House Passed Anti-Russian Ukraine Support Act In March

[SEE: ‘‘Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014’’–S.R.2828]

H.R.4278 – Ukraine Support Act 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Bill

Sponsor: Rep. Royce, Edward R. [R-CA-39] (Introduced 03/21/2014)
Committees: House – Foreign Affairs; Judiciary | Senate – Foreign Relations
Latest Action: 04/02/2014 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Major Recorded Votes: 03/27/2014 : Passed House

MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOUSE AND SENATE VERSIONS:

1 (I) manufactures or sells defense
2 articles transferred into Syria or into
3 the territory of a specified country
4 without the consent of the inter5
nationally recognized government of
6 that country;

‘‘specified country’’ means—
3 (i) Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova;
4 and
5 (ii) any other country designated by
6 the President as a country of significant
7 concern for purposes of this subsection,
8 such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Esto9
nia, and the Central Asia republics.

If the President determines that
19 Gazprom is withholding significant natural gas sup20
plies from member countries of the North Atlantic
21 Treaty Organization, or further withholds significant
22 natural gas supplies from countries such as Ukraine,
23 Georgia, or Moldova,

3 SEC. 7. MAJOR NON-NATO ALLY STATUS FOR UKRAINE,
4 GEORGIA, AND MOLDOVA.

22 (a) IN GENERAL.—The President is authorized to
23 provide defense articles, defense services, and training to
24 the Government of Ukraine for the purpose of countering
25 offensive weapons and reestablishing the sovereignty and
22
MRW14623 S.L.C.
1 territorial integrity of Ukraine, including anti-tank and
2 anti-armor weapons, crew weapons and ammunition,
3 counter-artillery radars to identify and target artillery bat4
teries, fire control, range finder, and optical and guidance
5 and control equipment, tactical troop-operated surveillance
6 drones, and secure command and communications equip7
ment,

24 (1) IN GENERAL.—There are authorized to be
25 appropriated to the Secretary of State $350,000,000
23
MRW14623 S.L.C.
1 for fiscal year 2015 to carry out activities under this
2 section.

7 (ii) evacuation assistance available to
8 persons seeking to flee armed conflict
9 areas.

There are authorized to be appro5
priated $50,000,000

15 There are authorized to be appropriated to the Sec16
retary of State $20,000,000

18 SEC. 10. EXPANDED BROADCASTING IN COUNTRIES OF THE
19 FORMER SOVIET UNION.

24 (1) IN GENERAL.—There are authorized to be
25 appropriated $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years
35
MRW14623 S.L.C.
1 2015 through 2017

 

United Nations, Dec 13, 2014: Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, is scheduled to visit Ukraine early next week in a bid to support UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to seek a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, a UN spokesman said here Friday.

“Feltman, in an effort to support the secretary-general’s good offices to assist in finding a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, will travel to Kiev Dec 16 and 17 for consultations with senior officials,” Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing.

The visit of the UN political chief comes just a few days after the trip of the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, who is currently in Ukraine to assess the human rights situation in the country.

During his visit, Simonovic is scheduled to meet a number of Ukrainian government officials as well as civil society actors, the official said, adding that he is also scheduled to visit the eastern region of the country.

The visits by the two senior UN officials take place one week after Ukrainian forces suspended hostilities against independence-seeking insurgents in the country’s eastern region.

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in mid-April, has claimed at least 4,350 lives and wounded more than 10,000 others, according to the latest UN estimates.

- IANS

 

 

If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory.

[SEE:  What is the truth about ISIS? ]

ISIS leader says US prisons in Iraq led to creation of terrorist organization

Russia-Today
Some of the 180 high security prisoners walk in the exercise pitch at Camp Bucca on the outskirts of the southern city of Basra, 550 kms from Baghdad, on September 16, 2009. (AFP Photo)

Some of the 180 high security prisoners walk in the exercise pitch at Camp Bucca on the outskirts of the southern city of Basra, 550 kms from Baghdad, on September 16, 2009. (AFP Photo)

A leading member of the Islamic State has revealed the group could never have been formed without the help of the US. American prison camps in Iraq gave the Islamists the perfect opportunity to meet and plan their eventual rise to power.

Ten years ago, Abu Ahmed was incarcerated at Camp Bucca, a US run prison in Iraq. In an exclusive interview a decade later to the Guardian, he reveals how the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) might never have formed if US detention centers hadn’t existed.

Abu Ahmed, who uses a pseudonym, is now one of the Islamic State’s senior leaders. He recalls how he initially feared going to Camp Bucca, but he soon realized he had arrived at a facility that was a hive of Islamist radicals.

“We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else,” he told the Guardian. “It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred meters away from the entire Al-Qaida leadership.”

The Iraqi government estimates that 17 of the most important IS leaders spent time in US prison’s from 2004-11, the Guardian reported. The inmates were released at different times and were spread across the country. However, they came-up with an ingenious way to stay in touch after being granted their freedom. They would write each other’s telephone numbers and addresses on the inside of their boxer shorts, as they had no access to paper or other electronic aids.

READ MORE: RT exclusive: From London banker to ISIS militant – one man’s terror trail

After Abu Ahmed was released, the first thing he did when he was safe in Baghdad was to undress, then carefully take a pair of scissors to his underwear and cut away the elastic where everything was written down. “I cut the fabric from my boxers and all the numbers were there. We reconnected. And we got to work.” Across Iraq, other ex-inmates were doing the same. “It really was that simple,” Abu Ahmed said, as he recalled how his captors had been outwitted. “Boxers helped us win the war.”

Islamic State (IS) jihadist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (AFP Photo)

Islamic State (IS) jihadist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (AFP Photo)

During his time at Camp Bucca, Abu Ahmed also came face to face with the current IS leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. He says Al-Baghdadi proved he had a direct lineage to the Prophet Mohammed and also had a PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Baghdad, which played a key role in being able to maneuver himself into a position of power.

“Baghdadi was a quiet person. He had a charisma. You could feel that he was someone important. But there were others who were more important. I honestly did not think he would get this far,” Abu Ahmed told the Guardian.

READ MORE: ISIS leader’s call to Muslims: Go to Iraq and Syria ‘to help build Islamic state’

“The Americans never knew who they had,” Abu Ahmed continued, speaking of Al-Baghdadi. However, the US army was not alone as most of Baghdadi’s fellow prisoners – some 24,000 men, divided into 24 camps – seem to have been equally unaware.

However, the current IS leader certainly managed to create a rapport with the US Army. He was often seen as a go-between to settle disputes between rival factions in the prison camp.

“But as time went on, every time there was a problem in the camp, he was at the center of it. He wanted to be the head of the prison – and when I look back now, he was using a policy of conquer and divide to get what he wanted, which was status. And it worked.”

AFP/ISIL

AFP/ISIL

READ MORE: Pentagon cannot confirm if ISIS leader al-Baghdadi wounded in airstrike

By December 2004, Baghdadi was deemed by his jailers to pose no further risk and his release was authorized. He eventually left Camp Bucca in 2009.

“He was respected very much by the US army,” Abu Ahmed said. “If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t. And all the while, a new strategy, which he was leading, was rising under their noses, and that was to build the Islamic State. If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.”

Camp Bucca was one of a number of US prisons in Iraq, but the most infamous was Abu Ghraib, which closed in April.

It came to international attention in early 2004, when it was revealed that US troops physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped, and killed inmates. The disturbing images that came out of the facility went a long way to fueling Iraqi fury with American forces, and forever changed the perception of the war.

Hundreds of prisoners escaped from Abu Ghraib last year when nearby Fallujah fell under the control of the Islamic State. An attack on Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons freed more than 500 prisoners, including a number of senior militants and killed 120 Iraqi guards and SWAT forces, an Al-Qaeda spokesman told reporters last year.

Americans Don’t Have the Balls To Torture the Truth

CIA boosters weigh in: Man up, America

sf gate

Report On CIA Interrogations To Be Released By Senate Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne FeinsteinThe Senate torture report has inspired reams of reporting, most of it supportive or at least non-critical. An tide of editorials here, here and here have matched the tone of our own. Sen Dianne Feinstein is the hero of the hour to long time observers.
But now on Day Two the defenders have emerged to criticize the report and explain the past on their preferred terms. Three past CIA directors who presided over the torture years explained their actions in the friendly opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, which added its own hardline editorial. The basic answer: torture –wait, make that enhanced interrogation techniques — worked, thousands of livers were saved, and the temperature at the time demanded tough stuff. Democrats back then wanted bold action, and who are they to complain now?

Present CIA director John Brennan — once Obama’s national security adviser — added his own toned down criticism. His take: mistakes were made, but we no longer do this stuff.
Then there’s the minority report from Republicans on the Democrat-dominated Intelligence Committee that produced the door-stopper 6,000 page still-secret report and the publicly released versions that’s created all the news. The GOP members picked at perceived flaws and noted that no interviews with CIA employees past or present were included to flesh out the claims built on e-mails, memos and printed communications.
Other voices are now surfacing. Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, a liberal Democrat who spent eight years on the Senate intelligence panel, doesn’t think it does any good to release the report without a unified forward action, which won’t happen now. Bush-era legal beagle John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who helped write justifications for water boarding and the like, weighed in critically.
John McCain, the only member of Congress actually tortured after capture in North Vietnam, offered his thoughts too. He’s a longtime critic of torture, believing it has little value and taints the country’s image. He was the only Republican to speak out in favor of the Senate report’s dismal findings.

It’s hard to know what impact the graphic and gruesome Senate report will have on public opinion. Polls have repeatedly showed a majority of Americans support torture in the terrorism fight. Maybe this time that perception will change.

John McCain Speech Against Torture, In Defense of the Rights of All Men

FLOOR STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE REPORT ON CIA INTERROGATION METHODS

Dec 09 2014

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today delivered the following statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA interrogation methods:

“Mr. President, I rise in support of the release – the long-delayed release – of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summarized, unclassified review of the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ that were employed by the previous administration to extract information from captured terrorists. It is a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose – to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the U.S. and our allies – but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world.

“I believe the American people have a right – indeed, a responsibility – to know what was done in their name; how these practices did or did not serve our interests; and how they comported with our most important values.

“I commend Chairman Feinstein and her staff for their diligence in seeking a truthful accounting of policies I hope we will never resort to again. I thank them for persevering against persistent opposition from many members of the intelligence community, from officials in two administrations, and from some of our colleagues.

“The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. It sometimes causes us difficulties at home and abroad. It is sometimes used by our enemies in attempts to hurt us. But the American people are entitled to it, nonetheless.

“They must know when the values that define our nation are intentionally disregarded by our security policies, even those policies that are conducted in secret. They must be able to make informed judgments about whether those policies and the personnel who supported them were justified in compromising our values; whether they served a greater good; or whether, as I believe, they stained our national honor, did much harm and little practical good.

“What were the policies? What was their purpose? Did they achieve it? Did they make us safer? Less safe? Or did they make no difference? What did they gain us? What did they cost us? The American people need the answers to these questions. Yes, some things must be kept from public disclosure to protect clandestine operations, sources and methods, but not the answers to these questions.

“By providing them, the Committee has empowered the American people to come to their own decisions about whether we should have employed such practices in the past and whether we should consider permitting them in the future. This report strengthens self-government and, ultimately, I believe, America’s security and stature in the world. I thank the Committee for that valuable public service.

“I have long believed some of these practices amounted to torture, as a reasonable person would define it, especially, but not only the practice of waterboarding, which is a mock execution and an exquisite form of torture. Its use was shameful and unnecessary; and, contrary to assertions made by some of its defenders and as the Committee’s report makes clear, it produced little useful intelligence to help us track down the perpetrators of 9/11 or prevent new attacks and atrocities.

“I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good intelligence. I know that victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captors will believe it. I know they will say whatever they think their torturers want them to say if they believe it will stop their suffering. Most of all, I know the use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies, our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights, which are protected by international conventions the U.S. not only joined, but for the most part authored.

“I know, too, that bad things happen in war. I know in war good people can feel obliged for good reasons to do things they would normally object to and recoil from.

“I understand the reasons that governed the decision to resort to these interrogation methods, and I know that those who approved them and those who used them were dedicated to securing justice for the victims of terrorist attacks and to protecting Americans from further harm. I know their responsibilities were grave and urgent, and the strain of their duty was onerous.

“I respect their dedication and appreciate their dilemma. But I dispute wholeheartedly that it was right for them to use these methods, which this report makes clear were neither in the best interests of justice nor our security nor the ideals we have sacrificed so much blood and treasure to defend.

“The knowledge of torture’s dubious efficacy and my moral objections to the abuse of prisoners motivated my sponsorship of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibits ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment’ of captured combatants, whether they wear a nation’s uniform or not, and which passed the Senate by a vote of 90-9.

“Subsequently, I successfully offered amendments to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which, among other things, prevented the attempt to weaken Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and broadened definitions in the War Crimes Act to make the future use of waterboarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ punishable as war crimes.

“There was considerable misinformation disseminated then about what was and wasn’t achieved using these methods in an effort to discourage support for the legislation. There was a good amount of misinformation used in 2011 to credit the use of these methods with the death of Osama bin Laden. And there is, I fear, misinformation being used today to prevent the release of this report, disputing its findings and warning about the security consequences of their public disclosure.

“Will the report’s release cause outrage that leads to violence in some parts of the Muslim world? Yes, I suppose that’s possible, perhaps likely. Sadly, violence needs little incentive in some quarters of the world today. But that doesn’t mean we will be telling the world something it will be shocked to learn. The entire world already knows that we water-boarded prisoners. It knows we subjected prisoners to various other types of degrading treatment. It knows we used black sites, secret prisons. Those practices haven’t been a secret for a decade.

“Terrorists might use the report’s re-identification of the practices as an excuse to attack Americans, but they hardly need an excuse for that. That has been their life’s calling for a while now.

“What might come as a surprise, not just to our enemies, but to many Americans, is how little these practices did to aid our efforts to bring 9/11 culprits to justice and to find and prevent terrorist attacks today and tomorrow. That could be a real surprise, since it contradicts the many assurances provided by intelligence officials on the record and in private that enhanced interrogation techniques were indispensable in the war against terrorism. And I suspect the objection of those same officials to the release of this report is really focused on that disclosure – torture’s ineffectiveness – because we gave up much in the expectation that torture would make us safer. Too much.

“Obviously, we need intelligence to defeat our enemies, but we need reliable intelligence. Torture produces more misleading information than actionable intelligence. And what the advocates of harsh and cruel interrogation methods have never established is that we couldn’t have gathered as good or more reliable intelligence from using humane methods.

“The most important lead we got in the search for bin Laden came from using conventional interrogation methods. I think it is an insult to the many intelligence officers who have acquired good intelligence without hurting or degrading prisoners to assert we can’t win this war without such methods. Yes, we can and we will.

“But in the end, torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use. I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.

“We have made our way in this often dangerous and cruel world, not by just strictly pursuing our geopolitical interests, but by exemplifying our political values, and influencing other nations to embrace them. When we fight to defend our security we fight also for an idea, not for a tribe or a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion or for a king, but for an idea that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights. How much safer the world would be if all nations believed the same. How much more dangerous it can become when we forget it ourselves even momentarily.

“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary of the Committee’s report makes clear that acting without conscience isn’t necessary, it isn’t even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we’re fighting. We should be grateful to have that truth affirmed.

“Now, let us reassert the contrary proposition: that is it essential to our success in this war that we ask those who fight it for us to remember at all times that they are defending a sacred ideal of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others – even our enemies.

“Those of us who give them this duty are obliged by history, by our nation’s highest ideals and the many terrible sacrifices made to protect them, by our respect for human dignity to make clear we need not risk our national honor to prevail in this or any war. We need only remember in the worst of times, through the chaos and terror of war, when facing cruelty, suffering and loss, that we are always Americans, and different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.

“Thank you.”

The Implosion of Shale-Oil Fracking Boom

That low rumble you hear to the west is the sound of the Bakken Shale Oil Bust. Bomb Trains and all.  First shale gas went from fracking boom to fracking bust. Now it’s shale oil’s turn to get fracked. Below about $75 a barrel, most US shale oil becomes unprofitable on a fully burdened basis. And oil is now at $70 bbl. That dog no hunt.

Look on the sunny side – the frackers will have to shut in those shale oil wells - and stop lighting the heavens with gas flares. And fewer neighborhoods will get torched by Shale Oil Terror Trains. As shale oil production is shut in, gas supplies from those fields will drop, which should boost natural gas prices a bit near the oil fields.

Take that Frackers !

Note, this recent drop is being billed in the popular press as a conspiracy by OPEC or the Russians, (or Green Billionaires ?) when the simple fact is that oil prices “revert to the mean” cost of production, which is a function of the world average cost of production. And the world average cost is about $40 Bbl. So the market is always at risk of playing the limbo down to that floor price – which is about half the cost of production of most US shale oil fields. No new conspiracy theory needed.

The shale oil bust was not only predictable, but was in fact predicted, by Art Berman, Deborah Lawrence, and others. 

The lowest cost oil or gas producers in the world will not give up market share to higher cost North American shale oil or gas. That is what is already happening on the international gas market – where US LNG exports cannot compete against Russian or Mideast gas pipelines - over which real wars are being fought. Not just commodity price wars.

Oil prices continued to crash yesterday after OPEC decided to not cut production.

Oil prices have fallen below $70 for the first time since 2010.

shale oil bust

Bakken Decline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bakken shale oil fields of North Dakota, the largest in the United States, is no longer economic and has already peaked. 

$80 oil is bad for the fracking companies, but $70 is a fracking disaster for most shale oil fields.

It isn’t just Bakken.

Few North American shale oil fields make money below $75 on a full cycle basis (lease cost, taxes, overhead, transport,P&A)

None are economic below $70 

Most fracking becomes a losing venture below the current oil price, and that’s a big deal. What we are probably looking at is a crash similar to when oil prices crashed in 1986.

Lower oil prices are good for consumers and industry, but it could be disastrous for the oil producing regions – which frack shill politicians – like Mississippi’s governor, bemoan.

There is another problem that also needs to be considered: fracking companies are generally been financed by issuing junk bonds. A lot of junk bonds.

The falling oil price will place stress on the global junk bond market, experts say, with US energy companies at increasing risk of default.
The plunge in the price is “the most significant risk that could potentially deliver a volatility shock large enough to trigger the next wave of defaults” in junk bonds, Deutsche Bank said. According to the bank, energy companies now account for about 15 per cent of outstanding issuance in the non-investment-grade high-yield – or “junk” – bond market.

Most likely this will trigger defaults throughout the high-yield bond market like the housing bust did, but on a smaller scale.

The current articles are saying that the collapse won’t come until prices fall to $60, but just a few months ago they said the collapse would happen at $70. So they really don’t know.

Most likely the timing of the collapse will come when creditors cut off the fracking companies and they run out of funny money, and not a moment before.

 At the moment, some U.S. producers are surviving because they managed to hedge the prices they get for their oil at about $90 a barrel, Fedun said. When those arrangements expire, life will become much more difficult, he said.

Without a bounce in oil prices, the fracking boom is in countdown mode right now, with several producers already poised to choke on junk bond debt service.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/28/1348011/-U-S-Shale-industry-about-to-crash

Fracking Mess

Pleading With the Conscience Of A Nation With No Soul

Washington Post Op-ed: CIA report shows need for national conscience

Our belief in the national image is astonishingly resilient. Over more than two centuries, our conviction that we are a benign people, with only the best of intentions, has absorbed the blows of darker truths, and returned unassailable. We have assimilated the facts of slavery and ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, and we are still a good people; we became an empire, but an entirely benevolent one; we bombed Southeast Asia on a scale without precedent, but it had to be done, because we are a good people.

Even the atrocities of Abu Ghraib have been neutralized in our conscience by the overwhelming conviction that the national image transcends the particulars of a few exceptional cases. And now the Senate torture report has made the unimaginable entirely too imaginable, documenting murder, torture, physical and sexual abuse, and lies, none of them isolated crimes, but systematic policy, endorsed at the highest levels, and still defended by many who approved and committed them.

Again, it has become a conversation about the national image, this phoenix of self-deception that magically transforms conversations about what we have done into debates about what we look like. The report, claimed headlines, “painted a picture of an agency out of control,” and “portrays a broken CIA devoted to a failed approach.” The blow to the U.S. reputation abroad was seen as equally newsworthy as the details themselves, and the appalling possibility that there will never be any accountability for having broken our own laws, international law and the fundamental laws of human decency.

The national image is essentially a metaphor, and that metaphor operates differently in the United States than outside. Today, when we speak of how we are perceived in the wider world, we don’t seem to mean a coherent set of ideals about what America represents, or even an image at all, but rather something like a stock ticker that registers upticks and downdrafts in the value of our international brand. What people envision when they think about America isn’t really knowable, and in any case, it’s far easier to simply poll for the favorable and unfavorables. In April, a Gallup poll gave us the latest news from the market: up in Asia, recovering (after the spying scandals) in Europe, flat in South America, falling off peak in Africa. Expect a bear market in coming months.

The idea of a national image as essentially like a marketplace is an appealing one, especially in a country so in love with the market, so convinced they always rise, always recover, always recalibrate. America is always right, and markets are always right, so any deviation from a high-value assessment of the American brand is necessarily temporary. This conviction helps us keep at bay the thought that in many parts of the world, the national image includes scenes of waterboarding, of Americans smashing heads, forcing men to stand on broken limbs, killing by hypothermia and “rectal feeding,” which is rape.

At home, our sense of ourself is more psychologically constructed, like an amalgam of individual pictures. We bring to it the deep love of the lives we lead, so it becomes a composite, made of innumerable images of family and friends, of grandfathers who fought in the war, Thanksgiving dinners and the nice people from church who tend to the soup kitchen. It is a mostly stable image that comprises sepia-toned data points and the sentimental soft colors of Polaroid snapshots of picnics, beaches and candles on the birthday cake. This is who we are.

But that is not at all who we are. As long as the crimes done in our name remain unpunished, they remain our crimes. The lives we love — as many apologists for torture now openly claim — are purchased at the cost of extreme violence and brutality perpetrated on other people, many of them innocent, none of them deserving of torture.

We have come to a critical moment in the debate about torture. It’s no longer possible, as it was when the images of Abu Ghraib emerged in 2004, to pretend that these events were rare, exceptional or the work of a few rogue agents. Nor will it be easy to assimilate them into that beloved average image of our national goodness. We are confronted with our own barbarity, as we have been confronted with the barbarity of the Islamic State. We torture, they behead. We beat men senseless, slam their heads into walls, strip them naked and leave them to die, while they march men into a field and put bullets in their heads. We might still cling to the idea that our crimes are not quite so bad as theirs. But to quibble over the degree of cruelty we tolerate is to acknowledge that cruelty is now standard practice. Unless we punish the guilty, we can have no more illusions that there is anything fundamental about who we are, how we are governed or what religion we practice, that distinguishes us from the worst in the world.

How does the national image survive this? The usual forces will struggle to resist the new information. Some will wear blinders; others will see things selectively. But what do the rest of us do, everyone one of us who woke up, yesterday, to a powerful feeling of helplessness and shame? If the report leads to no further investigation, no indictments or prosecution, does it then just lay there, on the side of history, as something that can’t be assimilated, while the national image slowly comes back to its usual, gauzy, soft focus on our own unquestionable goodness?

If no one in public life is capable of punishing the guilty, if nothing comes of this but more denials and obfuscations, if the CIA is indeed more powerful than the president, the Congress and the Constitution, what is left of our beloved and benign national image?

Moral revolution begins at home, with a revolution in one’s own values. If you are horrified by what has happened, then you must remake your own mental picture of America, in yourself, in your own mind, ruthlessly and mercilessly, until it conforms to the truth of who we are. The first duty is not to look away.

But the crimes are so horrible, the injustice so vast, that it must go further than that. We should take our cues from a species of painting made throughout the Renaissance, vanitas images, which were a type of still life laden with reminders of death: skulls and hourglasses, guttering candles and fruit going bad. Vanitas elements, which also occurred in other kinds of paintings, reminded the living of the inexorable fact of death and Christians of the inevitable day of judgment. They compelled the faithful to see the skull always under the skin.

We are all, to some degree, narcissists, in love with our lives. But we must re-envision those lives with the hard truth of vanitas paintings. We must have the discipline to see the extent of our national depravity. We must bring it home to the very texture of the lives we lead. When you look at your children, remember dead children, torn to shreds by our smart bombs. When you sit by a warm fire, remember the windowless dungeons we made to break our enemies — and not infrequently innocent men accidentally caught up in our wars. When you fall asleep in your bed, remember the sleep deprivation “for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”

If you can, if only for a day, or an hour, let every comforting thought be infected with the truth of what we have done.

And will that right the national image? Will it correct its contours, average in a little ugliness? Perhaps not. But we must atone. And we must learn that the national image is a hollow conceit. What we desperately need is a national conscience.

AMERICAN HOLOCAUST–We Inspired Hitler and S. Africa

The powerful and hard-hitting documentary, American Holocaust, is quite possibly the only film that reveals the link between the Nazi holocaust, which claimed at least 6 million Jews, and the American Holocaust which claimed, according to conservative estimates, 19 million Indigenous People.

It is seldom noted anywhere in fact, be it in textbooks or on the internet, that Hitler studied America’s “Indian policy”, and used it as a model for what he termed “the final solution.”

He wasn’t the only one either. It’s not explicitly mentioned in the film, but it’s well known that members of the National Party government in South Africa studied “the American approach” before they introduced the system of racial apartheid, which lasted from 1948 to 1994. Other fascist regimes, for instance, in South and Central America, studied the same policy.

Noted even less frequently, Canada’s “Aboriginal policy” was also closely examined for its psychological properties. America always took the more ‘wide-open’ approach, for example, by decimating the Buffalo to get rid of a primary food source, by introducing pox blankets, and by giving $1 rewards to settlers in return for scalps of Indigenous Men, women, and children, among many, many other horrendous acts. Canada, on the other hand, was more bureaucratic about it. They used what I like to call “the gentleman’s touch”, because instead of extinguishment, Canada sought to “remove the Indian from the Man” and the Women and the Child, through a long-term, and very specific program of internal breakdown and replacement – call it “assimilation“. America had it’s own assimilation program, but Canada was far more technical about it.

Perhaps these points would have been more closely examined in American Holocaust if the film had been completed. The film’s director, Joanelle Romero, says she’s been turned down from all sources of funding since she began putting it together in 1995.

Perhaps it’s just not “good business” to invest in something that tells so much truth? In any event, Romero produced a shortened, 29-minute version of the film in 2001, with the hope of encouraging new funders so she could complete American Holocaust. Eight years on, Romero is still looking for funds.

American Holocaust may never become the 90-minute documentary Romero hoped to create, to help expose the most substantial act of genocide that the world has ever seen… one that continues even as you read these words.