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“Bill Clinton Raped Me” – Juanita Broaddrick Tells Her Story

The Jimmy Dore Show | February 6, 2018

“Bill Clinton Raped Me” – Juanita Broaddrick Tells Her Story

Read Her Full Story Here ▶ http://nym.ag/2E6SwnR

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

The Utter Stupidity of the New Cold War

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By Gary Leupp | Dissident Voice | January 7, 2017

It seems so strange, twenty-seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to be living through a new Cold War with (as it happens, capitalist) Russia.

The Russian president is attacked by the U.S. political class and media as they never attacked Soviet leaders; he is personally vilified as a corrupt, venal dictator, who arrests or assassinates political opponents and dissident journalists, and is hell-bent on the restoration of the USSR.

(The latter claim rests largely on Vladimir Putin’s comment that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a “catastrophe” and “tragedy” — which in many respects it was. The press chooses to ignore his comment that “Anyone who does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart, while anyone who wants to restore it has no brain.” It conflicts with the simple talking-point that Putin misses the imperial Russia of the tsars if not the commissars and, burning with resentment over the west’s triumph in the Cold War, plans to exact revenge through wars of aggression and territorial expansion.)

The U.S. media following its State Department script depicts Russia as an expansionist power. That it can do so, so successfully, such that even rather progressive people — such as those appalled by Trump’s victory who feel inclined to blame it on an external force — believe it, is testimony to the lingering power and utility of the Cold War mindset.

The military brass keep reminding us: We are up against an existential threat! One wants to say that this — obviously — makes no sense! Russia is twice the size of the U.S. with half its population. Its foreign bases can be counted on two hands. The U.S. has 800 or so bases abroad.

Russia’s military budget is 14% of the U.S. figure. It does not claim to be the exceptional nation appointed by God to preserve “security” on its terms anywhere on the globe. Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. has waged war (sometimes creating new client-states) in Bosnia (1994-5),  Serbia (1999), Afghanistan (2001- ), Iraq (2003- ), Libya (2011), and Syria (2014- ), while raining down drone strikes from Pakistan to Yemen to North Africa. These wars-based-on-lies have produced hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, millions of refugees, and general ongoing catastrophe throughout the “Greater Middle East.” There is no understating their evil.

The U.S. heads an expanding military alliance formed in 1949 to confront the Soviet Union and global communism in general. Its raison d’être has been dead for many years. Yet it has expanded from 16 to 28 members since 1999, and new members Estonia and Latvia share borders with Russia.

(Imagine the Warsaw Pact expanding to include Mexico. But no, the Warsaw Pact of the USSR and six European allies was dissolved 26 years ago in the idealistic expectation that NATO would follow in a new era of cooperation and peace.)

And this NATO alliance, in theory designed to defend the North Atlantic, was only first deployed after the long (and peaceful) first Cold War, in what had been neutral Yugoslavia (never a member of either the Warsaw Pact nor NATO), Afghanistan (over 3000 miles from the North Atlantic), and the North African country of Libya. Last summer NATO held its most massive military drills since the collapse of the Soviet Union, involving 31,000 troops in Poland, rehearsing war with Russia. (The German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier actually criticized this exercise as “warmongering.”)

Alliance officials expressed outrage when Russia responded to the warmongering by placing a new S-400 surface-to-air missiles and nuclear-capable Iskander system on its territory of Kaliningrad between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast. But Russia has, in fact, been comparatively passive in a military sense during this period.

In 1999, as NATO was about to occupy the Serbian province of Kosovo (soon to be proclaimed an independent country, in violation of international law), nearby Russian peacekeepers raced to the airport in Pristina, Kosovo, to secure it and ensure a Russian role in the Serbian province’s  future. It was a bold move that could have provoked a NATO-Russian clash. But the British officer on the ground wisely refused an order from Gen. Wesley Clark to block the Russian move, declaring he would not start World War III for Gen. Clark.

This, recall, was after Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright (remember, the Hillary shill who said there’s a special place in hell reserved for women who don’t vote for women) presented to the Russian and Serbian negotiators at Rambouillet a plan for NATO occupation of not just Kosovo but all Serbia. It was a ridiculous demand, rejected by the Serbs and Russians, but depicted by unofficial State Department spokesperson and warmonger Christiane Amanpour as the “will of the international community.” As though Russia was not a member of the international community!

This Pristina airport operation was largely a symbolic challenge to U.S. hegemony over the former Yugoslavia, a statement of protest that should have been taken seriously at the time.

In any case, the new Russian leader Putin was gracious after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, even offering NATO a military transport corridor through Russia to Afghanistan (closed in 2015). He was thanked by George W. Bush with the expansion of NATO by seven more members in 2004. (The U.S. press made light of this extraordinary geopolitical development; it saw and continues to see the expansion of NATO as no more problematic than the expansion of the UN or the European Union.) Then in April 2008 NATO announced that Georgia would be among the next members accepted into the alliance.

Soon the crazy Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, emboldened by the promise of near-term membership, provoked a war with the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, which had never accepted inclusion of the new Georgian state established upon the dissolution of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Ossetians, fearing resurgent Georgian nationalism, had sought union with the Russian Federation. So had the people of Abkhazia.

The two “frozen conflicts,” between the Georgian state and these peoples, had been frozen due to the deployment of Russian and Georgian peacekeepers. Russia had not recognized these regions as independent states nor agreed to their inclusion in the Russian Federation. But when Russian soldiers died in the Georgian attack in August, Russia responded with a brief punishing invasion. It then recognized the two new states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (breakaway states in what had been the Georgian SSR) six months after the U.S. recognized Kosovo.

(Saakashvili, in case you’re interested, was voted out of power, disgraced, accused of economic crimes, and deprived of his Georgian citizenship. After a brief stint at the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University — of which I as a Tufts faculty member feel deeply ashamed — he was appointed as governor of Odessa in Ukraine by the pro-NATO regime empowered by the U.S.-backed coup of February 22, 2014.)

Sen. John McCain proclaimed in 2008: “We are all Georgians now,” and advocated U.S. military aid to the Georgian regime. An advocate of war as a rule, McCain then became a big proponent of regime change in Ukraine to allow for that country’s entry into NATO. Neocons in the State Department including most importantly McCain buddy Victoria Nuland, boasted of spending $5 billion in support of “the Ukrainian people’s European aspirations” (meaning: the desire of many Ukrainians in the western part of the country to join the European Union  — risking, although they perhaps do not realize it, a reduction in their standard of living under a Greek-style austerity program — to be followed by NATO membership, tightening the military noose around Russia).

The Ukrainian president opted out in favor of a generous Russian aid package. That decision — to deny these “European aspirations” — was used to justify the coup.

But look at it from a Russian point of view. Just look at this map, of the expanding NATO alliance, and imagine it spreading to include that vast country (the largest in Europe, actually) between Russia to the east and Poland to the west, bordering the Black Sea to the south. The NATO countries at present are shown in dark blue, Ukraine and Georgia in green. Imagine those countries’ inclusion.

And imagine NATO demanding that Russia vacate its Sevastopol naval facilities, which have been Russian since 1783, turning them over to the (to repeat: anti-Russian) alliance. How can anyone understand the situation in Ukraine without grasping this basic history?

The Russians denounced the coup against President Viktor Yanukovych (democratically elected — if it matters — in 2010), which was abetted by neo-fascists and marked from the outset by an ugly Russophobic character encouraged by the U.S. State Department. The majority population in the east of the country, inhabited by Russian-speaking ethnic Russians and not even part of Ukraine until 1917, also denounced the coup and refused to accept the unconstitutional regime that assumed power after February 22.

When such people rejected the new government, and declared their autonomy, the Ukrainian army was sent in to repress them but failed, embarrassingly, when the troops confronted by angry babushkas turned back. The regime since has relied on the neo-fascist Azov Battalion to harass secessionists in what has become a new “frozen conflict.”

Russia has no doubt assisted the secessionists while refusing to annex Ukrainian territory, urging a federal system for the country to be negotiated by the parties. Russian families straddle the Russian-Ukrainian border. There are many Afghan War veterans in both countries. The Soviet munitions industry integrated Russian and Ukrainian elements. One must assume there are more than enough Russians angry about such atrocities as the May 2014 killing of 42 ethnic Russian government opponents in Odessa to bolster the Donbas volunteers.

But there is little evidence (apart from a handful of reports about convoys of dozens of “unmarked military vehicles” from Russia in late 2014) for a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine. And the annexation of Crimea (meaning, its restoration to its 1954 status as Russian territory) following a credible referendum did not require any “invasion” since there were already 38,000 Russian troops stationed there. All they had to do was to secure government buildings, and give Ukrainian soldiers the option of leaving or joining the Russian military. (A lot of Ukrainian soldiers opted to stay and accept Russian citizenship.)

Still, these two incidents — the brief 2008 war in Georgia, and Moscow’s (measured) response to the Ukrainian coup since 2014 — have been presented as evidence of a general project to disrupt the world order by military expansion, requiring a firm U.S. response. The entirety of the cable news anchor class embraces this narrative.

But they are blind fools. Who has in this young century disrupted world order more than the U.S., wrecking whole countries, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents, provoking more outrage through grotesquely documented torture, generating new terror groups, and flooding Europe with refugees who include some determined to sow chaos and terror in European cities? How can any rational person with any awareness of history since 1991 conclude that Russia is the aggressive party?

And yet, this is the conventional wisdom. I doubt you can get a TV anchor job if you question it. The teleprompter will refer routinely to Putin’s aggression and Russian expansion and the need for any mature presidential candidate to respect the time-honored tradition of supporting NATO no matter what. And now the anchor is expected to repeat that all 17 U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Vladimir Putin interfered in the U.S. presidential election.

Since there is zero evidence for this, one must conclude that the Democratic losers dipped into the reliable grab bag of scapegoats and posited that Russia and Putin in particular must have hacked the DNC in order to — through the revelation of primary sources of unquestionable validity, revealing the DNC’s determination to make Clinton president, while sabotaging Sanders and promoting (through their media surrogates) Donald Trump as the Republican candidate — undermine Clinton’s legitimacy.

All kinds of liberals, including Sanders’ best surrogates like Nina Turner, are totally on board the Putin vilification campaign. It is sad and disturbing that so many progressive people are so willing to jump on the new Cold War bandwagon. It is as though they have learned nothing from history but are positively eager, in their fear and rage, to relive the McCarthy era.

But the bottom line is: U.S. Russophobia does not rest on reason, judgment, knowledge of recent history and the ability to make rational comparisons. It rests on religious-like assumptions of “American exceptionalism” and in particular the right of the U.S. to expand militarily at Russia’s expense — as an obvious good in itself, rather than a distinct, obvious evil threatening World War III.

The hawks in Congress — bipartisan, amoral, ignorant, knee-jerk Israel apologists, opportunist scum — are determined to dissuade the president-elect (bile rises in my throat as I use that term, but it’s true that he’s that, technically) from any significant rapprochement with Russia. (Heavens, they must be horrified at the possibility that Trump follows Kissinger’s reported advice and recognizes the Russian annexation of Crimea!) They want to so embarrass him with the charge of being (as Hillary accused him of being during the campaign) Putin’s “puppet” that he backs off from his vague promise to “get along” with Russia.

They don’t want to get along with Russia. They want more NATO expansion, more confrontation. They are furious with Russian-Syrian victories over U.S-backed, al-Qaeda-led forces in Syria, especially the liberation of Aleppo that the U.S. media (1) does not cover having no reporters on the ground, and little interest since events in Syria so powerfully challenge the State Department’s talking points that shape U.S. reporting, (2) misreports systematically, as the tragic triumph of the evil, Assad’s victory over an imaginary heroic opposition, and (3) sees the strengthening of the position of the Syrian stats as an indication of Russia’s reemergence as a superpower. (This they they cannot accept, as virtually a matter of religious conviction; the U.S. in official doctrine must maintain “full spectrum dominance” over the world and prohibit the emergence of any possible competitor, forever.)

*****

The first Cold War was based on the western capitalists’ fear of socialist expansion. It was based on the understanding that the USSR had defeated the Nazis, had extraordinary prestige in the world, and was the center for a time of the expanding global communist movement. It was based on the fear that more and more countries would achieve independence from western imperialism, denying investors their rights to dominate world markets. It had an ideological content. This one does not. Russia and the U.S. are equally committed to capitalism and neoliberal ideology. Their conflict is of the same nature as the U.S. conflict with Germany in the early 20th century. The Kaiser’s Germany was at least as “democratic” as the U.S.; the system was not the issue. It was just jockeying for power, and as it happened, the U.S. intervening in World War I belatedly, after everybody else was exhausted, cleaned up. In World War II in Europe, the U.S. having hesitated to invade the continent despite repeated Soviet appeals to do so, responded to the fall of Berlin to Soviet forces by rushing token forces to the city to claim joint credit.

And then it wound up, after the war, establishing its hegemony over most of Europe — much, much more of Europe than became the Soviet-dominated zone, which has since with the Warsaw Pact evaporated. Russia is a truncated, weakened version of its former self. It is not threatening the U.S. in any of the ways the U.S. is threatening itself. It is not expanding a military alliance. It is not holding huge military exercises on the U.S. border. It is not destroying the Middle East through regime-change efforts justified to the American people by sheer misinformation. In September 2015 Putin asked the U.S., at the United Nations: “Do you realize what you’ve done?”

Unfortunately the people of this country are not educated, by their schools, press or even their favorite websites to realize what has been done, how truly horrible it is, and how based it all is on lies. Fake news is the order of the day.

Up is down, black is white, Russia is the aggressor, the U.S. is the victim. The new president must be a team-player, and for God’s sake, understand that Putin is today’s Hitler, and if Trump wants to get along with him, he will have to become a team-player embracing this most basic of political truths in this particular imperialist country: Russia (with its nukes, which are equally matched with the U.S. stockpile) is the enemy, whose every action must be skewed to inflame anti-Russian feeling, as the normative default sentiment towards this NATO-encircled, sanction-ridden, non-threatening nation, under what seems by comparison a cautious, rational leadership?

*****

CNN’s horrible “chief national correspondent” John King (former husband of equally horrid Dana Bash, CNN’s “chief political correspondent”) just posed the question, with an air of aggressive irritation: “Who does Donald Trump respect more, the U.S. intelligence agencies, or the guy who started Wikileaks [Assange]?”

It’s a demand for the Trump camp to buy the Russian blame game, or get smeared as a fellow-traveler with international whistle-blowers keen on exposing the multiple crimes of U.S. imperialism.

So the real question is: Will Trump play ball, and credit the “intelligence community” that generates “intelligence products” on demand, or brush aside the war hawks’ drive for a showdown with Putin’s Russia? Will the second Cold War peter out coolly, or culminate in the conflagration that “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) was supposed to render impossible?

The latter would be utterly stupid. But stupid people — or wise people, cynically exploiting others’ stupidity — are shaping opinion every day, and have been since the first Cold War, based like this one on innumerable lies.


Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu.

January 8, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Happened In This Election?

By John Chuckman | Aletho News | November 10, 2016

Brushing away the extreme claims and rhetoric of much election analysis, there are some observations which deserve attention. These unfortunately mostly provide hard lessons and not a lot of encouragement for people who hold to principles of democracy, enlightenment, and progressivity.

The election demonstrated perhaps better than ever, and better than has generally been recognized, that American is, indeed, a plutocracy. It took a genuine American Oligarch, a multi-billionaire, a man with a lifetime’s economic empire-building, to defeat a family which could provide the very definition of being politically well-connected, a family which had laboriously constructed and carefully maintained a kind of deep well ever-flowing with money for their ambitions.

It was the ever-flowing well of money, drilled by Bill Clinton with help from some extremely shady friends, such as Jeffrey Epstein, that made the Clintons keystone establishment figures in the Democratic Party. It was not personal charm or exceptional political generalship – although Bill, in his heyday, displayed some of both of those – that earned the Clintons their place, it was the money, the “mother’s milk of politics.” In what is euphemistically called “fund raising,” many hundreds of millions of dollars were provided for the party over the last couple of decades by Bill Clinton’s efforts.

Hillary fully appreciated the fact that money buys power and influence. She lacked Bill’s superficial charm, but she certainly more than shared his ambition. On the charm front, when she was ready to move into running for office, she adopted, perhaps under Bill’s tutelage, a kind of forced clown face with arched eyebrows, bugged-out eyes, and a smile as big as her lips would allow, and these expressions were accompanied by little gestures such as briefly pointing to various on-lookers or waving helter-skelter whenever she campaigned.

Her gestures reminded me of something you might see atop a float in a Christmas Parade or of the late Harpo Marx at his most exuberant. These were not natural for her. They were never in evidence years ago when she spent years as a kind of bizarre executive housewife, both in a governor’s mansion and later in the White House, bizarre because she indulged her husband’s non-stop predatory sexual behavior in exchange for the immense power it conferred on her behind the scenes over her far more out-going and successful politician-husband.

Anyway, Hillary knew that gestures and simulated charm do not get you far in American politics. She determined to build a political war chest long ago, and there are many indications over the years of her working towards this end of making this or that change in expressed view, as when running for the Senate, when sources of big money suggested another view would be more acceptable. She was anything but constant in the views she embraced because when she ran for the Senate she spent record amounts of money, embarrassingly large amounts.

In her years of speaking engagements, she aimed at special interests who could supply potentially far more money than just exorbitant speaking fees. Later, in the influential, appointed post of Secretary of State – coming, as it does, into personal contact with every head of government or moneyed, big-time international schemer – she unquestionably played an aggressive “pay for play” with them all. Covering up that embarrassing and illegal fact is what the private servers and unauthorized smart phones were all about.

A second big fact of the election is that both major American political parties are rather sick and fading. The Republican Party has been broken for a very long time. It hobbled along for some decades with the help of various gimmicks, hoping to expand its constituency with rubbish like “family values,” public prayer and catering to the Christian Right, and anti-flag burning Constitutional amendments, and now it is truly out of gas. That is precisely why a political outsider like Oligarch Trump could manage to hi-jack the party.

He was opposed by tired, boring men like Jeb Bush, seeking to secure an almost inherited presidency, and a dark, intensely unlikable, phony Christian fundamentalist like Ted Cruz, and it proved to be no contest. It was a remarkable political achievement, but I think it was only possible given the sorry state of the party.

The Republican Party had been given a breather, some new life, by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He had an extremely mixed record as President, but he was popular, held in some affection, and did have a clear vision, but his effect on the party was not lasting. Trump could be seen as another Reagan, but I think the comparison is superficial. Trump literally hi-jacked the party, and he was not deliriously crowned by its establishment.

The Republican Party itself was formed not long before Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy out of the remains of worn out and collapsed predecessors, including the Whigs and Free-Soil Democrats. Parties do not last forever, and here was Trump creating something of a minor political revolution inside a tired and fairly directionless old party, a phenomenon which I do not think was sufficiently noticed.

The press was too busy attacking him from the start to take notice or do any intelligent analysis, and he was attacked precisely for the potential damage to the establishment he represented. His most promising quality is his potential for creating a new coalition of interests and one excluding the continuation of the Neocon Wars Hillary vigorously embraced and would expand.

But the Democratic Party is in serious trouble, too. It has a great deal of internal rot, as the Wiki-Leaks material from the DNC clearly shows us. Arrogance, lack of direction, ignorance of the people it has always claimed to serve, bad decision-making, and the absolute prostrate worship of money are the major symptoms.

It would have been impossible for the party to have so made up its mind and committed its resources to Hillary Clinton without serious rot. She has always had strong negatives in polling, always been (rightly) suspected concerning her honesty.

The Wiki-Leaks material tells us about many internal conflicts, including harsh high-level judgments of Hillary’s decision-making, resentment over the back-stabbing character of daughter Chelsea who is said to resemble Hillary in her behavior and attitudes, and the belief of some that Hillary just should not have run. And, frankly, she had become for many a rather tiresome, used-up figure from whom absolutely nothing spectacular in politics or policy could possibly be expected. But they not only blindly supported her, they broke all their own party rules by internally and secretly working to defeat a legitimate and viable contender, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders might well have been able to win the election for the Democrats, but their establishment was blind to the possibility and rejected his candidacy out-of-hand. After all, there were Bill and Hillary beckoning to their running well of money. In hindsight, it might be just as well that Sanders was cheated out of the nomination. He proved a weak individual in the end, giving in to just the forces he had claimed to oppose and leaving his enthusiastic followers completely let down. There he was, out on the hustings, supporting everything he ever opposed personified in Hillary Clinton. Men of that nature do not stand up well to Generals and Admirals and the heads of massive corporations, a quality which I do think we have some right to expect Trump to display.

Another important fact about the election is that it was less the triumph of Trump than the avoidance of Hillary that caused the defeat. The numbers are unmistakable. Yes, Trump did well for a political newcomer and a very controversial figure, but Hillary simply did badly, not approaching the support Obama achieved in key states, again something reflecting the documented fact that she is not a well-liked figure and the Party blundered badly in running her. But again, money talks, and the Clintons, particularly Bill, are the biggest fundraisers they have had in our lifetime. No one was ready to say no to the source of all that money.

Now, to many Americans, the election result must seem a bit like having experienced something of a revolution, although a revolution conducted through ballots, any other kind being literally impossible by design in this massive military-security state. In a way, it does represent something of a revolutionary event, owing to the fact that Trump the Oligarch is in his political views a bit of a revolutionary or at least a dissenter from the prevailing establishment views. And, as in any revolution, even a small one, there are going to be some unpleasant outcomes.

The historical truth of politics is that you never know from just what surprising source change may come. Lyndon Johnson, life-long crooked politician and the main author of the horrifying and pointless Vietnam War, did more for the rights of black Americans than any other modern president. Franklin Roosevelt, son of wealthy establishment figures, provided remarkable leadership in the Great Depression, restoring hopes and dreams for millions. Change, important change, never comes from establishments or institutions like political parties. It always comes from unusual people who seem to step out of their accustomed roles in life with some good or inspired ideas and have the drive and toughness to make them a reality.

I have some limited but important hopes for Trump. I am not blind or delirious expecting miracles from this unusual person, and after the experience of Obama, who fairly quickly proved a crushing, bloody disappointment, I can never build up substantial hopes for any politician. And what was the choice anyway? Hillary Clinton was a bought-and-paid one-way ticket to hell.

Trump offers two areas of some hope, and these both represent real change. The first is in reducing America’s close to out-of-control military aggressiveness abroad. This aggressiveness, reflecting momentum from what can only be called the Cheney-Rumsfeld Presidency, continued and grew under the weak and ineffectual leadership of Obama and was boosted and encouraged by Hillary as Secretary of State. Hillary, the feminists who weep for her should be reminded, did a lot of killing during her tenure. She along with Obama are literally responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of women and their families, many of them literally torn apart by bombs.

