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American Resistance To Empire

Comic-Strip Nation

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Comic-Strip Propaganda

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How Washington officials inserted ideas into the funny pages

The U.S. government has a history of inserting propaganda into popular culture, sometimes overtly and sometimes behind the scenes. Comics historian Jeet Heer has dug up a particularly interesting example: Roy Crane’s strip Buz Sawyer. Crane not only coordinated his storylines with Washington during World War II and the Cold War, but he sometimes allowed officials to dictate the details of his plots.

In 1952, for example—just a year before a CIA-assisted coup in Iran—Crane set a story in that country. As part of the process of producing it,

And then to get Mosaddeq out, amirite? 

Roy Cranea State Department official named Eugene V. Brown sent Crane a ten-page memo, explaining in precise detail the plot points the government wanted for Buz Sawyer, along with what purpose those points served. These included finding a way to “stress [the] importance of Private Enterprise” and to portray “the manner in which Communism attempts to discredit development and improvement programs of the West.” Crane, meanwhile, should do his best to steer clear of certain delicate topics. “It would be best to avoid any reference to OIL in discussing Iran.” Because winning hearts and minds was key, Brown wanted a story showing “a strong bond of friendship” between Buz and an Iranian pilot named Sandhu, the purpose of which was to “provide entry of Buz into local situation on common level with indigenous forces.” (Crane followed this direction, although he used the name Ali instead of Sandhu.) Other plot points were designed to provide “further evidence of machinations of Communism” and “display American individual’s ingenuity in coping with operations.” Six months after the strip appeared, Crane praised Brown’s contribution in a letter to Dean Acheson, Truman’s secretary of state and one of the key architects of the cold war…

As Heer notes, the “millions of Americans who read Buz Sawyer in 1952 would have gotten a very distorted image of Iran. They would have seen a country where Americans were chiefly helping to avert a famine, where the major threat of disorder came from Soviet spies, where Americans were good-hearted aid officials, where control of the oil supply wasn’t a factor, and where the U.S. government had no conflict with the democratically elected government.” Such storylines weren’t good for the cartoonist’s craft either, Heer argues: “As Crane became more concerned with tailoring his strips to a political message, they lost the spark that had once made them special.”

To read Heer’s whole article, go here. To read about the government’s efforts to influence radio programs during World War II, go here. For a more recent story of this sort—the messages that the Clinton-era Office of National Drug Control Policy inserted into prime-time TV shows—go here.

Destroying the Syrian Nation For the Sake of Gas

Don’t let anyone fool you: Sectarian strife in Syria has been engineered to provide cover for a war for access to oil and gas, and the power and money that come along with it.

Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Greece has borne the brunt of a massive refugee and migration flow of people heading into the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Refugees and migrants wait to cross the border from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Greece has borne the brunt of a massive refugee and migration flow of people heading into the European Union. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)


 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect recent Wikileaks revelations of US State Department leaks that show plans to destabilize Syria and overthrow the Syrian government as early as 2006.  The leaks reveal that these plans were given to the US directly from the Israeli government and would be formalized through instigating civil strife and sectarianism through partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and even Egypt to break down the power structue in Syria to essentially to weaken Iran and Hezbolla. The leaks also reveal Israeli plans to use this crisis to expand it’s occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration and military expansion. 


 

MINNEAPOLIS — Images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who washed up dead on Mediterranean shores in his family’s attempt to flee war-torn Syria, have grabbed the attention of people around the world, sparking outrage about the true costs of war.

The heart-wrenching refugee crisis unfolding across the Middle East and at European borders has ignited a much needed conversation on the ongoing strife and instability that’s driving people from their homes in countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq. It’s brought international attention to the inhumane treatment these refugees are receiving if — and it is a major “if” — they arrive at Europe’s door.

In Syria, for example, foreign powers have sunk the nation into a nightmare combination of civil war, foreign invasion and terrorism. Syrians are in the impossible position of having to choose between living in a warzone, being targeted by groups like ISIS and the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown, or faring dangerous waters with minimal safety equipment only to be denied food, water and safety by European governments if they reach shore.

Other Syrians fleeing the chaos at home have turned to neighboring Arab Muslim countries. Jordan alone has absorbed over half a million Syrian refugees; Lebanon has accepted nearly 1.5 million; and Iraq and Egypt have taken in several hundred thousand.

Although it’s not an Arab nation or even part of the Middle East, Iran sent 150 tons of humanitarian goods, including 3,000 tents and 10,000 blankets, to the Red Crescents of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon via land routes to be distributed among the Syrian refugees residing in the three countries last year.

Turkey has taken in nearly 2 million refugees to date. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan made international headlines for opening his nation’s arms to migrants, positioning himself as a kind of savior in the process.

A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi after he drowned when the boat he and his family members were in capsized near the Turkish resort of Bodrum early Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. (Photo: Nilüfer Demir/DHA)

Meanwhile, Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have provided refuge to zero Syrian refugees.

While there’s certainly a conversation taking place about refugees — who they are, where they’re going, who’s helping them, and who isn’t — what’s absent is a discussion on how to prevent these wars from starting in the first place. Media outlets and political talking heads have found many opportunities to point fingers in the blame game, but not one media organization has accurately broken down what’s driving the chaos: control over gas, oil and resources.

Indeed, it’s worth asking: How did demonstrations held by “hundreds” of protesters demanding economic change in Syria four years ago devolve into a deadly sectarian civil war, fanning the flames of extremism haunting the world today and creating the world’s second largest refugee crisis?

While the media points its finger to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs and political analysts call for more airstrikes against ISIS and harsher sanctions against Syria, we’re four years into the crisis and most people have no idea how this war even got started.

This “civil war” is not about religion

Citing a lack of access on the ground, the United Nations stopped regularly updating its numbers of casualties in the Syrian civil war in January 2014. Estimates put the death toll between 140,200 and 330,380, with as many as 6 million Syrians displaced, according to the U.N.

While there is no question that the Syrian government is responsible for many of the casualties resulting from its brutal crackdown, this is not just a Syrian problem.

Foreign meddling in Syria began several years before the Syrian revolt erupted.  Wikieaks released leaked US State Department cables from 2006 revealing US plans to overthrow the Syrian government through instigating civil strife, and receiving these very orders straight from Tel Aviv.  The leaks reveal the United State’s partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and even Egypt to use sectarianism to divide Syria through the Sunni and Shiite divide to destabilize the nation to weaken Iran and Hezbolla.  Israel is also revealed to attempt to use this crisis to expand it’s occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration.

According to major media outlets like the BBC and the Associated Press, the demonstrations that supposedly swept Syria were comprised of only hundreds of people, but additional Wikileaks cables reveal CIA involvement on the ground in Syria to instigate these very demonstrations as early as March 2011.

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 file photo, Syrians hold a large poster depicting Syria's President Bashar Assad during a rally in Damascus, Syria. Some activists expressed regret that one year later their "revolution" against President Bashar Assad's rule had become mired in violence. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman, File)

 

Just a few months into the demonstrations which now consisted of hundreds of armed protesters with CIA ties, demonstrations grew larger, armed non-Syrian rebel groups swarmed into Syria, and a severe government crackdown swept through the country to deter this foreign meddling. It became evident that the United States, United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would be jumping on the opportunity to organize, arm and finance rebels to form the Free Syrian Army as outlined in the State Department plans to destabilize Syria. (Just a few months ago, WikiLeaks confirmed this when it released Saudi intelligence that revealed Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been working hand in hand to arm and finance rebels to overthrow the Syrian government since 2012.)

These foreign nations created a pact in 2012 called “The Group of Friends of the Syrian People,” a name that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their agenda was to divide and conquer in order to wreak havoc across Syria in view of overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad.

A Free Syrian Army soldier carries his weapon at the northern town of Sarmada, in Idlib province, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. (AP Photo)

The true agenda to hijack Syria’s revolt quickly became evident, with talking heads inserting Syria’s alliance with Iran as a threat to the security and interests of the United States and its allies in the region. It’s no secret that Syria’s government is a major arms, oil and gas, and weapons ally of Iran and Lebanon’s resistance political group Hezbollah.

But it’s important to note the timing: This coalition and meddling in Syria came about immediately on the heels of discussions of an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that was to be built between 2014 and 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria. With a possible extension to Lebanon, it would eventually reach Europe, the target export market.

Perhaps the most accurate description of the current crisis over gas, oil and pipelines that is raging in Syria has been described by Dmitry Minin, writing for the Strategic Cultural Foundation in May 2013:

“A battle is raging over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Having realized that the stalled Nabucco pipeline, and indeed the entire Southern Corridor, are backed up only by Azerbaijan’s reserves and can never equal Russian supplies to Europe or thwart the construction of the South Stream, the West is in a hurry to replace them with resources from the Persian Gulf. Syria ends up being a key link in this chain, and it leans in favor of Iran and Russia; thus it was decided in the Western capitals that its regime needs to change.

It’s the oil, gas and pipelines, stupid!

Indeed, tensions were building between Russia, the U.S. and the European Union amid concerns that the European gas market would be held hostage to Russian gas giant Gazprom. The proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversifying Europe’s energy supplies away from Russia.

Turkey is Gazprom’s second-largest customer. The entire Turkish energy security structure relies on gas from Russia and Iran. Plus, Turkey was harboring Ottoman-like ambitions of becoming a strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and even gas to Europe.

The Guardian reported in August 2013:

“Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar and Turkey that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was ‘to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.’”

Note the purple line which traces the proposed Qatar-Turkey natural gas pipeline and note that all of the countries highlighted in red are part of a new coalition hastily put together after Turkey finally (in exchange for NATO’s acquiescence on Erdogan’s politically-motivated war with the PKK) agreed to allow the US to fly combat missions against ISIS targets from Incirlik. Now note which country along the purple line is not highlighted in red. That’s because Bashar al-Assad didn’t support the pipeline and now we’re seeing what happens when you’re a Mid-East strongman and you decide not to support something the US and Saudi Arabia want to get done.

Knowing Syria was a critical piece in its energy strategy, Turkey attempted to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to reform this Iranian pipeline and to work with the proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline, which would ultimately satisfy Turkey and the Gulf Arab nations’ quest for dominance over gas supplies. But after Assad refused Turkey’s proposal, Turkey and its allies became the major architects of Syria’s “civil war.”

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/G1p_tFnKqMA?rel=0&showinfo=0

Much of the strategy currently at play was described back in a 2008 U.S. Army-funded RAND report, “Unfolding the Future of the Long War”:

“The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized. … For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources. … The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

In this context, the report identifies the divide and conquer strategy while exploiting the Sunni-Shiite divide to protect Gulf oil and gas supplies while maintaining a Gulf Arab state dominance over oil markets.

“Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces. … the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace. … U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the ‘Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict’ trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world…. possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

The report notes that another option would be “to take sides in the conflict, possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”

This framework crafted an interesting axis: Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S., Britain and France vs. Syria, Iran and Russia.

Divide and conquer: A path to regime change

With the U.S., France, Britain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — aka, the new “Friends of Syria” coalition — publicly calling for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad between  2011 and 2012 after Assad’s refusal to sign onto the gas pipeline, the funds and arms flowing into Syria to feed the so-called “moderate” rebels were pushing Syria into a humanitarian crisis. Rebel groups were being organized left and right, many of which featured foreign fighters and many of which had allied with al-Qaida.

Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the League of Arab States Ahmad al-Qattan, center, attends the Arab League summit in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, March, 29, 2012. The annual Arab summit meeting opened in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday with only 10 of the leaders of the 22-member Arab League in attendance and amid a growing rift between Arab countries over how far they should go to end the one-year conflict in Syria. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

The Syrian government responded with a heavy hand, targeting rebel held areas and killing civilians in the process.

Since Syria is religiously diverse, the so-called “Friends of Syria” pushed sectarianism as their official “divide and conquer” strategy to oust Assad. Claiming that Alawites ruled over a majority Sunni nation, the call by the “moderate” U.S.-backed rebels became one about Sunni liberation.

Although the war is being sold to the public as a Sunni-Shiite conflict, so-called Sunni groups like ISIS,  the Syrian al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) and even the “moderate” Free Syrian Army have indiscriminately targeted Syria’s Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and Jews. At the same time, these same foreign nations supported and even armed the Bahraini government, which claims to be Sunni, in its violent crackdown on the majority Shiite pro-democracy demonstrations that swept the nation.

The Syrian government army itself is over 80 percent Sunni, which indicates that the true agenda has been politically — not religiously — motivated.

In addition to this, the Assad family is Alawite, an Islamic sect that the media has clumped in with Shiites, though most Shiites would agree that the two are unrelated. Further, the Assad family is described as secular and running a secular nation. Counting Alawites as Shiites was simply another way to push a sectarian framework for the conflict: It allowed for the premise that the Syria-Iran alliance was based on religion, when, in fact, it was an economic relationship.

This framework carefully crafted the Syrian conflict as a Sunni revolution to liberate itself from Shiite influence that Iran was supposedly spreading to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

But the truth is, Syria’s Sunni community is divided, and many defected to join groups like the Free Syrian Army, ISIS and al-Qaida. And as mentioned earlier, over 80 percent of Assad’s military is Sunni.

As early as 2012, additional rebels armed and financed by Arab Gulf nations and Turkey like al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, declared all-out war against Shiites. They even threatened to attack Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s government after they had overthrown the Assad government.

Soon after, the majority of the Muslim Brotherhood rebels became part of al-Qaida-affiliated groups. Together, they announced that they would destroy all shrines — not just those ones which hold particular importance to Shiites.

Hezbollah entered the scene in 2012 and allied itself with the Syrian government to fight al-Nusra and ISIS, which were officially being armed and financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And all the arms were actively being sold to these nations by the United States. Thus, US arms were falling into the hands of the same terror group the US claims to be fighting in its broader War on Terror.

Hezbollah fighters carry the coffin of Hezbollah member Mohammad Issa who was killed in an airstrike that killed six members of the Lebanese militant group and an Iranian general in Syria, during his funeral procession, in the southern village of Arab Salim, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Hezbollah has accused Israel of carrying out Sunday's airstrike, which occurred on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Issa was the highest-ranking among the group, and was among the senior cadres who headed the group's operations in Syria against the Sunni-led rebellion. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

According to reports, Hezbollah was and has been been active in preventing rebel penetration from Syria to Lebanon, being one of the most active forces in the Syrian civil war spillover in Lebanon. Despite this, the U.S. sanctioned both the Syrian government and Hezbollah in 2012.

Also that year, Russia and Iran sent military advisers to assist the Syrian government in quelling the terror groups, but Iranian troops were not on the ground fighting during this time.

What was once a secular, diverse and peaceful nation, was looking more like it was on its way to becoming the next Afghanistan; its people living under Taliban-style rule as jihadists took over more land and conquered more cities.

Effects of foreign meddling outweigh self-determination

If you think that was hard to follow, you’re certainly not alone.

Most sectarian civil wars are purposely crafted to pit sides against one another to allow for a “divide and conquer” approach that breaks larger concentrations of power into smaller factions that have more difficulty linking up. It’s a colonial doctrine that the British Empire famously used, and what we see taking place in Syria is no different.

So, let’s get one thing straight: This is not about religion. It might be convenient to say that Arabs or Muslims kill each other, and it’s easy to frame these conflicts as sectarian to paint the region and its people as barbaric. But this Orientalist, overly simplistic view of conflict in the Middle East dehumanizes the victims of these wars to justify direct and indirect military action.

If the truth was presented to the public from the perspective that these wars are about economic interests, most people would not support any covert funding and arming of rebels or direct intervention. In fact, the majority of the public would protest against war. But when something is presented to the public as a matter of good versus evil, we are naturally inclined to side with the “good” and justify war to fight off the supposed “evil.”

The political rhetoric has been carefully crafted to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. Ultimately, no matter the agendas, the alliances or instability brought on by foreign meddling, the calls for freedom, democracy and equality that erupted in 2011 were real then and they’re real today. And let’s not forget that the lack of freedom, democracy and equality have been brought on more by foreign meddling to prop up brutal dictators and arm terror groups than by self-determination.

Migrant men help a fellow migrant man holding a boy as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. Macedonian special police forces have fired stun grenades to disperse thousands of migrants stuck on a no-man's land with Greece, a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency on its borders to deal with a massive influx of migrants heading north to Europe. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

The people in the Middle East once stood united and strong together against foreign meddling, exploitation and colonialism no matter their religious or cultural background. But today, the Middle East is being torn to shreds by manipulative plans to gain oil and gas access by pitting people against one another based on religion. The ensuing chaos provides ample cover to install a new regime that’s more amenable to opening up oil pipelines and ensuring favorable routes for the highest bidders.

And in this push for energy, it’s the people who suffer most. In Syria, they are fleeing en masse. They’re waking up, putting sneakers on their little boys and girls, and hopping on boats without life jackets, hoping just to make it to another shore. They’re risking their lives, knowing full well that they may never reach that other shore, because the hope of somewhere else is better than the reality at home.

The USA and NATO have destroyed Iraq and Libya with their military intervention, bombs and missiles

Leader of Austria’s Far-right Blames Migrant Crisis on U.S., NATO

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Heinz-Christian Strache says intervention in Iraq and Syria created infrastructure for ISIS.

Michael Shields and Shadia Nasralla

Austrian Freedom party leader Heinz-Christian Strache
Austrian Freedom party leader Heinz-Christian Strache delivers a speech during a protest against an Islamic mosque in Vienna May 14, 2009.Reuters

REUTERS – The leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) has blamed the United States and the NATO Western military alliance for triggering the refugee crisis that has overwhelmed Europe.

“The USA and NATO have destroyed Iraq and Libya with their military intervention, bombs and missiles; provided financial, logistical and military support to the opposition against President Assad in Syria, and thus made possible the destruction, chaos, suffering and radical Islamism (IS) in the region,” Heinz-Christian Strache said on his Facebook page.

Strache’s opposition FPO party, which leads opinion polls ahead of the centrist Social Democrats and People’s Party coalition partners, typically espouses anti-Muslim and isolationist approaches to dealing with foreign policy.
Refugees at Westbahnhof station in Vienna, Austria. September 5, 2015.
Strache, who is running for mayor in Vienna elections next month, scoffed at what he called U.S. President Barack Obama’s suggestions that Europe is primarily responsible for handling the wave of migrants flooding the continent from crisis spots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“The USA for decades has started fires in the Middle East and then has then the chutzpah to claim that responsibility for the flood of refugees unleashed lies with Europe. That’s geostrategic destabilization at its finest,” he wrote.

In a separate interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF, he called for erecting an army-patrolled fence along neutral Austria’s eastern border with Hungary and for letting in Christian and Jewish refugees rather than Muslims.

“We don’t want an Islamisation of Europe. We don’t want our Christian-Western culture to perish,” he said.

Saudi War In Middle East Aims To Forcefully Convert Or Kill All Shia Muslims and Christians

[Anyone who can’t see by now that the real “Sunni Caliphate” will be “Greater Saudi Arabia” has not been paying attention to Saudi aggression in the region.  This has been Obama’s goal from the beginning, to hand control over the problematic Middle East to his Saudi patrons. 

(This seems to confirm the normally scoffed-at conspiracy theory, that it has been the Saudis, NOT THE JEWS, who have controlled this so-called “war on terror” from the beginning.)

  War-mongering king Salman has been arrogantly open about his intentions to cleanse the Middle East of Shiites and other religious apostates (this would include Christians, obviously), even whike he pretends to be fighting against the Caliphate of ISIS.  The Saudi royals and their Gulf subordinates have been creating their own Sunni Caliphate, right before our eyes.  The fact that the world’s only hope for humanitarianism, the United Nations, would allow a tribal Arab king to murder thousands of Shia Houthis while conducting its religious ethnic-cleansing operation on the rest of them is proof that human compassion is just another commodity that can be bought and sold like anything else.]

 We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason [i.e., convert to Sunni Islam–ed.].”–Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir

[Such is the human condition, when laid bare before us. 
Where is God in this equation?]

[SEE:UN Capitulation To Saudi Demands Equals Partnership In Ethnic-Cleansing of Middle East]

Religious eugenics

Russia-Today

How Saudi Arabia is sponsoring a frightening new movement in the ME

Catherine Shakdam

© Khaled Abdullah
Blanketed by its wealth and protected by political alliances, Saudi Arabia has covertly run and promoted a new movement in the Middle East: religious eugenics, under the false pretense of opposing the rise of Iran. From Syria to Bahrain and Yemen the evidence is overwhelming.

Earlier this August, the Red Cross added its voice to those of other humanitarian and rights groups in its condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, lifting the lid on Riyadh’s little house of horrors in southern Arabia.

In no uncertain terms Peter Maurer, the head of the international Red Cross told reporters he had seldom witnessed such degree of devastation. He said: “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years … The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria.”

He stressed “the firepower with which this war is fought on the ground and in the air is causing more suffering than in other societies, which are stronger and where infrastructures are better off and people are wealthier and have reserves and can escape.”

A country in ruins, Yemen is also a nation in permanent mourning, as every day its people are relentlessly slain – casualties of a violent and murderous colonial war – the latest victims of Riyadh’s expansionist military campaign in the Middle East.

According to official UNICEF tallies, “close to 2,800 people have been killed and almost 13,000 people injured (including 279 children killed and 402 injured, respectively). An estimated 1 million people have been internally displaced (an increase of 122 percent since the crisis began), and some 400,000 people have sought protection in neighboring countries.”

While such figures are horrifying, they fall short of the truth. Agencies on the ground have already said that well over 500 children have been killed in Saudi-led air raids, most specifically in northern Yemen, where the war has been most devastating and aggressive. On average, children account for a quarter of all deaths and casualties.

For those who have managed to find shelter, living conditions are catastrophic. With no water, no electricity, little food and no access to health facilities ten million children are at risk of disease and starvation – again, North Yemen has suffered the brunt of this crisis.

Never in its history has Yemen experienced such a degree of pain and utter despair. But while wars are generally ugly affairs since they require their fill of blood before the canons finally fall silent, Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen is far from ordinary.

But not only that, Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the Middle East is betraying a disturbing and rather ominous covert agenda, one which resonates with ethnic engineering and religious eugenics.

And if so far few have connected the dots, their hands tied by Riyadh’s overbearing and overarching control on media outlets and the grand political narrative, it is high time we learn to recognize Al Saud’s campaign for what it really is: a concerted effort to cleanse the region of all religious minorities, beginning with Shia Islam, its self-appointed nemesis.

To put it in simple terms – under Saudi Arabia’ suffocating grip, religious minorities are dying a slow and painful death.

From Syria to Bahrain, the kingdom’s eugenics campaign threatens the region’s religious and ethnic patrimonies, in a fashion reminiscent of Nazi Germany, when Jews and Gypsies were labeled undesirables.

Saudi Arabia is now building 600 mile wall to keep dangerous people out. What a concept! #tcot#pjnet#FoxNewspic.twitter.com/u056SB7HxW

In an interview this April, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir lifted the veil on Riyadh’s determination to carry through its agenda, no matter the price, no matter the impact. He asserted: “This campaign is having a huge impact in Yemen and it is not over yet. For us failure is not an option. We will destroy the Houthis if they do not come to reason.”

If subtitles were running they would read – the Houthis will be destroyed because they represent a religious challenge to Wahhabism’s hegemony in the region. The Houthis, and the majority of all northerners in Yemen are Zaidis, a branch of Shia Islam.

Is it then a surprise that while South Yemen has benefited from humanitarian aid, North Yemen has witnessed a spike in violence, its seaports targeted to prevent food and medicine to be ferried in? Riyadh is quite simply profiling aid to carry out its religious cleansing, punishing millions for their rejection of Riyadh’s religion.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocracy, and as such its very raison d’ être is rooted within its violent and reactionary interpretation of Islam: Wahhabism, the ideology which inspired the likes of Al Qaeda and Islamic State. One of the main tenets of Wahhabism actually calls for the destruction of all religious sects, Islamic or otherwise. For Wahhabis there can be no greater glory than to massacre “apostates.”

And while Riyadh’s neo-eugenics movement has taken on different forms, operating under various denominations depending on the countries it has targeted, the underlying current has been the destruction of religious pluralism.

Let me ask you this: Is there a real difference between Manama’s campaign to strip Shia Bahrainis from their nationality because the House of Al Khalifa seeks to eliminate all political and religious competition, and Islamic State’s murderous rampage against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria? And though Bahrain’s campaign might appear more “elegant” in that it is more covert and pernicious, the intent remains the same.

From the language used to the policies it has carried out in the Middle East, Riyadh has pushed the sectarian card, christening the resistance movement against its eugenics movement, the so-called Shia crescent threat.

The real threat here lies with Riyadh’s twisted crusade and sickening sectarian agenda.

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. Her writings have been published in world-renowned publications such as Foreign Policy Journal, Mintpress News, the Guardian, Your Middle East, Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye, Open Democracy, Eurasia Review and many more. A regular pundit on RT, she has also contributed her analyses to Etejah TV, IRIB radio, Press TV and NewsMax TV. Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies and consultant for Anderson Consulting, her research and work on Yemen were used by the UN Security Council in relation to Yemen looted funds in 2015.

US Navy Eager To Pick A Fight With China To Create Mission For Useless Littoral Combat Ship

[The US Navy might as well dream-up its own missions, to justify their place in the war of terror, the Army has been doing it since the beginning of this global disaster.  The Army, Marines and CIA have been training terrorists and posing as terrorists in order to justify their fight against terror, why shouldn’t the Navy do the same in its shift to the Pacific?  Compounding tensions in the shallow S. China Sea to keep Congress from cancelling the LCS program is merely par for the course.  (SEE:  What Price Freedom? Questions Surround LCS-1 US Navy’s First Littoral Combat Ship Enters Dry Dock for Repairs)]

LCS to Boost U.S. Presence in Disputed South China Sea

military dot com

LCS to Boost U.S. Presence in Disputed South China Sea

The speed, maneuverability and shallow draft of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship makes the platform well suited for the South China Sea, Pentagon leaders said while releasing a new Asia-Pacific maritime strategy document.

“The LCS is ideally suited for a role in the South China Sea. It is fast, light and flexible and it has a fifteen foot draft so it can go places other vessels cannot go. We plan to have four LCS ships in Singapore on a rotational basis by 2018,” David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told reporters on Friday.

The service has long planned to rotate the ships through Singapore as part of the Pentagon’s shift to the Pacific. However, the increasing LCS fleet size underscores the potential value of the platform in the South China Sea region, where there are many shallow ports inaccessible to larger-draft ships.

The Navy is preparing to receive four more of its shallow-water Littoral Combat Ships between now and February, effectively doubling its current fleet and paving the way for more deployments.

On Aug. 11, the Navy formally accepted delivery of LCS 6, the USS Jackson, during a ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

Following this delivery, the service is preparing to accept delivery of LCS 5, the USS Milwaukee, in October of this year and the USS Montgomery, LCS 8, in December of this year, Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Chris Johnson recently said.

On the heels of these deliveries, the Navy plans to receive the USS Detroit, LCS 7, in February of next year, he added.

“By early next year, the Navy will be operating eight littoral combat ships and we’ll be accepting four more by the end of 2016. The Navy will continue to accept ships at that rate for the next several years making the LCS class the second largest surface combatant class in the fleet and the key to our ability to operate in shallow, coastal waterways around the world,” Johnson recently told Military​.com.

Shear explained that stepping up LCS missions in the South China Sea is part of a broader strategic effort to maintain presence and patrol the area in light of China’s recent efforts to build artificial land structures in the contested Spratly Islands.

China’s island building, referred to by Pentagon officials as land reclamation, has been ongoing effort to further fortify their territorial claims in the region. Pentagon officials have said the China has reclaimed over 2,000 acres of area over the last 18 months, more than all other claimants in the region combined.

In June, Pentagon officials publicly acknowledged that China was placing weapons on the reclaimed islands.

“Our approach to the South China Sea has been robust. We have engaged China repeatedly at the highest levels to implement a permanent halt to reclamation. We of course have a very strong and persistent military presence designed to maintain peace and stability,” he said.

The Spratly Islands includes an area of more than 750 reefs, small islands and atolls in the South China Sea off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. Highly disputed for centuries, the area is rich in oil and natural gas. Countries claiming rights to territory in the Spratly Islands include China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, and Brunei.

Shear referenced an ongoing congressional effort to add funds to the 2016 defense bill slated for arming and training U.S. allies in the Pacific.

The South China Sea includes strategically vital waterways, important to international trade. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has criticized China’s artificial island-building and said the U.S. would not be deterred by China’s moves.

“China has said it has stopped reclamation but it is not clear to us if they have stopped or are just finishing up. There is the potential for militarization of these features. We call for a permanent halt to all of these activities. The U.S. does not recognize the sovereignty claims of these artificial islands,” Shear said.

Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, negotiated in the 1980s and updated in the 1990s, an island is defined as a “naturally formed area of land above the water at high tide.” Also, article 60 of the U.N. Convention says “artificial islands are not entitled to territorial seas.”

Shear added that the U.S. would continue to step up its military presence in the area and work closely with allies in the region. He cited the deployment of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and two new missile-defense capable destroyers to Japan. Furthermore, the Navy’s new high-tech DDG 1000 Zumalt-class destroyer is slated for the Pacific.

“US forces currently present in the South China Sea conduct a variety of presence operations. We are in the South China Sea on a regular basis,” Shear said.

Shear also added the Navy’s new P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane will also continue to help military efforts in the Pacific. “We have a vested interest in ensuring that territorial claims are resolved peacefully,” he explained.

State Terrorism Is State Terrorism, Even When It Is Made By America

[This is a blast from the past, one of the first articles posted on No Sunglasses, 8-19-2008.  The message remains the same,

war criminals
even though Barack Obama has since replaced the Bush dictatorship and multiplied US state terrorism exponentially. 

When read in tandem with the following piece, the message seems highly relevant today (SEE: Escaping The Age Of Mass Delusion—Humanity’s Only Hope).]

If We Could Speak to the People, What Would We Say?

Peter Chamberlin

If we could reach beyond the news filter that keeps real news from the
American people, what would we say? If we figured-out how to get one message
out to the people, what could we say that would actually motivate them to
take a stand for themselves, for their families, for their country and their
world?

The same studies that power the social planners claim that barely 10% of any
group of people follow reason, meaning they cannot be reasoned with. The
same studies also predict that a clear majority of any targeted population
will respond to fear in a shock scenario. We might try reasoning with the
sleeping sheeple, but we would have better odds if we tried to scare them
awake. If we can convey a true image of the evil being done with our
consent, then we might shock the people into the harsh light of reality.

Our leaders are about to allow the economic collapse of the United States,
without telling you beforehand, or helping American citizens to make
emergency preparations.

Their solution to the problem is to seize control of the post-collapse world
militarily, eliminating everyone who gets in the way. This military solution
accepts a very large loss of human lives as necessary “collateral damage” to
the brave plan to take control of the world. When the American people are
overwhelmed by the economic catastrophe, they will hardly notice large
planned population reductions.

All of this is an acceptable solution to our government. For those who try
to protest after the “hammer goes down,” there are hundreds of detention
camps, capable of holding thousands of dissidents, waiting to accept your
silent screams.

But until we get to that point of no return, steps are being taken to reduce
and eventually eliminate all protests to governmental violence.
The Constitution is being reduced piecemeal to a powerless piece of paper.
The courts are bowing down to executive decrees.

Mankind is being kept in check by his own fear. In the face of fear we react
like herd animals, bunching together in search of elusive safety, making us
easily manipulated by those who have mastered the psychology of fear.

Terror is a key element of American politics. Votes are obtained by
frightening the people into your corner, or away from your “unsafe”
opponent. Candidacies are won and lost by negative campaigns of lies and
half-truths that paint your opponent as an unreasonable madmen and yourself
as a heroic messianic figure. US leaders depend upon political terrorism to
get their way in the world, from the local level of “Homeland Insecurity,”
to the international arena, where acts of bloody terrorism are routinely
committed to frighten the locals into political compliance.

“Terrorism–n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a
person or an organized group against people or property with the intention
of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological
or political reasons.”

State terrorism has been an integral part of American government for many
decades. Beginning with the terror campaign of carpet-bombing and
fire-bombing of civilian centers in Germany at the end of World War II (and
the a-bombs), American and British scientists have studied the psychology of
mass fear. This wholesale terror campaign was a new type of warfare,
targeting civilians, instead of concentrating on government centers. The aim
was political terrorism, to turn the citizens of Germany into political
tools to be used to force the German government into submission. By studying
the socio-economic repercussions of the fire-bombing, the American and
British psychologists and sociologists learned how to herd entire
populations through the tactics of fear.

Acts of violent terrorism for political and economic gains have continued
since “the Great War,” against both friend and foe.
Historically, American terror operations like “Operation Gladio” have been
aimed at our allies in Europe even more than against our enemies.
In “Gladio,” (as in all American terror campaigns committed under the banner
of “democracy”), public figures and officials are assassinated, attacks are
carried-out upon police and military forces of sympathetic governments,
trains are bombed with great loss of life, and “madmen”
go on public shooting sprees, all for the sake of scaring European national
opinion into America’s corner.

As always, American terror is hidden by the use of proxies and mercenary
forces, who are blamed for attacks committed covertly by our military and
intelligence agencies. The “war on terror” itself is probably the world’s
longest-running terrorist operation, intended to create the impression that
American-sponsored terror attacks are really the work of a new non-existent,
highly-organized global terrorist adversary. In simpler terms, the United
States government
is the center of world terrorism. Our own government, our
“defender”
against terrorism, is responsible for most terrorist attacks upon innocent
people in the world, that thousands of American troops are defending
against. American-trained forces are killing American soldiers who then
retaliate further against innocent civilian populations where the terrorists
choose to hide.

“Our government” is not really ours at all, having long ago surrendered our
national sovereignty to a consortium of global financiers through the
Federal Reserve System that controls the US.

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”
Mayer Amschel Rothschild

In the process of bringing the US under the control of the international
financiers, represented by the Rothschild interests centered in Europe,
American industry has been destroyed (except for the military-industrial
complex
, needed to pound the recalcitrant world into submission), while the
sham called “democracy” was constructed to create the impression amongst the
unruly people that they actually have power. When the self-appointed
American aristocracy allowed the common man the “right” to vote, it was done
to stave-off more violent opposition and to deceive with the impression of
shared power. Today, decent folk, believing in the illusion of “fair
elections,” remain a real obstacle to saving American freedom from the
hidden dictatorship, which owns all the candidates produced in the
“two-party” system. As long as the majority believes in the system and
continues to empower its candidates, the dictatorship can remain hidden. In
order to expose the hidden machinations of the secret dictators we have to
burst the bubble of illusory democratic power.

At the same time, the fact that the dictatorship wishes to remain hidden,
playing the game of democracy, pretending to seek the counsel of the people,
then they are vulnerable. If they choose to continue the charade of
democratic government, then they have to limit their actions to those which
appear to be “freely” granted by the people through their “representatives.”
As long as those representatives hold the seats of power given them by the
overlords, they will answer only to them. But if enough people call the
representatives to task for failing American democracy they can at least be
forced to publicly answer the charges of failure. If the masses put the fear
of democracy and righteous retribution into the minds of the Congressional
slaves of the money-powers, then they too will begin to retreat from their
open support for measures calling for more war and less freedom. If the
people fully use the First Amendment powers to make democracy work then we
can turn the tide against the center.

They cannot openly carry-out the violent measures required for creating a
world dictatorship and a permanent state of war, taking the brazen violent
steps that have been planned, such as launching nuclear first strikes, or
using biologic attacks to “cull the herd.” As long as the real terrorists
are pretending to be democrats they must act accordingly. Until the world
rises-up against the American imperialist forces in sufficient numbers to
frighten the American people into becoming willing participants in the
genocide of half the earth, other lesser, though equally as threatening,
provocations will continue to be found to frighten us into authorizing the
slaughter.

By placing the will of the people into their formula, they have created a
time lag between cause and effect, where the planned actions must be
preceded by a provocation that motivates the people into consenting to their
own destruction. By incorporating a basically moral people into a completely
immoral plan for world domination, the master controllers have constructed a
flawed plan that depends upon a scientific effort to change good people into
bad. In a country as religious-natured as this one, the great leaders may
have falsely calculated that they can make a nation fear so much for its
life that it would sell its soul for a little peace of mind.

American state terrorism has also been directed against the citizens of the
United States themselves, through more subtle “silent weapons.”
For the entire duration of American terrorist operations against the world,
our government has waged war upon the minds of its loyal citizens through an
arsenal of psychological, economic, and legislative weaponry. The purpose of
these attacks has always been to destroy the American economy and the minds
of the people, while using the economic destruction to justify the full use
of the American military power against the rest of the world.

American leaders consistently work against American interests, while
enriching themselves and their wealthy sponsors who reap opportunity from
our Nation’s demise. In order for these anti-American power-brokers to force
the world into a global dictatorship with them at the helm, they have to
play the “democracy” card, while simultaneously undermining it. Our leaders
have to persuade us into allowing them to destroy democracy in the name of
preserving it. We the People have to be persuaded to peacefully allow the
planned destruction to take place before it can take place. We have to
accept our bleak fates, before it can become our fates.

But the scary truth about the American state terrorist acts that have been
committed so far is that they have provided the needed practice for the
despicable acts that are yet to come. The American war upon the human race
will utilize every weapon in our arsenal, once the way for their use has
been cleared. Weapons of mass destruction come in many forms. In a war for
control of the earth’s resources it would seem more logical to use the
weapons that kill, such as biological weapons, as opposed to those which
merely destroy everything. Instant Death is about to enter the world through
American hands.

The tragedy of our time, perhaps the ultimate tragedy of all time, is
roaring down the highway of life right at us, or is the greater tragedy the
weakness of the mind of man which is allowing this to happen? If we have the
power of change within us and we do nothing, inaction is an act of suicide.

We have to overcome this innate human weakness to prepare our fellow man for
the things that are about to befall this battered planet. So many things are
avoidable in this existence through the use of foresight; if only it was a
common human trait. Any sane person who sees oncoming danger will
automatically step out of its way. As a rule, we humans rarely choose to
step out of the way. Mankind has never been called “sane,” by anyone’s
definition. We must secretly harbor a deep desire to become “road kill” on
the cruel highway of life.

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

Escaping The Age Of Mass Delusion—Humanity’s Only Hope

“Human rebellion and dissent cannot be forever suppressed: ‘They await only one breath of freedom in order to awake once more.’”

[How about uniting the non-delusional thinkers around the idea of impeaching our dictator?  (SEE: Bringing Barack Obama To Justice For War Crimes Committed and Crimes In Progress).]

How To Escape The Age Of Mass Delusion

How To Escape The Age Of Mass Delusion

the federalist

Stella Morabito

By

Mass delusion is an important tool of oppressors because they can’t survive free expression. That’s why the First Amendment’s a target.

Nearly 100 years ago, Walter Lippmann wrote about “the manufacture of consent” in his classic work, “Public Opinion.” On the heels of that book, Edward Bernays penned a little volume called “Propaganda,” in which he stated that an elite would always be responsible for making the public aware of “new ideas” which the public would then act upon as the elite nudged them into it. Related, but more in-depth is Jacques Ellul’s 1962 book, “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes.”

Political propaganda aims to mobilize the masses to move an agenda forward. That’s most effectively done when the masses are unaware of the process. It’s what “community organizers” work towards, whether they know it or not. Once the masses are mobilized to push for a cause, the propagandists’ goals can be put into law.

In fact, many newly propagandized ideas seem to have taken America by storm just in the past decade or so. Same-sex marriage is only one of those ideas. Transgenderism is now eclipsing that notion, and its propaganda techniques—wrapped in the language of civil rights—are getting Americans on board with the idea of erasing all sex distinctions in law, including their own. It’s as though Americans are buying into a fast-talking sales pitch without being allowed to read the print, whether it’s large print or small.

There’s more on the horizon: a singles’ rights movement that promises to end legal recognition of all marriage. Then there is transhumanism, which includes a push to end “fleshism” by enacting laws that protect non-biological entities from discrimination.

Propaganda Is Directing Us Leftward

American conservatives are by and large clueless about propaganda methods and tactics. And it shows. There are virtually no conservative social psychologists around. You’d think once a liberal social psychologist hits the public over the head with this fact some on the Right would take notice and at least try to get clued in.

American conservatives are by and large clueless about propaganda methods and tactics. And it shows.

Meanwhile, the Left has been employing social psychology and depth psychology on the masses for decades. President Obama’s campaign staff was filled with social psychologists. In this context, those who believe conservatives can subsist on reason and logic alone are kidding themselves. It’s no wonder GOP leaders are caving on so many principles, and being absorbed so easily into the Left’s machine.

A lot of people are scratching their heads today, wondering how life got to be so surreal, so fast in the United States of America. Based on the silencing tactics revealed by the LGBT lobby, many observers are likely now thinking: “Gee, I thought marriage equality was merely a gay rights movement. I didn’t realize that fascism was part of that package.” The Great Unraveling continues at a rapid clip when slipping on a pronoun in these days of transgender rule could cost you your career or earn you massive social media rallies chanting “hater” at you.

Even benign reminders of the First Amendment—embodied in Religious Freedom Restoration Acts—are quickly dispatched by mob hysteria. One day a supposedly principled leader like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence promotes the RFRA, and the next day he folds and essentially signs on with the mob.

Even benign reminders of the First Amendment are quickly dispatched by mob hysteria.

There seem to be few independent thinkers left. But even they don’t seem to know what hit them. A woman gets banned by her gym and labelled a bigot because she told management that a man—who she only later learned “identified as female”—entered the locker room while she was getting undressed. Comedians who dare tread into trans territory are shut down. Never before have the media and pop culture dictated in such a draconian manner how each and every one of us is supposed to think about identity. Our own identity.

The list goes on. The unrest and rioting from Ferguson to Baltimore seem to be happening on cue also, with media propaganda that urges it on. There is no real debate on the merits of policies that depend on a blind faith in man-made global warming: those who disagree are labelled “deniers.”

Our Age of Mass Delusion and Logicide

But it was all so predictable.

One of the best books that cracks the code on what we are living through was written by Dutch psychiatrist Joost A. M. Meerloo about 60 years ago. Mull over the first line of his book’s forward, and you will think he is writing about today: “This book attempts to depict the strange transformation of the free human mind into an automatically responding machine – a transformation which can be brought about by some of the cultural undercurrents in our present-day society as well as by deliberate experiments in the service of a political ideology.”

When it comes to understanding the inner workings of social psychology and political correctness, we seem to be at a loss.

That’s from “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing” (1956). There is indeed a war on the private mind, as Kevin Williamson explained in a recent National Review column. Unfortunately, too many Americans have been sleeping through most of its propaganda battles, and for a very long time. When it comes to understanding the inner workings of social psychology and political correctness, we seem to be at a loss.

Meanwhile, the power elites who now control the media, academia, and Hollywood seem to understand social psychology well enough to exploit it on a massive scale. They have engaged in psychological warfare against the private mind by inducing “collective belief formation.” There’s really nothing new here. Conditioning and nudging the masses into groupthink is a very old trick of all wannabe dictators. The bloody twentieth century is filled to the gills with examples.

Yet it feels like we’ve awakened to an ambush. A lot of Americans watched in shock while cultish mobs suddenly attacked the RFRA that Pence initially defended. But the groundwork for mass hysteria like this was stealthily laid for decades, and the minefields sown.

The groundwork for mass hysteria like this was stealthily laid for decades, and the minefields sown.

Family breakdown led to community breakdown, which we can see in the decline of trust in society. Ignorance was cultivated in the schools through political correctness and squashing free debate. The academy’s disparaging of western civilization virtually wiped out respect for any serious study of history and civics, as well as for the Socratic method and the rules of civil discourse. Political correctness sewed confusion into the language, particularly regarding identity politics. Youth are now set to be programmed for conformity through the K-12 “Common Core” curriculum mandates.

All of that and more promotes the semantic fog that allows for mind rape. It amounts to an act of “logicide,” to borrow a term from Meerloo, whom I will continue to quote below. To kill logic and reason that might stand in their way, wannabe dictators “fabricate a hate language in order to stir up mass emotions.” Leaders in Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana have been unable to understand this tactic and are grossly unprepared to deal with it. So they simply surrendered. In effect, they joined the mob, further endangering everybody’s freedom.

The Link Between Crowds and Power

The whole image of such mass delusion in America is surrealistic, especially to comfortably insulated Americans who believe our first freedoms could never really be thrown away in the face of such a full-frontal, PC-induced attack. Most cannot grasp that such mobs are mentally detached from reality. And participants in the mob action cannot comprehend that they are actually cutting off their own freedom of expression, as well as everybody else’s.

Why would anyone want to build such a culture of coercion? In a word, power.

Why would anyone want to build such a culture of coercion? In a word, power. “Equality” is not the reason for what is happening with such mobs. It is the pretext for what they are doing. Like all such deceptions, its sole purpose is as a vehicle to transfer power from individuals to an increasingly centralized state. The fuel, as usual, is the emotional blackmail of people of goodwill, the uses of mass mobilization to exploit that goodwill, then, finally, to render all such goodwill meaningless.

Most who protest the RFRA laws are more likely pawns than true believers. Like the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd, they tend to be atomized individuals who are drawn to the psychic thrill of being part of a mobilized mass that feeds on emotions and can feel a sense of righteousness in the stated pretext. (In the RFRA case, it’s the semantic device of “marriage equality,” but it’ll just as easily be something else tomorrow.) “The ecstatic participation in mass elation is the oldest psycho drama in the world,” wrote Meerloo.

