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Barack Obama: No Jack Kennedy

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | June 10, 2015

Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” put-down of Republican Sen. Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate springs to mind on a day on which I cannot help but compare the character of President Barack Obama to that of John Kennedy, the first President under whom I served in the Army and CIA.

On this day 52 years ago, President John Kennedy gave a landmark speech at American University, appealing for cooperation instead of confrontation with the Soviet Union. Kennedy knew all too well that he was breaking the omerta-like code that dictated demonization of the Soviet leaders. But the stakes could not have been higher – a choice of an endless arms race (with the attendant risk of nuclear conflagration) or bilateral cooperation to curb the most dangerous weapons that jeopardized the future of humankind.

Forgoing the anti-Soviet rhetoric that was de rigueur at the time, Kennedy made an urgent appeal to slow down the arms race, and then backed up the rhetoric with a surprise announcement that the U.S. was halting nuclear testing. This daring step terrified those sitting atop the military-industrial complex and, in my opinion, was among the main reasons behind Kennedy’s assassination some five months later.

At American University, John Kennedy broke new ground in telling the world in no uncertain terms that he would strive to work out a genuine, lasting peace with the Soviet Union. And to underscore his seriousness, Kennedy announced a unilateral cessation of nuclear testing, but also the beginning of high-level discussions in Moscow aimed at concluding a comprehensive test ban treaty.

In tightly held conversations with speechwriter Ted Sorensen and a handful of other clued-in advisers, Kennedy labeled his address “the peace speech.” He managed to hide it from the military advisers who just eight months before had pressed hard for an attack on the Soviet nuclear missiles sent to Cuba in 1962.

It was then that Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, his Soviet counterpart, stood on the brink of ordering the incineration of possibly hundreds of millions of people, before the two worked out a face-saving compromise and thus thwarted the generals of both sides who were pressing for Armageddon.

Kennedy’s resistance to relentless pressure – from military and civilian advisers alike – for a military strike, combined with Khrushchev’s understanding of the stakes involved, saved perhaps the very life of the planet. And here’s the kicker: What neither Kennedy nor his advisers knew at the time was that on Oct. 26, 1962, just one day before the U.S.-Soviet compromise was reached, the nuclear warheads on the missiles in Cuba had been readied for launch.

This alarming fact was learned only 30 years later, prompting Robert McNamara, Kennedy’s defense secretary to write:

“Clearly there was a high risk that, in the face of a U.S. attack – which, as I have said, many were prepared to recommend to President Kennedy – the Soviet forces in Cuba would have decided to use their nuclear weapons rather than lose them. …

“We need not speculate about what would have happened in that event. We can predict the results with certainty. … And where would it have ended? In utter disaster.”

It was that searing experience and the confidential exchange of letters between Kennedy and Khrushchev that convinced them both that they needed to commit to working out ways to lessen the chance of another such near-catastrophe in the future.

American University Speech

Kennedy’s “peace speech” was a definitive break with the past. Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins wrote simply: “At American University on June 10, 1963, President Kennedy proposed an end to the Cold War.”

Kennedy told those assembled that he had chosen…

“this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived … world peace.”

“What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. … I am talking about genuine peace – the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living – the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. …

“Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles – which can only destroy and never create – is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace. …

“So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable – and war need not be inevitable. … No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. … We can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements – in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.

“Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation’s territory … was turned into a wasteland – a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.

“Today, should total war ever break out again … all we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the Cold War … our two countries … are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons, which could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty, and disease.

“So, let us not be blind to our differences – but let us direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. … For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal. …

“Above all, while defending our vital interest, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy – or of a collective death wish for the world. …

“Finally, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. … In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because freedom is incomplete. … We shall do our part to build a world of peace, where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on … toward a strategy of peace.”

As mentioned above, Kennedy backed up his words by announcing the unilateral halt to nuclear testing and the start of negotiations on a comprehensive test ban treaty. In a sharp break from precedent, the Soviets published the full text of Kennedy’s speech and let it be broadcast throughout the U.S.S.R. without the usual jamming.

Khrushchev told test-ban negotiator Averell Harriman that Kennedy had given “the greatest speech by any American president since Roosevelt.” The Soviet leader responded by proposing to Kennedy that they consider a limited test ban encompassing the atmosphere, outer space and water, as a way to get around the thorny issue of inspections.

In contrast, Kennedy’s AU speech was greeted with condescension and skepticism by the New York Times, which reported: “Generally there was not much optimism in official Washington that the President’s conciliation address at American University would produce agreement on a test ban treaty or anything else.”

A ‘Complex’

In giving pride of place to his rejection of “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” Kennedy threw down the gauntlet to the “military-industrial complex” against which President Dwight Eisenhower had pointedly warned in his Farewell Address:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, but the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Ike got that right. Then, as now, the military-industrial complex was totally dependent on a “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.” It was policed by the Pentagon and was/is a hugely profitable enterprise.

Opposition coalesced around the negotiations toward a test ban treaty, with strong opponents in Congress, the media, and (surprise, surprise!) the military-industrial complex. Kennedy courageously kept his warmongering senior military out of the loop, and rushed Harriman through the talks in Moscow.

On July 25, 1963, Harriman initialed the final text of a Limited Test Ban Treaty outlawing nuclear tests “in the atmosphere, beyond its limits, including outer space, or under water, including territorial waters or high seas.”

The next evening, Kennedy went on TV, using his bully pulpit to appeal for support for ratification of the treaty. In a swipe at the various players in the formidable anti-treaty lobby, the President stressed that the vulnerability of children was a strong impetus to his determination to fight against all odds: “This is for our children and our grandchildren, and they have no lobby here in Washington.”

But the Establishment was not moved; and seldom have its anxieties been more transparent. It is axiomatic that peace is not good for business, but seldom do you see that in a headline. But the plaintive title of a U.S. News and World Report on Aug. 12, 1963, was “If Peace Does Come – What Happens to Business?” The article asked, “Will the bottom drop out if defense spending is cut?”

Kennedy circumvented the military-industrial complex by enlisting the Citizens Committee led by Norman Cousins, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, and prominent religious leaders – among others – to appeal for ratification. In early August, Kennedy told his advisers he believed it would take a near-miracle to get the two-thirds Senate vote needed. On Sept. 24, the Senate ratified the treaty by a vote of 80 to 19.

I am indebted to James Douglass and his masterful JFK and the Unspeakable; Why He Died & Why It Matters, for much of the play-by-play in that whirlwind rush to ratification. Douglass argues persuasively, in my view, that Kennedy’s bold move toward carving out a more peaceful strategic relationship with the Soviet Union, first announced on June 10 at American University, was one of the main factors that sealed his fate.

An Obama Complex

While it’s true that comparisons can be invidious, they can also be instructive. Will President Obama ever be able to summon the courage to face down the military-industrial complex and other powerful Establishment forces? Or is it simply (and sadly) the case that he simply does not have it in him?

Referring to Obama’s anemic flip-flopping on Ukraine, journalist Robert Parry wrote that Obama’s policy on Ukraine suggests that he (1) believes his own propaganda, (2) is a conscious liar, or (3) has completely lost his bearings, and simply adopts the position of the last person he talks to.

I see as the primary factor a toxic, enervating mix of fear and cowardice. Former Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who quit his job as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo when ordered to accept testimony based on waterboarding under the Bush administration, may have come close with his unusual burst of military-style candor.

Davis told an interviewer: “There’s a pair of testicles somewhere between the Capitol Building and the White House that fell off the President after Election Day [2008].”

Shortly before his re-election in 2012, Obama reportedly was braced at a small dinner party by wealthy donors who wanted to know whatever happened to the “progressive Obama.” The President did not take kindly to the criticism, rose from the table, and said, “Don’t you remember what happened to Dr. King?”

It is, of course, a fair question as to whether Obama should have run for President if he knew such fears might impinge on his freedom of decision. But let’s ask the other question: What did happen to Martin Luther King Jr.? Would you believe that the vast majority of Americans know only that he was killed and have no idea as to who killed him and why?

In late 1999, a trial took place in Memphis not far from where King was murdered. In a wrongful death lawsuit initiated by the King family, 70 witnesses testified over a six-week period. They described a sophisticated government plot that involved the FBI, the CIA, the Memphis Police, Mafia intermediaries, and an Army Special Forces sniper team. The 12 jurors, six black and six white, returned after 2 ½ hours of deliberation with a verdict that Dr. King has been assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of his own government.

My hunch is that Obama walks around afraid, and that this helps explain why he feels he has to kowtow to the worst kind of thugs and liars lingering in his own administration – the torturers, the perjurers, and the legerdemain lawyers who can even make waterboarding, which Obama publicly condemned as torture, magically legal. So far at least, Obama has been no profile in courage – and he’s nearly 6 ½ years into his presidency.

I have two suggestions for him today. Let him take a few minutes to read and reflect on President Kennedy’s American University speech of 52 years ago. And let him also reflect on the words of Fannie Lou Hamer – the diminutive but gutsy civil rights organizer of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and of Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964:

“Sometimes it seems like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom.”

Obama has a nine-inch height advantage over Fannie Lou Hamer; he needs somehow to assimilate a bit of her courage.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’sCan Obama Speak Strongly for Peace?”]

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Case Against Re-Banning Torture Yet Again, Again

By David Swanson | War is a Crime | June 10, 2015

Senator McCain and friends have a new push on to once again ban torture (except for exceptions in the Army Field Manual) that is being presented as an effort to preempt future Republican presidents’ torturing. This reinforces two false beliefs. One is that torture is not ongoing today under President Peace Prize. The other is that torture wasn’t banned before George W. Bush was ever selected by the Supreme Court.

Last December, Senator Ron Wyden had a petition up at MoveOn.org that read “Right now, torture is banned because of President Obama’s executive order. It’s time for Congress to pass a law banning torture, by all agencies, so that a future president can never revoke the ban.” This is the same mythology being pushed by McCain yet again. Wyden went on to explain:

“We live in a dangerous world. But when CIA operatives and contractors torture terrorist suspects, it doesn’t make us safer — and it doesn’t work. The recent CIA torture report made that abundantly clear. Right now, the federal law that bans torture only applies to the U.S. military — not our intelligence agencies. President Obama’s executive order barring all agencies from using torture could be reversed, even in secret, by a future president. That’s why it’s critical that Congress act swiftly to pass a law barring all agencies of the U.S. government, and contractors acting on our behalf, from engaging in torture. Without legislation, the door on torture is still open. It’s time for Congress to slam that door shut once and for all.”

Why in the world would anybody object to this unless they supported torture? Well, let me explain.

Torture and complicity in torture were felonies under U.S. law before George W. Bush moved into the White House, under both the torture statute and the war crimes statute. Nothing has fundamentally changed about that, other than the blatant lack of enforcement for several years running. Nothing in those two sections of the U.S. code limits the law to members of the U.S. military or excludes employees or contractors or subcontractors of so-called intelligence agencies. I emailed a dozen legal experts about that claim in the above petition. Michael Ratner replied “I don’t see where they get that from.” Kevin Zeese said simply “They’re wrong.” If anyone replies to me with any explanation, I’ll post it as an update at the top of this article on davidswanson.org — where I can be contacted if you have an explanation.

For the past several years, the U.S. Congress, White House, Justice Department, and media have gone out of their way to ignore the existence of U.S. laws banning torture. When silence hasn’t worked, the primary technique has been proposing over and over and over again to ban torture, as if it were not already banned. In fact, Congress has followed through and banned it a number of times, and done so with new exceptions that by some interpretations have in fact weakened the war crimes statute. This is my best guess where the nonsense about applying only to “intelligence agencies” comes from: laws like the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that claimed to pick and choose which types of torture to ban for whom.

When President Obama took President Bush’s place he produced an executive order purporting to ban torture (again), even while publicly telling the Justice Department not to enforce any existing laws. But an executive order, as Wyden seems to recognize, is not a law. Neither can it ban torture, nor can it give legal weight to the pretense that torture wasn’t already banned. In fact the order itself states: “Nothing in this order shall be construed to affect the obligations of officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government to comply with all pertinent laws and treaties of the United States governing detention and interrogation, including but not limited to: the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A; the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441 . . . .”

Senator Wyden said he would introduce yet another bill to “ban torture.” Here’s how the Washington Post was spinning, and explaining, that:

“Torture is already illegal, but Wyden notes that protections can be strengthened. To oversimplify, the U.S. is a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, in which participating states agreed to outlaw intentionally inflicting severe pain for specific purposes. The Bush administration obviously found a (supposedly) legal route around that.”

In other words, because it was done by a president, it was legal — the worldview of the Post’s old buddy Richard Nixon.

“After the Abu Graib revelations, John McCain helped pass a 2005 amendment that would restrict the military from using specific brutal interrogation tactics — those not in the Army Field Manual. (This didn’t preclude intel services from using these techniques, which might explain why CIA director John Brennan felt free to say the other day that future policymakers might revert to using them). In 2008, Congress passed a measure specifically applying those restrictions to intelligence services, too, but then-President Bush vetoed it. Senator Wyden would revive a version of that 2008 bill as a starting point, with the goal of codifying in law President Obama’s executive order banning the use of those specific techniques for all government employees, those in intelligence services included.”

But let’s back up a minute. When a president violates a law, that president — at least once out of office — should be prosecuted for violating the law. The law can’t be declared void because it was violated. Loopholes can’t be created for the CIA. Reliance on the Army Field Manual can’t sneak into law the loopholes built into that document. Presidents can’t order and un-order things illegal. Here’s how the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson responded to the release of the Senate’s report summary:

“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the U.S. Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability. International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the U.S. Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes. As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction. States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”

Now, one could try to spin the endless re-banning of torture as part of the process of enforcing an international treaty that under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. But banning a practice going forward, even when you ban it better, or ban it more emphatically for the 8th time, does absolutely nothing to fulfill the legal obligation to prosecute those crimes already committed. And here we are dealing with crimes openly confessed to by past officials who assert that they would “do it again” — crimes that resulted in deaths, thus eliminating any attempt at an argument that statutes of limitations have run out.

Here’s a different sort of petition that we’ve set up at RootsAction.org along with Witness Against Torture and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee: ” We call on President Obama to allow the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce our laws, and to immediately appoint a special prosecutor. As torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction, we call on any willing court system in the world to enforce our laws if our own courts will not do so.”

The purpose of such a petition is not vengeance or partisanship or a fetish with history. The purpose is to end torture, which is not done by looking forward or even by pardoning the crimes, as the ACLU has proposed — to its credit recognizing that the crimes exist. That should be a first step for anyone confused by the endless drumbeat to “ban torture.”

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama administration attempts to tack 20 years onto man’s sentence for possession of books

PrivacySOS | June 9, 2015

The Obama administration is trying to tack 20 years onto a Florida man’s tax fraud sentence for the supposed crime of possessing books the government doesn’t like. The Intercept reports:

Now, to demonstrate that Robertson’s tax charges merit a terrorism enhancement, the government has cited a number of books owned by Robertson that allegedly extol extremist beliefs. Robertson, who is recognized as an Islamic scholar, owned a library which included roughly 10,000 e-books, a small number of which are alleged by the government to have contained passages deemed controversial.

The government hasn’t provided any evidence to demonstrate that Robertson endorsed, let alone acted upon, any of the passages cited in these books, the defense counters. “There is nothing contained in the prosecution’s memorandum which connects Mr. Robertson to any actual conspiracy to commit terrorism,” Robertson’s attorney, Daniel Broderson, said. “He is an Islamic scholar who owned thousands of books, and they are trying to pull select passages from a handful of books he owned to try and make the case that he’s an extremist.”

Robertson, who says he’s worked for the FBI and CIA as an asset in the past, alleges that the government is retaliating against him for “refusing to conduct an overseas operation requested by the CIA.”

“The government is trying to use my case to establish a legal precedent, where even if a person is not charged with actual terrorism offenses they can still try them as a ‘terrorist’ using the sentencing adjustment,” Robertson told The Intercept. “This is not just about prosecuting my case specifically, it’s about creating a precedent whereby the government can simply go through the books you own and use them to frighten people into believing that you’re a terrorist.”

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the first time. Read more about his case, and about the Muslim Exemption to the First Amendment.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats Hope to Bury Black Lives Matter Under Election Blitz

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | June 10, 2015

The movement that is emerging under the banner Black Lives Matter is not yet one year old, but it will be dead before it reaches the age of two if the Democratic Party has anything to say about it. The movement’s greatest challenge will be to survive the impending mass mobilization of Black Democratic officeholders and operatives in a $5 billion presidential election season.

The current Black-led grassroots campaign is, in very important ways, even more vulnerable to Democratic cooptation and dismantlement than was the white-led Occupy Wall Street movement, which succumbed to a combination of Democratic infiltration and repression – on top of its own contradictions – in the early months of 2012. Although its slogans remained imprinted in the minds of much of the “99%,” by the time the November election rolled around, Occupy had long been a spent force, swept from the streets and encampments by mainly Democratic mayors acting on orders from their Party leader and president, Barack Obama.

The Democratic Party poses a far greater institutional threat to the Black Lives Matter movement, by virtue of the fact that the Party permeates every aspect of African American civil society. Not only are virtually all Black elected officials Democrats, but all the major civic organizations – the NAACP, the Urban League, most Black local churches and labor organizations, fraternities and sororities, not to mention Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-Push Coalition and “King Rat” Al Sharpton’s National Action Network – are annexes of the Democratic Party.

Put another way: the nascent Black-led movement for social transformation poses a grave threat to the Democratic Party’s chock-hold on Black politics. Therefore, the movement is inevitably on a collision course with the Democratic Party, although this may not yet be clear to many activists.

As I said at the closing plenary of the recent Left Forum gathering in New York City, the Democratic Party sits atop the Black polity “like a grotesque Sumo wrestler,” squeezing out the Black radical tradition. The Black Lives Matter movement consciously draws on this authentic – and still deeply honored – radical tradition, seeking to put it into practice under 21st century conditions.

In both its resistance to a criminal justice system designed to contain, criminalize and crush Blacks as a people, and its broader demand for social and economic transformation and global peace, the nascent Black-led movement picks up where a previous mass movement left off, two generations ago. The Sixties liberation movements were shut down through a combination of government repression and the rise of a class of Black office-holders and aspiring corporate collaborators whose interests lay in joining the existing order, not transforming it. Their political vehicle was, and remains, the Democratic Party – the organization through which this “Black Misleadership Class” became embedded in local and national power structures. As a loyal and key component of the ruling political duopoly, these Black Democratic politicians and power brokers have facilitated the exponential growth of the Black Mass Incarceration State in all its genocidal aspects, and greased the wheels of gentrification that is dispersing Black populations to the four winds, limiting the geography of effective Black political self-determination.

Malcolm X anticipated the rise of such a class, in the early Sixties, well before passage of the Voting Rights Act. His verbal assaults on the “Big Six” – the NAACP, Urban League, SCLC, CORE, SNCC, and A Philip Randolph – warned against Blacks becoming too close to the white power structure: specifically, the Kennedys and the Democratic Party. Malcolm advocated an independent Black politics:

“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”

Under the political hegemony of the misleaders, the Black polity slumbered, fitfully, for more than 40 years.

As appendages of the Democratic Party, the Black political class has gone from coffee with too much cream, to being the Kahlúa, the coffee liqueur, in the milk. (Or, more like a thin, chocolaty syrup in a foamy, homogenized corporate concoction.)

The mission of the movement is to challenge the legitimacy of the Black Mass Incarceration State, the machinery that killed Michael Brown and thousands of others, imprisons and permanently stigmatizes millions, and makes the entire Black community fair game for every atrocity imaginable at the hands of armed occupiers, the police. This direct confrontation with the State also explicitly rejects the rule of the classes that the police and military protect.

Black America is by far the most radical population group in the United States. History has made us so. The Black radical tradition, which encompasses the whole Left spectrum, is quite sufficient to inform the Black Lives Matter Movement – and to teach something to non-Black allies.

Most importantly, it must be understood that the political battlefield of the movement is largely delineated by a Black internal politics that has for two generations been warped and turned against itself by the deep infestation of the Democratic Party. Blacks in the U.S. cannot move forward, cannot resist the mass incarceration regime, cannot forge truly effective alliances with other groups in the U.S., or join the struggling peoples of the world, except to the extent that they break the internal stranglehold of the Democratic Party and its operatives in Black civil society. These are the lessons of Ferguson and, especially, Baltimore.

To succeed, the Black Lives Matter Movement must transform the politics of Black America. By definition, that means declaring war on the Democratic Party, and forcing Black politicians and activists to choose between the Party and the people’s struggle. The Democrats understand the logic, and have mounted a systematic cooption-repression response that will intensify as the election season – and Black cities – heat up.

As usual, the Democrats will try to make Black people more angry at the terminally racist Republican Party than at the police and local administration of their (typically) Democrat-run city. Hillary Clinton is already making noises of empathy with Blacks suffering under the urban police state. However, the Black Lives Matter movement has no institutional stake in the victory of either party, but is, in fact, locked in mortal political struggle with other Black people in the Democratic Party. These Black Democrats will insist on a truce, a cessation of agitation against national or local Democrats, until after the election. As with the Occupy movement, this will be accompanied by intensified police pressures against activists. At the end of the process, the Black Lives Matter movement is meant to go the way of Occupy, lost in the electoral Mardis Gras – killed by Democrats, not Republicans.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Why is the DNC Sending Out Pro-Bernie Sanders Emails?

By MICHAEL ARRIA | CounterPunch | June 10, 2015

Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall noticed something interesting recently: he’s been getting a lot of pro-Bernie Sanders emails from the Democratic National Committee despite the organization’s neoliberal leanings and commitment to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Here’s an example of a DNC email, pretty much indistinguishable from an email one might get from Sanders’ actual campaign.

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​Although Marshall’s analysis is generally partisan, he briefly dips into a deeper critique here when he writes, “If you want to be arch about it there’s a bit of this that reminds me of how things operate in one-party states where there are usually a few official opposition candidates who are harmless and make nominal runs and everyone gets along and goes along… think there’s some element of that – Hillary does kind of need and want the Sanders candidacy.”

These email blasts become even more interesting when considered alongside the recent news that the DNC will sanction only six Democratic presidential debates this time around, hoping to avoid a repeat of 2008 when Obama and Clinton were able to publicly debate over 20 times. Slate’s Josh Voorhees explains that, “The fact that the official Democratic party schedule conveniently aligns with Clinton’s game plan isn’t a coincidence: The committee’s goal, after all, is to make sure its eventual nominee enters the general election in the best shape possible, and you won’t find many people who believe that candidate will be anyone other than Clinton. The party’s progressive wing may be craving a full-throated policy debate, but the Democratic establishment has little to gain from having one.”

The fact that the DNC wants the appearance of a robust debate, while doubling down on the Hillary coronation, seems obvious but where do Sanders’ motivations fit into all of this? After all, he decided to run as a Democrat and has promised he won’t challenge the Democratic establishment from outside its walls. Here’s the Sanders in an ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos from May 3:

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you lose in this nomination fight, will you support the Democratic nominee?

SANDERS: Yes. I have in the past.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not going to run as an independent?

SANDERS: No, absolutely not. I’ve been very clear about that.

Ironically, it seems that the DNC and left-critics of the Sanders campaign agree on a very important fact: they believe Sanders will attract a number of young voters and activists, then dutifully tell them to vote for Hillary when he drops out. The DNC sees that outcome as a win and leftists see it as a loss, but both perceive his dropout as inevitable. “Hillary Clinton certainly doesn’t regard Sanders as a threat,” writes Ashley Smith at Jacobin, “She knows that the national election business follows the golden rule: whoever has more gold, wins. Clinton is expected to amass a war chest of more than $1 billion, mostly from Wall Street and corporate America, to pay for advertising, an army of paid staff, and Astroturf support. This will overwhelm Sanders’s fundraising goal of $50 million and his underdeveloped volunteer infrastructure.”

The Black Agenda Report’s Bruce Dixon believes that those committed to such an inescapable outcome are assisting Sanders in playing the roll of the “sheepdog”: “The sheepdog’s job is to divert the energy and enthusiasm of activists a year, a year and a half out from a November election away from building an alternative to the Democratic party, and into his doomed effort. When the sheepdog inevitably folds in the late spring or early summer before a November election, there’s no time remaining to win ballot access for alternative parties or candidates, no time to raise money or organize any effective challenge to the two capitalist parties.”

In January Sanders declared, “No matter what I do, I will not be a spoiler.” It’s a declaration that many leftists, and many Democratic insiders, are taking quite seriously.

Michael Arria is the author of Medium Blue: The Politics of MSNBC.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Putin Says US Imperial Footprint Unmatched: ‘Draw a Map and See’

Despite US military dominance, Obama accuses Russian leader of attempting to ‘recreate Soviet empire’

By Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams | June 9, 2015

Responding to ongoing brinkmanship between the United States and his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin dared reporters to publish a map of the two nations’ global military footprints and then “see the difference.”

The comments came over the weekend as G7 leaders assembled in Bavaria, Germany—a meeting which, prior to the recent upheaval in Ukraine, would have also included Russia. On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama closed the summit by saying that the Russian leader was aiming to “recreate the Soviet empire.”

G7 leaders stood united in their threat to increase sanctions against Russia if the conflict in Ukraine escalates.

“Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire?” Obama asked in his closing remarks. “Or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?”

However, Obama’s accusations of Russia violating the “sovereignty of other countries” are striking in light of the United States’ own military strategy, which Putin highlighted days earlier in a Saturday interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“U.S. military spending is higher than that of all countries in the world taken together,” Putin said. “The aggregate military spending of NATO countries is 10 times, note—10 times higher than that of the Russian Federation.”

Outside of what he described as the “remnants” of Soviet-era armed forces in Tajikistan, Armenia, and zones with high terrorist threat such as the Afghanistan border and Kyrgyzstan, Putin said that “Russia has virtually no bases abroad.”

“We have dismantled our bases in various regions of the world, including Cuba, Vietnam, and so on,” he said.

And despite statements about Russian aggression, this draw-down highlights a policy that “in this respect is not global, offensive or aggressive.”

“I invite you to publish the world map in your newspaper and to mark all the U.S. military bases on it,” Putin continued. “You will see the difference.”

Amid the verbal sparring match, the U.S. military also took steps to increase pressure on the ground.

On Friday, U.S. Strategic Command announced that three nuclear-capable B52 bombers were being deployed in addition to two B2 bombers to the United Kingdom for exercises to demonstrate “the United States’ ability to project its flexible, long-range global strike capability” in training missions over the Baltic states and Poland.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Under The New World Order

What Really Happened | December 3, 2012

How you will live under globalism, when there are no alternatives allowed to you. Music by Claire K. Rivero. Video by Michael Rivero.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 1 Comment

US Dragging Europe Into ‘Crusade’ Against Russia – Former French PM

Sputnik | 10.06.2015

Former French prime minister Francois Fillon has said that Europe is now fully dependent on the US, which is dragging it into a ‘crusade’ against Russia and is pursuing a policy which is absolutely contradictory to European interests.

“Europe nowadays has lost its independence. The US is dragging it into a ‘crusade’ against Russia, which absolutely contradicts European interests,” former French prime minister Francois Fillon said in an interview with the French news channel BFMTV.

“The US is also pressuring Germany to yield to the demands of Greece in order to find a compromise. German intelligence is spying on France, but not in its own interests, but those of the US,” he said.

The politician also added that the US justice system constantly interferes into the work of the European judicial authorities.

In the Middle East, the US is pursuing a policy which completely contradicts European interests and is a real danger to them, but the countries of Europe are forced to agree to it.

Fillon also criticized the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the US and added that he is decisively against signing it, given the way it is worded now.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Sacrifices Integrity over Ukraine

By William DUNKERLEY | Oriental Review | June 10, 2015

A lack of integrity can be seen in Obama’s recent comments about Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

On June 7, President Obama told the G7 gathering in Schloss Elmau Krün, Germany that the world must “stay focused on the importance of upholding the principles of territorial integrity” regarding Ukraine.

Like Obama, most casual Western observers seem to have their own ideas about what is and is not integral to Ukraine. Not everyone’s ideas on this match the facts, though.

I describe the related misconceptions in detail in my book Ukraine in the Crosshairs. But let me give you a brief synopsis.

In early 2014, Ukraine experienced a complete collapse of constitutional authority. You wouldn’t know that from the Western headlines. They claimed that the democratically-elected president Yanukovych had been impeached. But, truth be told, he was not impeached. Those who told you that he was were either misinformed or lying. The facts are clearly documented in my book.

Even the US government at first admitted that Yanukovych was not impeached. US sponsored international broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty early-on revealed that he was not. In a story titled “Was Yanukovych’s Ouster Constitutional?” the US international broadcaster documented that the efforts to impeach him fell short of the constitutionally required vote.

I personally asked the Ukrainian mission to the United Nations about this. A spokesperson admitted that Yanukovych had not been successfully impeached.

Once the story got out about the media impeachment fraud, however, the initiators of the American and Ukrainian fabrication changed their story. Now they were saying that Yanukovych had abandoned his office.

But the new regime did not respect the constitution when they wanted to replace him. Impeachment and resignation were the only constitutional options. Neither was followed. So then, the Maidanists conveniently threw out the constitution.

By no stretch of any reasonable imagination can it be considered that the imposition of new leadership in Kyiv was either democratic or constitutional.

So if there was not a legal transition, what happened?

If you examine the facts you will find it hard to disagree that a complete constitutional collapse occurred. The president was forced under threat of death to leave the country, and the democratically installed constitution was nullified.

In the wake of all this, three entities stepped in to fill the vacuum. On one hand there were the Maidanist revolutionaries who forced their way into control in Kyiv. Most of the former-Ukraine accepted the revolutionary control. Yanukovych had been a very unpopular leader.

This transition was not accepted by the leaders in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. And they seem to have had the support of most of their people. They declared their own claim to the territories in which they lived. They never voted for the Maidanist revolutionaries, nor did they support the revolution. The Maidanist revolutionaries never had control over Crimea or eastern Ukraine. The people there had decided to go their own way. If ever there was a clear example of the UN principle of self-determination it was here.

The Maidanists had no legitimate right to force themselves upon the eastern part of the former Ukraine, nor on Crimea. The invasion by Kyiv of eastern Ukraine was without provocation. The Maidanist revolutionary claims to those territories were not superior to the claims of the people who were living in those regions.

And this shows exactly the absence of integrity in Obama’s argument. There was no violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity at a time when the former-Ukraine lacked any legally identifiable territorial integrity. Basically, there were three separate claims to parts of the territory of the former Ukraine. Surely Obama and his crew must have studied the situation carefully enough to realize that.

However, now Obama seems to be trying to put one over on the EU and the rest of the world on this situation. What principle of territorial integrity is he talking about? Where is his own integrity when it comes to Ukraine?

If Obama can’t be honest with the EU and with his own people on this matter, what personal integrity does he have left?

William Dunkerley is author of Ukraine in the Crosshairs. He is a media business analyst, principal of William Dunkerley Publishing Consultants, and a Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Poll: Hamas popularity up in Gaza, West Bank

MEMO | June 10, 2015

Recent polls suggest that there has been a rise in Hamas’s popularity in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Arabi21 reported yesterday.

Head of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, Dr Khalil Shikaki, who conducted the poll, said that 39 per cent of the respondents in Gaza would vote for Hamas if elections were held, compared to 32 per cent a year ago.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent of the respondents in the occupied West Bank, where there are tens of illegal Israeli settlements, would vote for Hamas, compared to 27 per cent three months ago.

The poll, which was conducted earlier this month, showed a decline in the popularity of Fatah, the movement headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It showed that 36 per cent of respondents would vote for Fatah, compared to 41 per cent three months ago.

At the same time, the poll showed that the evaluation of Abbas’s performance has decreased from 50 per cent to 44 per cent following the announcement of the unity government last year.

Speaking to journalists, Shikaki said that the residents of the Gaza Strip are feeling depressed more than ever before. “About 50 per cent of the residents are thinking of emigrating,” he said.

The Gaza Strip has suffered following three destructive Israeli offensives since 2008, in addition to an eight-year siege. The most recent offensive took place last summer and reconstruction efforts have been stifled by Israel’s unwillingness to allow construction materials in to the Strip.

Israel placed Gaza under siege after Hamas won an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections in 2006.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian in Jenin camp

Ma’an – June 10, 2015

JENIN – Israeli forces shot dead a young Palestinian man in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank early Wednesday morning, Palestinian security officials say.

Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra, 21, was shot in the chest during clashes with Israeli forces who raided the camp at dawn. He was evacuated to the public hospital in Jenin where he died shortly after, sources told Ma’an.

Israeli police, in a statement on the incident, said a border police force was in the refugee camp to carry out arrests.

“Upon leaving the camp, the force identified a suspect trying to throw an explosive device at them,” it said.

One of the border police shot him and wounded him, the statement said, adding that the device probably exploded near the suspect.

In an online statement attributed to the Jenin branch of Hamas, the group appeared to claim Ghora as a member.

“Hamas bids farewell to its heroic martyr… and urges the Palestinian Authority and its security forces to stop their security coordination” with Israel, it said, referring to an unpopular agreement under the 1993 Oslo autonomy accords.

Gharra is the twelfth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza since the start of 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with over 900 injured, not including injuries resulting from settler violence.

One Israeli has been killed in the same time period.

Search and arrest raids are regular practice by Israeli forces, who have conducted a weekly average of 86 raids this year, up from 75 a week in 2014, according to a May report by the UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO).

Such raids often result in what rights groups argue is excessive use of force by Israeli soldiers against locals, who often throw rocks and bottles at the forces.

Since 2000, Israeli security forces have killed over 8,896 Palestinians, over 1,900 of whom have been children, according to rights group Defense for Children International.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment