Syria is being bombed as part of a “counter-terrorism campaign” allegedly against the Islamic State, an elusive “outside enemy” based in Raqqa, Northern Syria.
While the ISIL is said to be “threatening the Western World”, the evidence confirms that the Islamic State is supported and financed by the Western military alliance, together with Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Amply documented, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including the Islamic State Caliphate Project are creations of Western intelligence.
Moreover, whatever the justification, the bombing of a sovereign country is an illegal and criminal act under international law. It constitutes a war of aggression, namely a crime against the peace under Nuremberg (Principle VI):
It is also defined as an illegal act under Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter:
“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.”
What is important to underscore is that neither Nuremberg Principle VI, nor Article 2 of the UN Charter can be overridden by an ad hoc resolution of the United Nations Security Council put forth by one or more permanent members of the Security Council (e.g. UNSC Resolution 2249) with a view to justifying an act of military aggression.
In bombing Syria, the Western military alliance claims the right to “self-defense”: our countries are “being attacked from abroad”. An alleged ISIL terrorist attack, however, is not tantamount to “an act of war” by a foreign power as defined under international law.
Ironically, this fake pretext of “self defense” invoked by several EU member states, was claimed by the French government two months prior to the Paris November 13th terrorist attack. In the words of France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius …” Due to this threat [ISIL] we decided to start reconnaissance flights to have the option for airstrikes, if that would be necessary. This is self-defense,” (quoted by RT, September 23, 2015, emphasis added)
The US, France, Britain are the aggressor nations against Syria. They cannot under any circumstances invoke the Right of Self-defense. In contrast, Syria is the victim of foreign aggression and has the Right to Self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter which states that:
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of collective or individual self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.”
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
Britain’s Cameron government has sought to justify an outright act of war by seeking the endorsement of the House of Commons.
The justification to wage war on Syria is a Big Lie, it borders on the absurd. Prime Minister Cameron claims that the ISIL plots “to kill the British People” are decided in Raqqa, Northern Syria by an entity which just so happens to be supported (covertly) by the US, NATO, not to mention Turkey and Saudi Arabia. This political narrative sounds strangely familiar. As we recall, the George W. Bush administration had intimated that the terrorist attacks in 2001 against America had been coordinated out of Osama bin Laden’s headquarters in the Tora Bora mountain caves of Afghanistan.
According to Prime Minister Cameron:
“ The question before the House today is how we keep the British people safe from the threat posed by Isil.
… they [ISIL] have plotted atrocities on the streets here at home. Since November last year our security services have foiled no fewer than seven different plots against our people, so this threat is very real. The question is this: do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat, and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands, from where they are plotting to kill British people, or do we sit back and wait for them to attack us?…
Paris wasn’t just different because it was so close to us, or because it was so horrific in scale; as different because it showed the extent of terror planning from Daesh in Syria and the approach of sending people back from Syria to Europe.
This was if you like, the head of the snake in Raqqa in action.
So it’s not surprising in my view that the judgement of the Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the judgement of the Director General of the Security Service is that the risk of a similar attack in the UK is real and that that the UK is already in the top tier of countries on Isil’s target list.
The action we propose to take is legal, it is necessary and it is the right thing to do to keep our country safe.
(David Cameron’s speech to the House of Commons, Hansard, December 2, 2015, emphasis added)
Members of Parliament on both sides of the House are fully aware that Prime Minister Cameron is a liar and that the bombing raids ARE ILLEGAL UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW. But those lies are now endorsed by the House of Commons in a historic vote.
The text of the motion is as follows (December 2, 2015, Hansard)
Making a Criminal Act “Legal” and “Democratic”
Endorsement of an illegal and criminal act of war by a majority parliamentary vote in the British House of Commons does not in any way “make it legal” to bomb Syria. Whatever the pretext, a war of aggression cannot be upheld as an instrument of peacemaking and democracy.
A criminal act endorsed by a democratically elected legislature remains a criminal act. Nonetheless, what should be emphasized is that the parliamentary vote in favour of Cameron’s motion modifies the criminal nature of the decision-making process.
Responsibility for war crimes committed against Syria no longer rests solely with Her Majesty’s government: A criminal act of war endorsed by the legislature ultimately signifies the de facto criminalization of parliamentary democracy. Each and every member of parliament who voted in favor of the bombing raids is a war criminal under international law.
What we are dealing with is the criminalization of the State.
In retrospect, Tony Blair is not the only war criminal on the block, neither are Prime Minister David Cameron, France’s President Francois Hollande and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Those who within the national legislature uphold the conduct of wars of aggression (as defined under Nuremberg, Principle VI) are also war criminals. The legislative process in several EU countries has become criminalized. The state apparatus is criminalized.
Inasmuch as The Judiciary upholds the legitimacy of a national government’s decision to wage air strikes directed against a sovereign country, the judicial system is also criminalized.
The corporate media don’t like Donald Trump. They used to like him a lot; in fact, Big Business Media are responsible for making this minor multi-millionaire into a household name. But Trump is on their hit list, nowadays, because the Republican presidential candidate insists on telling his own lies, rather than sticking to the list of official lies parroted by corporate media every minute of every day.
Donald Trump told a really “HUGE” – as he would put it – lie when he claimed to have watched thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center came down on 9/11. Every corporate news outlet in the country rushed to debunk Trump’s fictitious account. The Washington Post  offered psychological theories for why Trump gets away with telling fantastic lies. The New York Times  said there was no evidence that Jersey City Muslims cheered the destruction on 9/11. CNN said it never happened. And, they were right.
However, by making only a partial correction of Donald Trump’s prevarication, the corporate media were telling their own lie about what happened on 9/11. There was, in fact, celebration in Jersey City on that fateful morning, and the incident did, briefly, make a major news splash. But the people doing the cheering weren’t Muslims: they were five young Israelis in a white moving van, who were observed in Liberty Park ecstatically taking pictures of themselves framed against the smoking ruins of the Twin Towers. As ABC News  reported, the five were later arrested at gunpoint near the New Jersey Giants football stadium. Most U.S. intelligence sources believed the men were Israeli spies, and that their “moving company” was an Israeli intelligence cover. They were detained for a while, and then deported.
“Who is the biggest liar?”
In the year before 9/11 scores of young Israelis posing as “art students” were arrested after penetrating U.S. Defense Department and other classified sites. Both stories made national news. The corporate media could not have avoided running across articles on the “cheering Israelis” when they set about debunking Donald Trump’s “cheering Muslims” account. But, not one of them dare to mention that, yes, some people were seen celebrating 9/11 at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
I was in a different part of the park on 9/11 morning, alone except for two young Israelis  with very expensive cameras, carrying phony New Jersey press credentials, who claimed to be Polish but spoke Hebrew to each other. The two young men were giddy with joy at the destruction that the three of us were observing across the Hudson River.
Later that day, I learned from local and national news outlets about the five Israelis who were dancing with delight  about a mile upriver from me and the two other Israelis. Articles about Israelis celebrating 9/11 would have come up in any search to correct Donald Trump’s tall tale – but the corporate media kept that part of the story from the public. They censored their own correction of Donald Trump. So, who is the biggest liar? Trump, who lies to advance his own personal interests, or the U.S. corporate media, who lie to the people on behalf of the State of Israel, and Zionism.
About the author:
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .
Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States! How unprecedented! How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!
In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.” (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”
But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections of other countries?
Our friends in South America might have insights here—hundreds of cases of economic and military blackmail, election fraud, assassination,and the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders. So too in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.), east Asia (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, etc.), north Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco), and dozens of other countries on five of the six inhabited continents. (Joshua Keating, “Election Meddling Is Surprisingly Common,” Slate.com, 4 Jan., 2017; Tim Weiner, CIA: Legacy of Ashes, 2008; Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1992, 2006.)
In the welter of red-faced indignation, the torrents of denunciations from Senate hearings and press conferences, talk shows and podcasts, one might have expected someone to pose the rather obvious question whether American agencies have ever meddled in Russian presidential elections. And yet (surprise surprise!) America’s corporate-owned press of record, an institution that constantly flaunts its “objectivity,” has failed to raise that straightforward question.
So, let us raise it here: Has the USA engaged in this sort of meddling? And if so, what effect has it had on Russia?
The answer to the first question, of course, is a resounding Yes. Even as you read these words, you can bet that one or more of seventeenFederal agencies of the United States are busy hacking Russia. (It is a safe bet that other countries are engaged in cyber espionage against Russia and the United States, too, including China and Israel.)
Let us limit our discussion to one single case. Readers will recall that in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election in Russia, opinion polls put the pro-western incumbent, Boris Yeltsin, in fifth place among the presidential candidates, with only 8% support. The same polls showed that the most popular candidate in Russia by a wide margin was the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov. Moved to desperation by the numbers, well-connected Russian oligarchs suggested just cancelling the election and supporting a military takeover, rather than facing a defeat at the polls. Neocons in the West embraced the idea–all in the name of Democracy, of course. In the end, though, Yeltsin and the oligarchs decided to retain power by staging the election.
In keeping with Russian laws at the time, Zyuganov spent less than three million dollars on his campaign. Estimates of Yeltsin’s spending, by contrast, range from $700 million to $2.5 billion. (David M. Kotz, Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin, 2007) This was a clear violation of law, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.
In February 1996, at the urging of the United States, the International Monetary Fund (which describes itself as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation”) supplied a $10.2 billion “emergency infusion” to Russia.The money disappeared as Yeltsin used it to shore up his reputation and to buy votes. He forced the Central Bank of Russia to provide an additional $1 billion for his campaign, too. Meanwhile, a handful of Russian oligarchs, notably several big contributors residing in Israel, provided more billions for the Yeltsin campaign.
In the spring of 1996, Yeltsin and his campaign manager, billionaire privatizer Anatoly Chubais, recruited a team of financial and media oligarchs to bankroll the Yeltsin campaign and guarantee favorable media coverage on national television and in leading newspapers. In return, Chubais allowed well-connected Russian business leaders to acquire majority stakes in some of Russia’s most valuable state-owned assets.
Campaign strategists for the former Republican governor of California Pete Wilsoncovertly made their way to the President Hotel in Moscow where, behind a guard and locked doors, they served as Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon” to save Russia for Democracy. (Eleanor Randolph, “Americans Claim Role in Yeltsin Win,” L.A. Times, 9 July 1996) Yeltsin and his cohorts monopolized all major media outlets, print and electronic, public, and private. They bombarded Russians with an incessant and uncontested barrage of political advertising masquerading as news, phony “documentaries,” rumors, innuendos, and bad faith campaign promises (including disbursement of back pay to workers and pensioners, stopping further NATO expansion, and peaceful settlement of Yeltsin’s brutal war against Chechnya). Yeltsin campaigners even floated the threat that he would stage a coup and the country would descend into civil war if Zyuganov were to win the vote.
It is now public record that the Yeltsin campaign conducted extensive “black operations,” including disrupting opposition rallies and press conferences, spreading disinformation among Yeltsin supporters, and denying media access to the opposition. The dirty tricks included such tactics as announcing false dates for opposition rallies and press conferences,disseminatingalarming campaign materials that they deceitfully attributed to the Zyuganov campaign, and cancelling hotel reservations for Zyuganov and his volunteers. Finally, widespread bribery, voter fraud, intimidation, and ballot stuffing assured Yeltsin’s victory in the runoff election.
The day after his victory, Yeltsin disappeared from the scene and did not reappear until months later, drunk. During Yeltsin’s second term, the “non-ideological” IMF provided another infusion of money, this time $40 billion. Once again, more billions disappeared without a trace, much of it stolen by the President’s chronies, who placed it in foreign banks. The re-elected President didn’t even pretend to make good on his campaign promises.
Serious observers, including leading Democrats, agree that even if the recent hacking allegations against Russia turn out to be true, the “dirty tricks” did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election. By contrast, American meddling and financing of the 1996 presidential election in Russia clearly played a pivotal role in turning Yeltsin from a candidate with single-digit approval at the beginning of the yearinto a winning candidate with an official (but disputed) 54.4% of votes cast in the second-round runoff later that same year.
Let us consider some of the consequences of Yeltsin’s electoral win:
–In the first years of the Chubais-Yeltsin privatization scheme, the life expectancy of a Russian male fell from 65 years to 57.5 years. Female life expectancy in Russia dropped from 74.5 years in 1989 to 72.8 years in 1999.
–Throughout Yeltsin’s terms as President, flight of capital away from Russia totaled between $1 and $2 billion every month.
–Each year from 1989 to 2001 there was a fall of approximately 8% in Russia’s productive assets.
–From 1990 to 1999 the percentage increase of people living on lessthan $1 a day was greater in Russian and the other former socialist countries than anywhere else in the world.
–The number of people living in poverty in the former Soviet Republicsrose from 14 million in 1989 to 147 million in 1998.As a result of the 1998 financial collapse and the devaluation of the ruble, the life savings of tens of millons of Russian families disappeared over night. Since then, the Great Recession and low oil pries have only made matters worse.
–In the period from 1992 to 1998 Russia’s GDP fell by half–something that did not happen even under during the German invasion in the Second World War.
Under Yeltsin’s tenure, the death rate in Russia reached wartime levels. Accidents, food poisoning, exposure, heart attacks, lack of access to basic healthcare, and an epidemic of suicides—they all played a role. David Satter, a senior fellow at the anti-communist, Washington DC-based Hudson Institute, writing in the conservative Wall Street Journal, described the consequences of this victory of Democracy: “Western and Russian demographers now agree that between 1992 and 2000, the number of ‘surplus deaths’ in Russia–deaths that cannot be explained on the basis of previous trends–was between five and six million persons.” (Accessed 8 April 2015. American sociologist James Petras has given a figure of 15 million surplus deaths since the demise of the Soviet Union.)
NATO continued its expansion east. Yeltsin turned the Chechen city of Grozy into a field of rubble, and he quickly became the most reviled man in Russia. But as one observer put it at the time, “Yeltsin didn’t seem to notice, which is hardly surprising, since he was drunk for most of his tenure in office.”By the time he left office, the American-approved President of the Russian Federation had an approval rating of 2%. (CNN, 2002) But by that time it didn’t matter: the kleptocrats were safely installed in power, and American-imposed Democracy had achieved its aims in Russia’s “transition.”
Yeltsin died in 2007, celebrated as an anti-communist hero by the neocons in Washington and New York, but hated by the vast majority of Russians. Four years later, Dmitri Medvedev, then-President of Russia, eulogized Yeltsin for creating “the base of a new Russian statehood, without which none of our future successes would be possible.” But a Time magazine writer reported that, despite Medvedev’s public praise, the story he told privately was quite different. On 20 February 2012, he reportedly told attendees at a closed-door meeting: “Russia’s first President did not actually win re-election in 1996 for a second term. The second presidential vote in Russia’s history, in other words, was rigged.” (Simon Shuster, “Rewriting Russian History: Did Boris Yeltsin Steal the 1996 Presidential Election?” Timeonline, 24 Feb. 2012.)
Some readers, perhaps, do not see the point of reminding ourselves of America’s role in the election of Yeltsin and America’s responsibility for the resulting misery and mass death. But let us remind ourselves that the recent hacking accusations are just one element of a full-on media assault against Russia, led by Washington. From supposed Russian war crimes in the fight against the murderous jihadi occupiers of Syria to Russia’s re-annexation of overwhelmingly pro-Russian Crimea and the doping of Olympic athletes, America’s neocons are engaged in a propaganda blitz with high stakes.
Armenia is one of many frontline positions in Washington’s escalating media campaign against Russia. Yes, the Russian Federation is an imperialist state, in V.I. Lenin’s technical sense of the term. And yes, Russia wields undo influence in Armenia. But by now it is clear that greater sovereignty for Armenia is not what is at stake when it comes to the Russophobe opposition. After all, the Russia haters do not seem to have much problem with the idea of giving up sovereignty to the American imperialists and their regional surrogate, the Republic of Turkey. More importantly, the cause of greater national sovereignty will be harmed if the Russia haters have their way. They only confirm the pervasivesense of vulnerability, economic isolation, and military encirclement among Russians, a people who have endured three decades of enormous destruction and humiliation, after a century of invasion and wars that claimed the lives of tens of millions of their compatriots.
Let us remind ourselves that the loudest of Yerevan’s Russia haters are the same fanatics who led Armenia to its present state of ruin. After so much failure and disaster, they continue to hawk the old dangerous fantasy of Uncle Sam as Armenia’s savior. They are unrepentant, and like Yeltsin, they take their marching orders from Washington.
About the author:
Markar Melkonian is a teacher and an author. His books include Richard Rorty’s Politics: Liberalism at the End of the American Century (1999), Marxism: A Post-Cold War Primer (Westview Press, 1996), and My Brother’s Road (2005).
Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region
Although Arabs were a majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Arab neighbors. This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.
For instance, after a series of riots in Jaffa in 1921 resulting in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, the occupying British held a commission of inquiry, which reported their finding that “there is no inherent anti-Semitism in the country, racial or religious.” Rather, Arab attacks on Jewish communities were the result of Arab fears about the stated goal of the Zionists to take over the land.
After major violence again erupted in 1929, the British Shaw Commission report noted that “In less than 10 years three serious attacks have been made by Arabs on Jews. For 80 years before the first of these attacks there is no recorded instance of any similar incidents.” Representatives from all sides of the emerging conflict testified to the commission that prior to the First World War, “the Jews and Arabs lived side by side if not in amity, at least with tolerance, a quality which today is almost unknown in Palestine.” The problem was that “The Arab people of Palestine are today united in their demand for representative government”, but were being denied that right by the Zionists and their British benefactors.
The British Hope-Simpson report of 1930 similarly noted that Jewish residents of non-Zionist communities in Palestine enjoyed friendship with their Arab neighbors. “It is quite a common sight to see an Arab sitting in the verandah of a Jewish house”, the report noted. “The position is entirely different in the Zionist colonies.”
Myth #2 – The United Nations created Israel
The U.N. became involved when the British sought to wash its hands of the volatile situation its policies had helped to create, and to extricate itself from Palestine. To that end, they requested that the U.N. take up the matter.
As a result, a U.N. Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created to examine the issue and offer its recommendation on how to resolve the conflict. UNSCOP contained no representatives from any Arab country and in the end issued a report that explicitly rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. Rejecting the democratic solution to the conflict, UNSCOP instead proposed that Palestine be partitioned into two states: one Arab and one Jewish.
The U.N. General Assembly endorsed UNSCOP’s in its Resolution 181. It is often claimed that this resolution “partitioned” Palestine, or that it provided Zionist leaders with a legal mandate for their subsequent declaration of the existence of the state of Israel, or some other similar variation on the theme. All such claims are absolutely false.
Resolution 181 merely endorsed UNSCOP’s report and conclusions as a recommendation. Needless to say, for Palestine to have been officially partitioned, this recommendation would have had to have been accepted by both Jews and Arabs, which it was not.
Moreover, General Assembly resolutions are not considered legally binding (only Security Council resolutions are). And, furthermore, the U.N. would have had no authority to take land from one people and hand it over to another, and any such resolution seeking to so partition Palestine would have been null and void, anyway.
Myth #3 – The Arabs missed an opportunity to have their own state in 1947
The U.N. recommendation to partition Palestine was rejected by the Arabs. Many commentators today point to this rejection as constituting a missed “opportunity” for the Arabs to have had their own state. But characterizing this as an “opportunity” for the Arabs is patently ridiculous. The Partition plan was in no way, shape, or form an “opportunity” for the Arabs.
First of all, as already noted, Arabs were a large majority in Palestine at the time, with Jews making up about a third of the population by then, due to massive immigration of Jews from Europe (in 1922, by contrast, a British census showed that Jews represented only about 11 percent of the population).
Additionally, land ownership statistics from 1945 showed that Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district of Palestine, including Jaffa, where Arabs owned 47 percent of the land while Jews owned 39 percent – and Jaffa boasted the highest percentage of Jewish-owned land of any district. In other districts, Arabs owned an even larger portion of the land. At the extreme other end, for instance, in Ramallah, Arabs owned 99 percent of the land. In the whole of Palestine, Arabs owned 85 percent of the land, while Jews owned less than 7 percent, which remained the case up until the time of Israel’s creation.
Yet, despite these facts, the U.N. partition recommendation had called for more than half of the land of Palestine to be given to the Zionists for their “Jewish State”. The truth is that no Arab could be reasonably expected to accept such an unjust proposal. For political commentators today to describe the Arabs’ refusal to accept a recommendation that their land be taken away from them, premised upon the explicit rejection of their right to self-determination, as a “missed opportunity” represents either an astounding ignorance of the roots of the conflict or an unwillingness to look honestly at its history.
It should also be noted that the partition plan was also rejected by many Zionist leaders. Among those who supported the idea, which included David Ben-Gurion, their reasoning was that this would be a pragmatic step towards their goal of acquiring the whole of Palestine for a “Jewish State” – something which could be finally accomplished later through force of arms.
When the idea of partition was first raised years earlier, for instance, Ben-Gurion had written that “after we become a strong force, as the result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine”. Partition should be accepted, he argued, “to prepare the ground for our expansion into the whole of Palestine”. The Jewish State would then “have to preserve order”, if the Arabs would not acquiesce, “by machine guns, if necessary.”
Myth #4 – Israel has a “right to exist”
The fact that this term is used exclusively with regard to Israel is instructive as to its legitimacy, as is the fact that the demand is placed upon Palestinians to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”, while no similar demand is placed upon Israelis to recognize the “right to exist” of a Palestinian state.
Nations don’t have rights, people do. The proper framework for discussion is within that of the right of all peoples to self-determination. Seen in this, the proper framework, it is an elementary observation that it is not the Arabs which have denied Jews that right, but the Jews which have denied that right to the Arabs. The terminology of Israel’s “right to exist” is constantly employed to obfuscate that fact.
As already noted, Israel was not created by the U.N., but came into being on May 14, 1948, when the Zionist leadership unilaterally, and with no legal authority, declared Israel’s existence, with no specification as to the extent of the new state’s borders. In a moment, the Zionists had declared that Arabs no longer the owners of their land – it now belonged to the Jews. In an instant, the Zionists had declared that the majority Arabs of Palestine were now second-class citizens in the new “Jewish State”.
The Arabs, needless to say, did not passively accept this development, and neighboring Arab countries declared war on the Zionist regime in order to prevent such a grave injustice against the majority inhabitants of Palestine.
It must be emphasized that the Zionists had no right to most of the land they declared as part of Israel, while the Arabs did. This war, therefore, was not, as is commonly asserted in mainstream commentary, an act of aggression by the Arab states against Israel. Rather, the Arabs were acting in defense of their rights, to prevent the Zionists from illegally and unjustly taking over Arab lands and otherwise disenfranchising the Arab population. The act of aggression was the Zionist leadership’s unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel, and the Zionists’ use of violence to enforce their aims both prior to and subsequent to that declaration.
In the course of the war that ensued, Israel implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing. 700,000 Arab Palestinians were either forced from their homes or fled out of fear of further massacres, such as had occurred in the village of Deir Yassin shortly before the Zionist declaration. These Palestinians have never been allowed to return to their homes and land, despite it being internationally recognized and encoded in international law that such refugees have an inherent “right of return”.
Palestinians will never agree to the demand made of them by Israel and its main benefactor, the U.S., to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”. To do so is effectively to claim that Israel had a “right” to take Arab land, while Arabs had no right to their own land. It is effectively to claim that Israel had a “right” to ethnically cleanse Palestine, while Arabs had no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their own homes, on their own land.
The constant use of the term “right to exist” in discourse today serves one specific purpose: It is designed to obfuscate the reality that it is the Jews that have denied the Arab right to self-determination, and not vice versa, and to otherwise attempt to legitimize Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, both historical and contemporary.
Myth #5 – The Arab nations threatened Israel with annihilation in 1967 and 1973
The fact of the matter is that it was Israel that fired the first shot of the “Six Day War”. Early on the morning of June 5, Israel launched fighters in a surprise attack on Egypt (then the United Arab Republic), and successfully decimated the Egyptian air force while most of its planes were still on the ground.
It is virtually obligatory for this attack to be described by commentators today as “preemptive”. But to have been “preemptive”, by definition, there must have been an imminent threat of Egyptian aggression against Israel. Yet there was none.
It is commonly claimed that President Nasser’s bellicose rhetoric, blockade of the Straits of Tiran, movement of troops into the Sinai Peninsula, and expulsion of U.N. peacekeeping forces from its side of the border collectively constituted such an imminent threat.
Yet, both U.S. and Israeli intelligence assessed at the time that the likelihood Nasser would actually attack was low. The CIA assessed that Israel had overwhelming superiority in force of arms, and would, in the event of a war, defeat the Arab forces within two weeks; within a week if Israel attacked first, which is what actually occurred.
It must be kept in mind that Egypt had been the victim of aggression by the British, French, and Israelis in the 1956 “Suez Crisis”, following Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. In that war, the three aggressor nations conspired to wage war upon Egypt, which resulted in an Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula. Under U.S. pressure, Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1957, but Egypt had not forgotten the Israeli aggression.
Moreover, Egypt had formed a loose alliance with Syria and Jordan, with each pledging to come to the aid of the others in the event of a war with Israel. Jordan had criticized Nasser for not living up to that pledge after the Israeli attack on West Bank village of Samu the year before, and his rhetoric was a transparent attempt to regain face in the Arab world.
That Nasser’s positioning was defensive, rather than projecting an intention to wage an offensive against Israel, was well recognized among prominent Israelis. As Avraham Sela of the Shalem Center has observed, “The Egyptian buildup in Sinai lacked a clear offensive plan, and Nasser’s defensive instructions explicitly assumed an Israeli first strike.”
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledged that “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
Yitzhak Rabin, who would also later become Prime Minister of Israel, admitted in 1968 that “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”
Israelis have also acknowledged that their own rhetoric at the time about the “threat” of “annihilation” from the Arab states was pure propaganda.
General Chaim Herzog, commanding general and first military governor of the occupied West Bank following the war, admitted that “There was no danger of annihilation. Israeli headquarters never believed in this danger.”
General Ezer Weizman similarly said, “There was never a danger of extermination. This hypothesis had never been considered in any serious meeting.”
Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev acknowledged, “We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six-Day War, and we had never thought of such possibility.”
Israeli Minister of Housing Mordechai Bentov has also acknowledged that “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail, and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”
In 1973, in what Israelis call the “Yom Kippur War”, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise offensive to retake the Sinai and the Golan Heights, respectively. This joint action is popularly described in contemporaneous accounts as an “invasion” of or act of “aggression” against Israel.
Yet, as already noted, following the June ’67 war, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 242 calling upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Israel, needless to say, refused to do so and has remained in perpetual violation of international law ever since.
During the 1973 war, Egypt and Syria thus “invaded” their own territory, then under illegaloccupation by Israel. The corollary of the description of this war as an act of Arab aggression implicitly assumes that the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza Strip were Israeli territory. This is, needless to say, a grossly false assumption that demonstrates the absolutely prejudicial and biased nature of mainstream commentary when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict.
This false narrative fits in with the larger overall narrative, equally fallacious, of Israeli as the “victim” of Arab intransigence and aggression. This narrative, largely unquestioned in the West, flips reality on its head.
Myth #6 – U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 called only for a partial Israeli withdrawal
Resolution 242 was passed in the wake of the June ’67 war and called for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” While the above argument enjoys widespread popularity, it has no merit whatsoever.
The central thesis of this argument is that the absence of the word “the” before “occupied territories” in that clause means not “all of the occupied territories” were intended. Essentially, this argument rests upon the ridiculous logic that because the word “the” was omitted from the clause, we may therefore understand this to mean that “some of the occupied territories” was the intended meaning.
Grammatically, the absence of the word “the” has no effect on the meaning of this clause, which refers to “territories”, plural. A simple litmus test question is: Is it territory that was occupied by Israel in the ’67 war? If yes, then, under international law and Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from that territory. Such territories include the Syrian Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
The French version of the resolution, equally authentic as the English, contains the definite article, and a majority of the members of the Security Council made clear during deliberations that their understanding of the resolution was that it would require Israel to fully withdraw from all occupied territories.
Additionally, it is impossible to reconcile with the principle of international law cited in the preamble to the resolution, of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. To say that the U.N. intended that Israel could retain some of the territory it occupied during the war would fly in the face of this cited principle.
One could go on to address various other logical fallacies associated with this frivolous argument, but as it is absurd on its face, it would be superfluous to do so.
Myth #7 – Israeli military action against its neighbors is only taken to defend itself against terrorism
The facts tell another story. Take, for instance, the devastating 1982 Israeli war on Lebanon. As political analyst Noam Chomsky extensively documents in his epic analysis “The Fateful Triangle”, this military offensive was carried out with barely even the thinnest veil of a pretext.
While one may read contemporary accounts insisting this war was fought in response to a constant shelling of northern Israeli by the PLO, then based in Lebanon, the truth is that, despite continuous Israeli provocations, the PLO had with only a few exceptions abided by a cease-fire that had been in place. Moreover, in each of those instances, it was Israel that had first violated the cease-fire.
Among the Israeli provocations, throughout early 1982, it attacked and sank Lebanese fishing boats and otherwise committed hundreds of violations of Lebanese territorial waters. It committed thousands of violations of Lebanese airspace, yet never did manage to provoke the PLO response it sought to serve as the casus belli for the planned invasion of Lebanon.
On May 9, Israel bombed Lebanon, an act that was finally met with a PLO response when it launched rocket and artillery fire into Israel.
Then a terrorist group headed by Abu Nidal attempted to assassinate Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov in London. Although the PLO itself had been at war with Abu Nidal, who had been condemned to death by a Fatah military tribunal in 1973, and despite the fact that Abu Nidal was not based in Lebanon, Israel cited this event as a pretext to bomb the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, killing 200 Palestinians. The PLO responded by shelling settlements in northern Israel. Yet Israel did not manage to provoke the kind of larger-scale response it was looking to use as a casus belli for its planned invasion.
As Israeli scholar Yehoshua Porath has suggested, Israel’s decision to invade Lebanon, far from being a response to PLO attacks, rather “flowed from the very fact that the cease-fire had been observed”. Writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Porath assessed that “The government’s hope is that the stricken PLO, lacking a logistic and territorial base, will return to its earlier terrorism…. In this way, the PLO will lose part of the political legitimacy that it has gained … undercutting the danger that elements will develop among the Palestinians that might become a legitimate negotiating partner for future political accommodations.”
As another example, take Israel’s Operation Cast Lead from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009. Prior to Israel’s assault on the besieged and defenseless population of the Gaza Strip, Israel had entered into a cease-fire agreement with the governing authority there, Hamas. Contrary to popular myth, it was Israel, not Hamas, who ended the cease-fire.
The pretext for Operation Cast Lead is obligatorily described in Western media accounts as being the “thousands” of rockets that Hamas had been firing into Israel prior to the offensive, in violation of the cease-fire.
The truth is that from the start of the cease-fire in June until November 4, Hamas fired no rockets, despite numerous provocations from Israel, including stepped-up operations in the West Bank and Israeli soldiers taking pop-shots at Gazans across the border, resulting in several injuries and at least one death.
On November 4, it was again Israel who violated the cease-fire, with airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza that resulted in further deaths. Hamas finally responded with rocket fire, and from that point on the cease-fire was effectively over, with daily tit-for-tat attacks from both sides.
Despite Israel’s lack of good faith, Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire from the time it was set to officially expire in December. Israel rejected the offer, preferring instead to inflict violent collective punishment on the people of Gaza.
As the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center noted, the truce “brought relative quiet to the western Negev population”, with 329 rocket and mortar attacks, “most of them during the month and a half after November 4”, when Israel had violated and effectively ended the truce. This stands in remarkable contrast to the 2,278 rocket and mortar attacks in the six months prior to the truce. Until November 4, the center also observed, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.”
If Israel had desired to continue to mitigate the threat of Palestinian militant rocket attacks, it would have simply not ended the cease-fire, which was very highly effective in reducing the number of such attacks, including eliminating all such attacks by Hamas. It would not have instead resorted to violence, predictably resulting in a greatly escalated threat of retaliatory rocket and mortar attacks from Palestinian militant groups.
Moreover, even if Israel could claim that peaceful means had been exhausted and that a resort military force to act in self-defense to defend its civilian population was necessary, that is demonstrably not what occurred. Instead, Israel deliberately targeted the civilian population of Gaza with systematic and deliberate disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on residential areas, hospitals, schools, and other locations with protected civilian status under international law.
As the respected international jurist who headed up the United Nations investigation into the assault, Richard Goldstone, has observed, the means by which Israel carried out Operation Cast Lead were not consistent with its stated aims, but was rather more indicative of a deliberate act of collective punishment of the civilian population.
Myth #8 – God gave the land to the Jews, so the Arabs are the occupiers
No amount of discussion of the facts on the ground will ever convince many Jews and Christians that Israel could ever do wrong, because they view its actions as having the hand of God behind it, and that its policies are in fact the will of God. They believe that God gave the land of Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to the Jewish people, and therefore Israel has a “right” to take it by force from the Palestinians, who, in this view, are the wrongful occupiers of the land.
But one may simply turn to the pages of their own holy books to demonstrate the fallaciousness of this or similar beliefs. Christian Zionists are fond of quoting passages from the Bible such as the following to support their Zionist beliefs:
“And Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)
“Then Yahweh appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in the land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.” (Genesis 26: 1-3)
“And behold, Yahweh stood above it and said: ‘I am Yahweh, God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” (Genesis 28:13)
Yet Christian Zionists conveniently disregard other passages providing further context for understanding this covenant, such as the following:
“You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out.” (Leviticus 20:22)
“But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments … but break My covenant … I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste … You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.” (Leviticus 26: 14, 15, 32-33, 28)
“Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone…. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” (2 Kings 17:18, 23)
“And I said, after [Israel] had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.” (Jeremiah 3: 7-8)
Yes, in the Bible, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, told the Hebrews that the land could be theirs – if they would obey his commandments. Yet, as the Bible tells the story, the Hebrews were rebellious against Yahweh in all their generations.
What Jewish and Christian Zionists omit from their Biblical arguments in favor of continued Israel occupation is that Yahweh also told the Hebrews, including the tribe of Judah (from whom the “Jews” are descended), that he would remove them from the land if they broke the covenant by rebelling against his commandments, which is precisely what occurs in the Bible.
Thus, the theological argument for Zionism is not only bunk from a secular point of view, but is also a wholesale fabrication from a scriptural perspective, representing a continued rebelliousness against Yahweh and his Torah, and the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) in the New Testament.
Myth #9 – Palestinians reject the two-state solution because they want to destroy Israel
In an enormous concession to Israel, Palestinians have long accepted the two-state solution. The elected representatives of the Palestinian people in Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had since the 70s recognized the state of Israel and accepted the two-state solution to the conflict. Despite this, Western media continued through the 90s to report that the PLO rejected this solution and instead wanted to wipe Israel off the map.
The pattern has been repeated since Hamas was voted into power in the 2006 Palestinian elections. Although Hamas has for years accepted the reality of the state of Israel and demonstrated a willingness to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel, it is virtually obligatory for Western mainstream media, even today, to report that Hamas rejects the two-state solution, that it instead seeks “to destroy Israel”.
In fact, in early 2004, shortly before he was assassinated by Israel, Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin said that Hamas could accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Hamas has since repeatedly reiterated its willingness to accept a two-state solution.
In early 2005, Hamas issued a document stating its goal of seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel and recognizing the 1967 borders.
The exiled head of the political bureau of Hamas, Khalid Mish’al, wrote in the London Guardian in January 2006 that Hamas was “ready to make a just peace”. He wrote that “We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights…. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms.”
During the campaigning for the 2006 elections, the top Hamas official in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar said that Hamas was ready to “accept to establish our independent state on the area occupied [in] ’67”, a tacit recognition of the state of Israel.
The elected prime minister from Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said in February 2006 that Hamas accepted “the establishment of a Palestinian state” within the “1967 borders”.
In April 2008, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas officials and afterward stated that Hamas “would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders” and would “accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace”. It was Hamas’ “ultimate goal to see Israel living in their allocated borders, the 1967 borders, and a contiguous, vital Palestinian state alongside.”
That same month Hamas leader Meshal said, “We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition.”
In 2009, Meshal said that Hamas “has accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders”.
Hamas’ shift in policy away from total rejection of the existence of the state of Israel towards acceptance of the international consensus on a two-state solution to the conflict is in no small part a reflection of the will of the Palestinian public. A public opinion survey from April of last year, for instance, found that three out of four Palestinians were willing to accept a two-state solution.
Myth #10 – The U.S. is an honest broker and has sought to bring about peace in the Middle East
Rhetoric aside, the U.S. supports Israel’s policies, including its illegal occupation and other violations of international humanitarian law. It supports Israel’s criminal policies financially, militarily, and diplomatically.
The Obama administration, for example, stated publically that it was opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and ostensibly “pressured” Israel to freeze colonization activities. Yet very early on, the administration announced that it would not cut back financial or military aid to Israel, even if it defied international law and continued settlement construction. That message was perfectly well understood by the Netanyahu government in Israel, which continued its colonization policies.
To cite another straightforward example, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions openly declaring support for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, despite a constant stream of reports evidencing Israeli war crimes.
On the day the U.S. Senate passed its resolution “reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas” (January 8, 2009), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement demanding that Israel allow it to assist victims of the conflict because the Israeli military had blocked access to wounded Palestinians – a war crime under international law.
That same day, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning Israel for firing on a U.N. aid convoy delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza and for the killing of two U.N. staff members – both further war crimes.
On the day that the House passed its own version of the resolution, the U.N. announced that it had had to stop humanitarian work in Gaza because of numerous incidents in which its staff, convoys, and installations, including clinics and schools, had come under Israeli attack.
U.S. financial support for Israel surpasses $3 billion annually. When Israel waged a war to punish the defenseless civilian population of Gaza, its pilots flew U.S.-made F-16 fighter-bombers and Apache helicopter gunships, dropping U.S.-made bombs, including the use of white phosphorus munitions in violation of international law.
U.S. diplomatic support for Israeli crimes includes its use of the veto power in the U.N. Security Council. When Israel was waging a devastating war against the civilian population and infrastructure of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the U.S. vetoed a cease-fire resolution.
As Israel was waging Operation Cast Lead, the U.S. delayed the passage of a resolution calling for an end to the violence, and then abstained rather than criticize Israel once it finally allowed the resolution to be put to a vote.
When the U.N. Human Rights Council officially adopted the findings and recommendations of its investigation into war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, headed up by Richard Goldstone, the U.S. responded by announcing its intention to block any effort to have the Security Council similarly adopt its conclusions and recommendations. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution rejecting the Goldstone report because it found that Israel had committed war crimes.
Through its virtually unconditional support for Israel, the U.S. has effectively blocked any steps to implement the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The so-called “peace process” has for many decades consisted of U.S. and Israeli rejection Palestinian self-determination and blocking of any viable Palestinian state.
During the final years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the US reached a verbal agreement whereby Moscow would allow for the reunification of Germany in exchange for the US agreeing to never expand NATO further East. As history attests, the US shamelessly reneged on its guarantee the moment the Soviet Union collapsed and was powerless to effectively stop it, swallowing up almost the entirety of Eastern Europe (save for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine) and all the Baltic States by 2004. What’s less studied by observers is NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden” (Drive to the South), which represents one of the last fronts of continental NATO expansionism and has been in the works ever since the end of the Cold War.
Theoretically speaking, this corner of Europe didn’t fall under the Soviets’ purvey when they made their verbal agreement with the US. Moscow didn’t have any forces stationed in Yugoslavia or Albania that would soon be withdrawn, thus making these countries’ prospective membership into NATO a moot point for Moscow to even discuss because it had no power or influence one way or another to even decide on it. Faced with its own internal problems and its forthcoming theater-wide withdraw from Central and Eastern Europe, it’s likely that the Soviet Union didn’t even consider the then-unthinkable scenario that a series of American-engineered proto-Hybrid Wars would soon lead to the dissolution of Yugoslavia along federative lines and one day see two of its formerly unified members plus Albania under the NATO nuclear umbrella.
Alas, that’s exactly what happened, and it can be suggested that one of the US’ partial motivations for dismembering Yugoslavia was to create a chain of weakened nation-states that would be much easier to absorb into the bloc than the formerly unified and strong federal entity. It was earlier discussed at the beginning of the book’s Balkan research that Slovenia was the most gung-ho pro-Western state out of the entire former Yugoslavia, being the first to join both the EU and NATO. To remind the reader of what was written at that earlier point, Slovenia was largely insulated from the chaos of the Yugoslav Wars owing to its advantageous geography, and its small population was disproportionately well endowed with a legacy of Yugoslav investment that allowed it to rapidly achieve the highest GDP per capita of all the former communist countries in Europe.
Consequently, it joined NATO and the EU in 2004, making it the first Balkan state with membership in both organizations. This was designed to serve as an example-setting precedent for other similarly pro-Western regional elite who wanted to emulate the “Slovenian success story”, leading them to believe that it was Ljubljana’s impassioned desire to join Western-dominated institutions that explained its success and not its inimitable geographic, historic, and economic factors. Be that as it was, the deceptive ploy prevailed in convincing the Croatian elite of their own self-delusions and consequently in furthering their informational investments in misleading the rest of the population into supporting their predetermined decision to join both blocs. Zagreb would later enter into NATO in 2009 and join the EU in 2013, thus following the Slovenian scenario and dispensing of the tiny Balkan country’s strategic purpose to either organization (hence the institutional neglect that it’s received from both since then).
The situation was a bit different with Albania, as it wasn’t influenced by Slovenia’s example at all. It joined NATO the same year that Croatia did for the complementary reasons of supporting the US’ Lead From Behind grand strategy in the Western Balkans and in placing itself in a more ‘regionally intimidating’ position for promoting Greater Albania sometime again in the future (most likely against Macedonia). Also, it can’t be discounted that Tirana’s elites were motived to a large degree by their conception of ‘triumphalism’ in formally allying with the bloc that bombarded Serbia and led to the temporary severing of its Province of Kosovo. Taking into account the Albanian understanding of ‘pride’ and how the Ottoman-era culture of completely disrespecting one’s enemy are still influential factors that impact on the Albanian psyche, it’s very likely that one of the country’s driving interests in joining NATO was simply to spite Serbia.
Waiting In The Wings?
Looking at the rest of the Balkans, every country has some form or another of institutional relations with NATO.
To begin with, Serbia agreed to an Individual Partnership Action Plan in January 2015, in an event that bizarrely received barely any publicity in the country’s media. One would have been led to believe that Serbia’s closer relations with the same military bloc that bombed it into submission 16 years prior would garner intense outcry among the country’s opinion leaders and institutions, but the fact that it didn’t speaks loudly about the strong entrenchment of influential pro-Western figures inside the country’s establishment.
