May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola

News Corporatism Recommended Links Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fashism Nation under attack meme
Inverted Totalitarism Lewis Powell Memo The Deep State Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance  
Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Grand Chessboard Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”

Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-later agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).

In this social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become an autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. Or at least king makers for all top positions in the USA government. The colossal budget with its juicy cost-plus contracts of those agencies are only controlled by vested ideological and financial interests. There no real overseeing from executive branch. In other words, instead of the servant of the state intelligence agencies became the master. This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happen in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass, who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that among other things doomed the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security state was born and should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Nothing remained from "old republic" in modern USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, not mass repression of opponents. At the same time, like neo-fascism and authoritarian regimes it make opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably more then half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. Amazingly they managed to integrated American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less). Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Cost were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure if combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality in many times more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies (he called them Trumenitesm as it was President Truman who signed into law  National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA)) . Here is a brief exposition of his point of view taken from review published by Reason (National Security State -

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light on Obama's strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes…can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of then one trillion went to three-letter agencies. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people int he USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to put the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance.

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism is in in many features just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, as central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization lies far right nationalism:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"),  But public were not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar process occurred in different states too after WWII as well as with new force and on new level after the dissolution of the USSR.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, interception of wireless communication and operation via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logiacl end: national survellance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State.". From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to fruitless. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like, Veterans Today, Lew, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'wilfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is…

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  that should send a chill up your spine...

Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Google Search


Old News ;-)

[May 22, 2015] Stephen Kinzers The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

John Foster Dulles Allen Dulles were architects of deep state as a new form of US government.
May 15, 2015 | Foreign Policy Journal

Kinzer's The Brothers is an excellent source of information concerning the development of U.S. foreign policy during the Twentieth Century.

The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret War Stephen Kinzer. St. Martin's Griffin, New York, 2013.

Stephen Kinzer is a masterful storyteller, creating an historical record that is readily accessible to all levels of readers. Besides writing history—or more importantly, rewriting history correctly—he is able to draw out the personal characteristics of the people involved, creating lively anecdotal stories that carry the reader through the overall narrative.

His book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret War, delves into the personal beliefs and perspectives of the Dulles brothers and those associated with them. From that he creates a picture of the nature of U.S. foreign policy as shaped by and being embodied by the brothers and the various Presidents and other corporate and political wheeler and dealers they interacted with over a span of fifty years:

"If they were shortsighted, open to violence, and blind to the subtle realities of the world, it was because these qualities help define American foreign policy and the United States itself…..they embodied the national ethos….They were pure products of the United States."

The historical narrative is clearly presented, the ties to corporations, their employment with powerful law firms, the power they gained within the political system such that after the Second World War they became the two most powerful figures in U.S. politics and foreign affairs. Apart from the basic historical record, the most intriguing aspect is the different natures of the brothers, and the basic similarity that few people gave very much credence to their abilities for deep thought.


They came from a relatively rigid Christian upbringing. John Foster retained the dourness of that upbringing through his life, while his younger brother Allen proved to be a dilettante and womanizer. Their concept of freedom

"was above all economic: a country whose leaders respected private enterprise and welcomed multinational business was a free country."

The other component of freedom was religion,

"Countries that encouraged religious devotion, and that were led by men on good terms with Christian clerics, were to them free countries….These two criteria…they conjured an explanation of why they condemned some dictatorships but not others."

This doctrinaire system of thought did not allow for much in the way of critical thinking skills. Sir Alexander Cadogan, Britain's undersecretary to the Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, "wrote in his diary, "J.F.D. the wooliest type of useless pontificating American….Heaven help us!" Eden himself "considered Foster a narrow minded ideologue…always ready to go on a rampage….Churchill agreed. After one of their meetings he remarked,

"Foster Dulles is the only case I know of a bull who carries his own china shop around with him."

It was not just the British. American political scientist Ole Holsti found that Foster dealt with "discrepant information" by "discrediting the source" and "reinterpreting the new information so as to be consistent with his belief system; searching for other information. The advice of subordinates was neither actively sought nor, when tendered, was it often of great weight." Arthur Schlesinger Jr. said that Allen "was a frivolous man" who would "make these decisions which involved people's lives, and never would really think them through."

…and history

From a privileged upbringing with many family contacts in both the political and corporate world, the brothers had little trouble maneuvering through the intricacies of the global power structures they encountered. They were steeped in the ethos of pioneers and missionaries," and

"spent decades promoting the business and strategic interests of the United States….they were vessels of American history."

That history spans half a century. It starts with the Versailles peace talks and ends only with the death of Foster in 1959 and the senescence and increasing senility of Allen during that same time period. Its major impact occurred after World War II, with John Foster becoming Secretary of State with President Eisenhower, while Allen worked himself into founding leader of the FBI.

From both these positions, one of great public power (wielded with much secrecy) and the other with great covert power, they steered the course of U.S. history through the early days of the Cold War. Their rabid anti-communism, combining their religious and corporate beliefs, shaped the world as we know it today.

Kinzer leads the reader through the "Six Monsters", the foreign leaders who became the most public targets of the Eisenhower/Dulles administration: Mossadegh (Iran), Jacabo Arbenz (Guatemala), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Sukarno (Indonesia ), Patrice Lumumba (Congo), and Castro (Cuba). The ongoing repercussions and blowback from these actions continue to shape our world today.

The last three of these had other impacts. UN Secretary Dag Hammarskjold was involved with Sukarno and Lumumba, and was killed by CIA backed covert action in the Congo. The assassination of John F. Kennedy has several possible claimants, of which his interactions with Sukarno and Castro are the most telling. Significantly, Allen Dulles was appointed to the Warren Commission by President Johnson as it had "some foreign complications, CIA, and other things." Allen "systematically used his influence to keep the commission safely within bounds, the importance of which only he could appreciate."[1]

Kinzer's The Brothers is an excellent source of information concerning the development of U.S. foreign policy during the Twentieth Century. A reader will develop a much stronger understanding of our current geopolitical crisis with this as a background source. It provides not just the historical data behind the events, but more importantly it examines the mindset of the U.S. administration and the people who are both shaped by it and are shaping it:

"The story of the Dulles brothers is the story of America. It illuminates and helps explain the modern history of the United States and the world."


(1) See The Incubus of Intervention—Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles. Greg Poulgrain. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, Selangor, Malaysia. (Click here to read Jim Miles' review of Incubus of Intervention.)

[May 21, 2015] Militarization Is More Than Tanks Rifles It's a Cultural Disease, Acclimating Citizens To Life In A Police State

May 21, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"If we're training cops as soldiers, giving them equipment like soldiers, dressing them up as soldiers, when are they going to pick up the mentality of soldiers? If you look at the police department, their creed is to protect and to serve. A soldier's mission is to engage his enemy in close combat and kill him. Do we want police officers to have that mentality? Of course not."

— Arthur Rizer, former civilian police officer and member of the military

Talk about poor timing. Then again, perhaps it's brilliant timing.

Only nowafter the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense have passed off billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police forces, after police agencies have been trained in the fine art of war, after SWAT team raids have swelled in number to more than 80,000 a year, after it has become second nature for local police to look and act like soldiers, after communities have become acclimated to the presence of militarized police patrolling their streets, after Americans have been taught compliance at the end of a police gun or taser, after lower income neighborhoods have been transformed into war zones, after hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police who shoot first and ask questions later, after a whole generation of young Americans has learned to march in lockstep with the government's dictatesonly now does President Obama lift a hand to limit the number of military weapons being passed along to local police departments.

Not all, mind you, just some.

Talk about too little, too late.

Months after the White House defended a federal program that distributed $18 billion worth of military equipment to local police, Obama has announced that he will ban the federal government from providing local police departments with tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms and large-caliber firearms.

Obama also indicated that less heavy-duty equipment (armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear and specialized firearms and ammunition) will reportedly be subject to more regulations such as local government approval, and police being required to undergo more training and collect data on the equipment's use. Perhaps hoping to sweeten the deal, the Obama administration is also offering $163 million in taxpayer-funded grants to "incentivize police departments to adopt the report's recommendations."

While this is a grossly overdue first step of sorts, it is nevertheless a first step from an administration that has been utterly complicit in accelerating the transformation of America's police forces into extensions of the military. Indeed, as investigative journalist Radley Balko points out, while the Obama administration has said all the right things about the need to scale back on a battlefield mindset, it has done all the wrong things to perpetuate the problem:

It remains to be seen whether this overture on Obama's part, coming in the midst of heightened tensions between the nation's police forces and the populace they're supposed to protect, opens the door to actual reform or is merely a political gambit to appease the masses all the while further acclimating the populace to life in a police state.

Certainly, on its face, it does nothing to ease the misery of the police state that has been foisted upon us. In fact, Obama's belated gesture of concern does little to roll back the deadly menace of overzealous police agencies corrupted by money, power and institutional immunity. And it certainly fails to recognize the terrible toll that has been inflicted on our communities, our fragile ecosystem of a democracy, and our freedoms as a result of the government's determination to bring the war home.

Will the young black man guilty of nothing more than running away from brutish police officers be any safer in the wake of Obama's edict? It's unlikely.

Will the old man reaching for his cane have a lesser chance of being shot? It's doubtful.

Will the little girl asleep under her princess blanket live to see adulthood when a SWAT team crashes through her door? I wouldn't count on it.

It's a safe bet that our little worlds will be no safer following Obama's pronouncement and the release of his "Task Force on 21st Century Policing" report. In fact, there is a very good chance that life in the American police state will become even more perilous.

Among the report's 50-page list of recommendations is a call for more police officer boots on the ground, training for police "on the importance of de-escalation of force," and "positive non-enforcement activities" in high-crime communities to promote trust in the police such as sending an ice cream truck across the city.

Curiously, nowhere in the entire 120-page report is there a mention of the Fourth Amendment, which demands that the government respect citizen privacy and bodily integrity. The Constitution is referenced once, in the Appendix, in relation to Obama's authority as president. And while the word "constitutional" is used 15 times within the body of the report, its use provides little assurance that the Obama administration actually understands the clear prohibitions against government overreach as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

For instance, in the section of the report on the use of technology and social media, the report notes: "Though all constitutional guidelines must be maintained in the performance of law enforcement duties, the legal framework (warrants, etc.) should continue to protect law enforcement access to data obtained from cell phones, social media, GPS, and other sources, allowing officers to detect, prevent, or respond to crime."

Translation: as I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the new face of policing in America is about to shift from waging its war on the American people using primarily the weapons of the battlefield to the evermore-sophisticated technology of the battlefield where government surveillance of our everyday activities will be even more invasive.

This emphasis on technology, surveillance and social media is nothing new. In much the same way the federal government used taxpayer-funded grants to "gift" local police agencies with military weapons and equipment, it is also funding the distribution of technology aimed at making it easier for police to monitor, track and spy on Americans. For instance, license plate readers, stingray devices and fusion centers are all funded by grants from the DHS. Funding for drones at the state and local levels also comes from the federal government, which in turn accesses the data acquired by the drones for its own uses.

If you're noticing a pattern here, it is one in which the federal government is not merely transforming local police agencies into extensions of itself but is in fact federalizing them, turning them into a national police force that answers not to "we the people" but to the Commander in Chief. Yet the American police force is not supposed to be a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force for the reigning political faction. It is supposed to be an aggregation of the countless local civilian units that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

So where does that leave us?

There's certainly no harm in embarking on a national dialogue on the dangers of militarized police, but if that's all it amounts to—words that sound good on paper and in the press but do little to actually respect our rights and restore our freedoms—then we're just playing at politics with no intention of actually bringing about reform.

Despite the Obama Administration's lofty claims of wanting to "ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, that it must also include the presence of justice," this is the reality we must contend with right now:

Americans still have no real protection against police abuse. Americans still have no right to self-defense in the face of SWAT teams mistakenly crashing through our doors, or police officers who shoot faster than they can reason. Americans are still no longer innocent until proven guilty. Americans still don't have a right to private property. Americans are still powerless in the face of militarized police. Americans still don't have a right to bodily integrity. Americans still don't have a right to the expectation of privacy. Americans are still being acclimated to a police state through the steady use and sight of military drills domestically, a heavy militarized police presence in public places and in the schools, and a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign aimed at reassuring the public that the police are our "friends." And to top it all off, Americans still can't rely on the courts, Congress or the White House to mete out justice when our rights are violated by police.

To sum it all up: the problems we're grappling with have been building for more than 40 years. They're not going to go away overnight, and they certainly will not be resolved by a report that instructs the police to simply adopt different tactics to accomplish the same results—i.e., maintain the government's power, control and wealth at all costs.

This is the sad reality of life in the American police state.

[May 19, 2015]Military Bureaucracy

October 26, 2009 |

Two separate reviews of The Fourth Star, a new book by David Cloud and Greg Jaffee, touch on a theme that has fascinated me since I wrote a dissertation on the subject.

NYT foreign correspondent Dexter Filkins (via SWJ):

"The Fourth Star" paints wonderfully dramatic portraits of the four senior officers highlighted here, but at its heart it's a story about bureaucracy. As an institution, the United States Army has much more in common with, say, a giant corporation like General Motors than with a professional sports team like the New York Giants. You can't cut players who don't perform, and it's hard to fire your head coach. Like General Motors, the Army changes very slowly, and once it does, it's hard to turn it around again.

Actually, it's arguably easier to "cut" bad soldiers than bad football players nowadays, since the latter often have huge signing bonuses and hold teams hostage in a salary cap era. But, otherwise, Filkins is right. While the military is relatively efficient, it's not only a bureaucracy but the very thing bureaucracy was modeled after. Which makes it amusing when conservatives simultaneously rant about the inefficiency of bureaucracy while extolling the virtues of military efficiency. (The military, along with their brethren in the intelligence community and foreign service, does tend to be more motivated and obedient to orders from above than your average bureaucracy.)

New Kings of War blogger "Captain Hyphen."

One of the most trenchant discussions of these wrong "lessons learned" post-Vietnam is General David Petraeus' PhD dissertation, which the review of The Fourth Star mentions tangentially. While Petraeus might have "irritated many of his fellow officers on his way up," he also identified an important bureaucratic reality, noting it in his dissertation: any serving officer who writes a PhD dissertation critical of the US Army as an institution and publishes it as a book will not rise to the ranks of the general officer corps. Petraeus, of course, heeded his own advice, as his dissertation remained safely tucked away in the Princeton library (until the age of scanning and posting to the Internet; h/t to Paula Broadwell for sharing the link). He was able to continue his upward trajectory, unlike such recent soldier-scholars as Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John Nagl, whose Oxford DPhil became Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, arguably a self-inflicted career wound as an Army officer because of its coherent, incisive critique of the Army's failures as a learning organization.

Brigadier General H.R. McMaster, however, is the exception that proves the rule, because it was only the patronage of General Petraeus that made him a general officer after twice being passed over for promotion from colonel to brigadier general. McMaster's Dereliction of Duty was the oft-cited, seldom-read mantra of senior officers in the last decade and appeared to be part of the hold-up for his advancement. Further compounding the delay, his successful counterinsurgency campaign as the commander of an armored cavalry regiment in Tall Afar made his conventionally-minded brigade commander peers look bad (or at least that's one interpretation of how it was viewed within the Army).

How a bureaucracy without lateral entry promotes and selects its leaders is a vital issue with implications measured in decades, dollars, and lives. I look forward to reading how Cloud and Jaffe capture this dynamic in the US Army today.

One could argue McMaster exemplifies, rather than serving as an exception, to the rule. Generally, being passed over — let alone twice — for promotion pretty much indicates that you're done.

Certainly as a prospective general officer. Conversely — and I don't claim to have any inside scoop here — Nagl certainly seemed to be an officer on a fast track who left the Army voluntarily to 1) so his family could settle down and 2) to take advantage of a flood of opportunities to apply his expertise in the think tank arena. It seemingly proved a wise choice, as he soon wound up as president of CNAS.

[May 19, 2015] Americas Warfare State Revolution

Apr 05, 2015 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of the warfare-state revolution that transformed the federal government and American society after World War II. The roots of America's foreign-policy crises today, along with the massive infringements on civil liberties and privacy and the federal government's program of secret indefinite incarceration, torture, assassination, and extra-judicial executions can all be traced to the grafting of a national-security apparatus onto America's federal governmental system in the 1940s.

Certainly, the seeds for what happened in the post-WWII era were sown prior to that time, specifically in the move toward empire, which, interestingly enough, occurred during the same period of time that Progressives were inducing Americans to abandon their system of economic liberty and free markets in favor of socialism and interventionism in the form of a welfare state and regulated economy.

I'm referring to the year 1898, when the U.S. government intervened in the Spanish American War, with the ostensible aim of helping the Cuban and Filipino people win their independence. It was a false and fraudulent intervention, one that was actually designed to place Cuba and the Philippines under the control of the U.S. government. The result was a brutal war in the Philippines between U.S. forces and the Filipino people, along with a never-ending obsession to control Cuba, one that would ending up becoming a central focus of the national-security state.

A national-security state and an empire certainly weren't among the founding principles of the United States. In fact, the revolution in 1776 was against an empire that the British colonists in America no longer wanted to be part of. They were sick and tired of the endless wars and ever-increasing taxes, regulations, and oppression that come with empire and overgrown military establishments.

In fact, there was a deep antipathy toward standing armies among the Founding Fathers. The words of James Madison, the father of the Constitution, reflect the mindset of our American ancestors:

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

What about foreign interventionism? The speech that John Quincy Adams delivered to Congress on the 4th of July, 1821, entitled "In Search of Monsters to Destroy," expressed the sentiments of our predecessors. Adams pointed out that there were lots of bad things in the world, things like tyranny, oppression, famines, and the like. He said though that America would not send troops to slay these monsters. Instead, America would build a model society of freedom right here at home for the people of the world. In fact, if America ever became a military empire that would engage in foreign interventionism, Adams predicted, it would fundamentally change the character of American society, one that would look more like a society under dictatorial rule.

That's not to say that 19th-century America was a libertarian paradise with respect to warfare, any more than it was a libertarian paradise in general, as I pointed out in my article "America's Welfare-State Revolution." But the fact is that there was no overgrown military establishment, no CIA, no NSA, no conscription, no foreign interventionism, and no foreign aid (and no income tax, IRS, Federal Reserve, and fiat money to fund such things).

There was a basic military force but in relative terms it wasn't very large. There were also wars, such as the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Mexican War, and many military skirmishes, but with the exception of the Civil War, the casualties were relatively low, especially compared with such foreign wars as World War I and World War II.

Moreover, it was an established practice to demobilize after each war. That is, a permanent war machine and perpetual war were not built into the system. War and military interventionism were the exception, not the rule.

That all changed with the embrace of a national-security establishment after World War II. In his Farewell Address in 1961, President Eisenhower observed that the national-security state — or what he called the military-industrial complex — constituted an entirely new way of life for the American people, one that entailed what amounted to a new, permanent warfare-state branch of the federal government, consisting of an overgrown military establishment, a CIA, and an NSA, along with an army of private-sector contractors and subcontractors who were feeding at the public trough on a permanent basis.

Most significantly, Ike pointed out that this national-security apparatus constituted a grave threat to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people.

This revolutionary transformation was justified in the name of "national security," which have become the two most important words in the American lexicon, notwithstanding the fact that no one has ever been able to define the term. The warfare-state revolution would be characterized by an endless array of threats to national security, beginning with communism and communists, the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and others, and later morphing into Saddam Hussein, terrorism, terrorists, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Taliban, and even the Muslims.

In the process, Adams proved right. By grafting a totalitarian-like structure onto America's federal governmental system, the United States began displaying the characteristics of a dictatorial society.

Assassination, torture, rendition, secret prisons, medical experiments on unsuspecting Americans, the hiring of Nazis, indefinite detention, partnerships with criminal organizations and foreign dictators, coups, sanctions, embargoes, invasions, undeclared wars, wars of aggression, and extra-judicial executions. When any of those types of things occurred in the 19th century, they were considered exceptions to the system. Now they have become permanent parts of the system.

And look at the results of this gigantic warfare-state transformation: ever-increasing infringements on liberty and privacy, ever-increasing spending, debt, and taxes, and ever-increasing anger and hatred toward our country. Yes, all the things that characterized the British Empire that British colonists revolted against in 1776. How's that for irony?

Meanwhile, like the welfare state, modern-day Americans continue to remain convinced that their system of government has never changed in a fundamental way. They continue to play like their governmental system is founded on the same constitutional principles as when the country was founded. It is a supreme act of self-deception.

The truth is that America has now had two different governmental systems: One without a national-security apparatus and one with it. It seems to me that it's a no-brainer as to who was right and which system was better in terms of freedom, privacy, peace, prosperity, and harmony.


This! You should see the faces on people when I try to explain to them that we're not supposed to have an ever present military. They call me unpatriotic and a hater of our verterans. WTF?!?! I try explaining to them we shouldn't have "veterans", that many of the conflicts they were part of should never have happened. Still, I'm the bad guy despite the fact that the country's ideals have drifted so far off course. I'm reluctantly getting more and more used to the deer in the headlights response from people, which is sad.

El Vaquero

Calm down, don't get angry, and use the Socratic method with them. The cognitive dissonance will still fight back, but ask them about why we were in Vietnam and Iraq. Lead them to the conclusion that those wars never should have been fought. Unplugging from the matrix is very, very difficult and very, very uncomfortable. You want them to understand your point of view so that it is much harder for them to condemn you for it. You are dealing with deeply ingrained cultural values that they have never questioned.

And be nice to the troops. Most of them were duped into believing that they were doing good. You want them to turn on their masters if their masters turn on us.


There is no America. There's parts of the globe that are labeled United States but the Banks and Corporations have more money and power than nations. They control the land mass that people refer to as America. They control the military that wears American uniforms and they control the nuclear weapons that used to be American weapons. That is why nuclear weapons can be removed from the US without prosecution or military intervention. Deal with it bitchez.


The biggest dilemma facing today's younger Generation is the lack of a point of reference. 911 & other False Flag / PsyOp's have diluted their minds full of lies & deception.

A former KGB Agent interviewed by G. Edward Griffen explained that for a propaganda campaign to be truly effective it has to cross over generations or be "Generational."

We"re well into the second decade of the biggest PsyOp ever conducted over the masses on a Global Scale, 911. The Social Engineers / Revisionists have been very busy rewriting history.

"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the future controls the past."
-George Orwell.

Fun Facts

The mightiest nation on earth is run exclusively for the benefit of the mightiest banks on earth.

Too big to fail, too big to bail, too big to jail.

The politico are the puppet class.

The people [at the very bottom of the pyramid] are the serf class with no money, no voice, no power.

All as intended. Follow the money. Read the protocols for more detail.


If it were so easy. Unfortunately there are people who want control, for who knows what reason. I always wondered myself why anyone would want more than they need but I have never been able to come up with a clear answer that makes any logical sense. I can give a prime example: I had a friend in college who was very wealthy and frugal, so frugal they went to a community college with me. He was always telling me he needed more money (he already had an eight figure stash) and one day I asked him why he needed more. The only response he could come up with was: Becuase I want it. Again, I asked what for and he couldn't ever come up with a reasonable explanation other than he wanted it. I don't know about anyone else here but I can say for sure that if I was able to scrounge seven figures in my savings, I would be done saving with no need for any more. But I'm a simple, realistic person and I would expect that my children (not that I will ever have any) pave their own road like I did and I would leave nothing for them or anyone else and expect them to do the same. My money will all be spent and recycled back into the economy when I'm gone. There is no use for it after death. I'm a firm believer that if you can't survive on your own, you don't deserve to survive at all. The animals have already figured this out and humans knew it at one point to. Leave the weak to die or be dragged down with them.

If I ever had the opportunity to ask one of the banksters who has some "end-game" plan for power and control over others I would only have one question: How is that going to improve your life and why would you do that anyway? You already have everything you could possibly need for the next 100 generations of your family. What is the fucking point?


We are Rome and will follow their pattern of decline, although vastly accelerated given our modern communications and banking.


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a former Treasury Official in Ronald Reagan's Administration puts it pretty bluntly in what he's telling Americans.Americans reading this need to wake up to what a right wing neo-fascist government is doing to their society.

All religious Americans especially need to pay heed to his insights.It's no joke,it's what's happening right now.Can evil be defeated?The founding fathers warned you about it.

Amish Hacker

The MIC will always need a credible boogeyman to justify its existence. For years this role was played by the Soviet Union. We were told to be afraid of commies in Moscow, in the State Department, in Hollywood, and under every bed. Then, suddenly, came the end of Ivan, and the MIC was threatened with irrelevance, even dissolution. We the People were beginning to wonder aloud about a "peace dividend." Obviously, this could not be allowed.

The MIC solution was to replace the Soviet menace with the terrorist menace. Really, you have to admire the psychopathic brilliance of this move, since terrorism is a conceptual boogeyman that will never expire or be deposed. Multiple, ongoing wars are now our new normal, and saddest of all, we seem to be getting used to it.

Jack Burton

This post somehow brings to mind a High School Class Reunion I attented 5 years ago. We are all old enough now to have been set in our careers for 30 years. So when you talk to people you can get a good insight into how they all made their livings after High School. My town School was small, my class was 145 students.

What amazed me was what we all ended up talking about. It was the Military. Because as Americans THIS was the common bond we men share. Over half of the men there were veterans, me included, but even more than that, there was our lives after military service, and those who went direct to college. The college kids grew up and from those I talked to, there we many who work for the big defense industries in the Minneapolis Metro Area. Plus we had students who went west and worked for giant defense industries out there. Our conversations revolved around missiles, torpedoes, radars, air craft and high explosives. I met a class mate who designed the explosives for Bunker Busters and other High Energy weapons. One class mate helped build the guidance for the type of torpedoes my ship used. One class mate knew the type of detection gear I operated in the Navy, as his father designed much of it. On and On it went.

By the end of the night, it seems half of our class was employed in military design and construction, the other half of average guys were all vets. Yes, Middle America, out where I live, is a totally militarized entity. It really hit home when you talk to a group you have known all your life.


If we ever had an Empire .... it was a Moral Empire .... and it needs to be regained, improved and expanded .... it's called American Exceptionalism .... and I'm not impressed with the pretenders to our throne .... nor their bootlicking lackeys .... a bunch of chickens .... cackling in the Barnyard of Life !

[May 19, 2015] Paul Krugman Errors and Lies

May 18, 2015 | Economist's View

Paul Krugman: Errors and Lies "The Iraq war wasn't an innocent mistake":

Errors and Lies, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Surprise! It turns out that there's something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago

The Iraq war wasn't an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

This was, in short, a war the White House wanted, and all of the supposed mistakes that, as Jeb puts it, "were made" by someone unnamed actually flowed from this underlying desire.

Now, you can understand why many political and media figures would prefer not to talk about any of this. Some of them may have fallen for the obvious lies, which doesn't say much about their judgment. More, I suspect, were complicit: they realized that the official case for war was a pretext, but had their own reasons for wanting a war, or, alternatively, allowed themselves to be intimidated into going along.

On top of these personal motives, our news media in general have a hard time coping with policy dishonesty. Reporters are reluctant to call politicians on their lies, even when these involve mundane issues like budget numbers, for fear of seeming partisan. In fact, the bigger the lie, the clearer it is that major political figures are engaged in outright fraud, the more hesitant the reporting. And it doesn't get much bigger — indeed, more or less criminal — than lying America into war.

But truth matters, and not just because those who refuse to learn from history are doomed in some general sense to repeat it. The campaign of lies that took us into Iraq was recent enough that it's still important to hold the guilty individuals accountable. Never mind Jeb Bush's verbal stumbles. Think, instead, about his foreign-policy team, led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war.

So let's get the Iraq story right. Yes, from a national point of view the invasion was a mistake. But (with apologies to Talleyrand) it was worse than a mistake, it was a crime.

pgl said

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney knew all along what the real deal in Iraq was when they went in. General Zinni knew too and he said this would be a disaster. Bush pretends he listened to his generals. Really> Zinni warned us not to go in back in 2002. So yea - Jeb and his advisers would have invaded knowing what we know today as they knew all of this back then. But hey - it worked to get Bush-Cheney reelected in 2004!

ilsm said in reply to pgl

Most of the generals (I was in the business of buying) saw Iraq as business development, a fine little war to get the budgets up.

It has been fine at getting the budgets up.

The GOP move to raise the pentagon limits over the sequestration depends on more crazed activity in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. While rattling the saber at Russia over the CIA's mistake in Kiev.

Since 2003 I tried to (really retire, I was double dipping) retire twice both times my phone rings with more "work" at great compensation.

mulp said in reply to pgl

We the People who vote in all elections voted to invade Iraq in 2002.

The declaration of war if Bush wants it was voted on before the 2002 november election. Almost five hundred members of Congress were subject to being popular referendum on that vote and on their votes for job killing tax cuts.

Republicans won on the basis of their wars and job killing tax cuts, and Democrats lost 2 Senate seats and 8 House seats.

We the People who vote in all elections love the free lunch economics and politics of the neoconservative Republican party.

It is neoconservative because conservatives decided to merge the hatred of taxes with the "spend" of liberal "tax and spend". Redefine American Exceptionalism and now you have free lunch tax cuts that pay for more spending on entitlements and wars that generate a profit.

We the People who vote in all elections seem to be in the "you can fool some of the people all the time" They are the free lunch economic conservatives who believe that sacrifice is what happens to other people. If they suffer, its the fault of liberals. But they know that they can gain disproportionate power by being We the People who vote in every election.

Opponents are those who vote only for dictator every 4 years, without realizing that neoconservatives call the president dictator to rally their faithful to vote in every damn election.

The verdict on the Iraq mistake was rendered November 2002, not in 2004, and the verdict was We the People who care about the US voted to support the stupid Iraq war. Those who opposed the war did not give a damn and did not vote in 2002, believing the power is in the dictator.

DrDick said in reply to mulp
What do you mean, "we", Kimosabe? I have never voted for a Republican and have opposed ever war or military intervention war since Vietnam. A large number of people did so, but those who did not and vocally opposed it share none of the blame.

cawley said in reply to DrDick


Plus many of the people who did vote, did so on the basis of lies.

PK is absolutely correct that shrub, et al, knew that it was a lie. Even though many of us that followed the AUMF and stove piping closely knew that a lot of it was fabricated, for John Q Public depending on network news it was all "he said, she said", suitcase dirty bombs and crop dusters spreading anthrax.

When the electorate is being intentionally mislead by the Administration - from the President, down - and the news media, it's a little disingenuous to drop all the blame on the voters.

Julio said in reply to DrDick

Not the blame, perhaps, but some of the responsibility.
We live in a representative republic. These things are done in our collective name.
pgl said in reply to mulp
Yea - did we vote to train wreck Social Security in 2004? Don't think so. BTW - I did vote in 2002 for people who were opposed to the war.
ilsm said
Jeb was caught speaking in the open things he was supposed to say only in closed sessions with war profiteer PAC's and other exploiters of the 90%.aff. He's already made a Mitten gaff.

PNAC is alive and well, undercover in the GOP.

They want to keep Iraq whole, but the Saudi royals do not want Iraq run by Shiites who are 67% of the population. hey need to resurrect Saddam!T

ISIS goes nowhere without Sunni support, Ramadi falling is example.

W and PNAC were invading Iraq for the money, oil was the least corrupt motive, the most corrupt is the trillions squandered since 2003. Trillions that were taken away from US productivity and kill social security.

The matter of US casualties is another grave sin .

mulp said in reply to ilsm
We the People who vote in all elections have the power, not PNAC.
ilsm said in reply to mulp
"We the MISLEAD People who vote,"

Faux News, we the mislead, aggravated to hate those people and misbelieve war mongering experts.

JohnH said

Twenty-twenty hindsight is often pretty good. But it's hard to understand what prompted Krugman to write this piece now. Maybe he's trying the "get" Jeb (a positive.) Or maybe he's trying to help clear a space for Hillary to "get it," a decade too late, and offer her excuses and mea culpas. In any case, the last thing we need is another President with such poor judgement.

What's particularly disturbing about the Iraq experience is that almost no lessons have been learned, other than perhaps it's better to use drones instead of boots on the ground for fighting pointless and futile foreign wars. Pelosi won a mandate in 2006 to end the war but never challenged Bush on it. Harry Reid even held "surge" hearings on 9-11-2007, the best day possible to garner support for yet more war.

What kept USA from attacking Iran was not Democrats in Congress or public opposition. Rather, it was a report issued by US intelligence services, a consensus opinion that Iran had no nuclear program. They had learned lessons from being manipulated on Iraq intelligence and wanted restore their credibility.

Moreover, the Iraq experience in no way prevented Obama from pursuing the destruction and resulting chaos in Afghanistan or Libya, or from thwarting self-determination with coups in Haiti, Honduras, and Paraguay.

What Krugman is missing here is the urgent need for opinion leaders to exercise critical thinking and judgement before these tragedies occur. By 2007, Bush was known to be a notorious liar. Nonetheless, few questioned his intention to attack Iran, even with the consensus report of the intelligence services that destroyed the pretexts for it.

By January, 2003 I had compiled enough evidence of Bush's phony intelligence to come out publicly against the war, much to the dismay and horror of most people, including my bosses. All it took was looking for the right information and connecting the dots. My point here is not to be self congratulatory, but to show that it can be done.

What really needs discussion now is how to get American people to see through the stream of BS emanating from Washington and their megaphones in the news media and to use their powers of critical thinking and judgement and to preserve their personal integrity by acting to stop stupid wars and promote the common good. That could start at Ivy League schools like the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where Krugman teaches.

pgl said in reply to JohnH
I guess you are the most ignorant person ever. Krugman was against this stupid war in 2002. And cover for Hillary who voted to support Bush for whatever reasoning she now gives.

Krugman is not leading Hillary campaign. But you still have a perfect record - for getting everything wrong.

pgl said in reply to JohnH
I guess the Google Master classes taught for Chicken Hawks like you are designed to filter out anything that does not support the Chicken Hawk agenda. Krugman was called the Shrill One back in 2002 for his tirades against Bush Cheney. But maybe you don't know this as you are: (1) stupid; and (2) trained by the Bush-Cheney Chicken Hawk school of neo-McCarthyism.

Say hello to Scooter Libby for us!

May 18, 2015 at 02:24 PM JohnH said in reply to pgl
You insist on my misinterpreting my point: more important than debating Iraq is to make sure that we don't allow ourselves to be misled again. Pulling out the long knives on Iraq means nothing if no lessons are learned about the folly of most wars. And so far none have been learned, at least in the Obama administration. One of the most important places for this to happen is at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, which would be more aptly named the Wilson School for Warmongers.

pgl said in reply to JohnH

"more important than debating Iraq is to make sure that we don't allow ourselves to be misled again."

That's fine. But why attack Paul Krugman? And why here and not in the comment of his blog? Why? Because you are a coward. This is the kind of crap one would expect from Dick Cheney. Surely you don't want be associated with the dishonest chicken hawk slime.

JohnH said in reply to pgl

I'm not happy with Krugman's stance because 1) the article seems to be a ppartisan gotcha, 2) it focuses on assigning accountability, and 3) it ignores the need for fundamental change--learning lessons so that America is never misled into war again, as we have been since then.
May 18, 2015 at 05:50 PM JohnH said in reply to pgl

Got those links showing that Krugman actually opposed the war as opposed to expressing some reservations about it? As you will recall, lots of people, including Kerry in 2004, expressed concerns, particularly about the conduct of the war, without ever expressing outright opposition.

May 18, 2015 at 05:55 PM pgl said in reply to JohnH

"By January, 2003 I had compiled enough evidence of Bush's phony intelligence to come out publicly against the war, much to the dismay and horror of most people, including my bosses. All it took was looking for the right information and connecting the dots. My point here is not to be self congratulatory, but to show that it can be done."

Your bosses? Who gave you a job? A lot of people had tons of evidence to come out against the war by then. One was General Anthony Zinni whose opposition to the planned invasion was made loud and clear.

Why don't you share with us a link to the evidence you made public? That's right - I'm calling you on this as you have lied so many times before. But please prove me wrong on this one.

May 18, 2015 at 02:28 PM JohnH said in reply to pgl

One piece that confirmed my thinking was a Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) Memorandum. It was published on Common Dreams. The link is no longer available but its message is summarized but not quoted verbatim at many other sources.

Second Piece: "In October 1998, just before Saddam kicked U.N. weapons inspectors out of Iraq [actually, they were withdrawn], the IAEA laid out a case opposite of Mr. Bush's Sept. 7 [2002] declaration: "There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance," IAEA Director-General Mohammed Elbaradei wrote in a report to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. (.

May 18, 2015 at 03:11 PM pgl said in reply to JohnH

There was tons of the counter information. A lot of it was put up by people like Paul Krugman. No one paying attention in early 2003 believed a word from Bush or Cheney.

May 18, 2015 at 05:41 PM JohnH said in reply to pgl

So maybe Krugman should address the problem of no one paying attention. As I recall, the bigger problem was that if there was tons of counter information, which I do not recall, it was not readily available and one had to dig for it.

Maybe you could provide a link to some reputable source stating that there was tons of counter information.

As far as I'm concerned, it's just another figment of your imagination.

don said
My own take - an important cause of the war was the fact that one of Saddam's minions tried to kill W's father after he had left office. It was pretty obvious to me that the war was brought on by pretexts, and especially that any ties to 9-11 were spurious. (I recall especially a snippet from a broadcast by a British news agency, which I overheard as I was walking around the ellipse across from the White House. The announcer was saying "

and our polls indicate that the strategy appears to be working 80% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the events of 9/11 ") Colin Powell, to his credit, was such a poor liar that it was blatantly obvious. From accounts I read of Saddam's behavior as the invasion became imminent, I am reminded of a scene in Robocop, where Saddam would be in the position of the hapless employee who is asked to pick up a gun and threaten a prototype robot cop, which then malfunctions (not that Saddam has any pity coming). Yet Hillary voted for the war.

The disconnect between truth and news seems to have grown during and since W's time, or perhaps it is just things I noticed. Bush shirks Vietnam, yet the issue goes against veteran Kerry (who is attacked by the 'swift boats' propaganda). Repeal of the 'death tax' gets popular support. Despite almost $4 trillion in official reserves, China is not, and has never been a currency manipulator

JohnH said in reply to don
Kerry left everything he learned in Vietnam on the altar of political opportunism. Now he's just another member of the committee of warmongers running foreign policy
May 18, 2015 at 01:14 PM pgl said in reply to JohnH
You could not carry Kerry's shoes when he in the navy. You can't carry them now. Stick to what you know - shilling for right wing liars like Cameron.
Robert Hill said
I wonder what the USA and UK arms industry would do if world peace were suddenly to break out.

[May 19, 2015] The Military-Industrial Complex in the United States Evolution and Expansion from World War II to the War on Terror

Sept 1, 2013 |

After World War II, the United States military gradually came into a position of overwhelming dominance in the world. Military spending in the United States far outpaces that of other countries, with their world share of military expenditures at 41% in 2011, followed by Russia and China with only eight and four percent respectively (SIPRI 2012). This has been the case since the Second World War and has been justified in different ways over time. The arguments for continued military dominance have ranged from "long-term economic gains" at the start of the war (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45) to Soviet containment during the Cold War, "a broader responsibility of global militarism" since the 1980s (Ryan 1991, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 73), and most recently the need to protect citizens against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, there has been consistent concern that powerful groups in military, political, and corporate positions, profiteering from conflict and sharing interests in intensifying defense expenditure, have become the primary actors for making and administering U.S. foreign policy. Today the scope of the defense industry is now much bigger than legitimate security needs justify (see, for example, Moskos 1974, Mintz 1985, Waddell 2001 and Hossein-zadeh 2006).

This analysis argues that expansion of the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending. This essay is divided into two sections: the first focuses on the origins of America's military-industrial complex, beginning with a definition of the elite group that the complex comprises. Next, by focusing on the period in which the foundation for the complex was laid – the Second World War – it is argued that the complex arose unintentionally in some ways, although important characteristics of it were visible from the start. Third, military Keynesianism, often used to defend high military budgets once the complex was in place, will be discussed and refuted. The second section focuses on the most important argument in favor of high military budgets today: the need to protect American citizens from the global threat of terrorism. It is argued that public perceptions of the causes of terrorism are incorrect, yet have been gladly utilized and fostered by the American military-industrial complex to justify an ineffective global war.

The Evolving Military-Industrial Complex in the United States

What distinguishes the "power elite" that constitutes the military-industrial complex from other powerful groups in American society who also seek advancement of their own interests, is that this is not a ruling class based solely on the ownership of property (Mills 1956, cited in Moskos 1974: 499-500). Rather, it is a coalition of civilian agencies that formally shape military policy (such as the Senate and the CIA), military institutions, private firms, research institutions and think tanks – all centered on and linked to the Pentagon (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 13). As a result of power arising from the occupancy in top bureaucratic positions as well as from capital ownership, the interests of the ruling elite go beyond the mere accumulation of wealth and include desires to maintain themselves in power and to press for specific forms of public policy. Their most important common interest is intensifying defense expenditure. War profiteering in itself is not new – wars have always been fought at least in part for economic gains. Today's military-industrial complex is different in that it treats war as a business: the ruling elite's goal of having a large military establishment is not to expand the nation's wealth, but "to appropriate the lion's share of existing wealth for the military establishment" (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 90). As a consequence, decisions on defense allocation, arms production and military operations are motivated by desires for profit and personal power, not necessarily by security requirements.

This is not to say that expansion of the military budget has always been an 'end' for a powerful group of elites, but in fact was initially a means to serve other ends. The first big expansion of the military establishment took place in the early years of the Second World War, when the U.S. had legitimate concerns for its own national security due to such events as the attack on Pearl Harbor, and feared the war would negatively impact foreign trade. Military expansion is a logical result of the former concern, as it is a means to preserve physical security. However, it is closely linked to the latter concern, too. The Council on Foreign Relations, one of the nation's most influential think foreign policy think-tanks, advised the U.S. government that it needed free access to markets and raw materials in all regions outside of continental Europe for economic self-sufficiency. To this end, the U.S. advocated globalization and open economic cooperation through multilateralism. At the time, the crisis of the '30s and the war had made the concept of the free market highly unpopular. This made "military supremacy for the U.S. within the non-German world" a complementary requirement to ensure all countries within the "U.S.-led, non-German Grand Area," including Japan, would accept American conditions (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45). In short, military spending was not yet an end in itself, it was the combined result of needing to increase power in the face of security challenges and wanting to restore trust in and stabilize the global capitalist system.

Key characteristics of the current military-industrial complex, however, were already present when the objectives of U.S. foreign policy during World War II were drafted. As Hossein-zadeh points out, a brief look at the social status and class composition of the Council on Foreign Relations, which consisted of wealthy, influential people with ties to major industrial corporations and politicians, shows that a ruling class shaped major government policies "operating through the institutional umbrella of the Council, and providing intellectual justification for major foreign policy overhauls" (2006: 41). The military-industrial complex in its present form might not have been in place then or have been created intentionally, but clearly there already was a power elite based on more than capital ownership, and strong ties between the military, political, and corporate spheres.

After World War II, the Cold War stabilized U.S. foreign policy for over forty years1. With its demise, a "vacuum in the organizing principles of national government" had emerged (Waddell 2001: 133). Even if unintended, the military-industrial complex was well in place by now, and suggestions to curtail the military budget were met with fierce opposition. However, cutting back on non-military public expenditures while an expensive military establishment is preserved proved harder to justify with the loss of the perceived Soviet threat. An argument in favor of military spending that has been used consistently is that it boosts economic growth (Dreze 2000: 180). Mintz, for instance, notes that the military-industrial complex is seen by many to have "considerable influence on levels of employment, … the profitability of arms manufacture and the scope of exports" (1983: 124).

The view that large military spending is an effective means of demand stimulation and job creation, and hence of economic growth, is called military Keynesianism. Keynes' (non-military) theory holds that in times of inadequate purchasing power, the (non-military) private sector becomes wary of expansion, and so the government should spend money in order to boost the stagnant economy by stimulating demand. Since expansion of the military industry is a government investment, it could have the desired economic effects in times of recession. However, it is important to keep in mind that Keynes argues for little government spending in times of high employment and sufficient demand. Military Keynesianists seem to ignore this fact completely and have argued for high government expenditures even during the Golden Age after World War II – and in no other sector than the military-industrial one. This can only be explained by the fact that it is a constantly shrinking number of people experiencing the economic benefits of high military spending (Waddell 2001: 135). The same people tend to switch positions between the Pentagon, its prime contractors and lobbying think tanks supporting those contractors, meaning that military spending is no longer an economic stimulus for the entire nation. Instead, it has become a redistributive mechanism of national resources in favor of the wealthy (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 226).

Cashing In on the War on Terror

What gets lots in the debate over the economic consequences of military spending is the effect it has on international stability. An old principle asserts that military threats are essential in preventing wars from occurring (Dreze 2000: 1178), but an overly extended military establishment means actual military operations are necessary from time to time to 'prove' the necessity of the army. And indeed, militarists have found that the most effective manner of convincing the American public of the need of a large military establishment is the constant 'discovery' of external threats. The threat currently most emphasized by the U.S. is global terrorism. We argue that while some fears of Islamic fundamentalism are justified, most are not; and that the threat of terrorism is not logically followed by higher military investment.

The U.S. is not being fair in its assessment of the Arab threat. Public discourse today implies that Islam is inherently more rigid and anti-modern than other religions. Huntington famously predicted that most major conflicts would be between Muslims and non-Muslims, as "Islam has bloody borders" (1993: 12). In 1990, historian Bernard Lewis described a "surge of hatred" rising from the Islamic world that "becomes a rejection of Western civilisation as such" (cited in Coll 2012). Richard Perle, American neoconservative militarist and advisor to Israel's Likud Party, proposes a strategy of "de-contextualization" to explain acts of terrorism and violent resistance to occupation, arguing that we must stop trying to understand the territorial, geopolitical and historical reasons that some groups turn to fundamentalism; instead, reasons for the violence of such groups must be sought in the Islamic way of thinking (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101).

Religious fundamentalism, however, is universal: it arises in response to modernity and secularism, both of which tend to weaken or threaten religious traditions. John Voll points out that by the early 1990s, "violent militancy was clearly manifest among Hindu fundamentalists, Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Jewish fundamentalists in Israel and others elsewhere" (1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 110-11). As one scholar points out, if the Bosnians, the Palestinians and the Kashmiris are asked about their borders they would say that, respectively, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are the ones that have bloody borders (Ahmed 2002: 29). Yet statements like the ones by Huntington, Lewis and Perle cited above single out Islam as the most dangerous potential enemy of the West. They all interpret the militancy of Islamic fundamentalism as being somehow directly caused by distinctive Islamic doctrines and traditions (Voll 1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 111) and attribute terrorist attacks to "pathological problems of the Muslim mind" (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101). In doing so, they posit a characteristic supposedly shared by Muslims from Indonesia through Iran to Senegal, that makes conflict with the West inevitable.

An incorrect assessment of the roots of terrorism does not justify the extent to which the U.S. expanded its military activity after 2001; nor does it explain why it continues to fight an ineffective war. As Peña points out, a larger military would not have prevented the tragedy of 9/11, and it will not prevent future terrorist actions (2001, cited in Snider 2004). Terrorism, much like the war that is fought against it, is a means of pursuing objectives, not an actor. It cannot be stopped by military action as fighting does nothing to address the issues that terrorists feel can only be resolved violently; if anything, this is more likely to lead to a vicious cycle of constantly growing military budgets and an ever higher number of terrorist attacks. As one author put it: "the moral crusade to end terrorism can only begin with a realistic assessment of its cause" (Snider 2004). So far, the global war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism.

On the contrary, it seems the threat of an attack is now bigger: the number of terrorist attacks worldwide has increased from just over 1800 in 2001, to a staggering five-thousand ten years later (START 2012). The question that arises, then, is why successive U.S. administrations have found it so difficult to accept that perhaps their assessment of the causes of terrorism is incorrect; that perhaps, the policies built on their premises are not effective, but rather a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to a vicious cycle of constantly expanding military activities and an increasing number of individuals who believe their grievances cannot be settled non-violently. This has everything to do with the never-ending need for militarism: 9/11 was approached by the U.S. as an opportunity for aggression. The attacks, however heinous, were approached by the government not as crimes (which would require criminal prosecution and law enforcement), but as a personal attack against Americans (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 91). With the views expressed by Huntington, Lewis and Perle widespread among the American public already, pre-emptive war and military expansion was easily justifiable to Americans. After all, how would dialogue help if the Muslim mind is pathologically troubled? An American citizen might cringe at the idea, but it is true: the 9/11 tragedy "came from heaven to an administration determined to ramp up military budgets" (Johnson 2004: 64).


This essay has sought to argue that the U.S. military-industrial complex was the unintentional result of both a desire to stabilize the global capitalist system and to protect national security interests, but that military spending is now closely linked to the personal interests of a small, influential group of elites. In the first section, it was illustrated that the context of the Second World War made increased military expenditures a necessary means to other ends, although the power elite that would eventually come to benefit from these expenditures was already in place. Once in place, this power elite has constantly needed to justify the disproportionate allocation of national resources to the military establishment. Emphasizing the economic benefits of military investment by drawing on Keynesian theory is a way of doing so, but military Keynesianists seem to give a one-sided account of the theory, one that suits their interests.

The second section focused on the global war on terror, arguing that the U.S. is capitalizing on public fears which are based on an incorrect assessment of the causes of terrorism. The war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism, but as long as the public continues believing it is a necessary war, the U.S. military-industrial complex will continue using it as an opportunity to keep military budgets high.


1.) The U.S. did have to rethink the expenses of their policies during the crisis of the '70s, when expanding on both warfare and welfare became too expensive. Allocating taxpayers' money to the military had become harder to justify for several reasons; by this time, however, the military-industrial complex was well in place. Beneficiaries of militarism succeeded in maintaining high military budgets, mainly by exaggerating the 'Soviet threat' (such as in the now-discredited Team B report by the Committee on the Present Danger). This was clearly a way of defining the elite group's interests in terms of national interests and is relevant to the topic, but it is not within the scope of the essay to discuss this in detail.

[May 18, 2015] New Military Spending Bill Expands Empire But Forbids Debate on War

May 17, 2015 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

On Friday the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee US involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act – limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.

But not even slower growth is enough when you have an empire to maintain worldwide, so the House majority slipped into the military spending bill an extra $89 billion for an emergency war fund. Such "emergency" spending is not addressed in the growth caps placed on the military under the 2011 budget control act. It is a loophole filled by Congress with Fed-printed money.

Ironically, a good deal of this "emergency" money will go to President Obama's war on ISIS even though neither the House nor the Senate has debated – let alone authorized – that war! Although House leadership allowed 135 amendments to the defense bill – with many on minor issues like regulations on fire hoses – an effort by a small group of Representatives to introduce an amendment to debate the current US war in Iraq and Syria was rejected.

While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president's unwise decision to send hundreds of US military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more US involvement in Ukraine's internal affairs. The military spending bill included $300 million to directly arm the Ukrainian government even as Ukrainian leaders threaten to again attack the breakaway regions in the east. Does Congress really think US-supplied weapons killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine is a good idea?

The defense authorization bill also seeks to send yet more weapons into Iraq. This time the House wants to send weapons directly to the Kurds in northern Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government. Although these weapons are supposed to be used to fight ISIS, we know from too many prior examples that they often find their way into the hands of the very people we are fighting. Also, arming an ethnic group seeking to break away from Baghdad and form a new state is an unwise infringement of the sovereignty of Iraq. It is one thing to endorse the idea of secession as a way to reduce the possibility of violence, but it is quite something else to arm one side and implicitly back its demands.

While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true. As the CATO Institute pointed out recently, President George W. Bush's average defense budget was $601 billion, while during the Obama administration the average has been $687 billion. This bill is just another example of this unhealthy trend.

Next year's military spending plan keeps the US on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over US interventionism overseas. It is a recipe for disaster. Let's hope for either a presidential veto, or that on final passage Congress rejects this bad bill.

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

[May 17, 2015]Snowden cost US control of 'geopolitical narrative' – former NSA official

Warren, May 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Snowden cost US control of 'geopolitical narrative' – former NSA official

marknesop, May 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm
For one thing, this sounds an awful lot like an official admission that the USA did something wrong rather than Snowden.

For another, it is important to remember that the "control of the geopolitical narrative" he speaks of was based on lying and secret snooping, and there is no reason to believe the USA would ever have stopped doing it on its own, or taken steps to admit it was doing it, so long as secret intelligence continued to keep them on top.

[May 16, 2015] William J. Astore The American Military Uncontained, Chaos Spread, Casualties Inflicted, Missions Unaccomplished

May 16, 2015 |

By William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) who edits the blogThe Contrary Perspective. Originally published at TomDispatch<

It's 1990. I'm a young captain in the U.S. Air Force. I've just witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I never thought I'd see, short of a third world war. Right now I'm witnessing the slow death of the Soviet Union, without the accompanying nuclear Armageddon so many feared. Still, I'm slightly nervous as my military gears up for an unexpected new campaign, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, to expel Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's military from Kuwait. It's a confusing moment. After all, the Soviet Union was forever (until it wasn't) and Saddam had been a stalwart U.S. friend, his country a bulwark against the Iran of the Ayatollahs. (For anyone who doubts that history, just check out the now-infamous 1983 photo of Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy for President Reagan, all smiles and shaking hands with Saddam in Baghdad.) Still, whatever my anxieties, the Soviet Union collapsed without a whimper and the campaign against Saddam's battle-tested forces proved to be a "cakewalk," with ground combat over in a mere 100 hours.

Think of it as the trifecta moment: Vietnam syndrome vanquished forever, Saddam's army destroyed, and the U.S. left standing as the planet's "sole superpower."

Post-Desert Storm, the military of which I was a part stood triumphant on a planet that was visibly ours and ours alone. Washington had won the Cold War. It had won everything, in fact. End of story. Saddam admittedly was still in power in Baghdad, but he had been soundly spanked. Not a single peer enemy loomed on the horizon. It seemed as if, in the words of former U.N. ambassador and uber-conservative Jeane Kirkpatrick, the U.S. could return to being a normal country in normal times.

What Kirkpatrick meant was that, with the triumph of freedom movements in Central and Eastern Europe and the rollback of communism, the U.S. military could return to its historical roots, demobilizing after its victory in the Cold War even as a "new world order" was emerging. But it didn't happen. Not by a long shot. Despite all the happy talk back then about a "new world order," the U.S. military never gave a serious thought to becoming a "normal" military for normal times. Instead, for our leaders, both military and civilian, the thought process took quite a different turn. You might sum up their thinking this way, retrospectively: Why should we demobilize or even downsize significantly or rein in our global ambitions at a moment when we can finally give them full expression? Why would we want a "peace dividend" when we could leverage our military assets and become a global power the likes of which the world has never seen, one that would put the Romans and the British in the historical shade? Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer caught the spirit of the moment in February 2001 when he wrote, "America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."

What I didn't realize back then was: America's famed "containment policy" vis-à-vis the Soviet Union didn't just contain that superpower — it contained us, too. With the Soviet Union gone, the U.S. military was freed from containment. There was nowhere it couldn't go and nothing it couldn't do — or so the top officials of the Bush administration came into power thinking, even before 9/11. Consider our legacy military bases from the Cold War era that already spanned the globe in an historically unprecedented way. Built largely to contain the Soviets, they could be repurposed as launching pads for interventions of every sort. Consider all those weapon systems meant to deter Soviet aggression. They could be used to project power on a planet seemingly without rivals.

Now was the time to go for broke. Now was the time to go "all in," to borrow the title of Paula Broadwell's fawning biography of her mentor and lover, General David Petraeus. Under the circumstances, peace dividends were for wimps. In 1993, Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton, caught the coming post-Cold War mood of twenty-first-century America perfectly when she challenged Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell angrily over what she considered a too-cautious U.S. approach to the former Yugoslavia. "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about," she asked, "if we can't use it?"

Yet even as civilian leaders hankered to flex America's military muscle in unpromising places like Bosnia and Somalia in the 1990s, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen in this century, the military itself has remained remarkably mired in Cold War thinking. If I could transport the 1990 version of me to 2015, here's one thing that would stun him a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union: the force structure of the U.S. military has changed remarkably little. Its nuclear triad of land-based ICBMs, submarine-launched SLBMs, and nuclear-capable bombers remains thoroughly intact. Indeed, it's being updated and enhanced at mind-boggling expense (perhaps as high as a trillion dollars over the next three decades). The U.S. Navy? Still built around large, super-expensive, and vulnerable aircraft carrier task forces. The U.S. Air Force? Still pursuing new, ultra-high-tech strategic bombers and new, wildly expensive fighters and attack aircraft — first the F-22, now the F-35, both supremely disappointing. The U.S. Army? Still configured to fight large-scale, conventional battles, a surplus of M-1 Abrams tanks sitting in mothballs just in case they're needed to plug the Fulda Gap in Germany against a raging Red Army. Except it's 2015, not 1990, and no mass of Soviet T-72 tanks remains poised to surge through that gap.

Much of our military today remains structured to meet and defeat a Soviet threat that long ago ceased to exist. (Occasional sparring matches with Vladimir Putin's Russia in and around Ukraine do not add up to the heated "rumbles in the jungle" we fought with the Soviet leaders of yesteryear.) And it's not just a matter of weaponry. Our military hierarchy remains wildly and unsustainably top-heavy, with a Cold War-style cupboard of generals and admirals, as if we were still stockpiling brass in case of another world war and a further expansion of what is already uncontestably the largest military on the planet. If you had asked me in 1990 what the U.S. military would look like in 2015, the one thing I wouldn't have guessed was that, in its force structure, it would look basically the same.

This persistence of such Cold War structures and the thinking that goes with them is a vivid illustration of military inertia, the plodding last-war conservatism that is a common enough phenomenon in military history. It's also a reminder that the military-industrial-congressional-complex that President Dwight Eisenhower first warned us about in 1961 remains in expansion mode more than half a century later, with its taste for business as usual (meaning, among other things, wildly expensive weapons systems). Above all, though, it's an illustration of something far more disturbing: the failure of democratic America to seize the possibility of a less militarized world.

Today, it's hard to recapture the heady optimism of 1990, the idea that this country, as after any war, might at least begin to take steps to demobilize, however modestly, to become a more peaceable land. That's why 1990 should be considered the high-water mark of the U.S. military. At that moment, we were poised on the brink of a new normalcy — and then it all began to go wrong. To understand how, it's important to see not just what remained the same, but also what began to change and just how we ended up with today's mutant military.

Paramilitaries Without, Militaries Within, Civilian Torturers, and Assassins Withal

Put me back again in my slimmer, uniformed 1990 body and catapult me for a second time to 2015. What do I see in this military moment that surprises me? Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for sure. Networked computers everywhere and the reality of a military preparing for "cyberwar." Incessant talk of terrorism as America's chief threat. A revival, however haltingly, of counterinsurgency operations, or COIN, a phenomenon abandoned in Vietnam with a stake through its heart (or so I thought then). Uncontrolled and largely unaccountable mass surveillance of civilian society that in the Cold War era would have been a hallmark of the "Evil Empire."

More than anything, however, what would truly have shocked the 1990 version of me is the almost unimaginable way the military has "privatized" in the twenty-first century. The presence of paramilitary forces (mercenary companies like DynCorp and the former Blackwater, now joined with Triple Canopy in the Constellis Group) and private corporations like KBR doing typical military tasks like cooking and cleaning (what happened to privates doing KP?), delivering the mail, and mounting guard duty on military bases abroad; an American intelligence system that's filled to the brim with tens of thousands of private contractors; a new Department of Defense called the Department of Homeland Security ("homeland" being a word I would once have associated, to be blunt, with Nazi Germany) that has also embraced paramilitaries and privatizers of every sort; the rapid rise of a special operations community, by the tens of thousands, that has come to constitute a vast, privileged, highly secretive military caste within the larger armed forces; and, most shocking of all, the public embrace of torture and assassination by America's civilian leaders — the very kinds of tactics and techniques I associated in 1990 with the evils of communism.

Walking about in such a world in 2015, the 1990-me would truly find himself a stranger in a strange land. This time-traveling Bill Astore's befuddlement could, I suspect, be summed up in an impolite sentiment expressed in three letters: WTF?

Think about it. In 2015, so many of America's "trigger-pullers" overseas are no longer, strictly speaking, professional military. They're mercenaries, guns for hire, or CIA drone pilots (some on loan from the Air Force), or warrior corporations and intelligence contractors looking to get in on a piece of the action in a war on terror where progress is defined — official denials to the contrary — by body count, by the number of "enemy combatants" killed in drone or other strikes.

Indeed, the very persistence of traditional Cold War structures and postures within the "big" military has helped hide the full-scale emergence of a new and dangerous mutant version of our armed forces. A bewildering mish-mash of special ops, civilian contractors (both armed and unarmed), and CIA and other intelligence operatives, all plunged into a penumbra of secrecy, all largely hidden from view (even as they're openly celebrated in various Hollywood action movies), this mutant military is forever clamoring for a greater piece of the action.

While the old-fashioned, uniformed military guards its Cold War turf, preserved like some set of monstrous museum exhibits, the mutant military strives with great success to expand its power across the globe. Since 9/11, it's the mutant military that has gotten the lion's share of the action and much of the adulation — here's looking at you, SEAL Team 6 — along with its ultimate enabler, the civilian commander-in-chief, now acting in essence as America's assassin-in-chief.

Think of it this way: a quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military is completely uncontained. Washington's foreign policies are strikingly military-first ones, and nothing seems to be out of bounds. Its two major parts, the Cold War-era "big" military, still very much alive and kicking, and the new-era military of special ops, contractors, and paramilitaries seek to dominate everything. Nuclear, conventional, unconventional, land, sea, air, space, cyber, you name it: all realms must be mastered.

Except it can't master the one realm that matters most: itself. And it can't find the one thing that such an uncontained military was supposed to guarantee: victory (not in a single place anywhere on Earth).

Loaded with loot and praised to the rafters, America's uncontained military has no discipline and no direction. It never has to make truly tough choices, like getting rid of ICBMs or shedding its obscenely bloated top ranks of officers or cancelling redundant weapon systems like the F-35. It just aims to do it all, just about everywhere. As Nick Turse reported recently, U.S. special ops touched down in 150 countries between 2011 and 2014. And the results of all this activity have been remarkably repetitive and should by now be tragically predictable: lots of chaos spread, lots of casualties inflicted, and in every case, mission unaccomplished.

The Future Isn't What It Used to Be

Say what you will of the Cold War, at least it had an end. The overriding danger of the current American military moment is that it may lack one.

Once upon a time, the U.S. military was more or less tied to continental defense and limited by strong rivals in its hegemonic designs. No longer. Today, it has uncontained ambitions across the globe and even as it continually stumbles in achieving them, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, or elsewhere, its growth is assured, as our leaders trip over one another in continuing to shower it with staggering sums of money and unconditional love.

No military should ever be trusted and no military should ever be left uncontained. Our nation's founders knew this lesson. Five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower took pains in his farewell address in 1961 to remind us of it again. How did we as a people come to forget it? WTF, America?

What I do know is this: Take an uncontained, mutating military, sprinkle it with unconditional love and plenty of dough, and you have a recipe for disaster. So excuse me for being more than a little nervous about what we'll all find when America flips the calendar by another quarter-century to the year 2040.

Selected Skeptical Comments

Chris Geary May 15, 2015 at 3:41 am

"Military overreach" is a nice way I guess of putting the US ruthless/reckless plan for military control of the planet.

Christer Kamb May 15, 2015 at 5:57 am

It´s name is POWER-HYBRIS. Trying to put the Roman Empire in the shade is asking for the same end.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL May 15, 2015 at 5:36 pm

"The military wants to do everything everywhere". And Americans like it that way: THAT's the problem. Between Hollywood, TV, every Politboro news organ from Business Insider to Fox News, National Friggin' Geographic fer chrissakes extolling military porn, no wonder the plebs are so bloodthirsty. Last Christmas for the first time when Norad tracked Santa Claus on his journey from the North Pole his sleigh was escorted by two fighter jets. Gotta get 'em young.
Doesn't seem to matter to anyone that the American military has not won a major engagement since WWII. Oh, except Grenada. America's defining National Myth Monster rolls on.
Dennis Kucinich proposed a Department of Peace, just fund the hell out of it. Since the plebs operate in a "conscience-free zone", pay enough people to shout "Peace Now!" at every possible turn and you might move the needle. Worked a treat in 1971.

Harriet May 15, 2015 at 4:02 am

It's crushing to think how if even a fraction of the trillions sunk into maintaining military bloat–the F-35 boondoggle, or the mercenary contractors first come to mind–had been invested in U.S. education system, health care, and/or civic infrastructure, so many people and families would be alive and thriving today. And who knows if one of them was the next Marie Curie, George Washington Carver, or Hedy Lamarr?

sufferin'succotash May 15, 2015 at 8:35 am

That's Hedley!

PlutoniumKun May 15, 2015 at 4:55 am

'Not so much a country with an army as an army with a country' they used to say about Prussia. The US is increasingly beginning to resemble that description. Historically, countries with unconfined militaries end up in wars because sections of the military decide there must be a war, not because the civilian leadership decides. What his happening now in parts of the world (most notably Ukraine and elsewhere in eastern Europe) is beginning to resemble Manchuria in the 1930's, when an unconstrained Japanese army simply decided to start a war (actually, more than one war) without even bothering to consult with Tokyo. Increasingly I do not think it is relevant who sits in the White House, the crucial decisions are not made there.

MikeNY May 15, 2015 at 6:03 am

We're the modern-age Sparta.

According to Boehner, our military can't survive on a dime less than $604,000,000,000 a year. Because "it's downright shameful … to even contemplate turning our backs on American troops."

Every time you cut funding for an F-35 or a drone or a nuke, little baby Jesus weeps.

James Levy May 15, 2015 at 6:52 am

With one sad exception: our inequality extends to who bears the ultimate burden for that Sparta-like militarism. We've fobbed off imperial policing to mostly poor rural whites and Hispanics (blacks have largely internalized which way the wind is blowing and their participation rates in recruitment have dropped significantly). Every Spartan male who was not a Helot was a soldier. Here, we've upended that relationship so that those at the bottom make up the soldiery and those at the top never go near a barracks.

MikeNY May 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Yes, ITA.

Felix May 16, 2015 at 12:45 am

Plenty of blacks as well. Basically it is a well funded jobs program…….do nothing jobs…….huge benefits……out of sight medical care abuse…… General Casey said, "a health care system that occasionally kills a terrorist." What other industry exists in the US that can offer an average citizen a middle or lower middle class income? Local Fire? Good luck if you don't have relatives and same with police.

Brooklin Bridge May 15, 2015 at 7:10 am

The insane expense of operating the military and the impossibility of shutting it down or limiting it in any way it is a good part of the military's (not to mention the empire's) Achilles heel. The other part is it's clunky, crusty, internal structure so resistant by hubris and habit to change and reason as Astore aptly describes. But it's cold comfort.

As always with our Empire, the tragedy is that we seem fated to go through all the machinations, but worse all the unnecessary suffering put mainly on the innocent, of a system that has reached that level of complexity or what ever it is that triggers the downward spiral of self destruction.

Brooklin Bridge May 15, 2015 at 7:21 am

Increasingly I do not think it is relevant who sits in the White House, the crucial decisions are not made there.

Hard to argue that point, but I suspect in reality it does matter in an odd sort of way. Executives have a sort of uncontrolled control like a car where the steering wheel is so loose as to be almost, but not quite, worthless. The President (and Obama with his narcissism is a pip for this) whirls the wheel and imagines he is at the helm, but the whole contraption, in reality, responds with a confused will of its own.

steviefinn May 15, 2015 at 5:17 am

It reminds me of how Bomber Command became like a giant machine during WW2. A bureaucracy which once put in motion ( as Kurt Vonnegut was told by a high level officer within it ), just kept on rolling even when it was realised, by many of the cogs working with in it that it was no longer serving a supposedly useful purpose.

There is a possibility that officer might have been the scientist Freeman Dyson, & here he talks about the sense of helplessness, when knowing something is very wrong within the organisation you are working for, but knowing that there is nothing you can do to change it :

Otter May 15, 2015 at 6:31 am

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer: "America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."

"Triumph Des Willens" was a huge fad last century. It came to a bad end 70 years ago.

Maju May 15, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Actually the best comparison is not Rome but Charles V, who also dreamed with Rome, like all European power-mongers ever. Like Charles V, the endless campaigns of the USA only manage to erode the empire, like Charles V, every other "second" power is trying to erode the influence of the USA, mostly with success, like Charles V, the hypertrophy of the military relies on an huge pile of debt, impossible to pay. The main difference is that Charles V used old-school money (silver and gold), while the USA uses paper-money.

It's kind of an ouroboros of European imperialism: the beginning and the end of it.

Jackrabbit May 15, 2015 at 6:41 am

I think the author is trying to say that our Democracy has been hijacked.

Military people tend to give too little credit to propaganda. Its an Empire of Illusion as much as it is an Empire of Chaos.

Americans have been too complacent about international relations. This allows our bought government a free hand for overseas adventures. But the war comes home in a variety of ways, from spying to cuts in social spending to militarized police and more.


juliania May 15, 2015 at 4:21 pm

I don't think he is trying to say – he is saying it. Very clearly and concisely and encompassing all aspects of military malfeasance. The 1990 perspective is appropriate and chilling for those of us whose memories as adults reach back that far. It truly was a watershed moment, even perhaps a greater one than the 2000 election as far as this country's potential for actual reversal of course is concerned.

Well done, Mr. Astore.

James Levy May 15, 2015 at 6:47 am

I understand the man's thinking and praise him for it, but he doesn't take the ultimate step which Chalmers Johnson did–to understanding that since NSC68 it was always about aggrandizement, not "containment."

As an historian of Britain, the interesting thing for me intellectually (emotionally if find this all sickening and appalling) is how there was always a constituency for retrenchment in the UK, but it never cohered here, or hasn't since Pearl Harbor. British defence spending was always cut after wars. Hell, it was Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1920s who carried through the so-called Geddes Axe and slashed the services unmercifully. Despite a vast empire, the British establishment was always leery of paying the high taxes needed for a huge military. I guess we owe a lot of this to Nixon closing the gold window and the death of Bretton Woods. Our unique position as issuer of the global currency with no check on how much of it we can issue makes our military extravaganzas possible.

Carla May 15, 2015 at 7:07 am

In the "WTF America?" department, I wonder what James Levy and William Astore think of Michael J. Glennon's "National Security and Double Government" ?

norm de plume May 15, 2015 at 8:21 pm

The title sounds like it sails close to the borders of the Deep State, but this review I just read:

says 'This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created'

Which sounds eerily like stevie's relay of Freeman Dyson's comment about Bomber Command above:

'A bureaucracy which once put in motion ( as Kurt Vonnegut was told by a high level officer within it ), just kept on rolling even when it was realised, by many of the cogs working with in it that it was no longer serving a supposedly useful purpose'

So, if it's just a blind monster driven by thousands of little bureaucratic decisions it should be easier to stop than if it's actually an evil cabal of bad guys, yes? A last quote from Glennon casts some doubt:

"the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell."

MyLessThanPrimeBeef May 15, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Our unique position as issuer of the global currency with no check on how much of it we can issue makes our military extravaganzas possible.

A fiat-money empire can be a household or not a household.

The choice is up to the people…the masters of the house.

"You have chosen…wisely."

JTMcPhee May 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

See Spot run! Run, Spot, run! See Dick shoot Jane! Shoot, Dick, shoot! See Dick show Vlad how to shoot, American style! And make tactical decisions just like successful US military!

No more topheavy command and control! Except realtime GoPro Battlespace management by fatass dudes at Global Network-Centric Interoperababble Battlespace consoles!

"War In Ukraine," now we know who the official Good Guys are!
We be fu___ed. Like Totally,, Timmy!

OIFVet May 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

The most telling bit is that these glorious, freedom loving defenders of free Ukraine are speaking in … Russian?! WTF??? They speak Russian and the US trainers' instructions get translated to them in Russian.

I guess they haven't had time to learn proper Bandera while fighting other Russian speakers…

Eureka Springs May 15, 2015 at 8:27 am

I think this is the authors most significant blind spot:

Above all, though, it's an illustration of something far more disturbing: the failure of democratic America to seize the possibility of a less militarized world.

We are not now nor have we ever been a democratic America. Beginning with the oft cited point by me that the D word does not exist in the Constitution. I say this understanding that the people even in a Democracy would likely approve if not demand to be a horrifically violent bunch. Who will change this, the Green party?

Maybe, but only in a Democracy, the kind which abhors secrecy and lies as much as bloody war mongering itself.

susan the other May 15, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I think this way as well. I sometimes think we really jumped the shark in the Cold War because we created so much advanced (mostly secret) technology it would stagger us all to learn about it. But the Cold War was the perfect window of history to accomplish this applied science. And now we are in a kind of existential crisis. Yes it was and is expensive to advance science at such a pace. And we will never know how that money has been spent because it's all top secret. I wish we could apply block chain accounting to military procurement. Pin down every penny. And for this reason: that money could have been spent on creating a sustainable world but it was "misallocated" as the capitalists like to say.

We failed to modernize our brains and our economy at a critical time. We should send the entire military to the psychologist and appoint a very enlightened bunch to change course at the DoD. The new Secty of Def is a curious guy. Almost likeable. I'd personally love to see the greatest oxymoron – a true peace, green peace preferably, even if it is a fascistic peace. It could be a great new economy.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef May 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm

You're right – the money could been spent on creating a sustainable world.

Printing more doesn't address the issue if we don't correct the misallocation, and when we correct it, we will likely see we don't need to print more.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL May 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Tinkering at the margins won't work. Do what Ron Paul said: bring the troops home.

When asked when he would do it, he replied "as soon as the boats can get there".
THAT's the world we need to be imagining: America with an unbelievably strong, successful fighting force (1/10th it's current size) ready to defend our borders against every conceivable threat. Take another 1/10th of the force and put them to work on American soil building roads, bridges, TRAIN TRACKS, and hospitals HERE for a change. Aim 1/10th of the force to R&D, techno-science and manufacturing advancements they are already so good at.

Loudly announce to the Taiwanese and the South Koreans and the Europeans and the Israelis that they must pay for their own defense. Faced with the impossibility of doing so just maybe they would find new ways to cooperate with their neighbors rather than simply hiding behind the World's Apex Bully.

Henry May 15, 2015 at 8:30 am

What I find interesting is that the American people are becoming more and more suspicious and fearful of big government but are still enamored and almost fawning of a big military as if they are two separate things. They believe politicians are corrupt but the military brass are honorable and respect worthy. I'm not sure if this is caused by Hollywood, but there is a real cognitive dissidence in the minds of the American people.

I hope they're able to wake from this fantasy before it's too late.

bruno marr May 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm

…I like the creative use of "dissidence" (misbelief) in this comment. I expected to see "dissonance" (inconsistency), but misbelief better describes the American mindset.

A refusal to accept reality.

barutanseijin May 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm

I don't know if it's ALL Hollywood's fault, but they certainly have something to do with it. The military parasitic complex doesn't cooperate with Hollywood projects like Top Gun for nothing.

And it's not just Hollywood, but news media which serves up blatant propaganda as "news" (yellowcake!) & pays members of the military-parasitic class to yabber away on network teevee. Not to mention the NFL which takes Pentagon dollars for salutes to soldiers. It's like an oxoplasma gondii infection, where the protozoans take over rodent brains and drive them towards the cats.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef May 15, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Government is not just for building bridges. Military is a big, big part*.

Let's not overlook this reality when we are not being skeptical (but we should be) of the unlimited money creation authority (so claimed, but debatable) for the government to spend (so that it will trickle down to you), especially when we can do better – we can take away military spending and use it for all those things mentioned above (which we desperately need) by Harriet, at 4:02AM.

*Big Brother says he's being ignored.

vegeholic May 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm

A good start would be to re-institute compulsory national service with NO DEFERMENTS. If there is pushback from uncooperative draftees, maybe that is valuable feedback that should be listened to. I am sure it was a dream come true when the brass got their professional, all volunteer army, and could then forge ahead with their plans knowing there would be little resistance from inside.

For all of the untidiness of the Vietnam era protests, there was valuable feedback indicating the citizens had lost interest in pursuing that lost enterprise. If the policy makers knew that their children and grandchildren (and themselves !) were about to become cannon fodder they might think twice about starting new adventures.

jrs May 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

You idea of compulsory national service with NO DEFERMENTS is a delusion. The rich will NEVER EVER EVER serve with the grunts. Get that straight. Short of revolution (and even then probably!!!).

We already know the criminal laws don't' apply to the rich. And we expect them not to get out of the law when not just their freedom (ie being sent to the slammer) but their lives are at stake. Yea right. As always we will die, they will profit. That's the case even with voluntary recruitment. And it will be the case if they get the draft only no peasants will have any choice but to die in wars for their profit.

And the feedback from Vietnam took how many years to end the war? How many dead Americans? (dead Vietnamese too, yes but I'm talking about the war being ended out of self-interest and it's impact on Americans, or rather that NOT actually happening historically, or at least not until it had gone on forever).

You want to give our unaccountable rulers in an ever more unaccountable government more power to send us to die (neo-liberals "go die" isn't nothing, compared to being made to die and kill). Hasn't Fast Track and the TPP at least shown us that there's no democracy in the White House, no democracy in the Senate. And as everyone knows there's no democracy in the Supreme Court. What's left that cares what the populous wants? Maybe the House if the stars perfectly align.

If you want to make policy makers responsible for their wars, why not just send them and their children to die in them? They are rarely influenced by us anyway.

jrs May 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm

It's sometimes as if we hardly need our rulers to stuff horrible nonsense down our throats (and they do of course), when sections of the population beg for it themselves. Few in power have argued for a draft lately (thank heavens for small mercies, maybe a draft is buried in the TPP text for all we'd know!). Well then we better do so. "Please, please, oh wise ruling class you haven't done enough until you make my children die for you. Just as long as you promise it will be equal, and everyone will have an equal chance of dying, including your children, it will be equal right …. right?"

A draft over my dead body. There aren't enough horrors in the world to worry about. I mean I understand wanting some kind of accountability if they read about another wedding being bombed, another kid having his legs blown off or being made into pink mist by the U.S. empire. But a draft of the powerless (the 99s) is questionable as a solution to that, but is certain to ruin THEIR lives. People who come back from these stupid wars are killing themselves right and left from the trauma already.

JTMcPhee May 15, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Our imperial military has no use for a draft. That just means more unreliable Troops that might , as they've done before, mutiny or decline to obey orders. I'm waiting for still newer versions of the Soldier's Oath, that omit that stuff about supporting and defending the Constitution. The part about obeying LAWFUL orders is fading out, and drones and autonomous battle robots and UAVs and boats and sub's and missiles (and mercenaries, for wet work in meatspace, are just so much more reliable, from the Brass Hat's perspective. Too tired to look stuff up tonight, but a whole lot of planning is going into getting rid of GIs with their long term costs and problems.

So you need not fear having to become a dead body to resist a massive conscription… The Thing this post describes is a stage IV metastatic malignancy. Now we can all go back to our "Call of Duty" and
Blow some heads off, or a quick round of "Game of War" where you have a chance to " build an Empire that will Last Forever!!" A little different theme than "Sim City," right?

tim s May 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Edit. Meant as a reply to Henry

The people in the USA are a little more diverse than that. Many do not harbor such grand feelings about the military. Recall how many were opposed to actions in Syria, Iran, Ukraine. Back in 1990, there was some hoo-rah, but that was largely propaganga based. Many, like the author, were simply confused by Desert Storm. Of course, the light show streamed on TV made those predisposed to being led around by their noses fell all warm and fuzzy, so there was that support to show. That was also a time where the "markets" were just about to lift off and escape from reality, so there was so much $$$ for people to swim in that there was not any pain from these skirmishes, so they didn't give it a 2nd thought. Without thinking, there is only the flashing screens, which do seem to be used by TPTB at every opportunity to mold the thoughts of the masses. At every point in our progression to this point, there was no shortage of Hollywood / propaganda. This is predictable, however. I believe it was Goebbels that said that it works the same in all times and places, and I'm sure that this is correct. I recall reading that a large percentage of the Germans & the Japanese had no idea of the reality of their situation during or even near the end of WW2.

As pervasive as the propaganda is, the USA has such a wide variety of people that they are trying to herd cats, with about as much success as expected. The main thing to remember is that all that is happening militarily is not in support of the USA, but rather of the moneyed interests, which are not actually contained within the borders of the USA, and is is many ways counter to the interests of the people in that country.

There are many contributors to our political campaigns who are not US citizens. Even our super-rich consider themselves to be of a super-national class rather than US citizens. All of this is not about the USA. Our remaining political system still has some of the pesky remnants of a democracy, so there is some need to win us over to keep the charade going. We see that this is not going so well (i.e. TPP).

Still, I'm sure that the MIC gets funding (official and unofficial) regardless of what the people think, just as the TBTF banks get what the need as far as trillions in credit/bailouts, simply because this structure maintains the status of the moneyed interests, which are again super-national. Of course, there are factions within these moneyed interests that would fight each other to the death given the logical progression of events.

Like you, I hope that there is much more wakening. People right now are in that phase of just coming out of sleep, and many are completely confused and disoriented. What a mess. Such is life.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef May 15, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Our super-rich are American-citizen patriots who support military spending, and at the same time, super-nationals with global profit outlook.

They are a long way from the provincial "we speak only one language" American middle class of the 50's. They are fully aware of the global consequences of printing money (hot money in and out, but more significantly, as shown in this article – mutant military) here.

They know there is only one exceptional country that needs never to take out foreign currency loans.

They know there is only one exceptional country that can print fiat money as much as it wants and the rest of the world will share her burden (unlike say, Ukraine who can print as much as she likes, but no one other country will participate in economic-pain-sharing with her).

tim s May 15, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Per the Merriam–Webster dictionary : Patriotism – : having or showing great love and support for your country

Show me one way our super rich prove this love and support.

All I see is self-love and love of power. Support? How is hiding wealth in offshore accounts and shell companies supportive of their country? Show me the ranks of these rich that have volunteered for military service.

sam s smith May 15, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Prince, the head of Black Water was Navy SEAL.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef May 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm

My fault.

Should have put quotation marks around 'patriots.'

Crazy Horse May 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm

You commentators have it all wrong. After all, what would the Land of the Free be without its most viable industry, the manufacture and distribution of weapons of death?

Conventional manufacturing and all the jobs it once generated have been off-shored to whatever country comes closest to pure slave labor. Farming has been subsumed into a form of industrial sharecropping , with the chief beneficiary being companies like Monsanto that control the genetic structure of the crops and banksters that supply credit to purchase the chemicals and machinery that are the primary inputs into what was once called farming.

The largest volume of "productive" activity in the country is in "finance" which has exactly the same contribution to the welfare of the nation as a vampire has to that of its' host.

Liberals wring their hands because of what they see as the shortcomings of President Obama, ignoring his contribution to the welfare of the country.

Under his leadership the US share of international arms trade has grown from a mere 60% to over 80%. Thank god we have at least one industry that still leads the world.

Sluggeaux May 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

One word: Corruption

Congress allocates the funds. The Presidency and the Congress use the "military" as the definitive self-licking ice cream cone, channeling these vast and wasteful appropriations of fiat money to their cronies, while claiming to be anti-Big Government (it was former Nixon-strategist Mevin Phillips who pegged the Bush dynasty as nothing but a snarling hyena-pack of war-profiteers).

Our Fearless Leader, congress-critters, and their cronies will find the rise of unaccountable surveillance and assassination described above to be a convenient resource when the masses who have been out-sourced by globalization continue with ever-larger Katrina/Ferguson/Baltimore-style uprisings. Just watch.

I will, but hopefully from a "resilient" sideline…

VietnamVet May 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I agree with the points of this post. It just does not bring them to a logical conclusion.

Without the draft and tax on the wealthy, none of the wars that America is fighting from Ukraine to Somalia will be won. Simply stated, these privatized conflicts are a means to extract the remaining wealth from Americans until they are so burdened with debt that infrastructure and government collapses.

North America will be borderless fiefdoms separated by language and cartel enforcers; that is if mankind avoids nuclear war, plagues, or a climate collapse.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL May 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm

OK, my third comment, this subject is very close to my heart.

Everyone uses an outdated lens when looking at war today, the old paradigm had nations seeking to acquire territory, resources, factories, the "spoils of war". But today *war making itself* IS the treasure: no reason to try to capture and hold territory or resources, the mere act of making a new war pumps dollars to the corporate and government elites.

We waste endless ink trying to parse the strategic implications of this or that conflict, who is in it, and what they could gain. That's meaningless today: just go start punching someone, anyone. This explains America's flailing around the globe, desperate to find a new enemy at every turn. The Cold War ending was a giant blow to these forces, the GWOT worked well for a while but is getting stale, hence the glee at demonizing Russia.

In between we punch Libya, try to punch Syria, get all bloodthirsty about Iran…I mean it's just so obvious. None of these have to have any glimmer of rationale about being in our "strategic interest", when KFC gets multi-million $ no-bid contracts to set up shop behind the trenches, you know the fix is in.

OIFVet May 15, 2015 at 6:26 pm

I generally agree, but I think that there is another dimension: exerting stronger control over the population as its standard of living declines ever more. The War on Terra ushered in the legalization of the tools for control: domestic surveillance, the militarization of police, the creation of the fusion centers, etc. Of course that's good for bidness, so we really have a twofer. So for all the justified criticisms toward the author's belief that we actually had a democracy, he is correct that whatever crapp and imperfect illusion of freedom there was is taken away gradually.

jrs May 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm

The MIC gets rich, but there's really no other purpose?

No oil, no pipelines, no minerals, no petrodollar, no markets to neoliberalize and conquer, noone to overthrow who is not going along, no strategic military bases to establish?

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL May 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm

I dunno, if Iraq was about the oil, then why didn't we get any? The Chinese did. And I'm not sure how we neo-liberalize markets with the military…threaten we will invade?

I know Hilary threatened Sweden with reduced cooperation/funds if they didn't lighten up on Monsanto…pretty sure she didn't say we would invade though.

And as far as installing our own bad guys, maybe it's the one-two punch: green helicopters to get rid of the previous guy, then the rep from the IMF shows up for the Economic Hitman routine.

OIFVet May 16, 2015 at 12:16 am

And I'm not sure how we neo-liberalize markets with the military

Through NATO's military umbrella, NATO being the PC name for the US military occupation of the "allies". When dependent on the US for defense from the "enemies" we spend so much time and treasure to cultivate, we ensure our native compradors' loyalty and also their protection from the natives in case they get restless and dissatisfied. Full spectrum dominance, baby!

Nick May 15, 2015 at 5:47 pm

This column is quite lopsided. Iraq is over, the US is not invading Yemen, there may yet be a nuclear deal signed with Iran, and Russia is contained (for the moment) in Ukraine. The 21st Century is all about Asia and China…and the US pivot to Asia continues.

OIFVet May 15, 2015 at 6:33 pm

The US provides target intelligence to the Saudis, so it is a proxy war. And how, pray tell, is Russia contained in Ukraine? The events of the past coupe of days point to the beginning of Western retreat from Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia and China went to great length to project an image of cooperation, with the leadership inseparable during the Victory Day parade and Chinese formations marching on the Red Square (with Russian formations set to return the courtesy in August's celebrations of the end of WW2 in Beijing).

Which shows that the pursuit of the pivot to Asia will only gobble ever increasing amounts…

frosty zoom May 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

turn off your t.v.!

Jeremy Grimm May 16, 2015 at 1:37 am

A lot of the points made in this post are a little dated. Some sound like the author drank too much of the KoolAid passed around at the time and it's finally wearing off. Just touching on one:

"The U.S. Army? Still configured to fight large-scale, conventional battles, a surplus of M-1 Abrams tanks sitting in mothballs just in case they're needed to plug the Fulda Gap in Germany against a raging Red Army."

Around the end of Poppy Bush's [Mr. CIA and Mr. Shadow Iran Contra Man] Iraq war, the US Army was organized around Corps or Division size force structures best suited for a large scale war. However, following Desert Storm, many of the planners and theorists were re-thinking these basic structures as well as the larger strategy for structuring the world-wide Army forces. "Modular Army", "Army Modernization" grew into large scale efforts to re-structure and re-equip the Army forces.

These efforts coincided with changes to the Army mission. I didn't follow this process and its history well enough to trace its history — but today's Army is organized around modular brigade structures similar to the kinds of smaller force structure the Marine Corps have used for years to enable quick deployment of smaller self-contained forces — "expeditionary" forces. [If you're interested, I believe the Army's Mission Statements and Planning documents are available to the public so you could trace the evolution in thinking if you wanted, but first better make several large urns of coffee.]

I don't know about the hordes of mothballed Abrams, but I believe they exist. What impressed me were the large numbers of Humvees issued to units and replaced in theater with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles using some specially created paperwork and paid for using the unit's discretionary funds. The armor on the initial versions of the Humvees was too thin. "Up-Armor" Humvees replaced Humvees and in turn were replaced with MRAP vehicles as it became evident the Up-Armor Humvees were too vulnerable to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The force structure designs still allocated Humvees the last I was involved with that work. As far as I know many of these expensive vehicles ended up in storage. For a while they were considered temporary bridges to the future force built around the Future Combat Systems (FCS), a multi-billion dollar boondoggle which I suspect still haunts the Army higher command when they struggle for DoD dollars today. Bottom line is that a lot of waste very profitable to the large defense contractors who paid for the Bush trademark, was created during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

But this colossal waste isn't evidence that the Army is still organized to fight a major ground war with Russia. It is good evidence that mistakes were made and saving face is more important than saving tax-payer money, and besides none of the big Defense contractors complained.

OIFVet May 16, 2015 at 2:22 am

Pretty much spot on the reorganization of the Army. It began about 2001 with the introduction of the Stryker and accelerated in earnest after we went after Saddam. Remember, during the initial invasion it still was divisions (though stripped down) who did the deed. M1A2s are still being procured, matter of fact, even though there are already a ton of these dinosaurs around. What's more, the development of M1A3s is set to start in two to three years. General Dynamics has to pay the shareholders, don't you know…

Humvees: awesome dune buggies just as long as no one is shooting at you with RPGs or setting off IEDs. The Iraqi rascals even had a sense of humor: I've personally seen IED locations marked with red, white, and blue ribbons to help the triggerman time his blast perfectly. Forget light armor, most humvees had none initially. It was either a stamped metal doors for the combat arms or plastic on tube frame for combat support. A few up-armored humvees here and there. When we deployed in the end of 2003, my unit had no armor of any kind on our humvees. The production of up-armored humvees was just ramping up Stateside, meanwhile combat arms were receiving completely inadequate bolt-on armor kits. Support units were receiving none, even though this was a war with no rear where every unit could become frontline in a heartbeat. The more enterprising of them would get their hands on scrap armor and torches and fashion themselves a Mad Max version of humvees and 5-ton gun trucks. It was mostly worthless protection but it did provide a bit of psychological boost to soldiers. Not much urgency to actually provide proper protection until that dude went of on Rummy in Camp Udairi in Kuwait and people in the States could support our troops not only with yellow ribbon magnets but also by demanding that more money be spent of the war machine. Because the concept of bringing the troops home and not being in constant wars is just unthinkable for the modern American consumer….

[May 16, 2015]The Making of Hillary Clinton " CounterPunch Tells the Facts, Names the Names

First in a three-part series.

Hillary Clinton has always been an old-style Midwestern Republican in the Illinois style; one severely infected with Methodism, unlike the more populist variants from Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Her first known political enterprise was in the 1960 presidential election, the squeaker where the state of Illinois notoriously put Kennedy over the top, courtesy of Mayor Daley, Sam Giancana and Judith Exner. Hillary was a Nixon supporter. She took it on herself to probe allegations of vote fraud. From the leafy middle-class suburbs of Chicago's west side, she journeyed to the tenements of the south side, a voter list in her hand. She went to an address recorded as the domicile of hundreds of Democratic voters and duly found an empty lot. She rushed back to campaign headquarters, agog with her discovery, only to be told that Nixon was throwing in the towel.

The way Hillary Clinton tells it in her Living History (an autobiography convincingly demolished by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta in their Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, an interesting and well researched account ) she went straight from the Nixon camp to the cause of Martin Luther King Jr., and never swerved from that commitment. Not so. Like many Illinois Republicans, she did have a fascination for the Civil Rights movement and spent some time on the south side, mainly in African Methodist churches under the guidance of Don Jones, a teacher at her high school. It was Jones who took her to hear King speak at Chicago's Orchestra Hall and later introduced her to the Civil Rights leader.

Gerth and Van Natta eschew psychological theorizing, but it seems clear that the dominant influence in Hillary life was her father, a fairly successful, albeit tightwad Welsh draper, supplying Hilton hotels and other chains. From this irritable patriarch Hillary kept secret ­ a marked penchant throughout her life ­ her outings with Jones and her encounter with King. Her public persona was that of a Goldwater Girl. She battled for Goldwater through the 1964 debacle and arrived at Wellesley in the fall of 1965 with enough Goldwaterite ambition to become president of the Young Republicans as a freshman.

The setting of Hillary's political compass came in the late Sixties. The fraught year of 1968 saw the Goldwater girl getting a high-level internship in the House Republican Conference with Gerald Ford and Melvin Laird, without an ounce of the Goldwater libertarian pizzazz. Hillary says the assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy, plus the war in Vietnam, hit her hard. The impact was not of the intensity that prompted many of her generation to become radicals. She left the suburb of Park Ridge and rushed to Miami to the Republican Convention where she fulfilled a lifelong dream of meeting Frank Sinatra and John Wayne and devoted her energies to saving the Party from her former icon, Nixon, by working for Nelson Rockefeller.

Nixon triumphed, and Hillary returned to Chicago in time for the Democratic Convention where she paid an afternoon's visit to Grant Park. By now a proclaimed supporter of Gene McCarthy, she was appalled, not by the spectacle of McCarthy's young supporters being beaten senseless by Daley's cops, but by the protesters' tactics, which she concluded were not viable. Like her future husband, Hillary was always concerned with maintaining viability within the system.

After the convention Hillary embarked on her yearlong senior thesis, on the topic of the Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky. She has successfully persuaded Wellesley to keep this under lock and key, but Gerth and Van Natta got hold of a copy. So far from being an exaltation of radical organizing, Hillary's assessment of Alinsky was hostile, charging him with excessive radicalism. Her preferential option was to
KillingTrayvons1seek minor advances within the terms of the system. She did not share these conclusions with Alinsky who had given her generous access during the preparation of her thesis and a job offer thereafter, which she declined.

What first set Hillary in the national spotlight was her commencement address at Wellesley, the first time any student had been given this opportunity. Dean Acheson's granddaughter insisted to the president of Wellesley that youth be given its say, and the president picked Hillary as youth's tribune. Her somewhat incoherent speech included some flicks at the official commencement speaker, Senator Edward Brooke, the black Massachusetts senator, for failing to mention the Civil Rights movement or the war. Wellesley's president, still fuming at this discourtesy, saw Hillary skinny-dipping in Lake Waban that evening and told a security guard to steal her clothes.

The militant summer of 1969 saw Hillary cleaning fish in Valdez, Alaska, and in the fall she was at Yale being stalked by Bill Clinton in the library. The first real anti-war protests at Yale came with the shooting of the students at Kent State. Hillary saw the ensuing national student upheaval as, once again, a culpable failure to work within the system. "I advocated engagement, not disruption."

She finally consented to go on a date with Bill Clinton, and they agreed to visit a Rothko exhibit at the Yale art gallery. At the time of their scheduled rendez-vous with art, the gallery was closed because the museum's workers were on strike. The two had no inhibitions about crossing a picket line. Bill worked as a scab in the museum, doing janitorial work for the morning, getting as reward a free tour with Hillary in the afternoon.

In the meantime, Hillary was forging long-term alliances with such future stars of the Clinton age as Marian Wright Edelman and her husband Peter, and also with one of the prime political fixers of the Nineties, Vernon Jordan. It was Hillary who introduced Bill to these people, as well as to Senator Fritz Mondale and his staffers.

If any one person gave Hillary her start in liberal Democratic politics, it was Marian Wright Edelman who took Hillary with her when she started the Children's Defense Fund. The two were inseparable for the next twenty-five years. In her autobiography, published in 2003, Hillary lists the 400 people who have most influenced her. Marion Wright Edelman doesn't make the cut. Neither to forget nor to forgive. Peter Edelman was one of three Clinton appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services who quit when Clinton signed the Welfare reform bill, which was about as far from any "defense" of children as one could possibly imagine.

Hillary was on Mondale's staff for the summer of '71, investigating worker abuses in the sugarcane plantations of southern Florida, as close to slavery as anywhere in the U.S.A. Life's ironies: Hillary raised not a cheep of protest when one of the prime plantation families, the Fanjuls, called in their chips (laid down in the form of big campaign contributions to Clinton) and insisted that Clinton tell Vice President Gore to abandon his calls for the Everglades to be restored, thus taking water Fanjul was appropriating for his operation.

From 1971 on, Bill and Hillary were a political couple. In 1972, they went down to Texas and spent some months working for the McGovern campaign, swiftly becoming disillusioned with what they regarded as an exercise in futile ultraliberalism. They planned to rescue the Democratic Party from this fate by the strategy they have followed ever since: the pro-corporate, hawkish neoliberal recipes that have become institutionalized in the Democratic Leadership Council, of which Bill Clinton and Al Gore were founding members.

In 1973, Bill and Hillary went off on a European vacation, during which they laid out their 20-year project designed to culminate with Bill's election as president. Inflamed with this vision, Bill proposed marriage in front of Wordsworth's cottage in the Lake District. Hillary declined, the first of twelve similar refusals over the next year. Bill went off to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to seek political office. Hillary, for whom Arkansas remained an unappetizing prospect, eagerly accepted, in December '73, majority counsel John Doar's invitation to work for the House committee preparing the impeachment of Richard Nixon. She spent the next months listening to Nixon's tapes. Her main assignment was to prepare an organizational chart of the Nixon White House. It bore an eerie resemblance to the twilit labyrinth of the Clinton White House 18 years later.

Hillary had an offer to become the in-house counsel of the Children's Defense Fund and seemed set to become a high-flying public interest Washington lawyer. There was one impediment. She failed the D.C. bar exam. She passed the Arkansas bar exam. In August of 1974, she finally moved to Little Rock and married Bill in 1975 at a ceremony presided over by the Rev. Vic Nixon. They honeymooned in Acapulco with her entire family, including her two brothers' girlfriends, all staying in the same suite.

After Bill was elected governor of Arkansas in 1976, Hillary joined the Rose Law Firm, the first woman partner in an outfit almost as old as the Republic. It was all corporate business, and the firm's prime clients were the state's business heavyweights ­ Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, Jackson Stevens Investments, Worthen Bank and the timber company Weyerhaeuser, the state's largest landowner.

Two early cases (of a total of five that Hillary actually tried) charted her course. The first concerned the successful effort of Acorn ­ a public interest group doing community organizing ­ to force the utilities to lower electric rates on residential consumers and raise on industrial users. Hillary represented the utilities in a challenge to this progressive law, the classic right-wing claim, arguing that the measure represented an unconstitutional "taking" of property rights. She carried the day for the utilities.

The second case found Hillary representing the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas in a lawsuit filed by a disabled former employee who had been denied full retirement benefits by the company. In earlier years, Hillary had worked at the Children's Defense Fund on behalf of abused employees and disabled children. Only months earlier, while still a member of the Washington, D.C., public interest community, she had publicly ripped Joseph Califano for becoming the Coca Cola company's public counsel. "You sold us out, you, you sold us out!" she screamed publicly at Califano. Working now for Coca Cola, Hillary prevailed

[May 12, 2015] Kerry set to meet Putin in first visit to Russia since start of Ukraine crisis

The problem that West and first of all the USA and Germany face now is that Ukraine is another Greece. To keep it afloat financially requires tremendous and continues investment. 40 billions from IMF is only a start. Economic ties with Russia are destroyed. And without tens of billions of annual aid that means death sentence. Allowing it to fail with shake Western financial system and we do not know how many derivatives were written on Ukrainian debt and who holds them.
Looks like MentalToo was on duty for this article with support of usual gang. There was even some backlash against "Hillary bots", specifically against alphamysh.
May 12, 2015 | The Guardian

Beckow -> StrategicVoice213 11 May 2015 22:26

By paying a price I clearly meant the very expensive support for Ukraine that EU has to provide, about 40 billion so far. The Ukraine's economy is down about 14% from just three years ago - this is going to get very, very expensive.

If you want to compare Russia's and EU's losses due to sanctions, they have been very substantial for both. EU has so far lost about 10 billion in exports and in the long run it is not clear who will end up losing more. Russia's GNP will drop by 3% after years of high growth (more than double in 10 years). EU has been largely stagnant and many countries there are still below where they were in '09 (Italy, Spain, ...).

Finally, militarily all that matters is who has local superiority. Russia has it in eastern Ukraine. You can squirm, hallucinate, cry all you want, there is no way that Nato can defeat Russia there.

They know it, thus the coming deal.

Dannycraig007 -> MentalToo 11 May 2015 21:34

You would prefer I use the corrupt and obviously biased mainstream Western media as sources I assume, rather than first person video accounts from the victims themselves? Award winning war correspondent and Guardian journalist John Pilger has a few words for you. This is a must watch video about how the Western media operate from a man who was once a part of the establishment here at the Guardian.

Standupwoman -> Captain_Underpants 11 May 2015 17:08

Yep. I think my own Pollyanna moment is already beginning to seep away.

But the stakes are so high! NATO's revival of the 'hotline' has unilaterally put us back on a Cold War footing, and at a time when the Doomsday clock is already set at 3 minutes to midnight. Putin has shown incredible restraint so far, but if the provocations don't stop then I'm genuinely worried about what might happen.

Bosula -> samanthajsutton 11 May 2015 20:43

Neither side is very open about what support it provides.

Russia says openly it doesn't stop volunteers from Russia, often family, cross the border to fight with the East Ukrainians. They are also probably supplying weapons, but we don't really know. And no Russian troops have been captured despite the huge battles. To capture a Russian soldier in a fighting zone would be worth gold in terms of PR value.

The Eastern Ukrainian are having difficulties training all their volunteers (just too many) with a million refugees, many based in camps in Russia, providing a fertile source of volunteers. The West provides no humanitarian help - a short sighted strategic decision, maybe?

The US and their allies are also pretty secret about what support they provide - best estimates are around 1,500 advisers, trainers - and 'volunteers' fighting alongside privately funded far right militias and the Ukrainian army.

The US are not really in a position to take the self- righteous moral high ground in a civil war tens of thousands of kilometres from their home.

nnedjo -> MentalToo 11 May 2015 20:17

What little influence US has on events in Ukraine is irrelevant.

Because of this "little influence" the whole Ukrainian government has become irrelevant. You know, the fact that you do not see the strings that move their limbs does not mean that they are not puppets on the strings. And that guys from Washington hold the ends of the strings, that's probably clear to everyone after the cookies of Victoria Nuland. Or Toria, as poster Dipset called her.:-)))

Funny guy that Dipset, wonder why he is not here yet.

Standupwoman 11 May 2015 20:09

'Although the 300 US trainers are operating in the west of the country'

Are we really sure of this? Yes, Kiev has predictably denied Russian claims that American troops have been spotted in the Donbass, but the odd thing is that several pro-Kiev supporters have uploaded this footage of American training under the following description:

In Severodonetsk, Luhansk region instructors from Georgia, Israel and the US carried out military exercises with the soldiers of the special units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine

Luhansk is in the ATO region - and Severodonetsk is very, very near to the front line.

geedeesee -> MentalToo 11 May 2015 20:05

Irrelevant ...?

Just the CIA advisers, military trainers, $billions of dollars, political cover, a propaganda machine.

geedeesee -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:59

Not proper interviews, are they? Just clips of sentences without knowing the question that is being answered. They wrap narrative around the comment. Not one of those nine soldiers admits to fighting in Ukraine, and the claim of written evidence from NGOs is negated towards the end of the article with the caveat that 'Ukraine' wasn't actually mentioned in the NGO's documentary evidence.

You're easily duped by propaganda.

Standupwoman -> ID5868758 11 May 2015 19:50

Understood. If governments had to actually fight the wars they started, the world would be a very different place...

Dannycraig007 -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:35

If your still doubtful about what the Kiev regime do to people who post unflattering information online, I present to you them demonstrating firsthand what happens when people step out of line. Graphic warning:

geedeesee -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:31

"What about the guys in military uniforms with weapons, mortars, mines, grenades, anti-tank weapons..."

What about them? They're defending themselves - the self-defence activists - after the Kiev regime sent tanks and aircraft to attack the protesters in what they called an Anti-Terror Operation as this example shows (see all four videos)..

Dannycraig007 -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:30

Your question answers itself, in that the Kiev Regime have been tracking down people who post videos on the internet and in social media that criticize the regime, hence the lack of video out of Slavyansk now.

Watch this Ukrainian parliamentarian call for the genocide of Ukrainians of ethnic Russian origin.

Of course, there's also this tidbit from last summer.

The Residents of Slavyansk have disappeared; the town is being re-populated with migrants from Western Ukraine.
In Slavyansk, occupied by Ukrainian troops, the local residents have practically disappeared. The town is being inundated with migrants speaking in a foreign dialect, who take over the housing of those who left to escape the Ukrainian bombing campaign.

This is reported by one of very few residents of Slavyansk who, trusting Ukrainian official propaganda, made the decision to return to his native city. The picture that he saw is terrifying. He realized that the information about residents of Slavyansk returning home is nothing but a vile lie.

"Please, heed our plea! The people have disappeared from Slavyansk!

"I am a native of Slavyansk, residing here already for twenty-seven years. Or better to say 'I was residing', having left the town three months ago, when it was becoming dangerous to stay. During this time I found refuge with relatives in Odessa. I made a decision to return when all the Ukrainian media started saying that everything in Slavyansk was back to normal, that over sixty percent of residents have come back.

"In the three months of my absence my apartment remained untouched by shells from the junta's bombardment or by its marauding thugs. I had already started to unpack when I heard the sound of my neighbour's doors opening across the hallway. I thought it must have been my neighbour, Sergey Ivanovich, but then I saw a young man unknown to me. To my question about his identity he replied that he was Sergey Ivanovich's son.

geedeesee -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:27

Here's an example:

Slaviansk: 10 self-defense activists and some 30 unarmed civilians killed

Notice in the video some places look pretty deserted.

nnedjo -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:25

... in Slavyansk since it was liberated by Ukrainian forces...
You mean, liberated like Odessa:
Occupation of Russian Hero-City Odessa 2014-2015 | Eng Subs
,or liberated like Kharkiv
Kharkiv Welcomes May: Army Patrols, BTRs, Machine guns, etc

And, speaking of Slavyansk , it is also interesting. In "liberated" Slavyansk it seems that nobody believes "liberators".

Slavyansk residents trust Putin and not Poroshenko - Ukraine Hromadske TV March 2015

Bosula -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:10

Can you tell us how many people have been killed in Slayvansk?

Dannycraig007 -> mlubiank 11 May 2015 19:06

Here's another video for you that proves the Kiev regime are Nazis as it shows them marching through Kiev in uniform holding the Waffen SS Wolfsangel flag and was filmed by Poroshenkos very own Chanel 5 TV outlet.

The rest of the hour and a half long video is a bloodbath showing them killing hundreds of innocent civilians. Get back to me after you've cleaned your conscience.

Ukraine Crisis: Death and destruction continues in Eastern Ukraine / [ENG SUB]

mlubiank -> ID5868758 11 May 2015 19:06

Is Reuters good enough for you or is that all lies?

Dannycraig007 11 May 2015 18:57

Investors, such as Franklin Templeton and George Soros' Foundation, who planned to make blood money and placed their bets off of the inside information right before the coup back in November 2013, have a combined $7 billion at stake in Ukraine.

The IMF is trying to convince them to take a haircut on the massive amount and get put on the back burner for the time being, but Russia put it's $3 billion loan in strict terms back in 2012 and has payback priority.

Those human flesh eating Western sharks want their money. This makes those 1%ers and their IMF vassals very upset as they didn't actually expect to lose money......they thought they were gonna double their billions with the rape of Ukraine. Now it's hard earned.

Standupwoman ID5868758 11 May 2015 18:41

I completely understand that. It's a very sensitive subject, and must be far more so for those with personal experience.

Part of the problem is the difference between what we knew then and what we know now. At the time, as you say, we all thought My-Lai was a 'one-off' by a few bad apples, but now so much material has been declassified a very different picture has emerged.

BUT there's still a world of difference between 'a lot' and 'all', and we must never allow those war crimes to taint the reputation of the good soldiers, or to belittle what they endured. It is indeed wrong to apply excessively broad brush-strokes, and I want to apologize to you personally, because I think in my post I was guilty of doing just that.

SoloLoMejor -> geedeesee 11 May 2015 18:40

Yep all good points and there's definitely some push back from Merkel and Hollande. I just don't think the US can relinquish control of our military or monetary systems as would happen if Europe developed independently and naturally became close to European Russia. This is a superpower making sure that it stays a superpower. That said, this is Europe & Russia, not the under developed middle East so they may not get it all their own way but 6000 lives so far is tolerable collateral damage for them

Beckow -> Alderbaran 11 May 2015 18:37

There are 1,000 American, British, Polish and Canadian troops in Ukraine. Officially. Plus endless civilian advisors, agents, private security companies, etc...

Maybe Russians have more people there, but it is after all on their border.

"given control of Ukraine's border back to Ukraine, in contravention of the Minsk II agreement"

No. The Minsk II specifically says that the border will be returned to Kiev control AFTER the Donbass area gets autonomy. Where is the "autonomy"? You can't cherry-pick from an agreement.

If Nato steps over the line in Ukraine, as they are about to do, the nuclear option will be on the table. It is absolutely horrible, but that's where we are heading. Try to get your head out of your behind to understand what is going on there - it is playing with a huge fire on the border of a nuclear power that said they will not allow Nato missiles 400 km from Moscow. You want to test them?

nnedjo -> Tattyana 11 May 2015 18:32

I believe there is no need in any meetings for any further escalation as well.
That's right, Tattyana, that's exactly what I said. My only criticism was related to Miss Marie Harf, who apparently recited a prepared statement, which aims only to reduce the importance of the visit of John Kerry to Russia.
By the way, a true pleasure for me is to watch the exchange of opinions between US spokeswoman Marie Harf and her favorite "reporter", Matt Lee, at the State Department press conferences.

Standupwoman -> geedeesee 11 May 2015 18:23

Yes, that all makes good sense - but I still think personal integrity can have an (admittedly tiny) role to play. Carter is a case in point.

I'm even (don't laugh!) inclined to extend that to Obama. Yes, he's technically responsible for this mess, and he must have supported Nuland and Pyatt in the original coup, but I still think things would be very much worse if either Biden or HRC had been at the helm.

Obama (like Putin) has hawks screaming at him for being weak, but the fact he's holding out suggests there's a little shred of integrity still there.

It's not much, but it's all we've got. Sometimes it feels as if the whole world is screaming for war, and in the centre is this little patch of stillness where two men are holding firm against the madness. If anything happens to either Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin then I think we really are sunk.

geedeesee -> SoloLoMejor 11 May 2015 18:22

Yes, there clearly is a strategic plan being played out, though I don't think it has gone to plan for the Americans. The release of the Nuland/Hyatt phone call obviously came from Russian intelligence, which was an embarrassment for US. I suspect this is all a prelude to the coming clash for stakes in Arctic oil. There are a number of competing nations but US probably wants to minimise Russian access.

However, there is a lot of strain within the EU at the moment, and we know the views of EU leaders were disregarded by Nuland last year ("Fvck the EU").

It's possible the whole thing has gone far enough for EU leaders (see link below to comments identifying reasons) and they're pushing back on US behind the scenes to cool it down now.

See the original post by Beckow and replies. Link direct to individual comment number:

nnedjo 11 May 2015 18:04

Although the 300 US trainers are operating in the west of the country, well away from the conflict zone, Russia has questioned their purpose.

So I do not see how it could be otherwise. Had the US sent their "trainers" in the conflict zone in the east of Ukraine, it is possible that in that case Russia would not complain at all.

In that case, Russia would also send their "trainers" who would soon be found "in the west of the country [Ukraine], well away from the conflict zone".:-)))

normankirk -> MaoChengJi 11 May 2015 18:04

and the German gold still locked up in US vaults

Popeyes 11 May 2015 17:53

Once again on Saturday Putin completely outclassed the West, and the decision by Western leaders to stay away in the end showed their total irrelevance.

Closer ties between China and Russia is Washington's worst nightmare, and a very different new World Order is emerging from the rubble of the post-Cold War period. Today Russia proposed that Greece become the 6th member of a new Development Bank set up by the BRINCS, and with some European leaders desperate to end sanctions things are not going as planned for the empire.

Dannycraig007 -> Bradtweeters 11 May 2015 17:52

Oh, I'm an 'authentic' Guardian reader alright. i'm on my 20th account after being constantly banned this past year for posting the truth about Ukraine. And when they bane me again I'll be right back. True Brits don't give up so easily.

ID5868758 -> Dannycraig007 11 May 2015 17:51

Well, it's printed in English only, given away free in places like the Metro and coffee houses, so it's not like it's the Russian equivalent of the New York Times, to begin with. My son says it's read mostly by ex-pats in Russia, tourists, that kind of audience, it's certainly not anything that Russians read on a regular basis.

ID5868758 -> salthouse 11 May 2015 17:45

Good grief, what fiction. Vladimir Putin's only problem is that he is not Boris Yeltsin, opening the door to the international banks and the multinational corporations to continue their rape of the assets and resources of the Russian people. He is slowly but surely returning Russia to Russians. Contrast that to Ukraine, going in the opposite direction, with the privatization of the assets and resources of the people just beginning, and the predators like Monsanto, Cargill, Chevron, banging at the gate.

normankirk -> salthouse 11 May 2015 17:44

Oh I know! its his nature! He can't help it! And vindictively, at home, he's raised the standard of living and life expectancy! the bastard, only a lunatic would do so.And when he walks among the people he's forcing them ... at gunpoint!.... to put on forced smiles you can tell by looking. he.s a maniac! getting Assad to give up his chemical stores! crazy!

Kaiama -> BMWAlbert 11 May 2015 17:43

There was some indication that the ships could not be sold without the explicit permission of the Russians - probably because they provided the middle part of the hull and if they were feeling bad have the right to ask for it to be cut out and given back to them.

nnedjo 11 May 2015 17:42

"This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed," state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement.

I do not see what it was unclear so far in the views of the State Department at the Ukrainian crisis. I mean, if John Kerry is going to Sochi to repeat the usual accusations against Russia, which US officials have said so far, then there's really no need for him to go to Russia only because of this, nor Putin is interested to hear it one more time.
Thus, rather it will be some other reason behind this visit, about which we can now only guess. And none of us is so naive to believe that the Ukrainian crisis can be resolved without direct negotiations between the United States and Russia. So, either to make a deal, or to enter a further escalation of the military conflict.
I am inclined to believe that the latter, less predictable solution, is not in anyone's interest.

Kaiama -> Metronome151 11 May 2015 17:41

Maybe, but if the US did cut Russia off of SWIFT for instance, the Russians have already said that they would regard it as a declaration of "war". The US might start it but the Russians will definitely finish it.

MichaPalkin -> salthouse 11 May 2015 17:40

It finally happened: A REAL nutjob.

Now why don't you put your money where you mouth is, you pos and go join the fight against Putin yourself um?.. See? Told ya.

geedeesee -> Standupwoman 11 May 2015 17:31

On the glimmer of hope, I think you maybe right, though its early days. History books on 20th century show that when there's been a stand-off for sometime an intermediary, or unofficial envoy, is often sent to explore the basis for talks. And the history books also show confidence-building measures are used, such as making an announcement via the media acknowledging part of the grievance of the other side which can use for domestic purposes.

This happened with the IRA talks, for example, both in 1970s and 1990s. Last week Jimmy Carter visited Putin in Moscow, not on its own remarkable, but what suggested this wasn't an initiative of his own volition was the interview he gave to Voice of America (official US Gov. channel) immediately after the meeting in Moscow - indicating they'd travelled with him.

The narrative is for the press and the accompanying 45 second video of Carter saying all the right things for the Russians can be used by Russian TV/media in news reports.


45 second Carter video:

You'll be disappointed if you look for integrity with the players at this level, because it doesn't exist. They have their plans and self-interests; integrity doesn't come into it.

Dannycraig007 -> dmitryfrommoscow 11 May 2015 17:30

The Moscow Times is actually operated out of Scandinavia and their readership has been dropping due to the obvious anti-Russian propaganda.

ID5868758 -> Standupwoman 11 May 2015 17:27

Well, My-Lai was, of course, just a horrific example of evil behavior on the part of a few of our troops, but Kerry came home and, without personal knowledge, painted the entire military with the same broad brush, made up stories, and just so disgraced himself with this nation that he would never have won a Senate seat if he had not run in Massachusetts.

I still to this day cannot listen to him speak for more than a few minutes at a time, his betrayal of the men who were fighting and dying in the hellhole that was Vietnam will stay with me forever.

dmitryfrommoscow -> Havingalavrov 11 May 2015 17:26

The Moscow Times is one of those pro-Washington mouthpieces which, according to the claims by Putin's critics, have been ruthlessly wiped out of the scene.

SoloLoMejor 11 May 2015 17:15

I saw the Merkel Putin press conference in full. Merkel fully acknowledged and apologised for the horrors inflicted on the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany, and quite rightly.

When asked specifically about what she still blamed Russia for with respect to Minsk she became a lot less clear and rambling and very non specific. I couldn't make out what her beef was although I really wanted to know.

She's going to need some very clear reasons to reinstate EU sanctions on Russia and the phrase Shaun Walker regurgitates in virtually every piece he writes, "mounting evidence" of Russian involvement (but without producing any) won't be enough this time round.

MichaPalkin -> alpamysh 11 May 2015 17:15

l though I find your comments stupid, and what is absolutely amazing is that guests such as you have had zero effect on anything.

Some fascist parties did once praise you and still do, ahem, "purely for the funding you was willing to give". Some grammar problems here eh.

But this has had no effect on nothing, or the policy of the EU in general.

One does not even see you loonies demonstrating in the street, shouting "hail" to Poro & Co."

Poro's only real "western" base of support comes from RFE and probably Guardian. Even Americans begin having their reservations now.


Indeed, we may well have all your clownish incompetence to thank for your highly unsuccessful trolling.

OK, klopets?

John Smith -> Alderbaran 11 May 2015 17:06

You can forget about Crimea.

Nothing will come out from this talks because the US will not let off their 'great prize'
as the NED head called it. Unfortunately for Ukrainians.

ID5868758 -> Standupwoman 11 May 2015 16:31

Standupwoman, I rarely disagree with you, but as an American who lived through Vietnam as the wife of a Marine Corps officer, and the sister of a brother in country as a cryptologist, may I just tell you that John Kerry's actions in front of Congress were not seen by most as heroic at all, not borne of courage and integrity, especially since he had spent only a very short time in country, and had awarded himself 2 or 3 purple hearts, but strangely enough, has no scars of those wounds remaining today. He lied, it was a performance that caused much of America to shun him even today, and that's the truth.

Igor1980 -> GoodOldBoy1967 11 May 2015 16:29

I am in Sochi now, a navy ship is patrolling the area of the Residence and many police cars can be seen. It is not surprising . I was surprised by the number of cars with Ukrainian license plates. The hosts say that many Ukrainian citizens moved to the area on the coast with their money.

Standupwoman -> cabaret1993 11 May 2015 16:22

I agree. If this were HRC rather than Kerry I'd think we were doomed. Do you remember her hilariously rabble-rousing claim that Putin had no soul - 'He's KGB, it's a given!' - and Putin's dry response? That woman ought never to have been allowed within a hundred miles of foreign affairs, and if she ever becomes President then it'll be time to start stocking up on the potassium iodide...

Igor1980 -> Beckow 11 May 2015 16:12

Great and sober analysis. The reality is harsh for both parties and very painful for the USA: the people in the West are not ready to die for the cause of the American dominance.

It is easy to hate Putin, it is difficult to sacrifice your lives in a war to punish Russia for a little border change in the most unpleasant part of Eastern Europe.

MaoChengJi -> DogsLivesMatter 11 May 2015 16:11

state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement

That's just standard bs. What do you expect them to say.

Standupwoman 11 May 2015 16:06

Maybe I'm having a Pollyanna moment, but I wonder if there isn't just the littlest, tiniest glimmer of hope in this. The fact the US is prepared to talk to Russia on its own ground is definitely a step in the right direction, and the fact it's John Kerry is even better.

Because Kerry was once an honest man. Back in 1971 he testified to Congress about American war crimes in Vietnam, and showed the kind of courage and integrity it's almost impossible to mention in the same sentence as 'politician'. He talked openly about the everyday reality of rapes, torture, desecration of the dead, and killing civilians for fun – the American toolbox we're all familiar with in Afghanistan and Iraq, but which in 1971 was genuinely shocking news. Nationalists hated him, but I think he showed genuine American patriotism when he explained: 'We feel that because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it - not the Reds, not redcoats, but the crimes which we're committing are what threaten it – and we have to speak out.'

OK, he's a politician now, and his words have frequently been used against him to show the hypocrisy of his support for America's current wars, but deep down he's still in some way the same man he was then. He and Lavrov certainly used to have a good relationship until he made that unbelievably stupid remark about Russians 'lying to his face'.

That kind of populist rudeness plays well with the 'Murica, F*ck yeah!' mob, but grown-up countries tend to choose a calmer, more courteous approach when it comes to negotiations which could lead to the threat of nuclear war. Kerry will need to apologize for that (even if only in private) if he hopes to get in the same room as President Putin.

But maybe he will. Maybe he'll even confound the words of that Psaki-Manqué Harf and actually listen as well as talk. If he does, and if there's any integrity left in him, then maybe, just maybe, there'll really be a chance of peace.

PlatonKuzin -> oleteo 11 May 2015 16:03

The Ukies think that the US and EU do them gifts for granted. And they were very suprised as they knew that, for example, in Poland, an organization named "Restitution of Kresy" was established that in the nearest future will expropriate, from Ukraine, the property belonging to the Poles.

And more than 100,000 such Poles are now ready to start proceedings to return their property from there.

Dannycraig007 -> PlatonKuzin 11 May 2015 15:57

Agreed on the 50,000. I am just citing the US/MSM 'official' number. I have been keeping up with the real numbers also. Petri Krohn has done a great job establishing a proper count of the dead form various events and battles. The majority of those 50,000 dead are Ukrainian conscripts and Kievs Baghdad Bob intentionally played the numbers way down in order to not have to pay dead soldiers families and hide the truth of the war, which the US and EU media simply parroted with no investigation whatsoever. Here's a link to the numbers:

His site is an amazing geo-political resource. Lots of really interesting MH-17 material there too.

greatwhitehunter -> MentalToo 11 May 2015 15:55

The US could have prevented all this by keeping there nose out of Ukraine . In the words of Obama we brokered the change of government in Ukraine.

Now their are 6000 plus people dead . east of Ukraine destroyed, Crimea gone never to return.

Only the US could imagine you could get away with this.\

Beckow -> Alderbaran 11 May 2015 15:54

Hmmm...don't fool yourself, he meant the Maidan crowd in Kiev. The problem Kiev government has is that as economy gets worse, the large cities like Kharkov, Odessa, etc... will become ungovernable. Except through brute force.

How do you "join EU" if you have to be suppressing large portion of your population? I am sure EU would love to look the other way, but the cognitive dissonance might get too much, with YouTube, refugees, etc...

Captain_Underpants 11 May 2015 15:52

Kerry will offer to swap Ukraine for Assad's head + no S300 missiles to Iran + sanction relief.

Putin and Lavrov will tell Kerry to stick the offer where the sun don't shine and then it's back to square one.

Obumbler won't be involved, he's too busy on the golf course, watching the NBA playoffs, and making hollow speeches filled with platitudes about race issues and police violence.

Meanwhile back in the increasingly irrelevant Euroweenie land, the NSA-compromised Frau Merckel has a desk and a phone and will do as told by her masters

Dannycraig007 -> DIPSET 11 May 2015 15:47

I'd still like to see what those US spy satellites saw the day MH-17 was shot down. They first said they had proof Russia did it, then they went quiet, then they relied on social media BS, then they said they had a drunk Ukrainian that made a confession that the rebel put on Ukrainain uniforms, then they stayed quiet. All the while they had ships in the Black Sea monitoring that airspace and they had AWACS flying over Europe.

They obviously know what really happened but they have chosen no to show that 'evidence'....there can only be one reason.......because it implicates the Kiev regime...and thereby....themselves.

geedeesee -> MentalToo 11 May 2015 15:42

"...the army of Ukraine is not at war with "protesters"."

Yes they are, they called it an Anti-Terror Operation and not war against an army. The facts are against you. Hard luck. ;-)

Dannycraig007 -> MaoChengJi 11 May 2015 15:40

Many people have no idea that Merkels father was in the Hitler youth. Sad but true fact. Hence, maybe that partly explains her allegiance to Ukraine.

Horst Kasner
Kasner was born as Horst Kaźmierczak in 1926, the son of a policeman in the Pankow suburb of Berlin, where he was brought up. His father Ludwig Kaźmierczak (born 1896 in Posen, German Empire) - died 1959 in Berlin) was born out of wedlock to Anna Kazmierczak and Ludwik Wojciechowski.[1] Ludwig was mobilised into the German army in 1915 and sent to France, where he was taken prisoner of war and joined the Polish Haller's Army fighting on the side of Entente.[2] Together with the army he returned to Poland to fight in Polish-Ukrainian war and Polish-Soviet war.[3] After Posen had become part of Poland, Ludwig moved with his wife in 1923 to Berlin, where he served as a policeman, and changed his family name to Kasner in 1930.

Little is known about Horst Kasner's wartime service, and he was held as a prisoner of war at the age of 19. During his high school years he was a member of the Hitler Youth, with the last service position of a troop leader.[citation needed] From 1948 he studied theology, first in Heidelberg then in Hamburg. He married Herlind Jentzsch, an English and Latin teacher, born on 8 July 1928 in Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) as the daughter of Danzig politician Willi Jentzsch, and their daughter Angela was born in 1954.

PlatonKuzin -> Kaiama 11 May 2015 15:38

There is another side of this medal: Novorussia said that, if Ukraine violates the ceasefire one more time, the Army of Novorussia will make no stops any longer and will free Kiev.

Beckow -> MichaPalkin 11 May 2015 15:35

Threats are simply a part of making deals. When one threatens, there is an implicit understanding of what the alternatives are. It is how countries negotiate.

Look at it from Russia's point of view: they prefer to deal with useless twats. Putin has been smart to keep all his threats, options and deals to himself. He speaks very diplomatically and applies pressure on the ground. There is a Russian saying: "let the punishment tell" - that's what Russia is doing and it drives the likes of Kerry crazy.

Unless US escalates into a nuclear confrontation, Russia has the upper hand in the long run. That was obvious from the beginning. So the question is why did Peace Price Winner do this? Why did he start? Is he and people around him that stupid or that desperate? I hope, it is just stupidity.

"Poro & Co would be applying for the political asylum in the US" - that's going to happen anyway, but I think Canada will take the bulk of them...

Beckow -> Alderbaran 11 May 2015 15:24

Let's be clear: Kerry is flying in with a proposal to review with Lavrov. If Russia accepts, Kerry will meet Putin. If not, we will know that sh..t is about to escalate - on both sides.

Regarding "military involvement": both sides are heavily militarily involved with arms, training, "advisors" of all kinds, intelligence, logistics. And both sides downplay it ("lie", if you prefer). Why is that even an issue? Or "news"?

It is infantile to discuss it. In a war there is always "military involvement". And this is a war, has been for about a year, this is the way wars are fought now (see Syria, Libya, etc...).

And yes, of course Putin can change weather. Anyone with enough nukes can.

BMWAlbert 11 May 2015 15:15

Looks like India's participation in the Moscow parade is also paralleled by the cutting of 80% of the French fighter order (remembering that the govt. in New Delhi stated several months ago that its confidence in France as a supplier would be related to its vulnerability to political pressuring vis a vis the RU ships that will end-up being scrapped or bought by by a third party, and it might be that said party, if also participating in said parade, might sell in turn to RU for a 'cut'). IDK if this is related, big new orders from India for SU's:

These cannot be made in Russia, in any event, as Russia is entirely isolated.

Dannycraig007 11 May 2015 15:09

The US has really hurt itself with the WW2 remembrance ceremony snub. Russia won't be soon forgetting what the US has been doing in Ukraine and Europe either. After all the 7,000 people killed by the Kiev regime that came to power through the US backed coup were all ethnic Russian Ukrainian civilians. So many lives could have been saved if only the US would have allowed federalization of the obviously ethnically diverse regions of the country.

For those that missed it, here's link to the amazing WW2 Red Square commemoration concert. It truly was a sight to behold.

Absolutely Stunning! The Entire Russian "Road To Victory" Concert Spectacle -2015 Epic Masterpiece Rivals Olympic Ceremonies

SonnyTuckson 11 May 2015 14:15

Turn Ukraine into a federation. Of a rich pro western part that is member of the EU and a poor pro Russian part that is member of the Eurasian Union.

In ten years time the East Ukrainians will have had enough of their Russian propaganda-ridden life without a decent standard of living. We will then have another Euromaidan, but this time in Donbass.

History always discloses propaganda lies. In the end the people of Donbass will understand they have been used by Russia for its geopolitical games. And chose for a prosperous future in Europe as well.

Beckow -> geedeesee 11 May 2015 14:14

Yes, there are huge problems.

But if US accepts a de facto defeat in Ukraine, they are done in many other places too. My guess is that they will try to weasel out of it by offering a deal to Russia:

- US backs down, Kiev goes back in the box (over time), things quiet down, BUT no victory speeches or remarks by Russia. US has to be able to maintain that they "won".

It is a disease for insecure people. They fear being seen as losers more than anything else. Thus we might still see the fire-works if Russia refuses to oblige.

vr13vr 11 May 2015 14:09

"Unfairly blaming Russia for the crisis in Ukraine, which was actually in the main provoked by the US itself, Obama's administration in 2014 went down the road of ruining bilateral links, announced a policy of 'isolating' our country on the international stage, and demanded support for its confrontational steps from the countries that traditionally follow Washington."

Why does the press want us feel so amazed about this quote? What part of it isn't true?

1. US did and does blame Russia for crisis in Ukraine.
2. US did provoke the crisis.
3. US did go down the road of ruining bilateral links.
4. It did announced a policy of "isolation."
5. And it did demand support for its steps from other countries in Europe.

Putin actually appears to be a straight talker.

vr13vr -> caliento 11 May 2015 14:05

"The first question asked should be... "

Kerry doesn't get to ask questions as if he were running a deposition. He can talk politely and be nice. Outside of the US police TV show and court drama, nobody in the world allows anyone to speak like this, especially in the diplomatic talks with Russia.

vr13vr 11 May 2015 14:03

"Russia believes that the US is meddling in Ukraine..."

No, it's not just Russia believes. It is a fact. And everyone knows it, not just Russia.

geedeesee -> Beckow 11 May 2015 13:46

Add to your list:

EU unity under considerable strain. Divisive issues on it's plate include Greece and Grexit, UK referendum and possible Brexit, UK Human rights exit, unresolved Eurozone crisis, migrant quotas, all made worse by further US spying revelations and German betrayal of EU businesses to the benefit of US companies.

Putin now supporting/funding anti-EU parties in Europe.

MH17 report and voice recorder info, clearly delayed for political reasons, is due this summer.

Obama administration needs cooperation at UNSC on Iran nuclear deal.

Putin supplying arms to Iran is giving Obama more problems from Netanyahu.

If Obama has plans for a last attempt at cracking Israel/palestine then he'll need as much international support as he can muster.

Russia opening spying and military bases in Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

BunglyPete 11 May 2015 13:46

Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I've seen since the very height of the cold war,

That suggests that it is equivalent to the RFE/RL campaigns of the Cold War.

The reports they produced in 1984 relating to showing the Ukrainian nationalists in a good light were described by Richard Pipes as "blatant anti-semitic propaganda". Not my words, the words of Richard Pipes.

These same reports are reprinted today in the Guardian and if you disagree you are a "Putin propagandist". Even though Richard Pipes agrees that it is distasteful propaganda.

Other activities involved sending millions of balloons across eastern Europe, campaigns in the US to ask for "Truth Dollars" to fund said balloon campaigns, leaflets pretending to come from a fictional resistance organisation intended to militarise citizens against their governments, and much much more. There are many books and articles on the subject.

Senator Royce said in May 2014, in an instruction to Victoria Nuland at a senate subcommitee hearing, he wants them "producing the stuff they did years ago". Indeed they granted more money than they did during the cold war to BBG campaigns.

In comparison to the rather pathetic RT, the US campaigns are far more serious in scope and effects.

madeiranlotuseater 11 May 2015 13:27

and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed," state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement

In other words, do as the USA says or we shall continue to hound you.

"Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I've seen since the very height of the cold war," Kerry said in February. "And they have been persisting in their misrepresentations, lies, whatever you want to call them, about their activities to my face, to the face of others, on many different occasions."

There speaks the nation that admits to being involved in forcing regime changes all over the world since 1947. To arm twisting and invading Iraq on the basis of a known lie. If Mr Kerry believes he has been lied to he should present his evidence. We can all relax then. But he doesn't. He says to trust him to tell the truth. Why should we. The USA is a massive war machine intent on ruling the world. China and Russia are not interested in being bullied.

Beckow -> deathbydemocracy 11 May 2015 12:53

I see that even indirect criticism of the media coverage is not allowed. Interesting, but somehow understandable.

DIPSET 11 May 2015 12:31

First when they thought they thought they were "winning" they did not want to talk and instead, instructed their media to do the talking for them.


Then reality happened hahaha

As a consequence, we now have all sorts of chatter coming out of Washington and the urgent need to talk to Russia. So now it's......

Let's "talk" about East Ukraine
Let's "talk about Iraq
Let's "talk" about Syria
Let's "talk" about Yemen
Let's "talk about Iran
Lets "talk" about Latin America

Funny how seeing China and Russia stand next to each other has sharpened some minds across the Atlantic.

Pity they could not "talk" before Crimea was 'liberated' right in front of the American satellites circling in space lol


Fascinating times

Ilja NB 11 May 2015 12:28

Which mounting evidence ??? I haven't seen a single one provided ?

**The Russian foreign ministry said: "We continue to underline that we are ready for cooperation with the US on the basis of equality, non-interference in internal affairs, and that Russian interests are taken into account without attempting to exert pressure on us."**

Of-course USA will never agree with it, since USA wants to put it's nose in everyone's affairs.

BMWAlbert -> BunglyPete 11 May 2015 11:55

Mr. Semenchenko is clearly referring to Greater Ukraine here that extends east into the Kuban, including some buffer areas around the mount Elbrus region (intruded upon on this 2008 occasion) to the south, and north to the Middle Don and Upper Donets basins, to include Beograd and steppe lands east of Voronezh.

Beckow -> miceonparade 11 May 2015 11:40

Kerry is going to make a deal. Probably surrender after one more chest-beating threat. If Putin doesn't meet him (also possible), we will have a very hot summer in Ukraine. And maybe elsewhere.

Beckow 11 May 2015 11:34

Kerry is going for a reason, and it is not to restate US views. The reality is:

These realities on the ground drive US crazy. They don't like to deal with reality, it is too hard. They prefer the fantasy play world where US is god-like, others are scared and geography, resources and other realities are wished away. Infantile. Stupid. Self-defeating. Russia is actually doing US a favor by bringing them back to the real word.

I feel sorry for the Ukrainians; they will suffer for years enormously. They rebelled against a miserable life, were used by a few hustlers from Washington, Berlin and a few Polish ultra-nationalists, now they will pay for it all. Those are the wages of naivete...

emb27516 miceonparade 11 May 2015 11:32

Yes, especially if they wrestle.

BunglyPete 11 May 2015 11:32

"Mr Putin, look at these images provided to our Senator Inhofe, from Mr Semenchenko of Ukraine's official government designation to Washington.

As you can see, these images from Georgia in 2008 clearly show you invaded Ukraine last year. We feel these images prove the invasion so strongly, Senator Inhofe wrote a bill authorising arms to Ukraine, and we passed this quite easily.

What, Mr Putin, will you do about this? If you continue to send tanks to Georgia in 2008 then we will assume you have no interest in fulfilling the terms of Minsk accord and will enact necessary measures to ensure the stability of Ukraine."

alsojusticeseeker Jeremn 11 May 2015 11:27

"He may be a son of a b..., but he is our son of a b...". Just another typical example of US hypocrisy.

BMWAlbert 11 May 2015 11:25

If only his brain were as big as his hair (obviously, not the bald one).

warehouse_guy 11 May 2015 11:25

"Western leaders mainly boycotted the parade in protest at Russia's actions in Ukraine."

Aka people's will in Crimea, and Russian people's will to help Donbass, they are not exactly hiding it there are donation kiosks all over the country almost in every major city. Not on government level though. There are no on duty Russian troops in Ukraine.

RudolphS 11 May 2015 11:24

So, Barry is too chickenshit to go to Russia himself?

Jeremn 11 May 2015 11:19

Americans should be asking why their government is supporting a Ukrainian governmnet which honours veterans of an insurgency which massacred Poles, Jews and Russians across Ukraine in 1943 and 1944.

Here they are, members of the UPA-OUN. Rehabilitated by Poroshenko's governmnet. It was an organisation which formed the Nachtigall Battalion, in German service, and tasked with clearing the Lvov ghetto, and which took men from SS auxiliaries (Schutzmannschaft Battalion 201), which cleared Belarus of partisans and Jews.

Most notoriously, the UPA ran a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Poles in Ukraine, killing some 100,000 of them (mostly women and children).

So there are the veterans, in Ukraine's parliament. Here's a history of one of their massacres.

America, you should know.

Steve Ennever 11 May 2015 11:15

"The US has placed several rounds of sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine"

It has indeed. And badgered Europe into sanctioning Russia further. All of which has affected the US little but has been an immense pain economically for it's "allies."
Strangely though, in 2014, business between the US & Russia actually increased by 7%.

Honestly, you get taken for a ride as recently as Iraq & Libya & you still don't learn a thing.

StatusFoe11 May 2015 11:08

"This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed,"

i.e. "If you don't do what we say and submit to our will there'll be more costs."

warehouse_guy 11 May 2015 11:00

"While Washington has pointed to mounting evidence of Russian military involvement in the east of the country."

Yet unable to provide any concrete evidence for over a year...

[May 11, 2015]CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for Espionage Act violations

May 11, 2015 | RT USA

CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for Espionage Act violations

Convicted CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 42 months in prison under the Espionage Act. He was found guilty of nine counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information about a covert operation and other related charges.

Sterling was given an additional two years of supervised release after he finishes his time in jail. The government had sought a prison term of more than 20 years for Sterling, but the judge told prosecutors at the sentencing that was too harsh a punishment, according to the New York Times' Matt Apuzzo.

... ... ...

The former CIA officer, who was fired in the early 2000s, was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran's nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA's Iranian plot "Operation Merlin" in his 2006 book, 'State of War'. The plan was designed to project a negative image of Iran's nuclear program, learn more about it program and impair its progress. Flawed nuclear weapon schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename "Merlin."

Risen was also critical of Operation Merlin in his book, saying it could have inadvertently helped Iran if they were able to identify what was wrong with the blueprints.

... ... ...

In remarks of his own, US District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema mentioned the punishments meted out against other government whistleblowers, including Gen. David Petraeus, who was sentenced to two years probation for leaking documents to his biographer, a woman who was also his mistress, as well as that of John Kiriakou, Rapalo said.

[May 11, 2015] Why Ukraine Still Can't Break Ties With Russian 'Aggressor State'  by Simon Shuster

Already Ukraine is approaching that point. With most of its scarce resources focused on fighting Russia's proxies in the east, Ukraine's leaders have watched their economy fall off a cliff, surviving only by the grace of massive loans from Western institutions like the International Monetary Fund, which approved another $17.5 billion last month to be disbursed over the next four years. But that assistance has not stopped the national currency of Ukraine from losing two-thirds of its value since last winter. In the last three months of 2014, the size of the economy contracted almost 15%, inflation shot up to 40%, and unemployment approached double digits.

Having survived an assassin's bullet, a revolution and a war, Gennady Kernes now faces a fight over Ukraine's constitution

One afternoon in late February, Gennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkov, Ukraine's second largest city, pushed his wheelchair away from the podium at city hall and, with a wince of discomfort, allowed his bodyguards to help him off the stage. The day's session of the city council had lasted several hours, and the mayor's pain medication had begun to wear off. It was clear from the grimace on his face how much he still hurt from the sniper's bullet that nearly killed him last spring. But he collected himself, adjusted his tie and rolled down the aisle to the back of the hall, where the press was waiting to grill him.

"Gennady Adolfovich," one of the local journalists began, politely addressing the mayor by his name and patronymic. "Do you consider Russia to be an aggressor?" He had seen this loaded question coming. The previous month, Ukraine's parliament had unanimously voted to declare Russia an "aggressor state," moving the two nations closer to a formal state of war after nearly a year of armed conflict. Kernes, long known as a shrewd political survivor, was among the only prominent officials in Ukraine to oppose this decision, even though he knew he could be branded a traitor for it. "Personally, I do not consider Russia to be an aggressor," he said, looking down at his lap.

It was a sign of his allegiance in the new phase of Ukraine's war. Since February, when a fragile ceasefire began to take hold, the question of the country's survival has turned to a debate over its reconstitution. Under the conditions of the truce, Russia has demanded that Ukraine embrace "federalization," a sweeping set of constitutional reforms that would take power away from the capital and redistribute it to the regions. Ukraine now has to decide how to meet this demand without letting its eastern provinces fall deeper into Russia's grasp.

The state council charged with making this decision convened for the first time on April 6, and President Petro Poroshenko gave it strict instructions. Some autonomy would have to be granted to the regions, he said, but Russia's idea of federalization was a red line he wouldn't cross. "It is like an infection, a biological weapon, which is being imposed on Ukraine from abroad," the President said. "Its bacteria are trying to infect Ukraine and destroy our unity."

Kernes sees it differently. His city of 1.4 million people is a sprawling industrial powerhouse, a traditional center of trade and culture whose suburbs touch the Russian border. Its economy cannot survive, he says, unless trade and cooperation with the "aggressor state" continue, regardless how much Russia has done in the past year to sow conflict in Ukraine.

"That's how the Soviet Union built things," Kernes explains in his office at the mayoralty, which is decorated with an odd collection of gifts and trinkets, such as a stuffed lion, a robotic-looking sculpture of a scorpion, and a statuette of Kernes in the guise of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. "That's how our factories were set up back in the day," he continues. "It's a fact of life. And what will we do if Russia, our main customer, stops buying?" To answer his own question, he uses an old provincialism: "It'll be cat soup for all of us then," he said.

Already Ukraine is approaching that point. With most of its scarce resources focused on fighting Russia's proxies in the east, Ukraine's leaders have watched their economy fall off a cliff, surviving only by the grace of massive loans from Western institutions like the International Monetary Fund, which approved another $17.5 billion last month to be disbursed over the next four years. But that assistance has not stopped the national currency of Ukraine from losing two-thirds of its value since last winter. In the last three months of 2014, the size of the economy contracted almost 15%, inflation shot up to 40%, and unemployment approached double digits.

But that pain will be just the beginning, says Kernes, unless Ukraine allows its eastern regions to develop economic ties with Russia. As proof he points to the fate of Turboatom, his city's biggest factory, which produces turbines for both Russian and Ukrainian power stations. Its campus takes up more than five square kilometers near the center of Kharkov, like a city within a city, complete with dormitories and bathhouses for its 6,000 employees. On a recent evening, its deputy director, Alexei Cherkassky, was looking over the factory's sales list as though it were a dire medical prognosis. About 40% of its orders normally come from Russia, which relies on Turboatom for most of the turbines that run its nuclear power stations.

"Unfortunately, all of our major industries are intertwined with Russia in this way," Cherkassky says. "So we shouldn't fool ourselves in thinking we can be independent from Russia. We are totally interdependent." Over the past year, Russia has started cutting back on orders from Turboatom as part of its broader effort to starve Ukraine's economy, and the factory has been forced as a result to cut shifts, scrap overtime and push hundreds of workers into retirement.

At least in the foreseeable future, it does not have the option of shifting sales to Europe. "Turbines aren't iPhones," says Cherkassky. "You don't switch them out every few months." And the ones produced at Turboatom, like nearly all of Ukraine's heavy industry, still use Soviet means of production that don't meet the needs of most Western countries. So for all the aid coming from the state-backed institutions in the U.S. and Europe, Cherkassky says, "those markets haven't exactly met us with open arms."

Russia knows this. For decades it has used the Soviet legacy of interdependence as leverage in eastern Ukraine. The idea of its "federalization" derives in part from this reality. For two decades, one of the leading proponents of this vision has been the Russian politician Konstantin Zatulin, who heads the Kremlin-connected institute in charge of integrating the former Soviet space. Since at least 2004, he has been trying to turn southeastern Ukraine into a zone of Russian influence – an effort that got him banned from entering the country between 2006 and 2010.

His political plan for controlling Ukraine was put on hold last year, as Russia began using military means to achieve the same ends. But the current ceasefire has brought his vision back to the fore. "If Ukraine accepts federalization, we would have no need to tear Ukraine apart," Zatulin says in his office in Moscow, which is cluttered with antique weapons and other military bric-a-brac. Russia could simply build ties with the regions of eastern Ukraine that "share the Russian point of view on all the big issues," he says. "Russia would have its own soloists in the great Ukrainian choir, and they would sing for us. This would be our compromise."

It is a compromise that Kernes seems prepared to accept, despite everything he has suffered in the past year of political turmoil. Early on in the conflict with Russia, he admits that he flirted with ideas of separatism himself, and he fiercely resisted the revolution that brought Poroshenko's government to power last winter. In one of its first decisions, that government even brought charges against Kernes for allegedly abducting, threatening and torturing supporters of the revolution in Kharkov. After that, recalls Zatulin, the mayor "simply chickened out." Facing a long term in prison, Kernes accepted Ukraine's new leaders and turned his back on the separatist cause, refusing to allow his city to hold a referendum on secession from Ukraine.

"And you know what I got for that," Kernes says. "I got a bullet." On April 28, while he was exercising near a city park, an unidentified sniper shot Kernes in the back with a high-caliber rifle. The bullet pierced his lung and shredded part of his liver, but it also seemed to shore up his bona fides as a supporter of Ukrainian unity. The state dropped its charges against him soon after, and he was able to return to his post.

It wasn't the first time he made such an incredible comeback. In 2007, while he was serving as adviser to his friend and predecessor, Mikhail Dobkin, a video of them trying to film a campaign ad was leaked to the press. It contained such a hilarious mix of bumbling incompetence and backalley obscenity that both of their careers seemed sure to be over. Kernes not only survived that scandal but was elected mayor a few years later.

Now the fight over Ukraine's federalization is shaping up to be his last. In late March, as he continued demanding more autonomy for Ukraine's eastern regions, the state re-opened its case against him for alleged kidnapping and torture, which he has always denied. The charges, he says, are part of a campaign against all politicians in Ukraine who support the restoration of civil ties with Russia. "They don't want to listen to reason," he says.

But one way or another, the country will still have to let its eastern regions to do business with the enemy next door, "because that's where the money is," Kernes says. No matter how much aid Ukraine gets from the IMF and other Western backers, it will not be enough to keep the factories of Kharkov alive. "They'll just be left to rot without our steady clients in Russia." Never mind that those clients may have other plans for Ukraine in mind.

[May 10, 2015] After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tried to help Russians

More correctly Clinton administration vigorously tried to help Russia to became a vassal state...
April 15, 2015 |
May 07, 2015 | The Washington Post

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR Putin recently was interviewed for a fawning Russian television documentary on his decade and a half in power. Putin expressed the view that the West would like Russia to be down at the heels. He said, "I sometimes I get the impression that they love us when they need to send us humanitarian aid. . . . [T]he so-called ruling circles, elites — political and economic — of those countries, they love us when we are impoverished, poor and when we come hat in hand. As soon as we start declaring some interests of our own, they feel that there is some element of geopolitical rivalry."

Earlier, in March, speaking to leaders of the Federal Security Service, which he once led, Mr. Putin warned that "Western special services continue their attempts at using public, nongovernmental and politicized organizations to pursue their own objectives, primarily to discredit the authorities and destabilize the internal situation in Russia."

Mr. Putin's remarks reflect a deep-seated paranoia. It would be easy to dismiss this kind of rhetoric as intended for domestic consumption, an attempt to whip up support for his war adventure in Ukraine. In part, it is that. But Mr. Putin's assertion that the West has been acting out of a desire to sunder Russia's power and influence is a willful untruth.

The fact is that thousands of Americans went to Russia hoping to help its people attain a better life. The American and Western effort over the last 25 years — to which the United States and Europe devoted billions of dollars — was aimed at helping Russia overcome the horrid legacy of Soviet communism, which left the country on its knees in 1991. It was not about conquering Russia but rather about saving it, offering the proven tools of market capitalism and democracy, which were not imposed but welcomed. The United States also spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make Russia safer from loose nukes and joined a fruitful collaboration in outer space. Avid volunteers came to Russia and donated endless hours to imparting the lessons of how to hold jury trials, build a free press, design equity markets, carry out political campaigning and a host of other components of an open, prosperous society. The Americans came for the best of reasons.

Certainly, the Western effort was flawed. Markets were distorted by crony and oligarchic capitalism; democratic practice often faltered; many Russians genuinely felt a sense of defeat, humiliation and exhaustion. There's much to regret but not the central fact that a generous hand was extended to post-Soviet Russia, offering the best of Western values and know-how. The Russian people benefit from this benevolence even now, and, above Mr. Putin's self-serving hysterics, they ought to hear the truth: The United States did not come to bury you.

Vatnik, 5/7/2015 2:33 PM EDT [Edited]

I think, that everyoune in US must to know. As i wrote below

"we think that Navalny & Co paid by the west. they ususally call themselves "opposiotion", and one of them (Nemtsov) was frieinds with McCain (as i realized after reading McCain twitter, after Nemtsov was killed)."

"we think that our real opposition are these political parties: CPRF, LDPR. We believe them."

i write it, because i think, that when we talk that our(russian) opposition is bad and paid from the west, you think that we talk about our politic parties. but it is wrong, we talk about Navalny & Co.

MeriJ, 5/7/2015 3:08 PM EDT [Edited]

Thanks. That is a useful clarification. But I still find it odd that you would consider a member of your nation's opposition a traitor or "tool" simply because they have friends in the West.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the main difference between people like Navalny versus the CPRF/LDPR is that Navalny thinks the current system is corrupt. Whereas individuals and political parties currently benefiting from the current system think it's fine.

Those are not the thoughts of a traitor. To get to that conclusion you would need to define the current system and those who currently benefit as being "Russia." Oppose them and you oppose the Motherland.

But Putin and his new-generation oligarchs and his deputies at the Kremlin are not Russia. They are a bunch of guys who currently run things there.

Vatnik, 5/7/2015 3:47 PM EDT [Edited]

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but the main difference between people like Navalny versus the CPRF/LDPR is that Navalny thinks the current system is corrupt."

CPRF and LPDR know about corruption, and even they think that our non-systemic opposition (Navlny & Co) are traitors. And they (CPRF , LDPR) talk about corruption and another bad things of our gov even in Duma. for example, this is what said the leader of LDPR on one tv show

"коррупцию создала советская власть, кпсс, единая россия плавно подобрала у нее все инструменты коррупции и сегодня эта страстная болезнь поразила все органы и всю структуру"
google translated it:
"Corruption established Soviet power, the Communist Party, United Russia gently picked her all the tools of corruption and now this passionate disease struck all the organs and the whole structure"
"у вас фракция половина бизнесмены, воры, жулики, грабители, вся остальная половина агенты спецслужб"
google translated:
"you have a fraction of a half businessmen, thieves, swindlers, robbers, the rest of the half secret service agents"
he adressed it to our main politic party in Duma, "United Russia"

I can find more than one video where he talk about falsifications of elections, right in Duma.

but these are just examples.

P.S. oh, and here i found video, specially for you(americans) where our non-systemic opposition visited US Embassy in Moscow in July 4th.

Baranovsly71, 5/7/2015 12:11 PM EDT [Edited]

BTW, this is not true that "Americans were not in charge". I red memoirs of Eltsyn's ministers (Korzhakov, Burbulis, you can read memoirs of deputy secretary of state of that time Strobe Talbott in English, the same is there), and it's clear that in 90s Russia de facto was American colony.

For example, ministers in Russian government could not be assigned without US State Department approval. Even Russian TV anchors were instructed by US representatives.

Skeviz, 5/7/2015 12:05 PM EDT

6:42 PM GMT+0300 [Edited]
Putin has convinced you...

USA had popularity in Russia in 1990 more than Putin now, but to 1999 when Putin became prime-minister USA had less than 20% approve. It was not Putin who destroyed USA's popularity, reverse your policy created Putin.

You very often replay this your phrase, but it is lie. Did Putin created NATO, did Putin used Russia's weakness and increased NATO, did Putin bomb Kosovo, did Putin violated agreements that was done after WWII and separated Kosovo from Serbia, did Putin destroyed Russia's democracy in 1996 and in 1993, did Putin paid Chechnya terrorists to kill Russians, did Putin pressure Chechens create Islamic State (prototype of ISIL) in Chechnya, did Putin in any article said that it will be great if terrorists will created their own state (and after that will be do permanent wars against Russia)? NO, you did it before there appeared Putin.

Skeviz, 5/7/2015 12:14 PM EDT

5:48 PM GMT+0300
Much of the aid they are referring to was not lending but grants to help build civil society -- independent media, health organizations and the like. No strings attached.

You did not created Russia's civil society, you destroyed it when you created did all what was possible to lure high educated Russians in West countries. You falsified Russia's election in 1996 (and all international observers under pressure of USA supported it). You in 1993 supported Yeltsin's military operation in Moscow. You paid Chechnya terrorists to kill Russians and destabilize Russia's society. Is it civil society???

"independent media"??? Not, they was created by our oligarchs, not by you, and you payed only for those media who represented USA's point of view as your propaganda did in time Cold War. It was the continuing Cold War, not help.

" health organizations" ??????????????

USSR's health organizations was significantly better than USA, and infinity better than current Russia's organizations.

There was not "and like" we ceased Cold War, we by free will dismantled all "USSR's Empire", we by free will destroyed ideology, we ceased war, but you continued it, you continued the war all last 25 years, and NATO is the best example of it.

MeriJ, 5/7/2015 12:24 PM EDT

We lured well-educated Russians to the West? Seriously?

This is the nature of free markets and open borders. Your response should be to compete to lure them back. Give them something to come home for. Most people long to go home.

Instead you talk about anyone who doesn't hate the West as if they were traitors. Why would any well-educated Russian ex-pat want to come home now?

Skeviz, 5/7/2015 12:48 PM EDT

Seriously. Your government created very comfortable ways for engineers (and for some another categories of USSR's people), to take them on West. You are economist, so I suppose you know the reception: lure good manager from another company, it will increase your power, and it decrease power of your competitor.

MeriJ, 5/7/2015 12:51 PM EDT [Edited]

By "seriously?" I didn't mean I disagreed with your facts. I disagree that this was surprising or hostile. That is the nature of open markets -- if you see excellence, you try to recruit it.

There are only two responses I know of: Close your borders and your markets; or compete more effectively.

MeriJ, 5/7/2015 12:20 PM EDT

You are truly incorrect, my friend, and it saddens me that you see it this way.

The antagonistic relationship you describe is more true at the moment, due to the events of the last year, but not true back in the decades before that. During the Cold War, we were indeed enemies, so such motivations then were a given.

Skeviz, 5/7/2015 12:24 PM EDT

Ok, then try to explain, why USA had more 80% [popularity in polls] in Russia in 1990 and less than 20% in 1999. There was not Putin, how can you explain it?

Volkovolk, 5/7/2015 12:27 PM EDT [Edited]

He is correct. One can say that Cold War never ended - it just took place for some decades on our land in form of guerilla war. After Gorbachev and Yeltsin abandoned all interests of USSR and Russia you decided to press the advantage and to take Russia of the board [permanently]. Is it so big surprise that we are angry about it?

Joseph Volgin, 5/7/2015 11:01 AM EDT

Alert! Attention, danger! Putin trolls get into American journalism:

"...Or, as a Fred Hiatt of the 1870s might have commented about Native Americans who resisted the well-intentioned Bureau of Indian Affairs and didn't appreciate the gentleness of the U.S. Army or the benevolence of life on the reservations: "Above Sitting Bull's self-serving hysterics, Indians ought to hear the truth: The white man did not come to exterminate you."

Baranovsly71, 5/7/2015 8:22 AM EDT

Thank you, but I lived in Russia in 90s and remember very well Americans who started to come at that time - arrogant money-grabbers the only thing they were interested in is how to make money - on everything, from oil to export of Russian children to US. They stole billions from Russians and continue to do so.

Please, Americans, don't help us - go away and take your democracy with you.

Bob Bobo, 5/7/2015 7:51 AM EDT

Russia help? Yes like that Khodorkovsky Yukos submitted on a silver platter Rothschild. It would Americans like it if they can plunder the Russian mineral resources. But when Putin to allow such a persona non grata.

Larysa Mahal, 5/7/2015 6:30 AM EDT

The best article for those who do not know history and events in Russia. I think a lot of people feel a tears of emotion when they read this article. Bravo!

When author quotes Putin's speech "they love us when we are impoverished, poor and when we come hat in hand." he has forgotten to say that after these words Putin thanked all those who helped to Russia in its difficult time. Author has forgotten to give example about free help "devoted billions of dollars". Nothing was free and Russia had to pay if not money then the disadvantages agreements or concessions. But oh well it. Talk about a paranoia. Author calls the leader of the biggest country "paranoid". But this man has stood up Russia from knees during 15 years only. Think about it 15 years only! Author calls "paranoid" the man who are supported by 75 % population in Russia. The man who was addressed Crimea, insisting on joining with Russia. Are all of these people paranoid like Putin?

Then you can say about President of Poland who sad that the Victory Parade in Moscow is a threaten to all Europe. What is it, paranoia in a cube? But author does not see that because for him to write articles is a work but to know truth is for domestic use only.

I want to ask everybody to see around and say how many prosperous, beautiful countries in Europe face before a threaten to be section, detached some parts like UK, Italy. But to Russia with her "paranoid" leader want and join huge territories with huge amount of people. Think about it. In last year one man standing in a long queue on the sea crossing from Crimea to Russia sad that they are willing to endure all the inconveniences because the main thing is they are with Russia. Think about it.

Lucky_Barker, 5/7/2015 5:45 AM EDT [Edited]

The United States supported the destruction and burning of the parliament in Moscow, the murder of civilians in 1993, the bombing of Grozny in 1994-1995-m, and the killing of civilians in Chechnya. All crimes Yeltsin was American influence and American advices.

It's very like the oficial America. Manu people call "Yeltsin era" as "Time of Americans" or "Time of Prostitutes".

Restoration of parliamentary democracy, Mr. Putin did not like top US.
Putin's war in Chechnya without massive bombing did not like owners of US newspapers and US parties.

The Chechens believe that the Americans supported Yeltsin genocide Chechen civilians in 1nd Chechen war and strongly resent and hate peace in Chechnya after the 2nd Chechen war.

Tsarnaev was prepared in US as a terrorist for Syria or Chechnya - but was shot too early.

We must always remember that Al Qaeda and الدّولة الإسلاميّة at an early stage was the US-Saudi projects.

Volkovolk, 5/7/2015 5:24 AM EDT [

What a hipocrisity.
Your "volunters" with their "proven tools" provoked desolation of russian economy and defolt. The results of their actions were nothing short of economical genocide. The so-called free press you build are just a puppets of yours, instruments of your influence and of your lies. Your advises in building of democracy led to anarchy and to the brink of collapse of Russia. Yes, you tried to bury us. Guess what? You failed. And we will never forgive you.

Danila Ivanov, 5/7/2015 5:19 AM EDT

But past wrongs do not matter... now Russia and the USA on the brink of war... the war is already at a distance of 600 kilometers from Moscow, the American puppets killed thousands of ethnic Russians.

Russia is a nuclear power, such action is suicide. We all have to prevent needless and stupid war... I ask you to help.

Danila Ivanov, 5/7/2015 4:56 AM EDT

4) Let the author will call the name of at least one program, which spent a billion dollars... which would have improved the lives of ordinary Russians. At least one program (I don't know, although he lived in Russia at that time). All American billion were used to purchase depreciating assets industry of the USSR ("privatization"), actually looting people.

5) "Thousands of activists and volunteers" were actually thousands of Yeltsin's advisers... it was on the advice of these advisers was launched economic programme "shock therapy" (economic Holocaust). When Federal employees and the military is not specifically paid a salary (although the money was) ... a few years (to reduce the money supply), the economy was dead, just do not have the money, the base rate of the Central Bank was 2000% (I'm not kidding)... people were hungry... you know what hunger is? I know... The country was falling apart, if not for Putin.
6) Free press this is the press... which is verbatim from CNN, BBC, Foxnews? What is its "freedom" of this media?

7) the Oligarchs, corrupt officials... and who brought them to power, who collaborated with them, who gave them money to purchase assets? American corporations...

P. S. I don't know why the author is lying, but I would never wish the Americans in the US... to experience the poverty and hopelessness... you have experienced the Russians in the 90-ies in Russia, when the US "gave us a hand"...

Danila Ivanov, 5/7/2015 4:26 AM EDT

I accuse the author of lying... and paid propaganda.
1) Russia is satisfied with the U.S. government only when it is weak. In 1993 Boris Yeltsin ordered to shoot from tanks to the Parliament (similar to the U.S. Congress) killed many people-elected deputies, and unarmed people in the square who came to support the deputies, they were killed at close range with machine guns. Hundreds of corpses.... NO ONE representative of the United States, has condemned the event. Nobody. Everything is fine, democracy!!!
The author of the article is lying. Putin is telling the truth.
2) Almost all non-governmental organizations of Russia officially get the money of US taxpayers. Their leaders defiantly go to the American Embassy. (in other 196 embassies of the countries of the world don't go)... and declare that their goal is "revolution and overthrow the President." Opposition leaders Russia (Navalny, Nemtsov, Kasparov, Chirikov, Ponomarev) was trained in the U.S. and regularly travel to the USA... (for example ... Imagine the leaders of "Occupy Wall Street" would have officially get money from the Russians, and walked to the Russian Embassy. Presented? ) The author is lying, Putin is not lying.
3) There is No "military adventure in Ukraine." Lies about "Russian aggression" hides that Ukraine is a civil war and the destruction and arrests of thousands of unarmed ethnic Russians (they inhabit the East of Ukraine)... who disagree with an armed overthrow of the President. Near the border of Russia (31 km) is a major Ukrainian city Kharkiv... it unguarded, why in Kharkov there are no "hordes of Russian troops or the rebels?... If Putin attacked the Ukraine and began a military adventure"?
The author lied again.

Owan Skirlan, 5/7/2015 3:20 AM EDT

Okay, dear Americans, thanks for fish and sort of that, but, really - Make Your Own Buisness! Somethere between US borders, not out

Brekotin, 5/7/2015 1:07 AM EDT

Very funny article. Washington PRAVDA!
to author: please check the graph of GDP in Russia and the United States 1985-2015.
Clearly shows how redistribute wealth of the USSR was reditributed.

P.S.: teach macroeconomics and history.

Andrey Belov, 5/7/2015 12:39 AM EDT

I by the way I wonder what is so wrong left Russia communism? Developed industry and agriculture, United state, connected in the common economic space, a powerful culture and the arts, advanced science, the successful solution of social problems. And against that you have spent billions to destroy all? Lord you Americans really believe that we should be grateful for assistance in the destruction of our country?

Skeviz, 5/6/2015 11:48 PM EDT

"After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. tried to help Russians"
- USA in 1990 had popularity 80%, but to 1999 (before Putin) USA had popularity 20% in Russia, is it because USA had tried help Russia? (De facto USA did all what was possible to create politician like Putin).
- USSR had dismissed Warsaw pact by free will (and USSR dismissed USSR by free will), USSR destroyed all what was linked to Cold War, did USA the same? Did USA dismissed NATO?
- USA used Russia's weakness and increased NATO (now hypocrite Americans say that it was done by will of those countries, interesting enough do they really believe in the BS? USSR could also said that E. Europe's countries became ally of USSR because they was afraid Germany).
- USA used Russia's weakness and attacked Serbia the Russia's ally (hypocrite Americans said that there was ethnic cleansing, BUT USA killed more men there than Milosevic did, moreover after war created by USA there was new ethnic cleansing and Albanians killed Serbians, why hypocrite Americans closed eyes about it?). In day when USA began war against Kosovo they loss all support that had between youth.
- USA payed Chechnya terrorists and USA do great media support to Chechnya terrorists (after 11 September 2001 it was ceased but to the time was killed many Russia's humans including children, now hypocrite Americans prefer do not remember which media support they did for creation Islamic State on Russia's south border, it was prototype of ISIL).
- USA used Russia's weakness and dismissed all agreements that interfere create anti-missile system.
- USA destroyed Russia's democracy when supported falsification of election 1996 in Russia, because USA was afraid communists in Russia, and preferred support Yeltsin. USA violated election and supported Yeltsin, who had destroying Russia.
- USA paid for many color revolutions on Russia's borders.

Skeviz, 5/6/2015 11:59 PM EDT

I could continue the list very long, but I have not time now.
So all USA's sayings about "trying to help Russia" is hypocrite lie from alpha to omega. All what wanted USA destroy country that they had afraid half century. USA didn't use Russians free will and trying end Cold War, USA continued it and I can suppose it will be great problem for USA in future. Certainly Russia is weak country now, but Russia can give very significant help to China, especially in military question (if China will be need use power, but do not show that they use power).

Irene Guy, 5/6/2015 9:34 PM EDT

"For fifty years, our policy was to fence in the Soviet Union while its own internal contradictions undermined it. For thirty years, our policy has been to draw out the People's Republic of China. As a result, the China of today is simply not the Soviet Union of the late 1940s"
Robert B. Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
Remarks to National Committee on U.S.-China Relations
New York City
September 21, 2005"
Enough said...

[May 10, 2015] The New York Times does its government's bidding Here's what you're not being told about U.S. troops in Ukraine

May 07, 2015 |
As of mid-April, when a Pentagon flack announced it in Kiev, and as barely reported in American media, U.S. troops are now operating openly in Ukraine.

Now there is a lead I have long dreaded writing but suspected from the first that one day I would. Do not take a moment to think about this. Take many moments. We all need to. We find ourselves in grave circumstances this spring.

At first I thought I had written what newspaper people call a double-barreled lead: American soldiers in Ukraine, American media not saying much about it. Two facts.

Wrong. There is one fact now, and it is this: Americans are being led blindfolded very near the brink of war with Russia.

One cannot predict there will be one. And, of course, right-thinking people hope things will never come to one. In March, President Obama dismissed any such idea as if to suggest it was silly. "They're not interested in a military confrontation with us," Obama said of the Russians—wisely. Then he added, unwisely: "We don't need a war."

Don't need a war to get what done, Mr. President? This is our question. Then this one: Washington is going to stop at exactly what as it manipulates its latest set of puppets in disadvantaged countries, this time pretending there is absolutely nothing thoughtless or miscalculated about doing so on Russia's historically sensitive western border?

The pose of American innocence, tatty and tiresome in the best of times, is getting dangerous once again.

The source of worry now is that we do not have an answer to the second question. The project is plain: Advance NATO the rest of the way through Eastern Europe, probably with the intent of eventually destabilizing Moscow. The stooges now installed in Kiev are getting everything ready for the corporations eager to exploit Ukrainian resources and labor.

And our policy cliques are willing to go all the way to war for this? As of mid-April, when the 173rd Airborne Brigade started arriving in Ukraine, it looks as if we are on notice in this respect.

In the past there were a few vague mentions of an American military presence in Ukraine that was to be in place by this spring, if I recall correctly. These would have been last autumn. By then, there were also reports, unconfirmed, that some troops and a lot of spooks were already there as advisers but not acknowledged.

Then in mid-March President Poroshenko introduced a bill authorizing—as required by law—foreign troops to operate on Ukrainian soil. There was revealing detail, according to Russia Insider, a free-standing website in Moscow founded and run by Charles Bausman, an American with an uncanny ability to gather and publish pertinent information.

"According to the draft law, Ukraine plans three Ukrainian-American command post exercises, Fearless Guardian 2015, Sea Breeze 2015 and Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015," the publication reported, "and two Ukrainian-Polish exercises, Secure Skies 2015, and Law and Order 2015, for this year."

This is a lot of dry-run maneuvering, if you ask me. Poroshenko's law allows for up to 1,000 American troops to participate in each of these exercises, alongside an equal number of Ukrainian "National Guardsmen," and we will insist on the quotation marks when referring to this gruesome lot, about whom more in a minute.

Take a deep breath and consider that 1,000 American folks, as Obama will surely get around to calling them, are conducting military drills with troops drawn partly from Nazi and crypto-Nazi paramilitary groups…. Sorry, I cannot add anything more to this paragraph. Speechless.

It was a month to the day after Poroshenko's bill went to parliament that the Pentagon spokesman in Kiev announced—to a room empty of American correspondents, we are to assume—that troops from the 173rd Airborne were just then arriving to train none other than "National Guardsmen." This training includes "classes in war-fighting functions," as the operations officer, Maj. Jose Mendez, blandly put it at the time.

The spokesman's number was "about 300," and I never like "about" when these people are describing deployments. This is how it always begins, we will all recall. The American presence in Vietnam began with a handful of advisers who arrived in September 1950. (Remember MAAG, the Military Assistance Advisory Group?)

Part of me still thinks war with Russia seems a far-fetched proposition. But here's the thing: It is even more far-fetched to deny the gravity of this moment for all its horrific, playing-with-fire potential.

I am getting on to apoplectic as to the American media's abject irresponsibility in not covering this stuff adequately. To leave these events unreported is outright lying by omission. Nobody's news judgment can be so bad as to argue this is not a story.

Last December, John Pilger, the noted Australian journalist now in London, said in a speech that the Ukraine crisis had become the most extreme news blackout he had seen his entire career. I agree and now need no more proof as to whether it is a matter of intent or ineptitude. (Now that I think of it, it is both in many cases.)

To cross the "i"s and dot the "t"s, as I prefer to do, the Times did make two mentions of the American troops. One was the day of the announcement, a brief piece on an inside page, datelined Washington. Here we get our code word for this caper: It will be "modest" in every mention.

The second was in an April 23 story by Michael Gordon, the State Department correspondent. The head was, "Putin Bolsters His Forces Near Ukraine, U.S. Says." Read the… thing here.

The story line is a doozy: Putin—not "the Russians" or "Moscow," of course—is again behaving aggressively by amassing troops—how many, exactly where and how we know is never explained—along his border with Ukraine. Inside his border, that is. This is the story. This is what we mean by aggression these days.

In the sixth paragraph we get this: "Last week, Russia charged that a modest program to train Ukraine's national guard that 300 American troops are carrying out in western Ukraine could 'destabilize the situation.'"

Apoplectically speaking: Goddamn it, there is nothing modest about U.S. troops operating on Ukrainian soil, and it is self-evidently destabilizing. It is an obvious provocation, a point the policy cliques in Washington cannot have missed.

At this point, I do not see how anyone can stand against the argument—mine for some time—that Putin has shown exemplary restraint in this crisis. In a reversal of roles and hemispheres, Washington would have a lot more than air defense systems and troops of whatever number on the border in question.

The Times coverage of Ukraine, to continue briefly in this line, starts to remind me of something I.F. Stone once said about the Washington Post: The fun of reading it, the honored man observed, is that you never know where you'll find a page one story.

In the Times' case, you never know if you will find it at all.

Have you read much about the wave of political assassinations that erupted in Kiev in mid-April? Worry not. No one else has either—not in American media. Not a word in the Times.

The number my sources give me, and I cannot confirm it, is a dozen so far—12 to 13 to be precise. On the record, we have 10 who can be named and identified as political allies of Viktor Yanukovych, the president ousted last year, opponents of a drastic rupture in Ukraine's historic relations to Russia, people who favored marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of the Nazis—death-deserving idea, this—and critics of the new regime's corruptions and dependence on violent far-right extremists.

These were all highly visible politicians, parliamentarians and journalists. They have been murdered by small groups of these extremists, according to reports readily available in non-American media. In my read, the killers may have the same semi-official ties to government that the paramilitary death squads in 1970s Argentina—famously recognizable in their Ford Falcons—had with Videla and the colonels.

The Poroshenko government contrives to assign Russia the blame, but one can safely ignore this. Extreme right members of parliament have been more to the point. After a prominent editor named Oles Buzyna was fatally shot outside his home several weeks ago, a lawmaker named Boris Filatov told colleagues, "One more piece of shit has been eliminated." From another named Irina Farion, this: Death will neutralize the dirt this shit has spilled. Such people go to history's sewers."

Kindly place, Kiev's parliament under this new crowd. Washington must be proud, having backed yet another right-wing, anti-democratic, rights-trampling regime that does what it says.

And our media must be silent, of course. It can be no other way. Gutless hacks: You bet I am angry.

* * *

I end this week's column with a tribute.

A moment of observance, any kind, for William Pfaff, who died at 86 in Paris late last week. The appreciative obituary by the Times' Marlise Simons is here.

Pfaff was the most sophisticated foreign affairs commentator of the 20th century's second half and the first 15 years of this one. He was a great influence among colleagues (myself included) and put countless readers in a lot of places in the picture over many decades. He was a vigorous opponent of American adventurism abroad, consistent and reasoned even as resistance to both grew in his later years. By the time he was finished he was published and read far more outside America than in it.

Pfaff was a conservative man in some respects, which is not uncommon among America's American critics. In this I put him in the file with Henry Steele Commager, C. Vann Woodward, William Appleman Williams, and among those writing now, Andrew Bacevich. He was not a scholar, as these writers were or are, supporting a point I have long made: Not all intellectuals are scholars, and not all scholars are intellectuals.

Pfaff's books will live on and I commend them: "Barbarian Sentiments," "The Wrath of Nations," "The Bullet's Song," and his last, "The Irony of Manifest Destiny," are the ones on my shelf.

Farewell from a friend, Bill.

Patrick Smith is the author of "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century." He was the International Herald Tribune's bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote "Letter from Tokyo" for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist. More Patrick L. Smith.

[May 10, 2015]Obama's Petulant WWII Snub of Russia

May 09, 2015 |
President Barack Obama's decision to join other Western leaders in snubbing Russia's weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe looks more like pouting than statesmanship, especially in the context of the U.S. mainstream media's recent anti-historical effort to downplay Russia's crucial role in defeating Nazism.

Though designed to isolate Russia because it had the audacity to object to the Western-engineered coup d'état in Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014, this snub of Russia's President Vladimir Putin – like the economic sanctions against Russia – is likely to backfire on the U.S. and its European allies by strengthening ties between Russia and the emerging Asian giants of China and India.

Notably, the dignitaries who will show up at this important commemoration include the presidents of China and India, representing a huge chunk of humanity, who came to show respect for the time seven decades ago when the inhumanity of the Nazi regime was defeated – largely by Russia's stanching the advance of Hitler's armies, at a cost of 20 to 30 million lives.

Obama's boycott is part of a crass attempt to belittle Russia and to cram history itself into an anti-Putin, anti-Russian alternative narrative. It is difficult to see how Obama and his friends could have come up with a pettier and more gratuitous insult to the Russian people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel – caught between Washington's demand to "isolate" Russia over the Ukraine crisis and her country's historic guilt in the slaughter of so many Russians – plans to show up a day late to place a wreath at a memorial for the war dead.

But Obama, in his childish display of temper, will look rather small to those who know the history of the Allied victory in World War II. If it were not for the Red Army's costly victories against the German invaders, particularly the tide-turning battle at Stalingrad in 1943-1944, the prospects for the later D-Day victory in Normandy in June 1944 and the subsequent defeat of Adolf Hitler would have been much more difficult if not impossible.

Yet, the current Russia-bashing in Washington and the mainstream U.S. media overrides these historical truths. For instance, a New York Times article by Neil MacFarquhar on Friday begins: "The Russian version of Hitler's defeat emphasizes the enormous, unrivaled sacrifices made by the Soviet people to end World War II …" But that's not the "Russian version"; that's the history.

For its part, the Washington Post chose to run an Associated Press story out of Moscow reporting: "A state-of-the-art Russian tank … on Thursday ground to a halt during the final Victory Day rehearsal. … After an attempt to tow it failed, the T-14 rolled away under its own steam 15 minutes later." (Subtext: Ha, ha! Russia's newest tank gets stuck on Red Square! Ha, ha!).

This juvenile approach to pretty much everything that's important — not just U.S.-Russia relations — has now become the rule. From the U.S. government to the major U.S. media, it's as if the "cool kids" line up in matching fashions creating a gauntlet to demean and ridicule whoever the outcast of the day is. And anyone who doesn't go along becomes an additional target of abuse.

That has been the storyline for the Ukraine crisis throughout 2014 and into 2015. Everyone must agree that Putin provoked all the trouble as part of some Hitler-like ambition to conquer much of eastern Europe and rebuild a Russian empire. If you don't make the obligatory denunciations of "Russian aggression," you are called a "Putin apologist" or "Putin bootlicker."

Distorting the History

So, the evidence-based history of the Western-sponsored coup in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, must be forgotten or covered up. Indeed, about a year after the events, the New York Times published a major "investigative" article that ignored all the facts of a U.S.-backed coup in declaring there was no coup.

The Times didn't even mention the notorious, intercepted phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in early February 2014 in which Nuland was handpicking the future leaders, including her remark "Yats is the guy," a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who – after the coup – quickly became prime minister. [See's "NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine."]

Even George Friedman, the president of the Washington-Establishment-friendly think-tank STRATFOR, has said publicly in late 2014: "Russia calls the events that took place at the beginning of this year a coup d'état organized by the United States. And it truly was the most blatant coup in history."

Beyond simply ignoring facts, the U.S. mainstream media has juggled the time line to make Putin's reaction to the coup – and the threat it posed to the Russian naval base in Crimea – appear to be, instead, evidence of his instigation of the already unfolding conflict.

For example, in a "we-told-you-so" headline on March 9, the Washington Post declared: "Putin had early plan to annex Crimea." Then, quoting AP, the Post reported that Putin himself had just disclosed "a secret meeting with officials in February 2014 … Putin said that after the meeting he told the security chiefs that they would be 'obliged to start working to return Crimea to Russia.' He said the meeting was held Feb. 23, 2014, almost a month before a referendum in Crimea that Moscow has said was the basis for annexing the region."

So there! Gotcha! Russian aggression! But what the Post neglected to remind readers was that the U.S.-backed coup had occurred on Feb. 22 and that Putin has consistently said that a key factor in his actions toward Crimea came from Russian fears that NATO would claim the historic naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, representing a strategic threat to his country.

Putin also knew from opinion polls that most of the people of Crimea favored reunification with Russia, a reality that was underscored by the March referendum in which some 96 percent voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

But there was not one scintilla of reliable evidence that Putin intended to annex Crimea before he felt his hand forced by the putsch in Kiev. The political reality was that no Russian leader could afford to take the risk that Russia's only warm-water naval base might switch to new NATO management. If top U.S. officials did not realize that when they were pushing the coup in early 2014, they know little about Russian strategic concerns – or simply didn't care.

Last fall, John Mearsheimer, a pre-eminent political science professor at the University of Chicago, stunned those who had been misled by the anti-Russian propaganda when he placed an article in the Very-Establishment journal Foreign Affairs entitled "Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West's Fault."

You did not know that such an article was published? Chalk that up to the fact that the mainstream media pretty much ignored it. Mearsheimer said this was the first time he encountered such widespread media silence on an article of such importance.

The Sole Indispensable Country

Much of this American tendency to disdain other nations' concerns, fears and points of pride go back to the Washington Establishment's dogma that special rules or (perhaps more accurately) no rules govern U.S. behavior abroad – American exceptionalism. This arrogant concept, which puts the United States above all other nations like some Olympic god looking down on mere mortals, is often invoked by Obama and other leading U.S. politicians.

That off-putting point has not been missed by Putin even as he has sought to cooperate with Obama and the United States. On Sept. 11, 2013, a week after Putin bailed Obama out, enabling him to avoid a new war on Syria by persuading Syria to surrender its chemical weapons, Putin wrote in an op-ed published by the New York Times that he appreciated the fact that "My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust."

Putin added, though, "I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism," adding: "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. … We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."

More recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov drove home this point in the context of World War II. This week, addressing a meeting to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe, Lavrov included a pointed warning: "Today as never before it is important not to forget the lessons of that catastrophe and the terrible consequences that spring from faith in one's own exceptionalism."

The irony is that as the cameras pan the various world leaders in the Red Square reviewing stand on Saturday, Obama's absence will send a message that the United States has little appreciation for the sacrifice of the Russian people in bearing the brunt – and breaking the back – of Hitler's conquering armies. It is as if Obama is saying that the "exceptional" United States didn't need anyone's help to win World War II.

President Franklin Roosevelt was much wiser, understanding that it took extraordinary teamwork to defeat Nazism in the 1940s, which is why he considered the Soviet Union a most important military ally. President Obama is sending a very different message, a haughty disdain for the kind of global cooperation which succeeded in ridding the world of Adolf Hitler.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA's main directorates.

[May 10, 2015] Neocon 'Chaos Promotion' in the Mideast

April 15, 2015 |
Former Washington insider and four-star General Wesley Clark spilled the beans several years ago on how Paul Wolfowitz and his neoconservative co-conspirators implemented their sweeping plan to destabilize key Middle Eastern countries once it became clear that post-Soviet Russia "won't stop us."

As I recently reviewed a YouTube eight-minute clip of General Clark's October 2007 speech, what leaped out at me was that the neocons had been enabled by their assessment that – after the collapse of the Soviet Union – Russia had become neutralized and posed no deterrent to U.S. military action in the Middle East.

While Clark's public exposé largely escaped attention in the neocon-friendly "mainstream media" (surprise, surprise!), he recounted being told by a senior general at the Pentagon shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 about the Donald Rumsfeld/Paul Wolfowitz-led plan for "regime change" in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

This was startling enough, I grant you, since officially the United States presents itself as a nation that respects international law, frowns upon other powerful nations overthrowing the governments of weaker states, and – in the aftermath of World War II – condemned past aggressions by Nazi Germany and decried Soviet "subversion" of pro-U.S. nations.

But what caught my eye this time was the significance of Clark's depiction of Wolfowitz in 1992 gloating over what he judged to be a major lesson learned from the Desert Storm attack on Iraq in 1991; namely, "the Soviets won't stop us."

That remark directly addresses a question that has troubled me since March 2003 when George W. Bush attacked Iraq. Would the neocons – widely known as "the crazies" at least among the remaining sane people of Washington – have been crazy enough to opt for war to re-arrange the Middle East if the Soviet Union had not fallen apart in 1991?

The question is not an idle one. Despite the debacle in Iraq and elsewhere, the neocon "crazies" still exercise huge influence in Establishment Washington. Thus, the question now becomes whether, with Russia far more stable and much stronger, the "crazies" are prepared to risk military escalation with Russia over Ukraine, what retired U.S. diplomat William R. Polk deemed a potentially dangerous nuclear confrontation, a "Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse."

Putin's Comment

The geopolitical vacuum that enabled the neocons to try out their "regime change" scheme in the Middle East may have been what Russian President Vladimir Putin was referring to in his state-of-the-nation address on April 25, 2005, when he called the collapse of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [past] century." Putin's comment has been a favorite meme of those who seek to demonize Putin by portraying him as lusting to re-establish a powerful USSR through aggression in Europe.

But, commenting two years after the Iraq invasion, Putin seemed correct at least in how the neocons exploited the absence of the Russian counterweight to over-extend American power in ways that were harmful to the world, devastating to the people at the receiving end of the neocon interventions, and even detrimental to the United States.

If one takes a step back and attempts an unbiased look at the spread of violence in the Middle East over the past quarter-century, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Putin's comment was on the mark. With Russia a much-weakened military power in the 1990s and early 2000s, there was nothing to deter U.S. policymakers from the kind of adventurism at Russia's soft underbelly that, in earlier years, would have carried considerable risk of armed U.S.-USSR confrontation.

I lived in the USSR during the 1970s and would not wish that kind of restrictive regime on anyone. Until it fell apart, though, it was militarily strong enough to deter Wolfowitz-style adventurism. And I will say that – for the millions of people now dead, injured or displaced by U.S. military action in the Middle East over the past dozen years – the collapse of the Soviet Union as a deterrent to U.S. war-making was not only a "geopolitical catastrophe" but an unmitigated disaster.

Visiting Wolfowitz

In his 2007 speech, General Clark related how in early 1991 he dropped in on Paul Wolfowitz, then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (and later, from 2001 to 2005, Deputy Secretary of Defense). It was just after a major Shia uprising in Iraq in March 1991. President George H.W. Bush's administration had provoked it, but then did nothing to rescue the Shia from brutal retaliation by Saddam Hussein, who had just survived his Persian Gulf defeat.

According to Clark, Wolfowitz said: "We should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein. The truth is, one thing we did learn is that we can use our military in the Middle East and the Soviets won't stop us. We've got about five or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran (sic), Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us."

It's now been more than 10 years, of course. But do not be deceived into thinking Wolfowitz and his neocon colleagues believe they have failed in any major way. The unrest they initiated keeps mounting – in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Lebanon – not to mention fresh violence now in full swing in Yemen and the crisis in Ukraine. Yet, the Teflon coating painted on the neocons continues to cover and protect them in the "mainstream media."

True, one neocon disappointment is Iran. It is more stable and less isolated than before; it is playing a sophisticated role in Iraq; and it is on the verge of concluding a major nuclear agreement with the West – barring the throwing of a neocon/Israeli monkey wrench into the works to thwart it, as has been done in the past.

An earlier setback for the neocons came at the end of August 2013 when President Barack Obama decided not to let himself be mouse-trapped by the neocons into ordering U.S. forces to attack Syria. Wolfowitz et al. were on the threshold of having the U.S. formally join the war against Bashar al-Assad's government of Syria when there was the proverbial slip between cup and lip. With the aid of the neocons' new devil-incarnate Vladimir Putin, Obama faced them down and avoided war.

A week after it became clear that the neocons were not going to get their war in Syria, I found myself at the main CNN studio in Washington together with Paul Wolfowitz and former Sen. Joe Lieberman, another important neocon. As I reported in "How War on Syria Lost Its Way," the scene was surreal – funereal, even, with both Wolfowitz and Lieberman very much down-in-the-mouth, behaving as though they had just watched their favorite team lose the Super Bowl.

Israeli/Neocon Preferences

But the neocons are nothing if not resilient. Despite their grotesque disasters, like the Iraq War, and their disappointments, like not getting their war on Syria, they neither learn lessons nor change goals. They just readjust their aim, shooting now at Putin over Ukraine as a way to clear the path again for "regime change" in Syria and Iran. [See's "Why Neocons Seek to Destabilize Russia."]

The neocons also can take some solace from their "success" at enflaming the Middle East with Shia and Sunni now at each other's throats – a bad thing for many people of the world and certainly for the many innocent victims in the region, but not so bad for the neocons. After all, it is the view of Israeli leaders and their neocon bedfellows (and women) that the internecine wars among Muslims provide at least some short-term advantages for Israel as it consolidates control over the Palestinian West Bank.

In a Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity memorandum for President Obama on Sept. 6, 2013, we called attention to an uncommonly candid report about Israeli/neocon motivation, written by none other than the Israel-friendly New York Times Bureau Chief in Jerusalem Jodi Rudoren on Sept. 2, 2013, just two days after Obama took advantage of Putin's success in persuading the Syrians to allow their chemical weapons to be destroyed and called off the planned attack on Syria, causing consternation among neocons in Washington.

Rudoren can perhaps be excused for her naïve lack of "political correctness." She had been barely a year on the job, had very little prior experience with reporting on the Middle East, and – in the excitement about the almost-attack on Syria – she apparently forgot the strictures normally imposed on the Times' reporting from Jerusalem. In any case, Israel's priorities became crystal clear in what Rudoren wrote.

In her article, entitled "Israel Backs Limited Strike Against Syria," Rudoren noted that the Israelis were arguing, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria's (then) 2 ½-year-old civil war, at least for the moment, was no outcome:

"For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad's government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

"'This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don't want one to win — we'll settle for a tie,' said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. 'Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that's the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there's no real threat from Syria.'"

Clear enough? If this is the way Israel's leaders continue to regard the situation in Syria, then they look on deeper U.S. involvement – overt or covert – as likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict there. The longer Sunni and Shia are killing each other, not only in Syria but also across the region as a whole, the safer Tel Aviv's leaders calculate Israel is.

Favoring Jihadis

But Israeli leaders have also made clear that if one side must win, they would prefer the Sunni side, despite its bloody extremists from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. In September 2013, shortly after Rudoren's article, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

"The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc," Oren said in an interview. "We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren't backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran." He said this was the case even if the "bad guys" were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

In June 2014, Oren – then speaking as a former ambassador – said Israel would even prefer a victory by the Islamic State, which was massacring captured Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. "From Israel's perspective, if there's got to be an evil that's got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail," Oren said.

Netanyahu sounded a similar theme in his March 3, 2015 speech to the U.S. Congress in which he trivialized the threat from the Islamic State with its "butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube" when compared to Iran, which he accused of "gobbling up the nations" of the Middle East.

That Syria's main ally is Iran with which it has a mutual defense treaty plays a role in Israeli calculations. Accordingly, while some Western leaders would like to achieve a realistic if imperfect settlement of the Syrian civil war, others who enjoy considerable influence in Washington would just as soon see the Assad government and the entire region bleed out.

As cynical and cruel as this strategy is, it isn't all that hard to understand. Yet, it seems to be one of those complicated, politically charged situations well above the pay-grade of the sophomores advising President Obama – who, sad to say, are no match for the neocons in the Washington Establishment. Not to mention the Netanyahu-mesmerized Congress.

Corker Uncorked

Speaking of Congress, a year after Rudoren's report, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, who now chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, divulged some details about the military attack that had been planned against Syria, while lamenting that it was canceled.

In doing so, Corker called Obama's abrupt change on Aug. 31, 2013, in opting for negotiations over open war on Syria, "the worst moment in U.S. foreign policy since I've been here." Following the neocon script, Corker blasted the deal (since fully implemented) with Putin and the Syrians to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

Corker complained, "In essence – I'm sorry to be slightly rhetorical – we jumped into Putin's lap." A big No-No, of course – especially in Congress – to "jump into Putin's lap" even though Obama was able to achieve the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons without the United States jumping into another Middle East war.

It would have been nice, of course, if General Clark had thought to share his inside-Pentagon information earlier with the rest of us. In no way should he be seen as a whistleblower.

At the time of his September 2007 speech, he was deep into his quixotic attempt to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. In other words, Clark broke the omerta code of silence observed by virtually all U.S. generals, even post-retirement, merely to put some distance between himself and the debacle in Iraq – and win some favor among anti-war Democrats. It didn't work, so he endorsed Hillary Clinton; that didn't work, so he endorsed Barack Obama.

Wolfowitz, typically, has landed on his feet. He is now presidential hopeful Jeb Bush's foreign policy/defense adviser, no doubt outlining his preferred approach to the Middle East chessboard to his new boss. Does anyone know the plural of "bedlam?"

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA's main directorates.

Reprinted with permission from Consortium News.

[May 08, 2015] Obama's Real Motive Behind The Iran Deal A Backdoor Channel To Sell Weapons To Saudi Arabia

May 06, 2015 | Zero Hedge
For a long time there was confusion about the "quo" to the Saudi Arabian "quid" over its agreement to side with the US on the Iranian "nuclear deal" (which incidentally looks like it will never happen simply due to the Russian and Chinese UN vetoes).

Then over the weekend we finally got the answer thanks to the the WSJ, which reported that "Gulf States want U.S. assurances and weapons in exchange for supporting Iran nuclear deal."

The details are quite familiar to anyone who has seen the US Military-Industrial Complex in action: the US pretends to wage an aggressive diplomatic campaign of peace while behind the scenes it is just as actively selling weapons of war.

Leading Persian Gulf states want major new weapons systems and security guarantees from the White House in exchange for backing a nuclear agreement with Iran, according to U.S. and Arab officials.

The leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, plan to use a high-stakes meeting with President Barack Obama next week to request additional fighter jets, missile batteries and surveillance equipment.

They also intend to pressure Mr. Obama for new defense agreements between the U.S. and the Gulf nations that would outline terms and scenarios under which Washington would intervene if they are threatened by Iran, according to these officials.

The Persian Gulf countries say they need more drones, surveillance equipment and missile-defense systems to combat an Iranian regime they see as committed to becoming the region's dominant power. The Gulf states also want upgraded fighter jets to contain the Iranian challenge, particularly the advanced F-35, known as the Joint Strike Fighter.

A senior U.S. official played down chances that the administration would agree to sell advanced systems such as the F-35 fighter to those nations—though the planes will be sold to Israel and Turkey—because of concerns within the administration about altering the military balance in the Middle East.v

There is much more but a question already emerges: why does the "Gulf Cooperation Council" need so many ultramodern weapons to "defend" against an Iran which is supposedly halting its nuclear program and is in the process of showing its allegiance to the west by endorsing a peace process.

Unless it was all merely a ruse to arm the Middle East from the very beginning?

And now the "end" is near because when it comes to matters of revenue and profitability for the US Military-Industrial complex, seek and ye shall find. According to Reuters, "Obama is expected to make a renewed U.S. push next week to help Gulf allies create a region-wide defense system to guard against Iranian missiles as he seeks to allay their anxieties over any nuclear deal with Tehran, according to U.S. sources."

The offer could be accompanied by enhanced security commitments, new arms sales and more joint military exercises, U.S. officials say, as Obama tries to reassure Gulf Arab countries that Washington is not abandoning them.

Not only is Obama not abandoning "them", but the entire Iran "negotiations" farce increasingly appears to have been produced from the very beginning to give the US a diplomatic loophole with which to arm the biggest oil exporter in the world. Sure enough:

Gulf Arab neighbors, including key U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, worry that Iran will not be deterred from a nuclear bomb and will be flush with cash from unfrozen assets to fund proxies and expand its influence in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

U.S. officials with knowledge of the internal discussions concede that Obama is under pressure to calm Arab fears by offering strengthened commitments. "It's a time to see what things might be required to be formalized," a senior U.S. official said.

All of this should come as a surprise to precisely nobody as the US takes advantage of its waning years as a global hegemon, and seeks to sell US weapons far and wide to the benefit of a select few Raytheon, General Dynamics and Lockheed shareholders.

And yet something peculiar emerges: in the Reuters piece we read that "Obama is all but certain to stop short of a full security treaty with Saudi Arabia or other Gulf nations as that would require approval by the Republican-controlled Senate and risk stoking tensions with Washington's main Middle East ally Israel."

Which brings up another interesting regional player: Israel. Because while we now know the real reason for Saudi's complicity in the Iran "nuclear deal", a key middle east player is none other than Israel, which under Netanyahu's control has puffed and huffed against the Iran deal, and yet has done nothing. Why? Here Bloomberg provides some very critical perspective which introduces yet another major player in the global military exports arena.


Bloomberg has the details:

Last month, when President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced plans to sell a powerful anti-missile system to Iran before the lifting of international sanctions, Israel was quick to join the U.S. in expressing shock and anger.

But behind the public announcements is a little-known web of arms negotiations and secret diplomacy. In recent years, Israel and Russia have engaged in a complex dance, with Israel selling drones to Russia while remaining conspicuously neutral toward Ukraine and hoping to stave off Iranian military development. The dance may not be over.


One of those issues is Israel's neutrality toward Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have waged war over the past year. Israel has held back from selling weapons to the government in Kiev, which is backed by the U.S. and European Union, in the hope of keeping Russia's S-300s away from Iran.... "Israel has come under a lot of pressure for not joining the all-Western consensus on the Ukrainian crisis," said Sarah Feinberg, a research fellow at Tel Aviv's Institute for National Security Studies. "It was a difficult decision for the Israeli government, which was concerned about possible Russian retaliatory moves in the Mideast - such as selling the S-300 to Iran."

The issue at hand is the delivery of Israeli drones: whether to Ukraine, where such a deal was recently scuttled following internal dissent by opposition within the Israel government, or to Russia, which already has received Israel UAVs.

Russia expressed interest in buying Israeli drones after coming up against them during the 2008 war with Georgia. In 2010 Russia concluded a deal to purchase 15 of them from IAI, and to set up a joint venture to produce drone technology.

An Israeli familiar with the matter said the drone deal with Russia carried an unwritten quid pro quo: It would proceed only if the Kremlin suspended its announced S-300 sale to Iran. Now having gotten the Israeli technology, the Israeli said, that promise is no longer a factor in Russian considerations.

In other words, now that Israel - which is the world's largest exporter of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - no longer has leverage over Russian military needs as Moscow has long ago reverse-engineered the Israeli technology, Israel may have no choice but to provoke Russia in the middle east.

"Sending drones or other arms to Ukraine would be an ineffective, even inconsequential Israeli response to Russia selling the S-300s to Iran," said Feinberg. More effective, she said, would be for Israel to lift its political neutrality on the Ukrainian conflict, or take actions in the Middle East against Russian regional allies such as the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

For now however, Israel's full on engagement in Syria (or Iran) appears to have been prevented: "On April 23 Russia did appear to backtrack somewhat on its earlier announcement of the S-300 sale to Iran, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov telling the Interfax news agency that delivery won't occur soon, and would only happen after political and legal issues were resolved. In his April 16 call-in show on Russian television, Putin acknowledged that Israeli objections had scuttled a potential S-300 sale to another Mideast nation, reportedly Syria."

To attempt a summary: under the pretext of Iran negotiations for peace, the US is preparing to quietly arm virtually all Gulf states with the latest US military technology, even as Israel has given Russia some of its latest drone technology which means Russia may at any moment proceed to arm Iran and Syria with modern Surface to Air missiles, while Israel is contemplaring retaliation not only against Iran but Syria as well: the country which nearly led to a global proxy war in the mdidle east in the summer of 2013.

In other words, we have, for the past few years, been on the edge of a razor thin Middle Eastern balance of power equilibrium which prevented any one nation or alliance from garnering an outsized influence of military power.

All of that is about to change the moment the MIC figurehead known as president Obama greenlights the dispatch of billions of dollars in fighters, drones, missile batteries, and surveillance equipment to Saudi Arabia and its peers, in the process dramatically reshaping the balance of power status quo and almost certainly leading to yet another middle eastern war which will inevitably drag in not only Israel and Russia at least in a proxy capacity, but ultimately, the US as well.

Just as the US military industrial complex wanted.

Because as every Keynesian fanatic will tell you: in a world saturated by debt, and where organic growth is no longer possible, there is only one remaining option.


* * *

And just to assure the required outcome, moments ago John Kerry arrived in Riyadh to conclude the deal.

Kerry arrives in Riyadh #Saudi Arabia.

— Conflict News (@rConflictNews) May 6, 2015

Pool Shark

Why do they need a 'backdoor,' when they've been selling arms to the Saudis through the front door since time began?...


Barry insists there be a backdoor, for uh, personal reasons.


Reggie Love: Did I hear "Backdoor Channel"? ;-)


the real question is how does Israel view it. Netanyahu has not endorsed any of this. I would guess Israel has no friend in Obama and his controllers, and will soon take action of their own.

What possible gain is it for Israel to have the fucking tyrant insane neighbors get all armed up? hello war.

Oh regional Indian

This is very good insight.


By the way, India is totally thumbing it's nose at the US led non-coalition of the unwilling in continuing to deal with Iran for all manner of goods and services. Big barter deals, gold payments via Turkey for oil...

So there is that going on in Iran's Eastern flank. Iran, by the way, was rumored to have a "Perfect Plate" from the US mint via Henry Kissinger (or some spook) and during Shah of Iran time were the world's largest counterfeiters of the USD, only thing, they had a perfect Plate. Obviously CIA controlled.

All that money, EuroDollars, money, drug dollars (Iran is a major heroine transit point).

Nothing is as it seems...

Sequence 15 for discerning ears ;-)


Simply idiotic war propaganda


Reagan just called from the grave. He wants his Iran Contra back.


PetroDollar = Defending Saudi Arabia with US military.

PetroDollar now collpasing thanks to Russia, China, Iran which forces Saudi Arabia to spend their USD's with the MIC to defend themselves.

Endgame for the PetroDollar system.

Mike Masr

The backdoor, wasn't this the aircraft used to covertly bring all the Saudi's back home on 911 when all the other aircraft were grounded?


Anyone with a brain could guess the Iran deal was always a scam of some sort. Why? Well, because everything is a scam from these people and there is no peace, ever, not the goal. It amazes me the rest of the world even engages with the Zionist shitshow called the USA.


President Peace Prize needs MOAR war in the Middle East before he "leaves" office. He is at proxy war (for now) with Russia. That was quite a feat so:

Why not take on Iran while he is at it. Two birds with one big stone and all that.

Bill of Rights

Hmm is this like the Clinton China for Arms deal...Face it folks all US Politicians are scum of the earth, sum are just more scummy than the others.

Kaiser Sousa

Cooperation between Russia and China is necessary to maintain the balance of power in the world, China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheng Guoping said Monday.

The high-ranking Chinese diplomat said that Russian-Chinese relations had reached a new level of development and the forthcoming visit of Xi Jinping to Moscow would facilitate further cooperation between Beijing and Moscow. The Chinese president will pay a three-day visit to Moscow on May 8-10, attending the Victory Day Parade on May 9 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Cooperation and coordination between China and Russia are needed to maintain the international balance of power and preserve the post-war world order. The participation of the leaders of the two countries in mutual events dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in World War II indicates that Russia and China, as the largest countries in the world and members of the United Nations, intend to maintain international order."

Farmer Joe in Brooklyn

9/11 exposed the unholy alliance between the US and the Saudis (for anyone with enough intellectual curiosity to seek the truth). This true axis of evil has a symbiotic relationship that knows no moral bounds.

Nothing new here...

Monty Burns

In 9/11 the Saudis provided the finance and the patsies. The event was organized by Mossad and Ziocons in the USA.


Just in time for next year's SOFEX, bitchez! The war economy has to get paper somehow. Peace Prizes for EVERYBODY!


2010: "US Congress notified over $60bn arms sale to Saudi Arabia"

They didn't backdoor that sale. Whatever President Jarret is trying to sell, it isn't to the Saudi's.

Jacksons Ghost

Anyone that thinks the House of Saud will go quietly is fooling themselves. We sell them out, how quickly will they pivot towards China and Russia. We abandon The House of Saud, you can guarentee that they will abandon the Dollar. Reserve Status of Dollar is most important to our money printers...

falak pema

No amount of US material will save the Sunni Kingdoms from their fate, as the bigger the Military spending becomes the bigger the millstone of its proliferation to its enemies grow.

Iran will play the same game of attrition, feeding the enemies of their strategic enemy, and guerrilla warfare that Giap and Ho Chi Minh did.

Remember Vietnam, USA, the cancer of opposition now runs deep in the region on all fronts and it will feed the instability of an ivory towered kingdom like poison ivy wrapping itself around the healthy tree.

The spiral is now a sign of runaway MIC malinvestment of huge proportions. Those Sauds will never have an army to match their rivals, who are as hungry as the hounds of hell and fed by the kingdom's never-ending and obscurantist fed hubris. Guns didn't save South Vietnam.

How do you avoid the same blowback that Nam has demonstrated?

Same corruption, same endgame now being concocted in a region that goes from Paki to deep Africa?

The kiss of the US MIC is the kiss of death to its allies.

Saud at the cross roads-- cut and run-- or stay US suppot like Nam.



Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States

One World Mafia

You're leaving out two very important parts of the proxy war situation. Russia forced Syria to give up her chemical weapon defenses which led to the US & its brothers in the Brotherhood of Darkness Gulf Cooperation Council to use their proxy, ISIS, to pounce on Syria.

Remember what happened with MINSK? The breakaway republics were pressured to give up their gains since September.

Not very good for the balance of powers. The Brotherhood of Darkness won't need a real WW3 to get what they want.


These guys (MIC) are going to make a fucking killing. No pun intended. The whole video is excellent. Here are some highlights;

[May 08, 2015] - It's Official The U.S. Collaborates With Al Qaeda

May 6, 2015 | M of A

The propaganda against Syria is milking the capture of Idlib city by Jabhat al-Nusra and assorted other Islamist groups. The general tone is "Assad is losing" illogically combined with a demand that the U.S. should now bomb the Syrian government troops. Why would that be necessary if the Syrian government were really losing control?

A prime example comes via Foreign Policy from Charles Lister, an analyst from Brooking Doha, which is paid with Qatari money but often cooperating with the Obama administration. That headline declares that Assad is losing and the assault on Idlib is lauded in the highest tone. Then the piece admits that this small victory against retreating Syrian troops was only possible because AlQaeda was leading in the assault.

The piece admits that the U.S. which wants to balance between AlQaeda and the Syrian government forces prolonging the conflict in the hope that both sides will lose, was behind that move:

The involvement of FSA groups, in fact, reveals how the factions' backers have changed their tune regarding coordination with Islamists. Several commanders involved in leading recent Idlib operations confirmed to this author that the U.S.-led operations room in southern Turkey, which coordinates the provision of lethal and non-lethal support to vetted opposition groups, was instrumental in facilitating their involvement in the operation from early April onwards. That operations room — along with another in Jordan, which covers Syria's south — also appears to have dramatically increased its level of assistance and provision of intelligence to vetted groups in recent weeks.

Whereas these multinational operations rooms have previously demanded that recipients of military assistance cease direct coordination with groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, recent dynamics in Idlib appear to have demonstrated something different. Not only were weapons shipments increased to the so-called "vetted groups," but the operations room specifically encouraged a closer cooperation with Islamists commanding frontline operations.

The U.S. led operations room encouraged cooperation between the Islamists of the so called Fee Syrian Army and AlQaeda. A U.S. drone, shot down over Latakia in March, was gathering intelligence for the AlQaeda attack on Idlib. More that 600 TOW U.S. anti-tank missiles have been used against Syrian troops in north Syria. These are part of the 14,000 the Saudis had ordered from the U.S. producer.

Even if the U.S., as now admitted, would not officially urge its mercenaries to cooperate with Jabhat al-Nusra such cooperation was always obvious to anyone who dared to look:

In southern Syria [..] factions that vowed to distance themselves from extremists like Jabhat al-Nusra in mid-April were seen cooperating with the group in Deraa only days later.

The reality is that the directly U.S. supported, equipped and paid "moderate" Fee Syrian Army Jihadi mercenaries are just as hostile to other sects as the AlQaeda derivative Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. They may not behead those who they declare to be unbelievers but they will kill them just as much.

While the U.S. is nurturing AlQaeda in Syria, Turkey is taking care of the Islamic State. Tons of Ammonium Sulfate, used to make road side bombs, is "smuggled" from Turkey to the Islamic State under official eyes. Turkish recruiters incite Muslims from the Turkman Uighur people in west China and from Tajikistan to emigrate to the Islamic State. They give away Turkish passports to allow those people to travel to Turkey from where they reach Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile the Saudis bomb everyone and everything in Yemen except the cities and areas captured by AlQaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

The U.S. and its allies are now in full support of violent Sunni Jihadists throughout the Middle East. At the same time they use the "threat of AlQaeda" to fearmonger and suppress opposition within their countries.

Charles Lister and the other Brooking propagandists want the U.S. to bomb Syria to bring the Assad government to the table to negotiate. But who is the Syrian government to negotiate with? AlQaeda?

Who would win should the Syrian government really lose the war or capitulate? The U.S. supported "moderate rebels" Islamist, who could not win against the Syrian government, would then take over and defeat AlQaeda and the Islamic State?

Who comes up with such phantasies?

Posted by b on May 6, 2015 at 03:37 AM | Permalink

lacilir | May 6, 2015 4:06:19 AM | 2

As Ed Husain stated back in 2012:

The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime's superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.

The US seems to have fully embraced this reality.

radiator | May 6, 2015 5:06:01 AM | 4

To the US and other western governments in that area ;) it probably does not matter too much, who rules "Syria", as long as they don't own any serious military hardware.

I'm not an expert ;) but looking at the past three years, my conclusion about the goals of the "west" would be: support the local militias just as much that they can destroy as many tanks, helis, air defence and aircraft as possible.

Ideally, have them use up all the anti-tank weapons we give them, so, when they've "won", they're sitting on rubble with nothing but handguns.

A second goal, maybe more of the regional enemies, would obviously be to drive out of the "former syrian territory" all non-sunni population. Severe the head of one, have 1000 flee to elsewhere...

Lone Wolf | May 6, 2015 9:43:48 AM | 8

Re: @Anonymous@5

Well, that about does it. The U.S is completely deranged and there's no hope.

There is always hope. Russia, China, and Iran know they come next in the list if they don't stop Al-Qaeda hydra in Syria/Iraq et al. Russian intelligence has declared ISIS a threat for Russia, the Chinese have been battling the Uighurs for long time now, and now they are being trained by the US to become a fifth-column on their return to China. Iran is in the surroundings, and have been preparing ever since the war with Iraq for a military maelstrom of gigantic proportions.

Idlib was taken by a coalition of taqfiris renamed "Army of Conquest," the same coalition getting ready to fight Hezbollah in the Qalamoun barrens facing Lebanon, for control of the heights that open to the Bekaa Valley. Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah declared a couple of days ago the battle for Qalamoun has reached high noon, and its start won't be announced.

On the taking of Idlib he stated any war is a pendulum with battles lost and won, and dismissed the propaganda war b has just denounced as part of the psy-op war. The onslaught suffering by Syria is flabbergasting, with US/Turkey training 15 thousand more taqfiris to throw into the war, the purpose, Nasrallah denounced, is to keep the Axis of Resistance, and in general the Arab war, in a 100 year war.

What we are seeing now, the dismembering of Iraq, the war of attrition on Syria, the destruction of Libya, the bombing of Yemen, the attack on Lebanon, was planned long ago by the neocons as a strategy for Israel, in a paper called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." It is all there, the rest, like the dismemberment of Iraq, the bombing of Libya, etc., are perks that came as they unfolded the strategy for destruction of the Arab/Muslim world.">">

ToivoS | May 6, 2015 1:39:12 PM | 16
The most effective resistance against Israel consisted of broad coalitions consisting of Christian, secular and Islamic groups. These were the panArab organizations inspired by Nasser and given substance in the Palestinian resistance by the PLO. Israel knew this was a problem. That is why they supported Hamas in the late 1970s when it first appeared. They quite explicitly supported Hamas in order to undermine the PLO. That has proven very effective in splitting Palestinian resistance into two warring camps centered respectively in Gaza and the West Bank.

The US has discovered this formula. That is why we continue to support the Islamist groups who are more interested in killing fellow Muslims rather than fighting against Israel. It is quite amazing that Al qaida, ISIS or whatever handle they carry these days has never attacked an Israeli target.

As we all know Al nusra today in Southern Syria is being actively supported by the Israeli military in the form of medical, "humanitarian" aid and the occasional bombing raid against the Syrian army. US and Israeli support for these terrorist Islamic forces is so transparent that what is puzzling is why this has not been exposed in the western media.

Editors and reporters must know this stuff and are deliberately avoiding these stories.

okie farmer | May 6, 2015 2:03:18 PM | 17
ToivoS, actually Hamas was created by Shin Bet. And you draw a very accurate picture The US has discovered this formula. Yep.
g_h | May 6, 2015 2:28:26 PM | 18

Doc 1:

Doc 2:

Andoheb | May 6, 2015 3:15:21 PM | 19
Wonder if Harry Truman's comment after Hitler invaded Russia in 1941 applies to current US Mideast policies. To paraphrase if the Germans are winning we should help the Russians, if the Russians are winning we should help the Germans. That way let them kill as many as possible
Lone Wolf | May 6, 2015 3:16:07 PM | 20 @g_h@18@
Thanks! Those two are key documents to understand the current drive of the aptly baptized "Empire of Chaos" and its minions.
Zico | May 6, 2015 3:53:36 PM | 21
The word AL-CIADA's lost it's scary factor in the West.. It's almost become acceptable/mainstream word... These days, Western journos refer to them in different terms, depending on the circumstances and location. How times change!!!

It gets to to point where you just wonder if these people scripting the "news" must really think the rest of us simpletons are so stupid not to notice the contradictions...

We now have Western journos doing free propaganda for AL-CIADA :)

GoraDiva | May 6, 2015 4:02:56 PM | 22
More NYT propaganda on Syria? Well, it's A. Barnard...

john | May 6, 2015 4:08:06 PM | 23
b says:

Who would win should the Syrian government really lose the war or capitulate? The U.S. supported "moderate rebels" Islamist, who could not win against the Syrian government, would then take over and defeat AlQaeda and the Islamic State?

Who comes up with such phantasies?

the guys from General Electric, Honeywell, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumann, etc... and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Luca K | May 6, 2015 4:22:13 PM | 24
Good article by B. The following is nothing new, but adds more to what we already know, i.e, israeli cooperation with al-ciada terrorists.

Article from 2 days ago.

lysias | May 6, 2015 4:55:30 PM | 25
Price of oil has been rising. FT: Dollar under pressure as oil keeps rising (subscription required).
Christoph (German) | May 6, 2015 4:56:51 PM | 26
Lone Wolf said: "What we are seeing now ... was planned long ago by the neocons as a strategy for Israel, in a paper called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." It is all there, the rest, like the dismemberment of Iraq, the bombing of Libya, etc., are perks that came as they unfolded the strategy for destruction of the Arab/Muslim world."

It was also contemplated 140 years ago by Pike: "The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the "agentur" of the "Illuminati" between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other".

I doubt that this old scheme to eliminate independent cultures will succeed - there is more awareness and heavenly input today than could be envisioned in the 19th century.

[May 08, 2015] The Cold War Against Cuba Changed Us by Jacob G. Hornberger

May 07, 2015 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

During the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA made multiple attempts to assassinate Cuba's ruler, Fidel Castro. Let's assume that the CIA had succeeded and that Castro had been shot dead on the streets of Havana.

It's not difficult to imagine what US national-security state officials would be saying today: "If we hadn't assassinated Castro, the United States would have fallen to the communists and, today, Fidel and his brother would be running the IRS, Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, and other socialist programs owned and operated by the US government."

Soon after Castro took power on January 1, 1959, when President Eisenhower was still in office, and continually through the Kennedy administration, the CIA steadfastly maintained that a communist-ruled Cuba was a grave threat to US "national security" — a communist dagger situated 90 miles away from American shores and pointed directly at the United States.

It was all a Cold War farce, one that served as one of the biggest protection rackets in history — one by which the national-security establishment was able to keep the American people in a constant, never-ending state of anxiety, fear, and depression, which assured ever-increasing budgets and power for what Ike called the "military-industrial complex" and what has ultimately become known as the "national-security establishment."

How do we know it was all a farce? Because they didn't succeed in assassinating Castro and yet the United States is still standing! Sure, we've got the same types of socialist and interventionist programs that Castro has in Cuba — income taxation, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, economic regulations, a Federal Reserve, etc. — but that's not because Castro conquered the United States but rather because Americans love socialism and interventionism as much as Castro does.

What difference did it make to the American people that Cuba was ruled by a self-avowed communist? It didn't make any difference at all. The plain truth is that under Castro, Cuba never initiated any acts of aggression toward the United States. Castro's own national-security establishment never invaded the United States. It never tried to assassinate US officials. It never initiated acts of terrorism inside the United States.

The only reason that US officials ultimately decided to list Cuba as an official "sponsor of terrorism" was because of Castro's support of insurgencies in other Latin American countries in which people were trying to oust US-supported right-wing dictatorships, much like the brutal US-supported Fulgencio Batista dictatorship that Castro succeeded in ousting from power in Cuba.

Throughout the Cold War and beyond, the CIA issued severe warnings about the danger that other Latin American countries would end up with communist regimes. It was all a farce too. It wouldn't have made any difference to the United States if every other Latin American country went communist. That's because there was never any possibility that Latin American countries were ever going to mount up their military forces and invade, conquer, and occupy the United States.

Consider all the Latin American countries that have gone leftist — including many of the ones that the CIA was so concerned with during the Cold War. Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, and more. Do you see them mobilizing their armies to invade the United States? It's a ridiculous notion. And it was a ridiculous notion throughout the Cold War.

That's not to say, of course, that it's beneficial for people to live under a socialist or communist regime. That's where libertarians part company with leftists. Living in Cuba, Venezuela, or other socialist regime is pure misery from an economic standpoint and a civil-liberties standpoint. But the fact is that such regimes never had any interest (or financial means — they were too broke) to even think of invading, conquering, and occupying the United States.

What all too many Americans have still not confronted is what the adoption of the national-security apparatus did to our country — in the name of the anti-communist crusade.

In the post-9/11 era, Americans are now fully accustomed to assassination. Most everyone accepts the fact that the CIA assassinates people with regularity and with impunity and immunity. It's become a normal part of America's governmental structure, justified as part of the "war on terrorism," a war, we are told, is certain to last longer than the Cold War. It's just another great big protection racket, one designed to maintain the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the entire national-security apparatus in high cotton for the indefinite future.

The CIA has been an assassination machine practically since its inception. In its 1954 regime-change operation in Guatemala, for example, the CIA had a kill list of Guatemalan officials who were to be assassinated. There were the multiple assassination attempts against Castro. There were the plans to assassinate Rafael Trujillo, the ruler in the Dominican Republic. There was Operation Phoenix in Vietnam. There was the kidnapping-assassination of Gen. Rene Schneider of Chile. There were the assassinations of Americans Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. There was the CIA's partnership in Operation Condor, one of the biggest assassination rings in history, one that assassinated former Chilean official Orlando Letelier and his young assistant Ronni Moffitt on the streets of Washington, D.C. And as the mounting circumstantial evidence has inexorably disclosed, there was the assassination of President Kennedy, on grounds of "national security," as I detail in my book Regime Change: The JFK Assassination.

At one time, CIA assassinations were kept secret or "covert." That's because most people recognized assassination for what it was — murder. Even President Lyndon Johnson, who wasn't exactly the paragon of political virtue, called the CIA's assassination program a "Murder Inc."

And that's precisely what assassination is – murder. What right, either moral or legal, did the US government have to assassinate Fidel Castro or any other leftist ruler? From where did that authority come? It certainly didn't come with the Constitution, which doesn't authorize either a CIA, assassination, or regime-change operations. Under what moral, religious, legal, or constitutional authority did the US national-security state murder people because of their political or economic philosophy?

Throughout the Cold War, Americans weren't supposed to ask those types of questions. They were expected to defer to the national-security establishment. Conscience, reason, and independent thinking were submerged to the judgment of the national-security state. The citizen's creed became: Assassination is normal and necessary. Our national-security state officials know what's best. Trust them. Don't ask questions. Secrecy must be maintained. "National security" is at stake.

The grafting of a national-security apparatus onto America's founding governmental system was the worst mistake in the history of the United States, for in the name of protecting "national security" from Fidel Castro and communism, it moved America in the direction of the socialist and totalitarian regimes it was opposing.

How ironic that we now live in a society that has adopted the same socialist and interventionist programs found in Cuba and that why we now live in a society in which the government wields the omnipotent power to torture and assassinate its own people and others. How ironic that modern-day Americans celebrate their socialism, interventionism, assassinations, torture, coups, invasions, regime-changes, and their entire welfare-warfare state as "freedom."

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.

[May 06, 2015] Clinton Cash: errors dog Bill and Hillary exposé – but is there any 'there' there? by Ed Pilkington

May 05, 2015 | The Guardian

In an interview with the sympathetic Fox News (owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Harper, the publisher of Clinton Cash) it was put to Schweizer that he hadn't "nailed" his thesis. "It's hard for any author to nail it – one of the strategies of the Clinton camp is to set a bar for me as an author that is impossible to meet," he replied.

... ... ...

Certainly, pundits were warning about the problem of the large sums of money flowing into the Clinton Foundation's coffers even before Hillary Clinton took up her position as Obama's global emissary-in-chief. A month before she became secretary of state, the Washington Post warned in an editorial that her husband's fundraising activities were problematic. "Even if Ms Clinton is not influenced by gifts to her husband's charity, the appearance of conflict is unavoidable."

Since the foundation was formed in 2001, some $2bn has been donated, mainly in big lump sums. Fully a third of the donors giving more than $1m, and more than a half of those handing over more than $5m, have been foreign governments, corporations or tycoons. (The foundation stresses that such largesse has been put to very good use – fighting obesity around the globe, combating climate change, helping millions of people with HIV/Aids obtain antiretroviral drugs at affordable prices.)

Schweizer may have made mistakes about aspects of Bill Clinton's fees on the speaker circuit, but one of his main contentions – that the former president's rates skyrocketed after his wife became secretary of state – is correct. Politifact confirmed that since leaving the White House in 2001 and 2013, Bill Clinton made 13 speeches for which he commanded more than $500,000; all but two of those mega-money earners occurred in the period when Hillary was at the State Department.

Though Schweizer has failed to prove actual corruption in the arrangement – at no point in the book does he produce evidence showing that Bill's exorbitant speaker fees were directly tied to policy concessions from Hillary – he does point to several glaring conflicts of interest. Bill Clinton did accept large speaker fees accumulating to more than $1m from TD Bank, a major shareholder in the Keystone XL pipeline, at precisely the time that the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton within it, was wrestling with the vexed issue of whether to approve it.

It is also true that large donations to the foundation from the chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer, at around the time of the Russian purchase of the company and while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, were never disclosed to the public. The multimillion sums were channeled through a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation, CGSCI, which did not reveal its individual donors.

Such awkward collisions between Bill's fundraising activities and Hillary's public service have raised concerns not just among those who might be dismissed as part of a vast rightwing conspiracy. Take Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham university who has written extensively on political corruption in the US.

Teachout, who last year stood against Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic party nomination for New York governor, points out that you don't have to be able to prove quid pro quo for alarm bells to ring. "Our whole system of rules is built upon the concept that you must prevent conflicts of interests if you are to resist corruption in its many forms. Conflicts like that can infect us in ways we don't even see."

Teachout said that the Clintons presented the US political world with a totally new challenge. "We have never had somebody running for president whose spouse – himself a former president – is running around the world raising money in these vast sums."

... ... ...

Though Bill Clinton insisted this week that his charity has done nothing "knowingly inappropriate", that is unlikely to satisfy the skeptics from left or right. They say that a family in which one member is vying for the most powerful office on Earth must avoid straying into even the unintentionally inappropriate.

In the wake of Clinton Cash, the foundation has admitted that it made mistakes in disclosing some of its contributions. It has also implemented new rules that will see its financial reporting increase from once annually to four times a year, while large donations from foreign governments will be limited in future to six countries including the UK and Germany.

But with Bill refusing doggedly to give up his speaker engagements – "I gotta pay our bills" – and foreign corporations and super-rich individuals still able to donate to the family charity, it looks like this controversy may run and run. Politically, too, Hillary Clinton is confronted with a potential credibility gap between her appeal to ordinary Americans on the presidential campaign trail and the millions that continue to flow to the foundation.

"Is she going to be in touch with the needs and dreams of poor America when her spouse and daughter are working with the world's global elite?" said Dave Levinthal of the anti-corruption investigative organization, the Center for Public Integrity. "That's a question she will have to answer, every step of the way."

mkenney63 5 May 2015 20:39
It would be nice to know how much Saudi and Chinese money her "Foundation" has taken-in. I can tell you how much Bernie has taken - $0. Bernie, the only truly progressive in the race, raised $1.5 million in one day from ordinary working people like you and me who have the smarts to know who's really in their corner. When I look at Hillary I ask myself, do we really want parasitic people like this running our country? Is there anything she has ever touched that isn't tainted by a lust for money?
foggy2 gixxerman006 5 May 2015 20:38
I am in the process of reading the actual book. He does have actual sources for many things but what is missing is the information controlled by that now cleaned off server and the details of just who contributed to them, their foundation, and who hired them for those gold plated speeches. Those names never were made public and now the related tax forms are being "redone." Wonder how long that will take.

The author was able to get pertinent data from the Canadian tax base information and that is important because some of the heavier hitters are Canadians who needed help in the US and other places to make piles of money on their investments. And many statements made by people are documented as are some cables sent TO the state department.

AlfredHerring raffine 5 May 2015 20:33

It's funny that free-market Tea Party Republicans criticize the Clintons

There's a broad populist streak in the Tea Party. They may be social conservatives and opposed to government telling them they MUST buy health insurance from a private company (that's where it started) but on many issues they're part of the Teddy Roosevelt trust busting and Franklin Roosevelt New Deal traditions.

The Inner Circle Large Corporations and the Rise of Business Political Activity in the U.S. and U.K. (978019504033

This is the essence of neoliberalism" Businessmen Unite! instead of "Proletarians of all countries unite"...
July 7, 2005 |

Luc REYNAERT on July 7, 2005

Businessmen Unite!

In the US and Great-Britain top officers of large corporations formed in the 1970s a semi-autonomous network which Michael Useem calls the 'Inner Circle'. It is a sort of institutionalized capitalism with a classwide alongside a corporate logic and permits a centralized mobilization of corporate resources.

This select group of business leaders assume a leading role in the support of political candidates, in consultations with the highest levels of the national administrations, in public defense of the free enterprise system and in the governance of foundations and universities.

One of its main goals is the promotion of a better political climate for big business through philanthropy (image building via generous support of cultural programs), issue (not product) advertising and political financing.

The reasons behind the constitution of this 'Inner Circle' were the declining power of the individual companies and declining profitability together with, more specifically in GB, the threat of labor socialism (nationalizations and worker participation in corporate governance) and in the US, government intervention.

A main issue was also the desire to control the power of the media, which in the US were considered far too liberal.

The interventions of this 'Inner Circle' were (and are) extremely successful. President R. Reagan and Prime Minister M. Thatcher were partly products of business mobilizations. They lowered taxation, reduced government (except military) spending, lifted controls on business and installed cutbacks on unemployment benefits and welfare.

On the media front, the influence of corporate America is highly enhanced, directly through media mergers, and indirectly through the high corporate advertising budgets.

This is an eminent study based on excellent research.

Highly recommended.

[May 04, 2015]Global Capitalism Crisis of Humanity and the Specter of 21st Century Fascism

Yet another response [ to globalization] is that I term 21stcentury fascism.5 The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims. Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.
May 27, 2014 | The World Financial Review

World capitalism is experiencing the worst crisis in its 500 year history. Global capitalism is a qualitatively new stage in the open ended evolution of capitalism characterised by the rise of transnational capital, a transnational capitalist class, and a transnational state. Below, William I. Robinson argues that the global crisis is structural and threatens to become systemic, raising the specter of collapse and a global police state in the face of ecological holocaust, concentration of the means of violence, displacement of billions, limits to extensive expansion and crises of state legitimacy, and suggests that a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward to the poor majority of humanity is the only viable solution.

The New Global Capitalism and the 21st Century Crisis

The world capitalist system is arguably experiencing the worst crisis in its 500 year history. World capitalism has experienced a profound restructuring through globalisation over the past few decades and has been transformed in ways that make it fundamentally distinct from its earlier incarnations. Similarly, the current crisis exhibits features that set it apart from earlier crises of the system and raise the stakes for humanity. If we are to avert disastrous outcomes we must understand both the nature of the new global capitalism and the nature of its crisis. Analysis of capitalist globalisation provides a template for probing a wide range of social, political, cultural and ideological processes in this 21st century. Following Marx, we want to focus on the internal dynamics of capitalism to understand crisis. And following the global capitalism perspective, we want to see how capitalism has qualitatively evolved in recent decades.

The system-wide crisis we face is not a repeat of earlier such episodes such as that of the the 1930s or the 1970s precisely because capitalism is fundamentally different in the 21st century. Globalisation constitutes a qualitatively new epoch in the ongoing and open-ended evolution of world capitalism, marked by a number of qualitative shifts in the capitalist system and by novel articulations of social power. I highlight four aspects unique to this epoch.1

First is the rise of truly transnational capital and a new global production and financial system into which all nations and much of humanity has been integrated, either directly or indirectly. We have gone from a world economy, in which countries and regions were linked to each other via trade and financial flows in an integrated international market, to a global economy, in which nations are linked to each more organically through the transnationalisation of the production process, of finance, and of the circuits of capital accumulation. No single nation-state can remain insulated from the global economy or prevent the penetration of the social, political, and cultural superstructure of global capitalism. Second is the rise of a Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), a class group that has drawn in contingents from most countries around the world, North and South, and has attempted to position itself as a global ruling class. This TCC is the hegemonic fraction of capital on a world scale. Third is the rise of Transnational State (TNS) apparatuses. The TNS is constituted as a loose network made up of trans-, and supranational organisations together with national states. It functions to organise the conditions for transnational accumulation. The TCC attempts to organise and institutionally exercise its class power through TNS apparatuses. Fourth are novel relations of inequality, domination and exploitation in global society, including an increasing importance of transnational social and class inequalities relative to North-South inequalities.

Cyclical, Structural, and Systemic Crises

Most commentators on the contemporary crisis refer to the "Great Recession" of 2008 and its aftermath. Yet the causal origins of global crisis are to be found in over-accumulation and also in contradictions of state power, or in what Marxists call the internal contradictions of the capitalist system. Moreover, because the system is now global, crisis in any one place tends to represent crisis for the system as a whole. The system cannot expand because the marginalisation of a significant portion of humanity from direct productive participation, the downward pressure on wages and popular consumption worldwide, and the polarisation of income, has reduced the ability of the world market to absorb world output. At the same time, given the particular configuration of social and class forces and the correlation of these forces worldwide, national states are hard-pressed to regulate transnational circuits of accumulation and offset the explosive contradictions built into the system.

Is this crisis cyclical, structural, or systemic? Cyclical crises are recurrent to capitalism about once every 10 years and involve recessions that act as self-correcting mechanisms without any major restructuring of the system. The recessions of the early 1980s, the early 1990s, and of 2001 were cyclical crises. In contrast, the 2008 crisis signaled the slide into astructural crisis. Structural crises reflect deeper contradictions that can only be resolved by a major restructuring of the system. The structural crisis of the 1970s was resolved through capitalist globalisation. Prior to that, the structural crisis of the 1930s was resolved through the creation of a new model of redistributive capitalism, and prior to that the structural crisis of the 1870s resulted in the development of corporate capitalism. A systemic crisis involves the replacement of a system by an entirely new system or by an outright collapse. A structural crisis opens up the possibility for a systemic crisis. But if it actually snowballs into a systemic crisis – in this case, if it gives way either to capitalism being superseded or to a breakdown of global civilisation – is not predetermined and depends entirely on the response of social and political forces to the crisis and on historical contingencies that are not easy to forecast. This is an historic moment of extreme uncertainty, in which collective responses from distinct social and class forces to the crisis are in great flux.

Hence my concept of global crisis is broader than financial. There are multiple and mutually constitutive dimensions – economic, social, political, cultural, ideological and ecological, not to mention the existential crisis of our consciousness, values and very being. There is a crisis of social polarisation, that is, of social reproduction. The system cannot meet the needs or assure the survival of millions of people, perhaps a majority of humanity. There are crises of state legitimacy and political authority, or of hegemony and domination. National states face spiraling crises of legitimacy as they fail to meet the social grievances of local working and popular classes experiencing downward mobility, unemployment, heightened insecurity and greater hardships. The legitimacy of the system has increasingly been called into question by millions, perhaps even billions, of people around the world, and is facing expanded counter-hegemonic challenges. Global elites have been unable counter this erosion of the system's authority in the face of worldwide pressures for a global moral economy. And a canopy that envelops all these dimensions is a crisis of sustainability rooted in an ecological holocaust that has already begun, expressed in climate change and the impending collapse of centralised agricultural systems in several regions of the world, among other indicators.

By a crisis of humanity I mean a crisis that is approaching systemic proportions, threatening the ability of billions of people to survive, and raising the specter of a collapse of world civilisation and degeneration into a new "Dark Ages."2

Global capitalism now couples human and natural history in such a way as to threaten to bring about what would be the sixth mass extinction in the known history of life on earth.

This crisis of humanity shares a number of aspects with earlier structural crises but there are also several features unique to the present:

  1. The system is fast reaching the ecological limits of its reproduction. Global capitalism now couples human and natural history in such a way as to threaten to bring about what would be the sixth mass extinction in the known history of life on earth.3 This mass extinction would be caused not by a natural catastrophe such as a meteor impact or by evolutionary changes such as the end of an ice age but by purposive human activity. According to leading environmental scientists there are nine "planetary boundaries" crucial to maintaining an earth system environment in which humans can exist, four of which are experiencing at this time the onset of irreversible environmental degradation and three of which (climate change, the nitrogen cycle, and biodiversity loss) are at "tipping points," meaning that these processes have already crossed their planetary boundaries.
  2. The magnitude of the means of violence and social control is unprecedented, as is the concentration of the means of global communication and symbolic production and circulation in the hands of a very few powerful groups. Computerised wars, drones, bunker-buster bombs, star wars, and so forth, have changed the face of warfare. Warfare has become normalised and sanitised for those not directly at the receiving end of armed aggression. At the same time we have arrived at the panoptical surveillance society and the age of thought control by those who control global flows of communication, images and symbolic production. The world of Edward Snowden is the world of George Orwell; 1984 has arrived;
  3. Capitalism is reaching apparent limits to its extensive expansion. There are no longer any new territories of significance that can be integrated into world capitalism, de-ruralisation is now well advanced, and the commodification of the countryside and of pre- and non-capitalist spaces has intensified, that is, converted in hot-house fashion into spaces of capital, so that intensive expansion is reaching depths never before seen. Capitalism must continually expand or collapse. How or where will it now expand?
  4. There is the rise of a vast surplus population inhabiting a "planet of slums,"4 alienated from the productive economy, thrown into the margins, and subject to sophisticated systems of social control and to destruction – to a mortal cycle of dispossession-exploitation-exclusion. This includes prison-industrial and immigrant-detention complexes, omnipresent policing, militarised gentrification, and so on;
  5. There is a disjuncture between a globalising economy and a nation-state based system of political authority. Transnational state apparatuses are incipient and have not been able to play the role of what social scientists refer to as a "hegemon," or a leading nation-state that has enough power and authority to organise and stabilise the system. The spread of weapons of mass destruction and the unprecedented militarisation of social life and conflict across the globe makes it hard to imagine that the system can come under any stable political authority that assures its reproduction.

Global Police State

How have social and political forces worldwide responded to crisis? The crisis has resulted in a rapid political polarisation in global society. Both right and left-wing forces are ascendant. Three responses seem to be in dispute.

One is what we could call "reformism from above." This elite reformism is aimed at stabilising the system, at saving the system from itself and from more radical responses from below. Nonetheless, in the years following the 2008 collapse of the global financial system it seems these reformers are unable (or unwilling) to prevail over the power of transnational financial capital. A second response is popular, grassroots and leftist resistance from below. As social and political conflict escalates around the world there appears to be a mounting global revolt. While such resistance appears insurgent in the wake of 2008 it is spread very unevenly across countries and regions and facing many problems and challenges.

Yet another response is that I term 21stcentury fascism.5 The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims. Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.

The need for dominant groups around the world to secure widespread, organised mass social control of the world's surplus population and rebellious forces from below gives a powerful impulse to projects of 21st century fascism. Simply put, the immense structural inequalities of the global political economy cannot easily be contained through consensual mechanisms of social control. We have been witnessing transitions from social welfare to social control states around the world. We have entered a period of great upheavals, momentous changes and uncertainties. The only viable solution to the crisis of global capitalism is a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward towards the poor majority of humanity along the lines of a 21st century democratic socialism, in which humanity is no longer at war with itself and with nature.

About the Author

William I. Robinson is professor of sociology, global and international studies, and Latin American studies, at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Among his many books are Promoting Polyarchy (1996), Transnational Conflicts (2003), A Theory of Global Capitalism (2004), Latin America and Global Capitalism (2008), and Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (2014).

[May 03, 2015] US Goes Ballistic Over Ukraine as Both Sides There Wage Peace By William Boardman,

March 10, 2015 |

US and UK deploy troops to Ukraine, but they're just "advisors"

American combat troops deployed in Ukraine will soon number in the hundreds, at least, but US officials claim they're there only as "advisors" or "trainers," not as an in-place threat to Russia. Whatever advising or training they may do, they are also an in-place threat to Russia. US officials are also lobbying to arm Ukraine with "defensive" anti-tank rockets and other lethal weapons in hopes of escalating the fighting, maybe even killing some Russians. In other words, American brinksmanship continues to escalate slowly but recklessly on all fronts.

To the dismay of the Pentagon, the White House war crowd, and the rest of the American bloviating class of chickenhawk hardliners, the warring sides in Ukraine are disengaging and the ceasefire has almost arrived (March 7 was the first day with no casualties). The government in Kievand the would-be governments of the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have been acting as if they're not hell-bent on mutually assured destruction after all. They've exchanged prisoners. They've agreed to double the number of ceasefire monitors to 1,000. They've pulled back their heavy weapons. Both sides have stopped the random shelling that has caused "heavy civilian tolls of dead and wounded," according to theMarch 2 report from the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

The calmer heads of Europe, in Germany and France particularly, are presently prevailing over the fear-mongered countries closer to Russia who seem bewitched by US enthusiasm to subject Europe to yet another devastating war in which those near-Russia countries would be the first to feel the pain. But for now, most of Europe seems willing to accept the notion that the Russians have a rational view of their reasonable security needs, that the cost of further Russian advances outweighs any rational gain, and that all the mad babbling of bellicose Americans is just unprocessed cold war hysteria amplified by the need to deny decades of imperial defeats.

What is it with exceptional American irrationalists' love of war?

Still the manic American willingness to risk war with Russia, including nuclear war – over what, exactly? – keeps spinning out of Washington:

"NATO now exists to manage the risks created by its existence."

– Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine

From the Russian perspective, NATO aggression has continued for the past 20 years. Secretary of State James Baker, under the first President Bush, explicitly promised the Russians that NATO would not expand eastward toward Russia. For the next two decades, at the behest of the US, NATO has expanded eastward to Russia's borders and put Ukrainian NATO membership in play. The unceasing madness of "US and NATO aggression in Ukraine" is argued forcefully by attorney Robert Roth in Counterpunch, who notes that US-sponsored sanctions on Russia are already, arguably, acts of war.

NATO continues to maintain nuclear weapons bases around Russia's periphery while adding more anti-missile missile installations. Anti-missile missiles to intercept Russian missiles are generally understood to be part of the West's nuclear first strike capability.

Then there's the months-old, expanding Operation Atlantic Resolve, an elaborate US-sponsored NATO show of force deploying thousands of troops to NATO countries that are also Russia's near-neighbors. Beginning in April 2014, Operation Atlantic Resolve started sending troops to Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland) that border Russia. Those troops remain, and Defense News reported that more US saber-rattling is coming:

The US military's plans to send troops into Romania and Bulgaria as a deterrence to Russian aggression could expand to include Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia's southern neighbor, Georgia…. by the end of the summer, you could very well see an operation that stretches from the Baltics all the way down to the Black Sea….

In the Black Sea itself, NATO forces continue to project force through "training exercises" involving the Navies of at least seven nations: US, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria. NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove complained in late February that Russia had deployed "air defense systems that reach nearly half of the Black Sea" – as if it were surprising that Russia would respond to hostile military activity close to one of its oldest and largest naval bases, Sevastopol, in Crimea. Breedlove admits that NATO naval forces have approached Crimea, provoking Russian naval responses. Breedlove's warmongering reportedly upsets German officials, but they don't object publicly to American lies.

This pattern of provocation and response is familiar to those who know the Viet-Nam War, when similar US tactics provoked the so-called "Tonkin Gulf incident." That manipulated set of events, deceitfully described by the White House and dishonestly amplified by most American media, was used to gull a credulous and lazy Congress into passing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, giving the president authority to wage that disastrous, pointless war. Watch for the sequel coming to a Black Sea theatre of war near you.

Congress is as eager for Ukraine War as it was for Iraq and Viet-Nam

War mongering has a large, noisy cheering section in Congress. Eleven American lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner have signeda bi-partisan letter to President Obama demanding in the shrillest tones ("defend against further aggression") that the US ship lethal arms to the Kiev government now. The eleven Congress members (8 predictable Republicans and three veteran, dimwit Democrats) write about Ukraine what they had never had the wit or courage to say about US aggression in Iraq. They assert with grotesque oversimplification and false premises about "the crisis in Ukraine" that:

It is a grotesque violation of International law, a challenge to the west, and an assault on the international order established at such great cost in the wake of World War II.

Fatuous warmongering. At the end of World War II, Crimea was indisputably part of Russia (within the USSR) and the anti-Russian military alliance of NATO did not exist, much less had it pushed its existential security threat to the Russian border. You want an all-out, unambiguous assault on international law, look to Iraq and all the "little Iraqs" that the American hegemon executes with impunity and nearly endless destructiveness to peace, order, and culture.

The weak-kneed Democrats mindlessly signing on to this reflexive Republican rage to kill someone are: Eliot Engel of New York (Westchester County), lawyer – first elected in 1988, he's been a strong supporter of violence in Palestine, Kosovo, and Iraq (voting for the war in 2002); Adam Smith of Washington (Seattle), lawyer – first elected 1997, he's supported violence in Afghanistan and Iraq (voting for the war in 2001) and he sponsored a bill to allow the US government to lie to the people; and Adam Schiff of California (Burbank), lawyer – he's supported violence in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria (voting for the Iraq war in 2002). "Bi-partisanship" is pretty meaningless when the imperial warmaking ideology is monolithic, as in this basic lie also in the Boehner letter:

We should not wait until Russian troops and their separatist proxies take Mariupol or Kharkiv before we act to bolster the Ukrainian government's ability to deter and defend against further aggression.

The core of this lie is those "separatist proxies." That's an Orwellian phrase used to turn the roughly 5 million residents of the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk into un-persons. These 5 million people are predominantly Russian-speaking and ethnic-Russian. They have legitimate, longstanding grievances with Ukrainian-dominated governments in Kiev, especially with the current illegitimate one which is neo-Nazi-tinged and Russo-phobic.

It is important for these 5 million people seeking self-determination to disappear from the American argument for war sooner rather than later. The American war justifiers require "Russian aggression" as a crediblecasus belli, but the would-be war makers offer no credible evidence to support that propaganda claim ("Remember the Maine!").

The American news bubble distorts and excludes the world's realities

The blandly mindless media repetition of the phrase "Russian aggression" is a reliable measure of how much the news reports the government propaganda, at the expense of something like real world complexity. Dissenting voices are few in America's media world, and seldom heard, especially those who ask: "What aggression?"

Somehow, in the well-washed American collective brain, it's aggression when an oppressed minority declares its independence from its oppressors, the coup-installed Kiev government (and some of its predecessors). But that same scrubbed brain believes it's not aggression when another minority, aligned with foreign interests, carries out a violent overthrow of Ukraine's legitimately elected government.

Newsweek has demonized Russian president Vladimir Putin for months now, including on a cover with the headline "The Pariah" over a picture showing Putin in dark glasses that seem to reflect two nuclear explosions. (This imagery worked with deceitful perfection in 2002 when President Bush and Condoleezza Rice terrified audiences with the possibility that the "smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud.") Newsweek has even called for regime change in Russia. Newsweek is hardly alone in demonizing Putin without considering the realities of his situation. Others, like CNN, simply resort to calling him "completely mad," even though Russian actions have been largely measured and limited, especially when considered in the context of two decades of western provocation.

The New York Times got suckered by the Kiev government into running pictures "proving" Russian troops were in Ukraine, when they proved no such thing. This was not an anomaly among American media, according toRobert Parry in Consortium News:

At pivotal moments in the crisis, such as the Feb. 20, 2014 sniper fire that killed both police and protesters and the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 passengers and crew, the U.S. political/media establishment has immediately pinned the blame on Yanukovych, the ethnic Russian rebels who are resisting his ouster, or Putin. Then, when evidence emerged going in the opposite direction – toward "our side" – a studied silence followed, allowing the earlier propaganda to stay in place as part of the preferred storyline.

When reality intrudes upon propaganda, reality must be discredited

In a somewhat mocking story about Russia's denunciation of US troops arriving in Ukraine as a threat to Russia security, the Los Angeles Timesgive roughly equal time to a NATO commander denouncing the Russian denunciation. The casual reader who stops halfway through the story is easily left with the impression that the Russians are behaving badly again and maybe sending lethal weapons is a good idea. Only in the last two paragraphs does the Times, quite unusually, report some real things that matter about Ukraine:

Ukraine, which proclaimed independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 as the communist-ruled federation was collapsing, had pledged to remain nonaligned, and in any case would need years to carry out reforms and assimilation of its armed forces with those of NATO before it could be inducted into the Western defense alliance.

But since the Russian-backed insurgency began ripping Ukraine apart, Kiev authorities have renounced the nonalignment pledge and set their course for eventual NATO membership.

The first of these two paragraphs is a partly reasonable explanation of why Russia would feel betrayed by the US and NATO. A nonaligned Ukraine remains an obvious possible alternative to the present conflict ignited by decades of NATO aggression.

The second paragraph serves as a warning, packaged as a justification based on a lie. The lie is that it's a Russian-backed insurgency that's ripping Ukraine apart, when Ukraine has been ripping itself apart for years, a reality that led to the coup-government in Kiev. The explanation – which is false – is that the insurgency has forced the Kiev government's hand, even though the government took power with EU and NATO links obviously in mind. The warning is that Ukraine may just join NATO as soon as it can.

Until Americans – and especially American policy makers – face fundamental realities in and about Ukraine, the risk that they will take the rest of us into an unjustified, stupid, and potentially catastrophic war will remain unacceptably high. One of the realities Americans need to face is that the Ukraine government is corrupt, as corrupt an some of the most corrupt governments in the world, and nothing the US has done is likely to change that any time soon. What any war would ultimately be about is: who gets to benefit from that corruption?

Ukrainians know this and despair as, for example, Lilia Bigeyeva, 55, a violinist and composer did when she told her family's storyfrom Dnipropetrovsk in central Ukraine:

I was born in Melitopol, raised in Zaporizhzhya, and have spent all of my adult life in Dnipropetrovsk. It hasn't been easy, this past year in Ukraine. The loss of Crimea is a tragedy, the war is a tragedy. And it's far from clear that our government and our people are really prepared to institute rule of law….

The war is very close to us, here in Dnipropetrovsk. Every day there's bad news. But we continue to play music, my pupils and I. Culture and art, these are the things that have always helped us through frightening times.

This was published in The Moscow Times on March 6, but it was originally recorded and distributed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In other words, there's no excuse, for anyone on any side, to say they didn't know what was happening to the Ukrainian people for the sake of geopolitical greed.


[Craigslist posting, edited, from Orange County, California, March 3, 2015.]

Ukrainian/Russian Men Needed $19/Hr (Oceanside, CA)

GTS (Glacier Technology Solutions LLC) – We are military contractors working directly with the US Marine Corps assisting them with their immersive simulation training program.

Currently, we are looking for role players of Ukrainian and/or Russian ethnicity and language skills. Need MEN ranging 18-65 years of age.

This is temporary, part time, on-call work based on need and availability.

At the moment, we are staffing for an upcoming training to take place on: March 29-31, 2015. The scheduled hours will vary from 8-12 hours per working day.

Compensation is $15.17/hr. plus another $4.02/hr. Health and Welfare benefit for up to 40 hours of work in a workweek. (Overtime rates will be paid if necessary). Register for work at:

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

Activista 2015-03-10 13:22
NATO uses 'Russia threat' as excuse to halt defense cuts ...
these are make up threats to keep profit/militari sm/NATO going ...
EU does not want to pay 2% GDP to NATO ...
and US military expenditure and debt is growing ..$_in_2013.jpg.jpeg

jdd 2015-03-10 18:52

You have it backwards. While it may be less disturbing to believe that NATO exists merely to justify military spending, you have missed the point. NATO's was originally created as a military alliance against the Soviet Union, even though the Warsaw Pact was later dissolved, NATO was maintained and expanded to threaten and encircle Russia. Nuland, Carter and other believe that they can cause "regime change" in Russia, or alternatively win a "first strike" victory in a "limited nuclear war." Now, in response to the successful cease-fire, made possible by Putin's cooperation, we have EU Commissioner Juncker calling for an EU army to confront Russia. The response from a prominent Russian parliamentarian :

"In a nuclear age, extra armies do not provide any additional security. But they surely can play a provocative role...One should presume that a European army is seen as an addendum to NATO...never, even in the darkest days of the Cold War, had anyone dared to make such a proposal." If only it were merely about military spending.

and continue to provoke the Russians

lorenbliss 2015-03-11 02:13

If I did not know better, I would assume there is someone in the State Department channeling Hitler, someone in the Defense Department channeling Goering, someone at Homeland Security channeling Himmler and someone at the head of the media monopoly channeling Goebbels.

And in their resurrected madness -- exactly as in 1941 -- they are forgetting the lessons the Scythians taught the Persians and the Scythians' Russian descendants taught the Teutonic Knights, the Mongols and Bonaparte, not to mention the lessons Hitler, Goering, Himmler and Goebbels were themselves taught by the Russian "untermenschen."

Such are the darkest times in our species' history...

REDPILLED 2015-03-10 17:13


No nation shall DARE defy the United States and its Puppets by attempting to be truly independent! That right is reserved only for the God-chosen United States.

wantrealdemocracy 2015-03-10 20:06

Too bad the "God chosen United States" is not independent. Our nation is under the control of Israel. Israel wants this war against Russia, and all those wars in the Middle East, so that the Christians and Muslims will kill each other leaving Israel the winner. The state of Israel and the Zionists will then control the whole world. That is the 'New World Order' you have heard about.

arquebus 2015-03-10 17:20

NATO aggression? When you see NATO tanks rolling across the border in an armed attack against Russia, then come talk to me about aggression. Has not happened and is unlikely to happen.

What we really have here is Putin and the Russians paranoia and inability to get over the German invasion of 1940...something that happened 75 years ago.

skeeter 2015-03-10 19:07

Quoting arquebus:
NATO aggression? When you see NATO tanks rolling across the border in an armed attack against Russia, then come talk to me about aggression. Has not happened and is unlikely to happen.

What we really have here is Putin and the Russians paranoia and inability to get over the German invasion of 1940...something that happened 75 years ago.

Let's get real...the Europeans are threatening to bring Ukraine into NATO, a military alliance established and maintained to challenge the Soviet Union. No Russian leader in his right mind could stand by and let this happen. Imagine if the Soviets had approached Mexico or Canada a few years ago and tried to convince them to join the Warsaw Pact. The Russians paranoid...can you blame them?

Agricanto 2015-03-10 19:23

First I read the (very excellent) piece of journalism from people like William Boardman.

Then I "scroll to the troll" and give the predictable right wing doublethink a thumbs down.

Then I go to PayPal and give RSN 10bux all the while complaining that trolls don't pay to clog up important discussions on RSN. Penny a word from the troll factory is all I ask.

Merlin 2015-03-10 21:05

Agricanto 2015-03-10 19:23

Spot on and well said!

jsluka 2015-03-11 00:15

If Russian troops began to maneuver on the US border, like US troops (NATO) are now doing on the Russian border, the US would go "ballistic." That's called "hypocrisy," by the way.

MJnevetS 2015-03-13 14:52

"Russia already did that and invaded killed people and are feeding a false insurgency that is being dubbed freedom fighters .. they even shot down a domestic airliner in the summer flying over that territory over the UKraine from Amsterdam. don't you know the news even on this subject"

There is a sad lack of facts in these statements. NY Times had to retract the allegations of a 'Russian Invasion', as the evidence proved to be fabricated. The only 'false insurgency' was the coup initiated by the US and with regard to the shooting down of the commercial liner, show me one SINGLE piece of evidence that Russian backed rebels were involved. It was a false flag operation and when people demanded evidence over propaganda, the news story magically disappeared, as the evidence would show that it was a terrorist attack by the Nazis currently in control of Ukraine.

jdd 2015-03-11 08:15

When you "see NATO tanks rolling across the border in an armed attack against Russia" it will not be the time to converse with you, but rather then you may kiss your loved ones a final goodbye as that will be the beginning of a war of human extinction, all over within an hour.

Thank goodness for Putin and s few sane voices in the West who are trying to avoid ever getting to that point while others in the West, such as the Newland gang, seem hell-bent on making it happen.

Activista 2015-03-11 20:36

... see NATO bombers in Libya, Yugoslavia .. US troops in Kosovo US Sending 3,000 Troops To Latvia, Estonia ...
International Business Times
2 days ago - An Abrams main battle tank, for U.S. troops deployed in the Baltics as part of NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve, left the port in Riga, Latvia ....

Trish42 2015-03-10 18:03

When will Americans ever get their collective head out of their ass and start looking at the world from others' points of view? We have gotten sucked into the propaganda about Ukraine, never checking other sources or verifying what we "know" to see if there was any evidence that would support our intervention. Sound familiar? We've got to get the war-mongers out of DC!!

Kev C 2015-03-10 21:19

Allow me to explain why they won't. Education. The entire system is based on US centric thinking and behaviour. There is limited information available about the rest of the world and what there is is painting the US as the God Given Saviour of humanity. Hell they won the war after all. Single handed. They saved the UKs ass by coming to our rescue didn't they? Not!

Until the vast majority of Really decent but hypnotized Americans get the real info they will continue to believe what they are told because there isn't really an alternative to the Faux news/MSN bullshit and the pre programmed education system. Its not the peoples fault. The system was rigged long before they were born.

dsepeczi 2015-03-11 09:38

Quoting Trish42:
When will Americans ever get their collective head out of their ass and start looking at the world from others' points of view? We have gotten sucked into the propaganda about Ukraine, never checking other sources or verifying what we "know" to see if there was any evidence that would support our intervention. Sound familiar? We've got to get the war-mongers out of DC!!
Sadly, I'm starting to believe the answer to your question is ... "Never". If Iraq wasn't a big enough, loud enough, and obvious enough mistake to wake up ALL Americans to the fact that our government lies to us and we should take everything they say with a grain of salt and request that they provide solid proof of their allegations against another nation ... I can't think of any event that will. :(

pbbrodie 2015-03-11 09:45

"get warmongers out of Washington."
Yes, especially the complete idiots who are making insane comments about "limited nuclear war." There is no such thing as limited nuclear war. Once one is exploded, it is all over.

Johnny 2015-03-10 18:15

How soon we forget. The U.S. must punish Russia, and, more importantly, divert the attention of Russia from the Middle East, because Russia has supported Syria, which is an obstacle to open war against Iran, because Iran arms Hezbollah, and the last time the Zionists invaded Lebanon, Hezbollah chased them out. Hezbollah is an obstacle to annexation of the whole area by Israel. And now that the Zionists smell the opportunity to induce the U.S. to attack Iran, they are creating another front on which Russia must try to defend itself and its allies. The U.S. Congress is not the only part of the U.S. government that Jewish supremacist banksters have bought, lock, stock, and barrel. (Before some asshole starts to howl about anti-Semitism, let him explain why we should not criticize other proponents of racism, such as white supremacists; Zionism, after all, is merely warmed over Nazism, with a different "chosen" people and different victims.)

dquandle 2015-03-10 20:05

In fact, the neo-nazis now in control in the US/NATO supported Ukraine have been blatantly anti-semitic for decades, having supported the Nazis at that time and are even more egregious now.

"For the first time since 1945, a neo-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No Western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism in the borderland through which Hitler's invading Nazis took millions of Russian lives. They were supported by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), responsible for the massacre of Jews and Russians they called "vermin". The UPA is the historical inspiration of the present-day Svoboda Party and its fellow-travelli ng Right Sector. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left."

Taken from

And these, fully supported and paid for supported by the ostensibly "Jewish" Nuland and Obama's heinous State Department.

See also e.g.

Radscal 2015-03-11 00:24

In addition to Ms. Nuland and her PNAC founding husband, Robert Kagan, two of the three Democrats cited by Mr. Boardman as signees on the "arm Ukraine" letter are Jewish. In fact, Congressman Engel is of Ukrainian Jewish ancestry.

As the "protests" in Ukraine grew in late 2013/early 2014, Ukrainian Jewish groups reported skyrocketing cases of anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks. But those reports were buried by Zionist organizations who insisted that Russia was the real threat to Ukrainian Jews, not the frigging Nazis in Ukraine!

At first, this sort of thing confused me, before I realized it wasn't a Jew against Jew thing. This is Zionist fascists supporting Nazi fascists.

Vardoz 2015-03-10 22:23

Sorry it just boils down to profits and power and any excuse to wage endless war for profits period end of story.

L.S. 2015-03-10 20:06

I do not agree with these conclusions. I don't believe that the U.S. and U.K. are invested in military action. Those troops are advisors and instructors. This interpretation is very cynical and pessimistic and I don't buy it.

My background is International Relations and I am watching the chess pieces on the board and I challenge this interpretation and find it very unhelpful and in itself can be contributing towards War rather than supporting the diplomatic actions towards Peace.

Merlin 2015-03-10 21:02

L.S. 2015-03-10 20:06

So talk to me about the advisors that Eisenhower put in Viet Nam. Then talk to me about Kennedy expanding on their number. Then talk to me about the Viet Nam War.

You state:

"My background is International Relations and I am watching the chess pieces on the board and I challenge this interpretation"

I challenge YOU because either you a not what you claim or you sure did not learn very much.

Kev C 2015-03-10 21:24

If you don't see what is happening now then your a lousy chess player. Don't give up though. Practice makes perfect. However beware there are not many nations left that haven't been smeared then bombed by the US and we are running out nations and out of time before the US blow all our asses off the face of the planet for that self serving act of pathetic vanity which will be countersigned in hell with 'Property of The US Military.'

jsluka 2015-03-11 00:17

"Advisors and intructors" - Don't be naive. And what happens when some of them get killed? What is the likelihood or statistical probability of escalation after that? This is clearly provocative and dangerous and does absolutely nothing for "peace" or "security" of anyone.

Radscal 2015-03-11 00:27

L.S. "...I am watching the chess pieces on the board..."

Does your use of that analogy imply that you read Ziggy Brzezenski's 1998 book, "The Grand Chessboard," in which he explains why the U.S. must take control of Ukraine as key to controlling Eurasian resources, and ultimately to conquer Russia and China?

RODNOX 2015-03-11 05:14

history has shown the USA always has some underhanded agenda--some self serving plan---and often plays BOTH sides of the problem--just to escalate it----WHEN WILL WE STOP THEM ????? THIS IS TRULY THE 1 % IN ACTION--WE--THE PEOPLE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM

wrknight 2015-03-12 20:47

Quoting L.S.:
I do not agree with these conclusions. I don't believe that the U.S. and U.K. are invested in military action. Those troops are advisors and instructors.

Like the advisors the U.S. sent to South Vietnam in the 1950's.

Archie1954 2015-03-10 20:16

Exceptional, indispensable? More like irrational, despicable! What we need is for Putin to call up Obama and tell him point blank that if the US doesn't get the hell out of Ukraine, Russia will make it! If you don't think it can, think again!

jsluka 2015-03-11 00:20

I appreciate your emotion here, but that would be really really scary because I imagine the US would respond with even greater belligerance and "justify" it by saying "Putin is threatening us" - even though, ironically, it is the US that is doing all the threatening.

Vardoz 2015-03-10 21:17

It's more like war madmen then warmongers and it's all very frightening. Putin is crazy too and we have no right getting involved so that the Fuking military can make profits!!!! Enough!!!!! Our military is out of control with a suicidal war agenda and they don't care about the consequences or the collateral damage. It's just war all around, kick out the jams no matter how many die- they don't give a damn. Seemed like Germany was making some constructive headway and Merkel should tell the US where to go. This is all so dirty and obscene and wrong.

Radscal 2015-03-11 00:33

You do know that the U.S. was not even invited to the peace talks, right?

Similarly, it was EU members, Russia and then-president Yanukovych who signed the agreement with the Maidan Protest leaders on 2/21/14 in which Yanukovych acquiesced to every one of their demands.

That was when Vickie Nuland's "Fuck the EU" plan went into action and the neo-nazis stormed the government buildings, including the Parliament and drove about 2 dozen Members of Parliament and the President to flee for their lives.

And that, is why those who followed the events call it a "coup."

jdd 2015-03-11 07:28

The ceaae-fire came about because the "Normandy Four" excluded the US and UK, whose participation would have guaranteed failure. Now the efforts of all, but especially that of Putin have led to a fragile peace. The response from a disappointed Victoria Nuland crowd continues to speak of sending arms and "advisors" to Ukraine in order to throw gasoline on the embers.

dsepeczi 2015-03-11 08:21

Quoting ericlane:
Another moronic article. Who do you think was behind the peace deal?
Ummm. I believe the organizers of that peace deal were Europe, Ukraine and Russia. The US, wisely, was not invited to the table.

jsluka 2015-03-11 00:13

Is "US Goes Ballistic" a scary pun here? I.e., as in "nuclear armed ballistic missiles". Also, isn't that how it all started in the Vietnam War - with "advisors"? This is batcrap crazy, but then many people have now begun to realise that US politicians have become homocidally psychotic. It's "back to the future" and return of Dr. Strangelove. 2015-03-11 06:22

We have no business in Ukraine, we have no business antagonizing the Russians. We Slavs have been demonized, mocked and denigrated as imbeciles and barbarians by the West for centuries. Stay the hell away from us, already. We don't need to be like you.

Buddha 2015-03-11 17:10

"To the dismay of the Pentagon, the White House war crowd, and the rest of the American bloviating class of chickenhawk hardliners, the warring sides in Ukraine are disengaging and the ceasefire has almost arrived (March 7 was the first day with no casualties)."

John McCain's dick just got limp again. Oh well, there is always ISIS and Iran to try to stoke up WWIII, right Uncle Fester?

Kootenay Coyote 2015-03-16 10:12

"Until Americans, and especially American policy maker, face fundamental realities in and about Ukraine….". Or any fundamental realities, for that matter: cf. Global Warming. The nearest thing to reality that's considered is that of the weapon makers & warmongers, & that's pretty meagre.

[May 03, 2015] Hillary Clinton The International Neocon Warmonger, by Webster G. Tarpley

April 13, 2015 |

As the National Journal reported in 2014, even the pathetically weak anti-war left is not ready to reconcile with Hillary given her warmongering as Secretary of State. And with good reason. Scratching just lightly beneath the surface of Hillary Clinton's career reveals the empirical evidence of her historic support for aggressive interventions around the globe.

Beginning with Africa, Hillary defended the 1998 cruise missile strike on the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, destroying the largest producer of cheap medications for treating malaria and tuberculosis and provided over 60% of available medicine in Sudan. In 2006 she supported sending United Nations troops to Darfur with logistical and technical support provided by NATO forces. Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi was outspoken in his condemnation of this intervention, claiming it was not committed out of concern for Sudanese people but "…for oil and for the return of colonialism to the African continent."

This is the same leader who was murdered in the aftermath of the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya; an attack promoted and facilitated with the eager support of Mrs. Clinton. In an infamous CBS news interview, said regarding this international crime: "We came, we saw, he died." As Time magazine pointed out in 2011, the administration understood removing Qaddafi from power would allow the terrorist cells active in Libya to run rampant in the vacuum left behind. Just last month the New York Times reported that Libya has indeed become a terrorist safe haven and failed state— conducive for exporting radicals through "ratlines" to the conflict against Assad in Syria.

Hillary made prompt use of the ratlines for conflicts in the Middle East. In the summer of 2012, Clinton privately worked with then CIA director and subversive bonapartist David Petraeus on a proposal for providing arms and training to death squads to be used to topple Syria just as in Libya. This proposal was ultimately struck down by Obama, reported the New York Times in 2013, but constituted one of the earliest attempts at open military support for the Syrian death squads.

Her voting record on intervening in Afghanistan and Iraq is well known and she also has consistently called for attacking Iran. She even told Fareed Zakaria the State Department was involved "behind the scenes" in Iran's failed 2009 Green Revolution. More recently in Foreign Policy magazine David Rothkopf wrote on the subject of the Lausanne nuclear accord, predicting a "snap-back" in policy by the winner of the 2016 election to the foreign policy in place since the 1980s. The title of this article? "Hillary Clinton is the Real Iran Snap-Back." This makes Hillary the prime suspect for a return to the madcap Iranian policies that routinely threaten the world with a World War 3 scenario.

Hillary Clinton is not only actively aggressing against Africa and the Middle East. She was one of the loudest proponents against her husband's hesitancy over the bombing of Kosovo, telling Lucina Frank: "I urged him to bomb," even if it was a unilateral action.

While no Clinton spokesperson responded to a request by the Washington Free Beacon regarding her stance on Ukraine, in paid speeches she mentioned "putting more financial support into the Ukrainian government". When Crimea decided to choose the Russian Federation over Poroshenko's proto-fascist rump state, Hillary anachronistically called President Putin's actions like "what Hitler did in the '30s." As a leader of the bumbled "reset" policy towards Russia, Hillary undoubtedly harbors some animus against Putin and will continue the destabilization project ongoing in Ukraine.

Not content with engaging in debacles in Eastern Europe, she has vocally argued for a more aggressive response to what she called the "rollback of democratic development and economic openness in parts of Latin America." This indicates her willingness to allow the continuation of CIA sponsored efforts at South American destabilization in the countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Brazil.

It is one of the proud prerogatives of the Tax Wall Street Party to push out into the light the Wall Street and foundation-funded Democrats. The final blow to Hillary's clumsy façade comes directly from arch-neocon Robert Kagan. Kagan worked as a foreign policy advisor to Hillary along with his wife, Ukraine madwoman Victoria Nuland, during Hillary's term as Secretary of State. He claimed in the New York Times that his view of American foreign policy is best represented in the "mainstream" by the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton; a foreign policy he obviously manipulated or outright crafted. Kagan stated: "If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue…it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else." What further reason could any sane person need to refute Hillary? A vote for Hillary is a vote for the irrational return to war.

The "Giant Sucking Sound": Clinton Gave US NAFTA and Other Free Trade Sellouts

"There is no success story for workers to be found in North America 20 years after NAFTA," states AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. Unlike other failures of his Presidency, Bill Clinton can not run from NAFTA. It was Vice President Al Gore, not a veto-proof Republican congress, who lobbied to remove trade barriers with low-wage Mexico.

The record of free trade is clear. Multinational corporations and Wall Street speculators realize incredible profits, wages remain stagnant in the US, poverty persists in the developing world, and the remaining industrial corporations in America and Canada are increasingly owned by Chinese, Indian and other foreign interests.

America's free trade policy is upside down. Besides Canada, Australia and Korea, most of our "free" trade partners are low-wage sweatshop paradises like Mexico, Chile, Panama, Guatemala, Bahrain and Oman. The US does in fact apply tariffs on most goods and on most nations of origin – rates are set by the US International Trade Commission (USTIC), a quasi-public federal agency.

Since a German- or Japanese-made automobile would under USITC's schedule be taxed 10% upon importation, Volkswagen and Toyota can circumvent taxation by simply building their auto assembly plants for the US market in Mexico. In Detroit, an auto assembly worker is paid between $14 and $28/hour, ($29,120-$58,240/yr); hard work for modest pay. In Mexico, the rate varies from $2-5/hour.

In China, all automobile imports regardless of origin are tariffed as high as 25%. This allows the Chinese to attract joint ventures with Volkswagen and Toyota, and to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, "keep the jobs, the cars and the money."

NAFTA-related job loss is not a question of productivity, currency manipulation, "fair trade," environmental standards, etc. While these issues are not trivial, free trade – as Lincoln's advisor Henry C. Carey proved – is a matter of simple accounting. Can an American family survive on $4,160/year ($2/hr)? If not, cars and their components will be built in Mexico. If we want cars built in the United States, the only solution is a general tariff (import tax) reflecting the difference between those wage standards, like the very tariffs repealed by Bill Clinton.

In the United States the "runaway shop" under NAFTA and CAFTA has sent trade deficits and unemployment soaring while wages drop relative to the cost of living. Yet Mexico and other "partners" receive no benefit either. Many manufacturing sectors in Mexico pay wages lower than the equivalent sector in China. Mexico is now the world leader in illegal narcotics exportation and weapons importation. The poverty level between 1994 and 2009 remained virtually identical. (52.4% – 52.3%). The shipping of raw materials to Mexico comprise the majority of so called American "exports". The finished products from these exports are assembled and sold back to the United States at slave labor prices.

Don't expect Hillary to behave differently with the coming "Trans-Pacific Partnership," which seeks to replace an ascendant China with less-developed Vietnam and Malaysia. Vietnam would overtake India-allied Bangladesh in the global apparel trade, and Malaysia has a high-tech manufacturing sector poised to rival China's. With America's manufacturing economy in shambles, the Clinton machine can now be redirected to geopolitical maneuvers.

Article licensed under Creative Commons

The articles on Voltaire Network may be freely reproduced provided the source is cited, their integrity is respected and they are not used for commercial purposes (license CC BY-NC-ND).

[Apr 19, 2015] Twitter Moves Non-US Accounts To Ireland, and Away From the NSA<

Apr 19, 2015 |


Mark Wilson writes Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats U.S. and non-U.S. users differently. If you live in the U.S., your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you're elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it's handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope. What's the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by U.S. law; it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation. Twitter is not alone in using Dublin as a base for non-U.S. operations; Facebook is another company that has adopted the same tactic. The move could also have implications for how advertising is handled in the future.

[Apr 19, 2015] The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

Apr 18, 2015 |

Neocons the Echo of German Fascism By Todd E. Pierce

March 27, 2015 | Consortiumnews

Exclusive: The "f-word" for "fascist" keeps cropping up in discussing aggressive U.S. and Israeli "exceptionalism," but there's a distinction from the "n-word" for "Nazi." This new form of ignoring international law fits more with an older form of German authoritarianism favored by neocon icon Leo Strauss, says retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.

With the Likud Party electoral victory in Israel, the Republican Party is on a roll, having won two major elections in a row. The first was winning control of the U.S. Congress last fall. The second is the victory by the Republicans' de facto party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's recent election. As the Israeli Prime Minister puts together a coalition with other parties "in the national camp," as he describes them, meaning the ultra-nationalist parties of Israel, it will be a coalition that today's Republicans would feel right at home in.

The common thread linking Republicans and Netanyahu's "national camp" is a belief of each in their own country's "exceptionalism," with a consequent right of military intervention wherever and whenever their "Commander in Chief" orders it, as well as the need for oppressive laws to suppress dissent.

Leo Strauss, an intellectual bridge between Germany's inter-war Conservative Revolutionaries and today's American neoconservatives.

Leo Strauss, an intellectual bridge between Germany's inter-war Conservative Revolutionaries and today's American neoconservatives.

William Kristol, neoconservative editor of the Weekly Standard, would agree. Celebrating Netanyahu's victory, Kristol told the New York Times, "It will strengthen the hawkish types in the Republican Party." Kristol added that Netanyahu would win the GOP's nomination, if he could run, because "Republican primary voters are at least as hawkish as the Israeli public."

The loser in both the Israeli and U.S. elections was the rule of law and real democracy, not the sham democracy presented for public relations purposes in both counties. In both countries today, money controls elections, and as Michael Glennon has written in National Security and Double Government, real power is in the hands of the national security apparatus.

Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership role in the U.S. Congress was on full display to the world when he accepted House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to address Congress. Showing their eagerness to be part of any political coalition being formed under Netanyahu's leadership, many Congressional Democrats also showed their support by attending the speech.

It was left to Israeli Uri Avnery to best capture the spirit of Netanyahu's enthusiastic ideological supporters in Congress. Avnery wrote that he was reminded of something when seeing "Row upon row of men in suits (and the occasional woman), jumping up and down, up and down, applauding wildly, shouting approval."

Where had he heard that type of shouting before? Then it came to him: "It was another parliament in the mid-1930s. The Leader was speaking. Rows upon rows of Reichstag members were listening raptly. Every few minutes they jumped up and shouted their approval."

He added, "the Congress of the United States of America is no Reichstag. Members wear dark suits, not brown shirts. They do not shout 'Heil' but something unintelligible." Nevertheless, "the sound of the shouting had the same effect. Rather shocking."

Right-wing Politics in Pre-Nazi Germany

While Avnery's analogy of how Congress responded to its de facto leader was apt, it isn't necessary to go to the extreme example that he uses to analogize today's right-wing U.S. and Israeli parties and policy to an earlier German precedent. Instead, it is sufficient to note how similar the right-wing parties of Israel and the U.S. of today are to what was known in 1920s Weimar Germany as the Conservative Revolutionary Movement.

This "movement" did not include the Nazis but instead the Nazis were political competitors with the party which largely represented Conservative Revolutionary ideas: the German National People's Party (DNVP).

The institution to which the Conservative Revolutionaries saw as best representing German "values," the Reichswehr, the German Army, was also opposed by the Nazis as "competitors" to Ernst Rohm's Brownshirts. But the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, the DNVP, and the German Army could all be characterized as "proto-fascist," if not Fascist. In fact, when the Nazis took over Germany, it was with the support of many of the proto-fascists making up the Conservative Revolutionary Movement, as well as those with the DNVP and the Reichswehr.

Consequently, many of the Reichstag members that Uri Avnery refers to above as listening raptly and jumping up and shouting their approval of "The Leader" were not Nazis. The Nazis had failed to obtain an absolute majority on their own and needed the votes of the "national camp," primarily the German National People's Party (DNVP), for a Reichstag majority.

The DNVP members would have been cheering The Leader right alongside Nazi members of the Reichstag. DNVP members also voted along with Nazi members in passing the Enabling Act of 1933, which abolished constitutional liberties and dissolved the Reichstag.

Not enough has been written on the German Conservative Revolutionary Movement , the DNVP and the Reichswehr because they have too often been seen as victims of the Nazis themselves or, at worst, mere precursors.

The DNVP was the political party which best represented the viewpoint of the German Conservative Revolutionary Movement. The Reichswehr itself, as described in The Nemesis of Power by John W. Wheeler-Bennett, has been called a "state within a state," much like the intelligence and security services of the U.S. and Israel are today, wielding extraordinary powers.

The Reichswehr was militaristic and anti-democratic in its purest form and indeed was "fascist" in the term's classic definition of "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization." Mussolini merely modeled much of his hyper-militaristic political movement on the martial values of the Reichswehr.

German Army officers even had authority to punish civilians for failing to show "proper respect." In its essence, the viewpoint of the DNVP and the Conservative Revolutionaries was virtually identical to today's Republican Party along with those Democrats who align with them on national security issues.

These groups have in common a worshipful attitude toward the military as best embodying those martial virtues that are central to fascism. Sister parties, though they may all prefer to be seen as "brothers in arms," would be Netanyahu's "national camp" parties.

German Conservative Revolutionary Movement

The Conservative Revolutionary Movement began within the German Right after World War I with a number of writers advocating a nationalist ideology but one in keeping with modern times and not restricted by traditional Prussian conservatism.

It must be noted that Prussian conservatism, standing for militaristic ideas traditional to Prussia, was the antithesis of traditional American conservatism, which professed to stand for upholding the classical liberal ideas of government embedded in the U.S. Constitution.

Inherent to those U.S. constitutional ideas was antipathy toward militarism and militaristic rule of any sort, though Native Americans have good cause to disagree. (In fact, stories of the American conquest of Native Americans with its solution of placing them on reservations were particularly popular in Germany early in the Twentieth Century including with Adolf Hitler).

Historians have noted that when the German Army went to war in World War I, the soldiers and officers carried with them "a shared sense of German superiority and the imagined bestiality of the enemy." This was manifested particularly harshly upon the citizens of Belgium in 1914 with the German occupation. Later, after their experience in the trenches, the Reichswehr was nearly as harsh in suppressing domestic dissent in Germany after the war.

According to Richard Wolin, in The Seduction of Unreason, Ernst Troeltsch, a German Protestant theologian, "realized that in the course of World War I the ethos of Germanocentrism, as embodied in the 'ideas of 1914,' had assumed a heightened stridency." Under the peace of the Versailles Treaty, "instead of muting the idiom of German exceptionalism that Troeltsch viewed with such mistrust, it seemed only to fan its flames."

This belief in German "exceptionalism" was the common belief of German Conservative Revolutionaries, the DNVP and the Reichswehr. For Republicans of today and those who share their ideological belief, substitute "American" for "German" Exceptionalism and you have the identical ideology.

"Exceptionalism" in the sense of a nation can be understood in two ways. One is a belief in the nation's superiority to others. The other way is the belief that the "exceptional" nation stands above the law, similar to the claim made by dictators in declaring martial law or a state of emergency. The U.S. and Israel exhibit both forms of this belief.

German Exceptionalism

The belief in German Exceptionalism was the starting point, not the ending point, for the Conservative Revolutionaries just as it is with today's Republicans such as Sen. Tom Cotton or Sen. Lindsey Graham. This Exceptionalist ideology gives the nation the right to interfere in other country's internal affairs for whatever reason the "exceptional" country deems necessary, such as desiring more living space for their population, fearing the potential of some future security threat, or even just by denying the "exceptional" country access within its borders — or a "denial of access threat" as the U.S. government terms it.

The fundamental ideas of the Conservative Revolutionaries have been described as vehement opposition to the Weimar Republic (identifying it with the lost war and the Versailles Treaty) and political "liberalism" (as opposed to Prussia's traditional authoritarianism).

This "liberalism," which offended the Conservative Revolutionaries, was democracy and individual rights against state power. Instead, the Conservative Revolutionaries envisaged a new reich of enormous strength and unity. They rejected the view that political action should be guided by rational criteria. They idealized violence for its own sake.

That idealization of violence would have meant "state" violence in the form of military expansionism and suppression of "enemies," domestic and foreign, by right-thinking Germans.

The Conservative Revolutionaries called for a "primacy of politics" which was to be "a reassertion of an expansion in foreign policy and repression against the trade unions at home." This "primacy of politics" for the Conservative Revolutionaries meant the erasure of a distinction between war and politics.

Citing Hannah Arendt, Jeffrey Herf, a professor of modern European history, wrote: "The explicit implications of the primacy of politics in the conservative revolution were totalitarian. From now on there were to be no limits to ideological politics. The utilitarian and humanistic considerations of nineteenth-century liberalism were to be abandoned in order to establish a state of constant dynamism and movement." That sounds a lot like the "creative destruction" that neoconservative theorist Michael Ledeen is so fond of.

Herf wrote in 1984 that Conservative Revolutionaries were characterized as "the intellectual advance guard of the rightist revolution that was to be effected in 1933," which, although contemptuous of Hitler, "did much to pave his road to power."

Unlike the Nazis, their belief in German superiority was based in historical traditions and ideas, not biological racism. Nevertheless, some saw German Jews as the "enemy" of Germany for being "incompatible with a united nation."

It is one of the bitterest of ironies that Israel as a "Jewish nation" has adopted similar attitudes toward its Arab citizens. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently proclaimed: "Those who are with us deserve everything, but those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe."

Within Israel, these "Conservative Revolutionary" ideas were manifested in one of their founding political parties, Herut, whose founders came out of the same central European political milieu of interwar Europe and from which Netanyahu's Likud party is descended.

Ernst Junger

Author Ernst Junger was the most important contributor to the celebration of war by the Conservative Revolutionaries and was an influence and an enabler of the Nazis coming to power. He serialized his celebration of war and his belief in its "redeeming" qualities in a number of popular books with "war porn" titles such as, in English, The Storm of Steel, The Battle as an Inner Experience, and Fire and Blood.

The title of a collection of Junger essays in 1930, Krieg und Krieger (War and the Warriors) captures the spirit of America in the Twenty-first Century as much as it did the German spirit in 1930. While members of the U.S. military once went by terms such as soldier, sailor and marine, now they are routinely generically called "Warriors," especially by the highest ranks, a term never before used to describe what were once "citizen soldiers."

Putting a book with a "Warrior" title out on the shelf in a Barnes and Noble would almost guarantee a best-seller, even when competing with all the U.S. SEALS' reminiscences and American sniper stories. But German philosopher Walter Benjamin understood the meaning of Junger's Krieg und Krieger, explaining it in the appropriately titled Theories of German Fascism.

Fundamental to Junger's celebration of war was a metaphysical belief in "totale Mobilmachung" or total mobilization to describe the functioning of a society that fully grasps the meaning of war. With World War I, Junger saw the battlefield as the scene of struggle "for life and death," pushing all historical and political considerations aside. But he saw in the war the fact that "in it the genius of war permeated the spirit of progress."

According to Jeffrey Herf in Reactionary Modernism, Junger saw total mobilization as "a worldwide trend toward state-directed mobilization in which individual freedom would be sacrificed to the demands of authoritarian planning." Welcoming this, Junger believed "that different currents of energy were coalescing into one powerful torrent. The era of total mobilization would bring about an 'unleashing' (Entfesselung) of a nevertheless disciplined life."

In practical terms, Junger's metaphysical view of war meant that Germany had lost World War I because its economic and technological mobilization had only been partial and not total. He lamented that Germany had been unable to place the "spirit of the age" in the service of nationalism. Consequently, he believed that "bourgeois legality," which placed restrictions on the powers of the authoritarian state, "must be abolished in order to liberate technological advance."

Today, total mobilization for the U.S. begins with the Republicans' budgeting efforts to strip away funding for domestic civilian uses and shifting it to military and intelligence spending. Army veteran, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, exemplifies this belief in "total mobilization" of society with his calls for dramatically increased military spending and his belief that "We must again show the U.S. is willing and prepared to [get into] a war in the first place" by making clear that potential "aggressors will pay an unspeakable price if they challenge the United States."

That is the true purpose of Twenty-first Century Republican economics: total mobilization of the economy for war. Just as defeated German generals and the Conservative Revolutionaries believed that Germany lost World War I because their economy and nation was only "partially mobilized," so too did many American Vietnam War-era generals and right-wing politicians believe the same of the Vietnam War. Retired Gen. David Petraeus and today's neoconservatives have made similar arguments about President Barack Obama's failure to sustain the Iraq War. [See, for instance, this fawning Washington Post interview with Petraeus.]

What all these militarists failed to understand is that, according to Clausewitz, when a war's costs exceed its benefits, the sound strategy is to end the costly war. The Germans failed to understand this in World War II and the Soviet Union in their Afghan War.

Paradoxically in the Vietnam War, it was the anti-war movement that enhanced U.S. strength by bringing that wasteful war to an end, not the American militarists who would have continued it to a bitter end of economic collapse. We are now seeing a similar debate about whether to continue and expand U.S. military operations across the Middle East.

Carl Schmitt

While Ernst Junger was the celebrant and the publicist for total mobilization of society for endless war, including the need for authoritarian government, Carl Schmitt was the ideological theoretician, both legally and politically, who helped bring about the totalitarian and militaristic society. Except when it happened, it came under different ownership than what they had hoped and planned for.

Contrary to Schmitt's latter-day apologists and/or advocates, who include prominent law professors teaching at Harvard and the University of Chicago, his legal writings weren't about preserving the Weimar Republic against its totalitarian enemies, the Communists and Nazis. Rather, he worked on behalf of a rival fascist faction, members of the German Army General Staff. He acted as a legal adviser to General Kurt von Schleicher, who in turn advised President Paul von Hindenburg, former Chief of the German General Staff during World War I.

German historian Eberhard Kolb observed, "from the mid-1920s onwards the Army leaders had developed and propagated new social conceptions of a militarist kind, tending towards a fusion of the military and civilian sectors and ultimately a totalitarian military state (Wehrstaat)."

When General Schleicher helped bring about the political fall of Reichswehr Commander in Chief, General von Seekt, it was a "triumph of the 'modern' faction within the Reichswehr who favored a total war ideology and wanted Germany to become a dictatorship that would wage total war upon the other nations of Europe," according to Kolb.

When Hitler and the Nazis outmaneuvered the Army politically, Schmitt, as well as most other Conservative Revolutionaries, went over to the Nazis.

Reading Schmitt gives one a greater understanding of the Conservative Revolutionary's call for a "primacy of politics," explained previously as "a reassertion of an expansion in foreign policy."

Schmitt said: "A world in which the possibility of war is utterly eliminated, a completely pacified globe, would be a world without the distinction of friend and enemy and hence a world without politics. It is conceivable that such a world might contain many very interesting antitheses and contrasts, competitions and intrigues of every kind, but there would not be a meaningful antithesis whereby men could be required to sacrifice life, authorized to shed blood, and kill other human beings. For the definition of the political, it is here even irrelevant whether such a world without politics is desirable as an ideal situation."

As evident in this statement, to Schmitt, the norm isn't peace, nor is peace even desirable, but rather perpetual war is the natural and preferable condition.

This dream of a Martial State is not isolated to German history. A Republican aligned neoconservative, Thomas Sowell, expressed the same longing in 2007 in a National Review article, "Don't Get Weak." Sowell wrote; "When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup."

Leo Strauss, Conservative Revolutionaries and Republicans

Political philosopher Leo Strauss had yearned for the glorious German Conservative Revolution but was despondent when it took the form of the Nazi Third Reich, from which he was excluded because he was Jewish regardless of his fascist ideology.

He wrote to a German Jewish friend, Karl Loewith: "the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l'homme [inalienable rights of man] to protest against the shabby abomination."

Strauss was in agreement politically with Schmitt, and they were close friends.

Professor Alan Gilbert of Denver University has written: "As a Jew, Strauss was forbidden from following Schmitt and [German philosopher Martin] Heidegger into the Nazi party. 'But he was a man of the Right. Like some other Zionists, those who admired Mussolini for instance, Strauss' principles, as the 1933 letter relates, were 'fascist, authoritarian, imperial.'"

Strauss was intelligent enough when he arrived in the U.S. to disguise and channel his fascist thought by going back to like-minded "ancient" philosophers and thereby presenting fascism as part of our "western heritage," just as the current neocon classicist Victor Davis Hanson does.

Needless to say, fascism is built on the belief in a dictator, as was Sparta and the Roman Empire and as propounded by Socrates and Plato, so turning to the thought of ancient philosophers and historians makes a good "cover" for fascist thought.

Leo Strauss must be seen as the Godfather of the modern Republican Party's political ideology. His legacy continues now through the innumerable "Neoconservative Revolutionary" front groups with cover names frequently invoking "democracy" or "security," such as Sen. Lindsey Graham's "Security Through Strength."

Typifying the Straussian neoconservative revolutionary whose hunger for military aggression can never be satiated would be former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame and practitioner of the "big lie," who returned to government under President George W. Bush to push the Iraq War and is currently promoting a U.S. war against Iran.

In a classic example of "projection," Abrams writes that "Ideology is the raison d'etre of Iran's regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world." That can as truthfully be said of his own Neoconservative Revolutionary ideology and its adherents.

That ideology explains Bill Kristol's crowing over Netanyahu's victory and claiming Netanyahu as the Republicans' de facto leader. For years, the U.S. and Israel under Netanyahu have had nearly identical foreign policy approaches though they are at the moment in some disagreement because President Obama has resisted war with Iran while Netanyahu is essentially demanding it.

But at a deeper level the two countries share a common outlook, calling for continuous military interventionism outside each country's borders with increased exercise of authority by the military and other security services within their borders. This is no accident. It can be traced back to joint right-wing extremist efforts in both countries with American neoconservatives playing key roles.

The best example of this joint effort was when U.S. neocons joined with the right-wing, Likud-connected Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in 1996 to publish their joint plan for continuous military interventionism in the Mideast in "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," which envisioned "regime change" instead of negotiations. [See's "How Israel Outfoxed U.S. Presidents."]

While ostensibly written for Netanyahu's political campaign, "A Clean Break" became the blueprint for subsequent war policies advocated by the Project for the New American Century, founded by neocons William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The chief contribution of the American neocons in this strategy was to marshal U.S. military resources to do the heavy lifting in attacking Israel's neighbors beginning with Iraq.

With these policy preferences goes a belief inside each country's political parties, across the spectrum but particularly on the Right, that Israel and the United States each stand apart from all other nations as "Exceptional." This is continuously repeated to ensure imprinting it in the population's consciousness in the tradition of fascist states through history.

It is believed today in both the U.S. and Israel, just as the German Conservative Revolutionaries believed it in the 1920s and 1930s of their homeland, Germany, and then carried on by the Nazis until 1945.

Israeli Herut Party

The Knesset website describes the original Herut party (1948-1988) as the main opposition party (against the early domination by the Labor Party). Herut was the most right-wing party in the years before the Likud party came into being and absorbed Herut into a coalition. Its expansionist slogan was "To the banks to the Jordan River" and it refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Kingdom of Jordan. Economically, Herut supported private enterprise and a reduction of government intervention.

In "A Clean Break," the authors were advising Netanyahu to reclaim the belligerent and expansionist principles of the Herut party.

Herut was founded in 1948 by Menachem Begin, the leader of the right-wing militant group Irgun, which was widely regarded as a terrorist organization responsible for killing Palestinians and cleansing them from land claimed by Israel, including the infamous Deir Yassin massacre.

Herut's nature as a party and movement was best explained in a critical letter to the New York Times on Dec. 4, 1948, signed by over two dozen prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt.

The letter read: "Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the 'Freedom Party' (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.

"It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. (…) It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents. …

"Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future."

According to author Joseph Heller, Herut was a one-issue party intent on expanding Israel's borders. That Netanyahu has never set aside Herut's ideology can be gleaned from his book last revised in 2000, A Durable Peace. There, Netanyahu praises Herut's predecessors – the Irgun paramilitary and Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, a self-declared "terrorist" group. He also marginalizes their Israeli adversary of the time, the Hagana under Israel's primary founder and first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

Regardless of methods used, the Stern Gang was indisputably "fascist," even receiving military training from Fascist Italy. One does not need to speculate as to its ideological influences.

According to Colin Shindler, writing in Triumph of Military Zionism: Nationalism and the Origins of the Israeli Right, "Stern devotedly believed that 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' so he approached Nazi Germany. With German armies at the gates of Palestine, he offered co-operation and an alliance with a new totalitarian Hebrew republic."

Netanyahu in his recent election campaign would seem to have re-embraced his fascist origins, both with its racism and his declaration that as long as he was prime minister he would block a Palestinian state and would continue building Jewish settlements on what international law recognizes as Palestinian land.

In other words, maintaining a state of war on the Palestinian people with a military occupation and governing by military rule, while continuing to make further territorial gains with the IDF acting as shock troops for the settlers.

Why Does This Matter?

Sun-Tzu famously wrote "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

When we allow our "Conservative Revolutionaries" (or neoconservative militarists or proto-fascists or whatever term best describes them) to make foreign policy, the United States loses legitimacy in the world as a "rule of law" state. Instead, we present a "fascist" justification for our wars which is blatantly illicit.

As the American political establishment has become so enamored with war and the "warriors" who fight them, it has become child's play for our militarists to manipulate the U.S. into wars or foreign aggression through promiscuous economic sanctions or inciting and arming foreign groups to destabilize the countries that we target.

No better example for this can be shown than the role that America's First Family of Militarism, the Kagans, plays in pushing total war mobilization of the U.S. economy and inciting war, at the expense of civilian and domestic needs, as Robert Parry wrote.

This can be seen with Robert Kagan invoking the martial virtue of "courage" in demanding greater military spending by our elected officials and a greater wealth transfer to the Military Industrial Complex which funds the various war advocacy projects that he and his family are involved with.

Kagan recently wrote: "Those who propose to lead the United States in the coming years, Republicans and Democrats, need to show what kind of political courage they have, right now, when the crucial budget decisions are being made."

But as Parry pointed out, showing "courage," "in Kagan's view – is to ladle ever more billions into the Military-Industrial Complex, thus putting money where the Republican mouths are regarding the need to 'defend Ukraine' and resist 'a bad nuclear deal with Iran.'" But Parry noted that if it weren't for Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, Kagan's spouse, the Ukraine crisis might not exist.

What must certainly be seen as neo-fascist under any system of government but especially under a nominal "constitutional republic" as the U.S. claims to be, is Sen. Lindsey Graham's threat that the first thing he would do if elected President of the United States would be to use the military to detain members of Congress, keeping them in session in Washington, until all so-called "defense cuts" are restored to the budget.

In Graham's words, "I wouldn't let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We're not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts."

And he would have that power according to former Vice President Dick Cheney's "unitary executive theory" of Presidential power, originally formulated by Carl Schmitt and adopted by Republican attorneys and incorporated into government under the Bush-Cheney administration. Sen. Tom Cotton and other Republicans would no doubt support such an abuse of power if it meant increasing military spending.

But even more dangerous for the U.S. as well as other nations in the world is that one day, our militarists' constant incitement and provocation to war is going to "payoff," and the U.S. will be in a real war with an enemy with nuclear weapons, like the one Victoria Nuland is creating on Russia's border.

Today's American "Conservative Revolutionary" lust for war was summed up by prominent neoconservative Richard Perle, a co-author of "A Clean Break." Echoing the views on war from Ernst Junger and Carl Schmitt, Perle once explained U.S. strategy in the neoconservative view, according to John Pilger:

"There will be no stages," he said. "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there . . . If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

That goal was the same fantasy professed by German Conservative Revolutionaries and it led directly to a wartime defeat never imagined by Germany before, with all the "collateral damage" along the way that always results from "total war."

Rather than continuing with this "strategy," driven by our own modern Conservative Revolutionaries and entailing the eventual bankrupting or destruction of the nation, it might be more prudent for Americans to demand that we go back to the original national security strategy of the United States, as expressed by early presidents as avoiding "foreign entanglements" and start abiding by the republican goals expressed by the Preamble to the Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. In the course of that assignment, he researched and reviewed the complete records of military commissions held during the Civil War and stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


45 comments for "Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism"

  1. tateishi

    March 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Good article. Often people forget that Germany is a very aggressive war mongers, sending soldiers to many areas, and actually it started Yugoslavian war together with the US. It also has many people who believe that they are Aryans, Hitler's imaginary race, though there are real Aryans peaceful one in the mountains of Iran, etc.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:23 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:24 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:24 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:25 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Lutz Barz

      March 28, 2015 at 5:25 am

      The Brits and French were far more militarily aggressive than the late comers Germany. The sun never set in British bayonets imposed on peaceful people globally. Over 3 million died in Bengal in the early 40s thanks to British indifference on feeding her own first [though she could source wheat from Canada and Bengal from Australia-this was not done]. Post WW1 into 1919 600+ Germans esp the young and old were dying of starvation courtesy of a British blockade still in place after the armistice. As for terrible Germany invading Belgium the Kaiser never protested about the British occupation of Ireland and it's bloody suppression. Then there is/was Palestine. One could go on. Every country has it's neanderthal conservatives. And Prussia was far more progressive during the early 19th century schooling its citizens and being part of the German Enlightenment. But as we know history is written by those who dominate militarily.

    • Steve

      March 29, 2015 at 11:07 am

      A very strange comment from a presumed Iranian especially. Germany is not aggressive at all since WW2, which was a result of much aggression by several nations starting with Japan and Italy. German soldiers have gone almost nowhere since then, a limited deployment in Afghanistan being the main case. Germany did not start the "Yugoslavian war" at all, which was begun by Serbia attacking Slovenia and Croatia after they voted and declared independence. Aryanism is very rare in Germany today, and far more belligerent language comes out of Iran than Germany, Iran having swapped Aryanism for Islamism to little if any benefit.

      As for the article itself, it makes the common error of imputing excessive influence to a limited era of German militarism, whilst ignoring the far more globally influential records of Western colonial and Communist militaristic imperialism, as well as Italian Fascism which was the more influential model for many amenable to such ideas, with its aggressive colonial and corporatist notions, and successful attainment of power a decade before Hitler's.


      March 29, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      Yea, but lesson is that USA is the continuation and revival of nazi ideology carrying its propound ideology of "exceptionalism". The neo conservative hawkish holding the belief that USA has the right to interfere in others countries internal affairs, that USA is above the law, that USA is predestinated by providence to spread its civilization and more others imperialists beliefs.

  2. F. G. Sanford

    March 27, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Concur. A common slogan of the political opposition in the 1930's was, "Fascism Means War!" It was true then, and it's still true today. The Major speaks the truth. I hope someone is listening.

  3. bobzz

    March 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    This piece tracks well with Charles Derber's, Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again, and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good. Hitler was rabid on the subject of morality (i.e., favored it). He was well received by many professional theologians, and the church generally swung in line. Not enough of the Barmen's Confession. This is another parallel with America and Israel and a major contributor to exceptionalism.

  4. John

    March 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Very true. The relationship of fascism and warmongering was described by Aristotle as the tactics of the tyrant over a democracy: fascist leaders must promote war and internal policing because it is the sole basis of their demand for power: they must create, provoke, or invent foreign enemies to demand power as "protectors" and accuse their opponents of disloyalty. They must appeal to the bully-boys as their militant wing, so they produce pseudo-philosophies of dominance.

    Fascism must at times be clarified in meaning to avoid limitation to specific historical instances, and it should be understood in those instances, but in is actually a very simple and universal attitude. It is nothing but the behavior and propaganda of bully boys. They are selfish, ignorant, hypocritical and malicious youths and abusive husbands and fathers, who glory in their small circle of the intimidated and push everyone around as a principal life skill. Those who extend that circle by operating small businesses, or as military or police officers, create and approve rationalizations of special rights. There is no real "exceptionalism" belief or philosophy of national/religious/ethnic superiority, it is just outright propaganda for bullying. They are quite stupid, and yet quickly pick up the methods of fascism, so it is not worth much analysis.

  5. John

    March 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I should add that the resurgence of fascism and its strength in the US and Israel is due to its association with economic concentrations. In business, the spoils go not to the inventor or ingenious professional as claimed in business propaganda: the spoils go to the bully-boy. Those who rise to the top in the corporate world are not the brilliant professionals or the effective managers who shine at lower levels. The path upwards is limited to those who come out on top wars between groups in collusion, who are without exception scheming bully-boys. There is no other way to the top. Only the methods are different from politics. So only bully-boys have great economic power.

    In the US, economic concentrations did not exist when the Constitution was written, so it provides no protection at all for the institutions of democracy from economic power. Economic powers controlled elections and the press in the 19th century, so there has been no way to even debate the issue, and now that control is almost absolute. Those are the powers obtainable only by bully-boys, the predominant fascists of Nazi Germany and the US, and no doubt Israel. So the US has been loosely controlled by fascism for a long time, and that control is nearly total now. Only the propaganda to rationalize this changes to sell the policies to the intimidated.

  6. Randy

    March 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    War is inevitable.. You simply cannot deny this and anyone who does is just dreaming… The world cannot live in some perpetual peace forever, what will happen when oil, water, and even living space runs out? Will you watch your family starve to death while the people over in the next town are eating to their hearts content?

    As much as you want to deny it, Hitler had it right. Peace is only attainable through war, and can only be won for your own people. There cannot be world peace, and the events of today proves it. Hitler and Japan was defeated more than 50 years ago, where is the peace? There will come a day where money will be worthless, the only currency will be strength, only those rich in this currency will survive. How nature intended it to be.

    Hitler knew this, and was preparing his own country, the rest of the world took the Banker path, and look where that led us.

    • Zachary Smith

      March 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      The world cannot live in some perpetual peace forever, what will happen when oil, water, and even living space runs out?

      Has it occurred to you that oil is only one of the many energy sources, and that the amount of water on Earth is basically a fixed quantity? Living space? Consider contraception combined with incentives, and disincentives for having babies galore.

      Can't help but notice you didn't mention Global Warming as a gnawing problem. Why?

      Finally, WHY is this site a magnet for the Hitler Fan Club?

      • Randy

        March 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

        The idea is that resources run out, right? I wasn't going to list everything. There is not a infinite amount of resources in this world, you can continue living in your fairy tale world if you'd like but I will not.

        Even the soil that we grow food in will one day become unusable if it is abused like it is today. Global warming is a result of your delusion of world peace. Nature hits back when you delay and ignore up its rule for to long.. There would be no Global Warming problem i

        • Zachary Smith

          March 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          Global warming is a result of your delusion of world peace.

          As I suspected.

          No doubt wind turbines kill the cute birdies.

          And contraception is some sort of sin.

    • John

      March 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Randy, be careful to avoid traps here:
      1. Wars will continue in history, but that is not a justification for doing wrong.
      2. When groups are in conflict, good leadership avoids war because it causes great wrongs. Sometimes it cannot be avoided, usually due to bad leadership. But of course that does not justify unnecessary war.
      3. Peace is not obtained by war. Sometimes it results from a successful defense against wrongful war, sometimes it is only the peace after a wrongful war succeeds. Those who prefer peace want to avoid unnecessary war. They are not afraid of necessary defense.
      4. Those who want to keep the US from unnecessary wars know more about the world's cultures and problems and solutions than those who always think of war as a solution. They know that our security depends upon making friends among a wild variety of cultures at different stages of development. That is done by helping the unfortunate even when we disagree with them, and we can't expect much from them in return. Wars mainly make us enemies, and those who promote wars conceal those failures. That's what this site is about.

    • holycowimeanzebra

      March 27, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Gee, we couldn't just talk like adults about the importance of having fewer children? War and killing is the only method of human population control?

    • holycowimeanzebra

      March 27, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Gee, we couldn't just talk like adults about the importance of having fewer children? War and killing is the only method of human population control?

    • zhu bajie

      March 30, 2015 at 1:03 am

      Nonsense. War is caused by fighting.

    • frank scott

      March 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      war, slavery and general ignorance are "inevitable" so long as people are mentally enslaved enough to tolerate them…the only thing inevitable about life is death…the rest is all subject to at least some measure of control, whether those are called political, religious or scientific..belief in such nonsense as above guarantees the continued master race-self chosen people-ism the article's writer is trying to contend with, call attention to and end..hitler was right about some things and wrong about most, like obama, bush, clinton, reagan and all other "leaders" of the status quo.

    • frank scott

      March 30, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      death is inevitable but the rest of life is subject to control by concerned, thoughtful and informed humans..war is inevitable only if the opposite type of humans continue and if they do it may be that all of us will lose continuity, fulfilling their dreadfully negative religious belief..the article seems to be at least trying to locate sources for some of the diseased madness that prevails but talk of "inevitable" war is an example of the disease.

  7. Gregory Kruse

    March 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Mr. Pierce appears to be a good example of a person who "knows himself, and knows his enemy", for indeed the Kagans and Cheneys of these times are enemies of the people. Unfortunately, most of the people don't know it yet, and in fact don't know themselves. It is absolutely dumbfounding to hear strains of Fox News coming from the mouths of otherwise seemingly decent and intelligent people who have the facility to think for themselves, but find it easier to parrot a TV station. I rue the fact that history and what served for political education in my youth led me to believe that there were no real enemies of democracy anymore. Reading back now through the history of Europe after the War of 1812 in Russia until WWI, I have come to appreciate the strength of fascist sentiment and passion, and I fairly tremble at the thought of the possible rise of another Otto von Bismark or Adolph Hitler in what we think of as "modern" times. There is only one ray of hope for me and that is the writing of such as Pierce, Parry, and some others scattered about the internet. It isn't clear to me that people will wake up and perceive the path we are on and in dreadful fear force a change of direction, but if not, we will learn again what it is to suffer unimaginable horror.

    • Zachary Smith

      March 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      It is absolutely dumbfounding to hear strains of Fox News coming from the mouths of otherwise seemingly decent and intelligent people who have the facility to think for themselves, but find it easier to parrot a TV station.

      Dumbfounding is right!

      Sometime back I was astonished to hear a relative at least as bright as myself (and educated at the same University) tell me that Fox was the ONLY news source which could be trusted. She'd moved from Indiana to the deep South years ago and sort-of "gone native". It was an ordeal to remain calm and use lip-glue.

  8. Theodora Crawford

    March 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Excellent discussion and worth the challenge of a thought-provoking and complex argument about governance and war. Today's environment is frightening with so much negative opinion, an absurd sense of US "exceptionalism" and unthinking faith in the power of war (clinched by a nuclear option as last resort).

    Alas, we have the government we deserve.

  9. Abe

    March 27, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    In 1926, German political theorist Carl Schmitt wrote his most famous paper, "Der Begriff des Politischen" ("The Concept of the Political"), in which he developed his theory of "the political".

    For Schmitt, "the political" is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic, but instead is the most essential to identity. As the essence of politics, "the political" is distinct from party politics.

    According to Schmitt, while churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceases to be merely theological when it makes a clear distinction between the "friend" and the "enemy").

    Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between friend and enemy. This distinction is to be determined "existentially," which is to say that the enemy is whoever is "in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible." (Schmitt, 1996, p. 27)

    For Schmitt, such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything.

    Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning Schmitt's work, there is broad agreement that "The Concept of the Political" is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the "other" (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one's own interests.) In addition, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force over potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to reach the level of the political, lest civil war result.

    Leo Strauss, a political Zionist and follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky, had a position at the Academy of Jewish Research in Berlin. Strauss wrote to Schmitt in 1932 and summarized Schmitt's political theology thus: "[B]ecause man is by nature evil, he therefore needs dominion. But dominion can be established, that is, men can be unified only in a unity against – against other men. Every association of men is necessarily a separation from other men… the political thus understood is not the constitutive principle of the state, of order, but a condition of the state."

    With a letter of recommendation from Schmitt, Strauss received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to begin work, in France, on a study of Hobbes. Schmitt went on to become a figure of influence in the new Nazi government of Adolf Hitler.

    On 30 January 1933, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. The SA and SS led torchlight parades throughout Berlin. Germans who opposed Nazism failed to unite against it, and Hitler soon moved to consolidate absolute power.

    Following the 27 February Reichstag fire, the Nazis began to suspend civil liberties and eliminate political opposition. The Communists were excluded from the Reichstag. At the March 1933 elections, again no single party secured a majority. Hitler required the vote of the Centre Party and Conservatives in the Reichstag to obtain the powers he desired. He called on Reichstag members to vote for the Enabling Act on 24 March 1933.

    Hitler was granted plenary powers "temporarily" by the passage of the Enabling Act. The law gave him the freedom to act without parliamentary consent and even without constitutional limitations.

    Schmitt joined the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933. Within days of joining the party, Schmitt was party to the burning of books by Jewish authors, rejoicing in the burning of "un-German" and "anti-German" material, and calling for a much more extensive purge, to include works by authors influenced by Jewish ideas.[

    In July 1933, Schmitt was appointed State Councillor for Prussia (Preußischer Staatsrat) by Hermann Göring and became the president of the Vereinigung nationalsozialistischer Juristen ("Union of National-Socialist Jurists") in November. He also replaced Hermann Heller as professor at the University of Berlin (a position he held until the end of World War II).

    Schmitt presented his theories as an ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship, and a justification of the Führer state with regard to legal philosophy, in particular through the concept of auctoritas. Half a year later, in June 1934, Schmitt was appointed editor-in-chief of the Nazi news organ for lawyers, the Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung ("German Jurists' Journal").

    In July 1934, he published "The Leader Protects the Law (Der Führer schützt das Recht)", a justification of the political murders of the Night of the Long Knives with the authority of Hitler as the "highest form of administrative justice (höchste Form administrativer Justiz)".

    Schmitt presented himself as a radical anti-semite and also was the chairman of a law teachers' convention in Berlin in October 1936, where he demanded that German law be cleansed of the "Jewish spirit (jüdischem Geist)", going so far as to demand that all publications by Jewish scientists should henceforth be marked with a small symbol.

    Nevertheless, in December 1936, the SS publication Das schwarze Korps accused Schmitt of being an opportunist, and called his anti-semitism a mere pretense, citing earlier statements in which he criticized the Nazis' racial theories. After this, Schmitt resigned from his position as "Reichsfachgruppenleiter" (Reich Professional Group Leader), although he retained his post as a professor in Berlin, and his post as "Preußischer Staatsrat".

    After World War II, Schmitt refused every attempt at de-nazification, which effectively barred him from positions in academia. Despite being isolated from the mainstream of the scholarly and political community, he continued his studies especially of international law from the 1950s on.

    In 1962, Schmitt gave lectures in Francoist Spain, two of them giving rise to the publication, the following year, of Theory of the Partisan, in which he qualified the Spanish civil war as a "war of national liberation" against "international Communism."

    Schmitt regarded the partisan as a specific and significant phenomenon that, in the latter half of the twentieth century, indicated the emergence of a new theory of warfare.

    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the most simple formulation of Schmitt's friend-enemy distinction was enunciated by this intellectual giant:

    In that Schmittian fulmination known as the Bush Doctrine, the "partisan" is transformed into the "terrorist," no longer "internal" but a truly "global" enemy to be destroyed wherever found.

    As further codified by the Obama Doctrine: the decider has the right.

    The world-ordering, planet-appropriating doctrine of American exceptionalism has no space in its Grossraum (great space) concept for a "Eurasia."

    The very enunciation of a "Eurasian" political sphere is a "terrorist" act, and all those associated with such "lunacy" are "enemies" to be annihilated.

  10. John

    March 28, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Junger was not so pro-war when he lost his son in WW11.

  11. John

    March 28, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Junger was not so pro-war when he lost his son in WW11.

  12. Dato

    March 28, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Just as defeated German generals and the Conservative Revolutionaries believed that Germany lost World War I because their economy and nation was only "partially mobilized

    One would like to know wherein lay the premises of such a belief. Indeed, the general staff of the Reich laid out plans and performed actions for a "total war", and the effects, once the war ended, were hard to oversee: Not only were there scant resources and only barely functioning capital infrastructure left after the war, people were actually dying of hunger in the streets (made worse by the entente's continuing blockade even into 1915). Maybe all the information was hard to come back then.

    From "Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism" by Astore and Showalter, p 40ff:

    The war, Hindenburg noted, had become a colossal Materialschlacht, or material struggle, waged by modern industrial juggernauts. The western front in particular witnessed organized destruction on a scale theretofore thought impossible. Staggered by the sheer wastage of modern war, all combatants sought with varying degrees of success to mobilize their economies. The so-called Hindenburg Program was Germany's concerted attempt to mobilize fully, if somewhat belatedly, for total war. Improving the efficiency of economic mobilization was certainly a worthwhile goal. Hindenburg's, and especially Ludendorff's, key mistake was to presume that an economy could be commanded like an army. The end result was a conflict of effciencies. What was best for the army in the short term was not necessarily best for the long-term health of the economy. Furthermore, as economic means were mobilized to the fullest, the sacrifices required and incurred by modern warfare's destructive industrialism drove Germany, as well as the Entente powers, to inflate strategic goals to justify national sacrifice. Extreme economic mobilization encouraged grandiose political and territorial demands, ruling out opportunities for a compromise peace, which Hindenburg and Ludendorff rejected anyway. Under their leadership, imperial Germany became a machine for waging war and little else. And Hindenburg and Ludendorff emerged as Germany's most committed merchants of death.

    Nothing in Hindenburg's background prepared him for the task of overseeing an economic mobilization. Thus, he left details to the technocrat Ludendorff. Aided by Lieutenant Colonel Max Bauer, Ludendorff embarked on a crash program to centralize and streamline the economy. Fifteen separate district commands in Germany needed centralizing if economic mobilization was to be rationalized; rivalries among federal, state, and local agencies needed to be curtailed. As enacted, the Hindenburg Program sought to maximize war-related production by transforming Germany into a garrison state with a command economy. Coordinating the massive effort was the Kriegsamt, or War Office, headed by General Wilhelm Groener.

    Yet, Ludendorff's insistence on setting unachievable production goals led to serious dislocations in the national economy. Shell production was to be doubled, artillery and machine gun production trebled, all in a matter of months. The German economy, relying largely on its own internal resources, could not bear the strain of striving for production goals unconstrained by economic, material, and manpower realities. The release of hundreds of thousands of skilled workers from military duty back to the factories, which led to short-term increases in the production of armaments, did not solve critical and systemic shortages of labor. Large-scale deportation and impressment of Belgian workers was a stopgap that only further alienated world opinion, notably in the United States. In the aggregate, the high level of autonomy enjoyed by the military contributed to wasteful duplications of effort and patterns of bureaucratization that eventually defied even the Germans' gift for paperwork.

  13. Brad Owen

    March 28, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Excellent article. I still think the Financial Oligarchy, which currently holds the "Imperium" in City-of-London/Wall Street jointly, are the financial enablers of these "Conservative Revolutionaries". One of the main tasks of an Empire is to PREVENT any rival power structure (such as a legitimate Republic taking root within a colony, becoming a powerful nation-state, and becoming most attractive to the other subjugated colonies…the ONLY basis for U.S. "exceptionalism", and our one unforgivable "sin" in the, now covert, British Empire) from arising within its' Realm. The witless conservative revolutionaries are enabled by the Financier/Emperors (think of Grand daddy Prescott; bagman for the NAZIs) PRECISELY because they will lead to "the eventual bankrupting and destruction of the Nation", as Major Pierce says, thus being rid of a dangerous Republic within their Empire. These policies and wars are meant to destroy US, here, in America, and lead us, and the World, FAR AWAY from the wisdom of our Preamble. BTW, Kaiser's Germany, and Dr. Sun Yat Sen, were influenced by "Lincoln's economists" Henry Carey and Friedrich Liszt…the "republican infection" was spread far and wide, after Lincoln's victory in his proxy war with the British and French empires (The Russian Empire, as always, was USA's quiet ally in that war).

  14. Peter Loeb

    March 28, 2015 at 6:45 am


    The history of fascism is helpful, It remains that it is a common tendency of liberals/
    progressives to believe in the illusion that one person, one party exchanged for another
    will transform a society (any society).

    As Naseer Aruri documents in his incisive book, DISHONEST BROKER, that the US has collaborated with Zionism for decades, Both US political parties have been complicit. This
    has been the case for 35 years prior to the current Administration and certainly was the
    case going back as far as Harry Truman.(Aruri's brief book was written just prior to
    the election of Obama.)

    Netanyahu's supposed "shock" to Washington is that his blatant racism and opposition to
    the "peaceful negotiations" of two so-called "sovereign" nations made such good PR. One commenter observed that it was like asking the lamb to "negotiate" with the wolf. Aruri
    repeats that the US, which has always supported the oppressor(Israel), could act as"mediator" thus excluding international law altogether. (Aruri blames in equal measure PLO's Arafat who agreed to "occupation by consent" (Aruri).

    Netanyahu blew the US "cover" for just a second. The next Democratic leadership if it is
    Hillary Clinton as President or Chuck Schumer as Democratic leader has never been
    noted for any sympathy for Palestinians aka "the inferior race" (Israelis). Both Clinton and
    Schumer have represented New York State in the US Senate. Both want to elect more members of their party (Democratic) and to use the dollars of wealthy US Jews in accomplishing this.

    The voices of the hundreds of thousands who lose their jobs as disposeable (except in
    campaign rehetoric) have less and less meaning. The very rich are the beneficiaries and they lay off thousands of workers and managers to move to low wage and more compliant
    location with high tech ease.

    From my perspective, the only means to delay this is economic. On the one hand it is
    BDS but on a larger field it is the weakness of the US economy and others of the West.

    Recalling that it was WW II that "solved" the Great Depression and not the ineffective programs of FDR's "New Deal" (See Gabriel Kolko, MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN AMERICAN
    HISTORY). Todd E. Pierce does not mention the so-called global "revolution" but as the
    French have phrased it "La revolution se mange" (" The revolution eats itself") Everyone
    wants someone else to fight their battles for them at no cost to themselves.

    Pierce does not evaluate the power relationships weakening virtually all governments
    today. Inequality has eaten us up (we have eaten ouselves!).

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA

  15. muggles

    March 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Extremely good essay today by Todd Pierce. Very impressive scholarship and insight, particularly in the light of his impressive military career.

    Many good comments posted also, despite the inevitable odor of anti Semitism found in some, always the case when "Germany" is part of the topic. "Bankers", etc. Much easier to stereotype than to think.

    Yes, France and Britain were also hyper militaristic in the 19th century, far more than Germany, which of course wasn't united until the very end of that century, which meant that while some German states were quite active militarily in the period (Prussia) it didn't act as a "nation" as it did later in the 20th century.

    France lost most of the militarist ideology after two crushing defeats in the World Wars and post colonial failures. Britain maintained that outlook despite the World Wars but the wars devastated the economic ability and imperial reach which had sustained that view, despite the persistent Churchill worship. Thatcher's defense of the tiny Falklands was merely an almost comic echo of times past. Still, today in many British intellectual circles (if not in actually participating in the armed forces) military worship continues.

    Germany today has now lost most of its taste for war. Instead it leads Europe economically. Butter rather than guns.

    Pierce's essay highlights the sinister influence of Leo Strauss, something that libertarian historian-economist Murray Rothbard warned about several decades ago as well. As Godfather of the neocons, Strauss is the intellectual architect of today's bloodlust American political establishment. His being Jewish was the only thing which kept him from being a full fledged Hitlerite.

    So neocons, many themselves Jewish (though many not) are mere slightly less crazy fascists as were the interwar German nationalists who easily jumped into the Nazi bed when the cult of personality overwhelmed the German rightwing.

    There has long been a cult of war worship, going back to ancient times. The fact that warfare brings death and disease and horrible injury doesn't matter. The fact that it destroys wealth and human prosperity and harmony is ignored. Individuals are crushed to the greater "good" of arms against whatever enemy can be found. Sociopaths and psychopaths use militarism as the path to "greatness."

    That much of the American "right" is in the thrall of the pseudo fascist neocon ideology of Straussian war worship as the path to "security" and "national greatness" should be the red blinking "danger-danger!" light for every thinking American.

    Thanks Mr. Pierce.

  16. Steve Naidamast

    March 28, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I have not thoroughly read this article but will do so after I print it out.

    However I would like to add that though there were quite a few people in 190s Germany that were proponents of warfare there is a slow but increasing amount of research that is beginning to show that Adolph Hitler was not the war-monger western historians have made him out to be. In addition, after the advent of war in 1939, up through 1941, Hitler was making peace overtures to the west, which Britain continuously ignored and rejected.

    This too was done up through 1915 by Germany in World War I, which Britain also

    As recent research is beginning to show, it was not Germany who was itching for
    war in 1939 but in fact Britain and Poland. And war is what they eventually got and
    very much to Britain's and Poland's demise as the former lost her empire and the latter was
    swallowed up by Soviet Russia.

  17. Coleen Rowley

    March 28, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Great article showing how history repeats! But most of your points, with the exception of Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu to speak to Congress and more Democrats than Republicans backing Obama's negotiation strategy with Iran, apply as much to the Democrat as Republican Party leadership. I think I even read where Robert Kagan may back Hillary Clinton whilst his fellow PNAC founder William Kristol will back Bush or whatever Republican wins the nomination. The neocon ideology seems to be fully in control of both parties.

    • Bob Van Noy

      March 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you Coleen for your comment. I share your concern that a Clinton/Bush race will be one in the same. I'm desperately hoping we get neither as candidates because it will mean "business as usual".

  18. hisoricus

    March 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    One of the most startling things I've found in reading "Nazi propaganda" is their dead-on accurate prediction of America's coming role as a primary threat to world peace, in its rulers' quest for total global domination. The United States was routinely mocked in the German press as the phony "democracy of dollars" controlled by the plutocrats of Wall Street – gosh, how'd they ever get a wacky idea like that, huh?

    Hitler clearly stated in Mein Kampf "we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

    Hitler attempted to rapidly build Germany into a global power that would be capable of fending off the twin threats of capitalist imperialism from the west and totalitarian communism from the east – but these forces were too strong: the "new Germany" never had a chance of survival. Eighty million Germans faced a billion-strong British empire that was determined to destroy all economic rivals, and had centuries of experience in mass murder and destruction in the Third World. Add to this the 320 million people of a communist USSR and a capitalist USA whose elites could agree on only one thing, that Germany's astoundingly successful experiment in national socialism must first be annihilated and then its true character erased from history.

    Today the German government's cruel treatment of Jews – who made up one half of one percent of Germany's population, by the way – is all that most people know of National Socialism, which is rather like remembering America's Founders only as the brutal slaveholders and Indian killers that they were.

    Ask yourself: how is it evenly remotely possible that the second German war could be the only time in our history that our leaders did not lie to us about why we were supposed to hate and butcher a people who had done us no harm?

    • Monster from the Id

      March 28, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Hoooo boy, the delusion is strong in this one…

  19. richard vajs

    March 29, 2015 at 8:54 am

    One good thing about the "coming together" of the fascist Republican Party and the fascist Israeli Likud Party – it will make for a unified target. As I've heard military drill instructors advise, "You people need to spread out – one hand grenade would get you all!". I look forward to no separation between the two and the tossing of that grenade.

    • Coleen Rowley

      March 29, 2015 at 10:34 am

      First I need to make clear I'm against bombing. Anyone. I'm in the "war is not the answer; war is a crime; war is waste; war is a lie; war is hell camp. I think individuals are justified in valid "self defense" but not the nation-state or ethnic-religious type tribalism that Carl Schmitt apparently referred to as the "political" groupings that justify and benefit from "pre-emptive" wars of aggression. It IS a slippery slope but still we must stick to principles.

      But with that said, the Likud-inspired AIPAC and other Israeli fronts were very much aware of your drill sergeant's advice, Richard. The Israel lobbyists were highly effective in the past, in contrast to other political lobbies (who generally favored one party or the other), simply because they did "spread out" and were able to infiltrate both Republican and Democratic parties (as well as their corresponding "think tanks") so as to better control the whole US government.

      The Boehner invite of Netanyahu, Republican Militarist Senator Cotton's letter and the exposing of AIPAC's forcing of Democratic congresspersons to now oppose their own Party Leader, Obama, in order to launch war on Iran, could be significant in ending that control of both parties by splitting the parties. Bush's former UN Ambassador and top neocon John Bolton's outright and explicit call for bombing Iran in the NYT helps pull off the mask and expose what the neocons are after. Middle of the road Democratic congresspeople, almost all of whom are normally are hard-pressed to not vote and give AIPAC anything it wants, may find it easier to publically explain how they cannot in good conscience vote this one time, for the Israel Lobby and what the terrible new war it wants.

      And my guess is the reason Kristol and Kagan would be splitting their support, if that does materialize, Kristol for Bush and Kagan for Clinton, would be exactly in line with your old drill sergeant's advice.

  20. Solon

    March 29, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    re: "Avnery's analogy of how Congress responded to its de facto leader was apt"

    The analogy could not be less apt.

    The German leaders were in their own nation, addressing the concerns of their own people, concerns including the debasement of their culture, the debasement of their money, high unemployment, challenges in finding food, riots and mob violence incited by Communist and Bolshevic subversives, and chaos in their political system. Promises were made to the German people by their leaders to solve their problems, a plan was laid out and most of the promises were kept: within 4 years, Germans were employed, the economy was revitalized with public works spending, and the people's morale was unified around German cultural values. Several of their international problems were settled without violence, as the people demanded and the NSDAP government promised.

    On the other hand, the leader of a foreign state stood before a representative body in which only 16% of the people have any confidence. He told this body that their leader should not be trusted, and they cheered.
    The representatives of the people pledged their fealty to this leader of a foreign state and promised to send him more taxpayer money to kill more of the people whose lands and homes the foreign state is stealing. None of the concerns of the American people — for jobs, for relief from high food prices, for adequate treatment of 50,000 military persons wounded in wars fought at the behest of the same foreign leader — none of those concerns were addressed by the cheering crowd.

    This author suffers from Hitler Derangement Syndrome: his thinking is so suffused with the relentlessly propagandized notion that Hitler and NSDAP are the embodiment of evil that his analysis is forced and his judgments flawed.

    An assessment of the full panoply of facts and evidence will reveal that it was not Hitler and NSDAP but the forebears of the same man who sought to — and came pretty close to succeeding in subverting the US political system.

    The German people under NSDAP leadership were reclaiming their government and culture, and for that they cheered.

    Their resistance to the ideology that Strauss and his cohort sought to impose on Germans was an affront to the pro to-neocons, and so they organized with warmongering British and manipulative American leaders to destroy Germany and incinerate the German people in what C E Hughes called the first use of weapons of mass destruction as a means of terror against a civilian population.

  21. zhu bajie

    March 30, 2015 at 1:23 am

    The comparison is interesting, but it a comparison between Japanese Militarism and the US permanent war regime would also be enlightening. Neither the US nor Japan have or had a charismatic orator, a Mussolini or a Hitler.

  22. zhu bajie

    March 30, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Re "exceptiohnalism," Lewis' _The American Adam_ should be read. The idea that Americans can do no wrong has been around since the early days of the Republic.

  23. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D.

    March 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Re: "It was left to Israeli Uri Avnery to best capture the spirit of Netanyahu's enthusiastic ideological supporters in Congress."

    I disagree with that sentence, albeit it's a judgment call. But I don't think Avnery is even in the running. The best capture of that I've seen is Noy Alooshe's masterful video remix of the event itself. .

  24. hbm

    March 31, 2015 at 3:06 am

    You don't get Nazis without Ashkenazis.

    Why should Neocons be at all surprising?

  25. Rob

    April 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

    I enjoyed the article, but I cannot agree that Netanyahu is the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Rather, he is a prop in the ongoing drama known as "Republicans doing everything in their power to oppose and embarrass President Obama and the Democrats."

    I have long advocated that those public figures who agitate for war should be sent into the battlefield along with all able bodied members of their families. That would quickly put an end to chicken hawk warmongers. The exception would be Charles Krauthammer, who is paralyzed in his lower extremities. That man should be sent into battle in his wheelchair.

[Apr 10, 2015] Shadow Government By Bruce Morgan

October 28, 2014 | Tufts Now

Elected officials are no longer in charge of our national security—and that is undermining our democracy, says the Fletcher School's Michael Glennon

"We are clearly on the path to autocracy," says Michael Glennon. "There's no question that if we continue on that path, [the] Congress, the courts and the presidency will ultimately end up . . . as institutional museum pieces." Photo: Kelvin Ma

Michael Glennon knew of the book, and had cited it in his classes many times, but he had never gotten around to reading the thing from cover to cover. Last year he did, jolted page after page with its illuminating message for our time.

The book was The English Constitution, an analysis by 19th-century journalist Walter Bagehot that laid bare the dual nature of British governance. It suggested that one part of government was for popular consumption, and another more hidden part was for real, consumed with getting things done in the world. As he read, Glennon, a professor of international law at the Fletcher School, where he also teaches constitutional law, saw distinct parallels with the current American political scene.

He decided to explore the similarities in a 30-page paper that he sent around to a number of his friends, asking them to validate or refute his argument. As it happens, Glennon's friends were an extraordinarily well-informed bunch, mostly seasoned operatives in the CIA, the U.S. State Department and the military. "Look," he told them. "I'm thinking of writing a book. Tell me if this is wrong." Every single one responded, "What you have here is exactly right."

Expanded from that original brief paper, Glennon's book National Security and Double Government (Oxford University Press) takes our political system to task, arguing that the people running our government are not our visible elected officials but high-level—and unaccountable—bureaucrats nestled atop government agencies.

Glennon's informed critique of the American political system comes from a place of deep regard. Glennon says he can remember driving into Washington, D.C., in the late spring of 1973, at the time of the Senate Watergate hearings, straight from law school at the University of Minnesota, to take his first job as assistant legislative counsel to the U.S. Senate. Throughout his 20s, he worked in government, culminating in his position as legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Sen. Frank Church from 1977 to 1980. Since entering academic life in the early 1980s, Glennon has been a frequent consultant to government agencies of all stripes, as well as a regular commentator on media outlets such as NPR's All Things Considered, the Today show and Nightline.

In his new book, an inescapable sadness underlies the narrative. "I feel a great sense of loss," Glennon admits. "I devoted my life to these [democratic] institutions, and it's not easy to see how to throw the current trends into reverse." Tufts Now spoke with Glennon recently to learn more of his perspective.

Tufts Now: You've been both an insider and an outsider with regard to government affairs. What led you to write this book?

Michael Glennon: I was struck by the strange continuity in national security policy between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Obama, as a candidate, had been eloquent and forceful in criticizing many aspects of the Bush administration's national security policies, from drone strikes to Guantanamo to surveillance by the National Security Agency—the NSA—to covert operations. Yet as president, it turned out that he made very, very few changes in these policies. So I thought it was useful to explain the reason for that.

Were you surprised by the continuity?

I was surprised by the extent of it. I knew fundamentally from my own experience that changing national policies is like trying to change the course of an aircraft carrier. These policies in many ways were set long ago, and the national security bureaucracy tends to favor the status quo. Still, I thought that a president like Obama would, with the political wind in his sails and with so much public and congressional support for what he was criticizing, be more successful in fulfilling his promises.

You use the phrase "double government," coined by Walter Bagehot in the 1860s. What did he mean by that?

Walter Bagehot was one of the founders of the Economist magazine. He developed the theory of "double government," which in a nutshell is this. He said Britain had developed two sets of institutions. First came "dignified" institutions, the monarchy and the House of Lords, which were for show and which the public believed ran the government. But in fact, he suggested, this was an illusion.

These dignified institutions generate legitimacy, but it was a second set of institutions, which he called Britain's "efficient" institutions, that actually ran the government behind the scenes. These institutions were the House of Commons, the Cabinet and the prime minister. This split allowed Britain to move quietly from a monarchy to what Bagehot called a "concealed republic."

The thesis of my book is that the United States has also drifted into a form of double government, and that we have our own set of "dignified" institutions—Congress, the presidency and the courts. But when it comes to national security policy, these entities have become largely for show. National security policy is now formulated primarily by a second group of officials, namely the several hundred individuals who manage the agencies of the military, intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracy responsible for protecting the nation's security.

What are some components of this arrangement?

The NSA, the FBI, the Pentagon and elements of the State Department, certainly; generally speaking, law enforcement, intelligence and the military entities of the government. It's a diverse group, an amorphous group, with no leader and no formal structure, that has come to dominate the formation of American national security policy to the point that Congress, the presidency and the courts all defer to it.

You call this group the "Trumanite network" in your book. What's the link to Harry Truman?

It was in Truman's administration that the National Security Act of 1947 was enacted. This established the CIA and the National Security Council and centralized the command of the U.S. military. It was during the Truman administration as well that the National Security Agency [NSA] was set up, in 1952, although that was a secret and didn't come to light for many years thereafter.

In contrast to the Trumanites you set the "Madisonians." How would you describe them?

The Madisonian institutions are the three constitutionally established branches of the federal government: Congress, the judiciary and the president. They are perceived by the public as the entities responsible for the formulation of national security policy, but that belief is largely mistaken.

The idea is driven by regular exceptions. You can always point to specific instances in which, say, the president personally ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden or Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution. But these are exceptions. The norm is that as a general matter, these three branches defer to the Trumanite network, and that's truer all the time.

So the trend is toward increased power on the Trumanite side of the ledger.


If that's true, why has there not been a greater outcry from the public, the media—all the observers we have?

I think the principal reason is that even sophisticated students of government operate under a very serious misunderstanding. They believe that the political system is self-correcting. They believe the framers set up a system of government setting power against power, and ambition against ambition, and that an equilibrium would be reached, and that any abuse of power would be checked, and arbitrary power would be prevented.

That is correct as far as it goes, but the reality is that's only half the picture. The other half is that Madison and his colleagues believed that for equilibrium to occur, we would have an informed and engaged citizenry. Lacking that, the entire system corrupts, because individuals are elected to office who do not resist encroachments on the power of their branches of government, and the whole equilibrium breaks down.

What role, if any, have the media played?

The media have pretty much been enablers. Although there are a handful of investigative journalists who have done a heroic job of uncovering many of the abuses, they are the exception, for a number of reasons. Number one, the media are a business and have a bottom line. It takes a huge amount of money to fund an investigative journalist who goes about finding sources over a period of years. Very few newspapers or television concerns have those sorts of deep pockets.

Second, access for the press is everything. There is huge incentive to pull punches, and you don't get interviews with top-ranking officials at the NSA or CIA if you're going to offer hard-hitting questions. Look, for example, at the infamous 60 Minutes puff piece on the NSA, a really tragic example of how an otherwise respectable institution can sell its soul and act like an annex of the NSA in order to get some people it wants on the TV screen.

What is the role of terror in this environment?

The whole transfer of power from the Madisonian institutions to the Trumanite network has been fueled by a sense of emergency deriving from crisis, deriving from fear. It's fear of terrorism more than anything else that causes the American people to increasingly be willing to dispense with constitutional safeguards to ensure their safety.

Madison believed that government has two great objects. One object of a constitution is to enable the government to protect the people, specifically from external attacks. The other great object of a constitution is to protect the people from the government. The better able the government is to protect the people from external threats, the greater the threat posed by the government to the people.

You've been involved with the U.S. government for 40 years. How has your view of government changed?

Double government was certainly a factor in the 1970s, but it was challenged for the first time thanks to the activism stemming from the civil rights movement, Vietnam and Watergate. As a result, there were individuals in Congress—Democrats and Republicans like William Fulbright, Frank Church, Jacob Javits, Charles Mathias and many others—who were willing to stand up and insist upon adherence to constitutionally ordained principles. That led to a wave of activism and to the enactment of a number of pieces of reform legislation.

But there is no final victory in Washington. Those reforms have gradually been eaten away and turned aside. I think today we are in many ways right back where we were in the early 1970s. NSA surveillance is an example of that. The Church Committee uncovered something called Operation Shamrock, in which the NSA had assembled a watch list of antiwar and civil rights activists based upon domestic surveillance. Church warned at the time that NSA capabilities were so awesome that if they were ever turned inward on the American people, this nation would cross an abyss from which there is no return. The question is whether we have recently crossed that abyss.

To what degree are we still a functioning democracy? I'm sure you know that President Jimmy Carter told a German reporter last year that he thought we no longer qualified as a democracy because of our domestic surveillance.

We are clearly on the path to autocracy, and you can argue about how far we are down that path. But there's no question that if we continue on that path, America's constitutionally established institutions—Congress, the courts and the presidency—will ultimately end up like Britain's House of Lords and monarchy, namely as institutional museum pieces.

Bruce Morgan can be reached at

Michael Glennon on who REALLY runs the government by Tom Jackson

Dec 2, 2014 |

My favorite nonfiction book this year is "National Security and Double Government" by Michael J. Glennon, which argues that the president and Congress are largely figureheads in setting U.S. national security policy.

Glennon's book suggests that U.S. foreign and security policy is formed by "Trumanites," a network of several hundred top bureaucrats. They're named after Harry S. Truman, whose administration saw the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 and the creation of the National Security Agency. The elected officials who are supposed to make the decisions are dubbed "Madisonians," after President James Madison.

The Madisonians do have power, and they make important decisions. President Barack Obama made the decision to carry out the raid that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, Glennon notes. No one will know whether Al Gore would have invaded Iraq. But Glennon argues that very little in American foreign policy actually changed when Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush at the White House.

As an example, Glennon's book is quite devastating in describing how prominent Madisonians reacted when James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, was caught lying to Congress about whether it collects data on "millions" of Americans. (Leaks from Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency in fact attempts to collect the phone records of all Americans.) Sen. Dianne Feinstein knew the statement was false and said nothing, Glennon writes. Obama knew or should have known the statement was false and also was silent, "allowing the falsehood to stand for months until leaks publicly revealed the testimony to be false," he writes. "Obama, finally caught by surprise, insisted that he 'welcomed' the debate that ensued, and his administration commenced active efforts to arrest the NSA employee whose disclosures had triggered it." Glennon's heavily-footnoted book then documents the misleading statements Obama made about the matter.

Glennon is not a campus radical or a conspiracy theorist blogging in his parents' basement. He's professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Before he entered academia, he had a legal career that included a stint as legal counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has written several books, and his opinion pieces have appeared in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post," among other newspapers. He kindly agreed to take our questions about his new book:

Sandusky Register: Did the election of President Barack Obama, and the subsequent disappointment of many who thought he would change U.S. national security policy, spur your book, or had you already had it in mind for years?

Glennon: Both. I had noticed for years that U.S. national security changed little from one administration to the next, but the continuity was so striking mid-way into the Obama administration that I thought it was time to address the question directly. Hence the book.

Sandusky Register: Your book suggests that elections in the U.S. have little effect on national security policy — most of the decisions are made by a network of several hundred national security bureaucrats, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office or the seats in Congress. Do politicians in Washington privately admit that this is true?

Glennon: I've spoken with many members of what I call the "Trumanite network" who do acknowledge that reality — it's hard to deny, really, though few will say so publicly — but members of Congress and federal judges have too much at stake to pull back the curtains. As I describe in the book, public deference depends upon the illusion that the public institutions of our government are actually in charge, and their legitimacy would suffer if they were brutally honest about how much power they have transferred to the Trumanites.

Sandusky Register: Drawing upon "The English Constitution" by Walter Bagehot, you refer to the politicians who are supposed to be in charge as "the Madisonians" (after James Madison) and the national security bureaucrats who actually govern as "the Trumanites" (after Harry Truman's National Security Act of 1947). Is it a misnomer to refer to the Trumanites as a "secret government," as some do?

Glennon: The Trumanites surely operate in secrecy; most of their work is highly classified because the security threats have to be addressed out of the public eye, for the most part. But the Trumanite network itself exists in plain view, and has been readily visible for some time. So it's a mistake to think of it as a "deep state" or "shadow government" to the extent that those terms imply some nefarious conspiracy. There has been no such thing.

Sandusky Register: The U.S. Senate just defeated an NSA reform bill, and even supporters admitted it would not have brought major change. Does this fit your book's suggestion that reform from the "Madisonians" is going to be a difficult enterprise?

Glennon: The bill was mostly cosmetic and would not have addressed the deeper sources of double government. Its defeat can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which surely is the power of the Trumanite network. But in the interest of complete accuracy, it's useful to think of the phenomenon of double government as something like climate change: not every bad storm or hot day is caused directly and exclusively by the dynamic of global warming. The theory of double government merely predicts that, over time, national security policy as a whole will be largely continuous. Individual elements of that policy could change.

Sandusky Register: I've noticed you haven't been invited to appear on national TV yet, or on NPR's "Fresh Air," although your thesis would seem to be controversial and interesting. Are there institutional reasons why your book isn't getting a huge amount of publicity, or is it just hard to get an academic press book out there?

Glennon: Some good books never get reviewed and some bad books do. Lots of it just seems to be luck and happenstance. I tried to write it for informed lay readers; time will tell whether they pick it up.

My other author interviews are archived. Professor Glennon also was interviewed by the Boston Globe. He also appeared on the Scott Horton Show.

Sandusky Register reporter Tom Jackson reviews and recommends local and national reading opportunities. You can read the other blog posts and follow this blog on Twitter.

Email him at


AJ Oliver

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 12:40pm

Tom, thanks. That will go on my reading list - right now I'm into "Why We Lost (in Iraq and Afghanistan)" by Gen. Dan Bolger.
And for influence on security policy, don't forget the Neo-cons and their Israeli partners.
We're spending trillions on the military and becoming ever less secure - they are bankrupting the country.

[Apr 10, 2015] Professor Michael Glennon on the Rise of the American System of Double Government by Michael Glennon

November 7, 2014 |

Professor Michael Glennon on the Rise of the American System of Double Government

In his latest book, National Security and Double Government, Professor Michael Glennon challenges common understandings of American government institutions and provides daunting insights into the nature of the U.S. national security apparatus. Glennon claims that the "Trumanite network," consisting of managers of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, guides and often makes key decisions on U.S. national security policy. He highlights the lack of oversight, accountability, and the mutually beneficial relationship between the public-facing "Madisonian" actors, such as the President and Congress, and this classified "Trumanite" network. The Fletcher Forum Editorial team sat down with Michael Glennon, Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School, to talk about his book and discuss the future of American democracy.

FLETCHER FORUM: How did your experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and your continued work with the government inform your book?

GLENNON: When I worked for the Committee I was struck by the large number of Ford administration officials who continued on into the Carter administration. Many of these officials held significant policy-making roles in the realm of national security. I was also struck by the many programs and policies that also carried over from the earlier administration. Most of these related to classified intelligence and law enforcement activities. As a result the public believed that in many areas, things had changed much more than they actually had. What I was observing in closed meetings and in classified documents was not the civics-book model that the public had internalized. The courts, Congress, and even presidential appointees exercised much less influence over national security policy-making than people commonly believed. And the 1976 presidential election had had much less impact than people had expected. So it was pretty clear the data didn't fit the conventional tri-partite, separation-of-powers paradigm, but I wasn't sure what a more accurate paradigm would look like, or even whether there was one.

FLETCHER FORUM: When did you start thinking about this topic? How did you formulate this thesis and how did we get to this point?

GLENNON: Two years ago, I was struck again by the strange inalterability of U.S. national security policy. Before winning the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama had campaigned forcefully and eloquently against many elements of the Bush administration's national security policy. Yet rendition, military detention without trial or counsel, drone strikes, NSA surveillance, whistleblower prosecutions, non-prosecution of water-boarders, reliance on the state secrets privilege, covert operations, Guantanamo—you name it, virtually nothing changed. Obviously something more was going on than what the defenders of those policies claimed—which was that all those policies somehow happened to be the most rational response among all competing alternatives. The fact is that each of these policies presents questions on which reasonable people can differ—as indeed Obama himself had, as a Senator and as a candidate for the presidency. The epiphany occurred when I pulled a little book off the shelf and read it in amazement one rainy Sunday afternoon—Walter Bagehot's The English Constitution.

FLETCHER FORUM: What are some components of this double government in the U.S. today? What are the key institutions and players?

GLENNON: Bagehot's objective was to explain how the British government operated in the 1860s. He suggested that it had in effect split into two separate sets of institutions. The "dignified" institutions consisted of the monarchy and House of Lords. The British people believed that the dignified institutions ran the government. This belief was essential to foster the legitimacy needed for public deference and obedience. But that belief was an illusion. In fact, the government was run by the "efficient" institutions—the House of Commons, the prime minister, and the cabinet—which operated behind-the-scenes, largely removed from public view. Gradually and quietly, these efficient institutions had moved Britain away from a monarchy to become what Bagehot described as a "concealed republic." My book's thesis is that in the realm of national security, the United States also has unwittingly drifted into a system of double government—but that it is moving in the opposite direction, away from democracy, toward autocracy. With occasional exceptions, the dignified institutions of the judiciary, Congress, and the presidency are all on the road to becoming hollowed-out museum pieces, while the managers of the military, law enforcement, and intelligence community more and more come to dominate national security policy-making.

FLETCHER FORUM: You identify the pervasive political ignorance on the part of the American public as the root problem, and argue that reform must come from the people. How can this actually work in practice? Is there any hope that change is possible?

GLENNON: It's a bit simplistic to focus exclusively upon the public's "pervasive civic ignorance" (a term used by former Supreme Court Justice David Souter). As I point out in the book, the American people are anything but stupid. And while it's true that they're not terribly engaged or informed on national security policy, their ignorance is in many ways rational. Americans are very busy people and it doesn't make much sense to expend a lot of effort learning about policies you can't change. So we're in a dilemma: because the dignified institutions can't empower themselves by drawing upon powers that they lack, energy must come from the outside, from the people—yet as the electorate becomes increasingly uninformed and disengaged, the efficient institutions have all the more incentive to go off on their own. It's telling and rather sad that the American public has become so reliant upon the government to come up with solutions to its problems that the public is utterly at loose ends to know where or how to begin to devise its own remedy. Learned Hand was right: liberty "lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

FLETCHER FORUM: Does a lame duck President have a different relationship with the Trumanite Network? If President Obama were to read your book and ask for advice on changing the system, what would you tell him?

GLENNON: I'd suggest that he demonstrate to the American people that the book's thesis is wrong. He could do that by changing the national security policies that he led the American people to believe would be changed. Among other things: (1) fire officials who lie to Congress and the American people, beginning with John Brennan and James Clapper, (2) appoint a special prosecutor to deal with the CIA's spying on the Senate intelligence committee and Clapper's false statements to it, (3) stop blocking publication of the Senate intelligence committee's torture report, (4) stop invoking the state secrets privilege to obstruct judicial challenges to abusive counter-terrorism activities, (5) halt the bombing of Syria until Congress authorizes it, and (6) stop prosecuting and humiliating whistleblowers who spark public debates he claims to welcome.

FLETCHER FORUM: Are there any potential 2016 Presidential candidates that could challenge the Trumanite Network?


FLETCHER FORUM: Do you have any other recommended reading on this subject?

GLENNON: The English Constitution, by Walter Bagehot; President Eisenhower's farewell address; The Power Elite, by C. Wright Mills; Why Leaders Lie, by John J. Mearsheimer; The Arrogance of Power, by J. William Fulbright; Top Secret America, by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin; the final report of the Church committee (S. Rep. No. 94-755, 1976); On Democracy, by Robert A. Dahl; The New American Militarism, by Andrew Bacevich; Groupthink, by Irving Janus

[Apr 10, 2015] Exhumation of fascism by neoliberalism

Apr 06, 2015 | Izvestia

... ... ..

The term "fascism" was initially defined as a local phenomenon - the regime of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Later, the term changed its meaning and has become synonymous with Nazism (national socialism) of the Third Reich. During 1950-1990-Western political science began to call fascism any repressive regime and introduced the term "totalitarianism". This was done in order to combine Nazism and communism, those two social phenomenon were ideologically polar and has had a different social base despite using similar cruel methods.--[ I do not see much difference in enslavement via Gulag with ensavement via decration of undermench -- NNB] In one case, the the driving force was large industrialists and the middle class, in another - mostly the urban poor and part of intelligencia, especially Jewish intelligencia.

The theory of binary totalitarianism has no serious scientific status. The term "fascism" has now been returned to its historical meaning. It is a synonym of racism and all of its varieties - crops-racism (the idea of cultural superiority), the social racism (the idea of social inequality as the nature of this division of people into masters and slaves), etc.

Usually researchers try to distill the signs of fascism. For example, the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco counted 14. But this approach only blurs the subject. The myth of superiority is a key symptom. The rest is optional. Additional definitions are generated by the desire to "attach" to fascism more than that.

For example, "nationalism". Normal people are proud of their nation and its culture, but do not seek to destroy other peoples. This is the difference between nationalism and Nazism.

Or "traditionalism". If fascism were based in the traditions of the peoples, then some nations would have dwelt for centuries in the fascist state of fever. Tradition is the enemy of the "voice of blood", and there is no logic of exclusion of other people in traditions, while fascism lives this logic . Not coincidentally, he is associated with the Protestant line in Christianity and its idea of "chosen for salvation". Apart from the idea of exclusiveness, fascism is born with the spirit of renewal, the destruction of the weak and "unnecessary" for the sake of winning power, novelty and rationality. I repeat: tradition is the main enemy of fascism.

The idea of a strong state accompanies fascism, but does not define it. The Olympics of 1936, "Olympia" by Leni Riefenstahl are symbols of a strong statehood. But Hitler's fascism was not defined by the Olympics, but by the Nuremberg racial laws, summary execution of Slavs, Jews and Gypsies, the plans of the colonization of the Eastern territories.

Yes, the war of 1941-1945 was the war between two authoritarian States, but only from the German side it was an ethnic war. There were no intentions to carry out the genocide of "inferior Aryans" in minds of Soviet soldiers or Joseph Stalin.

In Europe in recent decades, it was fashionable to talk about fascism as "a reaction to Bolshevism". Indeed, the growing influence of leftist ideas in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century caused activation of right-wing forces. But the roots of fascism are more ancient then Marxist and Bolshevik. Fascism arose as a justification for colonial expansion. Hitler didn't invent anything new. He just moved to the center of Europe bloody colonialist methods of the British, the French, the Spaniards, and made the destruction of people fast and technically perfect: gas chambers, mass graves. In a way fascism is application of colonial methods to the part of population of the country, internal colonization so to speak.

The regime of the 1930-ies in Germany is the legitimate child of the European liberal capitalism. But this conclusion is seriously injures European sense of identity. That's why this statement is a strict taboo in the West --[not really, the hypothesis of intrinsic connection of fascism with European (colonial) culture are pretty common --NNB]. But the truth eventually comes out. Authors from European left now more frequently touch this connection and try to develop this hypothesis.

Today we are witnessing a return to archaization of neoliberal society and slide of neoliberalism into "new barbarism." Hence the reasoning of the European politicians about Ukraine as an "Outpost of civilization". However, the assertion that Russia "does not meet democratic standards", those days unlikely will deceive anyone. Euphemisms is a product of distortion of the language, not political reality. This phrase marks Russia as a "defective" state, inhabited by "inferior" people - "watniks", "colorado bugs". Neo-fascist model within the framework of liberalism is often built by shifting the boundaries of tolerance. To some people tolerance applies, to other - no. The protection of the rights of one group in this case means the destruction of the rights of another.

Political myth about the deep opposition between liberalism and Nazism have always refuted by independent historians. Today this myth is completely discredited.

There are obvious interplay and close relationship between the two ideas - fascist and liberal - obviously. They both go back to the idea of natural selection, transferred to human society. In other words, the strongest must survive at the expense of the weakest. this doctrine is often called "Social Darwinism". Indeed, the principle of "preservation of the fittest races", transposed into social sciences, resulted in the adoption of the Nuremberg laws designed to protect the "purity of race and blood" - the "law of the citizen of the Reich" and "Law on the protection of German blood and German honor."

The return of fascism is a symptom of a certain historical tendencies. To such radical measures economic elites resort only for the postponement of the final world crisis. But in the end it is fascism that might again bring Western societies to the wedge of collapse.

[Apr 09, 2015] National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon

Mal Warwick on December 22, 2014

Who makes national security decisions? Not who you think!

Why does Barack Obama's performance on national security issues in the White House contrast so strongly with his announced intentions as a candidate in 2008? After all, not only has Obama continued most of the Bush policies he decried when he ran for the presidency, he has doubled down on government surveillance, drone strikes, and other critical programs.

Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.

The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the "Madisonian" institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called "Trumanites" in Glennon's parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) "The United States has, in short," Glennon writes, "moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America's double government." If Al Qaeda hadn't existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.

The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.

Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the "Trumanites" he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.

The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I've learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I've read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, "resistance is futile." That's a helluva takeaway, isn't it?

On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. "Move to Vancouver," he said.

The mounting evidence notwithstanding, I just hope it hasn't come to that.

Tom Hunter on November 22, 2014

Incredible Rosetta Stone book that Explains Why the US Government is Impervious to Change

This work is of huge importance. It explains the phenomenon that myself and many other informed voters have seen--namely--how the policies of the United States government seem impervious to change no matter the flavor of administration. I found myself baffled and chagrined that President Obama, who I cheerfully voted for twice (and still would prefer over the alternatives) failed to end many of the practices that I abhor, such as the free reign of the NSA, the continual increase in defense budgets and the willingness to keep laws that are clearly against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, be they Progressives or otherwise.

This incredible book acts as a Rosetta Stone that explains why nothing ever changes. Highly recommended.

[Apr 09, 2015] National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon

Mal Warwick on December 22, 2014

Who makes national security decisions? Not who you think!

Why does Barack Obama's performance on national security issues in the White House contrast so strongly with his announced intentions as a candidate in 2008? After all, not only has Obama continued most of the Bush policies he decried when he ran for the presidency, he has doubled down on government surveillance, drone strikes, and other critical programs.

Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.

The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the "Madisonian" institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called "Trumanites" in Glennon's parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) "The United States has, in short," Glennon writes, "moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America's double government." If Al Qaeda hadn't existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.

The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.

Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the "Trumanites" he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.

The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I've learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I've read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, "resistance is futile." That's a helluva takeaway, isn't it?

On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. "Move to Vancouver," he said.

The mounting evidence notwithstanding, I just hope it hasn't come to that.

Tom Hunter on November 22, 2014

Incredible Rosetta Stone book that Explains Why the US Government is Impervious to Change

This work is of huge importance. It explains the phenomenon that myself and many other informed voters have seen--namely--how the policies of the United States government seem impervious to change no matter the flavor of administration. I found myself baffled and chagrined that President Obama, who I cheerfully voted for twice (and still would prefer over the alternatives) failed to end many of the practices that I abhor, such as the free reign of the NSA, the continual increase in defense budgets and the willingness to keep laws that are clearly against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, be they Progressives or otherwise.

This incredible book acts as a Rosetta Stone that explains why nothing ever changes. Highly recommended.

[Apr 07, 2015] How America Became An Oligarchy by Ellen Brown

Zero Hedge/The Web of Debt blog

"The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. . . . You have owners."

- George Carlin, The American Dream

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America's political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

"Making the world safe for democracy" was President Woodrow Wilson's rationale for World War I, and it has been used to justify American military intervention ever since. Can we justify sending troops into other countries to spread a political system we cannot maintain at home?

The Magna Carta, considered the first Bill of Rights in the Western world, established the rights of nobles as against the king. But the doctrine that "all men are created equal" – that all people have "certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" – is an American original. And those rights, supposedly insured by the Bill of Rights, have the right to vote at their core. We have the right to vote but the voters' collective will no longer prevails.

In Greece, the left-wing populist Syriza Party came out of nowhere to take the presidential election by storm; and in Spain, the populist Podemos Party appears poised to do the same. But for over a century, no third-party candidate has had any chance of winning a US presidential election. We have a two-party winner-take-all system, in which our choice is between two candidates, both of whom necessarily cater to big money. It takes big money just to put on the mass media campaigns required to win an election involving 240 million people of voting age.

In state and local elections, third party candidates have sometimes won. In a modest-sized city, candidates can actually influence the vote by going door to door, passing out flyers and bumper stickers, giving local presentations, and getting on local radio and TV. But in a national election, those efforts are easily trumped by the mass media. And local governments too are beholden to big money.

When governments of any size need to borrow money, the megabanks in a position to supply it can generally dictate the terms. Even in Greece, where the populist Syriza Party managed to prevail in January, the anti-austerity platform of the new government is being throttled by the moneylenders who have the government in a chokehold.

How did we lose our democracy? Were the Founding Fathers remiss in leaving something out of the Constitution? Or have we simply gotten too big to be governed by majority vote?

Democracy's Rise and Fall

The stages of the capture of democracy by big money are traced in a paper called "The Collapse of Democratic Nation States" by theologian and environmentalist Dr. John Cobb. Going back several centuries, he points to the rise of private banking, which usurped the power to create money from governments:

The influence of money was greatly enhanced by the emergence of private banking. The banks are able to create money and so to lend amounts far in excess of their actual wealth. This control of money-creation . . . has given banks overwhelming control over human affairs. In the United States, Wall Street makes most of the truly important decisions that are directly attributed to Washington.

Today the vast majority of the money supply in Western countries is created by private bankers. That tradition goes back to the 17th century, when the privately-owned Bank of England, the mother of all central banks, negotiated the right to print England's money after Parliament stripped that power from the Crown. When King William needed money to fight a war, he had to borrow. The government as borrower then became servant of the lender.

In America, however, the colonists defied the Bank of England and issued their own paper scrip; and they thrived. When King George forbade that practice, the colonists rebelled.

They won the Revolution but lost the power to create their own money supply, when they opted for gold rather than paper money as their official means of exchange. Gold was in limited supply and was controlled by the bankers, who surreptitiously expanded the money supply by issuing multiple banknotes against a limited supply of gold.

This was the system euphemistically called "fractional reserve" banking, meaning only a fraction of the gold necessary to back the banks' privately-issued notes was actually held in their vaults. These notes were lent at interest, putting citizens and the government in debt to bankers who created the notes with a printing press. It was something the government could have done itself debt-free, and the American colonies had done with great success until England went to war to stop them.

President Abraham Lincoln revived the colonists' paper money system when he issued the Treasury notes called "Greenbacks" that helped the Union win the Civil War. But Lincoln was assassinated, and the Greenback issues were discontinued.

In every presidential election between 1872 and 1896, there was a third national party running on a platform of financial reform. Typically organized under the auspices of labor or farmer organizations, these were parties of the people rather than the banks. They included the Populist Party, the Greenback and Greenback Labor Parties, the Labor Reform Party, the Antimonopolist Party, and the Union Labor Party. They advocated expanding the national currency to meet the needs of trade, reform of the banking system, and democratic control of the financial system.

The Populist movement of the 1890s represented the last serious challenge to the bankers' monopoly over the right to create the nation's money. According to monetary historian Murray Rothbard, politics after the turn of the century became a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties sometimes changed hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players.

In All the Presidents' Bankers, Nomi Prins names six banking giants and associated banking families that have dominated politics for over a century. No popular third party candidates have a real chance of prevailing, because they have to compete with two entrenched parties funded by these massively powerful Wall Street banks.

Democracy Succumbs to Globalization

In an earlier era, notes Dr. Cobb, wealthy landowners were able to control democracies by restricting government participation to the propertied class. When those restrictions were removed, big money controlled elections by other means:

First, running for office became expensive, so that those who seek office require wealthy sponsors to whom they are then beholden. Second, the great majority of voters have little independent knowledge of those for whom they vote or of the issues to be dealt with. Their judgments are, accordingly, dependent on what they learn from the mass media. These media, in turn, are controlled by moneyed interests.

Control of the media and financial leverage over elected officials then enabled those other curbs on democracy we know today, including high barriers to ballot placement for third parties and their elimination from presidential debates, vote suppression, registration restrictions, identification laws, voter roll purges, gerrymandering, computer voting, and secrecy in government.

The final blow to democracy, says Dr. Cobb, was "globalization" – an expanding global market that overrides national interests:

[T]oday's global economy is fully transnational. The money power is not much interested in boundaries between states and generally works to reduce their influence on markets and investments. . . . Thus transnational corporations inherently work to undermine nation states, whether they are democratic or not.

The most glaring example today is the secret twelve-country trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If it goes through, the TPP will dramatically expand the power of multinational corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge and supersede domestic laws, including environmental, labor, health and other protections.

Looking at Alternatives

Some critics ask whether our system of making decisions by a mass popular vote easily manipulated by the paid-for media is the most effective way of governing on behalf of the people. In an interesting Ted Talk, political scientist Eric Li makes a compelling case for the system of "meritocracy" that has been quite successful in China.

In America Beyond Capitalism, Prof. Gar Alperovitz argues that the US is simply too big to operate as a democracy at the national level. Excluding Canada and Australia, which have large empty landmasses, the United States is larger geographically than all the other advanced industrial countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) combined. He proposes what he calls "The Pluralist Commonwealth": a system anchored in the reconstruction of communities and the democratization of wealth. It involves plural forms of cooperative and common ownership beginning with decentralization and moving to higher levels of regional and national coordination when necessary. He is co-chair along with James Gustav Speth of an initiative called The Next System Project, which seeks to help open a far-ranging discussion of how to move beyond the failing traditional political-economic systems of both left and Right..

Dr. Alperovitz quotes Prof. Donald Livingston, who asked in 2002:

What value is there in continuing to prop up a union of this monstrous size? . . . [T]here are ample resources in the American federal tradition to justify states' and local communities' recalling, out of their own sovereignty, powers they have allowed the central government to usurp.

Taking Back Our Power

If governments are recalling their sovereign powers, they might start with the power to create money, which was usurped by private interests while the people were asleep at the wheel. State and local governments are not allowed to print their own currencies; but they can own banks, and all depository banks create money when they make loans, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged.

The federal government could take back the power to create the national money supply by issuing its own Treasury notes as Abraham Lincoln did. Alternatively, it could issue some very large denomination coins as authorized in the Constitution; or it could nationalize the central bank and use quantitative easing to fund infrastructure, education, job creation, and social services, responding to the needs of the people rather than the banks.

The freedom to vote carries little weight without economic freedom – the freedom to work and to have food, shelter, education, medical care and a decent retirement. President Franklin Roosevelt maintained that we need an Economic Bill of Rights. If our elected representatives were not beholden to the moneylenders, they might be able both to pass such a bill and to come up with the money to fund it.

[Apr 07, 2015] How America Became An Oligarchy by Ellen Brown

Zero Hedge/The Web of Debt blog

"The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. . . . You have owners."

- George Carlin, The American Dream

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America's political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

"Making the world safe for democracy" was President Woodrow Wilson's rationale for World War I, and it has been used to justify American military intervention ever since. Can we justify sending troops into other countries to spread a political system we cannot maintain at home?

The Magna Carta, considered the first Bill of Rights in the Western world, established the rights of nobles as against the king. But the doctrine that "all men are created equal" – that all people have "certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" – is an American original. And those rights, supposedly insured by the Bill of Rights, have the right to vote at their core. We have the right to vote but the voters' collective will no longer prevails.

In Greece, the left-wing populist Syriza Party came out of nowhere to take the presidential election by storm; and in Spain, the populist Podemos Party appears poised to do the same. But for over a century, no third-party candidate has had any chance of winning a US presidential election. We have a two-party winner-take-all system, in which our choice is between two candidates, both of whom necessarily cater to big money. It takes big money just to put on the mass media campaigns required to win an election involving 240 million people of voting age.

In state and local elections, third party candidates have sometimes won. In a modest-sized city, candidates can actually influence the vote by going door to door, passing out flyers and bumper stickers, giving local presentations, and getting on local radio and TV. But in a national election, those efforts are easily trumped by the mass media. And local governments too are beholden to big money.

When governments of any size need to borrow money, the megabanks in a position to supply it can generally dictate the terms. Even in Greece, where the populist Syriza Party managed to prevail in January, the anti-austerity platform of the new government is being throttled by the moneylenders who have the government in a chokehold.

How did we lose our democracy? Were the Founding Fathers remiss in leaving something out of the Constitution? Or have we simply gotten too big to be governed by majority vote?

Democracy's Rise and Fall

The stages of the capture of democracy by big money are traced in a paper called "The Collapse of Democratic Nation States" by theologian and environmentalist Dr. John Cobb. Going back several centuries, he points to the rise of private banking, which usurped the power to create money from governments:

The influence of money was greatly enhanced by the emergence of private banking. The banks are able to create money and so to lend amounts far in excess of their actual wealth. This control of money-creation . . . has given banks overwhelming control over human affairs. In the United States, Wall Street makes most of the truly important decisions that are directly attributed to Washington.

Today the vast majority of the money supply in Western countries is created by private bankers. That tradition goes back to the 17th century, when the privately-owned Bank of England, the mother of all central banks, negotiated the right to print England's money after Parliament stripped that power from the Crown. When King William needed money to fight a war, he had to borrow. The government as borrower then became servant of the lender.

In America, however, the colonists defied the Bank of England and issued their own paper scrip; and they thrived. When King George forbade that practice, the colonists rebelled.

They won the Revolution but lost the power to create their own money supply, when they opted for gold rather than paper money as their official means of exchange. Gold was in limited supply and was controlled by the bankers, who surreptitiously expanded the money supply by issuing multiple banknotes against a limited supply of gold.

This was the system euphemistically called "fractional reserve" banking, meaning only a fraction of the gold necessary to back the banks' privately-issued notes was actually held in their vaults. These notes were lent at interest, putting citizens and the government in debt to bankers who created the notes with a printing press. It was something the government could have done itself debt-free, and the American colonies had done with great success until England went to war to stop them.

President Abraham Lincoln revived the colonists' paper money system when he issued the Treasury notes called "Greenbacks" that helped the Union win the Civil War. But Lincoln was assassinated, and the Greenback issues were discontinued.

In every presidential election between 1872 and 1896, there was a third national party running on a platform of financial reform. Typically organized under the auspices of labor or farmer organizations, these were parties of the people rather than the banks. They included the Populist Party, the Greenback and Greenback Labor Parties, the Labor Reform Party, the Antimonopolist Party, and the Union Labor Party. They advocated expanding the national currency to meet the needs of trade, reform of the banking system, and democratic control of the financial system.

The Populist movement of the 1890s represented the last serious challenge to the bankers' monopoly over the right to create the nation's money. According to monetary historian Murray Rothbard, politics after the turn of the century became a struggle between two competing banking giants, the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties sometimes changed hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings were always one of these two big-money players.

In All the Presidents' Bankers, Nomi Prins names six banking giants and associated banking families that have dominated politics for over a century. No popular third party candidates have a real chance of prevailing, because they have to compete with two entrenched parties funded by these massively powerful Wall Street banks.

Democracy Succumbs to Globalization

In an earlier era, notes Dr. Cobb, wealthy landowners were able to control democracies by restricting government participation to the propertied class. When those restrictions were removed, big money controlled elections by other means:

First, running for office became expensive, so that those who seek office require wealthy sponsors to whom they are then beholden. Second, the great majority of voters have little independent knowledge of those for whom they vote or of the issues to be dealt with. Their judgments are, accordingly, dependent on what they learn from the mass media. These media, in turn, are controlled by moneyed interests.

Control of the media and financial leverage over elected officials then enabled those other curbs on democracy we know today, including high barriers to ballot placement for third parties and their elimination from presidential debates, vote suppression, registration restrictions, identification laws, voter roll purges, gerrymandering, computer voting, and secrecy in government.

The final blow to democracy, says Dr. Cobb, was "globalization" – an expanding global market that overrides national interests:

[T]oday's global economy is fully transnational. The money power is not much interested in boundaries between states and generally works to reduce their influence on markets and investments. . . . Thus transnational corporations inherently work to undermine nation states, whether they are democratic or not.

The most glaring example today is the secret twelve-country trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If it goes through, the TPP will dramatically expand the power of multinational corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge and supersede domestic laws, including environmental, labor, health and other protections.

Looking at Alternatives

Some critics ask whether our system of making decisions by a mass popular vote easily manipulated by the paid-for media is the most effective way of governing on behalf of the people. In an interesting Ted Talk, political scientist Eric Li makes a compelling case for the system of "meritocracy" that has been quite successful in China.

In America Beyond Capitalism, Prof. Gar Alperovitz argues that the US is simply too big to operate as a democracy at the national level. Excluding Canada and Australia, which have large empty landmasses, the United States is larger geographically than all the other advanced industrial countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) combined. He proposes what he calls "The Pluralist Commonwealth": a system anchored in the reconstruction of communities and the democratization of wealth. It involves plural forms of cooperative and common ownership beginning with decentralization and moving to higher levels of regional and national coordination when necessary. He is co-chair along with James Gustav Speth of an initiative called The Next System Project, which seeks to help open a far-ranging discussion of how to move beyond the failing traditional political-economic systems of both left and Right..

Dr. Alperovitz quotes Prof. Donald Livingston, who asked in 2002:

What value is there in continuing to prop up a union of this monstrous size? . . . [T]here are ample resources in the American federal tradition to justify states' and local communities' recalling, out of their own sovereignty, powers they have allowed the central government to usurp.

Taking Back Our Power

If governments are recalling their sovereign powers, they might start with the power to create money, which was usurped by private interests while the people were asleep at the wheel. State and local governments are not allowed to print their own currencies; but they can own banks, and all depository banks create money when they make loans, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged.

The federal government could take back the power to create the national money supply by issuing its own Treasury notes as Abraham Lincoln did. Alternatively, it could issue some very large denomination coins as authorized in the Constitution; or it could nationalize the central bank and use quantitative easing to fund infrastructure, education, job creation, and social services, responding to the needs of the people rather than the banks.

The freedom to vote carries little weight without economic freedom – the freedom to work and to have food, shelter, education, medical care and a decent retirement. President Franklin Roosevelt maintained that we need an Economic Bill of Rights. If our elected representatives were not beholden to the moneylenders, they might be able both to pass such a bill and to come up with the money to fund it.

[Apr 04, 2015] Big Brother's Liberal Friends by Henry

The US elite does not like the message and thus is ready to kill the messenger... See Snowden interview with Katrina van den Heuvel and Stephen F Cohen at the Nation. Another interesting idea is the in the quote of Bruce Wilder: " classification as a mechanism for broadcasting information is exactly right, and a revelation, at least to me."
October 27, 2014 | Crooked Timber

I've an article in the new issue of The National Interest looking at various liberal critiques of Snowden and Greenwald, and finding them wanting. CT readers will have seen some of the arguments in earlier form; I think that they're stronger when they are joined together (and certainly they should be better written; it's nice to have the time to write a proper essay). I don't imagine that the various people whom I take on will be happy, but they shouldn't be; they're guilty of some quite wretched writing and thinking. More than anything else, like Corey I'm dismayed at the current low quality of mainstream liberal thinking. A politician wishes for her adversaries to be stupid, that they will make blunders. An intellectual wishes for her adversaries to be brilliant, that they will find the holes in her own arguments and oblige her to remedy them. I aspire towards the latter, not the former, but I'm not getting my wish.

Over the last fifteen months, the columns and op-ed pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post have bulged with the compressed flatulence of commentators intent on dismissing warnings about encroachments on civil liberties. Indeed, in recent months soi-disant liberal intellectuals such as Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley have employed the Edward Snowden affair to mount a fresh series of attacks. They claim that Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and those associated with them neither respect democracy nor understand political responsibility.
These claims rest on willful misreading, quote clipping and the systematic evasion of crucial questions. Yet their problems go deeper than sloppy practice and shoddy logic.

Rich Puchalsky 10.27.14 at 11:03 pm

"Yet this does not disconcert much of the liberal media elite. Many writers who used to focus on bashing Bush for his transgressions now direct their energies against those who are sounding alarms about the pervasiveness of the national-security state."

It's not just the elite. I can't wait for the Lawyers, Guns, and Money get-out-the-vote drive. We'll have to see whether the slogan is "Vote, Stupid Purity Trolls" or "The Lesser Evil Commands". Maybe just two-tone signs labeling their target voters "Dope" and "Deranged".

Dr. Hilarius 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm

An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it's repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than "your betters know best" and that the state's critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn't need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more.

Collin Street 10.27.14 at 11:53 pm

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task

Dunning-Kruger, innit. There are actually pretty good reasons to believe that strategic intelligence-gathering is pretty much pointless (because your strategic limitations and abilities by-definition permeate your society and are thus clearly visible through open sources), so you'd expect in that case that the only people who'd support secret strategic intelligence-gathering would be people who don't have a fucking clue.

[specifically, I suspect that secret strategic intelligence gathering is particularly attractive to people who lack the ability to discern people's motivations and ability through normal face-to-face channels and the like…

… which is to say people with empathy problems. Which is something that crops up in other contexts and may help explain certain political tendencies intelligence agencies tend to share.]

Thornton Hall 10.28.14 at 12:03 am

This sentence is false and a willful distortion mixing legality and politics to elide the basic fact that the Justice Department has not prosecuted anyone who did not break the law:

The continued efforts of U.S. prosecutors to redefine the politics of leaking so as to indict journalists as well as their sources suggest that Greenwald had every right to be worried and angry.

Meanwhile, ever since Mark Felt blew the whistle on a psychopath and the result was the deification of Bob Woodward, the American elite has been utterly confused about the role of journalism in a democracy.

That your essay mixes Professor Wilentz with the father of #Slatepitch, and an archetypical "even the liberal New Republic…" journalist as if they all had the same job description is part and parcel of this ongoing inability to separate the job of selling newspapers from the job of public intellectual.

Glenn Greenwald is a "journalist" crank who is simply not in a category that overlaps with Daniel Ellsberg. Snowden is in the same category as Ellsberg, and Packer is right to note that he does not compare particularly well. But then Packer's analysis failed to explain why Snowden needed the judgment and gravitas of Ellsburg. And it was a side point in any case, because Packer's actual thesis was the sublimely stupid point that only "objective" journalism can be trusted to do leaks right.

The other unfortunate confusion I see in the essay is the mixing of domestic and foreign policy. There is not a single thing about the New Deal that informs opinion about Edward Snowden. Nothing. What does regulating poultry production have to do with killing Iraqis? What does the Civilian Conservation Core have to do with drone strikes in Pakistan? The Four Freedom speech was a pivot from domestic to foreign policy given in 1941. Freedom from Want was the New Deal. Freedom of Speech was about the looming conflict with fascism, not domestic policy.

Both confusions–the failure to recognize journalists as pawns selling newspapers and the failure to understand that foreign policy and liberalism do not have to be linked–result when the blind spots of the press and the academy overlap. In areas where journalists and the academy provide checks and balances to each other they tend to do well. Edward Snowden represents the apex of the overlap between academic and journalistic obsessions, and so no one is there to say: "Hey, the top freedom concerns of journalists and professors are not synonymous with freedom writ large or with liberalism.

Daniel Nexon 10.28.14 at 12:48 am

Liked the piece, even though we probably come down differently on some of the merits.

I wonder if the explanation isn't simpler. A number of what you term "national security liberals" have served in government and held clearances. Many of them — and here I include myself — took seriously that obligation. And so there's a certain degree of innate discomfort with the whole business of leaks, let alone those that don't seem narrowly tailored. Wikileaks was not. Snowden's leaks included par-for-the-course foreign-intelligence gathering (and this sets aside his escape to Hong Kong and subsequent decision to accept asylum from the Russia Federation).

I recognize that there's a larger argument that you've made about how the trans-nationalization of intelligence gathering — centered on the US — changes the moral equation for some of these considerations. I don't want to debate that claim here. The point is that you can be a civil-liberties liberal, believe that some of the disclosures have served the public interest, and still feel deeply discomforted with the cast of characters.

Rich Puchalsky 10.28.14 at 1:07 am

"still feel deeply discomforted with the cast of characters"

We need better leakers — leakers who honor their promises not to reveal inside information. Leakers who don't leak.

Not like that unsavory character, Daniel Ellsberg, who I hear had to see a psychiatrist.

Barry 10.28.14 at 1:09 am

" Indeed, in recent months soi-disant liberal intellectuals such as Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley …"

Kinsley is a hack who occasionally coins a good term. At 'Even the Liberal' New Republic, he was a biddable wh*re for a vile man, Peretz. At Slate, he took the same attitude, preferring snark to truth, and built it into the foundations.

Packer is not an intellectual, either. He's a cheerleader for war who has just enough give-a-sh*t to right a book explaining the problems, long after it was clear to others that things had failed.

I don't know much about Sean Wilentz, except that he's a long time 'cultural editor' at 'Even the Liberal' New Republic under Peretz, which is a strike against him. Heck, it's two strikes.

BTW, after Watergate, the press did know its role in democracy – the elites are really against it. IIRC, Whatshername the owner of the WaPo actually praised 'responsible journalism' not too long afterwards.

Sev 10.28.14 at 1:58 am

#4 From a different era, the NYT story on use of Nazis by US spy agencies:

"In Connecticut, the C.I.A. used an ex-Nazi guard to study Soviet-bloc postage stamps for hidden meanings."

A certain skepticism, at least, than and now, seem fully justified.

Matt 10.28.14 at 2:48 am

I don't think that even the most transparent, democratic, public decision making process among American citizens can legitimately decide that German or Indian citizens cannot have privacy. If in Bizarro World that makes me illiberal, then I will be illiberal.

Losing the capability to conduct mass electronic surveillance is akin to losing the capability to make nerve gas or weaponized anthrax spores. It's a good thing no matter who loses the capability, or how loudly hawks cry about the looming Atrocity Gap with rival powers. It would be a better world if Russia and China also suffered massive, embarrassing leaks about their surveillance systems akin to the Snowden leaks. But a world where there's only embarrassing leaks about the USA and allies is better than a world with no leaks at all. Better yet, the same technical and legal adaptations that can make spying by the USA more difficult will also make Americans safer against spying efforts originating from China and Russia. It's upsides all the way down.

John Quiggin 10.28.14 at 2:57 am

""I can see C as justified but not decamping to Hong Kong and Russia.""

Again, given the fact that the "right" people are immune from prosecution for any crimes they commit in the course of politics (other than sexual indiscretations and individual, as opposed to corporate, financial wrongdoing) this seems like a pretty hypocritical distinction. Those involved in torture, from the actual waterboarders up to Bush and Cheney, don't have to think about fleeing the US – indeed, the only (small) risk they face is in travelling to a jurisdiction where the rule of law applies to them.

For the wrong people on the other hand, there are no reliable legal protections at all. On recent precedent they could be declared "enemy combatants", held incommunicado, tortured and, at least arguably, executed by military courts. This would require a reversal of stated policy by the Obama Administration, but that's a pretty weak barrier.

bad Jim 10.28.14 at 4:31 am

It's far from clear that the massive expansion of surveillance has actually been of any use. The West hasn't faced any strategic threats since the end of the Cold War, and even the Soviet threat was almost certainly less than we feared. Someone once remarked of the intelligence-gathering efforts of that era, "It's difficult to discover the intentions of a state which doesn't know its own intentions."

We seem to have been surprised by recent developments in the Middle East and by Russian actions in Crimea and Ukraine; more to the point, it's not necessarily clear how we can or should respond. It may be that the massive apparatus in place is unable to acquire the information we desire. It's not clear that better information would actually be useful.

dsquared 10.28.14 at 4:53 am

I always thought it would be instructive to compare the views of the "national security liberals" with a test case. What, for example, do they have to say about the other North American government which operates a grisly system of unregulated political prisons in the island of Cuba, but tries to portray itself as progressive because of its (admittedly excellent) record of providing healthcare to the poor?

William Timberman 10.28.14 at 5:34 am

I think one point could be made a little more explicitly. Beginning in the late Thirties, without a great deal of serious concern for the possible consequences, the machinery of the social welfare state in the U.S., such as it was, was gradually repurposed to serve the national security state, and from 1947 or so to the present, the pace of that repurposing has rarely slackened. One can argue about how much of it was attributable to intent, and how much to circumstance, how much or how little bad faith it took to complete the conversion, but there's little doubt that it's now largely over and done with, and that the consequences are there to see for anyone who cares to look.

George Packer may think that the national security state is a perfectly admirable creation, but if so, I'd question whether or not he's really a liberal. By any definition of liberalism I'm aware of, it's odd liberal indeed who doesn't think Edward Snowden ought to be trusted with sensitive information, but doesn't at all mind leaving it in the custody of Keith Alexander.

maidhc 10.28.14 at 8:03 am

The CIA produced the Pentagon Papers under orders from LBJ. They produced a document blaming everything on the stupid politicians while the CIA was always right. Unfortunately no one could read it because it was secret. Hence it was leaked to the New York Times.

Woodward and Bernstein had intelligence backgrounds. The Washington Post was known to have close CIA ties. Everyone involved in Watergate was tied to the CIA and the Bay of Pigs. Nixon was taken down from the right.

If you look at those Cold War days, almost everything that was considered to be highly secret, the world would have been better off if it had been public knowledge. Major policy decisions on both sides were based on false information provided by intelligence services.

That is not to say that things that happened back in those days are unimportant now. The career of Stepan Bandera, for example, is tied in very closely with today's headlines.

J Thomas 10.28.14 at 8:43 am

#12 Watson Ladd

I can easily imagine bribing Putin's butler to be an easy and effective way to get good information on both of those, and I can imagine that doing so openly would be catastrophic.

Whyever would you expect Putin's butler to know either of those?

But I find this plausible — Putin's butler goes to the secret police and tells them he's had an offer. They say "OK, take the money and tell them this:" and they give him a cover story to tell the spies.

Continuing the story, a top general's batman does the same thing, but the secret police do not coordinate well enough and he gets a different cover story.

Another top general's mistress does it and gets a third cover story to tell. The stories do not add up at all.

So then somebody in the CIA looks at all the conflicting data, and MAKES UP a story which makes sense, concentrating on estimates of capabilities, and estimates about what choices are likely based on internal politics etc.

The report reaches various people in the military with a need-to-know, who discount it and who make their mostly-mundane decisions about preparation on the basis of path-of-least-resistance. The report may even reach the President, who also discounts it.

Furthermore, plenty of information that isn't strategic in nature can be very useful. Knowing that in event of war, your fighter planes can outmatch theirs, is useful.

How would you find that out, except by testing it for real with their real pilots with real training, etc? Base it on the performance claims by US manufacturers versus the potential enemy's manufacturing claims?

So is knowing that they are planning to invade a country, or are actively collaborating with terrorist organizations.

The USA makes plans to invade other countries *all the time*. Often we publicly threaten to invade them for a year or more ahead of time, while we slowly build up supply dumps in nearby areas. It usually isn't hard to tell whether a nation is ready to invade some particular other nation. The hard part is predicting whether or when they actually do it. Chances are, they don't know themselves and nobody in the world can accurately predict that until shortly before it happens.

The USA and Israel actively cooperate with terrorist organizations *all the time*. It doesn't mean that much. Except we can use it for propaganda. "Our enemies actively collaborate with terrorist organizations! Our secret intelligence organizations have proof, but we can't show it to you because that would compromise our sources. Trust us."

Very little of this is likely to be reported openly, particularly from dictatorships.

Or from the USA. Or from anybody, really. We all like our surprises.

J Thomas 10.28.14 at 8:57 am

#19 Daniel Nexon

As I suggested above, albeit perhaps opaquely, it is perfectly possible to say "I can see C as potentially justified, but not D… G" and to say "I can see C as justified but not decamping to Hong Kong and Russia."* These strike me as categorically distinct arguments from "Snowden, Greenwald, and Assange aren't the 'right sort of people," even if those advancing that claim invoke some of the same warrants.

I don't understand this sort of claim. Normally, US citizens have basicly no information about what our expensive secret-creating organizations do. The basic argument is "Trust us. We're doing good, but it would be catastrophic if you knew.".

Now we have a more-or-less-random samples from Snowden and Manning. So my questions about their personal character center around two themes:

1. Did they release false data, created by the US government to make cover stories to hide the real stuff that the US government does not want us to know?

2. Did they release false data, created by some foreign government and intended to discredit the US government?

3. Are there important discrepancies between them, that might indicate that at least one of them was doctored?

Apart from those, why are we talking about Snowden or Manning or Greenwald, instead of what we've found out about our government?

Barry 10.28.14 at 12:04 pm

Tony Lynch 10.28.14 at 4:30 am

"The persoanl animosity towards GG from, presumably, people with no personal relationship to GG, is weird. Whence this incessant personalism – not only from Kinsley et. al., but from those who claim more genuine liberal and left convictions? Why does it seem important to approach things by venting this personal animosity?"

Here are my thoughts:

1). Most of these elite journalists are leakers of classified information, and guilty of serious felonies. However, they are lapdogs of the establishment, and comparable more to Pravda than a free press. They don't like unauthorized leaks.

2). All three liberals mentioned eat a lot of right-wing sh*t, for actual liberals. Again, they are lapdogs, who occasionally criticize, but in a limited fashion. Heck, Kinsley played Buchanon's poodle on TV show. They therefore don't like people who actually oppose the establishment, moreso because it shows them up as the frauds that they are.

lvlld 10.28.14 at 1:17 pm


Not quite.

MacNamara (politician) ordered his staff (Office of the Secretary of Defense) to carry out the study (they got some material from the CIA and State), out of a concern that the whole thing might be a huge mistake on the part of US policymakers – politicians and otherwise – from World World 2 on down. That was July, 1967. He resigned a few months later, the report was completed in late 1968.

Dan Ellsberg (Rand, ex-OSD) was involved in producing it, and was dismayed by the scale of the official deceptions and thought that yes, this was probably material in the public interest. He leaked it to the Times and the Post, the latter of which's decision to publish on June 18, 1971 was not made in consultation with its city beat reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

Thornton Hall 10.28.14 at 2:15 pm

So the following points are uncontroverted:

J Thomas 10.28.14 at 2:16 pm

#13 Andrew F

He claimed that the CIA might hire Chinese gangsters to murder him, or journalists associated with him, among other things. So to say that he has a "teenager's conspiratorial view of the world" is not to speak without some justification.

This minor point deserves some thought.

Do you have more access to CIA secrets than Snowden did?

If not, why do you believe that your understanding of what the CIA might do is better informed than his was?

Layman 10.28.14 at 2:23 pm

"I think it is perfectly fair to judge Snowden based on the totality of his actions. Isn't that how we're supposed to judge people? "

Why judge him at all, in the context of discussing his revelations and what they mean for civil liberties? It's perfectly clear that some people choose to judge Snowden in order to dismiss those revelations. Isn't that the point of the OP? Do you agree that your personal distaste for Snowden is irrelevant to the larger question? And that people who seek to distract from that larger question by focusing on Snowden's character are engaged in hackery?

Bruce Wilder 10.28.14 at 3:51 pm

Dan Nexon @ 47

The apparatus of surveillance and the system of classification are both parts of a vast system of secrecy — aspects of the architecture of the secret state, the deep state.

I've had a security clearance, and so have some personal acquaintance with the system of classification and what is classified, why it is classified and so on, as well as experience with the effect classification has on people, their behavior and administration. I see people sometimes elaborate the claim that, of course the state must have the capacity to keep some information confidential, which is undoubtedly true, but sidesteps the central issue, which is, what does the system of classification do? what does the secrecy of the deep state do? What is the function of the system of classification?

From my personal acquaintance, I do not think it can be said that its function is to keep secrets. Real secrets are rarely classified. Information is classified so that it can be communicated, and in the present system operated by the U.S. military and intelligence establishment, broadcast. I suppose, without knowing as an historic fact, that the system of classification originated during WWII as a means to distribute information on a need-to-know basis, but that's not what goes on now. The compartmentalization that the term, classification, implies, is largely absent. That Manning or Snowden could obtain and release the sheer volume of documents that they did — not the particular content of any of them — is the first and capital revelation concerning what the system is, and is not. The system is not keeping confidential information confidential, nor is it keeping secrets; it is broadcasting information.

The very idea that a system that broadcasts information in a way that allows someone at the level of a Manning or Snowden to accumulate vast numbers of documents has kept any secrets from the secret services of China or Russia is, on its face, absurd. The system revealed by the simple fact of the nature of Snowden's and Manning's breaches is not capable of keeping secrets. Snowden was a contractor at a peripheral location, Manning a soldier of very low rank.

Rich Puchalsky 10.28.14 at 3:57 pm

This comment thread is just as disgusting as the comment threads elsewhere, so I'll direct people to what I think is one of the best articles on all this: Bruce Sterling's.
William Timberman 10.28.14 at 4:00 pm

Bruce Wilder @ 72

Fox News for apparatchiks. Brilliant, especially since not even Keith Alexander in his specially-equipped war room had any idea how many apparatchiks there were, nor where they were, nor what they were up to when his panopticon was looking the other way.

Bruce Wilder 10.28.14 at 4:02 pm

Rich Puchalsky : If only the government could tell us the real story! Then we'd know that they aren't lying.

The system of classification is a system of censorship. It creates a system of privileged access to information that permits highly-placed officials to strategically leak information as a means to manipulate the political system.

It doesn't keep secrets from the enemies of democracy abroad; it creates enemies of democracy at home, placing them in the highest reaches of government.

J Thomas 10.28.14 at 4:14 pm

357 Layman

"I think it is perfectly fair to judge Snowden based on the totality of his actions. Isn't that how we're supposed to judge people? "

Why judge him at all, in the context of discussing his revelations and what they mean for civil liberties?

Judging Snowden is a very serious matter for everybody who has a security clearance.

If you have a clearance, then you have to consider whether or not you ought to do the same thing. On the one hand you swore an oath not to. You would be breaking your word. And you can expect to be punished severely.

On the other hand, there are the things you know about, that have destroyed American democracy. Do you have an obligation to the public? But then, you probably know that it's already too late and nothing can be done.

What should you do? In that context, deciding just how wrong Snowden was, is vitally important.

It's perfectly clear that some people choose to judge Snowden in order to dismiss those revelations.

Well sure, of course. If it's their job to patch things up, they have to use whatever handle is available.

But apart from the hacks, every single honest person who has a security clearance has to somehow find a way to justify that he has not done what Snowden did. If Snowden did it incompetently, he might have an obligation to do it better. Or maybe his obligation instead is to the power structure and not to the people.

Likely by now there is better technology in place to catch people who try to reveal secrets. We can't know how many people have tried to reveal secrets since Snowden, who have failed and disappeared.

Layman 10.28.14 at 4:15 pm

Bruce Wilder @ 72

Bravo! This view of classification as a mechanism for broadcasting information is exactly right, and a revelation, at least to me.

9-11 The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7

September 15, 2012 | WashingtonsBlog

... ... ...

What Do the Experts Say?

What does the evidence show about the Solomon Brothers Building in Manhattan?

Numerous structural engineers – the people who know the most about office building vulnerabilities and accidents – say that the official explanation of why building 7 at the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 is "impossible", "defies common logic" and "violates the law of physics":

The collapse of WTC7 looks like it may have been the result of a controlled demolition. This should have been looked into as part of the original investigation

Photos of the steel, evidence about how the buildings collapsed, the unexplainable collapse of WTC 7, evidence of thermite in the debris as well as several other red flags, are quite troubling indications of well planned and controlled demolition

In my view, the chances of the three buildings collapsing symmetrically into their own footprint, at freefall speed, by any other means than by controlled demolition, are so remote that there is no other plausible explanation

Near-freefall collapse violates laws of physics. Fire induced collapse is not consistent with observed collapse mode . . . .

How did the structures collapse in near symmetrical fashion when the apparent precipitating causes were asymmetrical loading? The collapses defies common logic from an elementary structural engineering perspective.


Heat transmission (diffusion) through the steel members would have been irregular owing to differing sizes of the individual members; and, the temperature in the members would have dropped off precipitously the further away the steel was from the flames—just as the handle on a frying pan doesn't get hot at the same rate as the pan on the burner of the stove. These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness.

Structural steel is highly ductile, when subjected to compression and bending it buckles and bends long before reaching its tensile or shear capacity. Under the given assumptions, "if" the structure in the vicinity … started to weaken, the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. The opposite, intact, side of the building would resist toppling until the ultimate capacity of the structure was reached, at which point, a weak-link failure would undoubtedly occur. Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side—much like the topping of a tall redwood tree—not a concentric, vertical collapse.

For this reason alone, I rejected the official explanation for the collapse ….

We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below.We do not know the phenomenon of the high rise building to disintegrate internally faster than the free fall of the debris coming down from the top.

The engineering science and the law of physics simply doesn't know such possibility. Only very sophisticated controlled demolition can achieve such result, eliminating the natural dampening effect of the structural framing huge mass that should normally stop the partial collapse. The pancake theory is a fallacy, telling us that more and more energy would be generated to accelerate the collapse. Where would such energy would be coming from?

Fire and impact were insignificant in all three buildings [Again, please ignore any reference to the Twin Towers … this essay focuses solely on WTC7]. Impossible for the three to collapse at free-fall speed. Laws of physics were not suspended on 9/11, unless proven otherwise

The symmetrical "collapse" due to asymmetrical damage is at odds with the principles of structural mechanics

It is virtually impossible for WTC building 7 to collapse as it did with the influence of sporadic fires. This collapse HAD to be planned

It is very suspicious that fire brought down Building 7 yet the Madrid hotel fire was still standing after 24 hours of fire. This is very suspicious to me because I design buildings for a living

The above is just a sample. Many other structural engineers have questioned the collapse of Building 7, as have numerous top experts in other relevant disciplines, including:

The collapse was too symmetrical to have been eccentrically generated. The destruction was symmetrically initiated to cause the buildings to implode as they did

Watch this short video on Building 7 by Architects and Engineers (ignore any reference to the Twin Towers, deaths on 9/11, or any other topics other than WTC7):

Fish In a Barrel

Poking holes in the government's spin on Building 7 is so easy that it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

As just one example, the spokesman for the government agency which says that the building collapsed due to fire said there was no molten metal at ground zero:

The facts are a wee bit different:

Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories:

Approximately three million gallons of water were hosed on site in the fire-fighting efforts, and 1 million gallons fell as rainwater, between 9/11 and 9/21 ….

The spraying continued for months afterward (the 10 day period was simply the timeframe in which the DOE was sampling). Enormous amounts of water were hosed on Ground Zero continuously, day and night:

"Firetrucks [sprayed] a nearly constant jet of water on [ground zero]. You couldn't even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there," said Tom Manley of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest fire department union. "It was like you were creating a giant lake."

This photograph may capture a sense of how wet the ground became due to the constant spraying:

murphy Arguments Regarding the Collapse of the World Trade Center Evaporate Upon Inspection
In addition, the fires were sprayed with thousands of gallons of high tech fire-retardants.

The fact that there were raging fires and molten metal even after the application of massive quantities of water and fire retardants shows how silly the government spokesman's claim is.

Again, this has nothing to do with "inside job" … no one was killed in the collapse of Building 7, no wars were launched based on a rallying cry of "remember the Solomon Brothers building", and no civil liberties were lost based on a claim that we have to prevent future WTC7 tragedies.

It is merely meant to show that government folks sometimes lie … even about issues tangentially related to 9/11.

Pooua > Wolfen Batroach • 2 years ago

Why would the Insiders bother blowing Building 7? Indeed, why would the Insiders bother with WTC at all? Exactly what were the motivations of the Insiders supposed to be?

JusticeFor911 > Pooua

Larry Silverstein had a magic ball that told him to insure the buildings for "terrorist attacks". In February of 2002, Silverstein was awarded $861,000,000 for his insurance claims from Industrial Risk Insurers. His initial investment in WTC 7 was only $386,000,000. I'd say nearly half of $1,000,000,000.00 was the primary cause to include this building with the towers. Keep in mind that President Bush's brother Marvin was a principal in the company Securacom that provided security for the WTC, United Airlines and Dulles International Airport. Are dots connecting yet?

Pooua > JusticeFor911

If you buy a new car, you take out full coverage insurance on it. Insuring billion-dollar buildings is standard procedure, especially when one had already suffered a terrorist attack. You insinuation is nothing but gossip and suggestion.

No, Securacom did not provide security for WTC; that's the job of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. Securacom had a contract to perform a limited service for PANYNJ, and Marvin Bush was only a bit player (he was on the board of directors) in the company. Your paranoid ramblings are lies.


Perhaps after the first couple of attempted attacks on the WTC in the 90's they had a good look at what would happen if an attack was successful. Perhaps they then decided that the massive collateral damage from a partial or messy collapse could be greatly reduced by having the buildings ready to be brought down in a controlled way.

All this would have to be kept secret as noone would work in a building lined with explosives. However the insurance companies, and the owner of the building would know, and this would explain the comments made by silverstein (comments that he himself never clarified).

This may all be completely wrong, but lets face it, explosives did bring these buildings down.


I find it amazing that you consider yourself such an unquestionable expert that you not only feel qualified to insist that explosives brought down the WTC buildings, even in contradiction to scores of scientists, engineers and investigators of NIST, FEMA, FBI and MIT who say otherwise, and you do so without offering any evidence at all to support your bizarre claim.

No building the size of any of the WTC buildings has ever been brought down by controlled demolition, but of those that come closest, the planning took years, and the rigging took months of hard work by teams of experts working around the clock. This is not something that can be hidden.

Your suggestion is entirely preposterous and without merit.

ihaveabrain > Pooua

explain this? You are smarter than these experts? NIST, FEMA, FBI and MIT are worthless entities! What about the experts in that documentary? Nanothermite brought them down smart guy!

Pooua > ihaveabrain • 25 days ago

You posted a 1.5-hour video. I am not here to watch a 1.5-hour video; I'm here to discuss the topic of the collapse of WTC 7. If you have something to say, say it here.

NIST has been the premier standards body used by the US government for a century, covering virtually every aspect of engineering and public safety in this country. It employes thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians. For you to claim that it is a worthless entity is idiocy on your part.

linked1 > Pooua • 24 days ago

How about a 5 hour video that methodically refutes and explains the flaws of virtually every aspect of the 'official story', in particular the shamefully flawed NIST report. You claim to want to discuss the topic of the collapse of WTC-7 but you can't be bothered to watch painstakingly researched documentaries that include thousands of witnesses, victims, scientists, and structural professionals.

You ought to educate yourself before calling other's claims 'worthless idiocy'. You are wrong, and history will prove you wrong.

Pooua > linked1

I've been reading arguments about 9/11 for two years. I've been arguing about other issues for the last 25 years, at least since I took a class in classical logic. What you need to understand is, you aren't arguing anything when you send me off to listen to someone else. The other guy might be arguing something, but you aren't doing anything. And, the fact that I've spent two years reading everything I could find on the subject makes me strongly suspect that this five-hour video would be just a waste of my time.

If you want to discuss this matter, then discuss it. Don't send me off to spend hours of my time listening to someone else. You explain it. If you can't explain it, then you don't understand it, and you are wasting everyone's time.

mulegino1 . > Pooua

The levels of energy required to turn most of the Twin Towers and WTC7 into nanoparticles (thus the pyrocastic flow which only occurs in volcanic eruptions and nuclear detonations) would be thousands of orders of magnitude greater than airliner impacts and hydrocarbon based office fires, which are claimed to have initiated a "gravity collapse".

How could a "gravity collapse" perfectly mimic the detonation of a small tactical nuclear device or devices-electromagnetic pulse, molten lava and a mushroom cloud?

Pooua > mulegino1

I want you to look at this image from the WTC on 9/11. It shows the debris after the Towers collapsed. Does this look like nanoparticles to you? Most of the debris was bigger than a man's fist.


There were no pyroclastic flows at WTC. That's obvious by the fact that pieces of intact paper lay everywhere, something that would be impossible if a hot cloud covered the area.

The reason that you have to resort to esoteric explanations for what happened at WTC is that you believe lies about what happened at WTC.

mulegino1 . > Pooua

If you really believe that this was done by hydrocarbon based fires begun by burning jet fuel you are beyond hopeless.

There was indeed a pyroclasticas flow as anyone with youtube can determine for themselves.

[Apr 03, 2015] 'Drones, Baby, Drones!' The Rise of America's High-Tech Assassins

Apr 03, 2015 | Alternet
...President Barack Obama, who had run a quasi-antiwar liberal campaign for the White House, had embraced the assassination program and had decreed, "the CIA gets what it wants." Intelligence budgets were maintaining the steep upward curve that had started in 2001, and while all agencies were benefiting, none had done as well as the CIA. At just under $15 billion, the agency's budget had climbed by 56 percent just since 2004.

Decades earlier, Richard Helms, the CIA director for whom the event was named, would customarily refer to the defense contractors who pressured him to spend his budget on their wares as "those bastards." Such disdain for commerce in the world of spooks was now long gone, as demonstrated by the corporate sponsorship of the tables jammed into the Grand Ballroom that evening. The executives, many of whom had passed through the revolving door from government service, were there to rub shoulders with old friends and current partners. "It was totally garish," one attendee told me afterward. "It seemed like every arms manufacturer in the country had taken a table. Everyone was doing business, right and left."

In the decade since 9/11, the CIA had been regularly blighted by scandal—revelations of torture, renditions, secret "black site" prisons, bogus intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq, ignored signs of the impending 9/11 attacks—but such unwholesome realities found no echo in this comradely gathering. Even George Tenet, the CIA director who had presided over all of the aforementioned scandals, was greeted with heartfelt affection by erstwhile colleagues as he, along with almost every other living former CIA director, stood to be introduced by Master of Ceremonies John McLaughlin, a former deputy director himself deeply complicit in the Iraq fiasco. Each, with the exception of Stansfield Turner (still bitterly resented for downsizing the agency post-Vietnam), received ringing applause, but none more than the night's honoree, former CIA director and then-current secretary of defense Robert M. Gates.

Although Gates had left the CIA eighteen years before, he was very much the father figure of the institution and a mentor to the intelligence chieftains, active and retired, who cheered him so fervently that night at the Ritz-Carlton. He had climbed through the ranks of the national security bureaucracy with a ruthless determination all too evident to those around him. Ray McGovern, his supervisor in his first agency post, as an analyst with the intelligence directorate's soviet foreign policy branch, recalls writing in an efficiency report that the young man's "evident and all-consuming ambition is a disruptive influence in the branch." There had come a brief check on his rise to power when his involvement in the Iran-Contra imbroglio cratered an initial attempt to win confirmation as CIA director, but success came a few years later, in 1991, despite vehement protests from former colleagues over his persistent willingness to sacrifice analytic objectivity to the political convenience of his masters.

Book cover of 'Kill Chain.'

Photo Credit:

Henry Holt

Click to enlarge.

Gates's successful 1991 confirmation as CIA chief owed much, so colleagues assessed, to diligent work behind the scenes on the part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's staff director, George Tenet. In 1993, Tenet moved on to be director for intelligence programs on the Clinton White House national security staff, in which capacity he came to know and esteem John Brennan, a midlevel and hitherto undistinguished CIA analyst assigned to brief White House staffers. Tenet liked Brennan so much that when he himself moved to the CIA as deputy director in 1995, he had the briefer appointed station chief in Riyadh, an important position normally reserved for someone with actual operational experience. In this sensitive post Brennan worked tirelessly to avoid irritating his Saudi hosts, showing reluctance, for example, to press them for Osama bin Laden's biographical details when asked to do so by the bin Laden unit back at headquarters.

Brennan returned to Washington in 1999 under Tenet's patronage, initially as his chief of staff and then as CIA executive director, and by 2003 he had transitioned to the burgeoning field of intelligence fusion bureaucracy. The notion that the way to avert miscommunication between intelligence bureaucracies was to create yet more layers of bureaucracy was popular in Washington in the aftermath of 9/11. One concrete expression of this trend was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, known as T-TIC and then renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center a year later. Brennan was the first head of T-TIC, distinguishing himself in catering to the abiding paranoia of the times. On one occasion, notorious within the community, he circulated an urgent report that al-Qaeda was encrypting targeting information for terrorist attacks in the broadcasts of the al-Jazeera TV network, thereby generating an "orange" alert and the cancellation of dozens of international flights. The initiative was greeted with malicious amusement over at the CIA's own Counterterrorism Center, whose chief at the time, José Rodríguez, later opined that Brennan had been trying to build up his profile with higher authority. "Brennan was a major factor in keeping [the al-Jazeera/al-Qaeda story] alive. We thought it was ridiculous," he told a reporter. "My own view is he saw this, he took this, as a way to have relevance, to take something to the White House." Tellingly, an Obama White House spokesman later excused Brennan's behavior on the grounds that though he had circulated the report, he hadn't believed it himself.

Exiting government service in 2005, Brennan spent the next three years heading The Analysis Corporation, an obscure but profitable intelligence contractor engaged in preparing terrorist watch lists for the government, work for which he was paid $763,000 in 2008. Among the useful relationships he had cultivated over the years was well-connected Democrat Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to Bill Clinton, who recommended him to presidential candidate Barack Obama. Meeting for the first time shortly after Obama's election victory, the pair bonded immediately, with Obama "finishing Brennan's sentences," by one account. Among their points of wholehearted agreement was the merit of a surgical approach to terrorist threats, the "need to target the metastasizing disease without destroying the surrounding tissue," as Brennan put it, for which drones and their Hellfire missiles seemed the ideal tools. Obama was initially balked in his desire to make Brennan CIA director because of the latter's all-too-close association with the agency's torture program, so instead the new president made him his assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, with an office down the hall from the Oval Office. Two years into the administration, everyone in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom knew that the bulky Irishman was the most powerful man in U.S. intelligence as the custodian of the president's kill list, on which the chief executive and former constitutional law professor insisted on reserving the last word, making his final selections for execution at regularly scheduled Tuesday afternoon meetings. "You know, our president has his brutal side," a CIA source cognizant of Obama's involvement observed to me at the time.

Now, along with the other six hundred diners at the Helms dinner, Brennan listened attentively as Gates rose to accept the coveted award for "exemplary service to the nation and the Central Intelligence Agency." After paying due tribute to previous honorees as well as his pride in being part of the CIA "family," Gates spoke movingly of a recent and particularly tragic instance of CIA sacrifice, the seven men and women killed by a suicide bomber at an agency base, Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. All present bowed their heads in silent tribute.

Gates then moved on to a more upbeat topic. When first he arrived at the Pentagon in 2007, he said, he had found deep-rooted resistance to "new technology" among "flyboys with silk scarves" still wedded to venerable traditions of fighter-plane combat. But all that, he informed his rapt audience, had changed. Factories were working "day and night, day and night," to turn out the vital weapons for the fight against terrorism. "So from now on," he concluded, his voice rising, "the watchword is: drones, baby, drones!"

The applause was long and loud.

Excerpted from Andrew Cockburn's new book, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins Henry Holt, 2015). Reprinted here with permission from the author.

[Mar 26, 2015] Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy by Naomi Wolf

Quote: "The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent."
Dec 29, 2012 | The Guardian

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat":

"FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country."

Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism":

"This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."

The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Mississippi "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Mississippi, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

Jason Leopold, at, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.

Why the huge push for counterterrorism "fusion centers", the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.

• This article originally referred to a joint terrorism task force in Jackson, Michigan. This was amended to Jackson, Mississippi at 4pm ET on 2 January 2012

Cardigan 1 Jan 2013 09:57

@chadders -

"There is no left wing, no reds under the bed, no Marxists in positions of power in government or in the press."

You are obviously unaware of the Socialist International, (London HQ), of which the Labour Party is a member. The full list is here:

Hilary Benn is currently a member of the SI commission for a Sustainable World Society, (aka World Socialism). SI President is George Papandreou, look what a wonderful job he did in Greece. Neil Kinnock is a former vice-president and now honorary president, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have both been SI vice-presidents. Gordon Brown was replaced as a v-p by Harriet Harman.

Socialist International is also closely linked with the Fabian Society, (HQ in London), which in effect gave birth to the Labour Party. Around 80% of Fabian Socy members are also members of the Labour Party and the Fabian Society is affiliated to Labour. Father of the Miliband brothers, Ralph Miliband was a committed Marxist at the LSE.

Patt Reid Weatherel 1 Jan 2013 09:55

I'm seeing here so many speaking up that have completely missed the point of Occupy

1. the absence of a "leader" and hierarchy was deliberate. It was government by consensus
2. The primary focus was the control the banks had over our lives and futures, but with the recognition that "all our grievances are connected", this is why no list of demands.
3. You need to not be talking of OWS in the past tense. It's alive and well.

We Americans live in a country where consistently the polling of the people calls for quality health care for all, higher taxes on corporations and the obscenely wealthy, no cuts to SS and Medicare, support education for all, stricter gun control etc. Just as consistently the government votes against every demand of we the people. If that does not tell you who's running things, then you need to wipe the cobwebs from your eyes.

Nancy Smith 1 Jan 2013 08:14

democracy is a scam. it sounds good, almost works too, but the people who had the money (aka-land, slaves, etc) always call the shots, either thru their 'bestest buddies' or using 'the newspaper' to disseminate biased and targeted information. today, that is buried under tomes of legal writs, procedures, and agency 'pass through'. nothing shall change unless it 'adheres' to and provides support for the 'system' (aka a corrupt government in bed with the bankers) Obama has tapped into the system, with great help from others who know this.

Heretica -> Skropodopolis 31 Dec 2012 23:35

@Skropodopolis --- So you don't consider the fraudulent financial system with its issuance of gearing ratioed debt-money that can never be repaid other than by asset-stripping .... and the imperative which that debt-money imposes upon the public, of a treadmill of perpetual economic growth (inherently unsustainable) .... as the main threat against the people of the USA -- not only that, but the underpinning of most other threats and the corrupt corporatist Establishment's key power-base?

Not a situation unique to the USA; such a setup afflicts most other countries as well.

Heretica -> Skropodopolis 31 Dec 2012 23:19

So keen to attack Naomi Wolf, you run rather close to appearing to be a "State Asset".

Heretica -> Wouter79NL 31 Dec 2012 23:15

As soon as the system has collapsed (and it has to be with crazy people in power), and the faults are known (modern capitalism, the paradox of intentional self organisation) the danger will dissipate.

You seem to have forgotten that the Neocons' favoured mode of operation is one of "creative destruction".

Radleyman 31 Dec 2012 21:16

We have our "domestic extremists over here in the UK too.

At least the banks did not appear to be involved, but maybe they were? Certainly large companies were in cahoots with the police, and both were able to get access to law in a way that Joe Public never can. So Joe Public, who had a genuine grievance, worthy of protest, became a domestic extremist by virtue of the say-so of the large company, the police and the courts. Joe Public was not consulted.

Durable Brad -> maxie59 31 Dec 2012 18:28


1) Click on the highlighted link in the story above that reads: "reproduced here in an easily searchable format."

2) Scroll to the bottom of the web-page that opens from that link.

3) Click on the highlighted link that reads: "FBI documents."

4) Read the official FBI documents mentioned above.

5) Start using reasoning and deduction... even in Missouri.

sotek600 31 Dec 2012 18:27

I'm no fan of Occupy or their goals, but there was something decidedly unsettling, even a little... Chinese, about the way the various authorities closed ranks to shut them down as quickly and fiercely as possible.

Durable Brad 31 Dec 2012 18:17

The U.S. government shills just can't resist commenting on stories like this one, because writers like Naomi Kline and Chris Hedges actually provide physical evidence of the currently metastisizing fascist state in our midst.

Just like the FBI accused the Peace Movement and Animal Rights Movement of being the top threats to U.S. domestic security in 2005, the same reactionary statist thugs are now glorying in their unwarranted surveillance powers... and newfound authority to arrest anyone, anywhere without charges or a trial, as per NDAA2012.

Anyone with a reasonable grasp of world history over the course of the past 150 years can easily draw the conclusion that Americans are fast approaching a totalitarian corporate state, which seeks to disarm the general populace, and sequester (economically, socially, and criminally) all whom would stand in opposition.

Rather than discuss the merits of the U.S. Constitution, and how the U.S. government, military agencies, and a (semi)civilian police force have succeeded in shredding that document over the course of the past two decades, these shills choose to attack the one voice, involving hundreds of thousands of concerned American citizens, which spoke out in absolute condemnation of such behavior last year.

The veil is torn, and there shall be no repair. The little man behind the curtain has been exposed for the treacheous coward he is, and there will be no quarter given to those who seek to deprive Americans of their life, liberty, and property... in the name of the national security state.

UKEXPATUSA 31 Dec 2012 17:40

Unfortunately the corporate puppets that we currently call government in both the US and the UK prefer to protect their paymasters rather than the people they allegedly represent. This is obvious based on how fast they managed to pass legislation to ban protests in NYC etc.

Until we can and do elect government that deserves the title HONORABLE this will remain the status quo.

Judith Braun 31 Dec 2012 16:02

A suggestion:
I'd like to see some of the more obvious parallels to what Naomi is saying turn into common knowledge. The country has been here before. For instance, when we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the entire world rose up against us, condemning us as a 'terrorist state,' 'we'd committed crimes against humanity,' broken centuries-old rules of war. yes yes in the breach but nevertheless... Targeting civilians: the central no-no.

We were the good guys at Nurenberg.

Drones anyone?

The cover-up they say is worse than the crime. The only thing that ever changes in this scenario, our national groundhog day, is whose ass is on the line this time. And what crimes against humanity did he commit.

photonikcpu 31 Dec 2012 14:59

OWS == Student Loan Crisis

Excellent article! Education costs have soared 300% over last decade with zero
improvement in delivery methods and higher costs towards prep & enrollment.
Govt needs to eliminate or regulate private sector education financing since private sector financing has not proven to add any value over the long run other than increasing admin costs. It's the same calculus & relativity -- and explanations for some topics are actually worse (a friend who is a professor discussed this). Private universities have lost their mission and become appendages of their endowment hedge funds.

trueglobalnews 31 Dec 2012 14:20

The western governments are becoming Nazi type rulers and this is because they've sold out and are so pathetic and weak they've accepted the devil in them.

We must return to a more libertarian type system of government if we stand any chance against the onslaught of Nazi-Fascist government "officials".

AntiFascisti AntiFascisti 31 Dec 2012 13:46

They seem to be moving them around. The one on killing OWS persons with sharpshooters is now on page 69.


To: Jacksonville From: Jacksonville b7A
Re: 10/19/2011 b7E

of the Occupy Movement by
interested in developing a long--term plan to kill local Occupy leaders
via sniper fire.



AntiFascisti 31 Dec 2012 13:37

The documents [a small group of a much larger group NOT released] can be found here.

AntiFascisti tinalouiseUK 31 Dec 2012 12:34

Exactly. I mentioned this exact page [26 on the original website] below. Why the hell is it not front page, lead story news on every media entity? Because they are nearly all owned by the same gangsters who 'run' the Politicians, Police, Intelligence Agencies et al.

They've been killing with impunity for years in so many ways and so many times whole nations, leaders of nations, progressive leaders, people who know too much inconvenient truths, and those just whom they consider 'useless eaters'. So many 'suicides' of progressives are false-flag murders and so many 'accidents' are not, at all. Having watched the USA Oligarchy kill JFK, RFK, MLK, the Native Americans, Black Panthers, and millions around the world, it doesn't surprise me one bit. What horrifies me is that such news doesn't/didn't start a Revolution. America is LONG overdue for one!....way over the line of Corporate/Bankster Intelligence/police state Fascism now....way over!

tinalouiseUK 31 Dec 2012 12:16

There is FOI evidence now of a plan to kill 'Occupy leaders' - I am one of the people who camped outside St Paul's in London and there was nothing dangerous about us - other than information sharing:
" [Redacted] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Page 61)

It remains unclear as to who or what this report is referring to, yet the FBI decided to disclose it under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund – the document is on page 61.

...complete article on Firedoglake here:

TheRealCmdrGravy AntiFascisti 31 Dec 2012 12:06

@AntiFascisti - If you're going to get that worked up about something it's usually a good idea to understand what you're getting worked up about first.

In this case you have clearly misunderstood the document. The sniper threat against OWS does NOT come from the Police or FBI but from some other group of protesters/terrorists/whatever. The document clearly shows the FBI working to protect Occupy rather than anything else.

Whit Blauvelt longshireman 31 Dec 2012 11:18

Did Occupy fail? Or was it the reason we aren't about to have President Romney? Many Democrats ran on Occupy themes; while Republicans found their usual lies less effective because undercut by a fresh focus on their toadying to the richest.

When Elizabeth Warren was featured at the Democratic Convention, giving a speech out of Occupy's handbook, much of the press viewed it as risky and foolish. She was predicted a loser who would take Obama down with her. And what happened?

Granted, this was Obama's government in collusion with the bankers against Occupy. Irony, like the poor, and like corruption among the rich, will never leave us. Still, Occupy Sandy has demonstrated itself the most effective relief organization in New York. Occupy still has much good to accomplish, and it will.

direct 31 Dec 2012 11:17

a PPP - public private partnership - at work. Now why would the author of this report be surpürised of what she reports. Remember this is happening in the USA where everyone is considedered a terrorist.

Ronald Farber -> HarryTheHorse 31 Dec 2012 10:36

More an embarrassment than the vanguard of the People.

Occupy made the concept of wealth inequality visible. It was almost never discussed in the mainstream before they coined the concept of the 99%. That was a monumental achievement.

Anyone expecting a grassroots movement to act as a vanguard is going to be disappointed. It's not meant to be the Russian revolution, with a revolutionary group that claim to know what's best for the rest of the us.

It was about the people that are affected by decisions, making those decisions. It was about taking back the public space to do this, in system where participation is not encouraged.

The Occupy people have moved off to work in many areas: they haven't gone away. One recent example is Hurricane Sandy relief.

HarryTheHorse -> oxfordlawyer 31 Dec 2012 07:56

with regards the FBI organising a response to the Occupy Movement I would suggest that this might well have been justified, not to peaceful protest of course, but the occupy movement did not stop at peaceful protest there was splinter groups who did threaten and target the corporate buildings of institutions such as banks these threats themselves constituted criminal offences

So where is the evidence that the FBI restricted its operations to those "splinter groups"? We all know that the FBI targeted Martin Luther King despite his avowed and sincere commitment to lawful and non-violent protest, so I find your excuses for the FBI in this respect to be naive at best.

HarryTheHorse 31 Dec 2012 06:51

Once again "small state" conservatives prove to be nothing of the sort when they approve of the use of big government federal agencies infiltrating protest groups they disapprove of. But then conservatism is not noted for its consistency or intellectual honesty.

Personally I found Occupy to be amateurish and shallow in its analysis of the political situation. More an embarrassment than the vanguard of the People. Which makes the waste of public money in infiltrating it even harder to justify.

None of this bothers conservatives of course and they love thieving other peoples' money and spending it on their own hobby horses.

HarryTheHorse -> Weatherel 31 Dec 2012 06:42

@Weatherel - If fundamental rights required courage occupy wouldn't have been exercising them. Occupy supplanted courage with self parody. Occupy were the comedy department of the rank amateur political spectrum.

Even if that assessment is true, it does not justify the involvement of the FBI.

BrotherPhil urakook 31 Dec 2012 06:10

Ok then. can I have your bank details and your email login details, and of course your logins for any social networking sites. Also, we'd like you to put webcams in every room of your house, at your own expense, of course.

Still happy to share?

StabbyMcMurderson rotifer 31 Dec 2012 04:02

Capitalism can't be reformed. It's natural trajectory is simply a race to the bottom. The only hope is a revolution, destroy it, along with it's despots, burn it and throw it in the dustbin of history. Even serfs had their own plot of land to till. In capitalism, unless you're born with the proverbial silver spoon, you must compete with other humans for your mere survival, compete for jobs to feed and home yourself, and even these days with a job it is becoming exceedingly difficult to keep one's head above water. This unnatural competitiveness fosters fear and lack of empathy. Humans are naturally co-operative. However, I think that if you factor in what is actually required for a successful global revolution, we're doomed. The policies of capitalism and the societal fall-out will ensure a scorched earth. People, in general, just do not give a shit. Look at America. Banks that caused the homelessness of millions of people get rewarded by the government for doing so, and the Americans really only get shouty when someone wants to take away their machine guns. The tories are getting away with blue murder. They must be sitting around sneering about how easy it's been to get away with it.

Lote 31 Dec 2012 03:59

Ah The Power of Dollaracy!

StabbyMcMurderson 31 Dec 2012 03:46

Anyone that thinks Occupy was a failure is mistaken. It was not intended to really change anything, as a revolution is needed for that, but Occupy was like a huge classroom. Solidarity was shown for the movement in many other countries, each with their own Occupy encampment, and many people coming together and talking about many key issues that affect all of our lives. There were food kitchens set up to feed ALL, libraries, workshops, volunteers that had training in medical emergencies and people that were not part of the encampment could come down and donate food and discuss political issues/differences with the Occupiers. This in and of itself is a success, learning lessons for the inevitable future struggles, and the crackdown on Occupy showed exactly just what happens when you attempt to get all uppity and reject the policies of the psychopathic death machine that is modern capitalism.

creeksneakers2 -> AntiFascisti 31 Dec 2012 03:12

@AntiFascisti - Read the document again. Its page 61 here.

They are reporting a threat made against OWS leaders. They are not planning assassinations and there is nothing about police in Florida because the focus is Texas.

Your concerns and fears about me are unfounded. I am not against free speech. I'm left of center. Perhaps you could find help for your irrational fears.

UrsusIndomitus -> Chris Lynch 31 Dec 2012 02:17

The bank and non government money organizations run the WORLD, little one.

AntiFascisti -> Canonman 31 Dec 2012 02:14

Quite simply because the MainStream Media are owned by and report the 'news' as wished to be presented by the .01%. They are some of the main propaganda tools in the kit. Those who control the Police and the Intelligence apparatus, control the MSM too. Occupy challenged every one of those tentacles - even the body of the Beast. There will also be no debates nor 'investigations' about this in Parliament nor, more aptly, in Congress. It didn't happen. Shut up Little Man [and Woman] and 'go shopping'....... America is a post-fascist state. Sadly, most Americans haven't a clue. The UK is only a step behind on the same path, IMHO.

Chris Lynch 31 Dec 2012 02:12

Doesn't surprise me, the banks run America. We the people, don't.

RJSteele -> NeverMindTheBollocks 31 Dec 2012 02:00

@NeverMindTheBollocks - To what hyperbole/myths of OWS are you referring? You don't say. But, there is at least one ridiculous myth in which you believe deeply. That is the myth that the Occupy movement doesn't have legitimate grievances. That the disparities in income, education, housing, etc. in our country are primarily--if not solely--the fault of the great unwashed masses themselves, who simply lack the gumption to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

That America is controlled now by a cabal of extremely powerful, interwoven factions--corporate, governmental, financial and military--that decides who dances and who doesn't, has not seemed to have seeped into your consciousness quite yet.

MaximusG ,
@Cyprover @MaximusG -

"There is no class war anymore in the West, you will never change things pretending there is."

Really? No class war you say. According to the US census there are 46 million Americans living in poverty. This is the highest rate in 20 years.

Further, inequality is now so high according to Forbes magazine it is threatening to damage the US economy. They state "The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that between 1979 and 2007 the top 1% of households doubled their share of pretax income while the share of the bottom 80% fell." You criticize the notion of a class war as if it is a political invention. Look at the facts. Look at the statistics. It isn't an invention of political ideologues, it is demonstrably true that the gap between rich and poor has risen over the last three decades.

Further, the evidence points to rising inequality being linked to real social harms. Wilkinson and Picket's groundbreaking research in this area shows a clear correlation between greater inequality and higher mental health rates; higher crime rates and higher mortality rates. This isn't speculation, this is documented research.

It is easy to cast aspersions without evidence. There seems to be good evidence that both inequality and poverty are at very high levels in the West now compared to the last few decades, and this is correlated with real social harms.

creeksneakers2 30 Dec 2012 21:50

The documents referred to in this story don't support the wild conclusions of this writer. The documents are generally just routine passing on of threat infomation. The threats generally weren't from Occupy but other groups. Occupy is repeatedly described as peaceful. There is almost no follow up. Law enforcement is left entirely up to locals, unless they request assistance.

All the threat information comes from public web sites except one E-mail somebody received and in another case a protester went to the feds about individuals considering disrupting the Iowa caucuses.

Monitoring websites is not intrusive and understandable when a group names themselves "Occupy." Occupation is a hostile criminal act. "Occupy" is a threat.

The documents:

DavidinSantaFe -> RobRay 30 Dec 2012 21:42

@RobRay -

I do not advocate turning anyone over to the police. The point is that it is impossible to know who is a provocateur and who isn't, therefore it is a waste of time to try and figure it out in the moment. Rather, a clear line has to be drawn which can't be crossed.

Have you ever heard of a provocateur trying to incite protesters to be more peaceful? No, they always try to push things to the extreme.

norecovery 30 Dec 2012 20:41

Remember which branch of the govt the FBI and NSA belong to? The Executive Branch and the Department of Defense, respectively. They are under the command of the President. The buck stops there. Notice also the crackdown on whistleblowers under Obama? All part of the same neo-fascist program that HE coordinates.

GaladrielofEast 30 Dec 2012 20:12

'If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State'.

Funnily enough this was realised by the Nazi Joseph Goebbels.

We call it 'Ideology' these days.....

rivelle 30 Dec 2012 20:04

"There are only two ways out of the real dilemma involved in this structural crisis. One is to establish a non-capitalist authoritarian world-system which will use force and deception rather than the "market" to permit and augment the inegalitarian world distribution of basic consumption. The other is to change our civilizational values.

In order to realize a relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian historical system in which to live, we do not need "growth" but what is being called in Latin America buen vivir. What this means is engaging in continued rational discussion about how the whole world can allocate the world's resources such that we all not only have what we really need to survive but also preserve the possibility for future generations to do the same.

For some parts of the world's populations, it means their children will "consume" less; for others, they will "consume" more. But in such a system, we can all have the "safety net" of a life guaranteed by the social solidarity that such a system makes possible.

The next twenty to forty years will see an enormous political battle, not about the survival of capitalism (which has exhausted its possibilities as a system) but about what kind of system we shall collectively "choose" to replace it – an authoritarian model that imposes continued (and expanded) polarization or one that is relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian."

from Immanuel Wallerstein, "Austerity- At Whose Cost?"

RideAPaleHorse -> Jan-Kamil Rembisch 30 Dec 2012 19:50

@Jan-Kamil Rembisch - Hey Jan, god kväll, thanks for the detailed comment. I really hope some of what you are saying is not true - because, if it is, it means that you are in a dangerous situation and a difficult one. I am sorry that these things are taking place in your life, it must be very heavy and hard to deal with. My advice is this, I know the information you know or have is very important, but believe me if you are on your own and not protected then it is best to leave all this stuff for another time. Please, don't jeopardise everything. In the long run it is not worth it, especially if you have a child.

It's very easy to come onto a website like this and say loads of things and most of it, I think, doesn't really leave much of an impression on anyone. OK, it does provide a forum where we can find solidarity and also collect some new ideas and information, but, I think a place like the Guardian acts like a trawler, collecting identities and IP addresses which is useful for the database age!!

As you said:

"And you my friend must know writing here is like putting your name in the files of the old KGB."

Whatever you decide to do, my advice is to try and be good to yourself and avoid getting into any further trouble. I wish you a happy new year, man!!

Jan-Kamil Rembisch -> RideAPaleHorse 30 Dec 2012 19:40

@RideAPaleHorse -

YOu now I like and respect you for your ideas and support of the cause of humanity. But even though notihng changed Obama's election WAs very important. THe best election of my life (51). It wsas the deaeth of the KKK Party: Outbred, quite simply.

And the people of the shave far more power than the passive beaten submissive UK serfs. And they have guns and yes it matters. ALso having AIPAC and many defeated Billionaires gt for once told NO alos matters.

I very much agree with your overall point and attitude and yes Obama ais the enemy but even we 'Republicans' (in US terms radical liberal/lefties) are better off with a temporary Emporer like Claudius over Nero (Romney) even while working ot overthrow the Empire.

Romney mean't more fascist in the Supreme Court to vote for 'states of Emergencies'; corporate vs People speach and instant wars for Israel (Iran Syria). In these areas and in the area of Austerity politics O is to the left of the Clintosn and of Course the UK whose economic policies he has opnely and correctly labelled misguided and destructive.

But O is an imperial servant, All true

Jan-Kamil Rembisch -> BellumSeIpsumAlet 30 Dec 2012 19:26

In feeble England where the 'people' say shaft me deeply while i gaze into Kates lovely face.
But in the US it took open beating's, 'invented evidence', Agent provocateurs, gas, Faked evidence, purgery, sodomy, ehanced interrogations and the odd dissapearance as well as an organised continent wide police coordination; along wi the fool on the Right who stupidly bury thir own 'Liberty' by not seeing that, what ever their many real differances, they have far more important thing in common when it comes ot the right to speak up (some Righties and lefties are starting to get it; ala Ron Paul who get left and right support).

I beleive ironically ; as it is the US that is the heart of the beast, that only in the US does democracy stand a chance as the racists are being outbred. And once the righties get used to the idethat the GOP can only survive WITH atholic conservative support a permanant change will have finally arrive. The end of racsim as the driving force of politics. This will force a realignemt as the left will need to refocus on liberty as well as redistribution.

And no matter what bad laws the US passes, they unlike European ones will be overturned by the Supreme Court. just as when NY's Supreme Court nullified Giulian's law arresting the homesless.

willie48 30 Dec 2012 18:37

Suppression of protest aggravates unredressed grievance, and amplifies the alienation of self reliant, self governing humans.

It's no wonder the ruling elite want to suppress the people's right to assult rifle ownership . The credable threat of revolution afforded by assult rifles , threatens the easy harvesting of a world's resource, and the autonomy of the peoples's mind and labors.

Learnt helplessness must be enforced ; creativity and self reliance must be bannished. The ruling class can't help it ; their psychosis is intrensic to their character , to their sub specie. This is just how planetary parasites consume their host ; bequeathing to future generations not the traditions of a more viable civilization, but a sea of puss in the carcass of a dead world.

RideAPaleHorse -> bargepoled 30 Dec 2012 18:33

General Smedley Butler was hired to lead a fascist coup in the United States in the 1930's but he basically went along with it to find out who the hell was behind it all before going before Congress and the American people with the truth.

"When the corporate powers and the military powers combine into the military industrial complex all you have is state fascism...

...Mass propaganda, state controlled and co opted media and the illusion of a democratic choice are its hall marks."

Well said. Perfectly sums it up. Apparently it's inevitable that the pursuit of vested interests will ultimately come at the disadvantage of the masses and consequently result in authoritarianism in varying degrees.

Graihwing 30 Dec 2012 18:18

Here is my tour of Camp Occupy San Francisco, filmed just before the eviction:

And for this we need the FBI?

lupin54321 30 Dec 2012 17:54

In the western world, Truth, Justice and Reason have been demolished.

Maggie, Murdoch, Bush and Blair have destroyed centuries of progress.

The Dark Ages that follow are their legacy.

The Methusalahs will Rule.

mypipsranout 30 Dec 2012 17:47

This co-ordination between corporate interests and police and national security has been going on in usurped western democracies for some time now. In the film The Corporation is a psychopath Marc Barry states:

I was invited to Washington D.C. to attend this meeting that was being put together by the National Security Agency called, "The Critical Thinking Consortium". I remember standing there in this room and looking over on one side of the room and we had the CIA, NSA, DIA, FBI, Customs, Secret Service. And then on the side of the room we had Coca-Cola, Mobile Oil, GTE and Kodak. And I remember thinking, "I am like in the epicenter of the intelligence industry right now". I mean, the line is not just blurring, it's just not there anymore. And, to me, it spoke volumes as to how industry and government were consulting with each other and working with each other.

Hopefully 2013 will be the year the world wakes up and says enough is enough, as we are going to have to fight back sooner or later, or we will end up living enslaved in a global corporate fascist state.

samedaymadness 30 Dec 2012 17:24

"The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request." - They Seems they have no shame; no principles, no shame.

Pathetic fear-based methods and modes of control only expose certains for what they are - weak, frightened bullies who are terrified of positive change, decency and fairness. These unnecessarily aggressive and violent tactics used to 'manage' protesters are signs of weakness and the lack of genuinely decent motivation - not to mention a sign of utterly lacking basic American rights and values. We should not ignore or allow the reality and criminality of tyrannical suppression in OUR home. Crackdowns like this come from the spiritless and insipid. OWS movt is mostly 'terrifying' to those the OWS movt is confronting, naturally.

bargepoled 30 Dec 2012 15:30

and we are surprised by this because of what?

The USA has been a neo fascist state since the day after the 2nd world war finished.

When the corporate powers and the military powers combine into the military industrial complex all you have is state fascism.

Its not as overt as Mussolini or Hitler, that lesson was learnt during the 2nd world war but its fascism in all but name. Mass propaganda, state controlled and co opted media and the illusion of a democratic choice are its hall marks.

marinated 30 Dec 2012 15:20

This is why I am increasingly suspicious of of the dismissive use of the term paranoid 'conspiracy theorists'-

Because more and more frequently its used to deflect attention from corrupt exploitative organisations/goverments/individuals involved in CONSPIRACIES.

Obviously discernment has to be used - Im not talking about Lizard people, Mr Icke

Joe Anbody 30 Dec 2012 14:35

In Portland Oregon the police were seen [undercover] at a Portland Occupy meeting as early in the year as 9.30.11 ... they were 'outed' which prompted them to leave the meeting: [short video clip of undercover cops at Portland Occupy]

LostAngeles 30 Dec 2012 14:15

To those who make claims viz. Occupy itself -you totally miss the point. It's not the specific message of the protest per se, it's that organized protest of any fashion will be smashed under the auspices of the "anti-terror" police state apparatus built by 12 years of proto-fascism. As bad as Bush was, Obama has been as bad or worse (signing the NADA New Year's Eve last year, the final nail in the civ liberties coffin). Talk about freaky...last summer they had US Military training operations with swooping pitch-black helicopters zooming around Downtown LA one night last summer, also Boston (YouTube it...), and the message is clear - we are in TOTAL control, don't makes waves or we'll brand you "terrorist" and you might just get a two AM door knock. The only high-profile political figures that speak truth to this insidious power (albeit from quite differing vantages), Ralph Nader and Ron Paul, are summarily given the MSM smear job. When the shit really hits the fan and both the Occupy folks and the Tea Party folks realizes they've fallen for the divide-and-conquer routine and have the same interests to blame (Wall St-DC circle jerk of corruption and swindle) things could get interesting indeed. Or more likely the US Army hits the streets and people meekly line up for a bowl of gruel...

ramsalita 30 Dec 2012 13:19

I find it utterly bizarre that anyone could read this article and make their response about the rights, wrongs, hygeinic standards and so on of the Occupy Movement. This article and the FOI request which provoked it demonstrate collusion between Corporations and State institutions to surveil and suppress non violent dissent. This is corporate-statism and political policing. It's demonstrated the truth to what Occupiers were saying throughout the period and were laughed at as loonies for saying so....that democracy is threatened by the co-opting of state institutions by private interests.

If you support this because you think Occupy are a bunch of hippies, then you should take pause. Democracy is not about defending the freedom of assembly, speech and so on ONLY for people who agree with you and vice versa. It is about us all having freedom to dissent non violently from government policy, corporate behaviour and anything else that we so choose, as free citizens. If this story doesn't stir you to question the direction of policy, of policing, of definition then you need to read a few history books...or perhaps one on critical thinking.

One other paradox I've noticed in the trolling comments is this 'well done FBI for sorting out those pointless unwashed hippies'. This view that people are simultaneously ineffectual, and worthy of the full force of the legal apparatus in response....seems a tad inconsistent. Either Occupy is a pointless bunch of no hopers whinging.....or they are a serious, credible threat to...something. Which are they? And how far will you go with this line of thinking....? Shall we send the FBI into debating club now? Those people and their IDEAS!

No....if you are genuinely committed to democracy, then dissent is central. If you don't like that, then quit classing yourself as pro-democracy. You aren't.

RicardoFloresMagon -> BandB 30 Dec 2012 12:41

@BandB -

What did Occupy have to say that was so worrying to the powers that be?

Occupy said many things, much of it contradictory, because it was thousands of people, all with different backgrounds and viewpoints, some of which overlapped, some of which didnt.

So I dont think it was particularly something that "Occupy had to say", rather than what it was: a massive place for communication and political discussion outside of the established framework of controlled and managed debate.

People talking to each other about fundamental issues like how economics, politics and society is structured without the mediation of the major parties or the corporate media must have scared the sh-t out of them.

This may not be it, and the authorities may have just fundamentally misunderstood what Occupy was about, and simply freaked out. But given the US govt history with regards to social movements, this response was not that surprising. At least nobody got assassinated in his sleep in a hail of bullets, like in '69.

BrooklynGrange 30 Dec 2012 11:35

Ready...Set...Civil Lawsuit!

Violent and other methods for crushing dissent have long been the rubric of corpo-statists inside and outside the U.S. Government. "Enemies: A History of the FBI" by Tim Weiner, is an accessible source of information.

Although the actions of the FBI with OWS are clearly standard operating procedure, there is also a long history of those procedures being rejected as unconstitutional by federal courts; it will take a decade or more to find out, however.

The good news is that it might be harder for Obama's justice department (of which the FBI is an agent) to hide behind the "state secrets" and "national security" excuses deployed in courts by the CIA questioned about torturing and assassinating U.S. citizens and others they secretly declare to be terrorists.

When the book is finally written on Hopey Changey's government it will be clear to all that the only thing he accomplished was being the nation's first African-American president. Woopee! And it wasn't even Obama who accomplished that, it was the U.S. electorate.

Soon, we'll find the "courage" to let a woman violently crush the populace...then someone of asian descent...then a homosexual can order his or her fellow citizens jailed, surveilled, beaten or killed. Oh, how terribly progressive we are!

Tingler -> exreader 30 Dec 2012 11:32

@exreader - sick isnt it?

iPad reading about operation gladio and the strategy of tension recently - (western security services sponsoring terrorism such as baader meinhof etc to keep lefties down and out)

The Wikipedia entry for gladio lists major EU countries - except Britain is conspicuously absent. I suspect we agreed to stuff security and police with fascists or fascist sympathisers, and in the event of WW3 we would have culled the enemy within.

Trouble is, it takes 40 years from recruitment to retirement. So all those who were recruited in the run up to the Berlin Wall coming down have still got another 10 years in them. So it kinda explains why EDL/BNP/NF/c18 etc all get an easy ride - but attend a peace rally or peaceful protest against a runway, and the full force of the state is brought to bear.

What's truly scary is that china may be about to surpass us for human rights - when something goes wrong the locals riot and the authorities subsequently address the issue. Here, the courts act on politically motivated advice to send people to prison for stealing a £1 bottle of water. Here 1m people can protest about an illegal war and nothing changes, and individual protesters get photographed and risk being kettled etc. at least china is moving in the right direction - whereas we're moving in the right wing police state fascism direction.

RideAPaleHorse -> Owenbevt 30 Dec 2012 11:15

@Owenbevt - That mercenary bit is right on. I know an ex-Royal Marine. He's now a private mercenary. He'd kill anyone he was told to. Hell, the guy has murdered and killed and he laughs about it. He didn't even know who half the people were that he turned to 'pink mist' (his words) in Afghanistan nor did he care. In fact, his opinion of the Afghanis was the most vile and repugnant that I have ever heard. He's shot fishermen in the Indian ocean believing they were pirates and nothing happened to him!!

Men like him are out there in there hundreds of thousands. They would kill will no qualms at all. As long as the money and rewards were right. The system relies on men like him.

Look at the School of Americas. Been training militia and paramilitary for decades in the art of killing, intimidation, torture, insurgency etc.

catsrose 30 Dec 2012 11:04

"The price of freedom is constant vigilance." The USA had the opportunity to become the best educated, most politically astute, well-finaced and socially sophisticated country in the world. Instead, we sat in front of the TV with beer and chips, became fat and semi-literate, bought guns,videos,MacMansions and gift shop clutter. To the extent we now live in an Orwellian tyranny financed by corporate greed, we have no one but ourselves to blame. Those who are in power, political, military, financial, are those who had ambition, who worked to achieve that status. Of course they want to hold on to it. And while the rest of the country zoned out and spent, they entrenched themselves. Now, neither the paranoid wishy-washy left nor the paranoid gun-toting poor white trash have power. When you hand over the keys to the kingdom, don't be surprised when you are locked out.

Mark Heidenreich 30 Dec 2012 10:43

I think that the current US capability to crush protests of citizens is indeed an abomination of liberty. When the PATRIOT act was signed into law under Bush, I stated that DHS and the consolidation of power will be the tools used by a dictator to take over America. I never saw Bush as the dictator, just as a bad president. Remember, no dictator allows for a mass arming of their fellow countrymen and Bush was the first president since Kennedy to recognize the 2nd Amendment as an individual right. I did not like Bush, but he was not a dictaror.

OWS was on the receiving end of a crackdown indeed. However I think they deserved it. OWS is a nihilistic leftist operation. Their proposals to destroy bankers were backed by plans to create a communist style system. Communism was a disaster and oppressed far more people than our current central bank system. Central banks are controlled by the government. They are facist entities. Communism is no solution. I hope OWS goes away and never comes back. If you don't want to be oppressed, switch to Capitalism. Free markets and a free banking system would prevent messes like the current recession/depression. Under Capitalism, there would be no bailouts but remember if you have your money in a bank and it fails you lose your money. This was the reason to create the fed to begin with so with freedom comes the responsibility to own the risk.

Remember that before the US Fed came into existence, there were localized booms and busts, but the banking system at the time (~1865-1907) allowed for rapid corrections to these problems. Only after the fed was introduced did we get such economic disasters as the great depression and now the greater depression (it isn't over yet). This is all a biproduct of central planning (like OWS calls for) vs independent market participants working in their own interest.

Destroy the fed but replace it with a private banking system. OWS was wrong.

Jan-Kamil Rembisch -> SoberReflection 30 Dec 2012 10:43

Fascists are always happy at their regimes 'efficiancy' in 'responding' to 'troublemakers's. They always talk about law and order but they don't actually belive in the law at all; as you prove once again here.

The one thing really better about the US IS the American Constitution and intense respct Americans (as opposed to most Europeans) have for the importance of Liberty. Most Europeans prefer to be told what to do, what to think and how to think. I respect even the Tea Partiers; if only for their motivations when it comes ot keeping Goverment off their backs. OWS share that as do Amnesty International; Civil Rights Activists and other 'wretched troublemakers'; a word used as much by Putin; Morsi, Assad; The Chinese Communist Party et al: I love the US ; warts and all.
You love oppression which makes you either a very rich sadist or a very sado/masochistic untermensch. Either way; sober or not your reflections (lack of in fact) represent the very values that mad me leave Britain. A nation of wanna be Serfs. Nothing makes you and other like you ('Your having a Laugh') happier than watching good people, trying to fight injustice, being illegally harrased and tormented.

Following your logic they could go further; like in the US and arrest you for burning your own flower. Liberty indeed! And yes right below my coming comment: Another fascist who thinks democracy ends at the election. No civil rights; no legal boundaries for police harassment.
Like I said a nation of Serfs! How sad for the wonderful minority of brave people wo are not. The only nation of people I know more less interested in politics and knowledge is Sweden; the nation of ultimate passivity. But at least they have a culture and lifestyle that gives them something to be overly self satisfied: like hope and some future.

YOu lot are like the cowards in the English Private schools who cheer on the same bullies who bully them; just getting kicks watching other get beaten up. How do I know? Duh; I went to Clifton Collage in the 1970's and 3 boys there in my time (74-79) as the direct result of this type of bullying: No prosecution; no inquiries as all the boys were 'our nations future leaders'. So you ; *Shirley NotMe' (below) and *Yourhavingalaugh' are all in good mutual company!

globeprober -> englishrose45 30 Dec 2012 10:29

I look at the 'writeoff' of Occupy the same way I look at the 'writeoff' of the left-revolutionary hacktivist areas of Anonymous — as a bunch of talking heads crossing off things they never comprehended to begin with. Those looking from the outside in are never really able to be authoritative on what will survive and what won't. Again I raise the examples of the generals who told the world the Viet Cong was being beaten, or the French military who thought they had so deftly defeated the Algerian rebels. Hell, look at the apartheid governments who thought they had defeated the ANC and the other anti-racist forces. You can't defeat an idea unless the idea itself is rotten. Occupy's thought and action is wonderful, so it can't be defeated or permanently suppressed. And Anonymous is just generally badass and I cheer every time a big corporate player or government gets its e-butt handed to it and is forced to 'write off' its own smug grin for a bit here and there. For that matter, enough name-dropping, left-activism as a whole is wonderful and I love that they are my friends and allies. The right really misses out, focussing all the time on money, power, and accumulation. No wonder such people all seem to die of heart attacks at 50 or look like ghosts at 80.

Marysue5252 30 Dec 2012 08:59

"It was more sophisticated than we had imagined" she wrote. We are just too damn gullible. We had mega-clues: the proliferation of rightwing propaganda outfits like the Fraser Institute which undermine real science regarding our environmental collapse. 'McEconomics' professors like Friedman perverted economic policies which made the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us and the environment we all live in. Millions of people are slaves. Our newspapers, radio and TV news were corrupted by Conrad Black, then Asper and Black in Canada. Even teachers are brainwashed. People need to THINK for themselves, to ask themselves, "Who benefits from NAU?

Who benefitted from the 9/11 events in NYC? Munitions companies? Big Oil? How did democracy deteriorate? What part did the corporate media play? We assume that things we see on the news is real. Maybe it isn't. Special effects can make us believe things that aren't true. We should question everything.

By the way, there sure are a lot of trolls commenting here--paid corporate stooges and/or insentient?

AgileCyborg 30 Dec 2012 08:49

The heavy-handed and partially-blind authoritarian obedience rat will chuckle heartily and explain that the process is unfolding as expected, "Law enforcement's jez doin' itz job" as this empty-headed klutz pats its massive ego and miniature brain.

Problem is, Mr. Moron, the planet has a sordid and disturbing history you likely are aware of but choose to keep buried under a clever muck of an indignant indifference.

We've had centuries of horror and atrocity committed on humanity through governmental dictatorship and tyranny and this same repetitive evil keeps clawing its way back through various forms- ONE of which is the seed of a powerful homeland security apparatus with practically zero accountability to the citizenry and an entity that operates in shadowy disregard of ethics and the tenants of human liberty.

The draconian ilk that clings to the righteous leg of the fist-heavy state tend to be the very kneeling and submissive subjects that laud the impressive federal and state muscularity. These spineless twits only embolden bureaucratic lust for untapped political and social dominance.

Fact is, human liberty is under heavy assault and only a few seem to be aware that freedom is best enjoyed with the least amount of oppression while millions upon millions of other mislead and apathetic embarassments-to-freedom's-cause will only understand what freedom is when they've LOST IT!

PollitoIngles -> AhBrightWings 30 Dec 2012 08:39

"Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me."

― George Orwell, 1984

hominoid 30 Dec 2012 07:35

"It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you".

I have to agree 100% as an ex soldier of many years ago and a retired Police officer, read these words and inwardly digest. When what we have now is lost it isn't coming back soon, and its almost gone.I genuinely believe its to late for America, they have turned a corner and cant stop.We don't have to follow them but I think we will.Their despotism is unmistakable,their objective a mystery.

rivelle -> OneWorldGovernment 30 Dec 2012 07:25

@OneWorldGovernment -
The Tea Party were a bunch of far-right astro-turfed fundamentalist Christian and gun-totting shills of the Establishment with a certain amount of Fox News "dissident" chic thrown in.

That's why they were embraced by the GOP, the corporate media and left well alone by the state security forces. American State policing was set up to protect the "republic of property" - read the writings of James Madison et al. That is, the police and army were set up to serve, protect and further the interest of the White Christian property owners, (slave-owners very much included) i.e. the modern day Tea partiers.

This is why the Tea Parties were all gun nuts and Flag, Bible and Military wankers. "War is a Racket" as Smedley Butler pointed out.

Tea Party religious mental Illness was also clearly on display when one saw at their rallies and marches groups of adults all dressed up in utterly bizarre frock-coats and cravats.

If you are pro-violence, pro-gun, pro war and destruction, suffering from severe religious mental illness and anti-health care, anti education, anti-environment, anti-science and reason - in short anti-life -, then that's about as close as it's possible to get to the very definition of Evil.

rivelle -> DreShelby 30 Dec 2012 06:53

Good comment.

Especially the point about Davos. Immanuel Wallerstein is worth reading if you haven't read him already.

In his writings, he posits an opposition between the "spirit of Davos" and the "spirit of Porte Allegre" (where the first meetings of the World Social Forum were held) as the dialectical conflict of forces which will determine the essential political battle lines of the 21st century.

See Wallerstein's "Utopistics: Historical Choices for the 21st Century"

Only problem that I have with it is why do you speak about about a "cultural" elite, as opposed to a more general - and more potent - *power* elite as one finds in, for example, C. Wright Mills?

Mike5000 30 Dec 2012 06:13

Hoover's FBI used to protect racketeers and bookies.

Today's FBI protects money launderers and foreclosure fraudsters.

The only difference is that today's FBI director doesn't wear dresses.

zendancer 30 Dec 2012 06:04

White elite in USA see their "empire crumbling, not even having 1/5 of economy designed to keep military capacity of US ahead of Rest of the World is enough and worst of all the Hispanics are on the rise, the Bush Dynasty next prospective candidate, is Jeb Bush's son who has a Hispanic wife.

When an "empire " starts to implode there is always a resort to violent oppression by forces of Law and Order.

Might is Right should be on the President's calling card when he visits other countries although the BRIC's are challenging America's authority in the Global Economy and in Nuclear/Military power so ,yes , expect another President to be assassinated in the future for failing to prevent the "fall of the elite" as America's debt becomes the "albatross hanging round it's neck ".

JohnSawyer -> SkepticLiberal 30 Dec 2012 04:53

SkepticLiberal: you say "while I do not accept any level of police abuse there had to be a strong police presence to maintain order." The police engaged in countless incidents of abuse during their anti-Occupy efforts. It's not simply "a strong police presence" when the police are using pepper spray in ways that aren't allowed in the written procedures they're supposed to follow; nor is is just a "presence" when the police are firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at people who are simply walking through a neighborhood, which happened both to peaceful protesters and to people who simply lived in those neighborhoods trying to get back home. Nor is is merely a show of strength when the police beat on people with their batons simply as a method to get crowds to move in directions the police preferred.

Are you sure you don't accept any level of police abuse?

PatriotActVctms 30 Dec 2012 04:52

You don't even have to protest, the Department of Homeland Security pursued former employee Julia Davis as a "domestic terrorist" in retaliation for embarrassing her bosses by reporting negligence to the FBI as per procedure.

Federal agencies arbitrarily declare any target to be a domestic terrorist in order to invoke powers under the Patriot Act (its very name is blatant propaganda) to write their own search warrants and otherwise bypass constitutional protections. Obviously it is highly likely that NDAA indefinite detention provisions will be used against any target, if they haven't already.

JohnSawyer 30 Dec 2012 04:46

Cointelpro, all grown up. And it's amazing the number of people who say that a group that they think is just a bunch of loud ineffective broke people, should nevertheless be the target of physical assaults coordinated on a scale rarely seen before, is amazing.

Starukkiwi 30 Dec 2012 04:15

When will people realise that facism is the state (police/FBI/CIA/MI5/MI6) and multinational corporations collude, it is called facism - the right wing organizations are a diversion - the facism goes to the heart of every government, (insert your country here)

dalaine00 30 Dec 2012 04:08

This is a truly terrifying article. I was at a few Occupy marches because I want to see prosecutions of people at Wall Street banks who caused the financial meltdown. As an American citizen, I have the Constitutional right to protest and demand justice from the government. I pay for our government with my taxpayer dollars. I gave 13 years of military service during the Cold War and Desert Storm. This is just outrageous! Law breakers at banks are getting away with crimes and when citizens demand justice, we are targeted as terrorists? It's surreal.

JP1110105 30 Dec 2012 03:45

More evidence of America's dissent into an Orwellian Bankster-Corporate-Mainstream Media-Government controlled totalitarian police state.

If you watched the 9/11 cover up documentary, AE911Truth Experts Speak Out , you know there is nothing these sociopaths won't do to retain power and control.

George Carlin was right:

monstrous -> Michael Banks 30 Dec 2012 03:42

the USA is fast becoming, or already is, a fascist state

if your definition of fascism is an economic one, ie corporate state, then the the seamless intermeshing of big business and government began many decades ago. Ditto many of the other attributes of the classic definitions of fascism.

rivelle 30 Dec 2012 03:05

"COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counterintelligence Program) was a series of covert, and at times, illegal,[1] projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.

The FBI has used covert operations against domestic political groups since its inception; however, covert operations under the official COINTELPRO label took place between 1956 and 1971.[2]

COINTELPRO tactics have been alleged to include discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination."

Stieve 30 Dec 2012 02:00

There is no doubt that Western societies have become increasingly unfair in the last 30 years or so. The gains of the '60s & '70s are being systematically reversed. People are being fed the view that those who are succesful are the only ones who matter, that it is in some way reasonable for those who have put people out of a job to slander those very people as lazy for being unemployed. It is a systematic re-positioning of blame by those who have sold our rights and economies down the river for their own profit, to those who have borne the brunt of it.
The defining aspect of these last few years seems to be the use of tactics and a polemic which a generation ago would have been considered beyond the pale. Now those with vested interests act without conscience

Gadfly01 30 Dec 2012 01:57

Unbelievable. As Hunter Thompson wrote back in the 1970s I don't ever want to hear the word "paranoid" again. This is as big, evil and corrupt a corporate / government conspiracy as you could imagine.

Also it is appalling to see some of the idiotic comments by people in this discussion. Do people have no clue about Occupy?! Have they been living in a cave? These people would sell their mother down the river if it made them feel good and it probably would.

Some people are just clueless, helpless, etc. and the least they could do, if they are not going to get a clue, is keep their stinkin' opinions to themselves.

The mainstream media in the U.S. ought to cover this story on the front page and as the lead story.

Naomi how do we get them to do that?!

Many thanks,

Mark in Northern California

WarriorRedArmy2 30 Dec 2012 01:24

The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens

Wa.... I heard many times that Russia is not democratic country.. and Putin is a dictator .... I've read this article and understood the USA is the same "democratic" cont