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As dictator Kagame unmasked, it is time to reveal Canadian connection

By Yves Engler · October 24, 2018

Canada’s paper of record pulled another layer off the rotting onion of propaganda obscuring the Rwandan tragedy. But, the Globe and Mail has so far remained unwilling to challenge prominent Canadians who’ve crafted the fairy tale serving Africa’s most ruthless dictator.

Two weeks ago a front-page Globe article added to an abundance of evidence suggesting Paul Kagame’s RPF shot down the plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana, which sparked the mass killings of spring 1994. “New information supports claims Kagame forces were involved in assassination that sparked Rwandan genocide”, noted the headline. The Globe all but confirmed that the surface-to-air missiles used to assassinate the Rwandan and Burundian Hutu presidents came from Uganda, which backed the RPF’s bid to conquer its smaller neighbour. (A few thousand exiled Tutsi Ugandan troops, including the deputy minister  of defence, “deserted” to invade Rwanda in 1990.) The new revelations strengthen those who argue that responsibility for the mass killings in spring 1994 largely rests with the Ugandan/RPF aggressors and their US/British/Canadian backers.

Despite publishing multiple stories over the past two years questioning the dominant narrative, the Globe has largely ignored the Canadians that shaped this Kagame-friendly storyline. I’ve written a number of articles detailing Roméo Dallaire’s important role in this sordid affair, but another widely regarded Canadian has offered significant ideological support to Kagame’s crimes in Rwanda and the Congo.

As Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF in the late 1990s Stephen Lewis was appointed to a Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and the Surrounding Events. Reportedly instigated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and partly funded by Canada, the Organization of African Unity’s 2000 report, “The Preventable Genocide”, was largely written by Lewis recruit Gerald Caplan, who was dubbed Lewis’ “close friend and alter ego of nearly 50 years.”

While paying lip service to the complex interplay of ethnic, class and regional politics, as well as international pressures, that spurred the “Rwandan Genocide”, the 300-page report is premised on the unsubstantiated claim there was a high level plan by the Hutu government to kill all Tutsi. It ignores the overwhelming logic and evidence pointing to the RPF as the culprit in shooting down the plane carrying President Habyarimana and much of the army high command, which sparked the mass killings of spring 1994.

The report also rationalizes Rwanda’s repeated invasions of the Congo, including a 1,500 km march to topple the Mobutu regime in Kinshasa and subsequent re-invasion after the government it installed expelled Rwandan troops. That led to millions of deaths during an eight-country war between 1998 and 2003.

In a Democracy Now! interview concerning the 2000 Eminent Personalities report Lewis mentioned “evidence of major human rights violations on the part of the present [Kagame] government of Rwanda, particularly post-genocide in the Kivus and in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” But, he immediately justified the slaughter, which surpassed Rwanda’s 1994 casualty toll. “Now, let me say that the [Eminent Personalities] panel understands that until Rwanda’s borders are secure, there will always be these depredations. And another terrible failure of the international community was the failure to disarm the refugee camps in the then-Zaire, because it was an invitation to the génocidaires to continue to attack Rwanda from the base within the now- Congo. So we know that has to be resolved. That’s still what’s plaguing the whole Great Lakes region.”

An alternative explanation of “what’s plaguing the whole Great Lakes region” is US/UK/Canada backed Ugandan/RPF belligerence, which began with their invasion of Rwanda in 1990 and continued with their 1996, 1998 and subsequent invasions of the Congo. “An unprecedented 600-page investigation by the UN high commissioner for human rights”, reported a 2010 Guardian story, found Rwanda responsible for “crimes against humanity, war crimes, or even genocide” in the Congo.

Fifteen years after the mass killing in Rwanda in 1994 Lewis was still repeating Kagame’s rationale for unleashing mayhem in the Congo. In 2009 he told a Washington D.C. audience that “just yesterday morning up to two thousand Rwandan troops crossed into the Eastern Region of the Congo to hunt down, it is said, the Hutu génocidaires.”

A year earlier Lewis blamed Rwandan Hutu militias for the violence in Eastern Congo. “What’s happening in eastern Congo is the continuation of the genocide in Rwanda … The Hutu militias that sought refuge in Congo in 1994, attracted by its wealth, are perpetrating rape, mutilation, cannibalism with impunity from world opinion.”

In 2009 the Rwanda News Agency described Lewis as “a very close friend to President Paul Kagame.” And for good reason. Lewis’ has sought to muzzle any questioning of the “RPF and U.S.-U.K.-Canadian party line” on the tragedy of 1994. In 2014 he signed an open letter condemning the BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold StoryThe 1,266 word public letter refers to the BBC’s “genocide denial”, “genocide deniers” or “deniers” at least 13 times. Notwithstanding Lewis and his co-signers’ smears, which gave Kagame cover to ban the BBC’s Kinyarwanda station, Rwanda’s Untold Story includes interviews with a former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a former high-ranking member of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda and a number of former Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) associates of Kagame. In “The Kagame-Power Lobby’s Dishonest Attack on the BBC 2’s Documentary on RwandaEdward S. Herman and David Peterson write: “[Lewis, Gerald Caplan, Romeo Dallaire et al.’s] cry of the immorality of ‘genocide denial’ provides a dishonest cover for Paul Kagame’s crimes in 1994 and for his even larger crimes in Zaire-DRC [Congo]. … [The letter signers are] apologists for Kagame Power, who now and in years past have served as intellectual enforcers of an RPF and U.S.-U.K.-Canadian party line.”

