London rapper Potent Whisper teams up with conscientious objector Joe Glenton to create a new anti-war song and music video.
What would you do if it was your family?
Your town in raw anarchy?
If it was your house you were forced out of casually?
If it was your blood, your son or your mums?
They’re running on your funds, so aren’t these your guns?
How can it be a “war” if only one side declares it?
Where are their kids on the front line or air strip?
Why do we serve a queen? When did we turn to sheep?
Why do we murder leaders when they seek an urgent peace?
What’s violence? How would you define it?
Isn’t it support of a war if we’re silent?
Couldn’t we have fought instead of falling for their rise?
(But they invade in our names and we don’t bat an eyelid!)
Why do we go to prison for protest?
Isn’t it grotesque? Is this the kingdom you co-rep?
When will the questions end? What’s their reason?
How can you reach peace without freedom?
Why? Why sit in silence when their men have guns up?
Oh yes I wonder… Why?
Why sit in silence when their men have guns up?
Oh yes I wonder why…
Am I weak for compassion? Is peace not an action?
Do soldiers wanna shoot or are they used for their passion?
How many soldiers really know what their fighting for?
Would the reasons differ? Are they quite sure?
If Bush wore a cross does it mean the war was gods?
Or is it blasphemy and actually a con?
Isn’t National Defence just an actual attack?
So many wanna love, where’s the manual for that?
Take a life or serve life? Murder or treason?
Wasn’t that the choice for all the boys they were leading?
Do we wanna war when the ones that went before all marched out to cheers but returned as a secret?
When the next war begins, will it be you who fights it?
And if we do fight, will it be you who decides it?
Are we not a factor? Are you not their number?
Am I just a mad man? Do you never wonder?!
“Israel has drawn up plans for a combined air and ground attack on Iranian nuclear installations if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran’s atomic program…” – Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005
After insisting it is “time to cut off every dime of American money going to anyone who has any kind of relationship with Hamas or those killing in the Middle East, and especially in Israel,” Gohmert added, “It is time to bomb Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It is time for the United States, if we are not going to stop Iran’s nukes, then let Israel do it. A friend will not put another friend in this kind of jeopardy.”
Never mind that Iran has no “nukes” for anyone to “stop,” since it’s not actually making any and never has made or acquired any. Never mind that Iran has been consistently complying with the prescriptions of the multilateral deal agreed to last November by Iran and six world powers. Never mind that a number of recent articles in widely-read media outlets have addressed the myriad falsehoods and myths responsible for the past three decades of fear-mongering and propaganda about Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Still, the persistent false narrative that military strikes by either the United States or Israel may follow any potential failure to reach a deal continues to be repeated in the press. Of course, the fact that any such attack would be unequivocally illegal under international law is rarely noted in these assessments.
Pronouncements that Iran is close to having a nuclear bomb, or close to being bombed, are ubiquitous in the media. Threats against Iran – by both the United States and Israel – have been made for decades, despite routine Iranian dismissal of such rhetoric as mere bluster.
Not only is an American or Israeli attack on Iran always just around the bend – regardless of the state of diplomacy or intelligence assessments – but the media consistently provides fantasy scenarios by which its audience can imagine, replete with maps and graphics, just how such war crimes would take place.
Over twenty years ago, a report in the Independent (UK) published on June 23, 1994 revealed that the Pentagon had inked a deal to provide Israel with advanced F-15I fighter jets, designed to “enable the Israelis to carry out strikes deep into Iraq and Iran without refuelling.”
Three years later, on December 9, 1997, a The Times of London headline screamed, “Israel steps up plans for air attacks on Iran.” The article, written by Christopher Walker, reported on the myriad “options” Israel had in confronting what it deemed “Iran’s Russian-backed missile and nuclear weapon programme.”
Such reports have been published ever since. Of course, neither the United States nor Israel will attack Iran, regardless of the success or failure of negotiations, but such reports (often the result of strategically timed “leaks” by anonymous government officials) serve to not only intentionally torpedo diplomacy but also mislead the public into believing the absurdly false narrative surrounding the Iranian nuclear program; that is, either Iran must be bombed or it will acquire a nuclear arsenal. This is nonsense.
Below are some of the constant headlines we’ve seen over the past dozen years promoting such propaganda. When will this madness – this pathological obsession with the false necessity of dropping bombs and the righteous inevitability of killing people – stop?
The Times of London, November 5, 2002:
AFP, October 11, 2003:
The Scotsman, November 22, 2003:
New York Daily News, November 23, 2003:
The New York Times, August 21, 2004:
Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2004:
The Jerusalem Post, January 21, 2005:
The Independent, January 27, 2005:
Toledo Blade, March 14, 2005:
Associated Press, December 4, 2005:
The Straits Times, December 17, 2005:
Associated Press, January 22, 2006:
Fox News, June 4, 2006:
The Telegraph, February 24, 2007:
Associated Press, March 21, 2007:
Newsweek, December 19, 2007:
The Daily Star (Lebanon), May 30, 2008:
USA Today, June 6, 2008:
The Telegraph, June 7, 2008:
The Age, June 9, 2008:
Fox News, June 20, 2008:
The Telegraph, June 23, 2008:
ABC News, July 1, 2008:
Ha’aretz, July 2, 2008:
AFP, July 30, 2008:
Associated Press, August 7, 2008:
CBS News, August 7, 2008:
Wired, April 2, 2009:
Salon, April 14, 2009:
The Times of London, April 18, 2009:
The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009:
The Washington Post, July 2, 2009:
CBS News, July 27, 2009:
Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2009:
Talking Points Memo, August 31, 2009:
Fox News, September 21, 2009:
Huffington Post, September 28, 2009:
Ynet, October 9, 2009:
The Washington Times, October 22, 2009:
Ha’aretz, November 6, 2009:
The New York Times, December 23, 2009:
Newsmax, April 2, 2010:
The Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2010:
AFP, June 12, 2010:
TIME, July 15, 2010:
The Weekly Standard, July 26, 2010:
Christian Science Monitor, August 12, 2010:
The Spectator (UK), August 12, 2010:
Christian Science Monitor, August 13, 2010:
The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2010:
The Week, August 17, 2010:
New York Daily News, August 17, 2010:
The Atlantic, August 18, 2010:
Newsmax, September 2, 2010:
The Atlantic, November 28, 2010:
AFP, November 29, 2010:
The Australian, November 30, 2010:
The Washington Times, December 3, 2010:
The Australian, January 13, 2011:
Associated Press, May 30, 2011:
Ha’aretz, September 28, 2011:
Associated Press, November 2, 2011:
The Daily Beast, November 2, 2011:
The Guardian, November 2, 2011:
The Telegraph, November 6, 2011:
Reuters, November 9, 2011:
Arutz Sheva, November 10, 2011:
Chicago Tribune, November 13, 2011:
Arutz Sheva, December 1, 2011:
The New York Times, January 25, 2012:
Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012:
The Washington Post, February 2, 2012:
Reuters, February 3, 2012:
Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2012:
Congressional Research Service, March 27, 2012:
CNN, March 30, 2012:
Salon/GlobalPost, May 9, 2012:
The Telegraph, May 17, 2012:
CBN News, May 24, 2012:
The Blaze, July 8, 2012:
Reuters, August 10, 2012:
The Times of Israel, August 11, 2012:
The Daily Mail, August 21, 2012:
The Jewish Chronicle, August 27, 2012:
Forbes, September 30, 2012:
National Journal, October 9, 2012:
The Telegraph, October 9, 2012:
Voice of America, December 19, 2012:
The New York Times, January 26, 2013:
The Times of Israel, March 14, 2013:
Newsmax, April 13, 2013:
The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2013:
Ha’aretz, May 3, 2013:
The Times of Israel, May 9, 2013:
Al Jazeera English, July 17, 2013:
The Atlantic, August 1, 2013:
Washington Examiner, September 18, 2013:
Gatestone Institute, October 7, 2013:
Financial Times, November 17, 2013:
CNN, November 19, 2013:
The Times of London, November 26, 2013:
Defense News, December 4, 2013:
CBS News, December 6, 2013:
ThinkProgress, January 2, 2014:
Foreign Affairs, January 7, 2014:
Ha’aretz, March 19, 2014:
Associated Press, March 21, 2014:
The National Interest, April 16, 2014:
Iran Times, May 16, 2014:
Defense News, June 8, 2014:
Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), June 12, 2014:
The Raw Story, July 23, 2014:
What better confirmation of the manifest failure of the philosophy of foreign interventionism than the renewed U.S. bombing of Iraq?
Just think: All those hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed, detained, and tortured Iraqis, along with those who lost their homes, businesses, and savings. They were all bombed and shot by U.S. troops for nothing. All those Iraqis suffered and died for nothing.
The same holds true, of course, for U.S. soldiers who died or came back maimed or all screwed up in the head. The ones who lost their lives died for nothing. The ones who came back physically handicapped or mentally disturbed are suffering for nothing.
How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq?
But everyone is expected to continue playing the game. We’re supposed to just keep praising those brave troops who went to Iraq to defend our freedoms and to help the Iraqi people. Never mind that the results of their intervention have turned into a total failure and fiasco.
Let’s first keep in mind one central truth, a truth that interventionists don’t like talking about: In the Iraq War, the U.S. troops were the aggressors. It was Iraq that was the defending power.
A war of aggression, which the U.S. was waging on Iraq, was condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg.
Second, the U.S. government’s war on Iraq was also illegal under our form of constitutional government. President Bush was required by the law of the Constitution to secure a declaration of war from Congress before waging war on Iraq. He refused to do that and instead, on his own initiative, launched a war of aggression with his military and CIA forces.
Third, U.S. officials justified the killing of Iraqis by using a cost-benefit analysis. They said that by killing x number of Iraqis, U.S. forces would be bringing into existence a free and democratic Iraq for the survivors, which, it was said, would serve as a model for the rest of the Middle East.
Where is the morality in killing and maiming people based on a cost-benefit analysis?
Through it all, there was never one iota of genuine remorse for all the Iraqis that were being killed, maimed, tortured, or destroyed in the purported aim to bring the good society to Iraq.
Equally telling, neither the Pentagon nor the CIA ever put an upward limit on the number of Iraqis who could be killed in the quest to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Any number of Iraqi dead, no matter how high, would be considered “worth it.”
Interventionists are pointing out the evil nature of the Islamic State, the group that is threatening to oust the U.S.-installed regime in Bagdad from power. But simply because one group is evil doesn’t necessarily mean that the term cannot also be applied to what the U.S. government has done to Iraq, especially given it was the U.S. government’s war on Iraq, along with its other Middle East policies, that unleashed the furies that have given rise to the Islamic State.
How can an unlawful and unconstitutional war of aggression, a type of war condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg not be considered evil?
How can a war in which people are being killed and maimed based on a cost-benefit analysis not be considered evil?
Indeed, think back to the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government enforced against Iraq for more than ten years. When “Sixty Minutes” asked U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madelyn Albright whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the U.S. sanctions had been “worth it,” she responded that while the choice was a difficult one, the deaths were in fact worth it.
How can those deadly sanctions — indeed, how can such a horribly callous mindset — not be described as anything but evil?
Or think back to the Persian Gulf War, when the Pentagon ordered the destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants, knowing that such destruction would bring infectious illnesses in its wake? And it did. That’s what helped kill all those children, given that the sanctions prevented Iraqi officials from repairing those water and sewage treatments plants that the Pentagon had destroyed.
How can such a thing not be described as evil?
The problem, of course, is that all too many Americans can easily see the evil in other people’s actions but are unable to see the evil in their own government’s actions. That’s because in their minds they’ve raised the federal government to the level of an idol, one that can do no wrong, especially since it operates through courageous American troops and CIA agents who are always defending our freedoms in whatever they do, including waging wars of aggression against Third World countries that have never attacked the United States, killing innocent children with brutal sanctions, or killing people in a cost-benefit analysis intended, supposedly, to bring the “good life” to the survivors of the onslaught.
If the Iraq fiasco has taught us anything, it is that evil means produce evil results. Just ask anyone who is now calling on the U.S. national-security state to drop more bombs on Iraq in order to combat evil.
The US is once again on the warpath against Syria after the beheading of US citizen James Foley was released on the internet a week ago.
His execution is being used to justify a mixed anti-terror and ‘humanitarian’ intervention in northeastern Syria. An information offensive has now been launched to peddle the myth of ‘limited’ strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets, but in all actuality, such a campaign is impossible to contain within the strict limits US authorities are promising.
Obama has already authorized surveillance flights over Syrian territory, showing that an attack appears to be imminent. A quick exercise in scenario forecasting illustrates how any US intervention in Syria will most certainly evolve from a ‘limited anti-terror operation’ to a massive military offensive, complete with proxy occupations and a full-scale outbreak of chaos throughout the entire country.
Symbolism and Substance
Should the US make the decision to strike Syria, it will be carrying with it both symbolism and substance. The action would be symbolic due to it being in complete contravention of Syria’s sovereignty, a position which Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem reaffirmed earlier this week. Whether by drone or by jet, the US would be showing that it can and will violate Syrian sovereignty as it sees fit. This is enabled by the fact that IS’ turf is mostly removed from any of the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) air defense units, thereby allowing the US to attack with military impunity.
Secondly, the US’ strikes would surely carry with them prime substance, as the rhetoric being expressed by Washington guarantees nothing short of it. They would not be the token gestures evidenced in northern Iraq, but rather a full-fledged operation designed to achieve concrete military objectives. On the public front, this would be to decimate Islamic State and its leadership, but in fact, such an objective cannot be achieved by air strikes alone, especially in populated urban areas like Raqqa.
The Stepping Stone
This brings the US to the next probable stage of its military campaign – ground forces. It is extremely unlikely that the US will use its own conventional forces in the field, as its special forces are cheaper, more effective, and less of a political and physical liability. Another option, of course, is for the heavily armed and highly trained Kurdish Peshmerga to ‘chase’ IS into Syria from Iraq and carry out ground operations on behalf of the US. The precedent of joint military cooperation has already been set previously when both sides partook in a coordinated offensive against IS’ occupation of the Mosul Dam, with the US doing the bombing and the Kurds being the cannon fodder. The Iraqi Peshmerga’s military expansion into Syria would also achieve the dual purpose of expanding the fledgling (and de-facto recognized) Kurdish state, another major American strategic objective in the region.
Filling the Void
With all the hubbub and speculation about an American strike, few have actually put any public thought into what comes next. For example, IS could either be decimated or strategically driven like cattle away from the combat zone and closer to Damascus,(in the same fashion as they have been corralled into going from northern Iraq back into Syria), taking all of their heavy armaments with them along the way. No matter what happens, though, it remains indisputable that there will be a security void in their previously occupied territories, opening up the question of which entity should fill it.
It can be taken for granted that the US will never allow the SAA to liberate the territory after Washington’s tax-dollar funded bombs paved the way, since that would completely reverse the billions in dollars of funding and support that the US, EU, Turkey, and Gulf Kingdoms have placed in the anti-establishment forces fighting the Syrian government over the past three years. Thus, the US’ campaign will of course not be one of liberation, but rather of trading one occupier for another, in this case, the Kurds, a rejuvenated ‘Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Turks (with or without being an official NATO mission), or a combination thereof, with the public reasoning being that the failure to fill the resultant security void could create a breeding ground for an IS 2.0.
‘Finishing the Job’
After the removal of IS from their bastions in northeast Syria (whether by destruction or driving them towards Damascus) and their replacement with Kurdish/FSA/Turkish forces, the US and its ‘coalition of the willing’ will be pressured to ‘finish the job’ one way or another. In the first scenario branch, if IS is somehow destroyed and no longer a threat, then the US may want to seize the strategic initiative and make a drive towards Damascus to finally overthrow the government. After all, they would already be on the offensive and actively engaged in the war zone as it is, and Damascus is definitely within striking range of US aircraft or drones already bombing Syria. The new occupying forces of northern Syria could then carry their offensive south, break the security crescent linking Damascus with the coast, and go in for the paralyzing kill.
The second scenario branch is very similar, but instead of pursuing naked regime change, it strategically pushes IS towards Damascus by using airstrikes in the same manner as a shepherd uses a staff to herd sheep. This accomplishes two important goals; first, it pushes the world’s most deadly and militarily efficient non-state actor all the way through the country and towards the capital, sowing destruction in its wake; and secondly, it provides the US and its proxy allies with the justification for continuing their campaign all the way to the capital and de-facto carrying out regime change under an anti-terror guise.
Without a doubt, the regime change objective can be sped up or publicly ‘justified’ if Syria defends its airspace and fires on American jets or drones. If the beheading of a single citizen by a rogue terrorist group can be a casus belli against an entire state per the US’ reasoning, then it goes without saying how it would respond to missiles being launched against its military vehicles, especially those engaged in an ‘anti-terrorist’ mission. More than likely, Syria will then be painted as a terrorist-supporting state (there is already false information in the Western media that Syria cooperates with IS) and the entire government will then be officially targeted for elimination.
