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.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
"Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American
people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually
fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiteering from
it every step of the way."
- Bob Herbert, "Spoils of War," The New York Times, April 10, 2003
"Militarism means a domination of the military man over the civilian, an undue
emphasis on military needs, policies, spirit, values and ideals. . . a readiness to defend one's
country's interests by force of arms, the acceptance of the military profession as honourable
Peter Phillips. The Tragedy of Nazi Germany
If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president
then Dwight D. Eisenhower is the greatest president of the XX century. Dwight Eisenhower's presidency
is probably better remembered less for what he did than for what he said while heading for the exit.
In a nationally televised address on January 17, 1961, only four days before John F. Kennedy's inaugural
and three years from coup d'etat which brought military-industrial complex in full control of
all branches of the government (JFK assassination).
Eisenhower warned of the dangers of "undue influence" exerted by the "military-industrial
complex." In other word appearance on the scene a new and formidable political force represented by
arm manufactures, intelligence agencies, Army brass and selected supplies industries (oil industry comes
to mind). Due to presence of intelligence agencies in this combination this force it out of civilian
control and represents "state within a state".
But the term is more then undue influences, it's actually about a gradual, but inevitable transition
of power to MIC iether by stealth coup or open coup d'etat. And as soon as MIC came on political
scene, it inevitably transforms the state into some variant of totalitarian state, such an "inverted
totalitarism" or National Security
State. It's not exactly "WAR IS PEACE. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength", but close enough.
This this warning represents the historical importance of Eisenhower's farewell address. Here
is the video of the address:
Eisenhower cautioned that maintaining a large, permanent military establishment was "new in the American
experience," and suggested that an "engaged citizenry" offered the only effective defense against the
"misplaced power" of the military-industrial lobby. But the problem with his warning was that it came
too late: after the second World War to dismantle permanent military-intelligence establishment with
links to armament industries and research institutions as well as multinationals interested in aggressive
foreign policy that helps penetrate foreign markets (British Petrolium was the force behind
1953 Iranian coup d'état)
was an impossible task. We can state, that the key result of the second World War was the establishment
of the rule of military industrial complex. Here is a relevant quote from his famous speech:
Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace;
to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people
and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure
traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon
us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the
world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global
in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger
is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not
so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry
forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle
-- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted
course toward permanent peace and human betterment.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small,
there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the
miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense;
development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic
and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may
be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain
balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance
between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably
desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the
nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the
future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the
main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat.
But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty,
ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors
in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American
makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer
risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments
industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly
engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income
of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in
the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in
every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative
need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil,
resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
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.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture,
has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and
costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of
scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically
the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct
of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually
a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations,
and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert
to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological
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.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's
future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering,
for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material
assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.
We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of
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.
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.
That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony
of the battlefield.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn
how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need
is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with
a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness
of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been
so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting
peace is in sight.
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been
made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little
I can to help the world advance along that road.
The term MIC ("Military-Industrial Complex") is also closely related to the phenomena that is defined
by the term corporatismand the term National Security State.
In a way, this is just a more politically correct way to describe
corporatism as a social system. The term corporatism is taunted by the link to Mussolini
Italy and quite often is associated with the term "Italian fascism". As such this association instantly
makes the discussion more emotional and defensive.
Like the term corporatism, the term "Military-Industrial Complex" is used to denote
a mutation of state in which the dominant power belong to the large corporations allied with the
government including but not limited to a political block between the military and the industrial producers
of military equipment and their lobbyists in Congress. In a sense, the key result of WWII was that
Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually
Alliance of government (both Congress and presidential administration) and corporate interests is
the defining feature of this new form of political regime. Eisenhower initially wrote "military-industrial-congressional
complex" (the term, which is of course is more precise as corporatism is a marriage of state and
large corporations, but also more divisive), but was moved by strong advice to omit "congressional."
We can see his political abilities and instincts of this great president in action in his final speech.
It became a hit and people sited it, without understanding the depth and the real meaning of the
warning, as well as the nature of the danger: mutation of the state into corporatist national security
state which completely excludes public from the political process.
The term is easily extended to any group of corporations for which a significant part of revenue
comes from the government contracts or in other way is guaranteed by government, or which depend
from the expansion of market by government force (especially foreign expansion). In this sense we can
talk about financial complex
as another candidate for close and dangerous alliance with government .
No matter what set of industries are the key members of the alliance with the government, the press
is controlled by the same players. The net result is a super-aggressive (we are the dominant player
and you suckers should not stand on our way), jingoistic foreign policy oriented on acquiring
new and protecting old markets. In this sense one of the defining features of such a regime
is seeking/protecting/opening foreign markets using direct military power (aka invasions) or threat
of thereof. That's why, the USA foreign policy seems unchanged the last 60 years, regardless of who
controls the executive, and or, the legislative branches of government.
On the other hand it can be viewed as an implementation of Military Keynesianism:
a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military
in an effort to increase economic growth and the speed of technological advancement (via dual use technologies).
Many fundamental technologies such as computers, large scale integral circuits, Internet, GPS, etc are
the net results of adoption and enhancement of former military-oriented technologies by the civilian
As for aggressive foreign policy there is one important difference between "predator states" and
fascist regimes: extreme, rabid nationalism is typical only for fascist regimes, but is not a defining
feature of "predator states". But aggressive foreign policy is and that's why the term invented by Jamie
Galbraith ( “the predator state”) in his book bearing that title aptly reflect the defining feature
of such states. In other words aggressive foreign policy is an immanent feature of the regime -- such
regimes are almost always are engaged in some kind of war. Related, but more narrow term is "disaster
capitalism" introduced by Naomi Klein which explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed
democratically. Her Shock Doctrine book is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies
were pushed through the throat of states in trouble, and prevailed through the brutal exploitation of
disaster-shocked people and countries.
Of course, both the American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it
was when Dwight Eisenhower made his farewell speech. See also
The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of
arms on the planet, spend more on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply
into debt to do so. It also stations over 500,000 troops, and untold number of spies, contractors, consultants,
etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at
a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations
and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just
Japan, we have almost hundred thousand people who are either members of US forces or are closely
connected to US. The explicit purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible. Funny,
but among other items Pentagon also maintains 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes
for generals and admirals (to make it more convenient to fly there), and a ski resort in the Bavarian
Statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists analyzed by Gore Vidal show 201 military
operations initiated by the U.S. against others between the end of WWII and 9/11 - none of which directly
resulted in the creation of a democracy. These included Iran (1953, 1979), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959-present),
Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73),
Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979-present), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (1980s),
Iraq (1991-present), Panama (1989), Grenada (1983). (The Korean War is a notable positive exception.)
Per Johnson, Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA director Gates
made it clear that U.S. aid to the mujaheddin began six months prior to the Soviet invasion, and helped
to provoke it (with the direct goal of seeking Vietnam for Soviet troops). So the USA by-and-large created,
organized and financed global Islamic fundamentalist forces, which at some point became less controllable
from the former center.
A recent 'Newsweek' article also pointed out waste in the Pentagon - Secretary Gates estimates there
are 30 levels between himself and line officers, and expects by 2020 for the U.S. to have 'only' 20X
China's number of advanced stealth fighters; other researchers recently found 530 deputy assistant secretaries
of defense, compared to 78 in 1960. See also
Dismantling the Empire .
Despite the economic decline, of may be because of it,
New Militarism is now pandemic,
supported by both parties and aggressively used by Republican Party to maintain the unity of fragile
coalition of rag tag groups (see Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians).
Neo-conservative ideology still dominates foreign policy and its essence (spread of "liberal democracy"
with a shadow goal of defending/promoting own geo-strategical interests and first of all access to cheap
oil) is not that different from the old Soviets militarism, eager to spread or "defend" the blessings
Socialism (Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles remember those attempts all too well).
While far from historic high (reached during World War II, when it represented 20% of the civilian
workforce) US military still employs 2.2 million people, or about 2% of the civilian workforce. So they
represent a society within a society. If we add Department of Energy and military contractors like
Lockheed Martin, Northrop
Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies. L-3 Communications, etc
as well as servicing firms such as Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater/DynCorp we can add to this figure another
million people. That means that all-in all at least three million US citizen directly or indirectly
works for military-industrial complex. But what is more important that military-industrial complex
spends up to 50% of all taxes:
In Fiscal Year 1999 the Department of Defense awarded $118 billion to contractors for goods and
services. The "Big Three" in the defense industry -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon -- alone
accounted for 26% of all defense contracts in FY'99.
In fiscal year 2003 the United States Government will spend on the military more than all the
rest of the countries on Earth combined. Current expenditures are 437 billion and our past obligations
are 339 billion, this equals 776 billion. 46% of our Taxes go to the Military Industrial Complex:
figure doesn't even begin to account for all of the off-budget, black projects, homeland security
nor the 40+ billion the United States Government will spend on intelligence in 2003. -- Mark Elsis
Lovearth, Jan. 8, 2002
Abstracting from the ideological bent, totalitarian regimes like USSR (or China) can be viewed as
examples of MIC dominance in the form of merger military with the state, a variant of George Orwell's
"doublespeak" future depicted in his novel "1984". And the dissolution of the USSR is directly related
to the destruction of the USSR economy imposed by militarily industrial complex (see
Are We Going Down Like the Soviets World). Although arm race with USA played significant role, Soviet
military establishment overplayed its hand and killed the host. Collapse of communist ideology and emergence
of neoliberalism was just a final strew that broke the camel back as KGB brass realized that it will
be better off under capitalism and changed sides. Still, China, which uses the same bankrupt ideological
doctrine with political life dominated by Communist Party, managed to survive and even economically
prosper using strange mix of communism with neoliberalism in economics.
Sheldon Wolin, who taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present to Berkeley
and Princeton graduate students, introduced the term "inverted
totalitarism", which probably can be better called neo-bolshevism. This is an interesting,
uniquely american variant of National Security state. He thinks that the latter is based on two forces:
Corporate power, which is in charge of managed democracy. Wolin argues, "The privatization
of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political
form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation
of American politics and its political culture from a system in which democratic practices and values
were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to one where the remaining democratic
elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled." This
campaign has largely succeeded. "Democracy represented a challenge to the status quo, today it has
become adjusted to the status quo."
The military-industrial complex, which is in charge of projecting power abroad (Empire building).
The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion; the next closest national
military budget is China's at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. Foreign
military operations literally force democracy to change its nature: "In order to cope with the imperial
contingencies of foreign war and occupation," according to Wolin:
"democracy will alter its character, not only by assuming new behaviors abroad (e.g., ruthlessness,
indifference to suffering, disregard of local norms, the inequalities in ruling a subject population)
but also by operating on revised, power-expansive assumptions at home.
It will, more often than not, try to manipulate the public rather than engage its members
in deliberation. It will demand greater powers and broader discretion in their use ('state secrets'),
a tighter control over society's resources, more summary methods of justice, and less patience
for legalities, opposition, and clamor for socioeconomic reforms."
"Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology
of advertising and the rule of "market forces" in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological
advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the
penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and
the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero
worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured
in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts
are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.
Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation.
Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's
classic film "Triumph of the Will" was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent
landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim "Mission Accomplished"
In short arrival on political scene of military industrial complex inevitably lead to its political
dominance and establishing of some variant of National Security State with managed democracy which is
promoted by subservient, corrupt and totally controlled media.
It a way it is so similar to the brand of totalitarism practiced in the late USSR that some call
the USA USSA. It has the same strong "total surveillance" tendencies. It's bolshevism minus:
Charismatic leader (although Brezhnev was not such leader and Gorbachev was a joke in
style of Bush II who never mastered native language)
Repression of dissidents (silencing them is enough, physical removal is unnecessary and too
Strict censorship of press (dominance of government propaganda is enough)
Single official ruling party (although a
two party system is just improved variant of a single party rule)
Concentration camps (OK, Guantanamo proved that wrong),
Official ideology (although neoliberalism comes very
close to Marxism in this role and can be considered to be official USA ideology, almost undistinguishable
from the role of MArxism in the USSR). Politically growth of power of media-military-industrial-complex
correlates with growth of neoliberal political doctrine and dramatic increase on inequality within
Western societies including the USA.
Conscription to the army (private army makes wars of choice a "cakework")
The ever-present enemy. Although "war with terrorism" comes close.
Constant political mobilization via government propaganda (that does not mean that government
propaganda is less effective then in the USSR, it's just more subtle and performed by private entities).
As radio personality Don Imus once said of top news chiefs, "They write the news for their friends."
In view of existing evidence the quote should probably be modified into "They write the news
for their government handlers." . Despite continuing disinformation campaign, press still commands
enormous influence and some level of respect because there is no alternative to press in modern
society. Still the modern joke that people who write to the editor of the mainstream newspaper a
letter sighing it with "Respectfully ..." should consult a psychiatrist, has some grain of truth
in it. Respect for editors of newspapers might be going the way of dinosaurs.
As Oscar Wilde's once noted: "The truth is seldom pure and never simple". Here is a relevant
Wolin writes, "Our thesis is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different
from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively 'strong democracy' instead of a 'failed' one."
His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented
in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions
that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and
by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos
-- "a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all
branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close
to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the
elitism that was written into the Constitution.
"No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper," Wolin points out, "helped to write the Constitution."
He argues, "The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against
democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it.
Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters
of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were
assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and
trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete:
women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions
remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against
the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been
and continues to be ordered." Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary
author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American
history in which rule by a true demos prevailed.
To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed
democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism,"
a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation,
the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more
on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official
version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power
and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the
United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people --
of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly,
unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."
The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing
to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing
dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature
of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy
as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home
and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite
of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed
without appearing to be suppressed."
Inverted totalitalism is also different from classic "National Security State" although similarities
are obvious. In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identified
seven characteristics of a National Security State
The first characteristic of a National Security State is that the military is the highest
authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the
state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction
of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political,
economic, as well as military affairs.
A second defining feature of a National Security State is that political democracy and democratic
elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National
Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the
military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
A third characteristic of a National Security State is that the military and related sectors
wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which
stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the
hands of elites.
A fourth feature of a National Security State is its obsession with enemies. There are
enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading
preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity
A fifth ideological foundation of a National Security State is that the enemies of the state
are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
A sixth characteristic of a National Security State is that it restricts public debate and
limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on
participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways:
They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information;
and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine
activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague
appeals to "national security."
Finally, the church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources
in service to the National Security State.
All those features were also typical for Bolsheviks regime in the USSR, so the term "neo-bolshevism"
is also applicable.
New round of debates about military industrial complex was caused by recent revelations about NSA
activities in the USA (see
Big Uncle is Watching You)
and 50th anniversary of JFK
assassination and the key cue bono question about assassination:
Numerous books about the assassination suggest that in case actions of government represent a threat
to their interests, elements of military industrial complex can overthrow the United States government
by force of arms and that's can well be one interpretation of events which happened on November 22,
1963. HSCA had found that there were at least 2 shooters. The circumstances of JFK assassination are
so troubling and confusing that they create an impression of CIA coup d'Eetat. This impression is strengthened
by the fact that the US intelligence communities actively deceived and stonewalled the JFK murder investigation.
This possibility is explored in several books such as
Coup d'Etat in America The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Alan J. Weberman, Michael Canfield
and German book
JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika. The reading of the former book suggests that some of the same
forces the did Kennedy in also brought about the downfall of Nixon. Here is one Amazon review of the
The authors believe that two of the tramps arrested in Dealey Plaza that day were Howard Hunt
and Frank Sturgis, and that JFK was killed by the CIA and Cuban exiles angry over the Bay of Pigs.
The assassination was then made to look like the work of Castro. "Members of a specially trained
assassination squad called Operation Forty were briefed on their roles in the conspiracy. A CIA
agent named Lee Harvey Oswald, who had a high 'expendability rating,' was chosen to play the role
of 'patsy' in the killing...Oswald was led to believe he was part of a plot to assassinate Castro
when in reality he was being set up as a pro-Castro scapegoat...But the officials of the Cuban consulate
in Mexico City refused to issue Oswald a visa. If they had acted differently, and the visa had been
found on Oswald's person after the assassination, most Americans would have been convinced that
[he] was an agent of Fidel Castro...His CIA case officer ordered him to bring a rifle to the depository
on the same day Kennedy was visiting Dallas and told him that there would be a message waiting for
him somewhere in the building around 12:30 that day."
There were two men behind the grassy knoll and two phony SS men behind the TSBD. "Meanwhile,
the killers, disguised as tramps, hid in some nearby boxcars..." Tippit was supposed to silence
Oswald but Oswald shot him first; he then went to the Texas Theater so he would be arrested in front
of lots of people to guarantee that he would be taken alive. Ruby was ordered by the mob to kill
Bertrand Russell's famous question about the Warren Commission's conclusions, "If, as we are told,
Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?" was never answered.
That creates a distinct impression that intelligence services ("Big Intelligence") play a very important
role in what is called MIC and are the core component of the modern National Security State. To the
extent that instead of the term "media military industrial complex" we probably should use "media military
intelligence industrial complex". As John Chuckman noted in his Nov 6, 2013 essay
HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD
The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long
and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty.
Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which
we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that
it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own
propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence
is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested
by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the
military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even
before that, in the first Gulf War.
Among other things by access to "dirt" on politicians they provide powerful political filtering system
so that none undesirable slips into important office:
America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions.
National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional
barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by
huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective
barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace
much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and
election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations
no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely
long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money
invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising
If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important
office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains
little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence
complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the
immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished
oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales
or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the
party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a
man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney.
But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag
pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he
bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last
president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a
modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.
"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give
their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately,
the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue that I've been exploring:
How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy become a dictatorship?
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.)
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.
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.
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:
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?
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
Now here is
the beauty of it all, at least seen from the Russian point of view:
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?
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:
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
on all boards
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
John McCain, John Barrasso, John Hoeven and Ron Johnson, all Republicans, represent Arizona,
Wyoming, North Dakota and Wisconsin, respectively, in the Senate.
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.
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.
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
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.
...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
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
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...........
Hat tip to Mood of Alabama. Quote: "Alastair Crooke, a former MI-6 honcho and diplomat, is just
back from Moscow and has some
thoughts on the bigger historic issues which express themselves in the current events in Ukraine."
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Here is an excellent and up to date source of information on the activities on NATO
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
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness
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."
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
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.
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.
“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
“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
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:
“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.
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
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.”
"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"
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.
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."
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
Sanders has been a leading voice for NSA reform in the halls of Congress, and recently demanded
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
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,”
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
“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.
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,
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
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
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),
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
The quest for world domination inevitably leads to transfer of power to military industrial complex
and conversion of state into national security state.
Jane on 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
This 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.
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.
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.
requested classified information, and further meetings with NSA officials. The House Intelligence
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.
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
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.
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
"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,
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
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
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
"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.
"[..]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."
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
raft of legislation to suppress media reporting should such disclosures emerge.
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
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".
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.
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.
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
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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 Work
How 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.
"Booz Allen did not uncover indications and signals of broader systemic ethical issues within
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
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.
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?"
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).
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
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
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
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.
It shall be unlawful for any person, with intent to deceive the listening or viewing
(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.
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
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
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
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
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 bankersdo 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
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
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
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 oursocial institutions
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
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."
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.)
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
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?
Military Industrial Complex"In the councils of government, we must guard against
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military- industrial complex."President Dwight D. Eisenhower Farewell Address, January 17, 1961
"A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.", U.S. Senator
With Dick Cheney as vice-president it looks like Peter Huber is too quick to dismiss Eisenhower
warning. Corporations that sell mainly to government are a powerful factor that have to turn any state
into oligarchic state.
It is civilian demand for PCs, cell phones, high-tech cars and smart appliances that has made
precision bomb components as cheap and disposable as bullets.
The U.S. armaments industry today looks more the way it did when Dwight Eisenhower entered West
Point in 1911 than it did 50 years later, when, in a farewell speech, he famously warned Americans
to beware the "military-industrial complex."
Until World War II, Eisenhower reflected, the U.S. had no real weapons industry--"American makers
of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well." By 1961, however, the U.S.
had formed "a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions," overseen by a huge work force "directly
engaged in the defense establishment." This development implicated "our toil, resources and livelihood."
At stake was "the very structure of our society."
Both halves of Eisenhower's dark vision are now rapidly fading into history. It
takes far fewer people to fight and direct wars today than it did even a decade ago. That's because
the speed and power of the front-line soldier have been so greatly amplified by smart weapons and
smart delivery systems, and because accurate information now moves so easily up the chain of command.
Our distant wars are now fought, once again, by the few, the band of brothers, while most of the
rest of us lie abed, watching their progress on CNN.
The center of gravity of defense manufacturing has shifted decisively back into the civilian
sector, as well. Large contractors still assemble the guidance system and explosive in a
smart bomb and the complex mix of steel and silicon that makes up a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
But the components that account for much of the cost and all of the astounding precision and
agility of the new weapons--powerful chips, together with the countless layers of software that
make them function--are manufactured by the same companies that build microprocessors for PCs and
amplifiers for cell phones. It is the huge civilian demand for PCs, digital assistants,
cell phones, high-tech cars and smart appliances that has made these components as cheap and disposable
This isn't to say that the technology moves only in one direction. Integrated circuits emerged
from aerospace programs in the 1960s; gallium arsenide semiconductor amplifiers that make possible
the compact, cheap cell phone were pioneered by TRW for defense purposes a decade ago. The indium
phosphide, gallium nitride and silicon carbide power chips that will land in consumer electronics
a decade hence are being developed today in R&D programs funded by the military.
As a part-time partner in a small venture capital firm, I have visited dozens of innovative startups
that have developed new semiconductors, lasers, sensors and power-control systems under Department
of Defense auspices and are now ready to begin moving their products into civilian markets. These
technologies invariably started out too difficult, esoteric and expensive to be of interest to anyone
but the military. The military couldn't afford them, either, but for the fact that successful
information and power technologies invariably make the transition into the civilian sector, where
mass production leads down the cost curve.
For volume production the military and its main contractors are now firmly committed to buying
parts off the commercial shelf whenever they can. Smart weapons are mostly built from civilian components,
suitably packaged and hardened for the battlefield.
Thus the military-industrial complex now consists of two relatively thin bookends to our enormous,
civilian, high-tech economy.
Military R&D programs push the leading-edge development of power semiconductors, software
and sensors, a decade or so out ahead of Intel, Motorola or DaimlerChrysler, then encourage
the migration of successful technologies out into the civilian sector as quickly as possible.
Military contractors end up buying back the same technology at mass-production prices, embedding
it in every vehicle, weapon and projectile on the battlefield.
"Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry," Eisenhower warned in 1961, "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."
That was perhaps true in 1961. Today, however, it is our liberty, our routine, peaceful purchases
and pursuits that support the huge industrial base on which the arms manufacturers completely depend.
Unconsciously, and without ever setting out to do so, our civilian sector gave our soldiers the
tools they needed to bring this war to its mercifully quick conclusion.
Peter Huber, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, is the author of Hard Green: Saving
the Environment From the Environmentalists and the Digital Power Report. Find past columns
Cable news giant Fox News Channel said today that a possible war with Iran would cost only a "minimal"
change in on-air graphics, but warned against the much steeper costs of creating graphics for a
fight with North Korea.
Dirk Slauson, a spokesman for Fox, said that many of the existing graphics
used for "Showdown: Iraq" could be easily and inexpensively retooled for a potential "Showdown:
"In many cases, all that's needed is changing one letter," Mr. Slauson said.
Many images from Operation Iraqi Freedom could also be used for Operation Iranian Freedom, Mr.
Slauson said, since both Iraq and Iran are "extremely sandy places."
And President Bush's speeches warning about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq could be easily
re-dubbed to insert the word "Iran," Mr. Slauson added, saving the network untold millions in sound
trucks, microphones and cameras.
While extremely upbeat on the possible cost savings of a potential war with Iran, the Fox spokesman
was far less sanguine about the U.S. entering into an armed conflict with North Korea.
"With North Korea, you're talking about building graphics from scratch, basically, which costs
a fortune," Mr. Slauson said. "That's the nightmare scenario.""
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