Recipient of 37 honorary degrees from Canadian universities, Lewis has been dubbed a “spokesperson for Africa” and “one of the greatest Canadians ever”. On Africa no Canadian is more revered than Lewis. While he’s widely viewed as a champion of the continent, Lewis has backed Africa’s most bloodstained ruler.

It is now time for the Globe and Mail to peel back another layer of the rotting onion of propaganda and investigate Canadian connections to crimes against humanity in Rwanda, Congo and the wider Great Lakes region of Africa.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bellingcat & Atlantic Council join to award exploited Syrian child & American Mass Murderer

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images
By Eva Bartlett | RT | June 28, 2018

Just when we thought the over-used Bana al-Abed story was in the war propaganda dustbin, the wonder-child theme has again been re-hashed, this time by the Atlantic Council.

The so-called “think tank” recently highlighted the nine-year old at a conference that also included former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Bana, the child presented to the world in late 2016 as tweeting from eastern Aleppo about wanting peace, Russia being bad, Assad being bad, etcetera, became colonial media’s darling, the perfect cover for war propaganda. We are told that Bana al-Abed has written a memoir. She has attended galas, met the Turkish president, and hobnobbed with movie stars and UN officials. Now, the girl has been trotted out on stage to receive an award from the Atlantic Council.

Critical-thinkers aren’t fooled by the Bana story. As I wrote earlier:

Critiques on Amazon reveal that thinking people aren’t buying brand Bana, in spite of her UN appearance and rehearsed speech about children dying from bombs and hunger (which the United Nations retweeted, as all good neutral and credible institutions might).

That her father was a member of a terrorist organization in Aleppo and worked in a Sharia Court has been documented, as has her family’s close proximity to numerous terrorist headquarters in their area of Aleppo alone.

But still, her official story is dragged on, endlessly.

Last April, after the world declared, with zero evidence, that Syria had used a toxic chemical on civilians in Douma, when Syrians testified to the contrary, Western leaders and corporate media labeled giving their testimony as a “masquerade,” “obscene.” They ignored the words of 11-year-old Hassan Diab from Douma. They ignored numerous reports of independent journalists whose reporting from Douma corroborate the testimonies. These people, corporate media tell us, are not to be believed.

Yet, as I wrote earlier, “Corporate media and Western leaders had no issues with the credibility of Bana, who was living surrounded by 25 terrorist cells in her district alone.”

What is the Atlantic Council?

Is the Atlantic Council some benevolent organization handing out awards to do-gooding people?

No. It’s a Washington DC-based think tank, which promulgates lies and propaganda to further imperialist wars and weapons sales, among other things. One of its Syria “experts” is none other than Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins, who recently took to social media to tell people to suck his “big balls,” making him more of a laughing stock than this backgrounder on the man with no qualifications to his title.

Some of the Atlantic Council’s funders include: the US State Department, oil and weapons manufacturing companies, banks, NATO, various nations’ ministries of defence, and the US Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy.

Even just based on funding alone, and ignoring their pro-NATO policy papers, the Atlantic Council clearly exists to further the interests of those involved in weapons manufacturing, wars, and oil.

‘Banging’: Bellingcat’s interview with Bana

In her interview with Bellingcat, Bana seems more natural than in her early 2017 “save, save the children of Syria” interview (her reply to what kind of food she liked). This time, she can answer basic ‘how are you’ questions. Her replies are met with “cool, cool, cool,” and “banging,” by Bellingcat’s Nick Waters.

After the chit-chat, Bana begins what is clearly a scripted soliloquy, staring forward, possibly concentrating on repeating what is likely being transmitted to her ear, speaking about children and war, destroyed schools, and of course not ever mentioning the terrorists who surrounded her home and occupied schools as headquarters, nor that her own father was a terrorist.

It is a transparently unauthentic recitation, with Bana continually pausing mid-sentence, presumably to hear the rest of what she is told to say. After two and a half minutes of this cringeworthy monologue, she breaks into song, singing “We shall overcome.”

When later receiving her Atlantic Council “Freedom Award,” she gives another rehearsed speech, again halting mid-sentence throughout her five minutes of talking.

These theatrical performances, hosted and encouraged by the Atlantic Council and Bellingcat, epitomize the depth that the NATO alliance is willing to stoop to, grasping desperately at legitimacy in their transparent war propaganda.

It was not only a shameful, but an embarrassing, fail for the Atlantic Council. As of two days later, there isn’t a single positive comment on the Youtube video of her interview. To the contrary, comments speak of child abuse, war propaganda, and that the girl is likely being fed her lines by an earpiece.

On the Atlantic Council’s Youtube channel, comments are disabled for Bana’s award speech.

Failed Sherlocks accuse a non-bot of being a troll

The DFRLab is a project of the Atlantic Council, ostensibly to identify those prolific (Russian) bots and trolls out there.

On June 22, Atlantic Council CEO and President Fred Kempe tweeted:

“Checking in at the 360 / OS #DigitalSherlocks! The @DFRLab team is working together with activists and journalists from all around the world to enhance our ability to identify trolls in the web spreading disinformation and fake news that pollute our open societies.”

The second photo in the tweet identifies three Twitter accounts as possible “trolls”: @Malinka1102, @ian56789, and @bowhunter_va.

One of the accused, @Malinka1102, tweeted about her preference for privacy and not being subjected to witch-hunts and harassment.

Having myself been a target of endless harassment and smear campaigns, I can appreciate her concerns, some of which are also included in a book by Phil Butler’s book.

In fact, a new article by Ben Nimmo—who previously targeted @ian56789 as a “Russian bot” (an accusation revealed to be baseless when Ian gave a live Sky News interview, revealing himself to be a concerned British man)—now targets a number of twitter profiles as “trolls”, including yours truly.

So basically, people who challenge the State Department, sorry, Atlantic Council, Human Rights Watch, and all the other arms of the US and UK governments on their war propaganda are not thinking people with consciences, they are just “trolls”. That’s what DFRLab wants you to believe.

Atlantic Council awards its own war propaganda

On awarding Bana al-Abed, the Atlantic Council tweeted about her humanizing the “Syrian civil war.”

Oh, the irony. The exploited child’s Twitter account has called for World War Three, has whitewashed Al-Qaeda and indeed Bana’s own father Ghassan, a terrorist with the Safwa Brigade.

The irony of also awarding Madeleine Albright — known for her lack of remorse over the 500,000 Iraqi children who died as a result of sanctions — was not lost on people.

Every new Bana production mocks the children in Syria who are actually starving — like those in Ghouta when under terrorist rule, those when under terrorist rule in eastern Aleppo, in Madaya, in al-Waer — and who are being maimed or murdered by terrorist bombings.

The Atlantic Council and Bellingcat are guilty of war propaganda. As @ian56789 wrote to me in a message:

“The members of the Atlantic Council and DFRLab should be indicted as accomplices to War Crimes, for providing actual material support to al-Qaeda terrorists, and for Treason (actively supporting official enemies of the US & UK). They should be spending the rest of their lives in jail and fined every penny they’ve got.”

And those abusing and exploiting Bana al-Abed in their ongoing war propaganda should join them.


Eva Bartlett is a freelance journalist and rights activist with extensive experience in the Gaza Strip and Syria. Her writings can be found on her blog, In Gaza.

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law

By Ralph Nader | November 15, 2017

Me Too is producing some results. At long last. Victims of sexual assault by men in superior positions of power are speaking out. Big time figures in the entertainment, media, sports and political realms are losing their positions – resigning or being told to leave. A producer at 60 Minutes thinks Wall Street may be next.

Sexual assaults need stronger sanctions. Only a few of the reported assaulters are being civilly sued under the law of torts. Even fewer are subjects of criminal investigation so far.

Perhaps the daily overdue accounting, regarding past and present reports of sexual assaults will encourage those abused in other contexts to also blow the whistle on other abuses. Too often, there are not penalties, but instead rewards, for high government and corporate officials whose derelict and often illegal decisions directly produce millions of deaths and injuries.

A few weeks ago, former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice shared a stage at the George W. Bush Institute, reflecting on their careers to widespread admiration. What they neglected to mention were the devastated families, villages, cities and communities and nations plunged into violent chaos from the decisions they deliberately made in their careers.

In a 1996 interview, Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was asked by Lesley Stahl of CBS 60 Minutes about the tens of thousands of children in Iraq whose deaths were a direct result of Clinton-era sanctions designed to punish Baghdad and whether it was worth it (At that time, Ms. Stahl had just visited these wasting children and infants in a Baghdad hospital). Secretary Albright replied in the affirmative.

Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under George W. Bush, pushed for the criminal and unconstitutional invasion of Iraq, which resulted in over one million Iraqi deaths, millions of refugees, a broken country and sectarian violence that continues to this day. She has said she often thinks about this mayhem and feels some responsibility. Yet one wonders, as she collects huge speech fees and book advances from her position at Stanford University, whether she might consider donating some of her considerable resources to charities that support those Iraqis whose lives were destroyed by the illegal interventions she advocated.

Then there is lawless Hillary Clinton, who, against the strong advice of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and without any Congressional authorization, persuaded Barack Obama to support a destabilizing regime overthrow in Libya– which has since devolved into a failed state spreading death, destruction and terror in Libya to its neighboring countries. Clinton, who is at large touting her new book and making millions of dollars in book royalties and speech fees to applauding partisan audiences, should also consider making donations to those who have been harmed by her actions.

Relaxing in affluent retirement are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the butchers of millions of innocent Iraqis and Afghans. They too are raking it in and receiving ovations from their partisans. No prosecutors are going after them for illegal wars of aggression that were never constitutionally declared and violated our federal laws, international treaties and the Geneva Conventions.

As these ex-officials bask in adulation, the American people are not being shown the burned corpses, charred villages, and poisoned water and soil created by their “public service.” Nor are they exposed to the immense suffering and broken hearts of survivors mourning their deceased family members. Americans never hear the dreaded 24/7 whine of the omnipresent drones flying over their homes, ready to strike at the push of a button by remote operators in Virginia or Nevada. Nor do they hear the screams and sobbing of the victims of unbridled military action, fueling ever-greater hatred against the US.

Corporate executives also get rewarded for the mayhem they unleash by selling dangerously defective cars (e.g. GM, Toyota and VW recently) or releasing deadly toxins into the air and water or presiding over preventable problems in hospitals that a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study reported is talking 5000 lives a week in this country.

What’s the difference? Because the cause and effect by officials pushing lethal politics, openly carried out with massive armed forces, do so at a distance in time and space (the Nuremberg principles after World War II, which included adherence by the US, addressed this problem). They lather their massive violent, unlawful actions with lies, cover-ups and deceptions, as was the case in 2002-2003 in Iraq. They wrap the flag around their dishonorable desecrations of what that flag stands for and the lives of US soldiers whom they sent there to kill or die.

These officials overpower the rule of law with the rule of raw power – political, economic and military.

For centuries patriarchal mayhem has exploited women in the workplace or the home. Raw power – physical, economic and cultural, regularly, overpower the legal safeguards against wrongful injury, rape and torture, both in the household and at work.

Sporadic assertions of a punishing public opinion will not be enough in either sphere of humans abusing humans. That is why the rule of law must be enforced by the state, and through private civil actions.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon | February 1, 2017

madeline-albright05“Progressives” is the name Democrats call themselves when they need to draw attention away from the greedy and murderous one percenters who actually call the shots in their party.

Lazy, hypocritical progressive followers protest the unconstitutional machinations of Republican administrations like those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump while they ignore excuse the same crimes when committed by Democrats like the Clintons or Barack Obama. But Black Agenda Report does not bestow its coveted #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month award on mere followers. We pledge that each and every month our #ProgressiveHypocrite awardees will be leaders in their fields, major players whose recognized game inspires and enables the ordinary hypocrisy of countless partisan Democrats – or as they call themselves, progressives.

Thus we are proud to announce as Black Agenda Report’s very first #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month, for February 2017 is Madeleine K. Albright.

Madeleine Albright got her start as the protégé of notorious cold warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was her dissertation advisor at Columbia. As Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Z-big put Albright on as his special assistant. The next time a Democrat occupied the White House she was UN ambassador in Clinton’s first term and secretary of state in his second. Madeleine Albright famously asserted in a 1996 60 Minutes interview that although the US blockade of Iraq which she vigorously championed killed a half million Iraqi children that “… it was a hard choice but it was worth it…”

After the Clinton administration Albright founded a global consulting firm which became ASG, the Albright Stonebridge Group, representing and advising multinational corporations on six continents on how to enter and dominate local markets, how to privatize public land and public institutions like post offices and electric grids. The fixers at Albright Stonebridge help privatize water and sewer systems and chunks of the natural environment like the broadcast spectrum so outfits like Google and Facebook can own the internet in India and Africa. ASG claims credit for engineering the entry of WalMart into China and Thailand. Albright’s crew has global reach. They can make your corporation’s taxes in Mexico go away. They can rig the regs for Big Pharma in Brazil, they can prevent unfavorable laws affecting your profits in China or Japan and they can negotiate your bribe to the murderous Saudi royal family. They are consiglieri for hire in the global wave of corporate crime.

Albright mentored Susan Rice, the bare knuckled champion of vulture capital in Africa and of the US right to bomb and invade countries for their own protection. For her valued service to the one percent of the one percent, President Obama awarded Madeleine Albright the Medal of Freedom in 2012. She campaigned for Hillary alongside Cory Booker declaring there was “a special place in hell” for women who failed to support other women.

Now at the dawn of the Trump era, Madeleine Albright has been trotted out as the avatar of concern and compassion for Muslims who will be affected by the Islamaphobic policies of Donald Trump. She declared earlier this week that “… there are tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty…” and that she would “register as a Muslim” to protest Trump’s evil policies. We at Black Agenda Report recommend that Madeleine Albright register as an Iraqi toddler in the year 1995, when the blockade she championed killed half a million Iraqi children, mostly Muslims.

Thus for her inspirational hypocrisy in the service of Democratic – I mean progressive opposition to Donald Trump we name Madeleine K. Albright the #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month for February 2017.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

‘Madeleine Albright supported murder of Muslims, but now wants to register as Muslim!’

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Press TV – January 27, 2017

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright supported the murder of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, but now she wants to register as Muslim, American political analyst Myles Hoenig says.

“Albright, who bragged that the murder of half a million Iraqis, mostly children and other civilians, was worth it in order to take out its president Saddam Hussein, now says she’s willing to register as a Muslim if Trump signs an executive order for the creation of a Muslim database. Can hypocrisy know no shame?” Hoenig asked.

“Where was she when she was laying the groundwork for the murder of Muslims in the Middle East? Where was she for eight years under Obama when he was supporting Takfiri terrorists in Syria and throughout the area? And where was she when her candidate Hillary Clinton was running for office and calling for her to stop her campaign belligerency towards Muslims?” the analyst continued.

Hoenig made the remarks during a phone interview with Press TV on Friday.

Albright has said she is “ready to register as Muslim” if President Donald Trump moves ahead with a plan to create a database of Muslim Americans.

“I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity,” Albright, the first woman to run the State Department, said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Her comments came amid news of a draft executive order by Trump which would announce a ban on arrivals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Albright joined thousands of Americans who have pledged to register as Muslim in response to Trump’s proposal on the campaign trail to set up a Muslim registry in the US.

‘A quiet movement in the US’

Hoenig said that there is “a quiet movement in the US to register our protest by registering as Muslims if the orders are given.”

“Others are considering wearing Jewish stars on their overcoats as was done to them by the Nazis. Either approach would be symbolic and a sign of solidarity with not just Muslims, but all minorities, including immigrants, who are, and have been, persecuted by US officials for many, many years,” he added.

“There is a Yiddish word to describe what Albright is proposing: chutzpah. Loosely translated, it is the boy who kills his parents and asks for mercy because he’s an orphan. What Albright is suggesting she would do equals that; the murderer of hundreds of thousands of Muslims now wants to identify as such when her choice for president was not elected,” he stated.

“If Hillary Clinton were the president, we would likely not see such a registration. But we certainly would see more bloodshed in Muslim countries on her orders. Where would Albright be then? the activist asked in his concluding remarks.

