The post-Cold War status quo in Eastern Europe, not to mention in Western Europe, is now dead.
For Western plutocracy, that 0.00001% at the top, the real Masters of the Universe, Russia is the ultimate prize; an immense treasure of natural resources, forests, pristine water, minerals, oil and gas. Enough to drive any NSA-to-CIA Orwellian/Panopticon war game to ecstasy. How to pounce and profit from such a formidable loot?
Enter Globocop NATO. Barely out of having its collective behind unceremoniously kicked by a bunch of mountain warriors with Kalashnikovs, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is now fast
“pivoting” – that same old Mackinder to Brzezinski game – to Russia. The road map will be put in place at the group’s summit in early September in Wales.
Meanwhile, the MH17 tragedy is undergoing a fast metamorphosis. When the on-site observations by this Canadian OSCE monitor (watch the video carefully) are compounded with this analysis by a German pilot, a strong probability points to a Ukrainian Su-25′s 30 mm auto-cannon firing at the cockpit of MH17, leading to massive decompression and the crash.
No missile – not even an air-to-air R-60M, not to mention a BUK (the star of the initial, frenetic American spin). The new possible narrative fits with on-site testimony by eyewitness in this now famously “disappeared” BBC report. Bottom line: MH17 configured as a false flag, planned by the US and botched by Kiev. One can barely imagine the tectonic geopolitical repercussions were the false flag to be fully exposed.
Malaysia has handed out the flight recorders to the UK; this means NATO, and this spells out manipulation by the CIA. Air Algerie AH5017 went down after MH17. The analysis has already been released. That begs the question of why it is taking so long for MH17′s black boxes to be analyzed/tampered with.
Then there’s the sanctions game: Russia remains guilty – with no evidence – thus it must be punished. The EU abjectly followed His Master’s Voice and adopted all the hardcore sanctions against Russia they were discussing last week.
Yet there are loopholes. Moscow will have reduced access to US dollar and euro markets. Russian state-owned banks are forbidden from selling shares or bonds in the West. Yet Sberbank, Russia’s largest, has not been sanctioned.
So Russia in the short and medium term will have to finance itself. Well, Chinese banks could easily replace that kind of lending. Don’t forget the Russia-China strategic partnership. As if Moscow needed another warning that the only way to go is to increasingly bypass the US dollar system.
EU nations will suffer. Big time. BP has a 20% stake in Rosneft, and it’s already freaking out on the record. ExxonMobil, Norway’s Statoil and Shell will also be affected. Sanctions don’t touch the gas industry; now that would have propelled the EU’s counterproductive stupidity to galactic levels. Poland – hysterically blaming Moscow for everything under the sun – gets more than 80% of its gas from Russia. The no less strident Baltic states, as well as Finland, get 100%.
The ban on dual-use goods – civilian and military applications – will badly affect Germany, the top EU exporter to Russia. On defense, the UK and France will suffer; the UK has no less than 200 licenses selling weapons and missile launching gear to Russia. Yet the French 1.2 billion euro (US$1.6 billion) sale of Mistral assault ships to Russia will go ahead.
Meanwhile, in the demonization front …
This is what Associated Press spins as “analysis” and distributes to papers around the world; a collection of cliches desperately in search of a thesis. Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center, faithful to who pays his bills, gets a few things right and most things wrong. David Stockman at least has a ball deconstructing the lies of the Warfare State.
But the real thing is definitely Putin’s economic adviser Sergei Glazyev. One of his key theses is that European business must be really careful to protect their interests as the US attempts to “ignite a war in Europe and a Cold War against Russia”.
This, though, is the ultimate bombshell - delivered by a cool, calm and collected Glazyev. Watch it carefully. A detailed reappraisal of what Glazyev has been saying for weeks now, mixed with some outstanding comments here leads to a inevitable conclusion: key sectors of Western plutocracy want a still ill-defined war with Russia. And journalism’s Holy Grail - never trust anything until it’s officially denied - confirms it.
NATO’s Plan A is to install missile batteries in Ukraine; that is already being discussed in detail in the run-up to NATO’s summit in Wales in early September. Needless to say, if that happens, for Moscow, that’s way beyond a red line; it implies a first strike capability at Russia’s western borderlands.
Washington’s short Plan A, meanwhile, is to organize a wedge between the federalists in Eastern Ukraine and Russia. This implies progressive, direct funding of Kiev in parallel to building up, via American advisers already on the ground, and vast weaponizing, a huge proxy army (nearly 500,000 by the end of the year, according to Glazyev’s projection). Endgame on the ground would be to seal the federalists off into a very small area. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshensko has been on the record saying this should happen by early September. If not, by the end of 2014.
In the US, and a great deal of the EU, a monstrous grotesquerie has developed, packaging Putin as the new Stalinist Osama bin Laden. So far, his strategy on Ukraine was to be patient – what I called Vlad Lao Tzu – watching the Kiev gang hang themselveswhile trying to sit down with the EU in a civilized manner working for a political solution.
Now we may be facing a game changer, because the mounting evidence, which Glazyev and Russian intel relayed to Putin, points to Ukraine as a battlefield; a concerted drive for regime change in Moscow; a concerted drive aiming for a destabilized Russia; and even the possibility of a definitive provocation.
Moscow, allied with the BRICS, is actively working to bypass the US dollar – which is the anchor of a parallel US war economy based on printing worthless pieces of green paper. Progress is slow, but tangible; not only the BRICS but BRICS aspirants, the G-77, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the whole Global South is absolutely fed up with the Empire of Chaos’s non-stop bullying and want another paradigm in international relations. The US counts on NATO – which it manipulates at will – and mad dog Israel; and perhaps the GCC, the Sunni petro-monarchies partners in the Gaza carnage, which can be bought/silenced with a slap on the wrist.
The temptation for Putin to invade Eastern Ukraine in 24 hours and reduce the Kiev militias to dust must have been super-human. Especially with the mounting cornucopia of dementia; ballistic missiles in Poland and soon Ukraine; indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Donbass; the MH17 tragedy; the hysterical Western demonization.
A bear with limited patience
But Putin is wired for playing the long game. The window of opportunity for a lightning strike is gone; that kung fu move would have stopped NATO in its tracks with a fait accompli, and the ethnic cleansing of 8 million Russians and Russophones in Donbass would never have developed.
Still, Putin won’t “invade” Ukraine because Russian public opinion doesn’t want him to. Moscow will keep supporting what is a de facto resistance movement in the Donbass. Remember: in give or take two months, General Winter starts to set in those broke, IMF-plundered Ukrainian pastures.
The leaked German-Russian peace plan will be implemented over Washington’s collective dead body. This New Great Game, to a great extent, is also about preventing Russia-EU economic integration via Germany, part of a full Eurasian integration including China and its myriad Silk Roads.
If Russia’s trade with the EU – about US$410 billion in 2013 – is due to take a hit because of sanctions, then that also spells out a Go East movement. Which implies a Russian fine-tuning of theEurasian Economic Union project. No more a Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok – Putin’s original idea. Enter the Eurasian Union as a brother in arms of China’s myriad Silk Roads. Still, this spells out a strong Russia-China partnership at the heart of Eurasia – and still this is absolute anathema to the Masters of the Universe.
Make no mistake, the Russia-China strategic partnership will keep evolving very fast – with Beijing in symbiosis with Moscow’s immense natural and military-technological resources. Not to mention the strategic benefits. A case could be made this has not happened since Genghis Khan. But it’s not like Xi Jinping is pulling a Khan to subdue Siberia and beyond.
Cold War 2.0 is now inevitable because the Empire of Chaos will never accept Russia’s sphere of influence in parts of Eurasia (as it doesn’t accept China’s). It will never accept Russia as an equal partner (exceptionalists don’t do equality). And it will never forgive Russia – alongside China – for openly defying the creaking, exceptionalist, American-imposed order.
If the US deep state, guided by those nullities who pass for leadership, in desperation, goes one step beyond – it could be a genocide in Donbass; a NATO attack on Crimea; or worst case scenario, an attack against Russia itself – watch out. The Bear will strike.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at email@example.com.
Source: Asia Times Online
[Author's note: Yes, I know that I should be grateful that John McCain wasn't elected in 2008 because he would have had America in the middle of WW III by now and there probably would have been bunkers and anti-aircraft missile launchers (and also lots of American dead babies) outside my bedroom window instead of just robins, but still...we are already up to our necks in wars, proxy wars and dead babies as it is -- and I'm sick of it.]
President Obama and Congress may hate each other’s guts regarding a whole lot of domestic issues — but with regard to foreign policy, Obama and Congress just can’t kiss each other’s butts fast enough when it comes to agreeing to kill as many babies as humanly possible in as many foreign countries as they possibly can. And ASAP.
Obama and Congress spend American taxpayers’ money on killing babies in foreign lands like there is no tomorrow; as if all our hard-earned money could just magically and automatically replenish itself overnight like some magical ATM that never stops working, an inexhaustible resource that has no limits or end.
“Seven trillion dollars gone forever? No problem. It’ll grow back. The important thing here is to keep producing all those dead babies.” Can’t stop now. There are still a few left alive.
In Haiti, dead babies. “They all would have died in fifty or sixty years anyway.”
In Ukraine, dead babies. “But those babies were rebels, clearly red-diaper babies!”
Afghanistan’s dead babies keep piling up like cordwood. “We thought they were Taliban! Diapers, not head-cloths? Nah.”
Dead babies in Iraq, murdered by ISIS, weaponized and trained by Obama and Congress. “Just collateral damage that got in the way of the oil. Again. Pesky babies.”
Dead babies in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and, hopefully, Iran next. “Those babies possessed WMDs!”
Dead babies in Libya, Egypt, Africa and Palestine. “Ah, the smell of dead babies in the morning.” Dead babies in Honduras. “They won’t be camping at our borders any more — because they are dead.”
And don’t forget poor bleeding Syria, where Congress and Obama happily released the Kraken, er, ISIS on all kinds of babies that used to be living. “Those babies were dictators! They had to go!”
And now Obama and Congress have solemnly shaken hands and agreed that Palestine and Gaza both need more dead babies too.
“The only difference between the “shooting fish in a barrel” attack on the USS Liberty and the “shooting fish in a barrel” attack on Gaza is that there were no babies on board the USS Liberty. What a waste.”
And even as we speak, Obama and Congress still tirelessly continue to work together, constantly dragging gigantic bags of gold coins over to the Pentagon; hundreds of thousands of black bags that contain over half of all the money that we Americans will ever earn in our lifetimes — huge black bags of gold, all clearly labeled “Dead Baby Fund”.
I want no part of any of this.
A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down in eastern Ukraine Thursday afternoon, killing all 298 passengers and crew. It was hit as it cruised at 33,000 feet above the war-ravaged Donetsk Oblast, 35 miles west from the Russian border. The airliner’s demise has the potential to escalate the Ukrainian crisis to an entirely new level.
The White House was quick to imply that the Russians were to blame for the disaster: “While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training,” its statement read only hours after the crash. “This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko promptly accused the rebels for the incident, calling it an “act of terrorism.” Late last night I received an email from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry with the link to an audio file containing two “intercepted conversations” in which pro-Russian separatists discuss having just shot down a civilian plane with their alleged GRU handlers:
———- Original Message ———-
From: “press” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: MFA: English and German Subtitles – Evidences of shooting down the civil Boeing-777 by terrorists in Donetsk
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 00:27:11 +0300
Evidences of shooting down the civil Boeing-777 by terrorists in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on 17th July
(Rus lang – ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
———- End of Original Message ———-
The link was simultaneously released to various media outlets around the world, and reported as credible. The authenticity of the tape was challenged almost immediately, however, including the apparent evidence that the Ukrainian security service USB had prepared its recording for quick release several hours before the airliner went down. (Thus far I have not been able to track any refutation of this interesting claim.)
There is at least one “known-known”: it is widely accepted that the plane was hit by a ground-to-air missile, probably launched from an SS11 “Buk” medium-range, self-propelled battery (NATO codename “Grizzly”). It is certain that the Ukrainian government forces have had such missiles in the region since July 4 at the latest. It is not certain whether pro-Russian rebels also have them. They have denied it, but last Monday they shot down a government-operated Antonov An26 transport plane at an altitude of 20,000 feet, which is well above the range of shoulder-launched missiles (MANPADs) or anti-aircraft artillery which they are known to possess. Furthermore, a Russian website reported the downing of a government transport plane yesterday afternoon in the area where the Malaysian airliner was hit. From the Russian-language text it is unclear, however, whether the source of the report on the ground knew with certainty who fired the missile or made a hasty assumption about the plane’s identity after the crash.
Even if the rebels pressed the launch button, the key question is whether they were deliberately set up to do so by the Ukrainian authorities. A key piece of information, overlooked elsewhere, came in this report by The Guardian:
Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military specialist at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said … that a Ukrainian transport plane had been flying overhead close to the time that the missile was fired at the Malaysia Airlines plane, suggesting that may have been the original target. The transport plane had been trying to relieve a beleaguered Ukraine garrison.
The Malaysian airliner was guided by the Kiev flight control center at the time of the accident, in apparent violation of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council decision to close the airspace over eastern Ukraine because of the government’s ongoing “anti-terrorist operation” in the region. Significantly, on July 8, Ukraine’s State Aviation Service banned all flights over the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in order to provide “adequate safety and security for all flights of civil aircraft.” No civilian airliner should have been there, on Kiev’s own reckoning.
In a rare show of tacit agreement with Kiev, a representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic said that civil aviation planes could not fly over Donetsk and Lugansk regions since all necessary traffic control and navigation equipment was damaged. “Dispatching support of all passenger flights is being conducted from Kiev. How this plane could be there – is not clear,” he said, adding that the Donetsk airport communication tower, “which is a part of the integrated air traffic control system, was blown up during fighting. Planes cannot fly here.”
An outright false-flag operation would have entailed the Kiev authorities shooting down the airliner and blaming the rebels. An elaborate false-flag operation would have entailed guiding the airliner into a war zone, in contravention of the regime’s own proclaimed rules, sending a government military transporter into that same zone at exactly the same time when the Malaysian airliner was entering it, and hoping that the rebels fire the missile in the reasonable assumption that anything that flies is non-civilian and therefore a legitimate target.
This is what I believe has happened, less than 24 hours after the event, having spent a sleepless night examining the available evidence. I may be wrong, but reputation-defining gut feelings have been proven right in the past. The Western media pack’s inevitable focus will be on “who fired the missile,” and not “under what circumstances, and why.” The intended political payoff is summarized in John McCain’s predictably bloodthirsty howl that there would be “hell to pay” if the plane was shot down by the Russian military or separatists. The Nulandesque clique in Washington will use such statements prudently. It is likely to have engineered the ploy – the exercise would be way beyond Pororshenko’s or the Right Sector’s league – and the trans-Atlantic advisors have ample experience in the field: think Saddam’s WMDs in 2003, Bosnia’s Markale in 1994, Kosovo’s Racak “massacre” stage-managed in January 1999 compliments of CIA agent William Walker, Bashar al Assad’s “gassing of his own people” in the suburbs of Damascus last August, or Gaddafy’s “imminent genocide” in Benghazi two years earlier…
Yes, there will be calls for an all-out proxy war against Moscow, or lethal sanctions against Russia as “the ultimate culprit” for “the atrocity.” It will be conveniently forgotten that an Iranian civilian Airbus with 300 passengers and crew was wantonly shot down – with far less contextual justification – by the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf in 1988. It will not be mentioned that on October 4, 2001, a Russian Tu-154M passenger plane flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk crashed over the Black Sea, having been shot down by a Ukrainian S-200 missile fired during military exercises in Crimea, killing all 78 passengers and crew. It was flying at 33,000 feet – just like the Malaysian airliner – but it was not subject to any restrictions, unlike the doomed Boeing 777, whose 298 passengers and crew were sacrificed to broader geopolitical objectives.
Western civilization lied and people died.
It lied, that is, to itself.
It’s a lie that imbues Bushes, Clintons and Obamas, both the left and the right and most everyone in-between. It is the enlightened position of the modern man, a tenet of our times.
It’s the idea that all peoples are basically the same.
I wrote about this seven years ago in “The Folly of Deifying Democracy in Iraq,” in which I predicted that our “nation-building” would ultimately be fruitless:
While we often view democracy as the terminus of governmental evolution, the stable end of political pursuits, the truth is that civilizations have tended to transition not from tyranny to democracy, but democracy to tyranny (e.g., the ancient Romans). …Benjamin Franklin understood this gravitation toward tyranny well, for when asked what kind of government had been created when he emerged from the constitutional convention, he said, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”
This brings us to the crux of the matter: Even if we can successfully install democratic republics in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, what makes us think they can keep them?
…To average westerners, all groups are essentially the same, despite profound religious and cultural differences. If a civilization — be it Moslem or Christian, Occidental or Oriental — suffers under the yoke of tyranny, it is only due to a twist of fate that has bestowed the wrong system of government upon it. Change that system and “voila!” all live happily ever after. What eludes these Pollyannas is that politics doesn’t emerge in a vacuum but is a reflection of a far deeper realm, the spiritual/moral. Alluding to this, Ben Franklin observed,
“Only a moral and virtuous people are capable of freedom; the more corrupt and vicious a society becomes, the more it has need of masters.”
…[S]piritual [and moral] health must precede the political variety….
A good way to illustrate this point is with Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s story about a large group of young British schoolboys who are shipwrecked on an island and who, after an initial effort at democratic governance, quickly descend into brutal autocracy. Being children, they are raw pieces of humanity perfectly illustrative of the “wild man.” After all, one thing distinguishing children is that they aren’t yet morally and spiritually developed enough to govern themselves. This is why a young child must be watched and controlled, with his life micromanaged by his (usually benign) nanny state, the parents. As he grows and matures, however, the parents can gradually allow an increasing degree of self-governance until, it is hoped, a day comes when he’s capable of complete autonomy.
But as our bursting prisons prove, this process isn’t always successfully effected; more to the point, as greatly varying levels of criminality among groups evidence, not all of our nation’s sub-cultures effect this process with equal success.
If this is true of some sub-cultures in our nation, however, why would it surprise anyone that it would be true of some cultures outside our nation?
In fact, I’ve long described moral and spiritual growth as movement toward “authentic adulthood,” which, at its pinnacle, yields that ethereal combination of innocence (meaning, absence of sin) and wisdom, and the former is actually a prerequisite for the latter. Yet some cultural norms can produce just the opposite: a loss of innocence and lack of wisdom.
However you describe this growth, the fact is that peoples mature very differently. George W. Bush was famous for saying that everybody wanted freedom, but this is an imprecise statement. No nation has complete freedom (to kill, steal, etc.), so what freedoms do the people in question supposedly want? But even if a given people does want freedom in the sense of democratic self-determination, wanting isn’t enough. Virtually everyone wants money, but not everyone has the discipline and wherewithal to acquire it; everybody wants health, but some people still can’t resist smoking, eating or drinking themselves to death. Ours is a world full of people too wanting to get what they want, which is one reason why unfulfilled desire is man’s constant companion.
Ironically, the very modernists who stress how foreign Muslims are “just like us” can easily comprehend culture/system incompatibility when our own culture war is at issue. No small number of liberals have concluded that the last opposition to their agenda won’t evaporate until we traditionalists — who, ironically, liberals sometimes liken to the Taliban — die off. Oprah Winfrey said that the old “racists” were just going to have to die; Judge Judy Sheindlin said that those who oppose faux marriage were just going to have to die. What they’re really saying is that the culture on the other side of the culture war has to die (and, believe me, I consider their “culture’s” demise no less necessary). And they figure that it won’t be perpetuated because they’re forging a new culture via the media, academia and entertainment.
So why is it so hard to understand that the same principle applies to foreign intransigents?
If certain moderns can resign themselves to this with respect to Western Christian culture, why can’t they realize that it’s no different with Islamic culture? They don’t think for a moment that they can talk us traditionalists out of our deeply held principles, so why do they think they can talk Muslims out of theirs? And they have only succeeded in shaping the younger generations because they have seized control of the aforementioned culture shapers. So why would they think that Muslim civilization could be reshaped without the same Gramscian march through the madrassahs and other Islamic institutions? They act as if their own domestic political opponents are more foreign than foreigners. But I will explain the reason why.
Just as absence makes the heart grow fonder, distance makes dreams grow fanciful.
As with an irritating neighbor who, owing to continual petty annoyances, you despise more than a tyrant an ocean away, liberals are close enough to us for our behavior to have affected them viscerally so that they feel on an emotional level what they’re incapable of apprehending intellectually. But Muslims are far enough away — and I don’t just mean physically, but, more importantly, psychologically — so that it’s easy to ascribe to them whatever qualities one’s fantasies may prescribe. It’s as with the starry-eyed, naïve young lady who is smitten with an exotic but flawed man and who is just sure (as women so often are) that she’ll be able to change him: after 15 years she can be a cynical old jade who will bitterly lament, “He’ll never change!” The man, you see, made that transition from theoretical foreign naughty boy to up-close domestic nightmare.
So do you really want to know what it would truly take to transform the ‘stan du jour? Alright, but most of you either won’t like it or won’t believe it:
- Go in with massive force and brutality, Roman style.
- Execute anyone who offers resistance after dousing him in pig’s blood.
- Forcibly convert the population to Christianity, and thoroughly infuse their institutions with the faith.
- Garrison troops there for several generations, repeating steps one and two as necessary to complete the transformation.
And, by the way, there is precedent for this: It’s a version of what the Muslims did when they long ago conquered the old Christian lands of the Mideast and North Africa.
Having said this, I’m not currently recommending such a course. I’m just telling you what would be necessary to effect the kind of change in question. You see, everyone talked about Mideast nation-building when we really just engaged in government-building and what was actually needed was something far grander than both: civilization-building. The moderns thought that if they put sheep’s clothing on a wolf it wouldn’t bite, that they could put the leaves of liberty on a tree of tyranny and they wouldn’t wither and die. We thought we were remedying causes when we were just treating symptoms.
So yesterday’s moderns called WWI “the war to end all wars.” Then their grandchildren gave us the political system to end all wars — democracy — with George W. Bush once saying that democracies don’t go to war with one another. And this is true. After all, when democracy’s birthplace, ancient Athens, democratically decided to launch a disastrous imperialistic war that ultimately cost her people their whole empire, the target was autocratic Sparta; there were no other democracies to war against at the time, you see.
So all we can really say is that democracies haven’t yet gone to war with one another. Perhaps even more to the point, democracies don’t always remain democracies; they often, sometimes quickly and violently, descend into tyranny.
Then they may go to war.
So while some commentators are saying that the current crisis in Iraq vindicates the neo-cons, it only proves that they were better than the liberals at herding cats. A wiser policy was the one we pursued during Cold War days. Understanding that the island boys were going to need a firm hand, we both kept them on their island and tried to ensure a firm hand we could handle: a pro-American dictator, such as Augusto Pinochet or Hosni Mubarak. Oh, the viciously vacuous condemned this as the authoring of tyranny, but they forget that, as Thomas Sowell often points out, in life there often aren’t any solutions, only trade-offs. And accepting this can help prevent making the wrongs ones, such as trading off blood and treasure for that fruit of folderol and fantasy — nothing.
Last Tuesday’s sudden capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city (population 1.8 million), by a coalition of Sunni forces led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was swiftly followed by the fall of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town. By Thursday morning the insurgents were reported to have advanced to the city of Samarra, only 80 miles north of Baghdad. Their lightning success has thrown the U.S. policy in the region into disarray. It creates a new global flashpoint at a time when the Obama administration has its hands full trying to manage regional emergencies, mostly of its own making, in Ukraine and in the Far East.
The most remarkable feature of the ongoing rebel offensive is that the Iraqi army and police units, although superior to the attackers in numbers and equipment, are melting away without a fight. The collapse of their morale, and especially the apparent inability of the government in Baghdad to maintain any semblance of command and control, is without precedent in an even semi-functional modern state. (Mali comes to mind, but sub-Saharan Africa is in a dysfunctional league of its own.) In Mosul, the insurgents captured a vast treasure-trove of U.S.-supplied arms abandoned by the Iraqi army soldiers as they fled. Last January’s fall of Falluja and Ramadi – for which hundreds of U.S. Marines gave their lives in the first decade of this century – now appears to have been a mere dress rehearsal for Mosul. After hundreds of taxpayer billions and thousands of American lives wasted on the war in Iraq before the withdrawal, it is now evident that the additional $14 billion that the United States has spent on arming, training and equipping the Iraqi security forces since December 2011 were also wasted. Even before the latest rebel advance the Iraqi army was ineffective and plagued by mass desertions, especially among its Sunni soldiers. Now that army can be seen for what it is: a sectarian Shi’ite militia, very well armed and equipped but atrociously trained and even worse led. Its top brass is uninterested in defending Sunni-majority areas in the northwest of the country, and its rank-and-file is deeply divided along sectarian lines. Unable and unwilling to develop any sense of loyalty or common purpose among its non-Shia recruits, NCOs and officers, the Iraqi army effectively does not exist.
It is equally noteworthy that Islamic militants have now joined forces with the Baathist leaders and military commanders from Saddam’s era (“Former Regime Elements,” FREs). Most prominently they include former vice-president Izzat al-Douri, who has evaded capture by the “Coalition” and by the Iraqi government for over a decade. Prior to 2003, people like al-Douri – a Baathist secularist – and various hard-core jihadist movements trying to undermine Saddam’s regime were mortal enemies. Their present ability to join forces is entirely due to their shared disdain for the sectarian Shia government in Baghdad. Of course they will not be able to offer a joint “vision” for a Sunni state carved out of what remains of Iraq, but they are eminently able to ensure that one-third of this once-prosperous Arab state will no longer be controlled from the center. The majority-Shia regions – approximately one-half of the territory and two-thirds of the population – will become even more closely linked to Iran, thus making a mockery of Geroge W. Bush’s post-WMD rationale for starting the war.
Particularly ironic is the fact that ISIS is the main fighting force battling Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The ISIS-affiliated jihadists in Aleppo and Raqqa (under whatever temporary label) are to this day aided and abetted by the U.S. government. The arms and equipment shipped via Turkey and Jordan and meant for the elusive Syrian “moderates” invariably end up in extremist hands. Across the border, in Iraq, these same people are the enemy of America and her chosen regime in Baghdad. All along, the group’s ideology and objectives are the same. They are openly proclaimed: there is nothing secretive about the ISIS goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and southeastern Turkey.
There is no coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq, or by inevitable association, in Syria. Both have been pushed to the back-burner in recent months, and both have been based either on wishful thinking or on pig-headed mendacity. The current chaos in Iraq reminds us of the extent to which U.S. interventions abroad are bad in principle if no vital American security and economic interests are involved. Malaki has asked for American air strikes, and even the return of boots on the ground, but this must not happen. No American interest is at stake in the ongoing Iraqi mess, and therefore no U.S. involvement is justified. It never was. Foreign intervention becomes inexcusable if its likely outcome is worse than the status quo. In Iraq the U.S. should not become an active ally of the sectarian Shia regime that cannot and will not either co-opt or corrupt its Sunni co-nationals. In Syria, it is clear that the only likely alternative to Bashar is a nosedive into terrorist jihadist mayhem. Both outcomes would be far worse from the vantage point of U.S. interests, geopolitically as well as morally, than letting things be as they are. The Bush administration, the U.S. government was a problem in creating the bloody Iraqi mess in 2003 and managing it thereafter. Washington’s evil and insane “foreign policy community” cannot be a solution to Iraq’s problems now, and never will be.
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market. But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”
– Antonia Juhasz, oil industry analyst, Al Jazeera.
These are the ‘best of times’ for the oil giants in Iraq. Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough. Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:
“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.” (Wall Street Journal)
You bet. But for those who still cling to the idea that the US was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks. Here’s the story from Aljazeera:
“While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.
On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal. Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.
Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala. Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.” (“Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq”, Dahr Jamail, Aljazeera.)
If it sounds like the big boys are dividing the spoils among themselves; it’s because they are. Exxon, BP, Shell; they’re all here. They all have their contracts in hand, and they’re all drilling their brains out thanks to the American servicemen and women who gave their lives for some trumped up baloney about WMD. Isn’t that what’s going on?
Sure it is. And even now–after all the reasons for going to war have been exposed as lies–the farce continues. Nothing has changed. Nothing. There’s still no talk of reparations, no official investigation, no indictments, no prosecutions, no trials, no penalties, no nothing. Not even a stinking apology. Just a big “up yours” Iraq. We’re way too important to apologize for killing a million of your people and reducing your five thousand year old civilization to a pile of rubble. Instead, we’ll just screw you some more and paper it over with a little public relations, like Obama did a couple weeks ago when he promised to “leave behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people”.
Oh yeah. Obama’s all about sovereignty and stability, everyone knows that. That’s why Baghdad is the terror capital of the world, because Obama’s so committed to security.
These PR blurbs are effective though, they provide the necessary cover for leaving enough troops behind to protect the oil installations and pipelines. That’s the kind of security Obama cares about. Security for the oiligarchs and their stolen property. Everyone else can fend for themselves, which is why Baghdad is such a bloody mess. Here’s more from Aljazeera:
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.” (Aljazeera)
Yeah, thanks for that invasion, Mr. Bush. We couldn’t have done it without you, guy. Hope you have a great retirement painting pictures of poodles and stuff while people continue to get blown to pieces in the terrorist Hellhole you created. Here’s more Al Jazeera:
“Juhasz, author of the books The Tyranny of Oil and The Bush Agenda, said that while US and other western oil companies have not yet received all they had hoped the US-led invasion of Iraq would bring them, “They’ve certainly done quite well for themselves, landing production contracts for some of the world’s largest remaining oil fields under some of the world’s most lucrative terms.”
Dr Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an international oil consultant and economist …(said) he believes western oil companies have successfully acquired the lions’ share of Iraq’s oil, “but they gave a little piece of the cake for China and some of the other countries and companies to keep them silent”. (Aljazeera)
How do you like that? These guys operate just like the Mafia. The Bossman pays off China with a few million barrels, and China keeps its mouth shut. Nice. Everyone gets “their cut” so they don’t go blabbing to the media about the ripoff that’s taking place in broad daylight. The stench of corruption is overpowering.
And here’s something else you won’t see in the media. In a White House press release, the Obama administration announced that they would continue to support Iraq’s “efforts to develop the energy sector” in order to “help boost Iraq’s oil production.”….
According to Assim Jihad, spokesman for Iraq’s ministry of oil, “Iraq has a goal of raising its oil production capacity to 12m bpd by 2017, which would place it in the top echelon of global producers.” (Aljazeera)
“12 million barrels-per-day by 2017″?
That makes this the biggest petroleum heist in history. And we’re supposed to believe that the oil bigwigs didn’t know anything about this before the war? What a crock! I’ll bet you even money the CEOs and their lackeys figured out that Saudi Arabia was running out of gas, so they decided to pick up stakes and move their operations to good old Mesopotamia. That’s why they put their money on Bush and Cheney, because they knew that two former oil men would do the heavy lifting once they got shoehorned into the White House. The whole thing was a set-up from the get-go, right down to the 5 shady Supremes who suspended the voting in Florida and crowned Bush emperor in 2000. The whole thing was probably mapped out years in advance.
Big oil runs everything in America. People talk about the power of Wall Street and Israel, but oil is still king. They run it all, and they own it all. And “what they say, goes.” Here’s more:
“Juhasz explained that ExxonMobil, BP and Shell were among the oil companies that “played the most aggressive roles in lobbying their governments to ensure that the invasion would result in an Iraq open to foreign oil companies”.
They succeeded,” she added. “They are all back in.” (Aljazeera)
Hooray. Big oil wins again, and all it cost was a million or so Iraqis who got blown to bits air raids or shot up at checkpoints, or beaten to death with a rubber hose at Abu Ghraib or any of the other democracy reeducation centers that dot the countryside. But, hey, look at the bright side: At least production is up, right? Can you see how sick this is? Here’s more:
“Under the current circumstances, the possibility of a withdrawal of western oil companies from Iraq appears remote, and the Obama administration continues to pressure Baghdad to pass the Iraq Oil Law.” (Aljazeera)
And what is the “Iraq Oil Law”, you ask?
It’s a way to privatize the oil market using Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) which disproportionately benefit the corporations. Obama’s a big backer of the law since it means even heftier profits for his thieving friends. In other words, the humongous profits they’re already skimming off aren’t quite good enough. They want more. They want to own the whole shooting match lock, stock and barrel.
This is really an outrage. What other country behaves like this?
No one. No other country in the world goes out and kills a million people, destroys their country, and leaves them to scrape by on next to nothing just so they can pad the bank accounts of voracious plutocrats have more dough than they know what to do with. No one else would even dare to act like that for fear that they’d get bombed into annihilation by the world’s biggest bullyboy, the US of A. Only the US can get away with this type of crap, because the US is a law unto itself.
Iraq was the Cradle of Civilization. Now it’s the cradle of shit. The US decimated Iraq; blew it to bits, bombed its industries, its bridges, its schools, its hospitals, leveled its cities, polluted its water, spread diseases everywhere, killed its kids, pitted brother against brother, and transformed a vibrant, unique country into a dysfunctional cesspit run by opportunists, gangsters, and fanatics.
And, here’s the corker: No one gives a rip. Face it: No one gives a flying fu** about Iraq. The American people lost interest long ago, the politicians can’t be bothered, and the UN is too afraid of the US to lift a finger to help. They’d rather stamp their feet and scold Putin over Crimea than utter a peep about the genocide in Iraq. That’s the state of things today, right? No accountability for the men who started the war, and no justice for the victims. Just the infrequent (phony) pronouncement of support from the White House or the all-too-frequent sectarian bombing that leaves an untold number of civilians dead or wounded. This is all the US leaves behind; hatred, death and destruction.
Here’s a clip from a poem by Iraqi writer who wants readers to take a minute and think about all the suffering the United States has created. The poem is titled “Flying Kites”:
“Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us…
You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you…
Come and search for them in the rubble of your “surgical” air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head…pleading for your attention.
Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food…
Come and see our little ones, under-nourished or dying from disease. Cholera, dysentery, infections…
Come and see, come….” (“Flying Kites” Layla Anwar)
A million people were killed so a few rich fu**ers could get even richer. That’s a hell of a legacy.
Vanity Fair will publish an article by Monica Lewinsky in it’s June issue. Ripples of commentary have already begun on the now 40 year old woman who earned a Master of Science degree in December of 2006.
For the last eight years Monica has tried to keep her name out of the news. Today, she is again useful to the Clintons and their corporate sponsors.
While the source of her notoriety titillated, consider why her emergence matters one way or another. It doesn’t, you know. This is hype, orchestrated to impact the 2016 election.
Lewinsky was persuaded to write the essay for Vanity Fair because her life has been on hold. Every job she has gotten pivoted on the events from July, 1995, when she was turning 22, to the failure to impeach Bill Clinton by Congress on February 12, 1999.
The Washington Post touts her return as a positive for Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House. This surge of media attention focuses on Hillary as a secondary victim. It distracts us from what should, finally, be asked about the Clintons. They did well for themselves. Today Monica is still defined by the words, “cigar,” and “blue dress.”
Some of these questions are:
Why was Hillary ever positioned as a victim? We learned early on she had assisted in cover-ups of Bill’s womanizing from the time he entered politics. Hillary showed no concern for the damage done to the women involved. Political advantage trumped telling the truth, the impact on victims, and accountability, for Hillary.
When the trial ended in Congress the Clintons were drained of money. Yet by 2004 they were doing well, entering the embrace of the 1%. The Clintons had become intimates of Bush Co., and were not speaking out against a war which had originated in another set of carefully orchestrated lies by Bush and his NeoCon cadre. What else was happening while these relationships were forming?
What might we have learned if we had demanded accountability when Bush jovially looked under his desk for WMD? What if Saddam had not been hurried into the silence of death?
Following the money and connections always answers questions far more revealing of secrets than are sexual dalliances.
The answers are there. Don’t let Monica be used as a tool of distraction. Forget those nine incidents of sexual dalliance and demand answers to real questions.
I just went to hear Mother Agnes-Mariam, a Syrian nun dressed in a serious nun outfit, give a talk on the horrible situation that her country finds itself in today — and I ended up with ten pages of notes on the shocking details of what she said. However, the main gist of her talk can be summed up in just a few words. “[Western neo-colonial] powers have been engineering chaos in Syria — and they need to stop this disruptive behavior right now so that peace and reconciliation can safely proceed.”
According to Mother Agnes-Mariam, these Western powers-that-be have been “engineering chaos” in Syria quite successfully over the last three years. But I would also like to add that Western neo-cons haven’t just been engineering chaos in Syria — oh no. They’ve also been doing it everywhere that they can, all across the Middle East. And then it also suddenly dawned on me that said neo-cons have been following a similar step-by-step pattern all over the world, not just in the Middle East:
Step 1: Find yourself a resource-rich country where a percentage of the population is unhappy — for whatever reason (and if you can’t find any unhappy people there, then just make some up).
Step 2: Begin to foment revolution in the name of “Freedom and Democracy”. Make F&D sound really really good!
Step 3: Start the killing — or “Shock and Awe” or whatever you want to call it. Use terms like “freedom fighters” and “rebels” and “no-fly zones” and “humanitarian relief”. And also be sure to throw in scare-words like “WMDs” and “Chemical Weapons” and “Nuclear Proliferation” whenever humanly possible. But it doesn’t really matter what you call anything as long as chaos results. Or another Benghazi. Or another Maiden Square.
Step 4: The most imperative goal in Step 4 is to make sure that an impressive number of civilians are killed (See Step 3)
Step 5: Disassemble the mechanisms of state. Bomb the hospitals. Bump off the water supply. Destroy the infrastructure. Blow up city hall. Replace the strong-arm guy who is holding the country together with a thousand factional groups who all hate each other and everyone else — and are willing to kill to prove it too. Think Iraq. Think Libya. Think Yugoslavia.
Step 6: Move into the void that’s created and steal land and resources to your heart’s content. “Good job, Brownie!”
But enough of this. Let’s get back to Mother Agnes-Miriam’s talk. She spoke for over an hour on peace and reconciliation in Syria — by and for Syrians. It was a hopeful speech; sadly informative but also rational and inspiring.
And then suddenly five or six people popped up from the audience as if on cue and started shouting at Mother Agnes. “What about the use of chemical weapons! What about that dictator Assad!”
I at first thought that the ushers at the venue had over-reacted a bit by telling those guys to either be quiet or leave. But later I learned that these same guys have been following Mother Agnes-Miriam all around America and trying to disrupt all of her talks.
And at another one of her talks, I later found out, Mother Agnes had welcomed their participation and attempted to answer their questions — only to discover that they had no valid evidence, no real POV and nothing really to say.
These guys were simply trying to “engineer chaos” too!
And afterwards, outside on the front steps, one of these guys (wearing a really expensive-looking suit) handed me his card. He was from Washington DC, of course. That figures.
For those of you who still want to soldier on and read more about what Mother Agnes-Mariam had to say, here are some of the quotes that I wrote down. I think I copied most of them correctly, but I was writing pretty fast:
“In Syria today, the horrendous reality is of thousands and thousands of mercenaries who enter historic city complexes to turn them into battlefields. They are terrorists and bandits who spread agony among the residents.
“Sponsored by foreign powers, these ‘Tafiri’ [self-appointed inquisitionists] ‘liberate’ towns by forcing the residents out of them. The majority of Islamic clerics throughout the world denounce the Tafiri, however.
“Syria is a cauldron of chaos — designed to dismantle a country. It is engineered by neo-colonials to divide and reign — and to dismantle and gain.
“All of Syria used to be middle-class. No homeless people in Syria. And now they are obliged to beg; living in slums where the violence has followed them. Mosques, churches and synagogues are also being systematically destroyed. Factories, hospitals, residences. Homs now looks like Stalingrad. Apocalyptic. The economic and production heart of Syria has also been destroyed. The engineers of chaos destroyed it.
“A young woman wakes up with no legs. And her friend is now blind. In some places, only 3% of the population remain — and the Takfiri ‘rebels’ still shell them. We are living among vampires — where beheading is getting very normal. We are seeing heads everywhere. They play football with them. One Takfiri leader is said to have beheaded 350 people.
“What happened to the Arab Spring? That striving for freedom and democracy has been highjacked by the engineers of chaos. The Free Syrian Army lacks money, its members are starving. But the Takfiri faction is receiving all kinds of money and weapons. The Takfiri are in direct opposition to reconciliation. They come from 80 countries — and Syrians are their victims.
“There are seven million refugees inside of Syria and two more million outside of the country. They are starving. Out of a population of just 22 million, each day 9,500 more civilians are forced to leave their homes. Soon all 22 million will be displaced. We are back to the barbarian era.
“When you see something like this in your city — thousands beheaded, children pushed off roofs, people roasted in ovens — there will be more and more violence. But there is a third way. We have to build bridges. That is the challenge of reconciliation among Syrians. We have to develop trust. We have a lot of martyrs [to the non-violent cause], but we will not stop because the bloodshed must stop!
“Saddam was killed. Gaddafi was killed. Has it gotten any better? If Assad is gone, who will take his place? The 2000 factions? No. How can I reconcile with a group who wants to behead me? We are now talking to former [FSA] fighters who go back to protect their neighborhoods from the Takfiris. The FSA is willing to talk. Even Syria’s Al Qaeda is upset that ISIS Takfiri are killing everyone and burning factories.
“We are accused continuously, especially by people in the US, of being political. This is preposterous. We are talking only out of a position to stop the bloodshed. Alternative media can now go deeper and not just repeat mainstream media [brainwashing] ad nauseam. Go and hear everyone. I am not an oracle — but do not put me to death if I disagree. This is not the way to truth.
“If a solution to Syria’s problems is imposed from outside, we will be worse off than before. We must be free from foreign intervention. Change will not come from violence. Violence has just strengthened [Assad's] regime. All the Takfiris have done is to get rid of the infrastructure of the state instead. The state itself is the sole hope for Syria. That, and a dialogue of symbiosis and reconciliation among Syrians themselves.”
It is no secret that Barack Obama is one of the supreme illusionists of modern times. The disconnect between his words and his deeds is so profound as to be almost sublime, far surpassing the crude obfuscations of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Their projections of unreality were more transparent, and in any case were merely designed to put a little lipstick on the pig of policies they were openly pushing. For example, they openly wanted to conquer Iraq and expand the militarist state, they openly wanted to redistribute national wealth to the elite, so they just gussied up this unhidden agenda with some fantasies about WMD and the occult magic of “tax cuts,” whereby enriching the rich and degrading all notion of the common good would somehow create a utopia of prosperity (for deserving white folk, at least).
There was a disconnect between their rhetoric and reality, to be sure, but it was easily seen through (except, of course, by the highly-paid credulous cretins of our national media). Indeed, the Bushists seemed unconcerned by how threadbare their lies were; they delivered their lines like bored performers at the end of a long stage run, not caring whether they were believed or not — just as long as they got to do what they wanted.
But Obama has taken all this to another level. He is a consummate performer, and strives to “inhabit” the role and mouth his lines as if they make sense and convey some sort of emotional truth. Also, most of the time his rhetoric, his role, his emotional stance are in stark opposition to his actual policies. He is not just gilding his open agenda with some slap-dash lies; he is masking a hidden agenda with a vast array of artifice, expending enormous effort not to prettify an ugly reality but to create an entire counter-reality, an alternate world that does not exist. Again, no one one was in any doubt about the Bushists’ militarism, their dedication to the financial elite or their disdain for anyone who was not, in their view, a “normal American” (white, traditionalist, bellicose, greedy). In fact, that’s exactly why millions of “normal Americans” voted for them. But Obama’s image — cool, compassionate, progressive, peace-seeking, non-traditionalist, anti-elitist — is so far at odds with his actual policies, and with the world as it actually exists, that you can get severe whiplash turning from his rhetoric to reality.
Take his astonishing attack on Vladimir Putin for “interfering” in Ukraine. That Obama could make this charge with a straight face — days after his own agents had been exposed (in the infamous “Fuck the EU” tape) nakedly interfering in Ukraine, trying to overthrow a democratically elected government and place their own favorites in charge — was brazen enough. But in charging Putin with doing exactly what the Americans have been doing in Ukraine, Obama also fabricated yet another alternate world, turning reality on its head.
Speaking at a summit in Mexico, Obama unilaterally declared that Ukraine should overturn the results of its democratic election in 2010 (which most observers said was generally “fair and free” — perhaps more “fair and free” than national elections in, say, the United States, where losing candidates are sometimes wont to take power anyway, and where whole states dispossess or actively discourage millions of free citizens from voting). Instead, the Ukrainians should install an unelected “transitional government” in Kiev. Why should they do this? Because, says Obama, now channeling all Ukrainians in his own person, “the people obviously have a very different view and vision for their country” from the government they democratically elected. All of the people of Ukraine have a different vision, you understand; every last one of them. And what is their vision, according to Obama the Ukrainian Avatar? To enjoy “freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fair and free elections.” Something you might think they had enjoyed by having fair and free elections in 2010, and exercising freedom of speech and assembly to such a degree that a vast opposition force had occupied much of the central government district for months. But the Avatar knows better, of course.
Now, this is not a defense of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s government. It is, by all accounts, a highly corrupt enterprise given to insider deals for well-connected elites who influence government policy for their own benefit. I guess this might be a reason for overthrowing a democratically elected government with an armed uprising supported by foreign countries, but I would be careful about espousing this as a general rule if I were an American president. The old saw about stones and glass houses comes to mind.
The reality (if anyone cares about such a thing) is that the situation in Ukraine is complex. Opposition forces have a legitimate beef against a corrupt and heavy-handed government. The Kremlin is obviously trying to manipulate events and policies in Ukraine, just the United States is doing. (Obama’s remarks on this topic are comedy gold: “Our approach in the United States is not to see [this] as some cold war chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia. Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future.” Yes, as long as they make the right decisions, unlike in 2010, when they voted for the wrong person.) Ukraine is polarized along several different lines — political, ethnic, historical, religious, linguistic – but these lines are not clear-cut, and often intersect, intermingle, are in flux. The pull away from Russia’s orbit is strong in many people; the desire to retain close relations to Russia is equally strong in others. (Although any attempt by Russia to quash Ukraine’s independence would likely unite all factions in resistance.) Many people look to the West as a model, even a saviour, although the EU deal that Yanukovych turned down, precipitating the outpouring of opposition, actually offered Ukraine very little other than Greek-style financial servitude, while the Kremlin, at least, proffered cash on the barrelhead. The opposition itself is not a monolith of moral rectitude; one of its driving forces is an ultra-nationalist faction that happily harks back to Ukraine’s fascist collaborators with Nazi invaders and spouts vile anti-Semitic rhetoric. It is likely that the ultra-nationalists are chiefly behind the opposition’s turn toward violent resistance, overshadowing the young, moderate, West-yearning, anti-corruption factions that have been the face of the uprising thus far.
And the fact is, not a single one of the Western governments now denouncing Ukraine for its repression would have tolerated a similar situation. Try to imagine thousands of, say, Tea Partiers, having declared that the elected government of Barack Obama was too corrupt and illegitimate to stand, setting up an armed camp in the middle of Washington, occupying the Treasury Building and Justice Department for months on end, while meeting with Chinese and Russian leaders, who then begin demanding a ‘transitional government’ be installed in the White House. What would be the government’s reaction? There is no doubt that it would make even Yanukovych’s brutal assault this week look like a Sunday School picnic.
So the situation in Ukraine is many-sided, complex, filled with ambiguity, change, nuance and chaos. Protest against a specific unpopular government policy first turned into a broader opposition to the government in general and is now threatening to turn into civil war. Such things do happen in the world, and yes, great powers do seek to influence and direct these events to their own advantage. It would be good if Ukraine could be rid of rule by corrupt elites; it is not all clear that a civil war led, at least in part, by racist nationalists, would lead to this happy outcome. But one thing that is not happening in Ukraine is Barack Obama’s fantasy that the entire Ukrainian people is rising to rid themselves of a tyrant so they can hold fair and free elections. They had such elections in 2010; and if the entire Ukrainian people now wants to get rid of their president, there are free elections scheduled for 2015. It is highly likely that Yanukovych’s corrupt and maladroit performance in office — not least his reaction to the protest movement itself — would have guaranteed his peaceful defeat at the ballot box next year. But it is also likely that these elections will not be held now. One way or another, Yanukovych will be forced out of office by the violent chaos that he, and sections of the opposition, and the machinations of Moscow and Washington have together produced. In any case, there is almost certainly more needless suffering in store for ordinary Ukrainians.
This is the reality, and tragedy, of the situation. But in the artfully hallucinated world of Barack Obama – a fantasy-land in which the entire American political and media elite also live – none of this matters. All that matters is the real agenda (which was also the agenda of George W. Bush, and Vladimir Putin for that matter): advancing the dominance of a brutal ruling class through manipulation, militarism, and deception, whenever the opportunity arises.
Chris Floyd is an American journalist. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the “Empire Burlesque” political blog. He can be reached at email@example.com. http://twitter.com/empireburlesque
In 1979, Iran shocked the world—and directly confronted America’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East — by charting its own revolutionary course toward participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence. Over the past thirty-five years the Islamic Republic of Iran has held dozens of presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections and attained impressive developmental outcomes—including more progressive results at alleviating poverty, delivering health care, providing educational access, and (yes) expanding opportunities for women than the last shah’s regime ever achieved. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic has done these things while withstanding significant regional challenges and mounting pressure from the United States and its allies. Below, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett suggest that like 1979, 2014 is likely to be, in unique ways, another Year of Iran, when Tehran’s foreign policy strategy will either finally compel Western acceptance of Iran’s sovereign rights—especially to enrich uranium under international safeguards—or fundamentally delegitimise America’s already eroding pretensions to Middle Eastern hegemony.
Hassan Rohani’s election as Iran’s president seven months ago caught most of the West’s self-appointed Iran “experts” by (largely self-generated) surprise. Over the course of Iran’s month-long presidential campaign, methodologically-sound polls by the University of Tehran showed that a Rohani victory was increasingly likely. Yet Iran specialists at Washington’s leading think tanks continued erroneously insisting (as they had for months before the campaign formally commenced) that Iranians could not be polled like other populations and that there would be “a selection rather than an election,” engineered to install Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “anointed” candidate—in most versions, former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. On election day, as Iranian voters began casting their ballots, the Washington Post proclaimed that Rohani “will not be allowed to win”—a statement reflecting virtual consensus among American pundits.
Of course, this consensus was wrong—as have been most of the consensus judgments on Iran’s politics advanced by Western analysts since the country’s 1979 revolution. After Rohani’s victory, instead of admitting error, America’s foreign policy elite manufactured two explanations for it. One was that popular disaffection against the Islamic Republic—supposedly reflected in Iranians’ determination to elect the most change-minded candidate available to them—had exceeded even the capacity of Khamenei and his minions to suppress. This narrative, however, rests on agenda-driven and false assumptions about who Rohani is and how he won.
“The Islamic Republic aims to replace American hegemony with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and by leveraging participatory Islamist governance and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”.”
At sixty-five, Rohani is not out to fundamentally change the Islamic Republic he has worked nearly his entire adult life to build. The only cleric on the 2013 presidential ballot, Rohani belongs to Iran’s main conservative clerical association, not its reformist antipode. While he has become the standard bearer for the Islamic Republic’s “modern” (or “pragmatic”) right, with considerable support from the business community, his ties to Khamenei are also strong. After Rohani stepped down as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council in 2005, Khamenei made Rohani his personal representative on the Council.
Backing Rohani was thus an unlikely way for Iranian voters to demand radical change, especially when an eminently plausible reformist was on the ballot—Mohammad Reza Aref, a Stanford Ph.D. in electrical engineering who served as one of reformist President Mohammad Khatami’s vice presidents. (Methodologically-sound polls showed that Aref’s support never exceeded single digits; he ultimately withdrew three days before Iranians voted.) The outcome, moreover, hardly constituted a landslide—not for Rohani and certainly not for reformism: Rohani won by just 261,251 votes over the 50-percent threshold for victory, and the parliament elected just one year before is dominated by conservatives.
The other explanation for Rohani’s success embraced by American elites cites it as proof that U.S.-instigated sanctions are finally “working”—that economic distress caused by sanctions drove Iranians to elect someone inclined to cut concessionary deals with the West. But the same polls that accurately predicted Rohani’s narrow win also show that sanctions had little to do with it. Iranians continue to blame the West, not their own government, for sanctions. And they do not want their leaders to compromise on what they see as their country’s sovereignty and national rights—rights manifest today in Iran’s pursuit of a civil nuclear program.
The Iranian Challenge
Iran’s presidential election and the smooth transfer of office to Rohani from term-limited incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stand out in today’s Middle East. Compared to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia, the Islamic Republic is actually living up to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s description of Iran as “an island of stability” in an increasingly unsettled region. And compared to some Gulf Arab monarchies, where perpetuation of (at least superficial) stability is purchased by ever increasing domestic expenditures, the Islamic Republic legitimates itself by delivering on the fundamental promise of the revolution that deposed the last shah thirty-five years ago: to replace Western-imposed monarchical rule with an indigenously generated political model integrating participatory politics and elections with principles and institutions of Islamic governance.
“Partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests.”
These strengths have enabled the Islamic Republic to withstand sustained regional and Western pressure, and to pursue a foreign policy strategy likely to reap big payoffs in 2014. This strategy aims to replace American hegemony, regionally and globally, with a more multi-polar distribution of power and influence. It seeks to achieve this by using international law and institutions, and by leveraging the Islamic Republic’s model of participatory Islamist governance, domestic development, and foreign policy independence to accumulate real “soft power”—not just with a majority of Iranians living inside their country, but (according to polls) with hundreds of millions of people across the Muslim world and beyond, from Brazil to China and South Africa. Such soft power was on display, for example, in the last year of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, when, during a trip to China, he won a standing ovation from a large audience at Peking University, where a representative sample of next-generation Chinese elites showed themselves deeply receptive to his call for a more equitable and representative international order.
In the current regional and international context, the West is increasingly challenged to come to terms with the Islamic Republic as an enduring entity representing legitimate national interests. In Tehran, the United States and its European allies could have a real partner in countering al-Qa’ida-style terrorism and extremism, in consolidating stable and representative political orders in Syria and other Middle Eastern trouble spots, and in resolving the nuclear issue in a way that sets the stage for moving toward an actual WMD-free zone in the region. But partnering with Tehran would require Washington and its friends in London and Paris to accept the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of a fully sovereign state with legitimate interests—something that Western powers have refused to accord to any Iranian government for two centuries.
President Obama’s highly public failure to muster political support for military strikes against the Assad government following the use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21, 2013 has effectively undercut the credibility of U.S. threats to use force against Iran. On November 24, 2013, this compelled an American administration, for the first time since the January 1981 Algiers Accords that ended the embassy hostage crisis, to reach a major international agreement with Tehran—the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1—largely on Iranian terms. (For example, the interim nuclear deal effectively negates Western demands—long rejected by Tehran but now enshrined in seven UN Security Council resolutions—that Iran suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment).
But recent Western recognition of reality is still partial and highly tentative. The United States and its British and French allies continue to deny that Iran has a right to enrich uranium under international safeguards. They also demand that, as part of a final deal, Tehran must shut down its protected enrichment site at Fordo, terminate its work on a new research reactor at Arak, and allow Western powers to micromanage the future development of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Such positions are at odds with the language of the interim nuclear deal and of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They are also as hubristically delusional as the British government’s use of the Royal Navy to seize tankers carrying Iranian oil on the high seas after a democratically-elected Iranian government nationalised the British oil concession in Iran in 1951—and as London’s continued threat to do so even after the World Court ruled against Britain in the matter.
If Western powers can realign their positions with reality on the nuclear issue and on various regional challenges in the Middle East, Iran can certainly work with that. But Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Western powers may not be capable of negotiating a nuclear settlement grounded in the NPT and respectful of the Islamic Republic’s legal rights—just as Britain and the United States were unwilling to respect Iran’s sovereignty over its own natural resources in the early 1950s. Under such circumstances, more U.S.-instigated secondary sanctions that illegally threaten third countries doing business with Iran will not compel Tehran to surrender its civil nuclear program. Rather, Iran’s approach—including a willingness to conclude what the rest of the world other than America, Britain, France, and Israel would consider a reasonable nuclear deal—seeks to make it easier for countries to rebuild and expand economic ties to the Islamic Republic even if Washington does not lift its own unilaterally-imposed sanctions.
“Continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East.”
Likewise, Iranian strategy takes seriously the real prospect that Washington cannot disenthrall itself from Obama’s foolish declaration in August 2011 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go—and therefore that America cannot contribute constructively to the quest for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict. If the United States, Britain, and France continue down their current counter-productive path in Syria, Tehran can play off their accumulating policy failures and the deepening illegitimacy of America’s regional posture to advance the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.
How Will the West Respond?
Coming to terms with the Islamic Republic will require the United States to abandon its already eroding pretensions to hegemony in the Middle East. But, if Washington does not come to terms with the Islamic Republic, it will ultimately be forced to surrender those pretensions, as it was publicly and humiliatingly forced to do in 1979. Moreover, continuing hostility toward the Islamic Republic exacerbates America’s inability to deal with popular demands for participatory Islamist governance elsewhere in the Middle East. Less than a month after Rohani’s election, it was widely perceived that the United States tacitly supported a military coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected (and Islamist) government. The coup in Egypt hardly obviates the fact that, when given the chance, majorities in Middle Eastern Muslim societies reject Western intervention and choose to construct participatory Islamist orders. Refusing to accept this reality will only accelerate the erosion of U.S. influence in the region.
The United States is not the first imperial power in decline whose foreign policy debate has become increasingly detached from reality—and history suggests that the consequences of such delusion are usually severe. The time for American elites to wake up to Middle Eastern realities before the United States and its Western allies face severe consequences for their strategic position in this vital part of the world is running out.
About the Authors
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are authors of Going to Tehran: America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran (New York: Metropolitan, 2013), which has just been released in paperback, with a new Afterword. They had distinguished careers in the U.S. government before leaving their positions on the National Security Council in March 2003, in disagreement with Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror. They teach international relations, he at Penn State, she at American University.
Source: The World Financial Review
The response from the NY Times to the following two exclusive submissions was the Auto-Reply that they were received.
For the next 12 Days before Christmas I will be TWEETING the short link to this post to the NY TIMES, such as this:
I also will be TWEETING it to every Media outlet I can find at TWITTER; but first a little background:
I learned about Vanunu while researching my first historical novel and wrote him into the Chapter THANKSGIVING EVE 1987
A few months later, I met Vanunu during my first of 8 journeys to both sides of The Wall in Israel Palestine and wrote that experience in the Chapter 16 Days in Israel Palestine
The last time I saw Vanunu was a week before Thanksgiving 2013:
One correction I have repeatedly addressed on the WWW is the legend of Cindy/Cheryl and the “honey trap”:
When I asked Vanunu what he was thinking when he took off with Cindy, he maintained eye contact and readily replied,
“It wasn’t like THAT-when Maxwell’s paper published my photo without ever talking to me and some of the stolen Dimona photos with a very bad story against me, I knew the Mossad was after me. Cindy said she had a sister in Rome and I thought I would be safe there until I could return to London.
“We went to movies and art galleries. I trusted her.
“But, as soon as I got into the apartment, I was hit on the head and drugged. When I woke up and they took me for interrogation, they threw the Times article on the table and said, ‘Look, what you did.’ I was so relieved they had published it and that I had done what I did.”
What ‘Cindy’ did was masquerade as an American beautician on holiday in London. In reality, ‘Cindy’ was the American Mossad agent, Cheryl Hanin Bentov who was using her sister-in-laws passport!
It is illegal under American-Israeli diplomatic protocols for the Mossad to operate in America.
MY Submissions to The New York Times:
Dear New York Times,
As the current leader of the International Cause dedicated to help free Mordechai Vanunu, I am informing you of Mordechai Vanunu’s mid December Appeal.
On 6 December, Vanunu wrote: “Court hearing against the restrictions not to leave Israel, schedule hearing in the Supreme court will be Dec’ 16, 2013. The same Appeal was in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The court can send me free and end all this case from 1986-2013.”
In 1986, Israel kidnapped Vanunu from Rome and after a closed door trial, convicted him of espionage and treason. Although released on 21 April 2004, Israel has denied Vanunu the right to “get on the first plane out of here.”
In 1985, Vanunu suffered a crisis of conscience, when he realized he was “a bolt” in the manufacturing of WMD.
After a supervisor carelessly left the keys in the shower room, Vanunu seized his opportunity to document top secret locations within Israel’s 7-story underground nuclear facility and he spent a few intense hours doing just that!
View Vanunu’s photos of the Dimona at his YouTube Channel:
A few months later, Vanunu leaves Israel and travels throughout Europe with the two rolls of undeveloped film. After meeting Peter Hounam, a reporter for the London Sunday Times, Vanunu shares all he knew in his position as a mid-level technician and the two develop the film.
A total of 1,200 pages of transcript of Vanunu’s closed door trial have been released.
Defense witness Peter Hounam stated, “We did not pay him money, but only covered his expenses…Money did not motivate him.”
During my conversations with Vanunu beginning in 2005, he told me:
“All the secrets I had were published in 1989 in an important book, by [Nuclear Physicist] Frank Barnaby, The Invisible Bomb: Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East.”
Barnaby testified, “I found Vanunu very straightforward about his motives for violating Israel’s secrecy laws he explained to me that he believed that both the Israeli and the world public had the right to know about the information he passed on. He seemed to me to be acting ideologically.
“Israel’s political leaders have, he said, consistently lied about Israel’s nuclear-weapons programme and he found this unacceptable in a democracy.
“The knowledge that Vanunu had about Israel’s nuclear weapons, about the operations at Dimona, and about security at Dimona could not be of any use to anyone today. He left Dimona in October 1985.”
Vanunu also told me:
“Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’
“Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.
“The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out.
“When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.
“Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.”
Contact Vanunu through his website HERE
Eileen Fleming ###
November 9, 2013
Dear New York Times,
Photo of Mordechai Vanunu, by me 24 November 2013, east Jerusalem.
As the current leader of the international cause dedicated to free Mordechai Vanunu I write to alert you that on 9 December, Vanunu wrote:
“Changes in date, Court hearing against the restrictions not to leave Israel, schedule hearing in the Supreme court will be Dec’ 25, 2013, moved from the Dec’ 16, the same Appeal was 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The court can send me free and end all this case from 1986-2013.”
The restrictions that have subjected Vanunu to 24/7 surveillance [his movements, phone calls and emails] since he emerged from 18 years behind bars on 21 April 2004, come from the Emergency Defense Regulations, which were implemented by Britain against Palestinians and Jews after World War II.
Attorney Yaccov Shapiro, who later became Israel’s Minister Of Justice, described the Emergency Defense Regulations as “unparalleled in any civilized country: there were no such laws in Nazi Germany.”
View Vanunu moments after emerging from 18 years behind bars:
On 2 October 2009, The Washington Times reported that President Obama agreed to keep Israel’s nukes ‘secret’ and reaffirmed a 4-decade-old understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections.
Three officials spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, but all said Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May 2009.
On 24, November 2006, Vanunu wrote:
“My lawyer succeeded to reveal a few very important facts: This General of the Army also was not allowed to see all the secrets that he is required to protect by these restrictions that they claim I know them. So, he gave orders of restrictions without knowing what he is protecting or that he is also following orders blindly, and Mossad Sheen Bet using its authority for just punishing me.
“He testified that it is not a crime for me to talk with foreigners in general anywhere. He testified that I can speak freely to any Israeli citizens about anything; it is not his concern what I am saying to them. These Israelis can give this information to any foreigners. It was difficult for the Judge to understand why this dichotomy exits between foreigners and Israelis. It means that it is not about secrecy but about something else.”
In 2004, Yossi Melman wrote for Haaretz:
“This is the secret that hasn’t yet been told in the affair: the story of the security fiasco that made it possible for Vanunu to do what he did, and the story of the subsequent attempts at cover-up, whitewashing and protection of senior figures in the defense establishment, who were bent on divesting themselves of responsibility for the failure.”
Will the New York Times shine a light on Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower’s nearly 10 year struggle for freedom from Israel before his Christmas Day appeal?
In my last column I emphasized that it was important for American citizens to demand to know what the real agendas are behind the wars of choice by the Bush and Obama regimes. These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II.
Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million per soldier.
Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.
In other words, it is the cost of these two wars that explain the explosion of the US public debt and the economic and political problems associated with this large debt.
What has America gained in return for $6 trillion and one million injured soldiers, many very severely?
In Iraq there is now an Islamist Shia regime allied with Iran in place of a secular Sunni regime that was an enemy of Iran, one as dictatorial as the other, presiding over war ruins, ongoing violence as high as during the attempted US occupation, and extraordinary birth defects from the toxic substances associated with the US invasion and occupation.
In Afghanistan there is an undefeated and apparently undefeatable Taliban and a revived drug trade that is flooding the Western world with drugs.
The icing on these Bush and Obama “successes” are demands from around the world that Americans and former British PM Tony Blair be held accountable for their war crimes. Certainly, Washington’s reputation has plummeted as a result of these two wars. No governments anywhere are any longer sufficiently gullible as to believe anything that Washington says.
These are huge costs for wars for which we have no explanation.
The Bush/Obama regimes have come up with various cover stories: a “war on terror,”
“we have to kill them over there before they come over here,” “weapons of mass destruction,” revenge for 9/11, Osama bin Laden (who died of his illnesses in December 2001 as was widely reported at the time).
None of these explanations are viable. Neither the Taliban nor Saddam Hussein were engaged in terrorism in the US. As the weapons inspectors informed the Bush regime, there were no WMD in Iraq. Invading Muslim countries and slaughtering civilians is more likely to create terrorists than to suppress them. According to the official story, the 9/11 hijackers and Osama bin Laden were Saudi Arabians, not Afghans or Iraqis. Yet it wasn’t Saudi Arabia that was invaded.
Democracy and accountable government simply does not exist when the executive branch can take a country to wars in behalf of secret agendas operating behind cover stories that are transparent lies.
It is just as important to ask these same questions about the agenda of the US police state. Why have Bush and Obama removed the protection of law as a shield of the people and turned law into a weapon in the hands of the executive branch? How are Americans made safer by the overthrow of their civil liberties? Indefinite detention and execution without due process of law are the hallmarks of the tyrannical state. They are terrorism, not a protection against terrorism. Why is every communication of every American and apparently the communications of most other people in the world, including Washington’s most trusted European allies, subject to being intercepted and stored in a gigantic police state database? How does this protect Americans from terrorists?
Why is it necessary for Washington to attack the freedom of the press and speech, to run roughshod over the legislation that protects whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, to criminalize dissent and protests, and to threaten journalists such as Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and Fox News reporter James Rosen?
How does keeping citizens ignorant of their government’s crimes make citizens safe from terrorists?
These persecutions of truth-tellers have nothing whatsoever to do with “national security” and “keeping Americans safe from terrorists.” The only purpose of these persecutions is to protect the executive branch from having its crimes revealed. Some of Washington’s crimes are so horrendous that the International Criminal Court would issue a death sentence if those guilty could be brought to trial. A government that will destroy the constitutional protections of free speech and a free press in order to prevent its criminal actions from being disclosed is a tyrannical government.
One hesitates to ask these questions and to make even the most obvious remarks out of fear not only of being put on a watch list and framed on some charge or the other, but also out of fear that such questions might provoke a false flag attack that could be used to justify the police state that has been put in place.
Perhaps that was what the Boston Marathon Bombing was. Evidence of the two brothers’ guilt has taken backseat to the government’s claims. There is nothing new about government frame-ups of patsies. What is new and unprecedented is the lockdown of Boston and its suburbs, the appearance of 10,000 heavily armed troops and tanks to patrol the streets and search without warrants the homes of citizens, all in the name of protecting the public from one wounded 19 year old kid.
Not only has nothing like this ever before happened in the US, but also it could not have been organized on the spur of the moment. It had to have been already in place waiting for the event. This was a trial run for what is to come.
Unaware Americans, especially gullible “law and order conservatives,” have no idea about the militarization of even their local police. I have watched local police forces train at gun clubs. The police are taught to shoot first not once but many times, to protect their lives first at all costs, and not to risk their lives by asking questions. This is why the 13-year old kid with the toy rifle was shot to pieces. Questioning would have revealed that it was a toy gun, but questioning the “suspect” might have endangered the precious police who are trained to take no risks whatsoever.
The police operate according to Obama’s presidential kill power: murder first then create a case against the victim.
In other words, dear American citizen, you life is worth nothing, but the police whom you pay, are not only unaccountable but also their lives are invaluable. If you get killed in their line of duty, it is no big deal. But don’t you injure a police goon thug in an act of self-defense. I mean, who do you think you are, some kind of mythical free American with rights?
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
It is natural for a society to search for explanations and motivations in the wake of a man-made tragedy. It is also somewhat natural for people to be driven by their personal biases when looking for someone or something to blame. In recent years, however, our country has been carefully conditioned to view almost every criminal event from an ideological perspective.
The mainstream media now places far more emphasis on the political affiliations and philosophies of “madmen” than it does on their personal disorders and psychosis. The media’s goal, or mission, if you will, is to associate every dark deed whether real or engineered to the political enemies of the establishment, and to make the actions of each individual the collective shame of an entire group of people.
I could sift through a long list of terror attacks and mass shootings in which the establishment media jumped to the conclusion that the perpetrators were inspired by the beliefs of Constitutional conservatives, “conspiracy theorists”, patriots, etc. It is clear to anyone paying attention that the system is going out of its way to demonize those who question the officially sanctioned story, or the officially sanctioned world view. The circus surrounding the latest shooting of multiple TSA agents at Los Angeles International Airport is a perfect example.
Paul Ciancia, the primary suspect in the shooting, was immediately tied to the Liberty Movement by media outlets and the Southern Poverty Law Center, by notes (which we still have yet to see proof of) that law enforcement claims to have found on his person. The notes allegedly use terms such as “New World Order” and “fiat money”, commonly covered by those of us in the alternative media. The assertion is, of course, that Paul Ciancia is just the beginning, and that most if not all of us involved in the exposure of the globalist agenda are powder kegs just waiting to “go off.” The label often used by the MSM to profile people like Ciancia and marginalize the organizational efforts of liberty based culture is “anti-government.”
The establishment desires to acclimate Americans to the idea that being anti-government is wrong; that it is a despicable philosophy embracing social deviance, aimless violence, isolation and zealotry. Looking beyond the mainstream position, my question is, is it really such a bad thing to be anti-government today?
The terms “anti-government” and “conspiracy theorist” are almost always used in the same paragraph when mainstream media pundits espouse their propaganda. They are nothing more than ad hominem labels designed to play on the presumptions of the general population, manipulating them into dismissing any and all alternative viewpoints before they are ever heard or explained. The establishment and the media are ill-equipped to debate us on fair terms, and understand that they will lose control if Americans are allowed to hear what we have to say in a balanced forum. Therefore, their only fallback is to bury the public in lies so thick they won’t want to listen to us at all.
The Liberty Movement now has the upper hand in the war for information. The exposure of multiple conspiracies in the past several years alone has given immense weight to our stance, and reaffirmed warnings we gave long ago.
When we spoke out against the invasion of Iraq, commissioned by George W. Bush on the dubious claim that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were an immediate threat to the security of our nation, we were called “liberals” and “traitors.” Today, Bush and Cheney have both openly admitted that no WMD’s were ever present in the region. When we attempted to educate the masses on the widespread surveillance of innocent people by the NSA, some of them laughed. Today, it is common knowledge that all electronic communications are monitored by the Federal government. When we refused to accept the official story behind the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Fast and Furious program, we were called “kooks”. Today, it is common knowledge that the Obama Administration purposely allowed U.S. arms to fall into the hands of Mexican cartels. When we roared over the obvious hand the White House played in the Benghazi attack, we were labeled “racists” and “right wing extremists.” Today, it is common knowledge that the White House ordered military response units to stand down and allow the attack to take place. I could go on and on…
Events that were called “conspiracy theory” by the mainstream yesterday are now historical fact today. Have we ever received an apology for this slander? No, of course not, and we don’t expect one will ever surface. We have already gained something far more important – legitimacy.
And what about Paul Ciancia’s apparent belief in the dangers of the “New World Order” and “fiat money”? Are these “conspiracy theories”, or conspiracy realism? The Liberty Movement didn’t coin the phrase “New World Order”, these political and corporate “luminaries” did:
Is economic collapse really just a fairytale perpetrated by “anti-government extremists” bent on fear mongering and dividing society? Perhaps we should ask Alan Greenspan, who now openly admits that he and the private Federal Reserve knew full well they had helped engineer the housing bubble which eventually imploded during the derivatives collapse of 2008.
Or, why not ask the the White House, which just last month proclaimed that “economic chaos” would result if Republicans did not agree to raise the debt ceiling.
Does this make Barack Obama and the Democratic elite “conspiracy theorists” as well?
It is undeniable that government conspiracies and corporate conspiracies exist, and have caused unquantifiable pain to the American people and the people of the world. Knowing this, is it not natural that many citizens would adopt anti-government views in response? Is it wrong to distrust a criminal individual or a criminal enterprise? Why would it be wrong to distrust a criminal government?
The Purpose Behind The Anti-Government Label
When the establishment mainstream applies the anti-government label, they are hoping to achieve several levels propaganda. Here are just a few:
False Association: By placing the alleged “anti-government” views of violent people in the spotlight, the establishment is asserting that it is the political philosophy, not the individual, that is the problem. They are also asserting that other people who hold similar beliefs are guilty by association. That is to say, the actions of one man now become the trespasses of all those who share his ideology. This tactic is only applied by the media to those on the conservative or constitutional end of the spectrum, as it was with Paul Ciancia. For example, when it was discovered that Arizona mass shooter Jared Loughner was actually a leftist, the MSM did not attempt to tie his actions to liberals in general. Why? Because the left is not a threat to the elitist oligarchy within our government. Constitutional conservatives, on the other hand, are.
False Generalization: The term “anti-government” is so broad that, like the term “terrorist”, it can be applied to almost anyone for any reason. The establishment does not want you to distinguish between those who are anti-government for the wrong reasons, and those who are anti-government for the right reasons. Anyone who questions the status quo becomes the enemy regardless of their motives or logic. By demonizing the idea of being anti-government, the establishment manipulates the public into assuming that all government by extension is good, or at least necessary, when the facts actually suggest that most government is neither good or necessary.
False Assertion: The negative connotations surrounding the anti-government stance also suggest that anyone who defends themselves or their principles against government tyranny, whether rationally justified or not, is an evil person. Just look at how Washington D.C. has treated Edward Snowden. Numerous political elites have suggested trying the whistle-blower for treason, or assassinating him outright without due process, even though Snowden’s only crime was to expose the criminal mass surveillance of the American people by the government itself. Rather than apologizing for their corruption, the government would rather destroy anyone who exposes the truth.
False Shame: Does government criminality call for behavior like that allegedly taken by Paul Ciancia? His particular action was not morally honorable or even effective. It helped the establishment’s position instead of hurting it, and was apparently driven more by personal psychological turmoil rather than political affiliation. But, would it be wrong for morally sound and rational Americans facing imminent despotism within government to physically fight back? Would it be wrong to enter into combat with a totalitarian system? The Founding Fathers did, but only after they had exhausted all other avenues, and only after they had broken away from dependence on the system they had sought to fight. Being anti-government does not mean one is a violent and dangerous person. It does mean, though, that there will come a point at which we will not allow government to further erode our freedoms. We will not and should not feel shame in making that stand.
I do not agree with every element of the “anti-government” ethos that exists in our era, but I do see the vast majority of reasons behind it as legitimate. If the establishment really desired to quell the quickly growing anti-government methodology, then they would stop committing Constitutional atrocities and stop giving the public so many causes to hate them. If they continue with their vicious bid to erase civil liberties, dominate the citizenry through fear and intimidation and steal and murder in our name, then our response will inevitably be “anti-government”, and we will inevitably move to end the system as we know it.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
The Israelis are not very impressed with Hassan Rouhani, the new Iranian president. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel’s delegation to boycott his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and later denounced Rouhani’s address there as “a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy.”
But Israel seems to be alone this time. Both the United States and other Western nations appeared to warmly welcome the new Iranian president at the UN.
But did Rouhani present any radical change? Did he deliver new promises? Not at all. Like his predecessor, he made it clear that Iran is not going to give up on its right to proceed and develop nuclear energy. Like Ahmadinejad, Rouhani contended that “nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defence doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions. Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.”
The President also suggested that the world should recognise Iran’s basic right to carry out all parts of its nuclear fuel cycle. In short, Iran is going ahead with its nuclear project. And this is indeed very good news.
So what changed really? Only one thing, I guess. The nations seem to have changed their appetite. And they are somehow brave enough to admit it to themselves.
Due to some intense Jewish lobbying and the submissive nature of contemporary Western politicians, not many Western governments dare criticise Israel. They clearly fear Netanyahu and his network of ‘800 pound gorillas’. By means of kindness towards Israel’s ‘enemy’, our weak politicians have managed to find a way to deliver a message to Israel. Welcoming Rouhani at the UN was a clear message to the Jewish State and its supportive lobby: beware, we are gradually becoming tired of your dirty politics and pushing for wars.
Being an avid reader of Jewish history, I allow myself to say that the failure to read the writing on the wall is intrinsic to Jewish identity politics and culture. One might expect Israel and the Lobby to back off at this point. But this is not going to happen. Israel and the Lobby will act more obnoxiously. They will use every trick in their book to close this opening window of a dialogue and reconciliation.
Israel is doomed to bring a tragedy on itself and the region. Even God won’t be able to save his chosen people from themselves. But there is something the UN can do: stripping Israel of its chemical, biological and nuclear arsenal. I can see such a demand brewing up and I would love to see it materialising soon.
“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”–Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The definition of what makes an “enemy” may vary from person to person. But I would say that, generally, an enemy is one who has an active ability to do irreparable harm to you or your essential values. He is motivated by destruction, the destruction of all that you hold dear. He is capable and unrelenting. He is a legitimate threat. He will not compromise. He will not waver. He will do anything to wound you. He will not stop. He is possessed.
Americans have spent the better part of a century being told who their enemies are with very little explanation or substantiation. We have blindly rallied around our patriotic prerogative without knowing the root cause of the conflict or the nature of the target we are told to annihilate. We have been suckered into war after war, conjured by international interests in order to lure us into accepting greater centralization and concentrated globalism. As a culture, I’m sorry to say, we have been used. We are a tool of unmitigated doom. We are the loaded gun in the hand of the devil.
This paradigm has done irreparable harm to our standing in the eyes of the peoples of the world. But until recently, it has done very little harm to us as a society. We have allowed ourselves to be used like a bloody club, but we have not yet felt the true pain or the true cost. We have been insulated from consequence. However, this comfortable situation is quickly coming to an end.
When one applies the above definition of “the enemy” to Syria, one comes away with very little satisfaction. The Syrian government poses absolutely no immediate threat to the United States. In fact, the civil war that now rages within its borders has been completely fabricated by our own government. The insurgency has been funded, armed, trained and ultimately directed by the U.S. intelligence community. Without U.S. subversion, the civil war in Syria would not exist.
So, the question arises: If Syria is not the real enemy, who is?
I point back to the core issue. That is to say, I would examine who pose a legitimate threat to our country and our principles. The Syrian government under Bashar Assad clearly has no capability to threaten our freedom, our economic stability, our social stability, or our defensive capabilities. There is, though, a group of people out there who do, in fact, pose a significant threat to the American way of life on every conceivable level. These people do not live on the other side of the world. They do not wear foreign garb or speak another language. Most of them do not have pigmented skin or Asian features. They look just like you and I, and they live in Washington D.C.
If the so-called “debate” over a possible military strike in Syria has done anything, it has certainly brought the American public’s true enemies frothing to the surface like so much sewage. Men who posed as liberal proponents of peace not long ago now salivate over the prospect of bloodshed. Men who once posed as fiscal conservatives now clamor for more Federal funding to drive the U.S. war machine. Men who claimed to represent the citizenry now ignore all calls for reason by the public in the pursuit of global dominance.
I have warned of the considerable dangers of a war in Syria for years — long before most people knew or cared about the Assad regime. Being in this position has allowed me to view the escalating crisis with a considerable amount of objectivity. In the midst of so much chaos and confusion, if you know who stands to gain and who stands to lose, the progression of events becomes transparent, and the strategy of the actual enemy emerges.
So what have I observed so far?
If you want to know who has malicious intent toward our Constitutional values, simply move your eyes away from the Mideast and focus on our own capital. The ill will toward liberty held by the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties is obvious in the Congressional support of the banker bailouts, the Patriot Acts, the National Defense Authorization Act, the President’s domestic assassination directives, the hands-off approach to National Security Agency mass surveillance, etc. But even beyond these litmus tests, the Syrian debate has unveiled numerous enemies of the American people within our own government.
The catastrophe inherent in a Syrian strike is at least partially known to most of the public. We are fully aware that there will be blowback from any new strike in the Mideast (limited or unlimited), economically as well as internationally. So if the average American with little political experience understands the consequences of such an action, the average politician should be more than educated on the dangers. Any representative who blatantly ignores the calamity ahead is either very stupid or has an agenda.
I find it fascinating that politicians and bureaucrats from both sides of the aisle are now coming out of the woodwork to cheerlead alongside each other for war and the state.
For those who are predominantly preoccupied with Barack Obama as the source of all our ills, I would gladly point out that Republican leader and House Speaker John Boehner has also thrown his support behind a Syrian strike, even before the U.N. investigative report on Syrian chemical weapons use has been released.
In the meantime, self-proclaimed Republican stalwarts like John McCain (R-Ariz.) have argued that Obama’s “limited strike” response is “not enough.” This is the same man, by the way, who has been instrumental in the monetary and military support of Al Qaeda in Syria. McCain has recently called for avid pursuit of the new Russian proposal for chemical disarmament in Syria, not because he wants to find a peaceful solution to the situation, but because he believes the deal can be used as a bargaining chip to convince Congress to VOTE FOR military force, in order to “keep pressure on Assad”.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who not long ago ran for President on the platform of being an anti-war Democrat, now regularly begs the American people to back further war based on the same dubious evidence for which he once criticized the George W. Bush Administration. In fact, Kerry has made it clear that even if Congress votes “no” against a strike, he believes Obama has the right to set one in motion anyway.
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), the man who openly admits in mainstream interviews that he believes the President has the right to indefinitely detain or assassinate American citizens without trial or oversight, has loudly indicated his support for a war on Syria. His criticisms parallel McCain’s in that he believes the Obama Administration should have attacked without Congressional approval or should commit to an all-out military shift into the region. That is to say, he believes the goal of the White House should be invasion and regime change, not just disarmament. Graham consistently fear mongers in the mainstream media, often warning that without a hard, immediate strike against Syria, catastrophe will befall Israel, and chemical andnuclear weapons will rain on America.
All I have to say to Graham is, if chemical or nuclear weapons are used against the American people, it will be because the establishment ALLOWED it to happen — just as it has allowed numerous attacks in the past to occur in order to facilitate pretext for a larger war. (The Gulf of Tonkin is a fitting example considering the many similarities between the Syrian debacle and Vietnam, the only difference being that this time the establishment is throwing its support on the side of the insurgency, rather than the prevailing government).
For those out there in the movement who are hoping for reason and logic to prevail during a Congressional debate on the Syrian issue, I would suggest that they do not hold their breath. This vote was decided before Obama ever allowed it to go to the Hill. The vote has been cast. The debate is a sideshow designed to make the American people feel as if their system of government still functions as it should. Remember, no Congress in the history of the United States has ever refused the request of a President to make war.
The more than 150 Congressmen who demanded a vote on the Syrian crisis did so because they wanted to be included in the process, not because they necessarily opposed a war. That leaves nearly 300 representatives who had NO PROBLEM whatsoever with Obama attacking Syria unilaterally without any checks or balances. The Senate panel that initiated the voting process on the strike plan passed the initiative 10-7. I have no doubt that Obama has the votes to confirm the use of force, even with all the talk of uncertainty in evidence or planning.
The Russian offer of organizing chemical disarmament has barely made a dent in the White House’s war rhetoric, as was evident in Barack Obama’s address to the nation yesterday. When asked in an interview with NBC if he has made up his mind whether or not he will forge ahead with military action if Congress votes his proposal down, Obama stated:
“It’s fair to say that I haven’t decided…”
Putting on the airs of a Roman Emperor, Obama’s thumb remains in the neutral position over the gladiator pit of Syria, but as he clearly points out, he can give the thumbs down anytime he chooses. If anything, the White House and the elitist machine are simply using the next few weeks (the approximate time being discussed for chemical disarmament) to establish further precedent, or conjure new atrocities, in order to garner a minimal public backing for violent action in the region.
And, let’s not forget our friendly enemies in the mainstream media. The MSM is in rare form the past week, fabricating numerous arguments as to why the average American “just doesn’t get the Syrian situation”. The latest disinformation campaigns seem to be revolving around generating alternative motivations for a strike -
Obama’s “red line” was crossed and we must strike in order to save face amongst our allies.
A refusal to strike Syria will “embolden Iran” and lead them to use their own WMD’s in terrorist acts (WMD’s which are still not proven to exist).
And my favorite argument: That refusing to strike would mean “abandoning” the Syrian rebelsin their war on Assad. You know, the same rebels permeated with psychopathic Al Qaeda operatives that our government trained and funded.
The mainstream media steamroller is barreling forward, searching for ANY talking point that will hook the American populace into rationalizing an attack. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pencil-necked weaklings call for so much blood. The strategy seems to be an attempt to shift America’s attention away from the alleged chemical attack alone, and discombobulate us with multiple sales pitches of death in case Congressional support turns sour (which I doubt).
But let’s say Obama does not get his Congressional approval; as stated earlier his office has asserted on numerous occasions that he has the authority to trigger war regardless. A “no” vote in Washington means nothing today due to war powers granted after 9/11. The probable scenario, though, is the most common scenario. Congress will likely authorize the “use of limited military force” without directly declaring war on the Assad regime. This is exactly what Congress did in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There was no evidence of an Al Qaeda support structure and no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, but war exploded nonetheless. Congress gave Bush a blank check to do whatever he saw fit, and I believe Congress will do the same for Obama.
America is being set up to look like the bad guy or the fool, but why?
Our political leadership is devoted to the ideology of globalization, not sovereignty or U.S prosperity. A Syrian strike places the United States in tremendous peril, the likes of which have not been seen since the Cuban missile crisis. Syria itself is a vacuum of suffocating calamity; a black hole swirling in a void of economic and sociological interdependency. Where the United States enters, so follows Iran, so follows Israel, so follows Saudi Arabia, so follows Lebanon, so follows Jordan, so follows Egypt, so follows Russia, so follows China and on and on.
In my analysis of Syria over the years, I have exposed this domino effect of war as well as the possible calamities of an economic chain reaction. Escalating conflict in Syria will eventually lead to the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the collapse of the U.S. financial system. Knowing that this is the ultimate result of a strike in the region, many people would ask WHYthe White House and so many prominent figures in Congress would be so hell-bent on setting such wheels in motion. I would stand back from the chaos and ask what I always ask: Who gains the most from the disaster?
The demise of American currency dominance and the degradation of the American spirit do indeed benefit a select few. For the most part, central banks and globalists have taken a hands-off approach to the Syrian debacle. Perhaps that’s because doing so makes it easier for them to survey the inevitable collapse from a distance and swoop in later as our “saviors,” ready to rebuild the world according to their own ideals. Having a debased and desperate U.S. populace certainly makes the transition to total globalization and centralization much easier.
My original query was: Who is the real enemy? No matter what happens in the coming months and years, never forget that question. Who poses the greatest threat to our freedom: Syria or the political ghouls trying to convince us to decimate Syria?
Who claims the power to take everything we have? Who claims the power to take our liberty and our lives at a whim? Who claims the power to kill innocents in our name? Who disregards the checks and balances of Constitutionalism at every turn? Who truly threatens our future and the future of our children?
Do not be distracted by stories of foreign monsters far away when the real monsters lurk so quietly under your bed. Even if we can find a successful strategy to pressure Congress into avoiding a Syrian conflict, I say remain vigilant. America is one global hiccup away from oblivion. And if this is what the establishment wants, they will find a way to make it happen. The threat of continuous U.S. catastrophe will only end when the poison is removed from our very veins, and that process of purification begins with the removal of the criminal political structures and banking structures in Washington.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1
So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?
- Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
- Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
- British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
- 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
- Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
- President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
- None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
- The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
- We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
- The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
- In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
- President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.
So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!
Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10
Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.
United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)
The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.
- Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
- Guatemala 1954
- Indonesia 1958
- Cuba 1959-1961
- Guatemala 1960
- Congo 1964
- Laos 1964-73
- Vietnam 1961-73
- Cambodia 1969-70
- Guatemala 1967-69
- Grenada 1983
- Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
- Libya 1986
- El Salvador 1980s
- Nicaragua 1980s
- Iran 1987
- Panama 1989
- Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
- Kuwait 1991
- Somalia 1993
- Bosnia 1994, 1995
- Sudan 1998
- Afghanistan 1998
- Yugoslavia 1999
- Yemen 2002
- Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
- Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
- Afghanistan 2001 to present
- Pakistan 2007 to present
- Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
- Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
- Libya 2011
- Syria 2013?
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.
A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12
Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stopthis “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.
“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13
Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14
But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16
We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?
America’s love affair with Guns
Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.
On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17
I sent Kokesh the following email:
“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”
I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.
Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.
- The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
- Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013 ↩
- Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25 ↩
- Le Parisien, August 30, 2012 ↩
- Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 29, 2013 ↩
- The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00) ↩
- The Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013 ↩
- William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998 ↩
- Washington Post, August 22, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, July 31, 2013 ↩
- Associated Press, June 16, 2001 ↩
- Time magazine, December 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, August 13, 2013 ↩