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Obama and the ongoing threat of Nuclear Weapons

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War’s co-presidents have sent the following letter to US President Barack Obama in response to his speech in Hiroshima on May 27.

Dear President Obama:

We applaud your decision to bear witness to the ghastly horrors that befell the citizens of Hiroshima, and to meet with Hibakusha. However, we deeply regret that you made no commitments to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.

Much less than 1% of today’s nuclear arsenal could cause tens of millions of immediate casualties and put 2 billion people at risk of starvation. You recognize that removing the existential danger of nuclear weapons requires eliminating them, yet you have not acted accordingly. No nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway, the specter of a resurgent Cold War grows, and many assess that the risks of nuclear war by accident or intent are growing. All nine nuclear-armed governments squander vast resources upgrading and perpetuating nuclear arsenals which guarantee security for none, jeopardize all, and invite proliferation.

In the absence of action by nuclear-armed nations to fulfill their binding obligation to disarm, 127 nations have committed through the Humanitarian Pledge, to “efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences, ” and to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.” Yet your government has boycotted the international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons and a special UN Working Group now addressing new legal measures to deliver disarmament. The emerging prospect that nuclear-weapon-free nations will soon open negotiations for a new binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons, as all other weapons of mass destruction are banned, is the most important disarmament initiative in a generation.

Mr. President, when your administration stops doing everything it can to block a treaty banning nuclear weapons, and abandons plans to spend $1 trillion on perpetuating the US nuclear arsenal, your call for a world free of nuclear weapons will have meaning. Until then, tragically, it is empty rhetoric.


Ira Helfand

Tilman Ruff

Daniel Bassey

Vladimir Garkevenko

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Anti-nuke activists begin month-long blockade of atomic facility

RT | June 6, 2016

Anti-nuclear activists are starting a month-long protest against Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons program, arguing it should not be renewed by Parliament later this year.

Peace campaigners are descending on AWE Burghfield in Berkshire, where Britain’s nuclear warheads are maintained and go through their final stage of assembly.

Throughout June, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) supporters will join activists from Trident Ploughshares and groups from across Europe to “blockade, to occupy, and to disrupt” the weapons manufacturing base.

Activists claim the renewal of Britain’s at-sea nuclear deterrent is expensive, unsafe, ill-suited for contemporary warfare and in violation of international commitments.

The nuclear site at Burghfield is run by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), a controversial weapons company which is partly owned by US firm Lockheed Martin.

Last August, AWE was censured by UK regulators for failing to show a long-term plan for handling radioactive waste at its Aldermaston site.

The nuclear weapons factory also faces further action for failing to meet legal obligations to treat radioactive waste by 2014, according to a report published by the ONR last July.

Among the activists will be veteran peace campaigner Pat Arrowsmith, who was the organizer of the historic 1958 march from London to Aldermaston which saw thousands of people march against nuclear weapons.

British protesters will be joined by anti-nuke groups across Europe, including Women for Peace (Finland), Action Pour La Paix (Belgium) and Maison de la Vigilance (France).

“The vast [nuclear weapons] complexes at Burghfield and Aldermaston are founded on a wealth of resources and extraordinary human skill,” CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said.

“What a tragedy that these are utilized for the production of weapons of mass destruction rather than being used instead to secure real human security and meet the real needs of our society.”

The cost of replacing Trident and maintaining a successor program is expected to reach £205 billion (US$296 billion), according to campaigners.

The biggest expense by far is expected to be the day-to-day running costs. At £142 billion over the system’s lifetime, they amount to 6 percent of the total UK defense budget.

Other expenses include decommissioning old warheads, the continued lease of warheads from the US and future refurbishment.

AWE Burghfield will undergo a £734 million upgrade as part of the Trident renewal.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary’s Foreign Policy Speech: Queen Galadriel Before Her Magic Mirror


By Gary Leupp | CounterPunch | June 6, 2016

Rachel Maddow,  the famously progressive MSNBC show host, pronounced it “her greatest speech of the campaign.” Chris Matthews agreed, adding that it would “have a very strong appeal to the neocon movement.” He mentioned in particular Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor and TV commentator, as someone likely to be impressed. “A very smart man,” opined Matthews, the conservative Democrat and “Hardball” host, causing the entire cosmos to shudder.

You’d think that that war in Iraq, which Kristol had tirelessly championed, had never happened. And that its results had been anything other than horrific for the entire Middle East.

Hillary Clinton’s fiery performance last Thursday night, intended to assert her credentials as a former secretary of state (with all the positive “experience” that’s supposed to entail), framed by no fewer than seventeen U.S. flags, was a strident reassertion of U.S. “exceptionalism” without apologies or even reflections on the recent past and her bloody role in it.

It was billed as a “major foreign policy address,” the sort of thing you might expect of a sitting president. And it was designed, of course, to make her look presidential, and to underscore her campaign’s declaration that she has the Democratic nomination all sewed up. But it was not in fact a foreign policy speech at all; Donald Trump is quite right to call it “a political speech” directed at him.

Maddow has occasionally shown signs of critical reasoning in her coverage of the U.S.’s imperialist wars. One has to wonder what she finds admirable in the speech. Because actually, Clinton said nothing new.

However unsubstantial, it was all over the news the next morning, competing with the stories about new fencing at the Cincinnati Zoo and Prince’s autopsy results. Meanwhile the networks systematically ignore the ongoing wars in Iraq and Syria generated by the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago, and the European refugee crisis sparked by the regime-change wars in those countries as well as in Afghanistan and Libya. Like the monkeys adorning the Nikko Shrine, they see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

Some takeaway lines from the Clinton speech: “Donald Trump doesn’t know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear program.” It’s true that Trump is an uninformed blowhard and that Hillary in contrast knows a lot. She knows, for example, that the entire U.S. intelligence community, in two separate National Intelligence Estimates after 2003, concluded that Iran does not have a military nuclear program. She knows that the whole issue was hyped at the demand of the Israeli leaders who continuously demanded that the U.S. bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities  (that in fact date back to the period of the Shah’s reign and supported by the U.S.’s “Atoms for Peace” program).

She also knows from experience the value of the Big Lie in obtaining mass acceptance for real or threatened military action.

Clinton has generally avoided specifics in discussing her plans for more war with one conspicuous exception: she has continuously stated that she strongly advocates a “no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors” in Syrian air space and on the ground in that country beset by civil war pitting a secular regime, mainly against terrorist and terrorist-aligned Islamist opponents.

For Hillary, Syria is the ideal battlefield: one that pits her vision of U.S. hegemony against both Russia (Syria’s patron and her main target) and the nebulous evil of Islamist terrorism in the world—on behalf of an imaginary middle force of democrats who will stay cozy with the U.S. and end support for armed groups opposing Israel.

Her plans are as much a recipe for war as the bogus humanitarian mission in Libya in 2011. They would, as estimated by former Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, require the deployment of 70,000 U.S. troops for their implementation.

In last week’s speech she was more circumspect. “We need to take out [ISIL’s] strongholds in Iraq and Syria,” she declared, “by intensifying the air campaign and stepping up our support for Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground. We need to keep pursuing diplomacy to end Syria’s civil war and close Iraq’s sectarian divide, because those conflicts are keeping ISIS alive. We need to lash up with our allies, and ensure our intelligence services are working hand-in-hand to dismantle the global network that supplies money, arms, propaganda and fighters to the terrorists.”

She didn’t mention that the money supplied to the terrorists is overwhelmingly from donors in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Gulf states closely allied with the U.S.  Or that the current U.S. air campaign over Syria is, unlike that of Russia, illegal, opposed by the internationally recognized government in Damascus and lacking UN approval. Her “major foreign policy address” could not address such small details.

Hillary did not mention her own crowning achievement as secretary of state—the savage destruction of Libya involving the death of about 30,000 people, the unleashing of the ugliest forms of tribalism, and ISIL’s securing of a beachhead around Sirte—even once.

In contrast she made repeated references to NATO, well aware no doubt that most Americans aren’t clear at all about what that is but think it must be something good. Like the UN, or the International Red Cross. (I doubt that one in ten knows what the acronym stands for—the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—or realizes that it has only been deployed well outside the North Atlantic region, in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and North Africa.)

“This is someone [Trump] who has threatened to abandon our allies in NATO,” Clinton thundered (as though the peoples of Europe had ever earnestly sought, or are begging to maintain that Cold War, specifically anti-Russian, alliance).

It’s true that Trump has—on occasion and inconsistently—labeled NATO “obsolete” and opined that it should have been dissolved years ago. Whether he truly believes this is unclear. As Hillary says, his “ideas are dangerously incoherent” and he can withdraw or deny such comments at any time. But Trump’s statements about NATO, however vague, are actually the most intelligent and welcome statements he’s made in the course of his campaign.

The fact is, beginning in 1999 at her husband Bill’s orders, the NATO alliance designed as a binding military pact uniting West European countries against the Soviet Union from 1949—that should have been dissolved in 1990 when the Warsaw Pact formed in response shut down—has relentlessly expanded to encircle Russia. That’s post-Cold War Russia, with a military budget about 7% of the U.S. figure. Some NATO leaders aim to ultimately swallow Ukraine—which just happens to have been part of the Russian state from the 1670s to the Bolshevik Revolution, when it was made a soviet socialist republic until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its economy including its munitions industry are inextricably interwoven with Russia’s; its eastern regions are peopled by ethnic Russians; it shares a 1,400 mile long border with Russia.

Does it not make sense that Moscow would see the incorporation of Ukraine, especially one headed by the current Russophobic leadership, into an anti-Russian military alliance as threatening and unacceptable?

Yet Hillary has been a ferocious advocate for the infinite expansion of the alliance, its wars that have produced dysfunctional U.S. client states (Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina) in the former Yugoslavia, and its provocative moves on Russia’s doorstep. But in her speech, avoiding any reference to that expansion—the key geopolitical change of the last quarter-century—she proclaimed: “Moscow has taken aggressive military action in Ukraine, right on NATO’s doorstep.” She never explains why that doorstep has advanced (despite Reagan’s promises to Gorbachev) to include Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania to begin with. Or why it has bordered Russia itself since the inclusion of the former soviet socialist republics of Estonia and Latvia, which share a 508 kilometer border with Russia.

The “military action in Ukraine” that she alludes to refers to separatists’ resistance to the U.S.-backed coup in February 2014, surely supported by Russia at some level, and surely by Russian public opinion, but you notice that the Pentagon has produced precious little evidence for large scale “military actions.” And the annexation of Crimea (Russian from 1783 to 1954, when it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR within the old Soviet Union) was only a “military action” in that the 25,000 Russian troops stationed there by treaty were deployed to secure government buildings.

And do not expect Hillary to ever inform her audiences that Sevastopol on Crimean Peninsula is Russia’s only year-round ice-free port except Murmansk north of the Arctic Circle; that the Russian Black Sea Fleet has been headquartered there without interruption since 1783; and that the expulsion of the Russians and their replacement with NATO forces would constitute a truly existential threat to the Russian state.

It would in fact be hard to build a case convincing to the American people that all these countries need to be locked into an alliance with the U.S. and obliged to pay out 2% of their GDPs on military expenses in order to protect them from some imaginary Russian invasion. (From a rational standpoint, it would be precisely like persuading the Russian people that Moscow should head up an alliance including Canada, Mexico and Cuba to secure them against U.S. aggression.)

But the expansion of NATO to include Ukraine has been a pet project of the former Madame Secretary. Clinton chose as her Under Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, neocon and wife of the powerful neocon Republican pundit (John McCain advisor and recently declared Hillary supporter) Robert Kagan. Nuland already had a rich history of warmongering when she embarked on a plan to topple the elected government in Ukraine and replace it with one that would join NATO.

She boasted publically that the U.S. had spent $ 5 billion by 2014 in an effort to, as she put it so quaintly and dishonestly, “support Ukraine’s European aspirations.” The result was the coup in February 2014 and consequent civil war that has taken over 8,000 lives, including hundreds killed by the neo-fascist Azov Battalion which functions as a regiment of the National Guard.

The U.S. State Department echoed by the compliant media has methodically depicted these events as Russian interference, rather than the results of a U.S.-orchestrated “Color Revolution”-type regime change campaign. To anyone paying attention, the dishonesty, and the success of the propaganda prettifying the coup, is sickening.

Trump has, as Clinton notes, praised Vladimir Putin as someone to whom he’d award an A for leadership. She for her part calls him a “dictator,” a term she would never use for a U.S. ally such as Egypt’s Abdel Sisi or the Saudi king. She has compared the apparently popular president, who has deftly pushed Obama back from his 2013 threat to order a massive strike on Syria and cooperated in the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal, to Hitler—an astonishing statement of historical illiteracy and propensity for sensationalism.

Hillary’s imperious message boils down to: We are the exceptional nation, which the world needs to maintain its “stability.”

“I believe in strong alliances; clarity in dealing with our rivals; and a rock-solid commitment to the values that have always made America great. And I believe with all my heart that America is an exceptional country – that we’re still, in Lincoln’s words, the last, best hope of earth. We are not a country that cowers behind walls. We lead with purpose, and we prevail.”

The peoples of Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, know very well how “exceptional” a country the U.S. is, how seldom it “cowers behind walls,” how cheerfully and unapologetically it destroys countries using its “alliances”—even when the latter are jerry-rigged to provide a fig-leaf for what’s essentially unilateral action. Even when their member-lists are often padded with name-only participants such a tiny Pacific nations sometimes informed after the fact that they’re suscribers.

The youth of Iraq—93% of whom according to a recent poll view the U.S. as an enemy—know how U.S. “values” manifest themselves: in the form of “shock and awe” bombing, Abu Ghraib torture, Blackwater murders, and cowboy-managed “reconstruction” that in fact further divided and scourged an already ruined and humiliated country. There is nothing good that can be said about the war that Hillary so passionately supported, until it became politically impossible for her to continue to do so.

Madame Secretary looked regal Thursday night, in the worst way. She reminded me of the elfin Queen Galadriel, as played by Cate Blanchett, in The Lord of the Rings, in that scene where she stares into her magic mirror, sees a vision of the power of Sauron, and suddenly towers over Frodo, arms like dark hollows, arms flung high, and bellows:

“In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!”

Trump and Clinton are both servants of the enchanted ring called Capital. It is not at all clear who is more darkly and fatefully bound, or whose foreign policy, applauded by more devoted followers, would be more terrible and cause the greater despair among the people of this planet.

In response to the warrior-queen awaiting coronation, Bernie Sanders has sadly avoided the whole question of U.S. imperialism. (Among other things, he never uses the term.) It’s as though he accepts Chris Matthew’s smug pronouncement, “The American people don’t care about foreign policy.” The best Bernie could do last week was to say: “… when it comes to foreign policy, we cannot forget that Secretary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history, and that she has been a proponent of regime change, as in Libya, without thinking through the consequences.”

Forgive me, Bernie—because I do of course hope you’ll win—but that comment was wimpish. Hillary’s Libya policy wasn’t a matter of not “thinking through consequences,” but a matter of calculated ruin of a modern state. It’s the difference from the “blunder” of accidental manslaughter and well-planned murder. (Recall how Madame Secretary cackled with hilarity after Col. Gadhafy was sodomized with a knife and assassinated in the desert by NATO’s friends.)

Like the CNN anchors who sometimes mention in passing Hillary’s “foreign policy blunders such as Libya,” Sanders cannot yet call out evil for what it is, but has to chalk it up to well-meaning mistakes lacking forethought.

But that level of criticism is the best the system can provide, the most it will allow. Mistakes were made. There were some intelligence flaws. There were blunders. To paraphrase Erich Segal’s Love Story: being the exceptional power means never having to say you’re sorry. You just acknowledge you fucked up, because hey, things like that happen. And let’s move on.

Had Bernie been the antiwar, anti-imperialist candidate throughout, rather than just repeating his (totally valid) tirade against Wall Street, he might have further sharpened his differences with Clinton. If he loses in California, and then betrays his following with a Clinton endorsement, he will be saying that more wars for regime change and more confrontation with Russia is worth some changes in party rules and some meaningless clauses on the party platform.

I would hope that any Bernie supporters (or anyone at all) who watched last night’s speech, or have read the on-line transcript, would buckle down on their opposition to this creature of Wall Street and the Democratic Party establishment. Better to vote not at all, if Clinton’s the nominee—and instead think about how best to topple whichever candidate wins.

The “billionaire class” that Bernie decries wants badly to suck you in. That’s why the party bosses praise Sanders for “bringing so many new young people into the process”—the better to eat you, my dear! They want you to love this queen, even as you despair of ever electing anybody better.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie

Better, surely, to destroy the Ring that is the rigged economy, rigged political process and murderous foreign policy that Hillary so personifies.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel wants a Peace Process: But Only if it’s Doomed to Fail

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | June 6, 2016

In a familiar muddying of the waters, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spent the past week talking up peace while fiercely criticising Friday’s summit in France – the only diplomatic initiative on the horizon.

As foreign ministers from 29 nations arrived for a one-day meeting in Paris, Netanyahu dusted off the tired argument that any sign of diplomatic support for Palestinians would encourage from them “extreme demands”.

France hopes the meeting will serve as a prelude to launching a peace process later in the year. French president Francois Hollande said he hoped to achieve a “peace [that] will be solid, sustainable and under international supervision”.

With astounding chutzpah, Israeli official Dore Gold compared the summit to the “height of colonialism” a century ago, when Britain and France carved up the Middle East between them. He conveniently overlooked the fact that it was the same British colonialism that promised a Jewish “homeland” in place of the native Palestinian population.

Earlier, Netanyahu and his new defence minister, the far-right Avigdor Lieberman, had publicly committed themselves to an “unceasing search for a path to peace”.

In a two-minute interview on CNN, spokesman David Keyes managed to mention the formula “two states for two peoples” no less than five times.

Rather than the French initiative, Netanyahu averred, Israelis and Palestinians should be left to engage in the kind of face-to-face talks “without preconditions” that have repeatedly failed. That is because Israel, as the much stronger party, has been able to void them by imposing its own conditions.

Netanyahu, it seems, is keen on any peace process, just so long as it’s not the current one launched in Paris.

Part of the reason for bringing Lieberman into the government was to provide more diplomatic wriggle room. With Lieberman cementing Netanyahu’s credentials with the far-right, he is now free to spout vague platitudes about peace knowing that his coalition partners are unlikely to take him at his word and bolt the government.

But while the domestic front has been secured, rumbles of dissent reverberate abroad.

Europe is increasingly fearful that an emboldened Israeli government may soon annex all or major parts of the West Bank, stymying any hope of creating even a severely truncated Palestinian state.

The Paris conference is a sign of the mounting desperation in Europe to restrain Israel.

While France is not about to engineer a breakthrough, Netanyahu is nonetheless worried.

It is the first time Israel has faced being dragged into talks not presided over by its Washington patron. That risks setting a dangerous precedent.

Although US secretary of state John Kerry attended, he was decidedly cool towards the summit. Yet Netanyahu worries that this time Washington may not be able – or willing – to watch his back.

If the conference leads to talks later in the year, that will be when Barack Obama is preparing to bow out as president. Netanyahu is afraid of surprises. Israeli officials have been in near-panic that Obama may seek payback for the years of humiliation he endured from Netanyahu.

One way might be for Washington to agree to French oversight of the talks, following a tight timetable and establishing diplomatic “teams” to solve final-status issues.

Even if negotiations fail, as seems inevitable, parameters for future talks might be established.

Netanyahu also knows that the wider atmosphere is likely to leave him singled out as the intransigent party.

A report by the Quartet, due soon, is expected to criticise Israel for its past failure to take steps towards peace. And a report last week by a joint team of US and Israeli defence experts suggested Israel’s “security concerns” about Palestinian statehood are not as intractable as claimed.

Netanyahu wants instead to deflect attention to a “regional peace summit”. The key has been Egypt’s support for a revival of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the Arab Peace Plan of 2002. It promised Israel normal relations with the Arab world in return for ending the occupation.

Israel’s sudden interest in the plan is odd, given that it has not been discussed in cabinet since the Saudis unveiled it 14 years ago.

In truth, Netanyahu backs the idea because he knows reaching a region-wide agreement would be impossible with the Middle East in turmoil.

israeli officials have already insisted that parts of the 2002 plan need “updating”. Israel, for example, wants sovereignty over the Golan, Syrian territory it seized in 1967, and which currently promises newfound oil riches.

At the summit, the Saudi foreign minister said Israeli efforts to “water down” the plan would be opposed. Egyptian officials have hurried to distance themselves from the Netanyahu proposal and throw their weight behind the Paris process.

Still, Israel will try to ride out the French initiative until Obama’s successor is installed next year. Then, Netanyahu hopes, he can forget about the threat of two states once and for all.

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Group SSUK condemns excess of Free Speech on Syria

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | June 6, 2016

The group SSUK (sŭk), has registered its strong objection to, and condemnation of, the participation of Dr. Tim Anderson in the Crossing Borders Conference on Refugees, to convene July 7-10 on the Greek Island of Lesbos. Dr. Anderson is the author of The Dirty War on Syria: Washington, Regime Change and Resistance. Their complaint is that Anderson presents facts and a point of view that SSUK does not like.

We understand their concern. It is difficult enough to justify their support for some of the world’s most vicious terrorists without having someone like Dr. Anderson presenting genuine facts and arguments against doing so. How much more daunting, therefore, to justify violating international law and the UN Charter, and forming alliances with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the world’s great imperialist powers for the sake of “freedom and human rights”? That’s a hard sell even without a voice like Dr. Anderson’s pointing out the hypocrisy.

But money can fix everything. SSUK’s White Helmets allies can bring $23 million from the US government, £15 million from the UK and millions more from private sources to mobilize a great marketing effort and twist a few arms to silence Dr. Anderson.

Dr. Anderson has nothing in his arsenal but facts and reason, and he is not even making an effort to silence the SSUK supporters of takfiri mercenaries. Perhaps he thinks that mere truth will be persuasive.

SSUK is trying to impress upon conference organizers that free speech must be sacrificed in order to win the fight for Syrian human rights. Rights like… well, like free speech. After all, isn’t victory more important than human rights?

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Everyone’s Paying For America’s War on Russia, Including America

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 06.06.2016

US sanctions aren’t just hurting everyone including the US, they are accomplishing nothing. The US State Department’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) notified readers of a diplomacy campaign by the United States aimed at “urging” Europe to maintain sanctions against Russia. While the US claims the necessity of these sanctions are self-evident and beneficial to the US and Europe, such campaigns would not be needed if that were truly the case.

The article titled, “U.S. Sends Envoy To Urge Europe To Maintain Russian Sanctions,” states:

The United States is dispatching an envoy to Paris and Berlin on June 7 and 8 to try to convince European allies “of the importance of maintaining sanctions pressure on Russia,” the U.S. Treasury said on June 3.

The sanctions, RFE/RL claims, are a result of Russia’s involvement in neighboring Ukraine’s downward spiral, which ironically enough, began not with Russian involvement but with that of America. Between 2013-2014 the United States, with its own senators traveling to Ukraine and taking the stage at US-backed protests in Kiev, quite literally propelled a violent Neo-Nazi putsch into power.

Since then, Ukraine has unraveled. Rather than taking responsibility for yet another failed US intervention, US policymakers have instead decided to shift the blame on Moscow. The ability to hold up US-EU sanctions against Russia as a means of legitimizing this shift of responsibility is key to the continued underpinning of Western support for the current regime in Kiev, and Washington’s continued belligerence toward Moscow.

US Sanctions are a Geopolitical Wrecking Ball

Like a geopolitical wrecking ball, US intervention in Ukraine first destabilized and destroyed Ukraine’s economy, before brushing into Russia and now with sanctions ongoing ever since, the effects have swung back to hit Europe and even the United States itself.

Ukraine since Soviet days has enjoyed several notable accomplishments in the field of heavy industry. The legendary Anatov aircraft company is headquartered in Ukraine and produces some of the largest heavy lift aircraft in the world.

The New York Times in 2014 would report in its article, “Aviation Giant Is Nearly Grounded in Ukraine,” that:

The crisis with Russia that erupted in February terminated Antonov’s most promising, albeit already troubled, joint venture: a short-takeoff, heavy-lift plane that the Russian military had sought for years.

Antonov was not alone. With the rupture, Ukraine, among the world’s top 10 arms exporters, lost the market that spurred the development of its military industry.

Economic and military experts said Antonov’s troubles epitomized the twin problems plaguing state-run companies in Ukraine, particularly the military sector, as it tries to slip Russia’s gravitational pull and hitch its fortunes to Europe.

Though the New York Times attempts to place the blame squarely on Russia, the reality is that Ukraine has an inescapable historical, cultural, technological and socioeconomic relationship with neighboring Russia, a relationship being artificially severed by a likewise artificial regime in Kiev.

The primary problem facing this US-European prodded shift is that the defense industry Ukraine was a part of, represented and benefited from mirroring that of the US and Europe. Attempting to integrate itself with the US and Europe is unlikely, and instead what will follow is the liquidation of Ukraine’s economic strength.

The New York Times notes that Ukraine also was a prolific weapons developer and manufacturer, among the top 10 in the world. Nations around the world sought Ukrainian systems, including armored personnel carriers and main battle tanks because of comparable characteristics to Russian and Chinese systems.

Again, however, these systems depended on the many ties that still exist between Ukraine and Russia, not to mention socioeconomic and political stability within Ukraine that now no longer exists. Having severed these ties for political rather than pragmatic reasons, Ukraine has crippled itself yet again. The most poignant example of this was the failure to deliver T-84 Oplot main battle tanks to the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand.

The order was placed before the 2013-2014 putsch in Kiev, along with the acquisition of Ukrainian BTR-3 armored personnel carriers. However, delays in deliver due to instability after 2013-2014 have caused the Thai government to shift to China’s VT-4 main battle tank instead.

It should be remembered that large acquisitions of weapon systems like aircraft and ground vehicles often create an entire ecosystem of spare parts, replacements, training, and even closer military cooperation. Ukraine has not only lost out on potentially lucrative weapon deals, but all the additional benefits included with them.

There was also Ukraine’s space industry whose biggest partner was Russia. With the partnership ended by Kiev and the ability of space agencies elsewhere around the world unable to fill the void because of the long-term nature of most space programs, Kiev’s decision has all but laid this industry to rest.

Bloomberg in its article, “Putin Is Knocking Ukraine’s Space Industry Out of Orbit,” implies that Russia has crippled Ukraine’s space industry. However, throughout the article, Bloomberg admits that Ukraine’s space program was mutually beneficial to both Kiev and Moscow, with its “knocking out” benefiting neither nation. The article admits:

The rest of Ukraine’s space industry hasn’t been so fortunate. Russia was its biggest customer, and sales have cratered. That’s partly Ukraine’s doing: In June, President Petro Poroshenko halted all military sales to Russia, including some dual-use missile and rocket technologies made by Ukrainian companies.

Bloomberg also admits:

By 2013, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister told the website Space News, the country was making about $600 million a year from commercial space ventures. But Russia still accounted for about 80 percent of sales at Yuzhmash, Vladimir Tkachenko, the company’s assistant general manager, told the BBC earlier this month. 

What is clear is that the US-European installed regime in Kiev has intentionally destroyed several prominent industrial centers of Ukraine’s economy, setting back, not benefiting Russia who had maintained strong ties with and depended on Ukrainian industry. What is also clear is that Ukraine and Russia weren’t the only interdependencies disrupted by Ukraine’s unraveling or the US-led sanctions leveled against Russia in its wake.

The Wrecking Ball Swings Back 

Historically Western Europe and Russia have maintained close economic ties both because of proximity and out of necessity. Interdependencies exist here not only in terms of aerospace technology, with Russia sending the entirety of all American and European astronauts into orbit aboard its Soyuz launch system, but also in terms of trade, defense and energy.

US-led sanctions and geopolitical maneuvers by Washington to breakup EU-Russian cooperation have been costly. Pipeline deals have been repeatedly disrupted, delayed or cancelled. A lucrative French-Russian deal involving the sale of Mistral Class ships to Moscow has cost the French government hundreds of millions of dollars.

Perhaps the most ironic structure to be threatened as this wrecking ball swings back West, is the US dependence on Russian RD-180 rocket engines used to launch, among other things, US Department of Defense satellites into orbit.

Even in the US, special interests are not united behind the notion of continued economic pressure on Russia. While those pushing for the continued sanctions against Russia claim the United States can find replacements, so far those replacements look particularly bleak, if not comical.

RFE/RL would report in its article, “Ukraine Proposes Working With U.S. To Replace Russian Rockets,” that:

Ukraine has proposed that Kyiv and the United States jointly develop and produce a rocket engine to replace Russian rocket engines currently used to launch U.S. military satellites.

The head of Ukraine’s Space Agency, Lyubomyr Sabadosh, said on May 31 that he proposed the plan to replace Russian RD-180 rocket engines, which the U.S. Congress has ordered to be phased out by 2019, on a visit to the United States last month.  

However, for Ukraine, who is busy liquidating some of its most important heavy industrial assets on behalf of Washington and Brussels, the prospect of it replacing rocket engines even American industry would be hard-pressed to develop on its own is unlikely.

US-Russian cooperation in space between not only NASA and Roscosmos, but also between American and Russian private industry in regards to the RD-180 rocket engines has been an enduring example of post-Cold War progress. It is ironic that the United States claims, by endangering this achievement, it is some how protecting international order, peace and stability.

In the end, it seems that those in the United States lobbying heavily to keep sanctions in place have more than just Moscow to worry about. They have a growing chorus of leaders in industry who may silently seek domination over Russian industry in the long-term, but failing that, needs cooperation with Russian industry in the short-term. It is clear that those behind the sanctions are unable to deliver on either.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Flawed Logic: Swedish Writer Knocks Common Sense Into NATO Supporters

Sputnik | June 6, 2016

Over the past years, ordinary Swedes have been under immense pressure from high-ranking politicians and conventional media, who advocate scrapping the country’s trusted policy of non-alignment in favor of joining NATO. However, minority opinions still persist.

One of the stalwart opponents of joining NATO is the famous writer and journalist Jan Guillou, who last week wittily trounced his antagonists in a column for the tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet.

NATO supporters habitually try to scare everyone out of their wits with a sneak attack on Russia’s part, yet somehow fail to explain why Russia should endeavor such an attack, even if it is one of their trump cards, argued Guillou.

The Russian attack is to be expected “within a few years,” threatened the Swedish army chief Lieutenant General Brännström only half a year ago. Liberal pundits and their trusted military columnists applauded.

“I was not the only one to demand an explanation. What would Russia gain by attacking Sweden? Conquer more forest and iron ore? On the other hand, what would Russia lose by such an attack?” wrote Guillou.

According to Guillou, this question is much easier to answer: the aftermath would be ruined foreign trade and a de facto state of war between Russia and the EU.

“Not a single Liberal could explain why on earth Russia would commit such an economic and political suicide, yet they continued with their saber-rattling as vigorously as before: Sweden should join NATO to fence off the Russian attack that would inevitably ensue if it continued outside NATO,” Jan Guillou wrote.

Of late, Sweden’s military bosses have come up with an “updated” and more nuanced threat. Now, Putin is supposedly intending to limit himself with capturing “only” the strategic island of Gotland, which lies some 100 kilometers off mainland Sweden’s coast. This scenario is part of the following theory: at some point, Russia is inevitably bound to conquer one or several Baltic states (which according to Western think-tanks is manageable in only 60 hours).

A column in the tabloid newspaper Expressen, which is one of NATO’s most keen supporters in Sweden went even on to threaten the poor islanders with Russian nuclear arms. As usual, however, the author refrained from disclosing what joy Russia would get from nuking Gotland, which is quite typical of NATO agitators.

According to Guillou, the biggest problem with a feasible NATO membership is that Sweden would have to abandon its independent foreign policy and become a cog in the US military machine.

“For the question in all its simplicity is as follows: should Sweden cede its [independent] security policy to a Washington-led system through NATO membership?” Guillou asked rhetorically.

“Considering America’s dubious track record when it comes to foolish wars in recent years, it would be a dark perspective. What about future remakes of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? <…> As if that were not enough, Sweden would also end up in the same military alliance with Turkey, led by a war-mad dictator, and states such as Hungary and Poland, which are moving away from democracy.”

These are real questions, which incidentally are avoided at all costs by pro-NATO debaters. Instead, they go on in circles with their increasingly stale rhetoric about Russia’s “aggression.” Sweden’s NATO campaign stinks, concluded Guillou.

Jan Guillou is a popular Swedish writer and journalist. His fame in Sweden is rooted in his best-selling detective series, as well as his time as an investigative reporter. Guillou is renowned for his consequent anti-US stance and was previously known for calling Washington “the greatest mass murderer of our time.”

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Anti-US base candidates win local polls in Okinawa

Press TV – June 6, 2016

Japanese local assembly candidates who oppose the presence of a US military base on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa have won the majority of seats in prefectural elections.

The anti-US base candidates won 27 of the 48 seats in the Sunday elections, up from the 23 seats that they held previously.

The election results are likely to strengthen the drive against plans to expand the US-run Futenma air base, and to intensify the battle between the central government and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who also opposes the US base.

The Japanese government has been seeking to build off-coast runways for Futenma in the town of Henoko, which is also on Okinawa, as part of a longer-term plan to entirely transfer the base to Henoko.

The relocation has to happen based on a 1996 agreement with the US to move the base to a less heavily-populated area on Okinawa.

Locals, however, oppose both the plans for the airstrip construction and the mere presence of the base on their island. They want it totally removed from Okinawa.

Following the announcement of the election results, Onaga described them as a “great victory.” The central government, however, insisted that it will remain committed to the plans for the relocation of the base.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said the base is crucial to maintaining the alliance between his country and the US.

“There is no change to our stance that the shift to Henoko is the only solution when we think about maintaining the deterrence of the US-Japan alliance and removing the risks of the Futenma airbase,” he said at a press conference.

Public outrage against the base was intensified in May after a former US Marine and a base employee was arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old local woman.

The arrest prompted officials to impose a month-long night-time curfew on US forces based on the island, as part of a “period of unity and mourning” over the killing.

More recently, a 21-year-old naval officer from the base was arrested for drunken driving, during which she caused a “serious three-car accident with injuries.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida filed a protest with US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy about the Sunday’s development, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding the American envoy apologized for the incident.

The island, which was the site of a World War II battle, is home to some 30,000 US military and civilian personnel under a decades-long security partnership.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton: Electing a Foreign Spy for President?


By James Petras | June 6, 2016

During her 4 years as Secretary of State of the United States (2009-2014), Hillary Clinton controlled US foreign policy. She had access to the most confidential information and state documents, numbering in the tens of thousands, from all of the major government departments and agencies, Intelligence, FBI, the Pentagon, Treasury and the office of the President. She had unfettered access to vital and secret information affecting US policy in all the key regions of the empire.

Today, Mme. Clinton’s critics have focused on the technical aspects of her violations of State Department procedures and guidelines regarding handling of official correspondences and her outright lies on the use of her own private e-mail server for official state business, including the handling of highly classified material in violation of Federal Records laws, as well as her hiding official documents from the Freedom of Information Act and concocting her own system exempt from the official oversight which all other government officials accept.

For many analysts, therefore, the issue is procedural, moral and ethical. Mme. Clinton had placed herself above and beyond the norms of State Department discipline. This evidence of her arrogance, dishonesty and blatant disregard for rules should disqualify her from becoming the President of the United States. While revelations of Clinton’s misuse of official documents, her private system of communication and correspondence and the shredding of tens of thousands of her official interchanges, including top secret documents, are important issues to investigate, these do not address the paramount political question: On whose behalf was Secretary Clinton carrying out the business of US foreign policy, out of the review of government oversight?

The Political Meaning and Motivation of Clinton’s High Crimes Against the State

Secretary Clinton’s private, illegal handling of official US documents has aroused a major FBI investigation into the nature of her activities. This is separate from the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General and implies national security violations.

There are several lines of inquiry against Mme. Clinton:

(1) Did she work with, as yet unnamed, foreign governments and intelligence services to strengthen their positions and against the interest of the United States?

(2) Did she provide information on the operations and policy positions of various key US policymakers to competitors, adversaries or allies undermining the activities of military, intelligence and State Department officials?

(3) Did she seek to enhance her personal power within the US administration to push her aggressive policy of serial pre-emptive wars over and against veteran State Department and Pentagon officials who favored traditional diplomacy and less violent confrontation?

(4) Did she prepare a ‘covert team’, using foreign or dual national operatives, to lay the groundwork for her bid for the presidency and her ultimate goal of supreme military and political power?

Contextualizing Clinton’s Clandestine Operations

There is no doubt that Mme. Clinton exchanged minor as well as major official documents and letters via her private e-mail system. Personal, family and even intimate communications may have been carried on the same server. But the key issue is that a large volume of highly confidential government information flowed to Clinton via an unsecured private ‘back channel’ allowing her to conduct state business secretly with her correspondents.

Just who were Secretary Clinton’s most enduring, persistent and influential correspondents? What types of exchanges were going on, which required avoiding normal oversight and a wanton disregard for security?

Clinton’s covert war policies, which included the violent overthrow of the elected Ukraine government, were carried out by her ‘Lieutenant’ Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a virulent neo-conservative holdover from the previous Bush Administration and someone committed to provoking Russia and to enhancing Israel’s power in the Middle East. Clinton’s highly dangerous and economically destabilizing ‘brainchild’ of militarily encircling China, the so-called ‘pivot to Asia’, would have required clandestine exchanges with elements in the Pentagon – out of the State Department and possibly Executive oversight.

In other words, within the Washington political circuit, Secretary Clinton’s escalation of nuclear war policies toward Russia and China required secretive correspondences which would not necessarily abide with the policies and intelligence estimates of other US government agencies and with private business interests.

Clinton was deeply engaged in private exchanges with several unsavory overseas political regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Honduras and Turkey involving covert violent and illegal activities. She worked with the grotesquely corrupt opposition parties in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil

Clinton’s correspondence with the Honduran armed forces and brutal oligarchs led to the military coup against the elected President Zelaya, its violent aftermath and the phony election of a pliable puppet. Given the government-death squad campaign against Honduran civil society activists, Clinton would certainly want to cover up her direct role in organizing the coup. Likewise, Mme. Clinton would have destroyed her communications with Turkish President Erdogan’s intelligence operations in support of Islamist terrorist-mercenaries in Syria and Iraq.

Secretary Clinton’s e-mail would have shown her commitment to the Saudis when they brutally invaded Bahrain and Yemen to suppress independent civil society organizations and regional political rivals.

But it is Clinton’s long-term, large-scale commitment to Israel that goes far beyond her public speeches of loyalty and fealty to the Jewish state. Hillary Clinton’s entire political career has been intimately dependent on Zionist money, Zionist mass media propaganda and Zionist Democratic Party operations.

In exchange for Clinton’s dependence on political support from the Zionist power configuration in the US, she would have become the major conduit of confidential information from the US to Israel and the transmission belt promoting Israel-centric policies within the US government.

The entire complex of Clinton-Israel linkages and correspondences has compromised the US intelligence services, the State Department and Pentagon.

Secretary Clinton went to extraordinary lengths to serve Israel, even undermining the interests of the United States. It is bizarre that she would resort to such a crude measure, setting up a private e-mail server to conduct state business. She blithely ignored official State Department policy and oversight and forwarded over 1,300 confidential documents and 22 highly sensitive top-secret documents related to the ‘Special Access Program’. She detailed US military and intelligence documents on US strategic policies on Syria, Iraq, Palestine and other vital regimes. The Inspector General’s report indicates that ‘she was warned’ about her practice. It is only because of the unusual stranglehold Tel Aviv and Israel’s US Fifth Column have over the US government and judiciary that her actions have not been prosecuted as high treason. It is the height of hypocrisy that government whistleblowers have been persecuted and jailed by the Obama Administration for raising concerns within the Inspector General system of oversight, while Secretary Clinton is on her way to the Presidency of the United States!


Many of Clinton’s leading critics, among them two dozen former CIA agents, have presented a myth that Hillary’s main offence is her ‘carelessness’ in handling official documents and her deliberate deceptions and lies to the government.

These critics have trivialized, personalized and moralized what is really deliberate, highly politicized state behavior. Mme. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not ‘careless in managing an insecure mail server’. If Clinton was engaged in political liaison with foreign officials she deliberately used a private email server to avoid political detection by security elements within the US government. She lied to the US government on the use and destruction of official state documents because the documents were political exchanges between a traitor and its host.

The 22 top secret reports on ‘Special Access Programs’ which Clinton handled via her private computer provided foreign governments with the names and dates of US operatives and proxies; allowed for counter-responses inflicting losses of billions of dollars in program damages and possibly lost lives.

The Inspector General Report (IGP) deals only with the surface misdeeds. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has gone a step further in identifying the political linkages, but faces enormous obstacles from Hillary’s domestic allies in pursuing a criminal investigation. The FBI, whose director is a political appointee, has suffered a series of defeats in its attempts to investigate and prosecute spying for Israel, including the AIPAC espionage case of Rosen and Weismann and in their long held opposition to the release of the notorious US-Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard. The power of the Zionists within the government halted their investigation of a dozen Israeli spies captured in the US right after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Clinton’s choice of conducting secret private communications, despite several years of State Department warnings to abide by their strict security regulations, is an indication of her Zionist power base, and not a mere reflection of her personal hubris or individual arrogance.

Clinton has circulated more vital top-secret documents and classified material than Jonathan Pollard.

President Obama and other top Cabinet officials share her political alliances, but they operate through ‘legitimate’ channels and without compromising personnel, missions, funding or programs.

The executive leadership now faces the problem of how to deal with a traitor, who may be the Democratic Party nominee for US President, without undermining the US quest for global power. How do the executive leadership and intelligence agencies back a foreign spy for president, who has been deeply compromised and can be blackmailed? This may explain why the FBI, NSA, and CIA hesitate to press charges; hesitate to even seriously investigate, despite the obvious nature of her offenses. Most of all it explains why there is no indication of the identity of Secretary Clinton’s correspondents in the various reports so far available.

As Sherlock Holmes would say, “We are entering in deep waters, Watson”.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment