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The New York Times’s Outrage at Trump’s Refusal to Demonize Russia

By Matt Peppe | Just The Facts | July 31, 2016

After baseless allegations from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that the Russian government was behind a hack of the DNC’s emails, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sarcastically quipped that he hoped Russia would find and release the deleted emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server from her time as secretary of state. The New York Times failed to note the sarcasm and treated the comments as evidence of high crimes against the state. It was an example of the modern day red-baiting against Trump, who is portrayed as being in league with Russian President Vladimir Putin to conspire against the United States itself.

The Times said Trump was “essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.” While Trump is such a narcissitic buffoon that it is often difficult to discern when he is being facetious, he was clearly making a joke.

But treating the comment in the spirit it was intended would mean passing up a golden opportunity to bash Trump for what has become common knowledge in mainstream political analysis: Trump is anti-American for being diplomatic instead of vilifying Russia and Putin at every opportunity. They scrutinize and make a point of every statement Trump makes that fails to antagonize Russia for actions the US government doesn’t antagonize other countries for.

While they merely imply “urging” cyberespionage is treasonous rather than state it explicitly, the Times finds it so important that they place it in the lead paragraph. This is curiously prominent, much more prominent than when President Barack Obama literally joked about incinerating a family with a remotely guided missile.

At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2010, Obama said:

“The Jonas Brothers are here. (Applause.) They’re out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But, boys, don’t get any ideas. (Laughter.) I have two words for you – predator drones. (Laughter.) You will never see it coming. (Laughter.) You think I’m joking. (Laughter.)” Unlike Trump’s joke, which warranted its own headline (“Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails”), Obama’s joke wasn’t mentioned in the Times’ headline about the event (“Obama and Leno Share a Time Slot“) nor the lead. Their summary of the night’s newsworthiness noted “jokes about Representative John Boehner’s tan, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lack of restraint and the Fox News-MSNBC divide.”

You had to go all the way down to the eighth paragraph to find the briefest possible mention of Obama’s obscene drone murder joke/threat:

“Mr. Obama noted the presence of the Jonas Brothers, who can count Sasha and Malia Obama among their fans. But the First Father warned the band: ‘Two words: predator drones.’ ” If another world leader hypothetically ran a global assassination campaign under which he unilaterally assumed the power to kill anyone he wanted in the world, anywhere, any time, with the only criteria needed to order someone’s death being internal deliberations within the executive branch, it would produce such a frenzy in corporate media they would devote themselves nearly exclusively to beating the drums for regime change, much as they did leading up to the Iraq War.

If that hypothetical leader then joked about people he was killing, it would undoubtedly be a banner headline on the front page for days or weeks. There would certainly be apoplectic outrage, and you most definitely wouldn’t have to scroll down to the eighth paragraph to learn about it.

Mark Karlin wrote in Buzzflash at Truthout in 2014 that Obama’s mock threat to the Jonas brothers “evoked the US indifference to those persons killed overseas by drone strikes. That is because the guffaws of the corporate media were based on the subconscious premise that Obama’s boasting of his power to authorize kill strikes is limited to people of little note to DC insiders, Middle-Eastern civilians (collateral damage) and persons alleged to be terrorists or in areas where terrorists allegedly congregate.”

As  Jeanne Mirer, president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, writes in Drones and Targeted Killing: “If the person against whom lethal force is directed has not been convicted of a crime for which a death sentence is permissible in the state where the killing occurs, the targeted killing is also an ‘extrajudicial’ killing, outside of any legal process. Targeted extrajudicial killing is, by its very nature, illegal.” [1] But corporate media like the New York Times could care less that Obama is violating international human rights law and the US Constitution itself by assassinating people.

What produces the greatest moral outrage in the Times and the media elites is perceived attacks on the American state, or perceived threats to American supremacy. Thus the Times calls Trump’s joke “another bizarre moment in the mystery of whether Vladimir Putin’s government has been seeking to influence the United States’ presidential race.”

What is supposedly bizarre is unclear. What is dubbed a “mystery” is really nothing more than a conspiracy theory. The Times cites the DNC’s accusations that Russian intelligence agents hacked the committee’s emails. The DNC’s frantic finger pointing at Russia are a transparent tactic to distract from the damning content of the emails themselves, as Nadia Prupis has written at Common Dreams.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange noted in an interview with Democracy Now that any such claims are “simply speculation” and when Hillary’s campaign manager Robby Mook was asked in a TV interview to name the experts he was citing as evidence, Mook refused flatly.

The Times validates the DNC’s objective evidence-free accusations by saying American intelligence agencies have confirmed with “high confidence” the Russian government was behind the attack. They have not publicly presented any evidence at all, but their word at face value is good enough for the Times to consider it damning proof.

American intelligence agencies and the military have a motive to hype the Russian “threat” to justify their own budget requests and advance the US government’s policy of global hegemony, presumably unaware that the Cold War ended 25 years ago.

In case Russia’s transgressions are not self-evident enough for Times readers, they call attention to Trump’s refusal to condemn Russia’s “seizure” of Crimea and willingness to consider whether to lift sanctions against the Russian government as a “remarkable departure from United States policy.”

It would be a departure from US policy against Russia. But it is not US policy to sanction countries for incorporating territory outside their recognized borders in general. Quite the opposite in fact. Unlike Crimea, which voted with roughly 97 percent support to join Russia in a peaceful transition to re-integrate itself into the country it had been part of for several centuries, Israel seized the Palestinian territories nearly 50 years ago through violent military aggression against the unanimous wishes of both the Palestinians themselves and nearly the entire Middle East and beyond. In the subsequent half century, the US has showered Israel with more than $150 billion in aid while fighting tooth and nail any attempt in the United Nations to hold Israel to account for its indisputable violations of international law.

The US has also generously gifted millions of dollars in aid to countries like Indonesia after they had seized East Timor and carried a genocidal assault against nearly one third of the country’s population and sponsored France’s attempts to reconquer their former colony Vietnam after World War II (before stepping in directly and unleashing the most horrific military assault on a country’s people and environment in modern times.)

But policies of supporting other country’s human rights and international violations are not of interest to the Times if those countries are seen as allied with US “interests” or “values.” It is only when someone questions whether it is necessary to continue treating another government as an enemy that they are called on to take a hard-line in standing up for international law.

The Times calls Russia “often hostile to the United Sates” while NATO continues to encircle the country from all sides and Obama has ordered what amounts to a permanent buildup of NATO personnel and weapons along Russia’s borders and instigated a new nuclear arms race by spending $1 trillion to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal and make weapons more usable, i.e., more likely to be employed.

In another article titled “As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue,” the Times asks what they purport to be a widespread question: “Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election.”

While this is merely another conspiracy theory without any actual evidence supporting it, it is the case that countries often do meddle in the elections of other countries. But it is almost always the US government itself doing it to others, which explains why it is ignored by the Times and the rest of the media establishment.

In Rogue State, William Blum lists twenty cases of US interference in the elections of sovereign countries (including Russia itself) [2]:

Philippines, 1950s
Italy, 1948-1970s
Lebanon, 1950s
Indonesia, 1955
Vietnam, 1955
British Guyana, 1953-64
Japan 1958-1970s
Nepal, 1959
Laos, 1960
Brazil, 1962
Dominican Republic, 1962
Chile, 1964-1970
Portugal, 1974-75
Australia, 1974-75
Jamaica, 1976
Nicaragua, 1984, 1990
Haiti, 1987-1988
Russia, 1996
Mongolia, 1996
Bosnia, 1998

But the actions themselves are not the issue. Not all violations of international law or subversion of state sovereignty are created equal. If the US government is the perpetrator of such actions, they are glossed over or ignored entirely. But when the US itself is seen as the subject of such violation (even when it is purely in the imaginations of conspiracy theorists and others seeking to demonize official enemies, as appears to be the case in the current moment) any one who doesn’t join forcefully in the demonization is vilified relentlessly, as Trump is experiencing in the pages of the Times and across the mainstream media.

References

[1] Cohn, Marjorie. Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Olive Branch Press, 2014. Kindle Edition.

[2] Blum, William. Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. 2016. Kindle Edition.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

Renouncing Jewishness: Shlomo Sand and Gilad Atzmon

By Eric Walberg | July 30, 2016

For years now, I’ve known there was something wrong when my well-meaning anti-Zionist Jewish friends found it necessary to join Jewish anti-Zionist groups opposing Israel. In the US, Jewish Voice for Peace, in Canada, Not in Our Name; in Britain, Jews Against Zionism — every country has its group, usually more than one. “I am a Jewish witness against Israel,” I would be told. Sounds good, even brave. Sand’s latest deconstruction of Jewishness and Israel, How I Stopped Being a Jew (2014), makes it clear why my suspicions were well founded.

Barely 100 pages, it is a page-turner, a precis of his earlier more scholarly works, arguing that the romantic, heroic age of Jewish nationalism, as embodied in the creation of a Jewish state, is coming to an end. Israel will not disappear, but it is an anachronism, an embarrassment in the postmodern age. A reminder of the horrors of Nazism, but not as the Zionist crafters of the “holocaust industry”, or “holocaust religion”, would have it. The Zionist project is exposed by Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir and many more Jewish critics as reenacting the same policies of yesteryear. A flawed answer that is doomed, “an insidious form of racism“.

For the Israeli Sand, the Jewish “national” identity is a fraud (an Israeli identity is fine); the only viable Jewish identity is a religious one, and as a nonbeliever, he logically concludes,  “Cogito, ergo non sum.”

Gilad Atzmon takes Sand’s logic further. He tore up his Israeli passport, becoming an ex-Israeli as well as an ex-Jew.

What’s so wrong with a secular, ethnic Jewish identity? Well, it can be based on only one of two things: persecution (being “forced” into being a Jew whether one likes it or not, as in the Nazi’s racial laws) or being “born” into the Jewish people. The former is no longer an issue and the latter is full of holes, and based on a dangerous myth.

When was the Jewish People invented?

Sand’s answer is simple: “At a certain stage in the 19th century, intellectuals of Jewish origin in Germany, influenced by the folk character of German nationalism, took upon themselves the task of inventing a people ‘retrospectively’, out of a thirst to create a modern Jewish people.” For Jews, this required a homeland, and the westernized Jewish elite were able to provide this. As the West suffered one mortal blow after another (WWI&II), Zionism took on a new meaning. Voila! Israel.

But the exile legend is a myth. Sand is a historian and couldn’t find any texts supporting it. The Romans did not exile peoples. “Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.” Jews continued to live in the Holy Land through thick and thin, freer under Muslim rule than Christian, but even the latter never “ethnically cleansed” them. Most converted to Christianity or Islam. Voila! The (Christian, Muslim) Palestinians. However, a tiny core stuck stubbornly to the original monotheism, nurtured by the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC (the only bona fide exile–from which they returned, the earlier Egyptian exile legend being crafted much later, when the Torah was written down and collected in the 3rd century BC).

Jews are not a race but rather a collective of many ethnic groups who were hijacked by a late 19th century ‘national’ movement. There is no racial or ethnic basis for being Jewish any more than there is for being Christian or Muslim. The great majority of those who today consider themselves Jewish are descended from converts in Central Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, not from ancient Hebrews expelled from the Holy Land by the Romans. They are not ethnic “Semites”, of near eastern origin, or ethnic anything else.

Atzmon is a noted jazz musician, and deconstructs a popular 1970s Israeli pop song by Shlomo Artzi: All of a sudden a man wakes up in the morning. He feels he is people and to

everyone he comes across he says shalom. Artzi’s youth suggests Jews suddenly became “people” thanks to the state of Israel, conflating being Jewish with being Israeli, suggesting only Israelis can really feel free as Jews. What Artzi ignores is that feeling proud to be an Israeli is only for those Israelis who have “Jew” stamped in their passport, and, among them, only those who are blind to the bloody colonial basis for this privilege. Hardly a recipe for a healthy feeling.

Can a liar tell the truth?

Israel is a “democratic and Jewish state” according to Israeli law. The “Jewish” nature was first defined in the Declaration of Independence of 1948. The “democratic” character was added by the Knesset in 1985. This is a contradiction in terms, as Jewish by definition determines the state according to race, making it undemocratic for those in the state not Jewish. In cartesian lingo, both ‘A’ and ‘not A’ are true.

