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Why Germany Invaded Poland

By John Wear – Inconvenient History – 2019-01-15

Great Britain’s Blank Check to Poland

On March 21, 1939, while hosting French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain discussed a joint front with France, Russia and Poland to act together against German aggression. France agreed at once, and the Russians agreed on the condition that both France and Poland sign first. However, Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck vetoed the agreement on March 24, 1939.[1] Polish statesmen feared Russia more than they did Germany. Polish Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz told the French ambassador, “With the Germans we risk losing our liberty; with the Russians we lose our soul.”[2]

Another complication arose in European diplomacy when a movement among the residents of Memel in Lithuania sought to join Germany. The Allied victors in the Versailles Treaty had detached Memel from East Prussia and placed it in a separate League of Nations protectorate. Lithuania then proceeded to seize Memel from the League of Nations shortly after World War I. Memel was historically a German city which in the seven centuries of its history had never separated from its East Prussian homeland. Germany was so weak after World War I that it could not prevent the tiny new-born nation of Lithuania from seizing Memel.[3]

Germany’s occupation of Prague in March 1939 had generated uncontrollable excitement among the mostly German population of Memel. The population of Memel was clamoring to return to Germany and could no longer be restrained. The Lithuanian foreign minister traveled to Berlin on March 22, 1939, where he agreed to the immediate transfer of Memel to Germany. The annexation of Memel into Germany went through the next day. The question of Memel exploded of itself without any deliberate German plan of annexation.[4] Polish leaders agreed that the return of Memel to Germany from Lithuania would not constitute an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland.[5]

What did cause conflict between Germany and Poland was the so-called Free City of Danzig. Danzig was founded in the early 14th century and was historically the key port at the mouth of the great Vistula River. From the beginning Danzig was inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, with the Polish minority in 1922 constituting less than 3% of the city’s 365,000 inhabitants. The Treaty of Versailles converted Danzig from a German provincial capital into a League of Nations protectorate subject to numerous strictures established for the benefit of Poland. The great preponderance of the citizens of Danzig had never wanted to leave Germany, and they were eager to return to Germany in 1939. Their eagerness to join Germany was exacerbated by the fact that Germany’s economy was healthy while Poland’s economy was still mired in depression.[6]

Many of the German citizens of Danzig had consistently demonstrated their unwavering loyalty to National Socialism and its principles. They had even elected a National Socialist parliamentary majority before this result had been achieved in Germany. It was widely known that Poland was constantly seeking to increase her control over Danzig despite the wishes of Danzig’s German majority. Hitler was not opposed to Poland’s further economic aspirations at Danzig, but Hitler was resolved never to permit the establishment of a Polish political regime at Danzig. Such a renunciation of Danzig by Hitler would have been a repudiation of the loyalty of Danzig citizens to the Third Reich and their spirit of self-determination.[7]

Germany presented a proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Danzig question with Poland on October 24, 1938. Hitler’s plan would allow Germany to annex Danzig and construct a superhighway and a railroad to East Prussia. In return Poland would be granted a permanent free port in Danzig and the right to build her own highway and railroad to the port. The entire Danzig area would also become a permanent free market for Polish goods on which no German customs duties would be levied. Germany would take the unprecedented step of recognizing and guaranteeing the existing German-Polish frontier, including the boundary in Upper Silesia established in 1922. This later provision was extremely important since the Versailles Treaty had given Poland much additional territory which Germany proposed to renounce. Hitler’s offer to guarantee Poland’s frontiers also carried with it a degree of military security that no other non-Communist nation could match.[8]

Germany’s proposed settlement with Poland was far less favorable to Germany than the Thirteenth Point of Wilson’s program at Versailles. The Versailles Treaty gave Poland large slices of territory in regions such as West Prussia and Western Posen which were overwhelmingly German. The richest industrial section of Upper Silesia was also later given to Poland despite the fact that Poland had lost the plebiscite there.[9] Germany was willing to renounce these territories in the interest of German-Polish cooperation. This concession of Hitler’s was more than adequate to compensate for the German annexation of Danzig and construction of a superhighway and a railroad in the Corridor. The Polish diplomats themselves believed that Germany’s proposal was a sincere and realistic basis for a permanent agreement.[10]

On March 26, 1939, the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, Joseph Lipski, formally rejected Germany’s settlement proposals. The Poles had waited over five months to reject Germany’s proposals, and they refused to countenance any change in existing conditions. Lipski stated to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that “it was his painful duty to draw attention to the fact that any further pursuance of these German plans, especially where the return of Danzig to the Reich was concerned, meant war with Poland.”[11]

Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck accepted an offer from Great Britain on March 30, 1939, to give an unconditional guarantee of Poland’s independence. The British Empire agreed to go to war as an ally of Poland if the Poles decided that war was necessary. In words drafted by British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, Chamberlain spoke in the House of Commons on March 31, 1939:

I now have to inform the House… that in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to that effect.[12]

Great Britain for the first time in history had left the decision whether or not to fight a war outside of her own country to another nation. Britain’s guarantee to Poland was binding without commitments from the Polish side. The British public was astonished by this move. Despite its unprecedented nature, Halifax encountered little difficulty in persuading the British Conservative, Liberal and Labor parties to accept Great Britain’s unconditional guarantee to Poland.[13]

Numerous British historians and diplomats have criticized Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland. For example, British diplomat Roy Denman called the war guarantee to Poland “the most reckless undertaking ever given by a British government. It placed the decision on peace or war in Europe in the hands of a reckless, intransigent, swashbuckling military dictatorship.”[14] British historian Niall Ferguson states that the war guarantee to Poland tied Britain’s “destiny to that of a regime that was every bit as undemocratic and anti-Semitic as that of Germany.”[15] English military historian Liddell Hart stated that the Polish guarantee “placed Britain’s destiny in the hands of Poland’s rulers, men of very dubious and unstable judgment. Moreover, the guarantee was impossible to fulfill except with Russia’s help.…”[16]

American historian Richard M. Watt writes concerning Britain’s unilateral guarantee to Poland: “This enormously broad guarantee virtually left to the Poles the decision whether or not Britain would go to war. For Britain to give such a blank check to a Central European nation, particularly to Poland—a nation that Britain had generally regarded as irresponsible and greedy—was mind-boggling.”[17]

When the Belgian Minister to Germany, Vicomte Jacques Davignon, received the text of the British guarantee to Poland, he exclaimed that “blank check” was the only possible description of the British pledge. Davignon was extremely alarmed in view of the proverbial recklessness of the Poles. German State Secretary Ernst von Weizsäcker attempted to reassure Davignon by claiming that the situation between Germany and Poland was not tragic. However, Davignon correctly feared that the British move would produce war in a very short time.[18]

Weizsäcker later exclaimed scornfully that “the British guarantee to Poland was like offering sugar to an untrained child before it had learned to listen to reason!”[19]

The Deterioration of German-Polish Relations

German-Polish relationships had become strained by the increasing harshness with which the Polish authorities handled the German minority. The Polish government in the 1930s began to confiscate the land of its German minority at bargain prices through public expropriation. The German government resented the fact that German landowners received only one-eighth of the value of their holdings from the Polish government. Since the Polish public was aware of the German situation and desired to exploit it, the German minority in Poland could not sell the land in advance of expropriation. Furthermore, Polish law forbade Germans from privately selling large areas of land.

German diplomats insisted that the November 1937 Minorities Pact with Poland for the equal treatment of German and Polish landowners be observed in 1939. Despite Polish assurances of fairness and equal treatment, German diplomats learned on February 15, 1939, that the latest expropriations of land in Poland were predominantly of German holdings. These expropriations virtually eliminated substantial German landholdings in Poland at a time when most of the larger Polish landholdings were still intact. It became evident that nothing could be done diplomatically to help the German minority in Poland.[20]

Poland threatened Germany with a partial mobilization of her forces on March 23, 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Polish Army reservists were mobilized, and Hitler was warned that Poland would fight to prevent the return of Danzig to Germany. The Poles were surprised to discover that Germany did not take this challenge seriously. Hitler, who deeply desired friendship with Poland, refrained from responding to the Polish threat of war. Germany did not threaten Poland and took no precautionary military measures in response to the Polish partial mobilization.[21]

Hitler regarded a German-Polish agreement as a highly welcome alternative to a German-Polish war. However, no further negotiations for a German-Polish agreement occurred after the British guarantee to Poland because Józef Beck refused to negotiate. Beck ignored repeated German suggestions for further negotiations because Beck knew that Halifax hoped to accomplish the complete destruction of Germany. Halifax had considered an Anglo-German war inevitable since 1936, and Britain’s anti-German policy was made public with a speech by Neville Chamberlain on March 17, 1939. Halifax discouraged German-Polish negotiations because he was counting on Poland to provide the pretext for a British pre-emptive war against Germany.[22]

The situation between Germany and Poland deteriorated rapidly during the six weeks from the Polish partial mobilization of March 23, 1939, to a speech delivered by Józef Beck on May 5, 1939. Beck’s primary purpose in delivering his speech before the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, was to convince the Polish public and the world that he was able and willing to challenge Hitler. Beck knew that Halifax had succeeded in creating a warlike atmosphere in Great Britain, and that he could go as far as he wanted without displeasing the British. Beck took an uncompromising attitude in his speech that effectively closed the door to further negotiations with Germany.

Beck made numerous false and hypocritical statements in his speech. One of the most astonishing claims in his speech was that there was nothing extraordinary about the British guarantee to Poland. He described it as a normal step in the pursuit of friendly relations with a neighboring country. This was in sharp contrast to British diplomat Sir Alexander Cadogan’s statement to Joseph Kennedy that Britain’s guarantee to Poland was without precedent in the entire history of British foreign policy.[23]

Beck ended his speech with a stirring climax that produced wild excitement in the Polish Sejm. Someone in the audience screamed loudly, “We do not need peace!” and pandemonium followed. Beck had made many Poles in the audience determined to fight Germany. This feeling resulted from their ignorance which made it impossible for them to criticize the numerous falsehoods and misstatements in Beck’s speech. Beck made the audience feel that Hitler had insulted the honor of Poland with what were actually quite reasonable peace proposals. Beck had effectively made Germany the deadly enemy of Poland.[24]

More than 1 million ethnic Germans resided in Poland at the time of Beck’s speech, and these Germans were the principal victims of the German-Polish crisis in the coming weeks. The Germans in Poland were subjected to increasing doses of violence from the dominant Poles. The British public was told repeatedly that the grievances of the German minority in Poland were largely imaginary. The average British citizen was completely unaware of the terror and fear of death that stalked these Germans in Poland. Ultimately, many thousands of Germans in Poland died in consequence of the crisis. They were among the first victims of British Foreign Secretary Halifax’s war policy against Germany.[25]

The immediate responsibility for security measures involving the German minority in Poland rested with Interior Department Ministerial Director Waclaw Zyborski. Zyborski consented to discuss the situation on June 23, 1939, with Walther Kohnert, one of the leaders of the German minority at Bromberg. Zyborski admitted to Kohnert that the Germans of Poland were in an unenviable situation, but he was not sympathetic to their plight. Zyborski ended their lengthy conversation by stating frankly that his policy required a severe treatment of the German minority in Poland. He made it clear that it was impossible for the Germans of Poland to alleviate their hard fate. The Germans in Poland were the helpless hostages of the Polish community and the Polish state.[26]

Other leaders of the German minority in Poland repeatedly appealed to the Polish government for help during this period. Sen. Hans Hasbach, the leader of the conservative German minority faction, and Dr. Rudolf Wiesner, the leader of the Young German Party, each made multiple appeals to Poland’s government to end the violence. In a futile appeal on July 6, 1939, to Premier Sławoj-Składkowski, head of Poland’s Department of Interior, Wiesner referred to the waves of public violence against the Germans at Tomaszów near Lódz, May 13-15th, at Konstantynów, May 21-22nd, and at Pabianice, June 22-23, 1939. The appeal of Wiesner produced no results. The leaders of the German political groups eventually recognized that they had no influence with Polish authorities despite their loyal attitudes toward Poland. It was “open season” on the Germans of Poland with the approval of the Polish government.[27]

Polish anti-German incidents also occurred against the German majority in the Free City of Danzig. On May 21, 1939, Zygmunt Morawski, a former Polish soldier, murdered a German at Kalthof on Danzig territory. The incident itself would not have been so unusual except for the fact that Polish officials acted as if Poland and not the League of Nations had sovereign power over Danzig. Polish officials refused to apologize for the incident, and they treated with contempt the effort of Danzig authorities to bring Morawski to trial. The Poles in Danzig considered themselves above the law.[28]

Tension steadily mounted at Danzig after the Morawski murder. The German citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would show them no mercy if Poland gained the upper hand. The Poles were furious when they learned that Danzig was defying Poland by organizing its own militia for home defense. The Poles blamed Hitler for this situation. The Polish government protested to German Ambassador Hans von Moltke on July 1, 1939, about the Danzig government’s military-defense measures. Józef Beck told French Ambassador Léon Noël on July 6, 1939, that the Polish government had decided that additional measures were necessary to meet the alleged threat from Danzig.[29]

On July 29, 1939, the Danzig government presented two protest notes to the Poles concerning illegal activities of Polish custom inspectors and frontier officials. The Polish government responded by terminating the export of duty-free herring and margarine from Danzig to Poland. Polish officials next announced in the early hours of August 5, 1939, that the frontiers of Danzig would be closed to the importation of all foreign food products unless the Danzig government promised by the end of the day never to interfere with the activities of Polish customs inspectors. This threat was formidable since Danzig produced only a relatively small portion of its own food. All Polish customs inspectors would also bear arms while performing their duty after August 5, 1939. The Polish ultimatum made it obvious that Poland intended to replace the League of Nations as the sovereign power at Danzig.[30]

Hitler concluded that Poland was seeking to provoke an immediate conflict with Germany. The Danzig government submitted to the Polish ultimatum in accordance with Hitler’s recommendation.[31]

Józef Beck explained to British Ambassador Kennard that the Polish government was prepared to take military measures against Danzig if it failed to accept Poland’s terms. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would have executed a full military occupation of Danzig had the Polish ultimatum been rejected. It was apparent to the German government that the British and French were either unable or unwilling to restrain the Polish government from arbitrary steps that could result in war.[32]

On August 7, 1939, the Polish censors permitted the newspaper Illustrowany Kuryer Codzienny in Kraków to feature an article of unprecedented candor. The article stated that Polish units were constantly crossing the German frontier to destroy German military installations and to carry captured German military materiel into Poland. The Polish government failed to prevent the newspaper, which had the largest circulation in Poland, from telling the world that Poland was instigating a series of violations of Germany’s frontier with Poland.[33]

Polish Ambassador Jerzy Potocki unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Józef Beck to seek an agreement with Germany. Potocki later succinctly explained the situation in Poland by stating “Poland prefers Danzig to peace.”[34]

President Roosevelt knew that Poland had caused the crisis which began at Danzig, and he was worried that the American public might learn the truth about the situation. This could be a decisive factor in discouraging Roosevelt’s plan for American military intervention in Europe. Roosevelt instructed U.S. Ambassador Biddle to urge the Poles to be more careful in making it appear that German moves were responsible for any inevitable explosion at Danzig. Biddle reported to Roosevelt on August 11, 1939, that Beck expressed no interest in engaging in a series of elaborate but empty maneuvers designed to deceive the American public. Beck stated that at the moment he was content to have full British support for his policy.[35]

Roosevelt also feared that American politicians might discover the facts about the hopeless dilemma which Poland’s provocative policy created for Germany. When American Democratic Party Campaign Manager and Post-Master General James Farley visited Berlin, Roosevelt instructed the American Embassy in Berlin to prevent unsupervised contact between Farley and the German leaders. The German Foreign Office concluded on August 10, 1939 that it was impossible to penetrate the wall of security around Farley. The Germans knew that President Roosevelt was determined to prevent them from freely communicating with visiting American leaders.[36]

Polish Atrocities Force War

On August 14, 1939, the Polish authorities in East Upper Silesia launched a campaign of mass arrests against the German minority. The Poles then proceeded to close and confiscate the remaining German businesses, clubs and welfare installations. The arrested Germans were forced to march toward the interior of Poland in prisoner columns. The various German groups in Poland were frantic by this time; they feared the Poles would attempt the total extermination of the German minority in the event of war. Thousands of Germans were seeking to escape arrest by crossing the border into Germany. Some of the worst recent Polish atrocities included the mutilation of several Germans. The Polish public was urged not to regard their German minority as helpless hostages who could be butchered with impunity.[37]

Rudolf Wiesner, who was the most prominent of the German minority leaders in Poland, spoke of a disaster “of inconceivable magnitude” since the early months of 1939. Wiesner claimed that the last Germans had been dismissed from their jobs without the benefit of unemployment relief, and that hunger and privation were stamped on the faces of the Germans in Poland. German welfare agencies, cooperatives and trade associations had been closed by Polish authorities. Exceptional martial-law conditions of the earlier frontier zone had been extended to include more than one-third of the territory of Poland. The mass arrests, deportations, mutilations and beatings of the last few weeks in Poland surpassed anything that had happened before. Wiesner insisted that the German minority leaders merely desired the restoration of peace, the banishment of the specter of war, and the right to live and work in peace. Wiesner was arrested by the Poles on August 16, 1939 on suspicion of conducting espionage for Germany in Poland.[38]

The German press devoted increasing space to detailed accounts of atrocities against the Germans in Poland. The Völkischer Beobachter reported that more than 80,000 German refugees from Poland had succeeded in reaching German territory by August 20, 1939. The German Foreign Office had received a huge file of specific reports of excesses against national and ethnic Germans in Poland. More than 1,500 documented reports had been received since March 1939, and more than 10 detailed reports were arriving in the German Foreign Office each day. The reports presented a staggering picture of brutality and human misery.[39]

W. L. White, an American journalist, later recalled that there was no doubt among well-informed people by this time that horrible atrocities were being inflicted every day on the Germans of Poland.[40]

Donald Day, a Chicago Tribune correspondent, reported on the atrocious treatment the Poles had meted out to the ethnic Germans in Poland:

… I traveled up to the Polish corridor where the German authorities permitted me to interview the German refugees from many Polish cities and towns. The story was the same. Mass arrests and long marches along roads toward the interior of Poland. The railroads were crowded with troop movements. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The Polish authorities seemed to have gone mad. I have been questioning people all my life and I think I know how to make deductions from the exaggerated stories told by people who have passed through harrowing personal experiences. But even with generous allowance, the situation was plenty bad. To me the war seemed only a question of hours.[41]

British Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin was concentrating on obtaining recognition from Halifax of the cruel fate of the German minority in Poland. Henderson emphatically warned Halifax on August 24, 1939, that German complaints about the treatment of the German minority in Poland were fully supported by the facts. Henderson knew that the Germans were prepared to negotiate, and he stated to Halifax that war between Poland and Germany was inevitable unless negotiations were resumed between the two countries. Henderson pleaded with Halifax that it would be contrary to Polish interests to attempt a full military occupation of Danzig, and he added a scathingly effective denunciation of Polish policy. What Henderson failed to realize is that Halifax was pursuing war for its own sake as an instrument of policy. Halifax desired the complete destruction of Germany.[42]

On August 25, 1939, Ambassador Henderson reported to Halifax the latest Polish atrocity at Bielitz, Upper Silesia. Henderson never relied on official German statements concerning these incidents, but instead based his reports on information he received from neutral sources. The Poles continued to forcibly deport the Germans of that area, and compelled them to march into the interior of Poland. Eight Germans were murdered and many more were injured during one of these actions.

Hitler was faced with a terrible dilemma. If Hitler did nothing, the Germans of Poland and Danzig would be abandoned to the cruelty and violence of a hostile Poland. If Hitler took effective action against the Poles, the British and French might declare war against Germany. Henderson feared that the Bielitz atrocity would be the final straw to prompt Hitler to invade Poland. Henderson, who strongly desired peace with Germany, deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.[43]

On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. This non-aggression pact contained a secret protocol which recognized a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. German recognition of this Soviet sphere of influence would not apply in the event of a diplomatic settlement of the German-Polish dispute. Hitler had hoped to recover the diplomatic initiative through the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact. However, Chamberlain warned Hitler in a letter dated August 23, 1939, that Great Britain would support Poland with military force regardless of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Józef Beck also continued to refuse to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Germany.[44]

Germany made a new offer to Poland on August 29, 1939, for a last diplomatic campaign to settle the German-Polish dispute. The terms of a new German plan for a settlement, the so-called Marienwerder proposals, were less important than the offer to negotiate as such. The terms of the Marienwerder proposals were intended as nothing more than a tentative German plan for a possible settlement. The German government emphasized that these terms were formulated to offer a basis for unimpeded negotiations between equals rather than constituting a series of demands which Poland would be required to accept. There was nothing to prevent the Poles from offering an entirely new set of proposals of their own.

The Germans, in offering to negotiate with Poland, were indicating that they favored a diplomatic settlement over war with Poland. The willingness of the Poles to negotiate would not in any way have implied a Polish retreat or their readiness to recognize the German annexation of Danzig. The Poles could have justified their acceptance to negotiate with the announcement that Germany, and not Poland, had found it necessary to request new negotiations. In refusing to negotiate, the Poles were announcing that they favored war. The refusal of British Foreign Secretary Halifax to encourage the Poles to negotiate indicated that he also favored war.[45]

French Prime Minister Daladier and British Prime Minister Chamberlain were both privately critical of the Polish government. Daladier in private denounced the “criminal folly” of the Poles. Chamberlain admitted to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy that it was the Poles, and not the Germans, who were unreasonable. Kennedy reported to President Roosevelt, “frankly he [Chamberlain] is more worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the Germans.” However, neither Daladier nor Chamberlain made any effort to influence the Poles to negotiate with the Germans.[46]

On August 29, 1939, the Polish government decided upon the general mobilization of its army. The Polish military plans stipulated that general mobilization would be ordered only in the event of Poland’s decision for war. Henderson informed Halifax of some of the verified Polish violations prior to the war. The Poles blew up the Dirschau (Tczew) bridge across the Vistula River even though the eastern approach to the bridge was in German territory (East Prussia). The Poles also occupied a number of Danzig installations and engaged in fighting with the citizens of Danzig on the same day. Henderson reported that Hitler was not insisting on the total military defeat of Poland. Hitler was prepared to terminate hostilities if the Poles indicated that they were willing to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.[47]

Germany decided to invade Poland on September 1, 1939. All of the British leaders claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Prime Minister Chamberlain broadcast that evening on British radio that “the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe (war in Poland) lies on the shoulders of one man, the German Chancellor.” Chamberlain claimed that Hitler had ordered Poland to come to Berlin with the unconditional obligation of accepting without discussion the exact German terms. Chamberlain denied that Germany had invited the Poles to engage in normal negotiations. Chamberlain’s statements were unvarnished lies, but the Polish case was so weak that it was impossible to defend it with the truth.

Halifax also delivered a cleverly hypocritical speech to the House of Lords on the evening of September 1, 1939. Halifax claimed that the best proof of the British will to peace was to have Chamberlain, the great appeasement leader, carry Great Britain into war. Halifax concealed the fact that he had taken over the direction of British foreign policy from Chamberlain in October 1938, and that Great Britain would probably not be moving into war had this not happened. He assured his audience that Hitler, before the bar of history, would have to assume full responsibility for starting the war. Halifax insisted that the English conscience was clear, and that, in looking back, he did not wish to change a thing as far as British policy was concerned.[48]

On September 2, 1939, Italy and Germany agreed to hold a mediation conference among themselves and Great Britain, France and Poland. Halifax attempted to destroy the conference plan by insisting that Germany withdraw her forces from Poland and Danzig before Great Britain and France would consider attending the mediation conference. French Foreign Minister Bonnet knew that no nation would accept such treatment, and that the attitude of Halifax was unreasonable and unrealistic.

Ultimately, the mediation effort collapsed, and both Great Britain and France declared war against Germany on September 3, 1939. When Hitler read the British declaration of war against Germany, he paused and asked of no one in particular: “What now?”[49] Germany was now in an unnecessary war with three European nations.

Similar to the other British leaders, Nevile Henderson, the British ambassador to Germany, later claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Henderson wrote in his memoirs in 1940: “If Hitler wanted peace he knew how to insure it; if he wanted war, he knew equally well what would bring it about. The choice lay with him, and in the end the entire responsibility for war was his.”[50] Henderson forgot in this passage that he had repeatedly warned Halifax that the Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland were extreme. Hitler invaded Poland in order to end these atrocities.

Polish Atrocities Continue against German Minority

The Germans in Poland continued to experience an atmosphere of terror in the early part of September 1939. Throughout the country the Germans had been told, “If war comes to Poland you will all be hanged.” This prophecy was later fulfilled in many cases.

The famous Bloody Sunday in Toruń on September 3, 1939, was accompanied by similar massacres elsewhere in Poland. These massacres brought a tragic end to the long suffering of many ethnic Germans. This catastrophe had been anticipated by the Germans before the outbreak of war, as reflected by the flight, or attempted escape, of large numbers of Germans from Poland. The feelings of these Germans were revealed by the desperate slogan, “Away from this hell, and back to the Reich!”[51]

Dr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas writes concerning the ethnic Germans in Poland:

The first victims of the war were Volksdeutsche, ethnic German civilians resident in and citizens of Poland. Using lists prepared years earlier, in part by lower administrative offices, Poland immediately deported 15,000 Germans to Eastern Poland. Fear and rage at the quick German victories led to hysteria. German “spies” were seen everywhere, suspected of forming a fifth column. More than 5,000 German civilians were murdered in the first days of the war. They were hostages and scapegoats at the same time. Gruesome scenes were played out in Bromberg on September 3, as well as in several other places throughout the province of Posen, in Pommerellen, wherever German minorities resided.[52]

Polish atrocities against ethnic Germans have been documented in the book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland. Most of the outside world dismissed this book as nothing more than propaganda used to justify Hitler’s invasion of Poland. However, skeptics failed to notice that forensic pathologists from the International Red Cross and medical and legal observers from the United States verified the findings of these investigations of Polish war crimes. These investigations were also conducted by German police and civil administrations, and not the National Socialist Party or the German military. Moreover, both anti-German and other university-trained researchers have acknowledged that the charges in the book are based entirely on factual evidence.[53]

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland stated:

When the first edition of this collection of documents went to press on November 17, 1939, 5,437 cases of murder committed by soldiers of the Polish army and by Polish civilians against men, women and children of the German minority had been definitely ascertained. It was known that the total when fully ascertained would be very much higher. Between that date and February 1, 1940, the number of identified victims mounted to 12,857. At the present stage investigations disclose that in addition to these 12,857, more than 45,000 persons are still missing. Since there is no trace of them, they must also be considered victims of the Polish terror. Even the figure 58,000 is not final. There can be no doubt that the inquiries now being carried out will result in the disclosure of additional thousands dead and missing.[54]

Medical examinations of the dead showed that Germans of all ages, from four months to 82 years of age, were murdered. The report concluded:

It was shown that the murders were committed with the greatest brutality and that in many cases they were purely sadistic acts—that gouging of eyes was established and that other forms of mutilation, as supported by the depositions of witnesses, may be considered as true.

The method by which the individual murders were committed in many cases reveals studied physical and mental torture; in this connection several cases of killing extended over many hours and of slow death due to neglect had to be mentioned.

By far the most important finding seems to be the proof that murder by such chance weapons as clubs or knives was the exception, and that as a rule modern, highly-effective army rifles and pistols were available to the murderers. It must be emphasized further that it was possible to show, down to the minutest detail, that there could have been no possibility of execution [under military law].[55]

The Polish atrocities were not acts of personal revenge, professional jealously or class hatred; instead, they were a concerted political action. They were organized mass murders caused by a psychosis of political animosity. The hate-inspired urge to destroy everything German was driven by the Polish press, radio, school and government propaganda. Britain’s blank check of support had encouraged Poland to conduct inhuman atrocities against its German minority.[56]

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland explained why the Polish government encouraged such atrocities:

The guarantee of assistance given Poland by the British Government was the agent which lent impetus to Britain’s policy of encirclement. It was designed to exploit the problem of Danzig and the Corridor to begin a war, desired and long-prepared by England, for the annihilation of Greater Germany. In Warsaw moderation was no longer considered necessary, and the opinion held was that matters could be safely brought to a head. England was backing this diabolical game, having guaranteed the “integrity” of the Polish state. The British assurance of assistance meant that Poland was to be the battering ram of Germany’s enemies. Henceforth Poland neglected no form of provocation of Germany and, in its blindness, dreamt of “victorious battle at Berlin’s gates.” Had it not been for the encouragement of the English war clique, which was stiffening Poland’s attitude toward the Reich and whose promises led Warsaw to feel safe, the Polish Government would hardly have let matters develop to the point where Polish soldiers and civilians would eventually interpret the slogan to extirpate all German influence as an incitement to the murder and bestial mutilation of human beings.[57]


END NOTES

[1] Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 207.

[2] DeConde, Alexander, A History of American Foreign Policy, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971, p. 576.

[3] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 25, 312.

[4] Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 209.

[5] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 50.

[6] Ibid., pp. 49-60.

[7] Ibid., pp. 328-329.

[8] Ibid., pp. 145-146.

[9] Ibid., p. 21.

[10] Ibid., pp. 21, 256-257.

[11] Ibid., p. 323.

[12] Barnett, Correlli, The Collapse of British Power, New York: William Morrow, 1972, p. 560; see also Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 211.

[13] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 333, 340.

[14] Denman, Roy, Missed Chances: Britain and Europe in the Twentieth Century, London: Indigo, 1997, p. 121.

[15] Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, New York: Penguin Press, 2006, p. 377.

[16] Hart, B. H. Liddell, History of the Second World War, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970, p. 11.

[17] Watt, Richard M., Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate 1918 to 1939, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979, p. 379.

[18] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 342.

[19] Ibid., p. 391.

[20] Ibid., pp. 260-262.

[21] Ibid., pp. 311-312.

[22] Ibid., pp. 355, 357.

[23] Ibid., pp. 381, 383.

[24] Ibid., pp. 384, 387.

[25] Ibid., p. 387.

[26] Ibid., pp. 388-389.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid., pp. 392-393.

[29] Ibid., pp. 405-406.

[30] Ibid., p. 412.

[31] Ibid. p. 413.

[32] Ibid., pp. 413-415.

[33] Ibid. p. 419. In a footnote, the author notes that a report of the same matters appeared in the New York Times for August 8, 1939.

[34] Ibid., p. 419.

[35] Ibid., p. 414.

[36] Ibid., p. 417.

[37] Ibid., pp. 452-453.

[38] Ibid., p. 463.

[39] Ibid., p. 479.

[40] Ibid., p. 554.

[41] Day, Donald, Onward Christian Soldiers, Newport Beach, Cal.: The Noontide Press, 2002, p. 56.

[42] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 500-501, 550.

[43] Ibid., p. 509

[44] Ibid., pp. 470, 483, 538.

[45] Ibid., pp. 513-514.

[46] Ibid., pp. 441, 549.

[47] Ibid., pp. 537, 577.

[48] Ibid., pp. 578-579.

[49] Ibid., pp. 586, 593, 598.

[50] Henderson, Nevile, Failure of a Mission, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940, p. 227.

[51] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 390.

[52] De Zayas, Alfred-Maurice, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 2nd edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p. 27.

[53] Roland, Marc, “Poland’s Censored Holocaust,” The Barnes Review in Review: 2008-2010, pp. 132-133.

[54] Shadewalt, Hans, Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland, Berlin and New York: German Library of Information, 2nd edition, 1940, p. 19.

[55] Ibid., pp. 257-258.

[56] Ibid., pp. 88-89.

[57] Ibid., pp. 75-76.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

Obama Marries the Liberals to the Neocons

By Patrick ARMSTRONG | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.08.2018

When President Bush decided to attack Iraq in 2003 there were enormous protests in the United States and around the world. Not, of course, that they stopped the attack or even slowed it, but people did protest in large numbers. When Obama – “leading from behind” – and some NATO members decided to attack Libya in 2011 there were, as far as I know, no protests anywhere. Nor were there protests as wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and a secret war in Syria dragged on for nearly his whole eight years.

The surface explanation is that Obama, as a Democrat, the First Black President, an “intellectual” and a Nobel Prize winner, got the free pass that Bush as a Republican and an “incurious idiot” did not get. But there was another factor at work, I believe.

In the Obama years the marriage of the neocons and the humanitarian interventionists was effected. The neocons, with their doctrine of American Exceptionalism are always ready for an intervention and their justification is always the same: “American moral leadership” :

Our world needs a policeman. And whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job.

So there was never any difficulty getting neocons and their ilk to support another bombing campaign to do a bit of “morally exceptional police work”. The Obama change is that liberals, whose historic tendency is to oppose another war, are now in the War Party. And so there was hardly anyone was left to go out on protest.

Their first date, as it were, was NATO’s intervention in Kosovo/Serbia in 1999. That experiment proved that liberals would happily agree to go to war if the intervention could be coloured as morally acceptable: “genocide” and “rape” being especially powerful words. And, on command, it happened. “Serbs ‘enslaved Muslim women at rape camps‘”. Hundreds of thousands missing, feared murdered10,000 in mass graves. But the ur-source was the official NATO spokesman, Jamie Shea. (The following quotations are from NATO press briefings I collected at the time. I do not know whether they are still available on the NATO website, although, like the first one, many are still visible.) In March he told us that “we are on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster in Kosovo the likes of which have not been seen in Europe since the closing stages of World War II.” The NATO operation was conducted to “stop human suffering” (15 April). On 20 April he gave us a catalogue of Serb horrors: hundreds of Kosovar boys possibly preserved as living “blood banks for Serb casualties”; Kosovar human shields tied to Serb tanks; “chain gangs of Kosovars” digging mass graves; “systematic destruction of civilian homes”; rape camps. On 4 May “at least 100,000 men of military age are missing”. And so on: how could you not support the “alliance of civilised nations” (his description) intervening to stop these horrors? And CNN was there every step of the way; later we learned that US military psyops personnel had “helped in the production of some news stories“. Other media outlets were equally quick on board, again with occasional “help” from US intelligence:

In the case of Yugoslavia, the gullibility quotient has been breathtakingly high: Only material that conformed to the reigning victim-demon dichotomy would be hunted down with tenacity and reported; material that contradicted it, or that served to weaken and disconfirm it, would be ignored, discounted, excluded, even attacked.

Entirely one-sided with the media (predominantly liberal in sympathy) following the choir leader.

Later, too late in fact, we learned that it wasn’t so simple. A UN court ruled that it wasn’t “genocide” after all. Milosevic, dead in prison, was exoneratedNot so many mass graves after all. And, after all those deaths, whom did NATO put in power and give a whole country to? Organ harvesters and arms smugglers. And yes, the CIA was in there from the get go. A completely manipulated discussion. And the Serbs have been driven out of Kosovo right under NATO’s nose. Too late indeed.

In his essay, “Hidden in Plain View in Belgrade“, Vladimir Goldstein discovers, under the heading “What For?”, a memorial to the people killed in the attack on the TV centre. His conclusion, with which I agree, is:

Thus was R2P implemented—with no protection for Yugoslav Serbs. They had to die in the experiment to explore the limits of US power and the limits of its resistance.

The experiment worked: it showed that an aggressive war could be packaged so that liberals signed on: all you had to do was push the war crimes/humanitarian/genocide button. And, as a bonus, it was discovered that when the truth finally came out, no one remembered and you could sell the same shabby story again; and so, Serb-run “rape camps” became Qaddafi’s men with Viagra.

It was around this time and these circumstances that the responsibility to protect (“R2P”) idea began to gain traction. Finally formalised at the UN in 2005, the essence was that governments are obliged to protect their populations from atrocities and that the “international community, through the United Nations” may intervene. That was the magic potion: if the war party could make a case for R2P (and, as Kosovo showed, the case didn’t have to last any longer than the war did) liberals would cheerfully sign on.

Obama celebrated the liberal-interventionist/neocon marriage at West Point in 2014. Starting with the neocon foundation on which all their wars are erected, that America will and must lead, comes the liberal deal-clincher: “not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.” And that leading involves a “backbone”, not of example or persuasion, but of bombs: “The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership”. When should the USA use “that awesome power”? Certainly when “core interests” demand it but also when “crises arise that stir our conscience or push the world in a more dangerous direction”.

Which brings me to the fourth and final element of American leadership: Our willingness to act on behalf of human dignity.

And, he assured us, it all works out for the best in the end:

remember that because of America’s efforts, because of American diplomacy and foreign assistance as well as the sacrifices of our military, more people live under elected governments today than at any time in human history.

And, finally, this paladin of liberalism declared:

I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.

When the “victim-demon dichotomy” media siren is turned on, any war, any bombing campaign, can be massaged to fit “core interests” and/or “human dignity”. We’re all exceptionalists now.

Despite a successful movie showing us, step by step, how to do it, the scam still pulls in the suckers: justifying the attack on Libya,Obama said (note he combines leadership and atrocities):

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action. [My italics]

The atrocities? In September 2013, after Qaddafi had been murdered and Libya destroyed, Harvard’s Belfer Center said the “model intervention” was based on false premises:

  • The Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong. Libya’s 2011 uprising was never peaceful, but instead was armed and violent from the start. Muammar al-Qaddafi did not target civilians or resort to indiscriminate force. Although inspired by humanitarian impulse, NATO’s intervention did not aim mainly to protect civilians, but rather to overthrow Qaddafi’s regime, even at the expense of increasing the harm to Libyans.
  • The Intervention Backfired. NATO’s action magnified the conflict’s duration about sixfold and its death toll at least sevenfold, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors.

The cynic would say, the real lesson is get the intervention over before anybody notices the atrocity stories have been “sexed up“. When they do, it’s too late and few remember. And it will work the next time around. And so the happily-married couple proceeds: “The West cannot stand by in Syria as we did for too long in Bosnia.

That is Obama’s real legacy: the union – marriage – of the neocon assumption that America must “lead” with the liberal desire to “do good”. And the issue from the happy marriage? “The US is running out of bombs — and it may soon struggle to make more.”

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Libya War Fraud

Media Lens | October 4, 2016

National newspapers were ‘unimpressed by Jeremy Corbyn’s victory’ in the Labour leadership election, Roy Greenslade noted in the Guardian, surprising no-one. Corbyn secured almost 62% of the 506,000 votes cast, up from the 59% share he won in 2015, ‘with virtually no press backing whatsoever’.

In reality, of course, Corbyn did not just lack press backing. He won in the face of more than one year of relentless corporate media campaigning to politically, ethically, professionally, psychologically and even sartorially discredit him. That Corbyn survived is impressive. That he won again, increased his vote-share, and took Labour Party membership from 200,000 to more than 500,000, is astonishing.

None of this moves journalists like the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, who commented: ‘there’s been no big new idea or vision this week that Labour can suddenly rally round’.

Polly Toynbee explained: ‘I and many Guardian colleagues can’t just get behind Corbyn’. Why? ‘Because Corbyn and McDonnell, burdened by their history, will never ever earn the trust of enough voters to make any plans happen.’

Toynbee fails to recognise the nature and scale of the problem. In supporting Corbyn, the public is attempting to shape a genuinely democratic choice out of the sham choices of corporate-owned politics. This awesome task begins with the public waking up to the anti-democratic role of the corporate media in defending, of course, corporate-owned politics. So-called ‘mainstream media’ are primarily conduits for power rather than information; they are political enforcers, not political communicators. To the extent that the public understands this, change is possible.

Supported by non-corporate, web-based media activism, Corbyn has already smoked out these media to an extent that is without precedent. Many people can see that he is a reasonable, compassionate, decent individual generating immense grassroots support. And they can see that all ‘mainstream’ media oppose him. It could hardly be more obvious that the corporate media speak as a single biased, elitist voice.

The Benghazi Massacre – No Real Evidence

The smearing of Corbyn fits well with the similarly uniform propaganda campaign taking the ‘threat’ of Iraqi ‘WMD’ seriously in 2002 and 2003. Then, also, the entire corporate media system assailed the public with a long litany of fraudulent claims. And then there was Libya.

Coming so soon after the incomplete but still damning exposure of the Iraq deception – with the bloodbath still warm – the media’s deep conformity and wilful gullibility on the 2011 Libyan war left even jaundiced observers aghast. It was clear that we were faced with a pathological system of propaganda on Perpetual War autopilot.

The pathology has been starkly exposed by a September 9 report into the war from the foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons. As with Iraq, this was no mere common-or-garden disaster; we are again discussing the destruction of an entire country. The report summarised:

The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.

The rationale for ‘intervention’, of course, was the alleged threat of a massacre by Gaddafi’s forces in Benghazi. The report commented:

The evidence base: our assessment

Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence… Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. More widely, Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year record of appalling human rights abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians. (Our emphasis)

And:

Professor Joffé [Visiting Professor at King’s College London] told us that:

the rhetoric that was used was quite blood-curdling, but again there were past examples of the way in which Gaddafi would actually behave… The evidence is that he was well aware of the insecurity of parts of the country and of the unlikelihood that he could control them through sheer violence. Therefore, he would have been very careful in the actual response… the fear of the massacre of civilians was vastly overstated.’

Analyst and author Alison Pargeter agreed with Professor Joffé, concluding that there was no ‘real evidence at that time that Gaddafi was preparing to launch a massacre against his own civilians’. Related claims, that Gaddafi used African mercenaries, launched air strikes on civilians in Benghazi, and employed Viagra-fuelled mass rape as a weapon of war, were also invented.

These are astonishing comments. But according to the Lexis-Nexis media database, neither Professor Joffé nor Pargeter has been quoted by name in the press, with only the Express and Independent reporting that ‘available evidence’ had shown Gaddafi had no record of massacres; a different, less damning, point.

As disturbingly, the report noted:

We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya… It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime….

In other words, the UK government’s relentless insistence on the need to support freedom-loving rebels against a genocidal tyranny were invented ‘facts’ fixed around policy.

That the war was a crime is hardly in doubt. Lord Richards (Baron Richards of Herstmonceux), chief of the defence staff at the time of the conflict, told the BBC that Cameron asked him ‘how long it might take to depose, regime change, get rid of Gaddafi’. British historian Mark Curtis describes the significance:

Three weeks after Cameron assured parliament in March 2011 that the object of the intervention was not regime change, he signed a joint letter with President Obama and French President Sarkozy committing to “a future without Gaddafi”.

That these were policies were illegal is confirmed by Cameron himself. He told Parliament on 21 March 2011 that the UN resolution “explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi’s removal from power by military means”.

Cameron, then, like Blair, is a war criminal.

The ‘Moral Glow’ From a ‘Triumphant End’

The foreign affairs committee’s report is awesomely embarrassing for the disciplined murmuration of corporate journalists who promoted war.

At a crucial time in February and March 2011, the Guardian published a long list of news reports boosting government propaganda and opinion pieces advocating ‘intervention’ on the basis of the West’s supposed ‘responsibility to protect’, or ‘R2P’. Guardian columnist, later comment editor (2014-2016), Jonathan Freedland, wrote an article titled: ‘Though the risks are very real, the case for intervention remains strong.’

Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor, wrote: ‘the scale and nature of the Gaddafi regime’s actions have impelled the UN’s “responsibility to protect”.’

Menzies Campbell, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Philippe Sands, professor of law at University College London, wrote in the Guardian: ‘International law does not require the world to stand by and do nothing as civilians are massacred on the orders of Colonel Gaddafi…’

An Observer leader agreed: ‘The west can’t let Gaddafi destroy his people.’ And thus: ‘this particular tyranny will not be allowed to stand’.

No doubt with tongue firmly in Wodehousian cheek, as usual, Boris Johnson wrote in the Telegraph :

The cause is noble and right, and we are surely bound by our common humanity to help the people of Benghazi.

David Aaronovitch, already haunted by his warmongering on Iraq, wrote an article for The Times titled: ‘Go for a no-fly zone over Libya or regret it.’ He commented:

If Colonel Gaddafi is permitted to murder hundreds or thousands of his citizens from the air, and we stand by and let it happen, then our inaction will return to haunt us… We have a side here, let’s be on it. (Aaronovitch, ‘Go for a no-fly zone or regret it,’ The Times, February 24, 2011)

Later, a Guardian leader quietly celebrated:

But it can now reasonably be said that in narrow military terms it worked, and that politically there was some retrospective justification for its advocates as the crowds poured into the streets of Tripoli to welcome the rebel convoys earlier this week.

Simon Tisdall commented in the same newspaper: ‘The risky western intervention had worked. And Libya was liberated at last.’

An Observer editorial declared: ‘An honourable intervention. A hopeful future.’

The BBC’s Nick Robinson observed that Downing Street ‘will see this, I’m sure, as a triumphant end’. (BBC, News at Six, October 20, 2011) Robinson appeared to channel Churchill:

Libya was David Cameron’s first war. Col. Gaddafi his first foe. Today, his first real taste of military victory.

The BBC’s chief political correspondent, Norman Smith, declared that Cameron ‘must surely feel vindicated’. (BBC News online, October 21, 2011) In Washington, the BBC’s Ian Pannell surmised that Obama ‘is feeling that his foreign policy strategy has been vindicated – that his critics have been proven wrong’. (BBC News online, October 21, 2011)

The BBC’s John Humphrys asked: ‘What apart from a sort of moral glow… have we got out of it?’ (BBC Radio 4 Today, October 21, 2011)

Andrew Grice, political editor of the Independent, declared that Cameron had ‘proved the doubters wrong.’ Bitterly ironic then, even more so now, Grice added: ‘By calling Libya right, Mr Cameron invites a neat contrast with Tony Blair.’

An editorial in the Telegraph argued that Gaddafi’s death ‘vindicates the swift action of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy in halting the attack on Benghazi’. Telegraph columnist Matthew d’Ancona (now writing for the Guardian) agreed: ‘It is surely a matter for quiet national pride that an Arab Srebrenica was prevented by a coalition in which Britain played an important part…’

An Independent leader observed:

Concern was real enough that a Srebrenica-style massacre could unfold in Benghazi, and the UK Government was right to insist that we would not allow this.

The Times, of course, joined the corporate herd in affirming that without ‘intervention’, there ‘would have been a massacre in Benghazi on the scale of Srebrenica’. (Leading article, ‘Death of a dictator,’ The Times, October 21, 2011)

But even voices to the left of the ‘mainstream’ got Libya badly wrong. Most cringe-makingly, Professor Juan Cole declared:

The Libya intervention is legal and was necessary to prevent further massacres… If NATO needs me, I’m there.

Robert Fisk commented in the Independent that, had ‘Messrs Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama stopped short after they saved Benghazi’, disaster could have been avoided.

Ironically, in an article ostensibly challenging the warmongers’ hysterical claims, Mehdi Hasan wrote in the New Statesman:

The innocent people of Benghazi deserve protection from Gaddafi’s murderous wrath.

Even Noam Chomsky observed:

The no-fly zone prevented a likely massacre… (Chomsky, ‘Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance,’ Hamish Hamilton e-book, 2012, p.372)

To his credit, then Guardian columnist Seumas Milne (now Corbyn’s director of communications and strategy) was more sceptical. He wrote in October 2011:

But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000.

We were labelled ‘useful idiots’ for challenging these and other atrocity claims in a June 2011 media alert here, here and here.

Media Reaction to the Report

The media reaction to the MPs’ demolition of their case for war made just five years earlier inevitably included some ugly evasions. A Guardian editorial commented of Libya:

It is easy in retrospect to lump it in with Iraq as a foreign folly…

It is indeed easy ‘to lump it in’, it is near-identical in key respects. But as a major war crime, not a ‘folly’.

… and there are important parallels – not least the failure to plan for stabilisation and reconstruction.

The preferred media focus being, as usual, so-called ‘mistakes’, lack of planning; rather than the fact that both wars were launched on outrageous lies, ended in the destruction of entire countries, and were driven by greed for resources. With impressive audacity, the Guardian preferred to cling to deceptions exposed by the very report under review:

But it is also important to note differences between a gratuitous, proactive invasion and a response to a direct threat to the citizens of Benghazi, triggered by the spontaneous uprising of the Libyan people. Memories of Srebrenica spurred on decision-makers. (Our emphasis)

In fact, propagandistic use of Srebrenica from sources like the Guardian ‘spurred on decision-makers’. The whole point of the MPs’ report is that it found no ‘real evidence‘ for a massacre in Benghazi. Similarly, the Guardian’s ‘spontaneous uprising’ is a debunked version of events peddled by government officials and media allies in 2011, despite the fact that there is ‘no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya’. In fact, the MPs’ report makes a nonsense of the Guardian’s claims for a humanitarian motive, noting:

On 2 April 2011, Sidney Blumenthal, adviser and unofficial intelligence analyst to the then United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported this conversation with French intelligence officers to the Secretary of State:

According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.

The Guardian apologetic continued:

Perhaps most critically, western intervention – fronted by France and the UK, but powered by the US – came under a United Nations security council resolution for the protection of civilians, after the Arab League called for a no-fly zone.’

But this, again, is absurd because the resolution, UNSCR 1973, ‘neither explicitly authorised the deployment of ground forces nor addressed the questions of regime change’, as the MPs’ report noted. NATO had no more right to overthrow the Libyan government than the American and British governments had the right to invade Iraq.

In 2011, it was deeply disturbing to us that the barrage of political and media propaganda on Libya received far less challenge even than the earlier propaganda on Iraq. With Guardian and BBC ‘humanitarian interventionists’ leading the way, many people were misled on the need for ‘action’. In a House of Commons vote on March 21, 2011, 557 MPs voted for war with just 13 opposing. Two names stand out among the 13 opponents: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Predictably, last month’s exposure of the great Libya war fraud has done nothing to prompt corporate journalists to rethink their case for war in Syria – arguments based on similar claims from similar sources promoting similar ‘humanitarian intervention’. Indeed, as this alert was being completed, the Guardian published an opinion piece by former Labour foreign secretary David Owen, calling for ‘a no-fly zone (NFZ), with protected land corridors for humanitarian aid’ in Syria, because: ‘The humanitarian imperative is for the region to act and the world to help.’

In February 2003, the Guardian published a piece by the same David Owen titled: ‘Wage war in Iraq for the sake of peace in the Middle East.’ In 2011, Owen published an article in the Telegraph, titled: ‘We have proved in Libya that intervention can still work.’ He had himself ‘called for… intervention’ that February.

The Perpetual War machine rolls on.


Media Lens is a UK-based media watchdog group headed by David Edwards and David Cromwell. The second Media Lens book, Newspeak: In the 21st Century by David Edwards and David Cromwell, was published in 2009 by Pluto Press.

October 4, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Façade of “Humanitarian Intentions” in Libya

Review of Paolo Sensini’s book, Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention

By Edward Curtin | Global Research | August 10, 2016

It is rare for a historian to write a history of a significant issue and bring it into the present time; even rarer when the work coincides with the reemergence of that issue on the world stage. Paolo Sensini has done just that with Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention (Clarity Press, 2016). It is a revelatory historical analysis of the exploitation and invasion of Libya by colonial and imperialistic powers for more than a century.

It is also timely since the western powers, led by the United States, have  once again invaded Libya (2011), overthrown its government, and are in the process (2016) of creating further chaos and destruction by bombing the country for the benefit of western elites under the pretext of humanitarian concern.

As with the history of many countries off the radar of western consciousness, Libyan history is a tragic tale of what happens when a country dares assert its right to independence – it is destroyed by violent attack, financial subterfuge, or both.

Although an Italian and Italy has a long history of exploiting Libya, a close neighbor, Sensini stands with the victims of colonial and imperial savagery. Not an armchair historian, he traveled to Libya during the 2011 war to see for himself what was true.  Despite his moral stand against western aggression, his historical accuracy is unerring and his sourcing impeccable.  For 234 pages of text, he provides 481 endnotes, including such fine sources as Peter Dale Scott, Patrick Cockburn, Michel Chossudovsky, Pepe Escobar, and Robert Parry, to name but a few better known names.

His account begins with Italy’s 1911 war against Libya that “Francesco Saverio Nitti charmingly described …. as the taking of a ‘sandbox’.”  The war was accompanied by a popular song, “Tripoli, bel suol d’amore” (Tripoli, beauteous land of love).  Even in those days war and love were synonymous in the eyes of aggressors.

This war went on until 1932 when the Sanusis’s resistance was finally crushed by Mussolini. First Italy conquered the Ottoman Turks, who controlled western Libya (Tripolitania); then the Sanusis, a Sunni Islamic mystical militant brotherhood, who controlled eastern Libya (Cyrenaica). This Italian war of imperial aggression lasted 19 years, and, as Sensini writes, “was hardly noticed in Italy.”

I cannot help but think of the U.S. wars against Afghanistan and Iraq that are in their 15th and 13th years respectively, and counting; they are not making a ripple on the placid indifference of the American people.

Sensini presents this history clearly and succinctly. Most of the book is devoted to the period following the 1968 overthrow of King Idris by the Free Unionist Officers, led by the 27 year old captain Mu’ammar Gaddafi. This bloodless coup d’état by military officers, who had all risen from the poorer classes, was called “Operation Jerusalem” to honor the Palestinian liberation movement. The new government, The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), had “three key themes …. ‘freedom, socialism, and unity,’ to which we can add the struggle against western influences within the Arab world, and, in particular, the struggle against Israel (whose very existence was, according to Gaddafi, a confirmation of colonialization and subjugation).”

Sensini explains the Libyan government under Gaddafi, including his world theory that was encapsulated in his “Green Book” and the birth of what was called “Jamahiriyya” (State of the Masses). Gaddafi called Libya the “Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriyya.”

Under Gaddafi there was dialogue between Christians and Muslims, including the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and visits from Eastern Orthodox and Anglican religious leaders. Fundamentalist Islamic groups criticized Gaddafi as a heretic for these moves.  Gaddafi described Islamists as “reactionaries in the name of Islam.”  His animus toward Israel remained, however, due to the Palestinian issue. He promoted women’s rights, and in 1996 Libya “was the first country to issue an international arrest warrant with Osama bin Laden’s name on it.”

He had a lot of enemies: Israel, Islamists, al Qaeda, the western imperial countries, etc. But he had friends as well, especially among the developing countries.

A large portion of the book concerns the U.S./NATO 2011 attack on Libya and its aftermath. This attack was justified and sanctioned by UN Resolutions 1970 (2/26/11) and 1973 (3/17/11). These resolutions were prepared by the work of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) that in 2000-2001 produced a justification for powerful nations to intervene in the internal affairs of any nation they chose. Termed the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), it justified the illegal and immoral “humanitarian” attack on Libya in 2011. The ICISS, based in NYC, was founded by, among others, the Carnegie Corporation, the Simons, Rockefeller, William and Flora Hewitt, and John D. and Catherine MacArthur foundations, elite moneyed institutions devoted to American interventions throughout the world.

When the US/NATO attacked Libya, they did so despite the illegality of the intervention (an Orwellian term) under the UN Resolutions that prohibit arming of ‘rebels’ who do not represent the legal government of a country. On March 30, 2011 the Washington Post, a staunch supporter of US aggression, reported an anonymous government source as saying that “President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.” None of the mainstream media, including the Washington Post, noted the hypocrisy of reporting illegal activities as if they were legal. The law had become irrelevant.

The Obama administration had become the opposite of the Kennedy administration. Whereas JFK, together with Dag Hammarskjold the assassinated U.N. Secretary General, had used the UN to defend the growing third world independence movements throughout the world, Obama has chosen to use the UN to justify his wars of aggression against them. Libya is a prime example.

Sensini shows in great detail which groups were armed, where they operated, and who they represented.  The US/NATO forces armed and supported all sorts of Islamist terrorists, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), led by Abu al-Laith al Libby, a close Afghan associate of Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda’s third in command.

“These fanatical criminals (acclaimed as liberators by the mainstream media worldwide) were to form Libya’s emerging ruling class. These were people tasked to ensure a democratic future for Libya. However, the ‘rebel’ council of Benghazi did what it does best – ensuring chaos for the country as a whole, under a phantom government and a system of local fiefdoms (each with a warlord or tribal chief). This appears to be the desired outcome all along, and not just in Libya.”

Sensini is especially strong in his critical analysis of the behavior of the corporate mass media worldwide in propagandizing public opinion for war. Outright lies – “aligning its actions with Goebbels’ famous principle of perception management” and the Big Lie (thanks to Edward Bernays, the American father of Public Relations) – were told by Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and repeated by the western media, about Gaddafi allegedly slaughtering and raping thousands of Libyans. Sensini argues persuasively that Libya was a game-changer in this regard.

Here, the mass media played the part of a military vanguard. The cart, as it were, had been put before the horse. Rather than obediently repackaging and relaying the news that had been spoon fed to them by military commanders and Secretaries of State, the media were called upon actually to provide legitimation for armed actors. The media’s function was military. The material aggression on the ground and in the sky was paralleled and anticipated by virtual and symbolic aggression. Worldwide, we have witnessed the affirmation of a Soviet approach to information, enhanced to the nth degree. It effectively produces a ‘deafening silence’ – an information deficit. The trade unions, the parties of the left and the ‘love-thy-neighbor’ pacifists did not rise to this challenge and demonstrate against the rape of Libya.

The US/NATO attack on Libya, involving tens of thousands of bombing raids and cruise missile, killed thousands of innocent civilians. This was, as usual, explained away as unfortunate “collateral damage,” when it was admitted at all. The media did their part to downplay it. Sensini rightly claims that the U.S./NATO and the UN are basically uninterested in the question of the human toll. “The most widely cited press report on the effects of the NATO sorties and missile attacks on the civilian population is most surely that of The New York Times. In ‘Strikes on Libya by NATO, an Unspoken Civilian Toll’, conveniently published after NATO’s direct intervention had ceased. The article is truly a fine example of ‘embeddedness’:”

While the overwhelming preponderance of strikes seemed to hit their targets without killing noncombatants, many factors contributed to a run of fatal mistakes. These included a technically faulty bomb, poor or dated intelligence and the near absence of experience military personnel on the ground who could direct air strikes. The alliances apparent presumption that residences thought to harbor pro Gaddafi forces were not occupied by civilians repeatedly proved mistaken, the evidence suggests, posing a reminder to advocates of air power that no war is cost or error free.

The use of words like “seemed” and “apparent,” together with the oft used technical excuse and the ex post facto reminder are classic stratagems of the New York Times’ misuse of the English language for propaganda purposes.

Justifying the killing, President Obama “explained the entire campaign away with a lie. Gaddafi, he said, was planning a massacre of his own people.”

Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, was aware from the start, as an FOIA document reveals, that the rebel militias the U.S. was arming and backing were summarily executing anyone they captured: “The State Department and Obama were fully aware that the U.S.-backed ‘rebel’ forces had no such regard for the lives of the innocent.”

Clinton also knew that France’s involvement was because of the threat Gaddafi’s single African currency plan posed to French financial interests in Francophone Africa. Her joyous ejaculation about Gaddafi’s brutal death – “We came, we saw, he died” – sick in human terms, was no doubt also an expression of relief that the interests of western elites, her backers, had been served.

It is true that Gaddafi did represent a threat to western financial interests. As Sensini writes, “Gaddafi had successfully achieved Libya’s economic independence, and was on the point of concluding agreements with the African Union that might have contributed decisively to the economic independence of the entire continent of Africa.”

Thus, following the NATO attack, Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank. Sensini references Ellen Brown, the astute founder of the Public Banking Institute in the U.S., who explains how a state owned Central Bank, as in Libya, contributes to the public’s well-being. Brown in turn refers to the comment of Erica Encina, posted on Market Oracle, which explains how Libya’s 100% state owned Central Bank allowed it to sustain its own economic destiny. Encina concludes, “Hence, taking down the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) may not appear in the speeches of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy [and Clinton] but this is certainly at the top of the globalist agenda for absorbing Libya into its hive of compliant nations.”

In five pages Sensini tells more truth about the infamous events in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American colleagues than the MSM has done in five years. After the overthrow of Gaddafi, in 2012 Stevens was sharing the American “Consulate” quarters with the CIA. Benghazi was the center of Sanusi jihadi fundamentalism, those who the US/NATO had armed to attack Gaddafi’s government. These terrorists were allied with the US. “Stevens’s task in Benghazi,” writes Sensini, “now was to oversee shipments of Gaddafi’s arms to Turkish ports. The arms were then transferred to jihadi forces engaged in terrorist actions against the government of Syria under Bashar al-Assad.” Contrary to the Western media, Sensini says that Stevens and the others were killed, not by the jihadi extremists supported by the US, but by Gaddafi loyalists who had tried to kill Stevens previously. These loyalists disappeared from the Libyan and international press afterwards. “The reports now focused on al-Qaida, Islamists, terrorists and protesters. No one was to mention either Gaddafi … or his ghosts.”

The stage for a long-term Western intervention against terrorists, who were armed by the US/NATO, was now set. The insoluble disorder of a vicious circle game meant to perpetuate chaos was set in motion. Sensini’s disgust manifests itself when he says, “Given its record of lavish distribution of arms to all and sundry in Syria, the USA’s warning that, in Libya, arms might reach ‘armed groups outside the government’s control’ is beneath contempt.”

Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention is a superb book. If you wish to understand the ongoing Libyan tragedy, and learn where responsibility lies, read it. If the tale it tells doesn’t disgust you, I’d be surprised.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a stalwart and courageous truth teller, has written a fine forward where she puts Libya and Sensini’s analysis into a larger global perspective.  As usual, she pulls no punches.

September 18, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Hillary Clinton Lied Her Way to War in Libya

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teleSUR | March 18, 2016

Declassified emails released in January and February reveal that Hillary Clinton was one of the main instruments in spreading chaos and extremism in Libya when the U.S. secretary of state personally pushed for the ousting of late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.

Clinton’s emails reveal that she and her staff were aware that civilians they claimed to be protecting were not actually in danger from government forces.

Less than a month ahead of the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, a resolution which authorized a no-fly zone to protect civilians on March 17, 2011, Hillary’s assistant, Huma Abedin, in an email dated Feb. 21, 2011, stated: “Based on numerous eyewitness reports, it is the Embassy’s assessment that the government no longer controls Benghazi. This is likely the case for Ajdabiyah as well.”

Abedin went on to write that sources in Benghazi reported that Libyan Interior Minister Abdul Fattah Younes had “changed sides” and was “now with the protesters in Benghazi.” The mood in Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, according to the email, was “celebratory” and all posters of Gadhafi had been “knocked down.”

Crucially, this email was written at a time when Clinton was aware that no government crackdown was taking place in either Benghazi or Ajdabiyah.

This was despite anti-government protests kicking off in Benghazi and Ajdabiyah a few days before, at a time when the U.S. and France and other Western governments were claiming government forces were involved in the mass-killing of protesters and civilians.

However, on March 2, 2011, a few days before the passage of the U.N. resolution, U.S. State Department official Harriet Spanos sent an email informing Clinton that “Security Reports . . . confirm that Benghazi has been calm over the past couple of days.”

“Economic activity is going on in Benghazi,” she added in the email, with shops and banks open and “[m]obile and landline phones… working… and Internet has returned.”

The moment of truth came 11 days into the NATO bombing, which continued for several months, when Clinton’s top adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, who was not employed by the state department but by the private Clinton Foundation, laid out the reasons for the Washington-led intervention and the eventual ousting of Gadhafi.

Without once mentioning “humanitarian” purposes, in a March 27, 2011 email Blumenthal stressed to Clinton the importance of pressing for a “final win” by ousting Gadhafi in order to boost U.S. President Barack Obama’s then low approval ratings.

Ousting the Libyan strongman, argued Blumenthal, would further establish “security in North Africa, securing democracy in Egypt and Tunisia, economic development, effect throughout Arab world and Africa, extending U.S. influence, counter-balancing Iran, etc.”

Further highlighting his complete and utter disregard for the human cost of the intervention, in the same email Blumenthal informed Clinton about the horrors committed by U.S.-backed forces in Libya, which included members of al-Qaida.

“Speaking in strict confidence, one rebel commander stated that his troops continue to summarily execute all foreign mercenaries in the fighting.” Such actions are considered war crimes and in violation of international resolutions and conventions.

The emails also reveal that the Obama administration and Clinton were aware of the threat of al-Qaida in the eastern part of the country, which had for years been suppressed by the Libyan leader.

The emails also show that claims made by NATO at the time, including alleged atrocities committed by Gadhafi’s forces such as rape and mass killings, were rumors used by Clinton and the Obama administration to help sell the intervention to the world.

It is clear the NATO intervention was not intended for humanitarian purposes. So what were the intentions of Clinton and the Obama administration? [Beyond the long planned and ongoing destruction of any and all enemies of Israel*] The same as most U.S. interventions: financial interest.

The emails reveal that most of the intelligence Clinton received on Libya was from Blumenthal, who was preparing to make substantial financial gains from the fall of the Libyan leader.

According to Vice News, the intel briefs on Libya were “prepared by Blumenthal’s business partner and former CIA operative Tyler Drumheller, a consultant with plans to take advantage of economic opportunities in a post-war Libya.”

Both men worked with the U.S.-based security company Osprey, a start-up that hoped to profit from medical and military contracts with Libyan rebels amid the chaos of the conflict, according to Vice News.

Five years later, the opportunism of Clinton and the Obama administration which resulted in one of the most disastrous interventions in recent decades, aiding the rise of extremist groups in the oil-rich African country and contributing to Europe’s ongoing refugee situation can be seen for what it was: a devastating assault on the people of Libya rooted in lies, deceit and narrow, imperial self-interest.



*Also in the cited Vice article but not presented by teleSUR:

… Much of the intelligence Blumenthal fed to Clinton was quite odd. One email suggested that Libyan elites wanted warm relations with Israel, another that European spy agencies were encouraging tribal leaders to declare a semi-autonomous tribal zone in the east of the country. […]

On Aug. 27, 2012, for instance, Blumenthal’s intelligence claimed that a new Libyan president would “seek a discreet relationship with Israel.” Then, Clinton forwarded on the e-mail to her top policy aide Jacob Sullivan with a note attached: “If true, this is encouraging. Should consider passing to Israelis.”

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia’s law on undesirable foreign NGOs and the ethics of international activism

By Aleksandar JOKIC | Oriental Review | June 5, 2015

The decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign a bill that allows “authorities to prosecute foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or firms designated as ‘undesirable’ on national security grounds” is bound to receive a hostile reception in the West. Already Amnesty International declared that the new law will “snatch away the space for dissenting views and independent civil society activism,” while Human Rights Watch more hysterically stated that the law aims at “squeezing the very life out of Russian civil society,” and the State Department harshly characterized it in a characteristically over the top fashion “as a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”

Dramatic statements aside, we may want to ask, quite separately from the case with this Russian law, what could be considered as proper boundaries for engagement by international activists. In other words, the increasing power of NGOs in the post-Cold War period, manifest in their ever mounting number in operation and handling of ever more substantial quantities of money, raises questions about the roles and responsibilities of these new global, non-state actors. In particular, there is the question of developing an ethics of international activism that would facilitate moral assessments of the endeavors by agents operating in countries other than their own.

Elsewhere I have argued in favor of developing an ethics of international activism, which involved a process of formulating a series of constraints on what would constitute morally permissible agency in the context that includes delivering services abroad, directly or indirectly. In elaborating these ethical constraints I relied on the concept of “force multiplier.” The content of this idea and its official applications have explanatory importance in considering the correlation between post-Cold War phenomenal growth in the number of international NGOs and the emergence of the U.S. as the sole, unchallenged super-power ushering in the new “unipolar” world.

The fully developed proposal for an “ethics of international activism” consists of four constraints on morally permissible international activism: (C1) The Professionalism Constraint; (C2); The Integrity Constraint; (C3) The Respect for Sovereignty Constraint; and (C4) The Humility Constraint. As soon as these constraints are understood and correctly analyzed, an overarching principle emerges helping us realize that local activism must enjoy normative primacy (in all three normative spheres: moral, legal, and political) over international activism. At the same time, this gives us an idea of how to conceive of what could constitute legitimate international activism, that is one that respects the primacy of local activism.

Before introducing in a bit greater detail the elements of this ethics of international activism let us define “international activists” as altruists attracted by causes that originate in foreign lands. By calling them “altruists” I do not intend to prejudge the actions of international activists as necessarily morally good; I simply mean to indicate that they are ostensibly acting out of concern for the welfare of others, in this case those others are foreigners. We can make further progress in delineating more exactly who the “international activists” are by making more precise this notion of “causes that originate in foreign lands.” Most frequently those causes are expressed in terms of global protection, and respect for human rights. Thus, Amnesty International defines itself as a “global movement” of people “campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all,” while Human Rights Watch claims that it “works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.”

We can achieve additional clarity by realizing that governments can also show interest in those same causes expressed in terms of human rights, but we would not count government administrators, operating in their official capacities, among “international activists”. Thus, The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. government, states that “protecting human rights around the world [is] central to U.S. foreign policy,” yet we would not consider State Department officials “international activists”. This is why organizations that want to count as groupings of international activists are quick to assert their independence. Consequently, international activists are not meant to be government officials, ideologues, corporate lobbyists, or missionaries on behalf of any religion; in fact, international activists are supposed to operate independently of any government, ideology, corporation, and religion. In the first instance, this then poses strong constraints on how to construe an ethics of international activism starting with The Professionalism Constraints:

(C1)    It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to act on behalf of any government, ideology, corporation, or religion.

It stands to reason that if a person is genuinely motivated by the welfare of others from a country other than her own, then she must not be acting on behalf of her (or any other) government, should not promote any ideology (be it political, economic or otherwise), nor proselytize in favor of a religion. Thus, for example, international activists must not propagate in favor of a regime change in a country where such policy is pursued by, say, the U.S. government; they must not engage in promoting the economic ideology of free market and privatization in, say, a country with the socialist economic system (or any other); or attempt to convert, say, local Muslim population to Christianity.

In order to introduce the second constraint the notion of force multiplier must be introduced; it is a military term, defined as follows in The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military:

A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.

It is not difficult to document that this military term is widely used by U.S. officials, including a Democratic U.S. President, right wing think tankers, various academics, and even international activists themselves, suggesting that the Western NGOs do and should serve as force multipliers for U.S. armed forces in the variety of theaters of operations where the latter are continuously active. This, however, stands in direct opposition to the definitional component of “international activism” as agency that stems from concern for the welfare of others in foreign countries. The integrity of their actions is threatened if international activists operate in concert with U.S. armed forces or for the sake of U.S. government while ostensibly engaged to address basic needs of less fortunate humans in other countries. Consequently, an explicit moral constraint—The Integrity Constraint—defining the way international activists can satisfy the requirements of minimal integrity of their actions is necessary:

(C2)    It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to serve as force multipliers for U.S. (or any other) armed forces or U.S. (or any other) government.

It is perhaps clear that The Integrity Constraint is already implied by The Professionalism Constraint. However, given the aggressive push by the U.S. officials to employ international activists as force multipliers, the impact of the phenomenon of revolving doors between government service and positions within human rights organizations, and the apparent happy acquiescence by many international activists to their newly given (post-Cold War) role, it is important to make The Integrity Constraint explicit.

Once human rights become indistinguishable from official political ideology, once human rights culture is usurped by the dominant powers, and once the argument for human rights is turned into an apologia for the imperial project by the sole super power while this transformation is not protested but supported by international activists in the Western countries, this gives us a clear sense of international activists serving as force multipliers or being “belligerent altruists”. However, the tension captured by this term must be resolved, and this brings us to the next constraint on the morally permissible character of international activism. In order to accomplish this we must remove the belligerent character of the post-Cold War practice by human rights organizations. We must counsel a return to the human rights discourse that respects sovereignty of nation states and permits at most “soft” intervention while opposing all attempts at decriminalizing aggression (through “humanitarian intervention,” R2P, “war on terrorism,” or similar constructs) and making sure that activists are not aiding and abetting aggression under any circumstances. This could be called Respect for Sovereignty Constraint:

(C3)    It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to disrespect sovereignty, aid and abet aggression, and engage in anything beyond “soft” intervention.

To advance further with our goal of developing an ethics of international activism that would facilitate moral assessments of their endeavors we may engage in moral phenomenology of international activism. Moral phenomenology is the study of the experiential aspects of moral life. By investigating “what it is like” to undergo mental states that instantiate phenomenal properties when, say, judging that one “must engage” we might be able to formulate further moral constraints that can guide our moral evaluation of what international activists do. The idea is that the construction of constraints on moral permissibility of acting qua international activist can be aided via compelling phenomenological descriptions of specific experiential episodes.

By paying attention to moral phenomenology of activism a picture emerges according to which, for the activist, given the axiological nature of the cause for which she is fighting, all that is required to set her on the right path is that she be sincere and firm in her decision. Are there no obstacles to getting the purpose right, to honing in on what is unquestionably the right goal to make personal sacrifices for? What could be the source of such infallible knowledge or the experience that appears as if one is in the possession of it? These are appropriate questions! For, the activist possesses not only a firm conviction that the cause is right, but also a persuasion that no consideration could possibly put it in question. The position is tantamount to a person who has all the answers in advance, with no need to engage in the search for evidence. It is a position that readily presents answers, while the procedure that supplied them remains forever hidden, unexplored, and insignificant. Does this, therefore, mean that it isn’t, strictly speaking, important what will really be achieved (as in the saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”), but that whatever is accomplished is good enough—in the sense of being sufficient and not open to moral assessment other than automatic praise? Put differently, since the activist’s motivation procures the act’s rightness and its goodness, does this mean that there is no possible question to be raised here? Or, that no argumentation of any kind is required or possible in this case? The last remark indicates an ideological character of the situation—we are trading in a context wherein reasons do not function in their customary fashion, or not at all. This appears to make activism akin to ideology.

This discovered link between international activism and disposition to uncritical adoption of ideology indicates that the principal danger international activists face is their vulnerability to co-option by big powers through usurpation of the main (ideological) tenets that define sumum bonum on behalf of which they activate. In light of The Professionalism Constraint international activists are morally required to prevent such co-option and usurpation, but the ideological nature of activism substantially reduces the resistance capacity by activists in this respect. Hence, it should not be surprising that they end up converted into force multipliers with such ease. However, there is a defense available to them that could enhance their integrity and consists in the practice of humility. If activists avoid the attitude of epistemic arrogance with respect to the normative value of the cause they act to support, if they refuse to take their own comfort and conviction regarding the value of their cause as a sure mark of its unquestionable validity, they may have a way of protecting the moral purity of their engagement. This takes us to the final constraint in this exercise, to The Humility Constraint:

(C4) It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to take the strength of their conviction as a sufficient condition for the validity of their endeavor.

In light of the moral constraints, C1-C4, the overwhelmingly negative assessment of contemporary Western international activism is painfully obvious. If so, the question emerges, what must morally speaking be done about it? This question would have to be answered both from the perspective of the activists and those who find themselves on the receiving end of these would-be-good-but-bad-Samaritans.

From the perspective of the Western activists we should advise the following. Just as the old American saying goes that “all politics is local” so all activism should be local. In fact, the overarching duty for any activist-minded Westerner may be to go local, and thus deprive the imperialist project of an important body of force multipliers. On the other hand, if activities and projects by international activists hailing from the West cannot be deemed morally permissible, this should have legal consequences in the rest of the world: all countries outside the Empire, particularly countries targeted by international activists as potential theaters of their operations, ought to criminalize activities by international activists and “human rights organizations” on their territory when not in solidarity or in support of local movements. Paradoxically, the justification for this criminalization is grounded precisely in the real concern for the human rights of the inhabitants from those countries.

A clarification is in order at this point. When I state that all activism should be local this is not meant to preclude legitimate international activism. What I mean is to insist on the primacy of local activism in the sense that all international activism must recognize this primacy, and hence reduce itself to a supporting role. In short, the legitimate international activism engages in solidarity and support of pre-existing local movements. Recognizing this primacy of the local aspect of activism can be seen as the main condition of legitimacy for any international activism.

Gene Sharp was the mastermind of the disastrous regime change techniques which led to drastic fall in living standards and factual failures of states in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Ukraine

Gene Sharp was the mastermind of the disastrous regime change techniques which led to drastic fall in living standards and factual failures of states in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Ukraine

The conceptual apparatus and normative framework developed here can assist in diagnosing in a precise way what is wrong (morally speaking) with the Western “strategic non-violent action” and the projection of the so called “soft power”. In short, this design that uses non-violence as a form of warfare adopted by foreign policy makers in the U.S. who orchestrated various “color revolutions,” “Arab spring,” etc. must be deemed morally impermissible as it violates all four constraints developed and defended here and because it feigns respect for the primacy of local activism: while it is the local people that participate in a non-violent movement directed against their government, the movement itself is envisaged, funded, and its “local” leaders are trained by foreign organizations.

Returning now to the Russian law on the undesirable foreign NGOs, rather than quickly dismissing it as an assault on dissent, civil society or anything else we could avoid drama and hysteria by using the conceptual apparatus offered here in order to assess whether the response to international activism is excessive or legitimate, which at the same time gives us a very precise sense of what is rightly “undesirable”. To the extent that foreign NGOs violate the provision of the primacy of the local activism and the four moral constraints, issuing restrictions in the form of legal means may be entirely justified and defensible. In fact, this is a practice that would in all probability be justified the world over, in particular in what I like to call the “once developing world” (before they become victims of imposed neoliberal economic models) where the Western human rights organizations have been operating in total impunity.

Aleksandar Jokic is Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University. This article is based on his essay “Go Local: Morality and International Activism” Ethics & Global Politics Vol. 6, No. 1, 2013; pp. 39-62.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US Hand in Libya’s Tragedy

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | April 21, 2015

The mainstream U.S. news media is lambasting the Europeans for failing to stop the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea as desperate Libyans flee their war-torn country in overloaded boats that are sinking as hundreds drown. But the MSM forgets how this Libyan crisis began, including its own key role along with that of “liberal interventionists” such as Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power.

In 2011, it was all the rage in Official Washington to boast about the noble “responsibility to protect” the people of eastern Libya who supposedly were threatened with extermination by the “mad man” Muammar Gaddafi. We also were told endlessly that, back in 1988, Gaddafi’s agents had blown Pan Am 103 out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The R2Pers, led by then-National Security Council aide Power with the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, convinced President Barack Obama that a “humanitarian intervention” was needed to prevent Gaddafi from slaughtering people whom he claimed were Islamic terrorists.

As this U.S.-orchestrated bombing campaign was about to begin in late March 2011, Power told a New York City audience that the failure to act would have been “extremely chilling, deadly and indeed a stain on our collective conscience.” Power was credited with steeling Obama’s spine to press ahead with the military operation.

Under a United Nations resolution, the intervention was supposed to be limited to establishing no-fly zones to prevent the slaughter of civilians. But the operation quickly morphed into a “regime change” war with the NATO-led bombing devastating Gaddafi’s soldiers who were blown to bits when caught on desert roadways.

Yet, the biggest concern in Official Washington was a quote from an Obama aide that the President was “leading from behind” – with European warplanes out front in the air war – when America’s war hawks said the United States should be leading from the front.

At the time, there were a few of us who raised red flags about the Libyan war “group think.” Though no one felt much sympathy for Gaddafi, he wasn’t wrong when he warned that Islamic terrorists were transforming the Benghazi region into a stronghold. Yes, his rhetoric about exterminating rats was over the top, but there was a real danger from these extremists.

And, the Pan Am 103 case, which was repeatedly cited as the indisputable proof of Gaddafi’s depravity, likely was falsely pinned on Libya. Anyone who dispassionately examined the 2001 conviction of Libyan agent Ali al-Megrahi by a special Scottish court would realize that the case was based on highly dubious evidence and bought-and-paid-for testimony.

Megrahi was put away more as a political compromise (with a Libyan co-defendant acquitted) than because his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, by 2009, the conviction was falling apart. Even a Scottish appeals court expressed concern about a grave miscarriage of justice. But Megrahi’s appeal was short-circuited by his release to Libya on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

Yet the U.S. mainstream media routinely called him “the Lockerbie bomber” and noted that the Libyan government had taken “responsibility” for the bombing, which was true but only because it was the only way to get punitive sanctions lifted. The government, like Megrahi, continued to proclaim innocence.

A Smirking MSM

During those heady days of bombing Libya in 2011, it also was common for the MSM to smirk at the notion that Megrahi was truly suffering from advanced prostate cancer since he hadn’t died as quickly as some doctors thought he might. Then, in September 2011, after Gaddafi’s regime fell, Megrahi’s family invited the BBC and other news organizations to see Megrahi struggling to breathe in his sick bed.

His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, said, “I know my father is innocent and one day his innocence will come out.” Asked about the people who died in the Pan Am bombing, the son said: “We feel sorry about all the people who died. We want to know who did this bad thing. We want to know the truth as well.”

But it was only after Megrahi died on May 20, 2012, that some elements of the MSM acknowledged grudgingly that they were aware of the many doubts about his conviction all along. The New York Times’ obituary carried a detailed account of the evidentiary gaps that were ignored both during the trial in 2001 and during the bombing of Libya in 2011.

The Times noted that “even some world leaders” saw Megrahi “as a victim of injustice whose trial, 12 years after the bombing, had been riddled with political overtones, memory gaps and flawed evidence. … Investigators, while they had no direct proof, believed that the suitcase with the bomb had been fitted with routing tags for baggage handlers, put on a plane at Malta and flown to Frankfurt, where it was loaded onto a Boeing 727 feeder flight that connected to Flight 103 at London, then transferred to the doomed jetliner.”

Besides the lack of proof supporting that hypothesis was the sheer implausibility that a terrorist would assume that an unattended suitcase could make such an unlikely trip without being detected, especially when it would have been much easier to sneak the suitcase with the bomb onto Pan Am 103 through the lax security at Heathrow Airport outside London.

The Times’ obit also noted that during the 85-day trial, “None of the witnesses connected the suspects directly to the bomb. But one, Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold the clothing that forensic experts had linked to the bomb, identified Mr. Megrahi as the buyer, although Mr. Gauci seemed doubtful and had picked others in photo displays. …

“The bomb’s timer was traced to a Zurich manufacturer, Mebo, whose owner, Edwin Bollier, testified that such devices had been sold to Libya. A fragment from the crash site was identified by a Mebo employee, Ulrich Lumpert. Neither defendant testified. But a turncoat Libyan agent testified that plastic explosives had been stored in [Megrahi’s co-defendant’s] desk in Malta, that Mr. Megrahi had brought a brown suitcase, and that both men were at the Malta airport on the day the bomb was sent on its way.”

In finding Megrahi guilty, the Scottish court admitted that the case was “circumstantial, the evidence incomplete and some witnesses unreliable,” but concluded that “there is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt” of Megrahi.

However, the evidence later came under increasing doubt. The Times wrote: “It emerged that Mr. Gauci had repeatedly failed to identify Mr. Megrahi before the trial and had selected him only after seeing his photograph in a magazine and being shown the same photo in court. The date of the clothing sale was also in doubt.” Scottish authorities learned, too, that the U.S. Justice Department paid Gauci $2 million for his testimony.

As for the bomb’s timer, the Times noted that the court called Bollier “untruthful and unreliable” and “In 2007, Mr. Lumpert admitted that he had lied at the trial, stolen a timer and given it to a Lockerbie investigator. Moreover, the fragment he identified was never tested for residue of explosives, although it was the only evidence of possible Libyan involvement.

“The court’s inference that the bomb had been transferred from the Frankfurt feeder flight was also cast into doubt when a Heathrow security guard revealed that Pan Am’s baggage area had been broken into 17 hours before the bombing, a circumstance never explored. Hans Köchler, a United Nations observer, called the trial ‘a spectacular miscarriage of justice,’ words echoed by [South African President Nelson] Mandela.”

In other words, Megrahi’s conviction looked to have been a case of gross prosecutorial misconduct, relying on testimony from perjurers and failing to pursue promising leads (like the possibility that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow, not transferred from plane to plane to plane). And those problems were known prior to Megrahi’s return to Libya in 2009 and prior to the U.S.-supported air war against Gaddafi in 2011.

Yet, Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC and pretty much everyone else in the MSM repeated endlessly that Megrahi was “the Lockerbie bomber” and that Libya was responsible for the atrocity, thus further justifying the “humanitarian intervention” that slaughtered Gaddafi’s soldiers and enabled rebel militias to capture Tripoli in summer 2011.

Al-Qaeda Hotbed

Similarly, there was scant U.S. media attention given to evidence that eastern Libya, the heart of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion, indeed was a hotbed for Islamic militancy, with that region supplying the most per-capita militants fighting U.S. troops in Iraq, often under the banner of Al-Qaeda.

Despite that evidence, Gaddafi’s claim that he was battling Islamic terrorists in the Benghazi region was mocked or ignored. It didn’t even matter that his claim was corroborated by a report from U.S. analysts Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman for West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

In their report, “Al-Qaeda’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” Felter and Fishman analyzed Al-Qaeda documents captured in 2007 showing personnel records of militants who flocked to Iraq for the war against the Americans. The documents showed eastern Libya providing a surprising number of suicide bombers who traveled to Iraq to kill American troops.

Felter and Fishman wrote that these so-called Sinjar Records disclosed that while Saudis comprised the largest number of foreign fighters in Iraq, Libyans represented the largest per-capita contingent by far. Those Libyans came overwhelmingly from towns and cities in the east.

“The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21),” Felter and Fishman wrote, adding that Abu Layth al‐Libi, Emir of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “reinforced Benghazi and Darnah’s importance to Libyan jihadis in his announcement that LIFG had joined al‐Qa’ida.”

Some important Al-Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions also were believed to have come from Libya. For instance, “Atiyah,” who was guiding the anti-U.S. war strategy in Iraq, was identified as a Libyan named Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.

It was Atiyah who urged a strategy of creating a quagmire for U.S. forces in Iraq, buying time for Al-Qaeda Central to rebuild its strength in Pakistan. “Prolonging the war [in Iraq] is in our interest,” Atiyah said in a letter that upbraided Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for his hasty and reckless actions in Iraq.

After U.S. Special Forces killed Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan, Atiyah became al-Qaeda’s second in command until he himself was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2011. [See Consortiumnews.comTime Finally Ran Out for Atiyah.”]

However, to most Americans who rely on the major U.S. news media, little of this was known, as the Washington Post itself acknowledged in an article on Sept. 12, 2011, after Gaddafi had been overthrown but before his murder. In an article on the rise of Islamists inside the new power structure in Libya, the Post wrote:

“Although it went largely unnoticed during the uprising that toppled Gaddafi last month, Islamists were at the heart of the fight, many as rebel commanders. Now some are clashing with secularists within the rebels’ Transitional National Council, prompting worries among some liberals that the Islamists — who still command the bulk of fighters and weapons — could use their strength to assert an even more dominant role.”

On Sept. 15, 2011, the New York Times published a similar article, entitled “Islamists’ Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya.” It began: “In the emerging post-Qaddafi Libya, the most influential politician may well be Ali Sallabi, who has no formal title but commands broad respect as an Islamic scholar and populist orator who was instrumental in leading the mass uprising. The most powerful military leader is now Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of a hard-line group once believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda.”

Belhaj was previously the commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was associated with Al-Qaeda in the past, maintained training bases in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks, and was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Belhaj and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group denied continued allegiance to Al-Qaeda, but Belhaj was captured during George W. Bush’s post-9/11 “war on terror” and was harshly interrogated by the CIA at a “black site” prison in Thailand before being handed over to Gaddafi’s government which imprisoned and – Belhaj claims – tortured him.

The Times reported that “Belhaj has become so much an insider lately that he is seeking to unseat Mahmoud Jabril, the American-trained economist who is the nominal prime minister of the interim government, after Mr. Jibril obliquely criticized the Islamists.”

The Times article by correspondents Rod Nordland and David D. Kirkpatrick also cited other signs of growing Islamist influence inside the Libyan rebel movement: “Islamist militias in Libya receive weapons and financing directly from foreign benefactors like Qatar; a Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar, leads the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council, where Islamists are reportedly in the majority.”

It may be commendable that the Post and Times finally gave serious attention to this consequence of the NATO-backed “regime change” in Libya, but the fact that these premier American newspapers ignored the Islamist issue as well as doubts about Libya’s Lockerbie guilt – while the U.S. government was whipping up public support for another war in the Muslim world – raises questions about whether those news organizations primarily serve a propaganda function.

Gaddafi’s Brutal Demise

Even amid these warning signs that Libya was headed toward bloody anarchy, the excited MSM coverage of Libya remained mostly about the manhunt for “the madman” – Muammar Gaddafi. When rebels finally captured Gaddafi on Oct. 20, 2011, in the town of Sirte – and sodomized him with a knife before killing him – Secretary of State Clinton could barely contain her glee, joking in one interview: “We came, we saw, he died.”

The months of aerial slaughter of Gaddafi’s soldiers and Gaddafi’s own gruesome death seemed less amusing on Sept. 11, 2012, when Islamic terrorists overran the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. diplomatic personnel. In the two-plus years since, Libya has become a killing ground for rival militias, including some now affiliated with the Islamic State.

As the BBC reported on Feb. 24, 2015, the Islamic State “has gained a foothold in key towns and cities in the mostly lawless North African state [Libya], prompting Egypt – seeing itself as the bulwark against Islamists in region – to launch air strikes against the group. …

“IS has launched its most high-profile attacks in Libya, bombing an upmarket hotel in the capital, Tripoli, in January, and releasing a video earlier this month showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians it had kidnapped. On 20 February, it killed at least 40 people in a suicide bombing in the eastern town of al-Qubbah.”

Now, the chaos that the U.S.-sponsored “regime change” unleashed has grown so horrific that it is causing desperate Libyans to climb into unseaworthy boats to escape the sharp edges of the Islamic State’s knives and other depredations resulting from the nationwide anarchy.

Thus, Libya should be a powerful lesson to Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and the other R2Pers that often their schemes of armed “humanitarianism” can go badly awry and do much more harm than good. It should also be another reminder to the MSM to question the arguments presented by the U.S. government, rather than simply repeating those dubious claims and false narratives.

But neither seems to be happening. The “liberal interventionists” – like their neoconservative allies – remain unchastened, still pumping for more “regime change” wars, such as in Syria. Yet, many of these moral purists are silent about the slaughter of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, Palestinians in Gaza, or now Houthis and other Yemenis dying under Saudi bombs in Yemen.

It appears the well-placed R2Pers in the Obama administration are selective in where that “responsibility to protect” applies.

Samantha Power, now serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN, remains the same self-righteous scold denouncing human rights abuses in places where there are American-designated “bad guys” while looking the other way in places where the killing is being done by U.S. “allies.” As for Hillary Clinton, she is already being touted as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

Meanwhile, the MSM has conveniently forgotten its own propaganda role in revving up the war on Libya in 2011. So, instead of self-reflection and self-criticism, the mainstream U.S. media is filled with condemnations of the Europeans for their failure to respond properly to the crisis of some 900 Libyans apparently drowning in a desperate attempt to flee their disintegrating country.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Bomb Syria… For Ukraine’s Sake!’

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | April 23, 2014

Anna-Marie Slaughter demonstrates that you need not scratch a “humanitarian interventionist” much to uncover the warmongering neoconservative just below the surface.

In an essay today, titled, “Stopping Russia Starts in Syria,” she argues that “the solution to the crisis in Ukraine lies in part in Syria.” President Obama must “demonstrate that he can order the offensive use of force in circumstances other than secret drone attacks or covert operations,” she writes.

Translation: to get Putin back for his supposed actions in Ukraine, Slaughter calls for President Obama to bomb Syria.

Slaughter recognizes the view of “Assad as the lesser evil compared to the Al Qaeda-affiliated members of the opposition” and admits that “the Syrian government does appear to be slowly giving up its chemical weapons, as it agreed last September to do.”

Nevertheless, she writes, “it is time to change Putin’s calculations, and Syria is the place to do it.”

“It is impossible to strike Syria legally so long as Russia sits on the United Nations Security Council,” she writes, so her solution is simply to do it illegally. She suggests that the US should begin bombing Syria to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2139, even though that is not a “Chapter VII” resolution authorizing force.

It is ironic and highlights the cruel depravity of Slaughter that she suggests the bombing of Syria to enforce UNSC 2139, which was drawn up to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian relief to the war-ravaged Syrian people.

Using a humanitarian relief UN resolution as a cover for the most anti-humanitarian of all acts — dropping bombs — reveals the true colors of the “humanitarian interventionist” and “responsibility to protect” crowd.

Anne-Marie Slaughter embodies the disturbing trend of US government operatives (she was Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011) who move into the “non-governmental” sector while directing public-private “non-profit” resources toward the promotion of US government foreign policy.

In her current position as president of the New America Foundation, she is in active partnership with the US government to develop new tools to help promote regime-change overseas. According to the New York Times, the New America Foundation has been awarded a three year contract by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a kind of underground Internet system for Cuba.

Readers recall that USAID was recently embroiled in controversy when it covertly developed a “Cuban Twitter” platform whose purpose was to foment regime change in the Caribbean island nation.

Does anyone doubt that Slaughter’s New America Foundation is developing USAID’s “Cuban Internet” program for any reason other than to use it to further US regime change policy?

Anne-Marie Slaughter ends her preposterous “bomb Syria” essay with a phrase that could have been — and perhaps was — uttered by the likes of Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham:

Obama took office with the aim of ending wars, not starting them. But if the US meets bullets with words, tyrants will draw their own conclusions.

Bombs for peace. That is the neocon/humanitarian-interventionist war cry.

April 25, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment