[Sep 15, 2014] A Conservative Defense Policy for 2014 Look to Eisenhower
The National Interest BlogRecent discussions amongst Republicans regarding U.S. Defense force structure have revealed an ongoing disagreement between two camps within the party. Military Hawks, citing the recent disturbances in Ukraine and Iraq, have begun to beat the drum for more resources to be allocated for the Department of Defense to address threats that never really subsided. Fiscal Hawks, focused on budget deficits that stretch as far as the eye can see, continue to argue for DoD to continue to be part of a basket of cuts in entitlements and discretionary programs. While all agree that the United States needs to maintain a military strong enough to deter the rise of competitors and preserve its ability to respond to crises around the world, the question that remains is: how large and how capable does our military have to be to accomplish these twin goals?
The Military Hawks’ solution is to increase spending and buy more weapons already in production from our military industrial base. Fiscal Hawks, arguing that our Department of Defense is larger than the next ten militaries combined, believe there is room for continued cuts before the nation’s interests are placed at risk. Objective analysis suggests that a path exists that would allow cuts to the DoD budget and marginal growth in the force. Such a path is predicated on recognizing that our national fascination with high-tech weapons systems has led to a defense culture where the exquisite has become the enemy of the “good enough.”
It has not been so long since the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pronounced that our debt posed a grave threat to our national security at home and around the world. Projected annual trillion-dollar deficits have not lessened the American people's concern. The Budget Control Act (or Sequester) was passed with a false assumption that its provisions would be so painful that the Congress would have to agree on a thoughtful deficit-cutting solution. While we can all agree that it would be wise and desirable to escape the painful controls imposed by the Sequester, we should not give way to election-year desires to spend more, ignoring the long-term implications of our debt.
Some compromise can be found that lowers the cost of entitlements and defense, while also increasing revenues. The Democrats need to come to the table to address the looming crises in Social Security and healthcare. Defense spending should continue downward to levels somewhat higher than those last seen prior to 9/11, when the Department of Defense had an inflation-adjusted budget of $386B (we spend $560B today), the Army had 481,000 soldiers (522,000 today) and the Navy had 316 ships (291 currently). In 2001, we stated that we could fight two major regional conflicts; today, we admit that is no longer possible. Why has the cost of our military gone up 45 percent, while its ability to fight has gone down? Healthcare costs have risen, and there have been complications associated with fighting two wars, but even after factoring the current ISIS crisis into the equation, the wartime pressures are subsiding. In the end, a major inflationary pressure remains our addiction to exquisite platforms.
It is unwise to accept the false premise that we can only arrive at a larger force by spending more on the same types of platforms that we are already building. A conservative approach to the future must find the right balance between high-priced silver bullets that can only be purchased in small numbers and low technology assets that can be purchased in large quantities at low costs. Such an approach would be reminiscent of the Eisenhower presidency, when Ike addressed the debt that had been run up fighting World War II by pursuing a careful balance between a smaller conventional-fighting force and the newly emergent nuclear force, balancing the budget in the process. A Republican defense policy today should rest upon four legs: preservation of current high-tech capabilities, increased emphasis on the procurement of low-cost assets for day-to-day operations, modernization of our nuclear arsenal and investment in the research and development of new technologies to guarantee American leadership after our fiscal house is put in order.
In the meantime, in a world beset with constant turmoil, the phrase “quantity has a quality all its own” takes on new meaning. The United States simply cannot be everywhere that it needs to be with the high-cost, low-numbers military it currently plans, and Republicans cannot simply choose to deficit spend on defense or any other programs they admire. All government spending must be constrained. The turning point on defense will occur when we recognize that spending less money does not have to equate to a smaller force. Wise leaders have a credible alternative in defense-force structure and should pursue it.
Dr. Jerry Hendrix is a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and a retired Navy Captain.
Image: U.S. Department of Defense/Flickr.
john • 2 hours ago
An article of the quality that I have come to expect from the national interest. Concise, accurate and perceptive.
The US overspends on defense. We currently posses a military with the capability of taking on the world. I believe we can all agree that level of readiness is not needed.
The balance between spending on defense and social programs is at its heart a political decision. My preference for the level of defense spending perfectly aligns with the author's. Inflation adjusted to pre-9/11 funding. The US is currently facing what threats? A cautions and sometimes belligerent China? A corpse of a nation in Putin's Russia, sporting a national GDP on the other side of California's? ISIS, with its ragtag bunch of poorly equipped fighters numbering 25K strong? Not a lot of threat out there folks.
I do disagree somewhat about US health care spending. There is actual hope that health care spending will level off soon. Market competition is increasing dramatically in that sector, thanks to the ACA.
[Sep 07, 2014] NATO Owes Putin a Big Thank-You by Stephen M. Walt
From comments: "Finally, Stephen Walt is telling what we all need to hear. Victoria Nuland is utterly incapable of thinking her action in the long run. Obama is not much better by sending CIA Director to a troubled country. Kissinger also lament NATO has expanded its role and mission. It has participated too many wars. In pursuit of glory, NATA has transformed from a defense mechanism to an offense tool. As it expands, there should be more conflicts ahead. Military power is effective to intimidate but not a solution to a political problem. Think Transnister. Does NATO have a solution?
SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 | foreignpolicy.com
Russia's aggression in Ukraine is making it easier for the bloated, aging alliance to pretend that it still matters.
If I were really cynical, I'd suspect some bureaucrats at NATO headquarters in Brussels are secretly glad about the crisis in Ukraine. Why? Because it gives the aging alliance something to do. This motive may also explain why hawkish Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen seems eager to defend Ukraine right down to the last Ukrainian and why the NATO members that lie closest to Russia are both worried by recent events and pleased that the rest of the alliance is finally paying attention to their concerns.
In fairness, NATO's survival after the Cold War remains something of an anomaly. Alliances normally arise in response to threats, and many previous alliances collapsed quickly once the external danger was gone. Mindful of this tendency, NATO's proponents have been searching for a convincing rationale for its continued existence ever since the Berlin Wall fell. But their efforts have been mostly stillborn; despite annual summits, earnest communiqués, and a lot of brave rhetoric, the alliance's capabilities, importance, and coherence have been visibly declining for two decades.
Things might have been different if the various "out-of-area" missions NATO took on had gone swimmingly, but they didn't. The Bosnian intervention in 1995* and the war in Kosovo in 1999 were at best partial successes; they took longer, cost more, and produced more ambiguous results than NATO's defenders like to admit. NATO's efforts in Afghanistan have been mostly a failure, and no member of the alliance wants to do anything like that again. The Libyan debacle now looks like a monument to Western hubris, even though its architects remain loath to admit just how wrong they were. The United States has been trying to "rebalance" to Asia in recent years -- an arena where NATO has little role to play -- and has been coping with the aftermath of George W. Bush's foolish attempt to "transform" the Middle East.Until the Ukraine crisis arose, NATO looked like a nearly extinct dodo that had somehow managed to last into the 21st century.Until the Ukraine crisis arose, NATO looked like a nearly extinct dodo that had somehow managed to last into the 21st century.
Yet NATO survived. This is partly because the alliance was heavily institutionalized, and no bureaucracy goes out of business without a fight. Its persistence also gave the United States some residual leverage in Europe and allowed Washington to pretend that its activities elsewhere had broad international support. Military bases in Europe and a long history of cooperation also facilitated U.S. interventions in other areas and didn't require Europeans to do much in return. Finally, liberal internationalists embraced NATO (and EU) expansion as a way to spread democratic institutions and values into the former Soviet empire, toward the ever-elusive goal of "one Europe, united and free."
But as George Kennan, Michael Mandelbaum, and other experts warned in the 1990s, NATO expansion turned out to be a fundamental strategic misstep. It alienated Russia without making NATO stronger; on the contrary, expansion involved extending security guarantees to mostly weak countries that would be the hardest to defend should Russian power ever recover. Instead of sticking with the early 1990s Partnership for Peace, an initiative that provided many of the same benefits as NATO expansion -- including military-to-military contacts, security dialogue, and support for civil society -- but also included Russia, Washington succumbed to hubris and decided to add to its defense burdens without getting much in return.
Undertaken, like the old British Empire, in a "fit of absentmindedness," NATO expansion rested on the assumption that these various guarantees would never need to be honored. It was not until the brief Russo-Georgian war of 2008 that a few Washingtonians (and a larger number of Europeans) begin to recognize that these commitments might actually involve some cost and risk. But by then it was too late, because any challenge in Eastern Europe would be seen as a test of U.S. credibility and NATO's resolve. Needless to say, this is precisely how most people -- including President Barack Obama, who has called the Ukraine crisis a "moment of testing" -- are now interpreting the tussle over Ukraine.
Yet even the current crisis cannot fully reconcile NATO's fundamental strategic problems. Even if one adopts a worst-case view of Russian intentions, today's Russia is nowhere near as threatening as the old Soviet Union. The USSR was a continent-sized superpower with a larger population than the United States and an economy roughly half as large; today's Russia is smaller and less populous, and its economy is roughly one-fifth the size of America's. The USSR outspent the United States on defense during most of the Cold War, but Russia today is a pipsqueak by comparison. Its only appealing products are oil, natural gas, and raw materials, and it no longer boasts an ideology that can rally supporters worldwide. It can be a regional spoiler and a local troublemaker, but it is not and will never again be a true peer competitor.
These realities also mean that Russia does not threaten the vital interests of most of Europe or the United States. It is a genuine threat to Ukraine's well-being, and it is also a potential problem for the small Baltic states, but Europe no longer has to worry about 90-plus divisions massing on the inter-German border. That's a very good thing, but the lack of a serious strategic threat is also why NATO has trouble marshaling the level of coherence and commitment that it did during the Cold War.
In fact (and in sharp contrast to the post-World War II period), Europe now has the latent wherewithal to deal with the Russian bear all by itself, if only it could get its act together. NATO's European members are notoriously reluctant to spend money on defense or create effective military forces, but it's not because they lack the basic resources. Even today, NATO Europe spends four times more on defense each year than Russia does. If these states were really worried, you'd think they would coordinate their activities more effectively, devote more money to the problem, and spend the existing amounts more efficiently, instead of maintaining militaries that are long on creature comforts and short on fighting capacity
The real challenge NATO faces is the classic dilemma of collective action, made all the worse by the modest nature of the threat to which NATO is now trying to respond. This problem is why NATO's new members are working overtime to convince others -- and especially Americans over in the Western Hemisphere -- that Russian President Vladimir Putin is History's Greatest (or Latest) Monster. If you're Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, or even Polish, you don't want to rely on British or French or Spanish help if trouble arises with Moscow. You want to make sure the White House is on your side, and you want hotheads like Joe Biden and John McCain calling for the United States to do everything it can. So these states (and countries like Georgia) spend a lot on lobbying politicians in Washington in order to convince Americans to care as much about their homelands as they do.
Unfortunately, the history of the past 50 years tells us that the more security Uncle Sam provides to others, the less the recipients will do for themselves. Confirmed Atlanticists like the late Richard Holbrooke liked to say that the United States was a "European power," but a momentary glance at the globe shows you that this is nonsense.America is located in the Western Hemisphere, folks, and the extent of its interests in Europe depend on circumstances.America is located in the Western Hemisphere, folks, and the extent of its interests in Europe depend on circumstances. When a peer competitor emerges and threatens to dominate the continent, then America's vital interests are fully engaged. When no such rival exists (or when potential peer competitors are located elsewhere), U.S. interests are much reduced. Everybody knows or suspects this, of course, no matter how fervently U.S. officials proclaim their undying support for areas where few vital interests reside.
So what will NATO do at this week's summit? It has already announced plans for a new rapid-reaction force, and Obama has delivered a typically stirring speech pledging U.S. support for all the countries that managed to get themselves into the alliance before anyone thought too hard about the wisdom of this step. There will be the usually pious declarations about enhancing defense capabilities, and a new set of exercises will be planned, provided they don't cost too much. But eventually the war fever will break, and NATO Europe will return to its enfeebled military condition and diplomatic disarray.
Meanwhile, what about Ukraine? In theory, NATO could make a real contribution by forming a united front in favor of genuine diplomacy, something Germany seems especially eager to pursue. By "diplomacy," I mean a process of principled but flexible bargaining whose goal is to resolve the current crisis in a way that gives the various parties what they most need, instead of trying to obtain everything they might occasionally dream about. That process has to begin by recognizing that 1) Russia sees Ukraine's political alignment as a vital interest, 2) it has various cards to play to advance its goals, and 3) it is willing to wreck the country to prevent it from joining the West. You don't have to like those facts -- who would? -- but effective statecraft must begin by acknowledging unpleasant realities. As with most diplomatic efforts, the United States and Europe aren't going to get everything they want and should concentrate instead on getting what is most important.
As I've said before, the best possible outcome here is an agreement that reaffirms Ukraine's independence and sovereignty, ends the fighting, removes any Russian troops on Ukraine's territory, and guarantees Ukraine's status as a neutral buffer state. The status of Crimea is trickier, and I fear it won't be possible to get Russia to disgorge it. We may have to accept that change as the price Ukraine and the West must pay for our prior carelessness. To advance the ball, NATO's leaders should support Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko while simultaneously discouraging him from upping his demands. In particular, they should make it clear that their support is conditional on Ukraine cutting a reasonable deal. It's a bit like the conditional support the United States provides to Taiwan: The United States will defend that country if its independence is threatened by external military action, but all bets are off if Taiwan provokes trouble by crossing Beijing's "red lines."
Is this a perfect result? Hardly. But it is a lot better than prolonging the crisis, which will damage the still-fragile EU economy, poison East-West relations even further, and do further harm to Ukraine itself. I see little evidence that U.S. officials are thinking along these lines, but perhaps some of America's European partners can convince them otherwise. Isn't that what summit meetings are for?
Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.Bing Jou, 2014-09-05 19:25Finally, Stephen Walt is telling what we all need to hear. Victoria Nuland is utterly incapable of thinking her action in the long run. Obama is not much better by sending CIA Director to a troubled country. Kissinger also lament NATO has expanded its role and mission. It has participated too many wars. In pursuit of glory, NATA has transformed from a defense mechanism to an offense tool. As it expands, there should be more conflicts ahead. Military power is effective to intimidate but not a solution to a political problem. Think Transnister. Does NATO have a solution?bulentkoremezThis article provides a good realist perspective with regard to Ukrain crisis and it has similar arguments with Mearshimer's article on foreign affairs.Terry Brennan@bulentkoremez My complaint with Mearshimer's article is that it is entirely about relations between Great Powers and barely mentions the wishes of the Ukrainian people. They were the one who started this crisis by clearly choosing to look westward rather than eastward. Ignoring Ukrainian wishes is simply bad thinking; they will make their wishes heard.kskostov@Terry Brennan @bulentkoremez Either you did not read Mearshimer's article, or missed this:"One also hears the claim that Ukraine has the right to determine whom it wants to ally with and the Russians have no right to prevent Kiev from joining the West. This a dangerous way for Ukraine to think about its foreign policy choices. The sad truth is that might often makes right when great-power politics are at play. Abstract rights such as self-determination are largely meaningless when powerful states get into brawls with weaker states. Did Cuba have the right to form a military alliance with the Soviet Union" during the Cold War? The United States certainly did not think so, and the Russians think the same way about Ukraine joining the West. It is in Ukraine's interest to understand these facts of life and tread carefully when dealing with tis more powerful neighbor."Your claim that Ukrainian people started this is also disputable. Remember the V. Nuland's call? It can be argued that the current Kiev regime represents West's wishes and not the Ukrainian ones.
[Aug 15, 2014] John Oliver on Nuclear Weapons (Horrifying & Hilarious)
America has over 4,800 nuclear weapons, and we don’t take terrific care of them. It’s terrifying, basically. Connect with Last Week Tonight online...
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[Aug 14, 2014] The Atlantic Axis and the Making of a War in Ukraine by
Jul 30, 2014 | New Eastern Outlook
The war in Ukraine became predictable when the great Muslim Brotherhood Project in Syria failed during the summer of 2012. It became unavoidable in December 2012, when the European Union and Russia failed to agree on the EU’s 3rd Energy Package. The geopolitical dynamics which are driving the war in Ukraine were known in the early 1980s.
Hundred years after the shots in Sarajevo ignited WW I, Europe is again being driven towards disaster. Hundred years ago the presence of true statesmen could have prevented the war. Today many of the selected front figures of western democracies dress up in pilot uniforms while they hardly have the qualifications needed for a job as flight attendant.
The handling of the tragedy surrounding the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 prompted Malaysian PM Najib Razak to leash out at those behind the geopolitical chess game that led to the death of the 298 on board the Boeing 777-200. Showing true statesmanship, PM Najib Razak said:
“As a leader, there has never been an occasion as heart-breaking as what I went through yesterday. Wives losing their husbands, fathers losing their children. Imagine their feelings from such a great loss. … This is what happens when there is a conflict, whatever conflict that cannot be resolved through negotiations, with peace. In the end, who becomes the victim”?
The War in Ukraine Began in Libya and Syria.
In 2007 the discovery of the world’s largest known reserves of natural gas, shared by Qatar and Iran, led to the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project that was sold under the trade mark ”The Arab Spring”.
A joint Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian pipeline project was supposed to transport Iranian gas from the PARS gas fields in the Persian Gulf to Syria’s eastern Mediterranean coast and further on to continental Europe. It was this development that played midwife to the birth of the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project.
The completion of the Iran – Iraq – Syria pipeline would have caused a cohort of developments which were unacceptable to the US, UK, Israel and Qatar. Several continental European countries, including Germany, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic saw much more favorably at it. Together with the Russian gas which the EU received via Ukraine and the North Stream pipeline, the EU would have been able to cover some 50 percent of its requirements for natural gas via Iranian and Russian sources.
It would be naive to assume that Israel was not gravely concerned about the prospect of Iran becoming one of the European Union’s primary sources of natural gas. Energy security concerns influence foreign relations and foreign policy. EU – Israeli relations and the influence Tehran would have attained with regard to the EU’s position on Palestine and the Middle East are no exception to that rule.
The US and UK were not interested in competition to the Nabucco project. Qatar, the main center of gravity with regard to the international Muslim Brotherhood, eyed its chance to become a regional power to be recogned with and sent a 10 billion US dollar check to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Davotoglu. The money was reportedly earmarked, to be spent on preparing the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood for the Great Project.
An additional dimension that was overlooked by many, if not most analysts, was that the US/UK never would allow Russian – continental European relations to be dominated by an interdependence that had some 50 percent of continental Europe’s energy security at its heart. To explain that point, allow me to refer to a conversation the author has had with a top-NATO admiral from a northern European country during a day of sailing on a sailing yacht in the early 1980s. Discussing European security issues, out of the reach of curious ears and microphones he said that (paraphrased):
”American colleagues at the Pentagon told me, unequivocally, that the US and UK never would allow European – Soviet relations to develop to such a degree that they would challenge the US/UK’s political, economic or military primacy and hegemony on the European continent. Such a development will be prevented by all necessary means, if necessary by provoking a war in central Europe”.
It is safe to assume that the discontinuation of the USSR with help of the US and UK has not significantly changed the principle premises of this doctrine and that it is still valid today.
By 2009 the implementation of the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project was already in high gear. The former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas recalled during an appearance on the French TV Channel LPC in July 2013. (audio recording).
”I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. … This was in Britain, not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister of Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I am French, that does not interest me. …
” This does not make sense. … There are some sides who have the desire to destroy Arab States, like what happened in Libya before, particularly given Syria’s special relations with Russia., …(emphasis added)…That if an agreement is not reached, then Israel will attack and destroy the governments that stand against Israel”.
Note Dumas’ reference to Libya. Note that the statement came after NATO abused UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya to implement the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project in that country.
The then U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo H. Daalder and then NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of the U.S. European Command James G. Stavridis published an article in the March/April 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, calling NATO’s ”intervention” in Libya ”A teachable moment and model for future interventions”.
The statement was repeated at NATO’s 25th Summit in Chicago that year. As Ivo H. Daalder also explained in a Forestal Lecure that year, there was a need for a new warfare, special warfare. Traditional conventional war had become impossible. Moreover, Libya was necessary as a hub for the shipment of arms and the recruiting and training of mercenaries for Syria, Mali, and beyond.
Defeat in Syria Made the Ukraine War Unavoidable.
In June and July 2012 some 20,000 NATO mercenaries who had been recruited and trained in Libya and then staged in the Jordanian border town Al-Mafraq, launched two massive campaigns aimed at seizing the Syrian city of Aleppo. Both campaigns failed and the ”Libyan Brigade” was literally wiped out by the Syrian Arab Army.
It was after this decisive defeat that Saudi Arabia began a massive campaign for the recruitment of jihadi fighters via the network of the Muslim Brotherhoods evil twin sister Al-Qaeda.
The International Crisis Group responded by publishing its report ”Tentative Jihad”. Washington had to make an attempt to distance itself ”politically” from the ”extremists”. Plan B, the chemical weapons plan was hedged but it became obvious that the war on Syria was not winnable anymore. This, and nothing else was why the British parliament turned down the bombing of Syria in August 2013.
The war on Ukraine had become predictable from that point onwards and the timing of the developments in Ukraine during 2012 and 2013 strongly suggest that plans to overthrow the Yanukovich government and to aim at a long-term destabilization of Ukraine were launched after July 2012.
There was one last opportunity to turn the tide with regards to Ukraine in late 2012, during negotiations about the European Union’s 3rd Energy Package. Relations between Russia and the EU were stressed by a primarily British-sponsored initiative within the EU that was targeting Russia. The ”EU” or UK/US should not accept that a major energy provider like Russia or Gazprom had the majority ownership over both the gas and the transportation System.
On 21 December 2012 the leaders of the 27 EU member states and Russia held a summit in Brussels but failed to resolve the issue. It was from this point onward that the war in Ukraine had become unavoidable, which means that it was from here on, that powerful lobbies in the US and UK became hellbent on starting a 4th generation war in Ukraine. On December 22, 2012, nsnbc published the article ”Russia – E.U. Meeting in Brussels: Risk of Middle East and European War Increased”. The December 2012 article stated
”The sudden pullout of the Ukraine on Tuesday is by energy insiders with whom the author consulted perceived as yet another Ukrainian, US and UK backed attempt to force the expansion of NATO and to drive a wedge between an increased integration of the Russian and E.U. Economies. As it will become obvious below, it is related to an aggressive attempt to save the value of the petro dollar”.
By February 9, 2013, relations between Russia and core NATO members had deteriorated so much over Syria and the lack of convergence in energy issues, that Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grutchko said:
”Someone here in Brussels made a most profound point by saying that if you are holding a hammer, you should not think that every emerging problem is a nail. We think the world has ample opportunity to engage in energy cooperation and to ensure energy security without making use of military-political organizations as an instrument”.
There were not many who at that time understood the bearing of the Russian NATO Ambassador’s words.
On February 21 the Ukrainian parliament was seized by masked gunmen. The president was removed from office in a vote held in the presence of gunmen. One of the first official statements of the new powers at be was that the Russian language would no longer be accepted as the second official language in the predominantly Russian speaking eastern regions of Ukraine.
The statement was bound to and didn’t fail to elicit a response that would tear Ukraine apart. On February 22, 2013, some 3,500 governors from southern and eastern Ukrainian regions convened in Kharkov and rejected the legality of the putchist parliament and any of the laws it adopted.
Was the tragedy surrounding MAS Flight MH17 another Sarajevo moment and will it be used to throw an additional spanner into attempt to peacefully integrate the Russian and European economies? Michael Emmerson, associate senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies suggests ”After MH17, the EU must act against Putin and stop importing Russian gas”.
Dr. Christof Lehmann an independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and the founder and editor in chief of nsnbc, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
[Aug 12, 2014] The U.S. Wasn’t “Drawn” Into Iraq by Daniel Larison
August 12, 2014 | theamericanconservative.com
David Brooks couldn’t be more wrong:
We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq. The last four presidents have found themselves drawn into that nation because it epitomizes the core problem at the center of so many crises: the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam [bold mine-DL].
That isn’t why the last three presidents were “drawn” into Iraq, and it is at best only part of the reason why Obama is allowing himself to be dragged back in. The previous three presidents chose to use force in Iraq and impose sanctions on Iraq for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with “the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam.” Except in the delusions of pro-war propagandists, there was no “interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam” in Iraq before 2003 because the latter had little presence and no power. The invasion helped to destroy whatever semblance of secular governance there was. Indeed, it was the principal reason why that governance ceased to exist.
The war created the chaos in which jihadism began to thrive in the country. For that matter, the war was not a matter of being “drawn” into the country, but of illegally invading it on a shaky pretext. Obama entered office when secular governance in Iraq was a thing of the past, and has been drawn back in because of the clash between a sectarian government and its enemies. The U.S. has spent the last twenty-three years bombing, occupying, sanctioning, and otherwise interfering with Iraq, but virtually none of it had anything to do with countering radical Islam, and this was something that the U.S. chose to do. The U.S. wasn’t “drawn” into Iraq, but rather opted to be there in some fashion for two decades, and it was the U.S. presence itself that unleashed and drew in these forces as a result of the “aggressive, preventive action” that Brooks now thinks is so necessary.
The Moral Argument for American Restraint—in Iraq and Beyond Noah Berlatsky
>Jun 17 2014 | theatlantic.com
Whenever there’s a conflict anywhere in the world, a gaggle of American pundits and politicians insists that the United States fix it. Whether it's Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham pushing weapons shipments to Ukraine, former ambassador Robert Ford urging Washington to arm Syrian rebels, or The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol calling for troops to be sent to Iraq, the assumption is always that every problem is America's problem, and that the best way to solve America's problems is with force.
Barry Posen, a professor of political science at MIT and a foreign-policy realist, advocates a different approach. The title of his new book, Restraint, succinctly expresses his policy recommendation. The U.S., he argues, needs to stop trying to do more and more. Instead, it needs to do less. Or, as he puts it, "Efforts to defend everything leave one defending not much of anything."
Posen rests his discussion on two basic arguments. The first is that the United States is, by any reasonable metric, an incredibly secure nation. It is geographically isolated from other great powers—a position that makes invading or even attacking the U.S. mainland prohibitively difficult. U.S. conventional forces are by far the most powerful in the world. Posen notes that the U.S. "accounted for a little more than a third of all the military spending in the world during the 1990s," and has increased the percentage to about 41 percent of all military spending in the world today. On top of that, the U.S. has a massive nuclear deterrent. It is simply not credible to argue that Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, or even Russia or China have the combination of dangerous capabilities and malign intentions to pose a serious existential threat to the United States in anything but the most paranoid neocon fantasies.
Second, enforcing “liberal hegemony”—a grand strategy of promoting global democracy and peace underwritten by U.S. military power—is simply beyond America’s capabilities. As the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, earlier, Vietnam showed, the United States does not have the military resources and political will necessary to impose friendly democratic regimes upon distant peoples. Nor, as all three of those wars also demonstrate, does it have the ability to utterly destroy its enemies forever. Nor, finally, can the U.S. ensure, militarily or otherwise, that no one anywhere gets nuclear weapons—after all, if it could, presumably Pakistan and North Korea wouldn't have them.
The effort to control and police the world through force of arms makes the United States less secure in numerous ways, Posen argues. It bleeds U.S. resources, both military and economic, while leaving the country less prepared to face immediate threats. The belief that America will act as the world’s policeman encourages some of its allies to skimp on their own defense spending, forcing the U.S. to undertake further costly investments it cannot afford in the long term. In its role as Liberal Hegemon, it also encourages aggression and risky behavior in states like Israel, which can put off peace deals and engage in provocative actions like settlement construction because of the elaborate pledges of support it has received from America.
Rather than imposing American will by force, Posen suggests that we could more fruitfully and practically engage the world in other ways. For instance, if the U.S. is concerned about genocide, we could join the International Criminal Court and support the prosecution of those who commit war crimes (including, though Posen does not say this, American officials, at whatever level, who condoned, or condone, torture.) If we want to save people, we could honor our commitments under international treaties and open our borders to refugees; as Posen says, we are “rich enough to receive many individuals in such dire straits.” We could also send aid to poorer countries to encourage them to receive refugees.
Posen makes a compelling argument. But he makes it almost entirely on realist grounds. He advocates a policy of restraint because it will make the U.S. stronger and more secure, not—or at least not primarily—because a policy of restraint is more ethical than the alternative. His humanitarian suggestions—joining the ICC, opening borders—are addendums to, rather than the essence of, his reasoning.
But liberal hegemony, the argument Posen is rebutting, isn’t just based on security interests. It’s also predicated on morality. For instance, the rationale for invading Iraq was not only that the United States needed to crush Saddam Hussein for its own safety. It was also that Saddam was uniquely evil and that it would be good for the people of Iraq, and for people around the world, if he were destroyed. Similarly, the continuing presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is justified not only on the basis of protecting America from al-Qaeda, but also on the grounds that the Taliban are hideously oppressive, especially to women, and that it is America’s responsibility to stop them from returning to power.
Responding to the argument for liberal hegemony, then, requires consideration of the moral as well as the practical arguments for restraint. Fortunately for Posen, the “just war” tradition of ethics yields a very strong argument for the morality of restraint—indeed, in many ways just-war doctrine is based on the restraint principle. As summarized by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
The principles of the justice of war are commonly held to be: having just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used.
The just-war doctrine is not equivalent to pacifism, which holds that there is no justification for war at all. But it shares with pacifism, as political ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain has written, the belief that "violence must never be celebrated, and that violence must always be put on trial." Though Elshtain herself supported the Iraq war, the reasoning here suggests, on the contrary, that preventive wars aimed at warding off the eventual emergence of a threat should be anathema. Wars are by their nature bloody, destructive, and impossible to control (as the spiraling and ongoing violence in Iraq demonstrates all too clearly.) It is simply not tenable to argue that starting a war will preserve peace, because war by its nature breeds chaos and more war. That's why war must be a last resort, and why it should solely be used in self-defense; the only time it's reasonable to think that war might reduce war is when you're already at war.
The essence of just war can be summarized generally as follows: first, try to limit harm, and second, treat war with respect and fear. Dropping bombs on Libya or Iran to prevent evil is illegitimate because war itself is evil—and it is an evil not easily contained. Treating war as a convenient tool of policy, rather than as a last resort, sows more death and hardship, not less. Similarly, building up massive stockpiles of weapons that are not immediately necessary creates a temptation to use those weapons—the succinct moral of Johnny Cash's "Don't Take Your Guns to Town." Outsized military expenditures can themselves be seen as a violation of the principles that inform the just-war doctrine.
From the just-war perspective, Posen's realist arguments have an ethical force. Even from the perspective of the World War II-era realist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who rejected pacifism and just war alike as overly idealistic, Posen's position has moral consequences. Niebuhr saw war as moral when it advanced best outcomes. The case Posen outlines suggests what those best outcomes are.
When Posen says, for example, that the U.S. cannot, in the long run, defend Taiwan, that's not just a practical statement, but an ethical one. That’s because engaging in an unwinnable conflict over Taiwan—possibly unleashing nuclear war in a lost cause without a self-defense rationale—is, on just-war grounds, or even on Neibuhrian grounds, morally wrong. Similarly, there is plentiful evidence that the U.S. cannot impose its preferred form of government on the peoples of the Middle East. Intervening in Middle Eastern civil wars when there is no realistic chance of success is an ethical failure as well as a tactical one. It is evil to bomb people purely in the hope, against all the evidence, that bombing will make things better.
Restraint is also preferable to liberal hegemony from the standpoint of American ideals. Proponents of liberal hegemony often argue that the United States has an ethical duty to spread its values across the globe. But this argument overlooks the fact that one of the most basic foundational values of America is self-determination. The American Revolution was fought for the principle that people have a right to make decisions about their own fate through their own institutions. When the U.S. sets itself up as a global policeman, it is saying, on the contrary, that U.S. policymakers have the right to decide who should rule in Iraq, or how Iran should conduct its nuclear program. Perhaps, in certain cases, for the security of its own citizens, the U.S. may need to take steps to curtail the actions of other states and other people. But as a wholesale philosophy, "the United States should run the world" contradicts America’s most basic value: that people have the right to rule themselves.
Restraint, then, is not merely a practical necessity for the United States to improve its security. It's also an ethical duty, and a specifically American ideal. Rather than fearing America's "decline" because we’re not able to undertake a land war in Ukraine or a third invasion of Iraq, we should welcome a world in which the U.S. does not try to solve other people's problems by force. Liberal hegemony hasn't worked, and won't work. The United States will be more secure—and more moral—if it can give up its dreams of empire, and restrain its impulse to war.
Terri_in_LA • a day ago
"For instance, if the U.S. is concerned about genocide, we could join the International Criminal Court and support the prosecution of those who commit war crimes (including, though Posen does not say this, American officials, at whatever level, who condoned, or condone, torture.)"
US Foreign Policy = Follow the Money.
The US Federal Gov't is not primarily concerned about things like genocide when developing its foreign policy. It is concerned about chaotic situations that can disrupt our economy. Concerns for security almost always come back to economic security not physical security. That's why we make the same mistakes over and over. We want to control things that we just don't have much ability to control in attempts to eliminate economic risk. We live in fear that we'll lose access to raw materials, markets, etc. It is why we go head long into the Middle East while we allow wars to rage without intervention in parts of Africa. It's why we are freaked about the Ukraine. We're not worried that Russia is going to wage an actual war, but that it might be in a position to impact our economy or that of our allies. It's why we fear China, when they've shown no interest in meddling in the affairs of countries outside its own region. China has growing economic clout around the world
Until we start to discuss foreign policy in more concrete terms (What are our interests exactly? What are we willing or unwilling to sacrifice to protect them?) rather than as if its all high minded ideology or how these are bad guys that need to be taken out for humanitarian reasons, we'll never stop doing things that damage our interests and are damaging to the rest of the world.
[Jun 05, 2014] Ukraine The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June
The gas situation in Ukraine is kind of humorous–there is one obvious choice that, of course, is seldom made, diplomacy. Europe, the U.S., Russia and Ukraine could sit down and negotiate a good deal. Really there is no reason to hassle over this. Russia needs security guarantees that Ukraine will not become another outpost for NATO expansion, virtual or otherwise. Europe needs gas and Ukraine needs a governable country. It is only the U.S. that has an interest in causing trouble here.
The U.S. goal is to weaken the EU while appearing to be friendly thus making the EU dependent on the U.S. which is the guarantor of Middle Eastern oil supplies and international security. While the current administration in Washington is considered “weak” by critics it still is strong by comparison of European leaders–and as sheeplish as Americans are Europeans, who aren’t as profoundly ignorant about political affairs, are beginning to appear to almost beat out Americans in their compliant behavior. Europeans must recognize that the don’t need the U.S. any more. The Soviet Union is long gone and Russia while a powerful country, is no threat to anyone. It continues to act, internationally, in a sensible manner, Lavrov and Putin are statesmen and not like von Ribbentrop and Hitler even though the American propagandists who seem to dominate not only the U.S. media but Euro media are telling the world.
The USG deliberately maintained the Cold War well beyond the time it was necessary to feed the dominant military-intelligence-Congressional-industrial complex in the style they are used to and has, in my view, either manufactured conflicts or do their best to inflame nascent conflicts whether in Eastern Europe, the Middle East or Central Asia. This should be glaringly obvious to anyone who cares to look at the record. Europe, interestingly, after following along with U.S.foreign policy no matter how viscous, lying over like beaten dogs when Wall Street and the City looted the financial system, now wants to create a little U.S. with privatized everything and neofeudalism. To Euro-readers–is this what you want just so you can rest in the arms of Uncle Sam? Fortunately there are many signs that point in the right direction for Europe in moving away from the glories of hot or cold war.
6th generation Texan, May 28, 2014 at 10:20 am
In the grand scheme of things, the current world situation is just the latest version of the classic land power vs naval power conflict that has replayed over thousands of years, from the Peloponnesian Wars to the Napoleonic Wars to both World Wars and the Cold War. In most cases the naval power has prevailed (a combination of massive hubris, greed and stupidity finally did in the Athenians — ring any bells regarding the current situation…??)
Many analysts have dubbed the current struggle to control Eurasian resources as the “Energy Wars”, being fought primarily over access to those riches. These “Pipeline Wars” lie behind US/NATO aggression from the 1990s Balkan War to the present conflicts in Syria and Ukraine in time, and cover most of the Eurasian land mass in space.
The West is decisively losing the Pipeline Wars. A vast internal network linking Central Asian producers (including Russia and Iran) to hungry markets in the Far East, India and Europe is well under construction, bypassing the sea lanes that the West controls via the US Navy and its carrier battle groups. As this process proceeds at an ever-increasing pace, it will eventually undermine the basis of America’s claim to world hegemony: the Petrodollar.
When the Petrodollar dies, so does the Amerikan Empire. The vital question: how will the rulers of that Empire react when that moment finally confronts them? Will they slide into the dustbin of history quietly — or take the world with them in a nuclear Gotterdammerung ?
Given their track record of making increasingly desperate/inept/psychopathic decisions in recent years, the likely answer scares the living hell out of me.
[May 28, 2014] The Russian Gas Carousel: Who Wants Off, and Who Wants On
reggietcs, May 22, 2014 at 7:37 am
I think many of the “America rah-rah” pundits in the west are having a hard time accepting the fact that the USA has serious limitations when it comes to threatening Russia and China and that the world is indeed heading rapidly towards multi-polarity. The so-called “sanctions” the west has levied against Russia is clear evidence of their impotence in the matter.
They are so accustomed to seeing the USA successfully bully, sanction, kill and destroy countries who are disobedient and challenge American hegemony. They’ve now hit a wall and it’s caused many of these talking heads to blow their gaskets. I mean, how else can one explain the numerous articles by enraged western pundits calling for a REAL military confrontation with Russia openly in the op-eds of major newspapers? During the cold war, major American papers would not print belligerent articles like this because it was well understood that it would be an act of global suicide. But today we have pundits who believe that a military confrontation with Russia can be “won” and that’s what I find truly FRIGHTENING.
That’s why Stephen Cohen recently said that war with Russia is no longer “unthinkable” and that’s why he has such a bleak disposition on the matter. We often mock and deride the crude ant-Russian propaganda around here but it takes on a dangerous dimension when the western elite actually start to believe it themselves (one of my favorites being that the Russian nukes/missiles “won’t work”). All it now takes is for them to “test” this nonsense, thus ultimately bringing disaster down upon billions of human beings.
rober, May 22, 2014 at 10:50 am
There’s a school of thought that many of the Soviet ICBM’s were not properly maintained and non functional. But even if every single Russian ICBM in its silo was a dud there’s still the nuclear subs.
If this guy’s right a full-scale nuclear war between the United States and Russia would produce so much smoke that temperatures would get below freezing even in the summertime, crops would die and there would be global famine.
Moscow Exile, May 22, 2014 at 8:25 am
“She sneers at the deal and says it only means Russia is desperate, Russian economy was about to go down the toilet, so they had to go begging to China, etc. So, the deal is laughable and should just be sneered away, as if nothing really happened.”
That’s the general line of the Russophobe comments in the UK press: sneering and mockery.
As regards nuking Russia, one such sneering moron (possibly a “modern Warfare” PC game player with the mind of a 12-year-old) suggests that the Russian-China pipeline can easily be put out of action with a missile strike or sabotaged by Muslim fanatics because: “Did you know that 30% of the “Soviet” population is Muslim?”
kirill, May 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm
By the same token the USA can be brought to its knees by the sinking of a few oil supertankers transporting oil from around the world. But the media propaganda has convinced every nitwit out there that the USA exports oil. LOL. It exports *refined* products which has not relevance to the fact that it still needs to import around 7 to 8 million barrels per day.
[May 27, 2014] Albright the Second -- bellicose and incompetent chicken hawk Hilary Clinton
Since it’s foreign policy week this week, with President Obama delivering a major speech on Wednesday at West Point, Christie Watch will spend the next few days looking at the foreign policy views of the various 2016 candidates, starting today with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
When it comes to Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, start first by disentangling the nonsense about Benghazi—a nonexistent scandal if ever there was one—from the broader palette of Clinton’s own, relatively hawkish views. As she consolidates her position as the expected nominee in 2016, with wide leads over all the likely GOP challengers, it ought to worry progressives that the next president of the United States is likely to be much more hawkish than the current one. Expect to be deluged, in the next few weeks, with news about Hard Choices, the memoir of her years as secretary of state under President Obama, to be released June 10.
But we don’t need a memoir to know that, comparatively speaking, two things can be said about her tenure at the State Department:
- first, that in fact she accomplished very little;
- and second, that both before her appointment and during her service, she consistently came down on the hawkish side of debates inside the administration, from Afghanistan to Libya and Syria. She’s also taken a more hawkish line than Obama on Ukraine and the confrontation with Russia.
In the brief excerpt that’s been released by her publisher, Clinton notes that as secretary of state she “ended up visiting 112 countries and traveling nearly one million miles.” But what, if anything, did she accomplish with all that to-ing and fro-ing? Not a lot. She largely avoided the Israel-Palestine tangle, perhaps because she didn’t want to risk crossing the Israel lobby at home, and it’s hard to see what she actually did, other than to promote the education and empowerment of girls and women in places where they are severely beaten down. And, while it’s wrong (and really silly) to call Clinton a neoconservative, she’s more of—how to put it?—a “right-wing realist” on foreign policy, who often backed military intervention as a first or second resort, while others in the White House—especially Obama’s national security staff and Vice President Biden’s own aides, were far more reluctant to employ the troops.
In that vein, it’s useful to explore the memoirs of Robert Gates, who was secretary of defense under George W. Bush and then, inexplicably, under President Obama, too. In Duty: Memoir of a Secretary at War (which could also be the subtitle of Clinton’s own memoir), Gates says several times that he and Clinton saw eye to eye. (This has also been extensively documented by Bob Woodward, if more narrowly focused, in his 2010 book, Obama’s Wars.) In Duty, Gates says that he formed an alliance with Clinton because both he and her had independent power bases and were, in his words, “un-fireable”:
Commentators were observing that in an administration where all power and decision making were gravitating toward the White House, Clinton and I represented the only independent “power center”, not least because…we were both seen as “unfire-able.” [page 289]
Gates confirms that he and Clinton lined up with the hawks against the doves on Afghanistan:
The Obama foreign policy team was splintering. [Joe] Biden, his chief of staff, [Rahm] Emanuel, some of the National Security Council staff, and probably all of the president’s White House political advisers were on a different page with respect to Afghanistan than Clinton, [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs] Mullen, [Dennis] Blair, and me. [page 350]
And Gates says that on the crucial decision to escalate the Afghan war in 2009 and then to slow the drawdown in 2010, he and Clinton were on the same side:
Yet again the president had mostly come down on Hillary’s and my side. And yet again the process was ugly and contentious, reaffirming that the split in Obama’s team over Afghanistan, after two years in office, was still very real and very deep. [page 502]
And, says Gates (page 587), Obama’s efforts to centralize foreign policy decision-making inside the White House “offended Hillary Clinton as much as it did me.”
As The Nation noted in 2013, just before the November 2012 election—after Gates had left the administration and was replaced by Leon Panetta—Clinton joined Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and the military in proposing that the United States go to war in Syria. (That the United States didn’t act more aggressively in Syria back then was entirely due to President Obama’s decision to resist Clinton and the other hawks.)
And, more famously, Clinton—joined by several other administration officials, including Samantha Power and Susan Rice—pushed hard, and successfully, for the United States to go to war in Libya. For Republicans who’ve endlessly waved the bloody flag of Benghazi, Clinton’s hawkish view on Libya contradicts much of the nonsense they go on about. But for progressives, it’s an ugly blot on Clinton’s résumé. Not only did the war in Libya go far to inflame Russian nationalism, it also created a terrible vacuum in North Africa, toppling Muammar Qaddafi but leaving hundreds of armed militias in his stead, creating chaos and anarchy. (And, because the war against Qaddafi followed the Libyan leader’s decision to forgo a nuclear arms program, it also sent the wrong message to Iran, namely, give up your nuclear program and we’ll attack you anyway.)
In their book about Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, HRC, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes don’t provide much insight into Clinton’s role as maker of foreign policy decisions, preferring to concentrate far too much on the politics of the Clinton people vs. the Obama people. But they do suggest that there was far more tension between the White House and the State Department under Clinton than is usually cited. For instance, they write:
Many of the White House aides saw the Clinton network as part of a bipartisan Washington foreign policy establishment that kept getting it wrong. [page 143]
As background, Allen and Parnes note that Clinton’s relationship with Gates was founded in part on the fact that both Clinton and Gates backed Barry Goldwater in 1964—Clinton was a “Goldwater Girl”—and that Gates took note of the fact that Clinton, as senator from New York, “had made friends with a number of high-level flag officers—three- and four-star generals and admirals—during her time on Armed Services.” She was, Gates noted, “an ardent advocate of a strong military” and “believed in all forms of American power, including force.” As important decisions were imminent during the Obama administration, Allen and Parnes quote a “high-ranking Pentagon source” who says:
[Gates and Clinton] often compared notes in advance of some of those meetings to find common ground to allow them to influence or drive the direction of policy on a given issue.
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In its summary of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, The New York Times suggests that even Clinton herself has a hard time deciding what her real accomplishments were, noting that she “seemed flustered” when asked about it at a public forum. In the end, the way she responded was, well, meaningless:
“I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race,” Mrs. Clinton finally said at the Women in the World meeting, promising to offer specific examples in a memoir she is writing that is scheduled to be released in June. “I mean, you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton.”
But the Times adds that, after countless interviews, it is clear that Clinton was the administration’s hawk:
But in recent interviews, two dozen current and former administration officials, foreign diplomats, friends and outside analysts described Mrs. Clinton as almost always the advocate of the most aggressive actions considered by Mr. Obama’s national security team—and not just in well-documented cases, like the debate over how many additional American troops to send to Afghanistan or the NATO airstrikes in Libya.
Mrs. Clinton’s advocates—a swelling number in Washington, where people are already looking to the next administration—are quick to cite other cases in which she took more hawkish positions than the White House: arguing for funneling weapons to Syrian rebels and for leaving more troops behind in postwar Iraq, and criticizing the results of a 2011 parliamentary election in Russia.
And the Times quotes Dennis Ross, the pro-Israel advocate who worked for both Clinton and for the White House on Iran: “It’s not that she’s quick to use force, but her basic instincts are governed more by the uses of hard power.”
Since leaving office, Clinton has gone out of her way to sound more hawkish than Obama on a range of issues, including expressing skepticism on the negotiations with Iran. Some observers say that it’s just politics, and that Clinton is positioning herself for 2016. Maybe so. But it sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton is just being, well, Hillary Clinton.
Read Next: Bob Dreyfuss questions Obama’s “Goldilocks” approach to foreign policy.
A look in the long distance: who will have to pay for "Ukraine v2"?
I just wanted to mention here a topic which is not often discussed in the western press but which does pop-up with some regularity in the Russian press. Let's set aside the current events and ask ourselves the following question:
Sooner or later there will be some kind of state in what used to be the Ukraine until 2014. The Crimea is gone forever to Russia, that is certain. A "People's Republic of Donetsk" all alone like some kind of Lichtenstein but stuck between Russia and Banderastan is most unlikely. Even a "People's Republic of the Donbass" or a "Novorossia" composed of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions would have a very hard time surviving as an independent state. I think that we can assume that the Donbass will either have to join Russia or, at the very least, the Eurasian Union (Rus, Kaz, Bel, Arm, etc.) or some kind of loose Ukrainian confederation. The latter is, of course, only possible if the USA gives up on its delusion of maintaining a neo-Nazi and russophobic Banderastan and accepts some kind of sovereign but civilized "Ukraine" in its place. Right now there are no signs that anybody in Washington is ready to accept that. But whatever the USA does or does not want, there is one thing which is sure: all the successor states of the original Ukraine will need HUGE amounts of foreign financial aid. We are not talking just about providing a few billions in loan guarantees to a clique of corrupt oligarchs, but about fully re-building a more or less modern country almost from scratch. This is a huge program which will take at least a decade and will require immense resources. It will have to be implemented in an highly volatile environment, with massive poverty and corruption, with violence prevalent and possibly with a serious terrorism problem. The political instability of such a environment is guaranteed. So in the light of this - if you were the EU or Russia - would you want to be responsible for more or less of that territory?
Think about it: whoever will end up "owning" (if not de-jure then de-facto) most of this new "Ukraine v2" will also own most of its problems. The EU plan in this regard is crystal clear: the EU wants to own it all and let Russia pay for it all. Unsurprisingly Russia does not agree. The Americans have it even better: they simply don't ask this question, don't think about this issue and have no plans to own anything if by "owning" we mean "paying for". This is completely immature and plain silly. Denying this problem will not make it magically disappear.
Now here is the beauty of it all, at least seen from the Russian point of view:
Russia has already reunited the only part of the Ukraine it really "wanted": Crimea. From a purely egoistic and self-centered point of view, Russia could built a huge wall all along its border with the Ukraine and declare "to hell with it all" and let all the other actors (Ukrainians, EU, US) deal with that. I am kidding, of course, but as a thought-experiment, this is a useful one. Ask yourself: what would happen if Russia did exactly that. Let's assume that Russian public opinion would not be up in arms against such a decision (in reality it would!) and let's just also assume that the (imaginary) "United People's Republic of Donetsk and Luganks" would be fine with that (it's only a though experiment - so indulge me in some unrealistic speculations here, okay?). Let's even assume that Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhie, Nikolaev and other cities and regions stop protesting or resisting. All Russia would do is turn off the gas spigot (unless it is paid for in advance), get out the popcorn and beer and watch the reports from the Ukraine. What do you think would happen?
Absolute and total chaos. It's either that or the US/EU would have to come up with a way to not only put a semi-legitimate AND very effective regime in power, but also to pay a bill ranging anywhere form 30 to 100 billion dollars (depending on how much of the problem you want to address immediately). Now look at the same problem from the Russian point of view:
Either the US/EU agree incur huge costs which will severely damage their economies (and they cannot afford that) or
The EU and US begin an ugly fight over "who pays what and under what terms", and
The EU is hit by a series of shocks as a result of the Ukrainian chaos (illegal immigration, crime, political disputes), and
NATO will be seen as either ineffective/incompetent/useless at best, and as reckless and irresponsible at worst.
So no matter what, the AngloZionist Empire will suffer massive consequences for is crazy notion of letting a huge country like the Ukraine explode right in the middle of the European continent.
To be honest, I am quite certain that Russia does not want that outcome at all. First, the Russian public opinion is extremely worked-up about having fellow Russians attacked by a mix of neo-Nazis and Jewish oligarchs and it would never accept putting up any kind of wall or abandon the Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Second, as I mentioned before, Donetsk and Lugansk along cannot be viable in isolation. Finally, I am not at all so sure that only these two regions will decide to hold a referendum, especially after the economic crisis really hits.
Ideally Russia wants a lose Ukrainian Confederation. This confederation would have to be thoroughly de-Nazified and would probably have to join the economic union with Russia and its partners (if only to benefit from Russian financial aid). Russia would also want the US and EU to pitch in its "fair share" of financial and technical support to gradually re-built "Ukraine v2", especially considering that these two entities are responsible for breaking up "Ukraine v1" in the first place. Needless to say, "Ukraine v2" would not be Banderastan and it would not join NATO.
As a side note, it would be really smart for the new Ukrainian leadership of this "Ukraine v2" to declare itself not only neutral but also totally demilitarized. Seriously, what is the point of having a military when stuck right in between NATO and Russia? Provide more targets?
As a (former and "recovering") military analyst I can tell you that by far the best defense against foreign agression for Ukraine would be:
1) the size of its territory (geographical defense)
2) being completely demilitarized (political defense)
3) being officially neutral (legal defense)
4) being in between two rival blocks (military defense by means of "other side")
That does not require a single Hrivna of financing, looks extremely progressive, would get a standing ovation from all its neighbors and would provide the perfect "buffer" to reassure both NATO and Russia. And just imagine the amount of money saved which the "Ukraine v2" could use for far more urgent and contructive needs!
Alas, that would also require a vision which is far beyond what the current freaks in power can even begin to contemplate.
As I have mentioned it in the past, the USA's entire Ukrainian policy is based on a fallacy cooked up by Zbigniew Brzezinski and parroted by Hillary Clinton: Brzezinski believes that Russia cannot be a superpower without the Ukraine and Hillary believes that Putin wants to rebuild the USSR. They are both completely wrong, of course: Russia is already a superpower (it has now defeated the US/EU/NATO alliance in both Syria and the Ukraine) and Putin does not want to rebuild the USSR at all. I wonder if there is anybody in the US polity which understands who much these conceptual mistakes will end up costing the USA. By listening to these two hateful maniacs (this is really what Zbig and Hillary are!) the USA has completely mismanaged every step of its crucial relationship with both the EU and Russia.
In the case of rump-Ukraine more is not better, more is worse; less is better. The less Russia will have to manage and pay for the reconstruction of the Ukraine the better off Russia will be. From the EU's point of view, however, the more Russia takes over of the Ukraine, the better for the EU. This is even better from the US point of view because from the US point of view the more the US/EU "own" the Ukraine, the more they will have to pay for it and the more the transatlantic alliance will come under stress. So, paradoxically, it would be in the best interests of the USA to have Russia take over all of the Ukraine. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but that is still a fact.
So here is the truth: the Ukraine is not a prize at all - it is a huge burden.
That is a truth which no politician can openly state, of course.
But we can, and should. Because if we keep that truism clear in our minds, we can then see why Russia's victory in this massive confrontation with the united powers of the US/EU/NATO is so total. Can you guess?
Checkmate on all boards
Because no matter what, Russia will have the option to chose how much of the Ukrainian burden it is willing to shoulder whereas the West will have to take whatever Russia does not want. Yep, that's right. Just remember the thought experiment we just did above. Russia could, in theory, refuse to take up any further burden and declare "ain't my problem, sorry" and there is nothing the US/EU/NATO could do about it (not to mention that such a Russians stance would completely deflate the stupid canard about Russia being ready to invade the Baltics, Poland or any other EU country).
In a sane world ruled by non-delusional people the real priority of western politicians would be to cuddle, beg, plead, threaten and trick Russia into taking over as much of the Ukraine as possible - the whole thing if possible. Let Russia deal with the neo-Nazis, let Russia pay Ukrainian pensions and salaries, let Russia rebuilt the entire economy, let Russia waste its energy and resources on this ungrateful and truly Herculean task. If Russia agreed to take over the full Ukraine NATO could even re-heat its "Russian threat" canard and justify its existence.
Luckily, however, as long as Putin is in power Russia will never agree to anything like it. Time is on Russia's side and the worst the situation of the Ukraine becomes, the weaker the US/EU/NATO block is, the stronger the Russian bargaining position becomes.
So while Russia cannot remain indifferent and while Russians cannot cynically get some popcorn and beer and watch it all go to hell, Russia will continue to play a very low-key game: Russia will stick to its principled position, it will refuse to be a party to any ludicrous solution, and it will condemn the crazy and neo-Nazi policies of the freaks currently in power in Kiev.
Other than that, Russia will simply wait for western leaders to wake up from their current delusional hallucinations and get serious about solving a problem which is first and foremost their problem which they created and they will have to pay for solving.
[May 27, 2014] It is time for the West to move ahead without Russia by John McCain, John Barrasso, John Hoeven and Ron Johnson
There is no war John McCain did not like. The concept of MIC makes it is easy to understand why: being MIC lobbyist entails certain responsibilities, that you can't shirk...
April 25, 2014 | www.washingtonpost.com
John McCain, John Barrasso, John Hoeven and Ron Johnson, all Republicans, represent Arizona, Wyoming, North Dakota and Wisconsin, respectively, in the Senate.
We recently visited Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova. In each country, our allies want a stronger immediate response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its ongoing subversion of Ukraine. They also believe, as we do, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest acts of aggression require an enduring strategic response from the United States, Europe and NATO. It should be clear to all that Putin’s Russia has taken a dark turn. There is no resetting this relationship. We cannot return to business as usual.
Western countries had high hopes for our relationships with Russia after the Cold War and acted on that basis. We provided billions of dollars to help Russia’s transition from communism. We created new mechanisms for consultation. We expanded trade. NATO committed not to deploy significant military capabilities onto the territory of new alliance allies, even as it expanded. In short, the West sought to include Russia in the promise of a Europe whole, free and at peace — a vision we still believe would benefit all participants.
Unfortunately, hope of a constructive relationship with Russia under Putin has vanished. A friendly rival has become, at best, an unfriendly adversary. Putin will not compromise his quest to dominate Russia’s sovereign neighbors (not least as a cynical way to build support at home for his corrupt and autocratic rule). He may play along with Western diplomats eager to avoid conflict, as happened recently in Geneva, but only as a way to consolidate his gains, divide the United States and Europe, play for time and prepare to push further. Western weakness emboldens Putin. The only thing he respects, and that can change his calculus, is greater strength.
We must make policy on this basis. In the short term, the United States must expand sanctions to major Russian banks, energy companies and other sectors of Russia’s economy — such as the arms industry — that serve as instruments of Putin’s foreign policy. We should also expose the most egregious corruption of Russian officials and cut off those people, their business associates and relatives from Western economies and travel. Some of our European allies may hope to avoid tough sanctions, but weak measures will not stop Putin, and the costs of doing so will only grow with time.
Ultimately, Putin’s actions in Ukraine require a strategic response. This does not mean a new Cold War. But it does require recognizing Putin’s geopolitical challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe and preparing for a more competitive relationship with Russia.
NATO must recommit to its core missions of deterrence and collective defense. This requires a rebalancing of the alliance’s force posture and presence. NATO military capabilities must be increased and more evenly distributed across the alliance, including a more robust and persistent presence in Central Europe and the Baltic countries. Some steps in this direction are underway; these actions must be sustainable and enduring.
For NATO to do more for its members, its members have to do more for themselves and the alliance. The United States must reverse harmful cuts to its defense budget. And NATO allies must meet their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense as soon as possible.
We also need a transatlantic energy strategy. Europe remains dependent on Russian oil and gas, while U.S. supplies are growing faster than our ability to bring them to market (indeed, about $1.5 million worth of gas has to be “flared” — that is, burned uselessly because there is not enough capacity to transport or refine it — each day in North Dakota alone). It will take years to align European demand and U.S. supply, but we must start now. European countries must invest in the infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas from the United States, as Lithuania is doing, and transmit it across Europe. For our part, the Obama administration should lift holds on terminal applications for liquefied natural gas and ensure their expeditious processing so the private sector can build new capacity for transport and storage. These actions could weaken Putin, support our allies, strengthen the U.S. economy, increase federal revenue and create thousands of good jobs.
Another fact repeatedly highlighted during our trip is that Putin is winning the war of ideas among Russian-speaking peoples in the former Soviet Union. Putin’s propaganda rests on lies, but it is effective and hardly refuted. We have all but given up on communicating the truth, in Russian, to Europe’s Russian-speaking populations. This needs to change, and the old state-run public diplomacy is not necessarily the answer. The private sector can play an important role.
Finally, the West must provide far greater diplomatic, economic and military support to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other European countries that aspire to be part of our transatlantic community. We must show all of these countries that, as long as they meet the rightfully high standards for membership, the doors to NATO and the European Union remain open and the fundamental choices about their future foreign policy are for them to make — no one else.
The United States and Europe did not seek, or deserve, this challenge from Putin’s Russia. But we must rise to it all the same. Our shared interests and values depend on our resolve.
NY Times Finally Wants Someone Impeached Jay Bybee War Is A Crime .org
The Torturers’ Manifesto
By NY Times
To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.
Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.
In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.
These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.
It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos’ release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped “Top Secret” were released with hardly any deletions.
But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.
Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses — and who set the rules and who approved them — there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.
The abuses and the dangers do not end with the torture memos. Americans still know far too little about President Bush’s decision to illegally eavesdrop on Americans — a program that has since been given legal cover by the Congress.
Last week, The Times reported that the nation’s intelligence agencies have been collecting private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans on a scale that went beyond the broad limits established in legislation last year. The article quoted the Justice Department as saying there had been problems in the surveillance program that had been resolved. But Justice did not say what those problems were or what the resolution was.
That is the heart of the matter: nobody really knows what any of the rules were. Mr. Bush never offered the slightest explanation of what he found lacking in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he decided to ignore the law after 9/11 and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ overseas calls and e-mail. He said he was president and could do what he wanted.
The Bush administration also never explained how it interpreted laws that were later passed to expand the government’s powers to eavesdrop. And the Obama administration argued in a recent court filing that everything associated with electronic eavesdropping, including what is allowed and what is not, is a state secret.
We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules.
In the case of detainee abuse, Mr. Obama assured C.I.A. operatives that they would not be prosecuted for actions that their superiors told them were legal. We have never been comfortable with the “only following orders” excuse, especially because Americans still do not know what was actually done or who was giving the orders.
After all, as far as Mr. Bush’s lawyers were concerned, it was not really torture unless it involved breaking bones, burning flesh or pulling teeth. That, Mr. Bybee kept noting, was what the Libyan secret police did to one prisoner. The standard for American behavior should be a lot higher than that of the Libyan secret police.
At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush’s example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.
That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.
These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.
After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.
[May 14, 2014] In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia by John Pilger
May 13, 2014 | The Guardian | Jump to comments (3662)
...Like the ruins of Iraq and Afghanistan, Ukraine has been turned into a CIA theme park – run personally by CIA director John Brennan in Kiev, with dozens of "special units" from the CIA and FBI setting up a "security structure" that oversees savage attacks on those who opposed the February coup. Watch the videos, read the eye-witness reports from the massacre in Odessa this month. Bussed fascist thugs burned the trade union headquarters, killing 41 people trapped inside. Watch the police standing by.
For the first time since the Reagan years, the US is threatening to take the world to war.
Don't want to see it happen, obviously, but for several years I've believed the US is the country most likely to start a world war, possibly through self-interest but more probably through the unutterable stupidity of rightwing politicians.
Beckow -> LionelKent
The coming end of "Bush wars" is scaring the military industry. Something has to happen, they are panicking. Russia or Ukraine, maybe Iran, maybe "pivot" to China. But there will not be peace. It is bad for business.
The "rightwing politicians" are quite stupid, true, but they are also basically salesmen for their military industry sponsors. You know "jobs", and all that....
griffinalabama -> LionelKent
John Pilger, did you see that the US government, through the USAID program, funded the violent coup Ukrainian government more media and press money, the day after the Odessa massacre?
....and that the Kiev Post then reported, the very next day, that the victims killed themselves accidentally? I have attached the links for your and others viewing and analysis....this controversial info is easily provable and needs more sunlight. The US government funded neo-nazi's who brutally murdered innocent people and the very same day they gave the Ukrainian media millions of dollars....that media then went on to cover up those murders the very next day.
This is an unbelievable scandal. I have compiled a large amount of video and linked evidence of the events in Odessa at a thread at the Democratic Underground website if your interested in taking a look. It includes videos of the full Odessa build up....including early rally's with "Seig heil" salutes and the post fire 'victory' rally with more salutes and Right sector saying how they stamped out the "Colorado Beetles"....Link here:
Headline at link: Police say pro-Russians accidentally set fatal Odessa fire with Molotov cocktails (LIVE UPDATES, VIDEO)
Much of this information is readily available on the internet but for ease of use I have compiled it all in one discussion thread at DU. Thank you for standing up and writing what you wrote for all the innocent people who are being hurt by all this.
LionelKent -> Beckow
14 May 2014 11:48am
But there will not be peace. It is bad for business.
Yes, it would appear that men (less often women) can become so obsessed with business that they are unwilling to consider what their activities might lead to. Like a smoker who finds the first inhalation after breakfast so good that giving up is inconceivable (and I've been through it myself). The irony is, of course, that a world war at this point of technological development might put an end to business, full stop. It's my impression the rightwing mind refuses to think about such matters. With rare exception, perhaps.
13 May 2014 9:01pm
The sooner the Chinese pull the economic rug from under the feet of corporate America the better. Bon Voyage Uncle Sam.
fred4945 -> WhetherbyPond
Simultaneously, China will put a gun to its own head and pull the trigger.
Or don't you realize that China cannot survive economically without American customers?
Perhaps you Brits would like to go it alone, again. How many times in the last century did we save you miserable backsides? (The world would have been a better place if we'd never entered World War I. We should have left you and the Germans alone. Let your bloody millions lie panting in the mud until you found a way to settle your utterly petty quarrel.)
skinman620 -> WhetherbyPond
13 May 2014 9:19pm
Say what you like against American global dominance, but I'd far rather live in a world dominated by the US than one dominated by China. Only a fool would believe otherwise. Britain has some pretty unsavoury history when it comes to China - history that has not been forgotten.
I'd be careful what you wish for with this particular anti US wet dream.
WhetherbyPond -> skinman620
" Britain has some pretty unsavoury history when it comes to China - history that has not been forgotten."
Thank heavens I'm an Irishman. Yes, The Opium Wars,fought at same time as the genocidal famine caused by England was happening in my country. Well, as the man once said "What goes around, comes around.
There's very little difference twixt the two, save the Chinese lack of sanctimony,but I think the Yanks are worse, as you would soon find out if you were a victim of the torture chambers of Villa Grimaldi, El Salvador, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay...........
Conflicts Forum’s Weekly Comment 25 April – 2 May 2014 Conflicts Forum by Alastair Crooke
Hat tip to Mood of Alabama. Quote: "Alastair Crooke, a former MI-6 honcho and diplomat, is just back from Moscow and has some interesting thoughts on the bigger historic issues which express themselves in the current events in Ukraine."
May 2, 2014 | Conflicts Forum
Following five days in Moscow, a few thoughts on Russian perspectives: Firstly, we are beyond the Crimea. That is over. We too are beyond ‘loose’ federalism for Ukraine (no longer thought politically viable). Indeed, we are most likely beyond Ukraine as a single entity. Also, we are beyond either Kiev or Moscow having the capacity to ‘control’ events (in the wider sense of the word): both are hostage to events (as well as are Europe and America), and to any provocations mounted by a multitude of uncontrollable and violent activists.
In gist, the dynamics towards some sort of secession of East Ukraine (either in part, or in successive increments) is thought to be the almost inevitable outcome. The question most informed commentators in Moscow ask themselves is whether this will occur with relatively less or relatively more violence – and whether that violence will reach such a level (massacres of ethnic Russians or of the pro-Russian community) that President Putin will feel that he has no option but to intervene. We are nowhere near that point at the time of writing: Kiev’s ‘security initiatives’ have been strikingly ineffective, and casualties surprisingly small (given the tensions). It seems that the Ukrainian military is unwilling, or unable (or both of these), to crush a rebellion composed only of a few hundred armed men backed by a few thousand unarmed civilians — but that of course may change at any moment. (One explanation circulating on Russian internet circles is that pro-Russian insurgents and the Ukrainian servicemen simply will not shoot at each other - even when given the order to do so. Furthermore, they appear to be in direct and regular contact with each other and there is an informal understanding that neither side will fire at the other. Note — we have witnessed similar understandings in Afghanistan in the 1980s between the Soviet armed forces and the Mujahidin.)
And this the point, most of those with whom we spoke suspect that it is the interest of certain components of the American foreign policy establishment (but not necessarily that of the US President) to provoke just such a situation: a forced Russian intervention in East Ukraine (in order to protect its nationals there from violence or disorder or both). It is also thought that Russian intervention could be seen to hold political advantage to the beleaguered and fading acting government in Kiev. And further, it is believed that some former Soviet Republics, now lying at the frontline of the EU’s interface with Russia, will see poking Moscow in the eye as a settling of past scores, as well as underscoring their standing in Brussels and Washington for having brought ‘democracy’ to eastern Europe.
There seems absolutely no appetite in Moscow to intervene in Ukraine (and this is common to all shades of political opinion). Everyone understands Ukraine to be a vipers’ nest, and additionally knows it to be a vast economic ‘black hole’. But … you can scarcely meet anyone in Moscow who does not have relatives in Ukraine. This is not Libya; East Ukraine is family. Beyond some certain point, if the dynamic for separation persists, and if the situation on the ground gets very messy, some sort of Russian intervention may become unavoidable (just as Mrs Thatcher found it impossible to resist pressures to intervene in support of British ‘kith and kin’ in the Falklands). Moscow well understands that such a move will unleash another western outpouring of outrage.
More broadly then, we are moving too beyond the post-Cold War global dispensation, or unipolar moment. We are not heading – at least from the Russian perspective, as far as can be judged – towards a new Cold War, but to a period of increased Russian antagonism towards any western move that it judges hostile to its key interests – and especially to those that are seen to threaten its security interests. In this sense, a Cold War is not inevitable. Russia has made, for example, no antagonistic moves in Iran, in Syria or in Afghanistan. Putin has been at some pains to underline that whereas – from now – Russia will pursue its vital interests unhesitatingly, and in the face of any western pressures, on other non-existential issues, it is still open to diplomatic business as usual.
That said, and to just to be clear, there is deep disillusion with European (and American) diplomacy in Moscow. No one holds out any real prospect for diplomacy – given the recent history of breaches of faith (broken agreements) in Ukraine. No doubt these sentiments are mirrored in western capitals, but the atmosphere in Moscow is hardening, and hardening visibly. Even the ‘pro-Atlanticist’ component in Russia senses that Europe will not prove able to de-escalate the situation. They are both disappointed, and bitter at their political eclipse in the new mood that is contemporary Russia, where the ‘recovery of sovergnty’ current prevails.
Thus, the era of Gorbachevian hope of some sort of parity of esteem (even partnership) emerging between Russia and the western powers, in the wake of the conclusion to the Cold War, has imploded – with finality. To understand this is to reflect on the way the Cold War was brought to and end; and how that ending, and its aftermath, was managed. In retrospect, the post-war era was not well handled by the US, and there existirreconcilable narratives on the subject of the nature of the so-called ‘defeat’ itself, and whether it was a defeat for Russia at all.
Be that as it may, the Russian people have been treated as if they were psychologically-seared and defeated in the Cold War – as were the Japanese in the wake of the dropping of the nuclear bombs by the US in 1945. Russia was granted a bare paucity of esteem in the Cold War’s wake; instead Russians experienced rather the disdain of victors for the defeated visited upon them. There was little or any attempt at including Russia in a company of the nations of equals – as many Russians had hoped. Few too would contest that the economic measures forced on Russia in the war’s aftermath brought anything other than misery to most Russians. However unlike 1945, most Russians never felt defeated, and some felt then – and still feel – just betrayed. Whatever the verdict of history on how much the Cold War truly was a defeat, the aftermath of it has given rise to a Versailles Treaty-type of popular resentment at the consequences of the post-Cold War settlement, and at the (unwarranted) unipolar triumphalism (from the Russian perspective).
In this sense, it is the end of an era: it marks the end of the post-Cold War settlement that brought into being the American unipolar era. It is the rise of a Russian challenge to that unipolar order which seems so unsettling to many living in the West. Just as Versailles was psychologically rejected by Germans, so Russia is abdicating out of the present dispensation (at least in respect to its key interests). The big question must be whether the wider triangulation (US-Russia-China) that saw merit in its complementary touching at each of its three apexes is over too — a triangulation on which the US depends heavily for its foreign policy. We have to wait on China. The answer to this question may well hinge on how far the antagonism between Russia and the West is allowed – or even encouraged – to escalate. Only then, might it become more apparent how many, and who, is thinking of seceding from the global order (including from the Federal Reserve controlled financial system).
In the interim, time and dynamics require Russia to do little in Ukraine at this point but to watch and wait. The mood in Russia, however, is to expect provocations in Ukraine, by any one of the assorted interested parties, with the aim of forcing a Russian intervention — and thus a politically useful ‘limited’ war that will do many things: restore US ‘leadership’ in Europe, give NATO a new mission and purpose, and provide the same (and greater prominence) to certain newer EU member states (such as Poland). Russia will have concluded that the second round of economic sanctions has revealed more about a certain lack of political (and financial) will – or perhaps vulnerability – on the part of America’s European allies. Russia no doubt sees the US to be gripped by the logic of escalation (as Administration talk centres on a new containment strategy, and the demonization of Russia as a pariah state), whatever President Obama may be hinting through the columns of David Ignatius. It is a dangerous moment, as all in Moscow acknowledge, with positions hardening on both sides.
Russia is not frightened by sanctions (which some, with influence in Moscow, would welcome as a chance to push-back against the US use of the global interbank payment systems for its own ends). Nor is Russia concerned that, as occurred with the USSR, the US – in today’s changed circumstances – can contrive a drop in the price of oil in order to weaken the state. But Russia is somewhat more vulnerable to the West’s teaming up with Sunni radicals as its new geo-strategic weapon of choice. Concept of MIC makes it easy to
We have therefore seen a Russian outreach both to Saudi Arabia and Egypt (President Putin recently extolled King Abdallah’s “wisdom”). There is a feeling too that US policy is not fully controlled by the US President; and that Gulf States, smelling that US ift, and open to manipulation by interests within the US, will take advantage (perhaps in coordination with certain Americans opposed to President Obama’s policies) to escalate the jihadist war against President Assad and to target Obama’s Iran policy. Russia may be expected to try to circumscribe this danger to its own Muslim population and to that of its neighbouring former Soviet Republics. But for now, Russia will be likely to play it cool: to wait-and-see how events unfold, before recalibrating any main components of its Middle East policy.
For the longer term however, Russia’s effective divorce out of the unipolar international order will impact powerfully on the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia (not to say Syria and Iran) have already virtually done the same.
Yet another totally crazy idea from Banderastan
The Vineyard of the Saker
The US MIC is salivating at the prospect another tax-payer funded hardware (and a lot of training contracts for both uniformed services and mercenary outfits) give-away program. I have no doubt that the coup gov was urged by the US to do this.
What's interesting is:
1. US wedge between Germany and Russia (Eurasian Economic Union) aka return of the US into Eastern Europe.
2. Naming Russia enemy of NATO.
3. Reviving NATO power
4. Transatlantic and Transpacific Unions (economic slavery to the US).
5. Ukraine: will "the little green men" emerge in the pro-Russian defensive positions without radio communication activity on the Russian side which made CIA and other US military intelligence fools for themselves?
6. Ukraine: why the Kiev thugs cry through every media bullhorn/outlet they will start military hostilities against civilians tomorrow morning? Did Hitler published in press in advance the blueprints of Barbarossa Plan?
7. Ukraine: how many death will make Russians to press the button "go ahead" for their armed forces?
Here is an excellent and up to date source of information on the activities on NATO
Stop NATO…Opposition to global militarism
The military and the monetary
Mulga Mumblebrain said...
I think that the latest economic statistics from The Real Evil Empire of Eternal Exceptionalism may, in large part, explain the reckless aggression of the psychopaths at present. The date at which China surpasses the USA as the world's largest economy (and without the gigantic incubus of the USA's massive engine of self-destruction, the financial kleptocracy)grows closer every day. I've noticed that the local ruling Rightwing psychos are growing more frantic here in Oz.
They constantly speak of China being in trouble (they have predicted that for forty years)because its growth is 'only' 7.4%, whereas growth in the REEEE of 0.1% (minus 1% without Obamacare's contribution)is another sign of our Imperial Master's 'resilience'. And the current hard Right Federal regime has just had a hand-picked cabal of psychopaths present an economic blue-print to privatise the country and turn it into a fully-fledged neo-feudal Hell of inequality and privilege. Social solidarity zero, greedy, atomised, hyper-individualism, infinite.
As if the last forty years of neo-liberal class warfare and stagnation, boom and bust and rising inequality was a very good thing, indeed, and we need more of it. This is where Putin is winning, I would say. The rulers of the West are now so plainly revealing themselves as evil, endlessly mendacious psychopaths who fear and hate all others (including one another-as they say, 'If you want a friend on Wall Street, buy a dog'), that someone like Putin, merely by standing up to them makes himself attractive to the remaining fraction capable of independent thought. Which is why brainwashing sewers like the odious 'The Guardian' are screeching that RT must be banned, and the MSM is united in hysteria in denouncing the evil Putin.
The plebs are waking up, and the Bosses are worried.
Dear saker- I agree with paul craig-there is no point of Russia thinking of anglosphere world anything but as permanent enemy and deal with the situation if Russia wants to survive.
quote "Washington Drives The World To War — Paul Craig Roberts
April 14, 2014
The danger for Russia is that the Russian government will rely on diplomacy, international organizations, international cooperation, and on the common sense and self-interest of German politicians and politicians in other of Washington’s European puppet states.
For Russia this could be a fatal mistake. There is no good will in Washington, only mendacity. Russian delay provides Washington with time to build up forces on Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea and to demonize Russia with propaganda and whip up the US population into a war frenzy. The latter is already occurring.
In my opinion, Washington does not want the Ukraine matters settled in a diplomatic and reasonable way. It might be the case that Russia’s best move is immediately to occupy the Russian territories of Ukraine and re-absorb the territories into Russia from whence they came. This should be done before the US and its NATO puppets are prepared for war. It is more difficult for Washington to start a war when the objects of the war have already been lost. Russia will be demonized with endless propaganda from Washington whether or not Russia re-absorbs its traditional territories. If Russia allows these territories to be suppressed by Washington, the prestige and authority of the Russian government will collapse. Perhaps that is what Washington is counting on.
In my opinion, the Russian and Chinese governments have made serious strategic mistakes by remaining within the US dollar-based international payments system. The BRICS and any others with a brain should instantly desert the dollar system, which is a mechanism for US imperialism. The countries of the BRICS should immediately create their own separate payments system and their own exclusive communications/Internet system.
Russia and China have stupidly made these strategic mistakes,
By Paul Craig Roberts
Hat hip to The Vineyard of the Saker blog. Picked up from comments
Fool on the Hill said...
My money is on McCain. Here's why:
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty
By TIM DICKINSON
October 16, 2008
At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.
McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.
There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."
On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.
"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."
"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.
"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.
"Why? Where are you going to, John?"
"Oh, I'm going to Rio."
"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"
McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.
"I got a better chance of getting laid."
Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."
[Apr 27, 2014] Orwellian Piece By Ian Morris
April 27, 2014 | washingtonmonthly.com
Ian Morris, a professor of Classics at Stanford, argues in the Washington Post that, in the long run, wars make us safer and richer. Perhaps it is just too difficult to make such a counterintuitive argument within the limited space of an opinion column, but his piece is one big mess.
The essence of his point is that modern people are much less likely to die violent deaths (at the hands of other humans) than stone-age people were, and that the reason for this is because we have formed large societies. In order to form large societies, we needed to a long series of subjugations where the vanquished were not killed but brought into the conquerers’ system. To accomplish this, governments were formed with the primary job of pacifying their subjects through a variety of means, including law enforcement. Therefore, war and coercion are not the evils that they may seem to be at first consideration. He might have added religion to the mix here, but he didn’t.
One might ask why he wrote this column in the first place. Does he think we aren’t fighting enough wars? To get some idea of his motivation, you have to read to near the end, where he appears to compare the United States to the British Empire and suggest that we need to have the stomach to be the global sons of bitches the whole world needs us to be.Like its predecessor, the United States oversaw a huge expansion of trade, intimidated other countries into not making wars that would disturb the world order, and drove rates of violent death even lower. But again like Britain, America made its money by helping trading partners become richer, above all China, which, since 2000, has looked increasingly like a potential rival. The cycle that Britain experienced may be in store for the United States as well, unless Washington embraces its role as the only possible globocop in an increasingly unstable world — a world with far deadlier weapons than Britain could have imagined a century ago.American attitudes toward government are therefore not just some Beltway debate; they matter to everyone on Earth.
Why is this piece such a mess?
First, retracing the history of societal formation and noting that war and coercion were indispensable tools in those formations doesn’t obviously tell us anything about whether or not we can improve people’s safety or make them richer by using war and coercion today.
Even in his piece, Prof. Morris notes that war may not make societies bigger and stronger, even in the long term.For 1,000 years — beginning before Attila the Hun in the AD 400s and ending after Genghis Khan in the 1200s — mounted invaders from the steppes actually threw the process of pacification into reverse everywhere from China to Europe, with war breaking down larger, safer societies into smaller, more dangerous ones.
In fact, he begins his piece by referencing a retrospectively naive book written in 1910 that predicted that war had become obsolete. But he doesn’t explain how World War One made people safer or richer.
I think we can see in places like Congo, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Iraq that the absence of sufficient force can make people less safe and much poorer. Perhaps the people in those countries would benefit if someone came along who was strong enough to subjugate all the warring factions and make them live peacefully together. But, of course, these theoretical strongmen would have to kill and threaten to kill a lot of people in order to accomplish their goals. And that would definitely not make people safer or richer in the short term.
To some degree, Prof. Morris seems to be arguing in favor of larger societies that use bigger governmental organizations because these bring more people together and protects them better than smaller societies with less coercive capability. He could have made an argument in favor of the nation-state as an innovation that brought more peace than war. But he chose to argue that war is, in itself, even in this day and age, a positive good. War is Peace, in other words.
And America needs to bring the peace.
[Feb 19, 2014] How a Careerist Culture Leads to Military Scandals by Kelley Vlahos
February 18, 2014 | The American Conservative
Bribes, mistresses, cheating on tests—has the armed forces' professional ethos turned perverse?
Popular culture reveres the U.S. military as an institution of pride and strength, as keeper of the American moral center. But a recent series of scandals suggests that, instead, ethical corrosion may be eating away at its very core.
Sarah Palin was in top rhetorical form when she told an assembled crowd of thousands on the National Mall in 2010 that soldiers were “a force for good in this country, and that is nothing to apologize for … for these men and women, honor was never lost.” But behind the partisan politics in which Democrats and Republicans have used the military as props, padded its budgets, and publicly deferred to its leadership in myriad ways over 12 years of war, there lies a complicated breakdown in its culture, military experts tell TAC. Without reform, they believe institution is headed for more embarrassment and transgression.
“I’m not surprised at all—one [scandal] relates to the other,” charges Donald Vandergriff, a retired Army officer who often lectures on leadership and reform, including in the service academies. A former deputy director of Army ROTC at Georgetown University, he wrote The Path to Victory: America’s Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs, in 2002.
“The [military] system that’s evolved over the last 100 years does not test moral courage, it does not test strength of character, or the ability to tell the truth regardless of harm to one’s career,” Vandergriff added. “We don’t do things like that. We are looking at people who follow the process, fall in line, don’t cause waves, aren’t open to innovation, and these personality traits leave them open to scandal.”
Tough words, but a spate of scandals seems to underscore his point, particularly recent ones involving a number of generals and top brass. Most notable is Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, currently facing a court-martial for sexual assault involving a junior officer on this staff. He is also accused of threatening to kill her and her family—and misusing his government credit card.
Meanwhile, last month 92 officers were caught in a widespread cheating scandal at the Air Force nuclear force. Then, on Feb. 7, it was reported that some 100 Naval instructors have been accused of cheating on an exam they need to pass to teach sailors working on nuclear subs and carriers.
Even more seriously, the Navy has been rocked by a sordid kickback investigation, known now as the “Fat Leonard scandal,” that highlights the dangerous nexus of high-flying insider defense contractors and the deep pockets of the U.S. military. In this case, a top agent from the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has been arrested and two active duty commanders are awaiting trial. Meanwhile, two admirals and two captains have been put on leave pending investigation. The contractor at the heart of the affair, Leonard Francis—known as “Fat Leonard” for his supposed girth and big personality—was arrested back in September on bribery charges and remains behind bars.
The charges stem from a sting operation that found Naval officers were allegedly sending Francis—a Malaysian native who has held more than $200 million in logistical services contracts with the Navy since 2011—classified information about ship deployments in exchange for luxury items, prostitutes, and expensive trips. With the insider knowledge in hand, Francis would allegedly pressure Navy commanders to steer their ships to his ports, where he would not only elaborately wine and dine the top officers but also overcharge the Navy outrageously to service the ships, otherwise known as “husbanding.”
... ... ...
If the standing army so despised by our American Founding Father ancestors really were the supreme force for good in society that we degraded scions now believe it to be, then it would follow that the military dictatorship would be the most perfected, moral way of governing human affairs.
So it does seem our current solons agree, given their penchant for overthrowing pesky foreign democracies and supporting military coups and juntas, from Pinochet to Egypt, now without even communist opponents as handy fig leaves.
Now that there is an overarching fourth branch of secret unaccountable government, unconstrained by law, overruling the other branches, treating the entire domestic population as adversaries to be spied upon, all ruled over by military generals and military-industrial lackeys, we have our own emergent home-grown turnkey totalitarian state infrastructure.
Our biggest businessmen prefer dealing with foreign dictatorships that supply them lackey labor at huge profit, while despising democratic accountability at home, preferring to subvert the republic through donorism, buying their legislation from politicians who were supposed to have been elected to serve the American people instead.
An institution that serves at best only a necessary evil, preparation for mass killing as defense against invasion, and at worst an unnecessary unmitigated evil, waging preemptive wars of imperial conquest and occupation on behalf of financial elites, could hardly be the highest expression of a moral people’s national aspirations. That it is seen as so, is symptomatic of the same decline into degraded self-indulgence that permeates our wider brutalized society. The collapsed military morale simply reflects the low estate of us all.
It’s tempting for many to think of the military as being somehow different from any other political organization because of the uniform, the oath of office, etc., but it really isn’t. If you’re at the bottom and have no resources, you can expect to have the book thrown at you for your offenses because the military likes to preach accountability to the rank and file. If you’re in the middle, it comes down to whether you have friends above you and whether they are disposed to help under the circumstances. If you’re at the top, you will get every courtesy from your peers as they try to figure out how to exonerate you and thus protect the perceived infallibility of command.
I was a junior officer for five years in one branch of service, and I spent most of it stationed in Japan. During my time there, one of my enlisted personnel got caught up in a base-wide DUI dragnet; he elected non-judicial punishment, losing rank and pay. This is the kind of result the military touts when it comes to its judicial process, because it’s what you would expect from a civilian judiciary with no reason to care about the rank of the accused.
By contrast, one of my squadron’s officers, who had recently promoted to lieutenant colonel, was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer while on exercise; I’ll never know all of it, but it involved significant performance failures during the exercise and prostitutes on the government dime. That colonel lost his opportunity to command, but he kept rank and pay as he accepted another job in the transition to military retirement (in his early forties, naturally). My base commander, a brigadier general, had interceded with the military police to keep his wife from receiving a DUI, and – rumor has it – got a favored aide a prestigious job after she became pregnant out of wedlock with his child. Naturally, nothing ever came of these “investigations” and I believe he retired at the next rank years later.
As long as you have a rank-based hierarchy with very few limits on what subordinates may be commanded to do, things like this will happen.
It’s more endemic than you know, especially out of the Academies:
And from Jacob Hornberger:
“Also published in April 2003 was my series of articles entitled ‘Obedience to Orders,’ which produced the biggest firestorm of controversy in FFF’s history. The article made the simple point that officers who graduated from Virginia Military Institute were generally of higher caliber than officers who graduated from the professional military academies. (In the interests of full disclosure, I am a 1972 VMI graduate.) The reason? The graduates of the academies (generally, and obviously with exceptions) are taught to maintain an unswerving obedience to orders, and they know that their rise through the ranks of the military depends on such a mindset. VMI officers, on the other hand, being trained as ‘citizen-soldiers,’ develop a sense of conscience and independent thinking that (again generally, and with exceptions) trumps blind obedience to orders.”
Today’s academies, he added, tend to force cadets to compete ruthlessly with one another, while setting up an “all or nothing” system that shuns creativity and honesty in favor of “winning” and moving up the ranks.
My time in the naval academy (granted that it was in USSR early 1980s) was spent under the rule of the semi-joke, semi-truth–”the fewer chevrons are on the cadet’s epaulets, the cleaner is the consciousness”.
The talk, of course, was about cadet ranks which were awarded during the study. Everyone knew, including the guys (class and company mates) who were in the cadet command positions (squad, platoon and company leaders) that the only thing which mattered first of all was academics.
Leadership and command qualities were acquired through number of the activities and courses. And fleet practices and cruises, of course. Obviously, upon graduation and acquiring an officer rank things changed.
Nothing like living in an echo chamber. According to http://www.globalfirepower.com/active-military-manpower.asp there are 1,433,000 active duty personnel.
This article highlights less than 1% of them involved in some manner of scandal. Far less than 1%. While I do think that 800 involved in a single investigation is a matter of some concern.
less than one percent of the overall manpower hardly reflects some manner of moral crisis. While I have a much lengthier response overall. I think the numbers indicate that most men and women in our Armed Services are not scandal prone or involved in scandal.
Because of the nature of their mission any scandal should be addressed, but I am not sure these media stories demonstrate a trend. And certainly the above examples are part of some aspects of military culture, but hardly any more selective than what occurs in civilian communities.
Joe the Plutocrat
is it me, or am I the only one who understood Ike when he warned of the perils of “misplaced power” inherent to the military industrial complex? more accurately, accepting the “military” is half of the (potential) problem.
just as with the “careerism” of America’s political class, the military has developed it’s own class of smarmy, self-serving “professionals” who view public service as a vehicle for personal enrichment. there are many professional, dedicated officers who serve(d) honorably, but as with Capitol Hill, there remains a disturbingly high number of pimps and influence peddlers who present themselves as public servants.
[Feb 04, 2014] Chris Hedges Military Metaphysics How Militarism Mangles the Mind
For the next 20 years I would go on from war zone to war zone as a foreign correspondent immersed in military culture. Repetitive rote learning and an insistence on blind obedience—similar to the approach used to train a dog—work on the battlefield. The military exerts nearly total control over the lives of its members. Its long-established hierarchy ensures that those who embrace the approved modes of behavior rise and those who do not are belittled, insulted and hazed. Many of the marks of civilian life are stripped away. Personal modes of dress, hairstyle, speech and behavior are heavily regulated. Individuality is physically and then psychologically crushed. Aggressiveness is rewarded. Compassion is demeaned. Violence is the favorite form of communication. These qualities are an asset in war; they are a disaster in civil society.
Homer in “The Iliad” showed his understanding of war. His heroes are not pleasant men. They are vain, imperial, filled with rage and violent. And Homer’s central character in “The Odyssey,” Odysseus, in his journey home from war must learn to shed his “hero’s heart,” to strip from himself the military attributes that served him in war but threaten to doom him off the battlefield. The qualities that serve us in war defeat us in peace.
Most institutions have a propensity to promote mediocrities, those whose primary strengths are knowing where power lies, being subservient and obsequious to the centers of power and never letting morality get in the way of one’s career. The military is the worst in this respect.
In the military, whether at the Paris Island boot camp or West Point, you are trained not to think but to obey. What amazes me about the military is how stupid and bovine its senior officers are. Those with brains and the willingness to use them seem to be pushed out long before they can rise to the senior-officer ranks.
The many Army generals I met over the years not only lacked the most rudimentary creativity and independence of thought but nearly always saw the press, as well as an informed public, as impinging on their love of order, regimentation, unwavering obedience to authority and single-minded use of force to solve complex problems.
... ... ...
...Peace is for the weak. War is for the strong. Hypermasculinity has triumphed over empathy. We Americans speak to the world exclusively in the language of force. And those who oversee our massive security and surveillance state seek to speak to us in the same demented language. All other viewpoints are to be shut out.
“In the absence of contrasting views, the very highest form of propaganda warfare can be fought: the propaganda for a definition of reality within which only certain limited viewpoints are possible,” C. Wright Mills wrote. “What is being promulgated and reinforced is the military metaphysics—the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.”
[Jan 23, 2014] Guns and Butter by Ron Paul
"Many of the defenders of increased war spending are opponents of welfare, but they are willing to set aside their opposition to increased welfare spending in order to increase warfare spending." ... "While many neocons give lip service to limiting domestic spending, their main priority remains protecting high levels of military spending to maintain an interventionist foreign policy"
Jan 21, 2013 | Mises Institute
Ever since “sequestration” went into effect at the beginning of last year, the military-industrial complex’s congressional cheering session has complained that sequestration imposed “draconian cuts” on the Pentagon that will “decimate” our military — even though most of the “cuts” were actually reductions in the “projected rate of growth.” In fact, under sequestration, defense spending was to increase by 18 percent over ten years, as opposed to growing by 20 percent without sequestration.
Many of the defenders of increased war spending are opponents of welfare, but they are willing to set aside their opposition to increased welfare spending in order to increase warfare spending. They are supported in this position by the lobbyists for the military-industrial complex and the neoconservatives, whose continued influence on foreign policy is mystifying. After all, the neocons were the major promoters of the disastrous military intervention in Iraq.
While many neocons give lip service to limiting domestic spending, their main priority remains protecting high levels of military spending to maintain an interventionist foreign policy. The influence of the neocons provides intellectual justification for politicians to vote for ever-larger military budgets — and break the campaign promises to vote against increases in spending and debt.
Fortunately, in recent years more Americans have recognized that a constant defense of liberty requires opposing both war and welfare. Many of these Americans, especially the younger ones, have joined the intellectual and political movement in favor of limiting government in all areas. This movement presents the most serious challenge the bipartisan welfare-warfare consensus has faced in generations. Hopefully, the influence of this movement will lead to bipartisan deals cutting both welfare and warfare spending.
The question facing Americans is not whether Congress will ever cut spending. The question is will the spending be reduced in an orderly manner that avoids inflecting massive harm on those depending on government programs, or will spending be slashed in response to an economic crisis caused by ever-increasing levels of deficit spending. Because politicians are followers rather than leaders, it is ultimately up to the people what course we will take. This is why it is vital that those of us who understand the dangerous path we are currently on do all we can to expand the movement for liberty, peace, and prosperity.
Eisenhower's Farewell Speech Now More Prescient Than Ever by Stephen C. Webster
Three letter agencies are an important part of military industrial complex. May be the most influential taking into account that they control the coverage of foreign events in MSM media. Quote: "The NSA in its present state represents a marriage of military might and technological elitism. It is, in other words, exactly what Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago, and the threat is poses to our democracy is grave indeed."
Jan. 17, 2014 | The Progressive
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell speech, given 53 years ago this day, shook a nation still struggling to move past the horrors we witnessed in World War II. He warned of a new power that had risen up in the wake of that war -- the power of America’s military industrial complex -- telling us in no uncertain terms that it holds the potential to destroy our democracy.
“We must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific, technological elite,” Eisenhower said. “It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”
It would seem that his speech is more prescient now than ever before. Please, take a few minutes to watch it in full:
President Barack Obama picked today to announce a series of patheticly meager reforms to the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s embattled electronic spying apparatus that has seemingly permeated every layer of our technologically driven society. The White House told reporters that the date was not selected as a nod to Eisenhower. Coincidence, however, is a funny thing.
The NSA in its present state represents a marriage of military might and technological elitism. It is, in other words, exactly what Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago, and the threat is poses to our democracy is grave indeed.
"The NSA is collecting enormous amounts of information," Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said in a prepared statement this week. "They know about the phone calls made by every person in this country, where they're calling, who they're calling and how long they're on the phone. Let us not forget that a mere 40 years ago we had a president of the United States who completely disregarded the law in an effort to destroy his political opponents. In my view, the information collected by the NSA has the potential to give an unscrupulous administration enormous power over elected officials."
Sanders has been a leading voice for NSA reform in the halls of Congress, and recently demanded to know if the agency was spying on elected officials. In a letter, NSA Director Keith Alexander denied that the agency is spying on Congress, but he added that communications data generated by our elected representatives likely does get swept up by their massive phone and Internet dragnet.
The NSA insists that their dragnet is only intended to be used for fighting terrorism, and does not identify specific communications or even the identity of those who are swept up in it. This claim has been shown to be false. As national security reporter Marcy Wheeler recently pointed out in a piece published by The Progressive, the NSA itself published a training manual which tells its analysts that merely looking at the so-called “metadata” the agency collects can reveal the identity of their targets.
As such, not only can the NSA spy on elected officials, it can also create incredibly detailed dossiers on every single citizen of every modern country in the world. Its massive server farms vacuum up nearly everything on the Internet. Its sensors can peer within computers that are not even connected to the Internet. For a recent spy satellite launch that deployed tech which the NSA will most certainly make use of, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence selected as its mission logo an octopus with tentacles wrapping around the globe. “Nothing is beyond our reach,” it boasts.
Despite all of this, a White House review and an outside analysis have both found that the NSA’s dragnet does nothing to make Americans safer.
Knowing all of this, listening to Eisenhower’s speech in our modern age is like hearing the words of a prophet. Here is the President whose Federal investments gave us highways and satellites, telling us that one day our military and technological elite will come to own our elected officials and eventually dominate us all.
“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect,” he said. “Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength.”
What he described is nothing short of a road map to a more harmonious world, but that path is blocked, completely and irreversibly, by the very existence of the NSA. This agency, which overlooks the globe and peers across the horizon of human thought in search of national security threats, is now among the greatest threat to world peace.
[Jan 20, 2014] http://deathship.wordpress.com/category/power-corruption-lies/page/6/
Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts says, “The country is not being run by the President. It is being run by spy agencies and private interest groups, Wall Street and military security complex . . .
They run the country. The President is a puppet, a figurehead.” Dr. Roberts contends, “If you are a lawless state, which the United States is, it obeys no international law. It does not obey the Geneva Convention . . . It tortures people. It doesn’t obey the Constitution. It doesn’t obey anything. It does what it wants. . . . If you are a lawless state, you disguise yourself as a democracy.”
Former President Jimmy Carter agrees. Just last week, Carter said, “The U.S. has no functioning democracy at this moment.”
Why hasn’t the mainstream media picked up this astounding comment from a former Democratic President? Dr. Roberts says, “Five firms now own what used to be a large dispersed independent media. Nobody can open their mouth, they’d get fired. They have become a propaganda ministry for government and corporations.”
[Dec 16, 2013] The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now by Samer Araabi
October 10, 2012 | Right Web
In late September 2001, less than 10 days after the 9/11 attacks, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)—a group of prominent neoconservatives, liberal interventionists, and members of the religious right who advocated a host of U.S.-led regime changes in the Middle East—drafted a letter to President George W. Bush, commending his promise to “go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world” and offering a number of recommendations for the remainder of the president’s term. The steps outlined in the letter were prescient in predicting Bush’s foreign policy priorities (and to a lesser extent, the priorities of his successor, Barack Obama).
In addition to their advocacy positions on Iraq (invade immediately), Israel (support unconditionally), and military spending (abide “no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed”), the signatories urged a tougher stance on Hezbollah, as well as its state sponsors in Damascus and Tehran.
In the letter, they argued that “any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah,” and urged the administration to “demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.”
Today, as Syria remains mired in a seemingly limitless spiral of violence, the question arises—what has become of this attack-Syria coalition and what, if anything, has changed in its view of U.S. intervention?
[Dec 16, 2013] George Kennan’s Prescience About the Military-Industrial Complex
December 12, 2013 | Foreign Policy In Focus
Since World War II, the United States hasn't let a day go by without a mortal enemy.
In a 1985 article in Political Psychology, which I recently found while browsing JSTOR, John Kennan was quoted by author John E. Mack.* Kennan, the political scientist and diplomat whose ideas informed the U.S. policy of “containing” the Soviet Union wrote (in “Letter to an American,” the New Yorker, September 24, 1984):
The habit of spending from two to three hundred billions of dollars annually on preparations for an imagined war with Russia ― a habit reaching deeply into the lives and interests of millions of our citizens both in and out of the armed services, including industrial workers, labor-union officials, politicians, legislators, and middlemen: This habit has risen to the status of a vast addiction of American society, an addiction whose overcoming would encounter the most intense resistance and take years to accomplish even if the Soviet Union had in the meantime miraculously disappeared from the earth.
In other words, he foresaw how unlikely it was that the United States, however flush with victory over the Soviet Union (or more accurately, it didn’t col) would issue itself a “peace dividend,” improving the economy by spending less on defense. While U.S. military spending would decrease during the decline of the Soviet Union, as we all know it went through the roof after 9/11. As with the Soviet Union after World War, the rise of Islamic terrorism arrived just in time to infuse the military-industrial complex ― not to mention the American psyche ― with the adrenaline boost in fear they both thrive on.
[Dec 02, 2013] 50yrs after JFK assassination: Choose your side in war on freedom by Tony Gosling
Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
November 18, 2013 | RT Op-Edge
Make no mistake: the 'American Dream' was mortally wounded alongside John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.
The President's unpunished murder was an 'open season' declaration on the elected leadership in the West. 'Robbed' of their 1962 Cuban nuclear war, the assassins were letting the whole world know who was 'The Daddy'.
Fifty years on we seem to be losing the same war for democratic control of our governments. Bankster robber barons and their Military Industrial Complex sidekicks are crawling all over the British cabinet. US Secretary of State John Kerry is still at it too. Despite being nominally a Democrat like JFK, he spends every waking hour in search of enemies, trying, by fair means and foul, to provoke war with Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
Perhaps he has a death wish? Perhaps it is Kerry's lying-in-a-coffin initiation into Yale University's Brotherhood of Death, the Skull and Bones Society, that blinds him to the likelihood his avarice will spark a global nuclear exchange with Russia? Just like the 1962 provocateurs, cut from the same cloth he doesn't give a damn.
US justice gets its boots on
The man who did the forensics and discovered most of the buried bodies in a trial that came within a whisker of nailing the JFK conspirators was former US Army officer and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. His investigation and 1988 book 'On the Trail of the Assassins' formed the rough draft for Oliver Stone's 1991 definitive film JFK.
Any treacherous TV station not showing JFK on the 50th anniversary should, I advise, be forever deleted from your channel list. It's unlikely any of the NATO zone TV documentaries rolling out over the 50th anniversary will come half as close to telling you what really happened as the Stone movie.
Instead we're being fed a propaganda diet of rancid red herrings, laced with insulting false trails while the graphic Zapruder film and a distraught Jackie Kennedy, as well as Jack Ruby shooting patsy-suspect Lee Harvey-Oswald in the stomach, sow the seeds of fear where they hurt.
Just as with more recent unexplained deaths of UK Secret Service men David Kelly in 2003 and Gareth Williams in 2010 the message of JFK's gruesome assassination is designed to fundamentally undermine the social fabric. The horror slips under the radar of consciousness to stamp into millions of psyches what, with impunity, the secret government can do.
For a refreshing taste of 'Garrison in the raw', listener-supported Oakland, California, radio outfit Guns and Butter's two-hour 1988 show 'The Assassination of JFK: The Garrison Interview' gets to the heart of the story. We hear, in Bonnie Faulkner’s and Andrew Phillips's production, the voice of history's unfortunate self-confessed patsy Lee Harvey Oswald as well as Oliver Stone.
Radio Station KPFA co-producer David Mendelsohn interviews Garrison nearly 20 years after the trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, by which time further witnesses had crawled out of the woodwork, bringing with them further pieces of the jigsaw.
Garrison's disarming frankness and black humor make Guns and Butter's 25th anniversary production the benchmark documentary against which the entire 50th anniversary clutch can be judged. Evidence of the mainstream media's crippling influence that this classic documentary has still never been broadcast on national radio in the US or UK.
The 'we’ll-never-know' brigade
Mainstream media flunkies are paid well to tell us that because Oswald was shot we will never know what organization or individuals were behind Kennedy's assassination. I beg to differ. The CIA - set up by Allen Dulles, who did the dirty 1945 deals with the Nazis, and who JFK fired - killed the president.
Specifically-named individuals winkled out by Garrison are Cuban and New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello and two more with far right CIA links: Civil Air Patrol pilot David Ferrie and private investigator Guy Banister.
The CIA plot to upend US democracy couldn't have worked though without the support of the man who would replace Kennedy. After his inauguration, new President Lyndon B. Johnson immediately re-fired up the Vietnam & Cold War policies JFK had cooled.
Johnson gained financially too through his 'Suite 8F Group'. This has today grown to become the Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) Inc., one of the largest military contractors on the planet with $8 billion annual revenue.
The CIA's three central motives are pretty clear: Kennedy successfully stopped a nuclear war with the Soviet Union in 1962 that Strategic Air Command's General Curtis LeMay intended to win "...at any point the Soviet Union could have been obliterated without more than expectable losses on our side."
Kennedy blocked air support and other US military aid for the 1961 Bay of Pigs Cuban invasion attempt, leaving the hawks with egg on their faces. He was closing down one of the CIA's biggest slush fund operations, the Vietnam War. Cash was coming in aplenty from heroin trafficking in the Far East.
Echoes from the dawn of time?
Perhaps there was something archetypal and timeless about Kennedy's death. Former US Naval officer-turned-radio host William Cooper put it like this in 1996: "There was even a time in history when the king was a sacrificial king. Just like John F. Kennedy was in the Temple of the Sun known as Dealey Plaza."
Though this sounds far-fetched, Cooper is one of the few individuals who, on his 'Hour of the Time' short wave radio show in June 2001, publicly predicted a spectacular attack on America to be blamed on Osama Bin Laden. Five months later, after 9/11, Cooper was shot dead by the FBI, who had been trying to entrap him by posing as hoodlums outside his Arizona home.
The secret government
So who are this secret government that uses blackmail, character assassination and murder to shoot the messengers and direct those we elect to high office? They are the kind of furious cash unlimited networkers of the Council on Foreign Relations, Sun Valley, Davos, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg groups.
Welded into the Military Industrial Complex these lobbyists laugh in the face of cash-starved politicians as they play the power game of nations. They extend territory abroad while their political gofers roll out a domestic police state at home. Bankrolling them are the dynasties of the Rockefellers in the US and the Rothschilds across Europe.
What was US colonial independence really all about? Yes, money. The settlers quite rightly wanted to print their own in 1775 and England wasn't having it. As the documentary 'The Secret of Oz' explains, private US bankers went on to take that power off the American people in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 The United States is suffering under the exact same power now that they fought Britain to be free of.
William Cooper also said "Any general that ventures upon a battlefield without understanding the enemy is doomed to defeat." The Western political establishment needs a crash course right now in locking up banking fraudsters and how the state Treasury can take back control of money.
What would those who fought and died on the Allied side in World War II say if they could see how we and our leaders are letting Europe and America slip into the hands of the banksters?
Despite all the JFK TV propaganda though it is the Jim Garrisons, Bonnie Faulkners, David Mendelsohn's and Oliver Stones that will carry the day. Trust is waning in the West's mainstream media, particularly amongst the youngsters, and those old JFK lies are well past their sell by date.
[Nov 22, 2013] JFK assassination a CIA coup d’état German author
Aug 21, 2013 | PressTV
On occasion of the publication of his latest book, “JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika” (“JFK: Coup d’état in America“), German author Mathias Broeckers has talked to The Global Research elaborating on his research into the crime.
“JFK had made definitive steps to end the Cold War. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration,” Broeckers said.
Broeckers pointed out that many groups including the communists in Russia, China, Cuba, the Israelis because of “JFK’s dismissal of nukes in Israel,” and the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, had motives to kill the president but “only the CIA and the military - and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up” had the means to carry out such an operation.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, several people who were stopped by the police showed “genuine looking Secret Service IDs,” but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the “grassy knoll” and the Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas where Kennedy was assassinated, the German journalist said.
“These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn’t investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of 'MK Ultra' fame.”
The fact that this “deception” was not investigated for so many years, immediately brings the FBI into a “top-position of suspects”, Broeckers noted.
The German author further said that a crucial point regarding the cover-up of the assassination is the false autopsy report. “The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and X-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored.”
The fake autopsy and X-rays were conducted at the Bethseda military hospital and under the supervision of Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force chief and one of Kennedy’s “keenest enemies,” Broeckers added.
The faked documents “which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and X-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.”
A strong motive for the CIA to want Kennedy out of the way, according to Broeckers, was that the former president sought to reform the spy agency.
“Since the CIA’s ‘father’ Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death.”
The Associated Press reports that researchers are demanding the CIA to declassify documents detailing what the government knew about Kennedy’s accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, before the assassination.
Several hundred of the still-classified pages, according to AP, concern CIA operative “George Joannides, whose activities just before the assassination and, fascinatingly, during a government investigation years later, have tantalized researchers for years.”
Joannides left the CIA in 1979 and died in March 1990.
The JFK Assassination Marked the End of the American Republic By Lars Schall
August 21, 2013
On occasion of the publication of his latest book, German author Mathias Broeckers talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which he sees as a coup d’etat that was never rolled back.
Mathias Broeckers, born 1954, is a German investigative journalist and the author of more than ten books, most of them related to the topics of drugs, terrorism and deep politics. He works for the daily German newspaper TAZ and the webzine Telepolis. His latest book, “JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika” (“JFK: Coup d’Etat in America“), was published this August at Westend Verlag in Frankfurt, Germany.
Lars Schall: Mr. Broeckers, a writer who authors a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that does not follow the verdict of official history faces the problem of being condemned on an instant basis as a “conspiracy theorist” who engages in “conspiracy theories.” May I ask you at the beginning of this interview to explain to our readers that those critics – consciously or unconsciously – are acting exactly according to the “playbook” of the CIA?
Mathias Broeckers: In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution of the CIA backgrounds of the murder, the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term “conspiracy theorists” for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term “assassination theories” when it came to alternative views of the “lone nut” Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo this changed and very soon “conspiracy theories” became what it is until today: a term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services. Before Edward Snowden anyone claiming a kind of total surveillance of internet and phone traffic would have been named a conspiracy nut; today everyone knows better.
LS: What do you see as the prime motive(s) to get Kennedy killed?
MB: To make a long story, which I elaborate in the book, short: JFK had made definitive steps to end the cold war. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration.
LS: If one looks at the crime from the perspective of “motive, means, opportunity,” which groups are the most likely culprits? Some of the usual suspects may have had a motive, but neither the means nor the opportunity, right?
MB: Yes. This is a crucial point with many JFK theories. A lot of people had motives, be it the hardcore commies in Russia, China, Cuba, be it the Israelis because of JFKs dismissal of nukes in Israel, be it the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, the mob because of his dismissal to invade Cuba to get their casinos and brothels back, the racist Southerners because of his engagement for civil rights… but no one of them had the means and opportunity for the murder and above all the means to cover it up over the years.
LS: Which party had the necessary components of “means and opportunity” available?
MB: Only the CIA and the military – and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up. A moment after the shootings, a policeman ran up to the grassy knoll, his gun pulled out, and stopped a man there, asking for his ID. The man showed a Secret Service card and the cop let him go. Several other men on Dealey Plaza also showed genuine looking Secret Service IDs when asked by cops – but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the knoll and the plaza this day.
These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn’t investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of “MK Ultra” fame. This fact alone rules out that the mob or the Russians, Cubans, Chinese or some other autonomous killers did this on their own bill. And even if these groups would have been able to fake genuine looking Secret Service IDs – the fact that this deception was not investigated, immediately brings Hoover’s FBI into a top-position of suspects.
LS: One crucial point regarding the cover up of the crime is the false autopsy report – also in connection to “means and opportunity”. Please elaborate.
MB: The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and x-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored. No mobster, bankster or Cuban would have been able to do this. These fakes were done at the Bethseda military hospital, where JFKs autopsy was supervised by Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force Chíef and one of JFKs keenest enemies. He was at a fishing vacation when the Dallas shooting happened and flew to Washington immediately – not for any military emergency but to sit in the autopsy room – and smoking a cigar! The faked pictures and x-rays, which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and x-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.
LS: Another important point is the tampering with the so called “Zapruder film”. Why so?
MB: Also thanks to the ARRB there is a lot of evidence that the film was tampered with on the day after the assassination. However, even the existing “original” seems to show clearly a shot from the front, the grassy knoll – so the fake wasn’t perfect. That the Warren Commission was shown only a bad black/white copy indicates that the perpetrators were aware of that. That the Zapruder film was bought by the Time/Life publishers – and kept secret to the public for years; as the Nix-film bought by UPI and disappeared – indicates the guiltiness of the media in the cover-up.
LS: Coming back to the CIA, do you think that the CIA had separated itself from governmental oversight during the 1950s and 1960s, or would it be more correct to suggest that the Agency actually was a ploy of financial interests from the outset? Or more bluntly spoken: was democratic oversight ever intended?
MB: In general, democracy and intelligence services are antagonists; democracy depends on transparency and intelligence services on the opposite. So the democratic / congressional / governmental oversight is always a quite rotten compromise. The CIA’s camouflage from the beginning was that it is a service to gather intelligence – and centralize the intelligence gathering of the different other services – to keep the president informed. The main job of the CIA were and are covert operations, and because such operations depend on “plausible deniability,” it was usual from the beginning to inform the president – if at all – only minimally. Since the CIA’s “father” Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles-Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death.
LS: You´re citing investigative journalist Joseph Trento, saying about former CIA director Allen Dulles: “Dulles had decided not to leave the future of the Agency to Congress or the President.” What made Dulles powerful enough to risk such a decision?
MB: Dulles’ clients were bankers and big corporations, who were in big business with Nazi-Germany in the 30s and even during the war. Some of them, like Prescott Bush – George W.’s grandfather – were indicted for “dealing with the enemy”, and Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Switzerland during the war, arranged a lot of these dealings. He arranged the secret integration of Nazi spy chief Reinhard Gehlen and some hundreds of his SS officers into the US army and the building-up of the CIA apparatus. Between 1945 when the OSS was dismantled and 1947 when the CIA was founded he did this privately – without any official position – from his office at the “Council on Foreign Relations.”
LS: Would it have been more appropriate if Dulles would have been interrogated with regard to Kennedy’s death, instead of having been the mastermind behind the Warren Commission?
MB: It’s a perfect irony, or better: huge cynism, by the puppet of Texas-oilmen, Lyndon B. Johnson, to have Dulles masterminding the Commission. But since it worked out so well they tried it again, this time unsuccessful, to have “Bloody Henry” Kissinger masterminding the 9/11 Commission. In my opinion Dulles is one of the main suspects in the Kennedy murder and should have been prosecuted immediately.
LS: How did both the CIA and the FBI mislead the Warren Commission in various ways?
MB: The result of the Commission was clear from the beginning, the Commission didn’t do any investigations at all, and it depended on the data given by the FBI. Hoover knew about the many fingerprints of the CIA in the case, he knew that they had brought up fake evidence of Oswald’s visits in Mexico to blame him as a communist – and concluded only two days after the shooting that there was only the lone shooter LHO.
Hoover hated the Kennedys, especially his boss Robert F Kennedy, and was the main evildoer in the framing of Oswald and the cover-up of the case. The CIA arranged the false evidence for what Peter Dale Scott (“Deep Politics and the Death of JFK”) called Phase 1 of the cover-up – the “communist”-connection, which enabled Johnson – screaming of the dangers of a nuclear war – to press the commission members to take part, and to make sure Phase 2 of the cover-up and the result of their pseudo-investigation: the deranged lone nut Oswald.
LS: One usual suspect in the “JFK conspiracy literature” is the mob. In your book you’re writing that it doesn’t always make sense to distinguish between organized crime and the CIA. How did you come to this conclusion?
MB: From the “Luciano Project” in 1943 – the help of the imprisoned mob-boss Lucky Luciano with the invasion of Sicily – the mob became the tool of choice for covert CIA-operations and generating black money from the drug business. Where ever the US-military set their boots in or the CIA is doing “regime changes,” drug money is essential for financing these operations, from South East Asia in the 60s till today in Afghanistan. And since Langley can’t sell the stuff directly over their counter, they need the mobsters to do this – and get its share to finance warlords / freedom fighters / terrorists…
LS: May I ask you to talk a bit in that regard about Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exposition), please?
MB: Permindex was a front-company for CIA, MI-6 and Mossad and a straw for their money-laundering and weapons-business. They worked together with Meyer Lansky’s bank in Switzerland, which was run by Tibor Rosenbaum, who did most of the weapons-business of the Mossad.
LS: Was Jim Garrison in general heading into the right direction?
MB: He was, because Clay Shaw, the owner of the New Orleans International Trade Mart and one of the directors of Permindex, was clearly working with the CIA. That’s why Garrison’s case was sabotaged by the Washington Establishment right from the beginning.
LS: Why is it remarkable that CIA had a 201 file on Lee Harvey Oswald?
MB: John Newman (“Oswald and the CIA”) has done remarkable research on how the CIA manipulated its files on Oswald and faked a 201 personal file to present it to the Warren Commission, showing that they had virtually nothing on him before 1962. This is clearly impossible after Oswald’s defection to the USSR in 1959. The most likely cause for this manipulation is that Oswald was part of the false defector program headed by JJ Angelton, the counterintelligence chief.
LS: You are arguing if Lee Harvey Oswald would have been indeed solely responsible for Kennedy’s death that the case would have been solved beyond a reasonable doubt. Why so?
MB: From all crimes, murder is the one with the most cases solved by courts. There would have been no need for all the cover-ups since 50 years, if LHO indeed was a lone nut.
LS: Moreover, you’re arguing that Oswald would have been acquitted of the charge of having killed Kennedy, if he would have survived. Why so?
MB: Even Gerald Posener, the author of “Case Closed” – the apology of the Warren Commission’s findings -, meanwhile is saying that. There is no hard evidence that Oswald was on the 5th floor when the shooting took place; there is no evidence that the “Mannlicher”-gun, that he had mail-ordered, was fired that day; there is no hard evidence that he killed Officer Tippit, because witnesses saw two men shooting at him… and so on. Oswald would have left the court room as a free man.
LS: Why was it necessary that Jack Ruby killed Oswald? And furthermore, did they know each other?
MB: They knew each other well, and since Oswald was an asset of FBI and CIA, he had to be silenced before he could talk.
LS: There was not just one plot to kill Kennedy in Dallas, but there was at least one more planned for a visit of Kennedy to Chicago, right?
MB: Yes, there was a plot planned in Chicago with clear parallels to what happened in Dallas – with an ex-Marine as the prepared patsy, who got a job on a high rise building on the route that the motorcade was planned to take some weeks before, and who had trained with exile-Cubans like Oswald. By chance the sharp-shooters were detected by an hotelier and the Chicago visit was cancelled.
LS: Why did JFK die on November 22, 1963?
MB: JFK had made a radical change while president, from a classic cold warrior to a policy of reconciliation and peace. He had made angry enemies in the military and the CIA and when he announced to end the cold war in his speech on June 10th 1963 he finally was marked to death.
LS: Can you tell us something about the role of the Secret Service and the U.S. military in the assassination?
MB: The Secret Service men were mostly Southerners, who deeply dismissed JFKs civil rights politics. They did a very lax security in Dallas and there is a probability that some of these men were sweetened to do so. The memories of Abraham Bolden, the first Afro-American brought to the Secret Service by JFK in 1961, tells that when he tried to contact the Warren Commission to talk about the supremacist, racist attitude of his colleagues, he was indicted by corrupted false witnesses and brought to prison.
The military played a crucial role in the false autopsy & x-ray-pictures made at the Bethseda hospital in Washington DC and the testimony of the doctors. General Curtis LeMay, Joint Chief of the Air Force and one of the harshest opponents of JFKs peace politics, was present in the autopsy room in Bethseda, smoking a cigar! I think his presence was not by chance.
The military intelligence also played a crucial role in Dallas – the first interviews of Marina Oswald was not by Dallas Police but by officers of the military intelligence, which also arranged a dubious translator for her testimonies, which helped to frame Oswald in the first place.
LS: Where did the funding for the coup come from?
MB: The Texas oilmen and billionaires H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison are the most probable financiers, even if there is no hard evidence for it. They paid for the ad in the Dallas paper the day before the visit, naming Kennedy a communist and a traitor. They hated JFK to the bones and they had LBJ in their pocket, their insurance that everything would be covered up properly.
LS: How many people lost their lives over the years related to the Kennedy assassination?
MB: A well-researched new book by Richard Belzer (“Hit List”) lists 1.400 persons with a connection to the murder and in the first three years after the assassination 33 of them came to death on unnatural causes. The probability that this happened by chance is 1: 137 billion.
LS: Was it basically the right-wing / fascist and racist mindset in the U.S. that won the coup d’etat on November 22, 1963?
MB: Yes. And in Dallas, Texas these right-wing fascists, who called themselves “patriots,” had a home game.
LS: What would the history of the “Cold War” have been if the nuclear arms race had ended in Kennedy’s second term? Would the Berlin Wall have come down sooner?
MB: After the nuclear test stop, JFK announced to his confidants that he would go to Moscow after the re-election to negotiate a peace treaty. In public he had already announced to stop the arms race in order to end the cold war. In a National Action Security Memorandum he had called for a co-operation with the Russians in space. After the exchange of secret letters with Khrushchev, which ended the missile crisis, he was on good terms with the Soviet leader, who in the Kremlin also had called for disarmament. The death of JFK encouraged the Soviet hardliners to get rid of him. With Kennedy alive, Khrushchev would have stood in power and the cold war could have been ended in the 60s.
LS: Why does the death of JFK still matter?
MB: It’s the most important crime in the second half of the 20th century, it is still unsolved and it marked in a way the end of the American Republic. Since then the financial-military-industrial complex rules and no president after JFK had the balls to challenge that. There is, in the words of Gore Vidal, “a one-party-system with two right-wings”; there are corporate media brainwashing the population 24/7 and propagating wars for global imperial dominance; there are covert operations all over the world to ensure this dominance – and this will go on and on as long the truth about the covert operation, the coup d’ état, against JFKs presidency is kept hidden.
LS: Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Broeckers!
Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.
[Nov 14, 2013] What Is The Real Agenda Of The American Police State by Paul Craig Roberts
November 14, 2013 | Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II. Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million per soldier. Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.
[Nov 11, 2013] Contracting Case Implicates 2 Admirals by CHRISTOPHER DREW
Published: November 8, 2013 | NTY
Two United States admirals, including the Navy’s chief intelligence officer, were stripped of their access to classified information on Friday after being implicated in a contracting scandal that federal prosecutors are investigating in San Diego.
The accusations against the two officers — Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the director of intelligence operations — signal a significant escalation in the investigation and show its widening impact on the Navy.
Admirals Branch and Loveless have been accused of “inappropriate conduct” in connection with the scandal, Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Navy’s chief of information, said in a statement Friday night. Investigators had so far named only midlevel Navy officers accused of accepting visits from prostitutes and lavish trips — and in one instance $100,000 in cash — from Leonard Francis, a Malaysian contractor.
Navy officials said the allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involved personal misconduct in accepting gifts or services from Mr. Francis, the nature of which could have exposed them to blackmail. But, the officials said, there was no sign at this point that the admirals had done anything for Mr. Francis that might lead to bribery charges against them.
Mr. Francis, chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, has been charged with bribing Navy officials to shift port calls for warships to ports where he could charge exorbitant fees.
Neither Admiral Branch, whose appointment required Senate approval, nor Admiral Loveless has been charged with a crime, and there is no indication that classified information was leaked, Admiral Kirby said. Both men have been put on leave, he said, but will keep their security clearances.
[Nov 10, 2013] The War State The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by Michael Swanson
The quest for world domination inevitably leads to transfer of power to military industrial complex and conversion of state into national security state.
September 1, 2013
Swanson's overarching argument is that the war industry became established in WWII, and indelibly entrenched in policy during the Cold War. Today, the military-industrial complex is the most powerful special interest group, influencing foreign policy, the economy, and social issues. It calls into question the constitutionality of current government .
Though he introduces the concept of the military-industrial complex in Chapter 1, Swanson refers back to his definition many times throughout the book. This adds to the book's clarity because there is an easy-to-follow theme throughout the book. Rarely do I feel, "okay... why is all this in the book?" (which, to me, seems so common in long historical narratives)
Swanson makes the connection between war and "big government." I thought this was one of the most fascinating political theories in the book. He ties together the economic, political, and social implications of the militarization era. He highlights the CIA, the American government's own "secret society," as well as criminal negligence and government self-regulation as problems in government policy.
The second half of the book transitions to the rise of "national security" as a prop for government action, and concludes with an investigation of Cold War repercussions that extend into the 21st century. I feel that Swanson expertly highlights the similarities between the Cold War period and modern Middle East conflicts. For example, the national security issue remains relevant today, in context of September 11th and the Patriot Act. Swanson even extends his argument to the constitution, illustrating how as national security's threat to personal liberty.
The conclusion also offers an intelligent summation of the author's arguments and analysis. Swanson speaks to the insane fantasy land the federal government lives in as it attempts to "control a dynamic and changing world." At the same time, the "big government" squeezes the individual person, through ever increasing taxes, calling for personal sacrifice through our always-mobilized army, and the pressure our country places on other independent nations to adopt the same military-industrial complex.
This book was an enlightening and educational experience which positively influenced my political opinion. I highly recommend it for those who are curious about post-war history.
Jacob G. Hornberger (Future of Freedom Foundation, Fairfax, VA USA) on September 6, 2013
An Awesome Book on the Warfare State,
Of all the books I've read on the national-security state and the warfare state, this book ranks among the best. It provides an excellent introduction to the major problem that is facing the American people: the warfare-state, national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto our constitutional order after World War II. Swanson carefully explains how this fundamentally changed our constitutional order and our way of life as Americans, for the worse.
Swanson shows how the national-security state has become a permanent bureaucratized part of the U.S. government. He cites President Eisenhower's warning to the American people about the dangers that the military-industrial complex pose to our democratic processes. And he details the ever-growing tensions that existed between Eisenhower's successor, John Kennedy, and the national-security state establishment. His perspectives on the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis are among the best I've read.
While the book covers the period 1945-1963, in the final chapter Swanson shows the relevance of the war state to Americans today:
"Today the military-industrial complex is more powerful than ever and the war state has become a bloated fiscal nightmare intent to engage in seemingly endless and unwinnable wars until the end of time -- all on the basis of supposed threats that are even bigger exaggerations than the Soviet threat was ever portrayed to be during the Cold War. The problem is that if defense spending is not brought under control, eventually the size of the federal debt and the budget deficit will grow so large that the value of the US dollar will decline. It already has..."
"The promoters of the war state answer by claiming that it is all necessary for your own safety. But is it? In my view, our choice today is not one of safety or defense, because it really doesn't take much to defend the United States of America. Instead, our choice is between reducing military spending and creating a rational foreign policy or going bankrupt in order to maintain the power of the war state and its imperial policies that don't work and harm the national economy."
Best of all, this book, this book is oriented toward the educated layman, not the academic. As such, it is easily readable and easily understandable. It's about 400 pages long, and I read it in about three consecutive evenings.
Michael Swanson gets it. He sees what the embrace of the national-security state has done to our nation. Just like us here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, he's not willing to accept the notion that the warfare-state apparatus is a necessary part of the U.S. government. He clearly understands, in fact, that the freedom and future well-being of the American people lies in its dismantling.
Buy this book! It is a shining light in the dark times in which we live. Better yet, buy multiple copies for your family and friends!
John Ellis (Gainesville, VA USA) on September 10, 2013
Clear Powerful Informative,
Hard to put down, Swanson's account, well referenced, of the enormous and persistent military buildup since WW2 boggles the mind. It shows how we have simply swallowed the propaganda and how even presidents have been forced to follow suit, given the enormous profits and far reaching influence the armaments industry has had on Congress and on public opinion. Swanson first points out Eisenhower's stark warnings and how despite them, the buildup never ceased. Fighters as the F-22 Raptor with no clear combat mission costing over 120 million a copy are very hard to explain on any other grounds than profits. Truly, if the US ran out of enemies, it would have to invent them. ... ... ...
We are undergoing shocking threats to liberty we are already seeing by this militarization, even of our police forces, that have resulted from a constant war footing, the establishment and constant encroachment by Homeland Security and the paranoia that accompanies it.
... ... .... Local jurisdictions freely admit they are forced to using their police departments as cash cows, ticketing passing motorists for the most inane of infractions, not for safety, but for revenue, as Federal and local sources of money dry up. Swanson notes how the ability to keep money seized in stops for drug trafficking has resulted in corruption, planted evidence and phony arrests to justify the ends and how the ill fated drug war has created more self-serving monstrous bureaucracies and private prison companies increasingly desperate to perpetuate their own existence. I was an Air Force Flight surgeon on nuke-armed B-52's during the Cold War and I saw much of coming this head on.
This huge nuclear fleet, continuously airborne, was to be a WW3 deterrent on the cheap, helping to avoid having to maintain a huge standing army with its enormous costs, but the armaments industry, as Swanson points out, could not tolerate such a state. Swanson's knowledge of history and his gift of writing elevates him to the level of George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm) and Phillip Roth (Fahrenheit 451) in describing our devastating ruinous course, with a destiny of joining the historical wrecks of past democracies similarly destroyed by dystopian forces. We fail to read and heed this important, fully Pulitzer Prize quality work at our peril.
J. Quick (@ bookbitch.com) on September 2, 2013
A Must Read,
Don't let the title scare you away from this engaging narrative. (I have a very personal interest in this as a cousin gave up his Air Force career as the result of the stress of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He said he couldn't sleep thinking about all the people about to die.) The author knows his material and manages to present it in a very entertaining manner. Swanson makes a persuasive case that control of our country has effectively been ceded to a small power elite of individuals in business and government who report to no one and who guide the nation no matter which political party is in power. To support his argument Swanson uses previously unavailable information about the Cold War from the perspective of the Soviets. Swanson's research is detailed and authoritative. One particular interesting aspect is Swanson's tracing the connection from the US initial efforts to install the Shah of Iran to our current problems in that region. Whether or not you agree with Swanson's conclusions this should be a must-read for anyone interested in post World War-II international affairs, which should be everyone since all our lives are affected daily by the results of these actions.
[Nov 10, 2013] Into the Nightmare My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit by Joseph McBride
Judy Schavrien on July 23, 2013The Downhill Slide of Democracy
Regarding the NSA scandal--what one might call the surveillance conspiracy--Jimmy Carter recently said in Der Spiegel (July 17, 2013) that "America has no functioning democracy at this moment." He has also praised Snowden's courage, hoping it would give the United States a salutary shakeup. When did the tipping point occur? When did democracy's downhill slide begin? According to Joseph McBride, playing journalistic and scholarly tour guide as he takes us Into the Nightmare, it began with the successful killing of JFK--and of Officer J.D. Tippit as well--on November 22, 1963, gaining momentum with a seemingly well-orchestrated coverup in the wake. Luckily, Professor McBride accomplishes an astonishing feat in offering his reinterpretation, one that profits from his three decades of diligent research on the topic and his interdisciplinary and encyclopedic ability to remember and arrange.
If you think Professor McBride is one of those crazy conspiracy theorists, be sure to read his chapter on the CIA's campaign, memos and all, to throw doubt on any who might come to question the Oswald-only version of the assassination, who might instead argue that there were a number of killers, e.g. Grassy Knoll marksmen as well. It is possible you will recognize, as you read the CIA memo, tag lines that hang out in your own or a friend's mind, the prefab objections to conspiracy theorists. On the other hand, Watergate, Iran/Contra, NSA may float to the surface of your mind and you may have to admit that conspiracies do happen. If they can happen from the governmental side, why not from the side of the assassins? Or were the two sides one and the same?
Some players include the CIA, the anti-Castro Cubans, big oil and the mafia: LBJ and even the elder Bush (Chapter 10) would have a fair amount to explain as well. The doubts regarding such players are by no means wildly raised, but very carefully, very systematically. "Paranoid" is one of the buzzwords the CIA had suggested for its campaign against conspiracy theorists: It is right there in the memo that McBride documents. But the McBride book gives not only evidence that confirms its theories but also that which disconfirms: good research.
I refer, in this case, to the evidence bearing on the Warren Commission report's "lone nut" version of the killings, with Oswald having been responsible for not only Kennedy's death and Governor Connally's injury--including using just one bullet that got them both, no less--but also for Officer Tippit's death en route to Oswald's own attempted escape. This book is, henceforth, a must-read for any with an ongoing interest in what remains an open case. That it does remain an open case is proven by the simple fact that the Warren Commission report, with Oswald as the "lone nut," has been later contradicted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations report, which finally concedes that two shooters must have been active.
McBride himself points out unique contributions as he goes along, the biggest one being his new and telling research on the J.D. Tippit death, research that begins to link Tippit with Ruby and the mafia, big oil, and the extreme right wing. It must be remembered as well, which McBride demonstrates, that, should LBJ have been involved in the JFK assassination, which is not proven, although there is documentation of his involvement in the coverup, he profited enormously from reversing JFK's intentions to gradually withdraw from Vietnam, since he owned substantial stock in Kellogg, Brown & Root, which had been absorbed in 1962 into Halliburton, both of which enjoyed a pile of non-competitive contracts for the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. With the death of JFK, LBJ also ducked a scandal about his own finances which would have burst upon the scene any minute. Oddly enough, then, solving the Tippit death accurately, rather than throwing that one on Oswald as well--who cried out when being led off "I'm just a patsy!"--is crucial.
Finally, McBride fashions this book of non-fiction, this history, as a Bildungsroman. The "Bildung" or education of an idealistic youth he tells in all its idiosyncracy: The author began as an ardent believer in Catholicism, America, and its free media, with two journalists for parents; he gradually lost that bloom of innocence, resisting along the way, and acquired the wound of experience; he tells the story so vividly that it becomes the American journey itself. Luckily, the wound does not prevent his own dogged progress, patriotic even or especially in its deeply skeptical approach. Blood, however, stains the pages. Without not only McBride's wakeup call but also the many other calls that are right now sounding, both about a political shadow government and even (cf. Catherine Austin Fitts) a financial shadow system as well, and without our actively heeding those calls, there will be, at home and abroad, more blood to come. Hannah Arendt has said (University of Chicago, lecture series, early `70's) that Americans at the founding wanted to be free from governing and concern with government rather than free to exert themselves in self-governing. This is a luxury we can no longer afford, perhaps could never afford. May it soon be said again, in a voice not of innocence but of experience, that America has a functioning democracy.
[Nov 09, 2013] JFK An American Coup D'etat The Truth Behind the Kennedy Assassination by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson
Colonel John Hughes-Wilson served in the British Army's Intelligence Corps for 30 years and is a specialist consultant to the UN and the European Union. He is the author of A Brief History of the Cold War, Military Intelligence Blunders, and The Pupper Masters.
In 1963, and the idea that the President of the United States could be gunned down in broad daylight was almost unbelievable. In America men and women wept openly in the streets for their dead leader. But events soon began to unpick the original version of what happened. It turned out that the official report was little more than a crude government whitewash designed to hide the real truth. Even American Presidents admitted as much. President Nixon memorably confessed in private that the "Warren Report was the biggest hoax ever perpetuated" on the American public. It began to emerge that maybe Lee Harvey Oswald, the original "one nut gunman," may not have acted on his own; others were involved, too. That meant no "lone gunman," but a conspiracy. This book attempts to answer the big question: who really shot JFK? And, more important still, exactly why was he shot?
John Hughes-Wilson argues that the murder of John Kennedy was, like the murder of Julius Caesar 2,000 years before, nothing less than a bloody coup d’état by his political enemies, a conspiracy hell bent on removing a leader who was threatening the power and the money of the ruling establishment. Pointing the finger at Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, and the Mafia, John joins Jackie and Bobby Kennedy in their conclusion that the assassination of JFK was far more complex than a deranged attack by Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine.
[Nov 09, 2013] Who Really Killed Kennedy 50 Years Later Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination by Jerome Corsi
That was the moment when military-industrial complex obtained full power over the US people. In other words it was a classic Coup d'état... As Stephen Courts stated in his review of the book : "The chapter on the Roots Of The JFK Assassination - A Banana Republic, The CIA And The Mob is an excellent primer on the skullduggery of the CIA acting to protect the neo-colonial masters by Coup d'état's and assassinations"
Scott Greer on September 17, 2013This book will open your eyes to the case like no other work before
There have been endless works on the assassination of JFK and who was behind it. From a gang of hobos to angry Cuban expats, the list of possible conspirators is numerous and all theories have been covered to some extent. What hasn't been covered before is the larger context that the assassination took place in and how it is still relevant to our current political climate, until now with Jerome Corsi's new book Who Really Killed Kennedy?
Corsi's essential argument is that the plot to kill Kennedy was hatched by military and financial elites who were displeased with Kennedy's unwillingness to go along with their plans for a New World Order. Presenting new and overlooked evidence, Dr. Corsi argues his case with thorough documentation and persuasive analyses that offers an enlightening perspective for the reader.
His argument that it was powerful elements within the government and their allies in the military-industrial complex and financial institutions is also a more plausible theory than others that have been suggested due to the fact that they would've had the ability to cover up the conspiracy and they directly benefitted from the death of JFK. They were able to increase America's involvement in Vietnam and create the kind of military that would be able to protect their interests across the world. It offers a theory for why America would get involved in such conflicts as Iraq and Syria when there seems to be no vested interest for our country to get involved.
Whether you believe his theory or not, this book is an engaging read and offers a new perspective on the assassination that shocked a nation and changed the course of history. I recommend this book as it looks to be the best account of the assassination that has been published so far.
Steve Glass on September 17, 2013
The America of JFK is dead.
This is the book to understand the machinations that set in position dominoes that would fall, helping bring about the "End of History" Fukuyama wrote about.
Call it a New World Order or the Anglo-American Order, Dr. Corsi makes a convincing case the assassination of JFK was the final nail in the coffin of the old republic and the birth of something else.
Stephen Courts by October 16, 2013
I was skeptical of Corsi due to his character assassination of John Kerry, when Dubya was fricking AWOL and a pretend pilot. Avoiding Viet Nam by circumventing the draft through the Air National Guard. However Corsi has written a very good book that has new information and provocative chapters, like the Grassy Knoll with Sniper/Author Craig Roberts. There are a number of errors with dates and names which is inexcusable coming from a full time writer. He mixes up Epstein for Fonzi and has JFK giving a speech in 1970 and has Clay Shaw almost breaking the case when he meant Jim Garrison. The book could have used a proof reader with a little experience.
I was not swayed by the KGB defector who claimed Khrushchev was seeking revenge for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not true. James Douglass has written a masterpiece in JFK & The Unspeakable, Why He Died & Why It Matters debunking this nonsense. This chapter Oswald, The KGB, And The Plots To Assassinate JFK IN Chicago And Tampa is accurate except for the Khrushchev part. Chicago and Tampa were real assassination attempts on President Kennedy. To my pleasant surprise Mr. Corsi gives full credit to one courageous Secret Service Agent who assisted in the Chicago attempt on November 2, 1963. That would of course be Abraham Bolden, who would suffer significantly for truth telling in 1964 after attempting to reach the "Johnson Commission" with information about the attempts on President Kennedy's life and the lax, at best, security surrounding him.
The chapter on the Roots Of The JFK Assassination - A Banana Republic, The CIA And The Mob is an excellent primer on the skullduggery of the CIA acting to protect the neo-colonial masters by Coup d'état's and assassinations. Very well written and researched, sowing the seeds of "how to" for future Coup's, including the execution of President Kennedy. Similarly the chapter on Cuba, Nixon & Watergate is full of excellent research. In all there are seven chapters and a conclusion and except for the former Romanian intelligence officer Ion Mihai Pacepa, the entire book is full of solid research. To his credit Corsi gives due recognition to the premier researchers such as Douglass, James DiEugenio, Mary Ferrell, Gaeton Fonzi and Russ Baker and others.
While he suspects George H.W. Bush (I do too), Nixon and of course LBJ and most importantly the Military and CIA (Dulles), he stops short of calling the execution "State Sponsored". In so many words he alludes to this, but Vincent Salandria called this as early as 1963-64 for what it was. It was and continues to be a State Sponsored Coup d'état directed at the highest level of the Military, "Intelligence" and Corporate leaders. I particularly liked the history (I have read it before) of the Dulles', George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush and their duplicitous and traitorous involvement in support of Hitler. The section on Reinhard Gehlen would be very fascinating if more people would READ and understand how Fascism was imported to the United States post World War 2. Most people are unfortunately like Allen Dulles said, not readers. This information would be an excellent avenue of informing Americans of how the Fourth Reich has come to our country.
I was at the end pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the book. I read it twice over about 4 days. I already knew a lot about the evidence, but did learn some things I was not up to speed on. This is a highly recommended book for both the experienced and the novice reader interested in how the United States has become what it is today, compared to what it might have been if JFK had served out his two terms. JFK's vision of self sufficient third world mineral wealthy countries and the new One World Government we now have is beautifully explained by Mr. Corsi. This is a book you will want to read a second time and maybe a third time. Get it and overlook the few errors and see the big picture. You will not be disappointed unless you believe LHO alone, without confederates, shot and killed President Kennedy. So my friends like SV Anderson/David Von Pein, Patrick Collins and other paid prostitutes of the CIA and MI-6 can save their emails rebutting this book. If you see a one or two star review for this book, it will have come from those type of paid disinformation specialists.
October 16, 2013
[Oct 27, 2013] Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress by Alan Grayson
25 October 2013 | The Guardian
In the 1970s, Congressman Otis Pike of New York chaired a special congressional committee to investigate abuses by the American so-called "intelligence community" – the spies. After the investigation, Pike commented:
It took this investigation to convince me that I had always been told lies, to make me realize that I was tired of being told lies.
I'm tired of the spies telling lies, too.
Pike's investigation initiated one of the first congressional oversight debates for the vast and hidden collective of espionage agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Before the Pike Commission, Congress was kept in the dark about them – a tactic designed to thwart congressional deterrence of the sometimes illegal and often shocking activities carried out by the "intelligence community". Today, we are seeing a repeat of this professional voyeurism by our nation's spies, on an unprecedented and pervasive scale.
Recently, the US House of Representatives voted on an amendment – offered by Representatives Justin Amash and John Conyers – that would have curbed the NSA's omnipresent and inescapable tactics. Despite furious lobbying by the intelligence industrial complex and its allies, and four hours of frantic and overwrought briefings by the NSA's General Keith Alexander, 205 of 422 Representatives voted for the amendment.
Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook".
Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I've learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from "intelligence" briefings. If the vote on the Amash-Conyers amendment is any indication, my colleagues feel the same way. In fact, one long-serving conservative Republican told me that he doesn't attend such briefings anymore, because, "they always lie".
Many of us worry that Congressional Intelligence Committees are more loyal to the "intelligence community" that they are tasked with policing, than to the Constitution. And the House Intelligence Committee isn't doing anything to assuage our concerns.
I've requested classified information, and further meetings with NSA officials. The House Intelligence Committee has refused to provide either. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment.
Recently, a member of the House Intelligence Committee was asked at a town hall meeting, by his constituents, why my requests for more information about these programs were being denied. This member argued that I don't have the necessary level of clearance to obtain access for classified information. That doesn't make any sense; every member is given the same level of clearance.
There is no legal justification for imparting secret knowledge about the NSA's domestic surveillance activities only to the 20 members of the House Intelligence Committee. Moreover, how can the remaining 415 of us do our job properly, when we're kept in the dark – or worse, misinformed?
Edward Snowden's revelations demonstrate that the members of Congress, who are asked to authorize these programs, are not privy to the same information provided to junior analysts at the NSA, and even private contractors who sell services to foreign governments. The only time that these intelligence committees disclose classified information to us, your elected representatives, is when it serves the purposes of the "intelligence community".
As the country continues to debate the supposed benefits of wall-to-wall spying programs on each and every American, without probable cause, the spies, "intelligence community" and Congressional Intelligence Committees have a choice: will they begin sharing comprehensive information about these activities, so that elected public officials have the opportunity to make informed decisions about whether such universal snooping is necessary, or constitutional?
Or will they continue to obstruct our efforts to understand these programs, and force us to rely on information provided by whistleblowers who undertake substantial risks to disseminate this information about violations of our freedom in an increasingly hostile environment? And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?
Representative Pike would probably say that rank-and-file representatives will never get the information we need from the House Intelligence Committee, because the spying industrial complex answers only to itself. After all, Pike, and many of the members of his special congressional committee, voted against forming it. As it is now constituted, the House Intelligence Committee will never decry, deny, or defy any spy. They see eye-to-eye, so they turn a blind eye. Which means that if we rely on them, we can kiss our liberty good-bye.BlueLightning
I suggest that you read Cyril Northcote Parkinson's essay on committees and how they work.
It appears in the book Parkinson's Law: The Pursuit of Progress.
That will explain why in any large committee only a few people ever really know what is happening and arrange all the significant decisions before every meeting.
I assume your advice is for readers because surely you'd not advise a seating, twice elected congressman to read a book on how committees work?
In case you didn't understand one of the main points of Grayson's article, all members of Congress have the same security clearance and committees are by law required to provide information when requested by any member. He was illegally denied such information.
Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook".
I know this is meant to be reassuring, and I really do welcome push back, but with all due respect, this is a bit like saying of the bombing of Hiroshima: We hear there was a bit of a problem in Japan.
Crimes have been committed. Aggressive, grievous, unforgivable ones. Ones calculated to do long term damage. Ones that have eroded the world's trust in us (awoke to hear about Germany's fury over the revelation that Merkel was being tapped). It is long past time to be a bit concerned. The words "law" and "due process" and "international norms" mean nothing if the US gets to keep ignoring them with impunity. It is high time that there were calls for investigations with the full intent to follow through with serious consequences. Until that happens, Congress is not taking this seriously and is not doing its job.
Afaye -> AhBrightWings
Well said AhBrightWings!
Or will they continue to obstruct our efforts to understand these programs, and force us to rely on information provided by whistleblowers who undertake substantial risks to disseminate this information about violations of our freedom in an increasingly hostile environment? And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?
So you are effectively saying that Congress doesn't know anything. Doesn't this mean that a cabal of unelected people are running the US? If there's no effective oversight then it's a coup. Who do they answer to if not congress? If they can get away also with televised bare-faced lies to Congress and get away with it, then what's the point at all in having a Congress?
And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?
I think the reason is clear. These guys are part of a government takeover and they can't be removed. Even when they retire, they or their friends will be pulling the strings. Blackmail is the order of the day, and our republic, like the Roman republic before it, is just a empty shell.
"And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?"
And what exact actions are you taking to help push forward the prosecutions of these two, sir?
Are most members of Congress extremely naive, under some influence or just stupid? Have they forgotten the cautionary tale of Hoover, the historical examples of secret police/surveillance forces like the Stasi? What did they imagine would happen when they gave nearly unlimited power with virtually no oversight to spy agencies that were allowed to operate within the country and amass almost total knowledge of all telecommunications, both domestic and foreign? This might be expected of Obama, who came in with no knowledge of the banking, health, defence or "security" sectors, but members of Congress are not generally unexperienced rookies. Are a few lobbyist dollars really enough for these people to betray their country, to allow its democratic institutions to be undermined or subverted?
TyroneBHorneigh -> FatMike
"Are a few lobbyist dollars really enough for these people to betray their country, to allow its democratic institutions to be undermined or subverted?"
The short answer is the same as the long answer, YES.
This is very embarrassing for the USA. It has shown that your government is being manipulated in the same way as the politburo was in the USSR by the KGB.
Spying on allies for trade gain and intelligence will not be forgotten easily. You have a willing British government on your side, but only because they are thick and think the spying is all about counter-terrorism.
This is woeful. Woeful for western freedom and woeful for trust between nations.
@Alan Grayson -
"... every member [of Congress] is given the same level of clearance [to obtain access to classified information] ... There is no legal justification for imparting secret knowledge about the NSA's domestic surveillance activities only to the 20 members of the House Intelligence Committee."
The rationale is quite simple. As long as those 20 are uniquely privileged with "inside" information, their loyalty can be counted on as members of the NSA "club".
Allowing them SPECIAL access to club secrets flatters their pride as ESPECIALLY trustworthy, and SUPREMELY capable of understanding complex issues and technologies ... unlike Congress's "riff-raff" and "ignoramuses" in the "common herd".
Once securely in the fold, those 20 will protect the NSA's interests - and, of course, secrets - as jealously as they guard their own self-esteem.
You're quite right to "worry that Congressional oversight committees are more loyal to the 'intelligence community' that they are tasked with policing than to the Constitution".
That's indeed where their loyalty lies.
Good article Grayson and it's good to see that many senators are now awake to what Snowden has revealed.
The House Intelligence Committee is in fact doing the US more damage than it realises by not releasing data to any, and all senators. What their behaviour implies is that they have something serious to hide and don't want to be found out. Don't know what the rules are in the US, but surely these people can be removed from office if they are not assisting senators to do their jobs properly? Is it not America who continually spouted, transparency and openness? The House Intelligence Committee is part of America is it not? The committee is there to serve, not to be served.
As for Alexander and Clapper both have lied to congress, to the people of the US as well as those round the world. If they are allowed to get away with this, then how can any senator in either party, or the president stand for upholding the rule of law? it would also make it impossible for a judge to convict someone because the law has to be applicable to all, or else none at all.
The NSA have done great damage, it has no good reputation and it would seem the House Intelligence Committee are adding to that, by their very questionable behaviour and conduct.
Recall how even before the Snowden revelations when Senators Wyden and Udall were making subtle noises about how the NSA MAY have been overstepping its authority--Senator Udall's brother was discovered dead on a wilderness hiking trail. A warning shot across Udall's bow??
I would like to say, I think not. But in the current environment I would similarly say, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
thedongerneedfood -> TyroneBHorneigh
In its coverage of Hastings' death, the Canada Free Press noted:
It appears that Mr. Hastings made multiple contacts with sources directly associated with the illegal NSA domestic spying program, and either recently acquired materials and/or information about the extent of, the targets of, and the recipients of the information of domestic spying program.
"It is speculated that the latter information was of particular concern to as yet unidentified individuals holding positions of authority within the US Department of Defense and their subcontractors, as well as certain parties within the Executive branch of the United States government.
"Investigation and research suggests that Mr. Hastings might have obtained, or arranged to obtain, information pertaining to the role of a particular high-ranking officer within the US military overseeing the domestic aspects of the NSA project.
thedongerneedfood -> thedongerneedfood
"[..]In a world where American Presidents openly arrogate to themselves the right to kill people deemed enemies of the United States, all things suddenly become possible. When the basic right of habeas corpus can be denied to American citizens, based upon unproven allegations of their being threats to this country, isn’t it possible for those with the power to detain and to eliminate individuals, to make decisions as to someone’s existence doing harm to this country? Finally, doesn’t this unconstitutional expansion of powers give individuals with government connections the leeway to take revenge on those who expose them? While I’m not privy to knowledge of the actions of those in power and can claim no inside information, I certainly can speculate based on the experience of my lifetime. This then is my speculation about the death and life of Michael Hastings in the context of current life in these United States."
[Oct 07, 2013] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE3fmFTtP9g#t=65
[Oct 07, 2013] Intel union Spy agency heads won’t roll with US and UK allied
RT Op-EdgeAnnie Machon is a former intelligence officer for the UK's MI5, who resigned in 1996 to blow the whistle. She is now a writer, public speaker and a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing.
The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing. In the face of righteous public wrath, the US administration is contorting itself to ensure that it does not lose its treasured data-mining capabilities: congressional hearings are held, the media is on the warpath, and senior securocrats are being forced to admit that they have lied about the efficacy of endemic surveillance in preventing terrorism.
Just this week General Alexander, the head of the NSA with a long track record of misleading lying to government, was forced to admit that the endemic surveillance programmes have only helped to foil a couple of terrorist plots. This is a big difference from the previous number of 54 that he was touting around.
Cue calls for the surveillance to be reined in, at least against Americans. In future such surveillance should be restricted to targeted individuals who are being actively investigated. Which is all well and good, but would still leave the rest of the global population living their lives under the baleful stare of the US panopticon. And if the capability continues to exist to watch the rest of the world, how can Americans be sure that the NSA et al won't stealthily go back to watching them once the scandal has died down - or just ask their best buddies in GCHQ to do their dirty work for them?
I'm sure that the UK's GCHQ will be happy to step into the breach. It is already partially funded by the NSA, to the tune of $100 million over the last few years; it has a long history of circumventing US constitutional rights to spy on US citizens (as foreigners), and then simply passing on this information to the grateful NSA, as we know from the old Echelon scandal; and it has far more legal leeway under British oversight laws. In fact, this is positively seen to be a selling point to the Americans from what we have seen in the Snowden disclosures.
Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters / Kieran Doherty)
GCHQ is absolutely correct in this assessment - the three primary UK intelligence agencies are the least accountable and most legally protected in any western democracy. Not only are they exempt from any real and meaningful oversight, they are also protected against disclosure by the draconian 1989 Official Secrets Act, designed specifically to criminalise whistleblowers, as well as having a raft of legislation to suppress media reporting should such disclosures emerge.
This might, indeed, be the reason that the UK media is not covering the Snowden disclosures more extensively - a self-censoring "D" Notice has been issued against the media, and The Guardian had its UK servers smashed up by the secret police. 1930s Germany, anyone?
Defenders of the status quo have already been out in force. Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is notionally responsible for GCHQ, said cosily that everything was legal and proportionate, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the current chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee in parliament last week staunchly declared that the ISC had investigated GCHQ and found that its data mining was all legal as it had ministerial approval.
Well that's all OK then. Go back to sleep, citizens of the UK.
What Hague and Rifkind neglected to say was that the ministerial warrantry system was designed to target individual suspects, not whole populations. Plus, as the Foreign secretary in charge of MI6 at the time of the illegal assassination plot against Gaddafi in 1996, Rifkind of all people should know that the spies are "economical with the truth".
In addition, as I've written before, many former top spies and police have admitted that they misled lied to the ISC. Sure, Rifkind has managed to acquire some new powers of oversight for the ISC, but they are still too little and 20 years too late.
This mirrors what has been going on in the US over the last few years, with senior intelligence official after senior official being caught out lying to congressional committees. While in the UK statements to the ISC have to date not been made under oath, statements made to the US Congress are - so why on earth are apparent perjurers like Clapper and Alexander even still in a job, let alone not being prosecuted?
It appears that the US is learning well from its former colonial master about all things official secrecy, up to and including illegal operations that can be hushed up with the nebulous and legally undefined concept of "national security", the use of fake intelligence to take us to war, and the persecution of whistleblowers.
Except the US has inevitably super-sized the war on whistleblowers. While in the UK we started out with the 1911 Official Secrets Act, under which traitors could be imprisoned for 14 years, in 1989 the law was amended to include whistleblowers - for which the penalty is 2 years on each charge.
The US, however, only has its hoary old Espionage Act dating back to 1917 and designed to prosecute traitors. With no updates and amendments, this is the act that is now rolled out to threaten modern whistleblowers working in the digital age. And the provisions can go as far as the death penalty.
President Obama and the US intelligence establishment are using this law to wage a war on whistleblowers. During his presidency he has tried to prosecute seven whistleblowers under this Espionage Act - more than all the previous presidents combined - and yet when real spies are caught, as in the case of the Russian Spy Ring in 2010, Obama was happy to cut a deal and send them home.
School of Assassins Guns, Greed, and Globalization by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Roy Bourgeois
SOA/WHISC- not an issue of the past December 20, 2001
Jack Neslon-Pallmeyer's new book, School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization, brings the history and development of the School of the Americas, including its recent name change to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, into perspective along with the developments of the global and national economies and militaries.
In a time when the role of the SOA/WHISC is being seriously and persistently challenged, the name change and other cosmetic alterations represent a need to continue to build and strengthen the thoughtfulness and articulation of the movement and voices that are calling for the school's closure. This book ties together many of the critical issues at play in the debate over the SOA/WHISC and puts it in the context of the role it has in the world today, as well as how it has developed and changed with the changing world and economy in which we all live. One of the key points stressed in this book is that the SOA/WHISC's role has never been stagnant or unaltered, but rather that it has and continues to change along with the goals of the United States foreign policy. The purpose and role that the SOA/WHISC fulfilled at its inception is not the same as the purpose it is serving today. The US foreign policy, beginning around the time the SOA was opened in Panama, has evolved throughout different stages, each trying to maintain a different balance between military and economic strategies and tactics to enforce and implement its goals:
- Beginning in a period of major military domination, the SOA was created at a time when military repression and power was the main way of enforcing and achieving the US foreign policy goals.
- However, economic tools and leverage, such as those achieved by the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, began to gain momentum and strength as efficient ways of implementing foreign policy. The second stage of US foreign policy was thus a balance between the growing use of economic leverage and the lessening of the need for military repression.
- During the third stage that the SOA/WHISC functioned in, economic power implemented through the afore mentioned institutions and their programs (such as Structural Adjustment Programs), took the front line in US foreign policy. The decreasing role of the need for military and violent repression in this stage had a great impact. It threatened and concerned those in the military to seek ways to maintain the immense budget and importance of the military at a time when it was not really being used or was as necessary.
- This "military industrial complex" is another key issues at stake in Nelson-Pallmeyer's book, and plays a large role in the remilitarization that characterizes the fourth stage of US foreign policy. The SOA/WHISC's role in the present day is greatly founded on this remilitarization as an important tool in order to achieve the goals and stability desired by the US foreign policy.
The new name given to the SOA represents a face lift, as many refer to it, which attempts to make the goals of the SOA/WHISC seem worthy of the absurd amount of money the US government budget allots the military.
Nelson-Pallmeyer makes a point that the
" `any means necessary' foreign policy is possible when advocates are convinced that the means they employ, whether the torturer's hand or the banker's rules, are justified because they promote the common good or protect particular interests they represent" (98).
Changing the name of the SOA to WHISC, along with the other cosmetic curriculum changes, is attempting to do just this; to create a new image of the school that is one promoting `security cooperation' and human rights. As this book states, however, these changes do not represent any sense of remorse, accountability, or separation from the past policies and deeds that a truly new institution would need to be based on.
The impact of corporate-led globalization is another key issue in The School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization; and likewise, is a factor that plays into the remilitarization that characterizes stage four of US foreign policy. Although globalization, as stated by Nelson-Pallmeyer, is a reality, corporate-led globalization is not inevitable and is furthermore, undesirable. Corporate-led globalization undermines democracy, aggravates problems rooted in inequality, and is altogether destabilizing. This destabilization in turn becomes a reason for remilitarization, and a problem to be handled through military repression rather than systematic, economic, and global changes. Corporate-led globalization is not the beneficial development or progress that the myths make it out to be.
Finally, the debate and struggle around the SOA/WHISC is but a glimpse at the greater picture, the tip of an immense iceberg. Nelson-Pallmeyer states that "the SOA is a window through which US foreign policy can be seen clearly" (xvii). The struggle and movement to close the SOA/WHISC is also fighting against many of the greater issues at stake in our foreign policy and international involvement and is only one of many battles to be fought. Closure of the SOA/WHISC will not appease or end the movement, just allow it to move on to the next battle. Many of the aspects of the US foreign policy that break down the false image of the benevolent superpower are brought in to focus through connections and impacts on the SOA/WHISC. The SOA/WHISC is like a case study of the many components and factors of US foreign policy and its goals. In exposing oneself to the SOA/WHISC debate, history, and struggle, it is inevitable to come to some greater understanding of the US's involvement and true goals in its foreign policy and international affairs. This book is atriculate, thought provoking, and worth reading.
[Aug 26, 2013] Obama’s Half-Measures to War With Syria
August 26, 2013 | The American Conservative
Fran MacadamThe President cannot resist the slouch towards war, for just the same reason he has failed to live up to the rest of his speechifying. It is the one he gave, as quoted in The Christian Century, for the failures to reform Wall Street’s rampant and aggravated banksterism: “I would have liked to, but it would have pissed off too many powerful people.”
With recidivist mendacity even more starkly shadowed against the truth in recent surveillance revelations, it seems in doubt that the first part of that excuse is fully true, though the latter assuredly is.
There is simply too much of a revenue stream for donorist elites to give up constant war. The rewards for elusive success are for them a risk-free investment, with losses socialized by the American people and benefits privatized for themselves.
[Jul 02, 2013] A Syria ‘No-fly Zone’ and Just War Theory by James Carden -- Antiwar.com
A Syria ‘No-fly Zone’ and Just War Theoryby James Carden, July 01, 2013
Now that the White House has come to the conclusion that Bashar al-Assad has indeed employed chemical weapons on a small scale against the Syrian opposition, the questions over what to do next have taken on ever greater urgency. Speaking to CNN recently, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), said that "we should be able to establish a no-fly zone relatively easily." Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) also expressed his support for a no-fly zone, while House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) stated, “The United States should assist the Turks and our Arab League partners to create safe zones in Syria from which the U.S. and our allies can train, arm, and equip vetted opposition forces.” So as the pro-interventionist rhetoric heats up, it might be to our benefit to step back and consider whether or not committing an act of war against Syria, and that is precisely what establishing a no-fly zone would entail, would be justified under the tenets of Just War Theory.
The term ‘just war’ was first used by Augustine of Hippo in The City of God, and the concept was later refined and codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century. Just War Theory had, until the advent of the Bush Doctrine of preventive war in 2003, commonly served as the set of criteria which had to be met in order for a nation-state to morally justify the commencement of hostilities against another nation-state. It consists of 2 categories: Jus Ad Bellum (right to war) and Jus In Bello (law in war).
To meet the requirements of Jus Ad Bellum, 4 conditions must be met: Just Cause, Just Intention, Just Authority, and Last Resort. The question we need to answer, then, is: does the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels provide the U.S. with Just Cause that would allow it to commit an act of war against Syria? At no time since the commencement of hostilities between the parties within Syria in March 2011 has the Assad regime attacked either the U.S. or any of its allies, skirmishes on the Syrian/Turkish border notwithstanding. In order that the requirement of Just Cause be met, the U.S. would had to have been attacked (or was in actual imminent danger of being attacked) by the Assad regime. This has not happened, and so the justification for the establishment of a no-fly zone would not be met. As such, the requirement of Just Intention would also not be met because a nation-state cannot commence hostilities without a legitimate cause and still claim right intention.
What about the requirement of Just Authority? Let’s say hypothetically that Assad had in fact launched a direct attack on the U.S. or one of its allies. While the U.S. would then have cause to engage in hostilities against Syria, it would, in order to meet the requirement of Just Authority, have to do so with explicit authorization from the U.S. Senate. Unilateral acts of war initiated solely by the Executive (such as the Nixon administration’s secret bombing of Cambodia) are verboten under Just War theory.
The condition of Last Resort would only be met once every last peaceful option had been exhausted. We are clearly far from meeting the criterion of Last Resort as things stand right now; the US and Russia are working on convening a peace conference between the two sides in Geneva this July and there still, according to Middle East expert Dr. Vali Nasr, remain "powerful economic sanctions that the U.S. could use to cripple the Assad regime."
The category of Jus In Bello has mainly to do with the conduct of a war once joined and as such is somewhat less of a concern at this stage, but a few points might be worth making. Three conditions, those of Proportionality, Discrimination, and Responsibility must be met in order to satisfy the requirements of Jus In Bello. Taken together, they are intended to serve as safeguards against indiscriminate violence against noncombatants and disproportionate actions against enemy nation-states. The principles of Jus In Bello are enshrined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which, it never hurts to remind the war hawks in Congress, the U.S. is still a party to. If our recent history of Greater Middle Eastern interventions is any guide, we would be hard pressed to be able to honestly say to ourselves, or to the international community, that we possess the competence to fulfill any of these three conditions.
Writing at the dawn of the Cold War almost 60 years ago, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr warned against ‘the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends.’ This is a lesson that has, I’m afraid to say, been lost on the most vocal proponents of war with Syria. If the United States proceeds to act on the recommendations of the interventionists without paying heed to the ancient and venerable tradition of Just War Theory then no good – despite the best of intentions – will come of the effort.
Until recently James Carden served as an Adviser to the Office of Russian Affairs at the State Department. He has contributed pieces on foreign affairs to The National Interest and The Moscow Times.
[Jun 27, 2013] Edward Snowden and the National Security Industrial Complex
June 17th, 2013
When Edward Snowden, an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton - a military contractor based in McLean, Virginia - blew the whistle on the extent of U.S. global electronic surveillance, he unexpectedly shone a light on the world of contractors that consume some 70 percent of the $52 billion U.S. intelligence budget.
Some commentators have pounced on Snowden’s disclosures to denounce the role of private contractors in the world of government and national security, arguing that such work is best left to public servants. But their criticism misses the point.
It is no longer possible to determine the difference between employees of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the employees of companies such as Booz Allen, who have integrated to the extent that they slip from one role in industry to another in government, cross-promoting each other and self-dealing in ways that make the fabled revolving door redundant, if not completely disorienting.
Snowden, who was employed by Booz Allen as a contract systems administrator at the NSA’s Threat Operations Centre in Hawaii for three months, had worked for the CIA and Dell before getting his most recent job. But his rather obscure role pales in comparison to those of others.
Pushing for Expanded Surveillance
To best understand this tale, one must first turn to R. James Woolsey, a former director of CIA, who appeared before the U.S. Congress in the summer of 2004 to promote the idea of integrating U.S. domestic and foreign spying efforts to track “terrorists”.
One month later, he appeared on MSNBC television, where he spoke of the urgent need to create a new U.S. intelligence czar to help expand the post-9/11 national surveillance apparatus.
On neither occasion did Woolsey mention that he was employed as senior vice president for global strategic security at Booz Allen, a job he held from 2002 to 2008.
“The source of information about vulnerabilities of and potential attacks on the homeland will not be dominated by foreign intelligence, as was the case in the Cold War. The terrorists understood us well, and so they lived and planned where we did not spy (inside the U.S.),” said Woolsey in prepared remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security on June 24, 2004.
In a prescient suggestion of what Snowden would later reveal, Woolsey went on to discuss expanding surveillance to cover domestic, as well as foreign sources.
“One source will be our vulnerability assessments, based on our own judgments about weak links in our society’s networks that can be exploited by terrorists,” he said. “A second source will be domestic intelligence. How to deal with such information is an extraordinarily difficult issue in our free society.”
In late July 2004, Woolsey appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball”, a news-talk show hosted by Chris Matthews, and told Matthews that the federal government needed a new high-level office – a director of national intelligence – to straddle domestic and foreign intelligence. Until then, the director of the CIA served as the head of the entire U.S. intelligence community.
“The problem is that the intelligence community has grown so much since 1947, when the position of director of central intelligence was created, that it’s (become) impossible to do both jobs, running the CIA and managing the community,” he said.
Both these suggestions would lead to influential jobs and lucrative sources of income for Woolsey's employer and colleagues.
The Director of National Intelligence
Fast forward to 2007. Vice Admiral Michael McConnell (retired), Booz Allen’s then-senior vice president of policy, transformation, homeland security and intelligence analytics, was hired as the second czar of the new “Office of the Director of National Intelligence” which was coincidentally located just three kilometers from the company’s corporate headquarters.
Upon retiring as DNI, McConnell returned to Booz Allen in 2009, where he serves as vice chairman to this day. In August 2010, Lieutenant General James Clapper (retired), a former vice president for military intelligence at Booz Allen from 1997 to 1998, was hired as the fourth intelligence czar, a job he has held ever since. Indeed, one-time Booz Allen executives have filled the position five of the eight years of its existence.
When these two men took charge of the national-security state, they helped expand and privatize it as never before.
McConnell, for example, asked Congress to alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow the NSA to spy on foreigners without a warrant if they were using Internet technology that routed through the United States.
“The resulting changes in both law and legal interpretations (... and the) new technologies created a flood of new work for the intelligence agencies – and huge opportunities for companies like Booz Allen,” wrote David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in a profile of McConnell published in the New York Times this weekend.
Last week, Snowden revealed to the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald that the NSA had created a secret system called “Prism” that allowed the agency to spy on electronic data of ordinary citizens around the world, both within and outside the United States.
Snowden’s job at Booz Allen’s offices in Hawaii was to maintain the NSA’s information technology systems. While he did not specify his precise connection to Prism, he told the South China Morning Post newspaper that the NSA hacked “network backbones – like huge Internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one”.
Indeed Woolsey had argued in favor of such surveillance following the disclosure of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping by the New York Times in December 2005.
“Unlike the Cold War, our intelligence requirements are not just overseas,” he told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the NSA in February 2006. “Courts are not designed to deal with fast-moving battlefield electronic mapping in which an al Qaeda or a Hezbollah computer might be captured which contains a large number of email addresses and phone numbers which would have to be checked out very promptly.”
Propaganda PuppetsRoger Cressey, a senior vice president for cybersecurity and counter-terrorism at Booz Allen who is also a paid commentator for NBC News, went on air multiple times to explain how the government would pursue the Boston Marathon case in April 2013. “We always need to understand there are priority targets the counter-terrorism community is always looking at,” he told the TV station.
Cressey took a position “on one of the most controversial aspects of the government response to Boston that completely reflects the views of the government agencies – such as the FBI and the CIA – that their companies ultimately serve,” wrote Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire, on Salon. “Their views, in turn, convinces NBC hosts of the wisdom of the policy, a stance which could easily sway an uncertain public about the legitimacy of the new face of state power that has emerged in the post-9/11 period. That is influence, yet it is not fully disclosed by NBC.”
This was not the first time that Cressey had been caught at this when speaking to NBC News. Cressey failed to disclose that his former employer – Good Harbor Consulting - had been paid for advice by the government of Yemen, when he went on air to criticize democracy protests in Yemen in March 2011. (Cressey has just been hired by Booz Allen at the time)
“What is not disclosed about Cressey in this segment where he scaremongers about a post-Saleh Yemen is that he has multiple conflicts of interest with the current regime there,” wrote Zaid Jilani of ThinkProgress at the time.
A Flood of New Contracts
Exactly what Booz Allen does for the NSA’s electronic surveillance system revealed by Snowden is classified, but one can make an educated guess from similar contracts it has in this field – a quarter of the company's $5.86 billion in annual income comes from intelligence agencies.
The NSA, for example, hired Booz Allen in 2001 in an advisory role on the five-billion-dollar Project Groundbreaker to rebuild and operate the agency’s “nonmission-critical” internal telephone and computer networking systems.
Booz Allen also won a chunk of the Pentagon’s infamous Total Information Awareness contract in 2001 to collect information on potential terrorists in America from phone records, credit card receipts and other databases – a controversial program defunded by Congress in 2003 but whose spirit survived in Prism and other initiatives disclosed by Snowden.
The CIA pays a Booz Allen team led by William Wansley, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, for “strategic and business planning” for its National Clandestine Service, which conducts covert operations and recruits foreign spies.
The company also provides a 120-person team, headed by a former U.S. Navy cryptology lieutenant commander and Booz Allen senior executive adviser Pamela Lentz, to support the National Reconnaissance Organization, the Pentagon agency that manages the nation’s military spy satellites.
In January, Booz Allen was one of 12 contractors to win a five-year contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency that could be worth up to $5.6 billion to focus on “computer network operations, emerging and disruptive technologies, and exercise and training activity”.
Last month, the U.S. Navy picked Booz Allen as part of a consortium to work on yet another billion-dollar project for “a new generation of intelligence, surveillance and combat operations”.
How does Booz Allen wins these contracts? Well, in addition to its connections with the DNI, the company boasts that half of its 25,000 employees are cleared for "top secret-sensitive compartmented intelligence" - one of the highest possible security ratings. (One third of the 1.4 million people with such clearances work for the private sector.)
A key figure at Booz Allen is Ralph Shrader, current chairman, CEO and president, who came to the company in 1974 after working at two telecommunications companies – RCA, where he served in the company’s government communications system division and Western Union, where he was national director of advanced systems planning.
In the 1970s, RCA and Western Union both took part in a secret surveillance program known as Minaret, where they agreed to give the NSA all their clients’ incoming and outgoing U.S. telephone calls and telegrams.
In an interview with the Financial Times in 1998, Shrader noted that the most relevant background for his new position of chief executive at Booz Allen was his experience working for telecommunications clients and doing classified military work for the US government.
Caught for Shoddy WorkHow much value for money is the government getting? A review of some of Booz Allen's public contracts suggests that much of this work has been of poor quality.
In February 2012, the U.S. Air Force suspended Booz Allen from seeking government contracts after it discovered that Joselito Meneses, a former deputy chief of information technology for the air force, had given Booz Allen a hard drive with confidential information about a competitor's contracting on the first day that he went to work for the company in San Antonio, Texas.
"Booz Allen did not uncover indications and signals of broader systemic ethical issues within the firm," wrote the U.S. Air Force legal counsel. "These events caused the Air Force to have serious concerns regarding the responsibility of Booz Allen, specifically, its San Antonio office, including its business integrity and honesty, compliance with government contracting requirements, and the adequacy of its ethics program."
It should be noted that Booz Allen reacted swiftly to the government investigation of the conflict of interest. In April that year, the Air Force lifted the suspension – but only after Booz Allen had accepted responsibility for the incident and fired Meneses, as well as agreeing to pay the air force $65,000 and reinforce the firm's ethics policy.
Not everybody was convinced about the new regime. "Unethical behavior brought on by the revolving door created problems for Booz Allen, but now the revolving door may have come to the rescue," wrote Scott Amey of the Project on Government Oversight, noting that noting that Del Eulberg, vice-president of the Booz Allen's San Antonio office had served as chief engineer in the Air Force.
"It couldn't hurt having (former Air Force people). Booz is likely exhaling a sigh of relief as it has received billions of dollars in air force contracts over the years."
That very month, Booz Allen was hired to build a $10 million "Enhanced Secured Network" (ESN) for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. An audit of the project released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office this past February showed that it was full of holes.
The ESN “left software and systems put in place misconfigured—even failing to take advantage of all the features of the malware protection the commission had selected, leaving its workstations still vulnerable to attack,” wrote Sean Gallagher, a computer reporter at ArsTechnica.
Booz Allen has also admitted to overbilling the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) "employees at higher job categories than would have been justified by their experience, inflating their monthly hours and submitting excessive billing at their off-site rate." The company repaid the government $325,000 in May 2009 to settle the charges.
Nor was this the first time Booz Allen had been caught overbilling. In 2006, the company was one of four consulting firms that settled with the U.S. Department of Justice for fiddling expenses on an industrial scale. Booz Allen's share of the $15 million settlement of a lawsuit under the False Claims Act was more than $3.3 million.
Incidentally, both the NASA and the Air Force incidents were brought to light by a company whistleblower who informed the government.
Investigate Booz Allen, Not Edward Snowden
When Snowden revealed the extent of the U.S. national surveillance program earlier this month, he was denounced immediately by Booz Allen and their former associates who called for an investigation of his leaks.
"For me, it is literally – not figuratively – literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities," Clapper told NBC News's Andrea Mitchell. "This is someone who, for whatever reason, has chosen to violate a sacred trust for this country. I think we all feel profoundly offended by that.""News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," Booz Allen said in a press statement.
Yet instead of shooting the messenger, Edward Snowden, it might be worth investigating Shrader and his company's core values in the same way that the CIA and NSA were scrutinized for Minaret in the 1970s by the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Frank Church of Idaho in 1975.
Congress would also do well to investigate Clapper, Booz Allen's other famous former employee, for possible perjury when he replied: "No, sir" to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon in March, when asked: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
* Excerpts of this piece appeared on the Guardian's Comment is Free and Inter Press Service. Jim Lobe contributed research.
[Jun 23, 2013] How Booz Allen Hamilton Swallowed Washington
From its origins as a management consulting firm, Booz Allen has quietly grown into a government-wide contracting behemoth, fed by ballooning post-Sept. 11 intelligence budgets and Washington’s increasing reliance on outsourcing. With 24,500 employees and 99% of its revenues from the federal government, its growth in the last decade has been stunning (and until very recently with little to no knowledge from the main street that it even exists).Via Bloomberg BusinessWeek,
In 1940, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy began to think about what a war with Germany would look like. The admirals worried in particular about the Kriegsmarine’s fleet of U-boats, which were preying on Allied shipping and proving impossible to find, much less sink. Stymied, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox turned to Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, a consulting firm in Chicago whose best-known clients were Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) and Montgomery Ward.
The firm had effectively invented management consulting, deploying whiz kids from top schools as analysts and acumen-for-hire to corporate clients. Working with the Navy’s own planners, Booz consultants developed a special sensor system that could track the U-boats’ brief-burst radio communications and helped design an attack strategy around it. With its aid, the Allies by war’s end had sunk or crippled most of the German submarine fleet.
That project was the start of a long collaboration. As the Cold War set in, intensified, thawed, and was supplanted by global terrorism in the minds of national security strategists, the firm, now called Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), focused more and more on government work. In 2008 it split off its less lucrative commercial consulting arm - under the name Booz & Co. - and became a pure government contractor, publicly traded and majority-owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG).
In the fiscal year ended in March 2013, Booz Allen Hamilton reported $5.76 billion in revenue, 99 percent of which came from government contracts, and $219 million in net income. Almost a quarter of its revenue - $1.3 billion - was from major U.S. intelligence agencies. Along with competitors such as Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), CACI, and BAE Systems (BAESY), the McLean (Va.)-based firm is a prime beneficiary of an explosion in government spending on intelligence contractors over the past decade. About 70 percent of the 2013 U.S. intelligence budget is contracted out, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says almost a fifth of intelligence personnel work in the private sector.
It’s safe to say that most Americans, if they’d heard of Booz Allen at all, had no idea how huge a role it plays in the U.S. intelligence infrastructure. They do now.
Indeed Rand. These greedy corporate bloodsucking bastards hate us for our freedoms. Meanwhile Obama is now sending weapons direct to Al-qaeda terrorists and cannibals. See the irony in all this? WHat do the loyal Republicans say about the corporate interests who suck Washington dry?
Yes. Every day it becomes more apparant that 9/11 created one of the most profitable industries since WW2. Anti-terrorism.
War is never accidental. It is always carefully manufactured.
- Larry Dallas, 2013
Dwight Eisenhower was SOOOOO right.
Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. --Dwight D. Eisenhower
When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing: Dwight David Eisenhower
All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing: Dwight Eisenhower
If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. ”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
As it says - and I always suspected - nobody, not even the President, has a handle let alone control, of this out-of-control 4th branch of government.
The only real solution is for the elected government to send in a fleet of bulldozers and demolish the whole lot and arrest every last unelected power-broker.
in other words 9/11 was the best thing ever to happen for Booz and its buddies.........hmmmmm?
One must always ask "Cui bono" when considering the dark side of the universe. After all war IS a racket.
you're not going to believe this but ..
NBC used to produce a game show called 21. this was back in the nine-teen and 50s.
wait. that's not the amazing part.
the show was *fixed*! scripted!
wait. that's not the amazing part.
NBC's evening news department somehow had No Idea that the quiz show was faked.
wait. that's not the amazing part.
congress passed a law.
It shall be unlawful for any person, with intent to deceive the listening or viewing public—
(1) To supply to any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined.
wait. that's not the amazing part.
we are all contestants in a purportedly bona fide contest, but the outcome is in whole or in part pre-arranged
wait. that's not the amazing part.
nobody is prosecuting the perpetrators!
but wait. that's not the amazing part.
nobody seems to mind.
Funny,... nothings really changed in the world's geopolitical sense?
The USSR is fast aligning itself with annex'd satellite nations! China is now a super-power in its own right! Japan is the same ole,.. old infighting hostile nation of nationalist? India has growing pains as always... what's news!
Africa is still a colonial household for Europe? Germany has unified and still a worry-wart for the British 'Grey-Poupon!? The UK is still the entire planets grandfather with one foot in the grave? The ME is going back in time and rethinking its future without Emir's! Afghanistan is still triumphant-- the empire destroyer?
France is as always a pussy`cunt... as in retarded 'FrenchFry'd!!!
South America likes where it's at post US colonialization, and Mexico has taken back California?! Lastly, the USSA has accepted the grandiose privilege of adding a well deserved acronym "S" as in world 'S'saviour... Nought!!!
BAH is now just a (somewhat) better-paid extension of the government given the government will take almost anyone as a federal employee regardless of (lack of) skill level. As the government hires more incompetents as government employees to swell the ranks of the Democratic Party, er, I mean government staff ... what do you need then?
More contractors to do the real work that your government welfare babies, er I mean government employees, aren't capable of doing themselves. This is how government incompetence breeds more government incompetence, cost, and waste.
[May 06, 2013] Syria Is Not Iraq by Bill Keller
The recommendation 'Go read Andrew Bacevich's "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism" ' expresses by one of the reader is naive. This is a brainwashing exercise, not attempt to analyze the situation and should be judged as such. Like most mouthpiece of propaganda war of MIC, this guy knows perfectly well from which side his bread is buttered. He is just trying to justify his salary...
Daniel Hudson, Ridgefield, CT
An excellent example of how we get drawn into the military option. No matter how disastrously Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan turn out to be for us, there are never any real consequences to those who suck us in.
Those who ought to exercise a proper caution lose their courage fearing that they will get blamed for the human costs of civil wars in other countries while knowing that as long as they show proper machismo there will be little criticism of their sending fellow citizens (younger ones) to become casualties in futile endeavors in foreign lands.
P BrandMemphis, TN
Dear Mr. Keller,
Go read Andrew Bacevich's "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism". If that doesn't change your mind, read his other books on American interventionism and militarism. Finally, if that doesn't change your mind, then volunteer yourself and your children to fight in Syria.
If you want to help us "get over" Iraq perhaps you should go there and work as a volunteer in the Shite slums of Bagdad to make it into a Jeffersonian democracy. Good luck with that.
oneill.gw, Silver Spring Md.
Are your kids in the military Keller. Would you be okay if a relative or dear friend was killed in action there? I doubt it
Bob Brown, NYC
I can't agree with much of what you write. Nor do I think we should act militarily.
1. We all tend to make excuses for people we like. The president didn't say the use of gas would "raise the stakes." He said it's a red line.
2. You wrote that we should have intervened a year ago before the rise of the Jihadists. But that the president was busy with other things -winding down the war in Afghanistan, Ohio, etc. Mr. Keller, if anyone on the planet should know how to multitask, it's the POTUS. And if he's busy, he's supposed to delegate to a proper person for the heavy lifting. I wonder if you would be so forgiving if a politician you disdained acted in the same way.
3. You write that we should send missiles to take out Assad's airforce. Why? All of the reports state that the Salafists are in the vanguard and probably a majority of the rebel fighters. If the rebels win, they will go on a mass killing spree of Alawites, and maybe other minorities. There is a reason that Syria's minorities have not joined the fight. They know what awaits them if the rebels win. So, if you're a member of a Syrian minority (30%), or a modern educated woman, you sure don't want a rebel victory.
4. You write that the US should take the lead and we'll have allies this time. Why take the lead? Perhaps Britain or France should. France is currently fighting Jihadists in Mali, a former French colony. Let's remember, the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 gave France the mandate for Syria
[Apr 05, 2013] The Banksters and American Foreign Policy by Justin Raimondo
July 15, 2011 | Antiwar.com
In a free economy, the banks that invested trillions in risky mortgages and other fool’s gold would have taken the hit. Instead, however, what happened is that the American taxpayers took the hit, paid the bill, and cleaned up their mess – and were condemned to suffer record unemployment, massive foreclosures, and the kind of despair that kills the soul.
How did this happen? There are two versions of this little immorality tale, one coming from the "left" and the other from the "right" (the scare-quotes are there for a reason, which I’ll get to in a moment or two).
The "left" version goes something like this:
The evil capitalists, in league with their bought-and-paid for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed 911 and the emergency team (otherwise known as the US Congress) came to their rescue, doling out trillions to the looters and leaving the rest of America to pay the bill.
The "right" version goes something like the following:
Politically connected Wall Streeters, in league with their bought-and-paid-for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed BIG-GOV-HELP and the feds showed up with the cash.
The first thing one notices about these two analyses, taken side by side, is their similarity: yes, the "left" blames the free market, and the "right" blames Big Government, but when you get past the blame game their descriptions of what actually happened look like veritable twins. And as much as I agree with the "right" about their proposed solution – a radical cut in government spending – it is the "left" that has the most accurate analysis of who’s to blame.
It is, of course, the big banks – the recipients of bailout loot, the ones who profited (and continue to profit) from the economic catastrophe that has befallen us.
During the 1930s, the so-called Red Decade, no leftist agitprop was complete without a cartoon rendering of the top-hatted capitalist with his foot planted firmly on the throat of the proletariat (usually depicted as a muscular-but-passive male in chains). That imagery, while crude, is largely correct – an astonishing statement, I know, coming from an avowed libertarian and "reactionary," no less. Yet my leftist pals, and others with a superficial knowledge of libertarianism, will be even more surprised that the founder of the modern libertarian movement, also an avowed (and proud) "reactionary," agreed with me (or, rather, I with him):
"Businessmen or manufacturers can either be genuine free enterprisers or statists; they can either make their way on the free market or seek special government favors and privileges. They choose according to their individual preferences and values. But bankers are inherently inclined toward statism.
"Commercial bankers, engaged as they are in unsound fractional reserve credit, are, in the free market, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Hence they are always reaching for government aid and bailout.
"Investment bankers do much of their business underwriting government bonds, in the United States and abroad. Therefore, they have a vested interest in promoting deficits and in forcing taxpayers to redeem government debt. Both sets of bankers, then, tend to be tied in with government policy, and try to influence and control government actions in domestic and foreign affairs."
That’s Murray N. Rothbard, the great libertarian theorist and economist, in his classic monograph Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy. If you want a lesson in the real motivations behind our foreign policy of global intervention, starting at the very dawn of the American empire, you have only to read this fascinating treatise. The essence of it is this: the very rich have stayed very rich in what would otherwise be a dynamic and ever-changing economic free-for-all by securing government favors, enjoying state-granted monopolies, and using the US military as their private security guards. Conservatives who read Rothbard’s short book will never look at the Panama Canal issue in the same light again. Lefties will come away from it marveling at how closely the libertarian Rothbard comes to echoing the old Marxist aphorism that the government is the "executive committee of the capitalist class."
Rothbard’s account of the course of American foreign policy as the history of contention between the Morgan interests, the Rockefellers, and the various banking "families," who dealt primarily in buying and selling government bonds, is fascinating stuff, and it illuminates a theme common to both left and right commentators: that the elites are manipulating the policy levers to ensure their own economic interests unto eternity.
In normal times, political movements are centered around elaborate ideologies, complex narratives that purport to explain what is wrong and how to fix it. They have their heroes, and their villains, their creation myths and their dystopian visions of a dark future in store if we don’t heed their call to revolution (or restoration, depending on whether they’re hailing from the "left" or the "right").
You may have noticed, however, that these are not normal times: we’re in a crisis of epic proportions, not only an economic crisis but also a cultural meltdown in which our social institutions are collapsing, and with them longstanding social norms. In such times, ideological categories tend to break down, and we’ve seen this especially in the foreign policy realm, where both the "extreme" right and the "extreme" left are calling for what the elites deride as "isolationism." On the domestic front, too, the "right" and "left" views of what’s wrong with the country are remarkably alike, as demonstrated above. Conservatives and lefties may have different solutions, but they have, I would argue, a common enemy: the banksters.
This characterization of the banking industry as the moral equivalent of gangsters has its proponents on both sides of the political spectrum, and today that ideological convergence is all but complete, with only "centrists" and self-described pragmatists dissenting. What rightists and leftists have in common, in short, is a very powerful enemy – and that’s all a mass political movement needs to get going.
In normal times, this wouldn’t be enough: but, as I said above, these most assuredly aren’t normal times. The crisis lends urgency to a process that has been developing – unfolding, if you will – for quite some time, and that is the evolution of a political movement that openly disdains the "left" and "right" labels, and homes in on the main danger to liberty and peace on earth: the state-privileged banking system that is now foreclosing on America.
This issue is not an abstraction: we see it being played out on the battlefield of the debt ceiling debate. Because, after all, who will lose and who will win if the debt ceiling isn’t raised? The losers will be the bankers who buy and sell government bonds, i.e. those who finance the War Machine that is today devastating much of the world. My leftie friends might protest that these bonds also finance Social Security payments, and I would answer that they need to grow a spine: President Obama’s threat that Social Security checks may not go out after the August deadline is, like everything out that comes out of his mouth, a lie. The government has the money to pay on those checks: this is just his way of playing havoc with the lives of American citizens, a less violent but nonetheless just as evil version of the havoc he plays with the lives of Afghans, Pakistanis, and Libyans every day.
This isn’t about Social Security checks: it’s about an attempt to reinflate the bubble of American empire, which has been sagging of late, and keep the government printing presses rolling. For the US government, unlike a private entity, can print its way out of debt – or, these days, by simply adding a few zeroes to the figures on a computer screen. A central bank, owned by "private" individuals, controls this process: it is called the Federal Reserve. And the Fed has been the instrument of the banksters from its very inception [.pdf], at the turn of the 19th century – not coincidentally, roughly the time America embarked on its course of overseas empire.
There is a price to be paid, however, for this orgy of money-printing: the degradation, or cheapening, of the dollar. Most of us suffer on account of this policy: the only beneficiaries are those who receive those dollars first, before it trickles down to the rest of us. The very first to receive them are, of course, the bankers, but there’s another class of business types who benefit, and those are the exporters, whose products are suddenly competitive with cheaper foreign goods. This has been a major driving force behind US foreign policy, as Rothbard points out:
"The great turning point of American foreign policy came in the early 1890s, during the second Cleveland Administration. It was then that the U.S. turned sharply and permanently from a foreign policy of peace and non-intervention to an aggressive program of economic and political expansion abroad. At the heart of the new policy were America’s leading bankers, eager to use the country’s growing economic strength to subsidize and force-feed export markets and investment outlets that they would finance, as well as to guarantee Third World government bonds. The major focus of aggressive expansion in the 1890s was Latin America, and the principal Enemy to be dislodged was Great Britain, which had dominated foreign investments in that vast region.
"In a notable series of articles in 1894, Bankers’ Magazine set the agenda for the remainder of the decade. Its conclusion: if ‘we could wrest the South American markets from Germany and England and permanently hold them, this would be indeed a conquest worth perhaps a heavy sacrifice.’
"Long-time Morgan associate Richard Olney heeded the call, as Secretary of State from 1895 to 1897, setting the U.S. on the road to Empire. After leaving the State Department, he publicly summarized the policy he had pursued. The old isolationism heralded by George Washington’s Farewell Address is over, he thundered. The time has now arrived, Olney declared, when ‘it behooves us to accept the commanding position… among the Power of the earth.’ And, ‘the present crying need of our commercial interests,’ he added, ‘is more markets and larger markets’ for American products, especially in Latin America.’"
The face of the Enemy has long since changed, and Britain is our partner in a vast mercantilist enterprise, but the mechanics and motivation behind US foreign policy remain very much the same. You’ll note that the Libyan "rebels," for example, set up a Central Bank right off the bat, even before ensuring their military victory over Gadhafi – and who do you think is going to be selling (and buying) those Libyan "government" bonds? It sure as heck won’t be Joe Sixpack: it’s the same Wall Streeters who issued an ultimatum to the Tea Party, via Moody’s, that they’ll either vote to raise the debt ceiling or face the consequences.
But what are those consequences – and who will feel their impact the most?
It’s the bankers who will take the biggest hit if US bonds are downgraded: the investment bankers, who invested in such a dodgy enterprise as the US government, whose "full faith and credit" isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. In a free market, these losers would pay the full price of their bad business decisions – in our crony-capitalist system, however, they win.
They win because they have the US government behind them — and because their strategy of degrading the dollar will reap mega-profits from American exporters, whose overseas operations they are funding. The "China market," and the rest of the vast undeveloped stretches of the earth that have yet to develop a taste for iPads and Lady Gaga, all this and more will be open to them as long as the dollar continues to fall.
That this will cripple the buying power of the average American, and raise the specter of hyper-inflation, matters not one whit of difference to the corporate and political elites that control our destiny: for with the realization of their vision of a World Central Bank, in which a new global currency controlled by them can be printed to suit their needs, they will be set free from all earthly constraints, or so they believe.
With America as the world policeman and the world banker – in alliance with our European satellites – the Washington elite can extend their rule over the entire earth. It’s true we won’t have much to show for it, here in America: with the dollar destroyed, we’ll lose our economic primacy, and be subsumed into what George Herbert Walker Bush called the "New World Order." Burdened with defending the corporate profits of the big banks and exporters abroad, and also with bailing them out on the home front when their self-created bubbles burst, the American people will see a dramatic drop in their standard of living – our sacrifice to the gods of "internationalism." That’s what they mean when they praise the new "globalized" economy.
Yet the American people don’t want to be sacrificed, either to corporate gods or some desiccated idol of internationalism, and they are getting increasingly angry – and increasing savvy when it comes to identifying the source of their troubles.
This brings us to the prospects for a left-right alliance, both short term and in the long run. In the immediate future, the US budget crisis could be considerably alleviated if we would simply end the wars started by George W. Bush and vigorously pursued by his successor. Aside from that, how many troops do we still have in Europe – more than half a century after World War II? How many in Korea – long after the Korean war? Getting rid of all this would no doubt provide enough savings to ensure that those Social Security checks go out – but that’s a bargain Obama will never make.
All those dollars, shipped overseas, enrich the military-industrial complex and their friends, the exporters – and drain the very life blood out of the rest of us. Opposition to this policy ought to be the basis of a left-right alliance, a movement to bring America home and put America first.
In the long term, there is the basis for a more comprehensive alliance: the de-privileging of the banking sector, which cemented its rule with the establishment of the Federal Reserve. That, however, is a topic too complex to be adequately covered in a single column, and so I’ll just leave open the intriguing possibility.
"Left" and "right" mean nothing in the current context: the real division is between government-privileged plutocrats and the rest of us. What you have to ask yourself is this: which side are you on?
A Little 2nd Amendment Night Humor
01/22/2013 | Tyler Durden
On occasion, truth is stranger than fiction; and in the somewhat surreal world in which we now inhabit, The Onion's perfect parody of where we are headed could have been lifted from any mainstream media front-page with little questioning from the majority of Americans. For your reading pleasure, the 62-year-old with a gun that is the last man standing between the American people and full-scale totalitarian government takeover.
Russia Accuses West Of Arming Mali "Al-Qaeda" Rebels
Tyler Durden on 01/23/2013 - 13:04
Define irony? Here is one, or rather two, tries. Back in the 1970s, it was none other than the US that armed the Taliban "freedom fighters" fighting against the USSR in the Soviet-Afghanistan war, only to see these same freedom fighters eventually and furiously turn against the same US that provided them with arms and money, with what ended up being very catastrophic consequences, culminating with September 11. Fast forward some 30 years and it is again the US which, under the guise of dreams and hopes of democracy and the end of a "dictatorial reign of terror", armed local insurgents in the Libyan war of "liberation" to overthrow the existing regime (and in the process liberate just a bit of Libya's oil) - the same Libya where shortly thereafter these same insurgents rose against their former sponsor, and killed the US ambassador in what has now become an epic foreign policy Snafu. But it doesn't end there as according to Russia, it is the same US weapons that were provided to these Libyan "freedom fighters" that are now being used in what is rapidly becoming a war in Mali, involving not only assorted French regiments, but extensive US flip flops and boots on the ground. "This will be a time bomb for decades ahead."
[Feb 10, 2013] The Cost of War Includes at Least 253,330 Brain Injuries and 1,700 Amputations by Spencer Ackerman
02.08.13 | Wired.com
Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.
That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.
Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.
But that’s the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the “D” from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agree with Chiarelli.)
[Jan 29, 2013] Controlling-the-military-bureaucracy-and-military-threats
>2013/01/29 | nytimes
Senator Hagel, you have said that no president in 20 years – since George H. W. Bush – has fully exercised his powers over the military in his role as commander in chief. Why is that? How can civilian commanders reassert their constitutional authority over the uniformed military?
You call yourself an Eisenhower Republican. Ike famously warned Americans about the political and economic costs of “the military-industrial complex.” Do you see that threat today? If so, how do you define it? Is there a single major weapons system in the American arsenal that you would eliminate on the basis of its cost and effectiveness?
Can you rein in the generals and their spending? Is the future to be feared or seized in Afghanistan and Iran?
President Obama has said: “War is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.” By that standard, how do you judge the American military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade?