NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949

In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. president George H. W. Bush through his secretary of state James Baker promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that in exchange for Soviet cooperation on German reunification, the Cold War era NATO alliance would not expand “one inch” eastwards towards Russia. Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.”

In the following year, the USSR officially dissolved itself. Its own defensive military alliance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) had already shut down. The Cold War was over.

So why hasn’t NATO also dissolved, but instead expanded relentlessly, surrounding European Russia? Why isn’t this a central question for discussion and debate in this country?

NATO: A Cold War Anti-Russian Alliance 

Some challenge the claim that Bush’s pledge was ever given, although Baker repeated it publicly in Russia. Or they argue that it was never put in writing, hence legally inconsequential. Or they argue that any promise made to the leadership of the Soviet Union, which went out of existence in 1991, is inapplicable to subsequent U.S.-Russian relations. But it’s clear that the U.S. has, to the consternation of the Russian leadership, sustained a posture of confrontation with its Cold War foe principally taking the form of NATO expansion. This expansion hardly receives comment in the U.S. mass media, which treats the entry of a new nation into NATO much as it does the admission of a new state into the UN—as though this was altogether natural and unproblematic.

But recall the basic history. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in April 4, 1949, initially consisting of the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Portugal, as a military alliance against the Soviet Union, and principally the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

It was formed just four years after the Soviets stormed Berlin, defeating the Nazis. (As you know, Germany invaded Russia six months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor;  the U.S. and USSR were World War II allies versus the fascists; the key victories in the European war—Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk—were Soviet victories over the Nazis; that U.S. soldiers only crossed the Rhine on March 22 as the Red Army was closing in on Berlin, taking the city between April 16 and May 2 at a cost of some 80,000 Soviet dead. If you don’t know these things, you’ve been denied a proper education.)

In the four-year interim between Hitler’s suicide and the formation of NATO, the two great victors of the war had divided Europe into spheres of influence. The neighboring Soviet Union had contributed disproportionately to the fascist defeat: over eight million military and over 12 million civilians dead, as compared to the far-off U.S., with losses of around 186,000 dead in the European theater and 106,000 in the Pacific.

It might seem strange that the lesser hero in this instance (in this epochal conflict against fascism) gets all the goodies in the battle’s aftermath: the U.S. created a bloc including Britain, France, Italy, most of Germany, the Low Countries, Portugal, and most of Scandinavia, while the Soviets asserted hegemony—or tried to—over their generally less affluent client states. But the Soviets were not in any case interested primarily in drawing the richest nations into their fold; were that the case, they would not have withdrawn their troops from Austria in 1955.

Rather Russia, which had historically been invaded many times from the west—from Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, France, and Germany multiple times—wanted preeminently to secure its western border. To insure the establishment of friendly regimes, it organized elections in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and elsewhere. (These had approximately as much legitimacy as elections held under U.S. occupation in Iraq or Afghanistan in later years, or at any point in Latin America). They brought the Eastern European “people’s republics” into existence.

The U.S. and British grumbled about the geopolitical advances of their wartime ally. In March 1946 former British Prime Minister Churchill while visiting the U.S. alluded to an “iron curtain” falling across Europe. (Perhaps he was unwittingly using the expression that Josef Goebbels had used just thirteen months earlier. The German propaganda minister had told a newspaper that “if the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets…would occupy all of Europe…An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory…”) Very scary.

But the U.S. was working hard at the time to consolidate its own bloc in Europe. In May 1947 the U.S. CIA forced the Italian and French governments to purge Communist members of cabinets formed after electoral successes the previous year. (The U.S. had enormous clout, bought through the $ 13 billion Marshall Plan begun in April 1947, designed to revive European capitalism and diminish the Marxist appeal.)

The CIA station chief in Rome later boasted that “without the CIA,” which funded a Red Scare campaign and fomented violent, even fatal clashes at events, “the Communist Party would surely have won the [Italian] elections in 1948.” (Anyone who thinks Soviets rigged elections while the U.S. facilitated fair ones as a matter of principle is hopelessly naïve.)

Meanwhile—before the establishment of NATO in April 1949—the U.S. and Britain had been fighting a war in Greece since 1946 on behalf of the monarchists against the communist-led forces that had been the backbone of the anti-fascist movement during the World War II. The Communists had widespread support and may well have won the civil war if the Soviets had only supported them. But observing the understanding about spheres of influence agreed to at Yalta and Potsdam, Stalin refused appeals for Soviet aid from the Greek (and Yugoslav) Communists. The Greek partisans surrendered in Oct. 1949, six months after the formation of NATO. (But NATO was in fact not deployed in this military intervention in Greece, seen as the first Cold War U.S. military operation under the broadly anticommunist “Truman Doctrine.”)

Just a month after NATO was formed, the pro-U.S. leaders in west Germany unilaterally announced the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany. (The pro-Soviet German Democratic Republic was declared only six months later. As in Korea, the Soviets promoted reunification of occupied sectors. But the U.S. was intent on establishing client states, and dividing nations if necessary to stem Soviet inroads. This was also the case with Vietnam.)

Four months after the creation of NATO the Soviets conducted their first successful nuclear test. The Cold War was underway in earnest.

NATO was thus formed to aggressively confront the USSR and exploit fears of a supposed threat of a westward Soviet strike (to impose the Soviet social system on unwilling peoples). That threat never materialized, of course. The Soviets cordoned off East Berlin from the west by the Berlin Wall in 1961 to prevent embarrassing mass flight.  But they never invaded West Germany, or provoked any clash with a NATO nation throughout the Cold War. (Indeed, in light of the carnage visited on Europe since 1989, from civil wars in the Balkans and Caucasus to terrorist bombings in London, Madrid and Paris to the neo-fascist-led putsch in Ukraine last year, the Cold War appears in retrospect as a long period of relative peace and prosperity on the continent.)

Comparing U.S. and Russian/Soviet Aggression during the Cold War

NATO expanded in 1952,  enlisting the now-pacified Greece and its historical rival, Turkey. In 1955 it brought the Federal Republic of Germany into the fold. Only then—in May 1956, seven years after the formation of NATO—did the Soviets establish, in response, their own defensive military alliance. The Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) included a mere eight nations (to NATO’s 15): the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania.

Warsaw Pact forces were deployed only once during the Cold War, to crush the reform movement in Czechoslovakia in 1968. (They were not used during the suppression of the “Hungarian Revolution” of 1956, occurring five months after the founding of the alliance. That operation was performed by Soviet troops and loyalist Hungarian forces.) The Czechoslovakian intervention occasioned Albania’s withdrawal from the pact, while Romania protested it and refused to contribute troops. Thus practically speaking, the Warsaw Pact was down to six members to NATO’s 15. The western alliance expanded to 16 when Spain joined in 1982.

Between 1945 and 1991 (when the Warsaw Pact and the USSR  both dissolved themselves), the U.S. had engaged in three major wars (in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf); invaded Grenada and Panama; and intervened militarily in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Cuba, Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Haiti and other countries.

During that same period, the Soviets invaded eastern European nations twice (Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968), basically to maintain the status quo. Elsewhere, there was a brief border conflict with China in 1969 that killed around 150 soldiers on both sides. And the Soviets of course invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to shore up the secular regime faced with Islamist opposition. That’s about it. Actually, if you compare it to the U.S. record, a pretty paltry record of aggression for a superpower.

That Islamist opposition in Afghanistan, as we know, morphed into the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the group founded in Iraq by one-time bin Laden rival Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that’s now called ISIL or the Islamic State. Referred to—almost affectionately—by the U.S. press in the 1980s as the “Mujahadeen” (“those engaged in jihad”), these religious militants were lionized at the time as anti-communist holy warriors by Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Brzezinski told the president six months before the Soviets sent in troops that by backing the jihadis the U.S. could “induce a Soviet military intervention.” The U.S., he declared, had “the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam War” and could now “bleed” the Soviets as they had bled the U.S. in Vietnam.

(Linger for a moment on the morality here. The Soviets had helped the Vietnamese fight an unpopular, U.S.-backed regime and confront the horrors of the U.S. assault on their country. Now—to get back, as Brzezinski out it—the U.S. could help extreme Islamists whose minds are in the Middle Ages to “induce” Soviet intervention, so as to kill conscript Soviet boys and prevent the advent of modernity.)

The anti-Soviet jihadis were welcomed to the White House by President Ronald Reagan during a visit in 1985. Reagan, perhaps already showing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, trumpeted them as “the moral equivaent of America’s founding fathers.” This is when the great bulk of U.S. (CIA) aid to the Mujahadeen was going into the coffers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a vicious warlord now aligned with the Taliban. One of many former U.S. assets (Saddam Hussein included) who had a falling-out with the boss, he was the target of at least one failed CIA drone strike in 2002.

Thus the Soviets’ one and only protracted military conflict during the Cold War, lasting from December 1979 to February 1989 and costing some 14,000 Soviet lives, was a conflict with what U.S. pundits have taken to calling “Islamist terrorism.”

The Soviets were surely not facing anticommunists pining for “freedom” as this might be conceptualized in some modern ideology. The enemy included tribal leaders and clerics who objected to any changes in the status of girls and women, in particular their dress, and submission to patriarchal authority in such matters as marriage.

The would-be Soviet-backed revolutionaries faced religious fanatics ignorant about women’s medical needs, hostile to the very idea of public clinics, and opposed to women’s education, (In fact the Soviets were able to raise the literacy rate for women during the 1980s—a feat not matched by the new occupiers since 2001—but this was mainly due to the fact that they maintained control over Kabul, where women could not only get schooling but walk around without a headscarf.)

Those days ended when the Soviet-installed regime of Mohammad Najibullah was toppled by Northern Alliance forces in April 1992.  Things only became worse. Civil war between the Pastun Hekmatyar and his Tajik rivals immediately broke out and Hekmatyar’s forces brutally bombarded the capital—something that hadn’t happened during the worst days of the Soviet period.

As civil war deepened, the Taliban emerged, presenting itself as a morally upright, Sharia-based leadership. Acquiring a large social base, it took Kabul in September 1996. Among its first acts was to seize Najibullah, who had taken refuge in the UN compound in the city three years earlier, castrate him, and hang him publicly, denying him a proper Muslim burial.

Just as the neocons were crowing about the triumph of capitalism over communism, and the supposed “end of history,” the Frankenstein’s monster of Islamism reared up its ugly head. There were no tears shed in western capitals for Najibullah. But the Taliban were viewed with concern and distaste and the UN seat remained with the former Northern Alliance regime controlling just 10% of the country.

How the Cold War Encouraged “Radical Islam”

Surely the U.S.—which had packed up and left after the Soviet withdrawl, leaving the Pakistanis with a massive refugee problem and Afghanistan in a state of chaos—had bled the Soviets, and anyone daring to ally with them. And surely this experience contributed to the realization of Brzezinski’s fondest wish: the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But it also produced Islamist terrorism, big time, while the U.S.—having once organized the recruitment and training of legions of jihadis from throughout the Muslim world to bleed the Soviets—was and is now obliged to deal with blow-back, and in its responses invariably invites more terror.

Is it not obvious that U.S. military actions against its various “terrorist” targets in the “Greater” Middle East, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya have greatly swelled the ranks of al-Qaeda branches as well as ISIL?

And does not the course of events in Afghanistan—where the Kabul government remains paralyzed and inept, warlords govern the provincial cities, the Supreme Court sentences people to death for religious offenses, much of the countryside has been conceded to the Talibs and the militants are making inroads in the north—convince you that the U.S. should not have thrown in its lot with the jihadis versus the Soviet-backed secular forces thirty-five years ago?

In a 1998 interview by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn Brzezinski was asked if he regretted “having given arms and advice to future [Islamist] terrorists.”

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

In other words, winning the contest with Russia—bleeding it to collapse—was more important than any risk of promoting militant Islamic fundamentalism. It is apparent that that mentality lingers, when, even in the post-9/11 world, some State Department officials would rather see Damascus fall to ISIL than be defended by Russians in support of a secular regime.

NATO to the Rescue in the Post-Cold War World

Since the fall of the USSR, and the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact, what has NATO been up to? First of all, it moved to fill a power vacuum in the Balkans. Yugoslavia was falling apart. It had been neutral throughout the Cold War, a member of neither NATO nor the Warsaw Pact. As governments fell throughout Eastern Europe, secessionist movements in the multiethnic republic produced widespread conflict. U.S. Secretary of State  Baker worried that the breakup of Yugoslavia’s breakup would produce regional instability and opposed the independence of Slovenia.

But the German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and Chancellor Helmut Kohl—flushed with pride at Germany’s reunification and intent on playing a more powerful role in the world—pressed for Yugoslavia’s dismantling. (There was a deep German historical interest in this country. Nazi Germany had occupied Slovenia from 1941 to 1945, establishing a 21,000-strong Slovene Home Guard and planting businesses. Germany is now by far Slovenia’s number one trading partner.) Kohl’s line won out.

Yugoslavia, which had been a model of interethnic harmony, became torn by ethnic strife in the 1990s. In Croatia, Croatians fought ethnic Serbs backed by the Yugoslav People’s Army; in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs quarreled over how to divide the land. In Serbia itself, the withdrawal of autonomy of the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina produced outrage among ethnic Albanians. In 1995 images of emaciated Bosniak men and boys in Serb-constructed prison camps were widely publicized in the world media as Bill Clinton resolved not to let Rwanda (read: genocide!) happen again. Not on his watch. America would save the day.

Or rather: NATO would save the day! Far from being less relevant after the Cold War, NATO, Clinton claimed, was the onlyinternational force capable of handling this kind of challenge. And thus NATO bombed, and bombed—for the first time ever, in real war—until the Bosnian Serbs pleaded for mercy. The present configuration of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a dysfunctional federation including a Serbian mini-republic, was dictated by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and his deputy Richard Holbrooke at the meeting in Dayton, Ohio in November 1995.

Russia, the traditional ally of the Serbs, was obliged to watch passively as the U.S. and NATO remapped the former Yugoslavia. Russia was itself in the 1990s, under the drunken buffoon Boris Yeltsin, a total mess. The economy was nose-diving; despair prevailed; male longevity had plummeted.  The new polity was anything but stable. During the “Constitutional Crisis” of September-October 1993, the president had even ordered the army to bombard the parliament building to force the legislators to heed his decree to disband. In the grip of corrupt oligarchs and Wild West capitalism, Russians were disillusioned and demoralized.

Then came further insults from the west. During Yeltsin’s last year, in March 1999, the U.S. welcomed three more nations into: Czechoslovakia (later the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Hungary, and Poland. These had been the most powerful Warsaw Pact countries aside from the USSR and East Germany. This was the first expansion of NATO since 1982 (when Spain had joined) and understandably upset the Kremlin. What possible reason is there to expand NATO now? the Russians asked, only to be assured that NATO was not against anybody.

The Senate had voted to extend membership to Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1998. At that time, George Kennan—the famous U.S. diplomat who’d developed the cold war strategy of containment of the Soviet Union—was asked to comment.

I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” averred the 94-year-old Kennan. “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever… It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expansion advocates] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are–but this is just wrong. 

NATO Versus Serbia

In that same month of March 1999, NATO (including its three new members) began bombing the Serbian capital of Belgrade, the first time since World War II that a European capital was subjected to bombardment. The official reason was that Serbian state forces had been abusing the Albanians of Kosovo province; diplomacy had failed; and NATO intervention was needed to put things right. This rationale was accompanied by grossly exaggerated reports of Serbian security forces’ killings of Kosovars, supposedly amounting to “genocide.”

This was largely nonsense. The U.S. had demanded at the conference in Rambouillet, France, that Serbia withdraw its forces from Kosovo and restore autonomy to the province. Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic had agreed. But the U.S. also demanded that Belgrade accept NATO forces throughout the entire territory of Yugoslavia—something no leader of a sovereign state could accept. Belgrade refused, backed by Russia.

A “senior State Department official” (likely U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) boasted to reporters that at Rambouillet “we intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. . . . The Serbs needed a little bombing to see reason.”Henry Kissinger (no peacenik) told the press in June: “The Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, and excuse to start bombing. Rambouillet is not a document that an angelic Serb could have accepted. It was a terrible diplomatic document that should never have been presented in that form.”

The U.S. had obtained UN approval for the NATO strikes on Bosnia-Herzegovina four years before. But it did not seek it this time, or try to organize a UN force to address the Kosovo problem. In effect, it insisted that NATO be recognized as the representative of “the international community.”

It was outrageous. Still, U.S. public opinion was largely persuaded that the Serbs had failed to negotiate peace in good faith and so deserved the bombing cheered on by the press, in particular CNN’s “senior international correspondent,” Christiane Amanpour, a  State Department insider who kept telling her viewers, “Milosevic continues to thumb his nose at the international community”—because he’d refused a bullying NATO ultimatum that even Kissinger identified as a provocation!

After the mass slaughter of Kosovars became a reality (as NATO bombs began to fall on Kosovo), and after two and a half months of bombing focused on Belgrade, a Russian-brokered deal ended the fighting. Belgrade was able to avoid the NATO occupation that it had earlier refused. (In other words, NATO had achieved nothing that the Serbs hadn’t already conceded in Rambouillet!)

As the ceasefire went into effect on June 21, a column of about 30 armored vehicles carrying 250 Russian troops moved from peacekeeping duties in Bosnia to establish control over Kosovo’s Pristina Airport. (Just a little reminder that Russia, too, had a role to play in the region.)

This took U.S. NATO commander Wesley Clark by surprise. He ordered that British and French paratroopers be flown in to seize the airport but the British General Sir Mike Jackson wisely balked. “I’m not going to have my soldiers start World War III,” he declared.

I think it likely this dramatic last minute gesture at the airport was urged by the up-and-coming Vladimir Putin, a Yeltsin advisor soon to be appointed vice-president and then Yeltsin’s successor beginning in December 1999. Putin was to prove a much more strident foe of NATO expansion than his embarrassing predecessor.

Cooperation Meets with Provocation

Still, recall how two years later—after 9/11, 2001, when the U.S. invoking the NATO charter called upon its NATO allies to engage in war in Afghanistan—Putin offered to allow the alliance to transport war material to Afghanistan through Russian territory. (In 2012 Foreign Minister Lavrov offered NATO the use of a base in Ulyanovsk to transport equipment out of Afghanistan.) This Afghan invasion was only the third actual deployment of NATO forces in war, after Bosnia and Serbia, and Moscow accepted it matter-of-factly. It even muted its concerns when the U.S. established military bases in the former Soviet Central Republics of Uzbekistan and Kirghizia.

But in 2004, NATO expanded again—to include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which had been part of the USSR itself and which border Russia. At the same time Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia were admitted, along with Slovakia, which had become separate from the Czech Republic. Russians again asked, “Why?”

In 2007 the U.S. began negotiating with the Poles to install a NATO missile defense complex in Poland, with a radar system in the Czech Republic. Supposedly this was to shoot down any Iranian missiles directed towards Europe in the future!  But Moscow was furious, accusing the U.S. of wanting to launch another arms race. Due largely to anti-militarist sentiment among the Poles and Czechs, these plans were shelved in 2009. But they could be revived at any time.

In 2008, then, the U.S. recognized its dependency Kosovo, now hosting the largest U.S. Army base (Camp Bondsteel) outside the U.S., as an independent country. Although the U.S. had insisted up to this point that it recognized Kosovo as a province of Serbia (and perhaps even understood its profound significance as the heartland of Serbian Orthodoxy), it now (through Condoleezza Rice) proclaimed Kosovo a “sui generis” (one of a kind) phenomenon. So forget about international law; it just doesn’t apply.

In this same year of 2008, NATO announced boldly that Georgia and Ukraine “will become members of NATO.” ThereuponGeorgia’s comical President Mikheil Saakasvili bombarded Tskhinvali, capital of the self-declared Republic of South Ossetia that had resisted integration into the current Republic of Georgia since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. In this instance Russia defended South Ossetia, invading Georgia. It then recognized the independence, both of South Ossetia and of the Republic of Abkhazia, from Georgia. (This may be seen as a tit-for-tat response to the U.S.’s decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia six months earlier.)

It was a six-day war, resulting in about 280 military fatalities (including 100 on the South Ossetian-Russian side) and about 400 civilian deaths. And there has been no Russian war since. Crimea was not “invaded” last year but simply seized by Russian forces in place, with general popular support. And there’s little evidence that the regular Russian military is confronting Ukrainian state forces; ethnic Russians are doing so, receiving no doubt support from cousins across the historically changeable border. But the charge of a “Russian invasion of Ukraine” is a State Department talking point—propaganda automatically parroted by the official press sock-puppet pundits, not a contemporary reality.

Georgia’s Saakasvili perhaps expected the U.S. to have his back as he provoked Moscow in August 2008. But while he received firm support from Sen. John McCain, who declared “We are all Georgians now,” he received little help from the George W. Bush State Department wary of provoking World War III. Georgia was not yet a NATO member able to cite the NATO charter’s mutual defense clause

Saakasvili left office in 2010 and is now under indictment by the Georgian courts for abuses in office. After a brief stint at the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy in 2014, he acquired Ukrainian citizenship—losing his Georgian citizenship as a result—and (as one of many examples of how crazy the current Kiev leadership including Yatsenyev and Poroshenko can be) was appointed governor of Odessa last May!

Given the debacle of 2008, countries such as Germany are unlikely to accept Georgian admission any time soon. They do not see much benefit in provoking Russia by endlessly expanding the Cold War “defensive” alliance. Still, Croatia and Albania were added to NATO in 2009, in the first year of the Obama administration—just in time to participate in NATO’s fourth war, against Libya.

Again there was no reason for a war. Colonel Gadhafy had been downright cordial towards western regimes since 2003, and closely cooperated with the CIA against Islamist terrorism. But when the “Arab Spring” swept the region in 2011, some western leaders (headed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, but including the always hawkish Hillary Clinton) convinced themselves that Gadhafy’s fall was imminent, and so it would be best to assist the opposition in deposing him and thus get into the good graces of any successors.

The UN Security Council approved a resolution to establish a no-fly zone for the protection of civilians from Gadhafy’s supposedly genocidal troops. But what NATO unleashed was something quite different: a war on Gadhafy, which led to his brutal murder and to the horrible chaos that has reigned since in Libya, now a reliable base for al-Qaeda and ISIL. Russia and China both protested, as the war was still underway, that NATO had distorted the meaning of the UN resolution. It’s unlikely that the two Security Council permanent members will be fooled again into such cooperation.

We can therefore add the failed state of Libya to the dysfunctional states of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan, to our list of NATO achievements since 1991. To sum up: Since the collapse of the USSR,  the U.S. and some allies (usually in their capacity as NATO allies) have waged war on Bosnian Serbs, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, while striking targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere with impunity. Russia has gone to war precisely once: for eight days in August 2008, against Georgia.

And yet every pundit on mainstream TV news tells you with a straight face that Putin’s the one who “invades countries.”

What Is the Point of NATO Expansion?

So while NATO has expanded in membership, it has showing a growing proclivity to go to war, from Central Asia to North Africa. One must wonder, what is the point?

The putative point in 1949 was the defense of “Western Europe” against some posited Soviet invasion. That rationale is still used; when NATO supporters today speak in favor of the inclusion of Lithuania, for example, they may state that, if Lithuania had remained outside the alliance—the Russians would surely have invaded by now on the pretext of defending ethnic Russians’ rights, etc.

There is in fact precious little evidence for Russian ambitions, or Putin’s own ambitions, to recreate the tsarist empire or Soviet Union.  (Putin complained just a few days ago, “We don’t want the USSR back but no one believes us.” He’s also opined that people who feel no nostalgia for the Soviet Union—as most citizens of the former USSR young enough to remember it say they do—have no heart, while those who want to restore it have no brains.)

As NATO expanded inexorably between 1999 and 2009, Russia responded not with threats but with calm indignation.

Putin’s remarks about the dissolution of the Soviet Union being a “geopolitical tragedy,” and his occasional words addressing the language and other rights of Russians in former SSRs, do not constitute militarist threats. As always the neocons cherry-pick a phrase here and there as they try to depict Putin as (yet) “another Hitler.” In fact the Russians have, relatively speaking, been voices of reason in recent years, Alarmed at the consequences of U.S. actions in the Middle East, they have sought to restrain U.S. imperialism while challenging Islamist terrorism.

In August 2013 Obama threatened to attack Syria, ostensibly to punish the regime for using chemical weapons against its people. (The original accusation has been discredited by Seymour Hersh among others.) Deft intervention by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and the refusal of the British House of Commons to support an attack (insuring it would not, like the Iraq War, win general NATO endorsement), and domestic opposition all helped avert another U.S. war in the Middle East.

But it’s as though hawks in the State Department, resentful at Russia’s success in protecting its Syrian ally from Gadhafy’s fate, and miffed at its continued ability to maintain air and naval facilities on the Syrian coast, were redoubling their efforts to provoke Russia. How better to do this than by interfering in Ukraine, which had not only been part of the Soviet Union but part of the Russian state from 1654 and indeed was the core of the original Kievan Rus in the tenth century?

NATO had been courting Ukraine since 1994—five years before the alliance expanded to include Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Kiev signed the NATO Membership Action Plan in 2008 when Viktor Yushchenko was president, but this was placed on hold when Viktor Yanukovych was elected in 2010. Enjoying the solid support of the Russian-speaking east, Yanukovich won what international observers called a free and fair election.

Yanukovich did not want Ukraine to join NATO: he wanted a neutral Ukraine maintaining the traditional close relationship between the Ukraine and Russia. This infuriated Victoria Nuland, the head of the Eurasia desk at the State Department, who has made it her life’s project to pull Ukraine into NATO. This would be NATO’s ultimate prize in eastern Europe: a country of 44 million well-educated people, the size of France, strategically located on the Black Sea historically dominated by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. An ethnically divided country, with a generally pro-Russian and Russian-speaking east, and a more western-oriented Ukrainian-speaking west with an unusually vigorous and fiercely anti-Russian neofascist movement—just there waiting to be used.

Nuland, a former Cheney aide whose neocon worldview drew Hillary Clinton’s favorable attention, resulting in her promotion, is the wife of neocon pundit and Iraq War cheerleader Robert Kagan. (Kagan was a founding member of the notorious Project for a New American Century “think tank”.)  The couple represents two wings of incessant neocon plotting: those who work to destroy Russia, and those who work to destroy the Middle East, consciously using lies to confuse the masses about their real goals.

At the National Press Club in December 2013, Nuland boasted that the U.S. (through such “NGOs” as the National Endowment for Democracy) had spent $ 5 billion in Ukraine in order to support Ukraine’s “European aspirations.”  This deliberately vague formulation is supposed to refer to U.S. support for Kiev’s admission into the European Union. The case the U.S. built against Yanukovich was not that he rejected NATO membership; that is never mentioned at all. She built the case on Yanukovich’s supposed betrayal of his people’s pro-EU aspirations in having first initialed, and then rejected, an association agreement with the trading bloc, fearing it would mean a Greek-style austerity regime imposed on the country from without.

From November 2013 crowds gathered in Kiev’s Maidan to protest (among other things) Yanukovich’s change of heart about EU membership. The U.S. State Department embraced their cause. One might ask why, when the EU constitutes a competing trading bloc, the U.S. should be so interested in promoting any country’s membership in it. What difference does it make to you and me whether Ukraine has closer economic ties to Russia than to the EU?

The dirty little secret here is that the U.S. goal has merely been to use the cause of “joining Europe” to draw Ukraine into NATO, which could be depicted as the next natural step in Ukraine’s geopolitical realignment.

Building on popular contempt for Yanukovich for his corruption, but also working with politicians known to favor NATO admission and the expulsion of Russian naval forces from the Crimean base they’ve had since the 1780s, and also including neo-fascist forces who hate Russia but also loath the EU, Nuland and her team including the ubiquitous John McCain popped up at the Maidan passing out cookies and encouraging the crowd to bring down the president.

It worked, of course. On Feb. 22, within a day of signing a European-mediated agreement for government reforms and new election, and thinking the situation defused, Yanukovich was forced to flee for his life. The neofascist forces of Svoboda and the Right Sector served as storm troops toppling the regime. Nuland’s Machiavellian maneuverings had triumphed; a neocon Jew had cleverly deployed open anti-Semites to bring down a regime and plant a pro-NATO one in its place.

It seemed as though, after 14 years of expansion, NATO might soon be able to welcome a huge new member into its ranks, complete the encirclement of Russia and, booting out the Russian fleet, turn the Black Sea into a NATO lake.

Alas for the neocons and “liberal interventionists”—the new regime of Nuland’s chosen Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his Svoboda Party allies immediately alienated the eastern Russian-speaking population, which remains up in arms making the country ungovernable, even as its economy collapses; and the notion of expelling the Russians from Sevastopol has become unimaginable.

But what do NATO planners want? Where is all the expansion and reckless provocation heading?

Russia:  an “Existential Threat”?

First of all, the NATO advocates, however often they repeat that “We’re not against Russia, this isn’t about Russia,” do indeed posit an enduring Russian threat. Thus General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the most senior British officer in NATO, stated last February that Russia poses “an obvious existential threat to our whole being.” Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command told the Aspen Security Forum in July that “Russia could pose an existential threat to the United States.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) warned Obama to sign a military appropriations bill because Russia poses “an existential threat” to the U.S.  Philanthropist George Soros (who likes to finance “color revolutions”) wrote in the New York review of Books in October that “Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence.”

These are wild, stupid words coming from highly placed figures. Isn’t it obvious that Russia is the one being surrounded, pressured and threatened? That its military budget is a fraction of the U.S.’s, its global military presence miniscule in relation to the U.S. footprint?

But anyone watching the U.S. presidential candidates’ debates—and who can perceive the prevalence of paranoia about Russia, the unthinking acceptance of the “Putin as Hitler” theme, and the obligatory expression of determination to make America more “strong”—can understand why the expansion of NATO is so horribly dangerous.

People who do not think rationally or whose minds are twisted by arrogance can look at the maps of NATO expansion and think proudly, “This is how it should be! Why would anyone question the need for nations to protect themselves by allying with the United States? It’s alliances like NATO that preserve peace and stability in the world.”

(Some are able to believe that, perhaps, but the fact is the world has become less peaceful and far less stable than it was during the Cold War when the two superpowers checked one another’s moves. Thereafter the U.S. emerged as what a French diplomat has called an “hyper-puissance” or hyper-power intervening with impunity in multiple countries and producing new, often ugly forms of resistance.)

People looking at the NATO map of Europe can mentally color in Montenegro too. A tiny republic on the Adriatic with under 650,000 people, it was formally invited by NATO to submit its membership application on December 2. What other countries have yet to sign?

As mentioned, in 2008 NATO announced that Georgia and Ukraine would join. But their cases actually seem to be on hold. Belarus, wedged between Poland and Russia, has been under the self-styled “authoritarian” President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. The regime, considered close to Moscow, was targeted by an abortive U.S.-funded “color revolution” in March 2006. The U.S. favored Mikhail Marynich, a former ambassador to Latvia and proponent of NATO membership. (He participated in a closed-door NATO “War and Peace” conference in Riga in November 2006.)

Then there is Moldova, the former Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic located between Rumania and Ukraine. To its east is the breakaway republic of

Transnitria, where ethnic Moldovans are a minority and Russians and Ukrainians make up almost 60% of the population. It is a “frozen conflict” zone. The neocon dream is to ultimately change all their regimes and draw them all into the warm embrace of NATO.

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them

One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

in the Land or Mordor where the shadows lie

What do you do after you complete the western encirclement of Russia? Why, you destabilize the country itself, hoping to slice it up! Russia remains a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation. There are tensions and secessionist movements to exploit in the Caucasus particularly, but also on the Karelian Peninsula and in Siberia.

If Russia is an existential threat, its own existence is a threat, right? So why not cut it up?

Doesn’t the logic of NATO expansion require an enemy, and doesn’t America lead the world in defeating enemies?

Or if not, isn’t NATO itself the real threat?  (After all, didn’t it, in its last major project, totally wreck the modern state of Libya, and as a result destabilize Mali?)

Shouldn’t we welcome tensions within NATO, and failures of member states to devote the required 2% of GDP to military expenses? Shouldn’t we welcome resistance to further expansion, complaints about U.S. arm-twisting, and calls for cooperation with Russia rather than confrontation and destruction?


About the author:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ

First published by GR in December 2006

War criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair were banned for life in April 2003 from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, widely believed to be the birth-place of Jesus Christ. The ban was announced at the height of the illegal US-allied bombing and invasion of Iraq.

Below are the original 2003 press reports pertaining to that decision as well as a subsequent introductory note published by Global Research in December 2006.

“The Bethlehem sanctuary issued a ringing reprisal Sunday [April 2003] of the coalition attack, going as far as barring US President George W. Bush, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw from entering church grounds, due to their “aggressive war on Iraq.”

“The priest in the Church of the Nativity has every right to ban Bush and his supporters since they have marred the teachings of Christ. Their entry into the church will tarnish it as [Bush’s] hands are covered in the blood of the innocent,” Karmash told The Jordan Times.

The local priest went on to say that he felt the punishment was not enough. “We need a tougher one to eradicate evil at its very root,” he exclaimed.

The Nativity Church’s parishioner, Father Panaritius, said during a rally organised Sunday by the Greek Orthodox community in Bethlehem that Bush, Rumsfeld, Blair and Straw are “war criminals and children killers that will be banned from entering the church forever!”

The Church Parishioner Father Panaritius made the decision public at a massive protest demonstration organized by Orthodox institutions in front of the Church of Nativity.”They are war criminals and murderers of children. Therefore the Church of Nativity decided to ban them access into the holy shrine for ever,” the parishioner said.”

There is no indication from The Church of  the Nativity that this ban on war criminals Bush, Blair et al. has been revoked. 

This ban should now be extended to a number of other Western leaders including President Barack Obama  who in the course of his mandate has waged illegal and criminal wars on the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

In 2012, the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal has found former United States president George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of “crimes against peace”.

“The five panel tribunal unanimously decided that Bush and Blair had committed genocide and crimes against peace and humanity when they invaded Iraq in 2003 in blatant violation of international law.”

The indictment was based on testimonies presented to the Tribunal as well the findings and report of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC)

May the Spirit of Christmas  prevail in criminalizing war and bringing  the war criminals to justice

Michel Chossudovsky,

Member of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, 

Global Research, December 25, 2016 

*      *      *

“Their entry into the church will tarnish it as [Bush’s] hands are covered in the blood of the innocent…”

The Spirit of Christmas consists in spreading Peace and Justice

The Spirit of Christmas is when War Criminals are banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ.

In April 2003 at the height of the military campaign directed against Iraq, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem decided to ban President Bush and Prime Minister Blair from the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

“They are war criminals and murderers of children. Therefore the Church of Nativity decided to ban them access into the holy shrine for ever,”

“Their entry into the church will tarnish it as [Bush’s] hands are covered in the blood of the innocent,”

The Church of the Nativity is under the authority of the Greek Orthodox church.

Of utmost significance, the US News media has not reported this story.

Spread the word to Church parishes in the US and around the World.

Unseat the War criminals.

Michel Chossudovsky,  Global Research, 24 December 2006 

BETHLEHEM, April 01, 2003 (Online): The Church of Nativity, widely believed to be the birth-place of Jesus Christ, decided to ban entry each of the US President George Bush, his Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Foreign Secretary Jack Straw the privilege of visiting this sacred place, which is one of the holiest Christian shrines.

The move came in protest of “the aggressive war these leaders have waged against Iraq,” top Clergy of the church said.

The Church Parishioner Father Panaritius made the decision public at a massive protest demonstration organized by Orthodox institutions in front of the Church of Nativity.”They are war criminals and murderers of children. Therefore the Church of Nativity decided to ban them access into the holy shrine for ever,” the parishioner said.

AMMAN — Jordan Times. Parish Priest of the Greek Orthodox community in Amman, Economos Constantine Karmash, said Tuesday he fully supports the Church of the Nativity decision to ban a number of top coalition leaders from entering the house of worship.

The Bethlehem sanctuary issued a ringing reprisal Sunday of the coalition attack, going as far as barring US President George W. Bush, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw from entering church grounds, due to their “aggressive war on Iraq.”

“The priest in the Church of the Nativity has every right to ban Bush and his supporters since they have marred the teachings of Christ. Their entry into the church will tarnish it as [Bush’s] hands are covered in the blood of the innocent,” Karmash told The Jordan Times.

The local priest went on to say that he felt the punishment was not enough. “We need a tougher one to eradicate evil at its very root,” he exclaimed.

The Nativity Church’s parishioner, Father Panaritius, said during a rally organised Sunday by the Greek Orthodox community in Bethlehem that Bush, Rumsfeld, Blair and Straw are “war criminals and children killers that will be banned from entering the church forever!”

Karmash explained that the banning was different from an official church ban, or “excommunication,” which requires a supreme church power. If this is done, the excommunicated are no longer considered members of the church and will not be provided any church services such as a marriage or funeral.

Bush and his supporters are not members of the Greek Orthodox Church, said Karmash, hence they cannot be subjected to an official church ban.

“We hope that their respective churches, which condemn the current war, will strip Bush and his supporters from their church rights so that they become ostracised from their church as they have become ostracised by the humanitarian and international community,” pointed out the priest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003


Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust

GR Editor’s Note

Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon.

Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war.  

Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books. 

Should we be concerned?  Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons are instruments of peace-making. Her campaign is financed by the corporations which produce WMDs. 

Scientists on contract to the Pentagon have endorsed the use of tactical nuclear weapons: they are “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground.”

The people at the highest levels of government who make the decision regarding the use of nuclear weapons haven’t  the foggiest idea as to the implications of their actions. 

Michel Chossudovsky, December 27, 2015

*        *       *

Recently-declassified nuclear targeting documents from 1959 describe how Washington planned to obliterate the capital cities of what are now America’s NATO allies in Eastern and Central Europe. The revelation casts doubt on Washington’s Cold War commitment to the protection of what it referred to as «captive nations» in Europe. The documents are contained in a report titled, «SAC (Strategic Air Command) Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959».

The US Air Force study called for the «systematic destruction» of such major population centers as Warsaw, East Berlin, Prague, Bucharest, Tallinn, and others, as well as Peiping (Beijing), Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and Moscow.

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order

Atomic bombs eight times to destructive force of that dropped by the United States on Hiroshima were trained on a number of targets in Moscow and St. Petersburg. There were 179 «designated ground zeros» for atomic bombs in Moscow and 145 in St. Petersburg.

US atomic weapons would have laid waste to Wittstock, just upwind of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hometown of Templin in Brandenburg in the former East Germany. It is most certain that had the US launched an atomic attack on Europe, Merkel, her parents Horst and Herlind Kasner, and brother Marcus would have been vaporized in the massive pre-targeted strike on East Berlin and the regions surrounding it.

Budapest would have been completely destroyed after the US hit the Tokol military airfield on the banks of the Danube River with one of its «city-busting» nuclear weapons. The blast would have rendered the Danube a radioactive drainage ditch and anyone exposed to the poisonous Danube waters downriver would have succumbed to an agonizing death from radiation sickness. Adding to the misery of anyone living alongside the Danube was the fact that Bratislava, also on the banks of the Danube, was also targeted for nuclear annihilation. The first major urban center casualties outside of Hungary and then-Czechoslovakia from the radioactive Danube would have been in Belgrade, the capital of neutral Yugoslavia.

The nuclear targeting of Vyborg on the Finnish border would have brought death and destruction to the border region of neutral Finland. Four atomic bombs were targeted on the former Finnish city: Koyvisto, Uras, Rempeti airfield, and Vyborg East.

Nuclear weapons, as the United States knew in 1959 and very well knows today, are not «precision-guided munitions».

For all of its propaganda beamed to Eastern Europe on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the United States was willing to sacrifice the very peoples it proclaimed to want to «free» from the Soviet bloc. America’s «mutually assured destruction» policy was based on increasing the «mega-death» count around the world by having the ability to hit the enemy with more nuclear «throw weight».

Increasing the mega-death count was why the United States targeted such large population centers as Peiping (Beijing), Shanghai, Mukden (Shenyang), and Tientsin in China. The pummeling of metro Moscow with atomic bombs was also designed to increase body count. The formerly Top Secret nuclear targeting document lists the following areas of Moscow for nuclear bombardment: Bykovo airport, central Moscow, Chertanovo, Fili, Izmaylovo, Khimki, Kuchino, Lyubertsy, Myachkovo airport, Orlovo, Salarevo, Shchelkovo, and Vnukovo airport.

Eighteen nuclear targets were programmed for Leningrad: Central Leningrad (including the historic Hermitage), Alexandrovskaya, Beloostrov, Gorelovo, Gorskaya, Kamenka North, Kasimovo, Kolomyagi, Kolpino, Krasnaya Polyana, Kudrovo, Lesnoy, Levashovo, Mishutkino, Myachkovo, Petrodvorets, Pushkin, Sablino, Sestroretsk, Tomilino, Uglovo, and Yanino.

Bucharest, Romania, was the target for three city busters aimed at Baneasa, Otopeni airport, and Pipera. Ulan Bator, the capital of the present America-idolizing Mongolia, would not have been spared. The Pentagon nuclear target list does not even list Mongolia as a separate country. The entry for the nuclear strike reads: «Ulaan Baatar, China».

Two uncomforting facts stand out from the disclosure of the targeting list. First, the United States remains as the only country in history that used nuclear weapons in warfare – hitting the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Second, some Pentagon officials, notably Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer, called for a nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. In fact, while the USSR, China, and France rejected the first use of nuclear weapons, NATO and the United States, on the other hand, chiseled in stone the first use of tactical nuclear weapons in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But, as seen with the wishes of LeMay, Lemnitzer, and others, a massive pre-emptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union and its allies, including China, was on the wish list of the Pentagon’s top brass.

Because the Soviet Union had virtually no intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 1959 and hinged its nuclear warfare capabilities on strategic bombers, the Pentagon brass wanted to hit the Soviet Union in a pre-emptive strike before they reached missile parity with the United States. At the heart of the crazed Pentagon reasoning was what the nuclear warfare champions called the «missile gap».

There is not much of a leap from the «black comedy» nuclear Armageddon film «Dr Strangelove» to actual Cold War era meetings on pre-emptive nuclear strikes held in the White House and Pentagon. Attorney General Robert Kennedy walked out of one such meeting in disgust while Secretary of State Dean Rusk later wrote: «Under no circumstances would I have participated in an order to launch a first strike». In 1961, President John F Kennedy questioned the motives of his generals and admirals after one such nuclear war pep talk from the Pentagon brass by stating, «And we call ourselves the human race».

Kennedy and his brother Robert had every reason to be fearful that the Pentagon would circumvent civilian authority and launch a nuclear strike either against Cuba, the Soviet Union, or both during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. According to Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs, Robert Kennedy told Soviet ambassador to Washington Anatoly Dobrynin during the height of the crisis that «the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. The American military could get out of control».

Today, the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe continue having their love affair with NATO and the Americans. Yet, it was the same NATO and the forefathers of the present gung ho military interventionists in Washington who once wanted to rain nuclear fire upon the cities of Warsaw (six ground zeroes: Ozarow, Piastow, Pruszkow, Boernerowo, Modlin, and Okecie), Prague (14 designated ground zeroes at Beroun, Kladno, Kralupy nad Vltavou, Kraluv Dvor, Neratovice, Psary, Radotin, Roztoky, Slaky, Stechovice, Velvary, Kbely, Ryzyne, and Vodochody), Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia (three ground zeroes: Bozhurishte, Kumaritsa, and Vrazhdebna),  Bratislava, Kiev (three nuclear targets: Bortnichi, Post-Volynskiy airport, and Svyatoshino airport), Leipzig (where seven atomic bombs were targeted on Altenhain, Boehlen, Delitzsche, Grimma, Pegau, Wurzen, and Brandis), Weimar, and Wittenberg.

Also not to be spared nuclear annihilation were Potsdam, Vilnius (five nuclear ground zeroes: Novo Vilnya, Novaya Vileyka, Vilnyus (Center), Vilnyus East, and Vilnyus Southwest), Lepaya (Latvia), Leninakan (Gyumri) in Armenia, Alma Ata (Kazakhstan), Poznan, Lvov (three ground zeroes: Gorodok, Lvov Northwest, and Sknilov), Brno, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Riga (four ground zeroes: Salaspils, Skirotava, Spilve, and Riga West), Ventspils in Latvia (two targets: Ventspils South and Targale), Tallinn (two ground zeroes: Lasnamae and Ulemiste), Tartu, Tirana, Vlone (Albania), Berat/Kucove (Albania), Kherson (Ukraine), Baku/Zabrat, Birobidzhan in the Jewish Autonomous Republic, Syktyvkar in the Komi Autonomous Republic, Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic on the Iranian border, Osh in Kyrgyzstan, Stalinabad (Dushanbe) in Tajikistan, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, and Tbilisi (seven ground zeroes at: Tbilisi central, Agtaglya, Orkhevi, Sandar, Sartichala, Soganlug, and Vaziani).

NATO and neo-conservative propagandists continue to paint Russia as an enemy of the peoples of central and eastern Europe. However, it was not Russia that had nuclear weapons once trained on the cities of the Eurasian land mass but the United States. Had the Pentagon generals and admirals had their way, today the eastern front of a rapidly expanding NATO would have been nothing more than a smoldering and radioactive nuclear wasteland, all courtesy of Uncle Sam’s nuclear arsenal.


Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights

The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said they’d also be prepared to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, unless they were allowed to veto judgements from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

They won and the plan is going ahead.

Included in the Human Rights Act are fundamental rights and freedoms that all individuals within the UK have access to – such as the right to life, the freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to a fair trial. But those rights extend much deeper than most people think.

After World War II, the UK was instrumental in devising a list of rights – along with representatives from the 47 other countries that comprise the United Nations – that everybody across the world should enjoy. This became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was created with the aim of never letting the atrocities of the Second World War happen again. A few years later, these rights were used to form the basis of the European Convention of Human Rights, which was drafted by the Council of Europe – the continent’s 47-strong human rights watchdog. This was led by a British MP and lawyer. This led to the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and gave ordinary people a legal framework to work within, if they felt their rights had been violated.

Amnesty said “Any attack on the Human Rights Act poses a real threat to the freedoms we enjoy in this country – it must be defended.”

“Human rights are for everyone,” explains Sanchita Hosali, deputy director at the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). “They’re not only for certain groups. They protect all of us. Relating human rights to specific groups is wrong. They’re for everyone. They’re for the people we like and the people we don’t like – that’s what it means to live in a democratic society where we have a rule of law and we have respect for life.”

The Act helps us hold the government to account. Without it, the government would be free to do as it pleased. And it is doing exactly that – doing as it pleases

In the speech launching the party’s manifesto, David Cameron made it clear that he isn’t worried about anything as petty as civil liberties. He said: “Other parties might be wary of causing offence, or of being criticised by those who see every single measure as an affront to their civil liberties.” That’s why he is promising to dismantle the powers of the individual against the state – something he’s been working on for the last five years, such as through cuts to legal aid, making the right to a fair trial something only for those who can afford it.

Now, workplace rights are under threat as well. Unite, the workers union urged the government just last week to abandon its Trade Union bill, warning that the legislation heralds a new era of divisive industrial relations ill-befitting a modern economy. Further, it would tilt power in an increasingly unequal Britain still further towards the rich and big business.

Condemned as ‘not fit for purpose’ by its own advisors, the bill has attracted widespread criticism from human rights’ organisations saying it will contaminate decades of work to improve industrial relations, forcing employers and trade unions into longer, more bitter disputes.

Meanwhile, the state has become more pervasive than ever when it comes to policing, therefore advancing its agenda. The Metropolitan Police claim an investigation into the possibility of prosecuting journalists for their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden will be kept secret. The revelation that information won’t be disclosed due to a “possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity” follows the relentless demands for information from journalists at The Intercept.

In July 2013 GCHQ turned up at The Guardian’s HQ and demanded the complete destruction of hard-drives that may contain any of Edwards Snowden’s encrypted files. As The Guardian themselves said “This extraordinary moment was half pantomime, half Stasi. But it was not yet the high tide of British official heavy-handedness. That was still to come”.

Julian Assang has never been charged in Sweden or the UK. The US Department of Justice is trying to prosecute him for “espionage”. This is the reason he was given asylum by Ecuador. He has been confined to the premises of Ecuador’s embassy in London, unable to see his family, because the UK refuse him safe passage to Ecuador. Julian Assange, like Edward Snowden is a whistleblower and there is no evidence that either divulged state secrets that we didn’t need to know. Policing the embassy costs £10,000 a day. And their human rights?

Straight after the Conservative election in May some who attended demonstrations against more austerity accused police of using violent tactics and of keeping peaceful protesters and even tourists caught up in the melee “kettled” for several hours.

“I have never experienced such extreme force of police violence,” said Daphne Wikken. “For me what is particularly scary is the fact that the government is already cracking down on dissent so badly just days after the general election.”

Staffordshire Police were accused of making a “heavy-handed” intervention during a protest outside an Israeli arms factory organized to mark the anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict. An activist with London Palestine Action, told RT that the demonstration was meant to be a “fun, creative” experience, but was met with “aggressive and forceful police tactics.”

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This is a right closely linked to the right to freedom of expression. It provides a means for public expression and is one of the foundations of a democratic society. Or it used to be.

In Britain today, members of student unions are being told to sign gagging orders preventing any public criticism of the university. In other incidents student are threatened with the police for even taking about a protest and are arrested for being in one.

Where universities were historically places of free expression, for students, that now comes in the form of a crackdown on dissent.

Of course dissent is something that Britain’s home secretary, Theresa May, is an expert on. She recently won the backing of MPs for her controversial plan to strip British terror suspects of their UK passports. One should mention the salient word ‘suspected’.

Meanwhile, May insists that the UK isn’t a surveillance state, but she can’t tell you why, because revealing the secrets of the UK surveillance state might put the public at risk! She’s been pushing strongly for outlawing thought crimes, which would allow her to prevent people from sharing their views on the internet or at events, if she deems them to inappropriate. With new laws being enacted through parliament,  if government doesn’t like you or what you believe, you will be silenced.

It is terrifying to read Theresa May’s speech delivered to the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism conference. Given the audience, perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that May would go off the deep end of Orwellian absurdity.

“Time and again we are seeing what we are now up against: the powerful allure of propaganda pumped out by ISIL and others to recruit and brainwash British men and women, the access social media and modern communications give terrorists to vulnerable people, and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life”.

At the end of the speech, she says that the best way to counter this threat is to highlight the “positive vision” of the UK and its “values.”

The idea that the way to counter Isis and its on-line propaganda through censorship, surveillance, threats, arrests and stripping citizens of passports, rather than direct engagement seems to confuse the message of claiming the UK is about “values”, freedom and democracy.

The Conservative party is promising to strip us of our freedoms and our rights, promising to snoop, investigate and scrutinise our lives in minute detail and crack down on non-violent protest and on the speakers allowed in colleges and universities.

The remaining ability of those on low or middle incomes to access legal rights and services are plainly being stripped away.

This crack-down extends to the broadcasters.

The definition of non-violent extremism will likely be formulated according to Theresa May’s assessment of ‘British values’. Suddenly, the home secretary is wielding a de-facto veto over who may appear in British current affairs programmes. Where would this end? Anti-terrorism laws brought in by labour 15 years ago are now being used to hunt down unpaid speeding and parking fines, dog fouling and even under age sun-bed use and smoking bans.

She is planning on granting herself powers to tell places of learning who they may or may not invite to speak. Amid the crisis of free speech on campus – both from students themselves and from authorities – the government’s only response is to worsen the situation and join the ranks of those who would limit thought and debate.

We have just witnessed Britain’s first cases of extra-judicial assassinations – irrespective of your thoughts on the two misguided individuals involved – these killings were illegal and brings the basis of democracy into question.

The powers of the individual against the state are being dismantled right before our eyes by a neoliberal party hell bent on a command and control vision of Britain.


Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica

First appeared at: http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/targeting-key-individuals-stifling-free-speech-arbitrary-detention-withdrawing-rights/

Déjà Vu in the Balkans

An eerily familiar sense of regional unease has crept over all the former republics of Yugoslavia.

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar echoed the Balkan zeitgeist when he warned at a press conference this week that:

“If the migrant crisis is not adequately controlled as agreed at the summit in Brussels there is a possibility of conflict situations between the states of the Western Balkans. It is possible that a small conflict would initiate a wider reaction because of the very difficult recent history (of the region), which is why it is very important that we solve this crisis together as no country can solve this problem by itself.”

It seems like everybody knows that something foul is afoot, and the unsettling and anxious mood that has swept over the region is reminiscent of the atmosphere of 1991.

From Slovenia to the Republic of Macedonia, each constituent member of the former Yugoslavia is now infused with their own destabilizing vulnerabilities that have only been exacerbated by the “refugee crisis”. Just like the last regional crisis over two decades ago, this one’s also influenced by external forces, but unlike 1991, 2015 doesn’t have to be the year that conflict erupts, and it’s still entirely possible that the Balkan states can pull back from the brink in preserving the regional peace.

Unipolarity vs. Multipolarity

The history of the Balkans after the 1999 NATO War on Yugoslavia has been largely about the West’s “Drang nach Suden” (Drive to the South) through the institutional vehicles of the EU and NATO. Slovenia and Croatia are already in both organizations, while the Muslim-Croat portion of Bosnia is their semi-protectorate. On the other hand, Republika Srpska, Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia still remain outside the clutches of either of these overlapping blocs. This defining difference separates the region into the unipolar-obsessed and NATO-controlled Western Balkans and the multipolar-focused and NATO-free Central Balkans.

The comparison between each Balkan sub-region doesn’t end there, however, since another crucial factor separating them is that the Central Balkans are the location of two multipolar megaprojects by Russia and China.Russia would like to build the Balkan Stream (the author’s more inclusive description of the Turkish Stream’s full geographic scope) that would run through the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, while China wants to build a “Balkan Silk Road” high-speed rail system between the Greek port of Piraeus and Budapest, transiting through Skopje and Belgrade. This has created obvious friction with the US, which plainly understands that the fulfillment of these complementary projects would spell the end of its domination dreams for the Central Balkans (and thus, the entire region), ergo its tinkering in trying to turn all of the Balkans back into a tinderbox.

Destabilization Everywhere

If the US can’t bring the Balkans under its boot, it’ll break the region up and attempt to reorganize it once more afterwards, just as it did in 1991 when it knew it couldn’t control the whole of Yugoslavia. The asymmetrical catalyst meant to inflame intra-regional tension and move forward with this scenario is the “refugee crisis”, which is actually an artificially manufactured and highly politicized socio-economic “virus” that’s infected the stabilizing organs of each Balkan state (much like “independence” did before it). Other than the direct effects of this major pan-regional problem, each of the countries is going through their own unique challenges or making choices that contribute to the overall destabilization of the Balkans:

Slovenia

The Alpine republic has threatened to fence off its border with Croatia, which is causing the rest of the countries “downstream” to fret about where else they could possibly redirect the migrant flows. Also, migrants that reach Slovenia are at risk of becoming uncontrollable because of how close they are to finally getting into Austria’s Schengen Area, and the case of them torching their own tents in Brezice two weeks ago out of impatience set a disturbing precedent.

Croatia

Following the example of its former imperial hegemon in Budapest, Zagreb has decided to go forward with fencing off its portion of the Serbian border too, exponentially multiplying the uneasy feeling that many Serbs have that they’re being boxed in and forced to become an unwitting migrant-hosting camp. Worse still, Croatia is purchasing American-made multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) that could potentially be refitted with 300 kilometer-range ballistic missiles, thus like forcing Serbia to seek a symmetrical response.

Serbia

Other than what seems like an imminent arms race with Croatia, Serbia is battling asymmetrical aggression through Kosovo’s campaign to enter UNESCO. Kosovar Albanians rampantly destroyed Serbian churches, cemeteries, and many other cultural monuments in over the past two decades, and UN “legitimization” of these ISIL-like crimes of historical destruction is absolutely unacceptable for Serbia, Russia, and other countries that vividly remember these despicable acts.

Bosnia

The Gulf- and Turkish-supported Islamization of society has led to intense social polarization, as did the failed UK-supported UNSC Resolution about Srbrenica that tried to pin all the blame on Republika Srpska. Russia responsibly vetoed the discriminatory measure, but the UK’s sly move was indicative of the larger goal that the West and the Muslim-Croat entity in the country have of unilaterally revising the Dayton Agreement and dangerously trying to force a unitary state that would get rid of Republika Srpska.

Montenegro

A People’s Revolution has sprung up against the corrupt and long-sitting leader’s pro-NATO ambitions, but this has regretfully been met with unwarranted and excessive state violence against protesters, supportive parliamentarians, and reporters alike. As Montenegro approaches the December deadline where it might possibly be offered a NATO membership invitation, it’s foreseen that the protests and reactionary state violence will only increase in crescendo.

Macedonia

The Republic is still under a Hybrid War threat, as the destabilizing Color Revolution and Albanian-affiliated terrorist scenarios remain very real possibilities in the near future. The crux of the issue is that the country’s political crisis is intensifying due to the pro-Western “opposition’s” refusal to abide by the original conditions of this summer’s Przino Agreement. Zoran Zaev and Ali Ahmeti are fiercely trying to provoke social and ethnic discord that could horrifyingly result in a Hybrid War around this spring’s early election.Solving The “Unsolvable”

The three thematic problems in the Balkans right now are the “refugee crisis”, the American-initiated arms race between Croatia and Serbia, and the Hybrid War scheme against Macedonia. Here’s how they can be resolved:

Macedonian Border Fence And Albanian Reroute

All the Balkan states have an interest in stemming the migrant flow, and the quickest and least regionally provocative way to do that is to pool their funds in fencing off the Macedonian border with Greece. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama warned last week that his country might become the next migrant transit zone owing to the very narrow Strait of Otranto that separates it from Italy, so the moment the Macedonian-Greek border is secured, these individuals will largely stop infiltrating north in favor of the more convenient Albanian ‘shortcut’.

Sub-Regionalism

Restoring the unity of the former Yugoslavia, even in a strategic multilateral sense between all of the currently independent former members, is just about impossible, but sub-regional integration within the Western and Central Balkans might offer the most pragmatic solution to easing neighborhood tensions. The Serbian and Croatian cores of each group have already decided on their divergent strategic orientations towards Russia and the US, respectively, and since not much can be done to temper their looming arms race, the most pragmatic thing each of them can do is consolidate and strengthen their existing regional partnerships.

Democratic Security

Macedonians proudly showed the rest of the world that Color Revolutions can be defeated if the patriotic citizenry organized in defense of their country’s sovereignty and proved that the majority of people are against the foreign plot. Their political awareness and understanding of the global context of their national crisis were instrumental in encouraging them to defy the destabilization attempt, and this model of resistance obviously rubbed off in encouraging their multipolar counterparts in Montenegro. Therefore, Democratic Security, the safeguarding and advancement of the true will of the people (as in Macedonia and Montenegro, respectively), will be the most pivotal factor going forward in determining whether the Central Balkans remain free or if they transform into Western fiefdoms.


By Andrew Korybko

2015-11-06

Original source of the article: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151106/1029705203/balkans-history-refugees-nato.html#ixzz3qsnpoier

Kosovo: An evil little war

Six Years Later, Kosovo Still Wrong

In the early hours of March 24, 1999, NATO began the bombing of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. For some reason, many in the targeted nation thought the name of the operation was “Merciful Angel.” In fact, the attack was code-named “Allied Force” – a cold, uninspired and perfectly descriptive moniker. For, however much NATO spokesmen and the cheerleading press spun, lied, and fabricated to show otherwise (unfortunately, with altogether too much success), there was nothing noble in NATO’s aims. It attacked Yugoslavia for the same reason then-Emperor Bill Clinton enjoyed a quickie in the Oval Office: because it could.

Most of the criticism of the 1999 war has focused on its conduct (targeting practices, effects, “collateral damage”) and consequences. But though the conduct of the war by NATO was atrocious and the consequences have been dire and criminal, none of that changes the fact that by its very nature and from the very beginning, NATO’s attack was a war of aggression: illegal, immoral, and unjust; not “unsuccessful” or “mishandled,” but just plain wrong.

Illegal

There is absolutely no question that the NATO attack in March 1999 was illegal. Article 2, section 4 of the UN Charter clearly says:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Some NATO members tried to offer justification. London claimed the war was “justified” as a means of preventing a “humanitarian catastrophe,” but offered no legal grounds for such a claim. Paris tried to create a tenuous link with UNSC resolutions 1199 and 1203, which Belgrade was supposedly violating. However, NATO had deliberately bypassed the UN, rendering this argument moot.

Article 53 (Chapter VIII) of the UN Charter clearly says that:

“The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council.” (emphasis added)

Furthermore, Article 103 (Chapter XVI) asserts its primacy over any other regional agreement, so NATO’s actions would have been illegal under the UN Charter even if the Alliance had an obligation to act in Kosovo. Even NATO’s own charter – the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 – was violated by the act of war in March 1999:

“Article 1

“The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. […]

“Article 7

“This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.” (emphasis added)

The attack violated other laws and treaties as well: the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 (violating the territorial integrity of a signatory state) and the 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (using coercion to compel a state to sign a treaty – i.e., the Rambouillet ultimatum).

Yugoslavia had not attacked any NATO members, nor indeed threatened the security of any other country in the region; it was itself under an attack by a terrorist, irredentist organization. What NATO did on March 24, 1999 was an act of aggression, a crime against peace.

Illegitimate

Perfectly aware that the bombing was illegal, NATO leaders tried to create justifications for it after the fact. They quickly seized upon a mass exodus of Albanians from Kosovo, describing it as “ethnic cleansing” and even “genocide.” But as recent testimonies of Macedonian medical workers who took care of Albanian refugees suggest, the Western press was engaging in crude deceit, staging images of suffering refugees and peddling the most outrageous tall tales as unvarnished truth.

Stories abounded of mass murder, orchestrated expulsions, mass rapes, seizure of identity papers, even crematoria and mine shafts filled with dead bodies. Little or no evidence was offered – and not surprisingly, none found afterwards. The stories were part of a Big Lie, aimed to justify the intervention, concocted by professional propagandists, and delivered by the KLA-coached refugees. The KLA ran every camp in Macedonia and Albania, and there are credible allegations they organized the exodus in many instances. Albanians who did not play along were killed.

Eventually, the “genocide” and other atrocity stories were debunked as propaganda. But they had served their purpose, conjuring a justification for the war at the time. They had allowed NATO and its apologists to claim the war – though “perhaps” illegal – was a moral and legitimate affair. But there should be no doubt, it was neither.

Unjust

Even if one can somehow gloss over the illegal, illegitimate nature of the war and the lies it was based on, would the war still not be justified, if only because it led to the return of refugees? Well, which refugees? Certainly, many Kosovo Albanians – and quite a few from Albania, it appears – came back, only to proceed to cleanse it systematically of everyone else. Jews, Serbs, Roma, Turks, Ashkali, Gorani, no community was safe from KLA terror, not even the Albanians themselves. Those suspected of “collaborating” were brutally murdered, often with entire families.

According to the Catholic doctrine of “just war,” a war of aggression cannot be just. Even if one somehow fudges the issue, “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”

The evil conjured by NATO’s and KLA’s propaganda machine was indeed grave. But it was not real. In contrast, what took place after the war – i.e., under the NATO/KLA occupation – is amply documented. At the beginning of NATO’s aggression, there were fewer dead, fewer refugees, less destruction, and more order than at any time since the beginning of the occupation. NATO has replaced a fabricated evil with a very real evil of its own.

Monument to Evil

What began six years ago may have been Albright’s War on Clinton’s watch, but both Albright and Clinton have been gone from office for what amounts to a political eternity. For four years now, the occupation of Kosovo has continued with the blessing – implicit or otherwise – of Emperor Bush II, who launched his own illegal war in Iraq. Kosovo is not a partisan, but an imperial issue; that is why there has been virtually no debate on it since the first missiles were fired.

Six years to the day since NATO aircraft began their onslaught, Kosovo is a chauvinistic, desolate hellhole. Serbian lives, property, culture, and heritage been systematically destroyed, often right before the eyes of NATO “peacekeepers.” Through it all, Imperial officials, Albanian lobbyists, and various presstitutes have been working overtime to paint a canvas that would somehow cover up the true horror of occupation.

Their “liberated” Kosovo represents everything that is wrong about the world we live in. It stands as a monument to the power of lies, the successful murder of law, and the triumph of might over justice. Such a monument must be torn down, or else the entire world may end up looking like Kosovo sometime down the line. If that’s what the people in “liberal Western democracies” are willing to see happen, then their civilization is well and truly gone.


By Nebojsa Malic

25-03-2005

Source: Antiwar.com

Donald Trump: We created chaos, we should not have attacked Serbia!

Donald Trump, influential billionaire and a candidate for the president of United States, back in the 1999, as a guest of the famous host Larry King on CNN, spoke about that time ongoing topic of the bombing of Serbia.

Asked by Larry King, what does he think and what would he do if he was in Clinton’s place, Trump criticized the decision to bomb Serbia.

“So, I would do something different and I know it will sound ghastly to everybody. But, look at the chaos which we created in Kosovo. I think, we can say that we lost only few people. Of course, we were in the airplanes 75 hundreds of meters above the ground and we were throwing bombs. But, look what we did to that country, to those people and how much death and suffering we have caused” said Trump.

“We should have gone there with the troops. There would be killings probably even then, but less. We would not have that chaos which we have now” said the influential republican.

“I am not sure if that is considered as our success, but I would not call that successful” explains Trump, condemning the bombing of Serbia.

“People are being expelled from their land, from the whole territory, everyone is running away from there, and nobody knows what is happening. There are thousands of dead” said Donald Trump.

We remind, Trump is against most of the US military actions, he criticized bombing and aggression against Serbia on many occasions.

Donald Trump wants to change the course of foreign affairs of the US and highlights that he would be a friend with president Putin, which sparkled great attention by the American public.


07-09-2015

Source: South Front

Syria: It’s Not a Civil War and it Never Was

The weapons are foreign, the fighters are foreign, the agenda is foreign. As Syrian forces fight to wrest control of their country back and restore order within their borders, the myth of the “Syrian civil war” continues on. Undoubtedly there are Syrians who oppose the Syrian government and even Syrians who have taken up arms against the government and in turn, against the Syrian people, but from the beginning (in fact before the beginning) this war has been driven from abroad. Calling it a “civil war” is a misnomer as much as calling those taking up arms “opposition.” It is not a “civil war,” and those fighting the Syrian government are not “opposition.”

Those calling this a civil war and the terrorists fighting the Syrian state “opposition” hope that their audience never wanders too far from their lies to understand the full context of this conflict, the moves made before it even started and where those moves were made from.

When did this all start? 

It is a valid question to ask just when it all really started. The Cold War saw a see-sawing struggle between East and West between the United States and Europe (NATO) and not only the Soviet Union but also a growing China. But the Cold War itself was simply a continuation of geopolitical struggle that has carried on for centuries between various centers of power upon the planet. The primary centers include Europe’s Paris, London and Berlin, of course Moscow, and in the last two centuries, Washington.

In this context, however, we can see that what may be portrayed as a local conflict, may fit into a much larger geopolitical struggle between these prominent centers of special interests. Syria’s conflict is no different.

Syria had maintained close ties to the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. That meant that even with the fall of the Soviet Union, Syria still had ties to Russia. It uses Russian weapons and tactics. It has economic, strategic and political ties to Russia and it shares mutual interests including the prevailing of a multipolar world order that emphasizes the primacy of national sovereignty.

Because of this, Western centers of power have sought for decades to draw Syria out of this orbit (along with many other nations). With the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the fractured Middle East was first dominated by colonial Europe before being swept by nationalist uprising seeking independence. Those seeking to keep the colonial ties cut that they had severed sought Soviet backing, while those seeking simply to rise to power at any cost often sought Western backing.

The 2011 conflict was not Syria’s first. The Muslim Brotherhood, a creation and cultivar of the British Empire since the fall of the Ottomans was backed in the late 70s  andearly 80s in an abortive attempt to overthrow then Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The armed militants that took part in that conflict would be scattered in security crackdowns following in its wake, with many members of the Muslim Brotherhood forming a new US-Saudi initiative called Al Qaeda. Both the Brotherhood and now Al Qaeda would stalk and attempt to stunt the destiny of an independent Middle East from then on, up to and including present day.

There is nothing “civil” about Syria’s war

In this context, we see clearly Syria’s most recent conflict is part of this wider struggle and is in no way a “civil war” unfolding in a vacuum, with outside interests being drawn in only after it began.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Al Qaeda spin-off were present and accounted for since the word go in 2011. By the end of 2011, Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise (Al Nusra) would be carrying out nationwide operations on a scale dwarfing other so-called rebel groups. And they weren’t this successful because of the resources and support they found within Syria’s borders, but instead because of the immense resources and support flowing to them from beyond them.

Saudi Arabia openly arms, funds and provides political support for many of the militant groups operating in Syria since the beginning. In fact, recently, many of these groups, including allies of Al Qaeda itself, were present in Riyadh discussing with their Saudi sponsors the future of their joint endeavor.

Together with Al Nusra, there is the self-anointed Islamic State (IS). IS, like the Syrian conflict itself, was portrayed by the Western media for as long as possible as a creation within a vacuum. The source of its military and political strength was left a mystery by the otherwise omniscient Western intelligence community. Hints began to show as Russian increased its involvement in the conflict. When Russian warplanes began pounding convoys moving to and from Turkish territory, bound for IS, the mystery was finally solved. IS, like all other militant groups operating in Syria, were the recipients of generous, unending stockpiles of weapons, equipment, cash and fighters piped in from around the globe.

The Syrian conflict was borne of organizations created by centers of foreign interests decades ago who have since fought on and off not for the future of the Syrian people, but for a Syria that meshed more conveniently into the foreign global order that created them. The conflict has been fueled by a torrent of weapons, cash, support and even fighters drawn not from among the Syrian people, but from the very centers of these foreign special interests; in Riyadh, Ankara, London, Paris, Brussels and Washington.

How to settle a civil war that doesn’t exist?

If the Syrian conflict was created by foreign interests fueling militant groups it has used for decades as an instrument of executing foreign policy (in and out of Syria), amounting to what is essentially a proxy invasion, not a civil war, how exactly can a “settlement” be reached?

Who should the Syrian government be talking to in order to reach this settlement? Should it be talking to the heads of Al Nusra and IS who clearly dominate the militants fighting Damascus? Or should it be talking to those who have been the paramount factor in perpetuating the conflict, Riyadh, Ankara, London, Paris, Brussels and Washington, all of whom appear involved in supporting even the most extreme among these militant groups?

If Damascus finds itself talking with political leaders in these foreign capitals, is it settling a “civil war” or a war it is fighting with these foreign powers? Upon the world stage, it is clear that these foreign capitals speak entirely for the militants, and to no one’s surprise, these militants seem to want exactly what these foreign capitals want.

Being honest about what sort of conflict Syria is really fighting is the first step in finding a real solution to end it. The West continues to insist this is a “civil war.” This allows them to continue trying to influence the outcome of the conflict and the political state Syria will exist in upon its conclusion. By claiming that the Syrian government has lost all legitimacy, the West further strengthens its hand in this context.

Attempts to strip the government of legitimacy predicated on the fact that it stood and fought groups of armed militants arrayed against it by an axis of foreign interests would set a very dangerous and unacceptable precedent. It is no surprise that Syria finds itself with an increasing number of allies in this fight as other nations realize they will be next if the “Syria model” is a success.

Acknowledging that Syria’s ongoing conflict is the result of foreign aggression against Damascus would make the solution very simple. The solution would be to allow Damascus to restore order within its borders while taking action either at the UN or on the battlefield against those nations fueling violence aimed at Syria. Perhaps the clarity of this solution is why those behind this conflict have tried so hard to portray it as a civil war.

For those who have been trying to make sense of the Syrian “civil war” since 2011 with little luck, the explanation is simple, it isn’t a civil war and it never was. Understanding it as a proxy conflict from the very beginning (or even before it began) will give one a clarity in perception that will aid one immeasurably in understanding what the obvious solutions are, but only when they come to this understanding.


About the author:

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

New Strategic Calculus For The Balkans

The Balkans have returned to the forefront of European geopolitics as a result of the New Cold War, with the US and Russia facing off in a proxy war over the planned Balkan Stream pipeline through the region. The geopolitical circumstances have evolved since the 1990s, when all of the former Yugoslavia was lumped together as the Western Balkans. In order to accommodate for the changing strategic reality in the region, it’s necessary to carve the Central Balkans out of the idea of the former, and the new division of the Balkans into Western, Central, and Eastern regions simplifies the analysis of contemporary developments and provides a strategic trajectory to follow in monitoring their future development.

The research will focus on the Western and Central Balkans, since the latter is now the object of geopolitical competition between the unipolar and multipolar worlds. The Eastern Balkans are already integrated into NATO and do not play as much of a part over the Central Balkans as the Western portion does, although their evolving role in NATO’s newly unveiled umbrella of regional blocs will certainly be expounded upon in a forthcoming piece. Additionally, Greece occupies a special role because it abuts the Western, Central, and Eastern Balkans and has a unique identity and history separate from the other Balkan countries, although due to its larger geopolitical disposition, it’s grouped together with the Central Balkans in the context of this piece. Nonetheless, it does deserve its own separate article in the future, although the author did touch upon this topic in an earlier interview.

Shifting back to the current piece, Part I begins with an explanation for the reconceptualization of the Balkans and then chronicles how this change in thinking came about. Afterwards, Part II examines the key characteristics of the Central Balkans before offering some proposed solutions for their security and expedited integration into the multipolar world.

The Reconceptualization

The Balkans have moved past their traditional division into Western and Eastern parts with the creation of the Central Balkans strategic concept. Here is what’s meant by the proposed idea:

Traditional:

The customary categorization of the Balkans lumps all of the former Yugoslavia into the Western half and Romania and Bulgaria into its Eastern one, leaving Albania and Greece largely undefined and understood simply as “the Balkans”. The justification for this delineation is that most of the former Yugoslavia was undergoing the same process of violent fragmentation during the 1990s, while Romania and Bulgaria escaped these events relatively unscathed (but not without their own unique domestic challenges). At the time, there was no need to draw a geographic distinction between the former Yugoslav Republics, but NATO’s formal and de-facto encroachment into most of the geographic span of the former Yugoslavia, as well as the diametrically divergent foreign policy tracts of some of its former members, formed the impetus in adapting to the new reality and revising the former Western Balkans notion.

Reconceived:

For the reasons previously stated, the concept of the Western Balkans has to be reconceived and updated to accommodate for the changing geopolitical and strategic nature of the region. Here’s what the author suggests:

* Western Balkans

This encompasses the NATO states of Slovenia, Croatia, and Albania, as well as NATO protectorate Bosnia and de-facto NATO member Montenegro. Looking at a map, one can see that it literally compasses the western edge of the Balkan Peninsula. When compared to its central counterpart, the Western Balkans are the bastion of unipolarity in the region and directly conflict with their ‘prodigal’ multipolar siblings. This was the case during World War II, the 1990s, and into the present day, with Croatia and Albania continuing to behave as the North-South Lead From Behind agitators on behalf of their patrons.

* Central Balkans

Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece comprise the newest category of Balkan strategic thinking, and this new bloc runs through the geographic center of the region along a critical North-South route. Due to its amenable geopolitical positioning as compared to its Western and Eastern counterparts, it holds the promising possibility of forming a North-South corridor (the Balkan Silk Road) that can connect the Eastern Mediterranean with Central Europe and beyond. Russia’s Balkan Stream project forms the critical spine of this new entity (henceforth referred to as the Balkan Corridor) around which further integrational development is expected to gravitate, and accordingly, Moscow is encouraging its partners’ multipolar pursuits and deepening its support for their policies.

Anomalies:

The West-Central division of the Balkans carries with it two very important geopolitical anomalies that must be addressed:

* Republika Srpska

This entity appeared as a legacy of the early 1990s dissolution of Yugoslavia and the 1994 Dayton Agreement, and it provides Serbia with strategic depth, but also strategic vulnerability vis-à-vis a potential Bosnian breakdown and/or Croatian or Bosnian Croatian provocation. The existence of Republika Srpska can thus be understood as a double-edged sword, however, its emotional significance means that it will never be abandoned by Serbia and must accordingly be considered as a de-facto extension of the Central Balkans into conventional Western Balkan territory (Bosnia).

* Kosovo

The Serbian Province of Kosovo is currently occupied by Western forces (the US’ Camp Bondsteel is one of the largest American military bases in Europe) and illegally seceded from Serbia in 2008 with Western support. It functions as a Western outpost smack dab in the middle of the Central Balkans, of which it’s geographically (but no longer de-facto politically) a part. Of the two, the occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo is more directly under the control of the West and a more heavily fortified forward-operating post for unipolar aggression than Republika Srpska is for Serbia and the Central Balkans’ multipolar defense.

Chronological Progression Of The West-Central Balkan Division

The strategic concept of the Central Balkans wasn’t formed overnight, and it’s informative to highlight the key events that led to its logical conceptualization. The catalyst for its creation was the unipolar world’s efforts to shrink Serbia and politically shackle it and Macedonia to the EU as backwater political and economic appendages (‘New Bulgarias’), while Greece has always found itself outside the European ‘mainstream’ and has historically behaved as a bridge between East and West. The coupling of Serbian and Macedonian resistance with the Greek identity’s incompatibility to enforced ‘Europeanization’ (nowadays manifested as severe austerity) provided the perfect mix for these states’ secession from the unipolar Western Balkans and strategic incorporation into their own multipolar Central Balkans category arranged around Balkan Stream.

The following timeline focuses on the geopolitical violence related to Serbia and Macedonia, since the dramatic events that occurred there set in motion the foreign policy decisions that would eventually lead to their partnership with Russia and alignment towards the multipolar world:

Pre-1991:

Serbia constituted the center of gravity for Yugoslavia, and thus, the entire Western Balkans.

1991-1994:

Yugoslavia began to formally disintegrate this year, with Croatia serving as the Lead from Behind proxy for accelerating this process. The ethnic cleansing and genocide of Serbians in Croatia and Bosnia led to the diminishment of Serbian-populated territory, and subsequently, such lands were retained by their associated former Yugoslav Republics and not incorporated into Serbia proper. Areas that could have become conceptually incorporated into the Central Balkans (from the sense of being Serbian-populated) remained in their geographic Western Balkan zones for later formal or de-facto incorporation into NATO, thus setting the stage for part of the West-Central Balkan split.

1994:

The Dayton Accords represented a temporary cessation of the campaign to split Serbia, but in the meanwhile, its leadership was demonized and plans were made for the next step of the destabilization; the formal redrawing of its internationally recognized borders and the testing of a new regime change technology, Color Revolutions.

1999:

NATO launched its formal aggression against Serbia (then still known as Yugoslavia) in order to steal Kosovo, the cradle of its civilization, and set up a strategic base in the heart of the Central Balkans. It’s around this time that Croatia passed the torch of anti-Serbian destabilization to its Albanian partner and Tirana became the US’ primary Lead From Behind regional ally. The US also demonstrated for the first time that it would use force in order to create Greater Albania, a politically convenient client state and an anticipated anchor of unipolarity in the Balkans.

2000:

The US overthrew Slobodan Milosevic by successfully testing the first Color Revolution (the “Bulldozer Revolution”), a political technology that would later be perfected in various other theaters and boomeranged back to the Balkans 15 years later for deployment in Macedonia.

2001:

Albanian destabilization in Macedonia culminated in a ‘soft’ NATO intervention and the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement, which while guaranteeing the Albanian minority the world’s most generous minority privileges, also made them susceptible to being manipulated by Western political forces. The Western expectation at the time was that this would create a lever of deep indefinite influence that they could use to hijack Macedonia’s independence and steer it towards unipolar submission.

2006:

Montenegro votes for independence from Serbia (then still called Yugoslavia) and becomes the last constituent member of the Western Balkans pro-American constellation.

2008:

The occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo unilaterally declares independence as directed to do so by its Western occupiers, in a move that was meant to ‘legitimize’ their presence in the region and perpetually keep Serbia and Macedonia in check. It also represented the formalization of the unipolar Western Balkans’ penetration into the heart of the Central Balkans.

2009:

The US’ two most prominent Lead From Behind partners in the Balkans, Albania and Croatia, both join NATO in what is the military bloc’s most recent formal expansion and certainly not a coincidence. The US was rewarding both of its allies for their destabilization of Serbia, the former core of the Western Balkans, and protecting them with mutual defense guarantees for any future provocative actions they take against Serbia (or in the Albania’s case, also against Macedonia).

2000s-2010s:

Belgrade and Skopje stated their formal wish to be integrated into the EU and NATO, however, Serbia and Macedonia’s respective proud refusals in refusing to recognize the illegally enacted ‘independence’ of Kosovo and in changing its constitutional name kept them on the periphery of these processes and stalled their Euro-Atlantic ambitions. This in turn caused them to reconsider their strategic trajectories and eventually made them susceptible to the multipolar pivot that they enacted when they agreed to partner with Russia in building Balkan Stream. The lesson to be learned is that the West’s disrespect for both countries’ domestic legislation, sovereignty, and independence led to what may in hindsight be considered the first ‘revolt’ against the EU. These two countries are the only ones to stand by their identity in refusing to be bullied by Brussels, as all current EU members (including the ‘revolting’ ones such as Greece) had to at one time sacrifice their self-conception in order to become part of the larger European ‘whole’.

2015:

After being charged with a coup attempt in January, Zaev reacted by initiating his Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia. Later on in April, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama formally declared his intention to create a Greater Albania, and by the end of the month, the small Macedonian town of Gosince was the scene of a test-run terrorist attack by the Kosovo Liberation Army separatist terrorist group. A few days later, a terrorist attack surprised the Republika Srpska city of Zvornik, likely staged as a means of sending an indirect threatening signal to Serbia. A little over a week later, the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo was the scene of deadly terrorist violence by the KLA that represented the first strike in an American-directed Greater Albania campaign against the country’s pragmatic government and Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline plans.

3 Key Characteristics Of The Central Balkans

Since the general idea and genesis behind the Central Balkans have been discussed, it’s now time to turn towards their three most important strategic characteristics:

Lead From Behind Agitators:

Like it was mentioned earlier, newly crowned NATO members Albania and Croatia continue to pose the greatest threat to the Central Balkans. Croatia used to be the primary vehicle for unipolar military activity in the region during the 1990s, but this role was ultimately transferred to Albania for dual deployment against both Serbia and Macedonia. As it stands, Croatia appears to be suitably prepared for returning to its Lead From Behind anti-Serbian role, which one can clearly see by its election of a former high-level NATO information officer as President. Although a largely ceremonial post, it’s symbolic in underscoring the affiliation that the country’s political elite have with Euro-Atlanticism (unipolarity), and with the US’ current support of ultra-nationalist governments and neo-fascist movements, it shouldn’t really stun anyone that Croatia’s new leader is now openly paying tribute to pro-Nazi World War II collaborators. The nightmare scenario for Serbia’s international security is for Albania and Croatia to coordinate any forthcoming destabilizations against the country, and unrest in Serbia or along its borders could also impede the construction of Balkan Stream, at the very least of its consequences.

Triggers:

There are two triggers that can most strongly undermine the stability of Serbia and Macedonia:

* Bosnia

Per the earlier explanation of Republika Srpska’s security significance to Serbia, any provocations inside or along its borders would tangentially also present a threat to Serbia itself. A constitutional crisis over internal power arrangements and federative sovereignty inside of Bosnia could be the catalyst for drawing Repubilka Srpska, and by extension (whether direct or indirect), Serbia, into a larger conflict (the ‘Reverse Brzezinski’ as applied to Belgrade). Not only that, but an externally directed terrorist war could be cooked up (just like in Macedonia) to inflame identity tension between Bosnia’s constituent members, which would then usher in the national crisis purposefully constructed to temptingly invite some form of Serbian response and/or involvement, thereby sucking it into an American-planned trap.

* Greater Albania

The most pressing threat to Serbia and Macedonia’s security and the issue with the greatest potential to destabilize the entire region is the looming specter of Greater Albania. Serbia fell victim to having the most emotionally integral part of its country stolen from it, occupied, and turned into a weapon against the rest of the rump state the last time this was attempted, and it remains a distinct possibility that something similar can happen to Macedonia as regards its entire western and most of its northern periphery.

Additionally, Serbia also faces a new threat from Greater Albania, and that’s ethnic violence in the Albanian-populated Presevo Valley and Sandzak regions, with the first-mentioned being intentionally stoked by a ‘spill over’ from northern Macedonia. Kumanovo just so happens to be close to this region, hence why the terrorists selected it as their base in the event that the order was given to split their forces north and simultaneously attack Serbia on 17 May (the day the Macedonia Color Revolutionaries and Unconventional Warriors were to symbolically unite in their regime change aggression).

Taking it further, even the Greek region of Northern Epirus could potentially be brought into the tumult of Greater Albania, thereby destabilizing all three Central Balkan countries, but potentially providing an urgent impetus to expedite their multipolar integration with one another in standing united against this threat.

Balkan Stream:

Perhaps the most critical characteristic strategically uniting the Central Balkan states is the Balkan Stream project, which implicitly aims at promoting multipolarity in the region and potentially even taking it as deep as the heart of the EU itself. Should the project reach fruition and the US’ current destabilization plans fail (the Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia and the provocations to incite a regional war around the idea of Greater Albania [just as Greater Kurdistan is being primed for deployment in the Mideast]), then the logical consequence would be that the Central Balkan countries serve as the springboard for multipolarity’s expansion into the European continent.

Balkan Stream is thus more than just a pipeline – it’s a strategic concept of sub-regional integration that’s meant to defy the unipolar dictates of the US’ EU proxy and achieve the long-term goal of liberating Europe from unipolar hegemony. Due to the fact that the Central Balkan countries are the physical vanguard of this far-reaching and profound vision, the US is prioritizing its latest destabilization attempts against each and every one of them, hoping that at least one of its plots takes root after having desperately sowed so many seeds of chaos in the past couple of months (capitalizing off of existing factors) to offset this relatively unexpected multipolar counter-offensive.

Multipolar Solutions

The Central Balkans are currently the latest front in the New Cold War between the US and Russia, or better put, between the unipolar and multipolar world visions. Washington has recently redirected its external meddling activities in order to focus on destabilizing this particular sub-region and sabotaging its march to multipolarity, owing to the previously overlooked vulnerability that the Balkan Stream provides in countering unipolar control all throughout the continent. It is thus of the utmost importance that appropriate defensive policies be implemented in order to reinforce the Central Balkans’ resistance to the US’ aggression and secure the multiopolar counter-offensive currently taking place in the region.

The following are the proposed solutions for solidifying the multipolar vision of Balkan Stream:

Clearly Elucidate Multipolar Aims:

The Central Balkans and their strategic Russian and Chinese partners must publicly articulate their multipolar vision for the region, as such a strong and unified voice would send a global message about the intentions of the non-West. It’s not to suggest that the actors must openly call for overthrowing American control over Europe, but rather to highlight that there are non-EU development trajectories and partnerships that can be just as, if not more, beneficial than working with Brussels. It may even come to pass that the Central Balkans becomes the first flank in a wider European revolt against unipolarity, but in order for this to happen and for the region to serve as a rallying point for the rest of the continent, its anti-hegemony message must be clearly expressed. Political pragmatism and multipolar partnership, not unipolar partisanship and chaotic division, are central themes in conveying this concept.

Institutionalize And Intensify The Balkan Corridor:

The complementary Russian and Chinese infrastructure projects running through the region form the basis around which the Balkan Corridor can be constructed, and the first step towards its formalization is to unveil a multilateral framework between its members. This would serve as an organizational mechanism for coordinating integrational policies between Russia and China on one hand, and Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece on the other, and it could possibly be expanded to include Hungary and Turkey as observer members, if not full-fledged participants. The key purpose is to bring together policy and decision makers, security specialists, and economic actors in hammering out joint details for further cooperation and the intensification of their multilateral partnerships.

Unite The Central Balkans Against Greater Albania:

As much of a threat that Greater Albania is, it also provides an historic opportunity to unite the Central Balkan countries in opposing its terroristic actualization. The existential danger that this US-supported irredentism poses for Macedonia rightfully incites fear in both Belgrade and Athens, as neither of them want a partitioned and failed state along their borders, to say nothing of their own domestic vulnerabilities to the ethnic terrorism directed by Tirana. The US and Albania have clearly demonstrated that they’re taking concrete action in agitating for Greater Albania, so it’s appropriate for the targeted states to tighten their military and strategic ties in defending against it. While Greece’s NATO membership may pose an obstacle in this regard, Serbia and Macedonia aren’t constrained by this limitation and can thus work as closely as they deem necessary in countering this threat. Not only that, but they can also expand their de-facto military alliance to include Russia, which could then provide military, political, and technical support to their countries’ anti-terror and counter-Color Revolution operations in the same manner as it’s been proudly doing for Syria over the past four years.

Emphasize Russia’s Connections To The Region:

Russia has deep cultural, linguistic, religious, and historical connections to the Balkans that it can capitalize upon in promoting Balkan Stream and gaining soft power inroads in Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece. These unique asymmetrical factors perpetually tether the Central Balkans to Russia, but more work must be done in order to strengthen these bonds and make the ‘Russia factor’ a significant part of those countries’ national identity and psyche. The deepening of emotional ties can enhance the effectiveness of multilateral soft power expressions between Russia and its Central Balkan partners, thereby providing a stable foundation for the future expansion of their relations and increasing their larger strategic cohesion.

Concluding Thoughts

Great Power competition over the Balkans has historically served as one of the engines of European politics and has been among its most widely recognized features for centuries. Back then, multiple empires were jostling for influence and counter-balancing one another, but the situation has remarkably simplified in the current day. Nowadays only one empire remains and that’s the United States and its unipolar allies, which have been doing all they can to completely swallow the region over the past two and a half decades. Serbia and Macedonia are the only two regional holdouts remaining, and they form the core of a reconceptualized Balkan region, the Central Balkans, that’s partnering with Russia in staging a multipolar counter-offensive against this aggression. The geopolitical liberation that Balkan Stream would bring to the region, and quite possibly all of Europe, makes it one of the most globally impactful projects currently under construction, and it’s arguably central to Russia’s grand strategy in dismantling unipolarity.

The conceptualized creation of the Central Balkans assists one in more easily understanding the regional geopolitical arrangement in the context of the latest round of the New Cold War. Additionally, it holds the exciting possibility of evolving from an intangible concept to a concrete reality by serving as an organizational platform for energizing closer integration between its members. The institutionalization of the Balkan Corridor and its accelerated strategic unification in resisting the threat of Greater Albania is expected to facilitate the creation of a critical mass of multipolarity that can flip the regional initiative against the destabilizing unipolar forces. Thus, because it signifies the first step in a larger counter-offensive against the American occupation of Europe, Russia’s support of the Central Balkans and their strategic convergence into an integrated entity is arguably one of the most pivotal multipolar processes in the world today, and it could potentially transform into a battering ram for breaching the US’ unipolar citadel in Western Eurasia.


About the author:

By Andrew KORYBKO (USA)

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Originally published at: Oriental Review in May 2015

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The Quisling Of Belgrade

Tributes to Zoran Djindjic, the assassinated prime minister of Serbia, have been pouring in. President Bush led the way, praising his “strong leadership”, while the Canadian government’s spokesman extolled a “heralder of democracy” and Tony Blair spoke of the energy Djindjic had devoted to “reforming Serbia”.

In western newspaper obituaries Djindjic has been almost universally acclaimed as an ex-student agititator who bravely led a popular uprising against a tyrannical dictator and endeavoured to steer his country into a new democratic era.

But beyond the CNN version of world history, the career of Zoran Djindjic looks rather different. Those who rail against the doctrine of regime change should remember that Iraq is far from being the first country where the US and other western governments have tried to engineer the removal of a government that did not suit their strategic interests. Three years ago it was the turn of Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia.

In his recent biography of Milosevic, Adam LeBor reveals how the US poured $70m into the coffers of the Serb opposition in its efforts to oust the Yugoslav leader in 2000. On the orders of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a covert US Office of Yugoslav Affairs was set up to help organise the uprising that would sweep the autocratic Milosevic from power.

At the same time, there is evidence that underworld groups, controlled by Zoran Djindjic and linked to US intelligence, carried out a series of assassinations of key supporters of the Milosevic regime, including Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic and Zika Petrovic, head of Yugoslav Airlines.

With Slobo and his socialist party finally toppled, the US got the “reforming” government in Belgrade it desired. The new President Vojislav Kostunica received the bouquets, but it was the State Department’s man, Zoran Djindjic, who held the levers of power – and he certainly did not let his Washington sponsors down.

The first priority was to embark on a programme of “economic reform” – new-world-order-speak for the selling of state assets at knockdown prices to western multinationals. Over 700,000 Yugoslav enterprises remained in social ownership and most were still controlled by employee-management committees, with only 5% of capital privately owned. Companies could only be sold if 60% of the shares were allocated to workers.

Djindjic moved swiftly to change the law and the great sell-off could now begin. After two years in which thousands of socially owned enterprises have been sold (many to companies from countries which took part in the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia), last month’s World Bank report was lavish in its praise of the Djindjic government and its “engagement of international banks in the privatisation process”.

But it wasn’t just state assets that Djindjic was under orders to sell. Milosevic had to go too, for a promised $100m, even if it effectively meant kidnapping him in contravention of Yugoslav law, and sending him by RAF jet to a US-financed show trial at the Hague. When a man has sold his country’s assets, its ex-president and his main political rivals, what else is there to sell? Only the country itself. And in January this year Djindjic did just that. Despite the opposition of most of its citizens, the “heralder of democracy” followed the requirements of the “international community” and after 74 years the name of Yugoslavia disappeared off the political map. The strategic goal of its replacement with a series of weak and divided protectorates had finally been achieved.

Sometimes, though, even the best executed plans go awry. Despite the western eulogies, Djindjic will be mourned by few in Serbia. For the great majority of Serbs, he will be remembered as a quisling who enriched himself by selling his country to those who had waged war against it so mercilessly only a few years earlier. Djindjic’s much lauded reforms have led to soaring utility prices, unemployment has risen sharply to over 30%, real wages have fallen by up to 20% and over two-thirds of Serbs now live below the poverty line.

It is still unclear who fired the shots that killed Zoran Djindjic. The likelihood is that it was an underworld operation, his links to organised crime finally catching up with him. But, harsh though it sounds, there are many in Serbia who would willingly have pulled the trigger. On a recent visit to Belgrade, I was struck not only by the level of economic hardship, but by the hatred almost everyone I met felt towards their prime minister, whose poll ratings had fallen below 10%.

The lesson from Serbia for today’s serial regime changers is a simple one. You can try to subjugate a people by sanctions, subversion and bombs. You can, if you wish, overthrow governments you dislike and seek to impose your will by installing a Hamid Karzai, General Tommy Franks or a Zoran Djindjic to act as imperial consul. But do not imagine that you can then force a humiliated people to pay homage to them.


By Neil Clark

Neil Clark is writing a book about the recent history of Yugoslavia

neil.clark@bushinternet.com

Original source of the article  is:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/mar/14/serbia.comment

Originally published at 14-03-2003 by The Guardian, UK

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The Age Of Imperial Wars: From Regional War, “Regime Change” To Global Warfare

2015 has become a year of living dangerously.

Wars are spreading across the globe. 

Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity.

Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.

These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.

            There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders.  Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.

            Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia:  NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China.  Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?

Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts

            There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts.  Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.

            The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops.  There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.

            Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies.  On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists – funded by the monarchist Gulf States.

            Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.

            Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.

            The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.

The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses.  Major cities and towns are devastated.  Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians.   The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.

The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets.  Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.

The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands.  They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.

Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.

Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.

Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent.  Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.

Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.

Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.

Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia.  Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.

There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client.  Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role

The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria.  The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.

Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.

US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.

There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps.  It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up.  The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.

The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.

The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat.  US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.

As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops.  The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.

Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties.  These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.

In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.

Latin America – On the Verge

Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.

In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes.  In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa.   They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.

The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.

Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading.  Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups – to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.

War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America.  A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras.  The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.

The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies.  This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis.  The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.

The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico.  Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.

The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords.  The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives.  After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!

From Regional to Nuclear Wars

Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war.  The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.

Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.

Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.

In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor.  It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.

Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe.  The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine.  In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.

In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria.  In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia.  The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.

Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.

Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees

The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.

Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.

Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.

Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.

Droves of refugees perish each day.  Tens of thousands crowd detention centers.  Local labor markets are saturated.  Social services are overwhelmed.

The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.

As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply.  The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.

Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.

Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire.  The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses.  US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…

Conclusion

War is everywhere and expanding:  No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.

Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle.  There are no real diplomatic success stories!  There are no enduring, viable peace accords!

Some pundits may protest this analysis:  They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’.  They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China.  The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.

Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’.  They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.

As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?

The war epidemic is not receding.

War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.

Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.

Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.

Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them.  They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them.  Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.

What a packet of lies!  Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

It is time to wake up!

It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!

Where to start?  Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there!  Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame.  We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing!  Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!

Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune?  And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them!  As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US?  We lead them by the nose…!” 

Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.

What is to be done?

When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?


By Prof. James Petras

2015-08-22

The Srebrenica Massacre: Some Victims Are More Equal Than Others

Last month was the 18th anniversary of the attack on the Serbian village of Kravica committed by Moslem forces from Srebrenica under the command of Naser Orić on Orthodox Christmas day, January 7, 1993. Several dozen villagers were killed in the attack, the remaining Serbian population was forced to flee to safety, and many homes were pillaged, demolished and torched during the several weeks that Kravica was forcibly occupied by neighbours from nearby Srebrenica. Regardless of arcane debates of who started the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a human level the attack on the village of Kravica and the ensuing slaughter and expulsion of its inhabitants was a crime, just as the firebombing of Dresden and the slaughter of that city’s citizens, without any apparent military purpose and at the very end of World War II, was also a crime.

The position taken by many Western institutions and even human rights monitoring organisations toward the destruction of Kravica says a great deal about their honesty and helps to put in perspective the Serbian public’s unyielding skepticism about Western even-handedness. We shall use the anniversary of Kravica to cite a few examples.

[1] On the occasion of the acquittal of Naser Orić, the Srebrenica Moslem warlord, in 2006, Human Rights Watch [HRW],[1] had also some comments to make concerning Kravica. This is what HRW said about Kravica in its statement published on 11 July, 2006:

“The ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party launched an aggressive campaign to prove that Muslims had committed crimes against thousands of Serbs in the area. The campaign was intended to diminish the significance of the July 1995 crime, and many in Serbia were willing to accept that version of history.

But as the Oric judgment makes clear, the facts do not support the equivalence thesis. Take the events in the village of Kravica, on the Serb Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993, for example. The alleged killing of scores of Serbs and destruction of their houses in the village is frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim forces around Srebrenica. In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack.”[2]

One is tempted to ask: What does HRW see as its essential task? Is it to focus attention on human rights violations or to haggle about them? The presence of Bosnian Serb military forces in the village Kravica (even if true, that hardly would be a surprise or require excuses given the preceding seven-month campaign of destruction and slaughter by Moslem forces from Srebrenica against the surrounding Serbian villages) does not relieve Human Right Watch of the obligation to address the fate of Kravica’s civilian inhabitants during the Christmas Day attack and to hold the perpetrators “accountable for their crimes,” exactly as its Mission Statement promises that it would.

[2] Unfortunately, the United Nations were scarcely more forthright in dealing with the general issue of attacks on Serbian villages from Srebrenica. In UN Secretary-General’s 1999 report on the “Fall of Srebrenica” we read the following:

“The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country.”[3]

But as with the HRW comment, this analysis begs the question. Even if the speculation about Serbian war aims were correct, as an organisation endowed with a humanitarian and peacekeeping mission the UN is obliged to take a clear stand on the murder and mistreatment of civilians, because under international law they continue to enjoy protection even if they happen to be ethnically affiliated with the “wrong“ side. Even if we grant, for the sake of argument that the extent of Moslem army raids from Srebrenica was “exaggerated,” something must have happened to begin with in order to be exaggerated. Has the UN anything morally relevant to say about the factual core of these “exaggerated” Serbian reports? Do the innocent human casualties that they refer to matter, once conscientious UN investigators have stripped the “exaggerated” reports of their hyperbole and reduced them to a more credible level? Apparently not.

[3] The judgment that was rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague in the Naser Orić case, where the attack on Kravica played a prominent role, was also very discouraging to the Serbian public as a means of building trust in the conclusions of international institutions. With regard to the Kravica attack, its background, and consequences, the ICTY chamber issued the following surrealistic findings:

“The fighting intensified in December 1992 and the beginning of January 1993, when Bosnian Muslims were attacked by Bosnian Serbs primarily from the direction of Kravica and Ježestica. In the early morning of the 7 January 1993, Orthodox Christmas day, Bosnian Muslims attacked Kravica, Ježestica and Šiljkovići. [par. 662] Convincing evidence suggests that the village guards were backed by the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army], and following the fighting in the summer of 1992, they received military support, including weapons and training. A considerable amount of weapons and ammunition was kept in Kravica and Šiljkovići. Moreover, there is evidence that besides the village guards, there was Serb and Bosnian Serb military presence in the area. [par. 664,665] The Trial Chamber is not satisfied that [the destruction of homes in the village] can be attributed solely to Bosnian Muslims. The evidence is unclear as to the number of houses destroyed by Bosnian Muslims as opposed to those destroyed by Bosnian Serbs. In light of this uncertainty, the Trial Chamber concludes that the destruction of property in Kravica between 7 and 8 January 1993 does not fulfill the elements of wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity. [par. 671]”[4]

Setting aside the chamber’s professed dilemma about the extent of destruction that Bosnian Serbs might have inflicted on their own village, and its consequent inability to lay the charge of “wanton destruction” of Kravica at the door of the Moslem attackers from Srebrenica, it is evident that the chamber views with disfavor the fact that weapons and ammunition were kept in the village and that there was “Serb and Bosnian Serb military presence in the area.” Would leaving the village utterly disarmed and defenceless have pleased the chamber more and helped it to conclude that, after all, Kravica was devastated in contravention of the laws and customs of war and without a semblance of military necessity?

But more to the point: Are Serb civilian victims of Kravica, however few or many, of any concern to the chamber at all?

[4] It is, of course, technically true that a court cannot in its deliberations exceed the scope of the indictment and that its findings are confined to the evidence that is offered to it in the course of trial. But that is also a huge reason why a verdict convenient to Naser Orić was a foregone certainty even before the opening of his trial. Orić was charged with but a small and relatively insignificant fraction of his actual crimes. It is as if Hitler had been arrested in 1945 and put on trial in Nuremberg on the charge of traffic violations. It should have been expected that under the circumstances he would have been acquitted or merely fined with a suspended sentence. That was essentially the verdict that was read out to Naser Orić.

Trivialising the indictment was one efficient method that the prosecution used to ensure that the result would be maximally indulgent to Orić, thus avoiding the embarrassing prospect of a comparative scrutiny of both sides’ Srebrenica crimes. The other, equally efficient method of making inconvenient facts disappear, was to define Serbian Srebrenica victims (in this specific instance in Kravica) away.

The way that system works was described in ample detail and with salutary candour by long-time ICTY Prosecution porte-parole, Florence Hartman in one of her weekly press briefings:[5]

“First of all, the OTP is always very careful in the use of the word ‘victim’. Military or Police casualties from combat should not be considered victims in a criminal investigation context, in the same way people are victims from war crimes, such as summary executions.”

Fair enough, that is an accurate summary of the applicable principles. She then goes on to erect a straw man:

“Before speaking about the whole area of Podrinja, including at least the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Skelani, I would comment on the various figures circulating around the Kravica attack of January 1993. The figures circulating of hundreds of victims or claiming that all 353 inhabitants were ‘virtually completely destroyed’ do not reflect the reality.”

There is of course no expectation that the Prosecution would charge Orić, or anyone else, with crimes that are not based on realistic figures. So what would be a realistic number for Kravica victims?

“During the attack by the BH army on Kravica, Jezestica, Opravdici, Mandici and the surrounding villages (the larger area of Kravica), on the 7th & 8th January 1993, 43 people were killed, according to our information. Our investigation shows that 13 of the 43 were obviously civilians. Our findings are matching with the Bratunac Brigade military reports of battle casualties which are believed in the OTP to be very reliable because they are internal VRS reports.”

But even conceding that the actual number of Serbian Kravica victims can be whittled down to 13, that is still a war crime and someone must still be held accountable for their death. It is the job of ICTY Prosecution to see to it that this happens. What is the purpose of conducting a trial if in the end responsibility is not imputed to anyone at all? But that precisely is what happened at ICTY.

“For the whole region,” Ms. Hartman went on in her briefing, “i.e the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Skelani, the Serb authorities claimed previously that about 1400 people were killed due to attacks committed by the BH Army forces for the period of May 1992 to March 1995, when Srebrenica was under the control of Naser Oric. Now the figure has become 3,500 Serbs killed. This figure may have been inflated. Taking the term ‘victims’ as defined previously, these figures just do not reflect the reality.”

It goes without saying that both victims and perpetrators on all sides need to be identified with meticulous precision and great care. It is indeed a point well taken in Ms. Hartman’s remarks that a careful eye should be kept out for “inflated” numbers. Some exuberant figures certainly need to be dismissed, but that should not apply only to figures proposed by Serbs. The figure of 8,000 executed prisoners claimed by Moslems, asserted by the Prosecution, and adjudicated without proper evidence by ICTY chambers, also must be carefully re-examined in order to determine how consistently it “reflects the reality”. To decline to do so would be an exercise in gross hypocrisy.

This brief survey should make it clear, using the example of the razed and decimated Serbian village of Kravica that, on the international level, the treatment of Serbian victims, even when by perfidious haggling their numbers are diminished to the barest minimum, still amounts to a parody of justice. It is a situation which paraphrased Orwell still encapsulates the best: Some victims are more (in this case apparently less) equal than others.

The hypocritical arguments of Western “jurists” and humanitarians which aim to rationalize the systematic trivialization of Serbian victims of Kravica are sufficient to shock any normal conscience. But for the dimensions of their insolence to be unmistakably clear it is worth studying this document which contains the report of General Rasim Delić, BiH army chief of staff during the war. Delić says very clearly (p. 3) that BiH authorities had managed to deliver about 23 tons of arms to “demilitarized” Srebrenica and (p. 4) he gives a breakdown of these illegal shipments by category. If a few shotguns in Kravica justify the slaughter that was visited upon the villagers in January of 1993, then following the same logic what are we to say about this dramatic post festum admission in relation to the events of July of 1995?

This document was hardly unknown to the Hague Tribunal. It is in fact in its electronic database, number 01854595.

SKUP_TINA RBIH – VOJNI IZVJE_TAJ O RAZLOZIMA PADA SREBRENICE

____________________

[1] It describes itself as “one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes.” http://www.hrw.org/en/about [2] http://www.scribd.com/doc/31231969/Naser-Oric-Srebrenica-Genocide-and-Serbian-Lies [3]Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35, The Fall of Srebrenica, section: B, par. 479 [4] All paragraph references are to the trial judgment in Prosecutor v. Orić. [5] ICTY Weekly Press Briefing,: 06.07.2005.

****


Source: Srebrenica Historical Project ^ | February 2011 | Srebrenica Historical Project

The Geopolitics Of American Global Decline: Washington Versus China In The 21st Century

For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

A glance at what passes for insider “wisdom” in Washington these days reveals a worldview of stunning insularity. Take Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye, Jr., known for his concept of “soft power,” as an example. Offering a simple list of ways in which he believes U.S. military, economic, and cultural power remains singular and superior, he recently argued that there was no force, internal or global, capable of eclipsing America’s future as the world’s premier power.
For those pointing to Beijing’s surging economy and proclaiming this “the Chinese century,” Nye offered up a roster of negatives: China’s per capita income “will take decades to catch up (if ever)” with America’s; it has myopically “focused its policies primarily on its region”; and it has “not developed any significant capabilities for global force projection.” Above all, Nye claimed, China suffers “geopolitical disadvantages in the internal Asian balance of power, compared to America.”

Or put it this way (and in this Nye is typical of a whole world of Washington thinking): with more allies, ships, fighters, missiles, money, patents, and blockbuster movies than any other power, Washington wins hands down.

If Professor Nye paints power by the numbers, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s latest tome, modestly titled World Order and hailed in reviews as nothing less than a revelation, adopts a Nietzschean perspective. The ageless Kissinger portrays global politics as plastic and so highly susceptible to shaping by great leaders with a will to power. By this measure, in the tradition of master European diplomats Charles de Talleyrand and Prince Metternich, President Theodore Roosevelt was a bold visionary who launched “an American role in managing the Asia-Pacific equilibrium.” On the other hand, Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic dream of national self-determination rendered him geopolitically inept and Franklin Roosevelt was blind to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s steely “global strategy.” Harry Truman, in contrast, overcame national ambivalence to commit “America to the shaping of a new international order,” a policy wisely followed by the next 12 presidents.

Among the most “courageous” of them, Kissinger insists, was that leader of “courage, dignity, and conviction,” George W. Bush, whose resolute bid for the “transformation of Iraq from among the Middle East’s most repressive states to a multiparty democracy” would have succeeded, had it not been for the “ruthless” subversion of his work by Syria and Iran. In such a view, geopolitics has no place; only the bold vision of “statesmen” and kings really matters.

And perhaps that’s a comforting perspective in Washington at a moment when America’s hegemony is visibly crumbling amid a tectonic shift in global power.

With Washington’s anointed seers strikingly obtuse on the subject of geopolitical power, perhaps it’s time to get back to basics. That means returning to the foundational text of modern geopolitics, which remains an indispensible guide even though it was published in an obscure British geography journal well over a century ago.

Sir Halford Invents Geopolitics

On a cold London evening in January 1904, Sir Halford Mackinder, the director of the London School of Economics, “entranced” an audience at the Royal Geographical Society on Savile Row with a paper boldly titled “The Geographical Pivot of History.” This presentation evinced, said the society’s president, “a brilliancy of description… we have seldom had equaled in this room.”

Mackinder argued that the future of global power lay not, as most British then imagined, in controlling the global sea lanes, but in controlling a vast land mass he called “Euro-Asia.”  By turning the globe away from America to place central Asia at the planet’s epicenter, and then tilting the Earth’s axis northward just a bit beyond Mercator’s equatorial projection, Mackinder redrew and thus reconceptualized the world map.

His new map showed Africa, Asia, and Europe not as three separate continents, but as a unitary land mass, a veritable “world island.”  Its broad, deep “heartland” — 4,000 miles from the Persian Gulf to the Siberian Sea — was so enormous that it could only be controlled from its “rimlands” in Eastern Europe or what he called its maritime “marginal” in the surrounding seas.

Mackinder’s Concept of the World Island, From The Geographical Journal (1904)

The “discovery of the Cape road to the Indies” in the sixteenth century, Mackinder wrote, “endowed Christendom with the widest possible mobility of power… wrapping her influence round the Euro-Asiatic land-power which had hitherto threatened her very existence.” This greater mobility, he later explained, gave Europe’s seamen “superiority for some four centuries over the landsmen of Africa and Asia.”

Yet the “heartland” of this vast landmass, a “pivot area” stretching from the Persian Gulf to China’s Yangtze River, remained nothing less than the Archimedean fulcrum for future world power. “Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island,” went Mackinder’s later summary of the situation. “Who rules the World-Island commands the world.” Beyond the vast mass of that world island, which made up nearly 60% of the Earth’s land area, lay a less consequential hemisphere covered with broad oceans and a few outlying “smaller islands.”  He meant, of course, Australia and the Americas.

For an earlier generation, the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of steam shipping had “increased the mobility of sea-power [relative] to land power.” But future railways could “work the greater wonder in the steppe,” Mackinder claimed, undercutting the cost of sea transport and shifting the locus of geopolitical power inland. In the fullness of time, the “pivot state” of Russia might, in alliance with another power like Germany, expand “over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia,” allowing “the use of vast continental resources for fleet-building, and the empire of the world would be in sight.”

For the next two hours, as he read through a text thick with the convoluted syntax and classical references expected of a former Oxford don, his audience knew that they were privy to something extraordinary. Several stayed after to offer extended commentaries. For instance, the renowned military analyst Spenser Wilkinson, the first to hold a chair in military history at Oxford, pronounced himself unconvinced about “the modern expansion of Russia,” insisting that British and Japanese naval power would continue the historic function of holding “the balance between the divided forces… on the continental area.”

Pressed by his learned listeners to consider other facts or factors, including “air as a means of locomotion,” Mackinder responded: “My aim is not to predict a great future for this or that country, but to make a geographical formula into which you could fit any political balance.” Instead of specific events, Mackinder was reaching for a general theory about the causal connection between geography and global power.  “The future of the world,” he insisted, “depends on the maintenance of [a] balance of power” between sea powers such as Britain or Japan operating from the maritime marginal and “the expansive internal forces” within the Euro-Asian heartland they were intent on containing.

Not only did Mackinder give voice to a worldview that would influence Britain’s foreign policy for several decades, but he had, in that moment, created the modern science of “geopolitics” — the study of how geography can, under certain circumstances, shape the destiny of whole peoples, nations, and empires.

That night in London was, of course, more than a long time ago.  It was another age. England was still mourning the death of Queen Victoria.  Teddy Roosevelt was president.  Henry Ford had just opened a small auto plant in Detroit to make his Model-A, an automobile with a top speed of 28 miles per hour.  Only a month earlier, the Wright brothers’ “Flyer” had taken to the air for the first time — 120 feet of air, to be exact.

Yet, for the next 110 years, Sir Halford Mackinder’s words would offer a prism of exceptional precision when it came to understanding the often obscure geopolitics driving the world’s major conflicts — two world wars, a Cold War, America’s Asian wars (Korea and Vietnam), two Persian Gulf wars, and even the endless pacification of Afghanistan.  The question today is: How can Sir Halford help us understand not only centuries past, but the half-century still to come?

Britannia Rules the Waves

In the age of sea power that lasted just over 400 years — from 1602 to the Washington Disarmament Conference of 1922 — the great powers competed to control the Eurasian world island via the surrounding sea lanes that stretched for 15,000 miles from London to Tokyo.  The instrument of power was, of course, the ship — first men-o’-war, then battleships, submarines, and aircraft carriers. While land armies slogged through the mud of Manchuria or France in battles with mind-numbing casualties, imperial navies skimmed over the seas, maneuvering for the control of whole coasts and continents.

At the peak of its imperial power circa 1900, Great Britain ruled the waves with a fleet of 300 capital ships and 30 naval bastions, bases that ringed the world island from the North Atlantic at Scapa Flow through the Mediterranean at Malta and Suez to Bombay, Singapore, and Hong Kong.  Just as the Roman Empire enclosed the Mediterranean, making it Mare Nostrum (“Our Sea”), British power would make the Indian Ocean its own “closed sea,” securing its flanks with army forces on India’s Northwest Frontier and barring both Persians and Ottomans from building naval bases on the Persian Gulf.

By that maneuver, Britain also secured control over Arabia and Mesopotamia, strategic terrain that Mackinder had termed “the passage-land from Europe to the Indies” and the gateway to the world island’s “heartland.” From this geopolitical perspective, the nineteenth century was, at heart, a strategic rivalry, often called “the Great Game,” between Russia “in command of nearly the whole of the Heartland… knocking at the landward gates of the Indies,” and Britain “advancing inland from the sea gates of India to meet the menace from the northwest.” In other words, Mackinder concluded, “the final Geographical Realities” of the modern age were sea power versus land power or “the World-Island and the Heartland.”

Intense rivalries, first between England and France, then England and Germany, helped drive a relentless European naval arms race that raised the price of sea power to unsustainable levels. In 1805, Admiral Nelson’s flagship, the HMS Victory, with its oaken hull weighing just 3,500 tons, sailed into the battle of Trafalgar against Napoleon’s navy at nine knots, its 100 smooth-bore cannon firing 42-pound balls at a range of no more than 400 yards.

In 1906, just a century later, Britain launched the world’s first modern battleship, the HMS Dreadnought, its foot-thick steel hull weighing 20,000 tons, its steam turbines allowing speeds of 21 knots, and its mechanized 12-inch guns rapid-firing 850-pound shells up to 12 miles. The cost for this leviathan was £1.8 million, equivalent to nearly $300 million today. Within a decade, half-a-dozen powers had emptied their treasuries to build whole fleets of these lethal, lavishly expensive battleships.

Thanks to a combination of technological superiority, global reach, and naval alliances with the U.S. and Japan, a Pax Britannica would last a full century, 1815 to 1914. In the end, however, this global system was marked by an accelerating naval arms race, volatile great-power diplomacy, and a bitter competition for overseas empire that imploded into the mindless slaughter of World War I, leaving 16 million dead by 1918.

Mackinder’s Century

As the eminent imperial historian Paul Kennedy once observed, “the rest of the twentieth century bore witness to Mackinder’s thesis,” with two world wars fought over his “rimlands” running from Eastern Europe through the Middle East to East Asia.  Indeed, World War I was, as Mackinder himself later observed, “a straight duel between land-power and sea-power.” At war’s end in 1918, the sea powers — Britain, America, and Japan — sent naval expeditions to Archangel, the Black Sea, and Siberia to contain Russia’s revolution inside its “heartland.”

Reflecting Mackinder’s influence on geopolitical thinking in Germany, Adolf Hitler would risk his Reich in a misbegotten effort to capture the Russian heartland as Lebensraum, or living space, for his “master race.” Sir Halford’s work helped shape the ideas of German geographer Karl Haushofer, founder of the journal Zeitschrift für Geopolitik, proponent of the concept of Lebensraum, and adviser to Adolf Hitler and his deputy führer, Rudolf Hess. In 1942, the Führer dispatched a million men, 10,000 artillery pieces, and 500 tanks to breach the Volga River at Stalingrad.  In the end, his forces suffered 850,000 wounded, killed, and captured in a vain attempt to break through the East European rimland into the world island’s pivotal region.

A century after Mackinder’s seminal treatise, another British scholar, imperial historian John Darwin, argued in his magisterial survey After Tamerlane that the United States had achieved its “colossal Imperium… on an unprecedented scale” in the wake of World War II by becoming the first power in history to control the strategic axial points “at both ends of Eurasia” (his rendering of Mackinder’s “Euro-Asia”). With fears of Chinese and Russian expansion serving as the “catalyst for collaboration,” the U.S. won imperial bastions in both Western Europe and Japan. With these axial points as anchors, Washington then built an arc of military bases that followed Britain’s maritime template and were visibly meant to encircle the world island.

America’s Axial Geopolitics

Having seized the axial ends of the world island from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 1945, for the next 70 years the United States relied on ever-thickening layers of military power to contain China and Russia inside that Eurasian heartland. Stripped of its ideological foliage, Washington’s grand strategy of Cold War-era anticommunist “containment” was little more than a process of imperial succession.  A hollowed-out Britain was replaced astride the maritime “marginal,” but the strategic realities remained essentially the same.

Indeed, in 1943, two years before World War II ended, an aging Mackinder published his last article, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace,” in the influential U.S. journal Foreign Affairs.  In it, he reminded Americans aspiring to a “grand strategy” for an unprecedented version of planetary hegemony that even their “dream of a global air power” would not change geopolitical basics. “If the Soviet Union emerges from this war as conqueror of Germany,” he warned, “she must rank as the greatest land power on the globe,” controlling the “greatest natural fortress on earth.”

When it came to the establishment of a new post-war Pax Americana, first and foundational for the containment of Soviet land power would be the U.S. Navy. Its fleets would come to surround the Eurasian continent, supplementing and then supplanting the British navy: the Sixth Fleet was based at Naples in 1946 for control of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; the Seventh Fleet at Subic Bay, Philippines, in 1947, for the Western Pacific; and the Fifth Fleet at Bahrain in the Persian Gulf since 1995.

Next, American diplomats added layers of encircling military alliances — the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949), the Middle East Treaty Organization (1955), the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (1954), and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty (1951).

By 1955, the U.S. also had a global network of 450 military bases in 36 countries aimed, in large part, at containing the Sino-Soviet bloc behind an Iron Curtain that coincided to a surprising degree with Mackinder’s “rimlands” around the Eurasian landmass. By the Cold War’s end in 1990, the encirclement of communist China and Russia required 700 overseas bases, an air force of 1,763 jet fighters, a vast nuclear arsenal, more than 1,000 ballistic missiles, and a navy of 600 ships, including 15 nuclear carrier battle groups — all linked by the world’s only global system of communications satellites.

As the fulcrum for Washington’s strategic perimeter around the world island, the Persian Gulf region has for nearly 40 years been the site of constant American intervention, overt and covert. The 1979 revolution in Iran meant the loss of a keystone country in the arch of U.S. power around the Gulf and left Washington struggling to rebuild its presence in the region. To that end, it would simultaneously back Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in its war against revolutionary Iran and arm the most extreme of the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

It was in this context that Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, unleashed his strategy for the defeat of the Soviet Union with a sheer geopolitical agility still little understood even today. In 1979, Brzezinski, a déclassé Polish aristocrat uniquely attuned to his native continent’s geopolitical realities, persuaded Carter to launch Operation Cyclone with massive funding that reached $500 million annually by the late 1980s. Its goal: to mobilize Muslim militants to attack the Soviet Union’s soft Central Asian underbelly and drive a wedge of radical Islam deep into the Soviet heartland. It was to simultaneously inflict a demoralizing defeat on the Red Army in Afghanistan and cut Eastern Europe’s “rimland” free from Moscow’s orbit. “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene [in Afghanistan],” Brzezinski said in 1998, explaining his geopolitical masterstroke in this Cold War edition of the Great Game, “but we knowingly increased the probability that they would… That secret operation was an excellent idea. Its effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.”

Asked about this operation’s legacy when it came to creating a militant Islam hostile to the U.S., Brzezinski, who studied and frequently cited Mackinder, was coolly unapologetic. “What is most important to the history of the world?” he asked. “The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

Yet even America’s stunning victory in the Cold War with the implosion of the Soviet Union would not transform the geopolitical fundamentals of the world island. As a result, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Washington’s first foreign foray in the new era would involve an attempt to reestablish its dominant position in the Persian Gulf, using Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait as a pretext.

In 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, imperial historian Paul Kennedy returned to Mackinder’s century-old treatise to explain this seemingly inexplicable misadventure. “Right now, with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in the Eurasian rimlands,” Kennedy wrote in the Guardian, “it looks as if Washington is taking seriously Mackinder’s injunction to ensure control of ‘the geographical pivot of history.’” If we interpret these remarks expansively, the sudden proliferation of U.S. bases across Afghanistan and Iraq should be seen as yet another imperial bid for a pivotal position at the edge of the Eurasian heartland, akin to those old British colonial forts along India’s Northwest Frontier.

In the ensuing years, Washington attempted to replace some of its ineffective boots on the ground with drones in the air. By 2011, the Air Force and the CIA had ringed the Eurasian landmass with 60 bases for its armada of drones. By then, its workhorse Reaper, armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs, had a range of 1,150 miles, which meant that from those bases it could strike targets almost anywhere in Africa and Asia.

Significantly, drone bases now dot the maritime margins around the world island — from Sigonella, Sicily, to Icerlik, Turkey; Djibouti on the Red Sea; Qatar and Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf; the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean; Jalalabad, Khost, Kandahar, and Shindand in Afghanistan; and in the Pacific, Zamboanga in the Philippines and Andersen Air Base on the island of Guam, among other places. To patrol this sweeping periphery, the Pentagon is spending $10 billion to build an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones equipped with high-resolution cameras capable of surveilling all terrain within a hundred-mile radius, electronic sensors that can sweep up communications, and efficient engines capable of 35 hours of continuous flight and a range of 8,700 miles.

China’s Strategy

Washington’s moves, in other words, represent something old, even if on a previously unimaginable scale.  But the rise of China as the world’s largest economy, inconceivable a century ago, represents something new and so threatens to overturn the maritime geopolitics that have shaped world power for the past 400 years. Instead of focusing purely on building a blue-water navy like the British or a global aerospace armada akin to America’s, China is reaching deep within the world island in an attempt to thoroughly reshape the geopolitical fundamentals of global power. It is using a subtle strategy that has so far eluded Washington’s power elites.

After decades of quiet preparation, Beijing has recently begun revealing its grand strategy for global power, move by careful move. Its two-step plan is designed to build a transcontinental infrastructure for the economic integration of the world island from within, while mobilizing military forces to surgically slice through Washington’s encircling containment.

The initial step has involved a breathtaking project to put in place an infrastructure for the continent’s economic integration.  By laying down an elaborate and enormously expensive network of high-speed, high-volume railroads as well as oil and natural gas pipelines across the vast breadth of Eurasia, China may realize Mackinder’s vision in a new way.  For the first time in history, the rapid transcontinental movement of critical cargo — oil, minerals, and manufactured goods — will be possible on a massive scale, thereby potentially unifying that vast landmass into a single economic zone stretching 6,500 miles from Shanghai to Madrid. In this way, the leadership in Beijing hopes to shift the locus of geopolitical power away from the maritime periphery and deep into the continent’s heartland.

“Trans-continental railways are now transmuting the conditions of land power,” wrote Mackinder back in 1904 as the “precarious” single track of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the world’s longest, reached across the continent for 5,700 miles from Moscow toward Vladivostok. “But the century will not be old before all Asia is covered with railways,” he added. “The spaces within the Russian Empire and Mongolia are so vast, and their potentialities in… fuel and metals so incalculably great that a vast economic world, more or less apart, will there develop inaccessible to oceanic commerce.”

Mackinder was a bit premature in his prediction. The Russian revolution of 1917, the Chinese revolution of 1949, and the subsequent 40 years of the Cold War slowed any real development for decades.  In this way, the Euro-Asian “heartland” was denied economic growth and integration, thanks in part to artificial ideological barriers — the Iron Curtain and then the Sino-Soviet split — that stalled any infrastructure construction across the vast Eurasian land mass. No longer.

Only a few years after the Cold War ended, former National Security Adviser Brzezinski, by then a contrarian sharply critical of the global views of both Republican and Democratic policy elites, began raising warning flags about Washington’s inept style of geopolitics.  “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago,” he wrote in 1998, essentially paraphrasing Mackinder, “Eurasia has been the center of world power. A power that dominates ‘Eurasia’ would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions… rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.”

While such a geopolitical logic has eluded Washington, it’s been well understood in Beijing.  Indeed, in the last decade China has launched the world’s largest burst of infrastructure investment, already a trillion dollars and counting, since Washington started the U.S. Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s. The numbers for the rails and pipelines it’s been building are mind numbing. Between 2007 and 2014, China criss-crossed its countryside with 9,000 miles of new high-speed rail, more than the rest of the world combined. The system now carries 2.5 million passengers daily at top speeds of 240 miles per hour. By the time the system is complete in 2030, it will have added up to 16,000 miles of high-speed track at a cost of $300 billion, linking all of China’s major cities.

China-Central Asia Infrastructure Integrates the World Island (Source: Stratfor)

Simultaneously, China’s leadership began collaborating with surrounding states on a massive project to integrate the country’s national rail network into a transcontinental grid. Starting in 2008, the Germans and Russians joined with the Chinese in launching the “Eurasian Land Bridge.” Two east-west routes, the old Trans-Siberian in the north and a new southern route along the ancient Silk Road through Kazakhstan are meant to bind all of Eurasia together. On the quicker southern route, containers of high-value manufactured goods, computers, and auto parts started travelling 6,700 miles from Leipzig, Germany, to Chongqing, China, in just 20 days, about half the 35 days such goods now take via ship.

In 2013, Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail) began preparing a third route between Hamburg and Zhengzhou that has now cut travel time to just 15 days, while Kazakh Rail opened a Chongqing-Duisburg link with similar times. In October 2014, China announced plans for the construction of the world’s longest high-speed rail line at a cost of $230 billion.  According to plans, trains will traverse the 4,300 miles between Beijing and Moscow in just two days.

In addition, China is building two spur lines running southwest and due south toward the world island’s maritime “marginal.” In April, President Xi Jinping signed an agreement with Pakistan to spend $46 billion on a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.  Highway, rail links, and pipelines will stretch nearly 2,000 miles from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province, to a joint port facility at Gwadar, Pakistan, opened back in 2007.  China has invested more than $200 billion in the building of this strategic port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, just 370 miles from the Persian Gulf. Starting in 2011, China also began extending its rail lines through Laos into Southeast Asia at an initial cost of $6.2 billion. In the end, a high-speed line is expected to take passengers and goods on a trip of just 10 hours from Kunming to Singapore.

In this same dynamic decade, China has constructed a comprehensive network of trans-continental gas and oil pipelines to import fuels from the whole of Eurasia for its population centers — in the north, center, and southeast. In 2009, after a decade of construction, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) opened the final stage of the Kazakhstan-China Oil Pipeline. It stretches 1,400 miles from the Caspian Sea to Xinjiang.

Simultaneously, CNPC collaborated with Turkmenistan to inaugurate the Central Asia-China gas pipeline. Running for 1,200 miles largely parallel to the Kazakhstan-China Oil Pipeline, it is the first to bring the region’s natural gas to China. To bypass the Straits of Malacca controlled by the U.S Navy, CNPC opened a Sino-Myanmar pipeline in 2013 to carry both Middle Eastern oil and Burmese natural gas 1,500 miles from the Bay of Bengal to China’s remote southwestern region. In May 2014, the company signed a $400 billion, 30-year deal with the privatized Russian energy giant Gazprom to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually by 2018 via a still-to-be-completed northern network of pipelines across Siberia and into Manchuria.

Sino-Myanmar Oil Pipeline Evades the U.S. Navy in the Straits of Malacca (Source: Stratfor)

Though massive, these projects are just part of an ongoing construction boom that, over the past five years, has woven a cat’s cradle of oil and gas lines across Central Asia and south into Iran and Pakistan. The result will soon be an integrated inland energy infrastructure, including Russia’s own vast network of pipelines, extending across the whole of Eurasia, from the Atlantic to the South China Sea.

To capitalize such staggering regional growth plans, in October 2014 Beijing announced the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China’s leadership sees this institution as a future regional and, in the end, Eurasian alternative to the U.S.-dominated World Bank. So far, despite pressure from Washington not to join, 14 key countries, including close U.S. allies like Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and South Korea, have signed on. Simultaneously, China has begun building long-term trade relations with resource-rich areas of Africa, as well as with Australia and Southeast Asia, as part of its plan to economically integrate the world island.

Finally, Beijing has only recently revealed a deftly designed strategy for neutralizing the military forces Washington has arrayed around the continent’s perimeter. In April, President Xi Jinping announced construction of that massive road-rail-pipeline corridor direct from western China to its new port at Gwadar, Pakistan, creating the logistics for future naval deployments in the energy-rich Arabian Sea.

In May, Beijing escalated its claim to exclusive control over the South China Sea, expanding Longpo Naval Base on Hainan Island for the region’s first nuclear submarine facility, accelerating its dredging to create three new atolls that could become military airfields in the disputed Spratley Islands, and formally warning off U.S. Navy overflights. By building the infrastructure for military bases in the South China and Arabian seas, Beijing is forging the future capacity to surgically and strategically impair U.S. military containment.

At the same time, Beijing is developing plans to challenge Washington’s dominion over space and cyberspace.  It expects, for instance, to complete its own global satellite system by 2020, offering the first challenge to Washington’s dominion over space since the U.S. launched its system of 26 defense communication satellites back in 1967. Simultaneously, Beijing is building a formidable capacity for cyber warfare.

In a decade or two, should the need arise, China will be ready to surgically slice through Washington’s continental encirclement at a few strategic points without having to confront the full global might of the U.S. military, potentially rendering the vast American armada of carriers, cruisers, drones, fighters, and submarines redundant.

Lacking the geopolitical vision of Mackinder and his generation of British imperialists, America’s current leadership has failed to grasp the significance of a radical global change underway inside the Eurasian land mass. If China succeeds in linking its rising industries to the vast natural resources of the Eurasian heartland, then quite possibly, as Sir Halford Mackinder predicted on that cold London night in 1904, “the empire of the world would be in sight.”


Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular, holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the editor of Endless Empire: Spain’s Retreat, Europe’s Eclipse, America’s Decline and the author of Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, among other works.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Alfred McCoy

2015-06-07

Source: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176007/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_washington%27s_great_game_and_why_it%27s_failing_

Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal And Weapons Of Mass Destruction: A Threat To World Peace

This carefully research article by John Steinbach on Israel’s nuclear arsenal was first published by Global Research in March 2002

“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1)

“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2)

With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China in the size and sophistication of its nuclear arsenal. Although dwarfed by the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, each possessing over 10,000 nuclear weapons, Israel nonetheless is a major nuclear power, and should be publically recognized as such.

Since the Gulf War in 1991, while much attention has been lavished on the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the major culprit in the region, Israel, has been largely ignored. Possessing chemical and biological weapons, an extremely sophisticated nuclear arsenal, and an aggressive strategy for their actual use, Israel provides the major regional impetus for the development of weapons of mass destruction and represents an acute threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. The Israeli nuclear program represents a serious impediment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and, with India and Pakistan, is a potential nuclear flashpoint.(prospects of meaningful non-proliferation are a delusion so long as the nuclear weapons states insist on maintaining their arsenals,) Citizens concerned about sanctions against Iraq, peace with justice in the Middle East, and nuclear disarmament have an obligation to speak out forcefully against the Israeli nuclear program.

Birth of the Israeli Bomb

The Israeli nuclear program began in the late 1940s under the direction of Ernst David Bergmann, “the father of the Israeli bomb,” who in 1952 established the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. It was France, however, which provided the bulk of early nuclear assistance to Israel culminating in construction of Dimona, a heavy water moderated, natural uranium reactor and plutonium reprocessing factory situated near Bersheeba in the Negev Desert. Israel had been an active participant in the French Nuclear weapons program from its inception, providing critical technical expertise, and the Israeli nuclear program can be seen as an extension of this earlier collaboration. Dimona went on line in 1964 and plutonium reprocessing began shortly thereafter. Despite various Israeli claims that Dimona was “a manganese plant, or a textile factory,” the extreme security measures employed told a far different story. In 1967, Israel shot down one of their own Mirage fighters that approached too close to Dimona and in 1973 shot down a Lybian civilian airliner which strayed off course, killing 104.(3)

There is substantial credible speculation that Israel may have exploded at least one, and perhaps several, nuclear devices in the mid 1960s in the Negev near the Israeli-Egyptian border, and that it participated actively in French nuclear tests in Algeria.(4) By the time of the “Yom Kippur War” in 1973, Israel possessed an arsenal of perhaps several dozen deliverable atomic bombs and went on full nuclear alert.(5)

Possessing advanced nuclear technology and “world class” nuclear scientists, Israel was confronted early with a major problem- how to obtain the necessary uranium. Israel’s own uranium source was the phosphate deposits in the Negev, totally inadequate to meet the need of a rapidly expanding program. The short term answer was to mount commando raids in France and Britain to successfully hijack uranium shipments and, in1968, to collaborate with West Germany in diverting 200 tons of yellowcake (uranium oxide).(6) These clandestine acquisitions of uranium for Dimona were subsequently covered up by the various countries involved. There was also an allegation that a U.S. corporation called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) diverted hundreds of pounds of enriched uranium to Israel from the mid-50s to the mid-60s.

Despite an FBI and CIA investigation, and Congressional hearings, no one was ever prosecuted, although most other investigators believed the diversion had occurred(7)(8). In the late 1960s, Israel solved the uranium problem by developing close ties with South Africa in a quid pro quo arrangement whereby Israel supplied the technology and expertise for the “Apartheid Bomb,” while South Africa provided the uranium.

South Africa and the United States

In 1977, the Soviet Union warned the U.S. that satellite photos indicated South Africa was planning a nuclear test in the Kalahari Desert but the Apartheid regime backed down under pressure. On September 22, 1979, a U.S. satellite detected an atmospheric test of a small thermonuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean off South Africa but, because of Israel’s apparent involvement, the report was quickly “whitewashed” by a carefully selected scientific panel kept in the dark about important details. Later it was learned through Israeli sources that there were actually three carefully guarded tests of miniaturized Israeli nuclear artillery shells. The Israeli/South African collaboration did not end with the bomb testing, but continued until the fall of Apartheid, especially with the developing and testing of medium range missiles and advanced artillery. In addition to uranium and test facilities, South Africa provided Israel with large amounts of investment capital, while Israel provided a major trade outlet to enable the Apartheid state avoid international economic sanctions.(9)

Although the French and South Africans were primarily responsible for the Israeli nuclear program, the U.S. shares and deserves a large part of the blame. Mark Gaffney wrote (the Israeli nuclear program) “was possible only because (emphasis in original) of calculated deception on the part of Israel, and willing complicity on the part of the U.S..”(10)

From the very beginning, the U.S. was heavily involved in the Israeli nuclear program, providing nuclear related technology such as a small research reactor in 1955 under the “Atoms for Peace Program.” Israeli scientists were largely trained at U.S. universities and were generally welcomed at the nuclear weapons labs. In the early 1960s, the controls for the Dimona reactor were obtained clandestinely from a company called Tracer Lab, the main supplier of U.S. military reactor control panels, purchased through a Belgian subsidiary, apparently with the acquiescence of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.(11) In 1971, the Nixon administration approved the sale of hundreds of krytons(a type of high speed switch necessary to the development of sophisticated nuclear bombs) to Israel.(12) And, in 1979, Carter provided ultra high resolution photos from a KH-11 spy satellite, used 2 years later to bomb the Iraqi Osirak Reactor.(13) Throughout the Nixon and Carter administrations, and accelerating dramatically under Reagan, U.S. advanced technology transfers to Israel have continued unabated to the present.

The Vanunu Revelations

Following the 1973 war, Israel intensified its nuclear program while continuing its policy of deliberate “nuclear opaqueness.” Until the mid-1980s, most intelligence estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal were on the order of two dozen but the explosive revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician working in the Dimona plutonium reprocessing plant, changed everything overnight. A leftist supporter of Palestine, Vanunu believed that it was his duty to humanity to expose Israel’s nuclear program to the world. He smuggled dozens of photos and valuable scientific data out of Israel and in 1986 his story was published in the London Sunday Times. Rigorous scientific scrutiny of the Vanunu revelations led to the disclosure that Israel possessed as many as 200 highly sophisticated, miniaturized thermonuclear bombs. His information indicated that the Dimona reactor’s capacity had been expanded several fold and that Israel was producing enough plutonium to make ten to twelve bombs per year. A senior U.S. intelligence analyst said of the Vanunu data,”The scope of this is much more extensive than we thought. This is an enormous operation.”(14)

Just prior to publication of his information Vanunu was lured to Rome by a Mossad “Mata Hari,” was beaten, drugged and kidnapped to Israel and, following a campaign of disinformation and vilification in the Israeli press, convicted of “treason” by a secret security court and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He served over 11 years in solitary confinement in a 6 by 9 foot cell. After a year of modified release into the general population(he was not permitted contact with Arabs), Vanunu recently has been returned to solitary and faces more than 3 years further imprisonment. Predictably, The Vanunu revelations were largely ignored by the world press, especially in the United States, and Israel continues to enjoy a relatively free ride regarding its nuclear status. (15)

Israel’s Arsenal of Mass Destruction

Today, estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of about 500. Whatever the number, there is little doubt that Israeli nukes are among the world’s most sophisticated, largely designed for “war fighting” in the Middle East. A staple of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are “neutron bombs,” miniaturized thermonuclear bombs designed to maximize deadly gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long term radiation- in essence designed to kill people while leaving property intact.(16) Weapons include ballistic missiles and bombers capable of reaching Moscow, cruise missiles, land mines (In the 1980s Israel planted nuclear land mines along the Golan Heights(17)), and artillery shells with a range of 45 miles(18).

In June, 2000 an Israeli submarine launched a cruise missile which hit a target 950 miles away, making Israel only the third nation after the U.S. and Russia with that capability. Israel will deploy 3 of these virtually impregnable submarines, each carrying 4 cruise missiles.(19)

The bombs themselves range in size from “city busters” larger than the Hiroshima Bomb to tactical mini nukes. The Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction clearly dwarfs the actual or potential arsenals of all other Middle Eastern states combined, and is vastly greater than any conceivable need for “deterrence.”

Israel also possesses a comprehensive arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. According to the Sunday Times, Israel has produced both chemical and biological weapons with a sophisticated delivery system, quoting a senior Israeli intelligence official,

“There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon . . .which is not manufactured at the Nes Tziyona Biological Institute.”)(20)

The same report described F-16 fighter jets specially designed for chemical and biological payloads, with crews trained to load the weapons on a moments notice. In 1998, the Sunday Times reported that Israel, using research obtained from South Africa, was developing an “ethno bomb; “In developing their “ethno-bomb”, Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying distinctive a gene carried by some Arabs, then create a genetically modified bacterium or virus… The scientists are trying to engineer deadly micro-organisms that attack only those bearing the distinctive genes.” Dedi Zucker, a leftist Member of Knesset, the Israeli parliament, denounced the research saying, “Morally, based on our history, and our tradition and our experience, such a weapon is monstrous and should be denied.”(21)

Israeli Nuclear Strategy

In popular imagination, the Israeli bomb is a “weapon of last resort,” to be used only at the last minute to avoid annihilation, and many well intentioned but misled supporters of Israel still believe that to be the case. Whatever truth this formulation may have had in the minds of the early Israeli nuclear strategists, today the Israeli nuclear arsenal is inextricably linked to and integrated with overall Israeli military and political strategy. As Seymour Hersh says in classic understatement ; “The Samson Option is no longer the only nuclear option available to Israel.”(22) Israel has made countless veiled nuclear threats against the Arab nations and against the Soviet Union(and by extension Russia since the end of the Cold War) One chilling example comes from Ariel Sharon, the current Israeli Prime Minister

“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”(23)

(In 1983 Sharon proposed to India that it join with Israel to attack Pakistani nuclear facilities; in the late 70s he proposed sending Israeli paratroopers to Tehran to prop up the Shah; and in 1982 he called for expanding Israel’s security influence to stretch from “Mauritania to Afghanistan.”)

In another example, Israeli nuclear expert Oded Brosh said in 1992,

“…we need not be ashamed that the nuclear option is a major instrumentality of our defense as a deterrent against those who attack us.”(24)

According to Israel Shahak,

“The wish for peace, so often assumed as the Israeli aim, is not in my view a principle of Israeli policy, while the wish to extend Israeli domination and influence is.”

and

“Israel is preparing for a war, nuclear if need be, for the sake of averting domestic change not to its liking, if it occurs in some or any Middle Eastern states…. Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East…, without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones.”(25)

Israel uses its nuclear arsenal not just in the context of deterrence” or of direct war fighting, but in other more subtle but no less important ways. For example, the possession of weapons of mass destruction can be a powerful lever to maintain the status quo, or to influence events to Israel’s perceived advantage, such as to protect the so called moderate Arab states from internal insurrection, or to intervene in inter-Arab warfare.(26)

In Israeli strategic jargon this concept is called “nonconventional compellence” and is exemplified by a quote from Shimon Peres; “acquiring a superior weapons system(read nuclear) would mean the possibility of using it for compellent purposes- that is forcing the other side to accept Israeli political demands, which presumably include a demand that the traditional status quo be accepted and a peace treaty signed.”(27)

From a slightly different perspective, Robert Tuckerr asked in a Commentary magazine article in defense of Israeli nukes, “What would prevent Israel… from pursuing a hawkish policy employing a nuclear deterrent to freeze the status quo?”(28) Possessing an overwhelming nuclear superiority allows Israel to act with impunity even in the face world wide opposition. A case in point might be the invasion of Lebanon and destruction of Beirut in 1982, led by Ariel Sharon, which resulted in 20,000 deaths, most civilian. Despite the annihilation of a neighboring Arab state, not to mention the utter destruction of the Syrian Air Force, Israel was able to carry out the war for months at least partially due to its nuclear threat.

Another major use of the Israeli bomb is to compel the U.S. to act in Israel’s favor, even when it runs counter to its own strategic interests. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, head of the French A-bomb project wrote “We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say, ‘If you don’t want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us; otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs.’”(29) During the 1973 war, Israel used nuclear blackmail to force Kissinger and Nixon to airlift massive amounts of military hardware to Israel.

The Israeli Ambassador, Simha Dinitz, is quoted as saying, at the time,

“If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and…we will have to draw very serious conclusions…”(30)

Just one example of this strategy was spelled out in 1987 by Amos Rubin, economic adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said

“If left to its own Israel will have no choice but to fall back on a riskier defense which will endanger itself and the world at large… To enable Israel to abstain from dependence on nuclear arms calls for $2 to 3 billion per year in U.S. aid.”(31)

Since then Israel’s nuclear arsenal has expanded exponentially, both quantitatively and qualitatively, while the U.S. money spigots remain wide open.

Regional and International Implications

Largely unknown to the world, the Middle East nearly exploded in all out war on February 22, 2001. According to the London Sunday Times and DEBKAfile, Israel went on high missile alert after receiving news from the U.S. of movement by 6 Iraqi armored divisions stationed along the Syrian border, and of launch preparations of surface to surface missiles. DEBKAfile, an Israeli based “counter-terrorism” information service, claims that the Iraqi missiles were deliberately taken to the highest alert level in order to test the U.S. and Israeli response. Despite an immediate attack by 42 U.S. and British war planes, the Iraqis suffered little apparent damage.(32) The Israelis have warned Iraq that they are prepared to use neutron bombs in a preemptive attack against Iraqi missiles.

The Israeli nuclear arsenal has profound implications for the future of peace in the Middle East, and indeed, for the entire planet. It is clear from Israel Shahak that Israel has no interest in peace except that which is dictated on its own terms, and has absolutely no intention of negotiating in good faith to curtail its nuclear program or discuss seriously a nuclear-free Middle East,”Israel’s insistence on the independent use of its nuclear weapons can be seen as the foundation on which Israeli grand strategy rests.”(34) According to Seymour Hersh, “the size and sophistication of Israel’s nuclear arsenal allows men such as Ariel Sharon to dream of redrawing the map of the Middle East aided by the implicit threat of nuclear force.”(35) General Amnon Shahak-Lipkin, former Israeli Chief of Staff is quoted “It is never possible to talk to Iraq about no matter what; It is never possible to talk to Iran about no matter what. Certainly about nuclearization. With Syria we cannot really talk either.”(36) Ze’ev Shiff, an Israeli military expert writing in Haaretz said, “Whoever believes that Israel will ever sign the UN Convention prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons… is day dreaming,”(37) and Munya Mardoch, Director of the Israeli Institute for the Development of Weaponry, said in 1994, “The moral and political meaning of nuclear weapons is that states which renounce their use are acquiescing to the status of Vassal states. All those states which feel satisfied with possessing conventional weapons alone are fated to become vassal states.”(38)

As Israeli society becomes more and more polarized, the influence of the radical right becomes stronger. According to Shahak, “The prospect of Gush Emunim, or some secular right-wing Israeli fanatics, or some some of the delerious Israeli Army generals, seizing control of Israeli nuclear weapons…cannot be precluded. …while israeli jewish society undergoes a steady polarization, the Israeli security system increasingly relies on the recruitment of cohorts from the ranks of the extreme right.”(39) The Arab states, long aware of Israel’s nuclear program, bitterly resent its coercive intent, and perceive its existence as the paramount threat to peace in the region, requiring their own weapons of mass destruction. During a future Middle Eastern war (a distinct possibility given the ascension of Ariel Sharon, an unindicted war criminal with a bloody record stretching from the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Quibya in 1953, to the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and beyond) the possible Israeli use of nuclear weapons should not be discounted. According to Shahak, “In Israeli terminology, the launching of missiles on to Israeli territory is regarded as ‘nonconventional’ regardless of whether they are equipped with explosives or poison gas.”(40) (Which requires a “nonconventional” response, a perhaps unique exception being the Iraqi SCUD attacks during the Gulf War.)

Meanwhile, the existence of an arsenal of mass destruction in such an unstable region in turn has serious implications for future arms control and disarmament negotiations, and even the threat of nuclear war. Seymour Hersh warns,

“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.”(41) and Ezar Weissman, Israel’s current President said “The nuclear issue is gaining momentum(and the) next war will not be conventional.”(42)

Russia and before it the Soviet Union has long been a major(if not the major) target of Israeli nukes. It is widely reported that the principal purpose of Jonathan Pollard’s spying for Israel was to furnish satellite images of Soviet targets and other super sensitive data relating to U.S. nuclear targeting strategy. (43) (Since launching its own satellite in 1988, Israel no longer needs U.S. spy secrets.) Israeli nukes aimed at the Russian heartland seriously complicate disarmament and arms control negotiations and, at the very least, the unilateral possession of nuclear weapons by Israel is enormously destabilizing, and dramatically lowers the threshold for their actual use, if not for all out nuclear war. In the words of Mark Gaffney, “… if the familar pattern(Israel refining its weapons of mass destruction with U.S. complicity) is not reversed soon- for whatever reason- the deepening Middle East conflict could trigger a world conflagration.” (44)

Many Middle East Peace activists have been reluctant to discuss, let alone challenge, the Israeli monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, often leading to incomplete and uninformed analyses and flawed action strategies.

Placing the issue of Israeli weapons of mass destruction directly and honestly on the table and action agenda would have several salutary effects. First, it would expose a primary destabilizing dynamic driving the Middle East arms race and compelling the region’s states to each seek their own “deterrent.” Second, it would expose the grotesque double standard which sees the U.S. and Europe on the one hand condemning Iraq, Iran and Syria for developing weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously protecting and enabling the principal culprit. Third, exposing Israel’s nuclear strategy would focus international public attention, resulting in increased pressure to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and negotiate a just peace in good faith. Finally, a nuclear free Israel would make a Nuclear Free Middle East and a comprehensive regional peace agreement much more likely. Unless and until the world community confronts Israel over its covert nuclear program it is unlikely that there will be any meaningful resolution of the Israeli/Arab conflict, a fact that Israel may be counting on as the Sharon era dawns.

Notes

1. Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, New York,1991, Random House, p. 319 (A brilliant and prophetic work with much original research)2

2. Mark Gaffney, Dimona, The Third Temple:The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation, Brattleboro, VT, 1989, Amana Books, p. 165 (Excellent progressive analysis of the Israeli nuclear program)

3. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Warner D. Farr, The Third Temple Holy of Holies; Israel’s Nuclear Weapons, USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College Sept 1999 <www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/farr,htm (Perhaps the best single condensed history of the Israeli nuclear program)

4. Hersch, op.cit., p. 131

5. Gaffney, op.cit., p. 63

6. Gaffney, op. cit. pp 68 – 69

7. Hersh, op.cit., pp. 242-257

8. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, pps. 65-66 (An alternative discussion of the NUMEC affair)

9. Barbara Rogers & Zdenek Cervenka, The Nuclear Axis: The Secret Collaboration Between West Germany and South Africa, New York, 1978, Times Books, p. 325-328 (the definitive history of the Apartheid Bomb)

10. Gaffney, op. cit., 1989, p. 34

11. Peter Hounam, Woman From Mossad: The Torment of Mordechai Vanunu, London, 1999, Vision Paperbacks, pp. 155-168 (The most complete and up to date account of the Vanunu story, it includes fascenating speculation that Israel may have a second hidden Dimona type reactor)

12. Hersh, op. cit., 1989, p. 213

13. ibid, p.198-200

14. ibid, pp. 3-17

15. Hounman, op. cit. 1999, pp 189-203

16. Hersh, 1989. pp.199-200

17. ibid, p. 312

18. John Pike and Federation of American Scientists, Israel Special Weapons Guide Website, 2001, Web Address http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/index.html  (An invaluable internet resource)

19. Usi Mahnaimi and Peter Conradi, Fears of New Arms Race as Israel Tests Cruise Missiles, June 18, 2000, London Sunday Times

20. Usi Mahnaimi, Israeli Jets Equipped for Chemical Warfare October 4, 1998, London Sunday Times

21. Usi Mahnaimi and Marie Colvin, Israel Planning “Ethnic” bomb as Saddam Caves In, November 15, 1998, London Sunday Times

22. Hersh, op.cit., 1991, p. 319

23. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, p. 163

24. Israel Shahak, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies, London, 1997,Pluto Press, p. 40 (An absolute “must read” for any Middle East or anti-nuclear activist)

25 ibid, p.2

26. ibid, p.43

27. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, p 131

28. “Israel & the US: From Dependence to Nuclear Weapons?” Robert W. Tucker, Novenber 1975 pp41-42

29. London Sunday Times, October 12, 1986

30. Gaffney, op. cit. 1989. p. 147

31. ibid, p. 153

32. DEBKAfile, February 23, 2001 WWW.debka.com

33. Uzi Mahnaimi and Tom Walker, London Sunday Times, February 25, 2001

34. Shahak, op. cit., p150

35. Hersh, op.cit., p. 319

36. Shahak, op. cit., p34

37. ibid, p. 149

38. ibid, p. 153

39. ibid, pp. 37-38

40. ibid, pp 39-40

41. Hersh, op. cit., p. 19

42. Aronson, Geoffrey, “Hidden Agenda: US-Israeli Relations and the Nuclear Question,” Middle East Journal, (Autumn 1992), 619-630.

43 . Hersh, op. cit., pp. 285-305

44. Gaffney, op. cit., p194


Source: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/STE203A.html

Adolf Heusinger: Hitler’s Army Chief And NATO’s Chairman

Heusinger, Adolf, Generalinspekteur der BW 1.4.1957 – 31.3.1961

General Adolf Heusinger (August 4, 1897 – November 30, 1982) was a German general officer who briefly served as Adolf Hitler’s Chief of the General Staff of the Army during World War II and served as the first Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, the West German armed forces, from 1957 to 1961. Heusinger served as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 1961 to 1964.

Heusinger was born in Holzminden, in the Duchy of Brunswick, German Empire. He entered the Imperial German Army on June 17, 1915, and was assigned to 7. Thüringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 96, an infantry regiment raised in the Thuringia region of Germany.

During World War I, he was decorated with the Iron Cross 2nd Class and Iron Cross 1st Class, Brunswick’s War Merit Cross 2nd Class, the Reuss Silver Merit Medal with Swords, the Reuss Honor Cross 3rd Class with Swords and the Wound Badge in Black.

Heusinger served in Berlin with the Troop Office (Troop Office was the German Army’s covert General Staff during the Weimar Republic era, as the Treaty of Versailles also forbade that institution) from October 1931 until August 1934, and then returned to troop assignments.

He was made chief operations officer of the 11th Division in October 1935, where he served until August 1937. In the meantime he was promoted to major on March 16, 1936.

With the rise of the Nazis in Germany and Adolf Hitler’s assumption of power, the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles were abrogated and the German General Staff was officially reestablished. In August 1937, Heusinger was assigned to the Operations Staff (Operationsabteilung) of the Army General Staff as a general staff officer. He served there, being promoted to lieutenant colonel on March 20, 1939, and remained in that position until October 15, 1940, when he became its chief.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, the German Army High Command (OKH) assumed its wartime organization. Heusinger accompanied the field staff and assisted in the planning of operations in Poland, Denmark, Norway, and France and the Low Countries (coastal region in western Europe, consisting especially of the Netherlands and Belgium).

He was promoted to colonel on August 1, 1940 and became chief of the Operationsabteilung in October 1940, making him number three in the Army planning hierarchy, after the Chief of the General Staff, General Franz Halder, and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff/Chief Quartermaster (Oberquartiermeister I), General Friedrich Paulus. After the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the OKH became primarily responsible for planning operations in that theater.

Heusinger remained chief of the Operationsabteilung and was promoted to Generalmajor (major general) on January 1, 1942 and to Generalleutnant (lieutenant general) on January 1, 1943. In June 1944, General Zeitzler became ill, and on June 10, Heusinger temporarily assumed his office as Chief of the General Staff of the Army. In this capacity, he attended the meeting at Adolf Hitler’s “Wolf’s Lair” on July 20, 1944, and was standing next to Hitler when the bomb planted by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg exploded.

Heusinger was hospitalized for his injuries in the explosion, but was arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo to determine his role, if any, in the July Plot. Although there was evidence that Heusinger had had contacts with many of the conspirators, there was insufficient evidence to directly connect him to the plot, and he was freed in October 1944. However, he was placed into the “Führer-Reserve” and was not assigned to another position until March 25, 1945, when he was made chief of armed forces mapping department. He was taken prisoner by the Western Allies in May 1945.

A prisoner of war from 1945 to 1947, Heusinger testified during the Nuremberg Trials.

According to documents released by the German intelligence agency (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND) in 2014, Heusinger may have been part of the Schnez-Truppe, a secret army that veterans of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS sought to establish in the early ’50s. He was, according to news reports, wanted by the Russians in respect of organizing the Koriukivka massacre (mass murder of 6,700 residents of Koriukivka in Ukraine on 1-2 March 1943 by German SS. On 9 March, the Germans returned to Koriukivka and burned alive some elderly people who had returned to the village after escaping thinking it was safe).

In 1950, Heusinger became an advisor on military matters to Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of West Germany. With the establishment of the West Germany Army Bundeswehr in 1955, Heusinger returned to military service. He was appointed a Generalleutnant (lieutenant general) on November 12, 1955. in the Bundeswehr and chairman of the Military Leadership Council.

In March 1957, he succeeded Hans Speidel as chief of the Bundeswehr’s all-armed forces department.

Shortly thereafter, in June 1957, Heusinger was promoted to full general and named the first Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, and served in that capacity until March 1961. In April 1961, he was appointed Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Washington, D.C., where he served until 1964, when he retired.

Heusinger died in Cologne on November 30, 1982, aged 85.


Source: http://inserbia.info/today/2015/09/adolf-heusinger-hitlers-army-chief-and-nato-chairman/

“Je Suis CIA”

Note: This article was first published in January 2015.

Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation.

Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval.

Here we are again.

The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most tragic ways: France, like the United States on 9/11, has been used. The masses of the world have been deceived, and march in lockstep to NATO’s drumbeat again.

All signs lead from French intelligence back to Washington—and Langley, Virginia—directly and indirectly. Red herrings and deceptions comprise the official narrative.

The Al-Qaeda narrative, the classic CIA deception, gets fresh facelift. The fact that Al-Qaeda is CIA-created Anglo-American military-intelligence is ignored. The agenda behind the ISIS war—a massive and elaborate regional CIA false flag operation—registers even less.

The Charlie Hebdo terrorists have ties to Anglo-American intelligence and the Pentagon that the masses do not bother to think about. They are also tied to the (conveniently dead) 9/11-connected Al-Qaeda mastermind/CIA military-intelligence asset Anwar Al-Awlaki. These and other obvious connections to Washington and the CIA do not raise alarm bells among the ardent ones waving Je Suis Charlie signs (which “magically” appeared, and seem to have been mass-produced in advance).

Signs of an inside job and a still unfolding cover-up are significant, from pristine, undamaged passports found on scene to the convenient suicide of Helric Fredou, the Paris police commissioner in charge of the Hebdo investigation.

The Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly were not only well known by French authorities, French intelligence and the CIA. The Kouachis were tracked and monitored—guided—over the course of many years, arrested many times, yet were allowed to continue training and plotting with fellow Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, etc. These are telltale signs of a guided military-intelligence operation. A blatantly obvious terror cell, known to authorities, “drops out of sight”, and then set loose at an appropriate moment. And then executed.

None of these things, which alarm seasoned observers, registers among the emotional masses; the lemmings who willfully refuse to address its real source: the architects of Anglo-American war policy.

Only the NATO war agenda benefits from any of this.

“France’s 9/11” is more accurately France’s latest Operation Gladio. As noted by Paul Craig Roberts, there is a reason why the Charlie Hebdo attacks took place when it did:

France is suffering from the Washington-imposed sanctions against Russia. Shipyards are impacted from being unable to deliver Russian orders due to France’s vassalage status to Washington, and other aspects of the French economy are being adversely impacted by sanctions that Washington forced its NATO puppet states to apply to Russia.

This week the French president said that the sanctions against Russia should end (so did the German vice-chancellor).

This is too much foreign policy independence on France’s part for Washington. Has Washington resurrected “Operation Gladio,” which consisted of CIA bombing attacks against Europeans during the post-WW II era that Washington blamed on communists and used to destroy communist influence in European elections? Just as the world was led to believe that communists were behind Operation Gladio’s terrorist attacks, Muslims are blamed for the attacks on the French satirical magazine.

Now France is militarized, just as the US was in the wake of 9/11. And the French right-wing has newfound cache.

The hostile takeover of the public mind

Notice that the last two false flag operations in recent months—the false flagging of North Korea over Sony and the film The Interview, and the Charlie Hebdo deception—both revolve around the ideas of “free speech” and “free expression”.

This is a phantom battle, choreographed by those who could not care less for “freedoms”. In fact, the masses are being manipulated towards supporting war and mass murder, and police state agendas that specifically curtail freedoms.

What more creative way to take away freedoms than to make people give them up voluntarily?

The hordes of American citizens that supported the “war on terrorism” to “defend freedom” got the Patriot Act, which gutted what liberties they had; the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will not be restored. This process continues all over the world. Ask the average uninformed French citizen today suffering from post-traumatic stress, and they will gladly give up their rights, anything so that “terrorists” are stopped.

Note how the powers that be have taken to inserting their pro-war messages even more forcefully where the ignorant public spends the majority of its time: in popular entertainment. In Hollywood products, in their cartoons, in their magazines, in their celebrities.

Let George Clooney, Seth Rogen and James Franco transmit the messages of war for the CIA and the Pentagon.

Weaponize stupid movies like The Interview and crude magazines like Charlie Hebdo, and watch people become bloodthirsty, vengeful, unthinking and war-loving.

It is the CIA’s ongoing mission to plant its assets and its propaganda into the media and the arts, controlling the perception of culture as well as framing all debate. It is making a huge push at the moment, relishing the speed and effectiveness of technology and social media.

Hundreds and thousands of innocent lives have been lost in this endless, brutal and criminal war. Yet its architects and functionaries remain untouched.

Je Suis Langley

No Anglo-American war of conquest, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

No CIA, no Militant Islam, no Al-Qaeda, no ISIS, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

No 9/11, no “war on terrorism”, no ISIS deception, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

No war against Russia, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Je Suis Charlie? No.

To the naïve ones who believe the lies and march on the streets carrying the signs, you are the victims, the gullible, the dupes, the pawns.

Tu es CIA.

Tu es NATO.


Putin Is Defeating More Than ISIS In Syria

Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. It is Washington that is on the defensive, exposed for the criminal actions it has been doing in Syria and across the Middle East, including creating the recent asylum crisis in Germany and large parts of the EU.

As a student of international politics and economics for most of my adult life, I must say the emotional restraint that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have shown against tasteless ad hominem attacks, from people such as Hillary Clinton who likened Putin to Adolf Hitler, is remarkable. But more than restraint is required to bring our world from the brink or some might say, the onset of a World War III. Brilliant and directed action is essential. Here something extraordinary has taken place in the very few days since President Vladimir Putin’s September 28, UNGA speech in New York.

What he said…

What Putin said to the UN General Assembly must be noted to put what he and Russia did in the days immediately following into clear focus. First of all he made clear what the international law behind the UN Charter means and that Russia is scrupulously abiding by the Charter in actions in Syria. Russia, unlike the US, has been formally asked by the legitimate Syrian government to aid its war against terror.

To the UN delegates and heads of state Putin stated, “The decisions debated within the UN are either taken in the form of resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or they don’t. Any action taken by circumventing this procedure is illegitimate and constitutes a violation of the UN Charter and contemporary international law.”

He continued, “We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don’t need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way.”

Putin followed this with a clear message to Washington and NATO governments on the subject of national sovereignty, something anathema to many who embrace the Nirvana supposed to come from globalization, homogenization of all to one level: “What is the meaning of state sovereignty, the term which has been mentioned by our colleagues here?” Putin rhetorically asked. “It basically means freedom, every person and every state being free to choose their future. By the way, this brings us to the issue of the so-called legitimacy of state authorities. You shouldn’t play with words and manipulate them. In international law, international affairs, every term has to be clearly defined, transparent and interpreted the same way by one and all.”

Putin added, “We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn’t be forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has declared the only appropriate one. We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress. “

Those few words succinctly point to what is fundamentally wrong in the international order today. Nations, above all the one proclaiming herself Sole Superpower, Infallible Hegemon, the USA, have arrogantly moved after the collapse of the main adversary, the Soviet Union in 1990, to create what can only be called a global totalitarian empire, what G.H.W. Bush in his September 11, 1991 address to Congress called a New World Order. I believe with conviction that borders do matter, that respect for different cultures, different historical experiences is essential in a world of peace. That is as much true with nations as with individual human beings. We seem to have forgotten that simple notion amid all the wars of the past decades. Vladimir Putin reminds us.

Then the Russian president goes to the heart of the matter. He lays bare the true activities of the Obama Administration in Syria and the Middle East in arming and training “moderate” Islamist terrorists to attack Washington’s bête noire, Syria’s duly-elected and recently re-elected President, Bashar al Assad.

Putin states, “instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa…problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.”

Then in a remark addressed to Washington and their NGO Color Revolutions known as the Arab Spring, Putin pointedly asks,“I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?

Putin, without naming it, addresses the US and NATO role in creating ISIS, noting with precision the curious anomaly that the sophisticated new US Treasury unit to conduct financial sanctions against terrorist organizations, has utterly ignored the funding sources of ISIS, their oil sales facilitated by the Turkish President’s own family to name just one. The Russian President stated, “…the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond…The situation is extremely dangerous. In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

And what Putin is doing…

Russia in the last weeks has completely out-maneuvered the diabolical, and they are diabolical, agenda of the Obama Administration not only in Syria but also in the entire Middle East and now in the EU with unleashing the flood of refugees. He openly reached out to invite Obama in their New York September 30 meeting to cooperate together in defeating ISIS. Obama stubbornly insisted that first Assad must go, despite the fact that Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon Undersecretary responsible for the Syrian war, confirmed Russian statements about Assad’s essential role today in any defeat of ISIS. She told the US Senate that Assad’s military “still has considerable strength,” adding, “it’s still the most powerful military force on the ground. The assessment right now is the regime is not in imminent danger of falling.”

Now come the howls of protest from neo-con warhawks, like the ever-ready-for-war Senator John McCain, chairman of the NGO International Republican Institute of the democratic revolution exporting US-backed NGO, National Endowment for Democracy. Or we hear flaccid protests from President Obama. This is because Washington finds itself deeply exposed to the light of world scrutiny for backing terrorists in Syria against a duly-elected state leader and government. The US warhawks accuse Russia of hitting “the moderate opposition” or civilians.

Emperor’s New Clothes

Russia’s Putin is playing the role ever so elegantly, even gracefully, of the small boy in the Hans Christian Anderson classic fairy tale from 1837, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The boy stands with his mother amid thousands of other villagers in the crowd outside the vain Emperor’s palace balcony, where the disassociated king struts around the balcony naked, thinking he is wearing a magnificent new suit of clothes. The boy shouts, to the embarrassment of all servile citizens who pretend his clothes are magnificent, “Mother, look the Emperor has no clothes!”

What do I mean? In the first four days of precision bombing of select sites in Syria Russian advanced fighter jets firing Kh-29L air-to-surface laser-guided missiles that strike targets with a precision less than two meters, managed to destroy key ISIS command centers, munitions depots and vital infrastructure. According to the Russian Defense Ministry official reports, with photos, Su-34 bombers attacked an ISIS special training camp and munition depot near Al-Tabqa, Ar-Raqqah province,” a critical ISIS outpost captured in August, 2014 after bitter battles. “As a result of explosion of the munition depot, the terrorist training camp was completely destroyed,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman stated. Russian Su-25 jets have also attacked training camp of the Islamic State in the Syrian Idlib, destroying a workshop for explosive belt production.

Moscow states its air force has “engaged 3 munition, fuel and armament depots of the illegal armed groups. KAB-500 aviation bombs detonated the munition and armament,” and they used BETAB-500 concrete-piercing bombs to destroy four command posts of the ISIS armed groups. The facilities with terrorists are completely destroyed,” the Moscow spokesman added. Russia’s aviation conducted 20 flights and carried out 10 airstrikes against facilities of the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group in the past 24 hours. Then Moscow announced they had also hit key outposts of other terror groups such as the Al Qaeda-franchise, Al Nusra Front.

These are the so-called “moderates” that McCain and the Washington warhawks are weeping over. Washington has been creating what it calls the “New” Syrian Forces (NSF), which they claim is composed of “moderate” terrorists, euphemistically referred to as “rebels.” Imagine how recruitment talks go: CIA recruiter, “Mohammed, are you a moderate Islamist? Why yes, my dear CIA trainer. Please take me, train me and arm me in the fight against the ruthless dictator Assad and against ISIS. I’m on your side. You can trust me…”

In late September it was reported that Major Anas Obaid a.k.a. Abu Zayd, on completing his CIA training in Turkey, defected from the train-and-equip program to join Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) immediately on entering Syria. Incredibly, US officials admit that Washington does not track or exercise command-and-control of its Jihadist proxies once they enter Syria. Abu Zayd’s defection after being trained in advanced warfare techniques by the US, is typical. Other elements of the New Syrian Forces directly handed all their weapons to Nusra upon entering Syrian territory at the town of Atareb at the end ofSeptember.

These latest “moderate” defections to join Al Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front affiliate in Syria come less than two weeks after Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of the US “war against ISIS,” during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Syria, admitted that the US military program that intended produce 5,400 trained fighters a year has so far only resulted in “four or five” who still remain on the ground and active in combat. The rest have all joined ISIS or Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda, the US-backed “moderate opposition” to ISIL.

What the successful Russian precision airstrikes have done is expose in all its ugly nakedness the Emperor’s New Clothes. For more than one year, the Obama Administration claims it has committed the most awesome airpower on the planet allegedly to destroy ISIS, which has been described as a “ragtag band of militants running around the desert in basketball shoes.”

Curiously, until last week, ISIS has only expanded its web of power in Syria and Iraq under US bombings. Now, within 72 hours, the Russian military, launching only 60 bombing runs in 72 hours, hitting more than 50 ISIS targets, has brought the ISIS combatants into what the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman described as a state of “panic” where more than 600 have deserted. And, according to Moscow, the fight is only beginning, expected, they say to last three to four months.

The Obama Administration has been training terrorists of Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, allegedly to fight ISIS, much like the disgraced General David Petraeus did in Iraq and Afghanistan along with Obama’s special ISIS coordinator, the just-resigned General John Allen. The US-trained “moderate” terrorists were being readied, it’s now clear to all the world, in reality, to battle Assad and open the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria and a real plunge into darkness for the world if that were to succeed.

Now, with the truth in the open, exposed by the remarkable successes of a handful of Russian fighter jets in four days against ISIS, accomplishing more than the US “anti-ISIS coalition” in more than one year, it is clear to the world Washington has been playing a dirty double game.

Now that hypocritical Obama Administration mask has been blown off with the precision hit of a Russian laser-guided Kh-29L missile. As German and other EU governments have admitted, much to the strong objection of Washington, Putin has demonstrated that Russia is the essential part of any peaceful resolution of the Syria war. That in turn has a huge bearing on the current asylum-seeker crisis in Germany and other parts of the EU. It also has a huge bearing on prospects for world peace. The Norwegian Parliament’s Nobel Peace Prize Committee, rather than consider John Kerry, might consider Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, for the prize.


2015-10-15

About the author:

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


First appeared:http://journal-neo.org/2015/10/15/putin-is-defeating-more-than-isis-in-syria/

Is Barack Obama Actually Trying To Start World War III?

Why has Barack Obama airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into areas that “moderate rebels” in Syria supposedly control? This is essentially the equivalent of poking the Russians directly in the eyes. Much of this ammunition will end up in the hands of those that the Russians are attempting to bomb into oblivion, and so to Russia it appears that we are attempting to make their job much harder. And of course the truth is that there aren’t really any “moderate rebels” in Syria at all. Nearly all of the groups that are fighting are made up primarily of radical jihadists and/or hired mercenaries. Personally, I don’t see anyone over there that you could call “the good guys”. At the end of the day, the U.S. supports just about anyone that wants to get rid of the Assad regime, and the Russians are working very hard to keep Assad in power. Just like the civil war in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria is in great danger of being transformed into a proxy war between the United States and Russia, and many fear that these conflicts could eventually be setting the stage for World War III.

The ferocity of Russian airstrikes in Syria has surprised observers all over the planet, and over the past couple of days these airstrikes have been extended to include some new areas…

Russian Air Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists’ infrastructure.

Over the last 24 hours Russian aircraft have attacked terrorist positions in the Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Raqqa provinces of Syria. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post.

When I read reports like this, I am deeply troubled. The Obama administration claims that it has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria for over a year. So why in the world do these targets still exist?

Was the U.S. military incapable of finding these installations?

That doesn’t seem likely.

So why weren’t they destroyed long ago?

Did the Obama administration not want them destroyed for some reason?

What seems abundantly clear is that the Russians are doing what the Obama administration was either unwilling or unable to do. There is now mass panic among ISIS fighters, and thousands of them are fleeing the country…

An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters as well as militants from other extremist groups have fled Syria for Jordan fearing a renewed offensive by the Syrian army in addition to Russian airstrikes, a military official has told RIA news agency.

“At least 3,000 militants from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), al-Nusra and Jaish al-Yarmouk have fled to Jordan. They are afraid of the Syrian army having stepped up activities on all fronts and of Russian airstrikes,” the RIA source said.

The mainstream media in the United States is not talking much about this, are they?

But the U.S. media is reporting on this latest airdrop of ammunition to rebel groups in Syria. For example, the following comes from CNN…

U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration’s urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.

Details of the air mission over Syria were confirmed by a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because the details have not yet been formally announced.

C-17s, accompanied by fighter escort aircraft, dropped small arms ammunition and other items like hand grenades in Hasakah province in northern Syria to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

If you were the Russians, how would you feel about this?

I know how I would feel.

And just as Joe Biden has previously admitted, the “moderate middle” in Syria simply does not exist. The following is an extended excerpt from a piece that was originally written by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed…

The first Russian airstrikes hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City, home to al-Qaeda’s official Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the pro-al-Qaeda Ahrar al-Sham, among other local rebel groups. Both al-Nusra and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) in Homs City, which is 12 kilometers south of Talbisah.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that as part of “US and Turkish efforts to establish an ISIS ‘free zone’ in the northern Aleppo countryside,” al-Nusra “withdrew from the border and reportedly reinforced positions in this rebel-held pocket north of Homs city”.

In other words, the US and Turkey are actively sponsoring “moderate” Syrian rebels in the form of al-Qaeda, which Washington DC-based risk analysis firm Valen Globals forecasts will be “a bigger threat to global security” than IS in coming years.

Last October, Vice President Joe Biden conceded that there is “no moderate middle” among the Syrian opposition. Turkey and the Gulf powers armed and funded “anyone who would fight against Assad,” including “al-Nusra,” “al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI),” and the “extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world”.

In other words, the CIA-backed rebels targeted by Russia are not moderates. They represent the same melting pot of al-Qaeda affiliated networks that spawned the Islamic State in the first place.

It has been well documented that many of these so-called “moderate rebel groups” in Syria have fought alongside ISIS and have sold weapons to them. So this false dichotomy that Barack Obama keeps trying to sell us on is just a giant fraud. The following comes from a recent Infowars report…

In September, 2014 a commander with the FSA admitted cooperating with ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” Bassel Idriss said. “Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.”

In July of 2014 a report in Stars and Stripes documented how the 1,000 strong Dawud Brigade, which had previously fought alongside the FSA against al-Assad, had defected in its entirety to join ISIS.

The same month factions within the FSA — including Ahl Al Athar and Ibin al-Qa’im — pledged services to the Islamic State.

Members of the Islamic State claim to cooperate with the FSA and buy weapons provided by the U.S.

“We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons,” ISIS member Abu Atheer told al-Jazeera. “We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”

U.S. anti-tank weapons are playing a critical role in the Syrian conflict. As reported by the Washington Post, U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are being used by the rebels to destroy lots of Russian-made tanks that are being used by the Syrian army…

So successful have they been in driving rebel gains in northwestern Syria that rebels call the missile the “Assad Tamer,” a play on the word Assad, which means lion. And in recent days they have been used with great success to slow the Russian-backed offensive aimed at recapturing ground from the rebels.

Since Wednesday, when Syrian troops launched their first offensive backed by the might of Russia’s military, dozens of videos have been posted on YouTube showing rebels firing the U.S.-made missiles at Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian army. Appearing as twirling balls of light, they zigzag across the Syrian countryside until they find and blast their target in a ball of flame.

Like I said earlier, this is looking more and more like a proxy war between the United States and Russia.

Could that be what Obama actually wants?

Obama is poking China in the eyes lately too. CNN is reporting that U.S. warships may soon be sailing into territorial waters around the Spratly Islands. These are islands that the Chinese government claims ownership over, but the U.S. government disputes that claim, and Obama seems determined to flex his muscles in the area…

The United States (US) may soon deploy war ships near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

It wants to send a message that it does not recognize China’s territorial claims over the area.

This is according to a Financial Times report quoting a senior U.S. official who said its ships will sail within 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as its territory around the Spratly Islands within the next two weeks.

If Obama sends warships into that area, there is a very real chance that they could get shot at. According to Newsweek, the Chinese are saying that they will not permit U.S. ships to violate those territorial waters under any circumstances…

“We will never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in response to a question about possible U.S. patrols. “We urge the related parties not to take any provocative actions, and genuinely take a responsible stance on regional peace and stability.”

Such exchanges appear to be moving China and the U.S. toward a much feared, yet long expected, military confrontation. Just as unsettling, both sides seem confident they can prevail.

Over the past couple of years our relations with China have really gone downhill very rapidly, and if the trading relationship between the two largest economies on the planet breaks down, that would have massive implications for the entire global economy.

In addition to everything above, the civil war in Ukraine continues to rage on. The United States funded, equipped, trained and organized the forces that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government in Ukraine, and then once those thugs (which actually included some neo-Nazis) took power, the Obama administration immediately recognized them as the legitimate government of Ukraine.

The Russians were absolutely infuriated by this, and they have been providing soldiers, equipment and supplies to the rebel groups that are fighting back against this new government. Of course the Russians deny that they are doing this, but it is exceedingly obvious that they are.

The rebel groups that the Russians have been backing have been doing very well and have been steadily taking ground, and this is not how the power brokers in D.C. envisioned things playing out in Ukraine. So in a desperate attempt to shift the momentum of the conflict, a bill is going through Congress that would provide “lethal military aid” to the government in Kiev. Initially the bill would have provided 200 million dollars in lethal aid, but now it has been upped to 300 million dollars. There are some that believe that the final figure will be significantly higher.

Once this bill gets passed, it will be an extremely important event. For the Russians, it will mean crossing a red line that never should have been crossed. You see, the truth is that Ukraine is Russia’s most important neighbor. Just imagine how we would feel if the Russians helped overthrow Canada’s government and then start feeding weapons to the new pro-Russian government that they helped install. That is exactly how the Russians view our meddling in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article in which I discussed an opinion poll that showed that 81 percent of all Russians now view the United States negatively, and only 13 percent of Russians have a positive view of this nation. Not even during the height of the Cold War were the numbers that bad.

The stage is being set for World War III, but most Americans are completely and totally oblivious to all of this because they are so wrapped up in their own little worlds.

Most Americans still seem to assume that the Russians and the Chinese are our “friends” and that any type of conflict between major global powers is impossible.

Well, the truth is that conflict has already begun in Ukraine and Syria, and tensions are rising with each passing day.

It won’t happen next week or next month, but we are on the road to World War III.

So what will the end result be? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…


By Michael Snyder

Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/is-barack-obama-actually-trying-to-start-world-war-iii

Time Is Running Out For Pax Americana’s Apologists

The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana (“American peace”).

Since policy is not a zero-sum game, i.e., one participant’s loss does not necessarily entail a gain for another, this paradox has a logical explanation. A crisis erupts within any system when there is a discrepancy between its internal structure and the sum total of available resources (that is, those resources will eventually prove inadequate for the system to function normally and in the usual way).

There are at least three basic options for addressing this situation:

  1. Through reform, in which the system’s internal structure evolves in such a way as to better correspond to the available resources.
  2. Through the system’s collapse, in which the same result is achieved via revolution.
  3. Through preservation, in which the inputs threatening the system are eliminated by force, and the relationships within the system are carefully preserved on an inequitable relationship basis (whether between classes, social strata, castes, or nations).

The preservation method was attempted by the Ming and Qing dynasties in China, as well as the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. It was utilized successfully (in the 19th century) prior to the era of capitalist globalization. But neither of those Eastern civilizations (although fairly robust internally) survived their collision with the technologically more advanced (and hence more militarily and politically powerful) European civilization. Japan found its answer on the path of modernization (reform) back in the second half of the 19th century, China spent a century immersed in the quagmire of semi-colonial dependence and bloody civil wars, until the new leadership of Deng Xiaoping was able to articulate its own vision of modernizing reforms.

This point leads us to the conclusion that a system can be preserved only if it is safeguarded from any unwanted external influences, i.e., if it controls the globalized world.

The contradiction between the concept of escaping the crisis, which has been adopted the US elite, and the alternative concept – proposed by Russia and backed by China, then by the BRICS nations and now a large part of the world – lay in the fact that the politicians in Washington were working from the premise that they are able to fully control the globalized world and guide its development in the direction they wish. Therefore, faced with dwindling resources to sustain the mechanisms that perpetuate their global hegemony, they tried to resolve the problem by forcefully suppressing potential opponents in order to reallocate global resources in their favor.

If successful, the United States would be able to reenact the events of the late 1980s – early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global socialist system under its control allowed the West to escape its crisis. At this new stage, it has become a question of no longer simply reallocating resources in favor of the West as a collective whole, but solely in favor of the United States. This move offered the system a respite that could be used to create a regime for preserving inequitable relationships, during which the American elite’s definitive control over the resources of power, raw materials, finance, and industrial resources safeguarded them from the danger of the system’s internal implosion, while the elimination of alternative power centers shielded the system from external breaches, rendering it eternal (at least for a historically foreseeable period of time).

The alternative approach postulated that the system’s total resources might be depleted before the United States can manage to generate the mechanisms to perpetuate its global hegemony. In turn, this will lead to strain (and overstrain) on the forces that ensure the imperial suppression of those nations existing on the global periphery, all in the interests of the Washington-based center, which will later bring about the inevitable collapse of the system.

Two hundred, or even one hundred years ago, politicians would have acted on the principle of “what is falling, that one should also push” and prepared to divvy up the legacy of yet another crumbling empire. However, the globalization of not only the world’s industry and trade (that was achieved by the end of the 19th century), but also global finance, caused the collapse of the American empire through a policy that was extremely dangerous and costly for the whole world. To put it bluntly, the United States could bury civilization under its own wreckage.

Consequently, the Russian-Chinese approach has made a point of offering Washington a compromise option that endorses the gradual, evolutionary erosion of American hegemony, plus the incremental reform of international financial, economic, military, and political relations on the basis of the existing system of international law.

America’s elite have been offered a “soft landing” that would preserve much of their influence and assets, while gradually adapting the system to better correspond to the present facts of life (bringing it into line with the available reserve of resources), taking into account the interests of humanity, and not only of its “top echelon” as exemplified by the “300 families” who are actually dwindling to no more than thirty.

In the end, it is always better to negotiate than to build a new world upon the ashes of the old. Especially since there has been a global precedent for similar agreements.

Up until 2015, America’s elite (or at least the ones who determine US policy) had been assured that they possessed sufficient financial, economic, military, and political strength to cripple the rest of the world, while still preserving Washington’s hegemony by depriving everyone, including (at the final stage) even the American people of any real political sovereignty or economic rights. European bureaucrats were important allies for that elite – i.e., the cosmopolitan, comprador-bourgeoisie sector of the EU elite, whose welfare hinged on the further integration of transatlantic (i.e., under US control) EU entities (in which the premise of Atlantic solidarity has become geopolitical dogma) and NATO, although this is in conflict with the interests of the EU member states.

However, the crisis in Ukraine, which has dragged on much longer than originally planned, Russia’s impressive surge of military and political energy as it moved to resolve the Syrian crisis (something for which the US did not have an appropriate response) and, most important, the progressive creation of alternative financial and economic entities that call into question the dollar’s position as the de facto world currency, have forced a sector of America’s elite that is amenable to compromise to rouse itself (over the last 15 years that elite has been effectively excluded from participation in any strategic decisions).

The latest statements by Kerry  and Obama which seesaw from a willingness to consider a mutually acceptable compromise on all contentious issues (even Kiev was given instructions “to implement Minsk “) to a determination to continue the policy of confrontation – are evidence of the escalating battle being fought within the Washington establishment.

It is impossible to predict the outcome of this struggle – too many high-status politicians and influential families have tied their futures to an agenda that preserves imperial domination for that to be renounced painlessly. In reality, multibillion-dollar positions and entire political dynasties are at stake.

However, we can say with absolute certainty that there is a certain window of opportunity during which any decision can be made. And a window of opportunity is closing that would allow the US to make a soft landing with a few trade-offs. The Washington elite cannot escape the fact that they are up against far more serious problems than those of 10-15 years ago. Right now the big question is about how they are going to land, and although that landing will already be harder than it would have been and will come with costs, the situation is not yet a disaster.

But the US needs to think fast. Their resources are shrinking much faster than the authors of the plan for imperial preservation had expected. To their loss of control over the BRICS countries can be added the incipient, but still fairly rapid loss of control over EU policy as well as the onset of geopolitical maneuvering among the monarchies of the Middle East. The financial and economic entities created and set in motion by the BRICS nations are developing in accordance with their own logic, and Moscow and Beijing are not able to delay their development overlong while waiting for the US to suddenly discover a capacity to negotiate.

The point of no return will pass once and for all sometime in 2016, and America’s elite will no longer be able to choose between the provisions of compromise and collapse. The only thing that they will then be able to do is to slam the door loudly, trying to drag the rest of the world after them into the abyss.


2015-11-11

About the author:

Rostislav Ischenko is the President of Centre for System Analysis and Forecasting (Kiev) currently living in Moscow.

Source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/11/11/time-is-running-out-for-pax-americanas-apologists/

The Authoritarian Militarization Of The Ethnic Croats: An Alternative View Of The Destruction Of Yugoslavia

The internal and much more external destruction of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s is celebrating in 2015 its 20th years of anniversary. However, this historical and much more geopolitical event still needs a satisfactory research approach in regard to the true geopolitical reasons and political-military course of the destruction of this South Slavic and Balkan state. During the last quarter of century, the (western) global mainstream media unanimously accused Serbia and the Serbs for the national chauvinism as the main cause of the bloody wars on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, the role and direct impact of the other Yugoslav republics and nations in the process of killing the common state was not taken (purposely) into the consideration; especially of the Croats and Croatia as the biggest nation and republic after the Serbs and Serbia. This article is an attempt to contribute to the full-scale of understanding of the process of destruction of the former Yugoslavia taking into account the role of Croats and Croatia.

The Croat ultranationalists (i.e., the followers of the Ustashi movement) called in the 1990s for the full scale of Croatia’s militarization in order to achieve their chauvinistic and racist political goals of the Croat-based ethnically pure independent (a Greater) Croatia. In their opinion, a full or complete political independence of the ethnically pure Croatia within the borders of the Socialist Republic of (a Greater) Croatia could be reached only by the open war against Croatia’s Serbs and the Yugoslav authorities, but not negotiating with them. In this respect, a leader of the most ultranationalist political party in Croatia – the HSP (the Croat Party of Rights), Ante Đapić, was clear in his statements to abandon the political activity if a single part of the territory of Croatia is going to be lost by the negotiations with the Serbs.[1] The WWII Ustashi (Nazi) movement followers openly advocated in the 1990s a full scale of the war against “the Serb aggressors” for the sake to gain Croatia’s independence. That was done at least for two crucial reasons:

  1. They believe that a struggling for the Croat nation’s ethnopolitical goals was a legitimate framework of both a beating the Serb nationalism and fulfilling the Croat historical task of creation of the Greater Roman Catholic Croatia without the Orthodox infidels.
  2. They sponsored the attitude that the Serbs cannot be trusted as a nation to negotiate with them about the peaceful agreement on the disputed issues with the Croatia’s Government and therefore the war was the only way to pacify the Serbs from Croatia according to the pattern of the pacification (i.e., the ethnic cleansing) of the Palestinians in Israel.[2]

Henceforth, the “Israelization” of a Greater Croatia became the ultimate goal of the Croat ultranationalists in their policy to Croatia’s Serbs. In order to achieve their “Israelization” political goals, the Ustashi followers in the HDZ’s (the Croat Democratic Union) governed Croatia followed exactly the militarization pattern of the ethnic Croat society in the WWII Independent State of Croatia. Therefore, the most ultranationalist Ustashi political party in the 1990s Croatia – the HSP, established its own ruthless paramilitary party’s militia in 1991 under the name of the Croat Defense Forces (the HOS) with using all kinds of the WWII Ustashi regime insignia followed by several similar militia detachments by other Croat ultranationalist organizations. The Croatian state army (the HV) was, nevertheless, during the 1990s under direct influence and control by the most extremist wing of the ruling HDZ that successfully cooperated with the HOS and the other Croat paramilitaries in the West Herzegovina and the North and Central Bosnia in the military actions of ethnic cleansing of the Orthodox Serbs and the Muslim Bosniaks.[3]

The eminent militarization of the ethnic Croat society in the 1990s was in direct coordination with the fundamental task of all Croatia’s Croat ultranationalists that all other rights and duties of the society have to be put in the service of the state interests. As all ultranationalist segments of the ethnic Croat society in Croatia fought for the independent pure ethnic Croat Croatia, the ultimate ethnopolitical goal of them was to mobilize all ethnic Croats for the execution of the “Final Solution” in regard to the “Serb Question” in a Greater Tito-Tuđman’s Croatia. Therefore, the authoritarian political system and government based on the absolute HDZ’s majority in the Parliament were necessary in order to achieve this goal. As an example, the experience of the Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and the 1980s of a centralized political system, strong military-police forces, oppressed freedom of the mass-media, and above all a silent opposition were activated. A parliamentary multi-party democracy became just a façade of a classical Latin American dictatorship[4] as a western parliamentary democracy[5] was understood as a harmful experiment for the realization of the Croat ethnopolitical goals primarily against the Serbs.

The alternative to the parliamentary democracy was only a one-party’s dictatorship that could save Croat national interests from the destructive nature of the parliamentarian democracy. Subsequently, in the 1990s it was established in Croatia a HDZ’s one-party political system with strong cult of leadership of the President Dr. Franjo Tudjman, who was seen in the eyes of the right-wing political structures as a political reincarnation of the WWII NDH’s (the Independent State of Croatia) führer, Ante Pavelić. Tudjman, as an inviolable dictator of Croatia, was even proclaimed by some of the HDZ’s members and other right-wing followers as a “Father of the Homeland” like by Hrvoje Šošić who was a leader of the Croat Party (the HS) and a MP.[6] In essence, the Croat extremists only gave a declarative support to the liberal democratic institutions while in the practice rejected them as the political framework within which the national goals are going to be reached. However, a formal support for the liberal democracy and its political institutions were of the very practical nature to present a newly independent Croatia as a western-type democratic political system in contrast to Milošević’s Serbia as an expression of the Balkan/Oriental autocracy. Hence, the HDZ’s Croatia pretended to present herself as a last bulwark of the European civilization and values in the South-East Europe. Nevertheless, in the practice, the HDZ functioned in all ways that undermined a real democracy even to a greater extent than Milošević’s regime in Serbia at the same time. The extremist wing within the HDZ, including and Tudjman himself, openly used all kind of mechanisms of political oppression against the opposition that was proclaimed as the enemy of the Croat nation and Croatia and collaborators with the Serbo-Chetnik aggressors. As in many cases of personal dictatorship, Tudjman as well saw himself as a personification of the state and state institutions. In the other words, he attempted to equating his own personality with the survival of Croatia. As the opposition leaders and party’s members have been constantly under the physical intimidation as the „betrayers“ of Croatia it was created very inhospitable political atmosphere for any sincere democratic talks and exchange of the views. Surely, Tudjman’s regime in Croatia was much more effective in silencing its own opposition than Milošević’s regime in Serbia. It is visible at least from the fact that in Tudjman’s Croatia there was no single mass-meeting of the opposition against the regime differently to Serbia under Milošević’s strong hands. The latter finally and lost power exactly after the mass-protests in Belgrade on October 5th, 2000 (the first „Colored Revolution“ in Europe).

Tudjman’s authoritarian dictatorship was especially hostile towards the opposition press that was considered as a fifth column in Croatia. The opposition journalists were accused for irresponsible (miss)usage of their freedom of expression. As a matter of fighting against the opposition press, it was introduced a special (illegal) taxation of independent weeklies but primarily of the most anti-regime’s newspaper – the Feral Tribune from Split. During the election campaigns, the opposition parties were denied equal and full access to the state-controlled press and TV, likewise in Serbia, and therefore violating one of the fundamental elements and conditions of the parliamentary democracy. Hence, the electoral results theoretically were not fair what does not mean that a majority of the ethnic Croats from Croatia would not vote for the HDZ in the case of fair electoral campaign. Similarly to all totalitarian regimes, the HDZ’s controlled Parliament passed a special law (in the spring 1996) for „defamation“ against the state officials. However, such or similar law did not exist in Milošević’s Serbia. Tudjman’s personal efforts to make stronger his own political (authoritarian) position in Croatia at any cost of liberal democratic institutions are obvious and very similar to his counterpart in Serbia in the 1990s with one difference: Tudjman was more successful in destroying liberal democracy in Croatia in comparison to Milošević’s efforts to do the same in Serbia.

For the HDZ’s political leadership, „without Franjo Tudjman there would be no HDZ and without the HDZ there would be no Croatia“.[7] It is clear that Tudjman’s party attempted to equating itself with the creation and survival of the post-Yugoslav Croatia while Tudjman himself attempted to personalize the institution of the presidency. Any opposition to himself or his political party were seen as the opposition to Croatia as the stare and the Croats as the nation that is probably mostly visible from the fact that Tudjman as a President of Croatia refused to ratify electoral results for the Zagreb municipality’s mayor in 1995 as the opposition leader won under the excuse that Croatia’s capital cannot be in the hands of the enemies of Croatia.

As a part of anti-liberal policy, the liberal-democratic notion of the citizenship was crucially challenged by the HDZ’s ruling authority as the voting rights for the state and the other public officials became based on the ethnic (Croat) background rather than on the residence criteria. Therefore, it was practically reserved twelve seats in Croatia’s Parliament for the ethic Croat diaspora for the very reason that the HDZ was and is traditionally supported by the Croat diaspora especially from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The citizenship law was also changed in the favor of the ethnic Croat diaspora as Croatia was proclaimed as the motherland of all ethnic Croats.[8] However, a similar ethnocitizenship/voting law in Milošević’s Serbia was never introduced at least for the very political reason that the Serb diaspora in the West opposed his policy as anti-Serbian. In the other words, Milošević’s Serbia was seen, by the Constitution, as a homeland of all her inhabitants, rather than only of all ethic Serbs wherever they live.

Probably, the HDZ’s deny of any kind of the regional autonomy in Croatia was the expression of the policy of anti-liberal democracy concept of minority rights. Therefore, the regional parties of Istria, the Serbian Krayina and Dalmatia suffered mostly from such policy of a brutal centralization of Croatia. However, in Milošević’s Serbia, two regions of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metochia enjoyed at least ethnocultural regional autonomy if not political one as it was fixed in the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia according to the 1974 Constitution (up to 1989).

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2015

_________________________________________

Notes:

[1] Interview with Ante Đapić (July 13th, 1994), J. A. Irvine, “Ultranationalist Ideology and State-Building in Croatia, 1990−1996”, Problems of Post-Communism, July/August 1997, pp. 36, 42; Glas Slavonije, Osijek, August 18th, 1995.

[2] Interview with Ante Đapić (July 13th, 1994), J. A. Irvine, “Ultranationalist Ideology and State-Building in Croatia, 1990−1996”, Problems of Post-Communism, July/August 1997, pp. 36, 42. On the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Israeli Jewish authorities, see: I. Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oxford: Oneworld, 2011.

[3] For instance, in the case of the village of Ahmići in the Lašva Valley (the Vitez municipality) on April 16th, 1993 when around 120 Bosniaks were massacred by the forces of the Croat Defense Council (Ch. R. Shrader, The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1992−1994, College Station, Tex., 2003, 92−95).

[4] On the Latin American dictatorships, see: S. Mainwaring, A. Pérez-Liñán, Democracies and Dictatorships in Latin America: Emergence, Survival, and Fall, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013; J. Dávila, Dictatorship in South America, Chichester: Wiley−Blackwell, 2013; J. A. Galván, Latin American Dictators of the 20th century: The Lives and Regimes of 15 Rulers, Jefferson, NC−London: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2013.

[5] On democracy, see: B. Crick, Democracy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2002; Ch. Tilly, Democracy, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007; J. B. Pilet, W. P. Cross (eds.), The Selection of Political Party Leaders in Contemporary Parliamentary Democracies: A Comparative Study, New York: Routledge, 2014.

[6] According to Tanjug, May 21, 1995.

[7] Novi list, October 15th, 1995.

[8] On the concept of citizenship, see: W. Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; R. Bellamy, Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2008; É. Balibar, Citizenship, Cambridge, UK−Malden, USA: Polity Press, 2015. The same citizenship concept, for example, is accepted by all three Baltic states after the collapse of the Soviet Union: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Paul Craig Roberts’ Address To The International Conference On The European/Russian Crisis Created By Washington

Paul Craig Roberts’ address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis, Delphi, Greece, June 20-21, 2015


Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

The United States has pursued empire since early in its history, but it was the Soviet collapse in 1991 that enabled Washington to see the entire world as its oyster

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the rise of the neoconservatives to power and influence in the US government. The neoconservatives have interpreted the Soviet collapse as History’s choice of “American democratic capitalism” as the New World Order.

Chosen by History as the exceptional and indispensable country, Washington claims the right and the responsibility to impose its hegemony on the world. Neoconservatives regard their agenda to be too important to be constrained by domestic and international law or by the interests of other countries. Indeed, as the Unipower, Washington is required by the neoconservative doctrine to prevent the rise of other countries that could constrain American power.

Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative, penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine shortly after the Soviet collapse. This doctrine is the basis of US foreign and military policy.

The doctrine states:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Notice that Washington’s “first objective” is not peace, not prosperity, not human rights, not democracy, not justice. Washington’s “first objective” is world hegemony. Only the very confident so blatantly reveal their agenda.

As a former member of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger, I can explain what Wolfowitz’s words mean. The “threat posed formerly by the Soviet Union” was the ability of the Soviet Union to block unilateral US action in some parts of the world. The Soviet Union was a constraint on US unilateral action, not everywhere but in some places. Any constraint on Washington is regarded as a threat.

A “hostile power” is a country with an independent foreign policy, such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have proclaimed. Iran, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, and North Korea also proclaim an independent foreign policy.

This is too much independence for Washington to stomach. As Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated, “Washington doesn’t want partners. Washington wants vassals.”

The Wolfowitz doctrine requires Washington to dispense with or overthrow governments that do not acquiesce to Washington’s will. It is the “first objective.”

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in Boris Yeltsin becoming president of a dismembered Russia. Washington became accustomed to Yeltsin’s compliance and absorbed itself in its Middle Eastern wars, expecting Vladimir Putin to continue Russia’s vassalage.

However at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said: “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world.”

Putin went on to say:
“We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law, and independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?”

When Putin issued this fundamental challenge to US unipower, Washington was preoccupied with its lack of success with its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Mission was not accomplished.

By 2014 it had come to Washington’s attention that while Washington was blowing up weddings, funerals, village elders, and children’s soccer games in the Middle East, Russia had achieved independence from Washington’s control and presented itself as a formidable challenge to Washington’s uni-power. Putin blocked Obama’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran. The unmistakable rise of Russia refocused Washington from the Middle East to Russia’s vulnerabilities.

Ukraine, long a constituent part of Russia and subsequently the Soviet Union, was split off from Russia in the wake of the Soviet collapse by Washington’s maneuvering. In 2004 Washington had tried to capture Ukraine in the Orange Revolution, which failed to deliver Ukraine into Washington’s hands. Consequently, according to neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Washington spent $5 billion over the following decade developing Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that could be called into the streets of Kiev and in developing Ukrainian political leaders willing to represent Washington’s interests.

Washington launched its coup in February 2014 with orchestrated demonstrations that, with the addition of violence, resulted in the overthrow and flight of the elected democratic government of Victor Yanukovych. In other words, Washington destroyed democracy in a new country with a coup before democracy could take root.

Ukrainian democracy meant nothing to Washington. Washington was intent on seizing Ukraine in order to present Russia with a security problem and also to justify sanctions against “Russian aggression” in order to break up Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe. Washington feared that these relationships could undermine Washington’s hold on Europe.

Sanctions are contrary to Europe’s interests. Nevertheless European governments accommodated Washington’s agenda. The reason was explained to me several decades ago by my Ph.D. dissertation committee chairman who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask him how Washington managed to have foreign governments act in Washington’s interest rather than in the interest of their own countries. He said, “money.” I said, “you mean foreign aid?” He said, “no, we give the politicians bags full of money. They belong to us. They answer to us.”

Recently, the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset.

This does not surprise me. The same is the situation in the US.

As Europe is an appendage of Washington, a collection of vassal states, Europe enables Washington’s pursuit of hegemony even to the extent of being driven into conflict with Russia over a “crisis” that is entirely a propaganda creation of Washington’s.

The media disguises the reality. During the Clinton regime, six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington’s Ministry of Truth. Gerald Celente, the trends forecaster, calls the Western media “presstitutes,” a combination of press prostitutes.

In the US Putin and Russia are demonized around the clock. Every broadcast alerts us to “the Russian threat.” Even Putin’s facial expressions are psychologically analyzed. Putin is the New Hitler. Putin has ambitions to recreate the Soviet empire. Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin is going to invade the Baltic states and Poland. Putin is a threat on the level of ebola and the Islamic State. US Russian experts, such as Stephen Cohen, who state the facts are dismissed as “Putin apologists.” Any and every one who takes exception to the anti-Putin, anti-Russian propaganda is branded a “Putin apologist,” just as 9/11 skeptics are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.” In the Western world, the few truth-tellers are demonized along with Putin and Russia.

The world should take note that today, right now, Truth is the most unwelcome presence in the Western world. No one wants to hear it in Washington, London, Tokyo, or in any of the political capitals of Washington’s empire.

The majority of the American population has fallen for the anti-Russian propaganda, just as they fell for “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people,” Iranian nukes,” the endless lies about Gaddafi, 9/11, shoe bombers, underwear bombers, shampoo and bottled water bombers. There is always a new lie to keep the fear factor working for Washington’s endless wars and police state measures that enrich the rich and impoverish the poor.

The gullibility of the public has enabled Washington to establish the foundation for a new Cold War or for a preemptive nuclear strike on Russia. Some neoconservatives prefer the latter. They believe nuclear war can be won, and they ask, “What is the purpose of nuclear weapons if they cannot be used?”

China is the other rising power that the Wolfowitz Doctrine requires to be constrained. Washington’s “pivot to Asia” creates new naval and air bases to control China and perpetuate Washington’s hegemony in the South China Sea.

We come to the bottom line. Washington’s position is not negotiable. Washington has no interest in compromising with Russia or China. Washington has no interest in any facts. Washington’s deal is this: “You can be part of our world order as our vassals, but not otherwise.”

European governments and, of course, the lapdog UK government, are complicit in this implicit declaration of war against Russia and China. If it comes to war, Europeans will pay the ultimate price for the treason of their leaders, such as Merkel, Cameron, and Hollande, as Europe will cease to exist.

War with Russia and China is beyond Washington’s capability. However, if the demonized “enemy” does not succumb to the pressure and accept Washington’s leadership, war can be inevitable. Washington has launched an attack. How does Washington back off? Don’t expect any American regime to say, “we made a mistake. Let’s work this out.” Every one of the announced candidates for the American presidency is committed to American hegemony and war.

Washington believes Russia can be isolated from the West and that this isolation will motivate those secularized and westernized elements in Russia, who desire to be part of the West, into more active opposition against Putin. The Saker calls these Russians “Atlanticist integrationists.”

After two decades of Russia being infiltrated by Washington’s NGO Fifth Columns, the Russian government has finally taken action to regulate the hundreds of Western-financed NGOs inside Russia that comprise Washington’ subversion of the Russian government. However, Washington still hopes to use sanctions to cause enough disruption of economic life within Russia to be able to send protesters into the streets. Regime change, as in Ukraine, is one of Washington’s tools. In China the US organized the Hong Kong “student” riots, which Washington hopes will spread into China, and Washington supports the independence of the Muslim population in the Chinese province that borders Kazakhstan.

The problem with a government in the control of an ideology is that ideology and not reason drives the action of the government. As the majority of Western populations lack the interest to search for independent explanations, the populations impose no constraint on governments.
To understand Washington, go online and read the neoconservative documents and position papers. You will see an agenda unconstrained by law, by morality, by compassion, by common sense. You will see an agenda of evil.

Who is Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for the Ukrainian part of the world? It is the neoconservative Victoria Nuland who organized the Ukrainian coup, who put in office the new puppet government, who is married to the even more extreme neoconservative, Robert Kagan.

Who is Obama’s National Security advisor? It is Susan Rice, a neoconservative.

Who is Obama’s Ambassador to the UN? It is Samantha Power, a neoconservative.

Now we turn to material interests. The neoconservative agenda of world hegemony serves the powerful military/security complex whose one trillion dollar annual budget depends on war, hot or cold.

The agenda of American hegemony serves the interests of Wall Street and the mega-banks. As Washington’s power and influence spreads, so does American financial imperialism. So does the reach of American oil companies and American agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto.

Washington’s hegemony means that US corporations get to loot the rest of the world.

The danger of the neoconservative ideology is that it is in perfect harmony with powerful economic interests. In the US the left-wing has made itself impotent. It believes all the foundational government lies that have given America a police/warfare state incapable of producing alternative leadership. The American left, what little remains, for emotional reasons believes the government’s 9/11 story. The anti-religious left-wing believes the threat posed to free thought by a Christian Russia. The left-wing, convinced that Americans are racists, believes the government’s account of the assassinations of Martin Luther King.

The left-wing accepts the government’s transparent 9/11 fable, because it is emotionally important to the American left that oppressed peoples strike back. For the American left, it is emotionally satisfying that the Middle East, long oppressed and exploited by the French, British and Americans, struck back and humiliated the Unipower in the 9/11 attack.

This emotional need is so powerful for the left that it blinds the left-wing to the improbability of a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, outwitting not merely the FBI, CIA, and NSA, which spies on the entire world, but as well all 16 US intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of Washington’s NATO vassal states and Israel’s Mossad, which has infiltrated every terrorist organization, including those created by Washington itself.

Somehow these Saudis were able to also outwit NORAD, airport security, causing security to fail four times in one hour on the same day. They were able to prevent for the first time ever the US Air Force from intercepting the hijacked airliners. Air traffic control somehow lost the hijacked airliners on radar. Two airliners crashed, one into the Pennsylvania country side and one into the Pentagon without leaving any debris. The passport of the leader of the attack, Mohammed Atta was reported to be found as the only undamaged element in the debris of the World Trade Center towers. The story of the passport was so preposterous that it had to be changed.

This implausible account did not raise any eyebrows in the tame Western print and TV media.

The right-wing is obsessed with immigration of darker-skinned peoples, and 9/11 has become an argument against immigration. The left-wing awaits the oppressed to strike back against their oppressors. The 9/11 fable survives as it serves the interests of both left and right.

I can tell you for a fact that if American national security had so totally failed as it is represented to have failed by the official explanation of 9/11, the White House, the Congress, the media would have been screaming for an investigation. Heads would have rolled in agencies that permitted such massive failure of the national security state. The embarrassment of a Superpower being so easily attacked and humiliated by a handful of Arabs acting independently of any intelligence agency would have created an uproar demanding accountability.

Instead, the White House resisted any investigation for one year. Under pressure from the 9/11 families who lost family members in the World Trade Center Towers, the White House created a political commission consisting of politicians managed by the White House. The commission sat and listened to the government’s account and wrote it down. This is not an investigation.

In the United States the left-wing is focused on demonizing Ronald Reagan, who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. The left-wing hates Reagan because he had to use anti-communist rhetoric in order to keep his electoral basis while he strove to end the Cold War in the face of the powerful opposition of the military/security complex.

Is the left-wing more effective in Europe? Not that I can see. Look at Greece for example. The Greek people are driven into the ground by the EU, the IMF, the German and Dutch banks and the New York hedge funds. Yet, when presented with candidates who promise to resist the looting of Greece, the Greek voters give the candidates a mere 36% of the vote, enough to form a government, but not enough to have any clout with creditors.

Having hamstrung their government with such low electoral support, the Greek people further impose impotence on their government by demanding to remain in the EU. If leaving the EU is not a realistic threat, the Greek government has no negotiating power.

Obviously, the Greek population is so throughly brainwashed about the necessity of being part of the EU that the population is willing to be economically dispossessed rather than to leave the EU. Thus Greeks have forfeited their sovereignty and independence. A country without its own money is not, and cannot be, an independent country.

Once European intellectuals signed off on the EU, they committed nations to vassalage, both to the EU bureaucrats and to Washington. Consequently, European nations are not independent and cannot exercise an independent foreign policy.

Their impotence means that Washington can drive them to war. To fully understand the impotence of Europe look at France. The only leader in Europe worthy of the name is Marine Le Pen. Having said this, I am immediately denounced by the European left as a fascist, a racist, and so forth. This only shows the knee-jerk response of the European left.

It is not I who shares Le Pen’s views on immigration. It is the French people. Le Pen’s party won the recent EU elections. What Le Pen stands for is French independence from the EU. The majority of French see themselves as French and want to remain French with their own laws and customs. Only Le Pen among European politicians has stated the obvious: “The Americans are taking us to war!”

Despite the French desire for independence, the French will elect Le Pen’s party to the EU but will not give it the vote to be the government of France. The French deny themselves their independence, because they are heavily conditioned by brainwashing, much coming from the left, and are ashamed to be racists, fascists, and whatever epithets have been assigned to Le Pen’s political party, a party that stands for the independence of France.

The European left-wing, once a progressive force, even a revolutionary one, has become a reactionary force. It is the same in the US. I say this as one of CounterPunch’s popular contributors.

The inability even of intellectuals to recognize and accept reality means that restraints on neoconservatives are nowhere present except within Russia and China. The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon. It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status.

I don’t believe this is going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West?

The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. The hope that European countries will be forced into an independent foreign policy also seems to be the basis of the Russian government’s strategy.

Perhaps intellectuals can help to bring this hope to fruition. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. Washington’s aggressions would be constrained by an independent European foreign policy. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.


By Paul Craig Roberts

Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/06/19/paul-craig-roberts-address-international-conference-europeanrussian-crisis-created-washington/

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Does Not Prosecute War Criminals

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute culpable individuals for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.

Its mandate calls for “end(ing) impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern.”

US and Israeli officials are guilty of the highest of high crimes. Yet none of their officials ever were held accountable – not by their own courts or the ICC.

The international body operates on the principle of complementarity. It can only prosecute when governments won’t or can’t – even against officials of non ICC-member countries like America and Israel.

On December 31, 2000, Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute of the ICC. Over 130 other countries are members. Clinton lied saying “(t)he US has a long history of commitment to the principle of accountability…and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”

America commits these crimes and others against one country after another, as well as persecuting its own most disadvantaged people in violation of international and constitutional laws.

It partners with the high crimes of key allies like Israel. When Bush succeeded Clinton, his Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton stripped off the mask of US accountability by unsigning the Rome Statute – an unprecedented political act.

More followed, including enactment of the American Service-Members Protection Act (the so-called Hague Invasion Act).

It prohibits providing funds to the ICC and authorized the president to use “all necessary measures (including force) to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.”

At the same time, over 100 other nations were pressured to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements assuring they’d never surrender a US official or soldier to the ICC.

The court functions as an imperial tool. It targets officials of Western designated states like Sudan’s Omar Hassan al-Bashir, former Libya leader Muammar and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Or special Western tribunals are established to accomplish the same thing – against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, and Liberia’s Charles Taylor among others.

The principle of universal jurisdiction (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore – including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.

Under UJ, nations nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won’t, can’t or hasn’t for any reason.

Israel used it to prosecute, convict and execute Adolph Eichmann. A US court sentenced Charles Taylor’s son, Chuckie, to 97 years in prison.

Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, hold him under house arrest for 18 months, and set a precedent, making other heads of state and top officials potentially vulnerable.

Pinochet’s bogus ill health claim sent him home – damaged, disgraced but unaccountable. No one deserve impunity for high crimes demanding accountability. Article 7 of the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal states:

“The official position of defendants, whether as Head of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.”

Following through is another matter entirely – never against Western or Israeli officials so don’t expect justice now.

On April 1, Palestine joined the ICC. Months earlier, a court prosecutor began a preliminary investigation of violations “in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem since June 13, 2014″ – focusing on Israel’s 2014 summer Gaza war (Operation Protective Edge).

It’s strictly procedural with no commitment for further action. Palestine intends filing crimes of war and against humanity charges against Israel at the ICC on or about June 25 – over last summer’s Gaza war and illegal settlements.

ICC investigators are working to determine if Israeli crimes were committed warranting prosecution. A court statement said:

“As part of its preliminary examination activities, the Office of the Prosecutor conducts field visits as it has done in the past with other situations under preliminary examinations.”

“From the outset, the prosecutor has consistently made clear that the situation in Palestine will not be treated any differently from the others.”

“Therefore, the office as per normal practice, is considering a visit to the region during the course of its preliminary examination. Contrary to media reports, no date has been confirmed and further planning is required.”

UN Security Council members can delay ICC action up to two years. Russia and China indicated they’ll veto efforts to do so.

The Monday released UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report and earlier independent investigations clearly proved grave Israeli high crimes against peace during last summer’s Gaza war.

It bears repeating. The ICC is a notorious imperial tool. Expect Palestinians denied justice like always. Expect no Israeli officials convicted of high crimes they committed demanding accountability.


About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Original source of the article: http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/

The Illegitimacy Of Israel’s Colonisation Of Land In Arab East Jerusalem, The Palestinian West Bank And The Syrian Golan Heights

‘If you buy fruit from Israel you deprive another human being of water and life’

Israel’s comparative economic success is essentially based on water stolen, since 1967, from Syria’s eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee – that provides Israel’s current primary source of fresh water. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment area feeds into the River Jordan to provide about 30% of Israel’s current water supply.

Without this stolen water there would be no citrus fruit, melons, avocados or dates available for export under the label of ‘Produce of Israel’. And that is why the Netanyahu government is determined – with help from the U.S. Republican congress – to retain its illegally occupied land for as long as is possible.

Without the 400,000 illegal settlers in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, Israel’s export economy would collapse unless it were able to cultivate the Negev desert that it currently utilises to develop and test its extensive, undeclared nuclear weapons program at Dimona, south of Beer Sheva.

The entire economic infrastructure of Israel is an illegitimate and unsustainable facade based on the illegal expropriation of land from the indigenous peoples of the region which is why it is increasingly condemned by the international community as a global threat to peace and a primary cause of instability in the Middle East.

Until such time as the Israeli state is compelled by the international community to return all land, and water, to its rightful owners, there will be a continuing threat of a regional nuclear war that would likely spread to Europe and around the world. Then there would be no oranges or dates and no one to eat them – even if there were some survivors still alive under the mushroom-shaped radiation cloud initiated by a Likud government operative …

The first step is for Jerusalem to now be declared an international city in accordance with UN GA resolution 181 with free access to all faiths – as confirmed, last week, by the U.S. Supreme Court. And then the return of all occupied land to its hereditary owners and the repatriation of all illegal settlers back to their homes in an Israeli state within its pre-1967 borders.

A nation state that exists only by the hijacking of essential water resources from its indigenous neighbours who now number over five million souls, is a national entity without integrity, honour or a sustainable future.


By Anthony Bellchambers

2015-06-14

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-illegitimacy-of-israels-colonisation-of-land-in-arab-east-jerusalem-the-palestinian-west-bank-and-the-syrian-golan-heights/5455524

What About Apologizing To Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?

Yesterday’s leak of the flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt has already hit the international media headlines. In short, it turned out that the US officials were coordinating their actions on how to install a puppet government in Ukraine.

In this flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt agreed to nominate Bat’kyvshchina Party leader Arseniy Yatseniuk as Deputy Prime Minister, to bench Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko off the game for a while and to discredit neo-Nazi Svoboda party chief Oleh Tiahnybok as “Yanukovych’s project”. Then Mrs. Nuland informed the US Ambassador that the Washington’s hand by the UN Secretary General, Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman had already instructed Ban Ki-moon to send his special envoy to Kyiv this week “to glue the things”. Touching the European role in managing Ukraine’s political crisis, she was matchlessly elegant: “Fuck the EU”.

In a short while, after nervious attempts to blame Russians in fabricating (!) the tape (State Department: “this is a new low in Russian tradecraft”), Mrs. Nuland brought her apologies to the EU officials. Does it mean that the Washington’s repeatedly leaked genuine attitude towards the “strategic Transatlantic partnership” is much worthy of apology than the direct and clear interference into the internal affairs of a sovereign state and violation of the US-Russia-UK agreement (1994 Budapest memorandum) on security assurances for Ukraine? Meanwhile this document inter alia reads as follows:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.

Back to the latest Mrs. Nuland’s diplomatic collapse made public, it is hardly an unwilling and regretful fault. Andrey Akulov from Strategic Culture Foundation has published a brilliant report (Bride at every wedding [1]) a couple of days ago depicting a blatant lack of professionalism and personal intergity of Mrs. Nuland. He described in details her involvement in misinforming the US President and nation on the circumstances of the assasination of the US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens in Benghazi in September 2012 and her support of the unlawful US funding of a number of the Russian “independent” NGOs seeking to bring a color revolution to Russia.

Her diplomatically unacceptable behavior on the Ukrainian track, which culminated on YouTube this week (video and full transcript are available below), suggests that Mrs. Nuland is perhaps a wrong person in a wrong position for protecting American interests in Eurasia.

* * *

Full transcript of the telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt (posted on YouTube on Feb 6, 2014):

Victoria Nuland (V.N.): What do you think?

Geoffrey R. Pyatt (G.P.): I think we are in play. The Klitchko piece is obviously the most complicated electron here, especially the announcement of him as Deputy Prime Minister. You have seen my notes on trouble in the marriage right now, so we are trying to get a read really fast where he is on the staff. But I think your argument to him which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call that you want to set up is exactly the one you made to Yats (Yatsenuk’s nickname). I’m glad you put him on the spot. <…> He fits in this scenario. And I am very glad he said what he said.

V.N.: Good. I don’t think Klitsch (Klitschko’s nickname) should be in the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

G.P.: Yeah, I mean, I guess… In terms of him not going into the government… I’d just let him stay out and do his political homework. I’m just thinking, in terms of sort of the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is gonna be with Tyahnibok and his guys. And, you know, I am sure that is part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

V.N.: I think Yats is the guy. He has economic experience and governing experience. He is the guy. You know, what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnibok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week. You know, I just think if Klitchko gets in, he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenuk, it’s just not gonna work…

G.P.: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s right. Ok, good. Would you like us to set up a call with him as the next step?

V.N.: My understading from that call that you tell me was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was gonna offer in this context, you know, a «three plus one» conversation or a «three plus two» conversation with you. Is that not how you understood it?

G.P.: No. I think that was what he proposed but I think that knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitchko has been the top dog, he’ll show up for whatever meetings they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point. So, I think you reaching out directly to him, helps with the personality management among the three. And it also gives you a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it, before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.

V.N.: Ok. Good. I am happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

G.P.: Ok, I will do it. Thanks.

Nuland-YouTube V.N.: I can’t remember if I told you this or if I only told Washington this: when I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning he had a new name for the UN guy – Robert Serry. I wrote you about it this morning.

G.P.: Yeah, I saw that.

V.N.: Ok. He’s gotten now both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry will come on Monday or Tuesday. That would be great I think to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, if you like, fuck the EU.

G.P.: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I am still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych <…> that. In the meantime there is a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I am sure there is a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway, we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… I think we just want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

V.N.: So on that piece, Jeff, when I wrote the note Sullivan’s come back to me V.F.R., saying you need Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta boy and to get the details to stick. So, Biden’s willing.

G.P.: Ok. Great, thanks.

* * *

Transcript of the telephone talk between the Deputy Secretary General EE AS External Service Helga M. Schmid (H.S.) and Jan Tombinsky (J.T.), EU Ambassador to Ukraine (rendering, starting 0:04:13 on the tape):

Helga M. Schmid: Jan, it’s Helga once again. I’d like to tell you one more thing, it’s confidential. The Americans are beating about the bush and saying that our stand is too soft. They believe we should be stronger and apply sanctions. I talked to Cathy (Cathrene Ashton – OR) and she agrees with us on the matter we were discussing last time. We will do it but we must arrange everything in a clever way.

Jan Tombinsky: You know we have other instruments.

H.S.: The journalists are already talking that the EU stand is “too soft”. What you should really know is that we are very angry that the Americans are beating about the bush. Maybe you tell the US Ambassador and draw his attention to the fact that our stand is not soft, we’ve just made a hard-line statement and took a tougher stance… I want you to know that it would be detrimental to our interests if we see in the newspapers that «The European Union does not support freedom». Cathy will not like it.

J.T.: Helga, we do not compete in a race. We should demonstrate that this situation is not a competition in diplomatic toughness. I’ve just heard about the opposition’s new proposal to the president. I’ll write Cathy about it right now.

H.S.: Ok.

Awkward attempts to question “morality” is such revelations sound especially hypocritical from a global spying power that monitors and controls most of the mobile phone and internet users activities, taps the phone lines of world leaders, and oversees the world’s most far-reaching wire-tapping program.

Endnote:

[1] US Assistant Secretary Nuland Visits Ukraine – Some Thoughts to Share, by Andrei Akulov, Part I and Part II, Strategic Culture Foundation, 5 and 6 February 2014.


07-02-2014

Source: http://www.voltairenet.org/article182064.html

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Jürgen Elsässer: “The CIA Recruited And Trained The Jihadists”

In his latest book, “How the Jihad Came to Europe”, German journalist Jürgen Elsässer unravels the Jihadist thread. Muslim fighters recruited by the CIA to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan were used successively in Yugoslavia and Chechnya, still supported by the CIA, but perhaps sometimes out of its control. Basing himself on diverse sources, mainly Yugoslavian, Dutch, and German, he reconstructed the development of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants at the side of NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovinia.

Silvia Cattori:Your investigation into the actions of the secret services makes a frightening report. We discover that since the 80’s the United States has invested billions of dollars to finance criminal activities and that by means of the CIA they are directly implicated in the attacks attributed to the Moslems. What is the contribution of your book?

Jurgen Elsässer: It is the only work that establishes the tie between wars in the Balkan of the 90’s and the attack of September 11, 2001. All the large attacks, in New York, in London, in Madrid, would never have taken place without the recruitment by the American and British secret services of these jihadists who have been blamed for the attacks. I bring a new light on the manipulations of the intelligence agencies. Other books than mine have noted the presence of Ossama Ben Laden in the Balkans. But their authors presented the Moslem fighters in the Balkan as enemies of the west. The information that I collected from multiple sources, demonstrate that these jihadists are puppets in the hands of the west and are not, as one pretends, enemies.

Silvia Cattori:In the case of the war in the Balkan, the manipulations of various States are clearly designated in your book. The United States supported Ben Laden whose work was to form the Mujahidines. How can anyone continue to ignore that these attempts that horrify public opinion would never have existed if these «terrorists» had not been driven and financed by the western intelligence services?

Jürgen Elsässer:Yes, indeed, it is the result of facts that one can observe. But one cannot say that the western intervention in ex – Yugoslavia had for objective to prepare attack of September 11. To be precise: these attacks are a consequence of western politics of the 90’s because NATO put these jihadists in place in the Balkans and collaborated with them. The Moslem militants who have been designated the persons responsible for the attacks of September 11 were part of this network.

Silvia Cattori:According to you, what was the interest of the United States and Germany to set the people of the Balkans one against the other?

Jürgen Elsässer: The west had a common interest to destroy Yugoslavia, to dismember it, because, after the end of the soviet bloc, it would have been a model of the intelligent combination of capitalist and socialist elements. But the west wanted to impose the neoliberal model on all countries.

Silvia Cattori:Is not Europe itself imprudently committed to a war manipulated by the neoconservatives?

Jürgen Elsässer: It is difficult to say. I believe that in the 90’s, the politics of the United States was inspired by their victory against Soviets in Afghanistan. It was the model that they wanted to apply in Balkans. If, during those years, the economy of the United States had not fallen into depression, maybe the more realistic politicians, such as Kissinger, could have kept control of American politics. I think that the coincidence between the economic depression and the aggressiveness of the neoconservative school determined what happened.

Silvia Cattori:Do you think that a leader like Blair, for example, once embarked in the neoconservative project, has become a hostage to a certain point?

Jürgen Elsässer: I don’t know the position of Blair enough well. It is easier to see what goes on in the United States. One can see that Bush is the hostage of those around him. And, as he is not very intelligent, he is not able to take decisions and must follow ideas of his entourage. It is clear that his father was against the attack on Iraq in 2003.

Silvia Cattori:Wasn’t the first Gulf war part of a plan aiming to trigger other wars thereafter?

Jürgen Elsässer: No, there was no tie with the war in Iraq in 1991. There were two phases. Until the end of the Clinton period, the politics of the United States were imperialistic, but at the same time, pragmatic. They chased the Soviets out of Afghanistan. They defeated Iraq in 1991. Their war stopped once Kuwait was free. Then they attacked Bosnia and Yugoslavia; but it occurred stage by stage. Everything went out of control after September 11.

Silvia Cattori:The neoconservatives don’t count for anything?

Jürgen Elsässer: The neoconservatives, grouped around Pearl, had written a document one year before September 11, according to which America had need of a catalyzing event similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor. September 11 was this catalyzing event. I believe that people around Pearl wished for the attacks of September 11.

Silvia Cattori:What was the objective pursued by the United States in attacking Serbia? Was it merely about, as is indicated in your book, the US getting itself installed in a strategic region situated on a transit line for the oil and the gas of central Asia? Or did the alliance of the United States with the Moslem fighters directed by Izetbegovic have a second objective: to create a Moslem extremism at the doors of Europe in order to make use of it in the setting of terrorist manipulations? And, if yes, towards what goal?

Jürgen Elsässer: The United States wanted, as did Austria at the end of the 19th century in Bosnia, to create a “European” Islam to weaken the Islamic states in the Middle East, meaning, at that time, the Ottoman empire, and today, Iran and the Arab states. The neoconservatives had other plans again: to construct a clandestine network of “fundamentalist” puppets to do the dirty work against “old” Europe.

Silvia Cattori:The result, a terrifying civil war. How could Europe have participated in the destruction of Yugoslavia, which appeared as an example of the perfectly successful cohabitation between ethnic groups? By making the Serbians the guilty party, didn’t Europe destroy a country that was one of the major constructions of the postwar era? On what legitimacy did Europe base its intervention?

Jürgen Elsässer: First, in the beginning of the 90’s, Germany led the attack based upon the principles of the self-determination of ethnic groups: in other words, Hitler’s old ruse against Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1938/39. Then, the United States took the relay and praised “human rights”, an obvious swindle.

Silvia Cattori:In your investigation Israel is never mentioned. Have you not minimized the importance of pro-Israeli neoconservatives inside the Pentagon, who serve interests of Israel more that those of the United States?

Jürgen Elsässer: There are Israelis who collaborated with the neoconservatives; it is a fact. But I am not sure of the role played by Israel in this business. Sharon was against NATO support for the Albanians of Kosovo. And, in 1998, he expressed his worry over the idea that NATO support the setting up of pro-Islamic elements in the Balkan. I also believe that he was not favorable to this war the following year.

Silvia Cattori:Don’t you see ties between the Israeli secret services and the attacks of September 11, 2001?

Jürgen Elsässer: There are ties, but I didn’t analyze the character of these ties. For example, immediately after September 11, a certain number of Israeli agents were arrested in the United States. They were present in places where the attacks were prepared. There are analysts who say this is proof that Israel was directly implicated in these attacks. But it could also mean something else. It could be that these agents were watching what happened, that they were aware that the American secret services supported these “terrorists” in the preparation of these attacks, but that they kept their knowledge to use it at the appropriate moment, and to be able to use it as blackmail when the moment came: “If you don’t increase your support for Israel, we are going to hand over this information to the media”. There is even a third possibility: that these Israeli spies wanted to warn about the attacks but failed. At the moment, we only know that these types were there and that they were arrested. Supplementary investigations are necessary.

Silvia Cattori:Do these ties put in evidence that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were part of a plan conceived a long time before?

Jürgen Elsässer: I am not certain that a plan had been established for a long time. It could be that people such as Richard Perle improvise a lot and use criminal elements that they put in place but that they don’t permanently control. As, at the time of Kennedy’s murder, it is clear that the CIA was implicated, but one doesn’t know if it had been planned at the top, at Langley [the headquarters of the CIA], or if it was conceived among the most violent Cuban exiles working for the CIA, the headquarters of the CIA limiting themselves to tolerating it.

Silvia Cattori:If tomorrow these characters grouped around Pearl were removed, would that stop the anti-Muslim war strategy of the United States and the manipulations that justify it?

Jürgen Elsässer: It stops when they lose a war.

Silvia Cattori:The war, didn’t they lose it in Iraq?

Jürgen Elsässer: The war will only be lost when they leave the country, as in Vietnam.

Silvia Cattori:These Moslems who, like Mohammed Atta, were just ordinary citizens before being enlisted by the CIA, how could they be driven to such terrifying actions, without knowing that they were being manipulated by intelligence agents of the opposite camp?

Jürgen Elsässer: There are some youth that can be turned into fanatics and manipulated very easily by intelligence services. High-placed characters are not unaware of what happens and know by who they are hired.

Silvia Cattori:Ben Laden, for example, did he know that he served the interests of the United States?

Jürgen Elsässer: I didn’t study his case. I studied the case of Al Zawahiri, Ben Laden’s right arm, who was the chief of operations in the Balkans. In the beginning of the 90’s, he traveled all through the United States with an agent of the US Special Command to collect money for the Jihad; this man knew that he participated in this collection of money as an activity that was supported by the United States.

Silvia Cattori:All of this is very troubling. You bring the proof that that attacks that have occurred since 1996 (attacks in the subway of Paris), would never have been possible if the war in the Balkan had not taken place. And you impute these attacks, that left thousands of victims, to western intelligence services. Has opinion in West therefore been deceived by governments that have embarked on terrorist actions?

Jürgen Elsässer: The terrorist network that the American and British secret services formed during the civil war in Bosnia and later in Kosovo provided a reservoir of militants that we find implicated later in the attacks in New York, Madrid, London.

Silvia Cattori:How did this happen concretely?

Jürgen Elsässer: Once the war was finished in Afghanistan, Osama Ben Laden recruited these jihadist militants. It was his work. It was he that trained them, partially with the support of the CIA, and put them in place in Bosnia. The Americans tolerated the connection between the President Izetbegovic and Ben Laden. Two years later, in 1994, the Americans began to send weapons, in a common clandestine operation with Iran. After the treaty of Dayton, in November 1995, the CIA and the Pentagon recruited best of the jihadists that had fought in Bosnia.

Silvia Cattori:How does it happen that these Moslems got into the hands of services that served ideological interests opposed to theirs?

Jürgen Elsässer: I analyzed testimonies given by some jihadists interrogated by the German judges. They said that after the treaty of Dayton, which stipulated that all foreign ex-fighters had to leave the country, they didn’t have any more money and had nowhere to go. As for those that could remain in Bosnia, because they had been provided with Bosnian passports, they were without work and without money. The day when the recruiters came and rang at their doors and proposed to pay them 3000 dollars a month to serve in the Bosnian army, they didn’t know that they were recruited and paid by emissaries of the CIA to serve the United States.

Silvia Cattori:After, when they were sent to prepare the attacks in London in July 2005, for example, did they not become aware that they were in the hands of western intelligence agents who manipulated them?

Jürgen Elsässer: It is not clear that it was really the young Moslems from the suburbs of London that committed the attacks, as the police claim. There are other indications according to which the bombs were fixed under the trains. It is possible the bombs were attached under the trains without these young men knowing about it. In that case it is not sure that the young Moslems, incriminated by the investigation, committed these attempts.

Silvia Cattori:It is hard to understand the goal that the western States pursue when they engage their services in criminal manipulations?

Jürgen Elsässer: This is not easy to say. Remember Kennedy’s murder. Who did it? It is certain that it was people from the CIA that supported the second killer, it is certain that Oswald was murdered by a man who had been mandated by the CIA. What is not clear is if these men recruited by the CIA acted on order of Johnson or Dulles, or if they were link to the milieu of extremist Cuban exiles, which means affiliated to the mafia. I don’t believe that Bush or Blairs are chiefs. I don’t believe in the theory of the big conspiracy. I believe that the secret services hire men who are ordered to carry out the dirty business; these agents act as they want. Perhaps you know that on September 11, 2001, someone tried to kill Bush. What does it mean? It is difficult to explain.

Silvia Cattori:Do you mean that Bush is, for example, himself hostage of the people who, inside the Pentagon, form a State within the state, one that also escapes the command of the American army?

Jürgen Elsässer: Yes. Bush is stupid. He is a tool in the hands of other people.

Silvia Cattori:Are you thinking about people that are under the direct influence of characters such as Pearl, Wolfowitz, Feith? Do you think that it is they who, after the war of the Balkan, would have been the real backers of these attacks and that these attacks are not separate from each other, that there is a link between Madrid and London? Does it mean that the Americans are ready to ally with the devil to sow chaos everywhere under the pretext of this anti-Muslim, anti – Arabic war waged under the banner of terrorism? A fabricated terrorism?

Jürgen Elsässer:Yes, there is a duplicate government that escapes Bush’s control. It is the neoconservatives, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearl, the people tied into the oil and the military industries,. The global chaos is in the interest of the military industry: when there is the chaos all over the world, one can sell weapons and oil for a bigger price.

Silvia Cattori:Youssef Asckar described this State within in the state very well, to which you give credit [1]. Isn’t Israel the first country interested by this strategy of chaos, therefore by the manipulation of terrorist attacks? Doesn’t the propaganda of the pro-Israeli lobby have the tendency to make us believe that Israel is threatened by Arabs fanatics?

Jürgen Elsässer: It is not certain that this strategy can serve the interests of Israel because, if things continue this way, the whole Middle East will be in flames, including Israel. They used the same process during the war in Bosnia. In order to demonize the Serbs, the western media invented stories of concentration camps and made photo montages that compared the Serbs to the Nazis. This propaganda aimed to win opinion over to the war against Serbia, but, with regard to the United States, it was not nourished necessarily by the Jewish lobby, but by the Christian and atheist strategists. These strategists play the “Jewish” card. That is my thesis. One sees it currently with the propaganda against Iran; strategists of the war play the “Jewish” card to impress people that have more morals than intelligence.

Silvia Cattori:The recent manipulations confirm, in part, your thesis: at the same moment where the United States wanted the Security Council to pass sanctions against Iran, a Canadian newspaper wrote that Iran wanted to force Iranian Jews to wear the equivalent of a yellow star [2]]]. But I refer to these openly pro-Israeli personalities that, in France for example, play an important role in the formation of opinion because they occupy some strategic positions in the media, and whose community allegiance psuyhes them to support the policies of Israel and the United States, even if it is criminal. Remember the active support brought to Izetbegovic in Bosnia by Bernard-Henri Lévy and Bernard Kouchner. As soon as Serbia was on the knees, they immediately turned their propaganda against Arabs and Moslems; this time it was to mobilize opinion in favor of the so-called “war of civilizations”. When they spoke of “concentration camps” to associate the Serbs with Hitler, didn’t they participate in manipulations of NATO?

Jürgen Elsässer: We watched the same phenomenon in Germany. The Jewish journalists that supported the war against Yugoslavia had access to the televised studios. But the journalists that were against, whether they were Jewish or not, were excluded from the debate. I think that the media and politicians use the Jewish voices for geostrategic stakes.

Silvia Cattori:So, as you see it, what happened in the Balkan was only the repetition of what had happened in Afghanistan, what followed was part of the same process. Do you think that our authorities know risks of the wars provoked by their intelligence agencies?

Jürgen Elsässer: My hope is that there is a reaction on behalf of the military in the United States. There are among them people who know very well that all these wars are not intelligent. They know that the United States is going to lose this war. In the American army, they are imperialistic but they are not crazy, they don’t agree with what is happening. But the neoconservatives are crazy, they want to wage the Third World War against all Arabs and all Moslems, just like Hitler who wanted to kill all Jews and to attack all other countries; the German generals had warned Hitler of all that he risked.

Silvia Cattori:Is your hope that a change occurs unexpectedly?

Jürgen Elsässer: To stop this madness I see possibility of change only among those forces that remained rational. The high command of the American army wrote a letter to Bush to say that it doesn’t want to participate in an attack against Iran with nuclear weapons. Maybe Bush will attack; but the consequences would be more serious than in the case of Iraq. The same thing happened with the Nazis: they attacked, they attacked, and one day there was Stalingrad and the beginning of the defeat. But this adventure cost the lives of 60 million human beings.

Silvia Cattori:Is that what motivated your effort while writing this book: to alert people’s consciences in order to avoid new disasters and new suffering? Moreover, that after Iraq it would be Iran’s turn?

Jürgen Elsässer: Yes. But characters like Bush don’t care about all of that. I am not completely pessimistic on Iran: one could see a repetition of the Paris, Berlin, Moscow axis. Our chancellor, who is normally a puppet of the United States, offered strategic cooperation with Russia, because Germany depends entirely on Russian oil and gas. It is a strong argument. Germans are imperialists, but they are not crazy.

Silvia Cattori:In the Balkans, was it not Germany that opened the door to the war?

Jürgen Elsässer: Yes, it is true. But, today, you see that Joschka Fischer and Madeleine Albright have sent an open letter to Bush to tell him not to attack Iran. Mrs. Albright specified that one cannot attack all the people that one doesn’t like. It is rational.

Silvia Cattori:Were you able to collect these elements that illustrate the actions of the intelligence agencies because, today, people, worried of the evolution of international politics, are beginning to speak?

Jürgen Elsässer: Yes. I depended a great deal on information from people that work in the belly of “the beast”.

Silvia Cattori:Everywhere in the world?

Jürgen Elsässer: I can only tell you that it is people from Western Europe. It is people that haven’t stopped using their heads.

Silvia Cattori:To obtain the proof of the manipulations surroundeding the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident”, the incident that permitted the United States to unleash the war against the Vietnamese people, it was necessary to wait a long time. Have things therefore changed today, permitting a response in time?

Jürgen Elsässer: There is a big difference between the situation in the 60’s and the one today. In the Federal Republic of Germany, they were, for example, at that time in favor of the war against Communists in Vietnam. The official version that said our republic was in danger of being attacked by Communists was shared by a big part of public opinion. What has changed is that, today, the majority of the population is against the war, without discussion.

Silvia Cattori:You rightly underline the extremist religious character of Bosnia-Herzegovina under Izetbegovic, but, whereas you doubt the support of Israel to this sort of draft of the emirate of the Talibans, don’t you overvalue the role of Iran and Saudi Arabia? Richard Perle was the principal political advisor to Izetbegovic. Didn’t the Iranians and the Saudis raise the ante on the question of Islam hoping to take the control of a Moslem regime that only took its orders from Tel Aviv and Washington? In fact, was Izetbegovic not an agent of Israel?

Jürgen Elsässer: The Mossad helped the Bosnian Serbians, they even provided them weapons. There is nothing that indicates that the Israeli government helped Izetbegovic. It was supported by Americans, and Clinton depended upon the Zionist lobby in the United States, but this lobby didn’t have the support of the Israeli government during the war of Bosnia.

Silvia Cattori:With regard to some of your sources, can one grant credit to the assertions of Yossef Bodanski, director of the Working Group on Terrorism and Non-Conventional war close to the American Senate?

Jürgen Elsässer: I don’t trust anybody. They claim that Bodansky has ties with sources in Mossad and it renders a number of his findings suspect. On the other hand, he brings to our knowledge a lot of interesting facts that contradict the official propaganda. In my book I show the contradictions within the dominant elites of the United States, and, in this respect, Bodansky, is very interesting.

Silvia Cattori:It says in your book: “Terrorism exists in Kosovo and Macedonia, but in its majority it is not controled by Ben Laden but by US intelligence”. Do you doubt the existence of Al Qaeda?

Jürgen Elsässer: Yes, as I wrote it in my book, it is propaganda manufactured by the west.

Silvia Cattori:One has a bit the impression that, to go to the end of its logic, your investigation is not finished. Certainly, Yugoslavia was a laboratory for the manufacture of the Islamic networks, and your book shows well that these networks serve the interests of the United States. However, you seem to believe in the existence of international Islamic networks who would have a popular base in the Moslem world, whereas at the same time your research demonstrates that these networks are only mercenaries of the United States and that they have never done anything for the Moslems?

Jürgen Elsässer: Look at the example of Hamas: in the beginning of the 80’s, it was fomented by Mossad to counter the influence of the PLO. But thereafter, Hamas developed its own popular base and, now, it is part of the resistance. But I bet that there are still foreign agents inside Hamas.

Silvia Cattori:You mentioned that the inspectors of the United Nations are infiltrated by spies from the United States. Could we have some precisions?

Jürgen Elsässer: Some blue helmets of the UNPROFOR in Bosnia transported weapons to destinations of the Mujahidines.

Silvia Cattori:When Peter Handke affirms that Serbs are not the only guilty party, that they are victims of the war of the Balkans, one banish it. Who is right in this business?

Jürgen Elsässer: On all sides – Serbs, Croatians, Moslems – the ordinary people have all lost. Moslems won the war in Bosnia with the help of Ben Laden and Clinton but, now, their country is occupied by NATO. They have less independence today than at the time of Yugoslavia.

Silvia Cattori:How does your research relate to that of Andreas Von Bülow and Thierry Meyssan?

Jurgen Elsässer: We share the same opinion on the events of September 11, 2001: we think that the official version is not true. All this combined research is very useful to be able to continue to deepen the reality of the facts. My specialty is to have made the link between wars of the Balkans and September 11, while Thierry Meyssan analyzed the attack on the Pentagon to demonstrate that it was due to a missile and not to a plane, and Von Bülow arrived at the conclusion that planes were guided by a beacon.

Silvia Cattori:To having put into question the official truth, Thierry Meyssan was discredited and blocked by the media. Are you going to escape that?

Jürgen Elsässer: There is also a blockage against my book. It is not possible for one author alone to break this blockage. However, it can’t prevent our theses from making their path. The public is not in agreement with what the media says: in spite of their blockage 35 to 40% of people don’t believe what media tells them. There is the example of Kennedy’s assassination: today, 90% of people don’t believe in the official version and think that Kennedy’s murder was an action of the CIA.

Silvia Cattori:Isn’t it dangerous to uncover the manipulations of States that use their intelligence services in criminal ways?

Jürgen Elsässer: I believe that the danger only comes when one sells more than 100 000 books. In Germany, in eleven months, my book has only sold 6 000 copies.


Translated by Signs of the Times.

Source: http://www.voltairenet.org/article143050.html

George Szamuely, “Bombs For Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War On Yugoslavia”, 2013

George Szamuely.  Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia.  Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013 (Distributed in the U.S. and Canada by the University of Chicago Press).  Paper.  Pp. 611.

In Bombs for Peace, George Szamuely, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute at London Metropolitan University, has produced a revealing and sharply argued analysis of Western intervention in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  The primary focus of the book is on Western diplomatic and military interventions, which played a crucial role in the breakup of Yugoslavia and the plunge into conflict.  Continued intervention fueled deeper conflict, as the United States repeatedly smashed every prospect for peaceful settlement until it could impose its control over the region.

The author places these events in a wider policy context, exploring how Western leaders capitalized on conflict in the Balkans to reorient NATO into an offensive organization suited for out-of-area operations.  From participation in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to the bombing of Libya, NATO’s aggressive role is firmly established.  Feeding the public with simple-minded morality tales, Western leaders distracted attention from their real goals.  “NATO,” Szamuely writes, “under constant U.S. prodding, seized on the crisis in Yugoslavia to transform itself from a defensive alliance into a global superpower, a coalition of powers that would purport to use force to secure peace and stability, a protagonist in other people’s conflicts yet also a referee.  NATO could nonetheless not admit publicly that it had now become a war-making machine.  So it came up with an ingenious formula. . . .  Humanitarian war was to become its credo.”  Non-Westerners rightly perceived NATO’s humanitarian war doctrine “as a fraud, a smokescreen to confuse the public, a mélange of wild exaggerations and deceptions to justify intervention in the affairs of small, weak states or in complicated conflicts on behalf of certain protagonists and against others.”

In his opening chapter, “Yugoslavia: Destroying States for Fun and Profit,” Szamuely lays bare the myriad diplomatic maneuvers by U.S. and Western European officials that guaranteed the destruction of the state and made war inevitable.  Western intervention was consistently one-sided and heavy-handed, aimed at the demise of Yugoslavia, the last remaining socialist nation in Europe.

Having successfully backed the secession of Slovenia and Croatia, the West then threw its support behind the separation of Bosnia-Hercegovina.  After encouraging Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegović to renounce the Lisbon Agreement that he had just signed, an accord that would have prevented war from breaking out, the United States then sabotaged the London Conference.  Quoting an approving Western media report that applauded war and derided peace negotiations, Szamuely responds: “Thus the perfect expression of that peculiar, yet fashionable, moral sentiment: continued war, more killings, more destruction of towns and villages, more displacement of populations, more detention camps, more refugees were preferable to an agreement that — perish the thought — ‘might silence the guns for a time.’  Heroism comes easily to those for whom it’s vicarious.”

As the war dragged on in Bosnia, the United States repeatedly derailed peace negotiations and blocked ceasefires.  Countless lives were lost to serve the dubious goal of imposing U.S. control over the region.

When Croatia launched Operation Storm against the Krajina region, it killed 2,500 and expelled 200,000 Serbs, dwarfing in size any single act of population removal that had taken place in Bosnia.  The Croatian forces that launched the operation were well armed with Western weaponry and had the backing of the United States, which had prepared them with military training.  U.S. warplanes provided support by bombing a Krajina Serb airfield and destroying radar installations, allowing Croatian planes free rein to bomb and strafe columns of fleeing civilians.  “U.S. officials were delighted,” Szamuely writes.  “Here was a massive humanitarian disaster that the humanitarian interventionists could celebrate.”  He goes on to quote approving statements made by several U.S. officials.

Bosnia marked NATO’s first military engagement.  In the largest of its bombing campaigns in that war, NATO launched widespread attacks against Bosnian Serb sites in support of Croatian cross-border and Bosnian Muslim offensives in 1995.  U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, and urged him to extend his forces’ assault in neighboring Bosnia: “I would hope that you can take Prijedor, Sanski Most, and Bosanski Novi.”

The end of the war in Bosnia accomplished the Western goals of military occupation and political and economic control over the newly minted state that became a colony in all but name.  From the Western standpoint, there remained the problem that Yugoslavia, then comprised of Serbia and Montenegro, with its socialist-dominated economy was still in place.  A new pretext would have to be invented for war, and that was found in Western support for the secessionist Kosovo Liberation Army.  “For NATO, Kosovo was to be the test of its new post-Cold War strategy of offering military solutions to non-military problems,” Szamuely points out.

Szamuely details the maneuvers by U.S. diplomats at peace talks in Rambouillet, shortly before the NATO bombing campaign, in which they steered the outcome towards war.  The inescapable conclusion is that U.S. leaders wanted war.

The bombing of Yugoslavia provided a lesson for future interventions.  The absence of evidence to buttress wild and exaggerated propaganda claims is no impediment.  “Nothing succeeds like success.  And the measure of success is the lack of NATO casualties.  Small wonder, then, that in 2002 and 2003 U.S. and British officials and their media boosters disdainfully ignored the intelligence that raised serious doubts about Iraq’s WMDs.  The Kosovo experience had taught them that failure to find evidence to support the claims used to launch an armed attack would be quickly forgotten amid the scenes of public rejoicing and ecstatic military parades.”

That scenario was to be replayed in Libya, where Western accusations of an imagined impending massacre provided the self-justification for bombing.  “Yet, as in Yugoslavia, the Western powers made no attempt to ascertain whether a crime had been committed or was about to be committed. . . .  The NATO powers were determined to start bombing as soon as the Security Council passed its resolution.  Any delay might have led to a peaceful resolution of the crisis, an outcome the powers were as anxious to avoid in 2011 as they were in 1999.”

Szamuely is devastating in his critique of U.S. diplomatic measures leading up to NATO’s attack on Yugoslavia.  These maneuvers are essentially unknown to the Western public, including those on the Left who continue to cleave to the notion of U.S. leaders’ veracity and good intentions in regard to attacking small nations.  Only through an act of willful blindness could such a belief be sustained in the face of the mountain of evidence that Szamuely marshals.

Laced with lacerating humor, Bombs for Peace is particularly effective in its deconstruction of Western rhetoric.  Time after time, Szamuely quotes Western leaders’ words and takes them apart and subjects them to scathing logical analysis.  With sweeping eloquence, Szamuely argues his points in a compelling and authoritative manner, exposing the mendacity of the proponents of war.

The official mythology is that NATO intervention stopped the wars in the Balkans.  “As usual,” Szamuely notes, “the media were more than happy to go along with this story.  Yet the only wars the NATO powers had brought to an end were those they themselves provoked and subsequently prolonged.”

The Western role in the Balkans is an object lesson that provides the template for many of the West’s subsequent interventions and wars, and Bombs for Peace is essential for understanding the nature of that relationship.  “The complacency and arrogance of NATO’s leaders was extraordinary,” observes Szamuely.  “To people who had been subjected to Western colonial rule — most of the non-Western world — NATO’s self-satisfied assumption of a new global mission sounded an awful lot like the old ‘white man’s burden.’  NATO was the old imperial club, back together again with a plan to ensure continuing rule over the world’s backward people.”

Prodigiously researched, Bombs for Peace is graced with the elegant prose style typical of the author, and with his long-held passion for justice.  It is so beautifully written that it is hard to put down, and constitutes a damning exposé of Western policy.

Bombs for Peace: A Review
by Gregory Elich


Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute.  He is a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.

Source: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2015/elich090915.html

Secret History: The U.S. Supported And Inspired The Nazis

Unless We Learn Our History, We’re Doomed to Repeat It

Preface:  I am a patriotic American who loves  my country. I was born here, and lived here my entire life.

So why do I frequently point out America’s warts?  Because – as the Founding Fathers and Supreme Court judges have explained – we can only make America better if we honestly examine her shortcomings.  After all:

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

Only when Americans can honestly look at our weaknesses can we become stronger. If we fail to do so, history will repeat …

While Americans rightly condemn the Nazis as monstrous people, we don’t know that America played both sides … both fighting and supporting the Nazis.

Americans also aren’t aware that the Nazis were – in part – inspired by anti-Semites in America.

Backing Nazis

Large American banks – and George W. Bush’s grandfather – financed the Nazis.

American manufacturing companies were big supporters of the Nazis.   here are 6 historical examples …

(1) IBM.  CNET reports:

IBM has responded to questions about its relationship with the Nazis largely by characterizing the information as old news.

“The fact that Hollerith equipment manufactured by (IBM’s German unit) Dehomag was used by the Nazi administration has long been known and is not new information,” IBM representative Carol Makovich wrote in an e-mail interview. “This information was published in 1997 in the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing and in 1998 in Washington Jewish Week.”

***

IBM also defended Chairman Thomas Watson for his dealings with Hitler and his regime.

***

On September 13, 1939, The New York Times reports on Page 1 that 3 million Jews are going to be “immediately removed” from Poland, and they appear to be candidates for “physical extermination.” On September 9, the German managers of IBM Berlin send a letter to Thomas Watson with copy to staff in Geneva via phone that, due to the “situation,” they need high-speed alphabetizing equipment. IBM wanted no paper trail, so an oral agreement was made, passed from New York to Geneva to Berlin, and those alphabetizers were approved by Watson, personally, before the end of the month.

That month he also approved the opening of a new Europe-wide school for Hollerith technicians in Berlin. And at the same time he authorized a new German-based subsidiary in occupied Poland, with a printing plant across the street from the Warsaw Ghetto at 6 Rymarska Street. It produced some 15 million punch cards at that location, the major client of which was the railroad.

We have a similar example involving Romania in 1941, and The Sunday Times has actually placed the IBM documents up on their Web site…. When Nazi Germany went into France, IBM built two new factories to supply the Nazi war machine. This is the 1941-’42 era, in Vichy, France, which was technically neutral. When Germany invaded Holland in May 1940, IBM rushed a brand-new subsidiary into occupied Holland. And it even sent 132 million punch cards in 1941, mainly from New York, to support the Nazi activity there. Holland had the highest rate of Jewish extermination in all of Europe; 72 percent of Jews were killed in Holland, compared to 24 percent in France, where the machines did not operate successfully.

***

When Hitler came to power in 1933, his desire to destroy European Jewry was so ambitious an enterprise, it required the resources of a computer. But in 1933 no computer existed. What did exist was the Hollerith punch-card system. It was invented by a German-American in Buffalo, New York, for the Census Bureau. This punch-card system could store all the information about individuals, places, products, inventories, schedules, in the holes that were punched or not punched in columns and rows.

The Hollerith system reduced everything to number code. Over time, the IBM alphabetizers could convert this code to alphabetical information. IBM made constant improvements for their Nazi clients.

***

Our entry was of course precipitated by the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7. Shortly before that, with sudden new trading-with-the-enemy regulations in force–this is October 1941–Watson issued a cable to all IBM’s European subsidiaries, saying in effect: “Don’t tell us what you’re doing and don’t ask us any questions.” He didn’t say, “Don’t send machines into concentration camps.” He didn’t say, “Stop organizing the military forces of Nazi Germany.” He didn’t say, “Don’t undertake anything to harm innocent civilians.”

***

He then bifurcated the management of IBM Europe–one manager in Geneva, named Werner Lier, and the other one in New York, in his office, named J.L. Schotte. So all communications went from Switzerland to New York. Ultimately there was a Hollerith Department called Hollerith Abteilung–German for department–in almost every concentration camp. Remember, the original Auschwitz tattoo was an IBM number.

***

IBM put the blitz in blitzkrieg. The whole war effort was organized on Hollerith machines from 1933 to 1945. This is when information technology comes to warfare. At the same time, IBM was supporting the entire German war machine directly from New York until the fall of 1941 ….

***

IBM did more than just sell equipment. Watson and IBM controlled the unique technical magic of Hollerith machines. They controlled the monopoly on the cards and the technology. And they were the ones that had to custom-design even the paper forms and punch cards–they were custom-designed for each specific purpose. That included everything form counting Jews to confiscating bank accounts, to coordinating trains going into death camps, to the extermination by labor campaign.

That’s why even the paper forms in the prisoner camps had Hollerith notations and numbered fields checked. They were all punched in. For example, IBM had to agree with their Nazi counterparts that Code 6 in the concentration camps was extermination. Code 1 was released, Code 2 was transferred, Code 3 was natural death, Code 4 was formal execution, Code 5 was suicide. Code 7 was escape. Code 6 was extermination.

All of the money and all the machines from all these operations was claimed by IBM as legitimate business after the war. The company used its connections with the State Department and the Pentagon to recover all the machines and all the bank accounts. They never said, “We do not want this blood money.” They wanted it all.

(2) Standard Oil.   The Nazi air force – the Luftwaffe – needed tetraethyl lead gas in order to get their planes off the ground. Standard Oil sold tetraethyl to the Nazis.

After WWII began, the English became angry about U.S. shipments of strategic materials to Nazi Germany. So Standard changed the registration of their entire fleet to Panamanian to avoid British search or seizure. These ships continued to carry oil to the Nazis.

(3) Ford.  Ford made cars for the Nazis.  Wikipedia notes:

Ford continued to do business with Nazi Germany, including the manufacture of war materiel.  Beginning in 1940, with the requisitioning of between 100 and 200 French POWs to work as slave laborers, Ford-Werke contravened Article 31 of the 1929 Geneva Convention.  At that time, which was before the U.S. entered the War and still had full diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany, Ford-Werke was under the control of the Ford Motor Company. The number of slave laborers grew as the war expanded ….

(And see discussion under GM, below.)

Wikipedia also points out that Henry Ford was one of the world’s biggest anti-Semites … inspiring Hitler, Himmler and other high-level Nazis:

In Germany, Ford’s anti-Semitic articles from The Dearborn Independent were issued in four volumes, cumulatively titled The International Jew, the World’s Foremost Problem published by Theodor Fritsch, founder of several anti-Semitic parties and a member of the Reichstag. In a letter written in 1924, Heinrich Himmler described Ford as “one of our most valuable, important, and witty fighters.” Ford is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf.  Adolf Hitler wrote, “only a single great man, Ford, [who], to [the Jews’] fury, still maintains full independence…[from] the controlling masters of the producers in a nation of one hundred and twenty millions.” Speaking in 1931 to a Detroit News reporter, Hitler said he regarded Ford as his “inspiration,” explaining his reason for keeping Ford’s life-size portrait next to his desk. Steven Watts wrote that Hitler “revered” Ford, proclaiming that “I shall do my best to put his theories into practice in Germany,” and modeling the Volkswagen, the people’s car, on the Model T.
Grand Cross of the German Eagle, an award bestowed on Ford by Nazi Germany

***

James D. Mooney, vice-president of overseas operations for General Motors, received a similar medal, the Merit Cross of the German Eagle, First Class.

***

Testifying at Nuremberg, convicted Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach who, in his role as military governor of Vienna deported 65,000 Jews to camps in Poland, stated,

The decisive anti-Semitic book I was reading and the book that influenced my comrades was … that book by Henry Ford, “The International Jew.” I read it and became anti-Semitic. The book made a great influence on myself and my friends because we saw in Henry Ford the representative of success and also the representative of a progressive social policy.

(4) GM.  The Washington Post reports:

“General Motors was far more important to the Nazi war machine than Switzerland,” said Bradford Snell, who has spent two decades researching a history of the world’s largest automaker. “Switzerland was just a repository of looted funds. GM was an integral part of the German war effort. The Nazis could have invaded Poland and Russia without Switzerland. They could not have done so without GM.”

Both General Motors and Ford insist that they bear little or no responsibility for the operations of their German subsidiaries, which controlled 70 percent of the German car market at the outbreak of war in 1939 and rapidly retooled themselves to become suppliers of war materiel to the German army.

But documents discovered in German and American archives show a much more complicated picture. In certain instances, American managers of both GM and Ford went along with the conversion of their German plants to military production at a time when U.S. government documents show they were still resisting calls by the Roosevelt administration to step up military production in their plants at home.

***

When American GIs invaded Europe in June 1944, they did so in jeeps, trucks and tanks manufactured by the Big Three motor companies in one of the largest crash militarization programs ever undertaken. It came as an unpleasant surprise to discover that the enemy was also driving trucks manufactured by Ford and Opel — a 100 percent GM-owned subsidiary — and flying Opel-built warplanes ….

***

The relationship of Ford and GM to the Nazi regime goes back to the 1920s and 1930s, when the American car companies competed against each other for access to the lucrative German market.

***

In 1935, GM agreed to build a new plant near Berlin to produce the aptly named “Blitz” truck, which would later be used by the German army for its blitzkreig attacks on Poland, France and the Soviet Union. German Ford was the second-largest producer of trucks for the German army after GM/Opel, according to U.S. Army reports.

The importance of the American automakers went beyond making trucks for the German army. The Schneider report, now available to researchers at the National Archives, states that American Ford agreed to a complicated barter deal that gave the Reich increased access to large quantities of strategic raw materials, notably rubber. Author Snell says that Nazi armaments chief Albert Speer told him in 1977 that Hitler “would never have considered invading Poland” without synthetic fuel technology provided by General Motors.

As war approached, it became increasingly difficult for U.S. corporations like GM and Ford to operate in Germany without cooperating closely with the Nazi rearmament effort. Under intense pressure from Berlin, both companies took pains to make their subsidiaries appear as “German” as possible. In April 1939, for example, German Ford made a personal present to Hitler of 35,000 Reichsmarks in honor of his 50th birthday, according to a captured Nazi document.

Documents show that the parent companies followed a conscious strategy of continuing to do business with the Nazi regime, rather than divest themselves of their German assets. Less than three weeks after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan defended this strategy as sound business practice, given the fact that the company’s German operations were “highly profitable.”

***

After the outbreak of war in September 1939, General Motors and Ford became crucial to the German military, according to contemporaneous German documents and postwar investigations by the U.S. Army. James Mooney, the GM director in charge of overseas operations, had discussions with Hitler in Berlin two weeks after the German invasion of Poland.

Typewritten notes by Mooney show that he was involved in the partial conversion of the principal GM automobile plant at Russelsheim to production of engines and other parts for the Junker “Wunderbomber,” a key weapon in the German air force, under a government-brokered contract between Opel and the Junker airplane company. Mooney’s notes show that he returned to Germany the following February for further discussions with Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering and a personal inspection of the Russelsheim plant.

Mooney’s involvement in the conversion of the Russelsheim plant undermines claims by General Motors that the American branch of the company had nothing to do with the Nazi rearmament effort.

***

At GM and Ford plants in Germany, reliance on forced labor [from concentration camp inmates]increased.

***

In a court submission, American Ford acknowledges that Iwanowa and others were “forced to endure a sad and terrible experience” at its Cologne plant ….

Ford has backed away from its initial claim that it did not profit in any way from forced labor at its Cologne plant.

***

Mel Weiss, an American attorney for Iwanowa, argues that American Ford received “indirect” profits from forced labor at its Cologne plant because of the overall increase in the value of German operations during the war. He notes that Ford was eager to demand compensation from the U.S. government after the war for “losses” due to bomb damage to its German plants and therefore should also be responsible for any benefits derived from forced labor.

Similar arguments apply to General Motors, which was paid $32 million by the U.S. government for damages sustained to its German plants.

(5)  Kodak. During World War Two, Kodak’s German branch also used slave laborers from concentration camps. Several of their other European branches did heavy business with the Nazi government.

And Wilhelm Keppler – one of Hitler’s top economic advisers – had deep ties in Kodak. When Nazism began, Keppler advised Kodak and several other U.S. companies that they’d benefit by firing all of their Jewish employees.

(6) Coca Cola. Coke made soda for the Nazis.  Fanta was specifically invented for Nazi-era Germans.

Leading American financiers Rockefeller, Carnegie and Harriman also funded Nazi eugenics programs.

And the U.S. government actively backed the Nazis in Ukraine 70 years ago.

Inspired By America

As noted above, Hitler and his top henchmen were inspired by Henry Ford’s writings.

The American author Lothrop Stoddard was the source of the concept of “under-man (sub-human)” adopted by the Nazis in regards to Jews and communists.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the idea of killing Jews, communists and gypsies in gas chambers originated in the U.S.not Germany.

And Nazis were also apparently inspired by America’s treatment of Native Americans.   Specifically, retired Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps, Todd E. Pierce – who researched and reviewed the complete records of military commissions held during the Civil War and stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. as part of his assignment in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions – notes:

Stories of the American conquest of Native Americans with its solution of placing them on reservations were particularly popular in Germany early in the Twentieth Century including with Adolf Hitler.

Finally, the Nazis copied American propaganda techniques.

Postscript: After WWII, America imported and protected many high-level Nazi scientists and spies, and put them into prominent positions within the U.S.

And many allege that we’re supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine.


2014-03-27

Original source of the article:

Twisted History Against Russia And Serbia

The June 20 Gray Falcon commentary “Failure to Communicate” has this excerpt, that led me to an extremely anti-Russian and anti-Serb article, from a venue which has previously slanted in that direction:

“The latest example of this ‘flipping the script’ is a New Republic feature comparing Putin to Milosevic. In reality, it is the West acting towards Russia the same way they acted towards the Serbs two decades ago. I’ve argued before that Putin is aware of this, though the Russian public and media in general may not be.”

Whether the issue is the Caucasus or Ukraine, bombing Russia hasn’t been considered, unlike what Serbia hypocritically faced. Russia’s nuclear power stature provides it with more cover.

Contrary to what the aforementioned New Republic article “History Repeats Itself” of this past June 19 suggests, the disputes involving Russia and Serbia, haven’t been simple instances of sinister action by the two against less culpable others. On the subject of Serbia and in contrast to that New Republic piece, I’m reminded of the August 1999 First Things commentary “The Condescension of the Christian West“, which is written by someone who has supported the so-called “Orange Revolution” and more recent Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. (The First Things article is mentioned without necessarily agreeing with everything said in it.)

The New Republic article in question underscores the prevailing biases evident within neoliberal and neoconservative leaning circles. Its negatively inaccurate analogy between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the late Yugoslav/Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic is nothing new. Former Clinton administration official Christopher Hill had previously spun that image. He’s by no means alone, among Western foreign policy establishment sources, who’re essentially providing cover for the extreme nationalism that patriotically reasoned Serbs, Russians and some others oppose.

The New Republic article’s comparison between the Russian and Serb Orthodox churches (viewed with negativity), with the Croat Catholic and Ukrainian Greek Catholic variants (spun more favorably), is one of several examples. The WW II period and thereafter have seen noticeable pro-Ustasha sentiment in the Croat Catholic Church, which has included Jasenovac concentration camp head Dinko Sakic and key Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic being openly lauded by some Croat Catholics. Similarly, pro-OUN/UPA sentiment in the form of lauding Galician Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, is noticeably evident within the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

I’m aware that a rebuttal will note how it’s wrongfully inaccurate to lump a collective negativity on the Croat Catholic and Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches. Not everyone in these churches march to the same tune. How ironically repulsive it is to negatively caricature the Russian and Serb Orthodox churches. The neoliberal leaning New Republic finds common cause with pro-Ustasha and pro-Bandera advocates.

Within reason, it’d be considered gratuitous to accentuate Poland’s pre-WW II discriminatory actions against non-Poles, as a basis to suggestively rationalize the ramifications of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Likewise, pre-Communist Yugoslavia never came close to the kind of brutal suppression exhibited by the Nazi allied Croat Ustasha. Prior to WW II, Pavelic was involved in political terrorism against the Yugoslav government, as was Bandera against the Polish government. The New Republic piece glosses over these and other particulars, coming in conflict with an anti-Serb and anti-Russian slant.

From that New Republic article, this excerpt underscores the last observation:

“The story begins in the early twentieth century, when the USSR and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia were established. In both cases, the metropolises of Russia and Serbia-both countries of eastern Orthodox religion that considered themselves alternative, non-Western civilizations-imposed their rule upon the Catholic and much more pro-Western Croatia and Ukraine.”

This fault ridden perspective overlooks several realities.

As a nation unto itself, Serbia was on the side of the Western powers during WW I, much unlike Croatia’s predicament. WW I saw Croat territory affiliated with Austria-Hungary. During this period, the future non-Serb (half-Croat, half-Slovene) Yugoslav Communist dictator Tito, was a corporal in the Austro-Hungarian army. It’s also true that before WW I and thereafter, the movement for a multiethnic south Slav state had support among Serbs and non-Serbs alike in the Balkans.

In WW II, the Ustasha state of Croatia had a privileged standing in Nazi occupied Europe, much unlike Serbia. WW II Serb transgressions never came close to matching the anti-Serb Orthodox brutality of the Croat Ustasha, which included savagery against Jews, Roma and dissenting Croats.

The official Communist Yugoslav propaganda against the Serb Yugoslav royalist army General Draza Mihailovic and his forces, hasn’t factually countered the Nazi wanted posters for him, Nazi documents regarding him as an enemy, as well as the pro-Mihailovich testimony of Allied Western airmen shot down over Yugoslavia. (The anti-Mihailovic take is shared among anti-Communist/anti-Serb sources.) Milan Nedic, another Serb commander (but of a lessor stature to Mihailovic), headed a Belgrade located Nazi collaborationist entity, which didn’t come anywhere near matching the degree of authoritative power and culpability in atrocities as the Croat Ustasha state. Some view Nedic as an individual who tried to make the best out of a bad situation. WW II atrocities in Serbia were overwhelmingly committed by Nazi allied non-Serbs. The Serbs in Serbia were very much brutalized.

Fast forward to the present, the breakup of Yugoslavia included extreme nationalist views among key Croat and Bosnian Muslim nationalist leaders, as well as atrocities committed by people who supported either of them. In terms of rhetoric, Milosevic didn’t come across as being more extreme than his peers, Croat President Franjo Tudjman and the Muslim Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

These comments aren’t intended to excuse 1990s wrongdoing on the Serb side. At the same time, Serb wrongs were often exaggerated in a way that included significantly inflated fatality figures (among other claims), that were used to lobby for foreign military intervention, in support of the sides that were militarily losing to the Serbs.

Among Ukrainian Christian believers, the mostly western Ukrainian concentrated Greek Catholic denomination is a very distant second to the Orthodox variant. The post-Soviet period has seen the latter comprise three different churches.

In the late 16th century, Polish rule in western Ukraine encouraged the development of the Greek Catholic denomination, as a basis to woo Ukrainians away from Orthodox Christianity, for the purpose of limiting ties to Russia. In this developmental phase, Polish rule made it more difficult to be an observant Orthodox Christian. On a related note, the early 17th century Polish incursion into Russia, included repressive measures against the Orthodox Church. (The October 28, 2009 Russia Blog article “The Russo-Polish History Coverage and Some Related Matters“, provides additional insight on the history of Russian-Polish relations.)

Over the course of time, the existence of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic denomination didn’t lead to its followers becoming so agreeable to Polish rule. During the Russian Civil War, the Galician Ukrainian army en masse preferred to come under the command of the anti-Communist Russian Whites, rather than enter into an alliance with Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petliura, who (out of his weak position) made a pact with Poland, which involved his recognition of all of Galicia going to Poland. As a part of Poland, western Ukrainians like Bandera became violently opposed to Polish rule. Upon western Ukraine becoming a part of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was greatly suppressed, at a time when other religious denominations including the Russian Orthodox Church, were very much compromised.

Concerning the ongoing political dispute in Ukraine, it’s within reason to believe that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church associated with the Moscow Patriarchate (whose spiritual leader passed way on July 5), has been more neutral, when compared to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (that broke off from the Moscow Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church – the latter two having taken pro-Euromaidan positions. Of the three Ukrainian Orthodox churches, the Moscow Patriarchate affiliated church, is the only one which has its status formally recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. (Within Eastern Orthodox Christianity, this body comes closest to matching the role of the Holy See, AKA the Vatican. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople doesn’t have the level of centralized authority over Orthodox churches as the Vatican’s relationship with Roman Catholic ones.) With roots going back to the Russian Civil War period, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, is the considerably smaller of Ukraine’s Orthodox churches. It has exhibited a less strident pro-Euromaidan sentiment than the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate. By and large, pro-Russian feelings in Crimea and eastern Ukraine don’t appear to be noticeably motivated by some kind of ultra-religious fanaticism.

Within logic, there’s the impression that for the purpose of promoting an offset to Russian influence in Ukraine, some in Poland (as well as elsewhere) have downplayed the brutal WW II era anti-Polish activity of Galician Ukrainian nationalist forces loyal to Bandera. On a related note, an acquaintance informed me of a DC area think tank event a few years ago, which included a pro-Bandera organization. Bandera was uncritically lauded at that event. My acquaintance was told to shut up, after she told the think tank executive of Bandera’s negative attributes. (Pardon the confidentiality of this recollection. This personal account was communicated to me off the record.) There’ve been several Western mass media TV segments, showing the black and red pro-Bandera flag, without mention of what it represents.

In 1959, the pro-Bandera and anti-Russian Captive Nations Committee organization, was able to influence the US Congress to pass a resolution to officially acknowledge a “Captive Nations Week“, which recognized such Nazi creations as “Cossackia” and “Idel-Ural” as being captive unlike Russia. From that period, Captive Nations Committee propaganda portrayed Russia/Russians as inherently evil, regardless of their ideology. Bernadine Bailey’s book “The Captive Nations“, is a bigoted anti-Russian diatribe, which includes uncritical praise of Bandera and Pavelic.

The New Republic article parrots the inaccurately standard claim that downplays the nationalist anti-Russian actions, which have become more prominent in Ukraine, following the ouster of Ukraine’s democratically elected, albeit imperfect President Viktor Yanukovych. (On the last thought, what follows in this set of parenthesis, is a reiteration of my previously stated observations, which are restated for the purpose of having a direct reference to my contention. Yanukovych’s ouster saw the following developments become either implemented, or enhanced from what they’d been:

  1. disproportionate Rada ministerial appointments by the then acting Turchynov-Yatsenyuk regime in Kiev, to people associated with the pro-Bandera/anti-Russian leaning nationalist Svoboda organization
  2. scrapping of a law safeguarding Russian and other minority language rights, only to be later put in a pending kind of limbo status
  3. violent manner of the nationalist anti-Russian slanted Svoboda and Right Sector movements – some examples are clearly available on tape
  4. a situation in Kiev and some other parts of Ukraine that became unfairly challenging to individuals with views running counter to the Turchynov-Yatsenyuk regime, in the lead up to the May 25 Ukrainian presidential election
  5. replacing the pro-Russian utilized St. George’s ribbon, honoring the May 9th Victory Day, with an emblem having the black and red colors of the pro-Bandera movement
  6. Svoboda advocated removal of a monument honoring Napoleonic era Russian General Mikhail Kutuzov.

As a follow-up to the last point, the ancestors of modern day Ukrainians, whether in the Romanov or Habsburg empires, had mostly supported Russia against Napoleon.)

A segment in a BBC telecast highlighted how Kiev and Lviv are presently more peaceful than eastern Ukraine. The reverse was true months ago. Since the Kiev demonstrations against Yanukovych, Crimea, the most pro-Russian part of the former Ukrainian SSR, has been virtually bloodless, much unlike what transpired in Ukraine’s capital – something which includes some culpability among the anti-Yanukovych opposition. Meantime, the sending to eastern Ukraine of forces supporting the Yatsenyuk-Turchynov regime and its successor, hasn’t resulted in a decrease of fatalities in that area. Rather, the introduction of these combatants has greatly added to an increase in casualties.


2014-07-10

About the author:

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. Republished from Global Research on the author’s request.

Original source of the article:

Twisted History Against Russia and Serbia

The Relationship Between Washington And ISIS: The Evidence

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences.

A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a renewal of Bush’s ‘war on terror’.

A distinct controversy is whether the al Qaeda styled groups (especially Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS) have been generated as a sort of organic reaction to the repeated US interventions, or whether they are actually paid agents of Washington.

Certainly, prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq. In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a ‘New Middle East’, a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of ‘creative destruction’ in the region.

According to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, ‘The Redirection’, the US would make use of ‘moderate Sunni states’, not least the Saudis, to ‘contain’ the Shia gains in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These ‘moderate Sunni’ forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel. This brought the Saudis and Israel closer, as both fear Iran.

While there have been claims that the ISIS ‘caliph’ al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been well backed up. There are certainly grounds for suspicion, but independent evidence is important, in the context of a supposed US ‘war’ against ISIS . So what is the broader evidence on Washington’s covert links with ISIS?

Not least are the admissions by senior US officials that key allies support the extremist group. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing ‘I know major Arab allies who fund [ ISIS ]‘. Senator Lindsey Graham, of Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, ‘They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’.

The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL’. Biden’s admissions sought to exempt the US from this operation, as though Washington were innocent of sustained operations carried out by its key allies. That is simply not credible.

Washington’s relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region, in particular against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. At that time Washington wanted to set up the Saudi King as a rival to President Nasser of Egypt. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw has acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology: ‘This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money’, Shaw said.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between the ‘moderate rebels’, now openly armed and trained by the US, and the extremist groups Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry (emphasised by the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights), the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by the cooperation and mergers of groups.

As ISIS came from Iraq in 2013, its Syrian bases have generally remained in the far eastern part of Syria. However Jabhat al Nusra (the official al Qaeda branch in Syria, from which ISIS split) has collaborated with Syrian Islamist groups in western Syria for several years. The genocidal slogan of the Syrian Islamists, ‘Christians to Beirut and Alawis to the Grave’, reported many times in 2011 from the Farouk Brigade, sat well with the al Qaeda groups. Farouk (once the largest ‘Free Syrian Army’ group) indeed killed and ethnically cleansed many Christians and Alawis.

Long term cooperation between these ‘moderate rebels’ and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra has been seen around Daraa in the south, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean ‘support front’, that is, support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra’.

After the collapse of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ groups, cooperation between al Nusra and the newer US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel’s support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of ‘rebel’ fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals. Prime Minister Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded ‘rebels’ in early 2014. That led to a public ‘thank you’ from a Turkey-based ‘rebel’ leader, Mohammed Badie (February 2014).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported its observations of Israel’s Defence Forces ‘interacting with’ al Nusra fighters at the border. At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq. In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israel’s hospital support for al Nusra and ISIS fighters. This in turn led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ‘ Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]‘. A military spokesman’s reply was hardly a denial: ‘In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.’

The artificial distinction between ‘rebel’ and ‘extremist’ groups is mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa. In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported. In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ‘ Syrian National Coalition’, said ‘opposition fighters’ were ‘increasingly joining’ ISIS ‘for financial reasons’. In that same month, ‘rebels’ in the Israel-backed Golan area were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria’s far south. Then, in early 2015, three thousand ‘moderate rebels’ from the US-backed ‘Harakat Hazzm’ collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them.

ISIS already had US weapons by other means, in both Iraq and Syria , as reported in July, September and October 2014. At that time a ‘non aggression pact’ was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: ‘the Nussayri regime’, a sectarian way of referring to supposedly apostate Muslims. Some reported ISIS had bought weapons from the ‘rebels’.

In December 2014 there were western media reports of the US covert supply of heavy weapons to ‘Syrian rebels’ from Libya, and of Jabhat al-Nusra getting anti-tank weapons which had been supplied to Harakat Hazm. Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province.

With ‘major Arab allies’ backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, it is not such a logical stretch to suppose that the US and ‘coalition’ flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to ‘degrade’ the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that ‘an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin’. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted the seizure but said this was a ‘mistake’. In February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. ‘We have discovered weapons made in the US , European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region’, al-Zameli said.

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province. Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published. After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested ‘four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters’, three of whom were American and Israeli. So far the western media has avoided these stories altogether; they are very damaging to the broader western narrative.

In Libya, a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government has announced himself the newly declared head of the ‘Islamic State’ in North Africa. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based ‘Libyan Dawn’ group, Belhaj has been defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Some image softening of the al Qaeda groups is underway. Jabhat al-Nusra is reported to be considering cutting ties to al Qaeda, to help sponsor Qatar boost their funding. Washington’s Foreign Affairs magazine even published a survey claiming that ISIS fighters were ‘surprisingly supportive of democracy’. After all the well published massacres that lacks credibility.

The Syrian Army is gradually reclaiming Aleppo, despite the hostile supply lines from Turkey, and southern Syria, in face of support for the sectarian groups from Jordan and Israel. The border with Lebanon is largely under Syrian Army and Hezbollah control. In the east, the Syrian Army and its local allies control most of Hasaka and Deir e-Zour, with a final campaign against Raqqa yet to come. The NATO-GCC attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government has failed.

Yet violent destabilisation persists. Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad calls Washington’s ‘cosmetic war’ on ISIS. The extremist group is a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq . Their ‘war’ on ISIS is ineffective. Studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after US air attacks began. The main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing.

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that celebrate the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers also claim the Syrian Army is ‘not fighting ISIS’. This alleged ‘unwillingness’ was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria. While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities have remained in the heavily populated west, local media reports make it clear that, since at least the beginning of 2014, the Syrian Arab Army has been the major force engaged with ISIS in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir eZour. A March 2015 Reuters report does concede that the Syrian Army recently killed two ISIS commanders (including Deeb Hedjian al-Otaibi) along with 24 fighters, at Hamadi Omar.

Closer cooperation between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah is anathema to Israel, the Saudis and Washington, yet it is happening. This is not a sectarian divide but rather based on some clear mutual interests, not least putting an end to sectarian (takfiri) terrorism.

It was only logical that, in the Iraqi military’s recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq’s main partner. Washington has been sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force is a leading player in the Tikrit operation.  A decade after Washington’s ‘creative destruction’ plans, designed to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, an article in Foreign Policy magazine complains that Iran’s influence is ‘at its highest point in almost four centuries’.

Select references

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (2006) Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’

http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

Seymour Hersh (2007) The Redirection

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

Al Akhbar (2011) Syria: What Kind of Revolution?

http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/540

The New Yorker (2013) Syrian Opposition Groups Stop Pretending

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/syrian-opposition-groups-stop-pretending

RT (2014) Anyone but US! Biden blames allies for ISIS rise

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11l8nLZNPSY

Iraqi News (2015) American aircraft dropped weapons to ISIS, says MP

http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/american-aircraft-airdropped-weapons-to-isis-says-mp/

Washington Post (2015) Syrian rebel group that got U.S. aid dissolves

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrian-fighter-group-that-got-us-missiles-dissolves-after-major-defeat/2015/03/01/286fa934-c048-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_story.html

David Kenner (2015) For God and Country, and Iran, Foreign Policy

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/05/for-god-and-country-and-iran/

Reuters (2015) Syrian air strike kills two Islamic State commanders

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/07/us-mideast-crisis-syria-islamicstate-idUSKBN0M30F720150307


Prof. Tim Anderson

2015-03-08

Original source of the article:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-relationship-between-washington-and-isis-the-evidence/5435405

The Middle East On The Waves Of Chaos

For some time the criminal activities of the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (ISIS) seemed to have faded into the shadows. It seemed that this organization in the near future will be broken tie with due to the “heroic” American bombing. However, the ISIS like a fabulous hydra, who immediately has a new head grown in place of a severed one, revived and made further impressive gains.

The capture of ancient Palmyra in Syria and the important city Ramadi, the main city of the Sunni province Anbar, located by the way just 100 kilometres far from Baghdad, made the world’s media and politicians speak again about the power and strength of the terrorists, which have already announced the creation of a new caliphate. Analysts give their forecasts for the near future of this region, for the plans of not only the Syrian and Iraqi leadership, but above all of Washington, whose activities in the fight against terrorism have faded and are gradually eroding to nothing.

Many people believe that this is not surprising, since the ISIS came out of the womb of Al Qaeda terrorist group, created and fostered back in the day by the United States with the help of the Saudis. And now the terrorists of the “Islamic State” are bringing chaos, tyranny, and murder in the ancient land of Mesopotamia, in accordance with the plans of the administration of Barack Obama to establish a stranglehold on the entire Middle East region and cement its dominant influence here.

And in this case for Washington, like it or not, the “Islamic State” is the most suitable to advance its plans, although it seems to be carrying out only its own plans. Who is the ISIS, what are its plans and its tacit alliance with the United States? – The ideology of the ISIS is known to be formed by Salafists, who have set themselves a number of tasks. The closest is the consolidation of already occupied territories and the seizure of the remaining lands of Syria and Iraq. In the medium term its objective is to establish its power in full in Syria and Iraq and in neighbouring countries inhabited by Sunni Muslims. It is possible that in the near future the ISIS is planning to expand into Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The long term objective for the “Islamic State” is a domination in the entire region of the Arab East. As we can see, in the face of the ISIS Washington has a good, hefty cudgel, with which it threatens not only its enemies, but its friends.

Over the whole territory controlled by the ISIS, sharia courts enforce segregation by gender, and women are obliged to wear the veil. Religious police patrols the streets, enforcing the observance of sharia law by Muslims. Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are strictly prohibited. All this is well-suited to countries of the Persian Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia, which is the closest US ally in the region. This was once again confirmed at the recently concluded Arab-American summit at Camp David. Then none other than the US President solemnly pledged to guarantee the security of the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, and as a first gesture – to place on their territory a US missile defence system.

According to the CIA Director John O. Brennan, the ISIS is well armed and well funded. The core of the “Islamic State” army is manned by disciplined, well-trained and battle-hardened fighters. Battle groups are covertly penetrating everywhere. The ISIS is a real threat not only to Syria and Iraq, but also to remote regions of the Middle East. The ISIS paramilitary groups, according to military experts, have over 200 thousand bayonets. This includes combat brigades, Ansar support groups, Hisbah security forces, police forces, and militias (militiamen, local self-defence units: Mukhabarat, Assas, Amniyat, Ain al-Khas, etc.), recruits undergoing military training in boot camps, and up to 22 thousand foreign fighters of almost 100 nationalities.

Now, as estimated by the world’s media, about 40% of the territory of Syria with a population of over 2.2 million people is under the reign of the ISIS. In Iraq, the ISIS controls up to 25% of the country territory, almost all the areas where most Sunnis live, more than 4.6 million people. Let us recall that on May 17 Islamists managed to capture Ramadi city, and thus, Baghdad is again in danger like in the summer of 2014. Now Ramadi continues to strengthen with militants, Islamists are mining roads and buildings. According to the UN, Anbar province has some 40 thousand people left, refugees are mainly leaving for Baghdad. But there is unrest in the capital itself, where “Islamic State” militants regularly commit acts of terrorism. As a result of one of them alone, when six bombs went off in different parts of the city at the same time, at least 40 people were killed. In all cases, parked cars were blown up.

It is noteworthy that the terrorists tried to take Ramadi before, too, but this time they did it because of the refusal of the Iraqi army (of course, at the suggestion of the United States) to use Shiite militia in the Sunni province, allegedly on the grounds that it could strengthen sectarian division. But in this case the mystery was easily solved: Washington did not want and does not want to use the Shiite groups, behind which Tehran quite reasonably stands. In other words, once again we have a clear incidence of the US playing a game for their own benefits, but at the expense of Arabs living there, who have long been tired of the wars initiated by the United States far back in 2003.

In general, the situation has been deteriorated again, and this is the result of intrigues that Washington actively schemes, and their sense is simple in fact – to prevent Iran’s active participation in the defeat of the ISIS. In this regard, the visit of the Iranian Defence Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehkan to Baghdad for urgent consultations with the Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi as soon as the city of Ramadi fell is remarkable.

Attention is drawn to the following fact: The US Congress recently passed a law, according to which the United States will only supply weapons to the Kurds and an entity called “Sunnistan” – a territory of Iraq compactly populated by Sunnis, without approving deliveries with Baghdad. The amount of aid is about 800 million USD. Interestingly, most of the territory of “Sunnistan” is controlled by the ISIS, making it unclear, to whom the Americans intend to supply weapons. In any case, there have been already precedents, when American planes dropped weapons to the ISIS’s militants. A quite particular question that has to be answered is: whether this was an accident or a deliberate practice, the meaning of which is to use the terrorists to defeat the central government in Baghdad, which, in the opinion of Washington, is under the influence of Tehran.

This truth has been realized even in Baghdad, where the Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Gabbani said that the US provides insufficient support to defeat the “Islamic State”. He pointed to the poor training of the newly formed Iraqi army by the “experienced” American instructors and the lack of supplies of modern weapons.

However, instead of direct help, Washington reiterates, like a mantra, its promises. For example, the US Vice President Joseph Biden “assured” Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi of the intention to accelerate the supplies of the US arms to fight the “Islamic State”. Suppliers include the AT-4 portable anti-tank grenade launchers to counteract improvised explosive devices fitted on vehicles, additional uniforms, and other provisions of the Iraqi army. However, as the Baghdad press notes, these supplies should have been delivered yesterday, and today Iraqi soldiers without modern weapons simply imitate a fight against the terrorists, including around Ramadi.

The analysis of the latest developments taking place in Iraq and Syria clearly shows the chaos in which Washington, through its allies, has plunged the region, starting an unprovoked invasion of Iraq. Now this state, in the truest sense of the word, does not exit. It is just a vast territory, where the West, the Gulf countries, and Iran are sorting out their relationships.


2015-05-30

About the author:

Viktor Mikhin, member correspondent of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Original source of the article: First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/30/the-middle-east-on-the-waves-of-chaos/

Euromaidan: Anatomy of a Washington-backed coup d’etat

In late November 2013, the ‘Euromaidan’ in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine’s economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO.

The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and “gas princess” Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather severe economic impact the EU Association Agreement would have had on the Ukrainian economy, made it impossible for a consensus in the Ukrainian government to be reached, despite the fact that Yanukovych urged Parliament to put aside their differences and ratify the agreement. In fact, the EU’s insistence that Tymoshenko be released appears now to have been designed to ensure the EU-Ukraine Association agreement failed and Yanukovych blamed for that failure and removed from office. Whatever the case, when the agreement was not signed, Ukrainians took to the streets in protest, right on cue.

The reason I say ‘right on cue’ is that there is abundant evidence to suggest that public opinion had been primed well in advance of November 21st, 2013 – years in advance, in fact, by Western (particularly American) ‘NGOs’.

The term ‘Non Governmental Organisation’ is a flagrant misnomer. Most NGOs require funding, which often comes from wealthy patrons with direct ties to government, or from governments themselves. Indeed, several well-known US ‘NGO’s are equally well-known fronts for CIA and other ‘intelligence’ agency activity in foreign countries.

American billionaire ‘philanthropist’ and business magnate George Soros is the founder and financier of several NGOs. Soros has been ‘opening up’ societies (particularly in Eastern Europe) for his own benefit and the benefit of Western corporate interests for many years. In 1989, his foundations were instrumental in making sure that former Soviet republics and satellite states chose Western ‘liberalism’ after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In May 2014 Soros told CNN:

“Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.”

Soros’s aptly named ‘Open Society Foundations’ work closely with and receive money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED was set up in the early 1980s in response to the extremely negative press the CIA had been receiving in the late 1970s. The CIA needed a cover, so the NED was created. According to a 1991 interview in the Washington Post with one of the creators of the NED, Allen Weinstein, “a lot of what we (NED) do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA“.

Part of the CIA’s mission since its creation has been to make the world free for US corporations. This means infiltrating, destabilizing and ‘opening up’ sovereign nations. For example, one of the goals of a 1997-98 NED program in the former Yugoslavia was: “To identify barriers to private sector development at the local and federal levels in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to push for legislative change…[and] to develop strategies for private sector growth.” NED and Soros’s Open Society are therefore thinly veiled tools of US imperialism, and they have been at work around the world for decades. NED continues to throw $millions at Ukrainian ‘CSOs’ or Civil Society Organisations. But what exactly is “civil society”?

‘Civil society’ (CS) is an over-used term that supposedly describes the “aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens.” Or more simply, it is “individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government“. In reality, however, for the most part, ‘civil society’ is Western government double-speak for ‘interfering in the political and social affairs of other nations’. While there are many genuine grassroots organisations around the world, only the ones that align themselves with US government ‘strategic interests’ get significant funding. In the US, these are precisely the types of groups the US government repeatedly suppresses – those that would ‘manifest the interests and will’ of its citizens, and not the 1%. In Ukraine, most ‘civil society’ groups are 100% funded and controlled by the US government via its network of phony ‘NGOs’.

USAID: Funding democracy and stability around the globe

USAID – the US government’s overt organization tasked with co-opting (and overthrowing) foreign governments – is a big fan of ‘civil society’, providing $1.8billion in “critical development assistance in support of the Ukrainian people” over the past 20 years. However, in its 2012-2016 ‘Ukraine Country Development Co-operation Strategy’, USAID states that it “provides the largest amount of donor support to the Verkhovna Rada” (Ukraine’s Parliament) and is “also the largest donor in providing support to [Ukrainian] political parties.” 1 So, far from being “independent of government”, USAID’s definition of ‘civil society’ is apparently one government bribing another, and the ‘will of the citizens’ be damned.

To differentiate between genuine CS groups and US government cover groups, you need only look at the language they use. While genuine groups will speak and write in plain terms about actual definable issues, US-government-funded groups say things like:

UNITER will ensure sustainability of advocacy and monitoring through the identification and cultivation of organization(s)/mechanisms that have: 1) the credibility and standing to coordinate, facilitate and convene other organizations around issue-based initiatives, and 2) the capacity to administer advocacy and monitoring sub-grants to organizations that collaborate on issue-based initiatives

“Administer advocacy […] for issue-based initiatives”? I’m wondering, is that initiatives that deal with issues, or issues that require initiatives to deal with them? Can you administer advocacy for an initiative, or can you only advocate for an issue that you administer? I currently have an issue that needs some advocacy and would like some sustainability of initiative to administer it. I wonder if I should contact USAID?

A complex web of phony Ukrainian NGOs

UNITER stands for ‘Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms‘ and is also known as USAID/Ukraine’s Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine (SCSU). It is administered by Pact Inc. Pact Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that is directly funded by USAID:

USAID/Ukraine awarded Pact a 5-year cooperative agreement to implement the project, effective October 1, 2008. The agreement was extended in September 2013 for an additional year. Including modifications and the 1-year extension, the total amount awarded comes to $14.3 million. As of September 30, 2013, $13.7 million had been obligated and $12.7 million had been spent.1

UNITER also funds the Center UA, which was set up in 2009 by Pierre Omidyar as “a coalition of more than 50 civil society organizations that mobilizes civic participation in Ukraine and serves as the country’s primary forum for government transparency and accountability.” Omidyar is a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site.

Oleh Rybachuk is named as the founder and chairman of Centre UA. In 2004, Rybachuk headed the staff and political campaign of the US-backed presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko in the ‘Orange Revolution’. Speaking at a 2006 NATO forum, he said:

“The task of political forces [in Ukraine] is to compromise on when Ukraine will sign a NATO Membership Plan […] Ukraine’s leaders must now join their efforts to launch an information campaign promoting the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, so that Ukrainians freely and consciously choose their future.”

Rybachuk went on to serve under Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. With the creation of Centre UA in 2009, Rybachuk transformed himself into a “civil society activist” and began working covertly for the US government to prepare the ground for the overthrow of the established order in Ukraine through “civil unrest”, which eventually included the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych.

After the election of President Yanukovych in February 2010, UNITER described how Centre UA was used to put pressure on the Yanukovych government:

The New Citizen Platform was a key player in ensuring the success of the legislation. Pact, through the USAID-funded Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project assists the NGO Center UA [New Citizen] since 2009. It was UNITER’s contribution to create the network of prominent local and national level Ukrainian NGOs, to bring together leaders of public opinion and civil society activist.

Henceforth, Pact helped Center UA to emerge as the main convener of the need for access to public information for journalist work. This gave important boost to the success of the New Citizen platform. It included the facilitation and creation in summer 2010 of the Stop Censorship movement that unites media professionals in defending their rights for freedom of speech and access to information. The intensive collaboration New Citizen platform and Stop Censorship movement resulted in the reinforced media attention to the legislative struggle.2

On investigating these ‘NGO networks’ in Ukraine it quickly becomes clear that when Victoria Nuland said that Washington has spent $5 billion on “democracy promotion” in Ukraine over the past 20 years, she wasn’t lying, at least not on the numbers. But that $5billion of US taxpayers’ money has not gone towards “democracy promotion” but towards the infiltration and co-opting of Ukraine’s political and social life for the purpose of thwarting Russia’s natural influence on, and co-operation with, its neighbor. Between 2009 and 2014, through its complex web of fake NGOs, the US government engaged in a concerted effort to radically and definitively change the course of Ukraine’s political and social life for the sole purpose of attacking Russia. In hindsight, a violent coup d’etat and the imposition of US-government-selected political leaders was a part of that plan.

US Snipers on EuroMaidan?

When he took up the post of US Ambassador to Ukraine on July 30th, 2013, Geoffrey Pyatt inherited this complex and well-established network of US-financed social activists and agitators. One of Pyatt’s first tasks was to oversee the funding (about $50,000 in total) of a new television station in Ukraine, Hromadske TV. Unsurprisingly, Hromadske’s first broadcast was on Nov. 22nd, 2013, the very first day of the Maidan protests. Indeed, the rallying cry for those protests was given by Mustafa Nayem, a Ukrainian journalist who founded Hromadske TV (with US taxpayers’ money). Hromadske provided blanket coverage of the Maidan protest and since then has continued to receive generous funding from the US State Department and EU governments. To get an idea of the editorial line of the US State Dept. Hromadske, last year they hosted a journalist who called for the genocide of 1.5 million residents in the Donbass.

McCain flanked by neo-nazi Tyahnybok

From the beginning of the protests until Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, the Euromaidan was the place to be if you wanted to press the flesh with US politicians. Pyatt and Nuland regularly handed out cookies and ‘attaboys’ to the protestors and police alike, while the US government’s revolutionary envoy John McCain rallied the protestors in December 2013, telling them that “America stands with you” and “Ukraine will make Europe better”. As the protests became increasingly violent through January 2014, the Ukrainian Prime Minister resigned on January 28th in a failed attempt to appease the protestors. By February 18th, President Yanukovych was in negotiations to draft a ‘peace deal’ with three members of the opposition – Yatzenyuk, the fascist Tyahnybok, and Klitschko, along with French, German and Polish foreign ministers. These were the same three people mentioned by Nuland and Pyatt in their infamous leaked phone call where they discussed the future make-up of the post-Yanukovych government.The agreement called for a drastic reduction in Yanukovych’s presidential powers, a return to the 2004 constitution, the release of Tymoshenko from prison, early elections for later in 2014, the appointment of Yatzenyuk as prime minister and Klitschko as deputy prime minister, and the dismissal of the current government.

These measures amounted to a radical change in the power structure in Ukraine and should have meant an end to the protests, since they fulfilled all of the opposition demands. After all, the leaders of the opposition who had signed the agreement were the representatives of the protestors on the streets of Kiev, right? However, as the negotiations were ongoing, someone began a shooting spree in the streets around Kiev square over the three days of February 18th-20th. At least 15 policemen and 80 protestors and civilian bystanders were shot dead by what appears to have been a team of snipers firing from the tops and windows of buildings. The agreement was signed on the 21st, but the large death toll appears to have contributed to the almost immediate scrapping of the agreement, and the announcement by what was left of the Ukrainian parliament that Yanukovych would be impeached.

The image below shows the Maidan square in the top left corner.

The coup d’etat

The yellow line shows the extent of the progress of the protestors on February 20th along Institutskaya Street as they tried to reach the central bank and the Ukrainian parliament (in red). All of the buildings surrounding Maidan square (off screen, top left), including the Ukraine hotel (in green), were occupied by protestors. The lobby of the Ukraine hotel had been turned into a makeshift triage center for the injured. The point being, everything behind and to the left and right of the protestors should have been safe territory. Ukrainian officials and protestors to this day claim that the police were responsible for the deaths. Yet the video segment below, taken from this video, shows a protestor (and the tree behind which he is hiding) being struck by a bullet from behind or from the side, most likely from the upper floors of the Ukraine hotel, as pointed out by this German news report.

Throughout the day, dozens of other protestors were shot from behind, from buildings occupied by protestors, as outlined in this detailed report by Professor Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottawa.

The question of who was responsible for the large death toll among both protestors and policemen was brought into sharp focus by an intercepted telephone call, released on March 4th, 2014, between EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet, who had just returned from Kiev. In the call, Paet tells Ashton:

There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. […] all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides … and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard much, or anything, about this phone call in the Western media, the reason is that it has been ignored. And as Paet says, apparently the new US/EU-installed ‘interim’ government in Ukraine is not too keen on investigating the allegations.

Along with the video evidence and eyewitness testimony, Paet’s statement strongly suggests that within the ‘Maidan’ protestors, perhaps specifically the US-funded and Chechen Jihadi-linked ‘Right Sector’, there were individuals who were fighting on both sides of the barricades; their aim being to kill as many police and protestors as possible in an effort to turn the ‘people’s revolution’ into a revolution of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists bent on kick-starting a ‘civil war’ to cleanse Ukraine of Russian influence. That agenda dovetails nicely with the broad, decades-long goal of the Anglo-American empire to neutralize Russia as a potential global power broker able to stand against US global hegemony through destabilization and proxy wars.

The expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders that was begun by the Clinton administration in 1992 was advised against by many because it would obviously provoke conflict with Russia, yet the plan went ahead anyway. Why? There are two interwoven benefits from the US point of view. The first is that expanding NATO eastwards served to physically and economically expand the US empire. The second is that provoking conflict with Russia was predicted to scare European states, especially the expanded-upon new NATO Baltic states, into believing that Russia was a threat.

NATO was designed to increase security in Europe, but it has achieved precisely the opposite today. What ‘increase security in Europe’ really means in Washington is ‘increase of US control in Europe’. The US government has long-since understood that the best way to increase control is to increase fear, and to increase fear you need an enemy. In the case of Europe, Russia could be provoked into appearing as an enemy to Europe by threatening it through expansion of NATO, which was justified by the need to increase security in Europe. Basically, expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders was designed to threaten Russia and, as a result, threaten Europe and push it further into the arms of the Empire.

Ukraine today is not just a ‘failed state’. A ‘failed state’ is usually still in the hands of a national government. Ukraine today is fully in the hands of the US government and the IMF. That might not be such a bad thing (relatively) if it weren’t for the fact that the only reason those two institutions have any interest in Ukraine is to use it as leverage in their futile attempt to thwart the inexorable strengthening of the Russian Federation.

Just take Natalie Jaresko as an example. A Chicago-born investment banker who received her Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014, she now controls Ukrainian financial policy. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, she just so happened to hold several positions at the US State Department before taking the position of Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine. She also managed the USAID-financed Western NIS Enterprise Fund, which kindly provided funds for ‘pro-democracy’ movements in Belarus, Moldova and, predictably, Ukraine.

One year ago today, there was an option to end the Maidan protests peacefully while also meeting the protestors’ demands and reforming Ukrainian politics and society in a way that would have benefited the Ukrainian people. Instead, the US empire and their proxy agents chose to unleash bloody mayhem on Ukraine. In the process, Ukraine (and therefore NATO) lost Crimea and is so to lose the rich lands of Donetsk and Lugansk. Does the US government care? Of course not. The real goal of demonizing Russia as a threat to global stability has been achieved.

All other considerations, including the slaughter of tens of thousands of ragged Ukrainian troops and at least 5,000 eastern Ukrainian citizens, are a price the psychopaths in Washington were only too willing to pay.

Notes:

1 USAID, ‘Ukraine Country Development Cooperation Strategy, 2012-2016’
2 USAID, ‘Audit of USAID’s Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine Project’
3 FreedomInfo, ‘UNITER Project, Pact Inc. Memorandum’


By Joe Quinn
2015-02-19
Original source of the article:
http://www.sott.net/article/292842-Euromaidan-Anatomy-of-a-Washington-backed-coup-d-etat
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The Cold War, Continued: Post-Election Russophobia

 

Mainstream TV news anchors including MSNBC’s Chris Hayes are reporting as fact—with fuming indignation—that Russia (and specifically Vladimir Putin) not only sought to influence the U.S. election (and—gosh!—promote “doubt” about the whole legitimacy of the U.S. electoral system) but to throw the vote to Donald Trump.

The main accusation is that the DNC and Podesta emails leaked through Wikileaks were provided by state-backed Russian hackers (while they did not leak material hacked from the Republicans).  I have my doubts on this. Former U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan and torture whistle-blower Craig Murray, a friend of Julian Assange, has stated that the DNC emails were leaked by a DNC insider whose identity he knows. The person, Murray contends, handed the material over to him, in a D.C. park. I have met Murray, admire and am inclined to believe him. (I just heard now that John Bolton, of all people, has also opined this was an inside job.)

Contrary to reports, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have not signed on to the conclusions the CIA has leaked (not announced formally) through anonymous officials to the New York Times and Washington Post. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Reuters reports, “has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.” There is an intelligence football game going on behind the scenes. Meanwhile CounterPunch’s Andrew Cockburn has listed a series of good questions about the plausibility of the alleged Russian hacks themselves.

How Could, and Why Would, Russia Interfere?

People asking why Putin would intefere into the U.S. elections sometimes—rarely—point as motive to revenge for Hillary Clinton’s call for protests in Russia after his victory in the 2011 election, which she declared “unfair” and urged Russians to protest. They very occasionally mention U.S. interference in the Russian election of 1996, in which the U.S. darling, the drunken bully Boris Yeltsin who had bombarded the Russian parliament building in 1993, was aided by billions in U.S.-arranged IMF funds needed to pay salaries and pensions (and thus buy votes), and by U.S. political consultants who helped manage his anti-Communist campaign. (Communist candidate Gennady Zhyuganov was an early lead; Yeltsin was in the single digits. But something weird happened and Yeltsin was reelected. How many U.S. politicians protested this interference? Perhaps if you think you live in the Exceptional Nation you believe that global norms and laws don’t apply to your exceptional self.)

Few point out that, while expressing outrage that any foreigner would try to interfere in a U.S. election,  the U.S. (the CIA in particular) has intervened in elections elsewhere, indeed as a matter of policy, since the Truman Doctrine announced in 1947. Electoral interference is part of the tool-kit of any imperialist power cynically committed to “democracy” while rejecting any election that doesn’t serve their needs.  (Examples: Palestine 2006, Lebanon two months ago.)  The outrage of these media talking heads mouthing the State Department line on their teleprompters, moaning about Russian interference, reeks of hypocrisy (although as much, I suspect, from genuine ignorance and intellectual laziness).

How often are people educated to know that the U.S. intervened decisively in Italy in 1948, to prevent the victory of a Communist-Socialist coalition, using all the dirty tricks in the book? (Jack Devigne, CIA chief in Rome at the time, declared proudly “Without the CIA, the Communist Party [of Italy] would surely have won the elections of 1948.”) Such interference continued for a quarter century. Was that okay? How many mention the fact that the U.S. spent $ 5 billion in order to effect regime change in Ukraine in 2014? Or even have any grasp, beyond the memorization of State Department talking points, of what happened in Ukraine two years ago?

Aleppo, Mosul, and Russophobic Hypocrisy

In general the coverage, as usual, lacks any comparative-historical perspective. These anchors cannot even rationally compare the present situations in Aleppo, Syria and Mosul, Iraq. But the situations are in fact very comparable. Both are terrorist-held cities under siege by state forces backed by foreign powers. Both have been brutally bombed, the civilian toll high. Both are producing massive humanitarian crises. But the first is depicted by the U.S. media uniformly (according to those State Department talking points) as a tragedy; the advances of the Syrian Arab Army as constituting  “genocide”;  the reconquest of East Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army as a setback for U.S. policy and and infuriating triumph by the wily, evil Putin!

In contrast, the reconquest of the second city (Mosul) is portrayed as a heroic turning point in the anti-ISIL struggle, a testament to the success of the U.S.’s effort at state-building in the country it invaded (as you recall, criminally and on the basis of lies, producing sheer ongoing disaster) in 2003. An accompanying refugee crisis; the flow of ISIL forces out of Mosul towards Palmyra in Syria and the ISIL capital of Raqqa Syria; the conflicts between Iraqi Arab Shiites and Sunnis, Kurds, Turkish forces in Iraq illegally, and the U.S. over the course of the Mosul battle; are all largely ignored. It’s simple and easy to remember; the one is bad news, the other good. (Meanwhile U.S. mass media reports appears uninterested in actually following the situation on the ground and stationing reporters in dangerous areas. RT television reports every day live from Aleppo; the U.S. channels report from Turkey. So much for the “who-how-when-where-why” tradition of actual journalistic reportage, and the traditional ranking of empirical reality over the mounting challenge of Fake News feeding on the most naive, gullible and ignorant.)

It’s a reversion to the worst sort of Cold War mentality, without the ideological component. Russia is not the enemy because it anymore constitutes a rival system, attractive to the world’s oppressed. Still, it’s the enemy—the number one, existential enemy, according the the Secretary of the Air Force the other day.

(Notice by the way how that term, popularized by Jean-Paul Sartre in arguing for the need of the individual to carve out meaning in this existence in a meaningless world, has become mostly used in the paranoid Israeli sense. Just like Israel’s very existence is threatened supposedly by the surrounding hostile Arab masses, or Iran’s mythical nukes, so the U.S.’s very existence is supposedly threatened by the very continued existence of Russia.)

How to make sense of that senseless proposition (aside from citing Goering on the need to deploy mass fear to justify aggressive war)? After all, Russia has a GDP smaller than that of New York State and spends about 14% of what the U.S. spends on its military. Russia has half the U.S. population, living in a country almost twice as large as the U.S. It has few naval ports, and only one aircraft carrier. It has bases in six foreign countries, as compared to the U.S.’s 800 or so.  Between 1945 to 1991, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, Czechoslovakia and (fatally) Afghanistan. During that same period the U.S.invaded or made war on North Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala, Haiti, Cuba, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic, and Serbia at least. You compare. Compare the death figures. The Korean and Vietnam wars killed at least four million. The Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1956 and 1968 took the lives of maybe 2500 Hungarians and around 100 Czechs. The U.S./NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 is thought to have killed up to 5700 civilians.

The Soviet war in Afghanistan at the max killed two million—and that was a war on the Soviet border, motivated by Russian fears of Islamic fundamentalism in Soviet Central Asia. Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wanted to use the Afghan situation to “bleed the Soviets, like they bled us in Vietnam.” In doing so the U.S. unwittingly nurtured those who later formed the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and their many spin-offs. (Good job, Zbigniew!) The U.S.’s objection to a Soviet-aligned Afghanistan, as a secular society such as Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan, caused it to actively promote a religious jihad in Afghanistan that has had horrific ramifications for the world ever since. This intervention brewed the Taliban (originally not anti-U.S. but eager for ties up to 9/11), al-Qaeda, and the predecessor of ISIL now called Fateh al-Sham.

Russia as the Existential Threat           

I am 60; the U.S. has been at war somewhere over half of my life. This is, fortunately, not the case for my counterpart living in Russia (for whom the Afghan War—for a mere  ten years,1979-1989—is a painful memory, like my memory of Vietnam). Any sensible person studying the relevant history will realize that the U.S. has been  a far, far more bellicose nation than Russia since 1945. That recognition need have nothing to do with one’s feelings about the contemporary Russian state. The only thing the military brass can point to (taking its cue from Goering) is Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal as “existential threat.”

But recall that the U.S. introduced the use of nuclear weapons to the world when it dropped two bombs in Japan that killed over 200,000 civilians in 1945. (That’s back when it was still cool to do that, and boast about it.  No talk about “smart bombs” to prevent civilian fatalities them. Gen. Cutis LeMay had indeed boasted of his desire to fry men, women and children and bomb Japan back to the stone age.) The U.S. remains the only country ever to use such weapons, although seven countries now have them.

President Harry Truman insisted after the fact that the use of nukes was necessary to end the war and protect the American lives—lives so much more worthy of continuation and happiness than the Japs who’d had the audacity to attack us. (His successor Gen. Eisenhower strongly disagreed; he later opined that “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”) But the new bombs were really deployed to warn Russia—emerging triumphant in the anti-Nazi struggle and in a position to dominate post-war Eastern Europe (while the U.S. dominated the rest)—that the U.S. would be a terrible foe. As the international communist movement expanded after the war, Truman established the anti-Soviet NATO alliance in 1949. The Russians responded with their first nuclear test, shocking Washington that had underestimated the maturity of the Soviet nuclear program.

When West Germany, occupied by the U.S. after the war and created as a separate state from the eastern, Soviet-occupied zone in May 1949, joined NATO in 1955, the Russians belatedly organized their own (much smaller) defensive bloc—the Warsaw Pact (disbanded in 1991). Still, nuclear parity caused Moscow to proclaim in 1956 a “policy of peaceful coexistence” and “peaceful transition to power” of communist parties aligned with Moscow around the world. That is to say, Soviet moves were reactive and defensive, while the U.S. engaged in an orgy of violent conflicts, coup plots, covert attacks on democratic processes from Italy to Iran Indonesia, always maintaining geopolitical advantage over the USSR until it finally dissolved.

(The dissolution of the USSR produced an array of “frozen conflicts” in the former soviet socialist republics, produced largely by competing nationalisms, as in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and the Russian Caucasus. In the Georgian conflict the U.S. has stood with the Georgian state, the Russians with the Abkhazians and Ossetians. Russia’s brief war with Georgia in 2008, following NATO’s announcement that Georgia would eventually join the alliance, and Moscow’s subsequent recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, was a direct response to Washington’s recognition of Kosovo, a province of Serbia wrenched from Serbia by NATO in 1999 after Serbia refused to accept nationwide NATO occupation. Again, rekatively speaking, reactive and defensive.)

It’s amazing how that Cold War mentality has survived, evolving from anti-communism (which can at least be explained intellectually) to this primitive anti-Russia mentality (which can only be explained as the result of a foolish essentializing of an Other, as a threat, for some unspecified reason). What is this Russian threat? The talking heads (always avoiding any comparative discussion of U.S. actions) always adduce three main arguments for their existential paranoia: the brief war in Georgia in 2008; the annexation of Crimea following the February 2014 coup that threatened to bring Ukraine into NATO and expel Russian naval forces from the peninisula (plus alleged aid to the separatists in the Donbas); and the supposed threats Moscow poses to the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) where expanding NATO has stationed forces and conducted massive military exercises. In NATO;’s backwards logic, it is not the provocative expansion of the alliance to Russia’s very borders in 1999, but Russia’s response in amassing troops within Russia on those borders that constitutes a threat to someone!

Do not expect logic from these Russophobes, these unreconstructed wooden-headed Cold Warriors. What they want is, if not bloody confrontation, at least the opportunity to exploit that Russophobia culturally ingrained in many of my generation in particular. (Educated young people tend to be much less vulnerable to Cold War-typed propaganda.) In this case, liberal Democrats (like most of the cable news anchors), consternated by Trump’s unexpected, shocking victory, can do no better than to blame Russia. Didn’t a Podesto email to the DNC recommend pushing the putative Putin link to discredit Trump, just assuming that Russian ties are the kiss of death? How many members of the DNC said, “No, that’s unprincipled”? I doubt there was any opposition, because it’s traditionally fine in U.S. politics to smear your opponent with Russian ties. It didn’t end with McCarthyism in the 50s, and while the sophistication level of this practice remains low, it is sometimes effective.

“Any Democracy” would Call for New Elections?

Time‘s intelligence correspondent Bob Baer told CNN the other day that, given Russian interference, there is “no choice now but to hold a new election.” Wow! The longtime CIA agent actually stated: “But I’ll tell you, having worked in the CIA, if we had been caught in interfering in European elections or Asian elections or anywhere in the world, those countries would call for new elections. Any democracy would. And I just, I don’t see it any other way.” As though when the U.S. rigs elections, the people of the country victimized actually enjoy the degree of agency allowing them to call new elections in defiance of Washington? How often does that happen in, say, Honduras? How likely was that in Italy in 1948?

There are efforts underway to get Trump supporters in the Electoral College to change their vote (out of fear of the Russkies). It is both fascinating and ridiculous to see mainstream liberals embracing a crude spin-off of Cold War thinking that has nothing to do with communism but a slavish, frightened hostility to a great, important country no longer a serious geopolitical rival to the U.S., indeed a potential friend of the U.S.—if only the U.S. would back off on its NATO expansion and its insane regime-change wars in the Middle East producing headaches for Russia and (the rest of) Europe in the form of more terrorism and refugee flows accompanying the slaughter.

In this season of crazy, unexpected events, I expect to be surprised for the duration, humbled when my expectations—my  “concrete analysis of concrete conditions” (Lenin) —prove wrong in this new period. It is just barely possible—especially if the CIA has it out for Trump—that his inauguration will be sabotaged by certain folks in the Deep State. Or that this declining country might experience a constitutional crisis. Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow would be delighted. So would I, if for very different reasons, while fearing the alternatives. I would much prefer paralyzing conflict within the ruling class to a consolidated white nationalist-led regime. But if the multi-pronged attacks on Trump continue, and he is successfully denied the presidency, the likelihood of World War III could grow.

That this whole farce might ultimately enhance the asinine Russophobia that is part of the political DNA of millions—-and produce a showdown in Syria and/or Ukraine—-is as scary as a smooth transition to a Russia-friendly Exxon presidency.

* * * * *

Questions for discussion:

If Russia intervened to influence the election, what revelation in the leaked emails most influenced the voters?

The fact that the Democratic leadership wanted to use their press moles to facilitate a Trump nomination, by broadcasting all his campaign talks live?

Or the fact that the DNC worked overtime to prevent Sanders (so much more popular than either Clinton or Trump) from becoming the Democratic nominee?

Isn’t it more good than bad that we know what the Wikileaks revealed?

Why should anyone but John Podesta and Debbie Wasserman Schultz be upset?


2016-12-16

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

Source: Counter Punch

Donald Trump On Kosovo In 1999

When I saw the media in Serbia reporting about Donald Trump’s alleged condemnation of the 1999 NATO attack on then-Yugoslavia, also known as the Kosovo War, I shrugged it off as disinformation. Most of them, I’m sad to say, are almost entirely dedicated to gaslighting the general populace, and as likely to spread confusion and cognitive dissonance as actual news.

It turns out that Donald Trump did talk to Larry King about Kosovo – but everyone is leaving out that this took place in October 1999. That is sort of important, though: by that point, the Serbian province had been “liberated” by NATO occupation forces, and the ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians by the terrorist KLA had been going on since mid-June.

Here is the segment touching on Kosovo, from the official CNN transcript (with my emphasis):

KING: But, we don’t know the – for example, you and Kosovo. Would you have done what Clinton did?

TRUMP: Well, I would have done it a little bit differently. And I know this would sound terrible. But look at the havoc that they have wreaked in Kosovo. I mean, we could say we lost very few people. Of course, we had airplanes 75,000 feet up in the air dropping bombs. But, look at what we’ve done to that land and to those people and the deaths that we’ve caused.

Now, they haven’t been caused with us and the allies because we were way up in the air in planes. But, at some point, you had to put troops in so not everybody could go over the borders and everything else, and a lot of people agree with that.

Now, would people have been killed? Perhaps, perhaps more. But, at least ultimately, you would have had far fewer deaths. And you wouldn’t have had the havoc and the terror that you’ve got right now. So, you know, I don’t know if they consider that a success because I can’t consider it a success.

KING: You don’t.

TRUMP: They bombed the hell out of a country, out of a whole area, everyone is fleeing in every different way, and nobody knows what’s happening, and the deaths are going on by the thousands.

He could be referring to the KLA ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Roma, and other groups here. But true to himself, Trump is being very vague and it is impossible to pin the statements down. At the time, he was considering running for the presidency, but ultimately decided against it.

It would certainly be interesting if someone asked him the same question today, 17 years later, when he is actually running for president (and may be getting the nomination, too).


16-03-2016

Source: Gray Falcon

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French Documentary Exposes Ukraine’s Far-Right. But Can Europe Handle The Truth?

The activities of aggressive nationalist and neo-Nazi armed movements in present-day Ukraine are the focal point of Moreira’s documentary.  Their existence is not denied by any of his leading critics in France — even as they try to find excuses to justify their actions.

On Wednesday, 3 February, as I was about to start assembling this article on the very important documentary about the Maidan broadcast by the French independent television channel Canal + on Monday evening, 1 February, I was headed off by breaking news on Russia Insider, carrying links to the first half of the documentary in English voice-over and a couple of other key primary sources I had intended to work with. The second half was expected to come shortly. Although primary sources do not constitute reader-ready journalism, their apparent availability in English compelled me to alter my approach to the subject matter so as to ensure I would offer substantial added value through deeper research and comprehensive interpretation.

On Thursday morning, 4 February, the picture changed yet again. The half of the documentary on Russia Insider remained. However the complete file in French with English subtitles for the opening minutes had gone dead.  A black screen explained that the video has been taken offline for violating the copyright of its producers Premières Lignes Télévision, of which Mr. Moreira is co-founder.

Was this a sign of censorship, suppression of the documentary and its elimination from public viewing as was demanded in the days just prior to the planned airing by the Ukrainian authorities? Or was it simple and normal exercise of intellectual property rights?

Some pointers to answering this question may be found on the Canal+ home page, which  makes no mention of the offending video but offers a couple of excerpts from it. One is called “The Massacre of Odessa” and constitutes a 2minute28 second fragment.  Another two minute long fragment is dedicated to the interview with the violent former spokesman for Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Igor Mosiychuk, who died in September 2015 in police custody, though this is not mentioned in the film. But the integral video is not on offer from the broadcaster.  At the website of the producers the video on display opens just to the trailer for the documentary, not to the documentary itself.

For these reasons I tentatively believe we are facing the issue of censorship. It also appears that the situation is very unstable with regards to pirated versions. As of today, 5 February, the link on Russia Insider, in fact takes you to the full original documentary in French with neither subtitles nor voice-over.

Though it will be little comfort to English speakers, there are things to learn from the original that were not picked up by Moreira and his producers, but are invaluable, so I urge those who can profit from it to do so immediately.  I have in mind in particular the local speech that one hears fairly well in the French original of the video beneath the narrator’s explanations. That local speech of four of the five leaders of the Ukrainian extreme nationalists/neo-Nazis who are interviewed or otherwise featured happens to be….Russian, not Ukrainian.

The odd man out is Oleh Tyahnybok, chief of the Svoboda party, who comes from and whose power base is situated in the historical center of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, Lviv, in the Western Ukraine. Lviv was once the capital of Austrian Galicia, which tolerated and perhaps even encouraged the Ukrainian nationalists before 1914 as a stick to poke the Russians in the eye. It was the intellectual cradle of the Maidan movement. All the others interviewed or otherwise featured are speaking native Russian: Dmitry Yarosh and Igor Mosiychuk of Pravy Sektor; Andrij Biletsky of the Azov Battalion; and Mark Gordiyenko, a leader of Odessa paramilitaries.

This fact stands in contrast to what we hear in one segment of the film, presenting militants from Pravy Sektor on the street outside a courthouse where a trial is taking place against one of their peers. They denounce a Russian-speaker who passes them on the sidewalk, calling him a traitor for Moscow, a ‘shit.’  Meanwhile their top chiefs are…Russian speakers.

I introduce this observation not as some idle bit of irony or absurd touch. It is central to what is wrong with Ukraine today. The country is in the grip of extreme nationalists who seek to impose what the British scholar Richard Sakwa has called a monist view of nationhood, one which does not admit of minorities or heterogeneity. Rainbow Revolution is not what the Maidan is all about. Like the Communism which held power in Ukraine before 1992, this new extreme nationalism can impose its will only by violence or the threat of violence. It is by definition the antithesis of European values of tolerance and multiculturalism.  All of this violence and intimidation is what Paul Moreira shows us graphically, frame by frame in his carefully constructed documentary. That it happens to take place under an ideology that incorporates elements of fascism if not Nazism is incidental but not decisive.

Since the continued availability of the pirated Canal+ documentary online is uncertain and it is, in any case, only French speaking, I will first provide here a brief summary of what Moreira shows on the screen. This is very basic journalism on the order of who did what.  Then I will proceed to offer what I hope readers will see as higher added value journalism, setting the political context for this documentary by looking at how it has been received critically in France.  From there I will conclude with some comparative remarks on the debate over Maidan in France as showcased by the Canal+ broadcast with a similar debate by U.S. print media that began in the months immediately following the 21 February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev that installed extreme nationalists in positions of power.

Paul Moreira’s Scenario for Ukraine: The Masks of Revolution

Paul Moreira is a professional documentary film maker, not an area specialist. Like other successful journalists he travels the globe and has done films in Iraq, in Israel, in Burma, in Argentina to name just a few places. Like many of his peers, his philosophical outlook might be described as humanitarian leftist. He tells us at the opening of this latest work for Canal+ that he was drawn to the subject of Ukraine and the Maidan Revolution by what he saw at home on his television set.  Like most everyone, he

“…felt sympathy for these people who demonstrated day after day on the streets in winter conditions. They wanted to join Europe, to move away from Russia. They wanted the corrupt president Yanukovich to leave. They hoped for more justice, fewer inequalities.  But I was struck by one thing – the images of the American diplomat Nuland on Maidan distributing bread.  The Free World, its cameras, sided with the insurgents.”

Remarking those discordant elements, and especially the presence of flags with neo-Nazi symbols unfurled at post-Maidan demonstrations, he decided to go to Ukraine and see for himself what was going on. This documentary draws upon his interviews with leaders of the paramilitary groups and extreme nationalist politicians. It draws upon film footage from the massacre which killed 46 Russian-speaking demonstrators against Maidan in Odessa on 2 May 2014 and his follow-up interviews with people on both sides of the conflict. It presents footage on the violent demonstration of nationalist extremists before the nation’s parliament to enforce Maidan policies on the legislators, and recent footage of the Pravy Sektor militias operating a blockade of the highways leading from Ukraine into what is now Russian Crimea all in violation of government policy from Kiev.

During the course of the film Moreira intersperses footage intended to show the controlling hand of the US both before and after the coup d’etat of February 2014 that overthrew Yanukovich. Twice we see US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland handing out cookies on the Maidan to encourage the demonstrators in December 2013. We also see U.S politicians including John McCain, Joe Biden together with the neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok on a podium in Maidan.

A longer segment takes place in September 2015, at the annual Yalta European Strategy Meeting in Kiev where Moreira tried to get some impromptu interviews from American Masters of the Universe. Surely the field was tempting and included Victoria Nuland and former CIA boss General David Petraeus, author of the surge in Iraq and current strong advocate for sending offensive weapons to Kiev.

Moreira succeeded only in getting a sound bite from General Stanley McChrystal, who told him that the task of the day was to improve the militias and their links with the Ukrainian government. Moreira asked whether he was aware that the paramilitaries had attacked the Verhovna Rada the week before. With a dismissive smile before he made his getaway, McChrystal responded, “That’s a problem…”

One other relevant archival sequence shows Victoria Nuland testifying before Congress in May 2014 when  California Congressman (R ) Dana Rohrabacher asked if she was aware that there were neo-Nazis in the demonstrations and street violence that led to Yanukovich’s removal. Rohrabacher went after Nuland when she was being evasive, asking again whether besides the mothers and grandmothers with flowers there were very dangerous street fighters, neo-Nazi groups.  Nuland responded with more blather: “Almost every color of Ukraine was represented including some ugly colors.” For the record Rohrabacher concluded he took that to mean ‘yes.’ This segment all by itself would make it worthwhile for Americans to seek out the documentary to savor and share with friends.

Reaction to the documentary from Le Monde and other French journalists

On 31 January, that is one day before the release on Canal+ of Paul Moreira’s documentary, the leading Center-Left French daily newspaper Le Monde issued a stern critique of his work under the title “Paul Moreira gives us a distorted vision of the Ukrainian conflict.”

The paper’s reporter for Ukraine, Benoit Vitkine, says the extreme nationalists were only one part of the armed force behind the Maidan and charges Moreira with giving them far too great a role in the Maidan and its aftermath. Moreira shows them as major political force when in fact “their electoral results are laughable” says Vitkine. He also denies that they are ‘the new masters of the Ukrainian streets.’

The last point is debatable. After all Moreira gives us footage of paramilitaries demonstrating aggressively in the streets before the parliament to influence outcomes in the legislature. And we have scenes of their illegal blockade of the highway at the Crimean border, which is very literal control of the streets.  The first point is wrong not because the extreme nationalists have done well at the elections (they did not) but because the interpretation of their low popular support misses the point. It in no way contradicts their power and influence over the policies of the Kiev government and parliament achieved by ongoing, never-ending intimidation. This equals a devaluation of the Ukrainian democracy that is so celebrated in the West.

He accuses Moreira of omitting in his film mention of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. This, says Vitkine, explains the radicalization of part of the Ukrainian population and the decision of Kiev to arm the battalions of volunteers.  However, even if we were to accept the start of the story where Vitkine picks it up and not go back just a few months to the provocation that prompted Russian intervention on behalf of Crimea and the Donbass, Vitkine’s remark is only an excuse and does not deal with the resulting ugly reality. It does not provide a way forward.

Similarly Vitkine rejects the referendum in the Crimea that brought the peninsula into the Russian Federation, which Moreira took to be legitimate, and he rejects Moreira’s charge of US complicity in the installation of neo-Nazis to bring the Ukraine into realignment with its objectives.

In a word,  Le Monde’s key reporter on Ukraine is attacking Moreira from the standpoint of a narrative written in Washington. In this sense, the French Center Left is no less under the spell of Neoconservative ideology than the majority of the American Left of Center ‘Progressives’ in the Democratic Party.

That being said, Vitkine does toss one bouquet to Moreira for his treatment of the “events” of 2 May 2014 in Odessa, and the deaths of 42 pro-Russian demonstrators:

“Even if he overestimates the role of Pravy Sektor and assigns responsibility for this drama too peremptorily, the film performs a salutary piece of work by dwelling at length on this episode from the post-Maidan days that is often neglected.”

Lest we become too attracted to Moreira, the review in Le Monde concludes with haughty condescension:

“Otherwise, Moreira’s pose as the white knight who is exposing past truths that have been passed over in silence just doesn’t work.  This experienced documentary film maker has taken up a real subject. He has chosen to ‘see for himself,’ as he tells us. But he only saw what he wanted to see…”

Moreira’s response to Le Monde and two other critics, still before the airing of the film, appeared in French on the site blogs.mediapart.fr and in English translation on the website of newcoldwar.org.

Moreira cites the pressure which came from the Ukrainian authorities for Canal+ not to air the documentary, how he was denounced.  But he insists that the paramilitaries are a great threat to Ukrainian democracy and says denial of their existence and of the danger they pose so as not to play into Russian propaganda “means to become a propagandist oneself.”

Moreira accuses Le Monde journalist Benoit Vitkine of ”unusually violent writing.”  But what could one expect when the Left is attacking another sympathizer of the Left who seems to have lost his way and is leading others into confusion. Moreira’s answer to Vitkine and the various critics is point for point, restrained and confident.

After the airing of the broadcast, an “Open Letter to Paul Moreira” was published on the website of the French weekly Nouvel Observateur. Per Wikipedia, this news magazine “has been described as “the French intellectuals’ parish magazine”, or more pejoratively as “quasi-official organ of France’s ‘gauche caviar.’” This citation dates from 2006 and comes from a reputable American source who knows whereof he speaks, John Vinocur, reporter at the time for the Paris based  International Herald Tribune. It is also worth mentioning Nouvel Observateur is 65% owned by Le Monde.

Seven of the 17 journalists who signed the Open Letter work for French state media – France 24 and Radio France International. In this capacity, they are hardly independent journalists with regard to a subject as politicized as Ukraine. Three are with the Center Left newspaper Libération newspaper. One is with Nouvel Observateur.  Three are free-lance photo journalists.

The letter starts and ends with stinging reproaches to Moreira. But the contents go this way and that way. The critics raise serious weak points but also reluctantly acknowledge merits of the documentary. Meanwhile, without meaning to and notwithstanding the broad knowledge of the territory and its recent history to which they lay claim, they manage to demonstrate a seriously faulty understanding of what is going on in Ukraine and why.

Their letter is interesting for acknowledging the reality of the central issue raised by Moreira’s documentary: that there is a problem with paramilitaries in Ukraine. However, like Vitkine, they want to shift the discussion from that reality and find excuses in the war that rendered these paramilitaries heavily armed and a danger to the country’s future.

As rightful demonstration of their expertise, they call out Moreira’s mistake in calling the anti-Maidan forces “Russian origin Ukrainians” when in fact they are mostly ethnic Ukrainians who happen to speak one or another language depending on family tradition and geography. They fault him for failing to see that his interlocutors among the nationalist Ukrainians were responding to him in pure Russian.  The signatories insist that Ukraine is a genuinely bilingual society across its geography. But they are willfully ignoring what I said at the outset: this is precisely why the implementation of a single notion of the nation, a single state language can be accomplished only by force, which is dehumanizing and destructive of European values.

Like Vitkine, the authors reject the results of the Crimean referendum, pointing to the presence of Russian troops on the peninsula. But they themselves ignore the repeated polls and news reporting by disinterested third parties in the past year validating the results of the 2014 referendum.

They acknowledge that the paramilitaries were a problem but say they were brought under control during 2015. This is a questionable assertion given the continuing political instability in Kiev and the apparent extremist influence on the Verhovna Rada, frustrating the efforts of the Poroshenko government to implement the terms of the Minsk II accords. They are silent about Moreira’s footage from the Crimean-Ukrainian border.

Most emphatically, the authors reject the “theory of overthrow of the government in February 2014 by the paramilitary groups of the extreme right.”  In doing so, these journalists claiming expert knowledge of the recent history willfully ignore the substantial evidence indicating the snipers on Maidan and killings were false flags by professionals intent on enraging demonstrators and facilitating the seizure of power, not by the government’s Berkut forces. They overlook the critical role of Dmitry Yarosh and his forces in shredding the EU-Yanukovich written agreement on 21 February.

Like Vitkine, they salute the coverage by Moreira of the 2 May events in Odessa, but say vaguely it is not the only incident in Ukraine that has not been adequately investigated.  And they say that the French and international press has covered extensively the atrocities in Ukraine. This is unconvincing.

We might conclude that these 17 journalists have written their Open Letter to safeguard their jobs with the French state media and their continued travel rights to Ukraine, which is essential to their careers. But the story does not end there.

One of the 17 signatories, Gulliver Cragg, who works for the France24 television channel, also published a very curious article on the Moreira documentary in other venues. Like all of the photo journalists and many of the other radio, television and print journalists in the list of signatories, he publishes on various platforms and for various audiences.  His side essay was written for the Kyiv Post and put online by the still more unpromising stopfake.org, a website devoted to the “struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine.”

Cragg’s essay opens and closes with harsh words for Moreira.  In the middle he has harsh words for the Ukrainian authorities, whom he blames for creating their own public relations disasters by misguided policies:

“…by naming a suspected neo-Nazi, Vadim Troyan, to be police chief in Kyiv region in Autumn 2014. Or appointing the Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh an official Defence Ministry adviser. Or allowing the Azov battalion, now integrated into the National Guard, to use the Wolfsangel symbol on their logo. Or failing, as Moreira points out in his documentary, to punish any Ukrainian nationalists for their role in the Odessa tragedy.”

Clagg acknowledges that this might lead outsiders to conclude that the far right has too much influence in Ukraine. Moreover, he blames directly President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk for simply not understanding all of this and not changing their behavior and their appointments accordingly.

And while he comes back to his conclusion that Moreira is blowing things out of proportion, he agrees that the existence of far-right groups in Ukraine and their influence, their weapons should be a cause for concern and constitute “a legitimate topic for foreign reporters.”

One may assume that Paris-based Clagg has no particular plans to visit Kiev any time soon given his follow-on remarks to the preceding:

“Ukraine’s leaders and media should engage with this issue and encourage a national debate. How do we define far-right? Where does patriotism end and bigotry begin? Where do we draw the line between activist and extremist? Politicians should be addressing these questions and speaking out against those whose views are not compatible with the European values Ukraine claims to espouse. And, crucially, they should be heard doing so on foreign media.”

And so grudgingly, even some of his critics have come out of their hiding places and put forward constructive suggestions. By prompting this, Moreira has performed a praiseworthy service, whatever the factual errors and interpretational limitations of his documentary.

The Maidan as presented in US media

First, it must be said that nothing like Moreira’s documentary has appeared on US television. Dark sides of the Maidan and in particular the question of the role of neo-Nazi groups and other violent extremists in fomenting and achieving the coup d’etat of 21 February 2014 have been discussed and debated in the United States but almost exclusively in print media with relatively low circulation and in the alternative internet media.

From the very beginning and up to time present, the fight over interpretation of the Maidan Revolution in the East Coast establishment has been very one-sided.  This is something I wrote about in April 2014 and published as the chapter entitled, “The uncivil war being waged in America’s East Coast-based liberal magazines of commentary’ in my book Does Russia Have a Future?  I will limit myself here to several salient points.

From the moment demonstrators first gathered in Independence Square in the days following President Yanukovich’s rejection of the EU Association Treaty, Yale professor of history and active propagandist of Neocon political views Timothy Snyder led the band in celebrating Maidan, with its promised  liberation of an entire nation from Russian oppression. He then brazenly denigrated anyone who suggested the Ukrainian revolution was tainted by a significant component of neo-Nazis.

Snyder’s most important soap box was the New York Review of Books, which is positioned as a Progressive bastion of humanitarian values and of American global hegemony as their special defender.

His reputation as an accomplished scholar and polyglot who published a widely acclaimed book on the Holocaust in the territories of Central and Eastern Europe which he dubbed the Bloodlands gave respectability to Russophobic and Ukrainophile rants that others writing in venerable peer publications of commentary like the liberal New Yorker, or the centrist Atlantic and frankly rightist New Republic in Washington. At the same time the editorial boards of the country’s newspapers of record – The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ensured that newspaper columns and op-ed pages set out the Washington narrative day after day. Opposing views were progressively choked off, finally getting no space whatever in mainstream.  One of the few exceptions in Establishment print media was The Nation, where contributing editor and Professor of Russian History emeritus at Princeton and NYU Stephen Cohen delivered detailed critiques of the factual and interpretational errors, of the utterly unscholarly debating conduct of Snyder and his comrades-in-arms.

Otherwise heterodox views became accessible only to determined truth seekers exploring the alternative media portals. I name here in particular one devastating critique of Snyder that Jim Naureckas published at FAIR.

Needless to say, critical views of Maidan and its neo-Nazi components got almost no attention in broadcast media.

In general, the situation of the Left of the American political spectrum and the Ukrainian question resembles closely what we have seen above in the critical response to Pereira’s documentary in France. Publications which promote liberal, humanitarian values in domestic politics have largely assumed what is an essentially a Neocon agenda in foreign policy, with Russia-bashing as a central point.  In this sense, there is nothing surprising that Le Monde and its daughter publication Nouvel Observateur are perfectly aligned with The New York Review of Books in blind admiration of Ukraine and its Maidan Revolution.

Nominally the United States does not have state controlled television and radio, unlike most European Union Member States. Its broadcasters are all ‘independent.’  Nonetheless, no American channel so far has shown the civic courage of a Canal+.

Conclusions

Much as I admire the courage and dedication of Paul Moreira and valuable as his documentary is for focusing on very troubling aspects of the post-Maidan political realities in Ukraine, he is an outsider to the subject matter who has missed some very relevant facts about Ukrainian society before his eyes.  His critics have missed the same points due to their ideological persuasions or lacking analytical skills.

The fact is that the population of Ukraine is very diverse. The major split between native Ukrainian speakers in the West of the country and native Russian speakers in the East of the country remains unchanged. Add to this the very many minorities of other nationalities, including Hungarians and Romanians who are especially numerous in territorial pockets.  The ambition of the post-Maidan government in Kiev and of the nationalist extremists who are maintaining pressure on it through intimidation by their paramilitaries is to forge a monist national identity.  This can be achieved only by violence and threat of violence.

The existence of aggressive nationalist and neo-Nazi armed movements in present-day Ukraine was the focal point of Moreira’s documentary.  It is not denied by any of his critics in France even if they try to forgive it by alluding to Russian aggression and the war in the Donbass.  Their insistence that it is just a small part of the paramilitary battalions, not to mention the general population, as revealed by electoral results, is intentionally misleading. Their point would have relevance if Ukraine were a functioning democracy.  The ability of these nationalist extremists to control parliament and operate illegal blockades as they do at the Crimean border proves that Ukraine is not a functioning democracy.

Those are the essential points which emerge from the Canal + documentary and its aftermath. For this we must express our deep appreciation to Mr. Moreira and the management of the television channel.


About the author:

G. Doctorow is the European Coordinator, American Committee for East West Accord, Ltd. His latest book Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

Original source of the article:

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/french-documentary-exposes-ukraines-far-right-can-europe-handle-truth/ri12672

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Book By Vladislav B. Sotirovic: “Global Research. Selected articles” (Second Edition), Vilnius, 2016

Book by Vladislav B. Sotirovic: Global Research. Selected articles (second edition), Vilnius: UAB “Mylida”, 2016

ISBN 978-609-408-840-7, UDK 911.3:32 So-121

The book reviews by:

  • Dr. João Carlos Graça, Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Lisbon University, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Prof. Dr. Krisztina Arató, Vice-director of the Institute of Political Sciences at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary
  • Dr. Christian Rossi, Department of Social Sciences and Institutions, Cagliari University, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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The Roots Of The Current Crisis In The Middle East

Loss of land in Palestine under Israeli occupation
Loss of land in Palestine under Israeli occupation

It is now fully five years since the greatest upheavals in the modern history of the Arab World started in Tunis. Always impressed by the latest events, we tend to forget the deep roots of the current violent struggle. But unless we confront the causes, there is little chance that the symptoms will be healed.

(A partial version of this article in Spanish was published earlier in Free Haifa)

The wave of refugees that has reached Europe and the terror attacks in Paris reminded many people in Europe and beyond of the crisis in our region – but at the same time led them to forget that the main victims of this crisis are the people of the region themselves.

Divide and Rule

For many centuries the people of the Middle East were not really free. They could not manage their own economies and politics as they would like.

After the Ottoman Empire was destroyed in the First World War, the European powers were quick to grab control of the region. Britain and France divided the region that expands from Turkey to the Indian Ocean between themselves in the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

In order to ensure their control of the region, the imperialist powers used the well-tried policy of “divide and rule”. In many regions of the Middle East they supported minorities and gave them privileges over the majority, knowing that the minority would always be dependent on external powers to maintain its influence and control. In other areas they gave control to local families and made them kings or emirs, concentrating power in the hands of small elites.

  • They gave Palestine to the Zionist movement to build a state for Jewish immigrants at the expense of the local Arab population.
  • They built a sectarian state in Lebanon with the Christians at the top of the hierarchy.
  • They granted Sunni Islam a privileged position in Iraq.
  • They created the kingdom of Jordan and bestowed it on the Hashemite family from the Arab peninsula, which relies on and secures privileges for the Bedouin minority.

Syria comprised what was left over after the rest of the Arab East was divided between imperialist clients. It went through a period of instability, until it also came under the rule of a dictatorship based on the Alawite minority.

The Political Economy of Oil

The economy of the Middle East is mostly characterized by its dependence on oil as the main export product. Oil is a very political product, as it is easy to control and to monopolize. Even in many developed countries, oil taxation is an important source of government income. In our region, oil is the main export product and the main source of revenue for many governments.

An oil-based economy differs from one based on agriculture or industry. Primitive agriculture requires a large workforce. Developed industry requires educated workers. In normal economies the prosperity of the government or the elite is to a degree dependent on the well-being and cooperation of the masses and on some level of peace.

Oil requires a very small workforce to extract. The key to controlling its riches is sovereignty, or control of the state apparatus. The masses are not useful in this process. The rulers regard their people as unwanted extra mouths: you have to feed them and they may complain. In addition the price of oil tends to soar at times of war and insecurity and to slump at times of peace.

The interest of the imperialist powers is not only to secure the flow of oil to their economies. They also gain much of the proceedings through ownership of the fields themselves or of the shipping, processing and distribution facilities. It is also in the interest of the western economies that the oil wealth will not be invested in the development of the local economy or the wellbeing of the local population. Trillions of oil dollars, which were accumulated by the local rulers, are kept in western banks or investment funds and constitute a mainstay of the western economies.

Another way that the oil money is going back to the western powers is through selling weapons to the local regimes. In the arms industry profits are very high. A few western powers still maintain the technological superiority to control the markets. The security and political alliance with the top world powers is also a safety belt for the local rulers against any demand for reform from their wretched people.

The division of the Arab region between small artificial states helps to prevent the utilization of local resource to develop the local economy. Generally speaking – the oil belongs to some states while the hungry people live in other states. One special example for this policy was the creation of the state of Kuwait. It was an Iraqi oil field that was separated from Iraq by the British and given by them in 1961 to the Sabah family to rule.

The destructive role of Zionism

The Zionist colonization of Palestine was designed from its beginnings to serve the imperialist powers (initially Britain, later the US) as a bulwark against Arab independence. The Palestinians were the immediate victims

Palestinian_refugees_Galillee_1948

              Ethnic Cleansing in the Galilee 1948

of Zionism, as 78% of Palestine was occupied by Israel in 1948 and most of the population was expelled in the ensuing Ethnic Cleansing.

The regional role of Zionism was first emphasized in the “Tripartite Aggression” of 1956, when Israel spread-headed a joint attack with Britain and France against Egypt over the nationalization of the Suez Canal.

In the 1967 war Israel succeeded not only to complete its occupation of Palestine but also to take Sinai from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. One dangerous consequence of that war was the decision of the Egyptian leadership, led by Anwar Sadat, to change course and “sell-out” Egypt economically and politically to the US, in return for regaining formal control of Sinai. In Syria the sense of vulnerability in face of the Zionist aggression was an important factor behind the right-wing coup that brought the Assad dynasty to power. This pattern was consolidated into a comprehensive US strategy for the Middle East: Let Israel beat the Arabs and later hold Israel back in return for Arab political concessions to US interests.

To enable this mechanism, it was set in official agreements that the US should guarantee Israeli military superiority over any coalition of regional countries. This was possible when the Arab armies were mostly composed of illiterate peasants led by corrupt officers. But to keep this promise of military superiority of a small settler state with a few million people (currently 6 million) over states representing hundreds of millions Arabs requires putting a brake over the development of the whole region.

After the 1979 Iranian revolution toppled the US-sponsored dictatorship of the Shah, the US encouraged their then-client Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein to attack Iran. At the same time, Israel supplied weapons to the Iranians – at the highest days of the Islamic revolution – with the clear goal to prolong the conflict and increase the destruction on both sides. In the war that lasted from 1980 till 1988 hundreds of thousands were killed on each side and the suffering and destruction were colossal.

In the aftermath of this war, Iraq became a main target of the US-Israeli policy of containment, utilizing the excuse of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Iraq was a rare case among the Arab states where Oil and Population met in one state – so it could become a center of economic and military development. This led to 13 years of intense sanctions on Iraq, including systematic prevention of food and medicine, which led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and many more adults. Not satisfied with this creeping genocide, the US, with active prodding from the Zionist lobby, occupied Iraq in 2003 and dismantled the foundations of the Iraqi state.

Even as Israel is not as useful tool for imperialism as it used to be, the commitment of the Western powers to preserve its racist system comes at a high price for the region as a whole. When, in 2006, there was a rare attempt to hold semi-democratic elections in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians gave clear majority to Islamic Hamas, rejecting the corrupt rule of Fatah that was oppressing Palestinians at the service of the occupation. The whole “international community” hurried to sanction the Palestinians for not showing more sympathy with their occupiers. The siege of Gaza, reinforced regularly by massacres, was designed to be a lesson in democracy and its outcomes for the whole region.

Israel very much wanted a repetition of the war on Iraq with another, bigger, imperialist war against Iran. This was too much for the US to swallow, as it already paid a very high toll for the Iraqi adventure, not least some 1 trillion dollar of expenses that could revive the crippled US economy. Now, as Syria is burning and bleeding, Israel doesn’t hide its satisfaction, as another “potential danger” is neutralized.

The rise of political Islam

In spite of all the above mentioned problems, many analysts still describe the current conflict as a result of the rise of “Islamic Extremism”. As if the people of the Middle East are not revolting against their oppression. As if all was well until unexplained crazy mood of extremism took hold.

This is the most superstitious and out-of-context explanation of political events.

Islam, as any other religion, and as many other ideologies like “liberalism” and “socialism”, all proposing a methodology for organizing society, can be used (or misused) to all sorts of political purposes: Justifying oppressive regimes, instigating war and genocide or struggles against oppression and discrimination.

In the 1980s the US used and paid for Islamic Jihadists to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan. Almost all Arab regimes use the Islamic religion, by one way or another, to legitimize the rule of elites of different types, most of them serving foreign imperialism more than anybody else. Not long ago it was official policy of Saudi Arabia and Mubarak’s Egypt, orchestrated by the US, to re-invent and inflame the Sunni-Shia conflict in order to distract Arab public opinion by describing Iran as “the real danger” – sparing Israel, the US and local “Sunni” Tyrants.

As all kinds of political expression are oppressed all over the region, it is just natural that the main form of mass organization that can’t be criminalized, practicing religion, becomes a central conveyer of the aspirations of the masses. But when Islam is used as an ideological or organizational framework for struggle against oppression it suddenly loses all legitimacy and described as a danger.

The dominance of Islamic movements in the Middle East is not only a result of political oppression. Nationalist and socialist movements were at the center of Arab politics for decades, but they lost credibility between the masses due to their own mistakes and shortcomings. At the same time Islamic movements, like Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brothers in Egypt and the Sadrists in Iraq, kept the right balance between grassroots work to care for the daily needs of the masses and political struggle against occupation and tyranny. They implemented the methods taught by Lenin and Mao on how to build a movement effectively. Those Islamic movements that were connected to the masses and opposed local rulers (until Hezbollah took sides with Assad) were also more ready to support democracy and form coalitions with other parties and people from different religions.

What actually pushes masses of people to look for extreme solutions is not “ideology” but extremely harsh conditions. The Sunni communities in Iraq engaged in peaceful protest throughout 2013 against discrimination and oppression by the Shia-led Maliki government that was supported by both US and Iran. It was only after the government rejected any political solution, preferring to send the army to besiege their cities and bomb them, that the local militias organized with the so-called “Islamic State” to throw out the army. Only the shock caused by the victory of the Islamic State in Mosul forced the US and Iran to push aside Maliki and try to sponsor a less sectarian Iraqi government.

In similar conditions, years of bombing of their cities by the Assad regime pushed some Syrians into the arms of the Islamic State. The massacre of more than 200,000 Syrians was not regarded by “the international community” as an emergency until foreigners started to be in danger. It should also be said that the brave Kurdish and Arab opposition in Syria started to fight against the extremism of the so-called Islamic State long before it became an international affair.

Other regimes are likewise driving their people towards extremism. Egypt’s dictator Al-Sisi is doing it in Sinai. In Libya it is the policy of the army led by retired general and CIA agent Haftar, supported by the “internationally recognized” government in Tobruk. The method is well known: Bomb the people instead of listening to them. The reason is also familiar: When you’re the only “defender of the country” against “extremists” you will get plenty support and nobody will dare to question your crimes.

No mechanism for change

The Arab countries, with more than 300 million inhabitants, are now the most politically retarded and oppressive region in the world. There are several reasons for this.

First, it is the region where imperialism is making most money. When the US was forced to withdraw from Vietnam (in 1975) they declared the Middle East to be their next red line: Here they will fight rather than giving up control to nationalist or socialist movements.

The traditional support by western powers for Israel is another reason why they see any democratic reform in the region as a threat. Arab democracies which would need to take public opinion into consideration might well give more support to the Palestinians.

Since the beginning of the 70s and the dramatic rise in the price of oil, and until the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011, there was no political change in any country in the region. The ruling elites had enough resources to buy or crash any opposition.

While there were significant steps toward democratization in every other region in the world, in the Arab world the ruling elites have only became more oppressive.

A general rehearsal for things to come was played in Algeria in 1991. After the Islamists won the first round of the elections, the army took control in a coup and outlawed the Islamists. In the civil war that emerged some 200,000 people died. The military government was fully supported by the western powers all along.

The accumulation of contradictions all over the region inevitably led to a much wider wave of protests and upheavals – the Arab spring.

For forward looking analysis you can read in Free Haifa: The Arab Spring, five years on, is here to stay and win.


2015-12-19

Source: https://freehaifa.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/the-roots-of-the-current-crisis-in-the-middle-east/

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Judaism_vs_Zionism

Iraq Invasion – Anniversary Of The Biggest Terrorist Attack In Modern History

2347103335_5162d0c4ab_b_us-army

Since terrorism’s tragedy is again in the news, it is timely to revisit perhaps one of the biggest acts of terrorism in modern history – the illegal invasion and destruction – ongoing – of Iraq.

March 20th marked the thirteenth anniversary of an action resulting in the equivalent of a Paris, Brussels, London 7th July 2005, often multiple times daily in Iraq ever since. As for 11th September 2001, there has frequently been that death toll and heart break every several weeks, also ongoing.

America and Britain have arguably engaged in and generated the legacy of one of the longest recorded attacks of terrorism since World War Two.

There are no minutes silences or Eiffel Tower bathed in the colours of the Iraqi flag – or indeed those of the other ongoing Western engineered catastrophes, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, or for the US-UK complicity in the human carnage in Yemen, or for the forty three dead and two hundred and thirty nine injured in Beirut in November, reportedly by ISIS, the day before the Paris attack.

The Eiffel Tower did not display the Russian colours after ISIS claimed the October 2015 crash of a Russian airliner after leaving from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh airport, the result they stated of a bomb they placed, killing all two hundred and twenty four passengers. ISIS mass murders in Africa are mostly ignored.

Since ISIS was spawned by the Iraq “liberation” (“Operation Iraqi Liberation” – OIL) it is worth revisiting Tony Blair’s speech to Parliament on 20th March 2003, the day of the invasion. (1)

“On Tuesday night I gave the order for British forces to take part in military action in Iraq.

“Tonight British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea.

“Their mission: to remove Saddam Hussein from power and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction”, said Blair.

Breathtaking. Little Britain’s “mission” was to remove from power the President of a country whose “sovereignty and territorial integrity” was guaranteed by the UN. As for “weapons of mass destruction”, probably millions of words have given the lie to their existence and to both the US and Britain’s near certainty that there were none after near ten years of exhaustive work by the UN weapons inspectors.

“ … this new world faces a new threat of disorder and chaos born either of brutal states like Iraq armed with weapons of mass destruction or of extreme terrorist groups”, stated the would be Butcher of Baghdad.

“Both hate our way of life, our freedom, our democracy.

“My fear, deeply held, based in part on the intelligence that I see is that these threats come together and deliver catastrophe to our country and our world.

“These tyrannical states do not care for the sanctity of human life – the terrorists delight in destroying it.”

The world, of course, faced no threat from Iraq. Even Iran, with which Iraq had fought the horrific 1980-1988 – with both the UK and the US arming both countries and profiting handsomely from the blood, heartbreak and destruction both sides of the Iran-Iraq border – stated repeatedly that Iraq posed them no threat.

As for hating “out way of life, our freedom, our democracy”, until the embargo was imposed on Iraq in August 1990, Iraq contributed £ millions to the British and US economies sending post-graduate university students to gain further degrees in the West, ensuring an educational broadness in the advantage of studying in both academic spheres.

Visiting homes of those with the money to travel it usually just minutes before the photo albums were produced showing joyful holidays in the UK, US and across Europe.

There were of course, near no Middle East allied “terrorists … destroying” entertainment venues, metro stations, commercial centres until the Iraq invasion. Attacks in Europe were near always home grown separatist groups usually feeling victims of historical injustices. Lessons are clearly never learned.

There is, however, the darkest irony in Blair’s fears that: “ threats come together and deliver catastrophe to our country and our world.” His and Bush’s actions have delivered just that.

Saddam Hussein and fundamentalism were two different planets and any inkling of a threat was instantly dealt with – yes, sometimes brutally, but Iraq and the region remained secular and apart from the domestic problems and criminalities common to near all nations, the streets safe and life normal. In Baghdad, until the deprivation and desperation wrought by the 1990 embargo and the 1991 bombing people did not even lock their doors.

“Should terrorists obtain these weapons now being manufactured and traded around the world the carnage they could inflict to our economies, to our security, to world peace would be beyond our most vivid imagination”, Blair continued. Indeed. The US-UK spawned ISIS who obtained arms from the US disbanded Iraqi army, arms from the US provided and trained new Iraqi army as they fled multiple conflicts in  multiple areas, leaving all behind and indeed have “obtained these weapons” which have been dropped from the air to them on multiple occasions – by the US.

Blair is also clearly clairvoyant: “My judgment as Prime Minister is that this threat is real, growing and of an entirely different nature to any conventional threat to our security that Britain has faced before.”

Ironically his infatuation with George W. Bush and the “dodgy dossiers” produced under his premiership to attempt to justify the legally unjustifiable, delivered exactly that of which he warned.

And here is a whopper of staggering scale:

“Removing Saddam will be a blessing to the Iraqi people: four million Iraqis are in exile, 60% of the population dependent on food aid, thousands of children die every year through malnutrition and disease, hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes or murdered.”

The result of “removing Saddam” (read: lynching Saddam) has been a blood soaked daily litany for thirteen years. The majority of Iraqis in exile fled to send money back home to keep their families and extended families during the decimating embargo which had resulted in basic food stuffs increasing in price often over eleven thousand fold.

The “thousands of children” were indeed dying “every year” – from “embargo related causes” according to the UN. The government set up a ration distribution system to try and counter the food crisis (Iraq had imported 70% of near everything.) The UN called the efficiency of the system exemplary, but the embargo prevented food and essential imports. Even soap, toothpaste and shampoo and sanitary requirements had become luxury items. Prior to the embargo, the country had free health service, food was inexpensive and plentiful and water borne diseases mostly eradicated. Between the embargo and the bombing all was destroyed.

The Kurdish complexities indeed led to displacement – but Iraq too felt threatened with the CIA and Mossad ensconced in Kurdistan, which had been given near autonomy. As for “murdered”, the “Iraq mass graves” became a catch-all mantra. The tragic majority found were from the Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 war and subsequent US encouraged uprising. Even Iraq’s part in the monstrous deaths at Halabja are thrown in to question by a 1990 Report from the US Army War College. (2)

Blair blathered on to Parliament:

“I hope the Iraqi people hear this message. We are with you. Our enemy is not you but your barbarous rulers.

“Our commitment to the post-Saddam humanitarian effort will be total.

“We shall help Iraq move towards democracy and put the money from Iraqi oil in a UN trust fund so it benefits Iraq and no-one else.” Never in the field of human conflict have so many lies been told to so many by so few – to misquote Churchill.

Now to the nub of the statement: “Neither should Iraq be our only concern.

“As so often before on the courage and determination of British men and women serving our country the fate of many nations rest.” Usually, when the British and US get involved “the fate of” the people of nations lie in mass graves.

The “fate” of Iraq of course, was to be threatened, distorted and their people hung in the balance, as so many warned, including the then head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa: “If Iraq is invaded, the Gates of Hell will open.”

“President Bush and I have committed ourselves to peace in the Middle East based on a secure state of Israel and a viable Palestinian state.” Ah, as ever about Israel. Saddam sent aid to Palestinians, displaced, bereaved, desperate and to families of those enough so to even relinquish their lives. The demonized, also secular, President Assad, of course, also supports the Palestinians.

“Dictators like Saddam. Terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, threaten the very existence of such a world.”

Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda again linked together. The former never threatened the world, al-Qaeda’s offshoot ISIS, non-existent in Iraq under Saddam, now threatening the Middle East, Europe, the US, and Africa.

Blair concluded: “That is why I’ve asked our troops to go into action tonight.”

Blair was not alone making it up as he went along, singing to his pal Bush’s hymn sheet, he was also singing to that of Benjamin Netanyahu, who six months earlier (September 2002) had assured the US Congress: “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region… The task and the great opportunity and challenge is not merely to effect the ouster of the regime, but also to transform the region.” (3) It has certainly done that. The Cradle of Civilization is now a valley of tears, widows, widowers and orphans.

President Nobel Obama has commemorated the 20th March anniversary by sending more troops to Iraq and by the US bombing of Mosul University, killing around ninety people and injuring up to one hundred and fifty Including Professor Dhafer al Badrani, Dean of Computer Sciences and his wife.

According to an academic from the city: “The whole faculty residential building were destroyed, university headquarter, girl’s dormitory, science college, central publishing center of the university, and womens education college. The university is built on very close to the Nimrud archeological entrances to the Assyrian empires (2500 B.C.) I am sure using bunker buster bombs destroyed most of these historical sites.”

In Fallujah, besieged by militias and according to another contact: “ … bombed since 1 January 2014 by the government (armed by the USA and with US military advisers this whole time) and since August 2014 by the US Coalition”, the people are starving: “ On 17th March a husband threw himself his wife with their three children in to the river (Euphrates) from a bridge and drowned. They were desperate from hunger …” And the bodies of: “Nearly four thousand killed civilians have been taken to the hospital since January 2014.”

On 26th March 26th March forty one people were killed and one hundred and five injured at a soccer match by a suicide bomber at a stadium thirty kilometres from Baghdad.

A few days ago an Iraqi in Baghdad commented: “We only had two bombs today, people went out.”

On 27th March Tony Blair was back giving his views. (4) They broadly include invading Iraq, Syria and Libya to save Europe from ISIS, remarking of ISIS: “… This ideology is not interested in coexistence. It does not seek dialogue but dominance”, said the man who was interested in neither and enjoined a “Crusade” – an equally thousand year outdated fundamentalism.

Anyone who listens to the advise of the author who did so much to spawn the horror, genocide, destruction, insanity, barbarism and should be facing a war crimes Tribunal for his part in bringing the all about, is arguably certifiably insane.

Talking of insanity, the UN has designated 20th March as International Day of Happiness, a day founded to recognize happiness as a “fundamental human goal.” Tell that to the people of Iraq.

Notes:

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2870581.stm
  2. https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/168/37420.html
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHmhf_wrcrM
  4. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/27/tony-blair-west-must-be-ready-to-deploy-ground-troops-against-isis#img-1

Five, Still Alive US Warmongering Presidents

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CIA Discovered Who Helped Hitler To Win Elections In Germany And To Become A Chancellor In 1933 – A Document of Evidence

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How The US Backed The ISIS Takeover And Destruction Of Palmyra

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As explosions from detonated mines continued in the background a Syrian general confirmed in some detail an ugly truth: Washington and its close allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel backed the ISIS takeover and destruction of Palmyra.

Most of the weapons ISIS used were from the US , with some ammunition from Israel . ISIS had US Hummers, spinning explosive projectiles and military rations from the US , Turkey and Saudi Arabia .

That should not have been a surprise. US officials admitted in 2014 that their allies Turkey , the Saudis and Qatar were backing every single armed group in Syria , in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government led by President Bashar al Assad.

Our group of 30 journalists visited liberated Palmyra on 14 April, 18 days after the Syrian Army freed the historic city from a ten month reign of terror. Syrian bulldozers were cleaning debris while Russian sappers continued exploding mines. Three thousand had been cleared and another 30 exploded in the two hours we were there.

We saw the damaged buildings, bomb and mine craters along the roads, and the bizarre steel and wire structure where ‘infidels’ and pro-government people were publicly crucified and beheaded, their bodies drained of blood into what had been a pleasant fountain next to the entrance to the historic sites. We saw the extensive vandalism to the museum, with all human or animal statues beheaded or damaged.

More than 1,600 ISIS terrorists – many from Chechnya , Saudi Arabia , Tunisia and other countries, as well as some Syrians – had converged on Palmyra in May 2015, just as Jabhat al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria ) led an invasion of NATO-backed Islamists from Turkey into Northern Syria . The ISIS groups invading Palmyra came from the east: from Raqqa, Deir eZorr and Abu Kamal, but also a group from the west.

The US, which since 2014 claimed to be conducting a war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and which had air power and sophisticated surveillance of the region, did nothing to stop the huge ISIS advance on Palmyra.

Again, this should have been unsurprising. Eight months earlier General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, admitted that his ‘major Arab allies’ were funding ISIS . In response, Senator Lindsay Graham, chair of the US Armed Forces Committee, defended the sponsors of ISIS , saying ‘they fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’.

The following month, in October 2014, US Vice President Joe Biden explained that Turkey , Qatar , the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and … this outfit called ISIL’. Biden pretended that Washington was not responsible for the terrorism of his subordinate allies.

US support for terrorist groups forming an ‘Islamic State’ was not an afterthought. It was they key idea from the beginning.

In August 2012, before ISIS came across to Syria from Iraq, US intelligence (DIA) reported that ‘The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISI and then ISIS] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality [an ‘Islamic State’] in eastern Syria … and this is exactly what the supporting powers [the US, other western countries, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey] to the [Syrian] opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.’

More than 200 Syrian soldiers died defending Palmyra in May 2015, and another 150 died retaking that historic and strategic city, in March 2016.  They lost their lives defending their country.

The water supply in Palmyra was destroyed, historic sites and treasures damaged, and soldiers and many other innocents were slaughtered, all by US-backed terrorists.

Whatever else people may or may not understand about the Syrian conflict, they should be clear that the US ‘war on terrorism’ in Syria and Iraq is a fraud. Directly or indirectly, Washington remains the key supporter of ISIS, al Nusra and the rest.


By Prof. Tim Anderson

The “Extrajudicial” Assassination Of Slobodan Milosevic In 2006

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On March 11, 2006, President Slobodan Milosevic died in a NATO prison.

No one has been held accountable for his death. In the 10 years since the end of his lonely struggle to defend himself and his country against the false charges invented by the NATO powers, the only country to demand a public inquiry into the circumstances of his death came from Russia when Foreign Minister, Serge Lavrov, stated that Russia did not accept the Hague tribunal’s denial of responsibility and demanded that an impartial and international investigation be conducted. Instead, The NATO tribunal made its own investigation, known as the Parker Report, and as expected, exonerated itself from all blame.

But his death cannot lie unexamined, the many questions unanswered, those responsible unpunished. The world cannot continue to accept the substitution of war and brutality for peace and diplomacy. It cannot continue to tolerate governments that have contempt for peace, for humanity, the sovereignty of nations, the self-determination of peoples, and the rule of law.

The death of Slobodan Milosevic was clearly the only way out of the dilemma the NATO powers had put themselves in by charging him before the Hague tribunal. The propaganda against him was of an unprecedented scale. The trial was played in the press as one of the world’s great dramas, as world theatre in which an evil man would be made to answer for his crimes. But of course, there had been no crimes, except those of the NATO alliance, and the attempt to fabricate a case against him collapsed into farce.

The trial was necessary from NATO’s point of view in order to justify the aggression against Yugoslavia and the putsch by the DOS forces in Belgrade supported by NATO, by which democracy in Yugoslavia was finally destroyed and Serbia reduced to a NATO protectorate under a Quisling regime. His illegal arrest, by NATO forces in Belgrade, his illegal detention in Belgrade Central Prison, his illegal rendition to the former Gestapo prison at Scheveningen, near The Hague, and the show trial that followed, were all part of the drama played out for the world public, and it could only have one of two endings, the conviction, or the death, of President Milosevic.

Since the conviction of President Milosevic was clearly not possible after all the evidence was heard, his death became the only way out for the NATO powers. His acquittal would have brought down the entire structure of the propaganda framework of the NATO war machine and the western interests that use it as their armed fist.

NATO clearly did not expect President Milosevic to defend himself, nor with such courage and determination. The media coverage of the beginning of the trial was constant and front page. It was promised that it would be the trial of the century. Yet soon after it began the media coverage stopped and the trial was buried in the back pages. Things had gone terribly wrong for Nato right at the start. The key to the problem is the following statement of President Milosevic made to the judges of the Tribunal during the trial:

“This is a political trial. What is at issue here is not at all whether I committed a crime. What is at issue is that certain intentions are ascribed to me from which consequences are later derived that are beyond the expertise of any conceivable lawyer. The point here is that the truth about the events in the former Yugoslavia has to be told here. It is that which is at issue, not the procedural questions, because I’m not sitting here because I was accused of a specific crime. I’m sitting here because I am accused of conducting a policy against the interests of this or another party.”

The prosecution, that is the United States and its allies, had not expected a real defence of any kind. This is clear from the inept indictments, confused charges, and the complete failure to bring any evidence that could withstand even basic scrutiny. The prosecution case fell apart as soon as it began. But once started, it had to continue. Nato was locked into a box of its own making. If they dropped the charges, or if he was acquitted, the political and geostrategic ramifications were enormous. Nato would have to explain the real reasons for the aggression against Yugoslavia. Its leaders themselves would face war crimes charges. The loss of prestige cannot be calculated. President Milosevic would once again be a popular political figure in the Balkans. The only way out for NATO was to end the trial but without releasing Milosevic or admitting the truth about the war. This logic required his death in prison and the abandonment of the trial.

The Parker Report contains facts indicating that, at a minimum, the Nato Tribunal engaged in conduct that was criminal regarding his treatment and that conduct resulted in his death. The Tribunal was told time and again that he was gravely ill with heart problems that needed proper investigation, treatment and complete rest before engaging in a trial. However, the Tribunal continually ignored the advice of the doctors and pushed him to keep going with the trial, knowing full well that the stress of the trial would certainly kill him.

The Tribunal refused prescribed medical treatment in Russia seemingly for political reasons and once again put the Tribunal’s interests, whatever they are, ahead of Milosevic’s health. In other words they deliberately withheld necessary medical treatment that could have lead to his death. This is a form of homicide and is manslaughter in the common law jurisdictions.

However, there are several unexplained facts contained in the Parker Report that need further investigation before ruling out poison or drugs designed to harm his health: the presence of the drugs rifampicin and droperidol in his system being the two key ones. No proper investigation was conducted as to how these drugs could have been introduced into his body. No consideration was given to their effect. Their presence combined with the unexplained long delay in getting his body to a medical facility for tests raises serious questions that need to be answered but which until today remain unanswered.

The Parker Report, despite its illogical conclusions, exonerating the Nato tribunal from blame, provides the basis for a call for a public inquiry into the death of President Milosevic. This is reinforced by the fact that the Commandant of the UN prison where President Milosevic was held, a Mr. McFadden, was, according to documents exposed by Wikileaks, supplying information to the US authorities about Milosevic throughout his detention and trial, and is further reinforced by the fact that Milosevic wrote a letter to the Russian Embassy a few days before his death stating that he believed he was being poisoned. Unfortunately he died before the letter could be delivered in time for a response.

All these facts taken together demand that a public international inquiry be held into the entirety of the circumstances of the death of President Milosevic, not only for his sake and the sake of his widow Mira Markovic and his son, but for the sake of all of us who face the constant aggressive actions and propaganda of the NATO powers. Justice requires it. International peace and security demand it.


By Christopher Black

www.global-politics.eu