Sep 172014
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

From Clipboard

Ever since serious protest broke out in Ukraine in February the Western mainstream media, particularly in the United States, has seriously downplayed the fact that the usual suspects – the US/European Union/NATO triumvirate – have been on the same side as the neo-Nazis. In the US it’s been virtually unmentionable. I’m sure that a poll taken in the United States on this issue would reveal near universal ignorance of the numerous neo-Nazi actions, including publicly calling for death to “Russians, Communists and Jews”. But in the past week the dirty little secret has somehow poked its head out from behind the curtain a bit.

On September 9 NBCnews.com reported that “German TV shows Nazi symbols on helmets of Ukraine soldiers”. The German station showed pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. (Runes are the letters of an alphabet used by ancient Germanic peoples.) A second soldier was shown with a swastika on his helmet. 1

On the 13th, the Washington Post showed a photo of the sleeping quarter of a member of the Azov Battalion, one of the Ukrainian paramilitary units fighting the pro-Russian separatists. On the wall above the bed is a large swastika. Not to worry, the Post quoted the platoon leader stating that the soldiers embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of “romantic” idea.

Yet, it is Russian president Vladimir Putin who is compared to Adolf Hitler by everyone from Prince Charles to Princess Hillary because of the incorporation of Crimea as part of Russia. On this question Putin has stated:

The Crimean authorities have relied on the well-known Kosovo precedent, a precedent our Western partners created themselves, with their own hands, so to speak. In a situation absolutely similar to the Crimean one, they deemed Kosovo’s secession from Serbia to be legitimate, arguing everywhere that no permission from the country’s central authorities was required for the unilateral declaration of independence. The UN’s international court, based on Paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the UN Charter, agreed with that, and in its decision of 22 July 2010 noted the following, and I quote verbatim: No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to unilateral declarations of independence. 2

Putin as Hitler is dwarfed by the stories of Putin as invader (Vlad the Impaler?). For months the Western media has been beating the drums about Russia having (actually) invaded Ukraine. I recommend reading: “How Can You Tell Whether Russia has Invaded Ukraine?” by Dmitry Orlov 3

And keep in mind the NATO encirclement of Russia. Imagine Russia setting up military bases in Canada and Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Remember what a Soviet base in Cuba led to.

Has the United States ever set a bad example?

Ever since that fateful day of September 11, 2001, the primary public relations goal of the United States has been to discredit the idea that somehow America had it coming because of its numerous political and military acts of aggression. Here’s everyone’s favorite hero, George W. Bush, speaking a month after 9-11:

“How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America? I’ll tell you how I respond: I’m amazed. I’m amazed that there’s such misunderstanding of what our country is about that people would hate us. I am – like most Americans, I just can’t believe it because I know how good we are.” 4

Thank you, George. Now take your pills.

I and other historians of US foreign policy have documented at length the statements of anti-American terrorists who have made it explicitly clear that their actions were in retaliation for Washington’s decades of international abominations. 5 But American officials and media routinely ignore this evidence and cling to the party line that terrorists are simply cruel and crazed by religion; which many of them indeed are, but that doesn’t change the political and historical facts.

This American mindset appears to be alive and well. At least four hostages held in Syria recently by Islamic State militants, including US journalist James Foley, were waterboarded during their captivity. The Washington Post quoted a US official: “ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people. To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”

The Post, however, may have actually evolved a bit, adding that the “Islamic State militants … appeared to model the technique on the CIA’s use of waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.” 6

Talk given by William Blum at a Teach-In on US Foreign Policy, American University, Washington, DC, September 6, 2014

Each of you I’m sure has met many people who support American foreign policy, with whom you’ve argued and argued. You point out one horror after another, from Vietnam to Iraq. From god-awful bombings and invasions to violations of international law and torture. And nothing helps. Nothing moves this person.

Now why is that? Are these people just stupid? I think a better answer is that they have certain preconceptions. Consciously or unconsciously, they have certain basic beliefs about the United States and its foreign policy, and if you don’t deal with these basic beliefs you may as well be talking to a stone wall.

The most basic of these basic beliefs, I think, is a deeply-held conviction that no matter what the United States does abroad, no matter how bad it may look, no matter what horror may result, the government of the United States means well. American leaders may make mistakes, they may blunder, they may lie, they may even on the odd occasion cause more harm than good, but they do mean well. Their intentions are always honorable, even noble. Of that the great majority of Americans are certain.

Frances Fitzgerald, in her famous study of American school textbooks, summarized the message of these books: “The United States has been a kind of Salvation Army to the rest of the world: throughout history it had done little but dispense benefits to poor, ignorant, and diseased countries. The U.S. always acted in a disinterested fashion, always from the highest of motives; it gave, never took.”

And Americans genuinely wonder why the rest of the world can’t see how benevolent and self-sacrificing America has been. Even many people who take part in the anti-war movement have a hard time shaking off some of this mindset; they march to spur America – the America they love and worship and trust – they march to spur this noble America back onto its path of goodness.

Many of the citizens fall for US government propaganda justifying its military actions as often and as naively as Charlie Brown falling for Lucy’s football.

The American people are very much like the children of a Mafia boss who do not know what their father does for a living, and don’t want to know, but then wonder why someone just threw a firebomb through the living room window.

This basic belief in America’s good intentions is often linked to “American exceptionalism”. Let’s look at how exceptional US foreign policy has been. Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

  1. Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
  2. Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
  3. Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
  4. Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
  5. Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
  6. Led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance by American teachers, especially in Latin America.

This is indeed exceptional. No other country in all of history comes anywhere close to such a record.

So the next time you’re up against a stone wall … ask the person what the United States would have to do in its foreign policy to lose his support. What for this person would finally be TOO MUCH. If the person mentions something really bad, chances are the United States has already done it, perhaps repeatedly.

Keep in mind that our precious homeland, above all, seeks to dominate the world. For economic reasons, nationalistic reasons, ideological, Christian, and for other reasons, world hegemony has long been America’s bottom line. And let’s not forget the powerful Executive Branch officials whose salaries, promotions, agency budgets and future well-paying private sector jobs depend upon perpetual war. These leaders are not especially concerned about the consequences for the world of their wars. They’re not necessarily bad people; but they’re amoral, like a sociopath is.

Take the Middle East and South Asia. The people in those areas have suffered horribly because of Islamic fundamentalism. What they desperately need are secular governments, which have respect for different religions. And such governments were actually instituted in the recent past. But what has been the fate of those governments?

Well, in the late 1970s through much of the 1980s, Afghanistan had a secular government that was relatively progressive, with full rights for women, which is hard to believe, isn’t it? But even a Pentagon report of the time testified to the actuality of women’s rights in Afghanistan. And what happened to that government? The United States overthrew it, allowing the Taliban to come to power. So keep that in mind the next time you hear an American official say that we have to remain in Afghanistan for the sake of women’s rights.

After Afghanistan came Iraq, another secular society, under Saddam Hussein. And the United States overthrew that government as well, and now the country is overrun by crazed and bloody jihadists and fundamentalists of all kinds; and women who are not covered up are running a serious risk.

Next came Libya; again, a secular country, under Moammar Gaddafi, who, like Saddam Hussein, had a tyrant side to him but could in important ways be benevolent and do marvelous things for Libya and Africa. To name just one example, Libya had a high ranking on the United Nation’s Human Development Index. So, of course, the United States overthrew that government as well. In 2011, with the help of NATO we bombed the people of Libya almost every day for more than six months. And, once again, this led to messianic jihadists having a field day. How it will all turn out for the people of Libya, only God knows, or perhaps Allah.

And for the past three years, the United States has been doing its best to overthrow the secular government of Syria. And guess what? Syria is now a playground and battleground for all manner of ultra militant fundamentalists, including everyone’s new favorite, IS, the Islamic State. The rise of IS owes a lot to what the US has done in Iraq, Libya, and Syria in recent years.

We can add to this marvelous list the case of the former Yugoslavia, another secular government that was overthrown by the United States, in the form of NATO, in 1999, giving rise to the creation of the largely-Muslim state of Kosovo, run by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA being armed and trained by al-Qaeda, in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against the Serbs of Yugoslavia. Washington’s main concern was dealing a blow to Serbia, widely known as “the last communist government in Europe”.

The KLA became renowned for their torture, their trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts; another charming client of the empire.

Someone looking down upon all this from outer space could be forgiven for thinking that the United States is an Islamic power doing its best to spread the word – Allah Akbar!

But what, you might wonder, did each of these overthrown governments have in common that made them a target of Washington’s wrath? The answer is that they could not easily be controlled by the empire; they refused to be client states; they were nationalistic; in a word, they were independent; a serious crime in the eyes of the empire.

So mention all this as well to our hypothetical supporter of US foreign policy and see whether he still believes that the United States means well. If he wonders how long it’s been this way, point out to him that it would be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.

And what do American leaders think of their own record? Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was probably speaking for the whole private club of our foreign-policy leadership when she wrote in 2000 that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by “notions of international law and norms” or “institutions like the United Nations” because America was “on the right side of history.” 7

Let me remind you of Daniel Ellsberg’s conclusion about the US in Vietnam: “It wasn’t that we were on the wrong side; we were the wrong side.”

Well, far from being on the right side of history, we have in fact fought – I mean actually engaged in warfare – on the same side as al Qaeda and their offspring on several occasions, beginning with Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s in support of the Islamic Moujahedeen, or Holy Warriors.

The US then gave military assistance, including bombing support, to Bosnia and Kosovo, both of which were being supported by al Qaeda in the Yugoslav conflicts of the early 1990s.

In Libya, in 2011, Washington and the Jihadists shared a common enemy, Gaddafi, and as mentioned, the US bombed the people of Libya for more than six months, allowing jihadists to take over parts of the country; and they’re now fighting for the remaining parts. These wartime allies showed their gratitude to Washington by assassinating the US ambassador and three other Americans, apparently CIA, in the city of Benghazi.

Then, for some years in the mid and late 2000s, the United States backed Islamic militants in the Caucasus region of Russia, an area that has seen more than its share of religious terror going back to the Chechnyan actions of the 1990s.

Finally, in Syria, in attempting to overthrow the Assad government, the US has fought on the same side as several varieties of Islamic militants. That makes six occasions of the US being wartime allies of jihadist forces.

I realize that I have fed you an awful lot of negativity about what America has done to the world, and maybe it’s been kind of hard for some of you to swallow. But my purpose has been to try to loosen the grip on your intellect and your emotions that you’ve been raised with – or to help you to help others to loosen that grip – the grip that assures you that your beloved America means well. US foreign policy will not make much sense to you as long as you believe that its intentions are noble; as long as you ignore the consistent pattern of seeking world domination, which is a national compulsion of very long standing, known previously under other names such as Manifest Destiny, the American Century, American exceptionalism, globalization, or, as Madeleine Albright put it, “the indispensable nation” … while others less kind have used the term “imperialist”.

In this context I can’t resist giving the example of Bill Clinton. While president, in 1995, he was moved to say: “Whatever we may think about the political decisions of the Vietnam era, the brave Americans who fought and died there had noble motives. They fought for the freedom and the independence of the Vietnamese people.” Yes, that’s really the way our leaders talk. But who knows what they really believe?

It is my hope that many of you who are not now activists against the empire and its wars will join the anti-war movement as I did in 1965 against the war in Vietnam. It’s what radicalized me and so many others. When I hear from people of a certain age about what began the process of losing their faith that the United States means well, it’s Vietnam that far and away is given as the main cause. I think that if the American powers-that-be had known in advance how their “Oh what a lovely war” was going to turn out they might not have made their mammoth historical blunder. Their invasion of Iraq in 2003 indicates that no Vietnam lesson had been learned at that point, but our continuing protest against war and threatened war in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere may have – may have! – finally made a dent in the awful war mentality. I invite you all to join our movement. Thank you.

Notes

  1. NBC News, “German TV Shows Nazi Symbols on Helmets of Ukraine Soldiers”, September 6 2014
  2. BBC, March 18, 2014
  3. Information Clearinghouse“How Can You Tell Whether Russia has Invaded Ukraine?”, September 1 2014
  4. Boston Globe, October 12, 2001
  5. See, for example, William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2005), chapter 1
  6. Washington Post, August 28, 2014
  7. Foreign Affairs magazine (Council on Foreign Relations), January/February 2000
Sep 162014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

2009 Protest against Internet Censorship Bill 5651 Revisions

2009 Protest against Internet Censorship Bill 5651 Revisions

Just days after Turkey hosted thousands of delegates from around the world for the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul and boasted about policing and pressuring Internet freedoms in the country, a law has been passed in urgency, almost like escaping from fire. The new law allows the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) – which consists mainly of former spies and about which there was talk of disbanding it to make it an office under the national secret service – to carry out surveillance operations and block access to Web sites without a court order. The law now includes the clauses that were rejected by President Gül when the last update was made in February 2014.

The bill came at a surprise moment when it was not being talked of in the media and was definitely not debated at all. Just days before it was passed at 4 a.m., there was criticism of Turkey’s approach to digital rights and liberties, and while activists were expecting a loosening of censorship, surveillance, and profiling activities by the government and secret service, it just happened to get even worse.

Concerns and worries were expressed by an anonymous EU diplomat based in Ankara, and the Turkish EU minister criticized him/her saying “this is not that person’s business.” The minister continued his remarks, saying “This is only in times of national security, not on a regular basis,” referring to the clause of the new bill that states that “this bill can be applied in matters related to national security, public order, and prevention of crimes” yet failed to address exactly what constitutes a breach of national security. One can remember the 2013 Gezi Uprising and how it was labeled a “coup attempt,” activists were declared “traitors,” and the millions who supported the uprising were called “terrorists.”

From Miners to Censorship

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Drafting of the reform package began upon the death of 302 miners in a terrible mining tragedy, due to lack of security precautions; yet the draft bill evolved to address censorship, surveillance, and profiling cases. President Erdoğan approved the bill on the 34th anniversary of the 1980  military coup, Friday September 12 – thus initiating a new level of obstacles to rights and liberties.

Raiding of the TIB

The TIB was raided last February and several top managers were replaced after some phone conversations were leaked on the Internet revealing the biggest corruption scandal in history involving the Turkish government. Now the new team will probably be using the “server-ville” facilities just nearby the capital city, where all telecommunications data are being stored. When combined with the plans to install the NetClean and Procera software throughout the country’s telecommunications backbone, this new bill allows the Turkish secret service to become nothing less than a digital Gestapo. It may be legal to carry out such actions in Turkey, but for sure it is not lawful.

Russian-Style Tight Control

Turkey now prepares for yet another stranglehold on digital rights and freedoms. In October there will be a new bill in the parliament which will address Internet and press publishers. The new law is much like the Russian bloggers’ bill, requiring all digitally published content creators to reveal their names, addresses, and contact details on the Web site, make all content available for at least a year without the possibility of deletion, and comply with already tightened media laws in the country. The new bill is set to mainly target citizen journalism platforms, including bloggers.

handcuffed-blogger

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Sep 152014
 

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

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Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

On the 34th  anniversary of the September 12th,  1980 military coup, young liberal Turkish activists organized a protest rally against the retrogression in democratic values and democratization of the country. They got together in Taksim’s Galatasaray Square, wore their white T-shirts, on which were printed “No U Turn” signs, read out a press statement against the undemocratic implementation of laws in the country, and started their march. Unlike all protest rallies beforehand, they were walking backwards as a sign of the Turkish democracy going the same way.

Only a few steps behind them were located riot police and water cannon, aka TOMA, and the group had to divert their path in order not to run into them, but this seemed like another significant coincidence. Members of the “Democracy Watch” and “Law, Liberty, Tolerance” foundations and voluntary activists participated in the protest and recalled the initial steps taken against the coup legacy, back in 2010 during the Constitutional Reform referendum.

The Press Statement reads as follows:

“We have just observed yet another anniversary of the September 12th military coup which has had a significant role in our political and democratic lives and continues to be a bleeding wound. The system that has replaced the rule of law with law of the powerful, has installed a network of bans and prohibitions on individual and social liberties even after the 34 years. In the recent years, we have also observed quite a few positive steps in terms of our democracy and freedoms. One of them was the constitutional reform referenda on September 12th 2010. Even though we had imagined this referenda to be a beginning, it was forgotten before even the end of the year. The militaristic constitution of 1980 continues to be an obstacle in the face of civilian thinking and liberties. Universities continue to graduate uniform persons with the help of Higher Authority for Education. The legal institutions which are supposed to spread justice, get shaped with power-relations and interest struggles. The media which should be independent and unbiased revolve around interest relations. Our people and cities turn paler just like the democratic promises of the government. In Turkey, which has a ranking of 154 in press freedom, 90 in human development index and 88 in international democratic index, all these are announced as “New Turkey”. We the youth of Turkey who wish to see our liberties and democracy among the level of developed countries, refuse to act as three monkeys against all these going on. We do not approve of the backlash in democracy’s basic principles such as basic rights and freedoms, separation of powers. Yet, in order to protest against the backlash and backwardness we have been experiencing as a society and country, we will march backwards. We hereby set a note in history in terms of our values and principles by taking a step back, and continue to walk towards a much brighter future for Turkey.”

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Sep 132014
 

Posted by James Petras, 99GetSmart

kiev-trojan44

Introduction

The NATO proxy war in the Ukraine started with the violent US-EU-sponsored overthrow of the elected government via a mob putsch in February 2014.  This was well financed at $5 billion, according to President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland.

The result was a junta, composed of neo-liberal puppets, rightist nationalists and fascists, which immediately proceeded to purge the Ukrainian legislature of any politicians opposed to the coup and Kiev’s submission to the European Union and NATO.  The NATO-sponsored client regime then moved swiftly to extend its control by centralizing power and overturning the official policy of bilingualism (Russian and Ukrainian) in the southeastern regions.   It was preparing to break its long-standing agreement over the huge Russian naval base in Crimea and renege on its massive debts to Russia for gas and oil imports.

These extremist measures by a violent coup regime amounted to a radical break with existing economic, cultural and political institutions and, naturally, provoked a robust response from large sectors of the population.  The overwhelmingly Russian speaking majority in Crimea convoked a referendum with 90% voter participation:  89% voted to secede and rejoin Russia.  The ethnic Russian and bilingual, industrialized southeast regions of Ukraine organized their own referenda, formed popular militias and prepared for an armed response from what they viewed as an illegal junta in Kiev. Threatened by the new measures against their language and traditional and economic ties with Russia, the resistance drew its fighters from the vast reservoir of skilled industrial workers, miners and local business people who understood that they would lose thousands of jobs and access to the Russian markets as well as cultural and family links under the boot of the EU-NATO puppet in Kiev.

For critical sections of Ukraine, the Kiev junta was illegitimate, so the NATO overseers, cooked up an election with a pre-selected candidate, Petro Poroshenko, a millionaire oligarch, willing to serve as a ‘reliable’ proxy, despite his history of dubious ‘business’ deals, who would implement the Euro-US agenda.  Despite large sectors boycotting the sham elections, the ‘victorious President’ Poroshenko immediately joined the EU, shredding the heavily subsidized and generous gas and oil agreements with Russia as well as cutting Ukraine off from its main export markets.  He proposed to join NATO and convert Ukraine into a launching pad aimed at Russia.  He eagerly signed an IMF agreement ending critical subsidies for low income Ukrainians, privatizing public enterprises and raising the cost of basic public services and food.  He launched an all-out military campaign against the Donbass region, using missiles, air strikes, artillery and ground forces while assuring his masters in Washington and Brussels that he could easily smash all resistance to his dictatorial fiats and impose their radical retrograde agenda.

The scope and depth of the changes and the unilateral manner in which they were formulated and implemented provoked a widespread popular uprising in the southeast that cut across the entire social spectrum.  The popular democratic nature of the opposition in the east attracted support throughout the region, reaching beyond the borders of Ukraine.  The resistance easily captured Ukrainian military outposts while conscripted soldiers, ex-soldiers and local police units joined the resistance, bringing their arms with them.

The Kiev regime and its increasingly fascist shock troops responded with terror tactics, bombing civilian infrastructure and neighborhoods. In the ethnically-mixed city of Odessa, with its substantial Russian-speaking population, Kiev-based fascists torched the city’s main trade union building where civilian protesters had sought refuge, burning alive or later slaughtering over 40 trapped citizen demonstrators.

The terrorist tactics of the Kiev government spurred thousands more to join the resistance. Horrified and demoralized Ukrainian conscripts, who had been told they were fighting ‘Russian invaders’ defected or surrendered in large numbers.  The spectacle of surrender and demoralization among its armed forces and police undermined this phase of Kiev’s offensive and led to a ‘legitimacy’ crisis.

The US-EU propaganda campaign intensified denying civilian resistance in the southeast any authenticity as an independent, democratic, national force by labeling them as ‘Russian separatists’ and ‘invaders’.  Together with their puppet-‘President’ Petro Poroshenko, the US-EU tried to discredit the popular resistance via a major provocation:  Ukrainian government air controllers in Kiev re-directed a civilian air liner, Malaysian Airlines Flt. 17, to fly directly over the war zone, shot it down killing almost 300 passengers and crew.  The puppet in Kiev and their masters in Brussels and Washington then blamed the resistance, as well as Russia, for the crime!

The NATO-backed proxy regime’s tactic of terror boomeranged and caused even more outrage!  More Ukrainian troops refused to fire on the own compatriots .The puppet regime in Kiev had to rely on the special fascist battalions eager to kill ‘Russians’.  Many ordinary soldiers deserted rather than obey orders to fire heavy artillery shells into densely populated urban neighborhoods full of trapped civilians.  Other troops crossed over into the safety of neighboring Russia where they surrendered and turned their arms over to the resistance.

The incredible strength of the southeast regional resistance came from several sources: First and foremost, they were defending home turf:  their families, relatives, friends, neighbors, homes, workplaces, transport systems, hospitals and schools and they increasingly saw themselves as a nation confronting the ravages of a foreign-imposed dictatorship arbitrarily selling their principle economic enterprises and means of livelihood while submitting to the dictates of the US-EU controlled International Monetary Fund.  This popular resistance was bolstered morally and materially by pro-democracy activists and militants from Euro-Asia, who understood that a NATO victory in Ukraine would lead to more coups in sovereign countries, more civil wars and brutal conquests throughout the region – a formula for economic and social disaster affecting tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people.

NATO’s heavy-handed presence behind the putsch in Kiev spurred a national liberation struggle in Ukraine and the growth of anti-NATO internationalism regionally.  The battle was joined.  The Kiev blitzkrieg halted in confusion.  The battles for Donetsk and Lugansk turned the tide.  The Resistance went on the offensive.  Over 800 Kiev soldiers were killed.  Thousands more were wounded, captured or deserted.

The Resistance was advancing westward and to the south threatening to create a land bridge to the Crimea and encircle an entire regiment.  The puppet regime in Kiev panicked and pleaded for its EU and US patrons to intervene directly.  Divisions within the junta deepened: the fascists demanded an all-out war against the Russian-speaking population and total mobilization.  The neo-liberals, for their part, begged for direct NATO intervention.

Meanwhile, the EU and US imposed wide economic sanctions against Russia, unwilling to believe that the citizens in the Donbass region of southeast Ukraine would successfully resist their puppet in Kiev.  They drank their own propaganda swill and blamed ‘Putin’, the Russian President, for the debacle.   The increasing economic sanctions against Russia had no effect on the popular resistance in Ukraine as it took on the character of a national liberation struggle.  However, the sanctions did provoke painful counter-measures from Russia, which slapped major embargos on EU and US agricultural products, deepening Europe’s economic recession.  And there was a build up of NATO troops and joint military exercises on Russia’s borders in Poland, the Baltic States and over the Black Sea.

Finally the NATO powers realized that their puppet’s military conquest of the East was not going to be another ‘cake walk’, indeed it was turning into a brutal farce.  From top to bottom, the junta’s armed forces were in shambles.  The continued advance of the popular resistance and the onset of winter without Russian oil and gas could topple the regime in Kiev and force new elections free from NATO, the CIA and the machinations of US Assistant Secretary ‘F… the EU’ Victoria Nuland, Obama’s key strategist for Eastern Europe.

With NATO’s and Washington’s fears in mind, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a ‘compromise’ for Poroshenko, an immediate ceasefire and negotiations leading to a political settlement between Kiev and the rebels.  In the face of a military debacle in the East and growing internal fissures, the puppet in Kiev agreed to the ceasefire.

Prospects for Peace with Justice

Poroshenko and his NATO overseers eagerly grabbed onto Putin’s peace plan to stave off the advance of the popular resistance and gain time to re-group, rebuild and re-supply Kiev’s armed forces.  NATO leaders are counting on a ‘political’ settlement where they trade easily-broken political promises in exchange for the resistance demobilizing and disarming under Kiev’s authority. There is no indication that the NATO-Kiev axis intends to abandon their strategic goal of turning Ukraine into a NATO base and vassal state of the EU.

As the cease fire comes into effect, the NATO powers have organized two sets of military exercises within Ukraine and on its immediate border – clearly undermining Russia’s strategic interests. The ongoing military build-up is a sign that NATO intends to participate directly in crushing the popular resistance in the next round.  It is just a matter of time for NATO and Kiev to trot out some pretext to end the ceasefire.   Meanwhile, NATO is increasing the flow of arms, advisers and contract mercenaries to Kiev.  The oligarch in Kiev, Poroshenko is attempting to bolster his ground forces by imposing a highly unpopular universal conscription.  Even the citizens in the west of Ukraine can see the war is going badly with the return of wounded soldiers and caskets holding their sons and brothers.

Tactically Poroshenko/NATO may offer paper concessions, greater ‘autonomy’ . . . under the rule of the Kiev junta, and the acceptance of bilingualism, but political, administrative, legal and fiscal powers will not devolve to the democrats in Donesk and Lugansk to design and implement their own policies and protect their rights.  The regime will demand the re-entry of ‘its army’ on the pretext of guarding borders against Russia.  There will be no reparations for the massive loss of life and infrastructure in the region.  Kiev will seek to surround and fragment the Resistance and eliminate the key cross-border sanctuary with Russia.  The ultimate goal would be to squeeze and oust resistance-led regional self-government.

The prolongation of negotiations will be used to build-up Kiev’s military capabilities.  Meanwhile more US-imposed EU economic sanctions against Russia give Washington greater power to expand its influence in Europe and deepen political and trade polarization between the EU and Moscow.  The Ukraine crisis is only one part of the Obama regime’s strategy of global military escalation, which includes re-entry into Iraq, direct bombing of Syria (including Damascus) and increased sanctions against companies and banks trading with Iran and Cuba, as well as the encirclement and provocation of China.

An independent Russia is the real target and the annexation of the Ukraine is a mere stepping stone on the way to Moscow.  Under this strategic (and insane) vision, the US and EU will never accept a neutral (NATO-free), independent, democratic Ukraine.  The popular resistance in the country’s southeast must clearly understand this strategic vision and continue the fight.  They must recognize that the only means to establish democracy and self-rule, free from NATO and  IMF dominance, and free from the marauding gangs of  Kiev-led Nazi thugs – the terrorist Azov, Aidar and Donbass battalions – is via a plebiscite for total national independence.

The current cease fire is a Trojan horse:  within the bowels of these negotiations, Kiev warlords are busily preparing to unleash more of their military excrement – fascist hordes and the oligarchs’ private armies, the monstrous spawn of the NATO-armed Azov battalion under Nazi banners, sporting swastika tattoos and hate-filled insignias.  The choice is clear.

Sep 112014
 

Posted by James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

To the growing army of critics of US military intervention, who also reject the mendacious claims by American officials and their apologists of ‘world leadership’, Washington is engaged in ‘empire-building”.

But the notion that the US is building an empire, by engaging in wars to exploit and plunder countries’ markets, resources and labor, defies the realities of the past two decades.  US wars, including invasions, bombings, occupations, sanctions, coups and clandestine operations have not resulted in the expansion of markets, greater control and exploitation of resources or the ability to exploit cheap labor.  Instead US wars have destroyed enterprises, reduced access to raw materials, killed, wounded or displaced productive workers around the world, and limited access to lucrative investment sites and markets via sanctions.

In other words, US global military interventions and wars have done the exact opposite of what all previous empires have pursued:  Washington has exploited (and depleted) the domestic economy to expand militarily abroad instead of enriching it.

Why and how the US global wars differ from those of previous empires requires us to examine (1) the forces driving overseas expansion; (2) the political conceptions accompanying the conquest, the displacement of incumbent rulers and the seizure of power and; (3) the reorganization of the conquered states and the accompanying economic and social structures to sustain long-term neo-colonial relations.

Empire Building: The Past

Europe built durable, profitable and extensive empires, which enriched the ‘mother country’, stimulated local industry, reduced unemployment and ‘trickled down’ wealth in the form of better wages to privileged sectors of the working class.  Imperial military expeditions were preceded by the entry of major trade enterprises (British East India Company) and followed by large-scale manufacturing, banking and commercial firms.  Military invasions and political takeovers were driven by competition with economic rivals in Europe, and later, by the US and Japan.

The goal of military interventions was to monopolize control over the most lucrative economic resources and markets in the colonized regions. Imperial repression was directed at creating a docile low wage labor force and buttressing subordinate local collaborators or client-rulers who facilitated the flow of profits, debt payments, taxes and export revenues back to the empire.

Imperial wars were the beginning, not the end, of ‘empire building’.  What followed these wars of conquest was the incorporation of pre-existing elites into subordinate positions in the administration of the empire.  The ‘sharing of revenues’, between the imperial economic enterprises and pre-existing elites, was a crucial part of ‘empire building’.  The imperial powers sought to ‘instrumentalize’ existing religious, political, and economic elites’ and harness them to the new imperial-centered division of labor.  Pre-existing economic activity, including local manufacturers and agricultural producers, which competed with imperial industrial exporters, were destroyed and replaced by malleable local traders and importers (compradors).  In summary, the military dimensions of empire building were informed by economic interests in the mother country.  The occupation was pre-eminently concerned with preserving local collaborative powers and, above all, restoring and expanding the intensive and extensive exploitation of local resources and labor, as well as the capture and saturation of local markets with goods from the imperial center.

“Empire-building” Today

The results of contemporary US military interventions and invasions stand in stark contrast with those of past imperial powers.  The targets of military aggression are selected on the basis of ideological and political criteria.  Military action does not follow the lead of ‘pioneer’ economic entrepreneurs – like the British East India Company.  Military action is not accompanied by large-scale, long-term capitalist enterprises.  Multi-national construction companies of the empire, which build great military bases  are a drain on the imperial treasury.

Contemporary US intervention does not seek to secure and take over the existing military and civilian state apparatus; instead the invaders fragment the conquered state, decimate its cadres, professionals and experts at all levels, thus providing an entry for the most retrograde ethno-religious, regional, tribal and clan leaders to engage in intra-ethnic, sectarian wars against each other, in other words – chaos.  Even the Nazis, in their expansion phase, chose to rule through local collaborator elites and maintained established administrative structures at all levels.

With US invasions, entire existing socio-economic structures are undermined, not ‘taken over’:  all productive activity is subject to the military priorities of leaders bent on permanently crippling the conquered state and its advanced economic, administrative, educational, cultural and social sectors.  While this is militarily successful in the short-run, the medium and long-term results are non-functioning states, not a sustained inflow of plunder and expanding market for an empire. Instead what we have is a chain of US military bases surrounded by a sea of hostile, largely unemployed populations and warring ethno-religious groups in decimated economies.

The US claims to ‘world leadership’ is based exclusively on failed-state empire building.  Nevertheless, the dynamic for continuing to expand into new regions, to militarily and politically intervene and establish new client entities continues.  And, most importantly, this expansionist dynamic further undermines domestic economic interests, which, theoretically and historically, form the basis for empire.  We, therefore, have imperialism without empire, a vampire state preying on the vulnerable and devouring its own in the process.

Empire or Vampire: The Results of US Global Warfare

Empires, throughout history, have violently seized political power and exploited the riches and resources (both material and human) of the targeted regions.  Over time, they would consolidate a ‘working relation’, insuring the ever-increasing flow of wealth into the mother country and the expanding presence of imperial enterprises in the colony.  Contemporary US military interventions have had the opposite effect after every recent major military conquest and occupation.

Iraq: Vampires Pillage

Under Saddam Hussein, the Republic of Iraq was a major oil producer and profitable partner for major US oil companies, as well as a lucrative market for US exports.  It was a stable, unified secular state.  The first Gulf War in the 1990’s led to the first phase of its fragmentation with the de facto establishment of a Kurdish mini-state in the north under US protection.  The US withdrew its military forces but imposed brutal economic sanctions limiting economic reconstruction from the devastation of the first Gulf War.  The second US-led invasion and full-scale occupation in 2003 devastated the economy and  dismantled the state dismissing tens of thousands of experienced civil servants, teachers and police. This led to utter social collapse and fomented ethno-religious warfare leading to the killing, wounding or displacement of millions of Iraqis.  The result of GW Bush’s conquest of Baghdad was a ‘failed state’.  US oil and energy companies lost billions of dollars in trade and investment and the US economy was pushed into recession.

Afghanistan: Endless Wars, Endless Losses

The US war against Afghanistan began with the arming, financing and political support of Islamist jihadi-fundamentalists in 1979. They succeeded in destroying and dismantling a secular, national government.  With the decision to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 the US became an occupier in Southwest Asia.  For the next thirteen years, the US-puppet regime of Hamad Karzai and the ‘NATO coalition’ occupation forces proved incapable of defeating the Taliban guerrilla army.  Billions of dollars were spent devastating the economy and impoverishing the vast majority of Afghans.  Only the opium trade flourished.  The effort to create an army loyal to the puppet regime failed.  The forced retreat of US armed forces beginning in 2014 signals the bitter demise of US ‘empire building’ in Southwest Asia.

Libya: From Lucrative Trading Partner to Failed State

Libya, under President Gadhafi, was evolving into a major US and European trading partner and influential power in Africa.  The regime signed large-scale, long-term contracts with major international oil companies which were backed by a stable secular government.  The relationship with the US and EU was profitable.  The US opted to impose a ‘regime change’ through massive US-EU missile and bombing strikes and the arming of a motley collection of Islamist terrorists, ex-pat neo-liberals and tribal militias.  While these attacks succeeded in killing President Gadhafi and most of his family (including many of his grandchildren) and dismantling the secular Libyan government and administrative infrastructure, the country was ripped apart by tribal war-lord conflicts, political disintegration and the utter destruction of the economy.  Oil investors fled.  Over one million Libyans and immigrant workers were displaced.  The US and EU ‘partners-in-regime-change’ have even fled their own embassies in Tripoli – while the Libyan ‘parliament’ operates off-shore from a casino boat.  None of this devastation would have been possible under President Gadhafi.  The US vampire bled its new prize, Libya, but certainly could not incorporate it into a profitable ‘empire’.  Not only were its oil resources denied to the empire, but even oil exports disappeared.  Not even an imperial military base has been secured in North Africa!

Syria: Wars on Behalf of Terrorists not Empire

Washington and its EU allies backed an armed uprising in Syria hoping to install a puppet regime and bring Damascus into their “empire”.  The mercenary assaults have caused the deaths of nearly 200,000 Syrians, the displacement of over 30% of the population and the seizure of the Syrian oil fields by the Sunni extremist army, ISIS.  ISIS has decimated the pro-US mercenary army, recruiting and arming thousands of terrorists from around the world It invaded  neighboring Iraq conquering the northern third of that country.  This was the ultimate result of the deliberate US dismantling of the Iraqi state in 2003.

The US strategy, once again, is to arm Islamist extremists to overthrow the secular Bashar Assad regime in Damascus and then to discard them for a more pliable client.   The strategy ‘boomeranged’ on Washington.  ISIS devastated the ineffective Iraqi armed forces of the Maliki regime in Baghdad and America’s much over-rated Peshmerga proxy ‘fighters’ in Iraqi ‘Kurdistan’.  Washington’s mercenary war in Syria didn’t expand the ‘empire’; indeed it undermined existing imperial outposts.

The Ukrainian Power Grab, Russian Sanctions and Empire Building

In the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR, the US and EU incorporated the Baltic, Eastern European and Balkan ex-communist countries into their orbit.  This clearly violated    major agreements with Russia, by incorporating most of the neo-liberal regimes into NATO and bringing NATO forces to the very border of Russia. During the corrupt regime of Boris Yeltsin, the ‘West’ absolutely looted the Russian economy in co-operation with local gangster – oligarchs, who took up EU or Israeli citizenship to recycle their pillaged wealth.  The demise of the vassal Yeltsin regime and the ascent and recovery of Russia under Vladimir Putin led the US and EU to formulate a strategy to deepen and extend its ‘empire’ by seizing power in the Caucuses and the Ukraine.  A power and land grab by the puppet regime in Georgia attacking Russian forces in Ossetia in 2012 was decisively beaten back.  This was a mere dress rehearsal for the coup in Kiev.  In late 2013-early 2014, the US financed a violent rightwing putsch ousting the elected government and imposing a hand-picked  pro-NATO client to assume power in Kiev.

The new pro-US regime moved quickly to purge all independent, democratic, federalist, bilingual and anti-NATO voices especially among the bi-lingual citizens concentrated in the South-Eastern Ukraine.  The coup and the subsequent purge provoked a major armed uprising in the southeast, which successfully resisted the invading NATO-backed neo-fascist armed forces and private armies of the oligarchs.  The failure of the Kiev regime to subdue the resistence fighters of the Donbass region resulted in a multi-pronged US-EU intervention designed to isolate, weaken and undermine the resistance.  First and foremost they attempted to pressure Russia to close its borders on the eastern front where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians eventually fled the bombardment.  Secondly, the US and EU applied economic sanctions on Russia to abandon its political support for the southeast region’s democratic and federalist demands.  Thirdly, it sought to use the Ukraine conflict as a pretext for a major military build-up on Russia’s borders, expanding NATO missile sites and organizing an elite rapid interventionist military force capable of bolstering a faltering puppet regime or backing a future NATO sponsored putsch against any adversary.

The Kiev regime is economically bankrupt.  Its war against its own civilians in the southeast has devastated Ukraine’s economy.  Hundreds of thousands of skilled professionals, workers and their families have fled to Russia. Kiev’s embrace of the EU has resulted in the breakdown of vital gas and oil agreements with Russia, undermining the Ukraine’s principle source of energy and heating with winter only months away. Kiev cannot pay its debts and faces default.  The rivalries between neo-fascists and neo-liberals in Kiev will further erode the regime.  In sum, the US-EU power grab in the Ukraine has not led to the effective ‘expansion of empire’; rather it has ushered in the total destruction of an emerging economy and precipitated a sharp reversal of financial, trade and investment relations with Russia and Ukraine.  The economic sanctions against Russia exacerbate the EU current economic crisis.  The belligerent posture of military confrontation toward Russia will result in an increase in military spending among the EU states and further divert scarce economic resources form job creation and social programs.  The loss by significant sectors of the EU of agricultural export markets, as well as the loss of several billion-dollar military-industrial contracts with Russia, certainly weakens, rather than expands, the ‘empire’ as an economic force

Iran: 100 Billion Dollar Punitive Sanctions Don’t Build Empires

The US-EU sanctions on Iran carry a very high political, economic and political price tag.  They do not strengthen empire, if we understand ‘empire’ to mean the expansion of multi-national corporations, and increasing access to oil and gas resources to ensure stable, cheap energy for strategic economic sectors within the imperial center.

The economic war on Iran has been at the behest of US allies, including the Gulf Monarchies and especially Israel.  These are dubious ‘allies’ for US ‘empire’ . . . widely reviled potentates and a racist regime which manage to exact tribute from the imperial center!

In Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, Iran has demonstrated its willingness to co-operate in power sharing agreements with US global interest.  However, Iran is a regional power, which will not submit to becoming a vassal state of the US.  The sanctions policy has not provoked an uprising among the Iranian masses nor has it led to regime change.  Sanctions have not weakened Iran to the extent of making it an easy military target.  While sanctions have weakened Iran’s economy, they has also worked against any kind of long-range empire building strategy, because Iran has strengthened its economic and diplomatic ties with the US’ rivals, Russia and China.

Conclusion

As this brief survey indicates, US-EU wars have not been instruments of empire-building in the conventional or historical sense. At most they have destroyed some adversaries of empire.  But these have been pyrrhic victories.  Along with the overthrow of a target regime, the systematic break-up of the state has unleashed powerful chaotic forces, which have doomed any possibility of creating stable neo-colonial regimes capable of controlling their societies and securing opportunities for imperialist enrichment via economic exploitation.

At most the US overseas wars have secured military outposts, foreign islands in seas of desperate and hostile populations.  Imperial wars have provoked continuous underground resistance movements, ethnic civil wars and violent terrorist organizations which threaten ‘blowback’ on the imperial center.

The US and EU’s easy annexations of the ex-communist countries, usually via the stage-managed ballot-box or ‘color revolutions’, led to the take-over of great national wealth and skilled labor.  However, Euro-American empires bloody campaigns to invade and conquer the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa and the Caucuses have created nightmarish ‘failed states’ – continuously draining imperial coffers and leading to a state of permanent occupation and warfare.

The bloodless takeover of the Eastern European satellites with their accommodating, corrupt elites has ended. The 21st century reliance on militarist strategies contrasts sharply with the successful multi-pronged colonial expansions of the 19th – 20th century, where economic penetration and large scale economic development accompanied military intervention and political change.  Today’s imperial wars cause economic decay and misery within the domestic economy, as well as perpetual wars abroad, an unsustainable drain.

The current US/EU military expansion into Ukraine, the encirclement of Russia, NATO missiles aimed at the very heart of a major nuclear power and the economic sanctions may lead to a global nuclear war, which may indeed put an end to militarist empire-building… and the rest of humanity.

Sep 102014
 

Posted by SouperSistas, 99GetSmart

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As Summer quickly departs, the Souper Sistas are preparing for the cold months ahead.

Many have asked us where they can make monetary donations to help us feed houseless/homeless and low income communities in Long Island areas of need.

Though we do not take monetary donations, nor are we a registered 501c3, we are asking for donations other than money to help communities.

Please see our WishList, these items will distributed during our soup shares on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you are not in a position to do so, please consider making a warm pot of soup and sharing it with others.

Solidarity,
Shari and Suz (and the Souper Sistas Family)

DONATIONS / WISH LIST @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/29I7VKV8Z0BPC/ref=cm_wl_rlist_go_o?

Follow SouperSistas on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/soupersistas

Sep 082014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Internet Governance Forum - Gürkan Özturan, Pirate Party Movement Turkey

Internet Governance Forum – Gürkan Özturan, Pirate Party Movement Turkey

Interview by Per Strömbäck, Editor Netopia:

Netopia met Gürkan Özturan, the Spokesperson International Communications, Pirate Party Movement Turkey, at the Internet Governance Forum in Istambul. Interview:

Netopia: How do you find the Internet Governance Forum?

It is a wonderful opportunity to get to meet other people who want to contribute to internet, except not all of them care about internet freedoms. But it’s good to be able to talk about possible basic (and minimum) regulation of the internet. Wonderful opportunity to be part of it, but of course as the Pirates we have our concerns such as censorship and surveillance lobby and their control intentions in disguise of security, and we also have worries about the organisation. It is important for Turkish activists to have an international audience to be able to meet like-minded people and know the global debate here. Living in a country where such state-spying in disguise of security unravels itself and falls down on citizens’ liberties like a dark cloud, I believe we have much to say about the problems with limiting the free internet. There is an ironic situation though, regarding censorship. Actually, the building we’re in right now is free from censorship, what we get here is not the standard Turkish access, but unfiltered. (Editor’s note: This was part of the arrangement with the United Nations when Turkey agreed to organise the IGF.) All kinds of communication is being intercepted in Turkey, like cell phone calls.

N: What are your concerns with the IGF?

One of them is regarding the famous wording of the event: “multi-stakeholder”. Simply multiplication of the stakeholders with a similar point of view does not help bringing us any closer to a free and at the same time secure internet. Many stakeholders would be better. It’s a play on words perhaps, but wording is important. (Laughs). Unfortunately we have seen many people with decision-making power, focusing on the profit side of internet, we have heard many governmental representatives speaking of internet as a sector. Even if we were to perceive internet as a sector, more state interference is not the answer to the well-being of that sector, let alone for the rights and liberties! It would have been better to see more NGO, civil society and activist network representatives and digital rights activists. Currently there is too much of government, ministers, bureaucrats in comparison. I would have liked to see more civil society engagement and contribution to the decision-making processes. I like what Jan Kleijssen from the Council of Europe said: “It’s not the internet that has to be regulated, it’s the behaviour of the governments concerning freedoms and liberties”. I see it as less government, more liberty.

N: Turkey has received international criticism for its lack of human rights protection: how does that relate to hosting the Internet Governance Forum?

It’s ironic that this conference is being held in Turkey, but the history of IGF in places like Bali and Baku, and next year’s venue being Brazil perhaps gives an idea regarding the selection. Perhaps the intention is to find countries that do not really want to allow liberties prevail in their societies. Or in a more optimistic approach, perhaps we can cease this as an opening window. This gives the local digital rights defenders and liberals to interact with international audience and make us get heard. Even if this opportunity might not present itself in the IGF venue, then there emerges Ungovernance Forums. We can see this as an opportunity for the more positive aspect that government can start improving on its approach to human rights and freedoms. It gives me hope about some positive outcomes. However at this IGF there is a lack of panels on censorship and surveillance in Turkey, but government officials repeatedly number-bombarding and stressing that they did not interfere with decision-making on topics in any way is not very convincing. If every single violation of human rights and liberties were to be defended with reference to irrelevant numbers, we would have to re-invent both mathematics and human reasoning.

N: What is the Ungovernance Forum?

It’s a separate event, based on digital rights and liberties, discussions on surveillance, spreading of information and knowledge. It will not be solely based on profit-making and turning the internet into an economic sector. And I believe it is important to have this forum simultaneously with IGF. Moreover, it is impressive to see the support for ungovernance forum. However, the people who really should hear the panels there are absent. But on the other hand, the same people are absent from the IGF panels on youth participation and the future of internet. It is only when they can suggest restrictive, illiberal measures that earns some people a lot of money, they are present at the forefronts. I also would like to mention my favourite quote here from Ben Franklin “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The interview of Gürkan Özturan is part of the series Voices from Istanbul published on Netopia Website. Read as well the interviews of Dr. Robert Pepper, Vice President Global Technology Policy, Cisco, speaking on behalf of ICC BASIS, and Sally Shipman Wentworth, Vice President Global Policy Development, Internet Society.

Sep 042014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* HOAXES, HYPE AND HYSTERIA

The War Party never takes a holiday

By Justin Raimondo, AntiWar

obama-wars-84653631956

While Americans were barbecuing over the Labor Day weekend, the Usual Suspects were busy cooking up new wars, from Iraq to Ukraine. While this is nothing new – after all, evil never sleeps – one thing I did notice: the stunning lack of imagination on their part. It was, in effect, the equivalent of a bunch of summer reruns: tired formulaic retreads that weren’t all that convincing in the first place.

imagesTake the latest war propaganda centered on the alleged “threat” to our precious bodily fluids supposedly posed by ISIS, the War Party’s latest bogeyman. As polls showed a stubborn reluctance on the part of the American people to re-invade Iraq, the neocons came up with a not-so-new one: they claim a laptop computer ostensibly captured from ISIS by the “good” jihadists – the so-called Free Syrian Army, which is armed and trained by the US – contains plans for constructing “weapons of mass destruction,” i.e. biological weapons. They’re even calling it the “laptop of death” – a phrase that ought to ring a bell for those who follow these sorts of things.

That’s the same phrase used to describe yet another purloined laptop, this one supplied by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian terrorist group that, for years, has been feeding the War Party bogus “intelligence” about Tehran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program. That tall tale was debunked in 2011 – yet another case of MEK cobbling together old outdated data, adding a dash of forgery, and shaking well enough to fool the credulous. […]

READ @ http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/08/31/hoaxes-hype-and-hysteria/

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* RETURN OF THE EVIL EMPIRE

By Jason Hirthler, CounterPunch

EvilYanks

You have to hand it to them. The United States media machine is unequaled at producing and disseminating misinformation. It begins in the bowels of the State Department or White House or Pentagon and is filtered out through the government’s front organizations, otherwise known as Mainstream Media (MSM).

In 2014 the U.S. has succeeded in demonizing Vladimir Putin and Russia, precipitating a New Cold War that may yet become a hot one. The evil empire is back. The White House has made proficient use of mass media propaganda to get the job done. First, they’ve controlled the narrative. This is critical for two reasons: one, because it permits the White House to sweep the February coup in Kiev into the dustbin of American memory, never to be seen again. Second, it has allowed it to swiftly assert its claim that Russia is a dangerously expansionist power on the edges of a serene and peace-loving Europe. In other words, the omission of one fact and commission of another.

On the former front, by the State Department’s own concession, it spent some $5 billion in Ukraine, fomenting dissent under the standard guise of democracy promotion. The myriad NGOs beneath the nefarious cloud of the National Endowment for Democracy are little more than Trojan horses through which the State Department can launch subversive activities on foreign turf. We don’t know all the surely insidious details of the putsch, but there are suggestions that the violence was staged by and on behalf of the groups that now sit in power, including bickering neofascists that were foolishly handed the nation’s security portfolio. […]

READ @ http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/01/return-of-the-evil-empire/print

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* NAOMI WOLF SCHOOLS WAR PROPAGANDIST

Source: MOXNews

VIDEO @ http://youtu.be/DcxEwX2DW50

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* U.S. PENTAGON: ISRAEL SHELLED THIS GAZA TOWN EVERY 6 SECONDS FOR 7 HOURS IN ‘ABSOLUTELY DEADLY’ ATTACK

Source: Scriptonite

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A summary report by the US Pentagon has revealed the overwhelming and wholly disproportionate use of force applied by Israel against predominantly civilian populations and infrastructure in Gaza during the six weeks of Operation Protective Edge.

Fewer places was this more apparent than Shejaia, a town of some 150,000 people on the eastern edge of Gaza City.

Embarrassed by unexpectedly organized and effective Hamas fighters on the ground, Israel opted instead to obliterate whole neighbourhoods in retaliation, and to avoid taking the soldiers on in ground combat.

Israel sent in an avalanche of tanks, F-16s and Apache helicopters volleying high explosive shells and missiles into homes, schools, streets, farms and fleeing townspeople.

As AlJazeera reports of the Israeli massacre in Shejaia, on the eastern edge of Gaza City:

According to this senior U.S. officer, who had access to the July 21 Pentagon summary of the previous 24 hours of Israeli operations, the internal report showed that 11 Israeli artillery battalions — a minimum of 258 artillery pieces, according to the officer’s estimate — pumped at least 7,000 high explosive shells into the Gaza neighborhood, which included a barrage of some 4,800 shells during a seven-hour period at the height of the operation. Senior U.S. officers were stunned by the report.

This equates to one shell every 6 seconds, for seven hours – at the height of the massacre. […]

This is what it looked like on the ground:

This is all that remains of Shejaia:

READ / VIDEOS @ http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2014/08/30/us-pentagon-israel-shelled-this-gaza-town-every-6-seconds-for-7-hours-in-absolutely-deadly-attack/

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* IDF FILM SNIPING CHILDREN PLAYING ON ROOFTOP IN GAZA

Source: youtube

Footage released on YouTube clearly shows Israeli soldiers firing live rounds at Palestinian children playing on a roof in Al Khalil, an area of Hebron in Occupied Palestine.  An important piece of evidence attesting to the brutality of Israeli occupation.

Four soldiers lay on their chests on a rooftop.  In the same shot, we see what appear to be two Palestinian children playing on a rooftop.  One of the soldiers takes aim and shoots one of the Palestinians on the roof, clearly hitting him in the thigh.

The soldiers then celebrate.  One imitates the flailing actions of the wounded Palestinian, while others shake the hand of the ‘successful’ sniper.

VIDEO @ http://youtu.be/IUibXSgILv0

Sep 022014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* HENRY KISSINGER ON THE ASSEMBLY OF A NEW WORLD ORDER

By Henry Kissinger, The Wall Street Journal

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Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan’s young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.

The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.

This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world’s territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time. […]

READ @ http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/henry-kissinger-on-the-assembly-of-a-new-world-order-1409328075?mobile=y

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* DOMINATION OF THE UNITED STATES ON THE WORLD BANK

By Eric Toussaint, CADTM

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The concept of the World as a huge bureaucracy, gradually freed from the influence of the US, is actually a far cry from reality. This mistaken conception is revealed in particular by the North American environmentalist Bruce Rich in his insightful book on the World Bank. |1| In real terms, the institution is firmly under the control of the US government which negotiates, with the governments of other major capitalist powers, the policies to be followed within the World Bank, and under its leadership. It has frequently failed to make the effort to reach a consensus with its principal partners (since the end of the 1950s, these are Japan, Germany, Great Britain and France) and it imposes its views directly on the Bank.

Relations have sometimes been tense between the US government and the Bank’s president and/or its management in the wider sense. One must also consider the intervention (more or less active depending on the period) of Congress. On several occasions, the US executive has had to make a deal with Congress concerning the attitude to be taken with reference to the Bank and its activities. |2|

Although the World Bank is systematically subject to US influence, it nevertheless enjoys a certain measure of autonomy. It possesses a certain logic of its own which sometimes comes into conflict with the immediate interests of the US government. The Bank’s autonomy is very limited and the US government imposes its will on all issues that it considers important. Also, one must take into consideration the close links between the US business world (big capital) and the Bank. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Domination-of-the-United-States-on

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* THESE CLOWNS ARE DRAGGING US INTO WAR

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, TheAutomaticEarth

Jack Delano Workman at Chicago & North Western repair shops, Chicago, IL Dec 1942

Jack Delano Workman at Chicago & North Western repair shops, Chicago, IL Dec 1942

In 8 weeks, on October 26, there are – supposed to be – parliamentary elections in Ukraine. What’s that going to look like? Who’s going to vote? In the presidential elections a few months ago, most of east Ukraine did not vote. How many different ways are there to define democracy and still remain credible?

In an interview today on Russian Channel 1, Vladimir Putin commented on the upcoming elections: “All the participants in the electoral race will want to show how cool they are; Everyone will want to show they are strongmen or strongwomen, and as the political struggle sharpens it is hard to expect anyone to seek a peaceful resolution and not a military one.” That would seem to be an accurate prediction.

The EU yesterday (in yet another definition of democracy) picked its new president. They chose Polish PM Donald Tusk, which may seem a bit strange since Tusk doesn’t speak a word of either English or French, and he comes from a nation that is not even in the Eurozone, yet he will now now get to chair meetings that concern the euro. But Tusk is a hawk on Russia, and therefore suspiciously convenient to the inner core of Washington and Brussels’ control apparatus. He’s said more bad and ugly things about Russia and Putin than just about anyone recently, and that’s saying something.

The US and EU have worked for years to see their desire to take over Ukraine come to fruition. They’ve come a long way, but they wanted Crimea and the Donbass region most of all, and those they still don’t have. Still, they’ve so far shown themselves more than willing to assist first in killing thousands of eastern Ukrainians to get what they want, and now they are prepared to start a war over it. […]

READ @ http://www.theautomaticearth.com/these-clowns-are-dragging-us-into-war/

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* PROPAGANDA AND THE LACK THEREOF

Source: ClubOrlov

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With regard to the goings-on in Ukraine, I have heard quite a few European and American voices piping in, saying that, yes, Washington and Kiev are fabricating an entirely fictional version of events for propaganda purposes, but then so are the Russians. They appear to assume that if their corporate media is infested with mendacious, incompetent buffoons who are only too happy to repeat the party line, then the Russians must be same or worse.

The reality is quite different. While there is a virtual news blackout with regard to Ukraine in the West, with little being shown beyond pictures of talking heads in Washington and Kiev, the media coverage in Russia is relentless, with daily bulletins describing troop movements, up-to-date maps of the conflict zones, and lots of eye-witness testimony, commentary and analysis. There is also a lively rumor mill on Russian and international social networks, which I tend to disregard because it’s mostly just that: rumor. In this environment, those who would attempt to fabricate a fictional narrative, as the officials in Washington and Kiev attempt to do, do not survive very long.

There is a great deal to say on the subject, but here I want to limit myself to rectifying some really, really basic misconceptions that Washington has attempted to impose on you via its various corporate media mouthpieces. […]

READ @ http://cluborlov.blogspot.com.es/2014/08/propaganda-and-lack-thereof.html

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* PRESS CONFERENCE – FORMATION OF A STATE

Source: youtube

In this “information war” the speed at which this crucial press conference was made available is a major victory against the Empire’s propaganda machine.

This is the first time that we hear what the new – post Strelkov – commanders have to say.  This is the first time that the Novorussians are going on the offensive. And this is the first time that we get to hear the views, values and ideas of the people fighting against the Nazi junta in Kiev. This is truly a watershed moment.

VIDEO @ http://youtu.be/yH35raTPVu8

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* THE WEST, THE GREATEST CAUSE OF WAR IN HUMAN HISTORY, STANDS STRIPPED OF ALL LEGITIMACY

By Paul Craig Roberts, informationclearinghouse

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Every time you come to Russia with a sword, from a sword you will perish.”

The former Russian provinces, which Soviet party leaders carelessly attached to Ukraine at a time when it seemed to make no difference as all were part of the Soviet Union, are now independent republics with their own governments. The West pretends that this isn’t so, because Washington and its puppet capitals don’t recognize the independence of formerly captive peoples. But the West’s opinion no longer counts.

In the last couple of days the newly formed military units of the Donetsk National Republic have defeated and surrounded large portions of the remaining Ukrainian military. Russian President Putin asked the Donetsk Republic to allow the defeated Ukrainians to return home to their wives and mothers. The Donetsk Republic agreed to Putin’s mercy request as long as the Ukrainians left their weapons behind. The Donetsk Republic is short on weapons as, contrary to Western lies, the Donetsk Republic is not supplied with weapons by Russia.

Washington’s puppet government in Kiev declined the mercy extended to its troops and said they had to fight to the death. Shades of Hitler at Stalingrad. Western Ukraine has remained the repository of Nazism since 1945, and it is Western Ukraine with which Washington is allied against freedom and democracy. […]

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39548.htm

Aug 312014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE LATIN AMERICANIZATION OF U.S. POLICE FORCES

By Cosme Caal, Counterpunch

Police_Converge_MassFrom Guatemala City I have been keeping up with the events in Ferguson, Missouri and my heart goes out to those United States citizens who are actively resisting a brutal local police state. I sit awake at night and contemplate how one of the greatest nations in the world has become militarized and despotic. Impunity is now normalized in most police departments across the United States and in the minds of many Americans. I did not know I would live to see this phenomenon, yet, the more I peruse online news feeds, the more evident it is to me that Americans, especially minorities, are in great danger of militarized suppression as a matter of state policy.

From our experience in half a century in Latin America I can tell you that, once the human rights of a minority are compromised, it is only a matter of time before they are compromised for an entire nation. From that same experience I can tell you it will take decades before they can be regained. Militarized police forces take on a life of their down, at the expense of the society’s well-being. The social contract that gives the state the duty to organize police forces itself becomes obsolete, almost a joke. Citizens begin to obey agents of the state not out of respect or cooperation, but out of fear of those sworn to protect them. Eventually, the militarized power of the police reaches such magnitude that political leaders lose all ability to rein them in. We experienced this USA-backed militarized transformation of the police in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, and Colombia. What the U.S. helped do to Latin America, it is now doing to itself.

Even when there will officers who want to adhere to the law, militarized policing organizations become an unstoppable and despotic force. The very ideologies that give them life become obsolete, as do all existing laws that protect citizens. Central American dictatorships backed and armed by the United States government in the 1970’s built police forces, outfitted them with military gear, and allowed them to brutalize and kill with impunity. The murder or incarceration of progressive democratic leaders who resisted this transformation was sanctioned by United States intelligence agencies.

I call out to white United States citizens, and those police officers that believe in democracy and the rule of law, to unite with racial minorities who are now being suppressed, and to resist the catastrophic militarization of police forces across the United States. For white Americans to think that their race makes them immune to police brutality is a mistake that cannot be afforded. Central American urban mestizo masses ignored the genocide of hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples. They saw these massacres as not their problem. Today we all suffer militarized suppression. Racial division was our greatest weakness. […]

READ @ http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/27/the-latin-americanization-of-u-s-police-forces/

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* ARRESTED LEGAL OBSERVER: FERGUSON A ‘PILOT PROGRAM’ FOR WHEN COMMUNITIES RESPOND TO POLICE BRUTALITY

By Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

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The National Lawyers Guild had legal observers on the ground in Ferguson to monitor protests against the killing of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. They were also present to help with jail support for community residents. But, while working, four of the NLG’s observers fell victim to the police occupation they were trying to help Ferguson fight and were arrested.

As Dennis Black, one of the legal observers arrested, commented, “Ferguson is a pilot program of what’s to come when communities respond to police brutality.” He and others had traveled from Detroit to see a preview of what police might do to squelch uprisings there.

Black and two other volunteers were arrested on August 21 about 10:30 pm. He explained that observers were concerned about police in body armor, who were stationed by a car wash on West Florissant Avenue across from what used to be a QuikTrip. They believed if anything was going to happen involving police it would happen here. They chose to record and document what police were doing.

Neither of the legal observers were permitted to stand in place for too long because of a rule imposed by the police. They kept walking back and forth with their cameras. About the third or fourth time they came back around, a female legal observer Black was with was arrested. […]

READ @ http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/08/30/arrested-legal-observer-ferguson-a-pilot-program-for-when-communities-respond-to-police-brutality/

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* FROM RAY RICE TO FERGUSON, VIDEO EVIDENCE MAKES THE PUBLIC TAKE ABUSE SERIOUSLY

By Dara Lind, Vox

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[…] This “seeing is believing” approach to incidents of abuse happens all the time. After a bystander with a cell phone recorded police choking New Yorker Eric Garner to death in July, it revived a conversation about police brutality. And one of the reasons that the conversation has gained steam over the last few weeks is because, after the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, reporters and citizen journalists were on hand to record protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the aggressive, militarized police response to the protesters.

Americans seem more likely to take abuse to heart, and get outraged about it, when there’s documentary evidence. Without documentation, the victim’s and aggressor’s accounts become a “he said, she said” — and we know from media studies that people are more likely to believe accounts that confirm their prejudices. If people tend to side with the person they already know, like or trust — the police officer or the star player — video evidence becomes one of the only things that can break that impasse.

There’s a long history of abusive cops being caught on video and provoking public backlash. Rodney King’s beating at the hands of police became a flashpoint in 1991 because it was caught on tape. When the officers who assaulted King were acquitted, people felt the court’s judgment just didn’t match the evidence they’d seen with their own eyes. (My colleague Tim Lee has compiled other examples of times that videotapes have helped to curb police abuse.) […]

READ @ http://www.vox.com/2014/8/29/6080141/ray-rice-ferguson-abuse-record-police-video-important

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* HOW THE SUPREME COURT PROTECTS BAD COPS

By Erwin Chemerinsky, NYTimes

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LAST week, a grand jury was convened in St. Louis County, Mo., to examine the evidence against the police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, and to determine if he should be indicted. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. even showed up to announce a separate federal investigation, and to promise that justice would be done. But if the conclusion is that the officer, Darren Wilson, acted improperly, the ability to hold him or Ferguson, Mo., accountable will be severely restricted by none other than the United States Supreme Court.

In recent years, the court has made it very difficult, and often impossible, to hold police officers and the governments that employ them accountable for civil rights violations. This undermines the ability to deter illegal police behavior and leaves victims without compensation. When the police kill or injure innocent people, the victims rarely have recourse.

The most recent court ruling that favored the police was Plumhoff v. Rickard, decided on May 27, which found that even egregious police conduct is not “excessive force” in violation of the Constitution. Police officers in West Memphis, Ark., pulled over a white Honda Accord because the car had only one operating headlight. Rather than comply with an officer’s request to get out of the car, the driver made the unfortunate decision to speed away. The police chased the car for more than five minutes, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Eventually, officers fired 15 shots into the car, killing both the driver and a passenger.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and ruled unanimously in favor of the police. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the driver’s conduct posed a “grave public safety risk” and that the police were justified in shooting at the car to stop it. The court said it “stands to reason that, if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended.”

This is deeply disturbing. The Supreme Court now has said that whenever there is a high-speed chase that could injure others — and that would seem to be true of virtually all high-speed chases — the police can shoot at the vehicle and keep shooting until the chase ends. Obvious alternatives could include shooting out the car’s tires, or even taking the license plate number and tracking the driver down later. [...]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/opinion/how-the-supreme-court-protects-bad-cops.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

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* HALL OF SHAME – POLICE BRUTALITY COMPILATION

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmVTVRWf7yA

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* THE COURAGE TO DISARM

By Robert C. Koehler, Buzzflash

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The Ferguson tragedy, like all those that preceded it and all that will follow — involving the trivial and panicky use of lethal force, by the police or anyone else — stirs up questions the social status quo doesn’t dare face.

My sister, Sue Melcher, put it this way: “I find myself also nauseated that another issue never seems to enter the discussion: the issue that a highly trained officer could make such a mistake with a gun demonstrates that just having the weapon present increased the danger of the situation. Had the citizens been armed, how many more casualties could there have been? None of us is ‘healthy’ enough to be trusted to use lethal force wisely — and is that even possible?”

The “wise” use of lethal force . . .

We’ve wrapped our global civilization around the certainty that we understand and revere life in all its vastness and mystery so completely that we know when to cut it short, indeed, that we — those of us who are officially sanctioned good guys — have a right to cut it short in, it would seem, an ever-widening array of circumstances. In so doing, we allegedly make life better for the social whole. This is called militarism. To keep this profitable lie going, we refuse to look deeply at its consequences. […]

READ @ http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/the-courage-to-disarm

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