The other area of some hope is for the welfare of ordinary American people themselves who have been completely ignored by national leaders for decades. By welfare, I do not mean the kind of state assistance that Bill Clinton himself worked to end.

George Bush’s lame reaction to Hurricane Katrina (before he was internationally shamed into some action) has become the normal pattern for America’s national government when it comes to ordinary Americans. The truth is that the legacy of FDR has withered to nothing and no longer plays any role in the Democratic Party, and of course never did in the Republican Party.

Nothing can impress someone not familiar with America’s dark corners more than a visit to places like Detroit or Gary or Chicago’s South Side, parts of New Orleans, or Newark or dozens of other places where Americans live in conditions in every way comparable to Third World hellholes. No, I mean the people’s general well-being. Trump’s approach will be through jobs and creating incentives for jobs. I don’t know whether he can succeed, but, just as he asked people in some of his speeches, “What do you have to lose?” Just having someone in power who pays any attention to the “deplorables” is a small gain.

People should never think of the Clintons as liberal or progressive, and that was just as much true for Bill as it is for Hillary. His record as President – apart from his embarrassing behavior in the Oval Office with a young female intern and his recruitment of Secret Service guards as procurers for women he found attractive on his morning runs – was actually pretty appalling. He, in his own words, “ended welfare as we know it.” He signed legislation which would send large numbers of young black men to prison. He also signed legislation which contributed to the country’s later financial collapse under George Bush. He often would appoint someone decent and then quickly back off, leaving them dangling, when it looked like approval for the appointment would not be coming. His FBI conducted the assault on Waco, killing about eighty people needlessly. A pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was destroyed by cruise missiles for no good reason. There were a number of scandals, including the suicide of Vince Foster and the so-called Travelgate affair, which were never fully explained to the public. It was his Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who answered, unblinkingly, a television interviewer’s question about tens of thousands of Iraqi children who died owing to America’s embargo, “We think it’s worth it.” He committed the war crime of bombing Belgrade. When news of the horrors of the Rwanda genocide were first detected by his government, the order secretly went out to shut up about it. No effort was made to intervene.

No, any real change in America could never come from people like the Clintons, either one of them.

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tale of Three Foundations: Carter, Clinton and Trump

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | November 7, 2016

Seen the latest front-page Jimmy Carter Center scandal? Hear about the six figure speaking fees former president Jimmy Carter pulls in from shady companies and foreign governments? An oil painting of himself he bought with charity money? Maybe not.

Take a moment to Google Jimmy Carter. Now do the same for Bill Clinton. The search results tell the tale of two former presidents, one determined to use his status honorably, the other seeking exploitation for personal benefit. And then throw in Donald Trump, who of course wants to someday be a former president. Each man has his own charitable foundation. Let’s compare them.

Three charitable organizations enter, only one emerges with honor. Let’s do this!

Carter

Carter’s presidency carries an uneven legacy. Yet his prescient but unwelcome 1979 warning that the country suffered a crisis of confidence, preventing Americans from uniting to solve tough problems, anticipated the faux bravado of Reagan’s “Morning in America.”

Many feel Carter has been a better ex-president than he was a president. His Carter Center focuses on impactful but unglamorous issues such as Guinea worm disease. When Carter left office, the disease afflicted 3.5 million people, mostly in Africa. Now it’s expected to be only the second disease, after smallpox, to ever be eradicated worldwide.

Carter, 90, still donates a week of his time each year to Habitat for Humanity. Not a photo-op, Carter goes out without the media in tow and hammers nails. Carter also tirelessly monitors elections in nascent democracies, lending his stature as a statesman to that work over 100 times already. Summing up his own term in office, Carter said “We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. We never went to war.”

He is the last president since 1977 who can make that claim.

Clinton

Bill Clinton pushed the NAFTA agreement through, seen now by many as a mistake that cost American jobs. He pointlessly bombed Iraq and sent troops into Somalia (see Blackhawk Down.) Clinton’s legacy most of all is his having an oral affair with an intern, then fibbing about it, and then ending up one of only two American presidents ever impeached as a result.

As a former president, Clinton is nothing if not true to his unstatesman-like form. Bill makes six-figure speeches to businesses seeking influence within the U.S. government, earning as much as $50 million during his wife’s term as secretary of state alone. He used a shell company to hide some of the income.

His own charity, humbly known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Global Foundation, is a two billion dollar financial tangle. It spent in 2013 the same amount of money on travel expenses for Bill and his family as it did on charitable grants. Instead of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Bill takes his big donors on executive safaris to Africa. Many of those same donors also give generously to the Hillary Clinton campaign and its constellation of PACs.

Trump

Trump refuses to be very specific about who his charity donates to. We know its off-shoot, the Eric Trump charity, donated to a wine industry association, a plastic surgeon gifting nose jobs to kids and an artist who painted a portrait of Donald Trump. Trump-owned golf resorts received $880,000 for hosting Trump charity events.

Reports show Trump donated money from his foundation to conservative influencers ahead of his presidential bid, effectively using funds intended for charity to support his own political ambitions. The New York Attorney General ordered Donald Trump’s charity to immediately halt fundraising in the state, following reports that it had not submitted to routine audits.

***

Voters should judge a candidate not just on examples of past competency, but with an eye toward the core things that really matter: character, values, honesty, humility and selflessness. Perhaps this tale of two presidents and a wanna be has a lesson in it for 2016.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments

Hillary Clinton’s Email Absolution: Two Parties, One Criminal Regime

By Eric Draitser | Stop Imperialism | July 8, 2016

What was your reaction when you heard FBI Director James Comey announce to the world that the Bureau would not be recommending that charges be filed against Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while she was Secretary of State?  Did you do a humorous spit take with your coffee like some modern day Danny Thomas? Were you frozen in place like Americans were on November 22, 1963? Did your jaw hit the floor with your tongue rolling out like a flabbergasted cartoon character?

Chances are you weren’t the least bit surprised that no charges were recommended. But what does that tell you about our political system?

That millions of Americans weren’t remotely caught off guard by the exculpation of Hillary Clinton is less a commentary about American attitudes than it is a clear indication of the all-pervasive criminality that is at the heart of America’s political ruling class. And the fact that such criminality is seen as par for the course demonstrates once again that the rule of law is more a rhetorical veneer than a juridical reality.

But consider further what the developments of recent days tell us both about the US and, perhaps even more importantly, the perception of the US internationally. For while Washington consistently wields as weapons political abstractions such as transparency, corruption, and freedom, it is unwilling to apply to itself those same cornerstones of America’s collective self-conception. Hypocrisy is perhaps not strong enough a word.

Not Even Hiding It Anymore…    

Remember the good old days when corrupt politicians committed their crimes in smoke-filled rooms, making handshake deals in quiet corners of luxury hotel suites or over lobster at five star restaurants? Those things certainly still happen, but the transgressions, like all things, seem to have lost a bit of their classiness. It may not be the Plaza Hotel, but the Phoenix airport was no less a scene of wanton lawlessness and impropriety when former President, and soon to be First Gentleman, Bill Clinton met privately with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The meeting, which only came to light thanks to the work of local ABC15 morning anchor Christopher Sign, has been widely criticized by pundits and legal experts from both sides of the political spectrum.  Naturally, questions about impropriety, and potential illegal tampering in a federal investigation, were immediately raised once the meeting was made public. Of course, nothing was done to alleviate any of those concerns, calling into question the very impartiality of the investigation.

But the larger story has to do with symbolic message being sent by the meeting. Specifically, there is one set of laws for American citizens, and an entirely different set of laws for political elites like the Clintons.

Moreover, there’s more to it than just criminality. There is the air of superiority which oozes from every action taken by the Clintons who have made hundreds of millions of dollars unscrupulously pandering to, and serving the interests of, the financial elite of Wall Street and the corporate oligarchy. That feeling of invincibility is what drives someone like Bill Clinton to demand that the FBI surrounding him at the Phoenix airport dictate to bystanders that there are to be “no photos, no pictures, no cell phones.”  To make such a demand is to see oneself as above the law, above the First Amendment, above the plebs, as it were.

And this sort of behavior is what we’ve come to expect from the Clintons. Who can forget the seemingly endless rap sheet that the dynamic Democrat duo has earned over the decades? The Whitewater Scandal, in many ways a template for the Clinton email scandal, involved shady business practices and political insider dealing by the Clintons and their real estate developer cronies. And, like the email scandal, Whitewater was an example of the Clintons deliberately destroying records that likely implicate them in very serious crimes.

As the New York Times reported in 1992, “The Clintons and Mr. McDougal disagree about what happened to Whitewater’s records. Mr. McDougal says that at Mr. Clinton’s request they were delivered to the Governor’s mansion. The Clintons say many of them have disappeared. Many questions about the enterprise cannot be fully answered without the records.”

So it seems the Clintons have this nasty habit of committing crimes and then destroying the records of those crimes and claiming complete ignorance about what happened. For you and me, such a flimsy excuse would go over like a lead balloon, likely leading to jail time. For the Clintons, the controversy quietly fades away and slips down the memory hole.

And then of course there’s the mysterious death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, the man who filed three years of delinquent Whitewater corporate tax returns, and then was subsequently found dead a month later. While his death was officially ruled a suicide, the serendipitous development for the Clintons led to speculation that Foster was killed on the order of the Clintons in order to silence a potentially damning source of information about Clinton misdeeds.

Indeed, some claim that evidence exists that Foster was in fact murdered, including the statements from one of the lead prosecutors investigating the death, Miguel Rodriguez, who claims that photos showed a gunshot wound on Foster’s neck, a wound that was not mentioned in the official report. Whether true or not, the speculation about the Clintons’ involvement in a political assassination has only grown.

But of course there are so many more scandals it’s hard to keep count. From appointments of Clinton Foundation donors to key State Department positions in a sort of “pay for play” scheme, to the salaries paid to people like Hillary’s Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin who, while working for the State Department, also worked for Teneo, a consulting firm run by another close Clinton crony. And who could forget the Clinton Foundation and the myriad conflict of interest issues, lack of transparency, and outright criminality associated with it?

This article would go on for tens of thousands more words were it to chronicle all of Clinton’s scandals. But the true focus here is not even simply on Clinton crimes, but rather on the culture of corruption and lawlessness that exists unfettered in Washington; it is the endemic corruption that the Clintons represent, perhaps better than anyone.

Corruption and Malfeasance: As American as Apple Pie

It is difficult to encapsulate in a few short paragraphs the multi-layered forms of corruption that are embedded in the very fabric of America’s political culture. Perhaps it could be best separated into three distinct, though interrelated, categories: the open door, the closed door, and the revolving door.

The open door of corruption and criminality represents the kind of wrongdoing that takes place out in the open, in full view of the public, but which is treated as anything but criminal. Whether it be lying the US into wars of aggression – the Iraq War was based on lies about weapons of mass destruction, the war on Libya was sold on the pretext of lies about civilians being murdered by the government – or simply the obviously corrupt form of campaign financing that allows Wall Street and the corporate elites to bankroll the alleged “democracy” that the US so proudly proselytizes the world over; these forms of corruption and criminality are in many ways the bedrock of American politics.

As the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg famously stated, “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” By this very definition, every political leader in the US going back decades is guilty of war crimes.

Going further, one can draw on the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt who, in a now legendary speech at Madison Square Garden in 1936, unequivocally proclaimed:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.