After having accomplished its soft coup in Iraq against Maliki, the US now feels emboldened enough to aggressively press forward with its long-held regime change dreams against Syria, feverishly seeking to exploit any opportunity to justifiably do so. This barbarically includes using a dead man’s decapitated head as a rallying cry in an effort to strike at the primordial emotions of every human being and manipulate them into supporting a ‘vengeful’ war. To appease the domestic and international audience, the US government is only talking about ‘limited’ airstrikes against IS targets in Syria, but when placed under a simple analysis, these are demonstrated to be anything but. Not only will they be used to justify regime change via various arguments, but they will also result in the replacement of one occupier of Syrian territory with another, which in turn can eventually make the de-facto partitioning of the country de-jure. This means that the Syrian Crisis is precipitously teetering on the brink of becoming a full-scale international war, one which places the very existence of secular Syria and its resistance identity into jeopardy.
President Obama is preparing to do something horrifically dangerous in Syria and Iraq. The rise of ISIS has crippled the empire’s decade’s old strategy of deploying Islamic fundamentalist fighters to do its dirty work in the Arab and Muslim world. ISIS, the Frankenstein birthed in the cauldron of America’s quest for regime change in Syria, has turned on its U.S., Saudi, Qatari and Turkish masters to establish its own caliphate, to which thousands of other Islamist fighters are flocking. Even U.S. corporate media now acknowledge that the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels that Obama wants to shovel $500 million at, are virtually non-existent. They were always a mirage, creatures of western propaganda. The Islamists were the only force that could challenge the Syrian army on the battlefield, and now that they are rallying to ISIS, or running away, Obama does not know which way to turn.
Certainly, the U.S. can bomb ISIS positions in Syria, and is already making preparations to do so, but that is not the war Obama wanted to fight. Three years ago, when Obama launched his dirty war against Syria, the plan was for Muslim jihadists to shed their blood to overthrow President Assad. Once the filthy deed was done, the jihadists were expected to allow NATO and the corrupt kings of the Arabian peninsula to pick the next rulers of Syria. The CIA was playing Lawrence of Arabia, using the jihadists as cannon fodder, to be cast aside when it came time to split up the spoils.
Such was also the plan in Libya, where NATO and the same gang of royal Arabian thieves funded and armed the overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan jihadists have also failed to cooperate with the empire’s scheme.
The global jihadist network that the Americans and Saudis created in the 1980s has declared its independence, and Washington has nothing to replace them. American boots on the ground are unacceptable to both the people of the region and the U.S. public. Obama and his minions say the U.S. and its allies will crush ISIS – but that will be like smothering one’s own child in its crib, and would remove all hope of the U.S. achieving its strategic goal of regime change in Syria.
Watch for the Big Switch
If Obama was serious about wanting to crush ISIS, the best and most logical ally would be Syrian President Assad, whose army has so far prevailed against every flavor of jihadist the U.S. has been able to throw at it, including ISIS in its previous incarnations. Nobody wants ISIS defeated more than Syria and its soldiers, more of whom have died in this U.S.-engineered war than any other group, civilian or rebels. If making the region safe from ISIS were the goal, Obama would coordinate his moves with the Syrian military. But he’s lying – just as the Bush administration lied to make the American people believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. The U.S. goal was not to avenge 9/11, but to invade Iraq. In the same way, Obama is compelled to respond to the defection of ISIS from western control, but his goal remains to overthrow President Assad. And, he will tell any lie, or combinations of lies, to somehow turn U.S. bombs on the Syrian government, under the guise of fighting ISIS. You can bet that the CIA is burning the midnight oil, seeking a pretext to turn this strategic U.S. defeat into an excuse to directly attack Syria. And that’s what makes this moment so dangerous.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced plans for a second humanitarian convoy to be sent to eastern Ukraine, urging foreign actors and agencies to participate in continuing efforts at relieving the crisis.
Failure to do so would constitute a violation of international law, he warned.
“Anyone in need of aid shall receive it,” the FM said, stressing that it is important to learn from the mistakes of the first attempt and to look forward to closer cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities this time around.
He stressed that as the indiscriminate shelling of areas such as Lugansk continues, the humanitarian need for water and food grows. This has been acknowledged by humanitarian agencies and international actors at large.
The distribution of aid is currently underway, and is headed by the ICRC.
The FM also added that the shelling of schools, hospitals, kindergartens and other vulnerable institutions and structures can no longer be excused by claims of “wrongful shooting” or be written off as “accidental.”
Minister Lavrov emphasized that Russia is willing and ready to participate in full in any type of negotiations on ending hostilities in the east, and expressed hope that Tuesday’s meeting in Minsk will include a focus on the crisis in Ukraine.
“We certainly expect that tomorrow’s meeting in Minsk will feature a discussion on the humanitarian crisis,” Lavrov said. “We express hope that all participants will urge for the removal of any obstacles to smooth aid delivery to those who are most in need of it,” he added.
The upcoming gathering will be attended by the Customs Union, the Ukrainian authorities and members of the EU.
Sergey Lavrov was asked a wide range of questions on the situations in Ukraine, including the claims that Russian arms were crossing the border.
Allegations of Russian attempts to smuggle military equipment into Ukraine are false and are the latest in a string of bad information that has been circulating in recent days, the minister said. No one, including Ukraine’s special services, could confirm those suspicions.
Lavrov went on to stress that reports of Russian forces crossing into Ukraine have not been confirmed by the OSCE, which is evidenced in their report.
“We were ready at the August 17 meeting in Berlin to urge the provision of any support necessary – including drones – to the OSCE mission.”
He further mentioned OSCE concerns that indiscriminate arrests carried out by the militias are beginning to resemble a “witch hunt.”
The people migrating into the west are not being taken in, nor are their children being given places in schools, he stressed.
If this is the sort of national unity Klichko, Tyangibok and Yatsenyuk spoke of, they lied to their own people, he said, referring to national unity agenda promoted by the leaders of the opposition to former president Viktor Yanukovich.
The minister was dismayed at the ongoing investigation into the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, which aroused much controversy and finger-pointing. He said that at this point it would appear that Russia “seems to be the only interested party in giving this serious issue any further attention.”
There have been at least two countries in Europe in recent history that undertook ‘anti-terrorist’ military operations against ‘separatists’, but got two very different reactions from the Western elite.
The government of European country A launches what it calls an ‘anti-terrorist’ military operation against ‘separatists’ in one part of the country. We see pictures on Western television of people’s homes being shelled and lots of people fleeing. The US and UK and other NATO powers fiercely condemn the actions of the government of country A and accuse it of carrying out ‘genocide’ and ’ethnic cleansing’ and say that there is an urgent ‘humanitarian crisis.’ Western politicians and establishment journalists tell us that ‘something must be done.’ And something is done: NATO launches a ‘humanitarian’ military intervention to stop the government of country A. Country A is bombed for 78 days and nights. The country’s leader (who is labeled ‘The New Hitler’) is indicted for war crimes – and is later arrested and sent in an RAF plane to stand trial for war crimes at The Hague, where he dies, un-convicted, in his prison cell.
The government of European country B launches what it calls an ‘anti-terrorist’ military operation against ‘separatists’ in one part of the country. Western television doesn’t show pictures or at least not many) of people’s homes being shelled and people fleeing, although other television stations do. But here the US, UK and other NATO powers do not condemn the government, or accuse it of committing ‘genocide’ or ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Western politicians and establishment journalists do not tell us that ‘something must be done’ to stop the government of country B killing people. On the contrary, the same powers who supported action against country A, support the military offensive of the government in country B. The leader of country B is not indicted for war crimes, nor is he labeled ‘The New Hitler’ despite the support the government has got from far-right, extreme nationalist groups, but in fact, receives generous amounts of aid.
Anyone defending the policies of the government in country A, or in any way challenging the dominant narrative in the West is labeled a “genocide denier” or an “apologist for mass murder.” But no such opprobrium awaits those defending the military offensive of the government in country B. It’s those who oppose its policies who are smeared.
What makes the double standards even worse, is that by any objective assessment, the behavior of the government in country B, has been far worse than that of country A and that more human suffering has been caused by their aggressive actions.
In case you haven’t guessed it yet – country A is Yugoslavia, country B is Ukraine.
Yugoslavia, a different case
In 1998/9 Yugoslavian authorities were faced with a campaign of violence against Yugoslav state officials by the pro-separatist and Western-backed Kosovan Liberation Army (KLA). The Yugoslav government responded by trying to defeat the KLA militarily, but their claims to be fighting against ’terrorism’ were haughtily dismissed by Western leaders. As the British Defence Secretary George Robertson and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook acknowledged in the period from 1998 to January 1999, the KLA had been responsible for more deaths in Kosovo than the Yugoslav authorities had been.
In the lead-up to the NATO action and during it, lurid claims were made about the numbers of people who had been killed or ‘disappeared’ by the Yugoslav forces. “Hysterical NATO and KLA estimates of the missing and presumably slaughtered Kosovan Albanians at times ran upwards of one hundred thousand, reaching 500, 000 in one State Department release. German officials leaked ‘intelligence’ about an alleged Serb plan called Operation Horseshoe to depopulate the province of its ethnic Albanians, and to resettle it with Serbs, which turned out to be an intelligence fabrication,” Edward Herman and David Peterson noted in their book The Politics of Genocide.
“We must act to save thousands of innocent men, women and children from humanitarian catastrophe – from death, barbarism and ethnic cleansing from a brutal dictatorship,” a solemn-faced Prime Minister Tony Blair told the British Parliament – just four years before an equally sombre Tony Blair told the British Parliament that we must act over the ‘threat’ posed by Saddam Hussein’s WMDs.
Taking their cue from Tony Blair and Co., the media played their part in hyping up what was going on in Kosovo. Herman and Peterson found that newspapers used the word ‘genocide’ to describe Yugoslav actions in Kosovo 323 times compared to just 13 times for the invasion/occupation of Iraq despite the death toll in the latter surpassing that of Kosovo by 250 times.
In the same way we were expected to forget about the claims from Western politicians and their media marionettes about Iraq possessing WMDs in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, we are now expected to forget about the outlandish claims made about Kosovo in 1999.
But as the award winning investigative journalist and broadcaster John Pilger wrote in his article Reminders of Kosovo in 2004, “Lies as great as those told by Bush and Blair were deployed by Clinton and Blair in grooming of public opinion for an illegal, unprovoked attack on a European country.”
The overall death toll of the Kosovo conflict is thought to be between 3,000 and 4,000, but that figure includes Yugoslav army casualties, and Serbs and Roma and Kosovan Albanians killed by the KLA. In 2013, the International Committee of the Red Cross listed the names of 1,754 people from all communities in Kosovo who were reported missing by their families.
The number of people killed by Yugoslav military at the time NATO launched its ‘humanitarian’ bombing campaign, which itself killed between 400-600 people, is thought to be around 500, a tragic death toll but hardly “genocide.”
“Like Iraq’s fabled weapons of mass destruction, the figures used by the US and British governments and echoed by journalists were inventions- along with Serbian ‘rape camps’ and Clinton and Blair’s claims that NATO never deliberately bombed civilians,” says Pilger.
No matter what happens in Ukraine…
In Ukraine by contrast, the number of people killed by government forces and those supporting them has been deliberately played down, despite UN figures highlighting the terrible human cost of the Ukrainian government’s ‘anti-terrorist’ operation.
Last week, the UN’s Human Rights Office said that the death toll in the conflict in eastern Ukraine had doubled in the previous fortnight. Saying that they were “very conservative estimates,” the UN stated that 2,086 people (from all sides) had been killed and 5,000 injured. Regarding refugees, the UN says that around 1,000 people have been leaving the combat zone every day and that over 100,000 people have fled the region. Yet despite these very high figures, there have been no calls from leading Western politicians for ‘urgent action’ to stop the Ukrainian government’s military offensive. Articles from faux-left ‘humanitarian interventionists’ saying that ‘something must be done’ to end what is a clearly a genuine humanitarian crisis, have been noticeable by their absence.
There is, it seems, no “responsibility to protect” civilians being killed by government forces in the east of Ukraine, as there was in Kosovo, even though the situation in Ukraine, from a humanitarian angle, is worse than that in Kosovo in March 1999.
To add insult to injury, efforts have been made to prevent a Russian humanitarian aid convoy from entering Ukraine.
The convoy we are told is ‘controversial’ and could be part of a sinister plot by Russia to invade. This from the same people who supported a NATO bombing campaign on a sovereign state for “humanitarian” reasons fifteen years ago!
For these Western ‘humanitarians’ who cheer on the actions of the Ukrainian government, the citizens of eastern Ukraine are “non-people”: not only are they unworthy of our support or compassion, or indeed aid convoys, they are also blamed for their own predicament.
There are, of course, other conflicts which also highlight Western double standards towards ‘humanitarian intervention’. Israeli forces have killed over 2,000 Palestinians in their latest ruthless ‘anti-terrorist’ operation in Gaza, which is far more people than Yugoslav forces had killed in Kosovo by the time of the 1999 NATO ‘intervention’. But there are no calls at this time for a NATO bombing campaign against Israel.
In fact, neocons and faux-left Zionists who have defended and supported Israel’s “anti-terrorist” Operation Protective Edge, and Operation Cast Lead before it, were among the most enthusiastic supporters of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Israel it seems is allowed to kill large numbers of people, including women and children, in its “anti-terrorist” campaigns, but Yugoslavia had no such “right” to fight an “anti-terrorist” campaign on its own soil.
In 2011, NATO went to war against Libya to prevent a “hypothetical” massacre in Benghazi, and to stop Gaddafi ‘killing his own people’; in 2014 Ukrainian government forces are killing their own people in large numbers, and there have been actual massacres like the appalling Odessa arson attack carried out by pro-government ‘radicals’, but the West hasn’t launched bombing raids on Kiev in response.
The very different approaches from the Western elite to ‘anti-terrorist’ operations in Kosovo and Ukraine (and indeed elsewhere) shows us that what matters most is not the numbers killed, or the amount of human suffering involved, but whether or not the government in question helps or hinders Western economic and military hegemonic aspirations.
In the eyes of the rapacious Western elites, the great ‘crime’ of the Yugoslav government in 1999 was that it was still operating, ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an unreconstructed socialist economy, with very high levels of social ownership – as I highlighted here.
Yugoslavia under Milosevic was a country which maintained its financial and military independence. It had no wishes to join the EU or NATO, or surrender its sovereignty to anyone. For that refusal to play by the rules of the globalists and to show deference to the powerful Western financial elites, the country (and its leader) had to be destroyed. In the words of George Kenney, former Yugoslavia desk officer at the US State Department: “In post-cold war Europe no place remained for a large, independent-minded socialist state that resisted globalization.”
By contrast, the government of Ukraine, has been put in power by the West precisely in order to further its economic and military hegemonic aspirations. Poroshenko, unlike the much- demonized Milosevic, is an oligarch acting in the interests of Wall Street, the big banks and the Western military-industrial complex. He’s there to tie up Ukraine to IMF austerity programs, to hand over his country to Western capital and to lock Ukraine into ‘Euro-Atlantic’ structures- in other words to transform it into an EU/IMF/NATO colony- right on Russia’s doorstep.
This explains why an ‘anti-terrorist’ campaign waged by the Yugoslav government against ‘separatists’ in 1999 is ‘rewarded’ with fierce condemnation, a 78-day bombing campaign, and the indictment of its leader for war crimes, while a government waging an ‘anti-terrorist’ campaign against ‘separatists’ in Ukraine in 2014, is given carte blanche to carry on killing. In the end, it’s not about how many innocent people you kill, or how reprehensible your actions are, but about whose interests you serve.
Moscow believes the West has more influence on various paramilitary forces in Ukraine – sponsored by local oligarchs – than Kiev does, Russian FM Lavrov said citing the latest bickering between Right Sector and the Interior Ministry.
“The authorities in Kiev are not in control of the numerous paramilitary forces, including Right Sector, which, we estimate, comprises a large portion of the National Guard. The demarche of Right Sector towards the Ukrainian Interior Minister speaks for itself,” Sergey Lavrov said, adding that existence of armed groups sponsored by Ukrainian oligarchs, such as the Azov and Dnepr battalions, poses a great security threat.
“We work with our Western partners in Europe and the United States who can really influence those paramilitary units that don’t answer to the central government in Kiev. We know the West has such influence,” he added.
Lavrov was referring to the weekend ultimatum of the far-right group, which threatened to pull out its troops from eastern Ukraine and march on Kiev unless President Petro Poroshenko fires several police officials, including a deputy interior minister. The group later reduced its demands, saying that the release of its activists previously arrested by the police was sufficient.
The comments from the top Russian diplomat came as he reported on the progress achieved during the Sunday meeting with his counterparts from Ukraine, Germany and France. The roundtable produced no concrete agreements, but the parties involved said some progress was made on the issues of humanitarian aid and border control.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Lavrov said Moscow would welcome the observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deploying drones to control the Russian-Ukrainian border from the Ukrainian side.
Lavrov said Russia is working with the OSCE on giving more transparency in the border region, which is important, considering how often Kiev voices false reports on alleged violation of the border from the Russian side. He cited the latest claim by Kiev on Friday, when the Ukrainian military said it had destroyed a column of Russian armor after an incursion into Ukraine.
“What really happened was a Ukrainian column moved in the Lugansk Region, obviously to intercept the route of a potential humanitarian aid delivery. That column was destroyed by the militia,” he said. “If such episodes are presented as glorious successes of the Ukrainian army, then please don’t accuse us of anything.”
Russia has sent a convoy of humanitarian aid meant for war-torn eastern Ukraine. The trucks have not been allowed entry by the Ukrainian side, which voiced suspicions about the nature of the cargo and demanded that the delivery be conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Lavrov noted that the media hype over the mission, which was apparent in the West in its early days, evaporated as soon as it became clear that the column actually carries humanitarian aid and is not some kind of a trick used by Russia to invade Ukraine, as Kiev initially claimed.
The minister also criticized Kiev’s request for NATO’s aid against the militia in eastern Ukraine, saying that it “goes against all the agreements we had reached on stopping the hostilities and initiating negotiations.”
“As long as the authorities in Kiev bet on the use of force and consider a military victory over their own people a necessary condition for keeping themselves in power, I don’t think any good will come from what we are trying to achieve,” he said.
Earlier this week we posted Donnchadh Mac an Ghoill’s interview with Sadiq Al Timimi on the current conflict in Iraq, in historical, local, and international contexts. Given the mounting ex post facto justifications for another round of heightened US military intervention in Iraq, already well underway and with no defined limit in either the scope of possible actions to be undertaken, or a temporal limit for such interventionism, we opted to counter some of the dogma and myth-making that has been so effortlessly produced by those with ample practice—and interest—in justifying the further militarization and Americanization of Iraqi affairs.
More US intervention is the last thing that is needed in Iraq. The current phase of conflict (the rapid advance of the Islamic State forces, also referred to as either ISIS or ISIL) is in many ways the direct outcome of US and other international intervention in Iraq over the past quarter century at least (and the failed campaign to back the armed overthrow of the government of Syria). The effective partitioning of Iraq to separate the Kurdish zone is one consequence of the illegal no-fly zone instituted and enforced by the US and UK throughout the 1990s. The gradual and then drastic destruction of the Iraqi state, via international sanctions and then with the invasion and occupation that started in March, 2003, deliberately and intentionally created disorder. This was a grand act of vandalism, designed to terminate a unified, secular state that had been forced to oppose US interests. Arming and training sectarian militias as part of the “surge” and General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency strategy, opened the door to atrocious ethnic cleansing that has not ceased since it began under US tutelage. An unstable government in Baghdad, and inter-ethnic violence, is precisely what American victory looks like. If after Iran, and after Russia, the US chose to renew its military intervention, it is not because it feels threatened by disorder—it is only threatened by the disorder that it cannot efficiently manage to its own ends.
Otherwise, there is no special “humanitarian crisis” in Iraq other than the one which the US and other western powers have been deliberately implementing since 1990. The greatest humanitarian crisis suffered by Iraq thus far has been the unprovoked naked aggression of the US against Iraq, committing a crime of the first order of importance under international law with the 2003 invasion. The subsequent commission of numerous war crimes by the US military, and atrocities against civilans, including torture, mass detentions, and the deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, are all crimes for which the US remains to answer. Some sporadic air drops of water and food cannot erase that, and by the US government’s own acknowledgment, confirmed by facts on the ground, current US military intervention is no solution to Iraqi problems. It is, however, an open door to even greater intervention over the long term. Meanwhile, US plans for a political solution are inconclusive, inadequate, and generally poorly conceived.
As we see, the US is only bombing ISIS when it gets too near to US business interests in Kurdistan—which is not to say that the US should do something otherwise. Otherwise ISIS can do as they like, as they have in Syria with the support of Turkey, a member of NATO, and US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with US funding and equipment itself. Further US intervention can only further delegitimize the Iraqi state and army. For all its many faults, the Iraqi state has been developing an independent foreign policy over the last few years, having refused to become part of the US lynching of Syria, and building up economic relations with China, Iran and Russia. Now the US has clearly backed, if not engineered, a constitutional coup against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, adding further instability at a time of great political vulnerability. Iraq is well capable of dealing with ISIS—indeed, when left alone, it was almost most capable of dealing with such extremist movements. Even the Ba’ath Party, in the person of Izzat al-Douri, has declared ISIS a criminal element and condemned their sectarian atrocities, so ISIS has no real future in Iraq, and they certainly do not present an existential threat.
If Iraq looks like a “safe haven” for extremism now, it is as a direct result of US intervention. More US and western intervention will not solve the problems that such intervention caused in the first place, nor are the results we are witnessing innocently accidental and unforeseen consequences.
The US’ aims in Iraq have never been, and still are not, about saving poor civilians in Iraq.
“Hillary works for Goldman Sachs and likes war, otherwise I like Hillary,” a former Bill Clinton aide told me sardonically. First, he was referring to her cushy relationships with top Wall Street barons and her $200,000 speeches with the criminal enterprise known as Goldman Sachs, which played a part in crashing the U.S. economy in 2008 and burdening taxpayers with costly bailouts. Second, he was calling attention to her war hawkish foreign policy.
Last week, Hillary-The-Hawk emerged, once again, with comments to The Atlantic attacking Obama for being weak and not having an organized foreign policy. She was calling Obama weak despite his heavy hand in droning, bombing and intervening during his Presidency. While Obama is often wrong, he is hardly a pacifist commander. It’s a small wonder that since 2008, Hillary-The-Hawk has been generally described as, in the words of the New York Times journalist Mark Landler, “more hawkish than Mr. Obama.”
In The Atlantic interview, she chided Obama for not more deeply involving the U.S. with the rebels in Syria, who themselves are riven into factions and deprived of strong leaders and, with few exceptions, trained fighters. As Mrs. Clinton well knows, from her time as Secretary of State, the White House was being cautious because of growing Congressional opposition to intervention in Syria as Congress sought to determine the best rebel groups to arm and how to prevent this weaponry from falling into the hands of the enemy insurgents.
She grandly told her interviewer that “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” Nonsense. Not plunging into unconstitutional wars could have been a fine “organizing principle.” Instead, she voted for the criminal invasion of Iraq, which boomeranged back into costly chaos and tragedy for the Iraqi people and the American taxpayers.
Moreover, the former Secretary of State ended her undistinguished tenure in 2013 with an unremitting record of militarizing a Department that was originally chartered over 200 years ago to be the expression of American diplomacy. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton made far more bellicose statements than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did. Some career Foreign Service Officers found her aggressive language unhelpful, if not downright hazardous to their diplomatic missions.
Such belligerency translated into her pushing both opposed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and reluctant President Obama to topple the Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan dictator had given up his dangerous weapons and was re-establishing relations with Western countries and Western oil companies. Mrs. Clinton had no “organizing principle” for the deadly aftermath with warring militias carving up Libya and spilling over into Mali and the resultant, violent disruption in Central Africa. The Libyan assault was Hillary Clinton’s undeclared war – a continuing disaster that shows her touted foreign policy experience as just doing more “stupid stuff.” She displays much ignorance about the quicksand perils for the United States of post-dictatorial vacuums in tribal, sectarian societies.
After criticizing Obama, Mrs. Clinton then issued a statement saying she had called the president to say that she did not intend to attack him and anticipated “hugging it out” with him at a Martha’s Vineyard party. Embracing opportunistically after attacking is less than admirable.
Considering Hillary Clinton’s origins as an anti-Vietnam War youth, how did she end up such a war hawk? Perhaps it is a result of her overweening political ambition and her determination to prevent accusations of being soft on militarism and its imperial Empire because she is a woman.
After her celebrity election as New York’s Senator in 2000, she was given a requested seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. There, unlike her war-like friend, Republican Senator John McCain, she rarely challenged a boondoggle Pentagon contract; never took on the defense industry’s waste, fraud and abuse; and never saw a redundant or unneeded weapons system (often criticized by retired Generals and Admirals) that she did not like.
The vaunted military-industrial complex, which President Eisenhower warned about, got the message. Hillary Clinton was one of them.
Energetically waging peace was not on Secretary of State Clinton’s agenda. She would rather talk about military might and deployment in one geographic area after another. At the U.S. Naval Academy in 2012, Generalissma Clinton gave a speech about pivoting to East Asia with “force posture” otherwise known as “force projection” (one of her favorite phrases) of U.S. naval ships, planes and positioned troops in countries neighboring China.
Of course, China’s response was to increase its military budget and project its own military might. The world’s super-power should not be addicted to continuous provocations that produce unintended consequences.
As she goes around the country, with an expanded publically-funded Secret Service corps to promote the private sales of her book, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton needs to ponder what, if anything, she as a Presidential candidate has to offer a war-weary, corporate-dominated American people. As a former member of the board of directors of Walmart, Hillary Clinton waited several years before coming out this April in support for a restored minimum wage for thirty million American workers (a majority of whom are women).
This delay is not surprising considering Hillary Clinton spends her time in the splendors of the wealthy classes and the Wall Street crowd, when she isn’t pulling down huge speech fees pandering to giant trade association conventions. This creates distance between her and the hard-pressed experiences of the masses, doesn’t it?
In a telephone conversation with his U.S. colleague Chuck Hagel, Shoigu also called for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine
MOSCOW – Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday voiced serious concern over increased U.S. and NATO military activities near the Russian border.
In a telephone conversation with his U.S. colleague Chuck Hagel, Shoigu also called for an immediate ceasefire and safe corridors to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate civilians from the combat area in eastern Ukraine.
He gave a detailed assessment of Ukrainian troops’ actions in the combat area. Shoigu said it was unacceptable to use combat aviation, heavy weapons, including rockets, artillery and missiles, against civilians and the region’s civilian infrastructure.
Shoigu described the situation in the area as “a humanitarian catastrophe”.
He also told Hagel about the efforts being taken to deliver humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine and problems with the movement of the humanitarian convoy.
The Russian Defence Ministry described the conversation as “business-like and constructive” and said Shoigu and Hagel had agreed to continue contacts.
People in Lugansk carry the bodies of those killed during an artillery attack on the city (RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov)
The number of killed and wounded in eastern Ukraine has doubled to 2,086 over the last two weeks, according to the UN’s “very conservative estimates”.
“This corresponds to a clear escalating trend,” UN human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told Reuters in response to a query.
Over 60 people have been killed or wounded every day, Pouilly added.
Almost 5,000 have been wounded.
The figures comprise Ukrainian military, self-defense forces, and civilians. However, those are “very conservative estimates,” Pouilly said.
The Ukraine crisis has been widely described as a humanitarian catastrophe. According to the UN’s latest estimates, over 110,000 people have been internally displaced in the conflict. Moscow has reported that 730,000 people have fled across the border into Russia.
In Donetsk alone, more than 1,000 people have been left homeless due to the fighting, according to the city administration. In Lugansk, another regional center, 250,000 people can’t leave the city and have been without water, electricity, and communications for over a week.