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News The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Recommended Links The Deep State Nation under attack meme National Security State / Surveillance State Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism
Andrew Bacevich on the New American Militarism Neoconservatism Corporatism National Socialism and Military Keysianism American Exceptionalism War is racket Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Neo-fashism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility Bureaucratic Collectivism Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Economics of Peak Energy
Big Uncle is Watching You Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Is Google evil ? Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few  US and British media are servants of security apparatus  
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nulandgate Sanctions against Russia Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Russian Ukrainian Gas wars
Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Ron Paul War and Peace Quotes Corporatism quotes Humor Etc

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 and necessary.

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.  He was the last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity. During his presidency, the gains from growth were widely shared and the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. As a result, America became more equal than ever before or since. Under Ike, the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans reached 91%. Eisenhower also presided over the creation of the interstate highway system – the largest infrastructure project in American history — as well as the nation’s biggest expansion of public schools. It’s no coincidence that when Eisenhower was president, over a third of all private sector workers were unionized. Ike can’t be credited for this but at least he didn’t try to stop it or legitimize firing striking workers, as did Ronald Reagan.

But paradoxically 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 the event which might well be considered to be 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) and financial oligarchy.

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 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 Petroleum 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 electronic computers.

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 elite.

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 tomorrow.


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 corporatism and the term National Security State. In a way,  it 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 won.

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 sector.

Due to presence of intelligence agencies in this combination this force it out of civilian control and represents "state within a state".  Now this new social system is called The Deep StateEssentially Dwight Eisenhower correctly predicted inevitable collapse of American democracy and conversion of the state into National Security State, the conversion which stated with signing by Truman National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA). This conversion is still ongoing but now we can distinguish several phases on this conversion

Another important factor that contributed to the dominance media-military-industrial complex in the USA is Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain. It proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism.  Conversion of system of governance to "deep state" essentially make elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form with disenfranchised, brainwashed voters, a highly malleable mass that can be pushed for any real rulers bidding.

Like in Third Reich this dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.” 

The term means an association of elements of government. security services, selected top-level figures of financial oligarchy and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. Assassination of JFK was probably a pivotal moment in the US history, the historical moment when "deep state" really came to power. In this sense Patriot Act was just an icing on the cake: like "nomenklatura"  rule in the USSR the system actually stands above the law.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

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 Alps.

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 of "Scientific 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

Pentagon's Anual Top Ten Defense Contractors

Lockheed Martin Corp. $17.0 billion
Boeing Co. $16.6 billion
Northrop Grumman Corp. $8.7 billion
Raytheon Co. $7.0 billion
General Dynamics Corp. $7.0 billion
United Technologies Corp. $3.6 billion
Science Applications International Corp. $2.1 billion
TRW Inc. $2.0 billion
Health Net, Inc. $1.7 billion
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. $1.7 billion

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:

"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 Iraq."

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:

As Oscar Wilde's once noted: "The truth is seldom pure and never simple". Here is a relevant quote:

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 [4]:

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:

Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the Watergate incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK 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 book:

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 him.

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 chapters.

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.

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"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? "

Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas

[Apr 19, 2015] 'We're not interested in a fair fight' – US army commander urges NATO to confront Russia

Apr 19, 2015 | RT News

US army commander in Europe says Russia is a "real threat" urging NATO to stay united. The alliance is not interested in a "fair fight with anyone" and wants to have "overmatch in all systems," Lieutenant-General Frederick "Ben" Hodges believes.

"There is a Russian threat," Hodges told the Telegraph, maintaining that Russia is involved in ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

A key objective for NATO is not to let Russia outreach it in terms of capabilities, the general said.

"We're not interested in a fair fight with anyone," General Hodges stated. "We want to have overmatch in all systems. I don't think that we've fallen behind but Russia has closed the gap in certain capabilities. We don't want them to close that gap," he revealed.

[Apr 19, 2015] Iraq 2.0 The REAL Reason Hawks Oppose the Iran Deal

Apr 19, 2015 | The National Interest
Let's be honest for a second: 90-plus percent of supporters of the Iran framework would have supported any framework the Obama administration produced (this author included). Close to 100 percent of the opponents of the framework would have opposed any framework it produced.

What's going on here? Why are we having this kabuki debate about a deal whose battle lines were established before it even existed? At Brookings, Jeremy Shapiro suggests that "the Iranian nuclear program is not really what opponents and proponents of the recent deal are arguing about."

Shapiro says the bigger question is about what to do regarding "Iran's challenge to U.S. leadership" in the countries surrounding Iran and whether to "integrate Iran into the regional order."

Those terms are fuzzy enough to make me uncomfortable, especially if what we're trying to do is clarify the debate. In Shapiro's telling, deal proponents think it will help transform Iran's intentions, while opponents simply want to squeeze Iran as hard as possible as soon as possible. I think Shapiro is basically right about opponents, but misses something regarding supporters.

First, consider the hawks. At the outset of the JPOA, they were pounding the table about imminent calamity. In 2013, former IAEA chief Olli Heinonen warned an Israel Project conference call that Iran was two weeks away from a bomb (Two weeks!). Lindsey Graham criticized the interim agreement, calling it a giveaway to Iran. Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "the deal of the century" for Iran.

Now, those same people who were frantic about the ticking clock couldn't care less that it's been wound backward. Ten years with no Iranian bomb is treated like a dirty penny. For his part, Graham now says that the JPOA should be extended because it's preferable to the P5+1's framework agreement.

In unguarded moments, many hawks concede they are against an agreement in principle. As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz admitted recently, "we are against a deal in general." Similarly, Senator Tom Cotton, author of the embarrassing letter imploring Iran's Supreme Leader to scuttle the deal, admitted to an audience at the Heritage Foundation before writing the letter:

The end of these negotiations isn't an unintended consequence of Congressional action, it is very much an intended consequence. A feature, not a bug, so to speak.

So, despite their protests that what they're really after is a "better deal," their own words betray the truth: They oppose any deal. Vox's Max Fisher suggests that the reason is because their real desire is to change the Iranian regime by force, and a diplomatic deal makes that less likely. It's as plausible an explanation as I've heard.

So what about us doves? Most of us would have supported any deal the Obama administration deemed good enough to get past Congress. Why? Because we recognize that international politics, and in particular dealing with Iran on this issue in 2015, is the realm of least-worst alternatives, not slam dunks.

Jeffrey Lewis explains the logic of supporting the framework agreement:

The thing is, there is no "good" deal. Any deal will be a compromise that leaves in place many dangers to Israel, as well as Iran's neighbors and the United States. The essential thing is to delay as long as possible an Iranian nuclear bomb. Almost any deal will buy more time than if talks were to collapse… [T]here is no good reason to believe that walking away from a deal now puts the United States in position to get a better one in a few years.

The brutal fact is that there is no "good" solution to the Iranian nuclear program. As Lewis notes, we're not going to get to zero enrichment. The Iranians are going to be left with capabilities that cause us concern. The nature of negotiations is not getting everything that you want, and there seems to be little question that Dick Cheney and Co.'s "we don't negotiate with evil, we defeat it" posture was counterproductive to getting a better deal. To take one example, the Iranian bargaining chip went from a few hundred centrifuges to nearly 20,000 in the intervening decade.

The Miami Herald, the CIA, and the Bay of Pigs scoop that didn't run Miami Herald Miami Herald

The tale of the Herald's Bay of Pigs scoop and its subsequent capitulation to the CIA has mostly been shrouded in mystery for the past five decades. It was explored briefly in Anything but the Truth, a book by Washington reporters William McGaffin and Erwin Knoll that was published in 1968 and quickly disappeared.


It all started with some kids throwing firecrackers over a fence in Homestead.

On the sultry night of Aug. 26, 1960, 16-year-old John Keogh had called some of his teenaged buddies over to the family poultry farm in Homestead to help him wrangle a bunch of chickens that were scheduled to be shipped off to customers. But the delivery truck never showed, and the bored kids at last gave up and drove off to a little store where they could buy some Cokes and talk about girls.

On the way there, though, one of the guys mentioned seeing a camp for migrant farmworkers nearby. "He said they danced around the fire at night and acted weird," says Keogh, now 70 and working in the auto wholesale business in Land O' Lakes. "So we thought we'd like to see that. And later, that got us called 'thrill-seeking youths' in the newspapers."

When they reached the camp, one of the guys suggested it would be funny to toss a few firecrackers over the fence. A lot of thoughts would flash through Keogh's mind in the moments after the firecrackers went off, and one of them was, these are not your average immigrant farmworkers. A host of weapons, including .30-caliber machine guns, opened up from inside the camp. One of the bullets came through the window of Keogh's pickup truck, hit him in the back of the head and left him blind. Over the next 72 hours, he underwent three surgeries.

When police arrived, the men in the camp said they were members of a Cuban counterrevolutionary army training to overthrow Castro. The cops, unimpressed, arrested 15 of them, mostly for vagrancy. But two faced charges of attempted murder.

Oddly, though, the charges didn't seem to be leading to actual trials. Even the most routine legal proceedings were unscheduled, and all the Cubans seemed to have been released from jail. Finally a cop whispered to a reporter that the State Department had asked for the cases to be tossed.

That's when editors on the Herald's city desk called David Kraslow.

... ... ...

Finally, Kraslow was told to seek an appointment with CIA chief Dulles. With Knight Newspapers Washington bureau chief Ed Lahey, he drove over to the agency's headquarters.

"I didn't show Dulles the story, but I told him, in detail, everything that was in it," Kraslow recalls. "He was stoic, poker-faced. Was he surprised? I don't know, directors of the CIA never, ever look surprised. And he never commented on the accuracy of the story. At the end of it, he said: 'If you publish that kind of information, you'll seriously damage national security.'"

That was the end of the interview. Kraslow called Beebe and Hills back in Miami to tell them what Dulles had said. They in turned discussed it with Herald publisher John S. Knight. "I can't prove it, I'm just guessing, but I've always suspected that the minute I left his office, Dulles called Knight and said, 'Don't publish that story,'" Kraslow says. "Knight was a big Republican and a very patriotic guy, and I think Dulles probably believed a direct appeal to him would work."

Whatever exactly happened in Miami, Kraslow got word from Beebe a couple of days later: The story was dead. The Herald wouldn't run it. Kraslow was disappointed, but not angry. "It was a tough call," he said. "Those guys — Beebe, Hills, Knight — were all great men and great bosses. It's very hard to run a story when the director of the CIA tells you it will harm national security. I think the Herald was wrong, I think the Herald made a mistake, but it was a mistake born of good intentions."

Even though the story wasn't published, Kraslow believes it affected government policy in at least one way: Training of the Cuban exiles was moved out the United States to Guatemala. Meanwhile, other publications — from The Nation magazine to the York Gazette and Daily in York, Pennsylvania — got a whiff of the Bay of Pigs and began nibbling at the story.

So did The New York Times, which on Jan. 10, 1961, published a story on the exile training base in Guatemala. The day after that, the Herald published its own story about the base and the recruiting of exiles in Miami, including some details from Kraslow's spiked story — though it stopped well short of saying the United States was planning a major attack on Cuba.

... ... ...

Kraslow is not certain that publication of his story would have forestalled the invasion. "Maybe, maybe not," he says. "The CIA was very gung-ho to get this thing done."

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[Apr 17, 2015] Will Ukraine Push the U.S. Into War

As for question "What are the forces that have us "stumbling to war"?" the answer is chick hawks ("liberal interventionalists" which are indistinguishable from neocons) from current administration and military industrial complex.
Apr 17, 2015 | The American Conservative
"Could a U.S. response to Russia's action in Ukraine provoke a confrontation that leads to a U.S.-Russia War?" This jolting question is raised by Graham Allison and Dimitri Simes in the cover article of The National Interest.

The answer the authors give, in "Countdown to War: The Coming U.S. Russia Conflict," is that the odds are shortening on a military collision between the world's largest nuclear powers. The cockpit of the conflict, should it come, will be Ukraine.

What makes the article timely is the report that Canada will be sending 200 soldiers to western Ukraine to join 800 Americans and 75 Brits on a yearlong assignment to train the Ukrainian army.

And train that army to fight whom? Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine whom Vladimir Putin has said will not be crushed, even if it requires Russian intervention. Says Putin, "We won't let it happen."

What are the forces that have us "stumbling to war"?

On our side there is President Obama who "enjoys attempting to humiliate Putin" and "repeatedly includes Russia in his list of current scourges alongside the Islamic State and Ebola." Then there is what TNI editor Jacob Heilbrunn calls the "truculent disposition" that has become the "main driver of Republican foreign policy." A "triumphalist camp," redolent of the "cakewalk war" crowd of Bush II, is ascendant and pushing us toward confrontation.

This American mindset has its mirror image in Moscow.

"Putin is not the hardest of the hard-liners in Russia," write the authors. "Russia's establishment falls into … a pragmatic camp, which is currently dominant thanks principally to Putin's support, and a hard-line camp" the one Putin adviser calls "the hotheads."

The hotheads believe the way to respond to U.S. encroachments is to invoke the doctrine of Yuri Andropov, "challenge the main enemy," and brandish nuclear weapons to terrify Europe and split NATO. Russian public opinion is said to be moving toward the hotheads.

Russian bombers have been intruding into NATO air space. Putin says he was ready to put nuclear forces on alert in the Crimea. Russia's ambassador has warned Copenhagen that if its ships join a NATO missile defense force, Denmark could be targeted with nukes.

In coming war games, Russia will move Iskander missiles into the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad on Poland's northern border. "Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash," brays the director of the television network Rossiya Segodnya.

As of now, the "pragmatists" represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov retain the upper hand. They believe Russia can still do business with the United States and Europe. "The 'hotheads' take the opposite view," the authors write, "they argue that NATO is determined to overthrow Putin, force Russia to its knees, and perhaps even dismember the country."

In Ukraine, Putin has drawn two red lines. He will not permit Ukraine to join NATO. He will not allow the rebels to be crushed.

Russia hard-liners are confident that should it come to war in Ukraine, Russia would have what Cold War strategists called "escalation dominance." This is what JFK had in the Cuban missile crisis—conventional and nuclear superiority on sea and land, and in the air around Cuba.

With Ukraine easily accessible to Russian forces by road and rail, sea and air, and Russia's military just over the border while U.S. military might is a continent away, the hard-liners believe Russia would prevail in a war and America would face a choice—accept defeat in Ukraine or escalate to tactical atomic weapons.

The Russians are talking of resorting to such weapons first.

The decisive date for Putin to determine which way Russia will go would appear to be this summer. The authors write:

Putin will attempt to exploit the expiration of EU sanctions, which are scheduled to expire in July. If that fails, however, and the European Union joins the United States in imposing additional economic sanctions such as excluding Moscow from the SWIFT financial clearing system, Putin would be tempted to respond, not by retreating, but by ending all cooperation with the West, and mobilizing his people against a new and 'apocalyptic' threat to 'Mother Russia.'

As a leading Russian politician told us, 'We stood all alone against Napoleon and against Hitler.'

As of now, the Minsk II cease-fire of February seems to be holding. The Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels have both moved their heavy weapons back from the truce lines, though there have been clashes and casualties.

But as Ukraine's crisis is unresolved, these questions remain: Will the U.S. train the Ukrainian army and then greenlight an offensive to retake the rebel-held provinces? Would Russia intervene and rout that army? Would the Americans sit by if their Ukrainian trainees were defeated and more Ukrainian land was lost?

Or would we start up the escalator to a war with Russia that few Europeans, but some Americans and Russians, might welcome today?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Copyright 2015

[Mar 27, 2015] Obama's Drone Policy Crashes and Burns BY Leonard C. Goodman

But until we end the partnership between government and corporate power, three things will remain constant: Our foreign policy will be expensive for U.S. taxpayers, profitable for the war contractors and disastrous for everyday people.
In These Times
The unraveling of Yemen should be a wake-up call for Obama loyalists. Obama was elected in large part because of his opposition to the disastrous Iraq War and his promise of a smarter Middle East policy, one less reliant on invasion and occupation. Nevertheless, in office, Obama has supported the occupation of Afghanistan and the NATO-led overthrow of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, which led to chaos.

Still, as Obama explained in a September 2014 foreign policy speech, the centerpiece of his strategy in the Middle East has been a more long-distance approach: "taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines." In other words: air strikes, drones and military aid. He touted the success of this strategy in Yemen and Somalia.

Indeed, Yemen has been the poster child for Obama's Middle East strategy. Using the U.S. military bases that surround Yemen, we have propped up the corrupt and repressive regimes of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his successor, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi (i.e., our "partners on the front lines"). In exchange, they let us incinerate alleged militants. And when we slaughter innocents (like 35 women and children in a 2009 bombing, or 12 members of a wedding party in a 2014 drone strike), our partners help cover up our crimes, even jailing the Yemeni journalist who exposed the U.S. role in the 2009 attack.

Of course, the cover-up was effective only in the United States, where most of our news comes from corporate sources that almost never challenge official pronouncements about military or CIA missions. The Yemeni people know all too well our criminal acts. Last September, 13-yearold Mohammed Tuaiman al-Jahmi told the Guardian that "he lived in constant fear of the 'death machines' in the sky that had already killed his father and brother" in 2011, as they were out herding the family's camels. In February, Mohammed himself was killed by a U.S. drone.

The Obama "success story" in Yemen had already come to an end in January, when Houthi rebels took control of the presidential compound in Sanaa, ousting Hadi, his prime minister and his entire cabinet. The motto of the new leaders is "Death to America, death to Israel, curse on the Jews, victory to Islam." On February 10, the State Department confirmed that it had closed the U.S. embassy in Yemen, the third in an Arab country since 2012.

In truth, Obama's foreign policy is similar to George W. Bush's. The war contractors want to keep the rivers of taxpayer cash flowing into their coffers, while multinational energy firms want the U.S. to keep supporting brutal, undemocratic regimes that keep their boots on the necks of restive citizens who might object to foreign firms exploiting national resources. And as long as our laws permit corrupt ties between corporate interests and politicians, we will continue to see disastrous failure after failure of our foreign policy.

In February, Obama led a three-day summit on countering violent extremism. The president's remarks at this summit, of course, made no mention of our odious drone policy. No citizens of Yemen or Pakistan were invited to speak about how living with the constant anxiety caused by armed drones buzzing in the sky drives residents to join anti-U.S. terror groups. Nor was there any talk of the blowback caused by the U.S. military bases which garrison the greater Middle East, or of the corrupt, repressive regimes that those U.S. bases support. Instead, leaders of some of those regimes attended the summit.

Obama did offer empty rhetoric about how we are not at war with Islam. Such words are unlikely to impress Muslims outside the United States, who know that it's Muslims who populate Obama's kill list, who are indefinitely detained at Guantánamo without charges and whose systematic torture by the CIA was swept under the rug by Obama.

Americans, who are ill-informed about our actions overseas, will hear Obama's empathetic rhetoric and quite rationally conclude that the reason we are losing in places like Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan is because Obama is too soft. Perhaps our next president will be someone who promises to get tougher on Muslim extremists.

But until we end the partnership between government and corporate power, three things will remain constant: Our foreign policy will be expensive for U.S. taxpayers, profitable for the war contractors and disastrous for everyday people.

[Mar 24, 2015] Regime Change America's Failing Weapon Of International Deception

Zero Hedge
Authored by Ben Tanosborn,

For years, Winston Churchill's famous quote, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried," has served as Americans' last word in any political discussion which requires validation of the US government, no matter how corrupt or flawed in its behavior, as the best in the planet, comparatively or by default. Never mind the meaning that Mr. Churchill had intended back in 1947, or how the international political panorama has changed during the past seven decades.

These remarks were made by Britain's prime minister before the House of Commons a few months before there was a changing of the guards in the "Anglo-Saxon Empire" as the Brits gave away their colonial hegemony in favor of the super-influential economic and military power represented by the United States. And that was symbolically marked by Britain's relinquishing its mandate in Palestine, and the creation of Israel.

Such reference to democracy in the quote, explicitly defining it as a "government by the people," basically applied to Britain and the United States at the close of World War II; but such condition has deteriorated in the US to the point where the "common people" no longer have a say as to how the nation is run, either directly or through politicians elected with financial support provided by special interests, undoubtedly expecting their loyalty-vote. Yet, while this un-democratization period in our system of government was happening, there were many nations that were adopting a true code of democracy, their citizens having a greater say as to how their countries are governed. Recognizing such occurrence, however, is a seditious sin for an American mind still poisoned by the culture of exceptionalism and false pride in which it has been brainwashed.

And that's where our empire, or sphere of influence, stands these days… fighting the windmills of the world, giants that we see menacing "American interests," and doing it under the banner of "for democracy and human rights." Such lofty empire aims appear to rationalize an obscene military budget almost twice as large as those of Russia, China, India and United Kingdom combined! Americans, representing less than 5 percent of the world's population, are footing a military bill almost twice as large as that expended by half of the world's population. If that isn't imperialistic and obscene, it's difficult to image what other societal behavior could be more detrimental to peace and harmony in this global village where we all try to co-exist.

Empires and global powers of the past most often resorted to deposing of antagonistic foreign rulers by invading their countries and installing amicable/subservient puppet rulers. The United States and the United Kingdom, perhaps trying to find refuge, or an excuse, in their democratic tradition, have resorted to regime change "manipulations" to deal with adversary governments-nations. [Bush43's Iraq invasion stands as a critical exception by a mongrel government: half-criminal (Dick Cheney-as mentor), and half-moronic (George W. Bush-as mentee).]

Regime change has served the United States well throughout much of the Americas from time immemorial; an endless litany of dictators attesting to shameless in-your-face puppetry… manipulations taking the form of sheer military force, or the fear of such force; bribery of those in power, or about to attain power – usually via military coup; or the promise of help from the Giant of the North (US) in improving economic growth, education and health. Kennedy's 1961 Alliance for Progress proved to be more political-PR than an honest, effective effort to help the people in Latin America… such program becoming stale and passé in Washington by decade's end; the focus shifting in a feverish attempt to counter the efforts by Castro's Cuba to awaken the revolutionary spirit of sister republics in Central and South America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua…).

After almost two centuries of political and economic meddling in Latin America under the Monroe Doctrine (1823) banner, much of it involving regime change, the US is finally coming to terms with the reality that its influence has not just waned but disappeared. Not just in nations which may have adopted socialist politics, but other nations as well. US' recent attempt to get other regional republics to label Venezuela (Maduro's leftist government) as a security threat not only met with opposition from the twelve-country Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) but has brought in the end of an era. It's now highly unlikely that secretive efforts by the CIA to effect regime change in Latin America will find support; certainly not the support it had in the past.

To Washington's despair, similar results, if for other reasons, are happening throughout North Africa and the extended Middle East; certainly not the results the US had hoped for or anticipated from the revolutionary wave in the Arab Spring, now entering its fifth year. It is no longer the flow of oil that keeps Washington committed to a very strong presence in the Middle East. It is America's Siamese relationship with Israel.

But if regime change is no longer an effective weapon for the US in Latin America or the Middle East, the hope is still high that it might work in Eastern Europe, as America keeps corralling Russian defenses to within a holler of American missilery. Ukraine's year-old regime change is possibly the last hurrah in US-instigated regime changes… and it is still too early to determine its success; the US counting on its front-line European NATO partners to absorb the recoil in terms of both the economy and a confrontational status now replacing prior smooth relations.

Somehow it is difficult to envision an outcome taking place in Ukraine which would allow the United States a foothold at the very doorsteps of Russia; something totally as inconceivable as if China or Russia were contemplating establishing military bases in Mexico or any part of Central America or the Caribbean.

The era of using regime change as a weapon of mass deception may have already ended for the United States of America… and hopefully for the entire world.

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 22:46 | 5920475 JustObserving

America has always lied itself to war - few believe US lies now. Obama almost lied his way to a war with Syria about sarin:

Lies: An Abbreviated History of U.S. Presidents Leading Us to War

8. Vietnam (Kennedy, Johnson, 1964) -- Lies: Johnson said Vietnam attacked our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin in August, 1964.Truth: The US didn't want to lose the southeast Asia region, and its oil and sea lanes, to China. This "attack" was convenient. Kennedy initiated the first major increase in US troops (over 500).

9. Gulf War (G.H.W. Bush, 1991) -- Lies: To defend Kuwait from Iraq. Truth: Saddam was a threat to Israel, and we wanted his oil and land for bases.

10. Balkans (Clinton, 1999) -- Lies: Prevent Serb killing of Bosnians. Truth: Get the Chinese out of Eastern Europe (remember the "accidental" bombing of their embassy in Belgrade?) so they could not get control of the oil in the Caspian region and Eastward. Control land for bases such as our huge Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and for the proposed Trans-Balkan Oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea area to the Albanian port of Valona on the Adriatic Sea.

11. Afghan (G.W. Bush, 2001) -- Lies: The Taliban were hiding Osama. Truth: To build a gas/oil pipeline from Turkmenistan and other northern 'xxstan' countries to a warm water (all year) port in the Arabian Sea near Karachi (same reason the Russians were there), plus land for bases.

12. Iraq (G.W. Bush, 2003) -- Lies: Stop use of WMDs -- whoops, bring Democracy, or whatever.Truth: Oil, defense of Israel, land for permanent bases (we were kicked out of Saudi Arabia) to manage the greater Middle East, restore oil sales in USD (Saddam had changed to Euros)

Lies and Consequences in Our Past 15 Wars

gdogus erectus

Even articles like this erroneously refer to the US as a democracy. WTF. The programming runs deep.

"A republic...if you can keep it."


Very poorly written article. Better to say that Andy Jackson was about the last bad ass to fight of the banksters and die a natural death, then Salmon Chase and his buddies passed the legal tender laws, and shortly thereafter (or possibly before) London dispatched the Fabian socialists with their patient gradualism. We were firmly back under the yoke of London banking cartel come 1913. And you are correct, a republic is an EXTREMELY limited form of democracy (not truly akin to traditional 51% takes it democratic concepts at all). The elected leader's function was supposed to be to guard the principles of the Constitution and the limited Republic, and history will remember that, despite this cruft of an article.

In the eyes of many who founded this nation, it was only a stepping stone to a global government, the new Rome - but the new Rome will be the UN with a global bank, and the multinational corporations holding court, and then the end come.

Then again, I may be wrong.

negative rates

What passes for gvt is silly these days, we are a legend in our own minds.


"Governments would become political churches"

Like in the Middle East? And you will counter by saying that people are forced to live under those governments and, yet, thousands are freely going there from around the world to join ISIS.

Otherwise, such a system would work right up until one government church decided there wasn't enough room in the area for competitors (probably within a year, maybe six months). Let the political/religious tribal wars begin.


Bankers couldn't be banksters without government.

Maybe it's the monopoly of force thingy you don't understand.


[Mar 21, 2015] The Anatomy of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton

After Israeli elections and Ukrainian coup d'état the key question is "to what extent [...] the contemporary right [is] linked to classical fascism". And the picture is complex. As one reviewer of the book Fascism and Neofascism Critical Writings on the Radical Right in Europe noted "contrary to common perception, the Nazi movement was not repressive towards sex. In fact, it sneered at Christian morality much the same way that modern libertines and leftists do, and favored both premarital and extramarital sex. Attempts were made to discredit the Catholic Church by accusing priests in general of being homosexuals (sound familiar?). Much as modern feminists and other humanists, the Nazis accused Christianity of having a dislike for the human body and for showing disrespect towards women. This was supposed to be a carryover of "the Oriental attitude towards women." Similarly hate toward particular ethnic or racial group was never absolute: Among Nazi Germany fascist brass there were notable number of Jews. Also Italian fascism was quite different from German as well as the level of Social Darwinism adopted.
Neofascism movement share with classic fascism the belief in the necessary of hierarchical (authoritarian) world with the dominant and subordinate groups, as well as ethos of masculine violence. It is deeply rooted in European culture with and as Adorno noted that "totality" is a mode of domination that lies implicit in the Enlightenment drive to de-mythologize the world. In this sense "totalitarism" in not unique to fascism and communism but also is inherent in "consumer capitalism", which, as such, represent a potent background for emerging neofascist groups and movements. Fascist myths were the means of constituting identity and as such not tat different form mass advertizing . That also entails deep similarities of Hollywood and Nazi films. At the same time, new radical right movement and groups are clearly distinct from fascist of the past. While fascism emerged partially as a reaction to brutalities and injustices of WWI, new radical right is in large part the result of unease with the neoliberalism. Several members of Western European far right groups fight in Donbass with Donbass militia as they consider Kiev junta to be Washington puppets promoting its globalization agenda. At the same time several members of white supremacist groups fight with Kiev junta para-military formations (death squads) which openly brandish Nazi symbols.
Neofascist movements are using "invented historical context" or myths as a powerful means for making sense of human differences and organizing societies. Nationalism, based on however fictive consent of national identity, is powerful mean of organizing the society along of axis of domination and subordination, inclusion and exclusion. Racism and nationalism while not the same things are closely linked together. In a sense any political system that operate on the base of nationality of race is a neofascism in its essence. that includes Israel and Baltic states. In this sense neither the USA nor Russia can be classified as neofascist regimes became they do not adhere to the concept of "ingenious nationality" or white race supremacy. That does not exclude existence of groups that adhere to this mythology.
It is extremely interesting those football fans, skinheads and hooligans, who often utilized the gesture of rebellition against the society to trigger predictable outrage against the general population were mobilized during EuroMaydan events. Behaviors once deemed antisocial and vandalistic were harnessed in the service of the nationalist discourse and the they served as a part of storm troopers for the coup of February 22, 2014. Ultimately like in Serbia before unruly football hooligans were recruited into paramilitary formations that played important role in civil was in Donbass (like Serbia paramilitary formation in wars of Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo) and committed the most horrendous crimes against civil population. .
Ukrainian events definitely correlated with disillusionment of the neoliberalism in specific form of crony capitalism of Yanukovich regime. In a way marginalization of extreme right from 1945 to 1991 was more exception the a rule Western societies, especially European, tend to generate powerful extreme right movements. In a few states neofascist have chances of coming to power (Ukraine is actually is not a good example as events here were externally driven).

Panopticonman on May 1, 2004

Whose Reich Is It Anyway?

The Marquis de Morés, returning to 1890s Paris after his cattle ranching venture in North Dakota failed, recruited a gang of men from the Parisian cattle yards as muscle for his "national socialism" project -- a term Paxton credits Morés' contemporary Maurice Barres, a French nationalist author, with coining. Morés' project was potent and prophetic: his national socialism was a mixture of anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism. He clothed his men in what must have been the first fascist uniform in Europe -- ten-gallon hats and cowboy garb, frontier clothes he'd taken a shine to in the American West. (Author Paxton suggests the first ever fascist get-up was the KKKs white sheet and pointy hat). Morés killed a French Jewish officer in a duel during the Dreyfus affair and later was killed in the Sahara by his guides during his quest to unite France to Islam to Spain.

Morés had earlier proclaimed: "Life is valuable only through action. So much the worse if the action is mortal."

Here assembled together are all of the elements of what Paxton would classify as first stage fascism: "the creation of a movement." Most fascist movements stall in this first stage he notes -- think, for instance, of the skinheads, the American Nazi Party and Posse Comitatus.

Paxton's other stages are

  1. the rooting of the movement in the political system;
  2. the seizure of power;
  3. the exercise of power; and
  4. the duration of power, during which the regime chooses either radicalization or entropy.

He notes that although each stage

"is a prerequisite for the next, nothing requires a fascist movement to complete all of them, or even to move in only one direction. The five stages permit plausible comparison between movements and regimes at equivalent degrees of development. It helps us see that fascism, far from static, was a succession of processes and choices: seeking a following, forming alliances, bidding for power, then exercising it. That is why the conceptual tools that illuminate one stage may not necessarily work equally well for others." pg. 23.

Paxton also tentatively offers a definition of fascism, but only after tracing the rise of various movements from their beginnings in the 19th century through the present day. Other historians and philosophers, he suggests, have written brilliantly on fascism, but have failed to recognize that their analyses apply to only one stage or another. He also notes that often definitions of fascism are based on fascist writings; he maintains that fascist writings while valuable were often written as justification for the seizure of power, or the attempted seizure, and that what fascists actually did and do is more critical to understanding these movements. Indeed, the language of fascism has changed little since the days of the Marquis De Mores.

He hesitates in offering both his definition and his analytical stages, saying that he knows by doing so he risks falling into the nominalism of the "bestiary." He demonstrates that this is a common failing of definitions of fascism which are often incomplete or muddled as they typically describe only one or two typically late stages.

Other historians, for instance, split fascism into Nazism or Italian fascism, avoiding the problem of understanding their common elements by concentrating on their differences, insisting that they are incommensurable. Finally in the last pages, Paxton offers up this fairly comprehensive and useful definition:

"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

Paxton is particularly strong in showing how the circumstances in post WWI Germany and Italy -- the demobilized mobs of young soldiers, sent to war by elites who had no conception of the destruction and suffering they had unleashed upon the younger generation -- were ripe for fascism's appeals. For many, liberalism, conservatism and socialism all seemed equally complicit in the crack-up of Europe in the Great War. Fascism, rising from the ashes, employed the socialistic tools of mass marches, the military techniques of terror learned in the war, and as they gained power, the new tools of mass communication and propaganda developed in the US during WWI.

Fascists also reacted astutely to public discomfort toward the mass migrations from southern and eastern Europe coming in the wake of political and economic distress in those regions, using that fear to increase their power through scapegoating and its attendant rhetoric of purity.

Fascism is both charged and blurry word these days, used by both the left and the right to assail their critics and enemies.

The Nazi remains the evildoer par excellence in popular and political culture, invoked for a thrill of fear or the disciplinary scare or emotional incitement. In this masterful synthesis of writings in politics, history, philosophy and sociology, Paxton untangles the vast literature fascism has generated, establishes some essential ground rules for coming to grips with its many expressions, stages, and manifestations, and clears a space for further, better focused research.

Although academic in its orientation, it is well and clearly written. Finally, for the reader who is not familiar with modern European history, it is a very useful and informative text as it takes into its scope by necessity much of European and American history over the past one hundred years. Absolutely required reading.

[Mar 21, 2015] Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror by George Washington

Mar 18, 2015 | Zero Hedge

There are many documented false flag attacks, where a government carries out a terror attack … and then falsely blames its enemy for political purposes.

In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally or in writing:

(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the "Mukden Incident" or the "Manchurian Incident". The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: "Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the 'Incident' was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army …." And see this.

(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland.

(3) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.

(4) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union's Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the "Winter War" against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.

(5) The Russian Parliament, current Russian president Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachev all admit that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and then falsely blamed it on the Nazis.

(6) The British government admits that – between 1946 and 1948 – it bombed 5 ships carrying Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust to seek safety in Palestine, set up a fake group called "Defenders of Arab Palestine", and then had the psuedo-group falsely claim responsibility for the bombings (and see this, this and this).

(7) Israel admits that in 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind "evidence" implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).

(8) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(9) The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence.

(10) The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change.

(11) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people's support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: "You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security" (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.

False flag attacks carried out pursuant tho this program include – by way of example only:

(12) In 1960, American Senator George Smathers suggested that the U.S. launch "a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]".

(13) Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals.

(14) As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

(15) In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba.

(16) The U.S. Department of Defense even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: "The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro's subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo."

(17) The NSA admits that it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war.

(18) A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its "Cointelpro" campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists.

(19) A top Turkish general admitted that Turkish forces burned down a mosque on Cyprus in the 1970s and blamed it on their enemy. He explained: "In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque." In response to the surprised correspondent's incredulous look the general said, "I am giving an example".

(20) The German government admitted (and see this) that, in 1978, the German secret service detonated a bomb in the outer wall of a prison and planted "escape tools" on a prisoner – a member of the Red Army Faction – which the secret service wished to frame the bombing on.

(21) A Mossad agent admits that, in 1984, Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Gaddaffi's compound in Tripoli, Libya which broadcast fake terrorist trasmissions recorded by Mossad, in order to frame Gaddaffi as a terrorist supporter. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya immediately thereafter.

(22) The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him "to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident", thus framing the ANC for the bombing.

(23) An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author).

(24) The United States Army's 1994 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces – updated in 2004 – recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. False flag terrorist attacks were carried out in Latin America and other regions as part of the CIA's "Dirty Wars". And see this.

(25) Similarly, a CIA "psychological operations" manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a "martyr" for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:

At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.

(26) An Indonesian fact-finding team investigated violent riots which occurred in 1998, and determined that "elements of the military had been involved in the riots, some of which were deliberately provoked".

(27) Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings in 1999 and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion).

(28) According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.

(29) The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings.

(30) As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the "war on terror".

(31) Senior police officials in Genoa, Italy admitted that – in July 2001, at the G8 summit in Genoa – planted two Molotov cocktails and faked the stabbing of a police officer, in order to justify a violent crackdown against protesters.

(32) The U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war. Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheney said that the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime, that Cheney "probably" had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not 'doing their homework' in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction. Despite previous "lone wolf" claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers. (Many U.S. officials have alleged that 9/11 was a false flag operation by rogue elements of the U.S. government; but such a claim is beyond the scope of this discussion. The key point is that the U.S. falsely blamed it on Iraq, when it knew Iraq had nothing to do with it.).

(33) Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.

(34) Police outside of a 2003 European Union summit in Greece were filmed planting Molotov cocktails on a peaceful protester

(35) Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having "our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda's ranks, causing operatives to doubt others' identities and to question the validity of communications."

(36) United Press International reported in June 2005:

U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

(37) Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians.

(38) Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this).

(39) At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence.

(40) Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts in 2011 to try to discredit the protesters.

(41) A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat.

(42) The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls "Chechen" terrorists.

(43) High-level American sources admitted that the Turkish government – a fellow NATO country – carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government; and high-ranking Turkish government admitted on tape plans to carry out attacks and blame it on the Syrian government.

(44) The Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos.

(45) Britain's spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out "digital false flag" attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target.

(46) U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then "drop" automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants

(47) Similarly, police frame innocent people for crimes they didn't commit. The practice is so well-known that the New York Times noted in 1981:

In police jargon, a throwdown is a weapon planted on a victim.

Newsweek reported in 1999:

Perez, himself a former [Los Angeles Police Department] cop, was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from police evidence lockers. After pleading guilty in September, he bargained for a lighter sentence by telling an appalling story of attempted murder and a "throwdown"–police slang for a weapon planted by cops to make a shooting legally justifiable. Perez said he and his partner, Officer Nino Durden, shot an unarmed 18th Street Gang member named Javier Ovando, then planted a semiautomatic rifle on the unconscious suspect and claimed that Ovando had tried to shoot them during a stakeout.

Wikipedia notes:

As part of his plea bargain, Pérez implicated scores of officers from the Rampart Division's anti-gang unit, describing routinely beating gang members, planting evidence on suspects, falsifying reports and covering up unprovoked shootings.

(As a side note – and while not technically false flag attacks – police have been busted framing innocent people in many other ways, as well.)

So Common … There's a Name for It

A former U.S. intelligence officer recently alleged:

Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.

This might be an exaggeration (and – as shown above – the U.S. isn't the only one to play this terrible game). The point is that it is a very widespread strategy.

Indeed, this form of deceit is so common that it was given a name hundreds of years ago.

"False flag terrorism" is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one's own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy's strategy of tension.

The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship. Because the enemy's flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a "false flag" attack.

Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for naval, air and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks. Specifically, the rules of engagement state that a military force can fly the enemy's flag, imitate their markings, or dress in an enemy's clothes … but that the ruse has to be discarded before attacking.

Why are the rules of engagement so specific? Obviously, because nations have been using false flag attacks for many centuries. And the rules of engagement are at least trying to limit false flag attacks so that they aren't used as a false justification for war.

In other words, the rules of engagement themselves are an admission that false flag terrorism is a very common practice.

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:

"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death".
– Adolph Hitler

"Why of course the people don't want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

"The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened".
– Josef Stalin


These false flags depend upon the trust of their underling sheeple in their leaders and media. Trust is an opiate of each nation's sheeple. Yes, fool, your government/king/media lie to you. Terrorist is word designed to elicit an emote from you Emoting prevents thinking. Power corrupts. Government power corrupts. Media power corrupts. Stupidity enslaves.

"Cui bono" is thinking. Thinking negates blind obeying. There is no virtue, nor honor, nor self-respect in emoting to your leader's stimuli.

I think; therefore I am. I emote; therefore I'm controlled.


you missed out the London bombings in 2005, which are riddled with errors, mistakes and evidence of it being organised by military of Britain or perhaps CIA or Israel.... the train the attackers were meant to be on, was cancelled meaning they couldn't even get into London in time to do the bombings... it's all on CCTV and yet the 'official' report just skips over that part....

George Washington

There are scores of false flags I didn't address ... I only focused on the ones that were ADMITTED.

[Mar 21, 2015] Germany riot targets new ECB headquarters in Frankfurt

Quote: "Organisers were bringing a left-wing alliance of protesters from across Germany and the rest of Europe to voice their anger at the ECB's role in austerity measures in EU member states, most recently Greece. The bank, in charge of managing the euro, is also responsible for framing eurozone policy and, along with the IMF and European Commission is part of a troika which has set conditions for bailouts in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus. A spokesman for the Blockupy movement said the troika was responsible for austerity measures which have pushed many into poverty."
BBC News

Dozens of people have been hurt and some 350 people arrested as anti-austerity demonstrators clashed with police in the German city of Frankfurt.

Police cars were set alight and stones were thrown in a protest against the opening of a new base for the European Central Bank (ECB).

Violence broke out close to the city's Alte Oper concert hall hours before the ECB building's official opening.

"Blockupy" activists are expected to attend a rally later on Wednesday.

In earlier disturbances, police in riot gear used water cannon to clear hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters from the streets around the new ECB headquarters.

Organisers were bringing a left-wing alliance of protesters from across Germany and the rest of Europe to voice their anger at the ECB's role in austerity measures in EU member states, most recently Greece.

The bank, in charge of managing the euro, is also responsible for framing eurozone policy and, along with the IMF and European Commission is part of a troika which has set conditions for bailouts in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus.

A spokesman for the Blockupy movement said the troika was responsible for austerity measures which have pushed many into poverty.

Police set up a cordon of barbed wire outside the bank's new 185m (600ft) double-tower skyscraper, next to the River Main.

But hopes of a peaceful rally were dashed as clashes began early on Wednesday.

Tyres and rubbish bins were set alight and police responded with water cannon as firefighters complained they were unable to get to the fires to put them out. One fire engine appeared to have had its windscreen broken.

Activists said many protesters had been hurt by police batons, water cannon and by pepper spray.

Police said as many as 80 of their officers had been affected by pepper spray or an acidic liquid. Eight suffered injuries from stone-throwing protesters.

Police spokeswoman Claudia Rogalski spoke of an "aggressive atmosphere" and the Frankfurt force tweeted images of a police van being attacked. They were braced for further violence as increasing numbers of activists arrived for the rally.

Blockupy accused police of using kettling tactics to cordon off hundreds of protesters and appealed for supporters to press for their release.

What is Blockupy?

Europe-wide alliance of left-wing parties, unions and movements Vehemently against austerity polices of European Commission, ECB and IMF First Frankfurt protest attracted thousands in 2012 Activists from Greece's radical left governing party Syriza and Spain's anti-corruption Podemos are joining the rally
Also includes Germany's Die Linke and Occupy Frankfurt

Rallying call: "They want capitalism without democracy, we want democracy without capitalism"

As the number of protesters grew in the streets away from the new ECB building, the bank's president, Mario Draghi, gave a speech marking its inauguration.

Mr Draghi said that the it "may not be a fair charge" to label the ECB as the main perpetrator of unpopular austerity in Europe.

"Our action has been aimed precisely at cushioning the shocks suffered by the economy," he said.

"But as the central bank of the whole euro area, we must listen very carefully to what all our citizens are saying."

The new headquarters, which had been due to open years earlier, cost an estimated €1.3bn (£930m; $1.4bn) to build and is the new home for thousands of central bankers.

Blockupy activists said on their website that there was nothing to celebrate about the politics of austerity and increasing poverty.

[Mar 18, 2015] Russia withdrew from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty

marknesop , March 17, 2015 at 11:57 am
Most here will be aware that Russia withdrew from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, effective about a week ago. But I wonder how many were aware of the lopsided balance of forces Russia was expected to accept in order to ratify the treaty.

"When Russia ratified the adapted CFE Treaty, the agreement's weapons limit for NATO was three times that established for the Russian army. However, NATO required the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnistria as a condition for the ratification of the treaty.

"NATO countries were not in a hurry to ratify the adapted treaty," Alexei Arbatov said. "Although Russia had withdrawn almost all its troops, there remained some absolutely insignificant contingents and objects. The West sought to pursue its line. On the part of NATO, I think it was extremely short-sighted, it was a big mistake."

In Arbatov's view, this decision by NATO was what "finished off" conventional arms control in Europe."

So for Russia, it now no longer recognizes a balance of forces or limit on conventional arms it may deploy in reaction to what it considers NATO provocations. The temperature looks to be steadily rising.

et Al, March 17, 2015 at 2:07 pm
I advocated this as an option quite some time ago. The time is judged right by the Kremlin to do so. But, even the US has foreseen this:

There was a very interesting article (which of course I cannot now find) from a day or two ago outlining the US military's response to the end of the CFE treaty. The underlining point was that the US could do quite a number of things that could make it more militarily threatening to Russia without breaching any CFE commitmets.

Here's a few mil related stuff that is intersting:

New Radars, IRST Strengthen Stealth-Detection Claims

Counterstealth technologies near service worldwide

Counterstealth technologies, intended to reduce the effectiveness of radar cross-section (RCS) reduction measures, are proliferating worldwide. Since 2013, multiple new programs have been revealed, producers of radar and infrared search and track (IRST) systems have been more ready to claim counterstealth capability, and some operators—notably the U.S. Navy—have openly conceded that stealth technology is being challenged.

These new systems are designed from the outset for sensor fusion—when different sensors detect and track the same target, the track and identification data are merged automatically. This is intended to overcome a critical problem in engaging stealth targets: Even if the target is detected, the "kill chain" by which a target is tracked, identified and engaged by a weapon can still be broken if any sensor in the chain cannot pick the target up….

I think the point is that stealth has its place, but given the nature of 30 operational lives of aircraft, they are not going to keep their advantage for long. If you follow the tech news, the world is going through a sensor revolution. Price has massively dropped, capabilities have grown hugely, efficiency has significantly increase, its just the case of tying all the data together to make use of it 'data fusion' as they say in the article above. My camera has gps. In the pet shop I've seen gps cat collars not to mention video collars that can record all day or be set by sensor motion. It's only going to get better, cheaper and smaller and continue to reach the consumer in ever more imaginative ways.

Another 'gift' from the Ukraine, except this time to I-ran (the other I mentioned in a previous post of Su-33 naval prototype sold to China that ended up as the J-11B copy no to mention the copies Su-27SKs):

AW&ST: Iran Produces First Long-Range Missile

TEL-AVIV — Iran has unveiled a domestically produced long-range land attack cruise missile, dubbed Soumar.

Based on the Russian Kh-55, the Soumar is believed to have a range of at least 2,000 km. "This missile represents a significant leap in the Middle East arms race," says Col. Aviram Hasson of Israel's Missile Defense Organization.

"It positions Iran among the world's leaders in missile technology," a Western intelligence source adds….

…Iran secretly received the missiles in the first half of 2001 and began reverse engineering work. But unlike its publicly displayed ballistic missile program, Iran did not admit to having a cruise missile program until 2012. …

It's old, subsonic tech, but adds another arrow to the quiver that needs to be countered. Nor does it have a nuke warhead.

Defense Update: France to invest €330 million upgrading 218 Leclerc Main Battle Tanks

The planned modernization work will enable Leclerc MBTs to employ its heavy, direct firepower and mobility as part of the future "SCORPION" joint tactical groups (GTIA). The contract provides for the delivery of 200 "upgraded Leclerc" tanks and 18 "Renovated DCL" recovery vehicles from 2020….

Yup, from 2020. That's a lot of money for an extra reverse gear!

kirill, March 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm
"Even if the target is detected, the "kill chain" by which a target is tracked, identified and engaged by a weapon can still be broken if any sensor in the chain cannot pick the target up"

Total rubbish claim. It perhaps could be true if the "sensor fusion" system consisted of a couple of obsolete radars, but it would not be true for a system consisting of three or more obsolete radars. American idiots ripped off the stealth concept and mathematics from the Soviets and now prance around like they dictate physical reality. American idiots will not see what hit them when people with actual appreciation and skill in physics and mathematics will face their toys.

[Mar 18, 2015]

Warren , March 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

France and Germany join UK in Asia bank membership

France and Germany are to join the UK in becoming members of a Chinese-led Asian development bank.

The finance ministries of both countries confirmed on Tuesday that they would be applying for membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Last week, the US issued a rare rebuke to the UK over its decision to become a member of the AIIB.

The US considers the AIIB a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank.

The UK was the first Western economy to apply for membership of the bank.

But German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble confirmed on Tuesday that his country would also be applying for membership.

France's finance ministry confirmed it would be joining the bank. It is believed Italy also intends to join.

The US has questioned the governance standards at the new institution, which is seen as spreading Chinese "soft power".

The AIIB, which was created in October by 21 countries, led by China, will fund Asian energy, transport and infrastructure projects.

When asked about the US rebuke last week, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: "There will be times when we take a different approach."

The UK insisted it would insist on the bank's adherence to strict banking and oversight procedures.

"We think that it's in the UK's national interest," Mr Cameron's spokesperson added.

'Not normal'

Last week, Pippa Malmgren, a former economic adviser to US President George W Bush, told the BBC that the public chastisement from the US indicates the move might have come as a surprise.

"It's not normal for the United States to be publicly scolding the British," she said, adding that the US's focus on domestic affairs at the moment could have led to the oversight.

However, Mr Cameron's spokesperson said UK Chancellor George Osborne did discuss the measure with his US counterpart before announcing the move.

Some 21 nations came together last year to sign a memorandum for the bank's establishment, including Singapore, India and Thailand.

But in November last year, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered lukewarm support to the AIIB and said its actions must be transparent.

US President Barack Obama, who met Mr Abbott on the sidelines of a Beijing summit last year, agreed the bank had to be transparent, accountable and truly multilateral.

"Those are the same rules by which the World Bank or IMF [International Monetary Fund] or Asian Development Bank or any other international institution needs to abide by," Mr Obama said at the time.

marknesop , March 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm
The USA's grip on Europe, against all odds, is loosening. Who would have thought it would be over money, considering it went meekly along hand-in-hand with Washington in imposing sanctions which had an immediate and deleterious effect on its bottom line? I mean, isn't that money, too?

"The UK insisted it would insist on the bank's adherence to strict banking and oversight procedures. 'We think that it's in the UK's national interest,' Mr Cameron's spokesperson added." Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…Oh, 'pon my word, yes, m'lud. The UK would be everyone's first choice to monitor strict adherence to banking and oversight procedures, after the £2.7 Billion in fines handed the Bank of England for currency rigging – which also resulted in the dismissal of its senior foreign exchange dealer – just a few months ago. Or the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) scam, in which banks greedy for more profit conspired to rig the deck so that insurance which cost more and more stood less and less chance of ever having a successful claim levied against it. And let's not even mention Libor.

I don't think there's too much about crooked banking the Chinese will be able to teach the British.

james, March 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm
there is a straight line that runs from the boe to the federal reserve… moon of alabama has a post up discussing some of the changes afloat which can be read here –

davidt, March 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm
My favorite Czech, Vlad Sobell, has an new article "The opportunity cost of America's disastrous foreign policy", which most of us here would agree with:

He reminds us what could have been if Putin's vision for creating a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok had been realized. (George Friedman has already explained why this could not be allowed.)
I don't think that anyone has mentioned an earlier article by Sobell that appeared as his contribution on the experts' panel on, His is the last contribution.

If there were an award for clear thinking then Sobell would have to be a prime candidate.

kat kan , March 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm
Only problem is, this was written in February. And without regard for Poroshenko.

The weapons withdrawals were more or less done. Nothing else was. The Special Status law proposal was based on September lines and not discussed with the Republics so is unacceptable to them. Not only was there no improvement of humanitarian access, but it has been tightened up, to the extent that virtually no medicines are getting through, and no food at all. Travel to and from the Republics involves permits that take 3 weeks to get. The gas got cut off once. No social payments have been made and no wages back-paid. All this is in Minsk2 and Kiev's actually gone backwards on these clauses.

The reality is, Minsk2 will not succeed, because Kiev (and their masters) don't want it to. Poroshenko is carrying in like he can set conditions, as if HE HAD WON when in fact HE LOST.

davidt , March 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm
From memory, I think that Sobell would agree with your penultimate sentence- I don't think that he was very optimistic about Minsk2. (On the positive side, the gap between Europe and the US seems to have hardened.)

[Mar 14, 2015] A Review of 'Frontline Ukraine' by Richard Sakwa

Mar 05, 2015 |

You might have thought that a serious book on the Ukraine crisis, written by a distinguished academic in good clear English, and published by a reputable house, might have gained quite a bit of attention at a time when that country is at the centre of many people's concerns.

But some readers here now understand that publishing, and especially the reviewing of books, are not the simple marketplaces of ideas which we would all wish them to be.

And so, as far as I can discover, this book :

'Frontline Ukraine : Crisis in the Borderlands , by Richard Sakwa. Published by I.B.Tauris

…though it came out some months ago, has only been reviewed in one place in Britain, the Guardian newspaper, by Jonathan Steele, the first-rate foreign correspondent whose rigour and enterprise (when we were both stationed in Moscow) quite persuaded me to overlook his former sympathy for the left-wing cause (most notably expressed in a 1977 book 'Socialism with a German Face' about the old East Germany, which seemed to me at the time to be ah, excessively kind).

Mr Steele's review can be read here

I have said elsewhere that I would myself be happier if the book were more hostile to my position on this conflict. Sometimes I feel that it is almost too good to be true, to have my own conclusions confirmed so powerfully, and I would certainly like to see the book reviewed by a knowledgeable proponent of the NATO neo-conservative position. Why hasn't it been?

But even so I recommend it to any reader of mine who is remotely interested in disentangling the reality from the knotted nets of propaganda in which it is currently shrouded.

Like George Friedman's interesting interview in the Moscow newspaper 'Kommersant' ( you can read it here ) , the book has shifted my own view.

I have tended to see the *basic* dispute in Ukraine as being yet another outbreak of the old German push into the east, carried out under the new, nice flag of the EU, a liberal, federative empire in which the vassal states are tactfully allowed limited sovereignty as long as they don't challenge the fundamental politico-economic dominance of Germany. I still think this is a strong element in the EU's thrust in this direction.

But I have tended to neglect another feature of the new Europe, also set out in Adam Tooze's brilliant 'The Deluge' – the firm determination of the USA to mould Europe in its own image (a determination these days expressed mainly through the EU and NATO).

I should have paid more attention to the famous words 'F*** the EU!' spoken by the USA's Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, in a phone call publicised to the world by (presumably) Russian intelligence. The EU isn't half as enthusiastic about following the old eastern road as is the USA. Indeed, it's a bit of a foot-dragger.

The driving force in this crisis is the USA, with the EU being reluctantly tugged along behind. And if Mr Friedman is right (and I think he is), the roots of it lie in Russia's decision to obstruct the West's intervention in Syria.

Perhaps the key to the whole thing (rather dispiriting in that it shows the USA really hasn't learned anything important from the Iraq debacle) is the so-called 'Wolfowitz Doctrine' of 1992, named after the neo-con's neo-con, Paul Wolfowitz, and summed up by Professor Sakwa (p.211) thus: 'The doctrine asserted that the US should prevent "any country from dominating any region of the world that might be a springboard to threaten unipolar and exclusive US dominance"'.

Note how neatly this meshes with what George Friedman says in his interview.

Now, there are dozens of fascinating things in Professor Sakwa's book, and my copy is scored with annotations and references. I could spend a week summarising it for you. (By the way, the Professor himself is very familiar with this complex region, and might be expected, thanks to his Polish ancestry, to take a different line. His father was in the Polish Army in 1939, escaped to Hungary in the chaos of defeat, and ended up serving in Anders's Second Corps, fighting with the British Army at El Alamein, Benghazi, Tobruk and then through Italy via Monte Cassino. Then he was in exile during the years of Polish Communism. Like Vaclav Klaus, another critic of current western policy, Professor Sakwa can hardly be dismissed as a naif who doesn't understand about Russia, or accused of being a 'fellow-traveler' or 'useful idiot'.

He is now concerned at 'how we created yet another crisis' (p xiii) .

But I would much prefer that you read it for yourself, and so will have to limit my references quite sternly.

There are good explanations of the undoubted anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathies of some strands in Ukrainian politics. Similar nastiness, by the way, is to be found loose in some of the Baltic States. I mention this n because it justified classifying the whole movement as 'Neo-Nazi', which is obviously false, but because it tells us something very interesting about the nature of nationalism and Russophobia in this part of the world. No serious or fair description of the crisis can ignore it. Yet, in the portrayal of Russia as Mordor, and the Ukraine as Utopia, western media simply leave out almost everything about Ukraine that doesn't appeal to their audiences, the economic near collapse, the Judophobia and Russophobia (the derogatory word 'Moskal', for instance, in common use), the worship of the dubious (this word is very generous, I think) Stepan Bandera by many of the Western ultra-nationalists, the violence against dissenters from the Maidan view ( see The survival and continued power of Ukraine's oligarchs after a revolution supposedly aimed at cleaning up the country is also never mentioned. We all know about Viktor Yanukovych;s tasteless mansion, but the book provides some interesting details on President Poroshenko's residence (it looks rather like the White House) , which I have not seen elsewhere.

The detailed description of how and why the Association Agreement led to such trouble is excellent. I had not realised that, since the Lisbon Treaty, alignment with NATO is an essential part of EU membership (and association) – hence the unavoidable political and military clauses in the agreement.

So is the filleting of the excuse-making and apologetics of those who still pretend that Yanukovych was lawfully removed from office: the explicit threat of violence from the Maidan, the failure to muster the requisite vote, the presence of armed men during the vote, the failure to follow the constitutional rules (set beside the available lawful deal, overridden by the Maidan, under which Yanukovych would have faced early elections and been forced to make constitutional changes) .

Then here we have Ms Nuland again, boasting of the $5 billion (eat your heart out, the EU, with your paltry £300 million) which the USA has 'invested in Ukraine. 'Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We've invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.

It's worth noting that in this speech, in December 2013, she still envisages the supposedly intolerable Yanukovych as a possible partner.

Other points well made are the strange effect of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, which has created the very tension against which it now seeks to reassure border nations, by encouraging them, too, to join, the non-binding nature of the much-trumpeted Budapest memorandum, the lack of coverage of the ghastly events in Odessa, the continuing lack of a proper independent investigation into the Kiev mass shootings in February 2014 .

Also examined is the Russian fear of losing Sevastopol, an entirely justified fear given that President Yushchenko had chosen to say in Georgia, during the war of August 2008, that Russia's basing rights in the city would end in 2017. The 'disappearance; of the 'Right Sector' and 'Svoboda' vote in recent elections is explained by their transfer to the radical Party led by Oleh Lyashko.

Professor Sakwa also explores Russia's behaviour in other border disputes , with Norway and China, in which it has been far from aggressive. And he points out that Ukraine's nationalists have made their country's life far more difficult by their rigid nationalist approach to the many citizens of that country who, while viewing themselves as Ukrainian, do not share the history or passions of the ultra-nationalists in the West.

Likewise he warns simple-minded analysts that the conflict in the East of Ukraine is not desired by Russia's elite, which does not wish to be drawn into another foreign entanglement (all Russian strategists recall the disastrous result of the Afghan intervention). But it may be desired by Russian ultra-nationalists, not necessarily controllable.

He points out that Russia has not, as it did in Crimea, intervened decisively in Eastern Ukraine to ensure secession. And he suggests that those Russian nationalists are acting in many cases independently of Moscow in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas. Putin seeks to control them and limit them, but fears them as well.

In general, the book is an intelligent, well-researched and thoughtful attempt to explain the major crisis of our time. Anybody, whatever he or she might think of the issue, would benefit from reading it. It is shocking that it is not better known, and I can only assume that its obscurity, so far is caused by the fact that it does not fit the crude propaganda narrative of the 'Putin is Hitler' viewpoint.

How odd that we should all have learned so little from the Iraq debacle. This time the 'WMD' are non-existent Russian plans to expand and/or attack the Baltic states. And of course the misrepresentation of both sides in the Ukrainian controversy is necessary for the portrayal of Putin as Hitler and his supporters as Nazis, and opponents of belligerence as Nazi fellow-travellers. The inconvenient fact , that if there are Nazis in this story , they tend to be on the 'good' side must be ignored. Let us hope the hysteria subsides before it carries us into another stupid war.


LornaJean | 10 March 2015 at 09:00 AM

There should be a proper inquiry into who really started this conflict I recall watching on TV as the boxer who was leading the Kiev mob came out of lengthy negotiations with the 3 EU ministers and the crowds booing and erupting The infamous Julia also appeared on the scene. this was of course after only a few hours previously that Obama announced that he had agreement with Putin to have a peaceful resolution and elections in 3 months.

As I watched the eruption of the mob I Thought this will end badly and at that point the EU should have withdrawn. However the subsequent violence and the removal of the elected leader followed. All interviews with the people in the East and Crimea showed their distrust of the Kiev crowd and it was clear that the oligarchs on the East who had many workers and controlled the manufacturing would not support the East. Putin is a nasty man but to suggest that he deliberately caused this situation is a travesty.Russia with refugees pouring over the border reacted to the situation and who can blame them.? Now a less belligerent and frankly dishonest approach needs to be taken by the EU I can not see that the Kiev regime can ever win the loyalty of the East after this bitter war.the only solution is some sort of autonomous regios that allows the Esst of Ukraine to rule themselves.

Bill Jones | 10 March 2015 at 01:28 AM

This made me smile:

" I would certainly like to see the book reviewed by a knowledgeable proponent of the NATO neo-conservative position. Why hasn't it been? "

Because to be knowledgeable is not to be a Neo-conservative.

Mr Rob | 09 March 2015 at 02:45 PM

@Mike B

"I haven't responded to your comments on McCain and Nuland because I thought that I had made it clear that I thought external interference from any quarter was undesirable and I accept that there has been such interference from both sides."

Oh really? You do not remember writing this then?

"It was Ukrainians, not the EU, who ousted Yanukovych. They should be allowed to deal with their internal disputes and decide their future alliances and associations."

or this?

"However, the EU, whatever its faults (and, believe me, it is not my "beloved" EU) did not organise his removal. It was carried out by, and on behalf of, Ukrainians. It was an internal matter and, whatever the faults on either side, should have been left at that."

And on this thread you had not even mentioned the USA involvement. You have been consistently dishonest by omission. Well, at least you're consistent.

And now you manage the immortal words

"I do maintain, though, that the interference of the EU and USA" [well done for mentioning them at last],"which cannot be denied" [but can, it seems, be ignored...] "and which was reflected in Russia's own behaviour cannot be compared with Russia's subsequent blatant military involvement in a sovereign country's internal conflict."

So on the one hand the EU and the USA have interfered, but on the other it is an "internal conflict".


@Alan Thomas By my reading of certain facts I deduce there is a de facto alliance between Russia and China. These facts being that Russia trades arms to China but the USA will not trade arms to either. On May 8th Xi Jingping will attend the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow accompanied by his junk yard dog Kim Jong Un of North Korea. No Western leaders as far as I know will be in attendance. De facto alliances such as the one Britain had with France in 1914 are always hard to call because unlike formal ones such as Nato there is nothing in writing. I also suspect that one reason China has not tried to match America in nuclear weapons so far is because Russia already does so. North Korea is also very useful in that it can be used to threaten Japan without China appearing to be the aggressor.

Mr Rob | 08 March 2015 at 11:16 AM

@ Mike B

I see you have ignored my request to answer the questions I posed to Hector (who has also yet to respond) about the US presence at the Maidan. Perhaps you needed to ignore my request in order to write this drivel with a straight face:

Re Yanukovych: "However, the EU, whatever its faults (and, believe me, it is not my "beloved" EU) did not organise his removal. It was carried out by, and on behalf of, Ukrainians. It was an internal matter and, whatever the faults on either side, should have been left at that."

Some Ukrainians carried out the WW2 massacre at Khatyn (not Katyn) - does that mean that all Ukrainians are responsible for it, approved of it, or that it was carried out on behalf of Ukrainians? Of course not.

You have also studiously avoided mention of the presence at the Maidan of US Senator McCain and US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, and the latter's meetings with the Maidan leaders, co-ordinated with US Ambassador Pyatt.

You have also somehow omitted to mention Yatseniuk's ("Yats") lightning visit to Washington days after the overthrow of Yanukovych, or the visit of CIA Director Brennan to Kiev.

And just for the record, I have first-hand oral evidence of people in Minsk, Belarus, being offered money to go to the Maidan - so even that the Maidan crowd was completely Ukrainian is probably untrue.

You accuse Mr Klimenko of bias, and yet you yourself give and repeat a dishonest account of what is known to have happened at the Maidan.

Such behaviour has no place in proper debate.

Ian | 08 March 2015 at 11:04 AM

To Mike B and others...

It's all very well to agonize about what Ukrainians may or may not want. We could all weep huge quantities of crocodile tears over Ukraine's thwarted "self determination", but the essential fact is that Ukrainians are not agreed about what they want. Some appear to want closer ties with the EU, some appear to want to maintain the status quo and some appear to want closer ties with the Russian Federation.

All of which is "interesting" until different factions within Ukraine start calling on their preferred partners to back them up. It seems to me that the US and the EU have contributed more than one would reasonably expect to the discord in Ukraine and silly expectations in a great many Ukrainians. To describe this as "irresponsible" is something of an understatement.

We are now in a situation where the "preferred partners" might come to blows over the confused and discordant expectations of Ukraine. In such a situation. it would be hard for me to care less about what Ukrainians want especially when some of Ukraine's politicians sound as though they would happily see the world burn if only it ensures "territorial Integrity" for Ukraine.

It's a very old trick for which "socialists" should be famous. Describe a group as deserving, noble and disadvantaged... and use this supposed circumstance to justify the most ridiculous, regressive and destructive policy the human mind can invent. Of course, with our own "socialists", the all important thing is that they are not only well rewarded with a reputation for being "caring sharing human beings"... but also very well paid for the disasters they inflict on us.

Edward Klimenko | 08 March 2015 at 10:50 AM


'did not organise his removal. It was carried out by, and on behalf of, Ukrainians. It was an internal matter'

What the EU did was the equivalent of persuading one party in a Mexican stand-off to lower his weapon so that the other can shoot him safely. Yes, the EU most certainly organized Yanukovich's removal - the EU normally takes a dim view of governments established by putsch, but recognized this particular band of putschists almost immediately.

And why was it not an internal matter when Ukrainian police were attempting to clear Maidan of the lawless occupying mob, but instead a human rights crisis demanding sanctions against everyone from the Prosecutor-General to Yanukovich's barber?

'You should note, however, that he fled his country on the same day that he announced an agreement with his opponents.'

You are mistaken, he did not flee the country the day the agreement was made. He left the city of Kiev for Kharkov, his motorcade coming under fire as he did so. As the putsch developed, he called a conference in Kharkov of regional governors still loyal to the rightful president, the participants agreeing to administer their own regions until lawful authority could be reestablished in the rest of the country.

Two factors brought about the failure of this effort: the first was the success of Valentin Nalivaichenko's takeover of the SBU, and the second was the cowardly betrayal by Kharkov regional governor Mikhail Dobkin and Kharkov city mayor Gennady Kernes, who panicked and fled when they heard that the SBU was after them (both would later cut deals with the Maidan regime for their own survival). Fearing capture by the SBU and feeling unable to trust anybody, Yanukovich then departed for the Crimea.

You might think this would be safe place for him to make his stand. You would be wrong - the mood in Crimea at the time was one of utter disgust for Yanukovich and the Regions Party on account of their utter failure to defend the state and the people, which only grew after it came to light that the scum Yanukovich had appointed as mayor of Sevastopol had been conspiring to surrender the city to the Right Sector. Crimea wanted out of the Ukraine, and had no interest in helping Yanukovich get his seat back. Out of options, he finally fled to the Russian mainland on or about February 26.

As for the rest, I'll say it again: the 'Holodomor' is a fiction, an attempt to portray a famine that affected a vast swathe of the USSR as campaign against Ukrainians specifically, when in truth it most heavily affected the non-Ukrainian Donbass region. It is invoked by western Ukrainians whose ancestors did not experience it to justify their racial hatred for eastern Ukrainians whose ancestors did. You ought to be ashamed of spreading such rot, and you should stop trying to frame your own biases as 'objectivity'.

Grant | 07 March 2015 at 08:32 PM

I listened to that.

Everything Peter said was spot on. That other bloke who was challenging you is a dangerous idiot. You pointed out to him that we do not call Chinese regime tyrants, or the Saudis, yet he immediately replies calling Putin a vile tyrant. Totally obvious to what you just told him like he is a brainwashed stuck record.

NATO is now the armed wing of EU expansion. They intentionally sent Russia that message during the Kosovo war by including the Luftwaffe bombing in previous Russia spheres of influence.

mikebarnes | 07 March 2015 at 07:13 PM

@ Edward Klimenko

If nothing else I like your style . Many contributors here think they know. And a few think you know more than them. I think on this subject you certainly know more than I . Whether your correct is unknown at least by me . But.

Oh that our snot brained, could have need for the dentistry they so deserve.

No matter whose in the right here , and I suspect neither are. Its their business and that of the federation they once belonged . Just as northern Island was our business . But Clinton poked his snout in .

The compromise, killers and bombers running the country might well be repeated with a split country just like the many created since the chaos following WWII.

Roy Robinson | 07 March 2015 at 05:42 PM

@Alan Thomas The Eurasian hard men such as Putin, Erdogan , Modi and XI Jinping all seem to understand one another and are doing business together.

They all lead countries which have been on the receiving of Western aggression over the last few centuries Modern Westerners with their naive PC outlook like to overlook this but the people in those countries have not forgotten from which direction the threat to them has usually come from and the past losses and humiliations which resulted.

When someone sees themselves as a benefactor to mankind but others see as a thief with a violent history there is always going to be room for a big understanding.

Alan Thomas | 07 March 2015 at 03:44 PM

Roy Robinson

Perhaps, when it comes to China, the 'west' cannot see a solution, in which case hurling - or even simply registering - criticism might be seen as a waste of time and effort. In any case, since when did it make sense to ignore lesser villains simply because one can't take on the bigger ones?

Steve Jones | 07 March 2015 at 03:11 PM

I suspect the neocons are now looking at the General Patton play of outsourcing a war against Russia to Germany.

Germany should leave the EU together with France and the PIGS using the euro as an excuse. Their departure might shake out a few others like Croatia, Hungary and Austria plus a few more. Let the banks fail then go in with Russia and the other BRICS.

Edward Klimenko | 07 March 2015 at 02:04 PM


' Are you so sure that Ukrainians wanted their now ex-president?'

Almost twelve and a half million Ukrainians voted for him in 2010, and that is a far better indicator of what Ukrainians wanted than the actions of around ten thousand Nazi terrorists in February 2014.

' It was Ukrainians, not the EU, who ousted Yanukovych'

What a nonsensical and disingenuous remark. Yanukovich was the democratically -elected president(most likely the last that the Ukraine will ever have). EuroMaidan was an assembly of Nazi terrorists and their apologists. Europe used threats and blackmail to prevent Yanukovich from doing his duty and protecting the country from this violent mob. Europe then tricked him into signing a 'peace agreement' and pulling back the police from their positions, allowing the terrorist mob and its sponsors to rampage freely through Kiev and seize the institutions of the state.

You will probably cite the lack of an immediate militant response to the putsch as proof that Ukrainians wanted this abomination of a government. Well, there we have democracy according to Mike! No need for elections, might makes right and proves the existence of an underlying consensus! Brilliant.

Let's take your logic a bit further. The rebellion now rules in Donbass, and no armed movement has arisen there to demand the return of the region to Ukrainian rule. Do you accept this as evidence of the people's wish not to be ruled by the Maidan regime? If the rebels break the Ukrainian lines, and take control of the rest of the country, will you shrug and conclude that Ukrainians wanted to be with Russia after all?

' , I would prefer people to be aggressive with me by throwing money in my direction, rather than launching rockets,

Throwing money at the Ukraine enables the Maidan regime to throw rockets at Ukrainian citizens. Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk have no legal authority to rule over anybody, yet your beloved EU insists that these putsch-installed thugs are the government of the Ukraine, and that all Ukrainians must obey them or die.

' Nothing the EU has done, though, justifies Russian military intervention in Ukraine'

Everything the EU has done justifies everything Russia has done, and would justify a good deal more. The European officials who formulated European policy toward the Ukraine in the past year are responsible for the war and for all the crimes of the Maidan regime, and they should all face the death penalty - starting with Ashton.

Think on this: if not for the Crimea operation, all the depravity that the Ukraine has heaped upon Donetsk would have been visited upon Crimea. You think that Crimeans would have been better off being shelled, shot, raped and tortured by the Ukrainian military? Go and tell them so!

Just make sure that your health insurance covers reconstructive dentistry first.

Paul Taylor | 07 March 2015 at 12:00 PM

Hector. You clearly have no idea about Hitler and Germany in the late 1930s.Germany was just taking back land that was stolen in June 1919. Hitler had mass support from the Germanic people in those parts and in some areas such as parts of Austria he was even more popular than he was in Germany itself.

It was madness that we went to war against Germany,we should have remained neutral like Spain or Switzerland and let Hitler defeat Stalin on his own.

Paulus M | 07 March 2015 at 10:46 AM

@ kevin 1

"Personally, I have difficulty with this quote because I don't think facts do change, that's why they are called facts. New information may come to light but the facts though temporarily hidden from view remain constant. But that's just my opinion."

It all depends on whether the facts/evidence supports the hypothesis. If they don't then no matter how erudite it appears - it's wrong. What our media don't want you to question or look at is who started this conflict. From day one, I've never been in doubt that Washington is the main driver and the EU the junior partner. The Nato alliance acts as a bind and a figleaf. Time and again the facts sindicates that the "west" is an aggressor bloc which tramples over sovereignty and makes a mockery of supposed international law.

Mr Rob | 07 March 2015 at 10:08 AM

Are you claiming that prior to the "removal" of Yanukovych

US Senator McCain did not appear at the Maidan,

and that US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland did not appear at the Maidan,

and that she did not hold a series of meetings with its leaders,

and that she and US Ambassador Pyatt did not co-ordinate these efforts with a clear aim as to who they wanted to see in power (our man "Yats"),

and that only days after Yanukovych fled,

Yatseniuk was not shaking hands with US President Obama at the White House

and that US Director of the CIA Brennan was not in Kiev?

Do you claim that the US was leaving Ukraine to "sort out it's [sic] own issues"?

Please do respond rather than lapse into silence, I'd be fascinated to see how you have reached your conclusions in the face of the known facts.

@ Ronnie

I think you'll find that, in circumstances such as those you describe, PH tends to quote the famous retort attributed to Keynes, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" I'm just surprised that he hasn't done so (yet) in this instance.

Personally, I have difficulty with this quote because I don't think facts do change, that's why they are called facts. New information may come to light but the facts though temporarily hidden from view remain constant. But that's just my opinion.

Dear Mr Hitchens

In December 2011 The U.S Federal Reserve bailed out European banks to the
tune of Billions of Dollars.
It is reported that they tried to keep this bailout a secret at the time.

Do you think that this , and the latest E.U initiative to have The Ukraine
are linked ? i.e that it was a condition of the U.S bailout or expected of The
E.U that they continue to expand into The Ukraine in return for these U.S Dollars?
Yours N.Belcher.

While the West obsesses about the supposed threat from Putin it seems totally oblivious to the rise of Xi Jinping a Chinese leader who looks like being of the magnitude of Mao.

He has described himself as the leader of a party wedded to the ideology of Lenin, Stalin and Mao and is concentrating all the power in his own hands.

There is no Western propaganda campaign against him yet although think about it, ten years ago there wasn't one against Putin.

Xi has stated that he gets on well with Putin as they have similar personalities.

'Might there be the slightest chance of Ukrainians' wishes being given some consideration?'

Capital idea. But you know what the Ukrainians wanted? They wanted Viktor Yanukovich as President and they wanted the Parliament they elected in 2012. What scant regard America and Europe gave their wishes!

Ronnie that purported paper was presented in early Feb 2014 well after Maidan was underway, not exactly planned from day one. It was also Kiev at the behest of the US who started the ATO, resorting to violence away from the Franco-German and Russian negotiations.
I might add the anti Russian propaganda in the media had started well before Sochi started. This was all planned a while back and not by Russia.

It does not seem to me there is a "change of mind" or any inconsistency implied in Mr Hitchens's recommendation of Richard Sakwa's book. There may be a slight change of emphasis but it was always understood and mentioned that the US of A was an additional driving force to events in eastern Europe. It does not alter the validity of the view that the EU is "Germany by other means" and that the EU/Germany covets "lebensraum" in the east. So far as I can see, it can only be of academic interest whether the developing crisis is primarily EU or US led.

Nor has Mr Hitchens ever attempted to exonerate President Putin or Russia, giving more than sufficient emphasis to "Russian interests" and "Russia's perceived sphere of influence" ... to crudely paraphrase. It does not matter if Russia is or is not entitled to these perceptions. That the perceptions exist should be a major consideration in the policy of any other "player" who would prefer a continued, peaceful existence.

What is important is whether either side can afford to "back down" and which side is "most guilty" with regards creating this crisis. It seems fairly obvious that it is the US and the EU who can best afford to "back off"... and it is the US and the EU whose posturing and behavior have contributed most to the current situation.

For those who adhere to the "bad Putin"/"Naughty Russia" model, rest assured that the US and the EU are unlikely to give up on this one. They are determined to give the big bad bear a spanking.

I fear that they have got it badly wrong, seriously misjudged Russia's president and relied to heavily on dated intelligence about Russian capabilities.


I think it's an oversight on PH's part (we're all human, right?) to have placed so much emphasis on Germany in his analysis of the the crisis, and, in so doing to have tacitly downplayed the role of the US. Plainly put Germany-although it is the de facto seat of power in the EU- doesn't have the brass to so flagrantly antagonise Russia without back-up.

Moreover, if anyone doesn't think the EU is 'briefed' on foreign policy by the US state department, they are living in an alternate reality. America is a continuation of the British Empire by other means.

Pat Davers "Indeed, I think that European leaders acted naively in aligning with the US, and were genuinely dismayed at the outcome of their tacit support for the coup in Ukraine"

I do wish people would study the comments made by the EU leaders when initial proposals for third way consultations with the Russians was proposed, they said things like "the last people we would speak to over this would be the Russians".

The EU leaders detest everything Russia stands for, as they are enlightened supra nationalists. It was precisely their arrogant and dismissive attitude that led to armed conflict and only after thousands had died did they come to meet Putin in Russia to seek a peace.

"Are we witnessing a Hitchens change of mind?"

I think we are seeing a shift of opinion as to who has the been the main driver behind the Ukraine conflict; it was not so much EU (ie German-led) expansionism as NATO (ie US-led) imperialism that brought us where we are now, as of course many people have been saying all along.

Indeed, I think that European leaders acted naively in aligning with the US, and were genuinely dismayed at the outcome of their tacit support for the coup in Ukraine, and are probably now regretting their actions. The fact that is was Merkel and Hollande who brokered the Minsk agreement without US involvement would seem to support this.

Ronnie you have clearly have never done any scenario planning or read position papers, obviously the Kremlin would have several plans of action for the breakdown of the Ukraine. Regardless of the document's validity, the title is invalid. "Direct interstate relations" cannot exist between Moscow and regions annexed to Russia, the plan is obviously talking about a political breakup of Ukraine, not annexation. Even then though, i dont entirely believe it.

If Russia's plan was to break up Ukraine into statelets, I see no reason why it still hasn't recognized the independence of LPR and DPR and instead continues to treat them, in both language and action, as regions of Ukraine seeking federalization. A federal and perhaps confederate Ukraine would obviously be to Russia's interest. Complete breakup of Ukraine -maybe but it's difficult to see how.


Dear Peter,

Thank you for another thought-provoking article. It's nice to have some measured thinking amongst the media-mob's clamour.

A little off the current topic but I was expecting to see a comment on the recent ACMD report in which the scientist's covering letter states: 'international evidence suggests many popular types of prevention activity are ineffective at changing behaviour, and a small number may even increase the risks for drug use' . Paradoxically, thought not unexpectedly, the report ends up stating the that the solution is more drugs education in schools.. Just thought it may be worth flagging as it reminded me of your previous posts regarding sex education and its supposed 'benefits'.

I would not be alone here in welcoming PH's recognition of the importance of the role of the US. I think Brian Meredith also expressed this view.

Michael Hudson (the American economist) expresses it up pithily: the US is saying to Europe, 'Let's you and Russia fight' and Europe in going along with this invitation is damaging her own vital interests.

The Ukrainian Parliament has already moved 'Defender of the Fatherland Day' to October 14th - the official founding date of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. If anybody thinks that this is a coincidence, they haven't been paying attention.

This very Thursday the Parliament of Ukraine reached a milestone - honoring with a minute's silence the memory of UPA genocidaire Roman Shukhevich. I won't bother listing in detail the depravities that Shukhevich organised in his capacity as a UPA commander - suffice it to say that women and children were favourite targets, and blades were generally preferred to bullets - but those not familiar with the subject are encouraged to look it up. In particular, search the name 'Zygmunt Rumel' to find out what comes of trying to negotiate with Ukrainian nationalists.

The only consolation is that the Maidan project is less a political movement than organised mental illness, and that failure is written in its DNA.

[Mar 10, 2015] The 17 Elements Of Martial Law

Mar 09, 2015 |

The term "Martial Law" is thrown around with reckless disregard. "Is America under martial law?" is a question that is often discussed in the Independent Media.

Martial law occurs when the prevailing regime feels threatened by the message being offered by the loyal opposition. When normal means of censorship and marginalization fail, despotic regimes resort to martial law with all intended brutality of a violent crackdown on all of those being perceived as the "enemy".

Seventeen Martial Law Characteristics

Most experts agree that hard core martial contains the following 17 essential elements:

1-Mass roundup and/or execution of political dissidents

2-Dusk to dawn curfews

3-Rationing of essential resources

4-The seizing of personal assets such as food and water

5-Control over all food and water

6-The prohibition of weapons of any kind including guns, knives or chemicals which can be turned into explosives

7-The confiscation of property, homes and businesses

8-Arrests without due process

9-Massive "papers please" checkpoints with intrusive searches

10-Forced relocation

11-Forced conscription into various labor camps and even into the military

12-Outlawing of free speech

13-The installation of massive surveillance programs and the establishment of snitch programs

14-The total control or elimination of religion

15-Control of the media

16-Executions without due process of law

17-Total suspension of the Constitution

Just how many of these intrusive government policies are in place in the following video?

[Mar 07, 2015] Meet the Big Wallets Pushing Obama Towards a New Cold War By Christian Stork

February 25, 2015 | Alternet
As for those in the K Street elite pushing Uncle Sam to confront the bear, it isn't hard to see what they have to gain. There's a familiar ring to the U.S. calls to arm Ukraine's post-coup government. That's because the same big-money players who stand to benefit from belligerent relations with Russia haven't forgotten a favorite Cold War tune.

President Obama has said that he won't rule out arming Ukraine if a recent truce, which has all but evaporated, fails like its predecessor. His comments echoed the advice of a report issued a week prior by three prominent U.S. think tanks: the Brookings Institute, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Atlantic Council. The report advocated sending $1 billion worth of "defensive" military assistance to Kiev's pro-Western government.

If followed, those recommendations would bring the U.S. and Russia the closest to conflict since the heyday of the Cold War. Russia has said that it would "respond asymmetrically against Washington or its allies on other fronts" if the U.S. supplies weapons to Kiev.

The powers with the most skin in the game -- France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine -- struck a deal on Feb. 12, which outlines the terms for a ceasefire between Kiev and the pro-Russian, breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine. It envisages a withdrawal of heavy weaponry followed by local elections and constitutional reform by the end of 2015, granting more autonomy to the eastern regions.

But not all is quiet on the eastern front. The truce appears to be headed the route of a nearly identical compromise in September, which broke down immediately afterward.

Moscow's national security interests are clear. Washington's are less so, unless you look at the bottom lines of defense contractors.

As for those in the K Street elite pushing Uncle Sam to confront the bear, it isn't hard to see what they have to gain. Just take a look below at the blow-by-blow history of their Beltway-bandit benefactors:

No Reds Means Seeing Red

Following the end of the Cold War, defense cuts had presented bottom-line problems for America's military producers. The weapons dealers were told that they had to massively restructure or go bust.

Luckily, carrots were offered. Norm Augustine, a former undersecretary of the Army, advised Defense Secretary William Perry to cover the costs of the industry mergers. Augustine was then the CEO of Martin Marietta -- soon to become the head of Lockheed Martin, thanks to the subsidies.

Augustine was also chairman of a Pentagon advisory council on arms-export policy. In that capacity, he was able to secure yet more subsidy guarantees for NATO-compatible weapons sales to former Warsaw Pact countries.

But in order to buy the types of expensive weapons that would stabilize the industry's books, those countries had to enter into an alliance with the U.S. And some members of Congress were still wary of shelling out money to expand a military alliance that had, on its face, no rationale to exist.

Enter the NATO Expansion Squad

Enter the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO. Formed in 1996, the Committee wined and dined elected officials to secure their support for NATO enlargement. Meanwhile, Lockheed buttressed its efforts by spending $1.58 million in federal contributions for the 1996 campaign cycle.

The Committee's founder and neocon chairman, Bruce Jackson, was so principled in his desire to see freedom around the globe that he didn't even take a salary. He didn't have to; he was a vice president at Lockheed Martin.

By Clinton's second term, everyone was on board. Ron Asmus, a former RAND Corporation analyst and the "intellectual progenitor" of NATO expansion (who would later co-chair the Committee to Expand NATO), ended what was left of the policy debate in the State Department. He worked with Clinton's diplomatic point man on Eastern Europe, Strobe Talbott.

Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were all in NATO come 1999. The Baltic States would soon follow. By 2003, those initial inductees had arranged deals to buy just short of $5 billion in fighter jets from Lockheed.

Bruce Jackson began running a new outfit in 2002. It was called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

(36 F-16s are currently slated for delivery to Iraq at an estimated $3 billion.)

Rivers of Cash

Brookings is Washington's oldest think tank. For most of its existence, its research was funded by a large endowment and no-strings-attached grants. But all of that changed when Strobe Talbott took the reins.

Strobe Talbott, President

Talbott sought to bolster Brookings' coffers with aggressive corporate fundraising. He took it from annual revenues of $32 million in 2003 to $100 million by 2013. Though always corporate-friendly, Brookings has become little more than a pay-to-play research hub under Talbott's reign.

Among the many corporate donors to Brookings are Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin and cyber-defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

David M. Rubenstein, Co-Chairman of Board of Trustees

Rubenstein is co-founder and co-CEO at the Carlyle Group, a massive private equity firm. Among the companies in which Carlyle has a controlling stake in is Booz Allen Hamilton -- a military and intelligence IT firm that is currently active in Ukraine.

Booz, which both sells to and operates within the U.S. military and intelligence apparatus, counts four former Carlyle executives among its directors. Ronald Sanders, a vice president at Booz, serves on the faculty of Brookings.


The Atlantic Council was formed in 1961 as a "consolidation of the U.S. citizen groups supporting" NATO, according to its website.

Stephen Hadley, Director

A former national security advisor for George W. Bush, Hadley doubles as a director for Raytheon. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the U.S. Committee on NATO, on whose board he sat, and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

Prior to joining the Bush White House, Hadley was a lawyer for Shea & Gardner, whose clients included Lockheed Martin.

James Cartwright, Director

A retired general and former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Cartwright has an active work life. He's "an advisor to defense and intelligence contractor TASC, defense consulting firm Accenture, and Enlightenment Capital, a private equity firm with defense investments," according to the Public Accountability Initiative. He's also on the board of Raytheon, which earned him $124,000 in 2012.

Other notables include:

Nicholas Burns – former diplomat and current senior counselor at The Cohen Group, which advises Lockheed Martin, among other defense companies

James A. Baker III – Bush 41 Secretary of State and partner at law firm Baker Botts. Clients include a slew of defense companies

Thomas R. Pickering – former senior vice president for Boeing

Chi-town Chickenhawks

Founded in 1922, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has since served as the premier voice of Midwest business leaders in American foreign policy. Jeb Bush recently made his "I am my own man" speech, outlining his foreign policy priorities, to the council:

Lester Crown, Chairman

The chair of Henry Crown & Co., the investment firm that handles the fortune started by his father, Henry Crown. Henry put the "dynamic" in General Dynamics, helping to turn it into the world's largest weapons manufacturer by the time Lester became its chairman in 1986. The defense behemoth remains the single largest source of the family's treasure; they're currently the 35th richest clan in America. General Dynamics produces all of the equipment types proposed for transfer to Ukraine in the think-tank report.

Ivo Daalder, President

A co-author of the report, Daalder is a former diplomat and staffer on Clinton's National Security Council. He later served on the Hart-Rudman Commission from 1998-2001. It was chartered by Defense Secretary William Cohen -- later to become a Lockheed consultant -- and tasked with outlining the major shifts in national security strategy for the 21st century. Among its commissioners was none other than Norm Augustine.

The commission concluded that the Department of Defense and intelligence community should drastically reduce their infrastructure costs by outsourcing and privatizing key functions, especially in the field of information technology.

The main beneficiaries have been America's major defense contractors: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and Lester Crown's outfit, General Dynamics.

General Dynamics' revenue tripled between 2000 and 2010 as it acquired at least 11 smaller firms that specialized in exactly the sort of services recommended for outsourcing. Roughly one-third of GD's overall revenue in 2013, the same year that Daalder was appointed president of the Council by Crown, came from its Information Systems and Technology division.

So even without a Cold War Bear to fuel spending, the re-imagining of that old foe is oiling the revolving door between the government and defense contractors.

[Mar 04, 2015] Russia's actions in Ukraine conflict an 'invasion', says US official US news by Alan Yuhas

The United States elite no longer bothers about limiting the conflict after color revolution and avioding civil war. It puts its cards on the table without fear and doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critics inside or outside the country, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a leash, the pathetic and supine Great Britain. (
Quote: "Let's be clear; "US interests" aren't the interests of the American people, either. They're the interests of military careerists and contractors hoping to profit from yet another conflict. "
Mar 04, 2015 | The Guardian

Comment by Victoria Nusland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, might be the first time a senior official has used the term publicly

piper909 -> Bud Peart 4 Mar 2015 22:08

Mineral resources, industrial development, lots of fertile cropland, and proximity to the Black Sea and Near East are all reasons enough for the Ukraine to be a prize for any conqueror, from the days when it was the breadbasket of the Athenian Empire to the Second World War when Hitler's lust for it caused him to overreach his armies' capacities in 1941 and 1942 (and probably saved Moscow and/or Leningrad from capture).

Now it's the Americans and NATO who want to control this territory, and complete the encirclement of Russia.

piper909 4 Mar 2015 22:00

This woman is an utter fraud. She's been actively promoting an agenda to orchestrate and control the entire Ukrainian revolution and aftermath. She is a paid tool of the not-so-secret US neo-con policy of encircling Russia with NATO puppets and doing anything possible to weaken Russia's ability to block American hegemonic interests or to court European allies. She has absolutely no credibility in this matter as any kind of spokesperson except as a known agent of the US state dept. and CIA. if her tongue were any more forked it could be laid on the table next to a knife and spoon.

irishmand 4 Mar 2015 21:55

This is what Russians feel about all this (english subtitles available):

AlexPeace 4 Mar 2015 21:52

Russia set troops, Russia sent troops... Where are then Russian POWs? Ukraine failed to produce a single one for the entire year! All proofs of Russian involvement are coming from Facebook and other similar sources.

US claimed that they have proofs, but would not show them because they are secret... How good is that? But still repeating their mantras-good only for complete f..wits

Chirographer -> Bob Vavich 4 Mar 2015 21:51

What about the Israeli PM speaking against Obama's policy in the US Congress? Should he have been arrested too?

annamarinja -> irgun777 4 Mar 2015 21:30

Would not it be better for humanity if Mrs. Nuland-Kagan were a bartender? Unfortunately for many, she pretends to be a diplomat, a person of knowledge and wisdom, whereas she is just a bad-mouth and a half-wit with poor manners and aggressive personality.

Aris Tsihlis -> greven 4 Mar 2015 21:19

Greven That's an extremely far stretch comparing Putin to Hitler! Me personally I haven't forgotten how things played out it started with a coup d'état sponsored by the US government!

And if I look at the map NATO is on Putin doorstep not the other way around! Stop trying to spin the facts I heard the conversations the witch above was having on who they were going to place in charge! Sell it to somebody else I ain't buying your narrative of the story!

BorninUkraine -> Metronome151 4 Mar 2015 21:18

Ukrainian joke.
Russians asks:
- If you believe that Russia annexed Crimea, why don't you fight for it?
- We aren't that stupid, there is Russian army there.
- But you say there is Russian army in Donbass?
- That's what we say, but in Crimea there really is Russian army.

BorninUkraine -> DoyleSaylor 4 Mar 2015 21:08

You are wrong, this was a success, although incomplete (NATO won't have a naval base in Crimea). The US stirred up s..t in Ukraine to force Europe to act against its interests and join the "sanctions". So, the US hit two birds, Russia and EU competitors, with one stone. If anyone was and still is dumb, it's Europeans following US orders.

bagart -> Old_Donkey 4 Mar 2015 20:57

Angela Merkel and this joker Hollande brokered only increased bloodletting and for a year opened Ukrainian border for Russia, like declaring inability of Ukraine to govern.

This was scam not peace brokering. For what purpose border was left to be controlled by Russia, if Russia is officially not engaged in conflict?

Aris Tsihlis -> bagart 4 Mar 2015 20:52

The Russians are not in the Ukraine! Russia volunteers probably but there are a lot of other volunteers from other countries also! Serbs, Greeks of Ukrainian origin etc.etc.

And do me a favor stop being a Neo-con apologist!

Bud Peart 4 Mar 2015 20:46

Yes Russia has sent troops and militias into Ukraine to support Eastern Ukrainians. I don't think many realistically deny this. Does it constitute and invasion? Probably yes.

Does the Ukrainian government's 'anti terror' operation constitute ethnic cleansing and war crimes? Probably yes.

Does Nuland's direct material support for the overthrow of an elected government in Ukraine constitute a coup? Probably Yes.

Does the Ukrainian government use Neo Nazi militias including foreign fighters from Poland and Croatia in its ethnic cleansing. Probably yes.

It would be nice if the 'liberal left' trendies at the Guardian could for once quit their pro establishment dribble and start providing objective analysis. This crisis has the potential to ignite a nuclear war and we need to start analyzing it without emoting Luke Harding style hysteria.

Cynndara -> Aris Tsihlis 4 Mar 2015 20:36

Let's be clear; "US interests" aren't the interests of the American people, either. They're the interests of military careerists and contractors hoping to profit from yet another conflict.

Playing nuclear chicken is in nobody's interests, and people like Nuland who think they can continuously poke at Putin WITHOUT raising the possibility of nuclear war are arrogant idiots, the kind who always think they're too smart to make a mistake until they do. And people die from it.

The NSA can add this comment to my copious file. Let me know when you're coming over, boys in black, and I'll bake a Devil's Food cake.

Our Condolences How the U.S. Paid For Death and Damage in Afghanistan

An armored vehicle ran over a six-year-old boy's legs: $11,000. A jingle truck was "blown up by mistake": $15,000. A controlled detonation broke eight windows in a mosque: $106. A boy drowned in an anti-tank ditch: $1,916. A 10-ton truck ran over a cucumber crop: $180. A helicopter "shot bullets hitting and killing seven cows": $2,253. Destruction of 200 grape vines, 30 mulberry trees and one well: $1,317. A wheelbarrow full of broken mirrors: $4,057.

A child who died in a combat operation: $2,414.

These are among the payments that the United States has made to ordinary Afghans over the course of American military operations in the country, according to databases covering thousands of such transactions obtained by The Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of the payments are for mundane incidents such as traffic accidents or property damage, while others, in flat bureaucratic language, tell of "death of his wife and 2 minor daughters," "injuries to son's head, arms, and legs," "death of husband," father, uncle, niece.

The databases are incomplete, reflecting fragmented record keeping in Afghanistan, particularly on the issue of harm to civilians. The payments The Intercept has analyzed and presented in the graphic accompanying this story are not a complete accounting, but they do offer a small window into the thousands of fractured lives and personal tragedies that take place during more than a decade of war.

The Price of Life

The data that The Intercept obtained comes from two different systems that the U.S. military uses to make amends.

The Foreign Claims Act, passed in 1942, gives foreign citizens the ability to request payment for damages caused by U.S. military personnel. But the law only covers incidents that happen outside of combat situations — meaning that civilians caught up in battles have no recourse.

Since the Korean War, however, the U.S. military has realized that it's often in its best interest to make symbolic payments for civilian harm, even when it occurs in combat. Over the years, the Pentagon authorized "condolence payments" where the military decided it was culturally appropriate.

Such condolence payments were approved in Iraq a few months into the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and in Afghanistan beginning in 2005. They soon became part of the "hearts and minds" approach to counterinsurgency. To put it another way, in the words of an Army handbook, this was "money as a weapons system."

Click to view interactive graphic.

While it might seem cynical to offer token compensation for a human life, humanitarian organizations embraced the policy as a way to acknowledge deaths and the hard economic realities of war zones.

Condolence payments are meant to be symbolic gestures, and today in Afghanistan, they are generally capped at $5,000, though greater amounts can be approved.

Payments under the Foreign Claims Act take into account any negligence on the part of the claimant, as well as local law. Douglas Dribben, an attorney with the Army Claims Service in Fort Meade, Maryland, said that officers in the field do research, sometimes consulting with USAID or the State Department, to determine the cost of replacing damaged property — "What's a chicken worth in my area versus what it's worth in downtown Kabul?"

Claims for injuries incorporate the cost of medical care, and in the case of wrongful death, the deceased's earning potential and circumstances. "If I have a case of a 28-year old doctor, they are going to be paid more than we'd pay for a child of four," Dribben said. "In Afghanistan, unfortunately, a young female child would likely be much less than a young boy."

The system is imperfect, however. Residents of remote areas often can't access the places where the U.S. military hands out cash. The amounts given out, or whether they are paid at all, often depend on the initiative of individual soldiers — usually the judge advocates who handle claims, or commanders who can authorize condolence payments.

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents detailing about 500 claims made under the Foreign Claims Act, mainly in Iraq. These were the original, often hand-written records of incidents, their investigations, and the military's ultimate decision to pay or deny the claim. Jonathan Tracy, a former judge advocate who handled thousands of claims in Iraq and then devoted years to studying the system, analyzed the entire dataset and found that the decisions often relied on over-broad or arbitrary definitions of combat situations, and that people who were denied claims were only sometimes awarded condolence payment. Yale law professor John Fabian Witt also noted that "relatively minor property awards for damages to automobiles and other personal property often rivaled the death payments in dollar value."

"They present it as if it's very black and white, as though there's the circle of things we can pay for, and you decide if the incident is in or out of that circle, but that's not the way it happens," Tracy told The Intercept. "You'd have two different attorneys doing two different things and [civilians] who'd had much the same thing happen to them would get very different compensation."

Last year the annual defense appropriations bill included a provision, championed by Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., which instructs the Pentagon to set up a permanent process for administering condolence payments. The measure is intended to prevent the delay and inconsistencies that marred the system in the early years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to improve record keeping, so that the Pentagon doesn't start from scratch in each new conflict.

A defense official told The Intercept in an emailed statement that the Pentagon has not yet implemented the provision, but is "reviewing the processes related to ex-gratia payments to determine if there are areas where improvements can be made."

Marla Keenan, managing director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict, believes that "as the conflict in Iraq and Syria has escalated, they are starting to see a reason for this type of policy to exist. It's unfortunate how a new context where this could be used is the impetus."

Finding the Data

The United States and its allies do not tally civilian deaths in Afghanistan. The United Nations only began keeping track of civilian casualties in 2009; using a conservative count that requires three sources for each incident, the U.N. now reports that more than 17,700 innocent Afghans have died in the past five years of fighting, the majority of them killed by the Taliban or other groups fighting the Afghan government and coalition forces.

Looking at compensation paid out under the Foreign Claims Act or in condolence payments is one way to get a window into the damage caused by the U.S. presence. Yet it's difficult to draw conclusions from the military's records, which are muddled and incomplete, by their own admission.

Sample Afghan claim form

Every cache of documents released comes with caveats. For example, The Nation obtained thousands of pages' worth of records for payments for condolences and other "battle damage" in 2013. Asked for total figures, a military spokesman told the magazine, "I could wade through the numbers to the best of my ability but my numbers would be a guess and most likely inaccurate."

The Intercept received several years' worth of recent data on condolence payments from the military through a Freedom of Information Act request. These records come from a military database keeping track of the Commander's Emergency Response Program, a special pot of spending money for "goodwill" projects.

The database entries are sparse, giving only the basics of who was killed or injured, with no detail on when or how the incident occurred. Location is given only at the province level. Nonetheless, the data represent the Pentagon's clearest accounting of how much money it spends on condolence payments. (This data does not include "solatia," which, just like condolence payments, are compensation for death and injury. But they are paid out of a unit's operating funds, and the Pentagon has said previously it does not have overall figures for solatia.)

According to the data we received, in fiscal years 2011 through 2013, the military made 953 condolence payments totaling $2.7 million. $1.8 million of those were for deaths, and the average payment for a death was $3,426. Payments for injuries averaged $1,557.

Some payments are for multiple people harmed in one incident. For instance, the largest single payment, from 2012, offers $70,000 for "death of a mother and six children." The largest payment for a single death occurred in 2011, when the father of "a local national" who was killed was given more than $15,000. Some family members received as little as $100 for the death of a relative.

Traffic accidents were among the most common claims under the Foreign Claims Act.

Asked about records for payments made before 2011, the Pentagon directed questions to the press office for coalition forces in Afghanistan, which did not reply to repeated inquiries from The Intercept.

Also through the Freedom of Information Act, The Intercept received Foreign Claims Act data from the Army, which handles Afghanistan for the entire U.S. military. As with the condolence payments, the database doesn't include the documentation behind each claim. Rather, it shows a quick synopsis, date and amount for each claim filed.

In all, the Army released 5,766 claims marked for Afghanistan, filed between Feb. 2003 and Aug. 2011, of which 1,671 were paid, for a total of about $3.1 million. Of those claims, 753 were denied completely, and the rest are in various kinds of accounting limbo.

This is only a portion of the claims that were actually made and paid. Douglas Dribben, the attorney with the Army office, described the database as "G.I.G.O. — Garbage In, Garbage Out."

Judge advocates in the field are supposed to regularly update the database with claims received and paid, but spotty Internet access and erratic schedules often made that impossible. Tracy, the former Army attorney, said that in Iraq, he had to enter all the claims he received weekly. In practice, "that never really happened," he said.

A 2010 guidance for claims officers takes a pleading tone: "We know [claims] payments are not your only mission and the last thing you really want is another report but in all honesty the last thing any of us want is an unauthorized expenditure of funds."

A more reliable estimate, Dribben said, comes from Army budget data, which reflects the amount of money transferred out to the field to pay claims. The Army Claims Service did not provide that information, but a training guide from 2009 states that for that fiscal year, the Army had paid $1.35 million in 516 claims in Afghanistan, with 202 denied.

The total for Iraq that year was over $18 million; overall, Afghanistan saw fewer and smaller claims than Iraq, because of remote geography and fewer U.S. troops deployed. Prices for replacement goods or lost wages were generally lower, Dribben said.

The claims synopses typically contain missing words, garbled grammar or obvious errors in the various entry fields. Most refer to a "claimant." Some are entered in the first person. A few dozen have no synopsis at all. Many are completely enigmatic: what happened when "claimant feared soldiers would open fire and panicked?" The claimant was paid more than $3,200.

"Each one took maybe 30 seconds to enter," Tracy said. "There wasn't really room or time to put in a narrative."

The database categorized just 18 payments as wrongful deaths between 2003 and 2011 — very likely an undercounting, Dribben said. The average of those payments was about $11,000; the highest was $50,000, paid to someone in eastern Afghanistan, because "coalition forces killed his father."

The Intercept's Margot Williams and Josh Begley contributed research to this report. Eric Sagara, formerly of ProPublica, also contributed.

Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP; Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

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[Feb 23, 2015] On the way to war on Russia By Brian Cloughley

Quote: " This is nonsense, because there is no economic, political or military point in Russia trying to invade the Baltic States or any other country on its borders. There has been no indication of any such move - other than in bizarre statements by such as Mr Herbst and twisted reports in Western news media. It is absurd and intellectually demeaning and deceitful to suggest otherwise, and it is regrettable that someone of the superior intelligence of Mr Herbst could lower himself to say such a thing. But it makes good propaganda.
Feb 18, 2015 | Asia Times Online

Since the Soviet collapse - as Moscow had feared - [the NATO] alliance has spread eastward, expanding along a line from Estonia in the north to Romania and Bulgaria in the south. The Kremlin claims it had Western assurances that would not happen. Now, Moscow's only buffers to a complete NATO encirclement on its western border are Finland, Belarus and Ukraine. The Kremlin would not have to be paranoid to look at that map with concern. - Stars and Stripes (US Armed Forces newspaper), February 13, 2015.

The Minsk Agreement of February 12, 2015, was arranged by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine and contained important provisions concerning future treatment of citizens in the Russian-speaking, Russia-cultured eastern districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in Ukraine where there has been vicious fighting between separatist forces and government troops supported by militias.

Most Western media did not report that the accord was signed by the leaders of the provinces (oblasts) of Donetsk and Luhansk as well as representatives of Russia and Ukraine, but the former two matter greatly in implementation of its provisions.

To the disappointment of much of the West, and especially the United States, it appears that the great majority of the inhabitants of these regions are to be granted much of what they have been seeking (with robust support by Russia), which includes the right to speak and receive education in their birth-language; restitution of pension payments and other central revenue moneys that were stopped by the Kiev government; constitutional reform of Ukraine including "approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk"; and free local elections in the oblasts.

The way to peace will not be easy but the substance of the accord will go far to convincing the people of the eastern oblasts that they will not in future be treated as second-class citizens. They will be permitted an appropriate degree of decision-making in their regions, and if there is goodwill on the part of the Kiev government there is reason to believe that fair governance could apply. A major problem, however, is the attitude of the United States and Britain concerning Russia and Ukraine.

Neither the US nor the UK was privy to discussions between participants in the Minsk talks except through technical intercept by their intelligence agencies and more intimate but necessarily partial description by Kiev's President Petro Poroshenko, whose subordinates reported through US and British conduits.

London and Washington were excluded from negotiations because neither wishes a solution that could be agreeable to Russia and the Russian-cultured regions of east Ukraine.

Both are uncompromisingly intent on humiliating Moscow, and although Britain is verging on irrelevance in world affairs except as a decayed and limited associate of the US in whatever martial venture may be embarked upon by Washington, the US Congress and White House are for once in agreement and are determined to destroy Russia's economy and topple its president and are being provocatively challenging in pursuit of that aim.

There hasn't been such deliberate squaring-up politically and militarily since the height of the last Cold War. President Barack Obama's speeches about Russia and President Vladimir Putin have been bellicose, abusive and personally insolent to the point of immature mindlessness. He does not realize that his contempt and threats will not be forgiven by the Russian people who, it is only too often overlooked, are proud of being Russian and understandably resent being insulted.

Obama claimed last year that the US "is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world", which was regarded with mild derision by many nations; but now Russians are realizing what he meant by his chest-pounding, because America has fostered the Ukraine mess in attempting to justify its stance of uncompromising aggression against them.

But Ukraine has nothing to do with the United States. It is on the border of Russia, not the US. It is not a member of NATO. It is not a member of the European Union. It has no defense or political treaty of any sort with the US. It is 5,000 miles - 8,000 kilometers - from Washington to Kiev and it is doubtful if more than a handful of members of Congress could find Ukraine on a map.

In March 2014, the province of Crimea declared itself to be separate from Ukraine. There was a referendum on sovereignty by its 2.4 million inhabitants. The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe was asked to monitor and report on the referendum, but refused to do so. Both referendum and declaration were strongly condemned by the United States.

Some 60% of the inhabitants of Crimea are Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and Russian-educated, and they voted to rejoin Russia from which they had been separated by the diktat of Soviet chairman Nikita Khrushchev - a Ukrainian. It would be strange if they did not wish to accede to a country that welcomes their kinship and is economically benevolent concerning their future.

Russia's support for the people of eastern Ukraine - and there is indubitably a great deal of assistance, both political and military, similar to that of the US-NATO alliance for the people of the breakaway Kosovo region of Serbia in 2008 - is based on the fact that the great majority of people there are Russian-speaking, Russian-cultured and discriminated against by the Ukrainian government, just as Kosovans were persecuted by Serbs.

So it is not surprising that the majority of inhabitants of the eastern areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts want to "dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another" and be granted a large degree of autonomy - or even join Russia. The US refuses to admit that they might have even the slightest justification for their case.

There has been a US-led media campaign attempting to persuade the public, in the words of John Herbst, former US ambassador to Ukraine, that President Putin's "provocations against the Baltic states, against Kazakhstan, indicate his goals are greater than Ukraine. If we don't stop Mr Putin in Ukraine we may be dealing with him in Estonia."

This is nonsense, because there is no economic, political or military point in Russia trying to invade the Baltic States or any other country on its borders. There has been no indication of any such move - other than in bizarre statements by such as Mr Herbst and twisted reports in Western news media. It is absurd and intellectually demeaning and deceitful to suggest otherwise, and it is regrettable that someone of the superior intelligence of Mr Herbst could lower himself to say such a thing.

But it makes good propaganda.

In similar vein, President Putin's statement to Ukraine's President Poroshenko that "If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest" was reported by Britain's Daily Telegraph as "President Vladimir Putin privately threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states" - which was malicious misrepresentation of what he said.

Putin was making the point that Russia's armed forces could easily have taken successful military action against neighboring countries had they been ordered to do so - but he has no intention of doing anything so rash and stupid. What he and the Russian people want is justice and political choice for the ethnically Russian people in eastern Ukraine, as well as increasing bilaterally lucrative trade arrangements with adjoining countries. It would be insane for Moscow to hazard commercial links with any of its neighbors. Washington, on the other hand, is trying to break them.

Following the Minsk agreement, Canada, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, (together with France and Germany, the Group of Seven) mildly welcomed it - for of course they had no public alternative - but took the opportunity, according to the White House, to "again condemn Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea which is in violation of international law".

It appears that the US-stimulated nations of the G-7 demand that Crimea, with its 60% ethnic Russian population, should be in some fashion taken over by the Kiev government against the will of the majority of the people of that longtime Russian region.

This would satisfy the aim of the US-NATO alliance, which wished and still wishes Ukraine to become a member of that organization, joining those already positioned on Russia's border. For US-NATO, the problem, now, is that the massive seaport at Sevastopol is independent of Kiev and will therefore be denied to US-NATO as a base from which to dominate the Black Sea.

The US-led anti-Russia alliance continues to extend its influence along Russia's borders, and it is obvious that no matter what happens in Ukraine's eastern oblasts there will be continuing confrontation with Russia, led by Washington.

Mikhail Gorbachev - the man whose empathy with president Ronald Reagan so helped to end the first Cold War - observed about the stance of US-NATO that "I cannot be sure that the [new] Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot' one. I'm afraid they might take the risk."

Given the intemperate and increasingly confrontational posture of the US and some of its NATO alliance supporters, the risk seems high. They are hazarding the lives of us all.

Brian Cloughley is a former soldier who writes on military and political affairs, mainly concerning the sub-continent. The fourth edition of his book A History of the Pakistan Army was published last year.

/neocons.shtml matches

(Copyright 2015 Brian Cloughley)

Menendez and the demise of liberalism Jeffrey Herf

Menendez has been swimming against the main current of liberalism in the Obama era, one that finds little or no room for the traditions of liberal anti-fascism that were once one of American liberalism's defining features.
The Times of Israel

The current controversy over Prime Minister Netanyahu's proposed speech to a Joint Session of Congress obscures a deeper issue about American politicians and U.S. policy toward Iran, namely that they are not lining up conveniently along party lines. It is true that Netanyahu as well as most Republicans in the Congress do not agree with President Obama's approach to negotiations with Iran. I think they are right to do so. Yet the President's life is complicated even more by a Senator from his own party, Robert Menendez of New Jersey. He too disagrees with Obama's approach to Iran and has done so since Obama became President. From 2013 to last month, he did so as the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Menendez, more than any other political figure in Washington, has prevented the Iran issue from displaying the familiar and convenient divide between Republican "hawks" from Democratic "doves." In numerous speeches on the floor of the Senate and in comments in many hearings in the Committee on Foreign Relations, he has criticized and carefully documented what he views as the steady erosion of the American negotiation position in the talks with Iran. He has led the push for deeper sanctions in the perhaps futile hope that economic pressure would lead the Iranians to turn away from the bomb without the need to resort to force.

The Senator has done so with tact, deep knowledge of the subject and by holding numerous hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the subject. In the process he has earned the respect of Senators in both parties because he is formidably well informed and has command of the broad strategic issues as well as the of the daunting technical details of the negotiations. It is precisely because the President cannot dismiss him as a member of the political opposition that he has been a thorn in the side of the Administration. Yet Menendez has been swimming against the main current of liberalism in the Obama era, one that finds little or no room for the traditions of liberal anti-fascism that were once one of American liberalism's defining features.

Menendez' has proposed support for legislation in Congress to impose new sanctions if the Iranians insist on terms that he believes will allow them to move towards the bomb. At a meeting between the President and Democratic Senators several weeks ago, that legislative proposal drew the President's ire. He told Menendez and other Democratic Senators that new sanctions would lead the Iranians to leave the negotiations and undermine the administration's effort to arrive at a deal. According to the report in The New York Times, the President added that "such a provocative action could lead international observers to blame the Americans, rather than the Iranians, if the talks collapsed before the June 30 deadline."

People, of course, can differ about what impact stiffer sanctions would have on the Iranians. But the President went further. According to the Times, with Menendez's proposals for stiffer sanctions in mind, he said that "he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others, but he urged the lawmakers to take the long view rather than make a move for short-term political gain." In other words, the President told Menendez in front of a gathering of the other Democratic Senators, that the Senator had taken his positions on Iran because "donors and others" had pressured him to do so. In a room filled with experienced politicians, the President, in effect, said that the Senator had been bought by unnamed persons and groups. The President did not refer to the "Israel lobby" but Menendez understood what the President was implying.

The Times report continues as follows: "Mr. Menendez, who was seated at a table in front of the podium, stood up and said he took 'personal offense.' Mr. Menendez told the President that he had worked for more than 20 years to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions and had always been focused on the long-term implications." Imagine the scene of Menendez standing up to say to the President's face that he took "personal offense" at what he had just said. Menendez knew very well that Barack Obama had just questioned his integrity in front of his colleagues. He was having none of it. The Times quoted one of Menendez' unnamed senatorial colleagues as saying that "it was a forceful exchange between two strong personalities. It was not an angry exchange. It was clear, forceful, vigorous." Yet the chances are good that Robert Menendez was indeed quite angry when he rose to tell the President of the United States that he took personal offense at his suggestion that money, not conviction and judgment, were responsible for his views on Iran. All hundred Senators are likely now aware that the President called into question the integrity of one of their colleagues, the former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and now its ranking Democratic member.

To repeat, the problem that Senator Menendez poses for President Obama and for many of his fellow Democrats is that he makes it more difficult for the President and liberals generally to make the Iran issue divide along the conventional left-right divide. It is the same problem currently being posed by the editorial page of the Washington Post or by the New Republic when it was owned by Martin Peretz. It was the problem posed for liberal intellectuals and journalists when Elie Wiesel raised his voice to warn about the Iranian bomb and when Paul Berman published Terror and Liberalism in 2003 and connected the writings of Sayyid Qutb to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. As I pointed out in this blog several weeks ago, it is the same problem that was created by Euston Manifesto and American Liberalism and the Euston Manifesto both of which sought to urge liberals to focus on the threats of Islamism, the new anti-Semitism and the Iranian nuclear threat. As the realists in the Iraq Study Group were calling for engaging Iran, these various voices urged liberals to focus on the enormous danger a nuclear Iran posed to the world.

The truth is that these efforts to revive the traditions of liberal anti-fascism applied to Islamist movements and to the Iranian regime have remained marginal in liberal politics in the United States. They remain a minority within the Democratic Party and have not set the tone and substance of policy in the Obama White House. The ascendency of Barack Obama to the Presidency was about opposing the Iraq war, not about discussing affinities between the ideology of the Iranian regime and the radical anti-Semitism of Europe's 20th century.

The now absurd refusal by the Obama administration to connect Islamism as an ideology to the practice of the Islamic state or recently to acknowledge that the murder of Jews is Paris is due to anti-Semitism is part of the irony of the above mentioned liberal silences since 9/11. Those who call themselves liberals have been unable or unwilling to name and recognize the affinities between Islamism in its Sunni and Shia variations to the deeply reactionary forms of totalitarianism of the twentieth century. Liberalism, which was historically the home of anti-fascism, has, in its predominant currents, ceded that position to centrists and conservatives. This is the deeper historical significance of Barack Obama's comment about donors' influence on Robert Menendez. Both Netanyahu and Menendez are right in their implicit assertion that the question of whether or not Iran should get the bomb is not an issue of liberalism or conservatism but one of whether we are going to take the Iranian's intentions seriously or fool ourselves with illusions.

In history, events rarely arrive at times that are convenient for everyone's calendar. If, as may be the case, the United States is about to sign a deal that the Israeli prime minister thinks is a dangerous one, he should use every forum he can find to speak against it. Those Democrats who are unhappy about his proposed speech should be asked how they propose to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and what answers they have to the many good and critical questions that Netanyahu, Menendez and many others have posed about the Administration's approach to the Iran negotiations. Rather than focus their anger on the leader of Israel, a small country that is threatened with destruction should Iran get the bomb, they could spend their time more productively by reading or rereading the speeches and comments of Senator Menendez as well as the text of the many hearings he held in recent years by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about American policy towards the Iranian nuclear issue.

Daniel Sieradski · Top Commenter · Syracuse, New York

Menendez has taken ~$700,000 in pro-Israel contributions. Truly this is about principles.

Reply · · 2 · 12 hours ago

[Feb 18, 2015] CrossTalk: Cold-shoulder War (ft. Graham Allison)

Feb 18, 2015 |
Warren , February 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Published on 18 Feb 2015

Is the West and Russia face off over Ukraine, it is fair to ask whether this conflict represents a much larger struggle. Are we actually witnessing the Third World War being played out? If this is in fact true, what kind of war is it and who is winning?

CrossTalking with George Szamuely, John Laughland, and Graham Allison.

[Feb 17, 2015] A Blackwater World Order By Kelley Vlahos

February 6, 2015 |The American Conservative

The privatization of America's wars swells the ranks of armies for hire across the globe.

After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, America's most profound legacy could be that it set the world order back to the Middle Ages.

While this is a slight exaggeration, a recent examination by Sean McFate, a former Army paratrooper who later served in Africa working for Dyncorp International and is now an associate professor at the National Defense University, suggests that the Pentagon's dependence on contractors to help wage its wars has unleashed a new era of warfare in which a multitude of freshly founded private military companies are meeting the demand of an exploding global market for conflict.

"Now that the United States has opened the Pandora's Box of mercenarianism," McFate writes in The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What they Mean for World Order, "private warriors of all stripes are coming out of the shadows to engage in for-profit warfare."

It is a menacing thought. McFate said this coincides with what he and others have called a current shift from global dominance by nation-state power to a "polycentric" environment in which state authority competes with transnational corporations, global governing bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGO's), regional and ethnic interests, and terror organizations in the chess game of international relations. New access to professional private arms, McFate further argues, has cut into the traditional states' monopoly on force, and hastened the dawn of this new era.

McFate calls it neomedievalism, the "non-state-centric and multipolar world order characterized by overlapping authorities and allegiances." States will not disappear, "but they will matter less than they did a century ago." He compares this coming environment to the order that prevailed in Europe before the domination of nation-states with their requisite standing armies.

In this period, before the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 ended decades of war and established for the first time territorially defined sovereign states, political authority in Europe was split among competing power brokers that rendered the monarchs equal players, if not weaker ones. The Holy Roman Emperor, the papacy, bishoprics, city-states, dukedoms, principalities, chivalric orders–all fought for their piece with hired free companies, or mercenary enterprises of knights-turned profiteers.

As progenitors of today's private military companies (PMCs), free companies were "organized as legal corporations, selling their services to the highest or most powerful bidder for profit," McFate writes. Their ranks "swelled with men from every corner of Europe" and beyond, going where the fighting was until it wasn't clear whether these private armies were simply meeting the demand or creating it.

In an interview with TAC, McFate said the parallels between that period in history and today's global proliferation of PMCs cannot be ignored. He traces their modern origins to the post-Cold War embrace of privatization in both Washington and London, both pioneers in military outsourcing, which began in earnest in the 1980s.

By the time the U.S. decided to invade Iraq and stay there in 2003, its smaller peacetime military force structure could not withstand the burden. The Pentagon increasingly relied on contractors to support and wage the war.

"Policy makers, when they started the war in Iraq, they didn't think it would last beyond a few weeks. They had three terrible choices – they could withdraw prematurely, they could institute a Vietnam-era draft … or they could contract out. So they chose to contract it out," McFate said. "That is why you have it now and why it is not regulated."

The U.S. used contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan more than it had in any war in its history: in 2010 there were more contractors deployed to war zones (207,000) than U.S. servicemembers (175,000). In World War II, contractors only made up 10 percent of the military workforce, according to McFate.

From 1999 to 2008, at the peak of the wars, Pentagon spending on outsourcing alone increased from $165 billion to $466 billion a year. Attempts at oversight have been pathetic, as documented by the government's own inspectors general time and again. Success at regulating or imposing codes of conduct on contractors has proven elusive, too. The industry remains as opaque as it has been unassailable where it really counts—the pocketbook.

"The industry is here to stay; it's not going anywhere," said McFate a former employee of Dyncorp, which cut its teeth in Bosnia. Dyncorp thrived as one of Washington's primary contractors for both security and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq despite intermittent accusations of overbilling and underperformance on the job.

Perhaps the most infamous of all contractors was Blackwater, which deflected charges of fraud, violence against civilians and murder for years before it was forced to "rebrand." Four of its former guards were convicted of murder in October, however, in connection with the massacre of 17 Iraqis in Nisour Square in 2007.

Blackwater's founder Erik Prince has dipped and dodged his way through several incarnations of his company (no longer "Blackwater," it was renamed "Xe" and is now "Academi"), and has been successful at running a number of other so-called shell companies and international security operations inside and outside of the U.S. government trough, including anti-piracy enterprises in North Africa.

In his post-American days (Prince left the U.S. for Abu Dhabi in 2010 amid a series of federal charges and lawsuits dogging Blackwater), Prince perched himself "at the top of the management chain" at Saracen International, a security group made up of hard-core mercenary veterans hired in 2009 to train indigenous forces in Puntland, Somalia, and to serve as a security detail for the embattled president of the fragile central government in Mogadishu.

Saracen was officially kicked out of Somalia in 2011 after accusations were made that it was violating the country's arms embargo. According to Jeremy Scahill's seminal "Dirty Wars", however, by 2013 it was not clear that Saracen had ever left, and it was likely still operating in Somalia at the time with a handful of other international PMCs, including Dyncorp.

This is the world that Prince has both made and has thrived in. According to McFate, "'irregular' warfare is more regular than the 'regular' warfare," as the number of internal conflicts have tripled while interstate wars have dwindled in number since a peak in 1965. As a result, PMCs have been used increasingly over the last 15 years by countries, NGOs, and corporations alike to protect ships on the high seas and oil fields in the deserts, to secure humanitarian missions, to raise armies against insurgencies, and to serve as security details at embassies, military bases, and palaces across the Middle East and beyond.

On the darker side, many of the multinationals once on the U.S. dole as PMCs in places like Iraq have since started their own enterprises and taken their skills to clients no matter the mission. They are hard to track, and impossible to rein in.

For example, before Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi was killed, he hired mercenaries from across Africa, "to brutally suppress the popular revolt against him," McFate points out. Likewise, papers reported in 2011 that one of Prince's companies, Reflex Responses, was hired to raise a force of several hundred guards for the emir of Abu Dhabi, to "assist the UAE government with intelligence gathering, security, counterterrorism and suppression of any revolts."

By no means has the U.S. stopped using PMCs—they are protecting diplomats in Afghanistan and Iraq, training foreign militaries, and conducting intelligence. At this point they are more agile and better equipped to do this work overseas than even their military paymasters, McFate argues, and their use prevents the public angst—and scrutiny—that accompanies putting American soldiers into harms way.

"The argument about private militaries being here to stay – that is the truth or unfortunate truth depending on your position," said Peter Singer, senior fellow for the Future War project at the New America Foundation and author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.

"For those who thought this would all be over with the end of Iraq 2.0 or Obama's presidential victory, the facts just don't bear that out," he told TAC in an interview. Singer agrees with McFate's assessments in Modern Mercenary, which he said
"mixes the analytic and academic side with his own personal experiences working for one of the firms; that combination is rare in this space."

McFate details for the first time in public how he was hired by Dyncorp on behalf of a secret U.S. contract to help prevent a group of Hutu rebels, the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL), from sparking another genocide of the Tutsis during the ongoing civil war in Burundi. McFate was tasked at one point with guarding the president of Burundi from impending assassination. The president remained safe, and the civil war was brought to an end by 2005.

McFate said he wrote about this, and Dyncorp's training of the Liberian army in 2011, to show in part that PMCs can be used to positive ends. But he is not naïve. He is clear about where they can fail, invite mission creep, or seize power for clients through violence. By their very nature, PMCs profit from conflict and are always at risk of creating and expanding it for their own benefit. McFate cites numerous examples throughout history in which mercenaries have played both sides, only to come out with full pockets.

In addition, private armies live by no rules of war or international conventions; here, Erik Prince is the best example. PMCs can hide in countries with the lowest standards and norms. They have access to a global arms trade and the latest military technology, including drones. They are a risk to civilian populations, and their operations are never transparent. "You can FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) the CIA, you can't FOIA this industry," said McFate.

So what to do? McFate suggests that banning PMCs or trying to regulate them into submission won't work because it would only drive them underground and into the realm of rogues. He suggests letting the market work to "incentivize desirable practices by making them profitable" might be the best course. He notes, however, that when the U.S. military had "market power" and was in the best position to set price and practices at the beginning of its wars, it "failed to do so."

Whether the cons of private contracting outweigh the pros is a debate McFate chooses not engage, and his background as both soldier and contractor figure heavily in the tenor of his book. "I leave it deliberately up to the reader," he said. "The book is not an argument; it's more about exploration. There is a big global trend happening right under our feet. I think we are in the precipice of a big decision." That decision is how to deal with the privatization of war effectively, if at all.

It will not be easy. U.S. agencies knowingly hired companies with spotty records. They used private contractors for controversial secret operations, including the detainee interrogations at Abu Ghraib, and a covert CIA assassination program involving Blackwater. It will take a lot more trust in Washington to believe that "best practices" in this industry can genuinely come from government itself.

"In an idealized world the companies with the best practices and best performance records would end up with all the contracts, and the bad actors would be eliminated from the field," said Singer. "That hasn't happened in regular business, much less when you cross regular business with what you call politics."

Or war. Get your seat belt on, because if McFate is right, it is "back to the future," and any choice we might have had in the matter is long gone.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance reporter and TAC contributing editor. Follow her on Twitter.

[Feb 15, 2015] Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned By Nato And EU

Ron Paul: "The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU... The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out." Quote from comments: "That is where anyone who does not believe that USA, EU and NATO are totally responsible for the violent mess Ukraine has become."
Feb 15, 2015 |

As Ron Paul recently exclaimed, the war propagandists are very active and are winning over the support of many unsuspecting American citizens. So we thought the followingg 90 seconds of 'pure Paul' would provide a refreshingly different perspective as he explains, "I'm not pro-Russia, I'm not pro-Putin, I'm pro-facts."

"The Ukraine coup was planned by NATO and EU... The best thing we can do for Ukraine is get the foreigners out."

As Ron Paul previously concluded:

Our government has no more credibility in telling us the truth about the facts that require us to expand our military presence in this region than Brian Williams.

Constant war propaganda has proven too often to be our nemesis in supporting constant war promoted by the neoconservatives and the military industrial complex.

... ... ...

The only way that Congress can be persuaded to back off with our dangerous interventionism, whether it's in the Middle East or Ukraine, is for the American people to speak out clearly in opposition.


Where are the facts Mr Ron Paul?

Ron Paul is making up stuff in order to sell products to disciples.

Coup in Ukraine was staged by Putin via Yanukovych. Yanuk did not campaign on joing Eurasian union.

Joining Eurasian union was a coup d'etat by Putin and Yanukovych.

What happened was the counter coup, which yes, was urged by USA and nato.


EKM1, how is the air conditioning at US Misinformation Warfare Headquarters? Do you get paid weekly or bi-weekly? Then again, at $15/hr, who cares, right...


Lying for a living. Don't he know that politics pays better? Maybe he's just packin' his resume.

Winston Churchill

EKM just graduated to my do not bother to read comment list.

Maybe PPT really stands for Piss Poor Trolls.


British Battalion 77 peter puffers have arrived.. EKM, which barracks you out of? I am sure you will tell us next multiculturism is strengthing Britain..

Jack Burton

Winston, I don't know if you have noticed, but over the last few months the State Department Internet posters have moved away from ZH. Perhaps they consider us a lost cause. But some months back they were still very active here, posting sometimes dozens of State Department talking points, but winning no converts. As of late, they have withdrawn to troll more mainstream blogs and News Paper comments sections.

The one benefit of the Ukraine Coup and civil war has been the western media exposing it'self like never before as one channel propaganda. Never before has media told so many demonstrable lies in so short a time. The transparent lies have begun to catch many people's attention. The script they read from is not at all clever or well thought out. The script is terribly transparent, and so easily proved to be lies.

So, will this new war propaganda win? So far I say it's 75 yes, 25% no. So many Americans just lap up the lies without trying to get the real story. Fools have been


"The one benefit of the Ukraine Coup and civil war has been the western media exposing it'self like never before as one channel propaganda."

I agree 100% with this; more and more people are seeing the US state sponsored propaganda for what it is.

In regards to "So, will this new war propaganda win?":

I stated here before that the secondary objective of modern state sponsored propaganda in the west is to gain popular support, but the main objective is to send out the "offical accepted version of world events", meaning that it does not matter if 99% of Americans do not believe it. So long as America does not erupt in a civil war, what the state sponsored media says stands and nothing else matters and will be ignored. Anyone asking questions or causing trouble will be pointed to or judged based on that propaganda as if it was truth. Pretty much 1984.


He's from Toronto... the navel of the Universe (in their own opinion). Their view of the world is somewhat distorted, and "potted"...


The state-sponsored anti-russian propaganda in Canada is in overdrive. Harper has gone full retard and traitor to appease to certain foreign interests.

Most people don't believe the nonsense whatsoever. EKM, I don't get why he is so special as to actually believe it. He speaks for no-one.

Jack Burton

Canada just happened to be where the allies shipped the Ukrainian Nazis and SS veterans after World War II. The allies knew their strong anti communist and anti Russia bent, so figured to save as many as possible to form the useful agents they and their families now are. Harper is feeding those Western Ukrainian trolls and they in turn help ramp up public opinion into fever pitch.

I am sick of this shit. My response to every person who repeats the lies, I will tell them that it is "their duty to go to this war in person, I will not accpet bullshit lies and then people asking others to due the fighting!" Put up or shut up assholes!

Why does the west feed this war fever, and why the coup in the first place? War allows the public to be stripped of tax revenues, it allows national security to trump privacy and freedom, and it allows politicians to claim a patriotic mandate to rule us. Plus corporate profits and stocks are off the charts money makers.


This is true. They are scattered all over alberta and Sk. I met one recently that was bragging about cross burnings in Provost. Provost is a nazi ukranian KKK town

Latina Lover

Quoting Jack Burton:

"I am sick of this shit. My response to every person who repeats the lies, I will tell them that it is "their duty to go to this war in person, I will not accpet bullshit lies and then people asking others to due the fighting!" Put up or shut up assholes!"

I couldn't have said better myself. As a former grunt who saw some action when I was young and very stupid, any idiot advocating violence against others should put their money where their mouth is and lead by example.

Instead we have this hypocrite drone army, spewing endless BS to induce others to die for their shabby causes, cowards hiding behind keyboards. To hell with all of them!


This is from Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung a NOG from Germany. So this mght be propaganda or not. In fact there never were real elections Ukraine ever. Lawful was not one government there.


Konrad-Adenauer-Siftung is anything but an unbiased organisation. Actually it is a transatlantic networking group in the business to spread neocon messages in Germany. The page you refer to does not contain ANY actual, proven issue but just the general out-of-the-air claim that the elections didn't meet demoratic standards.

Try harder, Neocon troll.

El Vaquero

Are you claiming that Ron Paul was wrong when he said that we had a recording of the assistant US secretary of state and the US ambassador to Ukraine discussing who is going to take power in Ukraine BEFORE the coup in Ukraine?


Nuland did the right thing. It prepared the counter coup against Putin's coup

El Vaquero

Yes, Nuland took part in starting a civil war that has killed innocent people. That is obviously the right thing. Civil war is good for the people, or didn't people realize that?


EU-Ukraine-Russia trade deals are NONE OF OUR FUCKING BUSINESS!


so the Nazi Ukies could have gone about their protests by peaceful means but Nazis gonna Nazi and tortured, burned, raped and stole their merry way across the countryside. Even the Ukies have had enough of their shit and have tried to pull them back at various times just to see the Nazis flex and storm the buildings of their own gov.

As I write this I am wondering what ahit are you trying to pull? You don't seem to be a satire artist like MDB. Paid troll? Maybe. I don't see how anyone can objectively read the news and come to the same conclusions as you.

El Vaquero

That is some seriously fucked up reasoning. The US did the right thing by kicking off something that was inevetable and accomplished nothing except putting the US and Russia closer to war, which, BTW would go nuclear. You call that the right thing?

You're fucking nuts. This should be none of the US's fucking business. I'm sick of sending our soldiers over to die for somebody else's cause. Why don't you Eastern Europeans solve your own fucking problems?


USA is now the business of world police. Becoming a soldier is the safest way of employment.

World security is USA's export now. There is no other way, for now.

Soldiers know very well they will end up in interventions, but they like the money and the thrill of it.

Nobody forces young people to enroll. The money and the thrill entice them to

El Vaquero

So you want the USA to solve your problems? Being globo-cop is proving to be an unethical gig for the US, and should stop.

And have you ever heard a US soldier talk about how they were defending the US in our interventionist wars? I have. They actually believe it. Young people don't know what they are signing up for, and often they fail to realize what they have done after they are finished.

So, again, why can't you Eastern Euroopeans solve your own fucking problems? You know that the US is not going to be able to backstop you forever. What then?


Yes. I've spoken with many. Most love it being in the military, absolutely love it

El Vaquero

Gee, that must explain the excessively high suicide rate amongst US vets.


"Most love it being in the military, absolutely love it "

I believe it. Oh, the gory glory. Oh, the rush of being tough and exerting power.

...& dumb women love a douche with a paycheck in a tidy uniform.


That love generally stops suddenly when they come to suffer the consequences of their choice (i.e. the possibility of getting maimed or dying in combat).

The military is a wonderful (state supported and encouraged) vehicle for crass freeloading, until a war happens. Then, a soldier's personal ROI becomes dramatically (even terminally, for many) NEGATIVE !


Course they do. They're sociopaths like you to whom only personal gain, even at the cost of murdering others whom just want to live their lives is justified.

g speed

A lot of these kids just do what their parents want them to do---very sad---kids come home with no legs and look at dad and ask why?


Dispute resolution ? Kill someone is your only way- look at your films, entertainment; there is a bad guy and then the "good guy" kills him. It has all become part of your psyche, as ultimately any of your disputes has to be resolved in this way; but the resentment you leave behind has a price.

If you complain about others, you should go home and conduct a self examination.



You want to know what your masters think of the military?

POS Kissinger actually told the truth for once when he explained how ""Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."


Somebody seems to have hacked the ekm1 account. He was always sort of necon, but never this blatantly wacko before.

El Vaquero

He's Eastern European. I suspect that some deep cultural hatred of the Russians going back a century or 5 has something to do with it. I want nothing to do with that tribal mentality bullshit when it comes to a potential US-Russia confrontation because I don't want to see mushroom clouds over Kirtland AFB with my own eyes. Call me crazy for that.


He's Albanian, which makes him half Latvian, half Polack, and half Bulgoslovenakian.


WTF you fascist, the world does not want or need American storm troopers telling them how to run their lives for the benefit of America. History is a story of lesser powers uniting to oppose tyranny and eventually winning, this will be no different. Get the fuck back in your cave deep in exceptionalist Anglo-American fantasy land and leave the rest of the world the fuck alone.



'world security'

Right: let's have a little stock take shall we of those recent lucky nations receiving the security export.

  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Egypt
  • Yemen
  • Ukraine
  • Somalia

Notice the trend? All places of great insecurity due to US led attempts to insert or maintain puppet client governments whose purpose is to loot their host countries.

You used to make sense on some issues, even when you were needlessly cryptic you were thought provoking. Hell, you even called for oil to trade with a $40 handle even though your reasoning was off, it Has happened.

You have lost the plot tonight.


because... Putin wants to rule a basket case? that's why he started a civil war?

I haven't heard any logical arguments for why Putin would want to take over the Ukraine. Next I'll hear he wants to take over Greece. For what purpose? Cos he wants their monuments? Or does he like their national debt and 30 hour workweek?

The Russians are saying they are intervening to protect Russian people. The West claims Russia is trying to rebuild the Soviet Union.

On the other hand the west is trying to expand NATO up to Russia's border (think of it as a 'western union').

So even if Putin wants to recreate the USSR, why is it 'bad' when he wants to do it, but 'OK' when the west wants to do it? What is the distinction? Let me guess... human rights? Well the USA with a population of 330 million has MORE people incarcerated than CHINA with 1.2 BILLION people. (4x). Where's the 'human rights'?

How many countries has Russia invaded. I'll even give you Crimea, so Crimea and Georgia.. that's 2.

How many countries has the USA invaded... Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia.

I can't follow the logic.


NATO / IMF controlling Ukraine, along with Sevastopol, is instant suicide for Russia.
Their choice was give in or fight. War became inevitable when NATO expanded toward Russia -

It is well known that Russia will not give up Sevastopol, will not give up Ukraine to a foreign military alliance.


'Nuland did the right thing'...sure...unless you believe in that whole 'democracy' thingy.

An elected government was overthrown in violent protests that it appears the US organized and aided.

This was done because NATO was displeased that the Ukes were not willing to move closer to the EU.

NATO has shamelessly disregarded the agreements made way back when Gorby was in charge. They have place missiles in Poland fer-cryin-out loud.

I think if I were Putin (and Russia) I'd be worried.


That's a bingo!!

will ling

ah, nuland, mccrazy, kristol, et al , are "just soft" war criminals.


Oh ekm 1, puhleease! Yanukovych was elected by the people of Ukraine.

How is an elected leader ousted by pro a EU Maidan which is supported by: the EU, NATO, our State Department, and meddling U.S. Senators - a coup by Putin?

What is it you are smoking to make you believe such a thing?

El Vaquero

Observable facts do not matter to the narrative. Most will not look at them anyway. Putin could be the most evil sonofabitch the world has ever seen, and that still would not justify our destabilizing Ukraine.


You realize Ukraine was totally broke well before any of this? Deeply in debt, big bills to pay, pooched economy? That sound stable to you?

The reason Yanukovych was trying to obtain an association with the EU at all was because Ukraine was so broke and desperate for a new sugar daddy.

And Yanukovych definitely would have gone that way too, if the IMF had not tried to fuck Ukraine so badly that Yanukovych was forced to walk away as it was national financial suicide to accept the terms Legarde wanted to inflict.

The real source of the instability was Ukraine's own mess.

What came next was just the rush to get the best bits of the carcass.

So who was doing, or rather had already done, the destabilizing of the country?

El Vaquero

Yes, Ukraine was a corrupt broke mess. Why the fuck were our politicians over there? Why were they acting as though they knew that "Yats" was going to be the new PM? Why the fuck was John Brennan over there? What fucking business is it of ours?

Miffed Microbio...

The time will end for us as Global Cop as it always has in history. This is assured. However, only after millions have died during the posturing. And those who have played this role have never risen to that status again.

This country will pay, including the innocents who were against the whole thing in the first place. We just get to watch while others distract themselves with amusements and trinkets.

It is not our business now nor ever was. Why Ron Paul wasnt elected just blows my mind. That was our last hope for redemption.



It's not global cop. It's global robbery.

El Vaquero

Haven't you been paying attention to policing in the US lately? Civil asset forefitures plus shooting people because they dared to turn their back on the police while holding a plastic spoon means that cops and robbers are often one in the same.


The term you're looking for is protection racket.


Nicely said, I see you have no trouble coming to terms with it, must be trauma ward experience kicking in.

Miffed Microbiologist

I accept the reality of it but this is no means a personal relief of my own responcibilities as a participant nor is it an escape into futility of action. Yes, if omnipotent, I would end this fast but since I am woefully lacking in such power I must content myself to personal and local rebellion. I hope others will join me at some point but it is always unwise to count on others.

Americans have become slothful and content in their status in the world. It is ending now but few truly perceive it being subtle at this stage. When one is unconcerned about the atrocities this country is perpetuating on its own citizens or those in other nations, be it overt attacks or political maneuvering, then ones humanity is lost. I am not sure if it can be truly recovered. We brand our leaders as psychopathic but we should examine our own hearts as well.

Yes, the inward trauma ward is not very pleasant. ;-)



You don't really need a lesson on how geopolitics is played do you? I'll give you credit and presume you don't. But you better start to get real about this ElV, it isn't going to go away via wishes and idealism.

It is real, and it is ugly, and it is about survival, or else not, and you do have to accept that it's happening and face it as it is, not how you would wish it to be.

And that's all the slack I'm ever cut you on this topic.

El Vaquero

Serious question: Do you support a war with Russia? Because that is a very real danger with the kind of geopolitics being played today.


Of course not.

That said, it appears one key Russian does support war with NATO, given actions speak louder than words. It won't take long to find out if Putin is effectively suicidal. I think he's certainly become erratic over the past year, and made unexpectedly bad choices and extraordinary mistakes. I've been amazed by how badly he's done. So if this goes pear-shaped his recent judgement and decision-making under pressure doesn't inspire confidence.

There's a moderate to reasonably good chance we're stuffed.


That's very magnanimous of you.

You must have patience with us peons. Not all of us went to Duntroon and had the honor of serving the Empire.

Thanks again, milord.


Yanukovych pivoted to Russia for a saving loan and then what happened when he did not take money from EU bankers to prolong their party, that's right Nuland showed up to kick his ass out.. Get with the everlasting gobstopper of debt program or get "destabilized"


Yanuk was only thief, not open murderer... He also Ukrainian, not outsider alien passport gang

Hefar lesser heavy handed than the "Red" mafia now in Kiev..who prove themselves killers.


With all the propaganda dished out to the people it's difficult to know who staged what. But at least there are some facts, where eyerybody can draw conclusions.

  • French, German and Polish foreign ministers negotiated a deal with Yanukovich to have elections in September 2014. In the evening after this deal people on Maidan Sq. got shot. This caused the putsch against the government.
  • So the trigger was the shooting on Maidan Sq. which was never really investigated.
  • All actions afterwards was reaction and counter-reaction by the involved parties.
  • Nulands phone call is fact as well. This is an evidence of US involvement. Whether they initiated the shootings or Yanukovichs people for me is not proven, but likely. Why should Yanukovich do this, a couple of hours after he signed a deal with EU?


Let's also not forget Criminal Psychopath / Sociopath Nuland's 5 Billion Dollar Fascist investment

Victoria Nuland - Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs

US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Nuland said: "Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government - all that is necessary to achieve the objectives of Ukraine's European. We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals. " Nuland said the United States will continue to "promote Ukraine to the future it deserves."


Not to mention the repeated strange coincidence that the Nazi violence ramps up after visits from major US/CIA gov actors.


Nuland has admitted publicaly that State Dept has spent $ 5 Billion influencing Kiev regime change over last several years. Granted much of this was in form of encouraging ex-patriots here in States, propaganda directed towards Ukrainian citizens and aide money. Only people in government know how much was allocated for actual arms but everyone knows the activities of Neocons in Washington.

The point is the US encourages regime change and recently has had a dismal record of failure and huge wasteful spending.

Just look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Georgia, Yeman and now Ukraine. Ron Paul is correct.


Joining eurasian union was a coup d'etat by Putin and Yanukovych.

I think coup d'état is a little strong here, which American talking head has you recycling this verbal diarrhoea? Only a war-mongering murrican would say establishing a better trade deal for your country is a coup d'état.

Yanuk did not camapaign on joing eurasian union.

So, in your bubble, a country's leader can only establish trade deals/policies/legislature et cetera that he campaigned on, and anything else he did not take to a previous election is a coup d'état even if it is a simple trade deal benefitting the people?

You're not this stupid, please stop.

Ron Paul: Ukraine Coup Planned By Nato And EU

Of course. Maidan terrorists were trained months before in Poland:

Ukraine: Poland trained putchists two months in advance

And now USA and Ukraine are destroying the new ceasefire:

US and Ukrainian officials seek to torpedo Minsk cease-fire agreement


If the NWO is successful in killing Ukranian's it won't be long before they start killing Americans. Globalists are traitors against all nations.


Great sentiments and rhetoric, not much else, as what he's calling for is the end of US involvement in NATO. OK, what then?

US forces have to leave Europe ... completely, the lot. But Europe is most definitely not going to butt-out of the changing of borders in Ukraine using Russian force and support.

He seems to want to ignore that Russia is in fact attacking Ukraine, has stolen its navy, has taken Crimea, and has tried to carve off more and more of Eastern Ukraine, even in the past couple of days.

"I'm pro-facts."

OK, but are you also prepared to accept the implications and imperatives that those facts, Ron?


OK, what then?



Peace since WWII involved the "balance of terror" of MAD. It is a BALANCE of forces and strategy and position.

Change the balance radically and the strategic game changes radically, i.e. not-peace. And it happens in multiple locations.


Fact: Crimea was 'gifted' to Ukraine in the 1950's by crazy Khrushchev without a plebiscite.

Fact: Crimea voted for reunification when given the chance.

Fact: Ukraine only owned the Sevastopol Navel base by the graciousness of Russia.Russia even paid for a lease.

Fact: The Ukrainian Navy was allowed to exit Sevastopol after the reunification vote. Why would Russia want their junk?

Fact: Sevastopol would never have been given up by Russia regardless of the reunification vote just as the USSA refuses to leave Guantanamo.

Fact: Russia has given Ukraine control of all the borders including the break away provinces with the new Minsk agreement.

Fact: You are full of shit.


Fact: Crimea is the UN recognized Sovereign territory of Ukraine in law.

Fact: Crimea being Ukrainian territory is recognized by the overwhelming majority of countries on Earth.

Deal with it.


UN does not recognize the Kosovo entity, but it still exists. UN din't sanction the entire war against Serbia, but it still took place.

Reality is different than UN's view of the world, and the realities on the ground in Ukraine are changing as we speak. Deal with it !


Fact: The UN is not a sovereign state.

Fact: The UN is funded mainly by the U.S

Fact: The UN has no authority to recognize any state.

Fact: The UN 'supposedly' supports self determination by it's very charter.

Fact: You are still full of shit.


Chancellor Merkel: (a few days ago)
"One particular priority was given to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia this morning. We stand up for the same principles of inviolability of territorial integrity. For somebody who comes from Europe, I can only say if we give up this principle of territorial integrity of countries, then we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of Europe that we've been able to achieve. This is not just any old point, it's an essential, a crucial point, and we have to stand by it. And Russia has violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine in two respects: in Crimea, and also in Donetsk and Luhansk.

So we are called upon now to come up with solutions, but not in the sense of a mediator, but we also stand up for the interests of the European peaceful order. And this is what the French President and I have been trying to do over the past few days. We're going to continue those efforts.

And I'm very grateful that throughout the Ukraine crisis, we have been in very, very close contact with the United States of America and Europe on sanctions, on diplomatic initiatives. And this is going to be continued. And I think that's, indeed, one of the most important messages we can send to Russia, and need to send to Russia.

We continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, although we have suffered a lot of setbacks. These days we will see whether all sides are ready and willing to come to a negotiated settlement. I've always said I don't see a military solution to this conflict, but we have to put all our efforts in bringing about a diplomatic solution. ..."

i.e. Europe doesn't want the US to leave, and Washington does not want the US to leave either.


Get it?

Both consider this to be in their vital interests.

So these also are the facts of the situation, and you can try to ignore these facts, because you do not like them, you do not like the ugliness of geopolitics, but that changes nothing about geopolitics.

All I'm doing here is pointing that out.

So cry a river of tears if you think it changes anything, or that if merely I changed my mind, it would make you less pissy and aggrieved.

But those facts of this situation, will remain.

That's where Ron Paul, and people like you, have your heads rammed firmly up your butts, screaming to mother to make it all go away.

And I understand (perfectly) why you would want the world to be different than it is, but it simply isn't going to be.

Now seriously, grow up and try to cope with that, rhetorical fantasies don't help.


bored. Chancellor Merkel sang differently about Kosovo.


"Both consider this to be in their vital interests."

Good sir, who's interests? Certainly you do not refer to the average American.

From this heart, how does the extreme waste of manpower and money and MIC profit pumping for moar bankster profits become a "vital interest" to we, the average Americans? How is that "in their vital interest" to the rest of the world? All the warmongering for profits, world domination, and population elimination is NOT interesting, or in the better "interests" of America and the world's people at all.

How can you justify the out right blatant murder of innocents, women, and children for the moneygod? Whose really vitally interested in that? Constant never ending warmongering in foreign lands is NOT the choice of real truth following Americans at all, nor in their best interests. It is ONLY for evil zionist/luciferian/sataninc interests and NO covering up that FACT will change this truth.

Darn, never thought about disagree with you before, for your truth really lit the Way for many here once ago.

From this perspective, if they were to go after the evil bankster empire of chaotic dust in Europe, THAT would be of "vital interest" to the freedom loving American people. In fact, the world would rejoice if ALL these evil things were rounded up and placed on an island in the middle of the ocean to do what they will. Good riddance say we all! War is of NO vital interest to anyone. It just does not work.



Yes, but in Ukraine, things are going Putin's way, not yours. He will play his long game and he will prevail.

It could mean the end of your beloved NATO, which will have no viable purpose if it cannot dragoon Ukraine into its ranks so as to encircle and ultimately destroy Russia.

It could also mean the end of the the EU, but that appears to be coming apart at the seams anyway.

You say Europe is dead keen on having the US remain in Europe. That's true of the elite -- largely because Paris and Berlin are terrified of the vacuum that would be created by US withdrawal. Paris knows Germany would have the whip hand; Germany is afraid of being alone at the top.

Nevertheless, our murderous and immoral Ukraine policy is earning us lots of new enemies among European populations. We are playing with fire. Not sure if we don't know that, or just don't care.


Yes, but in Ukraine, things are going Putin's way, not yours.

  • I am not taking a side.
  • I am totally non-partisan.
  • I am pointing out what is going to happen.
  • Not what people want to happen.
  • I am pointing it out to >>95% partisans. You are one of them.

Partisans usually do not like how things will develop to be stated plainly, as it often goes against the way they want things to develop.

So partisans then shoot the messenger, rather than take the warning, on its face value.

Miffed Microbiologist

Element, I happen to agree with you though it does bother me personally. Sometimes hard facts are unpleasant to truly face and hopes of alternative choices are seductive though not likely relevant in these games of power.

My only grief is this is being played with a participant that is rotting from within. Given up its manufacturing base. Economically in the crapper and showering many with money just to live day to day. An aging sick population. We see this farce play out everyday. We are being drained dry internally and will soon be unable to fill this role losing our strong foundation. And when it ends, another will assume the role as it always has been throughout history. Can you blame us for wanting an end to this?

As a small player in this, one who will be likely swept away when the power shifts, I can only watch it unfold. And this gives me no pleasure to admit such a thing.



Mrs.M, if you examine his post it's quite easy to see that he is suffering from a condition called, "Fatalism".

"Fatalism is a philosophical doctrine stressing the subjugation of all events or actions to fate. Fatalism generally refers to any of the following ideas: The view that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do."

His argument that the convolutions of geopolitics are a natural result of survival and therefore beyond the scope of our control or wishful thinking is both wrong and indifferent to the real crimes being committed in our name.

  • We know who is involved in supporting the neo-nazis and zionists in Ukraine: Victoria Nuland of the US State Dept.
  • We know thousands of innocent people have died as a result. We know wholesale looting is taking place by the Israeli oligarchs.
  • We know, from their own words, from the mouth of the current Ukrainian Prime Minister that those who oppose the coup are being threatened with being burnt alive - in fact many Russian language speaking Ukrainians in Odessa and Mariupol have actually been murdered in this way.

What else could they do but fight against the nutjobs in Kiev and ask for help from Russia? Be burnt alive or become refugees?

Yet to brush all this aside with glib remarks about geopolitics and national survival with quite insane philosophies on death lacking in any depth of analysis or empathy for the victims of these horrendous crimes is, I think, quite revolting. Yes, control of our fate is an illusion, but we are also the cumulative sum of all of our decisions.

So, Mrs.M, you keep your compassion alive. Your empathy and reason do you credit in a world full of cold sociopaths. Without such sweet and bitter experiences to guide our moral values in life, life would be very dull and useless indeed.


"I am not taking a side.
I am totally non-partisan."

For a guy who believes he is non-partisan you sure do have a LOT to say about it for one side.

"I am pointing out what is going to happen."

For a guy who thinks he is a realist or pragmatist, you sure are delusional about being able to tell what is going to happen. Newsflash: NOBODY knows the future. Not even you.

What's wrong with you? There's nothing coherent in your "message" at all - perhaps that's why you're getting junked.


Americans shouldn't leave, but stay there and keep paying for (and subsidizing with manpower and equipment) the European "security".

That would be a sure way toward self-destruction of contemporary US, which is already practically bankrupt (and not only from a moral point of view...).


Ukraine's government was functioning under a Constitution. Within the Constitution was allowances for Crimea to remain autonomous. The Ukrainian Constitution was trashed when the overthrow occurred allowing Crimea to vote for independence.

How can you argue rule of law when the existing government is outside the rule of law while Crimea is within the law ?

Good point about stealing your Navy - and the fact is there is very little that CAN be done about it. Russia took it and nothing will change that. Destroying Russia to give Crimea back to an illegitimate government will not fly - its all about price discovery. What price CAN be forced on far very little.

What price has the US already paid

Red Lenin

Fact: Crimea is the UN recognized Sovereign territory of Ukraine in law.

Fact: Yugoslavia was recognized by the UN as a sovereign country. It no longer exists.


UN is worthless except for fill pockets with US taxpayer $.

same as your opinion:

  • Crimea seceded
  • Crimea is peaceful
  • Crimea is free


Now you're fronting. Next thing you'll say Israel is legitimate

Urban Roman

"... and has tried to carve off more and more .."

Really? The Russian Army has been fighting a random bunch of warmed-over nazi skinheads for almost a whole year, and can't manage to take a couple of oblasts west of the Don?

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There was no Ukraine prior to 1991. Contemporary Ukraine is an artificially induced state, created in a moment of maximum weakness of the Russian state. As a result, it has no future, and no amount of US propping will change the facts on the ground. Crimea is populated by Russians in vast majority, who decided they don't want to be rulled by Kiev after the US led coup. More so, the Ukrainian "fleet" was built during USSR so it represents a Russian asset too. Your narrative is as dumb as this entire war... which will end badly for US.


Ukraine has never been a sovereign nation.


Darn Element, what happened to you?

In the past, you were so spot on about all the fuckyoushima tragedy and offered much light for many who listened intently to your truth. We are grateful for all that light.

Now, it seems as if you have been co-opted, or banned and someone else is using your handle to put out the same trash the organized criminal lame stream media propagandists are putting out for public consumption. It's ONLY regurgitation of the filthiest yukkity-muck ever.

We all miss the truth bearing Element and wonder, are you really another dis-informationist? It would be a shame and big loss to find this out, as your great intelligence is needed to combat the evil that has run rampant over the planet for centuries. Is it money or love you quest after, dear One?

Ask, would you rather have a Ron Paul for president, or the evil illegal usurping alien bushonian bankster puppet we have now? Truly, the puppet soterobama is absolutely the most vile evil and destructive worst president America has ever had.. History will reflect this fact. We may not see another righteous president ever again in America's coming to an end history. Sad to ponder that, eh!


(Side-swiping truth, God is Love. Period!)

new game

hmmm, then silence...


You are correct. All germans I spoke to said, that they should leave Russia with Crimea and the Donbass region.

You are incorrect, that Ukraine is Russia. It is not. After WWII Stalin made the deal that he could enlarge Russia to the West. So he deported the polish to what was once Germany. This artificial enlargement divides Ukraine and is a rated break point that runs through the country. So both sides have a legitimate claim.


The latest rant on the GW story.

Ron Paul WAS America's last chance to remain free from the horridness of the banksteronian evil that runs rampant over the land like diarrhea running out of a goose's arse.


NATO was created to force the USSR to target two widely separated entities (Europe and continental US) before the time of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This was to keep the USSR focused on Europe. In any envisioned war, Europe and USSR would be destroyed or severely weakened, strengthening the US position.


There is but one thing in all of this that is perfectly clear to me. The situation is quite confusing, lying is rampant, and unnecessarily provoking the Russian Bear is about the most dangerous thing anyone could do.

My preference for U.S. policy is neither isolationism nor militarism. It's diplomacy. Further, the U.S. should abandon its use of economic sanctions against the Bear for his annexation of Crimea because Putin would never leave Crimea, meaning this economic cattle prod will continue to annoy the Bear.

Instead, the U.S. and NATO should be willing to trade some form of recognition of Russian presence in Crimea for ending the war in eastern Ukraine. I would also hope that Kiev and Washington would be willing to see an autonomous region, perhaps more aligned with Moscow than Kiev and agreement not to place NATO troops or materiel in Ukraine.

But of course, none of this is likely - everyone is lying and the trust needed for real diplomacy is nil.


I guess that the CIA Director,Stephen Harper, Victoria Wench Nuland were only in Ukraine for a nice vacation?

It shows anyone with a grade 2 education how the world still works.

Bunga Bunga

We couped some folks.


RP gives me the impression he a form of controlled opposition, almost like a pressure release valve, giving people false hope and at same giving people false conclusions on key issues such as 9/11.


You can't take on too many issues. Paul knows 911 was an inside job. His supporters know. Someday he will go public. I don't agree with the way he handles this, just as I don't like the politics of rand paul on many issues. TPTB would have loved RP to come out as a Truther - they would have detroyed him and his credibility as the sheeple just have no idea what is really going on.


Ross Kemp Extreme World. Ukraine


Watched it. The nazi's are taking over west ukraine. Porkoshenko better watch his back.


Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the far right Pravy Sektor group (financed by Kolomoisky) has brought together the remnants of the Nazi volunteer battalions as one entity, under his control. He has also stated that they (again) will not comply with the ceasefire. These will be the shock troops in the next stage of this saga.



(use subtitles)


This is how they do business in Ukraine parliament, whichever government is in


If the US were isolationist, a lot of Dead Ukrainians would likely be alive right now.

With that said, there are plenty of intrigues to go around even the US were somehow frozen.

There are many powerful entities who have their fingers in the Ukraine. Not the least of them are the Ukrainians themselves, both Eastern and Western variety.

Neither the West's position, that everyone should account all Ukrainians both East and West to be homogenous, nor the East's position, that the East Ukraine is Russia, and the West Ukraine is an illegitimate province of Poland or LIthuania and therefore unworthy of self rule, is workable.

Both of those positions lead to dead ends. The Ukrainians are Ukrainians because they are the descendants of those who followed the Kiev 'Rus' (Russians). The Russians are those who followed the Prince of Moscow. All of Russia and part of Ukraine was conquered by the Mongols. The part not conquered are the West Ukrainians. The part conquered are the East many soviet era Russian imports.

Russia's stake is control of the Black Sea Basin...which will cement Russia as mandatory near monopoly energy supplier to Europe. Europe's stake is to have access to non-Russian energy. The US's and NATO's stake is to prevent the re-arming of Europe by ensuring they have no REASON to re-arm.

Pick your outcome:

If Russia gets both Crimea and East Ukrainian land routes to Ukraine, then they decisively control energy to Europe. Europe's choices are then to EITHER a) Trust the US to ensure their economies and access to energy b) Ensure European access to energy themselves - militarily c) Become Russian colonies.

Russia's choices are: a) Commit Russia to militarily conquering Ukraine and then use the economic benefit of that position to arm themselves for the inevitable world war that will result b) Resign itself to open competition for energy by surrendering either East Ukraine or Crimea.

The US's choices are: a) Incrementally increase pressure on Russia via economic and/or military means until they allow Europe to have access to non-Russian energy b) Ignore Ukraine with the cost of later involvement in a world war in europe c) Ignore Ukraine and then withdraw from the transatlantic alliance.

The fact is that the US is over-extended and should not have given Putin a reason for overt involvement. The fact is that Europe is un-prepared to militarily deter Russia from turning them into energy-plantation slaves. The fact is that EUrope is too proud and powerful for Russia as currently composed to force into energy submission simultaneously detering Europe from contesting the matter militarily.

In the next 20 years there will be a major war in Europe, on the scale of WWII. Russia will be facing all of Western Europe.

Russia propaganda seems confused about the organization of Power in the West, presenting it as a US-led top-down organization. In fact it is led by powerful European interests who act through governments. This is all highly observable. What did you think the eminence of the CFR was all about? What did you think Bilderberg was for??? When the European governments were decimated after WWII those interests acted through the US government.

Europe is no longer decimated, and the shift of power from US to European entities has been historic and EASILY observable. What do you think the Eurozone and EU are all about??

There's a lot of high-time preference going on - on every side of this, as each side too heavily weights the desirability of the fruit they see before them, and overly discounts the later costs of that fruit - both Europe and Russia wanting the Ukrainian fruit for the energy power it gives them, and the US in underestimating the costs of their chosen course to placate Europe via meddling in Ukraine.

This is not going to end well for anyone in Europe no matter how it plays out. The stakes are too big for too many big powers.

The US would be better off isolationist, and preparing to re-open ellis island. A lot of war refugees will need a home soon.

China need only wait to inherit Eurasia from those who plan to foolishly decimate themselves.


So that would be a US/NATO/EU coup on a US/NATO/EU coup?

Isn't one coup normally enough for a few years? The first one lasted 12 months and obviously the backstops weren't placed carefully enough, me thinks the bribery money is running out (has run out)!


Here's Ron Paul in 2002 asking why the US was meddling with Ukrainian elections...

Armed Resistance

Here you go: Victoria Nuland admitting that the US spent $5B to have regime change..


Off the wall? That is where anyone who does not believe that USA, EU and NATO are totally responsible for the violent mess Ukraine has become.

[Feb 14, 2015] Don't Arm Ukraine by John J. Mearsheimer

Feb 8, 2015 |

...Going down that road would be a huge mistake for the United States, NATO and Ukraine itself. Sending weapons to Ukraine will not rescue its army and will instead lead to an escalation in the fighting. Such a step is especially dangerous because Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons and is seeking to defend a vital strategic interest.

...the conflict will not end there. Russia would counter-escalate, taking away any temporary benefit Kiev might get from American arms. The authors of the think tank study concede this, noting that "even with enormous support from the West, the Ukrainian Army will not be able to defeat a determined attack by the Russian military." In short, the United States cannot win an arms race with Russia over Ukraine and thereby ensure Russia's defeat on the battlefield.

... ... ...

This coercive strategy is also unlikely to work, no matter how much punishment the West inflicts. What advocates of arming Ukraine fail to understand is that Russian leaders believe their country's core strategic interests are at stake in Ukraine; they are unlikely to give ground, even if it means absorbing huge costs.

Great powers react harshly when distant rivals project military power into their neighborhood, much less attempt to make a country on their border an ally. This is why the United States has the Monroe Doctrine, and today no American leader would ever tolerate Canada or Mexico joining a military alliance headed by another great power.

... ... ...

Upping the ante in Ukraine also risks unwanted escalation. Not only would the fighting in eastern Ukraine be sure to intensify, but it could also spread to other areas. The consequences for Ukraine, which already faces profound economic and social problems, would be disastrous.

... ... ...

Our understanding of the mechanisms of escalation in crises and war is limited at best, although we know the risks are considerable. Pushing a nuclear-armed Russia into a corner would be playing with fire.

Advocates of arming Ukraine recognize the escalation problem, which is why they stress giving Kiev "defensive," not "offensive," weapons. Unfortunately, there is no useful distinction between these categories: All weapons can be used for attacking and defending. The West can be sure, though, that Moscow will not see those American weapons as "defensive," given that Washington is determined to reverse the status quo in eastern Ukraine.

...Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, seems to recognize that fact, as she has said Germany will not ship arms to Kiev. Her problem, however, is that she does not know how to bring the crisis to an end.

She and other European leaders still labor under the delusion that Ukraine can be pulled out of Russia's orbit and incorporated into the West, and that Russian leaders must accept that outcome. They will not.

To save Ukraine and eventually restore a working relationship with Moscow, the West should seek to make Ukraine a neutral buffer state between Russia and NATO. It should look like Austria during the Cold War. Toward that end, the West should explicitly take European Union and NATO expansion off the table, and emphasize that its goal is a nonaligned Ukraine that does not threaten Russia. The United States and its allies should also work with Mr. Putin to rescue Ukraine's economy, a goal that is clearly in everyone's interest.

It is essential that Russia help end the fighting in eastern Ukraine and that Kiev regain control over that region. Still, the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk should be given substantial autonomy, and protection for Russian language rights should be a top priority.

Crimea, a casualty of the West's attempt to march NATO and the European Union up to Russia's doorstep, is surely lost for good. It is time to end that imprudent policy before more damage is done — to Ukraine and to relations between Russia and the West.

John J. Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, is the author of "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics."

[Feb 11, 2015] Poroshenko: Ukraine conflict risks spiralling out of control

Quote: Ironically (and rather disingenuously), US talking heads, media parrots and politicians in Washington – are still recycling their worn-out sound bites: "Russia is invading the Ukraine", "Moscow is responsible for the destabilization of the Ukraine", and it goes on.

Military industrial lobbyists like US State Dept. Euro Secretary Victoria Nuland, and US Senator John McCain have played a key role in the Kiev's Nazi renaissance from the beginning – a new low point in international racketeering…

Feb 11, 2015 |


War by media and the triumph of propaganda by John Pilger

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what's called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war - with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an "invisible government". It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media - a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.

This power to create a new "reality" has building for a long time. Forty-five years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: "There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual."

I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only "culture" and introspection could change the world.

Within a few years, driven by the forces of profit, the cult of "me-ism" had all but overwhelmed our sense of acting together, our sense of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political, and the media was the message.

Read more at :-


The Minsk talks are about to enter their tenth hour, with the delegations of Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine still trying to reach a final compromise and come up with a joint resolution. Journalists have been covering the event for almost 12 hours now.

Pity the guardian doesn't have any journalists.

Nickel07 -> centerline

They rely on the arduous task of watching FOX (and it is incredibly arduous) or repeating whatever dribble comes out of the BBC


Nato's action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove by John Pilger


The genius of Stanley Kubrick's film is that it accurately represents the cold war's lunacy and dangers. Most of the characters are based on real people and real maniacs. There is no equivalent to Strangelove today because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same. The nuclear clock has remained at five minutes to midnight; the same false flags are hoisted above the same targets by the same "invisible government", as Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations, described modern propaganda.

In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, "the missile gap" was the false flag. To build more and bigger nuclear weapons and pursue an undeclared policy of domination, President John F Kennedy approved the CIA's propaganda that the Soviet Union was well ahead of the US in the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This filled front pages as the "Russian threat". In fact, the Americans were so far ahead in production of the missiles, the Russians never approached them. The cold war was based largely on this lie.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato enlargement project. Reneging on a US promise to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand "one inch to the east", Nato has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato's military build-up is the most extensive since the second world war.

In February, the US mounted one of its proxy "colour" coups against the elected government of Ukraine; the shock troops were fascists. For the first time since 1945, a pro-Nazi, openly antisemitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism on the border of Russia. Some 30 million Russians died in the invasion of their country by Hitler's Nazis, who were supported by the infamous Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the UPA) which was responsible for numerous Jewish and Polish massacres. The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, of which the UPA was the military wing, inspires today's Svoboda party.

Since Washington's putsch in Kiev – and Moscow's inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet – the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the "Russian threat". This is fossilised propaganda. The US air force general who runs Nato forces in Europe – General Philip Breedlove, no less – claimed more than two weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops "massing" on the border with Ukraine. So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures proving there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is certain is that Barack Obama's rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.

Following a 13-year rampage that began in stricken Afghanistan well after Osama bin Laden had fled, then destroyed Iraq beneath a false flag, invented a "nuclear rogue" in Iran, dispatched Libya to a Hobbesian anarchy and backed jihadists in Syria, the US finally has a new cold war to supplement its worldwide campaign of murder and terror by drone.

Read more at:-


Lets be clear. Kiev must answer for their crimes when this is settled:

On June 2nd 2014 a Ukraine jet fighter attacked the central administrative building in Lugansk city killing seven civilians. It was a gross act of state terrorism It was not a military target.

Immediately the US and the Ukraine UN Representative lied, saying it was a misfiring rebel anti-aircraft manpad device that struck the buildings air con.

Yet, when the osce investigation pronounced it had been a jet fighter attack, Kiev and Washington still denied it.

They have still not answered to this war crime - the first terrorist act of this crisis incidentally.

Lets not forget WHO is responsible for the appalling, criminal deaths in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk and who started the "terror".



'The one constant here is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the leader of the free and thinking world who has not changed from the beginning and is to the people of Earth as the North star has been to sailors on the oceans for centuries.'

This has to be the funniest thing ever posted on here (and saddest for those trapped in the PutinSSR)

Ian56789 -> GreatMountainEagle

Why do you get off on being a Goldman Sachs / Neocon troll?

Ian56789 -> GreatMountainEagle

Putin currently has an 86% approval rating in Russia. Primarily this is because they were ruled by Goldman Sachs and the US under Yeltsin in the 1990's. Yeltsin caused the collapse of the Russian economy and a 40% drop in people's living standards. Russia was a total mess by the late 1990's.

Putin enjoys a very high approval rating because they do NOT want to be ruled by Goldman Sachs again and they see Putin as the only guy that can stop it from happening.

Americans and Europeans haven't done so well living under Goldman Sachs rule for the last circa 15 years either. People's real standards of living in the developed countries has declined significantly.


Forgetting all the name calling, who started it etc. what I don't get is how anyone can think this will work.

The only premise where this will be possible is if the West will reign in Kiev's wish to obliterate the East of Ukraine and Russia can persuade the rebels that this is true.

Without at least some assurances from the West about the safety of the East, the rebels will fight on, even if Putin removed his support (which he won't do if he thinks there will be a bloodbath, it would be political suicide for him).

You can't ask Russia to get out of the situation if they think the Lunatics in charge of Kiev will do what they want to do.


The US always attacking Putin. Russia has a functioning, united government of which Putin is one part. When the US decides to attack, the first thing they create is an evil dictator. They can bring freedom to the masses. US freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose.

Obama having a hissy fit with Putin is childish. Obama got a start working for Henry Kissinger and rumored to work for the CIA.
If he wants to do something useful he could send Mrs Nuland back to Kiev with some of her delicious cookies

Goodthanx -> NormVan

To gain a nomination of Presidency, you are prescreened by the Cia. Meaning, are you willing to be a lacky for the Cia, and the Military industrialists?
No president has a long future without the support of both. JFK case in point.


Once the peace agreement is signed...what are you lot on the dark side going to do just come here and try to push back the tide of the investigations that will surely follow? What are you going to do try to scream Putin is a Nazi like kindergarten kids?

I think you are about to lose big time and not just in Ukraine, but also by losing the little credibility you still have with some countries as demonstrated by the approach taken by Hollande and Merkel.
And, to compound it all:

"the reality of "American leadership" at times entails "twisting the arms" of states which "don't do what we need them to do," and that the US relied on its military strength and other leverage to achieve its goals."

Translation : We coerce some folk.


Why tell us what Poro thinks, Guardian; he always lies, wasting our time and Guardian outdated reporters ink.

Why tell us what Obama thinks, mass murderer. evil, inadequate, coward, fool, and the cause of all this. He is out of his depth; this is not any of his business; he should butt out He will have to.

Merkel is just finding her voice and her brains and cutting loose the Yankee Nazi twits.

The one constant here is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the leader of the free and thinking world who has not changed from the beginning and is to the people of Earth as the North star has been to sailors on the oceans for centuries.


NATO's Nazis: Ethnic Cleansing Their Opposition in East Ukraine
November 17, 2014

Nearly one year on from the US-backed faux 'colour revolution' in Maidan Square, the Ukraine has been violently ripped into pieces by the new CIA-backed government in Kiev.

What began with pro-EU colour mobs and far right-wing neo-Nazi gangs in Kiev, has escalated to ethnic cleansing in the eastern half of the country. The horrors are unspeakable, as detailed in the report below (with video). NATO, led by the US and Britain, are actively backing Kiev's military brutal campaign of collective punishment and ethnic cleansing against Russian-speaking people in the east of that country.

Ironically (and rather disingenuously), US talking heads, media parrots and politicians in Washington – are still recycling their worn-out sound bites: "Russia is invading the Ukraine", "Moscow is responsible for the destabilization of the Ukraine", and it goes on.

Military industrial lobbyists like US State Dept. Euro Secretary Victoria Nuland, and US Senator John McCain have played a key role in the Kiev's Nazi renaissance from the beginning – a new low point in international racketeering…

Read more at:-


Interesting Newsnight on the Maidan shootings, perhaps it wasn't so black and white.

The much more devastating ARD (German TV) report (from about a year ago) seems to have been removed from the Internet. It used to be on YouTube.

The only place I can find it is

But don't bother ARD has removed the right to broadcast it for 'licencing' reasons.

For a textual analysis of ARD's report try this, it about two pages down

Ian56789 richiep40

The sniper shootings in Maidan

The sniper fire came from the upper floors and roofs of buildings controlled by the protestors
(Other pictures show the Berkut Police firing - but they are firing downwards in front of the protestors to try and stop their advance NOT firing at them.)

The sniper's massacre in Maidan Feb 18th to 20th, that directly led to the Coup in Ukraine:-
An academic analysis by a Canadian

Kiev snipers were hired by Maidan leaders - the leaked EU's Ashton phone tape

Full Videoproof of Maidan snipers killing Ukraine Civilians Shooting From Behind! warning GRAPHIC 18+

​'No evidence of Berkut police behind mass killing in Kiev' – probe head
There is no forensic evidence linking the victims of mass killings in Kiev on February 20 with officers from the Berkut police unit, the head of the parliamentary commission investigating the murders told journalists.

"This will be yet another case, like the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, which is still being investigated today," Gennady Moskal reported.

The MP made the statements at a media conference on Tuesday gathered to announce preliminary results of his commission's probe. He assured that despite the Ukrainian General Prosecutor's office having arrested 12 Berkut officers on allegations of committing the mass killings, forensic evidence suggests their innocence.

He said the bullets that killed people in Kiev on the bloodies day of confrontation between protesters seeking to oust President Viktor Yanukovich and riot police didn't match any of the firearms issued to Berkut's special unit, which, unlike the majority of riot police, was allowed to carry lethal weapons.

The man in charge of those controlling the buildings from which the snipers fired was Andrey Parubiy who after the Coup was appointed head of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

Read more at:-

Mulefish -> Ian56789

This was all reported on R.T.V. at the time.

They had reporters on the ground when this was happening. They showed us the remarkable restraint shown by the Berkut in the face of being in the face of being viciously assailed by infused, probably drug fuelled, certainly Yankee pie and five billion fuelled, Nazi thugs, and the illogical directions from which the sniper bullets came. (~This type of third party sniping is typical Yank false flag trickery. They probably provided the snipers too.)

They also broadcast the transcript of the Ashton phone call and her goofy, coward, reaction, not taken up, indeed studiously ignored, by the Western so-called press.

In like vein, Putin offered up his radar records for the downing of MH17, including records of the presence of Ukrainian fighter planes present at the time, an offer not matched by the Kiev Junta or the mouthy U.S. deep in the throes of lying about the incident , all the same, with typical foul mouthedness.

So easy to fool the common denizens of the West, especially the "exceptional" Yankees and their British government ass lickers.

richiep40 -> Ian56789

Thanks for all the info, I wouldn't say I knew all about all the research, but I definitely got the drift.

I was really just commenting that the BBC Newsnight report was the first time that any of the British Media have come even slightly off message.

For instance there were some reports from Donetsk on the horrible conditions there and the civilian casualties on BBC Radio this morning, but not once did they mention these were all in the City Centre held by the rebels and the only conceivable people launching the attacks were the Ukrainian forces.

Now to anyone who takes an interest it is obvious, but for the casual listener who doesn't have an interest, I doubt it.


Every government can use the full employment equation:
Full Employment (FE) = Pension (P) X 1.2 X Money Velocity (MV) X 0.001
That equation is for all Nations and States.

A Ukraine Government can immediately tax Murdoch-type tax evaders, etc at 0.001% of money velocity and pay a new 20% State Pension.

There is absolutely no valid excuse for unemployment in Ukraine. The State Pension can be adjusted lower and the tax rate can be adjusted higher. The pension is to spread the money around to create more small businesses and more jobs. The tiny rate of tax is for High Frequency Traders, Gamblers, Murdoch-types etc. Everyday people will not notice it.

When Governments and people learn how good this modern tax is, we will be able to use it to replace Income Tax etc. War is obsolete.

centerline coober

One small hitch. It is the Murdoch type that make the taxes. They put people in power who will tax the poor so the government can subside the Murdochs.

Murdoch moved his Australian accounting office offshore a few years ago so the Australian tax office paid Murdoch three quarters of a billion dollars.

Bud Peart

"Obama rounded unusually personally on Putin. "He has a foot very much in the Soviet past. That's how he came of age. He ran the KGB,"

He ran the FSB, is he stupid or was this a planned lie to ratchet up cold war hysteria?

[Feb 08, 2015] Ukraine crisis Do not try to scare Putin, warns Merkel By Tom Parfitt, Moscow and Justin Huggler in Berlin

Another terrible and extremely brutal created by West civil war in the name of neo-colonial domination of the territory, resources and markets is in full swing. And that's after Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afganistan, Libya... Already probably over 50K of dead and several times more wounded. More then a million of refuges (mostly in Russia)...
Feb 07, 2015 | Telegraph

Sending arms to Ukraine will not scare Vladimir Putin, warns Angela Merkel while Francois Hollande warns it could lead to war

It was a day of bluster and speeches but also paralysis over how to bring the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine to an end.

On one side, hawks in Washington favour supplying "advanced weapons" to Ukraine's government in Kiev. On the other, cautious European leaders warned it is easier to provoke Vladimir Putin than to scare him.

"I am firmly convinced this conflict cannot be solved with military means," said Angela Merkel, the German chancellor at the Munich Security Conference.

Mrs Merkel, who is the only major Western leader to have a working relationship with Mr Putin, said a flow of American arms to Ukraine would not intimidate the Russian leader.

"I cannot imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily," she said. "I have to put it that bluntly."

She added that force had not proved to be the solution in the past when dealing with Russia. "I grew up in East Germany, I have seen the Wall," she said. "The Americans did not intervene in the Wall, but in the end we won."

More than 5,300 people have died in the conflict so far, many in devastating artillery barrages, and Kiev warned yesterday that rebel troops were massing for a fresh offensive.

An increasing number of US politicians and senior officials have suggested countering the rebel troops by supplying "defensive weapons" such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, small arms and ammunition to allow Ukraine to strike back at the tanks, artillery and troops that Russia appears to be sending to the east of the country.

General Philip Breedlove, Nato's top military commander, insisted on Saturday that the option should remain on the table. "I don't think we should preclude out of hand the possibility of the military option," he said, adding: "There is no conversation about boots on the ground."

President Barack Obama has remained silent so far, but Ashton Carter, his nominee for defence secretary, told a Senate committee last week that he is "very much inclined" to provide arms to Petro Poroshenko's government.

A day after five hours of talks in Moscow between Mrs Merkel, François Hollande and Mr Putin yielded no public agreement beyond a commitment to a further phone call, all the major players in the crisis met at the Munich Security Conference, electrifying what is usually a dry affair.

There was no mistaking where the sympathies of the audience, made up of international leaders including 20 heads of state, lay. When Mrs Merkel mentioned in her speech that she was glad to see Petro Poroshenko present, the Ukrainian President stood up and took a bow, to rapturous applause. Brandishing the passports of several Russian soldiers allegedly seized on Ukrainian territory, he said they were the "best evidence for the aggression and for the presence of Russian troops".

Mr Hollande has said he is against arming Ukraine and Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, said the UK also supports a diplomatic solution while he denounced Mr Putin's "bully-boy" tactics.

"At the moment we do not feel that the supply of arms would be a helpful contribution," said Mr Hammond. "And so long as there is something approximating a military stalemate, the focus must be on finding a political solution to resolve it."

He also rejected accusations that the UK had become a "diplomatic irrelevance", saying: "We will decide, together, what is the best way to go forward. The United States and the United Kingdom will be at that table with France and Germany."

But Malcolm Rifkind, the former Defence and Foreign Secretary, was one of several delegates who pressed Mrs Merkel on how Mr Putin could be tackled without bolstering Ukraine's army. "Frederick the Great said that diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments," the Tory MP pointed out.

Joe Biden, the US vice president, appeared to leave a route open for weapons supplies to Kiev, saying: "We do not believe in a military solution to the conflict, but we do not believe that Putin has the right to do whatever he wants." He added: "Too many times, President Putin has promised peace and delivered tanks."

On Sunday, Mrs Merkel, Mr Hollande, Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko will resume the debate and are expected to thrash out a blueprint on a conference call. But it remains unclear what incentive, or threat, Moscow requires in order to scale back its support for the thousands of heavily armed militiamen in east Ukraine.

On Saturday Mr Putin insisted that his country was innocent, saying during a visit to Sochi on the Black Sea: "We are not going to wage war on anyone, we plan to cooperate with everybody."

"There clearly is an attempt to restrain our development with different means," he told trade union activists. "There is an attempt to perturb the existing world order... with one incontestable leader who wants to remain as such thinking he is allowed everything while others are only allowed what he allows and only in his interests. This world order will never suit Russia."

In Munich, Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, took the West to task for allegedly escalating the conflict but expressed hope the renewed peace talks would bear fruit. "We believe there is every possibility that we will reach a result and agree the recommendations that will allow the sides to really untie this knot of a conflict," he said.

Representatives of the rebels, Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe signed a peace deal in Minsk, Belarus, in September. That deal agreed a ceasefire, a withdrawal of artillery, prisoner exchanges and other concessions but was never implemented in full. Despite some lulls, fighting and shelling continued and last month the rebels announced they were abandoning talks over a ceasefire and going on the offensive.

French and German officials have said the current peace talks are seeking a way to implement the original Minsk agreement, possibly conceding more land to the rebels to reflect their recent advances.

But Mr Poroshenko said any new deal should not expand the territory given over to rebel control, and its signatories could not pick and choose which points to fulfil.

"The Minsk protocol is not a buffet in the Bayerischer Hof hotel," he said, referring to the location of the Munich conference.

[Feb 06, 2015] Recognition by Obama and Americals as "players" in Ukranian conflict

Feb 3, 2015 |

American political and economic language has the notion of "player". It is beyond morality (as well as U.S. foreign policy in General). The player in the financial market or political player in the middle East, etc. Well, if you play chess or a shoot-and-kill videogame game of some kind, the murder of a pawn, knight, or military unit is not subject to moral evaluation. That's what game requires.

Recognition made by Obama that the USA has prepared a coup in Ukraine, is the recognition of a smug "player". Which slightly opened the card for psychological pressure signaling something to rebels or political opponents, or voters within the US.

Classic moral definitions have been substituted by the USA neoliberal elite with the concepts, which they call "legitimacy". On this planet they now reserved for themselves that right to define what is "legitimate" and what is not.

The problem is that directly or indirectly Americans kill not pawns and not units in videogame. But human beings. After ww2 toll of Americans victims is already on millions. Collapse of indigenous cultures, of the states, of established international contacts and relations, etc.. And they propose nothing in return for destroyed lives, cultures and states other then neoliberal order. Which is not a worthy replacement. Or offer of Washington consensus which was applied to several states-victims and destroyed all of them. All those IMF reforms does not work, because they were designed not to work and benefit countries in question but the USA and international corporations. Now those "gamers" face certain difficulties. Because the whole world is not the USA. Which remembers who caused suffering to many millions of people.

But I digress. We are discussion Obama admission of the organization of year another coup d'état in another banana revolution (in this case - European county called Ukraine) and he provided some interesting details. Now about details.

For example, I am sure that the group thugs in masks on the Maidan which brutally attacked f law-enforcement officers, which threw burning petrol at police and hit police with chains were iether of non-Ukrainian origin or specially brainwashed and trained by West units. Where they were trained? Who are these people? Who financed and built-up racist, anti-Russian hysteria in the media and on the Internet, in social networks? Who on the American side was negotiating with Putin and Yanukovich, how they cheated and they had expected? Give us names !

Well, since Obama opened the card, then I wonder - what's next? And it would be nice to know the details of this dirty operation not after 50 years, but now. Were those methods, using which the USA essentially started civil war in Ukraine, legitimate? Are similar dirty method of overthrowing legitimate government now OK to everybody?

[Feb 04, 2015] DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA: War Is the new normal By William J Astore

The U.S. military's recourse to private contractors has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well
February 1, 2015 |

It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it "the long war," an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent. It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation of that disaster as well.

Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a "Groundhog Day" kind of repetition. Just when you thought it was over (Iraq, Afghanistan), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again.

Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition. Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can't stop making war.

More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here's a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America. In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I'm planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).

1. The privatization of war: The U.S. military's recourse to private contractors has strengthened the profit motive for war-making and prolonged wars as well. Unlike the citizen-soldiers of past eras, the mobilized warrior corporations of America's new mercenary moment -- the Halliburton/KBRs (nearly $40 billion in contracts for the Iraq War alone), the DynCorps ($4.1 billion to train 150,000 Iraqi police), and the Blackwater/Xe/Academis ($1.3 billion in Iraq, along with boatloads of controversy) -- have no incentive to demobilize. Like most corporations, their business model is based on profit through growth, and growth is most rapid when wars and preparations for more of them are the favored options in Washington.

"Freedom isn't free," as a popular conservative bumper sticker puts it, and neither is war. My father liked the saying, "He who pays the piper calls the tune," and today's mercenary corporations have been calling for a lot of military marches piping in $138 billion in contracts for Iraq alone, according to the Financial Times. And if you think that the privatization of war must at least reduce government waste, think again: the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated in 2011 that fraud, waste, and abuse accounted for up to $60 billion of the money spent in Iraq alone.

To corral American-style war, the mercenaries must be defanged or deflated. European rulers learned this the hard way during the Thirty Years' War of the seventeenth century. At that time, powerful mercenary captains like Albrecht von Wallenstein ran amok. Only Wallenstein's assassination and the assertion of near absolutist powers by monarchs bent on curbing war before they went bankrupt finally brought the mercenaries to heel, a victory as hard won as it was essential to Europe's survival and eventual expansion. (Europeans then exported their wars to foreign shores, but that's another story.)

2. The embrace of the national security state by both major parties: Jimmy Carter was the last president to attempt to exercise any kind of control over the national security state. A former Navy nuclear engineer who had served under the demanding Admiral Hyman Rickover, Carter cancelled the B-1 bomber and fought for a U.S. foreign policy based on human rights. Widely pilloried for talking about nuclear war with his young daughter Amy, Carter was further attacked for being "weak" on defense. His defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980 inaugurated 12 years of dominance by Republican presidents that opened the financial floodgates for the Department of Defense. That taught Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council a lesson when it came to the wisdom of wrapping the national security state in a welcoming embrace, which they did, however uncomfortably. This expedient turn to the right by the Democrats in the Clinton years served as a temporary booster shot when it came to charges of being "soft" on defense -- until Republicans upped the ante by going "all-in" on military crusades in the aftermath of 9/11.

Since his election in 2008, Barack Obama has done little to alter the course set by his predecessors. He, too, has chosen not to challenge Washington's prevailing catechism of war. Republicans have responded, however, not by muting their criticism, but by upping the ante yet again. How else to explain House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in March? That address promises to be a pep talk for the Republicans, as well as a smack down of the Obama administration and its "appeasenik" policies toward Iran and Islamic radicalism.

Serious oversight, let alone opposition to the national security state by Congress or a mainstream political party, has been missing in action for years and must now, in the wake of the Senate Torture Report fiasco (from which the CIA emerged stronger, not weaker), be presumed dead. The recent midterm election triumph of Republican war hawks and the prospective lineup of candidates for president in 2016 does not bode well when it comes to reining in the national security state in any foreseeable future.

3. "Support Our Troops" as a substitute for thought. You've seen them everywhere: "Support Our Troops" stickers. In fact, the "support" in that slogan generally means acquiescence when it comes to American-style war. The truth is that we've turned the all-volunteer military into something like a foreign legion, deploying it again and again to our distant battle zones and driving it into the ground in wars that amount to strategic folly. Instead of admitting their mistakes, America's leaders have worked to obscure them by endlessly overpraising our "warriors" as so many universal heroes. This may salve our collective national conscience, but it's a form of cheap grace that saves no lives -- and wins no wars.

Instead, this country needs to listen more carefully to its troops, especially the war critics who have risked their lives while fighting overseas. Organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace are good places to start.

4. Fighting a redacted war. War, like the recent Senate torture report, is redacted in America. Its horrors and mistakes are suppressed, its patriotic whistleblowers punished, even as the American people are kept in a demobilized state. The act of going to war no longer represents the will of the people, as represented by formal Congressional declarations of war as the U.S. Constitution demands. Instead, in these years, Americans were told to go to Disney World (as George W. Bush suggested in the wake of 9/11) and keep shopping. They're encouraged not to pay too much attention to war's casualties and costs, especially when those costs involve foreigners with funny-sounding names (after all, they are, as American sniper Chris Kyle so indelicately put it in his book, just "savages").

Redacted war hides the true cost of a permanent state of killing from the American people, if not from foreign observers. Ignorance and apathy reign, even as a national security state that is essentially a shadow government equates its growth with your safety.

5. Threat inflation: There's nothing new about threat inflation. We saw plenty of it during the Cold War (nonexistent missile and bomber gaps, for example). Fear sells and we've had quite a dose of it in the twenty-first century, from ISIS to Ebola. But a more important truth is that fear is a mind-killer, a debate-stifler.

Back in September, for example, Senator Lindsey Graham warned that ISIS and its radical Islamic army was coming to America to kill us all. ISIS, of course, is a regional power with no ability to mount significant operations against the United States. But fear is so commonplace, so effectively stoked in this country that Americans routinely and wildly exaggerate the threat posed by al-Qaeda or ISIS or the bogeyman du jour.

Decades ago, as a young lieutenant in the Air Force, I was hunkered down in Cheyenne Mountain during the Cold War. It was the ultimate citadel-cum-bomb-shelter, and those in it were believed to have a 70% likelihood of surviving a five-megaton nuclear blast. There, not surprisingly, I found myself contemplating the very real possibility of a thermonuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, a war that would have annihilated life as we knew it, indeed much of life on our planet thanks to the phenomenon of nuclear winter. You'll excuse me for not shaking in my boots at the threat of ISIS coming to get me. Or of Sharia Law coming to my local town hall. With respect to such fears, America needs, as Hillary Clinton said in an admittedly different context, to "grow a pair."

6. Defining the world as a global battlefield: In fortress America, all realms have by now become battle spheres. Not only much of the planet, the seas, air, and space, as well as the country's borders and its increasingly up-armored police forces, but the world of thought, the insides of our minds. Think of the 17 intertwined intelligence outfits in "the U.S. Intelligence Community" and their ongoing "surge" for information dominance across every mode of human communication, as well as the surveillance of everything. And don't forget the national security state's leading role in making cyberwar a reality. (Indeed, Washington launched the first cyberwar in history by deploying the Stuxnet computer worm against Iran.)

Think of all this as a global matrix that rests on war, empowering disaster capitalism and the corporate complexes that have formed around the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and that intelligence community. A militarized matrix doesn't blink at $1.45 trillion dollars devoted to the F-35, a single under-performing jet fighter, nor at projections of $355 billion over the next decade for "modernizing" the U.S. nuclear arsenal, weapons that Barack Obama vowed to abolish in 2009.

7. The new "normal" in America is war: The 9/11 attacks happened more than 13 years ago, which means that no teenagers in America can truly remember a time when the country was at peace. "War time" is their normal; peace, a fairy tale.

What's truly "exceptional" in twenty-first-century America is any articulated vision of what a land at peace with itself and other nations might be like. Instead, war, backed by a diet of fear, is the backdrop against which the young have grown to adulthood. It's the background noise of their world, so much a part of their lives that they hardly recognize it for what it is. And that's the most insidious danger of them all.

How do we inoculate our children against such a permanent state of war and the war state itself? I have one simple suggestion: just stop it. All of it. Stop making war a never-ending part of our lives and stop celebrating it, too. War should be the realm of the extreme, of the abnormal. It should be the death of normalcy, not the dreary norm.

It's never too soon, America, to enlist in that good fight!

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), is a TomDispatch regular. His D.Phil. is in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He's just plain tired of war and would like to see the next politician braying for it be deployed with a rifle to the front lines of battle. He edits the blog The Contrary Perspective.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 William J. Astore

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[Feb 03, 2015] The Golden Age Of Black Ops: US Special Forces Have Already Deployed To 105 Nations This Year

Feb 03, 2015 |

During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries - roughly 70% of the nations on the planet - according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). And this year could be a record-breaker, just 66 days into fiscal 2015 - America's most elite troops had already set foot in 105 nations, approximately 80% of 2014's total. Despite its massive scale and scope, this secret global war across much of the planet is unknown to most Americans…"We want to be everywhere," said Votel at Geolnt...

[Feb 02, 2015] 'US wanted Sgt Bergdahl back from captivity, but silenced'

Feb 02, 2015 | RT Op-Edge

The US made an exception for Bowe Bergdahl, swapping him for five Gitmo prisoners as the Pentagon could not afford to have him in captivity forever, former US marine Ross Caputi told RT.But the military did not want Bergdahl to speak, either.

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. He was released last May after being swapped for five detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Bergdahl was rather critical in his statements about the US Army. In his e-mails to the parents sergeant wrote:

"I'm ashamed to be an American. The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies."

Now the US government wants to charge Bergdahl with desertion.

RT: Is the US Army simply out for revenge here?

Ross Caputi: There are probably some individuals that are. I don't know if that is the policy of more higher-up people within the command. It does look like they are making a consolidated effort to keep everything quiet about Bowe Bergdahl case.

RT: Sergeant Bergdahl was highly critical about the US Army in Afghanistan. Is there any truth in what he says, what do you think?

RC: I think that he definitely had some legitimate criticism, especially in the letters that he wrote to his parents before he deserted. He was very upset about the abuses that were going on within the military, particularly within the rank structure. And he was also very upset about how their operations were harming civilians in Afghanistan. Those were totally valid criticisms. I'm not sure that he went about voicing his objections in a right way.

RT: The US normally refuses to do prisoner swaps. So why was an exception made for Bergdahl?

RC: I can only speculate. I just know that veterans themselves have a lot of propaganda value. Everybody wants to use veterans for propaganda purposes. The left does it as well as the right. They always want to have veterans supporting their politics to give the certain amount of the legitimacy to what their platform is. The US military saw the propaganda value in Bergdahl's case, saw it has been very sensitive.

Poll Netanyahu Should be Investigated for Nuclear Weapons Tech Smuggling Before US Visit by Grant Smith

That's pretty brazen behavior from the client-state.
January 29, 2015 | Blog

A majority of Americans believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be investigated by the FBI for nuclear weapons technology smuggling before being allowed to enter the United States according to a new poll.

In 2012 the FBI declassified and released files (PDF archive) of its investigation into how 800 nuclear weapons triggers were illegally smuggled from the U.S. to Israel. According to the FBI, the Israeli Ministry of Defense ordered nuclear triggers (krytrons), encrypted radios, ballistic missile propellants and other export-prohibited items through a network of front companies. Smuggling ring operations leader Richard Kelly Smyth alleged that Netanyahu worked at one of the fronts – Heli Trading owned by confessed spy and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan – and met with him frequently to execute smuggling operations.

The poll was commissioned by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep). When informed of the incident, most Americans (54.9 percent) indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be investigated by the FBI before an upcoming U.S. visit.

Israel officially designated the smuggling operation "Project Pinto." Smyth was captured, prosecuted and incarcerated in 2002 after years on the run as an international fugitive. The krytrons were believed to be destined for Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Only 25.8 percent of Americans polled believe Netanyahu should be allowed to freely visit the U.S. while 15.9 percent say said he should neither be investigated nor allowed to enter the U.S.

... ... ...

Grant F. Smith is the author of America's Defense Line: The Justice Department's Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government. He currently serves as director of research at the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington (IRmep), D.C. Read other articles by Grant, or visit Grant's website.

The Tragedy of the American Military

Now the USA has contract army almost completely disengaged with public. This way going to war became way too simple, as politicians do not have to feel a backlash.

The Atlantic

Now the American military is exotic territory to most of the American public... As a country, America has been at war nonstop for the past 13 years. As a public, it has not

... ... ...

Robert Altman's 1970 movie M*A*S*H was clearly "about" the Vietnam War, then well into its bloodiest and most bitterly divisive period. (As I point out whenever discussing this topic, I was eligible for the draft at the time, was one of those protesting the war, and at age 20 legally but intentionally failed my draft medical exam. I told this story in a 1975 Washington Monthly article, "What Did You Do in the Class War, Daddy?")

But M*A*S*H's ostensible placement in the Korean War of the early 1950s somewhat distanced its darkly mocking attitude about military competence and authority from fierce disagreements about Vietnam. (The one big Vietnam movie to precede it was John Wayne's doughily prowar The Green Berets, in 1968. What we think of as the classic run of Vietnam films did not begin until the end of the 1970s, with The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now.) The TV spin-off of Altman's film, which ran from 1972 through 1983, was a simpler and more straightforward sitcom on the Sgt. Bilko model, again suggesting a culture close enough to its military to put up with, and enjoy, jokes about it.

Let's skip to today's Iraq-Afghanistan era, in which everyone "supports" the troops but few know very much about them. The pop-culture references to the people fighting our ongoing wars emphasize their suffering and stoicism, or the long-term personal damage they may endure. The Hurt Locker is the clearest example, but also Lone Survivor; Restrepo; the short-lived 2005 FX series set in Iraq, Over There; and Showtime's current series Homeland. Some emphasize high-stakes action, from the fictionalized 24 to the meant-to-be-true Zero Dark Thirty. Often they portray military and intelligence officials as brave and daring. But while cumulatively these dramas highlight the damage that open-ended warfare has done—on the battlefield and elsewhere, to warriors and civilians alike, in the short term but also through long-term blowback—they lack the comfortable closeness with the military that would allow them to question its competence as they would any other institution's.

The battlefield is of course a separate realm, as the literature of warfare from Homer's time onward has emphasized. But the distance between today's stateside America and its always-at-war expeditionary troops is extraordinary. Last year, the writer Rebecca Frankel published War Dogs, a study of the dog-and-handler teams that had played a large part in the U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of the reason she chose the topic, she told me, was that dogs were one of the few common points of reference between the military and the larger public. "When we cannot make that human connection over war, when we cannot empathize or imagine the far-off world of a combat zone … these military working dogs are a bridge over the divide," Frankel wrote in the introduction to her book.

It's a wonderful book, and dogs are a better connection than nothing. But … dogs! When the country fought its previous wars, its common points of reference were human rather than canine: fathers and sons in harm's way, mothers and daughters working in defense plants and in uniform as well. For two decades after World War II, the standing force remained so large, and the Depression-era birth cohorts were so small, that most Americans had a direct military connection. Among older Baby Boomers, those born before 1955, at least three-quarters have had an immediate family member—sibling, parent, spouse, child—who served in uniform. Of Americans born since 1980, the Millennials, about one in three is closely related to anyone with military experience.

The most biting satirical novel to come from the Iraq-Afghanistan era, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain, is a takedown of our empty modern "thank you for your service" rituals. It is the story of an Army squad that is badly shot up in Iraq; is brought back to be honored at halftime during a nationally televised Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game; while there, is slapped on the back and toasted by owner's-box moguls and flirted with by cheerleaders, "passed around like everyone's favorite bong," as platoon member Billy Lynn thinks of it; and is then shipped right back to the front.

The people at the stadium feel good about what they've done to show their support for the troops. From the troops' point of view, the spectacle looks different. "There's something harsh in his fellow Americans, avid, ecstatic, a burning that comes of the deepest need," the narrator says of Billy Lynn's thoughts. "That's his sense of it, they all need something from him, this pack of half-rich lawyers, dentists, soccer moms, and corporate VPs, they're all gnashing for a piece of a barely grown grunt making $14,800 a year." Fountain's novel won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2012, but it did not dent mainstream awareness enough to make anyone self-conscious about continuing the "salute to the heroes" gestures that do more for the civilian public's self-esteem than for the troops'. As I listened to Obama that day in the airport, and remembered Ben Fountain's book, and observed the hum of preoccupied America around me, I thought that the parts of the presidential speech few Americans were listening to were the ones historians might someday seize upon to explain the temper of our times.

[Jan 10, 2015] If Credibility Is Fragile, Then Commitments Should Be Rare By Noah Millman

January 7, 2015 | The American Conservative

Daniel Larison on how hawks use credibility as a bludgeon:

The "credibility" argument is almost exclusively used by foreign policy hawks, and they pay no attention to negative international reactions to U.S. behavior that contradict their assumptions about "credibility." If other states react to provocative and confrontational policies by becoming more assertive in their respective regions, hawks interpret that as proof of the other states' inherent aggressiveness and "expansionist" tendencies.

Hawks usually don't accept that adverse responses that directly follow U.S. actions have any connection to U.S. policies, but any development that happens to take place after the U.S. "fails" to "act" somewhere is preposterously traced back to the moment of "inaction." Thus the U.S. is blamed for somehow "causing" unrelated events in one part of the world by choosing not to do something in an entirely different part, but it is excused from responsibility for the direct negative consequences of whatever it has actually done.

That's because the only thing that jeopardizes "credibility" in their eyes is "inaction" (i.e., not attacking or threatening to attack someone), and adverse consequences of "action" (e.g., expanding alliances, invading/bombing/occupying other countries) are ignored or spun as the result of later "weakness."

This is all correct, but the funny thing to me is that credibility arguments should be the almost exclusive preserve of advocates of restraint. Why? Because if credibility is an important asset that allows America to achieve some objectives without deploying resources (by simply making a commitment to respond if some other actor takes some other action), then we shouldn't squander that asset by making commitments we don't intend – or cannot – make good on.

America's Big Challenge: Finding the Off-Ramp in Iraq by Paul Pillar

The National Interest
Americans are not very good at ending their involvement in wars. No, that's not a pacifist statement about a need to stop fighting wars in general. It is instead an observation about how the United States, once it gets involved—for good or for ill—in any one war, has difficulty determining when and how to call it a day and go home. A major reason for this difficulty is that Americans are not Clausewitzians at heart. They tend not to see warfare as a continuation of policy by other means, but instead to think of war and peace as two very different conditions with clear dividing lines between them.

Americans thus are fine with wars that have as clear an ending as the surrenders of the Axis powers in World War II, which continues to be for many Americans the prototype of how a war should be begun, conceived, and concluded. But America's wars since then have not offered conclusions this satisfying. The one that came closest to doing so was Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which swiftly and decisively achieved its declared objective of reversing the Iraqi swallowing of Kuwait. Even that victory, however, left an unsatisfying aftertaste in some (mostly neocon) mouths, because Saddam Hussein remained in power in Baghdad.

It thus is difficult for U.S. leaders, even if they are capable of thinking in disciplined Clausewitzian terms, to explain and to justify to the American public, and to the political class that makes appeals to that public, the wrapping up of an overseas military involvement without a clear-cut, World War II-style victory. This is a problem no matter how well-founded and justified was the original decision to enter a war.

Other dynamics are commonly involved in such situations, including the one usually called mission creep—the tendency in an overseas military expedition for one thing to lead to another and for one's military forces gradually to take on jobs beyond the one that was the original reason for sending them overseas. Any nation can get sucked into mission creep, but Americans are especially vulnerable to it. The yearning for clear-cut and victorious conclusions to foreign military adventures is one reason. Others are the American tendencies to see any problem overseas as a problem for the superpower to deal with, and to expect that if the United States puts its minds and resources to the task it can solve any problem overseas.

Some insights about this subject can be gleaned from comparing two big recent U.S. military expeditions: the one in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 and the one in Afghanistan that began in 2001 and continues today. There is no comparison between the two regarding the original reasons for initiating them, and in that sense it is unfortunate how much the two came to be lumped together in subsequent discussion. One was a a war of aggression with a contrived and trumped-up rationale; the other was a direct and justified response to a lethal attack on the United States. Iraq really was the bad war and Afghanistan the good one. But as time and costs dragged on and Afghanistan became America's longest war ever, it gradually lost support among Americans and Afghans alike.

The failure in Afghanistan was in not finding, and taking, a suitable off-ramp. The off-ramp that should have been taken was reached within the first few months of the U.S. intervention, after the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack that was the reason for the intervention had been rousted from their home and their sometime allies, the Afghan Taliban, had been ousted from power. Regardless of what would have happened in Afghanistan after that, there would not have been a return to the pre-September 2001 situation there, both because the Taliban would have no reason to ally again with a bunch of Arab transnational terrorists who had brought about such a result, and because the United States's own rules of engagement changed so much that no such return would be allowed to occur whether or not U.S. troops were on the ground.

No good off-ramp was found with the Iraq War, and there never was going to be a really good one, given how ill-conceived the war was in the first place and how little thought the makers of the war had given to the post-invasion consequences. The U.S. administration that perpetrated the war did a political finesse of the problem, using a surge of force to reduce the violence in the civil war enough to be able to say that they did not leave Iraq falling apart, and then setting with the Iraqi government a schedule for U.S. withdrawal that would have to be implemented by the next administration. That set the stage, of course, for promoting the myth that the war had been "won" by the time power was handed over in the United States and for blaming the subsequent administration, when it duly implemented the withdrawal schedule it had been given, for all the later indications that the war clearly had not been "won."

It also set the stage, now that the United States has troops back in Iraq, for talk about the need for a "long-term American presence" to avoid repeating the supposed mistake of cutting and running. How long is "long-term" does not get specified. In other words, no off-ramp is identified. In other words, it's again the familiar problem of not knowing how and when to wind up involvement in a foreign war. The error committed in Afghanistan, of missing the ramp and turning what had been a justified response to an attack on the U.S. homeland into an endless attempt at nation-building in a country thousands of miles away, risks being repeated in Iraq.

[Jan 07, 2015] $14 Million An Hour War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9-11, Say Congressional Researchers by David Sirota

December 22 2014 |

American taxpayers have shelled out roughly $1.6 trillion on war spending since 9/11, according to a new report from Congress' nonpartisan research arm. That's roughly $337 million a day -- or nearly a quarter million dollars a minute -- every single day for 13 years.

The $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11, from the Congressional Research Service is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.

In its report, which was released earlier this month, CRS finds that the 92 percent of the war-related expenditures since 9/11 have flowed into the Pentagon. Just 6 percent has been spent on foreign assistance and diplomacy, and 1 percent on medical services for veterans.

The report, which was posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, breaks down the war-related expenditures by different military operations. It finds that a little more than half the $1.6 trillion has gone toward operations in Iraq. Another $686 billion has been spent on military operations in Afghanistan.

CRS notes that the Obama administration is requesting nearly $6 billion in new funding to finance military operations against the Islamic State group, but researchers note that predicting "future costs of the new U.S. role in countering the Islamic State is difficult because of the nature of the air campaign and uncertainties about whether the U.S. mission may expand."

Last week, a Defense Department official disclosed that since August, U.S. taxpayers have already spent more than $1 billion -- or $8 million a day -- on air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Additionally, the Obama administration announced it is deploying 1,300 troops to Iraq in January.

John Hudak · University of Rochester

What's the big deal? I mean, what else could we have done with the money? Research, infrastructure, education, space exploration, etc?

Juliet Richardson

i've posted elsewhere that the USA seems to be the only industrialized country that appears to be on a permanent war footing. at 54, i have a hard time recalling a time when we weren't either getting out of war, preparing for war or fighting a war.

those 'terrible socialist countries' we look down on have a whole slew of things that the so-called 'greatest country in the world' SHOULD have but --don't--, all because of this idea of unending war, yet another great idea borrowed from '1984'. high speed rail, infrastructure, single payer health care, unemployment benefits you can actually live on and sometimes they include complete retraining[!!], free or heavily subsidized college tuition...... that's a short list!

we, on the other hand can kill a bunch of people anytime we want to. yee. haw.

Jim Starowicz

Fact: Bob Herbert 'Losing Our Way' : "And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we're at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you're going to war is just crazy. I mean, it's madness." Bill 'Moyers and Company': 'Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way' 10 Oct. 2014

Fact: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: "We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country." "And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we're committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we've incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars." 26 September 2014

Fact: "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71 - Independent**

[Dec 21, 2014] Dick Cheney should be in prison, not on 'Meet the Press' - Greenwald

Dec 21, 2014 | RT USA

Reagan signed the international Convention against Torture in 1988, which became the primary international foundation of anti-torture law. Reagan said at the time the treaty would clearly express the United States' opposition to torture, "an abhorrent practice unfortunately prevalent in the world today."

Greenwald said, "The reason why Dick Cheney is able to go on 'Meet the Press' instead of where he should be – which is in a dock in the Hague or in a federal prison – is because President Obama and his administration made the decision not to prosecute any of the people who implemented this torture regime despite the fact that it was illegal and criminal."

He added, "When you send the signal, like the Obama administration did, that torture is not a crime to be punished – it is just a policy dispute to argue about on Sunday shows – of course it emboldens torturers, like Dick Cheney, to go around on Sunday shows and say, 'What I did was absolutely right.'"

[Nov 29, 2014] Hagel Firing Points To More War

Nov 25, 2014 |

Yesterday U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice fired Defense Secretary Hagel. It was a huge mistake for President Obama to agree to that move. There are many foreign policy problems the White House created for itself. None of those are the fault of Hagel but nearly all of them can be traced back to Susan Rice herself and her surreal management style:

Earlier this year, the decision on how many U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan in 2015 was the subject of 14 meetings of NSC deputies, four gatherings involving Cabinet secretaries and other NSC "principals," and two NSC sessions with the president, according to a former senior administration official.

The consequence of those meetings was to pare back the military's request by just 700 troops — from 10,500 to 9,800.

After Obama and Rice, against earlier promises, secretly extend U.S. combat in Afghanistan, the number decided after 20 NSC meetings is already again up in the air and likely to increase. Such decision making exemplifies mismanagement by Susan Rice, not by Hagel.

Rice wanted Hagel fired because she was pissed when Hagel called her out on the chaotic non-policy she developed against the Islamic State and with regard to Syria. As a realist he knows that the U.S. will need the Syrian army under President Assad to push the Islamic State back into the underground. Against the advice of the military Rice, a "liberal interventionist", insists on ousting Assad.

The neocons, including the writers on Fred Hiatt's funny pages in the Washington Post, want Michèle Flournoy as replacement. She is a COIN propagandist who argued for both surges, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both surges as well as COIN failed to deliver what Flournoy and others promised.

Adding more incompetence to the U.S. foreign policy process as a Flournoy nomination would assure will not promote world peace but more war.

Penny | Nov 25, 2014 1:00:54 PM | 6

"Adding more incompetence to the U.S. foreign policy......."

and that comment sets the tone for what comes after. BUT! "Incompetence"? What incompetence? Looks to me like all is going very well in the remake the middle east and get into Africa and you call that incompetence?

Looks to me like a job well done! Hagel may have just gone on to greener pastures- time will tell.

Posted by: Farflungstar | Nov 25, 2014 4:18:05 PM | 9

And after they dragged Hagel's name through the mud on those hearings where he was pointedly grilled about not being pro-Israel enough. I guess when it's all said and done, he wasn't. Rest assured, the next one (Flournoy) will be certain to chug enough tubesteak and kosher sausage links to make her bosses happy.

Susan rice ought to shave her moustache, she might get more respect this way. She's on par with Samantha Power for Asshole of The Year.

james k. sayre | Nov 25, 2014 4:50:34 PM | 13

former Senator Hagel was no peach. He electronically stole his GOP primary election in Nebraska and later electronically stole the general election. Guess who counted the votes? His own electronic voting machine corporation. Not even a paper trail for the saps in Nebraska. Trust Chuck... That was way back in 1996 or 1997. Republicans have stolen many elections electronically since then. The corporate Dems get the GOPs get away with it, so that the Dems would have an excuse to not pass progressive legislation...

Virgile | Nov 25, 2014 5:54:41 PM | 16

"As a realist he knows that the U.S. will need the Syrian army under President Assad to push the Islamic State back into the underground."

That is not correct. In fact many media reported that the opposition and Turkey lost a 'friend' with the departure of Hagel.

Hagel had never expressed that idea. Quite the contrary, like Turkey and France he wanted Bashar Al Assad out before tackling the ISIS. In fact the was kicked because he questioned Obama's strategy to postpone the fate of Bashar Al Assad to after the collapse of ISIS

Obama wanted to hide from Saudi Arabia and Turkey that he had no serious intention of removing Bashar al Assad before having dealt completely with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
He succeeded in fooling them by announcing that both of these countries will be hosting Syrian rebels that the USA will train. Ironically Lavrov helped the US in fooling Turkey and Saudi Arabia by accusing Obama to underhandedly working to topple Bashar Al Assad. The GCC countries were satisfied.

Then Hagel blew up the whole thing as he exposed that it was a hazy strategy as it did not spell out what will happen to Bashar al Assad. Obama and the witches of the White House decided he should leave.

Almand | Nov 25, 2014 6:45:56 PM | 18

Obama now needs to replace Holder and Hagel with an intensely hostile GOP Congress. It's all but a guarantee Hagel's successor will be a neo-con hawk, unless something really strange happens.

Rusty Pipes | Nov 25, 2014 9:52:24 PM | 22

Regarding your second NYT link:
"No one is going to be hailed to be the anti-Hagel," said Douglas Ollivant, a retired Army officer and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. "No one hates Hagel."

Confirmation pressure

Instead of taking pressure off the president, it's likely that the confirmation process for Hagel's replacement will generate more political headaches in the near term. Those hearings should give the president's critics, such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the future Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, a big stage to launch broad attacks on the president's policies in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

The next defense secretary will also have to wrestle with a military strategy in Iraq and Syria that has halted Islamic State advances but has been slow to reverse the group's big gains from the summer.

Aside from the Israel Lobby, "no one hates Hagel." Interesting that the resignation is announced at the same time that the Iran talks have faltered and Abbas has delayed pushing for statehood in the UNSC. What a great way to make Bibi feel like he's on the top of the world.

Willy2 | Nov 26, 2014 3:56:00 PM | 33

Obama doesn't seem to have a clear cut foreign policy.

Article written by Robert Parry.

[Nov 20, 2014] The Military-Industrial Candidate By Kelley Vlahos

Nov 20, 2014 | The American Conservative
Analysts were right to say that the Republican takeover of Congress bodes well for the war machine: already we see the levers of power slowly shifting in reverse, eager to get back to salad days of post-9/11 wartime spending.

But waiting in the wings, Hillary Clinton just may prove to be what the defense establishment has been waiting for, and more. Superior to all in money, name recognition, and influence, she is poised to compete aggressively for the Democratic nomination for president. She might just win the Oval Office. And by most measures she would be the most formidable hawk this country has seen in a generation.

"It is clear that she is behind the use of force in anything that has gone on in this cabinet. She is a Democratic hawk and that is her track record. That's the flag she's planted," said Gordon Adams, a national security budget expert who was an associate director in President Bill Clinton's Office of Management and Budget.

Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who has spent her post-service days protesting the war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, is more blunt. "Interventionism is a business and it has a constituency and she is tapping into it," she tells TAC. "She is for the military industrial complex, and she is for the neoconservatives."

Hillary, Inc.

The former secretary of state, senator, and first lady appeared to fire the first salvo (at least in her national security arsenal) in her next presidential bid last summer, when she gave an interview to Jeffrey Goldberg mostly on the launch of her new autobiography, Hard Choices. In the much-ballyhooed Atlantic piece, Clinton defends Israel from charges of disproportionate attacks in Gaza, takes a hard line on Iran in the nuclear talks, and suggests President Obama could have avoided the rise of ISIS by listening to her proposals for arming the anti-Assad rebels in Syria last year.

... ... ...

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance reporter and TAC contributing editor. Follow her on Twitter.

Nikola, November 20, 2014 at 6:22 am

Thank you American Conservative for mentioning the Clinton bombing of Serbia in the 1990s. So many Serbs feel that Americans genuinely hate Serbia but most Americans have really no idea what the Clintons did to us in the 90s. It's hard for our people here to understand that here but I do my best to explain that 99% of Americans are unaware that their government ordered the bombing of Christian Serbia's hospitals and schools on false pretence to secure Albanian heroin routes in Kosovo.

Serbia was always an American ally. In WWII, Serbs saved 500 U.S. airmen who were shot down by the Nazis in German occupied Serbia. Kept them hidden for 6 months. I suggest readers look up the "Forgotten 500″.

philadelphialawyer, November 20, 2014

"Clinton understands that the only avenue of safety for a Democrat in the arena of national security is to throw money at the Pentagon," said Adams, and 'this is consistent with her worldview on national security. She sees military force as an essential tool and if you take that view, why wouldn't you want to increase the military's budget?'"

Sadly, I think this is true. Bill Clinton, I think, appeased the military and protected himself from the charges of "softness" that have been leveled at national Democrats since the Vietnam era, by wasting money on the DoD and by using the military just enough to keep the hounds at bay. But Hillary is now a true believer. She is not all for war and money for the Pentagon because it is politic (although she does think it is politic as well), but because that is what she now thinks is good policy.

I find it a disgrace that the Democratic party will likely nominate her. I will not vote for her in the primary or in the general election.

NotTimothyGeithner | Nov 25, 2014 10:57:55 PM | 26

@23 I think the empire is bloated and lacks sufficient domestic support to cover all the bases, and the result is the rats are turning on each other. The Village can no longer afford to pay homage to every imperialist pet project, and they are sort of recognizing the crowds out and about tonight are much bigger than their email petitions supporting intervention in Syria. Obama's inner circle is done in a Clinton Administration and will have no future careers in politics if they don't rebrand Obama. Hagel as a Republican offers no real political support given the electorate, and the only way to rebrand Obama is to blame Hagel for mysterious and contradictory reasons such as having cut him out almost 2 years ago and then complaining that there is no strategy from Hagel.

No one except hard core neocons won't trace ISIS to the U.S. or at least our allies through long term blowback from Iraq and the subsequent lack of prosecutions and arming the opposition "forces." Every Obama henchman will at minimum will be asked about quality control.

Posted by: Willy2 | Nov 26, 2014 3:56:00 PM | 33

Obama doesn't seem to have a clear cut foreign policy.

Article written by Robert Parry.

[Nov 11, 2014] The Cold War movie classics Dr. Strangelove, The Deer Hunter and more by Bill Wyman

Al Jazeera America

Leaving aside the terrible human costs, the Cold War was the most cinematic of conflicts, playing out in the shadows of occupied cities and in closed-off rooms thousands of miles away. Action took place behind the scenes — until an absurdist clash played out in this or that corner of the world. Some countries fell like chess pieces; in others fighting dragged on, in a painful stasis, for years. It was a cerebral war, and a perfect setting for stark filmic landscapes of forces larger than people, marked with heroism and despair.

A small number of bleak masterpieces captured the time best; I'll get to those in a minute. But first, there's Vietnam. Here, in a remote curving coastline of a country 9,000 miles from Washington and 4,500 miles from Moscow, two nuclear superpowers funded hapless inhabitants of a Third World country in a debilitating proxy war marked by incompete country.

A year later, Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" hit theaters. The making of the movie was a drawn-out war in its own right, and the ending remains muddled to this day, but few will deny it captured in a highly stylized way the existential toll Vietnam took on America. (No Best Picture award, though — the Academy turned to the rather less visionary " Kramer Vs. Kramer.") A decade later, Oliver Stone revisited his own Vietnam service in " Platoon." The theme was the same — how an immoral war ruins the men forced to fight it — and the Academy responded with another Best Picture win.

The years of the Cold War saw Russia and the U.S. involved in a new Great Game, pressing for advantage in odd corners of the globe. None of it mattered in the big picture, but when two giants battle over a cookie in a small room, collateral damage can ensue. (The cookie generally gets destroyed as well.) No film captured the idea of how insignificant regular folks were in that game than the (literally) explosive "Kiss Me Deadly," from 1955. A minor pulp novel of the era (written by Mickey Spillane) is turned into perhaps the ultimate absurdist confrontation between man and matter. A less apocalyptic look came in the memorable 1953 thriller "Pickup on South Street," in which a small-time criminal picks the wrong pocket. His prize turns out to be a roll of microfilm, and he's soon in over his head. The classic noir direction is by Sam Fuller.

In the Reagan era, we saw some films with a jingoistic flair. In the taut "Hunt for Red October," a Russian sub captain wants to defect to the U.S.; and in "Red Dawn," bellicose screenwriter John Milius took to the director's chair to film a highly improbable but goofily enjoyable fantasy of a Soviet invasion of America.

Underlying many of these films was the threat of nuclear war between the superpowers, which of course had been a part of American life since the "duck and cover" days. Children of the 1980s remember "WarGames," the highly enjoyable family-friendly thriller about a young computer enthusiast who stumbles into the nation's nuclear-defense bunker and learns about the "mutually assured destruction" — or MAD — strategy. In the end, even the computer agrees it's a pretty dumb approach. In the 1970 thriller "Colossus: The Forbin Project," a pair of super computers, one Russian and one American, join forces to take over the world. And in "Fail-Safe," we watch again as the logical implications of a nation's highly illogical nuclear-defense strategy plays out.

Once certain filmmakers began to deal with the consequences of an actual nuclear war, they couldn't put a happy face on the result. The groundbreaking film on the subject is "On the Beach," a relatively bloodless but unrelievedly sad look at the sort of life survivors would face after a full-scale nuclear exchange. The director was Stanley Kramer, at the time a highly successful purveyor of social-conscience films. Almost a quarter-century later, in 1983, America came together to watch a made-for-TV film called "The Day After." You couldn't call the film a no-holds-barred look at the aftermath of such a war, because the filmmakers acknowledged that they couldn't present a truly accurate rendition of the result. It would have been too bleak, they said. No matter: 100 million watched, and the broadcast caused a sensation.

And at the top of the list are a small number of works acclaimed for capturing the existential nature of this unannounced conflict that lasted for some 45 years. The novels of John Le Carré are of course renowned for their flinty look at the bleakest odd corners of the standoff; there are two terrific renditions of one of his most popular novels, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," one a BBC miniseries from 1979 with Alec Guinness as Le Carré's George Smiley, and a feature film in 2011 with Gary Oldman in the lead role. Both capture with a gimlet eye the moral decrepitude that the war created. Carol Reed, the great British director, captured a similar process in much more expressionistic fashion in his classic U.K. noir, "The Third Man," with an unforgettable Orson Welles leading Joseph Cotton — and the viewer — into a moral cesspool in Vienna.

Another Cold War classic is "The Manchurian Candidate," from 1962. John Frankenheimer, a master of politically themed films, directed the movie in striking black and white. The story — which involved the brainwashing of an American soldier — played on our paranoia about Communist plots. The film was also strikingly prophetic, involving as it did a disturbed assassin only slightly removed from the circumstances that would kill John F. Kennedy a year after the film's release. Frankenheimer's riveting direction captured the off-kilter world we were living in — and brought the film to a thrilling conclusion.

But of course the greatest Cold War film of them all captured the absurdities of the conflict better than anyone else. It, too, was in black and white, the better to lay out the incompatible worldviews of the opponents. It was, as unlikely as it may seem, a comedy, with one man playing three roles – a worried British commander, a harried U.S. president and a maniacal political adviser.

I'm referring, of course, to the work of the brilliant Peter Sellers in Stanley Kubrick's highly disturbing 1964 Cold War classic, "Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." The film's lancing humor (including the unforgettable line, "Gentlemen! You can't fight in here — this is the War Room!") disguises what's really going on: Three stories of bumbling, misdirected humanity, coming together to produce what was once the unthinkable.

Bill Wyman, an Al Jazeera cultural critic, is the former arts editor of and National Public Radio.

Christian Hertzog

Some very funny movies left out here: One, Two, Three and Our Man in Havana. The Prisoner may not depict the U.S. side of the war, but it's a taut fable about belief in a totalitarian regime, and the torture techniques the Iron Curtain country uses against Alec Guiness are the very same nonphysical techniques which the U.S. now uses against political prisoners, most notably Chelsea Manning. I'd swap out the later film version of Tinker, Tailor for The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. And no Czech cinema on this list? So much wonderfully subversive commentary on Communist regimes by Czech directors. The Fireman's Ball could adequately represent that strand of filmmaking

Louis Arpino

Fast forward to "Wag The Dog" and its prophecy of ISIS.

[Nov 04, 2014] M of A - Western Training And The Fight Against The Islamic State

From comments: ""training" is another means of directing money into the military industrial complex which presently defines the usa.. meddling in others affairs, for corporate interests is what they do best!!! it gets packaged with lies and whatever kind of propaganda that has to go with it which is the cost of doing 'biz'.. the usa no longer represents ordinary people or anything about democracy..."
Nov 04, 2014 |
"Training" foreign troops seems to be some magic solution for various foreign policy problems. "Training" a new Iraqi army against the Islamic State is the latest of such a hoped for miracles. But all recent "western training" has been more problematic than successful.

The various foreign troops trained at the infamous U.S. Army School of the Americas, turned out to be capable, but only as torturers and death squads:

Observers point out that School alumni include: 48 out of 69 Salvadoran military members cited in the U.N. Truth Commission's report on El Salvador for involvement in human rights violations (including 19 of 27 military members implicated in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests), and more than 100 Colombian military officers alleged to be responsible for human rights violations by a 1992 report issued by several human rights organizations. Press reports have also alleged that school graduates have included several Peruvian military officers linked to the July 1992 killings of nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University, and included several Honduran officers linked to a clandestine military force known as Battalion 316 responsible for disappearances in the early 1980s. Critics of the School maintain that soldiers who are chosen to attend are not properly screened, with the result that some students and instructors have attended the School after being implicated in human rights violations.

Foreign officers trained over the last decade in various military "anti-terrorism" programs seem somewhat prone to coup against their government:

The army officer who has seized power in Burkina Faso amid popular protests in the West African country was twice selected to attend counterterrorism training programs sponsored by the U.S. government, U.S. military officials said.
Although the training he received was relatively brief, Zida's experience carries echoes of other African military officers who went on to topple their governments after being selected by the U.S. government for professional military education courses.

In March 2012, an army captain in Mali who had attended a half-dozen military training courses in the United States led a coup that deposed his democratically-elected government.

The United Kingdom offered to train 2,000 Libyan "soldiers" to clean up the anarchy its attack on Libya created. In a first tranche 325 were recently selected, "vetted" and flown to the UK for some basic infantry training. Some 90 of them decided they did not want to be soldiers and asked to be flown home. Additionally some 20 claimed asylum. The rest tried to have some fun. Two stole bicycles, rode to Cambridge and sexually assaulted several women. Some others raped a male person. The training program has been abandoned and the rest of these "vetted" and "trained" gang was send home to presumably reenforce the anarchy there.

The U.S. trained the Iraqi army over several years and at a cost of billions of dollars. As soon as that army was assaulted it fell apart. Four divisions fled when attacked by rather minor forces of the Islamic State.

But do not despair. The U.S. has found the perfect way to solve the Islamic State problem in Iraq. It will now simply train a few new divisions and those freshly trained folks will then surely be able to defeat and destroy the Islamic State.

Iraqi security forces, backed by American-led air power and hundreds of advisers, are planning to mount a major spring offensive against Islamic State fighters who have poured into the country from Syria, a campaign that is likely to face an array of logistical and political challenges.
United States officials say that the initial force they are planning to advise consists of only nine Iraqi brigades and three similar Kurdish pesh merga units — roughly 24,000 troops.

The counterattack plan calls for at least doubling that force by adding three divisions, each of which could range from 8,000 to 12,000 troops.

The United States is relying on allies to augment American trainers. Australia, Canada and Norway have committed several hundred special forces to one or more of the training or advisory missions, a senior United States military official said.

For the expected quality of that farce and its training just see above.

The Islamic State is currently ruling over some 4 to 6 million people. It is recruiting and drafting among these to increase the size of its own army. How many able young men of fighting age can be generated from a millions strong, traditionally child rich population? 100,000? 300,000? The Islamic State has capable trainers from the old Baathist Iraqi army and it uses a fighting style that mixes guerrilla tactics and conventional warfare. It has captured enough weapons and ammunition to fit out several tens of thousands soldiers.

Even with air support the few forces the U.S. plans to train will be mince meat as soon as they will try to enter areas the Islamic State wants to hold.

The "western" military model is simply not fitting to the kind of conflicts encountered in other parts of the world. The mentalities, traditions, ideological incentives and education levels are much different.

"The west" still feels superior to "the rest" because it has, in the past, won so many colonial wars. But as Samuel Huntington once remarked:

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

It was an advantage in technology that allowed "western" forces to win in colonial wars. But at least in ground wars both sides now basically use the same technology and similar weapons. There is no longer a technical advantage and some basic "training" does not help much to escape from an incoming stream of hot machine gun bullets. The U.S. war of independence is a good example for this. While the British army still could win in other colonial wars a colonial fight against an enemy at a similar technical level but with higher motivation ended in defeat.

Any force that is supposed to grind down the Islamic State and its army needs an ideological motivation and will to fight that is at least equal to the one of the Islamic State fighters. As an attacking force it will also needs superior numbers. The U.S. and other "western" armies are unable to create such a force in Iraq. The only entities which can do such on short notice are the Iranian revolutionary guard and Hizbullah. Any efforts of "training" a new force against the Islamic State that does not involve those will be in vane.

The recent history of "western training" of foreign forces is a history of failures and defeat. It is stupid to assume that this time will be different. If the U.S. wants to defeat the Islamic State it will have to make nice with its other "enemies" and it will have to let them lead the training and the fighting. Anything else will likely fail and end up in a few decades with the embarrassing acceptance of a new state in the former territories of Iraq, Syria and whatever other country the Islamic State decides to slice apart.


"training" is another means of directing money into the military industrial complex which presently defines the usa.. meddling in others affairs, for corporate interests is what they do best!!! it gets packaged with lies and whatever kind of propaganda that has to go with it which is the cost of doing 'biz'.. the usa no longer represents ordinary people or anything about democracy...

[Oct 30, 2014] Russian hackers: just another episode in the never-ending psych-op campaign being waged against Russia in the west

Fern, October 30, 2014 at 5:53 am
Terrific article, Mark. I'd missed this story but it does sound as though it's yet another episode in the never-ending psych-op campaign being waged against Russia in the west.

The story of Russian cyber attacks of one kind or another has been running for a while now – NATO's General Breedlove, carrying out his main mission of expanding his organisation's role in the world, was the first to posit the idea that a 'NATO for the 21st century' could see cyber attacks as a justification for invoking Article 5 of the NATO Charter – an attack on one is an attack on all – so the incremental build-up of Russia as the world's most devious hacker is probably serving this sort of purpose.

Back to Ukraine for a moment. An iconic Kiev cinema has been destroyed in an arson attack during a screening of an LGBT film. Fortunately, no-one was hurt. There seem to be two possible explanations for the incident – either a protest against the showing of this particular film or a shortening of whatever planning process operates in Kiev in order to realise the value of the site. It will be interesting to see whether the EU reacts to this.

ThatJ, October 30, 2014 at 6:36 am
In the long term, the EU and US will prefer the LGBT and other marginal freakish groups over nationalists.

However, instead of physical intimidation, the new coalition of AngloZionist-empowered marginal minorities will use the law to criminalize previously widely-held values and beliefs. This is usually done through "hate crime" laws — as if any crime toward a victim is done out of love…

Other means, such as the mainstream media and well-funded violent Trotskyite groups may be used against patriots as well, but this will take years, and like I said before, will only happen if the AngloZionists gain total control over Ukraine. As long as the country is hanging between the AngloZionists and Russia, the AngloZionists will use the shabbos goyim nationalists against the Moskali.

A certain Eugen Zelman is quoted is quoted in the article. Poor guy, he's just trying to spread some European values. Why do these people always find me?

Fern , October 30, 2014 at 6:23 am
A very good edition of RT's 'CrossTalk' on the Ukrainian elections. Peter Lavelle's guests are Nebojsa Malic, Eric Krauss and Dimitry Babich. At one point, Nebojsa sums up the choice voters faced as 'Oligarchs, Nazis and Nazi-Oligarchs' which sounds like it covers a lot of the bases.

[Oct 04, 2014] Sun Tzu And The Cost Of War

"...nothing breaks morale more than the prospect of never ending foreign wars."

Not only are the Post 9/11 entanglements the longest of any war the US has been involved in, they are also the most expensive – even more than World War II, when the US was fighting on two major fronts against heavily industrialized powers. Rather than achieving victory quickly as advocated by Sun Tzu, the US has been involved in very costly wars for well over a decade now.

Sun Tzu had something to say about this: "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." Seen in this light, has the Post 9/11 military strategy made the US a victorious warrior?

While all of this is taking place, the US' ideological foes can afford the luxury of sitting back and employing a more measured approach:

"To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

Indeed, nothing breaks morale more than the prospect of never ending foreign wars.

Colonel Klink

And more to the point, it's because our wars are run by politicians rather than brilliant military minds. The MIC wants the conflict to drag out for as long as possible so they can rake in as much money as they can, just like the BANKS.

Latina Lover

During Sun Tzu era, there was no military industrial complex, hence war was fought to steal resources, destroy enemies and defend against aggression.

The USSA is beholden to the Military Industrial Complex. This means we will NEVER a war, but engage in endless conflicts until the USSA is squeezed dry like a lemon.

Escrava Isaura

No Gods…. No Masters


America's ideological foes are "People that can think for themselves" instead in a mindset of 'Totalitarian Institutions,' such as we see in US education and religion.

"The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful." — Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


Sadly how we fight changed with LBJ and to quote him " we're not there to win a war, we're there to teach those little yellow bastards a lesson".


A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague.


Our traitors are the Neocons who are constantly pushing the nation to war:

Jewish writers confirm that the Iraq War was a war for Israel, not America

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history.

In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the town (Washington): the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history.

"Watergate" Jewish Journalist Blames "Jewish Neo-cons" for Iraq War

Famous Jewish journalist Carl Bernstein—one of those responsible for unearthing the Nixon Watergate Scandal in 1973—has stated on public television that Jewish neo-cons were behind the Iraq war.


Others have a much higher estimate for just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

US Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to Cost $6 trillion

The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, calculates the prestigious Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Remember, when President George Bush's National Economic Council Director, Lawrence Lindsey, had told the country's largest newspaper "The Wall Street Journal" that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, he had found himself under intense fire from his colleagues in the administration who claimed that this was a gross overestimation.

Consequently, Lawrence Lindsey was forced to resign. It is also imperative to recall that the Bush administration had claimed at the very outset that the Iraq war would finance itself out of Iraqi oil revenues, but Washington DC had instead ended up borrowing some $2 trillion to finance the two wars, the bulk of it from foreign lenders.

According to the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government 2013 report, this accounted for roughly 20 per cent of the total amount added to the US national debt between 2001 and 2012.

According to the report, the US "has already paid $260 billion in interest on the war debt," and future interest payments would amount to trillions of dollars. This Harvard University report has also been carried on its website by the Centre for Research on Globalisation, which is a widely-quoted Montreal-based independent research and media organisation.
War is not, nor will war ever be, an art form. The object of war is not to die for your country, but to get the enemy to die for HIS country.
Dying for his "Country" is so 19th century. Now the "enemy" dies for unnamed bankers and corporations.
Jack Burton
Truer words were never spoken. This is part of the utter collapse of the British Empire. Imperial wars started the rot and World Wars I and II killed them dead as a doornail. Now they are a lap dog running behind the USA begging for scraps and an appeance of mattering. Hitching their wagon to the USA and following every order makes the elites there believe that they still matter in the world, when in fact, they do not in the least matter in any way. They can't even control the borders of the kingdom, which are wide open to invasions from every corner of the planet. Pathetic UK elites!

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." That applies to the loser of course but also the victor, which is forced to expend substantial resources and in the end may not get much spoils to show for it, while becoming vulnerable himself to other attacks."

But, the real purpose of war is not to defeat a foreign enemy, but a domestic "enemy".

It is the process by which criminal and useful-idiot classes rid themselves of potential rebels, askers of embarrassing questions, troublesome possessors of a sense of justice, or intelligence.

To accomplish this goal, tyrants do not hesitate to work up such potential rebels (male children) into a lather and send them to the frontier to murder male children of neighboring kingdoms.

After the slaughters, tyrant involved meet for a feast, toast one anther, then retire to their palaces to plot the next mutual slaughter.

It is, basically, the sport of kings, this murder of young male potential rebels; they (criminal and useful-idiot classes) don't hesitate to organize a slaughter of 20 million peasants just to get rid of a few hundred, or thousand, potential rebels.

Sport of kings…? It's more like a sport of Judeo-Bolsheviks, who have been perpetrating genocides and general plunders for at least 5,000 years (historians and archeologists have documented it 4,000 years ago, so we add another 1,000 years for its development in prior ages). Their genocides are/were necessary to destroy as much evidence and as many victims and witnesses as possible; thereby giving future victims little warning.

They weren't always known as Judeo-Bolsheviks, of course; they first appear as Elamite money-lenders and merchants, evolved into Babylonian priesthood and merchants and, with a few other name changes, to their present mask, Judeo-Bolshevik. (See my article, Exodus #23, parts 1 and 2).


Since WWII, the US has pretty much broken every rule laid out in Sun Tzu's timeless classic. Which explains why the US hasn't won a war since WWII.

[Sep 23, 2014] 9-11 & Iraq Revisited Remembering How We Were Lied Into War by Will Porter

September 19, 2014 | Blog

Since the cataclysmic events that took place on the morning of September 11th 2001, an extended series of consequences have unfolded with an alarming rapidity. Between vast escalations of military activity abroad, the passing of draconian laws, like the Patriot Act and the NDAA, the instituting of the Department of Homeland Security, and the ramping up of domestic spy programs through the NSA, 9/11 has served as a catalyst for a radical change in how America conducts itself both at home and around the world. In the weeks and months following the incident, the American people were bombarded with a veritable hurricane of bald-faced lies and assertions based on dubious "intelligence". Before they could begin to wrap their heads around the significance of the events taking place around them, their government had already set plans into motion to wage a decades-long military conflict in the Middle East, a conflict which rages at full force to this day. In fact, recent developments in Iraq regarding the Islamic State militant group, or ISIS, elevate the issue of the 2003 Iraq War to the highest importance.

Among the general populace, a widely-accepted narrative has developed which attempts to make sense of all that has happened since September 11th. Very broadly, the narrative contends that Islamic extremists have declared war on the United States, and this alone serves to explain and justify the long string of wars that have been waged in the name of the global "War on Terrorism" ever since. What's most surprising about the public narrative is that it offers almost no explanation at all of how or why Iraq was, directly or indirectly, implicated in the 2001 terror attacks on New York and DC. At best, the public storyline suggests only a vague connection between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Any substantial explanation of this tie, however, has seemingly fallen away into the ethereal memory hole of American historical conscience.

Of the many oft-repeated talking points which comprise the terror war narrative, the question of the highest importance almost always goes unasked: why exactly did the United States wage war against Iraq in the first place? It is extremely peculiar that the largest-scale, most significant conflict to date in the war on terrorism has no widely-understood explanation. Those who have paid the highest price to initiate this war, the American people, seem to be the least informed on the matter. It is because of this lack of understanding regarding Iraq in particular that the terror war was ever able to get underway, and, indeed, build up a seemingly unstoppable momentum.

On this 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, which initiated the drive for war, it is vital to return to these basic questions. How did this happen? Who was involved? What justifications were given to go into Iraq in the first place? After more than a decade, the American people still cannot provide firm answers to such questions. To understand the broader war on terror, and how it came to dominate American foreign policy, it is necessary to fill in the blanks of the official narrative, as well as overturn some of the prevailing falsehoods about Iraq, WMDs, and its connection to al-Qaeda.

In basic terms, the official US government justification for the Iraq War goes something like this: Saddam Hussein was a material supporter of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda – particularly the Islamic militant Abu Musab Zarqawi – offering safe harbor and/or training facilities for them in Iraq. On top of this is the related claim that Hussein was actively pursuing "weapons of mass destruction," using "mobile bio-weapons labs," as well as "aluminum tubes" for centrifuges in a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. In his alleged link to militant Islam – and his ties to Palestine in the case of Zarqawi, a Jordan-born Palestinian – Saddam was said to have planned to provide Iraq's weapons to terrorists, who would act as his proxies. For these reasons, Iraq was said to be a threat to its neighbors, and a threat to the United States. These claims are officially stated in a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), but also informally circulated in TV and print news media in the run up to the war.

While the Bush Administration explicitly refrained from directly accusing Saddam of complicity in the 9/11 attacks, they were certainly happy to let the American people believe there was a direct connection between the two. After all, many thought, why would the US ever wage a war against Iraq, seemingly as a result of 9/11, if Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? Due to the disjointed and incoherent Administration narrative, and the mainstream media's willingness to freely speculate on all matters pertaining to 9/11, Iraq, and terror, the American people were left to rationalize and put two-and-two together on their own, often concluding that Saddam and September 11th were related.

The only explicit attempt to tie 9/11 to Iraq was in the claim that lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammad Atta, made contact with Iraqi intelligence at a meeting in Prague. Later, additional allegations derived from "Israeli security sources" assert that an Iraqi agent furnished Atta with an "anthrax flask" at the same meeting. Some suggested also that Iraq was involved in the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks that took place shortly after 9/11, targeting media outlets as well as Senators Patrick Leahy and Thomas Daschle (who both, coincidentally, happened to oppose the invasion of Iraq). All the talk of anthrax, no matter how baseless, ultimately helped to terrorize the American people and warm them up to the idea of war with Iraq. Finally, but no less important, we have the documents, curiously supplied by an Italian intelligence agency (SISMI), which were claimed to prove Saddam's attempt to procure 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger. Sprinkle in a little Wilsonian talk of "spreading democracy," and you've got yourself a war.

As we shall see, absolutely none of the casus belli presented to the American people had any resemblance to reality. Through a complex network of government officials – primarily connected to the Pentagon and the office of the Vice President – media pundits and journalists – such as Judith Miller, others at the New York Times, and the PNAC crowd at the Weekly Standard – as well as foreign sources – Iraqi ex-pats as well as Italian and Israeli intelligence – the Iraq War was set off without a hitch; built upon, in the words of Colin Powell, a "web of lies."

An essential link in the chain was the Pentagon-created Office of Special Plans (OSP). Established in 2002, this agency lies at the very heart of the War Party push to invade Iraq. Through this Office, headed by Abram Shulsky under the authority of Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, "intelligence" was funneled into important or influential places, such as the office of Vice President Cheney via his Chief of Staff, Louis "Scooter" Libby. In one case, information was even directly leaked by Douglas Feith to Bill Kristol's neocon rag, the Weekly Standard, demonstrating, in part, the state-media complicity in misleading the American people. Additional players linked to the OSP, to name only a few, include NESA bureau head William Luti, Defense Policy Board members Richard Perle and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, as well as neocon Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, whose prior informal intelligence activity with Feith was officially codified in the creation of the OSP. Its primary task was to dig through raw intelligence agency information, unaccompanied by the judgment of a professional analyst, in order to ham-fistedly piece together official justifications for war.

According to retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and former Pentagon desk officer Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked closely with senior Pentagon staff such as William Luti, higher-up officials in the OSP were "willing to exclude or marginalize intelligence products that did not fit the agenda." To that end, information disseminated from this office was carefully cherry-picked and highly exaggerated, with much of it gleaned from the Iraqi expat group the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Presiding over the INC was Ahmed Chalabi, essentially a double agent for the Ayatollah, who temporarily served a vital purpose for his neo-conservative dupes.

Chalabi dazzled neocons with talk of a future "Hashemite Kingdom" in Iraq (referring to Jordan; diplomatically and economically friendly with Israel). He was selected by administration war hawks as early as the Gulf War to lead the Iraqi political march to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Exiled from Iraq, and a convicted bank fraudster, Chalabi weaseled his way into high position in the post-Saddam Iraqi state after helping the Bush Administration successfully bamboozle their way in. Later on, to the horror of his former US colleagues, his trueloyalties were discovered, revealing an epic betrayal of the War Party in favor of his long-held Iranian connections. As an influential figure among pro-war ideologues, Chalabi was able to carefully sway events to Iran's benefit in ways which his neocon handlers were oblivious of. Despite this double-cross, it was Chalabi and his INC "heroes in error" who provided many of the intelligence sources that were vital in the push for invasion. For example, in a New York Times piece by Judith Miller, she cites a meeting, arranged by the INC, with an "Iraqi defector," claiming there to be "renovations at sites for chemical and nuclear arms" in Saddam's Iraq. With the popular news media parroting the government's claims, it helped to quickly move along the pro-war policy.

In the end, nothing regarding the claims of "aluminum tubes," initially insisted on by the CIA's WINPACcenter, was true. The same goes for the "arms sites" and "mobile weapons labs," both of which were sourced from Iraqi defectors. All of these talking points were, as well, used in Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations in February of 2003, a speech which was crucial in the green-lighting of the American-led coalition to invade Iraq. The lies in that speech, as well as the ones told in the 2002 NIE cited above, are officially debunked by a 2004 Senate Report (download PDF in link) which cites intelligence community conclusions on the various fraudulent claims. None of the information used to bolster the WMD story held any weight, and a large portion of the US intelligence community had said so all along. This was not just a big mistake, it was intelligence deliberately concocted, or presented wildly out of context, in order to send the nation (back) to war, to finish the job started in the 1991 Iraq conflict.

Official skepticism toward Bush Administration claims of Saddam's weapons, as well as his ties to terror is illustrated the leaked UK intelligence documents, known as the "Downing Street Memos". These memos depict high-ranking UK officials expressing concern over whether the Administration was "fixing" intelligence around a pro-war policy, rather than a policy around intelligence. Before, during, and after the war, there were a multitude of intelligence sources, as well as a fairly large body of journalism, which conveyed deep skepticism toward the dubious pro-war talking points. There certainly were dissenting voices in the lead up to the war; these voices simply went unheeded and unheard, at least until after the invasion. The mainstream media chose, instead, to create an echo chamber for the flurry of false claims emanating from the Bush Administration and the tightly-knit group of neo-conservatives in high office or positions of public influence.

Also proven false in the 2004 Senate Report are the allegations of Saddam attempting to purchase yellowcake uranium from the Nigerian government in 1999-2000. The documents passed along from Italian intelligence, in fact, turned out to be the crudest of forgeries! From October of 2002 to March of 2003, the CIA, as well as the IAEA, expressed doubts about the information contained in the documents, yet this didn't stop President Bush from invoking it in his State of the Union address of January 2003. Indeed, the CIA's skepticism was either discounted or completely circumnavigated in order to push this particular piece of intelligence.

Of much interest here is the 2005 La Republica exposé (translation) which explores the antics of one Rocco Martino, an Italian peddler of information who worked with Italian, and at times French, intelligence. Martino and a number of associates, looking for a quick way to make money, were able to use various intelligence assets to attain access to outdated Nigerian documents. Using official stamps and letterhead stolen from the Nigerian Embassy in Rome, this group of rapacious rogues crudely pieced together the stale documents to create the forgery, which they hoped to sell. They were initially handed off to SISMI and to the French, who quickly saw them for what they were. But much changed after 9/11 and the Bush Administration's mad scramble for Saddam-WMD intelligence. At this point, SISMI finds new willingness to share the documents with the CIA station in Rome, while Martino gives them over to British MI6. The information makes its way to the Bush Administration, where it is eventually used in the 2003 SOTU address in the form of sixteen ambiguous words. Following the rest of this story, with its possible ties to a police sting, Iran, Israel, and Michael Ledeen, will lead us down quite a deep rabbit-hole, which due to space limitations simply cannot be elaborated on here.

Finally it should also be briefly noted that the more recent scandal involving the outing of undercover agent Valerie Plame is heavily related to her husband's investigation of the forged Niger documents. The Wilson-Plame Niger investigation clearly probed too close to the truth, leading to an attempted career assassination at the behest of powerful people.

Another key example of botched intelligence is the claim of the meeting in Prague between Mohammad Atta and Iraqi intelligence, as well as the later attempt to link this meeting with anthrax. The Prague meeting was initially reported by Czech officials, although there were various conflicting accounts, where different Czech officials deny the meeting ever happened. An interesting parenthetical note, when Dick Cheney cited these reports in a TV interview to confirm the 9/11-Iraq tie, he refers to "Czechoslovakia," a country which had not existed since Czech-Slovak split in 1993. This certainly could have been a simple slip of the tongue, but it seems that, assuming Cheney himself had seen the Czech report, it'd be fresh enough in his mind to at least get the country's name right!

Mark Rossini, a former FBI counter-terrorism agent given the task of analyzing the Czech report on the Prague meeting, recalls his reaction to the Cheney interview: "I remember looking at the TV screen and saying, 'What did I just hear?' And I–first time in my life, I actually threw something at the television because I couldn't believe what I just heard." A 2006 Select Committee on Intelligence report repeats this conclusion, held among US intelligence circles, that the Prague meeting was dubious at best, definitely not solid enough base a military invasion on. Since this meeting likely never occurred, there is no need to provide further evidence to disprove the claim, sourced from "Israeli security," that a flask full of anthrax was given to Atta during the meeting.

Aside from the Prague-anthrax connection, further attempts were made to link the anthrax-letter attacks to both the 9/11 hijackers and, again, to Iraq. The letters themselves contained messages that were so deliberately suggestive of hijacker involvement that it strikes one as suspicious, proclaiming "09-11-01, this is next," and "Death to America, death to Israel." Bryan Ross at ABC repeatedly said, with increasing degrees of certainty, that it was very likely from Saddam Hussein's anthrax program. He sourced three or four unnamed "well placed people," which if true might suggest that Ross was purposely mislead by government agents who wished to anonymously disseminate false information.

Despite the massive FBI probe into the case, no definitive answers were ever provided as to who was responsible. The total incompetency of the FBI, however, didn't stop independent journalists from delving into the case themselves. From these investigations came a series of very strange discoveries, not the least of which was the likelihood that the specific anthrax strains used in the letter-attacks originated in US Army labs! Although two different people were selected as "fall-men," the baseless accusations against neither of them stuck. The second of the two, one Dr. Ayaad Assaad, an Egyptian-American scientist, worked at the Fort Detrick facility from which samples of anthrax, among other dangerous biological compounds, went missing years before the letter-attacks. In later, seemingly unrelated, events at Fort Detrick, Dr. Assaad's colleagues, primarily a group led by a man named Phillip Zack, engaged in bizarre and juvenile harassments against him. This same Phillip Zack was a suspect in a 1992 internal Army inquiry, thought to be making unauthorized access, by cover of night, to a biological compounds lab, where pathogens like anthrax, Ebola, and the Hanta virus had gone missing.

Moreover, in late September 2001, an anonymous letter sent to the FBI in Quantico, Virginia alleging that Dr. Assaad was behind a terrorist plot to use biological agents in the United States. This accusatory letter was sent after the anthrax-letters were mailed, but before they were discovered to contain anthrax. This suggests that some third-party, somebody other than Dr. Assaad, had foreknowledge of the attacks. Tying things together, in the missive accusing Assaad it is also stated that the author had formerly worked with him, demonstrating fairly extensive knowledge of Assaad's career at USAMRIID.

Although the true culprits of the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks remain a mystery, this highly peculiar series of events seems to suggest there is much more to the story than simply another act of terrorism perpetrated by the same group responsible for the 9/11 attacks (or Iraq, as Bryan Ross asserted). One might speculate that this Phillip Zack, or somebody closely related, had a hand in the anthrax-letters, based on his suspected past unauthorized access to pathogens labs, his proven hatred for Dr. Assaad, and the strange letter sent by an alleged former colleague of Assaad's, ascribing the guilt to him. There is more to be said about this long story, however what matters here is not the identity of the culprit, but the fact that despite almost zero solid evidence pointing to Iraq, nor to the 9/11 hijackers, influential people in the government and media were more than willing to accept such an event as a pretext for war; behind closed doors with the former, out in the open with the latter.

In the end, most of the high-ranking US officials involved in kicking off the Iraq invasion have subsequently come out to admit there were no WMDs, and no ties between Hussein and al-Qaeda. While they admit they made mistakes, most of them, unbelievably, deny they ever made claims about nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. They also deny ever asserting there were ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Needless to say, there are mountains of direct evidence proving without a shadow of a doubt that these people are complete liars, guilty of the highest crimes against humanity imaginable.

The Iraq War has often been blamed on faulty intelligence alone, and for some of the people involved this may well be true. However, what's clear is that within the intelligence community itself, there was all along a basic consensus of the doubts regarding Bush Administration claims. The intelligence is not to be blamed, but those who wielded it in dishonest and outright corrupt ways.

What's more are the absolutely damning ties between the neocon cabal largely responsible for the war, and the Israeli foreign policy apparatus. There is a long and extensive history of neo-conservative groups' – especially the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) – involvement in the crafting of both Israeli and Americanpolicy, as well as garnering immense tax-dollar support for the Israeli state. Perhaps this is best illustrated in a 1996 Israeli policy paper entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," authored by neocon figurehead David Wurmser, with signers-on Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, among others.

Here they outline a plan regarding how Israel should deal with its neighboring Arab states. Working with allies Jordan and Turkey, they hope to "contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of [Israel's] most dangerous threats." This includes countries like Syria, Lebanon, and Iran – most of whom the US has taken an increasingly aggressive posture toward. Iraq also is said to a valuable prize, with the removal of Saddam Hussein from power a priority. Indeed, for many years, long before 9/11, this very same group of hardline Israel-firsters sought to influence American policy toward war with Iraq as well, in large part to serve Israeli interests, alongside military-industrial ones. The 9/11 attacks were obviously used as justification to execute this plan, to get a regime change in Iraq. To these neocons, American and Israeli state-security interests are one in the same, certainly regarding Iraq, as well as the aggressive Zionism (illustrated in the "Yinon Plan") which characterizes Israeli policy, both domestic and foreign.

This incestuous neocon-Israeli involvement in the crafting of state-policy should, of course, come as no surprise. This is a well-known phenomenon, not any sort of speculative conspiracy fringe. Israel not only has long-standing ties with influential conservative movers-and-shakers in the foreign policy field, but also a history of deceptive and outright murderous behavior all around. From the decades of military occupation of the Palestinian people, the Israeli spying on American institutions, the multiple cases of Israeli (or Israel-related, through AIPAC) theft of sensitive US intelligence-related secrets, the theft of uranium in the 1950s to build nuclear bombs with, to their deliberate attempt to sink the USS Liberty in June of 1967, Israel has quite a deranged history indeed.

As with most matters of policy, the Iraq War was certainly not pushed by only one single set of interests. Things aren't so simple. The Israel-first neocon crowd had a very important role to play, but in the end this was a confluence of many inter-locking interest groups. Political campaigning, military-industrial interests, oil, and, especially in the case of Bush Jr., personal ambition; these also were part of the incentive-structure for a pro-war policy. All of the people responsible for this war did not necessarily have to be unified in a grand conspiracy in order to push for the same policy-objective. Indeed, it just goes to show the way in which disparate and varying interest groups can come together in agreement where their individual motivations and values meet. It is sometimes easy to ascribe a collective agency to government actors, but these are still human beings we're speaking of here. Each individual, in reality, acts according to the values placed on his own given ends in the situation he finds himself in.

I have hardly even begun to broach the voluminous content of the Iraq War chronicles, but this short review should alone serve to prove the case. The United States government, or rather a militant clique within its most powerful and influential agencies, sent this nation to war, based on fraudulent pretexts, with a largely disarmed and impoverished adversary. Between the 1990s sanctions, which lead to the deaths of 500,000 children, the one million people killed in the war of 2003, and many more millions displaced – their homes in ruin and their lives destroyed – the toll taken on the Iraqi people has been devastating. From 1990-2012, it is estimated 2-3 million Iraqis were killed or died, due to the economic sanctions, the two wars waged by the US government, and the Civil War which broke out during the second occupation.

Let us never forget how easily this happened, as we are faced with yet anotherattempt to send troops to Iraq. For almost a half-century now, the United States has constantly intervened in Iraq, and to what avail? Of all the trillions of dollars, the millions of lives, the rivers of blood poured into the country, it has only given rise to the most brutal, out of control problem to date: the Islamic State. ISIS is currently rampaging across Iraq and Syria, taking entire swaths of territory and proclaiming the establishment of a long-sought Islamic Caliphate.

As the United States, with its Mid-East allies the Turks and Saudis, continues to funnel material support to the "moderate" anti-Assad rebels in Syria, they fund and back precisely the same people they claim to oppose in Iraq. The anti-Assad rebels and the pro-caliphate jihadists are, in many cases, the very same militant groups. Considering these issues, it is long, long, overdue that the American people and, less likely, the politicians who make US policy, reexamine the issue of the Middle East, and the long-standing practice of US foreign intervention in general. If 50 years of failed policy, the colossal waste of money and resources, as well as the resulting blowback can't teach us this lesson, I do not know what ever would.

At least encouraging was the strong majority stance of the American people to absolutely reject the notion of US military involvement in Syria around September of last year. But for any hope to avoid future bloodshed and destruction, it is vital that we internalize the lessons of the past. We must abandon the idea that history began last week, and always return to the past in order to inform our knowledge of the present and the future. For that reason, after the anniversary of the most horrific example of blowback this country has ever seen, let us never forget Iraq.

A special thank you is reserved for independent researcher, author, and filmmaker RyanDawson. Both his film "War by Deception" and his personal correspondence were invaluable. Another big thanks to radio show host Scott Horton, who took the time to go over this essay and offer many needed resources and corrections.

[Sep 15, 2014] A Conservative Defense Policy for 2014 Look to Eisenhower

The National Interest Blog
Recent discussions amongst Republicans regarding U.S. Defense force structure have revealed an ongoing disagreement between two camps within the party. Military Hawks, citing the recent disturbances in Ukraine and Iraq, have begun to beat the drum for more resources to be allocated for the Department of Defense to address threats that never really subsided. Fiscal Hawks, focused on budget deficits that stretch as far as the eye can see, continue to argue for DoD to continue to be part of a basket of cuts in entitlements and discretionary programs. While all agree that the United States needs to maintain a military strong enough to deter the rise of competitors and preserve its ability to respond to crises around the world, the question that remains is: how large and how capable does our military have to be to accomplish these twin goals?

The Military Hawks' solution is to increase spending and buy more weapons already in production from our military industrial base. Fiscal Hawks, arguing that our Department of Defense is larger than the next ten militaries combined, believe there is room for continued cuts before the nation's interests are placed at risk. Objective analysis suggests that a path exists that would allow cuts to the DoD budget and marginal growth in the force. Such a path is predicated on recognizing that our national fascination with high-tech weapons systems has led to a defense culture where the exquisite has become the enemy of the "good enough."

It has not been so long since the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pronounced that our debt posed a grave threat to our national security at home and around the world. Projected annual trillion-dollar deficits have not lessened the American people's concern. The Budget Control Act (or Sequester) was passed with a false assumption that its provisions would be so painful that the Congress would have to agree on a thoughtful deficit-cutting solution. While we can all agree that it would be wise and desirable to escape the painful controls imposed by the Sequester, we should not give way to election-year desires to spend more, ignoring the long-term implications of our debt.

Some compromise can be found that lowers the cost of entitlements and defense, while also increasing revenues. The Democrats need to come to the table to address the looming crises in Social Security and healthcare. Defense spending should continue downward to levels somewhat higher than those last seen prior to 9/11, when the Department of Defense had an inflation-adjusted budget of $386B (we spend $560B today), the Army had 481,000 soldiers (522,000 today) and the Navy had 316 ships (291 currently). In 2001, we stated that we could fight two major regional conflicts; today, we admit that is no longer possible. Why has the cost of our military gone up 45 percent, while its ability to fight has gone down? Healthcare costs have risen, and there have been complications associated with fighting two wars, but even after factoring the current ISIS crisis into the equation, the wartime pressures are subsiding. In the end, a major inflationary pressure remains our addiction to exquisite platforms.

It is unwise to accept the false premise that we can only arrive at a larger force by spending more on the same types of platforms that we are already building. A conservative approach to the future must find the right balance between high-priced silver bullets that can only be purchased in small numbers and low technology assets that can be purchased in large quantities at low costs. Such an approach would be reminiscent of the Eisenhower presidency, when Ike addressed the debt that had been run up fighting World War II by pursuing a careful balance between a smaller conventional-fighting force and the newly emergent nuclear force, balancing the budget in the process. A Republican defense policy today should rest upon four legs: preservation of current high-tech capabilities, increased emphasis on the procurement of low-cost assets for day-to-day operations, modernization of our nuclear arsenal and investment in the research and development of new technologies to guarantee American leadership after our fiscal house is put in order.

In the meantime, in a world beset with constant turmoil, the phrase "quantity has a quality all its own" takes on new meaning. The United States simply cannot be everywhere that it needs to be with the high-cost, low-numbers military it currently plans, and Republicans cannot simply choose to deficit spend on defense or any other programs they admire. All government spending must be constrained. The turning point on defense will occur when we recognize that spending less money does not have to equate to a smaller force. Wise leaders have a credible alternative in defense-force structure and should pursue it.

Dr. Jerry Hendrix is a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and a retired Navy Captain.

Image: U.S. Department of Defense/Flickr.

john • 2 hours ago

An article of the quality that I have come to expect from the national interest. Concise, accurate and perceptive.

The US overspends on defense. We currently posses a military with the capability of taking on the world. I believe we can all agree that level of readiness is not needed.

The balance between spending on defense and social programs is at its heart a political decision. My preference for the level of defense spending perfectly aligns with the author's. Inflation adjusted to pre-9/11 funding. The US is currently facing what threats? A cautions and sometimes belligerent China? A corpse of a nation in Putin's Russia, sporting a national GDP on the other side of California's? ISIS, with its ragtag bunch of poorly equipped fighters numbering 25K strong? Not a lot of threat out there folks.

I do disagree somewhat about US health care spending. There is actual hope that health care spending will level off soon. Market competition is increasing dramatically in that sector, thanks to the ACA.

[Sep 07, 2014] NATO Owes Putin a Big Thank-You by Stephen M. Walt

From comments: "Finally, Stephen Walt is telling what we all need to hear. Victoria Nuland is utterly incapable of thinking her action in the long run. Obama is not much better by sending CIA Director to a troubled country. Kissinger also lament NATO has expanded its role and mission. It has participated too many wars. In pursuit of glory, NATA has transformed from a defense mechanism to an offense tool. As it expands, there should be more conflicts ahead. Military power is effective to intimidate but not a solution to a political problem. Think Transnister. Does NATO have a solution?

SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 |

Russia's aggression in Ukraine is making it easier for the bloated, aging alliance to pretend that it still matters.

If I were really cynical, I'd suspect some bureaucrats at NATO headquarters in Brussels are secretly glad about the crisis in Ukraine. Why? Because it gives the aging alliance something to do. This motive may also explain why hawkish Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen seems eager to defend Ukraine right down to the last Ukrainian and why the NATO members that lie closest to Russia are both worried by recent events and pleased that the rest of the alliance is finally paying attention to their concerns.

In fairness, NATO's survival after the Cold War remains something of an anomaly. Alliances normally arise in response to threats, and many previous alliances collapsed quickly once the external danger was gone. Mindful of this tendency, NATO's proponents have been searching for a convincing rationale for its continued existence ever since the Berlin Wall fell. But their efforts have been mostly stillborn; despite annual summits, earnest communiqués, and a lot of brave rhetoric, the alliance's capabilities, importance, and coherence have been visibly declining for two decades.

Things might have been different if the various "out-of-area" missions NATO took on had gone swimmingly, but they didn't. The Bosnian intervention in 1995* and the war in Kosovo in 1999 were at best partial successes; they took longer, cost more, and produced more ambiguous results than NATO's defenders like to admit. NATO's efforts in Afghanistan have been mostly a failure, and no member of the alliance wants to do anything like that again. The Libyan debacle now looks like a monument to Western hubris, even though its architects remain loath to admit just how wrong they were. The United States has been trying to "rebalance" to Asia in recent years -- an arena where NATO has little role to play -- and has been coping with the aftermath of George W. Bush's foolish attempt to "transform" the Middle East.

Until the Ukraine crisis arose, NATO looked like a nearly extinct dodo that had somehow managed to last into the 21st century.
Until the Ukraine crisis arose, NATO looked like a nearly extinct dodo that had somehow managed to last into the 21st century.

Yet NATO survived. This is partly because the alliance was heavily institutionalized, and no bureaucracy goes out of business without a fight. Its persistence also gave the United States some residual leverage in Europe and allowed Washington to pretend that its activities elsewhere had broad international support. Military bases in Europe and a long history of cooperation also facilitated U.S. interventions in other areas and didn't require Europeans to do much in return. Finally, liberal internationalists embraced NATO (and EU) expansion as a way to spread democratic institutions and values into the former Soviet empire, toward the ever-elusive goal of "one Europe, united and free."

But as George Kennan, Michael Mandelbaum, and other experts warned in the 1990s, NATO expansion turned out to be a fundamental strategic misstep. It alienated Russia without making NATO stronger; on the contrary, expansion involved extending security guarantees to mostly weak countries that would be the hardest to defend should Russian power ever recover. Instead of sticking with the early 1990s Partnership for Peace, an initiative that provided many of the same benefits as NATO expansion -- including military-to-military contacts, security dialogue, and support for civil society -- but also included Russia, Washington succumbed to hubris and decided to add to its defense burdens without getting much in return.

Undertaken, like the old British Empire, in a "fit of absentmindedness," NATO expansion rested on the assumption that these various guarantees would never need to be honored. It was not until the brief Russo-Georgian war of 2008 that a few Washingtonians (and a larger number of Europeans) begin to recognize that these commitments might actually involve some cost and risk. But by then it was too late, because any challenge in Eastern Europe would be seen as a test of U.S. credibility and NATO's resolve. Needless to say, this is precisely how most people -- including President Barack Obama, who has called the Ukraine crisis a "moment of testing" -- are now interpreting the tussle over Ukraine.

Yet even the current crisis cannot fully reconcile NATO's fundamental strategic problems. Even if one adopts a worst-case view of Russian intentions, today's Russia is nowhere near as threatening as the old Soviet Union. The USSR was a continent-sized superpower with a larger population than the United States and an economy roughly half as large; today's Russia is smaller and less populous, and its economy is roughly one-fifth the size of America's. The USSR outspent the United States on defense during most of the Cold War, but Russia today is a pipsqueak by comparison. Its only appealing products are oil, natural gas, and raw materials, and it no longer boasts an ideology that can rally supporters worldwide. It can be a regional spoiler and a local troublemaker, but it is not and will never again be a true peer competitor.

These realities also mean that Russia does not threaten the vital interests of most of Europe or the United States. It is a genuine threat to Ukraine's well-being, and it is also a potential problem for the small Baltic states, but Europe no longer has to worry about 90-plus divisions massing on the inter-German border. That's a very good thing, but the lack of a serious strategic threat is also why NATO has trouble marshaling the level of coherence and commitment that it did during the Cold War.

In fact (and in sharp contrast to the post-World War II period), Europe now has the latent wherewithal to deal with the Russian bear all by itself, if only it could get its act together. NATO's European members are notoriously reluctant to spend money on defense or create effective military forces, but it's not because they lack the basic resources. Even today, NATO Europe spends four times more on defense each year than Russia does. If these states were really worried, you'd think they would coordinate their activities more effectively, devote more money to the problem, and spend the existing amounts more efficiently, instead of maintaining militaries that are long on creature comforts and short on fighting capacity

The real challenge NATO faces is the classic dilemma of collective action, made all the worse by the modest nature of the threat to which NATO is now trying to respond. This problem is why NATO's new members are working overtime to convince others -- and especially Americans over in the Western Hemisphere -- that Russian President Vladimir Putin is History's Greatest (or Latest) Monster. If you're Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, or even Polish, you don't want to rely on British or French or Spanish help if trouble arises with Moscow. You want to make sure the White House is on your side, and you want hotheads like Joe Biden and John McCain calling for the United States to do everything it can. So these states (and countries like Georgia) spend a lot on lobbying politicians in Washington in order to convince Americans to care as much about their homelands as they do.

Unfortunately, the history of the past 50 years tells us that the more security Uncle Sam provides to others, the less the recipients will do for themselves. Confirmed Atlanticists like the late Richard Holbrooke liked to say that the United States was a "European power," but a momentary glance at the globe shows you that this is nonsense.

America is located in the Western Hemisphere, folks, and the extent of its interests in Europe depend on circumstances.
America is located in the Western Hemisphere, folks, and the extent of its interests in Europe depend on circumstances. When a peer competitor emerges and threatens to dominate the continent, then America's vital interests are fully engaged. When no such rival exists (or when potential peer competitors are located elsewhere), U.S. interests are much reduced. Everybody knows or suspects this, of course, no matter how fervently U.S. officials proclaim their undying support for areas where few vital interests reside.

So what will NATO do at this week's summit? It has already announced plans for a new rapid-reaction force, and Obama has delivered a typically stirring speech pledging U.S. support for all the countries that managed to get themselves into the alliance before anyone thought too hard about the wisdom of this step. There will be the usually pious declarations about enhancing defense capabilities, and a new set of exercises will be planned, provided they don't cost too much. But eventually the war fever will break, and NATO Europe will return to its enfeebled military condition and diplomatic disarray.

Meanwhile, what about Ukraine? In theory, NATO could make a real contribution by forming a united front in favor of genuine diplomacy, something Germany seems especially eager to pursue. By "diplomacy," I mean a process of principled but flexible bargaining whose goal is to resolve the current crisis in a way that gives the various parties what they most need, instead of trying to obtain everything they might occasionally dream about. That process has to begin by recognizing that 1) Russia sees Ukraine's political alignment as a vital interest, 2) it has various cards to play to advance its goals, and 3) it is willing to wreck the country to prevent it from joining the West. You don't have to like those facts -- who would? -- but effective statecraft must begin by acknowledging unpleasant realities. As with most diplomatic efforts, the United States and Europe aren't going to get everything they want and should concentrate instead on getting what is most important.

As I've said before, the best possible outcome here is an agreement that reaffirms Ukraine's independence and sovereignty, ends the fighting, removes any Russian troops on Ukraine's territory, and guarantees Ukraine's status as a neutral buffer state. The status of Crimea is trickier, and I fear it won't be possible to get Russia to disgorge it. We may have to accept that change as the price Ukraine and the West must pay for our prior carelessness. To advance the ball, NATO's leaders should support Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko while simultaneously discouraging him from upping his demands. In particular, they should make it clear that their support is conditional on Ukraine cutting a reasonable deal. It's a bit like the conditional support the United States provides to Taiwan: The United States will defend that country if its independence is threatened by external military action, but all bets are off if Taiwan provokes trouble by crossing Beijing's "red lines."

Is this a perfect result? Hardly. But it is a lot better than prolonging the crisis, which will damage the still-fragile EU economy, poison East-West relations even further, and do further harm to Ukraine itself. I see little evidence that U.S. officials are thinking along these lines, but perhaps some of America's European partners can convince them otherwise. Isn't that what summit meetings are for?

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

Bing Jou, 2014-09-05 19:25
Finally, Stephen Walt is telling what we all need to hear. Victoria Nuland is utterly incapable of thinking her action in the long run. Obama is not much better by sending CIA Director to a troubled country. Kissinger also lament NATO has expanded its role and mission. It has participated too many wars. In pursuit of glory, NATA has transformed from a defense mechanism to an offense tool. As it expands, there should be more conflicts ahead. Military power is effective to intimidate but not a solution to a political problem. Think Transnister. Does NATO have a solution?
This article provides a good realist perspective with regard to Ukrain crisis and it has similar arguments with Mearshimer's article on foreign affairs.
Terry Brennan
@bulentkoremez My complaint with Mearshimer's article is that it is entirely about relations between Great Powers and barely mentions the wishes of the Ukrainian people. They were the one who started this crisis by clearly choosing to look westward rather than eastward. Ignoring Ukrainian wishes is simply bad thinking; they will make their wishes heard.
@Terry Brennan @bulentkoremez Either you did not read Mearshimer's article, or missed this:
"One also hears the claim that Ukraine has the right to determine whom it wants to ally with and the Russians have no right to prevent Kiev from joining the West. This a dangerous way for Ukraine to think about its foreign policy choices. The sad truth is that might often makes right when great-power politics are at play. Abstract rights such as self-determination are largely meaningless when powerful states get into brawls with weaker states. Did Cuba have the right to form a military alliance with the Soviet Union" during the Cold War? The United States certainly did not think so, and the Russians think the same way about Ukraine joining the West. It is in Ukraine's interest to understand these facts of life and tread carefully when dealing with tis more powerful neighbor."
Your claim that Ukrainian people started this is also disputable. Remember the V. Nuland's call? It can be argued that the current Kiev regime represents West's wishes and not the Ukrainian ones.

[Aug 15, 2014] John Oliver on Nuclear Weapons (Horrifying & Hilarious)

America has over 4,800 nuclear weapons, and we don't take terrific care of them. It's terrifying, basically. Connect with Last Week Tonight online...

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[Aug 14, 2014] The Atlantic Axis and the Making of a War in Ukraine by Christof Lehmann

Jul 30, 2014 | New Eastern Outlook

The war in Ukraine became predictable when the great Muslim Brotherhood Project in Syria failed during the summer of 2012. It became unavoidable in December 2012, when the European Union and Russia failed to agree on the EU's 3rd Energy Package. The geopolitical dynamics which are driving the war in Ukraine were known in the early 1980s.

Hundred years after the shots in Sarajevo ignited WW I, Europe is again being driven towards disaster. Hundred years ago the presence of true statesmen could have prevented the war. Today many of the selected front figures of western democracies dress up in pilot uniforms while they hardly have the qualifications needed for a job as flight attendant.

The handling of the tragedy surrounding the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 prompted Malaysian PM Najib Razak to leash out at those behind the geopolitical chess game that led to the death of the 298 on board the Boeing 777-200. Showing true statesmanship, PM Najib Razak said:

"As a leader, there has never been an occasion as heart-breaking as what I went through yesterday. Wives losing their husbands, fathers losing their children. Imagine their feelings from such a great loss. … This is what happens when there is a conflict, whatever conflict that cannot be resolved through negotiations, with peace. In the end, who becomes the victim"?

The War in Ukraine Began in Libya and Syria.

In 2007 the discovery of the world's largest known reserves of natural gas, shared by Qatar and Iran, led to the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project that was sold under the trade mark "The Arab Spring".

A joint Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian pipeline project was supposed to transport Iranian gas from the PARS gas fields in the Persian Gulf to Syria's eastern Mediterranean coast and further on to continental Europe. It was this development that played midwife to the birth of the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project.

The completion of the Iran – Iraq – Syria pipeline would have caused a cohort of developments which were unacceptable to the US, UK, Israel and Qatar. Several continental European countries, including Germany, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic saw much more favorably at it. Together with the Russian gas which the EU received via Ukraine and the North Stream pipeline, the EU would have been able to cover some 50 percent of its requirements for natural gas via Iranian and Russian sources.

It would be naive to assume that Israel was not gravely concerned about the prospect of Iran becoming one of the European Union's primary sources of natural gas. Energy security concerns influence foreign relations and foreign policy. EU – Israeli relations and the influence Tehran would have attained with regard to the EU's position on Palestine and the Middle East are no exception to that rule.

The US and UK were not interested in competition to the Nabucco project. Qatar, the main center of gravity with regard to the international Muslim Brotherhood, eyed its chance to become a regional power to be recogned with and sent a 10 billion US dollar check to Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmed Davotoglu. The money was reportedly earmarked, to be spent on preparing the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood for the Great Project.

An additional dimension that was overlooked by many, if not most analysts, was that the US/UK never would allow Russian – continental European relations to be dominated by an interdependence that had some 50 percent of continental Europe's energy security at its heart. To explain that point, allow me to refer to a conversation the author has had with a top-NATO admiral from a northern European country during a day of sailing on a sailing yacht in the early 1980s. Discussing European security issues, out of the reach of curious ears and microphones he said that (paraphrased):

"American colleagues at the Pentagon told me, unequivocally, that the US and UK never would allow European – Soviet relations to develop to such a degree that they would challenge the US/UK's political, economic or military primacy and hegemony on the European continent. Such a development will be prevented by all necessary means, if necessary by provoking a war in central Europe".

It is safe to assume that the discontinuation of the USSR with help of the US and UK has not significantly changed the principle premises of this doctrine and that it is still valid today.

By 2009 the implementation of the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project was already in high gear. The former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas recalled during an appearance on the French TV Channel LPC in July 2013. (audio recording).

"I'm going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. … This was in Britain, not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister of Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I am French, that does not interest me. …

" This does not make sense. … There are some sides who have the desire to destroy Arab States, like what happened in Libya before, particularly given Syria's special relations with Russia., …(emphasis added)…That if an agreement is not reached, then Israel will attack and destroy the governments that stand against Israel".

Note Dumas' reference to Libya. Note that the statement came after NATO abused UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) on Libya to implement the Great Muslim Brotherhood Project in that country.

The then U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo H. Daalder and then NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of the U.S. European Command James G. Stavridis published an article in the March/April 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, calling NATO's "intervention" in Libya "A teachable moment and model for future interventions".

The statement was repeated at NATO's 25th Summit in Chicago that year. As Ivo H. Daalder also explained in a Forestal Lecure that year, there was a need for a new warfare, special warfare. Traditional conventional war had become impossible. Moreover, Libya was necessary as a hub for the shipment of arms and the recruiting and training of mercenaries for Syria, Mali, and beyond.

Defeat in Syria Made the Ukraine War Unavoidable.

In June and July 2012 some 20,000 NATO mercenaries who had been recruited and trained in Libya and then staged in the Jordanian border town Al-Mafraq, launched two massive campaigns aimed at seizing the Syrian city of Aleppo. Both campaigns failed and the "Libyan Brigade" was literally wiped out by the Syrian Arab Army.

It was after this decisive defeat that Saudi Arabia began a massive campaign for the recruitment of jihadi fighters via the network of the Muslim Brotherhoods evil twin sister Al-Qaeda.

The International Crisis Group responded by publishing its report "Tentative Jihad". Washington had to make an attempt to distance itself "politically" from the "extremists". Plan B, the chemical weapons plan was hedged but it became obvious that the war on Syria was not winnable anymore. This, and nothing else was why the British parliament turned down the bombing of Syria in August 2013.

The war on Ukraine had become predictable from that point onwards and the timing of the developments in Ukraine during 2012 and 2013 strongly suggest that plans to overthrow the Yanukovich government and to aim at a long-term destabilization of Ukraine were launched after July 2012.

There was one last opportunity to turn the tide with regards to Ukraine in late 2012, during negotiations about the European Union's 3rd Energy Package. Relations between Russia and the EU were stressed by a primarily British-sponsored initiative within the EU that was targeting Russia. The "EU" or UK/US should not accept that a major energy provider like Russia or Gazprom had the majority ownership over both the gas and the transportation System.

On 21 December 2012 the leaders of the 27 EU member states and Russia held a summit in Brussels but failed to resolve the issue. It was from this point onward that the war in Ukraine had become unavoidable, which means that it was from here on, that powerful lobbies in the US and UK became hellbent on starting a 4th generation war in Ukraine. On December 22, 2012, nsnbc published the article "Russia – E.U. Meeting in Brussels: Risk of Middle East and European War Increased". The December 2012 article stated

"The sudden pullout of the Ukraine on Tuesday is by energy insiders with whom the author consulted perceived as yet another Ukrainian, US and UK backed attempt to force the expansion of NATO and to drive a wedge between an increased integration of the Russian and E.U. Economies. As it will become obvious below, it is related to an aggressive attempt to save the value of the petro dollar".

By February 9, 2013, relations between Russia and core NATO members had deteriorated so much over Syria and the lack of convergence in energy issues, that Russia's Ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grutchko said:

"Someone here in Brussels made a most profound point by saying that if you are holding a hammer, you should not think that every emerging problem is a nail. We think the world has ample opportunity to engage in energy cooperation and to ensure energy security without making use of military-political organizations as an instrument".

There were not many who at that time understood the bearing of the Russian NATO Ambassador's words.

On February 21 the Ukrainian parliament was seized by masked gunmen. The president was removed from office in a vote held in the presence of gunmen. One of the first official statements of the new powers at be was that the Russian language would no longer be accepted as the second official language in the predominantly Russian speaking eastern regions of Ukraine.

The statement was bound to and didn't fail to elicit a response that would tear Ukraine apart. On February 22, 2013, some 3,500 governors from southern and eastern Ukrainian regions convened in Kharkov and rejected the legality of the putchist parliament and any of the laws it adopted.

Was the tragedy surrounding MAS Flight MH17 another Sarajevo moment and will it be used to throw an additional spanner into attempt to peacefully integrate the Russian and European economies? Michael Emmerson, associate senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies suggests "After MH17, the EU must act against Putin and stop importing Russian gas".

Dr. Christof Lehmann an independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and the founder and editor in chief of nsnbc, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook".

[Aug 12, 2014] The U.S. Wasn't "Drawn" Into Iraq by Daniel Larison

August 12, 2014 |

David Brooks couldn't be more wrong:

We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq. The last four presidents have found themselves drawn into that nation because it epitomizes the core problem at the center of so many crises: the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam [bold mine-DL].

That isn't why the last three presidents were "drawn" into Iraq, and it is at best only part of the reason why Obama is allowing himself to be dragged back in. The previous three presidents chose to use force in Iraq and impose sanctions on Iraq for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with "the interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam." Except in the delusions of pro-war propagandists, there was no "interaction between failing secular governance and radical Islam" in Iraq before 2003 because the latter had little presence and no power. The invasion helped to destroy whatever semblance of secular governance there was. Indeed, it was the principal reason why that governance ceased to exist.

The war created the chaos in which jihadism began to thrive in the country. For that matter, the war was not a matter of being "drawn" into the country, but of illegally invading it on a shaky pretext. Obama entered office when secular governance in Iraq was a thing of the past, and has been drawn back in because of the clash between a sectarian government and its enemies. The U.S. has spent the last twenty-three years bombing, occupying, sanctioning, and otherwise interfering with Iraq, but virtually none of it had anything to do with countering radical Islam, and this was something that the U.S. chose to do. The U.S. wasn't "drawn" into Iraq, but rather opted to be there in some fashion for two decades, and it was the U.S. presence itself that unleashed and drew in these forces as a result of the "aggressive, preventive action" that Brooks now thinks is so necessary.

The Moral Argument for American Restraint—in Iraq and Beyond Noah Berlatsky

Jun 17 2014 |

Whenever there's a conflict anywhere in the world, a gaggle of American pundits and politicians insists that the United States fix it. Whether it's Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham pushing weapons shipments to Ukraine, former ambassador Robert Ford urging Washington to arm Syrian rebels, or The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol calling for troops to be sent to Iraq, the assumption is always that every problem is America's problem, and that the best way to solve America's problems is with force.

Barry Posen, a professor of political science at MIT and a foreign-policy realist, advocates a different approach. The title of his new book, Restraint, succinctly expresses his policy recommendation. The U.S., he argues, needs to stop trying to do more and more. Instead, it needs to do less. Or, as he puts it, "Efforts to defend everything leave one defending not much of anything."

Posen rests his discussion on two basic arguments. The first is that the United States is, by any reasonable metric, an incredibly secure nation. It is geographically isolated from other great powers—a position that makes invading or even attacking the U.S. mainland prohibitively difficult. U.S. conventional forces are by far the most powerful in the world. Posen notes that the U.S. "accounted for a little more than a third of all the military spending in the world during the 1990s," and has increased the percentage to about 41 percent of all military spending in the world today. On top of that, the U.S. has a massive nuclear deterrent. It is simply not credible to argue that Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, or even Russia or China have the combination of dangerous capabilities and malign intentions to pose a serious existential threat to the United States in anything but the most paranoid neocon fantasies.

Second, enforcing "liberal hegemony"—a grand strategy of promoting global democracy and peace underwritten by U.S. military power—is simply beyond America's capabilities. As the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, earlier, Vietnam showed, the United States does not have the military resources and political will necessary to impose friendly democratic regimes upon distant peoples. Nor, as all three of those wars also demonstrate, does it have the ability to utterly destroy its enemies forever. Nor, finally, can the U.S. ensure, militarily or otherwise, that no one anywhere gets nuclear weapons—after all, if it could, presumably Pakistan and North Korea wouldn't have them.

The effort to control and police the world through force of arms makes the United States less secure in numerous ways, Posen argues. It bleeds U.S. resources, both military and economic, while leaving the country less prepared to face immediate threats. The belief that America will act as the world's policeman encourages some of its allies to skimp on their own defense spending, forcing the U.S. to undertake further costly investments it cannot afford in the long term. In its role as Liberal Hegemon, it also encourages aggression and risky behavior in states like Israel, which can put off peace deals and engage in provocative actions like settlement construction because of the elaborate pledges of support it has received from America.

Rather than imposing American will by force, Posen suggests that we could more fruitfully and practically engage the world in other ways. For instance, if the U.S. is concerned about genocide, we could join the International Criminal Court and support the prosecution of those who commit war crimes (including, though Posen does not say this, American officials, at whatever level, who condoned, or condone, torture.) If we want to save people, we could honor our commitments under international treaties and open our borders to refugees; as Posen says, we are "rich enough to receive many individuals in such dire straits." We could also send aid to poorer countries to encourage them to receive refugees.

Posen makes a compelling argument. But he makes it almost entirely on realist grounds. He advocates a policy of restraint because it will make the U.S. stronger and more secure, not—or at least not primarily—because a policy of restraint is more ethical than the alternative. His humanitarian suggestionsjoining the ICC, opening borders—are addendums to, rather than the essence of, his reasoning.

But liberal hegemony, the argument Posen is rebutting, isn't just based on security interests. It's also predicated on morality. For instance, the rationale for invading Iraq was not only that the United States needed to crush Saddam Hussein for its own safety. It was also that Saddam was uniquely evil and that it would be good for the people of Iraq, and for people around the world, if he were destroyed. Similarly, the continuing presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is justified not only on the basis of protecting America from al-Qaeda, but also on the grounds that the Taliban are hideously oppressive, especially to women, and that it is America's responsibility to stop them from returning to power.

Responding to the argument for liberal hegemony, then, requires consideration of the moral as well as the practical arguments for restraint. Fortunately for Posen, the "just war" tradition of ethics yields a very strong argument for the morality of restraint—indeed, in many ways just-war doctrine is based on the restraint principle. As summarized by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The principles of the justice of war are commonly held to be: having just cause, being a last resort, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used.

The just-war doctrine is not equivalent to pacifism, which holds that there is no justification for war at all. But it shares with pacifism, as political ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain has written, the belief that "violence must never be celebrated, and that violence must always be put on trial." Though Elshtain herself supported the Iraq war, the reasoning here suggests, on the contrary, that preventive wars aimed at warding off the eventual emergence of a threat should be anathema. Wars are by their nature bloody, destructive, and impossible to control (as the spiraling and ongoing violence in Iraq demonstrates all too clearly.) It is simply not tenable to argue that starting a war will preserve peace, because war by its nature breeds chaos and more war. That's why war must be a last resort, and why it should solely be used in self-defense; the only time it's reasonable to think that war might reduce war is when you're already at war.

The essence of just war can be summarized generally as follows: first, try to limit harm, and second, treat war with respect and fear. Dropping bombs on Libya or Iran to prevent evil is illegitimate because war itself is evil—and it is an evil not easily contained. Treating war as a convenient tool of policy, rather than as a last resort, sows more death and hardship, not less. Similarly, building up massive stockpiles of weapons that are not immediately necessary creates a temptation to use those weapons—the succinct moral of Johnny Cash's "Don't Take Your Guns to Town." Outsized military expenditures can themselves be seen as a violation of the principles that inform the just-war doctrine.

From the just-war perspective, Posen's realist arguments have an ethical force. Even from the perspective of the World War II-era realist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who rejected pacifism and just war alike as overly idealistic, Posen's position has moral consequences. Niebuhr saw war as moral when it advanced best outcomes. The case Posen outlines suggests what those best outcomes are.

When Posen says, for example, that the U.S. cannot, in the long run, defend Taiwan, that's not just a practical statement, but an ethical one. That's because engaging in an unwinnable conflict over Taiwan—possibly unleashing nuclear war in a lost cause without a self-defense rationale—is, on just-war grounds, or even on Neibuhrian grounds, morally wrong. Similarly, there is plentiful evidence that the U.S. cannot impose its preferred form of government on the peoples of the Middle East. Intervening in Middle Eastern civil wars when there is no realistic chance of success is an ethical failure as well as a tactical one. It is evil to bomb people purely in the hope, against all the evidence, that bombing will make things better.

Restraint is also preferable to liberal hegemony from the standpoint of American ideals. Proponents of liberal hegemony often argue that the United States has an ethical duty to spread its values across the globe. But this argument overlooks the fact that one of the most basic foundational values of America is self-determination. The American Revolution was fought for the principle that people have a right to make decisions about their own fate through their own institutions. When the U.S. sets itself up as a global policeman, it is saying, on the contrary, that U.S. policymakers have the right to decide who should rule in Iraq, or how Iran should conduct its nuclear program. Perhaps, in certain cases, for the security of its own citizens, the U.S. may need to take steps to curtail the actions of other states and other people. But as a wholesale philosophy, "the United States should run the world" contradicts America's most basic value: that people have the right to rule themselves.

Restraint, then, is not merely a practical necessity for the United States to improve its security. It's also an ethical duty, and a specifically American ideal. Rather than fearing America's "decline" because we're not able to undertake a land war in Ukraine or a third invasion of Iraq, we should welcome a world in which the U.S. does not try to solve other people's problems by force. Liberal hegemony hasn't worked, and won't work. The United States will be more secure—and more moral—if it can give up its dreams of empire, and restrain its impulse to war.

Terri_in_LA • a day ago

"For instance, if the U.S. is concerned about genocide, we could join the International Criminal Court and support the prosecution of those who commit war crimes (including, though Posen does not say this, American officials, at whatever level, who condoned, or condone, torture.)"

US Foreign Policy = Follow the Money.

The US Federal Gov't is not primarily concerned about things like genocide when developing its foreign policy. It is concerned about chaotic situations that can disrupt our economy. Concerns for security almost always come back to economic security not physical security. That's why we make the same mistakes over and over. We want to control things that we just don't have much ability to control in attempts to eliminate economic risk. We live in fear that we'll lose access to raw materials, markets, etc. It is why we go head long into the Middle East while we allow wars to rage without intervention in parts of Africa. It's why we are freaked about the Ukraine. We're not worried that Russia is going to wage an actual war, but that it might be in a position to impact our economy or that of our allies. It's why we fear China, when they've shown no interest in meddling in the affairs of countries outside its own region. China has growing economic clout around the world
Until we start to discuss foreign policy in more concrete terms (What are our interests exactly? What are we willing or unwilling to sacrifice to protect them?) rather than as if its all high minded ideology or how these are bad guys that need to be taken out for humanitarian reasons, we'll never stop doing things that damage our interests and are damaging to the rest of the world.

[Jun 05, 2014] Ukraine The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June

naked capitalism

The gas situation in Ukraine is kind of humorous–there is one obvious choice that, of course, is seldom made, diplomacy. Europe, the U.S., Russia and Ukraine could sit down and negotiate a good deal. Really there is no reason to hassle over this. Russia needs security guarantees that Ukraine will not become another outpost for NATO expansion, virtual or otherwise. Europe needs gas and Ukraine needs a governable country. It is only the U.S. that has an interest in causing trouble here.

The U.S. goal is to weaken the EU while appearing to be friendly thus making the EU dependent on the U.S. which is the guarantor of Middle Eastern oil supplies and international security. While the current administration in Washington is considered "weak" by critics it still is strong by comparison of European leaders–and as sheeplish as Americans are Europeans, who aren't as profoundly ignorant about political affairs, are beginning to appear to almost beat out Americans in their compliant behavior. Europeans must recognize that the don't need the U.S. any more. The Soviet Union is long gone and Russia while a powerful country, is no threat to anyone. It continues to act, internationally, in a sensible manner, Lavrov and Putin are statesmen and not like von Ribbentrop and Hitler even though the American propagandists who seem to dominate not only the U.S. media but Euro media are telling the world.

The USG deliberately maintained the Cold War well beyond the time it was necessary to feed the dominant military-intelligence-Congressional-industrial complex in the style they are used to and has, in my view, either manufactured conflicts or do their best to inflame nascent conflicts whether in Eastern Europe, the Middle East or Central Asia. This should be glaringly obvious to anyone who cares to look at the record. Europe, interestingly, after following along with U.S.foreign policy no matter how viscous, lying over like beaten dogs when Wall Street and the City looted the financial system, now wants to create a little U.S. with privatized everything and neofeudalism. To Euro-readers–is this what you want just so you can rest in the arms of Uncle Sam? Fortunately there are many signs that point in the right direction for Europe in moving away from the glories of hot or cold war.

6th generation Texan, May 28, 2014 at 10:20 am

In the grand scheme of things, the current world situation is just the latest version of the classic land power vs naval power conflict that has replayed over thousands of years, from the Peloponnesian Wars to the Napoleonic Wars to both World Wars and the Cold War. In most cases the naval power has prevailed (a combination of massive hubris, greed and stupidity finally did in the Athenians — ring any bells regarding the current situation…??)

Many analysts have dubbed the current struggle to control Eurasian resources as the "Energy Wars", being fought primarily over access to those riches. These "Pipeline Wars" lie behind US/NATO aggression from the 1990s Balkan War to the present conflicts in Syria and Ukraine in time, and cover most of the Eurasian land mass in space.

The West is decisively losing the Pipeline Wars. A vast internal network linking Central Asian producers (including Russia and Iran) to hungry markets in the Far East, India and Europe is well under construction, bypassing the sea lanes that the West controls via the US Navy and its carrier battle groups. As this process proceeds at an ever-increasing pace, it will eventually undermine the basis of America's claim to world hegemony: the Petrodollar.

When the Petrodollar dies, so does the Amerikan Empire. The vital question: how will the rulers of that Empire react when that moment finally confronts them? Will they slide into the dustbin of history quietly — or take the world with them in a nuclear Gotterdammerung ?

Given their track record of making increasingly desperate/inept/psychopathic decisions in recent years, the likely answer scares the living hell out of me.

[May 28, 2014] The Russian Gas Carousel: Who Wants Off, and Who Wants On

reggietcs, May 22, 2014 at 7:37 am

I think many of the "America rah-rah" pundits in the west are having a hard time accepting the fact that the USA has serious limitations when it comes to threatening Russia and China and that the world is indeed heading rapidly towards multi-polarity. The so-called "sanctions" the west has levied against Russia is clear evidence of their impotence in the matter.

They are so accustomed to seeing the USA successfully bully, sanction, kill and destroy countries who are disobedient and challenge American hegemony. They've now hit a wall and it's caused many of these talking heads to blow their gaskets. I mean, how else can one explain the numerous articles by enraged western pundits calling for a REAL military confrontation with Russia openly in the op-eds of major newspapers? During the cold war, major American papers would not print belligerent articles like this because it was well understood that it would be an act of global suicide. But today we have pundits who believe that a military confrontation with Russia can be "won" and that's what I find truly FRIGHTENING.

That's why Stephen Cohen recently said that war with Russia is no longer "unthinkable" and that's why he has such a bleak disposition on the matter. We often mock and deride the crude ant-Russian propaganda around here but it takes on a dangerous dimension when the western elite actually start to believe it themselves (one of my favorites being that the Russian nukes/missiles "won't work"). All it now takes is for them to "test" this nonsense, thus ultimately bringing disaster down upon billions of human beings.

rober, May 22, 2014 at 10:50 am

There's a school of thought that many of the Soviet ICBM's were not properly maintained and non functional. But even if every single Russian ICBM in its silo was a dud there's still the nuclear subs.

If this guy's right a full-scale nuclear war between the United States and Russia would produce so much smoke that temperatures would get below freezing even in the summertime, crops would die and there would be global famine.

Moscow Exile, May 22, 2014 at 8:25 am

"She sneers at the deal and says it only means Russia is desperate, Russian economy was about to go down the toilet, so they had to go begging to China, etc. So, the deal is laughable and should just be sneered away, as if nothing really happened."

That's the general line of the Russophobe comments in the UK press: sneering and mockery.

As regards nuking Russia, one such sneering moron (possibly a "modern Warfare" PC game player with the mind of a 12-year-old) suggests that the Russian-China pipeline can easily be put out of action with a missile strike or sabotaged by Muslim fanatics because: "Did you know that 30% of the "Soviet" population is Muslim?"

kirill, May 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

By the same token the USA can be brought to its knees by the sinking of a few oil supertankers transporting oil from around the world. But the media propaganda has convinced every nitwit out there that the USA exports oil. LOL. It exports *refined* products which has not relevance to the fact that it still needs to import around 7 to 8 million barrels per day.

[May 27, 2014] Albright the Second -- bellicose and incompetent chicken hawk Hilary Clinton

Since it's foreign policy week this week, with President Obama delivering a major speech on Wednesday at West Point, Christie Watch will spend the next few days looking at the foreign policy views of the various 2016 candidates, starting today with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

When it comes to Hillary Clinton's foreign policy, start first by disentangling the nonsense about Benghazi—a nonexistent scandal if ever there was one—from the broader palette of Clinton's own, relatively hawkish views. As she consolidates her position as the expected nominee in 2016, with wide leads over all the likely GOP challengers, it ought to worry progressives that the next president of the United States is likely to be much more hawkish than the current one. Expect to be deluged, in the next few weeks, with news about Hard Choices, the memoir of her years as secretary of state under President Obama, to be released June 10.

But we don't need a memoir to know that, comparatively speaking, two things can be said about her tenure at the State Department:

In the brief excerpt that's been released by her publisher, Clinton notes that as secretary of state she "ended up visiting 112 countries and traveling nearly one million miles." But what, if anything, did she accomplish with all that to-ing and fro-ing? Not a lot. She largely avoided the Israel-Palestine tangle, perhaps because she didn't want to risk crossing the Israel lobby at home, and it's hard to see what she actually did, other than to promote the education and empowerment of girls and women in places where they are severely beaten down. And, while it's wrong (and really silly) to call Clinton a neoconservative, she's more of—how to put it?—a "right-wing realist" on foreign policy, who often backed military intervention as a first or second resort, while others in the White House—especially Obama's national security staff and Vice President Biden's own aides, were far more reluctant to employ the troops.

In that vein, it's useful to explore the memoirs of Robert Gates, who was secretary of defense under George W. Bush and then, inexplicably, under President Obama, too. In Duty: Memoir of a Secretary at War (which could also be the subtitle of Clinton's own memoir), Gates says several times that he and Clinton saw eye to eye. (This has also been extensively documented by Bob Woodward, if more narrowly focused, in his 2010 book, Obama's Wars.) In Duty, Gates says that he formed an alliance with Clinton because both he and her had independent power bases and were, in his words, "un-fireable":

Commentators were observing that in an administration where all power and decision making were gravitating toward the White House, Clinton and I represented the only independent "power center", not least because…we were both seen as "unfire-able." [page 289]

Gates confirms that he and Clinton lined up with the hawks against the doves on Afghanistan:

The Obama foreign policy team was splintering. [Joe] Biden, his chief of staff, [Rahm] Emanuel, some of the National Security Council staff, and probably all of the president's White House political advisers were on a different page with respect to Afghanistan than Clinton, [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs] Mullen, [Dennis] Blair, and me. [page 350]

And Gates says that on the crucial decision to escalate the Afghan war in 2009 and then to slow the drawdown in 2010, he and Clinton were on the same side:

Yet again the president had mostly come down on Hillary's and my side. And yet again the process was ugly and contentious, reaffirming that the split in Obama's team over Afghanistan, after two years in office, was still very real and very deep. [page 502]

And, says Gates (page 587), Obama's efforts to centralize foreign policy decision-making inside the White House "offended Hillary Clinton as much as it did me."

As The Nation noted in 2013, just before the November 2012 election—after Gates had left the administration and was replaced by Leon Panetta—Clinton joined Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and the military in proposing that the United States go to war in Syria. (That the United States didn't act more aggressively in Syria back then was entirely due to President Obama's decision to resist Clinton and the other hawks.)

And, more famously, Clinton—joined by several other administration officials, including Samantha Power and Susan Rice—pushed hard, and successfully, for the United States to go to war in Libya. For Republicans who've endlessly waved the bloody flag of Benghazi, Clinton's hawkish view on Libya contradicts much of the nonsense they go on about. But for progressives, it's an ugly blot on Clinton's résumé. Not only did the war in Libya go far to inflame Russian nationalism, it also created a terrible vacuum in North Africa, toppling Muammar Qaddafi but leaving hundreds of armed militias in his stead, creating chaos and anarchy. (And, because the war against Qaddafi followed the Libyan leader's decision to forgo a nuclear arms program, it also sent the wrong message to Iran, namely, give up your nuclear program and we'll attack you anyway.)

In their book about Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, HRC, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes don't provide much insight into Clinton's role as maker of foreign policy decisions, preferring to concentrate far too much on the politics of the Clinton people vs. the Obama people. But they do suggest that there was far more tension between the White House and the State Department under Clinton than is usually cited. For instance, they write:

Many of the White House aides saw the Clinton network as part of a bipartisan Washington foreign policy establishment that kept getting it wrong. [page 143]

As background, Allen and Parnes note that Clinton's relationship with Gates was founded in part on the fact that both Clinton and Gates backed Barry Goldwater in 1964—Clinton was a "Goldwater Girl"—and that Gates took note of the fact that Clinton, as senator from New York, "had made friends with a number of high-level flag officers—three- and four-star generals and admirals—during her time on Armed Services." She was, Gates noted, "an ardent advocate of a strong military" and "believed in all forms of American power, including force." As important decisions were imminent during the Obama administration, Allen and Parnes quote a "high-ranking Pentagon source" who says:

[Gates and Clinton] often compared notes in advance of some of those meetings to find common ground to allow them to influence or drive the direction of policy on a given issue.

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In its summary of Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, The New York Times suggests that even Clinton herself has a hard time deciding what her real accomplishments were, noting that she "seemed flustered" when asked about it at a public forum. In the end, the way she responded was, well, meaningless:

"I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race," Mrs. Clinton finally said at the Women in the World meeting, promising to offer specific examples in a memoir she is writing that is scheduled to be released in June. "I mean, you run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton."

But the Times adds that, after countless interviews, it is clear that Clinton was the administration's hawk:

But in recent interviews, two dozen current and former administration officials, foreign diplomats, friends and outside analysts described Mrs. Clinton as almost always the advocate of the most aggressive actions considered by Mr. Obama's national security team—and not just in well-documented cases, like the debate over how many additional American troops to send to Afghanistan or the NATO airstrikes in Libya.

Mrs. Clinton's advocates—a swelling number in Washington, where people are already looking to the next administration—are quick to cite other cases in which she took more hawkish positions than the White House: arguing for funneling weapons to Syrian rebels and for leaving more troops behind in postwar Iraq, and criticizing the results of a 2011 parliamentary election in Russia.

And the Times quotes Dennis Ross, the pro-Israel advocate who worked for both Clinton and for the White House on Iran: "It's not that she's quick to use force, but her basic instincts are governed more by the uses of hard power."

Since leaving office, Clinton has gone out of her way to sound more hawkish than Obama on a range of issues, including expressing skepticism on the negotiations with Iran. Some observers say that it's just politics, and that Clinton is positioning herself for 2016. Maybe so. But it sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton is just being, well, Hillary Clinton.

Read Next: Bob Dreyfuss questions Obama's "Goldilocks" approach to foreign policy.

A look in the long distance: who will have to pay for "Ukraine v2"?

I just wanted to mention here a topic which is not often discussed in the western press but which does pop-up with some regularity in the Russian press. Let's set aside the current events and ask ourselves the following question:

Sooner or later there will be some kind of state in what used to be the Ukraine until 2014. The Crimea is gone forever to Russia, that is certain. A "People's Republic of Donetsk" all alone like some kind of Lichtenstein but stuck between Russia and Banderastan is most unlikely. Even a "People's Republic of the Donbass" or a "Novorossia" composed of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions would have a very hard time surviving as an independent state. I think that we can assume that the Donbass will either have to join Russia or, at the very least, the Eurasian Union (Rus, Kaz, Bel, Arm, etc.) or some kind of loose Ukrainian confederation. The latter is, of course, only possible if the USA gives up on its delusion of maintaining a neo-Nazi and russophobic Banderastan and accepts some kind of sovereign but civilized "Ukraine" in its place. Right now there are no signs that anybody in Washington is ready to accept that. But whatever the USA does or does not want, there is one thing which is sure: all the successor states of the original Ukraine will need HUGE amounts of foreign financial aid. We are not talking just about providing a few billions in loan guarantees to a clique of corrupt oligarchs, but about fully re-building a more or less modern country almost from scratch. This is a huge program which will take at least a decade and will require immense resources. It will have to be implemented in an highly volatile environment, with massive poverty and corruption, with violence prevalent and possibly with a serious terrorism problem. The political instability of such a environment is guaranteed. So in the light of this - if you were the EU or Russia - would you want to be responsible for more or less of that territory?

Think about it: whoever will end up "owning" (if not de-jure then de-facto) most of this new "Ukraine v2" will also own most of its problems. The EU plan in this regard is crystal clear: the EU wants to own it all and let Russia pay for it all. Unsurprisingly Russia does not agree. The Americans have it even better: they simply don't ask this question, don't think about this issue and have no plans to own anything if by "owning" we mean "paying for". This is completely immature and plain silly. Denying this problem will not make it magically disappear.

Now here is the beauty of it all, at least seen from the Russian point of view:

Russia has already reunited the only part of the Ukraine it really "wanted": Crimea. From a purely egoistic and self-centered point of view, Russia could built a huge wall all along its border with the Ukraine and declare "to hell with it all" and let all the other actors (Ukrainians, EU, US) deal with that. I am kidding, of course, but as a thought-experiment, this is a useful one. Ask yourself: what would happen if Russia did exactly that. Let's assume that Russian public opinion would not be up in arms against such a decision (in reality it would!) and let's just also assume that the (imaginary) "United People's Republic of Donetsk and Luganks" would be fine with that (it's only a though experiment - so indulge me in some unrealistic speculations here, okay?). Let's even assume that Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhie, Nikolaev and other cities and regions stop protesting or resisting. All Russia would do is turn off the gas spigot (unless it is paid for in advance), get out the popcorn and beer and watch the reports from the Ukraine. What do you think would happen?


Absolute and total chaos. It's either that or the US/EU would have to come up with a way to not only put a semi-legitimate AND very effective regime in power, but also to pay a bill ranging anywhere form 30 to 100 billion dollars (depending on how much of the problem you want to address immediately). Now look at the same problem from the Russian point of view:

Either the US/EU agree incur huge costs which will severely damage their economies (and they cannot afford that) or

The EU and US begin an ugly fight over "who pays what and under what terms", and

The EU is hit by a series of shocks as a result of the Ukrainian chaos (illegal immigration, crime, political disputes), and

NATO will be seen as either ineffective/incompetent/useless at best, and as reckless and irresponsible at worst.

So no matter what, the AngloZionist Empire will suffer massive consequences for is crazy notion of letting a huge country like the Ukraine explode right in the middle of the European continent.

To be honest, I am quite certain that Russia does not want that outcome at all. First, the Russian public opinion is extremely worked-up about having fellow Russians attacked by a mix of neo-Nazis and Jewish oligarchs and it would never accept putting up any kind of wall or abandon the Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Second, as I mentioned before, Donetsk and Lugansk along cannot be viable in isolation. Finally, I am not at all so sure that only these two regions will decide to hold a referendum, especially after the economic crisis really hits.

Ideally Russia wants a lose Ukrainian Confederation. This confederation would have to be thoroughly de-Nazified and would probably have to join the economic union with Russia and its partners (if only to benefit from Russian financial aid). Russia would also want the US and EU to pitch in its "fair share" of financial and technical support to gradually re-built "Ukraine v2", especially considering that these two entities are responsible for breaking up "Ukraine v1" in the first place. Needless to say, "Ukraine v2" would not be Banderastan and it would not join NATO.

As a side note, it would be really smart for the new Ukrainian leadership of this "Ukraine v2" to declare itself not only neutral but also totally demilitarized. Seriously, what is the point of having a military when stuck right in between NATO and Russia? Provide more targets?

As a (former and "recovering") military analyst I can tell you that by far the best defense against foreign agression for Ukraine would be:

1) the size of its territory (geographical defense)
2) being completely demilitarized (political defense)
3) being officially neutral (legal defense)
4) being in between two rival blocks (military defense by means of "other side")

That does not require a single Hrivna of financing, looks extremely progressive, would get a standing ovation from all its neighbors and would provide the perfect "buffer" to reassure both NATO and Russia. And just imagine the amount of money saved which the "Ukraine v2" could use for far more urgent and contructive needs!

Alas, that would also require a vision which is far beyond what the current freaks in power can even begin to contemplate.

As I have mentioned it in the past, the USA's entire Ukrainian policy is based on a fallacy cooked up by Zbigniew Brzezinski and parroted by Hillary Clinton: Brzezinski believes that Russia cannot be a superpower without the Ukraine and Hillary believes that Putin wants to rebuild the USSR. They are both completely wrong, of course: Russia is already a superpower (it has now defeated the US/EU/NATO alliance in both Syria and the Ukraine) and Putin does not want to rebuild the USSR at all. I wonder if there is anybody in the US polity which understands who much these conceptual mistakes will end up costing the USA. By listening to these two hateful maniacs (this is really what Zbig and Hillary are!) the USA has completely mismanaged every step of its crucial relationship with both the EU and Russia.

In the case of rump-Ukraine more is not better, more is worse; less is better. The less Russia will have to manage and pay for the reconstruction of the Ukraine the better off Russia will be. From the EU's point of view, however, the more Russia takes over of the Ukraine, the better for the EU. This is even better from the US point of view because from the US point of view the more the US/EU "own" the Ukraine, the more they will have to pay for it and the more the transatlantic alliance will come under stress. So, paradoxically, it would be in the best interests of the USA to have Russia take over all of the Ukraine. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but that is still a fact.

So here is the truth: the Ukraine is not a prize at all - it is a huge burden.

That is a truth which no politician can openly state, of course.

Checkmate 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?

Because no matter what, Russia will have the option to chose how much of the Ukrainian burden it is willing to shoulder whereas the West will have to take whatever Russia does not want. Yep, that's right. Just remember the thought experiment we just did above. Russia could, in theory, refuse to take up any further burden and declare "ain't my problem, sorry" and there is nothing the US/EU/NATO could do about it (not to mention that such a Russians stance would completely deflate the stupid canard about Russia being ready to invade the Baltics, Poland or any other EU country).

In a sane world ruled by non-delusional people the real priority of western politicians would be to cuddle, beg, plead, threaten and trick Russia into taking over as much of the Ukraine as possible - the whole thing if possible. Let Russia deal with the neo-Nazis, let Russia pay Ukrainian pensions and salaries, let Russia rebuilt the entire economy, let Russia waste its energy and resources on this ungrateful and truly Herculean task. If Russia agreed to take over the full Ukraine NATO could even re-heat its "Russian threat" canard and justify its existence.

Luckily, however, as long as Putin is in power Russia will never agree to anything like it. Time is on Russia's side and the worst the situation of the Ukraine becomes, the weaker the US/EU/NATO block is, the stronger the Russian bargaining position becomes.

So while Russia cannot remain indifferent and while Russians cannot cynically get some popcorn and beer and watch it all go to hell, Russia will continue to play a very low-key game: Russia will stick to its principled position, it will refuse to be a party to any ludicrous solution, and it will condemn the crazy and neo-Nazi policies of the freaks currently in power in Kiev.

Other than that, Russia will simply wait for western leaders to wake up from their current delusional hallucinations and get serious about solving a problem which is first and foremost their problem which they created and they will have to pay for solving.

The Saker

[May 27, 2014] It is time for the West to move ahead without Russia by John McCain, John Barrasso, John Hoeven and Ron Johnson

There is no war John McCain did not like. The concept of MIC makes it is easy to understand why: being MIC lobbyist entails certain responsibilities, that you can't shirk...
April 25, 2014 |

John McCain, John Barrasso, John Hoeven and Ron Johnson, all Republicans, represent Arizona, Wyoming, North Dakota and Wisconsin, respectively, in the Senate.

We recently visited Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova. In each country, our allies want a stronger immediate response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and its ongoing subversion of Ukraine. They also believe, as we do, that Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest acts of aggression require an enduring strategic response from the United States, Europe and NATO. It should be clear to all that Putin's Russia has taken a dark turn. There is no resetting this relationship. We cannot return to business as usual.

Western countries had high hopes for our relationships with Russia after the Cold War and acted on that basis. We provided billions of dollars to help Russia's transition from communism. We created new mechanisms for consultation. We expanded trade. NATO committed not to deploy significant military capabilities onto the territory of new alliance allies, even as it expanded. In short, the West sought to include Russia in the promise of a Europe whole, free and at peace — a vision we still believe would benefit all participants.

Unfortunately, hope of a constructive relationship with Russia under Putin has vanished. A friendly rival has become, at best, an unfriendly adversary. Putin will not compromise his quest to dominate Russia's sovereign neighbors (not least as a cynical way to build support at home for his corrupt and autocratic rule). He may play along with Western diplomats eager to avoid conflict, as happened recently in Geneva, but only as a way to consolidate his gains, divide the United States and Europe, play for time and prepare to push further. Western weakness emboldens Putin. The only thing he respects, and that can change his calculus, is greater strength.

We must make policy on this basis. In the short term, the United States must expand sanctions to major Russian banks, energy companies and other sectors of Russia's economy — such as the arms industry — that serve as instruments of Putin's foreign policy. We should also expose the most egregious corruption of Russian officials and cut off those people, their business associates and relatives from Western economies and travel. Some of our European allies may hope to avoid tough sanctions, but weak measures will not stop Putin, and the costs of doing so will only grow with time.

Ultimately, Putin's actions in Ukraine require a strategic response. This does not mean a new Cold War. But it does require recognizing Putin's geopolitical challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe and preparing for a more competitive relationship with Russia.

NATO must recommit to its core missions of deterrence and collective defense. This requires a rebalancing of the alliance's force posture and presence. NATO military capabilities must be increased and more evenly distributed across the alliance, including a more robust and persistent presence in Central Europe and the Baltic countries. Some steps in this direction are underway; these actions must be sustainable and enduring.

For NATO to do more for its members, its members have to do more for themselves and the alliance. The United States must reverse harmful cuts to its defense budget. And NATO allies must meet their commitment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense as soon as possible.

We also need a transatlantic energy strategy. Europe remains dependent on Russian oil and gas, while U.S. supplies are growing faster than our ability to bring them to market (indeed, about $1.5 million worth of gas has to be "flared" — that is, burned uselessly because there is not enough capacity to transport or refine it — each day in North Dakota alone). It will take years to align European demand and U.S. supply, but we must start now. European countries must invest in the infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas from the United States, as Lithuania is doing, and transmit it across Europe. For our part, the Obama administration should lift holds on terminal applications for liquefied natural gas and ensure their expeditious processing so the private sector can build new capacity for transport and storage. These actions could weaken Putin, support our allies, strengthen the U.S. economy, increase federal revenue and create thousands of good jobs.

Another fact repeatedly highlighted during our trip is that Putin is winning the war of ideas among Russian-speaking peoples in the former Soviet Union. Putin's propaganda rests on lies, but it is effective and hardly refuted. We have all but given up on communicating the truth, in Russian, to Europe's Russian-speaking populations. This needs to change, and the old state-run public diplomacy is not necessarily the answer. The private sector can play an important role.

Finally, the West must provide far greater diplomatic, economic and military support to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other European countries that aspire to be part of our transatlantic community. We must show all of these countries that, as long as they meet the rightfully high standards for membership, the doors to NATO and the European Union remain open and the fundamental choices about their future foreign policy are for them to make — no one else.

The United States and Europe did not seek, or deserve, this challenge from Putin's Russia. But we must rise to it all the same. Our shared interests and values depend on our resolve.

NY Times Finally Wants Someone Impeached Jay Bybee War Is A Crime .org

The Torturers' Manifesto
By NY Times

To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush's Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.

Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.

In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.

These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors' statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country's most basic values.

It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos' release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped "Top Secret" were released with hardly any deletions.

But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.

Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses — and who set the rules and who approved them — there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.

The abuses and the dangers do not end with the torture memos. Americans still know far too little about President Bush's decision to illegally eavesdrop on Americans — a program that has since been given legal cover by the Congress.

Last week, The Times reported that the nation's intelligence agencies have been collecting private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans on a scale that went beyond the broad limits established in legislation last year. The article quoted the Justice Department as saying there had been problems in the surveillance program that had been resolved. But Justice did not say what those problems were or what the resolution was.

That is the heart of the matter: nobody really knows what any of the rules were. Mr. Bush never offered the slightest explanation of what he found lacking in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he decided to ignore the law after 9/11 and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of Americans' overseas calls and e-mail. He said he was president and could do what he wanted.

The Bush administration also never explained how it interpreted laws that were later passed to expand the government's powers to eavesdrop. And the Obama administration argued in a recent court filing that everything associated with electronic eavesdropping, including what is allowed and what is not, is a state secret.

We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans' rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules.

In the case of detainee abuse, Mr. Obama assured C.I.A. operatives that they would not be prosecuted for actions that their superiors told them were legal. We have never been comfortable with the "only following orders" excuse, especially because Americans still do not know what was actually done or who was giving the orders.

After all, as far as Mr. Bush's lawyers were concerned, it was not really torture unless it involved breaking bones, burning flesh or pulling teeth. That, Mr. Bybee kept noting, was what the Libyan secret police did to one prisoner. The standard for American behavior should be a lot higher than that of the Libyan secret police.

At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush's example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.

That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability.

[May 14, 2014] In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia by John Pilger

May 13, 2014 | The Guardian | Jump to comments (3662)

...Like the ruins of Iraq and Afghanistan, Ukraine has been turned into a CIA theme park – run personally by CIA director John Brennan in Kiev, with dozens of "special units" from the CIA and FBI setting up a "security structure" that oversees savage attacks on those who opposed the February coup. Watch the videos, read the eye-witness reports from the massacre in Odessa this month. Bussed fascist thugs burned the trade union headquarters, killing 41 people trapped inside. Watch the police standing by.


For the first time since the Reagan years, the US is threatening to take the world to war.

Don't want to see it happen, obviously, but for several years I've believed the US is the country most likely to start a world war, possibly through self-interest but more probably through the unutterable stupidity of rightwing politicians.

Beckow -> LionelKent

The coming end of "Bush wars" is scaring the military industry. Something has to happen, they are panicking. Russia or Ukraine, maybe Iran, maybe "pivot" to China. But there will not be peace. It is bad for business.

The "rightwing politicians" are quite stupid, true, but they are also basically salesmen for their military industry sponsors. You know "jobs", and all that....

griffinalabama -> LionelKent

John Pilger, did you see that the US government, through the USAID program, funded the violent coup Ukrainian government more media and press money, the day after the Odessa massacre?

....and that the Kiev Post then reported, the very next day, that the victims killed themselves accidentally? I have attached the links for your and others viewing and analysis....this controversial info is easily provable and needs more sunlight. The US government funded neo-nazi's who brutally murdered innocent people and the very same day they gave the Ukrainian media millions of dollars....that media then went on to cover up those murders the very next day.

This is an unbelievable scandal. I have compiled a large amount of video and linked evidence of the events in Odessa at a thread at the Democratic Underground website if your interested in taking a look. It includes videos of the full Odessa build up....including early rally's with "Seig heil" salutes and the post fire 'victory' rally with more salutes and Right sector saying how they stamped out the "Colorado Beetles"....Link here:
Headline at link: Police say pro-Russians accidentally set fatal Odessa fire with Molotov cocktails (LIVE UPDATES, VIDEO)

Much of this information is readily available on the internet but for ease of use I have compiled it all in one discussion thread at DU. Thank you for standing up and writing what you wrote for all the innocent people who are being hurt by all this.

LionelKent -> Beckow

14 May 2014 11:48am

But there will not be peace. It is bad for business.

Yes, it would appear that men (less often women) can become so obsessed with business that they are unwilling to consider what their activities might lead to. Like a smoker who finds the first inhalation after breakfast so good that giving up is inconceivable (and I've been through it myself). The irony is, of course, that a world war at this point of technological development might put an end to business, full stop. It's my impression the rightwing mind refuses to think about such matters. With rare exception, perhaps.


13 May 2014 9:01pm

The sooner the Chinese pull the economic rug from under the feet of corporate America the better. Bon Voyage Uncle Sam.

fred4945 -> WhetherbyPond

Simultaneously, China will put a gun to its own head and pull the trigger.

Or don't you realize that China cannot survive economically without American customers?

Perhaps you Brits would like to go it alone, again. How many times in the last century did we save you miserable backsides? (The world would have been a better place if we'd never entered World War I. We should have left you and the Germans alone. Let your bloody millions lie panting in the mud until you found a way to settle your utterly petty quarrel.)

skinman620 -> WhetherbyPond

13 May 2014 9:19pm

Say what you like against American global dominance, but I'd far rather live in a world dominated by the US than one dominated by China. Only a fool would believe otherwise. Britain has some pretty unsavoury history when it comes to China - history that has not been forgotten.

I'd be careful what you wish for with this particular anti US wet dream.

WhetherbyPond -> skinman620

" Britain has some pretty unsavoury history when it comes to China - history that has not been forgotten."

Thank heavens I'm an Irishman. Yes, The Opium Wars,fought at same time as the genocidal famine caused by England was happening in my country. Well, as the man once said "What goes around, comes around.

There's very little difference twixt the two, save the Chinese lack of sanctimony,but I think the Yanks are worse, as you would soon find out if you were a victim of the torture chambers of Villa Grimaldi, El Salvador, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay...........

Conflicts Forum's Weekly Comment 25 April – 2 May 2014 Conflicts Forum by Alastair Crooke

Hat tip to Mood of Alabama. Quote: "Alastair Crooke, a former MI-6 honcho and diplomat, is just back from Moscow and has some interesting thoughts on the bigger historic issues which express themselves in the current events in Ukraine."
May 2, 2014 | Conflicts Forum

Following five days in Moscow, a few thoughts on Russian perspectives: Firstly, we are beyond the Crimea. That is over. We too are beyond 'loose' federalism for Ukraine (no longer thought politically viable). Indeed, we are most likely beyond Ukraine as a single entity. Also, we are beyond either Kiev or Moscow having the capacity to 'control' events (in the wider sense of the word): both are hostage to events (as well as are Europe and America), and to any provocations mounted by a multitude of uncontrollable and violent activists.

In gist, the dynamics towards some sort of secession of East Ukraine (either in part, or in successive increments) is thought to be the almost inevitable outcome. The question most informed commentators in Moscow ask themselves is whether this will occur with relatively less or relatively more violence – and whether that violence will reach such a level (massacres of ethnic Russians or of the pro-Russian community) that President Putin will feel that he has no option but to intervene. We are nowhere near that point at the time of writing: Kiev's 'security initiatives' have been strikingly ineffective, and casualties surprisingly small (given the tensions). It seems that the Ukrainian military is unwilling, or unable (or both of these), to crush a rebellion composed only of a few hundred armed men backed by a few thousand unarmed civilians — but that of course may change at any moment. (One explanation circulating on Russian internet circles is that pro-Russian insurgents and the Ukrainian servicemen simply will not shoot at each other - even when given the order to do so. Furthermore, they appear to be in direct and regular contact with each other and there is an informal understanding that neither side will fire at the other. Note — we have witnessed similar understandings in Afghanistan in the 1980s between the Soviet armed forces and the Mujahidin.)

And this the point, most of those with whom we spoke suspect that it is the interest of certain components of the American foreign policy establishment (but not necessarily that of the US President) to provoke just such a situation: a forced Russian intervention in East Ukraine (in order to protect its nationals there from violence or disorder or both). It is also thought that Russian intervention could be seen to hold political advantage to the beleaguered and fading acting government in Kiev. And further, it is believed that some former Soviet Republics, now lying at the frontline of the EU's interface with Russia, will see poking Moscow in the eye as a settling of past scores, as well as underscoring their standing in Brussels and Washington for having brought 'democracy' to eastern Europe.

There seems absolutely no appetite in Moscow to intervene in Ukraine (and this is common to all shades of political opinion). Everyone understands Ukraine to be a vipers' nest, and additionally knows it to be a vast economic 'black hole'. But … you can scarcely meet anyone in Moscow who does not have relatives in Ukraine. This is not Libya; East Ukraine is family. Beyond some certain point, if the dynamic for separation persists, and if the situation on the ground gets very messy, some sort of Russian intervention may become unavoidable (just as Mrs Thatcher found it impossible to resist pressures to intervene in support of British 'kith and kin' in the Falklands). Moscow well understands that such a move will unleash another western outpouring of outrage.

More broadly then, we are moving too beyond the post-Cold War global dispensation, or unipolar moment. We are not heading – at least from the Russian perspective, as far as can be judged – towards a new Cold War, but to a period of increased Russian antagonism towards any western move that it judges hostile to its key interests – and especially to those that are seen to threaten its security interests. In this sense, a Cold War is not inevitable. Russia has made, for example, no antagonistic moves in Iran, in Syria or in Afghanistan. Putin has been at some pains to underline that whereas – from now – Russia will pursue its vital interests unhesitatingly, and in the face of any western pressures, on other non-existential issues, it is still open to diplomatic business as usual.

That said, and to just to be clear, there is deep disillusion with European (and American) diplomacy in Moscow. No one holds out any real prospect for diplomacy – given the recent history of breaches of faith (broken agreements) in Ukraine. No doubt these sentiments are mirrored in western capitals, but the atmosphere in Moscow is hardening, and hardening visibly. Even the 'pro-Atlanticist' component in Russia senses that Europe will not prove able to de-escalate the situation. They are both disappointed, and bitter at their political eclipse in the new mood that is contemporary Russia, where the 'recovery of sovergnty' current prevails.

Thus, the era of Gorbachevian hope of some sort of parity of esteem (even partnership) emerging between Russia and the western powers, in the wake of the conclusion to the Cold War, has imploded – with finality. To understand this is to reflect on the way the Cold War was brought to and end; and how that ending, and its aftermath, was managed. In retrospect, the post-war era was not well handled by the US, and there existirreconcilable narratives on the subject of the nature of the so-called 'defeat' itself, and whether it was a defeat for Russia at all.

Be that as it may, the Russian people have been treated as if they were psychologically-seared and defeated in the Cold War – as were the Japanese in the wake of the dropping of the nuclear bombs by the US in 1945. Russia was granted a bare paucity of esteem in the Cold War's wake; instead Russians experienced rather the disdain of victors for the defeated visited upon them. There was little or any attempt at including Russia in a company of the nations of equals – as many Russians had hoped. Few too would contest that the economic measures forced on Russia in the war's aftermath brought anything other than misery to most Russians. However unlike 1945, most Russians never felt defeated, and some felt then – and still feel – just betrayed. Whatever the verdict of history on how much the Cold War truly was a defeat, the aftermath of it has given rise to a Versailles Treaty-type of popular resentment at the consequences of the post-Cold War settlement, and at the (unwarranted) unipolar triumphalism (from the Russian perspective).

In this sense, it is the end of an era: it marks the end of the post-Cold War settlement that brought into being the American unipolar era. It is the rise of a Russian challenge to that unipolar order which seems so unsettling to many living in the West. Just as Versailles was psychologically rejected by Germans, so Russia is abdicating out of the present dispensation (at least in respect to its key interests). The big question must be whether the wider triangulation (US-Russia-China) that saw merit in its complementary touching at each of its three apexes is over too — a triangulation on which the US depends heavily for its foreign policy. We have to wait on China. The answer to this question may well hinge on how far the antagonism between Russia and the West is allowed – or even encouraged – to escalate. Only then, might it become more apparent how many, and who, is thinking of seceding from the global order (including from the Federal Reserve controlled financial system).

In the interim, time and dynamics require Russia to do little in Ukraine at this point but to watch and wait. The mood in Russia, however, is to expect provocations in Ukraine, by any one of the assorted interested parties, with the aim of forcing a Russian intervention — and thus a politically useful 'limited' war that will do many things: restore US 'leadership' in Europe, give NATO a new mission and purpose, and provide the same (and greater prominence) to certain newer EU member states (such as Poland). Russia will have concluded that the second round of economic sanctions has revealed more about a certain lack of political (and financial) will – or perhaps vulnerability – on the part of America's European allies. Russia no doubt sees the US to be gripped by the logic of escalation (as Administration talk centres on a new containment strategy, and the demonization of Russia as a pariah state), whatever President Obama may be hinting through the columns of David Ignatius. It is a dangerous moment, as all in Moscow acknowledge, with positions hardening on both sides.

Russia is not frightened by sanctions (which some, with influence in Moscow, would welcome as a chance to push-back against the US use of the global interbank payment systems for its own ends). Nor is Russia concerned that, as occurred with the USSR, the US – in today's changed circumstances – can contrive a drop in the price of oil in order to weaken the state. But Russia is somewhat more vulnerable to the West's teaming up with Sunni radicals as its new geo-strategic weapon of choice. Concept of MIC makes it easy to

We have therefore seen a Russian outreach both to Saudi Arabia and Egypt (President Putin recently extolled King Abdallah's "wisdom"). There is a feeling too that US policy is not fully controlled by the US President; and that Gulf States, smelling that US ift, and open to manipulation by interests within the US, will take advantage (perhaps in coordination with certain Americans opposed to President Obama's policies) to escalate the jihadist war against President Assad and to target Obama's Iran policy. Russia may be expected to try to circumscribe this danger to its own Muslim population and to that of its neighbouring former Soviet Republics. But for now, Russia will be likely to play it cool: to wait-and-see how events unfold, before recalibrating any main components of its Middle East policy.

For the longer term however, Russia's effective divorce out of the unipolar international order will impact powerfully on the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia (not to say Syria and Iran) have already virtually done the same.

Yet another totally crazy idea from Banderastan

The Vineyard of the Saker

Unknown said...

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.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is:

1. US wedge between Germany and Russia (Eurasian Economic Union) aka return of the US into Eastern Europe.

2. Naming Russia enemy of NATO.

3. Reviving NATO power

4. Transatlantic and Transpacific Unions (economic slavery to the US).

5. Ukraine: will "the little green men" emerge in the pro-Russian defensive positions without radio communication activity on the Russian side which made CIA and other US military intelligence fools for themselves?

6. Ukraine: why the Kiev thugs cry through every media bullhorn/outlet they will start military hostilities against civilians tomorrow morning? Did Hitler published in press in advance the blueprints of Barbarossa Plan?

7. Ukraine: how many death will make Russians to press the button "go ahead" for their armed forces?

Gareth said...

Here is an excellent and up to date source of information on the activities on NATO

Stop NATO…Opposition to global militarism

Anonymous said...

Espina said

The military and the monetary


Mulga Mumblebrain said...

I think that the latest economic statistics from The Real Evil Empire of Eternal Exceptionalism may, in large part, explain the reckless aggression of the psychopaths at present. The date at which China surpasses the USA as the world's largest economy (and without the gigantic incubus of the USA's massive engine of self-destruction, the financial kleptocracy)grows closer every day. I've noticed that the local ruling Rightwing psychos are growing more frantic here in Oz.

They constantly speak of China being in trouble (they have predicted that for forty years)because its growth is 'only' 7.4%, whereas growth in the REEEE of 0.1% (minus 1% without Obamacare's contribution)is another sign of our Imperial Master's 'resilience'. And the current hard Right Federal regime has just had a hand-picked cabal of psychopaths present an economic blue-print to privatise the country and turn it into a fully-fledged neo-feudal Hell of inequality and privilege. Social solidarity zero, greedy, atomised, hyper-individualism, infinite.

As if the last forty years of neo-liberal class warfare and stagnation, boom and bust and rising inequality was a very good thing, indeed, and we need more of it. This is where Putin is winning, I would say. The rulers of the West are now so plainly revealing themselves as evil, endlessly mendacious psychopaths who fear and hate all others (including one another-as they say, 'If you want a friend on Wall Street, buy a dog'), that someone like Putin, merely by standing up to them makes himself attractive to the remaining fraction capable of independent thought. Which is why brainwashing sewers like the odious 'The Guardian' are screeching that RT must be banned, and the MSM is united in hysteria in denouncing the evil Putin.

The plebs are waking up, and the Bosses are worried.

Anonymous said...

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
Quote "

The danger for Russia is that the Russian government will rely on diplomacy, international organizations, international cooperation, and on the common sense and self-interest of German politicians and politicians in other of Washington's European puppet states.

For Russia this could be a fatal mistake. There is no good will in Washington, only mendacity. Russian delay provides Washington with time to build up forces on Russia's borders and in the Black Sea and to demonize Russia with propaganda and whip up the US population into a war frenzy. The latter is already occurring.

In my opinion, Washington does not want the Ukraine matters settled in a diplomatic and reasonable way. It might be the case that Russia's best move is immediately to occupy the Russian territories of Ukraine and re-absorb the territories into Russia from whence they came. This should be done before the US and its NATO puppets are prepared for war. It is more difficult for Washington to start a war when the objects of the war have already been lost. Russia will be demonized with endless propaganda from Washington whether or not Russia re-absorbs its traditional territories. If Russia allows these territories to be suppressed by Washington, the prestige and authority of the Russian government will collapse. Perhaps that is what Washington is counting on.

In my opinion, the Russian and Chinese governments have made serious strategic mistakes by remaining within the US dollar-based international payments system. The BRICS and any others with a brain should instantly desert the dollar system, which is a mechanism for US imperialism. The countries of the BRICS should immediately create their own separate payments system and their own exclusive communications/Internet system.

Russia and China have stupidly made these strategic mistakes,
By Paul Craig Roberts

Hat hip to The Vineyard of the Saker blog. Picked up from comments

Fool on the Hill said...

My money is on McCain. Here's why:

Make-Believe Maverick
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty

October 16, 2008
At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.

McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.

There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."

"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.

"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.

"Why? Where are you going to, John?"

"Oh, I'm going to Rio."

"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

"I got a better chance of getting laid."

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

[Apr 27, 2014] Orwellian Piece By Ian Morris

April 27, 2014 |

Ian Morris, a professor of Classics at Stanford, argues in the Washington Post that, in the long run, wars make us safer and richer. Perhaps it is just too difficult to make such a counterintuitive argument within the limited space of an opinion column, but his piece is one big mess.

The essence of his point is that modern people are much less likely to die violent deaths (at the hands of other humans) than stone-age people were, and that the reason for this is because we have formed large societies. In order to form large societies, we needed to a long series of subjugations where the vanquished were not killed but brought into the conquerers' system. To accomplish this, governments were formed with the primary job of pacifying their subjects through a variety of means, including law enforcement. Therefore, war and coercion are not the evils that they may seem to be at first consideration. He might have added religion to the mix here, but he didn't.

One might ask why he wrote this column in the first place. Does he think we aren't fighting enough wars? To get some idea of his motivation, you have to read to near the end, where he appears to compare the United States to the British Empire and suggest that we need to have the stomach to be the global sons of bitches the whole world needs us to be.

Like its predecessor, the United States oversaw a huge expansion of trade, intimidated other countries into not making wars that would disturb the world order, and drove rates of violent death even lower. But again like Britain, America made its money by helping trading partners become richer, above all China, which, since 2000, has looked increasingly like a potential rival. The cycle that Britain experienced may be in store for the United States as well, unless Washington embraces its role as the only possible globocop in an increasingly unstable world — a world with far deadlier weapons than Britain could have imagined a century ago.
American attitudes toward government are therefore not just some Beltway debate; they matter to everyone on Earth.

Why is this piece such a mess?

First, retracing the history of societal formation and noting that war and coercion were indispensable tools in those formations doesn't obviously tell us anything about whether or not we can improve people's safety or make them richer by using war and coercion today.

Even in his piece, Prof. Morris notes that war may not make societies bigger and stronger, even in the long term.

For 1,000 years — beginning before Attila the Hun in the AD 400s and ending after Genghis Khan in the 1200s — mounted invaders from the steppes actually threw the process of pacification into reverse everywhere from China to Europe, with war breaking down larger, safer societies into smaller, more dangerous ones.

In fact, he begins his piece by referencing a retrospectively naive book written in 1910 that predicted that war had become obsolete. But he doesn't explain how World War One made people safer or richer.

I think we can see in places like Congo, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Iraq that the absence of sufficient force can make people less safe and much poorer. Perhaps the people in those countries would benefit if someone came along who was strong enough to subjugate all the warring factions and make them live peacefully together. But, of course, these theoretical strongmen would have to kill and threaten to kill a lot of people in order to accomplish their goals. And that would definitely not make people safer or richer in the short term.

To some degree, Prof. Morris seems to be arguing in favor of larger societies that use bigger governmental organizations because these bring more people together and protects them better than smaller societies with less coercive capability. He could have made an argument in favor of the nation-state as an innovation that brought more peace than war. But he chose to argue that war is, in itself, even in this day and age, a positive good. War is Peace, in other words.

And America needs to bring the peace.

[Feb 19, 2014] How a Careerist Culture Leads to Military Scandals by Kelley Vlahos

February 18, 2014 | The American Conservative

Bribes, mistresses, cheating on tests—has the armed forces' professional ethos turned perverse?

Popular culture reveres the U.S. military as an institution of pride and strength, as keeper of the American moral center. But a recent series of scandals suggests that, instead, ethical corrosion may be eating away at its very core.

Sarah Palin was in top rhetorical form when she told an assembled crowd of thousands on the National Mall in 2010 that soldiers were "a force for good in this country, and that is nothing to apologize for … for these men and women, honor was never lost." But behind the partisan politics in which Democrats and Republicans have used the military as props, padded its budgets, and publicly deferred to its leadership in myriad ways over 12 years of war, there lies a complicated breakdown in its culture, military experts tell TAC. Without reform, they believe institution is headed for more embarrassment and transgression.

"I'm not surprised at all—one [scandal] relates to the other," charges Donald Vandergriff, a retired Army officer who often lectures on leadership and reform, including in the service academies. A former deputy director of Army ROTC at Georgetown University, he wrote The Path to Victory: America's Army and the Revolution in Human Affairs, in 2002.

"The [military] system that's evolved over the last 100 years does not test moral courage, it does not test strength of character, or the ability to tell the truth regardless of harm to one's career," Vandergriff added. "We don't do things like that. We are looking at people who follow the process, fall in line, don't cause waves, aren't open to innovation, and these personality traits leave them open to scandal."

Tough words, but a spate of scandals seems to underscore his point, particularly recent ones involving a number of generals and top brass. Most notable is Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, currently facing a court-martial for sexual assault involving a junior officer on this staff. He is also accused of threatening to kill her and her family—and misusing his government credit card.

Meanwhile, last month 92 officers were caught in a widespread cheating scandal at the Air Force nuclear force. Then, on Feb. 7, it was reported that some 100 Naval instructors have been accused of cheating on an exam they need to pass to teach sailors working on nuclear subs and carriers.

Even more seriously, the Navy has been rocked by a sordid kickback investigation, known now as the "Fat Leonard scandal," that highlights the dangerous nexus of high-flying insider defense contractors and the deep pockets of the U.S. military. In this case, a top agent from the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has been arrested and two active duty commanders are awaiting trial. Meanwhile, two admirals and two captains have been put on leave pending investigation. The contractor at the heart of the affair, Leonard Francis—known as "Fat Leonard" for his supposed girth and big personality—was arrested back in September on bribery charges and remains behind bars.

The charges stem from a sting operation that found Naval officers were allegedly sending Francis—a Malaysian native who has held more than $200 million in logistical services contracts with the Navy since 2011—classified information about ship deployments in exchange for luxury items, prostitutes, and expensive trips. With the insider knowledge in hand, Francis would allegedly pressure Navy commanders to steer their ships to his ports, where he would not only elaborately wine and dine the top officers but also overcharge the Navy outrageously to service the ships, otherwise known as "husbanding."

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Selected Comments

Fran Macadam:

If the standing army so despised by our American Founding Father ancestors really were the supreme force for good in society that we degraded scions now believe it to be, then it would follow that the military dictatorship would be the most perfected, moral way of governing human affairs.

So it does seem our current solons agree, given their penchant for overthrowing pesky foreign democracies and supporting military coups and juntas, from Pinochet to Egypt, now without even communist opponents as handy fig leaves.

Now that there is an overarching fourth branch of secret unaccountable government, unconstrained by law, overruling the other branches, treating the entire domestic population as adversaries to be spied upon, all ruled over by military generals and military-industrial lackeys, we have our own emergent home-grown turnkey totalitarian state infrastructure.

Our biggest businessmen prefer dealing with foreign dictatorships that supply them lackey labor at huge profit, while despising democratic accountability at home, preferring to subvert the republic through donorism, buying their legislation from politicians who were supposed to have been elected to serve the American people instead.

An institution that serves at best only a necessary evil, preparation for mass killing as defense against invasion, and at worst an unnecessary unmitigated evil, waging preemptive wars of imperial conquest and occupation on behalf of financial elites, could hardly be the highest expression of a moral people's national aspirations. That it is seen as so, is symptomatic of the same decline into degraded self-indulgence that permeates our wider brutalized society. The collapsed military morale simply reflects the low estate of us all.

John :

It's tempting for many to think of the military as being somehow different from any other political organization because of the uniform, the oath of office, etc., but it really isn't. If you're at the bottom and have no resources, you can expect to have the book thrown at you for your offenses because the military likes to preach accountability to the rank and file. If you're in the middle, it comes down to whether you have friends above you and whether they are disposed to help under the circumstances. If you're at the top, you will get every courtesy from your peers as they try to figure out how to exonerate you and thus protect the perceived infallibility of command.

I was a junior officer for five years in one branch of service, and I spent most of it stationed in Japan. During my time there, one of my enlisted personnel got caught up in a base-wide DUI dragnet; he elected non-judicial punishment, losing rank and pay. This is the kind of result the military touts when it comes to its judicial process, because it's what you would expect from a civilian judiciary with no reason to care about the rank of the accused.

By contrast, one of my squadron's officers, who had recently promoted to lieutenant colonel, was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer while on exercise; I'll never know all of it, but it involved significant performance failures during the exercise and prostitutes on the government dime. That colonel lost his opportunity to command, but he kept rank and pay as he accepted another job in the transition to military retirement (in his early forties, naturally). My base commander, a brigadier general, had interceded with the military police to keep his wife from receiving a DUI, and – rumor has it – got a favored aide a prestigious job after she became pregnant out of wedlock with his child. Naturally, nothing ever came of these "investigations" and I believe he retired at the next rank years later.

As long as you have a rank-based hierarchy with very few limits on what subordinates may be commanded to do, things like this will happen.


It's more endemic than you know, especially out of the Academies:

And from Jacob Hornberger:

"Also published in April 2003 was my series of articles entitled 'Obedience to Orders,' which produced the biggest firestorm of controversy in FFF's history. The article made the simple point that officers who graduated from Virginia Military Institute were generally of higher caliber than officers who graduated from the professional military academies. (In the interests of full disclosure, I am a 1972 VMI graduate.) The reason? The graduates of the academies (generally, and obviously with exceptions) are taught to maintain an unswerving obedience to orders, and they know that their rise through the ranks of the military depends on such a mindset. VMI officers, on the other hand, being trained as 'citizen-soldiers,' develop a sense of conscience and independent thinking that (again generally, and with exceptions) trumps blind obedience to orders."


Today's academies, he added, tend to force cadets to compete ruthlessly with one another, while setting up an "all or nothing" system that shuns creativity and honesty in favor of "winning" and moving up the ranks.

My time in the naval academy (granted that it was in USSR early 1980s) was spent under the rule of the semi-joke, semi-truth–"the fewer chevrons are on the cadet's epaulets, the cleaner is the consciousness".

The talk, of course, was about cadet ranks which were awarded during the study. Everyone knew, including the guys (class and company mates) who were in the cadet command positions (squad, platoon and company leaders) that the only thing which mattered first of all was academics.

Leadership and command qualities were acquired through number of the activities and courses. And fleet practices and cruises, of course. Obviously, upon graduation and acquiring an officer rank things changed.


Nothing like living in an echo chamber. According to there are 1,433,000 active duty personnel.

This article highlights less than 1% of them involved in some manner of scandal. Far less than 1%. While I do think that 800 involved in a single investigation is a matter of some concern.

less than one percent of the overall manpower hardly reflects some manner of moral crisis. While I have a much lengthier response overall. I think the numbers indicate that most men and women in our Armed Services are not scandal prone or involved in scandal.

Because of the nature of their mission any scandal should be addressed, but I am not sure these media stories demonstrate a trend. And certainly the above examples are part of some aspects of military culture, but hardly any more selective than what occurs in civilian communities.

Joe the Plutocrat

is it me, or am I the only one who understood Ike when he warned of the perils of "misplaced power" inherent to the military industrial complex? more accurately, accepting the "military" is half of the (potential) problem.

just as with the "careerism" of America's political class, the military has developed it's own class of smarmy, self-serving "professionals" who view public service as a vehicle for personal enrichment. there are many professional, dedicated officers who serve(d) honorably, but as with Capitol Hill, there remains a disturbingly high number of pimps and influence peddlers who present themselves as public servants.

[Feb 04, 2014] Chris Hedges Military Metaphysics How Militarism Mangles the Mind

For the next 20 years I would go on from war zone to war zone as a foreign correspondent immersed in military culture. Repetitive rote learning and an insistence on blind obedience—similar to the approach used to train a dog—work on the battlefield. The military exerts nearly total control over the lives of its members. Its long-established hierarchy ensures that those who embrace the approved modes of behavior rise and those who do not are belittled, insulted and hazed. Many of the marks of civilian life are stripped away. Personal modes of dress, hairstyle, speech and behavior are heavily regulated. Individuality is physically and then psychologically crushed. Aggressiveness is rewarded. Compassion is demeaned. Violence is the favorite form of communication. These qualities are an asset in war; they are a disaster in civil society.

Homer in "The Iliad" showed his understanding of war. His heroes are not pleasant men. They are vain, imperial, filled with rage and violent. And Homer's central character in "The Odyssey," Odysseus, in his journey home from war must learn to shed his "hero's heart," to strip from himself the military attributes that served him in war but threaten to doom him off the battlefield. The qualities that serve us in war defeat us in peace.

Most institutions have a propensity to promote mediocrities, those whose primary strengths are knowing where power lies, being subservient and obsequious to the centers of power and never letting morality get in the way of one's career. The military is the worst in this respect.

In the military, whether at the Paris Island boot camp or West Point, you are trained not to think but to obey. What amazes me about the military is how stupid and bovine its senior officers are. Those with brains and the willingness to use them seem to be pushed out long before they can rise to the senior-officer ranks.

The many Army generals I met over the years not only lacked the most rudimentary creativity and independence of thought but nearly always saw the press, as well as an informed public, as impinging on their love of order, regimentation, unwavering obedience to authority and single-minded use of force to solve complex problems.

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...Peace is for the weak. War is for the strong. Hypermasculinity has triumphed over empathy. We Americans speak to the world exclusively in the language of force. And those who oversee our massive security and surveillance state seek to speak to us in the same demented language. All other viewpoints are to be shut out.

"In the absence of contrasting views, the very highest form of propaganda warfare can be fought: the propaganda for a definition of reality within which only certain limited viewpoints are possible," C. Wright Mills wrote. "What is being promulgated and reinforced is the military metaphysics—the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military."

[Jan 23, 2014] Guns and Butter by Ron Paul

"Many of the defenders of increased war spending are opponents of welfare, but they are willing to set aside their opposition to increased welfare spending in order to increase warfare spending." ... "While many neocons give lip service to limiting domestic spending, their main priority remains protecting high levels of military spending to maintain an interventionist foreign policy"
Jan 21, 2013 | Mises Institute

Ever since "sequestration" went into effect at the beginning of last year, the military-industrial complex's congressional cheering session has complained that sequestration imposed "draconian cuts" on the Pentagon that will "decimate" our military — even though most of the "cuts" were actually reductions in the "projected rate of growth." In fact, under sequestration, defense spending was to increase by 18 percent over ten years, as opposed to growing by 20 percent without sequestration.

Many of the defenders of increased war spending are opponents of welfare, but they are willing to set aside their opposition to increased welfare spending in order to increase warfare spending. They are supported in this position by the lobbyists for the military-industrial complex and the neoconservatives, whose continued influence on foreign policy is mystifying. After all, the neocons were the major promoters of the disastrous military intervention in Iraq.

While many neocons give lip service to limiting domestic spending, their main priority remains protecting high levels of military spending to maintain an interventionist foreign policy. The influence of the neocons provides intellectual justification for politicians to vote for ever-larger military budgets — and break the campaign promises to vote against increases in spending and debt.

Fortunately, in recent years more Americans have recognized that a constant defense of liberty requires opposing both war and welfare. Many of these Americans, especially the younger ones, have joined the intellectual and political movement in favor of limiting government in all areas. This movement presents the most serious challenge the bipartisan welfare-warfare consensus has faced in generations. Hopefully, the influence of this movement will lead to bipartisan deals cutting both welfare and warfare spending.

The question facing Americans is not whether Congress will ever cut spending. The question is will the spending be reduced in an orderly manner that avoids inflecting massive harm on those depending on government programs, or will spending be slashed in response to an economic crisis caused by ever-increasing levels of deficit spending. Because politicians are followers rather than leaders, it is ultimately up to the people what course we will take. This is why it is vital that those of us who understand the dangerous path we are currently on do all we can to expand the movement for liberty, peace, and prosperity.

Eisenhower's Farewell Speech Now More Prescient Than Ever by Stephen C. Webster

Three letter agencies are an important part of military industrial complex. May be the most influential taking into account that they control the coverage of foreign events in MSM media. Quote: "The NSA in its present state represents a marriage of military might and technological elitism. It is, in other words, exactly what Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago, and the threat is poses to our democracy is grave indeed."
Jan. 17, 2014 | The Progressive

President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech, given 53 years ago this day, shook a nation still struggling to move past the horrors we witnessed in World War II. He warned of a new power that had risen up in the wake of that war -- the power of America's military industrial complex -- telling us in no uncertain terms that it holds the potential to destroy our democracy.

"We must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific, technological elite," Eisenhower said. "It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society."

It would seem that his speech is more prescient now than ever before. Please, take a few minutes to watch it in full:

President Barack Obama picked today to announce a series of patheticly meager reforms to the National Security Agency (NSA), America's embattled electronic spying apparatus that has seemingly permeated every layer of our technologically driven society. The White House told reporters that the date was not selected as a nod to Eisenhower. Coincidence, however, is a funny thing.

The NSA in its present state represents a marriage of military might and technological elitism. It is, in other words, exactly what Eisenhower warned us about 53 years ago, and the threat is poses to our democracy is grave indeed.

"The NSA is collecting enormous amounts of information," Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said in a prepared statement this week. "They know about the phone calls made by every person in this country, where they're calling, who they're calling and how long they're on the phone. Let us not forget that a mere 40 years ago we had a president of the United States who completely disregarded the law in an effort to destroy his political opponents. In my view, the information collected by the NSA has the potential to give an unscrupulous administration enormous power over elected officials."

Sanders has been a leading voice for NSA reform in the halls of Congress, and recently demanded to know if the agency was spying on elected officials. In a letter, NSA Director Keith Alexander denied that the agency is spying on Congress, but he added that communications data generated by our elected representatives likely does get swept up by their massive phone and Internet dragnet.

The NSA insists that their dragnet is only intended to be used for fighting terrorism, and does not identify specific communications or even the identity of those who are swept up in it. This claim has been shown to be false. As national security reporter Marcy Wheeler recently pointed out in a piece published by The Progressive, the NSA itself published a training manual which tells its analysts that merely looking at the so-called "metadata" the agency collects can reveal the identity of their targets.

As such, not only can the NSA spy on elected officials, it can also create incredibly detailed dossiers on every single citizen of every modern country in the world. Its massive server farms vacuum up nearly everything on the Internet. Its sensors can peer within computers that are not even connected to the Internet. For a recent spy satellite launch that deployed tech which the NSA will most certainly make use of, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence selected as its mission logo an octopus with tentacles wrapping around the globe. "Nothing is beyond our reach," it boasts.

Despite all of this, a White House review and an outside analysis have both found that the NSA's dragnet does nothing to make Americans safer.

Knowing all of this, listening to Eisenhower's speech in our modern age is like hearing the words of a prophet. Here is the President whose Federal investments gave us highways and satellites, telling us that one day our military and technological elite will come to own our elected officials and eventually dominate us all.

"Down the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect," he said. "Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength."

What he described is nothing short of a road map to a more harmonious world, but that path is blocked, completely and irreversibly, by the very existence of the NSA. This agency, which overlooks the globe and peers across the horizon of human thought in search of national security threats, is now among the greatest threat to world peace.

[Jan 20, 2014]

Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts says, "The country is not being run by the President. It is being run by spy agencies and private interest groups, Wall Street and military security complex . . .

They run the country. The President is a puppet, a figurehead." Dr. Roberts contends, "If you are a lawless state, which the United States is, it obeys no international law. It does not obey the Geneva Convention . . . It tortures people. It doesn't obey the Constitution. It doesn't obey anything. It does what it wants. . . . If you are a lawless state, you disguise yourself as a democracy."

Former President Jimmy Carter agrees. Just last week, Carter said, "The U.S. has no functioning democracy at this moment."

Why hasn't the mainstream media picked up this astounding comment from a former Democratic President? Dr. Roberts says, "Five firms now own what used to be a large dispersed independent media. Nobody can open their mouth, they'd get fired. They have become a propaganda ministry for government and corporations."

[Dec 16, 2013] The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now by Samer Araabi

October 10, 2012 | Right Web

In late September 2001, less than 10 days after the 9/11 attacks, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)—a group of prominent neoconservatives, liberal interventionists, and members of the religious right who advocated a host of U.S.-led regime changes in the Middle East—drafted a letter to President George W. Bush, commending his promise to "go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world" and offering a number of recommendations for the remainder of the president's term.[1] 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).[2]

In addition to their advocacy positions on Iraq (invade immediately), Israel (support unconditionally), and military spending (abide "no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed"), the signatories urged a tougher stance on Hezbollah, as well as its state sponsors in Damascus and Tehran.

In the letter, they argued that "any war against terrorism must target Hezbollah," and urged the administration to "demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism."

Today, as Syria remains mired in a seemingly limitless spiral of violence, the question arises—what has become of this attack-Syria coalition and what, if anything, has changed in its view of U.S. intervention?

[Dec 16, 2013] George Kennan's Prescience About the Military-Industrial Complex

December 12, 2013 | Foreign Policy In Focus

Since World War II, the United States hasn't let a day go by without a mortal enemy.

In a 1985 article in Political Psychology, which I recently found while browsing JSTOR, John Kennan was quoted by author John E. Mack.* Kennan, the political scientist and diplomat whose ideas informed the U.S. policy of "containing" the Soviet Union wrote (in "Letter to an American," the New Yorker, September 24, 1984):

The habit of spending from two to three hundred billions of dollars annually on preparations for an imagined war with Russia ― a habit reaching deeply into the lives and interests of millions of our citizens both in and out of the armed services, including industrial workers, labor-union officials, politicians, legislators, and middlemen: This habit has risen to the status of a vast addiction of American society, an addiction whose overcoming would encounter the most intense resistance and take years to accomplish even if the Soviet Union had in the meantime miraculously disappeared from the earth.

In other words, he foresaw how unlikely it was that the United States, however flush with victory over the Soviet Union (or more accurately, it didn't col) would issue itself a "peace dividend," improving the economy by spending less on defense. While U.S. military spending would decrease during the decline of the Soviet Union, as we all know it went through the roof after 9/11. As with the Soviet Union after World War, the rise of Islamic terrorism arrived just in time to infuse the military-industrial complex ― not to mention the American psyche ― with the adrenaline boost in fear they both thrive on.

[Dec 02, 2013] 50yrs after JFK assassination: Choose your side in war on freedom by Tony Gosling

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
November 18, 2013 | RT Op-Edge

Make no mistake: the 'American Dream' was mortally wounded alongside John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.

The President's unpunished murder was an 'open season' declaration on the elected leadership in the West. 'Robbed' of their 1962 Cuban nuclear war, the assassins were letting the whole world know who was 'The Daddy'.

Fifty years on we seem to be losing the same war for democratic control of our governments. Bankster robber barons and their Military Industrial Complex sidekicks are crawling all over the British cabinet. US Secretary of State John Kerry is still at it too. Despite being nominally a Democrat like JFK, he spends every waking hour in search of enemies, trying, by fair means and foul, to provoke war with Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

Perhaps he has a death wish? Perhaps it is Kerry's lying-in-a-coffin initiation into Yale University's Brotherhood of Death, the Skull and Bones Society, that blinds him to the likelihood his avarice will spark a global nuclear exchange with Russia? Just like the 1962 provocateurs, cut from the same cloth he doesn't give a damn.

US justice gets its boots on

The man who did the forensics and discovered most of the buried bodies in a trial that came within a whisker of nailing the JFK conspirators was former US Army officer and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. His investigation and 1988 book 'On the Trail of the Assassins' formed the rough draft for Oliver Stone's 1991 definitive film JFK.

Any treacherous TV station not showing JFK on the 50th anniversary should, I advise, be forever deleted from your channel list. It's unlikely any of the NATO zone TV documentaries rolling out over the 50th anniversary will come half as close to telling you what really happened as the Stone movie.

Instead we're being fed a propaganda diet of rancid red herrings, laced with insulting false trails while the graphic Zapruder film and a distraught Jackie Kennedy, as well as Jack Ruby shooting patsy-suspect Lee Harvey-Oswald in the stomach, sow the seeds of fear where they hurt.

Just as with more recent unexplained deaths of UK Secret Service men David Kelly in 2003 and Gareth Williams in 2010 the message of JFK's gruesome assassination is designed to fundamentally undermine the social fabric. The horror slips under the radar of consciousness to stamp into millions of psyches what, with impunity, the secret government can do.

For a refreshing taste of 'Garrison in the raw', listener-supported Oakland, California, radio outfit Guns and Butter's two-hour 1988 show 'The Assassination of JFK: The Garrison Interview' gets to the heart of the story. We hear, in Bonnie Faulkner's and Andrew Phillips's production, the voice of history's unfortunate self-confessed patsy Lee Harvey Oswald as well as Oliver Stone.

Radio Station KPFA co-producer David Mendelsohn interviews Garrison nearly 20 years after the trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, by which time further witnesses had crawled out of the woodwork, bringing with them further pieces of the jigsaw.

Garrison's disarming frankness and black humor make Guns and Butter's 25th anniversary production the benchmark documentary against which the entire 50th anniversary clutch can be judged. Evidence of the mainstream media's crippling influence that this classic documentary has still never been broadcast on national radio in the US or UK.

The 'we'll-never-know' brigade

Mainstream media flunkies are paid well to tell us that because Oswald was shot we will never know what organization or individuals were behind Kennedy's assassination. I beg to differ. The CIA - set up by Allen Dulles, who did the dirty 1945 deals with the Nazis, and who JFK fired - killed the president.

Specifically-named individuals winkled out by Garrison are Cuban and New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello and two more with far right CIA links: Civil Air Patrol pilot David Ferrie and private investigator Guy Banister.

The CIA plot to upend US democracy couldn't have worked though without the support of the man who would replace Kennedy. After his inauguration, new President Lyndon B. Johnson immediately re-fired up the Vietnam & Cold War policies JFK had cooled.

Johnson gained financially too through his 'Suite 8F Group'. This has today grown to become the Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) Inc., one of the largest military contractors on the planet with $8 billion annual revenue.

The CIA's three central motives are pretty clear: Kennedy successfully stopped a nuclear war with the Soviet Union in 1962 that Strategic Air Command's General Curtis LeMay intended to win " any point the Soviet Union could have been obliterated without more than expectable losses on our side."

Kennedy blocked air support and other US military aid for the 1961 Bay of Pigs Cuban invasion attempt, leaving the hawks with egg on their faces. He was closing down one of the CIA's biggest slush fund operations, the Vietnam War. Cash was coming in aplenty from heroin trafficking in the Far East.

Echoes from the dawn of time?

Perhaps there was something archetypal and timeless about Kennedy's death. Former US Naval officer-turned-radio host William Cooper put it like this in 1996: "There was even a time in history when the king was a sacrificial king. Just like John F. Kennedy was in the Temple of the Sun known as Dealey Plaza."

Though this sounds far-fetched, Cooper is one of the few individuals who, on his 'Hour of the Time' short wave radio show in June 2001, publicly predicted a spectacular attack on America to be blamed on Osama Bin Laden. Five months later, after 9/11, Cooper was shot dead by the FBI, who had been trying to entrap him by posing as hoodlums outside his Arizona home.

The secret government

So who are this secret government that uses blackmail, character assassination and murder to shoot the messengers and direct those we elect to high office? They are the kind of furious cash unlimited networkers of the Council on Foreign Relations, Sun Valley, Davos, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg groups.

Welded into the Military Industrial Complex these lobbyists laugh in the face of cash-starved politicians as they play the power game of nations. They extend territory abroad while their political gofers roll out a domestic police state at home. Bankrolling them are the dynasties of the Rockefellers in the US and the Rothschilds across Europe.

What was US colonial independence really all about? Yes, money. The settlers quite rightly wanted to print their own in 1775 and England wasn't having it. As the documentary 'The Secret of Oz' explains, private US bankers went on to take that power off the American people in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 The United States is suffering under the exact same power now that they fought Britain to be free of.

William Cooper also said "Any general that ventures upon a battlefield without understanding the enemy is doomed to defeat." The Western political establishment needs a crash course right now in locking up banking fraudsters and how the state Treasury can take back control of money.

What would those who fought and died on the Allied side in World War II say if they could see how we and our leaders are letting Europe and America slip into the hands of the banksters?

Despite all the JFK TV propaganda though it is the Jim Garrisons, Bonnie Faulkners, David Mendelsohn's and Oliver Stones that will carry the day. Trust is waning in the West's mainstream media, particularly amongst the youngsters, and those old JFK lies are well past their sell by date.

[Nov 22, 2013] JFK assassination a CIA coup d'état German author

Aug 21, 2013 | PressTV

On occasion of the publication of his latest book, "JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika" ("JFK: Coup d'état in America"), German author Mathias Broeckers has talked to The Global Research elaborating on his research into the crime.

"JFK had made definitive steps to end the Cold War. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration," Broeckers said.

Broeckers pointed out that many groups including the communists in Russia, China, Cuba, the Israelis because of "JFK's dismissal of nukes in Israel," and the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, had motives to kill the president but "only the CIA and the military - and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up" had the means to carry out such an operation.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, several people who were stopped by the police showed "genuine looking Secret Service IDs," but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the "grassy knoll" and the Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas where Kennedy was assassinated, the German journalist said.

"These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn't investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of 'MK Ultra' fame."

The fact that this "deception" was not investigated for so many years, immediately brings the FBI into a "top-position of suspects", Broeckers noted.

The German author further said that a crucial point regarding the cover-up of the assassination is the false autopsy report. "The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and X-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored."

The fake autopsy and X-rays were conducted at the Bethseda military hospital and under the supervision of Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force chief and one of Kennedy's "keenest enemies," Broeckers added.

The faked documents "which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and X-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives."

A strong motive for the CIA to want Kennedy out of the way, according to Broeckers, was that the former president sought to reform the spy agency.

"Since the CIA's 'father' Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death."

The Associated Press reports that researchers are demanding the CIA to declassify documents detailing what the government knew about Kennedy's accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, before the assassination.

Several hundred of the still-classified pages, according to AP, concern CIA operative "George Joannides, whose activities just before the assassination and, fascinatingly, during a government investigation years later, have tantalized researchers for years."

Joannides left the CIA in 1979 and died in March 1990.

The JFK Assassination Marked the End of the American Republic By Lars Schall

August 21, 2013

On occasion of the publication of his latest book, German author Mathias Broeckers talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which he sees as a coup d'etat that was never rolled back.

Mathias Broeckers, born 1954, is a German investigative journalist and the author of more than ten books, most of them related to the topics of drugs, terrorism and deep politics. He works for the daily German newspaper TAZ and the webzine Telepolis. His latest book, "JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika" ("JFK: Coup d'Etat in America"), was published this August at Westend Verlag in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lars Schall: Mr. Broeckers, a writer who authors a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that does not follow the verdict of official history faces the problem of being condemned on an instant basis as a "conspiracy theorist" who engages in "conspiracy theories." May I ask you at the beginning of this interview to explain to our readers that those critics – consciously or unconsciously – are acting exactly according to the "playbook" of the CIA?

Mathias Broeckers: In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution of the CIA backgrounds of the murder, the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term "conspiracy theorists" for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term "assassination theories" when it came to alternative views of the "lone nut" Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo this changed and very soon "conspiracy theories" became what it is until today: a term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services. Before Edward Snowden anyone claiming a kind of total surveillance of internet and phone traffic would have been named a conspiracy nut; today everyone knows better.

LS: What do you see as the prime motive(s) to get Kennedy killed?

MB: To make a long story, which I elaborate in the book, short: JFK had made definitive steps to end the cold war. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration.

LS: If one looks at the crime from the perspective of "motive, means, opportunity," which groups are the most likely culprits? Some of the usual suspects may have had a motive, but neither the means nor the opportunity, right?

MB: Yes. This is a crucial point with many JFK theories. A lot of people had motives, be it the hardcore commies in Russia, China, Cuba, be it the Israelis because of JFKs dismissal of nukes in Israel, be it the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, the mob because of his dismissal to invade Cuba to get their casinos and brothels back, the racist Southerners because of his engagement for civil rights… but no one of them had the means and opportunity for the murder and above all the means to cover it up over the years.

LS: Which party had the necessary components of "means and opportunity" available?

MB: Only the CIA and the military – and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up. A moment after the shootings, a policeman ran up to the grassy knoll, his gun pulled out, and stopped a man there, asking for his ID. The man showed a Secret Service card and the cop let him go. Several other men on Dealey Plaza also showed genuine looking Secret Service IDs when asked by cops – but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the knoll and the plaza this day.

These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn't investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of "MK Ultra" fame. This fact alone rules out that the mob or the Russians, Cubans, Chinese or some other autonomous killers did this on their own bill. And even if these groups would have been able to fake genuine looking Secret Service IDs – the fact that this deception was not investigated, immediately brings Hoover's FBI into a top-position of suspects.

LS: One crucial point regarding the cover up of the crime is the false autopsy report – also in connection to "means and opportunity". Please elaborate.

MB: The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and x-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored. No mobster, bankster or Cuban would have been able to do this. These fakes were done at the Bethseda military hospital, where JFKs autopsy was supervised by Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force Chíef and one of JFKs keenest enemies. He was at a fishing vacation when the Dallas shooting happened and flew to Washington immediately – not for any military emergency but to sit in the autopsy room – and smoking a cigar! The faked pictures and x-rays, which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and x-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.

LS: Another important point is the tampering with the so called "Zapruder film". Why so?

MB: Also thanks to the ARRB there is a lot of evidence that the film was tampered with on the day after the assassination. However, even the existing "original" seems to show clearly a shot from the front, the grassy knoll – so the fake wasn't perfect. That the Warren Commission was shown only a bad black/white copy indicates that the perpetrators were aware of that. That the Zapruder film was bought by the Time/Life publishers – and kept secret to the public for years; as the Nix-film bought by UPI and disappeared – indicates the guiltiness of the media in the cover-up.

LS: Coming back to the CIA, do you think that the CIA had separated itself from governmental oversight during the 1950s and 1960s, or would it be more correct to suggest that the Agency actually was a ploy of financial interests from the outset? Or more bluntly spoken: was democratic oversight ever intended?

MB: In general, democracy and intelligence services are antagonists; democracy depends on transparency and intelligence services on the opposite. So the democratic / congressional / governmental oversight is always a quite rotten compromise. The CIA's camouflage from the beginning was that it is a service to gather intelligence – and centralize the intelligence gathering of the different other services – to keep the president informed. The main job of the CIA were and are covert operations, and because such operations depend on "plausible deniability," it was usual from the beginning to inform the president – if at all – only minimally. Since the CIA's "father" Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles-Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him to death.

LS: You´re citing investigative journalist Joseph Trento, saying about former CIA director Allen Dulles: "Dulles had decided not to leave the future of the Agency to Congress or the President." What made Dulles powerful enough to risk such a decision?

MB: Dulles' clients were bankers and big corporations, who were in big business with Nazi-Germany in the 30s and even during the war. Some of them, like Prescott Bush – George W.'s grandfather – were indicted for "dealing with the enemy", and Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Switzerland during the war, arranged a lot of these dealings. He arranged the secret integration of Nazi spy chief Reinhard Gehlen and some hundreds of his SS officers into the US army and the building-up of the CIA apparatus. Between 1945 when the OSS was dismantled and 1947 when the CIA was founded he did this privately – without any official position – from his office at the "Council on Foreign Relations."

LS: Would it have been more appropriate if Dulles would have been interrogated with regard to Kennedy's death, instead of having been the mastermind behind the Warren Commission?

MB: It's a perfect irony, or better: huge cynism, by the puppet of Texas-oilmen, Lyndon B. Johnson, to have Dulles masterminding the Commission. But since it worked out so well they tried it again, this time unsuccessful, to have "Bloody Henry" Kissinger masterminding the 9/11 Commission. In my opinion Dulles is one of the main suspects in the Kennedy murder and should have been prosecuted immediately.

LS: How did both the CIA and the FBI mislead the Warren Commission in various ways?

MB: The result of the Commission was clear from the beginning, the Commission didn't do any investigations at all, and it depended on the data given by the FBI. Hoover knew about the many fingerprints of the CIA in the case, he knew that they had brought up fake evidence of Oswald's visits in Mexico to blame him as a communist – and concluded only two days after the shooting that there was only the lone shooter LHO.

Hoover hated the Kennedys, especially his boss Robert F Kennedy, and was the main evildoer in the framing of Oswald and the cover-up of the case. The CIA arranged the false evidence for what Peter Dale Scott ("Deep Politics and the Death of JFK") called Phase 1 of the cover-up – the "communist"-connection, which enabled Johnson – screaming of the dangers of a nuclear war – to press the commission members to take part, and to make sure Phase 2 of the cover-up and the result of their pseudo-investigation: the deranged lone nut Oswald.

LS: One usual suspect in the "JFK conspiracy literature" is the mob. In your book you're writing that it doesn't always make sense to distinguish between organized crime and the CIA. How did you come to this conclusion?

MB: From the "Luciano Project" in 1943 – the help of the imprisoned mob-boss Lucky Luciano with the invasion of Sicily – the mob became the tool of choice for covert CIA-operations and generating black money from the drug business. Where ever the US-military set their boots in or the CIA is doing "regime changes," drug money is essential for financing these operations, from South East Asia in the 60s till today in Afghanistan. And since Langley can't sell the stuff directly over their counter, they need the mobsters to do this – and get its share to finance warlords / freedom fighters / terrorists…

LS: May I ask you to talk a bit in that regard about Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exposition), please?

MB: Permindex was a front-company for CIA, MI-6 and Mossad and a straw for their money-laundering and weapons-business. They worked together with Meyer Lansky's bank in Switzerland, which was run by Tibor Rosenbaum, who did most of the weapons-business of the Mossad.

LS: Was Jim Garrison in general heading into the right direction?

MB: He was, because Clay Shaw, the owner of the New Orleans International Trade Mart and one of the directors of Permindex, was clearly working with the CIA. That's why Garrison's case was sabotaged by the Washington Establishment right from the beginning.

LS: Why is it remarkable that CIA had a 201 file on Lee Harvey Oswald?

MB: John Newman ("Oswald and the CIA") has done remarkable research on how the CIA manipulated its files on Oswald and faked a 201 personal file to present it to the Warren Commission, showing that they had virtually nothing on him before 1962. This is clearly impossible after Oswald's defection to the USSR in 1959. The most likely cause for this manipulation is that Oswald was part of the false defector program headed by JJ Angelton, the counterintelligence chief.

LS: You are arguing if Lee Harvey Oswald would have been indeed solely responsible for Kennedy's death that the case would have been solved beyond a reasonable doubt. Why so?

MB: From all crimes, murder is the one with the most cases solved by courts. There would have been no need for all the cover-ups since 50 years, if LHO indeed was a lone nut.

LS: Moreover, you're arguing that Oswald would have been acquitted of the charge of having killed Kennedy, if he would have survived. Why so?

MB: Even Gerald Posener, the author of "Case Closed" – the apology of the Warren Commission's findings -, meanwhile is saying that. There is no hard evidence that Oswald was on the 5th floor when the shooting took place; there is no evidence that the "Mannlicher"-gun, that he had mail-ordered, was fired that day; there is no hard evidence that he killed Officer Tippit, because witnesses saw two men shooting at him… and so on. Oswald would have left the court room as a free man.

LS: Why was it necessary that Jack Ruby killed Oswald? And furthermore, did they know each other?

MB: They knew each other well, and since Oswald was an asset of FBI and CIA, he had to be silenced before he could talk.

LS: There was not just one plot to kill Kennedy in Dallas, but there was at least one more planned for a visit of Kennedy to Chicago, right?

MB: Yes, there was a plot planned in Chicago with clear parallels to what happened in Dallas – with an ex-Marine as the prepared patsy, who got a job on a high rise building on the route that the motorcade was planned to take some weeks before, and who had trained with exile-Cubans like Oswald. By chance the sharp-shooters were detected by an hotelier and the Chicago visit was cancelled.

LS: Why did JFK die on November 22, 1963?

MB: JFK had made a radical change while president, from a classic cold warrior to a policy of reconciliation and peace. He had made angry enemies in the military and the CIA and when he announced to end the cold war in his speech on June 10th 1963 he finally was marked to death.

LS: Can you tell us something about the role of the Secret Service and the U.S. military in the assassination?

MB: The Secret Service men were mostly Southerners, who deeply dismissed JFKs civil rights politics. They did a very lax security in Dallas and there is a probability that some of these men were sweetened to do so. The memories of Abraham Bolden, the first Afro-American brought to the Secret Service by JFK in 1961, tells that when he tried to contact the Warren Commission to talk about the supremacist, racist attitude of his colleagues, he was indicted by corrupted false witnesses and brought to prison.

The military played a crucial role in the false autopsy & x-ray-pictures made at the Bethseda hospital in Washington DC and the testimony of the doctors. General Curtis LeMay, Joint Chief of the Air Force and one of the harshest opponents of JFKs peace politics, was present in the autopsy room in Bethseda, smoking a cigar! I think his presence was not by chance.

The military intelligence also played a crucial role in Dallas – the first interviews of Marina Oswald was not by Dallas Police but by officers of the military intelligence, which also arranged a dubious translator for her testimonies, which helped to frame Oswald in the first place.

LS: Where did the funding for the coup come from?

MB: The Texas oilmen and billionaires H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison are the most probable financiers, even if there is no hard evidence for it. They paid for the ad in the Dallas paper the day before the visit, naming Kennedy a communist and a traitor. They hated JFK to the bones and they had LBJ in their pocket, their insurance that everything would be covered up properly.

LS: How many people lost their lives over the years related to the Kennedy assassination?

MB: A well-researched new book by Richard Belzer ("Hit List") lists 1.400 persons with a connection to the murder and in the first three years after the assassination 33 of them came to death on unnatural causes. The probability that this happened by chance is 1: 137 billion.

LS: Was it basically the right-wing / fascist and racist mindset in the U.S. that won the coup d'etat on November 22, 1963?

MB: Yes. And in Dallas, Texas these right-wing fascists, who called themselves "patriots," had a home game.

LS: What would the history of the "Cold War" have been if the nuclear arms race had ended in Kennedy's second term? Would the Berlin Wall have come down sooner?

MB: After the nuclear test stop, JFK announced to his confidants that he would go to Moscow after the re-election to negotiate a peace treaty. In public he had already announced to stop the arms race in order to end the cold war. In a National Action Security Memorandum he had called for a co-operation with the Russians in space. After the exchange of secret letters with Khrushchev, which ended the missile crisis, he was on good terms with the Soviet leader, who in the Kremlin also had called for disarmament. The death of JFK encouraged the Soviet hardliners to get rid of him. With Kennedy alive, Khrushchev would have stood in power and the cold war could have been ended in the 60s.

LS: Why does the death of JFK still matter?

MB: It's the most important crime in the second half of the 20th century, it is still unsolved and it marked in a way the end of the American Republic. Since then the financial-military-industrial complex rules and no president after JFK had the balls to challenge that. There is, in the words of Gore Vidal, "a one-party-system with two right-wings"; there are corporate media brainwashing the population 24/7 and propagating wars for global imperial dominance; there are covert operations all over the world to ensure this dominance – and this will go on and on as long the truth about the covert operation, the coup d' état, against JFKs presidency is kept hidden.

LS: Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Broeckers!

Reprinted with permission from

[Nov 14, 2013] What Is The Real Agenda Of The American Police State by Paul Craig Roberts

November 14, 2013 | Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II. Forbes reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. RT reports that the cost of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million per soldier. Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers $50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters. This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.

[Nov 11, 2013] Contracting Case Implicates 2 Admirals by CHRISTOPHER DREW

Published: November 8, 2013 | NTY

Two United States admirals, including the Navy's chief intelligence officer, were stripped of their access to classified information on Friday after being implicated in a contracting scandal that federal prosecutors are investigating in San Diego.

The accusations against the two officers — Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the director of intelligence operations — signal a significant escalation in the investigation and show its widening impact on the Navy.

Admirals Branch and Loveless have been accused of "inappropriate conduct" in connection with the scandal, Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Navy's chief of information, said in a statement Friday night. Investigators had so far named only midlevel Navy officers accused of accepting visits from prostitutes and lavish trips — and in one instance $100,000 in cash — from Leonard Francis, a Malaysian contractor.

Navy officials said the allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involved personal misconduct in accepting gifts or services from Mr. Francis, the nature of which could have exposed them to blackmail. But, the officials said, there was no sign at this point that the admirals had done anything for Mr. Francis that might lead to bribery charges against them.

Mr. Francis, chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, has been charged with bribing Navy officials to shift port calls for warships to ports where he could charge exorbitant fees.

Neither Admiral Branch, whose appointment required Senate approval, nor Admiral Loveless has been charged with a crime, and there is no indication that classified information was leaked, Admiral Kirby said. Both men have been put on leave, he said, but will keep their security clearances.

[Nov 10, 2013] The War State The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by Michael Swanson

The quest for world domination inevitably leads to transfer of power to military industrial complex and conversion of state into national security state.

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 its dismantling.

Buy this book! It is a shining light in the dark times in which we live. Better yet, buy multiple copies for your family and friends!

John Ellis (Gainesville, VA USA) on September 10, 2013

Clear Powerful Informative,

Hard to put down, Swanson's account, well referenced, of the enormous and persistent military buildup since WW2 boggles the mind. It shows how we have simply swallowed the propaganda and how even presidents have been forced to follow suit, given the enormous profits and far reaching influence the armaments industry has had on Congress and on public opinion. Swanson first points out Eisenhower's stark warnings and how despite them, the buildup never ceased. Fighters as the F-22 Raptor with no clear combat mission costing over 120 million a copy are very hard to explain on any other grounds than profits. Truly, if the US ran out of enemies, it would have to invent them. ... ... ...

We are undergoing shocking threats to liberty we are already seeing by this militarization, even of our police forces, that have resulted from a constant war footing, the establishment and constant encroachment by Homeland Security and the paranoia that accompanies it.

... ... .... Local jurisdictions freely admit they are forced to using their police departments as cash cows, ticketing passing motorists for the most inane of infractions, not for safety, but for revenue, as Federal and local sources of money dry up. Swanson notes how the ability to keep money seized in stops for drug trafficking has resulted in corruption, planted evidence and phony arrests to justify the ends and how the ill fated drug war has created more self-serving monstrous bureaucracies and private prison companies increasingly desperate to perpetuate their own existence. I was an Air Force Flight surgeon on nuke-armed B-52's during the Cold War and I saw much of coming this head on.

This huge nuclear fleet, continuously airborne, was to be a WW3 deterrent on the cheap, helping to avoid having to maintain a huge standing army with its enormous costs, but the armaments industry, as Swanson points out, could not tolerate such a state. Swanson's knowledge of history and his gift of writing elevates him to the level of George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm) and Phillip Roth (Fahrenheit 451) in describing our devastating ruinous course, with a destiny of joining the historical wrecks of past democracies similarly destroyed by dystopian forces. We fail to read and heed this important, fully Pulitzer Prize quality work at our peril.

J. Quick (@ on September 2, 2013

A Must Read,

Don't let the title scare you away from this engaging narrative. (I have a very personal interest in this as a cousin gave up his Air Force career as the result of the stress of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He said he couldn't sleep thinking about all the people about to die.) The author knows his material and manages to present it in a very entertaining manner. Swanson makes a persuasive case that control of our country has effectively been ceded to a small power elite of individuals in business and government who report to no one and who guide the nation no matter which political party is in power. To support his argument Swanson uses previously unavailable information about the Cold War from the perspective of the Soviets. Swanson's research is detailed and authoritative. One particular interesting aspect is Swanson's tracing the connection from the US initial efforts to install the Shah of Iran to our current problems in that region. Whether or not you agree with Swanson's conclusions this should be a must-read for anyone interested in post World War-II international affairs, which should be everyone since all our lives are affected daily by the results of these actions.

[Nov 10, 2013] Into the Nightmare My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit by Joseph McBride

Judy Schavrien on July 23, 2013
The Downhill Slide of Democracy

Regarding the NSA scandal--what one might call the surveillance conspiracy--Jimmy Carter recently said in Der Spiegel (July 17, 2013) that "America has no functioning democracy at this moment." He has also praised Snowden's courage, hoping it would give the United States a salutary shakeup. When did the tipping point occur? When did democracy's downhill slide begin? According to Joseph McBride, playing journalistic and scholarly tour guide as he takes us Into the Nightmare, it began with the successful killing of JFK--and of Officer J.D. Tippit as well--on November 22, 1963, gaining momentum with a seemingly well-orchestrated coverup in the wake. Luckily, Professor McBride accomplishes an astonishing feat in offering his reinterpretation, one that profits from his three decades of diligent research on the topic and his interdisciplinary and encyclopedic ability to remember and arrange.

If you think Professor McBride is one of those crazy conspiracy theorists, be sure to read his chapter on the CIA's campaign, memos and all, to throw doubt on any who might come to question the Oswald-only version of the assassination, who might instead argue that there were a number of killers, e.g. Grassy Knoll marksmen as well. It is possible you will recognize, as you read the CIA memo, tag lines that hang out in your own or a friend's mind, the prefab objections to conspiracy theorists. On the other hand, Watergate, Iran/Contra, NSA may float to the surface of your mind and you may have to admit that conspiracies do happen. If they can happen from the governmental side, why not from the side of the assassins? Or were the two sides one and the same?

Some players include the CIA, the anti-Castro Cubans, big oil and the mafia: LBJ and even the elder Bush (Chapter 10) would have a fair amount to explain as well. The doubts regarding such players are by no means wildly raised, but very carefully, very systematically. "Paranoid" is one of the buzzwords the CIA had suggested for its campaign against conspiracy theorists: It is right there in the memo that McBride documents. But the McBride book gives not only evidence that confirms its theories but also that which disconfirms: good research.

I refer, in this case, to the evidence bearing on the Warren Commission report's "lone nut" version of the killings, with Oswald having been responsible for not only Kennedy's death and Governor Connally's injury--including using just one bullet that got them both, no less--but also for Officer Tippit's death en route to Oswald's own attempted escape. This book is, henceforth, a must-read for any with an ongoing interest in what remains an open case. That it does remain an open case is proven by the simple fact that the Warren Commission report, with Oswald as the "lone nut," has been later contradicted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations report, which finally concedes that two shooters must have been active.

McBride himself points out unique contributions as he goes along, the biggest one being his new and telling research on the J.D. Tippit death, research that begins to link Tippit with Ruby and the mafia, big oil, and the extreme right wing. It must be remembered as well, which McBride demonstrates, that, should LBJ have been involved in the JFK assassination, which is not proven, although there is documentation of his involvement in the coverup, he profited enormously from reversing JFK's intentions to gradually withdraw from Vietnam, since he owned substantial stock in Kellogg, Brown & Root, which had been absorbed in 1962 into Halliburton, both of which enjoyed a pile of non-competitive contracts for the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. With the death of JFK, LBJ also ducked a scandal about his own finances which would have burst upon the scene any minute. Oddly enough, then, solving the Tippit death accurately, rather than throwing that one on Oswald as well--who cried out when being led off "I'm just a patsy!"--is crucial.

Finally, McBride fashions this book of non-fiction, this history, as a Bildungsroman. The "Bildung" or education of an idealistic youth he tells in all its idiosyncracy: The author began as an ardent believer in Catholicism, America, and its free media, with two journalists for parents; he gradually lost that bloom of innocence, resisting along the way, and acquired the wound of experience; he tells the story so vividly that it becomes the American journey itself. Luckily, the wound does not prevent his own dogged progress, patriotic even or especially in its deeply skeptical approach. Blood, however, stains the pages. Without not only McBride's wakeup call but also the many other calls that are right now sounding, both about a political shadow government and even (cf. Catherine Austin Fitts) a financial shadow system as well, and without our actively heeding those calls, there will be, at home and abroad, more blood to come. Hannah Arendt has said (University of Chicago, lecture series, early `70's) that Americans at the founding wanted to be free from governing and concern with government rather than free to exert themselves in self-governing. This is a luxury we can no longer afford, perhaps could never afford. May it soon be said again, in a voice not of innocence but of experience, that America has a functioning democracy.

[Nov 09, 2013] JFK An American Coup D'etat The Truth Behind the Kennedy Assassination by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson

Colonel John Hughes-Wilson served in the British Army's Intelligence Corps for 30 years and is a specialist consultant to the UN and the European Union. He is the author of A Brief History of the Cold War, Military Intelligence Blunders, and The Pupper Masters.

In 1963, and the idea that the President of the United States could be gunned down in broad daylight was almost unbelievable. In America men and women wept openly in the streets for their dead leader. But events soon began to unpick the original version of what happened. It turned out that the official report was little more than a crude government whitewash designed to hide the real truth. Even American Presidents admitted as much. President Nixon memorably confessed in private that the "Warren Report was the biggest hoax ever perpetuated" on the American public. It began to emerge that maybe Lee Harvey Oswald, the original "one nut gunman," may not have acted on his own; others were involved, too. That meant no "lone gunman," but a conspiracy. This book attempts to answer the big question: who really shot JFK? And, more important still, exactly why was he shot?

John Hughes-Wilson argues that the murder of John Kennedy was, like the murder of Julius Caesar 2,000 years before, nothing less than a bloody coup d'état by his political enemies, a conspiracy hell bent on removing a leader who was threatening the power and the money of the ruling establishment. Pointing the finger at Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, and the Mafia, John joins Jackie and Bobby Kennedy in their conclusion that the assassination of JFK was far more complex than a deranged attack by Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine.

[Nov 09, 2013] Who Really Killed Kennedy 50 Years Later Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination by Jerome Corsi

That was the moment when military-industrial complex obtained full power over the US people. In other words it was a classic Coup d'état... As Stephen Courts stated in his review of the book : "The chapter on the Roots Of The JFK Assassination - A Banana Republic, The CIA And The Mob is an excellent primer on the skullduggery of the CIA acting to protect the neo-colonial masters by Coup d'état's and assassinations"
Scott Greer on September 17, 2013
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.

Stephen Courts
October 16, 2013

[Oct 27, 2013] Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress by Alan Grayson

25 October 2013 | The Guardian

In the 1970s, Congressman Otis Pike of New York chaired a special congressional committee to investigate abuses by the American so-called "intelligence community" – the spies. After the investigation, Pike commented:

It took this investigation to convince me that I had always been told lies, to make me realize that I was tired of being told lies.

I'm tired of the spies telling lies, too.

Pike's investigation initiated one of the first congressional oversight debates for the vast and hidden collective of espionage agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Before the Pike Commission, Congress was kept in the dark about them – a tactic designed to thwart congressional deterrence of the sometimes illegal and often shocking activities carried out by the "intelligence community". Today, we are seeing a repeat of this professional voyeurism by our nation's spies, on an unprecedented and pervasive scale.

Recently, the US House of Representatives voted on an amendment – offered by Representatives Justin Amash and John Conyers – that would have curbed the NSA's omnipresent and inescapable tactics. Despite furious lobbying by the intelligence industrial complex and its allies, and four hours of frantic and overwrought briefings by the NSA's General Keith Alexander, 205 of 422 Representatives voted for the amendment.

Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook".

Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I've learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from "intelligence" briefings. If the vote on the Amash-Conyers amendment is any indication, my colleagues feel the same way. In fact, one long-serving conservative Republican told me that he doesn't attend such briefings anymore, because, "they always lie".

Many of us worry that Congressional Intelligence Committees are more loyal to the "intelligence community" that they are tasked with policing, than to the Constitution. And the House Intelligence Committee isn't doing anything to assuage our concerns.

I've requested classified information, and further meetings with NSA officials. The House Intelligence Committee has refused to provide either. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment.

Recently, a member of the House Intelligence Committee was asked at a town hall meeting, by his constituents, why my requests for more information about these programs were being denied. This member argued that I don't have the necessary level of clearance to obtain access for classified information. That doesn't make any sense; every member is given the same level of clearance.
There is no legal justification for imparting secret knowledge about the NSA's domestic surveillance activities only to the 20 members of the House Intelligence Committee. Moreover, how can the remaining 415 of us do our job properly, when we're kept in the dark – or worse, misinformed?

Edward Snowden's revelations demonstrate that the members of Congress, who are asked to authorize these programs, are not privy to the same information provided to junior analysts at the NSA, and even private contractors who sell services to foreign governments. The only time that these intelligence committees disclose classified information to us, your elected representatives, is when it serves the purposes of the "intelligence community".

As the country continues to debate the supposed benefits of wall-to-wall spying programs on each and every American, without probable cause, the spies, "intelligence community" and Congressional Intelligence Committees have a choice: will they begin sharing comprehensive information about these activities, so that elected public officials have the opportunity to make informed decisions about whether such universal snooping is necessary, or constitutional?

Or will they continue to obstruct our efforts to understand these programs, and force us to rely on information provided by whistleblowers who undertake substantial risks to disseminate this information about violations of our freedom in an increasingly hostile environment? And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?

Representative Pike would probably say that rank-and-file representatives will never get the information we need from the House Intelligence Committee, because the spying industrial complex answers only to itself. After all, Pike, and many of the members of his special congressional committee, voted against forming it. As it is now constituted, the House Intelligence Committee will never decry, deny, or defy any spy. They see eye-to-eye, so they turn a blind eye. Which means that if we rely on them, we can kiss our liberty good-bye.


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.

Katikam-> BlueLightning


I assume your advice is for readers because surely you'd not advise a seating, twice elected congressman to read a book on how committees work?

In case you didn't understand one of the main points of Grayson's article, all members of Congress have the same security clearance and committees are by law required to provide information when requested by any member. He was illegally denied such information.


Though the amendment barely failed, the vote signaled a clear message to the NSA: we do not trust you. The vote also conveyed another, more subtle message: members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, "oversight" has become "overlook".

I know this is meant to be reassuring, and I really do welcome push back, but with all due respect, this is a bit like saying of the bombing of Hiroshima: We hear there was a bit of a problem in Japan.

Crimes have been committed. Aggressive, grievous, unforgivable ones. Ones calculated to do long term damage. Ones that have eroded the world's trust in us (awoke to hear about Germany's fury over the revelation that Merkel was being tapped). It is long past time to be a bit concerned. The words "law" and "due process" and "international norms" mean nothing if the US gets to keep ignoring them with impunity. It is high time that there were calls for investigations with the full intent to follow through with serious consequences. Until that happens, Congress is not taking this seriously and is not doing its job.

Afaye -> AhBrightWings

Well said AhBrightWings!

Or will they continue to obstruct our efforts to understand these programs, and force us to rely on information provided by whistleblowers who undertake substantial risks to disseminate this information about violations of our freedom in an increasingly hostile environment? And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?

So you are effectively saying that Congress doesn't know anything. Doesn't this mean that a cabal of unelected people are running the US? If there's no effective oversight then it's a coup. Who do they answer to if not congress? If they can get away also with televised bare-faced lies to Congress and get away with it, then what's the point at all in having a Congress?


And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?

I think the reason is clear. These guys are part of a government takeover and they can't be removed. Even when they retire, they or their friends will be pulling the strings. Blackmail is the order of the day, and our republic, like the Roman republic before it, is just a empty shell.


"And why do Generals Alexander and Clapper remain in office, when all the evidence points to them committing the felony of lying to Congress and the American people?"

And what exact actions are you taking to help push forward the prosecutions of these two, sir?


Are most members of Congress extremely naive, under some influence or just stupid? Have they forgotten the cautionary tale of Hoover, the historical examples of secret police/surveillance forces like the Stasi? What did they imagine would happen when they gave nearly unlimited power with virtually no oversight to spy agencies that were allowed to operate within the country and amass almost total knowledge of all telecommunications, both domestic and foreign? This might be expected of Obama, who came in with no knowledge of the banking, health, defence or "security" sectors, but members of Congress are not generally unexperienced rookies. Are a few lobbyist dollars really enough for these people to betray their country, to allow its democratic institutions to be undermined or subverted?

TyroneBHorneigh -> FatMike

"Are a few lobbyist dollars really enough for these people to betray their country, to allow its democratic institutions to be undermined or subverted?"

The short answer is the same as the long answer, YES.


This is very embarrassing for the USA. It has shown that your government is being manipulated in the same way as the politburo was in the USSR by the KGB.

Spying on allies for trade gain and intelligence will not be forgotten easily. You have a willing British government on your side, but only because they are thick and think the spying is all about counter-terrorism.

This is woeful. Woeful for western freedom and woeful for trust between nations.


@Alan Grayson -

"... every member [of Congress] is given the same level of clearance [to obtain access to classified information] ... There is no legal justification for imparting secret knowledge about the NSA's domestic surveillance activities only to the 20 members of the House Intelligence Committee."

The rationale is quite simple. As long as those 20 are uniquely privileged with "inside" information, their loyalty can be counted on as members of the NSA "club".

Allowing them SPECIAL access to club secrets flatters their pride as ESPECIALLY trustworthy, and SUPREMELY capable of understanding complex issues and technologies ... unlike Congress's "riff-raff" and "ignoramuses" in the "common herd".

Once securely in the fold, those 20 will protect the NSA's interests - and, of course, secrets - as jealously as they guard their own self-esteem.

You're quite right to "worry that Congressional oversight committees are more loyal to the 'intelligence community' that they are tasked with policing than to the Constitution".

That's indeed where their loyalty lies.


Good article Grayson and it's good to see that many senators are now awake to what Snowden has revealed.

The House Intelligence Committee is in fact doing the US more damage than it realises by not releasing data to any, and all senators. What their behaviour implies is that they have something serious to hide and don't want to be found out. Don't know what the rules are in the US, but surely these people can be removed from office if they are not assisting senators to do their jobs properly? Is it not America who continually spouted, transparency and openness? The House Intelligence Committee is part of America is it not? The committee is there to serve, not to be served.

As for Alexander and Clapper both have lied to congress, to the people of the US as well as those round the world. If they are allowed to get away with this, then how can any senator in either party, or the president stand for upholding the rule of law? it would also make it impossible for a judge to convict someone because the law has to be applicable to all, or else none at all.

The NSA have done great damage, it has no good reputation and it would seem the House Intelligence Committee are adding to that, by their very questionable behaviour and conduct.


Recall how even before the Snowden revelations when Senators Wyden and Udall were making subtle noises about how the NSA MAY have been overstepping its authority--Senator Udall's brother was discovered dead on a wilderness hiking trail. A warning shot across Udall's bow??

I would like to say, I think not. But in the current environment I would similarly say, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

thedongerneedfood -> TyroneBHorneigh

'hear hear..'

In its coverage of Hastings' death, the Canada Free Press noted:

It appears that Mr. Hastings made multiple contacts with sources directly associated with the illegal NSA domestic spying program, and either recently acquired materials and/or information about the extent of, the targets of, and the recipients of the information of domestic spying program.

"It is speculated that the latter information was of particular concern to as yet unidentified individuals holding positions of authority within the US Department of Defense and their subcontractors, as well as certain parties within the Executive branch of the United States government.

"Investigation and research suggests that Mr. Hastings might have obtained, or arranged to obtain, information pertaining to the role of a particular high-ranking officer within the US military overseeing the domestic aspects of the NSA project.

thedongerneedfood -> thedongerneedfood


"[..]In a world where American Presidents openly arrogate to themselves the right to kill people deemed enemies of the United States, all things suddenly become possible. When the basic right of habeas corpus can be denied to American citizens, based upon unproven allegations of their being threats to this country, isn't it possible for those with the power to detain and to eliminate individuals, to make decisions as to someone's existence doing harm to this country? Finally, doesn't this unconstitutional expansion of powers give individuals with government connections the leeway to take revenge on those who expose them? While I'm not privy to knowledge of the actions of those in power and can claim no inside information, I certainly can speculate based on the experience of my lifetime. This then is my speculation about the death and life of Michael Hastings in the context of current life in these United States."

Jonathan Turley


[Oct 07, 2013]

[Oct 07, 2013] Intel union Spy agency heads won't roll with US and UK allied

RT Op-Edge
Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for the UK's MI5, who resigned in 1996 to blow the whistle. She is now a writer, public speaker and a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing.

The disparity in response to Edward Snowden's disclosures within the USA and the UK is astonishing. In the face of righteous public wrath, the US administration is contorting itself to ensure that it does not lose its treasured data-mining capabilities: congressional hearings are held, the media is on the warpath, and senior securocrats are being forced to admit that they have lied about the efficacy of endemic surveillance in preventing terrorism.

Just this week General Alexander, the head of the NSA with a long track record of misleading lying to government, was forced to admit that the endemic surveillance programmes have only helped to foil a couple of terrorist plots. This is a big difference from the previous number of 54 that he was touting around.

Cue calls for the surveillance to be reined in, at least against Americans. In future such surveillance should be restricted to targeted individuals who are being actively investigated. Which is all well and good, but would still leave the rest of the global population living their lives under the baleful stare of the US panopticon. And if the capability continues to exist to watch the rest of the world, how can Americans be sure that the NSA et al won't stealthily go back to watching them once the scandal has died down - or just ask their best buddies in GCHQ to do their dirty work for them?

I'm sure that the UK's GCHQ will be happy to step into the breach. It is already partially funded by the NSA, to the tune of $100 million over the last few years; it has a long history of circumventing US constitutional rights to spy on US citizens (as foreigners), and then simply passing on this information to the grateful NSA, as we know from the old Echelon scandal; and it has far more legal leeway under British oversight laws. In fact, this is positively seen to be a selling point to the Americans from what we have seen in the Snowden disclosures.

Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters / Kieran Doherty)

Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters / Kieran Doherty)

GCHQ is absolutely correct in this assessment - the three primary UK intelligence agencies are the least accountable and most legally protected in any western democracy. Not only are they exempt from any real and meaningful oversight, they are also protected against disclosure by the draconian 1989 Official Secrets Act, designed specifically to criminalise whistleblowers, as well as having a raft of legislation to suppress media reporting should such disclosures emerge.

This might, indeed, be the reason that the UK media is not covering the Snowden disclosures more extensively - a self-censoring "D" Notice has been issued against the media, and The Guardian had its UK servers smashed up by the secret police. 1930s Germany, anyone?

Defenders of the status quo have already been out in force. Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is notionally responsible for GCHQ, said cosily that everything was legal and proportionate, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the current chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee in parliament last week staunchly declared that the ISC had investigated GCHQ and found that its data mining was all legal as it had ministerial approval.

Well that's all OK then. Go back to sleep, citizens of the UK.

What Hague and Rifkind neglected to say was that the ministerial warrantry system was designed to target individual suspects, not whole populations. Plus, as the Foreign secretary in charge of MI6 at the time of the illegal assassination plot against Gaddafi in 1996, Rifkind of all people should know that the spies are "economical with the truth".

In addition, as I've written before, many former top spies and police have admitted that they misled lied to the ISC. Sure, Rifkind has managed to acquire some new powers of oversight for the ISC, but they are still too little and 20 years too late.

This mirrors what has been going on in the US over the last few years, with senior intelligence official after senior official being caught out lying to congressional committees. While in the UK statements to the ISC have to date not been made under oath, statements made to the US Congress are - so why on earth are apparent perjurers like Clapper and Alexander even still in a job, let alone not being prosecuted?

It appears that the US is learning well from its former colonial master about all things official secrecy, up to and including illegal operations that can be hushed up with the nebulous and legally undefined concept of "national security", the use of fake intelligence to take us to war, and the persecution of whistleblowers.

Except the US has inevitably super-sized the war on whistleblowers. While in the UK we started out with the 1911 Official Secrets Act, under which traitors could be imprisoned for 14 years, in 1989 the law was amended to include whistleblowers - for which the penalty is 2 years on each charge.

The US, however, only has its hoary old Espionage Act dating back to 1917 and designed to prosecute traitors. With no updates and amendments, this is the act that is now rolled out to threaten modern whistleblowers working in the digital age. And the provisions can go as far as the death penalty.

President Obama and the US intelligence establishment are using this law to wage a war on whistleblowers. During his presidency he has tried to prosecute seven whistleblowers under this Espionage Act - more than all the previous presidents combined - and yet when real spies are caught, as in the case of the Russian Spy Ring in 2010, Obama was happy to cut a deal and send them home.

School of Assassins Guns, Greed, and Globalization by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Roy Bourgeois

A Customer

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:

  1. Beginning in a period of major military domination, the SOA was created at a time when military repression and power was the main way of enforcing and achieving the US foreign policy goals.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. This "military industrial complex" is another key issues at stake in Nelson-Pallmeyer's book, and plays a large role in the remilitarization that characterizes the fourth stage of US foreign policy. The SOA/WHISC's role in the present day is greatly founded on this remilitarization as an important tool in order to achieve the goals and stability desired by the US foreign policy.

The new name given to the SOA represents a face lift, as many refer to it, which attempts to make the goals of the SOA/WHISC seem worthy of the absurd amount of money the US government budget allots the military.

Nelson-Pallmeyer makes a point that the

" `any means necessary' foreign policy is possible when advocates are convinced that the means they employ, whether the torturer's hand or the banker's rules, are justified because they promote the common good or protect particular interests they represent" (98).

Changing the name of the SOA to WHISC, along with the other cosmetic curriculum changes, is attempting to do just this; to create a new image of the school that is one promoting `security cooperation' and human rights. As this book states, however, these changes do not represent any sense of remorse, accountability, or separation from the past policies and deeds that a truly new institution would need to be based on.

The impact of corporate-led globalization is another key issue in The School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization; and likewise, is a factor that plays into the remilitarization that characterizes stage four of US foreign policy. Although globalization, as stated by Nelson-Pallmeyer, is a reality, corporate-led globalization is not inevitable and is furthermore, undesirable. Corporate-led globalization undermines democracy, aggravates problems rooted in inequality, and is altogether destabilizing. This destabilization in turn becomes a reason for remilitarization, and a problem to be handled through military repression rather than systematic, economic, and global changes. Corporate-led globalization is not the beneficial development or progress that the myths make it out to be.

Finally, the debate and struggle around the SOA/WHISC is but a glimpse at the greater picture, the tip of an immense iceberg. Nelson-Pallmeyer states that "the SOA is a window through which US foreign policy can be seen clearly" (xvii). The struggle and movement to close the SOA/WHISC is also fighting against many of the greater issues at stake in our foreign policy and international involvement and is only one of many battles to be fought. Closure of the SOA/WHISC will not appease or end the movement, just allow it to move on to the next battle. Many of the aspects of the US foreign policy that break down the false image of the benevolent superpower are brought in to focus through connections and impacts on the SOA/WHISC. The SOA/WHISC is like a case study of the many components and factors of US foreign policy and its goals. In exposing oneself to the SOA/WHISC debate, history, and struggle, it is inevitable to come to some greater understanding of the US's involvement and true goals in its foreign policy and international affairs. This book is atriculate, thought provoking, and worth reading.

[Aug 26, 2013] Obama's Half-Measures to War With Syria

August 26, 2013 | The American Conservative

Fran Macadam

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.

[Jul 02, 2013] A Syria 'No-fly Zone' and Just War Theory by James Carden --

A Syria 'No-fly Zone' and Just War Theory

by , July 01, 2013

Now that the White House has come to the conclusion that Bashar al-Assad has indeed employed chemical weapons on a small scale against the Syrian opposition, the questions over what to do next have taken on ever greater urgency. Speaking to CNN recently, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), said that "we should be able to establish a no-fly zone relatively easily." Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) also expressed his support for a no-fly zone, while House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) stated, "The United States should assist the Turks and our Arab League partners to create safe zones in Syria from which the U.S. and our allies can train, arm, and equip vetted opposition forces." So as the pro-interventionist rhetoric heats up, it might be to our benefit to step back and consider whether or not committing an act of war against Syria, and that is precisely what establishing a no-fly zone would entail, would be justified under the tenets of Just War Theory.

The term 'just war' was first used by Augustine of Hippo in The City of God, and the concept was later refined and codified by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century. Just War Theory had, until the advent of the Bush Doctrine of preventive war in 2003, commonly served as the set of criteria which had to be met in order for a nation-state to morally justify the commencement of hostilities against another nation-state. It consists of 2 categories: Jus Ad Bellum (right to war) and Jus In Bello (law in war).

To meet the requirements of Jus Ad Bellum, 4 conditions must be met: Just Cause, Just Intention, Just Authority, and Last Resort. The question we need to answer, then, is: does the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels provide the U.S. with Just Cause that would allow it to commit an act of war against Syria? At no time since the commencement of hostilities between the parties within Syria in March 2011 has the Assad regime attacked either the U.S. or any of its allies, skirmishes on the Syrian/Turkish border notwithstanding. In order that the requirement of Just Cause be met, the U.S. would had to have been attacked (or was in actual imminent danger of being attacked) by the Assad regime. This has not happened, and so the justification for the establishment of a no-fly zone would not be met. As such, the requirement of Just Intention would also not be met because a nation-state cannot commence hostilities without a legitimate cause and still claim right intention.

What about the requirement of Just Authority? Let's say hypothetically that Assad had in fact launched a direct attack on the U.S. or one of its allies. While the U.S. would then have cause to engage in hostilities against Syria, it would, in order to meet the requirement of Just Authority, have to do so with explicit authorization from the U.S. Senate. Unilateral acts of war initiated solely by the Executive (such as the Nixon administration's secret bombing of Cambodia) are verboten under Just War theory.

The condition of Last Resort would only be met once every last peaceful option had been exhausted. We are clearly far from meeting the criterion of Last Resort as things stand right now; the US and Russia are working on convening a peace conference between the two sides in Geneva this July and there still, according to Middle East expert Dr. Vali Nasr, remain "powerful economic sanctions that the U.S. could use to cripple the Assad regime."

The category of Jus In Bello has mainly to do with the conduct of a war once joined and as such is somewhat less of a concern at this stage, but a few points might be worth making. Three conditions, those of Proportionality, Discrimination, and Responsibility must be met in order to satisfy the requirements of Jus In Bello. Taken together, they are intended to serve as safeguards against indiscriminate violence against noncombatants and disproportionate actions against enemy nation-states. The principles of Jus In Bello are enshrined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which, it never hurts to remind the war hawks in Congress, the U.S. is still a party to. If our recent history of Greater Middle Eastern interventions is any guide, we would be hard pressed to be able to honestly say to ourselves, or to the international community, that we possess the competence to fulfill any of these three conditions.

Writing at the dawn of the Cold War almost 60 years ago, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr warned against 'the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends.' This is a lesson that has, I'm afraid to say, been lost on the most vocal proponents of war with Syria. If the United States proceeds to act on the recommendations of the interventionists without paying heed to the ancient and venerable tradition of Just War Theory then no good – despite the best of intentions – will come of the effort.

Until recently James Carden served as an Adviser to the Office of Russian Affairs at the State Department. He has contributed pieces on foreign affairs to The National Interest and The Moscow Times.

[Jun 27, 2013] Edward Snowden and the National Security Industrial Complex

June 17th, 2013

When Edward Snowden, an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton - a military contractor based in McLean, Virginia - blew the whistle on the extent of U.S. global electronic surveillance, he unexpectedly shone a light on the world of contractors that consume some 70 percent of the $52 billion U.S. intelligence budget.

Some commentators have pounced on Snowden's disclosures to denounce the role of private contractors in the world of government and national security, arguing that such work is best left to public servants. But their criticism misses the point.

It is no longer possible to determine the difference between employees of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the employees of companies such as Booz Allen, who have integrated to the extent that they slip from one role in industry to another in government, cross-promoting each other and self-dealing in ways that make the fabled revolving door redundant, if not completely disorienting.

Snowden, who was employed by Booz Allen as a contract systems administrator at the NSA's Threat Operations Centre in Hawaii for three months, had worked for the CIA and Dell before getting his most recent job. But his rather obscure role pales in comparison to those of others.

Pushing for Expanded Surveillance

To best understand this tale, one must first turn to R. James Woolsey, a former director of CIA, who appeared before the U.S. Congress in the summer of 2004 to promote the idea of integrating U.S. domestic and foreign spying efforts to track "terrorists".

One month later, he appeared on MSNBC television, where he spoke of the urgent need to create a new U.S. intelligence czar to help expand the post-9/11 national surveillance apparatus.

On neither occasion did Woolsey mention that he was employed as senior vice president for global strategic security at Booz Allen, a job he held from 2002 to 2008.

"The source of information about vulnerabilities of and potential attacks on the homeland will not be dominated by foreign intelligence, as was the case in the Cold War. The terrorists understood us well, and so they lived and planned where we did not spy (inside the U.S.)," said Woolsey in prepared remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security on June 24, 2004.

In a prescient suggestion of what Snowden would later reveal, Woolsey went on to discuss expanding surveillance to cover domestic, as well as foreign sources.

"One source will be our vulnerability assessments, based on our own judgments about weak links in our society's networks that can be exploited by terrorists," he said. "A second source will be domestic intelligence. How to deal with such information is an extraordinarily difficult issue in our free society."

In late July 2004, Woolsey appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball", a news-talk show hosted by Chris Matthews, and told Matthews that the federal government needed a new high-level office – a director of national intelligence – to straddle domestic and foreign intelligence. Until then, the director of the CIA served as the head of the entire U.S. intelligence community.

"The problem is that the intelligence community has grown so much since 1947, when the position of director of central intelligence was created, that it's (become) impossible to do both jobs, running the CIA and managing the community," he said.

Both these suggestions would lead to influential jobs and lucrative sources of income for Woolsey's employer and colleagues.

The Director of National Intelligence

Fast forward to 2007. Vice Admiral Michael McConnell (retired), Booz Allen's then-senior vice president of policy, transformation, homeland security and intelligence analytics, was hired as the second czar of the new "Office of the Director of National Intelligence" which was coincidentally located just three kilometers from the company's corporate headquarters.

Upon retiring as DNI, McConnell returned to Booz Allen in 2009, where he serves as vice chairman to this day. In August 2010, Lieutenant General James Clapper (retired), a former vice president for military intelligence at Booz Allen from 1997 to 1998, was hired as the fourth intelligence czar, a job he has held ever since. Indeed, one-time Booz Allen executives have filled the position five of the eight years of its existence.

When these two men took charge of the national-security state, they helped expand and privatize it as never before.

McConnell, for example, asked Congress to alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow the NSA to spy on foreigners without a warrant if they were using Internet technology that routed through the United States.

"The resulting changes in both law and legal interpretations (... and the) new technologies created a flood of new work for the intelligence agencies – and huge opportunities for companies like Booz Allen," wrote David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in a profile of McConnell published in the New York Times this weekend.

Last week, Snowden revealed to the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald that the NSA had created a secret system called "Prism" that allowed the agency to spy on electronic data of ordinary citizens around the world, both within and outside the United States.

Snowden's job at Booz Allen's offices in Hawaii was to maintain the NSA's information technology systems. While he did not specify his precise connection to Prism, he told the South China Morning Post newspaper that the NSA hacked "network backbones – like huge Internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one".

Indeed Woolsey had argued in favor of such surveillance following the disclosure of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping by the New York Times in December 2005.

"Unlike the Cold War, our intelligence requirements are not just overseas," he told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the NSA in February 2006. "Courts are not designed to deal with fast-moving battlefield electronic mapping in which an al Qaeda or a Hezbollah computer might be captured which contains a large number of email addresses and phone numbers which would have to be checked out very promptly."

Propaganda Puppets

Roger Cressey, a senior vice president for cybersecurity and counter-terrorism at Booz Allen who is also a paid commentator for NBC News, went on air multiple times to explain how the government would pursue the Boston Marathon case in April 2013. "We always need to understand there are priority targets the counter-terrorism community is always looking at," he told the TV station.

Cressey took a position "on one of the most controversial aspects of the government response to Boston that completely reflects the views of the government agencies – such as the FBI and the CIA – that their companies ultimately serve," wrote Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire, on Salon. "Their views, in turn, convinces NBC hosts of the wisdom of the policy, a stance which could easily sway an uncertain public about the legitimacy of the new face of state power that has emerged in the post-9/11 period. That is influence, yet it is not fully disclosed by NBC."

This was not the first time that Cressey had been caught at this when speaking to NBC News. Cressey failed to disclose that his former employer – Good Harbor Consulting - had been paid for advice by the government of Yemen, when he went on air to criticize democracy protests in Yemen in March 2011. (Cressey has just been hired by Booz Allen at the time)

"What is not disclosed about Cressey in this segment where he scaremongers about a post-Saleh Yemen is that he has multiple conflicts of interest with the current regime there," wrote Zaid Jilani of ThinkProgress at the time.

A Flood of New Contracts

Exactly what Booz Allen does for the NSA's electronic surveillance system revealed by Snowden is classified, but one can make an educated guess from similar contracts it has in this field – a quarter of the company's $5.86 billion in annual income comes from intelligence agencies.

The NSA, for example, hired Booz Allen in 2001 in an advisory role on the five-billion-dollar Project Groundbreaker to rebuild and operate the agency's "nonmission-critical" internal telephone and computer networking systems.

Booz Allen also won a chunk of the Pentagon's infamous Total Information Awareness contract in 2001 to collect information on potential terrorists in America from phone records, credit card receipts and other databases – a controversial program defunded by Congress in 2003 but whose spirit survived in Prism and other initiatives disclosed by Snowden.

The CIA pays a Booz Allen team led by William Wansley, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, for "strategic and business planning" for its National Clandestine Service, which conducts covert operations and recruits foreign spies.

The company also provides a 120-person team, headed by a former U.S. Navy cryptology lieutenant commander and Booz Allen senior executive adviser Pamela Lentz, to support the National Reconnaissance Organization, the Pentagon agency that manages the nation's military spy satellites.

In January, Booz Allen was one of 12 contractors to win a five-year contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency that could be worth up to $5.6 billion to focus on "computer network operations, emerging and disruptive technologies, and exercise and training activity".

Last month, the U.S. Navy picked Booz Allen as part of a consortium to work on yet another billion-dollar project for "a new generation of intelligence, surveillance and combat operations".

How does Booz Allen wins these contracts? Well, in addition to its connections with the DNI, the company boasts that half of its 25,000 employees are cleared for "top secret-sensitive compartmented intelligence" - one of the highest possible security ratings. (One third of the 1.4 million people with such clearances work for the private sector.)

A key figure at Booz Allen is Ralph Shrader, current chairman, CEO and president, who came to the company in 1974 after working at two telecommunications companies – RCA, where he served in the company's government communications system division and Western Union, where he was national director of advanced systems planning.

In the 1970s, RCA and Western Union both took part in a secret surveillance program known as Minaret, where they agreed to give the NSA all their clients' incoming and outgoing U.S. telephone calls and telegrams.

In an interview with the Financial Times in 1998, Shrader noted that the most relevant background for his new position of chief executive at Booz Allen was his experience working for telecommunications clients and doing classified military work for the US government.

Caught for Shoddy 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.

In February 2012, the U.S. Air Force suspended Booz Allen from seeking government contracts after it discovered that Joselito Meneses, a former deputy chief of information technology for the air force, had given Booz Allen a hard drive with confidential information about a competitor's contracting on the first day that he went to work for the company in San Antonio, Texas.

"Booz Allen did not uncover indications and signals of broader systemic ethical issues within the firm," wrote the U.S. Air Force legal counsel. "These events caused the Air Force to have serious concerns regarding the responsibility of Booz Allen, specifically, its San Antonio office, including its business integrity and honesty, compliance with government contracting requirements, and the adequacy of its ethics program."

It should be noted that Booz Allen reacted swiftly to the government investigation of the conflict of interest. In April that year, the Air Force lifted the suspension – but only after Booz Allen had accepted responsibility for the incident and fired Meneses, as well as agreeing to pay the air force $65,000 and reinforce the firm's ethics policy.

Not everybody was convinced about the new regime. "Unethical behavior brought on by the revolving door created problems for Booz Allen, but now the revolving door may have come to the rescue," wrote Scott Amey of the Project on Government Oversight, noting that noting that Del Eulberg, vice-president of the Booz Allen's San Antonio office had served as chief engineer in the Air Force.

"It couldn't hurt having (former Air Force people). Booz is likely exhaling a sigh of relief as it has received billions of dollars in air force contracts over the years."

That very month, Booz Allen was hired to build a $10 million "Enhanced Secured Network" (ESN) for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. An audit of the project released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office this past February showed that it was full of holes.

The ESN "left software and systems put in place misconfigured—even failing to take advantage of all the features of the malware protection the commission had selected, leaving its workstations still vulnerable to attack," wrote Sean Gallagher, a computer reporter at ArsTechnica.

Booz Allen has also admitted to overbilling the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) "employees at higher job categories than would have been justified by their experience, inflating their monthly hours and submitting excessive billing at their off-site rate." The company repaid the government $325,000 in May 2009 to settle the charges.

Nor was this the first time Booz Allen had been caught overbilling. In 2006, the company was one of four consulting firms that settled with the U.S. Department of Justice for fiddling expenses on an industrial scale. Booz Allen's share of the $15 million settlement of a lawsuit under the False Claims Act was more than $3.3 million.

Incidentally, both the NASA and the Air Force incidents were brought to light by a company whistleblower who informed the government.

Investigate Booz Allen, Not Edward Snowden

When Snowden revealed the extent of the U.S. national surveillance program earlier this month, he was denounced immediately by Booz Allen and their former associates who called for an investigation of his leaks.

"For me, it is literally – not figuratively – literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities," Clapper told NBC News's Andrea Mitchell. "This is someone who, for whatever reason, has chosen to violate a sacred trust for this country. I think we all feel profoundly offended by that."

"News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," Booz Allen said in a press statement.

Yet instead of shooting the messenger, Edward Snowden, it might be worth investigating Shrader and his company's core values in the same way that the CIA and NSA were scrutinized for Minaret in the 1970s by the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Frank Church of Idaho in 1975.

Congress would also do well to investigate Clapper, Booz Allen's other famous former employee, for possible perjury when he replied: "No, sir" to Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon in March, when asked: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

* Excerpts of this piece appeared on the Guardian's Comment is Free and Inter Press Service. Jim Lobe contributed research.

[Jun 23, 2013] How Booz Allen Hamilton Swallowed Washington

Zero Hedge

From its origins as a management consulting firm, Booz Allen has quietly grown into a government-wide contracting behemoth, fed by ballooning post-Sept. 11 intelligence budgets and Washington's increasing reliance on outsourcing. With 24,500 employees and 99% of its revenues from the federal government, its growth in the last decade has been stunning (and until very recently with little to no knowledge from the main street that it even exists).

Via Bloomberg BusinessWeek,

In 1940, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy began to think about what a war with Germany would look like. The admirals worried in particular about the Kriegsmarine's fleet of U-boats, which were preying on Allied shipping and proving impossible to find, much less sink. Stymied, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox turned to Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, a consulting firm in Chicago whose best-known clients were Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) and Montgomery Ward.

The firm had effectively invented management consulting, deploying whiz kids from top schools as analysts and acumen-for-hire to corporate clients. Working with the Navy's own planners, Booz consultants developed a special sensor system that could track the U-boats' brief-burst radio communications and helped design an attack strategy around it. With its aid, the Allies by war's end had sunk or crippled most of the German submarine fleet.

That project was the start of a long collaboration. As the Cold War set in, intensified, thawed, and was supplanted by global terrorism in the minds of national security strategists, the firm, now called Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), focused more and more on government work. In 2008 it split off its less lucrative commercial consulting arm - under the name Booz & Co. - and became a pure government contractor, publicly traded and majority-owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG).

In the fiscal year ended in March 2013, Booz Allen Hamilton reported $5.76 billion in revenue, 99 percent of which came from government contracts, and $219 million in net income. Almost a quarter of its revenue - $1.3 billion - was from major U.S. intelligence agencies. Along with competitors such as Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), CACI, and BAE Systems (BAESY), the McLean (Va.)-based firm is a prime beneficiary of an explosion in government spending on intelligence contractors over the past decade. About 70 percent of the 2013 U.S. intelligence budget is contracted out, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says almost a fifth of intelligence personnel work in the private sector.

It's safe to say that most Americans, if they'd heard of Booz Allen at all, had no idea how huge a role it plays in the U.S. intelligence infrastructure. They do now.


Welfare Queen.

Jack Burton

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?

Larry Dallas

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.

Taint Boil

Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. --Dwight D. Eisenhower

When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing: Dwight David Eisenhower

All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing: Dwight Eisenhower

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. "

Dwight D. Eisenhower

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Dwight D. Eisenhower


As it says - and I always suspected - nobody, not even the President, has a handle let alone control, of this out-of-control 4th branch of government.

The only real solution is for the elected government to send in a fleet of bulldozers and demolish the whole lot and arrest every last unelected power-broker.


in other words 9/11 was the best thing ever to happen for Booz and its buddies.........hmmmmm?

Cognitive Dissonance

One must always ask "Cui bono" when considering the dark side of the universe. After all war IS a racket.


you're not going to believe this but ..

NBC used to produce a game show called 21. this was back in the nine-teen and 50s.

wait. that's not the amazing part.

the show was *fixed*! scripted!

wait. that's not the amazing part.

NBC's evening news department somehow had No Idea that the quiz show was faked.

wait. that's not the amazing part.

congress passed a law.

It shall be unlawful for any person, with intent to deceive the listening or viewing public—

(1) To supply to any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined.

wait. that's not the amazing part.

we are all contestants in a purportedly bona fide contest, but the outcome is in whole or in part pre-arranged

wait. that's not the amazing part.

nobody is prosecuting the perpetrators!

but wait. that's not the amazing part.

nobody seems to mind.


Funny,... nothings really changed in the world's geopolitical sense?

The USSR is fast aligning itself with annex'd satellite nations! China is now a super-power in its own right! Japan is the same ole,.. old infighting hostile nation of nationalist? India has growing pains as always... what's news!

Africa is still a colonial household for Europe? Germany has unified and still a worry-wart for the British 'Grey-Poupon!? The UK is still the entire planets grandfather with one foot in the grave? The ME is going back in time and rethinking its future without Emir's! Afghanistan is still triumphant-- the empire destroyer?

France is as always a pussy`cunt... as in retarded 'FrenchFry'd!!!

South America likes where it's at post US colonialization, and Mexico has taken back California?! Lastly, the USSA has accepted the grandiose privilege of adding a well deserved acronym "S" as in world 'S'saviour... Nought!!!

thankyou Tyler



BAH is now just a (somewhat) better-paid extension of the government given the government will take almost anyone as a federal employee regardless of (lack of) skill level. As the government hires more incompetents as government employees to swell the ranks of the Democratic Party, er, I mean government staff ... what do you need then?

More contractors to do the real work that your government welfare babies, er I mean government employees, aren't capable of doing themselves. This is how government incompetence breeds more government incompetence, cost, and waste.

[May 06, 2013] Syria Is Not Iraq by Bill Keller

The recommendation 'Go read Andrew Bacevich's "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism" ' expresses by one of the reader is naive. This is a brainwashing exercise, not attempt to analyze the situation and should be judged as such. Like most mouthpiece of propaganda war of MIC, this guy knows perfectly well from which side his bread is buttered. He is just trying to justify his salary...

Daniel Hudson, Ridgefield, CT

An excellent example of how we get drawn into the military option. No matter how disastrously Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan turn out to be for us, there are never any real consequences to those who suck us in.

Those who ought to exercise a proper caution lose their courage fearing that they will get blamed for the human costs of civil wars in other countries while knowing that as long as they show proper machismo there will be little criticism of their sending fellow citizens (younger ones) to become casualties in futile endeavors in foreign lands.

P BrandMemphis, TN

Dear Mr. Keller,

Go read Andrew Bacevich's "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism". If that doesn't change your mind, read his other books on American interventionism and militarism. Finally, if that doesn't change your mind, then volunteer yourself and your children to fight in Syria.

If you want to help us "get over" Iraq perhaps you should go there and work as a volunteer in the Shite slums of Bagdad to make it into a Jeffersonian democracy. Good luck with that., Silver Spring Md.

Are your kids in the military Keller. Would you be okay if a relative or dear friend was killed in action there? I doubt it

Bob Brown, NYC

I can't agree with much of what you write. Nor do I think we should act militarily.

1. We all tend to make excuses for people we like. The president didn't say the use of gas would "raise the stakes." He said it's a red line.

2. You wrote that we should have intervened a year ago before the rise of the Jihadists. But that the president was busy with other things -winding down the war in Afghanistan, Ohio, etc. Mr. Keller, if anyone on the planet should know how to multitask, it's the POTUS. And if he's busy, he's supposed to delegate to a proper person for the heavy lifting. I wonder if you would be so forgiving if a politician you disdained acted in the same way.

3. You write that we should send missiles to take out Assad's airforce. Why? All of the reports state that the Salafists are in the vanguard and probably a majority of the rebel fighters. If the rebels win, they will go on a mass killing spree of Alawites, and maybe other minorities. There is a reason that Syria's minorities have not joined the fight. They know what awaits them if the rebels win. So, if you're a member of a Syrian minority (30%), or a modern educated woman, you sure don't want a rebel victory.

4. You write that the US should take the lead and we'll have allies this time. Why take the lead? Perhaps Britain or France should. France is currently fighting Jihadists in Mali, a former French colony. Let's remember, the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 gave France the mandate for Syria

[Apr 05, 2013] The Banksters and American Foreign Policy by Justin Raimondo

July 15, 2011 |

In a free economy, the banks that invested trillions in risky mortgages and other fool's gold would have taken the hit. Instead, however, what happened is that the American taxpayers took the hit, paid the bill, and cleaned up their mess – and were condemned to suffer record unemployment, massive foreclosures, and the kind of despair that kills the soul.

How did this happen? There are two versions of this little immorality tale, one coming from the "left" and the other from the "right" (the scare-quotes are there for a reason, which I'll get to in a moment or two).

The "left" version goes something like this:

The evil capitalists, in league with their bought-and-paid for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed 911 and the emergency team (otherwise known as the US Congress) came to their rescue, doling out trillions to the looters and leaving the rest of America to pay the bill.

The "right" version goes something like the following:

Politically connected Wall Streeters, in league with their bought-and-paid-for cronies in government, destroyed and looted the economy until there was nothing left to steal. Then, when their grasping hands had reached the very bottom of the treasure chest, they dialed BIG-GOV-HELP and the feds showed up with the cash.

The first thing one notices about these two analyses, taken side by side, is their similarity: yes, the "left" blames the free market, and the "right" blames Big Government, but when you get past the blame game their descriptions of what actually happened look like veritable twins. And as much as I agree with the "right" about their proposed solution – a radical cut in government spending – it is the "left" that has the most accurate analysis of who's to blame.

It is, of course, the big banks – the recipients of bailout loot, the ones who profited (and continue to profit) from the economic catastrophe that has befallen us.

During the 1930s, the so-called Red Decade, no leftist agitprop was complete without a cartoon rendering of the top-hatted capitalist with his foot planted firmly on the throat of the proletariat (usually depicted as a muscular-but-passive male in chains). That imagery, while crude, is largely correct – an astonishing statement, I know, coming from an avowed libertarian and "reactionary," no less. Yet my leftist pals, and others with a superficial knowledge of libertarianism, will be even more surprised that the founder of the modern libertarian movement, also an avowed (and proud) "reactionary," agreed with me (or, rather, I with him):

"Businessmen or manufacturers can either be genuine free enterprisers or statists; they can either make their way on the free market or seek special government favors and privileges. They choose according to their individual preferences and values. But bankers are inherently inclined toward statism.

"Commercial bankers, engaged as they are in unsound fractional reserve credit, are, in the free market, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Hence they are always reaching for government aid and bailout.

"Investment bankers do much of their business underwriting government bonds, in the United States and abroad. Therefore, they have a vested interest in promoting deficits and in forcing taxpayers to redeem government debt. Both sets of bankers, then, tend to be tied in with government policy, and try to influence and control government actions in domestic and foreign affairs."

That's Murray N. Rothbard, the great libertarian theorist and economist, in his classic monograph Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy. If you want a lesson in the real motivations behind our foreign policy of global intervention, starting at the very dawn of the American empire, you have only to read this fascinating treatise. The essence of it is this: the very rich have stayed very rich in what would otherwise be a dynamic and ever-changing economic free-for-all by securing government favors, enjoying state-granted monopolies, and using the US military as their private security guards. Conservatives who read Rothbard's short book will never look at the Panama Canal issue in the same light again. Lefties will come away from it marveling at how closely the libertarian Rothbard comes to echoing the old Marxist aphorism that the government is the "executive committee of the capitalist class."

Rothbard's account of the course of American foreign policy as the history of contention between the Morgan interests, the Rockefellers, and the various banking "families," who dealt primarily in buying and selling government bonds, is fascinating stuff, and it illuminates a theme common to both left and right commentators: that the elites are manipulating the policy levers to ensure their own economic interests unto eternity.

In normal times, political movements are centered around elaborate ideologies, complex narratives that purport to explain what is wrong and how to fix it. They have their heroes, and their villains, their creation myths and their dystopian visions of a dark future in store if we don't heed their call to revolution (or restoration, depending on whether they're hailing from the "left" or the "right").

You may have noticed, however, that these are not normal times: we're in a crisis of epic proportions, not only an economic crisis but also a cultural meltdown in which our social institutions are collapsing, and with them longstanding social norms. In such times, ideological categories tend to break down, and we've seen this especially in the foreign policy realm, where both the "extreme" right and the "extreme" left are calling for what the elites deride as "isolationism." On the domestic front, too, the "right" and "left" views of what's wrong with the country are remarkably alike, as demonstrated above. Conservatives and lefties may have different solutions, but they have, I would argue, a common enemy: the banksters.

This characterization of the banking industry as the moral equivalent of gangsters has its proponents on both sides of the political spectrum, and today that ideological convergence is all but complete, with only "centrists" and self-described pragmatists dissenting. What rightists and leftists have in common, in short, is a very powerful enemy – and that's all a mass political movement needs to get going.

In normal times, this wouldn't be enough: but, as I said above, these most assuredly aren't normal times. The crisis lends urgency to a process that has been developing – unfolding, if you will – for quite some time, and that is the evolution of a political movement that openly disdains the "left" and "right" labels, and homes in on the main danger to liberty and peace on earth: the state-privileged banking system that is now foreclosing on America.

This issue is not an abstraction: we see it being played out on the battlefield of the debt ceiling debate. Because, after all, who will lose and who will win if the debt ceiling isn't raised? The losers will be the bankers who buy and sell government bonds, i.e. those who finance the War Machine that is today devastating much of the world. My leftie friends might protest that these bonds also finance Social Security payments, and I would answer that they need to grow a spine: President Obama's threat that Social Security checks may not go out after the August deadline is, like everything out that comes out of his mouth, a lie. The government has the money to pay on those checks: this is just his way of playing havoc with the lives of American citizens, a less violent but nonetheless just as evil version of the havoc he plays with the lives of Afghans, Pakistanis, and Libyans every day.

This isn't about Social Security checks: it's about an attempt to reinflate the bubble of American empire, which has been sagging of late, and keep the government printing presses rolling. For the US government, unlike a private entity, can print its way out of debt – or, these days, by simply adding a few zeroes to the figures on a computer screen. A central bank, owned by "private" individuals, controls this process: it is called the Federal Reserve. And the Fed has been the instrument of the banksters from its very inception [.pdf], at the turn of the 19th century – not coincidentally, roughly the time America embarked on its course of overseas empire.

There is a price to be paid, however, for this orgy of money-printing: the degradation, or cheapening, of the dollar. Most of us suffer on account of this policy: the only beneficiaries are those who receive those dollars first, before it trickles down to the rest of us. The very first to receive them are, of course, the bankers, but there's another class of business types who benefit, and those are the exporters, whose products are suddenly competitive with cheaper foreign goods. This has been a major driving force behind US foreign policy, as Rothbard points out:

"The great turning point of American foreign policy came in the early 1890s, during the second Cleveland Administration. It was then that the U.S. turned sharply and permanently from a foreign policy of peace and non-intervention to an aggressive program of economic and political expansion abroad. At the heart of the new policy were America's leading bankers, eager to use the country's growing economic strength to subsidize and force-feed export markets and investment outlets that they would finance, as well as to guarantee Third World government bonds. The major focus of aggressive expansion in the 1890s was Latin America, and the principal Enemy to be dislodged was Great Britain, which had dominated foreign investments in that vast region.

"In a notable series of articles in 1894, Bankers' Magazine set the agenda for the remainder of the decade. Its conclusion: if 'we could wrest the South American markets from Germany and England and permanently hold them, this would be indeed a conquest worth perhaps a heavy sacrifice.'

"Long-time Morgan associate Richard Olney heeded the call, as Secretary of State from 1895 to 1897, setting the U.S. on the road to Empire. After leaving the State Department, he publicly summarized the policy he had pursued. The old isolationism heralded by George Washington's Farewell Address is over, he thundered. The time has now arrived, Olney declared, when 'it behooves us to accept the commanding position… among the Power of the earth.' And, 'the present crying need of our commercial interests,' he added, 'is more markets and larger markets' for American products, especially in Latin America.'"

The face of the Enemy has long since changed, and Britain is our partner in a vast mercantilist enterprise, but the mechanics and motivation behind US foreign policy remain very much the same. You'll note that the Libyan "rebels," for example, set up a Central Bank right off the bat, even before ensuring their military victory over Gadhafi – and who do you think is going to be selling (and buying) those Libyan "government" bonds? It sure as heck won't be Joe Sixpack: it's the same Wall Streeters who issued an ultimatum to the Tea Party, via Moody's, that they'll either vote to raise the debt ceiling or face the consequences.

But what are those consequences – and who will feel their impact the most?

It's the bankers who will take the biggest hit if US bonds are downgraded: the investment bankers, who invested in such a dodgy enterprise as the US government, whose "full faith and credit" isn't worth the paper it's printed on. In a free market, these losers would pay the full price of their bad business decisions – in our crony-capitalist system, however, they win.

They win because they have the US government behind them — and because their strategy of degrading the dollar will reap mega-profits from American exporters, whose overseas operations they are funding. The "China market," and the rest of the vast undeveloped stretches of the earth that have yet to develop a taste for iPads and Lady Gaga, all this and more will be open to them as long as the dollar continues to fall.

That this will cripple the buying power of the average American, and raise the specter of hyper-inflation, matters not one whit of difference to the corporate and political elites that control our destiny: for with the realization of their vision of a World Central Bank, in which a new global currency controlled by them can be printed to suit their needs, they will be set free from all earthly constraints, or so they believe.

With America as the world policeman and the world banker – in alliance with our European satellites – the Washington elite can extend their rule over the entire earth. It's true we won't have much to show for it, here in America: with the dollar destroyed, we'll lose our economic primacy, and be subsumed into what George Herbert Walker Bush called the "New World Order." Burdened with defending the corporate profits of the big banks and exporters abroad, and also with bailing them out on the home front when their self-created bubbles burst, the American people will see a dramatic drop in their standard of living – our sacrifice to the gods of "internationalism." That's what they mean when they praise the new "globalized" economy.

Yet the American people don't want to be sacrificed, either to corporate gods or some desiccated idol of internationalism, and they are getting increasingly angry – and increasing savvy when it comes to identifying the source of their troubles.

This brings us to the prospects for a left-right alliance, both short term and in the long run. In the immediate future, the US budget crisis could be considerably alleviated if we would simply end the wars started by George W. Bush and vigorously pursued by his successor. Aside from that, how many troops do we still have in Europe – more than half a century after World War II? How many in Korea – long after the Korean war? Getting rid of all this would no doubt provide enough savings to ensure that those Social Security checks go out – but that's a bargain Obama will never make.

All those dollars, shipped overseas, enrich the military-industrial complex and their friends, the exporters – and drain the very life blood out of the rest of us. Opposition to this policy ought to be the basis of a left-right alliance, a movement to bring America home and put America first.

In the long term, there is the basis for a more comprehensive alliance: the de-privileging of the banking sector, which cemented its rule with the establishment of the Federal Reserve. That, however, is a topic too complex to be adequately covered in a single column, and so I'll just leave open the intriguing possibility.

"Left" and "right" mean nothing in the current context: the real division is between government-privileged plutocrats and the rest of us. What you have to ask yourself is this: which side are you on?

A Little 2nd Amendment Night Humor

01/22/2013 | Tyler Durden

On occasion, truth is stranger than fiction; and in the somewhat surreal world in which we now inhabit, The Onion's perfect parody of where we are headed could have been lifted from any mainstream media front-page with little questioning from the majority of Americans. For your reading pleasure, the 62-year-old with a gun that is the last man standing between the American people and full-scale totalitarian government takeover.

Russia Accuses West Of Arming Mali "Al-Qaeda" Rebels

Tyler Durden on 01/23/2013 - 13:04

Define irony? Here is one, or rather two, tries. Back in the 1970s, it was none other than the US that armed the Taliban "freedom fighters" fighting against the USSR in the Soviet-Afghanistan war, only to see these same freedom fighters eventually and furiously turn against the same US that provided them with arms and money, with what ended up being very catastrophic consequences, culminating with September 11. Fast forward some 30 years and it is again the US which, under the guise of dreams and hopes of democracy and the end of a "dictatorial reign of terror", armed local insurgents in the Libyan war of "liberation" to overthrow the existing regime (and in the process liberate just a bit of Libya's oil) - the same Libya where shortly thereafter these same insurgents rose against their former sponsor, and killed the US ambassador in what has now become an epic foreign policy Snafu. But it doesn't end there as according to Russia, it is the same US weapons that were provided to these Libyan "freedom fighters" that are now being used in what is rapidly becoming a war in Mali, involving not only assorted French regiments, but extensive US flip flops and boots on the ground. "This will be a time bomb for decades ahead."

[Feb 10, 2013] The Cost of War Includes at Least 253,330 Brain Injuries and 1,700 Amputations by Spencer Ackerman

02.08.13 |

Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.

That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.

Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.

But that's the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the "D" from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agree with Chiarelli.)

[Jan 29, 2013] Controlling-the-military-bureaucracy-and-military-threats

2013/01/29 | nytimes

Senator Hagel, you have said that no president in 20 years – since George H. W. Bush – has fully exercised his powers over the military in his role as commander in chief. Why is that? How can civilian commanders reassert their constitutional authority over the uniformed military?

You call yourself an Eisenhower Republican. Ike famously warned Americans about the political and economic costs of "the military-industrial complex." Do you see that threat today? If so, how do you define it? Is there a single major weapons system in the American arsenal that you would eliminate on the basis of its cost and effectiveness?

Can you rein in the generals and their spending? Is the future to be feared or seized in Afghanistan and Iran?

President Obama has said: "War is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly." By that standard, how do you judge the American military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade?


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Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

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Military Industrial Complex "In the councils of government, we must guard against
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President Dwight D. Eisenhower Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

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Further Reading

Those who wish to learn more about the workings of government deceptions may find the following books useful:

Munitions of the Mind: A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present day by Philip M. Taylor

The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker by Philip Knightly.

PR! A Social History of Spin by Stuart Ewen

Secrecy by Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Secrets: The CIA's War at Home by Angus Mackenzie

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA played America by Hugh Wilford

Secret Science: Federal Control of American Science and Technology by Herbert N. Foerstel

Deception: The invisible war between the KGB and the CIA by Edward Jay Epstein

Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War by John R. Macarthur

The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian

Towers of Deception: The media cover-up of 9/11 by Barrie Zwicker

Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown

The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders

Deception in World War II by Charles Cruickshank


[May 12, 2003] Military-Industrial Complex, 2003 Peter Huber

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 as bullets.

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.

"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 at


YouTube - Bird and Fortune (Washington Diplomat)

It's amazing how powerful satire and sarcasm is. Colbert over here and Bird and Fortune across the pond. Pretending to agree with neocons to tear them to shreds. It's just delicious.

War In Iran Would Cost Minimal Change In Graphics, Fox News Says War, Politics, Culture By Andy Borowitz<

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: Iran."

"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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