Mérida – Several figures within the hard-line faction of the Venezuelan opposition are facing charges of conspiracy and instigation of violence in relation to their activities during the opposition’s recent unrest movement.

The most well known case is that of Leopoldo Lopez, leader of the right-wing party Popular Will. In a hearing before a Caracas court this week, Judge Adriana Lopez decided that Leopoldo Lopez should face trial for four crimes: public incitement (to violence), damage to property, fire damage (public and private) and association for conspiracy. The trial will take place in August, according to Lopez’s lawyers.

Lopez turned himself in to authorities on 18 February, a week after he spoke at a demonstration in Caracas which turned violent, and resulted in damage to public property and several deaths. Authorities consider Lopez to be one of the “intellectual authors” of the violence which came to be associated with the opposition’s unrest.

The opposition’s demonstrations in early February were organised as part of a strategy launched by Lopez and other hard-line opposition leaders, called “The Exit”. The government has labelled the subsequent protests and militant street barricades as an attempt to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, while the opposition defended the protests as peaceful and solely denouncing problems surrounding the economy and insecurity.

Forty-two people were killed and around 900 were injured during the unrest, which claimed the lives of government supporters, opposition activists, members of security forces and civilian bystanders.

Since he was taken into custody, Lopez has been held at the Ramon Verde military prison, 35 kilometres south of Caracas. If he is found guilty and is sentenced to the full extent of the law, he could face between six to ten years in prison. Supporters argue that Lopez is innocent of any wrongdoing, and that the charges against him are politically motivated.

The charges are not Lopez’s first brush with the law since the Bolivarian government was elected to power in 1998. In 2008 Lopez was banned from holding public office for six years due to acts of corruption committed in 1998, when public funds were diverted from state oil company PDVSA to Lopez’s fledgling political party.

Lopez also participated in the short-lived 2002 coup against former president Hugo Chavez, signing the decree which dissolved the Venezuelan constitution and appointed business leader Pedro Carmona as interim president.

Meanwhile, one of Lopez’s closet political allies, Carlos Vecchio, has fled from Venezuela to escape an arrest warrant on charges similar to Lopez’s.

Vecchio, who is the political coordinator of the Popular Will party, is currently residing in New York. In declarations to CNN and AP, the opposition politician said he plans to initiate a tour to denounce the situation in Venezuela and what he alleged were “human rights abuses” being committed against opponents of the Venezuelan government.

Two opposition politicians have been given jail sentences so far for their role during the unrest. Mayors Enzo Scarano and Daniel Ceballos were jailed for 10 ½ and 12 months respectively for refusing to obey a Supreme Court order to dismantle militant opposition street barricades in their municipalities. The street barricades were associated with much of the violence and many of the deaths which occurred during the unrest.

Maria Corina Machado to give testimony

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched by the Attorney General’s office after authorities released messages written by several opposition figures which purportedly show the existence of a plan to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro. The messages also appear to show collaboration between members of the Venezuelan opposition and figures in the United States government, such as the U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker.

The alleged author of one message is former parliamentary deputy and hard-line opposition leader Maria Corina Machado. On 23 May, she allegedly wrote to political colleague Diego Arria, “I think it is time to gather efforts; make the necessary calls, and obtain financing to annihilate Maduro, and the rest will fall apart by itself”.

Since the messages were made public, Machado has agreed to go to the Attorney General’s office on 16 June to give her testimony on an alleged plot. Machado is an ally of Leopoldo Lopez and also participated in the 2002 coup against the Chavez administration.

Machado has admitted that the messages were sent from her email account but rejects them as “false”, saying that she wants Maduro to resign, but not for him to be assassinated.

Describing the accusations against her as “persecution”, Machado has asked supporters to accompany her to the Attorney General’s office to give her account. “I’ve always shown my face and I won’t stop struggling until we achieve victory,” she declared.

However, top Venezuelan government figures announced yesterday that authorities also possess evidence that officials from the U.S. State Department are involved in the alleged plot to assassinate President Maduro.

Jorge Rodriguez, a United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader, said this evidence would be made available in the next few days. He added that the hard-line opposition’s messages around the alleged plot had been released publicly in order to raise awareness of the conspiracy’s existence and to protect the constitutional order in Venezuela.

“We received the message from the president [Maduro] that a very serious denouncement had to be made, because it’s his obligation as head of state to ensure that [national] security [is paramount]”, he said.

The comments were made at an event titled “Media Plot against Venezuela”, where officials, journalists, intellectuals and researchers discussed what Rodriguez described as an international and local media campaign “to promote all forms [of reportage] that result in a situation of destabilisation, un-governability, crisis, and violence for political ends”.

The Western media is seeking to downplay the prominent role of fascists in the new Ukrainian government. Several of the regime’s ministries are headed by members of the far-right Svoboda party, and the militias of the neo-Nazi Right Sector are active in violently repressing resistance in the east of the country.

Both Svoboda and Right Sector played a crucial role in the February 22 coup in Kiev, which was strongly backed by Berlin and Washington. This is no coincidence. The close collaboration of Germany and the US with Ukrainian fascists has a long history, reaching back over the last hundred years.

The roots of Ukrainian nationalism

In contrast to many other European countries, there has never been a strong capitalist national movement in Ukraine. Ukraine has been divided between Poland and Russia since the late Middle Ages. After the carve-up of Poland at the end of the eighteenth century, Ukraine became part of the Russian Empire. Only a section of what is now western Ukraine was integrated into the Hapsburg Empire.

The weakness of the Ukrainian national movement was due on the one hand to the country’s economic backwardness and lack of a strong middle class. Significant industrialisation occurred only in the era of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, a large proportion of the urban population consisted of Russians, Germans and Jews, while the rural population was mainly Ukrainian.

When capitalist forces finally erected a Ukrainian nation-state, following the 1917 February Revolution’s overthrow of the tsar in Russia, they were immediately confronted with a revolutionary working class. The Bolsheviks, who seized power in Russia in October, received powerful support from the workers of Ukraine. Ever since then, nationalism in Ukraine has been characterised by virulent anti-communism, pogroms against revolutionary workers and Jews, and attempts to win the support of imperialist powers.

The Social Democratic-dominated Rada (parliament), which proclaimed Ukraine’s independence in January 1918, tried to reach an agreement with Germany. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, however, the Soviet government was forced to cede Ukraine to Germany. When German troops marched into the country, the military dispensed with the Rada and established a dictatorship under Hetman (pre-eminent military commander) Pavlo Skoropadskyi, a landowner and former tsarist general. Skoropadskyi proceeded to make Kiev a rallying point for extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic politicians and military officers from all over Russia. (See: Anti-Semitism and the Russian Revolution: Part two)

Germany’s defeat in the First World War led to its forced retreat from Ukraine. Bloody battles engulfed Ukraine during the ensuing civil war in Russia. Supported by Western powers on Ukrainian soil in its fight against the Soviet government, the volunteer army under General Denikin committed horrific crimes and organised anti-Jewish pogroms. An estimated 50,000 Jews were murdered by the Whites in the second half of 1919 alone.

Symon Petliura, one the many Social Democrats who became nationalists, headed a directorate that took power in Kiev. This body also sought the backing of the Western powers in its war against the Soviet government and was responsible for the murder of more than 30,000 Jews. Both Petliura and Stepan Bandera, who emerged later as a leading figure, are regarded as role models by present-day Ukrainian nationalists.

Lenin advocated self-determination for Ukraine, and this democratic demand played a crucial role in winning the oppressed Ukrainian workers and peasants to the side of the Bolsheviks, who eventually won the civil war in 1921. In 1922, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic officially became part of the newly formed Soviet Union. However, western Ukraine remained under Polish rule.

Genuine independence from imperialism and development of national culture were possible in Ukraine only during the early years of the Soviet Union. These advances emerged from Lenin and Trotsky’s nationalities policy, which conceded to the nations within the Soviet confederation a comprehensive right to self-determination. The oppression of nationalities, as was common in the tsarist empire, was decisively rejected by the Bolsheviks.

The cultural life and material living standards of the Ukrainian masses underwent a dramatic improvement in the 1920s. The illiteracy rate declined sharply, as educational institutions and universities were established throughout the country. The Ukrainian language and culture were widely promoted, and this greatly stimulated intellectual life. As Leon Trotsky wrote in 1939, thanks to this policy, Soviet Ukraine became extremely attractive to the workers, peasants and revolutionary intelligentsia of western Ukraine, which remained enslaved by Poland.

However, the rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy brought an end to this nationalities policy. Lenin had attacked Stalin because of his centralist and bureaucratic tendencies in relation to the Georgian and Ukrainian questions. But after Lenin’s death, Stalin became increasingly ruthless in his attacks on non-Russian nationalities.

“The bureaucracy strangled and plundered the people within Great Russia, too,” wrote Trotsky in 1939. “But in the Ukraine matters were further complicated by the massacre of national hopes. Nowhere did restrictions, purges, repressions and in general all forms of bureaucratic hooliganism assume such murderous sweep as they did in the Ukraine in the struggle against the powerful, deeply-rooted longings of the Ukrainian masses for greater freedom and independence.” [1]

The Ukrainian peasants were particularly affected by the forced collectivisation of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Approximately 3.3 million people fell victim to this policy.

The devastating consequences of the nationalist polities of the Stalinist bureaucracy strengthened “nationalist underground groups… which were led by fanatical anti-Communists, successors of Petliura’s supporters and forerunners of Bandera’s people,” writes Vadim Rogovin in his book Stalin’s War Communism. [2]

Stalin’s murderous policies of repression played into the hands of Ukrainian nationalists and fascists, who agitated in the western parts of the divided Ukraine and collaborated with Hitler when he invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite the crimes of Stalinism, however, the great majority of Ukrainians fought in the Red Army to defend the Soviet Union.

The crimes of the Ukrainian fascists in World War II

Among the most significant organisations that collaborated with the Nazis was the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). Its members were recruited mainly from veterans of the Civil War who had fought on the side of Petliura against the Bolsheviks.

During the 1930s, the OUN carried out numerous terrorist attacks in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia. Its ideological head was Dmytro Dontsov (1883-1973), who became one of the leading ideologues of the Ukrainian extreme right-wing through his journalistic activities, among which were Ukrainian translations of Mussolini’s Dottrina del Fascismo ( The Doctrine of Fascism ) and excerpts from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf .

Dontsov had earlier developed his thesis of “amorality.” According to historian Frank Golczewski, this asserted the obligation “to collaborate with every enemy of Great Russia, regardless of their own political goals.” It “created an ideological justification for the subsequent collaboration with the Germans” and the lineup of Ukrainian nationalists behind the United States during the Cold War. [3]

In 1940, the OUN split into the Bandera (B) and Melnyk (M) factions, which bitterly fought each other. Bandera’s more extreme group was able to attract more followers than Melnyk’s. It began by establishing Ukrainian militia (the Roland and Nightingale Legions) on German-occupied territory in Poland which, in league with the Wehrmacht (German army), invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.

After the withdrawal of the Red Army from areas conquered by the Germans, the legions and special militias acted as auxiliary troops in countless massacres of Jews. Following the entry of the OUN-B into Lviv on June 29, 1941, the Bandera militias (Nightingale Legion) unleashed murderous pogroms against the Jews lasting several days. Ukrainian militia continued massacring Jews in Ternopil, Stanislau (today Ivano-Fankisk) and other places. Documentary evidence relating to the first few days of the Wehrmacht’s advance reveals that about 140 pogroms were perpetrated in western Ukraine, in which 13,000 to 35,000 Jews were murdered. [4]

On June 30, 1941, Bandera and his deputy head of the OUN-B, Yaroslav Stetsko, proclaimed the independence of Ukraine in Lviv. Stepan Lenkavski, the OUN-B government’s director of propaganda, openly advocated the physical extermination of Ukrainian Jewry.

The Nazis used their Ukrainian collaborators to commit murders and acts of brutality that were too disturbing even for the SS units. For example, SS task force 4a in Ukraine confined itself to “the shooting of adults while commanding its Ukrainian helpers to shoot [the] children.” [5]

Dealing with Ukrainian and other collaborators in the Soviet Union was a controversial issue in the Nazi leadership. While Alfred Rosenberg, one of the main Nazis responsible for the Holocaust, urged greater involvement of local fascist forces, Hitler opposed the nationalists’ so-called independence projects. On Hitler’s orders, the OUN-B leaders were eventually arrested and the Ukrainian legions disarmed and relocated.

From 1942, the Ukrainian militia served the Third Reich in the “anti-partisan campaign” in Belarus, in the “security service,” and as armed personnel in concentration camps. Bandera and Stetsko remained in custody in Sachsenhausen concentration camp until September 1944.

When Hitler’s armies went into retreat after their defeat at Stalingrad, members of the OUN legions returned to Ukraine and formed the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in 1943. Immediately after his release by the German authorities, Bandera headed back to Ukraine to lead the UPA.

The UPA was supplied with German weapons and attempted to implement an extensive ethnic cleansing program in order to create the conditions for an ethnically pure Ukrainian state. In 1943 and 1944, the UPA organised massacres that claimed the lives of 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews. It also brutally terrorised, tortured and executed Ukrainian peasants and workers who wanted to join the Soviet Union. The UPA went on to kill some 20,000 Ukrainians before the insurrection was completely crushed in 1953.

This is the first part of a two-part article.

Notes

[1] Leon Trotsky, “Problem of the Ukraine,” Trotsky Internet Archive 

[2] Vadim Rogovin: Stalins Kriegskommunismus, Essen 2006, p. 377

[3] Frank Golczewski: Die ukrainische Emigration, (Hrsg.): Geschichte der Ukraine, Göttingen 1993, p. 236

[4] Per Anders Rudling: “The Return of the Ukrainian Far Right. The Case of VO Svoboda,” in: Ruth Wodak, John E. Richardson (ed.): Analyzing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text, London 2013, pp. 228-255. The article is accessible online.

[5] Quoted in Christopher Simpson: Blowback. America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War, London 1988, p. 25

Global Economic Austerity and the US War Agenda

June 9th, 2014 by James Corbett

In this stage of advanced globalization, banks earnings and corporate profits continue to soar even as real wages continue to plummet. This does not just lead to mass poverty and unrest, but it sows the seeds for geopolitical conflict and military confrontation.

Find out more about this relationship in this week’s GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.

With US Vice President Joseph Biden in the audience, Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire confectioner, was formally sworn in Saturday as president of Ukraine. Delivering a bellicose speech, he pledged to confront Russia, suppress the separatists in Ukraine’s east and fully militarise the country. At the same time, he alluded to his plans to impose brutal austerity measures on the Ukrainian working class.

Poroshenko began by paying homage to the fascistic forces that spearheaded his installation, via a US- and European Union-backed putsch in February followed by an election held May 25 amid a reign of terror and military violence in eastern Ukraine. He enthused over the “victorious revolution” by “Ukrainian patriots” and “warriors.”

While the Western media portrayed it as a powerful performance, the speech only underscored the fact that Poroshenko is nothing but a front man for German and particularly American imperialism, and is entirely dependent on them. Adopting a provocative stance toward Russia, he declared he would never accept Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and vowed to repudiate the Budapest Agreement that restricts the deployment of Western military forces within former Soviet states.

“Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is and will be Ukrainian soil,” Poroshenko insisted. Referring to a brief meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the D-Day commemoration in France, he said: “Yesterday, in the course of the meeting in Normandy, I told this to President Putin: Crimea is Ukraine soil. Period. There can be no compromise on the issues of Crimea, European choice and state structure.”

Fresh from talks in France with US President Barack Obama, Poroshenko rejected any negotiations with pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine’s east. He vowed instead to swiftly put an end to the resistance to February’s pro-Western, fascist-led coup in Kiev.

He depicted those holding control in dozens of eastern cities and towns as “bandits,” “criminals,” “terrorists” and “Russian mercenaries,” foreshadowing a renewed offensive by the Ukrainian military and allied right-wing militias.

Even as Poroshenko spoke, there was an assassination attempt on Denis Pushilin, a pro-Russian leader in Donetsk, resulting in the shooting death of an assistant, Maksym Petruhin. Photographs on Ukrainian news sites showed Petruhin, wearing a business suit, lying face down on a street alongside a parked car with at least seven bullet holes in the rear door panel.

“For peace to become lasting, we must get used to living in constant combat readiness,” the tycoon known as Ukraine’s “chocolate king” declared. “We have to keep the gunpowder dry. The army and its re-equipment by means of national military-industrial complex is our top priority… Our army must become a true elite of the Ukrainian community.”

Insisting that “great sacrifices” would have to be made by the Ukrainian population, Poroshenko stated: “Those who grudge money for the armed forces feed the foreign army… Our most reliable allies and the best guarantors of peace are our army, fleet, the National Guard and professional special forces.”

At a meeting with Poroshenko, Biden reiterated American support for his regime. “America’s with you,” Biden said. “That is not hyperbole.”

In conjunction with Biden’s visit, the White House announced $48 million in new aid to Ukraine, as well as $8 million for Moldova and $5 million for Georgia, both of which are also expected to sign agreements with the EU this month.

According to the White House statement, the aid would help the Ukrainian government “conduct key reforms, build law enforcement capacity, and strengthen national unity.” It specifically committed the US to supporting Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “economic development,” including “the reforms needed to make its IMF and World Bank programs.”

Poroshenko promised to move swiftly to an economic agreement with the EU from which Ukraine’s former government backed away last November, fearing the social unrest that would be triggered by the austerity dictates of the EU and the International Monetary Fund. “My pen is in my hands,” he said, pointing out that the EU association agreement was but the first step “towards fully-fledged membership of Ukraine in the European Union.”

The unelected interim government installed in February has already begun to implement the austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF, including scrapping domestic energy subsidies and allowing the currency, the hryvnia, to depreciate about 30 percent against the US dollar. Average gas prices for Ukrainian households began rising by more than 50 percent in May, and heating prices are expected to climb by about 40 percent, starting in July.

Far harsher measures are still to come, including a freeze on public-sector wages, mass redundancies of government workers, the cancellation of scheduled pension increases and a range of social spending cuts.

The Wall Street Journal reported concerns about Poroshenko’s capacity to deliver. “It looks like people are ready to accept this decline in living standards,” Vitaliy Vavryshchuk, head of research at Kiev-based investment house SP Advisors, told the newspaper, but Ukrainians expected economic improvement. “Patience is not unlimited,” he warned.

For all the efforts of the Western powers and the compliant media to dress up Poroshenko as a popular and democratic figure, he is a particularly venal representative of the corrupt Ukrainian elites that enriched themselves by looting the assets of the former Soviet Union. He held senior cabinet posts under both the pro-Western government of President Viktor Yushchenko that followed the US- and EU-backed 2004 “Orange Revolution” and, after Yushchenko’s disgrace, the Moscow-aligned leadership of recently ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

Having served as Yushchenko’s foreign minister and Yanukovych’s trade minister, Poroshenko is well-known in the Western corridors of power as a pliable instrument for promoting their interests.

Russian President Vladimir Putin who, like Poroshenko, represents the oligarchy that arose from the liquidation of the Soviet Union, is desperately trying to reach an accommodation with the Kiev regime and Washington. At a press conference, after meeting with Poroshenko for about 15 minutes in France, he declared: “I liked his attitude,” adding: “I cannot but welcome the position of Poroshenko on the necessity to end the bloodletting immediately in the east of Ukraine.”

There is every indication that Putin is prepared to give Poroshenko a free hand to crush the resistance in eastern Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal reported that for weeks, “Mr Putin has been sending back-channel messages to the West trying to distance the Kremlin from the actions of the rebels and suggesting it was prepared to support efforts to de-escalate violence in eastern Ukraine.”

Moscow returned its ambassador, Mikhail Zurabov, to Kiev to attend the inaugural festivities, and Russian news agencies reported that Putin had ordered tighter controls on the border to prevent people from crossing to fight against the regime in Kiev.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande reportedly arranged the French meeting between Putin and Poroshenko, seeking to facilitate a settlement. German and French imperialism, while fully backing the Kiev coup, have close economic and energy ties with Russia, as well as their own historic aspirations to dominate Ukraine and Russia. Washington, however, has made it clear that it intends to fully pursue its underlying agenda: to exploit the Ukrainian crisis in order to subjugate Russia and transform it into a US semi-colony.

Benghazi, the CIA, and the War in Libya

June 9th, 2014 by Eric Draitser

The unfolding violence and chaos in Libya’s second city of Benghazi should be understood as a power struggle between competing factions, each struggling to assert its own authority over the critical commercial center. However, what is purposely omitted from the Western media narrative is the fact that both groups – one a military command led by Libyan General Hifter, the other an Islamist terror group called Ansar al-Sharia – are proxies of the United States, each having received US support through a variety of channels in recent years. Seen in this way, the unrest in Libya must be understood as a continuation of the war waged against that country by the US-NATO forces.

As firefights, explosions, and air strikes become the norm in Benghazi and the surrounding areas, the nature of the conflict remains somewhat murky. On the one hand is Army General Khalifa Belqasim Haftar (also spelled Hifter), a longtime military commander under Gaddafi who fled Libya for the United States where he became a principal asset for the CIA until his return to Libya at the height of the US-NATO assault on that country. On the other hand is the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia organization, led by Ahmed Abu Khattala, which has been implicated in the September 11, 2012 attack on the US-CIA compound in Benghazi which killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens. In examining both the conflict and connections between these two individuals and the factions they lead, the fingerprints of US intelligence could not be more apparent.

However, the situation in Benghazi, and the Cyrenaica region more generally, is far more complex than simply these two factions. There are other important militias which have played a significant role in bringing the region to the brink of total war. From blockading Benghazi and Cyrenaica’s oil ports to internecine conflicts within the militia movements/coalitions, these militias have made the possibility of reconciliation almost unthinkable. And so, despite the fact that the combat phase of the US-NATO war in Libya ended nearly three years ago, the country is still undeniably a war zone.

The War for Benghazi

The news coming from Benghazi is growing steadily more troubling. On Monday June 2nd, nearly one hundred Libyans, many of them being civilians, were killed or wounded in the coastal metropolis and surrounding towns when the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia attacked a camp occupied by forces loyal to Army General Hifter. Hifter’s men, equipped with modest but effective air power including the use of combat helicopters, responded to the attack, driving off many of the Ansar al-Sharia militants. In the process however, residents of Benghazi were forced to flee or take refuge in their homes, with many businesses and schools remaining closed due to the sporadic gunfire and other fighting.

Though the clash was modest in scope in comparison to the horrors of the US-NATO war on Libya in 2011, it is a stark reminder of the sad reality that is modern Libya – a once proud nation reduced to a patchwork of competing militias, clans, and tribes, with no central authority ruling the country, no reliable social services, and a complete absence of the rule of law. It is within this maelstrom of political and social conflict that we must examine the nature of the conflict in Benghazi.

The city has been rocked by fighting and political posturing since the overthrow and assassination of Gaddafi in 2011. While a provisional government in Tripoli was established by the so called National Transitional Council (NTC), real power on the streets was exercised by competing militias loyal to their tribal and/or clan affiliations, and usually restricted to one major town or city. Although there are a number of Islamist militias operating in or around Benghazi, the two most powerful and well organized are the February 17 Martyrs Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia. While both organizations are nominally independent, each has outwardly expressed either a direct or indirect affiliation with the terror brand known as Al Qaeda.

Opposing both 17 February and Ansar al-Sharia is the so called Libyan National Army, a collection of militias and smaller units loyal to General Hifter. Having recently gained notoriety for declaring a quasi-coup against the Tripoli government in February 2014, the Libyan National Army has been waging a low-intensity war against the Islamist militias in hopes of gaining control over Benghazi and the Cyrenaica region. Naturally, General Hifter’s plans extend well beyond Benghazi, as he intends to use the conflict there as the pretext by which he hopes he’ll bring the country under his leadership. While there are some who see this as an unlikely scenario, it is nevertheless an important part of the strategic calculus.

Finally, there is the lingering question of other militias which have, at various times, controlled critical oil terminals and port facilities in Benghazi and the East generally. Of particular note is the militia surrounding Ibrahim al-Jathran, a young tribal leader who has called for regional autonomy for Cyrenaica from the central government in Tripoli. Jathran and his men have numerous times blockaded key oil facilities as a means of leveraging their demands. Though as yet they have succeeded only in causing a political and diplomatic problem for Tripoli, al-Jathran’s militia, and others like it, only further complicate the endlessly complex politics of the Libyan street.

Libya’s “Revolution” and US Intelligence

From the outset of the war against Libya, the United States and its NATO allies utilized a variety of terror groups and other intelligence assets to topple the Gaddafi government. While some had been directly linked to the CIA, others were pulled from the stable of terror organizations utilized at various times by the US as mujahideen in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and elsewhere. Essentially then, the US developed a loose network of proxies, some of which were ideologically opposed to the US and to one another, that it unleashed on Libya to do Washington’s dirty work.

One key group allied with US intelligence is Hifter’s Libyan National Army. The organization was founded by Hifter after his defection (or expulsion) from Libya in the early 1980s. From there, Hifter became a significant asset for the CIA in its quest to topple Gaddafi. Using Hifter’s forces in Chad during the Libya-Chad war of the early 1980s, the CIA attempted the first of many regime change efforts in Libya. As the New York Times reported in 1991:

The secret paramilitary operation, set in motion in the final months of the Reagan Administration, provided military aid and training to about 600 Libyan soldiers who were among those captured during border fighting between Libya and Chad in 1988…They were trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills, officials said, at a base near Ndjamena, the Chadian capital. The plan to use the exiles fit neatly into the Reagan Administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi.

As the above cited Times article noted, the regime change efforts failed and Hifter and his associates were then given safe passage and residence in the US. A State Department spokesman at the time explained that the men would have “access to normal resettlement assistance, including English-language and vocational training and, if necessary, financial and medical assistance.” Indeed, Hifter spent nearly two decades living comfortably in a suburban Virginia home, just a short drive from CIA headquarters at Langley. He became known as the CIA’s “Libya point man,” having taken part in numerous regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.

And so, when Hifter conveniently showed back up in Libya to take part in the 2011 regime change operation, many political observers noted that this meant that the hand of the CIA was intimately involved in the uprising. Indeed, as the war evolved and more became known about the deeply rooted connection between US intelligence and the so called “rebels,” the truth about Hifter became impossible to conceal. However, Hifter was certainly not alone in being a willing puppet of NATO and the CIA.

Another critical group in this regard is the infamous Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) led by international terrorist Abdelhakim Belhadj whose credits include killing Americans in Afghanistan and beyond while being directly linked to Al Qaeda. Having been imprisoned by Gaddafi, the leadership of the LIFG immediately sought to align itself with the US in hopes of occupying the power vacuum that would emerge post-Gaddafi. Led by Belhadj, the LIFG became a critical part of the rebel movement that toppled Gaddafi, including LIFG taking the lead in the attack on Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Aziziya. In this regard, LIFG was provided intelligence, and likely also tactical support, from US intelligence and the US military, particularly through its AFRICOM network based out of Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

Once Gaddafi had fallen, Belhadj became the military commander of Tripoli, temporarily acting as dictator-in-chief. However, in order to continue to sell the “Libya as democracy” mythology, Belhadj’s US-NATO paymasters decided to put in his place the so called “transitional government” which is today regarded as ineffectual at best, and utterly irrelevant at worst.

The February 17 Martyrs Brigade is yet another terror group with close ties to both the “government” in Tripoli and, most importantly, to the CIA. Having emerged from the regime change operation as the most viable, well-trained, well-armed and organized militia, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade quickly rose to prominence within the post-war political landscape. Posturing as a trusted force to be employed by the authorities in Tripoli, February 17 quickly came to be a security detail for hire. It is here that the CIA and February 17 came into direct association. As the Los Angeles Times reported:

Over the last year, while assigned by their militia to help protect the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the pair had been drilled by American security personnel in using their weapons, securing entrances, climbing walls and waging hand-to-hand combat…The militiamen flatly deny supporting the assailants but acknowledge that their large, government-allied force, known as the Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade, could include anti-American elements…The Feb. 17 brigade is regarded as one of the more capable militias in eastern Libya.

It is essential to note that the so-called “consulate” in Benghazi was no typical diplomatic mission. Rather, it was a CIA installation likely used by Ambassador Stevens as a headquarters from which arms and fighters could be organized for the destabilization campaign in Syria. So, in examining exactly what the arrangement in Benghazi was, it would be accurate to say that the United States acted as the patron and employer for a violent terrorist organization whose own members admit that their group “could include anti-American elements.”

Ansar al-Sharia of course fit into the September 11, 2012 attack narrative, conveniently acting as the aggressors against the CIA compound defended by their sometime rivals (and sometime allies) the February 17 Martyrs Brigade. Ansar al-Sharia, headed by a man named Ahmed Abu Khattala, is reputedly the group that carried out the attack on the CIA station in Benghazi. In fact, Khattala himself admits to having been part of the assault on the compound, though he only admits to being present, not leading it.

Despite professing radical Islam that is anti-Western and rooted in the notion of sharia law, Ansar al-Sharia, and Khattala specifically, did not seem particularly troubled with collaborating with “American infidels.” In fact, as the New York Times noted in its expose, Khattala and his organization likely played the role of executioner in one of the most significant assassination operations (aside from that of Gaddafi himself) of the entire conflict.

The abduction and assassination of Libyan General Abdul Fattah Younis, until 2011 regarded as the US handpicked successor to Gaddafi, was a major turning point. As the Times explained, “After Islamists sent a team to take the general to an impromptu judicial inquiry in July 2011, his captors held him overnight in the headquarters of Mr. Abu Khattala’s brigade. The bodies of General Younes and two of his aides were found on a roadside the next day, riddled with bullets.” So, even according to mainstream accounts, Khattala and Ansar al-Sharia are at least indirectly, if not directly, responsible for the death of Younis.

This becomes particularly important in light of the long-standing competition between Younis and Hifter for control of the post-Gaddafi “secular” forces inside Libya. It would be fair then to argue that, in the power struggle between Hifter and Younis, the CIA darling Hifter was the beneficiary of the actions of a nominal terror organization. And now, these two factions are at war with each other. So goes modern Libya.

Any analysis of the current conflict in Libya, and specifically in Benghazi, must take into account the role of the US (and other nations’) intelligence agencies that have been deeply involved from the very beginning. In particular, in examining the nature of the fighting, Benghazi must be understood as both a turf war, and an ideological struggle. On the one hand, it is a competition for control over the most important city in the country with the exception of the capital in Tripoli. On the other hand, it is an existential struggle for the future of Libya. Hifter and his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and corporations. Ansar al-Sharia and the other terror groups see in Libya the building blocks of an Islamic state to be governed by sharia. And, lurking in the background, above and behind all the principal actors in the conflict, is the CIA and the US geopolitical agenda. And so the war continues; no end in sight.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT. This article was written exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

There is a tendency to believe that Russian president Vladimir Putin is orchestrating the unrest in eastern Ukraine, sending in irregular Russian forces to stir up pro-Russian separatist sentiment.

As guesses go, this might not be a bad one–but journalism is supposed to be about presenting evidence to confirm such speculation. The New York Times clearly has a hunch about deep Russian involvement in Ukraine. The ways it tries to confirm this hunch are curious.

Back in April, the Times got into some trouble (FAIR Blog4/23/14) with a  “scoop” showing photos of people they claimed were Russian special forces and intelligence forces. A few days later, the Times was conveying skepticism about its own story–skepticism noticeably lacking in the original report.

But before long, the paper (5/4/14) was back on the case, reporting that “one persistent mystery has been the identity and affiliations of the militiamen, who have pressed the confrontation between Russia and the West into its latest bitter phase.”

The piece offered close look at one group of fighters associated with the People’s Militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic.  “Moscow says they are Ukrainians and not part of the Russian armed forces,” the Times reported, while “Western officials and the Ukrainian government insist that Russians have led, organized and equipped the fighters.”

So what does reality say? The Times says that “neither portrayal captures the full story.” Then it goes on:

The rebels of the 12th Company appear to be Ukrainians but, like many in the region, have deep ties to and affinity for Russia. They are veterans of the Soviet, Ukrainian or Russian Armies, and some have families on the other side of the border. Theirs is a tangled mix of identities and loyalties.

If these fighters are Ukrainian, and veterans of–not active duty members of–the Russian armed forces, then it would certainly seem that Moscow’s explanation is closer to the truth than what “Western officials” are alleging about formal Russian control–unless there is evidence that they’re not sharing.

The Times‘ interest in this story continues. “Russians Revealed Among Ukraine Fighters” was the May 28 headline, but the story was less conclusive than that might suggest:

The scene at the hospital was new evidence that fighters from Russia are an increasingly visible part of the conflict here, a development that raises new questions about that country’s role in the unrest. Moscow has denied that its regular soldiers are part of the conflict, and there is no evidence that they are. But motley assortments of fighters from other war zones that are intimately associated with Russia would be unlikely to surface against the powerful will of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, experts said.

So the fighters raise “new questions” about Russian “role”–but there’s no evidence the fighters are Russian soldiers. But Putin has such a “powerful will” that “motley assortments” of fighters wouldn’t be there if he didn’t want them to be there–so say the “experts.”

As if that wasn’t curious enough, the Times adds:

The disclosure of Russian nationals among the fighters here muddies an already murky picture of the complex connections and allegiances that are beginning to form. While their presence does not draw a straight line to the Kremlin, it raises the possibility of a more subtle Russian game that could keep Ukraine unbalanced for years.

So, to recap: There is no evidence that Russia is in control of any of this, but the lack of such evidence may be a sign of a  ”more subtle” game.

And then, one more–this past Sunday (6/1/14) brought the headline, “In Ukraine War, Kremlin Leaves No Fingerprints.” In that piece, the Timesreports that “eastern Ukraine is evolving into a subtle game in which Russian freelancers shape events and the Kremlin plausibly denies involvement.”

While “Putin may not be directing these events…he is certainly their principal beneficiary.” The Times also claims that “for now, at least, the strategy seems to be to destabilize Ukraine as much as possible without leaving conclusive evidence that would trigger more sanctions.”

Again, some–or even all–of this could be true. But the Times doesn’t seem to have the evidence to back up its claims of Russian management of the separatist movements or uprisings. The only time it presented anything that looked like such evidence, it had to retreat. Deep into the June 1 piece, theTimes notes that a Russian investigative journalist thinks “does not believe that either Mr. Borodai or Mr. Strelkov”–those are the two separatists profiled–”is acting on behalf of the Russian government.”

What you’re left with from the Times is the suggestion that the lack of direct evidence is probably proof that Russia is up to something– i.e., “leaving no fingerprints.”

During the days of the Soviet Union, Kremlinologists spent their time poring over state propaganda in an attempt to understand what was really going on in the USSR. It bears some resemblance to what one might be seeing in the New York Times now.

Justifying the swap of Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bergdahl, President Obama cited a principle of never leaving U.S. soldiers behind, but that rule was violated in the shabby treatment of the USS Liberty crew, attacked 47 years ago by Israeli warplanes.

On June 8, 1967, Israeli leaders learned they could deliberately attack a U.S. Navy ship and try to send it, together with its entire crew, to the bottom of the Mediterranean – with impunity. Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, a state-of-the-art intelligence collection platform sailing in international waters off the Sinai, killing 34 of the 294 crew members and wounding more than 170.

On the 47th anniversary of that unprovoked attack let’s be clear about what happened: Israeli messages intercepted on June 8, 1967, leave no doubt that sinking the USS Liberty was the mission assigned to the attacking Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats as the Six-Day War raged in the Middle East. Let me repeat: there is no doubt – none – that the mission of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was to destroy the USS Liberty and kill its entire crew.

USS Liberty (AGTR-5) receives assistance from units of the Sixth Fleet, after she was attacked and seriously damaged by Israeli forces off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967.  (US Navy photo)

USS Liberty (AGTR-5) receives assistance from units of the Sixth Fleet, after she was attacked and seriously damaged by Israeli forces off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967. (US Navy photo)

Referring last week to the controversy of the swap of five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bode Bergdahl, President Barack Obamaclaimed, “The U.S. has always had a pretty sacred rule: We don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind.” The only exception, he might have added, is when Israeli forces shoot them up; then mum’s the word.

Mr. President, try explaining that “pretty sacred rule” to the USS Liberty survivors. I know them well enough to sense the hollow echo that Obama’s claim will leave in their ears – and in the ears of the families of those who did not survive.

The crew of the USS Liberty has been “left behind,” in a figurative as well as a physical sense. There is no way to retrieve the bodies of those washed out to sea through the large hole made by the Israeli torpedo that hit the Liberty amidships, killing 26 of the crew.

There is a way, however, to stop throwing salt in the survivors’ wounds, as every U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson has done in acquiescing to the false narrative that it was all a terrible case of mistaken identity and confusion by Israeli command and control. That salt burns – especially on anniversaries of the tragedy, raising troubling questions about the power of the Israel Lobby and the Israeli government over U.S. politicians.

In apparent fear of the Israel Lobby and not wanting to offend the Israeli government, U.S. officials including the Navy have refused to come clean on what happened 47 years ago. The mainstream U.S. media has been a willing partner in this failure to face the facts and demand accountability.

No Accident

Here, for example, is the text of an intercepted Israeli conversation, just one of many pieces of hard, unambiguous evidence that the Israeli attack was not a mistake:

Israeli pilot to ground control: “This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?”

Ground control: “Yes, follow orders.” …

Israeli pilot: “But, sir, it’s an American ship – I can see the flag!”

Ground control: “Never mind; hit it!”

The Israelis would have been able to glory in reporting “mission accomplished, ship sunk, all crew killed” save for the bravery and surefootedness of then-23 year-old Navy seaman Terry Halbardier, whose actions spelled the difference between the murder of 34 of the crew and the intended massacre of all 294.

Halbardier skated across the Liberty’s slippery deck while it was being strafed in order to connect a communications cable and enable the Liberty to send out an SOS. The Israelis intercepted that message and, out of fear of how the U.S. Sixth Fleet would respond, immediately broke off the attack, returned to their bases, and sent an “oops” message to Washington confessing to their unfortunate “mistake.”

As things turned out, the Israelis didn’t need to be so concerned. When President Johnson learned that the USS America and USS Saratoga had launched warplanes to do battle with the forces attacking the Liberty, he told Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to call Sixth Fleet commander Rear Admiral Lawrence Geiss and tell him to order the warplanes to return immediately to their carriers.

According to J.Q. “Tony” Hart, a chief petty officer who monitored these conversations from a U.S. Navy communications relay station in Morocco, Geiss shot back that one of his ships was under attack. Tellingly, McNamara responded: “President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.”

Getting Away With Murder

For the Israelis, the tight U-turn by the U.S. warplanes over the Mediterranean was proof positive that the Israeli government can literally get away with murder, including killing U.S. servicemen, and that Official Washington and its servile media could be counted upon to cover up the deliberate nature of the attack.

John Crewdson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Chicago Tribune, asked McNamara about this many years later. McNamara’s answer is worth reading carefully; he said he had “absolutely no recollection of what I did that day,” except that “I have a memory that I didn’t know at the time what was going on.”

Crewsdon has written the most detailed and accurate account of the Israeli attack on the Liberty; it appeared in the Chicago Tribune, and also in the Baltimore Sun, on Oct. 2, 2007. Read it and you’ll understand why Crewdson got no Pulitzer for his investigative reporting on the Liberty. Instead, the Tribune laid him off in November 2008 after 24 years.

Several of the Liberty survivors have become friends of mine. I have listened to their stories, as Crewdson did. When June 8 comes around each year I remember them. And on special occasions, as when Terry Halbardier was finally awarded the Silver Star for his bravery, I write about them.

The mainstream U.S. media has avoided the USS Liberty case like the plague. I just checked the Washington Post and – surprise, surprise – it has missed the opportunity for the 46thconsecutive year, to mention the Liberty anniversary.

On the few occasions when the mainstream U.S. media outlets are forced to address what happened, they blithely ignore the incredibly rich array of hard evidence and still put out the false narrative of the “mistaken” Israeli attack on the Liberty.

And they attempt to conflate fact with speculation, asking why Israel would deliberately attack a ship of the U.S. Navy. Why Tel Aviv wanted the Liberty and its entire crew on the bottom of the Mediterranean remains a matter of speculation, but there are plausible theories including Israel’s determination to keep the details of its war plans secret from everyone, including the U.S. government.

But there is no doubt that destroying the Liberty and its crew was the mission assigned to Israel’s warplanes and torpedo boats. One Navy Admiral with a conscience, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and before that Chief of Naval Operations) Thomas Moorer, has “broken ranks,” so to speak. Moorer helped lead an independent, blue-ribbon commission to investigate what happened to the Liberty.

The following are among the commission’s findings made public in October 2003:

-That the attack, by a U.S. ally, was a “deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill its entire crew”

-That the attack included the machine-gunning of stretcher-bearers and life rafts

-That “the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of the [ship] … never before in naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack”

-That surviving crew members were later threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment, or worse” if they talked to anyone about what had happened to them; and were “abandoned by their own government.”

Doing Justice

Will the USS Liberty survivors ever enjoy the opportunity to know and to tell the real story with all its evil cruelties? Or will silence continue to reign? In a different context, Russian dissident author Alexandr Solzhenitzyn wrote this warning about what silence about evil does to the foundations of justice:

“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

President Obama, the crew of the USS Liberty has been “left behind” for way too many years. Do the right thing by them. Face down those who warn that you cannot risk Israel’s displeasure. And add more substance to your rhetoric about our “pretty sacred rule” that we do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army infantry and intelligence officer and then as a CIA analyst for the next 27 years.

A Sheriff in Tennessee called Homeland Security on a journalist for attempting to obtain public records about the treatment of prisoners at a local jail.

“Alex Friedmann, editor for the Prison Legal News, has been working on a piece about complaints coming out of the (Marshall County) jail. He’s now suing Sheriff Normal Dalton for refusing to release public records of alleged questionable practices in the prison system,” reports WSMV.com.

After Sheriff Dalton refused to provide Friedmann with records pertaining to medical care and other services for inmates, he paid him a home visit, ordered background checks, and even called the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to get federal agents to harass Friedmann.

Dalton’s attorney claimed that the Sheriff had the right to take such action in order to protect the jail and ensure that Friedmann was a resident of Tennessee, while also asserting that Friedmann’s attempt to obtain the records in person invalidated the request.

“I think that’s very alarming and very disturbing that a law enforcement officer can do a background check, and in this case actually drove in to check my residence in person just because I filed a public records request with his agency,” Friedmann said.

Bail bondsman Mike Farrar claimed that the refusal to provide records was part of a cover-up centered around the fact that prisoners are only fed twice a day and that the Sheriff’s department is financially profiting as a result.

The judge in the case has taken the decision under advisement and is expected to rule in the next few days.

The story highlights how the Department of Homeland Security is being leveraged as a tool of intimidation against Americans who are simply trying to uncover official misconduct.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

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NSA whistleblower Russel Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping.

Tice told PBS and other media that the NSA is spying on – and blackmailing – top government officials and military officers, including Supreme Court Justices, highly-ranked generals, Colin Powell and other State Department personnel, and many other top officials:

He says the NSA started spying on President Obama when he was a candidate for Senate:

Many of Tice’s allegations have been confirmed by other government whistleblowers. And see this.

Washington’s Blog called Tice to find out more about what he saw when he was at NSA.

RUSSELL TICE: We now know that NSA was wiretapping [Senator] Frank Church and another Senator.  [That has been confirmed.]

And that got out by accident. All the information the NSA had back then – and probably many other senators and important people too, back in the 70s – they shredded and they destroyed all of that evidence.  As much as they could find, they destroyed it all. By accident, something popped up 40 years later.

And, in fact, they were asked 40 years ago whether NSA had bugged Congress. And, of course, they lied. They lied through their teeth.

NSA Has Hidden Its Most Radical Surveillance Operations … Even from People Like Snowden Who Had General “Code Word” Clearance

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Glenn Greenwald – supposedly, in the next couple of days or weeks – is going to disclose, based on NSA documents leaked by Snowden, that the NSA is spying on all sorts of normal Americans … and that the spying is really to crush dissent.  [Background here, here and here.]

Does Snowden even have documents which contain the information which you’ve seen?

RUSSELL TICE:  The answer is no.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: So you saw handwritten notes. And what Snowden was seeing were electronic files …?

RUSSELL TICE: Think of it this way.  Remember I told you about the NSA doing everything they could to make sure that the information from 40 years ago – from spying on Frank Church and Lord knows how many other Congressman that they were spying on – was hidden?

Now do you think they’re going to put that information into Powerpoint slides that are easy to explain to everybody what they’re doing?

They would not even put their own NSA designators on the reports [so that no one would know that] it came from the NSA.  They made the reports look like they were Humint (human intelligence) reports.  They did it to hide the fact that they were NSA and they were doing the collection. That’s 40 years ago.  [The NSA and other agencies are still doing "parallel construction", "laundering" information to hide the fact that the information is actually from mass NSA surveillance.]

Now, what NSA is doing right now is that they’re taking the information and they’re putting it in a much higher security level.  It’s called “ECI” - Exceptionally Controlled Information  – and it’s called the black program … which I was a specialist in, by the way.

I specialized in black world – DOD and IC (Intelligence Community) – programs, operations and missions … in “VRKs”, “ECIs”, and “SAPs”, “STOs”. SAP equals Special Access Program. It’s highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these. STO equals Special Technical Operations  It’s highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these.

Now in that world – the ECI/VRK world – everything in that system is classified at a higher level and it has its own computer systems that house it.  It’s totally separate than the system which Mr. Snowden was privy to, which was called the “JWICS”: Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.  The JWICS system is what everybody at NSA has access to.  Mr Snowden had Sys Admin [systems administrator] authority for the JWICS.

And you still have to have TS/SCI clearance [i.e. Top Secret/ Sensitive Compartmented Information - also known as “code word” - clearance] to get on the JWICS. But the ECI/VRK systems are much higher [levels of special compartmentalized clearance] than the JWICS. And you have to be in the black world to get that [clearance].

ECI = Exceptionally Controlled Information. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these ECI controlled networks). VRK = Very Restricted Knowledge. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these VRK controlled networks.

These programs typically have, at the least, a requirement of 100 year or until death, ’till the person first being “read in” [i.e. sworn to secrecy as part of access to the higher classification program] can talk about them.  [As an interesting sidenote, the Washington Times reported in 2006 that – when Tice offered to testify to Congress about this illegal spying – he was informed by the NSA that the Senate and House intelligence committees were not cleared to hear such information.]

It’s very compartmentalized and – even with stuff that they had – you might have something at NSA, that there’s literally 40 people at NSA that know that it’s going on in the entire agency.

When the stuff came out in the New York Times [the first big spying story, which broke in 2005] – and I was a source of information for the New York Times –   that’s when President Bush made up that nonsense about the “terrorist surveillance program.” By the way, that never existed. That was made up.

There was no such thing beforehand. It was made up … to try to placate the American people.

The NSA IG (Inspector General) – who was not cleared for this – all of a sudden is told he has to do an investigation on this; something he has no information or knowledge of.

So what they did, is they took a few documents and they downgraded [he classification level of the documents] – just a few – and gave them to them to placate this basic whitewash investigation.

Snowden’s Failure To Understand the Most Important Documents

RUSSELL TICE: Now, if Mr. Snowden were to find the crossover, it would be those documents that were downgraded to the NSA’s IG.

The stuff that I saw looked like a bunch of alphanumeric gobbledygook.  Unless you have an analyst to know what to look for – and believe me, I think that what Snowden’s done is great – he’s not an intelligence analyst.  So he would see something like that, and he wouldn’t know what he’s looking at.

But that would be “the jewels”. And the key is, you wouldn’t know it’s the jewels unless you were a diamond miner and you knew what to look for. Because otherwise, there’s a big lump of rock and you don’t know there’s a diamond in there.

I worked special programs. And the way I found out is that I was working on a special operation, and I needed information from NSA … from another unit. And when I went to that unit and I said “I need this information”, and I dealt with [satellite spy operations], and I did that in the black world. I was a special operations officer. I would literally go do special missions that were in the black world where I would travel overseas and do spooky stuff.

Cheney Was Running the Show

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: You said in one of your interviews that Dick Cheney ordered the intercepts that you found in the burn bags [the bags of documents which were slated to be destroyed because they were so sensitive].

Is that right … and if so, how do you know that?

RUSSELL TICE: I did not know one way or the other until I talked to a very senior person at NSA who – much later – wanted to have a meeting with me. And we had a covert, clandestine style meeting. And that’s when this individual told me that the whole thing was being directed and was coming from the vice president’s office … Cheney, through his lawyer David Addington.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG:  It sounds like it wasn’t going through normal routes?  It’s not like Cheney or Addington made formal requests to the NSA … through normal means?

RUSSELL TICE: No, not normal at all. All on the sly … all “sneaky pete” under the table, in the evening when most NSA employees are gone for the day. This is all being done in the evenings … between like 7 [at night] and midnight.

NSA Is Spying On CONTENT as Well as Metadata

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: And from what you and others have said, it’s content as well as metadata?

RUSSELL TICE: Of course it is. Of course. [Background. But see this.]

NSA Spying On Journalists, Congress, Admirals, Lawyers …

RUSSELL TICE: In 2009, I told [reporters] that they were going after journalists and news organizations and reporters and such.

I never read text of Congressman’s conversations. What I had was information – sometimes hand-written – of phone numbers of Congressmen, their wives, their children, their staffers, their home numbers, their cellphone numbers, their phone numbers of their residence back in Oregon or whatever state they’re from, and their little offices back in their state.

Or an Admiral and his wife, and his kids and his staffers …

The main thing I saw more than anything else were lawyers and law firms. I saw more lawyers or law firms being wiretapped than anything else.

These are the phone numbers I saw written. And then I would see those numbers incorporated into those lists with the columns of information about the phone number, and the serial number and the banks of recorders and digital converters and the data storage devices. I could see handwritten phone numbers and notes, sometimes with names, sometimes not.

Snowden and Greenwald’s Whistleblowing Was Done In the Right Way

RUSSELL TICE: If Mr. Snowden would have had access to VRK, ECI, SAP, STO (and a few others that I will not mention here), and he released them en masse to the press, I would volunteer to shoot him as a traitor myself.

But this is not what he did.

He gave up JWICS info that he insisted be vetted for sources and methods, and true damage to national security. Mr. Greenwald and company should be congratulated on the restraint that they have shown with the JWICS documentation that they have in hand via Mr. Snowden.

Postscript: When Tice started blowing the whistle on NSA mass surveillance in the early 2000s, the NSA all of a sudden decided that Tice was “crazy”. As Tice told us:

For many years, I was the only NSA whistleblower in public.

And what they did is call me in – 9 months after my routine psychological evaluation – which I passed with flying colors, like every other one I’ve had in my entire career, passed with flying colors.

They called me in for an “emergency” psychological evaluation, and they declared me nuts.

I am a fairly good judge of character, and I found Tice to be humorous, self-deprecating in a healthy and light-hearted way, and consistent on the facts. Tice talked about how he was a pretty darn good football player in junior college, but no star athlete. He talked about how one reporter tried to make him out to be James Bond with leading man looks, and he thought that was ridiculous. We shared some normal “guy talk” about women. Tice has a little anger at the way the NSA tried to whitewash the mass surveillance that he uncovered (wouldn’t you be?), but he wasn’t enraged or over-the-top. Tice is also a patriotic American, not a subversive. Specifically, we spent a long time talking about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law. In other words, Tice seems “oriented to reality”, completely sane, normal, ethical and bright to me.

And the following facts are more important than my personal impression:

Given the way that the NSA has been repeatedly caught in lies about its surveillance programs – and the way that it has attacked whisteblowers – I believe Tice over the NSA.

Primary elections originated in the American progressive movement and were intended to take the power of candidate nomination away from party leaders and deliver it to the people.  California’s Top Two Primary takes power away from third parties representing the 99% and delivers it to the 1%.

Voters have increasingly become disillusioned with the Democratic and Republican Parties. According to a poll reported by Rasmussen in April, more than half the country believes that neither of the top two parties represents the American people. As presidential candidate Ron Paul remarked in 2011:

These parties aren’t different, they’re all the same. The monetary policy stays the same. The welfare system stays the same. The foreign policy stays the same. . . . There is but one party.

Or as Ronald Reagan put it, “We don’t need a third party. We need a second party.”

A recent Gallup poll found that nationwide, the share of registered voters identifying as independent has hit a record high of 42 percent. That trend also holds true in California. Yet no third-party or independent candidate for state-wide office will appear on the California general election ballot in November. All were eliminated by Top Two, the new electoral system ushered in by Proposition 14 in 2010. It excludes all but the top-two primary vote-getters from advancing to November, and that effectively means all but the top two political parties.

In the June 3rd California primary, the highest number of votes received by any third party or independent candidate was 218,847, representing 6.4% of voters. That count went to me, running as a Green for state treasurer on a state bank platform. It was the highest percentage ever gotten by a Green in a statewide partisan California election, but it was not enough to leap the top-two barrier. Laura Wells, also running as a Green on a state bank platform, received 5.6% of the vote for state controller. All other third party and independent statewide candidates got a lower percentage in their races, except for one independent who just placed fourth. That means only Democrats and Republicans will be debating the issues in November.

Top Two has not only foreclosed third-party candidates from the general election but has made it substantially harder for them to get on the primary ballot. From 1992 to 2010, the Green, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, and American Independent parties averaged 127 primary ballot candidates among them in each election cycle. In 2012, in Top Two’s first year, they were able to qualify only 17 for state legislative and congressional races, the fewest since 1966, when only Democrats and Republicans were on the ballot. This dropped to 13 in 2014, with only 10 others running for quadrennial statewide offices, down from 33 in 2010.

California’s Controversial Proposition 14

On Feb. 19, 2009, between 4 and 7 a.m., without any public notice or public hearing, the Legislature placed a major constitutional electoral reform – Proposition 14 – on the June 2010 primary ballot and approved its companion statute, Senate Bill 6.

The Voter Information Guide did not provide a summary or text of SB 6, which fleshes out critical details of Proposition 14; nor did Proposition 14’s official ballot title and summary refer to it. Many potential negative effects of Top Two were hidden from voters, and opportunities to vet and correct them before the measure was placed on the ballot were denied to the public.

This left the field wide open for California’s largest corporations – which enthusiastically favored Proposition 14 because they thought it would result in the election of corporate-friendly public officials – to flood the airwaves with propoganda about how Top Two would increase voter choice. In fact, it has done the opposite, to the point of excluding “no corporate money” candidates from the general election debate.

Several other barriers to participation were added or strengthened by Top Two, without the prior vetting of voters. The number of signatures needed to be on the statewide primary ballot without paying an expensive filing fee jumped from 150 to 10,000 for smaller-party candidates – and that puts the candidate on the ballot only for the June primary, not into November as under the previous system.

Meanwhile, the fee for a candidate statement in the Voter Information Guide – the chief way many voters learn about candidates – was raised to $25 per word, putting the cost of a full statement at more than double the candidate filing fee. The result was to radically reduce the number of words many smaller-party candidates can afford.

The Legislature even eliminated general election write-in candidacies – a right Californians have enjoyed since statehood in 1850.

By eliminating party primaries, Top Two increased the cost of running for office – and the need for early big money – for candidates from all parties. Candidates now have to campaign to the entire electorate in June as well as in November (assuming they manage to reach the general election).  That means the role of money in California politics has only increased as a result of Top Two, making it even easier for “the 1%” to buy elections.

A Voice in the Debate

California houses 39 million people, far too many to reach by knocking on doors. Many people get their news on television. But candidates who cannot afford to buy advertising airtime and who are not invited to the televised debates (or even to the non-televised ones covered by the print media) cannot reach the broader population. That effectively means all candidates without big corporate money backing or enough personal wealth to self-fund.

Third-party candidates have long been excluded from televised debates, on the pretense that they have not polled well enough or raised enough money to be “viable candidates.” Yet hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters share their views on various issues. Without big money to contact voters or exposure in the debates, however, third party and other grassroots candidates cannot poll high enough to qualify because voters don’t know anything about them, creating a vicious circle of disempowerment.

But it gets worse. Apparently even the appearance of dissent to the corporate dominance of our politics cannot be tolerated. When Laura Wells attended the Brown-Whitman California gubernatorial debates in San Rafael, California, in 2010 – a race in which she was then the Green Party candidate  for governor – she was arrested just for trying to attend and sit in the audience with a ticket.  The charge, she said, was perfect: “trespassing at a private party.” Jill Stein, the 2012 Green Party candidate for US president, was similarly arrested for merely attempting to attend the presidential debates at Hofstra University, from which she had been excluded. In 2000, then-Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader was blocked from entering a viewing party in the building next door to the presidential debate from which he had been excluded. And in 2002, California Green gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo was excluded from a gubernatorial debate although he was on the guest list of the Republican nominee in the debate.

Taking Back Our Democracy

Under the current electoral system, corporate-funded politics are strangling democracy. Our political party system needs to be radically overhauled.

At the federal level, the presidential debates are controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation run by the Democrat and Republican parties and funded by corporate America. The Green Party’s alternative is to create a new publicly-funded People’s Commission on Presidential Debates, and to open its presidential debates to all candidates who appear on at least as many ballots as would represent a majority of the Electoral College and who raise enough funds to otherwise qualify for general election public financing. Also recommended is to amend federal law to remove the non-profit tax exemption status that allows corporations to fund the existing Commission on Presidential Debates and other exclusive, privately-controlled debate entities.

In California, the Green Party recommends overturning Top Two and replacing it with a system of multi-seat districts with proportional representation in the legislature. A constituency or party receiving 10% of the vote would win 10% of the seats, 30% of the vote would win 30% of the seats, and so on. This would lower the cost of getting elected while increasing the diversity of representation to more accurately reflect the voters.

For single-seat statewide executive office, Ranked Choice or “Instant Runoff” Voting is recommended, and has been successfully implemented in a number of countries and municipalities. Voters rank their choices by preference. In a five way race, a voter’s first choice gets five points and his last choice gets one point, with other selections in between. The candidate with the most points wins. There is only one election, so issues get discussed and minor party candidates get heard right up to the end. Ranked Choice Voting gives people more power to vote their true preferences, without being trapped in the “lesser-of-two-evils” dynamic that has been used to stifle real dialogue and choice.

For all elections, public financing is needed, in order to ensure that voters hear from all candidates rather than just the most well-funded.

The money is with the 1%, but the vote count is with the 99%. We can prevail, if we can get that great mass of disillusioned voters into the voting booths. And that is just the sort of game-changing event that Top Two is calculated to prevent.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute and the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

GR Editor’s Notes

This article  by Russian scholar Aleksander B. Krylov was first published by GR in May 2007. It sheds light on an important historical debate. Who won World War II?  The historical record suggests that when British, American and Canadian Troops landed in Normandy in Jun 1944, the Third Reich had already, from a military standpoint been “defeated by the Russian People”.

Translated from Russian. Editing by M. Ch. (emphasis added)

(Michel Chossudovsky, GR Editor, June 8, 2014) 

Certain noteworthy tendencies keep surfacing in British and US historical studies of WWII during the last several years. Until recently, US and British scholars focused mainly on the events related to the Western Front (the Battle of El Alamein, the Normandy Invasion, the Ardennes Offensive, etc.). There was a reason behind their emphasizing the significance of the operations carried out by the Western allies:  this approach created the false impression among the general public that Germany was defeated by the US and Great Britain. In some cases, schoolchildren in Great Britain and the US were actually led to believe that the Soviet Union had been Germany’s ally during WWII.

This interpretation of history became canonical in the West from the very beginning of the Cold War era, from the time when, adhering to a kind of a “class approach”, Winston Churchill in his writings denigrated the crucial contribution of the Red Army to the victory of Nazi Germany.

Later,  Western historical thinking were largely influenced by the writings of former Nazi officers who had been involved in analyzing the Nazi military archives, and by numerous memoirs left by the Wehrmacht generals. As a rule, these authors tended to justify themselves and the German Wehrmacht, which was upheld as a purely professional entity separate from Hitler and Nazi ideology. The reminiscences of Hitler’s dogs of war also reflected a lot of their arrogance and hurt pride, which further distorted the historical process.

On the other hand, the memoirs and archives of the Soviet military and political leadership were dismissed by Western authors.  They failed to serve as a scholarly and ideological “counterbalance” opposing the flow of literature by former Hitlerites. The war-time recollections published in the USSR were subject to an ideological censorship in the West so severe that oftentimes they lost any value as sources of historical knowledge.

The first attempts to assess in a more realistic way the respective roles of the Eastern and Western Fronts were made in the West nearly 30 years after the end of WWII.

John Erickson, a British historian, was among the first to move in this direction – in his books “The Road to Stalingrad” (1975) and “The Road to Berlin” (1983);  he demonstrated the magnitude of the actual contribution of the Eastern Front to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Next, David M. Glantz, a US military historian, wrote several books about the war on the Russian front. In 1989-2006, he published 16 works including “When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler”.

Hundreds of works by British and US scholars focused on specific aspects of the operations on the Eastern Front such as the treatment of the prisoners of war, the war-time ethnic purges, the role of the NKVD (the Soviet secret service), the economy and the food supplies, etc. Those publications were not meant for mass audience. Therefore, for decades the perceptions of the broader public in Great Britain and the US were shaped primarily by the memoirs left by W. Churchill and other Western statesmen, who presented the Western Front as the main theatre of WWII. This traditional assessment started to erode in recent years. In this respect, “Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory” by Norman Davies, a British historian, played a significant role.

Norman Davies is a popular author in Great Britain and the US, and justly so. He became famous after the publication of “The Isles. A history” (1999), an extensive and captivating treatise on the British past. His “Europe. A History” (1996) and “Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory” (2006) were no less successful. In the latter book, Davies clearly, and with the emotionality untypical of a British scholar, condemns the pathological narcissism of the US. He finds especially harsh words for those US authors who continue stupidly to convince their countrymen that it was the US who stopped fascism and ultimately defeated Hitler.

According to Norman Davies, fighting went on between 400 German and Soviet divisions on the Eastern Front for four years. The front itself spanned 1,600 km. In the meantime, the fighting on the Western Front involved 15-20 divisions at most.

The German army suffered 88% of its casualties on the Eastern Front. It was the Soviet troops who broke the will and capacity of the German army to carry out massive front offensives in 1943. The Battle of Kursk – that is the name historians must remember! Norman Davies writes that the key role of the Soviet army in WWII will be so obvious to future historians that they will merely credit the US and Great Britain with providing a vitally important support.

Nevertheless, discussing the crucial contribution of the Red Army to the triumph over fascism, N. Davies fails to avoid the invariable ideological cliché concerning the “clash of the two totalitarianisms”: in his view, the most bestial regime in the history of Europe was crushed not by democracies, but by another bestial regime. In other words, a tyrant got defeated by a tyrant.

Recognizing the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union to the victory in WWII, N. Davies however ignores the fact that Nazism, which was crushed by the Soviet Union in 1941-1945, was an aggressive and inhuman creation of Western society. At the same time, N. Davies acknowledges the personal role of Stalin in the victory of Russians. Geoffrey Roberts, another historian, concurs with this view. In his “Stalin’s Wars. From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953”, he writes that rising from the ashes after so many mistakes and leading the country to the greatest victory was an incomparable triumph, and that the world was saved for democracies by Stalin.

The truth is that the world was saved by the Russian people, not by Stalin’s genius. Stalin admitted this in 1945 – in his toast “to the Russian people” during a reception for the Red Army commanders in the Kremlin. For Russians, this war will always be Great and Patriotic, as well as holy, since for our people it was a deadly fight against the absolute evil – the Nazism that came from the West.

Is the real reason President Obama would like to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2024 to allow the CIA to cash in on its $50 billion annual opium crop?

When the Taliban ruled Pakistan, if nothing else, it suppressed the opium trade. It is indisputable this situation radically worsened after the U.S. invaded.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research, Montreal, wrote: “The Taliban prohibition had indeed caused the beginning of a heroin shortage in Europe by the end of 2001.”

Indeed, noted Canadian journalist Eric Walberg wrote in his “Postmodern Imperialism”(Clarity):

“Within two years of the CIA operation in Afghanistan,the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer.”

He writes, “opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 to 6100 tons in 2006. In 2007, Afghanistan provided approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin…”

If the Central Intelligence Agency was not involved fang-and-claw in the Afghan drug trade it would be acting out of character. The CIA’s history of dope peddling is well documented. The practice yielded tidy sums the CIA could spend at will, without going to Congress.

Keep in mind, too, that President Obama,a former CIA payroller, said when the CIA asked to expand the drone bomber fleet, “The CIA gets what the CIA wants.” His relationship with the Agency is more than cozy.

In the Fifties, writes William Blum in “Rogue State” (Common Courage Press), the CIA organized defeated Chinese Nationalist troops in Burma to wage war against Red China. The Agency closed its eyes to the fact the soldiers “were becoming the opium barons of The Golden Triangle,” (parts of Burma, Thailand, and Laos.) The CIA’s private Air America, “flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia, to sites where the opium was processed into heroin, and to trans-shipment points on the route to Western customers,” Blum reported.

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Tex.), according to the “Huffington Post, told a gathering of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, that the CIA was involved in trafficking drugs as part of the Iran-Contra debacle.

Drug trafficking is “a gold mine for people who want to raise money in the underground government in order to finance projects that they can’t get legitimately,” Rep. Paul claimed. “It is very clear that the CIA has been very much involved with drug dealings,” the Huffington Post quotes him as saying.

Paul said: “The CIA was very much involved in the Iran-Contra scandals. I’m not making up the stories; we saw it on television. They were hauling down weapons and drugs back.”

In an interview on RT television on August 20, 2009, Russian General Mahmut Gareev, a former commander in the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, said, “The U.S. is not going to stop production of drugs in Afghanistan as it covers the costs of its military presence there.”

Gareev added, “I don’t make anything up. Americans themselves admit that drugs are often transported out of Afghanistan on American planes. Drug trafficking in Afghanistan brings them about 50 billion dollars a year –which fully covers the expenses tied to keeping their troops there.”

The general asserted, “They (the Americans) engage in military action only when they are attacked. They don’t have any planned military action to eliminate the Mujahideen.”

This last observation may go a long way to explain why the U.S. defeated Italy, Germany and Japan in World War II in just three and a half years while it has so far spent 12 years in comparatively tiny (30-million people) Afghanistan and can eke out no “victory.”

Is it possible the U.S. has no intention of “winning” the War on Terror? But instead sees it as a profit-center for milking the Afghan opium crop? Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Miami-based Sherwood Ross formerly reported for major dailies and wire services and currently runs a public relations firm for worthy causes.

US Vice President Joe Biden’s smiling and nodding attendance of the inauguration of Ukrainian President was the final stroke in legitimizing a leader and a government brought about by a US backed and orchestrated coup d’état.

Sure Mr. Biden has a lot to smile about: not only has his government successfully destabilized another country for the US corporate military industrial complex but he has secured his youngest son Hunter Biden a million dollar job establishing his family’s place in the future of the American elite hierarchical oligarchy.

To top it all off Biden and his American elitist cronies have more or less successfully managed to demonize Russia for their entire operation.

Petr Poroshenko

© Photo: RIA Novosti/Sergei Guneev

Western Backers Gloat

Watching a tanned Biden smiling and nodding next to his blonde trophy wife at many of the wrong moments during the inauguration of Washington’s latest puppet Petr Poroshenko, it was clear that he was only pretending he understood what he was witnessing. Like gum chewing Obama at Normandy/Mandela, Victoria Nuland posing for photo ops with triumvirate (Yatsenyuk, Tyahnybok and Klitschko) , John Kerry and his Syrian “we knows” and George Bush and his entire two terms, Joe Biden proved to the part of the world that has a real understanding of the events and the history of Ukraine that the Washington political elites are nothing but overpaid empty suits who are completely and totally ignorant of anything and everything beyond their little bubble-like worlds of self-serving lies and manufactured realities.

It would be something to ridicule and laugh about but in their ignorance they are killing millions of people, spreading misery and despair and devastating the planet and destroying the future for all peoples including their own citizens and the scary thing is they do not even understand, let alone care how they are devastating the planet and causing death and misery all over the world.

Poroshenko’s Challenges

There is no way that exit poll president Poroshenko will be elected again if the Ukrainian election system returns to something approaching a democratic process therefore he has a very short time to attain his objectives. Number one is ensuring an EU agreement is signed, establishing NATO infrastructure in Ukraine, quelling dissent and attempting to keep eastern regions in Ukraine without federalizing the country (an impossibility), avoiding his own prosecution for war crimes, ensuring the long term survival of the fascists who have attained power and their continued escape from justice and the protection of the oligarchs and their western masters from prosecution and from the people of Ukraine. In short he has to continue to attempt to legitimize the junta and its western masters and keep them from facing justice for crimes ranging from treason to genocide.

Poroshenko’s Inauguration Speech and his Audience: Fascist Nationalists and Western Sponsors

From the outset it is clear that Poroshenko’s speech was written not for the Ukrainian people as a whole but for a very narrow audience of foreign sponsors from the US and the EU, for whom he was the most desirable choice (the wise grandfatherly figure) and for all of the national socialist, fascist and nazi forces that allowed his rise to power.

His speech began by quoting Ivan Franko, a famous poet and the co-founder a Ukrainian Radical Party and a nationalist anarchist Mikhail Drahomanov who both played an important role in the development of the Ukrainian ultra-right nationalist movement and who in their day faced persecution for their extremist views.

Denying Ukraine’s historic ties to Russia and the history of Kievan Rus Poroshenko stated that: “The return of Ukraine to its natural, European state has been long-awaited by many generations,” this is clearly an affront to all Ukrainians who see their historic ties to Russia as being important, but plays to the European aspirations of nationalists, something that has gone hand in hand with Ukrainian nationalism and was most marked with the 1917 revolution and the beginning of the Soviet Union.

Recent History Revised: Legitimizing the Maidan Coup

Poroshenko, in his wording, is attempting to characterize (as has been the narrative but forward by the West)  the western backed coup and the armed neo-nazi nationalist thugs on Maidan who assisted in overthrewing the democratically elected government, as a popular revolt with its cause being the EU agreement. Calling the previous contitutional democratically elected government a “dictatorship” is completey disengenous and in fact and outright lie. While the supposed pretext of the Maidan (manipulated by the West as they unleashed their paid thugs and Right Sector military formations) was the signing of an EU association agreement, any popular discontent that may have existed was due to poor living conditions, unemployment and corruption caused by oligarchs like himself. Saying a the previous government also sought to deprive the Ukrainian people of EU agreement is also not true as President Yanukovich merely said such a move had to be studied further. This theme clearly ignores the wishes of the majority of Ukrainians who wanted to improve relations with Russia and the socio-economic realities on the ground. It also ignores the fact that waht happened on the Maidan was a US organized revolt. Something few in the West watn to address even though the evidence was made clear by the US’ own officials.

He calls the disgraceful destruction to property, fires, the killing of police and security forces and the overthrow of a democratically elected president who merely wanted to take a pause to study an EU agreement that was being fast-tracked into law as something dignified.

“Dictatorship that ruled Ukraine in recent years sought to deprive us of this prospect (Europeanization) people rebelled. Victorious Revolution of dignity….”

He further attempted to legitimize Ukraine’s nazis by calling them fighters for independence. The enslaving of Ukraine to the EU, NATO, the IMF and the US he apparently equates to “independence.” It is quite stunning actually.

“Entire generations of Ukrainian patriots struggled for our independence.”

Transferring Blame for Junta’s Punitive War

Apparently Poroshenko is concerned about the fact that he is guilty of war crimes for continuing the junta’s punitive war and collective punishment on the civilians and the people of Donbass. He attempts to portray the war as having originated within Donbass ignoring the reality that it is a punitive operation after the population in the region rose up against the fascist junta and refused to be led by an illegitimate government. That government launched a war on the people while labelling it a terrorist operation. Again he tries to tie it with Europeanization and for some reason believes that he can get away with calling the democratically elected government of Victor Yanukovich “tyranny”. Reality has no meaning for Poroshenko, he can say anything he wants.

“A real war, planned and unleashed in the Ukrainian Donbass, became an obstacle for enormous opportunities that opened for the European modernization of Ukraine after the fall of tyranny.”

A Moment of Silence for the Fascists? No Mention of Berkut

If anyone had the illusion that Poroshenko represents all of the Ukrainian people the error of that belief should be clear by his moment of silence for the Right Sector and assorted nationalists who died on the Maidan. He did not mention the brave Berkut officers who were unarmed and beaten to death, he did not mention the possibly over 100 people who were brutally murdered and burned alive in Odessa, he did not mention the victims of pogroms in Mariupol or other locations in Ukraine, nor did he mention those being killed by the Ukrainian army as I am writing this. He mentioned the “heroes” of the Maidan, the assorted Bandera nazi trash that killed and are killing anyone opposed to their fascist power grab. For Poroshenko, his western masters and the fascists in the Rada all of these people mean nothing. As the Right Sector calls them, they are mere “insects.”

“Heroes of Nebesna Sotnya died for it. Let us honor the memory of those who died for freedom and independence of Ukraine with a moment of silence.”

A Phony Peace Plan

Much hailed by the West and the western media as a sign of his moderate decency, his normalcy set to counter act a growing level of questioning and disgust in the West by those who are actually obtaining access to the real information coming out of Ukraine, Poroshenko’s peace plan is being promoted granting the illusion that he wants peace and is not in fact continuing the wholesale killing of the populations in the east of the country.

Poroshenko’s peace plan is a complete farce, even if taken at face value. As the operations are being orchestrated by the West who is manipulating the language no doubt to protect Poroshenko from future prosecution the wording has to be studied carefully and his “offers of piece” looked at critically against the backdrop of what is really happening in the country. It would appear that the “plan” or perhaps it is better to call it the “final solution” is merely a Trojan horse and a license to continue the war against the Ukrainian people.

By stating the word revenge from the start Poroshenko is implying that there is in fact a reason for taking revenge and names that reason the sacrifices being made by the people of Ukraine before his eyes. Of course in his kindness he chooses not to do so. This is a completely obvious manipulation of the language and again a transference of the blame setting up a future defense that he was just moved by the suffering of his people.

Given that many of the people assembled around him were directly involved in the murder of civilians all over Ukraine and were in fact the architects of the punitive military campaign being waged against the people he completely ignores this fact and makes it clear who the “criminals” are, Russian speakers and those opposed to the junta.

“I do not want revenge. Even though there are great sacrifices of the people of Ukraine before my eyes.”

Continuing that mien he ignores the fact it is the Maidan thugs and terrorists, the Right Sector, the private fascist militias, Greystone mercenaries and Nazi paramilitaries that are waging a punitive war against the civilian populations in the east. Implying that the people do not have the right to defend themselves against an army gone mad killing its own people, he pulls out the terrorist card. He also follows the Right Sector claim that they took up arms legally.

Here it is important to note the similarities to the US strategy, for example in Afghanistan where the US labelled everyone terrorists and literally attempted to make it illegal for the people of Afghanistan to defend themselves, hauling anyone who resisted to Guantanamo or killing them outright. How anyone is supposed to believe that women and children and pensioners who are Orthodox Christians are terrorists is not important for the West they are operating on Goebbels strategy.

“I strongly urge everyone who illegally took weapons in their hands to lay them down. In response, I first of all guarantee the exemption from criminal responsibility for those who do not have blood of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians on their hands. And those who is not involved in funding terrorism.”

The second point he makes is perhaps the most ridiculous and like the previous transfers blame, demonizes Russia and does not reflect the reality of the situation. He takes no issue with the Greystone mercenaries but claims there are Russian mercenaries in Ukraine. These are the same invisible Russian mercenaries who no one sees because they are secret and who have operate invisibly as ghosts not leaving a single sign of their presence in the country, again a complete and total fabrication by the junta and the US.

Amid Russian calls for a humanitarian corridor to allow women and children and civilians to leave Donbass rather than face the endless bombings and the war of extermination being carried out by the junta and Poroshenko, he makes a mockery of the very idea. Truly disgusting.

“Second, controlled corridor for Russian mercenaries who would like to return home.”

If all of this was not bad enough it only gets worse and even though much was made of the fact that he spoke Russian this is just another propaganda ploy. He ignores that the populations of Donetsk and Lugansk held referendums and now are no longer part of Ukraine as they have chosen to determine their own futures, a right being denied to them by the US/NATO and the junta and for which they are being killed, and then tries to say that there are terrorists who have brought the East into a state of war, when it is in fact the forces under his command. The people of Donetsk and Slavyansk are being killed by his army, they are the terrorists, there is no one else. The junta has caused the country to spiral into civil war but Poroshenko ignores this. His nazi brothers can do no wrong, it is the bogeyman of Russia and the poor bombed civilians who are terrorists. Nauseating.

“… Many of you have already felt the “pleasures” of the rule of terrorists. In addition to pillage and abuse of civilians, they led the economy of the region, which has already been in crisis conditions, to the brink of total disaster.”

Continuing to Blame Yanukovich while Pretending to be Legitimate

Poroshenko knows he may be seen as an illegitimate leader after the holding of elections with the country in a state of civil war. In order to add credibility to himself he claims the recent unconstitutional elections conducted by the junta in which entire regions of the country did not take part were legitimate. Of course. He then incredibly attempts to blame Russian propaganda for the illegitimacy of the nazi junta. Of course this is made possible by the US and the fact that no one is allowed to print or speak the truth in Ukraine anymore but the disconnect from reality cannot be further. Just like the junta arranged the snipers on the Maidan in an attempt to blame president Yanukovich, they continue to attempt to pass the balme to him even though he is in hiding in Russia. If Poroshenko really wants peace let him stop the punitive war against his own people right now, but of course the war criminal can not, he has been bought and paid for, just another in a series of traitors to Ukraine purchased by the CIA. Yes Joe Biden we see why you are smiling.

“Nationwide presidential elections has put a bold cross on the myth of allegedly illegitimate Kyiv authorities. This myth has been created by Russian propaganda and clan of Yanukovych who betrayed the Donbas and robbed it even more than the whole country. He has been inseparably ruling Donetsk region for 17 years. And now, he is funding terrorists. It is he who shall be totally responsible for political and socio-economic situation of the region. For unemployment, for poverty and for refugees. For killed citizens and for mothers’ tears.”

False Claim of Decentralization

For Poroshenko decentralization obviously means spreading the junta’s grip away from Kiev. What else could it mean when he still refuses to reinstate Russian as a state language and refuses to discuss federalization? Ignoring that the “right” Ukrainians are killing the “wrong” Ukrainians he continues his “speech”. He makes no note of the fact that Russia will continue to be demonized in Ukraine and does not touch upon measures initiated by the junta to prhibit Russian being used in public places in cluding in doctor’s offices, but does hint at who is really controlling the scenario: the EU.

“With guarantee of free usage of Russian language in your region. With strong intention not to divide people into right and wrong Ukrainians. With respect for the specifics of regions. For the right of local communities to their peculiarities in the issues of historic memory, pantheon of heroes, religious traditions. With project on creation of jobs in the East of Ukraine elaborated jointly with our partners from the EU before the elections.”

Ignoring Atrocities

Clearly a sly wink to the Right Sector here. He dares to mention the patriotism he has seen in Odessa but again fails to mention the over 100 people burned alive and brutally murdered there. Obviously it is the patriotism of the brutal nazi murderers that he is impressed with. That message is clear.

“I am deeply impressed with patriotism of citizens in southern and eastern regions, from Odessa to Kharkov. Peace has not come yet, but today we can confidently say that hard challenges united Ukrainian family. They strengthened us as Ukrainian political nation which is confident in its European choice. Our people has never been so strong.”

Preparing the Groundwork for NATO

The following paragraph must have been written with the help of NATO propagandists. If you will recall dear reader once Ukraine joins NATO the country will have to give up at least 8% of its GDP to support NATO. The country will have to spend billions upon billions of dollars on “upgrading” and “interoperability” enhancements and of course the people will have to get used to having foreign troops in their sold out and occupied country.

To make all of this possible there has to be a threat. Poroshenko, like Adolf Hitler is calling for arming, but there is no threat to Ukraine. Even the implied bogeyman of Russia was not mentioned as the Ukrainian people would never believe this. They know who the threat is: Poroshenko and his fascists.

“For peace to become lasting, we must get used to living in constant combat readiness. We have to keep the gunpowder dry. Army and its re-equipment by means of national military-industrial complex is our top priority. Moreover, state orders for military-industrial enterprises will give a boost to reindustrialization of the economy. Those who grudge money for the armed forces feed foreign army. Nobody will protect us until we learn to defend ourselves.”

One has to ask the question again: Against whom!?!?! However he then makes it clear and should follow his own advice, as should the brutal Right Sector and Svoboda fascists: those who live by the sword perish by the sword. No secret anymore it is right out there. His goal is enslaving Ukraine to NATO and the EU whether the people want it or not. Yes Nuland, Kerry, Pyatt, McFaul, Rasmussen, Ashton, and Biden, you truly do have a reason to smile. Another country is killing its own people for your worthless dollars and doing your bidding like mindless sheep.

The Budapest Memorandum was the key security arrangement with Russia. OF course that will have to annulled. However there are clauses that would allow it to be used against the junta itself, if anyone cared to study it properly.

“I will use my diplomatic experience to ensure the signature of an international agreement that would replace the Budapest Memorandum. Such agreement must provide direct and reliable guarantees of peace and security – up to military support in case of threat to territorial integrity. Any aggressor on the border of Ukraine must remember the saying from the Gospel: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

The New Masters: The EU

More European rhetoric, however decentralization does not apply to Donbass. Again the decentralization means spreading the junta’s control into the regions:

“European democracy for me is the best form of government invented by mankind. It is the European choice which tells us that significant part of powers must be immediately delegated from the center to local governments. Reform on decentralization will begin this year with amendments to the Constitution.”

Further Raping of the Economy

Prepare for Oligarch Poroshenko to take complete control of the economy and allow him to hoard the wealth because it needs to be “built up” and of course those funds will go to Europe!

“While economic management falls within the competence of free market or the Government, President as a guarantor of the Constitution is obliged to provide conditions for innovative economy and social justice. Fair distribution of national wealth is an urgent demand of time. But we must increase the national wealth before distributing it. Ukraine has everything to ensure the European prosperity for people.”

Yes Ukrainian people do not think, do not choose your own future. Just follow the instructions of the EU. Your president has determined your fate. It is written in the EU agreement, an agreement that will enslave you forever.

“European choice of Ukraine – is the heart of our national ideal. It is a choice made by our ancestors and prophets. And what exactly do we have to do to live freely, to live comfortably, to live in peace and security? It is written in the agreement on political association and free trade area with the EU.”

Unbelievable!

Finally: A Call for Fascists to Unite, the NATO Endgame

The most chilling aspect of the speech came towards the end and should have set off alarm bells around the world. Poroshenko finally vocalizes the real plan of his government and the junta by causally referring to the failures of previous Ukrainian nationalist and fascist movements and speaking sentimentally about such figures as Symon Petliura, the most brutal of the nazi collaborators and what some call the mentor of Stepan Bandera.

Imagine if a German politician mentioned the sad arguments between Adolf Hitler and say Heinrich Held or Benito Mussolini expressing regret at the demise of the Third Reich. For some reason Biden continued to smile.

Was Poroshenko merely playing to his base? Or is he really going to continue the war on the Ukrainian people started by Svoboda and the Right Sector?

Apparently he is set on continuing the punitive military operations. There are some that take issue with the fact Poroshenko is Jewish, so why would he mention Symon Petliura who was said to have commanded pogroms against Jews? And if not leading them then at least condoning them having once said: “… it is a pity that pogroms take place, but they uphold the discipline of the army.”

Is that Poroshenko’s belief? Does he believe that the pogroms against the citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk are okay because they “uphold discipline.” Or is his approach towards what the junta are calling “pro-Russian terrorists” more along the lines of Hitler who when asked what to do with Russian Jews stated “als Partisanen auszurotten” (exterminate them as partisans). Is Poroshenko of the belief that the people in the east have to be “exterminated like terrorists”? It would appear so. Their crime? They are against being ruled by fascists and labelled as pro-Russian.

“To implement our ambitious plans, we need not only peace and unity of the country, but also consolidation of all patriotic, pro-Ukrainian and pro-European forces. We must always keep in mind the harsh lessons of the national liberation struggle of the seventeenth-twenties of the last century. At that time, our politicians were not able to unite and resist aggression jointly. Volodymyr Vynnychenko fought against Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Symon Petliura fought against Pavlo Skoropadskyi. And Nestor Makhno fought against all.”

Fascist neo-Nazi racist parties and grouping in Ukraine like the Right Sector and Svoboda as well as neo-Nazi groups, proponents of anti-Semitism, and various far-right racist groups “worldwide” accuse the most brutal proponents and enablers of the bloodshed in Ukraine, such as Kolomoisky who is trying to establish his own little Fourth Reich, Arseny Yatsenyuk who betrayed and sold his country out for personal gain, Victoria Nuland the key puppet master and Poroshenko of being Jewish. This is may be a key questions for some in Ukraine but in reality what we have are forces working in unison, if not those at the top manipulating radical followers of nazi ideology to bring about the objectives of US/NATO/EU.

It would appear that in reality anti-Semitism and neo-nazism in fact mean nothing when it comes to the goal, dividing the centuries long brotherhood between the Ukrainian and Russian people and placing NATO first strike infrastructure in Ukraine. They are just being paid and the ideological leanings of Yarosh, Poroshenko and the like are most likely completely irrelevant to the cynical geopolitical planners. How will the Right Sector react when they realize the are just pawns?

How are the Jews in Ukraine supposed to believe in leaders who support forces that call for the hanging of Jews and speak sentimentally of anti-Semitic monsters who carried out genocide on the Jewish population of Ukraine? There can be no excuse whatsoever for unleashing nazis once again in Europe. But Biden smiles.

I started out by saying Biden and Company have no idea what they are doing yet finish with a contradiction and leave you with this thought: perhaps they know exactly what they are doing and are playing all of the opposing forces in Ukraine for all they are worth to bring about their goal? Which might better explain Biden’s smiles and nods, everything is going according to plan in Ukraine, soon NATO/EU/IMF and their assembled forces will have conquered another country and enslaved its economy. Although you might say the 8% of GDP that Ukraine will have to pay NATO is not really that much, they are also taking the energy sector, the economy and everything else they can get their hands on under control.

The US military industrial complex and NATO win once again and the people of Ukraine lose forever in the “fate” that will be signed by Poroshenko as soon as the document is before him. The same document that the legal President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich wanted to study before it was signed.

The real patriots of Ukraine are the people who want to breathe free, not the junta and the oligarchs who have sold the country down river and are selling Ukrainian sovereignty to the wolves for all eternity. Russia has never “subjugated” Ukraine, Russia has always repsected Ukraine’s Sivereignty and treated Ukraine as a brotherly nation. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misinformed or has another agenda.

As the people in the east continue to flee Ukraine and continue to die at the hands of their own army one might tell the US Vice President: smile Biden, you deserve it. And Victoria Nuland who just visited Odessa but did not think it worth her while to lay flowers at, or visit the House of Unions, where a ceromony was taking place where her Right Sector and pro-Maidan forces killed what are possibly over a hundred innocent civilians who were attempting to take part in their own “democracy” and protesting aginst the junta, you can keep smiling too. How you are still allowed into a country you openly subverted is beyond me.

Note From Author

Dear reader I challenge anyone to prove one claim against Russia that is being made by Poroshenko and the junta. Just one. Please show us the evidence. Of course no one can. There is none.

The views and opinions expressed here are my own. I can be reached at [email protected].

But it was here, on these shores, that the tide was turned in that common struggle for freedom. What more powerful manifestation of America’s commitment to human freedom than the sight of wave after wave of young men boarding those boats to liberate people they’d never met? We say it now as if it couldn’t be any other way. But in the annals of history, the world had never seen anything like it. But America’s claim – our commitment – to liberty; to equality; to freedom; to the inherent dignity of every human being – that claim is written in blood on these beaches, and it will endure for eternity.
-US President Barack Obama, from his 2014 D-Day address in Normandy, France [1]

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June 6 marked the 70th anniversary of the famous landing of Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy. It has been portrayed in movies like The Longest Day as a major turning point in a war considered to be the last just war. This incident has been commemorated in recent days with ceremonies in France, the UK, the US and Canada.

The Second World War has proven to be a major challenge, and a common rebuttal to those holding pacifist beliefs. Even figures such as Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell came to embrace the war, albeit reluctantly, as a necessary evil to stop the tyranny of the Nazis.

Major sectors of the Western World see the involvement of the US, Canada and its allies in the war as principally a defence of democracy and freedom, with the allied landings on the beaches of Normandy as the pivotal turning point that put an end to the threat of fascism.

However, a closer look at the events of the mid-twentieth century reveals something different.

On this week’s Global Research News Hour, we examine some of the realities of the war and the motives of the Allied powers that participated in it with two researchers.

Richard Sanders is the coordinator of the Ottawa-based Coalition Opposed to the Arms Trade. He argues that Canadian authorities were openly admiring of Adolphe Hitler. He also reveals that in addition to the well-known abuses of Japanese-Canadians and the rejection of Jewish refugees from Europe, Canada had interned Jewish refugees sent to them by Britain. He also notes the presence of 150 or so slave labour camps in the early thirties where poor single males were forcibly relocated.

Dr. Jacques Pauwels, a Belgian-born Canadian historian and author of the 2000 book The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War fills out the hour with an exploration of the role of American industrialists like Henry Ford and Prescott Bush in helping to build the Nazi war machine, the significance of the Soviet contribution to the war effort, and the real lessons that the people of Earth should draw from the most devastating global conflict in history.

 

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

 

Notes:
1) source: The Guardian, June 6; http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/06/barack-obama-d-day-speech-full-text
 

The battle of Stalingrad is considered by historians as a decisive turning point of World War II, during which German forces were defeated after five months of combat.

Historian Dr. Jacques Pauwels analyses the evolution of World War II,  focussing on the “Battle of Moscow” in December 1941 which preceeded the defeat of German troops in Stalingrad in February 1943.  According to Dr. Pauwels, the turning point was not Stalingrad but “the Battle of Moscow” and the Soviet counter-offensive launched in December 1941:

When the Red Army launched its devastating counteroffensive on December 5, Hitler himself realized that he would lose the war. But of course he was not prepared to let the German public know that. The nasty tidings from the front near Moscow were presented to the public as a temporary setback, blamed on the supposedly unexpectedly early arrival of winter and/or on the incompetence or cowardice of certain commanders.

It was only a good year later, after the catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-1943, that the German public, and the entire world, would realize that Germany was doomed; this is why even today many historians believe that the tide turned in Stalingrad .

Even so, it proved impossible to keep the catastrophic implications of the debacle in front of Moscow a total secret. For example, on December 19, 1941, the German Consul in Basel reported to his superiors in Berlin that the (openly pro-Nazi) head of a mission of the Swiss Red Cross, sent to the front in the Soviet Union to assist only the wounded on the German side, which of course contravened Red Cross rules, had returned to Switzerland with the news, most surprising to the Consul, that “he no longer believed that Germany could win the war.”[30]

This article was first published by Global Research in December 2011.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, January 30, 2014

The defeat of German troops at Stalingrad was on February 4, 1943


72 Years Ago, December 1941: Turning Point of World War II

The Victory of the Red Army in front of Moscow was a Major Break…

by Jacques Pauwels

Global Research

6 December 2011

World War II started, at least as far as the “European Theatre” was concerned, with the German army steamrolling over Poland in September, 1939. About six months later, even more spectacular victories followed, this time over the Benelux Countries and France. By the summer of 1940, Germany looked invincible and predestined to rule the European continent indefinitely. (Great Britain admittedly refused to throw in the towel, but could not hope to win the war on its own, and had to fear that Hitler would soon turn his attention to Gibraltar, Egypt, and/or other jewels in the crown of the British Empire.) Five years later, Germany experienced the pain and humiliation of total defeat. On April 20, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin as the Red Army bulldozed its way into the city, reduced to a heap of smoking ruins, and on May 8/9 German surrendered unconditionally.

Clearly, then, sometime between late 1940 and 1944 the tide had turned rather dramatically. But when, and where? In Normandy in 1944, according to some; at Stalingrad, during the winter of 1942-43, according to others. In reality, the tide turned in December 1941 in the Soviet Union, more specifically, in the barren plain just west of Moscow. As a German historian, an expert on the war against the Soviet Union, has put it: “That victory of the Red Army [in front of Moscow] was unquestionably the major break [Zäsur] of the entire world war.”[1]

That the Soviet Union was the scene of the battle that changed the course of World War II, should come as no surprise. War against the Soviet Union was the war Hitler had wanted from the beginning, as he had made very clear on the pages of Mein Kampf, written in the mid-1920s. (But an Ostkrieg, a war in the east, i.e. against the Soviets, was also the object of desire of the German generals, of Germany’s leading industrialists, and of other “pillars” of Germany’s establishment.) In fact, as a German historian has just recently demonstrated,[2] it was a war against the Soviet Union, and not against Poland, France, or Britain, that Hitler had wanted to unleash in 1939. On August 11 of that year, Hitler explained to Carl J. Burckhardt, an official of the League of Nations, that “everything he undertook was directed against Russia,” and that “if the West [i.e. the French and the British] is too stupid and too blind to comprehend this, he would be forced to reach an understanding with the Russians, turn and defeat the West, and then turn back with all his strength to strike a blow against the Soviet Union.”[3] This is in fact what happened. The West did turn out to be “too stupid and blind”, as Hitler saw it, to give him “a free hand” in the east, so he did make a deal with Moscow – the infamous “Hitler-Stalin Pact” – and then unleashed war against Poland, France and Britain. But his objective remained the same: to attack and destroy the Soviet Union as soon as possible.

Hitler and the German generals were convinced they had learned an important lesson from World War I. Devoid of the raw materials needed to win a modern war, such as oil and rubber, Germany could not win a long, drawn-out war. In order to win the next war, Germany would have to win it fast, very fast. This is how the Blitzkrieg-concept was born, that is, the idea of warfare (Krieg) fast as “lightning” (Blitz). Blitzkrieg meant motorized war, so in preparation for such a war Germany during the thirties cranked out massive numbers of tanks and planes as well as trucks to transport troops. In addition, gargantuan amounts of oil and rubber were imported and stockpiled. Much of this oil was purchased from US corporations, some of which also kindly made available the “recipe” for producing synthetic fuel from coal.[4] In 1939 and 1940, this equipment permitted the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe to overwhelm the Polish, Dutch, Belgian, and French defenses with thousands of planes and tanks in a matter of weeks; Blitzkriege, “lightning-fast wars,” were invariably followed by Blitzsiege, “lightning-fast victories.”

These victories were spectacular enough, but they did not provide Germany with much loot in the form of vitally important oil and rubber. Instead, “lightning warfare” actually depleted the stockpiles built up before the war. Fortunately for Hitler, in 1940 and 1941 Germany was able to continue importing oil from the still neutral United States – not directly, but via other neutral (and friendly) countries such as Franco’s Spain. Moreover, under the terms of the Hitler-Stalin Pact the Soviet Union herself also supplied Germany rather generously with oil! However, it was most troubling for Hitler that, in return, Germany had to supply the Soviet Union with high-quality industrial products and state-of-the-art military technology, which was used by the Soviets to modernize their army and improve their weaponry.[5]

It is understandable that Hitler already resurrected his earlier plan for war against the Soviet Union soon after the defeat of France, namely, in the summer of 1940. A formal order to prepare plans for such an attack, to be code-named Operation Barbarossa (Unternehmen Barbarossa) was given a few months later, on December 18, 1940.[6] Already in 1939 Hitler had been most eager to attack the Soviet Union, and he had turned against the West only, as a German historian has put it, “in order to enjoy security in the rear (Rückenfreiheit) when he would finally be ready to settle accounts with the Soviet Union.” The same historian concludes that by 1940 nothing had changed as far as Hitler was concerned: “The true enemy was the one in the east.”[7] Hitler simply did not want to wait much longer before realizing the great ambition of his life, that is, before destroying the country he had defined as his archenemy in Mein Kampf. Moreover, he knew that the Soviets were frantically preparing their defenses for a German attack which, as they knew only too well, would come sooner or later. Since the Soviet Union was getting stronger by the day, time was obviously not on Hitler’s side. How much longer could he wait before the “window of opportunity” would close?

Furthermore, waging a Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union promised to provide Germany with the virtually limitless resources of that huge country, including Ukrainian wheat to provide Germany’s population with plenty of food, also at wartime; minerals such as coal, from which synthetic rubber and oil could be produced; and – last but certainly not least! – the rich oil fields of Baku and Grozny, where the gas-guzzling Panzers and Stukas would be able to fill their tanks to the brim at any time. Steeled with these assets, it would then be a simple matter for Hitler to settle accounts with Britain, starting, for example, with the capture of Gibraltar. Germany would finally be a genuine world power, invulnerable within a European “fortress” stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals, possessed of limitless resources, and therefore capable to win even long, drawn-out wars against any antagonist – including the US! – in one of the future “wars of the continents” conjured up in Hitler’s feverish imagination.

Hitler and his generals were confident that the Blitzkrieg they prepared to unleash against the Soviet Union would be as successful as their earlier “lightning wars” against Poland and France had been. They considered the Soviet Union as a “giant with feet of clay”, whose army, presumably decapitated by Stalin’s purges of the late 1930s, was “not more than a joke,” as Hitler himself put it on one occasion.[8] In order to fight, and of course win, the decisive battles, they allowed for a campaign of four to six weeks, possibly to be followed by some mopping-up operations, during which the remnants of the Soviet host would “be chased across the country like a bunch of beaten Cossacks.”[9] In any event, Hitler felt supremely confident, and on the eve of the attack, he “fancied himself to be on the verge of the greatest triumph of his life.”[10]

(In Washington and London, the military experts likewise believed that the Soviet Union would not be able to put up significant resistance to the Nazi juggernaut, whose military exploits of 1939-40 had earned it a reputation of invincibility. The British secret services were convinced that the Soviet Union would be “liquidated within eight to ten weeks,” and Field Marshal Sir John Dill, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, averred that the Wehrmacht would slice through the Red Army “like a warm knife through butter,” that the Red Army would be rounded up “like cattle.” According to expert opinion in Washington, Hitler would “crush Russia [sic] like an egg.”)[11]

The German attack started on June 22, 1941, in the early hours of the morning. Three million German soldiers and almost 700,000 allies of Nazi Germany crossed the border, and their equipment consisted of 600,000 motor vehicles, 3,648 tanks, more than 2.700 planes, and just over 7,000 pieces of artillery.[12] At first, everything went according to the plan. Huge holes were punched in the Soviet defences, impressive territorial gains were made rapidly, and hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner in a number of spectacular “encirclement battles” (Kesselschlachten). After one such battle, fought in the vicinity of Smolensk towards the end of July, the road to Moscow seemed to lay open.

However, all too soon it became evident that the Blitzkrieg in the east would not be the cakewalk that had been expected. Facing the most powerful military machine on earth, the Red Army predictably took a major beating but, as Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels confided to his diary as early as July 2, also put up a tough resistance and hit back pretty hard on more than one occasion. General Franz Halder, in many ways the “godfather” of Operation Barbarossa’s plan of attack, acknowledged that Soviet resistance was much tougher than anything the Germans had faced in Western Europe. Wehrmacht reports cited “hard,” “tough,” even “wild” resistance, causing heavy losses in men and equipment on the German side.[13] More often than expected, Soviet forces managed to launch counter-attacks that slowed down the German advance. Some Soviet units went into hiding in the vast Pripet Marshes and elsewhere, organized deadly partisan warfare, and threatened the long and vulnerable German lines of communication.[14] It also turned out that the Red Army was much better equipped than expected. German generals were “amazed,” writes a German historian, by the quality of Soviet weapons such as the Katyusha rocket launcher (a.k.a. “Stalin Organ”) and the T-34 tank. Hitler was furious that his secret services had not been aware of the existence of some of this weaponry.[15]

The greatest cause of concern, as far as the Germans were concerned, was the fact that the bulk of the Red Army managed to withdraw in relatively good order and eluded destruction in a major Kesselschlacht, the kind of repeat of Cannae or Sedan that Hitler and his generals had dreamed of. The Soviets appeared to have carefully observed and analyzed the German Blitzkrieg successes of 1939 and 1940 and to have learned useful lessons. They must have noticed that in May 1940 the French had massed their forces right at the border as well as in Belgium, thus making it possible for the German war machine to encircle them in a major Kesselschlacht. (British troops were also caught in this encirclement, but managed to escape via Dunkirk.) The Soviets did leave some troops at the border, of course, and these troops predictably suffered the Soviet Union’s major losses during the opening stages of Barbarossa. But – contrary to what is claimed by historians such as Richard Overy[16] – the bulk of the Red Army was held back in the rear, avoiding entrapment. It was this “defence in depth” that frustrated the German ambition to destroy the Red Army in its entirety. As Marshal Zhukov was to write in his memoirs, “the Soviet Union would have been smashed if we had organized all our forces at the border.”[17]

By the middle of July, as Hitler’s war in the east started to lose its Blitz-qualities, some German leaders started to voice great concern. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Wehrmacht’s secret service, the Abwehr, for example, confided on July 17 to a colleague on the front, General von Bock, that he saw “nothing but black.” On the home front, many German civilians also started to feel that the war in the east was not going well. In Dresden, Victor Klemperer wrote in his diary on July 13: “We suffer immense losses, we have underestimated the Russians…”[18] Around the same time Hitler himself abandoned his belief in a quick and easy victory and scaled down his expectations; he now expressed the hope that his troops might reach the Volga by October and capture the oil fields of the Caucasus a month or so later.[19] By the end of August, at a time when Barbarossa should have been winding down, a memorandum of the Wehrmacht’s High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) acknowledged that it might no longer be possible to win the war in 1941.[20]

A major problem was the fact that, when Barbarossa started on June 22, the available supplies of fuel, tires, spare parts etc., were only good enough for about two months. This had been deemed sufficient, because it was expected that within two months the Soviet Union would be on its knees and its unlimited resources – industrial products as well as raw materials – would therefore be available to the Germans.[21] However, by late August the German spearheads were nowhere near those distant regions of the Soviet Union where oil, that most precious of all martial commodities, was to be had. If the tanks managed to keep on rolling, though increasingly slowly, into the seemingly endless Russian and Ukrainian expanses, it was to a large extent by means of fuel and rubber imported, via Spain and occupied France, from the US. The American share of Germany’s imports of vitally important oil for engine lubrication (Motorenöl), for example, increased rapidly during the summer of 1941, namely, from 44 per cent in July to no less than 94 per cent in September.[22]

The flames of optimism flared up again in September, when German troops captured Kiev, bagging 650,000 prisoners, and, further north, made progress in the direction of Moscow. Hitler believed, or at least pretended to believe, that the end was now near for the Soviets. In a public speech in the Berlin Sportpalast on October 3, he declared that the eastern war was virtually over. And the Wehrmacht was ordered to deliver the coup de grace by launching Operation Typhoon (Unternehmen Taifun), an offensive aimed at taking Moscow. However, the odds for success looked increasingly slim, as the Soviets were busily bringing in reserve units from the Far East. (They had been informed by their master spy in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that the Japanese, whose army was stationed in northern China, were no longer considering to attack the Soviets’ vulnerable borders in the Vladivostok area.) To make things worse, the Germans no longer enjoyed superiority in the air, particularly over Moscow. Also, insufficient supplies of ammunition and food could be brought up from the rear to the front, since the long supply lines were severely hampered by partisan activity.[23] Finally, it was getting chilly in the Soviet Union, though no colder than usual at that time of the year. But the German high command, confident that their eastern Blitzkrieg would be over by the end of the summer, had failed to supply the troops with the equipment necessary to fight in the rain, mud, snow, and freezing temperatures of a Russian fall and winter.

Taking Moscow loomed as an extremely important objective in the minds of Hitler and his generals. It was believed, though wrongly, that the fall of Moscow would “decapitate” the Soviet Union and thus bring about its collapse. It also seemed important to avoid a repeat of the scenario of the summer of 1914, when the seemingly unstoppable German advance had been halted in extremis on the eastern outskirts of Paris, during the Battle of the Marne. This disaster -from the German perspective – had robbed Germany of nearly certain victory in the opening stages of the “Great War” and had forced it into a long, drawn-out struggle that, lacking sufficient resources and blockaded by the British Navy, it was doomed to lose. This time, in a new Great War, fought against a new archenemy, the Soviet Union, there was to be no “Miracle of the Marne,” that is, no defeat just outside the capital, and Germany would therefore not again have to fight, resourceless and blockaded, a long, drawn out conflict it would be doomed to lose. Unlike Paris, Moscow would fall, history would not repeat itself, and Germany would end up being victorious.[24] Or so they hoped in Hitler’s headquarters.

The Wehrmacht continued to advance, albeit very slowly, and by mid-November some units found themselves at only 30 kilometers from the capital. But the troops were now totally exhausted, and running out of supplies. Their commanders knew that it was simply impossible to take Moscow, tantalizingly close as the city may have been, and that even doing so would not bring them victory. On December 3, a number of units abandoned the offensive on their own initiative. Within days, however, the entire German army in front of Moscow was simply forced on the defensive. Indeed, on December 5, at 3 in the morning, in cold and snowy conditions, the Red Army suddenly launched a major, well-prepared counter-attack. The Wehrmacht’s lines were pierced in many places, and the Germans were thrown back between 100 and 280 km with heavy losses of men and equipment. It was only with great difficulty that a catastrophic encirclement (Einkesselung) could be avoided. On December 8, Hitler ordered his army to abandon the offensive and to move into defensive positions. He blamed this setback on the supposedly unexpectedly early arrival of winter, refused to pull back further to the rear, as some of his generals suggested, and proposed to attack again in the spring.[25]

Thus ended Hitler’s Blitzkrieg against the Soviet Union, the war that, had it been victorious, would have realized the great ambition of his life, the destruction of the Soviet Union. More importantly, at least from our present perspective, such a victory would also have provided Nazi Germany with sufficient oil and other resources to make it a virtually invulnerable world power. As such, Nazi Germany would very likely have been capable of finishing off stubborn Great Britain, even if the US would have rushed to help its Anglo-Saxon cousin, which, incidentally, was not yet in the cards in early December of 1941. A Blitzsieg, that is, a rapid victory against the Soviet Union, then, was supposed to have made a German defeat impossible, and would in all likelihood have done so. (It is probably fair to say that if Nazi Germany would have defeated the Soviet Union in 1941, Germany would today still be the hegemon of Europe, and possibly of the Middle East and North Africa as well.) However, defeat in the Battle of Moscow in December 1941 meant that Hitler’s Blitzkrieg did not produce the hoped-for Blitzsieg. In the new “Battle of the Marne” just to the west of Moscow, Nazi Germany suffered the defeat that made victory impossible, not only victory against the Soviet Union itself, but also victory against Great Britain, victory in the war in general.

Bearing in mind the lessons of World War I, Hitler and his generals had known from the start that, in order to win the new “Great War” they had unleashed, Germany had to win fast, lightning-fast. But on December 5, 1941, it became evident to everyone present in Hitler’s headquarters that a Blitzsieg against the Soviet Union would not be forthcoming, so that Germany was doomed to lose the war, if not sooner, then later. According to General Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the OKW, Hitler then realized that he could no longer win the war.[26] And so it can be argued that the tide of World War II turned on December 5, 1941. However, as real tides do not turn suddenly, but gradually and imperceptibly, the tide of the war also turned not on one single day, but over a period of days, weeks, even months, namely in the period of approximately three months that elapsed between the late summer of 1941 and early December of that same year.

The tide of the war in the east turned gradually, but it did not do so imperceptibly. Already in August 1941, as the German successes failed to bring about a Soviet capitulation and the Wehrmacht’s advance slowed down considerably, astute observers started to doubt that a German victory, not only in the Soviet Union but in the war in general, still belonged to the realm of possibilities. The well-informed Vatican, for example, initially very enthusiastic about Hitler’s “crusade” against the Soviet homeland of “godless” Bolshevism and confident that the Soviets would collapse immediately, started to express grave concerns about the situation in the east in late summer 1941; by mid-October, it was to come to the conclusion that Germany would lose the war.[27] Likewise in mid-October, the Swiss secret services reported that “the Germans can no longer win the war”; that conclusion was based on information gathered in Sweden from statements by visiting German officers.[28] By late November, a defeatism of sorts had started to infect the higher ranks of the Wehrmacht and of the Nazi Party. Even as they were urging their troops forward towards Moscow, some generals opined that it would be preferable to make peace overtures and wind down the war without achieving the great victory that had seemed so certain at the start of Operation Barbarossa. And shortly before the end of November, Armament Minister Fritz Todt asked Hitler to find a diplomatic way out of the war, since purely militarily as well as industrially it was as good as lost.[29]

When the Red Army launched its devastating counteroffensive on December 5, Hitler himself realized that he would lose the war. But of course he was not prepared to let the German public know that. The nasty tidings from the front near Moscow were presented to the public as a temporary setback, blamed on the supposedly unexpectedly early arrival of winter and/or on the incompetence or cowardice of certain commanders. (It was only a good year later, after the catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad during the winter of 1942-1943, that the German public, and the entire world, would realize that Germany was doomed; this is why even today many historians believe that the tide turned in Stalingrad .) Even so, it proved impossible to keep the catastrophic implications of the debacle in front of Moscow a total secret. For example, on December 19, 1941, the German Consul in Basel reported to his superiors in Berlin that the (openly pro-Nazi) head of a mission of the Swiss Red Cross, sent to the front in the Soviet Union to assist only the wounded on the German side, which of course contravened Red Cross rules, had returned to Switzerland with the news, most surprising to the Consul, that “he no longer believed that Germany could win the war.”[30]

December 7. 1941. In his headquarters deep in the forests of East Prussia, Hitler had not yet fully digested the ominous news of the Soviet counter-offensive in front of Moscow, when he learned that, on the other side of the world, the Japanese had attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbour. This caused the US to declare war on Japan, but not on Germany, which had nothing to do with the attack and had not even been aware of the Japanese plans. Hitler had no obligation whatsoever to rush to the aid of his Japanese friends, as is claimed by many American historians, but on December 11, 1941 – four days after Pearl Harbor – he declared war on the US. This seemingly irrational decision must be understood in light of the German predicament in the Soviet Union. Hitler almost certainly speculated that this entirely gratuitous gesture of solidarity would induce his Eastern ally to reciprocate with a declaration of war on the enemy of Germany, the Soviet Union, and this would have forced the Soviets into the extremely perilous predicament of a two-front war. Hitler appears to have believed that he could exorcize the spectre of defeat in the Soviet Union, and in the war in general, by summoning a sort of Japanese deus ex machina to the Soviet Union’s vulnerable Siberian frontier. According to the German historian Hans W. Gatzke, the Führer was convinced that “if Germany failed to join Japan [in the war against the United States], it would…end all hope for Japanese help against the Soviet Union.” But Japan did not take Hitler’s bait. Tokyo, too, despised the Soviet state, but the land of the rising sun, now at war against the US, could afford the luxury of a two-front war as little as the Soviets, and preferred to put all of its money on a “southern” strategy, hoping to win the big prize of Southeast Asia – including oil-rich Indonesia! -, rather than embark on a venture in the inhospitable reaches of Siberia. Only at the very end of the war, after the surrender of Nazi Germany, would it come to hostilities between the Soviet Union and Japan. [31]

And so, because of Hitler’s own fault, the camp of Germany’s enemies now included not only Great Britain and the Soviet Union, but also the mighty USA, whose troops could be expected to appear on Germany’s shores, or at least on the shores of German-occupied Europe, in the foreseeable future. The Americans would indeed land troops in France, but only in 1944, and this unquestionably important event is still often presented as the turning point of World War II. However, one should ask if the Americans would ever have landed in Normandy or, for that matter, ever have declared war on Nazi Germany, if Hitler had not declared war on them on December 11, 1941; and one should ask if Hitler would ever have made the desperate, even suicidal, decision to declare war on the US if he had not found himself in a hopeless situation in the Soviet Union. The involvement of the US in the war against Germany, then, which for many reasons was not “in the cards” before December 1941, was also a consequence of the German setback in front of Moscow. Obviously, this constitutes yet another fact that may be cited in support of the claim that “the tide turned” in the Soviet Union in the fall and early winter of 1941.

Nazi Germany was doomed, but the war was still to be long one. Hitler ignored the advice of his generals, who strongly recommend trying to find a diplomatic way out of the war, and decided to battle on in the slim hope of somehow pulling victory out of a hat. The Russian counter-offensive would run out of steam, the Wehrmacht would survive the winter of 1941-1942, and in the spring of 1942 Hitler would scrape together all available forces for an offensive – code-named “Operation Blue” (Unternehmen Blau) – in the direction of the oil fields of the Caucasus – via Stalingrad. Hitler himself acknowledged that, “if he did not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny, then he would have to end this war.”[32] However, the element of surprise had been lost, and the Soviets proved to dispose of huge masses of men, oil, and other resources, as well as excellent equipment, much of it produced in factories that had been established behind the Urals between 1939 and 1941. The Wehrmacht, on the other hand, could not compensate for the huge losses it had suffered in 1941. Between June 22, 1941, and January 31, 1942, the Germans had lost 6,000 airplanes and more than 3,200 tanks and similar vehicles; and no less than 918,000 men had been killed, wounded, or gone missing in action, amounting to 28,7 percent of the average strength of the army, namely, 3,2 million men.[33] (In the Soviet Union, Germany would lose no less than 10 million of its total 13.5 million men killed, wounded, or taken prisoner during the entire war; and the Red Army would end up claiming credit for 90 per cent of all Germans killed in the Second World War.)[34] The forces available for a push towards the oil fields of the Caucasus were therefore extremely limited. Under those circumstances, it is quite remarkable that in 1942 the Germans managed to make it as far as they did. But when their offensive inevitably petered out, namely in September of that year, their weakly held lines were stretched along many hundreds of kilometers, presenting a perfect target for a Soviet attack. When that attack came, it caused an entire German army to be bottled up, and ultimately to be destroyed, in Stalingrad. It was after this great victory of the Red Army that the ineluctability of German defeat in World War II would be obvious for all to see. However, the seemingly minor and relatively unheralded German defeat in front of Moscow in late 1941 had been the precondition for the admittedly more spectacular and more “visible” German defeat at Stalingrad.

There are even more reasons to proclaim December 1941 as the turning point of the war. The Soviet counter-offensive destroyed the reputation of invincibility in which the Wehrmacht had basked ever since its success against Poland in 1939, thus boosting the morale of Germany’s enemies everywhere. The Battle of Moscow also ensured that the bulk of Germany’s armed forces would be tied to an eastern front of approximately 4,000 km for an indefinite period of time, which all but eliminated the possibility of German operations against Gibraltar, for example, and thus provided tremendous relief to the British. Conversely, the failure of the Blitzkrieg demoralized the Fins and other German allies. And so forth…

It was in front of Moscow, in December 1941, that the tide turned, because it was there that the Blitzkrieg failed and that Nazi Germany was consequently forced to fight, without sufficient resources, the kind of long, drawn-out war that Hitler and his generals knew they could not possibly win.

Jacques R. Pauwels, author of The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002.

Notes

[1] Gerd R. Ueberschär, „Das Scheitern des ‚Unternehmens Barbarossa‘“, in Gerd R. Ueberschär and Wolfram Wette (eds.), Der deutsche Überfall auf die Sowjetunion: “Unternehmen Barbarossa” 1941, Frankfurt am Main, 2011, p. 120.

[2] Rolf-Dieter Müller, Der Feind steht im Osten: Hitlers geheime Pläne für einen Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion im Jahr 1939, Berlin, 2011.

[3] Cited in Müller, op. cit., p. 152.

[4] Jacques R. Pauwels, The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War, James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002, pp. 33, 37.

[5] Lieven Soete, Het Sovjet-Duitse niet-aanvalspact van 23 augustus 1939: Politieke Zeden in het Interbellum, Berchem [Antwerp], Belgium, 1989, pp. 289-290, including footnote 1 on p. 289.

[6] See e.g. Gerd R. Ueberschär, “Hitlers Entschluß zum ‘Lebensraum’-Krieg im Osten: Programmatisches Ziel oder militärstrategisches Kalkül?,” in Gerd R. Ueberschär and Wolfram Wette (eds.), Der deutsche Überfall auf die Sowjetunion: “Unternehmen Barbarossa” 1941, Frankfurt am Main, 2011, p. 39.

[7] Müller, op. cit., p. 169.

[8] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…,” p. 95.

[9] Müller, op. cit., pp. 209, 225.

[10] Ueberschär, “Hitlers Entschluß…”, p. 15.

[11] Pauwels, op. cit., p. 62; Ueberschär, „Das Scheitern…,“ pp. 95-96; Domenico Losurdo, Stalin: Storia e critica di una leggenda nera, Rome, 2008, p. 29.

[12] Müller, op. cit., p. 243.

[13] Richard Overy, Russia’s War, London, 1997, p. 87.

[14] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, pp. 97-98.

[15] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, p. 97; Losurdo, op. cit., p. 31.

[16] Overy, op. cit., pp. 64-65.

[17] Grover Furr, Khrushchev Lied : The Evidence That Every ‘Revelation’ of Stalin’s (and Beria’s) ‘Crimes’ in Nikita Khrushchev’s Infamous ‘Secret Speech’ to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, is Provably False, Kettering/Ohio, 2010, p. 343: Losurdo, op. cit., p. 31; Soete, op. cit., p. 297.

[18] Losurdo, op. cit., pp. 31-32.

[19] Bernd Wegner, “Hitlers zweiter Feldzug gegen die Sowjetunion: Strategische Grundlagen und historische Bedeutung“, in Wolfgang Michalka (ed.), Der Zweite Weltkrieg: Analysen – Grundzüge – Forschungsbilanz, München and Zurich, 1989, p. 653.

[20] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, p. 100.

[21] Müller, op. cit., p. 233.

[22] Tobias Jersak, “Öl für den Führer,“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 11, 1999. Jersak used a “top secret” document produced by the Wehrmacht Reichsstelle für Mineralöl, now in the military section of the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archives), file RW 19/2694.

[23] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, pp. 99-102, 106-107.

[24] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, p. 106.

[25] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…,” pp. 107-111; Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin`s Wars from World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, New Haven/CT and London, 2006, p. 111.

[26] Andreas Hillgruber (ed.), Der Zweite Weltkrieg 1939–1945: Kriegsziele und Strategie der Grossen Mächte, fifth edition, Stuttgart, 1989, p. 81.

[27] Annie Lacroix-Riz, Le Vatican, l’Europe et le Reich de la Première Guerre mondiale à la guerre froide, Paris, 1996, p. 417.

[28] Daniel Bourgeois, Business helvétique et troisième Reich : Milieux d’affaires, politique étrangère, antisémitisme, Lausanne, 1998, pp. 123, 127.

[29] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…“, pp. 107-108.

[30] Bourgeois, op. cit., pp. 123, 127.

[31] Pauwels, op. cit., pp. 68-69; quotation from Hans W. Gatzke, Germany and the United States: A “Special Relationship?,” Cambridge/MA, and London, 1980, p. 137.

[32] Wegner, op. cit., pp. 654-656.

[33] Ueberschär, “Das Scheitern…,” p. 116.

[34] Clive Ponting, Armageddon: The Second World War, London, 1995, p. 130; Stephen E. Ambrose Americans at War, New York, 1998, p. 72.

Il discorso pronunciato dal presidente Obama il 28 maggio 2014 presso la prestigiosa Accademia Militare di West Point [1] sembra segnare un aggiustamento importante nella politica estera degli Stati Uniti verso il mondo arabo. Sono finiti i giorni del teatrale elogio della “Primavera araba”: questa espressione non è stata pronunciata una volta sola in tutto il suo discorso. È stata sostituita da “sconvolgimenti nel mondo arabo”, cioè “rivolta (o sommossa) nel mondo arabo”. La parola “democrazia” è stata detta solo due volte, ma in un contesto molto generale. Realpolitik oblige, Obama ha dichiarato che “il sostegno statunitense a democrazia e diritti umani va oltre l’idealismo;  è una questione di sicurezza nazionale“. Non poteva essere più chiaro. Dopo i fiaschi politici delle “campagne” in Iraq e Afghanistan, il presidente degli Stati Uniti ha chiesto un cambio di strategia nella lotta al terrorismo. “Penso che dobbiamo riorientare la nostra strategia antiterrorismo, costruendola sui successi e le lacune della nostra esperienza in Iraq e in Afghanistan, con partenariati più efficaci con i Paesi in cui le reti terroristiche cercano di prendere piede” ha detto. Ciò non significa necessariamente che l’intervento militare diretto non sia più possibile, anzi. Serve solo, dice, “soddisfare standard che riflettano i valori americani“.

Due esempi libici illustrano tale nuova strategia degli Stati Uniti. L’istituzione di “partenariati efficaci” è essenziale per impedire tragedie come l’omicidio nel 2012 dell’ambasciatore USA in Libia Christopher Stevens e altri tre statunitensi [2]. Ricordiamo, a tal fine, che tale crimine commesso esattamente nell’undicesimo anniversario degli attacchi dell’11 settembre 2001, è stato attribuito agli islamisti di Ansar al-Sharia. [3] Interventi militari mirati, a loro volta, sono necessari per “neutralizzare” i terroristi coinvolti negli attacchi contro interessi statunitensi, come nel caso di Abu Anas al-Libi. Infatti, il 5 ottobre 2013, un commando statunitense lo catturò in pieno giorno con uno spettacolare raid a Tripoli. Tale ex-capo islamista, la cui taglia dell’FBI era di 5 milioni di dollari, è accusato del coinvolgimento negli attentati del 1998 contro le ambasciate statunitensi in Tanzania e Kenya. [4]
Tale politica “antiterrorismo” delineata dal presidente Obama a West Point sembra essere già attuata in Libia. Infatti, uno dei dispositivi che attualmente forniscono un “partenariato efficace” con la Libia si basa sulla collaborazione con il generale Qalifa Haftar (o Hiftar) le cui “gesta” sono ancora in prima pagina. La sua missione è lo sradicamento del terrorismo islamista che prolifera nel Paese dalla morte del colonnello Gheddafi. Il suo obiettivo principale: Ansar al-Sharia contro cui molte voci statunitensi si sono alzate chiedendo una rappresaglia per vendicare la morte dei diplomatici statunitensi brutalmente assassinati [5], accusando Obama di non aver fatto molto in tal senso [6].

La ricomparsa di Qalifa Haftar è molto istruttiva, soprattutto dopo la fuga precipitosa dell’ex-primo ministro Ali Zaydan in Germania [7], dopo il suo licenziamento da parte del parlamento libico. Ali Zaydan è il cofondatore, con Muhammad Yusif al-Magaryaf, del Fronte nazionale per la salvezza della Libia (FNSL) nel 1981. [8] Tale organizzazione, notoriamente addestrata e sostenuta dalla CIA [9], perpetuò l’opposizione armata con diversi tentativi di golpe contro il colonnello Gheddafi. Zaydan e la sua collusione con il governo degli Stati Uniti furono denunciati dopo l’arresto di Abu Anas al-Libi. Infatti, l’ex-primo ministro fu brevemente rapito il 10 ottobre 2013 da un gruppo di ex-ribelli islamici che l’accusavano di avere collaborato con il governo degli Stati Uniti nell’arresto di al-Libi, ex-membro di al-Qaida. [10] D’altra parte, nessun commento sulla fuga di Ali Zaydan o accuse di frode contro di lui furono espressi dal dipartimento di Stato. Invece, il suo portavoce “lodò” il lavoro di Zaydan “che ha guidato il fragile periodo della transizione in Libia”. [11] Dopo la fuga di Zaydan, che era nelle grazie del governo statunitense, era indispensabile riattivare “un partner efficace” nella persona del generale Haftar. Descritto come un “generale della rivoluzione”, Haftar apparve nel “quadro” insurrezione libico nel marzo 2011 “apportando qualche coerenza tattica alle forze ribelli anti-Gheddafi” [12]. Ma chi è questo Haftar lodato in tal modo dai media mainstream e la cui collaborazione è apprezzata dagli Stati Uniti? Il generale Qalifa Haftar era un alto ufficiale dell’esercito libico che partecipò al colpo di Stato che portò al potere Gheddafi nel 1969. [13] Principale ufficiale nel conflitto ciadiano-libico per la striscia di Aozou (ricco di uranio e altri metalli rari), guidò per sette anni la guerra contro le truppe di Habré, ex-presidente del Ciad sostenuto da CIA e truppe francesi. [14] Aiutati da forze francesi, Mossad israeliano e CIA, i ciadiani inflissero una grave sconfitta alle truppe libiche, il 22 marzo 1987 a Wadi Dum (Ciad settentrionale) [15]. Haftar e i suoi uomini (un gruppo di 600-700 soldati) furono catturati e imprigionati. Rinnegato da Gheddafi, che non avrebbe apprezzato la sconfitta che gli fece perdere la striscia di Aozou, infine il generale disertò presso il FNSL [16]. Supportato da Ciad, CIA e Arabia Saudita, si formò nel 1988 l’esercito nazionale libico, l’ala militare del FNSL, per cercare di rovesciare Gheddafi. [17] Un articolo del New York Times del 1991 dice che i membri di tale esercito “furono addestrati da agenti segreti statunitensi nel sabotaggio e altre azioni di guerriglia in una base nei pressi di N’Djamena, capitale del Ciad” [18]. Quando Deby salì al potere nel 1990 a N’Djamena, la situazione cambiò completamente per i ribelli libici, dato che il nuovo padrone del Ciad era in buoni rapporti con Gheddafi. Il buon rapporto tra i due uomini continuò fino alla caduta del leader libico. Infatti, Déby inviò anche truppe a sostenerlo contro la “primavera libica” [19].

 

libya_nfsl_logo

 

Haftar e i suoi uomini dovettero lasciare il Ciad e gli statunitensi che l’infiltrarono organizzarono un ponte aereo con Nigeria e Zaire. [20] Furono quindi accolti come rifugiati negli Stati Uniti, beneficiando di molti programmi di reinserimento, comprese formazione, assistenza finanziaria e medica. Secondo un portavoce del dipartimento di Stato “i resti dell’esercito di Haftar erano sparsi in tutti i cinquanta Stati” [21]. Prima di tornare a supervisionare le forze ribelli durante la “primavera” libica, Haftar trascorse vent’anni nella provincia della Virginia. Alla domanda sul reddito del generale, uno dei suoi vecchi conoscenti confessò “che non sapeva esattamente come Haftar si mantenesse”. [22] Secondo un’altra fonte, “viveva assai bene e nessuno sa come campasse“, aggiungendo che la famiglia di Haftar non era ricca [23]. Tale frase diede luogo all’interpretazione chiara del fatto che Haftar vivesse a Vienna, in Virginia, a otto miglia dal quartier generale della CIA di Langley: “Per chi sa leggere tra le righe, questo profilo è un’indicazione sottilmente velata del ruolo di Haftar come agente della CIA. Altrimenti, come un ex-alto comandante libico poté entrare negli Stati Uniti nei primi anni ’90, pochi anni dopo l’attentato di Lockerbie, e stabilirsi nei pressi della capitale degli Stati Uniti, se non con il permesso e il sostegno attivo delle agenzie d’intelligence degli Stati Uniti?”. [24] “Quando ero negli Stati Uniti, ero protetto da ogni mossa di Gheddafi contro di me e i suoi tentativi di assassinio da tutte le agenzie degli Stati Uniti“, ha detto. “Mi spostavo dagli Stati Uniti in Europa e mi sentivo al sicuro perché ero protetto“. [25] Secondo il Washington Post, Haftar ha ottenuto la cittadinanza statunitense avendo votato due volte (2008 e 2009) nelle elezioni dello Stato della Virginia. [26] Da parte sua, il New York Times dice senza mezzi termini che il generale è “un cittadino degli Stati Uniti”. [27] Haftar ha anche riconosciuto che poco prima della sua partenza per Bengasi, fu contattato dall’ambasciatore degli Stati Uniti in Libia Gene Cretz, che alloggiava a Washington da gennaio, e da agenti della CIA. [28] Al suo arrivo a Bengasi, nel marzo 2011, il generale Haftar fu nominato capo dell’esercito del CNT e partecipò attivamente alla guerra contro le forze di Gheddafi. Ma travolto dalla sua nomea di “agente della CIA”, fu licenziato dopo il rovesciamento della “guida” libica [29]. Tuttavia, il caos anarchico che ha colpito il Paese, la debolezza del governo centrale verso la profusione di milizie islamiste che governano ognuna una propria roccaforte e le tendenze separatiste che minacciano la Libia, ne hanno permesso il ritorno alla ribalta libica. Già il 14 febbraio 2014 sorprese tutti gli osservatori annunciando una nuova tabella di marcia per il Paese, la sospensione del parlamento e la formazione di un comitato presidenziale per governare il Paese organizzando nuove elezioni. [30] Tale tentativo di presa del potere fallì. Ma non per molto. Dopo la fuga dell’ex-primo ministro Ali Zaydan, Haftar tornava alla carica a metà maggio 2014. Dopo pesanti combattimenti contro le milizie islamiste a Bengasi e contro il Parlamento libico, che fecero decine di morti e feriti, ribadì le stesse affermazioni. [31] Diceva di rispondere solo all’”appello del popolo a sradicare il terrorismo in Libia”. Haftar smentiva le accuse di un colpo di Stato. [32] Sorprendentemente parlò, come nel febbraio 2014, per conto di un “esercito nazionale libico”, nome usato nel 1988 dall’ala militare del FNSL.

A differenza del precedente tentativo, questa volta è sostenuto da molti civili e militari nell’operazione militare chiamata “al-Qarama” (Dignità in arabo) con cui sembra unire diverse forze che “sembrano poter distruggere gli islamisti che dominano il Parlamento, che ha aperto la porta agli estremisti e alimenta il caos che scuote la Libia“. [33] E gli Stati Uniti in tutto questo? A tal proposito, l’autore e giornalista statunitense Justin Raimondo dubita che sia “una coincidenza che il generale Qalifa Haftar colpisca appena quattro giorni dopo che gli Stati Uniti schierassero 200 soldati in Sicilia, una “squadra d’intervento di crisi” inviata su richiesta del dipartimento di Stato” [34]. Da parte sua, John Hudson di “Foreign Policy” ha detto che “il dipartimento della Difesa degli Stati Uniti ha raddoppiato il numero di aeromobili in attesa in Italia e schierato centinaia di marines in Sicilia nel caso fosse necessario evacuare frettolosamente l’ambasciata [in Libia Stati Uniti], una decisione che verrebbe presa letteralmente in qualsiasi momento“. [35] D’altra parte, è interessante notare che durante tale periodo travagliato e violento, gli Stati Uniti avevano attività diplomatiche in Libia (anche se il loro ambasciatore aveva lasciato il Paese, apparentemente per motivi familiari), mentre Paesi come Algeria e Arabia Saudita chiusero le loro ambasciate. [36] Poi il 27 maggio 2014  raccomandarono ai loro cittadini di lasciare “immediatamente” la Libia a causa della situazione “imprevedibile ed instabile”, pur mantenendo “personale limitato presso l’ambasciata di Tripoli”.[37] Situazione curiosa, francamente, per questo Paese presuntamente democratizzato dalla grazia dei bombardamenti della NATO e dei “buoni uffici” di un famoso filosofo francese, amante delle camicie bianche e acerrimo appassionato di guerre “senza amarle”.

Va detto che a Washington, alcuni esperti e funzionari del dipartimento di Stato espressero sottovoce soddisfazione nel vedere qualcuno lottare contro gli islamisti come Ansar al-Sharia [38], la milizia accusata di essere l’autrice dell’attacco contro la missione diplomatica degli Stati Uniti di Bengasi che causò la morte dell’ambasciatore Christopher Stevens. Inoltre, ciò permise a Muhammad Zahawi, capo della brigata della milizia (la Brigata Bengasi), di accusare il governo degli Stati Uniti di sostenere Haftar [39].
Deborah Jones, l’ambasciatrice degli Stati Uniti in Libia, ha detto che la sua squadra non ha condannato le azioni del generale Haftar che ha dichiarato guerra ai terroristi “islamici” in Libia. Parlava presso il Centro Stimson di Washington. [40] Un modo indiretto di sostenere Haftar, uno dei concittadini rientrato nel Paese per guidarne la guerra e che godeva da anni della generosità e calda comodità degli accoglienti sobborghi statunitensi della Virginia. Un concittadino, almeno per ora, parte dell’arsenale dei “partner più efficaci” degli Stati Uniti.

Ahmed Bensaada 

Zaydan e Kerry

Zaydan e Kerry

AFGHANISTAN-US-OBAMAHaftar: le « partenaire efficace » des États-Unis en Libye

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

Riferimenti:
1. The New York Times, «Transcript of President Obama’s Commencement Address at West Point», 28 mai 2014
2. Barney Henderson et Richard Spencer, «US ambassador to Libya killed in attack on Benghazi consulate», The Telegraph, 12 septembre 2012
3. AP, «U.S. names militants involved in Benghazi attack», CBS News, 10 janvier 2014
4. AFP, «Abou Anas al-Libi, un leader présumé d’Al-Qaida méconnu chez lui», 20 Minutes, 7 octobre 2013
5. Ron DeSantis, «DESANTIS: Justice, absent in Damascus, awaits in Benghazi, too», The Washington Times, 11 septembre 2013
6. Lucy McCalmont, «John Bolton: Obama hasn’t avenged Chris Stevens’s death in Benghazi», Politico, 6 mars 2014
7. Reuters, «L’ex-Premier ministre libyen Ali Zeidan a fui en Europe», Le Nouvel Observateur, 12 mars 2014
8. The Indian Express, «New Libyan PM Ali Zeidan has strong India links», 15 October 2012
9. Ahmed Bensaada, livre à paraître.
10.AFP, «Libye: le premier ministre brièvement enlevé par d’ex-rebelles», Le Monde, 10 octobre 2013
11. AFP, «Libye: le Congrès limoge le premier ministre, Ali Zeidan», Le Monde, 12 mars 2014
12.Walter Pincus, «Only a few of Libya opposition’s military leaders have been identified publicly», The Washington Post, 1er avril 2011
13. Ibid.
14. Russ Baker, «Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?», Business Insider, 22 avril 2011
15. J ean Guisnel, «Quand un espion raconte…», Le Point, 5 janvier 2001
16. Russ Baker, «Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?», art. cit.
17. Walter Pincus, «Only a few of Libya opposition’s military leaders have been identified publicly», Op. cit.
18. Neil A. Lewis, «350 Libyans Trained to Oust Qaddafi Are to Come to U.S.», The New York Times, 17 mai 1991
19. Pierre Prier, «La garde tchadienne au secours du colonel Kadhafi», Le Figaro, 23 février 2011
20. Pierre Prier, «Le nouvel état-major libyen sous tension», Le Figaro, 23 février 2011
21. Russ Baker, «Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?», Op. cit.
22. Chris Adams, «Libyan rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia», McClatchy Newspapers, 26 mars 2011
23. Abigail Hauslohner et Sharif Abdel Kouddous, «Khalifa Hifter, the ex-general leading a revolt in Libya, spent years in exile in Northern Virginia», The Washington Post, 19 mai 2014
24. Patrick Martin, «A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels», WSWS, 28 March 2011
25. Shashank Bengali, «Libyan rebel leader with U.S. ties feels abandoned», McClatchy DC, 12 avril 2011
26. Abigail Hauslohner et Sharif Abdel Kouddous, «Khalifa Hifter, the ex-general leading a revolt in Libya, spent years in exile in Northern Virginia», Op. cit.
27. Ethan Chorin, «The New Danger in Benghazi», The New York Times, 27 mai 2014
28. Shashank Bengali, «Libyan rebel leader with U.S. ties feels abandoned», Op. cit.
29. Armin Arefi, «Khalifa Haftar, un général made in USA à l’assaut de la Libye», Le Point, 19 mai 2014
30. RFI, «Libye: rumeurs de coup d’État sur la chaîne Al-Arabiya», 14 février 2014
31. Claire Arsenault, «En Libye, le général dissident Khalifa Haftar tente le coup», RFI, 23 mai 2014
32. Armin Arefi, «Khalifa Haftar, un général made in USA à l’assaut de la Libye», Op. cit.
33. Esam Mohamed et Maggie Michael, «Un général dissident reçoit des appuis», Le Devoir, 21 mai 2014
34. Justin Raimondo, «The Libyan ‘Coincidence’. CIA-backed general launches Libyan coup», Antiwar, 21 mai 2014
35. John Hudson, «It’s Not Benghazi, It’s Everything», Foreign Policy, 20 mai 2014
36. Renseignor, «Devant la dégradation de la situation sécuritaire en Libye l’Arabie saoudite ferme son ambassade à Tripoli…», n°823, p.3, 25 mai 2014
37. AFP, «Les États-Unis conseillent à tous leurs ressortissants d’évacuer la Libye», Le Monde, 28 mai 2014
38.Ethan Chorin, «The New Danger in Benghazi», Op. cit.
39. AP, «As Libya deteriorates, U.S. prepares for possible evacuation», CBS News, 27 mai 2014
40. Barbara Slavin, «US ambassador says Libyan general is going after ‘terrorists’», Al Monitor, 21 mai 2014

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato da Reporters quotidiani algerini, 3 giugno 2014 (pp. 12-13)

Você está preparado para a guerra nuclear?

June 8th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Preste bem atenção à coluna de convidados de Steven Starr “A letalidade das armas nucleares”:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/05/30/lethality-nuclear-weapons/ Washington pensa que a guerra nuclear pode ser ganha e planeja um primeiro ataque nuclear contra a Rússia, e talvez contra a China como forma de prevenção a qualquer desafio a sua dominância mundial.

Esse plano já está num estado bem avançado enquanto a implementação do mesmo também já está em curso. Como eu relatei anteriormente a doutrina estratégica americana foi modificada, e o papél dos mísseis nucleares foi elevado de um papél de retaliação a um papél ofensivo de primeiro ataque.  Bases de mísseis antibalísticos (MAB) foram estabelecidas na Polônia nas fronteiras com a Rússia, enquanto outras bases foram sendo projetadas. Quando tudo  estiver completo, a Rússia estará completamente cercada por bases militares americanas de mísseis antibalísticos, MAB.

Os mísseis antibalísticos, conhecidos também como a “guerra das estrelas”, são armas feitas para interceptar e destruir os mísses balísticos inter-continentais, ou seja os mísseis de longa distância, (ICBM na sigla inglêsa). Na doutrina de guerra de Washington, os Estados Unidos atacariam a Rússia com um primeiro ataque, e qualquer que fosse a força retaliatória ainda disponível da Rússia, essas seriam impedidas de alcançar os Estados Unidos pela proteção dos mísseis antibalísticos, MAB.

A razão dada por Washington para mudar a sua doutrina de guerra foi a possibilidade de que terroristas pudessem vir a obter armas nucleares com as quais pudessem vir a destruir uma cidade norteamericana. Uma tal explicação não faz nenhum sentido. Quanto a terroristas trata-se de indivíduos, ou um grupo de indivíduos,  não de um país com um poder militar ameaçador. Usar armas nucleares contra terroristas iria destruir muito mais que os próprios terroristas, e seria inútil na medida em que um ataque por mísseis convencionais, carregados por um drone, seria o suficiente.

A razão dada por Washington para as bases dos mísseis antibalísticos, MAB, na Polônia seria a proteção da Europa contra MBIC, mísseis balísticos inter-continentais, do Irã. Washington e os governos europeus sabem muito bem que Irã não tem nenhum MBIC, e que esse país nunca apresentou a mínima intenção de atacar a Europa.

Nenhum governo acredita nas razões invocadas por Washington. Cada um deles compreende que as razões de Washington não são mais que pequenas tentativas de disfarçar o fato de que eles estão a caminho de criar uma capacidade, de fato consumado,  que os permita ganhar uma guerra nuclear.

O governo russo compreende que a mudança da doutrina de guerra americana, e a construção de bases de mísseis antibalísticos nas suas fronteiras, são dirigidas mesmo é contra a Rússia, e que essa seria uma clara indicação de que Washington estaria planejando um ataque ofensivo contra a Rússia, e isso com armas nucleares.

A China também já compreendeu que as intenções de Washington contra ela são as mesmas. Como eu relatei a vários mêses atrás, em resposta as ameaças de Washington a China então tinha chamado a atenção do mundo quanto a sua capacidade de destruir os Estados Unidos, no caso de Washington iniciar um tal conflito.

De qualquer modo, Washington acredita que ele poderá ganhar uma guerra nuclear, com pouco ou nenhum dano, para os Estados Unidos. Essa crença faz com que uma guerra nuclear apresente-se como provável.

Como Steven Starr deixou bem claro, essa crença baseia-se na ignorância. Uma guerra nuclear não dá a vitória a ninguém. Mesmo se as cidades americanas pudessem ser salvas de um ataque retaliatório da Rússia ou da China pelos mísseis antibalísticos, os efeitos da radiação e do inverno nuclear que viria depois de uma tal colisão com a Rússia ou China iria destruir os Estados Unidos também.

A mídia, que foi convenientemente concentrada em poucas mãos durante o corrúpto governo de Clinton, é cúmplice por ignorar a questão. Os governos dos países subjugados por  Washington, tanto na Europa ocidental como na Europa do Leste, assim como os do Canadá, da Austrália e do Japão também são cúmplices, porque aceitam os planos de Washington e fornecem as suas bases militares para a realização desses planos. O governo da Polônia, do qual já não há duvidas quanto a insanidade mental, já terá provavelmente assinado a autorização de morte da humanidade, por procuração. O congresso dos Estados Unidos também é cúmplice, porque nenhuma investigação está sendo feita a respeito dos planos do poder executivo de iniciar uma guerra nuclear.

Washinton criou uma situação muito perigosa. A Rússia e a China estando claramente ameaçadas por um ataque nuclear poderiam muito bem atacar primeiro. Porque deveriam sentar e esperar passivamente o inevitável enquanto seus adversários constroem uma capacidade de proteger a si mesmos através dos mísseis antibalísticos? Uma vez que esse sistema esteja concluído, a Rússia e a China podem estar certas de que serão atacadas, ao menos que se entreguem incondicionalmente de antemão.

Essa reportagem de 10 minutos aqui abaixo vem da Russia Today, RT. Ela esclarece que o plano secreto de Washington para um primeiro ataque ofensivo contra a Rússia não é na realidade uma coisa secreta. Essa reportagem também esclarece que Washington está se preparando para poder eliminar qualquer líder político europeu que não se alinhe com Washington .http://rt.com/shows/the-truthseeker/162864-us-plans-strike-russia/  A transcrição foi encaminhada pela  Global Research :http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-plans-first-strike-attack-on-russia-or-china/5384799

Os leitores poderiam me perguntar. “Mas o que poderemos fazer?” Aqui está o que poderia ser feito. Você poderia por um fim ao ministério da propaganda não assistindo  Fox News, CNN, BBC, ABC, NBC e CBS. Você poderia se recusr a ler o New York Times, o Washington Post e LA Times. Deixe simplesmente de lado toda a mídia oficial. Não acredite numa palavra dita pelo governo. Não vote.

Compreenda que o problema, o mal, está concentrado em Washington. Nesse século XXI (treze anos e meio), Washington já destruiu em parte, ou completamente, 7 países. Milhões de pessoas foram assassinadas, aleijadas e deslocadas. Washington não mostrou até agora absolutamente nenhum remorso que fosse quanto a isso, e tampouco o fizeram as igrejas “cristãs”. A devastação inflingida por Washington é apresentada como um grande sucesso.

Washington prevaleceu até aqui e está determinado a se manter em dominância enquanto a perversidade, a desgraça, e o mau absoluto que Washington representa dirige o mundo à destruição.

Paul Craig Roberts

Artigo original : Are You Ready for Nuclear War ? – de 3 junho de 2014

Traduzido por Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.com, para Mondialisation.ca

As a curtain of censorship falls over the UK internet, this special investigation uncovers the deception and elite players behind the murky system of corporate web filters, which block far more than pornography.

The UK’s sweeping internet censorship plans are ramping up, with the country’s main internet service providers (ISPs), who service 95% of UK households, rolling out ‘default’ web filters to meet the government’s call for an internet clampdown.

State-sanctioned internet filtering on this scale, often condemned when carried out by authoritarian regimes, is unparalleled in “free” western countries and sets a dangerous precedent. The way this policy has been introduced, sold and now implemented has been misleading and deceptive all along. Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron led the public to believe this is all about blocking pornography to stop the “corruption of childhood”, but it’s apparent the well-worn “think of the children” argument was just Trojan horse propaganda to create a moral pretext for introducing extensive censorship infrastructure.

While proponents point out people can still ask their ISPs to turn the filters off, the problem is the filters block more than people are led to believe and operate without transparency. They already target much more than pornography, and their reach will likely creep as time goes on. This is already happening. And who ultimately decides what these unaccountable, shadowy corporate web filters block is shrouded in mystery.

There was a long, well-orchestrated campaign to put these filters in place. A moral panic about online pornography was carefully manufactured to pave the way years before this occurred. I hope to unravel how this happened, and who is involved. A look at the players and history leading up to the policy announcement reveals the influence of various elite powerbrokers in government, media, international business, and religious lobby groups.

I am concerned that behind these machinations is a hidden agenda that could see swathes of alternative websites blacked-out in a so-called free country, and that “alternative thought” is bound to be targeted. I am also concerned that the UK may just be the beginning. At this juncture it is important to reflect on how this policy arose, and where it is headed, to understand the serious ramifications for Britain and potentially the world.

So to get a full picture of what is going on here, let’s take a look at how this censorship system works, then we’ll examine the elite powerbrokers pushing these plans, and the far-reaching implications of their agenda.

The Problem: Anti-Porn Catch-cry Just a Cover for a Sweeping Censorship Coup

David Cameron announcing the UK’s ISP web filter policy Source: PCmag (right)

In July last year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron called for internet censorship in the UK under the guise of protecting children from accessing legal pornography (illegal child abuse material was already blocked). This happened after a moral panic about pornography had been running for some time, which I’ll explain further on.

After the announcement, digital rights advocate Open Rights Group warned the filters would target multiple content categories in addition to pornography, including “esoteric material” and “web forums”. Many predicted the sweeping state-sanctioned web filters would wind up extending far beyond porn. And that’s exactly what happened. These are not merely “porn filters” despite being deceptively referred to as such.

Now operational, the filters do indeed block a murky medley of content categories. Swathes of non-pornographic websites have already been caught in the dragnet, including charities and women’s rights websites. Those who warned over-blocking would happen – either by design or by accident – have been proven right. And since the filters have been announced, the government has suggested it will now seek to block “extremist websites” and “unsavoury content” without providing any clear explanation of how these terms will be applied. The Government’s use of vague and slippery catch-all terms have many concerned the filters will inevitably be used to suppress dissent.

An Outsourced Censorship Regime

Unlike in countries like China, the UK has outsourced web censorship to the private sector, with the UK’s four main ISPs, Talk Talk, BT, Sky and Virgin all filtering their own networks.

The UK Government pressured and coerced the ISPs to install the filters and now, publicly at least, it is standing back and letting the corporations iron out the details. Could this be a shrewd attempt to introduce an unprecedented level of censorship at arm’s length while avoiding liability or accountability for its implementation and overreach?

Lack of Transparency and oversight

There is a major lack of transparency in this setup. Astonishingly, there seems to be no legal oversight or clear regulatory framework for this massive outsourced censorship system. There is no clear and unified definition of blocked content categories or explanations as to why they warrant blocking, and no easy way to find out which sites are blocked or why. There is also no clear way to discover if your website is blocked by one or more of the ISPs (especially if you’re outside the UK), nor is there a single avenue of appeal if you’re even able to find out, because each ISP operates its own inscrutable filter. This leaves the public in the dark as to what is really happening – and perhaps that’s just how the government wants it.

The opaque system is probably deliberate. Not only does it allow the Government to wash its hands and avoid being held accountable for the implementation of the creeping censorship it introduced, but it makes it possible for hidden players to influence things behind the scenes unseen, and for a range of content to be blocked without people even realising it. A system so unaccountable is ripe for misuse, abuse and overreach.

The government has faced some hiccups however. Over-blocking concerns were highlighted after charity websites were blocked. In response the Government announced that it was covertly setting up a whitelist to protect the sites deemed off-limits from the filters. But just think of the implications of this. A backroom gathering of officials has now taken upon itself, behind closed doors, to unilaterally pick out the sites out of the millions on the World Wide Web that they think should not be censored by their filtering system, which they also instated through backroom meetings. Does this mean that any sites that don’t make it on the whitelist are fair game? And if the government has taken upon itself to setup a whitelist, has it also setup a blacklist? If so, how do you find out if you are on it?

‘Active Choice’ or Censorship by Stealth?

General examples of blocked content categories revealed by Open Rights Group, which is running a campaign against UK filtering

Advocates are quick to point out people still have a choice and the filtering is not mandatory. The ISPs are pre-ticking their blocked content categories in the sign-up process for new customers. This means people can manually un-tick and “opt out” of any categories they don’t want blocked.

But given that people tend to trust default settings given by their providers, could it be people are being nudged into selecting censorship by stealth? And if people don’t know how the filters really work and what they actually block, can they really make an informed choice?

Proponents of the censorship also often completely ignore the rights of content creators in this system. People whose websites are arbitrarily blocked in the UK will have a hard time discovering it. What “active choice” do they have? How can private companies be given so much unaccountable power over what content is appropriate or not for the UK population?

How did this happen? How did this extensive and insidious stealth censorship infrastructure get rolled out while people were hoodwinked into thinking it was all about saving children from porn?

To understand how, let’s take a look at the way these plans unfolded and examine the elite powerbrokers linked to these developments, including those with connections to the Bilderberg Group.( Forthcoming on GR)
General examples of blocked content categories revealed by Open Rights Group, which is running a campaign against UK filtering

This article is part of a longer essay focusing on the role of the Bilderberg Group and the influence it has exerted in the formulation of the UK internet filtering project. GR will be publishing the second part of this essay.

For more details see: 

 

This article was first published by Global Research  on February 25, 2013.

Excerpted from Cruel Harvest: US Intervention in the Afghan Drug Trade (Pluto Press, 2013), by Julien Mercille.

As Obama proclaims that the US adventure in Afghanistan will draw to a close over the next couple years, we may look at the balance sheet with respect to one of the occupation’s alleged justifications: the fight against Afghan heroin. The outcome has been a total failure. In fact, whereas Afghanistan is sometimes referred to as the “graveyard of empires” because throughout history, big powers have attempted, unsuccessfully, to invade and control it, the country can already be labeled as the “garden of empire” because the US/NATO occupation has resulted in a drastic increase in drug production.

Opium production in Afghanistan skyrocketed from 185 tons to 8,200 tons between 2001 and 2007 (today it is down to 3,700 tons). Most commentary glosses over Washington’s large share of responsibility for this dramatic expansion while magnifying the Taliban’s role, which available data indicates is relatively minor. Also, identifying drugs as a main cause behind the growth of the insurgency absolves the United States and NATO of their own role in fomenting it: the very presence of foreign troops in the country as well as their destructive attacks on civilians are significant factors behind increases in popular support for, or tolerance of, the Taliban. In fact, as a recent UNODC report notes, reducing drug production would have only a “minimal impact on the insurgency’s strategic threat,” because the Taliban receive “significant funding from private donors all over the world,” a contribution that “dwarfs” drug money.

A UNODC report entitled Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium provides a good example of the conventional view of the Taliban’s role in drug trafficking. It claims that they draw some $125 million annually from narcotics, resulting in the “perfect storm” of drugs and terrorism heading toward Central Asia and endangering its energy resources. UNODC maintains that when they were in power in the second half of the 1990s, the Taliban earned about $75–100 million per year from drugs, but since 2005 this figure has risen to $125 million. Although this is presented as a significant increase, the Taliban play a lesser role in the opium economy than the report would have us believe as they capture only a small share of its total value. Moreover, drug money is likely a secondary source of funding for them: UNODC itself estimates that only 10 percent to 15 percent of Taliban funding is drawn from drugs and 85 percent comes from “non-opium sources” such as private donations.

The total revenue generated by opiates within Afghanistan is about $3 billion per year. According to UNODC data, the Taliban get only about 5 percent of this sum. Farmers selling their opium harvest to traffickers get 20 percent. And the remaining 75 percent? Al-Qaeda? No: the report specifies that it “does not appear to have a direct role in the Afghan opiates trade,” although it may participate in “low-level drugs and/or arms smuggling” along the Pakistani border. Instead, the remaining 75 percent is captured by traffickers, government officials, the police, and local and regional power brokers – in short, many of the groups now supported or tolerated by the United States and NATO are important actors in the drug trade.

Therefore, claims that “Taliban insurgents are earning astonishingly large profits off the opium trade” are misleading. Nevertheless, UNODC insists on the Taliban-drugs connection but pays less attention to individuals and groups supported or tolerated by Washington. The agency seems to be acting as an enabler of coalition policies in Afghanistan: when asked what percentage of total drug income in Afghanistan is captured by government officials, the UNODC official who supervised the above report quickly replied: “We don’t do that, I don’t know.”

Mainstream commentary blames the size of the narcotics industry and much of what goes wrong in Afghanistan partly on corruption. But to focus on bad apples in the Afghan government and police misses the systemic responsibility of the United States and NATO for the dramatic expansion of opiates production since 2001 and for their support of numerous corrupt individuals in power. The United States attacked Afghanistan in association with Northern Alliance warlords and drug lords and showered them with weapons, millions of dollars, and diplomatic support.

The empowerment and enrichment of those individuals enabled them to tax and protect opium traffickers, leading to the quick resumption of narcotics production after the hiatus of the 2000–2001 Taliban ban, as many observers have documented. Ahmed Rashid has written that the whole Afghan Interior Ministry “became a major protector of drug traffickers, and Karzai refused to clean it out. As warlord militias were demobilized and disarmed by the UN, commanders found new positions in the Interior Ministry and continued to provide protection to drug traffickers.” The United States was not interested in cleaning Afghanistan of drug traffickers either. Thus, to blame “corruption” and “criminals” for the current state of affairs is to ignore the direct and predictable effects of US policies, which have followed a historical pattern of toleration and protection of strongmen involved in narcotics.

In 2004, Afghan forces found an enormous cache of heroin in a truck near Kandahar, but both Wali Karzai, the president’s brother, and an aide to President Karzai called the commander of the group that had made the discovery to tell him to release the drugs and the truck. Two years later, American and Afghan counternarcotics forces seized more than 110 pounds of heroin near Kabul, which US investigators said were linked to Wali Karzai. But Wali Karzai was only the tip of the iceberg, as a former CIA officer asserted that virtually “every significant Afghan figure has had brushes with the drug trade.” In private, American officials acknowledge ties with drug-linked Afghan figures. A Wikileaks cable recounting US officials’ meetings with Wali Karzai in September 2009 and February 2010 stated that while “we must deal with AWK [Ahmed Wali Karzai] as the head of the Provincial Council, he is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker.” But in public, the ties are denied. As Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “We should not condemn Ahmed Wali Karzai or damage our critical relations with his brother, President Karzai, on the basis of newspaper articles or rumors.”

Of the annual $65 billion global market for opiates, only 5 to 10 percent ($3 to $5 billion) is estimated to be laundered by informal banking systems, while two-thirds ($40 to $45 billion) is available for laundering through the formal banking system. A recent UNODC report estimated that about $220 billion of drug money is laundered annually through the financial system. However, only about 0.2 percent of all laundered criminal money is seized and frozen, as governments have other priorities than regulating the banking industry, which benefits from this extra liquidity.

US COUNTERNARCOTICS POLICY

Until about 2005, American policy in Afghanistan was, by and large, not concerned with drugs. General Tommy Franks, who led the initial attack, declared in 2002 that US troops would stay clear of drug interdiction and that resolving narcotics problems was up to Afghans and civilians. When Donald Rumsfeld was asked in 2003 what the United States was doing about narcotics in Helmand, he replied: “You ask what we’re going to do and the answer is, I don’t really know.” A US military spokesman at Bagram base, Sergeant Major Harrison Sarles, stated: “We’re not a drug task force. That’s not part of our mission.” Moreover, the DEA had only two agents in Afghanistan in 2003 and didn’t open an office in the country until 2004.

Several reasons explain the early opposition to counternarcotics on the part of the White House and the military. First, Afghanistan was attacked to show that Washington should not be challenged, and destroying poppy crops and heroin labs contributes nothing in this respect. Therefore, there is no reason why any effort should have been directed toward that task. In late 2005, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, then commander of US forces in Afghanistan, made it clear that “drugs are bad, but his orders were that drugs were not a priority of the U.S. military in Afghanistan.” Furthermore, Washington’s most important target at that time was Iraq, whose oil resources and strategic location in the Persian Gulf region ensured that it would take priority.

Second, many of the United States’ local Afghan allies were involved in trafficking, from which they drew money and power. Destroying drug labs and poppy fields would have been, in effect, a direct blow to American operations and proxy fighters on the ground. As Western diplomats conceded at the time, “without money from drugs, our friendly warlords can’t pay their militias. It’s as simple as that.” According to James Risen, this explains why the Pentagon and the White House refused to bomb the 25 or so drug facilities that the CIA had identified on its maps in 2001. Similarly, in 2005, the Pentagon denied all but 3 of 26 DEA requests for airlifts. Barnett Rubin summarized the US attitude well when he wrote in 2004 that when “he visits Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld meets military commanders whom Afghans know as the godfathers of drug trafficking. The message has been clear: Help fight the Taliban and no one will interfere with your trafficking.” As a result, US military officials closed their eyes to the trade. An Army Green Beret said he was “specifically ordered to ignore heroin and opium when he and his unit discovered them on patrol.” A US Senate report mentioned that “congressional committees received reports that U.S. forces were refusing to disrupt drug sales and shipments and rebuffing requests from the Drug Enforcement Administration for reinforcements to go after major drug kingpins.”

Third, the Department of Defense thought that eradicating crops would upset farmers and hurt attempts at winning Afghan hearts and minds. Indeed, since 2001, the Taliban have sought to capitalize on resentment caused by eradication schemes. For example, in Helmand “they appear to have offered protection to the farmers targeted by eradication” and in Kandahar “they were even reported to have offered financial assistance to farmers whose fields were being eradicated, in exchange for support in fighting against the government.” Thus, it is far from certain that eliminating drugs would weaken the insurgency. In fact, the opposite is more likely, as it would only add to the opposition already generated by NATO operations in the country, as noted by a well-informed analyst: “As the conflict progressed, victims of abuses by both Afghan and foreign troops and of the side-effects of US reliance on air power began to represent another important source of recruits for the Taliban.”

From 2004, counternarcotics started slowly moving up the US agenda. In 2005, Washington developed its first counternarcotics strategy for Afghanistan, composed of five pillars: elimination/eradication, interdiction, justice reform, public information, and alternative livelihoods (although the pillars were not weighted equally: alternative development was relatively neglected, while eradication/elimination was the priority). The Afghan government incorporated this strategy into its own 2006 National Drug Control Strategy, which was later updated and integrated into its National Development Strategy in 2008. Around 2005, counternarcotics operations were still relatively isolated from the broader counterinsurgency strategy. Nevertheless, the Pentagon started to consider the possibility of getting involved in counterdrug missions and issued new guidelines authorizing the military to “move antidrug agents by helicopters and cargo planes and assist in planning missions and uncovering targets,” among other things. A number of counternarcotics units were set up, such as Task Force 333 (a covert squad of special agents) and the Central Poppy Eradication Force, an Afghan team trained by the American private contractor Dyncorp at a cost of $50 million and supervised by the United States through the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, where Washington’s main contact was Lieutenant General Mohammad Daoud. It didn’t seem to be a problem that Daoud was “an ex-warlord from the north who was reputed to have major connections with the drug trade.”

Since 2007, the United States has intensified its counternarcotics efforts and sought to integrate them more closely with the counterinsurgency campaign. In particular, in late 2008, the Pentagon changed its rules of engagement to permit US troops to target traffickers allied with insurgents and terrorists, and soldiers were allowed to accompany and protect counternarcotics operations run by Americans and Afghans. This shift was also adopted by NATO, whose members were allowed to participate in interdiction missions.

Since 2009, the Obama administration’s strategy has deemphasized eradication by ending support for the Afghan central eradication force while focusing on interdiction and the destruction of heroin labs, based on the reasoning that this “would more precisely target the drug-insurgency nexus.” A focus on rural development has also been announced because, as Richard Holbrooke declared, eradication is a “waste of money,” it alienates farmers, and it “might destroy some acreage, but it didn’t reduce the amount of money the Taliban got by one dollar. It just helped the Taliban.” The number of permanent DEA agents in Afghanistan has increased from 13 to over 80 in 2011 and the Pentagon has established a Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Nexus in Kandahar to provide coordination support and intelligence for DEA interdiction missions and ISAF counterinsurgency operations that target insurgents with links to the drug trade.

Overall, an interesting question is to explain the emergence, intensification and militarization of US counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan. Although such a discussion remains somewhat speculative, what follows discusses possible reasons that may account for the evolution of the anti-drug strategy over time. Some have pointed to the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense in 2006. Rumsfeld had always been strongly opposed to military involvement in drug control and thus his departure is thought to have contributed to a “sea change” in the Department of Defense’s attitude, which then became more engaged in counternarcotics. However, the significance of staff changes should be downplayed when explaining the broad outlines of policy. It is not as if Rumsfeld had prevented single-handedly an army of drug warriors in the US government from carrying out counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan. As seen above, there were clear strategic reasons for the lack of military involvement in counternarcotics in the years immediately after 2001.

Congressional pressures have also been identified as a reason. This political pressure, the argument goes, eventually led the Pentagon and CIA to accept publicly that the insurgency was funded by drugs and to approve the 2005 counternarcotics strategy. Indeed, in 2004–05, a host of critical pieces in the media urged more action in light of the large 2004 opium harvest. For example, Henry Hyde, Illinois Republican, stated that there was “a clear need at this stage for military action against the opium storage dumps and heroin laboratories” and that if the military did not get involved, the United States would need to send “troops from places like Turkey to take on this challenge.” The Democrats also pitched in, as when John Kerry criticized Bush for failing to eliminate narcotics in Afghanistan.

Such explanations might be correct in terms of immediate causes, in that congressional pressures and debates contributed to putting the issue on policymakers’ agenda and generating media coverage. However, they beg the question of why the narcotics issue became a more prominent debate within government circles in the first place? Some have pointed to the explosion of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and the political pressures it has generated in the United States to do something about the problem. For example, Ahmed Rashid noted how the greater emphasis on drugs in US policy from 2005 onwards was prompted in part by the fact that it had become too obvious that Afghan poppy cultivation was getting out of control. The United States could less easily afford to be seen as doing nothing, for public relations purposes. The 2004 massive opium harvest embarrassed Washington and London enough for them to begin addressing narcotics more seriously: farmland under poppy cultivation had just increased by 64 percent and for the first time poppies were cultivated in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces. Similarly, opium production rose to 6,100 tons in 2006 and to 8,200 tons in 2007, the highest amount ever recorded, and Afghanistan now accounted for 93 percent of global heroin production. The skyrocketing of drug production in 2006 and 2007, publicized in UNODC reports, could not be ignored indefinitely.

There is probably some truth to this interpretation. Even if drug control is not a US objective, the discourse that has been created around the issue has acquired a force of its own. Therefore, when poppy cultivation spread in Afghanistan to a point that it became difficult to ignore, Washington was forced to make some gesture seemingly addressing the problem, otherwise, its image as a government allegedly concerned with drug harms could have been tarnished.

Finally, another possible reason is that from 2004–05, it became useful politically to talk about a war on drugs to make the resurgent Taliban look evil by associating them with narcotics. Indeed, the intensification of counternarcotics rhetoric and operations “took place against the backdrop of an upsurge in armed opposition” to the US-backed Afghan government. That is to say, whereas in the years immediately after 2001, the drug trade was largely controlled by US allies (warlords), from the time the Taliban reemerged as a significant force partly financed by drugs, narcotics became an issue that could be used to cast a negative light on them. Indeed, it is interesting that since 2004, the intensification of drug war rhetoric has grown in parallel with the rise of the insurgency.

In sum, while from 2001 to 2005, drugs were simply not part of the US agenda in Afghanistan, since 2005, there has been more talk about drug control, and more counter-narcotics operations have taken place. However, this does not mean that the United States is moving closer to conducting a real war on drugs. It is not the intensification of militaristic counterdrug missions per se that makes a drug war real, but the implementation of strategies known to reduce drug problems. On that count, Washington has failed. Further, the United States has continued to support allies involved in trafficking, and Obama stated explicitly that his drug war is instrumental in fighting the insurgency and not about eliminating drugs per se. Indeed, in 2009, his administration presented its new approach to narcotics and elaborated a target list of 50 “major drug traffickers who help finance the insurgency” to be killed or captured by the military. Therefore, if traffickers help the Taliban, they will be attacked – but if they support government forces, they apparently will be left alone. This suggests that the drug war is used to target enemies.

Julien Mercille is lecturer at University College Dublin, Ireland.

Is Edward Snowden a Radical?

June 8th, 2014 by William Blum

Is Edward Snowden a radical? 

The dictionary defines a radical as “an advocate of political and social revolution”, the adjective form being “favoring or resulting in extreme or revolutionary changes”.

That doesn’t sound like Snowden as far as what has been publicly revealed. In common usage, the term “radical” usually connotes someone or something that goes beyond the generally accepted boundaries of socio-political thought and policies; often used by the Left simply to denote more extreme than, or to the left of, a “liberal”.

In his hour-long interview on NBC, May 28, in Moscow, Snowden never expressed, or even implied, any thought – radical or otherwise – about United States foreign policy or the capitalist economic system under which we live, the two standard areas around which many political discussions in the US revolve. In fact, after reading a great deal by and about Snowden this past year, I have no idea what his views actually are about these matters. To be sure, in the context of the NBC interview, capitalism was not at all relevant, but US foreign policy certainly was.

Snowden was not asked any direct questions about foreign policy, but if I had been in his position I could not have replied to several of the questions without bringing it up. More than once the interview touched upon the question of whether the former NSA contractor’s actions had caused “harm to the United States”. Snowden said that he’s been asking the entire past year to be presented with evidence of such harm and has so far received nothing. I, on the other hand, as a radical, would have used the opportunity to educate the world-wide audience about how the American empire is the greatest threat to the world’s peace, prosperity, and environment; that anything to slow down the monster is to be desired; and that throwing a wrench into NSA’s surveillance gears is eminently worthwhile toward this end; thus, “harm” indeed should be the goal, not something to apologize for.

Edward added that the NSA has been unfairly “demonized” and that the agency is composed of “good people”. I don’t know what to make of this.

When the war on terrorism was discussed in the interview, and the question of whether Snowden’s actions had hurt that effort, he failed to take the opportunity to point out the obvious and absolutely essential fact – that US foreign policy, by its very nature, regularly and routinely creates anti-American terrorists.

When asked what he’d say to President Obama if given a private meeting, Snowden had no response at all to make. I, on the other hand, would say to Mr. Obama: “Mr. President, in your time in office you’ve waged war against seven countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. This makes me wonder something. With all due respect, sir: What is wrong with you?”

A radical – one genuine and committed – would not let such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass by unused. Contrary to what his fierce critics at home may believe, Edward Snowden is not seriously at war with America, its government or its society. Does he have a real understanding, analysis, or criticism of capitalism or US foreign policy? Does he think about what people could be like under a better social system? Is he, I wonder, even anti-imperialist?

And he certainly is not a conspiracy theorist, or at least keeps it well hidden. He was asked about 9-11 and replied:

The 9/11 commission … when they looked at all the classified intelligence from all the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed … to detect this plot. We actually had records of the phone calls from the United States and out. The CIA knew who these guys were. The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we had.

Whereas I might have pointed out that the Bush administration may have ignored the information because they wanted something bad – perhaps of unknown badness – to happen in order to give them the justification for all manner of foreign and domestic oppression they wished to carry out. And did. (This scenario of course excludes the other common supposition, that it was an “inside job”, in which case collecting information on the perpetrators would not have been relevant.)

The entire segment concerning 9/11 was left out of the television broadcast of the interview, although some part of it was shown later during a discussion. This kind of omission is of course the sort of thing that feeds conspiracy theorists.

All of the above notwithstanding, I must make it clear that I have great admiration for the young Mr. Snowden, for what he did and for how he expresses himself. He may not be a radical, but he is a hero. His moral courage, nerve, composure, and technical genius are magnificent. I’m sure the NBC interview won him great respect and a large number of new supporters. I, in Edward’s place, would be even more hated by Americans than he is, even if I furthered the radicalization of more of them than he has. However, I of course would never have been invited onto mainstream American television for a long interview in prime time. (Not counting my solitary 15 minutes of fame in 2006 courtesy of Osama bin Laden; a gigantic fluke happening.)

Apropos Snowden’s courage and integrity, it appears that something very important has not been emphasized in media reports: In the interview, he took the Russian government to task for a new law requiring bloggers to register – the same government which holds his very fate in their hands.

Who is more exceptional: The United States or Russia?

I was going to write a commentary about President Obama’s speech to the graduating class at the US Military Academy (West Point) on May 28. When he speaks to a military audience the president is usually at his most nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist – wall-to-wall platitudes. But this talk was simply TOO nationalistic, jingoist, militaristic, and American-exceptionalist. (“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.”) To go through it line by line in order to make my usual wise-ass remarks, would have been just too painful. However, if you’re in a masochistic mood and wish to read it, it can be found here.

Instead I offer you part of a commentary from Mr. Jan Oberg, Danish director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research in Lund, Sweden:

What is conspicuously lacking in the President’s West Point speech?

  1. Any reasonably accurate appraisal of the world and the role of other nations.
  2. A sense of humility and respect for allies and other countries in this world.
  3. Every element of a grand strategy for America for its foreign and security policy and some kind of vision of what a better world would look like. This speech with all its tired, self-aggrandising rhetoric is a thin cover-up for the fact that there is no such vision or overall strategy.
  4. Some little hint of reforms of existing institutions or new thinking about globalisation and global democratic decision-making.
  5. Ideas and initiatives – stretched-out hands – to help the world move towards conflict-resolution in crisis areas such as Ukraine, Syria, Libya, China-Japan and Iran. Not a trace of creativity.

Ironically, on May 30 the Wall Street Journal published a long essay by Leon Aron, a Russia scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The essay took Russian president Vladimir Putin to task for claiming that Russia is exceptional. The piece was headed:

“Why Putin Says Russia Is Exceptional”

“Such claims have often heralded aggression abroad and harsh crackdowns at home.”

It states: “To Mr. Putin, in short, Russia was exceptional because it was emphatically not like the modern West – or not, in any event, like his caricature of a corrupt, morally benighted Europe and U.S. This was a bad omen, presaging the foreign policy gambits against Ukraine that now have the whole world guessing about Mr. Putin’s intentions.”

So the Wall Street Journal has no difficulty in ascertaining that a particular world leader sees his country as “exceptional”. And that such a perception can lead that leader or his country to engage in aggression abroad and crackdowns at home. The particular world leader so harshly judged in this manner by the Wall Street Journal is named Vladimir Putin, not Barack Obama. There’s a word for this kind of analysis – It’s called hypocrisy.

“Hypocrisy is anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.” – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi, (1828-1910) Russian writer

Is hypocrisy a moral failing or a failing of the intellect?

The New Cold War is getting to look more and more like the old one, wherein neither side allows the other to get away with any propaganda point. Just compare any American television network to the Russian station broadcast in the United States – RT (formerly Russia Today). The contrast in coverage of the same news events is remarkable, and the stations attack and make fun of each other by name.

Another, even more important, feature to note is that in Cold War I the United States usually had to consider what the Soviet reaction would be to a planned American intervention in the Third World. This often served as a brake to one extent or another on Washington’s imperial adventures. Thus it was that only weeks after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the United States bombed and invaded Panama, inflicting thousands of casualties and widespread destruction, for the flimsiest – bordering on the non-existent – of reasons.The hostile Russian reaction to Washington’s clear involvement in the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in February of this year, followed by Washington’s significant irritation and defensiveness toward the Russian reaction, indicates that this Cold War brake may have a chance of returning. And for this we should be grateful.

After the “communist threat” had disappeared and the foreign policy of the United States continued absolutely unchanged, it meant that the Cold War revisionists had been vindicated – the conflict had not been about containing an evil called “communism”; it had been about American expansion, imperialism and capitalism. If the collapse of the Soviet Union did not result in any reduction in the American military budget, but rather was followed by large increases, it meant that the Cold War – from Washington’s perspective – had not been motivated by a fear of the Russians, but purely by ideology.

Lest we forget: Our present leaders can derive inspiration from other great American leaders.

White House tape recordings, April 25, 1972:

President Nixon: How many did we kill in Laos?

National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen [thousand] …

Nixon: See, the attack in the North [Vietnam] that we have in mind … power plants, whatever’s left – POL [petroleum], the docks … And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?

Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.

Nixon: No, no, no … I’d rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?

Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.

Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.

May 2, 1972:

Nixon: America is not defeated. We must not lose in Vietnam. … The surgical operation theory is all right, but I want that place bombed to smithereens. If we draw the sword, we’re gonna bomb those bastards all over the place. Let it fly, let it fly.

“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” – Michael Ledeen, former Defense Department consultant and holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

Help needed from a computer expert

This has been driving me crazy for a very long time. My printer doesn’t print the document I ask it to print, but instead prints something totally unrelated. But what it prints is always something I’ve had some contact with, like an email I received or a document I read online, which I may or may not have saved on my hard drive, mostly not. It’s genuinely weird.

Now, before I print anything, I close all other windows in my word processor (Word Perfect/Windows 7); I go offline; I specify printing only the current page, no multiple page commands. Yet, the printer usually still finds some document online and prints it.

At one point I cleared out all the printer caches, and that helped for a short while, but then the problem came back though the caches were empty.

I spoke to the printer manufacturer, HP, and they said it can’t be the fault of the printer because the printer only prints what the computer tells it to print.

It must be the CIA or NSA. Help!

 

Notes

  1. William Blum, Killing Hope, chapter 50
  2. Jonah Goldberg, “Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two”, National Review, April 23, 2002

USS Liberty: Government Betrayal and Cover-up Finally Exposed

June 8th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

This article was published by Global Research June 8, 2011. Today marks the 47th anniversary of this attack.

Author’s Note: 

This article was written by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts in 2008.  It was published in July 2008, and is based entirely on documented sources and on interviews with the survivors.  Today marks 44 years since this heinous war crime was not only committed but has been covered up — by all succeeding administrations and mainstream media.  It is a “must read” for those concerned about an attack on America; the needless slaughter of American citizens.

June 8, 1967 — the fourth day of the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan — was a beautiful day in the Mediterranean. The USS Liberty was in international waters off the coast of Egypt. Israeli aircraft had flown over the USS Liberty in the morning and had reported that the ship was American. The crew, in close proximity to the war zone, was reassured by the presence of Israeli aircraft. But at 2:00 p.m. sailors sunbathing on the deck saw fighter jets coming at them in attack formation. Red flashes from the wings of the fighters were followed by explosions, blood and death. A beautiful afternoon suddenly became a nightmare. Who was attacking the USS Liberty and why? The attack on the Liberty was an attack on America.

The Liberty was an intelligence ship. Its purpose was to monitor Soviet and Arab communications in order to warn both Israel and Washington should the Soviets enter the war on behalf of its Arab allies. The Liberty was armed only with four machine guns to repel boarders. Its request for a destroyer escort had been denied.

The assault on the Liberty is well documented. With no warning, the Liberty was attacked by successive waves of unmarked jets using cannon, rockets and napalm. The attacking jets jammed all of the US communications frequencies, an indication they knew the Liberty was an American ship.

The air attack failed to sink the Liberty. About 30 minutes into the attack three torpedo boats appeared flying the Star of David. The Israeli boats were not on a rescue mission. They attacked the Liberty with cannon, machine guns and torpedoes. One torpedo struck the Liberty mid-ship, instantly killing 25 Americans while flooding the lower decks. The Israeli torpedo boats destroyed the life rafts the Liberty launched when the crew prepared to abandon ship, sending the message there’d be no survivors.

At approximately 3:15 two French-built Israeli helicopters carrying armed Israeli troops appeared over the Liberty. Phil Tourney could see their faces only 50/60 feet away. He gave them the finger. Surviving crew members are convinced the Israelis were sent to board and kill all survivors.

The Israeli jets destroyed the Liberty’s communication antennas. While under attack from the jets, crew members strung lines that permitted the ship to send a call for help. The USS Saratoga and the USS America launched fighters to drive off the attacking aircraft, but the rescue mission was aborted by direct orders from Washington.

When the Liberty notified the Sixth Fleet it was again under attack, this time from surface ships, the Fleet commander ordered the carriers America and Saratoga to launch fighters to destroy or drive off the attackers. The order was unencrypted and picked up by Israel, which immediately called off its attack. The torpedo boats and the hovering helicopters sped away. Israel quickly notified Washington that it had mistakenly attacked an American ship, and the US fighters were recalled a second time.

The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and 174 wounded. Although the expensive state of the art ship was kept afloat by the heroic crew, it later proved unsalvageable and was sold as scrap.

Why didn’t help come?

No explanation has ever been given by the US government for Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s orders for the Sixth Fleet to abort the rescue mission. Lt. Commander David Lewis of the Liberty told colleagues that Admiral L. R. Geis, commander of the Sixth Fleet carrier force, told him that when he challenged McNamara’s order to recall the rescue mission, LBJ came on the line and said he didn’t care if the ship sank, he wasn’t going to embarrass an ally. The communications officer handling the transmission has given the same account.

A BBC documentary on the Israeli raid reports confusion about the attacker’s identity almost resulted in a US assault on Egypt. Richard Parker, US political counsel in Cairo, confirms in the BBC documentary he received official communication an American retaliatory attack on Egypt was on its way.

The US government’s official position on the USS Liberty corresponds with Israel’s: The attack was unintentional and a result of Israeli blunders. This is the official position despite the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State Lucius Battle, and a long list of US Navy officers, government officials and Liberty survivors are on record saying the Israeli attack was intentional.

According to Helms, Battle and the minutes of a White House meeting, President Johnson believed the attack was intentional. Helms says LBJ was furious and complained when The New York Times buried the story on page 29, but that Johnson decided he had to publicly accept Israel’s explanation. “The political pressure was too much,” Helms said.

US communications personnel, intelligence analysts and ambassadors report having read US intercepts of Israeli orders to attack the Liberty. In one intercept an Israeli pilot reports that the Liberty is an American ship and asks for a repeat and clarification of his orders to attack an American ship. One Israeli who identified himself as one of the pilots later came to America and met with US Representative Pete McCloskey and Liberty survivors. The pilot said he had refused to participate in the attack when he saw it was an American ship. He was arrested upon returning to base.

The Liberty flew the US flag. The ship’s markings, GTR-5, measured several feet in height on both sides of the bow. On the stern the ship was clearly marked USS LIBERTY. Mistaking the Liberty for an Egyptian ship, as Israel claims to have done, was impossible.

Tattered flags show ferocity of the attacks

The Israelis claim the Liberty flew no flag, but two US flags full of holes from the attack exist. When the first flag was shot down, crewmen replaced it with a flag 7-feet by 13-feet. This flag, with its battle scars, is on display at NSA headquarters at Ft. Mead, Maryland.

Admiral John S. McCain Jr., the father of the current US senator, ordered Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and Captain Ward Boston to hold a court of inquiry and to complete the investigation in only one week. In a signed affidavit Captain Boston said President Johnson ordered a cover-up and that he and Admiral Kidd were prevented from doing a real investigation. Liberty survivors were ordered never to speak to anyone about the event. Their silence was finally broken when Lt. Commander Jim Ennes published his book, Assault on the Liberty .

It is now established fact that the attack on the Liberty was intentional and was covered up by President Johnson and every administration since. There has never been a congressional investigation, nor has the testimony of the majority of survivors ever been officially taken. Moreover, testimony that conflicted with the cover-up was deleted from the official record.

Disgusted by the US government’s official stance discounting the survivors’ reports, Admiral Tom Moorer, retired Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, organized the Moorer Commission to make public the known facts about the attack and cover-up. The Commission consisted of Admiral Moorer, former Judge Advocate General of the US Navy Admiral Merlin Staring, Marine Corps General Raymond G. Davis and former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins.

The Commission’s Report concluded:

“That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.

“That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the US Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack.

“That surviving crew members were threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment or worse’ if they exposed the truth; and [the survivors] were abandoned by their own government.

“That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history.

“That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation.”

Why did Israel attack the Liberty? Was something super secret going on that is so damaging it must be protected at all cost?

Some experts believe Tel Aviv decided to sink the Liberty because the ship’s surveillance capability would discover Israel’s impending invasion and capture of Syria’s Golan Heights, an action opposed by Washington. Others believe Israel was concerned the Liberty would discover Israel’s massacre of hundreds of Egyptian POWs, a war crime contemporaneous with the attack on the US ship. Still others believe that Israel intended to blame the attack on Egypt in order to bring America into the war. It is known the US was providing Israel with reconnaissance and that there were joint US-Israeli covert operations against the Arabs that Washington was desperate to keep secret.

Survivors with whom I spoke said the attack was the easy part of the experience. The hard part has been living with 40 years of official cover-up and betrayal by the US government. One survivor said that he was asked to leave his Baptist church when he spoke about the Liberty, because the minister and fellow church-goers felt more loyalty to Israel than to a member of the congregation who had served his country. His church’s position was that if our government believed Israel, the survivors should also.

Survivor Phil Tourney said that “being forced to live with a cover-up is like being raped and no one will believe you.”

Survivor Gary Brummett said he “feels like someone who has been locked up for 40 years on a wrongful conviction.” Until the US government acknowledges the truth of the attack, Brummett says the survivors are forced to live with the anger and dismay of being betrayed by the country they served.

Survivor Bryce Lockwood has been angry for 40 years. The torpedo that killed his shipmates, wrecked his ship and damaged his health was made in the USA.

Survivor Ernie Gallo told me he “has been haunted for four decades” by the knowledge that his commander-in-chief recalled the US fighters that could have prevented most of the Liberty’s casualties.

Every American should be troubled by the fact that the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense prevented the US Sixth Fleet from protecting a US Navy ship and its 294-man crew from foreign attack. They should also be troubled that the President ordered the Navy to determine the attack was unintentional.

For more information, visit the USS Liberty site.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Pres

GR Editor’s Note

Below is the full transcript of president Poroshenko’s inauguration speech which suggests no compromise or even dialogue with the federalists in Eastern Ukraine, who are considered as “terrorists”.

It also confirms that Poroshenko will sign the agreement with the EU, with a view to eventually becoming a full member state of the European Union.

At this stage, these are rhetorical yet significant statements. Poroshenko is negotiating behind closed doors not only with Obama, Merkel, Hollande, Cameron but also with Vladimir Putin.  An undisclosed agreement has been reached according to reports between Poroshenko and Putin in the context of the D-Day Commemoration in Normandy.

At a press-conference on June 6, Vladimir Putin “told journalists that he welcomes Poroshenko’s “positive thinking” on resolving the Ukrainian crisis and his position that the bloodshed “should be immediately stopped.”

The speech, however, does not suggest an end to the bloodshed. Poroshenko is committed to a military crackdown on the federalist insurgency.

Meanwhile, the Kiev government no longer controls a large part of its South Eastern Ukrainian border with Russia (Donesk and Lugansk), nor does it control the entry to the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea through the Kerch straits and the functioning of its main port cities in the sea of Azov.

Federalist insurgents took control of border check points with Russia “forcing Ukraine border guards to abandon a 130-kilometer stretch of its border with Russia”.  At the same time there are reports that, following the takeover of the checkpoints, Kiev is intent upon “reformatting” –i.e. militarizing  “with motor-maneuverable groups”– its entire border with Russia , which would inevitably lead to a bloody confrontation with the insurgents. 

In his speech Poroshenko refers to the important 19th Century legacy of Ivan Franko and Mykhailo Drahomanov. He does not mention Stepan Bandera but he acknowledges Symon Petliura, who was a brutal nazi collaborator.

To  what extent does Poroshenko exercise real political power in Ukraine?

What changes are to be expected in the interim government, the composition of which was in large part determined by Washington.

Will the Neo-Nazi parties retain their control over the National Defense and Security Commission? 

After his meeting with Putin at the D-Day event in France, Poroshenko confirmed on Ukrainian TV that a Russian representative would be traveling to Kiev on June 8 for followup discussions.

Michel Chossudovsky, June 8, 2014

Full Transcript of Speech

English translation from Ukrainian   [emphasis added]

Dear compatriots from Lviv to Donetsk, from Chernihiv to Sevastopol!

We, Ukrainians, “are a living spark in the family of European nations and active members of European civilizational work”. These are the words of Ivan Franko.

“To stand with one’s feet and heart in Ukraine and one’s head in Europe,” Mykhailo Drahomanov commanded.

The return of Ukraine to its natural, European state has been long-awaited by many generations.

Dictatorship that ruled Ukraine in recent years sought to deprive us of this prospect – people rebelled.

Victorious Revolution of dignity has not only changed the government.

The country has changed. People have changed.

The time of inevitable positive changes has come.

To implement them, we need first of all peace, security and unity.

A real war, planned and unleashed in the Ukrainian Donbas, became an obstacle for enormous opportunities that opened for the European modernization of Ukraine after the fall of tyranny.

Until now, many people thought that we got independence without any difficulty.

It is not true! Entire generations of Ukrainian patriots struggled for our independence.

Heroes of Nebesna Sotnya died for it.

Warriors and civilians of Ukraine die for it.

Let us honor the memory of those who died for freedom and independence of Ukraine with a moment of silence.

[Moment of silence]

I become a President to preserve and strengthen the unity of Ukraine.

To ensure lasting peace and guarantee reliable security.

I know: peace is the main thing aspired by the people of Ukraine today.

The Head of State has a wide choice of various instruments to ensure territorial integrity of Ukraine and peaceful life of citizens.

I will have enough powers and determination. I do not want war. I do not want revenge. Even though there are great sacrifices of the people of Ukraine before my eyes.

I want peace and I will secure the unity of Ukraine. Thus, I begin my work offering a peaceful plan.

I strongly urge everyone who illegally took weapons in their hands to lay them down.

In response, I first of all guarantee the exemption from criminal responsibility for those who do not have blood of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians on their hands.  And those who are not involved in funding terrorism.

Second, a controlled corridor for Russian mercenaries who would like to return home.

Third, peaceful dialogue.

Certainly, not with “strielky”, “abvery”, “bisy” and other criminals.

I am speaking of the dialogue with peaceful citizens of Ukraine.

Even with those who have different opinion on the future of Ukraine. Today, I would like to address compatriots from Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Dear our brothers and sisters, compatriots!

Many of you have already felt the “pleasures” of the rule of terrorists.

In addition to pillage and abuse of civilians, they led the economy of the region, which has already been in crisis conditions, to the brink of total disaster.

But under no circumstances will we leave you in the lurch.

Nationwide presidential elections has put a bold cross on the myth of allegedly illegitimate Kyiv authorities.

This myth has been created by Russian propaganda and clan of Yanukovych who betrayed the Donbas and robbed it even more than the whole country.

He has been inseparably ruling Donetsk region for 17 years. And now, he is funding terrorists.

It is he who shall be totally responsible for political and socio-economic situation of the region.

For unemployment, for poverty and for refugees.

For killed citizens and for mothers’ tears.

As President, with what will I come to you in the nearest time?

With peace.

With project of government decentralization.

With guarantee of free usage of Russian language in your region.

With strong intention not to divide people into right and wrong Ukrainians.

With respect for the specifics of regions. For the right of local communities to their peculiarities in the issues of historic memory, pantheon of heroes, religious traditions.

With project on creation of jobs in the East of Ukraine elaborated jointly with our partners from the EU before the elections.

With the prospect of investment, with draft program for the economic reconstruction of the Donbas.

Today, we need a legitimate partner for the dialogue. We will not speak to bandits. Acting local deputies do not represent anyone there already. We are ready to declare early local elections in the Donbas.

This is my peaceful plan for the Donbas and the whole country.

The issue on territorial integrity of Ukraine is not subject to discussion.

I have just sworn “with all my undertakings to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” and I will always be faithful to this sacred promise.

The number of people with whom I was honored to communicate in the course of the election campaign has exceeded one million.

Ukraine is diverse, but it is strong and single in spirit!

Striving for peace and unity of our state prevails in all regions of Ukraine.

I am deeply impressed with patriotism of citizens in southern and eastern regions, from Odessa to Kharkiv.

Peace has not come yet, but today we can confidently say that hard challenges united Ukrainian family.

They strengthened us as Ukrainian political nation which is confident in its European choice.

Our people has never been so strong.

But freedom is not given once and forever. One must always struggle for it.

Peace that we hope to achieve in the nearest time will not last long unless we strengthen our security properly.

For peace to become lasting, we must get used to living in constant combat readiness.

We have to keep the gunpowder dry.

Army and its re-equipment by means of national military-industrial complex is our top priority.

Moreover, state orders for military-industrial enterprises will give a boost to reindustrialization of the economy.

Those who grudge money for the armed forces feed foreign army.

Our army must become a true elite of the Ukrainian community.

The word “general” must be associated with the word “hero”, not with the word “corruption”.

We must do ourselves everything to ensure lasting peace and security of Ukraine.

Our most reliable allies and the best guarantors of peace are our army, fleet, the National Guard and professional special forces!

Nobody will protect us until we learn to defend ourselves.

I will use my diplomatic experience to ensure the signature of an international agreement that would replace the Budapest Memorandum.

Such agreement must provide direct and reliable guarantees of peace and security – up to military support in case of threat to territorial integrity.

Any aggressor on the border of Ukraine must remember the saying from the Gospel: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Citizens of Ukraine will never enjoy the beauty of peace unless we settle down our relations with Russia.

Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is, and will be Ukrainian soil.

Yesterday, in the course of the meeting in Normandy, I told this to President Putin – Crimea is Ukrainian soil. Period!

There can be no compromise in the issues on Crimea, European choice and state structure.

Anything else shall be discussed and negotiated.

Any attempts of external and internal enslavement of Ukrainians meet and will meet the most determined resistance.

We want to be free.

To live in a new way means to live freely under a political system that guarantees rights and freedoms of person and nation.

I would like to emphasize my commitment to parliamentary-presidential republic.

No usurpation of power!

European democracy for me is the best form of government invented by mankind.

It is the European choice which tells us that significant part of powers must be immediately delegated from the center to local governments.

Reform on decentralization will begin this year with amendments to the Constitution.

Newly elected local councils will receive new powers.

Still, Ukraine was, is and will be a unitary state.

Dreams of federation have no grounds in Ukraine.

Early parliamentary elections are an important part of public request for a full reset of government.

Let us be honest!

Current composition of this distinguished assembly does not match the mood of society. For it has changed significantly in 2012. A new way to live does not mean to ignore the will of the people.

To live freely means to freely use mother tongue.

I will be guided by Article 10 of the Constitution.

It defines the Ukrainian language as single state language, but guarantees free development of Russian and other languages.

The words “work”, “peace”, “salary”, “pension”, “scholarship” sound alike both in Russian and Ukrainian languages.

Availability of work is what enables a person to live comfortably.

So far, I got the greatest professional satisfaction from the creation of new jobs.

What can console a man more than work and decent salary for it?

Entrepreneurs must create new jobs. And the matter of President is to ensure conditions for nobody and nothing to interfere with work.

The state will appreciate the contribution of the employer and taxpayer in the economy and social sphere.

Providing people with work and decent salary is the first guarantee of internal peace and national security.

While economic management falls within the competence of free market or the Government, President as a guarantor of the Constitution is obliged to provide conditions for innovative economy and social justice.

Fair distribution of national wealth is an urgent demand of time.

But we must increase the national wealth before distributing it.

Ukraine has everything to ensure the European prosperity for people.

We can and want to live by our own labor; we are able to be creative and innovative.

We even learn not to be jealous of the success of our neighbor or colleague.

But we are still taking a backseat.

Why?

Because unlike us, European countries have built the economy of free competition. The economy of new ideas, business initiative, hard work, constant self-improvement.

It will be the same in Ukraine.

But we must eliminate corruption for this end.

We need a national anti-corruption pact between the government and the people.

It is simple: officials do not take and people do not give.

We won’t be able to change the country unless we change ourselves, our attitude to our life and the life of the country.

Each of us shares the responsibility for the fact that Ukraine has come to a crisis state.

Someone considered it normal not to pay taxes.

Someone lived  high at the cost of the state budget.

Someone voted and held rallies for money.

Someone received undeserved benefits and awards.

Together we destroyed the foundation of public trust, principles of law and social organization.

European choice of Ukraine – is the heart of our national ideal.

It is a choice made by our ancestors and prophets.

And what exactly do we have to do to live freely, to live comfortably, to live in peace and security?

It is written in the agreement on political association and free trade area with the EU.

Together we have contributed to this document. Now I dream to make it real, and for this end we need to sign the economic part of the agreement as soon as possible.

My pen is in my hands and as soon as the EU approves the respective decision, the signature of the President of Ukraine will appear in this fateful document.

We have no right to delay the signing of the economic part of the deal.

The same goes for the speedy introduction of visa-free regime with the EU for Ukraine. We have completed the first stage and we will manage to finish the second stage very quickly for Ukrainians to be able to travel without visas starting from January 2015.

As for the Association Agreement, we consider it as the first step towards full membership in the EU.

Nobody has the right to veto the European choice of Ukraine.

To recognize this means to pursue a policy of peace and tranquility in Ukraine.

But such policy failed in the thirties of the last century.

To implement our ambitious plans, we need not only peace and unity of the country, but also consolidation of all patriotic, pro-Ukrainian and pro-European forces.

We must always keep in mind the harsh lessons of the national liberation struggle of the seventeenth-twenties of the last century.

At that time, our politicians were not able to unite and resist aggression jointly.

Volodymyr Vynnychenko fought against Mykhailo Hrushevskyi, Symon Petliura fought against Pavlo Skoropadskyi. And Nestor Makhno fought against all.

Constant quarrels and conflicts among the prominent Ukrainians resulted in the loss of our independence.

Conclusions should be done not only with old archives, but also with recent events.

We must not repeat old mistakes and have to ensure coordinated work of the President, the Parliament and the Cabinet.

It’s time to build a new big country. Modern, high-tech, tenable, competitive country.

Let us consider the experience of countries that have emerged on the political map only a few decades ago, but become leaders by choosing the development of intellect and modern technologies.

For the most valuable thing is not money, factories or companies, but “human capital” of Ukraine.

I have no doubt that we will overcome all difficulties, defend the territorial integrity of our country and provide peace and tranquility.

Nobody will turn us into slaves of criminals and bureaucracy, servants of the colonial power.

The whole world supports us. Over the past three days I was able to verify that.

The whole Ukraine and all Ukrainians worldwide united around the idea of independence, freedom, dignity, rule of law, European integration.

People has already had its say. In the course of the revolution. In the course of the resistance to the aggression. In the course of the elections. Now it is our turn, the turn of the government.

I extend hand of peace to those who voted for me and those who did not vote.

To everyone who will help establish peace, order and tranquility in Ukraine.

To everyone who believe in the European future of Ukraine.

We, the people that was isolated from its great European Homeland, are coming home.

Once and for all.

Peace be with us!

May God bless us!

Glory to Ukraine!

The Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

June 8th, 2014 by Lawrence Britt

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed
to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

President Putin has hailed the Ukrainian president-elect’s “plan” to resolve crisis in the country, stressing that Ukraine should start internal dialogue, and that Russia is not a party to the conflict.

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s president-elect Petro Poroshenko have briefly spoken on the sidelines of the D-Day anniversary celebrations in Normandy.

Both leaders “have spoken for a prompt end to bloodshed in southeast Ukraine as well as for an end to military actions from both sides – from the side of the Ukrainian armed forces and the supporters of federalization of Ukraine,” said Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.

Putin and Poroshenko also agreed that there is “no alternative” to “peaceful political means” to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko (R) talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a group photo during the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Benouville, France June 6, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Speaking at a press-conference later on Friday, Vladimir Putin told journalists that he welcomes Poroshenko’s “positive thinking” on resolving the Ukrainian crisis and his position that the bloodshed “should be immediately stopped.” He, however, did not give any details of the plan, saying that journalists should ask Poroshenko himself if they want to know more.

Putin has stressed that there should be negotiations between Kiev and eastern Ukraine, and Russia is not part of their domestic conflict.

The Russian president has called on the Ukrainian government to move on “to substantive work” with the people. “No one has suggested anything concrete to the people of the region,” he said.

Putin has also stressed that Kiev should immediately stop its “punitive operation” in the east of Ukraine.

Russia is also waiting to see thorough investigations of violence in Ukraine, including the deadly fire in the Odessa Trade Unions building on May 2.

In general, Putin said, he liked Poroshenko’s attitude and if he follows this course, the conditions will be created for the development “of our relations, in other fields too.”

“I can’t tell exactly how this will be implemented, but, in general, I liked the attitude. It seemed right to me and if this is what really happens, there will be conditions created to develop our relations in other fields too,” Putin said.

Vladimir Putin also touched upon economic relations between Moscow and Kiev, in particular, referring to Ukraine’s association with the EU.

“As soon as the treaty is signed and comes into force, we will be taking measures to secure the [Russian] economy,”Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chat at the international D-Day commemoration ceremony in Normandy, on June 6, 2014, marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. (AFP Photo / Alain Jocard)A part from his conversation with Poroshenko, Russia’s president also held meetings with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“On the margins of a lunch on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings of Normandy’s allies, President Putin had a short talk with Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and Petro Poroshenko,” Peskov said.

As President Putin himself noted, the most substantial dialogue he had was with President Hollande.

“We spoke in more detail about bilateral contacts, about economic ties and international problems, including the Iranian nuclear issue and Syria and also on some other issues, which are in our mutual interests,” Putin told reporters.

The brief negotiations were followed by a short meeting between Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Barack Obama. According to a White House official, their informal meeting lasted 10-15 minutes, Reuters reported.

“Despite that there was no separate meeting [scheduled], the leaders of the two states had an opportunity to share their views on the situation in Ukraine as well as on crisis in the east of the country. Putin and Obama have spoken for the necessity to reduce violence and military actions,” Peskov said.

On Thursday, the Russian president also spoke with UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The two met at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris, where they arrived ahead of the D-Day commemorations.

“Putin and Cameron discussed ways to resolve the situation in Ukraine and the prospects of revitalizing the Russian-UK dialogue,” Peskov said. “In the course of the conversation between Putin and Cameron, various issues of bilateral relations were discussed, including the topic of revitalizing the Russian-British dialogue, which is currently in a frozen state.”

The meetings between President Putin and major world leaders on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations come shortly after the G7 summit in Brussels, where Russia was not present for the first time in 17 years. The G7 leaders condemned Russia’s “continuing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and threatened that more sanctions would follow unless it helps to deescalate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

NATO leaders are currently acting out a deliberate charade in Europe, designed to reconstruct an Iron Curtain between Russia and the West.

With astonishing unanimity, NATO leaders feign surprise at events they planned months in advance. Events that they deliberately triggered are being misrepresented as sudden, astonishing, unjustified “Russian aggression”. The United States and the European Union undertook an aggressive provocation in Ukraine that they knew would force Russia to react defensively, one way or another.

They could not be sure exactly how Russian president Vladimir Putin would react when he saw that the United States was manipulating political conflict in Ukraine to install a pro-Western government intent on joining NATO.  This was not a mere matter of a “sphere of influence” in Russia’s “near abroad”, but a matter of life and death to the Russian Navy, as well as a grave national security threat on Russia’s border.

A trap was thereby set for Putin. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.  He could underreact, and betray Russia’s basic national interests, allowing NATO to advance its hostile forces to an ideal attack position.

Or he could overreact, by sending Russian forces to invade Ukraine.  The West was ready for this, prepared to scream that Putin was “the new Hitler”, poised to overrun poor, helpless Europe, which could only be saved (again) by the generous Americans.

In reality, the Russian defensive move was a very reasonable middle course.  Thanks to the fact that the overwhelming majority of Crimeans felt Russian, having been Russian citizens until Khrushchev frivolously bestowed the territory on Ukraine in 1954, a peaceful democratic solution was found.  Crimeans voted for their return to Russia in a referendum which was perfectly legal according to international law, although in violation of the Ukrainian constitution, which was by then in tatters having just been violated by the overthrow of the country’s duly elected president, Victor Yanukovych, facilitated by violent militias.  The change of status of Crimea was achieved without bloodshed, by the ballot box.

Nevertheless, the cries of indignation from the West were every bit as hysterically hostile as if Putin had overreacted and subjected Ukraine to a U.S.-style bombing campaign, or invaded the country outright – which they may have expected him to do.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry led the chorus of self-righteous indignation, accusing Russia of the sort of thing his own government is in the habit of doing. “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests. This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext”, Kerry pontificated.  “It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century”. Instead of laughing at this hypocrisy, U.S. media, politicians and punditry zealously took up the theme of Putin’s unacceptable expansionist aggression. The Europeans followed with a weak, obedient echo.

It Was All Planned at Yalta

 In September 2013, one of Ukraine’s richest oligarchs, Viktor Pinchuk, paid for an elite strategic conference on Ukraine’s future that was held in the same Palace in Yalta, Crimea, where Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill met to decide the future of Europe in 1945.  The Economist, one of the elite media reporting on what it called a “display of fierce diplomacy”, stated that: “The future of Ukraine, a country of 48m people, and of Europe was being decided in real time.” The participants included Bill and Hillary Clinton, former CIA head General David Petraeus, former U.S. Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, former World Bank head Robert Zoellick, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, Shimon Peres, Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Mario Monti, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, and Poland’s influential foreign minister Radek Sikorski.  Both President Viktor Yanukovych, deposed five months later, and his recently elected successor Petro Poroshenko were present. Former U.S. energy secretary Bill Richardson was there to talk about the shale-gas revolution which the United States hopes to use to weaken Russia by substituting fracking for Russia’s natural gas reserves.  The center of discussion was the “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement” (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, and the prospect of Ukraine’s integration with the West.  The general tone was euphoria over the prospect of breaking Ukraine’s ties with Russia in favor of the West.

Conspiracy against Russia?  Not at all. Unlike Bilderberg, the proceedings were not secret. Facing a dozen or so American VIPs and a large sampling of the European political elite was a Putin adviser named Sergei Glazyev, who made Russia’s position perfectly clear.

Glazyev injected a note of political and economic realism into the conference.   Forbes reported at the time  on the “stark difference” between the Russian and Western views “not over the advisability of Ukraine’s integration with the EU but over its likely impact.”  In contrast to Western euphoria, the Russian view was based on “very specific and foolsjohnstonepointed economic criticisms” about the Trade Agreement’s impact on Ukraine’s economy, noting that Ukraine was running an enormous foreign accounts deficit, funded with foreign borrowing, and that the resulting substantial increase in Western imports ccould only swell the deficit.  Ukraine “will either default on its debts or require a sizable bailout”.

The Forbes reporter concluded that “the Russian position is far closer to the truth than the happy talk coming from Brussels and Kiev.”

As for the political impact, Glazyev pointed out that the Russian-speaking minority in Eastern Ukraine might move to split the country in protest against cutting ties with Russia, and that Russia would be legally entitled to support them, according to The Times of London.

In short, while planning to incorporate Ukraine into the Western sphere, Western leaders were perfectly aware that this move would entail serious problems with Russian-speaking Ukrainians, and with Russia itself.  Rather than seeking to work out a compromise, Western leaders decided to forge ahead and to blame Russia for whatever would go wrong.  What went wrong first was that Yanukovych  got cold feet faced with the economic collapse implied by the Trade Agreement with the European Union.  He postponed signing, hoping for a better deal. Since none of this was explained clearly to the Ukrainian public, outraged protests ensued, which were rapidly exploited by the United States… against Russia.

Ukraine as Bridge…Or Achilles Heel

Ukraine, a term meaning borderland, is a country without clearly fixed historical borders that has been stretched too far to the East and too far to the West.  The Soviet Union was responsible for this, but the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the result is a country without a unified identity and which emerges as a problem for itself and for its neighbors.

It was extended too far East, incorporating territory that might as well have been Russian, as part of a general policy to distinguish the USSR from the Tsarist empire, enlarging Ukraine at the expense of its Russian component and demonstrating that the Soviet Union was really a union among equal socialist republics.  So long as the whole Soviet Union was run by the Communist leadership, these borders didn’t matter too much.

It was extended too far West at the end of World War II. The victorious Soviet Union extended Ukraine’s border to include Western regions, dominated by the city variously named Lviv, Lwow,  Lemberg or Lvov, depending on whether it belonged to Lithuania, Poland, the Habsburg Empire or the USSR, a region which was a hotbed of anti-Russian sentiments. This was no doubt conceived as a defensive move, to neutralize hostile elements, but it created the fundamentally divided nation that today constitutes the perfect troubled waters for hostile fishing.

The Forbes report cited above pointed out that: “For most of the past five years, Ukraine was basically playing a double game, telling the EU that it was interested in signing the DCFTA while telling the Russians that it was interested in joining the customs union.”  Either Yanukovych could not make up his mind, or was trying to squeeze the best deal out of both sides, or was seeking the highest bidder.  In any case, he was never “Moscow’s man”, and his downfall owes a lot no doubt to his own role in playing both ends against the middle. His was a dangerous game of pitting greater powers against each other.

It is safe to say that what was needed was something that so far seems totally lacking in Ukraine: a leadership that recognizes the divided nature of the country and works diplomatically to find a solution that satisfies both the local populations and their historic ties with the Catholic West and with Russia.  In short, Ukraine could be a bridge between East and West – and this, incidentally, has been precisely the Russian position.  The Russian position has not been to split Ukraine, much less to conquer it, but to facilitate the country’s role as bridge.  This would involve a degree of federalism, of local government, which so far is entirely lacking in the country, with local governors selected not by election but by the central government in Kiev.  A federal Ukraine could both develop relations with the EU and maintain its vital (and profitable) economic relations with Russia.

But this arrangement calls for Western readiness to cooperate with Russia. The United States has plainly vetoed this possibility, preferring to exploit the crisis to brand Russia “the enemy”.

Plan A and Plan B

U.S. policy, already evident at the September 2013 Yalta meeting, was carried out on the ground by Victoria Nuland, former advisor to Dick Cheney, deputy ambassador to NATO, spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton, wife of neocon theorist Robert Kagan. Her leading role in the Ukraine events proves that the neo-con influence in the State Department, established under Bush II, was retained by Obama, whose only visible contribution to foreign policy change has been the presence of a man of African descent in the presidency, calculated to impress the world with U.S. multicultural virtue.  Like most other recent presidents, Obama is there as a temporary salesman for policies made and executed by others.

As Victoria Nuland boasted in Washington, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has spent five billion dollars to gain political influence in Ukraine (this is called “promoting democracy”).  This investment is not “for oil”, or for any immediate economic advantage. The primary motives are geopolitical, because Ukraine is Russia’s Achilles’ heel, the territory with the greatest potential for causing trouble to Russia.

What called public attention to Victoria Nuland’s role in the Ukrainian crisis was her use of a naughty word, when she told the U.S. ambassador, “Fuck the EU”.  But the fuss over her bad language veiled her bad intentions.  The issue was who should take power away from the elected president Viktor Yanukovych.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party been promoting former boxer Vitaly Klitschko as its candidate.  Nuland’s rude rebuff signified that the United States, not Germany or the EU, was to choose the next leader, and that was not Klitschko but “Yats”.  And indeed it was Yats, Arseniy Yatsenyuk , a second-string US-sponsored technocrat known for his enthusiasm for IMF austerity policies and NATO membership, who got the job. This put a U.S. sponsored government, enforced in the streets by fascist militia with little electoral clout but plenty of armed meanness, in a position to manage the May 25 elections, from which the Russophone East was largely excluded.

Plan A for the Victoria Nuland putsch was probably to install, rapidly, a government in Kiev that would join NATO, thus formally setting the stage for the United States to take possession of Russia’s indispensable Black Sea naval base at Sebastopol in Crimea.  Reincorporating Crimea into Russia was Putin’s necessary defensive move to prevent this.

But the Nuland gambit was in fact a win-win ploy.  If Russia failed to defend itself, it risked losing its entire southern fleet – a total national disaster.  On the other hand, if Russia reacted, as was most likely, the US thereby won a political victory that was perhaps its main objective.  Putin’s totally defensive move is portrayed by the Western mainstream media, echoing political leaders, as unprovoked “Russian expansionism”, which the propaganda machine compares to Hitler grabbing Czechoslovakia and Poland.

Thus a blatant Western provocation, using Ukrainian political confusion against a fundamentally defensive Russia, has astonishingly succeeded in producing a total change in the artificial Zeitgeist produced by Western mass media.  Suddenly, we are told that the “freedom-loving West” is faced with the threat of “aggressive Russian expansionism”.  Some forty years ago, Soviet leaders gave away the store under the illusion that peaceful renunciation on their part could lead to a friendly partnership with the West, and especially with the United States.  But those in the United States who never wanted to end the Cold War are having their revenge.  Never mind “communism”; if, instead of advocating the dictatorship of the proletariat, Russia’s current leader is simply old-fashioned in certain ways, Western media can fabricate a monster out of that.  The United States needs an enemy to save the world from.

The Protection Racket Returns

But first of all, the United States needs Russia as an enemy in order to “save Europe”,  which is another way to say, in order to continue to dominate Europe.  Washington policy-makers seemed to be worried that Obama’s swing to Asia and neglect of Europe might weaken U.S. control of its NATO allies.  The May 25 European Parliament elections revealed a large measure of disaffection with the European Union.  This disaffection, notably in France, is linked to a growing realization that the EU, far from being a potential alternative to the United States, is in reality a mechanism that locks European countries into U.S.-defined globalization, economic decline and U.S. foreign policy, wars and all.

Ukraine is not the only entity that has been overextended.  So has the EU.  With 28 members of diverse language, culture, history and mentality, the EU is unable to agree on any foreign policy other than the one Washington imposes.  The extension of the EU to former Eastern European satellites has totally broken whatever deep consensus might have been possible among the countries of the original Economic Community: France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux states.  Poland and the Baltic States see EU membership as useful, but their hearts are in America – where many of their most influential leaders have been educated and trained.  Washington is able to exploit the anti-communist, anti-Russian and even pro-Nazi nostalgia of northeastern Europe to raise the false cry of “the Russians are coming!” in order to obstruct the growing economic partnership between the old EU, notably Germany, and Russia.

Russia is no threat. But to vociferous Russophobes in the Baltic States, Western Ukraine and Poland, the very existence of Russia is a threat.  Encouraged by the United States and NATO, this endemic hostility is the political basis for the new “iron curtain” meant to achieve the aim spelled out in 1997 by Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard: keeping the Eurasian continent divided in order to perpetuate U.S. world hegemony.  The old Cold War served that purpose, cementing U.S. military presence and political influence in Western Europe. A new Cold War can prevent U.S. influence from being diluted by good relations between Western Europe and Russia.

Obama has come to Europe ostentatiously promising to “protect” Europe by basing more troops in regions as close as possible to Russia, while at the same time ordering Russia to withdraw its own troops, on its own territory, still farther away from troubled Ukraine.  This appears designed to humiliate Putin and deprive him of political support at home, at a time when protests are rising in Eastern Ukraine against the Russian leader for abandoning them to killers sent from Kiev.

To tighten the U.S. grip on Europe, the United States is using the artificial crisis to demand that its indebted allies spend more on “defense”, notably by purchasing U.S. weapons systems. Although the U.S. is still far from being able to meet Europe’s energy needs from the new U.S. fracking boom, this prospect is being hailed as a substitute for Russia’s natural gas sales  – stigmatized as a “way of exercising political pressure”, something of which hypothetic U.S. energy sales are presumed to be innocent.  Pressure is being brought against Bulgaria and even Serbia to block construction of the South Stream pipeline that would bring Russian gas into the Balkans and southern Europe.

From D-Day to Dooms Day

Today, June 6, the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day landing is being played in Normandy as a gigantic celebration of American domination, with Obama heading an all-star cast of European leaders. The last of the aged surviving soldiers and aviators present are like the ghosts of a more innocent age when the United States was only at the start of its new career as world master. They were real, but the rest is a charade.  French television is awash with the tears of young villagers in Normandy who have been taught that the United States is some sort of Guardian Angel, which sent its boys to die on the shores of Normandy out of pure love for France. This idealized image of the past is implicitly projected on the future.  In seventy years, the Cold War, a dominant propaganda narrative and above all Hollywood have convinced the French, and most of the West, that D-Day was the turning point that won World War II and saved Europe from Nazi Germany.

Vladimir Putin came to the celebration, and has been elaborately shunned by Obama, self-appointed arbiter of Virtue.  The Russians are paying tribute to the D-Day operation which liberated France from Nazi occupation, but they – and historians – know what most of the West has forgotten: that the Wehrmacht was decisively defeated not by the Normandy landing, but by the Red Army.  If the vast bulk of German forces had not been pinned down fighting a losing war on the Eastern front, nobody would celebrate D-Day as it is being celebrated today.

Putin is widely credited as being “the best chess player”, who won the first round of the Ukrainian crisis.  He has no doubt done the best he could, faced with the crisis foisted on him.  But the U.S. has whole ranks of pawns which Putin does not have. And this is not only a chess game, but chess combined with poker combined with Russian roulette. The United States is ready to take risks that the more prudent Russian leaders prefer to avoid… as long as possible.

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of the current charade is the servility of the “old” Europeans.  Apparently abandoning all Europe’s accumulated wisdom, drawn from its wars and tragedies, and even oblivious to their own best interests, today’s European leaders seem ready to follow their American protectors to another D-Day … D for Doom.

Can the presence of a peace-seeking Russian leader in Normandy make a difference?  All it would take would be for mass media to tell the truth, and for Europe to produce reasonably wise and courageous leaders, for the whole fake war machine to lose its luster, and for truth to begin to dawn. A peaceful Europe is still possible, but for how long?

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. She can be reached at [email protected]

Ninth-graders design science experiment to test the effect of cellphone radiation on plants. The results may surprise you.

Five ninth-grade young women from Denmark recently created a science experiment that is causing a stir in the scientific community.

It started with an observation and a question. The girls noticed that if they slept with their mobile phones near their heads at night, they often had difficulty concentrating at school the next day. They wanted to test the effect of a cellphone’s radiation on humans, but their school, Hjallerup School in Denmark, did not have the equipment to handle such an experiment. So the girls designed an experiment that would test the effect of cellphone radiation on a plant instead.

Photo courtesy of Kim Horsevad, teacher at Hjallerup Skole in Denmark.

The students placed six trays filled with Lepidium sativum, a type of garden cress into a room without radiation, and six trays of the seeds into another room next to two routers that according to the girls calculations, emitted about the same type of radiation as an ordinary cellphone.

Over the next 12 days, the girls observed, measured, weighed and photographed their results. Although by the end of the experiment the results were blatantly obvious — the cress seeds placed near the router had not grown. Many of them were completely dead. While the cress seeds planted in the other room, away from the routers, thrived.
The experiment earned the girls (pictured below) top honors in a regional science competition and the interest of scientists around the world.
Teens involved in plants and cellphone experiment, Hjallerup Skole

According to Kim Horsevad, a teacher at Hjallerup Skole in Denmark were the cress experiment took place, a neuroscience professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, is interested in repeating the experiment in controlled professional scientific environments.

Ukraine’s central government, located in Kiev, has given up manning the country’s border with Russia at areas in the southeast where popular opposition to the Kiev authorities has overwhelmed the Kiev government’s ability to police the border there. 

The central government’s border guards at the town of Severniy abandoned their post, on Thursday June 5th, so that now anyone can cross unimpeded there to and from Ukraine and Russia. This will enable Ukrainians who want to flee to do so, and it will also permit Russians who want to join the rebellion in Ukraine’s southeast (or simply to protect family-members who live there) to do so, with no difficulty on either side, and with no fear at the border-crossing.

This abandonment was reported by Agence France Presse. Russia’s Itar-Tass News Agency reported in more detail, saying that the decision was made by Ukraine’s central government and had broader scope than just Severny:

“‘To prevent the emergence of threats to the population’s life or health as a result of dangerous events taking place in certain areas, the cabinet [in Kiev, in the northwest] agreed with the State Border Service’s proposal to stop the operation of checkpoints,’ the government press service said in a press release on Thursday.”

Itar-Tass went on, to mention that Severny was one of a total of six abandoned border-crossings:

In Ukraine’s Lugansk region, the operation of the following checkpoints has been stopped: Dolzhansky, Chervonopartizansk, Krasnaya Mogila, Novoborovtsy and Severny. In the Donetsk region, the Marinovka checkpoint will be closed. The Ukrainian government has instructed the Foreign Ministry to inform Russia about the decision.”

The significance of this event is that it cedes control of the border there to Russia.

The Kiev government has been using helicopter and jet sorties into the region, and bombs, to persuade the residents that they will have to give up their opposition, in order to stay alive; but a lot more airpower will have to be devoted to that task than the Kiev government currently has at its command. On 14 April 2014, Reuters reported “U.S. Is Considering Arms to Ukraine.” However, for the U.S. to send weapons in any public way would be detrimental to America’s ability to persuade its European allies that the government that was installed in Ukraine in late February has democratic legitimacy, especially after the May 2nd massacre that took place in Odessa.

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has told the authorities in Kiev that putting down the rebellion will be a prerequisite to continuation of financial support for the deeply indebted government.

So, the current leader in Kiev, President Petro Poroshenko, has his work cut out for him — by the IMF, if not by the U.S. or anyone else.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

June 4, 2014 will for many mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. What it should actually mark is the anniversary of one of the more spectacular UK black information operations – almost on a par with the mythical Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The original story of Chinese troops on the night of 3 and 4 June, 1989 machine-gunning hundreds of innocent student protesters in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square has since been thoroughly discredited by the many witnesses there at the time — among them a Spanish TVE television crew, a Reuters correspondent and protesters themselves, who say that nothing happened other than a military unit entering and asking several hundred of those remaining to leave the Square late that night.

Yet none of this has stopped the massacre from being revived constantly, and believed. All that has happened is that the location has been changed – from the Square itself to the streets leading to the Square.

The original story began with a long article in English, published six days later in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, by an alleged protester whose whereabouts have never been ascertained. Anonymously planted stories are a favourite technique of UK black information authorities, but this did not stop it from being front-paged by the New York Times on June 12, together with photos of blazing troop-carrying buses and followed up by Tankman – the photo of a lone student allegedly trying to stop a row of army tanks from entering the Square. The myth of an unprovoked massacre has since taken root.

True, no one denies that large numbers of citizens and students were killed near the Square by soldiers seemingly out of control. But why?

Let’s go back to those photos of the burning buses. The popular view is that they were torched by angry protesters after the shooting began. In fact they were torched before. The evidence? Reports of charred corpses being strung up beneath overpasses (one photographed by Reuters remains unpublished), and photos of badly burned soldiers seeking shelter in nearby houses. Soldiers in that kind of situation tend to go out with guns blazing – just ask the good citizens of Fallujah, Iraq.

 

tiananmen square anniversary

Chinese Paramilitary security force officers walk past couples near Tiananmen Square in Beijing ahead of the 25th anniversary of the massacre Getty

Fortunately we also have the hourly reports from the US Embassy in the Beijing, available on the Internet, to tell us what actually happened. They note that originally the Beijing authorities had wanted to send in unarmed troops to clear the Square of remaining students as the protests were beginning to wind down. Blocked by the crowds, armed troops were bused in and this time they were blocked by crowds with petrol bombs, with ugly results. Even so, some units tried to restrain the out-of-control solders. And an embassy report of students killing a soldier trying to enter the Square could explain some of the carnage on its periphery.

As for Tankman, we now know from the cameraman himself that his widely-publicised photo was taken from his hotel window the day AFTER the riots, and the tanks were going away from, not into, the Square.

A detailed report by the authoritative Columbia Journalist Review, ‘The Tiananmen Massacre Myth and the Price of a Passive Press’ has since noted the media preference for blood and gore stories. But none of this seems to have dented the credibility of the Tiananmen massacre story.

True, some of the blame also lies with Beijing. Its campaigns to hunt down student protest leaders and to blame everything on anti-regime plots have not created a good impression. But it may have its reasons. Out of frustration as their long protest began to dissipate, some of the student leaders had called for action by the angry crowds still around the Square. And how did some in those crowds have access to petrol bombs – a weapon not used by Chinese rioters and allegedly responsible for over 400 vehicles being destroyed?

The regime had tolerated the protesters by allowing them to occupy its central square for six weeks. Its party general secretary had tried in vain to negotiate with them. And it later regretted how its lack of crowd control equipment meant it had had to rely on untrained soldiers. But then again, none of this would have happened if the regime itself had not been at fault in the past.

The words of well-known Taiwan-born writer Hou Dejian, who had been on the hunger strike on the Square to show solidarity with the students, says it all: “Some people said that 200 died in the Square and others claimed that as many as 2,000 died. There were also stories of tanks running over students who were trying to leave. I have to say that I did not see any of that. I myself was in the Square until 6:30 in the morning.

“I kept thinking — are we going to use lies to attack an enemy who lies?”

Gregory Clark is a former Australian diplomat, Chinese-speaking correspondent and university president resident in Japan. He can be found at www.gregoryclark.net.

The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.

Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.

Violating international norms, the Turkish government recently cut off the water supply of the Euphrates River completely. In fact, Ankara began to gradually reduce pumping Euphrates water about a month and half ago, then cut if off completely two weeks ago, according to information received by Al-Akhbar.

A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that water levels in the Lake Assad (a man-made water reservoir on the Euphrates) recently dropped by six meters from its normal levels (which means losing millions of cubic meters of water). The source warned that “a further drop of one additional meter would put the dam out of service.”

“We should cut off or reduce the water output of the dam, until the original problem regarding the blockage of the water supply is fixed,” the source explained.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) controlling the region the dam is located in did not suspend the water output. Employees of the General Institution of the Euphrates Dam are running the lake under the supervision of al-Qaeda linked ISIS, but they don’t have the authority to take serious decisions, such as reducing the water output. In addition, such a step is a mere attempt to ease the situation, and it will lose its efficacy if the water supply isn’t restored to the dam by Turkey.

The tragic repercussions of the new Turkish assault began to reveal themselves when water levels dropped in al-Khafsa in Aleppo’s eastern countryside (where a water pumping station from Lake Assad is located to pump water through water channels to Aleppo and its countryside).

The reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.

Meanwhile, water supplies in auxiliary reservoirs in al-Khafsa are close to being depleted and the reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. This threatens to leave seven million Syrians without access to water.

Also, Tishrin Dam stopped receiving any water which blocked its electricity generating turbines, decreasing the power supply in Aleppo and its countryside, further intensifying the already severe imbalance in the power supply.In Raqqa, the northern side of Lake Assad is today completely out of service. Two million Syrians living in the region covering the villages of Little Swaydiya to the east until al-Jarniya to the west could lose their drinking water supply. “Losing water supplies in the dam means that the silt in the lake will dry off which would pressure its structure, subjecting it to fissures and eventually total collapse,” Al-Akhbar sources warned, adding “it is crucial to shut down the dam to stop its collapse.”

However, shutting down the dam (if ISIS agrees) will only lead to a human and ecological (zoological and agricultural) catastrophe in Syria and in Iraq.

According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Aleppo locals (who had already launched many initiatives to reach solutions for a number of local issues) began a race against time to recommend solutions for the problem, including putting the thermal plant at al-Safira back to work, which may convince ISIS to spare the Euphrates Dam turbines, and in turn preserve current water levels in the lake.

In case it succeeds, such a step would only rescue whatever water and structures are left, and would ward off further repercussions of the crisis that has already started. A halt to the water supply is now inevitable and can’t be resolved unless the Turkish government takes the decision to resume pumping Euphrates water.

In any case, it is worth mentioning that the water in the lake would take about a month, after resuming pumping, to return to its normal levels.

“The decrease in water levels” Bottom: “Euphrates Dam” (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

A historical conflict

The Euphrates River has historically been at the center of a conflict between Turkey on the one hand and both Syria and Iraq on the other. Ankara insists on considering the Euphrates a “trans-boundary river” and not an “international river,” hence it is “not subject to international laws.” Also, Turkey is one of the only three countries in the world (along with China and Burundi) that opposed the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997.

In 1987, a temporary agreement between Syria and Turkey was signed to share the water supplies of the Euphrates during the period when the basin of the Ataturk Dam was being filled. In virtue of the agreement, Turkey pledged to provide an annual level of over 500 cubic meters of water a second on the Turkish-Syrian borders, until reaching a final agreement about sharing the water supplies of the river between the three countries. In 1994, Syria registered the agreement at the United Nations to guarantee the minimum amount of Iraq and Syria’s right to the water from the Euphrates River.

Copyright Al Akhbar, 2014

Western hostilities toward Syria reached a new level of viciousness. Al-Akahbar English reports:

“The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akahbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.” Suhaib Anjarini, Al Akahbar, May 30

The water cutoff by the Turkish government caused Lake Assad to drop six feet threatening two million people in and around Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city. The Euphrates originates in Turkey and also provides a critical water source for Iraq.

Turkey, a NATO member, is strongly opposed to the current government of Syria. The Turkish border to Syria is a major supply route for weapons and foreign fighters against the Syrian government.

Along with China and Brunei, Turkey refused to sign the United Nation’s agreement on International Watercourses. The agreement calls for the “equitable and reasonable” sharing of rivers, wither they originate or flow into a nation. In addition, the agreement states that nations shall “take all appropriate measures to prevent the causing of significant harm.”

Syria and Iraq have claimed Turkish manipulation of the Euphrates as far back as 1975. Syria and Iraq argue that years of drought conditions are the result of Turkish water policy. The outright cutoff of the Euphrates by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan represents a Turkish act of aggression against both Syria and Iraq.

The Turkish propaganda machine is gearing up to blame the water crisis on ISIS, an Al Qaeda affiliated Syrian rebel group.( Suhaib Anjarini, Al Akahbar, May 30)

Watch closely how the U.S. State Department handles this crisis. If we’re told that Syrian rebels are to blame, that’s a red light that NATO is creating a false flag to justify the Holy Grail of NATO military action against the Syrian government. Hopefully, the U.S. and other nations call this what it is — a human rights abuse of epic proportions committed by an unstable autocrat, Turkish PM Erdogan, at the head of a major NATO nation.

Gazprom Signs Agreements to Switch from Dollars to Euros

June 7th, 2014 by Global Research News

Gazprom Neft had signed additional agreements with consumers on a possible switch from dollars to euros for payments under contracts, the oil company’s head Alexander Dyukov told a press conference.

“Additional agreements of Gazprom Neft on the possibility to switch contracts from dollars to euros are signed. With Belarus, payments in rubles are agreed on,” he said.

Dyukov said nine of ten consumers had agreed to switch to euros.

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Dzhaparidze

ITAR-TASS reported earlier that Gazprom Neft considered the possibility to make payments in roubles under contracts. Some contracting parties agree to switch from dollars to euros and Yuans.

“The so-called Plan B is already partially worked out. The switch of dollar contracts to euros and Yuans is agreed on with some of our contracting parties. Under consideration is the possibility to switch contracts to roubles,” Dyukov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Copyright Itar Tass, 2014

 

It’s only the tip of the iceberg. A grand geopolitical project is beginning to materialize…”

 On June 6 2014, the official Russian news agency Itar Tass announced what many were expecting since at least the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis: Russian main energy company, Gazprom Neft has finally “signed agreements with its consumers” to switch from Dollars to Euros (as transition to the ruble) “for payments under contracts”.

The announcement that the agreement has been actually signed and not just discussed was made by Gazprom’s Chief Executive Officer, Alexander Dyukov.

Despite the pressures from Wall Street and its military, propaganda and political apparatus, 9 out of 10 consumers of Gazprom’s oil and gas agreed to pay in Euros. Of course, the big watershed was the Gazprom unprecedented 30-years $400Bl natural gas supply to China signed in Shanghai last May 21 in the presence of President Putin and President Xi Jinping in the middle of the Anglo-american sponsored violent destabilization of Ukraine. In fact it is improper to talk a dollar denominated $400Bl, because this “biggest deal” will not be using dollars but the Renminbi (or Yuan) and the Russian Ruble. It links China and Russia economically and strategically for three decades, de facto (and maybe later also de jure) creating an unshakable symbiotic alliance that necessarily will involve the military aspect.

The Russia-China agreement is a clear defeat of the obsessive geopolitical attempts by Wall Street to keep the two country in a situation of competition or, ideally, war-like confrontation. It changes the structure of alliances. It strikes at the historical foundations of British colonial geopolitics (Divide and Rule). Under escalating pressures and threats to their national security, Russia and China overcame brilliantly historical, ideological, cultural differences which had previously been been by the colonial powers (and their financial heirs in Wall Street and the London’s city) for their “Divide & Conquer” strategy.

Furthermore, to the horror of London and Washington, China and Russia concluded an agreement with India (the BRICS!) breaking the other holy tenet of British colonial geopolitics: The secret to controlling Asia, and thus Eurasia has always been to instigate a perennial rivalry between India, China, and Russia. This was the formula for the 19th century “Great Game”. This was why Obama was selected to succeed George W Bush. The then vice Presidential candidate Joseph Biden announced it very openly on Aug 27 2008 at the Democratic Convention in Denver, explaining why the Obama-Biden duo had been chosen to take over the White House. The greatest mistake of the Bush administration and the Republicans, he said, was not their atrocious unchained warmongering, but their failure

“to face the biggest forces shaping this century. The emergence of Russia, China and India’s great powers”. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s protégé Barack Obama was to defeat this “threat”. Obviously they failed! But this explains the dogged, irrational, King Canute-style self-destructive arrogance that has taken over the present Administration.

The significance of these developments should be emphasized in relation to both the real economy and  the underlying financial structures. These developments in Eurasia are likely to have weaken on “the chains that have tied the European Union to Wall Street and the City of London”.  The end of the dollar payment system (Aka Petro-dollar) does not concern the currency of the United States or the United States as such. In fact overcoming this system could mean  the restoration of a rational and prosperous economy in the United States itself. What is known as “dollar system” has been just an instrument of feudal financial centers to loot the economy of the world. These centers are ready to do anything to save their right to loot. It is well known that whoever tried, until now, to create an alternative to the dollar system, met a ferocious reaction.

It is fitting to remember in this moment of great hope, the words of one of the very few great living strategists, Gen. Leonid Ivashov. On June 15 2011, reflecting on the savage destruction of Libya, the general who is an unofficial spokesman of the Russian armed forces and has been Russia’s representative in NATO, wrote

BRICS and the Mission of Reconfiguring the World.”

Whoever challenges the dollar hegemony, explained Ivashov, becomes a target. 

He gave precise examples: Iraq, Libya, Iran:

the countries which defied dollar dominance invariably came under heavy pressure and in a number of cases – under devastating attacks.” But the “the financial empires built by Rothschilds and Rockefellers are powerless against the five largest civilizations represented by the BRICS.”

Thus, Ivashov advocated a coordinated strategy by countries representing half of the world population to win their independence using their own currency.

“The shift to national currencies in the financial transactions between the BRICS countries should guarantee an unprecedented level of their independence…”

Since the collapse of the USSR, the countries which defied dollar dominance invariably came under heavy pressure and in a number of cases – under devastating attacks. Saddam Hussein –who banned dollar circulation in all spheres of Iraq’s economy including oil trade– was displaced and executed and his country was left in ruins. M. Gaddafi started switching Libya’s oil and gas business to gold-backed Arab currencies and air raids against the country followed almost immediately… Tehran had to put its plan to stay dollar-free on hold to avoid falling victim to aggression.

Still, even enjoying unlimited US support, the financial empires built by the Rothschilds and Rockefellers are powerless against the five largest civilizations represented by countries accounting for nearly half of the world’s population. BRICS is clearly immune to forceful pressure, its member countries do not appear vulnerable to color revolutions, and the strategy of provoking and exporting financial crises may easily backfire.

In contrast to the US and the EU, BRICS countries altogether own natural resources sufficient not only to keep their economies afloat in the settings of contracting availability of hydrocarbon fuels, food, potable water, and electric power but also to sustain vigorous economic growth. The shift to national currencies in the financial transactions between the BRICS countries should guarantee an unprecedented level of their independence from the US and from the West in general, but even that is only the tip of the iceberg. A grand geopolitical project is beginning to materialize

Now it’s the moment for Europe to decide the big step. The Ukrainian crisis is in reality a Battle for Europe.

The elites of Continental Europe — The Germany of Alfred Herrausen, the France of Charles De Gaulle, the Italy of Enrico Mattei and Aldo Moro, the Europe that tried to road of sovereignty and independence … have been until now terrorized and threatened exactly in the terms explained by Gen Ivashov. Now the Battle for Europe is raging. We will look in a coming article at the great European forces, the silent partners, still traumatized and scared, who are looking with trepidation and painful memories of the past defeats at the firm stand of Russia.

 Ukraine’s civil war started on 2 May 2014, when supporters of the February-coup-imposed (click on that link if you don’t know about that coup) Ukrainian central government firebombed Odessa’s Trade Unions Building, incinerating hundreds of Odessans who opposed the coup.

This civil war is of massive historical importance, because it re-starts the global Cold War, this time no longer under the fig-leaf rationalization of an ideological battle between “capitalism” versus “communism,” but instead more raw, as a struggle between, on the one hand, the U.S. and West European aristocracies; and, on the other hand, the newly emerging aristocracies of Russia and of China. Like had happened in World War I, this global war is between two contending aristocratic alliances. (That’s the standard thing, we historians know; it’s nothing unusual there.) However, the documentation of the history is much clearer and far faster for this new war, than for former global wars, regarding which of the two sides had really initiated it, and why.

The “players” in “The Great Game,” this time around, are, broadly speaking, West versus East; those are the two contending “teams,” of aristocracies. USA is the leading participant on the western side, and has the backing of Europe’s aristocracies via the IMF; and Russia is the leading participant on the eastern side, and has wrangled the backing of China’s aristocrats. The West is far better-funded than the East, and, so, this is a war that the East did not want, and had hoped to avoid, but that has been thrust upon them, by the Obama-initiated coup that took place in Ukraine during late February 2014, and also by the Obama-initiated massacre that occurred in Odessa on May 2nd (the event that immediately sparked Ukraine’s civil war).

As I have previously documented, Obama is knowingly falsifying (he’s lying), when he claims that Ukraine’s civil war is wanted and was initiated by Putin, and that Obama didn’t want and initiate it via the February overthrow. I also have explained, by use of charts and graphs, the broader background, “How and Why the U.S. Has Re-Started the Cold War (The Backstory that Precipitated Ukraine’s Civil War).”

The only thing that’s additionally needed, in order for a reader to be able to understand the origin of Cold War II, is a 12-page article by Mary Elise Sarotte, published in the January 2010 journal of The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Diplomatic History, which is titled, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990.”

Sarotte describes there how the then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, desperate to end the Cold War so that his nation could begin recovering from 70 years of Marxism that had followed upon centuries of feudalism, tried his best to get U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush to not take advantage of the economic and increasingly also military weakness of Russia — not to expand NATO and U.S. missile-bases into the formerly Soviet nations bordering Russia:  Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. He also didn’t want missiles in nearby-but-not-adjoining Norway, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Germany.

However, he was especially urgently concerned about Germany, because the Berlin Wall had just fallen, on the evening of 9 November 1989; so, Russia was certainly going to be losing its former control of Eastern Germany. Since Gorbachev was the supplicant here, he left only till the very end of the negotiations the broader, less-urgent, issue of non-expansion of NATO and of NATO missiles into other former-Soviet states adjoining the ones adjoining Russia.

Almost the entirety of the negotiations until the very end concerned Germany, because the immediate crisis was that. At first, West Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl was sympathetic to Gorbachev’s broader security concern; but, “in the course of the Camp David meeting at the end of February he came to agree with the Bush position: simply a special military status for the GDR [German Democratic Republic -- East Germany -- no missiles there, but] not general assurances about NATO’s territory [her euphemism for NATO's enlargement to Russia's doorstep]. The chancellor agreed with the president despite the fact that this was not what he had discussed with Gorbachev two weeks earlier [her euphemism for the probability that Kohl switched his position on that issue after further consultations with his American master].” Kohl was directly dependent upon assistance from the U.S. aristocracy (to be paid for by the U.S. taxpaying public, not by the aristocrats who actually control the government), in order for West Germany to be able to absorb the wrecked economy of East Germany without enserfing the East Germans to such an extreme extent that a German civil war would be the ultimate outcome. The senior Bush, apparently, demanded that Kohl comply with his aim to expand NATO, up to Russia’s doorstep.

President Obama’s coup in Ukraine is an important part of that 1990-initiated program, and (as the articles that I earlier linked to have documented), he’s being supported crucially in this by the IMF, which represents not only American aristocrats but also west European ones; and (as also was linked there) the Bilderberg meeting, that was just completed, was very much concerned with the civil war in Ukraine, for which reason the IMF’s chief Christine Lagarde was there, and not only David Petraeus, Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin, Eric Schmidt, oil-company presidents, and other members and servants to the aristocracy, regardless of which particular side of their respective revolving doors into and out of government (AKA: international corporations and their “charities”) they might happen to be at the moment. (National heads-of-state know better than to come, and the organizing committee for these meetings knows better than to invite them there. Their attendance would raise too many uncomfortable questions in a “democracy.”)

Lots of people in southeastern Ukraine, as the bombs are raining down on them from Blackwater (now called ‘Academi’) mercenaries and the Kiev Government, are shocked and enraged that Putin hasn’t sent in Russian tanks, but the Russian leader knows that doing that would be exactly what the propagandists in the West are hoping for, in order to provide a pretext for Western governments overtly to provide troops and materiel to the Kiev central government, and really expand this thing.

As I have formerly documented (see those links), the reason for this operation against Russia is basically to preserve the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If Putin can hold out long enough, the dollar will collapse and so will the U.S. economy; but it’s probably going to happen anyway, and so the longer that Putin remains “weak” against the U.S. assault, the sooner will come that likely U.S. collapse. This will thus be a war of nerves between Obama and Putin: Obama, to hold off the U.S. collapse; and Putin, to prevent a Russian collapse.

These sorts of wars don’t do anybody any good except some bankers and war-profiteers, but Obama is smart enough to have known at the start that he was rolling very big dice here, and he seems to have thought that the bigger the stakes are, the likelier it would be for the U.S. aristocracy to emerge on top. Future historians will likely have a field day trying to figure out how he came to these bold conclusions; but, if Obama wins, then probably everybody will know how and why, and we historians will have other work to do.

If Obama loses, then Putin might remain quiet simply because of the difficulty he’ll have explaining to the Russian people why he had held back for so long while the Russian-speaking Ukrainians next door were being slaughtered. Even if Putin wins, he’ll probably lose in public esteem. Like I had said: this isn’t a war he wanted.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

On May 2014 President Obama delivered the commencement address to the graduates of United States Military Academy at West Point.  Beyond the easy banter and eulogy to past and present war heroes, Obama outlined a vision of past military successes and present policies, based on a profoundly misleading diagnosis of the current global position of the United States.

His presentation is marked by systematic lies about past wars and current military interventions.  The speech’s glaring failure to acknowledge the millions of civilians killed by US military interventions stands out. He glosses over the growth of NSA, the global police state apparatus.  He presents a grossly inflated account of the US role in the world economy.  Worst of all he outlines an extremely dangerous policy of confrontation with rising military and economic powers, in particular Russia and China.

Distorting the Past:  Defeats and Retreats Converted into Victories

One of the most disturbing aspects of President Obama’s speech is his delusional account of US military engagements over the past decade.  Obama’s claim that, “by most measures America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world”, defies belief.  After 13 years of war and occupation in Afghanistan, the US has failed to conquer the Taliban and is leaving behind a fragile puppet regime on the verge of collapse.  The US was forced to withdraw from Iraq after causing the deaths of hundreds of thousand of civilians, the displacement and wounding of millions and the ignition of a sectarian war, which has propelled a pro-Iranian regime to power in Baghdad.  In Libya, the Obama pushed NATO to destroy the entire country in order to overthrow the secular Gadhafi government, thus undermining any possibility of reconciliation among opponents.  He has brought bands of Islamist terrorists to power who are profoundly hostile to the United States.

Washington’s effort to broker an accord between Palestine and Israel is a shabby failure, characterized by Obama’s spineless capitulation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s goal of grabbing more Palestinian land for new  “Jews only” settlements – paid with American tax money.  Obama’s craven pandering to the Jewish power configuration in Washington does little to bolster his claim to lead the world’s “greatest power”…

You have heard lectures on the world economy at the Academy: Surely you know that China has displaced the US in major markets throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa.  While China is a major economic challenge, it is not an expansionist military power.  It does not possess thousands of overseas bases or Special Forces troops operating in seventy-five countries; it does not pursue military alliances and does not invade countries thousands of miles from its borders.  Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ is a provocative expansion of US military power off China’s coast contrary to his public claims of “winding down” overseas military operations.

Obama speaks of defending “our core interests” by military force yet he provokes China over a disputed pile of rocks in the South China Sea, undermining the “core interests” of the 500 biggest US corporations which have invested billions of dollars in the most dynamic economy in the world and of the biggest American exporters to our second largest trading partner.

Obama refers to fighting “terrorism” yet his policies have encouraged and promoted terrorism.  Washington armed the Islamist terrorists who overthrew the secular Gadhafi government and plunged that country into chaos.  Obama backs the Islamist terrorists invading and attempting to overthrow the secular regime Syria.  He provides 1.5 billion dollars in military aid to an Egyptian military dictatorship terrorizing its democratic, civilian political opposition, assassinating and imprisoning thousands of dissidents.  In February, the US backed the violent overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine and supports the Kiev regime’s bombing of pro-democracy, pro-federation civilian populations in the Southeast, a majority of whom are ethnic Russians.  Obama’s “anti-terrorism” rhetoric in nothing but a cover for state terrorism, closing the door on any peaceful resolution of overseas conflicts and spawning scores of violent opposition groups in its wake.

Obama brags about “our success in promoting partnerships in Europe and in the world at large”, yet his bellicose policies toward Russia have created deep rifts between the US and the leading countries of the European Union.  With its multi-billion dollar trade agreements with Russia, German opposes harsh sanctions and provocations against Moscow, as do Italy, Holland and Belgium.  In Latin America, the US-controlled Organization of American States is a toothless relic amidst growing regional organizations which exclude the US.  Where are Washington’s “partners” in its hostile campaign to overthrow the government in Venezuela and blockade Cuba?  Washington’s efforts to forge an Asian economic bloc, excluding China, has run aground against the deep and comprehensive ties linking South Korea, Taiwan and Southeast Asia to China.

Wherever you look, Washington’s closest ‘allies’ are the least dynamic and most repressive:  Israel, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in the Middle East; Egypt, Morocco and Algeria in North Africa; Colombia in Latin America; the Philippines in Asia; and motley groups of sub-Sahara despots and Kleptocrats squirreling away billions of dollars into New York and London bank accounts while starving their countries’ budgets on health and education.

Obama’s diagnosis regarding the position of the US in the world is fundamentally flawed:  He ignores the military losses from unwinnable overseas adventures and understates the decline in US economic power.  The growing divisions among former regional allies have no place in his speech.  Above all, he refuses to acknowledge the profound disenchantment among most Americans with Washington’s foreign military and trade policies.  The flawed diagnosis, the deliberate distortions of current global realities and the deep misreading of domestic public opinion, cannot be overcome by new deceptions. Bigger lies and more extensive foreign military interventions mean that newly commissioned officers will serve as cannon fodder for policies deeply unpopular with our people.

Obama:   Political Desperado in Search of an Imperial Legacy

Obama has marked a new phase in his escalation of a military-centered foreign policy.  He is presently engaged in a major build-up of air and ground troops and provocative military exercises in the Baltic States and Poland…all of which are directed at Russia, raising the specter of a ‘First Strike’ strategy against a major nuclear power which poses no threat to our nation.

President Barack Obama, deeply unpopular at home, is propelled by a mania for global military escalation.  He is expanding naval forces off China’s coast. He has dispatched hundreds of Special Forces to Jordan to train and arm Islamist and al Qaeda mercenaries invading Syria.  He promotes Kiev’s brutal crackdown on civilian protesters in the Eastern Ukraine by increasing US military aid and training.  He has dispatched hundreds of US forces throughout Africa.  He has just allocated $1 billion for military expansion along the European frontiers with Russia and another $5 billion to boost the capacity of despotic regimes to repress popular insurgencies under the pretext of “fighting terrorism”.

Obama’s ‘vision’ of US foreign policy is clearly and unmistakably colored by his readiness to pursue highly dangerous military adventures.  His tactic of launching Special Forces’ operations in all corners of the world, his increasing use of mercenaries and proxies is a throw-back to 19th century colonialism.  Sending client regime troops from one oppressed country to conquer and pillage another marks a regression to  brutal old-style empire building.  No one is deceived when Obama declares that “American leadership is indispensable for world order”.  His Washington-centered new world order is unraveling.  Disorder and misery are the consequence of relying on naked military intervention to delay the inevitable – the decline of a uni-polar world is a fact.

The Obama Administration’s involvement in the violent coup in the Kiev is a case in point:  As a consequence of placing an oligarch, the so-called ‘Chocolate Billionaire’ to head a junta infested with neo-fascists, Ukraine is falling apart, cities in the east are being bombed and the economy is in free-fall.  A massive humanitarian disaster threatens the stability of Europe if hundreds of thousands of people are displaced by the brutality of civil war in Ukraine.

Obama’s unopposed air war against Libya utterly destroyed that nation and has created a Hobbesian world where bloody warlords fight brutal jihadists over shrinking oil sales.   In Syria, US-sponsored ‘rebels’ have devastated the economy and the social fabric of a complex secular society.  Al Qaeda-linked terrorists have recently kidnapped hundreds of secular high school students heading for their final exams in Aleppo in order to prevent any recovery and reconciliation in that brutalized nation.

No major country in South America follows US ‘leadership’ on Cuba and Venezuela.  Even in the United States, outside of a few enclaves of fanatics in Florida, very few American citizens back Obama’s hostile policies to Cuba and Venezuela.

Obama’s duplicity, of talking peace while preparing wars, has been exposed.  And now this same president is preparing to commit you, newly commissioned officers of the US Army, to overseas military adventures against the interests and wishes of  the majority of your fellow Americans.

Obama will send you to war zones where you will face popular insurgencies, supported by masses of working people.  While propping up corrupt oligarchs and defending foreign capital, you will be despised by the local populations.  You will be ordered to ‘defend’ an Administration which has pillaged  our national Treasury  to bail out the 15 biggest banks in the world, banks which paid $78 billion dollars in fines, between 2012 – 2013, for fraud and swindles while their CEO’s received obscene bonuses, wealth and immunity .  You will be told to sacrifice your lives and limbs fighting wars for the State of Israel in the Middle East – an Israel which bombed the USS Liberty (among other incidents) – killing and maiming hundreds of American service people with impunity.  You will be sent to command bases in Poland and to direct missiles at Russia. You will be sent to the Ukraine to train neo-Nazis in the ‘National’ Guard to kill their own compatriots.  You will be expected to subvert the loyalties of military officers in Latin American, hoping to provoke military coups and convert independent progressive governments into neo-liberal puppet states – ripe for pillage and mayhem.

Obama’s plans for you do not resonate with your ideals and hopes for a prosperous America dedicated to democracy, freedom and peaceful development at home.  You face the choice of serving a political desperado, contemptuous of our Constitution and intent on launching unjust wars at the behest of billionaire swindlers and armchair militarists in Washington, or refusing to participate as muscle-men for bloody empire and joining the majority of the American people who believe that America’s ‘leadership’ should be directed at redistributing the wealth and power of an unelected oligarchy which currently runs this country.  Who will you choose to serve?

If there were any doubts that Western “leaders” live in a fantasy make-believe world constructed out of their own lies, the G-7 meeting and 70th anniversary celebration  of the Normandy landing dispelled the doubts. 

The howlers issuing from these occasions are enough to split your sides.  Obama and his lap dog Cameron described the Normandy landing on June 6, 1944, as “the greatest liberation force that the world has ever known” and took all the credit for the US and Britain for the defeat of Hitler.  No mention was made of the Soviet Union and the Red Army, which for three years prior to the Normandy landing had been fighting and defeating the Wehrmacht. 

Author Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The Germans lost World War II at the Battle of Stalingrad, which was fought from August 23, 1942 until February 2, 1943, when most of the remnants of the powerful German Sixth Army surrendered, including 22 generals.  

Nineteen months previously the largest invasion force ever assembled on planet earth invaded Russia across a one thousand mile front. Three million crack German troops; 7,500 artillery units, 19 panzer divisions with 3,000 tanks, and 2,500 aircraft rolled across Russia for 14 months. 

By June 1944, three years later, very little of this force was left. The Red Army had chewed it up.  When the so-called “allies” (a term which apparently excludes Russia) landed in France, there was little to resist them.  The best forces remaining to Hitler were on the Russian front, which collapsed day by day as the Red Army approached Berlin.

The Red Army won the war with Germany. The Americans and the British showed up after the Wehrmacht was exhausted and in tatters and could offer little resistance. Joseph Stalin believed that Washington and London stayed out of the war until the last minute and left Russia with the burden of defeating Germany.

Hollywood and popular writers have, of course, buried the facts.  Americans have all sorts of movies, such as “A Bridge Too Far,” that portray insignificant events, however heroic, as turning points in the war.  Nevertheless, the facts are clear.  The war was won on the Eastern front by Russia. Hollywood’s movies are fun, but they are nonsense. 

Russia is again on the outs with “the world community,”  because Obama’s plan to seize Ukraine and to evict Russia from its Black Sea base in Crimea has come a cropper.  Crimea has been a part of Russia for as long as the US has existed.  Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, stuck Crimea into the Ukrainian Socialist Republic in 1954 when Russia and Ukraine were part of the same country.  

When the Washington-imposed stooge government in Kiev recently declared that it was abolishing the use of the Russian language and arresting Ukrainians who had dual Russian citizenship and began tearing down Russian war memorials consecrated to the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis, the people in Crimea used the ballot box to disassociate from Washington’s stooge government in Kiev, first voting their independence and then voting for reunification with their mother country.

Washington, and the other G-7 countries following Washington’s orders, described this Crimean act of self-determination, which is exactly comparable to the act of self-determination declared by Britain’s American colonies, to be a case of “Russian invasion and annexation.”  Similar efforts to disassociate from Kiev are underway in other former Russian territories that today comprise eastern and southern Ukraine.

Washington has equated self-determination in eastern and southern Ukraine with “terrorism” and has encouraged its stooge in Kiev to use military violence against protesting civilians. The reason for branding separatists “terrorists” is to make it OK to kill them.

It is extraordinary to any learned person that the President of the United States and the titular heads of state of the Western European countries would publicly declare such  blatant lies to the world.  The world has historians.  The world has peoples whose knowledge vastly exceeds that of the “mainstream media,” a.k.a., the Ministry of Propaganda, or, as Gerald Celente brands them, “the presstitutes.”  Whatever name we use, the Western media is a collection of well paid whores.They lie for money, dinner party invitations, and speaking invitations with large honorariums and book contracts with large advances.

I know. They tried to recruit me.

Notice how narrowly Washington defines “the world community.”  The “world community” consists of the Group of 7.  That’s it.  Seven countries make up the “world community.”  The “world community” consists of six white countries and Washington’s puppet state of Japan.  The “world community” is the US, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan. The other 190 countries are not part of Washington’s “world community.”  In the neocon doctrine, they are not even part of humanity. 

The “world community” doesn’t have the population of single excluded countries, such as China or India.  I haven’t done the calculation, but probably the land mass of Russia itself exceeds the land mass of the “world community.”

So, what is this “world community?”

The “world community” is the assemblage of US vassal states.  Britain, France, and Germany were important on the 20th century scene. Their histories are studied in universities. The populations had a decent standard of living, although not for all citizens. Their past is the reason for their present importance.

In effect, these countries were propelled forward by history, or by the history important to the West. Japan, being an appendage of Washington, has tried to become “western.”  It is extraordinary how such a proud, war-like people became nothing.

As I have finally stopped laughing at the presumed non-role of Russia in the defeat of Hitler, let’s return to the G-7 meeting.  The Big Happening of this meeting was Russia’s exclusion and the shrinkage of the G-8 to the G-7.

This was the first time in 17 years that Russia was not allowed to participate in the meeting of which Russia is a member.  Why?

Russia is being punished.  Russia is being isolated from the 7 countries that the White House Fool thinks constitute “the world community.”

Obama is angry that his National Security Council and the morons he appointed to the State Department and UN were so poorly educated that they did not know that much of the Ukraine consists of former Russian provinces inhabited by Russians.  These ignorant Obama-appointed morons thought that they could grab Crimea, evict Russia, and leave Russia without access to the Mediterranean, thus unable to hold on to its naval base in Tartus, Syria, the easier for Washington to invade Syria.  

Crimea has been part of Russia since Russia completed the reconquest from the Tartars. I remember the Tarter, or Tater, ethnics from my visit to Tamerlane the Great’s (Timur as he was also known) tomb in Samarkand 53 years ago. Today Tamerlane’s city is refurbished as a tourist site. 53 years ago it was a desolate place in ruins, overgrown with trees growing out of the tops of the minarets.

As Obama’s plan to seize Ukraine failed, like every one of his other plans has failed, Washington’s spokesmen for the vested private interests have seized on the opportunity to demonize Putin and Russia and to restart the Cold War.  Obama and his Group of 7 puppets or vassals used the occasion to threaten Russia with real sanctions, in place of  the present propaganda sanctions that have no effect.  According to Obama and his British lap dog, Putin must somehow prevent the Russian populations of eastern and southern Ukraine from protesting their subservience to a neo-fascist government in Kiev backed by Washington, or else.  

Putin is supposed to embrace the Oligarch, a former minister of the government that Washington overthrew, put in office by a fake vote in which turnout was a small percent of the population.  Putin is supposed to kiss this corrupt Oligarch on both cheeks, pay Ukraine’s natural gas bills and forgive its debts.  In addition, Russia is supposed to repudiate the Crimean people, evict them from their re-unity with Russia and hand them over to the neo-Nazi Right Sector to be eliminated as retribution for Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany, for whom some Western Ukrainians fought. In exchange, Washington and NATO will put anti-ballistic missile bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia in order to protect Europe from nonexistent Iranian nuclear ICBMs.

This is supposed to be a win-win deal for Russia.

The Obama regime used its well-paid NGOs in Ukraine to overthrow an elected, democratic government, a government no more corrupt than those in Western or Eastern Europe or Washington.

The political morons who have England, France, Germany, and Italy in their hands are wagging their fists at Russia, warning of more, this time real, sanctions.  Do these morons  really want their energy supplies cut off?  There is no prospect, despite the propagandistic claims, of Washington supplying the energy on which Germany industry depends and on which Europeans depend so that they do not freeze in the winter.

Sanctions on Russia will wreck Europe and have little, if any, effect on Russia.  Russia is already moving, with China and the BRICS, outside the dollar payments mechanism. 

As the demand for dollars drops, the dollar’s exchange value will drop.  Initially, Washington will be able to force its vassals to support the dollar, but eventually this will become impossible.

What the White House Fool, the neoconized National Security Council, the presstitute media, and subservient Congress are doing is to support and uphold the policies based on hubris and arrogance that are leading the US into the abyss.

An abyss is like a black hole.  You don’t get out.

Washington’s lies are so blatant and transparent that Washington is destroying its own credibility.  Consider the NSA spying.  Documents released by Snowden and Greenwald make it completely clear that Washington spies not only on government leaders and ordinary people but also on foreign businesses in order to advance US commercial and financial interests.  That the US steals Chinese business secrets is not in doubt.  So what does Washington do?  Washington not only denies what the documents prove but  turns the charge around and indicts five Chinese generals for spying on US corporations.

The only purpose of these indictments hyped by the US attorney general is propaganda.

The indictments are otherwise totally meaningless, not merely false.  China is not about to turn over five Chinese generals to the liars in Washington.  For the presstitute media the story is a way to move the NSA’s spying out of the spotlight. China is substituted for the NSA as the guilty party.

Why doesn’t China, Brazil, Germany and every other country issue arrest warrants for NSA’s top officials, for Obama, and for the members of the congressional oversight committee?  Why do other countries always allow Washington to control the explanation with propaganda first strikes?

Americans are very susceptible to propaganda.  They seem to have a special taste for it. Consider the hate whipped up against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier just released by the Taliban in a prisoner exchange with the US.  The hatred and bloodlust that the presstitute media have whipped up against Bergdahl has caused his hometown to cancel the celebration of his release. The press engineered hatred of Bergdahl has spilled over into threats against Hailey, Idaho.

What is the basis for the attacks on Bergdahl?  Apparently, the answer is that Bergdahl, like pro-football star Pat Tillman who turned down a $3.6 million contract to join the Army Rangers and go to defend freedom in Afghanistan, came down with a case of doubts about the war.  Originally Pat Tillman’s death was attributed to his heroic action and enemy fire.  Then it emerged that Tillman was a victim of “friendly fire.”  Many concluded that he was murdered, because the government did not want a sports hero speaking out about the war.  As Bergdahl is off the battlefield, he has to be murdered in the press–like Russia, China, Iran, Putin, Assad, Crimeans, and the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine.

In America hate and the cultivation of hate is alive and well.  But not a single moral virtue is.

Last April I saw a report that 83% of May’s college graduates did not have a job.  I remarked that in my day most of us had 2 or 3 jobs or graduate school offers before we graduated.  The latest payroll jobs report issued on June 6 proves that the April report was true.

My opinion, schooled in part by John Williams’ very precise reports on Shadowstats.com, is that on average about half of the new jobs each month are phantom jobs created by the birth-death model and inappropriate seasonal adjustments. So, I figured that  the 217,000 jobs claimed for May are more like 108,000.  Then I read John Williams’ report on the May jobs number: “Monthly payroll gains overstated by 200,000 plus jobs”
In other words, there were zero new jobs in May.
Just as the US government can turn an inconsequential Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria into dangerous threats against “the world’s only superpower,” the US government can turn zero jobs growth into 217,000 jobs.  It is easy when you have a prostitute media and a gullible public, both of which Washington most certainly has.
But let’s take the government data at face value.
First, consider the news report that finally as of May 2014 as many Americans had jobs as had jobs in January 2008. That might seem like good news until you take into account that since January 2008 the US has experienced 6.5 years of population growth. Economists seem to have settled on population growth adding 129,000 people to the work force each month.  That comes to 10,000,000 people.  Where are their jobs?  The “jobs recovery” doesn’t provide for the 10 millions who have come of working age since January 2008.
We can conclude from this that the official 6.3 percent unemployment rate is nonsense.
The unemployment rate is in the neighborhood of 23 percent as John Williams has established.
Just as the US government claims, falsely, that Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that Assad used chemical weapons on Syrians, and so forth and so on, the 6.3 percent unemployment rate is just another government lie.
Second, consider where the claimed 217,000 May jobs are.  Hardly any of these claimed jobs are jobs in which university graduates begin their careers.  The jobs are in wholesale trade, retail clerks, transportation and warehousing, employment services and temporary help, waitresses and bartenders, and health care and social assistance. In the later category,  ambulatory health care services and social assistance account for the majority of jobs.
If college graduates have jobs, they are not the jobs for which they studied.  On March 31, CNN Money reported that 260,000 college graduates were employed at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
For the many years that I have been reporting on the jobs statistics, there has been scant sign of any jobs for college graduates.  Considering that there are at least 3,100 colleges and universities in the US, the May graduating class must number in the hundreds of thousands. Looking at the May jobs statistics, those graduating from law school face a dismal situation as employment of lawyers dropped by 700.  There were jobs for only 4,100 accountants and bookkeepers. There were 4,500 jobs for architects and engineers, a number that includes secretaries and office managers. There were 1,800 management jobs. State government education jobs declined by 5,300 and local government education jobs declined by 6,600 jobs.  So where did the education majors find employment?
How is the second quarter going to come roaring back, as the financial media assures us it will, when the jobs report is so discouraging?  How much longer will Washington be able to hide the fact that the US economy is sinking?
If you read all the bullshit that the American media and educational establishment puts out, “education is the answer.”  Apparently not.  Education is the way to become deeply in debt and work for $7.25 per hour, if you are lucky to escape unemployment.
America is a Great Big Lie.  There is no truth in what we are told. The entire country, along with that part of the world under Washington’s thumb, is run for about six private interest groups.  The rest of us are being fleeced.

The Bowe Bergdahl story has created an international firestorm this week. The Army private from Hailey, Idaho had become so disenchanted and disillusioned with the war he found himself fighting in Afghanistan, on June 30th, 2009 he walked away from his unit.

A short time later he was picked up by nearby enemy Taliban forces and ever since has been a Prisoner of War (POW) until a week ago May 31st. After five years in captivity the Obama administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban whereby Bergdahl as the sole American POW held by any enemy during the Afghanistan or Iraq Wars was released in exchange for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay Prison.

Republicans in Congress and their propagandist mainstream media wasted no time spearheading a bandwagon campaign to demonize the 28-year old Bowe Bergdahl as “a traitor who should be shot.” Senator McCain four months ago told CNN he would consider a deal bringing Sergeant Bergdahl home. But now he and his fellow Republicans have been shamelessly attempting to capitalize on the controversial situation by waging their never ending politics war against Obama. Expressing upset and disdain over what they considered Obama’s grandstanding celebration in successfully negotiating the release of an alleged “cowardly deserter,” Republicans and media are crying foul citing the administration’s failure to comply with rule of law. The snipe that Obama ignored the law requiring a 30-day advance Congressional approval on top of not bothering to notify them until less than twenty-four hours before the prisoner trade caused big political egos to be badly bruised. Also high on their political agenda is criticism over the potential cost of securing the freedom of one undeserving soldier for the freedom of five terrorists comprising so called high ranking leadership within the Afghan Talaban enemy’s army. Hence, the venomous attacks and relentless spectacle designed to both demonize and shame Obama, Bowe and his entire family.

In fact it is the Republicans and media that should be ashamed for preying on what should be a happy, long-awaited homecoming reunion for a family suffering this last half decade not knowing whether they will ever see their son alive again. Turning what should be one American family’s momentous, heartwarming occasion into just another opportunity to engage in the relentless pathetic game of partisan politics is atrocious. Yet this is what we all have come to expect from the most dysfunctional, fractured Congress in US history. Once again like always petty ego games take priority over serving the needs of American people.

Another quick accusation to emerge in the recent controversy is that Sergeant Bergdahl’s so called desertion directly caused the death of a number of his fellow GI’s. According to accounts from Republican operatives who have ensured that a couple of soldiers from Bergdahl’s unit went to the press to claim that on several subsequent rescue missions specifically seeking Bergdahl resulted in the deaths of fellow soldiers. In fact from prior records at the time the deaths were unrelated to Bergdahl’s captivity but strategically utilized to cast false blame and shame on the now former POW and his family. The rush to judgment was extended to Bergdahl’s father because he has grown a long beard and has learned Arabic in an effort to attempt to communicate with the Taliban to bring his son home. Rather than acknowledge the father’s dedication and committed love for his son, he was targeted as a Taliban-looking disloyal American trying to protect his cowardly deserter of a son. The low blows that certain political and media predators will go to exploit lies for their own selfish agenda.

Eight American soldiers killed in action during the three months after Bergdahl’s disappearance had more to do with the Taliban influx in Paktika Province than anything else. In fact throughout Afghanistan during those same three months of July through September before winter set in a total of 122 Americans died in the country, 58 more than the year before. In response to the increasing number of Taliban fighters, in the spring of 2009 when Private First Class Bergdahl first arrived in Afghanistan, he was part of Obama’s order committing a surge of 30,000 more troops. At the time Bowe was captured by the Taliban, most of that surge deployment had not yet arrived. One month prior to Bergdahl’s disappearance the New York Times documented that “hundreds of foreign fighters” had joined the Taliban cause in the country which was the reason to send more US troops.

In an article written two years ago by the late Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings who died suspiciously in a car crash a year ago this month just before he was about to reveal damaging evidence against US intelligence agencies, it was reported that Obama was hard at work trying to negotiate Bergdahl’s release in time for boosting his 2012 reelection prospect. Obama has hit a few walls banging up his record with lots of scandalous blemishes and blackeyes, like Benghazi that won’t go away. But in back to back weeks he has been reeling from his West Point speech fiasco where his arrogance was overly apparent in his once again using his exceptionalism card, then immediately followed by the VA scandal forcing him to get rid of scapegoated General Shinseki. So this week the opportunist suddenly rolls out his triumpant negotiated resolution to the Bergdahl POW case while taking a baby step toward fulfilling another one of his unkept promises in trying to shut down Guantanamo.

After two full years of apparently still negotiating Bergdahl’s long awaited release, last weekend Taliban soldiers finally handed Bergdahl over to Special Forces personnel who flew him by helicopter to safety. The American POW was then transported to a military hospital in Germany for evaluation this week and is scheduled to arrive home to his family in Idaho later this month. The long ordeal for Bowe and his family is finally over.

Surrounded by all this rancorous controversy, Bergdahl’s hometown decided to cancel the big hoopla homecoming scheduled June 28th that had been in the works. The small town offered the excuse that it would be ill prepared to handle the influx of people if rolling out the full red carpet were to go forward. Seems odd because there will be a media circus mob in town covering the soldier’s return anyway, big hoopla or no big hoopla. It likely has a bit more to do with succumbing to the up-in-arms backlash that various veterans groups and others railing in such harsh judgment against Bergdahl calling him a coward and a traitor. Their vehement reaction would be in an uproar if his big celebrative return treated him to a national hero’s welcome. So the town that relies so heavily on tourism next door to America’s very first ski resort Sun Valley decided not to risk incurring the wrath that could tarnish its fine upstanding reputation, pristine image and bottom line revenue.

Of course the debate will go on for months over the potential consequences of releasing the five Taliban soldiers. The deal requires them to return to Qatar where they came from and have the Qatari government saddled with the responsibility of keeping tabs on their whereabouts ensuring that they do not return to fight in Afghanistan. And because skeptics claim that since they are supposedly higher ranking Taliban members (though there is evidence disputing that claim), of course many hawkish Republicans and others are certain that they will slip through the cracks once back in Qatar and soon enough end up back on the battlefields fighting against the Afghan National Army and the 9800 US troops that Obama committed expected to remain in the war torn nation until 2017.

There are those critics who maintain that the US government should have never negotiated with terrorists. But prisoner exchanges as a war winds down have always taken place in every war. So that argument is both false and irrelevant. Another barb that has Republicans fuming is the way their adversary Obama handled the release, neither gaining their approval nor informing them with any advance notice. The Obama camp refused to apologize for either, other than a last hour call to Intelligence Committee Chair Feinstein, insisting that due to Bergdahl’s alleged failing health issues it became a now or never proposition. According to the White House, waiting to adhere to bureaucratic protocol would delay and could have sabotaged the successful release and only further endangered the POW’s health.

At one point during his five year ordeal in captivity, Bowe actually did escape in 2011 but was recaptured a short time later. In 2012 when Hastings was writing his article he wrote how senior Obama administration officials were working feverishly on cutting a deal with the Taliban for a prisoner swap timed with gaining election dividends. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were still employing General Petraeus’ failed Counterinsurgency manual as their Afghan exit plan strategy and squashed any deal at the time. They felt that an end of war prisoner exchange could be viewed in the months leading up to the electionvas a sign of weakness. Senator McCain also put the kibosh on a deal, claiming that the five Taliban detainees at Guantanamo “are the five biggest murderers in world history.” No doubt they murdered less people than the bombs McCain knowingly dropped on human targets in Hanoi before his plane got shot down in the Vietnam War. But he was called a hero and elected senator.

Before becoming a soldier in the US Army, Bergdahl went to Paris to learn French and tried enlisting in the French Foreign Legion but was rejected. So with the recruiter’s promise of “helping Afghan villagers to rebuild and defend their lives,” Bowe enlisted in the Army for a tour he figured to be the next best prospect of measuring up to his zest for adventure. Just before being shipped off to the warfront, Bergdahl told a fellow soldier, “If this deployment is lame, I’m just going to walk off in the mountains of Pakistan.” Having grown up in the wilds of Idaho, the state among the lower 48 with the most wilderness area, Bergdahl fashioned himself a survivalist who could make it on his own.

Not long after arriving in Afghanistan, Bergdahl and his company were captured on film by a British documentarian working for the Guardian. Bowe’s unit reacted to deteriorating conditions on the battlefront under poor leadership and increasing low morale. There were constant mistakes made by officers in command. Eventually a popular lieutenant Bowe knew in another company was the first US casualty in their battalion killed by an Improvised Explosive Device.

Three days prior to going AWOL, Bowe Bergdahl wrote in his final email to his parents:

“In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do whatever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… the system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies.”Bergdahl had witnessed a military truck run over an Afghan child. Growing more and more unhappy reacting to what he observed, he questioned America’s involvement. His email concluded:

“I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid. We don‘t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the streets with our armored trucks.”His father Bob’s sound advice was to “obey your conscience.” To his son that meant quietly slipping away from his outpost without his gun into the mountains. But within 24 hours he was in the enemy’s hands.

As both a West Point cadet and Army officer, no doubt along with perhaps millions of other ex-US soldiers, I can vouch for Bowe’s exact same feelings. Young men and women start off as idealistic patriots, believing in their country and their country’s cause in war, only to have their belief system and sense of right and wrong challenged when facing such shattering and bitter disillusionment. It is always a soul searching struggle to realize and reconcile that the military is never what it has been cracked up to be when impressionable young people are brainwashed by all the constant lies that TV commercials, recruiters, politicians and movies. The cold hard reality never measures up to expectation and hope. The callous acceptance of being part of a corrupt and broken institution that takes pride in being the biggest killing machine on earth is repugnant to anyone with a conscience and compassion toward fellow human beings.

Those who have experienced similar living nightmares in the course of their military service can easily understand why Bowe Bergdahl walked away from the war. For those who stay and serve their nation in combat, perhaps becoming injured and/or have to watch their buddies die, it may be more difficult to accept Bowe’s behavior as an honorable choice without passing negative judgment. But Bowe was merely following his dad’s advice and left his unit because in good conscience he no longer believed in the insanity of war and wanted no part in it any longer. Had he been aware that he had the option of filing a conscientious objector claim, perhaps he would have chosen that path. But he could not live the lies and pretend that what he saw was okay any longer.

Like Private Bradley Manning who did what he had to when he encountered war atrocities being committed by his nation, Manning chose to be a courageous whistleblower. In fact it is written in Geneva convention rules that a soldier not only has the right but is mandated by law to refuse an order that knowingly violates others’ human rights as civilians. Manning bravely followed Geneva convention rules and his moral conscience in doing the honorable thing, and as a result is serving a grossly unjust 35 year prison sentence.

I believe Bowe Bergdahl acted morally on his own conscience like his father advised and paid dearly for his decision by suffering the last five years as a Prisoner of War. Though the Army plans to reopen an investigation over the circumstances of his leaving his unit in 2009, with time served as POW and the unfair and harsh judgment from many Americans, Bowe Bergdahl deserves America’s compassion and support.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He concentrates now on his writing.

Mark Landler’s “US Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016” was the lead story in the New York Times on Wednesday, May 28. Landler reports President Obama’s decision to reduce troop levels from the present 32,000 to 9,800 by the end of 2014 to half that by the end of 2015 to “a vestigial force” by the end of 2016. There are several reasons why one ought to be skeptical of these numbers (not least of which are that that Obama for years referred to Afghanistan as “a war of necessity,” he ordered two troop surges during his first term, the number of US paid contractors to remain is not clear, and predictable events may upset the timetable). Landler expresses no such skepticism.

But that’s not among the main problems with the story. The article’s flaws include Landler’s belief that he has achieved ‘balance’ by noting Obama’s “Republican critics in Congress,” and by quoting retired Army General Jack Keane, Republican Congressman Buck McKeon, and retired career diplomat and defense official David Sedney. The only critical voices Landler rounds up are those unhappy with Obama’s plans to draw down American forces on what they consider an overly brisk two-year schedule. Code Pink and the American Friends Service Committee—unhappy with the fact that the withdrawal is not immediate and complete—are not to be found in the piece.

The story fails on another basic level. Landler acts as amanuensis rather than journalist. He fails to ask a single follow up question of his sources. Landler and his editor let Keane get away with: “Just arbitrarily pulling those forces out absolutely risks successful completion of the mission.” Even a cub reporter and novice editor might have queried Keane as what mission he had in mind, what successful completion of it looked like, and when it might be accomplished.

Landler and his editor allow McKeon to opine: “Holding this mission to an arbitrary egg-timer doesn’t make a lick of sense.” A competent journalist might have asked McKeon when the egg-timer might ding, if not fifteen years after the onset of Operation Enduring Freedom. Further insulting his readers, Landler lets Keane add this jab: “Does the president seek to replicate his mistakes in Iraq, where he abandoned the region to chaos and failed to forge a real security partnership?” A conscientious reporter might have queried McKeon as to his dogged, unflagging support for the illegal and unjustifiable war over the years, as to the unsurprising Iraqi preference for an end to the nine year American occupation, and as to the fairness of blaming Obama for George Bush’s failed adventure.

Landler remarks that “even defenders of Mr. Obama,” including Michèle A. Flournoy, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy during his first term, express concern about “whether security gains made” are endangered by the pace of the draw down: “Time will tell whether we can meet that standard at this pace.” Landler does not recall that there was no war in Afghanistan, thus no need for the sort of security gains he has in mind, at time of the US invasion in October 2001.

Lazily—without apparent intervention of an editor—Landler employs an automatic, stock phrase to describe a primary activity of the shrinking US force over the next couple years; they are to “carry out operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda.” He does not inquire as to whether there’s a single al-Qaeda ‘member’ still on the loose in Afghanistan, and apparently forgot that David Petraeus admitted that al-Qaeda was no longer in the country as long ago as 2009.

Obama’s announced motivation for the draw down also goes unquestioned by Landler.

“The president is clearly driven by a determination to shift the focus of his counterterrorism policy from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan to a more diffuse set of militant threats, some linked to Al Qaeda, that have sprung up from Syria to Nigeria.”

The “militant threat” in Libya and its analogues in Mali and Chad—direct consequences of the President’s policy—go unmentioned. And the War on Terror continues indefinitely, into perpetuity.

Nowhere in the article does Landler wonder whether peace might break out following the drawn out draw down. We get this statement of Obama’s: “Americans have learned that it’s harder to end wars than it is to begin them. Yet this is how wars end in the 21st century.” It does not occur to Landler to ask an administration official why it’s so hard to end wars, or why peace does not ensue once wars end.

“Mr. Obama,” Landler tells us, “said the withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan would free up resources to confront an emerging terrorist threat stretching from the Middle East to Africa.” Obama is unable to simply ‘end a war;’ the end of one war must segue smoothly into the escalation of others. And that appears perfectly reasonable to Mark Landler, and the New York Times.

Steve Breyman teaches “How to Read the New York Times” at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: [email protected].

One Year of Edward Snowden’s Revelations

June 7th, 2014 by Eric London

Thursday marked one year since evidence of the US government’s mass surveillance programs first began appearing in the Guardian newspaper. Through installments over the ensuing months, whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed the existence of a government operation aimed at collecting, storing and trawling through the personal and political communications of the American people and countless millions more around the world.

The international surveillance apparatus Snowden has uncovered is more powerful than any in history. Billions of emails, phone calls, texts, videoconference and webcam recordings, facial images and credit card records are collected with the help of large corporations such as Verizon, Google and Yahoo. Both the metadata and content of communications are stored and can be accessed without a warrant. This allows the surveillance agencies to draw social and political profiles of every person in the US and hundreds of millions of people beyond America’s borders.

Snowden has leaked documents showing that the National Security Agency (NSA) spies not only on individuals, but also on governments and government leaders (“allies” and enemies alike); international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union and NATO; and foreign corporations. The United States government is the world’s biggest practitioner of cyber warfare, hacking into the communications of China, Iran and many other countries.

The detailed exposure of the colossal scope and universal character of the American Big Brother operation renders utterly absurd the official claims of a “limited” and “narrowly focused” program motivated by the need to protect the American “homeland” against terrorists. The continued promotion of this obvious lie by the intelligence agencies, the White House, and their enablers in Congress and the judiciary is an insult to the intelligence of the people.

Since the first revelations were published a year ago, the reality of an emerging police state run by unelected intelligence spooks and military brass, lurking behind the threadbare and impotent trappings of democracy, has been thoroughly exposed. The real target of this repressive apparatus—which enables the state to draw up “enemies lists” of people to be seized and eliminated in the event of social upheavals that threaten the interests of the ruling class—is not foreign jihadists (with whom the US government collaborates in Syria, Libya and other places around the world), but the working class.

This blanket surveillance is patently illegal and unconstitutional. It is precisely the type of “unreasonable” operation proscribed by the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which states that“the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause…”

Nevertheless, one year after the first Snowden revelations, none of these programs has ended or been limited. They remain in place, while President Obama, in the name of reform, has moved to more firmly institutionalize them.

Public opposition remains broad and intense. Months of lies about the supposedly harmless and legal character of the programs, combined with relentless attacks on Snowden by the government and the media, have not succeeded in eroding popular support for the whistleblower. But the views of the people mean nothing to those who wield economic and political power.

Hardly less revealing than the programs themselves has been the official response to their exposure. Since day one, there has been virtually no call from the media or either of the two major parties for the termination of these programs or the impeachment and prosecution of the officials, beginning with the president, responsible for authorizing and implementing them.

On the contrary, with only the rarest of exceptions, the newspapers, networks, pundits and politicians rounded against Snowden. Rather than hailing the courageous and principled response by the young man to massive violations of the democratic rights of the people, these forces denounced Snowden as a traitor and a criminal, while absolving the real criminals.

In a continuation of the Obama administration’s policy towards prior whistleblowers such as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and WikiLeaks leaker Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, the Obama administration charged Snowden with three counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917.

Snowden’s passport was revoked and his physical safety threatened. In July, the administration forced down the airplane of Bolivian President Evo Morales in an attempt to capture Snowden. Snowden was forced to accept an offer of temporary asylum in Russia.

Assassination was publicly discussed as an option amongst military and intelligence operatives. In October, former NSA director Michael Hayden talked about putting Snowden on an Obama administration “kill list.”

Those professionally or personally affiliated with the revelations have been subjected to police repression. In July, British intelligence forced the Guardian to destroy hard drives and threatened the newspaper with closure. In August, police detained David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, for nine hours at London’s Heathrow Airport. His belongings—including his computer—were illegally searched and seized.

The threats and lies continue to this day. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry responded to Snowden’s interview with NBC News by demanding that he “man up” and hand himself over to the US “justice system.” Kerry told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “Edward Snowden is a coward. He is a traitor. And he has betrayed his country.”

The ruling elite is terrified of the emergence of Snowden, who exemplifies a broader political radicalization of millions of young people. Born in 1983, he speaks for a significant section of a generation that has experienced nothing but political reaction and the ever more bloody eruption of American militarism. Key milestones include the stolen election of 2000, the “war on terror,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, the expansion of the police powers of the state and assault on democratic rights (Patriot Act, Homeland Security, Guantanamo, etc.) and the ever more obscene growth of social inequality.

One year after the Snowden revelations began, what political conclusions are to be drawn?

The creation of a totalitarian spying operation is not a temporary departure that can be corrected by palliatives or appeals for reform. The erection of these programs is a response by the ruling class—not just in the United States, but internationally—to the deepest needs of a capitalist system in mortal crisis. That the Snowden revelations include the exposure of similar programs in Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, France—in fact, every major capitalist “democracy”—demonstrates that the assault on democratic rights is rooted in the existing social and economic order.

In particular, it is linked to the malignant growth of social inequality and militarism, both of which have been exacerbated by the global breakdown of capitalism that began in 2008.

It is Time to Break Up the Media Cartel

June 7th, 2014 by Daniel Mills

Back in 1983, media was controlled by more than 50 different companies. Today power and control over the mainstream media has been condensed to a mere 6 giant corporations working behind the scenes to distract Americans from our countries real problems!

The alarming reality we live in is that 6 corporations (soon to be 5) including News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, and Comcast decide what news is delivered to the public, and what level of truth is behind that news. They control everything we watch, read, and hear in regards to the news.

This is a troubling problem because it’s creating a public filled with ill-informed people.

Some are suggesting that by constantly feeding us biased news carefully crafted by these corporations, the public is becoming brainwashed to think the way they want us to think. We’re being brainwashed to only care and discuss the topics they want us to care about and discuss.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that there’s been little discussion about the damaging effects “free trade” has on our economy. None of the major news networks has published anything about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is set to encompass nearly 40% of the world economy. Instead, news agencies are reporting on issues which are not relevant to our economy.

There are so many things wrong with America and many Americans are sufferring because our government refuses to protect us. Our current presidential administration and the media simply aren’t telling us what we need to know about the issues that really matter. This is because if they did, the U.S. public would be protesting in the streets and questioning the economic decisions of our leaders

Even though 70% of Americans are against “free trade,” corporations support it because they make a lot of money from “free trade” agreements while the rest of the country suffers. That’s why the media doesn’t report when Americans gather to protest “free trade” agreements, they simply ignore it. They feed the public a slew of distractions to direct attention off of the real problems.

The media does this on purpose, because having an oblivious flock of “sheeple” mindlessly following them is exactly what President Obama and other prominent government figures, lobbyists and multinational corporations want. Having an oblivious public means those currently causing America harm with “free trade” agreements can continue to suck the life from this great country while simultaneously selling away the wealth of future generations to countries like China.

Because of the consolidation of the major media outlets, damaging agreements like President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aren’t being talked about. The media is ensuring the public doesn’t find out President Obama is negotiating the TPP and TTIP in secret, because if we knew what was in the agreements, as Representative Alan Grayson has said, we’d surely protest.

Contact your Congressional representative and urge them to stand up to media bias and the corrupt leadership in Washington. Send this to five of your friends and have them do the same.

Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs Problem

June 7th, 2014 by David Corn

A few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton delivered a much-touted policy speech at the New America Foundation in Washington, where she talked passionately about the financial plight of Americans who “are still barely getting by, barely holding on, not seeing the rewards that they believe their hard work should have merited.” She bemoaned the fact that the slice of the nation’s wealth collected by the top 1 percent—or 0.01 percent—has “risen sharply over the last generation,” and she denounced this “throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.”

Her speech, in which she cited the various projects of the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that address economic inequality, was widely compared to the rhetoric of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the unofficial torchbearer of the populist wing of the Democratic Party. Here was Hillary, test-driving a theme for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, sticking up for the little guy and trash-talking the economic elites. She decried the “shadow banking system that operated without accountability” and caused the financial crisis that wiped out millions of jobs and the nest eggs, retirement funds, and college savings of families across the land. Yet at the end of this week, when all three Clintons hold a daylong confab with donors to their foundation, the site for this gathering will be the Manhattan headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

Goldman was a key participant in that “shadow banking system” that precipitated the housing market collapse and the consequent financial debacle that slammed America’s middle class. (A system that was unleashed in part due to deregulation supported by the Clinton administration in the 1990s.) This investment house might even be considered one of the robber barons of Wall Street. In its 2011 report, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a congressionally created panel set up to investigate the economic meltdown, approvingly cited a financial expert who concluded that Goldman practices had “multiplied the effects of the collapse in [the] subprime” mortgage market that set off the wider financial implosion that nearly threw the nation into a depression.

Hillary Clinton’s shift from declaimer of Big Finance shenanigans to collaborator with Goldman—the firm has donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation—prompts an obvious question: Can the former secretary of state cultivate populist cred while hobnobbing with Goldman and pocketing money from it and other Wall Street firms? Last year, she gave two paid speeches to Goldman Sachs audiences. (Her customary fee is $200,000 a speech.)

In recent years, Goldman Sachs has hardly exemplified the values and principles Clinton earnestly hailed in her speech. A few reminders:

  • In April 2011, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who chairs the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, released a report, based on a two-year investigation, that concluded that Goldman had misled clients and Congress about its investments in securities related to the housing market. Levin called on the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate if Goldman had violated the law by selling complicated securities to customers without informing the buyers that Goldman would pocket profits if these financial products dropped in value. Goldman denied the charge, but the previous year Goldman had paid $550 million in a civil settlement with the SEC regarding its sale of these securities. (When the case was first filed, the SEC maintained that Goldman had committed fraud by creating and peddling a mortgage investment that was secretly designed to fail.)
  • In March 2012, Greg Smith, a top Goldman executive who was resigning, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times slamming the screw-the-client culture that permeated Goldman: “To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money…I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them…It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets,’ sometimes over internal e-mail.” The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s report also described Goldman as a first-class predator: “Despite the first of Goldman’s business principles—that ‘our clients’ interests always come first’—documents indicate that the firm targeted less-sophisticated customers in its efforts to reduce subprime exposure.” In other words, the firm knowingly peddled junk to suckers who trusted it. The report quoted an expert who noted that Goldman’s actions were “the most cynical use of credit information that I have ever seen” and who compared Goldman’s wheeling-and-dealing to “buying fire insurance on someone else’s house and then committing arson.”
  • Last year, the New York Times published a fascinating investigative article that revealed how Goldman Sachs and other financial firms engaged in shrewd maneuvers to drive up the cost of aluminum. This rigging of the market, the paper reported, “ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.” That did not help struggling middle-class families.

Given Hillary Clinton’s Warrenesque address at the New America Foundation, I asked a spokesmen for the potential 2016 candidate if there was anything incongruous about her association with Goldman, and he forwarded this statement:

The support the Clinton Foundation receives from companies such as Goldman Sachs, organizations and individual donors helps maximize the impact of our philanthropic work. This support is helping enterprise partnerships in South America that are creating jobs; efforts to improve access to early childhood education in the U.S.; development programs that help small holder farmers in Africa; and rebuilding and economic development efforts in Haiti.

Goldman Sachs has been a long time supporter of the Clinton Global Initiative where they have advanced a commitment designed to support 10,000 women across the world through business training and education. We are grateful for their support.

A longtime Hillary Clinton adviser said, “She’s not giving any more speeches to Goldman Sachs.”

Clinton’s relationship with Goldman Sachs is not unique. Bill and Hillary Clinton have always nurtured cozy ties with Wall Street—in terms of policies and funds-chasing (for their campaigns and the foundation). The chief economic guru of the Clinton administration was Robert Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs chairman, and the financial deregulation and free-trade pacts of the Clinton years have long ticked off their party’s populists. In his new book, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recalls visiting Bill Clinton at his Harlem office and asking his advice, as Geithner puts it, on “how to navigate the populist waters” and respond to the American public’s anger about bailouts and Wall Street. The former president didn’t seem to have much sympathy for these popular sentiments and replied by referring to the CEO of Goldman: “You could take Lloyd Blankfein into a dark alley and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days. Then the bloodlust would rise again.”

If Hillary does decide to seek a return to the White House, can she straddle the line? Assail the excesses of Wall Street piracy and tout the necessity of economic fair play yet still accept the embrace, generosity, and meeting rooms of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street players? During her speech, she offered a good summation of populism, remarking “working with my husband and daughter at our foundation, our motto is ‘We’re all in this together,’ which we totally believe.” Yet her association with Goldman might cause some to wonder how firmly she holds this belief—and how serious she is about reining in those robber barons.

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the UN’s military occupation of Haiti. This Global Research News Hour was first published March 6, 2013.

Coup D’Etat in Haiti

It was nine years ago, on February 29, 2004 that the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was removed from his Presidential Palace by US forces, assisted by Canada and France. In his place an unelected government was installed by the international community.

Thousands of UN ‘peace-keepers’ were assigned to Haiti to protect and enforce the authority of this new government. Many representatives of the Haitian government were jailed. The government of Gerard Latortue,installed at the behest of international forces, cracked down hard on the poverty-stricken population, particularly in the slums of Cité Soleil and Bel Air in Port-au-Prince. Thousands of deaths were estimated to have resulted. [1]

It is critical to understand this background and the subsequent erosion of domestic institutions and government agencies if one is to understand the current human security issues threatening this small Caribbean island country.

It is especially important for Canadians to acquaint themselves with this history. Canadians generally have a positive opinion of their country and role in the world. They are inclined to believe Canada’s role in Haiti has been generally beneficent. Such inaccurate perceptions are aided and abetted by compliant politicians, governing and in opposition, and by a silent media.

Roger Annis has been a long-time activist with the Canada-Haiti Action group, an organization that has been at the forefront of raising awareness about Canada’s true role in Haiti. The Global Research Hour spoke to him while he was in Winnipeg to discuss the nine year old coup, Canada’s role in the coup and other ways the Canadian government and Canadian NGOs and development agencies have undermined Haitian democracy and human rights. Annis also draws parallels between Canada’s treatment of Haitians, and its treatment of its own Indigenous population.

Tar Sands Alberta: The Bitumen Cliff

While opposition to the so-called ‘tar sands’ in Northern Alberta in Canada is generally framed as an environment versus economics debate, a new study from the Polaris Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives seems to point to an argument that surprisingly reveals the (black) gold rush for bitumen in Western Canada actually putting the Canadian economy at a tremendous disadvantage. Carleton University Graduate student and report co-author Brendan Hayley speaks to the Global Research News Hour about Canada’s Bitumen Cliff.

America’s first African American President: An Obstacle to the Quest for Positive Change and Racial Equality

In this exclusive Black History Month interview for the Global Research News Hour, former Georgia Congresswoman and US Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney talks about how America’s first African American President has been an obstacle rather than an asset in the quest for positive change and racial equality, and about what needs to be done to make substantive rather than cosmetic changes in the US political life.

References

1 A. R. Kolbe & R. A. Hutson, ‘Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’, Lancet; I. Stotsky, Haiti Human Rights Investigation, University of Miami School of Law

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

The map below comes from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center.  It shows that radiation levels at radiation monitoring stations all over the country are elevated.  As you will notice, this is particularly true along the west coast of the United States.  Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean.  That means that the total amouont of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain. 

Ultimately, all of this nuclear radiation will outlive all of us by a very wide margin.  They are saying that it could take up to 40 years to clean up the Fukushima disaster, and meanwhile countless innocent people will develop cancer and other health problems as a result of exposure to high levels of nuclear radiation.  We are talking about a nuclear disaster that is absolutely unprecedented, and it is constantly getting worse.  The following are 28 signs that the west coast of North America is being absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima…

Fukushima Radiation

1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores

Wildlife experts are studying whether fur loss and open sores detected in nine polar bears in recent weeks is widespread and related to similar incidents among seals and walruses.

The bears were among 33 spotted near Barrow, Alaska, during routine survey work along the Arctic coastline. Tests showed they had “alopecia, or loss of fur, and other skin lesions,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.

2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline…

At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.   It’s gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an “unusual mortality event.”

3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low.  Many are blaming Fukushima.

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that is approximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast.

6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years.

7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

9. Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada…

• 73 percent of mackerel tested

• 91 percent of the halibut

• 92 percent of the sardines

• 93 percent of the tuna and eel

• 94 percent of the cod and anchovies

• 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish

10. Canadian authorities are finding extremely high levels of nuclear radiation in certain fish samples…

Some fish samples tested to date have had very high levels of radiation: one sea bass sample collected in July, for example, had 1,000 becquerels per kilogram of cesium.

11. Some experts believe that we could see very high levels of cancer along the west coast just from people eating contaminated fish

“Look at what’s going on now: They’re dumping huge amounts of radioactivity into the ocean — no one expected that in 2011,” Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at the University of California-Santa Cruz, told Global Security Newswire. “We could have large numbers of cancer from ingestion of fish.”

12. BBC News recently reported that radiation levels around Fukushima are “18 times higher” than previously believed.

13. An EU-funded study concluded that Fukushima released up to 210 quadrillion becquerels of cesium-137 into the atmosphere.

14. Atmospheric radiation from Fukushima reached the west coast of the United States within a few days back in 2011.

15. At this point, 300 tons of contaminated water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

16. A senior researcher of marine chemistry at the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute says that “30 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium and 30 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium” are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.

17. According to Tepco, a total of somewhere between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium have gotten into the Pacific Ocean since the Fukushima disaster first began.

18. According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day.

19. It has been estimated that up to 100 times as much nuclear radiation has been released into the ocean from Fukushima than was released during the entire Chernobyl disaster.

20. One recent study concluded that a very large plume of cesium-137 from the Fukushima disaster will start flowing into U.S. coastal waters early next year

Ocean simulations showed that the plume of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima disaster in 2011 could begin flowing into U.S. coastal waters starting in early 2014 and peak in 2016.

21. It is being projected that significant levels of cesium-137 will reach every corner of the Pacific Ocean by the year 2020.

22. It is being projected that the entire Pacific Ocean will soon “have cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher” than what we witnessed during the era of heavy atomic bomb testing in the Pacific many decades ago.

23. The immense amounts of nuclear radiation getting into the water in the Pacific Ocean has caused environmental activist Joe Martino to issue the following warning

“Your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over.”

24. The Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 that are constantly coming from Fukushima are going to affect the health of those living the the northern hemisphere for a very, very long time.  Just consider what Harvey Wasserman had to say about this…

Iodine-131, for example, can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer.

Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California. It spreads throughout the body, but tends to accumulate in the muscles.

Strontium-90’s half-life is around 29 years. It mimics calcium and goes to our bones.

25. According to a recent Planet Infowars report, the California coastline is being transformed into “a dead zone”…

The California coastline is becoming like a dead zone.

If you haven’t been to a California beach lately, you probably don’t know that the rocks are unnaturally CLEAN – there’s hardly any kelp, barnacles, sea urchins, etc. anymore and the tide pools are similarly eerily devoid of crabs, snails and other scurrying signs of life… and especially as compared to 10 – 15 years ago when one was wise to wear tennis shoes on a trip to the beach in order to avoid cutting one’s feet on all the STUFF of life – broken shells, bones, glass, driftwood, etc.

There are also days when I am hard-pressed to find even a half dozen seagulls and/or terns on the county beach.

You can still find a few gulls trolling the picnic areas and some of the restaurants (with outdoor seating areas) for food, of course, but, when I think back to 10 – 15 years ago, the skies and ALL the beaches were literally filled with seagulls and the haunting sound of their cries both day and night…

NOW it’s unnaturally quiet.

26. A study conducted last year came to the conclusion that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster could negatively affect human life along the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska “for decades”.

27. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is being projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete.

28. Yale Professor Charles Perrow is warning that if the cleanup of Fukushima is not handled with 100% precision that humanity could be threatened “for thousands of years“…

“Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.”

Are you starting to understand why so many people are so deeply concerned about what is going on at Fukushima?

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

G7 Unity shows Cracks on Russia Sanctions

June 7th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

Meeting for the first time in two decades without the participation of Russia, members of the Group of Eight—now Group of Seven, G7—agreed in Brussels on a joint statement backing the right-wing regime in Kiev and denouncing Moscow for the annexation of Crimea and its alleged “actions to destabilize” eastern Ukraine.

While the summit went through the motions of issuing boiler plate statements on issues like the global economy, climate change and energy, Ukraine was the only issue of substance before the assembled heads of state of the US, Germany, Britain, France, Japan, Italy and Canada.

The downsized summit—which included none of the guests and observers who commonly attend such events—failed, however, to adopt any concrete plans for the imposition of a new round of sanctions, pushed by the Obama administration. Cracks in the summit’s paper unity were apparent over the potentially severe economic impact these measures could have on Western European economies, compared to their relatively innocuous effect upon the United States.

Washington has sought to ratchet up tensions with Russia as much as possible since working together with Germany and other European powers in orchestrating and backing the violent, fascist-spearheaded February coup that ousted Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. It has not only pushed through economic sanctions, but also deployed US warplanes in Poland, dispatched American paratroopers to Poland and the three former Soviet Baltic republics and sent warships into the Black Sea, bringing US military forces to Russia’s borders.

It is becoming increasingly clear that US imperialism’s strategy is to militarily encircle Russia and lay the groundwork for eliminating it as an obstacle to US hegemony in Eurasia and the Middle East.

The statement on foreign policy drafted by the G7 is remarkable for its cynicism and hypocrisy. It hails the “successful conduct” of the May 25 Ukrainian elections—won by the billionaire “chocolate king” Petro Poroshenko—ignoring the fact that there was no voting by millions of Ukrainians in the east, who were and are under a military siege. Immediately after the section on Ukraine, the statement denounces the election held in Syria a week later, under similar conditions, as a “sham.”

The statement further “encourages” the Kiev regime to “maintain a measured approach in pursuing operations to restore law and order” in the east and “commends” its “willingness … to continue the national dialogue in an inclusive manner.”

As the G7 heads of state were talking in Brussels about “measured approach” and “inclusive dialogue,” on the ground in eastern Ukraine there is mounting evidence of a savage attack on the civilian population characterized by multiple war crimes.

The Russian government has warned that a humanitarian disaster is taking shape in the region. Moscow reported Thursday that over the previous 24 hours over 8,300 Ukrainian refugees, most of them women and children, had crossed into Russia to escape continuous artillery and aerial bombardment carried out by regime forces.

Weapons outlawed by international conventions are being used widely by the regime, such as cluster-bombs dropped on the Luhansk regional administration building at the beginning of this week, killing eight civilians.

And it has been reported that after heavily shelling the town of Krasnyi Lyman, southeast of Slavyansk in the Donetsk Region, members of the National Guard, a force that has recruited heavily from neo-fascist elements connected to the Right Sector and Svoboda party, overran the local hospital and executed 25 wounded people they found there.

The US and its Western European allies have denied there is any humanitarian crisis in the region, giving a green light to whatever atrocities are required to suppress the local population.

The Kiev regime, meanwhile, has announced its intention to declare martial law in the rebellious regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in order to pave the way for an even more violent crackdown.

While saying nothing about the violent repression in the east or the Kiev regime’s reliance on fascist militias to do its dirty work, the statement put the onus on Moscow to force self-defense forces in the region to “lay down their weapons.”

While the G7 statement “welcomed” loan agreements already reached with the International Monetary Fund and other agencies and governments, it proposed no new funding for the Ukrainian economy, which is in free fall. Instead, it demanded that the Kiev regime fulfill its “commitment to pursue the difficult reforms that will be crucial to support economic stability and unlock private sector-led growth.” These “reforms” spell drastic austerity and increased joblessness for an already impoverished population.

On the issue of sanctions, however, the statement confirmed decisions to impose fairly limited sanctions on individuals and a small number of companies in Russia, while affirming only that the seven heads of state were “ready to intensify targeted sanctions and to implement significant additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require.” It did not specify what “events” would trigger such new measures.

There was no mention of the kind of sectoral sanctions, targeting Russia’s oil and gas industry for example, that the Obama administration has been pushing.

Divisions between Washington and its European allies emerged most nakedly in the clash between Obama and French President François Hollande over the French government’s decision to go ahead with 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) sale to Moscow of two advanced Mistral warships that are designed for amphibious invasions. France is set to begin training some 400 Russian sailors in the operation of the warships later this month.

Following the summit meeting, Obama told a press conference in Brussels, “I think it would have been better to press the pause button” on the Mistral sale. He added, “President Hollande so far has made different decisions.”

Hollande dismissed any suggestion of canceling the sale. “If the contract was interrupted there would be a reimbursement,” he said. “There is no reason to enter into that process.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported Hollande’s position, arguing that, since the European Union had not approved any broader sanctions, there was no reason for France to cancel the contract.

US-French relations were further soured over Obama’s public rebuff of an appeal from Hollande for a “reasonable” settlement of a criminal investigation brought by the US Justice Department against the French banking giant BNP Paribas over alleged violations of US sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba. There have been reports that the bank could face a fine of over $10 billion, which Hollande has argued is “disproportionate” and could have a severe impact on France’s economy.

Obama said he would do nothing to promote a more lenient settlement. “The tradition of the United States is that the president does not meddle in prosecutions,” he told reporters in Brussels.

While Obama has failed to seek any meeting with Vladimir Putin, most of the other members of the G7 have organized bilateral talks with the Russian president, who was invited by Hollande to attend a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing during World War II.

Hollande defended the invitation, declaring, “We know what we owe to the Russian people, the Soviet people of that time. They were heroic of their defense in the face of Nazi divisions and the suffering of the Russian people.” The French president organized two separate meals Thursday night: the first a dinner at a Paris restaurant with Obama and the second a supper with Putin at the Elysee Palace.

Germany’s Merkel—who told a news conference, “This is not about threats …we want dialogue”—and British Prime Minister David Cameron also organized separate meetings with Putin. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a Brussels news conference, “I’m hoping to continue dialogue with President Putin” and seemed to express regret that Putin wasn’t at the summit.

Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser, expressed Washington’s hostility to these bilateral meetings. “We’ve always said we don’t want different countries to be having conversations over the head of the government in Kiev about Ukraine’s future,” he told reporters.

For his part, Putin, who represents the interests of a ruling stratum of billionaire oligarchs with substantial wealth invested in the West, has signaled that he is prepared to reach a compromise on Ukraine. He has ordered Russian forces to withdraw from Ukraine’s border and has recognized the May 25 elections. It was announced on Thursday that the Russian ambassador will attend Poroshenko’s inauguration on Saturday.

In an interview broadcast on French television Wednesday night he clearly sought to exploit the divisions between Washington and Western Europe, declaring himself “ready for dialogue,” while adding, “it is not a secret that the most aggressive and severe policy is the one of the US.”

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the UN’s military occupation of Haiti. This article was first published February 9, 2014.

We are coming upon the 10th anniversary of the February 29, 2004 coup in Haiti that was orchestrated by imperialism[2] against the labouring classes and the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. According to journalist and writer Yves Engler:

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2003, Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government organized the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” to discuss that country’s future. No Haitian officials were invited to this assembly where high-level US, Canadian and French officials decided that Haiti’s elected president “must go”, the dreaded army should be recreated and that the country would be put under a Kosovo-like UN trusteeship.[3]

Just over a year after this pivotal meeting of the three Western states in Canada, the democratic government in Haiti was overthrown, President Aristide had been kidnapped and exiled to the Central African Republic, hundreds of Fanmi Lavalas’s (FL) supporters were killed, immediate occupation of Haiti by 2,000 Western troops (latter replaced by the United Nations’ military intervention), repression against grassroots organizations, filling of the jails with political prisoners and abandonment of the FL government’s investment in education, job creation, healthcare, public services and preoccupation with increasing the minimum wage.[4]

The anti-democratic assault on the labouring classes in Haiti has resulted in the banning of the Fanmi Lavalas party from serving as an electoral instrument of the people as well as the execution of initiatives by elite forces to co-opt opportunistic elements within this political organization.[5] Charlie Hinton, an organizer with the Haiti Action Committee, has documented the different ways that the current Michel Martelly regime in Haiti is pursuing a path toward dictatorship.[6] People of good conscience across the world, especially those in the Americas, should develop or strengthen their ties of solidarity with popular organizations within Haiti’s working-class and peasantry.

It is only through people-to-people solidarity based on mutual respect and principled collaboration that Haiti will rid itself of the United Nations’ (MINUSTAH) occupation force[7]; force France to repay Haiti the ransom of 90 million gold francs (over $23 billion today) that was extracted from the latter as the price for diplomatic recognition and freedom from the threat of re-enslavement[8]; end the cycle of Western military interventions, coups and/or propping up of anti-democratic, anti-people regimes[9]; and put an end to the local elite’s and foreign capital’s exploitation of the people.[10] Based on Haiti’s contribution to humanity, it should hold a special place in the internationalist programmes of progressive forces across the world.

The enslaved Africans in Haiti were the only people to have successfully overthrown a system of slavery in the annals of history. They defeated the strongest military forces of the day, that of France, Britain and Spain, in order to free themselves from the servile labour regime and boldly assert their freedom and humanity.[11] This historic feat, the Haitian Revolution, was significant beyond the victory that the enslaved Africans registered in using armed struggle to effect emancipation-from below. These Black Jacobins[12] etched the fear of revolution in the hearts and minds of the enslavers or agricultural capitalists in the other slave-holding territories in the Americas.

America’s Declaration of Independence and France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen are hailed as seminal texts that affirm inalienable, universal human rights, but the revolutions associated with these two documents were comfortable in maintaining slavery, a state of unfreedom.[13] It was the Haitian Revolution by way of its June 1801 Constitution that unambiguously declared universal freedom from enslavement in Article 3, “There cannot exist slaves on this territory, servitude is therein forever abolished. All men are born free, live and die free and French.”[14] Essentially, it was Caliban, in a switch of roles, who introduced Prospero to the virtue or practice of universal freedom and paid for this significant achievement with the former’s blood.

The celebrated French Revolution and the American Revolution were parochial and hypocritical in allowing for the abridgement of liberty through the institution of slavery. But The Haitian Revolution made it clear to the world that the enslaved or the colonized had the capacity to forge the path to freedom through their collective effort against seemingly insurmountable odds. On the conclusion of the 1831-1832 Emancipation Rebellion in Jamaica, the British authority was so spooked by the possibility of another Haiti with its freedom-from-below that it passed an abolition law in 1833, which took effect  in 1834; emancipation-from-above.

Haiti’s role in Simon Bolivar’s wars of independence in Latin America is not widely known. In the spirit of principled international solidarity, Haiti provided a place of refugee to Bolivar and his comrade Francisco de Miranda in 1815 and gave them material aid in the form of schooners, printing presses, fighters and as well as guns for several thousand troops.[15] Haiti’s only condition for its contribution was Bolivar’s commitment to abolishing slavery, which he didn’t vigorously and speedily implement. Haiti was still living up to the ideal of universal freedom from slavery and colonial domination. This country was there, materially and morally, during a crucial movement in Latin America’s struggle for self-determination. It is rather instructive and ironic today to see Latin American military forces serving in Haiti as an occupation army under the United Nations’ banner.

Haiti’s legacy of defying and exposing the farcical nature of the racist characterization of Afrikans as sub-humans by defeating the best European armies of the period, taking its freedom in its own hands, contributing to the liberation of Latin America and threatening the continued viability of slavery has probably earned the country the unenviable economic and political status it currently holds in the region.[16]

 I believe Wordsworth’s was right in declaring to the deceived and fallen Toussaint (and by extension Haiti), “thou hast great allies / Thy friends are exultations, agonies, /And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.” Our anti-imperialist obligation to Haiti and its people for their contribution to universal freedom entail the provision of political, moral and material support in fighting our common enemies of social emancipation and justice. Our internationalist sensibilities and politics ought to be informed by Martin Luther King’s claim, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”[17]

We may demonstrate our international(ist) solidarity commitment with the people of Haiti in the following manner:

  1. Form or join an organization devoted to Haiti internationalist solidarity work. This type of formation is necessary to effecting consistent and systematic public education, mobilizing and organizing in support of the struggle of the Haitian labouring classes.
  2. Mobilize and educate to pass a resolution or policy on internationalist solidarity with the people of Haiti. Mobilize, educate and organize members in your trade unions, student organizations, community organizations, faculty associations, progressive religious organizations and other civil society groups to support a resolution specifying actions and programmes that will be implemented to materialize people-to-people solidarity with grassroots and popular organizations in Haiti.

These Haiti-based organizations are worthy of people-to-people support: Défenseurs des opprimés (Defenders of the Oppressed) – - a human rights organization; Tèt Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen (Small Peasants Working Together) – Haiti’s largest organization of small farmers; Batay Ouvriye – one of the most prominent labour organizations; Ayti Kale Je (Haiti Grassroots Watch) – investigative reporting; SOPUDEP (Society of Providence United for the Economic Development of Pétion-Ville) – education and community development; and Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads) – investigative reporting.

  1. Raise awareness about the 10th anniversary of the 2004 coup. Organize teach-ins, film series, lectures, rallies, demonstrations, informational pickets, do radio and television interviews and/or write articles to raise awareness about the February 29, 2004 coup d’état in Haiti and the role played by imperialist actors such as Canada, the United States, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, non-governmental organizations, local elite and the Canadian International Development Agency in overthrowing the pro-people government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A primary objective behind the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 2004 coup is to motivate individuals and groups to participate in solidarity projects or actions in support of the struggle in Haiti.
  2. Support the lawsuit of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haitithat is aimed at holding the United Nations accountable for the introduction of cholera to Haiti. The 2010 cholera outbreak has resulted in over 8,300 deaths and infected close to 650,000 Haitians. You can educate the people in your community or civil society organizations about the action of the United Nations and support or develop campaigns directed at getting this international body to accept legal and moral responsibility for the devastating action of its occupation forces.
  3. Mobilize and organize to end the UN’s occupation. Create or contribute to a broad-based campaign of progressive forces in your community, country or region aimed securing the withdrawal of the United Nations’ occupation force of over 8,000 uniformed personnel in Haiti. Haiti did not experience a civil war and there are no warring sides being kept apart to justify this military presence.  Support initiatives in states that have troops or police personnel in Haiti to build support for the pull out of their respective military and police contingents.
  4. Contribute to the fight against neoliberalism. Your organizations ought to support Haitian trade unions, rural organizations and other progressive civil society groups that are fighting neoliberal capitalist policies in Haiti. They have devastated Haiti’s rice industry and flooded the country with heavily subsidized agricultural products from abroad. As a result of the extreme neoliberal economic policies imposed on Haiti, it has one of the most open economies in the Americas. For those of us who are based in global North countries the fight against neoliberal capitalist policies starts where we live and work.

I am in full agreement with the following assertion of international solidarity activist Kali Akuno “As we gather our forces to support the resistance of the Haitian people, and join with it in common struggle against imperialism, we will appear as a new defiant spirit and a force to be reckoned with.”[18] Challenging anti-working class policies at home is a part of the global solidarity work of delegitimizing them and pushing an alternative approach to human economic and social development.

  1. Mobilize against any attempt to bar Fanmi Lavalas from participating in the next round of elections. The conservative political and economic forces have conspired to exclude this movement from participating in recent elections because of its popular support among the people. Fanmi Lavalas was the political organization used by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to win the presidency on two occasions (both times unseated by a coup). It can lay claim to the series of economic, social and physical infrastructure programmes that benefitted the peasantry and the working-class during the Aristide administrations.[19]

Irrespective of how we might feel about elections, if a progressive and popular Haitian organization is deliberately and deviously barred from participating or Fanmi Lavalas is seen by large segments of Haitians as representative and reflective of them[20], as allies we ought to stand in principled solidarity with the self-determined goals of the people.

The abolitionist, former enslaved African, feminist and statesman Frederick Douglass had this to say about Haiti’s role in promoting “universal human liberty” and it serves as a reminder of our debt of gratitude and obligation to its people:

 In just vindication of Haiti, I can go one step further. I can speak of her, not only words of admiration, but words of gratitude as well. She has grandly served the cause of universal human liberty. We should not forget that the freedom you and I enjoy to-day; that the freedom that eight hundred thousand colored people enjoy in the British West Indies; the freedom that has come to the colored race the world over, is largely due to the brave stand taken by the black sons [and daughters], of Haiti ninety years ago. When they struck for freedom, they builded better than they knew. Their swords were not drawn and could not be drawn simply for themselves alone. They were linked and interlinked with their race, and striking for their freedom, they struck for the freedom of every black man [and woman] in the world.[21]

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator and activist with the Toronto Haiti Action Committee and the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity.

Notes

[1] Quoted in Brian Hickey, “Wordsworth Sonnet: “To Toussaint L’Ouverture”, 38, Retrieved from http://users.unimi.it/caribana/essays/caribana_2/HICKEY.pdf

[2] Richard Sanders, “A very Canadian Coup d’état in Haiti: The Top 10 Ways that Canada’s Government Helped the 2004 Coup and its Reign of Terror”, The CCPA Monitor April 2010, Retrieved from http://coat.ncf.ca/Haiti/Canada_in_Haiti.htm; Putting the Aid in Aiding and Abetting: CIDA’s Agents of Regime Change in Haiti’s 2004 Coup, Press for Conversion, May 2008, Issue #62

[3] Yves Engler, “Remembering the Overthrow of Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide: The Occupation Continues” Counterpunch, January 31-February 2, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/31/remembering-the-overthrow-of-haitis-jean-bertrand-aristide/

[4] Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment (New York: Verso, 2007), 250-276.

[5] Charlie Hinton, “10 Steps to Dictatorship in Haiti: Why the Grassroots is Taking to the Streets against President Michel Martelly,” Counterpunch, December 7, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/17/10-steps-to-dictatorship-in-haiti/; Hallward, “Damming the Flood,” 263-264.

[6] Charlie Hinton, “10 Steps to Dictatorship.”

[7] Deepa Pachang, “UN in Haiti: Keeping the Peace or conspiring against it?” Pambazuka News, November 3, 2011, Retrieved from http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/77635

[8] Noam Chomsky, Paul Farmer & Amy Goodman, Getting Haiti Right This Time: The U.S. and the Coup (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2004), 13; Hallward, “Damming the Flood,” 226.

[9] Haiti Action Committee, Hidden from the Headlines: The U.S. War against Haiti, (Berkeley: Haiti Action Committee, 2003).

[10] Kali Akuno, “Confronting the occupation: Haiti, neoliberalism and Haiti,” Pambazuka News, April 15, 2010, Retrieved from http://pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/63698; Hinton, “10 Steps to Dictatorship”.

[11] C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), viiii.

[12] “The Black Jacobins.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Jacobins

[13] Nick Nesbitt, Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment (Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 81-82,

[14] Nick Nesbitt, Toussaint L’Ouverture: The Haitian Revolution (New York: Verso, 2008), 46.

[15] Kim Ives, “Hugo Chavez’ legacy in Haiti and Latin America,” Haiti Liberté, March 7, 2013, Retrieved from http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/8263; Michael C. Twomey, “Questions Concerning the Haitian Revolution and its Impact in the Spanish Caribbean,” Retrieved from http://www.historyvortex.org/HaitianRevolutionImpactSpanishCaribbean.html

[16] Hallward, “Damming the Flood,” 11.

[17] Martin Luther King, “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963, Retrieved from http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html

[18] Akuno, “Confronting the occupation.”

[19] Haiti Action Committee, We Will Not Forget: The Achievements of Lavalas in Haiti, (Berkeley: Haiti Action Committee, 2005)

[20] Hallward, “Damming the Flood”, 136-140.

[21] Frederick Douglass, “Lecture on Haiti, Delivered at the World’s Fair, in Jackson Park, Chicago, Jan. 2, 1893”, Retrieved from http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/content/frederick-douglass-1893-speech-haitian-pavilion-chicago-world-fair

Unfortunately, it takes the media mouthpiece of the Russian government to tell the truth about Hillary Clinton and the War Party.

You’ll never get the truth from the U.S. government’s media mouthpiece who self-righteously and disingenuously claim they are independent and “fair and balanced” (cue laugh track).

Clinton, of course, is no different than your garden variety Republican, including the any number of neocons. All of them are propped up by the military-industrial-intelligence complex and the banksters who run the show and who laughingly pretend we all live in a pluralistic democracy. Of course, anybody who has more than two brain cells to rub together and is not in serious denial knows we live in an authoritarian plutocracy run for the sake of a small clique of mega-rich and powerful global internationalists.

Clinton will be the Democrat contender for the position of teleprompter reader. Jeb Bush will probably be the Republican choice to play the political equivalent of musical chairs. The ruling elite has decided it wants to stick with the Bush-Clinton dynasty for the foreseeable future.

Hillary is preferable because the elite are keen on making sure all criticism and political activism is either marginalized or written off as hatred and thus not only dismissible, but worthy of a violent response by government. Criticism of Hillary will be deemed sexist the same way serious criticism of Obama is now considered racist.

In addition, Hillary’s confrontational and ugly personality will be described as an admirable attribute indicative of a strong leader the same way the psychopathic personalities of her male counterparts are described as the attribute of masters of statecraft (the word is synonymous with bombing small helpless nations and bailing out transnational banks).

It really is too bad RT had to run this piece. The Russian government, of course, is as authoritarian and violent, and in some instance more so, than the government ruling the United States. Anti-Russian propaganda disseminated by alphabet networks owned and operated by an interlocking directorship dominated banks and transnational corporations point out Russia’s flaws on a daily basis.

Everything we see on television, an increasingly on the internet, “often surpasses expectations of media subservience to government propaganda,” as Edward S. Herman noted nearly two decades ago. Only the alternative media, which naturally suffers from its own flaws, is free to tell the truth.

As an arm of the state, RT has its own propaganda agenda. Part of that agenda is pointing out the indisputable fact the U.S. government is owned and operated by banks and large corporations. For pointing out what the corporate media in this country is forbidden to mention, we can be thankful. On the other hand, we should be wary and mistrustful of RT and any other propaganda organ of the state.

US-designated Syrian terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra with an American-made TOW Missile in its possession.

Global Research Editor’s Note:

Ambassador Robert S. Ford is no ordinary diplomat. He was U.S. representative in January 2004 to the Shiite city of Najaf in Iraq. Najaf was the stronghold of the Mahdi army.

A few months later he was appointed “Number Two Man” (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs), at the US embassy in Baghdad at the outset of John Negroponte’s tenure as US Ambassador to Iraq (June 2004- April 2005).

Since his arrival in Damascus in late January 2011, Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork for the development of an armed insurgency directed against as the government of Bashar al Assad.

The reinstatement of a US ambassador in Damascus, but more specifically the choice of Robert S. Ford as US ambassador, bears a direct relationship to the onset of the protest movement in mid-March against the government of Bashar al Assad.

Robert S. Ford was the man for the job. As “Number Two” at the US embassy in Baghdad, he played a key role in implementing the Pentagon’s “Iraq Salvador Option”. The latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary forces modelled on the experience of  Central America. 

For a full background of Robert Ford, read Who is US Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford? The Covert Role of the US Embassy in Supporting an Armed Insurrection and 

“The Salvador Option For Syria”: US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate “Opposition Forces”


Please, Ambassador Ford. Name me a “Moderate” Syrian rebel

by Sharmine Narwani

Mideast Shuffle

Below is an informative email exchange between Sharmine Narwani and a State Department official regarding Robert Stephen Ford’s statement. The moderate opposition remained unnamed.

June 4, 2014

http://mideastshuffle.com/2014/06/04/please-ambassador-ford-name-me-a-moderate-syrian-rebel/

Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford stated in a June 3 PBS Newshour:

“We need – and we have long needed – to help moderates in the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethal assistance.”

“Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we ramped it up, frankly the al Qaeda groups that have been winning adherents would have been unable to compete with the moderates who frankly we have much in common with,” he continued.

(Transcript available here)

That’s great, Ambassador Ford. Now can you kindly put us out of our misery and name these Syrian “moderate” rebel groups? For any Syrian rebels to take the lead on the ground, they must be able to command a good 50,000 men…but I’ll settle for the name of a moderate fighting force that can can command 5,000.

Okay then – 500?

Please, Mr. Ambassador. I am now begging you to give me the name of these moderate Syrian rebels. Okay, maybe they’ve all been wiped out or marginalized now, but what about a year ago – when your boss Secretary of State John Kerry was champing at the bit to start arming the “moderates?”

Kerry, as you may recall, told us conclusively during a trip to Riyadh in March 2013 that:

“There is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is, in fact, getting to them, and the indication is that they are increasing their pressure as a result of that.”

I was transfixed. Fascinated. The Americans had found moderate Syrian rebels (who actually participate in battle) and could now guarantee that weapons would get directly to them – and more importantly – stay with them.

I immediately pounded out an email to one of my media contacts at the US State Department (I will call him/her “Ben Spox” to preserve his/her identity), eager to find out the names of these Syrian moderates. Here’s how that correspondence went:

From: Sharmine
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 7:51 AM
To: Ben Spox
Subject: Query

Ben,

Could you please give me the names of some of the “moderate” Syrian rebels that Sec of State Kerry is thinking of assisting? If that is confidential, could you just provide me with any names of “moderate” armed groups in Syria that you folks are aware of? Would be helpful if you could give me a sense of their size…and how you determine they are “moderate.”

He also says in this NYT piece (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/world/middleeast/syria-russia-iran-arms.html) “There is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is, in fact, getting to them.”

Can you give me any idea of how this can be ascertained when weapons provided to Libyans are now flooding Mali and Syria?

Thanks.

Kind regards,
Sharmine

From: Ben Spox
To: Sharmine
3/5/13

On background attributable to “A State Department spokesman”:

· Our goal is to see a Syrian-led transition that enjoys widespread support and legitimacy within Syria and defends the rights and interests of all Syrians regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or gender. The opposition has articulated a common vision and transition plan for Syria that offers a credible alternative to the Asad regime’s tyranny. We support this vision.

· As we work to accelerate a political transition, we are providing more non-lethal support to the opposition, including communications gear and training, support for transition planning, media support and training, and a variety of programs to support civil society and capacity building to ensure that the opposition can continue its cause and that the needs of civilians on the ground are met.

· I would also draw your attention to our newest fact sheet, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/03/205623.htm

From: Sharmine
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 8:16 AM
To: Ben Spox
Subject: Re: Query

Ben,

Thanks for this, but I’m asking for specific names of “moderate” rebel groups on the ground in Syria. Or are you counting on those outside the country to funnel this assistance entirely? Either way, I am sure you folks have specified the recipients.

So, if you please, kindly provide me with names of individuals or group recipients inside Syrian territory who are “moderates.”

Thanks.

Best,
Sharmine

From: Ben Spox
To: Sharmine
3/5/13

I encourage you to look over the public remarks made by Secretary in Rome and Riyadh.

From: Sharmine
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 8:29 AM
To: Ben Spox
Subject: Re: Query

Ben,

I did look at his public comments in those two places – some are even in the NYT article link I sent you:

“There is no guarantee that one weapon or another might not at some point in time fall into the wrong hands,” Mr. Kerry said in a joint news conference in Riyadh with the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal. “But I will tell you this: There is a very clear ability now in the Syrian opposition to make certain that what goes to the moderate, legitimate opposition is, in fact, getting to them, and the indication is that they are increasing their pressure as a result of that.”

I want to know if you folks can actually name any moderate groups inside Syria that Secretary Kerry is referencing above? We have heard reports for months that there are no rebel groups worth their salt that are not Islamist and militant in nature…so what are these “moderate” rebel groups the secretary is referencing?

You folks are very specifically setting a scene that suggests there are “moderate” rebels inside Syria who will be receiving tens of millions of dollars of US taxpayer funds. You are going to great lengths to assure people that none of this will be diverted to jihadist or militant groups who may then turn their weapons on Americans or their allies.

So, then, who are these groups? Specifically.

Best,
Sharmine

From: Ben Spox
To: Sharmine
3/5/13

Sharmine – The public comments are where we are right now. I do not have additional information to provide at this time.

From: Sharmine
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 08:56 AM
To: Ben Spox
Subject: Re: Query

Ben, forget the context of US assistance going to these “moderate” groups for one second. At this point – and, truthfully, as a result of your responses to me – I am now just genuinely curious to know if anyone at the State Department can even name a “moderate” rebel group inside Syria.

Can you kindly direct me to someone there who could possibly help me out on this? It would be a tremendous help in allaying my growing concern that Secretary Kerry himself cannot name a single Syrian “moderate” rebel group.

I apologize for my tone – but seriously, does he think he can just say things like this with no oversight or questions? My query is a simple one and is based entirely on the secretary’s claim that he now has a “very clear ability” to bypass the bad guys.’ I’m not even yet asking how he knows he can do that. I’m just asking for the name of one single ‘good guy.’

Could you please refer me to somebody else for this information?

Cheers.

From: Ben Spox
To: Sharmine
3/5/13

Sharmine, thank you for your inquiry. You may use my responses below to inform your reporting. Attribution in background to “a State Department Spokesman.”

-Ben

Suffice it to say, I have remained painfully frustrated for over a year now in my continuing quest to get US officials to name these moderate Syrian rebels. I wait in hope that one US journalist in the State Department press pool decides to join this quest.

In the meantime, please, Ambassador Ford. Be a gentleman and name them.

Author’s Note

In recent developments, the Western media is portraying former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Stephen Ford as a “moderate”, committed to supporting so-called “moderate mainstream opposition rebels”. Ford is now upheld as a outspoken critic of US foreign policy,  tacitly blaming the US State Department for gross mismanagement:

“I was no longer in a position where I felt I could defend the American policy… We have been unable to address either the root causes of the conflict in terms of the fighting on the ground and the balance on the ground, and we have a growing extremism threat.”… (quoted in Slate, June 3, 2014, emphasis added)

Ford calls upon Washington to support the moderates:

We need – and we have long needed – to help moderates in the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethal assistance. … Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we ramped it up, frankly the al Qaeda groups that have been winning adherents would have been unable to compete with the moderates who frankly we have much in common with,” (Reuters, June 3, 2014, emphasis added)

Responding to Ford’s comments, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “He’s a private citizen. He’s entitled to his views.”(Reuters, June 3, 2014)

Who is Robert Stephen Ford? In a bitter irony, Robert Stephen Ford is no “Moderate” as portrayed by the media.  

Ford played a central role in developing the “extremism threat” scenario including the channeling of military aid to the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.

Ford was from the outset in the months leading up to the March 2011 insurrection among the key architects involved in the formulation of a  US “Terrorist Option” for Syria including the recruitment and training of death squads in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

The following text is based on a longer article first published by GR in August 2011 under the title The Pentagon’s “Salvador Option”: The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria.  as well as Terrorism with a Human Face: The History-of Americas Death Squads

Michel Chossudovsky, June 6, 2014

-

Since his arrival in Damascus in late January 2011, Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups.

A functioning US embassy in Damascus was seen as a precondition for carrying out a process of political destabilization leading to “regime change”.

Ambassador Robert S., Ford is no ordinary diplomat. He was U.S. representative in January 2004 to the Shiite city of Najaf in Iraq. Najaf was the stronghold of the Mahdi army

A few months later he was appointed “Number Two Man” (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs), at the US embassy in Baghdad at the outset of John Negroponte’s tenure as US Ambassador to Iraq (June 2004- April 2005). Ford subsequently served under Negroponte’s successor Zalmay Khalilzad prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Algeria in 2006.

Negroponte’s mandate as US ambassador to Iraq (together with Robert S. Ford) was to coordinate out of the US embassy, the covert support to death squads and paramilitary groups in Iraq with a view to fomenting sectarian violence and weakening the resistance movement. Robert S. Ford as “Number Two” (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs) at the US Embassy in Baghdad played a central role in this endeavor.

To understand Robert Ford’s mandate in both Baghdad and subsequently in Damascus, it is important to reflect briefly on the history of US covert operations and the central role played by John D. Negroponte.

Negroponte and the “Salvador Option”

John Negroponte had served as US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. As Ambassador in Tegucigalpa, he played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries who were based in Honduras. The cross border Contra attacks into Nicaragua claimed some 50 000 civilian lives.

During the same period, Negroponte was instrumental in setting up the Honduran military death squads, “operating with Washington support’s, [they] assassinated hundreds of opponents of the US-backed regime.” (See Bill Vann, Bush Nominee linked to Latin American Terrorism, by Bill Vann, Global Research, November 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/VAN111A.html)

“Under the rule of General Gustavo Alvarez Martnez, Honduras’s military government was both a close ally of the Reagan administration and was “disappearing” dozens of political opponents in classic death squad fashion.

In a 1982 letter to The Economist, Negroponte wrote that it was “simply untrue to state that death squads have made their appearance in Honduras.” The Country Report on Human Rights Practices that his embassy sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took the same line, insisting that there were “no political prisoners in Honduras” and that the “Honduran government neither condones nor knowingly permits killings of a political or nonpolitical nature.”

Yet according to a four-part series in the Baltimore Sun in 1995, in 1982 alone the Honduran press ran 318 stories of murders and kidnappings by the Honduran military. The Sun described the activities of a secret CIA-trained Honduran army unit, Battalion 316, that used “shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves.”

On August 27, 1997, CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz released a 211-page classified report entitled “Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980′s.” This report was partly declassified on Oct. 22, 1998, in response to demands by the Honduran human rights ombudsman. Opponents of Negroponte are demanding that all Senators read the full report before voting on his nomination. to the position of US Permanent Representative to the UN}” (Peter Roff and James Chapin, Face-off: Bush’s Foreign Policy Warriors, Global Research November 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ROF111A.html

John Negroponte- Robert S. Ford. The Iraq “Salvador Option”

In January 2005, following Negroponte’s appointment as US ambassador to Iraq, the Pentagon confirmed in a story leaked to Newsweek  that it was “considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago”. (El Salvador-style ‘death squads’ to be deployed by US against Iraq militants – Times Online, January 10, 2005)

John Negroponte and Robert S. Ford at the US Embassy worked closely together on the Pentagon’s project. Two other embassy officials, namely Henry Ensher (Ford’s Deputy) and a younger official in the political section, Jeffrey Beals, played an important role in the team “talking to a range of Iraqis, including extremists”. (See The New Yorker, March 26, 2007).  Another key individual in Negroponte’s team was James Franklin Jeffrey, America’s ambassador to Albania (2002-2004). Jeffrey is currently the US Ambassador to Iraq.

Negroponte also brought into the team one of his former collaborators Colonel James Steele (ret) from his Honduras heyday:

Under the “Salvador Option,” “Negroponte had assistance from his colleague from his days in Central America during the 1980′s, Ret. Col James Steele. Steele, whose title in Baghdad was Counselor for Iraqi Security Forces supervised the selection and training of members of the Badr Organization and Mehdi Army, the two largest Shi’ite militias in Iraq, in order to target the leadership and support networks of a primarily Sunni resistance. Planned or not, these death squads promptly spiralled out of control to become the leading cause of death in Iraq.

Intentional or not, the scores of tortured, mutilated bodies which turn up on the streets of Baghdad each day are generated by the death squads whose impetus was John Negroponte. And it is this U.S.-backed sectarian violence which largely led to the hell-disaster that Iraq is today. (Dahr Jamail, Managing Escalation: Negroponte and Bush’s New Iraq Team,. Antiwar.com, January 7, 2007)

John Negroponte described Robert Ford while at the embassy in Baghdad, as “one of these very tireless people … who didn’t mind putting on his flak jacket and helmet and going out of the Green Zone to meet contacts.”  Robert S. Ford is fluent in both Arabic and Turkish. He was dispatched by Negroponte to undertake strategic contacts:

[O]ne Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called “snatch” operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries. (Newsweek, January 8, 2005, emphasis added)

The plan had the support of the US appointed Iraqi government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi:

The Pentagon declined to comment, but one insider told Newsweek: “What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are. We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defence. And we are losing.”

Hit squads would be controversial and would probably be kept secret.

The experience of the so-called “death squads” in Central America remains raw for many even now and helped to sully the image of the United States in the region.

…. John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, had a front-row seat at the time as Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85.

Death squads were a brutal feature of Latin American politics of the time. In Argentina in the 1970s and Guatemala in the 1980s, soldiers wore uniform by day but used unmarked cars by night to kidnap and kill those hostile to the regime or their suspected sympathisers.

In the early 1980s President Reagan’s Administration funded and helped to train Nicaraguan contras based in Honduras with the aim of ousting Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime. The Contras were equipped using money from illegal American arms sales to Iran, a scandal that could have toppled Mr Reagan.

It was in El Salvador that the United States trained small units of local forces specifically to target rebels.

The thrust of the Pentagon proposal in Iraq, according to Newsweek, is to follow that model and direct US special forces teams to advise, support and train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shia militiamen to target leaders of the Sunni insurgency.

It is unclear whether the main aim of the missions would be to assassinate the rebels or kidnap them and take them away for interrogation. Any mission in Syria would probably be undertaken by US Special Forces.

Nor is it clear who would take responsibility for such a programme — the Pentagon or the Central Intelligence Agency. Such covert operations have traditionally been run by the CIA at arm’s length from the administration in power, giving US officials the ability to deny knowledge of it. (Times Online, op cit, emphasis added)

Under Negroponte’s helm at the US Embassy in Baghdad, a  wave of covert civilian killings and targeted assassinations was unleashed. Engineers, medical  doctors, scientists and intellectuals were also targeted. The objective was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Shiite, Kurds and Christians, as well as weed out civilian support for the Iraqi resistance. The Christian community was one of the main targets of the assassination program.

The Pentagon’s objective also consisted in training an Iraqi Army, Police and Security Forces, which would carry out a homegrown “counterinsurgency” program (unofficially) on behalf of the U.S.

Operation “Syrian Contras”: Learning from the Iraqi Experience

The gruesome Iraqi version of the “Salvador Option” under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte has served as a “role model” for setting up the “Free Syrian Army” Contras. Robert Stephen Ford was, no doubt, involved in the implementation of the Syrian Contras project, following his reassignment to Baghdad as Deputy Head of Mission in 2008.

The objective in Syria was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Alawite, Shiite, Kurds, Druze and Christians. While the Syrian context is entirely different to that of Iraq, there are striking similarities with regard to the procedures whereby the killings and atrocities were conducted.

A report published by Der Spiegel pertaining to atrocities committed in the Syrian city of Homs confirms an organized sectarian process of mass-murder and extra-judicial killings comparable to that conducted by the US sponsored death squads in Iraq.

People in Homs were routinely categorized as   “prisoners” (Shia, Alawite) and “traitors”.  The “traitors” are Sunni civilians within the rebel occupied urban area, who express their disagreement or opposition to the rule of terror of the Free Syrian Army (FSA):

“Since last summer [2011], we have executed slightly fewer than 150 men, which represents about 20 percent of our prisoners,” says Abu Rami. … But the executioners of Homs have been busier with traitors within their own ranks than with prisoners of war. “If we catch a Sunni spying, or if a citizen betrays the revolution, we make it quick,” says the fighter. According to Abu Rami, Hussein’s burial brigade has put between 200 and 250 traitors to death since the beginning of the uprising.” (Der Spiegel, March 30, 2012)

In early July [2011], US Ambassador Robert Ford travelled to Hama and had meetings with members of the “protest movement” (Low-key U.S. diplomat transforms Syria policy – The Washington Post, July 12, 2011). Reports confirm that Robert Ford had numerous contacts with opposition groups both before and after his July trip to Hama. In a recent statement (August 4), he confirmed that the embassy will continue “reaching out” to opposition groups in defiance of the Syrian authorities.

The project required an initial program of recruitment and training of mercenaries. Death squads including Lebanese and Jordanian Salafist units entered Syria’s southern border with Jordan in mid-March 2011.  Much of the groundwork was already in place prior to Robert Stephen Ford’s arrival in Damascus in January 2011.

Ambassador Ford in Hama in early July 2011

Ford’s appointment as Ambassador to Syria was announced in early 2010. Diplomatic relations had been cut in 2005 following the Rafick Hariri assassination, which Washington blamed on Syria. Ford arrived in Damascus barely two months before the onset of the insurgency.

Behind Closed Doors at the US State Department

Robert Stephen Ford was part of a small team at the US State Department team which oversaw the recruitment and training of  terrorist brigades,  together with Derek Chollet  and Frederic C. Hof, a former business partner of Richard Armitage, who served as Washington’s “special coordinator on Syria”. Derek Chollet has recently been appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA).

This team operated under the helm of  (former) Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

Feltman’s team was in close liaison with the process of recruitment and training of mercenaries out of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya (courtesy of the post-Gaddafi regime, which dispatched six hundred Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) troops to Syria, via Turkey in the months following the September 2011 collapse of the Gaddafi government).

Assistant Secretary of State Feltman was in contact with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim. He was also in charge of a  Doha-based office for “special security coordination” pertaining to  Syria, which included representatives from Western and GCC intelligence agencies well as a representative from Libya. Prince Bandar bin Sultan. a prominent and controversial member of Saudi intelligence was part of this group. (See Press Tv, May 12, 2012).

In June 2012, Jeffrey Feltman (image: Left) was appointed UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, a strategic position  which, in practice, consists in setting  the UN agenda (on behalf of Washington) on issues pertaining to “Conflict Resolution” in various “political hot spots” around the world (including Somalia, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Mali). In a bitter irony, the countries for UN “conflict resolution” are those which are the target of  US covert operations.

In liaison with the US State Department, NATO and his GCC handlers in Doha and Riyadh, Feltman is Washington’s man behind UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahmi’s “Peace Proposal”.

Meanwhile, while paying lip service to the UN Peace initiative, the US and NATO have speeded up the process of recruitment and training of  mercenaries in response to the heavy casualties incurred by “opposition” rebel forces.

The US proposed “end game” in Syria is not regime change, but the destruction of Syria as a Nation State.

The deployment of “opposition” death squads with a mandate to kill civilians is part of this criminal undertaking.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA)

Washington and its allies replicated in Syria the essential features of the “Iraq Salvador Option”, leading to the creation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its various terrorist factions including the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra brigades.

While the creation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was announced in June 2011, the recruitment and training of foreign mercenaries was initiated at a much an earlier period.

In many regards, the Free Syrian Army is a smokescreen. It is upheld by the Western media as a bona fide military entity established as a result of mass defections from government forces.  The number of defectors, however, was neither significant nor sufficient to establish a coherent military structure  with command and control functions.

The FSA  is not a professional  military entity, rather it is a loose network of separate terrorist brigades, which in turn are made up of numerous paramilitary cells operating in different parts of the country.

Each of these terrorist organizations operates independently. The FSA does not effectively exercise command and control functions including liaison with these diverse paramilitary entities. The latter are controlled by US-NATO sponsored special forces and intelligence operatives which are embedded within the ranks of selected terrorist formations.

These (highly trained) Special forces on the ground (many of whom are employees of private security companies) are routinely in contact with US-NATO and allied military/intelligence command units (including Turkey). These embedded Special Forces are, no doubt, also involved in the carefully planned bomb attacks directed against government buildings, military compounds, etc.

The death squads are mercenaries trained and recruited by the US, NATO, its Persian Gulf GCC allies as well as Turkey.  They are overseen by allied special forces (including British SAS and French Parachutistes), and private security companies on contract to NATO and the Pentagon. In this regard, reports confirm the arrest by the Syrian government of some 200-300 private security company employees who had integrated rebel ranks.

The Jabhat Al Nusra Front

The Al Nusra Front –which is said to be affiliated to Al Qaeda– is described as the most effective “opposition” rebel fighting group, responsible for several of the high profile bomb attacks. Portrayed as an enemy of America (on the State Department list of terrorist organizations), Al Nusra operations, nonetheless, bear the fingerprints of US paramilitary training, terror tactics and weapons systems. The atrocities committed against civilians by Al Nusra (funded covertly by US-NATO) are similar to those undertaken by the US sponsored death squads in Iraq.

In the words of Al Nusra leader Abu Adnan in Aleppo: “Jabhat al-Nusra does count Syrian veterans of the Iraq war among its numbers, men who bring expertise — especially the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) — to the front in Syria.”

As in Iraq, factional violence and ethnic cleansing were actively promoted. In Syria, the Alawite, Shiite and Christian communities have been the target of the US-NATO sponsored death squads.  The Alawite and the Christian community are the main targets of the assassination program. Confirmed by the Vatican News Service:

Christians in Aleppo are victims of death and destruction due to the fighting which for months, has been affecting the city. The Christian neighborhoods, in recent times, have been hit by rebel forces fighting against the regular army and this has caused an exodus of civilians.

Some groups in the rugged opposition, where there are also jiahadist groups, “fire on Christian houses and buildings, to force occupants to escape and then take possession [ethnic cleansing] (Agenzia Fides. Vatican News, October 19, 2012)

“The Sunni Salafist militants – says the Bishop – continue to commit crimes against civilians, or to recruit fighters with force. The fanatical Sunni extremists are fighting a holy war proudly, especially against the Alawites. When terrorists seek to control the religious identity of a suspect, they ask him to cite the genealogies dating back to Moses. And they ask to recite a prayer that the Alawites removed. The Alawites have no chance to get out alive.”  (Agenzia Fides 04/06/2012)

Reports confirm the influx of Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated death squads as well as brigades under the auspices of the Muslim Brotherhood into Syria from the inception of the insurgency in March 2011.

Moreover, reminiscent of  the enlistment of  the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO and the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, had initiated”

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011).

Private Security Companies and the Recruitment of Mercenaries

According to reports, private security companies operating out of Gulf States are involved in the recruiting and training of mercenaries.

Although not specifically earmarked for the recruitment of mercenaries directed against Syria, reports point to the creation of  training camps in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In Zayed Military City (UAE), “a secret army is in the making”  operated by Xe Services, formerly Blackwater.  The UAE deal to establish a military camp for the training of mercenaries was signed in July 2010, nine months before the onslaught of the wars in Libya and Syria.

In recent developments, security companies on contract to NATO and the Pentagon are involved in training “opposition” death squads in the use of chemical weapons:

The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

The names of the companies involved were not revealed.

While conditions in Syria are markedly different to those in Iraq, Robert S. Ford’s stint as “Number Two Man” at the US Embassy in Baghdad has a direct bearing on the nature of his activities in Syria including his contacts with opposition groups.

The hardline military approach to Boko Haram by the Nigerian government is inadequate. Boko Haram’s challenge has economic, political and social dimensions that government ignores to the detriment of Nigerians. All progressive forces will now have to wade in to oppose both Boko Haram and the states that provide the enabling conditions for the growth of terror elements.

“I will sell your girls in the market.” Abubakar Shekau

From time to time in the life of a society, one episode or a series of episodes shock the social system and brings to the fore long festering sores that need resolution. The kidnapping of over 300 young girls and the depravity of those who proclaimed that these youths would be sold into sexual slavery are one of such episodes. Abubakar Shekau’s statement about selling the girls in the market brought out the deep contradictions of Nigerian society and called for a firm and clear resolution of the questions of slavery, exploitation, sexual violence, male oppression and the manipulation of religion to serve the needs of particular sections of the looters and zealots of Nigeria. In response to the kidnapping, a global movement started by women in Nigeria has focused on the issues of sexual terrorism, deformed masculinity and the trafficking of women internationally. This movement mobilized under the banner of #Bring Back Our Girls has opened new avenues for political mobilization. The new coalition is led by women and has the potential to serve as the basis for a new mode of politics in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Religious extremism and intolerance, referred to as Islamic fundamentalism, has gained momentum in Northern Nigeria since the start of the century among some followers of the Islamic faith. These fundamentalists distort the teachings of Islam. They represent themselves as anti-imperialists opposing western cultural influences while seeking to institute Islamic law, including strict codes of behavior. Women in Nigeria have been negatively affected by this resort to fundamentalism. Religious fundamentalism (whether Christian, Hindu, Islamic or Jewish) is founded on the oppression and humiliation of women.

In the past, the ruling elements have politicized religion and ethnicity to divert and confuse the peoples of Nigeria. The oligarchy in Northern Nigeria took the politicization of religion to a point where 12 Northern states are now under Sharia law. Boko Haram were pawns in a cold blooded game to control the state in Nigeria. Started in 2002 the movement exploded in the society after the death of President Yar ‘Adua in 2010. The pawns have now taken the violence beyond tolerable bounds and even the former sponsors of Boko Haram now denounce the kidnapping of the girls.

It will be argued here that the fight against Boko Haram require not simply troops, but a new mode of politics where the peoples of the society believe that they have a stake, especially the youths. It is here where the traditions of the mobilization of grassroots women will be decisive. Nigerian women from the producing classes have a rich history of resistance to all forms of fundamentalism. When they stir there can be a cascading effect on the politics of the society. This was the experience from the 1929 women’s uprisings that set the standards for cooperation against colonialism in Nigeria and West Africa. Advance planners for global capital are very aware of the tenacity of Nigerian women.

Nigeria is a society where the questions of peace, stability and prosperity are clearly linked to the building of a secular society free of religious zealots. Patriarchs will seek to bring this momentum under the war on terror. All progressive forces will now have to wade in to oppose both Boko Haram and the states that provided the enabling conditions for the growth of terror elements such as Boko Haram.

Sexual slavery, sexual terrorism and the context of the kidnapping

When Abubuka Shekau, the self-proclaimed leader of Boko Haram, appeared on the You Tube on May 4 and declared ‘I will sell your girls in the market,’ those who remembered the horrors of slavery were horrified by the level of backwardness that had overtaken these elements of Nigerian society . This group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of 278 girls aged between 16 and 18 from the Government Girls Secondary School in rural Chibok, Borno State in Northern Nigeria. Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves and marry them off because ‘God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.

He further proclaimed: ‘I am going to marry out any woman who is twelve-years-old, and if she is younger, I will marry her out at the age of nine. You are all in danger. I am the one who captured all those girls and will sell all of them. Slavery is allowed in my religion, and I shall capture people and make them slaves. We are on our way to Abuja and we shall also visit the South. I am going to kill all the Imams and other Islamic clerics in Nigeria because they are not Muslims since they follow democracy and constitution. It is Allah that instructed us, until we soak the ground of Nigeria with Christian blood, and so-called Muslims contradicting Islam. We will kill and wonder what to do with their smelling corpses. This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution.’

These words sent a chill down the spine of decent citizens in all parts of the globe. What religion was he referring to that sanctions slavery in the twenty first century? Sex trafficking and the exploitation of young girls has been on the rise in the past twenty years. In the same period the campaigns against modern forms of enslavement have brought to the fore how neo-liberalism has provided the social and intellectual climate to make bonded labor ‘normal.’ We know that it is the religion of economic fundamentalism that has given the green light to semi slavery conditions in all parts of the world.

Nigerian men and women from the producing classes suffer from the economic terrorism of market fundamentalism. This terrorism is defined by Eusi Kwayana as follows:

“The placing of human beings in a situation in which they are without hope, space, adequate defence, means of escape and survival or means of overcoming actual or threatening danger, menace or oppressive force is the very definition of terror, which has not only a physical but also a mental element.”

Throughout the Global South, the poor have been suffering from the terrorism of the structural adjustment policies of the Bretton Woods Institutions. The Nigerian government has instituted the policies of the World Bank so that there is the absence of basic services such as the provision of health care, clean water, sanitation, decent and relevant education, housing and food for the poor. It is the inflexibility of this market fundamentalism that heightens insecurity in the society among many poor males who are left marginalized and insecure. Economic terrorism attacks the masculine pride in communities where the structures of collective social solidarity have broken down. Men who are reared under the ideology of patriarchy are vulnerable in the conditions of economic terrorism because in their sense of their humanity, they should be ‘providers’ for their families.

This patriarchy and masculinity is intensified in a condition of increased poverty and exploitation when African males are caught in the bottom of the global division of labor. These males are socialized to consider themselves as providers and as heads of households but cannot provide for the social reproduction of their families. Increasingly, the burdens of care, education, and provision of health devolve to poor women as the state cut back on social expenditures in the period of structural adjustment. Economic fundamentalism attacks masculine pride and in this situation groups such as Boko Haram recruits gullible young males. The kidnapping of the girls bolsters their false sense of masculinity by wreaking havoc in the broader society with the raping and dehumanization of young girls.

The violence and killings of Boko Haram is only the now visible sign of the everyday violence against the poor and disenfranchised in all parts of Nigeria. In this oil rich country the conditions of life is unbearable except for the Nigerian ‘one percent.’ Another ten per cent struggle in the interstices of this social system to live the Nigerian middle class life while about 20 per cent of the population has a steady living wage. In this condition of massive inequalities and structural violence, religious extremists in the North go further to ensure that the violence of harassment, hunger, and long hours of unwaged work are built into the disempowerment of the oppressed, especially women. Gender violence, sexual violence, domestic violence, rape, purdah,, child marriages, violation and other forms of abuse abound in communities where the there is no clear leadership to counter deformed masculinity.

Women were accused of adultery at the slightest whim, and in March 2002 Amina Lawal had been accused of adultery. She was then sentenced to death by stoning by a Sharia court for having a child outside of marriage. It is seldom that one hears of men committing adultery. Pregnancy outside of marriage constitutes sufficient evidence for a woman to be convicted of adultery according to some Nigerian states that apply Sharia law. Two cases in 2002 in particular, involving women accused of adultery who were sentenced to death by stoning, brought international condemnation. Although their convictions were later overturned, the damage was done. Hundreds of people lost their lives in inter-religious clashes between hardline Christians and Muslims in Kaduna and Kano state as a direct result of controversial rulings.

Yet, far from being humiliated, the poor and grassroots women of Nigeria have used their wits and knowledge to survive and to struggle to keep body and soul together. Under the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s regime, his wife had attempted to use her position as wife of the military dictatorship to blunt the possibilities for women to organize autonomously and independently by seeking to coopt the women’s movement and to create a front called ‘Better Life for Rural Women.’ In this world of cooptation, the religious extremists entered to seek to control the bodies and minds of women.

In the past thirty years fundamentalism of the Christian and Islamic variant have arisen in Nigeria with the specific task of blunting the organizational capabilities of the women of the society. Boko Haram has carried this fundamentalism to its ultimate level and created the conditions for a turning point in the political organizing in Nigeria against all forms of enslavement. The kidnapping took the matter to the international level and the Nigerian political leadership could no longer ‘manage’ the horrors of the insurgency within the bounds of political competition.

The succession of dictatorships in Nigeria had generated a massive anti-dictatorship alliance, and after the eighties, Chief M.K.O Abiola (a prominent business person who had made millions), had joined the anti-military crusade and placed himself at the head of the electoral contest in 1993. Abiola had also worked within the wider African continental body to bring to the fore discussions of past and present forms of enslavement by becoming Chairperson of the Eminent Persons Group for Reparations of the Organization of African Unity. Abiola was elected President of Nigeria in 1993 in the June 12 elections and had committed himself and Nigeria to repairing the damage of enslavement. Abiola was never able to assume power in Nigeria. There was a coup. The elections were annulled by the military, Abiola was imprisoned and five years later ‘died’ under mysterious circumstances in July 1998. Millions of youths in Nigeria were deprived of the ideas of reparative justice and the conditions of the Black Holocaust that inspired radical Pan Africanism. Those who planned the coup and the disposal of the Reparations campaign within Nigeria wanted to ensure that Nigerians were not deeply sensitized about the crimes against humanity of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Abubakar Shekau and those who are afraid of real knowledge about past exploitation and enslavement were among the Nigerians denied access to information about Reparations for enslavement.

Boko Haram was never able to emerge under the military dictatorship because the state under General Abacha carried out the violence at that time. Religiosity and extremism were promoted within the North but kept under wraps by the military commanders whose lifestyles could not conform to the strict taboos of the fundamentalists. The same forces that prevented M.K.O Abiola from accessing the Presidency in 1993 are the same ones that inspire the intellectual, social and economic conditions that birthed Boko Haram. There is no shortage of reports and studies on Boko Haram, but many of these studies seek to reinforce the idea that Nigeria is a society broken by regional, ethnic and religious struggles. These reports studiously avoid discussions on the cultural strengths of Nigeria and the powerful role played by Nigeria in the larger struggles for African dignity and emancipation.

Many of the unemployed youths who have been attracted to fundamentalist movements are from the section of the society where marginalization and impoverishment is everywhere evident. Young women in Northern Nigeria have borne the physical and sexual violence from religious extremists and the promise to sell girls into enslavement brought back the reality of the interconnections between enslavement and sexual terrorism. The violence against women in Africa takes many forms and the form that is most hidden is that of sexual terrorism and other obscene patriarchal and misogynistic behavior.

Dorothy Roberts, the African American feminist writer, has explored the relationship between misogynistic behavior and sexual terrorism and she defined sexual terrorism as,‘willful denial of female reproductive and bodily rights and wholesale suppression of one half of humanity on grounds of socially constructed gender norms.’

Intensified exploitation of women in Nigeria and Africa

The imposition of Sharia law in the Northern States of Nigeria at the end of the military dictatorship in 1999 provided the context for the rise and open support for groups such as Boko Haram. As long as there was a military dictatorship to crush opposition to exploitation and economic terrorism, state terror supplemented domestic violence and the exploitation of young girls. However, the anti-dictatorship struggle had taken such deep roots that the resort to religion was deemed the most expedient force to divide the working peoples of Nigeria and to enforce the super exploitation of women.

Schools, cultural centers and other places of social interaction had been the networking base for the anti-dictatorship campaign that (had predated and later) was called the June 12th movement in Nigeria. In the midst of the campaigns to bring back popular democratic participation, there was the rapid growth of cults within the Universities to act as a counterweight to the student unions that had become organizing centers for democracy within the University and within the wider society. Fundamentalist churches from North America started a booming business to cash in on the oil boom in Nigeria. In Nigeria, Christian fundamentalists penetrated social spaces with massive proselytizing. Ethnic militias and communal clashes drained the energies of the poor as young men were treated as disposable bodies. In order to blunt the emergence of alternative forms of organizing the State embarked on political assassinations. The well-publicized assassination of Ken Saro Wiwa in 1995 was one other episode in the militarization of politics and the closing of spaces for opposition forces. This killing as well as the kidnapping and execution of prominent leaders fighting for democracy were deployed so that there could not be sustained mobilization and clarity on the questions of social and economic transformation. Religious ideas, ethnic chauvinism and religious fervor ensured that the analyses of the gendered, social and economic conditions in Nigeria were rendered in religious and ethnic terms. These discourses shielded the oligarchs who looted the society.

Regional differentiation and class formation in Nigeria had meant that the educational and social institutions in the South and West were more developed than in the North. Yet, it is in the same Northern regions of Nigeria where the oligarchs had given themselves the mandate to lead Nigeria. From a historical point of view, the Northern oligarchs had organized using Islam as the front to mask their power grab. After the return to ‘democracy’ in 1999, these same oligarchs resorted to the introduction of Sharia Law in 12 Northern States. Under Sharia law the oppression of workers intensified so that while the oligarchs stole billions of dollars and sent their children to schools in Europe and America, poor workers were amputated for stealing food to survive.

The rise of Boko Haram 

It was in the same year as the conviction of Amina Lawal that the new organization of armed youths emerged and called itself Boko Haram. Its very name was a reflection of the educational differentiation between the North and the South. Boko Haram emerged in the social and economic milieu of cults on university campuses and militias among secondary school leavers and madrassas (Almajiris) in the North. In most cases the cults were comprised of young men who faced a future of marginalization and unemployment and found masculinist violence and thuggery as outlets for their frustrations. By 2002 some of these unemployed persons began to make their own interpretation of religion and politics in order to hold sway over the same authoritarian Northern elites. This symbiotic relationship between politicians and unemployed youths was not confined to the North. Politicians in all regions manipulated youths to fight each other and youth militias became one component of the political organizing of mainstream parties within Nigeria. Boko Haram was founded by an unemployed youth Mohamed Yusuf. He was killed by the Nigerian state in 2009. In the corrupted political climate Mohammed Yusuf had sought to become a prominent religious leader because the politicization of religion in the North had shown this youth that becoming a famous preacher was the only way he would earn the money to drive SUV’s like the oligarchs. The role of these militias in different parts of the country is brought out in the book by Olusegun Adeniyi, ‘Power, Politics and Death- A front-row account of Nigeria under the late President Yar ‘Adua.’

Adeniyi’s description of the origins of Boko Haram is significant because as an insider within the corridors of power, those within the Yar ‘Adua administration were aware of the sponsors of Boko Haram and there was no statement that Boko Haram was a branch of a wider ‘terror’ network. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was the President of Nigeria from April 2007 to May 2010. He was from Katsina state, the same state as the late Pan Africanist Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. Adeniyi in the book also brought out the reaction of the head of state to the extra judicial killing of Yusuf in 2009. This book that sheds light on the first period of the Boko Haram formation is also significant because it was written at a moment when the Boko Haram had not yet embarked on the extreme forms of violence and bombings that now dominate the landscape of Nigeria. The other important distinguishing feature of the work of Adeniyi is that it avoids the provocative labels that were attached to Boko Haram by western intelligence agencies. Boko Haram was a tiny and obscure sect with the official name of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic translates as: ‘People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad’.

There were many school leavers who were attracted to this group that would emerge as religious extremists and Mohammed Yusuf sought to represent himself as the extreme one. Yusuf represented himself as a champion of the unemployed males of the North and he most specifically appealed to students and primary school pupils who abandoned their studies on the ground that western education (‘boko’) was a sin (‘haram’), hence the name Boko Haram. It should be stated that Yusuf was not operating in a religious vacuum. There was a link between the teachings of Boko Haram and the Salafi Islamic religious circle (Wahabites). Wahabism is one sect of Islam with its base in Saudi Arabia. This Wahabism is now wreaking havoc in many parts of Africa, undermining social peace and the respect for values of social peace and religious tolerance. Nigerian women can learn a lot from the Ethiopian women who were oppressed in Saudi Arabia as migrant domestic workers and who have rallied to defend poor Ethiopian workers who are abused physically and psychologically. Boko Haram draws inspiration from the rich in the seat of Islam where human trafficking is rampant.

Extreme Islamic fundamentalism had been used by Northern oligarchs to hold sway over the youths and had turned to a variant of Islam that suggested that education was a weapon of the West. In the context of the world wide cultural crusade by western proselytizers in the years after 2001, the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial rhetoric of the religious zealots grew. This is how one of the communiques expressed the zealotry.

‘We want to re-emphasize that our main objective is the restoration of the Sharia Legal System in line with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. We want the Nigerian Constitution to be abrogated and Democracy suspended and a full-fledged Islamic State established. We want to emphasize that trouble started in this part of the world when the white men came, colonised our land, chased away the Emirs and righteous leaders and then replaced the system with Western Legislative, Judicial and Executive procedures. They also changed our pattern of learning and upbringing to the detriment of moral teachings; that was exactly what prompted the establishment of our organization.’

Boko Haram as pawns 

At the moment of its public declaration of war against Nigeria and its desire for Nigeria to become a full-fledged Islamic state, Boko Haram enjoyed the moral and financial support of many Northern Nigerian oligarchs who viewed Boko Haram as a tool to make their claims of the political leadership of Nigeria. By 1999 at the dawn of the new party politics in Nigeria after military rule there had been an agreement within the ruling PDP party that the Presidency of the country would rotate between the North and the South. Olusegun Obasanjo the President 1999-2007 was the first leader to emerge from this zoning arrangement and the elevation of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to the Presidency in 2007 was supposed to be in the spirit of the sharing of power in so far as Yar ‘Adua hailed from Katsina state. When Yar Adua passed in 2010, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as president, after meeting some resistance from key Northern elites. For some of the oligarchs in the North this swearing in was simply holding the seat until the elections in 2011. There were sporadic attacks by Boko Haram during the period of the Presidency of Yar Adua but from the intensity of the negotiations between the President and the elements of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) from the Niger Delta, it was clear that the security services saw the insurgency in the Niger Delta as a greater threat to the future of Nigeria than the Boko Haram. Many armed members of MEND were granted amnesty and returned to their communities.

When Goodluck Jonathan decided to run for the Presidency in 2011 and actually won, the attacks of Boko Haram intensified. This intensification demonstrate that there were elements with influence over this group that felt that they could turn this organization on and off. In fact, some Northern oligarchs had vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable if Jonathan won the presidency. In the second round of the massive killings by Boko Haram, there were debates within Nigeria and outside whether Boko Haram was simply a home grown organization or one linked to international terrorism. In 2011 The US State Department refused to label Boko Haram as international terrorists because it was well known within the US intelligence services that Boko Haram had sponsors at the highest levels of the oligarchs in Nigeria. The debate on labelling Boko Haram as international terrorists also took place at a moment when the Obama Administration was debating whether the USA should halt the global war on terror and use police methods to curb violent extremism.

Internationalization of the Boko Haram phenomenon 

The divisions within the western establishment over the exact nature of Boko Haram can be seen from the writings on this organization. Think tanks and policy centers from the top imperial centers all commissioned studies on Boko Haram. One former US ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, writing in the Journal Foreign Affairs in 2013 stated, ‘To Battle Nigeria’s Boko Haram, Put Down Your Guns: How to Undermine the Growing Islamist Threat.’

In this article, John Campbell maintained that, ‘Instead of associating itself with Abuja’s heavy-handed military response, the Obama administration should urge Jonathan to address what are essentially political problems: poverty and the corruption-driven alienation felt by the population of northern Nigeria, factors that contribute to Boko Haram’s popular support.’

While what John Campbell said about poverty and corruption may be true, it is very difficult to take this former US ambassador seriously since he was one of those US pundits who had been predicting the breakup of Nigeria.

The theme that poverty and corruption driven alienation was at the root of the problem dominated many of the reports on Boko Haram. A bibliographic essay published in the magazine National Geographic brings out the division between those writers who viewed Boko Haram as part of a wider international ‘terror’ network and those who viewed poverty and alienation as the oxygen that kept Boko Haram alive. Those writers who belonged to the sections of the United States of America and French establishment that wanted a continuation of the Global War on Terror pushed for Boko Haram to be labelled as a terrorist threat. France that had superior experience in manipulating the threat of terrorism waded in on the subject after the Mali uprisings in 2012 and 2013. After that time there were constant reports that Boko Haram constituted a branch of Al Queda in the Maghreb (AQIM). In 2013 after the bombings and killings reached into the thousands the US Department of State finally declared Boko Haram as an international terrorist organization. Neighboring states of Niger, Chad, and the Cameroon were called upon to cooperate with the Nigerian authorities in fighting against Boko Haram. . Some of the same African leaders who have been at the helm of states generating structural violence declared at a news conference in Paris on 17 May 2014 that, ‘there is determination [between the governments of Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin and France] to tackle this situation head on… to launch a war, a total war on Boko Haram.’ Would this total war include the war against economic fundamentalism and the impoverishment that send unemployed youths into religious militias? Why will small contingent of forces from France, Canada, Britain and the USA succeed when the half a million strong security forces failed in Nigeria?

The declaration of the Paris meeting of May 17, 2014 that there would be Total War represented a victory for those who wanted to internationalize and militarize the kidnapping to serve the wider counter terror infrastructure of western militarism. In the new push for the remilitarization of Nigeria, Britain, France, Canada, China and Israel have also sent specialist teams and equipment to help the search. In an ideal situation where utmost Pan African cooperation takes precedence over France Afrique loyalty in West Africa, Niger, Cameroon and Chad did not have to wait for any security conference in France nor wait till Boko Haram pose a direct threat to them before cooperating with Nigeria deal with the menace of this group.

Although the United States media made much out of the promised support from the USA to track down Boko Haram the first deployment was simply 27 ‘specialists.’ White House Press Secretary Jay Carney outlined in the second week of May that all but one of the 27-member team of advisers and security personnel have set up office in the capital Abuja to oversee their operations in Nigeria. Those in place include five State Department officials, ten Pentagon planners and advisers, seven African Command troops, and four FBI kidnap recovery specialists. Later on May 20, the United States deployed one hundred air force personnel into Chad to man the drones to be deployed in the search for the girls. According to Yahoo News the ‘newly deployed forces will help expand drone searches of the region. About 40 of the troops make up the launch and recovering teams for the drone being deployed there and the other 40 make up the security force for the team.’

One week after this massive buzz by international security officials the UN imposed sanctions on Boko Haram. Boko Haram was added to the al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee’s list of designated entities on Thursday at the request of Nigeria.

The intervention of Nigerian women

After the kidnapping, the Nigerian state continued to treat the question of Boko haram as a low level insurgency. It was full three weeks before the President of Nigeria made a substantial statement on the kidnappings in Chibok after women of Nigeria protested that the government was not doing enough. The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women had ignited national outrage with demonstrations in major cities. These demonstrations intensified after Shekau declared that he would sell the girls in the market. The levels of the insensitivity of the political leadership to the kidnapping and plans for selling the girls into slavery was manifest in the reaction of Patience Jonathan, the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan. An organizer of a demonstration calling for the release of the girls said that Jonathan’s wife, Patience, ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, accused them of belonging to Boko Haram and expressed doubts there was any kidnapping.

Patience Jonathan belongs to that section of Nigerian society that does not suffer the day to day exploitation of society. Her insensitivity was not matched by other women throughout the world who grasped the chill of the call to sell the girls into sexual slavery. Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie in the USA became two of the most visible celebrities in the global campaign as demonstrators took to the streets in all parts of the world demanding the release of the girls. This international mobilization by women has complicated the planning of those internal and external forces who wanted to use the militarization of fight against Boko Haram to breathe new life into the discredited campaign that had been called the War on Terror. African working people everywhere understood that this attack on the girls was just one more attack on the poor. From South Africa the trade union federation COSATU stated firmly,

“COSATU, representing 2.2million members, wants to come out unequivocally condemning Boko Haram’s horrendous act of using girl children. We strongly condemn these acts of terror and demand for the unconditional release of the girls. We further denounce the patriarchal nature of this act whereby children, more especially girls, are used as battlefields to further political agendas.”

Is this a turning point in Nigerian politics?

There has been no shortage of advisers to Nigeria on how to resolve the quagmire of Boko Haram. From the start of the insurgency there were progressive Nigerians who proclaimed that the corrupt political system was at the root of the insurgency. The popular and democratic forces that had been at the forefront of the opposition to the military regimes of Babingida and Abacha identified elements who gave support for Boko Haram. Today these calls continue for Nigerians who call for political solutions to the questions of fundamentalism and extremism. Writing in Premium Times on May 6, 2014 one writer said, first, government must admit its solely military approach is inadequate. Boko Haram’s challenge has economic, political and social dimensions that government ignores at our collective national peril. Citing the economic depression in parts of Nigeria this writer pointed to the differential in access to resources in different parts of Nigeria. Nigerian women from the grassroots have taken the leadership in the fight to link and clarify the religious extremism and sexual terror in Nigeria.

The failure of the mainstream political leadership since the winning of independence has brought the society to a point where the old forms of politics cannot resolve the deep alienation and exploitation of the Nigerian peoples. Hence, there are murmurs of a coup d e’tat. Rumors of a military intervention by soldiers have moved from the gossip and cocktail circuits in Abuja and Lagos to the pages of respected blogs. This author wants to state unequivocally that a military intervention by soldiers to replace the politicians would only compound the political crisis in the society. New forms of politics from the grassroots are now needed to ensure accountability and democratic participation at all levels of the society. The kidnapping has brought a new stage in the politics of Nigeria and Africa. The poor know that the electoral game is rigged and the struggle over zoning is only one more contention among the rich about which set of looters will occupy state power.

The ethics of Ubuntu and social collectivism are now needed to be the basis for the renewal of the society. Military action alone will not bring back the girls. Yet, the military is needed to combat Boko Haram. This is a real contradiction in a country where the corruption of the oligarchs deprive sections of the military even the resources necessary for them to have proper ordinance. The current Nigerian government is now operating from a position of embarrassment and humiliation both at the hands of Boko Haram and for their inaction and bungling of the kidnapping by threatening to arresting protesters.

The Nigerian peoples cannot now await the machinations of the political elites to change their society. Rooting out deformed masculinity, religious extremism and economic terrorism requires the kind of cooperation that cannot come from the ethic of greed, individualism and obscene consumerism.

Community leaders, religious leaders, ordinary people as well as those who aspire for a peaceful society in Nigeria must mobilize at the grassroots to isolate and root out zealots who want to sell young girls into slavery. Committed and patriotic Nigerians in the North have to put politics aside and come clean – Boko Haram members are not ghosts. They are members of the same society that these same people live in. Any society that nurture or remain indifferent to the nurturing of monstrous phenomena could end up consumed by the same monsters.

Trade Unions and other sectors of the producing classes have joined these women, and although at the moment the #Bring back our girls remain an all class affair the Nigerian situation will soon throw up its own Asma Mahfouz. Readers will remember that in the midst of the Egyptian struggles the young women of Egypt emerged as leaders and organizers at a crucial moment. Those who want to fight Boko Haram on the basis of simply military personnel will now face a renewed women’s movement in Nigeria. Religious extremism and sexual terror must be confronted and decent men everywhere will have to join and be in solidarity with the women who are taking the lead.

Horace G. Campbell, a veteran Pan Africanist is a Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya’, Monthly Review Press, 2013

 

What Would Afghan Spending Buy at Home?

June 6th, 2014 by Russ Baker

This article was first published by Who What Why.

Link to original article:  http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/06/03/what-would-afghan-spending-buy-at-home/

Most of the stories headlining how President Obama plans to cut troops in Afghanistan as part of his planned exit from that country have not bothered to provide numbers on U.S. military spending there.

A few have, but almost in passing. For example, CNN doesn’t indicate the current levels of spending, but notes that

Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told CNN that the United States will spend about $20 billion on the continued military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

In other words, $20 billion is what the U.S. will spend after it has effectively “withdrawn.”

Too bad news organizations don’t routinely give us a sense of what we are spending, or what else we might get for the same monies directed toward other purposes.

But here’s one thing to consider: $20 billion is about one-third to one-half of what the United States Department of Education spends on elementary, secondary and vocational education, and comparable to what it spends on higher education.

When President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2013 budget, Education Secretary Arne Duncan “announced that high-quality education is absolutely critical to rebuilding our economy.” Maybe so, but domestic spending is constantly under assault—and the lawmakers who reflexively support any and all military allocations are often the same ones complaining about “big government” and “wasteful” spending.

Here are a few other comparative statistics: (numbers vary, of course, from year to year)

-$20 billion is what the U.S. government budgeted for 2013 to subsidize often-struggling farmers

-It’s four-fifths of what we spend for science, space and technology

-It’s more than twice the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency

-It’s a third of what we spend on veterans’ hospital and medical care—on the people who fight in all wars combined

-It’s about a third of what we spend on administration of justice

-It’s five times what’s budgeted for energy conservation in 2014 and 2015

-It’s about 8 times what we spend on national parks—which have suffered continued cuts in recent years, resulting in reduced services and closures

If it’s not achieving something of clear benefit to Americans, why does the spending continue at such levels? Here’s another thing to consider, a graphic on Afghanistan we’ve run in the past to considerable interest:

1

Sources for Budget Data:

OMB Historical Budget Tables

Department of Interior 2014 Budget Highlights

 

Mounds of petroleum coke have been blowing in the direction of residents in Southeast Chicago. Photo credit: Alibaba.com

Chicagoans have long desired action against the owners of the piles of petcoke on the Southeast Side, and this week they finally got it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that KCBX Terminals Co. violated the Clean Air Act earlier this year, based on dust-wipe samples taken from homes in the neighborhood adjacent to to the Koch Brothers-controlled facility. Wind has long blown dust from mounts of petroleum coke, coating the sides of homes. It’s the exact reasons residentsexpressed anger at Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city council earlier this year when he proposed loophole-ridden regulations regarding petcoke storage.

“We knew the dust was coming from their sites,” Peggy Salazar, executive director of theSoutheast Environmental Task Force, told the Chicago Tribune. “What they’ve been saying just isn’t true.”

A company spokesman told the publication that it would review the EPA notice. The company has increased shipments of petcoke from refineries that have shifted to tar sands oil which led to the samples taken five times between February and May.

However, the company previously argued that it had spent a combined $30 million on storage terminal upgrades, such as large sprinklers that adjustable based on wind speed and direction to pack down dust. Also, KCBX says it hired an environmental consultant to test soil samples on properties near the plant.

Five days before the EPA began its sampling, a company site manager told area residents in a letter that the consultant found “no unusual levels of dust particles associated with petcoke or coal” nearby. However, the residents themselves have the evidence on their homes and have been breathing it in.

“The piles are still here,” Salazar said. “We feel like all of our complaints are for naught.”

European Central Bank Cuts Interest Rate Below Zero

June 6th, 2014 by Stefan Steinberg

The European Central Bank (ECB) slashed one of its interest rates to negative territory and unveiled a €400bn loan package for Europe’s banks in response to the ongoing economic slump and the threat of deflation.

At its meeting in Frankfurt Thursday, the central bank cut its main lending rate to 0.15 percent from its current historic low of 0.25 percent, and its overnight deposit rate from zero to minus 0.10 percent, becoming the largest central bank to lower rates to below zero.

The move is an expression of the fact that, nearly six years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the world economy remains mired in deep crisis, for which the world’s central banks have no solution outside of pumping trillions into banks and financial firms. While trillions are handed out to the banks, workers throughout the continent are told that there is “no money” to pay for pensions, social programs, and healthcare benefits.

At a press conference following the meeting, ECB President Mario Draghi made clear that the rate cuts could be followed in the near future by additional measures, including additional asset purchases similar to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) program.

“We think it is a significant package,” said Draghi. “Are we finished? The answer is no. If need be, within our mandate, we aren’t finished here,” adding that “a broad-based asset-purchase program is certainly one of” the instruments the Central bank has at its disposal.

On Tuesday, the ECB announced that inflation across the Eurozone fell to a rate of 0.5 percent in May, down from 0.7 percent in April, and far below its target of two percent. Inflation is expected to weaken further to 0.3 percent later this year, according to a forecast by Citibank.

The ECB also downgraded its estimate for Eurozone growth this year to 1 percent, down from its forecast of 1.2 percent in March.

Sensing the prospects of a fresh influx of funding, European stock markets reacted to the ECB decision with a rally. European stocks hit a six-and-a-half-year high, led by a surge in banking stocks, before falling back slightly. Noting that the German DAX hit an historic high on Thursday the Financial Times website ran the headline “DAX hits 10,000 as ECB package delights.”

In the United States, the S&P 500 closed up by 12 points, to 1,940, while the DOW Jones Industrial Average closed up by 98 points, at 16,836.11.

The ECB’s rate changes had been demanded for some time by the International Monetary Fund and the financial press. In its World Economic Outlook, issued at the beginning of April, the IMF drew attention to what a number of economists now refer to as the “new normal” for capitalism, i.e. stagnating or deflationary economies across the globe. The IMF report noted that real interest rates had been declining since the 1980s and were “now in slightly negative territory.”

At the same time, the report continued, the readiness of central banks to make massive amounts of cheap money available had failed to boost investment in productive industry. Instead the past period marked by the “scars” of the global financial crisis “have resulted in a sharp and persistent decline in investment in advanced economies.”

The report concluded that investment rates “in many advanced economies are unlikely to recover to pre-crisis levels in the next five years.”

The gloomy IMF forecast has been confirmed by recent figures from both the US and Europe. Economic activity across the Eurozone, as measured by the Purchasing Managers’ Index, fell to a six-month low in May. Meanwhile Europe’s jobless rate remains at an all-time high with unemployment expected to increase in the next months in some large economies such as Italy.

Following two years of Quantitative easing, during which time the US Federal Reserve pumped trillions of dollars into the markets, the United States economy remains mired in slump, and shrank at a one percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2014. Retailers in the country missed their earnings estimates by the largest amount in thirteen years in the first quarter.

The ECB’s action is likely to only intensify currency tensions, as central banks pursue conflicting goals. The Federal Reserve is attempting to draw down its Quantitative easing program, while last month the Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned against the overheating of the British economy, and soaring house prices. Home prices in Britain rose by over 11 percent last year, the largest increase since June 2007. Carney is expected to shortly propose measures to restrict mortgage borrowing to rein in the new housing bubble.

As is the case with all the measures introduced by the world’s central banks since the crisis, the latest rate cuts by the ECB will do nothing to stimulate genuine economic growth. Instead, as was shown by the stock market rally Thursday, the ECB will only serve to fuel new speculative bubbles while further enriching the biggest banks and the millionaires and billionaires that control them.

“If one tells a big lie, and repeats it often enough, then people will believe it in the end.” This principle of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, today serves many in the German media as a guideline for writing columns opposing the widespread resistance to a revival of German militarism.

Since Berlin and Washington helped a right-wing regime come to power in Ukraine, and thereby provoked a dangerous conflict with Russia, leading German media outlets have not shrunk from any lie in order to justify this policy. They play down the significance of the fascists of Svoboda and the Right Sector, depict the resistance in eastern Ukraine as a Russian conspiracy, and denounce their critics for daring to “understand Putin.”

But that is not enough. In order to undermine the opposition to the “end of military reticence” announced by the German government, they are even prepared to deny the historical crimes of German imperialism.

On Monday, the front page of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) carried a comment piece uniting both positions, headlined “One-sided friendship.” It combined hateful attacks on Putin and Russia with a presentation of the Second World War which one usually reads only in Nazi publications.

FAZ editor Frank Pergande complains about the “understanding shown for Putin’s policies, especially in eastern Germany,” and ridicules the “apparent friendship with the ‘big brother’ in the GDR [former East Germany].” He praises Chancellor Merkel, who “already at a time when she wasn’t even a politician” (i.e. in the GDR), knew “what was to be thought of Russia.”

Indeed, according to Pergande, the relationship with the Soviet Union was also marked by fear in the GDR. “Those who had experienced the end of the war,” he writes, “had to keep silent about their vile experiences: murder and suicides, expulsion, rape, camps, reparations. On the way to Berlin, the onslaught of the Red Army destroyed towns like Frankfurt (Oder), Prenzlau or Demmin, to the extent that the wounds ache to this day.”

Pergande says nothing about the previous war of extermination by the Nazis, which claimed over 25 million victims in the Soviet Union alone, including more than 3 million prisoners of war. Reading his text, he would have you believe that in 1944, the Red Army attacked a peaceful, unarmed Germany.

He also makes no mention of Hitler dispatching the elderly and minors to the front, and ordering his soldiers to resist to the last man. In the Battle of Berlin alone, which eventually sealed Hitler’s fate, some 80,000 Red Army soldiers died and 275,000 were wounded.

In Pergande’s reading, Hitler’s defeat was not liberation but rather a “bad experience.” He thereby suggests that things would have been better had the Nazis remained in power. That borders on fascist propaganda.

The fact that the FAZ, which has a daily circulation of 320,000 and is one of Germany’s leading newspapers, can publish such a hack piece without causing a word of protest, says much about the political climate in Germany. An article which just a few years ago would have only been printed in Nazi rags such as the National Newspaper or Young Freedom, is now the political consensus within the ruling elite.

Pergande himself lacks any qualifications to write on historical topics on the front page of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Born in East Germany in 1958, he studied journalism in Leipzig. Since 1998, he has reported for FAZ about local events in the three northern Bundesländer (federal states). His literary output includes several travel guides and some crime novels set in Mecklenburg Pomerania.

His comment piece is pure propaganda. Like much other commentaries appearing in the newspapers and other media, it is aimed at reshaping public opinion, which is obstinately opposed to the official propaganda about Ukraine.

The column’s downplaying of the crimes of Nazism has been systematically prepared over a long period. In 1986, when the historian Ernst Nolte ventured into public with his thesis that National Socialism (Nazism) had been an understandable reaction to Bolshevism, he met with fierce opposition.

Now, Jörg Baberowski, professor of European History at Berlin’s Humboldt University, can announce in Spiegel that “Nolte was right, historically,” and Nolte himself claims that the Poles shared responsibility for the Second World War, without any opposition from official circles. In Ukraine, the foundations associated with all the main German parties, from the Greens to the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats, are working with political forces that glorify war criminals and Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera.

Behind this turn to the right is the dead end of German capitalism. Six years after the outbreak of the deepest financial crisis since the 1930s, the European Union is threatening to break apart, and competition for markets and raw materials, upon which the German economy depends, is fiercer than ever.

This is the source of the determination of the German ruling elite to abandon the military restraint it was forced to observe following the crimes of the Second World War and pursue its imperialist interests violently once again.

The fact that journalists, academics and party functionaries have now switched over to this course does not mean that it is supported by the broad mass of the population. On the contrary, it meets with broad mistrust and resistance. This is the reason for the wave of propaganda and lies; it is an attempt to intimidate and suppress this opposition.

Do We Really Need to Re-Start the Cold War?

June 6th, 2014 by Eric Zuesse

Preface by Washington’s Blog: In the book To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon’s Secret War Plans, one of the world’s leading physicists – Michio Kaku – reveals declassified plans for the U.S. to launch a first-strike nuclear war against Russia.  The forward was written by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke.

In Towards a World War III Scenario, Michel Chossudovsky documents that the U.S. is so enamored with nuclear weapons that it has authorized low-level field commanders to use them in the heat of battle in their sole discretion … without any approval from civilian leaders.

So – as crazy as this topic may sound at first glance – it deserves our attention.

By Eric Zuesse:

recent CNN Poll found that 29% of Americans think that Russia is a “Very serious threat” to the United States, and that 40% consider it a “Moderately serious threat.” That’s 69% who consider it a “serious threat.”

In 2012, only 11% considered it a “Very serious threat,” and 33% considered it a “Moderately serious threat.” 44% then considered Russia a “serious threat.” The huge surge in fear of Russia — from 44% to 69% — seems to be due entirely to Ukraine. 81% of poll-respondents said that “Russia’s actions in Ukraine are … a violation of international law.” Only 12% said that it’s not. Asked whether “there was any justification for Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” 72% said “No,” and only 17% said “Yes.”

When asked “Do you think it is likely or not that there will be a new cold war,” 48% said “Likely,” and 49% said “Not likely.”

And when asked “Do you worry about the possibility of nuclear war with Russia,” 40% said “Yes,” and 59% said “No.”

The threat feared from Russia is mainly of their troops, who are manning bases for Russian Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), all of which are located inside Russia.

By contrast, the U.S. has troops in many countries, which include the following nations where our soldiers are stationed (and this includes ones with missile bases located near Russia): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

We also have some soldiers in other former parts of the U.S.S.R.: Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

We also have nearly 35,000 troops stationed in Japan, a nation near Russia and that claims ownership of four small Sakhalin Islands and two small Kuril Islands, from Russia.

The United States is, of course, not surrounded by any Russian soldiers at all — not in Mexico, nor in Canada, nor anywhere near this country, except Russia itself near Alaska.

Steven Starr has written about the decades-long view within the U.S. military-strategy establishment, that the Cold War is not, and actually never really was, about ideology, not about capitalism versus communism, but is instead simply about which nation will control the world: basically about national political and economic dominance of our planet. If what Starr says is true, then the end of communism in the U.S.S.R. didn’t terminate the U.S. military’s “Cold War” mission, which is instead actually about global dominance. Starr cites, among other sources, an article, “The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy,” from the highly influential journal of the organization of U.S. aristocrats and their agents, the Council on Foreign Relations, their authoritative Foreign Affairs, in March 2006. It discusses obliquely the Star Wars Missile-Defense program that was first proposed by President Ronald Reagan, and that has been developed during the decades since. The article says (and I shall italicize the admission since it otherwise rarely appears in print):

“For 50 years, the Pentagon’s war planners have structured the U.S. nuclear arsenal according to the goal of deterring a nuclear attack on the United States and, if necessary, winning a nuclear war by launching a preemptive strike that would destroy an enemy’s nuclear forces.

That article, which basically asserts that the publicly stated U.S. nuclear strategy, of maintaining on both sides the capacity for “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or “MAD,” is just a peaceful-sounding cover-story for the actual U.S. strategy of militarily dominating the entire world, then says: “The ability to destroy all of an adversary’s nuclear forces [via Anti-Ballistic Missiles or 'ABMs'], eliminating the possibility of a retaliatory strike, is known as a first-strike capability, or nuclear primacy.” It alleges that the actual objective of these supposedly defensive ABM weapons (which are still only in the development stage) is to knock out incoming retaliatory ICBMs from Russia, so that the U.S. will be able to launch a first strike that destroys almost all of Russia’s missiles on the ground, even before they can be launched. The ABMs will then take care of any straggling Russian ICBMs, which might have been missed in our first strike and been fired from Russia, by using our ABMs (which, since they haven’t yet been fully deployed, are still as yet only hypothetical) as a missile-shield to protect the U.S. from any retaliation by Russia for our having nuked Russia out of existence.

This article in Foreign Affairs says, pointedly:

“Even as the United States’ nuclear forces have grown stronger since the end of the Cold War, Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal has sharply deteriorated. Russia has 39 percent fewer long-range bombers, 58 percent fewer ICBMs, and 80 percent fewer SSBNs than the Soviet Union fielded during its last days. The true extent of the Russian arsenal’s decay, however, is much greater than these cuts suggest. What nuclear forces Russia retains are hardly ready for use. Russia’s strategic bombers, now located at only two bases and thus vulnerable to a surprise attack, rarely conduct training exercises, and their warheads are stored off-base. Over 80 percent of Russia’s silo-based ICBMs have exceeded their original service lives, and plans to replace them with new missiles have been stymied by failed tests and low rates of production.”

Moreover, “Compounding these problems, Russia’s early warning system is a mess.” Furthermore,

“Outside experts predict that the actual cuts [in Russia's missiles] will slice 50 to 75 percent off the current force, possibly leaving Russia with as few as 150 ICBMs by the end of the decade, down from its 1990 level of almost 1,300 missiles. The more Russia’s nuclear arsenal shrinks, the easier it will become for the United States to carry out a first strike.”

The authors report:

“According to our model, such a simplified surprise attack would have a good chance of destroying every Russian bomber base, submarine, and ICBM. [See Footnote #1] This finding is not based on best-case assumptions or an unrealistic scenario in which U.S. missiles perform perfectly and the warheads hit their targets without fail.”

According to the authors, the assumption by U.S. military planners is that, though there might be a nuclear bomb or two that might hit the U.S. from Russia, the U.S. would emerge stronger after the nuclear conflict than before, and that the only issue left to be resolved is when would be the appropriate time to do this (presumably some time when the ABMs have been installed in as many countries neighboring Russia as possible, countries such as Ukraine). (After all: being located so near, the Russians would have only a few minutes to fire off their missiles in response — they’d be done for.)

The authors then discuss:

“Is the United States intentionally pursuing nuclear primacy? Or is primacy an unintended byproduct of intra-Pentagon competition for budget share or of programs designed to counter new threats from terrorists and so-called rogue states [assuming that Al Qaeda would have nuclear-armed missiles]? Motivations are always hard to pin down, but the weight of the evidence suggests that Washington is, in fact, deliberately seeking nuclear primacy. For one thing, U.S. leaders have always aspired to this goal [i.e.: the goal of winning a nuclear war]. And the nature of the changes to the current arsenal and official rhetoric and policies support this conclusion.”

They assert:

“Washington’s pursuit of nuclear primacy helps explain its missile-defense strategy, for example,” because ABMs “would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one — as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability.” The authors approve of George W. Bush’s continuation of Bill Clinton’s continuation of G.H.W. Bush’s continuation of Ronald Reagan’s program to develop ABMs, by their saying: “The most logical conclusions to make are that a nuclear-war-fighting capability remains a key component of the United States’ military doctrine and that nuclear primacy [winning a nuclear war] remains a goal of the United States.”

They support this strategic goal, by concluding that domination of the world by the U.S. can be attained but only if it’s boldly and not merely halfheartedly pursued:

“Ultimately, the wisdom of pursuing nuclear primacy must be evaluated in the context of the United States’ foreign policy goals. The United States is now seeking to maintain its global preeminence, which the Bush administration defines as the ability to stave off the emergence of a peer competitor and prevent weaker countries from being able to challenge the United States in critical regions such as the Persian Gulf. If Washington continues to believe such preeminence is necessary for its security, then the benefits of nuclear primacy might exceed the risks. But if the United States adopts a more restrained foreign policy — for example, one premised on greater skepticism of the wisdom of forcibly exporting democracy, launching military strikes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and aggressively checking rising challengers — then the benefits of nuclear primacy will be trumped by the dangers.”

The Republican-Party-oriented Project for a New American Century, which mustered American public opinion in 2002 and 2003 to favor invading Iraq, was prominently in accord with the view that was expressed in this article in Foreign Affairs. PNAC opposed “a more restrained foreign policy.” (Thus, they favored invading Iraq.) Victoria Nuland, Obama’s appointee to run Ukraine in 2013, had supported PNAC, and had served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s advisor on foreign policy, and then she was President G.W. Bush’s U.S. Ambassador to NATO.

However, there also were some actual Democrats who likewise favored the viewpoint that was stated in this Foreign Affairs article. On 15 March 2014, Chris Ernesto headlined “Brzezinski Mapped Out the Battle for Ukraine in 1997: It’s all about maintaining the US position as the world’s sole superpower.” He quoted from Brzezinski in 1997, who said: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.” Ernesto also noted that Brzezinski was the first person to compare Russia’s leader Putin to Hitler. And yet Brzezinski is a “Democrat.” So, this supremacist view dominates on both sides of the aristocracy, both Republican and “Democratic.”

President Obama’s speech at West Point, on 28 May 2014, said: “Here’s my bottom line:  America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.” Obama alleged: “Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us.” Our President said:

“In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War [he said this after signaling his listeners that it really is but that he’s a ‘liberal’ and so he doesn’t say such hate-mongering things, but they naturally can come to the conclusion themselves]. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.”

(He said this after having spent over five billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds to destabilize Ukraine and bring about the civil war there.)

The U.S. does not yet have missiles — either ICBMs or ABMs — in Ukraine, but Obama is clearly trying to firm-up the anti-Russian government that (via Nuland) he has succeeded at placing in Kiev to control this country that borders Russia.

Despite the hostile rhetoric from our President and from the stenographic “reporters” who transmit “news” to us, Russia is no actual military competitor to the United States; but, under Putin, it has become an economic competitor (which intensifies Obama’s desire to cripple Russia).

The statements that Russia is a military competitor are pure propaganda, not news (except about the sources that transmit such propaganda to us).

As of the year 2013, the U.S. spent $640 billion per year on the military, whereas Russia spent $87.8 billion per year on its military. The U.S. spent 36.6% of the planet’s military budget, and Russia spent 5.0%. There is no reason for the American public to fear Russia, though (because of the constant propaganda) they do.

For the people of the United States to fear Russia is a violation of basic logic, especially considering that the U.S. is actually pursuing military dominance of the world, whereas no other country in the world is, or even can. The U.S. percentage of 36.6% of the world’s military budget dwarfs #2 China’s percentage of 10.8%, and especially dwarfs #3 Russia’s 5.0%. #4 Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s 3.8%, is allied with the U.S. So is #5 France’s 3.5%. So is #6 U.K.’s 3.3%. So is #7 Germany’s 2.8%. So is #8 Japan’s 2.8%. So is #9 India’s 2.7%. So is #10 South Korea’s 1.9%. “We” spend collectively 57.6% of the world’s total, whereas Russia spends only 5%.

If we assume that we are driving Russia to ally itself with China (a reasonable assumption to make, for Russia’s protection), then both of those countries together are spending 15.8% on “their side,” while the U.S. and its allies are spending 57.4% — and that’s just including the world’s top ten spenders. “We” are then spending 3.6 times as much as “they” are. On a worldwide basis, including all nations, the U.S. and its allies are spending more than 80% of all of this planet’s military expenditures. And yet “we” fear “them” (Russia and China). If our military planners are looking forward to a day when the U.S. can nuclear-destroy Russia with impunity, then creating this fear of Russia will help, not only in order to make America’s public support destroying Russia, but in order to get us to accept some U.S. casualties in a nuclear war from a few Russian missiles that might slip through the ABM net.

The current conflict inside (the former) Ukraine has spiked this fear by the U.S. public, which can help prepare the U.S. public to support a nuclear invasion of Russia.

Although U.S. media have maintained that Russia’s Vladimir Putin precipitated the Ukraine conflict when he backed the overwhelmingly popular movement in Crimea to separate itself from Ukraine, that view is likewise irrational. The actual situation is far more complex. A much stronger argument can be made that President Obama’s actions caused this conflict. Paul Craig Roberts well summarized the actual history behind the Crimean matter recently, when he said (and this history should be publicized widely to the U.S. public, but is instead not publicized in our “news” media):

“Areas of southern and eastern Ukraine are former Russian territories added to Ukraine by Soviet leaders. Lenin added Russian areas to Ukraine in early years of the Soviet Union, and Khrushchev added Crimea in 1954. The people in these Russian areas, alarmed by the destruction of Soviet war memorials commemorating the Red Army’s liberation of Ukraine from Hitler, by the banning of Russian as an official language, and by physical assaults on Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, broke out in protests. Crimea voted its independence and requested reunification with Russia, and so have the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Washington, its EU puppets, and the Western media have denied that the votes in Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk are sincere and spontaneous. Instead, Washington alleges that the protests leading to the votes and the votes themselves were orchestrated by the Russian government with the use of bribes, threats, and coercion. Crimea was said to be a case of Russian invasion and annexation. These are blatant lies, and the foreign observers of the elections know it, but they have no voice in the Western media, which is a Ministry of Propaganda for Washington. Even the once proud BBC lies for Washington.”

Furthermore, Russia’s Black Sea fleet had been established in Crimea in 1783 and continued being based there till the present day, so that to allege, as Obama and his minions do, that kicking Russia’s Black Sea fleet out of Crimea wouldn’t constitute a highly aggressive move against Russia, is a lie that befits only a Hitler or a Stalin, not a leader of any democracy, such as Obama claims to be.

The counter-argument to this undeniable history has been the equally undeniable corruption of the democratically elected, pro-Russian, President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who had used his political position in order to skim billions of dollars off government contracts, for himself and his son. That corruption is alleged to have justified the violation of the Ukrainian Constitution, by means of the violent February 2014 overthrow of him. This “justification” of the February 2014 coup is especially held to have been the case because Yanukovych’s troops themselves had started the violence. However, they actually did not start the violence: that too was a lie. (Moreover all of the post-Soviet leaders of Ukraine have been corrupt. Yanukovych was like his predecessors in that regard.)

An excellent video presentation about that event (the violence that led to Yanukovych’s violent overthrow) opens with a discussion between Urmas Paet and Cathy Ashton. Ashton is the EU’s Foreign Policy chief. She had appointed Paet to investigate to determine how the violence at the Maidan demonstration on February 18th had started, which ended in Yanukovych’s overthrow. Paet reported to her, in this phone conversation, what he found; and he concluded: “So … there is now stronger and stronger understanding [among everyone who has examined the evidence] that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition” (in other words, it was by the group overthrowing Yanukovych). The video then shows the Obama Administration’s Victoria Nuland telling the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine to get the far-right Arseniy Yatsenyuk appointed to lead the new interim post-Yanukovych government. That government then placed Hitler-admirers (followers of Stephan Bandera) into the country’s leading positions. Yatsenyuk himself was a banker who had a clearly nationalist anti-Russian background, and was allied with neo-Nazi forces in Western Europe.

On May 1st, Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, told Ukraine that if they didn’t crush the coup’s opponents and force them into being controlled by the new Kiev central government, then the IMF would pull the plug on any further loans to Ukraine. The next day, in the Trade Unions Building in Odessa in the south, occurred the event that sparked Ukraine’s civil war, the massacre of 272 opponents to the coup-regime; most of them were incinerated to death after the regime’s supporters, who had been bussed in from the norththrew Molotov cocktails into the building, and then firebombed it with larger incendiary bombs; and, when the building’s occupants jumped from the burning building’s windows, the people below immediately beat them to death and dragged the corpses off to waiting vans, from whence some reports allege they were taken to Odessa’s outskirts for mass-burial. The official body-count of corpses that were incinerated and that still remained inside the building on the night of May 2nd was 46. Despite claims by the pro-Obama forces, that the people inside the building had been Russians and not Ukrainians, none of the 36 corpses who could be identified were: all of them had been local Odessans, with Ukrainian IDs in their wallets, etc.

This massacre, which was the first massacre in world history to be voluminously recorded by independent videos taken of it by cellphones, exposed to all the residents in the southeastern half of Ukraine, which are the regions where Yanukovych had won overwhelmingly the election that had made him President, that the regime that was now installed in Kiev wanted them dead if they wouldn’t accept being ruled by this new, Obama-IMF-installed, government. Consequently, Ukraine’s civil war started with this massacre, which was like an announcement to the southeast: either support us, or else die — your choice.

It did not start with Putin. U.S. media are being dishonest about that. The people in Ukraine’s southeast simply do not want to be ruled by the coalition of the two neo-Nazi parties, Pravy Sektor and Svoboda, and by the two conservative nationalist “Fatherland” and “UDAR” Parties, which four-party coalition, all-far-right-wing, now rules in Kiev. They seek protection against that U.S.-installed far-right coalition government, because the people who live in the southeast are the targets in their gun-sights and bombsights.

The U.S. Government controls the IMF; and, together, they caused the civil war that now ravages Ukraine.

While President Obama has never spoken about his having caused this civil war, much less about why he did it, he unquestionably did.

His operating assumption, that a nuclear war can be won, might be true for the West’s aristocracy in the short term, but it is definitely false for the world-at-large over the long term. In a separate article, Steven Starr headlined in 2014 “Deadly Climate Change from Nuclear War: a threat to human existence.” He closed by saying that,

“The scientific studies summarized in this paper make it clear that the environmental consequences of a ‘regional’ nuclear conflict could kill hundreds of millions of people far from the war zone. Deadly climate change caused by a war fought with the strategic nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia would threaten the continued survival of the human species. Yet neither the U.S., nor Russia, nor any other nuclear weapons state has ever officially evaluated what effects a war fought with their nuclear arsenals would have upon the Earth’s climate and ecosystems.”

An article, “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War” was published in the December 2008 Physics Today, and it concluded that, “the indirect effects ['nuclear winter'] would likely eliminate the majority of the human population.” (It would be even worse, and far faster, than the expected harms from global warming.) President Obama might think that, as the Foreign Affairs article asserted, “the wisdom of pursuing nuclear primacy must be evaluated in the context of the United States’ foreign policy goals,” but others, both in the U.S. and especially elsewhere, might think that that’s a false, parochially nationalistic, view of what democracy is about or is supposed to support, or even of what should be tolerated from an American President. Yet it’s his policy, regarding Ukraine, if one is to judge by his actions, instead of by his words.

 Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.

I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.

Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.

“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week.“It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy.”

Hoh describes his record this way:

“After over 11 continuous years of service with the U.S. military and U.S. government, nearly six of those years overseas, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as positions within the Secretary of the Navy’s Office as a White House Liaison, and as a consultant for the State Department’s Iraq Desk, I resigned from my position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of war in 2009.”

Another former Department of State official, the ex-diplomat and retired Army colonel Ann Wright, who resigned in protest of the Iraq invasion in March 2003, is crossing paths with Hoh on Friday as they do the honors at a ribbon-cutting — half a block from the State Department headquarters in Washington — for a billboard with a picture of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Big-lettered words begin by referring to the years he waited before releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. “Don’t do what I did,” Ellsberg says on the billboard. 

“Don’t wait until a new war has started, don’t wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes or internal projections of costs and dangers. You might save a war’s worth of lives.”

The billboard – sponsored by the ExposeFacts organization, which launched this week — will spread to other prominent locations in Washington and beyond. As an organizer for ExposeFacts, I’m glad to report that outreach to potential whistleblowers is just getting started. (For details, visit ExposeFacts.org.) We’re propelled by the kind of hopeful determination that Hoh expressed the day before the billboard ribbon-cutting when he said: “I trust ExposeFacts and its efforts will encourage others to follow their conscience and do what is right.”

The journalist Kevin Gosztola, who has astutely covered a range of whistleblower issues for years, pointed this week to the imperative of opening up news media. “There is an important role for ExposeFacts to play in not only forcing more transparency, but also inspiring more media organizations to engage in adversarial journalism,” he wrote.

“Such journalism is called for in the face of wars, environmental destruction, escalating poverty, egregious abuses in the justice system, corporate control of government, and national security state secrecy. Perhaps a truly successful organization could inspire U.S. media organizations to play much more of a watchdog role than a lapdog role when covering powerful institutions in government.”

Overall, we desperately need to nurture and propagate a steadfast culture of outspoken whistleblowing. A central motto of the AIDS activist movement dating back to the 1980s – Silence = Death – remains urgently relevant in a vast array of realms. Whether the problems involve perpetual war, corporate malfeasance, climate change, institutionalized racism, patterns of sexual assault, toxic pollution or countless other ills, none can be alleviated without bringing grim realities into the light. “All governments lie,” Ellsberg says in a video statement released for the launch of ExposeFacts,

“and they all like to work in the dark as far as the public is concerned, in terms of their own decision-making, their planning — and to be able to allege, falsely, unanimity in addressing their problems, as if no one who had knowledge of the full facts inside could disagree with the policy the president or the leader of the state is announcing.”

Ellsberg adds:

“A country that wants to be a democracy has to be able to penetrate that secrecy, with the help of conscientious individuals who understand in this country that their duty to the Constitution and to the civil liberties and to the welfare of this country definitely surmount their obligation to their bosses, to a given administration, or in some cases to their promise of secrecy.”

Right now, our potential for democracy owes a lot to people like NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Kirk Wiebe, and EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. When they spoke at the June 4 news conference in Washington that launched ExposeFacts, their brave clarity was inspiring.

Antidotes to the poisons of cynicism and passive despair can emerge from organizing to help create a better world. The process requires applying a single standard to the real actions of institutions and individuals, no matter how big their budgets or grand their power. What cannot withstand the light of day should not be suffered in silence.

If you see something, say something.

 

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which launched ExposeFacts.org in early June. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Haiti’s military occupation by the UN’s MINUSTAH. This article was first published December 27, 2012.

A former French colony called Saint-Domingue in the Western side of the Spanish Island of Hispaniola erupted into a Slave revolt against France. The revolt cost the lives of over 100,000 blacks and over 20,000 whites not including innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs of the revolution. The new Haitian Republic was born and won its independence from France in 1804. It became a free Republic that abolished slavery and became a center of inspiration for many African slaves across the world.

But since the Haitian Revolution and it’s resistance to slavery, Western nations has managed to keep Haiti enslaved. From Internal conflicts that divided Haiti to successive dictatorships and a constant fear against a French invasion in the decades that followed, Haiti has always experienced a struggle for freedom. When President Theodore Roosevelt introduced “The Roosevelt Corollary” in a 1904 address to the US congress in relation to the Monroe Doctrine, he mentioned the fact that the US will intervene on the side of Europe who was in constant war against their former colonial possessions in Latin America if any new conflict were to arise from that point on. In 1915, the US Marines lead by Major General Smedley Butler, occupied Haiti under the orders of US President Woodrow Wilson to protect US Corporations and to prevent a people’s revolution. The occupation lasted until 1934. Then after the US occupation ended, Haitians chose a national assembly and elected Sténio Joseph Vincent as President of Haiti with US approval turned out to be an Authoritarian President.

And of course, the United States was its’ number one trading partner. Then followed President Élie Lescot who was ousted in a 1950 Coup by Army General Paul Eugene Magloire, another US approved presidency since he was anti-Communist. In 1957 Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier became President-For-Life, of course with US approval until 1971. Then his son Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier became his successor until a popular revolt of the Haitian people in 1986 removed him from power. Under the Duvalier Dynasty, over 60,000 Haitians were killed and tortured by the Tonton Macoutes, a death squad created by “Papa Doc” who routinely used machetes and guns to murder his political opponents and anyone who spoke negatively against his regime. Many people were burned alive and hung in public.

Top Members of the Tonton Macoutes were leaders of Voodoo which did earn them unlimited authority and the respect of the Haitian people. After Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was removed from power, the Tonton Macoutes were still active in other death squads for years to come, many eventually ended up in the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti (FRAPH), A creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Haiti’s relationship with the United States, France and Canada in the past decades is a contributing factor to the Haitian government’s failed political and economic policies that has had a negative impact on its people.

Then Jean-Bertrand Aristide came on the national stage. An educated former priest who was born into poverty, managed to inspire the people to participate in building a new democracy in Haiti. Aristide’s influence among the Haitian people concerned Western nations especially the United States. It was also a concern for the Haitian elites. As a Priest, Aristide began to recruit youths to attend church, so he organized weekly youth masses. He founded an orphanage for urban street children in 1986 called “Lafanmi Selavi” or “Family is Life”, a program that was a model of participatory democracy for children who participated. Aristide became a leading voice for Haiti’s poor majority, but he became a target for assassination as they attempted to murder him on numerous occasions. Aristide announced his candidacy for the presidency in 1990 and in a six-week campaign with his supporters formed a political party called the “Front National pour le Changement et la Démocratie” or the “National Front for Change and Democracy (FNCD). Aristide was successful and was elected President with 67% of the Haitian vote defeating US-approved candidate Marc Bazin, a former World Bank official. Haiti’s first Democratic president was elected by the people. Democracy was finally becoming a reality, but the United States and its’ Western Allies were not keen on the new President’s policies concerning his politics of change, economics or his war on drugs. His ideas for Democratic change enabled him to become a leading figure among the Haitian people. This was clearly not in Washington’s best interest.

On September 29th, 1991 a Coup d’état took place under then US President George H.W. Bush that toppled Aristide by Army General Raoul Cédras, Army Chief of Staff Phillipe Biamby and Chief of the National Police Michel François with support from the CIA. He was replaced by Superior Court Justice Joseph Nérette for a short period of time until a new president took place with US approval. The coup was condemned by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the Organization of American States (OAS) in October of that same year. The new Haitian regime that replaced Aristide was only recognized by the Vatican City where the head of the Roman Catholic Church “the Pope” exercises legislative, executive, and judicial powers. Vatican City believed that Aristide’s “incitement to hatred and violence” was not in line with the principles with the Catholic Church. Talk about “truth is stranger than fiction”. The irony is that Aristide was a former Catholic priest who was appointed to St. Jean Bosco church to help the poor. It was located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. However, with Vatican City condemning Aristide’s actions gave Washington ‘Carte Blanche’ to proceed with the Coup d’état since the church Aristide was associated with condemned him.

But what was the main reason behind the Coup against Aristide a short time after he assumed the presidency? It was evident that his strong opposition to drug smuggling on Haiti’s territory was the main reason why he was forced out of public office. General Raoul Cédras and Police Chief Michel François, a graduate of U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) were accused of drug smuggling under CIA supervision.

As reported by Dennis Bernstein of the Pacific News Service October 20th, 1993 that American Representative and Democrat John Conyers of Michigan was quoted as saying “I’ve been amazed that our government has never talked about the drug trafficking…even though it is obviously one of the major reasons why these people drove their president out of the country and why they are determined not to let him back in. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profits that are having disastrous consequences for the American people”. Aristide’s anti-drug crusade put him at odds with the Washington, the Haitian Military, and the political and business elites who opposed his policies. In an interview conducted by WBAI, 99.5 FM Radio News Program in New York City with Patrick Elie, former head of Haiti’s Anti-Narcotics Unit discussed who was behind the September 30, 1991 coup d’état against Aristide:

“You had the usual suspects – mainly the US administration through the CIA and of course part of the Haitian monied elite, which financed the coup and helped the military and the death-squads survive some of the sanctions that were applied by the OAS. The reason why I can affirm that the CIA was actually involved in the preparation of the coup is that, first of all, no coup ever takes place in Haiti without the blessing of the US – either the DIA or the CIA – but also at the time because of my position as the head of the Anti-Narcotics program. I had contact with the CIA station chief in Haiti and the questions he was posing to me regarding the security of the new government were the exact issues that were raised the very same day of the coup by the military that pulled that coup.”

After President Aristide was removed from power, he was sent into exile; first he lived in Venezuela and then went on to the United States. Then under Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, a paid CIA informant who organized a death squad called the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) targeted Aristide’s supporters that resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 people. The Haitian population was now officially under state terror since Aristide’s departure.

William Jefferson Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1993. He promised the return of Aristide with a plan to re-introduce neoliberal policies that Aristide opposed. Clinton also wanted to end the Haitian refugee crisis on Florida’s shores due to Haiti’s political crises. Under US and international pressure along with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 940 on July 31 1994, the military regime in power agreed to step-down as US troops were deployed to Haiti under Clinton’s order. So on October 15th, 1994, the Clinton administration permitted Aristide to return to Haiti to complete his term in office, but under the conditions that he adapt the economic program of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the defeated US backed candidate Marc Savin from the 1990 elections.

Aristide had to accept the terms and returned to Haiti with 20,000 US troops on stand-by for the transition. American style “Democracy” was back in Haitian politics. The World Bank and the IMF are the same institutions responsible for impoverishing many nations in the Third World and now were responsible for the Neoliberal economic policies that eventually destroyed Haiti’s economic sovereignty. Aristide remained in power until 1996. Then René Préval was elected president for a 5-year term, winning 88% of the popular vote. Préval was Aristide’s Prime Minister for several months until the 1991 US-instigated military Coup.

Aristide was re-elected in 2000 and resumed his Presidency in 2001. Then in February 2004, the United States and France once again removed Aristide from power and flew him out of the country because he refused to “Privatize” State Owned Enterprises that included Electricity for private run “Monopolies”. The Privatization of State owned enterprises would squeeze the poor even further into paying higher prices for their basic utilities. The US used the assassination of gang leader named Amiot Metayer to destabilize Aristide’s government as it caused anti-government groups to turn against Aristide. The National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti was formed under Amiot’s brother, Buteur Metayer, who accused Aristide for his brother’s murder. The rebels took control of the North and eventually invaded the capital of Port-au -Prince. The U.S. escorted Aristide out of the country on February 28, 2004 and sent him to the Central African Republic then to South Africa. Aristide’s lawyer had claimed that the U.S. was arming anti-Aristide groups before the assassination of Metayer and that France and the US had “kidnapped” Aristide. Another staged Coup against Aristide, this time under US President George W. Bush. Aristide was exiled to South Africa.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1542 was established on April 30th, 2004 due to Haiti’s instability in the region that would allow peacekeepers on Haitian territory. The purpose of the mission was to train the Haitian National Police Force and provide peace and security to the Haitian population. Since June 1st, 2004, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission In Haiti (UNSTAMIH) better known as MINUSTAH led by the Brazilian Military has been a disaster for Haitians.Since their arrival, Haiti has experienced human rights violations under the banner of stabilization, but rather has been a destabilizing force under MINUSTAH. MINUSTAH’s primary objective was to train the Haitian National Police Force, but had been implicated in numerous crimes, from the sexual assault of an 18-year-old Johnny Jean by Uruguayan peacekeepers caught on video to the sexual exploitation of minors including prostitution and rape that involved more than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers.

The murder of a 16-year-old boy hung in a UN base in Cap Haïtien on August 2010 after he was accused of stealing $200 from a UN interpreter and the outbreak of Cholera in mid-2010 that killed over 6,000 Haitians and infected over 400,000 other’s that were exposed to the unsanitary practices by Nepalese peacekeepers on another UN base began a public outcry against the UN occupation of Haiti. MINUSTAH is also a political police force who executed Pro-Aristide groups in Cite Soleil on Dec 22, 2006, a slum in the capital of Port-au-Prince that killed more than 30 people including women and children.

It was massacre against the community for their support of the Lavalas movement which involved more than 10,000 people who rallied for the return of President Aristide and called for an end to the UN military occupation of Haiti, but the United Nations claimed that they were out to capture or kill “Gangsters and Kidnappers”.

On October 15, 2012 MINUSTAH’s mission has been extended to 2013. Then it will be extended to 2014. Maybe the UN occupation will become permanent? What is the real purpose of this military occupation? Is it to set up bases that the US and its’ allies would be able to use against their enemies such as Cuba, Ecuador or Venezuela? Haiti is in close proximity to Cuba and the northern cone of South America. There is also one element of Haiti that should not be overlooked, and that is the vast amount of natural resources Haiti has on its land. Haiti has bauxite, coal, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, gypsum, hydropower, marble, silver, tin, lignite, nickel, limestone, manganese, marble, iron, tungsten, salt, clay, building stones and most importantly oil. Oil had been discovered in Haiti. Haitian writer, Dr. Georges Michel, published an online article on March 27th, 2004 titled ‘Oil in Haiti.’ Dr. Georges Michel wrote:

“It has been no secret that deep in the earthy bowels of the two states that share the island of Haiti and the surrounding waters that there are significant, still untapped deposits of oil. One knows not why they are still untapped. Since the early twentieth century, the physical and political map of the island of Haiti, erected in 1908 by Messrs. Alexander Poujol and Henry Thomasset, reported a major oil reservoir in Haiti near the source of the Rio Todo El Mondo, Tributary Right Artibonite River, better known today as the River Thomonde”

One of the main reasons that the US, Canadian and European governments decide to send American and UN Peacekeeping forces is to undermine governments who oppose their policies and to exploit their natural resources for profit. In an October 2008 cable released by Wikileaks, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson said that “The security dividend the U.S. reaps from this hemispheric cooperation not only benefits the immediate Caribbean, but also is developing habits of security cooperation in the hemisphere that will serve our interests for years to come.”  

Do US interests involve natural resources and a central military location to checkmate Cuba and other countries located in South America that are non-compliant? It is interesting to know that a crises whether a natural disaster such as the Haitian earthquake of January 12th, 2010 where an estimated 316,000 people had died, over 300,000 injured and left more than 1 million people homeless or a political situation that would involve regime change was used as an excuse to place UN Peacekeeping forces (MINUSTAH) in Haiti. It is the same organization that committed numerous crimes that will train the Haitian National Police Force as a tool to control and subjugate the Haitian population.

Haiti has natural resources and a hard working population.  They should not be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is enslaved again, but this time under Globalization, a system that is under the control of Western Imperial powers.  After 221 years nothing has changed. Western Powers, both old and new control the political, social and economic landscape of Haiti. Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly is the new US approved President of Haiti since May of 2011.

He has resurrected the Haitian military with intelligence and security units with former military officers, members of the Police force and paramilitary death squads that were involved in Aristide’s Coup d’état in 2004. Reestablishing the Haitian military was a campaign promise he kept and will keep well into 2013 with a Duvalier-style government. With President Martelly in office until 2016 and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) until October 15th, 2013, it seems that Haiti’s future will be marked with the same problems it has experienced since it gained independence back in 1804.

10 Reasons Why Democracy is in Crisis

June 6th, 2014 by Jan Oberg

Democracy is a core feature of Western society, normally understood as representative parliament – i.e. in free elections citizens vote for people to represent their interests in a parliament consisting of parties of which some form the government and some the opposition.

It’s not always included in the definitions that democracy requires a reasonable level of knowledge and information, freely available. For instance, one often hears that India is the world’s largest democracy but 26% of the people are still illiterate (287 million people).

So the ”world’s largest democracy” also has the world’s largest population who can’t read and write. In comparison, China’s illiterate citizens make up about 3% and it is regularly called a dictatorship.

The state of democracy – 10 points for dialogue

When we talk about global crisis, people think much more of the economy, environment, identity issues or warfare than of democracy being in crisis. I think it is in fundamental crisis for the the following reasons.

1. The state is being challenged from below and from above.

Democracy is tied to the nation-state. But citizens’ activity from below plus regional and global organisations, summits, forums and groups make the state weaker.

2. Economic perspectives dominate.

Most of what is discussed in democracies are related to the economy, and that is further dominated by the politics of the wallet.

3. Materialism over life values.

Compared with economics and what is called ”realistic”, democratic debate seldom touch values, ethics or concepts such as justice and peace.

4. A time horizon far too short.

Who can achieve anything meaningful in the larger world with a 4-year perspective?

5. National parliaments less and less important.

Larger, more distant and elite-based structures such as Wall Street, NATO, EU, the IMF,  SCO, ASEAN, banks, and stock market manipulations etc. set up the parameters within which the state – national governments – may operate.

6. Economic and military elites think of the world as one system.

But the political sphere remains national, even sometimes nationalistic. We don’t have even the embryo of a global democratic decision-making that can match these two powerful actors.

7. Politicians must choose between getting elected and speaking the truth.

A politician whose campaign would emphasise what we must give up and how we must show solidarity to save the world won’t get elected. Those who get elected promise more and more money in your pocket, brilliant futures built on extrapolations of the present and they make promises everybody somehow knows won’t be kept after election day.

8. Public relation replaces knowledge.

Politics has become pragmatic navigation and positioning, and less a matter of values and principles. Deals are being made and ”sold” afterwards to the public.

Decades ago, political leaders would seek knowledge about certain options from independent expertise; these still exist of course but the army of spin doctors, marketing people, lobbying etc. has replaced most of it.

Thanks to modern communication and media demands the time for knowledge-based decision-making has been reduced enormously during the last 20-30 years. This mostly probably impacts negatively on the quality of most decisions.

9. Politics as a calling versus a career option.

10. Finally, democracy should be about creating choice, not just voting.

Most people seem to believe that democracy is about voting for some policy or law or voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to some alternatives set up by the political elites (also called referendum).

But fundamentally, democracy’s very idea is not to vote on an issue set up in advance; democracy is to contribute to establishing the agenda in the first place. Example: Yes or no for a country to join the EU. But that is not democracy. Democracy is to develop a broader spectrum of which, say, the EU is only one option/alternative among a series.

Genuine democracy is about setting agendas. It’s not about voting yes or no to somebody else’s more or less cunning agenda. It’s about dialogue and not just debates.

You could, perhaps, summarise these ten points by saying that democracy is no longer lived, it is being performed. It’s become a ritual with little ethos.

Consequently, throughout Western democracies citizens feel that it is almost impossible to “get through” to top leaders.

Mohandas K. Gandhi - Photo © Jan Oberg

In one of his last interviews, French existentialist philosopherJean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) said that every time you vote, you give away your power.

That statement points to the essential, classical distinction between representative democracy and direct democracy.

In the first you delegate to someone else who has convinced/seduced you, to take care of your interests. We know this generally leads to false promise-making and considerable disappointment with the whole idea of politics.

In the second, citizens take issues in their own hands – which of course has other disadvantages and encompasses a whole series of other problems. But without a vibrant citizenship, no democracy is possible.

Least bad but far from good enough

In summary, while democracy perhaps remains the least bad system, we should be very careful not to equate that statement with democracy being good enough.

It is no test of its quality that Western democracy is – ceteris paribus – better than authoritarian regimes or dictatorship.

Complacency in this matters could easily lead us towards whatever we associate with the opposite of democracy in years to come. Was the EU Parliamentary elections an indicator of just that at a deeper level?*

Since the above discussion is critical, the next article will invite the reader to a dialogue about some possible things that could be done to regain the basics of democracy and make it better for the future.

A longer version with elaborated arguments is available at TFF’s blog

* An earlier PressInfo dealt with the recent EU elections in perspective of democracy’s crisis

Jan Oberg is TFF director, dr. hc.

TFF provides research and public education related to the basic UN Charter norm that “peace shall be established by peaceful means”. 

We are always happy to hear from you or try to answer your questions.

This text may be reprinted as it is with due credit and links to TFF but we shall appreciate you telling us. If shortened, please send the abridged version to obtain our permission.

Dave Cooper, Command Master Chief SEAL (Retired) for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), has authored a threat assessment concluding TransCanada‘s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is potentially at-risk of a terrorism attack. 

In the report, Cooper concluded operational security vulnerabilities for the pipeline have been overlooked by the U.S. government. Cooper —  most famous for overseeing the Abbottabad, Pakistan Osama Bin Laden raid as the commander of Navy SEAL Team Six — wrote the report as a consultant for billionaire Tom Steyer‘s advocacy group NextGen Climate Action.

“The very nature of Keystone XL’s newsworthiness, should it ever be built, increases its attractiveness as a target to terrorists: Keystone XL, aside from being a ‘soft’ target just like any other pipeline, has a built-in emotional impact that can’t be denied or wished away,” he wrote in the report’s introduction.

“That simple fact, a newsworthy proposal that engenders strong passions, should clue in pipeline owners and government officials to the very real possibility of intentional attack.”

For the report, Cooper utilized a “red cell” methodology, parlance for U.S. special operations forces performing pre-mission reconnaissance, using open source data readily available to terrorists on the internet. In so doing, the special operations forces snuff out operational security (“OpSec” in military lingo) weaknesses, which they use as actionable intelligence in defense missions.

In the report, Cooper explained he “designed [the methodology this way] to showcase weaknesses in the current reality by exploiting the same information to which an outside terrorist group would have access.”

Cooper’s probe included a due diligence trip out to the Sand Hills region of Nebraska, where Phase I of the Keystone Pipeline System is currently operational (the northern leg of Keystone XL is Phase IV). Going out into the field, Cooper came away shocked by his discoveries.

His findings raise a troubling question: have real Keystone XL terrorism threats been ignored, while non-violent activists have been labeled potential eco-terrorists? Cooper offered his take on this question to DeSmogBlog.

“No Sight” of Active Security Program

Cooper said he mapped out his entire Nebraska trip by using a maps of the Keystone Pipeline System he found online.

“In military parlance, the site visit at [redacted] was a ‘cold shot,’ done with no advance preparation or planning, using only information and intelligence gathered from publicly available sources,” wrote Cooper.


TransCanada Keystone Pipeline System; Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“[redacted] was selected because it has both a valve and pumping station for the operational Keystone 1, it is somewhat near Keystone XL’s route, and it is roughly similar to the proposed Keystone XL – with presumably the same level of security as the proposed pipeline.”

Once on the ground, Cooper found absolutely nothing indicating an active security program.

“I was able to freely approach, then stand at a Keystone 1 pump station for over 15 minutes snapping photos,” he wrote. “I was not approached, questioned or even noticed at any point.”

Cooper concluded that in a worst case scenario, a dozen terrorists could cause a seven million gallon spill by attacking the pipeline at three points. And that’s if TransCanada were to have perfect execution of shut-down protocol.

KXL and FBI/DHS Fusion Centers

In concluding his report, Cooper pays homage to domestic intelligence agencies for practicing predictive policing.

“This assessment also cannot speak for the innumerable and valiant efforts of our intelligence agencies, those who strive daily to defeat terrorists ‘upstream’ before they can actually act on their designs,” wrote Cooper. “Their persistent actions in our defense could very well thwart any such pipeline attack during the terrorists’ observation, orientation and decision phases.”

DeSmogBlog has reported on these predictive policing efforts as it pertains to Keystone XL. And the results, put mildly, haven’t been pretty.

Documents obtained by Bold Nebraska and reported on here in June 2013 revealed TransCanada and the Nebraska-based Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Fusion Center labeled non-violent activists as possible candidates for terrorism charges and other serious criminal charges.

This tension existing between protecting national security and protecting civil liberties brings ire to Shahid Buttar, executive director for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

“Throughout the 1990s, the principal targets of US counter-terror investigations were environmental activists who planned non-violent acts,” he told DeSmogBlog.

“If the northern leg of Keystone XL pipeline becomes operational, the security concerns of fossil fuel companies could be used once again, like they were in Pennsylvania only a few years ago, to justify government intelligence agencies undermining the constitutional rights of environmentalists to peacefully organize and dissent.”

Asked about these concerns by DeSmogBlog, Cooper agreed with Buttar.

“The focus on protesters and activists is somewhat shortsighted,” he said. “It’s not like activism is a gateway drug to terrorism and it amounts to profiling (like racial profiling). Just following around protesters or activists isn’t the answer. What you see is all there is.”

“An activist’s intentions typically revolve around disobedience in all its forms. While most might get arrested, it’s typically for stuff like trespassing. A real mean bunch!”

A recent historical case study and parallel is also instructive and sobering.


Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Boston-based FBI/DHS Fusion Center poured massive amounts of resources into monitoring Occupy Boston activists rather than the would-be Boston Marathon bombers, as revealed in a May 2013 investigative report published by NBC News.

Mr. Cooper Goes to Washington

According to an article appearing in National Journal, Cooper has already presented his findings to both U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

NextGen spokesman Mike Casey told DeSmogBlog that NextGen also delivered a copy of the report to Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs for the U.S. State Department.

The letter delivery — as opposed to an actual meeting — took place after Pascual cancelled a meeting they had set late on the afternoon of Friday, May 30. They had planned to meet the following Monday.

NextGen has provided DeSmogBlog with a copy of that tersely-crafted email.

 According to Casey, the State Department told NextGen the next opening it had for a meeting was in mid-August.

“The State Department’s review of the Presidential Permit application for the proposed project – and the ultimate determination of whether granting a permit serves the national interest – will take a number of factors into consideration, including the national security of the United States,” the State Department told The Huffington Post.

“Serious National Conversation”

Cooper concluded the threat assessment by highlighting why he took on the study.

“My goal in releasing this version of the assessment is to provide federal officials and the public with the information on this vulnerability to take it into account – and take steps to address it,” he said in a press release provided to DeSmogBlog. “We need a serious national conversation about what we do to head off an attack.”

But this is also a tale about where best to pool resources — and where not to — in the name of national security. Cooper has opened a new chapter in the ongoing saga that is the debate over Keystone XL’s northern leg.

Obama’s Climate Plan is Leaking Methane

June 6th, 2014 by Nick Cunningham

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent will no doubt lead to a cleaner economy. But the road there will be paved with methane.

By requiring reductions in the energy intensity per megawatt-hour of electricity generation, utilities will have the ability to choose from an array of options for how to meet the targets.

Energy efficiency will likely be the first choice. Renewable energy will certainly play a big part, as well.

But one of the major ways utilities will comply with EPA rules is by fuel switching from coal to natural gas. By the EPA’s own estimate, coal generation will decline by 20 percent to 22 percent by 2020. That will create an opening for natural gas, which could rise by up to 45 percent, jumping from 22 billion cubic feet per day to 32 bcf/d.

The Obama administration has bet its climate legacy on this trend, which was already underway before the EPA regulations. This is why the administration chose 2005 as a baseline, when emissions were near a peak. 2005 predated the shale gas revolution, which led to significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions as cheap natural gas displaced coal. By 2013, the U.S. had already achieved about a 10 percent reduction in emissions since 2005 – meaning we are already well on our way to the 2030 goal.

US energy related CO2 emissions: national and cencus regions

Since natural gas burns much cleaner than coal, producing about half as much carbon dioxide, making the switch from coal to gas can go a long way to achieving the rest of the remaining reductions, the administration seems to be thinking.

The big problem is that we don’t know what’s happening with methane emissions. Natural gas, which is essentially methane (CH4), may burn cleaner than coal, but what happens when it isn’t burned? As a greenhouse gas, methane emitted into the atmosphere is more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

Natural gas production leaks methane along its entire supply chain – from drilling to storing, processing to distributing. The EPA estimates that methane emissions have actually declined over the past 20 years as technology has improved. And this needs to be true for the EPA’s assumptions to work out with its climate plan.

The problem is that many scientists dispute those claims. Robert Howarth of Cornell University believes that methane leakage could be much higher than the government says, which would mean pushing utilities to switch from coal to natural gas may not be constructive. He has conducted studies that conclude methane leakage far exceeds EPA estimates.

“Converting to natural gas plants, which is what this latest rule is likely to do, will actually aggravate climate change, not make things better,” Howarth told Bloomberg News. “It’s well enough established to suggest the EPA is on the wrong side of the science.”

The natural gas industry has aggressively pushed back against Howarth’s findings, pointing to other studies that show lower methane leakage. But the problem is that the science just isn’t all there yet – we don’t know exactly how much methane is leaking. Nevertheless, the Obama administration is ploughing forward.

In its regulatory analysis for the new carbon rule, the EPA recognized the methane problem, but has punted on the issue for now.

“The EPA is aware that other GHGs such as nitrous oxide (N2O) (and to a lesser extent, methane [CH4]) may be emitted from fossil-fuel-fired EGUs…The EPA is not proposing separate N2O or CH4 guidelines or an equivalent CO2 emission limit because of a lack of available data for these affected sources,” the report said.

Natural gas may still have a climate benefit over coal. And even if it doesn’t right now, methane leakage could turn out to be a very fixable problem, as engineers figure out how to plug the leaks in the supply chain. But for now, President Barack Obama’s climate plan hinges on this uncertainty.

The Badger Culls in the U.K.

June 6th, 2014 by Lesley Docksey

With the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) all set to restart the English badger culls that were so disastrous last year, people are beginning to question the safety of the exercise. In particular, they are looking at the poor standard of policing.

Admittedly, trying to police an unfamiliar rural area at night, with emotions running high and men with guns and a tendency to ignore the law pitted against people who were trying to stop the badgers from being shot was never going to be an easy job. But that is no excuse for the muddle, bias and incompetence displayed by the Avon & Somerset Police last October.

11 October 2013. The first six weeks of the Somerset badger cull had finished, with such poor results that it had been extended for another four weeks. This was the first night of the extension.

It started with the shooting of a badger near Kitrow Lane, Carhampton.  The badger – a photo of its mangled corpse was spread across the media in the following days – became known as “Badger 200”.

Badger 200 was shot at around 10:00 pm. Two “sett sitters” were monitoring a badger sett and its surroundings and were on the green lane known as Kitrow Lane when two shots were fired. One of the monitors screamed because the shots were so close and sudden. No cullers searched for the body but instead rapidly drove off, perhaps thinking they had shot someone.

The dead badger was found by the monitors around 10:30 pm and by 11:30 pm was in the hands of Secret World Wildlife Rescue, who arranged for its post-mortem. It was going to be a long night.

In the police badger control room at Police HQ was a National Farmers Union representative and two representatives from the culling company HNV Associates, a fact made much of in the media and deplored by wildlife people. Superintendent Kevin Instance said “Having an NFU representative in the control room gave us real-time information about events on the ground…”

How accurate is “real-time” information?

At 4:00 am culling activity was to be stopped for the night and the police stood down. The culling company should by then have instructed any contractors still out in the field to pack up for the night.

But at this point, when they must have known policing was at the point of being withdrawn, cullers arrived back on the scene looking for “their” dead badger and Chris Tasker, having replaced the two monitors at 3:30 am, was patrolling the Kitrow Lane area.

4:00 am: Chris was being assaulted by two cullers who hit him around the head two or three times, knocking off his hat, head torch and glasses and repeatedly pushing a field gate against him. Chris tried to defend himself by hitting back at one of the cullers with a long-handled torch.

4:01 am: according to an audio recording in the police control room “two double crewed units” were dispatched in response to a culler in the Carhampton area reporting he had been assaulted. Just two minutes later the control room was informing one of the dispatched officers that two cullers had been assaulted and that a badger carcase had been “stolen”. Details of the offender’s vehicle were given and Chris Tasker identified as the registered owner.

Chris, having returned to his vehicle parked in the lane, switched on a small video recorder, phoned the badger control and asked for some support.

4:09 am: still scared and breathless, he phoned 999 and reported that he had been assaulted by two “shooters”. Such calls are always recorded. He stayed on the emergency line to the police until 4:35, updating the officer on the actions of the cullers. At one point he is heard to mutter, “Bloody hell, I feel shaky.”

4:12 am: Chris says the two men who had assaulted him were approaching his car and taking its number. In the background his vehicle registration number can be heard being reported by the contractors to their “control”. Yet the police control room already had all his details at 4:03 am.

Or had they?

Although the cullers claim they were assaulted by Chris, police records show that “the only logged matter received via the Force Service Centre (taking emergency calls) relating to the cull operation was that as reported at 04:09 hrs by Mr Tasker.”

The control room log shows that the culling company reps “verbally” reported 2 of their men had been assaulted and response teams dispatched at 4:01 am. No time is given for the verbal reporting. The audio recorder was apparently only switched on at 4:01 am when it recorded the dispatch of the police units.

Also available in the control room was an “ambient” recording system that would have picked up any background conversation between the NFU and culling reps. It was not switched on.

The search for Chris Tasker and his vehicle

By 4:13 three police cars were responding and having difficulty finding Kitrow Lane. One officer, who was from outside the area, reported “… having inoperative night vision equipment, a SatNav with a charging fault and with police radios that repeatedly kept losing their signal.”  He felt “isolated and vulnerable” and the situation was confusing and “frightening”.

Chris had given details of where he was, but knowledge of his emergency call to the police did not reach the police control room until 4:20 am. Nor was that knowledge passed on to the officers searching for suspects and victims.

The officers were also delayed by chasing “protestors”, at least one of which was walking up Kitrow Lane from the other end in response to Chris’s call for support.  That person was arrested and “de-arrested” two hours later (there were several incidences of de-arresting anti-cull people when it was found they hadn’t actually done anything).  Two others had reached Chris within 10-15 minutes of his call for help.

A plethora of confused messages went between the control room and the police searching for the “suspect”. On two occasions the officers were instructed to “Remember Section 11…” with regard to searching for the dead badger.* Some 40 minutes after Chris had called them, two police cars finally arrived.

Searching Chris Tasker’s vehicle

By around 5:00 am Kitrow Lane appeared to be occupied by Chris, 2 police cars with accompanying officers, the two cullers standing nearby and one missing badger. And a lack of recognition that Chris was actually the victim.

For the police it seemed a simple matter. Cullers had reported being assaulted by a man (or men) whose vehicle registration number they also reported. This made Chris the suspect. Further, they had accused him of stealing the body of the badger they had shot – a criminal offence.

Chris, having reported being assaulted (and receiving further intimidation while in his vehicle and still on the phone to the police) was expecting help and support from the police. Instead, he found, much to his surprise and understandable irritation, that he was a “suspect”. As his recorder was still operating, it later demonstrated how confusing the situation was, for both Chris and the police.

His vehicle was searched (without following the correct procedure) and it was only then that Chris learned he had been accused of “stealing” the badger. The search included looking the glove compartment, a thermos flask and an empty crisp packet. The officer said, “Covering all angles, aren’t I?”

It was not until 5:20 am that one of the officers was informed by the control room radio that Chris had reported being assaulted, had given a description of his assailants, and was actually the victim. At the same time the two cullers, having hung around for some time, were reported to be leaving.

Yet at 5:36 am the police sergeant at the scene was still seeking clarification of Chris being the victim. Chris eventually got back to the safety of his home around 8:00 am – a very long night indeed.

Chris complained to the police and an investigation was held. The report, written by Chief Inspector Allan Spencer, acknowledges that the recording provided by Chris showed that “At no time does any officer provide Mr Tasker with the required detail and information regarding the search of his vehicle.”

5 out of 7 of Chris’s complaints against the police were upheld. No action appears to have been taken by the police against the two men who had assaulted Chris, and who were still present when the police arrived.

Nor did any cullers come forward and say they were the ones who had been assaulted by Chris. The police bias was entirely focused on Chris.  The policing of the culls, certainly on this occasion, was well below what one should expect.

What should be learnt from this sorry tale?

For a start, what is the explanation for one police recording giving Chris Tasker’s details to officers responding to an assault at 4:03 am while the other police recording has the two cullers reporting his vehicle registration number at 4:12 am? Was the timing of one of the recordings wildly out?

Or had other cullers, having found Chris’s unattended vehicle parked on Kitrow Lane, radioed in to their reps in the police control room a false report of an assault along with the registration number? There is something seriously wrong.

With culling company reps sitting in the police control room it is all too easy to get your accusation in first. Police records should be checked to see just how many recorded emergency calls made by anti-cull people reporting assaults, harassment or intimidation were pre-empted by cullers being able to make counter accusations of assault that went directly to the police control room.

It now appears from the Gloucester Police Force’s experience of policing the cull in their area that, of all the accusations made by cullers of assaults on them by protesters, only one possible case might go to court. In many instances cullers, while eager to accuse, refused to identify themselves or provide statements.

Anti-cull people, on the other hand, are very willing to provide statements – and recorded evidence. What they do not have are any guns. Avon & Somerset Police should take note.

 

* A power to search either a person or vehicle (with regards to the badger) could be derived from either within the provisions of PACE (The Police and Criminal Evidence Act) or under Section 11 of the Protection of Badgers Act 1972. Although there is a specific power to search for any dead badger (or part of) under the Badger Act the provisions under PACE could also apply in that officers would in all effects be searching for stolen property.