Crowds and Power,” by Elias Canetti, is a classic work that explores in detail the draw of the crowd for human beings. With the continued chipping away of the organic family of mother-child-father, human relationships inevitably become diluted and more subservient to a mass state. This detachment cultivates human alienation, which draws more people to answer to the call of the mass state’s mob.

Detachment cultivates human alienation, which draws more people to answer to the call of the mass state’s mob.

Such protesters and their scores of clueless apologists in the media are also utterly detached from the reality of the meaning of laws such as an RFRA. The RFRA only clarifies that the government doesn’t get to coerce us in private thought or to dictate what we are allowed to feel, believe, think, and express. In other words, the First Amendment is not negotiable if we are to have any semblance of freedom in this country.

But the emotional stew in which we are now boiling doesn’t allow logic or reason to prevail. We can never fight back as long as we are in the dark about how our minds can be manipulated. So we absolutely must try to fully understand the methods and tactics of mental coercion and share that knowledge with others as much as possible.

Brainwashing—Mind Rape—Is for Real

Meerloo published “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing” in 1956 after years immersed in the study of social psychology and countless interviews with victims of mental coercion, including Nazi officers and American prisoners of war in Korea. This treasure of insights was written for the layman. It is an absolute must-read for anyone who hopes to uphold the dignity of the individual. The book offers the psychic defenses so lacking among those who submit to logicide.

‘The transformation of the free human mind to an automatically responding machine’ is essentially the story of the transformation of the United States.

“The transformation of the free human mind to an automatically responding machine” is essentially the story of the transformation of the United States of America we are watching in real time today. Delusion is an important element, because tyrannies do not stand up to logic. It seems very sudden, but it’s not. We’re only at this tipping point because we let our defenses down. In fact, if the First Amendment collapses, it would simply indicate a return to humanity’s tribal default position, in which a sort of Nietzschean “Will to Power” rules the day.

Mass delusion is an important tool of oppressors because they can’t survive where free exercise of expression and association is practiced. Unfortunately, delusion can be induced anywhere.

“It is simply a question of organizing and manipulating collective feelings in the proper way. If one can isolate the mass, allow no free thinking, no free exchange, no outside correction and can hypnotize the group daily with noises, with press and radio and television, with fear and pseudo-enthusiasms, any delusion can be instilled.”

Free Speech Is the Only Antidote to Mass Delusion

“The Rape of the Mind” could have served as a terrific manual to inoculate many against political correctness and groupthink, had it not collected so much dust since it was published in 1956. More of us could have learned how free speech is essential to preventing mass delusion.

Free expression is always the prime target of tyrants because it promotes logic, the search for truth, and friendship.

Free expression is always the prime target of tyrants because it promotes logic, the search for truth, and friendship. America is exceptional precisely because it rejects the tyrants’ rule.

Yet as our speech becomes more restricted, we end up more separated from one another and more susceptible to mass delusions. As Meerloo wrote: “Where thinking is isolated without free exchange with other minds, delusion may follow.” He added, chillingly, “Is this not what happened in Hitler Germany where free verification and self-correction were forbidden?”

In his book, Meerloo also shows immense compassion for our human frailties. He understood just how difficult it is to push back against the social pressures to conform. When it comes to brainwashing, every one of us has our breaking point. But we absolutely must push back once we understand those tactics: “The totalitarian potentate, in order to break down the minds of men, first needs widespread mental chaos and verbal confusion, because both paralyze his opposition and cause the morale of the enemy to deteriorate – unless his adversaries are aware of the dictator’s real aim.”

Of course, it’s really hard for control freaks to do their work on us if we are speaking freely with one another in friendship, and especially if we all understand what they are up to and can call them on it in one voice. So their first order of business is to separate us. A sense of enforced isolation is a cruel and effective tool for instilling loneliness and then delusion in people.

According to Meerloo, manipulators accomplish this through the knowledge that “far below the surface, human life is built up of inner contradictions.” Our hopes and fears and longing to avoid social rejection are exploited through the dictates of political correctness, which is the tool that separates people today, especially in that one place where ideas and ideals are supposed to be tested most vigorously in adulthood: the university.

A sense of enforced isolation is a cruel and effective tool for instilling loneliness and then delusion in people.

By squashing free thought in the one place where it is supposed to be especially respected, political correctness circumvents Meerloo’s warning that “the only way to strengthen one’s defenses against an organized attack on the mind and will is to understand better what the enemy is trying to do to outwit him.”

Of course, the fear of isolation isn’t always enough to silence some people. So manipulators repeat lies and sloganeer endlessly to condition their subjects to repress unauthorized speech and thought: “The techniques of propaganda and salesmanship have been refined and systematized; there is scarcely any hiding place from the constant visual and verbal assault on the mind. The pressures of daily life impel more and more people to seek an easy escape from responsibility and maturity.”

It’s sobering to realize that the above words predate the Internet by nearly half a century. They describe perfectly how transgenderism has become such a “thing” and why so few are willing to admit that the emperor has no clothes.

Love and Laughter Dissipate Delusion

As more people succumb to PC conditioning and cede their freedom of thought, it becomes more difficult for the rest of us to maintain integrity of mind. Our audience shrinks. As we encounter more and more drone-like personalities in daily life, the world seems to sink into surrealism, like so many in Rod Serling’s old “Twilight Zone” episodes.

‘The totalitarian mind does not observe and verify its impressions of reality; it dictates to reality how it shall behave, it compels reality to conform to its fantasies.’

Meerloo testified to this feeling of disorientation: “Many victims of totalitarianism have told me in interviews that the most upsetting experience they faced in the concentration camps was the feeling of loss of logic, the state of confusion in which they had been brought – the state in which nothing had any validity.”

That’s because in the mass centralized state, “peaceful exchange of thoughts in free conversation will disturb the conditioned reflexes and is therefore taboo.” On a hopeful note, Meerloo writes that “love and laughter break through all rigid conditioning.”

I think the reason there is so little “comedy” that’s funny today is the genre itself has been hijacked by the humorless PC crowd. Why is their humor so unamusing and so dependent upon mean-spiritedness? Consider this possibility: “The totalitarian mind is like the schizophrenic individual; it has a contempt for reality. Think for a moment of Lysenko’s theory and its denial of the influence of heredity. The totalitarian mind does not observe and verify its impressions of reality; it dictates to reality how it shall behave, it compels reality to conform to its fantasies.”

Along these lines, Meerloo offers a prescription: “We must learn to treat the demagogue and aspirant dictator in our midst just as we should treat our external enemies in a cold war – with the weapon of ridicule. The demagogue himself is almost incapable of humor of any sort, and if we treat him with humor, he will begin to collapse. Humor is, after all, related to a sense of perspective. If we can see how things should be, we can see how askew they can get, and we can recognize distortion when we are confronted with it.”

Freedom Requires Self-Awareness

Before human beings can preserve true freedom, they must first be aware of their individual inner contradictions: “Democracy, by its very nature will always have to fight against dictatorship from without and destructiveness from within. Democratic freedom has to battle against both the individual’s inner will to power and his urge to submit to other people . . . Essentially, democracy means the right to develop yourself and not to be developed by others. Yet to develop yourself is impossible without the duty of giving your energy and attention to the development of others.”

Freedom means cultivating the art of friendship, boldly exercising our rights to free association and to communicate our thoughts to others.

So, in the end, freedom truly depends upon breaking down the walls of separation that tyranny builds. It means cultivating the art of friendship, boldly exercising our rights to free association and to communicate our thoughts to others. It means cultivating knowledge instead of cultivating ignorance.

After all, political correctness is primarily a tool for crushing people’s ability to have open conversations in friendship and mutual respect. In this context, it seems very much like a tool to bring all personal relationships under state control. And it shouldn’t surprise us that this is being done today in the name of equality for certain kinds of personal relationships. Tyrannies always pretend to promote the very thing they seek to destroy.

Resistance Is Not Futile

So, where do we go from here? We need to take philosopher George Santayana’s warning to heart, that those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. We need to remind leaders who are tempted to cave in to mob hysteria that resistance to tyranny is not as futile as submission to tyranny.

Resistance to tyranny is not as futile as submission to tyranny.

Nearly 60 years ago, Meerloo warned his readers that we absolutely must equip ourselves for this war on the private mind: “In the future, as our psychological understanding grows, leading politicians will have to be better educated in the principles of modern psychology. Just as a soldier must know how to handle his physical weapons, so the politicians must know how to face and handle the mental strategy of human relationships and diplomacy. He will have to become aware of the pitfalls in all human communication and the frailties of his own mind.”

In retrospect, it’s tragic that virtually all well-positioned people of goodwill seem to have been unaware of that warning, or able to effectively act on it. Worse, many end up caving to tyrants because they are unaware of the tactics on the propaganda battlefield.

Our hope, as Meerloo concluded, is in the reality that human rebellion and dissent cannot be forever suppressed: “They await only one breath of freedom in order to awake once more.”

Obama’s “Shock and Awe”—Skeletonized Human Beings Line the Beach Near Tripoli, Libya

EXCLUSIVE: The Mediterranean’s grim tide – shocking never before seen pictures of migrants’ bodies washed up on beach in Libya

daily mail

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Bodies of hundreds of migrants who drowned trying to reach Europe by sea are washing up on Libyan beaches
  • Volunteers from the Libyan Red Crescent Society collect the remains every day along a 100-mile coastline stretch 
  • Remains, some just piles of bones, handed to authorities who record the deaths and bury them in unmarked graves

The dead bodies of desperate migrants who were bundled onto overcrowded boats destined for Europe, which capsized killing those on board, are washing up on Libya’s beaches.

Their bones, half submerged in the sand, will be buried in unmarked graves, their relatives unaware their loved ones have perished.

 

Volunteers from Libyan Red Crescent Society collect the bodies which were swallowed and spat out by the Mediterranean Sea as they risked their lives on the perilous journey from Libya bound for the island of Lampedusa off the Italian coast.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 men, women and children who were able to survive treacherous journeys to Europe continued to be rescued off the coasts of Italy and Greece each day.

Remains: Some of the bodies have been reduced to just piles of bones after they were swallowed and spat out by the Mediterranean sea

Bodies: Migrants desperate to reach Europe take on the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean but hundreds of their bodies have washed up on the beaches of Libya

Heartbreaking: Many migrants are forced to board dilapidated boats with their children, knowing that they may not reach their destination

Buried: The migrants’ bones poke out from under the sand after they drowned while desperately trying to flee their war-torn homelands

Shocking new photographs taken in Zuwara, on the west coast of Libya close to the Tunisian border, show the true extent of the migrant crisis.

Bodies, some of which are barely more than a pile of bones, are being picked up on a 100-mile stretch of the war-torn country from Garaboli to Zuwara.

One heartbreaking picture is of a skeleton, which has been washed up on the beach with the still wearing the pair of yellow trousers and black leather belt they set off in.

Taha Sultan, head of health at Libyan Red Crescent Society, an organisation working on the ground to help the country’s vulnerable population, said hundreds of bodies had been washing up over the past year.

Speaking to MailOnline from Benghazi in the east of the country, he said: ‘We have been dealing with this for more than a year along the west coast.

‘It happens every day. These kind of things happen all the time in Libya.’

Desperate: More than 1,000 people are rescued off the coasts of Italy and Greece every day, but many don’t manage to finish their journeys

Unidentified: Bodies of the migrants are collected by volunteers along the Libyan coastline and are buried by authorities in the country

Record highs: The number of migrants who have successfully arrived in Europe by sea so far this year is already approaching 250,000

Explaining the mindset of the people who board the boats, sometimes with their young families, Mr Sultan said: ‘People are desperate to leave because it’s dangerous, or they fear for their lives.

‘We have war – people get killed and there is no help coming. We also have ISIS here now. It’s very dangerous to live here.’

Libya is split between two governments backed by armed factions fighting each other but which control limited territory.

Islamic State and other armed groups have exploited a growing security vacuum on the ground to expand.

Libya Dawn, an alliance of armed groups, drove the internationally recognised government out of the capital, Tripoli, and declared its own government a year ago, leaving the oil-rich country on the verge of anarchy.

Libya: Bodies are washing up on a 100-mile stretch of the west of the war-torn country from Garaboli to Zuwara, near the Tunisian border

Volunteers: Workers from the Libyan Red Crescent Society, an organisation working on the ground, are collecting more bodies every day

Tragedy: Many of the migrants attempting to gain access to Europe are fleeing violence, natural disasters and poverty in their homelands

Mr Sultan said that those who try to leave the country by legal means are unable to get visas, so opt for dangerous trips across the sea on rickety ships.

Migrants who have arrived in Italy say human traffickers based in lawless Libya charge them between £770 and £1,150 for a place on the deck of boats. Those crammed in the hold pay about half as much as those above.

On Saturday, more than 40 migrants died in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast after suffocating below the deck of an overcrowded boat.

The vessel was carrying around 400 people when it was intercepted south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Footage of the rescue showed two navy vessels helping men, women and children off the dangerously overcrowded ship.

The boat was ‘starting to sink’ when it was spotted by an Italian navy helicopter, around 21 miles off the Libyan coast.

Rescuers discovered the dead migrants when the boarded the boat.

Collected: The bodies are removed from the beaches and are handed over to the authorities in the country to be buried in unmarked graves

Deaths: On Saturday, 40 migrants died off the Libyan coast after suffocating below the deck of an overcrowded boat, carrying 400 people

Frequent loss: Hundreds of bodies of migrants have washed up on the beaches of the western coast of Libya over the past year

Survivors of such hazardous journeys have told of how traffickers lock migrants who paid less for the journey in the hold underneath.

These people endure extreme heat in the ship’s hold and there is a high risk of death if it capsizes.

And around 200 migrants were presumed killed earlier this month off the coast of Libya when their boat capsized.

According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of migrants and asylum seekers who have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year is approaching 250,000.

The death toll has risen to at least 2,300, but the figure is likely to be higher because some of the dead are never recovered.

Mr Sultan explained that the bodies are handed over to authorities, which photograph them and document the deaths before burying them.

More than 100,000 migrants have crossed the Channel of Sicily from Libya to reach safety in Italy so far this year.

Death toll: At least 2,300 migrants are known to have died this year while trying to reach Europe by sea, but the real figure will be higher

Frequent fatalities: About 200 migrants were presumed killed earlier this month off the Libyan coastline when their boat capsized

Route: An estimated 102,000 migrants have successfully crossed the Channel of Sicily from Libya to reach safety in Italy this year

The Impulse Towards Fascism and the Homogenized Society

Why aren’t we living in H.G. Wells’ scientific dictatorship?

IEET


Rick Searle

By Rick Searle
Utopia or Dystopia

 

One of the more depressing things to come out of the 2008 financial crisis was just how little it managed to effect our expectations about the economy and political forms of the future. Sure, there was Occupy Wall Street, and there’s been at least some interesting intellectual ferment here and there with movements such as Accelerationist Marxism and the like, but none have really gone anywhere. Instead what we’ve got is the same old system only now with even more guarantees and supports for the super rich. Donald Trump may be a blowhard and a buffoon, but even buffoons and blowhards can tell the truth as he did during last Thursday’s debate when he essentially stated that politicians were in the pocket to those with the cash, such as himself, who were underneath it all really running the show.

The last really major crisis of capitalism wasn’t anything like this. In the 1930’s not only had the whole system gone down, but nearly everyone seemed convinced that capitalism, (and some even thought the representative democracy that had emerged in tandem with it) was on the way out.

Then again, the political and economic innovation of the early 20th century isn’t the kind of thing any of us would wish for. Communists, which to many born after 1989 may seem as much like antiquated creatures from another world as American revolutionaries in powdered wigs, was by the 1930’s considered one of the two major ways the society of the future would likely be organized, and its’ competitor over the shape of the future wasn’t some humane and reasoned alternative, but the National Socialism of Hitler’s dark Reich.

things to come

If one wants to get a sense of the degree to which the smart money was betting against the survival of capitalism and democracy in the 1930’s one couldn’t do much better than that most eerily prescient of science-fiction prophets – H.G. Wells. In many ways, because he was speaking through the veneer of fiction Wells could allow himself to voice opinions which would have led even political radicals to blush. Also, because he was a “mere” fiction author his writings became one of the few ways intellectuals and politicians in liberal societies could daydream about a way out of capitalism’s constant crises, democracy’s fissiparousness and corruption, and most importantly for the survival of humanity in light of the nation-state’s increasingly destructive wars.


Well’s 1933 The Shape of Things to Come,

published not long after the Nazis had come to power in Germany, is perhaps his best example of a work that blurs the boundaries between a work of fiction and a piece of political analysis, polemic, and prediction. In the guise of a dream book of a character who has seen the future of the world from the 1930’s to the middle of the beginning of the 22nd century, Wells is able to expound upon the events of the day and their possible implications- over a century into the future.

Writing six years before the event takes place Well’s spookily imagines World War II beginning with the German invasion of Poland. Also identifying the other major aggressor in a world war still to come, Wells realizes Japan had stepped into a quagmire by invading China from which much ill would come.

These predictions of coming violence (Wells forecast the outbreak of the Second World War to be 1940- one year off) are even more chilling when one watches the movie based upon the book, and know that the bombings of cities it depicts is not some cinematographer’s fantasy, but will no doubt have killed some of those who watched the film in theaters in 1936- less than five years later.

Nevertheless, Wells gets a host of very important things, not only about the future but about his present, very wrong. He gets it ass backwards in generally admiring the Soviet Union and seeing its’ problem not being the inhuman treatment by the Communist regime of its citizens, but the fact that they have wed themselves to what Well’s believes is an antiquated, dogmatic theory in Marxism.

Indeed, Wells will build his own version of dictatorship in The Shape of Things to Come (though versions of it can be seen in his earlier work) using the ideas of two of Soviet communism’s founders- Trotsky’s idea of a global revolutionary movement which will establish a worldwide government and Lenin’s idea of an intellectual nucleus that will control all the aspects of society.

Nor, did Wells really grasp the nature of Nazism or the strange contradiction of a global alliance of fascist regimes that ostensibly worship the state. Wells saw Hitler as a throwback to a dying order based on the nation-state. His only modernity being

“…control by a self-appointed, self-disciplined élite was a distinct step towards our Modern State organization.” (192)

Wells therefore misses the savagery born of the competition between world shaping ideologies and their mobilization of entire societies that will constitute the Second World War and its aftermath.

Ironically, Wells mistakenly thinks WWII will be short and its fatalities low because he gets his technological predictions right. He clearly foresees the role of the importance of the tank, the airplane, and the submarine to the future war and because of them even anticipates the Nazi idea of blitzkrieg. At one point he seems to have a glimmer of the death spirit that will seize over humankind during the war when he compares the submarine to a sacrificial altar:

The Germans supplied most of the flesh for this particular altar; willing and disciplined, their youngsters saluted and carried their kit down the ladder into this gently swaying clumsy murder mechanism which was destined to become their coffin. (70)

Nevertheless, he fails to see that the Second World War will unleash the kinds of violence and fanaticism formerly only seen in religious wars.

Two decades after Wells’ novel many would think that because of the introduction of nuclear weapons wars would be reduced to minutes. Instead conflict became stretched out across multiple decades. What this is should teach us is that we have no idea how any particular technology will ultimately affect the character of war – especially in terms of its intensity or duration- thus those hoping that robotic or cyber weapons will return us to short decisive conflicts are likely seeing a recurrent mirage.

Wells perhaps better understood than other would be revolutionaries and prophets of the time just how robust existing societies were despite their obvious flaws. The kind of space for true political innovation had seemingly occurred only during times of acute stress, such as war, that by their nature were short lived. A whole new way of organizing society had seemingly revealed itself during World War I in which the whole industrial apparatus of the nation was mobilized and directed towards a particular end. Yet the old society would reassert itself except in those societies that had experienced either defeat and collapse or Pyrrhic victory (Italy, Japan) in the conflict.

Wells thus has to imagine further crises after economic depression and world war to permanently shatter Western societies that had become fossilized into their current form. The new kind of war had itself erased the boundary between the state and the society during war, and here Wells is perhaps prescient in seeing the link between mass mobilization, the kinds of wars against civilians seen in the Second World War and insurgency/terrorism. Yet he pictures the final hammer blow not in the form of such a distributed conflict but coming in the form of a global pandemic that kills half of the world’s people. After that comes the final death of the state and the reversion to feudalism.

It is from a world ruled by warlords that Wells’ imagined “Air Dictatorship” will emerge. It is essentially the establishment of global rule by a scientific technocracy that begins with the imposition of a monopoly over global trade networks and especially control over the air.

To contemporary ears the sections on the Air Dictatorship can be humorously reminiscent of an advertisement for FedEx or the US Navy. And then the humor passes when one recalls that a world dominated by one global straddling military and multinational corporations isn’t too far from the one Wells pictured even if he was more inspired by the role of the Catholic Church in the Dark Ages, the Hanseatic League or the what the damned Bolsheviks were up to in Russia.

Oddly enough, Wells foresaw no resistance to the establishment of a world-state (he called it The Modern State) from global capitalists, or communists or the remnant of the security services of the states that had collapsed. Instead, falling into a modernist bias that remains quite current, Wells sees the only rival to the “Modern State” in the form of the universal religions which the Air Dictatorship will therefore have to destroy. Wells’ utopians declare war on Catholics (Protestants oddly give no resistance) forcefully close Mecca and declare war on Kosher foods. And all this deconstruction to be followed by “re-education” Wells thinks could be done without the kinds of totalitarian nightmares and abuses which are less than two decades away from when he is writing The Shape of Things.

I am not particular fan of the universal confusion called post-modernism, but it does normally prevent most of us from making zingers like Wells’ such as this:

They are going to realize that there can be only one right way of looking at the world for a normal human being and only one conception of a proper scheme of social reactions, and that all others must be wrong and misleading and involve destructive distortions of conduct. (323)

Like any self-respecting version of apocalypse, Wells imagines that after a period of pain and violence the process will become self sustaining and neither will be required, though most honorably for the time Wells thinks this world will be one of racial equality that will never again suffer the plague of extreme want.

Analogous to the universal religions, after the establishment of the Modern State all of humankind will become party to ultimate mission of the scientific endeavor which the protagonist in the movie version sums up manically in this crazy speech at the end of the film:

For man, no rest, he must go on. First this little planet and its’ winds and ways, and then all of the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets above and at last out across immensity to the stars. And when he conquers all the depths of space and all of time still he will not be finished.

All the universe or nothing! Which shall it be?

(As a side note Ken Stanley Robinson seems to think this modernist’s dream that the destiny of humanity is to settle the stars is still alive and kicking. In his newest novel he is out to kill it. Review pending. )

To return to our lack of imagination and direction after 2008: we, unlike Wells, know how his and similar modernist projects failed, and just how horribly they did so. Nevertheless, his diagnosis remains largely sound. It might take a crisis the scale none of us would wish for to engender real reform let alone the taking of radically new directions. Given historical experience such crises are much more likely to give rise to monsters than anything benign.

Anarchists seem to grasp the shape of the time but not its implications. In a globalized world power has slipped out of the grasp of democratic sovereignty and into the hands of networked organizations- from multinational corporations, to security services, to terrorists and criminal groups able to transcend these borders. Yet it is tightly organized “machine like” organizations rather than decentralized/anarchic ones that seem to thrive in this feudal environment, and whereas that very feudalism and its competition makes achieving a unified voice in addressing urgent global problems even more difficult, and where despite our current perceptions, war between the armed groups that represent states the gravest existential threat to humanity, we, unlike Wells, know that no one group of us has all the answers, and that it is not only inhumane but impossible to win human unity out of the barrel of a ray gun


Rick Searle, an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET, is a writer and educator living the very non-technological Amish country of central Pennsylvania along with his two young daughters. He is an adjunct professor of political science and history for Delaware Valley College and works for the PA Distance Learning Project.

Obama Throws Coal States Under the Bus To Appease Environmentalists

[SEE:  Wind, Solar Cheer as Coal Vows Battle on Obama’s Energy PlanObama ignores California’s green power experience]

article-imageAbandoned Solar Two Tower (photograph by Marcin Wichary)

Like the vanished, money making dreams that spawned them, it can be hard to find abandoned solar and wind farms.

The most impressive are in the United States, where investors slammed up wind turbines and solar panels in the aftermath of the 1970s energy crisis. Everyone expected oil to get even more expensive, and government subsidies and tax breaks for renewable energy were easy to get. But oil prices didn’t climb as anticipated, and as the subsidies went away, so too did many developers of wind and solar farms, no longer interested when the money wasn’t right. Projects were sold, or left in the sun and wind.

Solar panels and wind turbines are not brick, concrete, or stone. They’re relatively easy to remove, and most are built with a plan to tear them down at some point. But there are a few places you can still go to wander among abandoned dreams of wind and light.
THERE FOR ALL TO SEE

Tehachapi and Altamont Wind Energy Areas
California

article-imageTehachapi wind turbines (photograph by TomSaint11/Wikimedia)

Tehachapi and Altamont are the granddaddies of them all — sites of a 1970s-1980s wind energy rush gone wrong. Federal subsidies sparked developers into action, crowding what are now considered antique, poorly functioning turbines into particularly windy areas of California.

At Tehachapi in hapless Kern County, north of Los Angeles, officials had no provision in law requiring developers to cover the future tear-down costs of the wind turbines. At first, that may not have seemed like a big deal. But the federal tax breaks soon dried up and the developers vanished, leaving behind thousands of rusty, cranking turbines standing in rows like soldiers on the windy plain outside Tehachapi.

article-imageTehachapi Pass Wind Farm (photograph by Ikluft/Wikimedia)

Estimates vary on how many of the turbines in the Tehachapi area are defunct. Some range as high as 4,000, but others are lower. No matter how many are abandoned, Tehachapi is definitely a wind turbine boneyard.

To get there:
For a loop drive with great view of the area’s turbines, drive south from Tehachapi on Tehachapi Willow Springs Road, hang a left on Oak Creed Road heading east to Mojave. Take Highway 58 north and west back toward Tehachapi to complete the loop.

article-image Altamont Pass Wind Farm (photograph by David J Laporte)

In Altamont, one hour’s drive east of San Francisco, California, there are approximately 5,000 wind turbines. All were installed in the early 1980s in the wake of generous federal and state subsidies for renewable energy. Subsequent decades have brought larger, more efficient wind turbines, but there are plenty of aged turbines in the Altamont area, with their telltale lattice-work towers.

The older, smaller turbines are unfortunately efficient bird slicers, and will soon get upgraded by operators in the area to larger, slower speed turbines under a deal to avoid more bird deaths.

article-image Altamont Pass Wind Farm (photograph by David J Laporte)

To get there:
For a good view of the Altamont area wind turbines, drive east from Livermore, California, on Interstate 580. Take the West Grant Line Road exit and either go north to make a left and head east on Altamont Pass Road, or better, go south to wander among the turbines that stretch between the interstate and Patterson Pass road that runs east-west to the south.

Solar One/Solar Two
Daggett, California

article-imageSolar Two tower (via eeremultimedia.energy.gov)

The Department of Energy’s Solar One plant was based on a simple if somewhat wild idea: line up nearly 2,000 mirrors to reflect sunlight on a focal point to heat water, make steam, and generate power.

The plant was completed in 1981, in cooperation with Southern California Edison, L.A. Dept. of Water and Power, and the California Energy Commission. It spread across 126 acres 10 miles east of Barstow, California, generated about 10 megawatts of power, and was in operation from 1982 to 1986. In 1995, additional mirrors were added to the site, which now heated a molten salt solution that could store energy while clouds passed overhead.

article-imageSolar Two heliostat (via Wikimedia)

Solar One proved the viability of the molten salt energy storage concept. The site was decommissioned in 1999 and converted by University of California-Davis into a kind of telescope that measures gamma rays hitting the atmosphere.

To get there:
Drive on Interstate 40 east of Barstow, take the Daggett exit, skip past historic Highway 66 and instead take Santa Fe Street east for about three miles. Solar One/Solar Two will be on your left, to the north.
THE DEARLY DEPARTED

Kamaoa Wind Farm
Hawaii’s Big Island, Southern tip

article-imageKamaoa Wind Farm in 2006 (photograph by Rebecca Stanek)

A cluster of 37 wind turbines formerly marked the spot of the Kamaoa Wind Farm, at the far south end of Hawaii’s Big Island. The small wind farm opened in 1987 and was decommissioned 20 years later after a deal for the turbines’ power expired.

Yet the Mitsubishi turbines cranked on, became an ever-worse eyesore, and maddened those who wanted good views of the coast and Pacific Ocean. The farm’s owner, Apollo Energy Corp., finally removed the turbines in 2012 and sold them as scrap to China.

article-imageKamaoa Wind Farm in 2007 (photograph by Christian Razukas)

ARCO Carrizo Plain Solar Farm
San Luis Obispo County, California

article-imageAbandoned Carrizo Plain’s solar power plant (via Center for Land Use Interpretation

There’s nothing left of an ambitious plan to generate power from the sun at one of the sunniest places in California, about 70 miles west of Bakersfield. But for 11 years — from 1983 to 1994 — Carrizo Plain hosted a 5.2 megawatt solar farm built by Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).

ARCO, traditionally an oil company, was a pioneer in solar power after the 1970s energy crisis. It built its own solar cells and deployed them on Carrizo Plain. ARCO sold the 177-acre solar farm to Carrizo Solar Corp. in 1990, which dismantled the farm in 1994.

PG&E Pilot Solar Plant
Kerman, California

Near the town of Kerman, California, sits the new Five Points Solar site, the direct descendent of Pacific Gas & Electric’s pilot solar plant in Kerman, demolished in 2011. The 10-acre site was built in 1992, retired in 1997, and its panels were removed 14 years later after neighbors complained.

Does Saudi Immunity For 911 Somehow Transfer Guilt To Iran?

[SEE:  Saudi Royals Request Removal From 911 Lawsuit ]

Michael D. Goldhaber, The Am Law Daily

Photo by Sander Lamme via Wikimedia Commons

Victims of September 11, who seek to hold funders of the 2001 terror attacks accountable in court, came to Manhattan federal court in Foley Square on Thursday with serious evidence that Saudi Arabia supported the al Qaeda bombers. U.S. District Judge George Daniels promised to decide within 90 days whether to put the Kingdom on trial.

Saudi Arabia chided the 9/11 families that this hearing was “not a political seminar.” It was, however, a seminar on history and epistemology. After 12 years of halting progress against Saudi charities, the 9/11 plaintiffs have revived a powerful claim against the Kingdom. But the quest for historical truth threatens to founder on the judge’s futile desire for direct knowledge of espionage.

Much of the day turned on what exactly we know about a February 2000 chat between alleged Saudi spies Omar al Bayoumi and Fahad al Thumairy. Judge Daniels had no time for Saudi’s contention that it didn’t “technically” employ Bayoumi when it paid his salary for a no-show cover job. But at the heart of the Saudi spy plot posited by the 9/11 families, the judge seemed to struggle with the obvious.

“You don’t have any evidence as to what conversations [Thumairy] had with Bayoumi,” said Daniels. “What’s the factual basis for you to allege that when he met with Bayoumi he said, ‘Give lodging to the hijackers, assist them and give financial support to the hijackers so that they can carry out the 9/11 attacks?’”

What one spy said to the other can be inferred from the full circumstantial evidence, replied 9/11 attorney Sean Carter of Cozen O’Connor—and must be. Consider the timing and sequence of these events, as laid out by the plaintiffs.

Osama bin Laden sent the 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar to Los Angeles in mid-January 2000 knowing that they didn’t speak a word of English and would be helpless on their own. Two weeks later, the Saudi spy Bayoumi met with the Islamist diplomat-imam Thumairy at the Saudi consul’s Islamic Affairs section, which the FBI knew to serve as Saudi Arabia’s radical Islamist fifth column.

Bayoumi drove straight from this not-so-mysterious chat to meet the two hijackers at Thumairy’s mosque. Three days later, Bayoumi moved the two hijackers into his own family apartment in San Diego. Bayoumi proceeded to open bank accounts and rent new apartments for the hijackers with his own money. Bayoumi connected the hijackers with another alleged Saudi agent who procured them fake IDs and admission to language and flight school. Bayoumi’s wife allegedly channeled $150,000 in support payments from a Saudi princess to the hijackers. In early 2000 Bayoumi received a promotion at his no-show cover job, and a significant raise in the salary and stipend covered by the Kingdom. Over the same three months, he talked repeatedly by phone with Saudi diplomats in L.A. and D.C., not to mention the hijackers’ San Diego imam Anwar Aulaqi, who went on to become a senior al Qaeda leader.

When questioned by the 9/11 Commission under the watchful eye of the Saudi secret police, Thumairy clumsily denied knowing Bayoumi, and Bayoumi pretended to be surprised that Thumairy worked at the consulate.

Add it all up, and the two spies in L.A. were not chatting about the traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway. The judge must understand that historical intelligence doesn’t get any stronger. We go to war with Iraq over yellowcake, and we won’t go to a jury with two bad guys twirling their mustaches at Wahhabi central?

According to the complaint, a top FBI official has stated that “We [the FBI] firmly believed that he [Bayoumi] had knowledge [of the 9/11 plot], and that his meeting with them [Hazmi and Mihdhar] that day was more than coincidence.” It’s “implausible,” adds 9/11 commissioner John Lehman, “that the broad spectrum of evidence developed by the 9/11 Commission concerning the relationships among Omar al Bayoumi, Fahad al Thumairy, the Islamic Affairs Department of Saudi diplomatic missions, and 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar can be explained away as merely coincidental.”

To 9/11 victims like Matthew T. Sellito, who flew in for the hearing from Florida, the evidence is clear. Sellitto, whose 23 year-old son Matthew C. of Cantor Fitzgerald was the youngest victim of the twin towers, said it pained him that the U.S. held the wrong country accountable in the Iraq War.

What about the 9/11 Commission itself? According to Carter, the staffers who studied the evidence concluded that Saudi Arabia was implicated—but that conclusion was removed from the 9/11 Report at the eleventh hour because senior staff wanted 100 percent certainty for such politically explosive allegations.

Michael Kellogg of Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel, arguing for the defense, prefers the final draft of the 9/11 Report. Even after 12 years, he says the 9/11 families can’t meet the high standard of evidence required by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. He also argued that the case against Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Comission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina must be dismissed because they do not satisfy the “whole tort” exception, the “discretionary functions” clause, or the causation requirement of the FSIA. Those legal arguments are likely to be resolved at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—unless Congress steps in to resolve them first. But this case ain’t going to trial against Saudi unless Judge Daniels is willing to connect the dots.

The irony is that Judge Daniels already entered a $6 billion default judgment against Iran on far weaker evidence. The allegations that Iran helped Hezbollah to cooperate with al-Qaeda, and let al-Qaeda terrorists pass through Iran, would seem to fail the test that the whole tort occurred on U.S. soil.

Yet after 3 hours of agonizing over the Saudi spy evidence, the judge treated the contention that Iran is liable for another $150 billion as an afterthought.

At the end of Thursday’s hearing, James Kreindler of Kreindler & Kreindler announced that the 857 members of his 9/11 plaintiff group, headlined by the Ashton family, had a claim against Iran. And therefore, they were entitled to the same default judgment received in 2011 by the 47 members of the plaintiff group headlined by the Havlish family. Kreindler said that the $6 billion awarded in Havlish implied damages of $150 billion for the Ashton plaintiffs . But for fear of disrupting diplomacy, Kreindler said he was only seeking a finding of liability—to stake a claim in the political settlement likely to resolve Iranian terror claims. The judge said he’d hold a Jan. 14 conference and “see where we are.”

In the meantime here’s free advice from The Global Lawyer. Iran should show up in court before a mega-judgment jeopardizes its historic deal. And Judge Daniels should let a jury see the evidence against the nation that actually bears blame for 9/11. We owe it to Matthew T. and Matthew C. Sellitto.

Turkey Feigns Fight Against ISIS, Just As We Pretend To Fight “Al-Qaeda”

“Nobody ever knew what really happened. How many fighters or civilians killed to what effect…nobody knew any facts. In other words, it all seemed like theater for public consumption.”

[Is the quotation above about Turkish airstrikes or American drone strikes?  How do we know that any “legitimate media” war report is true?]

Instead Of Fighting ISIS, Erdogan Pushes Turkey Toward Chaos And Despotism
forbes


Untitled Melik Kaylan

I cover conflicts, frontiers and upheavals mired in history.

In Turkey, an ISIS suicide bomb kills 30 and wounds many more in the Kurdish area town of Suruc. The Kurdish insurgent terrorists, the PKK, then start killing Turkish policemen and soldiers while ISIS attacks a Turkish military border post. Peace demonstrations ensue in some cities which police put down with the, by now, familiar methods of severity against civilians. Ankara and Washington reach an agreement allowing the US to use its bases inside Turkey against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Erdogan’s spokesmen announce that Turkey’s air force has conducted raids against both PKK and ISIS targets across the border. Turkish authorities arrest some 900 people nationwide, mostly Kurds, for allegedly belonging to terror networks. Turkish tanks shell Kurdish villages in Syrian borderlands near Kobani. Meanwhile, news leaks that the US has solid evidence of Turkish collusion with ISIS in months past. Let us pause here and dispel some of the fog.

First, let us remember that Turkey conducted a national election on June 7 and still hasn’t formed a government. All these decisions in a time of crisis are being taken by somebody. Someone’s running the country. We’ll get to the full implications later but initiatives are being taken, orders given. The air raids for instance. Worth a little scrutiny. For example, you have to wonder, since the Turkish air force knew of PKK targets in Iraq, so quickly and easily neutralized, why didn’t it act before? And why attack Syrian Kurds near Kobani who, after all, are busy fighting off ISIS? Especially if you’ve declared ISIS the enemy because it has killed 30 people in a suicide bomb inside Turkey.

On the ISIS front, it’s worth viewing the video put out by Ankara of the air strikes against several sites by F-16s using laser-guided munitions. All the targets seem to have one thing in common: they’re each at a safe distance from residential complexes in ISIS territory. They’re set apart in open fields. They betray no marks of military activity. Now, humanitarian though this might seem – which itself begs the question – you still have to wonder. Does ISIS keep strategic targets clear of population centers? And, if so, why were such targets still so manifestly available. The US has waged its air war against ISIS since last September. They left a few for the Turks? The skeptic might ask if these were meaningful targets at all.

I remember during the Iraq war that Ankara would announce with fanfare various bombing sorties to hit PKK camps nestled in the Zagros mountains in retaliation against one or other PKK atrocity inside Turkey. Nobody ever knew what really happened. How many fighters or civilians killed to what effect? The PKK never slowed down. Barzani grumbled about territorial integrity. The White House mumbled about Turkey’s right to self-defense. I queried Kurds from Iraqi Kurdistan, from both Suleymaniah and Erbil, during those years about any publicly mooted information about those recurrent air strikes. While they expressed outrage at territorial violation by Turks, nobody knew any facts. In other words, it all seemed like theater for public consumption in Turkey.

Let’s keep firmly in mind the overarching attribute of Turkey’s AKP leaders throughout the last decade: they’re invariably long on demagogy and short on solutions. The goal always is to stay in power, mute criticism, corrupt all necessary institutions, suppress dissent, play the populist card. And play it so unscrupulously that the country polarizes step by step. Protestors are terrorists. Critical journalists are atheists. Gulenists serve a foreign power. Kurdish politicians are fronting for the PKK. The mayor of Ankara, a top Erdoganista, sued a journalist for accusing him of – wait for it – being Armenian!

Much of the time nobody knows what’s really going on after any eruption of internal conflict first gets reported – they only get exposed to propaganda and polemics. The media gets muzzled and social media suspended. It happened after two gas cylinder bombs exploded at a HDP Kurdish party rally ahead of the elections killing two and wounding over 100.

It has happened after the Suruc horror by ISIS. Erdogan’s main objective, to befog with theater when he can’t hide the reality, hasn’t wavered. Hence the display of signing the Incirlik Airbase deal with the White House. Hence the bombing runs against ISIS. These add up to a manifest U-turn as he and his party have publicly abetted ISIS in myriad snide ways, even giving cover to its foremost vociferous advocate in Turkey, the noisy and sinister Halis Bayancuk whom they’ve just re-arrested. Previously arrested in 2014, he was released by the authorities while the prosecutor and judge who had moved against him were demoted. The government then defended him publicly as a victim of the ‘deep state’ conspiracy, one of Erdogan’s favorite polemical bogeys.

Meanwhile, as many domestic commentators now say, Turkey is hovering on the brink. Similarly, others are pointing out that the country now faces total crisis not accidentally but in line with Erdogan’s plan to monopolize power, become the indispensible figure amid chaos. In the old days, when fractured elections led to paralysis and conflict, the military would step in and tidy up the mess, acting as last-chance custodians of the Republic. These days their role resides, democratically, with the President. Alas, the ‘honest-broker’ is also a dishonest protagonist in the fray, namely Erdogan himself. The office of the Presidency requires him to stand above politics. He hasn’t – even though the country voted away his party’s parliamentary majority for that reason, as a rebuttal of his ambition to make the Presidency paramount. He planned to re-enact the Putin/Medvedev tango, Turkish-style, moving between the position of PM and President to avoid term limits.

As I wrote here after the election produced no winner six weeks ago, Turkey has never fared well with coalitions. In this case, the coalition didn’t even materialize. While the various parties continue to negotiate on forming a government, they’ve left Erdogan in charge by default. What I warned then, is coming to pass (even quicker than expected) when I said, “and here’s the most scary part: as things deteriorate it will be up to the President to impose order by one means or another” and “a fundamental player in the equation (Erdogan) has no interest but to let things get very bad indeed”.

And so here we are. For Erdogan it’s even better that there’s no government. He rules by diktat. To do so, he needs crises. He’s busy creating them. Stoking the Kurdish conflict simply polarizes the country further, catalyzes civil war Assad-style. He will call a sudden election when things are bad enough. There’s some chance he might have miscued though. After all, he has no coalition to blame. Instead of seeing him as the indispensable strongman, the country might hold him responsible for all the chaos. If there is still a country by then.

UN Capitulation To Saudi Demands Equals Partnership In Ethnic-Cleansing of Middle East

“the U.N. de facto institutionalized aid segregation by allowing humanitarian relief to be conditional to certain criteria: political affiliation and religious orientation.

With Yemen set as a precedent, who’s to say that a similar setup will not be replicated in other countries in the region — mainly, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Libya?”

source

[This is the standard by which Middle Eastern human beings will be granted the right to eat by the Royal Saudi Caliphate.  Anyone who can’t see the real “Sunni Caliphate” by now has not been paying attention to Saudi aggression in the region.  War-mongering king Salman has been arrogantly open about his intentions to cleanse the Middle East of Shiites and other religious apostates (this would include Christians, obviously). even whike he pretends to be fighting against the Caliphate of ISIS.  The Saudi royals and their Gulf subordinates have been creating a Saudi Caliphate, right before our eyes.  The fact that the world’s only hope for humanitarianism, the United Nations, would allow a tribal Arab king to enforce Draconian standards on simple aid intended to keep civilians alive (amidst a hot, desert war), is proof that human compassion is just another commodity that can be bought and sold like anything else. 

Such is the human condition, when laid bare before us. 
Where is God in this equation?]

Saudi Arabia opened its checkbook in response to a U.N. appeal for funds to cover the most urgent humanitarian aid to Yemen. But that aid would come at a steep price and with more than a few strings attached.

A Yemeni man looks at a World Food Program ship at the port of Aden, Yemen, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The WFP ship carrying badly needed aid arrived in Yemen's war-torn southern city of Aden on Tuesday, the first vessel chartered by the U.N. agency to berth there since Saudi-led airstrikes on Shiite rebels in the country began in March. (AP Photo/Ahmed Sameer)

SANAA, Yemen — Five months have passed since Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen, and for all its might, political resolve and military arsenal, the kingdom has yet to bring the poorest nation on the Arabian Peninsula to heel.

Its institutions in tatters, its military apparatus reduced to rubbles, and with no economy to speak of, Yemen’s imminent collapse has been foretold time and time again by experts and state officials. Yet these predictions have not quite come to fruition.

In its match against Goliath, David is resisting. In rallies, demonstrations and even an open letter signed by 18 Yemen scholars and experts living in the United States and Britain, tens of thousands of Yemenis and others around the world have decried Riyadh’s actions, calling for an end to all violence.

Yet this dedication to opposing Riyadh’s actions doesn’t mean Yemenis aren’t suffering. The World Health Organization issued a statement in June, warning that a “major health crisis is unfolding in Yemen, where hospitals have been destroyed, health workers killed and critical shortages of food, medical supplies and fuel are causing large-scale suffering.”

In early July, the United Nations declared the situation in Yemen to be the highest level of humanitarian emergency. According to a U.N. report published July 7, over 1,500 civilians have been killed, 3,600 have been injured, and over a million have been displaced in the ongoing conflict.

A “major health crisis is unfolding in Yemen, where hospitals have been destroyed, health workers killed and critical shortages of food, medical supplies and fuel are causing large-scale suffering.”

-World Health Organization

By U.N. estimates, about 80 percent of all Yemenis — more than 20 million people — are in need of humanitarian aid.

In late March, Amnesty International confirmed the deaths of at least six children under the age of 10 during a Saudi-led air raid that killed 25 people. The report read: “The organization spoke to medical personnel at four different hospitals where the dead were taken after being pulled from the rubble of 14 houses that were hit in a residential neighbourhood near the city’s international airport.”

Already the poorest and most vulnerable population in the Peninsula and arguably the Greater Middle East, Yemenis have seen their livelihoods and freedom of movement disintegrate under Saudi Arabia’s war momentum. In late April, Saudi Arabia bombed Sanaa International Airport, effectively trapping civilians within Yemen’s borders.

Despite mounting evidence of abuses and war crimes, it would take the international rights community several months to stand up to the oil giant. On July 27, Human Rights Watch unequivocally slammed Saudi Arabia for a litany of human rights violations. The report reads:

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children, and wounded dozens in the Yemeni port city of Mokha on July 24, 2015, are an apparent war crime. Starting between 9:30 and 10 p.m., coalition airplanes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant, which housed plant workers and their family members.”

With fierce battles raging across Yemen, and as warplanes continue to rain lead onto heavily populated areas, Saudi Arabia has been looking for innovative ways to exert pressure onto the resistance movement. It is now withholding humanitarian aid to Yemen’s civilians to tame the growing insurrection movement against its rule and thus secure victory in the face of international law — all under the guise of the United Nations.

The kingdom is holding hostage not just Yemen but to some extent the international community, using the United Nations’ humanitarian institutions to wage war. It’s using institutions meant to offer relief as a means of weaponizing aid.

Hassan Jayache, a senior leader of the Houthi movement, which took control of Yemen earlier this year, told MintPress News that local NGOs have found themselves caught in a political web, forced to surrender their neutrality to secure not just funding but access to areas where aid is needed.

“The Saudis have exerted political pressures onto local NGOs and international aid organizations, demanding that aid be restricted to pre-approved segments of the population, based on political affiliations and according to religious criteria,” Jayache said.

“In other words, Al Saud has decided to starve the Shias of Yemen, hoping to break the Houthis’ momentum.”

Turning aid agencies into weapons of war

Mohammed Al-Emad, a Yemen-based journalist and political commentator, says Saudi Arabia called on several media organizations in the Middle East, the United States and Europe, demanding that “coverage on Yemen be sanitized and in keeping with Riyadh’s chosen political narrative.”

Wikileaks Comic While Al-Emad’s claims could be considered bias, WikiLeaks published a series of confidential cables pointing to systematic media/PR manipulation on the part of the Saudis.

But if the international community had been standing silent before Saudi Arabia’s war crimes, exploiting what Al-Emad describes as a convenient media blackout to avoid addressing some sticky legal points, Riyadh’s move against the U.N. might prove one indiscretion too many for anyone to ignore.

The work of King Salman and his allies to sabotage U.N.-organized aid to Yemen started on April 17 in the wake of a U.N. emergency flash appeal for $274 million to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs over the following three months.

Speaking on Yemenis’ hardship, Humanitarian Coordinator Johannes Van Der Klaauw stressed:

“The devastating conflict in Yemen takes place against the backdrop of an existing humanitarian crisis that was already one of the largest and most complex in the world … Thousands of families have now fled their homes as a result of the fighting and airstrikes. Ordinary families are struggling to access health care, water, food and fuel – basic requirements for their survival.”

Saudi Arabia immediately volunteered the exact amount requested. But the aid would come with strings attached.

Vice News reported in June that Saudi officials leaned on U.N. officials to sabotage aid deliveries, threatening to close the kingdom’s checkbook should U.N. agencies deny Riyadh’s requests.

Based on a U.N. memo obtained by Vice, the media outlet reported that the Saudi government imposed unprecedented conditions on aid agencies, demanding that assistance be limited to Saudi-approved areas and confined to strictly Sunni civilian populations.

A Yemeni volunteer carries bags of rice to displaced people

“If such despicable logic can somehow be expected from a power which has wielded sectarianism to sow discord and from chaos rise a tyrant, what of the UN, an institution which claims itself impartial and fair?” Hasan Sufyani, a leading political analyst at the Sana’a Institute for Arabic Studies, asked MintPress.

He added:

If humanitarian organizations are to be subjected to the rules of realpolitik then truly the world has reached a dark chapter in its history and reverted back to organized barbarism.

Still, no well-thinking Western powers has thought to challenge Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen. In a world system where capitalism reigns king, the rich and haughty stand above the pettiness of the rule of law.”

As a rule of thumb, and to avoid political entanglements, humanitarian organizations tend to shy away from donations which come with strings attached, especially when they fall under the umbrella of the OCHA.

Meant as a supranational institution, OCHA was never intended to be manipulated as an instrument of pressure, legal absolution or, in the case of Yemen, a weapon of war.

$244M, split nine ways

Playing aid as both a military tactic and a PR exercise to redeem its atrocious human rights record and whitewash its war crimes in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has held the U.N. hostage to its policies.

Such shadowing and lobbying on the part of Saudi Arabia had Yemeni officials waving the political red flag.

Ali al-Bukhaiti, a prominent member of the Houthis’ political arm, told MintPress his office has vehemently denounced Riyadh’s attempts to “buy the U.N. out to better corner Sana’a government and foil the resistance movement.”

Yet it appears the train was already far too out of the station for anyone to hit the brakes.

By late June, amid reports of a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, the Saudi government finally announced that out of its initial pledge of $274 million, $244 million would be divided among nine U.N. agencies.

On the heels of this announcement Stephen O’Brien, the U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, sent a letter to the Interagency Standing Committee, a global humanitarian coordinating body, which includes both U.N. humanitarian agencies and outside NGOs.

Vice News confirmed the letter was attached to a Saudi press release announcing the nine-way cut, explaining how the funds would go through the recently created King Salman Center for Relief Humanitarian Works (KSC).

“Having agreed to the overall envelopes, however, the KSC would like to negotiate individual Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with each recipient agency,” O’Brien told Vice, openly admitting to Riyadh’s lobby.

Boys carry relief supplies to their families who fled fighting in the southern city of Aden, during a food distribution effort by Yemeni volunteers, in Taiz, Yemen.

“Interestingly few media outlets picked up on this Orwellian development! After unilaterally and, let’s be frank, after illegally declaring war on Yemen, the Saudi government wants also to dictate how humanitarian relief is distributed in the very country it is attacking,” Sheikh al-Matari, the head of Yemen’s Rasoul Akram Foundation, an aid organization, told MintPress.

Vice News quoted a U.N. aid official in Yemen as saying: “The UN has punted and handed off the problems to these agencies. I’ve never seen that before.”

The official continued:

“The charitable way of saying it is this is a compromise — the less charitable way of saying it is that they folded. It’s really unusual for a single donor to have any substantive role once they contribute funds, let alone negotiate individual MoU’s with agencies.”

When asked about this very public U.N. capitulation before Al Saud’s millions, O’Brien attempted to rationalize the situation by arguing a massive deficit funding gap.

O’Brien wrote: “With regard to NGOs, I am aware that there are sensitivities in receiving funding directly from the KSC and we therefore must work actively to mobilize additional funds to be allocated directly, or via the Pooled Fund, to our front-line partners.”

Yet, as al-Matari noted:

“That’s only half of the story. What O’Brien is not telling is that by accepting Saudi Arabia’s conditions on aid distribution and aid funding in relation to Yemen, the U.N. de facto institutionalized aid segregation by allowing humanitarian relief to be conditional to certain criteria: political affiliation and religious orientation.

With Yemen set as a precedent, who’s to say that a similar setup will not be replicated in other countries in the region — mainly, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Libya?”

‘Institutionalizing war crimes’

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, left, meets with King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, right

“From the onset of this conflict King Salman has walked outside international law. There is nothing remotely legal about attacking a sovereign nation. The argument Saudi Arabia aimed to preemptively strike Yemen in order to stop the so-called ‘Shia crescent’ from further strengthening its hold on the region is both legally erroneous and redundant. What is troubling is the speed at which the kingdom is institutionalizing war crimes,” Al-Emad, the journalist and political commentator based in Yemen, told MintPress.

Al-Emad added: “It is one thing to declare war against a country and another to select a segment of population for annihilation. How long before Saudi Arabia’s ill intentions against all Zaidis and Shias in Yemen are understood for what they are? Genocidal.”

Although no legal action has been taken against Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s humanitarian and human rights violations in Yemen have come to define the very nature of its war on the tiny, impoverished nation.

Even the sectarian aspect of Riyadh‘s wrath has transpired in official reports, giving weight to Yemenis’ mounting accusations of ethnic cleansing. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights raised concerns in this area, as well, as a U.N. report issued in July notes: “The UN rights office is also acutely worried about increasing attacks against places of worship, pointing to the targeting of five Zaydi mosques with car bombs over the past few weeks as an alarming trend to create sectarian divisions.”

Additionally, Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the OHCHR, confirmed mounting abuses against civilians when she explained: “Since 17 June, there has been further destruction of civilian infrastructure, with at least 36 buildings, including hospitals, schools, court houses, power generation facilities and communications institutions partially or totally damaged in the governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Al-Jawf, Al-Mahwit, and Hajjah.”

The Saudis have not been alone in violating international law, though. The Houthis have also committed their share of war crimes. In May, for example, Human Rights Watch accused pro-Houthi forces of killing civilians and holding aid workers hostage in the southern seaport of Aden. But it is the sectarian intent and systematicity behind Riyadh’s military campaign which has rights activists ringing the alarm.

Speaking to MintPress, Hussain Abu Salem, a human rights activist based in Saada, a northern province of Yemen, located south of Saudi Arabia, who personally documented Saudi air raids against identified Zaidi-targets in northern Yemen, compared Riyadh’s actions against Yemen’s Zaidi community to Israel’s attacks against Palestinians:

“Saudi Arabia knowingly and willingly targets Zaidi villages and Zaidi monuments. It seeks the destruction of Yemen Zaidi heritage. It wants to surgically remove all Zaidi Yemenis from political, religious, economic and social life. The kingdom is following in the footsteps of Israel in all impunity. It is exactly the same logic, the same methods and of course the same justifications.”

“This is the thing about right violations,” he added, “when the world does nothing to impose the law, when the powerful can oppress the weak, then injustice becomes the rule of law.”

imagine a ‘nuclear war’ of information

Russia vs. US: Total War is the Obliteration of Reality

fort russ blog
By: Joaquin Flores
When the methods of Information War in Fourth Generation Warfare are used in Total War, it results in a war upon the psyche, a war upon cognition, a war upon our very conception and understanding of reality.  This will be an increasing feature of our relationship with reality.
As global conflict increases qualitatively and quantitatively, it is important to understand the new methods of warfare in which the conflict in Ukraine serves as an excellent case study.  Understanding these methods, in combination with a syncretic approach to various competing schools and across several otherwise or previously unrelated fields, has been the key to our ability to accurately forecast any number of events and dynamics in the situation in Ukraine.
The struggle between the Atlanticist and Eurasianist spheres not only acquires forms in the traditional areas of diplomacy, trade, intelligence, and military strength – but also in the increasingly dominating realm of synthetic, manufactured hyper-reality.  These are important elements of fourth generation warfare (4GW) in the realm of information war and also what is termed ‘hybrid warfare’ – a feature of 4GW which blurs the lines between civilian and military groups, and allows power groups to dissemble the reality of their role in support.  This creates the element of plausible deniability, that power groups are not involved when in fact they are.
Following the various media reports and statements from the various official spokespeople of the groups involved in the Ukrainian conflict, it is problematic to take these at face value and equate statements about their role or position as being the actual role or position.
In a manner similar to ISIS or Al Qaeda – which are largely US-Saudi-Israeli joint projects, it is typical to hear statements from the Pravy Sektor that they oppose NATO, imperialism (whether US or Russian), and propose instead other elements of platform which confuse the discourse and disguise their actual supporters.  Of course, like with ISIS and the like, most all of the commanders and all of the rank and file supporters and fighters completely believe they are opposed to the very power groups which support them.  It only requires one or two decision makers at the very top to align the actual activities with US control or influence.
Naturally like ISIS, Pravy Sektor and similar are also developed to be self-sustaining projects to a large extent, can subsist for long periods of time using the standard methods of apparent self-funding, including organized crime or the seizure of businesses and enterprises. They can also, as we have written previously, be used and swayed by other actors not including the US, and in certain moments may act – willingly or unwillingly – against the US’s actual interests (not just stated interests).  This may occur for reasons which are complex but imaginable.
US and Russian approaches to the conflict in Ukraine are based in discernible desired positions, but the strategies change in various stages based upon real-world changes and results, push-back, and the actions of the other players. Thus, strategies are employed in relation to changes, and tactics evolve in real-time.   This is why many contingency plans are built into general planning.  Indeed, the various and even contradictory contingencies themselves should be considered ‘the plan’.
The US exerts degrees of control and influence upon several distinct power groups in Ukraine, such as various volunteer battalions, the government itself, mainstreamed opposition to that government, and Pravy Sektor related groups up to and including Yarosh himself.  These wane and wax in relation either to the US’s need or to the US’s ability to exert its power.  These are not unidirectional; US attempts to exert influence or control do not necessarily result in a success in that endeavor: the targets of influence and control may be compelled to act – either in an instance or in a general pivot – contrary to the needs of the US for reasons of their own survival, and/or as a result of Russian successes to exert influence and control.
Difficulties in assessing the situation then arise from this: an established method in 4GW as it works through media and new-media (information war) is to dissemble actual reality, and to manufacture a new reality.  The US can exert fluctuating degrees of influence and control over its proxies.
It is difficult to use language to describe reality because words have definitions which often exclude that which they are contrasted with. Reality on the other hand is fluid and real situations can be simultaneously described by more than one word, even if such words when counterpoised to each other may seem to have opposite meanings.  Reality can morph into conditions that are better described by some words, only to shift at any time later into a condition which is better described otherwise.  Thus, without special care, a syllogistic or axiomatic approach will usually fail.
**
In October of 2014, we wrote:
“From the syncretic work we have produced on this subject, drawing from numerous schools such as Baudrillard’s post-structuralism and Kuhn’s theory of the structure of scientific revolutions […] we have attempted to explain both some features of the information war and how the present schema or paradigm is constructed, and how that construct contains certain features which can be manipulated and exploited through the use of simulacrum and hyper-reality.”
“More to the point, we have based much of our understanding on the premise that societies composed of managers and the managed must create a paradigm which has exploitable features for the purpose of social control.  The Ukraine civil war is the first war in history in which both actual sides (US and Russia) struggle for supremacy using similarly derived theories of new media and their connection to 4GW.  While the use of proxies has long been a feature of war, that both sides use proxies in the sense of 4GW doctrines, and that the ‘stories’ being told extend from new media, is a new phenomenon.”
“There are some problems, however, for both the US and Russian information and reality managers.  Being able to create hyper-reality does not, in the first place, require having a solid footing in the actual reality.  In many ways, ‘actual reality’ may be an ever-elusive thing which can never fully be grasped.  We are, as human beings, a species which is already born into a reality comprised of the previous generation’s interwoven combination of actual reality and hyper-reality.”
“Our society, a social construct, is an outgrowth of our genetic potential.  The creation of various primitive forms of hyper-reality is as natural to humanity as the bird constructing its nest.  But just as the invention of the train or automobile changed forever our relationship with distance, and even the relative size of the earth, the invention of new media has changed our relationship with actual reality and the kinds of reality and hyper-reality we construct. “
“It is not difficult, then, for even the agent of social control, working at the think tank, to lose sight of reality itself.  What was that individual’s origin point?  Everyone working today on these projects was already born into a world of machines, production of the means of creation and destruction, automated wars, electricity, and mass media.”
“From an analytic point of view, this creates a conundrum.  Analysis, discourse, map-drawing etc. are themselves a form of hyper-reality creation.  Analysis is done in the mind of the analyst, and is drawn from, at best primary sources, but are generally not the primary source itself.  It must go through the medium of language and contrived/presented imagery (photos, etc.) before it gets to the analyst.  Additionally, even when the analyst is the witness percipient, their interpretations and written or spoken analysis reflect their prior biases, beliefs, prejudices, and thought processes; which in short can be described as defective by way of their subjectivity.”
“Thus from the analyst:  all words, language; things signifying and signified; which pertain to actual reality, are themselves indistinguishable from hyper-reality.  Analysis based on interpreting actual reality and analysis based in interpreting the simulacrum are both, in many ways, hyper-real presentations.  The map is not the terrain.”
“To problematize ‘objective’ reporting and analysis, is really to lay-out the problems with the concept of objectivity, which leaves us with only a remaining intersubjective agreement [20].  Therefore we can see the power of new-media (which is based on the echoing of information through many subjects, peer to peer), and the transformation of the simulacrum from being a distinct hyper-reality unto itself, into a totalizing entity which subsumes, devours, and overtakes reality into itself.  It becomes, then, within the liberal, emotional state, of the Popperian ‘critical rationalist’ paradigm, most appropriate and ‘reasonable’ to uphold the hyper-reality as the actual reality [21]. “
**
In conclusion, we might imagine a ‘nuclear war’ of information. The fall-out also contaminates information managers and builders.  In an increasing way, even the reality and information managers themselves are suffering from the ‘radiation poisoning’ of information war; they can no longer distinguish between the reality they are creating, or that was created by their opponent, from the reality which they began to work from.  It increasingly becomes one and the same.
If this is true for them, who have access to much more real information than we do, then it is even more true for us; we who have all along been working largely with information which by definition is manufactured and itself is a social construct.
Understanding the world then becomes increasingly difficult and creates very real epistemic problems.
Liberalism and its sub-ideology of pragmatism is steeped in anti-intellectualism and a misuse of Ockham’s razor or lex parsimoniae (law of parsimony).  It is wrongly used as an arbiter between two theories, in which the simplest theory is viewed as more accurate even when not accounting for all the information, as opposed to a heuristic technique in the development of a model.
It is an attractive idea that the complexities of war and strategy can be explained away as being the product of random accidents; that the divergence between stated aims and actual results are a product of blunder and incompetence and not intrigue and dissemblance.
Analyzing the motives of conscious actors is not like observing other phenomena in a few important ways; conscious actors may have a strong motivation to conceal their real aims or methods, whereas basic physical, chemical, or biological processes can be observed empirically and claims made about these are falsifiable.
Rather, we must look at circumstantial and other non-physical evidence; known theories, past practice, the body of scholarly work on the subject, and instead approach the questions from a prosecutorial perspective.
To understand one epistemic dilemma in the use of Ockham’s Razor to describe phenomena, let us look at these well known quotes about this heuristic tool.
“Entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” (William of Ockham)
“Nature operates in the shortest way possible.” (Aristotle)
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (Albert Einstein)
Warfare does not generally operate on the basis of ‘nature’ in the sense that Aristotle describes – as there are consciously acting players being observed who do not want to be accurately observed, nor upon the economy of modeling that Ockham proposes.
In warfare, most entities should be multiplied and made as complex as possible for a number of reasons.  One radar tower may cover an entire area, but many radar towers for a single area are preferable because then radar coverage is not lost when the opponent successfully neutralizes one of them.
Likewise in strategy:  a simple strategy may at first seem preferable in terms of viability and execution,  but in the context of a conscious opponent, the complexity of a strategy will aid tremendously in keeping it from being understood and unraveled.  In that sense, as with the radar example, more layers are better.
The science of economy and efficiency takes on entirely different applications in the context of a struggle between strategic players.  One aspect of victory in a war is production, but not only physical production of soldiers and hardware, but in the production of complex strategy, relying on more virtual resources, theories, etc.  The side which can afford more inefficiencies has a strategic advantage in any number of scenarios.
We must not approach reality at face value, but as a consciously created illusion itself which is constructed specifically with the aim of pursuing a long-term strategic objective, one that includes both the accidental and intentional creation of a false, distorted, manufactured hyper-reality built upon layers of both real and hyper-real foundations.
**
Joaquin Flores is a Mexican-American expat based in Belgrade. He is a full-time analyst and director at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank and consultancy firm, as well as the co-editor of Fort Russ news service, and President of the Berlin based Independent Journalist Association for Peace. His expertise encompasses Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and he has a strong proficiency in Middle East affairs. Flores is particularly adept at analyzing ideology and the role of mass psychology, as well as the methods of the information war in the context of 4GW and New Media. He is a political scientist educated at California State University. In the US, he worked for a number of years as a labor union organizer, chief negotiator, and strategist for a major trade union federation.

Obama Capitalizes Upon Suruç Bombing Reactions To Seal Erdogan’s Free Syrian Army Enclave/NO FLY ZONE

“In cutting the deal, Barack Obama chose his moment well.”

[After Turkey drew its Mare-Jarablus line, and brainwashed ISIS-affiliated Turkish-Kurdish boys were used to bomb Kurds in Suruç, and Turkish forces began to bomb ISIS positions in Syria, Obama knew that Erdogan had begun to soften.  This is the moment O has been waiting for, implicating the CIA in the Suruç attack.]

Turkey was already preparing to carve-out a piece of Northern Syria, before the Suruç bombing.  The alleged ISIS attack facilitated that move.

[The following shot from Google Maps shows the new Mare-Jarablus line, a.k.a., the southern boundary of Erdogan’s shrunken Free Syrian Army enclave (SEE:  Partial no-fly zone included in US-Turkey consensus: Turkish sources).]


Mare-Jarablus line

[One question remains…what will Assad do, whenever the Syrian Air Force is targeted?]

Turkey says west of Euphrates ‘red line’ in northern Syria

TRT WORLD

Turkey to consider any incursion west of Euphrates River in northern Syria by PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party as violation of ‘red line’ set by governmentTurkey will consider any incursion west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria along the Turkish border by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), as well as any attack north of Idlib by Syrian regime forces, as violation of a “red line.” The government made the decision  at a National Security Council (MGK) meeting on June 29, media reports say.The MGK released a statement saying that “developments in Syria were comprehensively discussed, possible threats were evaluated, and possible additional security measures were stressed,” following the meeting.The Turkish government aims to convey a strong message to both the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) and the PYD. Any move by these groups west of the Euphrates River, where the city of Jarablus is located, was declared a red line by Turkey because the river has become a natural border between ISIS and its nemesis PYD in northern Syria after Tal Abyad was captured by the Kurdish militia from ISIS on June 15.

The PYD is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Both ISIS and the PKK are recognised as terrorist groups by Turkey.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin stated that, “It is not healthy to interpret the necessary measures which aim to ensure our border security as ‘Turkey is entering a war’,” speaking on Tuesday  at a press conference in Ankara.

Kalin also emphasised that Turkey has never used the terminology of a “buffer zone,” but spoke about a need to establish a no-fly zone and a safe zone in the area for civilians. Turkey’s stance on this issue remains unchanged and these possible moves are continuing to be discussed with its allies, he added.

The Turkish government has been alarmed by both ISIS’ moves near the Syrian towns of Azaz and Mare and the enlargement of northern Kurdish enclaves under the control of the PYD along its long border line with Syria.

ISIS reportedly recently attacked an area between Azaz and Mare, which are situated in northwestern Syria, which controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). This move by ISIS came after it lost Tal Abyad to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the militant wing of the PYD, which was able to join the Kobane and Jazira “cantons,” along the Turkish border by capturing the district.

ISIS already controls a zone between Jarablus and Mare, also along the Turkish border.

In the worst case scenario for Turkey, as it becomes further threatened by ISIS between Azaz and Mare, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) could ask for assistance from the YPG in order to protect the areas of northwestern Syria they hold. This might then allow the Kurdish group to extend its reach to Afrin, another isolated Kurdish “canton” declared by the PYD in the far west of Syria.

The PYD needs to overrun Jarablus and pass west of the Euphrates to reach the Azaz-Mare region if this scenario is to be realised. Then, the PYD might take full control of the Turkish-Syrian border, leading to fears in Turkey that it might end up neighbouring a hostile Kurdish state which could use its control of the border to undermine Turkey’s internal security.

These are reasons, Turkey has laid down a red line regarding advances by either ISIS or the PYD west of the Euphrates. According to the Turkish daily Milliyet, if the PYD undertakes  any operation past this point the Turkish Armed Forces will carry out a cross border operation without providing notice.

If ISIS captures the area it will able to take control of the Oncupinar border crossing with Turkey, and could get closer to reaching another border crossing at Cilvegozu. Therefore, Turkey would virtually lose control of its border to two hostile militant groups.

In addition, the fighting involved in capturing the crossings as well as any ethnic cleansing or massacres by the two groups could lead to a new wave of refugees from Syria to Turkey, another concern which is also behind Turkey’s decision to issue the second red line regarding any attack by the Assad regime attack north of Idlib, the Milliyet report said.

It is feared that if the Syrian regime launches an attack north of Idlib there will be another huge flow of refugees into Turkey, which already hosts more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees who fled the violence in their country after the escalation of the civil war there.

Turkey and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition forces appear to have differences in terms of priorities in northern Syria, despite mostly sharing the same interests. Turkey is concerned by the PYD’s activities in northern Syria along the Turkish border as much as it is concerned with the actions of ISIS and the Assad regime.

However, the US-led coalition is highly supportive of the PYD’s activities against ISIS, which has been heavily bombarded by the coalition in coordination with attacks by the PYD.

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby at  Washington’s daily press briefing on June 30 reacted to Turkish demands by saying that, “The Defense Department has made it clear that they don’t believe there’s a need for that at this time, and that the use of coalition military assets in trying to effect a zone like that would entail an awful lot in terms of logistics, time, resources, and effort.”

When asked about the difference between a buffer zone and a safe haven Kirby stated that, “In military terms, I’m not sure that there’s technical definitions for either one. I think it depends on the context in which you’re using it. I don’t know that there’s much – it depends on how you define it and how you want that area defended and protected.”

However, he also said, “They would have to decide how they would both make the decision, defend the decision, and implement it. That’s a national decision that they would have to speak to.”

 

Source: TRT World and agencies

The Frustration of American War Hawks

[SEE:  ‘Winning the Cold War with propaganda’: New Dutch-Polish ‘content factory’ to challenge Russia]

рус.jpg

American war hawks are angry over the fact that RussiaToday is much better at getting “NEWS” out than “Radio Free Europe.”  RT is being condemned for serving the same purpose in Russia that AlJazeera served in the wars on Libya and Syria.  AlJazeera served as a tool of American “public diplomacy” in the propaganda war in the Middle East, just as RT serves Russian diplomacy in Russia and Eastern Europe.  RT doesn’t spread disinformation, it spreads NEWS that the Western powers actively suppress.  Radio Liberty and RFE do spread Western disinformation, instead of news.  Because people are able to understand this, they turn away from these NEWS sources.  War Hawks hate this (they hate everything).

RussiaToday helps Russians to avoid Western traps laid for them.  Russian and Moldavian crowds are harder to incite to violence because of RT.  This really pisses-off the hawks.  What makes them even madder, is that Americans cannot be agitated with war fever without first seeing mobs of civilians getting mowed-down by guns or tanks.

Against the background of the aggressive anti-Russian rhetoric of many leaders of NATO member states, voters in these countries are not ready to support such a policy.  In particular, this contradiction between the official position and public opinion is most noticeable in Germany.”–Russian Information Agency

The majority of Americans have grown weary of war.  Most doubt the reasons given for prolonging our wars or for starting new ones.  No American with any measure of sense wants to go to war against Russia.  We have spent most of our lives dreading accidental war against Russia, so why would we support a decision to fight another European war?

“Russia’s aim, though, is not so much to accumulate its own “soft power” as to undermine the west’s ability to act against it.”–Guardian

The information war is needed to neutralize Russia’s ability to ignore and evade American provocations, without having to resort to violence to pacify seditious mobs.  Russian “propaganda” is really defensive, in nature, helping Putin’s govt defuse planned disruptions and social actions.  John McCain, Barack Obama, and other politicians of the American war party, are offended that Russia has cultivated this capability to defend itself against planned military aggression, using only the “NEWS” as its “soft” defensive weapon.  All Putin has to do to defeat war plans, which are based entirely upon lies, is to broadcast the truth.

Western Propaganda organs plan to fight this truth using only lies and half-truths as offensive weapons.  The first lie is that RussiaToday and others only broadcast disinformation.  The truth that comes from RT becomes “disinformation,” simply because American sources say so.  America’s information war is not fought to be won, but only until a path to war between Europe and Russia is opened-up.

The John McCains are pissed-off that they can no longer force new wars upon the American people without endangering their political immunity.  People like McCain, who claim to be “war heroes,” due to no action of their own (other than enlisting), are molded into leading politicians by the people who have laid all of that money at their feet.   Mad dogs like McCain get red-faced, fighting mad, whenever the American people dare to cross their war plans.

Pompous windbags cannot accept the fact that they have no authority of any kind, over other nations.

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

 

 

Obama To Disarm Disabled SS Recipients with “Representative Payees” As “Mental Defectives”

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security

latimes

US-POLITICS-CONGRESS-GUN VIOLENCERelatives of gun violence victims and gun control advocates held a news conference in Washington on Dec. 10, 2014, two years after the Sandy Hook shooting, to urge lawmakers to expand background checks. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)
By Alan Zarembo

 

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.

The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.

If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”

The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.

But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.

Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.

“Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,” said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. “They are very different determinations.”

Steven Overman, a 30-year-old former Marine who lives in Virginia, said his case demonstrates the flaws of judging gun safety through financial competence.
State police lead students from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting. The Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at the school left 26 people, including 20 children, dead. (Shannon Hicks / Newtown Bee)

After his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that weakened his memory and cognitive ability.

The VA eventually deemed him 100% disabled and after reviewing his case in 2012 declared him incompetent, making his wife his fiduciary.

Upon being notified that he was being reported to the background check system, he gave his guns to his mother and began working with a lawyer to get them back.

Overman grew up hunting in Wisconsin. After his return from Iraq, he found solace in target shooting. “It’s relaxing to me,” he said. “It’s a break from day-to-day life. It calms me down.”

Though his wife had managed their financial affairs since his deployment, Overman said he has never felt like he was a danger to himself or others.

“I didn’t know the VA could take away your guns,” he said.

The background check system was created in 1993 by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was partially paralyzed after being shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan.

The law requires gun stores to run the names of prospective buyers through the computerized system before every sale.

The system’s databases contain more than 13 million records, which include the names of felons, immigrants in the U.S. illegally, fugitives, dishonorably discharged service members, drug addicts and domestic abusers.

State agencies, local police and federal agencies are required to enter names into the databases, but the system has been hampered by loopholes and inconsistent reporting since its launch.

The shortcomings became clear in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people. Cho had been declared mentally ill by a court and ordered to undergo outpatient treatment, but at the time the law did not require that he be added to the databases.

Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe. They are very different determinations. – Dr. Marc Rosen, Yale psychiatrist

Congress expanded the reporting requirements, but Social Security determined it was not required to submit records, according to LaVenia LaVelle, an agency spokeswoman.

After 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 children and six school staffers in Newtown in 2012, President Obama vowed to make gun control a central issue of his second term.

The effort fell flat. Congress ultimately rejected his proposals for new gun control legislation.

But among 23 executive orders on the issue was one to the Department of Justice to ensure that federal agencies were complying with the existing law on reporting to the background check system.

One baseline for other agencies is the VA, which has been entering names into the system since the beginning. About 177,000 veterans and survivors of veterans are in the system, according to VA figures.

The VA reports names under a category in gun control regulations known as “adjudicated as a mental defective,” terminology that derives from decades-old laws. Its only criterion is whether somebody has been appointed a fiduciary.

More than half of the names on the VA list are of people 80 or older, often suffering from dementia, a reasonable criterion for prohibiting gun ownership.

But the category also includes anybody found by a “court, board, commission or other lawful authority” to be lacking “the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs” for a wide variety of reasons.

The agency’s efforts have been criticized by a variety of groups.

Rosen, the Yale psychiatrist, said some veterans may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.

Conservative groups have denounced the policy as an excuse to strip veterans of their gun rights.

Republicans have introduced legislation in the last several sessions of Congress to change the policy. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, now under consideration in the House, would require a court to determine that somebody poses a danger before being reported to the background check system.

Social Security would generally report names under the same “mental defective” category. The agency is still figuring out how that definition should be applied, LaVelle said.

About 2.7 million people are now receiving disability payments from Social Security for mental health problems, a potentially higher risk category for gun ownership. An addition 1.5 million have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons.

The agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view. Even the National Rifle Assn. was unaware of it.

Told about the initiative, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: “If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks.”

Gun rights advocates are unlikely to be the only opponents.

Ari Ne’eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.

“The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush,” he said.

Since 2008, VA beneficiaries have been able to get off the list by filing an appeal and demonstrating that they pose no danger to themselves or others.

But as of April, just nine of 298 appeals have been granted, according to data provided by the VA. Thirteen others were pending, and 44 were withdrawn after the VA overturned its determination of financial incompetence.

Overman is one of the few who decided to appeal.

He is irritable and antisocial, he said, but not dangerous. “I’ve never been suicidal,” he said. “To me that solves nothing.”

More than a year and a half after Overman filed his challenge, the VA lifted its incompetence ruling, allowing his removal from the background check system before the VA ever had to determine whether he should be trusted with a gun.

Overman, who hasn’t worked since leaving the military, said he and a friend are now thinking of opening a gunsmith business.

alan.zarembo@latimes.com

Clinton’s General Wesley Clark Calls For Mass-Arrests of “Radicalized Youth”

Ex-NATO commander suggests WWII-style camps for radicalized Americans

Russia-Today

Military photo portrait of Wesley Clark. © Wikipedia
Retired US General Wesley Clark suggested that radicalized youth in America and other Western nations should be segregated the way Nazi sympathizers were held in camps during World War II.

America and its allies need to get tougher on young men, who may become radical Islamists, said Clark, who is best known for leading NATO troops during the Kosovo war. The former Democratic presidential candidate made the comments in an interview on MSNBC in response to the shooting at a recruitment camp in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that left four Marines killed.

“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning,” the retired general said. “I do think on a national policy level we need to look at what self-radicalization means because we are at war with this group of terrorists.

“In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war,” he said. “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine, that’s their right. And it’s our right and our obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”

Clark added that “not only the United States but our allied nations like Britain, Germany and France are going to have to look at their domestic law procedures.”

The suggested heavy-handed solution that implies punishing people not for criminal acts but for upholding radical beliefs came in contrast to Clark’s earlier criticisms of the excesses of the Bush administration response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, such as the torture of terror suspects.

He also spoke against “the politics of fear” in dealing with the threat of foreign fighters coming home from Middle East conflicts.

The interview sparked outrage on social media, which the former general called “blogosteria” on his Twitter account. He reiterated that “US Citz who choose #ISIS are spies, enemy combatants or both. Govt should separate them from the rest of us.”

 

American Police State Needs More Easy-Bake-Terrorists

FBI Tracked Chattanooga Shooter’s Family for Years

land destroyer

July 17, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Once again, another convenient shooting has helped supercharge anger, hatred, fear, and division across the Western World after an alleged “Islamist extremist” opened fire on and killed 4 US Marines at a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Without any knowledge of how the US has in fact created Al Qaeda and its many global affiliates, including vicious terrorist groups plaguing Southeast Asia, and the most notorious to date, the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), the American public will predictably react in a manner that will simply further justify America’s meddling across the globe amid its self-created and perpetuated “War on Terror.” It will also help in efforts to further tighten control over the American public itself, with increased justifications for expanding police state measures and future pushes to disarm the American people.

Yahoo News would report in their article, “Shootings at Chattanooga military facilities leave 4 Marines, gunman dead; act called ‘domestic terrorism‘,” that:

A U.S. official told the Associated Press that Abdulazeez had not been on the radar of federal law enforcement before Thursday’s shooting. 

But also added:

His father had been investigated several years ago for “possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization” and added to the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a report in the New York Times, but that probe did not surface information about Abdulazeez, the paper said.

This means that yet another case of “domestic terror” has involved someone either investigated by the FBI, entrapped by an active FBI operation where FBI investigators posed as terrorist leaders and walked a patsy through every step of a terrorist attack before arresting them and thus “foiling” the attack, or linked directly to someone the FBI was investigating.

Ironically, the immense omnipresent police state the West has erected to combat the so-called “terrorist” threat, including the total surveillance of all communications online and across all telecommunication networks, at home and abroad under the National Security Agency (NSA) will only expand, despite it once again apparently failing, and despite attempts by special interests on Wall Street and in Washington to claim this latest attack “again” somehow circumvented these already sweeping measures.

Meanwhile, The US Continues Supporting Extremists Abroad

And while this latest attack is passed off as a “domestic terrorist attack” and the result of “Islamic extremists,” rather than a false flag event, the US continues to openly support the very “terrorists” it claims threatens its homeland and has inspired these sort of attacks.

Just recently, the Washington Post literally allowed a spokesman of Al Qaeda to defend his faction’s role in the fighting in Syria, and his condemnation of the United States for not rendering more aid for the cause of overrunning and destroying the Syrian nation – a goal the US itself is likewise pursuing.

Labib Al Nahhas, “head of foreign political relations” for terrorist organization Ahrar al-Sham, wrote in his Washington Post op-ed titled, “The deadly consequences of mislabeling Syria’s revolutionaries,” that:

Stuck inside their own bubble, White House policymakers have allocated millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to support failed CIA efforts to support so-called “moderate” forces in Syria. But these “moderate” groups have proved to be a disappointment on nearly every count, not least of all in confronting the Islamic State.

He also states:

That question should prompt Washington to admit that the Islamic State’s extremist ideology can be defeated only through a homegrown Sunni alternative — with the term “moderate” defined not by CIA handlers but by Syrians themselves.

Essentially, the Washington Post afforded a terrorist organization space to make an appeal to the American public for military support. Ahrar al-Sham regularly coordinates with and fights within operations led by Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front, a US State Department designated terrorist organization from which ISIS itself sprung.

Al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham are described as the “closest” of allies by Western think-tanks and media reports. It is also revealed that Ahrar al-Sham worked along side ISIS itself.

A Stanford University report under “Mapping Militant Organizations” explained (emphasis added):

Ahrar al-Sham quickly became one of the largest military organizations operating in Syria, and it has been active in efforts to unite the Islamist opposition under a single banner. It rejects the idea of Western intervention but sometimes works alongside Free Syrian Army brigades. It routinely cooperates with al-Nusra and, until relations soured in 2013, also worked with ISIS. In February 2014, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence called Ahrar al-Sham one of the three most effective rebel groups in Syria.

The Washington Post isn’t the only voice in the Western media promoting Al Qaeda. Foreign Policy in 2012 abhorrently proclaimed, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists: So the rebels aren’t secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn’t much matter.” As much as an admission that the US is backing what is essentially terrorism in Syria, the Foreign Policy article attempted even then to promote the alleged “pragmatism” of supporting Al Qaeda to eliminate America’s foreign enemies.

Image: 100’s of trucks a day pass over Turkey’s border with Syria, destined for ISIS territory. NATO literally is supplying ISIS with an endless torrent of supplies, weapons, and fighters meaning that no matter how many token airstrikes the US carries out, many times more fighters and materiel will fill the void. 

And while Foreign Policy and terrorists writing in the pages of the Washington Post demand more weapons and support from the West, it is already a documented fact that immense and constantly flowing supply convoys are streaming out of both NATO-member Turkey and US-ally Jordan’s territory, into Syria and Iraq, for the purpose of resupplying ISIS. This explains ISIS’ otherwise inexplicable ability to not only maintain its impressive fighting capacity as it simultaneously wages war against both the Syrian and Iraqi armies, but to expand its fighting to all fronts opposed to US regional hegemony.

This includes Yemen, Libya, and even Egypt where ISIS most recently managed to hit an Egyptian naval vessel with a missile. Foreign Policy would again weigh in. Their article, “Islamic State Sinai Affiliate Claims to Have Hit Egyptian Ship With Missile,” states:

The use of a guided missile to strike an Egyptian ship represents a higher level of technological sophistication than what has been previously observed in Sinai attacks. It is unclear, however, exactly what kind of missile was used in the attack, beyond the militant group’s claim that it was a guided munition.

Militant groups in the region have in the past used guided missiles to attack government ships in the Mediterranean. During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, an Iranian anti-ship missile fired by the militant group struck the Israeli warship Hanit, badly damaging the vessel and killing four crew members.

Of course, Foreign Policy and others across the Western media will be quick to point out that Hezbollah is a state-sponsored militant organization which receives its weapons from Syria and Iran. The question then becomes how ISIS replicated this level of “technological sophistication,” and which state-sponsors put the missiles into their hands.

The US supporting Al Qaeda is not really news. Al Qaeda was initially a joint US-Saudi venture to create a mercenary army to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980’s. This mercenary army would again fight Russian interests in Serbia and Chechnya before eventually being used as the pretext for US invasions and occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 onward. In 2007, it was revealed that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel sought to use the terrorist organization to raise a proxy military front to overthrow Syria and Iran. The resulting bloodbath in Syria beginning in 2011 is the operational execution of this documented conspiracy.

Al Qaeda and its various affiliates serve both as a proxy mercenary front to strike where Western forces cannot, and a pretext to invade abroad. It also serves as a constant justification for increased tyranny at home. With the most recent shooting carried out by yet another target of the FBI’s “investigations,” and the predictable divisive backlash that will follow, it is assured that the American public will be further blinded to the fact that this so-called “Islamic extremism” was born in Washington and on Wall Street, in Riyadh and Tel Aviv, not in a mosque or springing forth from the pages of the Qu’ran.

In fact, the vast majority of the world’s Islamic people are locked in mortal combat with the West’s mercenary terrorist forces, with tens of thousands of them having shed their blood fighting Al Qaeda everywhere from Libya to Egypt, to Iraq and Syria. While the US attempts to pose as the leading power in the fight against extremism, its token airstrikes deep within Syrian territory are quickly undone by the torrent of supplies it itself oversees flooding into Syrian territory. For every fighter killed by a US airstrike, 10 more are being trafficked in through US and NATO-run networks stretching as far afield as Xinjiang, China.

The US presence in Iraq and Syria serves simply as one of several planned stepping stones to eventually and directly intervene militarily in toppling either or both governments, before moving on to Tehran.

The “War on Terror” is a fraud, and each “terrorist attack” a carefully orchestrated means of further perpetuating that fraud.

“Cyber-Berkut” Hackers Capture Staged ISIS Beheading Video From John McCain Staffer In Ukraine

[SEE:  Al Jazeera’s fake Green Square; Syria: Qatar about to release “resounding fall” fake video]

Footage obtained from McCain staffer shows ISIL executions shot in studio

PressTV

A screen grab from leaked footage showing the filming of ISIL execution videos being taken in a studioA screen grab from leaked footage showing the filming of ISIL execution videos being taken in a studio

Leaked footage obtained from a staffer of US Senator John McCain shows the making of an ISIL “execution” video similar to the videos portraying the beheading of James Foley and other victims.

In the three-and-a-half minute video, ISIL executioner Jihadi John (aka Mohammed Emwazi) can be seen standing in front of a green screen, beside a kneeling hostage wearing an orange jumpsuit and a green screen hood in a fully equipped studio in the presence of a production crew, the Leaksource website recently reported.

The desert style set and wind machine effects, share similarities to the beheading videos ISIL released of Steven Sotloff, David Haines, and Alan Henning.

The following is an example showing the similarities between the leaked footage and Foley’s alleged beheading.

 

According to the report, the video was obtained in Ukraine from the cellphone of a member of McCain’s staff by the Hactivist group, CyberBerkut.

“Dear Senator McCain! We recommend you next time in foreign travel, and especially on the territory of Ukraine, not to take confidential documents.

On one of the devices of your colleagues, we found a lot of interesting things. Something we decided to put: this video should become the property of the international community!” the group is quoted as saying in the report.

MacCain’s ironic response to the claims can be seen below.

 

According to British forensic experts, Foley’s execution was probably staged with the use of “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques.”

A terrorism expert stated that the videos of Japanese hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa was probably taken in an indoor studio.

The ISIL video purporting to show the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya is also fake, said Hollywood horror film director Mary Lambert.

“In the opening shot all the figures might be animated. They never had more than six men on the beach… The close-ups of jihadists on the beach are most likely green screen… The sea turning red is obviously FX,” she said.

Modi, Obama’s Snake Charmer, Tries Seduction In Central Asia

[SEE:  Obama Trying To Make Rape Look Like Seduction]

[Indian military writers always rely upon what I call “strategic hopefulness.” They always seek to explain how the current American paradigm in east Asia can be worked-out, as long as India continues to play the leading role that Pentagon planners have cut-out for her. even doubling-down upon that. The current paradigm is a formula for failure and no amount of twisting and spinning will change that.

Mr. Gokhale is correct that Russia will never return in force to Afghanistan. India thinks that Pakistan can be replaced and a deal worked out with the Taliban to enable TAPI to proceed. There will be NO TAPI, until Pakistan exerts pressure on Taliban, or Pakistani troops are brought-in to protect the pipeline. Anyone who thinks that Pakistan does not maintain ultimate control over the Taliban should consider where the relatives of the Taliban are. Most are in Pak. Afghan refugee camps. The rest live in known locations. Control the families to control the fighters who fight for them.]

India, Central Asia and Afghanistan

abp live

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now set his eyes on recalibrating New Delhi’s outreach to the resource-rich Central Asian Republics (CARs) in an attempt to limit if not match China’s dominant presence in those countries. His current sojourn to the five  countries in Central Asia is clearly designed to build upon last 25 years of India’s diplomatic  investment in the region.

In the 1990s, when the CAR countries had just broken away from the Soviet Union, New Delhi had made it a point to immediately establish diplomatic relations with them. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, architect of India’s economic liberalisation, realised the importance of charting out a relationship with the newly-independent republics and was first off the block to visit a couple of them in the mid-1990s.Since then Central Asia has been part of India’s ‘extended neighbourhood.’ Although India has had ancient civilisational links with some those countries (because of the famous Silk Route which linked India to the vast expanse of what is now Central Asia), contemporary relations with them are largely driven by two major factors: security and counter-terrorism cooperation on one hand and economic ties and connectivity on the other.

Since then, New Delhi has steadily engaged with the CARs, offering them assistance in Information Technology, education, health care and infrastructure and supplying them with tea, garments, drugs and pharmaceuticals.

In return, these republics have been a major source of supply of uranium, non-ferrous metals,isotopes, radioactive chemical elements, oil and petroleum products.  And yet, India’s overall trade with the Central Asian Republics has remained at a paltry 500 million dollars, mainly constrained by the lack of direct land connectivity.

However, of late many new factors have entered the equation. The breakthrough in nuclear talks between the big powers and Iran has allowed India a little more manoeuvring space in its dealing with Tehran. India has promptly re-activated its assistance to improving the Chabahar port in eastern Iran which serves as a crucial link between Iran and Afghanistan and further into Central Asia. The port, when fully developed, will give India a crucial sea-land link into Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. Iran has already constructed a number of smaller roads to the Afghanistan border where it can be linked to the Zaranj-Delaram Highway, constructed by India. The Zaranj-Delaram Highway is connected to the Garland Highway that leads into Central Asia.

Chabahar is not the only port though that will enable India to connect to Central Asia and Eurasia. Bandar Abbas, Iran’s other important port that is likely to emerge as a key link in a major north-south  corridor.

At the moment New Delhi cannot match China’s economic clout and its ability to pour in money into smaller countries but by undertaking the proposed connectivity projects more vigorously, it can provide an alternative to the Central Asian Republics in order to lessen their dependence on ‘big brother’ China.

Which brings us to the situation in Afghanistan and India’s diminishing role in Kabul. As long as President Hamid Karzai was in power in Kabul, India was assured of a firm foothold in that country. New Delhi’s 2 billion dollar worth of assistance to Afghanistan for non-security sectors has earned a lot of goodwill but all that benevolence is in danger of being lost after President Abdul Ghani has taken over the reins of power.

Decidedly cold towards India and friendlier to Pakistan than Karzai, Ghani has introduced an element of uncertainty in the India-Afghanistan relations as well India’s foray into Central Asia since New Delhi was hoping to use Afghanistan as a springboard for its outreach into CARs. Afghanistan is also crucial for the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline. It was bad enough that India-Pakistan relations are fraught, now even Afghanistan may not be India’s friend.

So despite optimism expressed by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), there is a major question mark over the operationalisation of TAPI gas project in the near future.

So what should India do to remain relevant in Afghanistan and step up its involvement in CAR? Three essential aspects stand out. One, to keep its foothold in Kabul intact, India must work with Washington, Beijing and Moscow to limit the Pakistani Army’s role in Afghanistan. India, China and Russia in fact agreed to back a “broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, as well as to help Afghanistan’s integration into the region through its expanded trade and transport networks and regional connectivity.”

Two, India, must realise that it has–more than Russia and China–a larger stake in Afghanistan simply because any instability in Kabul and the return of Taliban would spell trouble for India’s security environment. China, in the Indian policymakers’ eyes, is using the minor unrest in Xianjiang province as an excuse to remain relevant in any Afghan solution but is unwilling to do much beyond paying lip service while Moscow, it feels, will not like to return to Kabul in any significant role given its past bitter experience in Afghanistan. And three, at the moment Ashraf Ghani may have put all his eggs in the Pakistani basket but he will sooner than later realise that Islamabad’s narrow objective of gaining a ‘strategic depth’ against India in the form of Afghanistan, is not compatible with what Kabul wants, i.e, peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

In the near and long term, India and to a lesser extent Washington, must do all it can, to help the Afghan people. India’s cultural and civilisational ties with the majority Afghan people are strong and notwithstanding the temporary setback India has suffered in Kabul, it will eventually prevail. India must therefore continue with its development programmes in Afghanistan and think of helping Kabul in capacity building of its human resource as well as that of its armed forces.

FACING A POWER THAT CAN MAKE YOU BELIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE

Mankind cannot evolve until we confront the evil which overpowers us with our own fears.

THERE IS NO WAR ON TERROR, THERE IS ONLY US TERRORIZING THE WORLD.  IF WE COULD DO THIS TO OURSELVES, THEN IMAGINE WHAT WE HAVE PLANNED FOR THE REST OF MANKIND.

COLLECTIVE EVOLUTION–911

9/11 Firefighters Reveal Bombs Destroyed WTC lobby

Newly obtained video that was reluctantly released by NIST after a lawsuit by the International Center for 9/11 Studies shows two firefighters on 9/11 discussing how secondary explosions occurred immediately before the collapse of the twin towers, providing damning new evidence that explosive devices were used to bring down the buildings. Firemen discuss how bombs were going off in the lobby of WTC1 as they were staging to move up the building. They explain how the building had already been hit by the plane and fires were already burning. After two explosions in the lobby, a third went off and the whole lobby collapsed. I’m sorry 9/11 truth deniers, you now have another smoking gun that you can’t deny!

NATO’s Never-Ending War Games On Russian Border Since 2014

THIS IS NOT RUSSIAN FORCES STAGING PROVOCATIVE WAR GAMES ON THE MEXICAN OR CANADIAN BORDER, IT IS AMERICANS TRYING TO PUSH-IN RUSSIA’S FRONT DOOR.

AMERICANS WANT MORE WAR, MORE KILLERS TO BE PROUD OF AND TO MOURN.

..WE CANNOT LIVE WITH OURSELVES WITHOUT IT.

NATO PROVOCATIONSSOURCE

ISIS, AQAP, Saudi Arabia, US, UK and France–Anti-Shia Coalition In Yemen

ISIS, AQAP and Saudi Arabia in anti Shia Tripartite Attack against Yemen: US, UK and France Supports?

modern tokyo times MODERN TOKYO TIMES

ISIS, AQAP and Saudi Arabia in anti Shia Tripartite Attack against Yemen: US, UK and France Supports?

Murad Makhmudov, Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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The tripartite sectarian nature of ISIS (Islamic State), Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Saudi Arabia led coalition is in full swing and aimed at crushing the Shia Houthis. At the same time, Sunni loyalists who oppose being pawns of Saudi Arabia are in the firing line. After all, given the nature of ISIS, AQAP and Saudi Arabia, then radical clerics will be on the frontline in deeming all and sundry with being apostates. However, the real targets for AQAP, ISIS and Saudi Arabia applies to the Shia Houthis because of the sectarian nature of all forces that are destabilizing Yemen.

Since it became clear that Saudi Arabia would intervene in Yemen with the backing of many mainly Sunni Muslim dominated nations, then ISIS also began to emerge in what appears to be a twin assault by stealth. At the same time, AQAP is gaining from the Saudi Arabia led coalition and increasing terrorist attacks by ISIS. Therefore, AQAP was able to attack Mukalla in the province of Hadramawt in the southeast and then consolidate because of the tripartite attack against the people of Yemen.

Once more, the nations of America, France and the United Kingdom are siding with Saudi Arabia. In other words, AQAP, ISIS, the Saudi Arabia led coalition and the usual Western powers are all on the same side – irrespective if from a distance or based on different motives. This brutal reality highlights the severe plight that the Shia Houthis face and likewise for the people of Yemen irrespective of faith.

Last month the BBC reported: “Yemen has been in turmoil since Houthi rebels overran Sanaa last September, forcing the government of President Mansour Abdrabbuh Hadi to flee… In late March, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia began targeting the rebels with air strikes. Since then, more than 2,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 1,400 civilians, according to the UN.”

Since this report by the BBC the death total keeps on rising and the growing menace of ISIS is also abundantly clear. AQAP also knows full well that the Shia Houthis are being overstretched and while they fear the growing rise of ISIS, given internal Takfiri butchering in Syria, at the moment AQAP can consolidate based on the intrigues of the Saudi Arabia led coalition.

This reality renders the policies of America, France and the United Kingdom to be morally bankrupt when it comes to Yemen. After all, are internal security agencies in these nations worried about al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS – or do they fear the Shia Houthis? Obviously, the internal and external threat internationally applies to al-Qaeda affiliates, ISIS and Gulf petrodollars that are spreading indoctrination and hatred.

In the latest ISIS terrorist attack AFP reports: “An attack on Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen’s capital claimed by the Islamic State group killed at least 28 people, medics said Tuesday, the latest anti-Shiite assault by the Sunni extremists.”

At the same time, fresh airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia led coalition is killing civilians. Indeed, even the United Nations is alarmed by the mass instability and indiscriminate nature of the bombing campaign that is being led by Saudi Arabia. On top of this, AQAP is consolidating its power base because clearly the tripartite assault is focused on the Shia and destabilizing the nation.

Sadly, the political elites in America, France and the United Kingdom are once more dragging their respective democracies through the mud by assisting brutal sectarian forces on the whims of Saudi Arabia.

Hypocrite Obama Prevents Delivery of Heavy Weapons To Kurds, Bombing of ISIL

US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State

the telegraph

Middle East allies accuse Barack Obama and David Cameron of failing to show strategic leadership in fight against Isil, as MPs could be given vote on whether to bomb Syria.

President Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in NashvillePresident Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville Photo: AP

 

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, The Telegraph has learnt.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.” The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.

The US has also infuriated its allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states, by what they perceive to be a lack of clear purpose and vacillation in how they conduct the bombing campaign. Other members of the coalition say they have identified clear Isil targets but then been blocked by US veto from firing at them.

“There is simply no strategic approach,” one senior Gulf official said. “There is a lack of coordination in selecting targets, and there is no overall plan for defeating Isil.”

THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE–we don’t need no stinking prison walls

[SEE:  THEY LIVE, We Have No Special SUNGLASSESJuly 14, 2008, 2nd article on There Are No Sunglasses website]

Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates In The American Police State

zero hedge

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free—to be under no physical constraint and yet be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national state, or of some private interest within the nation wants him to think, feel and act. . . . To him the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.”—Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World Revisited

Free worlders” is prison slang for those who are not incarcerated behind prison walls.  Supposedly, those fortunate souls live in the “free world.” However, appearances can be deceiving.

“As I got closer to retiring from the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” writes former prison employee Marlon Brock, “it began to dawn on me that the security practices we used in the prison system were being implemented outside those walls.” In fact, if Brock is right, then we “free worlders” do live in a prison—albeit, one without visible walls.

In federal prisons, cameras are everywhere in order to maintain “security” and keep track of the prisoners. Likewise, the “free world” is populated with video surveillance and tracking devices. From surveillance cameras in stores and street corners to license plate readers (with the ability to log some 1,800 license plates per hour) on police cars, our movements are being tracked virtually everywhere. With this increasing use of iris scanners and facial recognition software—which drones are equipped with—there would seem to be nowhere to hide.

Detection and confiscation of weapons (or whatever the warden deems “dangerous”) in prison is routine. The inmates must be disarmed. Pat downs, checkpoints, and random searches are second nature in ferreting out contraband.

Sound familiar?

Metal detectors are now in virtually all government buildings. There are the TSA scanning devices and metal detectors we all have to go through in airports. Police road blocks and checkpoints are used to perform warrantless searches for contraband. Those searched at road blocks can be searched for contraband regardless of their objections—just like in prison. And there are federal road blocks on American roads in the southwestern United States. Many of them are permanent and located up to 100 miles from the border.

Stop and frisk searches are taking place daily across the country. Some of them even involve anal and/or vaginal searches. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved strip searches even if you are arrested for a misdemeanor—such as a traffic stop. Just like a prison inmate.

Prison officials open, search and read every piece of mail sent to inmates. This is true of those who reside outside prison walls, as well. In fact, “the United States Postal Service uses a ‘Mail Isolation Control and Tracking Program’ to create a permanent record of who is corresponding with each other via snail mail.” Believe it or not, each piece of physical mail received by the Postal Service is photographed and stored in a database. Approximately 160 billion pieces of mail sent out by average Americans are recorded each year and the police and other government agents have access to this information.

Prison officials also monitor outgoing phone calls made by inmates. This is similar to what the NSA, the telecommunication corporation, and various government agencies do continually to American citizens. The NSA also downloads our text messages, emails, Facebook posts, and so on while watching everything we do.

Then there are the crowd control tactics: helmets, face shields, batons, knee guards, tear gas, wedge formations, half steps, full steps, pinning tactics, armored vehicles, and assault weapons. Most of these phrases are associated with prison crowd control because they were perfected by prisons.

Finally, when a prison has its daily operations disturbed, often times it results in a lockdown. What we saw with the “free world” lockdowns following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the melees in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, mirror a federal prison lockdown.

These are just some of the similarities between the worlds inhabited by locked-up inmates and those of us who roam about in the so-called “free world.”

Is there any real difference?

To those of us who see the prison that’s being erected around us, it’s a bit easier to realize what’s coming up ahead, and it’s not pretty. However, and this must be emphasized, what most Americans perceive as life in the United States of America is a far cry from reality. Real agendas and real power are always hidden.

As Author Frantz Fanon notes, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

This state of denial and rejection of reality is the essential plot of John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live, where a group of down-and-out homeless men discover that people have been, in effect, so hypnotized by media distractions that they do not see their prison environment and the real nature of those who control them—that is, an oligarchic elite.

Caught up in subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform,” among others, beamed out of television and various electronic devices, billboards, and the like, people are unaware of the elite controlling their lives. As such, they exist, as media analyst Marshall McLuhan once wrote, in “prisons without walls.” And of course, any resistance is met with police aggression.

A key moment in the film occurs when John Nada, a homeless drifter, notices something strange about people hanging about a church near the homeless settlement where he lives. Nada decides to investigate. Entering the church, he sees graffiti on a door: They live, We sleep. Nada overhears two men, obviously resisters, talking about “robbing banks” and “manufacturing Hoffman lenses until we’re blue in the face.” Moments later, one of the resisters catches Nada fumbling in the church and tells him “it’s the revolution.” When Nada nervously backs off, the resister assures him, “You’ll be back.”

Rummaging through a box, Nada discovers a handful of cheap-looking sunglasses, referred to earlier as Hoffman lenses. Grabbing a pair and exiting the church, he starts walking down a busy urban street.

Sliding the sunglasses on his face, Nada is shocked to see a society bombarded and controlled on every side by subliminal messages beamed at them from every direction. Billboards are transformed into authoritative messages: a bikini-clad woman in one ad is replaced with the words “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” Magazine racks scream “CONSUME” and “OBEY.” A wad of dollar bills in a vendor’s hand proclaims, “THIS IS YOUR GOD.”

What’s even more disturbing than the hidden messages, however, are the ghoulish-looking creatures—the elite—who appear human until viewed them through the lens of truth.

This is the subtle message of They Live, an apt analogy of our own distorted vision of life in the American police state. These things are in plain sight, but from the time we are born until the time we die, we are indoctrinated into believing that those who rule us do it for our good. The truth, far different, is that those who rule us don’t really see us as human beings with dignity and worth. They see us as if “we’re livestock.”

It’s only once Nada’s eyes have been opened that he is able to see the truth: “Maybe they’ve always been with us,” he says. “Maybe they love it—seeing us hate each other, watching us kill each other, feeding on our own cold f**in’ hearts.” Nada, disillusioned and fed up with the lies and distortions, is finally ready to fight back. “I got news for them. Gonna be hell to pay. Cause I ain’t daddy’s little boy no more.”

What about you?

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the warning signs have been cautioning us for decades. Oblivious to what lies ahead, most have ignored the obvious. We’ve been manipulated into believing that if we continue to consume, obey, and have faith, things will work out. But that’s never been true of emerging regimes. And by the time we feel the hammer coming down upon us, it will be too late.

As Rod Serling warned:

All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwalds, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the earth into a graveyard, into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance. Then we become the grave diggers.

The message: stay alert.

Take the warning signs seriously. And take action because the paths to destruction are well disguised by those in control.

This is the lesson of history.

Obama’s Wars Have Created More Refugees Than Hitler and Tojo Combined

[Why bother pointing-out the fact that there are now more refugees lost on the road, looking to escape the wars which uprooted them, than there were in World War II, if no one cares to delegate blame for this human travesty?  America’s “humanitarian wars” and alleged “wars on terror,” as well as the State Dept’s “colored revolutions”/”Arab Spring” are the root of all this violence in the world, which drives huge herds of displaced humans, looking for a safe place to land.  When Hitler drove the dispossessed from the heart of Europe, it was called a ‘war of aggression.’  What do we call America’s deadly interventions and multiple wars with no end?]

turkish-soldiers-stand-guard-syrian-refugees-wait-behind-border-fencesThere Have Never Been More Displaced People Across the World Than Now

time

If the number of displaced persons formed a nation, it would be the 24th largest country in the world

The total number of people forcibly displaced by war, conflict and persecution rose to a record 59.5 million at the end of 2014, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.

The agency’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released Thursday, found forced displacement worldwide has reached unprecedented levels, with a record annual rise of 8.3 million more displaced people since 2013. Some 38.2 million of the total were internally displaced in their own countries.

If the number of displaced persons formed a nation, the report said, it would be the 24th largest country in the world.

Speaking in Turkey on Thursday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres confirmed worldwide displacement was at the highest ever recorded.

“When you see the news in any global network, we clearly get the impression that the world is at war,” he said. “Indeed many areas of the world are today in a completely chaotic situation and the result is this staggering escalation of displacement, the staggering escalation of suffering, because each displaced person is a tragic story,” he said.

Syria overtook Afghanistan to become the biggest source of refugees last year, with 1.77 million Syrians having fled the nation’s ongoing civil war.

Just over half of all refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility worldwide came from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. The report also pointed to new and continuing conflicts in South Sudan, Ukraine and Iraq, among others, which have caused suffering and widespread displacement.

Guterres warned that humanitarian organizations were “no longer able to clean up the mess.”

“U.N. agencies, NGOs, the Red Cross — we no longer have the capacities and the resources to respond to such a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs,” he said.

Turkey overtook Pakistan to become the nation hosting the most refugees in the world with 1.59 million people currently displaced within its borders. Guterres praised Turkey’s willingness to keep its frontiers open and called on richer countries to do more.

“That has a special meaning in a world where so many borders are closed or restricted,” he said. “And where new walls are being built or announced.”

Terrorism and American Foreign Policy–Published September 25, 2001

Terrorism and American Foreign Policy

tanbou

—by Robert Elias September 25, 2001
Professor of politics at University of San Francisco, California

T

he US has suffered terrible crimes from the terrorist attacks two weeks ago. They have taken a horrible toll in lost lives, and have shaken the nation to its foundations. We’ve felt a rush of emotions, including horror, fear, grief, sorrow, anger and even calls for revenge. As a person from New York, I take the terrorism very personally. I have family, friends and acquaintances there, and I’m still not sure about all of them. I’m very angry about the senseless deaths.

These terrorists and their acts are despicable, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

In response to these acts, our emotions are understandable, and we should do nothing to belittle these feelings. It almost seems blasphemous to suggest that we add to these emotions a part of us that also thinks about what happened and why. And yet there’s a need, beyond our feelings, also to understand. Why did this happen to us? Our leaders in Washington have rushed in with their response, and there’s the danger that we, the people, will be left behind or left completely susceptible to Washington’s lead rather than making up our own minds about why this happened, and what to do.

Unfortunately, in trying to understand why this terrorism has occurred, we’ve been given little help by those upon which we rely for information. Our educational system has provided us neither the history nor the critical perspective to understand. Our officials refuse to ask the question “why,” except in terms of stereotypes that divert us from the causes and focus us instead on the symptoms. And most crucially, our mainstream media has almost exclusively parroted official analyses and solutions, acting not like watchdogs but rather like lapdogs. Officials and our media operate essentially under the assumption that there can be no question of “why,” since there’s nothing we could have conceivably done that has anything to do with provoking terrorism.

To the extent that “why” is considered at all, it’s almost completely superficial. Our officials tell us that: “The terrorists hate us, they are different from us, they are evil, they want to hurt or destroy us for no good reason, and we—the strongest and most armed nation in the world—have nevertheless been too weak in defending ourselves, and must respond with war to root out the perpetrators and make sure this never happens again. We deplore this and all acts of violence, officials tell us, and we will violently retaliate against this outrage.” And our media repeat this level of non-analysis and contradiction almost verbatim. As media critic I.F. Stone once said, “The Washington press corps is like a group of stenographers with amnesia,” dutifully printing official handouts and reporting events with little or no historical or critical perspective.

So we need to think for ourselves. And to do this will require a great deal of courage. If, as President Bush has suggested, America is a strong and great nation, then we can afford to have the courage to ask difficult questions and to consider new ways of thinking about and acting in the world. A part of doing so will require that we examine American foreign policy.

In subsequent meetings, America’s economic and other policies abroad will be considered. Today we’d like to focus on some of our foreign, military and human rights policies. We’d like to consider the possibility that there’s a relationship between some of our policies abroad and acts of terrorism committed against us. It’s true that many peoples around the world hate us but the reasons are far more complicated than the simplistic explanations that officials and the media have been giving us. So we must ask why.

But by asking why, and by trying to truly understand, we must remember that acts of terrorism like the ones we’ve just experienced can never be justified. I repeat: nothing we’ve ever done, none of our policies, no matter how questionable, can ever justify terrorism. But if terrorism can never be justified, that does not mean that it cannot be explained or understood. No matter how apparently extreme we might find the views of terrorists, we’re not talking about people who act for no reason. What are the reasons, and why do many people outside the US hate us?

Another caveat for our discussion today. If we shed a critical light on American policies, shall we be viewed as unpatriotic, or even as traitors? If we view patriotism as blindly waving the flag, as supporting the nation right or wrong, and as America, love it or leave it, then the answer is “yes.” But I’d like to suggest a more enlightened view of patriotism, as stated by the Nobel Prize writer Albert Camus, who said that “The true patriot is one who gives his highest loyalty not to his country as it is, regardless of what it does, but rather to what it can and ought to be.” In other words, the real patriot insists that his or her nation live up to its ideals.

Americans are a great people. But what are we great for? For the amount of violence we’re capable of delivering? For the wars we’ve decided to fight? For the level of revenge we’ve sought and accomplished? Is this what makes us great? We keep hearing how Americans are “strong” but strength is inconsequential compared to a people who are decent, generous, caring, heroic, courageous and compassionate. And those things we are! Those are things we should be proud of.

But can we say the same for our foreign policies? Are these policies compassionate and courageous, or something quite different? Most Americans would be shocked if they really knew or if they really comprehended and felt the violence that has been done abroad by US foreign policy in their name.

Most officials, however, are well aware of our past and present policies. In the rare instance when they are reminded of the shady aspects and negative consequences of those policies, there’s almost never any debate about the facts. Most of our underhanded policies were revealed by the US Congressional Hearings chaired by Senator Frank Church, and have been corroborated by many other official and non-official sources. Actually, there’s a widespread agreement among both the proponents and the opponents of US foreign policy about the kinds of actions we’ll be describing for you today.

The disagreement instead stems from the rationale for our policies, and whether those policies—no matter how distasteful—are nevertheless justified. Defenders of US foreign policy argue that our actions are warranted. Generally speaking, they subscribe to what has been called, in international relations, the “realist” school of thinking. That perspective argues that of course the US has done unsavory things abroad but it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and everyone is doing unsavory things. We’ve done, they argue, what we’ve done not only to survive but also to make sure we’re the top dog in the world—and it’s a good thing that peace and freedom-loving people like us are the ones directing the show. For example, in 1992, George Bush Sr. observed that: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one sole and preeminent power, the USA. And they regard this with no dread. For the world trusts us with power, and the world is right. They trust us to be fair, and restrained. They trust us to be on the side of decency. They trust us to do what’s right.”

The realist school further argues that anything other than an “ends justify the means” approach to world politics makes the false presumption that peoples and nations will be more good than evil. That, according to the realists, is a mistakenly positive view of human nature. Anyone, they argue, who believes that human nature is basically good, or that humans can be induced to act good, and that peoples and nations can peacefully and freely coexist is hopelessly idealistic.

Of course, the critics of US foreign policy, or the idealists, see things differently. They believe we can and should take peace and human rights seriously. For this, they are labeled as unrealistic and even utopian. But the idealists argue that those who are truly the utopians, in the sense of believing something that cannot come true, are actually the realists, since the realists harbor pie-in-the-sky notions that we can keep pursuing violent and underhanded policies without our having to pay some consequences or without the world eventually blowing itself to bits. The idealists argue that the realists make unnecessarily negative assumptions about people and the world, and then adopt cutthroat policies that turn those assumptions into self-fulfilling prophecies.

And the debate between the two sides rages. But while the debate continues, the policy battles have always been won by the realists, who justify our often-violent policies. So, if you’re happy about the world you see, then thank the realists. If, however, you have some concerns about our policies and about the state of our nation and the world, then you might want to consider some alternatives.

This may be painful for us to hear but let’s begin examining the history of our foreign policy by stating the bottom line: more than any other tool, the US has used violence as the main vehicle of its policies toward peoples and nations abroad. For example, in its little more than 200 years of history, the US has intervened militarily in other nations about 200 times; about once a year. The interventions have varied from minor to outright war but most of them have been serious. Now if this sounds like someone’s wild-eyed ravings, keep in mind that in the early 1980s, President Reagan admitted to 125 US military interventions, and his government added several more during his time in office. Reagan not only acknowledged this number of interventions, he bragged about them. One of the major studies of US military intervention was conducted again not by some wild radical but rather by Republican Senator Jacob Javits in the 1970s, and by his count we were already up to 150 military interventions by then. It would be interesting to examine each of these interventions but that would take far too much time. Instead, we’ll focus on the period since 1945.

Unfortunately, the shorter time period won’t improve the picture. From 1945 to 2000, for example, the US attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, usually successfully, and crushed more than 30 populist movements struggling against dictatorships, killing several million people in the process, and condemning millions more to a life of misery. Those are shocking numbers but keep in mind that defenders of US foreign policy rarely quarrel with these numbers but rather only try to show why they were necessary. Beyond these actions abroad, it’s also instructive to examine US policies that have created terrorists, carried out torture and assassinations, developed death squads, provided training manuals for repression, granted safe haven for terrorists and war criminals, used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations, promoted and used chemical and biological weapons, perverted foreign elections and otherwise intervened in foreign political systems, and undermined hundreds of UN resolutions and treaties (with the US often the only dissenting vote among the world’s nations).

Woodrow Wilson, who was elected President based on a platform that promised to keep the US out of World War I, nevertheless pushed the US into the War after his election, and justified our participation, arguing that the goal of US foreign policy was to “make the world safe for democracy.” Perhaps if we try hard we can find instances where our policy has produced democracy but it’s far easier to find endless examples where our policy has undermined it. This may be because the real objective of our foreign policy has instead been “making the world safe for capitalism,” and for the US to control as much of the world as possible, shaping it into the American image. In that, our policies have been very successful. In 1997, Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading newsmagazine, editorialized that: “Never before in history has a country dominated the earth so totally as the United States does today… America is the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, intrusive, intimidating… The Americans, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, act as if they own a kind of blank check in their very own “McWorld.”

In 1996, the Annual Report of the world’s leading human rights organization, Amnesty International, concluded that: “It is a paradox that a nation that did so much to articulate and codify human rights in its foundation documents has so consistently resisted and undermined the effective functioning of an international framework to protect these principles and values.” “…repression, torture and terror has occurred disproportionately among countries in the American sphere of influence.” “Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, a woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed, or “disappeared” at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.” How can Amnesty International say these things about us?

Many years ago, the Chinese writer Moh-Tze said: “To kill one person is murder. To kill thousands is foreign policy.” This seems to be reflected in American policies abroad. So let’s quickly review the list of offenses.

US Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The indiscriminate use of bombs by the US, usually outside a declared war situation, for wanton destruction, for no military objectives, whose targets and victims are civilian populations, or what we now call “collateral damage.”

Japan (1945) China (1945–46) Korea & China (1950–53)
Guatemala (1954, 1960, 1967–69) Indonesia (1958) Cuba (1959–61)
Congo (1964) Peru (1965) Laos (1964–70)
Vietnam (1961–1973) Cambodia (1969–70) Grenada (1983)
Lebanon (1983–84) Libya (1986) El Salvador (1980s)
Nicaragua (1980s) Iran (1987) Panama (1989)
Iraq (1991–2000) Kuwait (1991) Somalia (1993)
Bosnia (1994–95) Sudan (1998) Afghanistan (1998)
Pakistan (1998) Yugoslavia (1999)
Macedonia (1999)

US Use of Chemical & Biological Weapons

The US has refused to sign Conventions against the development and use of chemical and biological weapons, and has either used or tested (without informing the civilian populations) these weapons in the following locations abroad:

Bahamas (late 1940s–mid-1950s)
Canada (1953)
China and Korea (1950–53)
Korea (1967–69)
Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (1961–1970)
Panama (1940s–1990s)
Cuba (1962, 69, 70, 71, 81, 96)

And the US has tested such weapons on US civilian populations, without their knowledge, in the following locations:

Watertown, NY and US Virgin Islands (1950)
SF Bay Area (1950, 1957–67)
Minneapolis (1953)
St. Louis (1953)
Washington, DC Area (1953, 1967)
Florida (1955)
Savannah GA/Avon Park, FL (1956–58)
New York City (1956, 1966)
Chicago (1960)

And the US has encouraged the use of such weapons, and provided the technology to develop such weapons in various nations abroad, including:

Egypt
South Africa
Iraq

US Political and Military Interventions since 1945

The US has launched a series of military and political interventions since 1945, often to install puppet regimes, or alternatively to engage in political actions such as smear campaigns, sponsoring or targeting opposition political groups (depending on how they served US interests), undermining political parties, sabotage and terror campaigns, and so forth. It has done so in nations such as

China (1945–51) South Africa (1960s–1980s)
France (1947) Bolivia (1964–75)
Marshall Islands (1946–58) Australia (1972–75)
Italy (1947–1975) Iraq (1972–75)
Greece (1947–49) Portugal (1974–76)
Philippines (1945–53) East Timor (1975–99)
Korea (1945–53) Ecuador (1975)
Albania (1949–53) Argentina (1976)
Eastern Europe (1948–56) Pakistan (1977)
Germany (1950s) Angola (1975–1980s)
Iran (1953) Jamaica (1976)
Guatemala (1953–1990s) Honduras (1980s)
Costa Rica (mid-1950s, 1970–71) Nicaragua (1980s)
Middle East (1956–58) Philippines (1970s–90s)
Indonesia (1957–58) Seychelles (1979–81)
Haiti (1959) South Yemen (1979–84)
Western Europe (1950s–1960s) South Korea (1980)
Guyana (1953–64) Chad (1981–82)
Iraq (1958–63) Grenada (1979–83)
Vietnam (1945–53) Suriname (1982–84)
Cambodia (1955–73) Libya (1981–89)
Laos (1957–73) Fiji (1987)
Thailand (1965–73) Panama (1989)
Ecuador (1960–63) Afghanistan (1979–92)
Congo (1960–65, 1977–78) El Salvador (1980–92)
Algeria (1960s) Haiti (1987–94)
Brazil (1961–64)
Peru (1965) Albania (1991–92)
Dominican Republic (1963–65) Somalia (1993)
Cuba (1959–present) Iraq (1990s)
Indonesia (1965) Peru (1990–present)
Ghana (1966) Mexico (1990–present)
Uruguay (1969–72) Colombia (1990–present)
Chile (1964–73) Yugoslavia (1995–99)
Greece (1967–74)

US Perversions of Foreign Elections

The US has specifically intervened to rig or distort the outcome of foreign elections, and sometimes engineered sham “demonstration” elections to ward off accusations of government repression in allied nations in the US sphere of influence. These sham elections have often installed or maintained in power repressive dictators who have victimized their populations. Such practices have occurred in nations such as:

Philippines (1950s)
Italy (1948–1970s)
Lebanon (1950s)
Indonesia (1955)
Vietnam (1955)
Guyana (1953–64)
Japan (1958–1970s)
Nepal (1959)
Laos (1960)
Brazil (1962)
Dominican Republic (1962)
Guatemala (1963)
Bolivia (1966)
Chile (1964–70)
Portugal (1974–75)
Australia (1974–75)
Jamaica (1976)
El Salvador (1984)
Panama (1984, 89)
Nicaragua (1984, 90)
Haiti (1987, 88)
Albania (1991–92)
Russia (1996)
Mongolia (1996)
Bosnia (1998)

US Versus World at the United Nations

The US has repeatedly acted to undermine peace and human rights initiatives at the United Nations, routinely voting against hundreds of UN resolutions and treaties. The US easily has the worst record of any nation on not supporting UN treaties. In almost all of its hundreds of “no” votes, the US was the “sole” nation to vote no (among the 100–130 nations that usually vote), and among only 1 or 2 other nations voting no the rest of the time. Here’s a representative sample of US votes from 1978–1987:

US Is the Sole “No” Vote on Resolutions or Treaties

For aid to underdeveloped nations
For the promotion of developing nation exports
For UN promotion of human rights
For protecting developing nations in trade agreements
For New International Economic Order for underdeveloped nations
For development as a human right
Versus multinational corporate operations in South Africa
For cooperative models in developing nations
For right of nations to economic system of their choice
Versus chemical and biological weapons (at least 3 times)
Versus Namibian apartheid
For economic/standard of living rights as human rights
Versus apartheid South African aggression vs. neighboring states (2 times)
Versus foreign investments in apartheid South Africa
For world charter to protect ecology
For anti-apartheid convention
For anti-apartheid convention in international sports
For nuclear test ban treaty (at least 2 times)
For prevention of arms race in outer space
For UNESCO-sponsored new world information order (at least 2 times)
For international law to protect economic rights
For Transport & Communications Decade in Africa
Versus manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction
Versus naval arms race
For Independent Commission on Disarmament & Security Issues
For UN response mechanism for natural disasters
For the Right to Food
For Report of Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination
For UN study on military development
For Commemoration of 25th anniversary of Independence for Colonial Countries
For Industrial Development Decade in Africa
For interdependence of economic and political rights
For improved UN response to human rights abuses
For protection of rights of migrant workers
For protection against products harmful to health and the environment
For a Convention on the Rights of the Child
For training journalists in the developing world
For international cooperation on third world debt
For a UN Conference on Trade & Development

US Is 1 of Only 2 “No” Votes on Resolutions or Treaties

For Palestinian living conditions/rights (at least 8 times)
Versus foreign intervention into other nations
For a UN Conference on Women
Versus nuclear test explosions (at least 2 times)
For the non-use of nuclear weapons vs. non-nuclear states
For a Middle East nuclear free zone
Versus Israeli nuclear weapons (at least 2 times)
For a new world international economic order
For a trade union conference on sanctions vs. South Africa
For the Law of the Sea Treaty
For economic assistance to Palestinians
For UN measures against fascist activities and groups
For international cooperation on money/finance/debt/trade/development
For a Zone of Peace in the South Atlantic
For compliance with Intl Court of Justice decision for Nicaragua vs. US.
**For a conference and measures to prevent international terrorism (including its underlying causes)
For ending the trade embargo vs. Nicaragua

US Is 1 of Only 3 “No” Votes on Resolutions and Treaties

Versus Israeli human rights abuses (at least 6 times)
Versus South African apartheid (at least 4 times)
Versus return of refugees to Israel
For ending nuclear arms race (at least 2 times)
For an embargo on apartheid South Africa
For South African liberation from apartheid (at least 3 times)
For the independence of colonial nations
For the UN Decade for Women
Versus harmful foreign economic practices in colonial territories
For a Middle East Peace Conference
For ending the embargo of Cuba (at least 10 times)

In addition, the US has:

Repeatedly withheld its dues from the UN
Twice left UNESCO because of its human rights initiatives
Twice left the International Labor Organization for its workers rights initiatives
Refused to renew the Antiballistic Missile Treaty
Refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Refused to back the World Health Organization’s ban on infant formula abuses
Refused to sign the Anti-Biological Weapons Convention
Refused to sign the Convention against the use of land mines
Refused to participate in the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban
Been one of the last nations in the world to sign the UN Covenant on Political &
Civil Rights (30 years after its creation)
Refused to sign the UN Covenant on Economic & Social Rights
Opposed the emerging new UN Covenant on the Rights to Peace, Development & Environmental Protection

Sampling of Deaths From US Military Interventions & Propping Up Corrupt Dictators (using the most conservative estimates)

Nicaragua 30,000 dead
Brazil 100,000 dead
Korea 4 million dead
Guatemala 200,000 dead
Honduras 20,000 dead
El Salvador 63,000 dead
Argentina 40,000 dead
Bolivia 10,000 dead
Uruguay 10,000 dead
Ecuador 10,000 dead
Peru 10,000 dead
Iraq 1.3 million dead
Iran 30,000 dead
Sudan 8–10,000 dead
Colombia 50,000 dead
Panama 5,000 dead
Japan 140,000 dead
Afghanistan 10,000 dead
Somalia 5000 dead
Philippines 150,000 dead
Haiti 100,000 dead
Dominican Republic 10,000 dead
Libya 500 dead
Macedonia 1000 dead
South Africa 10,000 dead
Pakistan 10,000 dead
Palestine 40,000 dead
Indonesia 1 million dead
East Timor 1/3–1/2 of total population
Greece 10,000 dead
Laos 600,000 dead
Cambodia 1 million dead
Angola 300,000 dead
Grenada 500 dead
Congo 2 million dead
Egypt 10,000 dead
Vietnam 1.5 million dead
Chile 50,000 dead

Other Lethal US Interventions

CIA Terror Training Manuals

Development and distribution of training manuals for foreign military personnel or foreign nationals, including instructions on assassination, subversion, sabotage, population control, torture, repression, psychological torture, death squads, etc.

Specific Torture Campaigns

Creation and launching of direct US campaigns to support torture as an instrument of terror and social control for governments in Greece, Iran, Vietnam, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama

Supporting and Harboring Terrorists

  • The promotion, protection, arming or equiping of terrorists such as:
  • Klaus Barbie and other German Nazis, and Italian and Japanese fascists, after WW II
  • Manual Noriega (Panama), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Osama bin Laden (Afghanistan), and others whose terrorism has come back to haunt us
  • Running the Higher War College (Brazil) and first School of the Americas (Panama), which gave US training to repressors, death squad members, and torturers (the second School of the Americas is still running at Ft. Benning GA)
  • Providing asylum for Cuban, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Haitian, Chilean, Argentinian, Iranian, South Vietnamese and other terrorists, dictators, and torturers

Assassinating World Leaders

Using assassination as a tool of foreign policy, wherein the CIA has initiated assassination attempts against at least 40 foreign heads of state (some several times) in the last 50 years, a number of which have been successful, such as: Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Ngo Dihn Diem (Vietnam) Salvador Allende (Chile)

Arms Trade & US Military Presence

  • The US is the world’s largest seller of weapons abroad, arming dictators, militaries, and terrorists that repress or victimize their populations, and fueling scores of violent conflicts around the globe
  • The US is the world’s largest provider of live land mines which, even in peacetime, kill or injure at least several people around the world each day
  • The US has military bases in at least 50 nations around the world, which have led to frequent victimization of local populations.
  • The US military has been bombing one Middle Eastern or Muslim nation or another almost continuously since 1983, including Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq (almost daily bombings since 1991)

This, then, is a sampling of American foreign policies over the last 50 years. The FBI uses the following definition for Terrorism: “The unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” This sounds like the terrorism we just experienced. It also sounds a lot like the US policies and actions since 1945 that I’ve just described.

In response to these policies, it wouldn’t be surprising if eventually the US suffered some backlash. In fact, US officials have a word for the repercussions: “blowback,” which describes the way questionable and often deplorable policies often come back to haunt us. Even former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger admitted, a few years ago, that: “We’ve presented to the rest of the world a vision of the bully on the block who pushes a button, people out there die, and we don’t pay anything except the cost of a missile… that’s going to haunt us in trying to deal with the rest of the world in the years ahead.”

In one of its recent, official reports, the US State Department concludes that if the people of a rogue nation experience enough suffering, they will overthrow their rulers, or compel them to adopt more sensible behavior. This view has been used by the US to promote suffering and subversive policies from Nicaragua to Iraq. But now the policy has apparently been turned against us: Islamic fundamentalists have concluded that Americans need to begin suffering in order to change US policies towards the Muslim world.

If the recent terrorism was carried out by Osama bin Laden, then why has he struck? Describing bin Laden is a long story that will be told, in detail, in a subsequent session of this forum. Briefly, we know that bin Laden is a fanatical Islamic fundamentalist who was not created by the US but who, along with a legion of terrorist followers, was nevertheless trained, equipped, and financed by the CIA to oppose the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. These followers, the mujahedeen (mujahidin), numbered between 15,000 and 50,000 people, and they went on to play a terrorist role in Chechnya, Bosnia, China, France, the Philippines, the Middle East, and elsewhere. They are a good example of blowback from US policy.

While President, Ronald Reagan welcomed members of the Mujahadin to the White House in 1985, and about them he said: “These are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” (Earlier, he had said the same thing about the contra terrorists the US created to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.) In effect, then, we are about to go to war, in Afghanistan, against the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers!

Bin Laden and his followers are fascists. But they also oppose corrupt and repressive Middle East regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt) supported by US, the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the genocide against Bosnian Muslims, the Indian occupation of Kashmir, the US military bases in Saudi Arabia, the US war against Iraq, and the daily humiliation suffered by Palestinians and other Arabs, who have seen their resources stolen, their lands taken, and their lives jeopardized by war and other violence.

Interestingly enough, a very recent Wall Street Journal interview of prominent Muslims and other Middle Easterners, including bankers, businessmen, professionals, and many with close ties to the US, shows that the grievances of these “non-terrorists” were almost identical to those of bin Laden and his followers. Apparently, it doesn’t take a crazy terrorist to recognize these injustices.

President Bush claims that America is the “brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world,” but to the contrary, the US is seen by tens of millions of people abroad as the main enemy of their human and democratic rights, and the main source of their oppression. Right now, many Americans want revenge for the deaths we’ve suffered from the recent terrorism; so, too, do some of the people who have been the victims of our violence also want revenge.

President Bush claims that terrorists attack us because they oppose freedom, but others believe, to the contrary, that we’re targets because our policies deprive other peoples of the freedom they so desperately want. In his speech the other night, Bush actually said that terrorists were envious of our democratically elected government! I’m sure Al Gore would wholeheartedly agree! Bush claims the terrorism was an attack on “civilization” but what kind of civilization commits its own terrorism, and designs its response to the terrorism committed by others in terms of “blood revenge?” Our policy is riddled with double standards, and only perpetuates the cycle of violence. When they attack, they’re terrorists. When we attack, we’re only retaliating. When they respond to our retaliation with further attacks, they’re terrorizing us again. When we respond with further attacks, we’re only retaliating again. And on and on.

Former US Senator J. William Fulbright warned us, during the Vietnam period, against the “arrogance of power” in US foreign policy. Now, at the start of the 21st century, the US is the most heavily armed nation on earth, and yet our arms and our persistent, violent use of them has not prevented us from now feeling more vulnerable than ever to outside attack. What went wrong? The explanation has to be more complicated than merely our failure to fight outside violence with enough violence of our own.

Despite the abuses of American foreign policy, we could take the realist view, and conclude that it was all somehow necessary. Even so, shouldn’t we expect some consequences? Is this really the best we can do? It’s time to repeat what I said earlier: Nothing can ever justify terrorism. But can’t we learn something from this incident, not only about how best, strategically, to respond to the recent terrorism but also how to respond intelligently to the problem, generally?

Some have argued that for some strange reason the historic violence of US foreign policy had nothing to do with the particular motives bin Laden had for the terrorism we just experienced. We’ll hear more about bin Laden and US Middle East policy in one of our subsequent forums, but does this sound plausible to you? Even if true, isn’t it likely that some other acts of terrorism will be forthcoming against us for policies such as the ones we’ve pursued?

One of the best ways of adding to the US policy of violence would be, of course, to pursue the war that US officials have begun to launch. It’s the wrong thing to do, and will likely make the situation much worse. The hardline, conservative Institute for Strategic Studies in Great Britain, for example, has argued that: “Going after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan will likely destabilize its friendly neighbor Pakistan and throw a nuclear-armed country into the hands of the militants.” Former Soviet military leaders have warned us against an invasion of Afghanistan; guerilla and terrorist forces defeated Russia’s best soldiers. We risk another Vietnam-style quagmire against an elusive target that can never be defeated militarily. And we risk the possible re-establishment of the military draft in the US, and the sacrifice of another generation of Americans to a fruitless war. Even if we care nothing for other peoples, we should be concerned about the senseless deaths of our own soldiers, which are likely to come.

Going to war, such as by bombing or invading Arab and Muslim states, and thereby potentially killing thousands of innocent people, will only convince more people that bin Laden is right about the US, and create thousands of new volunteers for anti-American terrorism. Collateral damage doesn’t just kill innocent people; it also creates martyrs and fanatical avengers. Besides, military strikes can never be effective in successfully targeting mobile terrorist headquarters.

We already had a war on terrorism in the 1980s, and back then we worried about Latin American terrorists as much as Middle Eastern. That war failed because terrorism is a political not a military problem, and because the US refused to honestly examine the sources of the violence. During our war on terrorism, the US was itself creating and arming terrorists in Nicaragua, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Critics have argued that we lost the last war on terrorism because the CIA was handcuffed; but to the contrary, the CIA remains one of the main sponsors of terrorism around the world.

It’s curious that when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, we didn’t declare war on all right-wing fascist groups in the US, and chalk up to collateral damage any others who might have gotten killed or injured in the process of conducting that war. Yet that’s what we’re prepared to do in Afghanistan and other nations. Is that because American fascists are not as evil as Islamic fundamentalist fascists? (One doesn’t have to endorse fascist views—any more than fundamentalist views—to recognize that McVeigh’s actions had causes: the government’s assaults at Waco and Ruby Ridge and its contamination of its own soldiers in the Gulf War—in which McVeigh served.)

President Bush is right in using the word, “justice,” but war and militarism can never accomplish justice. This terrorism is a crime against humanity, and that’s how it should be pursued: as a crime against which we and the international community must bring all the forces of law enforcement and criminal prosecution to bear. This is a job for international police work not the military.

Let’s get tough on terrorism. The only way to do this is by examining the sources and not merely the symptoms of terrorism, even if means admitting our own role in the violence. For all the warmongering and saber-rattling, Washington’s proposed actions provide only a weak and superficial response that will never get to the roots of the problem and will instead only multiply the symptoms. That takes no courage whatsoever.

I love America for many things, but I don’t love it for its foreign policies; I don’t love it for the way we’ve treated other peoples and nations. I would love America more if we were to fundamentally change those policies. Albert Einstein once said that: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we used when we created them.” Those words hold two insights: first, that we must change the way we think about and act in the world, and second, that we must look at ourselves and not merely at others. If we’re a great nation, then we should be strong enough for self-examination. If we value life and freedom so much, then we need to act like it. We need real courage, which is not a matter of knee-jerk revenge but rather of having the guts to reexamine what we’ve been doing in the world while we also take seriously the symptoms and the perpetrators of the horrible terrorism that has struck us.

The True Cost of War On Terror Can Be Measured By the Number of Refugees

amnesty intl boat people

World leaders’ neglect of refugees condemns millions to death and despair

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Worst refugee crisis since World War II.

· One million refugees desperately in need of resettlement.
· Four million Syrian refugees struggling to survive in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
· More than three million refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, and only a small fraction offered resettlement since 2013.
· 3,500 people drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in 2014 — 1,865 so far in 2015.
· 300 people died in the Andaman Sea in the first three months of 2015 due to starvation, dehydration and abuse by boat crews.

World leaders are condemning millions of refugees to an unbearable existence and thousands to death by failing to provide essential humanitarian protection, said Amnesty International as it published a new briefing in Beirut today, ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June.

The Global Refugee Crisis: A conspiracy of neglect explores the startling suffering of millions of refugees, from Lebanon to Kenya, the Andaman Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and calls for a radical change in the way the world deals with refugees.

“We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis of our era, with millions of women, men and children struggling to survive amidst brutal wars, networks of people traffickers and governments who pursue selfish political interests instead of showing basic human compassion.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century, but the response of the international community has been a shameful failure. We need a radical overhaul of policy and practice to create a coherent and comprehensive global strategy.”

Amnesty International is setting out a proposal to reinvigorate the system for refugee protection and urging states to make firm commitments to live up to their individual legal obligations and renew their commitment to international responsibility-sharing. Amongst the actions Amnesty International is urging governments to take are:

· A commitment to collectively resettle the one million refugees who currently need resettlement over the next four years.

· To establish a global refugee fund that will fulfil all UN humanitarian appeals for refugee crises and provide financial support to countries hosting large numbers of refugees.
· The global ratification of the UN Refugee Convention.

· To develop fair domestic systems to assess refugee claims and guarantee that refugees have access to basic services such as education and healthcare.

“The world can no longer sit and watch while countries like Lebanon and Turkey take on such huge burdens. No country should be left to deal with a massive humanitarian emergency with so little help from others, just because it happens to share a border with a country in conflict,” said Salil Shetty.

The world can no longer sit and watch while countries like Lebanon and Turkey take on such huge burdens. No country should be left to deal with a massive humanitarian emergency with so little help from others, just because it happens to share a border with a country in conflict.
Salil Shetty.

“Governments across the world have the duty to ensure people do not die while trying to reach safety. It is essential that they offer a safe haven for desperate refugees, establish a global refugee fund and take effective action to prosecute trafficking gangs. Now is the time to step up protection for refugees, anything less will make world leaders accomplices in this preventable tragedy.”

Syria: World’s largest refugee crisis
More than four million refugees have fled Syria, 95% of them are in just five main host countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

These countries are now struggling to cope. The international community has failed to provide them, or the humanitarian agencies supporting refugees with sufficient resources. Despite calls from the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, far too few resettlement places have been offered to Syrian refugees.

The situation is so desperate that some of Syria’s neighbours have resorted to deeply troubling measures, including denying desperate people entry to their territory and pushing people back into the conflict.

Since the beginning of 2015, Lebanon has severely restricted entry to people fleeing Syria. The Lebanese authorities issued new guidelines whereby Syrian nationals are required to fulfil specific criteria in order to enter. Since these criteria were imposed, there has been a significant drop in registration of Syrian refugees – in the first three months of 2015 UNHCR registered 80% fewer Syrian refugees than in the same period in 2014.

Mediterranean: The most dangerous sea route
The Mediterranean is the most dangerous sea route for refugees and migrants. In 2014, 219,000 people made the crossing under extremely dangerous conditions and 3,500 died attempting it.

In 2014, the Italian authorities rescued over 170,000 people. However in October 2014, Italy, under pressure from other EU member states, cancelled the rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, which was replaced by the much more limited Operation Triton (by the EU border agency, Frontex).

Operation Triton did not have a sufficiently broad search and rescue mandate, had fewer vessels and a significantly smaller area of operation. This contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of lives lost in the Mediterranean. As of 31 May 2015, 1,865 people had died attempting the Mediterranean crossing, compared to 425 during the same period in 2014 (according to the IOM).

Follow several horrific cases of loss of life in the Mediterranean, at the end of April, European leaders finally increased resources for search and rescue. Triton’s resources and area of operation were increased to match Mare Nostrum’s. In addition European states such as Germany, Ireland and the UK have deployed ships and aircrafts, additional to Operation Triton resources to further boost capacity for assisting people at sea. These measures, which had long been advocated for by Amnesty International, are a welcome step towards increasing safety at sea for refugees and migrants.

The European Commission also proposed that EU states offer 20,000 additional resettlement places to refugees from outside the EU. While this proposal is a step forward, 20,000 is too small a number to adequately contribute to international responsibility-sharing.

For example, Syrian refugees faced with reduced humanitarian assistance in the main host countries and with no prospect of returning home in the near future, are likely to continue to attempt to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Without sufficient safe and legal alternative routes for refugees – but also for migrants – people will continue to risk their lives.

Africa: Forgotten crises
There are more than three million refugees in sub-Saharan Africa. Outbreaks of fighting in countries including South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR), have led to an increasing number of people on the move – fleeing conflict and persecution. Of the top 10 countries globally from which people are fleeing as refugees, five are in are in sub-Saharan Africa. Four of the top ten refugee-hosting countries are in sub-Saharan Africa

The conflicts and crises in the region have led to an influx of refugees to neighbouring countries, many of which already host tens of thousands of long-standing refugee populations from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, among others.

In some of these situations, as in the case of South Sudan and Sudan, refugees are hosted by countries that are themselves beset by conflict.

The refugee crises in Africa receive little or no attention in regional or global political forums. In 2013 fewer than 15,000 refugees from African countries were resettled and UN humanitarian appeals have been severely underfunded. For example, as a result of the conflict which broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, more than 550,000 people became refugees, the majority of whom are now in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. Only 11% of the UN’s South Sudan regional refugee response plan was funded as of 3 June 2015.

South East Asia: Turning away the desperate

In the first quarter of 2015, UNHCR reported that some 25,000 people attempted to cross the Bay of Bengal. This is approximately double the figure for the same period in 2014. This Bay of Bengal sea route is predominantly used by Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshi nationals.

On 11 May, the International Organization for Migration estimated that there were 8,000 people stranded on boats close to Thailand. Many of those aboard were believed to be Rohingya fleeing state-sponsored persecution in Myanmar.

During May, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand turned back boats carrying hundreds of refugees and migrants desperate for help, despite the dangers they faced. UNHCR estimates that 300 people died at sea in the first three months of 2015 due to “starvation, dehydration and abuse by boat crews”.

On 20 May Indonesia and Malaysia changed course, announcing that they would provide “temporary shelter” for up to 7,000 people still at sea. However, this temporary protection would only last for up to a year, and on condition that the international community would help with repatriation or resettlement of the people. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have not ratified the UN Refugee Convention.

Elsewhere, a terrible precedent has been set in the region by the Australian government whose hard-line approach to asylum-seekers attempting to arrive by boat has, under the guise of saving lives, violated its responsibilities under refugee and human rights law.

“From the Andaman to the Mediterranean people are losing their lives as they desperately seek safe haven. The current refugee crisis will not be solved unless the international community recognizes that it is a global problem that requires states to significantly step up international cooperation. Later this week UNHCR will release their annual statistics on refugees and we will likely find that the crisis is getting worse. It is time for action,” said Salil Shetty.

Read more: 

Global Refugee Crisis in Numbers (Feature, 15 June 2015)

The Global Refugee Crisis: A conspiracy of neglect (Report, 15 June 2015)

Pushed to the edge: Syrian refugees face increased restrictions in Lebanon (Briefing, 15 June 2015)

THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ITS HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND–Truth About Isis

[THE WHOLE WORLD HAS ITS HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND, when it comes to ISIS.  No authority has protested in the past, nor do they protest today, the fact that ISIS is wholly a US/SAUDI-owned entity.  They nurtured it together in the prison camps of Iraq and Saudi, until it was ready to stand on its own two legs in Syria.  There is no surprise here, except for the great astonishment everyone experiences when learning the truth about this state-sponsored terrorism, and the fact that no government (‘cept Russia) dares to mention this dire truth.]

[THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT IS FROM PGS. 287-293, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REPORT]

isis documents

isis documents2

isis documents3

isis head collection

‘No one can bury heads in sand:’ Hezbollah leader calls for help fighting ISIS in Syria

Russia-Today
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah
Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.(Reuters / Sharif Karim)

 

Calling it a global existential threat, Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has urged supporters to join the fight against the Islamic State, confirming that his Shiite militant group has been fighting the Sunni extremists all across Syria.

READ MORE: ‘No will’ to fight ISIS? US Defense Sec blasts Iraqi troops

“Today we are facing a kind of danger that is unprecedented in history, which targets humanity itself,” Nasrallah said Sunday during a televised broadcast referring to Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL).

“This is not just a threat to the resistance in Lebanon or to the regime in Syria or the government in Iraq or a group in Yemen,” the Shiite movement’s head continued. “This is a danger to everyone. No one should bury their heads in the sand.”

He called on volunteers to stand up against IS extremist fighters: “We invite everyone in Lebanon and the region to take responsibility and confront this danger and end their silence and hesitation and neutrality.”

Read more
First confession: Pentagon admits 2 Syrian children killed in US airstrikes

Nasrallah’s comments were made ahead of Monday’s anniversary of the retreat of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000.

The leader has confirmed for the very first time that Hezbollah members are fighting Islamic State together with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in various parts of Syria and not just around the border regions.

“We are fighting alongside our Syrian brothers, alongside the army and the people and the popular resistance in Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Qusayr and Hasakeh and Idlib,” he said. “We are present today in many places and we will be present in all the places in Syria that this battle requires.”

READ MORE: Mortar attack on Russian embassy in Damascus an ‘act of terror’ – Moscow

Nasrallah also expressed disappointment with the US-led coalition against Islamic State, saying it was not effective and had not stopped jihadists from moving around freely.

Read more
​ISIS taking advantage of Syrian conflict, opposition & govt should cease fire – UN envoy tells RT

At the same time, he addressed the opposition, stressing that any support for the anti-Assad movement within Syria would only lead to more power in the hands of jihadists.

Sunni forces in Lebanon have been critical of Hezbollah’s role in Syria, as the group has not supported uprisings against Assad.

Lebanon is heavily affected by the Syrian conflict, as the majority of the refugees seeking shelter there are from the bordering war-torn state, with their number currently estimated at over 1.2 million.

The civil war in Syria started four years ago, when the Western-backed opposition began an armed rebellion against Assad’s government. By 2013, large portions of eastern Syria and western Iraq had fallen under control of militants from the Islamic State, which emerged amid the turmoil of the conflict, along with other extremist groups fighting against both Assad and the opposition. The conflict in Syria has claimed over 200,000 lives so far.

Fighting Terrorists By Creating Terrorists

[We have armed every nation in the Middle East “to the teeth,” yet now we fight to keep them from murdering each other with those very same weapons.  We have intentionally ramped-up local antagonisms, in order to create the desire for more weapons.  Every Middle Eastern nation spends most of its money and everything that it can borrow to purchase every weapon that they can get, because that is what American leaders want.  American militarists and Empire Builders have pushed through every political barrier, in order to entangle American interests in this morass, so that later we could play at “world policeman.”  Why would American leaders have acted so maliciously towards future victims of their policies? 

Why do they purposely create the circumstances which will compel future military interventions?  If the goal is simply the introduction of American forces, then why not just move those forces in, instead of trying to arm every side and then send in American forces to keep the killing below an “acceptable” threshold as justification for impending aggression?  Answering certain questions exposes the aggression in American humanitarianism.  Human lives mean nothing to an unrestrained military aggressor, except when they prove to be an embarassment or reveal America’s true nature.]

America’s Virulent, Extremist Counterterrorism Ideology

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America’s Virulent, Extremist Counterterrorism Ideology

Throughout the 13-plus years of the war on terrorism, one line of effort that everyone in Washington agrees on is the necessity to counter the ideology put forth by terrorist groups. Unfortunately, everyone also agrees that U.S. government agencies have done a terrible job at achieving this. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) recently derided the State Department’s counter-ideology efforts as “laughable” compared with the propaganda of the Islamic State. Whether termed “strategic communications,” “counter-messaging,” or “countering violent extremism,” there is a rare Washington consensus that this essential task is also the one that the United States has been the worst at accomplishing. But it’s not just about building a less-pathetic State Department Twitter feed. By extension, “success” mandates changing how terrorist groups think and communicate, and influencing individuals deemed susceptible to terrorists’ messaging.

Focusing on terrorists’ ideology is attractive because it requires altering the brains of enemies and neutral third parties, while, more importantly, requiring no change in America’s own thinking. Yet in the past six months there has been a little noticed, but significant, shift in America’s own counterterrorism ideology.

The language senior officials and policymakers are increasingly using to characterize terrorist threats — and to describe the projected length of the war on terrorism — has diversified and metastasized. The enemy, once identified as simply al Qaeda and affiliated groups, now includes amorphous concepts like “Islamic extremism” or “violent extremists.” Meanwhile, any shared understanding of when the war might end has basically vanished from public discourse. Where there was once an aspiration in Washington to wind down the era of “perpetual war,” there is now an agreement that America faces a “multigenerational” threat.

With little awareness of the consequences of this shift in discourse, U.S. counterterrorism ideology has become far more nebulous, less concrete, and gradually more open-ended. The war on terrorism is going poorly: The number, estimated strength, lethality (within countries they operate in, not against Americans), and social media influence of jihadi terrorist groups is growing. Yet, the same tough-sounding clichés and wholly implausible objectives are repeated over and over, with no indication of any strategic learning or policy adjustments. If this virulent and extremist — virulent in that it’s poisonous and harmful and that repeatedly espousing it ensures continued strategic failure, and extremist in that it proclaims the most extreme objectives that will never be achieved — U.S. counterterrorism ideology goes unchecked, it will further delude government officials and U.S. citizens into the false belief that the current courses of action are normal and acceptable and require no modification.

This latest ideological change is most conspicuous in descriptions of who the United States is at war with. The enemy has always been overly classified and somewhat hidden, but at least there was once a recognized list of discrete groups. Now, the adversary is an undefined and contested category of groups or people allegedly connected with the act of terrorism. If the U.S. government were as imprecise with its bombs as with its descriptions of its terrorist enemies, it would be a war crime. This matters: If you cannot name your opponents, you certainly cannot know them, much less measure progress in defeating them.

Consider the nebulous jumble of abstract enemies that officials have pronounced. In February, President Barack Obama said, “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam” and said that the international community must “eradicate this scourge of violent extremism.” Similarly, when attempting to describe the enemy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, claimed that the United States is in a fight “against the group that has perverted Islam.” In February, National Security Advisor Susan Rice contextualized the U.S. mission as “to cut off violent extremism at the knees.” Earlier that month, she attempted to describe the undefined enemy: “As al Qaeda core has been decimated, we have seen the diffusion of the threat to al Qaeda affiliates, ISIL, local militia[s], and homegrown violent extremists.” Eric Holder, then the attorney general, claimed, also in February, that the United States is simply “combating the threat of violent extremism.” Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, said the enemy is “ISIL and other violent extremist groups.”

Some policymakers have been even vaguer. When asked to define the enemy, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I call them the enemy of Islam.” Let’s set aside the fact that Kerry is now presuming to interpret what is legitimate faith for 1 billion Muslims. Just who is this enemy precisely?

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates are outdoing one another in blurring the enemy and exponentially expanding the number of individuals whom the United States must defeat. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) coined the Taken doctrine: “On our strategy on global jihadists and terrorists, I refer them to the movie Taken … Liam Neeson. He had a line, and this is what our strategy should be: ‘We will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you.’” Less theatrically, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) merely pledged, “We will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.” Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “We are in the early years of a struggle with violent Islamic extremists that will last many decades.” Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), while touting his alleged willingness to name the enemy, called them “radical Islam” and “haters of mankind.” Again, it’s fine, though meaningless, to talk tough, but whom are these threats being made against?

The other threatening recent shift in U.S. counterterrorism ideology relates to the end state in the war on terrorism and when this might come about. Although Obama once claimed that this war, “like all wars, must end,” officials and policymakers no longer pretend that the war on terrorism will ever end; nor do they offer any narrative for how this war would end. Rather, they are attempting to normalize the war on terrorism as something all Americans should accept and get used to. As Defense Secretary Ashton Carter admitted, “We need to be thinking about terrorism more generally as a more enduring part of our national security mission.”

This shift was crystallized in a remarkable recent observation by CIA Director John Brennan. Three years ago, Brennan, then Obama’s closest counterterrorism advisor, pledged, “We’re not going to rest until al Qaeda the organization is destroyed and is eliminated from areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Africa, and other areas. We’re determined to do that.” Yet, last month, when asked at Harvard University when the war on terrorism will end, he responded philosophically: “It’s a long war, unfortunately. But it’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia.… So this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about.” In other words, defeating terrorism is eschatological and eternal.

Similarly, Obama and his senior aides have come to repeatedly reframe the war in decades. The new National Security Strategy describes it as “a generational struggle in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war and 2011 Arab uprisings, which will redefine the region as well as relationships among communities and between citizens and their governments.” Meanwhile, Dempsey, the most senior uniformed military official, warned of Islamic terrorism: “I think this threat is probably a 30-year issue.”

Likewise, on Capitol Hill, this view has become standardized. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said it is a “multigenerational struggle” with “no cheap way to win this fight.” Similarly, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called it “a generational fight for civilization against brutal enemies.” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) went even further than Brennan, noting, “We’ve been fighting this radical Islamist ideology for 1,400 years.” In other words, long before the United States was even established. Forget who the enemy is; who is this “we”?

What is most disheartening about this radicalized counterterrorism discourse is that these same officials and policymakers still pretend that these diffuse terrorist threats will be “destroyed,” “defeated,” or “eliminated.” This quite simply will not happen because the United States and its partners keep applying the same strategies and policies while foolishly hoping for a different result. Officials claim that terrorists’ ideology is their “center of gravity,” a term the Pentagon defines as: “The source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act.” Yet, again, because nothing has succeeded at countering that ideology, we are supposed to become accustomed to an endless war against a nondescript concept.

The only ideology that the United States can influence or control is its own. Instead, Washington has busied itself conflating local militancy with threats to the homeland, refusing to identify the enemy, proclaiming tough-sounding and implausible strategic objectives, and demonstrating no meaningful learning or adjustments over 13 years. The lack of precision employed when defining America’s adversaries in the war on terrorism and the absence of any end state (combined with those unachievable objectives) comprise a dangerous and extremist set of beliefs for U.S. officials and policymakers to hold. If the war on terrorism is really all about ideology and ideas, then the United States should spend as much time analyzing its own ideology as it does its enemies’. The emerging counterterrorism ideology that Washington is expressing is hazardous, illusory, and sadly unchallenged.

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

US Repeatedly Provokes Albanian Extremism with Ideas of ‘Greater Albania’

[The unimaginative CIA goons keep repeating the same pattern throughout the world, wherever there are unrealized dreams of some “greater glory,” there are fiendish, fevered spooks twisting things into a volatile scenario.  It is the same story from “Greater Balochistan,” to “Greater Kurdistan,” to “Greater Albania,” to the greatest concentration of unrestrained evil and idiocy, the nightmarish vision of “Greater Israel.”  All of these false visions are played upon by the CIA master deceivers, to keep the world in flames.

Playing with terrorists and manufacturing even more of the deranged mother-f—— is the CIA’s plan for creating an American world order.  Use state-manipulated terrorism to burn the world down, so that American corporations can rule over the ashes.]

Global Energy Game: ‘Greater Albania’ Used by West to Destabilize Balkans

in serbia

The recent spike in violence and tension between Macedonian security forces and groups of ethnic Albanians is an ongoing product of western intervention and NATO bombing of the region in the 1990s, according to Balkan political analysts.

Photo from: militaryphotos.net

The issue of ethnic tension within Macedonia has gained global headlines after eight police officers and 14 others were killed during a two-day shootout between police and what the Macedonian government described as an armed paramilitary group of ethnic Albanians in the northern city of Kumanovo.

The incident is the latest and bloodiest in a string of clashes between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians, who make up approximately 30 percent of the country’s population.

These deaths have once again raised fears of rising ethnic tensions and concerns that the country may be heading for another civil war, similar to one fought between Macedonian forces and Albanian paramilitary groups in 2001.

Fear of ‘Greater Albania’

Photo: Tanjug

Many analysts suggest that central to the conflict is the idea within Macedonia and other Balkan states that ethnic Albanian groups are aiming to create a ‘Greater Albania’ as part of expansionist ambitions.

Although Albanian officials have dismissed the concept, there has been a heightened concern of potential Albanian expansion, particularly after Prime Minister Edi Rama recently said the unification of his country and the former Serbian province of Kosovo — which has a majority Albanian population — was “inevitable.”

Political analyst Andrew Korybko told Sputnik that the mistrust and division between Albania and other states in the Balkans was exacerbated by the late 1990s US and UK-led intervention in the region.

He said that the West’s decision to take sides in the conflict and back Albanian groups has further destabilized the region and spurred on ethnic tensions.

“The important thing to understand here is that it [NATO intervention] showed outside support for Albanian separatism, and afterwards, all Albanians,” Korybko said.

Macedonia was purposely kept from the brink of disintegration

Hasim-Taci-Bernar-Kusner-Agim-Ceku-Vesli-Klark-1-650x4911

Korybko also says the decision to protect the Macedonian state during the conflict, and further negotiate a generous agreement for Albanian groups, following the 2001 Macedonian war, was a strategic move by the West, aimed at trying to increase their influence in the area.

“Macedonia was purposely kept from the brink of disintegration so that the ethnic explosion [of violence] could be externally activated at a future time if need be.”

Just why western powers would want to leave the option of ‘Greater Albania’ open and further destabilize countries in the Balkans is down to greater geopolitical games, analysts say.

The Global Energy Game

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Dusan Prorokovic, an expert in Balkan affairs told Sputnik that the recent trouble in Macedonia has been stirred up to try and prevent the creation of the proposed ‘Turkish stream’ project, which plans to transport Russian gas to Europe via Turkey and the Balkans.

“The concept of Greater Albania is once again relevant but it won’t see any progress without the help of the North Atlantic bloc. I think why all of that happened is more linked to the ‘Turkish stream’ and the defeat of the US in Ukraine, than to local Albanian interests.”

Andrew Korybko agrees, saying: “Greater Albania is a geopolitical tool to be deployed in stopping not only Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline [northern extension of the Turkish stream] but also China’s Balkan Silk Road.”

Violence in Macedonia could spill over into Kosovo

Photo from: Novosti.rs

The violence in Macedonia could spill over into Kosovo-Metohija, especially as individuals from Kosovo-Metohija are involved in the clashes there, Serbian and ethnic Albanian analysts in Kosovo-Metohija have warned.

Analyst Zivojin Rakocevic told Tanjug Monday that Kosovo-Metohija has essentially been destabilised, with chaos just spilling over into the surrounding systems which, basically, only formally exist for ethnic Albanians.

“Most ethnic Albanians in Macedonia do not recognise Macedonia, most ethnic Albanians in the south of central Serbia do not recognise Serbia, and most ethnic Albanians in Montenegro do not see the Montenegrin system as a part of their system,” he said.

It is no surprise that ethnic Albanians from Kosovo are involved in the clashes in Macedonia because practically no borders exist for them, Rakocevic said.

Analyst Nedzmedin Spahiu told Tanjug that, after Macedonia, Kosovo could be the next to be destabilised, which is not in the interest of the citizens.

“Things that are going on at your neighbour’s are something you can also expect to see in your own house, especially because some of the protagonists of the events there are from Kosovo,” Spahiu warned, noting that the situation in Kosovo-Metohija is very fragile.

Dangers of violence overflowing

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Branimir Stojanovic warned on Tuesday against the danger of violence overflowing in the Balkans, noting that everything should be done to stabilise the situation in Macedonia.

In an interview for Tanjug, Stojanovic said that there is always a danger of violence overflowing in the Balkans and that the past has shown that borders do not mean anything in such events.

It is important for the situation in Macedonia to calm down as soon as possible and for all bodies in charge of security to be hired, Stojanovic said.

He underscored that it is especially important for the international bodies to be alert and pay attention to everything that should jeopardise the safety of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Valerie Hopkins ‏@VALERIEin140 May 10
    .@PeterKGeoghegan I understand why they can’t write everything, hard to prove conspiracy theories. But looks like there are 50 ppl hostage..
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    novinar napise ovo i niko ne zna o cemu je rec niti kaze o cemu se radi

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Baltimore Wasn’t The First City To Burn, And It Won’t Be The Last

[SEE; Valdosta, Georgia — a racial powder keg?  ; In Pittsburgh, racial strife simmers in uneasy calm]

Baltimore Wasn’t The First City To Burn, And It Won’t Be The Last

90.9

A police officer walks by a blaze, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Our cities have burned before. The broken spines of the Freddie Grays have, before, been the last straw, the flame to the powder keg. And before, the riots have been followed by congressional studies, journalistic reports and community healing projects. Often, public dollars have been pumped into stricken neighborhoods to spur renewal. And yet we cannot seem to pull the curtain on this four-part play.

The famed sociologist Kenneth B. Clark was one of the first witnesses to appear before the Kerner Commission that was convened in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to study the urban riots of the mid-1960s. Clark’s words then bear study now:

I read that report. . . of the 1919 riot in Chicago, and it is as if I were reading the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of ’35, the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of ’43, the report of the McCone Commission on the Watts riot. . . . It is a kind of Alice in Wonderland–with the same moving picture reshown over and over again, the same analysis, the same recommendations, and the same inaction.

In July 1919, 17-year-old Eugene Williams was stoned and drowned in Lake Michigan because he sought to swim in a whites-only area. Protests broke out in Chicago’s black neighborhoods when police refused to arrest Williams’ assailant, and after eight anarchic days, 38 people lay dead.

In the summer of 1943, Robert Bandy, an African-American soldier, was shot when he tried to protect a woman from police harassment. Though Bandy was not fatally wounded, Harlemites rampaged for two days, shattering the windows of clothing stores on 125th Street and littering the sidewalks with their white mannequins.

The broken spines of the Freddie Grays have, before, been the last straw, the flame to the powder keg … And yet we cannot seem to pull the curtain on this four-part play.

On a hot August night in 1964, a traffic stop in Philadelphia went awry when an angry officer pulled Odessa Bradford out of her car and handcuffed her. Word spread that the officer had beaten the woman, whereupon the city exploded for three days.

And in 1967, two Detroit servicemen just back from Vietnam were being feted at a bar in the city’s oldest and poorest neighborhood when the vice squad closed the place down and arrested 82 customers. The riot was on, and it was a week before the fires were extinguished and the gunfire quelled.

When our president despairs because he’s “seen this movie before,” he is referring not just to the violent rebellions that scarred Watts, Newark and now Baltimore, but also to the seemingly uninterruptible cycle of loss, burial, mourning and helplessness generated by police brutality and civilian mistrust. He is reminding us that these iterative assaults, superficially distinct and historically specific, are connected in an existential, corporeal sense to the extractive atrocity of slavery.

Black critical memory conjoins the 1919 murder of 17-year-old Eugene Williams with the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, integrating the assaults into an intractable, inevitable, intergenerational process of subordination and rebellion. When he refers to decades of inequality and neglect, Barack Obama is reminding us of the link between structural violence and the performed violence on black bodies, and urging us to observe the ties between social division and economic inequity on the one hand and historic violence on the other.

I do part company with Obama when, seeking to cast blame elsewhere, he claims he cannot federalize every state and local police department. While that may literally be true, until the 1990s, the Justice Department generally failed to use readily available tools, or to seek from Congress new remedies to control the kind of wide scale police lawlessness that has apparently plagued cities like Baltimore.

The absence of political will, not constitutional authority, explains the longstanding federal absence from the most charged arena of race relations in our national history.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder’s efforts in New Orleans, and more recently in Ferguson, to enforce constitutional standards have marked a welcome break from a century of inattention to the plight of police victims. At the historic 1963 March on Washington, Representative John Lewis pleaded for inclusion in the civil rights bill, provisions that would enhance federal power against police abuse, but the Justice Department rejected the proposals.

In 1991, Congress failed to pass a Police Accountability Act, which would have conferred power on Justice to enjoin police wrongdoing. It was only 20 years ago, in 1994, that Congress specifically authorized federal investigations of pervasive misconduct by state and local law enforcement.

The absence of political will, not constitutional authority, explains the longstanding federal absence from the most charged arena of race relations in our national history. Obama has the gravitas and voice to structure our conversation about policing black communities, but he should also acknowledge that the fault lines leading to Baltimore passed through our capitol.

The Family Curse–John Ellis “Jeb” Bush

George W. Bush acknowledges family name will hurt Jeb’s 2016 campaign

 

Barbara Believes America Has Enough President Name Bush

Barbara Believes America Has Enough President Name Bush

 

https://therearenosunglasses.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/bald-bush-2.jpg

“My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.”

 

 

Obama Clumsily Exposes Israeli/Jewish Control of American Govt, With Iranian Nuke Gambit

[SEE: Half of the US Senate Publicly Undermines and Embarasses the President of the United States]

[BREAKING—White House gives in to Congress on right to reject any Iran nuclear pact ; Israel happy at compromise deal on Iran between Congress-Obama: minister ]

[Here we have the Iranian President Rouhani asserting one fact–that the Iran nuke negotiations are with six nations, NOT JUST THE UNITED STATES–followed by the Congress demonstrating another fact–that the US Congress represents the Israeli government, NOT the American people, quickly followed by a third fact, that the American President is also a puppet of these wealthy foreign interests. 

The American govt. is pounding the US Constitution into a fine parchment powder right here for the whole world to see, as it answers its true masters, the International Jewish elite.]

In-Charge1 source

Iran leader: We are in talks with ‘the major powers,’ not the U.S. Congress

Washington_Post_Logo

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Tehran was negotiating a comprehensive nuclear deal with world powers, not the U.S. Congress, and called a Senate committee’s vote to give Congress the power to review any potential deal a domestic U.S. matter.

The Iranian leader, speaking in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht, also repeated earlier statements that his country will not accept any comprehensive nuclear deal with world powers unless all sanctions imposed against it are lifted.

“We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress,” Rouhani said, Iranian state television reported. Rouhani said the U.S. Congress’ power to review a nuclear deal with Iran was a domestic U.S. matter, the Reuters news agency reported.

He said Iran wanted to end its isolation from the world by constructing “constructive interaction with the world and not confrontation.”

Rouhani’s comments came one day after a Senate committee voted unanimously to give Congress the power to review a potential Iran nuclear deal after a June 30 negotiating deadline, in a compromise with the White House that allows President Obama to avoid possible legislative disapproval of the pact before it can be completed.

Ukrainian Ambassador To US Fired (Scapegoated) Over Porky’s Push For Peace In Donbass

[Why would Porky fire his own ambassador for following the orders that he had given him?   Answer…He wouldn’t.  Therefore Porky was following the boss’ orders (Obama).  Ukraine is slated to become the 51st US State, no doubt.]

“Ukrainian President Poroshenko has once again called on the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine – a repeated appeal that has previously been slammed as meaningless by analysts and seen as hopeless by the West.

But this time around, Poroshenko hinted, there is more support for the move – and it could be decisive in resolving the country’s ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east.

A statement posted on the president’s website on April 4 suggested that progress had already been made on the matter, with foreign ministers of the so-called “Normandy 4″ said to have reacted positively to the idea after previously being skeptical in light of Russia’s reluctance and veto power in the UN Security Council.”–Kyiv Post

Motsyk_OlexanderOlexander Motsyk   

Ukrainian President Recalls Ambassador to US After Peacekeepers Request

Sputnik

Petro Poroshenko recalled Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States after he called on Russia to support a resolution on peacekeepers in Donbass.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recalled the country’s Ambassador to the United States Olexander Motsyk, according to the Ukrainian Presidency’s website.

Motsyk previously called on Russia to support a resolution which would deploy peacekeepers to the Donbass region.

Homeland Security Stockpiling Lots of “Less Lethal Specialty Munitions”

Are They Arming for Riots Across America? Homeland Stockpiling “Less Lethal Specialty Munitions”

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Mac Slavo

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One of the biggest stories for years in the alternative media was the mysterious and foreboding purchase by Homeland Security of more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.

Thanks to coverage on prominent sites like DrudgeReport, the story reached into mainstream media, prompting official spin and downplaying of the purchase.

Now, a new Homeland Security purchase order listed on FedBizOpps  also raises an eyebrow or two, given the heated and divided political and social climate at hand. Just look at what happened in Ferguson…

A request for “less lethal specialty munitions” for use by Homeland Security dated March 23, 2015 reads:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends to solicit responses to Request for Information (RFI) 20082225-JTC for Less Lethal Specialty Munitions (LLSM) for use by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CBP is interested in incorporating commercial and industry practices that support this type of procurement. To accomplish this, CBP intends to make industry a partner in all facets of the acquisition process, specifically by considering existing market capabilities, strengths and weaknesses for the acquisition of this commodity.

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Over the course of 9 pages (PDF), the technical requirements call for an arsenal of specialized weaponry for training and deployment against crowds.

On top of a wide range of gas and chemical grenades, rubber bullets and other riot rounds, the purchase calls for “controlled noise and light distraction devices,” including flash bangs which set off a 175 dB sound with 6 – 8 million candelas light bursts in 10 milliseconds.

So why are the Feds prepping to take on crowds?

Officially, the request is put through Customs and Border Patrol, a subset of the Department of Homeland Security, but it is unlikely that the equipment will be used to protect the border and keep out illegal aliens. But the riot gear and crowd control devices have many potential uses.

Perhaps, the equipment for use in instances like last year, when protesters in Murrieta confronted Customs and Border Patrol agents and blocked buses carrying a wave of illegal immigrants from Central America?

The requested equipment includes:

Hand Delivered Pyrotechnic Canisters, including

  • Smoke Canister for Training (Reduced Toxicity)
  • Continuous Discharge Large Smoke Canister (Operations)
  • Continuous Discharge CS Canister
  • Orange Colored Smoke Canister
  • Green Colored Smoke Canister
  • Pocket Tactical Smoke Canister
  • Pocket Tactical CS Canister
  • Three Part Sub-Munitions CS Canister
  • Non-Burning Internal Canister OC Grenade

Non-Pyrotechnic Indoor/Outdoor Use

  • Flameless Expulsion Grenade (OC)
  • Flameless Expulsion Grenade (CS)
  • Flameless Expulsion Grenade (Inert)

Hand Delivered Rubber Ball Grenades

  • Rubber Ball Grenade
  • Rubber Ball Grenade (CS)

40mm Launched Specialty Impact Munitions

  • 40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge
    40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge (OC)
  • 40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge (Marking)
  • 40mm Direct Impact Sponge Cartridge (Inert)
  • 40mm Sponge Training Rounds

Crowd Management Projectile Cartridges

  • 40mm Smokeless Powder Blast (OC)
  • 40mm Smokeless Powder Blast (CS)
  • 40mm Long Range Canister (CS)
  • 40mm Long Range Canister (Smoke)
  • 40mm Cartridge Four Part Sub-Munitions (CS)
  • 40mm Cartridge Four Part Sub-Munitions (Smoke)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions (100 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions (200 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions (300 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions OC (100 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions OC (200 Meters)
  • 40mm Aerial Warning Munitions OC (300 Meters)

Controlled Noise And Light Distraction Devices

  • Distraction Device Compact
  • Distraction Device
  • Distraction Device Reloadable Steel Body
  • Distraction Device Reload
  • Command Initiated Distraction Device Reload
  • Distraction Device Training Fuse
  • Distraction Device Training Body
  • Multiple Detonation Distraction Device
  • Low Profile Distraction Device
  • Command Initiator

Ferret Rounds

  • 40mm Ferret Round (OC Powder)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (OC Liquid)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (CS Powder)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (CS Liquid)
  • 40mm Ferret Round (Inert Powder)

The ferret rounds are designed to penetrate barriers and deliver debilitating or disrupting chemicals:

“The projectile shall be designed to penetrate barriers of glass, particle board, and interior walls. Upon impact of the barrier, the nose cone will rupture and instantaneously deliver the OC liquid on the other side of the barrier. “

The collection of equipment provides a diverse range of toys with which authorities could push back crowds and potentially intimidate free speech as well.

Are there more riots coming? Is widespread civil unrest only a matter of time? Is it related to martial law exercises like Jade Helm 15?

What do the Feds know that we don’t?

They are getting ready… are you?

 

Related Reading:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: Prepare For Any Disaster

If Martial Law Comes to America “Dissidents and Subversives Would Be Rounded Up”

The 17 Elements of Martial Law

What Was The True Mission In Iraq, To Create Chaos Or To Contain It?

Accusations Emerge That the U.S. Is Aiding ISIS – The Latest “Conspiracy Theory” Circulating in Iraq

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My belief is, we will, in fact be greeted as liberators.

– Dick Cheney on NBC’s Meet the Press, March 16, 2003

But that enmity for the United States circulates beyond the militias that once fought U.S. soldiers, surfacing also in parliamentary debates and Iraqi media reports and even at the highest ranks of the national armed forces that the United States is aiding.

“Everybody knows that the Americans are dropping supplies to Daesh,” said Brig. Gen. Abed al-Maliki, a senior Iraqi army commander based in the city of Samarra, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, using another term for the Islamic State.

What’s more, he said, during some of the fiercest fighting around Samarra last year, U.S. Special Operations forces dropped behind enemy lines to assist Islamic State militants.

“They came in with parachutes, and they were helping to bomb the city,” he said.

U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State, he contended, are probably just a cover for efforts to support the group.

“It’s just a show,” he said, sitting in the city’s army command headquarters. “If the Americans want to finish something, they will finish it. If they wanted to liberate Iraq, they could.”

– From the Washington Post article, In Fight for Tikrit, U.S. Finds Enemies on Both Sides of the Battle Lines, March 27, 2015

How do you know your foreign policy is a complete and total destructive nightmare? When the country you supposedly “liberated” not only turns into a horrific war zone, but all sides fighting accuse you of helping the enemy. This seems to be precisely what is happening in Iraq at the moment.

Just last week, I was shocked to read in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. military was preparing to coordinate action against ISIS in Tikrit, alongside Iranian backed militias. I highlighted this in the post, Can’t Make This Up – U.S. Providing Aid in Fight Against ISIS in Iraq Alongside Iranian Troops. Here’s the key excerpt:

The U.S. has started providing Iraq with aerial intelligence in the stalled battle to oust Islamic State from Tikrit, drawing the American military into closer coordination with Iranian-backed militias spearheading the offensive. 

Military officials said they aren’t working directly with Iran. But the intelligence will be used to help some 20,000 Iranian-backed Shiite militia fighters who make up the bulk of the force that has been struggling for weeks to retake the strategic city.

Incredibly, only a few days later, we learn from the Washington Post that one of the most popular “conspiracy theories” circulating in Iraq at the moment is that the U.S. is directly supplying and aiding ISIS in Iraq. Significantly, these accusations aren’t just emerging from random corners of the internet, but from senior military figures within the Iraqi army. Can’t make this up indeed.

From the Washington Post:

 As American forces open another front of battle in Iraq, they find themselves on the same side as an array of armed groups that not only consider the United States an enemy but also accuse it of actively supporting Islamic State militants.

Since the U.S.-led coalition planes launched their first airstrikes in the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit on Wednesday night, threats and accusations from ­Shiite militias who were leading the battle there have grown. Several of the Iranian-backed groups accused coalition aircraft of bombing a headquarters for pro-government fighters in the city on Friday, promising retribution.

The claim was the latest in a long string of accusations leveled at the United States since its first airstrikes against the Islamic State in August. Rumors of coalition planes dropping weapons supplies to Islamic State militants and attacking pro-government fighters are now widely held beliefs in a country where conspiracy theories are rife.

But that enmity for the United States circulates beyond the militias that once fought U.S. soldiers, surfacing also in parliamentary debates and Iraqi media reports and even at the highest ranks of the national armed forces that the United States is aiding.

“Everybody knows that the Americans are dropping supplies to Daesh,” said Brig. Gen. Abed al-Maliki, a senior Iraqi army commander based in the city of Samarra, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, using another term for the Islamic State. 

What’s more, he said, during some of the fiercest fighting around Samarra last year, U.S. Special Operations forces dropped behind enemy lines to assist Islamic State militants.

“They came in with parachutes, and they were helping to bomb the city,” he said.

U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State, he contended, are probably just a cover for efforts to support the group.

“It’s just a show,” he said, sitting in the city’s army command headquarters. “If the Americans want to finish something, they will finish it. If they wanted to liberate Iraq, they could.”

When such accusations appear in the Iraqi media, they are normally accompanied by an image from an Islamic State video from Kobane in Syria last year, showing the militants displaying a load of weapons accidently dropped from a U.S. plane — an incident the United States acknowledged.

Whoops, sorry, our mistake! At this point, who doesn’t have access to hundreds of millions of U.S. weaponry?

Visiting U.S. officials are left to fend off questions about whether they support the group. The topic was the first to be broached in questions when Gen. John Allen, special envoy for the coalition to counter the Islamic State, met with Iraqi journalists in January.

The theories are stoked by U.S. involvement in the wider region, where Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia are battling for influence against Shiite Iran. While the United States has backed the same side as Saudi Arabia in conflicts in Syria and Yemen, in Iraq it finds itself on the other side of the battle.

A wildly popular trailer for an Iraqi TV program launched last year that mocked the Islamic State played off that speculation. It showed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hatching out of an egg after a marriage between characters representing Israel and America.

If this is how Iraqis greet their liberators, I don’t want to be invited to the party they throw for enemies.

Seriously though, it doesn’t even matter if these accusations are true or not. What matter is that Iraq is a total disaster zone, and everyone suffering from the chaos knows full well the U.S. government is responsible. Over the past decade, the clowns running American foreign policy have gone from promising the world that the Iraqis would greet U.S. soldiers as liberators, to all sides accusing the USA of aiding the enemy; whether that enemy be the Iraqi army, Iranian backed militias, or ISIS.

This is not a recipe for success. Unless of course, success is determined by the ability to create as much chaos and death overseas as possible via a divide and conquer strategy in which all combatants attempt to slay each other using weapons purchased from American defense companies. In that case, the Iraq war can be defined as a resounding success.

America’s Complicated Pro-Wahhabi, Iran Friendly, Mideast Policy

Layout 1A look at America’s complicated collage of a Mideast policy

new zealand herald

 

WASHINGTON (AP) ” The United States’ engagement in the volatile and unpredictable Middle East got more complicated this week, as American and Iranian negotiators sought a historic nuclear agreement while the U.S. provided intelligence for a Saudi-led air campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

The two efforts, diplomatic and military, underscore the sometimes conflicting and oftentimes country-by-country alliances that are guiding U.S. policy in the region. The collage is largely framed by America’s difficult relationship with Iran.

Despite severing diplomatic ties 36 years ago, the adversaries recently have found some means of direct and indirect cooperation. Beyond the nuclear talks, they are both helping Iraq’s government fight Islamic State extremists.

At the same time Washington and Tehran are locked in a proxy war in Syria, where the U.S. is arming insurgents battling the Iran-backed government. A reverse conflict could be emerging in Yemen, where Washington is assisting the military intervention by Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia against Iran-supported Shiite rebels.

A look at several crises in the Middle East and how the Obama administration is approaching matters:
NUCLEAR TALKS:

President Barack Obama’s biggest national security goal is reaching a diplomatic agreement that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But achieving such a goal through negotiation, and not through military or economic pressure, means it requires cooperation from the Islamic Republic.

Secretary of State John Kerry is leading the U.S. in talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, hoping to reach an outline of a deal over the next several days that would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

But Obama has said a deal could lead to a “better path” that includes greater trade ties, foreign investment, cultural exchange, scientific partnerships and jobs for young Iranians. The prospect of a nuclear accord and even the tiniest steps toward U.S.-Iranian rapprochement are prompting deep concern and even opposition among America’s traditional allies in the neighborhood.

Israel has lobbied aggressively against the deal in the United States, claiming it would pave the way for an Iranian nuclear arsenal. Saudi Arabia has threatened to explore greater nuclear technology of its own. Other Sunni governments want greater U.S. commitment to their defense. And all have spoken gravely of the implications of what they see as Washington cozying up to Tehran.

Hoping to ease their concerns, the U.S. has emphasized repeatedly it isn’t shifting alliances.

IRAQ:

In Iraq, the U.S. and Iran actively support a common ally.

American airstrikes started this week to help Iraqi troops retake the northern city of Tikrit from Islamic State extremists. Until recently, the Iraqis there were fighting side-by-side with Shiite militias and Iranian special forces. But they withdrew as a condition of the U.S. air intervention, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin told a congressional panel Thursday.

Although the Americans and Iranians share the common goal of defeating Islamic State extremists, they differ on tactics. Washington has cited reports of human rights abuses by Iranian-backed militias and criticized the Iranian-led operation in Tikrit for lacking precision firepower, proper command from the Iraqi government and a coherent plan for maneuvering ground forces against a dug-in enemy.

Both sides deny that they are actively coordinating military strategy, though U.S. officials have spoken of working with the Iraqis as a go-between to “deconflict” operations. The dynamic has unsettled Sunni Arab states likes Saudi Arabia.

___

SYRIA:

In Syria, the U.S. and Iran are on a clearer collision course. While each again speaks of combating the Islamic State group, they clash on their views of the Syrian government and the country’s four-year rebellion.

The U.S. is arming and training a primarily Sunni force described as moderate, working with Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. The rebels have the double objective of defeating the terrorists and ousting President Bashar Assad from power.

On the other side, the Iranians are providing military assistance to Assad’s army and Hezbollah forces fighting the rebellion, and have deployed special forces of their own to help out.

___

YEMEN:

The picture is similarly complicated in Yemen.

The U.S. is providing intelligence and logistical help for the Saudi-led airstrikes against the Houthi rebels who’ve seized the capital and much of the country, driving out the president. The Saudis and their Arab partners may now be planning a ground invasion.

But the Iranians are unhappy, and the threat of another wider war is clear. Despite the U.S’s auxiliary role, Tehran is blaming Washington for the attacks. And it is calling the intervention a “dangerous step” that will fuel terrorism. The Iranians only acknowledge giving the Houthi rebels humanitarian support, not the advanced weaponry that the Saudis and others claim is being provided.

The U.S. is in an uncomfortable position, tied by its alliances to Sunni Arab states and conviction that Yemen’s rightful government should be restored. But it doesn’t want a protracted war that draws Iran in deeper, takes attention away from Yemen’s highly active al-Qaida branch and other threats to the United States, or becomes a factor in U.S.-Iranian nuclear discussions.

Although Kerry “commended” Saudi Arabia’s action in a telephone call with Arab foreign ministers Thursday, he then discussed the situation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the nuclear talks. Details of that conversation were kept private.

New Era of American Financial Warfare

New Era of Financial Warfare

bodhita

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph, reports on new ways the U.S. is carrying out financial warfare against Russia by stealth. He writes that the U.S. has created a financial “neutron bomb” that can target any country and is now targeting Russia. He claims that for the past 12 years an “elite cell” at the U.S. Treasury has been designing ways to bring almost any country to its knees without firing a shot.

“It is a new kind of war, like a creeping financial insurgency, intended to constrict our enemies’ financial lifeblood, unprecedented in its reach and effectiveness,” says Juan Zarate, the Treasury and White House official who led the policy after 9/11. “The new geo-economic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive,” he writes in his book Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.

This includes shutting off market access for Russian banks, companies, and state bodies with $714 billion of debt. He calls it the “scarlet letter,” created under Section 311 of the U.S. Patriot Act, which was devised to be used against terrorist financiers. Once a bank is named, it will be caught in a “boa constrictor’s lethal embrace,” as Zarate puts it. Even if the bank has no operations in the U.S., European banks will not violate it.

Evans-Pritchard continues, “The U.S. Treasury faces a more formidable prey with Russia, the world’s biggest producer of energy with a $2 trillion economy, superb scientists, and a first-strike nuclear arsenal. It is also tightly linked to the German and East European economies,” and therefore the U.S. risks destabilizing its own alliance system. Furthermore, President Vladimir Putin knows this as well and no doubt is prepared to take counter-moves.

Zarate now advises HSBC on how to stop in-house money laundering, which is a laugh in itself.

Evans-Pritchard’s column cites Princeton Professor Harold James, who compares such actions to the pre-First World War attempts by Britain and France to use financial warfare against Germany. Warning of the dangers of such action, James said, in a piece for Project Syndicate, “Lehman was a small institution compared with the Austrian, French, and German banks that have become highly exposed to Russia’s financial system. A Russian asset freeze could be catastrophic for European — indeed, global — financial markets.”

Evans-Pritchard seems to be familiarizing himself with the Classics, as he cites how the sanction imposed by Pericles turned out badly. “So are the salutary lessons. Pericles tried to cow the city state of Megara in 432 B.C. by cutting off trade access to markets of the Athenian Empire. He set off the Peloponnesian Wars, bringing Sparta’s Hoplite infantry crashing down on Athens. Greece’s economic system was left in ruins, at the mercy of Persia. That was a taste of asymmetry.”

Bodhita | News & Analysis

US Policy Is Driving Force Behind the Call To Jihad

[A very strong case is made that it is US foreign policy which fuels Islamist anger and drives the call to “jihad.”  American policy has been humiliating to every Muslim since 2001, in particular, the policies of torture, secret renditions and drone assassinations, all of which have been designed to destroy the collective psyche of all Muslim males.  

Murder by drone and rendition have demonstrated to every Muslim family that none of them are safe in their beds, or in their homes anymore.  What more reason would a sensible young man need than this, to drive him to take-up arms against the American aggressors?   Yemen hosted a US drone/counter-insurgency base, allegedly used to “hunt al-Qaeda,” which was probably the driving force in Yemen’s destabilization.  The more the US and the Saudis bombed Yemen, the greater grew the unrest of all sectarian derivations. 

The ease of recruitment for ISIS (and the Middle Eastern radicals in general) is a pretty direct measure of the effectiveness of US psychological warfare.  The more we humiliate Muslims, the more jihadis answer the call to battle. 

But, I would argue that that has been the objective of the entire war on terror since its inception…find those who would be jihadis and kill them all.  It doesn’t matter to the Pentagon/CIA that they are feeding the cycle that they have been fighting to stop?  Instead of trying to kill the Muslim world to get all the survivors to “LIKE” us, we should try to disengage long enough for the Arabs to fight among themselves and settle their tribal/religious feuds which we had no right to interfere with, at all.]

Smith College religion professor, historian says US should stay out of Middle East battles

MASS live

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By Diane Lederman | dlederman@repub.com

 

Smith College religion professor Suleiman A. Mourad believes the United States should not be involved in the Middle East. (Diane Lederman/The Republican)

 

NORTHAMPTON – This week, Saudi Arabia took on rebels in Yemen, the latest action in the escalating conflict in the Middle East. It’s a confusing muddle of alliances.

As the New York Times reports the United States is supporting the Saudi campaign to dislodge Iranian-backed Houthi rebels but in Iraq and Syria, the United States is on the same side as Iran in the fight against the Islamic State.

And while some Congress debate whether to send in ground troops, Smith College religion professor Suleiman A. Mourad believes the United States should not be involved.

In fact anger against the United States is fueling the antagonism and serves as a recruiting tool for Isis and other extremists.

Mourad, who also studies jihad, explained some of the roots of the conflict and the reasons he believes that it needs to play out there without United States intervention.

He doesn’t think the warring parties are ready or able to talk to each other nor does he see any diplomat in the United States able to bring the parties to the table.

In fact, he said the United States is hated abroad. A native of Lebanon he returned recently and said the level of animosity between Sunnis and Shia towards the United States was extreme.

Middle Eastern leaders don’t trust or respect the United States.

The wars between Sunnis and the Shia – different sects within the Muslim community with different customs – have both modern and historical roots.
According to the BBC, most of the Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85 to 90 percent.

Historically, Sunnis consider themselves as the orthodox or traditional form of Islam where the Shia the political faction, according to the BBC.

“There are historical grievances historical reasons that speak to the current grievances,” Mourad said, much in the way slavery here is linked to issue of race in America.

He said at the same time, some Shia are aligned with some Sunnis and vice versa. Also he said Shias in Yemen are different than the Shias of Iran. “They don’t have a common history. There’s much animosity.”

Each political leader has his own agenda and uses the rebel groups to support that just as long they don’t topple their own regime. “Every dictator has interests.”

While the Middle East was under the control of such leaders as Saddam Hussein, the militant factions were squelched but as those leaders were toppled the militant groups were able to emerge.
And what makes the modern conflict unprecedented is how widespread the uprisings are. The battle “across the Muslim world is unprecedented.”

He said the modern day Sunni militant movements began in the 1960s-1970s with the ideas of Sayyid Qutb of Egypt and Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi of Pakistan being put into practice.

They believed that Muslims rulers “were in the pockets of the West.:” And he said those militant ideologues were in “pursuit of a great Islam” and urged Muslims to jihad and unity.

Later there was a split where one group wanted a less militant approach and instead advocated for activism. The idea was “to just do activism to take control of the Sunnis. Teach ideas to ultimately unify Islam.”

But with such things as the overthrow of the Shah in Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini becoming the supreme leader and the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, these militants groups realized they had power and could demonstrate that militarism could achieve their goals.

Isis too feels like it has power with the attention it garners with the beheadings of Americans or its connection to attacks in France at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine in January.

“(In their minds) It puts them on equal footing with the west,” Mourad said. And if “we are equal to the West, we can defeat the West.”

Each regime, meanwhile, in the Middle East has its own agenda but leaders are not able or willing right now to talk about what that is and how to meet their needs. Some take advantage of groups like Isis to push for their respective interests and agendas.

So the wars have to play out until they are willing to talk. Meanwhile he said, “We have no business being (there.)”

He said the Iranians during the overthrow of the Shah said, “America is Satan” and wanted to destroy the country. That hatred has only worsened as the United States has gotten more involved in the battles of the countries in the Middle East.

UN Calling Humanitarian Disaster In Syria A “Situation”

 

UN: Humanitarian situation in Syria dramatically worsened

daily sabah
Istanbul
UN: Humanitarian situation in Syria dramatically worsened

The United Nations has more than doubled its estimate of Syrians who are living in besieged areas, who risk death by starvation, dehydration and a lack of medical care, to roughly 440,000. The U.N.’s top humanitarian official said that the life expectancy of a Syrian is expected to be 20 years lower than when the conflict started. The U.N. also said that the war, which has recently entered its fifth year, has killed more than 220,000 people. It was also claimed that at least $8.5 billion is needed this year to meet the needs of Syrians.

The Arab uprisings, which euphorically swept across the Middle East and North Africa, attracted Syrians who had lived under the dictatorship of the Assad family since 1970, when Bashar’s father Hafiz Assad seized power. Since then the majority Sunnis were forced to live in a police state that tried to control every movement, organization or business through the use a wide-ranging intelligence service. In March of 2011, Syrians were emboldened enough to raise their voices against the dictatorship. However, the regime’s response was not as peaceful as the protests. And the country was subsequently dragged into a deadly civil war after opposition groups took up arms against the government. The opposition groups have also been divided internally. While moderate opposition groups like the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) were struggling for a democratic Syria where all religious and political groups would be free to exist, radical elements like al-Qaida’s Syrian branch Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) aimed to establish a new Syria, ruled by an extremist religious jurisprudence.

The fate of the country was changed since the war started. United Nations’ top humanitarian official said that the inability of the international community to stop the war means millions of Syrians will continue to suffer. Valerie Amos said the situation has “dramatically worsened.” In just the past month, she noted that the number of Syrians living in what are considered “besieged” areas has doubled, from 212,000 to 440,000. Nearly 5 million Syrians live in hard-to-reach areas. “The inability of this Council, and countries with influence over the different parties at war in Syria, to agree on the elements for a political solution in the country means that the humanitarian consequences will continue to be dire for millions of Syrians,” said Amos. As the world has taken stock this month of Syria on the anniversary of the conflict, Amos pointed out some of the more grim findings: “Today, a Syrian’s life expectancy is estimated to be 20 years less than when the conflict started,” she said. “Unemployment is around 58 percent, up from around 10 percent in 2010; nearly two-thirds of all Syrians are now estimated to be living in extreme poverty.” Amos later told reporters that $8.5 billion is needed this year to address the crisis both in and outside Syria, whose neighbors say they are overwhelmed by millions of refugees. Many aid groups and others in the international community say the divided council has failed the Syrian people on this and other issues. Russia, Syria’s ally, has blocked actions such as an attempted referral of the country’s situation to the International Criminal Court, though some diplomats say they’d like to try again for a referral.

Doing To The Entire Islamic World What We Have Done To Iraq

Instability in the Islamic world

The Hindu

G PARTHASARATHY

Three major developments require careful attention. These are the emergence of the ISIS, the growing Persian-Arab and sectarian Shia-Sunni tensions, and the possibility of a negotiated end to the Iranian nuclear impasse. All this is occurring amidst the fall in global oil and gas prices, which is imposing a strain on the economies of countries in the Persian Gulf.

American subversion

The entire polity of what is known as the ‘Greater Middle East’ (extending from Pakistan to Turkey) has been destabilised by American-led subversion and invasions in Iraq, Syria and Libya, to oust secular but authoritarian governments, without having viable alternatives in sight. In Syria, American-supported destabilisation efforts have led to millions fleeing their homes and the emergence of diverse groups embroiled in a seemingly neverending civil war. The invasion of Iraq has led to Shia-Sunni bloodletting that has spread across the entire region. Libya has been fragmented by similar intervention and has emerged as another centre of Shia-Sunni conflict. More importantly, the intervention in Syria has led to the emergence of the Islamic State of Levant (ISIS). It now controls large parts of Syria and northern Iraq and has made inroads in Libya while establishing links with religious extremists in Nigeria, Somalia and elsewhere.

The world has seldom, if ever, seen a group as fanatical, revivalist and ruthless as the ISIS, which has drawn thousands of armed cadres, not just from Arab and Islamic countries but from across Europe and America. Its practices include arbitrary killing of non-Muslims and Shias. It forcibly takes non-Muslim women as slaves, extorts payment of jiziya tax by non-Muslims, and practises beheading and crucifixion. The only other recent case of similar behaviour was by the Afghan Taliban which persecuted Shias and required Hindus to display their identity by sporting yellow scarves/armbands.

Another barbaric trait the two share is the destruction of ancient shrines, artefacts, statues and art. If the Taliban vandalised and dynamited the historic Bamiyan Buddha statues, the ISIS destroyed or sold the priceless ancient treasures of Nimrud, Tikrit and Mosul.

The Sunni Arab alliance

The escalating tensions in the Greater Middle East have resulted in a Sunni Arab Alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, facing off a Shia, Iranian-led grouping, including Iraq and Syria. We also have the strange situation of Iran and the US making common cause, to assist Iraqi security forces to drive out the ISIS from the Sunni majority Tikrit, Mosul and across the Anbar province. The US provides the air power, while the Iranian Revolutionary Guards train, arm, equip and fight alongside the Iraqi Shia militia.

Yet another strange meeting of minds is that of Israel and the Sunni Arab leadership from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. While the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the US congress in Washington to voice his opposition to an agreement being negotiated between the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany, on the one hand, and Iran on the other, to end sanctions against Iran, the Sunni Arab countries launched a diplomatic offensive to get the US to scuttle the proposed deal.

Quite obviously chary of an Iranian ‘Shia bomb’, Saudi Arabia and its Arab Gulf partners held discussions with the US Secretary of State John Kerry on March 4 and voiced their reservations about a prospective US-led Iranian nuclear deal. The Saudis simultaneously fear not only an American-Iranian rapprochement, but also the prospects of the growing ISIS presence along their borders and in the Arab world. They know that the US is no longer dependent on them for oil supplies. The Americans, in fact, now have oil and gas reserves to meet current levels of demand for 85 years. Saudi Arabian oil is no longer vital for meeting the US’ energy needs.

It is in these circumstances that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was received at Riyadh airport on March 3 by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Mukri and the entire Saudi cabinet. This was a rare honour for a head of government, especially from a bankrupt country that has survived on Saudi and American doles for decades. Interestingly, barely a month earlier, the chairman of Pakistan’s joint chiefs of staff committee Gen Rashad Mahmoud, the seniormost military officer in Pakistan’s Nuclear Command Authority which has operational command and control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, visited Saudi Arabia.

Old ties

Pak-Saudi nuclear links go back to the 1990s when AQ Khan paid visits to Saudi Arabia, following a visit to the Kahuta nuclear and missile facilities by the Saudi defence minister, Prince Salman. Interestingly, Pakistan tested, for the first time, a nuclear capable missile, Shaheen 3, with a range of 2,750 km, capable of striking targets beyond India, just after Sharif’s visit to Riyadh. This missile could be an asset to target Iran from Saudi Arabia. The already complicated situation in the Greater Middle East could become more tense if Pakistan agrees to send troops to guard Saudi Arabia’s frontiers, or provides the desert kingdom a ‘Sunni nuclear shield’ to counter Iran. Given the tensions on its borders with India, Afghanistan and Iran, it remains to be seen how Pakistan responds to Saudi requests for military assistance, conventional and nuclear.

New Delhi has just gone through a significant effort in building viable security architecture with neighbouring Indian Ocean island-states. There is now need for careful consideration of the impact of recent developments across the Islamic world on India’s security, and the welfare of its nationals in the Arab Gulf states.

The author is a former High Commissioner to Pakistan

How the CIA made Google

How the CIA made Google

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet— part 1

Medium .net Medium News

By Nafeez Ahmed

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

THIS IS PART ONE. READ PART TWO HERE.


This exclusive is being released for free in the public interest, and was enabled by crowdfunding. I’d like to thank my amazing community of patrons for their support, which gave me the opportunity to work on this in-depth investigation. Please support independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.


In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.

What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.

There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.

As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.

Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.

The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.

The shadow network

For the last two decades, US foreign and intelligence strategies have resulted in a global ‘war on terror’ consisting of prolonged military invasions in the Muslim world and comprehensive surveillance of civilian populations. These strategies have been incubated, if not dictated, by a secret network inside and beyond the Pentagon.

Established under the Clinton administration, consolidated under Bush, and firmly entrenched under Obama, this bipartisan network of mostly neoconservative ideologues sealed its dominion inside the US Department of Defense (DoD) by the dawn of 2015, through the operation of an obscure corporate entity outside the Pentagon, but run by the Pentagon.

In 1999, the CIA created its own venture capital investment firm, In-Q-Tel, to fund promising start-ups that might create technologies useful for intelligence agencies. But the inspiration for In-Q-Tel came earlier, when the Pentagon set up its own private sector outfit.

Known as the ‘Highlands Forum,’ this private network has operated as a bridge between the Pentagon and powerful American elites outside the military since the mid-1990s. Despite changes in civilian administrations, the network around the Highlands Forum has become increasingly successful in dominating US defense policy.

Giant defense contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation are sometimes referred to as the ‘shadow intelligence community’ due to the revolving doors between them and government, and their capacity to simultaneously influence and profit from defense policy. But while these contractors compete for power and money, they also collaborate where it counts. The Highlands Forum has for 20 years provided an off the record space for some of the most prominent members of the shadow intelligence community to convene with senior US government officials, alongside other leaders in relevant industries.

I first stumbled upon the existence of this network in November 2014, when I reported for VICE’s Motherboard that US defense secretary Chuck Hagel’s newly announced ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’ was really about building Skynet — or something like it, essentially to dominate an emerging era of automated robotic warfare.

Read PART 1 and PART 2 HERE

Pentagon Forcing Nurses/Doctors To Participate In Torturous Forced Feedings

guantanamo forced feeding source

Pentagon Panel Proposes Sweeping Changes that Could Impact Guantanamo Force-Feeding

vice

By Jason Leopold

A federal committee that advises the Secretary of Defense on health policy has recommended that the Pentagon allow military healthcare workers to bow out of performing medical procedures that would violate their profession’s code of ethics, or their religious and moral beliefs. Personnel that decline to participate in the procedures should not face retribution.

The recommendation is one of more dozen suggested changes to military medical ethical policies contained in a sweeping 104-page report drafted by the Defense Health Board’s medical ethics subcommittee and quietly released last week. If the Pentagon accepts the committee’s guidance, it could potentially have a huge impact on the operations at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where hunger-striking detainees are routinely force-fed by Navy nurses who have been accused of violating their medical code of ethics.

Since the onset of the global war on terror, the military has been blamed for gross violations of standard medical ethical principles to avoid the infliction of harm by forcing doctors and nurses to participate not only in the widely condemned practice of force-feeding of detainees, but also in interrogations where prisoners were abused and tortured.

The military’s medical ethical practices came under intense scrutiny in 2013 during the height of a mass hunger strike at Guantanamo where dozens of detainees were restrained and forced to ingest a liquid nutritional supplement through their nostrils. Detainees, through their attorneys, said the tube feedings, administered by nurses, were extremely painful and dehumanizing. Professional medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, rebuked the practice, noting that it “violates core ethical values of the medical profession.” The United Nations said it was a breach of international law. Military officials defended the medical procedure, saying it’s Guantanamo’s policy to administer force-feeds as a last resort in order to prevent detainees who refuse to eat from dying.

In January, VICE News obtained a two-page document in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that contained the first known acknowledgement by the US military that force-feeding people who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

Some military medical personnel who have objected to participating in the procedures faced the threat of a dishonorable discharge. Such is the case of a former Guantanamo Navy nurse who last year declined to continue force-feeding detainees. The nurse now faces the possibility of being kicked out of the Navy and the loss of pension and benefits for refusing to abide by the orders.

But the medical ethics subcommittee’s new policy proposals advise the Pentagon against punishing doctors and nurses who choose to opt out of medical procedures if they believe the practices are unethical or immoral. The Defense Health Board, whose members include Retired Gen. Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during George W. Bush’s presidency, unanimously approved the report last month.

‘A mechanism should exist to excuse healthcare workers from participating in force feedings.’

Department of Defense (DOD) “leadership, particularly the line commands, should excuse health care professionals from performing medical procedures that violate their professional code of ethics, State medical board standards of conduct, or the core tenets of their religious or moral beliefs,” one of the recommendations states. “However, to maintain morale and discipline, this excusal should not result in an individual being relieved from participating in hardship duty.”

The subcommittee also noted, “If the operation is illegal, every military member of every specialty has an obligation to do all in his or her power to stop it or refuse participation.”

The panel found that the DOD does not have an explicit code of ethics for healthcare professionals, and recommended that the Pentagon formulate and regularly update an “overarching code of military medical ethics based on accepted codes from various healthcare professions.”

It’s unclear what lead the committee to undertake the review. A Defense Health Board spokeswoman told VICE News the military health officials decided a “proactive evaluation” on issues of “dual loyalty would assist in improving knowledge, understanding, and performance when medical personnel are faced with such challenges.”

In May 2011, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs requested that the Defense Health Board review “medical professional practice policies and guidelines” and come up with recommendations for two questions in particular:

  • How can military medical professionals most appropriately balance their obligations to their patients against their obligations as military officers to help commanders maintain military readiness?
  • How much latitude should military medical professionals be given to refuse participation in medical procedures or request excusal from military operations with which they have ethical reservations or disagreement?

But Dr. Adil Shamoo, a biochemistry professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and the chair of the Defense Health Board’s medical ethics subcommittee, said the review “basically just went dormant because someone didn’t want us to continue.”

Then, in January 2013, just a month before the Guantanamo hunger strike began, Jessica Wright, then the acting under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, tasked the subcommittee to revamp its review.

Shamoo told VICE News that he believes the most plausible explanation for the revamping was that the critical media coverage about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo “was the motivator.”

“To me that makes the most sense,” he said, adding that the committee didn’t start working until August 2013, a couple of months after Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that said the force-feeding policies “are out of step with international norms, medical ethics, and the practices of US Bureau of Prisons.”

The committee obtained testimony from 20 experts on medical ethics, including many who have been harshly critical about Guantanamo’s detainee operations. The group also met confidentially with active duty and retired US military personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We in the subcommittee discussed Guantanamo a great deal,” Shamoo said.

Shamoo, who noted that he was not speaking on behalf of the subcommittee, said the “backbone” of the report is the two recommendations that say healthcare providers’ first loyalty is to the patient, and that the Department of Defense cannot force military medical personnel to participate in a procedure if it violates professional medical ethics, or is immoral.

“If something is not in the interest of the patient or will harm the patient or is immoral that will give moral force to that individual saying I cannot do it,” he said.

The context in the report for the recommended policies revolves around a lengthy discussion about ethical guidelines that were previously issued by medical organizations about force-feeding competent patients, and the role of physicians in the interrogation and torture of detainees.

Shamoo said if the Pentagon accepts the recommendations, it will likely go a long way toward helping the Navy nurse threatened with dishonorable discharge for objecting to the forced-feedings of Guantanamo captives.

The unnamed nurse, identified as a lieutenant who has spent 18 years in the Navy, was sent to the Naval Health Clinic New England in Rhode Island and now faces a possible administrative hearing before a three-officer board that will decide his fate.

“His case was part of our discussion,” Shamoo said. “My thinking is if the Department of Defense adopts our report, it will strengthen the nurse’s case of acquittal. If the protocols we recommended had been in place last year this nurse would not have had to face any ramifications from his decision.”

Capt. Tom Gresback, a Guantanamo spokesman, said he is unaware of any recent cases “of a medical provider refusing to participate in enteral feedings of a detainee at the detention facilities at Guantanamo.” He said it would be inappropriate to speculate as to how the Defense Health Board’s report, if accepted by the Pentagon, could affect the operations at the detention facility.

“Standard operating policy and procedure applicable to all facets of detention operations at Guantanamo Bay are in compliance with US law,” he said.

Ronald Meister, an attorney for the embattled nurse, told VICE News that the medical ethics committee “has recognized what we’ve been saying all along: that medical ethics in war is identical to medical ethics in peace.

“The Department of Defense has to ensure that ethics are complied with, that nurses principal commitment is to the patient and part of all that is excusing healthcare workers from performing medical procedures that violate their code of ethics,” he said.

Guantanamo’s former head of nursing, Commander Jane French, said in 2007 that medical personnel who objected to tube feedings would be excused and someone else would administer the procedures.

‘If the Department of Defense does not act on the recommendations and simply lets them sit, that will be a major indication that they have undermined military medicine.’

Shamoo said the medical ethics subcommittee discovered that French’s policy was not carried over by military officials who succeeded her.

“As much as it would have been nice [for the subcommittee] to say that we recommend that nurse X not be discharged from doing what we say is the right thing, I think this report is pretty much on point,” Meister said of the panel’s recommendations. “A mechanism should exist to excuse healthcare workers from participating in force feedings. This says the military has an obligation to excuse healthcare professionals from performing procedures that violates codes of ethics. That’s what we’re asking them to do in our case.”

Len Rubenstein, a medical ethicist at Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights, is one of the experts who spoke with the subcommittee. He told VICE News he emphasized that Department of Defense policies are inconsistent with ethical requirements.

“There’s been so much focus on how health professionals have breached their ethical duties, and that’s an important point in the war on terror but the focus needs to be to the degree to which the government agencies themselves required those breaches,” Rubenstein said.

He said he would have preferred if the committee went further in its report and tackled the hunger strike issues at Guantanamo directly, “because it is the most blatant conflict between military practice and civilian life practice.”

Still, Rubenstein said the subcommittee’s “simple principle that the Department of Defense must ensure that their first obligation is to the patient is extremely important and would require the Defense Department to alter its practices.

“I see this as a test for the Department of Defense,” Rubenstein continued. “It’s a test whether they will take seriously these recommendations and end the deviation from professional ethical standards and become part of mainstream American medicine. If the Department of Defense does not act on the recommendations and simply lets them sit, that will be a major indication that they have undermined military medicine.”

But even if the Pentagon accepts the subcommittee’s recommendations and overhauls military medical ethics, that likely won’t be enough to solve the hunger strike problem at Guantanamo. That’s an issue that Rubenstein said still needs to be addressed.

“You would basically have to change the policy on hunger strikes,” he said, referring to the protocols that dictate when and how detainees are force-fed. “That is the ultimate implication here. That’s the part of the test for the Department of Defense.”

The medical ethics committee’s report has to go through another layer of bureaucracy before a decision is made as to whether the Pentagon will accept some or none of the recommendations.

“The next step is for the Defense Health Agency’s internal ethics subject matter experts to thoroughly review [the] recommendations and develop a plan of action for leadership review and approval,” said Laura Seal, a spokeswoman at the Defense Department’s personnel and readiness office.

Ethical Guidelines and Practices for U.S. Military Medical Professionals

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/259591564/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

Obama’s “al-CIA-da” Strategy–Fight ISIS To Give Al-Nusra Time To Grow Strong

[Al Golani is a creation of the intelligence agencies (SEE: The layers of fiction surrounding Al Nusra chief Abu Mohammed Al Jolani).  He is credited with leading one of the currents generated by the break-up of Al-Qaida In Iraq, the same terrorist outfit which has been holding Lebanese soldiers hostage, after beheading 4 of them.  Nusra is fighting a holding action on the Leb. Army, giving ISIS time to lay in supplies the mountains of the east, preparing for an anticipated major assault upon Lebanon from Qalamoun in Syria.  Lebanon is expected to join a US anti-ISIS coalition, while it fights al-Nusra without proper weapons. 

Truth be told, Lebanon is expected to fold-up and play dead in the face of a sustained assault by the offspring of al-Q In Iraq.  Both ISIS  and al-Nusra are “al-CIA-da.”]

Nusra Front Quietly Rises in Syria as Islamic State Targeted

daily star LEB

W460

The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.

But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

Its scope of influence now abuts the Golan Heights bordering Israel, and its membership largely composed of Syrian nationals refuse any negotiations with the government of embattled President Bashar Assad, further complicating the brutal conflict.

“The Nusra Front will most likely outlast ISIS in Syria, and will represent a severe and existential threat to the aspirations of the Syrian people in terms of a pluralistic, democratic society,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, using an alternate acronym for the extremist group.

The Islamic State group helped create the Nusra Front, providing financing, manpower and military hardware in 2012. But the group and its patron eventually had a falling out in 2013 for ideological as well as strategic reasons. The Nusra Front, while loyal to al-Qaida, has cooperated with other Syrian rebel factions in the fight to oust Assad.

In recent months, the group has overrun rebel strongholds in Syria’s Idlib province, trouncing two prominent, U.S.-backed rebel factions, Harakat Hazm and the Syria Revolutionaries Front. Following the deadly clashes, SRF leader Jamal Maarouf fled to Turkey and Hazm announced it was dissolving.

A Middle East-based Western diplomat said the Nusra Front began its attacks on moderate, U.S.-backed rebel factions after the American-led coalition began airstrikes in September targeting both the Islamic State group and the Khorasan group, which Washington says is a special cell within Nusra plotting attacks against Western interests. U.S. officials last week said airstrikes have hit as many as 17 separate targets connected to the Khorasan group.

The Nusra Front responded with a series of spectacular attacks targeting moderate rebel groups and forces loyal to Assad in northwestern Syria, the diplomat said.

It “has now created coherent control of a strategic area between Idlib and Hama (provinces) in northwestern and central Syria,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to brief journalists.

At the same time, the group has become increasingly aggressive toward local populations. In January, members of the group reportedly shot a woman dead in front of a crowd in Idlib after they accused her of being a prostitute. The group also has carried out public lashings, crucifixions and kidnappings — though it has not publicized the atrocities like the Islamic State group.

Activists in southern Syria say the Nusra Front was behind the January bombing that destroyed the shrine of a 13th century Muslim scholar. The Nusra Front issued a statement denying it was involved but activists say its members were seen placing the bombs.

“They’re trying to come across as rational, moderate, more dynamic,” Gerges said. “They don’t celebrate savagery in the same way like the Islamic State group.”

Residents say among the group’s most worrisome action so far is forcing members of the minority Druze sect living in Idlib’s Jabal al-Summaq region to convert to Sunni Islam.

The Druze, a 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, made up about 5 percent of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million people. In addition to Syria, Lebanon and Israel have large Druze communities.

“The Druze in Idlib are being subjected today to religious persecution. The Nusra Front carried out shameful acts. They have dug graves and damaged shrines,” said former Lebanese Cabinet minister Wiam Wahhab, a Druze politician with close ties to the community in Syria.

Activists estimate several hundred Druze have been forced to convert. A purported Nusra Front document, posted online and dated Feb. 1, outlined an agreement that saw Druze in 14 villages in Idlib convert. Under the deal, the Druze will implement Islamic laws, destroy tombs, impose Islamic dress on women and stop having mixed-sex schools. Idlib-based activist Asaad Kanjo said many Druze there have fled.

“You are likely to see this sort of behavior from Nusra in Idlib province because they are increasingly the dominant party in this part of Syria, and are in the midst of a concerted effort to eliminate rivals there,” said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “Nusra ultimately wants to rule Syria.”

An opposition activist in Kafranbel, a town in Idlib, said the group has established an elaborate network of social services and Shariah courts and rules uncontested. Remaining rebel groups in the province operate only with Nusra’s approval, he said.

However, the group’s increasingly belligerent approach toward other rebel groups is starting to alienate former allies, said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The main Western-backed Syrian group, the Syrian National Coalition, which in the past has been wary not to criticize Nusra, has changed its tune.

“We are concerned over Al Nusra’s latest actions and abuses against civilians and (Free Syrian Army) fighters,” said spokesman Salem al-Meslet, adding that the abuses were akin to the Islamic State group and Syrian government forces’ “criminal behavior.”

The criticism has led the Nusra Front to issue a rare statement defending itself, saying its target are only those proven to have committed “crimes” against Muslims and fighters.

“It was not our intention on any day to spread influence and expand and control the worshippers and the country,” the statement from its Al-Manara Al-Bayda media arm said. “Rather, our goal and aim is to lift injustice from the oppressed, and push away every enemy that attacks the honor, religion, and sanctities of the Muslims.”

(UPDATED)Brits Now On the Ground Preparing Ukrainians To Kill Russians, Pentagon Troops To Follow

[A funny thing happened on the way to this article’s posting yesterday…NOT REALLY…I was cyber-attacked while on the Russia Today site obtaining this post.  My new computer (courtesy of my computer guru) seized-up and became inoperable.  After the second try at a “hard boot,” I managed to get things working well enough to post the post.  The rest of the day, was marked by several more seizures, before retiring.  Today, the computer will not boot-up, period.  My daughter guru managed to get it functioning somewhat after a complete restart and wipe of the computer.  It is trying to recompile itself now, standing at 15%, after an hour at it.  Whoever planted the virus or trojan, wanted to disable my computer completely and they did that…but this is not the first time that this has happened, nor is it the same computer…computer #3 for this scenario.  Two older XPs could not be recovered.  This latest one is Vista 8.1.

Considering the article subject, UK TROOPS, then I can only assume that this latest breech of my right to occupy Internet space was by the British Government, or by their CIA masters.

FUCK THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.]

UK troops start training Ukraine’s army, US confirms own mission

Russia-Today
British Prime Minister David Cameron poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R).(Reuters / Eric Vidal)

British Prime Minister David Cameron poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (R).(Reuters / Eric Vidal)

UK military personnel have arrived in Ukraine and are beginning their training mission there, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has announced. Meanwhile the US will send nearly 300 paratroopers to start training the country’s national guard next month.

The deployment of foreign troops has started amid a barely holding cease-fire in the country’s east.

With the aim of helping Kiev’s army to fight anti-government forces, according to the UK MoD, its training mission is now operating in Ukraine, with the numbers of involved personnel “depending on the schedule.”

“The first elements of the training package began in March…we have got troops out there training,” a ministry spokeswoman told AP. According to the BBC, 35 personnel are now in the country’s south, deployed as part of a two-month mission.

Last month, British ministers announced that up to 75 troops at a time would be involved in a six-month-long mission, training Kiev’s military “to strengthen the defensive capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and build the resilience that they need.”

The UK also announced plans to send a “gift” of non-lethal equipment to support president Poroshenko’s forces, but has ruled out any lethal aid supplies to the country.

Russia has expressed its concerns over the military training missions, saying such actions do not support the conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine.

“[The move] certainly does not contribute neither to strengthening of trust, nor to de-escalation of tensions in the conflict,” Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian president, said, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

US training mission to begin ‘late April’

The US also plans to launch military training mission in Ukraine soon. American vice-president Joe Biden has spoken to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko over the phone and informed him about the start of such a mission in the near future, the Ukrainian presidential press service announced. According to the statement, Biden informed Poroshenko of President Obama’s decision to train 780 Ukrainian military by US specialists.

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed on Thursday that US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vincenza, Italy, will travel to western Ukraine sometime in late April.

“This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations,” Lainez said as quoted by the Hill. An exact date for the US training mission initially announced last year has not yet been finalized.

After a final review of the mission, it now includes 290 American military trainers, according to Lainez. The training will take place in the western town of Yavoriv, near the Polish border.

The training will include six Ukrainian national guard units, “with a focus on internal security and territorial defense,” Lainez added, according to AFP.

Last week Washington announced an additional $75 million worth of non-lethal military aid which includes armored and unarmored Humvees, Raven drones, anti-mortar radars and night vision goggles.

Western Financial System Is Driving It to War

Western Financial System Is Driving It to War

russia insider

Leading Russian intellectual Starikov believes the unsustainable nature of amoral finance capitalism is driving western countries to a catastrophic war, which he sees as an existential threat to peace for Russia and the rest of the world

To Russian eyes the west is on a war footing
In the course of life today, we’ve grown accustomed to using terms whose meaning we might not fully understand. We throw them around casually, not realizing that they lose their meaning and sometimes even come around to stand for their exact opposite. This is precisely why the sense has arisen today in society that there is a need to determine in a clear and understandable manner exactly what is happening on the global chessboard in front of all of our eyes – the Big Story, written online.

Even those people the very furthest from politics are feeling the need for understanding and explaining to themselves the reasons for the things they encounter even just moving through their own lives. Why have prices in stores started to go up? What’s the reason for the fact that, quietly and nearly unnoticed, belief in a brighter tomorrow is slipping? When and why did talk about a possible war stop being speculative and distant? These and dozens of other questions have driven millions of yesterday-apolitical citizens to seek answers. They feel the need to find those answers and to construct a new worldview in which what-comes-tomorrow is not simply a lottery ticket, but a predictable and logical continuation of today. Predictable and, hopefully, not frightening.

This atmosphere, unfortunately, is a breeding grounds for attempts to brainwash our citizens and to stuff their heads with ideas which will be devastating to them personally. But this devastation will come hidden within banal attempts stubbornly do good. So let’s try to dissect the methods and means of manipulating the people’s conscience which we have already started to encounter. And, which will grow in direct proportion to the problems being encountered by our geopolitical opponents.

1. THE ROOTS AND SOURCE OF TODAY’S ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS.

Today, the world is in a situation that can be characterized as a dead end that the liberal financial-oriented world economy drove itself into after remaining the dominant economic system following the collapse of the USSR. Not going into much more detail on that theme, since doing so would require a whole other in-depth discussion, I will simply point out that, as historical experience and logical consideration confirm, this economic system cannot work without theft. On its own, without infusions from outside, it is not able to sustain itself, therefore a long period in which no one goes to war and no one is robbed, for countries sitting at the top of the liberal “food chain”, will always mean a crisis of the economic system itself. The need for war or theft is a matter of life and death for many (if not for all) countries of the West. The danger for the West today is that “potential victims” are nowhere to be found. In the world of today, the approximate parity of strength is like it was before two world wars, which itself increases many times over the risk of a new world conflict. A classical conflict, as during the previous two world wars, or as a hybrid, hidden beneath a large number of local conflicts (the main goal of which will be not to allow the nuclear weapons deterrent to be used!) together with informational and economic aggression.

What goals are the wars’ organizers aiming for? 

First and foremost is a breaking of established economic ties, a deepening everywhere of the economic slide, except for in agreed-upon “economic growth spots”. In the First and Second World Wars this zone was the USA and once again they are trying to repeat this scenario. In addition, a goal of starting wars is the nullification or depreciation of “pre-war” debts and a restart of the world economy. An analysis of the upcoming conflict’s probable zones of destruction and (or) thievery which will permit the world economy to be restarted while preserving the existing economic model and the currently-constituted “economic food chain” for the existing financial elites shows that the level of accumulated contradictions can only be resolved at the expense of Russia and her demolition. The situation in the disparate and ailing enclaves of Europe and Asia, surrounded by the raging chaos that will come from the destruction of our country, will allow the United States to retain for itself the role of regulator of the world’s economy, island of stability, and the source point for new growth. Growth for itself, for Europe, and for Asia under the USAs security guarantees, paid for by the robbery of our country and our people.

How do the interests balance in the quadrilateral: USA, Europe, Russia, and China? 

The USA and Russia in this are antagonists. Why? Because retaining the privileged role of the USA is only possible at the expense of Russia, and under the circumstances of a weakened China and Europe. That being the case, such aspirations make it very unlikely that there will be an “amicable” consensus between Russia and the USA without a change (or a solidifying via Russia’s defeat) in the established order of things. That means that in the absence of a “Neo-Gorbachevism” we will inevitably be forced to stand against the States — just to be able to survive and retain ourselves. This is unavoidable. Europe in this case is the sole ally of the United States. Today’s “European submissiveness” to the will of the USA is the result of deeper causes, and unlikely solely due to “bought and blackmailed” leadership. Europe, lacking its own combat-capable armed forces and its own independent financial system capable of providing a sufficient level of financial sovereignty, is forced to follow in America’s wake. Which, for better or worse, is providing her both the first and the second.

Is this situation final and irrevocable? It seems to me that it isn’t. Europe will cry, but will eat the cactuses like the mice in the joke, for just as long as the USA is able to guarantee her safety and economic stability (though maybe in lesser amounts). The threat of losing all of this can flip Europe from the USA’s side in search of new guarantors of its separate and privileged position. In the event of a “fall of Russia”, Europe will become “frontline” territory at whose borders there will be aggressive instability. Europe will be most satisfied with Russia in a “USSR variant”, where the state, in “Gorbachev’s manner”, withdraws and enthusiastically permits itself to be robbed like a masochist. But the variant where Russia resists, and from this the country springs up as, not a “zone of robbery”, but a “zone exporting aggressive instability” (like today in the former Ukraine) will not please Europe. In sum, we will have a situation where Europe supported the USA in its attempted “blitzkrieg” against Russia as the better of its available courses. However, continuing Russian resistance changes the situation and in the future will inevitably lead to Europe, though with numerous reservations and attempts to negotiate preferential treatment, having to distance itself from the American policies directed towards the destruction of Russia. China in this quadrilateral (USA-Europe-Russia-China) is our natural and situational ally in its own opposition to the collective West. After all, today it is becoming a competitor to China in the economic as well as the political sphere. Any kind of strengthening of Russia will automatically result in a weakening of the West as a competitor to China. Therefore, so long as China can trust that it will no longer have to run up against Khrushchev-Gorbachev-Yeltsin-type “wiggly” unpredictable policies from Moscow, we can count on the economic and political support of China. Let’s sum it up. We are dealing with opposition between the USA and Russia, in which Europe and China play the part of tactical (within certain bounds) allies of the battling sides as they pursue their own goals in the confrontation. Therefore, neither Europe nor China is interested – unlike the USA – in the total destruction of Russia. After all, in that event both Europe and China would be weakened and would stand alone against a strengthened USA, as well as surrounded territorially by Eurasian chaos.

The USA needs Russia to die quickly. Europe was ready for a blitzkrieg under the management of the USA, but Europe is not ready for a drawn-out, long, and “expensive” conflict. China is prepared for a “game of debts” and is prepared to weaken both the USA and Europe in economical and political support of Russia, but is not prepared in this conflict to “take the bit between their teeth”, since it is still not ready to throw its entire weight into opposition, burdened as it is with its own problems and a worries due to the “Gorbachev effect”.

Given the shortage of time, the only path to survival for the USA is to demolish Russia from within and have her collapse. Either that, or a radical change of power in Russia which would abruptly turn the country’s ship of state around and permit the subsequent chaos and war. This would, in turn, give the States the necessary conditions for breaking the financial and economic channels of interaction in Eurasia and the weakening of both Europe and China, but at the “fault” of the new Russian government. We have a situation where the organization of an internal explosion in Russia displacing the legal government is for the USA a question of its own survival.

2. INFORMATION WARFARE IN RUSSIA – A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL FOR THE USA.

In the beginning of the article I mentioned that the current situation is forcing Russian citizens to actively seek answers to many questions. This pursuit of information, this struggle between various points of view, opinions and ideas opens a “window of opportunity” for those attempting to influence foreign policies of the country by influencing internal political situation. Chaos and war are once again becoming the one and only weapon of choice for the dollar. Russia, despite being subject to Western economic and information aggression, still:

  • continues to strengthen its economy;
  • continues its shift towards East;
  • retains the role of an economic and political bridge between Europe and Asia;
  • preserves its leading military and political position on the continent;
  • possesses decisive energy, scientific and manufacturing potential;
  • continues to adapt to hostile economic and political relations with a certain part of the world;

Such Russia is not in the interests of the USA. Stronger Russia will play a stronger stabilizing role in the world. Not only it is not going to become the source of chaos and war in Eurasia, it also has a high potential to distance Europe from the “leading and directing” role of the USA, which is totally unacceptable for America. Hence the question – what can US do in this situation?

First, US needs to instill chaos and war in the minds of Russian citizens, to have this chaos reach the “critical mass” needed to enable them to either influence the actions of the government on international stage or, which would be even “better”, tear down the government altogether, similar to how it was done in February of 1917 or August of 1991. Today, citizens of Russia have many questions, which is a great opportunity to provide answers which will lead them to actions that would ultimately be in US interests.

And such “answers” have already been prepared by the all-knowing well-wishers…

3. CAUTION: MANIPULATION!

Let’s reiterate that this is very important. In order to survive and preserve its leading role on international stage, US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, to cut economic ties between Europe and APR (Asia-Pacific Region). The States need to turn the territory that lies between them (Russia, Central Asia, Middle East) into a zone with local armed conflicts, falling economies, deficient governments and general instability. Middle East is already very close to a state of total chaos, US-created ISIL is working to further complicate the situation in that region. Central Asia is a potentially very unstable region and it has been “farmed out” to the revived Taliban, but so far it has kept the appearance of stability. Russia is the only territory within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance, shifting its foreign policy – is a vitally important task for America.

How can this be achieved given that the will of the President of Russia can be clearly defined as anti-American and the ability to realize this will is as strong as ever, thanks to the stability of the ruling establishment? The only way to achieve this is to drag the leadership of the country into a long and debilitating stand-off with its own people.

Liberal scenario (ineffective) 

In the long term, the unity of Russian people and their leadership can be broken by providing liberal answers to questions that are important for the apolitical majority. To achieve this, long forgotten “weathered soldiers” of ideological battles, who were not part of the events of 2011-12, have been brought out of nonexistence (Stankevich, Nadezhin and others). They are working to convince the Russian society that today’s Russia is “in over its head”. In other words, Russia, by protecting its geopolitical interests and by breaking every imaginable international rule, is behaving in a way that is unacceptable for a “gas station” country. Therefore, not having the required economic potential and sufficient international weight, Russia is bound to end up in international economic and political isolation. This will impact the lives of average citizens by significantly lowering their standard of living, the government will lose control over the state affairs and, ultimately, the state itself will be torn apart. Of course the proposed remedy for all these ailments is this: “fold” to US, recognize the leading role of US in the world and generally follow in the footsteps of American policies. This means that Russia must give up its national geopolitical interests, return Crimea, take on the burden of supporting Ukraine and then, just like in the 90’s, follow directions of Western advisors who will determine the path of political and economic development of the country.

Today, the level of “immunity” of Russian society against this liberal scenario is quite high. The nineties and the “liberal shift” attempt in 2011-12 served well to create a stable “anti-liberal” sentiment within Russian society. That’s why realization of this scenario is not possible in the short term, but our Anglo-Saxon enemies always plan well ahead. This liberal point of view will be kept alive and will be cultivated among a certain type of urban intellectuals who are traditionally aligned with Western values. And, in case society becomes fed up with patriotism, these intellectuals will be the ones to present Russian society with a point of view that will be in line with Western interests.

Patriotic scenario (main) 

The States don’t really care what particular scenario will sink the territory of Eurasia (Russia – Customs Union) into chaos or what will cut the strong economic ties along the EU-Russia-Customs Union-China line. Whether Russia follows the liberal scenario described above, dissolves the way USSR did or willingly plunges into chaos and localized armed conflicts – makes no difference to US. If Russia starts throwing its weight around and using force to assert its own views and interpretations of international rules of co-existence, the US will just as well reach its intended goals. The important expression here is “using force”. That will result in chaos and war in Eurasia, which is all US needs.

Russian society has overcome the virus of liberalism and is not ready to become infected with it again, and that is exactly why instead of the “liberal scenario of voluntary dissolution” they are being offered the “patriotic scenario” that instills in their minds an arrogant faith in success. In practice, this translates into certain public figures, who are consistently viewed as being patriotic, persistently offering… scenarios which require use of force in future developments in Eurasia. They are also interpreting past events using assumptions that every event was dealt with from the position of force, position of power. These interpretations are exactly what US needs. As a matter of fact, these interpretations, and the part of Russian society that is behind them, are so closely aligned with US interests that Western political and public figures have been focusing solely on this particular part of Russian society, using them in propaganda and diplomatic efforts directed against the current leadership of the President in the Russian Federation. It is possible to assert that a certain part of those who consider themselves to be patriots of Russia willingly or unwillingly are working in the interests of Western aggressors. Interpreting the events of 2014 as “Russia using force to apply pressure on Ukraine”, calling for a wider and more profound use of force in Ukraine in the future and accusing Russian leadership of not providing sufficient military and technical support for Donbass militia, they are allowing Western diplomats to interpret all their statements as “proof of Russian aggression”. And a very valuable proof at that, because, according to Western views and practice of legal precedents, a witness account of Russian use of force in Ukraine, coming from those who took part in the events (Strelkov-Girkin), is an indisputable and necessary proof that the USA and the collective West are acting appropriately against “aggressor Russia”. This is a case of remedy being more dangerous than the ailment. This “proof of Russian aggression” is allowing Washington to justify sanctions and cutting relations with Moscow. The logic of confrontation with Russia includes mechanisms designed to rupture Eurasian economic ties, which will inevitably lead to chaos across the entire Eurasian continent. And that is exactly what the US is trying to achieve.

Russian “patriots”, who are, in reality, defending US interests (regardless of what they themselves think), in fact… are probing the Russian society to figure out just how possible it is to organize mass protests in the country. With today’s strong leadership that is stirring Russia towards absolute sovereignty, this task seems nearly impossible. But if their point of view starts affecting the mindset of the majority of Russian citizens, an attempt to use “street democracy” to push Russia towards “use of force” scenario in Ukraine can be made. And that will be a 100% American victory over Europe and China. Therefore, we can safely conclude that “street democracy” using popular “patriotic” slogans instead of the unpopular liberal ones is the most desired development within Russia for the USA. So desirable that the States will nurture and support (financially, using media and PR) those “patriotic” Russian figures who, willingly or unwillingly, are acting in line with American interests. Impartial analysis of information and media shows that this is exactly how events are unfolding in Russia.

How can this be fought and how can the ill-fated path of 1914-style “destructive patriotism” be averted? The victory over the minds and hearts of Russian citizens can only be achieved by spreading the truth and disclosing the methods of manipulation used by Russian “patriots” who are currently helping our eternal enemies in their information war against Russia.

Some Examples of Manipulation. 

The mass manipulation of consciousness, in the first-order is the implicit substitution of desires from genuine goals to manufactured goals. Any conscious ‘exposure’ of this process, even though it identifies these first-order manufactured goals, is itself manufactured (‘second order’) on the very basis of this ‘exposure’. The methodolical manufacture of this second order phenomenon logically enables a pure inversion of genuine desires and thus by direct implication, reality.

For example, those ‘ultra-patriotic’ chaps working, doubtlessly part-time, for the U.S. State Department will state that ‘We should militarily intervene in the Ukraine. Working on an emotional level (the most commonly applied method of ‘softening up’ for manipulation) they will tell us of the unspeakable ordeals endured by the people of the Donbass. It is surely the healthy reaction of any human being to wish to give assistance and support. An example would be the incursion of Russian troops into the Ukraine with the aim of averting a humanitarian catastrophe and putting a halt to the genocide of the Russian population. Moreover, we can confirm that this incursion cannot be dangerous for Russia insofar as Russia is already under the most onerous sanction regime imaginable which the Russian people bear unjustly. Simultaneously the public is ‘calmed’ by the belief that NATO will under no circumstances allow itself to be drawn into armed conflict with Russia, in possession of nuclear weapons which can be used as a ‘trump card’ in any negotiations. Strelkov-Girkin has developed the knack of projecting a statesmanly wisdom. He endlessly affirms that those speaking of peace are in denial about the ongoing war scares Russians with the spectre of NATO forces. These self-same NATO forces, in turn, simply swallow any half-baked statements and perceive any movement of Russian forces as having the goal of overthrowing the regime in Kiev. Why? Because it allegedly can’t directly oppose Russia because of her well supplied army and her nuclear forces.

So how do we apply, to the current situation, the concept of the implicit substitution of desires to manufactured goals? Well the point is that instead of the actual escalating Hybrid war, being fought with the aim of exhausting the enemy, using the full spectrum of potential threats with the exception of Nuclear weapons, we see that the public is presented with the traditional threat of a second world war confrontation (replete with Nazis and Swastikas).

Such wars can be characterized by opponents openly trying to destroy each other mainly by military confrontation. In such conflicts, the aim is simply to destroy or take control of the opposition center of political decision making by military means. This was sufficient as it destroyed the ‘brain’ of the enemy. In modern hybrid war the political decisions will be taken in the Western Centers remote from the military conflict (Brussels, Washington). The military conflicts will be delegated to peripheral centers (the Kievan ‘Junta’; the Donbass ‘Novorossiya’; ISIS (Islamic State) active in the North Caucasus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, perpetrating terrorist activities in the Volga region; the Taliban active in Central Asia, the Urals and the far east of Russia). Correspondingly, economic aggression will be applied from the financial bloc controlled by the West. Engaging militarily in the Donbass, Russia in the short term will be on the receiving end of a series of strikes in the above regions and in its urban centers. Countering these blows (dependent on the scale of the territory destabilized) will demand the dramatic strengthening of the Russian military including the special services and the transformation of the economy as well as everyday life onto a war footing, which of course is neglected in the patriotic narrative projected by the ‘manipulators’. Such ‘surprises’ for the Russian society, who are simply geared up for a “small victorious war in the Donbas” under the current patriotic narrative will incline public opinion towards direction the liberal activists, those supporters of the “peaceful dissolution” of Russia. Such appeals will sound repeatedly to “rest under the wing” under the American world order and the popularity of such ideas will dramatically grow. In summary, we witness the re-emergence of the provocateurs of the sort we had in 1914, these ‘Hurray Patriots’ who paved the way for the provocateurs of February 1917.

These same liberal capitalists are ready for the widest possible cooperation with the West on its terms in the ordering of Russian life. However, even if against the odds, Russia will pull off another “Russian miracle” and be able resolve, through military means, the numerous military conflicts both along its borders and within its territory, even this great victory will not destroy the Western center of decision-making. Washington and Brussels will remain out of reach of the Russian army, as they are not directly participating in any of these conflicts.

While Russia will face outside the military and terrorist aggression forming an existential threat to the state, Europe without an efficient army, dogged by controversy and lack of a single center of decision-making will be in no better straites. Europe will be forced, against the background of a Russia “which is on fire,” to simply forget about their own geopolitical interests and stand in line with the Americans. At the same time, Europeans will be forced to acquiesce to a significant decline in their living standards, and be subordinated to all the other American adventures. As a direct consequence, economic cooperation through Europe – Russia – Trans-Siberian will decline to an absolute minimum, if it survives at all.

China, similarly faced with instability in its own underbelly in Central Asia and facing growing aggression from NATO allies in Taiwan and Japan, will be forced to limit its military, political and economic support to Russia, awaiting the outcome of the confrontation and eventually breaking its ties with the United States. As a result, we see the realization of the US plan: economic cooperation between Europe – Russia – TC – China, minimized or neutralized, and the existence between China and Europe of zone of global instability and local wars. Russia will have to exert all its strength to survive, which will eliminate its opportunities for political maneuver and peace-building and economic development.

4. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

Firstly, we need to look objectively, without emotions at the root cause of the issue. Collectively, the West enslaved by its ineffective liberal, finance oriented economic model, will inevitably be forced to engage in local or planetary plunder to fulfil its own dynamic requirements for existence. A suitable metaphor would be a car running out of fuel with the engine running. Any delay will dramatically increase the chances of the engine ‘seizing up’ which will render further motion impossible. The driver of the car facing such threats is prone to panic and make mistaken decisions when trying to refuel. Assuming that one is not inclined to help the driver the natural course of action would be to let the driver make all these mistakes and for the engine to be allowed to seize up.

Russia’s actions in the contemporary situation should be based on several principles: 

First, we must understand that every day we delay the onset of full scale hybrid war strengthens us and weaken our enemies. Each day of delay – allows us to establish economic ties to the Eurasian space, making Russia less vulnerable. Each day of delay – it is an additional burden on the “western car” and its fuel consumption.

Today, the West and the United States are incurring significant costs maintaining its hybrid “War Infrastructure” (the junta in Kiev, Islamic State, the Taliban, 5th Columns inside China and Russia), but it is still investing without accruing dividends. Each day of delay signifies a new weapon for the Russian army, new production in Russia and an increase in readiness for difficult times.

Secondly, using the tactics of “viscous defense” when every new step on the occupied territory carries obvious loss for the occupier, Russia increases the chance of a split in the “Euro-Atlantic Coalition” The weak point of the West is that it is not monolithic. I.e. the “slaves” are always ready to betray the “masters” if the cost / risk associated with coalition leads to an unjustified increase in the level of risk. Today, the West is stuck in Ukraine. “Blitzkrieg” failed. The original plan to separate the Ukraine from Russia, reorientation its markets to Europe, while maintaining the previous level of Russian economic support for Ukraine, is now firmly in the past. For the US the Ukraine forms and outstanding catalyst for Eurasian Chaos. However for Europe, Ukraine is a “White Elephant” with severe and infectious behavioral issues which has kindly donated by the Americans to them. For the sake of countering “Russian Aggression” Europe is ready to consolidate and bear hardships, but to preserver Poroshenko and Co., still less, for the sake of geopolitical dispute between Russia and the United States, the willingness to bear hardships becomes a lot less.

Thirdly, we must remember that the advantage in war is to those who choose their time and terrain. This is critical. Start a war when we see the result will not be to win these peripheral conflicts i.e. the Kievan ‘Junta’, the Islamic state or the Taliban, but rather to achieve victory over the “center of real political decision making” in Washington. A war should be fought for this goal and none other.

On the basis of the above, we can see that every victory of Assad in Syria, and every victory of the militia of the Donbass and Lugansk Republics saves lives of Russian soldiers and Russian territory from ruin. We see a unique situation, the first time in Russian history, when the forces of aggression against Russia are based on the distant outskirts of our country. Russia is obliged, according to her own interests, to furnish every assistance and support, to weaken the Western Coalition, thus expanding the cracks of various interests in the allegedly monolithic Euro-American unity.

5. CONCERNING “PATRIOTIC” MANIPULATORS.

On January 28, 2015 in St. Petersburg, the Russian party “Great Society” organized a cultural gathering with the writer, essayist and translator Dmitry Y. Puchkov as keynote speaker. Dmitry Y. was predictably humble, consumed by his own thoughts and interests, which were genuinely, without excessive sophistication, quite profound. I was unfortunately unable to attend this meeting, as due to a business trip in Nizhny Novgorod.

However, when I watched recordings of the proceedings, I was immediately struck by the savage accuracy of the metaphor of the Russian intelligentsia, worshiping the West, with the liberal intelligencia playing the role of “Evil Shepherds”, leading their flock of sheep to the slaughter. The allegory is devastatingly accurate. The West have maintained their dominance by the means of murder and robbery on a planetary scale. They “manufacture their image” in the eyes of future victims, using these “evil shepherds” from the intelligentsia. Without these “Evil Shepherds”, any potential victim from the Soviet Union to Ukraine today, could be saved from plunder and mobilize their own self-preservation instinct. It is only the conscious and pro-active manipulation that these, “intellectuals” practice, performing the role of administrators of “spiritual chloroform”, which has allowed public opinion to be so manipulated.

Events of the last year and especially the last few months have unfortunately led me to be convinced that that the existence of the “Evil Shepherds” may not only be among those enthralled by the west, but also among those administrating “patriotic” rhetoric to the public.

However, I am deeply convinced that our Russian society, representatives of all the peoples of our country have a sufficient high level of consciousness to counter this pseudo-patriotic manipulation which works for the benefit of the United States. After all, our people were able to emerge from the liberal manipulation of a few years earlier. The memory “of Greeks bearing gifts” battered us in the 90s, battered us until our pores wept sweat and blood.  As for me, I will, to the best of my ability, resist these new attempts to deceive our society under the renewed and pseudo-patriotic slogans.

 

Nikolai Starikov is Russian writer, political activist and influential public intellectual. For a wider introduction see here.

Right or wrong, he is an indicator of what thousands or millions of Russians believe.

This article originally appeared at the author’s blog. It was translated by: DzhMM, Mikhael and Gideon at The Vineyard of the Saker 

Heavily-Armed Venezuelan Civilian Militias Prepare For Potential US Invasion

“I can’t imagine why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s,” Rumsfeld told reporters

“In 2012…equipment acquired by Caracas from the Russian defense industry at $4.4 billion…includes…100,000 AK-103 machine guns…and 5,000 SVD sniper rifles.”

Massive military drills in Venezuela as govt stands up to perceived US threat (VIDEO)

Russia-Today

Executive Order – Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela

white house

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

BLOCKING PROPERTY AND SUSPENDING ENTRY OF CERTAIN PERSONS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-278) (the “Venezuela Defense of Human Rights Act”) (the “Act”), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)) (INA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the situation in Venezuela, including the Government of Venezuela’s erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant public corruption, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:

(i) the persons listed in the Annex to this order; and

(ii) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

(A) to be responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or to have participated in, directly or indirectly, any of the following in or in relation to Venezuela:

(1) actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions; 2

(2) significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;

(3) actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or

(4) public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela;

(B) to be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(ii)(A) of this section or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;

(C) to be a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela;

(D) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:

(1) a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(2) an activity described in subsection (a)(ii)(A) of this section; or

(E) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.

Sec. 2. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in subsection 1(a) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons, except where the Secretary of State determines that the person’s entry is in the national interest of the United States. This section shall not apply to an alien if admitting the alien into the United States is necessary to permit the United States to comply with the Agreement Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed at Lake Success June 26, 1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947, or other applicable international obligations. 3

Sec. 3. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 4. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:

(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and

(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 5. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:

(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;

(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States;

(d) the term “Government of Venezuela” means the Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Venezuela, and any person owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of Venezuela.

Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.

Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA and 4

section 5 of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights Act, other than the authorities contained in sections 5(b)(1)(B) and 5(c) of that Act, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order, with the exception of section 2 of this order, and the relevant provisions of section 5 of that Act. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.

Sec. 9. The Secretary of State is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, the INA, and section 5 of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights Act, including the authorities set forth in sections 5(b)(1)(B), 5(c), and 5(d) of that Act, as may be necessary to carry out section 2 of this order and the relevant provisions of section 5 of that Act. The Secretary of State may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law.

Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to determine that circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the property and interests in property of a person listed in the Annex to this order, and to take necessary action to give effect to that determination.

Sec. 11. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).

Sec. 12. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 13. This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 9, 2015.

BARACK OBAMA

POLL–US Trust In Government and Its Lapdog Media Flatline

[There is a simple explanation for this trend…Most Americans have learned the hard way that government and US media only deal in lies. Government officials spoon-feed us the lies in “soundbite” format, while media expands upon govt. lies, fleshing-out the fabricated details of the latest “news” that they want us to believe. Neither can be trusted, yet the govt. keeps on making even bigger mistakes on our behalf, while the media creates the false narrative that is used to steer us all away from any real truth. We need citizens investigative committees to out the liars and correct the false “history” that they have been able to construct.]

US trust in govt, media at record low – poll

Russia-Today
Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

Americans are less confident in the government than ever before and consider it a bigger problem than the economy and unemployment, according to a comprehensive social survey for 2014 and a just-released Gallup poll.

Only 10 percent of Americans consider the nation’s job situation to be the top problem. Eleven percent are most worried about the economy, according to a Gallup poll published Thursday. Meanwhile, 18 percent say the government is the biggest problem the country is facing.

‘Analysis of the General Social Survey for 2014,’ published Wednesday by the Associated Press, indicates that confidence in the government is at an all-time low. Only 11 percent of adult Americans interviewed had high confidence in the executive branch, and a record-high 44 percent said they had “hardly any confidence at all.”

AP-NORC Center and GSS

AP-NORC Center and GSS

Confidence in the US Supreme Court is at 23 percent, while only five percent are confident in Congress. Both are historical lows since the GSS survey was first conducted in 1972 by the NORC Center for Public Affairs at the University of Chicago.

While confidence in the White House tends to vary depending on party affiliation, the new survey reveals that confidence among Democrats decreased from 25 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2014.

Over half of Americans express hardly any confidence at all, while only 7 percent of Democrats, 5 percent of independents and 3 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in Congress,” said the analysis by AP and NORC.

Though confidence in the US military is dropping, it remains above 50 percent.

AP-NORC Center and GSS

AP-NORC Center and GSS

Trust in the media is low as well. Only seven percent of Americans polled have a large amount of confidence, while 44 percent have hardly any at all. Only three percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Democrats have a lot of confidence in the press. Only one in 10 Americans has a lot of confidence in television.

While only 10 percent are confident in organized labor, more Americans trust banks and financial institutions than before – 15 percent now, up from an all-time low of 11 percent in 2010. Only 10 percent have a lot of confidence in organized labor.

Not everything seems bleak, however. Thursday’s Gallup poll showed that 31 percent of Americans are satisfied with the country’s direction – a small drop from 33 percent during the 2012 presidential campaign. The all-time low was seven percent during the financial crisis in 2008, and the all-time high was in February 1999, during the dot-com boom.

Gallup polled 1,025 adults between March 5-8. The General Social Survey was based on interviews with a representative sample of 2,538 adults, conducted between March and October 2014.

Yemeni Houthi Leader Blasts Saudis for Bringing-In “al-Qaeda” To Justify US Intervention and Hegemony

[SEE: Yemen dialogue “likely” to take place abroad: JMP spokesman]

Houthi leader accuses Gulf states of backing al Qaeda in Yemen

Reuters

SANAA(Reuters) – The head of Yemen’s Houthis accused Gulf Arab states on Tuesday of supplying weapons and funds to Islamist militants, in an effort to create an environment in the southern part of the country where al Qaeda could flourish.

Speaking in a speech broadcast on al-Maseerah television, a media outlet of Ansarullah, the Houthi political wing, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi also accused unnamed parties of recruiting al Qaeda militants from abroad to justify a Western operation to occupy Yemen.

“Is there a just and equitable position for Gulf Arab states toward the Yemeni people?” Abdel-Malek said in the speech.

“Is there any position other than to send support, money and weapons, to the takfiri elements, and to facilitate the atmosphere for al Qaeda in the southern provinces,” he added, using an Arabic expression to describe Sunni Muslim militants.

Yemen, which shares a border with Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has been in turmoil since protests in 2011 forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The turmoil worsened in September when the Shi’ite Houthi captured Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, a move that Gulf states condemned as a coup.

The Houthi then took over the presidential palace in Sanaa and put President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi under house arrest, forcing him and his government to resign. Hadi has since fled to Aden and reclaimed the presidency, a move welcomed by Gulf states, who have shifted their embassies to the southern city.

Most of the Gulf states are enemies of al Qaeda, and several have taken part in U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and in Syria.

Abdel-Malek also denounced the Sunni Islamist Islah party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the party had been working with unnamed parties “to recruit takfiris from abroad”.

“Our country, Yemen, is at the forefront of countries that are being targeted by takfiri forces,” to justify extending Western hegemony over the country.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa and Ali Abdelaty in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Larry King)

Bemoaning the Human Tragedy of Syria, Without Blaming Obama For It

[The US military has created so many new wars throughout the region that it should have fully absorbed the lessons of those wars by now, in particular, the grieveous human cost of ill-advised, or outright foolish military adventurism. Unleashing tnunamis of war refugees is a bi-product of all war, contingencies should have been prepared years ago (before starting new wars) to humanely deal with the refugees in surrounding countries. Blaming any of this upon ISIS should be unacceptable since it was the US/Saudi sponsorship of Islamists within Syria that created the monster in the first place. The ISIS/refugee problems which arose offer proof that the Pentagon either suffers from a total lack of foresight or the slightest degree human compassion. It is no wonder that so many returning war vets suffer from PTSD. Any legislation passed to deal with the refugee crisis now, should have already been enacted after the first regime-change disaster in Iraq, or before the consecutive disasters in Libya, Syria, Yeman, and Ukraine (?).]

npr
Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7 in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. So many people have fled the city and so much of its infrastructure has been destroyed that nighttime satellite images show 97 percent less light compared to four years ago.

Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7 in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. So many people have fled the city and so much of its infrastructure has been destroyed that nighttime satellite images show 97 percent less light compared to four years ago.  Zein al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images

 

The conflict in Syria is entering its fifth year, and two new reports suggest it just keeps getting worse for civilians there.

One United Nations agency says life expectancy has plummeted by 20 years in the once-developed nation, while another new study based on nighttime satellite imagery finds that, in the past four years, 83 percent of the country’s lights have gone off.

And that’s just the average, says Michael Klosson, vice president for policy at aid group Save the Children. In areas like Aleppo, where much of the populace has fled and infrastructure has been pulverized, researchers found that light has been reduced as much as 97 percent.

Klosson says he thinks the satellite images illustrate that the hopes for Syria’s children — his aid group’s focus — are darkening.

“You’ve got 5.5 million kids who need humanitarian assistance — that’s equivalent to the population of the entire state of Maryland,” he says. “That’s a lot of kids in need.”

Meanwhile the U.N. report says life expectancy has fallen from nearly 76 years to under 56 in Syria, that the nation’s education system has collapsed and that the country is descending into poverty.All that despite a UN Security Council resolution passed last year to open up aid routes. Activists say it’s had little impact.

“The U.N. and the world have failed, and things have gotten worse for civilians,” says Gawain Kripke, director of policy and research at Oxfam America. “Our ability to provide assistance has been limited, and there are more people in places that are hard to reach now, than there were before the U.N. took action.”

Aid groups can’t get to about 4.8 million people in Syria, Kripke says, 2.5 percent higher than in 2013. The rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State certainly plays a role, but Kripke says Washington has been too focused on that.

“We’re spending a lot of time, money and resources focusing on parts of the problem — like ISIS — but it’s not a comprehensive solution to the conflict,” he says. “And it’s ignoring the suffering that’s going on.”

The problem is so enormous — former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday said, “What is happening on the ground in Syria is a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe of the first order” — that some worry people may decide it’s a lost cause.

“It has the danger of people switching off, because it’s hard to imagine what can be done,” says Nigel Pont, who is stationed in Beirut for Mercy Corps. “While we are not able to put an end to this war, and while we can’t alleviate everyone’s suffering, we are able to help millions of people a year.”

Save the Children’s Klosson also worries that the world’s attention is shifting away, and is urging the U.S. and other world powers to step up humanitarian assistance and work harder to find a solution the conflict.

“That’s how you get the lights back on,” he says.

Dumb-Ass Republican Leadership Frothing At the Mouth For MORE WAR!

[SEE:  Half of the US Senate Publicly Undermines and Embarasses the President of the United States (Cotton and 46 Fellow Senators to Send Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran)]

GOP’s New Foreign Policy Hero Is a Surveillance-Loving Interventionist Nightmare

reason

In soviet America, Cotton picks you! |||
Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton wants to invade Iran and Syria, jail journalists and whistleblowers, eavesdrop on Americans, and keep the ‘savages’ locked up in Gitmo.

Matt Welch

He’s “the star of the 2014 Senate class,” proclaims The Washington Post. A “conservative superstar,” deems The Atlantic. The “leading GOP national security hawk,” says The Washington Post again. Even a “dark horse” 2016 candidate for president, says The New Republic. So just who exactly is the new letter-writing chairman of the Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee, and what does his prominence say about the contemporary GOP?

Beyond being a Harvard-educated Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol’s biggest new political protégé, and also a target of sustained affection from National Review, Cotton is a politician who has already taken plenty of policy positions. Among them:

* That the U.S. should pre-emptively invade Iran, topple the mullahs, and ensure “replacement with [a] pro-western regime.”

* That “we should be proud for the way we treated these savages at Guantanamo Bay,” and that “the only problem with Guantanamo Bay is that there are too many empty beds.”

* That we should keep at least 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the forseeable future to finally get the job done there.

* That the U.S. should deploy ground troops against ISIS.

* That President Barack Obama should have taken “decisive, effective military action” against Syria after the regime crossed the administration’s “red line” in 2013.

* That the National Security Agency needs to be able to collect bulk metadata on unsuspecting Americans, because “Folks, we are at war. You may not like that truth … Do not take this tool away from our warriors on the front lines.”

* That Edward Snowden is a “traitor.”

* That defense spending needs to be jacked up: “We need to restore money not only cut by the sequester but the $1 trillion [reduced before that].”

* That, “Far from restraining the use of drones […] through unwise and unconstitutional mechanisms, we should continue and probably expand their use in our war against radical Islam.”

* That Iraq was a “just and noble war.”

* That, concerning pre-emptive military intervention, “George Bush largely did have it right, that we can’t wait for dangers to gather on the horizon, that we can’t let the world’s most dangerous people get the world’s most dangerous weapons, and that we have to be willing to defend our interests and the safety of our citizens abroad even if we don’t get the approval of the United Nations.”

* That ending President Barack Obama’s negotiations with Iran “is very much an intended consequence” of Cotton’s efforts in the Senate; “a feature, not a bug.”

* That, concerning the Obama administration’s November 2013 agreement with Iran in Geneva, “I fear that future generations may view what happened in Geneva as we have viewed Munich for 75 years. What makes this moment worse is that the West appeased Hitler at Munich out of fear and weakness. President Obama capitulated at Geneva even though we were in a position of strength given the sanctions regime. One can only imagine the thinking behind this grievous, historic mistake.”

Cotton first came to prominence as an Army lieutenant in Iraq in 2006, when he wrote a soon-to-be-viral open letter to then-New York Times executive editor Bill Keller and reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau criticizing the paper’s investigative piece about administration efforts to disrupt terrorist financing. The letter closes with a desire to see the journalists deprived of their freedom:

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others — laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

It is no wonder that neoconservatives such as Washington Free Beacon founder Michael Goldfarb wish “there were 20 Tom Cottons.” The open question, as it pertains to the new GOP majority, is whether Goldfarb is correct in his assessment that “At the end of the day, the Republican base is for bombing bad people.”

 

Kerry Denies Obvious US Destabilization/Civil War Agenda

Kerry Re-writes History of U.S. Support for Color Revolutions

strategic culture foundation

Wayne MADSEN | 06.03.2015 | 00:00

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry either has a blind spot when it comes to the last 15 years of U.S. foreign policy or he told a big whopping lie in Geneva. Kerry, in defining U.S. action in Ukraine, said that «We [the United States] are not involved in multiple color revolutions». Someone in Kerry’s position should know better. After all, he is not only the chief foreign policy officer of the United States but he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of the committee from the very outset of America’s «themed» or «color» revolutions, beginning with the October 5th Revolution, which overthrew Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

The chief of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, correctly said that the United States is funding Russian opposition groups and using sanctions over Ukraine to promote civil society discontent leading to a color revolution in Russia. The alarming record of U.S. support for color revolutions around the world speaks for itself.

What is even more galling about Kerry’s denial of U.S. operations aimed at overthrowing various governments is that it was he who chaired a series of hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987 to 1989 on the covert Central Intelligence Agency war to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. In 25 years, Kerry has gone from a firebrand opponent of CIA coup d’état and destabilization operations to a consummate cover-up artist for these activities.

After the overthrow of Milosevic in 2000 in a street protest-turned-revolution that followed the Gene Sharp/CIA manual to the tee and which was backed by the granddaddy of all NGO protest groups, OTPOR!, there were some 20 themed revolutions in rapid succession. These were followed by the «Arab Spring» themed revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Soros and his NGOs’ fingerprints were found on smaller attempted revolutions from Honduras to Maldives. OTPOR personnel were even dispatched to some of these countries, courtesy of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to assist in the fomenting of rebellion.

 

Mr. Kerry says Washington was not involved in «multiple color revolutions». Why did he use the term «multiple color revolutions?» Because there has been repeated U.S. support for multiple color revolutions as the following list attests:

The United States supported the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Olive Tree Revolution in Palestine (that saw Hamas come to power and effectively split the Palestinian independence movement), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Purple Revolution in Iraq (that saw a Shi’a-dominated government friendly to Iran come to power, spelling the end of the unified Iraqi state), Blue Revolution in Kuwait, Saffron Revolution in Burma (one that was crushed by the military) and the Crimson Revolution in Tibet (put down by the Chinese security forces), and the abortive Green Revolution in Iran. There were also attempted themed revolutions in Moldova (the Grape Revolution), Mongolia (the Yellow Revolution, which was partially successful), Uzbekistan (the Cotton Revolution), the autonomous Russian Republic of Bashkortostan (Orange Revolution), Ecuador (the Police Revolution), Bolivia (the Gas Revolution in the four secessionist natural gas-producing provinces), and Belarus (the Denim Revolution).

Not to be omitted is the Orange Democratic Movement’s uprising in Kenya, one that saw thousands murdered before the Orange movement’s leader Raila Odinga became Prime Minister in a power-sharing government. These color revolutions were followed by the U.S. – and Soros – supported Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, the Lotus Revolution in Egypt, the Twitter Revolution in Syria, and the uprising in Yemen. From the Middle East, the revolution engineers set out to attempt themed coups in Maldives (Yellow Revolution), Indonesia (the ill-fated «Sandal Revolution»), and the «Pots and Pans Revolution in Venezuela. Soros’s “Yellow Revolution” government in Maldives was ousted in a counter-coup by the vice president and police.

After the CIA-engineered coup against the democratically-elected president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya in 2009, the military-backed junta received the support of the wealthy elites who marched in the streets in support of the junta and adopted the color white in support of the military-installed president Roberto Micheletti. What did then-Senator Kerry say about that themed coup, the first carried out by the Obama administration? Kerry supported Zelaya’s goal of returning to power because Zelaya was the democratically-elected president of Honduras. Today, Kerry does not support the return of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to power in Kiev even though he too was democratically-elected and forced out unconstitutionally. When the Law Library of the U.S. Congress concluded that Zelaya’s removal was unconstitutional, it was Senator Kerry who demanded that the finding be reversed. Surely, Mr. Kerry learned the meaning of the word «hypocrite» while attending Yale and Boston College.

The history of U.S. support for themed revolutions continued well after the Arab Spring. After the second Ukrainian themed revolution against the Yanukovych presidency, the so-called «Euromaidan Revolution,» there were also attempted themed uprisings in Russia (the «Blue Bucket Revolution») and Macedonia.

There is no way on earth that Kerry can deny the themed color nature of U.S.-funded uprisings. As first seen with the Orange Revolution in Kiev in 2004, which was most definitely a Soros- and CIA-funded revolution that denied presidential winner Yanukovych the presidency and installed pro-U.S. Viktor Yushchenko and the corrupt Yulia Tymoshenko into power, flags and orange banners were ubiquitous on Kiev’s Central Square. In the most recent Ukrainian «Euromaidan» revolution, revealed by America’s bread-distributing maven of European affairs, Victoria Nuland, to have cost the U.S. taxpayers $5 billion, factory fresh red and black Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) flags appeared on Kiev’s Central Square, renamed Maidan Square, and throughout Kiev.

In the NED- and USAID-financed themed revolutions in Libya and Syria, factory-fresh flags of the former regimes, the King Idris regime of Libya and post-colonial and pro-French «Syrian Republic,» respectively, appeared practically overnight on the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli, as well as Aleppo, Homs, and Damascus. The old Kingdom of Libya standard is now the national flag of the dysfunctional “Republic of Libya,” which is split between rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk. In the case of Syria, the pre-Assad flag is now used by the Salafist-allied Free Syrian Army and is recognized as the flag of Syria by the United States, NATO, and the European Union.

China has not been immune to the American color revolutions. China’s defenses against such operations were tested first in Tibet and most recently in Hong Kong. Soros’s daughter, Andrea Soros Colombel, is the founder and president of the Trace Foundation and the co-founder, along with her husband, of the Tsadra Foundation. Both organizations directly support the Tibetan government-in-exile and their fingerprints were on the 2008 bloody rebellion in Tibet. Soros’s OSI Burma Project/Southeast Asia also had its fingerprints on the 2007 Buddhist monks’ rebellion in Burma, the so-called Saffron Revolution, the same theme applied to the Tibetan uprising in 2008. In 2011, a call went out for a Jasmine Revolution from the U.S.-based Chinese-language website Boxun.com.

The color revolution concept was on display in Calgary, Alberta where Conservative Naheed Nenshi, a Shi’a Ismaili, rode into the mayor’s office in a so-called «Purple Revolution». While not a coup, the elevation of Nenshi was heralded as a great «multicultural» success for an otherwise xenophobic and racist political party. Nenshi made no secret of his support for the Keystone XL pipeline and his disdain for the First Nation treaties that govern Ottawa’s relations with native tribal territories. Nenshi and his Conservatives are now trying to abrogate treaties with the First Nations and seize their hydrocarbon resources, something that is akin to a coup d’état against tribal sovereignty.

Kerry’s entire State Department top echelon has supported color revolutions under the Obama administration’s R2P (Responsibility to Protect) rubric since 2009. Many of the interventionists, including Nuland, her human rights point man Thomas Melia, and Jeffrey Feltman (now the Political Undersecretary General under UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after having served as the chief point man for the Arab Spring at the State Department) are either holdovers from the discredited George W. Bush administration or well-known neo-conservative political hacks. They are joined by the «neo-liberal» R2P architects, most notably national security adviser Susan Rice and UN ambassador Samantha Power.

John Kerry claims there has been no U.S. support for multiple color revolutions. Mr. Kerry should be sent Crayola’s 64 crayon pack as a reminder that there has been at least that number of color revolutions either hatched or planned by the United States since the October 5th Revolution in Belgrade.

2009 German Analysis Documenting US Plan To Unleash Civil War In Ukraine

Imperial Geopolitics: Ukraine, Georgia and the New Cold War between NATO and Russia

IMI german

von: Martin Hantke | Veröffentlicht am:

1. Januar 2009

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand current and future U.S., EU and NATO policy. Over ten years ago the former National Security Advisor gave a graphic description of the imperatives of imperial geopolitics. He argued that the U.S.A.’s position of supremacy should be preserved under all circumstances. To this end NATO, acting as a “bridgehead” of the U.S.A., should expand into Eurasia and take control of geostrategically important regions so as to prevent Russia’s resurgence as a powerful political force.

Brzezinski had in mind two countries or regions in particular: “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. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state, more likely to be drawn into debilitating conflicts with aroused Central Asians, who would then be supported by their fellow Islamic states to the south.” […] “However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”1 Brzezinski argued further that there was an imperative need to gain control of the southern Caucasus, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, on Russia’s southern flank. The past master of U.S. geopolitics set out the aim and purpose of NATO policy with impressive clarity: “The United States and the NATO countries – while sparing Russia’s self-esteem to the extent possible, but nevertheless firmly and consistently – are destroying the geopolitical foundations which could, at least in theory, allow Russia to hope to acquire the status as the number two power in world politics that belonged to the Soviet Union.”2

In the years that followed, these words were systematically put into political practice with NATO taking its eastward expansion right up to Moscow’s borders. Furthermore, active Western support for the “colourful revolutions” in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004) led to the sitting pro-Russian or neutral governments and presidents being ousted by pro-Western candidates.3 Russia regarded NATO’s policy as crossing the “red line”. As the war between Russia and Georgia in the summer of 2008 showed, Russia is no longer prepared to stand idly by in the face of further attempts at expansion. Nevertheless, the Western military alliance is doggedly pursuing its escalation policy, in which Ukraine and Georgia are now being offered NATO membership as a means of safeguarding the “successes” that have been scored. U.S. President Barack Obama is also in favour of these two countries joining NATO.4 The announcement that Michael McFaul, a hardliner on policy towards Moscow, is to be appointed senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council gives little cause for hope that Washington under its new president will abandon its aggressive, anti-Russian policy. This amounts to tacit acceptance that the New Cold War between NATO and Russia, invoked so frequently of late, will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ukraine: “On someone else’s arse”

Even now, the approach to Ukraine is evidently still determined by Brzezinski’s recipes from the devil’s workshop of geopolitics. NATO accession and Europe’s energy supply are issues that are closely intertwined. Writing in Handelsblatt, Peter Zeihan from Strategic Forecast, the think-tank often referred to as the “shadow CIA”, described the complex geopolitical situation as follows: “On the one hand, the ‘orange’ revolution of 2004 led to the installation of a Ukrainian government hostile to Russia’s objectives. President Viktor Yushchenko would like to integrate his country into the European Union and NATO. For Russia that would be the kiss of death. Most of the infrastructure linking Russia with Europe – from pipelines to railway lines and high-voltage cables – is located in Ukraine. Industry and agriculture in both countries are closely interlinked. There are more Russians living in eastern Ukraine than anywhere else in the world outside Russia. The Russian Black Sea fleet is stationed in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol because there are no reasonable alternatives. Ukraine stretches so far into southern Russia that a hostile power in the country could pose a threat to Moscow. Moreover, the country stretches so far eastwards that an antagonistic government there could even threaten Russia’s connections with the Caucasus. In a nutshell, if Ukraine slips out of Russia’s sphere of influence Russia will be forced completely onto the defensive in strategic terms. Vice versa, if Russia regains control in Kiev, the country could set itself up as a regional – and perhaps even a global – power.”5 It was to obviate such a scenario that Washington engaged in a further round of frenzied activity shortly before the end of U.S. President George W. Bush’s period in office. This activity was aimed at advancing Ukraine’s future membership of NATO. Martin Luther’s words to the effect that “Riding through a fire is easy on someone else’s arse” might perhaps have flashed through the mind of the then U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as she walked up with Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Volodymyr Ohryzko, to sign the United States-Ukraine Charta on Strategic Partnership on 19 December 2008. Rice said: “The United States supports Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures. And in that regard, I want to assure you that the declaration at Bucharest which foresees that Ukraine will be a member of NATO when it can meet those standards is very much at the center of our policy.” The Ukrainian Foreign Minister set great store by a strengthening of the presence of the United States in Ukraine, in particular through a diplomatic mission on the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea.6

In addition to a programme of enhanced security cooperation intended to strengthen Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO membership, agreement was reached on close collaboration on energy issues. It was resolved inter alia that “In recognition of the importance of a well functioning energy sector, the parties intend to work closely together on rehabilitating and modernizing the capacity of Ukraine’s gas transit infrastructure.”7 This Charter on Strategic Partnership was signed against the backdrop of the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia. Given Ukraine’s failure to pay its debts and the lack of any new agreement on deliveries of gas to Ukraine, supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine were stopped as of 1 January 2009. Within a few days the dispute began to have an effect on energy supplies throughout Europe. On 6 January 2009, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia reported that deliveries through the Ukrainian transit pipelines had come to a halt. Supplies to Austria fell by 90%. There are a number of indications that Ukraine’s actions can only be explained by reference to the support it received from the U.S.A. That was the Russian view too: “The Russian gas company Gazprom has pinned responsibility for the gas dispute with Ukraine on the U.S.A. Gazprom declared on Tuesday that Ukraine’s actions are being directed by the U.S. government. Despite the deployment of EU observers the Ukraine is again removing gas from the transit pipelines. Russia is therefore unable to deliver supplies to the EU countries. Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Russian energy giant, has accused the U.S.A. of fuelling the conflict.”8

In the case of both Georgia and Ukraine there is a close link between the gas dispute and support for their admission to NATO. In April 2008 the Bertelsmann Foundation concluded that Ukraine and Georgia were already closely integrated into “NATO’s working processes”. “Ever since it was founded in 1994, both countries have been part of the Partnership for Peace programme of the North Atlantic Alliance which is intended to promote individual cooperation between NATO and non-NATO countries. Cooperation has subsequently been extended. […] In their bilateral cooperation agreements with NATO both countries see far-reaching domestic reforms as a means of moving closer to the defence alliance. Such reforms principally concern the consolidation of internal democratic structures, but priority is also given to the fight against global terrorism and support for the operations and missions of the North Atlantic Alliance. The latter was one reason why U.S. President George W. Bush emphasized his efforts to have Ukraine and Georgia included in the Membership Action Plan. The progress made in integration into NATO’s defence structures puts into perspective the question that arose at the Bucharest summit about the steps Ukraine and Georgia will take after the provisional ‘no’ to their admission to the Membership Action Plan. Their path will inevitably take them into NATO.”9

Germany is playing a double role here. On the one hand it has joined France in rejecting an accelerated accession procedure for Ukraine, which the U.S.A. favoured; on the other hand it is playing a risky game by not placing any obstacles in the path of fundamental approval of Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The German Foreign Office has itself provided an apt description of this double role: “At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 Ukraine was in principle given the prospect of membership (‘We agreed today that these countries (i.e. Ukraine and Georgia) will become members of NATO’). Ukraine was not granted a Membership Action Plan (MAP); instead, a comprehensive review process was initiated.”10 This granting of prospective membership to Ukraine for the first time, combined with Georgia’s aggression shortly afterwards against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, proved the last straw for Moscow.

Georgia: a geopolitical prize

A look at the map quickly makes it clear why the Southern Caucasus is so important. Georgia provides the only opportunity of supplying Europe with gas and oil from the resource-rich countries of Central Asia and of transporting goods and products to Europe by land from China and Kazakhstan. The Nabucco pipeline project is intended to help reduce Europe’s “dependence” on Russian gas imports, which currently account for 40% of its supplies and are expected to climb to even higher levels. According to the European press service EurActiv, “The US has long been pushing for the construction of oil and natural gas pipelines from the Caspian basin that would bypass Russia, especially via Georgia.”11 The project is a top priority for the European Union, too. During his period as representative of the EU Council President in 2006 the Austrian Minister of Economics Martin Bartenstein said: “[The] Nabucco pipeline is Europe’s most important energy project.”12

For both the EU Member States and the NATO countries Georgia provides the geographical terrain that is essential to cutting Russia off from the purchasers of its energy exports. Russia’s countermeasures include three pipeline projects – Nord Stream (Baltic Sea pipeline), South Stream (Russian-Italian gas pipeline through the Black Sea via Varna in Bulgaria) and Blue Stream (from Russia through the Black Sea into Turkey) – as well as the building of direct energy lines to western and southern Europe to ensure the unobstructed export of energy free from any checks or controls by former Eastern Bloc states very favourably disposed to the U.S.A. This was why the U.S.A., in particular, played the Georgian card in the hope of containing Russia’s political influence in Europe and preventing its rise to the status of an industrial power.

Western support for the war

Germany continues to play a significant part in the arming of Georgia. The Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) mostly train Georgian officers as part of the general staff training course which includes participants from other countries. Over the past few years the Bundeswehr has been host to a steady stream of high-ranking military delegations from Georgia. In addition, G 36 rifles manufactured by Heckler & Koch have been delivered to Georgia. The bulk of the training has been carried out by the U.S.A., however. The U.S. Army has trained Georgian soldiers “to bring the armed forces of Georgia, a loyal ally of Washington, up to NATO standards as an outpost in the Caucasus.”13 In 2006 alone, says the German news magazine Der Spiegel, the U.S.A. supported Georgia to the tune of 80 million U.S. dollars, 13 million of which went on the payment of “military supplies and services” as well as the training of soldiers. In addition the U.S.A. has helped Georgia by regularly modernising its fleet and delivering helicopters free of charge.14 The considerable extent of U.S. military assistance, which has “enabled the Pentagon to overhaul Georgia’s forces from bottom to top”, is described by the New York Times as follows: “At senior levels, the United States helped rewrite Georgian military doctrine and train its commanders and staff officers. At the squad level, American marines and soldiers trained Georgian soldiers in the fundamentals of battle.”15
All told, therefore, the Georgian armed forces have over five infantry brigades each numbering 2,000 men. In addition there are the reservist units whose level of training is far inferior. The Georgian government talks officially of 37,000 soldiers and 100,000 reservists. Since Mikhail Saakashvili took office, Georgia’s military spending has increased significantly: “In 2003 it amounted to 52 million lari (24 million U.S. dollars), whereas in 2006 that figure had tripled to 139 million lari (78 million U.S. dollars). Real expenditure is much higher, however. Anyone liable to be called up for military service, for example, can buy themselves out of the army – four-fifths of the money goes straight to the ministry.”16

There is also brisk cooperation between Georgia and NATO. In July 2008, a joint manoeuvre was held as part of the Partnership for Peace Programme in which a total of 1,630 military personnel, including 1,000 Americans and 600 Georgians, took part.17 In addition, the Georgian army has been – and still is – prominently involved in the war in Iraq, which is in contravention of international law, as well as in Afghanistan and Kosovo. In 2008, Georgia had 2,000 solders in Iraq, the third-largest contingent of the “Coalition of the Willing”. However, after the Georgian army had been repulsed in South Ossetia in August 2008, the U.S. Air Force flew the Georgian units stationed in Iraq back to the home front to provide help while the fighting was still in progress. Given the massive campaign undertaken by the U.S.A. and its allies to build up the country’s military, it is barely credible that, while the U.S.A. might not actually have given the green light, it was not fully informed of the pending attack and subsequently kept silent about it.

At any rate, the Russians are certain that the attack took place with support from Washington. The Russian ambassador to NATO, Dimitri Rogozin, made a statement to the effect that Saakashvili agreed the attack with his “backers”. It is clear to whom he was referring.18 Vladimir Vasilyev, Chairman of the Duma Security Committee, summed up the Russian point of view as follows: “The longer the matter goes on, the better the world will come to understand that Georgia would never have been capable of it [the attack on South Ossetia] without the United States”.19 In an interview for the German TV station ARD the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his views of the U.S.A.’s behaviour perfectly clear: “One cannot help thinking that the American leadership knew of the planned action and, indeed, participated in it […] in order to organise a small-scale but successful war. And, if things went wrong, to force Russia into the role of the enemy.”20

Russia’s counter-attack

It is, indeed, hard to believe that the Georgian attack took place without any prior consultation with the U.S.A. Yet it must have been clear to the U.S. government that the Georgian army would be crushed in battle, which was precisely what happened. The question arises, therefore, as to Washington’s motives. Did it simply miscalculate in assuming that Russia would quietly accept the Georgian advance? It is hard to imagine but conceivable nonetheless. The other explanation is that the primary objective was to stir up a conflict with Russia so as to make the European Union toe an even more anti-Russian line and that Saakashvili came in handy here in the role of useful idiot, albeit at the expense of the people in the region. The matter cannot be clarified with any degree of certainty, although the latter explanation would appear more plausible.

At all events, the calculation backfired, because Russia seized the opportunity provided by the Georgian attack to improve its own position in the Caucasus. It is also very hard to imagine that Moscow was not informed of Georgia’s invasion plans. It was evidently well prepared for such an eventuality. In July, 8,000 Russian soldiers carried out an exercise simulating the repulsion of a Georgian attack. That might also explain why the Georgian troops were halted within 24 hours and the Russian troops gained the upper hand relatively quickly. Hence to describe Georgia’s war of aggression as the result of President Saakashvili stumbling into a Russian trap is not very convincing. Whether the Russians were well prepared or not, the fact of the matter is that Georgia engaged in a war of aggression.

In the course of the conflict Russia succeeded in shattering confidence in Georgia’s reliability as a transit country for future Caspian energy supplies. Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili himself said that “one of the main reasons for the Russian attack was that Georgia already has the Baku-Tblissi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), which has been laid one metre underground from end to end. This is intended to circumvent Russia.”21 That suspicion is not as mistaken as it might seem. After all, the opening of the BTC pipeline in May 2006, over which Washington and Moscow had wrangled bitterly for almost a decade, was one of the biggest geopolitical successes in the U.S.A.’s plans to roll back Russian influence in the region. “The Georgian security adviser, Alexander Lomaia, says that the Russians dropped six bombs but failed to hit the pipeline. If that is true, it would indicate that Russia’s military action was conducted in pursuit of other, more far-reaching strategic goals than merely preventing a humanitarian crisis in South Ossetia.”22

The Nabucco project was also dealt a heavy blow. According to Ed Chow from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Russia has raised serious doubts in the minds of Western lenders and investors […] as to whether a pipeline through Georgia is safe from attacks or beyond the control of the Kremlin.”23 Nevertheless, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attempted to give an assurance that the EU was sticking to its plan to build the Nabucco pipeline through Georgia despite the Caucasus conflict: “This infrastructure is needed”, Piebalgs said.24

For the first time since the end of the (old) Cold War Russia has thus ended a Western attempt at expansion by military means. That alone is sufficient to underline the dimensions of the Russian-Georgian war. At the same time the invasion of Georgia is a clear signal to the West that in future Russia will once again have to be taken into account in international power politics. A Strategic Forecast analysis says: “Russia has demonstrated three things with its operation in South Ossetia. Firstly, its army can carry out successful operations, which foreign observers have doubted. Secondly, the Russians can defeat forces trained by U.S. military instructors. Thirdly, Russia has shown that the U.S.A. and NATO are not in a position that would enable them to intervene militarily in this conflict.”25

Astonishing one-sidedness

It is hardly surprising that the Russian response to the Georgian invasion was fiercely criticised by the U.S., which almost unreservedly took Georgia’s side. Zbigniew Brzezinski was vociferous in his response, comparing Putin’s actions with those of Hitler. He went on to say that Moscow’s behaviour “can lead to exclusion and economic and financial sanctions. If Russia continues down this road it must ultimately be isolated within the community of states.”26
The European Union adopted an equally one-sided stance: “The European Council is gravely concerned by the open conflict which has broken out in Georgia, by the resulting violence and by the disproportionate reaction of Russia.”27 These were the words used by the European heads of state and government on 1 September in commenting on the events in the Caucasus. They failed to mention, let alone criticise, the fact that Georgia’s aggression was clearly what had unleashed the war. The statement continues by severely criticising Russia alone. Thus the heads of state and government “strongly condemn Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” In stark contrast to the policy of recognizing Kosovo that was pursued by the vast majority of EU Member States, the European Council “recalls that a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia must be based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognised by international law, the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and United Nations Security Council resolutions.”27

There were occasional vehement demands for even more drastic action against Russia. The Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP), advocated an EU position that is “tougher than that of NATO.”28 The fact that the hardliners were not able to have their way entirely has to do with the specific constellation of interests that have made this appear inopportune, particularly from a German perspective. On the one hand there is a desire to show Moscow who is in charge in Europe but, on the other, there is a wish not to spoil things completely with Russia, because business there is simply too profitable.29 Nevertheless, Germany is in almost full accord with NATO’s escalation policy.

(Energy) NATO is put into position

In November 2006 U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, a leading NATO strategist, literally went on the offensive. On the fringes of the NATO summit in Riga he criticised Moscow for its attempts to use oil as a “weapon” against the West and proposed the setting up of an “Energy NATO”. The underlying idea is that in future NATO should treat any interruption of oil and gas supplies as it would a military attack (see article by Tobias Pflüger).

In January 2008, five high-ranking NATO generals published a position paper that was specifically introduced into the debate in the form of a catalogue of requirements for the forthcoming updating of NATO’s strategic concept, the idea being that it could serve as a blueprint for the NATO summit on 3/4 April 2009: “ There will be an increase in global competition for scarce resources, and this will certainly be the case for fossil fuel, which will swell the possibility of suppliers abusing their position and their leverage.. […]Dependency on oil and gas is a vulnerability that some governments will seek to exploit – the Gazprom crisis demonstrated how easily demand can be manipulated. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is – and is likely to remain – a mechanism for keeping the price of oil artificially high, and recently Russia and the United Arab Emirates have been exploring the idea of setting up a ‘Gas OPEC’. […] For this reason, it might well be worth considering using NATO as an instrument of energy security.”30

Shortly afterwards, in June 2008, Richard Lugar, who for a time was under discussion as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State for Defense, repeated his threats against Russia at a hearing of the Senate and vigorously advocated the building of the Nabucco pipeline.31 At the same hearing the new U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden expressly praised Lugar’s work on energy policy and emphasised the importance of the conflicts in the Caspian region: “The stakes involve hundreds of billions of dollars in oil and infrastructure, the resurgence of Russia, and the energy security of Europe.. […] Russians love chess. Our strategic response on the chess board of Central Asia must be to establish a presence on parts of the board they do not yet control. That means laying down new pipelines that add alternatives […] to the monopoly Russia has enjoyed.”32

Biden is therefore likely to have welcomed one of the last major security policy initiatives launched by the Bush administration which aimed at drawing Georgia further into the Western orbit by means of a joint declaration on partnership: “The United States and Georgia officially became “strategic partners” under a charter signed by the two governments on January 9 [2009]. […] Few details have been publicized about the charter, which was signed four months after Georgia’s disastrous war with Russia. It has been widely reported, however, that the Georgian pact resembles a strategic partnership charter signed by the United States and Ukraine in December.”33 Like the United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership the agreement with Georgia is likely to comprise intensified military cooperation and measures to expedite Ukraine’s membership of NATO. On 15 September 2008 NATO resolved to set up a commission to deepen relations with Georgia. This is intended “to coordinate Alliance efforts to assist Georgia in recovering from the recent conflict”.34

Cold War as a self-fulfilling prophecy

The aim of the policy pursued by the U.S.A. in Ukraine and Georgia is to wage a new Cold War against Russia. Russia is to be challenged by a policy of pinpricks involving “colourful revolutions”, energy blockades, NATO expansion and the stationing of missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic. By disrupting economic relations with Western Europe Washington aims to contain Russia’s global political influence and thwart its advance as a new industrial power. Should this scenario turn out to be a success, it would simultaneously ensure that the NATO allies in Western Europe are tied into a joint strategy of escalation and have to become even more heavily involved in projects designed to secure energy supplies.
Since this strategy has thus far proved successful and it cannot, unfortunately, be assumed that there will be a move away from a policy of U.S. confrontation under President Obama, there is a renewed threat of bloc confrontation. At the height of the Georgian war Russian President Dmitri Medvedev sent out a clear message to the West: “We are not afraid of anything, not even the prospect of a Cold War.”35 The anti-war movement will have to adjust to the realities of the New Cold War. The strategy of imperialism pursued by NATO and the EU must be opposed here and now in a calm and collected fashion.

Endnotes

1 Brzezinski, Zbigniew: The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York 1997, p. 24 (Seitenangabe in der englischen Fassung unsicher)
2 ibid., p.27 (s.o.)
3 On Western support for the “colourful revolutions” cf. Chauvier, Jean-Marc: Westlich werden und östlich bleiben, Le Monde diplomatique, 14 January 2005
4 Carpenter, Ted: Worse than Bush? National Interest Online, 11 July 2008
5 Zeihan, Peter: Moskau wird Kiew nie dem Westen überlassen [Moscow will never leave Kiev to the West], Handelsblatt, 20 January 2009
6 United States, Ukraine Sign Security Charter, America.gov, 19 December 2008
7 United States-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, 22 December 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/agqc4k
8 Befeuern die USA den Gasstreit? [Is the U.S. fuelling the gas dispute?], heute.de, 13 January 2009
9 Isic, Mirela: Ein „Vielleicht” für die Ukraine und Georgien [A “maybe” for Ukraine and Georgia], Center for Applied Policy Research, CAP News, 10 April 2008
10 Auswärtiges Amt [German Foreign Office]: Ukraine, Stand: Oktober 2008 [Ukraine, status as of October 2008], URL: http://tinyurl.com/b3gvbg
11 Nabucco: ‘Pie in the sky’ after Georgia crisis?, EurActiv, 25 August 2008
12 ibid.
13 Friedmann, Matti: Sie waren nicht bereit für den Krieg mit Russland [They weren’t prepared for war with Russia], AP, 19 August 2008
14 Schröder gibt Saakaschwili die Schuld [Schröder puts the blame on Saakashvili], Der Spiegel 16 August 2008
15 Grey, Barry: Bush escalates confrontation with Russia over Georgia, World Socialist Web Site, 13 August 2008
16 Der Spiegel 16 August 2008
17 Georgien stockt Armee mit Blick auf NATO-Beitritt deutlich auf [Georgia boosts its army with a view to NATO membership], russland.ru, 16 July 2008
18 Nuclear Nightmares: The Return of M.A.D., Huffington Post, 19 August 2008
19 Chin, Larry: South Ossetia: superpower oil war, Online Journal, 13 August 2008
20 This and many other critical remarks made by Putin were cut out of the ARD broadcast. A full transcript of the interview can be found at http://www.spiegelfechter.com/wordpress/392/das-interview
21 EurActiv, 25 August 2008
22 Rosenbaum, Kaspar: Südossetien: Der Westen in der Propagandaschlacht [South Ossetia: The West in a propaganda battle], ef-online, 11 August 2008
23 EurActiv, 25 August 2008
24 Energie-Agentur sagt wachsende EU-Abhängigkeit von Importen voraus [Energy agency predicts growing EU dependence on imports], Yahoo News Finanzen, 4 September 2008
25 Stratfor: Russland hat Stärke gezeigt und wird nur auf Stärke hören [Russia has shown its strength and will only respond to strength], RIA Novosti, 11 August 2008
26 “Russlands Vorgehen ähnelt dem von Hitler” [Russia’s actions resemble those of Hitler], Die Welt, 11 August 2008
27 Extraordinary European Council, Brussels, 1 September 2008, 12594/08
28 Pflüger, Tobias: EU eskaliert den Konflikt mit Russland weiter [EU escalates the conflict with Russia], IMI-Standpunkt 2008/052
29 On Germany’s role cf. Hantke, Martin: The Georgian War and Imperial Geopolitics, in: AUSDRUCK (October 2008).
30 Naumann, Klaus et al.: Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, URL: http://tinyurl. com/5buj19, p. 47 et seq.
31 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Richard G. Lugar Opening Statement for Hearing on Oil, Oligarchs and Opportunity: Energy from Central Asia to Europe, 12 June 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/df7tg8
32 BIDEN: We Need to Confront Russia’s Oil Dominance with Aggressive, High Level Diplomacy, 12 June 2008, URL: http://tinyurl.com/crjhol
33 Corso, Molly: Georgia: Washington and Tbilisi sign Strategic Pact sure to irk the Kremlin, Eurasia Insight, 9 January 2009
34 Framework document on the establishment of the NATO-Georgia Commission, Tbilisi, 15 September 2008
35 Dimitri Medvedev raises spectre of new Cold War, The Times Online, 26 August 2008

Ambassador Admits That US Plan To Counter Russian “Hybrid Warfare” Is To Cause “Maidan” In Moscow

[SEE:  “NATO has a dream, and this dream is a Maidan in Russia”]

vershbow Photo: PARLEU2015.LV Alexander Vershbow in Riga

ESDP and NATO: better cooperation in view of the new security challenges

NATO

Speech by NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow at the Interparliamentary Conference on CFSP/CSDP, Riga, Latvia, 5 March 2015

I am very pleased to be in Riga today. I appreciate that NATO-EU cooperation is high on your conference programme. And I am honoured to discuss this important subject with such eminent co-panellists — and with all you parliamentarians gathered here this afternoon.

2014 was a watershed year. Since this time last year, we have seen the emergence of an entirely new strategic reality. We have seen new threats and challenges both on our eastern and our southern borders. They are different, but they are serious.

NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia. But Russia no longer appears to want to be integrated in a common Euro-Atlantic community. We see an angry, revisionist Russia that breaks international rules, that wants to re-establish spheres of influence, and is prepared to redraw borders by force to achieve its goals.

Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine reflect an evolving pattern of behaviour that has been emerging for several years – from Moldova, through Georgia. And it is justified by a false narrative alleging that Russia has been humiliated and encircled by the West ever since the end of the Cold War. This is a myth. The reality is that for over twenty years, NATO has tried to engage Russia, not to isolate it.

We have also seen emerging a new form of ‘hybrid warfare,’ combining military intimidation, disguised intervention, the covert supply of weapons and weapon systems, economic blackmail, diplomatic duplicity and media manipulation, with outright disinformation.

The terrain is not just the field of geopolitics, but Russian domestic politics as well. President Putin’s aim seems to be to turn Ukraine into a failed state and to suppress and discredit alternative voices in Russia, so as to prevent a Russian “Maidan”. We’ve seen that the victims are not just in Eastern Ukraine, with the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov last Friday. While we don’t know who pulled the trigger, we do know that Boris Nemtsov was a powerful voice for democracy and against Russia’s involvement in Ukraine who was among those vilified as “traitors” and “fifth columnists” in Russia’s official propaganda. The international community has made clear its condemnation of the murder of Nemtsov and its call for an open and impartial investigation into his death.

Even before this tragic event, there was mounting evidence that the Russian incursion into Ukraine is becoming much less popular among the Russian public – especially as Russian leaders are less and less able to conceal the fact that Russian soldiers are fighting – and dying – in large numbers in Eastern Ukraine.

The agreements reached in Minsk last month are an important step to end the violence and promote a political solution to the Ukraine conflict. But full implementation is key. And Russia has a special responsibility, together with the separatists that it supports with training, equipment and forces, to bring about a real de-escalation – not a temporary pause, but a lasting solution that allows the people of Eastern Ukraine to have their normal lives restored as part of unified, democratic Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

At the same time, we also face a serious challenge on our southern borders. Across the Middle East and North Africa, ISIL’s violent ideology has poured oil on the fire of extremism and sectarianism that was already burning after the failed promise of the Arab Spring. And the situation has become particularly tense with the recent upsurge of violence in Libya.

Our NATO Ally Turkey is already on the front-line of the fighting. We have seen more and more people desperate to escape the violence, which is putting enormous strains on countries like Turkey and Italy. Recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen show the danger of violent Jihadism spilling back onto our streets, damaging the very fabric of our societies.

So what do these dual challenges mean for Western policy? I firmly believe they require a unified strategy to strengthen our own resilience — but also that of our eastern and southern neighbours. Because if they are more stable, we are more secure. And I also believe such a unified strategy puts a premium on closer cooperation between the European Union and NATO.

In the East, our first priority must be to strengthen our own defences against any threats. And that’s exactly what NATO is doing with our Readiness Action Plan agreed at our Wales Summit last September.

We have already increased significantly our military presence here in the Baltic region and elsewhere in the eastern part of the Alliance. And we are making good progress in making our forces more ready, more responsive, and better able to meet any threat from any direction. We want to assure all Allies that NATO has “got their back” – and to deter any potential aggressor.

That’s why we are also focusing on the threat of hybrid warfare that has been central to the Russian strategy, first in the illegal annexation of Crimea, and now in Eastern Ukraine.

Hybrid warfare isn’t new. But we have seen it applied in Ukraine with renewed vigour and ingenuity. While we don’t see any immediate threat to NATO allies, we can’t be complacent about the possibility it could be used against a NATO country.

Hybrid warfare mixes hard and soft power. And so our response should also be multi-faceted. NATO and the European Union each have distinct hard and soft power tools. Our challenge is to bring them together so that we complement each other, and reinforce the essential measures taken by our member states.

At NATO, we are looking at how we prepare for, deter, and – if required – defend against hybrid threats. Preparing means that we must strengthen our open and inclusive societies. We must also improve our intelligence and warning systems. We must protect our infrastructure, including our information infrastructure. And we must make sure we can take decisions quickly to deal with events that, at least initially, may be characterized by ambiguity and deception.

To deter hybrid threats effectively, we need to demonstrate our resolve to act promptly, whenever and wherever necessary. NATO’s enhanced presence in the eastern part of our Alliance, the implementation of the Very High Readiness Spearhead Force, the setting up of command and control units in six eastern Allies, and other steps – all send a strong signal that we are improving both our political and military responsiveness, and that we are able to deploy the right forces to the right place at the right time.

Finally, if deterrence should fail, NATO stands ready to defend any Ally against any threat. For hybrid scenarios, we may need not only to deploy conventional forces quickly, but tailored force packages with special operations forces, civil affairs expertise, and information capabilities that can work with local authorities to counter efforts to subvert or destabilize social peace. And I expect that any NATO response would then be complemented by a much broader international effort – to bring to bear diplomatic, economic and other levers as well.
In Ukraine, the first priority of the international community is to stop the fighting. We need to see full compliance with the ceasefire, a pullback of heavy weapons from the line of contact, and withdrawal of foreign forces, including Russian forces – all subject to unhindered verification by the OSCE. If Russia and the separatists it backs do not fulfil their commitments, the international community has made clear that it will continue to raise the costs.

At the same time, we must continue to work with Ukraine and other eastern neighbours who aspire to a European future, in particular Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. It is not only a moral duty, but also a vital security interest, to help them to become stronger, better able to withstand outside pressure, and to chart their own course.

There is a key role for the European Union in helping these countries to stay on the path of democratic reform, to open up their economies, and build effective institutions. But NATO is making an important contribution as well, by helping them to reform their defence sectors and to build effective armed forces, and by reinforcing our long-standing partnerships.

The challenge coming from the south also demands that our efforts should be complementary. Over the past two decades, from the Balkans to Afghanistan, NATO has shown a unique ability to mount complex operations involving both Allies and partners, and also to work in concert with organisations like the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League.

It is clear, at the same time, that deploying large numbers of troops is not always the answer to a crisis. Most of the time, it will be more effective to help countries to build up their own defence capacity, and their own ability to maintain peace and stability in their region. That is why we have stepped up our support for Jordan. We are considering how we can best respond to a request for assistance by Iraq. And we stand ready to support Libya, as requested by its government, once security conditions allow.

When it comes to supporting our southern neighbours with security sector reform and defence capacity building, NATO can bring unique added value. But there is a key role for the European Union too, to help these countries with political and economic reforms, to build strong institutions, and to fight corruption.

The logic of closer cooperation between NATO and the EU is more compelling than ever before. We need to strengthen the resilience of our own nations as well as that of our eastern and southern neighbours. We need to further coordinate our approaches to counter hybrid warfare, dispel propaganda and misinformation, and defend our shared democratic values. And we need to work together to manage crises, bring relief, and project stability beyond our borders.

NATO-EU cooperation has continued to intensify these past few years. We hold political consultations on the situation in Ukraine; we have broad staff-level contacts; and we are working together on operations, capability development, and defence capacity building. We have launched efforts to coordinate our strategic communications. But at the working level, we have almost reached the limit of what we can do within the well-known, long-standing constraints on our cooperation. We need political engagement, at the highest levels, to address those constraints.

Parliamentary support will be critical in driving the NATO-EU relationship forward. And I would encourage you to do what you can to help bring it about – both in your national parliaments and through your interparliamentary work.

Finally, our security does not come for free. Keeping our military forces on high readiness, investing in new equipment, and supporting our partners – all these things are expensive. Smart Defence and pooling and sharing help to get the most out of every defence Dollar and Euro. So we need to continue those efforts. But we also need to stop the decline in our defence budgets, and to raise them again as our economies improve. You play a vital role in making sure that the necessary resources for our defence are available. And I hope you will also play that role to the full.

This is a critical time for the security of all our nations. We face new, complex challenges both to our east and our south. If there was ever any doubt about the need to re-invest in our defence, and for NATO and the European Union to work much more closely together, that doubt should have really disappeared by now.

Zbig, the Polish Defector Pushes Congress To Fight Russia In Eastern Europe

satanski

The ‘Democrat’ Brzezinski Says Russia’s Putin Wants to Invade NATO

rinf news

 

Eric Zuesse

Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. President Obama’s friend and advisor on Russia, is a born Polish aristocrat who has hated Russia his whole life but who hid that hatred until after the communist Soviet Union collapsed and he then publicly came out as hating and fearing specifically Russia — the nation, its people, and their culture. In 1998, he wrote The Grand Chessboard, arguing for an unchallengeable U.S. empire over the whole world, and for the defeat of Russia as the prerequisite to enabling that stand-alone global American empire to reign over the planet.

He now has told the U.S. Congress (on February 6th but not reported until March 6th, when the German Economic News found the clip) that Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin “seized” Crimea and that Putin will probably try to do the same to Estonia and Latvia, unless the U.S. immediately supplies weapons and troops to those countries and to Ukraine. Here is his stunning testimony (click on the link under it, to hear it, but the key part is quoted in print below):

“I wonder how many people in this room or this very important senatorial committee really anticipated that one day Putin would land military personnel in Crimea and seize it. I think if anybody said that’s what he is going to do, he or she would be labeled as a warmonger. He did it. And he got away with it. I think he’s also drawing lessons from that. And I’ll tell you what my horror, night-dream, is: that one day, I literally mean one day, he just seizes Riga, and Talinn. Latvia and Estonia. It would literally take him one day. There is no way they could resist. And then we will say, how horrible, how shocking, how outrageous, but of course we can’t do anything about it. It’s happened. We aren’t going to assemble a fleet in the Baltic, and then engage in amphibious landings, and then storm ashore, like in Normandy, to take it back. We have to respond in some larger fashion perhaps, but then there will be voices that this will plunge us into a nuclear war.”

He continues there by saying that we must pour weapons and troops into the nations that surround Russia, in order to avoid a nuclear conflict: deterrence, he argues, is the way to peace; anything else than our sending in troops and weapons now would be weakness and would invite World War III. 

He says that American troops must be prepositioned in these countries immediately, because otherwise Putin will think that America won’t respond to a Russian attack against those countries.

The most serious falsehoods in his remarkable testimony are three, and they’ll be taken up here in succession:

(1) The crucial background for what Brzezinski there calls the “seizure” of Crimea by Russia on 16 March 2014 was an extremely aggressive action by the United States, a violent coup in Kiev that climaxed prior, during February 2014, which used the “Maidan” demonstrations there as a cover in order to take over Ukraine’s Government, a violent coup which the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor subsequently (and correctly) referred to as “the most blatant coup in history,” and which the President of the Czech Republic says should not be compared at all to Czechoslovakia’s 1968 “Velvet Revolution,” and that only “ignorant” people don’t know that it was a coup instead of a revolution. But not only was it an incredibly bloody coup, but the leader of the post-coup Government who became officially designated on 26 February 2014 turned out to be exactly the same person whom Obama’s controlling agent on the entire matter had explicitly selected and informed her underling on 4 February 2014 to get appointed to become the new leader; so, she not only knew that the coup would soon be occurring, but she had already selected by no later than 18 days beforehand the person who would replace the then sitting, democratically elected, President of Ukraine. Furthermore, Ukraine is a country bordering Russia, and so this coup was far worse for Russia than even the 1959 communist takeover of Cuba was for the United States. The U.S. many times tried to overthrow Castro — so, how much gall does the United States have today for its refusing even to acknowledge that our extremely violent takeover of Ukraine, on Russia’s very border, constitutes an existential threat against Russia? (And even the top EU leadership knows that this was a U.S. coup, not any authentic revolution.) For Brzezinski to say nothing at all about any of this is simply scandalous (an obvious intention by him to deceive), but for the U.S. Senate to invite such a man to address it is even worse: it is as if the U.S. Congress in 1933 had invited Hitler to lecture it about “the Jewish threat.” It’s worse than insane; it is bloody dangerous in a nuclear-armed world.

(2) As I recently documented with links to the direct sources, headlining “The Entire Case for Sanctions Against Russia Is Pure Lies,” Gallup polls in Crimea both before and after the 16 March 2014 plebiscite on whether to stay within Ukraine, which Crimea had been part of since 1954, or instead to rejoin with Russia, which Crimea had been part of between 1783 and 1954, showed that by more than 90%, Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia and held both the U.S. and EU in extremely low esteem. Furthermore, because Russia’s key Black Sea Fleet had been stationed there since 1783, Russia always had troops there and didn’t need to “land military personnel in Crimea and seize it.” There was no invasion, no “seizure” at all. The plebiscite was entirely peaceful, because the public craved it (on account of the recent bloody coup in Ukraine) and because the already-existing presence of Russian troops to protect them to have it so that Ukraine wouldn’t send in their army to prevent it, enabled it to be carried out peacefully. There is no military base of any sort from Russia anywhere in Latvia nor in Estonia, nor in any other NATO country. The very idea put forth by Brzezinski, that the two situations are at all analogous, is insane and can be understood only within the context of the bizarre hatred held by this born aristocrat who learned his hatred since birth and who is now obsessed with it in his old age. The very fact that U.S. Senators would invite such a person to testify is scandalous, and is an indication of their ignorance or else of their sharing Brzezinski’s rabidly counterfactual and extremely dangerous beliefs. Russia should take that as being a clear indication of hostile intent from the U.S. Congress, because Brzezinski’s statements are entirely out of line and an irrational outburst that’s based on nothing but hatred and a distorted portrayal of the clearly documented realities to the contrary of Brzezinski’s selective and false description of Russia, Ukraine, Putin, and NATO.

(3) The basis of the NATO Treaty is its mutual-defense provision: that all members are committed to the defense of each member. How crazy does Brzezinski have to be to think that in order to prevent Putin from invading NATO, the U.S. must now send weapons and troops in to each one of the 12 NATO member-nations that were formerly Russia’s allies? Brzezinski’s alarmist and sensationalistic lies and distortions go well beyond standard propaganda into the realm of the insane: propaganda that’s directed at fools and yet that’s being presented to U.S. Senators. Are they crazy, too?

Russia has every reason to believe that the U.S. Government is set upon surrounding it by armed and dangerous hostile nations and taking it over by force. This isn’t at all about Putin; it is about U.S. President Barack Obama, and the U.S. Congress.

For whatever democratic nations that still exist in the EU and NATO not to quit those organizations is for them to consent to being ruled by the U.S. dictatorship, which means that they themselves are dictatorships serving the American aristocracy. This is a dictarorship by America’s aristocracy, the very same people who are ruining the United States and who are now determined to take over every other aristocracy in the entire world — determined to reign over the entire planet.

Testimony such as Brzezinski presented to the U.S. Senate yesterday is shocking and damning against the Senate itself. Brzezinski accuses Russia of planning to invade NATO when instead the United States has been surrounding Russia by formerly-Russian-allied nations, which are new members of America’s anti-Russian military club, NATO. The preparations for an all-out nuclear war have begun. The U.S. aristocracy definitely started this incipient war; for them, it’s a war of choice. It’s not a war of choice for anyone in Russia. (Ukraine’s oligarchs, especially the White-House-connected Ihor Kolomoysky, are ripping off everything they can from it.) The significance of the Ukrainian conflict is that it’s the beachhead to take over Russia. And the Ukrainian post-coup leadership have stated proudly, many times, that this is their ultimate aim. It clearly is Obama’s.

Why are Americans not marching by the millions against this rogue government in Washington? How much longer will the American people continue to tolerate it — an affront against not only the American people but the entire world?

Brzezinski’s testimony to Congress on February 6th was so brazen because he’s like he describes Putin as being: he does what he can get away with doing. It’s way over the line. If there is no public revulsion expressed against it, then we are all heading into danger that’s unprecedented since 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis, when the shoe was on the other foot and the United States was the country facing the existential threat.

Russia has already let things go too far, with 12 former Warsaw-Pact allies already being members of the NATO alliance against Russia. If Putin doesn’t draw the line at Ukraine, as being over the line, then he might as well do everything that America’s President demands him to do. But America’s Presidency no longer represents the American people; it now represents the American aristocracy. So: for the welfare of everyone except America’s aristocrats, Putin should stand firm. But the danger of America to the world exists no matter what he does.

—————

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.

Gen.”Strange”-love (Breedlove) Sabotaging Minsk Deal With “false claims and exaggerated accounts”

Breedlove’s Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine

der spiegel

By SPIEGEL Staff

Top NATO commander General Philip Breedlove has raised hackles in Germany with his public statements about the Ukraine crisis.Top NATO commander General Philip Breedlove has raised hackles in Germany with his public statements about the Ukraine crisis.

 

US President Obama supports Chancellor Merkel’s efforts at finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. But hawks in Washington seem determined to torpedo Berlin’s approach. And NATO’s top commander in Europe hasn’t been helping either.

It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn’t holding perfectly, but it was holding.

On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again “upped the ante” in eastern Ukraine — with “well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery” having been sent to the Donbass. “What is clear,” Breedlove said, “is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day.”German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn’t understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn’t the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove’s comments as “dangerous propaganda.” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove’s comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

The ‘Super Hawk’

But Breedlove hasn’t been the only source of friction. Europeans have also begun to see others as hindrances in their search for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict. First and foremost among them is Victoria Nuland, head of European affairs at the US State Department. She and others would like to see Washington deliver arms to Ukraine and are supported by Congressional Republicans as well as many powerful Democrats.

Indeed, US President Barack Obama seems almost isolated. He has thrown his support behind Merkel’s diplomatic efforts for the time being, but he has also done little to quiet those who would seek to increase tensions with Russia and deliver weapons to Ukraine. Sources in Washington say that Breedlove’s bellicose comments are first cleared with the White House and the Pentagon. The general, they say, has the role of the “super hawk,” whose role is that of increasing the pressure on America’s more reserved trans-Atlantic partners.

A mixture of political argumentation and military propaganda is necessary. But for months now, many in the Chancellery simply shake their heads each time NATO, under Breedlove’s leadership, goes public with striking announcements about Russian troop or tank movements. To be sure, neither Berlin’s Russia experts nor BND intelligence analysts doubt that Moscow is supporting the pro-Russian separatists. The BND even has proof of such support.But it is the tone of Breedlove’s announcements that makes Berlin uneasy. False claims and exaggerated accounts, warned a top German official during a recent meeting on Ukraine, have put NATO — and by extension, the entire West — in danger of losing its credibility.

There are plenty of examples. Just over three weeks ago, during the cease-fire talks in Minsk, the Ukrainian military warned that the Russians — even as the diplomatic marathon was ongoing — had moved 50 tanks and dozens of rockets across the border into Luhansk. Just one day earlier, US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges had announced “direct Russian military intervention.”

Senior officials in Berlin immediately asked the BND for an assessment, but the intelligence agency’s satellite images showed just a few armored vehicles. Even those American intelligence officials who supply the BND with daily situation reports were much more reserved about the incident than Hodges was in his public statements. One intelligence agent says it “remains a riddle until today” how the general reached his conclusions.

Much More Cautious

“The German intelligence services generally appraise the threat level much more cautiously than the Americans do,” an international military expert in Kiev confirmed.

At the beginning of the crisis, General Breedlove announced that the Russians had assembled 40,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and warned that an invasion could take place at any moment. The situation, he said, was “incredibly concerning.” But intelligence officials from NATO member states had already excluded the possibility of a Russian invasion. They believed that neither the composition nor the equipment of the troops was consistent with an imminent invasion.

The experts contradicted Breedlove’s view in almost every respect. There weren’t 40,000 soldiers on the border, they believed, rather there were much less than 30,000 and perhaps even fewer than 20,000. Furthermore, most of the military equipment had not been brought to the border for a possible invasion, but had already been there prior to the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, there was no evidence of logistical preparation for an invasion, such as a field headquarters.

Breedlove, though, repeatedly made inexact, contradictory or even flat-out inaccurate statements. On Nov. 18, 2014, he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that there were “regular Russian army units in eastern Ukraine.” One day later, he told the website of the German newsmagazine Stern that they weren’t fighting units, but “mostly trainers and advisors.”

He initially said there were “between 250 and 300” of them, and then “between 300 and 500.” For a time, NATO was even saying there were 1,000 of them.

The fact that NATO has no intelligence agency of its own plays into Breedlove’s hands. The alliance relies on intelligence gathered by agents from the US, Britain, Germany and other member states. As such, SACEUR has a wide range of information to choose from.

Influencing Breedlove

On Nov. 12, during a visit to Sofia, Bulgaria, Breedlove reported that “we have seen columns of Russian equipment — primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops — entering into Ukraine.” It was, he noted, “the same thing that OSCE is reporting.” But the OSCE had only observed military convoys within eastern Ukraine. OSCE observers had said nothing about troops marching in from Russia.

Breedlove sees no reason to revise his approach. “I stand by all the public statements I have made during the Ukraine crisis,” he wrote to SPIEGEL in response to a request for a statement accompanied by a list of his controversial claims. He wrote that it was to be expected that assessments of NATO’s intelligence center, which receives information from all 33 alliance members in addition to partner states, doesn’t always match assessments made by individual nations. “It is normal that not everyone agrees with the assessments that I provide,” he wrote.

He says that NATO’s strategy is to “release clear, accurate and timely information regarding ongoing events.” He also wrote that: “As an alliance based on the fundamental values of freedom and democracy, our response to propaganda cannot be more propaganda. It can only be the truth.”

The German government, meanwhile, is doing what it can to influence Breedlove. Sources in Berlin say that conversations to this end have taken place in recent weeks. But there are many at NATO headquarters in Brussels who are likewise concerned about Breedlove’s statements. On Tuesday of last week, Breedlove’s public appearances were an official item on the agenda of the North Atlantic Council’s weekly lunch meeting. Several ambassadors present criticized Breedlove and expressed their incredulity at some of the commander’s statements.

The government in Berlin is concerned that Breedlove’s statements could harm the West’s credibility. The West can’t counter Russian propaganda with its own propaganda, “rather it must use arguments that are worthy of a constitutional state.” Berlin sources also say that it has become conspicuous that Breedlove’s controversial statements are often made just as a step forward has been made in the difficult negotiations aimed at a political resolution. Berlin sources say that Germany should be able to depend on its allies to support its efforts at peace.

Pressure on Obama

German foreign policy experts are united in their view of Breedlove as a hawk. “I would prefer that Breedlove’s comments on political questions be intelligent and reserved,” says Social Democrat parliamentarian Niels Annen, for example. “Instead, NATO in the past has always announced a new Russian offensive just as, from our point of view, the time had come for cautious optimism.” Annen, who has long specialized in foreign policy, has also been frequently dissatisfied with the information provided by NATO headquarters. “We parliamentarians were often confused by information regarding alleged troop movements that were inconsistent with the information we had,” he says.

The pressure on Obama from the Republicans, but also from his own political camp, is intense. Should the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine not hold, it will likely be difficult to continue refusing Kiev’s requests for shipments of so-called “defensive weapons.” And that would represent a dramatic escalation of the crisis. Moscow has already begun issuing threats in anticipation of such deliveries. “Any weapons deliveries to Kiev will escalate the tensions and would unhinge European security,” Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s national security council, told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on Wednesday.

Although President Obama has decided for the time being to give European diplomacy a chance, hawks like Breedlove or Victoria Nuland are doing what they can to pave the way for weapons deliveries. “We can fight against the Europeans, fight against them rhetorically,” Nuland said during a private meeting of American officials on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference at the beginning of February.

In reporting on the meeting later, the German tabloid Bild reported that Nuland referred to the chancellor’s early February trip to Moscow for talks with Putin as “Merkel’s Moscow stuff.” No wonder, then, that people in Berlin have the impression that important power brokers in Washington are working against the Europeans. Berlin officials have noticed that, following the visit of American politicians or military leaders in Kiev, Ukrainian officials are much more bellicose and optimistic about the Ukrainian military’s ability to win the conflict on the battlefield. “We then have to laboriously bring the Ukrainians back onto the course of negotiations,” said one Berlin official.Nuland Diplomacy

Nuland, who is seen as a possible secretary of state should the Republicans win back the White House in next year’s presidential election, is an important voice in US policy concerning Ukraine and Russia. She has never sought to hide her emotional bond to Russia, even saying “I love Russia.” Her grandparents immigrated to the US from Bessarabia, which belonged to the Russian empire at the time. Nuland speaks Russian fluently.

She is also very direct. She can be very keen and entertaining, but has been known to take on an undiplomatic tone — and has not always been wrong to do so. Mykola Asarov, who was prime minister under toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, recalls that Nuland basically blackmailed Yanukovych in order to prevent greater bloodshed in Kiev during the Maidan protests. “No violence against the protesters or you’ll fall,” Nuland told him according to Asarov. She also, he said, threatened tough economic and political sanctions against both Ukraine and the country’s leaders. According to Asarov, Nuland said that, were violence used against the protesters on Maidan Square, information about the money he and his cronies had taken out of the country would be made public.

Nuland has also been open — at least internally — about her contempt for European weakness and is famous for having said “Fuck the EU” during the initial days of the Ukraine crisis in February of 2014. Her husband, the neo-conservative Robert Kagan, is, after all, the originator of the idea that Americans are from Mars and Europeans, unwilling as they are to realize that true security depends on military power, are from Venus.

When it comes to the goal of delivering weapons to Ukraine, Nuland and Breedlove work hand-in-hand. On the first day of the Munich Security Conference, the two gathered the US delegation behind closed doors to discuss their strategy for breaking Europe’s resistance to arming Ukraine.

On the seventh floor of the Bayerischer Hof hotel in the heart of Munich, it was Nuland who began coaching. “While talking to the Europeans this weekend, you need to make the case that Russia is putting in more and more offensive stuff while we want to help the Ukrainians defend against these systems,” Nuland said. “It is defensive in nature although some of it has lethality.”

Training Troops?

Breedlove complemented that with the military details, saying that moderate weapons aid was inevitable — otherwise neither sanctions nor diplomatic pressure would have any effect. “If we can increase the cost for Russia on the battlefield, the other tools will become more effective,” he said. “That’s what we should do here.”

In Berlin, top politicians have always considered a common position vis-a-vis Russia as a necessary prerequisite for success in peace efforts. For the time being, that common front is still holding, but the dispute is a fundamental one — and hinges on the question of whether diplomacy can be successful without the threat of military action. Additionally, the trans-Atlantic partners also have differing goals. Whereas the aim of the Franco-German initiative is to stabilize the situation in Ukraine, it is Russia that concerns hawks within the US administration. They want to drive back Moscow’s influence in the region and destabilize Putin’s power. For them, the dream outcome would be regime change in Moscow.

A massive troop training range is located in Yavoriv in western Ukraine near the Polish border. During Soviet times, it served as the westernmost military district in the Soviet Union. Since 1998, though, it has been used for joint exercises by Ukrainian forces together with the United States and NATO. Yavoriv is also the site where US soldiers want to train members of the Ukrainian National Guard for their future battle against the separatists. According to the Pentagon’s plans, American officers would train the Ukrainians on how to use American artillery-locating radar devices. At least that’s what US Army in Europe commander Lt. Gen. Hodges announced in January.

The training was actually supposed to start at the beginning of March. Before it began, however, President Obama temporarily put it on hold in order to give the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk a chance. Still, the hawks remain confident that they will soon come a step closer to their goal. On Tuesday, Hodges said during an appearance in Berlin that he expects the training will still begin at some point this month.

By Matthias Gebauer, Christiane Hoffmann, Marc Hujer, Gordon Repinski, Matthias Schepp, Christoph Schult, Holger Stark and Klaus Wiegrefe