But today, rather than welcoming the hatred of Wall Street and the corporate oligarchy, America’s politicians pander to them, grovel before them, kiss their rings in hopes of securing for themselves a financially and professionally lucrative future. So deep is the rot that most Americans passively accept this as business as usual, failing to understand that it is anything but acceptable.

The closed door forms of criminality are often completely concealed from public view, and what does become known is only thanks to courageous actions by reporters and whistleblowers. Take for instance the activities of the CIA, only a fraction of which were exposed by the Church and Pike Committees, which included obviously criminal activities ranging from the overthrow of governments to assassination of political leaders to domestic spying and propaganda, all of which being blatantly illegal.

But the closed door also conceals the activities of prominent political figures such as Hillary Clinton, whose secret lobbying for things like right wing coup governments in Honduras, shows the degree to which politicians literally conspire in secret. Clinton, like so many of her colleagues, also grovels at the feet of Wall Street financiers, including taking massive payoffs for speeches with the tacit wink-wink-nudge-nudge that goes along with them.

Finally, the revolving door is one of the shining examples of America’s political corruption, or perhaps better put, complete subservience to the corporate oligarchy. When key government officials leave public life and head to that oft-lionized “private sector,” what they are actually providing is access – access to government for corporations and capital.

When the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leaves her government post and takes a job as President of Merck & Co. Inc’s vaccine division, no one bats an eye.

When the architect of Obamacare, who before working on the health plan was an executive at one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers, leaves her government job and takes a position with Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group, it garners barely a passing comment.

When Wall Street executives take positions at head of the Treasury Department – Tim Geithner and Hank Paulsen both worked for Goldman Sachs, as just one example – it is simply “the way things are.”  This revolving door form of political corruption may not be anything new, but it is so rarely defined as corruption. But that’s exactly what it is.

However, none of this prevents Washington from publicly admonishing other countries for their corruption problems. Russia? Zimbabwe? Venezuela? China? Nigeria? All corrupt. United States? Well, er, ummm… Democracy! Freedom!  This is the sort of reflexive hypocrisy that typifies American exceptionalism or, as the rest of the world might call it, the arrogance of empire.

July 9, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Muhammad Ali and the Hypocrites that Pretend They Respected His Political Views

By Solomon Comissiong | Black Agenda Report | June 8, 2016

On June 3rd, 2016, Muhammad Ali passed away in Scottsdale Arizona. And as many reflect upon the life and times of the late great Muhammad Ali, it is important to recognize the sheer irony riddled throughout the US corporate media. Virtually every channel has their own set of hypocrites speaking with forked tongues. Many of these frauds who are extolling Ali as a “great man” and how “outspoken” and “courageous” he was, are the same degenerates who would vilify and persecute him today if he was in his youth speaking out against the imperialist wars in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Syria. Rightfully so, Ali spoke out against the racist and imperialist war in Vietnam. He also refused to fight for the US in that same war of aggression.

At a critical point in his career Ali utilized his celebrity as the world’s greatest boxer to politically express his opposition to the racist and imperialist war the United States waged on Vietnam. He at one time said, “I Ain’t Got No Quarrel With The Vietcong… No Vietcong Ever Called Me Nigger.” He also said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?”

Ali knew that the United States was nation flooded with institutional racism and white supremacy. He knew that it would make no sense to fight for a nation that continued to treat people of color worse than domesticated pets. And in 2016 the United States treats African/black people like second-class citizens. Rampant police brutality waged upon African/black people, a prison industrial complex that preys upon non-white people, and gentrification (ethnic cleaning) are but a few of the systematic forms of oppression thriving in today’s US society. You won’t find any of those so-called media personalities saying a damn word about the infestation of structural oppression throughout the United States. They could care less about the plight of the same African/black community Muhammad Ali routinely spoke out on behalf of. They are no friends of African/black people and this needs to be highlighted each and every time they open their mouths and pretend to appreciate an African/black historical figure that spoke out (or organized) against oppression, capitalism and/or imperialism.

Muhammad Ali lost his boxing title, and almost lost five years of his life to prison, for refusing to fight in the racist and imperialist war waged on Vietnam. However if one truly admires Ali for speaking out against the war on Vietnam, then, by principle, one should vehemently oppose today’s imperialist wars of aggression.

The wars of today are also racist and imperialist and are taking countless civilian lives from this planet. Some of the media talking heads that are praising Muhammad Ali today were alive in the 1960s and were castigating people like him for opposing the United States’ war in Vietnam. They called him a traitor then; yet now pretend as though they respected his political stances as courageous. They are frauds, plain and simple. Some of these frauds are individuals who not only have supported imperialist wars; they caused them. Former US president Bill Clinton is an excellent example.

While serving as the United States’ president, Bill Clinton bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, thus preventing many important medications from getting to those who needed them. He also ordered the large scale bombing of various parts of the former nation of Yugoslavia. Clinton is also responsible for a US military attack on Mogadishu, Somalia. Bill Clinton ordered a coup in the island nation of Haiti and deposed its democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide. It is beyond pathetic that Bill Clinton is an invited speaker at Muhammad Ali’s funeral. However as pathetic as it is, it should be of no surprise. Those of Clinton’s ilk can routinely be seen praising Martin Luther King, Jr. each January, knowing they would vilify him if he were still alive speaking out against the US imperialism, capitalism and structural racism.

These imperialists get away with their disingenuous words largely because most Americans are ahistorical. They simply have developed an awful habit of believing anything and everything that is told to them, without curiosity ever pushing them to conduct their own research. Americans continue to fall victim to widespread mental indoctrination, otherwise known as Americanism. This allows them to believe they appreciate people like Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, while at the same time wholeheartedly supporting “their” country’s imperialist war machine and not giving a damn about the innumerable civilian lives it eviscerates. This habit has to stop, sooner rather than later.

It is long overdue that those of us who know the truth share that information with others, especially with young people. Making this practice habit will enable others to naturally recognize the contradictions all around them. In essence, it will expose the bloodthirsty warmongers for what (and who) they really are. It will expose their rhetoric and it will enable more people to begin charting a new course towards the construction of a more humane and egalitarian society. It is not enough to be pro-peace; one must also be anti-imperialist and anti-wars of aggression.

We must teach the youth about the continuous array of lies the corporate media promulgates. Training youth how to deconstruct the cavalcade of lies the media and government deluge their minds with, will better prepare them to not only resist oppression and injustice, but also to build a better future without being distracted by those who maintain the unacceptable status quo. These are much better ways of honoring the legacy of those who sacrificed so much to speak out against war and oppression. We must be committed to consistent organization geared towards collectively constructing a society free of structural oppression, one community at a time.


Solomon Comissiong (www.solomoncomissiong.com) is an educator, activist, author, and Founder of the Your World News Media Collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues. Solomon is also the writer and producer of the documentary, Hip Hop, White Supremacy & Capitalism: Why Corporations Infiltrated RAP Music. He can be reached at: solo@yourworldnews.org

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Letting ‘Wall Street’ Walk

By Michael Brenner | Consortium News | June 3, 2016

Illicit financial behavior has been decriminalized in the United States – for all practical purposes. Despite the revelations of massive misconduct by banks and other financial services businesses, criminal investigations are rare, indictments exceptional and guilty judgments extraordinary.

Most potentially culpable actions are overlooked by authorities, slighted, reduced from criminal to civil status when pursued, individuals evade penalties much less punishment, and the appeals courts take extreme liberties in exonerating culprits when and if the odd conviction reaches them.

The last mentioned are establishing new frontiers in the formulation of ingeniously sophistic arguments to justify letting financial malefactors off the hook. As some wit suggests, all 32 or so judicial inventions should be assembled in a legal code called the Goldman Variations.

Our elected officials, our regulators, our politicos and the media have come to accept this as the natural order of things. Business Sections of newspapers, like The New York Times, read like the gazette for the world of organized crime in its heyday when the five Mafia families were on top of their game. (substitute Goldman Sachs, Chase Morgan, Bank of America, CITI, Wells Fargo). As for the Wall Street Journal and the legion of business magazines, they blend features of VARIETY and Osservatore Romano.

The reasons for this phenomenon are multiple: the rule of money in our politics; the neutering of regulatory bodies by the appointment of business friendly officers in symbiotic relationships with former or prospective employers; a wider culture in which the cult of wealth pervades all; and the timidity of a political class that defers to the power centers who enjoy rank, status and respect.

Obama’s appointment of Mary Jo White, from the white gloves law firm Debevoise & Plimpton which specialized in advising and representing Wall Street during the financial crisis (where she was head of litigation), to head the Security Exchange Commission is roughly analogous to appointing Dominick “Quiet Dom” Cirillo, consigliore  of the Vito Genovese Mafia family, to run the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force in Manhattan.

In White’s case, her earlier experience as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (the financial district) made her an exceptionally valuable acquisition when she switched sides in 2003 – 2013. Her record at the SEC since 2013 confirms her adherence to the Holder philosophy of leniency toward financial misdeeds – and confirms where her loyalties lie.

Appointments to senior positions dealing with financial matters have been primarily “parachutists.” Several of them are more egregious than the White case. So too was former Attorney-General Eric Holder. Within days of leaving the Justice Department, he was back at his former corporate law firm – albeit as a “counselor” for the one-year stipulated transition period.

During his years in private practice, Holder represented the Swiss private bank UBS. Because of this, he recused himself from participating in the Department of Justice investigation of UBS’s abetting of tax evasion by U.S. account-holders.

Such is the privileged status of our largest financial institutions that the Obama administration has amended, de facto, the Constitution to accommodate their claim to being above the law.  Former Attorney General Holder is the author of the doctrine that posits the principle of “too-big-to-prosecute.”

Fearing Economic Damage

Holder’s publicly stated view is that he, the Justice Department and the Executive Branch generally have a right to exempt financial institutions from criminal prosecution when they believe that doing so would cause “unacceptable” damage to the national economy. It first took shape during Bill Clinton’s administration.

Holder presented the full-blown doctrine in a  startling confession during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 5, 2011. “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” Holder said, according to The Hill newspaper.

Holder’s comments didn’t come as a total surprise. His underlings had already made similar confessions to The New York Times the previous year, after they declined to prosecute HSBC for flagrant, years-long violations of money-laundering laws, out of fear that doing so would hurt the global economy.

Lanny Breuer, formerly in charge of doling out the Justice Department’s wrist slaps to banks, told  Frontline as much in the documentary “The Untouchables” which aired in January 2011.

Of course, President Obama and Attorney-General Holder had taken oaths to uphold the laws of the land. That pledge does not allow them personal discretion as to whom it applies. Yet, they have acted as if the Justice Department and the Executive Branch generally have a right to exempt financial institutions from criminal prosecution when they believe that doing so would cause “unacceptable” damage to the national economy.

Let us be clear; Holder is not referring to the interpretation and application of any legal standard. He is referring to a purely subjective standard that has nothing to do with the law. In a similar vein, it is reported that the Obama administration has instructed the Department of Justice and the FBI to make mortgage fraud its lowest priority and, indeed, to dismiss hundreds of cases without any investigation whatsoever. (Report of the Inspector General, Department of Justice March 11, 2014).

The administration also improperly has diverted funds appropriated for this specific purpose to other areas. This arbitrary exclusion from investigation of the largest category of financial crime has been made in the face of a well-publicized and solemn undertaking by both President Obama and Attorney General Holder to take bold and expeditious action in this area.

“Equal protection of the laws” is a principle enshrined in the Constitution. There is no allowance for the President or the Attorney General, who serves at the President’s pleasure, to establish special classes of persons who are exempt from the laws’ stipulations – either to make them immune or to deny them due process. Yet, that is what they explicitly have done.

