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Addressing Concerns Over “Son of God” Film

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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 WarrenJoel OsteenT.D. JakesRichard 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.

Endorsements

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)

God’s work?

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.

More…

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)

Resources:

“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

Endorsements

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

Rick Warren’s ‘Son of God’ Study Kit by Stand Up For The Truth

Rick Warren’s new book “Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life” awash with doctrines of demons by Marsha West

Rick Warren and Teaching of Demons by Ken Silva

Miscellaneous

Questions to ask watching the Son of God

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

Part 2 – Part 3


Marsha West is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

She can be reached at: embrigade@aol.com

The Ukrainian Pendulum

March 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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 Putsch

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 Rising

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.


A native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine, he studied at the prestigious School of the Academy of Sciences, and read Math and Law at Novosibirsk University. In 1969, he moved to Israel, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war.

After his military service he resumed his study of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but abandoned the legal profession in pursuit of a career as a journalist and writer. He got his first taste of journalism with Israel Radio, and later went freelance. His varied assignments included covering Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the last stages of the war in South East Asia.

In 1975, Shamir joined the BBC and moved to London. In 1977-79 he wrote for the Israeli daily Maariv and other papers from Japan. While in Tokyo, he wrote Travels with My Son, his first book, and translated a number of Japanese classics.

Email at: info@israelshamir.net

Israel Shamir is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Ukraine

March 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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.”

Notes

  1. Guardian Weekly (London), June 27, 2001
  2. RT television (RT.com, Moscow/Washington, DC), March 1, 2014
  3. Deputy Mikhail Golovko, RT, March 1, 2014
  4. RT, March 5, 2014, “The EU’s Ukraine policy and moral bankruptcy”; the phone conversation is believed to have taken place February 26.
  5. NED 2012 Annual Report
  6. Washington Post, September 22, 1991
  7. Victoria Nuland, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, December 13, 2013
  8. Washington Post, September 26, 2013
  9. “Face the Nation”, CBS, March 2, 2014


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Grand Puppetmaster Brzezinski Directing War Strategies From The Shadows

March 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

“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.


Mike Whitney is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Ukraine Crisis: Just Another Globalist-Engineered Powder Keg

March 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

When one studies history, all events seem to revolve around the applications and degenerations of war. Great feats of human understanding, realization and enlightenment barely register in the mental footnotes of the average person. War is what we remember, idealize and aggrandize, which is why war is the tool most often exploited by oligarchy to distract the masses while it centralizes power.

With the exception of a few revolutions, most wars are instigated and controlled by financial elites, manipulating governments on both sides of the game to produce a preconceived result. The rise of National Socialism in Germany, for instance, was largely funded by corporate entities based in the U.S., including Rockefeller giant Standard Oil, JPMorgan and even IBM, which built the collating machines specifically used to organize Nazi extermination camps, the same machines IBM representatives serviced on site at places like Auschwitz. As a public figure, Adolf Hitler was considered a joke by most people in German society, until, of course, the Nazi Party received incredible levels of corporate investment. This aid was most evident in what came to be known as the Keppler Fund created through the Keppler Circle, a group of interests with contacts largely based in the U.S.

George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, used his position as director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation to launder money for the Third Reich throughout the war. After being exposed and charged for trading with the enemy, the case against Bush magically disappeared in a puff of smoke, and the Bush family went on to become one of the most powerful political forces in America.

Without the aid of international conglomerates and banks, the Third Reich would have never risen to power.

The rise of communism in Russia through the Bolshevik Revolution was no different. As outlined in Professor Antony Sutton’s book Wall Street And The Bolshevik Revolution with vast detail and irrefutable supporting evidence, it was globalist financiers that created the social petri dish in which the communist takeover flourished.  The same financiers that aided the Nazis…

The two sides, National Socialism and communism, were essentially identical despotic governmental structures conjured by the same group of elites. These two sides, these two fraudulent ideologies, were then pitted against each other in an engineered conflict that we now call World War II, resulting in an estimated 48 million casualties globally and the ultimate formation of the United Nations, a precursor to world government.

Every major international crisis for the past century or more has ended with an even greater consolidation of world power into the hands of the few, and this is no accident.

When I discuss the concept of the false left/right paradigm with people, especially those in the liberty movement, I often see a light turn on, a moment of awareness in their faces. Many of us understand the con game because we live it day to day. We see past the superficial rhetoric of Republican and Democratic party leadership and take note of their numerous similarities, including foreign policy, domestic defense policy and economic policy. The voting records of the major players in both parties are almost identical. One is hard-pressed to find much difference in ideology between Bush and Barack Obama, for example; or Obama and John McCain; or Obama and Mitt Romney, for that matter.

When I suggest, however, that similar false paradigms are used between two apparently opposed nations, the light fades, and people are left dumbstruck. Despite the fact that globalist financiers shoveled capital into the U.S., British, German and Soviet military complexes all at the same time during World War II, many Americans do not want to believe that such a thing could be happening today.

In response, I present the crisis in Ukraine versus the crisis in Syria…

Ukraine Versus Syria

It seems as though much of the public has already forgotten that at the end of 2013, the U.S. came within a razor’s edge of economic disaster — not to mention the possibility of World War III. The war drums in Washington were thundering for “intervention” in Syria and the overthrow of Bashar Assad. The only thing that saved us, I believe, were the tireless efforts of the independent media in exposing the darker motives behind the Syrian insurgency and the bloodlust of the Obama Administration. The problem is that when the elites lose one avenue toward war and distraction, they have a tendency to simply create another. Eventually, the public is so overwhelmed by multiple trigger points and political powder kegs that they lose track of reality. I often call this the “scattergun effect.”

The crisis in the Ukraine is almost a carbon copy of the civil war in Syria, culminating in what I believe to be the exact same intent.

The Money

Money from globalist centers has been flowing into the Ukrainian opposition since at least 2004, when the Carnegie Foundation was caught filtering funds to anti-Russian political candidate Viktor Yushchenko, as well as to the groups who supported him.

The Ukrainian Supreme Court called for a runoff due to massive voter fraud and the rise of the pro-Western Orange Revolution, determining the winner to be Yushchenko over none other than Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych went on to win the 2010 elections, and the revolution returned to oust him this year.

It has been discovered that the current revolution has also been receiving funds from NATO and U.S. interests, not just from the State Department, but also from billionaires like Pierre Omidyar, the chairman of eBay and the new boss of journalist Glen Greenwald, the same journalist who is now famous for being the first to expose National Security Agency documents obtained by Edward Snowden.

Much of the monetary support from such financiers was being funneled to men like Oleh Rybachuk, the right-hand man to Yanukovych during the Orange Revolution and a favorite of neoconservatives and the State Department in the U.S.

The International Monetary Fund has also jumped at the chance to throw money at the new Ukrainian regime, which would prevent default of the country and allow the opposition movement to focus their attentions on Russia.

The revolution in Syria was also primarily driven by Western funds and arms transferred through training grounds like Benghazi, Libya. There is much evidence to suggest that theattack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was designed to possibly cover up the arming of Syrian rebels by the CIA, who had agents on the ground who still have not been allowed to testify in front of Congress.

After this conspiracy was exposed in the mainstream, globalist-controlled governments decided to openly supply money and weapons to the Syrian insurgency, instead of ending the subterfuge.

The ‘Rebels’

Some revolutions are quite real in their intent and motivations. But many either become co-opted by elites through financing, or they are created from thin air from the very beginning. Usually, the rebellions that are completely fabricated tend to lean toward extreme zealotry.

The Syrian insurgency is rife with, if not entirely dominated by, men associated with al-Qaida. Governments in the U.S. and Israel continue to support the insurgency despite their open affiliation with a group that is supposedly our greatest enemy. Syrian insurgents have been recorded committing numerous atrocities, including mass execution, the torture of civilians and even the cannibalism of human organs.

The revolution in Ukraine is run primarily by the Svoboda Party, a National Socialist (fascist) organization headed by Oleh Tyahnybok.  Here is a photo of Tyahnybok giving a familiar salute:

So far, the opposition in Ukraine has been mostly careful in avoiding the same insane displays of random violence that plagued the Syrians’ public image. It is important to remember though that mainstream outlets like Reuters went far out of their way in attempts to humanize Syrian al-Qaida. Their methods were exposed only through the vigilance of the independent media. With the fascist Svoboda in power in the Ukraine, I believe it is only a matter of time before we see video reports of similar atrocities, giving Russia a perfect rationalization to use military force.

John McCain?

I am now thoroughly convinced that John McCain is a pasty ghoul of the highest order. He claims to be conservative yet supports almost every action of the Obama Administration. He is constantly defending anti-Constitutional actions by the Federal government, including the Enemy Belligerents Act, which was eventually melded into the National Defense Authorization Act; NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens; and even gun control.

And for some reason, the guy makes appearances like clockwork right before or during major overthrows of existing governments. McCain was in Libya during the coup against Moammar Gadhafi.

McCain showed up to essentially buy off the rebels in Tunisia.

McCain hung out with al-Qaida in Syria.

And, what a surprise, McCain met with the Ukrainian opposition movement just before the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych.  Here is a photo of McCain giving a speech to the opposition with none other than Neo-Nazi Oleh Tyahnybok standing over his left shoulder.

Why McCain? I have no idea. All I know is, if this guy shows up in your country, take cover.

Russia In The Middle

The great danger in Syria was not necessarily the chance of war with Assad. Rather, it was the chance that a war with Assad would expand into a larger conflagration with Iran and Russia. Russia’s only naval facility in the Mideast is on the coast of Tartus in Syria, and Russia has long-standing economic and political ties to Syria and Iran. Any physical action by the West in the region would have elicited a response from Vladimir Putin. The mainstream argument claims that the threat of Russian intervention scared off Obama, but I believe the only reason war actions were not executed by the White House and the globalists was because they didn’t have even minimal support from the general public. For any war, you need at least a moderate percentage of the population to back your play.

In Ukraine, we find the globalists creating tensions between the West and the East yet again. Russia’s most vital naval base sits in Crimea, an autonomous state tethered to the Ukrainian mainland. Currently, Russia has flooded Crimea with troops in response to the regime change in Ukraine. The new Ukrainian government (backed by NATO) has called this an “invasion” and an act of war, while Western warmongers like McCain and Lindsay Graham spread the propaganda meme that Russia made such a move only because Putin believes the Obama Administration to be “weak.”

Clearly, the idea here is to engineer either high tensions or eventual war between Russia and the United States. Syria failed to produce the desired outcome, so the Ukraine was tapped instead.

Energy Markets And The Dollar At Risk

In Syria, any U.S. led military action would have resulted in the immediate closing of the Straight of Hormuz by Iran, threatening to obstruct up to 30% of global petroleum shipments.  Foreign resentment could have easily led to the abandonment of the U.S. dollar as the petro-currency.  Both China and Russia implied the possibility of an economic response to American intervention, though they did not officially go into specifics.  In all likelihood, the dollar’s world reserve status would have been damaged irrevocably.

In the Ukraine, the chance of intervention has been countered with VERY specific threats from Russia, including a freeze on natural gas imports to the European Union through Gazprom, which supplies approximately 30% of the EU’s fuel.  In 2009, a temporary Ukranian pipeline closure led to widespread shortages across Europe.  While some in the mainstream claim that Russia’s influence over EU energy has “diminished” the fact is a loss of 30% of natural gas reserves for an extended period would inflate energy prices wildly and cripple the EU’s economy.

Another specific reaction given by Russia is the dumping of U.S. treasury bonds.  Russia’s bond holdings may not seem like much leverage, except for the fact that China has now publicly backed Russian efforts in the Ukraine, just as they backed Russian opposition to U.S. activities in Syria.  A dump of bonds by Russia would invariably be followed by a Chinese dump as well.  In fact, China and Russia have been setting the stage for a global dollar decoupling since at least 2008.   I have been warning for years that globalists and central bankers needed a “cover event”, a distraction or scapegoat imposing enough to provide a veil of chaos in which they could then destroy the greenback as the world reserve and usher in a global currency system.  The Ukraine crisis offers yet another opportunity for this plan to unfold.

The False Paradigm And The Globalist Chessboard

So far, I have outlined what appears to be a correspondence of conspiracy between Syria and the Ukraine and how each event has the continued potential to trigger regional conflict, dollar collapse, or world war. But is this conspiracy one-sided? Are only the West and NATO being manipulated by globalists to box in Russia and provoke a conflict? And what do globalists have to gain by sparking such disaster?

As with every other catastrophic fabricated war, the goal is the erasure of sovereign identity while consolidating of economic, political and social power. It is not enough that global financiers dominate the banking industry and own most politicians; they want to transform the public psyche. They want US to ask THEM for global governance. This manufacture of consent is often achieved by pitting two controlled governments against each other and then, in the wake of the tragedy, calling for global unification. The argument is always presented that if we simply abandoned the concept of nation states and reform under a single world body, all war would “disappear.”

The question is whether Russia’s Putin is aware of the plan. Is he a part of it?  Are we seeing repeat theater of a puppet Russia versus a puppet NATO like that witnessed during the Cold War?

What I do know is that Putin has, a number of times in the past, called for global control of the economy through the IMF and the institution of a new global currency using the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

Loans from the IMF are what saved Russia from debt default in the late 1990s. And Putin has recently called for consultations with the IMF concerning Crimea. Remember, this is the same IMF that is working to fund his opponents in Western Ukraine.

Bottom line, if you believe in national sovereignty and decentralization of power, Putin is NOT your buddy. Once again, we have the globalists injecting money into both sides of a conflict which could morph into something nightmarish.  Putin wants global economic governance and consolidation under the IMF just as much as the supposedly “American-run” IMF wants consolidation.  Global governance of finance and money creation ultimately means global governance of everything else.

Is a war being created through the false paradigm of East versus West in order to pave the road for global government?  Are East/West tensions being exploited as a smokescreen for the final destruction of the dollar’s world reserve status?  It is hard to say if the Ukraine will be the final trigger; however, the evidence suggests that if a conflict occurs, regardless of who “wins” such a scenario, the IMF comes out on top.

Imagine you are playing a game of chess by yourself. Which side wins at the end of that game: black or white? The answer is it doesn’t matter. You always win when you control both sides.

Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market

Ukraine Falls Under Fascist Bankster Thumb

March 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Their al Qaeda terrorists soundly defeated by Hezbollah forces in Syria, the City of London Illuminati banksters have turned their sights on resource-rich Ukraine. They knew Russian President Vladimir Putin would be distracted by the Sochi Olympics, along with the barrage of threats and propaganda being hurled his way by these demonic Zio-fascists and their Western media lapdogs.

With unlimited time and money at their disposal, this is the bankster modus operandi. They attack where they see opportunity, retreat when defeated, then attack another sector of the planet within days based on vulnerability and resources.

Ukraine declared independence from the old Soviet Union in 1990. In 2004-2005 Western NGOs worked with CIA/Mossad/MI6 assets to stage the phony Orange Revolution. Victor Yuschenko became Prime Minister but was poisoned during the campaign. Western media blamed it on the Russians, but it was likely a Mossad operation since he was succeeded by more bankster-friendly right-wing billionaire Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko had co-led the Orange Revolution and is one of Ukraine’s richest people. In 2005 Forbes named her the third most powerful woman in the world. In 2007 she traveled to the US to meet with Vice-President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice to talk energy. Tymoshenko became rich as an executive at a natural gas company.

Ukraine was being plugged into Cheney’s crooked Energy Policy Task Force, which opened the planet to unregulated oil & gas exploration, including fracking. Tymoshenko privatized over 300 state industries during her reign,

But the Ukrainian people smelled a rat.

In 2010 they voted in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych with 48% of the vote. His Party of Regions again defeated Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party in parliamentary elections of 2012.

Tymoshenko was convicted of embezzlement of state funds and abuse of power. She was given a seven year prison sentence and fined $188 million. The crimes occurred in the natural gas sector.

Two weeks ago Tymoshenko was released from prison as part of a deal hatched at a secret meeting between Yanukovych, EU, NATO and Russian officials first reported by William Engdahl in an article for Veterans Today. Soon after her release all hell broke loose.

Mossad’s Fascist Friends

On February 22nd snipers opened fire from rooftops on Kiev’s square. Engdahl says these snipers were members of a far-right fascist terror cell known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self Defense (UNA-UNSO).

Led by Andriy Shkil, the group has ties to the neo-Nazi German National Democratic Party. According the Engdahl’s intelligence sources UNA-UNSO is part of a secret NATO Gladio cell and was involved in conflicts ranging from Georgia to Kosovo to Chechnya as part of a strategy of tension aimed at Russia.

Shkil also has direct ties to Tymoshenko, as does newly installed Prime Minster Oleksandr Turchynov, a Baptist preacher and former Tymoshenko advisor who took over after Yanukovych fled under threat to his life to Russia.

In 2006 state prosecutors opened a criminal case against Turchynov, who was accused of destroying files which showed Tymoshenko’s ties to organized crime boss Semion Mogilevich. With Turchynov as Prime Minister Ukraine is now under the thumb of fascist organized criminals known collectively as Right Sector.

It came as no surprise then, when Press TV reported that both Haaretz and the Times of Israel openly bragged of how a group of “former” Israeli soldiers known as the Blue Helmets of the Maidan had led the “protesters” in Kiev’s square under the leadership of a man code-named Delta. According to Paul Craig Roberts, these “protestors” were also being paid by the EU and US.

A Mossad coup brought Right Sector to power, pushing aside more moderate voices being funded and backed by the US, as revealed in the now-infamous YouTube video showing Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discussing with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (both Israeli assets within the State Department) who they would want to install as Ukrainian Prime Minster once they got rid of Yanukovych.

A Resource Grab

As usual this Rothschild-led bankster putsch is all about resources. Ukraine lies in a highly strategic geographic location, fronting both the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Ukraine is the bread basket of the Eastern Hemisphere. In 2011 it was the world’s 3rd largest grain exporter. It ranks in the top 10 countries in the world for sought-after farmland.

Ukraine has the 2nd largest military in Europe after Russia and the NATO Rothschild tool would love nothing better than to run out theRussian Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol – a symbol of Russian naval power since the 18th century.

Ukraine has vast natural gas deposits, an advanced industrial base and is a highly strategic crossroads for oil & gas pipelines connecting Four Horsemen Caspian Sea energy fields with European consumers. In 2009 a dispute between Putin and Tymoshenko over Russia’s trans-Ukrainian gas supplies caused a huge spike in gas prices in Europe.

In October 2013 the IMF met with Ukrainian officials to discuss the country’s alleged “budget crisis”. The bankster enforcer arm demanded that Ukraine double consumer prices for natural gas and electricity, devalue its currency, slash state funding for schools and the elderly, and lift a ban on the sale of its rich farmland to foreigners. In return for this Ukraine was promised a measly $4 billion.

Yanukovych told the IMF to take a hike and Russia soon stepped in promising cheaper energy and stating it would buy $15 billion in Ukrainian bonds. Yanukovych was now on the bankster hit list, and the rest is history.

Russia has responded to the Ukrainian coup by sending troops into the Crimea to protect its mostly Russian-speaking population and the Black Sea Fleet. It was here 160 years ago where Catherine the Great launched a major campaign to seize the Crimea from Ottoman sultans.

During WWII ethnic Tatars in Crimea collaborated with Hitler in seizing the region briefly, before Stalin routed them and expelled the Tatar separatists. Many have since returned.

As this drama unfolds, look for the banksters’ Western media tool to make up some “humanitarian crisis” involving the Tatars. There will be more trouble in Crimea.

But the Russians have responded swiftly, as has the alternative media. It ain’t like the good old days, where bankster coups went unquestioned and unnoticed. The Ukrainian people will not stand for these fascists for long either. They saw the empty promises brought forth by the last bankster “event”- the Orange Revolution. They have experience in the field.

The demonic City of London Illuminati banksters may have unlimited time and money. But the people are awakening. The human spirit has unlimited potential. We are much closer to the beginning of this story than to the end.

Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror NetworkThe Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 CountriesStickin’ it to the Matrix, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve and The Federal Reserve Cartel.

Source: Dean Henderson

Obama’s Imperial Foreign Policy

March 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are” — ancient proverb.

The conflicts in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Syria have one thing in common: the U.S. government is in favor of the groups who aspire to topple — or who have toppled — the government in power. Thus, U.S. politicians are giving either political, financial, or military support to these “opposition” movements.

But in all three cases there are leading groups steering the “opposition” that want absolutely nothing to do with democracy — these groups are as far-right as politics gets: European-style fascism in Ukraine, Islamic extremism in Syria, and in Venezuela the elite-favored tradition of military dictatorships.

But there has been a virtual U.S. media blackout as to the leadership of the movements in Ukraine, Syria, and Venezuela, and for good reason; if these groups come to power, the country will be far worse off than it is now. The American public would give zero support to these groups if they knew the truth, which is why the level of U.S. media misinformation about these groups is as Orwellian as the workings of Obama’s NSA.

Take Ukraine for example. The day after democratically elected government forces fled from the capital Kiev, the successful opposition political leaders sucked the enthusiasm out of the “revolution” when they informed the public that they would be presiding over a “doomed” transitional government , because they “have to make some unpopular decisions.” The new nominee for Prime Minister called his new cabinet a “Kamikaze government.”

The government is suicidal because they are seeking loans from western financial institutions — like the IMF and European Commission — that come at a heavy price; in exchange for money Ukraine will have to implement a massive austerity program where the living standards of Ukrainians will be destroyed in Greek-like fashion.

This was the original reason why the now-ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych began to lean towards Russia, since Putin agreed to give Ukraine the money with no strings attached. Of course, this background information — which is crucial to understanding the events in Ukraine — was simply ignored in the western media, which misleadingly referred to the protests as “pro-EU protests.” It’s true that the suppression of a small pro-EU protest helped ignite wider sections of the population against the Ukrainian government, but the average Ukrainian would of course, not risk life and limb only to be torn asunder by a pro-EU austerity program.

The U.S. media also ignored the motor force of the Ukrainian protesters: the Ukrainian fascist party Svoboda, whose already-large presence in the Ukrainian parliament has been empowered because of the protests. There was yet another U.S. media blackout about the role of Svoboda in the protests, whose members or sympathizers acted as the shock troops against the democratically elected government. As writer Mike Whitney recently noted: 

“The United States helped defeat Nazism in World War 2. Obama helped bring it back.”

It’s possible that once the current transitional government completes its austerity-suicide mission, the Svoboda party could then take total power and seek to funnel the immense anger of the austerity programs into anti-Russia and anti-Jewish sentiment. Svoboda was already rewarded for its role in the protests and given six ministerial posts in the transitional government, including the deputy prime minister and the powerful Secretary of the Security and National Defense Committee. But once the transitional government discredits itself with austerity, Svoboda will blame the senior member of the coalition, the “Fatherland” party, and seek to boost itself into total power.

This nightmarish scenario seems entirely possible now, and if it happens, Svoboda will undoubtedly be indebted to President Obama and the U.S. media for their role in giving the protests political cover, not to mention the critical role played by the U.S. in helping strategize the overthrow of Yanukovych — the audio recording of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland goes intoMachiavellian detail about how the U.S. was working to bring about the coup ; and the significance of this incredible recording was ignored by the U.S. media, which reduced the story to how “rude” Nuland had acted by uttering an expletive about the European Union.

In Syria, Obama has consistently relied on the right-wing extremists as the leaders of the opposition against the Assad government. The role of these al-Qaeda style Islamic extremists has been ignored by the media, even as their atrocities pile up on Youtube.

Syria was one of the most modern, cosmopolitan countries in the Middle East and is now being dragged back to the Dark Ages by Obama’s “allies” on the ground, who would like Syria to look like Saudi Arabia, another “close ally” of the U.S., where there is no such thing as political, religious, or labor-related freedoms.

The Islam of Saudi Arabia is the far-right type favored by the dictatorial monarchy that rules the country. Like its fascist friends of Ukraine, the U.S. is relying on another ultra-right ideology in Syria in order to bring a pro-U.S. government to power.

The newest coalition of Syrian opposition ground forces calls itself the Islamic Front. The U.S. media portrays this group as the “good rebels,” versus the al-Qaeda rebels who are also fighting the Syrian Government. But of course, the U.S. media kept quiet when the most powerful militia inside the Islamic Front, Ahrar al Sham, declared itself to be the “real” representative of al-Qaeda in Syria ( U.S. politicians had long known that Ahrar al Sham was ideologically linked to al-Qaeda ).

If Obama gets his way and the Islamic Front comes to power, Syria will experience a cultural devolution along similar lines of the Taliban-era Afghanistan. In the meantime, Obama and the U.S. media will continue to give crucial political support to an opposition that deserves none.

Venezuela, too, has recently been in the news, with far-right led opposition protests that the Obama administration is backing 100 percent. An excellent article in the Guardian by Mark Weisbrotoutlined the subtle and more direct ways that the Obama administration was giving political and financial support to the Venezuela opposition protests.

In dutiful fashion the U.S. media stayed on message. In a recent pro-opposition op-ed in the New York Times , it was nonchalantly declared, “Clearly, Venezuela is sliding toward dictatorship,” even though there were municipal elections that were just completed across the country, and in the previous year presidential elections occurred, which by all standards were “free and fair.”

If the Venezuelan opposition comes to power, we know exactly what they will do. When they took power briefly in a U.S.-backed military coup in 2002 they immediately disbanded all the democratic institutions that governed the country, since they prefer the type of political system that served them well during their hundreds of years of pre-Chavez dictatorships.

Of course, anybody who sympathizes with the above “opposition” movements are not automatically members of the far-right. One of the successes in this political strategy is the far-right movement’s attempt to tap into existing frustrations, and when the political flames are stoked, the energy is quickly exploited by those leading the movement in an attempt to violently overthrow the government.

  Why does the Obama administration choose this type of foreign policy? The main reason is that the above-targeted countries had slid out of the U.S. orbit of control, and only these far-right groups are interested in getting their country back into the U.S. orbit. Ultimately, U.S. capitalists gain mountains of profit when a country is dependent on U.S. loans, U.S.-made weapons, manufactured goods, foodstuffs, etc.

This is why the U.S. establishment — now represented by the Obama administration — will not simply leave Latin America, the Middle East, or Eastern Europe to be independent or fall into the orbit of a competing regional power like Russia. There is simply too much profit at stake.  Peace is not an option.

In order to stop the never-ending warmongering of U.S. foreign policy, the U.S. government itself must be fundamentally transformed. The U.S. establishment that favors the capitalist economic system will endlessly provoke wars for profit, while an economic system without a profit-motive will have no need for foreign wars.

Notes

http://www.economist.com/news/ briefing/21597974-can-ukraine- find-any-leaders-who-will- live-up-aspirations-its- battered-victorious 
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/obamas-dumbest-plan-yet/ 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Amd4l0OtKkA 
http://www.longwarjournal.org/ archives/2014/02/zawahiris_ chief_repr.php
http://www.theguardian.com/ commentisfree/2014/feb/18/ venezuela-protests-us-support- regime-change-mistake
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/opinion/venezuelas-angry-students.html?hpw&rref=opinion&_r=0


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

The Rape of Ukraine: Phase Two Begins

March 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The events in Ukraine since November 2013 are so astonishing as almost to defy belief.

An legitimately-elected (said by all international monitors) Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, has been driven from office, forced to flee as a war criminal after more than three months of violent protest and terrorist killings by so-called opposition.

His “crime” according to protest leaders was that he rejected an EU offer of a vaguely-defined associate EU membership that offered little to Ukraine in favor of a concrete deal with Russia that gave immediate €15 billion debt relief and a huge reduction in Russian gas import prices. Washington at that point went into high gear and the result today is catastrophe.

A secretive neo-nazi military organization reported linked to NATO played a decisive role in targeted sniper attacks and violence that led to the collapse of the elected government.

But the West is not finished with destroying Ukraine. Now comes the IMF with severe conditionalities as prerequisite to any Western financial help.

After the famous leaked phone call of US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (photo, left) with the US Ambassador in Kiev, where she discussed the details of who she wanted in a new coalition government in Kiev, and where she rejected the EU solutions with her “Fuck the EU” comment,[1] the EU went it alone. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier proposed that he and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, fly to Kiev and try to reach a resolution of the violence before escalation. Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski was asked to join. The talks in Kiev included the EU delegation, Yanukovich, the three opposition leaders and a Russian representative. The USA was not invited.[2]

The EU intervention without Washington was extraordinary and reveals the deeping division between the two in recent months. In effect it was the EU saying to the US State Department, “F*** the US,” we will end this ourselves.

After hard talks, all major parties including the majority of protesters, agreed to new presidential elections in December, return to the 2004 Constitution and release of Julia Tymoshenko from prison. The compromise appeared to end the months long chaos and give a way out for all major players.

The diplomatic compromise lasted less than twelve hours. Then all hell broke loose.

Snipers began shooting into the crowd on February 22 in Maidan or Independence Square. Panic ensued and riot police retreated in panic according to eyewitnesses. The opposition leaderVitali Klitschko withdrew from the deal, no reason given. Yanukovich fled Kiev.[3]

The question unanswered until now is who deployed the snipers? According to veteran US intelligence sources, the snipers came from an ultra-right-wing military organization known as Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO).


IMAGE: Members of UNA-UNSO marching in Lviv.

Strange Ukraine ‘Nationalists’

The leader of UNA-UNSO, Andriy Shkil, ten years ago became an adviser to Julia Tymoshenko. UNA-UNSO, during the US-instigated 2003-2004 “Orange Revolution”, backed pro-NATO candidate Viktor Yushchenko against his pro-Russian opponent, Yanukovich. UNA-UNSO members provided security for the supporters of Yushchenko and Julia Tymoshenko on Independence Square in Kiev in 2003-4.[4]

UNA-UNSO is also reported to have close ties to the German National Democratic Party (NDP).[5]

Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the crack-para-military UNA-UNSO members have been behind every revolt against Russian influence. The one connecting thread in their violent campaigns is always anti-Russia. The organization, according to veteran US intelligence sources, is part of a secret NATO “GLADIO” organization, and not a Ukraine nationalist group as portrayed in western media. [6]

According to these sources, UNA-UNSO have been involved (confirmed officially) in the Lithuanian events in the Winter of 1991, the Soviet Coup d’etat in Summer 1991, the war for the Pridnister Republic 1992, the anti-Moscow Abkhazia War 1993, the Chechen War, the US-organized Kosovo Campaign Against the Serbs, and the August 8 2008 war in Georgia. According to these reports, UNA-UNSO para-military have been involved in every NATO dirty war in the post-cold war period, always fighting on behalf of NATO. “These people are the dangerous mercenaries used all over the world to fight NATO’s dirty war, and to frame Russia because this group pretends to be Russian special forces. THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, forget about the window dressing nationalists, these are the men behind the sniper rifles,” these sources insist.[7]

If true that UNA-UNSO is not “Ukrainian” opposition, but rather a highly secret NATO force using Ukraine as base, it would suggest that the EU peace compromise with the moderates was likely sabotaged by the one major player excluded from the Kiev 21 February diplomatic talks—Victoria Nuland’s State Department.[8] Both Nuland and right-wing Republican US Senator John McCainhave had contact with the leader of the Ukrainian opposition Svoboda Party, whose leader is openly anti-semitic and defends the deeds of a World War II Ukrainian SS-Galicia Division head.[9] The party was registered in 1995, initially calling itself the “Social National Party of Ukraine” and using a swastika style logo. Svoboda is the electoral front for neo-nazi organizations in Ukraine such as UNA-UNSO.[10]

One further indication that Nuland’s hand is shaping latest Ukraine events is the fact that the new Ukrainian Parliament is expected to nominate Nuland’s choice, Arseny Yatsenyuk, from Tymoshenko’s party, to be interim head of the new Cabinet.

Whatever the final truth, clear is that Washington has prepared a new economic rape of Ukraine using its control over the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

IMF plunder of Ukraine Crown Jewels

Now that the “opposition” has driven a duly-elected president into exile somewhere unknown, and dissolved the national riot police, Berkut, Washington has demanded that Ukraine submit to onerous IMF conditionalities.

In negotiations last October, the IMF demanded that Ukraine double prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, that they lift a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich agriculture lands, make a major overhaul of their economic holdings, devalue the currency, slash state funds for school children and the elderly to “balance the budget.” In return Ukraine would get a paltry $4 billion.

Before the ouster of the Moscow-leaning Yanukovich government last week, Moscow was prepared to buy some $15 billion of Ukraine debt and to slash its gas prices by fully one-third. Now, understandably, Russia is unlikely to give that support. The economic cooperation between Ukraine and Moscow was something Washington was determined to sabotage at all costs.

This drama is far from over. The stakes involve the very future of Russia, the EU-Russian relations, and the global power of Washington, or at least that faction in Washington that sees further wars as the prime instrument of policy.

Writer F. William Engdahl is a geopolitical analyst and the author of  “Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order”.

Endnotes:

[1] F. William Engdahl, US-Außenministerium in flagranti über Regimewechsel in der Ukraine ertappt, Kopp Online.de, February 8, 2014, accessed in http://info.kopp-verlag.de/hintergruende/enthuellungen/f-william-engdahl/us-aussenministerium-in-flagranti-ueber-regimewechsel-in-der-ukraine-ertappt.html

[2] Bertrand Benoit, Laurence Norman and Stephen Fidler , European Ministers Brokered Ukraine Political Compromise: German, French, Polish Foreign Ministers Flew to Kiev, The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2014, accessed in   http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303636404579397351862903542?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303636404579397351862903542.html

[3] Jessica Best, Ukraine protests Snipers firing live rounds at demonstrators as fresh violence erupts despite truce, The Mirror UK, February 20, 2014, accessed inhttp://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ukraine-protests-snipers-firing-live-3164828

[4] Aleksandar Vasovic , Far right group flexes during Ukraine revolution, Associated Press,  January 3, 2005, Accessed in http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20050103&slug=ukraine03

[5] Wikipedia, Ukrainian National Assembly  Ukrainian National Self Defence, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, accessed inhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_National_Assembly_%E2%80%93_Ukrainian_National_Self_Defence

[6] Source report, Who Has Ukraine Weapons, February 27, 2014, private to author.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Max Blumenthal, Is the US backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine?, AlterNet February 25, 2014, accessed in

http://www.salon.com/2014/02/25/is_the_us_backing_neo_nazis_in_ukraine_partner/

[9] Channel 4 News, Far right group at heart of Ukraine protests meet US senator, 16 December 2013, accessed in

http://www.channel4.com/news/ukraine-mccain-far-right-svoboda-anti-semitic-protests

[10] Ibid

Source: F. William Engdahl | 21st Century Wire

The Brown Revolution of the Ukraine

February 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

I am a great fan of Kiev, an affable city of pleasing bourgeois character, with its plentiful small restaurants, clean tree-lined streets, and bonhomie of its beer gardens. A hundred years ago Kiev was predominantly a Russian resort, and some central areas have retained this flavour. Now Kiev is patrolled by armed thugs from the Western Ukraine, by fighters from the neo-Nazi -Right Sector, descendants of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Quisling’s troopers, and by their local comrades-in-arms of nationalist persuasion.

After a month of confrontation, President Viktor Yanukovych gave in, signed the EC-prepared surrender and escaped their rough revolutionary justice by the skin of his teeth. The ruling party MPs were beaten and dispersed, the communists almost lynched, the opposition have the parliament all to themselves, and they’ve  appointed new ministers and taken over the Ukraine. The Brown Revolution has won in the Ukraine. This big East European country of fifty million inhabitants has gone the way of Libya. The US and the EU won this round, and pushed Russia back eastwards, just as they intended.

It remains to be seen whether the neo-Nazi thugs who won the battle will agree to surrender the sweet fruits of victory to politicians, who are, God knows, nasty enough. And more importantly, it remains to be seen whether the Russian-speaking East and South East of the country will accept the Brown rule of Kiev, or  split off and go their own way, as the people of Israel (so relates the Bible) after King Solomon’s death rebelled against his heir saying “To your tents, o Israel!” and proclaimed independence of their fief (I Kings 12:16). Meanwhile it seems that the Easterners’ desire to preserve Ukrainian state integrity is stronger than their dislike for the victorious Browns. Though they assembled their representatives for what could be a declaration of independence, they did not dare to claim power. These peaceful people have little stamina for strife.

Their great neighbour, Russia, does not appear overtly concerned with this ominous development. Both Russian news agencies, TASS and RIA, didn’t even place the dire Ukrainian news at the top, as Reuters and BBC did: for them, the Olympics and the biathlon were of greater importance.

This “ostrich” attitude is quite typical of the Russian media: whenever they find themselves in an embarrassing position, they escape into showing the Swan Lake ballet on TV. That’s what they did when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. This time it was the Olympics instead of the ballet.

Anti-Putin opposition in Russia heartily approved of the Ukrainian coup.Yesterday Kiev, tomorrow Moscow, they chanted. Maidan (the main square of Kiev, the site of anti-government demos) equals Bolotnaya (a square in Moscow, the site of anti-government protests in December 2012) is another popular slogan.

The majority of Russians were upset but not surprised. Russia decided to minimise its involvement in the Ukraine some weeks ago as if they wished to demonstrate to the world their non-interference. Their behaviour bordered on recklessness. While foreign ministers of EC countries and their allies crowded Kiev, Putin sent Vladimir Lukin, a human rights emissary, an elder low-level politician of very little clout, to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian Ambassador Mr Zurabov, another non-entity, completely disappeared from public view. (Now he was recalled to Moscow). Putin  made not a single public statement on the Ukraine, treating it as though it were Libya or Mali, not a neighbouring country quite close to the Russian hinterland.

This hands-off approach could have been expected: Russia did not interfere in the disastrous Ukrainian elections 2004, or in the Georgian elections that produced extremely anti-Russian governments. Russia gets involved only if there is a real battle on the ground, and a legitimate government asks for help, as in Ossetia in 2008 or in Syria in 2011. Russia supports those who fight for their cause, otherwise Russia, somewhat disappointingly, stands aside.

The West has no such inhibitions and its representatives were extremely active: the US State Department representative Victoria “Fuck EC’’ Nuland had spent days and weeks in Kiev, feeding the insurgents with cookies, delivering millions of smuggled greenbacks to them, meeting with their leaders, planning and plotting the coup. Kiev is awash with the newest US dollars fresh from its mint (of a kind yet unseen in Moscow, I’ve been told by Russian friends). The US embassy spread money around like a tipsy Texan in a night club. Every able-bodied young man willing to fight received five hundred dollar a week, a qualified fighter – up to a thousand, a platoon commander had two thousand dollars – good money by Ukrainian standards.

Money is not all. People are also needed for a successful coup. There was an opposition to Yanukovych who won democratic elections, and accordingly, three parties lost elections. Supporters of the three parties could field a lot of people for a peaceful demonstration, or for a sit-in. But would they fight when push comes to shove? Probably not. Ditto the recipients of generous US and EC grants (Nuland estimated the total sum of American investment in “democracy building” at five billion dollars). They could be called to come to the main square for a demo. However, the NGO beneficiaries are timid folk, not likely to risk their well-being. And the US needed a better fighting stock to remove the democratically elected president from power.

Serpent Eggs

In the Western Ukraine, the serpent eggs hatched: children of Nazi collaborators who had imbibed hatred towards the Russians with their mothers’ milk. Their fathers had formed a network under Reinhard Gehlen, the German spymaster. In 1945, as Germany was defeated, Gehlen swore allegiance to the US and delivered his networks to the CIA. They continued their guerrilla war against the Soviets until 1956. Their cruelty was legendary, for they aimed to terrify the population into full compliance to their command. Notoriously, they strangulated the Ukrainians suspected of being friendly to Russians with their bare hands.

A horrifying confession of a participant tells of their activities in Volyn: “One night, we strangulated 84 men. We strangulated adults, as for little kids, we held their legs, swung and broke their heads at a doorpost. …Two nice kids, Stepa and Olya, 12 and 14 years old… we tore the younger one into two parts, and there was no need to strangulate her mother Julia, she died of a heart attack” and so on and so on. They slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Poles and Jews; even the dreadful Baby Yar massacre was done by them, with German connivance, somewhat similar to Israeli connivance in the Sabra and Chatila massacres of Palestinians by the Lebanese fascists of the Phalange.

The children of these Bandera murderers were brought up to hate Communism,  Soviets and Russians, and in adoration of their fathers’ deeds. They formed the spearhead of the pro-US anti-government rebels in the Ukraine, the Right Sector led by out-and-out fascist Dmytro Yarosh. They were ready to fight, to die and kill. Such units attract potential rebels of differing backgrounds: their spokesman is young Russian -turned -Ukrainian -nationalist Artem Skoropadsky, a journalist with the mainstream oligarch-owned Kommersant-UA daily. There are similar young Russians who join Salafi networks and become suicide-bombers in the Caucasus mountains – young people whose desire for action and sacrifice could not be satisfied in the consumer society. This is a Slav al-Qaeda — real neo-Nazi storm troopers, a natural ally of the US.

And they did not fight only for association with EC and against joining a Russia-led TC. Their enemies were also the Russians in the Ukraine, and Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians. The difference between the twain is moot. Before independence in 1991, some three quarters of the population preferred to speak Russian. Since then, successive governments have tried to force people to use Ukrainian. For the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, anyone who speaks Russian is an enemy. You can compare this with Scotland, where people speak English, and nationalists would like to force them to speak the language of Burns.

Behind the spearhead of the Right Sector, with its fervent anti-communist and anti-Russian fighters, a larger organisation could be counted on: the neo-Nazi Freedom (Svoboda), of Tyagnibok. Some years ago Tyagnibokcalled for a fight against Russians and Jews, now he has become more cautious regarding the Jews. He is still as anti-Russian as John Foster Dulles. Tyagnibok was tolerated or even encouraged by Yanukovych, who wanted to take a leaf from the French president Jacques Chirac’s book. Chirac won the second round of elections against nationalist Le Pen, while probably he would have lost against any other opponent. In the same wise, Yanukovych wished Tyagnibok to become his defeatable opponent at the second round of presidential elections.

The parliamentary parties (the biggest one is the party of Julia Timoshenko with 25% of seats, the smaller one was the party of Klitschko the boxer with 15%) would support the turmoil as a way to gain power they lost at the elections.

Union of nationalists and liberals

Thus, a union of nationalists and liberals was formed. This union is the trademark of a new US policy in the Eastern Europe. It was tried in Russia two years ago, where enemies of Putin comprise of these two forces, of pro-Western liberals and of their new allies, Russian ethnic nationalists, soft and hard neo-Nazis. The liberals won’t fight, they are unpopular with the masses; they include an above-average percentage of Jews, gays, millionaires and liberal columnists; the nationalists can incite the great unwashed masses almost as well as the Bolsheviks, and will fight. This is the anti-Putin cocktail preferred by the US. This alliance actually took over 20% of vote in Moscow city elections, after their attempt to seize power by coup was beaten off by Putin. The Ukraine is their second, successful joint action.

Bear in mind: liberals do not have to support democracy. They do so only if they are certain democracy will deliver what they want. Otherwise, they can join forces with al Qaeda as now in Syria, with Islamic extremists as in Libya, with the Army as in Egypt, or with neo-Nazis, as now in Russia and the Ukraine. Historically, the liberal–Nazi alliance did not work because the old Nazis were enemies of bankers and financial capital, and therefore anti-Jewish. This hitch could be avoided: Mussolini was friendly to Jews and had a few Jewish ministers in his government; he objected to Hitler’s anti-Jewish attitude saying that “Jews are useful and friendly”. Hitler replied that if he were to allow that, thousands of Jews would join his party. Nowadays, this problem has vanished: modern neo-Nazis are friendly towards Jews, bankers and gays. The Norwegian killer Breivik is an exemplary sample of a Jew-friendly neo-Nazi. So are the Ukrainian and Russian neo-Nazis.

While the original Bandera thugs killed every Jew (and Pole) that came their way, their modern heirs receive some valuable Jewish support. The oligarchs of Jewish origin (Kolomoysky, Pinchuk and Poroshenko) financed them, while a prominent Jewish leader, Chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of the Ukraine, Josef Zissels, supported them and justified them. There are many supporters of Bandera in Israel; they usually claim that Bandera was not an anti-Semite, as he had a Jewish doctor. (So did Hitler.) Jews do not mind Nazis who do not target them. The Russian neo-Nazis target Tajik gastarbeiters, and the Ukrainian neo-Nazis target Russian-speakers.

Revolution: the Outline

The revolution deserves to be described in a few lines: Yanukovych was not too bad a president, prudent though weak. Still the Ukraine came to the edge of financial abyss. (You can read more about it in my previous piece) He tried to save the situation by allying with the EC, but the EC had no money to spare. Then he tried to make a deal with Russia, and Putin offered him a way out, without even demanding from him that the Ukraine join the Russian-led TC. This triggered the violent response of the EC and the US, as they were worried it would strengthen Russia.

Yanuk, as people call him for short, had few friends. Powerful Ukrainian oligarchs weren’t enamoured with him. Besides the usual reasons, they did not like the raider habits of Yanuk’s son, who would steal other men’s businesses. Here they may have had a point, for the leader of Belarus, the doughty Lukashenko, said that Yanuk’s son’s unorthodox ways of acquiring businesses brought disaster.

Yanuk’s electorate, the Russian-speaking people of the Ukraine (and they are a majority in the land, like English-speaking Scots are majority in Scotland) were disappointed with him because he did not give them the right to speak Russian and teach their children in Russian. The followers of Julia Timoshenko disliked him for jailing their leader. (She richly deserved it: she hired assassins, stole billions of Ukrainian state money in cahoots with a former prime minister, made a crooked deal with Gazprom at the expense of Ukrainian consumers, and what not.) Extreme nationalists hated him for not eradicating the Russian language.

The US-orchestrated attack on the elected President followed Gene Sharp’s instructions to a tee, namely: (1) seize a central square and organise a mass peaceful sit-in, (2) speak endlessly of danger of violent dispersal, (3) if the authorities do nothing, provoke bloodshed, (4) yell bloody murder, (5) the authority is horrified and stupefied and (6) removed and (7) new powers take over.

The most important element of the scheme has never been voiced by the cunning Sharp, and that is why the Occupy Wall Street movement (who thumbed through the book) failed to achieve the desired result. You have to have the Masters of Discourse™ i.e., Western mainstream media, on your side. Otherwise, the government will squash you as they did with the Occupy and many other similar movements. But here, the Western media was fully on the rebels’ side, for the events were organised by the US embassy.

At first, they gathered for a sit-in on the Independence Square (aka “Maidan Square”) some people they knew: recipients of USAID grants via the NGO network, wrote a Ukrainian expert Andrey Vajra, networks of fugitive oligarch Khoroshkovski, neo-Nazis of the Right Sector and radicals of the Common Cause. The peaceful assembly was lavishly entertained by artists; food and drink were served for free, free sex was encouraged – it was a carnival in the centre of the capital, and it began to attract the masses, as would happen in every city in the known universe. This carnival was paid for by the oligarchs and by the US embassy.

But the carnival could not last forever. As per (2), rumours of violent dispersal were spread. People became scared and drifted away. Only a small crowd of activists remained on the square. Provocation as per (3) was supplied by a Western agent within the administration, Mr Sergey Levochkin. He wrote his resignation letter, posted it and ordered police to violently disperse the sit-in. Police moved in and dispersed the activists. Nobody was killed, nobody was seriously wounded, – today, after a hundredfold dead, it is ridiculous even to mention this thrashing, – but the opposition yelled bloody murder at the time. The world media, this powerful tool in the hands of Masters of Discourse, decried “Yanukovych massacred children”. The EC and the US slapped on sanctions, foreign diplomats moved in, all claiming they want to protect peaceful demonstrators, while at the same time beefing up the Maidan crowd with armed gunmen and Right Sector fighters.

We referred to Gene Sharp, but the Maidan had an additional influence, that of Guy Debord and his concept of Society of Spectacle. It was not a real thing, but a well-done make-believe, as was its predecessor, the August 1991 Moscow “coup”. Yanukovych did everything to build up the Maidan resistance: he would send his riot police to disperse the crowd, and after they did only half of the job, he would call them back, and he did this every day. After such  treatment, even a very placid dog would bite.

The Spectacle-like unreal quality of Kiev events was emphasized by arrival of the imperial warmonger, the neocon philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. He came to Maidan like he came to Libya and Bosnia, claiming human rights and threatening sanctions and bombing. Whenever he comes, war is following. I hope I shall be away from every country he plans to visit.

First victims of the Brown Revolution were the monuments – those of Lenin, for they do hate communism in every form, and those of the world war, because the revolutionaries solidarise with the lost side, with the German Nazis.

History will tell us to what extent Yanuk and his advisors understood what they were doing. Anyway, he encouraged the fire of Maidan by his inefficient raids by a weaponless police force. The neo-Nazis of Maidan used snipers against the police force, dozens of people were killed, but President Obama called upon Yanuk to desist, and he desisted. After renewed shooting, he would send the police in again. An EC diplomat would threaten him with the Hague tribunal dock, and he would call his police back. No government could function in such circumstances.

Eventually he collapsed, signed on the dotted line and departed for unknown destination. The rebels seized power, forbade the Russian language and began sacking Kiev and Lvov. Now the life of the placid people of Kiev has been turned into a living hell: daily robberies, beating, murder abound. The victors are preparing a military operation against the Russian-speaking areas in the South East of Ukraine. The spectacle of the revolution can yet turn really bloody.

Some Ukrainians hope that Julia Timoshenko, freshly released from jail, will be able to rein the rebels in. Others hope that President Putin will pay heed to the Ukrainian events, now that his Olympic games are, mercifully, finished. The spectacle is not over until the fat lady sings, but sing she will – her song still remains to be seen and heard.

English language editing by Ken Freeland.


A native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine, he studied at the prestigious School of the Academy of Sciences, and read Math and Law at Novosibirsk University. In 1969, he moved to Israel, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war.

After his military service he resumed his study of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but abandoned the legal profession in pursuit of a career as a journalist and writer. He got his first taste of journalism with Israel Radio, and later went freelance. His varied assignments included covering Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the last stages of the war in South East Asia.

In 1975, Shamir joined the BBC and moved to London. In 1977-79 he wrote for the Israeli daily Maariv and other papers from Japan. While in Tokyo, he wrote Travels with My Son, his first book, and translated a number of Japanese classics.

Email at: info@israelshamir.net

Israel Shamir is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Sinister Illusions: Masking Tragedy In Ukraine

February 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It is no secret that Barack Obama is one of the supreme illusionists of modern times. The disconnect between his words and his deeds is so profound as to be almost sublime, far surpassing the crude obfuscations of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Their projections of unreality were more transparent, and in any case were merely designed to put a little lipstick on the pig of policies they were openly pushing. For example, they openly wanted to conquer Iraq and expand the militarist state, they openly wanted to redistribute national wealth to the elite, so they just gussied up this unhidden agenda with some fantasies about WMD and the occult magic of “tax cuts,” whereby enriching the rich and degrading all notion of the common good would somehow create a utopia of prosperity (for deserving white folk, at least).

There was a disconnect between their rhetoric and reality, to be sure, but it was easily seen through (except, of course, by the highly-paid credulous cretins of our national media). Indeed, the Bushists seemed unconcerned by how threadbare their lies were; they delivered their lines like bored performers at the end of a long stage run, not caring whether they were believed or not — just as long as they got to do what they wanted.

But Obama has taken all this to another level. He is a consummate performer, and strives to “inhabit” the role and mouth his lines as if they make sense and convey some sort of emotional truth. Also, most of the time his rhetoric, his role, his emotional stance are in stark opposition to his actual policies. He is not just gilding his open agenda with some slap-dash lies; he is masking a hidden agenda with a vast array of artifice, expending enormous effort not to prettify an ugly reality but to create an entire counter-reality, an alternate world that does not exist. Again, no one one was in any doubt about the Bushists’ militarism, their dedication to the financial elite or their disdain for anyone who was not, in their view, a “normal American” (white, traditionalist, bellicose, greedy). In fact, that’s exactly why millions of “normal Americans” voted for them. But Obama’s image — cool, compassionate, progressive, peace-seeking, non-traditionalist, anti-elitist — is so far at odds with his actual policies, and with the world as it actually exists, that you can get severe whiplash turning from his rhetoric to reality.

Take his astonishing attack on Vladimir Putin for “interfering” in Ukraine. That Obama could make this charge with a straight face — days after his own agents had been exposed (in the infamous “Fuck the EU” tape) nakedly interfering in Ukraine, trying to overthrow a democratically elected government and place their own favorites in charge — was brazen enough. But in charging Putin with doing exactly what the Americans have been doing in Ukraine, Obama also fabricated yet another alternate world, turning reality on its head.

Speaking at a summit in Mexico, Obama unilaterally declared that Ukraine should overturn the results of its democratic election in 2010 (which most observers said was generally “fair and free” — perhaps more “fair and free” than national elections in, say, the United States, where losing candidates are sometimes wont to take power anyway, and where whole states dispossess or actively discourage millions of free citizens from voting). Instead, the Ukrainians should install an unelected “transitional government” in Kiev. Why should they do this? Because, says Obama, now channeling all Ukrainians in his own person, “the people obviously have a very different view and vision for their country” from the government they democratically elected. All of the people of Ukraine have a different vision, you understand; every last one of them. And what is their vision, according to Obama the Ukrainian Avatar? To enjoy “freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair and free elections.” Something you might think they had enjoyed by having fair and free elections in 2010, and exercising freedom of speech and assembly to such a degree that a vast opposition force had occupied much of the central government district for months. But the Avatar knows better, of course.

Now, this is not a defense of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s government. It is, by all accounts, a highly corrupt enterprise given to insider deals for well-connected elites who influence government policy for their own benefit. I guess this might be a reason for overthrowing a democratically elected government with an armed uprising supported by foreign countries, but I would be careful about espousing this as a general rule if I were an American president. The old saw about stones and glass houses comes to mind.

The reality (if anyone cares about such a thing) is that the situation in Ukraine is complex. Opposition forces have a legitimate beef against a corrupt and heavy-handed government. The Kremlin is obviously trying to manipulate events and policies in Ukraine, just the United States is doing.  (Obama’s remarks on this topic are comedy gold: “Our approach in the United States is not to see [this] as some cold war chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia. Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future.” Yes, as long as they make the right decisions, unlike in 2010, when they voted for the wrong person.) Ukraine is polarized along several different lines — political, ethnic, historical, religious, linguistic – but these lines are not clear-cut, and often intersect, intermingle, are in flux. The pull away from Russia’s orbit is strong in many people; the desire to retain close relations to Russia is equally strong in others. (Although any attempt by Russia to quash Ukraine’s independence would likely unite all factions in resistance.) Many people look to the West as a model, even a saviour, although the EU deal that Yanukovych turned down, precipitating the outpouring of opposition, actually offered Ukraine very little other than Greek-style financial servitude, while the Kremlin, at least, proffered cash on the barrelhead. The opposition itself is not a monolith of moral rectitude; one of its driving forces is an ultra-nationalist faction that happily harks back to Ukraine’s fascist collaborators with Nazi invaders and spouts vile anti-Semitic rhetoric. It is likely that the ultra-nationalists are chiefly behind the opposition’s turn toward violent resistance, overshadowing the young, moderate, West-yearning, anti-corruption factions that have been the face of the uprising thus far.

And the fact is, not a single one of the Western governments now denouncing Ukraine for its repression would have tolerated a similar situation. Try to imagine thousands of, say, Tea Partiers, having declared that the elected government of Barack Obama was too corrupt and illegitimate to stand, setting up an armed camp in the middle of Washington, occupying the Treasury Building and Justice Department for months on end, while meeting with Chinese and Russian leaders, who then begin demanding a ‘transitional government’ be installed in the White House. What would be the government’s reaction? There is no doubt that it would make even Yanukovych’s brutal assault this week look like a Sunday School picnic.

So the situation in Ukraine is many-sided, complex, filled with ambiguity, change, nuance and chaos. Protest against a specific unpopular government policy first turned into a broader opposition to the government in general and is now threatening to turn into civil war. Such things do happen in the world, and yes, great powers do seek to influence and direct these events to their own advantage. It would be good if Ukraine could be rid of rule by corrupt elites; it is not all clear that a civil war led, at least in part, by racist nationalists, would lead to this happy outcome. But one thing that is not happening in Ukraine is Barack Obama’s fantasy that the entire Ukrainian people is rising to rid themselves of a tyrant so they can hold fair and free elections. They had such elections in 2010; and if the entire Ukrainian people now wants to get rid of their president, there are free elections scheduled for 2015. It is highly likely that Yanukovych’s corrupt and maladroit performance in office — not least his reaction to the protest movement itself — would have guaranteed his peaceful defeat at the ballot box next year. But it is also likely that these elections will not be held now. One way or another, Yanukovych will be forced out of office by the violent chaos that he, and sections of the opposition, and the machinations of Moscow and Washington have together produced. In any case, there is almost certainly more needless suffering in store for ordinary Ukrainians.

This is the reality, and tragedy, of the situation. But in the artfully hallucinated world of Barack Obama – a fantasy-land in which the entire American political and media elite also live – none of this matters. All that matters is the real agenda (which was also the agenda of George W. Bush, and Vladimir Putin for that matter): advancing the dominance of a brutal ruling class through manipulation, militarism, and deception, whenever the opportunity arises.

Chris Floyd is an American journalist. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the “Empire Burlesque” political blog. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.comhttp://twitter.com/empireburlesque

After Yugoslavia, Ukraine ?

February 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Public opinion in Western Europe is wrong to regard the Ukrainian crisis as a showdown between Westerners and Russians. In reality, Washington’s goal is not to push the country into the arms of the European Union, but to deprive Russia of its historical partners. To do this, the United States is prepared to ignite a new civil war on the continent.

After having dismembered Yugoslavia during a ten-year civil war (1990-1999), has the United States decided to destroy Ukraine in a similar way? This is what could be inferred from the maneuvers that the opposition is poised to launch during the Sochi Olympic Games.

Ukraine has been historically divided between, in the West, a population turned towards the European Union and, in the East, a population oriented towards Russia, plus a small Muslim minority in Crimea. After the country‘s independence, the government gradually crumbled. Taking advantage of the confusion, the United States organized the «Orange Revolution» (2004) [1], which brought to power a mafia clan, also pro-Atlanticist. Moscow responded by lifting its subsidies on gas prices, but the Orange government could not rely on its Western allies to help pay the market price. Ultimately, it lost the 2010 presidential election in favor of Viktor Yanukovych, a corrupt politician, and on again-off again pro-Russian.

On 21 November 2013, the government renounces signing the Association Agreement negotiated with the European Union. The opposition responds with protests in Kiev and in the western part of the country, which quickly take on an insurrectionary appearance. It calls for early presidential and parliamentary elections and refuses to form a government when approached by President Yanukovych and the Prime Minister resigns. The events are baptized Euromaidan, then Eurorevolution, by Radio Free Europe (run by the State Department).

The crowd control for the opposition is provided by Azatlyk, a group of young Crimean Tatars who returned from Jihad in Syria especially for the occasion [2].

The Atlanticist media champion the cause of the «democratic opposition» and condemn Russian influence. High-profile Western figures turn up to manifest their support to the protesters, including Victoria Nuland (Assistant Secretary of State and former Ambassador to NATO) and John McCain (Chairman of the Republican branch of the NED). For its part, the Russian press condemns protesters who have taken to the streets to overthrow democratically elected institutions.

Torch-lit march of 15,000 Nazis in Kiev on 1 January 2014.

At first, the movement seemed to be an attempt to orchestrate a second «Orange Revolution.» But on 1 January 2014 the power in the street changes hands. The Nazi «Freedom» party organizes a 15 000-strong torch-lit march in memory of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), the nationalist leader who allied himself with the Nazis against the Soviets. Since this event, the capital has been covered with anti-Semitic graffiti and people are attacked on the street for being Jewish.

The pro-European opposition is made up of three political parties:

  •  The All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” (Batkivshchyna), led by the oligarch and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (serving a prison sentence following her convictions for embezzlement) and currently headed by lawyer and former Parliament speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk. It stands for private property and the Western liberal model. It garnered 25.57% of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections.
  •  The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (Udar), of former boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko. It claims to identify with Christian Democracy and picked up 13.98% in the 2012 elections.
  •  The All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” (Freedom), led by the surgeon Oleh Tyahnybok. This political group sprang from the National Socialist Party of Ukraine. It promotes the denaturalization of Jewish Ukrainians. It won 10.45% of the vote in the 2012 parliamentary elections.
  • These parliamentary parties have the support of:

  •  The Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, a Nazi splinter group from the former NATO stay-behind networks in the Eastern Bloc [3]. A Zionist, he calls for the denaturalization and deportation of Ukrainian Jews to Israel. He received 1.11% of the vote in 2012.
  •  The Ukrainian Self-Defense, a nationalist splinter group that sent its members to fight the Russians in Chechnya and Ossetia during the Georgian conflict. It got 0.08% of the vote in 2012.

In addition, the opposition has received the endorsement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in revolt against the Moscow Patriarchate. Ever since the Nazi Party took over the streets, the demonstrators – many of them wearing helmets and dressed in paramilitary uniforms -have erected barricades and stormed government buildings. Certain elements of the police force have also displayed great brutality, going so far as to torture detainees. A dozen protesters were killed and nearly 2,000 were wounded. The unrest spread to the western provinces of the country.

According to our information, the Ukrainian opposition seeks to import military materials acquired on parallel markets. It is obviously not possible to purchase weapons in Western Europe and bring them in without NATO’s green light.

Washington’s strategy in Ukraine would appear to be a combination of proven “color revolution” recipes with others recently concocted during the “Arab Spring” [4]. Moreover, the United States makes no effort to hide it: it dispatched two officials, Victoria Nuland (deputy to John Kerry) and John McCain (who is not only a Republican senator, but also the chairman of IRI, the Republican branch of the NED [5]) to support the protesters. Unlike Libya and Syria, Washington does not have jihadists on hand to sow chaos (except for Tatar extremists, but they are only located in Crimea). It was therefore decided to lean on the Nazis with whom the State Department worked against the Soviets and has organized in political parties since independence.

The inexperienced reader may be taken aback by this alliance between the Obama administration and the Nazis. However, it must be remembered that Ukrainian Nazis were publicly honored at the White House by President Reagan, including Yaroslav Stetsko, Ukrainian Prime Minister under the Third Reich, who became the head of the anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and a member of the World anti-Communist League [6]. One of his deputies, Lev Dobriansky, became U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, while his daughter Paula Dobriansky served as Under Secretary of State for Democracy (sic) during the George W. Bush administration. It is the same Ms. Dobriansky who for ten years sponsored a historical research with the aim of clouding the fact that the Holodomor, the famine that hit Ukraine in 1932-33, also devastated Russia and Kazakhstan, thereby reinforcing the myth that Stalin was determined to eliminate the Ukrainian people [7].

In fact, Washington, who had supported the German Nazi party until 1939 and continued to do business with Nazi Germany until the end of 1941, never had a moral problem with Nazism, not more than it has today in providing military support to jihadism in Syria.

Western European elites, who use Nazism as a pretext to harass firebrands – as seen with the „quenelle“ controversy over French comedien Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala [8] – have forgotten what it really is. In 2005, they closed their eyes to the rehabilitation of Nazism by the President of Latvia, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, as if it were trivial [9]. On the simple strength of statements in favor of the European Union, and wrapped up in their blissful Atlanticism, they now support their worst enemy. Civil war could start in Ukraine during the Olympic Games in Sochi.

Thierry Meyssan – French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian

Notes
[1] “Washington et Moscou se livrent bataille en Ukraine”, by Emilia Nazarenko and the editorial staff, Réseau Voltaire, 1 November 2004.

[2] “Jihadists in charge of crowd control in Kiev protests”, Translation Alizée Ville, Voltaire Network, 5 December 2013.

[3] This is the cesspool that the father of the “Orange revolution” alighted from. Cf. “La biographie cachée du père du président ukrainien”, Réseau Voltaire, 18 April 2008.

[4] “Coup in Western Ukraine: the Arab Spring unleashed in Europe”, by Andrew Korybko, Oriental Review/Voltaire Network, 27 January 2014.

[5] “La NED, vitrine légale de la CIA”, by Thierry Meyssan, Odnako/Réseau Voltaire, 6 October 2010.

[6] “La Ligue anti-communiste mondiale, une internationale du crime”, by Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 12 May 2004.

[7] See: L’Holodomor, nouvel avatar de l’anticommunisme « européen », by Professor Annie Lacroix-Riz, 2008.

[8] “The Bête Noire of the French Establishment”, by Diana Johnstone, Counterpunch/Voltaire Network, 5 January 2014.

[9] “Latvian President Rehabilitates Nazism”, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 16 March 2005.

Source: Voltaire Network

Third World America’s Trade Agreements

February 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The corporate media would have us believe that the nation is in the midst of an economic recovery.

In the shadow of the approaching mid-term elections, the president cites the number of jobs created and speaks optimistically about America’s economic future. The future is indeed bright, but only if you are among the wealthiest one percent of the population.

For instance, since the 2007 recession, the greatest crisis of capitalism in 75 years, corporate profits have risen, CEO salaries and bonuses are at record levels and the stock market is soaring. By contrast, workers’ wages have stagnated for more than four decades, benefits are either few or non-existent, and workers are encumbered with debt that forces them to perform multiple jobs— if they can find them—in order to survive.

Jobs that offer long-term security and a living wage are scarce even for those with university degrees. Adjusted for inflation, today’s workers are worse off than they were in the late 1960s.

Whose economic recovery is this?

According to economic forecaster Gerald Celente, 90 percent of the jobs created in 2013 were part-time, most of them paying low wages and providing no benefits. Student loan debt exceeds $1.1 trillion, a number that surpasses the combined credit card liability of the nation.

These debts cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. The big banks and corporations that finance political campaigns have no such restrictions placed upon them.

Even the unemployment figures are deceiving. According to the latest government data, unemployment is at 6.7 percent. In reality, that number is probably closer to 17 or 18 percent, according to economist Richard Wolff.

The government does not count people whose unemployment benefits have expired or those who have given up looking for work. A cashier working 10 hours a week at Food Lion is counted as fully employed.

We have students, many of them burdened with immense debt, entering a job market that makes it difficult for them to earn a decent living. This is the economic minefield that workers across America must navigate. A little truth might help them find their way and comprehend why this is happening.

One of the many reasons we face such a bleak economic future is the implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

In 1992, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented between the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico. NAFTA was fast-tracked through Congress by President H.W. Bush and signed into law by President Clinton. NAFTA was promoted in the commercial media as an engine for job creation in the United States, an assertion that is contradicted by the facts. According to Wolff, more than 700,000 jobs fled the country as the result of NAFTA, many of them providing middle class incomes and benefits.

Those jobs are never coming back. It is not just the number of jobs created that matter, it is the quality of those jobs that is a predictor of economic success.

Furthermore, the mass movement of U.S. corporations to Mexico wrecked the already struggling Mexican economy, particularly its sustainable, locally-based businesses. The situation initiated a mass migration of immigrant Mexican workers to the U.S. in search of better-paying jobs than were available to them in the homeland. Multinational corporations seeking a source of cheap labor and a climate of deregulation are the primary benefactors. The quantifiable effect that NAFTA has had on the U.S. workers is staggering job loss, reduced wages and increasing economic disparity.

Now, with the backing of corporate lobbyists, yet another FTA—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—is being fast-tracked through Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans are enthusiastically backing the legislation.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes the process: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.” TPP is currently being negotiated between nine to 12 nations.

If enacted, TPP will permit privately-owned corporations to have hegemony over the governments of sovereign nations. For instance, if the state of West Virginia were to ban the use of genetically modified soybeans, Monsanto Corporation could either overturn the decision or extort billions of dollars in remuneration from their projected loss of profits. FTAs belligerently put corporate profits before the legitimate needs of the people and the welfare of the biosphere.

The implications for students and working class people will be profoundly detrimental.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs will flee the country, wages will fall yet again, autonomy will be lost, and the job market will resemble the wreckage of the Hesperus. FTAs are the means by which the power elite are turning the U.S. into a Third World economy.


Charles Sullivan is a free-lance writer, educator, and citizen activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Province of geopolitical West Virginia.

Charles Sullivan is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Cold War Politics In Sochi

February 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A geopolitically tense atmosphere prevails.

Security is extremely tight. It’s prioritized for good reason. Terrorist attacks are possible. Don’t discount potential Washington shenanigans.

Perhaps raining on Putin’s parade is planned. Obama may want him embarrassed. False flags are a longstanding US tradition. Will Sochi be Washington’s next target? The fullness of time will tell.

It’s a virtual armed camp. Measures in place are unprecedented. Around $2 billion was spent on security.

Ahead of February 6, around 23,000 personnel assured proper measures were in place as planned.

Tens of thousands of police officers are deployed. They’re backed by helicopters, drones, gunboats, submarines, and 70,000 Russian troops.

Hundreds of Cossacks are involved. They’ll check IDs. They’ll detain suspects. Sochi’s proximity to the North Caucasus raised concerns.

Islamist jihadists named it a target. They’re US assets. They’re used strategically. Washington used likeminded ones against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan.

Libya was targeted this way. They comprise America’s anti-Syrian proxy death squads.

Russia raised concerns after December Volgograd bombings killed 34 people. Were Washington’s dirty hands involved?

Is something similar planned for Sochi? Hegemons operate this way. America is by far the worst. Anything ahead is possible.

According to Sochi Organizing Committee chairman Dmitry Chernyshenko:

“Terrorism is a global threat, and for terrorism there is no boundaries, no territories, but here in Sochi from the very beginning of the construction phase the state authorities did their utmost to prepare special measures, starting from the screening of raw materials, checking all the venues and preparing far-reaching security measures to provide the safest ever environment here.”

A controlled zone was established. It covers 60 kilometers. It runs along the coast. It extends 25 kilometers inland.

It includes all venues. They’re heavily guarded. The entire area is for authorized visitors only.

Western anti-Russian sentiment persists. Cold War politics continues. Putin bashing is featured. He’s not about to roll over for Washington.

He wants rule of law principles respected. He opposes Western imperialism. He’s against meddling in the internal affairs of Russia, Syria, Ukraine and other nations.

He stresses Moscow’s “independent foreign policy.” He affirms the “inalienable right to security for all states, the inadmissibility of excessive force, and unconditional observance of international law.”

He and Obama disagree on fundamental geopolitical issues. Key is national sovereignty. So are war and peace. America claims a divine right to fight. Putin prioritizes diplomatic conflict resolution.

Disagreements between both countries play out in dueling agendas. Washington notoriously plays hardball. Putin protects Russia’s national interests. They’re too important to sacrifice.

US media scoundrels target him. They vilify him. They mischaracterize him. They call him a Russian strongman. They make all kinds of baseless accusations.

Lies, damns lies and misinformation substitute for truth and full disclosure. They want him embarrassed. They’re raining on his Sochi parade.

On February 6, the Financial Times headlined “Putin gambles all on creation myth behind Sochi.”

“I am particularly pleased to see what is happening here because I chose this place myself,” he said.

“It must have been in 2001 or 2002,” he added. “(W)e were driving around and arrived at this brook, and I said: ‘Let’s start from here.’ That’s how it all began.”

Putin staked much on the games, said the FT. George Washington University’s Sufian Zhemukhov said “(i)f all goes well, (he’ll) be seen as the leader who resurrected Russia.”

Failure perhaps won’t be forgiven, he added. His forthrightness for peace “made him a force on the world stage,” said the FT.

A January Levada Center poll showed he’d be elected today by a wide margin. At the same time, his overall support dropped.

Excluding undecided respondents, its “higher than ever.”

He’s taking no chances. He’s going all out to make Sochi successful. FT comments were tame compared to America’s media.

The Wall Street Journal headlined “The Putin Games.” He wants them to “showcase…modern Russia.”

“(H)e succeeded (but) not as he intended…What could go wrong?” Sochi is the most expensive Olympics in history.

Around $50 billion was spent. It’s five times the original estimate. It’s double what Britain’s 2012 summer games cost. It’s a fourth more than China spent in 2008.

Much of Sochi’s cost related to building vital infrastructure. It had to be done from scratch. Doing so added enormously to costs.

Major projects are expensive. According to Journal editors, “(t)he games are proving to be a case study in the Putin political and economic method.”

They claim billions of dollars “lost to corruption.” They provide no evidence proving it. They said “Russians call this Olympiad the Korimpiad.”

More Putin bashing followed. It’s standard scoundrel media practice. Journal editors feature it.

They claim he “made it impossible to hold his regime accountable through free elections or media.”

Fact check:

Russian elections shame America’s sham ones. They’re democratic. They not rigged. Monied interests don’t control them.

Outcomes aren’t predetermined. Russian voters decide. US ones have no say.

Don’t expect Journal editors to explain. Or how Voice of Russia and RT (formerly Russia Today) shame America’s corporate media.

They feature news, information and opinion viewers most need to know. They do it forthrightly. They’re polar opposite America’s managed news misinformation.

Truth is systematically suppressed. Demagoguery, propaganda, scandal, sleaze, junk food news, and warmongering substitute.

Journal editors ignore truth and full disclosure. Bias permeates their opinions. They betray readers. They shame themselves doing so.

They claimed billions spent on Sochi left it unprepared. They cite “unfinished hotel rooms, incomplete road work and now the famous photographs of two toilets in a single stall.”

RT.com responded. On February 6, it headlined “Spread fear, toilet humor? MSM guide to ‘Worst. Olympics. EVAR!” (Repeat: EVAR!)

Even before the opening ceremony, MSM scoundrels drew conclusions “Sports? Not really,” said RT. At issue is malicious Putin bashing. It’s longstanding practice.

It’s MSM’s “own Sochi 2014 moan-athon.” Imagine claiming something yet to occur the “worst Olympics ever.” They beat up on Beijing the same way.

They “never believed in Sochi,” said RT. They called its climate unfit for winter games. They cite corruption with no substantiating evidence.

They claim lax security despite unprecedented measures in place. They discuss possible terrorist threats. They leave unexplained what most worrisome – a possible disruptive US false flag attack.

It bears repeating. Perhaps Washington plans raining on Putin’s parade.

On August 7, 2008, hours before Beijing’s summer Olympics’ opening ceremony, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia. He did so at Washington’s behest. Attacking was strategically timed.

After Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, South Assetia broke away from Georgia. It declared independence. It’s home to many Russian nationals.

Moscow responded responsibly. Conflict continued for days. Then President Medvedev was on vacation. Then Prime Minister Putin was in Beijing.

In half a day before Russia intervened, 1,700 people were killed. Included were 12 Russian peacekeepers.

Moscow was blamed for Georgian aggression. Does Washington plan something similar this time? Will a false flag attack occur?

Will Obama usurp a freer hand in Ukraine? Will he take advantage in Syria? Does he plan other mischief? Is disrupting Sochi planned?

Hegemons operate this way. Washington’s disturbing history gives Russia good reason for concern.

Preparations in Sochi aren’t perfect, said RT. “(F)laws and problems” exist. “But what makes the Sochi Olympics ‘the worst’ so far is…accommodation for the global media elite.”

“See it, slam it,” said RT. “Intrepid Olympic reporters, we thought, would get behind the scenes, unravel the PR.”

“Nope. Not this time. Of global importance were rooms (if they were available), toilets, floors, and shower curtains.”

“Oh – and a request to not flush toilet paper (it’s rarely done in public toilets) had the press pack throwing up.”

Washington Post reporter Kathy Lally was upset about “a tiny, tiny (hotel room) sink.”

It “sits atop an exposed white plastic pipe, stuck to the wall and surrounded by an unruly gob of caulk,” she said.

“The single room has two lamps – which don’t have light bulbs, but that’s okay because they aren’t near any unused outlets.”

Other journalists reported missing shower curtains, lamps, chairs, inadequate heat and hot water, and whatever else they wanted to cite to bash Putin.

Fox News called conditions “laughably bad.” It warned about event coverage being just as dreadful.

MSM scoundrels feature daily “hotel horror stories.” They regurgitate similar tweets to each other. They find new reasons to complain.

BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg tweeted about two sit-down toilets shown side-by-side with no partition. It went viral.

RT calls it a “must have” for every Sochi story. Imagine toilet humor substituting for real journalism. It gets worse.

Whatever is happening in Russia multiple time zones away gets reported. A Moscow school shooting creates Sochi shudders.

So does a derailed gas-laden freight train exploding. It happened 500 miles northeast of Moscow. It made Sochi headlines.

CNN connected Sochi to the September 2004 Beslan school siege. Its February 5 report said:

“Amid the shrill noise of militant threats ahead of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the gym in Beslan is now steeped in silence, a monument to the dead, untouched almost.”

Trashing Sochi bashes Putin. MSM scoundrels are deplorable. They disgrace themselves before dwindling audiences.

CNN and other US cable news networks report increasing to fewer viewers. Maybe one day they’ll all tune out.

RT called Sochi the “biggest construction site in the world over the past seven years.”

“Everything there – most of the hotels, sport venues, high-speed rail links, highways, 50 bridges, even the Olympic village itself – was built from scratch.”

It’s an extraordinary achievement in a short time. It’s almost like building an entirely new city in record time. Sochi deserves praise, not criticism.

Toronto Star reporter Rosie Dimanno wrote:

“Mounds of debris, parts of roads unpaved, mesh hoarding to hide the eyesore bits, lots of trash, unreliable power – nothing upsets journalists more than an internet that goes up and down – these have all featured in Olympics over the past three decades, as the Games have grown too big, too gaudy and too complicated.”

“The Olympics are no (place) for old sissies,” she added. “So I’ll take my own advice: Just chill.”

Most MSM scoundrels report as expected. They mock legitimate journalism. It’s verboten in America. It’s lacking in Canada. It’s largely absent in Western Europe. Managed news misinformation substitutes.

WSJ editors called Sochi “a shrine to authoritarianism.” They bashed Putin relentlessly. One bald-faced lie followed others.

“(T)he underbelly of Mr. Putin’s regime (was) exposed,” they claimed.

New York Times editors were just as bad. They headlined “A Spotlight on Mr. Putin’s Russia,” saying:

“(T)he reality of (his) Russia…conflicts starkly with Olympic ideals and fundamental human rights.”

“There is no way to ignore the dark side – the soul-crushing repression, the cruel new anti-gay and blasphemy laws, and the corrupt legal system in which political dissidents are sentenced to lengthy terms on false charges.”

Fact check

NYT editors have a longstanding disturbing history. They one-sidedly support wealth, power and privilege. Whenever Washington wages imperial wars or plans them, they march in lockstep.

They long ago lost credibility. They feature mind-numbing misinformation. They violate their own journalistic code doing so.

They invented anti-gay law controversy. Russian gay propaganda law has nothing to do with persecuting people for their sexual orientation.

Everyone’s rights are respected. Russia wants its children protected from malicious anti-gay propaganda, illicit drugs, alcohol abuse and whatever else harms them.

Responsible governance demands it. America leaves millions of children unprotected. Cutting food stamps alone denies them vital nutrition.

Don’t expect Times editors to explain. Or about thousands of political prisoners languishing in America’s gulag.

About torture being official US policy. About rigged US elections.  About impoverishing neoliberal harshness.

About destroying social America. About eliminating America’s middle class. About waging war on freedom.

About unprecedented levels of public and private corruption. About kleptocracy masquerading as democracy.

About out-of-control corporate empowerment. About Washington being corporate occupied territory. About crushing organized labor.

About commodifying public education. About ignoring international, constitutional and US statute laws.

About violating fundamental human and civil rights. About Obama’s war on humanity.

Bashing Putin takes precedence. Managed news misinformation proliferates.

Times editors report like other media scoundrels. MSM ones long ago lost credibility. They replicate the worst of each other.

They support what demands condemnation. They back wrong over right. Readers and viewers demand better.

MSM scoundrels don’t deliver. Sochi games run through February 23. Expect lots more Putin bashing ahead.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

The Year of Iran: Tehran’s Challenge To American Hegemony In 2014

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1979, Iran shocked the world—and directly confronted America’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East — by charting its own revolutionary course toward participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence.  Over the past thirty-five years the Islamic Republic of Iran has held dozens of presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections and attained impressive developmental outcomes—including more progressive results at alleviating poverty, delivering health care, providing educational access, and (yes) expanding opportunities for women than the last shah’s regime ever achieved.  Furthermore, the Islamic Republic has done these things while withstanding significant regional challenges and mounting pressure from the United States and its allies.  Below, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett suggest that like 1979, 2014 is likely to be, in unique ways, another Year of Iran, when Tehran’s foreign policy strategy will either finally compel Western acceptance of Iran’s sovereign rights—especially to enrich uranium under international safeguards—or fundamentally delegitimise America’s already eroding pretensions to Middle Eastern hegemony.

Hassan Rohani’s election as Iran’s president seven months ago caught most of the West’s self-appointed Iran “experts” by (largely self-generated) surprise.  Over the course of Iran’s month-long presidential campaign, methodologically-sound polls by the University of Tehran showed that a Rohani victory was increasingly likely.  Yet Iran specialists at Washington’s leading think tanks continued erroneously insisting (as they had for months before the campaign formally commenced) that Iranians could not be polled like other populations and that there would be “a selection rather than an election,” engineered to install Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “anointed” candidate—in most versions, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.  On election day, as Iranian voters began casting their ballots, the Washington Post proclaimed that Rohani “will not be allowed to win”—a statement reflecting virtual consensus among American pundits.

Of course, this consensus was wrong—as have been most of the consensus judgments on Iran’s politics advanced by Western analysts since the country’s 1979 revolution.  After Rohani’s victory, instead of admitting error, America’s foreign policy elite manufactured two explanations for it.  One was that popular disaffection against the Islamic Republic—supposedly reflected in Iranians’ determination to elect the most change-minded candidate available to them—had exceeded even the capacity of Khamenei and his minions to suppress.  This narrative, however, rests on agenda-driven and false assumptions about who Rohani is and how he won.

“The Islamic Republic aims to replace American hegemony with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and by leveraging participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”.”

At sixty-five, Rohani is not out to fundamentally change the Islamic Republic he has worked nearly his entire adult life to build.  The only cleric on the 2013 presidential ballot, Rohani belongs to Iran’s main conservative clerical association, not its reformist antipode.  While he has become the standard bearer for the Islamic Republic’s “modern” (or “pragmatic”) right, with considerable support from the business community, his ties to Khamenei are also strong.  After Rohani stepped down as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council in 2005, Khamenei made Rohani his personal representative on the Council.

Backing Rohani was thus an unlikely way for Iranian voters to demand radical change, especially when an eminently plausible reformist was on the ballot—Mohammad Reza Aref, a Stanford Ph.D. in electrical engineering who served as one of reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s vice presidents. (Methodologically-sound polls showed that Aref’s support never exceeded single digits; he ultimately withdrew three days before Iranians voted.)  The outcome, moreover, hardly constituted a landslide—not for Rohani and certainly not for reformism: Rohani won by just 261,251 votes over the 50-percent threshold for victory, and the parliament elected just one year before is dominated by conservatives.

The other explanation for Rohani’s success embraced by American elites cites it as proof that U.S.-instigated sanctions are finally “working”—that economic distress caused by sanctions drove Iranians to elect someone inclined to cut concessionary deals with the West.  But the same polls that accurately predicted Rohani’s narrow win also show that sanctions had little to do with it.  Iranians continue to blame the West, not their own government, for sanctions.  And they do not want their leaders to compromise on what they see as their country’s sovereignty and national rights—rights manifest today in Iran’s pursuit of a civil nuclear program.

The Iranian Challenge

Iran’s presidential election and the smooth transfer of office to Rohani from term-limited incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stand out in today’s Middle East.  Compared to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia, the Islamic Republic is actually living up to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s description of Iran as “an island of stability” in an increasingly unsettled region.  And compared to some Gulf Arab monarchies, where perpetuation of (at least superficial) stability is purchased by ever increasing domestic expenditures, the Islamic Republic legitimates itself by delivering on the fundamental promise of the revolution that deposed the last shah thirty-five years ago: to replace Western-imposed monarchical rule with an indigenously generated political model integrating participatory politics and elections with principles and institutions of Islamic governance.

“Partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests.”

These strengths have enabled the Islamic Republic to withstand sustained regional and Western pressure, and to pursue a foreign policy strategy likely to reap big payoffs in 2014.  This strategy aims to replace American hegemony, regionally and globally, with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence.  It seeks to achieve this by using international law and institutions, and by leveraging the Islamic Republic’s model of participatory Islamist governance, domestic development, and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”—not just with a majority of Iranians living inside their country, but (according to polls) with hundreds of millions of people across the Muslim world and beyond, from Brazil to China and South Africa.  Such soft power was on display, for example, in the last year of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, when, during a trip to China, he won a standing ovation from a large audience at Peking University, where a representative sample of next-generation Chinese elites showed themselves deeply receptive to his call for a more equitable and representative international order.

In the current regional and international context, the West is increasingly challenged to come to terms with the Islamic Republic as an enduring entity representing legitimate national interests.  In Tehran, the United States and its European allies could have a real partner in countering al-Qa’ida-style terrorism and extremism, in consolidating stable and representative political orders in Syria and other Middle Eastern trouble spots, and in resolving the nuclear issue in a way that sets the stage for moving toward an actual WMD-free zone in the region.  But partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests—something that Western powers have refused to accord to any Iranian government for two centuries.

President Obama’s highly public failure to muster political support for military strikes against the Assad government following the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21, 2013 has effectively undercut the credibility of U.S. threats to use force against Iran.  On November 24, 2013, this compelled an American administration, for the first time since the January 1981 Algiers Accords that ended the embassy hostage crisis, to reach a major international agreement with Tehran—the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1—largely on Iranian terms.  (For example, the interim nuclear deal effectively negates Western demands—long rejected by Tehran but now enshrined in seven UN Security Council resolutions—that Iran suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment).

But recent Western recognition of reality is still partial and highly tentative.  The United States and its British and French allies continue to deny that Iran has a right to enrich uranium under international safeguards. They also demand that, as part of a final deal, Tehran must shut down its protected enrichment site at Fordo, terminate its work on a new research reactor at Arak, and allow Western powers to micromanage the future development of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.  Such positions are at odds with the language of the interim nuclear deal and of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  They are also as hubristically delusional as the British government’s use of the Royal Navy to seize tankers carrying Iranian oil on the high seas after a democratically-elected Iranian government nationalised the British oil concession in Iran in 1951—and as London’s continued threat to do so even after the World Court ruled against Britain in the matter.

If Western powers can realign their positions with reality on the nuclear issue and on various regional challenges in the Middle East, Iran can certainly work with that.  But Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Western powers may not be capable of negotiating a nuclear settlement grounded in the NPT and respectful of the Islamic Republic’s legal rights—just as Britain and the United States were unwilling to respect Iran’s sovereignty over its own natural resources in the early 1950s.  Under such circumstances, more U.S.-instigated secondary sanctions that illegally threaten third countries doing business with Iran will not compel Tehran to surrender its civil nuclear program. Rather, Iran’s approach—including a willingness to conclude what the rest of the world other than America, Britain, France, and Israel would consider a reasonable nuclear deal—seeks to make it easier for countries to rebuild and expand economic ties to the Islamic Republic even if Washington does not lift its own unilaterally-imposed sanctions.

“Continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East.”

Likewise, Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Washington cannot disenthrall itself from Obama’s foolish declaration in August 2011 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go—and therefore that America cannot contribute constructively to the quest for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict.  If the United States, Britain, and France continue down their current counter-productive path in Syria, Tehran can play off their accumulating policy failures and the deepening illegitimacy of America’s regional posture to advance the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.

How Will the West Respond?

Coming to terms with the Islamic Republic will require the United States to abandon its already eroding pretensions to hegemony in the Middle East.  But, if Washington does not come to terms with the Islamic Republic, it will ultimately be forced to surrender those pretensions, as it was publicly and humiliatingly forced to do in 1979.  Moreover, continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East.  Less than a month after Rohani’s election, it was widely perceived that the United States tacitly supported a military coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected (and Islamist) government.  The coup in Egypt hardly obviates the fact that, when given the chance, majorities in Middle Eastern Muslim societies reject Western intervention and choose to construct participatory Islamist orders.  Refusing to accept this reality will only accelerate the erosion of U.S. influence in the region.

The United States is not the first imperial power in decline whose foreign policy debate has become increasingly detached from reality—and history suggests that the consequences of such delusion are usually severe.  The time for American elites to wake up to Middle Eastern realities before the United States and its Western allies face severe consequences for their strategic position in this vital part of the world is running out.

About the Authors

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are authors of Going to Tehran: America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (New York: Metropolitan, 2013), which has just been released in paperback, with a new Afterword. They had distinguished careers in the U.S. government before leaving their positions on the National Security Council in March 2003, in disagreement with Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror. They teach international relations, he at Penn State, she at American University.

Source: The World Financial Review

Top Three Media Lies About The Syrian Peace Talks

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

he media spin machine is again kicking into high gear, perfectly timed to accompany the “Geneva II” Syria peace talks. The lies are necessary to give the Obama administration an upper hand in the peace negotiations, which are not being used to pursue peace, but instead, to accomplish the Obama administration’s longstanding goal of Syrian regime change. Here are the top three Western media lies about the Syrian peace talks.

1) The removal of Syrian Bashar al-Assad was an agreed upon “precondition” for the Geneva II peace talks.

This lie has been repeated over and over by government and media alike. It has zero basis. The Obama administration claims that this precondition was expressed in the “Geneva communiqué,” which was a road map agreement meant to guide the Geneva II peace talks, agreed upon by some of the major parties of the negotiations, including Russia.

The communiqué does indeed call for a negotiated political transition, but nowhere does it state that such a transition cannot include President Assad. Such a condition would have been outright rejected by Russia.

In fact, the Geneva communiqué includes this crucial statement:

“[a transition government] could include members of the present [Syrian] government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.” Nowhere does it specifically mention or imply President Assad would have to leave power first.

The Los Angeles Times recently stepped out of line and exposed this lie:

“[John] Kerry regularly cites the “Geneva communiqué,” a kind of peace road map hammered out in June 2012 during a United Nations-organized summit. But the document does not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster.”

The Obama administration’s constant repeating of this lie only causes divisions in the peace process, undermining the chances that the peace process will succeed.

The Obama administration is especially adamant about this “Assad must go” precondition because it knows that, if free and fair elections were held tomorrow in Syria – as part of a UN-backed “transitional process” – President Assad would likely win. This is the result of the ethnic and religious minorities in Syria that have rallied behind President Assad, since they’ve witnessed the consistent religious sectarian atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed rebels (which the U.S. media loves to ignore or minimize).

Assad would probably win an election since there is also simply no one else on the government side or the opposition side with his name recognition or popularity. The U.S.-backed rebel war in Syria has vastly strengthened Assad’s political hand, but you wouldn’t know it from the Western, anti-Syrian media.

Demanding Assad’s ouster also does not reflect the situation on the ground. The U.S.-backed rebels have never controlled more than one Syrian city, namely Raqaa, which is dominated by al-Qaeda and is governed under a Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law, which includes a strict ban on music. Thus, the rebels don’t have the ground power that would even enable them to make the demand that “Assad must go”.

2) The U.S.-backed rebel militias are “moderate” Islamic groups.

The fact that this lie can even be uttered publicly without encountering ridicule is a major success of Western media propaganda. The media narrative paints the U.S.-backed “good” rebels fighting both the Syrian government and the “bad” al-Qaeda linked rebels.

But the “good” rebels in the U.S.-backed Islamic Front share the same vision for Syria’s future as the al-Qaeda rebels: a fundamentalist version of Sharia law, where women live in virtual house arrest and where religious minorities are second class citizens (non-Sunni Muslims would simply be butchered, as they are on a regular basis in Syria, which is again minimized or ignored in the Western media.)

The “moderate rebel” lie was further exposed recently when a top leader in the most powerful militia, Ahrar al Sham, within the Islamic Front declared Ahrar al Sham to be the “real” representative of al-Qaeda in Syria, as opposed to the rival al-Qaeda faction that the Islamic Front had recently begun fighting.

Ahrar al Sham has long been known to be an al-Qaeda type Islamist extremist group; the Western media simply chose to ignore it. But when it was recently made official, the US media chose to continue its ignoring stance, since actually reporting on it would destroy their “moderate rebel” lie. The Western media also continues to ignore the fact that the “moderate” U.S.-backed Islamic Frontissued a joint statement that aligned itself to the extremist views of Ahrar al Sham, the “real” al-Qaeda.

3) New Evidence of Syrian government “industrial scale” torture.

The Western media recently blasted the “breaking news” of brand new evidence showing massive “Nazi-like” torture and murder by the Syrian government, released at the beginning of the Syrian peace talks. This may or may not be true, but the lie here is that the Western media promoted the “evidence” as being unquestionably true, when the story doesn’t reach first base when it comes to evidence-based journalism.

All we really know is that there are hundreds of pictures of dead people that a “trusted source” says were killed by the Syrian government. The trusted source was designated as such by pro-Western intellectuals, who have earned professional “credibility” by helping convict war criminals in the International Criminal Court [ICC]. But as author Diane Johnstone pointed out in her excellent book “Fools Crusade,” about the war against Yugoslavia – as well as in other articles – the ICC has long been used by western powers as a tool to create a pretext for war, or a tool to justify a war after the fact.

The evidence of the “NAZI-like” atrocities was written in a study paid for by the government of Qatar, which has long funneled cash, guns, and Jihadis to Syria in aid of the anti-government rebels.

Again, we don’t know if the story is true or not. But such an important investigation should be conducted by the UN or another more objective institution. The same biased dynamic occurred in relation to the infamous chemical weapons attack, where no real evidence was provided, though an unending string of “experts” were quoted in the Western media, testifying to the guilt of the Syrian Government. But when Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the Obama administration lied about the rebels not having the capacity to perform such an attack, the Western media simply ignored the legend of journalism. The wrench in the propaganda machine was simply dislodged.

How do these lies become such permanent fixtures in the Western media? An excellent article in the Guardian newspaper recently discussed in depth the principal sources the Western media has used to understand the Syrian conflict.

The article exposed the incredible bias of some of the most important Western media sources on Syria, which is why they were handpicked in the first place to be “expert” sources: they had political agendas that were aligned with the US government’s foreign policy decisions. The other side of the conflict was completely ignored, except when it was targeted for ridicule. Thus, Americans and Europeans have a completely one-sided, if not fantasy-based perspective of what is happening in Syria. This has been systematic since the beginning of the conflict, as happened with the Yugoslav, Afghan, Iraq, and Libya wars.

The result of this media-led ignorance could result in yet more unnecessary deaths in a country that now has millions of refugees and over a 100,000 dead. Obama seems like he intends to exploit these peace talks with the intention of blaming the Syrian government for their failure. Having failed to defeat Assad on the battlefield in a proxy war, the Obama administration is trying to win the propaganda war. And once peace talks have failed, talk of war will resume, since “all other options have failed.”


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

The Siege of Yarmouk

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Damascus – At the Palestine Embassy in Beirut recently, a young lady showed this observer a video of a gentleman in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. The video showed the man killing and eating a cat. Food ran out in Yarmouk weeks ago, and nearly 18,000 refugees are facing death from starvation and other conflict-related causes. This siege has been ongoing since July 2013, and it has become viciously lethal.

The Palestinians living here have been targeted. They are part of the quarter million people—children, women, and men—trapped and dying from hunger and illness all across Syria as a direct, predictable result of using the siege of civilians as a weapon of war. It isn’t just Yarmouk. Throughout Syria, neighborhoods are being blockaded. Residents are running out of supplies, unable to get basic services. Among the Syrian towns under siege at this time are Nubul and Al-Zahraa in Aleppo province, the old city of Homs, and the towns of Eastern Ghouta, Daraya and Moadamiyet al-Sham in rural Damascus.

Truly a crisis of horrifying proportions, yet perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in the systematic starvation of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp, where this past week eight more Palestinians died from malnutrition. These include 80-year-old, Jamil al-Qurabi, 40-year-old, Hasan Shihabi, and a 50-year-old woman named Noor. In addition, 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh and two 19-year-olds—Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji—were killed while protesting the blockade of the camp. And reports have also emerged that two other men, Muhammad Ibrahim Dhahi and Hasan Younis Nofal, were tortured and killed.

In December 2013, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, issued a statement concerning the situation in Yarmouk camp, in which he said: “Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies.”

Based on conversations with Palestinians who were able to literally crawl out of the area from sewage pipes on the South side of Yarmouk, more than 100 people, as of 1/15/14, have died from starvation in the past four months—that is since mid-August 2013. Other causes of death have included three dozen cases of death by dehydration, and also malnutrition (differing slightly from starvation in that it pertains to inadequate nutrition rather than a total absence of ingestible substances) (you still die from it, though). More than three dozen miscarriages have also resulted from the food shortages, while infants have succumbed due to lack of milk. There have also been deaths by hypothermia for lack of fuel, and recently I spoke with a gentleman whose niece, an infant girl, died of suffocation in her neonatal intensive care unit due to a power cut.

In January of 2013 the UN estimated that one million people needed urgent humanitarian assistance. Today, twelve months later, the figure is nearly ten million. That assessment is from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke last week at yet another aid conference. A commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council has found war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross human rights violations committed in Syria on a daily basis. According to its conclusion, “All sides in the conflict have shown a total disregard for their responsibilities under the international humanitarian and human rights law.”

International law relevant to situations of this nature was created specifically to stop the targeting of civilians. Its principles, standards and rules demand that such targeting cease, and they call for the prosecution of perpetrators irrespective of which side in the civil war in Syria they may support. A civil war is an armed conflict located on the territory of one state, between the armed forces of the State and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups under responsible command. These are groups that maintain control over part of the land, or that are able to carry out armed operations of a continuous and coordinated nature. The applicable statutes include Common Article 3 of Protocol II (1977) the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Whether it is regime armed forces and their allies, or anti-government militia, both are legally bound to respect the Geneva Conventions and must lift the siege on Yarmouk. If not, they risk prosecution at an existing international court or at a possible Special Tribunal for Syria being contemplated among some at the United Nations.

The following is from Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: Part IV: Civilian Population:

Article 13.PROTECTION OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION.

  1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.
  2. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.

  3. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
  4. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

Article 14. PROTECTION OF OBJECTS INDISPENSABLE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION. Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.

Article 15. PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

This body of international law requires that all warring parties immediately end the siege of Yarmouk and allow the entry of food supplies, while permitting those who want to leave the camp to do so. The safety of those who wish to return to their homes is also mandated. Additionally the law requires guarantees of safe passages to relief teams, UN fact finding missions, and unobstructed entry of medicines, medical staff and medical equipment. Those today who are preventing this are subject to international criminal prosecution, and as noted above, they are subject to future prosecution at any time, as the level and nature of their crimes prevent the application of any Statute of Limitations.

According to human rights activists, attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk camp failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the Syrian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Those attempting to leave were arrested, in some cases with serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on them. Others were shot at near the camp’s entry points. This occurred particularly in the last two months of 2013 and early January 2014. Several agreements between the warring parties, being the Syrian government forces and the rebels assaulting Yarmouk, have not been honored by either. Attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk have consistently failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the regime and the PLO, and some who attempted escape were arrested, beaten or shot at.

The several attempts to lift the siege usually include versions of the following language from Yarmouk’s Popular Committee that “based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:

  • End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.
  • Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.
  • Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.
  • Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.
  • Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.”

Despite an official policy of neutrality announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and despite also unequivocal statements by Palestinian delegations acquitting the regime of any responsibility in the besieging, bombing and targeting of the camp and its inhabitants, it has not been enough to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid convoys.

But there is hope that relief may come. Against the backdrop of accusations and condemnations being circulated, many are looking to Russia to step in and, much as it did when it induced the Assad government to get rid of its chemical weapons, pressure the government to at least lift its own part of the siege.

There are critics of the idea, however. Mr. Ibrahim Amin, Editor in Chief of Lebanon’s Al Akbar daily newspaper, argues that somehow because Palestinians have been given many more civil rights in Syria than, for example, Lebanon—which to Syria’s great credit is true—then the refugees must somehow be at fault for their own slaughter and siege at Yarmouk. It is nonsense, of course, as also is his statement that, “In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.”—nonsense because, for example, Palestinians cannot vote in Syrian elections. Amin should know this, and he should know that they have never been made citizens of Syria, for this is common knowledge.

Nevertheless, writing in the January 13 issue of his newspaper, Editor Amin piles blame on the victims, rather than the perpetrators, by seeming to argue that they deserved it—the babies dying of malnutrition, the people suffering from dehydration and disease caused by the siege of their camp. He demands to know, “What pushed Palestinians in this camp to believe in toppling Bashar al-Assad? No sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria.”

More nonsense from the Editor-in-Chief since virtually every Palestinian organization and leader, and virtually every resident living in any one of UNWRA’s 54 camps, including the ten in Syria, have repeatedly proclaimed their non-involvement in the Syria conflict. Presumably in his line of work Mr. Amin would know this. And presumably, if he took the time to speak to any Palestinians about the conflict in Syria, he would likely be advised that they are grateful to the Syrian people for hosting them. He might also be advised that they regret that some of their leaders got involved with the conflict in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, since innocent Palestinian civilians paid dearly, and that they will not repeat the mistake in Syria. It is a fact that some individual Palestinians, following the intense December 12-17, 2012 shelling and bombing of parts of Yarmouk, turned against those who were blamed for targeting them.

“Those who stayed are the ones who refused to go through a new displacement, as well as members of armed groups and their families,” Mr. Amin states, though without offering any evidence. He goes on: “In a few months the camp was transformed into a haven for groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.” Again his assertions are false and politically motivated. Those who stayed are overwhelmingly those refugees who cannot escape. The Syrian army to its credit has not invaded the camp, but it does surround and seals most of it. Some rebel groups are hiding inside and terrorizing the camp.

It is egregious for Mr. Amin to misrepresent the facts of Palestinian neutrality in Syrian camps; it is doubly egregious for him to do so apparently wishing to gain approval from Syrian or Resistance leaders. Neither is likely to be other than embarrassed by Mr. Amin’s gross misrepresentations or his gratuitous ad hominem attacks on refugee camp victims of war crimes. The Editor-in-Chief’s distortions do not help the Resistance but rather harm it. As does his insistence that the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri eight years ago was done with a ‘secret missile’ fired from the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. There are a fair number of “Resistance groupies” and bloggers, well-meaning perhaps, but who in many cases actually aid enemies of the Resistance through their clumsy attempts at water carrying while ignoring reality.

But there is good news awaiting Mr. Amin if he will accept an invitation from one who considers himself to have been “Hezbollah” long before the 1985 “Open Letter” announcing the organizing of the Party of God next to where this observer gets his motorbike repaired in Ouzai. That is to say “Hezbollah” in the sense that since studying international law in law school this observer has supported the liberation of Palestine while rejecting the last of the 19th century’s colonial enterprise still occupying Palestine, and in the sense that this observer shares Hezbollah’s resistance goals and their declared responsibility to continue the struggle until achieving the full Right of Return. Oh yes, to be sure, this observer is not a card-carrying member of the Resistance, as I want to remind dear friend Jeff Feltman, who swore at an embassy Christmas party a while back that “Lamb faces ten years hard time in the feds when he dares to set foot on American soil for hobnobbing with terrorists”—though given the fact that Jeff had been imbibing some Christmas cheer when he made that statement to an embassy staffer, he has perhaps forgotten it now, which would be good news.

But at any rate, for Mr. Amin, here is what a fellow supporter of the Resistance is willing to do to possibly help him re-assess his conclusion about what is going on in Yarmouk: I invite Mr. Amin to appear in the lobby of the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus at 9 a.m. sharp on January 24. I will buy him breakfast, and as we dine, two contacts from Yarmouk will brief him on our morning program—a program that will include Mr. Amin discretely accompanying us to the south side of Yarmouk, where, depending on conditions that morning, we will arrive in front of the Zakerin Mosque in Al-Buweida, maybe 300 yards from the Az-Zain neighborhood. Mr. Amin will then need to join us crawling through a rather claustrophobic and smelly 30” diameter drain pipe that is approximately 40 yards in length. We will at this point hopefully end up safely in the basement of “Abu Ali’s” remaining half-house, where several refugees are still trapped. Mr. Amin can also visit with others next door. He should bring some cash, however, because his host doesn’t have much and we may need a bit to bribe a couple of gun-kids from one of the militias to facilitate our exit in case we are ratted out, so to speak.

Finally Mr. Amin will be able to see for himself, and listen to direct testimony, about what presently is, and has been, happening inside Yarmouk. He can ask the weakened residents about the conclusions he confidently presented in his Al Akbar article in which he claimed that the Yarmouk tragedy and crimes are their fault, or, as he so confidently put it, “Today, the unfolding events (in Yarmouk) are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility.” He may be surprised at what he learns about camp residents still trapped there, people scrabbling to feed themselves, and who have had no say or active role in the deplorable events that have overtaken them.

Just maybe, then, Mr. Amin will be motivated to edit a bit his earlier ridiculous broadside attacking the victims of the Yarmouk siege. And should he feel any contrition, maybe he will devote some of his energy and space in his newspaper to actually working for two elementary civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon—the right to work and home ownership. Their achievement will benefit Lebanon and the Resistance, both of which Mr. Amin claims to support.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

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