For the last several years, the press on the disastrous North American Union has been off front-page news. Nonetheless, the plans to remove barriers and open up borders keeps chucking along. Those who belief this course is desirable or those who conclude that it is unpreventable because the climate of globalization is overpowering, are subversive collaborators of the NWO or gutless wimps that deserve to be run over by the hordes of barbarians that flood our country.Jerome R. Corsi writes in the essay, Kerry signals advance of ‘North American Union’ plan, “with the expected ratification by Congress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, the Obama administration already considers the U.S., Mexico and Canada as part of a “post-NAFTA” world.” What a horrendous admission to make. As stated in the article,
Obama Presses “North American Union” With Mexico, Canada, and this plan for hemispheric integration has a very long record of treason. Some background leading to the current crisis.
“Following the establishment of NAFTA in 1994, under the Clinton administration, President George W. Bush attempted to deepen the U.S.-Canada-Mexico tri-national region with the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), but public opposition spearheaded by this publication, The John Birch Society, WorldNetDaily, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, and other pro-independence, pro-Constitution groups, forced the Bush administration to shelve the plan — temporarily — and drop the tainted SPP moniker.
At the same time, the Bush administration was pushing the broadening agenda, under the banner of the Free Trade Area of the America’s (FTAA), an endeavor launched during the Clinton administration to expand NAFTA to include all the nations of North and South America. As with the SPP, an awakened electorate put sufficient heat on the U.S. Congress to torpedo the FTAA. The subversive integration/merger plans that The New American had been exposing for years were confirmed in 2011 with the release by WikiLeaks of U.S. State Department cables showing that U.S. officials had been colluding with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts to undermine our constitutional government through various “integration” schemes. (See here and here.)”
Therefore, it comes as no surprise when General Petraeus announces, “After America Comes North America.” He also boasted about how the three economies have been put “together” over the last 20 years as part of the “implementation” of the North American Free Trade Act. As The New American publication proves, resistance to a NAU is not only justified but also necessary if America is to survive as an independent nation.Back in 2006, Dr. Corsi refutes NeoCon proponent John Hawkins, who uses Saul D. Alinsky tactics, in Human Events account that NORTH AMERICAN UNION IS NO CONSPIRACY. The point is that the Obama administration is carrying forward the same strategy, ever protected by the lame stream media, to advance the disintegration of American sovereignty.
The video, NORTH AMERICAN UNION FORMING NOW!! THIS IS THE END OF THE U.S.A, provides a vivid analysis just what is at stake. In addition, one example of the methods used by Obama is reveled in the 2012 column, New Obama Executive Order Pushes Us Closer To A North American Union And A One World Economic System.
“Most Americans have absolutely no idea how far plans to integrate the United States, Canada and Mexico have advanced.
Last year, Barack Obama signed an agreement to create a “North American security perimeter” and most Americans never even heard about it because the mainstream news networks almost entirely ignored it.
But this is exactly what the globalists want. They don’t want people to become alarmed by these moves toward North American integration. In fact, a document uncovered by Wikileaks shows that those involved in the effort to integrate North America believe that an “incremental” approach is best. Apparently they believe that small moves toward integration are less likely to alarm the general population.”
Well, the pretence looks to be over. The fear of alarming American nationalists no longer exists. However, the Homeland Security policy to open the southern border is backfiring as seen in the article, Border Patrol Agents Quitting as Obama’s Mass Invasion Mess at The Border Permeates the Rest of the Country.
“And now our Border Patrol agents are saying, screw it, and looking for new careers/jobs as known Mexican gang members are enjoying the Obama/Holder ‘catch and release’ policy.More than one person is concluding the Obama administration is responsible and has intentionally set this massive border mess into motion with his policies on immigration, hoping to force amnesty as his solution to the man-made disaster and humanitarian crisis (which is designed to never allow to go to waste) of his making.”
Clearly the establishment’s efforts to create a fabricated immigration crisis in order to force a bogus “comprehensive” consolidation in this dreadful North American Union, is at the core of the mass migration. For the bleeding heart do-gooders, the death trains cry out for a more humane mode of transportation to import the Central America into the former Republic of the United States.
One such redemptive fix is to interject a dose of altruism. Replace the clingers on boxcars, reminiscent of Indian Dalit untouchables, with the sleek travel experience of the U.S. and Mexico could be connected by multi-billion-dollar high speed train within FOUR YEARS.
“A multi-billion-dollar high-speed train network linking America with Mexico moved a step closer as officials from both sides of the border thrashed out details.
The proposed 300 mile route would link San Antonio, Texas, to Monterrey, Mexico – slashing the current journey time from five hours by car to under two hours.”
Just look at the advantages of streamlining a direct route from Mexico, that bypasses any border checkpoints and deposits these “PC” undocumented immigrants directly to resettlement facilities. The return trip south can be used to transport Fast and Furious guns, useful in the drug trade, which is central to the economics of laundering monies in the North American Union hierarchy.A decade ago, the article, Do Foreigners Have a Right to Enter the United States?, covered the efforts of Asa Hutchinson, the then Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security.
“Starting this week foreign visitors will be digitally fingerprinted and photographed as part of a nationwide program to check their backgrounds and keep track of when they enter and leave the United States. On the surface this looks like a necessary and desirable procedure. This procedure is the first phase of the Department of Homeland Security’s automated entry-exit system called the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, or US-VISIT.”
Guess that tracking system proved too much of a burden for the latest rush to process these “so called” undocumented migrants. Oh yes, let’s correct the terminology; this mass exodus wants to stay permanently in the only country that allows open borders for the premeditated and systemic destruction of their own nation.With the open admission that Former Border Patrol Agents: Illegal Immigration Crisis “Contrived”, does any federal officials listen, much less act to close the border? The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) released a statement:
“This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor Illegal Alien children at risk for purely political purposes. Certainly, we are not gullible enough to believe that thousands of unaccompanied minor Central American children came to America without the encouragement, aid and assistance of the United States Government. Anyone that has taken two six to seven year old children to an amusement park can only imagine the problems associated with bringing thousands of unaccompanied children that age up through Mexico and into the United States. I doubt even the Cartels would undertake that chore at any price. No, it has to be heartless corrupt politicians and their minions lusting for more money and power.”
There a few issues more absolute than the words of Ronald Reagan, “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” When Congressional Rep. Steve King says that “Ronald Reagan’s signature on the 1986 amnesty act” gave Barack Obama about 15 million additional Hispanic votes in 2012, he is prophesying even a worse future and inevitable prospects under a North American Union.
Reading a headline in the New York Times, Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level, one needs to ponder what it would take for a defensive deployment on the southern border. If General John “Black Jack” Pershing was sent to track down Pancho Villa, what prevents permanent military patrols to simply guard the border? Obviously, there is not any junior grade George S. Patton’s in the army that would have the courage to buck the commander of treason. This border war is the true existential threat that Americans do not have the stomach to fight.Those who propagate a North American Union are globalists and hate everything that the authentic America stands for. Look in a mirror, that ugly face could be you, if you fall for the propaganda of the NAU.
What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?
US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”
President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”
Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”
Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”
Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”
John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”
Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010:
“Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”
Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007:
“In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”
Gallup poll, 2013:
Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”
- United States 24%
- Pakistan 8%
- China 6%
- Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
- India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
- Syria 3%
- Russia 2%
- Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%
The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?
Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”
The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”
This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.
But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.
In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.” … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.” … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.” …
In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force. And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals.
If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.
The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present.
The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.
As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28  in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.
The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.
But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.
Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.
These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.
It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.
Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”
In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”
On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.
On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.
So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?
The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.
And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:
“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.”
And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.
“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”
- Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1994
- Washington Post, July 18, 2001
- BBC, August 14, 2004
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser, June 23 and July 2, 2012
- Tim Weiner, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” (2007), p.116-21
- Washington Post, August 30, 2005
- Washington Post, June 6, 2014
- Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on the June 21, 2007 edition of Democracy Now!
As the US and EU apply sanctions on Russia over its annexation’ of Crimea, JP Sottile reveals the corporate annexation of Ukraine. For Cargill, Chevron, Monsanto, there’s a gold mine of profits to be made from agri-business and energy exploitation.
On 12th January 2014, a reported 50,000 “pro-Western” Ukrainiansdescended upon Kiev’s Independence Square to protest against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Stoked in part by an attack on opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko, the protest marked the beginning of the end of Yanukovych’s four year-long government.
That same day, the Financial Timesreported a major deal for US agribusiness titan Cargill.
Business confidence never faltered
Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming.
According to the Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer. And those aren’t the only eggs in Cargill’s increasingly ample basket.
On 13th December 2013, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea grain terminal at Novorossiysk on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
The port — to the east of Russia’s strategically and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.
Cargill has been in Ukraine for over two decades, investing in grain elevators and acquiring a major Ukrainian animal feed company in 2011. And, based on its investment in UkrLandFarming, Cargill was decidedly confident amidst the post-EU deal chaos.
It’s a stark juxtaposition to the alarm bells ringing out from the US media, bellicose politicians on Capitol Hill and perplexed policymakers in the White House.
Instability?… What Instablility?
It’s even starker when compared to the anxiety expressed by Morgan Williams, President and CEO of the US-Ukraine Business Council — which, according to its website, has been“promoting US-Ukraine business relations since 1995.”
Williams was interviewed by the International Business Times on March 13 and, despite Cargill’s demonstrated willingness to spend, he said, “The instability has forced businesses to just go about their daily business and not make future plans for investment, expansion and hiring more employees.”
In fact, Williams, who does double-duty as Director of Government Affairs at the private equity firm SigmaBleyzer, claimed, “Business plans have been at a standstill.”
Apparently, he wasn’t aware of Cargill’s investment, which is odd given the fact that he could’ve simply called Van A. Yeutter, Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Cargill, and asked him about his company’s quite active business plan.
There is little doubt Williams has the phone number because Mr. Yuetter serves on the Executive Committee of the selfsame US-Ukraine Business Council. It’s quite a cozy investment club, too.
According to his SigmaBleyzer profile, Williams “started his work regarding Ukraine in 1992″ and has since advised American agribusinesses “investing in the former Soviet Union.” As an experienced fixer for Big Ag, he must be fairly friendly with the folks on the Executive Committee.
Big Ag Luminaries — Monsanto, Eli Lilly, Dupont, John Deere…
And what a committee it is — it’s a veritable who’s who of Big Ag. Among the luminaries working tirelessly and no doubt selflessly for a better, freer Ukraine are:
- Melissa Agustin, Director, International Government Affairs & Trade for Monsanto;
- Brigitte Dias Ferreira, Counsel, International Affairs for John Deere;
- Steven Nadherny, Director, Institutional Relations for agriculture equipment-makerCNH Industrial;
- Jeff Rowe, Regional Director for DuPont Pioneer;
- John F. Steele, Director, International Affairs for Eli Lilly & Company.
And, of course, Cargill’s Van A. Yeutter. But Cargill isn’t alone in their warm feelings toward Ukraine. As Reuters reported in May 2013, Monsanto — the largest seed company in the world — plans to build a $140 million “non-GM (genetically modified) corn seed plant in Ukraine.”
And right after the decision on the EU trade deal, Jesus Madrazo, Monsanto’s Vice President for Corporate Engagement, reaffirmed his company’s “commitment to Ukraine”and “the importance of creating a favorable environment that encourages innovation and fosters the continued development of agriculture.”
Monsanto’s strategy includes a little “hearts and minds” public relations, too. On the heels of Mr. Madrazo’s reaffirmation, Monsanto announced “a social development program titled ‘Grain Basket of the Future’ to help rural villagers in the country improve their quality of life.”
The initiative will dole out grants of up to $25,000 to develop programs providing“educational opportunities, community empowerment, or small business development.”
Immense Economic Importance
The well-crafted moniker ‘Grain Basket of the Future’ is telling because, once upon a time, Ukraine was known as ‘the breadbasket’ of the Soviet Union. The CIA ranks Soviet-era Ukraine second only to Mother Russia as the “most economically important component of the former Soviet Union.”
In many ways, the farmland of Ukraine was the backbone of the USSR. Its fertile black soil generated over a quarter of the USSR’s agriculture. It exported substantial quantities of food to other republics and its farms generated four times the output of the next-ranking republic.
Although Ukraine’s agricultural output plummeted in the first decade after the break-up of the Soviet Union, the farming sector has been growing spectacularly in recent years.
While Europe struggled to shake-off the Great Recession, Ukraine’s agriculture sector grew 13.7% in 2013.
According to the Centre for Eastern Studies, Ukraine’s agricultural exports rose from $4.3 billion in 2005 to $17.9 billion in 2012 and, harkening the heyday of the USSR, farming currently accounts for 25% of its total exports. Ukraine is also the world’s third-largest exporter of wheat and of corn. And corn is not just food. It is also ethanol.
But people gotta eat — particularly in Europe. As Frank Holmes of US Global Investorsassessed in 2011, Ukraine is poised to become Europe’s butcher. Meat is difficult to ship, but Ukraine is perfectly located to satiate Europe’s hunger.
Just two days after Cargill bought into UkrLandFarming, Global Meat News reported a huge forecasted spike in “all kinds” of Ukrainian meat exports, with an increase of 8.1% overall and staggering 71.4% spike in pork exports.
No wonder Eli Lilly is represented on the US-Ukraine Business Council’s Executive Committee. Its Elanco Animal Health unit is a major manufacturer of feed supplements.
And it is also notable that Monsanto’s planned seed plant is non-GMO, perhaps anticipating an emerging GMO-unfriendly European market and Europe’s growing appetite for organic foods. When it comes to Big Ag’s profitable future in Europe, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
A Long String of Russian Losses
For Russia and its hampered farming economy, it’s another in a long string of losses to US encroachment — from NATO expansion into Eastern Europe to US military presence to its south and onto a major shale gas development deal recently signed by Chevron in Ukraine.
So, why was Big Ag so bullish on Ukraine, even in the face of so much uncertainty and the predictable reaction by Russia?
The answer is that the seeds of Ukraine’s turn from Russia have been sown for the last two decades by the persistent Cold War alliance between corporations and foreign policy. It’s a version of the ‘Deep State‘ that is usually associated with the oil and defense industries, but also exists in America’s other heavily subsidized industry — agriculture.
Morgan Williams is at the nexus of Big Ag’s alliance with US foreign policy. To wit,SigmaBleyzer touts Mr. Williams’ work with “various agencies of the US government, members of Congress, congressional committees, the Embassy of Ukraine to the US, international financial institutions, think tanks and other organizations on US-Ukraine business, trade, investment and economic development issues.”
Freedom — For US Business
As President of the US-Ukraine Business Council, Williams has access to Council cohort — David Kramer, President of Freedom House. Officially a non-governmental organization, it has been linked with overt and covert ‘democracy’ efforts in places where the door isn’t open to American interests — aka US corporations.
Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute helped fund and support the Ukrainian ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004. Freedom House is funded directly by the US Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the US Department of State.
David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.
Nuland’s $5 Billion For Ukrainian ‘Democracy’
That puts Kramer and, by one degree of separation, Big Ag fixer Morgan Williams in the company of PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan who, as coincidence would have it, is married to Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland, the current Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Interestingly enough, Ms. Nuland spoke to the US-Ukrainian Foundation last 13th December, extolling the virtues of the Euromaidan movement as the embodiment of “the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies.”
Nuland also told the group that the United States had invested more than $5 billion in support of Ukraine’s “European aspirations” — meaning pulling Ukraine away from Russia. She made her remarks on a dais featuring a backdrop emblazoned with a Chevron logo.
Also, her colleague and phone call buddy US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt helped Chevron cook up their 50-year shale gas deal right in Russia’s kitchen.
Coca-Cola, Exxon-Mobil, Raytheon
Although Chevron sponsored that event, it is not listed as a supporter of the Foundation. But the Foundation does list the Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil and Raytheon as major sponsors. And, to close the circle of influence, the US-Ukraine Business Council is also listed as a supporter.
Which brings the story back to Big Ag’s fixer — Morgan Williams.
Although he was glum about the current state of investment in Ukraine, he’s gotta wear shades when he looks into the future. He told the International Business Times:
“The potential here for agriculture / agribusiness is amazing … Production here could double. The world needs the food Ukraine could produce in the future. Ukraine’s agriculture could be a real gold mine.”
Of course, his priority is to ensure that the bread of well-connected businesses gets lavishly buttered in Russia’s former breadbasket. And there is no better connected group of Ukraine-interested corporations than American agribusiness.
Given the extent of US official involvement in Ukrainian politics — including the interesting fact that Ambassador Pyatt pledged US assistance to the new government in investigating and rooting-out corruption — Cargill’s seemingly risky investment strategy probably wasn’t that risky, after all.
J P Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa. He blogs at Newsvandal.com.
Source: JP Sottile | Ecologist
Recent statements attributed to Secretary of State John Kerry show him again positioning the US to attack Syria. In a leaked report to the Washington Post, Kerry was quoted as saying that Obama’s Syria policy is failing and that it is time to change the strategy.
These are remarks that deserve further scrutiny. As it turns out, Kerry is dismayed that Syria has not destroyed its estimated 1300 tons of chemical weapons in a scant six months.
Syria has responded by stating that the actions of the rebels in that war torn country has disrupted the conveyance of the weapons to the appointed place.
It should be noted that when the United States joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, it pledged to destroy all its chemical weapons within ten years.
The deadline came and went and the US did not comply. The US received another deadline, for 2012. And once again, failed to achieve this deadline.
And now, the US, which reportedly still has about 3000 tons of chemical weapons in its stockpiles, has stated it will not be able to comply with the treaty mandate until 2023.
What’s wrong with this picture? The US can’t but Syria must?
Obama initially responded dramatically to the report of the alleged gas attack near Damascus, an attack which was said to have taken place on August 21, 2013. He announced that he would make a targeted military strike on Syria, a decision which was subsequently derailed by Russian President Putin, who suggested that Syria join the CWC and move to destroy its chemical weapons cache.
Questions arose immediately as to the veracity of the report of the alleged gas attack. Hacked emails surfaced which incurred grave questions as to whether or not the alleged gas attack even took place. These emails showed one Army Colonel Anthony J. MacDonald chatting with a DoD employee, Eugene Furst, and others in a manner which raised some questions as to possible military or defense contractor involvement in the alleged gas attack.
Here is a partial thread between MacDonald and Furst. In the MacDonald/Furst exchange, we see Furst congratulating MacDonald on August 22, 2013, referencing the gas attack:
“By the way, saw your latest success, my congratulations. Good job
On the same date, MacDonald replied:
“As you see I’m far from this now, but I know our guys did their best.”
Further hacked emails between MacDonald’s wife and a friend raise questions as to whether or not the alleged attack was staged, “for the cameras,” as Jennifer MacDonald wrote to her friend, Mary Shapiro.
When the Army was contacted about its response to these hacked emails, the reply was firm but somewhat evasive. Press Officer Lt Col Donald Peters told this reporter that the matter was under investigation and therefore no further comment could be tendered at that time.
As it turned out, the issues surrounding the hacked emails were not investigated. Peters attempted to persuade this reporter that as MacDonald allegedly retired from the military on August 15, right before the incident, that the Army had no cause to investigate.
However, according to his Linked in page, MacDonald is still with the Army and is now serving as a Supervisory Intelligence Specialist.
When confronted with this, Army Press Officer Peters issued a No Comment.
Various sources, including the Sunshine Project, have stated that the US repeatedly violated the CWC and used these illegal weapons in its war against Iraq. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/US_violates_chemical_weapons_convention
The Iraqi war was also found to have been launched on bogus intelligence. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq. They were, however, used against the Iraqis by the US government.
The massive destabilization of the region through the US’s repeated and spurious declarations of threat will have a blow back that few can predict. Syria has promised to attack Israel should Obama launch a military action against that country. Is Obama so foolish as to put his purported ally, Israel, at this elevated a risk?
Or was this the plan, all along? In the shadowy world of intelligence and propaganda, little is what it appears to be. The US government and corporate accommodation of the Nazi extermination programs is a matter of historical record. The only question left is whether or not the US’s “special interest” in eugenics is still ongoing.
This scenario is not what we have been led to believe would occur. But history supports this perception. And history, as we know, also has a nasty way of repeating itself.
A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.
1. Mainstream media exists solely to make profit
What´s the purpose of the mainstream media? Saying that the press exists to inform, educate or entertain is like saying Apple corporation´s primary function is to make technology which will enrich our lives. Actually, the mass media industry is the same as any other in a capitalist society: it exists to make profit. Medialens, a British campaigning site which critiques mainstream (or corporate) journalism, quotedbusiness journalist Marjorie Kelly as saying that all corporations, including those dealing with media, exist only to maximize returns to their shareholders. This is, she said, ´the law of the land…universally accepted as a kind of divine, unchallengeable truth´. Without pleasing shareholders and a board of directors, mass media enterprises simply would not exist. And once you understand this, you´ll never watch the news in the same way again.
2. Advertisers dictate content
So how does the pursuit of profit affect the news we consume? Media corporations make the vast majority (typically around 75%) of their profit from advertising, meaning it´s advertisers themselves that dictate content- not journalists, and certainly not consumers. Imagine you are editor of a successful newspaper or TV channel with high circulation or viewing figures. You attract revenue from big brands and multinational corporations such as BP, Monsanto and UAE airlines. How could you then tackle important topics such as climate change, GM food or disastrous oil spills in a way that is both honest to your audience and favorable to your clients? The simple answer is you can´t. This might explain why Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times- sponsored by Goldman Sachs- is so keen todefend the crooked corporation. Andrew Marr, a political correspondent for the BBC, sums up the dilemma in his autobiography: ´The biggest question is whether advertising limits and reshapes the news agenda. It does, of course. It’s hard to make the sums add up when you are kicking the people who write the cheques.´ Enough said…
3. Billionaire tycoons & media monopolies threaten real journalism
The monopolization of the press (fewer individuals or organizations controlling increasing shares of the mass media) is growingyear by year, and this is a grave danger to press ethics and diversity. Media mogul RupertMurdoch´s neo-liberal personal politics are reflected in his 175 newspapers and endorsed by pundits (see Fox news) on the 123 TV channels he owns in the USA alone. Anyone who isn´t worried by this one man´s view of the world being consumed by millions of people across the globe- from the USA to the UK, New Zealand to Asia, Europe to Australia- isn´t thinking hard enough about the consequences. It´s a grotesquely all-encompassing monopoly, leaving no doubt that Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in the world. But as the News International phone hacking scandal showed, he´s certainly not the most honorable or ethical. Neither is AlexanderLebedev, a former KGB spy and politician who bought British newspaper The Independent in 2010. With Lebedev´s fingers in so many pies (the billionaire oligarch is into everything from investment banking to airlines), can we really expect news coverage from this once well-respected publication to continue in the same vein? Obviously not: the paper had always carried a banner on its front page declaring itself ´free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence´, but interestingly this was dropped in September 2011.
4. Corporate press is in bed with the government
Aside from the obvious, one of the most disturbing facts to emerge from Murdoch´s News International phone hacking scandal (background information here ) was the exposure of shady connections between top government officials and press tycoons. During the scandal, and throughout the subsequent Leveson inquiry into British press ethics (or lack of them), we learned of secret meetings, threatsby Murdoch to politicians who didn´t do as he wanted, and that Prime Minister David Cameron has a very close friendship with The Sun´s then editor-in-chief (and CEO of News International) Rebekah Brooks. How can journalists do their job of holding politicians to account when they are vacationing together or rubbing shoulders at private dinner parties? Clearly, they don´t intend to. But the support works both ways- Cameron´s government tried to help Murdoch´s son win a bid for BSkyB, while bizarrely, warmongering ex Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Murdoch´s daughter Grace. As well as ensuring an overwhelming bias in news coverage and election campaigns, flooding newspapers with cheap and easy articles from unquestioned government sources, and gagging writers from criticizing those in power, these secret connections also account for much of the corporate media´s incessant peddling of the patriotism lie- especially in the lead-up to attacks on other countries. Here´s an interestinganalysis of The New York Times´s coverage of the current Syria situation for example, demonstrating how corporate journalists are failing to reflect public feeling on the issue of a full-scale attack on Assad by the US and its allies.
5. Important stories are overshadowed by trivia
You could be forgiven for assuming that the most interesting part of Edward Snowden´s status as a whistleblower was his plane ride from Hong Kong to Russia, or his lengthy stint waiting in Moscow airport for someone- anyone- to offer him asylum. Because with the exception of The Guardian who published the leaks (read them in fullhere), the media has generally preferred not to focus on Snowden´s damning revelations about freedom and tyranny, but rather on banaltrivia – his personality and background, whether his girlfriend misses him, whether he is actually a Chinese spy, and ahhh, didn´t he remind us all of Where´s Waldo as he flitted across the globe as a wanted fugitive? The same could be said of Bradley Manning´s gender re-assignment, which conveniently overshadowed the enormous injustice of his sentence. And what of Julian Assange? His profile on the globally-respected BBC is dedicated almost entirely to a subtle smearing of character, rather than detailing Wikileaks´s profound impact on our view of the world. In every case, the principal stories are forgotten as our attention, lost in a sea of trivia, is expertly diverted from the real issues at hand: those which invariably, the government wants us to forget.
6. Mainstream media doesn´t ask questions
´Check your sources, check your facts´ are golden rules in journalism 101, but you wouldn´t guess that from reading the mainstream press or watching corporate TV channels. At the time of writing, Obama is beating the war drums over Syria. Following accusations by the US and Britain that Assad was responsible for a nerve gas attack on his own civilians last month, most mainstream newspapers- like the afore-mentioned New York Times- have failed to demand evidence or call for restraint on a full-scale attack. But there are several good reasons why journalists should question the official story. Firstly, British right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail actually ran a news piece back in January this year, publishing leaked emails from a British arms company showing the US was planning a false flag chemical attack on Syria´s civilians. They would then blame it on Assad to gain public support for a subsequent full-scale invasion. The article was hastily deleted but a cached version still exists. Other recent evidence lends support to the unthinkable. It has emerged that the chemicals used to make the nerve gas were indeed shipped from Britain, and German intelligenceinsists Assad was not responsible for the chemical attack. Meanwhile, a hacktivist has come forward with alleged evidence of US intelligence agencies´ involvement in the massacre (download it for yourself here ), with a growing body of evidence suggesting this vile plot was hatched by Western powers. Never overlook the corporate media´s ties to big business and big government before accepting what you are told- because if journalism is dead, you have a right and a duty to ask your own questions.
7. Corporate journalists hate real journalists
Sirota rightly points out the irony of this: ´Here we have a reporter expressing excitement at the prospect of the government executing the publisher of information that became the basis for some of the most important journalism in the last decade.´ Sirota goes on to note various examples of what he calls the ´Journalists against Journalism club´, and gives severalexamples of how The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has been attacked by the corporate press for publishing Snowden´s leaks. The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin called for Greenwald’s arrest, while NBC’s David Gregory´s declared that Greenwald has ´aided and abetted Snowden´. As for the question of whether journalists can indeed be outspoken, Sirota accurately notes that it all depends on whether their opinions serve or challenge the status quo, and goes on to list the hypocrisy of Greenwald´s critics in depth: ´Grunwald has saber-rattling opinions that proudly support the government’s drone strikes and surveillance. Sorkin’s opinions promote Wall Street’s interests. (The Washington Post´s David) Broder had opinions that supported, among other things, the government’s corporate-serving “free” trade agenda. (The Washington Post´s Bob) Woodward has opinions backing an ever-bigger Pentagon budget that enriches defense contractors. (The Atlantic´s Jeffrey) Goldberg promotes the Military-Industrial Complex’s generally pro-war opinions. (The New York Times´s Thomas) Friedman is all of them combined, promoting both “free” trade and “suck on this” militarism. Because these voices loyally promote the unstated assumptions that serve the power structure and that dominate American politics, all of their particular opinions aren’t even typically portrayed as opinions; they are usually portrayed as noncontroversial objectivity.´
8. Bad news sells, good news is censored, and celebrity gossip trumps important issues
It´s sad but true: bad news really does sell more newspapers. But why? Are we really so pessimistic? Do we relish the suffering of others? Are we secretly glad that something terrible happened to someone else, not us? Reading the corporate press as an alien visiting Earth you might assume so. Generally, news coverage is sensationalist and depressing as hell, with so many pages dedicated to murder, rape and pedophilia and yet none to the billions of good deeds and amazingly inspirational movements taking place every minute of every day all over the planet. But the reasons we consume bad news are perfectly logical. In times of harmony and peace, people simply don´t feel the need to educate themselves as much as they do in times of crises. That´s good news for anyone beginning to despair that humans are apathetic, hateful and dumb, and it could even be argued that this sobering and simple fact is a great incentive for the mass media industry to do something worthwhile. They could start offering the positive and hopeful angle for a change. They could use dark periods of increased public interest to convey a message of peace and justice. They could reflect humanity´s desire for solutions and our urgent concerns for the environment. They could act as the voice of a global population who has had enough of violence and lies to campaign for transparency, equality, freedom, truth, and real democracy. Would that sell newspapers? I think so. They could even hold a few politicians to account on behalf of the people, wouldn´t that be something? But for the foreseeable future, it´s likely the corporate press will just distract our attention with another picture of Rhianna´s butt, another rumor about Justin Bieber´s coke habit, or another article about Kim Kardashian (who is she again?) wearing perspex heels with swollen ankles while pregnant. Who cares about the missing$21 trillion, what was she thinking?
9. Whoever controls language controls the population
Have you read George Orwell´s classic novel1984 yet? It´s become a clichéd reference in today´s dystopia, that´s true, but with good reason. There are many- too many- parallels between Orwell´s dark imaginary future and our current reality, but one important part of his vision concerned language. Orwell coined the word ´Newspeak´ to describe a simplistic version of the English language with the aim of limiting free thought on issues that would challenge the status quo (creativity, peace, and individualism for example). The concept of Newspeak includes what Orwell called ´DoubleThink´- how language is made ambiguous or even inverted to convey the opposite of what is true. In his book, the Ministry of War is known as the Ministry of Love, for example, while the Ministry of Truth deals with propaganda and entertainment. Sound familiar yet? Another book that delves into this topic deeper is Unspeak, a must-read for anyone interested in language and power and specifically how words are distorted for political ends. Terms such as ´peace keeping missiles´, ´extremists´ and ´no-fly zones´, weapons being referred to as ´assets´, or misleading business euphemisms such as ´downsizing´ for redundancy and ´sunset´ for termination- these, and hundreds of other examples, demonstrate how powerful language can be. In a world of growing corporate media monopolization, those who wield this power can manipulate words and therefore public reaction, to encourage compliance, uphold the status quo, or provoke fear.
10. Freedom of the press no longer exists
The only press that is currently free (at least for now) is the independent publication with no corporate advertisers, board of directors, shareholders or CEOs. Details of how the state has redefined journalism are noted here and are mentioned in #7, but the best recent example would be the government´s treatment of The Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks. As a side note, it´s possible this paper plays us as well as any other- The Guardian Media Group isn´t small fry, after all. But on the other hand- bearing in mind points 1 to 9- why should we find it hard to believe that after the NSA files were published, editor Alan Rusbridge wastold by the powers that be ´you´ve had your fun, now return the files´, that government officials stormed his newsroom and smashed up hard drives, or that Greenwald´s partner David Miranda wasdetained for 9 hours in a London airport under the Terrorism Act as he delivered documents related to the columnist´s story? Journalism, Alan Rusbridge lamented, ´may be facing a kind of existential threat.´ As CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather wrote: ‘We have few princes and earls today, but we surely have their modern-day equivalents in the very wealthy who seek to manage the news, make unsavory facts disappear and elect representatives who are in service to their own economic and social agenda… The “free press” is no longer a check on power. It has instead become part of the power apparatus itself.’
Sophie is a staff writer for True Activist and a freelance feature writer for various publications on society, activism and other topics. You can read more of her stuff here.
Source: True Activist
Adam Smith said governments are “instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor.” Wars are waged to make them richer.
Howard Zinn called war “terrorism magnified a hundred times.” Make it many thousands of times.
Michael Parenti said “the best way to win a Nobel Peace Prize (is) to wage war or support those who wage (it) instead of peace.”
In his book titled “The Face of Imperialism,” he discusses a richly financed military/industrial complex. Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff call it the “military-industrial media complex.”
Waging wars requires selling them. Public support is needed. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky call it “Manufacturing Consent.”
Propaganda works as intended. Minds are manipulated to support war. Truth is suppressed. Fear is stoked. Patriotism, national security, and democratic values are highlighted.
Longstanding US policy facilitates earning obscene amounts from militarism, wars, homeland security, and related operations.
Doing so has nothing to do with external or internal threats. It’s unrelated to spreading democracy. It isn’t about humanitarian intervention.
It about advancing America’s imperium. Parenti calls the process “the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries. (It) “carves up whole continents.”
“(T)he dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.”
Capitalist imperialism differs from earlier forms. It dominates other economies and political systems. It accumulates enormous amounts of wealth.
It uses money to make more of it. It gains market control. It exploits resources and labor.
According to Marx and Engels:
Bourgeois capital “chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere…It creates a world after its own image.”
Societies are destroyed and remade to do it. Nations are pillaged for profit. Populations become disenfranchised. Workers become serfs. Local cultures become mass-market consumer ones.
Agribusiness replaces local farming. Competitive industries are eliminated. Foreign investment crowds out local capital.
Dominance legitimizes capital’s divine right. Plunder assures obscene profits. Capital accumulation demands more. Profiteering becomes a be-all-and-end-all.
Businesses price according to what the market will bear. Profiteers take advantage of emergency or other out-of-ordinary conditions to cash in excessively.
WikiLeaks calls profiteering “a pejorative term for the act of making profit by methods considered unethical.”
Price fixing is illegal. Price gouging reflects grabbing all you can. It’s charging more than what’s considered reasonable and fair.
War profiteers are in a class by themselves. They thrive on war. They depend on it. Their businesses require conflicts and instability to prosper. The more ongoing, the greater the potential profits.
Lot of players profit from wars. Companies develop technologies with military applications. Black marketeers cash in.
Politicians taking campaign contributions, special favors or bribes benefit handsomely. Nations do by acquiring control over territory, resources and exploitable people.
Private military contractors include companies offering a wide range of services. They provide everything from tactical combat to security to consulting to logistics to technical support.
In his book titled “Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War,” Pratap Chatterjee describes a company tainted by sweetheart deal no-bid contacts, bribes, kickbacks, inefficiency, shoddy work, corruption, fraud, gross overcharging, worker exploitation, and other serious offenses.
Other companies operate the same way. Military spending is hugely wasteful. Fraud and abuse are rampant. War is extremely profitable. Why else would so many be waged.
Mercenaries are guns for hire. They’re for sale to the highest bidder. They’re in it for the money. They’re unchecked, unaccountable and unprincipled.
Arms and munitions companies benefit most. Amounts spent are mind-bogging.
Bloomberg says defense budgets “contain hundreds of billions of dollars for new generations of aircraft carriers and stealth fighters, tanks that even the Army says it doesn’t need and combat vehicles too heavy to maneuver in desert sands or cross most bridges in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East.”
According to BusinessWeek, redundancy wastes lots of money. “One need only spend 10 minutes walking around the Pentagon or any major military headquarters to see” it.
Why doesn’t Congress trim fat? Because politicians want lots of pork for constituents. It’s a great vote-getter.
BusinessWeek explained more, saying:
“Why is sensible military budgeting so difficult? Because lawmakers, including small-government Republicans, protect defense business in their home states with the ferocity of Spartans.”
“Even if the Pentagon offered up (sensible) cuts…Congress would almost certainly reject them.”
“The senators and representatives don’t have the political courage to face voters and tell them that the republic simply does not need the weapon under construction in their hometown.”
Trillions of dollars are spent. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta once said DOD “is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”
Even during October’s 16 day shutdown, huge amounts of wasteful spending continued.
Ralph Nader calls now the time to address bloated military spending. Let’s “start shutting down the waste and fraud in our military budget,” he stresses.
Billions get tossed around mindlessly. Profiteers never had it better. Government watchdogs identify hundreds of billions of potential savings from unneeded weapons, defective ones, no-bid excess, overpayments, and outright fraud.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) conducts research on security, war and peace.
“A world in which sources of insecurity are identified and understood, conflicts are prevented or resolved, and peace is sustained,” it says.
It reports on “recent trends in military expenditure(s).”
Amounts spent are huge. In 2012, nominal global military spending exceeded $1.7 trillion. It’s around historic highs.
In real terms, it exceeds peak amounts spent during the Cold War. Post-9/11, spending increased sharply. America led the way.
In 2012, 15 nations accounted for over 80% military spending. SIPRI lists them as follows:
- America: $682 billion – 39%
- China: $166 billion – 9.5%
- Russia: $90.7 billion – 5.2%
- Britain: $60.8 billion – 3.5%
- Japan: 59.3 billion – 3.4%
- France: $58.9 billion – 3.4%
- Saudi Arabia: $56.7 billion – 3.2%
- India: $46.1 billion – 2.6%
- Germany: $45.8 billion – 2.6%
- Italy: $34 billion – 1.9%
- Brazil: $33.1 billion – 1.9%
- South Korea: $31.7 billion – 1.8%
- Australia: $26.2 billion – 1.5%
- Canada: $22.5 billion – 1.3%
- Turkey: $18.2 billion – 1%
- Others 18%
SIPRI calculates nominal military spending. Amounts America spends far exceeds annual defense authorizations.
Other allocations are for the Energy Department, State Department, Department of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Treasury, NASA, military construction, various categories related to security, and interest attributable to past defense outlays.
Black intelligence, Pentagon and other budgets add many tens of billions more. So do supplemental military allocations. Foreign aid is mostly military related.
The Library of Congress listed the top 10 2012 recipients and amounts as follows:
Israel: $3.075 billion
Note: Israel gets special benefits provided no other nations.
They include annual $3 billion + direct appropriations, undisclosed additional amounts, state-of-the-art weapons and technology, billions in loan guarantees, military loans as grants, privileged contracts for Israeli companies, trade exemptions, and more.
Special allocations are buried in various agency budgets. Low or no-interest loans are provided. Some are never repaid. Most often, whatever Israel wants it gets.
- Afghanistan: $2.327 billion
- Pakistan: $2.102 billion
- Iraq: $1.683 billion
- Egypt: $1.557 billion
- Jordan: $676 million
- Kenya: $652 million
- Nigeria: $625 million
- Ethiopia: $580 million
- Tanzania: $531 million
US defense related spending exceeds $1.5 trillion annually. It’s half or more what other nations spend in total.
Militarism defines America. So do permanent wars. They’re a national addiction. They’re part of the national culture.
Violence is the American way. Wars are glorified. Pacifism is considered sissy. Peace is deplored. Conflicts persist with no end.
War profiteers gorge themselves at the public trough. Their operations thrive on war. They depend on it.
They’re waged for profit and dominance. They continue without end. Peace is verboten. It’s a convenient illusion.
Howard Zinn once asked “(h)ow can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
Why most Americans put up with it they’ll have to explain. Doing so lets Washington get away with mass murder and then some. It lets war profiteers benefit at our expense.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
The latest proof of the Globalist plan for total economic imprisonment is available for scrutiny. Thanks to whistleblowers, the clandestine trade missions of international corporatists must contend with public blowback. Recently, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text, Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The TPP Agreement along with the Table of Contents and supportive documentation provides the evidence.
When vastly diverse segments of political perspective unify against this assault on economic self-determination, challenging the very exercise of such agreements is in order. In the article, Obama’s Dangerous International Deal, a libertarian viewpoint argues and warns, “The USTR acknowledges the existence of 29 chapters under negotiation. Only five of these chapters deal directly with trade. The other 24 aim to influence many issues, such as food and environmental standards, intellectual property, and pharmaceutical formularies.”
Perennial progressive Jim Hightower writes in an Alternet article, A Corporate Coup in Disguise.
“What if our national leaders told us that communities across America had to eliminate such local programs as Buy Local, Buy American, Buy Green, etc. to allow foreign corporations to have the right to make the sale on any products purchased with our tax dollars? This nullification of our people’s right to direct expenditures is just one of the horror stories in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).”.
From the Voice of Russia, not usually known for defending transnational cartels, is an observation that you are not hearing in the financial press, Obama attempting to ram through unconstitutional secret treaty.
“With the US debt at over $200 trillion dollars and their grasp on control slipping, Obama and the corporations that have taken over the US Government are attempting to do anything they can to cling to power and enslave the populace.
The fact that the heads of the governments who are a party to the TPP, would attempt to sign such an all encompassing treaty without the knowledge of their respective governments and their people is a something unheard of an unprecedented in history.”
If only free enterprise was the standard of economic commerce, instead of the state-fascism that has developed over the years of the “Free Trade” ruse that has destroyed real competition from the financial environment.
Central planning failed miserably in the old Soviet Union, now we are supposed to believe that a corporatist negotiated arrangement with the full backing and force of government bureaucracies is a superior method for prosperity.
Backers of the TPP pact would have you believe that it is a trade agreement. Nile Bowie in an OpEd, TPP: From corporation personhood to corporate nationhood, has it correct.
“Although proponents of the TPP may claim that its focus is to help the economies of signatory countries create comprehensive market access, eliminate barriers to trade, improve labor rights and encourage environmental protection, every indication suggests that the wide-ranging agreement intends to maximize dramatically corporate revenues at the expense of public health and safety, civil liberties and national sovereignty.”
From the left leaning Huffington Post, Bruce E. Levine interjects a political aspect in
“The truth today, however, is that the United States is neither a democracy nor a republic. Americans are ruled by a corporatocracy: a partnership of “too-big-to-fail” corporations, the extremely wealthy elite, and corporate-collaborator government officials.”
World economic agreements vary little based upon partisan political ideology. The corporate business outsourcing strategy and the offshoring of jobs are the inevitable results of every phony trade deal enacted for decades.
The real objective of TPP is to codify in law and treaty the special treatment that favored industries or well-connected interests exert upon the global economy.
When monopolies eliminate competition, the marketplace suffers a crowding out of main street businesses. With the demise of familiar business enterprises, the multinationals expand without hindrance. Entrepreneurial small business is seldom in a position to fill the void left when the muscle of international finance decides to control a business sector.
Setting environmental standards, intellectual property, and pharmaceutical formularies, behind closed doors endangers the public. Imposing rabid global warming penalties, perpetual expanding of copyright privileges and banning natural holistic supplements and vitamins, all intend to strip choice from consumers or to burden the population with irrational tax obligations.
In an outstanding account, by Don Quijones his article, The Global Corporatocracy is Almost Fully Operational, provided the essential context and ultimate consequence.
“The new generation of trade treaties goes far beyond what was envisaged for NAFTA and GATT. What they ultimately seek is to transfer what little remains of our national sovereignty to the headquarters of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates. In short, it is the ultimate coup de grâce of the ultimate coup d’état. Not a single shot will be fired, yet almost all power will be seized and transferred into private hands — and all of it facilitated by our elected representatives who, by signing these treaties, will be permanently abdicating their responsibilities to represent and protect the interests of their voting constituencies.”
If you have the courage to face the dire implications of this globalist scheme, view the video TPP & One World Government. The bare honesty may be too much for the “PC” crowd.
Advocates of a merchant based economy are inherently in opposition to globalism. Yet, this round of integration under cartel syndicate governance is part of an end game for world economic consolidation. The Corporatocracy that rules over purported democratic countries is the real power overseer that maintains the indentured servant plantation. The comptrollers of the credit dictatorship maintain the financial system for the ultimate controllers.
In the next episode, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is analyzed. Complementing the TPP, both accords will place the yoke of even greater mastery over the economies of once sovereign nations.
New York – Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky 6-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners.
On Friday the 28-year-old activist will appear for sentencing in the Southern District Court of New York in Manhattan. After having made a plea agreement, he faces the possibility of a 10-year sentence for hacking into the Texas-based private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor, which does work for the Homeland Security Department, the Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency and numerous corporations including Dow Chemical and Raytheon.
Four others involved in the hacking have been convicted in Britain, and they were sentenced to less time combined—the longest sentence was 32 months—than the potential 120-month sentence that lies before Hammond.
Hammond turned the pilfered information over to the website WikiLeaks and Rolling Stone and other publications. The 3 million email exchanges, once
Jeremy Hammond is shown in this March 5, 2012 booking photo from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department in Chicago
made public, exposed the private security firm’s infiltration, monitoring and surveillance of protesters and dissidents, especially in the Occupy movement, on behalf of corporations and the national security state. And, perhaps most important, the information provided chilling evidence that anti-terrorism laws are being routinely used by the federal government to criminalize nonviolent, democratic dissent and falsely link dissidents to international terrorist organizations. Hammond sought no financial gain. He got none.The email exchanges Hammond made public were entered as evidence in my lawsuitagainst President Barack Obama over Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 1021 permits the military to seize citizens who are deemed by the state to be terrorists, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities. Alexa O’Brien, a content strategist and journalist who co-founded US Day of Rage, an organization created to reform the election process, was one of my co-plaintiffs. Stratfor officials attempted, we know because of the Hammond leaks, to falsely link her and her organization to Islamic radicals and websites as well as to jihadist ideology, putting her at risk of detention under the new law. Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled, in part because of the leak, that we plaintiffs had a credible fear, and she nullified the law, a decision that an appellate court overturned when the Obama administration appealed it.
Freedom of the press and legal protection for those who expose government abuses and lies have been obliterated by the corporate state. The resulting self-exile of investigative journalists such as Glenn Greenwald, Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras, along with the indictment of Barret Brown, illustrate this. All acts of resistance—including nonviolent protest—have been conflated by the corporate state with terrorism. The mainstream, commercial press has been emasculated through the Obama administration’s repeated use of the Espionage Act to charge and sentence traditional whistle-blowers. Governmental officials with a conscience are too frightened to reach out to mainstream reporters, knowing that the authorities’ wholesale capturing and storing of electronic forms of communication make them easily identifiable.
Elected officials and the courts no longer impose restraint or practice oversight. The last line of defense lies with those such as Hammond, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who are capable of burrowing into the records of the security and surveillance state and have the courage to pass them on to the public. But the price of resistance is high.
“In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution—transparency,” wrote Sarah Harrison, the British journalist who accompanied Snowden to Russia and who also has gone into exile, in Berlin. “If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it. Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back. If our governments will not give this information to us, then we must take it for ourselves.”
“When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged,” she went on. “When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it. Courage is contagious.”
Hammond knows this contagion. He was living at home in Chicago in 2010 under a 7-a.m.-to-7-p.m. curfew for a variety of acts of civil disobedience when Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning was arrested for giving WikiLeaks secret information about military war crimes and government lies. Hammond at the time was running social aid programs to feed the hungry and send books to prisoners. He had, like Manning, displayed a remarkable aptitude for science, math and computer languages at a young age. He hacked into the computers at a local Apple store at 16. He hacked into the computer science department’s website at the University of Illinois-Chicago as a freshman, a prank that saw the university refuse to allow him to return for his sophomore year. He was an early backer of “cyber-liberation” and in 2004 started an “electronic-disobedience journal” he named Hack This Zine. He called on hackers in a speech at the 2004 DefCon convention in Las Vegas to use their skills to disrupt that year’s Republican National Convention. He was, by the time of his 2012 arrest, one of the shadowy stars of the hacktivist underground, dominated by groups such as Anonymous and WikiLeaks in which anonymity, stringent security and frequent changes of aliases alone ensured success and survival. Manning’s courage prompted Hammond to his own act of cyber civil disobedience, although he knew his chances of being caught were high.
“I saw what Chelsea Manning did,” Hammond said when we spoke last Wednesday, seated at a metal table. “Through her hacking she became a contender, a world changer. She took tremendous risks to show the ugly truth about war. I asked myself, if she could make that risk shouldn’t I make that risk? Wasn’t it wrong to sit comfortably by, working on the websites of Food Not Bombs, while I had the skills to do something similar? I too could make a difference. It was her courage that prompted me to act.”
Hammond—who has black-inked tattoos on each forearm, one the open-source movement’s symbol known as the “glider” and the other the shi hexagram from the I Ching—is steeped in radical thought. As a teenager, he swiftly migrated politically from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to the militancy of the Black Bloc anarchists. He was an avid reader in high school of material put out by CrimethInc, an anarchist collective that publishes anarchist literature and manifestos. He has molded himself after old radicals such as Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman and black revolutionaries such as George Jackson, Elaine Brown and Assata Shakur, as well as members of the Weather Underground. He said that while he was in Chicago he made numerous trips to Waldheim Cemetery to visit the Haymarket Martyrs Monument, which honors four anarchists who were hanged in 1887 and others who took part in the labor wars. On the 16-foot-high granite monument are the final words of one of the condemned men, August Spies. It reads: “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voice you are throttling today.” Emma Goldman is buried nearby.
Hammond became well known to the government for a variety of acts of civil disobedience over the last decade. These ranged from painting anti-war graffiti on Chicago walls to protesting at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York to hacking into the right-wing website Protest Warrior, for which he was sentenced to two years in the Federal Correctional Institute at Greenville, Ill.
He said he is fighting as “an anarchist communist” against “centralized state authority” and “exploitative corporations.” His goal is to build “leaderless collectives based on free association, consensus, mutual aid, self-sufficiency and harmony with the environment.” It is essential, he said, that all of us work to cut our personal ties with capitalism and engage in “mass organizing of protests, strikes and boycotts.” Hacking and leaking, he said, are part of this resistance—“effective tools to reveal ugly truths of the system.”
Hammond spent months within the Occupy movement in Chicago. He embraced its “leaderless, non-hierarchical structures such as general assemblies and consensus, and occupying public spaces.” But he was highly critical of what he said were the “vague politics” in Occupy that allowed it to include followers of the libertarian Ron Paul, some in the tea party, as well as “reformist liberals and Democrats.” Hammond said he was not interested in any movement that “only wanted a ‘nicer’ form of capitalism and favored legal reforms, not revolution.” He remains rooted in the ethos of the Black Bloc.
“Being incarcerated has really opened my eyes to the reality of the criminal justice system,” he said, “that it is not a criminal justice system about public safety or rehabilitation, but reaping profits through mass incarceration. There are two kinds of justice—one for the rich and the powerful who get away with the big crimes, then for everyone else, especially people of color and the impoverished. There is no such thing as a fair trial. In over 80 percent of the cases people are pressured to plea out instead of exercising their right to trial, under the threat of lengthier sentences. I believe no satisfactory reforms are possible. We need to close all prisons and release everybody unconditionally.”
He said he hoped his act of resistance would encourage others, just as Manning’s courage had inspired him. He said activists should “know and accept the worst possible repercussion” before carrying out an action and should be “aware of mass counterintelligence/surveillance operations targeting our movements.” An informant posing as a comrade, Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as “Sabu,” turned Hammond and his co-defendants in to the FBI. Monsegur stored data retrieved by Hammond on an external server in New York. This tenuous New York connection allowed the government to try Hammond in New York for hacking from his home in Chicago into a private security firm based in Texas. New York is the center of the government’s probes into cyber-warfare; it is where federal authorities apparently wanted Hammond to be investigated and charged.
Hammond said he will continue to resist from within prison. A series of minor infractions, as well as testing positive with other prisoners on his tier for marijuana that had been smuggled into the facility, has resulted in his losing social visits for the next two years and spending “time in the box [solitary confinement].” He is allowed to see journalists, but my request to interview him took two months to be approved. He said prison involves “a lot of boredom.” He plays chess, teaches guitar and helps other prisoners study for their GED. When I saw him, he was working on the statement, a personal manifesto, that he will read in court this week.
He insisted he did not see himself as different from prisoners, especially poor prisoners of color, who are in for common crimes, especially drug-related crimes. He said most inmates are political prisoners, caged unjustly by a system of totalitarian capitalism that has snuffed out basic opportunities for democratic dissent and economic survival.
“The majority of people in prison did what they had to do to survive,” he said. “Most were poor. They got caught up in the war on drugs, which is how you make money if you are poor. The real reason they get locked in prison for so long is so corporations can continue to make big profits. It is not about justice. I do not draw distinctions between us.”
“Jail is essentially enduring harassment and dehumanizing conditions with frequent lockdowns and shakedowns,” he said. “You have to constantly fight for respect from the guards, sometimes getting yourself thrown in the box. However, I will not change the way I live because I am locked up. I will continue to be defiant, agitating and organizing whenever possible.”
He said resistance must be a way of life. He intends to return to community organizing when he is released, although he said he will work to stay out of prison. “The truth,” he said, “will always come out.” He cautioned activists to be hyper-vigilant and aware that “one mistake can be permanent.” But he added, “Don’t let paranoia or fear deter you from activism. Do the down thing!”
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Morality is a highly misunderstood component of human nature. Some people believe they can create moral guidelines from thin air based on their personal biases and prejudices. Some people believe that morality comes from the force of bureaucracy and government law. Still, others believe that there is no such thing; that morality is a facade created by men in order to better grease the wheels of society.
All of these world views discount the powerful scientific and psychological evidence surrounding Natural Law — the laws that human beings form internally due to inherent conscience regardless of environmental circumstances. When a person finally grasps inborn morality, the whole of the world comes into focus. The reality is that we are not born “good” or “evil.” Rather, we are all born with the capacity for good AND evil, and this internal battle stays with us until the end of our days.
Every waking moment we are given a choice, a test of our free will, to be ruled by desire and fear, or to do what we know at our very core is right. When a man silences his inner voice, the results can be terrible for him and those around him. When an entire culture silences its inner voice, the results can be catastrophic. Such a shift in the moral compass of a society rarely takes place in a vacuum. There is always a false shepherd, a corrupt leadership that seeks to rule. Rulership, though, is difficult in the face of an awake population that respects integrity and honor. Therefore criminals must follow these specific steps in order to take power:
Pretend To Be Righteous: They must first sell the public on the idea that they hold the exact same values of natural law as everyone else. The public must at first believe that the criminal leaders are pure in their motives and have the best interests of the nation at heart, even if they secretly do not.
Pretend To Be Patriotic: Despots often proclaim an untarnished love of their homeland and the values that it was founded upon. However, what they really seek is to become a living symbol of the homeland. They insist first that they are the embodiment of the national legacy, and then they attempt to change that national legacy entirely. A corrupt government uses the ideals of a society to acquire a foothold, and when they have gained sufficient control, they dictate to that society a new set of ideals that are totally contrary to the original.
Offer To “Fix” The Economy: Tyrants do not like it when the citizens under them are self sufficient or economically independent. They will use whatever methods are at their disposal including subversive legislation, fiat currency creation, corporate monopoly and even engineered financial collapse in order to remove the public’s ability to function autonomously. They will begin this process under the guise that the current less-controlled and less-centralized system is “not safe enough,” and that they have a better way to ensure prosperity.
Offer To Lend A Hand: Once the population has been removed from its own survival imperative and is for the most part helpless, the criminal leadership moves in and offers to “help” using taxation and money creation, slowly siphoning the wealth from the middle class and raising prices through inflation. Eventually, everyone will be “equal”; equally poor that is. In the end, the whole nation will see the rulership as indispensable, for without them, the economy would no longer exist and tragedy would ensue.
Create External Fear: Once in place, the criminal leadership then conjures an enemy for the people, or multiple enemies for the people. The goal here is to create a catalyst for mass fear. When the majority of people are afraid of an external threat, they will embrace the establishment as a vital safeguard. When a society becomes convinced that it cannot take care of itself economically, little coaxing is required to convince them that they are also not competent enough to take care of their own defense. The government not only becomes caregiver and nanny, but also bodyguard. At this point, the establishment has free reign to dissolve long cherished liberties while the masses are distracted by a mysterious threat hiding somewhere over the horizon.
Create Internal Fear: They move the threat from over the horizon, right to the public’s front door, or even within their own home. The enemy is no longer a foreigner. Now, the enemy is the average looking guy two houses over, or an outspoken friend, or even a dissenting family member. The enemy is all around them, according to the establishment. The public is sold on the idea that the sacrifice needed in order to combat such a pervasive “threat” is necessarily high.
Sell The People On The Virtues Of Moral Relativism: Now that the populace is willing to forgo certain liberties for the sake of security, they have been softened up enough for reprogramming to begin. The establishment will tell the people that the principles they used to hold so dear are actually weaknesses that make them vulnerable to the enemy. In order to defeat an enemy so monstrous, they claim, we must become monstrous ourselves. We must be willing to do ANYTHING, no matter how vile or contrary to natural law, in order to win.
Honesty must be replaced with deceit. Dissent must be replaced with silence. Peace must be replaced with violence. The independent should be treated with suspicion. The outspoken treated with contempt. Women and children are no longer people to be protected, but targets to be eliminated. The innocent dead become collateral damage. The innocent living become informants to be tortured and exploited. Good men are labeled cowards because they refuse to “do what needs to be done,” while evil men are labeled heroes for having the “strength of will” to abandon their conscience.
Thus, the criminal leadership makes once honorable citizens accomplices in the crime. The more disgusting the crime, the more apt the people will be to defend it and the system in general, simply because they have been inducted into the dark ceremony of moral ambiguity.
The actions of the state become the actions of all society. A single minded collectivist culture is born, one in which every person is a small piece of the greater machine. And, that which the machine is guilty of, every man is guilty of. Therefore, it becomes the ultimate and absurd purpose of each person within the system to DENY the crime, deny the guilt, and make certain that the machine continues to function for generations to come.
Though we have already passed though most of the above stages, Americans are still not yet quite indoctrinated into the realm of moral relativism. This, though, is swiftly changing.
The Current Sales Pitch
Just take a look at the attitude of the Obama Administration and the mainstream media towards Edward Snowden and his recent asylum approved by Russia.
The White House, rather than admitting wrongdoing in its support for the NSA’s mass surveillance of American citizens without warrant, or even attempting to deny the existence of the PRISM program, is now instead trying to promote NSA spying as essential to our well being while wagging a finger of shame at Snowden and the Russian government for damaging their domestic spy network. Obama has lamented on Russia’s stance, stating that their thinking is “backwards.”
Did I miss something here? I’m no fan of the Russian oligarchy, but shouldn’t Obama and most of the NSA (let alone every other Federal alphabet agency) be sitting in a dark hole somewhere awaiting trial for violating the Constitution on almost every level? Yet, we are instead supposed to despise Snowden for exposing the crime they committed and distrust any country that happens to give him shelter?
Due to public outcry, Obama has attempted to pacify critics by announcing plans to make NSA mass surveillance “more transparent”. First, I would like to point out that he did NOT offer to end NSA spying on Americans without warrant, which is what a President with any ounce of integrity would have done. Second, Obama’s calls for more transparency have come at the exact same time as the NSA announces its plans to remove 90 percent of its systems administrators to make sure another “Snowden incident” does not occur.
Finally, when the public called for an investigation into the NSA and the Director of National Intelligence in the handling of the Snowden affair and the PRISM program, the White House appointed none other than James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, as part of the team that would “investigate” any wrongdoing. The Obama Administration insists that Clapper, a documented liar who told Congress that the NSA was not involved in mass domestic spying, was not going to “head” the panel of investigators, even though a White House memo specifically named Clapper as the man who would form the so-called “independent group”. The White House still admits that Clapper will be involved in the process.
So, just to reiterate, the people who perpetrated the criminal act of warrant-less surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans, and who were caught red-handed lying about it, are now appointed to investigate their own crime.
Does this sound like a government that plans on becoming “more transparent”?
Ask yourself, would Obama have called for ANY transparency over the NSA whatsoever if Snowden had never come forward? Of course not! The exposure of the crime has led to lies and empty placation, nothing more.
In the meantime, numerous other political miscreants have hit the media trail, campaigning for the NSA as well as other surveillance methods, bellowing to the rafters over the absolute necessity of domestic spy programs. Fifteen years ago, the government would have tried to sweep all of this under the rug. Today, they want to acclimate us to the inevitability of the crime, stating that we had better get used to it.
Their position? That Snowden’s whistleblowing put America at risk. My questions is, how? How did Snowden’s exposure of an unConstitutional and at bottom illegal surveillance program used against hundreds of millions of innocent Americans do our country harm? Is it the position of the White House that the truth is dangerous, and deceit is safety?
I suspect this is the case considering the recent treatment of military whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been accused by some to have “aided Al Qaeda’s recruiting efforts” through his actions. How did Manning do this? By releasing information, including battlefield videos, that were hidden from the public containing proof of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist and not hip to modern diplomatic strategy, but I would think that if you don’t want to be blamed for war crimes, then you probably shouldn’t commit war crimes. And, if you don’t want the enemy to gain new recruits, you should probably avoid killing innocent civilians and pissing off their families (there is also ample evidence suggesting that the CIA has done FAR more deliberate recruiting for Al Qaeda than Bradley Manning could have ever accomplished on accident). Just a thought.
So, to keep track – U.S. government funds and trains Al Qaeda, but is the good guy. U.S. government commits war crimes, but is the good guy. U.S. government hides the truth from the American people, but is the good guy. Bradley Manning exposes war crimes, and is the bad guy. Moral relativism at its finest. Moving on…
The shift towards moral bankruptcy is being implemented in the financial world as well. Investors, hedge funds, and major banks now surge into the stock market every time the private Federal Reserve hints that it may continue fiat stimulus. When bad news hits the mainstream feeds, people playing the Dow casino actually cheer with glee exactly because bad economic news means more QE from the Fed. They know that the Fed is artificially propping up the markets. The Fed openly admits that it does this. And, they know that our fiscal system is hanging by a thin thread. And you know what, very few of them care.
The Fed created the collapse with easy money and manipulated interest rates, and now, some people cheer them as the heroes of the U.S. financial structure.
The American narrative is quickly changing. There has long been criminality and degeneracy within our government (Democrat and Republican) and the corporate cartels surrounding it, but I believe what we are witnessing today is the final step in the metamorphosis that is totalitarianism. The last stage accelerates when the average citizen is not just complicit in the deeds of devils, but when he becomes a devil himself. When Americans froth and stomp in excitement for the carnival of death, and treat the truth as poison, then the transformation will be complete.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
In the midst of its short summer, Moscow is balmy and relaxed. Sidewalks brim with tables and merry customers, even traffic jams are less severe due to holiday season. The only danger for men is the girls’ dresses, they are precariously short.
In a few days, perhaps even tomorrow, the charms and dangers of the city will be available to Edward Snowden, who is about to receive a refugee ID, allowing him to roam freely the whole length and breadth of Russia and to socialise with its folk.
It will be a nice change from Sheremetyevo International Airport, where he was marooned for quite a while. The airport is vast; some unfortunates, mainly paperless refugees, live in its transit area for ten years or more. For a while, it was felt that our hero would remain stuck forever in limbo. The Russians and the intrepid Snowden sat on the fence, getting used to each other while keeping their distance. At long last, the ice was broken. Snowden had gotten to meet with representatives of the Russian public: a few members of Parliament (called Duma, in Russian), some human rights folks, leading lawyers.
He reminded them that he “had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications… [and] change people’s fates”. He invoked the US Constitution transgressed by the spooks, for the Constitution “forbids such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance”. He rightly rejected the legal ruse of Obama’s secret courts, for no secrecy can purify the impure. He recalled the Nuremberg ruling: “Individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.” And this system of total surveillance is indeed a crime against humanity, the cornerstone of the Iron Heel regime they plan to establish on the planet. When his declaration was interrupted by the airport’s routine announcements over the loudspeaker, he charmingly smiled and said “I’ve heard it so many times during the last week”.
The Russians loved him; the whole attitude to Snowden changed for better, as I expected when I called for this meeting on the pages of the leading Russian newspaper, the KP (Komsomolskaya Pravda). Now we’ve learned that the Russians have decided to issue him a refugee ID and grant him freedom of movement.
Why did they hesitate for so long?
Snowden is an American, and the Americans, like the British, are quite prejudiced against Russia, their common Cold War enemy. For them, it is the country of the Gulag and the KGB. Though both menaces vanished decades ago, traditions die hard, if at all. Even the Gulag and the KGB were only a modernised version of the Tsar, knout and serfdom horror of the 19th century, to be eventually superseded by the Brutal New Russian Mafia State as updated by Luke Harding. For an average American, the prospect of befriending Russia is nigh unto impossible. Even more so for an American who served in the CIA and NSA, as Snowden did. He felt that by embracing Russia he would lose his whistle-blower status and be regarded as an enemy agent, a totally different kettle of fish.
This was the case for Julian Assange, as well. When it was proposed that the head of Wikileaks flee to Russia (it was technically possible), he procrastinated, dragged his feet and remained in England, unable, in the end, to cross the great East/West divide.
Snowden was not seeking limelight, quite the opposite! He wished to stop the crimes being committed by No Such Agency in the name of American people, no more, no less. He hoped to become a new Deep Throat, whose identity would never be revealed. His first profound revelations were made by correspondence; he flew to Hong Kong as he was familiar with the place, spoke fluent Chinese, and planned to return home to Hawaii. It appears that the Guardian Newspaper pushed him into revealing his identity. Even then he thought himself safe, for Hong Kong is under Chinese sovereignty, and China is a mighty state, not an easy pushover.
The Chinese used Snowden’s revelations to defuse American accusations of electronic espionage, but they weren’t going to spoil relations with the US for his sake – the hot potato was tossed. As a final courtesy they gave him 24 hours warning of his impending arrest. He had to flee, and he boarded the Aeroflot flight to Moscow in company of charming English lady, a Wikileaks executive Sarah Harrison.
Snowden landed in Moscow, but he never considered taking refuge in Russia. For him, this was just a transit point to a neutral country, be it Iceland or Venezuela, some part of the West. He planned to fly to Havana and change planes there for Caracas. He did not take into account the length to which the US Deep State would go to seize and punish him.
At first, the Americans put enormous pressure on Cuba to refuse transit for Snowden. They threatened Cuba with invasion and blockade, and Castro asked Snowden to look for another route. No airline but Aeroflot would fly Snowden out of Russia, and Aeroflot flies via Havana only. So the first plan got unstuck.
The gas summit in Moscow offered another opportunity for escape: the summit was attended by the presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela, both came with their private planes able to make the long flight. Bolivian president Evo Morales had left Moscow first; his plane was forced down and searched, setting a historical precedent. This served as a warning to the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro; he flew away from Moscow Snowden-less.
This was an important discovery for Ed Snowden: he learned by this experience that there is just one country on the planet that is outside of the US grasp. Just one country that is a real alternative to the Empire; the only country Navy Seals are not likely to raid nor Obama drones to bomb, the only country whose planes can’t be scrambled and searched. He understood that Moscow is the only safe place on the globe for an identified enemy of the Empire. Now he was ready to contact the Russians; he resumed his temporary refuge request, which will probably be granted.
The Russians also hesitated. They were not keen on angering the US, they were aware that Snowden did not intend to come to them and just happened to get stuck in transit. He was a hot potato, and many people were convinced it’s better to follow the Chinese example and toss him.
The US Lobby pulled out all the stops trying to have him extradited. There were human rights activists and NGO members in the employ of the US State Department. Such people and organisations are promoted by the Americans, a Fifth Column of sorts. Lyudmila Alexeeva is a leading Russian activist of this kind; she was an anti-Soviet dissident, acquired US citizenship, came back to Russia and resumed her fight for human rights and against the Russian state. She is on record as saying that Snowden is a traitor to the service, neither a whistle-blower nor a human rights defender. He should be surrendered to the US, she averred. Other notorious dissidents and fighters against Putin’s regime agreed with her, unmasking their true colours.
Some siloviki were also against Snowden. These are members and ex-members of Russian intelligence community, who embraced the concept of convergence of security services and collaborated with the Americans and other services, notably the Israelis. They said that loyalty to one’s service is the most important virtue, and a traitor can’t be trusted. They pooh-poohed Snowden’s revelations saying they had known it all along. They said he is not worth quarrelling with Washington about. This was also the line of Konstantin Remchukov, an important Russian media lord, the owner of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, who added that Snowden was a Chinese spy.
And finally there were conspiracy freaks, who said that Snowden is a Trojan Horse, sent to pry open Russian secrets. He was actually a CIA double agent, they said. No, he was an agent of Mossad, others argued. Return him to the US, they asserted. This bottom line has exposed many American agents, whether faux human rights defenders or equally false siloviki, security personnel.
Among supporters of Snowden in Russia, there was my friend, the poet Eduard Limonov, who called Snowden the harbinger of Unipolar World collapse. My newspaper KP supported the cause as well. The state-owned TV took a cautious approach, and was rather dismissive of Snowden’s discoveries.
President Putin, too, played a cautious game. Initially, he stopped talk of surrendering Snowden with a laconic statement: «Russia never ever extradites anybody to any state». Then he offered Snowden refuge on condition that he would not act against the US. This is a usual condition for a political refuge. He added that probably Snowden would not accept it as he wants to continue his struggle “just like Professor Sakharov”, a renown dissident of Soviet days. He also tried to dissuade America from pursuing Snowden, comparing this pursuit with “shearing a piglet”, producing more screams than wool. This cautious game paid well: Snowden accepted his precondition and applied for temporary refuge until the road to Latin America opens up for him, while the President saved face and did his best to avoid quarrelling with the US and with the mighty pro-American lobby in Moscow. I should say that despite his autocratic macho image, Putin does not control free Russian media, which are usually owned by pro-Western media lords. His positions in the national discourse get limited exposure.
The Russian leader was not confrontational. He does not look for trouble, as a rule. He comes off as rather a cautious, prudent, conservative ruler. He would probably prefer that Snowden fly away, especially as Snowden, an American patriot, would not share his stolen crown jewels with the Russians. His granting permission for Snowden to meet with the Russian public was withheld for a long while. However, during this period, the US added many more names to the secret Magnitsky List of Russians whose properties and accounts were to be snatched (“frozen” is the technical term) by the US and its allies. Members of Congress freely vituperated against Putin and referred to Russia in abusive terms. Just wait — Obama will call Putin tonight and he will send Snowden packing, said the White House spokesman. Meanwhile, the US continued its build-up against Syria in the Middle East, and Israel bombed Syrian positions, presumably with American support. Instead of showing any consideration, Obama tried to bully Putin. This was the wrong tactic, and it backfired.
At the same time, Russia carried out a sudden check of its military preparedness, apparently keeping all options open. This great country is not looking for trouble, but it does not shrink from it either. Snowden is safe here in Moscow, where nobody can harm him, so he will be able to tell the world about the crimes against humanity committed by the American secret services. And Moscow is a great place to be, especially in summer.
The US empire’s illusion of benign omnipotence has been broken by the heroic acts of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden writes Neil Harrison…
The grotesque climax to the manifest destiny dream. Invisible in the sky, malevolent and capricious, an Old Testament-style god rains arbitrary, brutal fate upon unsuspecting civilians.
On that Baghdad street, on that day, god existed. The Reuters journalist and his driver, gunned down for carrying an extended camera lens; the father killed taking his children to school; his children – injured and forced to witness their father’s abject death. For all of these people and more, god existed that day and his name was America.
Of course, this was the footage which finally convinced the troubled Private Bradley Manning to begin a campaign of, in his own words, “shattering the fantasy.” Thanks to Manning, no serious observer of this video, or of USA foreign policy in general, could now continue to indulge in the fantasy of America as the world’s friendly policeman, not without excercising some serious double-think. Especially not while listening to the Apache helicopter’s crew gloat and laugh as they kill and maim innocents (it somehow gets worse the more you see it).
Arguably, the video was the most important thing that Bradley Manning leaked before his arrest and incarceration. Footage of other Apache helicopter attacks in Iraq were already available on Youtube, transcripts from the attack had already been printed elsewhere in a book and the world already knew that the Reuters journalists had been killed by American forces, but images and sounds have a visceral impact which mere words often lack. A worldwide, large-scale audience was, for this particular video, guaranteed by the involvement of Wikileaks – Julian Assange’s flair for understated drama publicly piled up embarassment for the US military. Headline status meant that millions could now no longer continue with the ‘fantasy’ anymore than they could ‘unsee’ the footage. Therefore, by the time Manning’s subsequent leaks (including the war logs and the notorious diplomatic cables) came to light, they were being registered by a global public already primed with enlightened eyes and a deep sense of scepticism.
The convergence of a multitude of factors provided Manning with motive and opportunity to inflict one of the biggest clusterfucks in the American god-machine’s history of propaganda war- US government paranoia post 9/11 meant that, due to their insistence on inter-department ‘sharing,’ anyone with clearance could access virtually all government information. Manning’s genius with computers allowed him to trawl for his quarry with ease. Moreover, he felt desperately isolated. In the Mesopotamian desert, thousands of miles from home, among unsympathetic colleagues – it was far from the perfect situation for a very young man suffering deep personal turmoil. Most importantly of all, however, and the thing we should remember above all else, is that Private Bradley Manning cared.
He cared that he may have been complicit in a regime which employed (or contracted out) torture, “I was actively involved in something that I was completely against…” He cared that his fellow Americans were deliberately being kept ignorant of the true nature of their government’s foreign policy, “I want people to see the truth…without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Manning cared enough to risk pissing off a god.
As this week’s verdict of guilty on twenty counts (though, symbolically, not ‘aiding the enemy,’ which begs the question – if no ‘enemy’ was ‘aided’ where the hell is the crime?) could potentially result in over 130 years jail time for him, and bearing in mind the dreadful incarceration he has already endured, this god is at pains to ensure few follow suit.
The American god-machine sent its son to the Middle-east. Once there, he made a stand for truth and human compassion. For his sacrifice he is now being symbolically martyred. Does this sound familiar? You would be forgiven for finding these comparisons somewhat contrived (put it down to artistic licence). However, before dismissing the notion entirely, consider a couple of further examples.
Firstly, thanks to the actions of another brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, we now know something of American pretensions to omnipotence. America’s National Security Agency, it is becoming ever more apparent, are now able to read private emails and listen in on telephone conversations not only in the US. but across the globe. For reasons of security, in order to protect you, the NSA needs to be able to hear your weekly takeaway order. America-god knows your favourite pizza toppings. Feel safer?
Finally, there exists the reality of ritual appeasement. In Slavoj Zizek’s The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, he describes how the US must:
‘…suck up a daily influx of one billion dollars from other nations to pay for its consumption and is, as such, the universal Keynesian consumer that keeps the world economy running. (So much for the anti-Keynesian economic ideology that seems to predominate today!) This influx, which is effectively like the tithe paid to Rome in antiquity (or the gifts sacrificed to the Minotaur by the Ancient Greeks), relies on a complex economic mechanism: the US is “trusted” as the safe and stable center, so that all the others, from the oil-producing Arab countries to Western Europe and Japan, and now even the Chinese, invest their surplus profits in the US. Since this trust is primarily ideological and military, not economic, the problem for the US is how to justify its imperial role – it needs a permanent state of war, thus the “war on terror,” offering itself as the universal protector of all other “normal” (not “rogue”) states.’
Herein lies the truth of the matter. America is not a god, it simply wears this diguise of ‘justification,’ therefore maintaining the inflated faux-capacity, to attempt to behave like one. In truth, the US is becoming increasingly desperate to appease and control its own economic god.
But who benefits from this global arrangement? The American people? Maybe we should ask the citizens of Detroit that one?
If we in the ‘liberal’ West really are benefitting from this international tithe-paying/war-making economic regime, then at least now, thanks to Manning and Snowden, we can appreciate the true cost it incurs. Perhaps we may yet glimpse our own future therein, because the only people who have ever genuinely benefitted, who will ever benefit, from the system Zizek describes, are in a tiny and exclusive minority. In the words of Allen Ginsberg, they are:
The Dirty Rich.
Describing the way in which “emancipatory politics,” such as socialism or feminism, work “by reaching for a future,” Terry Eagleton invokes  a useful image:
“[They insert] the thin end of the wedge of the future into the heart of the present. They represent a bridge between present and future , a point where the two intersect.”
This is exactly what Manning and Snowden have achieved. They have given us a brief view of a future in which no state can be unaccountable for its actions, however clandestine, however obscure its motives – not even the most powerful on Earth.
Our immediate task for the future is to continue forcing the ‘wedge,’ to ensure that the illusion continues to be shattered. Let no motive of those who would make war go uninterogated. Let no action of those who hoard wealth at the expense of the pain, suffering and even the lives of others go unchallenged. This is how best to honour the bravery and sacrifices of Manning, Snowden and others like them. This is how we will display our solidarity with them as they face uncertain futures. This is how we will consign the gods to history.
 Slavoj Zizek, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, p. 10
 Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right p. 69
Even in the face of complete public opposition, the tired mainstream media machine continues its assault on whistleblowers who dare to expose the government. In the latest bout, CNN has featured a story painting Bradley Manning as a terrorist, entitled ‘Bradley Manning betrayed America’.
And if you support Bradley Manning and whistleblowers like Snowden and others? Well, according to the CNN piece, you must be an ‘anti-American left-winger’.
Before we dive into this CNN piece by propagandist Gabriel Schoenfeld, who writes like he should be a speech writer for Obama, it’s essential to understand the entire angle of the article. You must remember that we now live in a society where every single thing we do, or even think, can be classified as an act of terrorism under DHSregulation. From simply complaining about our tap water to being political activists, we now have on the record admission from both state and federal officials that the DHS’ classification of a ‘terrorist’ is broad enough to apply to 100% of the population.
In fact, all we have to do to see the true extent of this is to go back to the bombshell report out of a recent German newspaper. Posted up online and translated to English, the article reveals that the United States military is actually targeting those who oppose genetically modified organisms in the food supply. And as it turns out when examining the average statistics from polling agencies, about 93-96% of the US population is in favor of going ahead and labeling GMOs.
So, with these numbers, that means at least 93-96% of the US population can now be classified as terrorists under this factor alone.
See how easy it is to go ahead and throw the entire population under the label of a terrorist?
But there’s certainly much more to the Bradley Manning story. You see Bradley Manning didn’t just engage in the terrorist act of complaining about his tap water or wanting to know what’s on his dinner table. Instead, he actually is doing the job of a true soldier — to uphold the Constitution and expose corruption. Now facing 136 years in prison for leaking essentials items like the video that details the murder of two Reuters journalists in Iraq, which also ended in the death of seven others, Bradley Manning is an example of a necessary whistleblower.
But when we have a government run by a political mafia, it should come as no surprise that Hilary Clinton and other top level political mafia players are pushing to get Bradley Manning thrown away forever — even pushing the death penalty for the young Army private. All because he is really messing up the way the game is played by these mafia masters.
‘Anti-American’ to Support Bradley Manning
Now enter CNN contributor Gabriel Schoenfeld, a fellow of the Hudson Institute think tank funded by the likes of Monsanto, IBM, Syngenta, Exxon, and Merck. Also an organization that always sends a representative to the notorious Bilderberg group each year. In his CNN piece, Schoenfeld touches upon the same old ‘terrorist’ rhetoric we’ve heard so many times that even the percentage of the general public that hides under the covers at night in fear of al-Qaeda is tired of it.
In the article, which has 748 comments that are mostly tearing up the author and CNN’s tired rhetoric, Schoenfeld actually says those who support the idea of keeping government in check through whistleblowing in the manner of Snowden and Manning are ‘left-wing anti-Americans’. He writes:
“Those spewing such left-wing anti-Americanism are eager to pass over the fact that many of the documents Manning passed to WikiLeaks were dropped onto the Internet by Julian Assange and contained the names of individuals around the world who had met with American diplomats or cooperated with American forces.”
Truly a last line of defense, invoking the left vs. right card in order to rally some potential support. The fact is, however, that the left vs. right name calling is about as tired as blaming everything on the terrorists. But let’s look at another part of the argument as to why Manning ‘betrayed’ the United States. In the article, Schoenfeld says that by leaking the documents and videos, Manning put innocents in harms way as some of the material contained the names of innocent soldiers. He writes:
“Some of these individuals were simply innocent civilians in places like Iraq and Afghanistan who tried to help our soldiers. Others were dissidents and underground writers in repressive countries.”
Gee, CNN and other news publications didn’t seem to attack the news publication that posted the addresses of law-abiding gun owners online for everyone to see. In fact, CNN and others linked to the interactive map and covered it as if it were any other piece of news. There was no CNN piece assaulting the newspaper that published the homes of innocents with legal guns, even though the map set these individuals up for burglaries and potential death.
Readers See Through Propaganda
Thankfully, readers see through articles like these, with top comments actually breaking down the reality of the situation and where it’s headed:
“Ah yes, here we go. If you dare to stand up and say that the U.S. government is out of control and has become the very thing they pretend to hate, then you are… Anti-American. Alternatively, if you believe that Manning is a traitor to the *government* for exposing things We the People find abhorrent like torture and cold blooded murder and other stuff we don’t need to worry our pretty little heads about, then you are a patriot. Criminalizing journalism, which will naturally move to criminalizing even discussing these things, is only a scant stones throw from here.”
The bottom line is that the mainstream media is losing numbers, and it has already lostcredibility. Since they cannot defeat reality with any real facts, they resort to ridiculous ‘terrorism’ pieces like this one we see here. As it turns out, however, even CNN readers see past the attempts.
Source: Anthony Gucciardi | StoryLeak
On July 30, in a military trial at Fort Mead, Maryland, war crimes whistleblower Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy (the most serious charge against him) but was found guilty of 19 other charges. While serving as a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, Manning had released hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks which exposed U.S. war crimes and other government misconduct. Doing so led to his court-martial.
In response to the verdict, Amnesty International suggested that the U.S. government needs to reassess its priorities: “The government’s priorities are upside down. The U.S. government has refused to investigate credible allegations of torture and other crimes under international law despite overwhelming evidence,” said Widney Brown, Amnesty’s senior director of international law and policy. “Yet they decided to prosecute Manning who it seems was trying to do the right thing – reveal credible evidence of unlawful behavior by the government. You investigate and prosecute those who destroy the credibility of the government by engaging in acts such as torture which are prohibited under the U.S. Constitution and in international law… It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that Manning’s trial was about sending a message: the U.S. government will come after you, no holds barred, if you’re thinking of revealing evidence of its unlawful behavior.”
In other words, U.S. policy is to shoot the proverbial messenger.
The lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) agree. The CCR had filed a case challenging the lack of transparency around the Manning trial. Now, in the wake of the verdict, the CCR has released a statement condemning the charges against Manning related to the Espionage Act: “[T]he Espionage Act itself is a discredited relic of the WWI era, created as a tool to suppress political dissent and antiwar activism, and it is outrageous that the government chose to invoke it in the first place against Manning. Government employees who blow the whistle on war crimes, other abuses and government incompetence should be protected under the First Amendment.”
The CCR statement goes on to question the future of journalism and the First Amendment itself: “We now live in a country where someone who exposes war crimes can be sentenced to life even if not found guilty of aiding the enemy, while those responsible for the war crimes remain free. If the government equates being a whistleblower with espionage or aiding the enemy, what is the future of journalism in this country? What is the future of the First Amendment?”
Indeed. And it’s not just journalists and whistleblowers who should be worried.
It didn’t surprise. Earlier she refused to dismiss aiding the enemy charges. She let multiple Espionage Act violations stand. She did so disgracefully. Manning faces possible life in prison.
We’ll know once sentence is imposed. We’ll know more if it holds on appeal. We know plenty now. Lind threw the book at Manning except entirely.
She exonerated him of aiding the enemy. She convicted him of 20 of 22 charges. They include five Espionage Act counts. Expect sentencing to be harsh. Manning faces longterm imprisonment. He may never be free again.
According to Brennan Center for Justice Liberty and National Security Program co-director Elizabeth Goitein:
“Manning is one of very few people ever charged under the Espionage Act (prosecuted) for leaks to the media. The only other person who was convicted after trial was pardoned.”
“Despite the lack of any evidence that he intended any harm to the United States, Manning faces decades in prison. That’s a very scary precedent.”
Lind is chief judge, 1st Judicial Circuit, US Army Trial Judiciary. She served in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps for 25 years.
Her service includes 4 years as a military judge in Europe, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Washington, DC.
She’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University Assistant Professor of National Security Studies.
She’s chief counsel, US Army Government Appellate Division, general counsel, Fort Belvoir, VA.
She’s Army Joint Service Committee on Military Justice working group member.
She’s supervisory defense counsel, senior prosecutor, and special assistant US attorney. She’s a New York Bar member.
Ahead of her verdict, the Bradley Manning Support Network said the following:
“In an ominous sign for (judicial fairness), military judge Denise Lind altered important charges last week in order to assist prosecutors ahead of verdict.”
“In so doing, defense attorney David Coombs explained, ‘The Government has pushed this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety.’ ”
” ‘If the Government meant information, it should have charged information.’ ”
“Up until last week, Manning was charged with stealing entire databases. The Defense has no way to defend Manning against these new charges after the fact.”
“Army private Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the transparency website WikiLeaks, to expose US criminality in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further abuses around the world.”
“Never in the history of American military law has a person been charged with Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Law, ‘Aiding the Enemy,’ for providing information to the media in the public interest.”
“However, Manning faces life in prison tomorrow if convicted of this charge alone – despite all evidence to the contrary.”
” ‘I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the informationâ¤|this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general,’ Manning said in a February statement.”
A sentencing hearing’s scheduled for Wednesday. Expect it unless postponed. It could last weeks. Each side plans calling numerous witnesses.
Obama pronounced Manning guilty by accusation. He did so before trial proceedings began. He acted callously and unconscionably. Media scoundrels piled on. They still do.
Lead prosecutor Capt. Ashden Fein called Manning an anarchist/hacker/traitor. He “knew exactly what he was doing,” he said. His actions represented “general evil intent.”
“He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor, a traitor who understood the value of compromised information in the hands of the enemy and took deliberate steps to ensure that they, along with the world, received it.”
In February, Manning pled guilty to 10 lesser charges. They’re punishable up to 20 years in prison.
Aiding the enemy and other Espionage Act violations could put him away for life.
After sentencing, it’s reviewed. It’s Major General Jeffrey Buchanan’s responsibility. He heads Washington’s Military District.
He may or may not order leniency. It’s unlikely. Expect tokenism at best. Obama wants his head. So do media scoundrels.
No military or civil judge will countermand the president and commander-in-chief. None dares challenge court of public opinion sentiment.
If bad conduct discharge is ordered, a dishonorable one, or imprisonment for a year or more (on top of time served), further review is required.
It’s the Army Court of Criminal Appeals responsibility. It can go higher. The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is its highest judicial authority.
Manning can appeal to the Supreme Court. It’s nearly always unsympathetic. Petitions for hearings are summarily rejected. A one-sentence comment does so, saying: “Petition for writ of certiorari denied.”
On July 24, defense counsel Coombs petitioned for mistrial. He said in part:
“The Defense submits that the Government has made an utter mess of the section 641 offenses by pursuing one charge (that PFC Manning stole databases) and at the last minute pursuing a different charge (that PFC Manning stole information).”
“The Defense did not know that ‘database’ or ‘records’ meant ‘information’ and has suffered irreparable prejudice as a result.”
“Under RCM 915, a military judge may declare a mistrial when ‘manifestly necessary in the interest of justice because the circumstances arising during the proceedings which cast substantial doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings.’ ”
Prosecutorial charges against Manning reflect injustice. He exposed serious war crimes. He’s victimized for doing so. Claiming he aided the enemy flies in the face of reality.
According to Duke Law School Professor Scott Silliman:
“Most of the aiding-the-enemy charges historically have had to do with POWs who gave information to the Japanese during World War II, or to Chinese communists during Korea, or during the Vietnam War.”
According to visiting University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Frakt:
Convicting Manning on this charge “would essentially create a new way of (doing so) in a very indirect fashion, even an unintended fashion.”
Prosecutors cited Union soldier Henry Vanderwater’s 1863 court martial. He was convicted of aiding the enemy. He gave an Alexandria, VA newspaper command roster information it published.
Coombs said Civil War-era cases involved coded messages. Advertisements disguised them. All modern cases involve military personnel giving aid and comfort to the enemy directly.
Convicting Manning sends a chilling message to whistleblowers. Do the right thing and be criminalized. Do it above and beyond the call and it’s longterm or life.
On July 28, the Bradley Manning Support Network discussed altering charges “to assist Gov’t ahead of verdict.”
Coombs calls doing so “push(ing) this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety.”
Altering charges isn’t “semantic,” he said. “Legally, it’s substantially different than the original charges, and more to the point, it comes long after the government rested its case, precluding the defense from going back to question witnesses differently.”
It’s an unprecedented hostile act. No legitimate judge would allow it. Manning faces kangaroo court justice. Irreparable damage doesn’t matter.
Nor does rule of law compliance. Manning was pronounced guilty before proceedings began. Defense council’s blamed for prosecutorial misconduct.
Manning’s trial was a travesty of justice. Conviction came on the same day Washington first protected whistleblowers. Congressional members did so unanimously.
On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress declared it the “duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by an officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”
Crimes then paled by comparison to today’s. They continue daily. Congress supports them. It does so by funding illegal wars.
It permits torture and other forms of abuse. It’s silent about witch-hunt justice. It’s in bed with Wall Street, war profiteers, and other corporate crooks.
It supports America’s worst. It ignores persecution of its best. It’s guilty of crimes charged against others. It’s the best government money can buy.
Whistleblowers are heroes. They’re public enemy number one. Doing the right thing risks prison hell. It’s the American way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
“Edward Snowden must be caught and punished at any cost.” Who said that? Was it some overbearing British sovereign back in 1776 who said it? Had Edward Snowden just signed the American colonies’ famous Declaration of Independence? The way that Snowden has been hounded and pursued and intimidated in the last few weeks, one would certainly think so.
According to an essay entitled “The Price They Paid,” signers of the original Declaration of Independence of 1776 were also hounded, imprisoned and even tortured and killed because they stood up for their beliefs.
And here we are now, 237 years later, out celebrating the Fourth of July like it actually meant something — while true patriots like Edward Snowden are being hunted down like dogs on the highway by the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. And nobody here seems to either notice or care.
And ditto for Bradley Manning.
According to a recent article by Paul Rogers on current revolts in Egypt, Brazil, Tunisia, Turkey, etc., “The sheer unpredictability of mass protest [is] a matter of great concern to political elites and their security cohorts across the world. That really is deeply worrying for them, and something that will cause them to double their efforts to track what is happening and predict its evolution — an effort no doubt aided by the use of PRISM and the other forms of mass surveillance. What, though, if even those systems don’t have a proper handle on what is happening [or can actually keep a lid on it either]? That will give political elites sleepless nights in the weeks and months to come.” http://www.opendemocracy.net/
First comes Occupy Wall Street. Then comes the Arab Spring. And then Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, not necessary in that order. Like in the spring of 1776, popular revolts against economic tyranny seem to be popping up all over like wack-a-moles. No wonder George III was afraid.
“So what’s your point, Jane,” you might ask. Hmmm. I guess my point is that working class people, little people, the salt of the earth people like you and me are making our current economic ruling classes just a tiny bit wary on this Fourth of July weekend of 2013.
But they still haven’t started to get pee-your-pants afraid quite yet. They still have armies and police and the NSA. And trillions of dollars stashed away in the Caymans and penthouses on Wall Street and Michelin-starred restaurants to eat at. “What me worry?” Not quite yet.
But they are worried enough — that the salt of the earth might someday finally get tired of being used, trod on and taken advantage of while they continue to be corporate welfare queens — that they are out there stalking Edward Snowden and torturing Bradley Manning and fretting about what is happening in Egypt and Brazil and Turkey.
But the economic elite almost certainly know that the little people here in America will never get uppity because they know that most Americans are under their thumb; out celebrating the Fourth of July by watching fireworks displays on TV, drinking Cokes and going shopping at dollar stores.
What happened to Michael Hastings? The revelation that Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings was working on a story about the CIA before his death and had contacted a Wikileaks lawyer about being under investigation by the FBI hours before his car exploded into flames has bolstered increasingly valid claims that the 33-year-old was assassinated.
Hastings died last week in Hollywood when his car hit a tree at high speed.
According to a prominent security analyst, technology exists that could’ve allowed someone to hack his car. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that what is known about the single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack.”
Clarke said, “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers” — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.
“What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag,” Clarke told The Huffington Post. “You can do some really highly destructive things now, through hacking a car, and it’s not that hard.”
It’s possible that Hastings car was hacked considering the people he had written about in his past and what he recently had been talking about.
Kathleen Fisher from DARPA recently did a presentation on the ease of hacking a standard american sedan. Volvo started the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) program in 2009 and they are now reporting that their testing has been “successfully completed.” Hacking of a lemmings train like Volvo’s, could lead to massive collisions on the roads and there should be major security concerns considering what recently has been learned.