January 27, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

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

Bipartisan War

A new study urges more U.S. interventions

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • December 13, 2016

The Establishment and Realist foreign policy communities in the United States often seem separated by language which leads them to talk past each other. When a realist or Libertarian talks about non-intervention or restraint in foreign policy, as Ron Paul did in 2008 and 2012, the Establishment response is to denounce isolationism. As Dr. Paul noted during his campaigns, non-interventionism and isolationism have nothing to do with each other as a country that does not meddle in the affairs of others can nevertheless be accessible and open in dealing with other nations in many other ways. Non-interventionists are fond of quoting George Washington’s Farewell Address, in which he recommended that “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible… Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest.” Establishment pundits tend to dismiss that “little political connection” bit, preferring instead to warn how detachment from foreign politics might lead to the rise of a new Adolph Hitler.

I was reminded of the language barrier while reading the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force report, which appeared on November 30th. The report, which promises a new “Compact for the Middle East” while also asserting that “isolationism is a dangerous delusion,” might be regarded as a quintessential document laying out the Establishment position on what should be done in the region. It is ostensibly the product of two co-chairs, Madeleine Albright and Stephen Hadley, but it is also credited to an Executive Team headed by Executive Director Stephen Grand and Deputy Executive Director Jessica Ashooh, who in all probability were responsible for the actual drafting and editing.

The report also appears to have numerous high profile advisers who might or might not have had some hand in the final product. Running through the list of associates in the project which appears at the end of the report, one notes immediately that there is no individual or group identified that would contest the notion that the U.S. must have a leadership role in the Middle East. Indeed, many of those named derive considerable status from being part or supportive of America’s engagement in the region.

I would unambiguously describe Albright and Hadley as interventionists, a label that they might object to. Albright was Bill Clinton’s aggressive Secretary of State who is famous for her endorsement of American exceptionalism, stating that “We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future…” She also is notorious for her approval of sanctions on Iraq that might have killed 500,000 children as “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it” and she also once asked Colin Powell “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

Stephen Hadley was the hawkish National Security Advisor under George W. Bush. He was one of the most outspoken advocates of military action against Iraq. During the essentially phony Syrian chemical weapons crisis in September 2013, he appeared on the media advocating attacking Syria with missiles. At the time, he was on the board at Raytheon and owned 11,477 shares of stock, which some considered to be a conflict of interest.

Albright and Hadley clearly were selected as co-Chairs to make the report bipartisan, an imperative for the Atlantic Council, which prides itself on being non-political, describing itself in its website as “a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community.” That self-definition suggests active engagement by the United States that goes well beyond George Washington’s advice. And if you look at the list of the Council’s executives and review their writings you will be able to confirm that they are pretty much inside the Beltway status quo in terms of supporting an assertive U.S. role in world affairs.

Albright and Hadley brought with them a certain point of view which was certainly recognized by the initiators of the project and one might assume that the Atlantic Council pretty much knew what the report would endorse even before it was written. The report, which runs to 105 pages, explores what it describes as a new strategic vision for the Middle East that will “change the political trajectory of the region.” It goes something like this: the states in the region must work together to create a “positive vision for their societies” to include “unlock[ing] the region’s rich, but largely untapped, human capital – especially the underutilized talents of youth and women.” Meanwhile, outside forces like the United States would have the responsibility of taking the lead to wind down the “violent conflicts” that have rocked the region. That means that the local governments will be responsible for haggling their way to some kind of acceptable modus vivendi while the U.S. must become more deeply involved militarily and using intelligence resources to stabilize Syria, Yemen and Libya.

In the case of Syria, which is the focus of the report, the argument is made that Bashar al-Assad’s reactionary regime is the root cause of the violence that has cost more than 200,000 lives and dislocated at least a third of the country’s population. This assessment is not necessarily universally accepted since 80% of the Syrian population lives in areas controlled by the government, which is about to increase its dominance by taking all of Aleppo, and there are no reports of civilians fleeing en masse to the greater freedom afforded by the rebel held areas, rather the reverse being true.

The report recommends using the U.S. military to establish safe areas in Syria to protect civilian populations, to include no-fly zones, which would bring about direct contact with the air forces of both Damascus and Moscow. It explicitly calls for direct military action against Syrian government forces including the employment of “air power, stand-off weapons, covert measures and enhanced support for opposition forces to break the current siege of Aleppo and frustrate Assad’s attempts to consolidate control over western Syria’s population centers.”

This judgment has been overtaken by events, but the co-authors do not really discuss what such an intervention would mean as it would involve the United States in an actual war based on executive fiat without any declaration from Congress. It also ignores reality on the ground, to include some politico-military reliance on the mythical moderate rebels while choosing not to recognize that the U.S. military is the intruder in Syria which, like it or not, has a legitimate government and a legal ally in Russia. The possibility of a second war with Russia is largely ignored in the report though there is an assumption that military pressure from the U.S. would push Damascus and Moscow towards a “political settlement” of the conflict after Russia becomes convinced through the assertion of American military power that “defeat, or stalemate, not victory, are the only realistic military outcomes.”

The report was initially intended to serve as a bipartisan rebuke to the current Barack Obama policy which limits direct American involvement in the conflict. Written before the presidential election, the co-authors could not have anticipated a Donald Trump victory, but they might be hoping that the report would serve as a guideline for the new administration. Hopefully they will be wrong in that expectation, but it is difficult at this point to see where the next White House will be going with its Middle Eastern policy.

There are a number of things wrong with the report from my perspective. Most significant, it assigns to the United States the responsibility to set and enforce standards of governance in parts of the world where the American people have little in the way of actual interests. The report refers to this oversight role as part of “enabling American global military operations,” an odd objective and also a point at which the language and perceptual problems come in – I am hearing intervention, which has been a failed policy since 2001, where Albright and Hadley construe a humanitarian mission based on American interests. They also have difficulty in conceptualizing that what they describe as the “debilitating cycle of conflict” in the Middle East might actually have been caused in large part by Washington’s involvement in that region, starting with the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Second, the authors assume that the countries in the region, all of which have disparate interests, will act in good faith to support the “unlocking of the region’s human potential,” as the report enthuses, as part of its “positive vision.” It sounds good and probably is pleasing to globalists, but I would be skeptical of any kumbaya moments that require bringing together players like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey into one harmonic movement to better everyone in the region. Such pie in the sky is not even close to credible.

Third, when the report was issued Stephen Hadley told Reuters that “It may not work. But one of the things we know is that what’s going on now isn’t working.” No, it isn’t, but that might be based on a faulty assessment of the nature of the conflict. And this is thin gruel indeed to use as justification for going to war against Syria and possibly Russia.

One of the report’s obvious weaknesses derives from its Establishment-centric worldview. It calls for building stronger political institutions among the Palestinians in order to achieve a two-state solution without any serious examination of what the Israeli occupation is doing or not doing to impede any real movement in that direction. It treats Iran as an enemy of the “positive vision” that is “interfering” with its neighbors with the U.S. willing to “deter and contain Iran’s hegemonic activity,” making any real progress towards regional rapprochement unlikely. It sees a liberal democratic solution to all ills and judges multifaceted regional conflicts in purely “us against them” terms, favoring its “friends and allies” against the numerous other forces that are not on the same page.

The Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force Final Report argues that a transformation of the entire region, starting with establishment of security by replacing al-Assad and defeating ISIS, is both desirable and attainable. And it is an enterprise that has to be left to local players for the necessary social and political constructs with the U.S. providing leadership and direction, particularly when it comes to repressing “violent conflicts.” It is a utopian vision of what might be but one has to be concerned that the simplistic application of military force as a remedy for the regional cycle of violence ignores the probability that the reliance on such a solution in the first place has been a key element in the evolution of the current instability. That Syria will be fixed by coming in with force majeure on the side of what is being promoted as a progressive and humanitarian alternative to Bashar al-Assad borders on the ridiculous, but it is characteristic of the default position that many in Washington adopt when considering how to solve the problems in the Middle East.

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

RT | May 14, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of the Official 9/11 Myth

By Kevin Ryan | Dig Within | October 26, 2015

People sometimes wonder why is it important to investigate the alleged hijackers and others officially accused of committing the 9/11 crimes. After all, the accused 19 hijackers could not have accomplished most of what happened. The answer is that the official accounts are important because they are part of the crimes. Identifying and examining the people who created the official 9/11 myth helps to reveal the ones who were responsible overall.

The people who actually committed the crimes of September 11th didn’t intend to just hijack planes and take down the buildings—they intended to blame others. To accomplish that plan the real criminals needed to create a false account of what happened and undoubtedly that need was considered well in advance. In this light, the official reports can be seen to provide a link between the “blaming others” part of the crimes and the physical parts.

bremerPushing the concept of “Islamic Terrorism” was the beginning of the effort to blame others, although the exact 9/11 plan might not have been worked out at the time. This concept was largely a conversion of the existing Soviet threat, which by 1989 was rapidly losing its ability to frighten the public, into something that would serve more current policy needs. Paul Bremer and Brian Jenkins were at the forefront of this conversion of the Soviet threat into the threat of Islamic terrorism. Both Bremer and Jenkins were also intimately connected to the events at the World Trade Center.

The concerted effort to propagandize about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (OBL) seems to have begun in earnest in 1998. That’s when the African embassy bombings were attributed to OBL and the as-yet unreported group called Al Qaeda. The U.S. government responded with bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan and, with help from the New York Times, began to drum up an intense myth about the new enemy.

“This is, unfortunately, the war of the future,” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said. “The Osama bin Laden organization has basically declared war on Americans and has made very clear that these are all Americans, anywhere.”

In retrospect, it is surprising that this was the first reference to Al Qaeda in the New York Times, coming only three years before 9/11. More surprising is that The Washington Post did not report on Al Qaeda until June 1999, and its reporting was highly speculative about the power behind this new threat.

“But for all its claims about a worldwide conspiracy to murder Americans, the government’s case is, at present, largely circumstantial. The indictment never explains how bin Laden runs al Qaeda or how he may have masterminded the embassy bombings.”

Despite this skepticism from The Post, the reports about Al Qaeda continued in an odd mixture of propaganda and doubt. For example, The Times reported on the trial of the men accused of the African embassy attacks in May 2001. That article contradicted itself saying that “prosecutors never introduced evidence directly showing that Mr. bin Laden ordered the embassy attacks” and yet that a “former advisor” to Bin Laden, one Ali Mohamed, claimed that Bin Laden “pointed to where a truck could go as a suicide bomber.” The fact that Mohamed had worked for the U.S. Army, the FBI, and the CIA was not mentioned.

Other facts were ignored as well. That OBL had worked with the CIA and that Al Qaeda was basically a creation of CIA programs like Operation Cyclone were realities that began to fade into the background. By the time 9/11 happened, those facts were apparently forgotten by a majority of U.S. leaders and media sources. Also overlooked were the histories of people like Frank Carlucci and Richard Armitage, who played major roles in Operation Cyclone and who remained powerful players at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

In the two years before 9/11, the alleged hijackers were very active within the United States. They traveled extensively and often seemed to be making an effort to be noticed. When they were not trying to be noticed, they engaged in distinctly non-Muslim behavior. Mohamed Atta’s actions were erratic, in ways that were similar to those of Lee Harvey Oswald, and Atta appeared to be protected by U.S. authorities.

Meanwhile, leading U.S. terrorism experts seemed to be facilitating Al Qaeda terrorism. Evidence suggests that U.S. intelligence agency leaders Louis Freeh and George Tenet facilitated and covered-up acts of terrorism in the years before 9/11. Both of their agencies, the CIA and FBI, later took extraordinary measures to hide evidence related to the 9/11 attacks. And both agencies have made a mockery of the trial of those officially accused of helping OBL and the alleged hijackers.

Counter-terrorism leader Richard Clarke inexplicably helped OBL stay out of trouble, protecting him on at least two occasions. Clarke blatantly failed to follow-up on known Al Qaeda cells operating within the United States. After 9/11, Clarke was among those who falsely pointed to Abu Zubaydah as a top leader of Al Qaeda. Zubaydah’s torture testimony was then used as the basis for the 9/11 Commission Report.

Former CIA operative Porter Goss created the first official account of what happened on 9/11, along with his mentor Bob Graham. This was the report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry, produced by the intelligence oversight committees of the U.S. Congress. It was greatly influenced by people who should have been prime suspects. For example, Richard Clarke was the one in charge of the secure video conference at the White House that failed miserably to connect leaders and respond to the attacks. In the Joint Inquiry’s report, Clarke was cited as an authoritative reference 46 times. CIA director George Tenet was cited 77 times, and Louis Freeh was cited 31 times.

Therefore it is imperative that the people who worked to create the background story behind OBL and the accused hijackers be investigated for their roles in the 9/11 crimes. This includes not only those who were figureheads behind the official reports, but more importantly the ones who provided the evidence and testimony upon which those reports were built. The alleged hijackers and their associates should also be of considerable interest to 9/11 investigators. That’s because what we know about them was provided by people who we can assume were connected to the crimes and what we don’t yet know about them can reveal more of the truth.

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Playing the genocide card

The Politics of Genocide, an unflinching attack on Western meddling in foreign affairs, challenges the idea that external intervention can be a force for good.

By Tara McCormack | The Spiked Review of Books | August 2010

What does it mean to oppose Western intervention and military campaigns today? In a sense, it appears to be a mainstream position, as the million-strong protests against the Iraq War showed. Anti-war sentiments are not only found amongst certain protest-prone sections of the public; they are also expressed amongst the highest echelons of the political class. For instance, UK prime minister David Cameron recently accused Israel of creating an open-air prison in Gaza, and Lib-Con deputy prime minister Nick Clegg claims to have been against the Iraq War form the outset. Clare Short, who was a key member of the New Labour administration, never tires of denouncing the military intervention in Iraq as a form of neo-imperialism.

However, while a kind of ersatz anti-interventionism and criticism of government propaganda is now mainstream in relation to Iraq, critiquing Western powers’ meddling in other conflicts – such as those in the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sudan – invites serious charges, including comparisons with Holocaust denial. These conflicts have become fixed moral signifiers in an age otherwise ridden with moral and political uncertainty. They have come to be understood as simple cases of good vs evil, conflagrations that have sprung up in previously harmonious societies, in which one side, driven by vicious ethnic hatred, attempts to exterminate their fellow citizens. To speak of political root causes or the impact of external intervention here will invite derision and fury – and in particular from those on the left.

In fact, one of the most striking aspects about the Western response to the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in particular was the way in which large sections of the left abandoned some core left-wing positions on foreign policy. There was a religious-style conversion to the merits of Western intervention. Erased from memory was the recent history of the West in the developing world (and in the poorer states of Europe): the exploitation, the establishment of murderous ‘friendly’ regimes, the role of the West in creating instability and war. In the 1990s, many on the left claimed that in the post-Cold War era, Western states could be a ‘force for good’ in the world. Demands for ‘humanitarian intervention’ became common; such intervention symbolised for many a new progressive post-national politics. Conflicts were no longer interpreted through a political framework, but through a moral one of victims and aggressors, innocents and ‘genocidaires’.

Certainly no one could accuse Edward Herman and David Peterson, authors of The Politics of Genocide, of being part of the new left that cheers on the humanitarian potential of Western guns and bombs. At times, their book reads like an old-school, left-wing polemic against Western intervention and the way in which the killing of millions by the West is widely ignored or accepted as a necessary evil.

The fundamental point of their book is that all killings are not treated as equal. We might assume that, in an era in which human rights are meant to be triumphant and the rule of law is supposedly being spread by supranational institutions such as the International Criminal Court, all ‘crimes against humanity’ will be judged equally. Yet mass murder committed by the US and its allies tends either not to be regarded as such or to be deemed as necessary for the greater good, as part of the fight against terrorism, the suppression of women, and so on.

Herman and Peterson begin with a discussion of what they term a ‘constructive genocide’: the sanctions inflicted on Iraq during the 1990s. The consequences of these sanctions have remained little discussed, despite later widespread opposition to military intervention. Yet this collective punishment of a nation resulted in the collapse of what had been a more or less developed country and in the deaths of hundreds of thousands due to extremely harsh limits on everything from medical equipment to basic tools.

In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then US secretary of state, was asked in a television interview if she thought that the reported deaths of half a million Iraqi children due to sanctions was a price worth paying. She replied that she did indeed think so. And, not content with the deaths of half a million Iraqi children, Albright went on to play a key part in the bombing of Serbia in 1999. In light of the ever-tightening sanctions on Iran by the Obama administration, this should give pause for thought to anyone who thinks that non-military intervention is more ‘humane’.

Herman and Peterson describe other mass killings as ‘benign bloodbaths’ – those committed by Western allies and which are far removed from normal media outrage, like the thousands of Turkish Kurds killed by Turkey during the 1980s and 1990s. While the US, under the Clinton administration, and the UK, under the Tony Blair-led New Labour government, were regularly bombing Iraq during the 1990s to enforce a ‘no-fly’ zone, ostensibly in order to protect Iraq’s Kurdish population, Turkey was engaging in a military campaign against its own Kurdish population. Turkey even regularly bombed the adjoining Kurdish area of Iraq, its military planes taking off from the same airport that British and American planes would take off from to patrol the ‘no fly’ zone in defence of Kurds…

Herman and Peterson also discuss the massacres committed by Indonesia after its occupation of East Timor in 1975. Whilst East Timor became a fashionable humanitarian cause in 1999 and 2000, journalists had largely ignored Western complicity in the arming and installing of General el-Haj Mohammed Suharto as leader of Indonesia as part of US-backed coup in the mid-1960s. Today, some of the key figures in the contemporary human-rights crusading brand of journalism, such as Samantha Power, Roy Gutman and Christiane Amanpour, simply tend to ignore Western-backed violence in their fiery polemics alerting the world to ‘war crimes’ and ‘human rights abuse’. As always, all rights are not equal and whether or not the world will pay attention to your plight depends on your relationship to powerful states.

In a sense, Herman and Peterson’s discussions of Iraq, Turkey, Indonesia and Latin America go over old ground. However, their arguments about Rwanda, Yugoslavia and Darfur threaten some of the most cherished certainties of the post-Cold War left. They argue that the wars in Yugoslavia have been completely misrepresented by the West as a simple tale of evil nationalistic Serbs seeking to exterminate innocent Muslims. And much of what has been accepted as indisputable fact has turned out to be totally fabricated. For example, the death toll has been vastly inflated and Serbs have been wrongly accused of setting up ‘rape camps’.

It is a little-known fact that the biggest single act of ‘ethnic cleansing’ during the Yugoslav civil wars was conducted by Croatian forces (trained by American private military contractors and supported by NATO jets) in 1995, when Croatia expelled the Serbian population of the Krajina region. But Serbs had been so demonised by the Western media by then that little attention was paid to the event other than perhaps to say that they got what they deserved. This was not considered an act of ‘genocide’, nor was it brought up at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Yet the expulsion of 250,000 Serbs from Croatia was, in Herman and Peterson’s terminology, a ‘benign bloodbath’.

The same process of propaganda and misrepresentation occurred in Kosovo in 1999. At least this time there were some vocal critics in the UK against Western intervention and against the way in which the conflict was being presented. Figures in the British Labour Party, such as Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell and Alice Mahon, were very vocal in their arguments against the NATO bombing and against the demonisation of the Serbs. At the time Clare Short, self-professed anti-war heroine during the Iraq invasion, compared her critical colleagues to Nazi appeasers.

As for the 1994 killings in Rwanda, Herman and Peterson suggest these may have been even more misrepresented than the Yugoslav wars. The events in Rwanda have been portrayed as one of the greatest acts of evil in the twentieth century, an event of unimaginable barbarism. The accepted narrative is simple: genocidal Hutus launched a sudden and inexplicable attack on fellow Tutsi citizens, massacring hundreds of thousands until stopped by the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame. Herman and Peterson argue that this turns the real history of the conflict on its head. Kagame and the RPF, trained by American forces, in fact launched an invasion and occupation of Rwanda.

Any kind of evidence that has challenged the established tale has been quashed or dropped. For example, research done by the academics initially sponsored by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTFR) revealed that by far greater numbers were killed in areas controlled by the RPF than in those controlled by government forces. In 1994, a UN investigation and report commissioned by the UN High Commission for Refugees found similar patterns, but was subsequently suppressed. When a former ICTFR investigator brought forward evidence that the infamous assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana (supposedly a signal for the Hutu attacks to commence) was actually perpetrated by members of the RPF (which would clearly challenge the entire Western presentation of the conflict), chief prosecutor Louise Arbour dismissed his evidence. She argued that it was not within the remit of the ICTFR.

Kagame has gone on to rule Rwanda with an iron fist, killing thousands of Hutu refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and has been a key actor, along with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in the destabilisation and looting of the DRC. In his spare time, Kagame hangs out with members of the global elite, such as former US president Bill Clinton, Microsoft-millionaire Bill Gates, and Starbucks-founder Howard Schultz.

The Politics of Genocide is a compact, sharp and unflinching attack on Western aggression, demolishing the propaganda that has structured Western orthodoxies around international conflicts. The only caveat is that Herman and Peterson raise several questions that they do not, in the end, answer. For instance, to the authors the explanation for post-Cold War Western involvement, deception and propaganda is simply ‘business as usual’ – the pursuit of Western interests. But when it comes to Iraq and Rwanda, for instance, it is unclear exactly what interests were at stake for the West.

Herman and Peterson argue that America sponsored Kagame as he was a willing ally, yet Habyarimana was not in the slightest hostile to Western interests. As for Saddam Hussein, he in no way threatened Western interests – quite the opposite, he was a loyal ally. Even his invasion of Kuwait was done with America’s knowledge. Yet Western powers turned Saddam into a pariah and began to stop Iraq from selling its oil.

In order to understand contemporary Western intervention we have to move beyond an assumption that material interests lie at the heart of it and reconsider the realities of the post-Cold War political context.

Tara McCormack is a lecturer in international politics at the University of Leicester. She is author of Critique, Security and Power: The Political Limits to Critical and Emancipatory Approaches to Security, published by Routledge.

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Book Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 5 Comments