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Hillary’s Agenda Here and Abroad Intertwined: “Full Spectrum Dominance” Around the Globe, A Swelling Precariat at Home

By Alan Nasser | CounterPunch | June 17, 2016

Harry Truman surprised Americans with his call for European-style government guaranteed health care for all, Johnson with the extent of the Great Society reforms, and even Nixon with the avalanche of regulatory legislation and social spending he approved, outperforming Johnson on a number of “Keynesian” fronts. Hillary Clinton will offer no such surprises. Her consistent record in the context of the Party’s rightward gallop allows us to infer with iron confidence what we can expect from the Monstress on both the foreign and domestic fronts.

Her coming onslaught against the working population combines neoliberal austerity with some of the dominant strategies of neoconservative-Democratic party foreign policy. What follows is a relatively brief précis.

Full Spectrum Dominance and the Limitlessness of Imperial Ambition

If we knew nothing of the history of capitalist imperialism and its present incarnation, and took for granted a world of nations exhibiting differing levels of wealth and power, we might imagine a geopolitical settlement wherein the world is divided into different regions, with the nations exhibiting the largest economies wielding the greatest regional influence. ‘Regional influence’ might be reflected in more authoritative powers determining, after consultation with other regional sovereignties, the prevailing patterns of trade relations, aid arrangements and investment policies. This would be a “multipolar” world with no single global hegemon. Potential conflict might be averted by 1. no major power aspiring to global dominance, and 2. the region’s primary powers, representing the legitimate interests of the regions’ constituent nations, participating in conflict-avoidance negotiations with other regional primary powers. I neither recommend nor discourage such an arrangement. The point is that it is one of a number of possible global settlements that presents to the political eye no immediate horror. It is not the world we live in.

Our world features a Washington establishment fully committed to what the Pentagon and the rest of the Deep State call Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD). The concept is implicit in the imperial project. Once imperial ambitions are in place, the world is and must be the limit. In today’s world, dominated exclusively by capitalist powers, and in which every region is implicated both industrially and financially with almost every other, capitalist competition means that imperial power cannot be shared. When multiple modern would-be empires have co-existed, the arrangement has been short-lived: war has always rendered subordinate all but one.

Washington’s putsch for FSD means that the hegemon must be on permanent war footing. Liberals prefer to pin the doctrine of permanent war on Bush, Cheney & Co. But FSD is the Washington Consensus, and permanent war was assured by Obama in… his Nobel Peace Prize speech!

With Washington unchallenged by any power comparable to the Soviet Union, all the imperial stops are pulled: if you are not with us, you are against us. The U.S. must not only be unsurpassed in military power, it must be unequalled. I.e., any nation able to deter American aggression is to be considered an enemy state. U.S. elites see China and Russia as the major actual and/or potential deterrents to U.S. global hegemony. Accordingly, Russia is surrounded by U.S. military power, the former Soviet republics are sucked into Washington’s major alliance NATO and U.S. naval fleets hover in or very near to China’s territorial waters. The Navy Times (March 3, 2016) bluntly reports that “The U.S. just sent a carrier strike group to confront China… The U.S. Navy has dispatched a small armada to the South China Sea.”

This is part of what the “tilt to Asia” is about. And Hillary Clinton is behind it lock, stock and gunship. An ounce of historical consciousness recognizes this as a set-up for armed conflict. There need be no conscious intention to go to war. But this is the kind of scenario that magnifies enormously the risk of military confrontation. I shudder to think of what tomorrow’s Cuban Missile Crisis would look like.

The Tilt To Asia and the Ongoing Immiseration of the American Working Class

It has been a mantra of elites and the(ir) president that American workers must learn to submit to lower wages and declining living standards in order to “lay a new foundation for growth” or to acknowledge the realities of globalization or… In an April 14, 2009 speech at Georgetown University Obama told us “we” must “consume less at home and send more exports abroad.” That same year General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, two years before he was appointed head of The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, reminded the Detroit Economic Club that “We all know that the American consumer cannot lead our recovery. This economy must be driven by business investment and exports…”

These remarks harbor an implicit logic spelling out the implications of the end of the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society and the return to the economy of the 1920s: no government supplement to the low and stagnant free-market wage, virtually all productivity increases going to capital and the mathematically inevitable consequence of these policies, great and growing inequality. Now, low wages perform double duty: they depress the single largest component of total production costs and hence enhance profits, and in a period of heightened international competition, low wages are the key cost-reducing factor enhancing export competitiveness. In a 2010 speech to the Import-Export bank, Obama stressed the policy priority of export competitiveness: “The world’s fastest-growing markets are outside our borders. We need to compete for those customers because other nations are competing for them.” As Immelt put it in 2011, “We’ve globalized to sell our products. We’re a big U.S. exporter…. Today we go to Brazil, we go to China, we go to India because that’s where the customers are. That’s where the markets are… Of our big products, 80% of them will be sold outside the U.S.”  The message is plain: overseas consumers are to perform the now discarded function of the U.S. worker – they will purchase the output of U.S.industry. American workers will look like the low-wage slaves of export-dependent poor countries.

Hillary Clinton has hopped on board the immiseration boat. In 2011 she announced that “Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia.” The “tilt to Asia” is as much about replacing the cash-strapped American worker with overseas, primarily Asian, purchasers as the customer base for American companies as it is about preserving U.S. global hegemony. American workers will of course continue to purchase, with debt-supplemented wages, the output of U.S. industry, but they will be seen by elites and policy makers primarily as costs of production rather than as sources of revenue. Clinton will direct her energies to this project. There’s no way American workers will fail, over time, to catch on to the president’s war against workers. I won’t be surprised if her future unpopularity surpasses her current level of popular disdain.

We cannot overestimate the priority in ruling circles of re-gearing the U.S. economy to what are seen by elites as the markets of the future. Last year U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spelled out in some detail the geostrategic foreign policy imperatives undergirding elites’ tilt to Asia/low-wage policy:

We already see countries in the [Asia-Pacific] region trying to carve up these markets… forging many separate trade agreements in recent years… Agreements that… leave us on the sidelines. That risks America’s access to these growing markets. We must decide if we are going to let that happen. If we’re going to help boost our exports and our economy… and cement our influence and leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world; or if, instead, we’re going to take ourselves out of the game… Asia-Pacific is the defining region for our nation’s future… half of humanity will live there by 2050… more than half of the global middle class and its accompanying consumption will come from that region… President Obama and I want to ensure that… businesses can successfully compete for all these potential customers… over the next century, no region will matter more … for American prosperity. (emphasis added)

In a speech one month later, Carter would spell out the geopolitical aggression required to sustain the new export putsch: “There should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world.” And he made clear that this was how Washington would maintain Full Spectrum Dominance in Asia, declaring Washington’s intention to become “the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” The bit about “wherever international law allows” is nonsense. Washington has been explicit that where international law conflicts with imperial ambitions, international law takes the fall.

Neoliberalism at home dovetails with imperial aggression abroad. Washington’s overall agenda is nothing if not consistent. Clinton’s regime portends intensely worrisome outcomes here and abroad.

Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. His website is:

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Corporate Media Backing Clinton Exploits Orlando Shooting for Passive Holocaust Denial

By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | June 16, 2016

Within hours of the mass shooting in Orlando, the corporate media backing neoconservative favorite Hillary Clinton began, almost unanimously, to exploit the opportunity to passively promote holocaust and genocide denial.

Outlets including the NY Times, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, and so on, all referred to the Orlando massacre unequivocally as the worst shooting and/or worst act of gun violence in US history. (CBS News, at the time it was accessed for this piece, was running a large “I’m With Her” ad for Hillary Clinton at the top of its page.) A useful comparison to the corporate assessment might be to imagine if a German civilian gassed a group of people to death and the German press reported it as the worst gassing in German history. After the Paris shooting, the Western press likewise reported that as the worst shooting in recent Parisian history, despite that the Parisian police not long ago massacred some 300 peaceful marchers protesting the French dictatorship in Algeria and dumped their bodies in the river that runs through the city (more info in previous piece).

Native News Online quickly pointed out that the corporate media was almost completely whitewashing “mass killings of American Indians in its reporting” on Orlando. It gave two well-known (as far as these go) examples of worse gun-violence and mass-shootings: some 300 Native men, women, and children, were massacred at Wounded Knee, and 70 to 180 were massacred at Sand Creek.

One commenter on the Native News piece shared that she “wrote to every single news outlet yesterday from the New York Times, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and Salon to CNN, NBC, and the BBC. I have yet to receive a reply from any of them with the exception of the Oregonian, who changed its language immediately. They also informed me that the Associated Press has just begun to change its language. I’m hoping the Guardian and BBC begin to do the same too.”

Another commenter on the Native News piece gave a short list of some acts of gun-violence, mass-shootings, or mass killings perpetrated in US history, by US forces:

1864 – 300 Yana in California
1863 – 280 Shoshone in Idaho
1861 – 240 Wilakis in California
1860 – 250 Wiyot in California
1859 – 150 Yuki in California
1853 – 450 Tolowa in California
1852 – 150 Wintu in California
1851 – 300 Wintu in California
1850 – 100 Pomo in California
1840 – 140 Comanches in Colorado
1833 – 150 Kiowa in Oklahoma
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1813 – 200 Creek in Alabama
1782 – 100 Lanape in Pennsylvania
1730 – 500 Fox in Illinois
1713 – 1000 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1712 – 1000 Fox in Michigan
1712 – 300 Tuscarora in North Carolina
1704 – 1000 Apalachee killed & 2000 sold into slavery in North Carolina
1676 – 100 Algonquian and Nipmuc in Massachusetts.
1676 – 100 Occaneechi in Virginia
1675 – 340 Narragansett in Rhode Island
1644 – 500 Lanape in New York
1640 – 129 Massapeag in New York
1637 – 700 Pequot in Connecticut
1623 – 200 Powhatan & Pamunkey in Virginia with “poison wine”

Professor David E. Stannard describes one such massacre, wherein US forces weakened a Delaware group of Native men, women, children, and elders through starvation, convinced them it would be in their best interest to disarm, then tied them up and exterminated them and mutilated their dead bodies. Stannard notes that such massacres by US forces “were so numerous and routine that recording them eventually becomes numbing”. (American Holocaust, pp. 125/6)

A couple of corporate news outlets used somewhat more precise language to describe the Orlando massacre, editorializing (while again presenting it as fact) that it was the ‘worst shooting in modern US history’.

However, this still leaves unstated the writer’s opinion of what constitutes ‘modern’. The wounded knee massacre took place in 1898, and the Black Wall Street massacre, for example, in which 55-400 people were murdered and a wealthy black community in Oklahoma ethnically cleansed, took place in 1921. (More examples.)

And, of course, the US has massacred millions of people, many of them with rifles and other types of guns, but also in far worse ways, outside the territory it officially claims, and continues to do so. Obama recently massacred almost a hundred people at one time with what could be viewed as an AR-15 on steroids. Is any of this part of ‘modern US history’? Why or why not? The qualifications are unstated and thus subjective. The vague language from the neoliberal, government-linked corporate outlets may lead readers to believe that all of US history is included in their ‘factual’ statements, and that the US has never massacred more than fifty people anywhere.

In some cases, this impression will have been intentional on the part of the oligarch mouthpiece outlets, which have an interest in fostering a benevolent image of the US to help elites further capture global markets . In others, it will have been a result of conveniently self-aggrandizing ignorance on behalf of the writers and editors – an ignorance that makes an important contribution to their job security.

As some of them partially or belatedly demonstrated, all of the corporate outlets could have easily avoided any holocaust/genocide-denial by calling the shooting the worst by a single civilian on US territory in at least the last thirty years, or any number of other obvious, simple, direct phrasings, which are supposed to be integral to journalism, anyway.

But as John Ralston Saul points out, the neoliberal/neoconservative ideology relies on the ‘whitewashing of memory’. That doesn’t always work, though, especially on survivors of US and Western genocides, which is why, as Ralston Saul further notes, the West and its proxies are behind most of the global murders of writers, who may try to expose facts and evidence that interfere with the West’s historical whitewashing.

Since the Orlando massacre, both Clinton and Trump have called for further escalation of Western aggression in the Middle East.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry. Updates on Twitter.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Argentina Expels TeleSUR and RT: Double Standards When it Comes to Press Freedom

By Zachary Cohen | Council on Hemispheric Affairs | June 17, 2016

On June 8, the Argentine government notified the Latin American television network teleSUR that their services would be shut off in the country within 15 days.[1] TeleSUR, the brainchild of Hugo Chávez, is an alternative left-wing news organization founded through the cooperation of seven left leaning Latin American governments including Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba. It gives a voice to the popular sectors of the hemisphere, covering news that often calls into question some of the right-wing biases of the hegemonic news media and provides information which promotes regional integration in Latin America. Although Argentina cited a “[renewal of] program listings,” as the reason for teleSUR’s dismissal, Patricia Villegas, the president of teleSUR, pointed toward underlying reactions against the left-leaning network, decrying the notice as “censura” (censure).[2][3] 

On June 10, the television station RT (also known as Russia Today) received a similar summons. The Russian channel, which has been operating in Argentina for the past two years since a deal was signed between the countries, was told that their suspension from broadcasting would take place in 60 days.[4] RT aims to provide an “international audience with a Russian viewpoint,” and just like teleSUR, emphasizes the importance of alternative, non-hegemonic perspectives.[5]

The blatant censorship of these two opposition voices in Argentina is an alarming violation of hemispheric press freedom, and points to a larger issue at hand: the immense double standards of the mainstream media in its coverage, or rather non-coverage, of this matter. The removal of teleSUR and RT from the Argentine media scene has not elicited much media attention from corporate media news outlets, though the story would most likely be breaking news and inspire outrage were it occurring in a country with a progressive government.

Comprehensive Policy Changes in Argentina

On December 10, 2015, Argentine President Mauricio Macri was sworn in to office, replacing progressive leaning President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.[6] Macri’s presidency represents a drastic shift for the country across the board. Within the past six months, Macri has reversed a multitude of Kirchner’s policies and has begun to further advance neoliberal free market policies through the removal of currency controls and the promotion of proposals regarding free trade.[7] In addition to economic changes, Macri’s distinct foreign policy goals have been described by teleSUR as a “180-degree turn from previous administrations.”[8] He has made efforts to improve relations with the United States, while distancing Argentina from the ledger of left and left-leaning governments of Latin America. After his state visit this past March, President Obama noted that Macri’s Argentina has become a “key ally” to the United States, in stark contrast to the rather hostile bilateral relations held during the Kirchner administration.[9] [10]

President Macri’s expulsion of teleSUR represents the continuation of a longer narrative. When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez celebrated the launch of the Venesat-1 satellite in 2005, he was taking a stand against traditional media, reflecting his commitment to battling U.S. hegemony and building a more Bolivarian and integrated Latin America.[11] At its launch, Argentina was committed to the cause of independence and integration, and was teleSUR’s second largest TV sponsor, with a 20 percent stake in the enterprise; Venezuela remains the largest shareholder, at 51 percent.[12] [13] However, in March, Macri pulled Argentine funding from teleSUR.[14] According to Argentina’s Director of Communications Hermann Lombardi, the decision to withdraw was based on the fact that Argentina’s government was “prohibited from sharing their view.”[15] Although the removal of funding on the basis of distinct ideological differences is understandable, it is inexcusable to remove teleSUR from the mix of television networks operating in the country. Regardless of teleSUR’s association with progressive governments, it should not be automatically excluded from the households of millions simply because of an ideological disagreement between the government and the media markets.

Double Standards in the Media

The troubling double standard of corporate media is explicitly evident in this issue and has serious implications for the role of the United States in Latin America. Mainstream media jumps on the chance to criticize the “Pink Tide” nations, with major critiques often levied toward Venezuela in regards to their shortcomings in the area of press freedoms. These criticisms were exceptionally prominent in 2007, after President Chávez decided not to renew the license for RCTV after they vocally supported the coup against him. [16] [17] For his actions, Chávez was condemned by the United States and the European Union, and received vast media attention. Yet, in the broader picture, the judgments regarding Venezuela’s press freedoms are often exaggerated and simplified, lacking the complexities of a more realistic portrayal of the country’s situation.[18] El Nacional, one of Venezuela’s largest newspapers, continues to provide the opposition viewpoint to President Nicolás Maduro, with open calls for regime change published and printed.[19] Additionally, news station Globovisión has consistently held an independent voice, often speaking out against the government.[20] Nonetheless, the level of disdain that Maduro’s regime receives by the mainstream media, including by papers such as The New York Times, reflects a distinct bias against the left-wing government in discussions on the subject of press freedoms.[21]

The situation in Argentina is very different today from Venezuela in regards to freedom of the press. Through his censure of teleSUR, Macri has preemptively silenced the most vigorous reporting on the human cost of his economic adjustment policies and explicitly revealed his willingness to expel unwanted sources of media to push his own narrative. Yet, there has been little to no international reaction. In fact, at the time of this article’s publication, teleSUR and RT themselves are among the few major news organizations to have written any extensive coverage of the stories since they broke last week. Through its silence, the mainstream media is complicit in Macri’s censure of expression, all while continuing to emphasize and exaggerate Maduro’s actions.

Macri’s newfound friendship with the United States, alongside the willful negligence of issues surrounding censorship in the mainstream media, cannot be considered a coincidence. His commitment to resolving Argentina’s economic woes through U.S.-friendly policies, in addition to his overall right-wing realignment, have fostered a swift transition of Argentina’s international image. Moreover, teleSUR and RT are associated with countries in direct competition, ideologically and economically, with Washington. By undermining the influence of media which stem from left leaning Latin America and anti-U.S. Russia, Macri effectively expands the capacity of anti-left, pro-U.S. media to influence his country. With this purposeful rebranding in mind, it is believable that media in the United States would begin to emphasize the more favorable face of Argentina, while disregarding issues such as censorship.

One of the pillars of COHA’s philosophy is the support of democratic values in their fullest form, which includes supporting freedom of the press. In any country, it is imperative to maintain a diverse set of viewpoints, and for different perspectives to be both treated with dignity and challenged without any fear of suppression. To be complicit in the violation of such freedoms is tantamount to the acceptance of the violations themselves, and COHA will not be silent while others find it appropriate to remain so. COHA urges the Argentine government to reconsider its removal of teleSUR and RT, and to invite, rather than suppress, debate over the economic, political, and social outcomes of the change of course being implemented by the Macri administration.

[1] “Macri Gov’t toTake teleSUR off Argentine TV service in 15 days,” teleSUR, June 8, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,

[2] Ibid.

[3] Patricia Villegas, Twitter, June 8, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,

[4] “Argentina to suspend RT from national broadcasting,” RT, June 11, 2016, accessed June 13, 2016.

[5] “About Us,” RT, accessed June 14, 2016,

[6] Ignacio de Reyes, “Change ahead: Mauricio Macri’s visión for Argentina,” BBC, December 10, 2015, accessed June 10, 2016,

[7] Ibid.

[8] “Is Argentina Turning into a US Proxy in South America?” teleSUR, June 1, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,

[9] Martin Torino, “Obama abrió la puerta a Macri para un Tratado de Libre Comercio con Argentina,”, March 16, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,

[10] Andrew Trotman, “Argentina files legal proceedings with UN against Obama government,” The Telegraph, August 7, 2014, accessed June 10, 2016,


[12] “Argentina pulls out of leftist TV network Telesur,” The Guardian, March 28, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,

[13] “New Latin American Televison Network Telesur Officially Launched,” Democracy NOW,  July 26, 2005, accessed June 10, 2016,

[14] “Argentina pulls out of leftist TV network Telesur.”

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Chávez Shuts Down Venezuelan TV Station as Supporters, Opponents Rally: A Debate on the Closing of RCTV,” Democracy NOW, May 31, 2007, accessed June 13, 2016,

[17] Roy Carroll, “Chávez silences critical TV station – and robs the people of their soaps,” The Guardian, May 23, 2007, accessed June 13, 2016,

[18] Joe Emersberger, “Macri Tilts Argentina’s Media Landscape in his Favor,” teleSUR, April 3, 2016, accessed June 14, 2016,

[19] John Otis, “Last critic standing,” Committee to Protect Journalists, February 22, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,


[21] Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, “Stealth Censorship in Venezuela,” The New York Times, August 6, 2016, accessed June 10, 2016,

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Where do police and protesters stand after the Magnanville stabbings?

By Gearóid Ó Colmáin | June 15, 2016

The terrorist attack in Magnanville by alleged Da’esh (Islamic State) operative, Larossi Aballa, on two police officers in Paris, serves one purpose: to remind the public that the war on terror is real and that the police and army are here to protect the population, not oppress it. As protests and strikes continue against the ruling class assault on worker’s security (rights won through a century of indefatigable struggle), phantom enemies are the oligarchic state’s best friends. Phantom enemies allow the oligarchic state to force hostile citizens to seek their protection from the ‘greater evil’.

In the Middle East where they were created by the United States and Israel, the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (Da’esh) have attempted to do what former Western trained terrorists could not: to destroy Syria and Iraq through a large-scale military occupation of those countries. The French media portray the Islamic State as being a symptom of the nihilism and despair of our era; that is only partly the truth.

What is overlooked is the deep complicity of the French state in terrorism – the obscenely Machiavellian determination to use the most brutal barbarians seen in the modern era to implement Western imperial policy in the Middle East and throughout the world. The Islamic State is a mercenary force of the Deep State, the imperial financial order, the hidden hand of military and financial corporations and lobbyists who steer the policies of Western governments behind the scenes. They do not oppose ‘Western civilisation’, they serve it, massacring people such as those of Syria who, imbued with patriotism, heroism and piety, refuse to kneel and worship at the alter of Mammon.

We are told by Le Monde that the terrorist/patsy in the police attack, Larossi Aballa, used the Facebook Live application during the attack to propagandise his crimes. He is also reported to have threatened journalists.

Two points here –

1. Anyone with enough curiosity and intelligence to visit a good bookshop knows that the role of journalists in the capitalist world order is to be stenographers to power. A daily perusal of the corporate press proves the proposition unfailingly. It helps restore public confidence in the credibility of corporate journalists if they are ‘threatened’ every now and then; especially by the terrorists whose crimes they ignore when they are committed on behalf of Western geopolitical interests in foreign lands such as Syria.

2. The dissemination of truth through social media and the emergence of citizen journalists all over the world exposing the lies of the corporate press are undermining the public’s confidence in authority. Hence, the use of pseudonyms and the freedom to diffuse information must be curtailed. Fear not! The government will protect you by limiting your ability to research and share information.

The murder of the two police officers comes just days after police were caught on camera vandalising shops in an effort to discredit legitimate and peaceful protests against undemocratic labour reforms. It sends a powerful message: police are there to protect us from terrorists not oppress us on behalf of the ruling class!

Protests are turning violent on the streets of Paris with several cars being set alight by ‘Black Box’ anarchist protesters. These Black Box hooligans sabotage worker’s struggles every time they threaten the established order. Their actions are criminalising legitimate protests. The recent attacks on the Necker Hospital in Paris are acts of sabotage which are providing the pretext for the government to interdict further protests. It is clear the protest movement is hurting the ruling class.

The murder of the two police officers in Paris is an outrage which should be condemned by all. But it must be borne in mind that thousands of working-class policemen and soldiers unwittingly defend an execrable class of people who would not hesitate in murdering if political expediency required it.

As the class struggle intensifies on our streets, the police will be increasingly mobilised against the public. The ‘terrorist threat’ is more important than ever to sustain the illusion of government legitimacy and bludgeon the masses into submission to the police state. But history shows that the weakness of tyranny is that it always relies on servile classes whose loyalty is based more on cynicism and personal advancement than moral conviction. Thus, the possibility always exists for police revolt against the oligarchs. Understanding the precariousness of policing in tyranny is vital in activism. We must not hurl rocks and stones at the police but seek to win them over to the cause of popular democracy and freedom.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Australian Electoral Commission Refuses To Allow Researchers To Check E-Voting Software

By Glyn Moody | Techdirt | June 17, 2016

The fact that Techdirt has been writing about e-voting problems for sixteen years, and that the very first post on the topic had the headline “E-voting is Not Safe,” gives an indication of what a troubled area this is. Despite the evidence that stringent controls are still needed to avoid the risk of electoral fraud, some people seem naively to assume that e-voting is now a mature and safe technology that can be deployed without further thought.

In Australia, for example, e-voting is being used for the elections to the country’s Senate, but the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has refused to release the relevant software, despite a Senate motion and a freedom of information request. Being able to examine the code is a fundamental requirement, since there is no way of knowing what “black box” e-voting systems are doing with the votes that are entered. A story by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) explains why AEC is resisting:

The Australian Electoral Commission referred AAP to a decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal [AAT] in December 2015.

In that decision, relating to a freedom of information request, the tribunal found the release of the source code for the software known as Easycount would have the potential to diminish its commercial value.

“The tribunal is satisfied that the Easycount source code is a trade secret and is exempt from disclosure,” the AAT said.

Placing trade secrets above the public interest is a curious choice, to say the least. It seems particularly questionable given Australia’s recent experience with e-voting software problems:

When the ACT Electoral Commission released its counting code, researchers at Australian National University found three bugs which were subsequently fixed before an election.

When the Victorian Electoral Commission made its electronic voting protocol available to researchers in 2010, University of Melbourne researchers identified a security weakness which was then rectified before the state election.

As Techdirt readers well know, bugs are commonplace, and there’s no particular shame if some are found in a complex piece of software. But refusing to allow independent researchers to look for those bugs so that they can be fixed is inexcusable when the integrity of the democratic selection process is at stake.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception | | 1 Comment

NDAA 2017 Includes Draft for Women, Indefinite Detention of American Citizens

By Derrick Broze | Activist Post | June 16, 2016

The U.S. Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017 with provisions that will force women to sign up for potential military draft and continues the practice of indefinite detention.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a $602 billion annual defense budget that President Obama has promised to veto because the bill does not allow for the closing of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Senate Bill 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, passed with a vote of 85 Senators in favor and 13 against.

Before the vote, Senator John McCain tweeted that “It’s never been more urgent to give our troops the resources they need to succeed.” The majority of Congress have no issue taking money from the American people and redistributing it to fund their empire. The conflict arises when lawmakers begin debating whose pet projects are going to get a boost. The major conflicts in passing the bill stemmed from various amendments dealing with how the military budget will be spent.

One issue the entire Congress seemed to agree on was voting against closing military bases around the world. While the Pentagon called for budget cuts stating that the military has more space than they need, Congress refused to go along with the cuts. “Besides, several lawmakers have argued that the Pentagon has cooked the books to justify its conclusions or at least didn’t do the math completely,” the Associated Press reports. The Senate also voted against an amendment to close the infamous military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Another contentious area of debate was the mandate to force women who turn 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018 to register for Selective Service. Males are already required register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The United States has maintained a volunteer military force since 1973, but through Selective Service the military could reinstate a draft and call upon registered males and females. Those who do not register could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, although the penalty has rarely been enforced.

The most horrendous part of the NDAA 2017 is that that the annual military budget continues to include a provision which allows for indefinite detention of American citizens without a right to trial. Many of you may remember that President Obama had no problem signing the NDAA 2012 in 2011, which legalized the indefinite detention of American citizens suspected of ties to terrorism. The indefinite detention provision is still contained in the NDAA, and has been approved by Congress and signed by President Obama every year since it first passed.

On Thursday June 9, Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Dianne Feinstein of California spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of an amendment bill which would have removed the indefinite detention clause from NDAA 2017 and offered protections to American citizens weary of a federal government with too much power. The “Due Process Guarantee Amendment to the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017” would have clarified “that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.”

“This amendment addresses a little known problem that I believe most Americans would be shocked to discover even exists,” Senator Mike Lee said from the floor of the U.S. Senate. “Under current law, the federal government has proclaimed the power, has arrogated to itself the power to obtain indefinitely without charge or trial U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents who are apprehended on American soil. Let that sink in for just a minute.” Senator Lee also reminded the Congress that the last time the U.S. federal government detained Americans was the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.

Senator Rand Paul noted that President Obama recognized the danger of granting the federal government the power to indefinitely detain Americans. Upon signing the bill in 2011 President Obama added a signing statement promising not to use the power. “He said, this is a terrible power and I promise never to use it. Any president who says a power is so terrible he’s not going to use it should not be on the books,” Paul stated. “Someday there will be someone in charge of the government that makes a grievous mistake, like rounding up the Japanese. So we have to be very, very careful about giving power to our government.”

Senator Feinstein, Paul, and Lee attempted to pass an earlier version of this amendment in the 2012 before the amendment was taken out of the NDAA. The dangerous language within the NDAA comes from Sections 1021 and 1022, which include language that allows the government to detain anyone so charged “without trial until the end of the hostilities.” Thankfully, localities and states like Virginia are fighting back against the NDAA’s indefinite detention clause.

Unfortunately, the federal government will continue to have the ability to indefinitely detain American citizens. This is especially worrisome going into 2017 when a new president, one who hasn’t promised not to detain you, will be claiming the Oval Office. What will he or she do with the power to indefinitely detain Americans? Only time will tell.

To fight the National Defense Authorization Act check out People Against the NDAA (PANDA)

Follow Derrick Broze on Twitter.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Dutch and Australian troops were planning to start war with Russia after MH17 was shot down

By John Helmer | Dances With Bears | June 15, 2016

President Barack Obama and his advisors spent at least a week, and as much as three weeks, planning to send up to 9,000 combat troops into eastern Ukraine, on the border with Russia, following the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 two years ago. The scheme, which was to have involved Dutch and Australian army units, with German ground and US air support, plus NATO direction, has inadvertently leaked from the publication of a report this week by a former Australian Army captain.

The military plan, according to James Brown, now head of research at the US Studies Centre of the University of Sydney, “would have consumed the bulk of the Australian Army.” Captain Brown also claims “planning for these military options consumed Australia’s intelligence agencies. The National Security Committee of [the Australian ministerial] Cabinet met every day for more than three weeks , and staff and agencies produced a frenzied stream of briefings on Ukraine, Russia and the intentions of [President] Vladimir Putin.”

According to Dutch sources, the military plan of attack was aborted when Germany refused to participate directly, or allow its bases and airspace to be used. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the Dutch were pulling their troops out of the plan on July 27. He said at the time: “Getting the military upper hand for an international mission in this area is, according to our conclusion, not realistic.” That was ten days after the MH17 crash. But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his cabinet continued, Brown and his sources reveal, to plan the operation with the US for another 10 days.

MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, killing 298 passengers and crew. Of the lives lost, 193 of them were Dutch; 43 Malaysian; and 27 Australian (plus 11 dual nationals or residents). From the first hours, the Malaysian government suspected elements of the Ukrainian military had been involved. Kuala Lumpur was reluctant to endorse the claims of the Ukrainian and US governments that Russia had been culpable, and that Russian-backed forces were directly to blame. That story can be read here.

The Dutch and Australian governments were, and continue to be, the most supportive of blame for Moscow. This was adopted as the official policy of the European Union (EU) states when they joined the US in introducing new sanctions against Russian oil companies and banks between July 16 and 31, 2014. For more details of the disagreements between political leaders on what had caused the shoot-down, read this.


Left: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak with Rutte, The Hague, July 31, 2014; right: Najib with Putin, Sochi,
May 21, 2016

Rutte and Abbott combined to pressure Prime Minister Najib to drop his public scepticism, and join the police and prosecutors group known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Najib is the only one of the three to discuss with Russia its assessment of the causes of the MH17 crash.

The report by Brown was cited in an Australian newspaper on Monday as an attack on ex-prime minister Abbott for “grand aspirations [which] could have exposed Australian troops to substantial danger in pursuit of lofty objectives misaligned with national interests”. Abbott lost his job when the MPs of his party combined to replace him with the current prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on September 14, 2015. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then appointed Abbott one of his “international advisors”.

In 2014, according to Brown, Abbott “calculated that the best way to encourage the United States to retain an active role in world affairs was for Australia to lead by example: as an ally encouraging, reassuring, and perhaps even occasionally shaming the US into taking action.” The full Brown report can be read here.

Brown reveals that “military planners worked up options for Abbott that involved deploying up to a brigade’s worth of troops to Eastern Ukraine, a formation of as many as 3,000 troops”. Another proposal, which he reports as coming from Abbott’s office, was “to commit uniformed Australian military logistics personnel to help the Ukrainians improve their own systems”.

Brown, who favours special forces operations himself and the command of the Australian Army by former spetznaz officers, says “nearly 200 [special force troops] were eventually sent to Europe to support the MH17 recovery operations, staging from bases in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to provide close support to investigators and backup for further crisis or contingency.” Less than four weeks later, according to Brown, one hundred of these men were moved to Iraq instead.

Abbott himself told Australian state radio in February 2015: “We did talk to the Dutch about what might have been done in those perilous circumstances, because certainly they were perilous circumstances. There was talk with the Dutch about a joint operation.” Abbott claimed this wasn’t his initiative. “This arose out of the most important and the most necessary discussions between the Dutch military and our own.”

This week’s report by Brown breaks news in identifying how large the Australian force was to have been. He does not report the Dutch, German and NATO planning which was going on at the same time. When asked, Brown declined to say whether he and his sources knew, or didn’t know, that Abbott was acting in concert with the others.

On July 25, 2014, the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that the 11th Airmobile Brigade was being mobilized for action in eastern Ukraine. That’s 4,500 troops, and part of a division-sized German military force called Division Schnelle Kräfte (Rapid Forces Division – unit flash, silver) of about 9,000 men.

The cover story, according to the Telegraaf, was “to ensure the 23 Dutch crash investigators and 40 unarmed military police officers can do their job.” The real objective, according to one of Telegraaf’s sources, was: “if our commandos are there, they should certainly try to arrest those responsible. [Russian] Colonel Igor the Terrible Girkin [Strelkov] and his associates.” For background on Girkin’s role in Russian plans and operations in eastern Ukraine, read this.

The Dutch newspaper didn’t reveal the Dutch troops would be deployed alongside the 3,000-man Australian force, and that the German command of Division Schnelle Kräfte would also be involved. Telegraaf claimed the operation was “not expected at the NATO headquarters in Brussels”, although it had been presented to “the authorities in Kiev before the green light [was given] and cooperation promised.”

Two days later, on July 27, the BBC reported Dutch Prime Minister Rutte as calling off the operation. “Getting the military upper-hand for an international mission in this area is, according to our conclusion, not realistic, “he said, conceding it would be “such a provocation to the separatists that it could destabilise the situation”. With almost two years in retrospect, Brown concludes, without mentioning the Dutch, Germans, or other NATO forces, “the potential for harm to Australian troops was all too real. The logic of deploying large numbers of troops into an active war zone alongside the border of a major global military power was entirely shaky.”

Russian analysts in Moscow do not regard the Australian and Dutch governments as capable of planning military action without prior encouragement by the US. The Russians did not realize at the time, they now say, that the US may have been planning a military operation in the wake of the MH17 crash. Yevgeny Krutikov, military analyst for Versiya and Vzglyad, recalls there were reports in the press “about the organization of protection for the crash site. Then Abbott offered to send about 1,000 Australian troops to cordon off the crash site. By definition, that was unrealizable stupidity.”

“The number of 9,000 is not real. For the protection of the aircraft wreckage that had fallen, the requirement is less than a militia company. The area was open fields where [the locals] had planted potatoes and sunflowers. There was no talk about the arrival of armed forces from NATO. Air support was even more unreal. By this time, Ukraine has already lost all of its aircraft, and ‘cooperation’ was not technically feasible.”

The omissions in the Dutch and now the Australian report suggest the close coordination of US and EU officials on introducing new sanctions against Russia immediately after the MH17 crash was not matched by coordination of any kind between the Obama Administration, the US command of NATO, the Dutch, Germans and Australians. To Russian observers this is not credible. Preposterous, they believe, is that the Dutch and the Australian governments, at the urging of the White House, went as close as they did to war on the Russian frontier.

Brown declines to identify or corroborate his sources for the size of the Australian armed force intended for the Ukrainian operation. He was asked to explain “that the prime minister, his advisors, the National Security Committee of Cabinet meeting every day for three weeks, the Australian intelligence agencies, and the Australian military staffs failed to ask for US assessments, US policy guidance, US logistic and other support in the event of engagement between Australian and Russian forces, and US approval of the plans and proposals considered at the time. If the Australians did obtain the US responses, would you say the proposals you attribute to Mr Abbott had US backing, at least at the outset?”

Brown refuses to answer. Was it possible for two prime ministers, the Australian and the Dutch, to start mobilizing for a combined Ukraine operation without US and NATO participation in the planning? Brown won’t say.

Instead, he ends his report with an endorsement of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech of 2009: “There will be times,” Obama said then, “when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified… For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world.”

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Military Schengen”: Washington Calls for the Further Integration of NATO

By Steven MacMillan | New Eastern Outlook | June 17, 2016

NATO is a threat to world peace. Its incessant war games and its addiction to antagonising the Russian bear are putting the future of the world in jeopardy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO should have been disbanded; not expanded to include former Warsaw Pact states in a blatant policy of encircling Russia. Instead of advocating the abolition of NATO however, one of the most influential think tanks in the US is pushing for the further integration and consolidation of this Cold War relic.

At the start of June, Elisabeth Braw wrote an article for Foreign Affairs – the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations – titled: A Schengen Zone for NATO.  In the article, Braw argues for the creation of a “military Schengen” in order to move troops between NATO countries without any delays, unsurprisingly justifying this further integration as a necessary move to counter “Russian aggression:”

 “NATO’s member states are willing to defend one another, and they have the troops and the equipment to do so… But one thing frustrates commanders even more: the arduous process of getting permission to move troops across borders… At their upcoming summit in Warsaw, NATO members will discuss joint responses to Russian aggression, and they are likely to agree to station four battalions—totaling about 4,000 troops—in the Baltic states and Poland. But with Russia forming two new divisions in its western military region, which borders the Baltic states, 4,000 forward-stationed troops may not be enough to deter a potential attack.”

Braw continues:

“Moving troops across Europe requires permission at each border… But military commanders, hoping for more progress—and more uniform progress across Europe—are arguing for an EU-inspired military Schengen. The Schengen Agreement, in place since 1996, allows passport-free passage between the 28 European countries that are part of the arrangement… With a military Schengen in place, NATO troops and equipment would be able to cross NATO borders to their destination the same way EU citizens do: without having to show permits… Should a war break out, SACEUR [NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe] Curtis Scaparrotti and his fellow NATO commanders would, of course, be free to move their troops across NATO borders without diplomatic clearance… But many commanders and analysts, including Brezinski, argue that peacetime red tape is affecting planning and preparations for such contingencies, which in turn affects deterrence.”

The idea of a military Schengen for NATO member states has increasingly being advocated in recent months by defense ministers and military commanders. As Sputnik reported in an article last month titled, NATO’s ‘Tank Schengen’: Baltic States Call for Free Movement… of Troops:

“The defense ministers of the three Baltic States have called for an easing of travel restrictions on the movement of NATO troops and equipment in Europe, and are suggesting the creation of a visa-free space, similar to that of the Schengen area, to accelerate the deployment of allied forces and armament in the Baltic States.”

Under the guise of deterring Russian aggression, the US is pushing for a deepening of the alliance, and further undermining the sovereignty of each member state. NATO is also attempting to expand once again, trying to formally secure Montenegro as a member state in the near future, in addition to pulling Georgia closer to the imperial alliance. The abolition of NATO is what is needed to move the world closer to peace, not the further integration of this nefarious arm of Western imperialism. 

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Foreign Engagement Versus Aggression

By Edward S. Herman • Z Magazine • June 2016

The double standard in the media’s treatment of U.S. plans and actions (“us”) and those of  our allies, on the one hand, and enemy/target plans and actions (“them”), on the other hand, applies at many levels. The United States has been intervening and fighting wars abroad almost continuously since World War II.  This has involved frequent aggressions, using standard definitions of the word, with many of them extremely destructive, and with effects often not consistent with claimed objectives and very costly to U.S. taxpayers. But these cannot be designated “aggression” in our well-honed propaganda system. That word is reserved for dastardly actions such as the Russian takeover of Crimea.

A useful introduction to the lexicon of aggression apologetics can be read from a piece on “Our New Isolationism” by Bill Keller, published in the New York Times on September 9, 2013, and aimed at justifying an enlarged U.S. participation in the war on Syria. Keller, the Executive Editor at the Times for some eight years (2003-2011), was the sponsor of reporter Judith Miller’s notorious war propaganda, and he himself led the Times to support the invasion-occupation-destruction of Iraq from 2003. It is amusing to read Keller in 2013 saying that ”To be sure, nothing has done more to discredit an activist  foreign policy than the blind missionary arrogance of the Bush administration [in Iraq and Afghanistan].”  But if Keller could swallow the fairly obvious lies of Bush war propaganda ten years earlier, and ignore throughout the Iraq war and occupation the gross violations of international law, why should anybody trust his judgment as he tries to rationalize the next war? What does it tell us about the paper that he could survive there as a leader for eight years (and many more as a reporter, Managing Editor and columnist) and still be able to use it for more war propaganda a decade later?

We may note that in 2013 Keller didn’t use the word “aggression” to describe the invasion-occupation of Iraq, nor is Bush described in negative terms beyond “arrogant” even after having destroyed a country and bearing prime responsibility for the killing of possibly a million people. Bush pursued an “activist” foreign policy, and in this article Keller calls for more “activism,” though not with “missionary arrogance,” but only with imperialist-apologetic arrogance. The new target, Assad, is a “merciless dictator,” whereas Bush is not merciless but only arrogant. Keller has other euphemisms for pre-approved military interventions abroad: there is “foreign engagement,” “a more assertive foreign policy,” and “calibrated interventions to shift the balance.” And no question is raised as to the motives behind any new distant military intervention by us.

Keller clears the decks of any possible non-benign or less-than-benevolent aims: he dismisses the idea that the Israelis might be “duping us into fighting their wars,” but he doesn’t mention AIPAC or any neocon influence on policy, and, of course, he never mentions the military-industrial complex and its possible influence on policy. He is just sure that our “vital interests” are at stake in Syria and he hopes that Congress can elicit from the President a recognition of those interests and a “strategy that looks beyond the moment.” Only rival states and those competing with us or our allies have expansionary internal dynamics and dubious aims.

Leaving this comic book-worthy analysis and getting back to the omnipresent double standard, a conspicuous manifestation is in the media’s use of  “purr” and “snarl” words and comparable phrases. The United States and its allies and their leaders are never “merciless dictators” and “butchers” that commit “horrors,” but Assad can be so described (“Syria’s Horrors,” ed., NYT, February 25, 2012; ”Assad the Butcher,” ed., NYT, June 9, 2012; Keller, above). Only leaders of enemy/target states have “tantrums.” (“North Korea’s Latest Tantrum,” ed., NYT, July 14, 2010), resort to “cash and charm” to create divisions among target states (“With Cash and Charm, Putin Sows E.U. Divide,” NYT, April 7, 2016 [the NYT almost never mentions Putin without denigrating adjectives, in a kind of lengthy childish tantrum of its own]); make “brazen nuclear moves (“North Korea’s Brazen Nuclear Moves,” ed, NYT, May 2.  2016); or need to be “reined in.” (“The Best Chance to Rein in Iran,” ed., NYT, July 15, 2015). Surely Israel and the United States don’t have to be reined in; Israel’s steady dispossessions and periodic major assaults are only  retaliating and protecting its national security in the face  of  inexplicable Palestinian terror. The United States was busy “containing” the Soviet Union as the US built its world-wide system of military bases from 1945 to 1990, and it has recently been compelled to contain Russia as the Soviet successor regime threatens all of its neighbors, who cower in fear while the United States seeks to reassure them with denunciations of Russia, arms, bases, training exercises and efforts to get the major EU countries to increase military spending.

Poor NATO has been driven by this resurgent Russian imperialism into defensive responses (Eric Schmitt and Steven Lee Myers, “NATO Refocuses On the Kremlin, Its Original Foe,” NYT, June 24, 2015). We only respond as Russia provokes and tests us (Steven Castle, “Russia Tests Distant Water, Resurfacing Cold War Fears,” NYT, May 11, 2015). It is not permissible in the mainstream to suggest that the Kremlin is the one engaging in defensive moves against an expanding NATO; that the U.S.-NATO sponsorship of an anti-Russian coup in Kiev in February 2014, which threatened the major Russian naval base in Crimea, virtually forced a Russian military response. This is avoided in the Times and its confreres by ignoring the coup and its U.S.-NATO link and blacking out the fact that NATO has been steadily expanding and encircling Russia since 1996, perhaps regarding this process as anticipatory self-defense.

The ability to get indignant over the casualty-free Russian takeover of Crimea, by the government that invaded Iraq in a not-casualty-free war of choice only a little more than a decade back, is startling. It is testimony to the power of the double standard and the ability of  politicians at home and in the EU, media and public to block out inconvenient facts. On the same topic it must be considered an Orwellian classic of forgetfulness that Kerry could have stated in 2015 that “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext” (Face the Nation, CBS News, March 2, 2015). This was not only a perfect case of purposeful forgetfulness, it was a double lie, as the Russians had a real national security case for their action, whereas the true “trumped up case” was the one concocted for the Iraq invasion. But no U.S. mainstream publication chortled at Kerry’s Orwellian performance.

An equally interesting case of rewriting history was the claim by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during an interview on the German TV channel ARD in January 2015,  that “Russian aggression in Ukraine is an attack on world order and order in Europe. All of us still clearly remember the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany. [Emphasis added.] That has to be avoided. And nobody has the right to rewrite the results of the Second World War. And that is exactly what Russia’s President Putin is trying to do.” Interestingly, the interviewer on this program made no comment and asked no questions about this claim of a Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany in World War II. (See Lena Sokoll, “Ukraine Premier’s Pro-Nazi version of World War II: USSR invade Ukraine, Germany,”, January 19, 2015.)  And you may be sure that neither the New York Times nor any other mainstream English language publication reported this nugget. It should be recalled that Yatsenyuk is the “Yats” who U.S. official Victoria Nuland suggested before the February 22, 2014 coup in Kiev would be an appropriate choice to head the new regime, and who did, in fact, soon become Prime Minister.

Just as the “lie that wasn’t shot down” about Korean airliner 007 served the Cold War militarization plans of the Reagan administration, so the media’s handling of the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner MH-17 flying over Ukraine on July 17, 2014, has served the Obama administration in its anti-Russian campaign. U.S. officials, led by John Kerry, immediately claimed that they  had tracked the killer missile, knew exactly where it came from and that it was the Russian-backed rebels who did it. But the U.S. intelligence report that soon followed indicated that there was uncertainty as to the perpetrators, and there was no evidence that the rebels possessed Buk missiles that could have reached the necessary 33,000  feet. The Kiev government forces did have such missiles and capability.

However, in another telling manifestation of the ability of the powerful to use disinformation to convert a tragedy into a propaganda coup, Kerry’s evidence-free and dubious accusations immediately became a Western truth that was used to smear the Russians and underpin a new sanctions regime against them. A very sluggish investigation into the shootdown was organized by the West, with the NATO-member Dutch in charge, the Russians excluded and the Kiev government a participant with a veto power over the findings. The report which followed, after over a year lag, concluded  that the plane had been shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile, but it came to no firm conclusion on the directly responsible parties. The United States has still not produced its evidence showing rebel-Russian guilt, but the DSB failed to mention, let alone criticize, this U.S. silence, and its focus on the Russian-made Buk as the instrument of destruction made it possible for the Western media to continue the initially established guilt claims against Western targets (Russia and the “Russian-backed rebels”).

The New York Times, as in the previous case of the “lie that was not shot down,” could continue to play dumb, refuse to investigate, and fail to call for the United States to disclose publicly its evidence of  “Russian-supported rebel” guilt. It also added its touch of continuing bias in supposed news reports. For example, the “news” reports repeatedly mention that the missile that struck MH-17 was “Russian made,” but they never feature or even mention that the Kiev government had such missiles whereas the rebels did not—which allows them to tie the killing to Russia, without a hint that it was not Russia that used it in the present case. (“Nicola Clark and Andrew E. Kramer, “Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Most Likely Hit by Russian-Made Missile, Inquiry Says,” NYT, October 13, 2014.

Neither in their news reports nor in their editorial on the case does the Times ever ask the question of who benefits from the shootdown? The Russians and rebels had neither military nor political reasons for the act. On the other hand, the Kiev government and the United States would gain if the shootdown could be blamed on the Russians and rebels, a benefit that was, in fact realized. I don’t claim that this proves who did it. But it does raise questions that are worth thinking about. The Times and Western media in general ignore the issue. In its editorial on the subject, the Times makes the Russians guilty because, while the DSB didn’t find them guilty, their detailed findings are “consistent with theories advanced by the United States and Ukraine,” so we can take Russian guilt as proven! (“Russia’s Fictions on Malaysia Flight 17,” NYT, ed., October 15, 2015) This idiotic non-sequitur is also supported by Russia’s “doing its best to thwart investigations,” a lie in light of thwarted Russian efforts to participate in the investigation. It is notable here that the Times doesn’t raise a question about the U.S. failure to supply the DSB with any data that would support Kerry’s initial claim of possession of crucial evidence. That is really thwarting a meaningful investigation. (Robert Parry, “MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking,” Consortiumnews, October 15, 2015. “The Dog Not Barking in the Dutch report… is the silence regarding U.S. intelligence information that supposedly had pinned down key details just after the crash but has been kept secret.”)

In short, there are no holds barred in this government-media propaganda barrage. Lie after lie can be brought forward and refuted only in a marginalized media, with dire implications for democratic rule. We may recall James Madison’s 1822 statement that “a popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”

Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Russia: US strikes on Assad will plunge Mideast into chaos

Press TV – June 17, 2016

Russia has warned against a call by US State Department officials for strikes against the Syrian government, saying Moscow is opposed to a military solution.

The Kremlin said on Friday such a move would plunge the entire region into complete chaos.

Dozens of State Department officials have signed an internal document that calls for targeted military strikes against the Syrian government, according to the Wall Street Journal.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that the internal memo on Syria signed by more than 50 US diplomats is an “important statement” that he would discuss when he gets back to Washington.

“It’s an important statement and I respect the process, very, very much. I will … have a chance to meet with people when I get back,” Kerry told Reuters during a visit in Copenhagen.

The memo is sharply critical of US policy in Syria, calling for military strikes against the Assad government.

An unnamed US official familiar with the document said the internal cable may be an attempt to shape the foreign policy outlook of the next US administration.

“It is not a secret to us that there are political forces in the US who favor a military solution [to the Syrian crisis]. But this is not our method,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

The United States and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

The attacks have largely failed to fulfill their declared aim of destroying Daesh but killed civilians and targeted the Syrian infrastructure in many cases.

Washington has consistently refused to join forces with Russia in Syria against Daesh ever since Moscow launched its campaign of airstrikes in September last year.

On Thursday, a senior US defense official accused Russia of carrying out airstrikes in southern Syria against US-backed forces.

The accusation came a day after Kerry said the US was losing patience with Russia over its support for the Syrian government.

“Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite. In fact it is very limited with whether or not al-Assad is going to be held accountable,” he said.

Responding to those remarks, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he believed the US might hope to use al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria to unseat President Assad’s government.

Lavrov said in St. Petersburg on Thursday that the reluctance of US-backed opposition groups to distance themselves from the Nusra Front has been a major reason behind continuing fighting.

The US could be “playing some kind of game here, and they may want to keep al-Nusra in some form and use it to topple the regime,” Lavrov said.

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment