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Defense Bill Coming This Week: A Boost for War and Tyranny

By Ron Paul | May 15, 2016

For many of us concerned with liberty, the letters “NDAA” have come to symbolize Washington’s ongoing effort to undermine the US Constitution in the pursuit of constant war overseas. It was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012 that introduced into law the idea that American citizens could be indefinitely detained without warrant or charge if a government bureaucrat decides they had assisted al-Qaeda or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.” No charges, no trial, just disappeared Americans.

The National Defense Authorization bill should be a Congressional mechanism to bind the president to spend national defense money in the way Congress wishes. It is the nuts and bolts of the defense budget and as such is an important oversight tool preventing the imperial executive from treating the military as his own private army. Unfortunately that is no longer the case these days.

Why am I revisiting the NDAA today? Unfortunately since 2012 these bills have passed the House with less and less scrutiny, and this week the House is going to vote on final passage of yet another Defense Authorization, this time for fiscal year 2017. Once again it is a terrible piece of legislation that does great harm to the United States under the guise of protecting the United States.

Unless some last minute changes take place, this latest NDAA will force young women for the first time to register to be drafted into the US military. For the past 36 years, young men have been forced to register with Selective Service when they turn 18 or face felony charges and years in prison. Under a perverted notion of “equality” some people are cheering the idea that this represents an achievement for women. Why cheer when slavery is extended to all? We should be fighting for an end to forced servitude for young men and to prevent it being extended to women.

The argument against a draft should appeal to all: you own your own body. No state has the right to force you to kill or be killed against your will. No state has a claim on your life. We are born with freedoms not granted by the state, but by our creator. Only authoritarians seek to take that away from us.

Along with extending draft registration to women, the latest NDAA expands the neocons’ new “Cold War” with Russia, adding $3.4 billion to put US troops and heavy weapons on Russia’s border because as the bill claims, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.” This NDAA also includes the military slush fund of nearly $60 billion for the president to spend on wars of his choosing without the need to get Congress involved. Despite all the cries that we need to “rebuild the military,” this year’s Defense Authorization bill has a higher base expenditure than last year. There have been no cuts in the military. On the contrary: the budget keeps growing.

The Defense Authorization bill should remain notorious. It represents most of what is wrong with Washington. It is welfare for the well-connected defense contractors and warfare on our economy and on the rest of the world. This reckless spending does nothing to defend the United States. It is hastening our total economic collapse.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Escalations in a New Cold War

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | May 14, 2016

If the United States ever ends up stumbling into a major conventional or nuclear war with Russia, the culprit will likely be two military boondoggles that refused to die when their primary mission ended with the demise of the Soviet Union: NATO and the U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program.

The “military-industrial complex” that reaps hundreds of billions of dollars annually from support of those programs got a major boost this week when NATO established its first major missile defense site at an air base in Romania, with plans to build a second installation in Poland by 2018.

Although NATO and Pentagon spokesmen claim the ABM network in Eastern Europe is aimed at Iran, Russia isn’t persuaded for a minute. “This is not a defense system,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. “This is part of U.S. nuclear strategic potential brought [to] . . . Eastern Europe. . . Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize emerging threats to the Russian Federation.”

Iran doesn’t yet have missiles capable of striking Europe, nor does it have any interest in targeting Europe. The missiles it does have are notoriously inaccurate. Their inability to hit a target reliably might not matter so much if tipped with nuclear warheads, but Iran is abiding by its stringently verified agreement to dismantle programs and capabilities that could allow it to develop nuclear weapons.

The ABM system currently deployed in Europe is admittedly far too small today to threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent. In fact, ABM technology is still unreliable, despite America’s investment of more than $100 billion in R&D.

Nonetheless, it’s a threat Russia cannot ignore. No U.S. military strategist would sit still for long if Russia began ringing the United States with such systems. That’s why the United States and Russia limited them by treaty — until President George W. Bush terminated the pact in 2002.

President Reagan’s famous 1983 “Star Wars” ABM initiative was based on a theory developed by advisers Colin Gray and Keith Payne in a 1980 article titled “Victory is Possible”: that a combination of superior nuclear weapons, civil defense programs, and ballistic missile defenses could allow the United States to “prevail” in a prolonged nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Such nuclear superiority, Gray argued, could back up “very large American expeditionary forces” fighting in a future conflict “around the periphery of Asia.” By limiting damage to the U.S. homeland, missile defenses would neutralize Russia’s nuclear deterrent and help the United States “succeed in the prosecution of local conflict . . . and — if need be — to expand a war.”

Gray published that latter observation in a 1984 volume edited by Ashton Carter, who as President Obama’s Secretary of Defense now champions the new missile shield in Europe. So it should come as little wonder that Moscow is going all out these days in a sometimes ugly campaign to remind the world of its nuclear potency, lest NATO take advantage of Russia’s perceived weakness.

Russian Tough Talk

Moscow spokesmen have warned that Romania could become a “smoking ruins” if it continues to host the new anti-missile site; threatened Denmark, Norway and Poland that they too could become targets of attack; and announced development of a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to penetrate the U.S. missile shield.

Secretary Carter responded this month that “Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises troubling questions about . . .  whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to brandishing nuclear weapons” — even as he announced new details of a $3.4 billion military buildup to support NATO’s combat capabilities.

U.S. military leaders say they are drawing up even bigger funding requests to send more troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe, and to pay for new “investments in space systems, cyber weapons, and ballistic missile defense designed to check a resurgent Russia.”

Speaking in February at security conference in Munich, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for an end to such confrontation, noting that “almost every day [NATO leaders] call Russia the main threat for NATO, Europe, the U.S. and other countries. It makes me wonder if we are in 2016 or in 1962.”

But stepped-up conflict comes as a godsend to the Pentagon and its contractors, which only a few years ago faced White House plans for major cutbacks in funding and troop strength in Europe. It allows them to maintain — and increase — military spending levels that today are greater than they were during the height of the Cold War.

U.S. and other NATO leaders justify their buildup by pointing to Russia’s allegedly aggressive behavior — “annexing” Crimea and sending “volunteers” to Eastern Ukraine. They conveniently neglect the blatant coup d’état in Kiev that triggered the Ukraine crisis by driving an elected, Russian-friendly government from power in February 2014. They also neglect the long and provocative record of NATO expansion toward Russia’s borders after the fall of the Soviet Union, contrary to the pledges of Western leaders in 1990.

That expansion was championed by the aptly named Committee to Expand NATO, a hot-bed of neoconservatives and Hillary Clinton advisers led by Bruce Jackson, then vice president for planning and strategy at Lockheed Martin, the country’s largest military contractor. In 2008, NATO vowed to bring Ukraine — the largest country on Russia’s western border — into the Western military alliance.

Cold War Warnings

George Kennan, the dean of U.S. diplomats during the Cold War, predicted in 1997 that NATO’s reckless expansion could only lead to “a new Cold War, probably ending in a hot one, and the end of the effort to achieve a workable democracy in Russia.”

Last year, former Secretary of Defense William Perry warned that we “are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race,” with all the vast expense — and dangers of a global holocaust — of its Cold War predecessor.

And just this month, President Obama’s own former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that NATO’s plans to deploy four battalions to the Baltic States could result “very quickly in another Cold War buildup here, that really makes no sense for either side.”

If “we continue to build up the eastern flank of NATO, with more battalions, more exercises, and more ships and more platforms,” he told an audience at the Atlantic Council, “the Russians will respond. I’m not sure where that takes you.”

Nobody knows where it takes us, and that’s the problem. It could take us all too easily from small provocations to a series of escalations by each side to show they mean business. And given the trip-wire effect of nuclear weapons stored on NATO’s soil, the danger of escalation to nuclear war is entirely real.

As foreign policy expert Jeffrey Taylor commented recently, “The Obama administration is setting the stage for endless confrontation, and possibly even war, with Russia, and with no public debate.”

Returning to the days of the Cold War will buy less security and more danger. As President Obama contemplates what he will say about the lessons of nuclear war in Hiroshima, he should fundamentally reconsider his own policies that threaten many more Hiroshimas.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Azerbaijan to perform military drills with Turkey, Georgia

Press TV – May 15, 2016

The Republic of Azerbaijan has declared joint military drills with Turkey and Georgia, a move which is likely to increase tensions with neighboring Armenia prior to talks with Yerevan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“To increase the combat capabilities and combat readiness of the Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, we deemed it worthwhile to carry out joint military exercises,” Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said on Sunday, without specifying when the exercises would be carried out.

At least 46 people have been killed since April 1, when fighting broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh.

On Friday, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said an Azeri soldier had been killed by Armenian fire on Thursday.

On the Armenian side, a serviceman died of wounds on Saturday after reportedly being targeted by an Azeri sniper near southwestern Armenian border.

On April 3, Baku announced a “unilateral” ceasefire as a gesture of goodwill, warning, however, that it would strike back if its forces came under attack. Bouts of fighting were reported soon afterward.

The landlocked Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but is populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and Armenian troops since a three-year war, which claimed over 30,000 lives, ended between the two republics in 1994 through mediation by Russia.

The presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as diplomats from Russia, the US and France, are to meet in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Monday to discuss the situation in the volatile Nagorno-Karabakh.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

NYT Editors Obsessed with Getting Clinton Elected President

By Stephen Lendman | May 15, 2016

She’s recklessly pro-war, pro-business, anti-populist, a threat to world peace and stability. Her deplorable public office record shows she opposes equity, justice, rule of law principles and democratic values.

Her agenda is frightening, electing her president unthinkable, a neocon war goddess, supporting endless conflicts, deploring peace, risking direct confrontation with Russia and China.

Her finger on the nuclear trigger leaves humanity’s fate up for grabs. NYT editors support the most recklessly dangerous US presidential aspirant in modern memory while bashing Trump relentlessly.

He’s over-the-top like all duopoly power presidential aspirants, supporting the same dirty business as usual agenda. Unlike Clinton, he’d rather make money than start WW III.

The Times went to extraordinary lengths to bash his womanizing history, making “unwelcome advances,” conducting “unsettling workplace conduct over decades.”

It assigned unknown numbers of reporters to locate and interview over 50 women who worked with, dated or interacted with him socially “since his adolescence” – without explaining how any of this relates to affairs of state if he’s elected president.

Numerous past presidents had extramarital affairs, including Washington, Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton, among others.

Little or nothing was said about their private lives while campaigning or throughout their tenure.

Instead of focusing solely on issues and where candidates stand, the Times dwelled on where it had no business going. Nothing it reported suggested wrongdoing.

Countless hours spent locating and interviewing dozens of women found nothing more than a “portrait of a wealthy, well-known and provocative man and the women around him, one that defies categorization,” said the Times.

“Some women found him gracious and encouraging.” Some got high-level positions in his enterprises. The Times called it “a daring move for a major real estate developer at the time.”

Who cares if he made “romantic advances.” He didn’t rape or molest anyone. “A lot of things get made up over the years,” he said. “I have always treated women with great respect. And women will tell you that.”

About all the Times could conclude was saying he had power and women he came into contact with didn’t. He had and still has “celebrity… wealth (and) connections.” Some women sought his help with their careers and stuck with him.

The lengthy article isn’t worth the time or trouble to read. It reveals more about the Times’ deplorable agenda than Trump’s.

Political reporting should focus solely on issues and pinning down candidates on where they stand. America’s money-controlled system features horse-race journalism.

Duopoly power is ignored. So is a sham political process too debauched to fix. Whether Trump or Clinton succeeds Obama, ordinary people lose.

The biggest unreported issue is avoiding global nuclear war. With Trump there’s a chance, likely little at best with Clinton.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Student Arrested, Loses Scholarship for Speaking Kurdish

Pinar Cetinkaya was not allowed to return to her dorm because she was accused of being a suicide bomber.

Pinar Cetinkaya was not allowed to return to her dorm because she was accused of being a suicide bomber. | Photo: DHA
teleSUR – May 15, 2016

A Kurdish student lost her scholarship and housing for speaking Kurdish to her parents and was released after being questioned for terrorist propaganda.

Her roommates called police after hearing her speak Kurdish on the phone, the only language that her parents understand.

“We’ve had several fights over the same issue in the past few months,” Pinar Cetinkaya told Dogan news agency, adding that she did not expect them to take it so far. “I’m facing a very big injustice. They played with my life, with my future.”

Cetinkaya, a 20-year-old college student, lived on the street for two days after being kicked out. When she returned to gather her belongings, she was not allowed to enter and treated as a suicide bomber, reported DHA on Friday.

She said she has never engaged in terrorist activity and was victim of ethnic discrimination.

Since the Turkish government broke a ceasefire with the Kurdish militant PKK in July, it has cracked down on university students for alleged terrorist propaganda. “Some universities have become separatist terrorist organization camps,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a university speech on Friday. “Do not tolerate these organizations using force.”

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

On Jewish projection…

By Gilad Atzmon | May 15, 2016

The Israeli fear of being thrown into the sea is  a projection.

The Israelis are afraid of being pushed into the sea because they themselves pushed the Palestinians into the sea (picture above). The Israelis tend to attribute their own genocidal inclinations  to  Arabs (in particular)  and Goyim (in  general).

‘Jewish fear,’ as such, is self-inflicted — the more brutal the Israelis are, the more fearful they become of the  possibility that the Palestinians may be equally murderous. Similarly, the more the Jew hates the ‘goy,’ the more the Jew is mortified by the possibility that the goy may also express some animosity in return.

Jewish fear better be grasped  as a war against terror within. Jews are too often tormented and haunted by their own racism and supremacy which they attribute to others by means of projection.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Panama Papers: Should the Corporate Media Have Been Trusted?

By Joe Emersberger – teleSUR – May 14, 2016

“John Doe” made a bad call when he leaked the Panama papers to the corporate media.

“Can a corporate media system be expected to tell the truth about a world dominated by corporations?” the Media Lens editors once asked rhetorically.

Assuming the best of intentions on the part of whoever leaked the Panama Papers, trusting hundreds of corporate journalists to wage war on income inequality was a bad mistake. However, the corporate media can be trusted to wage war on the enemies of income inequality, in particular progressive governments in Latin America, and use the Panama Papers to do so even if the ammunition they have is pitiful.

Consider an article in the Miami Herald that ran with the mocking headline, “Ecuador’s leader demands release of Panama Papers, and learns he’s in them.” A very similar article with an almost identical headline ran in the UK Independent, and in many other outlets. The article in the Herald began:

“… Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa called out his country’s journalists and boasted that, unlike other countries, he and his government weren’t found in the leak.

However, the secret documents show that he and his estranged brother, Fabricio, caught the attention of anti-corruption authorities in Panama in 2012.”

Anyone who follows Ecuadorian politics will find this very underwhelming. Fabricio Correa is a long-time bitter foe of his brother’s government. Fabricio is also a businessman who has long been accused of being less than ethical by his brother and many other people. That’s old news and it is hardly surprising that it would have “caught the attention” of investigators years ago. How could it not have? A book was written in 2010 – “El Gran Hermano” – alleging that Rafael Correa was complicit with his brother’s corruption and in 2012 Correa won a defamation suit against the authors.

The article in the Herald is convoluted and often unclear, but that actually serves its purpose. It is padded with details that ultimately fail to land a blow against Fabricio Correa, never mind President Correa, but readers unfamiliar with Ecuador, even if left confused by the article, will probably still come away thinking that something damning has been uncovered.

The use of meaningless statistics is another way the article is padded. It says “searching the word ‘Ecuador’ yields more than 160,000 secret documents. Guayaquil, the wealthy coastal city, shows up in 109,000 documents,” as if that refutes Correa’s observation that hostile Ecuadorean journalists who have had access to the documents for a year have not found anything to discredit his government. Correa would be the last person to deny that corruption, in particular tax avoidance by his elite opponents, is still a big problem in Ecuador. That’s one reason why Correa demanded that all the information be released rather than cherry-picked by corporate journalists. Ecuador’s private media led a very dishonest propaganda campaign last year against tax reforms that would have almost entirely impacted Ecuador’s wealthiest 2 percent. Moreover, Guayaquil’s mayor for the past 16 years has been Jaime Nebot, a right-winger who is arguably Correa’s most prominent opponent. Applying the shoddy logic suggested by the article, Nebot and his right wing allies – including his many allies in Ecuador’s private media – are discredited by how often the word “Guayaquil” appears in the Panama Papers.

Reporters are not always so sloppy. When a journalist I recently corresponded with found a Venezuelan opposition member mentioned in the Panama Papers he explained to me that “he was simply mentioned in newspaper articles passed around by IMF staff.”

The article in the Herald also cited an NGO as follows:

“Last year, Transparency International ranked 168 countries and territories on its government corruption index. It found that 106 nations were less corrupt than Ecuador.”

It neglected to mention that the head of the groups’ Chile branch just resigned after being linked to offshore firms. Much more importantly, it has been obvious for many years that a little transparency does not flatter Transparency International (TI).  In 2008, Calvin Tucker wrote a hard hitting piece about a shockingly dishonest report that TI published about Venezuela’s state oil company. He reported “TI says that they ‘stand by their report’ and stand by the person who compiled the data, an anti-Chávez activist who backed the 2002 military coup against democracy.”

The Miami Herald also used the Panama Papers as an excuse to rehash the farcical “suitcase scandal” of 2008.  It was a comical example of the US government using its prosecutors and a more than cooperative media to smear governments it didn’t like – in this case the left governments of Venezuela and (at the time) Argentina. How could the United States possibly claim jurisdiction over a case based on far-fetched allegations that the Venezuelan government had tried to smuggle a suitcase full of cash into Argentina to influence an election? The U.S. government weaseled in by alleging that an “unregistered agent” of Venezuela’s government had come to the United States to convince one of the people involved to keep quiet. There had never been an indictment under this law unless there was an espionage or national security accusation to go along with it. Mind you, several years later the Obama Administration would officially declare Venezuela an “extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States – and then defend the insane declaration by saying it didn’t mean it. The U.S. media responded with some timid criticism. That should be unsurprising. Media outlets owned by the rich and powerful, whose most influential customers, advertisers, are rich and powerful are not going to lead movements for serious reform, never mind revolution.

None of this is to say that the Panama Papers will not be of any help in the fight against income inequality. Time will tell. There must be a very small number of journalists working in the private media who are genuinely interested in fighting inequality, but one can easily imagine how much more positive impact these leaks may have had. Recall how wisely Edward Snowden singled out Glenn Greenwald as a journalist he could trust. Remember where Julian Assange, a real thorn in the side of the most powerful and violent people in the world, ended up seeking refuge; and never forget how viciously the corporate media turned on him.

The battle against inequality, which is a crucial part of the battle for meaningful democracy, requires a struggle against the corporate media, a real movement to democratize the means of communication, not (a few exceptional corporate journalists aside) collaboration with it.

RELATED:

Panama Papers: The Caribbean Connection

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Escalations in a New Cold War

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | May 14, 2016

If the United States ever ends up stumbling into a major conventional or nuclear war with Russia, the culprit will likely be two military boondoggles that refused to die when their primary mission ended with the demise of the Soviet Union: NATO and the U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program.

The “military-industrial complex” that reaps hundreds of billions of dollars annually from support of those programs got a major boost this week when NATO established its first major missile defense site at an air base in Romania, with plans to build a second installation in Poland by 2018.

Although NATO and Pentagon spokesmen claim the ABM network in Eastern Europe is aimed at Iran, Russia isn’t persuaded for a minute. “This is not a defense system,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. “This is part of U.S. nuclear strategic potential brought [to] . . . Eastern Europe. . . Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize emerging threats to the Russian Federation.”

Iran doesn’t yet have missiles capable of striking Europe, nor does it have any interest in targeting Europe. The missiles it does have are notoriously inaccurate. Their inability to hit a target reliably might not matter so much if tipped with nuclear warheads, but Iran is abiding by its stringently verified agreement to dismantle programs and capabilities that could allow it to develop nuclear weapons.

The ABM system currently deployed in Europe is admittedly far too small today to threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent. In fact, ABM technology is still unreliable, despite America’s investment of more than $100 billion in R&D.

Nonetheless, it’s a threat Russia cannot ignore. No U.S. military strategist would sit still for long if Russia began ringing the United States with such systems. That’s why the United States and Russia limited them by treaty — until President George W. Bush terminated the pact in 2002.

President Reagan’s famous 1983 “Star Wars” ABM initiative was based on a theory developed by advisers Colin Gray and Keith Payne in a 1980 article titled “Victory is Possible”: that a combination of superior nuclear weapons, civil defense programs, and ballistic missile defenses could allow the United States to “prevail” in a prolonged nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Such nuclear superiority, Gray argued, could back up “very large American expeditionary forces” fighting in a future conflict “around the periphery of Asia.” By limiting damage to the U.S. homeland, missile defenses would neutralize Russia’s nuclear deterrent and help the United States “succeed in the prosecution of local conflict . . . and — if need be — to expand a war.”

Gray published that latter observation in a 1984 volume edited by Ashton Carter, who as President Obama’s Secretary of Defense now champions the new missile shield in Europe. So it should come as little wonder that Moscow is going all out these days in a sometimes ugly campaign to remind the world of its nuclear potency, lest NATO take advantage of Russia’s perceived weakness.

Russian Tough Talk

Moscow spokesmen have warned that Romania could become a “smoking ruins” if it continues to host the new anti-missile site; threatened Denmark, Norway and Poland that they too could become targets of attack; and announced development of a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to penetrate the U.S. missile shield.

Secretary Carter responded this month that “Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises troubling questions about . . .  whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to brandishing nuclear weapons” — even as he announced new details of a $3.4 billion military buildup to support NATO’s combat capabilities.

U.S. military leaders say they are drawing up even bigger funding requests to send more troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe, and to pay for new “investments in space systems, cyber weapons, and ballistic missile defense designed to check a resurgent Russia.”

Speaking in February at security conference in Munich, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for an end to such confrontation, noting that “almost every day [NATO leaders] call Russia the main threat for NATO, Europe, the U.S. and other countries. It makes me wonder if we are in 2016 or in 1962.”

But stepped-up conflict comes as a godsend to the Pentagon and its contractors, which only a few years ago faced White House plans for major cutbacks in funding and troop strength in Europe. It allows them to maintain — and increase — military spending levels that today are greater than they were during the height of the Cold War.

U.S. and other NATO leaders justify their buildup by pointing to Russia’s allegedly aggressive behavior — “annexing” Crimea and sending “volunteers” to Eastern Ukraine. They conveniently neglect the blatant coup d’état in Kiev that triggered the Ukraine crisis by driving an elected, Russian-friendly government from power in February 2014. They also neglect the long and provocative record of NATO expansion toward Russia’s borders after the fall of the Soviet Union, contrary to the pledges of Western leaders in 1990.

That expansion was championed by the aptly named Committee to Expand NATO, a hot-bed of neoconservatives and Hillary Clinton advisers led by Bruce Jackson, then vice president for planning and strategy at Lockheed Martin, the country’s largest military contractor. In 2008, NATO vowed to bring Ukraine — the largest country on Russia’s western border — into the Western military alliance.

Cold War Warnings

George Kennan, the dean of U.S. diplomats during the Cold War, predicted in 1997 that NATO’s reckless expansion could only lead to “a new Cold War, probably ending in a hot one, and the end of the effort to achieve a workable democracy in Russia.”

Last year, former Secretary of Defense William Perry warned that we “are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race,” with all the vast expense — and dangers of a global holocaust — of its Cold War predecessor.

And just this month, President Obama’s own former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that NATO’s plans to deploy four battalions to the Baltic States could result “very quickly in another Cold War buildup here, that really makes no sense for either side.”

If “we continue to build up the eastern flank of NATO, with more battalions, more exercises, and more ships and more platforms,” he told an audience at the Atlantic Council, “the Russians will respond. I’m not sure where that takes you.”

Nobody knows where it takes us, and that’s the problem. It could take us all too easily from small provocations to a series of escalations by each side to show they mean business. And given the trip-wire effect of nuclear weapons stored on NATO’s soil, the danger of escalation to nuclear war is entirely real.

As foreign policy expert Jeffrey Taylor commented recently, “The Obama administration is setting the stage for endless confrontation, and possibly even war, with Russia, and with no public debate.”

Returning to the days of the Cold War will buy less security and more danger. As President Obama contemplates what he will say about the lessons of nuclear war in Hiroshima, he should fundamentally reconsider his own policies that threaten many more Hiroshimas.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Students & faculty protest ‘war criminal’ Madeleine Albright commencement speech

RT | May 14, 2016

Scripps College students and faculty are protesting former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, saying they are outraged that a “war criminal” is headlining a graduation ceremony.

A number of staff members at the small liberal arts college have refused to sit on the same stage as the former diplomat during Saturday’s ceremony as a sign of protest.

Faculty members published a letter in the college newspaper citing the reasons they are “outraged,” focusing on Albright’s long record as secretary of state and US ambassador to the UN, where she shaped policy that saw the US intervene in many disastrous overseas conflicts and “supported several policies that led to the deaths of millions of people.”

Scripps is an all-female college with less than 2,000 students, and Albright’s almost-threatening comments about there being “a special place in hell” for women who don’t vote for Hillary Clinton did not sit well with students or faculty either.

“As a women’s liberal arts college, we should promote the advancement of women and transgender peoples broadly and not simply emulate and celebrate those individuals who participate in US state power and wield its violence.”

What the faculty members were most offended by were Albright’s now infamous comments in which she argued that the deaths of more than half a million Iraqi students had been “worth it.” The teachers pointed to the fact that “more Iraqis died as a result of 13 years of US-led and controlled sanctions than as a result of the 2003 US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.”

A deliberate decision to allow the 1994 Rwandan genocide to take place and the decision to bomb Yugoslavia for refusing to permit a US occupation were just two examples they cited in justifying their objections to her as the school’s commencement speaker.

However, Albright told the LA Times that the students “have a duty to listen to people that they might disagree with,” before falling back on the feminist card. “There’s plenty of room in the world for mediocre men, there’s none for mediocre women,” she lamented.

Albright is also booked to speak at Harvard’s JFK School of Government and the University of Denver’s graduation ceremonies, but has not been met with objections from faculty or students at those educational institutions, the LA Times says.

However, in April, Syracuse students protested Albright when she gave an Ethics lecture, describing the decision to invite her as “an absolute insult to the meaning of ‘ethics.’”

Other speakers have been forced to pull out of college speeches as well. Smith College objected to IMF leader Christine Lagarde as commencement speaker due to the International Monetary Fund’s role in “strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.”

Another former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was rejected by Rutgers students in 2014 because of the part she played in the Iraq War. Rice was set to pocket $35,000 for the gig, LAT reports.

Graduation school speeches can set colleges back over $100,000, but Scripps only covers travel fees. Other colleges have been criticized for spending obscene amounts of money on speakers ranging from reality stars to politicians. In a country where college debt has become a crippling problem for many young people, spending the equivalent of more than a year’s tuition on a graduation speech could appear to be out of touch with reality, as far as the students are concerned

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was paid $160,000 for a commencement speech at the University of Colorado, while reality star Snooki of Jersey Shore got $32,000 for speaking at Rutgers in 2011.

Scripps College’s 86th Annual Commencement will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 5:00 pm.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment