Is Human Compassion Weakness In A World Ruled By Psychopathy?

Beyond Insanity

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By Amos M. Gunsberg

We used to call them psychopaths — these creatures that appear on our planet physically in human form, but are not human beings.

We noted they are amoral. That should have given us a clue.

We noted they do not FEEL feelings. That should have instructed us.

We noted they are heartless. That should have set off the alarm.

These creatures lack elements which distinguish the human being. They exhibit no connection with, no understanding of what we call “morality,” “honesty,” “decency,” “fair play,” etc. They lack the faculty we call empathy. They lack the faculty we call introspection.

Mankind has spent centuries trying to make sense of these creatures as some form of human being. All in vain. Not only in vain, but at enormous on-going cost to our civilization. These creatures are not human beings gone wrong. They are a different species … dedicated to the murder of human values … as a prelude to the murder of human beings … e.g., the tactics used by Nazis, past and present.

They laugh at us. They say: “No one understands us. People can’t put themselves in the minds of men who act without a conscience. They try to understand, but they can’t.”

These creatures do not THINK human. They do not SPEAK human. They do not know what it is to BE human.

We classify them as “humanoid.”

Yes, they have human form. If we manage to resist their onslaught long enough, we will eventually develop technical scanning equipment which will measure how different they are from human beings, despite their similarity of form.

In the meantime, the quality of our lives … and often our very lives … depends on our recognizing these creatures for what they are, and taking steps to neutralize their attempts to destroy us.

EVIDENCE OF HUMANOID BEHAVIOR

They make pronouncements without substantiation. To them, these pronouncements represent what reality is … pronouncement by pronouncement. The present pronouncement may contradict what they said a moment ago. This means nothing to them. They make no attempt to deal with the contradiction.

They demonstrate a total lack of understanding what we mean by a “fact.” In their writings and in their speech, they do not use that word.

We humans find this hard to believe. The use of facts is such a basic part of our lives. We base our conclusions and our actions on them. We go on from there to test things and establish more facts. When we debate, we present facts, and show how we derive our observations and our positions from them.

Without facts, all we have is what we call “fantasy.”

Since these creatures have a human appearance, we assume they must think like us … be aware of what we are aware. We think they MUST know what facts are. When they don’t address the facts, we say they are playing a game. We think they do know what the facts are, but don’t want to admit it.

Not so! They DON’T know what a fact is. When we speak of facts and ask them to address the facts, they look at us with vacant eyes. They don’t know what we’re talking about.

They study us because their strategy is to pass as human. They hear us use the words — facts, evidence, substantiation. They lack the human capacity to understand what we mean. What they do is ignore our reference to facts, ignore our requests for them to supply facts, and hope we won’t notice it’s due to their lack of comprehension.

Let’s look at examples of what THEY use for what WE mean by “facts.”

The Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (AAGT) held an open conference at which three “master” therapists worked with three volunteers. Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler published a critique entitled “BAD THERAPY” in which he cited examples not only of bad therapy, but also of systematic abuse of a volunteer by the “master” therapist. (The Interpsych Newsletter, Vol 2, Issue 9, Nov 95.) On their official Internet mail list (aagt@netride.com), members of the Association launched an attack on Dr. Schaler, culminating in their adoption of the slogan: “Saving Gestalt Therapy from Jeff Schaler,” used as the subject line in a discussion thread. Under this heading they “SAVED” Gestalt therapy by sending in e-mails labeling Jeff Schaler as “arrogant, snide, hair-splitting, nit-picking, disturbed, meanspirited, ranting, self-serving,” etc.

When asked how this labeling “SAVED” Gestalt therapy, they ignored the question. When asked in what way Gestalt therapy was endangered by Jeff Schaler, they ignored the question.

It became clear they thoroughly believed their pronouncements erased not only the evidence presented but also erased Jeff Schaler himself. They “pronounced” him to be no longer in existence. For them, whatever they “declare” is what’s real. What WE call reality is not real to them. THEY “pronounce” what is to be considered real.

Here’s another example. I asked a psychotherapy client to look at a chair which was situated about six feet away near a wall. I then asked her to describe the chair. She did, in rather complete detail, except for the legs. THE CHAIR SHE DESCRIBED HAD NO LEGS!

I pointed this out, and asked how the chair could be suspended in air, with no legs to support it. She said: “I put it there.” I asked: “If you look away, will it fall to the floor?” She said: “No. If I look away, the chair is no longer there.” I asked: “If you look away … and it turns out the chair is still there?” She ignored the question.

Here’s another example. During a discussion on CD@maelstrom.stjohns.edu earlier this year, the statement was made: “If enough people believe something to be true, then what they believe is what reality IS.”

A question was then asked: “There was a time when everyone, as far as we know, believed the sun revolved around the earth. Are you saying at that time the sun did, in fact, revolve around the earth … and it was only in obedience to a change in what people believed that the earth came to revolve around the sun?”

The question was ignored.

You might think their refusals to answer constitute an admission … an admission what they are saying is totally outlandish and indefensible. Experience has shown you would be wrong. Experience has shown they go right on making the same statements, even after evidence is produced to the contrary.

You see how different these creatures are? You see how far off their thinking and behavior are from human thinking and behavior?

Nothing of what WE call reality is real to THEM.

I repeat.

Nothing of what we call reality is REAL to them.

When a human being mentions a chair, the reference is to a chair that sits there on its own legs. It’s there whether anyone sees it or not, whether anyone mentions it or not, whether anyone “declares” it to be there or not. It’s there ON ITS OWN.

A basic element in the profile of humanoids is their lack of comprehension that anything exists on its own, separate from their say-so. They don’t SEE it. The only objects humanoids see are the ones they “declare” … the ones they imagine.

We use the phrase “my perception” to mean an appraisal, a measurement of something separate from ourselves. We don’t announce it as “fact.” We are open to consider other views if given facts to consider.

Humanoids use the phrase “my perception” as a buzz word. They imagine what they choose, and tell us it is their “perception” … which, in their minds, ESTABLISHES reality. What we call “facts” do not exist for them. That’s why they whine and claim they are being attacked whenever substantiation is requested.

Humanoids claim their statements are valid simply because they make them!!! They elaborate on this: “I honor integrity in this regard. As an egoist, I make statements which are valid to me. Validity to my ‘self’ comes first. I grant other people this same respect assuming they say things valid to themselves.”

Among human beings, for something to be deemed valid it has to be substantiated with facts. Nothing is valid simply because someone says it.

When humanoids are asked how they determine what someone says is valid to that person, and not something made up or imagined, they ignore the question.

Note the strange use of the word “integrity.” Humans define integrity as uprightness of character; probity; honesty. We refer to sticking to the facts, sticking to the truth, not selling out. Humanoids use “integrity” to mean insisting what they imagine is what’s real. No measurement. No evaluation.

When the demand is made for their pronouncements to be evaluated, they claim the confronter is the one who has no integrity … meaning the confronter is not upholding THEIR position: what THEY imagine is what’s real.

On what basis do they claim this? Humanoids treat the world as if it were their own private holodeck. They “declare” things into being. Everything is a hologram. They program the holograms. They interact with them in any way they choose. They have them under total control. When they decide to cancel a hologram, it vanishes.

A hologram is a hologram is a hologram. A hologram is not supposed to have the ability to think for itself. A hologram is not supposed to have the ability to measure, evaluate, appraise, etc. Most importantly, a hologram is not supposed to be able to break out of its holographic state and critique its master.

When this does happen, they first chastise it to bring it back into line. If that doesn’t work, they “vanish” it. When that fails, they run for cover by abandoning the program and calling up another one.

Experience has shown no matter what we say, no matter what we point out, no matter how much evidence is given, it has no meaning for these creatures. They have one goal: to fool us into classifying them as human so they can concentrate on murdering our human values. Without human values, the next step is murdering human beings.

In the film “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” aliens are shown to be taking over by occupying the bodies of human beings. The aliens take over not only the physical body but also the mind, memories, abilities, etc. In every way the people seem to be the same as always, except for one thing. They mention events, but with no feeling of them or about them. THEY DO NOT FEEL FEELINGS.

We see a child struggling to get away from what appears to be its mother. The next day they walk hand-in-hand. The child has been taken over.

The lovers in the film try to stay awake so they won’t be taken over. She succumbs … and “she,” now a creature, tries to fool him. When she doesn’t fool him, she tries to betray him.

These creatures do not FEEL alive. They do not FEEL feelings. In order to pass as humans, they know they have to give the appearance of knowing they are alive. Their only recourse is to DECLARE they are alive.

The declaration does not produce the quality of FEELING alive. They still don’t FEEL feelings. The only thing they have to go on, to refer to, is their own declaration. If “declaring” is shown to be insufficient … if they are called upon to discuss feelings, give evidence of feelings, distinguish between feelings, etc., they are lost. Their inner emptiness is apparent. Their un-human status is exposed.

Here’s a final example. In the course of a discussion on psych-ci@maelstrom.stjohns.edu some time ago, a humanoid said: “You hurt my feelings.” The humanoid was asked to identify the exact statements, and explain in what way these statements caused hurt to what particular feelings. Answer: (Whining) “I’ve said you hurt my feelings. I don’t know what else to say. … You are attacking.”

Question: “In what way do you a consider a request for substantiation and clarification to be an attack?”

No answer.

AN OVERVIEW

Humanoids:

  1. Make pronouncements without substantiation. These pronouncements are to be accepted as defining what reality is . . moment by moment.
  2. Ignore requests to provide the basis for their pronouncements.
  3. Sneer at the human valuing of facts, honesty, decency, fair play.
  4. Applaud the use of lies, deceit, etc.
  5. Whine they are being “attacked” whenever they are questioned. Give no explanation of what the “attack” is or of what is being attacked.
  6. Do not FEEL feelings.
  7. View the world as their private holodeck.
  8. Apply themselves to keeping humans in their place — namely, insignificance.

FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Humanoids do not understand the distinction we humans make between good and evil. When they harm us, they do not understand why we call them evil. They do not understand why we have laws against murder. Their approach is to boast, even moralize over their victims.

Since they do not understand the reason for such laws, they argue they cannot be held accountable for their actions.

Not so. While they take the position the law does not apply to them, they do know the law was enacted to apply to everyone. Furthermore, if they try to claim they didn’t know there was such a law, we respond with a firmly established principle: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

When they use those arguments, they make it clear they will continue to operate in accordance with their structure. We may look for remorse (a human capacity). We find none. They do not think of themselves as promulgating evil. They are simply doing what it is in their structure to do. The rattlesnake does not think of itself as evil when it injects poison. It is simply doing what it is in its structure to do.

Experience has shown humanoids continue to behave in the ways of their species . . murdering human values as a prelude to murdering human beings. Nazis demonstrate this graphically.

The issue as to whether to hold them “accountable,” in our human sense of the word, has to be divided into two parts. We do not hold them accountable for BEING what they are. We do hold them accountable for the damage they DO.

When a dog gets rabies, we don’t hold the dog accountable for becoming rabid. What we do, as a matter of self-protection, is put the dog down BEFORE it bites us, BEFORE it infects us.

We do not hold the rattlesnake accountable for HAVING poison fangs. What we do, as a matter of self-protection, is kill the rattlesnake BEFORE it kills us.

So with the humanoid. We need to be on our guard at the first sign of a murder of human values.


Amos M. Gunsberg is a psychotherapist and trainer
of psychotherapists in New York City since 1950.
He is a founder of the School for Quality Being.

This article originally appeared in Volume 2, Issue 5, of PSYCHNEWS INTERNATIONAL.


Comment by Peter Meyer, 2006-07-24:

Here is a short list of the most obvious humanoids:

George W. Bush Donald Rumsfeld
Richard Cheney Tony Blair
Condoleezza Rice John Bolton
Ehud Olmert Tzipi Livni

Next time you hear them speaking note how they make pronouncements about how things are which are totally inconsistent with the way normal humans see things, and note how they state these things as if it were self-evident, as it is — to them, since they do not distiguish between reality and their ideas about reality. These individuals are insane.

Consider John (‘Mad Dog’) Bolton. On 2006-07-23 he was interviewed on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer” and was asked to reply to the statement by Louise Arbour (U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights) that the leaders of the Israeli government, by bombing and destroying the infrastructure of Lebanon and thereby killing hundreds of civilians (many of them children) and creating half a million civilian refugees, were possibly committing war crimes and crimes against humanity and might later face criminal prosecution. In his reply Bolton totally ignored both the fact of Israel’s devastation of Lebanon’s infrastructure and the suggestion that the Israelis were committing crimes of any kind (according to his perverse logic they could not be doing this because the U.S. supports Israel and the U.S. does not — in his “reality” — condone crimes against humanity) and instead huffed about whether Arbour was acting improperly by (as he said) “threatening criminal charges based on press accounts.” Bolton is insane, appointed (despite congressional objections) as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. by a U.S. President who is also insane. Psychopaths, not merely among us, but in positions of power where they exercise huge influence and by their actions can cause the deaths of millions of people.

But that appears to be exactly their intention: to exterminate (or enslave) all humans — their “final solution”. The question is: Will the humans, like the European Jews in the 1940s, put up little resistance, and allow themselves to be slaughtered? There is now a major difference: We now know what they intend for us, so if they succeed we have only ourselves to blame. We would do well to heed the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller.

 

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

Western Elites Scramble To Shore-Up EU House of Cards

German retreat gives a chance for Greeks to prepare for Grexit

failed revolution

by system failure
The details of the new agreement between Greece and the lenders are rather of little importance. It seems that the four-month period will function mostly as a truce period rather than a period of substantial progress for the two sides to build a bridge between them.
The generalities in the new agreement are very convenient mostly for the Greek side because they will give the flexibility to the Greek government to take some measures during this period against austerity, in order to fight the humanitarian disaster in Greece, as promised.
However, the financial lobbyists, represented by the Troika, insist in the final sadistic fiscal targets, exactly because they know that a devastated economy is impossible to meet them. They will use this four-month period only as an excuse to say later that they treated Greece with enough clemency against the other eurozone members and they will play this card to turn all the eurozone countries against Greece, in order to isolate fully the Greek government.
On the other hand, Tsipras took what he wanted in order to prepare better for a Grexit. The Greek Leftists in power know very well who are dealing with, so they will use this time to prepare for the next battle of this big war. The four-month period is currently a tactical win for the Greeks as it is close to a recent proposal which was not accepted initially by the eurogroup: http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/02/breaking-four-month-moratorium-proposal.html
Furthermore, the Greek side will exploit this period to build stronger alliance with the Sino-Russian bloc. Tsipras will certainly exploit his visit to Moscow in May (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/02/confirmed-putin-calls-tsipras.html), while he will search all the possibilities for a financial aid from BRICS which are building fast an autonomous financial system to decouple their economies from the neoliberal monetary monopoly. In the middle of the negotiations, Tsipras already took the chance to send another message to the Western allies with the help of the Chinese fleet.(http://en.enikos.gr/politics/24368,Tsipras_welcomes_Chinese_fleet_in_Piraeu.html)
This will bring further pressure to the American factor as the nightmare may become true. Losing part of Europe and especially a geopolitically important country like Greece would be absolute disaster for the Western dominance, which is widely disputed already.
If Greece play this card smartly, the Americans will be forced to impose further pressure especially to the Germans to retreat further towards the Greek demands at the end of the four-month period. The relations between the two countries are not in the best shape already. (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/07/who-is-considered-ostensible-ally-by-us.html)
However, this will give further extension to the hopes of the European people as the Spanish elections and Podemos win will come even closer. After that, everything is possible. It is the first time that the Western elites are in such a difficult position after many decades of complete dominance. Grexit or not, it seems that they are losing control. What will they do then? Actions as usual in order of magnitude: propaganda – soft assassinations – economic hitmen – hard assassinations – color revolutions – military coups.
That’s why it is important the rapid rise of the Leftist powers in other European countries. It would be extremely difficult to apply all these in many European countries simultaneously.

IMF Puts the Screws To Ukraine for Latest Bailout–280% Increase In Gas Prices Mandated

[Let the Food Riots in Ukraine Begin!  How will Obama and Bitch Nuland manage to blame Putin for the coming anti-austerity protests?]

IMF aid package pushes Ukraine gas prices up 280%

Russia-Today
Reuters / Regis Duvignau

Reuters / Regis Duvignau

Ukraine has agreed to increase the cost of gas to consumer by 280 percent, and 66 percent for heating, as part of the IMF terms for getting extra financial aid, says Valery Gontareva the head of the National Bank of Ukraine.

“From now on, in accordance with our joint program with the IMF, the tariffs will see rather a sharp increase of 280 percent for gas and about 66 percent for heat,” said Gontareva Wednesday during the 11th Dragon Capital investment conference in Kiev. She added that as a result inflation will be 25-26 percent by the end of 2015.

The tariff rises are part of the amendments to the 2015 budget the government has had to introduce in order to receive an $8.5 billion loan from the IMF by the end of the year.

The changes will also see Ukraine’s budget deficit growing to 4.1 percent of GDP and forecasts a 5.5 percent decline in the Ukrainian economy.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk had warned of future price rises for gas and heating, and stressed the IMF saved Ukraine from default, and now it’s time to make moves which should eventually result in Ukraine’s complete independence from Russian gas.

The tariff increase was among the subjects Ukraine and the IMF touched upon during negotiations in January. Deputy Chairman of the Ukraine parliament’s budget committee Viktor Krivenko said the IMF had requested a sevenfold increase in prices.

The head of IMF Christine Lagarde said on February 12 that the preliminary agreement reached between Kiev and Western creditors envisages increasing the aid package to $40 billion over the next four years.

The program will help Ukraine receive an additional $25 billion in financial aid, of which $17.5 billion will be provided to stabilize the financial situation in the country.

The latest IMF program will replace the $17 billion package agreed in April 2014. Ukraine has already received $4.5 billion under that agreement, thus the total IMF loans to Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis amount to $22 billion.

Greece Breeches the Ramparts of European Oligarchy

ramparts
source

Plutocrats and their puppets expose themselves in every level

failed revolution
by system failure
The phrase of the new Greek Minister for Health, Panagiotis Kouroumplis, during the ceremony of taking duties from the former minister Makis Voridis, was impressively characteristic: “Α patrician leaves and a plebeian comes.”
The magnitude of the unprecedented political change in Greece and Europe, can be more easily understood from various pictures and actions during the last week.
Right after his election, Alexis Tsipras chosen to visit the memorial in Kaisariani, the spot where 200 political activists – mostly communists – were executed by Nazi forces on May Day 1944. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/26/alexis-tsipras-greece-syriza-kaisariani-nazi-german)
A blind man was chosen for the position of the Minister for Health. Panagiotis Kouroumplis has a good knowledge and shows sensitivity on public health issues but he was also blinded at the age of 10, from the explosion of a German hand-grenade, a remnant of World War II.
The most powerful symbolism, however, was when the former PM, Antonis Samaras, chosen not to be present to deliver to Tsipras. This is probably the best proof so far of what the previous regime represented: an oligarchy which considers itself as a permanent owner of the power. Local plutocrats have been exposed by their puppet Antonis.
In the European level, the picture of plutocrats’ representative, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is also characteristic. Dijsselbloem appeared extremely nervous, especially when Varoufakis clarified that Greece will no longer tolerate austerity. This was actually a reaction of an establishment which considers itself as the only legal and rational holder of the power. An establishment in which no one is allowed to propose an alternative, outside the “official” line.
This establishment is in panic. It behaves with extreme arrogance and nervousness. And, the reason for this behaviour is that for the first time the unthinkable may happen: the power will truly go to the people. Plutocrats will fight fiercely against such a perspective, but at least show that inside panic they can easily expose themselves.
Read also:

The Perversely Bestial, Inhuman Nature of CIA Guantanamo Torturers

130423112902-exp-hunger-stirke-amanpour-00015930-horizontal-gallery

Gitmo inmate: My treatment shames American flag

cnn

Samir Naji is a Yemeni accused of serving in Osama bin Laden’s security detail and has been imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay. He was cleared for release in 2009, but remains in detention. The following first-person testimony, recorded during his most recent meeting with lawyers from the international human rights organization Reprieve, has just been released by prison censors. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely his.


Also see
: Closing Guantanamo: Who’s left and what’s in the way

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (CNN)I’ve heard that the Senate report on CIA torture is 6,000 pages long. My story, though, takes place elsewhere: in Guantanamo, away from the CIA program that the report covers. The 6,000 pages of the Senate report are just the start of what Americans have to accept happened in their name.

It starts and ends in the silence of a tiny, freezing cold cell, alone. That’s when you hold yourself in a ball, and fight to ignore the confusion of what has just happened to you, and the fear of what might be coming next. Or the fear that comes when you realize that no one is coming to help; that the life, family and friends you knew are all far, far away.

The cell door opens. The next session, seemingly the 100th in a row. I think my first period of interrogation lasted three full months. Two teams of interrogators running shifts, day and night.

Each session begins with shouting, to wake me up. Then they hit me on the face and the back. I am so desperate for sleep, my head is swimming. There are photographs of faces stuck all around the walls of this room. They demand that I identify the individuals, but I can barely focus to see if I might know them. The shouting and the insults get louder, and then they nod to a man in the corner. He injects me twice in the arm with some unknown substance. It’s the last thing I know.

The freezing cold cell. The cell door opens. This time the guards enter, making awful honking noises, like wild animals.

I tried to refuse to eat the little food they bring me, in protest at all this. The interrogator laughs at me, but then turns angry; he swears loudly, and pours an army meal pack over my head. They tell the man in the corner to start feeding me intravenously. He inserts the tube in two different places on my arm and makes it bleed.

Closing Guantanamo: Who’s left and what’s in the way

The freezing cold cell. The cell door opens. This time the guards push me on the floor and take turns trampling over my back.

I tell the interrogators that I can’t face not eating any more. They throw food on the floor of the room and tell me to eat like a pig. They won’t let me go to the restroom. They watch as it gets more painful, and laugh as they get the translator to describe how they will rape me if I pee in my pants.

The freezing cold cell. The cell door opens. They make me stand and salute the American flag.

I’m in a sort of cinema room, where I have to watch videos of other prisoners being abused. Then they tell me that I have to dance for them, and run in circles whilst they pull on my chains. Every time I try and refuse, they touch me in my most private areas.

The freezing cold cell. The cell door opens. It has rained, and there are muddy puddles everywhere. I’m shackled, so I can’t really walk; they deliberately drag me through the muddy puddles.

Now it’s the pornography room. Awful pictures everywhere. There is one with a man and a donkey. I’m stripped naked and have my beard shaved, in a gratuitous insult to my religion. I’m shown pornographic pictures of women. I’m told to make the noises of different animals, and when I refuse, they just hit me. It ends with them pouring cold water all over me.

Hours later in my cell, I am discovered, nearly frozen. The doctor tells them to bring me urgently to the clinic, where I am given a blanket and treatment. Over the next hours, they observe me as I warm up. They are just waiting for the moment that they can sign off on my return to interrogation.

Four years ago, six U.S. government security agencies sat together and reviewed my case. Their conclusion? That I was innocent of any crime and should be released. The dirty and sadistic methods I endured — which were then taken directly to Abu Ghraib — achieved nothing, except to shame that American flag hanging in the prison corridor, which I was made to salute.

One hundred and thirty-six prisoners are still being held at Guantanamo, whilst the politicians squabble over how to black out the Senate report. America cannot keep hiding from its past, and its present, like this. Our stories, and our continued detention, cannot be made to disappear.

READ: CIA misled public on torture, Senate report says

The Invasion of America

[FOR MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHERS]

The invasion of America

aeon

The story of Native American dispossession is too easily swept aside, but new visualisations should make it unforgettable

Sioux RushmoreUSA. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. August 1, 2012. US Presidents plus nine Sioux leaders (l to r): Sitting Bull, One Bull, Rain-in-the-Face, Crow King, Gall, Red Horse, Fool Bull, Low Dog, Spotted Eagle and Red Cloud. Photo by Larry Towell/Magnum Photos

Between 1776 and the present, the United States seized some 1.5 billion acres from North America’s native peoples, an area 25 times the size of the United Kingdom. Many Americans are only vaguely familiar with the story of how this happened. They perhaps recognise Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears, but few can recall the details and even fewer think that those events are central to US history.

Their tenuous grasp of the subject is regrettable if unsurprising, given that the conquest of the continent is both essential to understanding the rise of the United States and deplorable. Acre by acre, the dispossession of native peoples made the United States a transcontinental power. To visualise this story, I created ‘The Invasion of America’, an interactive time-lapse map of the nearly 500 cessions that the United States carved out of native lands on its westward march to the shores of the Pacific.

By the time the Civil War came to an end in 1865, it had consumed the lives of 800,000 Americans, or 2.5 per cent of the population, according to recent estimates. If slavery was a moral failing, said Lincoln in his second inaugural address, then the war was ‘the woe due to those by whom the offense came’. The rupture between North and South forced white Americans to confront the nation’s deep investment in slavery and to emancipate and incorporate four million individuals. They did not do so willingly, and the reconstruction of the nation is in many ways still unfolding. By contrast, there has been no similar reckoning with the conquest of the continent, no serious reflection on its centrality to the rise of the United States, and no sustained engagement with the people who lost their homelands.

Demography in part explains why slavery and its legacy are part of America’s national conversation (even if whites sometimes participate in bad faith), while the dispossession of indigenous peoples is not. Since 1776, black Americans have made up between 12 and 19 per cent of the total US population. By contrast, in 1800, though Native Americans accounted for about 15 per cent of the inhabitants in the territory that would later become the United States, they constituted a much smaller fraction of the residents in the 16 states that then made up the union. A century later, in 1900, they represented only approximately half of one per cent of the US population, making them a small and politically insignificant minority in their own lands.

Today, over one per cent (3.8 million) of Americans identify as native, an increase that reflects not a substantive demographic shift but a newfound willingness and desire to identify as indigenous. Of this self-identified population, only a fraction are visible minorities, subject to the discrimination that shapes identity and forges political movements. Small in number with limited power at the polls, they have not led the national news since 1972-73, when the American Indian Movement took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI laid siege to Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Yet native peoples are central to the nation’s history. As late as 1750 – some 150 years after Britain established Jamestown and fully 250 years after Europeans first set foot in the continent – they constituted a majority of the population in North America, a fact not adequately reflected in textbooks. Even a century later, in 1850, they still retained formal possession of much of the western half of the continent.

Native peoples may be a small minority, but their history poses a fatal challenge to triumphalist narratives of the US

The final assault on indigenous land tenure, lasting roughly from the mid-19th century to 1890, was rapid and murderous. (In the 20th century, the fight moved from the battlefield to the courts, where it continues to this day.) After John Sutter discovered gold in California’s Central Valley in 1848, colonists launched slaving expeditions against native peoples in the region. ‘That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between races, until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected,’ the state’s first governor instructed the legislature in 1851.

In the Great Plains, the US Army conducted a war of attrition, with success measured in the quantity of tipis burned, food supplies destroyed, and horse herds slaughtered. The result was a series of massacres: the Bear River Massacre in southern Idaho (1863), the Sand Creek Massacre in eastern Colorado (1864), the Washita Massacre in western Oklahoma (1868), and a host of others. In Florida in the 1850s, US troops waded through the Everglades in pursuit of the last holdouts among the Seminole peoples, who had once controlled much of the Florida peninsula. In short, in the mid-19th century, Americans were still fighting to reduce if not to eliminate the continent’s original residents.

Native peoples may be a small minority, but their history poses a fatal challenge to triumphalist narratives of the United States. The most jingoistic of Americans strive to put a positive spin on the nation’s century-long investment in slavery and equally long commitment to white supremacy. After the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, in August this year, one white woman took the opportunity to chide a group of African American protesters. She yelled, ‘We’re the ones who f***in’ gave all y’all the freedom that you got!’ Imagine a corresponding affront shouted at an assembly of indigenous people: ‘We’re the ones who took all of your land but introduced you to Christianity.’ Many Americans share a deeply held conviction that the United States embarked in 1776 on an as-yet unfinished journey to attain the universal ideals of freedom and equality. The history of US-native relations simply does not fit into this national narrative.

Europe’s 20th century atrocities are easier for most people to envision than the dispossession of Native Americans. Stalin’s gulags destroyed millions of people in the 1930s and ’40s; Germany systematically murdered two-thirds of the continent’s Jews during the Second World War; Yugoslavia devolved into a bloodbath of so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the early 1990s. Accounts of those episodes describe the victims as men, women and children. By contrast, the language used to chronicle the dispossession of native peoples – ‘Indian’, ‘chief’, ‘warrior’, ‘tribe’, ‘squaw’ (as native women used to be called) – conjures up crude stereotypes and clouds the mind, making it difficult to see the wars of extermination, forced marches and expulsions for what they were. The story, which used to be celebratory, is now more often tragic and sentimental, rooted in the belief that the dispossession of native peoples was unjust but inevitable.

Some of the cessions cover as much territory as France, others no more than a hundred acres

The most familiar and celebrated Indian images that circulate today reinforce this conviction. They come first and foremost from Edward Curtis’s monumental 20-volume collection of photographs, entitled The North American Indian. Plate 1 in volume 1 pictures Navajos mounted on ponies, heading off into the distance towards the bleak horizon. It is entitled ‘The Vanishing Race’.

The Vanishing Race by Edward Curtis The Vanishing Race by Edward Curtis

‘The Invasion of America’ captures not the vanishing Indian but the expansionist United States, from its origins in 1776 as a slender band of states pressed along the Atlantic to its coast-to-coast incarnation as the fourth-largest nation in the world. The site allows users to move through the land cessions chronologically or to search by Indian nation (eg. ‘Cherokee’), and to click on any tract to pull up details of the land transfer. Some of the cessions cover as much territory as France, others no more than a hundred acres.

US title to the land depends on legal fiction, crafted by the colonists to benefit themselves. Under the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, which had its origins in the Crusades and underpinned the pioneering navigators of the 15th century, ultimate sovereignty over any pagan land belonged, courtesy of the Vatican, to the first Christian monarch who discovered it. Embraced by imperial powers around the world, the doctrine was adopted by the US Supreme Court in 1823. The US did not rely on Papal Bulls alone, however. It also extinguished the land title of the continent’s first peoples by treaty, executive order, and federal statute.

As pictured in ‘The Invasion of America’, native land cessions seamlessly blanket the continent, but this tidy arrangement is a fantasy devised in 1899 by the government-chartered Bureau of American Ethnology. In that year, with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, it produced 67 maps that plotted every cession since the founding of the nation. In truth, cession boundaries were neither well-defined nor contiguous. On paper, they traced watersheds that no 19th century surveyor could determine with any precision; they extended to foothills (exactly where they were located was anyone’s guess); and they took direct paths to mountain tops that could not be accurately identified. Sometimes it was easier for federal officials to describe not the cession itself but the reduced tract reserved for the indigenous nation. In 1823, for example, the Seminoles relinquished ‘all claim or title which they may have to the whole territory of Florida’ in exchange for a much smaller, clearly delineated area where they were to be ‘concentrated and confined’.

Negotiated under duress or facilitated with bribes, treaties were often violated soon after ratification, despite the language of perpetuity

It is appealing to imagine, as the Bureau of American Ethnology did, that the entire country came into the possession of the United States through consistent and well-defined legal mechanisms. But in fact, sometimes it was not clear even to the federal government by what right it owned the land. In 1851, for example, three federal commissioners headed off to California (acquired from Mexico only three years earlier) with vague instructions ‘to conciliate the good feelings of the Indians, and to get them to ratify those feelings by entering into written treaties, binding on them, towards the government and each other’.

Congress remained uncertain whether native Californians constituted a formidable opposition of 300,000, as some said, or a pitiful remnant of 40,000, as others asserted. Nor could it decide whether the United States came into full possession of the land by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed with Mexico, or whether indigenous peoples still had title. The commissioners entered into a series of treaties with small groups and even single families, satisfying neither the advocates of California natives nor the speculators who desired their land. Congress refused to ratify the agreements and instead simply concluded that title no longer rested with native peoples.

Elsewhere, the United States employed three legal instruments to dispossess residents. Treaties predominated until 1871, when Congress voted to end the practice. Negotiated under duress or facilitated with bribes, they were often violated soon after ratification, despite the language of perpetuity. Nonetheless, they presume a nation-to-nation relationship, which still informs US Indian policy today. Less well-known are the two other tools of dispossession: federal legislation and executive order.

Both Congress and the president can create reservations and take them away, and the president used this power extensively in the 19th century. In July 1864, for example, President Abraham Lincoln created a reservation within present-day Washington state for the Chehalis people, reducing their once extensive homeland of 5,000,000 acres (by the measure of the Bureau of American Ethnology) to ‘about six sections, with which they are satisfied’ (according to a letter from the Office of Indian Affairs; the measure of ‘satisfaction’ must be judged by the alternative, which was removal and joint occupation of another reservation). As a section is 640 acres, ‘about six’ would have come to about 4,000 acres. Twenty-two years later, President Grover Cleveland with the stroke of a pen further reduced the reservation to three fractional sections – a piddling 471 acres.

There was some irony to this land seizure. When the Federal government created the Chehalis reservation in 1864, it paid a squatter named D Mounts $3,500 – a sum which he considered ‘not unreasonable’ – for title to his overlapping land claim, though of course the true owners were the Chehalis themselves. When President Cleveland further reduced the reservation in 1886, the Chehalis received nothing. (Since the 1990s, the Chehalis have been buying up adjacent land and in 2010 the ‘reservation’ was 4,215 acres, according to the chehalistribe.org website.)

It is high time for non-Native Americans to come to terms with the fact that the United States is built on someone else’s land. Their 19th century counterparts wrestled more deeply with the dispossession that underlay the nation than most people do today. Native peoples were ‘benighted’ and in a ‘degraded state’, wrote one Kentucky resident to the editor of the Western Recorder in 1825, expressing the widespread condescension that whites felt towards native peoples at the time. But, he continued, ‘This continent is their home. It is the land of their fathers. We are foreign intruders.’ The writer, informed by Christian universalism, was no modern-day multi-culturalist. Nonetheless, the presence of native peoples in Kentucky forced him to reconcile their dominion over the land – ‘from time immemorial’, as colonists often said – with the imperious claims of the United States.

Five years later, in 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed into law ‘an Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi’. Popularly known as Indian removal, the act authorised the federal government to deport 100,000 men, women and children from their homelands, an operation that took most of the decade and cost the lives of thousands of native people. This massive state-sponsored forced migration, which passed by a mere five out of 199 votes in the House of Representatives, marked a turning point, when white Americans abdicated their moral responsibility towards the continent’s indigenous peoples. The deportation, according to many whites and even some native activists, was in the best interests of those who were rounded up and driven out. If that was the case, it was because white Americans made it so by defrauding or killing those who wanted to stay. After removal, most indigenous Americans were situated a thousand miles distant from the centre of US population and power on the Atlantic coast. Out of sight and out of mind, Native Americans became relics of the past for most whites.

What would American history look like if native peoples had been kept in sight and in mind? ‘The Invasion of America’ visualises one possibility. Compare it with a map of ‘Territorial Acquisitions’ produced by the US Geological Survey in 2014:

MAP

The large single-hued areas of land on the USGS map represent exchanges between imperial powers, with no reference to the longtime residents who also claimed title.

There are many reasons to favour a more inclusive history of the United States that places the dispossession of native peoples at its centre. Such a history erases the artificial distinctions that earlier generations drew to discount the presence of native peoples, does not privilege the rise of the nation-state, and better reflects the makeup of today’s US population, which will soon be majority non-white. Its themes also resonate with 21st century concerns, including state-sponsored social engineering, large-scale population displacement, environmental degradation, and global capitalism.

But perhaps the best reason is that it is more faithful to the past. I teach in the state of Georgia, where the legislature mandates that graduates of its public universities fulfill a US history requirement, a law born of the belief that an informed populace is essential to democracy. Good history makes for good citizens. A history that glosses over the conquest of the continent is partial, in both senses of the word. It misleads people about the past and misinforms their debates about the present. In charting a course for the future, Americans would do well to put the dispossession of native peoples back on the map.