Also, it’s notable that this decision was undertaken under the Vucic’s Premiership, which has gone to great lengths to please the West. This stands in stark contrast to the contemporaneous Nikolic Presidency, which has worked hard to make pragmatic strides in Serbia’s relations with Russia. The glaring discrepancy between the foreign policy priorities of the Prime Minister and the President doesn’t seem to be an elaborate ‘balancing’ ruse between the West and Russia, but rather a clumsy and disjointed struggle to hash out compromise between the respective Serbian elites that each figurehead represents.
This political predicament is inherently untenable and cannot progress for much longer without the country being thrown into domestic destabilization. Pragmatic approaches towards multiple geopolitical directions are welcome for any country, but when radical moves such as deepening the relationship with NATO are made, it indicates a decisive power play on behalf of the pro-Western forces. Couple that early-2015 announcement with the news at the end of the year in December that Belgrade is formally in accession talks with Brussels, and 2015 becomes the ‘Year of the West’ for Serbia. This can’t help but result in opposition from the pragmatic voices represented by Nikolic (who is reflective of the majority of society), which must feel their influence waning amidst Vucic’s pro-Western advancements.
The governmental split that’s being produced by Vucic’s unwavering pro-Western institutional course (continued despite his visit to Moscow and appeal for Russian weaponry) will inevitably result in an intensification of the ongoing power struggle between the two factions of the Serbian elite, the pro-Westernizers and the political pragmatists, unless Vucic tempers his approach. Failure to do so will force the country into the same manipulated “civilizational choice” that the West imposed on Ukraine in November 2013, which would ultimately work out to the US’ grand strategic benefit at the expense of every Serbian. Provocatively speaking, it might follow the Ukrainian scenario so closely that a Color Revolution breaks out in Belgrade, albeit with diametrically different geopolitical consequences than the pro-Western one that succeeded in Kiev.
Moving along, Bosnia and the other two remaining Balkan countries that will be discussed have agreed to Membership Action Plans with NATO, which means that they have officially committed their governments to a path that’s supposed to end with NATO membership some time or another. It’s practically impossible for this scheme to succeed in Bosnia without a renewal of civil warfare between Republika Srpska and the Croat-Muslim entity, but more than likely, that’s the point of Sarajevo pursuing such a farfetched plan. The Serbs would never accept joining NATO because that would lead to the extinguishment of their autonomous republic, but reversely, if the autonomy of Republika Srpska could be revoked (the scenarios of which Sarajevo and its Western patrons are subtly exploring), then NATO membership would be institutionally uncontested and incapable of being stopped. As has been discussed extensively already, Bosnia is a giant geopolitical time bomb that’s waiting to be detonated by the West, and Sarajevo’s determined and timed movement towards NATO could be the spark that lights the next Balkan fuse.
The surface conviction among many is that Skopje has committed itself to an irreversible pro-Western trajectory regardless of leadership, and judging by official statements on the matter, that does indeed seem to be the case. Digging deeper, however, and unraveling the changing domestic and international contexts surrounding Macedonia, the argument can convincingly be made that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Skopje’s pro-Western institutional associations. December 2014 forever changed the calculations of the Macedonian leadership because of the Russia and China’s dual announcements of the Balkan Stream and Balkan Silk Road megaprojects, respectively, both of which are envisioned to crucially transit through the country’s territory.
Of course, neither Great Power would have made such ambitious plans without having first consulted with the Macedonian government, and Skopje was more than willing to agree after taking stock of the enormous economic windfall that it would receive from either project’s successful completion. Also, neither Moscow nor Beijing likely made any ultimatums to Skopje for its cooperation (such as saying that it mustn’t join NATO and/or the EU), but that it was probably strongly implied that substantially moving forward with either of these ‘formal’ institutional goals could endanger the projects, and thus, the geostrategic and economically profitable benefits that Macedonia stood to incur.
After discreetly acquiring Macedonia’s advance approval for their initiatives, Russia and China went public with their regional visions, but this triggered the US to initiate its back-up regime change plans for the country in order to keep it firmly in its orbit and pressure it to cancel the multipolar megaprojects. The US was probably tipped off to its geopolitical rivals’ plans well in advance and had begun tinkering with a destabilization scenario in Macedonia long ago, using it and its allies’ spy agencies to surreptitiously wiretap government and private citizens for use in a forthcoming political blackmail campaign. In the months preceding the monumental multipolar announcements relating to Macedonia, the US ordered its regime change proxy, ‘opposition’ leader Zoran Zaev, to selectively release suggestive snippets from the Western intelligence agency-doctored ‘recordings’ in order to test the waters and gauge the public’s reaction.
After recognizing that the ‘wiretap’ scenario had the potential to stir a critical mass of manipulated public unrest (with the hand-in-hand support of Soros-affiliated organizations and media outlets), the US knew that it had a powerful tool with which to pressure the government. Prime Minister Gruevski didn’t fold to Washington’s implied regime change demands, however, and he instead stood proudly defiant in the face of the externally imposed coup attempt being pursued against him. At around this time in early 2015, he probably started getting second doubts about his ‘Western partners’ (if he hadn’t had them already by this point) and questioning the strategic wisdom of continuing his country’s established pro-Western course.
At the same time, being the leader of a super-strategic but comparatively small country, Gruevski keenly understood his limits of action and came to the conclusion that forcefully rejecting the West would be contrary to his and his country’s physical security. This explains why his formal statements are in support of the unipolar EU and NATO, while his multipolar actions in cooperating with the Balkan Silk Road and Balkan Stream megaprojects speak more sincerely to the strategic direction that he truly plans on taking his country. Gruevski’s prudence in taking this approach was vindicated after the US attempted an unsuccessful Hybrid War push against him in May 2015 (Zaev’s failed Color Revolution intermingled with the Albanian terrorist plots in Kumanovo), showing the desperate lengths that they were willing to go in getting him removed and stopping the multipolar megaprojects.
Despite this obvious regime change attempt and the subsequently more subtle methods being employed to try and oust him (the EU-mediated ‘negotiations’ with the ‘opposition’ and the forthcoming early elections), Gruevski is still aware that if he succumbs to the emotional temptation to publicly disown the EU and NATO in response, then he might fall victim to an assassination attempt (which is what the plane scare over Switzerland in late-May 2015 was meant to convey to him). For these reasons, the Macedonian Premier must continue his clever game of telling the West what they want to hear while doing the opposite in practice, although it’s unclear whether he can continue doing so indefinitely without being forced by the US into making a resolute choice one way or another.
For the time being, however, although Macedonia is formally pursuing integration into Western institutions, its policies in practice are purposely ambiguous, and in light of the changed domestic and international circumstances that were just explained, one should hold off on rendering full judgement about Gruevski’s officially declared commitments until after he gains more freedom of political maneuverability following the early elections in April.
The final Balkan country that has yet to be discussed is Montenegro, which just received its official invitation to join NATO during the bloc’s early-December meeting in Brussels. Even before the announcement was ever formally made, Prime Minister Djukanovic (the country’s ruler in one form or another for almost the past thirty years) declared that his country would unreservedly accept NATO membership, prompting an unprecedented display of public unrest. The majority of the 600,000 or so Montenegrin citizens are against their country joining the same military bloc that bombed it 16 years ago when it was still part of rump Yugoslavia, and the political opposition has called for the issue to be put before a referendum. The government refused to accede to their suggestion and instead responded with disproportionate force that suppressed the protests and produced an ever stronger reaction of anti-NATO sentiment.
The result was that the violent crackdown predictably intimidated some of the population and led to a noticeable decline in their outward protest activity. This government interpreted this according its preordained expectations and assumed that this meant that the anti-NATO movement was finished. That wasn’t the case, however, since the form of resistance had simply adapted to the repressive conditions in the country and moved away from large manifestations in the capital in favor of smaller gatherings in the towns and villages. On the one hand, this was a tactical necessity in order to preserve the protesters’ safety, but on the other, it created the deceptive illusion that the population had been forced into complacency and may have unintentionally contributed to NATO going forward with the membership offering, as opposed to withholding it out of fear that extending the invitation would push the country over the edge and result in the overthrow of their long-cherished proxy.
As it stands, it’s expected to take between one to two years for Montenegro for complete the NATO accession process, meaning that there’s a critical last-minute window of opportunity for the protesters to make history and be the first to carry their country away from the organization after it’s already agreed to join. Theoretically speaking, it’s entirely possible for Montenegro to set a new precedent in this regard, but it’s clear that the only way to do this is by overthrowing the government or pressuring it to the extent that it acquiesces to a referendum. Granted, even a public vote might not be enough to stop the NATO machine, since it’s unsure at this time whether it would be just as crooked of a motion as the previous ballots held under Djukanovic’s rule. More than likely, given the donkey-like obstinacy that Djukanovic and his Mafioso clique have, plus their propensity to resort to extreme violence amidst pressure, it’s probable that the only way to reverse the NATO decision is to replace Djukanovic with a sincere opposition figure that will pull Montenegro out of the initiation process before it’s fully completed.
Montenegro’s strategic importance to NATO is disproportionate to its tiny size, and its membership in the bloc is an important step in bringing Serbia more firmly under Atlantic control. Assuming the most negative scenario where Montenegrins are unable to save their country from occupation, then NATO would have succeeded in tightening its noose of encirclement around Serbia and would then feel more confident in making bolder moves against it and Republika Srpska in the future. Keep in mind that Montenegrins are closely related to Serbs and that many Serbs still live in the country. Officially, the government lists them as being 28% of the population, but given Djukanovic’s history of statistical manipulations (be it in the 2006 independence referendum or every election in which he’s ran), the real percentage is likely higher. This is all very important for NATO since they know that they can thus exploit Montenegro as a ‘social laboratory’ for perfecting informational and other strategies for use against the larger Serbian demographics in Republika Srpska and Serbia, thereby giving their campaign in the tiny Adriatic country a heightened strategic importance that is usually lost on most observers.
With all that being said, the anti-NATO and anti-government resistance movements in Montenegro (which are morphing into a unified force at the moment) are indispensably important in pushing back against NATO’s “Drang Nach Suden”. Their success would provide the Central Balkans with strategic breathing space and stunningly put a sudden halt to the strategic plan that the US had taken for granted up until that point. Looked at from the opposite perspective, NATO sees the incorporation of Montenegro as one of the final pieces in completing its geo-military encirclement of Serbia. It also tangentially expects to receive valuable social feedback from this experience that it can then weaponize against Republika Srpska and Serbia, and the critical momentum that Montenegro’s accession would create could turn into a psychological battering ram for diminishing the population’s resistance in these two states and the Republic of Macedonia. Due to the high stakes involved for all sides, it’s doubtful that Djukanovic and his allies would leave in peace if confronted with a renewed opposition movement against them, thus raising the disturbing specter that the country might descend into civil war if its people try to free themselves from impending NATO domination.
About the author:
Andrew Korybko is the American political commentaror currently working for the Sputnik agency, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.
Original source of the article: http://orientalreview.org/2015/12/05/natos-drang-nach-suden/
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The United States is indisputably the world’s most frequent and extensive wager of aggressive war, largest occupier of foreign lands, and biggest weapons dealer to the world. But when the United States peeps out from under the blankets where it lies shivering with fear, it sees itself as an innocent victim. It has no holiday to keep any victorious battle in everyone’s mind. It has a holiday to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — and now also one, perhaps holier still, to recall, not the “shock and awe” destruction of Baghdad, but the crimes of September 11, 2001, the “new Pearl Harbor.”
Similar to Israel, but with a variation, the United States is deeply obsessed with World War II, overlaid of course on a Southern obsession with the U.S. Civil War. The Southern U.S. love for the Civil War is love for a war lost, but also for victimhood and the righteousness of the vengeance wreaked on the world year after year by the U.S. military.
The U.S. love for World War II is also, fundamentally, love for a war lost. That may seem odd to say, because it is simultaneously very much love for a war won. World War II remains the U.S. model for potentially some day winning a war again, as it’s been losing them all over the world for the 70 years since World War II. But the U.S. view of WWII is also strangely similar to the Russian view. Russia was brutally attacked by the Nazis, but persevered and won the war. The United States believes itself to have been “imminently” attacked by the Nazis. That, after all, was the propaganda that took the United States to war. There was not one word about rescuing Jews or anything half that noble. Rather, President Franklin Roosevelt claimed to have a map of the Nazis’ plans for carving up the Americas, a map that was an amateurish forgery provided by British “intelligence.”
Hollywood has made very few movies and television shows about all other wars combined, in comparison with dramas about World War II, which may in fact be its most popular topic ever. We’re really not drowning in movies glorifying the theft or northern Mexico or the occupation of the Philippines. The Korean War gets little play. Even the Vietnam War and all the more recent wars fail to inspire U.S. storytellers like World War II, and some 90% of those stories relate to the war in Europe, not Asia.
The European story is much preferred because of the particular evils of the German enemy. That the U.S. prevented a peace without victor in World War I by crushing Germany, and then punished it viciously, and then aided the Nazis — all of that is far more easily forgotten than the nuclear bombs that the United States dropped on Japan. But it is the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941, together with the fantasized Nazi invasion, that persuades the U.S. public that waging war in Europe was defensive. So the history of the United States training Japan in imperialism and then antagonizing and provoking Japan must be forgotten as well.
Amazon.com, a corporation with a huge CIA contract, and whose owner also owns the Washington Post, has launched a television series called the Man in the High Castle. The story is set in the 1960s with the Nazis occupying three-quarters of the United States and the Japanese the rest. In this alternative universe, the ultimate redemption is found in Germany being the nation to have dropped nuclear bombs. The Axis victors, and their aging leaders, have created and maintained an old-fashioned empire — not like U.S. bases in proxy states, but a full-blown occupation, like the United States in Iraq. It doesn’t really matter how implausible this sounds. It is the most plausible scenario that can embody the U.S. fantasy of someone else doing to it what it does to others. Thus U.S. crimes here in the real 2015 become “defensive,” as it is doing unto others before they can do unto it.
Nonviolent resistance does not exist in Season One Episode One of this soothing victim adventure, and apparently hasn’t for years at that point in the tale. But how could it? A force stoppable through nonviolence — even an imaginary one — cannot serve to justify the violence of the actual U.S. military. The German and Japanese occupiers have to be confrontable only through violence, even anachronistically in an age in which nonviolent techniques were known, in which the civil rights movement was resisting U.S. fascism to great effect.
“Before the war … every man was free,” says one of the attractive young white people who constitute all the heroes and some of the villains in this drama. Instead of race riots, McCarthyism, Vietnam, and the sterilizing and experimenting on the powerless that actually happened, this alternative United States includes the burning of Jews, the disabled, and the terminally ill. The contrast to the imagined pre-Nazi past in which “every man [but not woman?] was free” is stark.
Amazon also shows us Nazis behaving much like the actual United States behaves: torturing and murdering enemies. Rikers Island is a brutal prison in this TV show and in reality. In this fantasy, the symbols of U.S. and Nazi patriotism have been merged seamlessly. In reality, the U.S. military incorporated much Nazi thinking along with the many Nazis it recruited through Operation Paperclip — another way in which the U.S. actually lost WWII if we imagine victory as democracy defeating the sort of society in which someone like Donald Trump could thrive.
The United States today manages to view refugees from the wars it wages in distant lands as dangerous enemies, as new Nazis, just as leading U.S. politicians refer to foreign leaders as new Hitlers. With U.S. citizens shooting up public places on an almost daily basis, when one such killing is alleged to have been done by a Muslim, especially a Muslim with any sympathy for foreign fighters, well, then that’s not just a shooting. That means that the United States has been invaded. And that means that anything it does is “defensive.”
Does Venezuela elect leaders the U.S. disapproves of? That’s a threat to “national security” — a somewhat magical threat to invade and occupy the United States and compel it to torture and kill wearing a different flag. This paranoia doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from programs like The Man from the High Castle, which — the world should be warned — is only at Season 1, Episode 1 so far.
About the author:
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
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Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”
The report does not provide any evidence that the tools and infrastructure were used to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. The report is simply a description of what is said to be Russian capabilities. https://diplopundit.net/2016/12/29/dhsfbi-issues-joint-analysis-report-grizzly-steppe-russian-malicious-cyber-activity-read-report/
Moreover, the report begins with this disclaimer: “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.” https://diplopundit.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/jar_16-20296.pdf
In other words, the report not only provides no evidence of the use of the Russian tools and infrastructure in order to influence the US presidential election, the report will not even warrant the correctness of its description of Russian capabilities.
Thus the DHS report makes it completely clear that the Obama regime has no evidential basis for its allegations on the basis of which it has imposed more sanctions on Russia.
What is going on here?
First there is the question of the legality of the sanctions even if there were evidence. I am not certain, but I think that sanctions require the action of a body, such as the UN Security Council, and cannot legally be imposed unilaterally by one country. Additionally, it is unclear why Obama is calling the expulsion of Russian diplomats “sanctions.” No other country has to do likewise. During the Cold War when diplomats were expelled for spying, it was not called “sanctions.” Sanctions imply more than unilateral or bilateral expulsions of diplomats.
Second, it is clear that Obama, the CIA, and the New York Times are fully aware that the allegation is false. It is also clear that if the CIA actually believes the allegation, the intelligence agency is totally incompetent and cannot be believed on any subject.
Third, President Trump can rescind the sanctions in 21 days, a third reason that the sanctions are ridiculous.
So why are President Obama, the CIA, and the New York Times making charges that they know are false and for which they have not produced a shred of evidence? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/opinion/president-obama-punishes-russia-at-last.html?_r=1
One obvious answer is that the neoconized Obama regime is desperate to ruin US-Russian relations past the point that Trump can repair them. As the New York Times puts it, “Mr. Obama’s actions clearly create a problem for Mr. Trump.” The question the New York Times says, is whether Trump “stands with his democratic allies on Capitol Hill or his authoritarian friend in the Kremlin.”
Can Trump’s foreign policy be controlled by false allegations? According to the New York Times, Trump has relented and agreed to being briefed by the CIA about the Russian hacking now that Republicans such as Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham have lined up with Obama and the CIA in accepting charges for which no evidence has been presented. However, a briefing without evidence would seem simply to further discredit the CIA in Trump’s eyes.
As I have emphasized in my columns, facts no longer have a role in the United States and its empire. Allegations alone suffice, whether in court cases, interrogation centers, foreign and domestic policies, or classrooms. The US even bases its military invasions on false allegations—“weapons of mass destruction.” Indeed, the entirely of US foreign policy since the Clinton regime has been based on nothing but false allegations.
The Russian government should have learned by now, but perhaps Moscow still thinks that facts matter in Washington’s decisions.
Possibly we should consider that more is going on than meets the eye. Perhaps the propaganda about the Russian cyber threat to democracy is being used to prepare American and/or European populations for an incident. The CIA has morphed into a “deep state” that uses disinformation and propaganda to align decisions of Congress, the executive branch, and foreign governments with secret behind-the-scenes agendas. Many books, such as Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers and Douglas Valentine’s CIA As Organized Crime have described some of these secret agendas.
In order to deter Trump from restoring normal relations with Russia, an incident would have to be severe and irreversible. Rather than accept defeat for their agenda of US world hegemony, the neoconservatives are prepared to take high risks. The willingness to take risks is demonstrated by the public effort of the CIA Director to discredit the president-elect.
As expected, Putin’s response to the latest provocation is low key as the “sanctions” appear to be meaningless on the surface (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/12/30/stephen-lendman-reports-president-putins-response-to-obamas-new-sanctions/). However, in the event that something dangerous is below the surface, the Russian government might want to consider putting its military forces on alert.
About the author:
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
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“Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear….”
So begins the official Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, 2015, signed and issued by Barack Obama.
While it hearkens back to earlier Thanksgivings in St. Augustine in 1565 and Plymouth in 1621, this is an essentially imperial document than gives only vague lip service to giving “thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.” When his proclamation gets specific, in the third sentence, the President gives the highest place of grateful honor to the source of global American imperial dominance:
We also honor the men and women in uniform who fight to safeguard our country and our freedoms so we can share occasions like this with loved ones, and we thank our selfless military families who stand beside and support them each and every day.
This is, of course, fatuous pandering and a patent lie that is widely and unthinkingly shared by much of a preoccupied populace. Our country and our freedoms have needed no serious military defense for decades. Even amidst the popular revival of terrorism hysteria these days, our country and our freedoms need no military protection, because they face no credible military threat.
It is a nice thought to imagine Americans quietly sharing an inclusive and comforting community in which we express gratitude for our gifts and share them with others wherever in the world they meet our military. That might actually achieve the aspiration of showing “appreciation for all we hold dear.” But the sad reality seems to be that, as a nation, we no longer know what we hold dear, or even what we once believed we held dear.
Our country and our freedoms are unthreatened by others around the world despite our well-cultivated baseless fear. At home, our country and our freedoms are daily attacked by the cold dead hand of the unelected corporate state. Our country and our freedoms are daily attacked by the shrill, vicious demagoguery of divisive factions that are as dedicated to the dominance of minority views as any Taliban or ISIS or other monomaniacal evangelist. Our country and our freedoms go daily undefended by a feckless, reckless government that would rather control a cowed population than seek conciliation and general well-being for all.
As things now stand in a nation more exceptional for its fragmentation than its collective sense of confidence and purpose, a more honest sampling of appreciation for what some Americans hold dear might include:
- Almost all American people can be thankful that their nation is not involved in any serious wars, just turkey-shoots in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, much of Africa, and other places that produce few American casualties while maintaining the constant expense of ordnance to no useful purpose, but steady profit to the international arms industry.
- President Obama and his administration can be thankful that almost none of their totalitarian surveillance and permanent-war-making powers face serious challenges, not even the President’s assassination-by-drone terrorism.
- American Muslims can be thankful that they have not been rounded up and confined to internment camps (yet), for the duration of the preferred endless hostilities.
- All minority-Americans can be thankful if no one in their family was hurt or killed by police this year. Black families in that category can be super grateful. Even white families can be a bit grateful, since cop brutality isn’t as completely bigoted as it sometimes seems.
- Media-American performers can be thankful that they will never be held accountable as journalists for their culturally destructive and dishonest hucksterism.
- Police-Americans can be thankful for their special above-justice status, since even the most violent among them typically goes unpunished.
- The American prison complex can be thankful for another year of high profits at the expense of decent people jailed for non-violent crimes by a judiciary that has lost its sense of justice (with the significant assistance and insistence of Congress claiming to act for an infantilized and fearful American majority).
- Women-Americans can be thankful that it is still mostly lawful to be a woman.
- American terrorists can be thankful that they can go on assassinating doctors, torching clinics, executing church congregations, or shooting up mosques without fear that anyone will call them “terrorists.”
- The American public in general can be thankful that it remains generally undisturbed by these or other American realities and that it lacks a widespread feeling that it has any personal responsibility to fix anything.
- Ben Carson and the rest of the Republican field can be thankful that they have yet to be deemed a danger to themselves or others, and have not been forcibly hospitalized.
- Any Americans still nurturing the hope of living in an advanced, civilized nation can be thankful that we have two presidential candidates, a man and a woman, who actually have credible records of espousing humane values with regard to at least some of the critical problems we face. Obviously one of them is Bernie Sanders. The other, better one is Jill Stein.
- Upper-income Americans can be thankful for the country that cares for them and neglects others, making sure, year after year after year, that people who could learn are not educated, that people who could work are not hired, that people who could eat are not fed, that people who could be free are not.
- Any Americans who feel no shame for the state of their country can be grateful for their psychic numbness and failed humanity.
As some were wont to say back in the day: “Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they start getting worse.”
So we can be thankful that things aren’t worse already.
Blessing on all, regardless of just deserts.
After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated “war on terrorism.”
But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.
The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial.
This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.
The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.
The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.
To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation. They had to make decisions about other things such as finding lost loved ones, whether to become refugees, and how to survive.
And the pain and anger is spread even further. Some authorities estimate that there are as many as 10 wounded for each person who dies in wars. Their visible, continued suffering is a continuing reminder to their fellow countrymen.
It is essential that Americans learn more about this topic so that they can begin to understand the pain that others feel. Someone once observed that the Germans during WWII “chose not to know.” We cannot allow history to say this about our country. The question posed above was “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” The answer is: possibly 10,000.
Comments on Gathering These Numbers
Generally speaking, the much smaller number of Americans who have died is not included in this study, not because they are not important, but because this report focuses on the impact of U.S. actions on its adversaries.
An accurate count of the number of deaths is not easy to achieve, and this collection of data was undertaken with full realization of this fact. These estimates will probably be revised later either upward or downward by the reader and the author. But undoubtedly the total will remain in the millions.
The difficulty of gathering reliable information is shown by two estimates in this context. For several years I heard statements on radio that three million Cambodians had been killed under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. However, in recent years the figure I heard was one million. Another example is that the number of persons estimated to have died in Iraq due to sanctions after the first U.S. Iraq War was over 1 million, but in more recent years, based on a more recent study, a lower estimate of around a half a million has emerged.
Often information about wars is revealed only much later when someone decides to speak out, when more secret information is revealed due to persistent efforts of a few, or after special congressional committees make reports
Both victorious and defeated nations may have their own reasons for underreporting the number of deaths. Further, in recent wars involving the United States it was not uncommon to hear statements like “we do not do body counts” and references to “collateral damage” as a euphemism for dead and wounded. Life is cheap for some, especially those who manipulate people on the battlefield as if it were a chessboard.
To say that it is difficult to get exact figures is not to say that we should not try. Effort was needed to arrive at the figures of 6six million Jews killed during WWI, but knowledge of that number now is widespread and it has fueled the determination to prevent future holocausts. That struggle continues.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
37 VICTIM NATIONS
The U.S. is responsible for between 1 and 1.8 million deaths during the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, by luring the Soviet Union into invading that nation. (1,2,3,4)
The Soviet Union had friendly relations its neighbor, Afghanistan, which had a secular government. The Soviets feared that if that government became fundamentalist this change could spill over into the Soviet Union.
In 1998, in an interview with the Parisian publication Le Novel Observateur, Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to President Carter, admitted that he had been responsible for instigating aid to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan which caused the Soviets to invade. In his own words:
According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. (5,1,6)
Brzezinski justified laying this trap, since he said it gave the Soviet Union its Vietnam and caused the breakup of the Soviet Union. “Regret what?” he said. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?” (7)
The CIA spent 5 to 6 billion dollars on its operation in Afghanistan in order to bleed the Soviet Union. (1,2,3) When that 10-year war ended over a million people were dead and Afghan heroin had captured 60% of the U.S. market. (4)
The U.S. has been responsible directly for about 12,000 deaths in Afghanistan many of which resulted from bombing in retaliation for the attacks on U.S. property on September 11, 2001. Subsequently U.S. troops invaded that country. (4)
An indigenous armed struggle against Portuguese rule in Angola began in 1961. In 1977 an Angolan government was recognized by the U.N., although the U.S. was one of the few nations that opposed this action. In 1986 Uncle Sam approved material assistance to UNITA, a group that was trying to overthrow the government. Even today this struggle, which has involved many nations at times, continues.
U.S. intervention was justified to the U.S. public as a reaction to the intervention of 50,000 Cuban troops in Angola. However, according to Piero Gleijeses, a history professor at Johns Hopkins University the reverse was true. The Cuban intervention came as a result of a CIA – financed covert invasion via neighboring Zaire and a drive on the Angolan capital by the U.S. ally, South Africa1,2,3). (Three estimates of deaths range from 300,000 to 750,000 (4,5,6)
Argentina: See South America: Operation Condor
Bangladesh: See Pakistan
Hugo Banzer was the leader of a repressive regime in Bolivia in the 1970s. The U.S. had been disturbed when a previous leader nationalized the tin mines and distributed land to Indian peasants. Later that action to benefit the poor was reversed.
Banzer, who was trained at the U.S.-operated School of the Americas in Panama and later at Fort Hood, Texas, came back from exile frequently to confer with U.S. Air Force Major Robert Lundin. In 1971 he staged a successful coup with the help of the U.S. Air Force radio system. In the first years of his dictatorship he received twice as military assistance from the U.S. as in the previous dozen years together.
A few years later the Catholic Church denounced an army massacre of striking tin workers in 1975, Banzer, assisted by information provided by the CIA, was able to target and locate leftist priests and nuns. His anti-clergy strategy, known as the Banzer Plan, was adopted by nine other Latin American dictatorships in 1977. (2) He has been accused of being responsible for 400 deaths during his tenure. (1)
Also see: See South America: Operation Condor
Brazil: See South America: Operation Condor
U.S. bombing of Cambodia had already been underway for several years in secret under the Johnson and Nixon administrations, but when President Nixon openly began bombing in preparation for a land assault on Cambodia it caused major protests in the U.S. against the Vietnam War.
There is little awareness today of the scope of these bombings and the human suffering involved.
Immense damage was done to the villages and cities of Cambodia, causing refugees and internal displacement of the population. This unstable situation enabled the Khmer Rouge, a small political party led by Pol Pot, to assume power. Over the years we have repeatedly heard about the Khmer Rouge’s role in the deaths of millions in Cambodia without any acknowledgement being made this mass killing was made possible by the the U.S. bombing of that nation which destabilized it by death , injuries, hunger and dislocation of its people.
So the U.S. bears responsibility not only for the deaths from the bombings but also for those resulting from the activities of the Khmer Rouge – a total of about 2.5 million people. Even when Vietnam latrer invaded Cambodia in 1979 the CIA was still supporting the Khmer Rouge. (1,2,3)
Also see Vietnam
An estimated 40,000 people in Chad were killed and as many as 200,000 tortured by a government, headed by Hissen Habre who was brought to power in June, 1982 with the help of CIA money and arms. He remained in power for eight years. (1,2)
Human Rights Watch claimed that Habre was responsible for thousands of killings. In 2001, while living in Senegal, he was almost tried for crimes committed by him in Chad. However, a court there blocked these proceedings. Then human rights people decided to pursue the case in Belgium, because some of Habre’s torture victims lived there. The U.S., in June 2003, told Belgium that it risked losing its status as host to NATO’s headquarters if it allowed such a legal proceeding to happen. So the result was that the law that allowed victims to file complaints in Belgium for atrocities committed abroad was repealed. However, two months later a new law was passed which made special provision for the continuation of the case against Habre.
The CIA intervened in Chile’s 1958 and 1964 elections. In 1970 a socialist candidate, Salvador Allende, was elected president. The CIA wanted to incite a military coup to prevent his inauguration, but the Chilean army’s chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, opposed this action. The CIA then planned, along with some people in the Chilean military, to assassinate Schneider. This plot failed and Allende took office. President Nixon was not to be dissuaded and he ordered the CIA to create a coup climate: “Make the economy scream,” he said.
What followed were guerilla warfare, arson, bombing, sabotage and terror. ITT and other U.S. corporations with Chilean holdings sponsored demonstrations and strikes. Finally, on September 11, 1973 Allende died either by suicide or by assassination. At that time Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State, said the following regarding Chile: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” (1)
During 17 years of terror under Allende’s successor, General Augusto Pinochet, an estimated 3,000 Chileans were killed and many others were tortured or “disappeared.” (2,3,4,5)
Also see South America: Operation Condor
China An estimated 900,000 Chinese died during the Korean War. For more information, See: Korea.
One estimate is that 67,000 deaths have occurred from the 1960s to recent years due to support by the U.S. of Colombian state terrorism. (1)
According to a 1994 Amnesty International report, more than 20,000 people were killed for political reasons in Colombia since 1986, mainly by the military and its paramilitary allies. Amnesty alleged that “U.S.- supplied military equipment, ostensibly delivered for use against narcotics traffickers, was being used by the Colombian military to commit abuses in the name of “counter-insurgency.” (2) In 2002 another estimate was made that 3,500 people die each year in a U.S. funded civilian war in Colombia. (3)
In 1996 Human Rights Watch issued a report “Assassination Squads in Colombia” which revealed that CIA agents went to Colombia in 1991 to help the military to train undercover agents in anti-subversive activity. (4,5)
In recent years the U.S. government has provided assistance under Plan Colombia. The Colombian government has been charged with using most of the funds for destruction of crops and support of the paramilitary group.
In the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on April 18, 1961 which ended after 3 days, 114 of the invading force were killed, 1,189 were taken prisoners and a few escaped to waiting U.S. ships. (1) The captured exiles were quickly tried, a few executed and the rest sentenced to thirty years in prison for treason. These exiles were released after 20 months in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine.
Some people estimate that the number of Cuban forces killed range from 2,000, to 4,000. Another estimate is that 1,800 Cuban forces were killed on an open highway by napalm. This appears to have been a precursor of the Highway of Death in Iraq in 1991 when U.S. forces mercilessly annihilated large numbers of Iraqis on a highway. (2)
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)
The beginning of massive violence was instigated in this country in 1879 by its colonizer King Leopold of Belgium. The Congo’s population was reduced by 10 million people over a period of 20 years which some have referred to as “Leopold’s Genocide.” (1) The U.S. has been responsible for about a third of that many deaths in that nation in the more recent past. (2)
In 1960 the Congo became an independent state with Patrice Lumumba being its first prime minister. He was assassinated with the CIA being implicated, although some say that his murder was actually the responsibility of Belgium. (3) But nevertheless, the CIA was planning to kill him. (4) Before his assassination the CIA sent one of its scientists, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, to the Congo carrying “lethal biological material” intended for use in Lumumba’s assassination. This virus would have been able to produce a fatal disease indigenous to the Congo area of Africa and was transported in a diplomatic pouch.
Much of the time in recent years there has been a civil war within the Democratic Republic of Congo, fomented often by the U.S. and other nations, including neighboring nations. (5)
In April 1977, Newsday reported that the CIA was secretly supporting efforts to recruit several hundred mercenaries in the U.S. and Great Britain to serve alongside Zaire’s army. In that same year the U.S. provided $15 million of military supplies to the Zairian President Mobutu to fend off an invasion by a rival group operating in Angola. (6)
In May 1979, the U.S. sent several million dollars of aid to Mobutu who had been condemned 3 months earlier by the U.S. State Department for human rights violations. (7) During the Cold War the U.S. funneled over 300 million dollars in weapons into Zaire (8,9) $100 million in military training was provided to him. (2) In 2001 it was reported to a U.S. congressional committee that American companies, including one linked to former President George Bush Sr., were stoking the Congo for monetary gains. There is an international battle over resources in that country with over 125 companies and individuals being implicated. One of these substances is coltan, which is used in the manufacture of cell phones. (2)
In 1962, Juan Bosch became president of the Dominican Republic. He advocated such programs as land reform and public works programs. This did not bode well for his future relationship with the U.S., and after only 7 months in office, he was deposed by a CIA coup. In 1965 when a group was trying to reinstall him to his office President Johnson said, “This Bosch is no good.” Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann replied “He’s no good at all. If we don’t get a decent government in there, Mr. President, we get another Bosch. It’s just going to be another sinkhole.” Two days later a U.S. invasion started and 22,000 soldiers and marines entered the Dominican Republic and about 3,000 Dominicans died during the fighting. The cover excuse for doing this was that this was done to protect foreigners there. (1,2,3,4)
In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor. This incursion was launched the day after U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia where they had given President Suharto permission to use American arms, which under U.S. law, could not be used for aggression. Daniel Moynihan, U.S. ambassador to the UN. said that the U.S. wanted “things to turn out as they did.” (1,2) The result was an estimated 200,000 dead out of a population of 700,000. (1,2)
Sixteen years later, on November 12, 1991, two hundred and seventeen East Timorese protesters in Dili, many of them children, marching from a memorial service, were gunned down by Indonesian Kopassus shock troops who were headed by U.S.- trained commanders Prabowo Subianto (son in law of General Suharto) and Kiki Syahnakri. Trucks were seen dumping bodies into the sea. (5)
The civil war from 1981 to1992 in El Salvador was financed by $6 billion in U.S. aid given to support the government in its efforts to crush a movement to bring social justice to the people in that nation of about 8 million people. (1)
During that time U.S. military advisers demonstrated methods of torture on teenage prisoners, according to an interview with a deserter from the Salvadoran army published in the New York Times. This former member of the Salvadoran National Guard testified that he was a member of a squad of twelve who found people who they were told were guerillas and tortured them. Part of the training he received was in torture at a U.S. location somewhere in Panama. (2)
About 900 villagers were massacred in the village of El Mozote in 1981. Ten of the twelve El Salvadoran government soldiers cited as participating in this act were graduates of the School of the Americas operated by the U.S. (2) They were only a small part of about 75,000 people killed during that civil war. (1)
According to a 1993 United Nations’ Truth Commission report, over 96 % of the human rights violations carried out during the war were committed by the Salvadoran army or the paramilitary deaths squads associated with the Salvadoran army. (3)
That commission linked graduates of the School of the Americas to many notorious killings. The New York Times and the Washington Post followed with scathing articles. In 1996, the White House Oversight Board issued a report that supported many of the charges against that school made by Rev. Roy Bourgeois, head of the School of the Americas Watch. That same year the Pentagon released formerly classified reports indicating that graduates were trained in killing, extortion, and physical abuse for interrogations, false imprisonment and other methods of control. (4)
The CIA began to destabilize Grenada in 1979 after Maurice Bishop became president, partially because he refused to join the quarantine of Cuba. The campaign against him resulted in his overthrow and the invasion by the U.S. of Grenada on October 25, 1983, with about 277 people dying. (1,2) It was fallaciously charged that an airport was being built in Grenada that could be used to attack the U.S. and it was also erroneously claimed that the lives of American medical students on that island were in danger.
In 1951 Jacobo Arbenz was elected president of Guatemala. He appropriated some unused land operated by the United Fruit Company and compensated the company. (1,2) That company then started a campaign to paint Arbenz as a tool of an international conspiracy and hired about 300 mercenaries who sabotaged oil supplies and trains. (3) In 1954 a CIA-orchestrated coup put him out of office and he left the country. During the next 40 years various regimes killed thousands of people.
In 1999 the Washington Post reported that an Historical Clarification Commission concluded that over 200,000 people had been killed during the civil war and that there had been 42,000 individual human rights violations, 29,000 of them fatal, 92% of which were committed by the army. The commission further reported that the U.S. government and the CIA had pressured the Guatemalan government into suppressing the guerilla movement by ruthless means. (4,5)
According to the Commission between 1981 and 1983 the military government of Guatemala – financed and supported by the U.S. government – destroyed some four hundred Mayan villages in a campaign of genocide. (4)
One of the documents made available to the commission was a 1966 memo from a U.S. State Department official, which described how a “safe house” was set up in the palace for use by Guatemalan security agents and their U.S. contacts. This was the headquarters for the Guatemalan “dirty war” against leftist insurgents and suspected allies. (2)
From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was ruled by Papa Doc Duvalier and later by his son. During that time their private terrorist force killed between 30,000 and 100,000 people. (1) Millions of dollars in CIA subsidies flowed into Haiti during that time, mainly to suppress popular movements, (2) although most American military aid to the country, according to William Blum, was covertly channeled through Israel.
Reportedly, governments after the second Duvalier reign were responsible for an even larger number of fatalities, and the influence on Haiti by the U.S., particularly through the CIA, has continued. The U.S. later forced out of the presidential office a black Catholic priest, Jean Bertrand Aristide, even though he was elected with 67% of the vote in the early 1990s. The wealthy white class in Haiti opposed him in this predominantly black nation, because of his social programs designed to help the poor and end corruption. (3) Later he returned to office, but that did not last long. He was forced by the U.S. to leave office and now lives in South Africa.
In the 1980s the CIA supported Battalion 316 in Honduras, which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of its citizens. Torture equipment and manuals were provided by CIA Argentinean personnel who worked with U.S. agents in the training of the Hondurans. Approximately 400 people lost their lives. (1,2) This is another instance of torture in the world sponsored by the U.S. (3)
Battalion 316 used shock and suffocation devices in interrogations in the 1980s. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves. Declassified documents and other sources show that the CIA and the U.S. Embassy knew of numerous crimes, including murder and torture, yet continued to support Battalion 316 and collaborate with its leaders.” (4)
Honduras was a staging ground in the early 1980s for the Contras who were trying to overthrow the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. John D. Negroponte, currently Deputy Secretary of State, was our embassador when our military aid to Honduras rose from $4 million to $77.4 million per year. Negroponte denies having had any knowledge of these atrocities during his tenure. However, his predecessor in that position, Jack R. Binns, had reported in 1981 that he was deeply concerned at increasing evidence of officially sponsored/sanctioned assassinations. (5)
In 1956 Hungary, a Soviet satellite nation, revolted against the Soviet Union. During the uprising broadcasts by the U.S. Radio Free Europe into Hungary sometimes took on an aggressive tone, encouraging the rebels to believe that Western support was imminent, and even giving tactical advice on how to fight the Soviets. Their hopes were raised then dashed by these broadcasts which cast an even darker shadow over the Hungarian tragedy.“ (1) The Hungarian and Soviet death toll was about 3,000 and the revolution was crushed. (2)
In 1965, in Indonesia, a coup replaced General Sukarno with General Suharto as leader. The U.S. played a role in that change of government. Robert Martens,a former officer in the U.S. embassy in Indonesia, described how U.S. diplomats and CIA officers provided up to 5,000 names to Indonesian Army death squads in 1965 and checked them off as they were killed or captured. Martens admitted that “I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.” (1,2,3) Estimates of the number of deaths range from 500,000 to 3 million. (4,5,6)
From 1993 to 1997 the U.S. provided Jakarta with almost $400 million in economic aid and sold tens of million of dollars of weaponry to that nation. U.S. Green Berets provided training for the Indonesia’s elite force which was responsible for many of atrocities in East Timor. (3)
Iran lost about 262,000 people in the war against Iraq from 1980 to 1988. (1) See Iraq for more information about that war.
On July 3, 1988 the U.S. Navy ship, the Vincennes, was operating withing Iranian waters providing military support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. During a battle against Iranian gunboats it fired two missiles at an Iranian Airbus, which was on a routine civilian flight. All 290 civilian on board were killed. (2,3)
A. The Iraq-Iran War lasted from 1980 to 1988 and during that time there were about 105,000 Iraqi deaths according to the Washington Post. (1,2)
According to Howard Teicher, a former National Security Council official, the U.S. provided the Iraqis with billions of dollars in credits and helped Iraq in other ways such as making sure that Iraq had military equipment including biological agents This surge of help for Iraq came as Iran seemed to be winning the war and was close to Basra. (1) The U.S. was not adverse to both countries weakening themselves as a result of the war, but it did not appear to want either side to win.
B: The U.S.-Iraq War and the Sanctions Against Iraq extended from 1990 to 2003.
Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and the U.S. responded by demanding that Iraq withdraw, and four days later the U.N. levied international sanctions.
Iraq had reason to believe that the U.S. would not object to its invasion of Kuwait, since U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, had told Saddam Hussein that the U.S. had no position on the dispute that his country had with Kuwait. So the green light was given, but it seemed to be more of a trap.
As a part of the public relations strategy to energize the American public into supporting an attack against Iraq the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. falsely testified before Congress that Iraqi troops were pulling the plugs on incubators in Iraqi hospitals. (1) This contributed to a war frenzy in the U.S.
The U.S. air assault started on January 17, 1991 and it lasted for 42 days. On February 23 President H.W. Bush ordered the U.S. ground assault to begin. The invasion took place with much needless killing of Iraqi military personnel. Only about 150 American military personnel died compared to about 200,000 Iraqis. Some of the Iraqis were mercilessly killed on the Highway of Death and about 400 tons of depleted uranium were left in that nation by the U.S. (2,3)
Other deaths later were from delayed deaths due to wounds, civilians killed, those killed by effects of damage of the Iraqi water treatment facilities and other aspects of its damaged infrastructure and by the sanctions.
In 1995 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. reported that U.N sanctions against on Iraq had been responsible for the deaths of more than 560,000 children since 1990. (5)
Leslie Stahl on the TV Program 60 Minutes in 1996 mentioned to Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think is worth it.” (4)
In 1999 UNICEF reported that 5,000 children died each month as a result of the sanction and the War with the U.S. (6)
Richard Garfield later estimated that the more likely number of excess deaths among children under five years of age from 1990 through March 1998 to be 227,000 – double those of the previous decade. Garfield estimated that the numbers to be 350,000 through 2000 (based in part on result of another study). (7)
However, there are limitations to his study. His figures were not updated for the remaining three years of the sanctions. Also, two other somewhat vulnerable age groups were not studied: young children above the age of five and the elderly.
All of these reports were considerable indicators of massive numbers of deaths which the U.S. was aware of and which was a part of its strategy to cause enough pain and terror among Iraqis to cause them to revolt against their government.
C: Iraq-U.S. War started in 2003 and has not been concluded
Just as the end of the Cold War emboldened the U.S. to attack Iraq in 1991 so the attacks of September 11, 2001 laid the groundwork for the U.S. to launch the current war against Iraq. While in some other wars we learned much later about the lies that were used to deceive us, some of the deceptions that were used to get us into this war became known almost as soon as they were uttered. There were no weapons of mass destruction, we were not trying to promote democracy, we were not trying to save the Iraqi people from a dictator.
The total number of Iraqi deaths that are a result of our current Iraq against Iraq War is 654,000, of which 600,000 are attributed to acts of violence, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. (1,2)
Since these deaths are a result of the U.S. invasion, our leaders must accept responsibility for them.
About 100,000 to 200,000 Israelis and Palestinians, but mostly the latter, have been killed in the struggle between those two groups. The U.S. has been a strong supporter of Israel, providing billions of dollars in aid and supporting its possession of nuclear weapons. (1,2)
Korea, North and South
The Korean War started in 1950 when, according to the Truman administration, North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25th. However, since then another explanation has emerged which maintains that the attack by North Korea came during a time of many border incursions by both sides. South Korea initiated most of the border clashes with North Korea beginning in 1948. The North Korea government claimed that by 1949 the South Korean army committed 2,617 armed incursions. It was a myth that the Soviet Union ordered North Korea to attack South Korea. (1,2)
The U.S. started its attack before a U.N. resolution was passed supporting our nation’s intervention, and our military forces added to the mayhem in the war by introducing the use of napalm. (1)
During the war the bulk of the deaths were South Koreans, North Koreans and Chinese. Four sources give deaths counts ranging from 1.8 to 4.5 million. (3,4,5,6) Another source gives a total of 4 million but does not identify to which nation they belonged. (7)
John H. Kim, a U.S. Army veteran and the Chair of the Korea Committee of Veterans for Peace, stated in an article that during the Korean War “the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy were directly involved in the killing of about three million civilians – both South and North Koreans – at many locations throughout Korea…It is reported that the U.S. dropped some 650,000 tons of bombs, including 43,000 tons of napalm bombs, during the Korean War.” It is presumed that this total does not include Chinese casualties.
Another source states a total of about 500,000 who were Koreans and presumably only military. (8,9)
From 1965 to 1973 during the Vietnam War the U.S. dropped over two million tons of bombs on Laos – more than was dropped in WWII by both sides. Over a quarter of the population became refugees. This was later called a “secret war,” since it occurred at the same time as the Vietnam War, but got little press. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Branfman make the only estimate that I am aware of , stating that hundreds of thousands died. This can be interpeted to mean that at least 200,000 died. (1,2,3)
U.S. military intervention in Laos actually began much earlier. A civil war started in the 1950s when the U.S. recruited a force of 40,000 Laotians to oppose the Pathet Lao, a leftist political party that ultimately took power in 1975.
Also See Vietnam
Between 8,000 and 12,000 Nepalese have died since a civil war broke out in 1996. The death rate, according to Foreign Policy in Focus, sharply increased with the arrival of almost 8,400 American M-16 submachine guns (950 rpm) and U.S. advisers. Nepal is 85 percent rural and badly in need of land reform. Not surprisingly 42 % of its people live below the poverty level. (1,2)
In 2002, after another civil war erupted, President George W. Bush pushed a bill through Congress authorizing $20 million in military aid to the Nepalese government. (3)
In 1981 the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza government in Nicaragua, (1) and until 1990 about 25,000 Nicaraguans were killed in an armed struggle between the Sandinista government and Contra rebels who were formed from the remnants of Somoza’s national government. The use of assassination manuals by the Contras surfaced in 1984. (2,3)
The U.S. supported the victorious government regime by providing covert military aid to the Contras (anti-communist guerillas) starting in November, 1981. But when Congress discovered that the CIA had supervised acts of sabotage in Nicaragua without notifying Congress, it passed the Boland Amendment in 1983 which prohibited the CIA, Defense Department and any other government agency from providing any further covert military assistance. (4)
But ways were found to get around this prohibition. The National Security Council, which was not explicitly covered by the law, raised private and foreign funds for the Contras. In addition, arms were sold to Iran and the proceeds were diverted from those sales to the Contras engaged in the insurgency against the Sandinista government. (5) Finally, the Sandinistas were voted out of office in 1990 by voters who thought that a change in leadership would placate the U.S., which was causing misery to Nicaragua’s citizenry by it support of the Contras.
In 1971 West Pakistan, an authoritarian state supported by the U.S., brutally invaded East Pakistan. The war ended after India, whose economy was staggering after admitting about 10 million refugees, invaded East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and defeated the West Pakistani forces. (1)
Millions of people died during that brutal struggle, referred to by some as genocide committed by West Pakistan. That country had long been an ally of the U.S., starting with $411 million provided to establish its armed forces which spent 80% of its budget on its military. $15 million in arms flowed into W. Pakistan during the war. (2,3,4)
Three sources estimate that 3 million people died and (5,2,6) one source estimates 1.5 million. (3)
In December, 1989 U.S. troops invaded Panama, ostensibly to arrest Manuel Noriega, that nation’s president. This was an example of the U.S. view that it is the master of the world and can arrest anyone it wants to. For a number of years before that he had worked for the CIA, but fell out of favor partially because he was not an opponent of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. (1) It has been estimated that between 500 and 4,000 people died. (2,3,4)
Paraguay: See South America: Operation Condor
The Philippines were under the control of the U.S. for over a hundred years. In about the last 50 to 60 years the U.S. has funded and otherwise helped various Philippine governments which sought to suppress the activities of groups working for the welfare of its people. In 1969 the Symington Committee in the U.S. Congress revealed how war material was sent there for a counter-insurgency campaign. U.S. Special Forces and Marines were active in some combat operations. The estimated number of persons that were executed and disappeared under President Fernando Marcos was over 100,000. (1,2)
South America: Operation Condor
This was a joint operation of 6 despotic South American governments (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) to share information about their political opponents. An estimated 13,000 people were killed under this plan. (1)
It was established on November 25, 1975 in Chile by an act of the Interamerican Reunion on Military Intelligence. According to U.S. embassy political officer, John Tipton, the CIA and the Chilean Secret Police were working together, although the CIA did not set up the operation to make this collaboration work. Reportedly, it ended in 1983. (2)
On March 6, 2001 the New York Times reported the existence of a recently declassified State Department document revealing that the United States facilitated communications for Operation Condor. (3)
Since 1955, when it gained its independence, Sudan has been involved most of the time in a civil war. Until about 2003 approximately 2 million people had been killed. It not known if the death toll in Darfur is part of that total.
Human rights groups have complained that U.S. policies have helped to prolong the Sudanese civil war by supporting efforts to overthrow the central government in Khartoum. In 1999 U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) who said that she offered him food supplies if he would reject a peace plan sponsored by Egypt and Libya.
In 1978 the vastness of Sudan’s oil reservers was discovered and within two years it became the sixth largest recipient of U.S, military aid. It’s reasonable to assume that if the U.S. aid a government to come to power it will feel obligated to give the U.S. part of the oil pie.
A British group, Christian Aid, has accused foreign oil companies of complicity in the depopulation of villages. These companies – not American – receive government protection and in turn allow the government use of its airstrips and roads.
In August 1998 the U.S. bombed Khartoum, Sudan with 75 cruise míssiles. Our government said that the target was a chemical weapons factory owned by Osama bin Laden. Actually, bin Laden was no longer the owner, and the plant had been the sole supplier of pharmaceutical supplies for that poor nation. As a result of the bombing tens of thousands may have died because of the lack of medicines to treat malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. The U.S. settled a lawsuit filed by the factory’s owner. (1,2)
Uruguay: See South America: Operation Condor
In Vietnam, under an agreement several decades ago, there was supposed to be an election for a unified North and South Vietnam. The U.S. opposed this and supported the Diem government in South Vietnam. In August, 1964 the CIA and others helped fabricate a phony Vietnamese attack on a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin and this was used as a pretext for greater U.S. involvement in Vietnam. (1)
During that war an American assassination operation,called Operation Phoenix, terrorized the South Vietnamese people, and during the war American troops were responsible in 1968 for the mass slaughter of the people in the village of My Lai.
According to a Vietnamese government statement in 1995 the number of deaths of civilians and military personnel during the Vietnam War was 5.1 million. (2)
Since deaths in Cambodia and Laos were about 2.7 million (See Cambodia and Laos) the estimated total for the Vietnam War is 7.8 million.
The Virtual Truth Commission provides a total for the war of 5 million, (3) and Robert McNamara, former Secretary Defense, according to the New York Times Magazine says that the number of Vietnamese dead is 3.4 million. (4,5)
Yugoslavia was a socialist federation of several republics. Since it refused to be closely tied to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it gained some suport from the U.S. But when the Soviet Union dissolved, Yugoslavia’s usefulness to the U.S. ended, and the U.S and Germany worked to convert its socialist economy to a capitalist one by a process primarily of dividing and conquering. There were ethnic and religious differences between various parts of Yugoslavia which were manipulated by the U.S. to cause several wars which resulted in the dissolution of that country.
From the early 1990s until now Yugoslavia split into several independent nations whose lowered income, along with CIA connivance, has made it a pawn in the hands of capitalist countries. (1) The dissolution of Yugoslavia was caused primarily by the U.S. (2)
Here are estimates of some, if not all, of the internal wars in Yugoslavia. All wars: 107,000; (3,4)
Bosnia and Krajina: 250,000; (5) Bosnia: 20,000 to 30,000; (5) Croatia: 15,000; (6) and
Kosovo: 500 to 5,000. (7)
1.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p.135.
2.Chronology of American State Terrorism
3.Soviet War in Afghanistan
4.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.76
5.U.S Involvement in Afghanistan, Wikipedia
6.The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, Posted at globalresearch.ca 15 October 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html
7.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p.5
8.Unknown News, http://www.unknownnews.net/casualtiesw.html
1.Howard W. French “From Old Files, a New Story of the U.S. Role in the Angolan War” New York Times 3/31/02
2.Angolan Update, American Friends Service Committee FS, 11/1/99 flyer.
3.Norman Solomon, War Made Easy, (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) p. 82-83.
4.Lance Selfa, U.S. Imperialism, A Century of Slaughter, International Socialist Review Issue 7, Spring 1999 (as appears in Third world Traveler www. thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Century_Imperialism.html)
5. Jeffress Ramsay, Africa , (Dushkin/McGraw Hill Guilford Connecticut), 1997, p. 144-145.
6.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.54.
Argentina : See South America: Operation Condor
1. Phil Gunson, Guardian, 5/6/02,
2.Jerry Meldon, Return of Bolilvia’s Drug – Stained Dictator, Consortium,www.consortiumnews.com/archives/story40.html.
Brazil See South America: Operation Condor
1.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/ .
2.David Model, President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and the Bombing of Cambodia excerpted from the book Lying for Empire How to Commit War Crimes With A Straight Face, Common Courage Press, 2005, paperhttp://thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Nixon_Cambodia_LFE.html.
3.Noam Chomsky, Chomsky on Cambodia under Pol Pot, etc.,http//zmag.org/forums/chomcambodforum.htm.
1.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 151-152 .
2.Richard Keeble, Crimes Against Humanity in Chad, Znet/Activism 12/4/06http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=11560§ionID=1).
1.Parenti, Michael, The Sword and the Dollar (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1989) p. 56.
2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 142-143.
3.Moreorless: Heroes and Killers of the 20th Century, Augusto Pinochet Ugarte,
4.Associated Press,Pincohet on 91st Birthday, Takes Responsibility for Regimes’s Abuses, Dayton Daily News 11/26/06
5.Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000), p. 18.
China: See Korea
1.Chronology of American State Terrorism, p.2
2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 163.
3.Millions Killed by Imperialism Washington Post May 6, 2002)http://www.etext.org./Politics/MIM/rail/impkills.html
4.Gabriella Gamini, CIA Set Up Death Squads in Colombia Times Newspapers Limited, Dec. 5, 1996,www.edu/CommunicationsStudies/ben/news/cia/961205.death.html).
5.Virtual Truth Commission, 1991
Human Rights Watch Report: Colombia’s Killer Networks–The Military-Paramilitary Partnership).
1.St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture – on Bay of Pigs Invasionhttp://bookrags.com/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion.
Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire)
1.F. Jeffress Ramsey, Africa (Guilford Connecticut, 1997), p. 85
2. Anup Shaw The Democratic Republic of Congo, 10/31/2003)http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/DRC.asp)
3.Kevin Whitelaw, A Killing in Congo, U. S. News and World Reporthttp://www.usnews.com/usnews/doubleissue/mysteries/patrice.htm
4.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p 158-159.
8.David Pickering, “World War in Africa, 6/26/02,
9.William D. Hartung and Bridget Moix, Deadly Legacy; U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War, Arms Trade Resource Center, January , 2000www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/congo.htm
1.Norman Solomon, (untitled) Baltimore Sun April 26, 2005
Intervention Spin Cycle
3.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 175.
4.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.26-27.
1.Virtual Truth Commission, http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/date4.htm
2.Matthew Jardine, Unraveling Indonesia, Nonviolent Activist, 1997)
3.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html
4.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 197.
5.US trained butchers of Timor, The Guardian, London. Cited by The Drudge Report, September 19, 1999. http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/indon.htm
1.Robert T. Buckman, Latin America 2003, (Stryker-Post Publications Baltimore 2003) p. 152-153.
2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 54-55.
3.El Salvador, Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Salvador#The_20th_century_and_beyond)
4.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.
1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p. 66-67.
2.Stephen Zunes, The U.S. Invasion of Grenada,http://wwwfpif.org/papers/grenada2003.html .
1.Virtual Truth Commissiion http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/
3.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.2-13.
4.Robert T. Buckman, Latin America 2003 (Stryker-Post Publications Baltimore 2003) p. 162.
5.Douglas Farah, Papers Show U.S. Role in Guatemalan Abuses, Washington Post Foreign Service, March 11, 1999, A 26
2.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p 87.
3.William Blum, Haiti 1986-1994: Who Will Rid Me of This Turbulent Priest,http://www.doublestandards.org/blum8.html
1.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 55.
2.Reports by Country: Honduras, Virtual Truth Commissionhttp://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/honduras.htm
3.James A. Lucas, Torture Gets The Silence Treatment, Countercurrents, July 26, 2004.
4.Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson, Unearthed: Fatal Secrets, Baltimore Sun, reprint of a series that appeared June 11-18, 1995 in Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, School of Assassins, p. 46 Orbis Books 2001.
5.Michael Dobbs, Negroponte’s Time in Honduras at Issue, Washington Post, March 21, 2005
1.Edited by Malcolm Byrne, The 1956 Hungarian Revoluiton: A history in Documents November 4, 2002http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB76/index2.htm
2.Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia,
1.Virtual Truth Commission http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/.
2.Editorial, Indonesia’s Killers, The Nation, March 30, 1998.
3.Matthew Jardine, Indonesia Unraveling, Non Violent Activist Sept–Oct, 1997 (Amnesty) 2/7/07.
4.Sison, Jose Maria, Reflections on the 1965 Massacre in Indonesia, p. 5.http://qc.indymedia.org/mail.php?id=5602;
5.Annie Pohlman, Women and the Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966: Gender Variables and Possible Direction for Research, p.4,http://coombs.anu.edu.au/SpecialProj/ASAA/biennial-conference/2004/Pohlman-A-ASAA.pdf
6.Peter Dale Scott, The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-1967, Pacific Affairs, 58, Summer 1985, pages 239-264.http://www.namebase.org/scott.
7.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.30.
1.Geoff Simons, Iraq from Sumer to Saddam, 1996, St. Martins Press, NY p. 317.
2.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html.
3.BBC 1988: US Warship Shoots Down Iranian Airlinerhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/default.stm )
1.Michael Dobbs, U.S. Had Key role in Iraq Buildup, Washington Post December 30, 2002, p A01 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52241-2002Dec29?language=printer
2.Global Security.Org , Iran Iraq War (1980-1980)globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm.
U.S. Iraq War and Sanctions
1.Ramsey Clark, The Fire This Time (New York, Thunder’s Mouth), 1994, p.31-32
2.Ibid., p. 52-54
3.Ibid., p. 43
4.Anthony Arnove, Iraq Under Siege, (South End Press Cambridge MA 2000). p. 175.
5.Food and Agricultural Organizaiton, The Children are Dying, 1995 World View Forum, Internationa Action Center, International Relief Association, p. 78
6.Anthony Arnove, Iraq Under Siege, South End Press Cambridge MA 2000. p. 61.
7.David Cortright, A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions December 3, 2001, The Nation.
U.S-Iraq War 2003-?
1.Jonathan Bor 654,000 Deaths Tied to Iraq War Baltimore Sun , October 11,2006
1.Post-1967 Palestinian & Israeli Deaths from Occupation & Violence May 16, 2006 http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/2006/05/post-1967-palestinian-israeli-deaths.html)
2.Chronology of American State Terrorism
1.James I. Matray Revisiting Korea: Exposing Myths of the Forgotten War, Korean War Teachers Conference: The Korean War, February 9, 2001http://www.truman/library.org/Korea/matray1.htm
2.William Blum, Killing Hope (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 46
3.Kanako Tokuno, Chinese Winter Offensive in Korean War – the Debacle of American Strategy, ICE Case Studies Number 186, May, 2006http://www.american.edu/ted/ice/chosin.htm.
4.John G. Stroessinger, Why Nations go to War, (New York; St. Martin’s Press), p. 99)
5.Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, as reported in Answers.comhttp://www.answers.com/topic/Korean-war
6.Exploring the Environment: Korean Enigmawww.cet.edu/ete/modules/korea/kwar.html)
7.S. Brian Wilson, Who are the Real Terrorists? Virtual Truth Commissonhttp://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/
8.Korean War Casualty Statistics www.century china.com/history/krwarcost.html)
9.S. Brian Wilson, Documenting U.S. War Crimes in North Korea (Veterans for Peace Newsletter) Spring, 2002) http://www.veteransforpeace.org/
1.William Blum Rogue State (Maine, Common Cause Press) p. 136
2.Chronology of American State Terrorismhttp://www.intellnet.org/resources/american_terrorism/ChronologyofTerror.html
3.Fred Branfman, War Crimes in Indochina and our Troubled National Soul
1.Conn Hallinan, Nepal & the Bush Administration: Into Thin Air, February 3, 2004
2.Human Rights Watch, Nepal’s Civil War: the Conflict Resumes, March 2006 )
3.Wayne Madsen, Possible CIA Hand in the Murder of the Nepal Royal Family, India Independent Media Center, September 25, 2001http://india.indymedia.org/en/2002/09/2190.shtml.
1.Virtual Truth Commission
3.Chronology of American State Terrorism,
4.William Blum, Nicaragua 1981-1990 Destabilization in Slow Motion
5.Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,
1.John G. Stoessinger, Why Nations Go to War, (New York: St. Martin’s Press), 1974 pp 157-172.
3.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p.123, 124.
4.Arjum Niaz ,When America Look the Other Way by,
5.Leo Kuper, Genocide (Yale University Press, 1981), p. 79.
6.Bangladesh Liberation War , Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War#USA_and_USSR)
1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’s Greatest Hits, (Odonian Press 1998) p. 83.
2.William Blum, Rogue State (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2000), p.154.
3.U.S. Military Charged with Mass Murder, The Winds 9/96,www.apfn.org/thewinds/archive/war/a102896b.html
4.Mark Zepezauer, CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p.83.
Paraguay See South America: Operation Condor
1.Romeo T. Capulong, A Century of Crimes Against the Filipino People, Presentation, Public Interest Law Center, World Tribunal for Iraq Trial in New York City on August 25,2004.
2.Roland B. Simbulan The CIA in Manila – Covert Operations and the CIA’s Hidden Hisotry in the Philippines Equipo Nizkor Information – Derechos, derechos.org/nizkor/filipinas/doc/cia.
South America: Operation Condor
1.John Dinges, Pulling Back the Veil on Condor, The Nation, July 24, 2000.
2.Virtual Truth Commission, Telling the Truth for a Better Americawww.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/condor.htm)
1.Mark Zepezauer, Boomerang, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 2003), p. 30, 32,34,36.
2.The Black Commentator, Africa Action The Tale of Two Genocides: The Failed US Response to Rwanda and Darfur, 11 August 2006http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/091706X.shtml.
Uruguay See South America: Operation Condor
1.Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’S Greatest Hits (Monroe, Maine:Common Courage Press,1994), p 24
2.Casualties – US vs NVA/VC,
3.Brian Wilson, Virtual Truth Commission
4.Fred Branfman, U.S. War Crimes in Indochiona and our Duty to Truth August 26, 2004
5.David K Shipler, Robert McNamara and the Ghosts of Vietnamnytimes.com/library/world/asia/081097vietnam-mcnamara.html
1.Sara Flounders, Bosnia Tragedy:The Unknown Role of the Pentagon in NATO in the Balkans (New York: International Action Center) p. 47-75
2.James A. Lucas, Media Disinformation on the War in Yugoslavia: The Dayton Peace Accords Revisited, Global Research, September 7, 2005 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=
3.Yugoslav Wars in 1990s
4.George Kenney, The Bosnia Calculation: How Many Have Died? Not nearly as many as some would have you think., NY Times Magazine, April 23, 1995
5.Chronology of American State Terrorism
6.Croatian War of Independence, Wikipedia
7.Human Rights Watch, New Figures on Civilian Deaths in Kosovo War, (February 7, 2000) http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/02/nato207.htm.
By James A. Lucas
I was sickened to hear and watch the events occurring in France. Part of that was for the immediate families, friends and neighbors of those so needlessly killed. Another part was the fear factor, not fear of terror or for myself but fear for how the powers that be would ratchet up the security control within their own societies by using their own biased racist fear factors in order to rationalize it to control their own populations. A wider perspective is the sick feeling of realizing that humanity in general is capable of producing such atrocities.
The latter is where a large problem arises within our supposedly ‘civilized’ western world. It is not just the terrorists who are capable of atrocities against humanity; it is not just Muslim fanatics who are capable of terrorizing the west; it is not the ‘other’ who is capable of demonizing and killing their opponents. It is you and I and the societies that we support that are also capable of producing terror across large swathes of the world.
It is our history of moral superiority and technological advantage for which we, the ‘western’ world, the ‘civilized’ world, perceive ourselves as being superior – well, look at us, living lifestyles of comparative wealth and luxury to much of the world, of course we are superior. What is not contained within that narrative is that our wealth has much more to do with the imperial conquests by the European ‘west’ of various regions in order to extract their wealth of whatever sort. Our moral superiority is nothing more than a gloss of rhetoric over the motivation to use a superior military technology to subdue, conquer, and extract wealth from other regions and other peoples.
In short the roots of terror lie within our own hands. Certainly other civilizations of past eras have done the same thing with their own versions of morality and technological advantages. That only underlines the idea that this is a human condition, with our current version apparently much more deadly than previous iterations of our collective and unrecognized heart of darkness.
Imperial Overdrive for Power and Control
Wherein, then, do the roots of terror lie, historically apart from within ourselves generally? One could trace the roots of terror back to the beginning of historical times, and then beyond into pre-history. But as we are supposedly a morally/technologically superior society today, the roots of today’s terror can arguably be traced back to World War I, its imperial atrocities on all sides, followed by the demise of the Ottoman Empire.
Before then of course is the whole colonial history concerning the conquest of the Americas and the subjugation of its indigenous population. Societies then, almost wholly European, used the same old/same old tactics of arguing moral superiority while utilizing brutal technologies to subjugate and destroy native people. Africa was dealt the same deal, and while the indigenous populations were not destroyed, the slavery, resource extraction, and control of the physical land covered the entire continent. Most parts of Asia, whether the British in Southern Asia or the French in Southeast Asia, with the Portuguese and Dutch scattered throughout the region, underwent a similar colonial pattern.
World War I was effectively a clash of these empires trying to supersede the control of the other empires for the wealth and power of the rest of the world. From that war rose the divisions of the Middle East by the British and French into either outright control or spheres of influence ranging from the Sykes-Picot secret agreement through to the League of Nations mandates. The Versailles peace, while it ‘worked’ for some, failed miserably for others, not meeting the ideals of the Wilsonian rhetoric about all nationalities deciding their own futures democratically.
Because of that failure, World War II became the last and largest battle of World War I, witnessing again a change in the imperial overlords. Politically, financially, and economically, the U.S. became the dominant power gaining control of Europe through NATO, and using a combination of military and financial tactics to try and gain control of the rest who were not willing to submit to U.S. dominance. The readings of history are widely available, with various interpretations, with the general trend being one of an artificial moral superiority, combined with powerful economic forces (Bretton Woods, World Bank, IMF, WTO, OECD, et al), all sustained through covert and overt military actions.
The collapse of the Soviet Union is probably the most current historical turning point. It left the U.S. and its partners as the heirs apparent to being the global hegemon. A global peace would surely ensue, it was the ‘end of history’. Unfortunately the same imperial imperative from centuries past survived and thrived with what was supposed to become the New World Order. It played out militarily through the designs of the Grand Chessboard, rather than through the logic of orderly trade and cultural interaction searching for a better understanding of each other’s cultures.
Arguably, the 9/11 attacks on the WTC could be labelled as a more important inflection point of history, but it is more readily seen as a culmination of blowback from actions taken by the global imperial hegemon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That incident released powerful forces already prepared, ready to be set in motion. It was the ‘New Pearl Harbor’ desired by the authors of the Project for a New American Century (Kristol, Feith, Kagan, Wolfowiz, Woolsey,Rumsfield, Bolton, Perle) who had been around since Reagan’s tenure. It allowed the rapid passing of the Homeland Security Act, one so large it had to be by necessity ready to go for such a framework. It ramped up the rogue nature of U.S. military and corporate actions globally, as their infamous ‘with us or against us’ paradigm turned everything black and white, losing all perspectives of grey or colour.
The ultimate goal was global hegemony, the containment and or destruction of both Russia and China, the unparalleled support of Israel, and the demonization of all things Islamic. It was applied ruthlessly through all means of military operations, through the manipulation of international standards (e.g. the so called ‘right to protect’ doctrine), through the manipulation of financial markets and last but not least, the outright control of the mainstream media and its acquiescence, indeed promotion of, imperial rhetoric.
Fortunately we are at another inflection point in history – not fortunate for the depth of its current and potential violence – fortunate in that the ‘rest of the world’ has acted against the imperial overdrive of the U.S. and its imperial cohorts and satraps.
Yes, the attacks in Paris were brutal, vicious and intended to terrorize. But what of the terror that has been instigated in the name of empire, the empire in which you and I live? Is it less of a terror tactic to bomb cities, villages, and countrysides indiscriminately as in the Vietnam War? Are we more ‘civilized’ now that we pretend to use smart weapons? Is shock and awe a feature of technological morality making us superior to the thousands killed immediately, with millions more affected in subsequent years? Is the use of hyperbaric bombs, cluster munitions, white phosphorous, depleted uranium munitions, Hellfire missiles, dense inert metal explosives – all used by ‘civilized’ western powers in the wars of the Middle East and beyond – is that being more civilized?
Similarly is the control and manipulation of the financial world a morally justifiable act? Are ‘free trade’ agreements anything but free when they subjugate the junior partner to both financial and legislative/legal terms that essentially destroy sovereignty? Is our lifestyle – predicated on consumption, living within a rentier extractive economy (living in debt), buying cheap resources and goods from countries subject to financial and military imperial overdrive – is that how we rationalize our moral superiority?
This is understood by some of the world. It is seldom if ever recognized within the mainstream media, except for the odd occasion when a ‘balanced’ report is made on a situation in which there is no balance. What is being recognized, slowly and without huge rhetorical counter-attack, is that there is, fortunately, no longer a single global hegemon, even as they remain desirous to attempt it.
Putin asked at the UN, “Do you know what you have done?” They have created an empire of chaos that serves certain sectors well but for the most part to a level of violence not witnessed for several generations, that could, if the right wing rhetoric and bluster of U.S. presidential candidates holds any meaning, could lead to the end of the world as we know it. The mujahideen “freedom fighters” of Reagan have morphed through the Taliban to al-Qaeda into the current ISIS iteration.
These groups have all been supported by the U.S.: certainly the mujahideen from which the Taliban; less so al-Qaeda other than as a useful ‘other’ as an excuse to combat on a global scale yet supported by longtime ally, the medieval tribal monarchy of Saudi Arabia; and as can be extrapolated from current actions against ISIS who have proven to be a convenient destabilizer against Assad, receiving U.S. military aid indirectly through Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other partners.
As for France, it has been a willing partner in most if not all of these imperial endeavors. Asymmetric warfare has brought those endeavors to the ‘homeland’. France could have imposed martial law and locked the country down as more than likely would happen in the U.S. if a similar incident had occurred. In Canada the response has been measured and compassionate, a decided change from what would have happened if Harper was still in power and able to ramp up the terrorist fear factor. Fortunately, humanity also carries within itself an altruistic caring capacity towards others.
Just as the roots of terror lie within our own hands, so do the roots of an altruistic humanitarian outlook. That includes all humanity, indeed all of the global environment, and if nourished properly can result in the eventual reset to a more compassionate and caring social structure. I expect no miracles as the hatreds and animosities that have been developed by the control of the commons politically, financially, and militarily, presented with a subservient media, will not be easy to overcome.
What needs to be recognized is that we are all complicit partly through the acceptance of our lifestyles and what it is truly based on. As individuals sometimes not much can be achieved, but it becomes an individual responsibility to question authority, to question the raison d’etre of our moral judgments, and to be prepared to do our own search for the truth, however painful that truth may be to predetermined ideologies.
Civilians in Paris have been killed because of these imperial drives for power, just as tens, hundreds of millions before them have been killed in the past. The human condition, its extremes of pathos and joy, requires a recognition of a global responsibility towards each and every ‘other’ that exists. Take personal responsibility, think globally, act locally towards an era when perhaps the world will be at peace with one another.
About the author:
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
Original source of the article: http://www.palestinechronicle.com/roots-of-terror/
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According to Israeli Intelligence News Source
This article was first published in September 2014. Can we believe Hollande and Cameron? Evidence confirms that NATO is behind the recruitment of “jihadist terrorists
While NATO leaders in Newport Wales [September 2014] debate the Atlantic Alliance’s role “in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East”, it is worth recalling that in 2011 at the outset of the war in Syria, NATO became actively involved in the recruitment of Islamic fighters.
Reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO headquarters in Brussels in liaison with the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, was involved in the enlisting of thousands of terrorists:
“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Debkafile, August 31, 2011 emphasis added).
Confirmed by Israeli intelligence News, NATO played a key role in the delivery of weapons to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in the Aleppo region bordering onto Turkey:
NATO and a number of European governments, most significantly the UK, have started airlifting heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels poised in Aleppo to fend off a major Syrian army offensive, according to debkafile’s exclusive military sources. They disclose that the first shipments were landed Monday night, June 17 , and early Tuesday in Turkey and Jordan. They contained anti-air and tank missiles as well as recoilless 120 mm cannons mounted on jeeps. From there, they were transferred to rebel forces in southern Syria and Aleppo in the northwest. (Debkafile, June 18, 2013)
“Terrorists R Us”
Ironically, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron (who is hosting the NATO Summit in Wales), have asserted that they “will not be cowed by barbaric killers”:
“We will not waver in our determination to confront the Islamic State … If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong.” (Barack Obama and David Cameron, Strengthening the NATO alliance, op ed published in the London Times, September 4, 2014, emphasis added)
But these “Barbaric Killers” were created by the Western military alliance. They are serving the strategic interests of the U.S., Britain, not to mention Israel.
“They are Our Terrorists“. Without the terrorists, the “Global War on Terrorism” would fall flat.
The Obama-Cameron narrative borders on ridicule. It is not only absurd, it is criminal.
What they are proposing is an all encompassing NATO mandate to “Go after Terrorist Entities” which they themselves created as part of an insidious intelligence operation to destabilize and destroy both Syria and Iraq.
British and French Special Forces have been actively training Syria opposition rebels from a base in Turkey.
Israel has provided a safe haven to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels including ISIS and Al Nusrah rebels in the occupied Golan Heights.
Netanyahu has met up with jihadist leaders in the Golan Heights. The IDF top brass acknowledges that there are “global jihad elements inside Syria” supported by Israel.
Image left: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with a wounded Al Qaeda Terrorist in occupied Golan.
Lest we forget, Al Qaeda was at the outset a creation of the CIA. Who is behind the ISIS terrorists? The mainstream media is mum on the subject, despite mountains of evidence that they are creations of the Western military alliance.
NATO’s Criminal Agenda
What we are dealing with is a criminal agenda under NATO auspices. The evidence amply confirms that the US and Britain in liaison with the Atlantic Alliance have relentlessly supported both the creation as well as development of an Islamic Terror Network which now extends from the Middle East and North Africa into sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia.
And now Obama and Cameron, whose governments are the architects of the Islamic State, are calling upon the Atlantic Alliance as well all on the governments of the 28 NATO member states to endorse the bombing campaign on Iraq and Syria as part of “counter-terrorism” operation.
The ISIS brigades are “intelligence assets” supported by US-NATO-Israel. They will not be the object of the bombings. Quite the opposite.
What is envisaged as part of the propaganda campaign is to use the “threat of the Islamic State” as a pretext and justification to intervene militarily under a “humanitarian” “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) mandate. The civilian population will not be protected. Under this diabolical military-intelligence operation, The Islamic State (ISIS) brigades with Western Special Forces within their ranks are slated to be “protected”.
The War on Syria
From the outset of the war on Syria in March 2011, member states of the Atlantic Alliance as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have (covertly) supported the terrorists –including al Nusrah and the ISIS– with a view to destabilizing Syria as a nation state. These actions were implemented in liaison with NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The process of recruitment and training of mercenaries had been sub-contracted to private security companies operating out of the Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Reports point to the creation of training camps in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In Zayed Military City (UAE), “a secret army is in the making” was operated by Xe Services, formerly Blackwater. The UAE deal to establish a military camp for the training of mercenaries was signed in July 2010, nine months before the onslaught of the wars in Libya and Syria. (See Manlio Dinucci, A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the Middle East and North Africa, Il Manifesto. 18 May 2011)
Moreover, confirmed by CNN, security companies on contract to NATO member states were involved in training Syria “opposition” death squads in the use of chemical weapons:
“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)
NATO Supported the Terrorists in Libya
From the outset of NATO’s 2011 “humanitarian war” on Libya, the Atlantic alliance was working in close liaison with the “pro-Al Qaeda brigades” led by “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) leader Abdul Hakim Belhhadj (Debka, Pro-Al Qaeda brigades control Qaddafi Tripoli strongholds seized by rebels, August 28, 2011 )
Abdul Hakim Belhhadj received his military training in a CIA sponsored guerrilla camp in Afghanistan. He constitutes a CIA “intelligence asset” operating in the Libyan war theater. A 2011 report suggested that he had some 1,000 men under his command. (Libyan rebels at pains to distance themselves from extremists – The Globe and Mail, March 12, 2011)
The US-NATO coalition is arming the Jihadists. Weapons are being channeled to the LIFG from Saudi Arabia, which historically, since the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war, has covertly supported Al Qaeda. The Saudis are now providing the rebels, in liaison with Washington and Brussels, with anti-tank rockets and ground-to-air missiles. (See Michel Chossudovsky “Our Man in Tripoli”: US-NATO Sponsored Islamic Terrorists Integrate Libya’s Pro-Democracy Opposition, Global Research, 3 April 2011)
The massacre of 22 people—12 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, along with 10 patients, three of them children—in Saturday’s airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan is an appalling war crime for which the US military and Obama administration are responsible.
On Monday, the top US commander in Afghanistan admitted that a US warplane carried out the deadly attack, while seeking to shift the blame onto Afghan puppet troops for calling it in.
“An air strike was then called to eliminate the Taliban and several civilians were accidentally struck,” Gen. John Campbell told a Pentagon press conference. This account is at odds with the Pentagon’s initial story that US special forces troops had come under fire and called in the airstrike.
The plane involved was an AC-130, nicknamed the “Angel of Death,” a huge, slow-flying aircraft equipped with multiple cannons, rockets and bombs that is capable of circling a target for long periods, delivering devastating firepower. The Pentagon has boasted about this flying fortress’s ability to strike targets with “pinpoint accuracy,” in this case a huge, well-marked hospital.
Survivors of the attack described horrific scenes, with patients burning in their beds and doctors and nurses covered in blood from multiple grievous wounds.
Afghan officials shamelessly defended the attack on the hospital. “When insurgents try to use civilians and public places to hide, it makes it very, very difficult…” Fawzia Koofi, an Afghan member of parliament from northern Badakhshan Province, told the Washington Post. “You have two choices: either continue operations to clean up, and that might involve attacks in public places, or you just let the Taliban control. In this case, the public understands we went with the first choice, along with our international allies.”
Similarly, the acting governor of Kunduz, Hamdullah Danishi, told the Post, “The hospital campus was 100 percent used by the Taliban. The hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there. We tolerated their firing for some time” before responding.
These statements constitute an “admission of a war crime,” MSF General Director Christopher Stokes said Sunday. They “imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present,” he said.
MSF has categorically denied that any armed Taliban were present in the hospital and reported that it had repeatedly advised the US military as to the location of the hospital, which has operated in Kunduz for years.
The most plausible explanation is that the US military and its Afghan forces decided to attack the hospital because of its well-known practice of treating all in need of care, including wounded Taliban fighters. Such an atrocity is meant to send a message: anyone who aids an enemy of the US military forces occupying Afghanistan will die.
The attack is further evidence to be used in future war crimes trials. During its nearly seven years in office, the Obama administration has doubled down on the atrocities carried out by its predecessor.
Tomorrow marks the 14th anniversary of the October 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. The Pentagon dubbed America’s conquest of the impoverished country straddling the strategic regions of Central and South Asia “Operation Enduring Freedom.” It would have been more accurate to call it “Operation Enduring Slaughter.” According to the extremely conservative estimate made by the United Nations, over 19,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2009 alone.
Conditions have only continued to worsen. Civilian casualties have hit a record high, increasing by a staggering 60 percent during the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2014. The UN acknowledged that the rise was “mostly due to increased civilian casualties caused by pro-Government [i.e., US-backed] forces during ground engagements.”
Meanwhile unemployment has peaked at 40 percent, while the poverty rate is roughly the same. Social inequality has risen dramatically, as Afghanistan’s US-backed kleptocracy pockets the lion’s share of foreign aid money. These increasingly intolerable conditions have forced many to flee, with Afghans making up 13 percent of the refugees attempting to reach Europe, second only in number to those escaping Syria.
Sold to the American people as revenge for the 9/11 attacks, the war grinds on 14 years later with the US military continuing the slaughter of innocent Afghans for the purpose of keeping a corrupt and impotent puppet regime in power.
Within two days of Washington launching the war, the World Socialist Web Site rejected the official pretext, insisting that: “… while the events of September 11 have served as the catalyst for the assault on Afghanistan, the cause is far deeper…
“The US government initiated the war in pursuit of far-reaching international interests of the American ruling elite. What is the main purpose of the war? The collapse of the Soviet Union a decade ago created a political vacuum in Central Asia, which is home to the second largest deposit of proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world.”
The statement continued, “By attacking Afghanistan, setting up a client regime and moving vast military forces into the region, the US aims to establish a new political framework within which it will exert hegemonic control.”
14 years later, with Washington in a de facto alliance with Al Qaeda in Syria, and amid a steady ratcheting up of tensions with Russia and China, this assessment has stood the test of time.
The war in Afghanistan has turned into a debacle, one of US imperialism’s own making. Washington’s earlier intervention in Afghanistan, directed at toppling the Soviet-backed government in Kabul beginning in 1979, saw billions of dollars in arms and aid funneled to Islamist guerrillas that included those who formed both Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This effort ravaged Afghanistan, killing over one million and turning five million more into refugees.
The response to the fall of Kunduz to the Taliban will inevitably be another escalation of the US intervention and even more war crimes like that against the MSF hospital.
While those immediately responsible for the killing of medical personnel and patients must be held accountable for last weekend’s crime, the far greater criminals are those in the Bush and Obama administrations who launched and continued this predatory war based upon lies.
These political criminals can be brought to justice only through the mobilization of the working class against imperialist war and the capitalist system that is its source.
By Bill Van Auken
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The US, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the Gulf monarchies have all in the recent past supported al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State (ISIS) with arms, money, and/or manpower.
- The first example of this was in 1979 when the United States began covert operations in Afghanistan, six months before the Russians arrived, promoting Islamic fundamentalism across the southern tier of the Soviet Union against “godless communism”. All the al-Qaeda/Taliban shit then followed.
- In addition to Afghanistan, the United States has provided support to Islamic militants in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, the Caucasus, and Syria.
- The United States overthrew the secular governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and is trying to do the same with Syria, thus giving great impetus to the rise of ISIS. Said Barack Obama in March of this year: “ISIS is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”
- More than a million refugees from these wars of Washington are currently over-running Europe and North Africa. God Bless American exceptionalism.
- The Iraqi, Syrian and Turkish Kurds have all fought against ISIS, but Turkey – close US ally and member of NATO – has fought against each of them.
- Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanese factions have each supported the Syrian government in various ways in Damascus’s struggle against ISIS and other terrorist groups, including the (much celebrated but seldom seen) “moderate” ones. For this all four countries have been sharply criticized by Washington.
- The United States has bombed ISIS in Syria, but has used the same occasions to damage Syria’s infrastructure and oil-producing capacity.
- Russia has bombed ISIS in Syria, but has used the same occasions to attack Syria’s other enemies.
- The mainstream media almost never mentions the proposed Qatar natural-gas pipelines – whose path to Europe Syria has stood in the way of for years – as a reason for much of the hostility toward Syria. The pipelines could dethrone Russia as Europe’s dominant source of energy.
- In Libya, during the beginning of the 2011 civil war, anti-Gaddafi rebels, many of whom were al-Qaeda affiliated militias, were protected by NATO in “no-fly zones”.
- US policy in Syria in the years leading up to the 2011 uprising against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, which began the whole current mess, was designed to promote sectarianism, which in turn led to civil war with the goal of regime change.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry declared on October 22 that in resolving Syria’s civil war the country “should not be broken up, that it must remain secular, and that Syrians should choose their future leader.” (All of which actually describes Syria under Assad.) Then Kerry said: “One thing stands in the way of being able to rapidly move to implement that, and it’s a person called Assad, Bashar Assad.”
Why does the government of the United States hate Syrian president Bashar al-Assad with such passion?
Is it because, as we’re told, he’s a brutal dictator? But how can that be the reason for the hatred? It would be difficult indeed to name a brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century or of the 21st century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population; at present the list would include Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.
The United States, I suggest, is hostile to the Syrian government for the same reason it has been hostile to Cuba for more than half a century; and hostile to Venezuela for the past 15 years; and earlier to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; and to Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Chile; and so on continuing through the world atlas and history books.
What these governments have had in common can be summarized in a single word – independence … independence from American foreign policy; the refusal to be a client state of Washington; the refusal to be continuously hostile to Washington’s Officially Designated Enemies; insufficient respect and zeal for the capitalist way of life.
The candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a “democratic socialist”, for the US presidency has produced an unprecedented barrage of discussion in the American media about just what is this thing called “socialism”. Most of the discussion centers around the question of government ownership and control of the economy versus private ownership and control. This is, of course, a very old question; the meat and potatoes of the Cold War ideological competition.
What’s markedly different now is that a few centuries of uninhibited free enterprise have finally laid painfully bare the basic anti-social nature of capitalism, forcing many of even the most committed true believers to concede the inherent harm the system brings to the lives of all but the richest.
But regardless of what the intellects of these true believers tell them, they still find it very difficult emotionally to completely cut the umbilical cord to the system they were carefully raised to place the greatest of faith in. Thus, they may finally concede that we have to eliminate, or at least strictly minimize, the role of the profit motive in health care and education and maybe one or two other indispensable social needs, but they insist that the government should should keep its bureaucratic hands off everything else; they favor as much decentralization as possible.
The most commonly proposed alternative to both government or private control is worker-owned cooperatives or publicly owned enterprises managed by workers and consumer representatives. Sanders has expressed his support for worker-owned cooperatives.
There is much to be said about such systems, but the problem I find is that they will still operate within a capitalist society, which means competition, survival of the fittest; which means that if you can’t sell more than your competitors, if you can’t make a sufficient net profit on your sales, you will likely be forced to go out of business; and to prevent such a fate, at some point you may very well be forced to do illegal or immoral things against the public; which means back to the present.
You cannot follow the mass media without being confronted every day with story after story of one corporation or another trying to swindle the public in one way or another; the latest egregious case being that of the much revered Volkswagen, recently revealed to have manipulated the measurement of the car’s pollution emission. The fact that half of the company’s Supervisory Board – responsible for monitoring the Management and approving important corporate decisions – consists of employee representatives elected by the employees did not prevent this egregious fraud; the company is still obliged to strive to maximize profit and the firm’s stock-market value. It’s the nature of the corporate beast within a capitalist jungle.
Only removal of the profit motive will correct such behavior, and also keep us from drowning in a sea of advertising and my phone ringing several times each day to sell me something I don’t need and which may not even exist.
The market. How can we determine the proper value, the proper price, of goods and services without “the magic of the marketplace”? Let’s look at something most people have to pay for – rent. Who or what designed this system where in 2015 11.8 million households in the US are paying more than 50 percent of their income to keep a roof over their head, while rent is considered “affordable” if it totals some 30 percent or less of one’s income. What is the sense of this? It causes more hardship than any other expense people are confronted with; all kinds of important needs go unmet because of the obligation to pay a huge amount for rent each month; it is the main cause of homelessness. Who benefits from it other than the landlords? What is magical about that?
Above and beyond any other consideration, there is climate change; i.e., survival of the planet, the quality of our lives. What keeps corporations from modifying their behavior so as to be kinder to our environment? It is of course the good old “bottom line” again. What can we do to convince the corporations to consistently behave like good citizens? Nothing that hasn’t already been tried and failed. Except one thing. Unmentionable in a capitalist society. Nationalization. There, I said it. Now I’ll be getting letters damning me as an “Old Stalinist”.
But nationalization is not a panacea either, at least for the environment. There’s the greatest single source of environmental damage in the world – The United States military. And it’s already been nationalized. But doing away with private corporations will reduce the drive toward imperialism sufficiently that before long the need for a military will fade away and we can live like Costa Rica. If you think that would put the United States in danger of attack, please tell me who would attack, and why.
Most Americans, like other developed peoples, worship the capitalism they were raised with. But do they? See the chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower: “The United States invades, bombs, and kills for it but do Americans really believe in free enterprise?” Written in 2000/2005, the examples given in the chapter may need some updating, but the ideas expressed are as valid as ever.
Nationalization, hand-in-hand with a planned society, would of course not preclude elections. On the contrary, we’d have elections not ruled by money. What a breath of fresh air. Professor Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
Who are you going to believe? Me or Dick Cheney?
I’ve spent about 30 years compiling the details of the criminal record of US foreign policy into concise lists, and I’m always looking for suitable occasions to present the information to new readers. The new book by Dick Cheney and his adoring daughter is just such an occasion.
“We are, as a matter of empirical fact and undeniable history, the greatest force for good the world has ever known. … security and freedom for millions of people around the globe have depended on America’s military, economic, political, and diplomatic might.” – Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, “Why the world needs a powerful America”
Well … nothing short of a brain and soul transplant would change the welt anschauung of Dr. Strangelove and his carefully-conditioned offspring, but for all of you out there who still live in a world of facts, logic, human rights, and human empathy, here’s the ammunition to use if you should happen to find yourself ensnared in the embrace of the likes of the Cheney reptiles (including mother Lynne who once set up a website solely to attack me and seven others for holding a teach-in on September 18, 2001 in which we spoke of US foreign policy as the main provocation of what had happened exactly a week earlier.)
These are the lists:
Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:
- Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
- Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
- Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
- Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
- Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
- Plus … although not easily quantified … more involved in the practice of torture than any other country in the world … for over a century … not just performing the actual torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing the equipment.
Open Letter to the War Politicians of the World
Jürgen Todenhöfer is a German journalist and former media manager; from 1972 to 1990 he was a member of parliament for the Christian Democrats (CDU). He was one of Germany’s most ardent supporters of the US-sponsored Mujahideen and their guerrilla war against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Several times he traveled to combat zones with Afghan Mujahideen groups. After 2001 Todenhöfer became an outspoken critic of the US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has published several books about visits he made to war zones. In recent years he twice interviewed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and in 2015 he was the first German journalist to visit the ‘Islamic State’.
Dear Presidents and Heads of Governments!
Through decades of a policy of war and exploitation you have pushed millions people in the Middle East and Africa into misery. Because of your policies refugees have to flee all over the world. One out every three refugees in Germany comes from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. From Africa comes one out of five refugees.
Your wars are also the cause of global terrorism. Instead of some 100 international terrorists like 15 years ago, we now are faced with more than 100,000 terrorists. Your cynical ruthlessness now strikes back at us like a boomerang.
As usual, you do not even consider to really change your policy. You care only about the symptoms. The security situation gets more dangerous and chaotic by the day. More and more wars, waves of terror and refugee crises will determine the future of our planet.
Even in Europe, the war will one day knock again at Europe’s door. Any businessman that would act like you would be fired or be in prison by now. You are total failures.
The peoples of the Middle East and Africa, whose countries you have destroyed and plundered and the people of Europe, who now accommodate the countless desperate refugees, have to pay a high price for your policies. But you wash your hands of responsibility. You should stand trial in front of the International Criminal Court. And each of your political followers should actually take care of at least 100 refugee families.
Basically, the people of the world should rise up and resist you as the warmongers and exploiters you are. As once Gandhi did it – in nonviolence, in ‘civil disobedience’. We should create new movements and parties. Movements for justice and humanity. Make wars in other countries just as punishable as murder and manslaughter in one’s own country. And you who are responsible for war and exploitation, you should go to hell forever. It is enough! Get lost! The world would be much nicer without you.
– Jürgen Todenhöfer
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
The annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” was just held. This year set a new record for “yes” votes, with the addition of the Marshall Islands and Palau (heretofore each voting “no” or abstaining) and Micronesia (heretofore abstaining). All three countries had established diplomatic relations with Cuba earlier this year, which of course the United States had also done, but without any change in Washington’s vote. Here is how the vote has gone in the past (not including abstentions):
|Year||Votes (Yes-No)||No Votes|
|1993||88-4||US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay|
|1995||117-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1996||138-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|1997||143-3||US, Israel, Uzbekistan|
|2000||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2001||167-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2002||173-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2003||179-3||US, Israel, Marshall Islands|
|2004||179-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2005||182-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2006||183-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2007||184-4||US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau|
|2008||185-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2009||187-3||US, Israel, Palau|
|2012||188-3||US, Israel, Palau|
Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of all other governments. The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example; the fear of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their admiration and gratitude toward Cuba.
How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.
Nothing of any real importance has changed recently. Guantánamo Prison still exists in all its imperialist beauty and torture. The US has not renounced its “regime-change” policies toward Cuba. Not a penny of Cuba’s near-trillion-dollar lawsuit for compensation has been paid. Washington has recently threatened to revoke the tax exempt status of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, one of the most respected and experienced Cuba advocacy groups. I still can’t go to Cuba as a tourist, or to present a book of mine at a Cuban Book Fair (for which I’ve been blocked in the past). And the United States still does not relax its death grip on the embargo, including continuing to prohibit the sale of medicines to Cuba.
A note to readers
A number of you have remarked to me about Killing Hope being unavailable in stores and, usually, from Amazon, and often from myself. This is because one of the book’s publishers, Common Courage (Maine), and its editor Greg Bates, have blocked publication and distribution of the book by a new US publisher. Common Courage is essentially out of business but refuses to face up to the fact. Bates stole a royalty payment sent to me by my British publisher via Common Courage. This theft, among other things, nullified my contract with Common Courage. It’s complicated, but I feel obliged to offer some explanation to those of you who have been unable to find a copy of the book.
- The Independent (London), March 18, 2015
- The Wikileaks Files: The World According to US Empire (2015), Introduction by Julian Assange, chapter 10
- Newsweek, September 21, 2015
- William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2005), Chapter 18
- See Jürgen Todenhöfer’s Facebook and website. Some minor corrections to spelling and grammar have been made.
- Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885
Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.
By William Blum
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Led by the US and NATO, the clash of imperialist powers accounts for the absence of stability not just in the Middle East and Africa, but also the Ukraine and parts of Asia. Behind the rhetoric of democracy, national security, and anti-terrorism there are direct diplomatic and indirect diplomatic efforts through government-financed and pro-business NGO’s. There are overt and covert military operations carried out by the US, EU, China, Russia and their less powerful allies motivated by aggressive intentions for spheres of influence and markets. Behind the “war on terror” and regional conflicts around the world rests the reality of an era characterized by a power struggle for spheres of influence not much differently than in the Age of Imperialism (1870-1914). Those who have studied history know that the period 1870 to 1914 is also known as the “long fuse” that inevitably led to the Great War, followed by the Great Depression and another global war that was in many respects a continuation of the first. History does not repeat itself, but the similarity of patterns in the policies of the Great Powers have dangerous consequences in the early 21st century as they did in the Age of Imperialism during the late 19th and early 20th century.
The regional episode involving the shooting by Turkey of a Russian Jet fighter plane on 24 November 2015 led to a serious rethinking about resolving the five-year old conflict in Syria that the US and its allies essentially instigated because they were seeking regime change. On grounds that it invaded Turkish air space for a few seconds along the border with Syria, Turkey destroyed the Russia jet, prompting Moscow to retaliate with a series of economic sanctions and a greater military presence in Syria at a time that the Europeans needed Russia to defeat the jihadist ISIL group that Turkey had been supporting along with Saudi Arabia, a number of the Gulf States and indirectly Western nations more interested in regime change than the aftermath of such change.
The Russia-Turkish confrontation is not a struggle between President Vladimir Putin who fashions himself as modern Russia’s Peter the Great (1672-1725) against Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan who is delusional enough to believe he is a modern-day Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) harboring ambitions to resurrect the old Ottoman Empire. Turkey is a NATO member and it really stretches credulity to imagine that Ankara acted completely alone without even informing US and its NATO partners before taking down the Russian jet. Immediately after the act, NATO, EU and US sided categorically with Ankara and against Moscow, although eventually Putin embarrassed Erdogan by accusing him of kneeling down to lick the private parts of the Americans in a desperate show of approval seeking.
At the core this issue is not just Syria’s political future, but the balance of power in the Middle East and who would emerge as hegemonic. Syria has been a traditional Soviet, now Russian sphere of influence with Iran exerting influence directly and via Hezbollah. Because the US created a chaotic situation in Iraq after the invasion where Iran emerged as the dominant influential power, the goal in Syria was and remains to counterbalance Iran and push out Russia. Five years of war has proved the US goal failed.
No matter the efforts on the part of Western politicians and analysts to construct distractions from the core issue of the global power struggle that has become much more intense because China is on its way to replacing the US as the world’s most powerful economy, the issue remains that the inability of the US to achieve its goal in Syria after five years demonstrates the continued dwindling of Pax Americana. The mid-December US-Russia-China negotiations on this matter illustrate that unilateral military solutions, even when they drag along some EU and Arab allies do not work. One would think that Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya proved this very clearly, but then there are the militarist ideologues and of course the advocates of more spending on defense and intelligence that are determined to prove the impossible.
For its part, Russia has been eager to revive the Tsarist Russian Empire within its historic spheres of influence in Eurasia and the Middle East, especially considering that the US has been expanding NATO as part of a containment policy to deprive Russia much influence outside of Eurasia. China has embarked on a long-term economic imperialist policy not just in Asia, but in Africa, Latin America and even in the Middle East. This is largely because it sees gaps it can easily fill with the US and EU weakening economically on a world scale. The EU led by Germany has been just as aggressive in its imperialist quest first by redefining the integration model within Europe so that the southern and earner EU members form in essence a “second tier” within the larger union where Germany is hegemonic.
The stakes are very high for economic and geopolitical advantage on a world scale and even lesser players like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey have been playing the imperialist game of the great powers as they compete for regional hegemony and try to undermine each other within the broader region through various alliances and alignments. Syria has played a catalytic role in the regional struggle to determine the balance of power, not only because of the competing ambitions of Turkey and Saudi Arabia that have been on the same side with the US and EU against the regime of Bashar al-Assad by backing various rebels that once included ISIL, but also Iran that has been on the same as Russia. True to its goal of economic expansionism, China has been keeping a more hands off policy on the matter but mostly siding with Moscow and Tehran rather than the US when it comes to UN voting and multilateral diplomatic negotiations.
US policy of toppling the regime of President Assad and eliminating all of his institutions so that Syria’s dependency transfers from Russia and Iran to the US and EU has failed in the last five years of civil war. This is because of the emergence of jihadist extremist ISIL striking back at the West that was indirectly supporting it through Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The Saudi announcement of a Muslim coalition coming on the heels of the Paris bombing by ISIL operatives, and Western pressure that Muslims must themselves forge a coalition to fight domestically-grown terrorism, make it easier for the US to claim that the US is indeed serious about fighting terrorism across the board and not selectively as it has throughout the Obama administration in northern Africa during the rebel uprisings and in the Middle East – Yemen, Libya and especially Syria.
The absence of tangible results in Western-led coalition to destabilize Syria sufficiently so that there is regime change and sink into chaos has backfired both in terms of a massive refugee problem for which the EU must pay but also the continued strength of jihadists and their anti-Western campaign. These developments convinced Washington that a move closer to the Russia-Iranian position with which China agrees was necessary, especially given the massive evidence that ISIL oil and ammunitions operations in fact facilitated through Turkey, profiting Erdogan’s family and crony capitalists.
After spending more than $1 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US finds itself in the unusual position of watching the government in Baghdad under the hegemonic influence of Iran, adamantly opposed to Turkey and much closer to Russia than the State Department prefers. In short, the problem of spending billions and having absolutely nothing to show for it other than feeding the defense industry with more contracts while adding to the public deficit convinced the US that a diplomatic solution rather than a military one is much cheaper and beneficial in both the short term and the longer run.
The “Metternichian” (Austrian Prince Klemens von Metternich, 1773-1859) that Henry Kissinger introduced to US foreign policy during the Vietnam War, is now back under the Obama-Kerry team to resolve the impasse over Syria. Metternich was a conservative imperialist who wanted to prevent revolutionary changes and to maintain the balance of power in Europe. At least one scholar has argued that Vladimir Putin is a modern-day Metternich in so far as he respects the traditional spheres of influence, likes dealing with the Great Powers directly to resolve regional conflicts and is a conservative imperialist. Finding itself in a serious predicament with a failed Middle East policy, the Obama administration has been forced back to Metternich as well.
On 16 December 2015, US Sec/State John Kerry announced that the US, Russia and China agreed that the institutions of the Assad regime must remain intact while during a transitional period President Assad would have to prepare his exit from power. The Saudis and the pro-Western rebel groups in Syria also agreed because they would have to convert into political factions and compete in the electoral process while the country would contain some of the dreadful refugee problem that is a nightmare for Syria’s neighbors and the EU. At the same time, the UN Security Council approved a US-Russia proposal to cut ISIL funding, something that requires the cooperation of governments around the world because ISL operates not just in Syria and Iraq, but Yemen, Libya and other countries, as does al-Qaeda that is included in this measure. Obviously, this means that Turkey would be the big loser despite its efforts to cover its tracks of back-door cooperation with ISIL by using various groups to fight Syria’s Assad government.
On 17 December 2015 that the US and Russia agreed to maintain the structure of the Assad regime but not the man in leadership, the UN Sec-General has stated that the solution of the Syrian crisis must not depend on the fate of a single man, Assad to the detriment of an entire nation. The UN statement provides the diplomatic cover for the US approach of multilateral foreign policy solution that includes Russia as a key player. This leaves Turkey in an odd position, scrambling to secure allies, including ameliorate relations with Israel after several years of a mini-Cold War and even Greek Cyprus where Russian oligarchs enjoy enormous economic influence and with which Russia has cordial relations.
Of course, anything can go wrong, as things have in the last five years without a peaceful solution so far. Similar multilateral solutions have been floated before, but the intense competition among the great powers seeking imperialist advantages in spheres of influence as well as the ambitions of lesser regional players preclude agreement. In an election year in the US, Obama wants a deal on Syria after ameliorating relations with Iran and Cuba, if for no other reasons than to save face and allow Hillary Clinton an advantage in 2016 by depriving the Republicans the number one issue on their platform which is terrorism and military solutions in the Middle East.
In August 2013, the online journal Investors.com published a story entitled “Attack on Syria is About Saving Face, Not US” in which it claimed: “A Turkish jihadist website 14 months ago claimed that Syrian opposition forces obtained chemical weapons equipment from a Syrian army base in the northwest city of Aleppo. And Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Al Nusra Front has plotted sarin and mustard gas attacks, say recent reports out of Iraq and Turkey.”
History will show whether the Obama administration manufactured stories and covered up evidence to destabilize Syria exactly as the Bush team did in declaring war on Iraq. The larger question that has been raised during the Obama presidency by various analysts is to what extent is the US willing to sacrifice resources pursuing militaristic foreign policy that in the end will fail as it did under George W. Bush? The US decision in mid-December to cut loses and run with a compromise deal that includes Russia but also Iran and China is an indication of lessons never learned from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan where military solutions also failed.
Russia had repeated all along that it was not committed to Assad personally, implying it wanted a regime that would not lock out Moscow from its historic role in Syria as a sphere of influence. Russia’s angry response to Turkey’s downing its jet fighter is also another reason to de-escalate tensions by adopting the Metternich-Kissinger approach of having the Great Powers, all motivated by imperialist aims, solve conflicts at the regional level before such conflicts escalate into a major war.
To appease Israel, the US offered additional aid as a payoff and a virtual carte blanche on the Palestinians. This will not stop the endless propaganda war against the US-Iran deal, but it appeases the Jewish lobby in the US and the pro-Israeli elements that are the same ones advocating unilateral military solutions rather than a Metternichian diplomatic route. Meanwhile, the concession to Iran was the agreement between the US and Russia on saving the Assad institutions but not Assad who would finish serving out his term and not run for reelection or resign before the term expires. This allows Iran and Hezbollah to retain their influence in Syria.
The US-Russia rapprochement on Syria is a deal between imperialists and there were signs that it has been in the works as early as August 2015 when the US hinted that it would indeed compromise with Russia and Iran.
(http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/08/30/The-fate-of-President-Bashar-al-Assad.html) Domestically, the Obama administration can claim that it prevailed on this issue against Republican calls for putting troops on the ground in Syria, a scenario that could potentially be much worse than Vietnam because Russia and Iran, backed by China would have to react diplomatically as well as militarily by supplying arms to the pro-Assad elements.
The question that even Republicans have been asking is what would replace Assad? Would it be a regime even more hostile to the US than the existing one? After all, what replaced Hussein in Iraq but a regime beholden to Iran and increasingly at odds with the US. The following excerpt from an article by a CATO Institute member illustrates the skepticism of many about US foreign policy in the Middle East and specifically ISIL. “The Obama administration’s war against the Islamic State is turning into another interminable conflict that serves the interests of other nations far more than America. U.S. policy has been impossibly incoherent, attempting to do everything: oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, shove aside next door Iran, defeat vicious jihadist insurgents, promote ineffectual “moderate” forces, convince the Gulf States to act against the extremists they’ve been supporting, promote diplomacy without participation by Damascus and Tehran, and convince Turkey to serve U.S. rather than Islamic interests.”
The Paris bombing combined with the refugee crisis that EU has been facing was also another very serious dimension in the change of US policy from regime change to a Metternichian-style diplomatic solution of diving spheres of influence through negotiations and preserving the status quo threatened by jihadist rebels. After agreeing to pay off Turkey $3.3 billion to keep Syrian and Iraqi refugees from crossing over to the European continent in the aftermath of Turkey shooting down the Russian jet fighter, the flow of refugees remains the same prompting concerns on the part of Germany that Ankara has no intention of honoring the deal.
Turkey received other concessions, including easing of visa terms to allow Turks into the EU, as well as a more serious effort to induct Turkey into the European Union and open its markets for goods in the wake of Russia’s sanctions. In the end, Turkey’s imperial ambitions at the regional level mirror those of the Great Powers at the global level. However, just as Turkey was a pawn during the Cuban Missile crisis when the US placed missiles on its soil directed at the USSR, but then had to bargain them away, similarly Turkey today is between East and West and it constantly tries to play all sides for leverage. That it has an Islamist ruling party rather than a secular one based on Kemalist principles is not an advantage on the international scene at this point amid the war on terror targeting jihadists. The only option for Turkey is to adjust to the realities of the Great Powers’ imperialist interests and see what benefits it can derive.
Finally, human rights violations and the humanitarian crisis in Syria have been of concern to the UN that has accused the Assad government and the rebels for creating amid the civil war. The humanitarian crisis and human rights violations took place because of the weakened “state structure” in Syria, just as has taken place in other Islamic countries that suffered destabilization and externally-imposed regime change. Factors contributing to weakened state structures include a weak economy based on extreme uneven income distribution that leaves the vast majority in chronically poor status and in some cases receptive to support a jihadist organization. However, the anti-Islamic crusade on the part of the Western countries that simply dismisses all Muslims as suspects of “terrorism”, as well as the regional wars that the West has started along with regime change operations convince Muslims that racism on the basis of religion is deep-seated among Western Caucasian Christians who have no problem with the merciless apartheid state in Israel at the expense of the Palestnians.
If the Metternichian route works for the US and Russia with China taking a back seat but supporting it, then it could become a model for regional conflict resolution in the future as the Great Powers will continue to struggle for spheres of influence and markets on a world scale. Imperialism is at the core of the problem and that does not seem to be vanishing any time soon. On the contrary, more and more it seems that we are back in the era of 1870-1914 when wars of imperialism took place around the world and eventually led to a global conflict. The only difference today is that the Great Powers possess nuclear weapons that themselves impose self-restraint, thus forcing governments to step back from the madness of total war.
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How incredible is this…
The United States is technically not at war with any country right now but dropped more than 26,000 bombs in just 2016 and this under a “anti-war” President.
We have an entire generation of Americans who have lived only under a system of “perpetual war”.
The time is long overdue to redefine these issues.
By Ben Swann
Source: Ben Swann FB
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First published by GR in February 2015 in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Terror Attacks
The barbarous phenomenon we recently witnessed in France has roots that go back to at least 1979 when the mujahedeen made their appearance in Afghanistan. At that time their ire was directed at the leftist Taraki government that had come into power in April of 1978. This government’s ascension to power was a sudden and totally indigenous happening – with equal surprise to both the USA and the USSR.
In April of 1978 the Afghan army deposed the country’s government because of its oppressive measures, and then created a new government, headed by a leftist, Nur Mohammad Taraki, who had been a writer, poet and professor of journalism at the University of Kabul. Following this, for a brief period of time, Afghanistan had a progressive secular government, with broad popular support. As I pointed out in an earlier publication, this government “. . . enacted progressive reforms and gave equal rights to women. It was in the process of dragging the country into the 20th century, and as British political scientist Fred Halliday stated in May 1979 (1), ‘probably more has changed in the countryside over the last year than in two centuries since the state was established.’”
The Taraki government’s first course of action was to declare non-alignment in foreign affairs and to affirm a commitment to Islam within a secular state. Among the much needed reforms, women were given equal rights, and girls were to go to school and be in the same classroom as boys. Child marriages and feudal dowry payments were banned. Labour unions were legalized, and some 10,000 people were released from prisons. Within a short time hundreds of schools and medical clinics were built in the countryside.
The landholding system hadn’t changed much since the feudal period; more than three-quarters of the land was owned by landlords who composed only 3 percent of the rural population. Reforms began on September 1, 1978 by the abolition all debts owed by farmers – landlords and moneylenders had charged up to 45 percent interest. A program was being developed for major land reform, and it was expected that all farm families (including landlords) would be given the equivalent of equal amounts of land. (2)
What happened to this progressive government? In brief, it was undermined by the CIA and the mujahedeen, which triggered a series of events that destroyed the country – and ironically led to the disaster of September 11, 2001 in the USA and to the present chaos and tragedy in Afghanistan.Even before the CIA got involved, as would be expected, the rich landlords and mullahs objected to not only land reform but to all the reforms. Most of the 250,000 mullahs were rich landlords who in their sermons told people that only Allah could give them land, and that Allah would object to giving women equal rights or having girls go to school. But the reforms were popular, so these reactionary elements left for Pakistan, as “refugees.” With assistance from Pakistan, they proceeded to conduct raids on the Afghan countryside where they burned clinics and schools, and if they found teachers teaching girls, they would kill the teachers, often disembowelling them in the presence of the children – to instill fear and panic in the population.Although having no right to interfere in another country’s affairs, the USA viewed the new government as being Marxist and was determined to subvert it. At first unofficially, but officially after July 3, 1979 with President Carter’s authorization, the CIA, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, began to provide military aid and training to the Muslim extremists, who became known as the mujahedeen and “freedom fighters.”
In addition, the CIA recruited Hafizullah Amin, an Afghan Ph.D. student in the USA, and got him to act as a hard-line Marxist. He successfully worked his way up in the Afghan government and in September of 1979 he carried out a coup, and had Taraki killed. With Amin in charge, he jailed thousands of people and undermined the army and discredited the government. To ward off the thousands of well-armed mujahedeen invaders, many being foreign mercenaries, Amin was forced by his government to invite some Soviet troops.(3) Shortly afterwards, Amin was killed and was replaced as president by Babrak Karmal, a former member of the Taraki government who had been in exile in Czechoslovakia. Although still clouded by cold war politics and uncertain history, Karmal “invited” the USSR to send in thousands of troops to deal with the mujahedeen forces. What’s not widely known is that the USA through the CIA had been actively involved in Afghan affairs for at least a year, and it was in response to this that the Soviets arrived on the scene.
As I stated some years ago: “The advent of Soviet troops on Afghan soil tragically set the stage for the eventual destruction of the country. Zbigniew Brzezinski, president Carter’s National Security Advisor, afterwards bragged that he had convinced Carter to authorize the CIA to set a trap for the Russian bear and to give the USSR the taste of a Vietnam war.(4) Brzezinski saw this as a golden opportunity to fire up the zeal of the most reactionary Muslim fanatics — to have them declare a jihad (holy war) on the atheist infidels who defiled Afghan soil — and to not only expel them but to pursue them and “liberate” the Muslim-majority areas of the USSR. And for the next 10 years, with an expenditure of billions of dollars from the USA and Saudi Arabia, and with the recruitment of thousands of non-Afghan Muslims into the jihad (including Osama bin Laden), this army of religious zealots laid waste to the land and people of Afghanistan.”
Sending in troops to Afghanistan was acolossal blunder on the part of the USSR. If the Soviets had simply provided weapons for the Afghan government, they may have survived the “barbarians at the gates” – because ordinary Afghan people were not fanatics and most of them had supported the government’s progressive reforms.
Being unable to entice enough Afghanis for this war, the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan recruited about 35,000 Muslim radicals, from 40 Islamic countries to conduct the war against the Afghan government and the Soviet forces. The CIA covertly trained and sponsored these foreign warriors, hence the fundamentalism that emerged in Afghanistan is a CIA construct. Although the mujahedeen were referred to as “freedom fighters,” they committed horrific atrocities and were terrorists of the first order.
As reported in US media, a “favourite tactic” of the mujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their noses, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another,” leading to “a slow, very painful death.” The article describes Russian prisoners caged like animals and “living lives of indescribable horror.” (5) Another publication cites a journalist from the Far Eastern Economic Review reporting that “one [Soviet] group was killed, skinned and hung up in a butcher’s shop”. (6)
Despite these graphic reports, President Reagan continued to refer to the mujahedeen as “freedom fighters” and in 1985 he invited a group of them to Washington where he entertained them in the Whitehouse. Afterwards, while introducing them to the media, he stated, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” (7)
Surely Soviet soldiers were every bit as human as American soldiers – just suppose it had been American soldiers who had been skinned alive. Would President Reagan in such an instance still refer to the mujahedeen as “freedom fighters” . . . or might he have referred to them correctly as terrorists, just as the Soviets had done? Indeed, how these actions are portrayed depends on whose ox is gored.
President Reagan meets Afghan Mujahedeen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives )
The Soviets succumbed to their Vietnam and withdrew their troops in February of 1989, but the war raged on, with continuing American military aid, but it took until April of 1992 before the Afghan Marxist government was finally defeated. Then for the next four years the mujahedeen destroyed much of Kabul and killed some 50,000 people as they fought amongst themselves and conducted looting and rape campaigns until the Taliban routed them and captured Kabul in September of 1996. The Taliban, trained as fanatic Muslims in Pakistan, “liberated” the country from the mujahedeen, but then established an atrocious reactionary regime. Once in power the Taliban brought in a reign of Islamist terror, especially on women. They imposed an ultra-sectarian version of Islam, closely related to Wahhabism, the ruling creed in Saudi Arabia.
The US “communist paranoia” and their policy to undermine the USSR was such that they supported and recruited the most reactionary fanatic religious zealots on the earth — and used them as a proxy army to fight communism and the USSR — in the course of which Afghanistan and its people were destroyed. But it didn’t end there. The mujahedeen metastasized and took on a life of their own, spreading to various parts of the Muslim world. They went on to fight the Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo, with the full knowledge and support of the USA. But then, ironically, having defeated what they called Soviet imperialism, these “freedom fighters” turned their sights on what they perceive to be American imperialism, particularly its support for Israel and its attacks on Muslim lands.And so a creation of the USA’s own making turned on them – the progeny of Reagan’s wonderful “freedom fighters” lashed out and America experienced September 11, 2001. But what have the US government and most American people learned from this? From their inflated opinion of themselves as the world’s “exceptional” and “indispensible” nation, as President Obama arrogantly keeps reminding the world, neither the American government nor its people have ever connected the dots. Is there anything in their recent history that could explain 9/11 to them? In a nutshell, it never occurs to them that if the USA had left the progressive Afghan Taraki government alone, there would have been no army of mujahedeen, no Soviet intervention, no war that destroyed Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, and hence no September 11 tragedy in the USA.Instead of reflecting on the possible causes of what occurred, and learning from this, the USA immediately resorted to war, to be followed by a series of additional wars, which brings to mind Marx’s sardonic comment in which he corrected Hegel’s observation that history repeats itself, adding that it does so “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”In response to the USA’s demand for Osama bin Laden, the Afghan Taliban government offered to turn him over to an international tribunal, but they wanted to see evidence linking him to 9/11.(8) The USA had no such evidence and bin Laden denied having anything to do with 9/11.(9) To corroborate bin Laden’s denial, the FBI has in its records that “. . . the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”(10) Right till the present time, the FBI has never changed its position on this.As became known later, the 9/11 plot was hatched in Hamburg, Germany by an Al-Qaeda cell so the 9/11 attack had nothing to do with Afghanistan. Despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and that the USA had no evidence linking Afghanistan or bin Laden to the 9/11 attack, the US launched a war on Afghanistan, and of course without UN approval, so this was an illegal war.
Even if the USA wanted to depose the Taliban government, there was no need for a war. In rare unanimity, all the anti-Taliban Afghan groups pleaded with the US government not to bomb or invade the country. (11) They pointed out that to remove the Taliban government all that the USA had to do was to force Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to stop funding the Taliban, and shortly after the regime would collapse on its own. So the USA could have had its regime change without destroying the country and killing hundreds of thousands of Afghanis as well as thousands of its own troops, and having the war continue from 2001 into 2015 . . . America’s longest war. If this is not farce, what is it?
And the farce continued. Once in war mode, in 2003 the US launched another illegal war, this time on Iraq, a war based on outright lies and deception – a war crime of the first order. This war was even more tragic. It killed over a million Iraqis, basically destroyed the country, and destroyed a secular society, replacing it with on-going religious fratricide. In the course of this war, the Afghan al-Qaeda moved into Iraq and served as a model for young Iraqis to fight the American invaders. Although the American forces conquered Iraq quickly, they were faced with unrelenting guerrilla warfare, which eventually led to their departure in 2011. During these years the Americans jailed thousands of young Iraqi men, and inadvertently turned most of them into fervent jihadists. Prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Bucca had an incendiary effect on the ongoing insurgency, but now these jihadists weren’t called “freedom fighter” – they lost this endearing appellation in Afghanistan when American soldiers replaced Soviet soldiers.
As if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq weren’t enough, in the spring of 2011 the US surreptitiously launched the beginnings of a further war, long in planning, and this one was on Syria. Somehow “spontaneously” there was an uprising of “freedom fighters” whose objective was to overthrow Syria’s secular government, which displeased the USA. Right from the beginning it was suspected that the USA was behind the uprising, since as early as 2007 General Wesley Clark stated in an interview that in 2001, a few weeks after 9/11, he was told by an American high ranking general about plans “to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” Also in 2007, Seymour Hersh, in a much cited article, stated that “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad of Syria.”
The so-called “Free Syrian Army” was a creation of the US and NATO, and its objective was to provoke the Syrian police and army and once there was a deployment of tanks and armored vehicles this would supposedly justify outside military intervention under NATO’s mandate of “responsibility to protect” – with the objective of doing to Syria what they had done to Libya. However, with Russia’s veto at the UN this didn’t work out as planned.
To resolve this setback, the CIA, together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, proceeded to do exactly what had been done in Afghanistan – hordes of foreign Salafist Muslim “freedom fighters” were brought into Syria for the express purpose of overthrowing its secular government. With unlimited funds and American weapons, the first mercenaries were Iraqi al-Qaeda who, ironically, came into existence in the course of fighting the American army in Iraq. They were then followed by dozens of al-Qaeda’s other groups, notably al-Nusra, with its plans to change Syria’s multi-racial secular society into a Sunni Islamic state.
Right from the beginning of the uprising in Syria, the US was telling the world that “Assad had to go” and that they were intervening by helping “moderates” in the Free Syrian Army to overthrow the Syrian “regime.” However, to no one’s surprise, the ineffective “moderate” Free Syrian Army was soon inundated with Salafist Muslim groups who proceeded to launch a series of terrorist attacks throughout Syria. The Syrian government correctly identified these attacks as being the work of terrorists, but this was dismissed by the mainstream media as propaganda. The fact that the country was beset by suicide bombings and the beheading of soldiers, civilians, journalists, aid workers, and public officials was simply ignored.
Despite these reports, the USA insisted it was only providing “assistance” to those who identified themselves as being part of the Free Syrian Army. As reported in June 2012 by the New York Times, “CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government… The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.”
In addition, after the Gaddafi Libyan government was deposed in August 2011 by al-Qaeda forces, supported by NATO bombing, the CIA arranged for the transfer of Libyan weapons to Syrian rebels. As reported in the UK Times and by Seymour Hersh, a Libyan ship docked in Turkey with 400 tonnes of armaments, including forty SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and other munitions. Then in early 2013 a further major arms shipment, known as the Great Croatian Weapons Airlift, consisted of 3,000 tonnes of military weaponry from Croatia, Britain and France, coordinated by the CIA. This was flown out of Zagreb, Croatia, in 75 transport planes to Turkey for distribution to “worthy” Syrian mercenaries. In a further report, the New York Times (March 24, 2013) stated that it was Saudi Arabia that paid for these weapons and that there were actually 160 military cargo flights.
Despite all the efforts of the USA, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to support the various groups that formed the Free Syrian Army, Syrian government forces continued to rout and defeat them. Moreover, many of these ‘moderate’ forces were defecting and joining militant jihadist groups. Then in early 2014 an apparently unknown military force appeared on the scene, seemingly from “out of nowhere” and began to make spectacular military gains. It had a number of names, one being the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but then it became simply the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in Arabic. It got worldwide attention when in a matter of days it took over a quarter of Iraq, including the second largest city, Mosul – caused the Iraqi army to flee and disintegrate, and threatened to attack Baghdad. Shortly after, the beheading of two American journalists baited the US to once again send forces to Iraq and to begin a bombing campaign on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria.
Before its attack on Iraq, ISIS already had a strong base in Syria, and then with tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army in Mosul, ISIS now controls almost a third of Syria. Hence at present it covers an area almost the size of Britain, with a population of about six million. ISIS does not recognize the borders of Syria and Iraq and considers the area under its control to be the frontiers of a Caliphate state with a militant vision of Islam. This is the direct result of the desert storm of Saudi cash that has been spent on global Wahhabi proselytizing and indoctrination, resulting in a reactionary medieval, toxic “religion” – that has nothing to do with legitimate Islam.
At the beginning, the “Islamic State” was nothing more than an appendage of al-Qaeda – with al-Qaeda itself being directly armed, funded, and backed by stalwart US allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with the full support Turkey. And behind all this was the desire of the USA and NATO to undermine and destroy the secular government of Syria. As Patrick Cockburn stated in a recent perceptive article, ”The foster parents of Isis and the other Sunni jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey.” He cites the former head of MI6 saying that ‘Such things do not happen spontaneously.’ Cockburn states further that “It’s unlikely the Sunni community as a whole in Iraq would have lined up behind Isis without the support Saudi Arabia . . . . Turkey’s role has been different but no less significant than Saudi Arabia’s in aiding Isis and other jihadi groups. Its most important action has been to keep open its 510-mile border with Syria. This gave Isis, al-Nusra and other opposition groups a safe rear base from which to bring in men and weapons. . . . Turkish military intelligence may have been heavily involved in aiding Isis when it was reconstituting itself in 2011.”
Following its policy of trying to have full spectrum dominance in the world, the US has not hesitated to support terrorist groups when it was in their interests, e.g., the creation of the mujahedeen and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. While they fought the Soviets they were “freedom fighters,” but then came the blowback of 9/11 . . . and they instantly became terrorists, resulting in America’s “War on Terror.” The illegal war of aggression on and military occupation of Iraq resulted in the creation of a resistance movement – a new variant of al-Qaeda, viewed of course as terrorists. Then came the “attack” on the Assad government in Syria, launched by American, NATO, Saudi, Qatar and Turkish campaigns. At first it was in the guise of indigenous “freedom fighters”, the Free Syrian Army, but when they made little headway, additional “freedom fighters” appeared, in the form of al-Qaeda, in all its varieties, culminating in ISIS. These erstwhile terrorists now became allies in the campaign to depose Syria’s Assad government. Although Syria viewed them correctly as foreign terrorists, their claims were largely ignored . . . until two American journalists were beheaded.
At about the same time that the American journalists were beheaded there was fierce fighting going on in Syria and wherever Syrian soldiers were captured they were summarily executed, with many being beheaded, all this being meticulously filmed. A large number of websites show this but one in particular, entitled “Syrianfight: Documenting War Crimes in Syria” shows dozens of gruesome execution scenes, including the mass execution in August 2014 of 220 Syrian soldiers near the Tabqa airbase. Just imagine if 220 American soldiers had been executed and beheaded what an outcry there would have been. Instead, the mainstream media concentrated solely on the two beheaded journalists, which indeed was an outrage, but where was the outrage for the hundreds of beheaded Syrian soldiers? Basically, nothing was said about what ISIS was doing in Syria.
Although there was outrage in the USA about what ISIS had done to two American citizens, there was practically no soul searching about the cause of this religious extremism and the possibility that this was just another case of blowback from what the USA had done to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Not surprisingly, the USA’s response was to announce a series of air strikes to “degrade” the capability of ISIS, but there were also to be “no boots on the ground” so actually the military defeat of ISIS was left unresolved – perhaps purposefully. In reality, the sudden military power of ISIS left the West and its regional allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – with a quandary: their official policy is to depose Assad, but ISIS is now the only effective military force in Syria so if the Syrian government is deposed, it would be ISIS that would fill the vacuum. So, was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the assault on Syria in 2011 going to result in the creation of a powerful jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria? Under such a fanatic Wahhabi regime, what would happen to the multicultural and multi-religious society of Syria?
In the face of this stark reality, as summed up by Patrick Cockburn: “. . . the US and its allies have responded to the rise of Isis by descending into fantasy. They pretend they are fostering a ‘third force’ of moderate Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and Isis, though in private Western diplomats admit this group doesn’t really exist outside a few beleaguered pockets.” Moreover, as soon as such forces are trained and equipped great numbers of them proceed to join al-Nusra or ISIS, e.g., 3,000 of them this past January. But is there method behind this obvious delusion? Is it really the intent of the US and its allies to bumble along and let ISIS proceed to defeat the Syrian army? And once this fanatic Sunni Wahhabi regime takes over Syria, is the next stage to be an attack on Shiite Iran, the next Muslim country to be destroyed? The boots on the ground in such a venture would be those of ISIS.
To counter this Machiavellian possibility, there has recently been evidence that perhaps at some level there is the realization that the permanent establishment of a fanatic Caliphate state with a militant vision of Islam is perhaps not such a good idea. What until recently has seemed to be a matter beyond the realm of possibility, there now appears evidence the US may be prepared to actually deal with President Assad of Syria. As reported in the New York Times (Jan. 15 and Jan. 19, 2015) the UN envoy for the crisis in Syria is trying to convince the Syrian government and ISIS to “freeze” the fighting on the ground, in area by area, and then somehow try to end the war. President Assad has been receptive to the idea, but there has been no response from ISIS. Also, on Russia’s initiative, a meeting is taking place in Moscow to prepare for a conference that will try to resolve the Syria crisis. The good news is that the US has become supportive of both courses of action.
Another sign of encouragement has been the publication in Foreign Affairs (Jan 27, 2015) of a lengthy wide-ranging interview with President Assad. This is important for both the members of the US government and the American public in general. Assad has stated that he would be prepared to meet with anyone but not with “a puppet of Qatar or Saudi Arabia or any Western country, including the United States, paid from the outside. It should be Syrian.” Also he stated that any resolution that comes from a conference would have to “go back to the people through a referendum” before it would be adopted. What could be more democratic than such a procedure? Through such a course of action Syria could retain its secular status and evolve into a true democratic state.
Hence despite the viciousness of the ongoing war in Syria, these events offer a glimmer of hope that might end this foreign-inspired conflagration that has left over 220,000 dead, a million wounded and millions more displaced. But if it turns out that ISIS will refuse to end its attacks on Syria, the rational thing for the US to do would be to stop its campaign to overthrow the Syrian government and to then cooperate with Syria to defeat the ISIS forces. With coordinated US and Syrian air strikes, the Syrian army would provide the necessary “boots on the ground” to defeat Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi gift to this area. But is this simply beyond the realm of possibility?
A short summary is in order. First, to what extent are the US and its allies responsible for the creation of ISIS and its co-partner al-Qaeda as well as its various spin-off groups? At the very beginning, we must recall that it was the USA that created the mujahedeen and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, and later got the blowback of 9/11. It was the US invasion of Iraq that created al-Qaeda as a resistance movement. It was the USA that fomented the uprising in Syria and when their Free Syrian Army was facing defeat, to the rescue came Iraqi al-Qaeda, with unlimited financial support and direction from the USA’s allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and tactical assistance from Turkey. And it’s this al-Qaeda that metastasized into ISIS. Also, the US has generated additional enemies through its drone campaign, especially in Yemen and Pakistan.
But is this all there is to this story? An offshoot from it is the recent attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo magazine that left 12 people dead, including its editor and prominent cartoonists. It was apparently done by men connected to al-Qaeda who had been outraged by the magazine’s derogatory cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. The attack sparked a massive outcry, with millions in France and across the world taking to the streets to support freedom of the press behind the rallying cry of “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”
It’s instructive to put this matter in historical context. In Nazi Germany, there was an anti-Semitic newspaper called Der Stürmer, noted for its morbid caricatures of Jews. Its editor, Julius Streicher, was put on trial at Nürnberg and hanged because of his stories and cartoons about Jews. In 1999 during its bombing campaign on Serbia, NATO deliberately bombed a Radio/TV station in Belgrade, killing 16 journalists. The US bombed the Al Jazeera headquarters in Kabul in 2001 and in 2003 Al Jazeera was bombed in Baghdad, killing journalists. In its attacks on Gaza, Israel has deliberately killed a large number of journalists.
The issue of “freedom of the press” was hardly raised in the above instances – certainly there were no mass street protests. In the case of Charlie Hebdo, this was not a model of freedom of speech. In reality, Charlie Hebdo’s political pornography of Muslims is hardly any different from the way Jews were portrayed in Der Stürmer.
The US and its various allies have launched wars, death and destruction in many Muslim countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Gaza, Yemen, Syria. To add to this, Saudi Arabia has apparently spent more than $100 billion trying to propagate its fanatical Wahhabism, a relatively small sect that is despised in the Muslim world at large, but which has nevertheless tarnished the Muslim image. And because of this, for some people in the West it’s somehow become acceptable to degrade, demean, humiliate, mock and insult Muslims. It was in this spirit that the cartoonists chose to mock Mohammad, under the guise of freedom of expression. It’s noteworthy that Charlie Hebdo had once fired a journalist because of one line he had written that was criticized by a Zionist lobby, but when it comes to Muslims, it was open season on them. In a judgment issued by US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, freedom of speech does not give one the right to “falsely shout fire in a crowded theater.” Also there is a provision in the US constitution that prohibits publishing “fighting words” which could result in violence. All this was ignored by the editors and publishers of Charlie Hebdo. The penalty should not have been death but they bear considerable responsibility for what happened. Sadly, the West’s uncritical embrace of the Charlie Hebdo caricatures was because the drawings were directed at and ridiculed Muslims. There is no question that the “desperate and despised people” of today are Muslims.
When ISIS beheaded two American journalists, there was outrage and denunciation throughout the West, but when the same ISIS beheaded hundreds of Syrian soldiers, and meticulously filmed these war crime, this was hardly reported anywhere. In addition, almost from the very beginning of the Syrian tragedy, al-Qaeda groups have been killing and torturing not only soldiers but police, government workers and officials, journalists, Christian church people, aid workers, women and children, as well as suicide bombings in market places. All this was covered up in the mainstream media, and when the Syrian government correctly denounced this as terrorism, this was ignored or denounced as “Assad’s propaganda.”
So why weren’t these atrocities reported in the western media? If this was reported it would have run counter to Washington’s proclaimed agenda that “Assad has to go,” so the mainstream media followed the official line. There is nothing new in this. History shows that the media supported every Western-launched war, insurrection and coup – the wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and coups such as those on Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, and most recently in Ukraine.
- Fred Halliday, “Revolution in Afghanistan,” New Left Review, No. 112, pp. 3-44, 1978.
- I was in Afghanistan in November 1978 working on an agricultural research project while on sabbatical leave and all these reforms and government measures were explained to me at considerable length by the Dean of Agriculture and some of the professors during a lengthy session at Kabul University. Halliday (cited above) also reported on the land-redistribution program.
- Washington Post, December 23, 1979, p.A8. Soviet troops had started arriving in Afghanistan on December 8, to which the article states: “There was no charge [by the State Department] that the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan, since the troops apparently were invited.”
- “How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen”: Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76 http://www.counterpunch.org/brzezinski.html
- Washington Post, January 13, 1985.
- John Fullerton, The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan, (London), 1984.
- Eqbal Ahmad, “Terrorism: Theirs and Ours,” (A Presentation at the University of Colorado, Boulder, October 12, 1993) http://www.sangam.org/ANALYSIS/Ahmad.htm; Cullen Murphy, “The
- Gold Standard: The quest for the Holy Grail of equivalence,” Atlantic Monthly, January 2002 http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200201/murphy
- “Taliban repeats call for negotiations,” CNN.com, October 2, 2001, includes comment: “Afghanistan’s ruling Taiban repeated its demand for evidence before it would hand over suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Ladin.” http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/central/10/02/ret.afghan.taliban/; Noam Chomsky, “The War on Afghanistan,” Znet, December 30, 2001 http://www.globalpolicy.org/wtc/targets/1230chomsky.htm
- “Bin Laden says he wasn’t behind attacks,” CNN.com, September 17, 2001. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/16/inv.binladen.denial/
- Ed Haas, “FBI says, it has ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11’,” Muckraker Report, June 6, 2006. http://www.teamliberty.net/id267.html
- Noam Chomsky, “The War on Afghanistan,” Znet, December 30, 2001 http://www.globalpolicy.org/wtc/targets/1230chomsky.htm; Barry Bearak, “Leaders of the Old Afghanistan Prepare for the New,” NYT, October 25, 2001; John Thornhill and Farhan Bokhari, “Traditional leaders call for peace jihad,” FT, October 25, 2001; “Afghan peace assembly call,” FT, October 26, 2001; John Burns, “Afghan Gathering in Pakistan Backs Future Role for King,” NYT, October 26, 2001; Indira Laskhmanan, “1,000 Afghan leaders discuss a new regime, BG, October 25, 26, 2001.
“I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face.”
– U.S. General Stanley A. McCrystal in his inaugural speech as ISAF Commander in June 2009.
The dust had hardly settled on Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria before Western media reports claimed that ‘civilians’ had been killed “including women and children”.
Leaving aside the dubious nature of these allegations – the first of which was made before Russian airstrikes had even begun, according to Putin – Western propaganda outlets and the politicians they serve are in no position to point the finger at Russia over any purported “collateral damage”.
Comparing recent BBC headlines with BBC headlines from 4 years ago when NATO obliterated several cities in Libya, you could be forgiven for thinking that BBC journalists and editors have only now realised that bombs kill people, in particular Russian bombs (the British, French and American variety only ever killing ‘bad guys’ with ‘pin-point accuracy’).
Four years ago, not a word, much less a headline, was carried by Western newspapers about the slaughter of the people of Sirte by NATO war planes. The information was available, they just failed to report it.
In a call from a satellite phone to Reuters’ office in Tunis on Saturday 17th September 2011, Libyan politician Moussa Ibrahim said:
“NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city’s main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential flats.
“The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night.”
“In the last 17 days more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes.”
But U.S., British and French slaughter of civilians in Libya pales into relative insignificance when compared to the overall death toll from the last 12 years of the U.S.-led ‘war on terror’.
Washington’s Middle East Mass Murder
The best academic estimates on the number of civilians killed in the illegal U.S.-led wars on the Iraqi, Afghani and Pakistani peoples amount to at least 1.5 million as a direct result of Western military action of one form or another. Several million more deaths can be added when indirect deaths are included. At least 20 million more have been displaced from their homes.
As some may remember, Washington’s ‘war on terror’ was justified by the 9/11 attacks, which were blamed on “al-qaeda”, which the U.S. government initially claimed to be fighting but is now funding (along with other terrorists) against the Syrian government.
As some may also remember, most of the alleged 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. None were from Iraq or Afghanistan. Senator Bob Graham told PBS news in 2001 that the 9/11 attacks were clearly state-sponsored. A 9/11 Commissioner and the Co-Chair of Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 both said in sworn statements that the Saudi government is linked to the 9/11 attacks. Yet no action, much less accusations, has ever been directed at Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, the U.S. government has gone to great lengths to protect the Saudis from exposure.
Just two days ago, a U.S. judge dismissed a case taken against Saudi Arabia by families of 9/11 victims who accused the country of providing material support to al-Qaeda. The judge said that the presentation of any new evidence in the case was futile because the nutty royal headchoppers enjoy “sovereign immunity”.
Does anyone see a pattern here? Saudi Arabia, in league with U.S. intelligence agencies, was involved in using Muslim terrorists to take the blame for the 9/11 attacks, which were used to justify the U.S. ‘war on terror’ that aims to thwart Russian influence in the Middle East (and maintain Israel as an apartheid colonial outpost), a region that today sees Saudi Arabia and U.S. intelligence agencies financing more Muslim terrorists to overthrow the Syrian government in an effort to, you guessed it, thwart Russian influence in the Middle East and thereby maintain Israel as an apartheid colonial outpost. Does anyone think the Russians haven’t understood this long ago?
So when you hear Russian government officials saying that they are targeting only “ISIS”, don’t be fooled. Instead, understand (as the Russians do) that international political protocol as established by Western governments requires that you lie to your interlocutors, as long as you do it with a smile and a handshake.
So make no mistake, Russian jets not only have “ISIS” in their sights, but also every atavistic ‘rebel’ monstrosity birthed from the vile cesspool that is the West’s Middle Eastern foreign policy, including John McCain’s 5 remaining CIA-trained ‘rebel’ friends. And rightly so.
Syria’s Phony Revolution
Despite what Western governments would like us to believe, the beginning of the ‘Syrian revolution’ in 2011 did not involve a mass uprising of ordinary Syrian people. It involved relatively small anti-government demonstrations and extremely large pro-government rallies. These were, however, quickly overshadowed by violent attacks on demonstrators, Syrian police and government buildings by well-equipped groups that were trained and armed by Western military and intelligence forces stationed in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
Since then, the “war” in Syria has been waged, not by the Syrian people, but by groups of foreign mercenaries shipped into the country and controlled by US, Turkish, Qatari and Saudi state actors. In 2012, even UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon acknowledged that ‘al-Qaeda’ were behind the many car bombings that killed so many innocent Syrians. What Ban might not be aware of is that at least one of the massacres attributed to Assad was carried out by a ‘security contractor’ paid directly by the U.S. government.
The U.S. government and its Middle East allies have spent the last 4 years waging a vicious proxy war on the Syrian people because they chose the wrong President. But why was Assad the ‘wrong choice’? Back in 2002 Assad – a long-term supporter of Palestinian rights and critic of Israeli terrorism – and his wife paid a state visit to the UK, where Assad held talks with war criminal Tony Blair and tolerated an audience with the Queen at Buckingham palace. British officials at the time were also considering honoring Assad with a knighthood. At a press conference outside 10 Downing Street with Blair, Assad warned the UK not to join a US-led war against Iraq, arguing it would simply create “fertile soil” for terrorism. “No one is seeking war… anybody who looks for war as a goal in itself is psychologically ill,” Assad said.
By 2006, the red carpet treatment of 2002 was a distant memory and Assad had been transformed by Washington and London into one more ‘terror-supporting dictatorship’ that needed ‘regime change’. The reason for the radical shift appears to be Assad’s decision to align Syria with its historic allies in the region, primarily Iran, Lebanon and Russia, and refuse any cooperation with the West’s ‘war on terror’ or Israel’s slow genocide against the Palestinians. To make the point crystal clear, in 2006 Syria switched all of the state’s foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars.
Speaking of radical shifts in policy; it’s common knowledge that Turkey has played a large part in facilitating the influx of jihadis into Syria over the past few years, and Erdogan’s government has been a major critic of Assad during the same period. But it wasn’t always so. In fact, until 2011 and the beginning of the phony Syrian ‘revolution’, Turkey and Syria had been extremely close allies for at least 10 years. Between 2002 and 2009, Syria and Turkey signed nearly 50 agreements of cooperation, announced the establishment of a “Senior Strategic Cooperation Council,” and conducted their first-ever joint military exercises.
In 2010, Turkey and Syria signed an historic counterterrorism agreement, followed up by a counterinsurgency pact. By 2011, Turkey had become Syria’s largest trading partner. So close was the relationship that, in 2009 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared that the states shared a “common fate, history, and future.”
So what could have caused the Turks to so dramatically turn on their former close ally? The jury is still out on that one, but it’s possible that when Turkey understood the means by which Syria was to be dealt with by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel, the words of the Turkish FM took on an altogether more foreboding meaning. After all, if a jihadi army can be sent from Libya, Jordan and Iraq to Syria, it’s not so difficult to send the same army to Turkey. If the Turkish government was in any doubt about this, it’s likely that the point was made very clear to them by well-placed Western and Israeli diplomats. The Turks are no slouches however, and undoubtedly a deal was struck for Turkish support, possibly some pie-in-the-sky concession of annexation of parts of northern and north-western Syria inhabited by the Turks’ historic Kurd enemies.
Putin killed my baby… after Assad tortured him!
In a textbook example of ‘coincidence theory’, right on cue with Russian airstrikes in Syria, the Western media began to rehash tired old stories about Assad and torture. Yesterday, the London Guardian published a lengthy and emotionally provocative ‘exposé’ on an anonymous person going by the name of ‘Caesar’ who claimed to have ‘defected’ from the Syrian government to Qatar with thousands of photos of “victims of Assad torture in Syrian detention centers“. That this person chose Qatar as his ‘safe haven’ is not surprising.
Apart from hosting the largest US military base in the Arab world, owning half of London and funding and arming the jihadis that took over Libya and killed U.S. ambassador Stevens, the Qatari royals, like their Saudi counterparts, have invested $billions in the proxy war against Assad. So a few extra $million paid to some guy willing to tout photographic evidence as part of the propaganda war against Assad is surely a good investment.
But torture is not a subject that should be dealt with in a frivolous way, unless you’re the CIA.
Over the past 14 years of the U.S.-led ‘war on terror’, the CIA has established an estimated 50 torture centers in 28 countries, in addition to at least 25 more in Afghanistan and 20 in Iraq. 17 ships have also been used as floating torture centers in which hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people have been tortured and killed.
Countries that allowed their territory to be used for torture include the U.S. (Guantanamo Bay), Bosnia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lithuania, Mauritania, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, among others.
So it really would be nice if the Western media, in their attempt to smear Russia by association, could spare us the cynical pathos and emotionally manipulative sound bites about the “brutal dictator Assad” and his alleged “torture rooms”. Anyone with two firing neurons knows very well who is responsible for the suffering of the Syrian people and so many other innocent people around the world: it’s the same state actors with a long track record of running death squads and torture rooms in South America and, more recently, Iraq, to achieve their insane ‘geopolitical’ objective of ruling the world and shutting out Russia, China and anyone else with the temerity to question the toxic influence of U.S. global hegemony.
Thankfully, due to Russian forbearance, perspicacity and timing, that domination appears to be reaching its nadir.
About the author:
Joe Quinn is the co-author of 9/11: The Ultimate Truth (with Laura Knight-Jadczyk, 2006) and Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False Flag Terror Attacks (with Niall Bradley, 2014), and the host of Sott.net’s The Sott Report Videos and co-host of the ‘Behind the Headlines’ radio show on the Sott Talk Radio network.
An established web-based essayist and print author, Quinn has been writing incisive editorials for Sott.net for over 10 years. His articles have appeared on many alternative news sites and he has been interviewed on several internet radio shows and has also appeared on Iranian Press TV. His articles can also be found on his personal blog JoeQuinn.net.
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Interview with historian Stephen Cohen, by Patrick L. Smith, published in Salon.com, April 17, 2015
Introduction by Patrick L. Smith: It is one thing to comment in a column as the Ukrainian crisis grinds on and Washington—senselessly, with no idea of what will come next—destroys relations with Moscow. It is quite another, as a long exchange with Stephen F. Cohen makes clear, to watch as an honorable career’s worth of scholarly truths are set aside in favor of unlawful subterfuge, a war fever not much short of Hearst’s and what Cohen ranks among the most extravagant expansion of a sphere of influence—NATO’s—in history.
Cohen is a distinguished Russianist by any measure. While professing at Princeton and New York University, he has written of the revolutionary years (“Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution,” 1973), the Soviet era (“Rethinking the Soviet Experience,” 1985) and, contentiously but movingly and always with a steady eye, the post-Soviet decades (“Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia, 2000; “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives,” 2009). “The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin” (2010) is a singularly humane work, using scholarly method to relate the stories of the former prisoners who walk as ghosts in post-Soviet Russia. “I never actually lost the uneasy feeling of having left work unfinished and obligations unfulfilled,” Cohen explains in the opening chapter, “even though fewer and fewer of the victims I knew were still alive.”
If I had to describe the force and value of Cohen’s work in a single sentence, it would be this: It is a relentless insistence that we must bring history to bear upon what we see. One would think this an admirable project, but it has landed Cohen in the mother of all intellectual disputes since the U.S.-supported coup in Kiev last year. To say he is now “blackballed” or “blacklisted”—terms Cohen does not like—is too much. Let us leave it that a place may await him among America’s many prophets without honor among their own.
It is hardly surprising that the Ministry of Forgetting, otherwise known as the State Department, would eschew Cohen’s perspective on Ukraine and the relationship with Russia: He brings far too much by way of causality and responsibility to the case. But when scholarly colleagues attack him as “Putin’s apologist”, one grows queasy at the prospect of a return to the McCarthyist period. By now, obedient ideologues in the academy have turned debate into freak show.
Cohen, who is 76, altogether game and remembers it all, does not think we are back in the 1950s just yet. But he is now enmeshed in a fight with the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which last autumn rejected a $400,000 grant Cohen proposed with his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, because the fellowships to be funded would bear Cohen’s name. Believe it, readers, this is us in the early 21st century.
The interview that follows took place in Cohen’s Manhattan apartment some weeks after the cease-fire agreement known as Minsk II was signed in mid-February, 2015. It sprawled over several absorbing hours. As I worked with the transcript, it became clear that Cohen had given me a valuable document, one making available to readers a concise, accessible, historically informed accounting of “where we are today,” as Cohen put it, in Ukraine and in the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Salon will run it in two parts. This is an edited transcript of the first. Part two follows next week.
What is your judgment of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine? In the current situation, the need is for good history and clear language. In a historical perspective, do you consider Russia justified?
Well, I can’t think otherwise. I began warning of such a crisis more than 20 years ago, back in the ’90s. I’ve been saying since February of last year [when Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in Kiev] that the 1990s is when everything went wrong between Russia and the United States and Europe. So you need at least that much history, 25 years. But, of course, it begins even earlier.
As I’ve said for more than a year, we’re in a new Cold War. We’ve been in one, indeed, for more than a decade. My view [for some time] was that the United States either had not ended the previous Cold War, though Moscow had, or had renewed it in Washington. The Russians simply hadn’t engaged it until recently because it wasn’t affecting them so directly.
What’s happened in Ukraine clearly has plunged us not only into a new or renewed—let historians decide that—Cold War, but one that is probably going to be more dangerous than the preceding one for two or three reasons. The epicenter is not in Berlin this time but in Ukraine, on Russia’s borders, within its own civilization: That’s dangerous. Over the 40-year history of the old Cold War, rules of behavior and recognition of red lines, in addition to the red hotline, were worked out. Now there are no rules. We see this every day—no rules on either side.
What galls me the most, there’s no significant opposition in the United States to this new Cold War, whereas in the past there was always an opposition. Even in the White House you could find a presidential aide who had a different opinion, certainly in the State Department, certainly in the Congress. The media were open—the New York Times, the Washington Post—to debate. They no longer are. It’s one hand clapping in our major newspapers and in our broadcast networks. So that’s where we are.
The Ukraine crisis in historical perspective. Very dangerous ground. You know this better than anyone, I’d have thought.
This is where I get attacked and assailed. It’s an historical judgment. The [crisis now] grew out of Clinton’s policies, what I call a “winner take all” American policy toward what was thought to be—but this isn’t true—a defeated post-Cold War Russia, leading people in the ’90s to think of Russia as in some ways analogous to Germany and Japan after World War II: Russia would decide its internal policies to some extent, and it would be allowed to resume its role as a state in international affairs—but as a junior partner pursuing new American national interests.
That was the pursuit that Clinton and Strobe Talbott, who’s now very upset about the failure of his policy, in the Yeltsin era. That’s what they wanted, and thought they were getting, from Boris Yeltsin. You can read Talbott’s memoir, “The Russia Hand,” and know that all the official talk about eternal friendship and partnership was malarkey. Now it’s all gone sour, predictably and for various reasons, and has led us to this situation.
The problem is that by taking the view, as the American media and political establishment do, that this crisis is entirely the fault of “Putin’s aggression,” there’s no rethinking of American policy over the last 20 years. I have yet to see a single influential person say, “Hey, maybe we did something wrong, maybe we ought to rethink something.” That’s a recipe for more of the same, of course, and more of the same could mean war with Russia….
Let me give you one example. It’s the hardest thing for the American foreign policy elite and the media elite to cope with.
Our position is that nobody is entitled to a sphere of influence in the 21st century. Russia wants a sphere of influence in the sense that it doesn’t want American military bases in Ukraine or in the Baltics or in Georgia. But what is the expansion of NATO other than the expansion of the American zone or sphere of influence? It’s not just military. It’s financial, it’s economic, it’s cultural, it’s intermarriage—soldiers, infrastructure. It’s probably the most dramatic expansion of a great sphere of influence in such a short time and in peacetime in the history of the world.
So you have Vice President Biden constantly saying, “Russia wants a sphere of influence and we won’t allow it.” Well, we are shoving our sphere of influence down Russia’s throat, on the assumption that it won’t push back. Obviously, the discussion might well begin: “Is Russia entitled to a zone or sphere in its neighborhood free of foreign military bases?” Just that, nothing more. If the answer is yes, NATO expansion should’ve ended in Eastern Germany, as the Russians were promised. But we’ve crept closer and closer. Ukraine is about NATO-expansion-no-matter-what. Washington can go on about democracy and sovereignty and all the rest, but it’s about that. And we can’t re-open this question…. The hypocrisy, or the inability to connect the dots in America, is astonishing.
The nature of the Kiev regime. Again, there’s a lot of fog. So there are two parts to this question. The coup matter and the relationship of the Yatsenyuk government to the State Department. We now have a finance minister in Kiev who’s an American citizen, addressing the Council on Foreign Relations here as we speak. And then the relationship of the Kiev regime with the ultra-right.
It’s a central question. I addressed it in a Nation piece last year called ‘Distorting Russia‘. One point was that the apologists in the media for the Kiev government as it came to power after Feb. 21, 2014 and for the Maidan demonstrations as they turned violent, ignored the role of a small but significant contingent of ultra-nationalists who looked, smelled and sounded like neo-fascists. And for this I was seriously attacked, including by Timothy Snyder at Yale, who is a great fan of Kiev, in the New Republic. I have no idea where he is coming from, or how any professor could make the allegations he did. But the argument was that this neo-fascist theme was Putin’s, that what I was saying was an apology for Putin and that the real fascists were in Russia, not in Ukraine.
Maybe there are fascists in Russia, but we’re not backing the Russian government or Russian fascists. The question is, and it’s extremely important, “Is there a neo-fascist movement in Ukraine that, regardless of its electoral success, which has not been great, is influencing affairs politically or militarily, and is this something we should be worried about?”
The answer is 100 percent yes. But admitting this in the United States has gotten a 100 percent no until recently, when, finally, a few newspapers began to cite Kiev’s battalions with swastikas on their helmets and tanks. So you’ve gotten a little more coverage. Foreign journalists, leaving aside Russians, have covered this neo-fascist phenomenon, which is not surprising. It grows out of Ukraine’s history. It should be a really important political question for Western policy makers, and I think it is now for the Germans. German intelligence is probably better than American intelligence when it comes to Ukraine—more candid in what it tells the top leadership. Merkel’s clearly worried about this.
It’s another example of something you can’t discuss in the mainstream media or elsewhere in the American establishment. When you read the testimony of [Assistant Secretary of State] Nuland, this is never mentioned. But what could be more important than the resurgence of a fascist movement on the European continent? I’m not talking about these sappy fascists who run around the streets in Western Europe. I’m talking about guys with a lot of weapons, guys who have done dastardly things and who have killed people. Does that warrant discussion? Well, people said, if they exist they’re a tiny minority. My clichéd answer is, “Of course, so was Hitler and so was Lenin at one time.” You pay attention and you think about it if you learn anything from history….
We say we’re doing everything we’re doing in Ukraine and against Russia, including running the risk of war, for a democratic Ukraine, by which we mean Ukraine under the rule of Kiev. Reasonably, we would ask to what extent Kiev is actually democratic. But correspondents of the Times and the Washington Post regularly file from Kiev and basically re-write whatever the Kiev authorities say while rarely, if ever, asking about democracy in Kiev-governed Ukraine.
Rewriting handouts. Is that actually so?
Until recently it was so…. I haven’t made this a study, and one could be done in a week by a sophisticated journalist or scholar who knew how to ask questions and had access to information. And I would be willing to wager that it would show that there’s less democracy, as reasonably understood, in those areas of Ukraine governed by Kiev today than there was before Yanukovych was overthrown. Now that’s a hypothesis, but I think it’s a hypothesis the [New York] Times and the [Washington] Post should be exploring.
I take Kiev’s characterization of its war in the eastern sections as an “anti-terrorist campaign” to be one of the most preposterous labels out there right now.
But, then, why did Washington say OK to it? Washington has a say in this. Without Washington, Kiev would be in bankruptcy court and have no military at all. Why didn’t Washington say, “Don’t call it anti-terrorist?” Because if you call it “anti-terrorism” you can never have negotiations because you don’t negotiate with terrorists, you just kill them, a murderous organization with murderous intent.
By saying that this is not a civil war, it’s just Russian aggression—this omits the human dimension of the entire war, and also the agency of the people who are actually fighting in the east—the hairdressers, the taxi drivers, the former newspaper reporters, the school teachers, the garbage men, the electricians, who are probably 90 percent of those fighting. There are Russians there, from Russia. But Ukraine’s army has proved incapable of defeating or even holding off what began as a fairly ragtag, quasi-partisan, ill-equipped, untrained force.
The horror of this has been Kiev’s use of its artillery, mortars and even its airplanes, until recently, to bombard large residential cities, not only Donetsk and Luhansk, but other cities. These are cities of 500,000, I imagine, or 2 million to 3 million. This is against the law. These are war crimes, unless we assume the rebels were bombing their mothers and grandmothers and fathers and sisters. This was Kiev, backed by the United States. So the United States has been deeply complicit in the destruction of these eastern cities and peoples. When Nuland tells Congress there are 5,000 to 6,000 dead, that’s the U.N. number. That’s just a count of bodies they found in the morgues. Lots of bodies are never found. German intelligence says 50,000.
Ever since the Clinton administration, we’ve bleated on about the right to protect people who are victims of humanitarian crises. You’ve got a massive humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine. You’ve got one million people or more who have fled to Russia—this is according to the U.N.—another half a million having fled elsewhere in Ukraine. I don’t notice the United States organizing any big humanitarian effort. Where is Samantha Power, the architect of “right to protect”? We have shut our eyes to a humanitarian crisis in which we are deeply complicit. This is what’s shameful, whether you like or don’t like Putin. It’s got nothing to do with Putin. It has to do with the nature of American policy and the nature of Washington—and the nature of the American people, if they tolerate this.
You’ve written about the second Minsk accord as the only hope we’ve got left. Tell me briefly your take on Minsk II and whether there’s a chance it will hold.
The second Minsk Accord [signed on Feb. 11/12, 2015] has a lot of moving parts. The primary part is the cease-fire and the withdrawal by both sides of heavy artillery. It would appear that this has been significantly accomplished, but the cease-fire is very unstable. The political parts are supposed to come now. Kiev is supposed to pass certain constitutional reforms, giving a certain autonomy to the eastern regions. The eastern regions are supposed to hold new elections that in some way comply with Ukrainian law. If all that happens by December, then the Ukrainian-Russian border will be turned over to the Kiev authorities along with some European monitors. The political parts are going to be the hardest because there is no political support for this in Kiev.
[President] Poroshenko went to Minsk because he had no choice: Merkel told him he had to sign Minsk II. But Kiev is ultra-nationalist. They want no concessions to the east or to Russia. Getting Minsk II through parliament in Kiev will be very difficult. But the main fact for now is that Minsk II is the last, best choice to avoid a wider war that might well cause a direct war with Russia. [Since this interview the Kiev parliament has passed legislation either contradicting or negating the Minsk II terms.]
Minsk II was Merkel’s initiative with President Hollande of France, and why, at the last minute, she suddenly realized that the situation was different than she thought—desperate—I don’t know. And remember, this is a woman with enormous executive responsibilities for the economic crisis of the European Union and Greece. The enemies of Minsk II…
I think the main enemy is Washington.
That’s right. I wouldn’t call them the enemy, but we can’t be children about this. Washington controls the IMF. Washington controls NATO. NATO and the IMF are the two agencies that can make war happen on a broader basis in Ukraine and in regard to Russia, or stop it. Whoever is the decider in Washington, if it’s Obama, if it’s somebody else, now has to make the decision.
All the enemies of Minsk II speak freely and are quoted in the papers and on the networks as rational people. And yet there’s not one dissenting voice from the establishment. Outwardly, it appears to be a very uneven struggle. One hopes that somewhere in dark corridors and dimly-lit rooms in Washington, serious conversations are taking place, but I don’t think so. [On March 23, 48 members of Congress did vote against sending weapons to Kiev, a point Cohen commended in an email note.]
Our post-Soviet politics after 1991, it turns out to be war by other means. The Cold War never ended, in my view. The tactics changed, perhaps the strategy did, too, but there was very little by way of even a pause.
It’s complicated. The main problem today of getting the American political class to think freshly is Putin. They use Putin as the excuse to do whatever they want and not rethink anything. But Putin came much later.
The historical facts are not convenient to the triumphalist narrative, which says that we defeated the Soviet Union and thereby ended the Cold War, and therefore and therefore. According to Gorbachev, Reagan and Bush, the Cold War ended either in 1988 or 1990. When Reagan left the White House—I think he wrote in his diary in January 1989, “We have ended the Cold War”—so he thought he had ended it with Gorbachev. I was in Moscow when he walked across Red Square in that heat, I think it was July 1988, and somebody shouted to him “President Reagan, is this still the Evil Empire?” And he, in that affable way, said “Oh, no, that was then… everything’s changed.”
The Cold War was a structural phenomenon. Just because the president says its over doesn’t mean it’s over, but then there was Malta in December 1989, when [George H.W.] Bush and Gorbachev said the Cold War was over, and that continued all through the reunification of Germany. Between ’88 and ’90 we were told repeatedly by the world’s leaders that it was over. Jack Matlock, Reagan’s ambassador to Russia, has written very well about this, and because he was there as a personal testimony, of how this truly was. So the conflation of the end of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War is an historical mistake.
Bush then continued to maintain the official line that he had pursued with Gorbachev that there were no losers at the end of the Cold War, everybody had won. Bush maintained that position until the polls showed he was running behind Clinton in his reelection campaign. And then he declared in 1992 that we, and he in particular, had won the Cold War. I saw Gorbachev shortly thereafter. My wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and I had been friends with him for several years. He was deeply, deeply hurt, with a sense of betrayal. He’s forgiven Bush, being a forgiving man.
But at that moment, ’91 and ’92… well, words are words, but as Russians say, words are also deeds. By announcing that we had won the Cold War, Bush set the stage for the Clinton administration’s decision to act on an American victory, including the expansion of NATO.
This history brings us to where we are today.
What has changed in U.S. policy toward Russia between 1991 and now, and what hasn’t?
I think the history that we know is what I just told you. Behind the scenes, there were clearly discussions going on throughout the ’90s, and there were different groups. Big historical decisions, whether we talk about the war in Vietnam, or, a subject that interests me, why slavery and segregation lasted so long in the American South, where I grew up, can never be explained by one factor. Almost always they’re multi-factored. But you got, in the 1990s, some people who genuinely believed that this was the moment for an enduring post-Cold War, American-Russian, full-scale strategic partnership and friendship between equals. There were these Romantics, so to speak.
On this side of the ocean?
I think there were people who believed in this. Just like there are people who really believe in democracy promotion as a virtuous profession—some of my students have gone into it. They believe in it: It’s a good thing. Why not help good countries achieve democracy? The dark side of democracy promotion for them is either not visible or not in their calculation. People are diverse. I don’t judge them harshly for their beliefs.
There were others who were saying Russia will rise again, and we have to make sure that never happens. To do that, we need to strip Russia of Ukraine, in particular. Brzezinski was writing that. At some point during this time he wrote that Russia with Ukraine is a great imperial power, without Ukraine it’s a normal country. But there were people in Washington, the same people I heard in private discussions, saying that Russia’s down and we’re going to keep it down. They were feeding opinion into the Clinton administration, and that clearly helped lead to the NATO expansion.
They use the excuse that everybody wants to join NATO. How can we deny them the right? It’s very simple. People say every country that qualifies has a right to join NATO. No, they do not. NATO is not a junior Chamber of Commerce. It’s not a non-selective fraternity or sorority. It’s a security organization, and the only criterion for membership should be, “Does a nation enhance the security of the other member countries?” The Ukrainian crisis proves beyond any doubt, being the worst international crisis of our time, that the indiscriminate expansion of NATO has worsened our international security. That’s the end of that story. I don’t know what they think NATO is. Is it like AARP membership and you get discounts in the form of U.S. defense funds? It’s crazy, this argument.
But then you got these guys who are either Russophobes or eternal Cold Warriors or deep strategic thinkers. You remember when [Paul] Wolfowitz wrote this article saying Russia had to be stripped of any possibility ever to be a great power again? These people were all talking like…
It goes back to your comparison with Japan in ’45.
The question is why Clinton bought into this. That would then take you to Strobe Talbott. Strobe was a disciple of Isaiah Berlin, who taught that if you want to understand Russia, you have to understand the history, the culture and the civilization. And certainly if you took that view, you never would have done, as George Kennan said in 1996 or 1997, you never would have expanded NATO. I knew George during my 30 years at Princeton. George’s social attitudes were deeply alarming, but about Russia he had a very important idea. Russia marches to its own drummer, let it, don’t try to intervene or you’ll make things worse. Be patient, understand Russian history, the forces in Russia. That was Isaiah Berlin’s position. Once, that was Strobe’s position. Look at Strobe Talbott today: We have to send in weapons and overthrow Putin and turn Russia around. Now it’s all outside agency.
How did this guy go from A to B?
Well, they say power corrupts, or at least changes people. He had been Clinton’s roommate at Oxford, and he ended up in the White House as a Russia aide, very smart guy. I think Russia disappointed him. One phenomenon among Russia-watchers is that you create an artifice, and that’s your Russia. And when it disappoints you, you never forgive Russia. Check out Fred Hiatt at the Washington Post. Fred was writing from Moscow during the ’90s that democracy was going to be great. So did most the guys who are now were still in editorial positions. Russia let them down. They can’t forgive Russia anymore than they can the ex-wife who cheated on them. They can’t think anew. It’s a phenomenon, probably not only American, but it’s particularly American. You cannot reopen any discussion with these people who bought into Yeltsin’s Russia in the 1990s and were certain that though the road was rocky, as they liked to say… “Failed Crusade” is about this. They can’t get over it.
Part of it also had to do with Yeltsin. He was so desperate, not only for American affirmation but for American affection. He was so insecure, as his health declined and he became more and more the captive of the oligarchs, that he wanted to mean as much to Washington as Gorbachev had. He was getting close to virtually giving Washington anything, saying anything, until the Serbian war. Then it dawned on him that Washington had a certain agenda, and the expansion of NATO [was part of it], but by then it was too late, he was a spent force.
Later, when Dmitri Medvedev was president [2008-12], I think, he told a group of people that Yeltsin hadn’t actually won the election, that Gennadi Zyuganov, leader of the Communist Party, had. So assuming that Medvedev wasn’t lying and assuming he was in a position to know, all this talk of American support for democracy, when it comes to Russia, at least, is, shall we say, complex.
Let’s go to Putin. What is your view here? What is he trying to accomplish?
It’s impossible to answer briefly or simply. This is a separate university course, this is a book, this is for somebody with a much bigger brain that I have. This really is for historians to judge.
I wrote an article in, I think, 2012 called the “The Demonization of Putin,” arguing that there is very little basis for many of the allegations made against Putin, and that the net result was to make rational analysis in Washington on Russian affairs at home and abroad impossible, because it was all filtered through this demonization. If we didn’t stop, I argued, it was only going to get worse to the point where we would become like heroin addicts at fix time, unable to think about anything except our obsession with Putin. We couldn’t think about other issues. This has now happened fully. The article was turned down by the New York Times, and an editor I knew at Reuters published it on Reuters.com.
The history of how this came about [begins] when Putin came to power, promoted by Yeltsin and the people around Yeltsin, who were all connected in Washington. These people in Moscow included Anatoly Chubais, who had overseen the privatizations, had relations with the IMF and had fostered a lot of the corruption. He came to United States to assure us that Putin was a democrat, even though he had been at the KGB.
When he came to power, both the Times and the Post wrote that Putin was a democrat and, better yet, he was sober, unlike Yeltsin. How we got from 2000 to now, when he’s Hitler, Saddam, Stalin, Gaddafi, everybody that we have to get rid of, whom we know killed Boris Nemtsov because from the bridge where Nemtsov was killed [on February 27] you can see the Kremlin…. Well, remember, Sarah Palin could see Russia from Alaska! It’s preposterous. But the demonization of Putin has become an institution in America. It is literally a political institution that prevents the kind of discussion that you and I are having.
Kissinger had the same thought. He wrote, last year, I think, “The demonization of Putin is not a policy. It’s an alibi for not having a policy.” That’s half correct. It’s much worse now, because they did have a policy. I think the “policy” growing in some minds was how to get rid of Putin. The question is, “Do they have the capacity to make decisions?” I didn’t think so, but now I’m not so sure, because in a lot of what comes out of Washington, including the State Department, the implication is that Putin has to go.
I asked a question rhetorically several years ago of these regime changers: Have you thought about what would happen in Russia in the event of regime change? If what you say is true, if Putin is the pivot of the whole system, you remove Putin the whole system collapses. Russia has every known weapon of mass destruction in vast quantities. What would be the consequence of that conceit on your part—that we’re going to get rid of Putin—for the rest of the world?
So this Putin phenomenon has to be explained. How did he go from a democrat for sure, now to maybe the worst Russian leader since Ivan the Terrible. How do you explain it? Does that tell us more about Putin or more about us?
I think his sin is an unacceptable take on, broad-brush terms, Eastern ethos vs. Western ethos, and on narrower terms a rejection of a neoliberal economic regime in the Washington consensus style. Although he’s got a lot to answer for, I think, in this respect, he’s not an evangelist for what he’s doing. What does he face domestically? What’s he trying to do?
Let me tell you just briefly. When I ask Russians, they think the answer is American presidential envy. We’ve had a lot of unsuccessful presidents lately. Clinton left basically in disgrace, Bush left not beloved for the war that he had got us into and lied about, Obama is before our eyes a shrinking, failing president. And here’s Putin, now in his 15th year of growing stature inside Russia.
And by the way, until recently the preeminent European statesman of his time, no doubt of this. In the 21st century, only Merkel can stand anywhere near him as a European statesman, whether you like what a statesman does or not. This, of course, changes everything. Not to take the famous cop-out, but let history judge. X number of years from now, when we’ve joined the majority, as Lenin used to say, historians will undoubtedly look back and do the pluses and minuses, and it’s going to be a very close call.
For my short-term take on Putin, he was put in power to save the Yeltsin family from corruption charges, and the first decree he signed upon becoming acting president was to exempt the Yeltsin family from future prosecution. He has honored that, by the way. One of the beefs against Putin in Russia is that he’s honorable to his friends and appointees to an extreme; he can’t bring himself to fire anybody. He’s got this KGB code of honor. I kind of like it. I’d rather that than people stab you in your back….
I operate under the assumption that no matter how or why people come to power, when in power they begin to ponder what their mission is, what history asks of them. For Putin it was quite clear: The Russian state had collapsed twice in the 20th century. Stop and think what that means. It had collapsed in the 1917 Revolution and the Soviet Union didn’t collapse in 1991— it was plucked apart— but then the state collapsed and the result was what Russians call smuta, a time of troubles. It means misery; it means foreign invasion; it means civil war; it means that people fall into poverty. This is the Russia that Putin inherited. Remember, when he came to power in 2000, Russia was on the verge of collapsing for a third time as a result of Yeltsin’s policies. The governors were corrupt, were not obeying the law, were not paying taxes, were running criminal fiefdoms in scores of regions. Russia was highly vulnerable, NATO was expanding, Russia had no influence in world affairs.
Putin comes to power and perceives that his first mission has to be to stop the collapse of the Russian state— which he calls the vertical, because Russia has always been governed from the top down, which has made it ungovernable because it’s so big— and, most of all, to make sure it never, ever, ever happens again. In Russian history, the worst thing that can happen to Russia is smuta, when the state collapses. Stop and think: Between 1917 and 1991, it happened twice in the largest territorial country in the world. Is there any precedent for that in history? How a leader could come to power and not see that….
The second piece of this conversation will run next week.
Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist. More Patrick L. Smith.
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I graduated from the exact same PHD Program at Harvard that produced Kissinger and Brzezinski before me. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. I also went through the exact same Soviet/Russian Studies Program at Harvard that produced Brzezinski before me, and passed my PHD Oral/General Examinations in Soviet Politics and Russian History under Adam Ulam and Ned Keenan, respectively. R.I.P. Obama was behind me at Harvard Law School.
Brzezinski has been Obama’s mentor and foreign policy guru since Obama’s student days at Columbia. Zbig ran Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on foreign affairs and defense, and stacked the White House and the Obama administration with his protégés. It is the Brzezinski Policy that we are now seeing culminate against Russia.
Zbig is a die-hard Russophobe who detests Russia and the Russians with a passion. He wants to see them broken up into pieces just like he believes he broke up the Soviet Union for President Carter by launching their jihadi terrorists war against them in Afghanistan by means of Al Qaeda. This is Zbig’s last two weeks to start a war with Russia. Zbig is going for broke! All the anti-Russian warmongering we are seeing everywhere today 24/7 is just as bad as the anti-Iraq warmongering before President Bush Jr. invaded Iraq in 2003.
About the author:
Professor Francis A. Boyle is an international law expert and served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993, where he drafted the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement. His books include “ Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (2003), and “ The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law” (2010).
Source: Counter Currents
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The following text is the introductory chapter of Professor Tim Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria.
Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined (Knightley 2001). Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years. To this day, many imagine the Syrian conflict is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or some sort of internal sectarian conflict. These myths are, in many respects, a substantial achievement for the big powers which have driven a series of ‘regime change’ operations in the Middle East region, all on false pretexts, over the past 15 years.
This book is a careful academic work, but also a strong defence of the right of the Syrian people to determine their own society and political system. That position is consistent with international law and human rights principles, but may irritate western sensibilities, accustomed as we are to an assumed prerogative to intervene. At times I have to be blunt, to cut through the double-speak. In Syria the big powers have sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies while demonising the Syrian Government and Army, accusing them of constant atrocities; then pretending to rescue the Syrian people from their own government. Far fewer western people opposed the war on Syria than opposed the invasion of Iraq, because they were deceived about its true nature.
In 2011 I had only a basic understanding of Syria and its history. However I was deeply suspicious when reading of the violence that erupted in the southern border town of Daraa. I knew that such violence (sniping at police and civilians, the use of semi-automatic weapons) does not spring spontaneously from street demonstrations. And I was deeply suspicious of the big powers. All my life I had been told lies about the pretexts for war. I decided to research the Syrian conflict, reading hundreds of books and articles, watching many videos and speaking to as many Syrians as I could. I wrote dozens of articles and visited Syria twice, during the conflict. This book is a result of that research.
Dirty wars are not new. Cuban national hero Jose Martí predicted to a friend that Washington would try to intervene in Cuba’s independence struggle against the Spanish. ‘They want to provoke a war’, he wrote in 1889 ‘to have a pretext to intervene and, with the authority of being mediator and guarantor, to seize the country … There is no more cowardly thing in the annals of free people; nor such cold blooded evil’ (Martí 1975: 53). Nine years later, during the third independence war, an explosion in Havana Harbour destroyed the USS Maine, killing 258 US sailors and serving as a pretext for a US invasion.
The subsequent ‘Spanish-American’ war snatched victory from the Cubans and allowed the US to take control of the remaining Spanish colonial territories. Cuba had territory annexed and a deeply compromised constitution was imposed. No evidence ever proved the Spanish were responsible for the bombing of the Maine and many Cubans believe the North Americans bombed their own ship. The monument in Havana, in memory of those sailors, still bears this inscription: ‘To the victims of the Maine who were sacrificed to imperialist voracity and the desire to gain control of the island of Cuba’ (Richter 1998).
The US launched dozens of interventions in Latin America over the subsequent century. A notable dirty war was led by CIA-backed, ‘freedom fighter’ mercenaries based in Honduras, who attacked the Sandinista Government and the people of Nicaragua in the 1980s. That conflict, in its modus operandi, was not so different to the war on Syria. In Nicaragua more than 30,000 people were killed. The International Court of Justice found the US guilty of a range of terrorist-style attacks on the little Central American country, and found that the US owed Nicaragua compensation (ICJ 1986). Washington ignored these rulings.
With the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 the big powers took advantage of a political foment by seizing the initiative to impose an ‘Islamist winter’, attacking the few remaining independent states of the region. Very quickly we saw the destruction of Libya, a small country with the highest standard of living in Africa. NATO bombing and a Special Forces campaign helped the al Qaeda groups on the ground. The basis for NATO’s intervention was lies told about actual and impending massacres, supposedly carried out or planned by the government of President Muammar Gaddafi. These claims led rapidly to a UN Security Council resolution said to protect civilians through a ‘no fly zone’. We know now that trust was betrayed, and that the NATO powers abused the limited UN authorisation to overthrow the Libyan Government (McKinney 2012).
Subsequently, no evidence emerged to prove that Gaddafi intended, carried out or threatened wholesale massacres, as was widely suggested (Forte 2012). Genevieve Garrigos of Amnesty International (France) admitted there was ‘no evidence’ to back her group’s earlier claims that Gaddafi had used ‘black mercenaries’ to commit massacres (Forte 2012; Edwards 2013).
Alan Kuperman, drawing mainly on North American sources, demonstrates the following points. First, Gaddafi’s crackdown on the mostly Islamist insurrection in eastern Libya was ‘much less lethal’ than had been suggested. Indeed there was evidence that he had had ‘refrained from indiscriminate violence’. The Islamists were themselves armed from the beginning. From later US estimates, of the almost one thousand casualties in the first seven weeks, about three percent were women and children (Kuperman 2015). Second, when government forces were about to regain the east of the country, NATO intervened, claiming this was to avert an impending massacre. Ten thousand people died after the NATO intervention, compared to one thousand before. Gaddafi had pledged no reprisals in Benghazi and ‘no evidence or reason’ came out to support the claim that he planned mass killings (Kuperman 2015). The damage was done. NATO handed over the country to squabbling groups of Islamists and western aligned ‘liberals’. A relatively independent state was overthrown, but Libya was destroyed. Four years on there is no functioning government and violence persists; and that war of aggression against Libya went unpunished.
Two days before NATO bombed Libya another armed Islamist insurrection broke out in Daraa, Syria’s southernmost city. Yet because this insurrection was linked to the demonstrations of a political reform movement, its nature was disguised. Many did not see that those who were providing the guns – Qatar and Saudi Arabia – were also running fake news stories in their respective media channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. There were other reasons for the durable myths of this war. Many western audiences, liberals and leftists as well as the more conservative, seemed to like the idea of their own role as the saviours of a foreign people, speaking out strongly about a country of which they knew little, but joining what seemed to be a ‘good fight’ against this new ‘dictator’. With a mission and their proud self-image western audiences apparently forgot the lies of previous wars, and of their own colonial legacies.
I would go so far as to say that, in the Dirty War on Syria, western culture in general abandoned its better traditions: of reason, the maintenance of ethical principle and the search for independent evidence at times of conflict; in favour of its worst traditions: the ‘imperial prerogative’ for intervention, backed by deep racial prejudice and poor reflection on the histories of their own cultures. That weakness was reinforced by a ferocious campaign of war propaganda. After the demonisation of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad began, a virtual information blockade was constructed against anything which might undermine the wartime storyline. Very few sensible western perspectives on Syria emerged after 2011, as critical voices were effectively blacklisted.
In that context I came to write this book. It is a defence of Syria, not primarily addressed to those who are immersed the western myths but to others who engage with them. This is therefore a resource book and a contribution to the history of the Syrian conflict. The western stories have become self-indulgent and I believe it is wasteful to indulge them too much. Best, I think, to speak of current events as they are, then address the smokescreens later. I do not ignore the western myths, in fact this book documents many of them. But I lead with the reality of the war.
Western mythology relies on the idea of imperial prerogatives, asking what must ‘we’ do about the problems of another people; an approach which has no basis in international law or human rights. The next steps involve a series of fabrications about the pretexts, character and events of the war. The first pretext over Syria was that the NATO states and the Gulf monarchies were supporting a secular and democratic revolution. When that seemed implausible the second story was that they were saving the oppressed majority ‘Sunni Muslim’ population from a sectarian ‘Alawite regime’. Then, when sectarian atrocities by anti-government forces attracted greater public attention, the pretext became a claim that there was a shadow war: ‘moderate rebels’ were said to be actually fighting the extremist groups. Western intervention was therefore needed to bolster these ‘moderate rebels’ against the ‘new’ extremist group that had mysteriously arisen and posed a threat to the world.
That was the ‘B’ story. No doubt Hollywood will make movies based on this meta-script, for years to come. However this book leads with the ‘A’ story. Proxy armies of Islamists, armed by US regional allies (mainly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey), infiltrate a political reform movement and snipe at police and civilians. They blame this on the government and spark an insurrection, seeking the overthrow of the Syrian government and its secular-pluralist state. This follows the openly declared ambition of the US to create a ‘New Middle East’, subordinating every country of the region, by reform, unilateral disarmament or direct overthrow. Syria was next in line, after Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. In Syria, the proxy armies would come from the combined forces of the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi fanatics. Despite occasional power struggles between these groups and their sponsors, they share much the same Salafist ideology, opposing secular or nationalist regimes and seeking the establishment of a religious state.
However in Syria Washington’s Islamists confronted a disciplined national army which did not disintegrate along religious lines, despite many provocations. The Syrian state also had strong allies in Russia and Iran. Syria was not to be Libya Take Two. In this prolonged war the violence, from the western side, was said to consist of the Syrian Army targeting and killing civilians. From the Syrian side people saw daily terrorist attacks on towns and cities, schools and hospitals and massacres of ordinary people by NATO’s ‘freedom fighters’, then the counter attacks by the Army. Foreign terrorists were recruited in dozens of countries by the Saudis and Qatar, bolstering the local mercenaries.
Though the terrorist groups were often called ‘opposition, ‘militants’ and ‘Sunni groups’ outside Syria, inside the country the actual political opposition abandoned the Islamists back in early 2011. Protest was driven off the streets by the violence, and most of the opposition (minus the Muslim Brotherhood and some exiles) sided with the state and the Army, if not with the ruling Ba’ath Party. The Syrian Army has been brutal with terrorists but, contrary to western propaganda, protective of civilians. The Islamists have been brutal with all, and openly so. Millions of internally displaced people have sought refuge with the Government and Army, while others fled the country.
In a hoped-for ‘end game’ the big powers sought overthrow of the Syrian state or, failing that, the creation of a dysfunctional state or dismembering into sectarian statelets, thus breaking the axis of independent regional states. That axis comprises Hezbollah in south Lebanon and the Palestinian resistance, alongside Syria and Iran, the only states in the region without US military bases. More recently Iraq – still traumatised from western invasion, massacres and occupation – has begun to align itself with this axis. Russia too has begun to play an important counter-weight role. Recent history and conduct demonstrate that neither Russia nor Iran harbour any imperial ambitions remotely approaching those of Washington and its allies, several of which (Britain, France and Turkey) were former colonial warlords in the region. From the point of view of the ‘Axis of Resistance’, defeat of the dirty war on Syria means that the region can begin closing ranks against the big powers. Syria’s successful resistance would mean the beginning of the end for Washington’s ‘New Middle East’.
That is basically the big picture. This book sets out to document the A story and expose the B story. It does so by rescuing some of the better western traditions: the use of reason, the maintenance of ethical principle and the search for independent evidence in case of conflict. I hope it might prove a useful resource. Here is a brief overview of the chapters.
Chapter 2, ‘Syria and Washington’s ‘New Middle East’’ puts Syria in context of the US plans for a ‘New Middle East’, the latest chapter in a longer history of US attempts to dominate the region.
Chapter 3, ‘Barrel Bombs, Partisan Sources and War Propaganda’ addresses the problem of reporting and reading the Syrian crisis. Media channels have shown a hyper-reliance on partisan sources, committed to the war and denigrating the Syrian Army. This is the key barrier to understanding the controversies around chemical weapons, civilian massacres and the levels of support for or opposition to President Assad.
Chapter 4, ‘Daraa 2011: Another Islamist Insurrection’ reconstructs, from a range of sources, the Saudi-backed Islamist insurrection in Daraa in March 2011. Those armed attacks were quite distinct from the political reform rallies, which the Islamists soon drove off the streets.
Chapter 5, ‘Bashar al Assad and Political Reform’ explains the political reform movement from the time Bashar assumed the presidency in the year 2000 to the beginning of the crisis in 2011. From this we can see that most opposition groups were committed to reform within a Syrian context, with virtually all opposing attacks on the Syrian state. The chapter then reviews the role of Bashar as a reformer, and the evidence on his popularity.
Chapter 6, ‘The Empire’s Jihadis’ looks at the collaboration between Salafist political Islam and the imperial powers in the Middle East. Distinct from the anti-imperial Islamic currents in Iran and south Lebanon, Salafist political Islam has become a sectarian force competing with Arab nationalism across Egypt, Palestine and Syria, and drawing on long standing collaborative relations with the big powers. This history provides important background to the character of Syria’s Islamist ‘revolution’, and its various slogans.
Chapter 7, ‘Embedded Media, Embedded Watchdogs’ identifies the propaganda techniques of media channels and the network of ‘human rights’ bodies (Human Rights Watch, Avaaz, etc) which function as megaphones and ‘moderators’ for the Washington agenda. Many have become fierce advocates for ‘humanitarian war’. A number of newer western NGOs (e.g. The Syria Campaign, The White Helmets) have been created by Wall Street agencies specifically for the dirty war on Syria. A number of their fabrications are documented here.
Chapter 8, ‘The Houla Massacre Revisited’ considers in detail the evidence from the first major massacre designed (following success of the technique over Libya) to influence UN Security Council consideration of military intervention. While the first UN inquiry group, actually in Syria, found contradictory evidence on this massacre, a second UN group outside Syria and co-chaired by a US diplomat, tried to blame the Syrian Government. Yet more than a dozen witnesses blamed Farouq FSA Islamists, who killed pro-government villagers and took over the area, holding it for some months. Several other ‘false flag’ massacres are noted.
Chapter 9, ‘Chemical Fabrications: the East Ghouta Incident’ details the second major ‘false flag’ incident of international significance. This incident in August 2013, which nearly sparked a major escalation involving US missile attacks on Syria, was used to accuse the Syrian Government of killing hundreds of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons. Within a fairly short time multiple sources of independent evidence (including North American evidence) disproved these accusations. Nevertheless, Syria’s opponents have repeated the false accusations, to this day, as though they were fact.
Chapter 10, ‘A Responsibility to Protect and the Double Game’ addresses a recent political doctrine, a subset of ‘humanitarian intervention’ popularised to add to the imperial toolkit. The application of this doctrine in Libya was disastrous for that little country. Fortunately the attempts to use it in Syria failed.
Chapter 11, ‘Health and Sanctions’ documents the NATO-backed Islamist attacks on Syria’s health system, linked to the impact of western economic sanctions. These twin currents have caused great damage to Syrian public health. Such attacks carry no plausible motive of seeking local popular support, so we must interpret them as part of an overall strategy to degrade the Syrian state, rendering it more vulnerable to outside intervention.
Chapter 12 ‘Washington, Terrorism and ISIS: the evidence’, documents the links between the big powers and the latest peak terrorist group they claim to be fighting. Only evidence can help develop informed opinion on this contentious matter, but the evidence is overwhelming. There is little ideological difference between the various Salafi-Islamist groups, and Washington and its allies have financed and armed every one of them.
Chapter 13, ‘Western Intervention and the Colonial Mind’ discusses the western cultural mindset that underlies persistent violations of the rights of other peoples.
Chapter 14 ‘Towards an Independent Middle East’, considers the end-game in the Syrian crisis, and its implications for the Middle East region. At tremendous cost the Syrian Arab Republic, its army and its people, have successfully resisted aggression from a variety of powerful enemies. Syria’s survival is due to its resilience and internal unity, bolstered by support from some strong allies. The introduction of Russian air power in late September 2015 was important. So too were the coordinated ground forces from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, in support of an independent Syria.
When the attacks on Syria abate the Middle East seems set to be transformed, with greater political will and military preparedness on the part of an expanded Axis of Resistance. That will signal the beginning of the end for Washington’s 15 year spree of bloodshed and ‘regime change’ across the entire region.
Edwards, Dave (2013) ‘Limited But Persuasive’ Evidence – Syria, Sarin, Libya, Lies’, Media Lens, 13 June, online: http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/alerts-2013/735-limited-but-persuasive-evidence-syria-sarin-libya-lies.html
Forte, Maximilian (2012) Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa, Baraka Books, Quebec
ICJ (1986) Case concerning the military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) Merits’, International Court of Justice, Judgement of 27 June 1986, online: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/?sum=367&p1=3&p2=3&case=70&p3=5
Knightley, Phillip (2001) ‘The disinformation campaign’, The Guardian, 4 October, online: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/oct/04/socialsciences.highereducation
Kuperman, Alan J. (2015) Obama’s Libya Debacle’, Foreign Affairs, 16 April, online: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/2015-02-16/obamas-libya-debacle
Martí, Jose (1975) Obras Completas, Vol. 6, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana
McKinney, Cynthia (Ed) (2012) The Illegal War on Libya, Clarity Press, Atlanta
Putin, Vladimir (2015) ‘Violence instead of democracy: Putin slams ‘policies of exceptionalism and impunity’ in UN speech’, RT, 28 September, online: https://www.rt.com/news/316804-putin-russia-unga-speech/
Richter, Larry (1998) ‘Havana Journal; Remember the Maine? Cubans See an American Plot Continuing to This Day’, New York Times, 14 February, online: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/14/world/havana-journal-remember-maine-cubans-see-american-plot-continuing-this-day.html
Dr Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, rights and self-determination in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He has published many dozens of chapters and articles in a range of academic books and journals. His last book was Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2015).
They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen, backing troops from the United Arab Emirates. At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia, they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab. Around the cities of Jarabulus and Al-Rai in northern Syria, they partnered with both Turkish soldiers and Syrian militias, while also embedding with Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Across the border in Iraq, still others joined the fight to liberate the city of Mosul. And in Afghanistan, they assisted indigenous forces in various missions, just as they have every year since 2001.
For America, 2016 may have been the year of the commando. In one conflict zone after another across the northern tier of Africa and the Greater Middle East, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) waged their particular brand of low-profile warfare. “Winning the current fight, including against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other areas where SOF is engaged in conflict and instability, is an immediate challenge,” the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), General Raymond Thomas, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year.
SOCOM’s shadow wars against terror groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (also known as ISIL) may, ironically, be its most visible operations. Shrouded in even more secrecy are its activities — from counterinsurgency and counterdrug efforts to seemingly endless training and advising missions — outside acknowledged conflict zones across the globe. These are conducted with little fanfare, press coverage, or oversight in scores of nations every single day. From Albania to Uruguay, Algeria to Uzbekistan, America’s most elite forces — Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets among them — were deployed to 138 countries in 2016, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command. This total, one of the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency, typifies what has become the golden age of, in SOF-speak, the “gray zone” — a phrase used to describe the murky twilight between war and peace. The coming year is likely to signal whether this era ends with Obama or continues under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
America’s most elite troops deployed to 138 nations in 2016, according to U.S. Special Operations Command. The map above displays the locations of 132 of those countries; 129 locations (blue) were supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command; 3 locations (red) — Syria, Yemen and Somalia — were derived from open-source information. (Nick Turse)
“In just the past few years, we have witnessed a varied and evolving threat environment consisting of: the emergence of a militarily expansionist China; an increasingly unpredictable North Korea; a revanchist Russia threatening our interests in both Europe and Asia; and an Iran which continues to expand its influence across the Middle East, fueling the Sunni-Shia conflict,” General Thomas wrote last month in PRISM, the official journal of the Pentagon’s Center for Complex Operations. “Nonstate actors further confuse this landscape by employing terrorist, criminal, and insurgent networks that erode governance in all but the strongest states… Special operations forces provide asymmetric capability and responses to these challenges.”
In 2016, according to data provided to TomDispatch by SOCOM, the U.S. deployed special operators to China (specifically Hong Kong), in addition to eleven countries surrounding it — Taiwan (which China considers a breakaway province), Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Laos, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan. Special Operations Command does not acknowledge sending commandos into Iran, North Korea, or Russia, but it does deploy troops to many nations that ring them.
SOCOM is willing to name only 129 of the 138 countries its forces deployed to in 2016. “Almost all Special Operations forces deployments are classified,” spokesman Ken McGraw told TomDispatch. “If a deployment to a specific country has not been declassified, we do not release information about the deployment.”
SOCOM does not, for instance, acknowledge sending troops to the war zones of Somalia, Syria, or Yemen, despite overwhelming evidence of a U.S. special ops presence in all three countries, as well as a White House report, issued last month, that notes “the United States is currently using military force in” Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and specifically states that “U.S. special operations forces have deployed to Syria.”
According to Special Operations Command, 55.29% of special operators deployed overseas in 2016 were sent to the Greater Middle East, a drop of 35% since 2006. Over the same span, deployments to Africa skyrocketed by more than 1600% — from just 1% of special operators dispatched outside the U.S. in 2006 to 17.26% last year. Those two regions were followed by areas served by European Command (12.67%), Pacific Command (9.19%), Southern Command (4.89%), and Northern Command (0.69%), which is in charge of “homeland defense.” On any given day, around 8,000 of Thomas’s commandos can be found in more than 90 countries worldwide.
U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to 138 nations in 2016. Locations in blue were supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command. Those in red were derived from open-source information. Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia are not among those nations named or identified, but all are at least partially surrounded by nations visited by America’s most elite troops last year. (Nick Turse)
“Special Operations forces are playing a critical role in gathering intelligence — intelligence that’s supporting operations against ISIL and helping to combat the flow of foreign fighters to and from Syria and Iraq,” said Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, in remarks at the International Special Operations Forces Convention last year. Such intelligence operations are “conducted in direct support of special operations missions,” SOCOM’s Thomas explained in 2016. “The preponderance of special operations intelligence assets are dedicated to locating individuals, illuminating enemy networks, understanding environments, and supporting partners.”
Signals intelligence from computers and cellphones supplied by foreign allies or intercepted by surveillance drones and manned aircraft, as well as human intelligence provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been integral to targeting individuals for kill/capture missions by SOCOM’s most elite forces. The highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), for example, carries out such counterterrorism operations, including drone strikes, raids, and assassinations in places like Iraq and Libya. Last year, before he exchanged command of JSOC for that of its parent, SOCOM, General Thomas noted that members of Joint Special Operations Command were operating in “all the countries where ISIL currently resides.” (This may indicate a special ops deployment to Pakistan, another country absent from SOCOM’s 2016 list.)
“[W]e have put our Joint Special Operations Command in the lead of countering ISIL’s external operations. And we have already achieved very significant results both in reducing the flow of foreign fighters and removing ISIL leaders from the battlefield,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted in a relatively rare official mention of JSOC’s operations at an October press conference.
A month earlier, he offered even more detail in a statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee:
”We’re systematically eliminating ISIL’s leadership: the coalition has taken out seven members of the ISIL Senior Shura… We also removed key ISIL leaders in both Libya and Afghanistan… And we’ve removed from the battlefield more than 20 of ISIL’s external operators and plotters… We have entrusted this aspect of our campaign to one of [the Department of Defense’s] most lethal, capable, and experienced commands, our Joint Special Operations Command, which helped deliver justice not only to Osama Bin Laden, but also to the man who founded the organization that became ISIL, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.”
Asked for details on exactly how many ISIL “external operators” were targeted and how many were “removed” from the battlefield by JSOC in 2016, SOCOM’s Ken McGraw replied: “We do not and will not have anything for you.”
When he was commander of JSOC in 2015, General Thomas spoke of his and his unit’s “frustrations” with limitations placed on them. “I’m told ‘no’ more than ‘go’ on a magnitude of about ten to one on almost a daily basis,” he said. Last November, however, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration was granting a JSOC task force “expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe.” That Counter-External Operations Task Force (also known as “Ex-Ops”) has been “designed to take JSOC’s targeting model… and export it globally to go after terrorist networks plotting attacks against the West.”
SOCOM disputes portions of the Post story. “Neither SOCOM nor any of its subordinate elements have… been given any expanded powers (authorities),” SOCOM’s Ken McGraw told TomDispatch by email. “Any potential operation must still be approved by the GCC [Geographic Combatant Command] commander [and], if required, approved by the Secretary of Defense or [the president].”
“U.S. officials” (who spoke only on the condition that they be identified in that vague way) explained that SOCOM’s response was a matter of perspective. Its powers weren’t recently expanded as much as institutionalized and put “in writing,” TomDispatch was told. “Frankly, the decision made months ago was to codify current practice, not create something new.” Special Operations Command refused to confirm this but Colonel Thomas Davis, another SOCOM spokesman, noted: “Nowhere did we say that there was no codification.”
With Ex-Ops, General Thomas is a “decision-maker when it comes to going after threats under the task force’s purview,” according to the Washington Post’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Dan Lamothe. “The task force would essentially turn Thomas into the leading authority when it comes to sending Special Operations units after threats.” Others claim Thomas has only expanded influence, allowing him to directly recommend a plan of action, such as striking a target, to the Secretary of Defense, allowing for shortened approval time. (SOCOM’s McGraw says that Thomas “will not be commanding forces or be the decision maker for SOF operating in any GCC’s [area of operations].”)
Last November, Defense Secretary Carter offered an indication of the frequency of offensive operations following a visit to Florida’s Hurlburt Field, the headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command. He noted that “today we were looking at a number of the Special Operations forces’ assault capabilities. This is a kind of capability that we use nearly every day somewhere in the world… And it’s particularly relevant to the counter-ISIL campaign that we’re conducting today.”
In Afghanistan, alone, Special Operations forces conducted 350 raids targeting al-Qaeda and Islamic State operatives last year, averaging about one per day, and capturing or killing nearly 50 “leaders” as well as 200 “members” of the terror groups, according to General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in that country. Some sources also suggest that while JSOC and CIA drones flew roughly the same number of missions in 2016, the military launched more than 20,000 strikes in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria, compared to less than a dozen by the Agency. This may reflect an Obama administration decision to implement a long-considered plan to put JSOC in charge of lethal operations and shift the CIA back to its traditional intelligence duties.
World of Warcraft
“[I]t is important to understand why SOF has risen from footnote and supporting player to main effort, because its use also highlights why the U.S. continues to have difficulty in its most recent campaigns — Afghanistan, Iraq, against ISIS and AQ and its affiliates, Libya, Yemen, etc. and in the undeclared campaigns in the Baltics, Poland, and Ukraine — none of which fits the U.S. model for traditional war,” said retired Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland, chief of U.S. Army Special Operations Command from 2012 to 2015 and now a senior mentor to the chief of staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group. Asserting that, amid the larger problems of these conflicts, the ability of America’s elite forces to conduct kill/capture missions and train local allies has proven especially useful, he added, “SOF is at its best when its indigenous and direct-action capabilities work in support of each other. Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq and ongoing CT [counterterrrorism] efforts elsewhere, SOF continues to work with partner nations in counterinsurgency and counterdrug efforts in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.”
SOCOM acknowledges deployments to approximately 70% of the world’s nations, including all but three Central and South American countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela being the exceptions). Its operatives also blanket Asia, while conducting missions in about 60% of the countries in Africa.
A SOF overseas deployment can be as small as one special operator participating in a language immersion program or a three-person team conducting a “survey” for the U.S. embassy. It may also have nothing to do with a host nation’s government or military. Most Special Operations forces, however, work with local partners, conducting training exercises and engaging in what the military calls “building partner capacity” (BPC) and “security cooperation” (SC). Often, this means America’s most elite troops are sent to countries with security forces that are regularly cited for human rights abuses by the U.S. State Department. Last year in Africa, where Special Operations forces utilize nearly 20 different programs and activities — from training exercises to security cooperation engagements — these included Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, among others.
In 2014, for example, more than 4,800 elite troops took part in just one type of such activities — Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) missions — around the world. At a cost of more than $56 million, Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operators carried out 176 individual JCETs in 87 countries. A 2013 RAND Corporation study of the areas covered by Africa Command, Pacific Command, and Southern Command found “moderately low” effectiveness for JCETs in all three regions. A 2014 RAND analysis of U.S. security cooperation, which also examined the implications of “low-footprint Special Operations forces efforts,” found that there “was no statistically significant correlation between SC and change in countries’ fragility in Africa or the Middle East.” And in a 2015 report for Joint Special Operations University, Harry Yarger, a senior fellow at the school, noted that “BPC has in the past consumed vast resources for little return.”
Despite these results and larger strategic failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, the Obama years have been the golden age of the gray zone. The 138 nations visited by U.S. special operators in 2016, for example, represent a jump of 130% since the waning days of the Bush administration. Although they also represent a 6% drop compared to last year’s total, 2016 remains in the upper range of the Obama years, which saw deployments to 75 nations in 2010, 120 in 2011, 134 in 2013, and 133 in 2014, before peaking at 147 countries in 2015. Asked about the reason for the modest decline, SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw replied, “We provide SOF to meet the geographic combatant commands’ requirements for support to their theater security cooperation plans. Apparently, there were nine fewer countries [where] the GCCs had a requirement for SOF to deploy to in [Fiscal Year 20]16.”
The increase in deployments between 2009 and 2016 — from about 60 countries to more than double that — mirrors a similar rise in SOCOM’s total personnel (from approximately 56,000 to about 70,000) and in its baseline budget (from $9 billion to $11 billion). It’s no secret that the tempo of operations has also increased dramatically, although the command refused to address questions from TomDispatch on the subject.
“SOF have shouldered a heavy burden in carrying out these missions, suffering a high number of casualties over the last eight years and maintaining a high operational tempo (OPTEMPO) that has increasingly strained special operators and their families,” reads an October 2016 report released by the Virginia-based think tank CNA. (That report emerged from a conference attended by six former special operations commanders, a former assistant secretary of defense, and dozens of active-duty special operators.)
A closer look at the areas of the “undeclared campaigns in the Baltics, Poland, and Ukraine” mentioned by retired Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland. Locations in blue were supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command. The one in red was derived from open-source information. (Nick Turse)
The American Age of the Commando
Last month, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Shawn Brimley, former director for strategic planning on the National Security Council staff and now an executive vice president at the Center for a New American Security, echoed the worried conclusions of the CNA report. At a hearing on “emerging U.S. defense challenges and worldwide threats,” Brimley said “SOF have been deployed at unprecedented rates, placing immense strain on the force” and called on the Trump administration to “craft a more sustainable long-term counterterrorism strategy.” In a paper published in December, Kristen Hajduk, a former adviser for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict and now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called for a decrease in the deployment rates for Special Operations forces.
While Donald Trump has claimed that the U.S. military as a whole is “depleted” and has called for increasing the size of the Army and Marines, he has offered no indication about whether he plans to support a further increase in the size of special ops forces. And while he did recently nominate a former Navy SEAL to serve as his secretary of the interior, Trump has offered few indications of how he might employ special operators who are currently serving.
“Drone strikes,” he announced in one of his rare detailed references to special ops missions, “will remain part of our strategy, but we will also seek to capture high-value targets to gain needed information to dismantle their organizations.” More recently, at a North Carolina victory rally, Trump made specific references to the elite troops soon to be under his command. “Our Special Forces at Fort Bragg have been the tip of the spear in fighting terrorism. The motto of our Army Special Forces is ‘to free the oppressed,’ and that is exactly what they have been doing and will continue to do. At this very moment, soldiers from Fort Bragg are deployed in 90 countries around the world,” he told the crowd.
After seeming to signal his support for continued wide-ranging, free-the-oppressed special ops missions, Trump appeared to change course, adding, “We don’t want to have a depleted military because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that just we shouldn’t be fighting in… This destructive cycle of intervention and chaos must finally, folks, come to an end.” At the same time, however, he pledged that the U.S. would soon “defeat the forces of terrorism.” To that end, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a former director of intelligence for JSOC whom the president-elect tapped to serve as his national security adviser, has promised that the new administration would reassess the military’s powers to battle the Islamic State — potentially providing more latitude in battlefield decision-making. To this end, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon is crafting proposals to reduce “White House oversight of operational decisions” while “moving some tactical authority back to the Pentagon.”
Last month, President Obama traveled to Florida’s MacDill Air Force Base, the home of Special Operations Command, to deliver his capstone counterterrorism speech. “For eight years that I’ve been in office, there has not been a day when a terrorist organization or some radicalized individual was not plotting to kill Americans,” he told a crowd packed with troops. At the same time, there likely wasn’t a day when the most elite forces under his command were not deployed in 60 or more countries around the world.
“I will become the first president of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war,” Obama added. “Democracies should not operate in a state of permanently authorized war. That’s not good for our military, it’s not good for our democracy.” The results of his permanent-war presidency have, in fact, been dismal, according to Special Operations Command. Of eight conflicts waged during the Obama years, according to a 2015 briefing slide from the command’s intelligence directorate, America’s record stands at zero wins, two losses, and six ties.
The Obama era has indeed proven to be the “age of the commando.” However, as Special Operations forces have kept up a frenetic operational tempo, waging war in and out of acknowledged conflict zones, training local allies, advising indigenous proxies, kicking down doors, and carrying out assassinations, terror movements have spread across the Greater Middle East and Africa.
President-elect Donald Trump appears poised to obliterate much of the Obama legacy, from the president’s signature healthcare law to his environmental regulations, not to mention changing course when it comes to foreign policy, including in relations with China, Iran, Israel, and Russia. Whether he will heed advice to decrease Obama-level SOF deployment rates remains to be seen. The year ahead will, however, offer clues as to whether Obama’s long war in the shadows, the golden age of the gray zone, survives.
About the author:
Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch, a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His book Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa received an American Book Award in 2016. His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. His website is NickTurse.com.
First published in TomDispatch.com
Copyright 2017 Nick Turse
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US foreign policy has nurtured Al Qaeda, a creation of the CIA for more than 35 years, with the support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s infamous General Intelligence Presidency (GIP). Lest we forget Osama bin Laden was recruited in 1979 by the CIA at the outset of the Soviet- Afghan war.
A complex network of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations overseen by US and allied intelligence agencies has unfolded, extending across the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Western China, South and South East Asia.
While mainstream analysis regarding CIA covert support of “jihadist” terrorist entities is a taboo, the Western media (quoting expert opinion) will often place the blame on the intelligence agencies of America’s closest allies including Pakistan’s ISI and Saudi Arabia’s GIP, i.e. for supporting terrorist entities (in defiance of the US). According to the Rand Corporation:
“Pakistan poses a particular challenge. As America’s relationship with Pakistan deteriorates, how long will the United States be able to pressure a state whose intelligence service [i.e Pakistan’s ISI which is in close liaison with the CIA] has ties with some of al Qaeda’s allies, such as the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba?” (Set Jones, Resurgence of Al Qaeda, Rand Corporation Report 2012)
The Islamic State Caliphate: A Project of US Intelligence
Today’s Al Qaeda most recent “affiliate”, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) based in Raqqa, Northern Syria is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Turkey, Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.
In a bitter irony, the caliphate project as an instrument of propaganda has been on the drawing board of US intelligence for more than ten years. In December 2004, under the Bush Administration, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicted that in the year 2020 a New Caliphate extending from the Mediterranean to Central Asia and South East Asia would emerge, threatening Western democracy and Western values.
The “findings” of the National Intelligence Council were published in a 123 page unclassified report entitled “Mapping the Global Future”.
“A New Caliphate provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity politics could constitute a challenge to Western norms and values as the foundation of the global system” (emphasis added)
The NIC 2004 report borders on ridicule; it is devoid of intelligence, let alone historical and geopolitical analysis. It has the features of an internal propaganda construct intended to sensitize government officials. Its objective is to provide a justification to America’s “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).
Source: “Mapping the Global Future”. NIC 2020 Project
Nonetheless, it also confirms the contour of a diabolical military-intelligence agenda with new “jihadist” terror brigades (largely integrated by mercenaries) emerging in numerous geographical locations (Eurasia and Africa, See map above). This agenda of creating a new “jihad” was confirmed by a Debka File (Israeli intelligence and security news) report in August 2011:
NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons…
Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011, emphasis added)
This report (published 4 years ago) confirms what today has become glaringly obvious, namely the central role of the Turkish government and military in liaison with NATO as a “State sponsor of terrorism”.
“U Turn”: The State of Sponsors of Terrorism Engage in Counterterrorism. The Role of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan
And now in an unusual about turn, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has configured a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries “to go after the Islamic state”. In a bitter irony, the key protagonists of this counterterrorism initiative endorsed by the “international community” are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey, i.e. countries which have relentlessly supported “Islamic terrorism” from the very outset in close liaison with Washington. In the words of Hillary Clinton in her declassified Emails: “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
Counter terrorism by the state sponsors of terrorism? A New Normal? The propaganda campaign appears to have reached an impasse. According to the official statement:
“The  countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations centre based in Riyadh to co-ordinate and support military operations,”
Arab News December 2015
This “military alliance” will work in liaison with Obama’s counter-terrorism bombing campaign involving a coalition of some 20 countries initiated against the Islamic State in August-September 2014. The evidence, however, confirms that the bombing raids have avoided targeting the ISIL, which is integrated by mercenaries including special forces, who are in permanent liaison with US-NATO.
Screen shot, Daily Mail
KSA Defense Minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, confirmed (December 14, 2015) that the campaign “would co-ordinate efforts to fight terrorism” specifically in Iraq and Syria in coordination ”with major powers and international organisations”, i.e NATO, the US, the EU.
In an unusual twist, the State sponsors of terrorism are now indulging in counterterrorism. The Islamic State in the Arabian peninsula, namely the House of Saud which is predicated on the tenets of Wahhabism is going after the Islamic State (ISIL) in Northern Syria.
Known and documented, Saudi Arabia has played a key strategic role in promoting and financing terrorism on behalf of Washington. Moreover, Saudi weapons purchases from the US and Canada are also being used to equip and arm various “opposition” rebel groups in Syria including the ISIL and Al Nusrah.
It is worth noting: recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIS mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. (January 23, 2013)
Britain, France and the US have welcomed the Saudi initiative. John Kerry says it is constructive. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally praised Saudi Arabia “for its constructive efforts and leadership”.
It’s a theater of the absurd. It’s like asking Al Capone to lead a coalition of Chicago criminal syndicates to go after organized crime. In this case, the criminal syndicate based in Riyadh is acting on behalf of its Western sponsors.
And the media applauds in chorus without acknowledging several of their own reports which confirm that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Jordan, et al. have been involved in recruiting, training and financing Islamic terrorists. The practice of beheading civilians by ISIS operative in Syria emanates from Saudi Arabia. In the words of an earlier Daily Telegraph report (April 2014):
“We should not be blind to the fact that there is a project out there to destroy [Syria’s] rich, pluralist, and unbelievably intricate culture and replace it with a monochrome version of Wahhabi Islam”.
What the mainstream media invariably fails to mention is that Saudi Arabia is a “go-between” and that Wahhabi Islam is being used and applied by Washington. In turn, the public is led to believe that this is a bona fide war of religion and that Muslims are waging war against Western civilization.
This “version of Wahhabism” has nothing to with Islam, it’s “Made in America”, its a diabolical tool of US foreign policy, which consists in applying and manipulating the ideology of Wahhabism as a means of recruiting and indoctrinating terrorists to wage a “jihad” on behalf of Uncle Sam. US-NATO’s war without borders goes unnoticed; World public opinion is led to believe that Islam is waging a war against the West and that US-NATO are acting in “self-defense” against an elusive outside enemy based in the Middle East.
Politicians, journalists and intelligence analysts are lying to themselves. Everybody knows that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are behind the terrorists and we also know that the US is behind Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The US is the main architect of this terrorist undertaking which consists in sponsoring terrorists with a view to destabilizing and destroying sovereign countries in defiance of international law.
In 2013, the European Parliament published a detailed report (excerpt below) confirming the role of Saudi Arabia in spreading Wahhabi-Salafist ideology to terror groups in a large number of countries. The report, however, failed to acknowledge that these actions were conducted as part of a US foreign policy and intelligence agenda. (Excerpt (screenshot), p. 7 below)
Screenshot, p. 7 of European Parliament Report
About the author:
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research. He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at email@example.com
“Show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.” – Popular conservative Sun (a British daily newspaper) commenting on the homeless war refugees from war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. who are fleeing their militarily de-stabilized and devastated countries after their homes and homelands had been reduced to bloody rubble by soldiers obeying orders from their commanders (including NATO and American “interventionism” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc, etc).
Hopkins appears to be in good company. But she was probably just paraphrasing what she had been hearing from a multitude of ultra-nationalist xenophobic racists around the world have been saying. Many of them are revealing their true colors these days. There certainly seems to be an abundance of them among the 16 remaining Republican presidential candidates here in the US. It is instructive to note that the candidacy of Donald Trump has elicited the endorsement of fascist groups like Storm Front, the neo-Nazi group that appreciates his vehement, albeit delusional, anti-immigration agenda.
Fascism Keeps Rearing its Ugly Head (both in England, America and Around the World)
The spirit of the infamous British fascist leader, Oswald Mosely, seems to periodically raise its ugly head in England. Mosely, back in the 1920s, had been the youngest member of Britain’s Conservative Party to be elected to Parliament. An admirer of Adolph Hitler, he started the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in the 1930s. That group gloried in their Black Shirt uniforms until the BUF was abolished when Great Britain declared war on Germany. However, celebrities like Hopkins, even though they will deny that they are fascists, are decidedly right-wing extremists that meet many of the characteristics of fascism. The latest incarnation of the BUF is the New British Union Party, and they are proud of it. Here is one of their recent posters:
Many nations around the world have had and are continuing to have within their borders fascist movements. Remember Vidkun Quisling who led the Nazi puppet government in Norway? And then recall Quisling’s modern day incarnation, the mass murderer of innocent progressive-minded kids, Anders Behring Breivik and his fascist manifesto?
Look at the list of the hundreds of defunct, hibernating and/or active fascist movements around the world by googling “list of fascist movements by country”. For much more on the 14 characteristics of fascism, which should be tested against the beliefs and actions of every political and economic leader, google “George W. Bush and the 14 characteristics of fascism”.
American Fascism Through the Years
Of course, America has had its share of active and hibernating fascist movements, but our high school history textbooks have typically ignored that unpleasant part of our history. According to Wikipedia, there have been at least 31 very public fascist political parties in the US since 1920. The Southern Poverty Law Center has investigated hundreds and hundreds of fascist and racist sects that are currently active.
One of the largest was the Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts (Brown and Black Shirt uniforms had been spoken for in Germany.). The Silver Shirts’ political party was called the Christian Party, and founder William Dudley Pelley, son of a protestant minister, ran for president in 1936 against Roosevelt. Pelley, an avowed racist, anti-Semite and. ultranationalist hated FDR, as have most conservative groups ever since the 1930s. They hated him because of the New Deal, which saved middle and lower class Americans at the expense of the wealthy elite 1 %. The New Deal set back corrupt crony capitalism’s agendas a couple of generations or so, and their spiritual progeny in the Republican Party are still fuming about it.
Pelley’s Silver Shirts had initially been a secret group of right-wing extremists, but its existence was finally made public on April 30, 1933, the very day that German President Paul von Hindenberg finally yielded to the right-wing German political parties and Germany’s ruling elites and appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany.
Interestingly, the headquarters of the Silver Shirts was located in Asheville, North Carolina, which has evolved into a very politically progressive community. Pelley later moved his organization to Indiana, a historical hotbed of American right-wing extremism, including the Ku Klux Klan.
A few days after the Silver Shirts came up from the underground (early in May 1933), Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess gave German Nazi Party member (and legal immigrant) Heinz Spanknöbel authority to form a Nazi Party organization in America. Its national headquarters was in New York City, with a large contingent of Bund members active in Chicago. It was called the German American Bund, aka Friends of New Germany (FONG).
Interestingly – for those of us who live in the so-called progressive heartland of America – one of the Bund’s American Nazi training camps was located in Grafton, Wisconsin. Grafton had previously been called Hamburg, reflecting the German heritage of many eastern Wisconsin communities such as Milwaukee, the beer capital of America. The infamous 1950s-era Republican Senator Joe McCarthy’s hometown was nearby Appleton, Wisconsin, which still is, not surprisingly, the headquarters of the John Birch Society. JBS members dearly loved Tail-gunner Joe and his poisonous neo-fascist McCarthyism.
What Does PNAC Have to do With the Drowned Syrian Toddler?
There has been a massive amount of confusing and self-contradicting propaganda concerning the Middle East crises ever since the Cheney/Bush administration chose to invade the oil-rich, opium-rich and lithium-rich region shortly after 9/11/01. One of the important points that needs emphasis is that there is a tight connection (albeit not a straight line connection) between what guilty perps made happen on 9/11/01 and what happened to the drowned Syrian toddler pictured above.
9/11/01 is now well understood by scholars (and real investigative journalists) to have been a false flag operation, orchestrated by nefarious, as-yet unindicted persons and right-wing think tanks, groups that have been funded by billionaires and American-based trans-national corporations. Those entities have long-term business plans for domination of extractable resources, finances and territory anywhere on the globe.
Those plans had been clearly out-lined by arguably the right-wing’s most important think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). PNAC’s manifesto had already been proposed to (and rejected by) the Clinton administration in the 1990s, but it was accepted by the Cheney and Bush after many of its members (17 to be precise) officially joined the Cheney/Bush administration. America’s military de-stabilization of the Middle East closely followed the propaganda-inspired false assumption that Middle Eastern foreigners, and not US government insiders, expertly planted the explosive charges in WTC Towers 1, 2 & 7 over weeks and months prior to their explosive pulverization into fine dust.
It is now established that the two jet planes caused only brief, self-extinguishing, low-temperature fires in towers 1 & 2, temperatures that were incapable of melting, much less suddenly transecting, all of the core steel columns in sequence. The only rational explanation for what happened that day is that computer-controlled demolitions dropped all three skyscrapers into their footprints on 9/11/01.
PNAC, the Real Conspiratorial Group that Needs to be Subpoenaed to Testify, Under Oath, About 9/11/01
PNAC was an outgrowth of the nefarious NeoConservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, which continues to promote the economic agendas of any number of anti-democratic, obscenely wealthy, multinational corporations that continue to pay the generous salaries of its high profile stable of “fellows”.
Among other things, the purpose of PNAC was and still is to increase military spending, subvert the United Nations, ensure planetary domination by US corporate (and military) interests and spread (anti-democratic) capitalism around the world (through the barrel of a gun if necessary), thus enriching PNAC’s corporate sponsors. Hidden from the public view was the precise identity of PNAC’s paymasters, which surely must include this list of One Percenters: the multi-millionaire politicians, multimillionaire corporate lobbyists, multi-billionaire war-profiteers, multi-billionaire Wall Street executives, oath-taking militarists and the corporate-controlled media.
The original members of PNAC (a few of whom are pictured below) admitted that their goals of American military and economic domination would be difficult to implement “without a catastrophic catalyzing event such as ‘a new Pearl Harbor’”. Viola! After Bush was elected, PNAC member and Vice President Dick Cheney acquired immense power in the White House, as did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon. Within a year the desired “New Pearl Harbor” was successfully orchestrated.
The False Flag 9/11 Reichstag Fire – What Really Happened
The false flag events of 9/11/01 were the perfect Pearl Harbor, the perfect Reichstag Fire (google “The 9/11 Reichstag Fire – What Really Happened”), the perfect Krystallnacht. the perfect Operation Northwoods, the perfect Gulf of Tonkin Incident, etc, etc.
Each of those “catalyzing events” have been proven to be false flag operations (or events that were allowed to happen). (NOTE: A false flag operation is a governmental conspiracy to “stage” a secret operation that pretends that their nation is being attacked by a targeted enemy in order to elicit public outrage and then claim that that enemy drew first blood and therefore deserves to be attacked “in retaliation”. Considerable propaganda (especially in the “fog of war”) needs to accompany the event for the Big Lie Bamboozle to work on naïve, ignorant, partisan or uber-patriotic citizens. )
A scary list of some of the nefarious, hard right-wing ruling class elites who signed on to the PNAC’s statement of principles can be found by googling “Old American Century – PNAC”. Following is a sobering photo of ten of them (including GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush). Those pictured were protected from testifying under oath by the 911 Commission, despite the fact that it was on their watch that America was led, by Big Lie propaganda, into the disastrous, perpetual “Wars on Terrorism”.
Those wars of aggression and the subsequent – and inevitable – atrocities met the definition of international war crimes and crimes against humanity, but no prosecution has yet come to pass, even though the US lost both the Gulf Wars. And, of course the perpetual wars led directly or indirectly to the current war refugee crises in Europe and the Middle East, including the drowning of the innocent Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi and most of his family The PNAC perps need to take some responsibility for the loss of innocent lives.
Even this partial list of PNAC members should make American anti-fascists, anti-imperialists, and Occupy member’s skin crawl. (Google “PNAC Archives – 911 Truth” for more about PNAC). Those lists include Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Gary Bauer, John Bolton, Richard Perle, William Kristol (founder and chairman), James Wolsey, Elliot Abrams, Eliot Cohen, Dan Quayle, Donald Kagan, William J. Bennett, Scooter Libby, Vin Weber, Norman Podhoretz, Steve Forbes and others after the fraudulent election of 2000.
Despite their roles in leading America into the illegal and unconstitutional wars for oil (which have resulted in millions of innocent Muslim men, women and children dead, wounded, starving and homeless), none but Scooter Libby has spent any time in jail. Go figure.
The politicians, billionaire war-profiteers, Wall Street financiers, oath-taking militarists and the corporate-controlled media (that also must take some responsibility for the war refugee crisis) are composed of groups of conscienceless operatives from the infamous, chronically conspiratorial military/industrial/congressional/media complex, subgroups of which were certainly among the planners and/or orchestrators of the controlled demolitions of the three World Trade Center buildings.
There are a lot of traitorous elites who have been knowingly and secretly usurping American democracy by, post-911, helping to prevent truly independent investigations from happening. Those cunning manipulations have kept Americans from hearing the testimony about the multiple bomb explosions from eye-witnesses who were ready to reveal the obvious truth: that the official White House conspiracy theories about 9/11 were fraudulent. If real investigations would have been allowed to occur right away, the horrific slaughter of the innocents in the Middle East would have been averted – and the drowned Syrian toddler would be alive today.
The 9/11 Truth Movement’s Assertions are not ”Theories” Anymore
All the existing evidence that has been accrued over the past 14 years proves that there were any number of guilty people and groups, and most of them are hiding in plain sight, hopefully shaking in their boots for fear that a powerful grassroots movement will arise and effectively demand justice for their treasonous crimes. All the evidence of their treason has been accumulated, and it is court-of-law-worthy.
The prime suspects that need to be brought to justice as co-conspirators are surely some or all of the folks in the PNAC. So far, they have been protected from being subpoenaed to giving public testimony under oath. They have a lot to lose and therefore have been working hard to avoid indictment, trying to remain in positions of economic or (un-elected) political power. Many of many of them are still deeply involved in US foreign policy and domestic politics.
For any truthful, open-minded person with an IQ above 90 (and who also isn’t an obedient, political hack with ulterior motivations to lie for their political party), understanding why 9/11 was a false flag operation is a no-brainer: All one has to do is study a couple of the powerful, unassailably truthful documentaries on YouTube (see below).
If real investigative journalists – who already knew something was fishy on 9/11/01 – had been allowed to do their jobs and question the unbelievable official theories, justice would have been done before the dogs of war were relesed. Even our co-opted and conflicted politicians might have been able to comprehend that the three WTC Towers 1, 2 & 7 could only have been brought down by pre-planted demolition charges.
And if a real search for the real culprits had been done – as promised by President.Bush – that investigation would have revealed that it is impossible for jet planes to bring down modern, non-flammable steel-reinforced skyscrapers. So, in conclusion, it was the demolitions – and not the “attacks” – that were responsible for the deaths of most of the 3000 civilians that would otherwise have been rescued shortly after the office fires self-extinguished. Planes hitting skyscrapers that were designed to withstand direct hits from Boeing 707s would not incite a nation to go to war – because the buildings would have been left standing. It was therefore necessary to destroy the incriminating evidence: perhaps of a drone plane or two, or the still missing black boxes, or the lack of passengers, etc. That all had to be rubbed out by the demolitions and the total destruction from 3 months-long red-hot smoldering fires from the heat producing incendiaries that were capable of melting steel, like thermite, thermate, military-grade nano-thermite or other high explosives.
So if justice had been done immediately after 9/11, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq would have been illegally invaded and immorally de-stabilized, and all those targeted Middle Eastern nations in the region, including Syria, would not have experienced the chaos of experiencing millions of Iraqi war refugees crossing over the border in the mass movements of internally and externally displaced civilian war refugees like the Syrian toddler.
Important Research Opportunities
Among the many fine documentaries on the subject that are capable of totally disproving the White House Big Lie, the one that has the best historical context is “Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup”. In my opinion, the documentary with the best science behind it is “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
Real patriots, if they want to be on the right side of history, need to watch them both and then adjust their politics.
To do so will place in proper perspective the sufferings and deaths of the millions of war refugees like Alyan Kurdi, his sibling and his mother, all of whom drowned on the same day.
About the author:
Dr. Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of his columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.
The world has suddenly realised that there is a “refugee crisis”. There are more refugees now than at any time since World War II. The number has grown three-fold since the end of 2001. The problem is treated as if it arose just recently, but it has been a long time coming. The pressure has been building and building until it has burst the dams of wilful ignorance.
Death and despair has migrated to the doorsteps of Europe. But tens of millions of people do not simply abandon home and native land for an insecure dangerous future of desperate struggle. The forces that have created this crisis are massive and historic in scale. People are now confronted with a tiny fraction of the horrors that have been visited upon millions and millions in the last 14 years. The refugee crisis is merely a symptom of the far greater and far more brutal reality. This is not just a “current crisis” to last a dozen news cycles, and it will not be resolved by humanitarian support.
The current crisis is similar in magnitude to that of World War II because the events causing it are nearly as epochal and momentous as a World War. Those who leave their homelands now face much greater peril of death than asylum seekers faced 20 years ago, yet despite this their numbers have swollen to the tens of millions.
The crisis has been caused by a new Holocaust, but it is one we refuse to acknowledge. The facts of the mass violence and mass destruction are not hidden. We can see the destruction and death that follows Western intervention, but we have been living in wilful ignorance and denial, just as the Germans denied the obvious fact and nature of German genocide. We don’t want to understand. However, like the Germans under Nazism, our self-serving ignorance is nurtured and magnified by a propaganda discourse that is in our news and entertainment media, and also in our halls of education and the halls of power.
We do not understand the genocidal nature of US-led Western interventions because we do not understand the nature of genocide. We have allowed Zionist and US imperialist elites to dictate that genocide be understood through a lens of Holocaust exceptionalism, Nazi exceptionalism, and Judeocide exceptionalism. But genocide was never meant to be specifically Nazi nor anti-Semitic in nature. The word “genocide” was coined by a Jew, Raphael Lemkin, but was never intended to apply specifically to Jews. It was meant to describe a strategy of deliberately visiting violence and destruction on “nations and peoples” as opposed to visiting it on armies. Lemkin wrote a great deal about genocide against the native people’s of the Americas, but that work went unpublished.
The truth is that there is widespread genocide in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. A new Holocaust is upon us and the refugee numbers are the just tip of a genocidal iceberg. By bombing, invading, destabilising, subverting, Balkanising, sanctioning, corrupting, indebting, debasing, destroying, assassinating, immiserating and even enraging, the US has led “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups….” That is where tens of millions of refugees have come from, but we refuse to see the fact of coordination. We blind ourselves to clear indications of Western agency and intentionality. We twist ourselves in knots to avoid seeing coherence or any pattern in US foreign policy. We are blinded by nonsense from pundits about party-political rhetoric and power struggles in DC, and we ignore the monolithic elephant of coherent imperial strategy that is threatening to crash through the floor and destroy the room altogether.
Westerners don’t want to face the truth of what their governments are doing – particularly NATO governments, and the US government most of all. The millions who died in Iraq were victims of a genocide that was intended to kill Iraqis in such numbers. The victims were not incidental to some other project. The same was true in Korea and Viet Nam, but it is also true in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen, in Somalia, in the DR Congo, and in many other places. The destruction, the death, the misery and the chaos are not “failures” of “ill-advised” policy. This is not even some sort of “Plan-B” where the US creates failed states when it cannot install the regime it wants. This is Plan-A and it is becoming harder and harder to deny the fact.
Wars no longer end. We cannot simply pretend that there is no reason for that. Wars no longer end because instability and conflict are the deliberate means of attacking the people – the means of destroying their nations as such. That is what “genocide” means, and that is why we avoid the knowledge. This knowledge will destroy comforting delusions and reveal the cowardly false critiques of those who think that the US government is “misguided” in its attempts to bring stability. The US doesn’t bring stability, it doesn’t seek to bring stability. It destabilises one country after another. It infects entire regions with a disease of acute or chronic destruction, dysfunction and death.
This is a Neo-Holocaust. It slowly builds and grinds. It is the gradual, frog-boiling way to commit genocide. And, like the dullard masses of a dystopian satire, we keep adjusting every time it presents us with a new “normal”. It is a postmodern, neocolonial Holocaust of mass death and mass deprivation. It rises and falls in intensity, but will not end until the entire world awakes and ends it in revulsion.
There are now more refugees than at any time since World War II. It bears repeating. The numbers have tripled since 9/11 and the launch of what has been labelled the “Global War on Terror” and the “Long War”. The situation has become akin to that in World War II, but we seem to be quite comfortable treating it as if it wasn’t a response to a single phenomenon. In WWII it was self-evident that people were fleeing war and genocide, but we apparently accept the tripling of refugee numbers now as resulting from all sorts of different causes. The only factor we are supposed to perceive as linking these crises appears to be Islamist terrorism, even though in the most prominent cases the terrorism arrives after the Western intervention and conflict.
We can no longer excuse the habit of treating each victim of US/NATO intervention as having separate endogenous sources of conflict. Yes, there are ethnic and religious fissures in countries, and yes there are economic and environmental crises which create instability. But, when the opportunity arises weapons flood into these hotspots. There is always an influx of arms. It is the great constant. But many other thing might also happen, particularly economic destabilisation and “democracy promotion”. There is no single playbook from which the US and its partners are making all their moves. There are major direct interventions, such as the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, and the creation of South Sudan. There are proxy interventions such as the bombing of Yemen, incursions into DR Congo, and fomenting civil war in Syria. Add into this the continuous covert interventions, economic interventions, destabilisations, sanctions, coups, debt crises then you can see a differentiated complex of systematic genocide that very closely resembles the differentiated complex of systematic genocide initially described by Raphael Lemkin in 1944.
The tempo of violence that exists now does not even match that of the bombing during the Korean War, let alone the enormous scale of violence of World War II. However, the difference is that this violence never ends. It seems destined to continue for eternity and the scale of death continues to creep upwards. I cannot shake the feeling that if Germany had not been at war, Nazi genocide policies would have been enacted at the same slowly accumulating pace. The destruction and the violence are often meted out by enemies of the United States, but I think people are beginning to grasp that to some extent the US is often the creator and sponsor of these enemies. Moreover these enemies are often materially dependent on the US either directly or through allied regimes.
Cumulatively, this has still become an historic era of mass death that in some respects resembles the “hyperexploitation” and socio-economic destruction of “Scramble for Africa” and in other respects resembles German genocide policies in occupied Europe. In future, when people come to add up the human cost of this new Holocaust they won’t be trying to prove their credibility by being conservative. Conservatism in such matters is nothing but purposeful inaccuracy and bias. When they calculate all of the excess mortality that has resulted from military, proxy, covert and economic intervention by the West in the post-9/11 era it will be in the tens of millions. It is already of the same order of magnitude as the Nazi Holocaust, and it is far from over.
We see a drowned boy in on a beach and the suffering strikes home. That is a tragedy, but the obscenity is not in the death of a small child. The obscenity is in the fact that it was an act of murder by Western states. Now try to picture what that obscenity looks like multiplied, and multiplied, and multiplied until the boy, Aylan Kurdi, is just a grain of sand on that beach. It seems almost serene, but that is an illusion. We are socialised to lack what is called “statistical empathy” and that lack makes us irrational. Whenever we face the statistics of human pain and loss we must learn to counter this unnatural detachment by making ourselves face the full individual humanity of victims. The key to understanding the Holocaust is not to obsess about the evil Nazi race hatred and cruel machinery of death, it is to picture a child dying in agony in the dark of a crowded gas chamber and to juxtapose that with the callous indifference of Germans, of French, of English and of many others to the fate of that child at the time.
Without compassion, we are intellectually as well as morally stunted. Understanding the ongoing holocaust means you must picture a burned child dying slowly, crying for help that will never come, in the dark rubble of a shelled home next to the corpses of her mother and father. Now juxtapose that with the callous indifference we are induced to feel until we are told that it is officially a crime committed by villains rather than regrettable collateral damage stemming from benignly intended Western acts. After the fact we care, but at that time of the Judeocide almost every country sent Jewish refugees back to certain death. People reacted with callousness and also vile contempt to Jewish refugees, almost exactly like the British tourists who have recently wished mass death on the “tides of filth” that are ruining their playground on the Greek isle of Kos.
To avoid the truth, we select only certain victims as being worthy and fully human. When it becomes officially correct to feel compassion, we create cartoon villains to blame who, by their very conception, are aberrations and departures from a systemic norm. It might be the Zionist lobby, or Netanyahu or Trump or the Kochs or the military-industrial complex, but it must be something other than business as usual. This thinking is cowardice. It is stupidity. It is self-serving. It is morally and intellectually bankrupt. There is a new Holocaust happening now and it is the logical outcome of US imperialism.
In the final analysis, the refugees are the result of years of conflict, destruction and suffering. The scariest thing is that we are incapable of stopping the progress of this plague because we will not face up to the principles behind it. It has become a one-way street. Areas that are lost to civil strife can never find peace. Cities reduced to rubble can never be rebuilt. Communities that are torn apart can never again knit together. Worse will come and it will not end until the US empire is destroyed. Please let us find a way to do that without another World War.
Originally published at: http://ongenocide.com/2015/09/07/the-refugee-crisis-and-the-new-holocaust/#comments
More than 6,400 civilians have been killed and nearly 16,000 injured as result of criminal actions of Kiev regime during the conflict in Donbass, Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin said on Thursday. Also, more than 10,000 residential infrastructure facilities have been fully or partially destroyed and burnt. Since last April, more than 1 million Russian-speaking residents of Lugansk and Donetsk regions had to flee their homes, and more than 110,000 people having a refugee status have applied for the Russian citizenship. The war has been continuing.
Ukrainian capital being wrapped in smoke due to a spate of regional wildfires, including a forest fire that broke out in the village of Zazimye located about ten kilometers from Kiev earlier this week. The head of the Kiev Ecological and Cultural Center, Vladimir Boreyko believes forest fires on the outskirts of Kiev are connected with a “pathological foolishness of the government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk”. He explained that Yatsenyuk had banned the inspection of any economic entities in Ukraine under the guise of fighting corruption. The logic of Ukrainian activists is awesome. On the one hand, they support oligarchs and corruptionists killing citizens of Donbass. On the another hand, they are surprised that oligarchs and corruptionists ignore the country’s interests. Wow, what a news!
Europe is sticking to US policy in dealing with the massive inflow of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, which is leading to drastic consequences that Russia had warned about, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Eastern Economic Forum on Friday. According to the Russian president, the migrant crisis was expected as enforcing Western standards without taking into account the historic, religious and cultural characteristics of the Middle East and North Africa was bound to lead to unsatisfactory results. Russia “has repeatedly said that there would be major large-scale problems if our so-called western partners conduct the erroneous, as I have always said, foreign policy, especially in the regions of the Muslim world, the Middle East, North Africa,” Putin said.
About 12,000 servicemen as well as 500 units of military hardware and over 200 military aircraft took part in a military parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, that was held in Beijing, China. Some 30 foreign leaders attended the memorial event, representing countries from Russia and Belarus, to Egypt, South Korea and Venezuela. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also attended the parade, while the majority of “high-profile” Western leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have passed on the event.
Earlier, on Monday, Tokyo said it has complained to the United Nations over Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s plan to attend a huge military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II. Top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga called on the UN to be “neutral”, after Tokyo issued a complaint to the 193-member body on Friday. In July 2014, the Abe Cabinet introduced a reinterpretation of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ role, giving more power to the SDF and allowing it to take part in foreign military actions. This action ending so-called “Japan’s long-standing pacifist policies”, was supported by the U.S. but was heavily criticized by China and North Korea.
When I began reading the work of Douglas Valentine about six years ago, I had not read his books, only the articles that the US online journal Counterpunch had published. In fact I only began reading Counterpunch because of the accident of having been introduced to the two original editors of what was then only a printed newsletter. Later I was even able to publish a few pieces in that journal before its more famous founding editor’s demise. Why do I preface a book review with such personal observations? To that question I will return later.
After reading numerous articles I went to Douglas Valentine’s website and as I frequently do—even today—I asked him questions about things he had written. This began a conversation that has continued. Of course I could not hope to conduct a serious conversation with someone about their ideas without having read what they had already committed to paper. Hence I began with The Phoenix Program (1990). I then read both of his books on the US government’s drug organisations and was pleased to review them online. When Open Roads, under the direction of Mark Crispin Miller, re-published The Phoenix Program as the first in its e-book series “Forbidden Books”, I had the opportunity to review it as well. In other words although I have only known Douglas Valentine for a few years, I believe I am very well acquainted not only with his writing but I also know what makes it unique in the landscape.
His latest book, The CIA as organised crime, is not new. Nor is it intended to be. This book attempts something very difficult: compressing the essentials of nearly 30 years of intensive research, insight and implicit social theory into a volume accessible to readers with rapidly deteriorating attention spans who have been conditioned to what I would call “journalism as pornography” (I will return to that too.) Before I explain what I mean, permit me to briefly explain the structure of the book.
After introducing the reader to the “luck” he had in gaining access to the sources which made the book possible, Valentine presents revised interviews that explain the core information in The Phoenix Program (Part I) and the two-volume “Wolf/ Pack” study of US drug law enforcement (Part II). Then in part III he uses previous interviews and articles to explain the interrelationships between the CIA business and the DEA business and how they led to the Homeland Security business. Part IV is devoted to the various ways in which everything known from parts I – III are ignored, trivialised, distorted or censored so that such knowledge has virtually no impact in public consciousness. Here there might be a certain detectable irony since Valentine writes a book that concludes by saying that the means for acting on the information presented is already precluded—pre-empted rather than prohibited.
The book’s principle subject is the Central Intelligence Agency. For the historically challenged it may be useful to recall that the Central Intelligence Agency is an organisation of the US regime created by the National Security Act of 1947. Most history books will tell an average US citizen (or someone schooled with US curricular materials) that the act adopted by the US Congress on 29 July of that year was designed to consolidate the several branches of the military under a Department of Defence, for budgetary reasons, to restrain historic inter-service rivalries, and to create a more modern and efficient armed forces.
What is not said is that in 1945, the US government had demobilised its military and having emerged from the Second World War unscathed was trying to determine how to save its economy from a return to the pre-war depression. The intellectual elite of the US regime has already begun to warn that both domestic stability and US dominance in the world would be jeopardised if the regime did not maintain at least the level of armaments expenditure required during the war that had just ended. However there was no publicly defensible reason for permanent wartime footing. There were no more Native Americans to annihilate; despite the abolition of slavery Negroes were still well under control. The only country even approaching the US in military strength—the USSR—had been so devastated by the war that it would be decades before it could pose a genuine competitive threat. In other words, having pacified the world with atomic weapons and the blood of 30 million Soviet citizens, the US elite had no honest justification for the policy they were about to undertake.
The National Security Act of 1947 created the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and what was first called the “National Military Establishment”—later renamed the Department of Defence. Given the fact that the international criminal court constituted to try war crimes in Nuremberg proclaimed the commencement of a war of aggression to be the ultimate war crime under international law, it ought to be clear that the legislation passed by the Congress in July of 1947 was tantamount to the establishment of a permanently organised war crimes establishment in the United States of America. The creation of the three executive instruments by which the US corporate elite in Congress assembled delegated the powers to declare war under their own charter (aka US Constitution) made the entire US regime an organised criminal conspiracy because the permanent state of war thus created in and of itself was an act of aggression in the very form condemned at Nuremberg—and for which those not particularly favoured by that regime were hanged or imprisoned.
It is within this legislatively mandated criminal enterprise that one has to understand the origins, purpose and function of the Central Intelligence Agency. The 1947 legislation chartered the CIA as an instrument of the National Security Council. On the tacit assumption that the US regime is in a permanent state of war—despite occasional suggestions to the contrary—the National Security Council constitutes something like a permanent war cabinet. The war cabinet has its weapons of mass destruction (the armed forces) but because this “cabinet” is composed of bureaucrats, academics, professional politicians, businessmen and assorted charlatans in the train of the reigning president there is need for an espionage organisation which in theory tells these ministers when, where and how to wage war most advantageously. That is the official reason why the criminal cabinet needs spies. According to the Act:
(d) For the purpose of coordinating (subordinating) the intelligence activities (spying) of the several Government departments and agencies in the interest of national security (waging war), it shall be the duty of the Agency, under the direction of the National Security Council (permanent war cabinet)—
(1) To advise the National Security Council in matters concerning such intelligence activities (spying) of the Government departments and agencies as relate to national security (waging war);
(2) To make recommendations to the National Security Council for the coordination (subordination) of such intelligence activities (spying) of the departments and agencies of the Government as relate to the national security (waging war);
The ostensible function described is that of a consultancy, an almost academic organisation. However there are some other duties specified in the Act.
(3) To correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to the national security (waging war), and provide for the appropriate dissemination (helping other government spies) of such intelligence within the Government using where appropriate existing agencies and facilities: PROVIDED, That the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions (This would be called a non-competition clause in commercial law. It was adopted to protect the right of the FBI and other domestic instruments of state terror from encroachments by the federal agency.): PROVIDED FURTHER, That the departments and other agencies of the Government shall continue to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence (no spying monopoly): AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure (preventing the public or victims of spying from defending themselves);
(4) To perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies (all the military spies, police spies, and implicitly sanctioned corporate spying organisations), such additional services of common concern as the National Security Council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally (any other criminal activity for which the Agency is better equipped or has more benefit);
(5) To perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence (covert action) affecting the national security (waging of war) as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.
The conspicuous crime for which the Central Intelligence Agency was created was spying, an offence punishable under Title 18 of the United States Code which incorporates the provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act. Of course one could argue that it is not a crime to spy on the enemy when at war. However officially at least the US has not been at war since 1945—at least not within the conventional interpretation of the war powers in the US Constitution, i.e. a resolution adopted by the US Congress declaring a state of war between the US and another country. But even allowing executive liberty with the definition of a “state of war”, the Espionage Act also makes it a crime to spy on the “friends” of the United States—which of course has been standard operating procedure since the CIA was founded.
However the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency has another history, its genealogy. The CIA claims two inspirational heroes: Nathan Hale and William “Wild Bill” Donovan. Nathan Hale is heralded as the first or at least most famous colonial spy to be hanged by the British Army during the American War of Independence.Surely a bit of folklore, he was to have said before the noose did its work that he only regretted “that I have but one life to lose for my country”. William Donovan was a white shoe lawyer who persuaded US President Franklin Roosevelt to authorise the founding of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) from whose ranks many of the most renowned CIA executive management came.Nathan Hale’s place in the CIA pantheon is certainly no more than the vanity of its white elite founders. William Donovan is far closer to the true tradition from which the CIA arose.
Repeatedly CIA cadres make reference to the OSS as if it were the core of its “regimental history”. The myth intended is that the Office of Strategic Services was created in wartime (the last time the US was officially at war) and all those boys who joined the OSS were heroic soldiers fighting more or less covertly in the “good war”. Thus the CIA is the descendant of that band of heroic elite soldiers and patriots who quietly served their country under conditions that at least theoretically could lead them to share the fate of Nathan Hale. The truth however is quite different. William Donovan’s qualifications for the OSS were not his Medal of Honor awarded in the Great War but his political connections in New York. These political connections and his success as a lawyer enabled him to overcome the WASP barriers, which an Irish Catholic would generally face until one John Kennedy was elected for a visit to the White House.
Donovan was not only a lawyer and politician in Roosevelt’s home state, he was part of that community of corporate law firms whose specialties included organising covert action to defend US corporations abroad. Probably the most notorious in this league of private mercenary law firms was Sullivan & Cromwell—the firm in which John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were partners.Prior to the creation of the CIA, there were law firms like Sullivan & Cromwell and the US Marines. After 1945, gentlemen like the Dulles brothers agreed that while it was not always opportune or good marketing to send the Marines, it was also very risky for US corporations and their law firms to intervene in foreign countries as they had done routinely prior to the Second World War.
There was a need for protecting corporations from the very real risks of de-colonisation and economic nationalism, which unfortunately had been given new impetus by colonised peoples who took the UN Charter seriously. Not only was it recognised by this segment of the US elite that a permanent war economy was essential for continued wealth accumulation and domestic peace but lip service had to be paid to the ideals of the UN Charter and the United Nations organisations (esp. since the admission of non-whites was inevitable).
The inspiration for the CIA came from precisely this class of white—mainly Protestant—descendants of the New England theocrats and Yankee slave traders whose entire identity was based on white supremacy and capitalism—both as a religious ideal and an enrichment strategy. It is one of the legacies of the US Civil War that overt violence, i.e. the armed forces, is dominated by the elites of the South while covert violence, i.e. finance and the secret police, is primarily managed by the elites of the North. So while 1945 brought the defeat of Ford’s, Bush’s and Dulles’ friends in Berlin and the disappointment of Soviet victory, there was still potential to exploit racism and domestic fears to create the illusions needed for a permanent war economy with all the trappings of a wartime police state.
This could not be done overtly because it could jeopardise markets in countries where US corporations hoped to replace European colonial competitors. There was also a domestic threat to be suppressed. After four years of telling US citizens that they were defending democracy and self-determination and opposing racism (although that actually was not a part of the WWII myth in the US until the 1970s), it was necessary to teach US corporate vassals (dictators) to at least walk and talk like US politicians. There had to be alternatives to the tried and true method of sending the Marines when the leaders in a foreign capital misbehaved. The people of “Wild Bill” Donovan’s class knew the methodology and understood the problem—but what they now needed was “official cover”. Nobody would believe—either in the UN General Assembly or any other public forum—that United Fruit supported or opposed governments based on democratic convictions. On the other hand, no one could (would dare) challenge the actions of the US government abroad to assist a government it declared to be democratic. Moreover if United Fruit broke the law, the local government could punish it, even by expropriation. But no local government would dare take such action against the United States itself—that could mean even war.
Hence the CIA was invented in the National Security Act not simply as an advisory and coordinating instrument for spying but as a criminal organisation to cover for the fundamental criminal activity of US corporations and those who own them. It was invented by those whose primary qualification for “government service” was their experience as mercenaries or mercenary managers for the corporations and wealthy families that own the United States government. Its leadership and cadre were and are drawn from the “families” who historically either own or defend the wealth concentrated in the US upper class. They are the essence of “organised crime”.
That brings me back to Valentine’s book: The CIA as organised crime. The subtitle of the book is “How illegal operations corrupt America and the World”. The title is fashioned like those of many typical exposés or what some might call “muckraking” journalism. If this title gets more readers than the means justifies the end. Yet I think the title is in fact a juxtaposition of two contrary perspectives of his subject. For Valentine’s book to be an exposé it would have to reveal something previously hidden. In fact Valentine concludes his book with the entirely justifiable assertion that what he has described is in fact in plain sight—not hidden at all. A “muckraking” story would take an otherwise tidy state of affairs and show that “beneath it all” it is really very ugly and dirty. However, no later than the Church and Pike Committee investigations of the 1970s and the Iran-Contra hearings of the late 1980s, it has been a matter of official record that the Central Intelligence Agency organises and perpetrates crimes as a matter of policy and that it does so with virtual impunity—in the interests of “national security” (waging war). So is Valentine’s book a revelation about the CIA?
No. Nor do I believe that he intended it to be.
The most important part of the book is in fact part IV: Manufacturing Complicity: Shaping the American Worldview. I see it as an act of self-defence that this part is not overtly the central part of the book. With respect for that I would like to point out why this self-defence is by no means trivial and at the same time I would like to take the risk or the liberty of elaborating why I believe self-defence is appropriate.
Valentine’s most important observations about the nature and structure of CIA action are:
- The CIA is a class-based organisation. Its membership and its mission are dedicated to defending the dominance of the predominantly US corporate elite, based on the ideology of capitalism and white supremacy.
- The CIA limits its scope of action to the extent that such action may be plausibly denied and is of benefit to its clients.
- The CIA does not recognise any barriers to action except those imposed by its clients or by the force of its opponents—i.e. it is beyond what most of us call the law. This does not mean that it is omnipotent.
- The CIA relies for much if not all of its tacit support upon the willing collaboration of the Establishment and the Counter-Establishment in all its forms and factions. The means for maintaining this collaboration are mastery of language and propaganda and an enormous capacity to reward support (witting or unwitting) and punish opposition.
- All of the above are attainable because of the degree of organisation and organisational discipline: class-based, bureaucratic and military in nature.
The CIA as organised crime is a compilation of examples drawn from his detailed case studies. It should motivate the reader to go back and read The Phoenix Program, The Strength of the Wolf and The Strength of the Pack. If this happens then the book will have been a success. If the reader is waiting for a daring revelation, he may be disappointed. Valentine does not trade in sensationalism. He is not a muckraker either. That is apparent from careful reading of the first two introductory chapters. On the contrary Douglas Valentine has written books, which prove that there are no real secrets for people who bother to ask the right questions and who listen to or read carefully the answers. The CIA as organized crime is another such book.
Here the reader of this review might object that of course there were secrets: the Phoenix Program was a secret. Without “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) searches and a lucky access to high-ranking CIA officials Valentine would never have discovered the truth, which was hidden from us all. Of course there are secrets. And of course it is the free press and heroic journalists like Seymour Hersh or Glen Greenwald and whistle-blowers like Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden (the list of journalists or “whistle-blowers” is by no means inclusive) that make sure that no matter how dreadful the people in Langley are, the truth will be discovered.
I think here it is important to distinguish between critical research published by a writer in periodical literature (journals) and journalistic pornography. The exposé is not accidentally connotative of striptease. As everyone knows who has at least thought about it, if not actually attended, the point of striptease is not the final nudity but the gradual and redundant suggestion of nudity. Pornography is literally not the graphic depiction of sexual acts but the graphic depiction of the activity of prostitutes. In this sense while it is conventional to identify prostitutes with those engaged in sex for remuneration, the reluctance to call people whose marriages result in monetary gain prostitutes has shifted the emphasis away from mere sex for money. This has given rise to such neologisms as “presstitute”—a journalist who prostitutes him or herself in his profession. The term “yellow journalism” was given to types of writing in the last century considered egregiously biased and aggressive. The tendency is to identify this kind of journalism with the “tabloids” or “boulevard press”.
The US journalist I.F. Stone, beatified in the US by many who call themselves “liberal” or “left”, knew that propaganda and “yellow journalism” was not a market cornered by the tabloids. His Hidden History of the Korean War is full of examples to show how the war in Korea was not reported, ill reported, or falsely reported by the so-called “quality press”. Douglas McArthur was just as successful at manipulating the Press as the generals and admirals that came after him. The collaboration of the media during the war against Korea was so effective that even forty years later, a documentary film about the war produced in the UK was censored in the US as a precondition to its being aired at all.
Those of us old enough to remember Morley Safer reporting from Vietnam on CBS might wonder at the story he told in 2010 to a select gathering of journalist veterans of that war about his relationship with then CIA station chief William Colby.Seymour Hersh is regularly trotted out by S.I. Newhouse’s New Yorker magazine as a critical journalist—also a Vietnam “veteran”. Hersh is given credit for bringing the My Lai massacre to the attention of the US public—an event Colin Powell did his best to help conceal while he was stationed in Vietnam. But Hersh did not make a name for reporting about the Phoenix Program (just as Morley Safer did not). The Vietnamese knew about Phoenix and they knew what kind of operation Lt. Calley was leading. Yet at no time during the trial of Calley was there ever any mention of the CIA or the campaign against the VCI of which Calley was just one tiny part. Instead we were all fed with nightly stories about how bad the war was and under what duress a young lieutenant was serving his country—that regrettable and even condemnable his acts may be but they were mere incidents of war. In fact Calley was acting in compliance with standard operating procedures and official policy of the CIA whose war Vietnam was.
The purpose of our press corps was and is to serve as part of the combined weapons deployed against the civilian population, esp. those in the “homeland” who have to be persuaded daily of the morality violated every day. On the one hand the population must be constantly reassured that that old disgusting Puritan morality remains the foundation of US society. On the other hand the prurient interest in breaches of that morality must be satisfied. Hence US Americans relish the hymns of praise for their Press that come from invidious comparisons with the media in the rest of the world (esp. the Soviet Union/ Russia). They need the titillation that comes from being told occasionally that elected officials patronise brothels, judges receive bribes and non-whites in foreign lands are tortured and assassinated. Even the most obscene acts perpetrated by CIA officers or their comrades in other branches of the State apparatus become delectable if served by those whose reporting respects the aesthetic dogma.
Bernardo Bertolucci directed a film Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. A number of recent articles about the film focus on the non-consensual use of butter as a lubricant for the illusion of an anal sex rape scene. The film was rated as practically pornographic when it was released in the 1972. When I saw the film I was surprised that so much was written about the explicit sex. For me there was only one serious message in the film and it was very clearly articulated—regardless of whatever artistic pretensions Bertolucci may have intended. For the greater part of the film the characters played by Brando and Schneider meet and have unrestricted sex in an otherwise vacant Paris flat. The only rule throughout is that no names are to be asked or given.
As the film draws to a close this rule is breached and Schneider’s character is given a name for the man with whom she has had sex for such a long period. Shortly thereafter she borrows a pistol, meets the man in the flat and kills him. The moral of the story is simple. As long as we cannot name something that is bothering us, we have an enormous if not insurmountable impediment to action. The capacity for titillation, for erotic stimulation even with simultaneous pain, is enhanced by suspension of belief or cognition. This is what pornography does and it is also the function of compatible journalism.
The compatible Left enjoys journalistic pornography.Like sex pornography there are also different classes or grades of journalistic pornography, sensationalism, voyeurism, exposés, so-called “inside reports”. The quality usually depends on who is funding it and what audience is targeted. The main thing is that it is either exciting or something good for fund-raising, although sometimes it is enough to be good gossip. In other words, plot and character development or accurate dialogue are unimportant in comparison to that orgasm inducing “revelation”—an erection out of context. “Did you see that?” or “Did you hear that?” ejaculates from the stimulated consumer. Moreover the compatible Left believes just as strongly in American “exceptionalism” as the Establishment. The counter-establishment claims to be a victim of Establishment mistakes. The blind support given to Barack Obama derives in large part from the embarrassment felt that George W. Bush made people dislike the United States—not that people could dislike the policies and actions of the United States—not that people could object to the permanent war crimes establishment in Washington and New York.
To go beyond ejaculations—or even to dispense with them—one has to be willing to concentrate on the whole story, not just what appeared in today’s broadcasts or papers but what happened before that? Where did all that happen? Who are the people involved and with whom are they involved? These are the details of chronology, geography and genealogy.
History occurs in a context not of minutes but years, decades, even centuries. When angry Iranians seized the US embassy in Teheran in the wake of their revolution, none of the respectable media explained that the Shah had been installed by the CIA in 1954 or that US spies were still operating out of the US embassy when the seizure occurred. Even a media outlet generally assigned to the US Left produced a report on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution that omitted information it had reported at the time of the embassy seizure. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s creation of what are now called the Taliban, under President Jimmy Carter, to wage war against the Soviet Union is another fact conveniently omitted when deceptively comparing the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan with the US war against Vietnam.It is important to follow the timeline in its entirety, not just the segment served in the news bulletin.
When people in the US who do not know where the state of West Virginia is located are called “geographically challenged”, then it is all the more apparent that checking a map is a good thing to do before believing anything reported about a foreign place (meaning also any place one has never visited).
The Phoenix Program was developed by people who came from very specific professional backgrounds and biographies. When the program was up and running, the US Foreign Service was training whole classes of its employees to become Phoenix advisers in Vietnam. People like Richard Holbrooke and John Negroponte were working in rural pacification in Vietnam as 20-year-olds.Even if were it credible that the Phoenix Program was “terminated” when the US withdrew from Vietnam, there is an entire generation of cadre in the Foreign Service and military who began their careers learning how to manage the kidnapping, torture and assassination of unarmed civilians. Are these the people you would expect to run a proper democracy? Given that untold numbers of ex-servicemen join the police forces, one should not be surprised at how comfortable they feel in Ferguson, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans when they get to use military grade equipment.
There is nothing titillating about the routines of Homeland Security or the organisation of the US gulag. People like Jeremy Scahill do not need to masturbate in Iraq to find assassinations.They are the bread and butter business of the police and drug enforcement offices in every major US city. And torture—well that is celebrated in the endless hours of cop shows that even people beyond the US borders have to endure as standard TV and cinema fare.
I began this review with some personal observations—how I came to read and later to review the work of Douglas Valentine. Over the course of the past six years I have observed what I consider to be a steadily diminishing willingness to see the obvious and draw at least more obvious conclusions from those observations. Instead there has been an unceasing proliferation of opinion and chatter pretending to be debate. The US comedian Stephen Colbert used to parody this condition by portraying a person who always said in essence “truth for me is what I feel is true without any regard for the facts, or even despite them”. Unfortunately by the time the last editions of the Colbert Report were aired on Comedy Central, it was impossible to see the parody any more. There are innumerable examples of distortion in the public sphere—the substitution of spectacle for substance. Colbert never claimed to be a journalist but there are innumerable journalists who are in fact indistinguishable from their comedian imitators. A page from my grade school speller contained the aphorism “It is easier to be critical than correct.” It is easier to be a celebrity than a person with conviction.
The CIA as organized crime is not a book of opinion. Although there are interviews these were not for talk shows. The interview format—even with critical and informed interviewers—is problematic because of the need to make a dialogue out of material that requires individual intensity and focussed attention. Since Valentine is an experienced interviewer (as anyone can establish by listening to his Phoenix tapes), he makes the best out of a restrictive format. In doing so he does not tell us so much about asking questions as how we must learn to work with answers. Valentine’s book is also an exercise in giving critical questions, esp. from those who are less knowledgeable or experienced, the serious answers they deserve. That is one very important approach in teaching history, to restoring substance. Valentine is an excellent history teacher and there are simply not enough like him.
From Libya and Egypt to Syria and Yemen, the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is undergoing unprecedented tumult and chaos. To understand the current breakdown of states and society, examining the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 that laid the groundwork for this ongoing regional anarchy is indispensable.
Global Research brings to the attention of its readers the newly released book by Christopher L. Brennan. Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction (available here), propounds an incisive and timely analysis. The book views this widespread Arab upheaval, not as authentic grass roots movements for democracy, but as a US-engineered destabilization. Below are excerpts largely from the introduction.
* * *
From 2011 to around early 2014, the so-called “Arab Spring” encompassing the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region came to the forefront of international political affairs. In the words of Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, it was “frequently referred to as the most remarkable episode in the international life of the new 21st century.” The authoritarian regimes of the Arab world have been fragile systems. This is especially true more recently in their relationship with burgeoning youthful populations. Arab historian Said K. Aburish argues that these various regimes all lack modern political legitimacy—from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to Egypt, from military cliques to monarchies. 
This lack of modern political legitimacy—coupled with decades of political repression, world economic crises, and unresolved grievances such as the unmitigated oppression of the Palestinian people—creates potential for massive political awakening. This dynamic was particularly pronounced because of the region’s marked demographic ‘youth bulge.’ Historically, youth cohorts are receptive to new ideas, eager to challenge the status quo, and active in times of political crisis. Indeed, it was the age 25 and under demographic that spearheaded the MENA mass protests. Using what is referred to as ‘civilian-based power,’ Western powers exploited and guided this massive potential for political awakening to advance Western and Israeli geopolitical imperatives. These eruptions were followed closely by covert and overt military intervention.
Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction examines modern imperialism vis-à-vis the so-called ‘Arab Spring.’ This widespread Arab upheaval takes place in the context of a period when the restructuring of the world order—from unipolarity (uncontested world hegemony) toward multipolarity (multiple centers of power)—converges with aggravated economic breakdown. This provides the lens from which this study is viewed. The focus of this analysis is the underlying themes, methods, and most prevalent aspects of the MENA uprisings. Particular focus is given to Egypt and Libya as highly instructive case studies. Egypt demonstrates an effective utilization of ‘civilian-based power,’ while Libya provides one of the most palpable displays of the empire’s ruthless stewardship of the “Arab Spring” to smash a recalcitrant Arab state.
In his study The Sorrows of Empire, author Chalmers Johnson, professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego, categorizes modern imperialists into two groups: “those who advocate unconstrained, unilateral American domination of the world (couched sometimes in terms of following in the footsteps of the British Empire) and those who call for imperialism devoted to ‘humanitarian’ objectives…. The complex issue at the heart of liberal imperialism is ‘humanitarian intervention’ … ‘the responsibility to protect’” as a pretext for military intervention.
‘Liberal imperialism’ has continued to evolve. A more novel method for modern imperialism includes the use of the ‘color revolution.’ Adherents of this method, such as Peter Ackerman of the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) and Carl Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (See Chapter II), argue unfriendly regimes can be toppled by mobilizing swarms of discontented adolescents, via mass communication media such as SMS, Facebook and Twitter. Illustrating its appeal to the Obama team, this later tactic of ‘civilian-based power’ was utilized as the initial driving force of the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ and was later superseded by direct military intervention and America’s newest unconventional model of warfare.
Despite evidence to the contrary, the mainstream narrative is that the wave of uprisings against the status quo autocratic Arab regimes were entirely organic. Additionally, a narrative sometimes found in alternative media is that these uprisings were initially organic, but were subsequently hijacked or diverted by the West and Gulf state monarchies. The latter narrative is given credence through the West’s direct military intervention to topple Muammar Qaddafi’s government in Libya. Both of these notions are specious. The idea that romantic Arab youth activists alone initiated the attempt to topple their autocratic regimes is a myth. The objective of Fall of the Arab Spring is to shatter this prevailing mythology.
In truth, the so-called “Arab Spring”which swept through the MENA region was a wave of destabilizations sponsored by Washington and launched through ‘civilian-based power’ techniques. It was American imperialism of the most modern form. With the onset of multipolarity—with many of Washington’s vassals looking to resurgent power centers such as Moscow and Beijing—the US moved pre-emptively for ‘regime change’ against the independence of ‘enemy’ states and erstwhile clients. Additionally, the ‘Arab Spring’ offensive was given impetus by the imperative to accelerate the regional process of what Bernard Lewis, perhaps the most influential British Arabist, termed “Lebanonization” as a self- fulfilling prophecy.  This refers to the far-reaching balkanization, societal breakdown, and explosion of sectarian conflicts following the attenuation or collapse of the state—the model of Somalia.
For the casual outside observer, especially those imbibing the corporate controlled media’s narrative, the complex and covert nature of the destabilization meant its intrinsic imperialism was not immediately discernable. The initial lack of overt military offensives gave the empire’s use of ‘civilian-based power’ the verisimilitude of meritorious organic grassroots movements for change.
While it is important to acknowledge and support the aspirations of peoples toward accountable and democratic forms of governance, it is unacceptable to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states during this process. This principle is enshrined in the charter of the United Nations and that of natural law. In a non-Hobbesian world it would be recognized that is not for any state to dictate another’s government for their own selfish aggrandizement or hegemonic interests. It would be recognized that every nation has the right to determine its future independently, without outside interference. Alas, rather than this notion as a guiding principle, the Post-Cold War era unleashed a state of uncontested world hegemony by a single power: the United States. In this single world power framework its own interests and ideology are regarded as paramount.
Although it is commonly thought to have gradually faded following World War II, imperialism continues via neo-colonialism.The actions of the West, with its leading state the US at the forefront, have followed an imperialist tendency throughout the Arab uprisings. As we shall see, the West’s ongoing involvement in the “Arab Spring” is part of a larger offensive to maintain the status quo of Western and Israeli hegemony. This was done—not through the crude and direct means of the Bush II regime—but more indirectly and via a sustained synergy of hard and soft power: so-called ‘smart power.’ This was supplemented and spearheaded through the techniques of the ‘color revolution.’ Thus, although a new cadre emerged with the onset of the Obama regime, the status quo imperative to secure Israel remained, and Obama administration introduced new techniques of projecting power. Whereas the second Bush administration was blunt and bellicose, the Obama regime acted more indirectly and surreptitiously, often relying on local proxies and ambitious regional powers such as Qatar and Turkey. This approach can be aptly labeled ‘imperialism on the cheap.’ It has been the defining foreign policy strategy of the Obama presidency.
The excessive reliance on ‘hard power,’ overt military and economic means to project power, during the George W. Bush presidency, generated widespread discourse on its imperial nature. In contrast, the presidency of Obama was rarely, if ever, characterized in similar terms in its early stage. On the contrary, it was often branded as a radical departure from the aggressive tendencies of the Bush II regime. ‘Soft power’ is defined as “the ability to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than using the carrots and sticks of payment or coercion.” After President Bush put US standing in a compromised position—with allies antagonized and a military and populace demoralized—the American establishment opted to shift to a more emphatically ‘soft power’ approach, as advanced by theoreticians such as Joseph Nye, Jr. and Zbigniew Brzezinski of the elite Trilateral Commission. The new strategy rejected an outright bellicose use of ‘hard power,’ the proclivity of the Bush II regime. Instead, ‘hard power’ was used more selectively and from the standpoint of ‘leading from behind.’ This means encouraging allies (or vassals) to engage in geopolitical initiatives for the US, which provides necessary military aid covertly.
During the MENA uprisings, as the Trilateral Commission’s Joseph Nye had suggested even before Obama was elected, the US used “a smart strategy that combines hard- and soft-power resources—and that emphasizes alliances and networks that are responsive to the new context of a global information age.” Or, as articulated by Obama State Department apparatchik Susanne Nossel, a strategy of “enlisting others on behalf of U.S. goals, through alliances, international institutions, careful diplomacy, and the power of ideals.”This encapsulates US strategy to topple and destabilize non-compliant states during the ‘Arab Spring.’
Reacting to a waning American empire and a need to ensure the security of Israel, this synergy of ‘soft power,’ alliances, and ‘hard power’ came to characterize US strategy. In Libya—where direct military intervention took place—humanitarian imperialism was carried out with these as guiding principles. Fall of the Arab Spring outlines the synergy between this array of methods including the use of information and irregular warfare. In the final outcome, for the Arab world, the romantic illusions of ‘democracy’ and ‘dignity’—platitudes sold by the West—were shattered, and much of the region degenerated into the breakdown of the state and society.
About the author:
Christopher L. Brennan is an independent political analyst and author of Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction. He has previously written articles under his pseudonym “Chris Macavel.”
 Said K. Aburish. A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite, (New York: St. Martin’s Press), 13.
 Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, (New York: Metropolitan Books), 67.
 “Another possibility, which could even be precipitated by fundamentalism, is what has of late become fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the [nation-state]. The state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties.” Bernard Lewis, “Rethinking the Middle East,” Foreign Affairs, Fall 1992, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48213/bernard-lewis/rethinking- the-middle-east
 See, for example, Michael Cox. “Empire, Imperialism and the Bush Doctrine.” Review of International Studies 30, no. 4 (2004): 585-608. http://search. proquest.com/docview/204970875?accountid=12387; Lewis H. Lapham, Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration (New York: New York Press), 2007; Madeline Bunting “Beginning of the end: The US is ignoring an important lesson from history – that an empire cannot survive on brute force alone.” The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/feb/03/usa. comment; Johnson, Empire, 322-323.
 Harvard’s Joseph Nye, Huffington Post, “Barack Obama and Soft Power,” June 2008, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-nye/barack-obama-and-soft-pow_b_106717.html
The original source of this article is Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/fall-of-the-arab-spring-from-revolution-to-destruction/5497764
GR Editor’s Note
The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007. The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate.
Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies.
We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”.
Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, 2015
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )
by Prof. Eric Waddell
The United States has attacked, directly or indirectly, some 44 countries throughout the world since August 1945, a number of them many times. The avowed objective of these military interventions has been to effect “regime change”. The cloaks of “human rights” and of “democracy” were invariably evoked to justify what were unilateral and illegal acts.
The aim of the United States is to protect and reinforce national interests rather than to create a better world for all humankind. It is an “imperial grand strategy” of global dimensions designed to ensure unlimited and uninhibited access, notably to strategic resources, notably energy, and to markets. Rather than to establish a direct colonial presence, the preferred strategy is to create satellite states, and this requires constant, and often repeated, military interventions in countries around the world, irrespective of their political regime.
Democratically elected governments are as much at risk as dictatorships. In recent years, the tendency has been for such direct interference to increase since less of these countries are prepared to act as willing allies. Indeed, events of 2003 would suggest that the number of unconditional and powerful U.S. allies is now reduced to three: Great Britain, Australia and Israel. The US strategy is characterised, wherever possible, by invasion and the setting up of friendly (puppet) governments. Attention is focussed, by preference, on relatively small and weak countries, the aim being to achieve rapid victory.
Historically, this process of US domination of the World has been characterized by:
(i) direct military intervention with nuclear or conventional bombs and missiles,
(ii) direct military intervention with naval or ground forces,
(iii) indirect military intervention through command operations and
(iv) the threat of recourse to nuclear weapons.
Broadly speaking, three historical phases can be identified:
– 1945-49: The U.S.-Soviet struggle for European domination, terminating with the stabilisation of the frontier between the two blocs and the creation of NATO;
– 1950-89: The Cold War proper and, in the context of it, the emergence of the non-aligned group of nations;
– 1990 on: The post-Cold War
The first period was characterized by a significant degree of US military intervention in Europe, the second by a concern to confine the Communist bloc within its frontiers and to prevent the emergence of pro-communist regimes elsewhere in the world, and the third, focused on gaining control over the former Soviet republics and in the oil-rich Middle East. The Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean/Central America reveal themselves to be Regional Theaters of concern throughout the post-2nd World War period.
The non-negotiable defense and promotion of “the American way of life” through global military interventions took form in the closing months of the 2nd World War and it came at great cost to much of the rest of the World’s population. Although Germany capitulated in May 1945 and the United Nations was created in the following month, the U.S. nevertheless chose to use nuclear weapons to bring Japan to its feet.
The dropping of two atomic bombs, respectively on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of that year resulted in some 150,000 immediate deaths and tens of thousands of wounded. Such nuclear terrorism was quickly denounced by the international scientific community and no other nation has resorted to the use of such weapons of mass destruction. However the U.S.A. regularly brandishes the threat of recourse to them, while under Bush they have been reinstated as an integral part of national discourse. But the story does not end with nuclear weapons, for the U.S.A. has also, over the past half century, used chemical and biological weapons in its quest for global domination with, for example, recourse to Agent Orange in Viet Nam and blue mold, cane smut, African swine fever, etc. in Cuba. All such weapons of mass destruction are an integral part of the country’s arsenal.
In this context, the map of U.S. Military Interventions since 1945 only tells a part of the story. While the country’s global reach is apparent, the scale of military violence is not fully revealed. Up to 1,000,000 people were killed in the CIA command operation in Indonesia in1967, in what was, according to the New York Times, “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history”. Another 100,000 were killed in Guatemala, in the CIA-organized coup. And the map makes no mention of military interventions where the U.S. played a support (e.g. Rwanda and the Congo in the 1990s) as distinct from a lead role, or where U.S. arms were used by national military forces, as in East Timor where, in the hands of the Indonesian military, they were responsible for the death of some 200,000 people from 1967 on.
Interestingly, with regards to the international arms trade, it was President Reagan who announced, in 1981, that “The U.S. views the transfer of conventional weapons… as an essential element of its global defence posture and an indispensable component of its foreign policy.”
The U.S. Empire knows no limits. Its aim is political and military domination of the world. Under the US system of global capitalism, the demand for energy and other vital resources is unlimited.
America’s “Road Map to Empire” was not formulated by the Bush administration as some critics are suggesting. In fact, there is little that is “new” about the “Project for a New American Century”. It is just that the post-war rhetoric of human rights and social and economic development has diminished, to be replaced by the primary concern with global supremacy through military force. The imperial project was outlined in the immediate wake of the 2nd World War. It was part of the “Truman Doctrine” formulated in 1948 by George Kennan, Director of Policy and Planning at the U.S. State Department:
“We have 50 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population…. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will allow us to maintain this position of disparity. We should cease to talk about the raising of living standards, human rights and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”
In one sense little has changed since 2003. The next target for military intervention has already been clearly identified. It is Iran which so happens, according to the most recent US Government official energy statistics, to rank third among the world’s oil-rich nations, and to be the one with the largest increase in proven oil reserve estimates over the period 2005-2006.
In another sense however a new portrait is beginning to emerge, where a war-weary and increasingly vulnerable United States is moving to the creation of a Fortress North America which embraces its northern neighbour. Once again the logic is clear. Canada now ranks second, ahead of Iran and Iraq but behind Saudi Arabia, in terms of world oil reserves, thanks notably to the tar sands of Alberta. A minority government in Ottawa, dominated by Albertan interests, is consciously taking Canada into both the US energy and the military and strategic fold. In so doing, the country is joining the ranks of the United Kingdom and Australia as an unflinching US ally.
If global reach is becoming a too costly and hazardous endeavour then fortress North America becomes an increasingly attractive alternative, particularly when the minor partner is consenting and docile.
Author: Eric Waddell is a distinguished author and professor of Geography based in Quebec City.
MAP, for larger view click link below and enlarge
Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of America’s deadliest terrorist organization: the Klu Klux Klan.
Since September 11, extremists associated with various far-right wing ideologies, including the KKK and Jewish extremists, have killed far more people in the United States than extremists motivated by radical Islam.
One centuries’ old example of US government double standards when it comes to terrorism, is the infamous Klu Klux Klan. The Klan has terrorized and killed far more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever have; and despite being America’s oldest terrorist organization, the US government does not officially consider the KKK a terrorist organization, classifying it merely as a “hate group”.
By classifying the KKK’s actions as hate rather than terror, the US government allows the Klan, unlike ISIS, to freely hold rallies in America, fundraise, and even appear on TV to promote their ideology. Recently Franc Ancona, a KKK leader, appeared on national television and threatened “lethal force” against black protestors.
The KKK was founded just days after slavery was abolished in America; and ever since then, bombings, lynchings, tar-and-featherings, and other violent forms of terrorism on those challenging white supremacy have always been the hallmark of the Klan. At its peak in the 1920’s, Klan membership exceeded the equivalent of 8 million Americans nationwide.
The simple fact that, to this day, the U.S. Government refuses to designate the KKK as a domestic terrorist organization speaks volumes about the nation’s commitment to combating terrorism and promoting racial equality.
The deadliest terrorist attack on US soil, prior to 9/11, was the Oklahoma City bombing, which was masterminded by Timothy McVeigh, a man who had deep ties to far-right Nazi militant circles. In 2011, Kevin Harpham, who was a war veteran, placed a bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. In 2012, Wade Michael Page killed six innocent people in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Page was a member of a white supremacist band and associated with the Hammerskins, a violent neo-Nazi group. A few months ago an Imperial Grand Wizard of the KKK from Kansas, went on a killing spree whilst shouting “Heil Hitler”, in which a fourteen-year-old boy was among the dead.
Despite the growing number of mass shootings and terrorist attacks by the far right, the media chooses to focus almost exclusively on the lesser threat of radical Islam. Media pundits routinely demand that moderate Muslims condemn acts of violence perpetrated by Muslims. When was the last time that you have seen white priests being pressured to go on television to denounce violence by white supremacists in order to show that “not all Christians” are like that? How long would a Muslim group, with as violent a record as the KKK, be allowed to operate freely before it was shut down by Homeland Security? Clearly racism, as much as oil, fuels the War on Terror.
The threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism has been largely manufactured so that the so-called War on Terror can promote profitable militarism abroad and erode civil liberties at home.
Fourteen years after 9/11, al Qaeda has not successfully conducted another attack inside the United States. According to a recent Harvard University report, named The Exaggerated Threat of Home Grown Terror:
“… since 2001, despite warnings by public officials and terrorism analysts, there is little evidence that the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States by American Muslims is especially serious or growing.”
So why then has the United States spent over $6 trillion dollars on the War on Terror?
FBI data from 1980 to 2005 show that Jewish terrorists committed 7 percent of the acts of terrorism within the United States, which was more than the 6 percent committed by Islamist extremists. This statistic is made even more remarkable by the fact that the FBI drastically undercounts instances of terrorism perpetrated by Jewish extremists because of institutional racial double standards. How many Americans can name the Jewish Defense League or Jewish Armed Resistance, both terror groups that have committed more acts of terror than their Muslim counterparts?
The infamous Jewish Defense League has been operating in the U.S. for over half a century. A Department of Energy report on terror threats to nuclear facilities notes:
“…for more than a decade, the Jewish Defense League has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States.”
Unbeknown to many Americans, these Jewish extremists have mail-bombed police, targeted UN ambassadors, and firebombed civilians at a Symphony Orchestra performance.
If the U.S. Government is serious about combating domestic terror and mass shootings, the FBI’s statistics suggest that it should be aggressively surveilling white males. The simple fact that U.S. law enforcement has not infiltrated and spied on conservative Christian or Jewish communities to disrupt violent rightwing extremism confirms what Muslims in America know in their bones: to worship Allah is to be a suspect.
Muslim-Americans increasingly feel as though they are living in a totalitarian police state with worsening harassment, profiling, and surveillance by the state. Researcher, Arun Kundnani, has shown how the FBI has 1 counterterrorism spy for every 94 Muslims in the US, which approaches totalitarian East Germany’s infamous spy agency Stasi’s ratio of 1 spy for every 66 citizens.
White Christians and Jews don’t have to worry that an undercover agent or informant has infiltrated their churches, student groups, or social clubs.
For centuries, white terrorists in America have been allowed ample breathing room to spread their ideology and to plan and orchestrate their attacks, which explains both the greater relative lethality of white supremacist terrorism, and also the much lower rate of indictment for white perpetrators.
In America Brown and Black people are reflexively considered terrorists, thugs and gangbangers, deserving of society’s derision, whereas white people who commit terrorist attacks are simply “mentally disturbed” loners who were in need of society’s help.
Society’s decision to call a particular act of violence ‘terrorism’ indicates that the act belongs to a more widespread pattern that needs consideration beyond normal crime fighting. Calling mass shootings by white supremacists merely “hate” or murder, rather than terrorism, downplays the significant role of the perpetrator’s racist motives and avoids tough questions about the prevalence of racism in American society.
Recently, James Holmes shot over 80 people in a movie theatre but he was brought in alive by law enforcement and the media refused to call his actions terrorism, focusing instead on portraying Mr. Holmes as an “awkward” and tender “loner”. Similarly, white supremacist Dylan Roof massacred nine black churchgoers in Charlestown and not only was Roof brought in alive by law enforcement, but also the police described Roof at the time of his arrest as “very quiet, very calm … not problematic.” The police even went so far as to buy Mr. Roof lunch at Burger King, moments after he unleashed terror on innocent churchgoers. Contrasted with the police’s countless modern day lynchings of innocent and often unnamed black boys and men, it is clear that US law enforcement is as tolerant of white terrorism as it is institutionally racist to its core.
Clearly, there is a costly and unhealthy obsession among U.S. society and law enforcement, with preventing violence perpetrated by American Muslims, one that ignores both the real threat of white terrorism and the ongoing terrorism by police towards Black American citizens.
About the author: Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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.
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/
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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
Original source of the article: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151106/1029705203/balkans-history-refugees-nato.html#ixzz3qsnpoier
Although the 2016 presidential election is still in the primaries phase, contenders have already brought up America’s failed foreign wars. Hillary Clinton is taking flak over Libya, and Donald Trump has irked the GOP by bringing up Iraq. But what of Kosovo?
The US-led NATO operation that began on March 24, 1999 was launched under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine asserted by President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. For 78 days, NATO targeted what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – which later split into Serbia and Montenegro – over alleged atrocities against ethnic Albanians in the southern province of Kosovo. Yugoslavia was accused of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” as bombs rained on bridges, trains, hospitals, homes, the power grid and even refugee convoys.
NATO’s actions directly violated the UN Charter (articles 53 and 103), its own charter, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The war was a crime against peace, pure and simple.
Though overwhelmed, Yugoslavia did not surrender; the June 1999 armistice only allowed NATO to occupy Kosovo under UN peacekeeping authority, granted by Resolution 1244 – which the Alliance has been violating ever since.
US Secretary of State at the time, Madeleine Albright, was considered the most outspoken champion of the “Kosovo War.” She is now a vocal supporter of candidate Clinton, condemning women who don’t vote for her to a “special place in Hell.”
Clinton visited the renegade province in October 2012, as the outgoing Secretary of State. She stood with the ‘Kosovan’ government leaders – once considered terrorists, before receiving US backing – and proclaimed unequivocal US support for Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed four years prior.
“For me, my family and my fellow Americans this is more than a foreign policy issue, it is personal,” Clinton said. Given the Kosovo Albanians had renamed a major street in their capital ‘Bill Clinton Avenue’ and erected a massive gilded monument to Hillary’s husband, her comments were hardly a surprise.
She is unlikely to be condemned for those remarks by her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. While arguing that Congress should have a say in authorizing the intervention, Sanders entirely bought into the mainstream narrative about the conflict, seeing it as a case of the evil Serbian “dictator” Slobodan Milosevic oppressing the unarmed ethnic Albanians. He saw “supporting the NATO airstrikes on Serbia as justified on humanitarian grounds.”
One Sanders aide, Jeremy Brecher, resigned in May 1999 arguing against the intervention as it unfolded, since the “goal of US policy is not to save the Kosovars from ongoing destruction.”
Trouble is there was no “destruction.” Contrary to NATO claims of 100,000 or more Albanians purportedly massacred by the Serbs, postwar investigators found fewer than 5,000 deaths – 1,500 of which happened after NATO occupied the province and the Albanian pogroms began.
Western media, eager to preserve the narrative of noble NATO defeating the evil Serbs, dismissed the terror as “revenge killings.” NATO troops thus looked on as their Albanian protégés terrorized, torched, bombed and pillaged across the province for years, forcing some 250,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma, and other groups into exile.
After George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, his administration adopted the Clinton-era agenda for the Balkans, including backing an independent Albanian state in Kosovo. None of the Republicans, save 2012 contender Ron Paul, have criticized the Kosovo War since.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump actually has been critical – though back in 1999, long before he became the Republican front-runner and the bane of the GOP establishment. In October that year, Trump was a guest on Larry King’s CNN show, criticizing the Clintons’ handling of the Kosovo War after a fashion.
“But look at what we’ve done to that land and to those people and the deaths that we’ve caused,” Trump told King. “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.”
The problem with Trump, then as now, is that he is maddeningly vague. So, these remarks could be interpreted as referring to the terror going on at that very moment – the persecution of non-Albanians under NATO’s approving eye – or the exodus of Albanians earlier that year, during the NATO bombing. Only Trump would know which, and he hasn’t offered a clarification.
Though he has the most delegates and leads in the national polls for the Republican nomination, the GOP establishment is furious with Trump because he dared call George W. Bush a liar and describe the invasion of Iraq as a “big fat mistake.” According to the British historian Kate Hudson, however, the 2003 invasion was just a continuation of the “pattern of aggression,” following the precedent set with Kosovo.
Last week Secretary of State John Kerry reluctantly branded the actions of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria “genocidal” towards the Christians, Yazidis, Shiites and other groups. He cited examples of how IS destroyed churches, cemeteries and monuments, and murdered people simply because of who they were.
It was March 17, eight years to the day since 50,000 Albanians began a three-day pogrom in Kosovo, doing the very same things – while their activists in the US were raising funds for the very same John Kerry, as he ran for president as the Democratic candidate.
By Nebojsa Malic
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.
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:
“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. […]
“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.
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.
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
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.
Source: South Front
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”.
How did Russia and the West slip back into what seems like the Cold War all over again? How dangerous is the current confrontation? Should the world be ready to face a nuclear war? We ask somebody who’s renowned for his insights. World-famous academic, linguist, philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky is on Sophie&Co today.
Sophie Shevardnadze: World-renowned academic Noam Chomsky, Professor Noam Chomsky, welcome to the show, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us today. Now, today U.S.-Russia relations are at a Cold War low. Rhetoric resembles what we heard in the 80-s. What is the worst-case scenario we could see this turn into? Can the Cold War turn hot? Does U.S. want war?
Noam Chomsky: The worst-case scenario, of course, would be a nuclear war, which would be terrible. Both states that initiate it will be wiped out by the consequences. That’s the worst-case. And it’s come ominously close several times in the past, dramatically close. And it could happen again, but not planned, but just by the accidental interactions that take place – that has almost happened. It’s worth remembering that just one century ago, the First World War broke out through a series of such accidental interchanges. The First World War was horrifying enough, but the current reenactment of it means the end of the human race.
SS: President Obama came to power promising to work towards complete global nuclear disarmament. Well, now there are plans to spend one trillion dollars on nuclear arms in the next 30 years.With major powers only acquiring more nukes, it’s only obvious that others will want to as well, so could we see the nuclear non-proliferation regime crumble in the near future?
NC: We can think back as far as 1955, when Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein produced an appeal, a joint appeal to the people of the world, in which they said to all of us, you have a choice that is stark, unavoidable, the question is, will you eliminate war or will you eliminate human race? These are your choices. And we’ve come awfully close, several times since: the missile crisis in 1962 was described by Kennedy’s close associate, historian Arthur Schlesinger, as “the most dangerous moment in human history”, and he was quite right, we came very close to a nuclear war. There have been many cases, not that serious, but pretty close, where human intervention with a few-minutes choice has prevented a nuclear war. You can’t guarantee that’s going to continue. It may not be a high probability each time, but when you play a game like that, with low probability risks of disaster over and over again, you’re going to lose. And now, especially in the crisis over Ukraine, and so-called missile-defense systems near the borders of Russia, it’s a threatening situation.
SS: Professor, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the U.S. needs to deal with “Russia’s army on NATO’s doorstep”. But as you yourself put it: “America’s redlines are firmly placed at Russia’s borders”. What are American redlines doing on Russian borders?
NC: Well, this statement was interesting. Of course, it’s correct. But NATO’s borders have been expanded to reach Russia’s borders. This takes us back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, there was an agreement between Gorbachev and President Bush, Bush number one, that NATO would not expand one inch to the east. That meant to East Germany, that was the agreement. As soon as the agreement was made, NATO was expanded to East Germany, Gorbachev was naturally infuriated, but he was informed by President Bush and his Secretary of State, James Baker, that this was only a verbal agreement, there was nothing on paper, which is true, there was nothing on paper. And Gorbachev had no choice, but to accept it. President Clinton came along, the next president, and in a couple of years they expanded NATO even further. In fact, one might ask why NATO even continued to exist. The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe. Can’t ask how plausible that explanation was, but that at least that was the official explanation. Well, 1990-1991 – no Russian hordes. Natural conclusion – ok, let’s disband NATO. The opposite happens – NATO expanded. Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international, the global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world. Of course, its U.S.-run intervention force, as in Kosovo and Serbia in 1999 – it was a U.S.-run intervention force. That’s the new NATO and it did expand to Russian borders, so Hagel is correct, Russia is on NATO’s borders, but it’s as if the Warsaw Pact had expanded to Mexico and Canada, and then the Russian premier said, well, the United States is on the Warsaw Pact’s borders, which would have been true, but it would be misleading.
SS: You know, watching and reading the U.S. media, it’s hard not to be surprised at the calls for war in one form or another. I mean, there are wordings like “red lines”, “no options off the table”, “lethal aid”, “troops on the ground”, and all this is presented like it’s no big deal. And not only in press, but by the government officials as well. Now, you are a scientist of words, of mind, you are a political activist, what do you make of it? Why are the Americans apparently so ready to go to war?
NC: Well, I don’t think they are ready to go to war, but the commitment to sort of control the world is very strong. And pretty natural. After all, this is one global super-power. And this all goes a way back. So, the peak of American power in history was around 1945. In 1945 the United States literally had half the world’s wealth. And very naturally American leaders wanted to design and organize a world system, which would benefit primarily domestic centers of power that essentially means U.S. corporate system. The origins of multi-national corporations began to develop at that time… And there were detailed plans for assigning to every part of the world, what was called, a function within the global system. That began to collapse very quickly. There is a lot of talk these days about American decline, which is correct, but it’s rarely recognized that the decline began at once. In 1949 there was a serious blow to the U.S. global hegemony – China’s independence. There’s a name for that in U.S. history and Western history. It is called “the loss of China”. Just think about this phrase for a minute. “Loss of China”. I mean, I can lose my computer, I can’t lose your computer, right? I can only lose what I own. And the assumption, the tacit assumption is – we own China, we own the world.So, if any part of it becomes independent, there’s the loss of China, or the loss of Indo-China, the loss of the Middle East, and so on. However it is worth recognizing, going back to your comment, that there is criticism of this in very prestigious places. So, the leading establishing journal in the United States is “Foreign Affairs”, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, that’s as central to the ruling establishment as you can get. In their last issue, the lead article advertised on the front page, was an article by a well-known international relations specialist, John Mearsheimer, with the headline, something like “The West is Responsible for the Crisis in Ukraine”. And it’s a critic of U.S. and Western policy that has driven things to the point where there is a serious crisis in Ukraine, the crisis that, as Mearsheimer points out, has serious effects on Russian geostrategic concerns and would do so, no matter who was in charge in Russia, just because of the geostrategic nature of the circumstances. That’s right in the main establishing journal, the lead article so it’s not like this is going on without critical discussion. There’s some. Not enough I think. But some.
SS: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says the West can’t isolate Russia through confrontation and sanctions. What do you think, is he right?
NC: It can’t isolate Russia, but it could cause serious harm to Russia, but what it’s likely to do and is beginning to do – I’m not the only one to point this out, it’s obvious – what it’s doing, it’s driving Russia towards the East, towards closer relations with China. There’s plenty of hostility way back between China and Russia, but there are also some common interests, and the sanctions and other pressure against Russia are almost compelling Russia to move towards closer relations with China. China is the center of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a very substantial international system based on China, which includes India, includes Russia, includes Pakistan, includes the Central Asian States – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and others – it’s a big international system. Current Western policies are driving Russia towards closer interaction with this Chinese-based system. In this interaction Russia is actually the weaker partner, so it’s making concessions, but the U.S. is openly creating a system of power, which could significantly diminish U.S. domination in the world. This a confrontation, it’s part of Obama’s pivot to Asia.There is a Trans-Pacific Partnership, so-called, a huge commercial treaty, designed to incorporate the Asian countries, not China, but the other Asian countries, crucially not China, including Japan, Australia, India, the southern hemisphere, Chile, Brazil and so on. An enormous trade pact, exactly, what it is we don’t know, it is kept secret. These things are negotiated in secret, then given to the Parliaments to sign – yes or no, meaning yes. No discussion, no choices. So it’s not a sure thing by any means. But that’s the plan and it’s the kind of economic counterpart to the military pivot to Asia, and the sanctions on Russia are helping to create a counter-course based on Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or an extension of it, which would include Russia, and may begin to move across Eurasia, the whole Eurasian region, first to Turkey, then to parts of Western Europe, which have their own close relations with Russia and the East, Germany in particular. Those are the things that are developing recently, and the sanctions are part of it.
SS: Professor, I want to talk about crisis around ISIS a little bit. You’ve said that the appearance of ISIS and the spread of extremism is a natural consequence of U.S. actions in Iraq. But the emergence of ISIS seemed a surprise to all, how did U.S. intelligence miss it?
NC: I suggest that you look up on the Internet a recent article by Graham Fuller. He is a very highly regarded commentator on Middle Eastern affairs, coming straight out of the U.S. establishment with a long background in the CIA, a highly respected, very knowledgeable commentator. What he says is and I’m quoting him: “The United States created ISIS”. And then he goes on to say: “The U.S. didn’t plan ISIS of course”. These conspiracy tales have no basis. But the U.S. actions in region, including the invasion, have created the circumstances, under which ISIS emerged, and I think he is correct. What happened is the U.S. basically hit Iraq with a kind of sledgehammer. U.S. forces instantly instituted a governmental structure, which was sectarian in nature, they designed a system with particular participation by Shiites and Sunnis in various proportions, but they had to be divided that way. That, along with the counter-insurgency operations – there was of course resistance to the invasion – counter-insurgency operations are always very brutal and destructive. All of this came together to create sectarian conflicts, which had not existed before. If you look back at Bagdad in 2000, Shiites and Sunnis were intermarried, living in the same areas, they often didn’t even know who’s a Sunni and who’s Shia, it’s kind of like knowing which Protestant sect your neighbor belongs to, you may not know and you may not care. If you look at Bagdad ten years later, five years later, it’s broken up into separate regions, walled off from one another, brutal military conflicts, much of the population expelled. That has since expanded, and now it’s tearing the whole region apart. Syria is one element of it. Iran-Saudi confrontation is another aspect. And out of this emerged ISIS. Graham Fuller is quite correct.
SS: You just quoted a man that you respect a lot, who said, it’s the United States who involuntarily actually created ISIS, so if it’s the United States actions that brought about ISIS, isn’t it only fair that the United States should lead the fight against it today? I mean, it’s only obvious that political and diplomatic means to solve this mess aren’t there. So, do you support the U.S.-led bombing campaign?
NC: There are ways to respond diplomatically, one conceivable possibility, conceivable, is to act in accordance with the law. There is a reign of international law, that’s in principal. It debars the use of force or the threat of force in international affairs, except under authorization by the UN Security Council. A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The U.S. could then participate in it, but so could Iran. Remember, look at the Iraqi Foreign Office, what they want is for Iran to become involved. It’s a major military force. If it did enter it would probably wipe out ISIS in no time. But the U.S. won’t permit that. The U.S.-run coalition, which is in violation of basic international law, excludes Iran, excludes the PKK and its affiliates, which apparently are doing the ground-fighting – according to the U.S., they are terrorist group. Turkey, which is closest U.S. ally, is opposed to them. The central U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia – that’s been the source of funding, the main source of the funding of ISIS, but also it’s the ideological source. It’s the Wahabi-Salafi extremists, that’s radical Islamic doctrines, which are kind of a fringe of Islam in Saudi Arabia, a fringe of that radical doctrine is ISIS. So, this coalition is kind of a meaningless coalition, apart from being illegal. There would be ways of handling, at least approaching the problem legally, which could work.
SS: And just my final question, on a different topic. The FBI is now looking into an apparent second Edward Snowden, but previous whistleblower revelations have failed to make any real dent in the system. Why would this be any different? Talking about NSA spying isn’t stopping NSA spying.
NC: It’s not stopping NSA spying, it’s not stopping the spying being done by Britain, the spying being done by France, the spying being done by other countries, I’m sure Russia’s doing it. States are very resistant to interference with their powers. Of course, the NSA system, U.S. is far and away the technologically most advanced country in the world, so it’s more extensive in the United States, but it’s duplicated in China, Britain, Russia, no doubt, other countries. And, yes, you’re right, it hasn’t stopped, now in fact it’s expanding. It’s a real major attack on human rights. And the major threat is if it becomes sort of passively accepted, because of the fact that it’s not stopped, this is just going to go on, go on to the point where there are literally tiny drones, fly-size drones, that can be on the ceiling of your living room, listening to what you’re saying and sending it back to the central government office. There are no limits to this. Already, if you have a cellphone, even if it’s off, you can be tracked by NSA and other technologies. So this is a really dangerous development. Snowden made a major contribution by exposing it, but there’s a long way to go. There has to be a citizen reaction, which would put an end to this practice.
SS: Professor Chomsky, thank you so much for this interview. We were talking to world-renowned academic, American linguist, thinker, activist Noam Chomsky.We were talking about what’s in store for Russia-U.S. relations, also the crisis around ISIS, and if the next whistleblower scandal is going to be any different from the one around Edward Snowden. Thanks a lot for this interview. That’s it for this edition of Sophie&Co, see you next time.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?B: 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.B: Nonsense!
Son! Be careful about the religious issues before all other duties. The religious precepts build a strong state. Do not give religious duties to careless, faithless and sinful men or to dissipated, indifferent or inexperienced people. And also do not leave the state administrations to such people. Because the one with fear of God the Creator, has no fear of the created. One who commits a great sin and continues to sin can not be loyal. Scholars, virtuous men, artists and literary men are the power of the state structure. Treat them with kindness and honour. Build close relationship when you hear about a virtuous man and give wealth and grant him…Put order the political and religious duties. Take lesson from me so I came to these places as a weak leader and I reached to the help of God although I did not deserve. You follow my way and protect Din-i-Muhammadi and the believers and also your followers. Respect the right of God and His servants. Do not hesitate to advise your successors in this way. Depend on God’s help in the esteem of justice and fairness, to remove the cruelty, attempt this in every duty. Protect your public from enemy’s invasion and from the cruelty. Do not behave any person in an unsuitable way with unfairness. Gratify the public and save all of their sake.
The alliance between followers of [Muhammad] ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud’s successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a rather durable alliance. The house of bin Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years [but actually more like 300 years, inasmuch as it started in 1744, when Saud and Wahhab swore their oaths to each other, right up to the present, and so will be 300 years old in 2044], through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. Today Mohammed bin Abd Al-Wahhab’s teachings are state-sponsored and are the official form of Sunni Islam in 21st century Saudi Arabia. …With the help of funding from petroleum exports (and other factors), the movement underwent “explosive growth” beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.
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
Original source of the article is:
Originally published at 14-03-2003 by The Guardian, UK
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