enough not to commit himself to any specific actions.
All too typically, however, when I scrolled through the “Issues,” I noticed a gap. I sent this note off to the candidate’s staff:
“Your candidate has some of the best and clearest positions on domestic issues that I’ve seen, and dramatically superior to Congressman Hurt’s, but judging by his website as it stands today he seems to have no position on foreign policy whatsoever, or even on that 57% of discretionary spending that, according to the National Priorities Project, goes to militarism. For people who support domestic social justice AND peace in the world in this district, we are put in a bind by our history. Congressman Perriello voted for every war dollar he could, and has made a career of pushing for new wars since leaving office. Congressman Hurt is a disaster on other issues but listened to us and took a stand against missile strikes on Syria. He even listened to us on lawless imprisonment and voted against a “Defense” Authorization Act on one occasion. Helpful as it is to know what Lawrence Gaughan thinks of 43% of the budget, some of us are really going to have to know what he thinks of the larger part. Would he cut military spending? Would he oppose new wars? Does he oppose drone strikes? Would he repeal the authorization to use military force of ’01 and that of ’03? Would he support economic conversion to peaceful industries on the model now set up in Connecticut? Would he advance a foreign policy of diplomacy, cooperation, actual aid, and nonviolent conflict resolution? Are there any foreign bases he would close? Does he think having U.S. troops in 175 nations is too many, too few, or just right? Does he support joining the ICC? Thanks for your time!”
A couple of days later, Gaughan called me on the phone. We talked for a while about foreign policies, wars, peace, militarism, the economic advantages of converting to peaceful industries, the danger of handing war powers over to presidents. He said he opposed wars. He said he wanted to take on the influence of the military industrial complex. He didn’t seem particularly well informed, but he seemed to be coming from a fairly good place or to at least be willing to get there.
He proposed allowing military veterans to never pay any taxes. That’s not exactly the sort of resistance to militarism that President Kennedy had in mind when he wrote that wars would continue until the conscientious objector has the honor and prestige of the soldier. Gaughan offered no tax cuts for conscientious objectors. Still, he said he’d get some good statements on foreign policy added to his website right away. He also said he’d be willing to debate the other candidates, including the incumbent, on foreign relations, should peace groups create such a forum and invite him.
Lo and behold, the next day, this appeared on Gaughan’s website:
“We have strayed from our constitution when it comes to the defense of our nation and declaration of war. I was opposed to the war in Iraq for many reasons. The enormous price paid by our brave men and women as well as the huge financial debt that we incurred was not necessary. Republicans in Congress continue to defer those costs on our military personnel and our veterans through the sequester and other austerity measures.
“Not withstanding the government shutdown, the Republican budget proposals that my opponent, Robert Hurt, has voted for over the past three years, have forced the Pentagon into reductions that have taken a tremendous toll on enlisted personnel right here in our district. These political policies are also causing reductions to TriCare, active duty health benefits, and to retired military pensions. As the greatest nation on earth, it is unacceptable that we have homeless veterans or military families who struggle to pay the bills.
“We owe so much to the men and women who serve. Instead of laying off soldiers and cutting funding for the VA, we could begin by eliminating the ongoing fraud by military contractors. Fraud committed by dozens of irresponsible military industry corporations have cost taxpayers more than $1.1 trillion. Eliminating this fraud would offset most of the estimated $1.2 trillion in policy savings required over the next decade in order to realize the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated $1.4 trillion in deficit reduction without ‘gutting our military’. Furthermore, as a component of tax reform, there should be a tax exemption status for veterans written into the tax code.”
His topic, all too typically — people around the world should understand — is not how to relate to the 95% of humanity that is not in the United States, but how to treat “The Military.”
His first sentence echoes our discussion of the past three-quarters century of undeclared wars, but doesn’t spell it out. Will he oppose wars that lack a Congressional declaration or not?
He picks one past war to oppose without stating his position on future wars. He describes the costs of a war that killed some million Iraqis and destroyed a nation as all being paid by the U.S. and its soldiers.
He blames the sequester agreement on only one of the two parties that agreed to it, and buys into themyth that it has resulted in cuts to the military. (True, Democrats in the Senate recently put up a token effort to fund veterans’ needs and were blocked by Republicans.) Gaughan claims that we owe “so much” to members of the military who “serve.” What exactly do we owe them? Can he name something that we owe them? He doesn’t want soldiers to be “laid off,” as if employing them is a make-work jobs program.
In my view we owe veterans housing, healthcare, education, a clean environment, and a healthy society because they are human beings — and we owe it equally to every other human being. But we shouldn’t pretend that the military’s so-called “service” isn’t making us hated around the world. We shouldn’t try to produce more veterans as if there were something noble about murdering people.
Gaughan almost closes on an up note. He acknowledges fraud by military contractors. He even calls them “military,” rather than using the misleading term “defense.” But then he makes clear that he doesn’t want to cut the military. He wants to create efficiency to avoid cuts while saving money.
Would he repeal authorizations to use military force? Who knows. Would he back future wars? Who can tell? Does he believe U.S. troops should be in 175 nations? Perhaps. But if they were in 182 would he then think 182 was the right number? Does he favor allowing presidents to murder people with missiles from drones or by any other means? Does he think antagonizing Russia and China and Iran should remain the focus of U.S. foreign policy? Does he want the occupation of Afghanistan ended? Who knows.
He brought up a Department of Peace on our phone call, but it didn’t make the website yet. One can hope that Gaughan’s website is a work in progress. There’s certainly a chance he’ll become a far better candidate and Congress member than this district has had in a long time.
But this, dear world, is more or less how the world’s largest-ever killing machine operates. It turns its eyes away from the machine’s work and, if pushed, debates the care of the machine itself — maintaining more or less complete obliviousness to the horrors the machine produces in those far away places where you live and die.
Source: DavidSwanson | Washington’s Blog
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. ~ Eph 5:11
Not surprisingly the movie “Son of God” has created quite a stir in the Christian community. Before I gave the theater my money I read several reviews, blog posts, Facebook comments and viewed TV interviews of husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey promoting their film. Roma is a familiar face to many and is best-known for her role on the successful TV show “Touched by An Angel.” Mark Burnett is the executive producer of a string of hit TV shows such as “Survivor,” “The Voice, “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Shark Tank,” and he has won several Emmys.
When I first heard that another full-length feature film about the life of Christ was coming to the silver screen, I was skeptical for several reasons. First, Mark and Roma are Catholic and I was concerned that the movie would be produced from this perspective; a perspective that in many cases I disagree with.
Second, I learned that Roma earned a degree in “spiritual psychology” from the University of Santa Monica, a private graduate school founded by New Age spiritual and self-help quack John-Roger. P.J. Miller is not being flippant when he asks:
What do you call someone who is a student of new age psychology and spiritualism? Do you call them new agers? Do you call them seekers? Would you dare call them Christian? Well, if you’re Roma Downey, then yes, you would call yourself all the above. (Source)
Third, a movie trailer shows Jesus asking Peter to follow Him. Peter looks skeptical and asks Jesus what they’re going to do. Jesus grins and replies “Change the world.” Well, no. Jesus never said those words to Peter! Here’s what Jesus actually said:
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mat 4:18-20)
Jesus commanded — Peter and Andrew dropped what they were doing to follow Him. (More on this in a moment.) Another clip shows a woman sitting in a boat on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus and the apostles during the storm where Jesus walks on water. But according to Scripture there was no woman in the boat:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. (Mat 14:22)
In the movie Mary was the woman in the boat. But why would they have a woman in the boat when Matthew informs us that the disciples/apostles got into the boat. Mary wasn’t one of the twelve disciples/apostles – no woman was!
Finally, S. Michael Houdmann revealed in his review of the movie that, “the reason for Jesus’ death and the meaning of His resurrection are completely missing. The fact that Jesus’ death is the atoning sacrifice for sin is not mentioned at all (1 John 2:2).”
As I said, “Son of God” has elicited a great deal of controversy as did Mark and Roma’s “The Bible” miniseries produced by LightWorkers Media, a company owned by them. This “heretical and blasphemous” program aired on the History Channel last year. “We knew when we were shooting,” said Downey, “that the Jesus portion of our ‘Bible’ series was special and we shot much more footage and we’ve re-edited many more scenes into a stand-alone feature film called ‘Son of God.'” I don’t have the space to tackle the “The Bible” brouhaha. I will say, though, that several highly controversial pastors sat on the Board of Advisors. They include Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Richard Mouw andSamuel Rodriguez. (For more on “The Bible” go to Resources below)
The Son of God?
“Son of God” opened on February 28, so by now a lot of folks have had the opportunity to view it in theatres and many more will have it streaming into their living rooms in a few months. Naturally, reviews were quickly written, some good, some not so good. (You’ll find links to the reviews at the end of this piece.) Suffice to say that in a short amount of time a lot has been said about the film.
Many of you won’t be surprised to learn that Mark and Roma asked Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren to help spread their version of the “good news.” He happily agreed. “I’ve seen most of the films produced about Jesus in the past 50 years,” said the pastor, “and ‘Son of God’ is the best. We’re excited Jesus is back on the big screen, and we’re going to fill the theaters. I want every other faith leader in America to do the same.”
So – why would the man who is affectionately called “America’s Pastor” agree to promote a film that its critics describe as outright unbiblical?
Not only did Warren endorse the film, according to the Baptist Standard staff report :
Pastor and author Rick Warren partnered with LifeWay Christian Resources to release a Bible study related to the Son of God movie from 20th Century Fox, which hits theaters Feb. 28.
The small-group curriculum resource by Warren, Son of God: The Life of Jesus in You, is a companion piece to the movie produced by husband-and-wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
The six-session study features video clips from the movie and videos from Warren explaining Jesus’ teachings and their impact on people’s lives. Topics include baptism, temptation, suffering, death, resurrection and ministry. (Source)
As a Southern Baptist preacher, Rick Warren knows perfectly well that the Roman Catholic Church holds to the view that it is the one true Church. Thus, any church outside the RCC is anathematized (excommunicated, cursed or damned). The Protestant Reformers held the view that the RCC’s gospel is not a gospel that saves; therefore the RCC is apostate. Anyone who rejects the true gospel – we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – is an unbeliever. Period. Warren also knows what the Bible teaches regarding believers going into partnerships with unbelievers:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness. (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Here’s the thing. Not everyone who professes the name of Christ has a true saving faith. What about Mark Burnett and Roma Downey? Do they have a true saving faith? Let’s examine the fruit.
Popular pastor and author Mark Driscoll’s church bought out 3,500 seats. In 2013 he and his wife shared a stage with Mark and Roma at Resurgence 13. Driscoll later remarked:
We watched the world premier trailer for The Son of God at the conference, and the footage choked me up as I thought of the millions of people who will hear about Jesus through this project. I am so encouraged by God’s work through this couple. (Source)
The connection between the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12) and Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) is not made. The fact that Jesus’ resurrection proves His victory over death and sin and guarantees a resurrected eternal life for all who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15) is nowhere to be found. — S. Michael Houdmann
Another endorser of the film was “Social Justice Christian” Rev. Jim Wallis. In my column Liberalism created the culture of evil and death, part 3 I wrote:
This man wears many hats. He is the founder of Sojourner’s Magazine, speaker, author and activist. He’s also President Obama’s “spiritual advisor.” This alone speaks volumes. Rev. Wallis insists that he’s an evangelical Christian even though he has abandoned the biblical gospel for the “social gospel.” He believes he’s on a mission from God to assist the poor and oppressed to bring forth the Kingdom of God on earth.
When this purveyor of the false social justice gospel was asked for advice by the couple, he gladly gave it to them:
What won me over to the whole series was the clip about Jesus meeting Peter, the fisherman. In a Washington, D.C., premiere of “The Bible” series a few weeks ago, I had wonderful conversations with Mark and Roma. Mark asked me if they were right to have Jesus say that he wanted to change the world. Those words are not literally in the scriptures, but it seemed to him and Roma that’s exactly what Jesus was talking about. Absolutely correct, I told them both. And we went through the first few chapters of Mathew which demonstrate that truth. I love the clarity and courage of the statement from Jesus in “The Bible.”
Sunny Shell disagrees:
Christ came into the world to save sinners from the righteous wrath of God, which is the just penalty for our sins. He never said He came to change the world. He said He came to transform people by giving them new hearts and new minds through repentance and faith in Christ alone. (Source)
The Examiner listed the names of churches and organizations that distributed tickets for a so-called “Theater Take-Over”:
Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Tex., who is distributing 8,000 tickets donated by an anonymous donor; Jerry Falwell, Jr., of Liberty University which has more than 12,000 students; Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch which has 18 campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles with over four million members and Miles McPherson of the Rock Church with weekly attendance of more than 10,000 in San Diego, Calif. (Emphasis in original – source)
In an article that appeared on Fox News, Mark and Roma wrote:
In all our combined years in the entertainment industry, we’ve never seen anything like this kind of grass-roots support for a project. It is truly miraculous.
So, too, is the unprecedented depth and breadth of those who have endorsed the film. Pastors like Rick, as well as scholars and faith organizations, have graciously supported our effort to share this story of our Savior – though they belong to different denominations, adhere to varying theological doctrine, worship God in their own unique ways.
Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas said “the audience will be enthralled, encouraged and inspired.”
S. Michael Houdmann was not enthralled by the movie. In his review he writes:
The Son of God presents a Jewish Messiah who is crucified, dies, comes back to life, and commissions His followers to spread the word. But why did He have to die? What is the meaning of the resurrection? What is the message the apostles were supposed to proclaim, and why was it worth dying for?
More from the Fox News article…
Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston called it “an epic work that touches the heart.”
The Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez says it’s “a very important movie because it gives us the opportunity to realize God’s presence in our own lives.”(Source)
Certainly there are by now “Church leaders” that are sincerely shocked to find out that they endorsed a movie produced by New Age Catholics. Here’s more proof from a 2010 article Roma Downey Happy Out of the Spotlight that shows she’s an advocate of New Age/New Thought spirituality:
Says Roma, who lives in Malibu, ‘My kids go to school about a 40-minute drive away. I’m open to the group’s opinion about what we listen to on the way there. On the way back, I get my own selections — books on tape by Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins…My husband says I’m so self-realized I’m practically levitating.’
For those who are unfamiliar with Eckhart Tolle, he’s a New Ager. A few years ago Tolle paired up with Oprah Winfrey to do 10 online classes on XM Satellite radio on his blockbuster book “A New Earth: Are You Ready to Be Awakened.” Oprah and Tolle took participants through his book chapter by chapter. Regrettably, a large number of professing Christians took the class!
Human Potential guru and “coach for success” Anthony Robbins once said: “My definition of success is to live your life in a way that causes you to feel tons of pleasure and very little pain.” Evidently no pain is experienced after completing a barefoot firewalk, a self-empower technique Robbins’ teaches to get an otherwise sane person to walk on a bed of burning hot coals during his “Unleash The Power Within” seminar. On this video you’ll hear the sound of drums beating and the crowd chanting “YES! YES! YES!” as Robbinswhips them into a frenzy in preparation for the firewalk.
Roma appeared on “psychic medium” John Edward’s TV show and allegedly spoke to her deceased mother. What does the Bible have to say about consulting a medium?
And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 21:6)
Well, it’s apparent that Roma, who says she loves the Bible, is unaware—or doesn’t care–that God says consulting a medium is evil.
Later she collaborated with Edwards by providing a CD to accompany a book he wrote:
Roma prays the entire rosary on the beautiful CD that comes along with this book. It’s quite lovely and gives you the special opportunity and a unique spiritual closeness to Roma to be able to pray right along with her as if she was right there at your side.” (Source)
So now you know a bit about two New Age gurus Roma Downey looks forward to listening to each day and an occultist she collaborated with. The worldview of these men is as far from Christianity as the Earth is from Pluto.
P.J. Miller sat listening to Jim Bakker introduce Mark and Roma on Bakker’s TV show and recalled “their previous work on the History Channel’s The Bible and how they managed to literally re-write the Bible itself, and presented another gospel message altogether. I was captured by their … aggressive but subtle attempt to portray themselves as ‘believers’. The sappy spiritual love fest that permeated on set showed me that something was indeed changing within Christianity, and that something was another Jesus being introduced to the masses.”
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Mat/ 24: 23-24)
After several weeks of due diligence I’ve decided that “Son of God” is not a film I wish to see. In addition to the concerns I have included in this article, my research has turned up many more — way too many to incorporate here. Most troubling is the astonishing lack of discernment shown by some of our so-called Christian leaders. The Son of God I serve is best described in the Bible which is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. Inspired means that God moved through the writers to convey to those who read it the words He wanted us to hear. So to change the words that Christ spoke is prideful and wicked.
It’s unfortunate that those who are unfamiliar with the biblical Jesus and see this film will not come away with a clear understanding of His mission here on Earth.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1John 2:2)
“Son of God” Reviews
‘Son of God’ Is Most Certainly Not the Son of God by Sunny Shell
Son of God Review by S. Michael Houdmann
Is the Son of God Biblical by Ben Kayser
“The Bible” Review
History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ Exalts Man Over God by Sunny Shell
Jim Wallis Produces Commentaries for “The Bible” by Stand Up For The Truth
Religious leaders of all stripes endorse Son of God by Stand Up For The Truth
New Age/New Thought Movement
Rick Warren and Joel Osteen acquiesce to Oprah by Marsha West
A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity by Marsha West
Rick Warren’s ‘Son of God’ Study Kit by Stand Up For The Truth
Rick Warren and Teaching of Demons by Ken Silva
What Still Keeps Us Apart? by Michael Horton
Rome anathematized itself at the Council of Trent
Purpose Driven Dismantling of Christianity, Part 1 by Marsha West
The stakes are high in the Ukraine: after the coup, as Crimea and Donbas asserted their right to self determination, American and Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory, both under cover.
The American soldiers are “military advisors”, ostensibly members of Blackwater private army (renamed Academi); a few hundred of them patrol Kiev while others try to suppress the revolt in Donetsk. Officially, they were invited by the new West-installed regime. They are the spearhead of the US invasion attempting to prop up the regime and break down all resistance. They have already bloodied their hands in Donetsk.
Besides, the Pentagon has doubled the number of US fighter jets on a NATO air patrol mission in the Baltics; the US air carrier entered the Black Sea, some US Marines reportedly landed in Lvov “as a part of pre-planned manoeuvres”.
The Russian soldiers ostensibly belong to the Russian Fleet, legally stationed in Crimea. They were in Crimea before the coup, in accordance with the Russian-Ukrainian treaty (like the US 5th fleet in Kuwait), but their presence was probably beefed up. Additional Russian troops were invited in by deposed but legitimately elected President Yanukovych (compare this with the US landing on Haiti in support of the deposed President Aristide ). They help the local pro-Russian militia maintain order, and no one gets killed in the process. In addition, Russia brought its troops on alert and returned a few warships to the Black Sea.
It is only the Russian presence which is described as an “invasion” by the Western media, while the American one is hardly mentioned. ”We have a moral duty to stick our nose in your business in your backyard a world away from our homeland. It’s for your own good”, wrote an ironic American blogger.
Moscow woke up to trouble in Ukraine after its preoccupation, nay obsession, with the Winter Olympic games had somewhat abated, — when people began to say that “Putin won the games and lost the Ukraine”. Indeed, while Putin watched sports in Sochi, the Brown Revolution succeeded in Ukraine. A great European country the size of France, the biggest republic of the former USSR (save Russia), was taken over by a coalition of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and (mainly Jewish) oligarchs. The legitimate president was forced to flee for his very life. Members of Parliament were manhandled, and in some cases their children were taken hostage to ensure their vote, as their houses were visited by gunmen. The putsch was completed. The West recognised the new government; Russia refused to recognise it, but continued to deal with it on a day -to-day basis. However the real story is now developing in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, a story of resistance to the pro-Western takeover.
The economic situation of Ukraine is dreadful. They are where Russia was in the 1990s, before Putin – in Ukraine the Nineties never ended. For years the country was ripped off by the oligarchs who siphoned off profits to Western banks, bringing it to the very edge of the abyss. To avoid default and collapse, the Ukraine was to receive a Russian loan of 15 billion euros without preconditions, but then came the coup. Now the junta’s prime minister will be happy to receive a mere one billion dollars from the US via IMF. (Europeans have promised more, but in a few years’ time…) He already accepted the conditions of the IMF, which will mean austerity, unemployment and debt bondage. Probably this was the raison d’être for the coup. IMF and US loans are a major source of profit for the financial community, and they are used to enslave debtor countries, asPerkins explained at length.
The oligarchs who financed the Maidan operation divided the spoils: the most generous supporter, multi-billionaire Igor “Benya” Kolomoysky, received the great Russian-speaking city of Dnepropetrovsk in fief. He was not required to give up his Israeli passport. His brethren oligarchs took other Russian-speaking industrial cities, including Kharkov and Donetsk, the Ukrainian Chicago or Liverpool. Kolomoysky is not just an ‘oligarch of Jewish origin’: he is an active member of the Jewish community, a supporter of Israel and a donor of many synagogues, one of them the biggest in Europe. He had no problem supporting the neo-Nazis, even those whose entry to the US had been banned because of their declared antisemitism. That is why the appeals to Jewish consciousness against the Brown putsch demonstrably failed.
Now came the nationalists’ crusade against Russian-speakers (ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians – the distinction is moot), chiefly industrial workers of East and South of the country. The Kiev regime banned the Communist Party and the Regions’ Party (the biggest party of the country, mainly supported by the Russian-speaking workers). The regime’s first decree banned the Russian language from schools, radio and TV, and forbade all official use of Russian. The Minister of Culture called Russian-speakers “imbeciles” and proposed to jail them for using the banned tongue in public places. Another decree threatened every holder of dual Russian/Ukrainian nationality with a ten-years jail sentence, unless he gives up the Russian one right away.
Not empty words, these threats: The storm-troopers of the Right Sector, the leading fighting force of the New Order, went around the country terrorising officials, taking over government buildings, beating up citizens, destroying Lenin’s statues, smashing memorials of the Second World War and otherwise enforcing their rule A video showed a Right Sector fighter mistreating the city attorney while police looked other way. They began to hunt down riot policemen who supported the ex-president, and they burned down a synagogue or two. They tortured a governor, and lynched some technicians they found in the former ruling party’s headquarters. They started to take over the Orthodox churches of the Russian rite, intending to transfer them to their own Greek-Catholic Church.
The instructions of US State Dept.’s Victoria Nuland were followed through: the Ukraine had had the government she prescribed in the famous telephone conversation with the US Ambassador. Amazingly, while she notoriously gave “fuck” to the EU, she did not give a fuck about the Russian view of Ukraine’s immediate future.
Russia was not involved in Ukrainian developments: Putin did not want to be accused of meddling in Ukrainian internal affairs, even when the US and EU envoys assisted and directed the rebels. The people of Russia would applaud him if he were to send his tanks to Kiev to regain the whole of Ukraine, as they consider it an integral part of Russia. But Putin is not a Russian nationalist, not a man of Imperial designs. Though he would like the Ukraine to be friendly to Russia, annexing it, in whole or in part, has never been his ambition. It would be too expensive even for wealthy Russia: the average income in the Ukraine is just half of the Russian one, and tits infrastructure is in a shambles. (Compare to the very costly West German takeover of the GDR.) It would not be easy, either, for every Ukrainian government in the past twenty years has drenched the people with anti-Russian sentiment. But involvement was forced upon Putin:
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians voted with their feet and fled to Russia, asking for asylum. Two hundred thousand refugees checked in during the weekend. The only free piece of land in the whole republic was the city of Sevastopol, the object of a French and British siege in 1852 and of a German siege in 1941, and the home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet. This heroic city did not surrender to the Kiev emissaries, though even here some local deputies were ready to submit. And at that last moment, the people began their resistance. The awful success of the putsch was the beginning of its undoing. The pendulum of Ukraine, forever swinging between East and West, began its return movement.
The people of Crimea rose, dismissed their compromise-seeking officials and elected a new leader, Mr Sergey Aksyonov. The new leadership assumed power, took over Crimea and asked for Russian troops to save them from the impending attack by the Kiev storm troopers. It does not seem to have been necessary at this stage: there were plenty of Crimeans ready to defend their land from the Brown invaders, there were Cossack volunteers and there is the Russian Navy stationed in Crimea by treaty. Its Marines would probably be able to help the Crimeans in case of trouble. The Crimeans, with some Russian help, manned the road blocks on the narrow isthmus that connects Crimea to the mainland.
The parliament of Crimea voted to join Russia, but this vote should be confirmed by a poll on March 16 to determine Crimea’s future — whether it will revert to Russia or remain an autonomous republic within the Ukraine. From my conversation with locals, it seems that they would prefer to join the Russian Federation they left on Khrushchev’s orders only a half century ago. Given the Russian-language issue and the consanguinity, this makes sense: Ukraine is broke, Russia is solvent and ready to assume its protection. Ukraine can’t pay salaries and pensions, Russia had promised to do so. Kiev was taking away the lion’s share of income generated in Crimea by Russian tourists; now the profits will remain in the peninsula and presumably help repair the rundown infrastructure. Real estate would likely rise drastically in price, optimistic natives surmise, and this view is shared by Russian businessmen. They already say that Crimea will beat out Sochi in a few years’ time, as drab old stuff will be replaced by Russian Imperial chic.
Perhaps Putin would prefer the Crimea gain independence, like Kosovo, or even remain under a token Ukrainian sovereignty, as Taiwan is still nominally part of China. It could become a showcase pro-Russian Ukraine to allow other Ukrainians to see what they’re missing, as West Berlin was for the East Germans during the Cold War. Regaining Crimea would be nice, but not at the price of having a consolidated and hostile Ukraine for a neighbour. Still Putin will probably have no choice but to accept the people’s decision.
There was an attempt to play the Crimean Tatars against the Russians; apparently it failed. Though the majlis, their self-appointed organisation, supports Kiev, the elders spoke up for neutrality. There are persistent rumours that the colourful Chechen leader Mr Kadyrov, a staunch supporter of Mr Putin, had sent his squads to the Tatars to strong-arm them into dropping their objections to Crimea’s switch to Russia. At the beginning, the Tatars supported Kiev, and even tried to prevent the pro-Russian takeover. But these wise people are born survivors, they know when to adjust their attitudes, and there is no doubt they will manage just fine.
Russian Nazis, as anti-Putin as Ukrainian Nazis, are divided: some support a “Russian Crimea” whilst others prefer pro-European Kiev. They are bad as enemies, but even worse as friends: the supportive Nazis try to wedge between Russians and Ukrainians and Tatars, and they hate to see that Kadyrov’s Chechnya actually helps Russian plans, for they are anti-Chechen and try to convince people that Russia is better off without Chechens, a warlike Muslim tribe.
As Crimea defied orders from Kiev, it became a beacon for other regions of the Ukraine. Donbas, the coal and steel region, raised Russian banners and declared its desire for self-determination, “like Crimea”. They do want to join a Russian-led Customs Union; it is not clear whether they would prefer independence, autonomy or something else, but they, too, scheduled a poll – for March 30. There were big demonstrations against the Kiev regime in Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and other Russian-speaking cities. Practically everywhere, the deputies seek accommodation with Kiev and look for a way to make some profit, but the people do not agree. They are furious and do not accept the junta.
The Kiev regime does not accept their quest for freedom. A popularly-elected Mayor of Donetsk was kidnapped by the Ukrainian security forces and taken to Kiev. There are now violent demonstrations in the city.
The Ukrainian navy in the Black Sea switched its allegiance from Kiev to Crimea, and they were followed by some units of the air force with dozens of fighter jets and ground troops. Troops loyal to Kiev were blocked off by the Crimeans, but there was no violence in this peaceful transfer of power.
The junta appointed an oligarch to rule Donbas, Mr Sergey Taruta, but he had difficulty assuming power as the local people did not want him, and with good reason: Taruta had bought the major Polish port of Gdansk and brought it to bankruptcy. It seems he is better at siphoning capital away than in running serious business. Ominously, Mr Taruta brought with him some unidentified, heavily armed security personnel, reportedly guns-for-hire from Blackwater (a.k.a. Academi) fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan. He will need a lot more of them if he wants to take Donbas by force.
In Kharkov, the biggest Eastern city, erstwhile capital of Soviet Ukraine, local people ejected the raiding force of the Right Sector from government offices, but police joined with the oligarchs. While the fake revolution took place in Kiev under the tutelage of US and EC envoys, the real revolution is taking place now, and its future is far from certain.
The Ukraine hasn’t got much of an army, as the oligarchs stole everything ever assigned to the military. The Kiev regime does not rely on its army anyway. Their attempt to draft able-bodied men failed immediately as hardly anybody answered the call. They still intend to squash the revolution. Another three hundred Blackwater mercenaries landed Wednesday in Kiev airport. The Kiev regime applied for NATO help and expressed its readiness to allow US missiles to be stationed in the Ukraine. Missiles in the Ukraine (as now stationed in Poland, also too close for Russian comfort) would probably cross Russia’s red line, just as Russian missiles in Cuba crossed America’s red line in 1962. Retired Israeli intelligence chief Yaakov Kedmi, an expert on Russia, said that in his view the Russians just can’t allow that, at any price, even if this means all-out war.
Putin asked the upper house of the Russian parliament for permission to deploy Russian troops if needed, and the parliament unanimously approved his request. They will probably be deployed in order to defend the workers in case of attack by a Right Sector beefed up by Blackwater mercenaries. Humanitarian catastrophe, large-scale disturbances, the flow of refugees or the arrival of NATO troops could also force Putin’s hand, even against his will.
The President in exile
President Yanukovych will be historically viewed as a weak, tragic figure, and he deserves a better pen with a more leisured pace than mine. He tried his best to avoid casualties, though he faced a full-scale revolt led by very violent Brown storm-troopers. And still he was blamed for killing some eighty people, protesters and policemen.
Some of the victims were killed by the Right Sector as they stormed the ruling party offices. The politicians left the building well in advance, but the secretarial staff remained behind — many women, janitors and suchlike. An engineer named Vladimir Zakharov went to the besieging rebels and asked them to let the women out. They killed him on the spot with their bats. Another man was burned alive.
But the majority of casualties were victims of sniper fire, also blamed on Yanukovych. The Kiev regime even asked the Hague tribunal to indict the President as they had President Milosevic. But now, a telephone conversation between EC representative Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet reveals that the EC emissaries were aware that dozens of victims of sniper fire at the Maidan were killed by Maidan rebel supporters, and not by police or by President Yanukovych, as they claimed. Urmas Paet acknowledged the veracity of this conversation at a press conference, and called for an independent enquiry. It turned out that the rebel snipers shot and killed policemen and Maidan protesters alike, in order to shed blood and blame it on the President.
This appears to be a staple feature of the US-arranged revolutions. Snipers killing both protesters and police were reported in Moscow’s 1991 and 1993 revolutions, as well as in many other cases. Some sources claim that famed Israeli snipers were employed on such occasions, which is plausible in view of Mr Kolomoysky’s Israeli connection. A personal friend of Mr Kolomoysky, prominent member of the then-opposition, Parliamentarian and present head of administration Sergey Pashinsky was stopped by police as he removed a sniper’s rifle with a silencer from the scene of murder. This discovery was briefly reported in the New York Times, but later removed. This revelation eliminates (or at least seriously undermines) the case against the President. Probably it will be disappear down the memory hole and be totally forgotten, as were the Seymour Hersh revelations about Syria’s sarin attack.
Another revelation was made by President Putin at his press-conference of March 4, 2014. He said that he convinced (read: forced) President Yanukovych to sign his agreement of February 21, 2014 with the opposition, as Western ministers had demanded. By this agreement, or actually capitulation act, the Ukrainian President agreed to all the demands of the Brown rebels, including speedy elections for the Parliament and President. However, the agreement did not help: the rebels tried to kill Yanukovych that same night as he travelled to Kharkov.
Putin expressed amazement that they were not satisfied with the agreement and proceeded with the coup anyway. The reason was provided by Right Sector goons: they said that their gunmen will be stationed by every election booth and that they would count the vote. Naturally, the agreement did not allow for that, and the junta had every reason to doubt their ability to win honest elections.
It appears Yanukovych hoped to establish a new power base in Kharkov, where a large assembly of deputies from East and South of Ukraine was called in advance. The assembly, says Mr Kolomoysky, was asked to assume powers and support the President, but the deputies refused. That is why President Yanukovych, with great difficulty, escaped to Russia. His landing in Rostov made quite an impression on people as his plane was accompanied by fighter jets.
Yanukovych tried to contact President Putin, but the Russian president did not want to leave the impression that he wants to force Yanukovych on the people of Ukraine, and refused to meet or to speak with him directly. Perhaps Putin had no time to waste on such a weak figure, but he publicly recognised him anyway as the legitimate President of the Ukraine. This made sense, as President Yanukovych requested Russian troops to bring peace to his country. He still may make a comeback – as the president of a Free Ukraine, if such should ever be formed in some part of the country, – or as the protagonist of an opera.
English language editing by Ken Freeland.
When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.
The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.
And who threatens United States domination? Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?”
The Holy Triumvirate would love to rip Ukraine from the Moscow bosom, evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and establish a US military and/or NATO presence on Russia’s border. (In case you were wondering what prompted the Russian military action.) Kiev’s membership in the EU would then not be far off; after which the country could embrace the joys of neo-conservatism, receiving the benefits of the standard privatization-deregulation-austerity package and join Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain as an impoverished orphan of the family; but no price is too great to pay to for being part of glorious Europe and the West!
The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months. … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.
All in all a questionable gang of allies for a dubious cause; reminiscent of the Kosovo Liberation Army thugs Washington put into power for an earlier regime change, and has kept in power since 1999.
The now-famous recorded phone conversation between top US State Department official Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to the Ukraine, wherein they discuss which Ukrainians would be to Washington’s liking in a new government, and which not, is an example of this regime-change mentality. Nuland’s choice, Arseniy Yatseniuk, emerged as interim prime minister.
The National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against states not in love with US foreign policy, is Washington’s foremost non-military tool for effecting regime change. The NED website lists 65 projects that it has supported financially in recent years in Ukraine. The descriptions NED gives to the projects don’t reveal the fact that generally their programs impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.
The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
NED, receives virtually all its financing from the US government ($5 billion in total since 1991 ), but it likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Its long-time intervention in Ukraine is as supra-legal as the Russian military deployment there. Journalist Robert Parry has observed:
For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych’s electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new “trade agreements” and stern economic “reforms” required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for “regime change.”
Thus, we have to ask, as Mr. Putin asked – “Why?” Why has NED been funding 65 projects in one foreign country? Why were Washington officials grooming a replacement for President Yanukovych, legally and democratically elected in 2010, who, in the face of protests, moved elections up so he could have been voted out of office – not thrown out by a mob? Yanukovych made repeated important concessions, including amnesty for those arrested and offering, on January 25, to make two of his adversaries prime minister and deputy prime minister; all to no avail; key elements of the protestors, and those behind them, wanted their putsch.
Carl Gershman, president of NED, wrote last September that “Ukraine is the biggest prize”. The man knows whereof he speaks. He has presided over NED since its beginning, overseeing the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the Green Revolution in Iran (2009), and now Ukraine once again. It’s as if the Cold War never ended.
The current unbridled animosity of the American media toward Putin also reflects an old practice. The United States is so accustomed to world leaders holding their tongue and not voicing criticism of Washington’s policies appropriate to the criminality of those policies, that when a Vladimir Putin comes along and expresses even a relatively mild condemnation he is labeled Public Enemy Number One and his words are accordingly ridiculed or ignored.
On March 2 US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine (Crimea) and threatened economic sanctions. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”
Iraq was in the 21st century. Senator John Kerry voted for it. Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected.
POSTSCRIPT: Ukraine’s interim prime minister announced March 7 that he has invited the NATO Council to hold a meeting in Kiev over the recent developments in the country. “I invited the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev and hold a meeting there,” Arseny Yatsenyuk said during a visit to Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU officials. “We believe that it will strengthen our cooperation.”
- Guardian Weekly (London), June 27, 2001
- RT television (RT.com, Moscow/Washington, DC), March 1, 2014
- Deputy Mikhail Golovko, RT, March 1, 2014
- RT, March 5, 2014, “The EU’s Ukraine policy and moral bankruptcy”; the phone conversation is believed to have taken place February 26.
- NED 2012 Annual Report
- Washington Post, September 22, 1991
- Victoria Nuland, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, December 13, 2013
- Washington Post, September 26, 2013
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, March 2, 2014
“From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. US military power is now directly on Russia’s borders…This crisis is in part the result of a zero-sum calculation that has shaped US policy toward Moscow since the Cold War: Any loss for Russia is an American victory, and anything positive that happens to, for, or in Russia is bad for the United States. This is an approach that intensifies confrontation, rather than soothing it.”
– Stephen Kinzer, “US a full partner in Ukraine debacle”, Boston Globe
“We have removed all of our heavy weapons from the European part of Russia and put them behind the Urals” and “reduced our Armed Forces by 300,000. We have taken several other steps required by the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces Treaty in Europe (ACAF). But what have we seen in response? Eastern Europe is receiving new weapons, two new military bases are being set up in Romania and in Bulgaria, and there are two new missile launch areas — a radar in Czech republic and missile systems in Poland. And we are asking ourselves the question: what is going on? Russia is disarming unilaterally. But if we disarm unilaterally then we would like to see our partners be willing to do the same thing in Europe. On the contrary, Europe is being pumped full of new weapons systems. And of course we cannot help but be concerned.”
– Russian President Vladimir Putin, Munich Conference on Security Policy, February 2007
The Obama administration’s rationale for supporting the fascist-led coup in Ukraine collapsed on Wednesday when a “hacked” phone call between EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet revealed that the snipers who fired on protestors in Maidan Square in Kiev were not aligned with President Viktor Yanukovych, but with the protest leaders themselves. The significance of the discovery cannot be overstated since the Obama team has used the killing of protestors to justify its support for the new imposter government. Now it appears that members of the new government may be implicated in the killing of innocent civilians. This new information could force Obama to withdraw his support for the coup plotters in Kiev, which would derail the administration’s plan to remove Russia from the Crimea and expand NATO into Ukraine. Here’s a short recap of the details from an article in Russia Today:
“Estonian foreign ministry has confirmed the recording of his conversation with EU foreign policy chief is authentic. Urmas Paet said that snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were hired by Maidan leaders.
During the conversation, Paet stressed that “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”….
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on its website, saying that the recording of the leaked telephone conversation between Paet and Ashton is “authentic.” (“Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked call on Kiev snipers“, Russia Today)
To its credit, the UK Guardian published an article reporting the basic facts, but there’s been no coverage by the New York Times, the Washington Post or any of the major TV News networks. America’s elite media are engaged in a coordinated news blackout to keep people from seeing that the Obama administration and their EU collaborators are supporting a group of far-right extremists who were directly involved in the killing of civilians in order to topple a democratically-elected government. Here’s more from the same article:
“…there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet says…the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.” (“Ukraine crisis: bugged call reveals conspiracy theory about Kiev snipers“, Guardian)
There won’t be an investigation because an investigation would reveal the truth, and the truth would undermine Obama’s plan to install a puppet regime in Kiev. The new government has already shown that it is more than willing to do Washington’s bidding, that is, to impose austerity measures on the working people of Ukraine, to pay off fatcat bondholders in Berlin and Brussels via more extortionist IMF loans, to extend NATO to Russia’s border in contravention of agreements made with Bush the Elder following the fall of the Berlin Wall, and to pursue the crackpot dreams of global hegemony laid out in “The Grand Chessboard” by New World Order fantasist Zbigniew Brzezinski. These are the primary objectives of the present policy which could be upended by the allegations of foul play.
The smoking gun revelations of the hacked phone call came just hours before US officials indicated they were planning to increase their military footprint in Eastern Europe. According to the World Socialist Web Site:
“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon will boost joint training of NATO forces in Poland and step up NATO air patrols in the Baltics…US military officials said they were deploying six F-15 fighter jets and KC-135 transport planes. ….One guided-missile frigate, the USS Taylor, is still in a Black Sea port in Turkey after patrolling the region during the Sochi Olympics…
Turkish officials confirmed that they had given a US Navy warship permission to pass through the Bosphorus straits into the Black Sea, which borders Ukraine.” (“Amid Ukraine crisis, US launches military escalation in Eastern Europe”, World Socialist Web Site)
Also Russia Today reports that: “The guided missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, is heading to the Black Sea, for what the US military said is a “routine” deployment…The ship has a crew of about 300 and is part of an aircraft carrier strike group that left the US in mid-February.” (“US navy confirms missile destroyer USS Truxton approaching the Black Sea”, RT)
“Routine deployment”? So provoking a war with Russia is “routine”? Talk about understatement.
The military escalation occurs in an atmosphere of heightened tension between the two nuclear-armed powers and will certainly add to their mutual distrust. Hagel’s deployment is consistent with a plan for antagonizing Moscow that was proposed just days earlier in the Washington Post by the Obama administration’s ideological godfather, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Here’s a bit of what Brzezinski had to say in the article titled “What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response”:
“…the West should promptly recognize the current government of Ukraine as legitimate. Uncertainty regarding its legal status could tempt Putin to repeat his Crimean charade…
“…the West should convey.. that the Ukrainian army can count on immediate and direct Western aid so as to enhance its defensive capabilities. There should be no doubt left in Putin’s mind that an attack on Ukraine would precipitate a prolonged and costly engagement, and Ukrainians should not fear that they would be left in the lurch.
Meanwhile, NATO forces, consistent with the organization’s contingency planning, should be put on alert. High readiness for some immediate airlift to Europe of U.S. airborne units would be politically and militarily meaningful. If the West wants to avoid a conflict, there should be no ambiguity in the Kremlin as to what might be precipitated by further adventurist use of force in the middle of Europe.” (“What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response”, Washington Post)
“Adventurist”? Dr. Strangelove is calling the Kremlin adventurist when his recommendations would put NATO, the US and Moscow on hairtrigger alert increasing the chances of an error in judgment that could lead to thermonuclear war. Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?
But listen to the tone of Brzezinski’s op-ed. In just a few short paragraphs, the author–who many respect as a restrained and brilliant global strategist–refers to Putin as a thug, a Mafia gangster, Mussolini, and Hitler. I imagine if he had another paragraph to work with, he would have added Beelzebub Satan to the list.
This isn’t politics; it’s hysterics. It’s incendiary, jingoistic mumbo-jumbo intended to rouse the public and fan the flames of nationalism. It’s the same kind of self-righteous raving that precipitated the invasion of Iraq.
And what is Brzezinski saying?
Is he saying that events in the Crimea are a threat to US national security? Is he saying that the US should now feel free to apply the Monroe Doctrine everywhere across the planet, sticking our big nose wherever the president sees fit?
The trouble in the Crimea has nothing to do with the United States. We have no dog in this fight. This is about military expansion into Eurasia, this is about pipeline corridors and oil fields, this is about dismantling the Russian Federation and positioning multinational corporations and Wall Street investment banks in Asia for the new century. And, finally, this is an ego-driven crusade by an old man who wants to see his looneybin NWO global hegemony vision enacted before they cart him off on a marble slab. That’s what this is really about; the glorious new world disorder, the dystopian wetdream of thinktank patricians everywhere whose only purpose in life is to initiate wars that other-peoples-sons will have to fight.
Entering Ukraine into the corporate-western alliance is a critical part of Brzezinski’s masterplan. The basic strategy has been underway since the fall of the Berlin Wall when neoliberal carpetbaggers from the US assisted in the looting of the former Soviet state leaving Russia politically broken and economically destitute. Since then, US policy towards Russia has been overtly hostile, making every effort to encircle the oil-rich nation while positioning nuclear missile installations on its perimeter. Now Washington is using its fascist-backed coup in Ukraine to force Moscow to relinquish its grip on a region that is vital to its national security.
Here’s a brief excerpt from an interview with Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies and history emeritus at New York University on Monday on PBS Newshour. Cohen helps to clarify what is really going on viv a vis the US and Russia:
“What we’re watching today is the worst kind of history being made, the descent of a new Cold War divide between West and East in Europe, this time not in faraway Berlin, but right on Russia’s borders through Ukraine. That will be instability and the prospect of war for decades to come for our kids and our grandchildren. The official version is that Putin is to blame; he did this. But it simply isn’t true. This began 20 years ago when Clinton began the movement of NATO toward Russia, a movement that’s continued.
…the fundamental issue here is that, three or four years ago, Putin made absolutely clear he had two red lines…One was in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. (Putin would not allow NATO in Georgia) The other was in Ukraine. We crossed both. You got a war in Georgia in 2008, and you have got today in Ukraine because we, the United States and Europe, crossed Putin’s red line.” (PBS News Hour)
There’s no doubt who is to blame for the present conflict in Cohen’s mind. It’s Washington.
So, here we are, between a rock and a hard place: Putin cannot back down on an issue that’s crucial to national security, and Washington is more determined than ever to pull Ukraine into –what Henry Kissinger calls–”a cooperative international system.” (aka–global capitalist rule) That means there’s going to be a war.
On Thursday, Crimea MPs voted unanimously to hold a referendum on whether the region should become a part of Russia or not. The balloting will take place in 10 days although Obama has already said that he will not honor the results. Apparently, other countries need to get the green-light from Washington before they conduct their elections now. This is how ridiculous things have gotten.
In 2008, Brzezinski revealed the real motives behind US aggression in Central Asia in an article that appeared in the Huffington Post that dealt primarily with the dust up in Georgia. (where Putin deployed Russian troops to defend Russian speaking civilians in South Ossetia.) Here’s what Brzezinski had to say:
“The question the international community now confronts is how to respond to a Russia that engages in the blatant use of force with larger imperial designs in mind: to reintegrate the former Soviet space under the Kremlin’s control and to cut Western access to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia by gaining control over the Baku/Ceyhan pipeline that runs through Georgia.
In brief, the stakes are very significant. At stake is access to oil as that resource grows ever more scarce and expensive and how a major power conducts itself in our newly interdependent world, conduct that should be based on accommodation and consensus, not on brute force.
If Georgia is subverted, not only will the West be cut off from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. We can logically anticipate that Putin, if not resisted, will use the same tactics toward the Ukraine. Putin has already made public threats against Ukraine.” (“Brzezinski: Russia’s invasion of Georgia is Reminiscent of Stalin’s attack on Finland”; Huffington Post)
Huh? It sounds a lot like Brzezinski thinks that oil should be his. Or maybe he thinks it belongs to the western oil giants; is that it?
So we’re not dealing with national security, sovereignty or spheres of influence here. What we’re really talking about is “access to oil.” Not only that, but Brzezinski is being quite blunt in his assertion that “the West” –as he calls it–has a legitimate claim to the resources on other people’s land. Where’d he come up with that one?
In another interview on Kavkacenter.com, in 2008, Brzezinski sounded the same alarm with a slightly different twist. Here’s an excerpt from the article titled ”Russia tends to destabilize Georgia”:
“Brzezinski said the United States witnessed “cases of possible threats by Russia… motivated not by some territorial disputes….but caused by intention to take control over the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline”.
“If Georgia government is destabilized, western access to Baku, Caspian Sea and further will be limited”, said Brzezinski …. he stated that Russia will try to consolidate its monopoly on these markets and will use all existing political and economic levers, including “politically motivated cessation of energy supplies” in Europe and Baltic states.
“Russia actively tends to isolate the Central Asian region from direct access to world economy, especially to energy supplies”, considers the political scientist.” (“Zbigniew Brzezinski: ”Russia tends to destabilize Georgia” kavkacenter.com)
Putin is not isolating anyone and he’s certainly not taking over anyone’s damned pipeline. He’s the president of Russia. He sells oil and makes money, that’s how the system works. It’s called capitalism. But the oil is theirs. The natural gas is theirs. The pipelines are theirs. Not ours. Get over it!
Don’t kid yourself, it’s all about oil. Oil and power. The United States imperial ambitions are thoroughly marinated in oil, access to oil, and control of oil. Without oil, there’s no empire, no dollar hegemony, no overbloated, bullyboy military throwing weaker countries against the wall and extorting tribute. Oil is the coin of the realm, the path to global domination.
Putin has audacity to think that the oil beneath Russian soil belongs to Russia. Washington wants to change his mind about that. And that’s why the situation in Ukraine is so dangerous, because the voracious thirst for oil is pushing us all towards another world war.