In a commencement address at NYU in 2014, Holder stated bluntly: “Responsibility remains so diffuse, and top executives so insulated, that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution’s culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual.”

The Holder-Obama doctrine concentrates heavily on the disruptive effects on the nation’s (and the world’s) financial system were any of the too-big-to-fail banks brought low by a combination of criminal convictions and financial penalties that were greater than the profits made from systematically skirting the law – as currently done.

Addressing the Problem

That is a highly debatable proposition on purely technical grounds. Whatever the appraisal one makes, there are two straightforward solutions to the problem as stated.

First, one should break them up so that were they to “fail,” the systemic consequences would be manageable. Second, risk is increased rather than lowered by following a legal cum political strategy that has the effect of encouraging the managers of mega-financial institutions to play fast-and-loose in their financial maneuverings.

To return to the analogy of the five Mafia families, a law enforcement strategy that favored civil action over criminal prosecution, that entailed fines rather than prison time, and that kept those fines at a level where they could be calculated as a cost of doing a very lucrative business would result in a flourishing of criminal organizations – at great cost to society.

Moreover, were there a practice of Mafia bosses and police commissioners/district attorneys parachuting from one sphere to another, the collateral damage inflicted on all law enforcement would be enormous.

The Holder claim for corporate immunity is unsustainable by any reasonable legal standard and reading of the Constitution. Such reasonableness, though, no longer prevails. Witness the widespread passive acceptance of this novel revolutionary doctrine when it was pronounced – and its only slight rhetorical qualification since.

The radical idea that nominally criminal acts should be understood contextually and that judgment as well as punishment should be administered accordingly opens up a wide assortment of questions about the conduct of our judicial system.

There is no reason why it could not be applied generally to the entire range of criminal conduct and proceedings. Following the Holder-Obama logic, this should be done at every stage of jurisprudence: indictment, trial, judgment and punishment. A recent case in New York City illustrates what the implications might be.

In that instance, a woman was arrested at Kennedy airport for possession of 500 grams of cocaine. She was detained, indicted and convicted of a felony. All that followed the well-trod legal path. It was the sentencing that broke the mold.

Judge Frederick Block placed the woman on probation rather than throwing her into the slammer. His main argument, developed in a closely reasoned 46-page opinion, concentrated on the “collateral consequences” of her conviction. Those consequences were deemed adequate punishment to meet the requirements of the law, society and the felon’s long-term integration into the community. The addition of prison time would have made the punishment disproportionate to the crime. It would have exceeded – not fit – the crime.

What the judge pointed out is that so many legal disabilities attach to anyone convicted of a felony as to deny the person a reasonable chance of pursuing a normal life upon release. Those disabilities include disqualification for all kinds of access to government assistance programs which cover education, housing and employment. The net result would be a high likelihood of recidivism. From society’s perspective, that translates into a higher likelihood of costs associated with welfare, medical care, and possible re-institutionalization. In addition, there are the tangible and intangible costs for possible maintenance of any children she might bear.

The woman in question lives with her mother in New Haven where she was enrolled in college and was working part time as a nail technician. For her, the collateral consequences could be expected to be particularly high. The underlying logic, though, applies generally.

Setting Examples

What about the “systemic consequences?” Isn’t punishment for the commission of a crime supposed to act as a deterrent for others? Yes – in principle. That consideration, however, did not figure in the Holder-Obama doctrine as applied to financial misdeeds whose perpetrators are in a more visible position to set an example.

Indeed, one could argue that the sense of entitlement and expectation of having a right to act with impunity free of worry about accountability is far more pronounced among Wall Street executives than it is among inner city poor. Thereby, the positive value of criminal conviction followed by individual punishment would be commensurately greater in terms of a benefit to society.

The case cited above involves a felonious criminal act whose commission was proven in a court of law. American prisons, today, confine hundreds of thousands whose crimes are of a lesser order. Indeed, a significant percentage may not have committed any crime at all but rather are victims of police campaigns to cleanse the streets of those who allegedly have committed relatively minor misdemeanors.

Draconian enforcement of “zero tolerance” philosophies has led to widespread abuse of the police power in cities like New York. The absurd “three strikes and you’re out” strategy initiated in California and promoted nationwide by President Bill Clinton, has had even more dire results in spiking the incarceration rates, for longer terms – jailing mainly marijuana and other drug users who are a threat only to themselves rather than to society.

Much has been made of the dogmatic claim that a crackdown on misbehavior is the reason for the drastic drop in urban violent crime. This is an urban legend. In New York City, former Mayor Rudi Giuliani and his Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, have been lionized for this supposed achievement. Yet, the story is pure fiction.

The unprecedented sharp decline occurred under David Dinkins, his black predecessor who was widely criticized for being “soft on crime” and stinting in his support for the police. The truth is that violent crime was closely correlated with the crack epidemic and its recession – reinforced by other trends that registered nationwide.

For these categories of criminals and alleged criminals whose misdeeds fall in the category of misdemeanors, Judge Block’s concept of “collateral consequences” is even more compelling. The concept, in fact, should be broadened to pertain to arrest and prosecution as well as sentencing. The consequences to be taken into account properly should aggregate their weight for both the individual and society. Then, there are the intangible costs of mass criminalization and imprisonment.

Unsettling Markets

Yet, while rulings like Judge Block’s may be rare regarding “street crimes,” they have become routine regarding Wall Street crimes, which are not prosecuted in the name of the Holder doctrine concerned about the unsettling effects on investor confidence and markets from casting a dark cloud over “Wall Street.”

Again, this is dubious on technical grounds; and the logical responses obvious. Let us shift ground and think of the unsettling effects produced by legally stigmatizing a considerable slice of inner-city populations. Disruption of families, instilling widespread feelings of persecution, aggravation of relations with the police, more estranged race relations, etc. It may be difficult to place numbers on these costs, but the negative consequences for society are great.

The full extent of the decade-long police “zero tolerance” campaign, and its demoralizing impact on largely minority neighborhoods, is one of the great unreported stories of our times. Corruption was its hallmark: in its misleading justifications, in its methods that systematized entrapment and fabrication of charges (Examples: creating a public nuisance by drinking a beer from a can on the steps of your house; impeding pedestrian movement by stopping to chat while walking your dog at midnight; loitering in the hallway of your own apartment building).

Other elements of the corruption included its degeneration into a crass quota system, its abuse of the criminal justice system that jailed hundreds of thousands of innocents who couldn’t meet bail or hire a lawyer, forcing them to admit to misdemeanors that leave a permanent stain on their records in order to be released, and its exploitation by cynical politicians.

The one first-hand account that tells the tale is Matt Taibbi’s deeply disturbing DIVIDE (Spiegel & Grau 2014). It deals with New York City, but the same phenomenon is visible across urban America.

Collateral consequences can be a valuable concept – one that has multiple meanings. But it should be applied where it serves justice not iniquity.


Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. mbren@pitt.edu

June 4, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 1 Comment

The Clinton-Colombia Connection

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | May 19, 2016

On June 29, 2009, one day after Honduran military leaders ousted their country’s democratically elected president, President Obama publicly branded the coup illegal and denounced it as “a terrible precedent.” Yet even as he spoke, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was ensuring that U.S. aid continued and that major capitals would recognize the new regime.

Human rights activists have long decried her for abandoning democratic rights and values in Honduras. But many have overlooked her cozy embrace of the morally compromised Latin American leader who happened to be sharing the White House podium when Obama made his remarks: Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.

Obama was hosting Uribe to build political support for the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement, which both he and Hillary Clinton had vigorously opposed during the 2008 election campaign. Obama praised Uribe’s “courage” and his “admirabl(e)” progress on human rights and fighting drug cartels since taking office in 2002 — a controversial claim that Clinton’s State Department would certify that September.

A year later, the love affair between the Obama administration and Uribe grew even hotter. After landing in Bogota for an official visit in April 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates lauded the “historic” progress that Uribe’s government had made in the war against “narco-traffickers and terrorists.”

“Uribe, in my view, is a great hero and has been an enormously successful president of Colombia,” Gates told reporters.

Human rights campaigners were aghast. In an email to Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, a senior aide to Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern cited Gates as an example of what not to do during Clinton’s upcoming visit to Colombia that June: “The most important thing the Secretary can do is avoid effusive praise for President Álvaro Uribe, who leaves office in August.”

McGovern’s aide cited several damning facts:

–Contrary to claims from Bogota, reports by the General Accountability Office and the U.S. Agency for International Development showed that U.S. aid and Colombia’s anti-drug programs were failing to meet their goals and in some cases were actually stimulating coca production.

–Military killings of civilians were up — with as many as 1,486 civilians killed “during the first six years of Álvaro Uribe’s presidency,” she noted. (The actual number was likely more than double that.)

–There were also “mounting allegations that the President’s intelligence service, the DAS, was put at the service of paramilitary leaders and narco-traffickers; used to spy on and intimidate Supreme Court justices, opposition politicians, journalists and human rights defenders; and employed in a campaign of sabotage and smears against political opponents” of Uribe.

–Dozens of President Uribe’s political supporters were under investigation for corruption and ties to illegal paramilitary units, she reported. “Many are large landholders with ties to narco-trafficking, the same local leaders who created and fostered the brutal pro-government paramilitary groups that killed tens of thousands of non-combatants in the 1990s and early 2000s. . . Those embroiled . . . include the President’s cousin, Mario Uribe; the brother of his former foreign minister; and individuals whom the President had named to be Colombia’s ambassadors to Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Canada.”

In conclusion, she maintained, the real heroes were not Uribe but “Colombian prosecutors, investigators, witnesses and non-governmental organizations trying to uncover the truth about these abuses” under conditions of great personal risk.

Falling on Deaf Ears

Her advice fell on deaf ears. Just one week later, Secretary Clinton was in Bogota to affirm the administration’s strong support for a free trade agreement, and underline Washington’s commitment to helping Uribe “consolidate the security gains of recent years” against “the insurgents, the guerillas, the narco-traffickers, who would wish to turn the clock back.”

Echoing her friend Bob Gates, she added, “because of your commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia and to nurturing the bonds of friendship between our two countries, you leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”

Clinton had nothing to say about the quarter million victims of right-wing paramilitary groups, many of them backed by the military, as reported in a November, 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in Bogota. Nor did she have anything to say about the more than 2,700 union members murdered since 1986 (including hundreds under Uribe), making Colombia by far the world’s most dangerous place for organized labor.

Secretary Clinton may have been influenced by her husband’s warm relationship with Uribe. As President, he had signed and implemented a multi-year aid package called Plan Colombia, which contributed more than $8 billion to Colombia’s counterinsurgency wars, despite Washington’s full knowledge of the military’s “death-squad tactics” and cooperation with drug-running paramilitary groups.

In retirement, former President Clinton deepened his ties to Uribe and Colombia. In 2005, he introduced Uribe to Canadian mining magnate Frank Guistra, who was a leading donor to the Clinton Global Initiative fund; Guistra was interested in acquiring mineral and oil rights in Colombia. In 2005, Clinton also picked up $800,000 from a Colombia-based group for a speaking tour of Latin America to tout the merits of a U.S-Colombia free trade agreement. (Guistra provided the private jet for Clinton’s tour.)

To further promote the trade pact, Bogota provided a $300,000 P.R. contract to Clinton’s pollster Mark Penn. As part of his publicity campaign, Penn arranged for Uribe to hold an award banquet in honor of Clinton in 2007. Clinton reciprocated by featuring Uribe as an honored guest at his Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting a few months later.

When news of Penn’s contract with Bogota got out in 2008, Hillary Clinton had to fire him as her campaign strategist, lest she lose endorsements from labor unions. She insisted that her husband’s relationship with Colombia would not influence her stand on the free trade deal, which she opposed because of “the history of violence against trade unionists in Colombia.”

Reversing Course

As we have seen, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton reversed course once in office. Clinton may simply have been following the President’s lead, but critics point to her family’s unsavory financial connections as another explanation for her change of heart. As International Business Times reported last year:

“When workers at the country’s largest independent oil company staged a strike in 2011, the Colombian military rounded them up at gunpoint and threatened violence if they failed to disband, according to human rights organizations. Similar intimidation tactics against the workers, say labor leaders, amounted to an everyday feature of life. . .

“Yet as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.

“At the same time that Clinton’s State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.

“The details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation — supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself — Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact.

“Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it ‘strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.’ The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.”

According to a report this May by the AFL-CIO and four Colombian unions, 99 Colombian workers and union activists have been killed since the trade agreement took effect in 2011. Another six were kidnapped and 955 received death threats. Only a small fraction of those crimes were every solved.

Meanwhile, Uribe continues to be a major force in Colombian politics. In April, he mobilized a street protest against efforts by the current government to bring about a lasting peace with the Marxist guerrilla group FARC; a leading newspaper reported that Uribe’s protest was backed by Colombia’s largest paramilitary drug-trafficking organization, Los Urabeños, which managed to shut down much of the north of the country for 72 hours after assassinating a dozen policemen.

Ties to Drug Trade

A connection between Uribe, paramilitary groups, and drug traffickers is all too easy to imagine, despite his denials and Washington’s hero worship. Consider a few family connections, among the many that have been alleged:

–One of Uribe’s brothers was arrested this February for allegedly leading a death squad against suspected leftists that was run from the family cattle ranch. A Colombian legislator cited testimony that Álvaro himself may have “ordered massacres” from the ranch.

Another brother was arrested (but not convicted) for suspected ties to cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar; his extramarital partner was later arrested on a U.S. warrant for allegedly working with the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Their daughter was also listed by the U.S. Treasury Department as a major money launderer.

–Uribe’s two sons are under investigation for massive tax evasion and showed up in the recent “Panama papers” leak as shareholders in a British Virgin Islands tax shelter;

–Uribe’s campaign manager and former chief of staff was flagged by DEA in 2001 as Colombia’s largest importer of a key precursor chemical for the production of cocaine.

–Uribe received contributions to his 2002 presidential campaign from the country’s largest and most murderous paramilitary organization, the AUC, which was listed by Washington as an international terrorist organization. By the time of Uribe’s election, according to one expert, “the AUC had become the most powerful network of drug traffickers in the country’s history.”

Uribe arranged a sweetheart deal to allow AUC leaders to escape serious justice with most of their wealth intact, until the nation’s top courts intervened. Uribe’s chief of security from 2002 to 2005 pleaded guilty in 2012 to taking bribes to protect the AUC.

–And as far back as 1991, a confidential U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report called Uribe a “close personal friend” of Pablo Escobar, and said he was “dedicated to collaboration with the Medellín cartel at high government levels.” It also noted that his father had been murdered “for his connection with the narcotic traffickers.”

On the plus side, President George W. Bush awarded Uribe the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service named him a Distinguished Scholar. And Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation named him to its Board of Directors in 2012.

Hillary Clinton clearly sides with the camp of Uribe’s admirers. It’s time to call her out and make her account for that choice — and for a record that calls into question her professed devotion to human freedom, democratic values, and the rights of organized labor.


Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012).

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Korea, Following China and India, Pledges No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons–So Could Obama

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | May 16, 2016

North Korea’s May 7 declaration that it would not be first to use nuclear weapons was met with official derision instead of relief and applause. Not one report of the announcement I could find noted that the United States has never made such a no-first-use pledge. None of three dozen news accounts even mentioned that North Korea hasn’t got one usable nuclear warhead. The New York Times did admit, “US and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has developed a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile that would deliver a nuclear payload to the continental United States.”

Nuclear “first use” means either a nuclear sneak attack or the escalation from conventional mass destruction to the use of nuclear warheads, and presidents have threatened it as many as 15 times. In the build-up to the 1991 Persian Gulf bombing, US officials including then Def. Sec. Dick Cheney and Sec. of State James Baker publicly and repeatedly hinted that the US might use nuclear weapons. In the midst of the bombardment, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas both explicitly promoted nuclear war on Iraq.

In April 1996, President Bill Clinton’s deputy Defense Secretary Herald Smith publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear Libya — which was a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — for allegedly building a secret weapons plant. When Clinton’s Defense Secretary William J. Perry was questioned about this threat he repeated it, saying, “[W]e would not forswear that possibility.” (The Nonproliferation Treaty forbids a nuclear attack on other state parties.)

In “Presidential Policy Directive 60” (PD 60) of Nov. 1997, Clinton made public the nuclear first use intentions of his war planners. US H-bombs were now being aimed at nations identified by the State Department to be “rogues.” PD 60 alarmingly lowered the threshold against nuclear attack possibilities. The Clinton doctrine “would allow the US to launch nuclear weapons in response to the use of chemical or biological weapons,” the Los Angeles and New York Times reported. (Arguing that we need H-bombs to deter chemical attacks is like saying we need nuclear reactors to boil water.) Throwing deterrence policy under the bus, Clinton then “ordered that the military … reserve the right to use nuclear arms first, even before the detonation of an enemy warhead.”

Clinton’s order was an imperious rebuke to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) — the nation’s highest scientific advisory group — which recommended six months earlier, on June 18, 1997, that the US, “declare that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in war or crisis.” In April 1998, Clinton’s US Embassy reps in Moscow coldly refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq, saying, “… we do not rule out in advance any capability available to us.”

Again, in January and February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declined to explicitly exclude nuclear weapons as an option in a war on Iraq, saying US policy was not to rule anything out, Wade Boese of the Arms Control Association reported. Additionally, Def. Sec. Donald Rumsfeld said at a Feb. 13 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that official policy dictated that the US, “… not foreclose the possible use of nuclear weapons if attacked.”

Putting an end to these ultimate bomb scares would bring US action in line with Presidential speechifying which has regularly denounced “nuclear terrorism.” An international agreement on “non-nuclear immunity,” adopted by five nuclear-armed states May 11, 1995, has not quelled charges of hypocrisy made against them. The pact is full of exceptions – e.g., PD 60 — and is nonbinding. Only China has made this unequivocal pledge: “At no time and under no circumstances will China be the first to use nuclear weapons and [China] undertakes unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries and nuclear-free zones.” India has made a similar no-first-use promise.

A formal US renunciation of first use would let cooler heads prevail by ending the debate over so-called “threshold” use of the Bomb. It would also end the blatant public duplicity of proclaiming that nuclear weapons are only for deterrence while preparing for attacks “before the detonation of an enemy warhead.”

Pledging “no first use” would save billions of dollars in research, development and production, as well as the cost of maintaining first-strike systems: B61 H-bombs, Trident submarine warheads, Cruise and land-based missile warheads.

Significantly, nuclear war planners who have used their first-strike “master card” believe they were successful — the way a robber can get a bag of cash using a loaded gun but without pulling the trigger. They want to keep their ghastly “ace” up their sleeve, and they have manufactured a heavy stigma against formally renouncing nuclear first use, since to do so might further call into question the official “winning” reasons for having tested radiation bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The US should embrace China’s unambiguous language and promise never to use nuclear weapons first or against non-nuclear states. If President Obama wants to ease world tensions without apologizing for Hiroshima when he visits the iconic city, he could replace Clinton’s presidential directive with his own, declaring that the US will never again be the first to go nuclear.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kosovo: An evil little war (almost) all US candidates liked

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | March 24, 2016

Although the 2016 presidential election is still in the primaries phase, contenders have already brought up America’s failed foreign wars. Hillary Clinton is taking flak over Libya, and Donald Trump has irked the GOP by bringing up Iraq. But what of Kosovo?

The US-led NATO operation that began on March 24, 1999 was launched under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine asserted by President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. For 78 days, NATO targeted what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – which later split into Serbia and Montenegro – over alleged atrocities against ethnic Albanians in the southern province of Kosovo. Yugoslavia was accused of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” as bombs rained on bridges, trains, hospitals, homes, the power grid and even refugee convoys.

NATO’s actions directly violated the UN Charter (articles 53 and 103), its own charter, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The war was a crime against peace, pure and simple.

Though overwhelmed, Yugoslavia did not surrender; the June 1999 armistice only allowed NATO to occupy Kosovo under UN peacekeeping authority, granted by Resolution 1244 – which the Alliance has been violating ever since.

US Secretary of State at the time, Madeleine Albright, was considered the most outspoken champion of the “Kosovo War.” She is now a vocal supporter of candidate Clinton, condemning women who don’t vote for her to a “special place in Hell.”

Clinton visited the renegade province in October 2012, as the outgoing Secretary of State. She stood with the ‘Kosovan’ government leaders – once considered terrorists, before receiving US backing – and proclaimed unequivocal US support for Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed four years prior.

“For me, my family and my fellow Americans this is more than a foreign policy issue, it is personal,” Clinton said. Given the Kosovo Albanians had renamed a major street in their capital ‘Bill Clinton Avenue’ and erected a massive gilded monument to Hillary’s husband, her comments were hardly a surprise.

She is unlikely to be condemned for those remarks by her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. While arguing that Congress should have a say in authorizing the intervention, Sanders entirely bought into the mainstream narrative about the conflict, seeing it as a case of the evil Serbian “dictator” Slobodan Milosevic oppressing the unarmed ethnic Albanians. He saw “supporting the NATO airstrikes on Serbia as justified on humanitarian grounds.”

One Sanders aide, Jeremy Brecher, resigned in May 1999 arguing against the intervention as it unfolded, since the “goal of US policy is not to save the Kosovars from ongoing destruction.”

Trouble is there was no “destruction.” Contrary to NATO claims of 100,000 or more Albanians purportedly massacred by the Serbs, postwar investigators found fewer than 5,000 deaths – 1,500 of which happened after NATO occupied the province and the Albanian pogroms began.

Western media, eager to preserve the narrative of noble NATO defeating the evil Serbs, dismissed the terror as “revenge killings.” NATO troops thus looked on as their Albanian protégés terrorized, torched, bombed and pillaged across the province for years, forcing some 250,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma, and other groups into exile.

After George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, his administration adopted the Clinton-era agenda for the Balkans, including backing an independent Albanian state in Kosovo. None of the Republicans, save 2012 contender Ron Paul, have criticized the Kosovo War since.

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump actually has been critical – though back in 1999, long before he became the Republican front-runner and the bane of the GOP establishment. In October that year, Trump was a guest on Larry King’s CNN show, criticizing the Clintons’ handling of the Kosovo War after a fashion.

“But look at what we’ve done to that land and to those people and the deaths that we’ve caused,” Trump told King. “They bombed the hell out of a country, out of a whole area, everyone is fleeing in every different way, and nobody knows what’s happening, and the deaths are going on by the thousands.”

The problem with Trump, then as now, is that he is maddeningly vague. So, these remarks could be interpreted as referring to the terror going on at that very moment – the persecution of non-Albanians under NATO’s approving eye – or the exodus of Albanians earlier that year, during the NATO bombing. Only Trump would know which, and he hasn’t offered a clarification.