This flawed logic now lies at the heart of what it means to call oneself a secular Jew, either Israeli or ‘diaspora’. Sand joins other ex-Jews, Gilad Atzmon, Israel Shamir, and Will Self, who have renounced Jewishness, either as secularists, or as converts to Christianity, shedding a contradictory, now empty, signifier.  Given what Israel has become, “democratic” and “Jewish” are no longer compatible. Sand rejects the faux Jewish nationalism served up by Zionism, which excludes non-Jews from the narrative, and is left with nothing except himself, his books, his sense of right and wrong. A lonely world.

Atzmon takes Sand’s attack on identity politics a step further, arguing in The Wandering Who that secular Jewish anti-Zionism feeds into the Zionist narrative, the do-gooder counterpoint to the more sinister role of the diaspora, taking Sand’s concerns to an even more uncomfortable conclusion: The Jewish Diaspora is there to mobilize lobbies by recruiting international support. The Neocons transform the American army into an Israeli mission force. Anti-Zionists of Jewish descent (and this may even include proud self-haters such as myself) are there to portray an image of ideological plurality and ethical concern.*

Sand dismisses both religion and nationalism as the basis for his identity. Atzmon argues both are legitimate, though they both are perverted in the case of the Israeli state. Nationalism is an authentic “bond with one’s soil, heritage, culture, language”, a cathartic experience, not at all “empty” as a signifier.  Though nationalism may well be an invention, it is still “an intrinsically authentic fulfilling experience”. It can be misused, is often suicidal, but nonetheless, “it sometimes manages to integrate man, soil and sacrifice into a state of spiritual unification.”

What is especially moving about ex-Jews like Sand, and ex-Israel ex-Jews like Atzmon, is that they are trapped by their own Israeli heritage, whether or not they emigrate. Reading Sand’s book in Hebrew, writes Atzmon, “is for me, an ex-Jew and ex-Israeli, a truly authentic experience that brings me closer to my roots, my forgotten homeland and its fading landscape, my mother tongue or shall I simply say my Being.” He is confronted not by some “‘identity’ or politics but rather the Israeliness, that concrete nationalist discourse that matured into Hebraic poetry, patriotism, ideology, jargon, a dream and a tragedy to follow.” Israel’s present state has “robbed him of that Israeliness which was once to him a home.”

Hollow identity

Most still yearn to keep a diaspora Jewish identity alive. Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of  Zionism (2013) is by a liberal-leaning Jew who feels she must salvage her Jewishness from Israel’s nationalism and occupation policies. “A new Jewish identity might emerge that connects Tel Aviv with New York’s Upper West Side, Berlin, Paris, London and Buenos Aires — and all of them on an equal footing,” writes Carlo Strener in his review.

For Sand and Atzmon, there is no “new Jewish identity” possible, because there is no diaspora. French Jews are French. Canadian ones are Canadian. It’s fine to be a believing ‘person of the Book’, and even an Israeli, speaking Israeli (really a new language) and being a citizen of a well-behaved multi-ethnic nation state, based on universal norms, like France or Canada. But everyone eats matzo balls already.

Assimilation is not like extermination, despite Golda Meir’s cries of “Wolf!” Non-religious Jewishness will continue to evaporate, along with Christian and Muslim identities for those who abandon their faith. There is no shame in calling oneself an ex-Christian or ex-Muslim.

Occam’s Razor: less is more

Anti-Zionists “rightly see [Zionist] policies as threatening the renewal of Judeophobia” that identifies all Jews as a “certain race-people, and confuses them with Zionists.”** Yes, but, as Atzmon argues, this “confusion” is part of the agenda, pushing Jews outside of Israel to support Israel unthinkingly and accept the resultant resentment they experience as “anti-Semitism”.

And even if they protest–as Jews–they inadvertently support the “Zionist world conspiracy”:

If those who call themselves anti-Zionist Jews without having lived in Israel, and without knowing its language or having experienced its culture, claim a particular right, different from that of non-Jews, to make accusations against Israel, how can one criticize overt pro-Zionists for granting themselves the privilege of actively intervening in decisions regarding the future and fate of Israel?*

The Jewish signifier undermines the anti-Zionist one. Slots muddy things. Medea Benjamin, a “one percenter, a nice little Jewish girl” founded the now legendary peace group Codepink. QAIA (Queers against Israeli apartheid) folded when its organizers realized by highlighting their ‘gay’ signifier, they were doing more harm than good. The queers don’t have the luxury of renouncing their queerness, but thoughtful Jews like Benjamin similarly downplay their own tribalism, and Sand and Atzmon have renounced it, as the honorable way out of their Catch-22.

* Gilad Atzmon, The Wandering Who?, Zero Books, 2011, p70.
** Shlomo Sand, How I Stopped being a Jew, Verso, 2014, p94–95.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces hunt for Palestinian children in Hebron market

International Solidarity Movement | August 1, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Sunday, 31st July 2016, Israeli forces in the Old City souq, the Palestinian market, of occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), were searching for a group of three Palestinian boys. Claiming they were throwing stones, Israeli forces were searching for them in order to arrest and incarcerate them.

A group of Israeli soldiers went into the Palestinian market in search for the children they claimed were throwing stones, stopping any child they encountered on their way, that more or less fit the age-group of around 10-14 years old. They stopped and questioned a 12-year old boy at Bab al-Baladiyya, one of the entrance and exit-points for the soldiers to enter from the illegal settlements located on Shuhada Street into the Palestinian market. Without any family or a lawyer present, the soldiers questioned the boy, first claiming that he was throwing stones and threatening to arrest him and take him to the police station. Only because of the intervention of a local, the boy wasn’t kidnapped by the Israeli forces, which eventually admitted that the video-evidence they have does not even show him. Still, they claimed that he was there and thus were attempting to force him into giving information.

After they finally allowed the boy to leave, they arbitrarily stopped any child that fit their age group to question them about their whereabouts and where they were going, even entering a Palestinian shop to interrogate a child. After about half an hour, they gave up their search, but approached human rights observers to ‘justify’ their behaviour, showing them a video on a phone that showed a boy throwing small stones,  at a securely fenced military tower, without any possibility of the pebbles even hurting anyone. Despite only one boy throwing these small stones, Israeli forces were out looking for all the three children in the video. Israeli forces ‘justified’ their search for the children to the human rights observers, stating that because of what can be seen in the video, they went out to look for ‘a boy in a white T-Shirt’ – despite the boy in the video clearly wearing a green T-Shirt. In spite of both these facts, they stopped and interrogated any child loosely fitting the age-group of around 10-14.

Israeli forces cornering children in the street for interrogation

Israeli forces cornering children in the street for interrogation

In the evening, Israeli forces again entered the market, to stop, harass and question children fitting this age-group, and another arrest of an arbitrarily picked child could only be prevented by the intervention of a local.

The fact that the arrest of any children under the age of 12 is illegal even under Israeli military law that applies to all Palestinians in the West Bank, did not bother the Israeli forces. Despite the boy in the video clearly being less than 12 years old, they went out to hunt down children that are below the legal age for arrest even under the apartheid military law, the orders in clear violation of not only international law, but even the racist and apartheid Israeli military law.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary: An Existential Threat to Humanity

By Stephen Lendman | August 1, 2016

Hillary is unique in the annals of US presidential politics, a despicable aspirant like no other, an unprecedented threat to world peace, security and humanity’s survival.

Letting her succeed Obama is an unacceptable risk no thinking, peace loving person should tolerate.

It’s inconceivable for anyone knowing her public record to support her – an untrustworthy, widely reviled she-devil, war goddess, racketeer, serial liar threat to virtually everything peace-loving people everywhere hold most dear.

New York Times – led media scoundrels deplorably endorse her, serving as virtual press agents, abandoning journalistic ethics and principles altogether, inventing a nonexistent Hillary persona, suppressing her dark side demanding condemnation, brainwashing readers and viewers to believe she’s the one, bashing Trump relentlessly, way over-the-top in how they one-sidedly go at him.

The risk in November is electoral rigging, installing her as president the way primaries and caucuses were stolen to anoint her Democrat nominee.

America’s electoral process is more scandalous than legitimate, electoral fraud longstanding since the republic’s early days – things rigged today with electronic ease, voter roll purging, millions of votes left uncounted and other dirty tricks.

Democracy in America is pure fantasy. What powerful interests want, they get. Ordinary people have no say whatever, voting a waste of time.

Hillary is clearly the establishment’s choice, Trump the unwanted outlier. US elections are farcical when held, illegitimate by any standard.

In 2000, five Supreme Court justices chose George Bush for president – overriding the popular and Electoral College votes for Al Gore, denying him the office he won.

Will grand theft anoint Hillary Obama’s successor? Are things already decided? Is November’s election (sic) an exercise in futility – theater to create the illusion of democracy?

Hillary represents the worst of Obama’s deplorable record on steroids – beholden to Wall Street, war-profiteers and other monied interests, disdainful of fundamental human rights and needs, a self-serving power-hungry woman lusting for endless wars, risking possible WW III.

Why defeating her is so essential, the choice between remaining freedoms or full-blown tyranny, perhaps life or death!

The horror of a 2nd Clinton crime family co-presidency is too unacceptable a threat to tolerate.


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

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

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Special forces shadow wars’ face legal threat from Corbyn

RT | August 1, 2016

Special forces operations should be subject to proper democratic oversight through a new War Powers Act, which would prevent troops being risked in Britain’s ‘shadow wars,’ according to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He told Middle East Eye on Friday of his concerns over the repeated use of a legal loophole to deploy troops from the secretive SAS unit into war zones such as Iraq and Libya without a democratic mandate.

The prime minister is currently able to deploy special forces without a vote, a capability which is buttressed by the UK’s long-standing but increasingly controversial policy of refusing to comment on clandestine military activities.

“I’m very concerned about this because [former Prime Minister] David Cameron – I imagine [Prime Minister] Theresa May would say the same – would say parliamentary convention requires a parliamentary mandate to deploy British troops. Except, and they’ve all used the ‘except,’ when special forces are involved,” Corbyn said.

He said this backdoor method of using elite troops has a long and dubious history, drawing a comparison between today’s operations and those of the US military during the Vietnam War.

“The question of this of course goes back a long way to Vietnam in 1963, when the US managed to have I think 50,000 advisers to the South Vietnamese government before the Congress was even invited to vote on whether or not it should be involved in the Vietnam War. I think the parallel is a very serious one,” he said.

His comments were immediately attacked by former soldier-turned-Tory MP Bob Stewart, who told the Times on Wednesday the PM must have the opportunity to deploy troops “when they think it’s crucial.”

However, scholars and other Tory MPs have questioned the UK’s shadowy approach in recent times.

In May, Tory Foreign Affairs Committee chair Crispin Blunt told RT the government should simply come clean because British citizens are fully aware of the UK’s not-so-secret special forces shadow wars.

Blunt said there is no formal parliamentary process for overseeing SAS missions and “there’s obviously an issue as to whether the intelligence and security committee would be the proper vehicle for oversight of these kinds of operations, but we are not there at the moment.”

In a July paper on the issue published by the Remote Control Project, which investigates clandestine modes of warfare, security expert John Moran pointed out that many of the UK’s major military allies – including the US and Australia – are much franker with their citizens about the work of special forces.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

America’s Self-Inflicted Defense Woes

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 01.08.2016

The United States poses as a champion against the great threats facing global security and stability, an uphill battle it claims requires equally great sacrifices, especially in terms of defense spending. It must be just a coincidence that the many policy think-tanks promoting this notion just so happen to be funded by huge multinational defense contractors.

The Atlantic Council, for instance, includes among its corporate members, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Thales, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, just to name a few. So when Atlantic Council authors wrote about the subject of close air support (CAS) aircraft, it should come as no surprise that the development or procurement of a new system was the option of choice, this despite the fact that a brand new aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, was already supposed to fill this role.

The Atlantic Council’s article, “Starting with the Answer in Procurement: The USAF’s plans for new close support aircraft show an unusual willingness to move out quickly,” would claim:

… after years of hearing that the F-35A would be the sort-of replacement for the A-10C, it’s worth reviewing why it never could be. It’s not for the gun or the armor. It’s the increased threat: Russian motorized rifle brigades now run with lots of their own 30 mm guns, looking up. Missiles are now a bigger problem too. As Colonel Mike Pietrucha USAF wrote for War On The Rocks last month, the heat from that huge engine is itself a huge target for heat-seekers. Lockheed has worked hard to suppress the signature, but physics dictate there’s only so much that can be done. Overall, the hundred-million-dollar jet is just too expensive to hazard to for busting tanks that way.

The projected cost of the F-35 program in total is estimated to be well over 1 trillion USD. The cost for each aircraft averages 100 million USD. That the Atlantic Council’s authors deem it “too expensive” to use for one of the roles it was allegedly proposed to fill, should make US and allied taxpayers wonder just what they have mortgaged their futures for.

Currently for CAS, the US Air Force depends on the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, as well as multirole aircraft like the Lockheed Martin F-16. To replace the A-10, the US plans to use F-16’s more widely, that is, until a new CAS system is developed.

IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly’s article, “USAF considers future CAS options,” reports that:

In the short-term the USAF has plans to replace some A-10s with Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, but in the medium- to longer-terms there are plans to procure or develop either a platform that that can operate either in a permissive environment only, or one that can operate in both a permissive and contested environment. The options are being considered under the auspices of the recently announced A-X project.

So in addition to the 1 trillion USD F-35 program, there will be an additional program to develop the next generation of CAS aircraft for the US Air Force. One wonders if the F-35’s other slated roles will also require parallel defense programs to fill as the fundamental flaws of the entire program begin to unfold.

The F-35 is Just One Symptom of a Wider Malady…

A trillion dollars spent on a useless aircraft that requires multiple parallel defense programs to compensate for, represents different problems to different people depending on their perspective. To some, it appears to be supreme incompetence and poor planning. To others, a tragic waste of national resources. But to others still, it appears to be the only logical conclusion a nation and its tax dollars can arrive at, when it is driven by special interests in pursuit of power and profits, rather than any particular purpose.

The 1 trillion USD going into the F-35 program is not disappearing into a black hole. Lockheed Martin is receiving that money. With it, it will purchase more lobbying power in Washington, more clout on Wall Street, more authors to pen favorable “policy” proposals within the halls of think tanks like the Atlantic Council and more journalists across the international press to promote these proposals to the general public. It will also use this wealth to help promote the wars that will in turn, drive demand for yet more costly defense programs it will undoubtedly share a stake in developing and profiting from.

While the F-35, the new CAS program being developed to augment it, and virtually every other defense program the US and its allies are moving forward with, are predicated on maintaining national defense, it appears quite clear that the self-preservation of the corporations involved takes primacy over the former.

The US will not be safer with the F-35 in the air. In conflicts like the 2008 Georgian invasion of South Ossetia, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine or the war raging in Syria, Russia has proven that a fraction of the resources spent on defense, if spent properly, can meet or exceed the performance of US-NATO military capabilities.

On what is a shoestring budget by comparison, Russia’s combination of pragmatic military spending and proper strategic planning and implementation has become a case study of how a Middle East intervention should be done. The Syria Russia is helping preserve through its military intervention is one with a stable, secular government that has and will continue to be a valuable ally against armed militants throughout the region. Compare this in contrast to the trillions of dollars spent on US interventions throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia where the apparent, or at least evident purpose was to divide and destroy nations, leaving them tinderboxes of violence and conflict as well as breeding grounds for extremism, seemingly, purposefully, inviting conflict after unending conflict.

The US is spending more to make the world a more dangerous place, with unnecessary weapons systems even analysts working for think tanks funded by their manufacturers admit are too expensive and impractical to use on the battlefield for the roles they were intended to fulfill.

It is not that the US and its industry are incapable in technical terms of creating a functional and premier national defense, it is that the US and its industry are incapable of adhering to a rational policy that would require such a national defense. Defense dysfunction amid a world intentionally destabilized, it turns out, is much better for business, and the F-35 with its emerging parallel defense programs it now requires, is symptomatic of this.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Clinton’s ‘Absurd’ Hacking Accusations Based on Emotions – Kremlin

Sputnik — 01.08.2016

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s statements on Russia’s alleged involvement in the Democratic Party hacking scandal are “absurd” and based on emotions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

“Such statement by Mrs. Clinton are part of the pre-election rhetoric and do not include any specifics, because, of course, accusing Russian hackers of certain actions is not the same thing as accusing Russia’s leadership or government. Statements that Russia is behind the actions of certain hackers are quite absurd as well, because Russia is a country,” Peskov said.

“Accordingly, there are no specifics in her accusations. Therefore we believe that they are of an emotional character. Of course, Russian government agencies are not, have not and will never be involved in cyberterrorism,” he underlined.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment