Address given on Monday, August 29, at the international conference Central Europe, the EU and the new Russia at the Czech Parliament in Prague.
More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, NATO is an obsolete and harmful anachronism. It has morphed into a vehicle for the attainment of misguided American strategic objectives on a global scale. Its mutation from a defensive alliance into a supranational force based on the nebulous doctrine of “humanitarian intervention” started with the air war against Serbia in 1999 and was completed with the Libyan intervention in the spring and summer of 2011. NATO in its mature form is beyond redemption or reform. It should be disbanded.
The Soviet Union came into being as a revolutionary state that challenged any given status quo in principle. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, Russia has been trying to articulate her goals and define her policies in terms of traditional national interests. By contrast, the early 1990’s witnessed the beginning of America’s attempt to assert her status as the only global hyperpower. Instead of declaring victory and disbanding NATO in the early 1990’s, the Clinton administration successfully redesigned it as a mechanism for open-ended out-of-area interventions at a time when every rationale for its existence had disappeared.
Following the air war against Serbia, NATO’s area of operations became unlimited and its “mandate” self-generated. Another round of NATO expansion came under George W. Bush. In April 2007, he signed the Orwellian-sounding NATO Freedom Consolidation Act, which extended U.S. military assistance to aspiring NATO members, specifically Georgia and Ukraine. Further expansion, according to former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, was “historically mandatory, geopolitically desirable.” A decade earlier, Brzezinski readily admitted that NATO’s enlargement was not about U.S. security in any conventional sense, but “about America’s role in Europe—whether America will remain a European power and whether a larger democratic Europe will remain organically linked to America.” Such attitude is the source of endless problems for America and Europe alike.
President Obama and his foreign policy team have failed to grasp that a problem exists, let alone to act to rectify it. There has been a change of officials, but the regime is still the same—and America is still in need of a new grand strategy. The threat to Europe’s security does not come from Russia or from a fresh bout of instability in the Balkans. The threat to Europe’s security and to her survival comes from the deluge of inassimilable aliens within the gates and from collapsing birthrates. These problems are due to the moral and cultural decay, not to any shortage of soldiers and weaponry.
More than three decades after the occupation of Prague in 1968 the USSR was gone and the Warsaw Pact dismantled, but the principles of the Brezhnev Doctrine are not defunct. They survive in the neoliberal guise. No “interests of world socialism” could beat “universal human rights” when it came to determining where and when to intervene. The key difference is only in the limited scope of the Soviets’ self-awarded outreach. It applied only to the “socialist community,” as opposed to the unlimited, potentially world-wide scope of “responsibility to defend.” The “socialist community” led by Moscow stopped on the Elbe, after all. It was replaced by the “International Community” led by Washington, which stops nowhere and constructs as it goes along a self-referential framework for the policy of permanent global interventionism. It precludes any meaningful debate about the correlation between ends and means of American power: we are not only wise but virtuous; our policies are shaped by “core values” which are axiomatic, and not by prejudices. The foreign policy community in Washington remains oblivious to the fact that, after a brief period of American mono-polar dominance (1991-2008), the world’s distribution of power is now characterized by asymmetric multipolarity. It is the an inherently unstable model of international relations.
The doctrine of global interventionism has been given an updated form in NATO’s much-heralded “Strategic Concept” (SC), adopted at the summit in Lisbon almost a year ago. Last week liberal interventionists and their neoconservative twins on both sides of the Atlantic were jubilant as Libyan rebels took over Tripoli. From now on, “[t]he right question for the United States and its allies isn’t whether to help oppressed people fight for freedom, it’s when,” declared The Washington Post on August 24. Yet again NATO has intervened militarily in pursuit of formally stated goals which had little to do with its hidden agenda and which produced results “objectively” detrimental to Western interests. As the country braces itself for the second half of the double-dip recession, the Balkan Syndrome of the 1990’s has been transferred to a grander, strategically more significant scene.
In the meantime the key strategic issue, NATO’s attitude toward Russia, remains unresolved. The Strategic Concept asserts that “NATO poses no threat to Russia,” with which it seeks “a true strategic partnership.” President Barack Obama greeted President Dmitri Medvedev in Lisbon as “my friend and partner.” It was left to Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, to articulate Moscow’s misgivings: “The NATO gamekeepers invite the Russian bear to go hunting rabbits together. The bear doesn’t understand: why do they have bear-hunting rifles?” We’ve heard statements like Obama’s before: In 1997 Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin signed the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which was soon violated by the Kosovo war in 1999 and NATO’s eastward expansion.
In Lisbon Russia was invited to cooperate with NATO in missile-defense development, but only after the plan was completed in Washington and Brussels. Russia is expected to provide transit of NATO supplies to and from Afghanistan, but she has no say in shaping the mission itself. Moscow is asked “to increase transparency on its nuclear weapons in Europe and relocate these weapons away from the territory of NATO members,” but no corresponding commitment is made to the relocation of NATO’s missile-defense system away from Russia’s own borders. Russia’s involvement is indispensable to the European missile defense which lacks feasibility without integrating Russia’s radar stations. Furthermore, Russia as a permanent Security Council member still retains an important role when NATO launches operations requiring the UN approval. At the same time, NATO is not offering Russia anything practical in return. A strategic or any other serious partnership between Russia and NATO stands no chance. Russia and NATO have inherently divergent interests that cannot be resolved merely by bombastic press releases. NATO remains at the top of the list of external threats Russia faces today.
On the plus side, Ukraine and Georgia are no longer serious candidates for membership. The financial crisis makes the further reduction of European military budgets inevitable. Whatever new NATO missions are conjured in Washington, the lack of political will in “Old Europe” to sign on will be coupled with the material inability to do so in a meaningful way.
Also on the plus side, it is in the interest of European stability that Vladimir Putin will declare his candidacy, and next year will get elected President of Russia yet again. Western Russophobes on both sides of the Atlantic are hoping that this will not happen, and a new round of Putin’s demonization is already under way in the U.S. media. In fact, any scenario other than a new Putin presidency is not only unrealistic; it is also harmful to European stability because it would create the impression that Russia is divided and that it can be manipulated and reduced to the impotence of the Yeltsin era. False impressions and false hopes, but as we know political misconceptions based on erroneous assumptions may have serious consequences.
NATO is devoid of a coherent mission and strategic purpose. Between 1949 and 1991 it was successful in providing security against the threat of a hostile totalitarian power. Today, it is detrimental to the security in Europe and irrelevant to the security of its members. It should not be reformed; it should be abolished.
Regardless of whether Muammar Qaddafy is killed, brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, or exiled, his regime has collapsed beyond recovery. After a five-month air war against his forces NATO has succeeded in decisively tipping the balance on the ground in favor of the rebels. This does not mean that the war in Libya is over, however. It is only entering a new, more complicated stage.
The new chapter is heralded by a flamboyant half-Irish rebel commander,Husam Najjair, announcing that the first thing his forces will do “is set up checkpoints to disarm everyone, including other rebel groups.” Otherwise it will be a bloodbath, he said, since “all the rebel groups will want to control Tripoli.” Najjair’s Tripoli Brigade is only one among several “rebel groups,” however, and it is unimaginable that others will willingly surrender their weapons and thus accept his authority. Najjair’s statement merely reflects a mindset likely shared by his erstwhile allies who now view each other as rivals.
The United States, Britain and France have encouraged, financed, armed, and—crucially—provided 150 days of air support to the rebels in the name of protecting civilians. They have finally succeeded in bringing down Qaddafy. This had been their objective all along, regardless of the UNSC resolution authorizing limited action for supposedly humanitarian goals. They are therefore responsible for what happens on the ground in the days and weeks to come—and they will do nothing about it.
After the U.S. Army deposed Saddam, Iraq was the scene of a protracted vendetta and simultaneous bloody struggle for power which the occupying “Coalition” forces were unable and unwilling to prevent. The absence of such forces on the ground in Libya means that the rebels will be even freer to settle their political, personal and tribal scores with Qaddafy’s supporters as they deem fit—which will be a nasty business—and to try to “disarm” each other, which will exacerbate rather than prevent a bloodbath. Many ordinary Libyans with no commitment to either side will become as nostalgic for Qaddafy’s days as their Iraqi counterparts turned wistful for the predictable stability of Saddam’s rule only months after his fall.
It is an even bet that eventual winners will be Cyrenaica’s Jihadists of different hues—the best armed and organized rebel faction by far—who are different in style but not in substance from the Shia clerics who are now in charge in Baghdad. It is also possible that there will be no clear winner for a long time. The disintegration of the Libyan state, the revival of tribal core loyalties and the ineffectiveness of the Transitional National Council (TNC) have the potential to turn Libya into a more sophisticated version of Somalia. The tribes are already arming themselves and moving away from the central state. A Hobbesian free-for-all would turn Libya into a hotbed of regional instability and a safe haven for the assorted Fourth Generation Warriors, such as Al-Qaeda in the Arab Maghreb.
Yet again NATO has intervened militarily in pursuit of formally stated goals which had little to do with its hidden agenda and which produced results “objectively” detrimental to Western interests. Just as the Kosovo intervention was not about “preventing genocide” but about handing over the southern Serbian province to Washington’s KLA clients, the Libyan intervention was not about “protecting civilians” but about bringing down Qaddafy. The Balkan Syndrome of the 1990’s has been transferred to a grander, strategically more significant scene. If it is the purpose of the United States and its European NATO partners to replace Arab dictators with hard-line Islamists, they have done equally well in Mesopotamia and in north Africa. Watch out for the neocon-neolib chorus demanding the replay of the Libyan success in Syria.
Only one spectacle in recent weeks proved more nauseating than the Commander-in-Chief fine-tuning the Afghan drawdown to suit his re-election timetable. It was Barack Obama’s attempt to justify continued American participation in the illegal and unnecessary war in Libya by claiming that—far from being a war—it does not even merit the designation of hostilities.
Back in 1998 Bill Clinton offered an existentialist explanation to the Grand Juryof why he was not lying when he told his aides that “there’s nothing going on” between him and Monica Lewinsky: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” For sheer presidential sophistry this gem stood unassailable until June 15, when in reply to House Speaker John Boehner’s letter the White House made a number of remarkable assertions about the Libyan intervention:
The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision. U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force.
“U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces,” Obama’s legal team added, “nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors.” In other words, according to the White House, if the Libyan government forces were able to shoot back as they are bombed, we would have the kind of “hostilities” to which the 60-day limit would apply; but since they have no means of fighting back—since all the fire goes one way, with no “exchanges with hostile forces”—the War Powers Resolution does not apply. Oddly enough, it did apply in the early days of the Libyan intervention, when the Administration cited the War Powers Act as the legal basis of its ability to conduct operations for 60 days without first seeking a declaration of war from Congress.
Denying that the United States is engaged in “hostilities” in Libya is patently absurd; Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was right to declare that “it doesn’t pass a straight-face test.” The claim that there is no “significant chance of escalation” is refuted by the evidence of missile strikes against residential neighborhoods, as the list of viable military targets is exhausted. And, as CNN legal analyst Mary Ellen O’Connell pointed out, “the U.S. had better be involved in hostilities or else our forces are engaged in unlawful killing.” They have deployed manned and unmanned aircraft to fire missiles and drop bombs. They are the type of weapons only permissible for use in armed conflict hostilities. If using such weapons does not constitute hostilities, in the course of which killing without warning is considered justified, then the result of their use is murder.
A hundred days into the war, the justification for the Libyan intervention remains unclear. The UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized military action “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack.” A week into the operation the White House strongly denied that regime change is part of its mission in Libya. Six days later, on March 28, Obama declared that the intervention was necessary so that “democratic impulses” are not “eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship.” So it was about spreading democracy, after all—but in the same address the President denied this by saying that “broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”
Within days, however, American cruise missiles were launched against Gaddafy’s compounds with the obvious intention of killing him and thus deciding the issue in favor of the rebels. The objective of removing him from power, once openly acknowledged, soon became non-negotiable. “Would this be an example of a President misleading the nation into an (illegal) war? Or did the goal of the war radically change oh-so-unexpectedly a mere few weeks after it began?” wondered Glenn Greenwald in Salon.com on June 25. “Everyone can make up their own mind about which is more likely.”
Many members of Congress did just that on June 24 by rejecting the poisoned chalice in the form of a misnamed “de-funding” bill. In fact that bill would have stopped spending for some war purposes, but explicitly authorized it for others. That is why dozens of anti-Libya-war members in both parties voted against the “de-funding” bill. Had it passed, the White House legal alchemists would have used it to claim that the Congressional approval of somefunds for the Libyan operation was tantamount to its effective authorization of the war itself. As Greenwald points out, the outcome was no victory for Obama:
After all, the Clinton administration—after the House failed in 1999 to authorize bombing for the Kosovo war—continued the bombing anyway by claiming the House had ‘implicitly’ authorized that war by appropriating some funds for it, and Obama White House lawyers would have almost certainly made the same exploitative claim here. As Ron Paul—echoing the spokesperson for House progressives—said in explaining his NO vote on ‘de-funding’, the bill “masquerades as a limitation of funds for the president’s war on Libya but is in fact an authorization for that very war… instead of ending the war against Libya, this bill would legalize nearly everything the President is currently doing there.”
A particularly galling reason for what the President is doing there was cited by the outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates: intervention in Libya “was considered a vital interest by some of our closest allies… that have come to our support and assistance in Afghanistan.” In other words, America was obliged to attack Libya not because that country threatened U.S. security but because the politicians in Paris and London decided that it would be a good idea—and America owed them one for helping out in Kandahar. By the same token, the U.S. Air Force should be on standby whenever one or another American ally from the Coalition_of_the_Willing is in need of some aerial firepower.
On balance, the most harmful consequence of our “engagement” with Libya, from the standpoint of the American interest, is the brazen manner Obama and his legal team have deployed in evading the strictures of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The White House claims not only that U.S. action in Libya is made legitimate by the United Nations, but that such UN authorization per se makes Congressional approval unnecessary. This is some light years from candidate Obama declaring, in 2008, that “the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
The claim that a war involving the United States can be “legitimated” by a multinational agency—the UN, or NATO, or the Arab League—is legally absurd. It is also immoral and potentially treasonous. It opens the way to any number of future “engagements” which bear no relevance to American interests, security, or welfare.
On June 14 I was the keynote speaker at a press briefing in Kiev organized by The American Institute in Ukraine on the problem of Pridnestrovie (Transnistria). The Russian and Ukrainian majority of that self-proclaimed republic straddling the eastern bank of the Dniestr declared secession from Moldova after a brief but bloody conflict in 1991 and proclaimed the “Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic” (PMR). It has not been recognized by any state, however, and the issue has remained unresolved for the past two decades. It is a complex post-Soviet “frozen conflict” par excellence. The diplomatic quadrille still played around it is quaintly reminiscent of the geopolitical games that preceded the advent of postmodern diplomacy.
My remarks at the AIU event were thematically a follow-up on my previous presentation in Ukraine’s capital, exactly a year ago. This time I focused on a set of proposals which Ukraine should consider in devising its own long-term settlement plan within the current “5+2” negotiating framework. The overall solution, I suggested, should be based on the Åland Islands’ model of extensive and internationally guaranteed self-rule. These Baltic islands inhabited by Swedes are under Finland’s nominal sovereignty but enjoy international guarantees of their special status. The guarantees originated with the League of Nations ninety years ago and were reiterated by the United Nations after the Second World War.
When Finland was offered membership of the EU the Ålands were entitled to a separate vote of their own on whether they wanted to join the Union. Likewise, I suggested, all Moldovan international treaties should be separately approved by Pridnestrovie; if not ratified by the entity’s Assembly—e.g., on an eventual NATO membership for Moldova—such treaties could apply to the rest of Moldova, but they would not be applicable to Pridnestrovie. The entity’s full autonomy should be anchored in a UN Security Council resolution, it should be guaranteed by the powers currently facilitating the negotiating process, and enshrined in a new Moldovan Constitution. The entity’s capital city, Tiraspol, should have the right to veto any subsequent attempt to change the division of authority between Pridnestrovie and the Moldovan government in Kishinev. Legislative powers should bedivided between Kishinev and Tiraspol and not delegated to Pridnestrovie by Moldova.
Having presented my views and outlined possible solutions in as much detail as could be done in half an hour, I was surprised to see a news report of the event by the Interfax news agency—the regional equivalent of the Associated Press—which was released some two hours later. It was at significant odds with both the tone and substance of my remarks.
“It is in the interests of Ukraine to maintain an open[-ended] status quo position,” the report correctly quoted me as saying, yet omitted the key second half of the same sentence: “… but in practice an enduring settlement is needed, and the decision-makers in Kiev should take a proactive role in reaching it.”
The omission was significant. Advising President Viktor Yanukovich and his government to stick to the status quo—which the report has me doing—is not nearly the same as (1) saying that the status quo may be desirable from Ukraine’s point of view but that is not feasible because all parties need a long-term solution; and (2) adding that the quest for such a long-term solution demands Ukraine’s hands-on diplomatic engagement. In view of my proposals concerning such engagement, it is obvious that the “status quo” part of the sentence merely described what is rather than advised what should be.
More erroneously still, the news item asserted that “Trifkovic said that Ukraine should encourage Moldova’s position, which foresees equidistance from both Russia and the West.” In fact I said the opposite, that “Ukraine should encourage Moldova’s eventual move towards equidistance from both Russia and the West.” Moldova is currently ruled by an unpopular pro-Romanian coalition which is likely to lose elections due later this month. Its position is that Transnistria is an integral part of Moldova and should be reintegrated, plain and simple. For Ukraine to support the position of that government now, on the grounds that it “foresees equidistance from both Russia and the West”—which it emphatically does not—would be ridiculous. Uttering such nonsense is some light years away from supporting (as I did) Moldova’s shift to pragmatic non-alignment, which is desirable and likely when a new government is formed after the election.
The host of the event, AIU President Anthony Salvia, was also misquoted in the same news item. In his introductory remarks he said that an important contribution to settling the conflict would be the replacement of Igor Smirnov as Pridnestrovian president. “He has brought the country that he has ruled for twenty years to a dead end,” Salvia said, and should be replaced by someone better equipped to give his land the international legitimacy it badly needs so that a solution may be found. Yet the news item misquoted him as saying that “the best way to solve this situation would be the replacement of Igor Smirnov.” The self-evident difference between a necessary condition and thesufficient prerequisite to the solution in Pridnestrovie has eluded the subeditors entrusted with the story.
The flawed Interfax news report was promptly (and by the look of it, eagerly) carried in verbatim translation by dozens of newspapers, radio and TV stations and websites in Romania and by the pro-Romanian media in Moldova itself. “Ukraine should maintain the status quo, says U.S. expert,” their headlines declared, as well as “Americans in Kiev say: Solution to Transnistria—Smirnov’s resignation!” The Interfax story turned out to be an unexpected and welcome gift to the promoters of a Greater Romania, one of the most destabilizing and anachronistic “projects” actively pursued anywhere in Europe. The whole thing was surreal, on par with the Albanians gleefully quoting Sergei Lavrov for “saying” that Kosovo should be internationally recognized.
The trouble with many journalists of our time, East and West, is that they lack the education and natural skills of their peers from earlier generations. The latter were expected to have a nose for a story and an ear for its nuances, just as a pianist was and still is expected to have an ear not only for the music but also for the composer’s intent.
The issue of possible mistranslation notwithstanding, the discrepancy between the overall tenor of Mr. Salvia’s and my remarks and the resulting report should have been spotted at a senior editorial level. That it was not spotted should be a cause of concern to the upholders of journalistic standards in the former Soviet lands. The alternative to maintaining those standards is an ever-tighter stranglehold of the CNN and its ilk on what the global village is allowed to know and how its denizens should think about what they think they know.
Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”
By Michel Chossudovsky…
There is evidence of gross media manipulation and falsification from the outset of the protest movement in southern Syria on March 17th.
The Western media has presented the events in Syria as part of the broader Arab pro-democracy protest movement, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia, to Egypt, and from Libya to Syria.
Media coverage has focussed on the Syrian police and armed forces, which are accused of indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed “pro-democracy” demonstrators. While these police shootings did indeed occur, what the media failed to mention is that among the demonstrators there were armed gunmen as well as snipers who were shooting at both the security forces and the protesters.
The death figures presented in the reports are often unsubstantiated. Many of the reports are “according to witnesses”. The images and video footages aired on Al Jazeera and CNN do not always correspond to the events which are being covered by the news reports.
There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent year, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The IMF’s “economic medicine” includes austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission’s Concluding Statement, http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/051406.htm, 2006)
With a government dominated by the minority Alawite (an offshoot of Shia Islam), Syria is no “model society” with regard to civil rights and freedom of expression. It nonetheless constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze.
Moreover, in contrast to Egypt and Tunisia, in Syria there is considerable popular support for President Bashar Al Assad. The large rally in Damascus on March 29, “with tens of thousands of supporters” (Reuters) of President Al Assad is barely mentioned. Yet in an unusual twist, the images and video footage of several pro-government events were used by the Western media to convince international public opinion that the President was being confronted by mass anti-government rallies.
Tens of thousands of Syrians gather for a pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)
Syrians display a giant national flag with a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)
The “Epicenter” of the Protest Movement. Daraa: A Small Border Town in southern Syria
What is the nature of the protest movement? From what sectors of Syrian society does it emanate? What triggered the violence?
What is the cause of the deaths?
The existence of an organized insurrection composed of armed gangs involved in acts of killing and arson has been dismissed by the Western media, despite evidence to the contrary.
The demonstrations did not start in Damascus, the nation’s capital. At the outset, the protests were not integrated by a mass movement of citizens in Syria’s capital.
The demonstrations started in Daraa, a small border town of 75,000 inhabitants, on the Syrian Jordanian border, rather than in Damascus or Aleppo, where the mainstay of organized political opposition and social movements are located. (Daraa is a small border town comparable e.g. to Plattsburgh, NY on the US-Canadian border).
The Associated Press report (quoting unnamed “witnesses” and “activists”) describes the early protests in Daraa as follows:
The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, …. Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters [Daraa], fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that began before dawn, witnesses said.
At least six were killed in the early morning attack on the al-Omari mosque in the southern agricultural city of Daraa, where protesters have taken to the streets in calls for reforms and political freedoms, witnesses said. An activist in contact with people in Daraa said police shot another three people protesting in its Roman-era city center after dusk. Six more bodies were found later in the day, the activist said.
As the casualties mounted, people from the nearby villages of Inkhil, Jasim, Khirbet Ghazaleh and al-Harrah tried to march on Daraa Wednesday night but security forces opened fire as they approached, the activist said. It was not immediately clear if there were more deaths or injuries. (AP, March 23, 2011, emphasis added)
The AP report inflates the numbers: Daraa is presented as a city of 300,000 when in fact its population is 75,000; “protesters gathered by the thousands”, “casualties mounted”.
The report is silent on the death of policemen which in the West invariably makes the front page of the tabloids.
The deaths of the policemen are important in assessing what actually happened. When there are police casualties, this means that there is an exchange of gunfire between opposing sides, between policemen and “demonstrators”.
Who are these “demonstrators” including roof top snipers who were targeting the police.
Israeli and Lebanese news reports (which acknowledge the police deaths) provide a clearer picture of what happened in Daraa on March 17-18. The Israel National News Report (which cannot be accused of being biased in favor of Damascus) reviews these same events as follows:
Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday.
…. On Friday police opened fire on armed protesters killing four and injuring as many as 100 others. According to one witness, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, “They used live ammunition immediately — no tear gas or anything else.”
…. In an uncharacteristic gesture intended to ease tensions the government offered to release the detained students, but seven police officers were killed, and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched, in renewed violence on Sunday. (Gavriel Queenann, Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21, 2011, emphasis added)
The Lebanese news report, quoting various sources, also acknowledges the killings of seven policemen in Daraa: They were killed “during clashes between the security forces and protesters… They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a”
The Lebanese Ya Libnan report quoting Al Jazeera also acknowledged that protesters had “burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a” (emphasis added)
These news reports of the events in Daraa confirm the following:
1. This was not a “peaceful protest” as claimed by the Western media. Several of the “demonstrators” had fire arms and were using them against the police: “The police opened fire on armed protesters killing four”.
2. From the initial casualty figures (Israel News), there were more policemen than demonstrators who were killed: 7 policemen killed versus 4 demonstrators. This is significant because it suggests that the police force might have been initially outnumbered by a well organized armed gang. According to Syrian media sources, there were also snipers on rooftops which were shooting at both the police and the protesters.
What is clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson. The title of the Israeli news report summarizes what happened: Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests.
The Daraa “protest movement” on March 18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving, in all likelihood, covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence. Government sources point to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel)
Other reports have pointed to the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the protest movement.
What has unfolded in Daraa in the weeks following the initial violent clashes on 17-18 March, is the confrontation between the police and the armed forces on the one hand and armed units of terrorists and snipers on the other which have infiltrated the protest movement.
Reports suggest that these terrorists are integrated by Islamists. There is no concrete evidence as to which Islamic organizations are behind the terrorists and the government has not released corroborating information as to who these groups are.
Both the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (whose leadership is in exile in the UK) and the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation), among others have paid lip service to the protest movement. Hizb ut Tahir (led in the 1980s by Syrian born Omar Bakri Muhammad) tends to “dominate the British Islamist scene” according to Foreign Affairs. Hizb ut Tahir is also considered to be of strategic importance to Britain’s Secret Service MI6. in the pursuit of Anglo-American interests in the Middle East and Central Asia. (Is Hizb-ut-Tahrir another project of British MI6? | State of Pakistan).
Hizb ut-Tahrir anti-Assad rally in Tripoli, Lebanon (40 km from Syrian border), April 22, 2011. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Syria
Syria is a secular Arab country, a society of religious tolerance, where Muslims and Christians have for several centuries lived in peace. Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) is a radical political movement committed to the creation of an Islamic caliphate. In Syria, its avowed objective is to destabilize the secular state.
Since the Soviet-Afghan war, Western intelligence agencies as well as Israel’s Mossad have consistently used various Islamic terrorist organizations as “intelligence assets”. Both Washington and its indefectible British ally have provided covert support to “Islamic terrorists” in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya, etc. as a means to triggering ethnic strife, sectarian violence and political instability.
The staged protest movement in Syria is modelled on Libya. The insurrection in Eastern Libya is integrated by the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which is supported by MI6 and the CIA. The ultimate objective of the Syria protest movement, through media lies and fabrications, is to create divisions within Syrian society as well as justify an eventual “humanitarian intervention”.
Armed Insurrection in Syria
An armed insurrection integrated by Islamists and supported covertly by Western intelligence is central to an understanding of what is occurring on the ground.
The existence of an armed insurrection is not mentioned by the Western media. If it were to be acknowledged and analysed, our understanding of unfolding events would be entirely different.
What is mentioned profusely is that the armed forces and the police are involved in the indiscriminate killing of protesters.
The deployment of the armed forces including tanks in Daraa is directed against an organized armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.
Casualties are being reported which also include the death of policemen and soldiers.
In a bitter irony, the Western media acknowledges the police/soldier deaths while denying the existence of an armed insurrection.
The key question is how does the media explain these deaths of soldiers and police?
Without evidence, the reports suggest authoritatively that the police is shooting at the soldiers and vice versa the soldiers are shooting on the police. In a April 29 Al Jazeera report, Daraa is described as “a city under siege”.
“Tanks and troops control all roads in and out. Inside the city, shops are shuttered and nobody dare walk the once bustling market streets, today transformed into the kill zone of rooftop snipers.
Unable to crush the people who first dared rise up against him – neither with the secret police, paid thugs or the special forces of his brother’s military division – President Bashar al-Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Deraa for an operation the regime wants nobody in the world to see.
Though almost all communication channels with Deraa have been cut, including the Jordanian mobile service that reaches into the city from just across the border, Al Jazeera has gathered firsthand accounts of life inside the city from residents who just left or from eyewitnesses inside who were able to get outside the blackout area.
The picture that emerges is of a dark and deadly security arena, one driven by the actions of the secret police and their rooftop snipers, in which soldiers and protestors alike are being killed or wounded, in which cracks are emerging in the military itself, and in which is created the very chaos which the regime uses to justify its escalating crackdown. (Daraa, a City under Siege, IPS / Al Jazeera, April 29, 2011)
The Al Jazeera report borders on the absurd. Read carefully.
“Tanks and troops control all roads in and out”, “thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Daraa”
This situation has prevailed for several weeks. This means that bona fide protesters who are not already inside Daraa cannot enter Daraa.
People who live in the city are in their homes: “nobody dares walk … the streets”. If nobody dares walk the streets where are the protesters?
Who is in the streets? According to Al Jazeera, the protesters are in the streets together with the soldiers, and both the protesters and the soldiers are being shot at by “plain clothes secret police”, by “paid thugs” and government sponsored snipers.
The impression conveyed in the report is that these casualties are attributed to infighting between the police and the military.
But the report also says that the soldiers (in the “thousands”) control all roads in and out of the city, but they are being shot upon by the plain clothed secret police.
The purpose of this web of media deceit, namely outright fabrications –where soldiers are being killed by police and “government snipers”– is to deny the existence of armed terrorist groups. The later are integrated by snipers and “plain clothed terrorists” who are shooting at the police, the Syrian armed forces and local residents.
These are not spontaneous acts of terror; they are carefully planned and coordinated attacks. In recent developments, according to a Xinhua report (April 30, 2011), armed “terrorist groups” “attacked the housing areas for servicemen” in Daraa province, “killing a sergeant and wounding two”.
While the government bears heavy responsibility for its mishandling of the military-police operation, including the deaths of civilians, the reports confirm that the armed terrorist groups had also opened fire on protesters and local residents. The casualties are then blamed on the armed forces and the police and the Bashar Al Assad government is portrayed by “the international community” as having ordered countless atrocities.
The fact of the matter is that foreign journalists are banned from reporting inside Syria, to the extent that much of the information including the number of casualties is obtained from the unverified accounts of “witnesses”.
It is in the interest of the US-NATO alliance to portray the events in Syria as a peaceful protest movement which is being brutally repressed by a “dictatorial regime”.
The Syrian government may be autocratic. It is certainly not a model of democracy but neither is the US administration, which is characterized by rampant corruption, the derogation of civil liberties under the Patriot legislation, the legalisation of torture, not to mention its “bloodless” “humanitarian wars”:
“The U.S. and its NATO allies have, in addition to U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO Active Endeavor military assets permanently deployed in the Mediterranean, warplanes, warships and submarines engaged in the assault against Libya that can be used against Syria at a moment’s notice.
On April 27 Russia and China evidently prevented the U.S. and its NATO allies from pushing through an equivalent of Resolution 1973 against Syria in the Security Council, with Russian deputy ambassador to the UN Alexander Pankin stating that the current situation in Syria “does not present a threat to international peace and security.” Syria is Russia’s last true partner in the Mediterranean and the Arab world and hosts one of only two Russian overseas naval bases, that at Tartus. (The other being in Ukraine’s Crimea.)” (Rick Rozoff, Libyan Scenario For Syria: Towards A US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention” directed against Syria? Global Research, April 30, 2011)
The ultimate purpose is to trigger sectarian violence and political chaos within Syria by covertly supporting Islamic terrorist organizations.
What lies ahead?
The longer term US foreign policy perspective is “regime change” and the destabilization of Syria as an independent nation-state, through a covert process of “democratization” or through military means.
Syria is on the list of “rogue states”, which are targeted for a US military intervention. As confirmed by former NATO commander General Wesley Clark the “[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark).
The objective is to weaken the structures of the secular State while justifying an eventual UN sponsored “humanitarian intervention”. The latter, in the first instance, could take the form of a reinforced embargo on the country (including sanctions) as well as the freezing of Syrian bank assets in overseas foreign financial institutions.
While a US-NATO military intervention in the immediate future seems highly unlikely, Syria is nonetheless on the Pentagon’s military roadmap, namely an eventual war on Syria has been contemplated both by Washington and Tel Aviv.
If it were to occur, at some future date, it would lead to escalation. Israel would inevitably be involved. The entire Middle East Central Asian region from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Chinese-Afghan border would flare up.
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Editor of globalresearch.ca. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. He spent a month in Syria in early 2011.
Iraq: Let us not forget what “humanitarian intervention” looks like.
Libya: Let us not be confused as to why Libya alone has been singled out for “humanitarian intervention”.
On April 9, Condoleezza Rice delivered a talk in San Francisco. Or tried to. The former Secretary of State was interrupted repeatedly by cries from the audience of “war criminal” and “torturer”. (For which we can thank our comrades in Code Pink and World Can’t Wait.) As one of the protesters was being taken away by security guards, Rice made the kind of statement that has now become standard for high American officials under such circumstances: “Aren’t you glad this lady lives in a democracy where she can express her opinion?” She also threw in another line that’s become de rigueur since the US overthrew Saddam Hussein, an argument that’s used when all other arguments fail: “The children of Iraq are actually not living under Saddam Hussein, thank God.” 1
My response to such a line is this: If you went into surgery to correct a knee problem and the surgeon mistakenly amputated your entire leg, what would you think if someone then remarked to you how nice it was that “you actually no longer have a knee problem, thank God.” … The people of Iraq no longer have a Saddam problem.
Unfortunately, they’ve lost just about everything else as well. Twenty years of American bombing, invasion, occupation and torture have led to the people of that unhappy land losing their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women’s rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives … more than half the population either dead, disabled, in prison, or in foreign exile … the air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium … the most awful birth defects … unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children … a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris … through a country that may never be put back together again.
In 2006, the UN special investigator on torture declared that reports from Iraq indicated that torture “is totally out of hand. The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.” Another UN report of the same time disclosed a rise in “honor killings” of women. 2
“It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003,” reported the Washington Post on May 5, 2007.
“I am not a political person, but I know that under Saddam Hussein, we had electricity, clean drinking water, a healthcare system that was the envy of the Arab world and free education through college,” Iraqi pharmacist Dr. Entisar Al-Arabi told American peace activist Medea Benjamin in 2010. “I have five children and every time I had a baby, I was entitled to a year of paid maternity leave. I owned a pharmacy and I could close up shop as late as I chose because the streets were safe. Today there is no security and Iraqis have terrible shortages of everything — electricity, food, water, medicines, even gasoline. Most of the educated people have fled the country, and those who remain look back longingly to the days of Saddam Hussein.” 3
And this from two months ago:
“Protesters, human rights workers and security officials say the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has responded to Iraq’s demonstrations in much the same way as many of its more authoritarian neighbors: with force. Witnesses in Baghdad and as far north as Kirkuk described watching last week as security forces in black uniforms, tracksuits and T-shirts roared up in trucks and Humvees, attacked protesters, rounded up others from cafes and homes and hauled them off, blindfolded, to army detention centers. Entire neighborhoods … were blockaded to prevent residents from joining the demonstrations. Journalists were beaten.” 4
So … can we expect the United States and its fellow thugs in NATO to intervene militarily in Iraq as they’re doing in Libya? To protect the protesters in Iraq as they tell us they’re doing in Libya? To effect regime change in Iraq as they’re conspiring, but not admitting, in Libya?
Similarly Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria … all have been bursting with protest and vicious government crackdown in recent months, even to a degree in Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive societies in the world. Not one of these governments has been assaulted by the United States, the UK, or France as Libya has been assaulted; not one of these countries’ opposition is receiving military, financial, legal and moral support from the Western powers as the Libyan rebels are — despite the Libyan rebels’ brutal behavior, racist murders, and the clear jihadist ties of some of them. 5 The Libyan rebels are reminiscent of the Kosovo rebels — mafiosos famous for their trafficking in body parts and women, also unquestioningly supported by the Western powers against an Officially Designated Enemy, Serbia.
So why is only Libya the target for US/NATO missiles? Is there some principled or moral reason? Are the Libyans the worst abusers of their people in the region? In actuality, Libya offers its citizens a higher standard of living. (The 2010 UN Human Development Index, a composite measure of health, education and income ranked Libya first in Africa.) None of the other countries has a more secular government than Libya. (In contrast some of the Libyan rebels are in the habit of chanting that phrase we all know only too well: “Allah Akbar”.) None of the others has a human-rights record better than that of Libya, however imperfect that may be — in Egypt a government fact-finding mission has announced that during the recent uprising at least 846 protesters were killed as police forces shot them in the head and chest with live ammunition. 6 Similar horror stories have been reported in Syria, Yemen and other countries of the region during this period.
It should be noted that the ultra-conservative Fox News reported on February 28: “As the United Nations works feverishly to condemn Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi for cracking down on protesters, the body’s Human Rights Council is poised to adopt a report chock-full of praise for Libya’s human rights record. The review commends Libya for improving educational opportunities, for making human rights a “priority” and for bettering its “constitutional” framework. Several countries, including Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia but also Canada, give Libya positive marks for the legal protections afforded to its citizens — who are now revolting against the regime and facing bloody reprisal.”
Of all the accusations made against Gaddafi perhaps the most meaningless is the oft-repeated “He’s killing his own people.” It’s true, but that’s what happens in civil wars. Abraham Lincoln also killed his own people.
Muammar Gaddafi has been an Officially Designated Enemy of the US longer than any living world leader except Fidel Castro. The animosity began in 1970, one year after Gaddafi took power in a coup, when he closed down a US air force base. He then embarked on a career of supporting what he regarded as revolutionary groups. During the 1970s and ’80s, Gaddafi was accused of using his large oil revenues to support — with funds, arms, training, havens, diplomacy, etc — a wide array of radical/insurgent/terrorist organizations, particularly certain Palestinian factions and Muslim dissident and minority movements in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia; the IRA and Basque and Corsican separatists in Europe; several groups engaged in struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa; various opposition groups and politicians in Latin America; the Japanese Red Army, the Italian Red Brigades, and Germany’s Baader-Meinhof gang.
It was claimed as well that Libya was behind, or at least somehow linked to, an attempt to blow up the US Embassy in Cairo, various plane hijackings, a bomb explosion on an American airliner over Greece, the blowing up of a French airliner over Africa, blowing up a synagogue in Istanbul, and blowing up a disco in Berlin which killed some American soldiers. 7
In 1990, when the United States needed a country to (falsely) blame for the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, Libya was the easy choice.
Gaddafi’s principal crime in the eyes of US President Ronald Reagan (1981-89) was not that he supported terrorist groups, but that he supported thewrong terrorist groups; i.e., Gaddafi was not supporting the same terrorists that Washington was, such as the Nicaraguan Contras, UNITA in Angola, Cuban exiles in Miami, the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala, and the US military in Grenada. The one band of terrorists the two men supported in common was the Moujahedeen in Afghanistan.
And if all this wasn’t enough to make Gaddafi Public Enemy Number One in Washington (Reagan referred to him as the “mad dog of the Middle East”), Gaddafi has been a frequent critic of US foreign policy, a serious anti-Zionist, pan-Africanist, and pan-Arabist (until the hypocrisy and conservatism of Arab governments proved a barrier). He also calls his government socialist. How much tolerance and patience can The Empire be expected to have? When widespread protests broke out in Tunisia and Egypt, could Washington have resisted instigating the same in the country sandwiched between those two? The CIA has been very busy supplying the rebels with arms, bombing support, money, and personnel.
It may well happen that the Western allies will succeed in forcing Gaddafi out of power. Then the world will look on innocently as the new Libyan government gives Washington what it has long sought: a host-country site for Africom, the US Africa Command, one of six regional commands the Pentagon has divided the world into. Many African countries approached to be the host have declined, at times in relatively strong terms. Africom at present is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to a State Department official: “We’ve got a big image problem down there. … Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.” 8 Another thing scarcely any African country would tolerate is an American military base. There’s only one such base in Africa, in Djibouti. Watch for one in Libya sometime after the dust has settled. It’ll be situated close to the American oil wells. Or perhaps the people of Libya will be given a choice — an American base or a NATO base.
And remember — in the context of recent history concerning Iraq, North Korea, and Iran — if Libya had nuclear weapons the United States would not be attacking it.
Or the United States could realize that Gaddafi is no radical threat simply because of his love for Condoleezza Rice. Here is the Libyan leader in a March 27, 2007 interview on al-Jazeera TV: “Leezza, Leezza, Leezza … I love her very much. I admire her, and I’m proud of her, because she’s a black woman of African origin.”
Over the years, the American government and media have fed us all a constant diet of scandalous Gaddafi stories: He took various drugs, was an extreme womanizer, was bisexual, dressed in women’s clothing, wore makeup, carried a teddy bear, had epileptic fits, and much more; some part of it may have been true. And now we have the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, telling us that Gaddafi’s forces are increasingly engaging in sexual violence and that they have been issued the impotency drug Viagra, presumably to enhance their ability to rape. 9 Remarkable. Who would have believed that the Libyan Army had so many men in their 60s and 70s?
As I write this, US/NATO missiles have slammed into a Libyan home killing a son and three young grandchildren of Gaddafi, this after repeated rejections of Gaddafi’s call for negotiations — another heartwarming milestone in the glorious history of humanitarian intervention, as well as a reminder of the US bombing of Libya in 1986 which killed a young daughter of Gaddafi.
Two more examples, if needed, of why capitalism can not be reformed
Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, killing 11 workers and sending two hundred (200) million gallons of oil cascading over the shoreline of six American states, has announced that (through using some kind of arcane statistical method) it had “recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company’s history.” Accordingly, the company awarded obscene bonuses on top of obscene salaries to its top executives. 10
In Japan, even as it struggles to contain one of history’s worst nuclear disasters, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has proposed building two new nuclear reactors at its radiation-spewing power plant. The plan had taken shape before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and TEPCO officials see no reason to change it. The Japanese government agency in charge of approving such a project has reacted in shocked horror. “It was just unbelievable,” said the director of the agency. 11
Which leads us to A.W. Clausen, president of Bank of America, speaking to the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, in 1970:
“It may sound heretical to some in this room to say that business enterprise is not an absolute necessity to human culture … Ancient Egypt functioned more than 3000 years without anything resembling what we today understand by the term ‘corporate enterprise’ or even ‘money’. Within our span of years, we have witnessed the rise of the Soviet Socialist empire. It survives without anything you or I would call a private corporation and little that approaches our own monetary mechanism. It survives and is far stronger than anyone might have expected from watching its turbulent beginnings in 1917 … It is easy to mislead ourselves into thinking that there is something preordained about our profit-motivated, free-market, private-enterprise system — that is, as they used to say of gold, universal and immutable.”
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years, part III
- Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez memoir, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story, pages 349-350: April 6, 2004. Sanchez was in Iraq in video teleconference with President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. One major American offensive was in operation, another about to be launched. According to Sanchez, Powell was talking tough that day: “We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly, “Powell said. “There has to be a total victory somewhere. We must have a brute demonstration of power.” Then Bush spoke: “At the end of this campaign al-Sadr must be gone. At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out. Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal. … There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”
- Noam Chomsky: “If there is really authentic popular participation in the decision-making and the free association of communities, yeah, that could be tremendously important. In fact that’s essentially the traditional anarchist ideal. That’s what was realized the only time for about a year in Spain in 1936 before it was crushed by outside forces, in fact all outside forces, Stalinist Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini’s fascism and the Western democracies cooperated in crushing it. They were all afraid of it.”
- To Hitler, America was both the enemy and a role model, inspiring in its imperial seizure of great territories by force, its use of slave labor, its eradication of native populations.
- NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, made clear in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington in 2008 that western interests in Afghanistan went well beyond good governance to the strategic interest in having a permanent military presence in a state that borders central Asia, China, Iran and Pakistan.
- CIA Special Collections of documents; “Instances Of the Use of US Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 – 2010“
- Michael Collon: “Let’s replace the word ‘democratic’ by ‘with us’, and the word ‘terrorist’ by ‘against us’.”
- Ron Paul: “Those who caution that leaving Iraq would be a disaster are the same ones who promised the conflict would be a ‘cake-walk’.”
- Spc. Alex Horton, 22, writing in a blog while a marine in Iraq in 2007: “In the future, I want my children to grow up with the belief that what I did here was wrong, in a society that doesn’t deem that idea unpatriotic.”
- Henry Kissinger in a 1970 memo to Nixon: “The example of a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on –– and even precedent value for –– other parts of the world, especially in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.”
- Paul Craig Roberts: “International polls show that the rest of the world regard the US and Israel as the greatest dangers to world peace. Americans claim that they are fighting wars against terrorism, but it is US and Israeli terrorism that worries everyone else.”
- Chris Hedges: “If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for a spell in a fundamentalist ‘madrassa,’ or religious school, Homeland Security will probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are an American Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico for an eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can post your picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weapon on MySpace.”
- “The US has never had a ‘foreign policy’ but a fanatical domestic policy which, once it had bled through to the Pacific, sought new hosts on which to feed.” Patrick Wilkinson
- C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956): “The only seriously accepted plan for ‘peace’ is a fully loaded pistol. In short, war or a high state of war preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States.”
- The United States goes around the world sprinkling democracy dust.
- Iran, the latest threat to life as we know it.
- “Iran hit back at US allegations that it has failed to crack down on fugitive al-Qaeda members, calling on Washington to apologize to the world for its own past support of the network. ‘The Americans should present a full apology to the international community for the support they gave to al-Qaeda,’ said the foreign ministry, referring to a period in the 1980s when millions of dollars of covert US aid was channeled — through the Pakistani secret service — to Islamist groups battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.” (Agence France Presse, June 2, 2003)
- Tom Hayden: They believe that the exposure of the generals to a civilian academic atmosphere may humanize the process of war-making, not worrying that the actual danger may be the militarizing of the university.
- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in his 2007 book, “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World”: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.”
After an avalanche of commentary, Greenspan backpedaled and obfuscated in his comments. He insisted he was talking about “oil security” and “the global economy”. But this was just proving his own point that mentioning oil as a motivation for war is “politically inconvenient”. It’s no way to get young men to kill other young men who’ve never done them any harm.
- The American people have no more authentic control over their government than do people in countries that we call dictatorships, particularly on issues of foreign policy.
- Video of Rice talk ↩
- Associated Press, September 21, 2006 ↩
- Common Dreams, August 20, 2010 ↩
- Washington Post, March 4, 2011↩
- Washington Times, February 24, 2011; The Telegraph (London), March 25, 2011; Alexander Cockburn, “Libya, Oh What a Stupid War; Fukushima, Cover-Up Amid Catastrophe”; “Al Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” (PDF), Combating Terrorism Center, US Military Academy, West Point, NY, December 2007 ↩
- Associated Press, April 20, 2011 ↩
- Gaddafi’s history of supporting terrorism, real and alleged: William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 48 ↩
- The Guardian (London), June 25, 2007 ↩
- Reuters news agency, April 29, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, April 1, 2011 ↩
- Washington Post, April 6, 2011
Russia is different. The Americans, the Brits and the French by and large approve of their forces’ Libya bombing spree (yes, some doubt that it’s a good bang for the buck). The Russians are flatly against it, with no ifs, ands or buts. The Russian Ambassador in Tripoli, Vladimir Chamov, came back to a hero’s welcome in Moscow. President Dmitri Medvedev had dismissed him publicly after the Ambassador sent him a cable. In the five-points cable leaked to media, the Ambassador called Medvedev’s response to Libya crisis a “betrayal of Russian national interests”. (Meanwhile, the sides climbed down a bit: the Foreign Office said Chamov was not “fired”, just “called back” from Tripoli, and retained his ambassadorial rank and salary, while Chamov denied he had used the word “betrayal”.)
The Russians do not like the Western intervention in Libya. The rebels do not appear genuine, note the Russian bloggers; they are a peculiar mixed bag of Kaddafi’s ex-ministers fired for corruption, al-Qaeda mujahedeen, well-clod riff-raff beefed up by SAS soldiers and supported by these best friends of every Arab, American cruise missiles. The Russian media discovered that the first reports of massive civil casualties inflicted by the ruthless Kaddafi apparently were invented by editors in London and Paris. More civilians were killed by the Western intervention than by the government fighting the rebels. The mass-readership Komsomolskaya Pravda published reports from the Russian expats in Libya that flatly disproved claims of Kaddafi’s planes bombing residential quarters: this was done by the French and British bombers.
The Russians tend to a conspiratorial view of politics. They presume that the Arab risings were organised by their enemy: some “orange” Western forces, NED, CIA, Mossad, you name it, in order to create chaos, Iraq-style. They quote Israeli and American doctrines for the promotion of “constructive chaos”.And then they support Kaddafi, or even feel sympathy for Mubarak. This is especially true for patriotic Russians who remember that Kaddafi stood by Russia in 2008 during the Georgia conflict, and for a business community who were involved in many projects in Libya from gas to railways.
President Dmitri Medvedev has good reason to regret the haste with which he joined in the Western media onslaught, for he will be blamed for what already looks to Russians as Kosovo II. Probably he was misled by his media advisers who suggested he should jump on the internationally-acceptable media bandwagon of “stop the massacre in Libya”, and on he jumped. The first reports of the alleged massacre were still reverberating when President Medvedev warned Kaddafi of “crimes against humanity”, and later on he added that Kaddafi is persona non grata in Russia. Medvedev supported the decision to pass Libya’s case to ICC; though by that time he could have learned from the Russians present in Libya that nothing all that extraordinary took place in the country; that it was nothing beyond a small-scale rising on the way to being put down. It could be compared to Los Angeles riots of 1965 (threescore dead and thousands wounded) or of 1992 (fifty dead and thousands wounded), except that the LA blacks had no Tomahawks for aerial support.
Medvedev is also perceived as the man who ordered his Ambassador in the Security Council to abstain. Russia and China usually vote in agreement if they intend to go against the will of the world sheriff – ever since the fateful Zimbabwe vote in 2008 when Russia activated its veto for the first time since God-knows-when and stopped the West-proposed sanctions against the African nation. Then, the BBC reported, the UK foreign secretary David Miliband said Russia used its veto despite a promise by President Dmitry Medvedev to support the resolution. This time, apparently, Medvedev prevailed and acquiesced in what looks now as another Suez campaign (if you can still remember 1956, when the Brits and the French had tried to liberate Egypt from its Hitler-on-the-Nile, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and keep the Canal for themselves).
A few days later, the strongman of Russia, Vladimir Putin, roundly criticised this step of Medvedev; he called the Western intervention, “a new crusade”, and proposed the Western leaders should “pray for their souls and ask the Lord’s forgiveness” for the blood shed. People loved it. Medvedev tried to rebuff with a meaningless “don’t you speak of crusades”, but even he could not find anything positive about the NATO campaign in Libya.
Now as always, the Russians’ gut reaction is against any Western intervention. They were against American interventions in Vietnam and Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, against British and French colonial wars – just like you were, my wonderful readers, the enlightened spiritual minority in the West. The Russians do not believe that the reasons for the Western intervention have anything to do with love of democracy, human rights or value of human life. For them, a rose is a rose is a rose, a Western intervention is a Western intervention, one of many they were on the receiving end of.
However, Medvedev did not let the Western intervention march on for purely sentimental reasons of “supporting Europe”. The idea is, better let NATO be occupied in the South than in the East. Libya is much less important for Russians than Georgia, Ukraine or even Afghanistan. If this beast has to eat somebody, let it better be somebody in the Maghreb, where the Russians never had strong positions anyway. A WPR writer called this turn a “Tilsit moment” for NATO: acknowledging the immutability of the West’s Eastern borders in exchange for a free hand in the South flank. That is why Poland was unhappy with the Odyssey Dawn operation: instead of being on the frontline of the most important confrontation, this southern switch left the Poles in a geopolitical cul-de-sac.
Indeed we should not be captivated by East-West thinking. As the US slowly declines, the European powers begin to reassess their role. The Libya war is a French project. The Libya war was started by Sarkozy as an attempt to rebuild the French Empire in North Africa fifty years after the Evian treaty ostensibly sealed its fate. This was his old idea, and he called for the establishment of a Mediterranean Union during his election campaign. The MU project was supported by Israelis – and now Bernard Henry Levy is the foremost proponent on the intervention. Turkey strongly opposed the MU and now the Turks oppose the intervention in their subtle way, as Eric Walberg has correctly described. Italy supported the MU and expectedly supported the intervention. Germany was against the MU and is against the intervention. From this point of view, the intervention in Libya is the beginning of a new wave of European colonization of the Maghreb.
A Russian observer noticed an uncanny resemblance of this operation to one that occurred one hundred years ago in Libya during the previous colonisation wave. Then, recently united aggressive Italy in search for its empire decided to seize Libya, an Ottoman province. Then, as now, the newspapers wrote of freedom-loving Libyans suffering under the Ottoman heel and of the Italians’ moral duty to liberate them. The Turks were in a bad shape and they tried to find a face-saving way to surrender. They proposed to hand Libya over to Italians for management and colonization provided the suzerainty should remain with the Sublime Porte. The Italians refused, and their Dawn Odyssey began. The Turks fought valiantly, and among them a young officer proved his valour: that was Mustafa Kemal, later nicknamed Ataturk. A lone voice against intervention was that of young Italian socialist Benito Mussolini. The Italians’ Libya campaign was the first ever air bombing, exactly one hundred years ago in 1911, and history has preserved the name of the first bomber, Flt Lt Giulio Gavotti, who was the first man ever to perform a bombing run.
Modern Russia is not the USSR; it has few world-wide ambitions. It is worried about its own part of the world, and is not keen to get involved elsewhere. For the Russians, Europe’s drive south is not a threat, rather a resumption of France’s regional role. That is why the Russians abstained at UNSC. So it will be the task of the enlightened forces of the West to stop the aggression – instead of relying on the Russian veto.
President Kaddafi succeeded in annoying a lot of people in a lot of places. He annoyed both the French and the Russians by striking deals and then not sticking to them. Wikileaks cables refer to that many times, notably in 10PARIS151 saying: “the French are growing increasingly frustrated with the Libyans’ failure to deliver on promises regarding visas, professional exchanges, French language education, and commercial deals. “”We (and the Libyans) speak a lot, but we’ve begun to see that actions do not follow words in Libya.” He annoyed the Saudis and worse, he annoyed his own people.
We are certainly against the intervention; but the case of supporting Kaddafi is not all that clear-cut. Muammar Kaddafi was/is a dual figure: on one hand, an autochthonous leader who provided his countrymen with the highest standard of living in Africa, with generous subsidies, free medical care and education, who supported the vision of One State in Palestine/Israel and befriended Castro and Chavez. On the other hand, for the last five years Kaddafi and his clique have been busy dismantling the Libyan welfare state, privatising and cannibalising their health and education systems, hoarding wealth, dealing with transnational oil and gas companies to their personal advantage. The “New Kaddafi” took away a lot of social achievements and did not give his people elementary political freedoms. His support of One State in Palestine dried up in 2002, a long time ago.
My friends in Tripoli do not support Kaddafi. They are certainly against western intervention, but they dislike the old colonel for his dictatorial habits. They are grown-ups, they want to be involved in the decision-making, they do not like corruption, they also want bigger role for Islam. In their eyes, Kaddafi kept his anti-imperialist rhetoric for public use, but his praxis was Western and neo-liberal. It is fine that Kaddafi teased the Saudi royals and brandished his sword against the western leaders; but at the same time he gave away Libyan wealth to the foreigners. So while certainly standing against the intervention, we should not forget that not all anti-Kaddafi forces are Western stooges or al-Qaeda fighters.
Politics do not provide a bed of laurels to recline on. With all due respect to Muammar Kaddafi and his past achievements, he overstayed his prime time. There are reasons to hope he will survive the storm; we heartily wish him the defeat of the interventionist forces. But that should be a departure point for democracy in Libya, not necessarily democracy-European style, but a better way for Libyans to participate in forging their own lives.
By Diana Johnstone | counterpunch.org…
Video from: youtube.com
Libya: Is This Kosovo All Over Again?
Another NATO Intervention?
Less than a dozen years after NATO bombed Yugoslavia into pieces, detaching the province of Kosovo from Serbia, there are signs that the military alliance is gearing up for another victorious little “humanitarian war”, this time against Libya. The differences are, of course, enormous. But let’s look at some of the disturbing similarities.
A demonized leader.
As “the new Hitler”, the man you love to hate and need to destroy, Slobodan Milosevic was a neophyte in 1999 compared to Muammar Qaddafi today. The media had less than a decade to turn Milosevic into a monster, whereas with Qaddafi, they’ve been at it for several decades. And Qaddafi is more exotic, speaking less English and coming before the public in outfits that could have been created by John Galliano (another recently outed monster). This exotic aspect arouses the ancestral mockery and contempt for lesser cultures with which the West was won, Africa was colonized and the Summer Palace in Beijing was ravaged by Western soldiers fighting to make the world safe for opium addiction.
The “we must do something” chorus.
As with Kosovo, the crisis in Libya is perceived by the hawks as an opportunity to assert power. The unspeakable John Yoo, the legal advisor who coached the Bush II administration in the advantages of torturing prisoners, has used the Wall Street Journal to advise the Obama administration to ignore the U.N Charter and leap into the Libyan fray. “By putting aside the U.N.’s antiquated rules, the United States can save lives, improve global welfare, and serve its own national interests at the same time,” Yoo proclaimed. And another leading theorist of humanitarian imperialism, Geoffrey Robertson, has told The Independent that, despite appearances, violating international law is lawful.
The specter of “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” is evoked to justify war.
As with Kosovo, an internal conflict between a government and armed rebels is being cast as a “humanitarian crisis” in which one side only, the government, is assumed to be “criminal”. This a priori criminalization is expressed by calling on an international judicial body to examine crimes which are assumed to have been committed, or to be about to be committed. In his Op Ed piece, Geoffrey Robertson made it crystal clear how the International Criminal Court is being used to set the stage for eventual military intervention. The ICC can be used by the West to get around the risk of a Security Council veto for military action, he explained.
“In the case of Libya , the council has at least set an important precedent by unanimously endorsing a reference to the International Criminal Court. […] So what happens if the unarrested Libyan indictees aggravate their crimes – eg by stringing up or shooting in cold blood their opponents, potential witnesses, civilians, journalists or prisoners of war?” [Note that so far there are no “indictees” and no proof of “crimes” that they supposedly may “aggravate” in various imaginary ways.) But Robertson is eager to find a way for NATO “to pick up the gauntlet” if the Security Council decides to do nothing.]
“The defects in the Security Council require the acknowledgement of a limited right, without its mandate, for an alliance like NATO to use force to stop the commission of crimes against humanity. That right arises once the council has identified a situation as a threat to world peace (and it has so identified Libya, by referring it unanimously to the ICC prosecutor).”
Thus referring a country to the ICC prosecutor can be a pretext for waging war against that country! By the way, the ICC jurisdiction is supposed to apply to States that have ratified the treaty establishing it, which, as I understand, is not the case of Libya – or of the United States. A big difference, however, is that the United States has been able to persuade, bully or bribe countless signatory States to accept agreements that they will never under any circumstances try to refer any American offenders to the ICC. That is a privilege denied Qaddafi.
Robertson, a member of the UN justice council, concludes that: “The duty to stop the mass murder of innocents, as best we can if they request our help, has crystallized to make the use of force by Nato not merely ‘legitimate’ but lawful.”
Twelve years ago, most of the European left supported “the Kosovo war” that set NATO on the endless path it now pursues in Afghanistan. Having learned nothing, many seem ready for a repeat performance. A coalition of parties calling itself the European Left has issued a statement “strongly condemning the repression perpetrated by the criminal regime of Colonel Qaddafi” and urging the European Union “to condemn the use of force and to act promptly to protect the people that are peacefully demonstrating and struggling for their freedom.” Inasmuch as the opposition to Qaddafi is not merely “peacefully demonstrating”, but in part has taken up arms, this comes down to condemning the use of force by some and not by others – but it is unlikely that the politicians who drafted this statement even realize what they are saying.
The narrow vision of the left is illustrated by the statement in a Trotskyist paper that: “Of all the crimes of Qaddafi, the one that is without doubt the most grave and least known is his complicity with the EU migration policy…” For the far left, Qaddafi’s biggest sin is cooperating with the West, just as the West is to be condemned for cooperating with Qaddafi. This is a left that ends up, out of sheer confusion, as cheerleader for war.
The mass of refugees fleeing Kosovo as NATO began its bombing campaign was used to justify that bombing, without independent investigation into the varied causes of that temporary exodus – a main cause probably being the bombing itself. Today, from the way media report on the large number of refugees leaving Libya since the troubles began, the public could get the impression that they are fleeing persecution by Qaddafi. As is frequently the case, media focuses on the superficial image without seeking explanations. A bit of reflection may fill the information gap. It is hardly likely that Qaddafi is chasing away the foreign workers that his regime brought to Libya to carry out important infrastructure projects. Rather it is fairly clear that some of the “democratic” rebels have attacked the foreign workers out of pure xenophobia. Qaddafi’s openness to Africans in particular is resented by a certain number of Arabs. But not too much should be said about this, since they are now our “good guys”. This is a bit the way Albanian attacks on Roma in Kosovo were overlooked or excused by NATO occupiers on the grounds that “the Roma had collaborated with the Serbs”.
Osama bin Laden.
Another resemblance between former Yugoslavia and Libya is that the United States (and its NATO allies) once again end up on the same side as their old friend from Afghan Mujahidin days, Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden was a discreet ally of the Islamist party of Alija Izetbegovic during the Bosnia civil war, a fact that has been studiously overlooked by the NATO powers. Of course, Western media have largely dismissed Qaddafi’s current claim that he is fighting against bin Laden as the ravings of a madman. However, the combat between Qaddafi and bin Laden is very real and predates the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Indeed, Qaddafi was the first to try to alert Interpol to bin Laden, but got no cooperation from the United States. In November 2007, the French news agency AFP reported that the leaders of the “Fighting Islamic Group” in Libya announced they were joining Al Qaeda. Like the Mujahidin who fought in Bosnia, that Libyan Islamist Group was formed in 1995 by veterans of the U.S.-sponsored fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Their declared aim was to overthrow Qaddafi in order to establish a radical Islamist state. The base of radical Islam has always been in the Eastern part of Libya where the current revolt broke out. Since that revolt does not at all resemble the peaceful mass demonstrations that overthrew dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, but has a visible component of armed militants, it can reasonably be assumed that the Islamists are taking part in the rebellion.
Refusal of negotiations.
In 1999, the United States was eager to use the Kosovo crisis to give NATO’s new “out of area” mission its baptism of fire. The charade of peace talks at Rambouillet was scuttled by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who sidelined more moderate Kosovo Albanian leaders in favor of Hashim Thaci, the young leader of the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, a network notoriously linked to criminal activities. The Albanian rebels in Kosovo were a mixed bag, but as frequently happens, the US reached in and drew the worst out of that bag.
In Libya, the situation could be even worse.
My own impression, partly as a result of visiting Tripoli four years ago, is that the current rebellion is a much more mixed bag, with serious potential internal contradictions. Unlike Egypt, Libya is not a populous historic state with thousands of years of history, a strong sense of national identity and a long political culture. Half a century ago, it was one of the poorest countries in the world, and still has not fully emerged from its clan structure. Qaddafi, in his own eccentric way, has been a modernizing factor, using oil revenues to raise the standard of living to one of the highest on the African continent. The opposition to him comes, paradoxically, both from reactionary traditional Islamists on the one hand, who consider him a heretic for his relatively progressive views, and Westernized beneficiaries of modernization on the other hand, who are embarrassed by the Qaddafi image and want still more modernization. And there are other tensions that may lead to civil war and even a breakup of the country along geographic lines.
So far, the dogs of war are sniffing around for more bloodshed than has actually occurred. Indeed, the US escalated the Kosovo conflict in order to “have to intervene”, and the same risks happening now with regard to Libya, where Western ignorance of what they would be doing is even greater.
The Chavez proposal for neutral mediation to avert catastrophe is the way of wisdom. But in NATOland, the very notion of solving problems by peaceful mediation rather than by force seems to have evaporated.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions.She can be reached at email@example.com
Here we go again, another worthless war for humanitarian reasons. Another despot is about to meet Saddam’s fate, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s days are probably numbered. Western powers successfully lobbied the UN for an illegitimate authorization to launch a war of aggression against Libya. Forget the Orwellian dialect from the mainstream media, a no-fly zone means war, plain and simple.
This new war stinks of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the progressive tendency to hide behind a UN resolution and focus on an overstated humanitarian crisis is what progressives such as the Clintons like to do, begging the question – who is running American foreign policy, President Obama or the Clintons? The perfect example for this progressive tendency for mass murder on humanitarian grounds can be found in the bombing of the former Yugoslavia when President Bill Clinton and his wife created a false virtual perception of genocide taking place in the Bosnian and Kosovo civil wars. In the 1990’s the now deceased Slobodan Milosevic was the bogeyman for the liberal establishment, now its Gaddafi’s turn – its the Yugoslavian option for Libya.
As far as the neoconservative right is concerned there is not a war they do not like and their amen corner in the religious right see this new bloodletting as a prophetic sign of the end. You all better get ready, Jesus is coming.
So what has Gaddafi done to warrant this humanitarian curse? Nothing really, other than sitting on a lot of oil. Gaddafi is in the middle of fighting a real civil war, and he was beginning to win his civil war with a number of military successes, hence the UN humanitarian intervention to prevent Gaddafi from succeeding in taking all of Libya back into his control. This leads to the conclusion that the Libyan insurrection was indeed Western orchestrated as Colonel Gaddafi has maintained from the beginning of the conflict.
Western hypocrisy especially that of the United States in this case is most revealing. The United States government and the kleptocrats that control it do not care in the least if an oil rich Muslim country has a despotic dictator as its leader. If that were the case then Gaddafi would have been removed a long time ago. The simple fact is that the West in most cases rather deal with pliable dictators than pesky democracies. True democracies tend to work for their own national interests, while dictators help the kleptocrats in Washington and London steal the world’s resources at extremely cheap rates.
Why are there no-fly zones over Bahrain and Yemen? The United States conveniently picks and chooses which dictator needs to be removed. Bahrain, home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has invited Saudi troops into the country to give a helping hand in brutally crushing unarmed civilian demonstrators. The United States conveniently turns a blind eye to that particular slaughter of civilians.
Is there a real strategic interest in Libya for the United States? Not for the average American, but for the kleptocrats in Washington DC and Wall Street there is plenty of money to be made by this illegal war. Make no mistake, this is an illegal war of aggression that the United States is taking part in. It’s unconstitutional to say the least, not that the constitution and the “rule of law” still matters in the United States, obviously with our corrupt establishment it does not. Real money is to be made here by the warfare state, never mind the obvious pretense that is called humanitarian intervention. In the process of this kind of modern civilized liberation, thousands of civilians wind up dead, usually contradicting one of the compassionate reasons to launch an attack in the first place – which is to save civilian lives. Iraq is an excellent case in point; over one million civilians liberated to death and still counting in order get rid of a murderous dictator.
Libya is yet another opportunity for the war profiteers to rebuild the infrastructure of Libya that they are presently destroying just like in Iraq and Afghanistan. The oil barons will get their picks in Libyan oil fields and the banksters will get to loan billions in fiat currency out of thin air. In the meantime commodity prices will continue to rise guaranteeing another round of demonstrations throughout the world and most likely further violent intervention by the globalists.
So, this is the change you can believe in! More wars with Obama and the war profiteers – let the Fed print some more money.
The jihadist murder of two American servicemen by a “Kosovar”-Albanian Muslim at Frankfurt Airport on March 2 combines the fruits of the United States’ criminally misguided Balkan policy over the past two decades and of Europe’s suicidal immigration policy since the 1960’s. While it is probably too late to have either of them reversed, hope springs eternal: the deaths of two young Americans should remind us of where we stand with “Kosovars” in particular and Jihadist infiltrators into the Western world in general.
Kosovo’s Albanians we know from the news fall into two categories. One group consists of “Kosova’s” pro-Western, secular, democratic leaders with whom Hillary Clinton feels “honored to be friends and partners.” They are also, as the Western powers have known all along, mass murderers and organ harvesters, starting with “Prime Minister” Hashim Thaci. They are Europe’s leading drug smugglers, arms and people traffickers. They are among the world’s richest Mafia bosses—er, “controversial tycoons”—like “President” Behgjet Pacolli. They run the most lawless, violent, depraved entity in today’s Europe.
Another group of media-visible Kosovo Albanians are Islamic terrorists like Arif Uka (21) who was shouting Allahu Akbar! and Jihad, Jihad! as he opened fire in Frankfurt. This was an act of Islamic terrorism, of course, but the German authorities tried to pretend, at first, that this episode of Sudden Jihad Syndrome had nothing to do with terrorism.
Frankfurt Airport was the scene of yet another instance of what I’ve described as the Kosovo Blowback. In May 2007 four Albanian Muslims from Kosovo, plus a Turk and a Jordanian, were arrested for conspiring to attack Fort Dix and “to kill as many soldiers as possible” (U.S. Attorney’s Office). The mainstream media were reluctant to name them as Albanians but referred to them as immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.
Just like his German colleague on the day of the Frankfurt attack, White House spokesman Tony Snow was quick to assure us back in 2007 there was “no direct evidence” that the men arrested in the Fort Dix plot have ties to international terrorism. He was lying, but his meta-message was clear: The Administration knew that it could not keep the Albanian identity of four “Yugoslav” suspects concealed, but it wanted to pre-empt any suspicion that an independent KosovA would become a black hole of jihad-terrorism in the heart of Europe. Washington was too busy laying the ground for Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence nine months later.
It is to be expected that, in the same spirit, Frankfurt will be spinned by the mainstream media and Thaci’s friends and enablers—such as Mrs. Clinton—as follows:
- Lone gunman, perhaps deranged, or traumatized by “Serbian crimes against his people.”
- Kosovo Albanians are shocked, express grief and horror, eternal love for America.
- CAIR & Co. condemn the attack, warn against Islamophobia and hasty conclusions.
- This isolated incident does not reflect in any way on the nature of the “Kosovar” society.
- Even less does it justify questioning Kosovo’s “right to independence,” which is absolute.
We have been assured by successive U.S. administrations that Kosovo’s Albanians are largely secular. Thaci’s enablers insist that even when they desecrate and destroy Christian churches, they do it for reasons of “revenge” against the Serbs rather than Islam. When these Albanian “secularists” reveal themselves as Islamic terrorists, the episode is dismissed as untypical. Asking what this transformation bodes for a new Muslim state in the heart of Europe is still verboten in America, but no longer in Europe.
Dick Marty’s revelations about Thaci’s gory criminality and the latest instance of his émigré compatriots’ Jihadism should help unmask the web of lies and distortions that has guided U.S. policy in the Balkans for years. Should, but won’t. This is America, AD 2011.
Amidst all the stirring political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East the name “Marshall Plan” keeps being repeated by political figures and media around the world as the key to rebuilding the economies of those societies to complement the political advances, which hopefully will be somewhat progressive. But caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
During my years of writing and speaking about the harm and injustice inflicted upon the world by unending United States interventions, I’ve often been met with resentment from those who accuse me of chronicling only the negative side of US foreign policy and ignoring the many positive sides. When I ask the person to give me some examples of what s/he thinks show the virtuous face of America’s dealings with the world in modern times, one of the things mentioned — almost without exception — is The Marshall Plan. This is usually described along the lines of: “After World War II, the United States unselfishly built up Europe economically, including our wartime enemies, and allowed them to compete with us.” Even those today who are very cynical about US foreign policy, who are quick to question the White House’s motives in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, have little problem in accepting this picture of an altruistic America of the period 1948-1952. But let’s have a look at the Marshall Plan outside the official and popular versions.
After World War II, the United States, triumphant abroad and undamaged at home, saw a door wide open for world supremacy. Only the thing called “communism” stood in the way, politically, militarily, and ideologically. The entire US foreign policy establishment was mobilized to confront this “enemy”, and the Marshall Plan was an integral part of this campaign. How could it be otherwise? Anti-communism had been the principal pillar of US foreign policy from the Russian Revolution up to World War II, pausing for the war until the closing months of the Pacific campaign, when Washington put challenging communism ahead of fighting the Japanese. This return to anti-communism included the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan as a warning to the Soviets. 1
After the war, anti-communism continued as the leitmotif of American foreign policy as naturally as if World War II and the alliance with the Soviet Union had not happened. Along with the CIA, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, the Council on Foreign Relations, certain corporations, and a few other private institutions, the Marshall Plan was one more arrow in the quiver of those striving to remake Europe to suit Washington’s desires:
- Spreading the capitalist gospel — to counter strong postwar tendencies towards socialism.
- Opening markets to provide new customers for US corporations — a major reason for helping to rebuild the European economies; e.g., a billion dollars of tobacco at today’s prices, spurred by US tobacco interests.
- Pushing for the creation of the Common Market and NATO as integral parts of the West European bulwark against the alleged Soviet threat.
- Suppressing the left all over Western Europe, most notably sabotaging the Communist Parties in France and Italy in their bids for legal, non-violent, electoral victory. Marshall Plan funds were secretly siphoned off to finance this endeavor, and the promise of aid to a country, or the threat of its cutoff, was used as a bullying club; indeed, France and Italy would certainly have been exempted from receiving aid if they had not gone along with the plots to exclude the communists from any kind of influential role.
The CIA also skimmed large amounts of Marshall Plan funds to covertly maintain cultural institutions, journalists, and publishers, at home and abroad, for the heated and omnipresent propaganda of the Cold War; the selling of the Marshall Plan to the American public and elsewhere was entwined with fighting “the red menace”. Moreover, in its covert operations, CIA personnel at times used the Marshall Plan as cover, and one of the Plan’s chief architects, Richard Bissell, then moved to the CIA, stopping off briefly at the Ford Foundation, a long time conduit for CIA covert funds. One big happy family.
The Marshall Plan imposed all kinds of restrictions on the recipient countries, all manner of economic and fiscal criteria which had to be met, designed for a wide open return to free enterprise. The US had the right to control not only how Marshall Plan dollars were spent, but also to approve the expenditure of an equivalent amount of the local currency, giving Washington substantial power over the internal plans and programs of the European states; welfare programs for the needy survivors of the war were looked upon with disfavor by the United States; even rationing smelled too much like socialism and had to go or be scaled down; nationalization of industry was even more vehemently opposed by Washington. The great bulk of Marshall Plan funds returned to the United States, or never left, to purchase American goods, making American corporations among the chief beneficiaries.
The program could be seen as more a joint business operation between governments than an American “handout”; often it was a business arrangement between American and European ruling classes, many of the latter fresh from their service to the Third Reich, some of the former as well; or it was an arrangement between Congressmen and their favorite corporations to export certain commodities, including a lot of military goods. Thus did the Marshall Plan help lay the foundation for the military industrial complex as a permanent feature of American life.
It is very difficult to find, or put together, a clear, credible description of how the Marshall Plan played a pivotal or indispensable role in the recovery in each of the 16 recipient nations. The opposing view, at least as clear, is that the Europeans — highly educated, skilled and experienced — could have recovered from the war on their own without an extensive master plan and aid program from abroad, and indeed had already made significant strides in this direction before the Plan’s funds began flowing. Marshall Plan funds were not directed primarily toward the urgently needed feeding of individuals or rebuilding their homes, schools, or factories, but at strengthening the economic superstructure, particularly the iron, steel and power industries. The period was in fact marked by deflationary policies, unemployment and recession. The one unambiguous outcome was the full restoration of the propertied class. 2
The rising up of the people … and the conservative mind
James Baker served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan’s first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H.W. Bush. He was also Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan and Secretary of State under Bush. Thus, by establishment standards and values, inside marble-columned institutions, Baker is a man to be taken seriously when it comes to affairs of state. Here he is on February 3, during an interview by our favorite TV station, our very own shining beacon of truth, Fox News:
“We want to see the people in the Middle East have a chance at democracy and free markets … I’m sorry, democracy and human rights.” 3
Baker has a record of speaking his mind, whether Freudian-slip-like or not. When he was Secretary of State, on an occasion when the Middle East was being discussed at a government meeting, and Jewish-American influence was mentioned, Baker was reported to have said “Fuck the Jews! They don’t vote for us anyway.” 4
They couldn’t resist, could they?
News flash: “Judge Mustafa Abdel Jallil, the Libyan justice minister who resigned last week in protest over the use of force against unarmed civilians, said he has proof that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988. He would not disclose details of the alleged evidence.” 5
Hmmm, let me guess now why he wouldn’t disclose details of the alleged evidence … hmmm … Ah, I know — because it doesn’t exist! How could Gadhafi’s many enemies in Libya resist kicking him like this when he’s down? Or perhaps the honorable judge is simply protecting himself from a future international criminal tribunal for his years of service to the Libyan state? If you read any more of such nonsense — and you will — reach for some of the antidote I’ve been providing for more than 20 years. 6
The empire’s deep dark secret
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined,” declared US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on February 25.
Remarkable. Every one of the many wars the United States has engaged in since the end of World War II has been presented to the American people, explicitly or implicitly, as a war of necessity, not a war of choice; a war urgently needed to protect American citizens, American allies, vital American “interests”, freedom, or democracy. Here is President Obama speaking of Afghanistan: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity.” 7
This being the case, how can a future administration say it will not go to war if any of these noble causes is seriously threatened? The answer is that these noble causes are irrelevant. The United States goes to war where and when it wants, and if a noble cause is not self-evident, the government, with indispensable help from the American media, will manufacture it. Secretary Gates is now admitting that there is choice involved. Well, Bob, thanks for telling us. You were Bush’s Secretary of Defense as well, and before that 26 years in the CIA and the National Security Council. You sure know how to keep a secret.
Items of interest from a journal I’ve kept for 40 years, part II
- In its more than 50 years of revolution Cuba has never reciprocated the US aggression against it; no military or terrorist assaults have emanated from Havana in spite of the many hundreds of CIA aerial bombings, ground attacks, acts of sabotage, and assassination attempts. Oh, did I mention all the chemical and biological warfare? Oddly, the State Department’s list of “State sponsors of terrorism” includes Cuba, but not the United States. The little nation of Cuba has defied all rational odds against its socialist survival.
- The wit and wisdom of Mr. Barack Obama: “To ensure prosperity here at home and peace abroad, we all share the belief we have to maintain the strongest military on the planet.” (December 1, 2008, Agence France Presse) How true. All Americans share that belief, as they rejoice in the strongest military on the planet and a veritable overflowing of prosperity at home and peace abroad.
- Steven Bradbury, Department of Justice lawyer under George W. Bush, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was discussing the legal status of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay: “The president is always right.” (Washington Post, July 12, 2006)
- “There are 3 billion people in the world and we have only 200 million of them. We are outnumbered 15 to 1. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want.” – President Lyndon Johnson, 1966
- As the George W. Bush administration was entering office in 2000, Donald Rumsfeld exuberantly expressed grandiose ambitions for Middle East domination, telling the National Security Council: “Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that’s aligned with US interests. It would change everything in the region and beyond.” A few weeks later, Bush speechwriter David Frum declared to the New York Times Magazine: “An American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the replacement of the radical Baathist dictatorship with a new government more closely aligned with the United States, would put America more wholly in charge of the region than any power since the Ottomans, or maybe even the Romans.”
- Shortly after Salvador Allende became president of Chile in 1970, Nixon’s National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, recorded a conversation in which Secretary of State William Rogers agreed that “we ought, as you say, to cold-bloodedly decide what to do and then do it,” but warned it should be done “discreetly so that it doesn’t backfire.” Rogers predicted that “after all we have said about elections, if the first time a Communist wins the U.S. tries to prevent the constitutional process from coming into play we will look very bad.”
- “The revulsion against war … will be an almost insuperable obstacle for us to overcome. For that reason, I am convinced that we must begin now to set the machinery in motion for a permanent wartime economy.” Charles E. Wilson, 1944. During World War II he held leading positions overseeing the huge US military production effort; after the war he resumed his position as CEO of General Electric, one of the leading defense corporations.
- Remember Ben Tre? That was the Vietnamese village the Americans destroyed in 1968, saying “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” Since then the Americans have been saving towns all over the globe, in Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Nicaragua, Sudan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and more. Then on Sept 11, 2001, someone, no doubt overcome with gratitude, decided to save some Americans. – Bev Currie, Canada
- United Nations Resolution 1244, adopted in 1999, reaffirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to which Serbia was the recognized successor state, and established that Kosovo was to remain part of Serbia. Today, Kosovo is independent, because the United States wants it that way, because Serbia is still being punished for its refusal in the 1990s to act like a proper European state displaying subservience to the United States, the European Union, NATO, and capitalism. Independent Kosovo is perhaps the most genuinely gangster-state in the world. It’s led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, whom a Council of Europe investigation recently accused of being the boss of a criminal operation to kidnap people and steal their kidneys.(sic) (Associated Press, December 14 and 15, 2010) He and Washington, naturally, are on the best of terms.
- “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” (Associated Press, June 16, 2001; Press Trust of India, December 21, 2007)
- Senator John McCain, re: fighting in Georgia, 2008: “I’m interested in good relations between the United States and Russia. But in the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.” (Washington Post, August 14, 2008) One really has to wonder at times about the sanity of neo-conservatives, or at least their IQ.
- Re: “collateral damage” produced by US bombing in many countries: Killing innocent bystanders when targeting someone else has long been considered murder in Western law.
- “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” – Voltaire
- “The central aim of the war in Afghanistan — planned well before the attacks of September 11, 2001 — was to take advantage of the power vacuum in Central Asia created by the Soviet Union’s dissolution to assert US domination over a region containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world.” – Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Web Site
- “To me, I confess, [countries] are pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for dominion of the world.” Lord Curzon, British viceroy of India, speaking about Afghanistan, 1898
- Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban National Assembly, stated in 2008: Cuba allows CNN, AP and Chicago Tribune to maintain offices in Cuba, but the US refuses to allow Cuban journalists to work in the United States.
- Washington’s “Plan Colombia”, launched in 2000, was the militarization of the war on drugs.
- Michael Moore, March 24, 2008: “I see that Frontline on PBS this week has a documentary called ‘Bush’s War’. That’s what I’ve been calling it for a long time. It’s not the ‘Iraq War’. Iraq did nothing. Iraq didn’t plan 9/11. It didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. It DID have movie theaters and bars and women wearing what they wanted and a significant Christian population and one of the few Arab capitals with an open synagogue. But that’s all gone now. Show a movie and you’ll be shot in the head. Over a hundred women have been randomly executed for not wearing a scarf.”
- Michael Collon: “Let’s replace the word ‘democratic’ by ‘with us’ and the word ‘terrorist’ by ‘against us’.”
- The American Century went the way of the Thousand Year Reich.
- Reagan invaded Grenada in October 1983 because he cut and ran from Beirut after the United States lost 241 Marines in the infamous truck bombing. The United States invaded Grenada two days later.
- Noam Chomsky: “The whole debate about the Iranian ‘interference’ in Iraq makes sense only on one assumption; namely, that ‘we own the world’. If we own the world, then the only question that can arise is that someone else is interfering in a country we have invaded and occupied. So if you look over the debate that took place and is still taking place about Iranian interference, no one points out this is insane. How can Iran be interfering in a country that we invaded and occupied? It’s only appropriate on the presupposition that we own the world. Once you have that established in your head, the discussion is perfectly sensible.”
- In late 1997, according to Dana Priest’s book, The Mission, the Bill Clinton White House wanted CENTCOM commander Gen. Anthony Zinni to order his pilots to provoke a military confrontation with Iraq in the no-fly zone by deliberately drawing fire from Iraqi planes.
- Reagan accepted a fateful trade-off when he agreed not to complain about Pakistan’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability in exchange for Pakistani cooperation in helping the Afghan rebels.
- “The presumption of ‘government incompetence’ is seldom a useful assumption in evaluating the behavior of governments. We only reach such a conclusion if we take their official rhetoric at face value. In terms of ‘achieving democracy’, the official rhetoric, Bush has been ‘incompetent’ in Iraq. But in terms of the real agenda — building permanent bases and controlling the oil — he has in fact been successful. I have found that this is always the pattern: some real agenda is always being achieved by the policies in force, despite the apparent bungling in terms of the official agenda.” – Richard K. Moore
- The 9/11 attacks reflected the anger and rage that US foreign policy had produced in the past and then provided the excuse for US officials to continue such policy in the future.
Upcoming talks by William Blum
Saturday, April 2, 7:00 pm
University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, PA
504 East Main Street
Titusville is about 2 hours by car from Pittsburgh and 2 1/2 hours from Cleveland.
For further information call 888-878-0462
Or email Mary Ann Caton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, May 19
Conference: “Ethics and US Foreign Policy in the 21st Century”
Université de Paris Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, Amphi B-2
All day, beginning at 9 am
Email me for full schedule
- See William Blum’s essay on the use of the atomic bomb ↩
- For discussion of various aspects of the Marshall Plan see, for example, Joyce & Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power: The World and US Foreign Policy 1945-1954 (1972), chapters 13, 16, 17; Sallie Pisani, The CIA and the Marshall Plan (1991) passim; Frances Stoner Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the world of arts and letters (2000) passim ↩
- Crisis in Egypt – James A. Baker III on Middle East Political Change ↩
- The Guardian (London), December 12, 2000; Haaretz (Israel), November 14, 2008 ↩
- McClatchy Newspapers, February 26, 2011 ↩
- The Bombing of PanAm Flight 103: Case Not Closed ↩
- Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009
An interview with K.R. Bolton…
K R Bolton–The revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and as they are spreading further afield have all the hallmarks of the NED/Soros “color revolutions” that were fomented in the former Soviet bloc states and in Myanmar and elsewhere. They all follow the same pattern and many years of planning, training and funding have gone into the ridiculously called “spontaneous” (sic) revolts.
The organizations that have spent years and much money creating revolutionary organizations in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere include the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, International Republican Institute, Freedom House, Open Society Institute, and an array of fronts stemming therefrom, including: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Center for International Private Enterprise, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.
These organizations have for years been backing Egyptian “activists.” Freedom House for e.g. trained 16 young Egyptian “activists” in 2009 in a two month scholarship.
A few days ago the New York reported the association between the April 6 Youth movement, and Optor, the Serbian youth movement that was pivotal in overthrowing Milosevic for the benefit of globalism and the free market. Now April 6 is addressing youths form Libya, Iran, Morocco and Algeria. (“A Tunisian-Egyptian Link that Shook Arab History,” New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/world/middleeast/14egypt-tunisia-protests..html).
MW—Whether US-backed activists were involved in the demonstrations or not, don’t you think that the vast labor unrest across the country suggests that “homegrown” organizations are the real force that is driving the revolution?
K R Bolton–There do not seem to be any ‘homegrown’ organisations that have played a leading role in the revolts. The labor unions for example were organized, trained and funded by NED. The American Center for International Labor Solidarity works in conjunction with the Center for International Private Enterprise, and is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, National Endowment for Democracy, U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Labor, AFL-CIO, private foundations, and national and international labor organizations. What kind of labor organisation collaborates with those who promote globalisation and the free market?
One of the organizations especially created to sponsor pro-globalist unions is the NED-based Solidarity Center that has been involved with recreating the labor movement in Egypt. NED’s 2009 report for grants includes $318,75 to the American Center for International Labor Solidarity for their program in Egypt; in addition to an array of other organizations in Egypt, and especially those directed at training “youth activists” in social media networking and other features of “spontaneous revolt.”
MW—Do you anticipate a clash between the US-backed military junta and the growing mass of people who seem to have lost their fear of government repression?
K R Bolton–The mass movement is doing precisely what it was created to do by the US based globalist organizations. They are reminiscent of Oswald Spengler’s comment of certain ‘socialist’ organizations a century ago; that they do not function other than where and how money dictates. These are “revolutions form above,” using the masses as cannon fodder by interests whom they think they are opposing. The strategy was tried out within the New Left forty to fifty years ago, when Foundations and the CIA backed certain “radicals” such as Gloria Steinem, National Students Association etc., and the “psychedelic revolution.”
The revolt is by the secularized youth who look on Western democracy as an ideal, which is a facade for plutocracy. A truly revolutionary force such as, perhaps, the Muslim Brotherhood would be fighting for an Islamic, traditionalist renaissance, and would eschew Westernization.
MW—-Why would the International Republican Institute (IRI) the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), or George Soro’s Open Society Institute train activists to topple a pro-American regimen like Mubarak’s?
K R Bolton– There are long term, dialectical strategies involved that might require even removing seemingly pro-US regimes, that are simply now anomalies in the process of globalization.
However, there are indications that Mubarak was an impediment to US policy. The US and the Mubarak regime were at loggerheads over Sudan for example, Mubarak favoring a confederation, whereas the US sought dismemberment of the South from the north. Egypt’s influence was gaining in the Sudan, with investments and advisers. On Nov. 3, 2009 Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit stated that within the previous five years Egypt had invested more than $87 million into projects in southern Sudan, including hospitals, schools and power stations, “in hope of convincing the people of southern Sudan to choose unity over secession.”
Towards the end of the Bush regime the U.S. Defense Department established the Africa Command (AFRICOM), a primary concern of this new US regional command being the establishment of a massive military base in southern Sudan.
There is a very interesting article on this in The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs: http://www.washington-report.org/component/content/article/363/10285-sudan-set-to-split-despite-egyptian-moves-.html
MW—-How do Mohamed ElBaradei and Ayman Nour fit into to all of this?
K R Bolton– Mohamed ElBaradei appears to be fulfilling the role of numerous other leaders-in-waiting who have assumed the mantle of leadership in the aftermath of “color revolutions.” ElBaradei is on the Executive Committee of the International Crisis Group, yet another globalist think tank promoting the “new world order” behind the facade of “peace and justice,” or of the “open society.” ICG was founded in 1994 by Mark Brown, former Vice President of the World Bank. Soros is a committee member, along with such luminaries of peace and goodwill as Samuel Berger, former US National Security Adviser; Wesley Clark, former NATO Commander, Europe; and sundry eminences from business, academe, politics and diplomacy of the type that generally comprise such organizations.
“Senior advisers” of the ICG include the omnipresent Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US National Security Adviser, and founding director of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, an individual up to his neck in seemingly every globalist cause and think tank going, and a de facto foreign policy adviser for Pres. Obama; and Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, former Secretary General of NATO. Financial backers of the ICG include the Ford Foundation and Open Society Institute.
Soros has already come out endorsing ElBaradei. Maidhc Ó Cathail has written an excellent article tellingly entitled ElBaradei: Soros’s Man in Cairo, which cites the links the ICG has with Zionists and Israel, which can be read at Foreign Policy Journal, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/02/12/elbaradei-soross-man-in-cairo/
Ayman Nour is getting the Zionists jittery, but his comments on the Camp David accord might be intended to placate Muslim factions. He has long been championed by US administrations, and would as a “liberal” by easy to tame.
MW—In your article “What’s Behind the Tumult in Egypt”, you cite a Wikileaks memo from the US Embassy in Cairo which appears to prove that the US was providing support for groups of youth activists who were demonstrating in Cairo. Do you feel like this type of subversion is justifiable if it is for a noble cause, like democracy?
K R Bolton– It depends on one’s perspective. The Soviets thought that their subversion was for a “noble cause.” The USA disagreed. Pol Pot considered he was fighting for a “noble cause,” (the USA agreed)…
NED, Open Society, IRI, Freedom House, etc. are proud of their roles and are relatively open about them, because it is assumed that everyone will be duped into believing in the nobility of internationalizing the “American Dream,” or what has been called the “new world order.” However, many people, especially those in the ex-Soviet bloc and in the Islamic states, value tradition, culture and spirit, more so than the “freedom” to produce and consume, and to become cogs in a world market with a global mono-culture.
The recently deceased columnist Joe Sobran wrote of these matters cogently a few years ago:
Anti-Americanism is no longer a mere fad of Marxist university students; it’s a profound reaction of traditional societies against a corrupt and corrupting modernization that is being imposed on them, by both violence and seduction. The very word values implies a whole modern culture of moral whim, in which good and evil are matters of personal preference. Confronted with today’s America, then, the Christian Arab finds himself in unexpected sympathy with his Muslim enemy.
America’s foreign policy elite considers the USA to have a messianic world mission to remake the Earth in its image, an early example being Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Whether this is undertaken behind the façade of idealism, of “democracy,’ “human rights” etc., or by outright military invasion, makes no difference, and of course there have been enough wars undertaken in the name of these slogans, one being the war against Serbia, for example, the actual purpose more likely being to globalize the minerals of Kosovo which can best be done under a democratic, free market, debt-ridden regime, than under a centralized state.
American globalization is worse than military dictatorship, because it rots the soul.
Maj. Ralph Peters writing in Parameters, the organ of the US Army War College, has stated that the de facto role of the American army is to keep the world “open to our cultural assault.” He talks of information as being the “most destabilising factor of our time.” He calls this the “American century” where the USA will become “culturally more lethal….” He talks of the “clash of civilisations”. Entertainment, media and internet are the basis for destroying traditional religions, which he derides as “fundamentalism” which will be unable to “control its children.” “Our victims volunteer” he states. The Muslims in the USA are what he calls the “rejectionist segment of our own population.” They are “enraged because their cultures are under assault.” He calls their “cherished values dysfunctional”.
“Hollywood goes where Harvard never penetrated, and the foreigner, unable to touch the reality of America, is touched by America’s irresponsible fantasies itself…” “Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg and Madonna” are replacing “traditional intellectual elites.” “Our cultural empire has addicted – men and women everywhere – clamouring for more. And they pay for the privilege of their disillusionment.” “If religion is the opium of the people, video is their crack cocaine…” “There will be no peace…” “Our military power is culturally based…” “Our American culture is infectious, a plague of pleasure… But Hollywood is preparing the battlefield and burgers precede the bullets. … What could be more threatening to traditional cultures?”
This is America’s spiritual and cultural mission as related by an influential strategist and commentator, formerly with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence; Foreign Area Officer for Eurasia.
Maj. Peters description of those who have come under the curse of secular American global culture, whom he states will serve to bring down traditional societies, sounds rather like the secularised, youthful “activists” who are spearheading the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere.
MW—Here’s a quote from Leon Trotsky: “There is no doubt that the fate of every revolution at a certain point is decided by a break in the disposition of the army.” There seems to be a real affection between the Egyptian people and the army. Does that mean that a confrontation can be avoided or do you think bloodshed is unavoidable?
K R Bolton– There could be a unitary movement based around a popular military regime of the Nasser variety. However, I believe that the globalists have unleashed their chaos upon another vast region that will be in a state of disruption for many years to come, like the result of their having “liberated” (sic) Iraq.
MW—In your article titled “The Globalist Web of Subversion” you speak of a “World Capitalist Revolution”. Can you explain what you mean?
K R Bolton– The free market doctrine is the rationale of globalisation. It is fundamentally revolutionary insofar as it destroys traditional values. Free Trade is subversive, which is why Karl Marx, as he stated in The Communist Manifesto and elsewhere, supported Free Trade. Capitalism desires increasing concentration and an internationalised economy. It once worked through nation-sates and then through empires, but both became too restrictive and had to be surpassed by a “new world order,” which requires the destruction of national, ethnic, cultural and all other bonds that hinder the international free flow of labor, capital and technology.
A good book on this process was written a few years back, called Global Reach: The Power of the Multinational Corporations, by Richard Barnet and Ronald Muller. Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book Between Two Ages wrote of the dialectical nature of capitalism and its drive towards a world order, approvingly. And, of course, Marx wrote of the dialectical nature of capitalism in The Communist Manifesto. However, Marx thought that capitalism, with its destruction of national boundaries, and its internationalising tendencies in the modes of production, would be part of the process towards world socialism and ultimately communism. He was wrong in that crucial respect; social revolutions have been part of a dialectical process towards an international capitalist order. The “color revolutions” are a most essential part of this process.
MW—Here’s a quote from your article in Foreign Policy Journal: “The tumult in North Africa could conceivably backfire on the globalists terribly and create a quagmire of the Iraq variety.” It looks to me like US meddling may have opened Pandora’s Box. Do you agree?
K R Bolton–Yes, “Pandora’s box” is a good term. It is the “new world disorder.” It might be wondered whether these global wirepullers are extraordinarily stupid. But I think the answer lies in some kind of sociopathology. The psychotic is ultimately self-destructive; although these people would probably see things dialectically, believing that it is part of “controlled crisis.” Their mentality hovers somewhere around the Jim Jones type, with the world being their Jonestown.
With the latest disturbances being in Iran, I hypothesize that the problems generated in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, etc. might have been part of a regional process directed primarily at Iran, and next Syria, two states market in particular for destruction by the Project for the New American Century.
By Jill Serjeant and Dean Goodman | Reuters.com…
Lady Gaga stole the Grammy limelight on Sunday by arriving encased in a giant egg, and crawling out of it to perform her new single “Born This Way”.
Gaga, 24, declared in a Twitter message that she was “in incubation” for her live appearance. Aides said she had spent three hours crouched inside the egg with an oxygen mask ahead of her arrival.
Lady Gaga arrives being carried in an egg shaped vessel at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2011.
Borne aloft by attendants dressed in scanty gold-colored garb, the egg was the latest in a series of stunts by the performance artist and singer. In September, she wore a headline-grabbing dress made entirely of raw meat that she wore to the MTV Music Video Awards.
Onstage on Sunday, she crawled out of the egg dressed in yellow and sporting what appeared to be pointed shoulder implants.
By Matt Sayles, AP
Away from the Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles, the singer made headlines by saying in a pre-recorded TV interview that she uses marijuana and whiskey to help write her songs.
“(I) drink a lot of whiskey and I smoke weed when I write. And I don’t do it a lot because it’s not good for my voice,” the singer told TV news show “60 Minutes”.
“I don’t want to encourage kids to do drugs….And I don’t lie. I’m not a liar. I built good will with my fans. They know who I am. And I’m just like them in so many ways,” she added.
Halfway through the Grammy ceremony, Gaga had won three of the six awards she had been nominated for — one for her album “The Fame Monster” and two for her song “Bad Romance.”
“I had this dream when I was really young that I could be whoever I wanted to be,” she said in her acceptance speech.
The singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, told “60 Minutes” there was always a point to her outrageous outfits.
“There’s nothing that I’ve ever put on my body that I didn’t understand where it came from, the reference of it, who inspired it. There’s always some sort of a story or a concept that I’m telling,” she said.
Article from: reuters.com
Lady Gaga – Born This Way (Music Video Preview)
Video from: YouTube.com
The egg is a pagan symbol of the rebirth of the Earth in celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus.
According to this tradition, after the Ascension of Jesus, Mary Magdalene went to the Emperor of Rome and greeted him with “Christ has risen,” whereupon he pointed to an egg on his table and stated, “Christ has no more risen than that egg is red.” After making this statement it is said the egg immediately turned blood red.
Icon of St. Mary Magdalene holding a red easter egg with the words Christ is Risen.
Lady Gaga? No, it’s “The Crucifiction” 1350 Fresco Painting at theVisoko Decani Monestary in Kosovo Yogoslavia
Oval Marks & 666 Symbolism
Video from: YouTube.com
Mukat and Tamaoit: Cahuilla Legend of Twin Creators
In the beginning there was no earth or sky but only the dense darkness of space. Darkness was everywhere and yet it seemed alive, for out of it came sound, darkest sound. And then appeared a flash of light which cut the depths of space, leaving behind the froth of the mother substance. This substance lay like the white of egg upon the stomach of darkness, which resembled a spider’s web. Three times the substance strove to give birth, and in the third attempt it was pierced with a lightning ray. Being thus penetrated, it slowly grew and in time produced two great eggs. When the eggs began to hatch they broke first at the top, revealing two heads, then shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and toes. Mukat and Tamaoit emerged. They were twins and fully grown at birth. Mukat remained upon the newly created earth and begat life out of his essence. Tamaoit disappeared beneath the earth, leaving only mountains to commemorate his birth.
This, in paraphrase, is what old Cahuilla Indians told the young about the creation of the world. Like multicolored skeins gathered around the nesting place of the cosmos, all cultures have woven their legends of the mystery of creation. Perhaps one of the most powerful symbols of this mystery is the egg.
To ancients in all lands, the egg was the symbol of generation and immortality. In Scandinavia and Russia clay eggs were put in tombs to ensure life after death. A similar idea was signified in ancient Egypt by the winged egg floating above the mummy, carrying the soul to another birth. The Chinese believed that the first archetypal man sprang from an egg dropped by Tien, a great bird. The alchemists spoke of the philosophical egg which combined all the elements of life, the container of thought and matter. The Greeks thought of the egg as the seven-fold vault of space, a symbol originally compounded in the dual septenary planes of the Cosmic Egg of Hindu tradition.
Reverence for the egg is evoked by its form as well as by its mystery. Its elliptical form describes the movement of heavenly bodies and of the earth itself. It describes the sphere of light that surrounds all living things. It is in the oviform that the potency of spirit in matter manifests. The Katakopanisad teaches that in the Spiritual Egg, Purusha or Divine Spirit stands before primordial matter and from their union springs the great Soul of the World.
Often connected with the Spiritual Egg is the idea of a sacred bird that drops the Egg into the waters of space or chaos. Just as there is the Chinese Tien-bird, so there is Seb, the Egyptian chicken who gave birth to the egg of Ra, the sun. In Hindu tradition the ’Swan of Eternity’ lays a ’Golden Egg’ at the beginning of each Mahamanvantara. This Swan is the sacred Kalahansa, the Word. Its egg is the Word made manifest. The raven is sometimes connected with the egg-symbol of generation and primeval wisdom as illustrated by Odin’s black ravens fluttering around the Goddess Saga or Noah releasing the black raven after the great deluge or pralaya. The Omaha Indians describe a beginning when all things were in the mind of Wakonda. There was naught but silence, nothing was joined, nothing stirred. Within this darkness was the germ of the maker and moulder, the hurler, the Bird Serpent. Then rose up Hurakan, the night wind; the great black raven dropped its egg upon the waters. Beneath the raven’s sheltering wings, the mothers and fathers to be slept within the egg.
On every level the egg eternally regenerates. Virginal, it embodies the quality of eggness, the power of becoming developed through fecundation. The human egg is the female reproductive element.
Image: Flickr: Seth Hall
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Al Gore’s vice-presidential candidate in 2000 who subsequently broke away from the Democratic Party and won reelection as an independent in 2006, has announced that he will not seek reelection when his fourth term expires next year.
Lieberman’s departure will not make much difference to the political scene in Washington as his influence has been on the wane for years. It is nevertheless moderately good news because his hypocrisy, bad judgment and malevolence are impressive even by the standards of the best Congress money can buy.
Lieberman took pride of his well publicized pontifications on issues of “values” and “morality,” notably in 1998 when he described President Clinton’s conduct in the Lewinsky scandal as “disgraceful,” drawing praise from members of both parties for his supposedly principled stand. At the same time he has supported a host of bad causes and continues to support them.
In 1999 Lieberman co-sponsored the “Hate Crimes Bill” (S.622) that had sought to criminalize any statement critical of militant homosexuals’ objectives, practices and “lifestyle.” He was outspoken in his advocacy in giving homosexuals and lesbians the same rights as heterosexuals to adopt children. He has been a vocal supporter of the repeal of don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy: “The late Senator Barry Goldwater once said, ‘It’s not important if you are straight, just that you can shoot straight.’ I agree, and believe our current policy should be changed.” When it was changed last month he hailed the decision as a personal triumph.
An advocate of open borders, in January 2004 Lieberman supported “one-time earned legalization” for illegal immigrants. Four months earlier he accused President George W. Bush of using 9/11 as an excuse to avoid immigration reform. In June 2007 he voted against declaring English as the official language of the U.S. government and supported blanket amnesty for the illegals (“Comprehensive Immigration Reform”). In March 2008 he voted to support continuing federal funds for declared “sanctuary cities” which violated federal immigration laws. He was rated 0% by USBC.
Lieberman’s pro-abortion stand and his voting record on abortion are incompatible with Orthodox Judaism which he claims to profess: “Al Gore and I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose and our opponents will not. We know that this is a difficult, personal, moral, medical issue. But that is exactly why it ought to be left, under our law, to a woman, her doctor and her god.” He has regularly scored 100% in voting record surveys by NARAL and other pro-abortion groups.
A life-long global interventionist, Lieberman has been a consistent supporter of NATO expansion and an enthusiast for the Iraq war, “a heroic struggle against enemies of civilization” (September 2003). He took pride in not having “an inch of difference” from George W. Bush on the issue, declaring that “overthrowing Saddam was right,” and—somewhat oddly—that the victory in Iraq would open door to Israeli-Palestinian peace (January 2004)
The darkest side of Senator Joseph Lieberman’s record has to do with his stand of Kosovo. Well before the KLA escalated its terrorist campaign in early 1998, instigating the crisis that culminated in the bombing campaign a year later, Albanian separatists were active purchasing political influence in Washington. Their key backer was Bob Dole, but Lieberman soon became a major asset and was given money by Albanian lobbyists. This champion of campaign finance reform performed on cue: as early as in October 1998, way ahead of the rest of the pack, he went on television to advocate war against Serbia. It was not only a matter of U.S./NATO “credibility,” said he, but also of morality, “a question of acting early to stop a broader war in the Balkans… a question of acting out of our humanitarian values.” In April 1999 he declared that “the United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles … Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”
Once he did get that longed-for bombing, Lieberman urged an unlimited escalation of the war with ground troops, and actively advocated war crimes against Serb civilians. He expressed hope that the air campaign, “even if it does not convince Milosevic to order his troops out of Kosovo, will so devastate his economy, which it’s doing now, so ruin the lives of his people, that they will rise up and throw him out.”
On May 23, 1999, Lieberman repeated this call for indiscriminate terrorist bombing of civilian targets in Serbia on Fox News. When the presenter said, “But wait, I thought we weren’t trying to make life miserable for regular, every day Serbs,” Lieberman’s answer was unambiguous:
Oh, we are. I mean that’s what we’ve been doing for the last couple of months. We’re not only hitting military targets, otherwise why would we be cutting off the water supply and knocking out the power stations—turning the lights out. We’re trying through the air campaign to break the will of the Serbian people so they will force their leader to break his will to then order the troops out of Kosovo.
A paragon of moral virtue was actively advocating war crimes against innocent (“regular”) civilians. Lieberman additionally repaid his Albanian benefactors by sponsoring the infamous “Kosovo Self-Defense Act” that would have provided $25 million of U.S. taxpayers’ money to equip 10,000 KLA “fighters” with arms and anti-tank weapons. In the event Lieberman’s KLA friends did not need additional arms: they were given a free hand to kill and expel non-Albanians from Kosovo under the benevolent gaze of NATO occupiers. He remaind mute following last month’s revelations that his KLA protégés were involved in organ harvesting and heroin trafficking on a grand scale.
Joseph Lieberman has been described as “the conscience of the U.S. Senate.” Indeed, just as Luca Brasi was the conscience of the Corleone family.
The details of an elaborate KLA-run human organ harvesting ring, broadly known for years, have been confirmed by a Council of Europe report published on December 15. The report, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking of human organs in Kosovo” identifies the province’s recently re-elected “prime minister” Hashim Thaçi as the boss of a “mafia-like” Albanian group specialized in smuggling weapons, drugs, people, and human organs all over Europe. The report reveals that Thaçi’s closest aides were taking Serbs across the border into Albania after the war, murdering them, and selling their organs on the black market. In addition, the report accuses Thaçi of having exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade for a decade.
Deliberate Destrution of Evidence – Long dismissed in the mainstream media as “Serbian propaganda,” the allegations of organ trafficking – familiarto our readers – were ignored in the West until early 2008, when Carla Del Ponte, former Prosecutor at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague, revealed in her memoirs that she had been prevented from initiating any serious investigation into its merits. She also revealed – shockingly – that some elements of proof taken by ICTY field investigators from the notorious “Yellow House” in the Albanian town of Rripe were destroyed at The Hague, thus enabling the KLA and their Western enablers to claim that “there was no evidence” for the organ trafficking allegations.
In April 2008, prompted by Del Ponte’s revelations, seventeen European parliamentarians signed a motion for a resolution calling on the Assembly to examine the allegations. The matter was referred to the Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which in June 2008 appointed Swiss senator Dick Marty as its rapporteur. He had gained international prominence by his previous investigation of accusations that the CIA abducted and imprisoned terrorism suspects in Europe.
“Genuine Terror” – In his Introductory Remarks Marty revealed some of the “extraordinary challenges of this assignment”: the acts alleged purportedly took place a decade ago, they were not properly investigated by any of the national and international authorities with jurisdiction over the territories concerned. In addition, Marty went on,
… efforts to establish the facts of the Kosovo conflict and punish the attendant war crimes had primarily been concentrated in one direction, based on an implicit presumption that one side were the victims and the other side the perpetrators. As we shall see, the reality seems to have been more complex. The structure of Kosovar Albanian society, still very much clan-orientated, and the absence of a true civil society have made it extremely difficult to set up contacts with local sources. This is compounded by fear, often to the point of genuine terror, which we have observed in some of our informants immediately upon broaching the subject of our inquiry. Even certain representatives of international institutions did not conceal their reluctance to grapple with these facts: “The past is the past”, we were told; “we must now look to the future.”
The report says Thaçi’s links with organized crime go back to the late 1990’s, when his Drenica Group became the dominant faction within the KLA. By 1998 he was able to grab control of “most of the illicit criminal enterprises” in Albania itself. Thaçi and four other members of the Drenica Group are named as personally guilty of assassinations, detentions and beatings:
In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica Group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics… Thaçi and these other Drenica Group members are consistently named as “key players” in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime. I have examined these diverse, voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage.
Marty notes that the international community chose to ignore war crimes by the KLA, enabling Thaçi’s forces to conduct a campaign of murdereous terror against Serbs, Roma, and Albanians accused of collaborating with the Serbs. Some 500 of them “disappeared after the arrival of KFOR troops on 12 June 1999,” about a hundred Albanians and 400 others, most of them Serbs. Some of these civilians had been secretly imprisoned by the KLA at different locations in northern Albania, the report adds, “and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing.” Captives were “filtered” in ad-hoc prisons for their suitability for organ harvesting based on sex, age, health and ethnic origin. They were then sent to the last stop – a makeshift clinic near Fushë-Krujë, close to the Tirana airport:
As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.
Thaçi the Untouchable – The report states that Thaçi’s Drenica Group “bear the greatest responsibility” for the prisons and the fate of those held in them. It criticizes the governments supportive of Kosovo’s independence for not holding to account senior Albanians in Kosovo, including Thaçi, and of lacking the will to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA. The diplomatic and political support by such powers “bestowed upon Thaçi, not least in his own mind, a sense of being untouchable.”
Marty concludes that “[t]he signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored,” but “the international authorities in charge of the region did not consider it necessary to conduct a detailed examination of these circumstances, or did so incompletely and superficially.”
Following Marty’s presentation of the report to the Council of Europe in Paris on December 16 it will be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on January 25.
Media Reaction – Within days of the publication of Marty’s report, numerous of excellent articles were published in the mainstream media Europe linking his revelations with the broader problem of NATO’s war against the Serbs in 1999, the precedent it had created for Afghanistan and Iraq, and the nature of the “Kosovar” society today.
Neil Clark in The Guardian assailed “the myth of liberal intervention.” Far from being Tony Blair’s “good” war, he wrote, the assault on Yugoslavia was as wrong as the invasion of Iraq:
It was a fiction many on the liberal left bought into. In 1999 Blair was seen not as a duplicitous warmonger in hock to the US but as an ethical leader taking a stand against ethnic cleansing. But if the west had wanted to act morally in the Balkans and to protect the people in Kosovo there were solutions other than war with the Serbs, and options other than backing the KLA – the most violent group in Kosovan politics… Instead, a virulently anti-Serb stance led the west into taking ever more extreme positions, and siding with an organisation which even Robert Gelbard, President Clinton’s special envoy to Kosovo, described as “without any question, a terrorist group.”
Clark reminds us that it was the KLA’s campaign of violence in 1998 which led to an escalation of the conflict with the government in Belgrade. “We were told the outbreak of war in March 1999 with NASTO was the Serbian government’s fault,” he adds, yet Lord Gilbert, the UK defence minister, admitted “the terms put to Miloševic at Rambouillet [the international conference preceding the war] were absolutely intolerable … it was quite deliberate.” Then came the NATO occupation, under which an estimated 200,000 ethnic Serbs and other minorities from south Kosovo, and almost the whole Serb population of Pristina, have been forced from their homes. But as the Iraq war has become discredited, Clark concludes,
so it is even more important for the supporters of “liberal interventionism” to promote the line that Kosovo was in some way a success. The Council of Europe’s report on the KLA’s crimes makes that position much harder to maintain. And if it plays its part in making people more sceptical about any future western “liberal interventions”, it is to be warmly welcomed.
Tony Blair has some very bizarre friends, wrote Stephen Glover in The Daily Mail, but a monster who traded in human body parts beats the lot. The prime minister of Kosovo is painted by the report as a major war criminal presiding over a corrupt and dysfunctional state, Glover says, and yet this same Mr Thaci and his associates in the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army were put in place after the U.S. and Britain launched an onslaught in March 1999 against Serbia, dropping more than 250,000 and killing an estimated 1,500 blameless civilians:
This was Mr Blair’s first big war, and it paved the way for the subsequent Western invasion of Iraq. The crucial difference is that while the Left in general and the Lib Dems in particular opposed the war against Saddam Hussein, both were among Mr Blair’s main cheerleaders as he persuaded President Bill Clinton to join forces with him in crushing Serbia.
Both London and Washington tended to ignore atrocities committed by Hashim Thaci’s KLA, Glover concludes, and offered unacceptably draconian terms to the Serbs “because by that stage Blair and Clinton preferred war”:
Those were the days, of course, when most of the media thought Tony Blair could do no wrong. His military success in 1999 convinced him that Britain could and should play the role of the world’s number two policeman to the U.S. A messianic note entered his rhetoric, as at the 2001 Labour party conference, when he raved that ‘the kaleidoscope has been shaken… Let us re-order this world about us.” … What happened in Kosovo helped shape subsequent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is richly ironic that ‘liberated’ Kosovo should now be a failed, gangster state… With his messianic certainties, the morally bipolar Tony Blair liked to divide the world into ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’, having presumptuously placed himself in the first category. How fitting that this begetter of war after war should end up by receiving the Golden Medal of Freedom from a monster who traded in body parts.
U.S. Damage Limitation and Self-Censorship – Such commentary is light years away from the feeble and half-hearted reporting in the American mainstream media. The Chicago Tribune, for instance, did not deem it fit to publish a story about the Council of Europe report itself. It published two related items critical of the report instead, on the European Union expressing doubt about its factual basis and on the “government” of Kosovo planning to sue Dick Marty for libel. No major daily has published a word of doubt about Bill Clinton’s wisdom of waging a war on behalf of Thaçi and his cohorts a decade ago, or perpetuating the myth of it having been a good war today.
That Thaçi aka “The Snake” is a criminal as well as a war criminal is no news, of course. The intriguing question is who, on the European side, wanted to end his “untouchable” status, why now, and what is the U.S. Government – his principal enabler and abettor – going to do about it.
Unsurprisingly, Thaçi’s “government” dismissed the report on December 14 as “baseless and defamatory.” On that same day Hashim Thaçi wrote in a telegram to President Obama that “the death of Richard Holbrooke is a loss of a friend.” “The Snake” has many other friends in Washington, however, people like US senator (and current foe of WikiLeaks) Joseph Lieberman, who declared back in 1999 at the height of the US-led war against the Serbs that “the United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles … Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.” Thaçi’s photos with top U.S. officials are a virtual Who’s Who of successive Administrations over the past 12 years: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Albright, Bush, Rice, Biden, Wesley Clark…
Thaçi’s American enablers and their media minions are already embarking on a bipartisan damage-limitation exercise. Its twin pillars will be the assertion that the report rests on flimsy factual evidence, an attempt to discredit Dick Marty personally, and the claim the Council of Europe as an irrelevant talking shop.
A few hours before Richard Holbrooke’s death last Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a group of America’s top diplomats gathered at the State Department for a Christmas party that he was “practically synonymous with American foreign policy.” Her assessment is correct: Richard Holbrooke’s career embodies some of the least attractive traits of contemporary American diplomacy.
As assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under Jimmy Carter, Holbrooke was instrumental in securing continued U.S. support for Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor. In 1997 he authorized arms deliveries to Indonesia in violation of the supposed U.S. arms embargo against Suharto’s regime. It was during this period the suppression of the Christian Timorese by the Muslim Indonesians reached genocidal levels, killing 200,000 people or about a third of the island’s population. Holbrooke’s 1997 response to a reporter’s question about the tragedy to which he had directly contributed was illustrative of his character and style: “I want to stress I am not remotely interested in getting involved in an argument over the actual number of people killed. People were killed and that always is a tragedy but what is at issue is the actual situation in Timor today… [As for the numbers of victims] … we are never going to know anyway. “
True to form, Holbrooke lied to Congress in 1979 that the famine in East Timor – caused by the Indonesian army’s scorched-earth campaign – was a belated consequence of Portuguese colonial misrule. Over two decades later, in a lavish tribute to the diplomatic skill of his friend Paul Wolfowitz – who was the US ambassador to Indonesia at that time – Holbrooke boasted how “Paul and I have been in frequent touch to make sure that we keep East Timor out of the  presidential campaign, where it would do no good to American or Indonesian interests.”
Far from “bringing peace to Bosnia” at Dayton in 1995, Holbrooke presided over the imposition of a package broadly similar to the 1992 Lisbon Plan brokered by the European Union – the deal which could have avoided the war altogether but which was deliberately torpedoed from Washington. The chief outcome of the Bosnian war was a NATO transformed into a tool of U.S. hegemony, and the renewal of American dominance in European affairs to an extent not seen since Kennedy. The settlement at Dayton was not unlike a plausible compromise that would have been reached much earlier had America remained on the sidelines; but the meaning of Dayton was evident from Holbrooke’s boast, a year later, “We are re-engaged in the world, and Bosnia was the test.”
As special representative to Cyprus in 1997, Holbrooke irritated the Europeans by his strident advocacy of Turkey’s membership in the European Union. His bias in favor of Muslim Turks against Christian Greeks in the divided island reflected a consistent bipartisan trend in U.S. foreign policy making. Holbrooke was not the creator of that trend, but he was its enthusiastic supporter – from Indonesia to Bosnia, from Cyprus to Kosovo.
In 1998 Holbrooke was back in the Balkans, preparing the ground for Clinton’s Kosovo war against Serbia. On June 24 of that year he met with the KLA commander Gani Shehu in the village of Junik, near the Yugoslav-Albanian border, dutifully taking his shoes off like a good dhimmi. He promised American support for the the KLA campaign of violence against the Serbs. Earlier that year Clinton’s Balkans envoy Robert Gelbard correctly characterized the KLA as a terrorist organization, but Holbrooke’s visit signified a change of policy and directly led to Racak, Rambouillet, NATO bombing, and Kosovo’s transformation into the Jihadist mafia state that it is today.
The most eloquent epitaphs are crafted while the person is still alive. Borrowing a page out of Richard Holbrooke’s diplomatic manual, Vice President Joe Biden called him “the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.” Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, until last March the top UN official in Afghanistan, said five weeks ago of Holbrooke’s Afghan performance, “This is not the Balkans, where you can bully people into accepting a solution.” Eide added that the U.S. Special Envoy did not fully grasp “the complexity of the Afghan political scene.”
Holbrooke’s grasp of the complexities was illustrated by his calling the Serbs “murderous assholes” and by referring to Radovan Karadzic as the Osama Bin Laden of Europe. He was “synonymous with American foreign policy,” indeed: he was a coarse, arrogant bully who understood diplomacy as the art of imposing one’s will at the point of a gun. Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was a bad man advocating and implementing bad policies.