Though he has the most delegates and leads in the national polls for the Republican nomination, the GOP establishment is furious with Trump because he dared call George W. Bush a liar and describe the invasion of Iraq as a “big fat mistake.” According to the British historian Kate Hudson, however, the 2003 invasion was just a continuation of the “pattern of aggression,” following the precedent set with Kosovo.

March 24, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Clintons’ $93 Million Romance with Wall Street: a Catastrophe for Working Families, African-Americans, and Latinos

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By Richard W. Behan | CounterPunch | March 16, 2016

For 24 years Bill and Hillary Clinton have courted Wall Street money with notable success. During that time the New York banks contributed:

* $11.17 million to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992.

*$28.37 million for his re-election in 1996.

*$2.13 million to Hillary Clinton’s senatorial campaign in 2002.

*$6.02 million for her re-election in 2006.

*$14.61 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.

*$21.42 million to her 2016 campaign.

The total here is $83.72 million for the six campaigns,i ii disbursed from eleven congenial banks: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, UBS, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Barclay’s, JP Morgan Chase, CIBC, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley.iii iv

Then there were the speeches. Sixteen days after leaving the White House in 2001, Mr. Clinton delivered a speech to Morgan Stanley, for which he was paid $125,000. That was the first of many speeches to the New York banks. Over the next fourteen years, Mr. Clinton’s Wall Street speaking engagements earned him a total of $5,910,000:v

*$1,550,000 from Goldman Sachs.

*$1,690,000 from UBS.

*$1,075,000 from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

*$770,000 from Deutsche Bank.

*$700,000 from Citigroup

After she resigned as Secretary of State in 2012 Hillary Clinton took to the lecture circuit as well. Some of her income has come to light during the current presidential campaign—the infamous $675,000 she was paid for three speeches to Goldman Sachs. That disclosure, however, belittles her financial achievement and the scope of her audiences. She also addressed the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Ameriprise, Apollo Management Holdings, CIBC, Fidelity Investments, and Golden Tree Asset Management. In doing so she earned another $2,265,000.vi

No other political couple in modern history has enjoyed so much money flowing to them from Wall Street for such a long time—$92.57 million over a quarter century.

During a CNN forum on February 3, Anderson Cooper wondered if Goldman Sachs’ $675,000 might impact her prospective presidential decisions. Defending her integrity with undisguised indignation, she described her independence from the banks:

Anybody who knows me, who thinks that they can influence me, name anything they’ve influenced me on. Just name one thing. I’m out here every day saying I’m going to shut them down, I’m going after them. I’m going to jail them if they should be jailed. I’m going to break them up.vii

Her campaign website confirms her fierce determination to oversee the banks and hold them strictly to account. “Wall Street must work for Main Street,” the website claims, outlining her program for “Wall Street Reform:”

Veto Republican efforts to repeal or weaken Dodd-Frank

Tackle dangerous risks in the big banks and elsewhere in the financial system.

Hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they break the law.viii

$675,000 might be insufficient to elicit Ms. Clinton’s sympathetic ear, but a quarter century of accepting tens of millions of dollars is not so easily dismissed. It would likely have some impact on the Clintons’ sense of gratitude and certainly on their social, cultural, and political environments.

Over that period of time, while one of them or the other held public office almost continuously, the couple accumulated a net worth of $125 million.ix x Measured by family wealth, this inserted the couple into the top 1% of American families by a factor of 16 ($7.88 million is the threshold).

The Clintons found that stratum of society agreeable. In New York, their home upon leaving the White House, they moved easily among other multimillionaires, the celebrated, wealthy, and accomplished people of the city. Lloyd Blankfein, Robert Rubin, and Henry Paulson are examples, CEOs of the benefactor Wall Street banks. The couple could scarcely avoid adopting the mindset, language, values, and political perspectives of the people who now constituted their peer group.

Breaking up banks, jailing the lawless executives, forcing Wall Street to work for Main Street: Hillary Clinton’s stern proclamations of impartial law enforcement and strict regulation are difficult to take seriously.

Wall Street doesn’t. One bank executive assured his clients, “We continue to believe Clinton would be one of the better candidates for financial firms.” He was quoted in a CNN Money article, “Wall Street Isn’t Worried about Hillary Clinton’s Plan,” which stated,

Hillary Clinton unveiled her big plan to curb the worst of Wall Street’s excesses…. The reaction from the banking community was a shrug, if not relief.xi

There is good reason for the banks’ sanguine view. Over the 24 years of the romance, the Clintons first reoriented their political party, gave it a new name, the New Democratic Party, and put it at Wall Street’s service. Then they engineered financial opportunities for the New York banks of immense value—running into the hundreds of billions. And through the years as President, Senator, and Secretary of State the Clintons supported Wall Street’s interests at every necessary turn and without fail.

In the early 1990s, chairing the Democratic Leadership Council, Bill Clinton ushered in the centrist, triangulating New Democratic Party, explicitly to be more business-friendly—and to attract the financial support of corporate America. Wall Street supported his 1992 campaign handsomely, and Bill Clinton became the first president under the new banner. Hillary Clinton was at his side, a de facto minister-without-portfolio.

When he appointed Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs as Secretary of the Treasury Department, Clinton established a precedent. For the next 24 years every Administration would find Wall Street executives to serve in the position. The New York banks became the primal clients of the New Democratic Party.

But the working families of America and the African-American and Hispanic communities—the party’s historic constituencies—were betrayed and abandoned, deprived of effective representation in Washington. The Clintons’ political campaigns over the next decades became monumental hypocrisies, Bill donning sunglasses to play his saxophone for Arsenio Hall, Hillary visiting black churches to hug the parishioners. They speak warmly to the traditional constituencies with carefully scripted political rhetoric, currying their favor, depending on them for electoral victory, but effectively obscuring the truth of their betrayal.

The traditional constituencies were not only betrayed, but targeted. On taking office Mr. Clinton announced, “The era of big government is over.” On that cue he co-opted two issues long

used by Republicans to mask their party’s racism: “welfare” and “crime.” To address the issues two laws were passed in Clinton’s first term that savaged the betrayed constituencies.

The first was The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. It fulfilled Clinton’s promise to “end welfare as we know it,” and the punishing effects it set in motion have yet to abate. Since the end of the Clinton Administration, poverty in the U.S. has nearly doubled: “… the number of Americans living in high-poverty areas rose to 13.8 million in 2013 from 7.2 million in 2000, with African-Americans and Latinos driving most of the gains.”xii

To show how tough on crime he could be, Clinton next guided The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 through Congress. A flurry of prison construction quickly followed, an industry of private for-profit prisons took hold and flourished, and a skyrocketing population mostly of young black males soon filled them, most frequently charged with drug offenses, non-violent and victim-free.

Sixteen years later the effects of the law were described in a searing book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

The author of the book is a distinguished legal scholar and human rights activist, Michelle Alexander.

Ms. Alexander well understands how the Clintons and their creation, the New Democratic Party, left working families and communities of color without a political voice. And no one addresses the tragedy more forcefully. Her latest work is an article, “Black Lives Shattered,in the February 29, 2016 issue of The Nation. She details how the two Clinton laws have devastated African-American families and sent millions—particularly those young black males—to prison. In the article’s caption, she asks, The Clinton’s legacy has been the impoverishment of black America—so why are we still voting for them?

The online version of her article carries a different title, Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote . Her compelling case is abbreviated in the subtitle:

From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America.

When pressed, and with limited enthusiasm Hillary Clinton now apologizes for the laws, suggesting they are no longer quite so appropriate.

But she has not, cannot, and unquestionably will not mention two other laws passed at the bidding of President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin.

These laws enriched the Wall Street banks by hundreds of billions of dollars, but they too devastated working families, African-Americans, and Latinos.

The first was The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, repealing the Glass-Steagall legislation of 1933. Now it was legal once more for financial institutions to mix commercial and investment banking. Goldman Sachs et al. could now use depositor’s funds, insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to buy up “subprime” mortgages, the high-interest debt obligations of typically low-income, black, and Latino families.

The next law was The Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Now Goldman Sachs et al. could transform packages of those “subprime” mortgages into complicated derivatives called “mortgage-backed-obligations,” have them fraudulently rated as AAA investments, and sell them around the world, without limit, without restriction, without regulation, at immense profit.

For eight years the bubble inflated, and then it collapsed in the last year of George Bush’s Administration. Real estate values plummeted. The stock market was hammered. So was the U.S. economy. And so tragically were many low-income, African-American, and Latino families. $13 trillion in household wealth vaporized. Nine million workers lost their jobs. Five million families were evicted from their homes.xiii

This is what the Clinton Administration, and the New Democratic Party, had wrought.

The banks were caught with hundreds of billions in mortgage-backed derivatives still in the pipeline, the market values of which were dropping like stones. Wall Street’s prospective losses were horrific; bankruptcies loomed. But George Bush’s Treasury Secretary was the obligatory Wall Streeter: Mr. Hank Paulson, recently CEO of Goldman Sachs. In a heartbeat Mr. Paulson rammed through Congress The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. It was known as the “Troubled Asset Relief Program,” and it handed Mr. Paulson $700 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy the near-worthless securities from the banks.

Hillary Clinton, now the U.S. Senator from New York, voted for the bill, telling a New York radio station the next day, “I think the banks of New York..are probably the biggest winners in this.”xiv

Eagerly, Mr. Paulson started buying, typically paying the banks half again the market value of the “troubled assets.”xv But a presidential campaign was underway, and soon he would have to stop.

Barack Obama, overcoming Hillary Clinton in the primaries, was elected as the second president from the New Democratic Party. Mr. Obama’s campaign contributions from Wall Street:

*Goldman Sachs: $1,034,615

*JP Morgan Chase: $847,855

*Citigroup: $755,057

*Morgan Stanley: $528,182

The total here is $3.7 million.xvi (Hillary Clinton’s campaign, apparently thought more likely to succeed, was supported with $14.6 million from the banks.xvii)

President Obama’s choice of Wall Street bankers to head his Treasury Department was Mr. Timothy Geithner, lately the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mr. Geithner wasted no time in resuming the “troubled asset” purchases, and his execution of the program was no less profitable for the banks than Mr. Paulson’s.xviii

Wall Street’s grip on the New Democratic Party, however, and its influence in the Obama Administration, appeared in the Department of Justice as well. Mr. Eric Holder joined the Administration from the law firm of Covington Burling, which represents in Washington most of the Wall Street banks. Charged with prosecuting their criminal behavior, Mr. Holder found the banks “too big to fail.” Instead of criminal indictments and lawsuits, then, Mr. Holder negotiated with each of the banks a financial penalty to be paid from corporate funds. No corporate executives were jailed, no personal fines levied, no records of criminal conduct filed, no salaries reduced, no bonuses denied.

Today the Wall Street banks are larger and more powerful than ever, and Mr. Holder has returned to Covington Burling. President Obama, however—of the New Democratic Party—has provided no similar relief to the brutalized working families and communities of color. Their struggles continue, the crime and welfare laws have not been repealed, and the title of a recent study tells the tragic truth: During Obama’s Presidency Wealth Inequality has Increased and Poverty Levels are Higher.xix

Because of the Clintons’ romance with Wall Street and their corrupt New Democratic Party, the New York bankers and the Clintons are richer today. Others—betrayed, abandoned, savaged—are not.

Notes

i“Two Clintons. 41 years. $3 Billion,” Washington Post, November 19, 2015

ii“Occupy Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street Speeches,” Huffpost Politics, February 28, 2016

iii“Hillary Clinton. Top 20 Contributors, 1999-2002,” http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php/type==C&cid..

iv“Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Still Favorites of Wall Street Banks,” Huffpost Politics, October 22, 2015

v“$153 Million in Bill and Hillary Speaking Fees, Documented,” Robert Yoon, CNN, Updated February 6, 2016.

vi“Hillary Clinton Made More in 12 Speeches to Big Banks That Most of Us Earn in a Lifetime,” https://theintercept.com/2016/01/08/hillary-clinton-earned-more-from-12-speeches-to-big-banks-than-most-americans-earn-in-their-lifetime/

vii“Clinton Defends Wall Street Speeches at CNN Town Hall,” Time, February 4, 2016

viiiFrom Hillary Clinton’s campaign website, under “Wall Street Reform,” http://hillaryclinton.com/issues/wall-street

ix“Hillary Clinton net worth: $45 Million,” http://www.celebritynetworth.com/

x“Bill Clinton net worth: $80 Million,” http://www.celebritynetworth.com/

xi“Wall Street Isn’t Worried about Hillary Clinton’s Plan,” CNN Money, October 8, 2015.

xii“Poverty Has Nearly Doubled Since 2000 in America,” International Business Times, August 9, 2015

xiii“Wall Street Reform: Wall Street must work for Main Street,” http://hillaryclinton.com/issues/wall-street

xiv“Hillary Clinton’s Tough Talk on Wall Street,” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/13/hillary-clinton..

xv“Troubled Asset Relief Program,” Wikipedia

xvi“Barack Obama. Top Contributors, 2008 Cycle,” http;//www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php/cid=

xviiWashington Post, “Two Clintons. 41 Years. $3 Billion”

xviiiSee Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, by Neil Barofsky, passim.

xixhttp://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

Richard W. Behan lives in Corvallis, Oregon. He can be reached at: rwbehan@comcast.net.

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops and Info-War

By Don North | Consortium News | September 2, 2015

As reflected in a recent NATO conference in Latvia and in the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual, the U.S. government has come to view the control and manipulation of information as a “soft power” weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under the catch phrase “strategic communications.”

This attitude has led to treating psy-ops – manipulative techniques for influencing a target population’s state of mind and surreptitiously shaping people’s perceptions – as just a normal part of U.S. and NATO’s information policy.

Dr. Stephen Badsey, Professor of Conflict studies, Wolverhampton University, U.K.

Dr. Stephen Badsey, Professor of Conflict studies, Wolverhampton University, U.K.

“The NATO case and argument is that NATO’s approach to psy-ops is to treat it as an essentially open, truthful and benign activity and that, plus the elimination of any meaningful distinctions between domestic and foreign media institutions and social media, means that psy-ops and public affairs have effectively fused,” said British military historian, Dr. Stephen Badsey, one of the world’s leading authorities on war and the media.

Badsey said NATO has largely abandoned the notion that there should be a clear distinction between psy-ops and public affairs, although NATO officially rules out the dissemination of “black propaganda,” knowingly false information designed to discredit an adversary.

“The long argument as to whether a firewall should be maintained between psy-ops and information activities and public affairs has now largely ended, and in my view the wrong side won,” Badsey added.

And, as part of this Brave New World of “strategic communications,” the U.S. military and NATO have now gone on the offensive against news organizations that present journalism which is deemed to undermine the perceptions that the U.S. government seeks to convey to the world.

That attitude led to the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual which suggests journalists in wartime may be considered “spies” or “unprivileged belligerents,” creating the possibility that reporters could be subject to indefinite incarceration, military tribunals and extrajudicial execution – the same treatment applied to Al Qaeda terrorists who are also called “unprivileged belligerents.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sPentagon Manual Calls Some Reporters Spies.”]

The revised “Law of War” manual has come under sharp criticism from representatives of both mainstream and independent media, including The New York Times’ editors and the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as academics such as Dr. Badsey.

“The attitude toward the media expressed in the 2015 Pentagon manual is a violation of the international laws of war to which the USA is a signatory, going back to the 1907 Hague Convention, and including the Geneva Conventions,” said Badsey, a professor of conflict studies at Wolverhampton University in the United Kingdom and a long-time contact of mine who is often critical of U.S. military information tactics.

“But [the manual] is a reflection of the attitude fully displayed more than a decade ago in Iraq where the Pentagon decided that some media outlets, notably Al Jazeera, were enemies to be destroyed rather than legitimate news sources.”

The Vietnam Debate

The Pentagon’s hostility toward journalists whose reporting undermines U.S. government propaganda goes back even further, becoming a tendentious issue during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s when the war’s supporters accused American journalists of behaving treasonously by reporting critically about the U.S. military’s strategies and tactics, including exposure of atrocities such as the My Lai massacre.

In the 1980s, conservatives in the Reagan administration – embracing as an article of faith that “liberal” reporters contributed to the U.S. defeat in Vietnam – moved aggressively to discredit journalists who wrote about human rights violations by U.S.-backed forces in Central America. In line with those hostile attitudes, news coverage of President Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada in 1983 was barred, and in 1990-91, President George H.W. Bush tightly controlled journalists trying to report on the Persian Gulf War. By keeping out – or keeping a close eye on – reporters, the U.S. military acted with fewer constraints and abuses went largely unreported.

This so-called “weaponizing of information” turned even more lethal during the presidency of Bill Clinton and the war over Kosovo when NATO identified Serb TV as an enemy “propaganda center” and dispatched warplanes to destroy its studios in Belgrade. In April 1999, acting under orders from U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, American bombers fired two cruise missiles that reduced Radio Televizija Srbija to a pile of rubble and killed 16 civilian Serb journalists working for the government station.

Despite this willful slaughter of unarmed journalists, the reaction from most U.S. news organizations was muted. However, an independent association of electronic media in Yugoslavia condemned the attack.

“History has shown that no form of repression, particularly the organized and premeditated murder of journalists, can prevent the flow of information, nor can it prevent the public from choosing its own sources of information,” the group said.

The (London) Independent’s Robert Fisk remarked at the time, “once you kill people because you don’t like what they say, you change the rules of war.” Now, the Pentagon is doing exactly that, literally rewriting its “Law of War” manual to allow for the no-holds-barred treatment of “enemy” journalists as “unprivileged belligerents.”

Despite the 1999 targeting of a news outlet in order to silence its reporting, a case for war crimes was never pursued against the U.S. and NATO officials responsible, and retired General Clark is still a frequent guest on CNN and other American news programs.

Targeting Al Jazeera

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the Arab network Al Jazeera was depicted as “enemy media” deserving of destruction rather than being respected as a legitimate news organization – and the news network’s offices were struck by American bombs. On Nov. 13, 2001, during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a U.S. missile hit Al Jazeera’s office in Kabul, destroying the building and damaging the homes of some employees.

On April 8, 2003, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a U.S. missile hit an electricity generator at Al Jazeera’s Baghdad office, touching off a fire that killed reporter Tareq Ayyoub and wounding a colleague. The Bush administration insisted that the attacks on Al Jazeera offices were “accidents.”

However, in 2004, as the U.S. occupation of Iraq encountered increased resistance and U.S. forces mounted a major offensive in the city of Fallujah, Al Jazeera’s video of the assault graphically depicted the devastation – and on April 15, 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decried Al Jazeera’s coverage as “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”

According to a British published report on the minutes of a meeting the next day between President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush suggested bombing Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar but was talked out of the idea by Blair who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

During the Iraq War, Dr. Badsey wrote the following observation which I cited in my book on military/media relations, Inappropriate Conduct: “The claim that in 2004 at the first battle of Fallujah the U.S. Marine Corps ‘weren’t beaten by the terrorists and insurgents, they were beaten by Al Jazeera television’ rather than that they [U.S. forces] employed inappropriate tactics for the political environment of their mission, is recognizable as yet another variant on the long-discredited claim that the Vietnam War was lost on the television screens of America.”

Although the notion of Vietnam-era journalists for U.S. media acting as a fifth column rather than a Fourth Estate is widely accepted among conservatives, the reality was always much different, with most of the early Vietnam War coverage largely favorable, even flattering, before journalists became more skeptical as the war dragged on.

In a recent interview on NPR radio, Charles Adams, a senior editor of the new “Law of War” manual, was unable to cite examples of journalists jeopardizing operations in the last five wars – and that may be because there were so few examples of journalistic misconduct and the handful of cases involved either confusion about rules or resistance to news embargoes that were considered unreasonable.

Examining the history of reporters dis-accredited during the Vietnam War, William Hammond, author of a two-volume history of U.S. Army relations with the media in Vietnam, found only eight dis-accreditations, according to military files.

Arguably the most serious case involved the Baltimore Sun’s John Carroll, an Army veteran himself who believed strongly that it was important that the American people be as thoroughly informed about the controversial war as possible. He got in trouble for reporting that the U.S. Marines were about to abandon their base at Khe Sahn. He was accused of violating an embargo and was stripped of his credentials, though he argued that the North Vietnamese surrounding the base were well aware of the troop movement.

Toward the end of the war, some reporters also considered the South Vietnamese government so penetrated by the communists that there were no secrets anyway. Prime Minister Nguyen van Thieu’s principal aide was a spy and everyone knew it except the American people.

During his long career, which included the editorship of the Los Angeles Times, Carroll came to view journalists “almost as public servants and a free press as essential to a self-governing nation,” according to his obituary in The New York Times after his death on June 14, 2015.

Strategic Communication

During the Obama administration, the concept of “strategic communication” – managing the perceptions of the world’s public – has grown more and more expansive and the crackdown on the flow of information unprecedented. More than any of his predecessors, President Barack Obama has authorized harsh legal action against government “leakers” who have exposed inconvenient truths about U.S. foreign policy and intelligence practices.

And Obama’s State Department has mounted a fierce public campaign against the Russian network, RT, that is reminiscent of the Clinton administration’s hostility toward Serb TV and Bush-43’s anger toward Al Jazeera.

Since RT doesn’t use the State Department’s preferred language regarding the Ukraine crisis and doesn’t show the requisite respect for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev, the network is denounced for its “propaganda,” but this finger-pointing is really just part of the playbook for “information warfare,” raising doubts about the information coming from your adversary while creating a more favorable environment for your own propaganda. [See Consortiumnews.com’sWho’s the Propagandist? US or RT?”]

This growing fascination with “strategic communication” has given rise to NATO’s new temple to information technology, called “The NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence” or STRATCOM, located in Latvia, a former Soviet republic that is now on the front lines of the tensions with Russia.

On Aug. 20, some of the most influential minds from the world of “strategic communications” gathered in Latvia’s capital of Riga for a two-day conference entitled “Perception Matters.” A quotation headlined in all its communications read: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed” – noble sentiments perhaps but not always reflected in the remarks by more than 200 defense and communications experts, many of whom viewed information not as some neutral factor necessary for enlightening the public and nourishing democracy, but as a “soft power” weapon to be wielded against an adversary.

Hawkish Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, led a delegation of U.S. senators and said STRATCOM was needed to combat Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. “This Center will help spread the truth,” said McCain – although “the truth” in the world of “strategic communications” can be a matter of perception.

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Don North is a veteran war correspondent who covered the Vietnam War and many other conflicts around the world. He is the author of a new book, Inappropriate Conduct,  the story of a World War II correspondent whose career was crushed by the intrigue he uncovered.

September 3, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment