Last week, the House and Senate voted to rubber stamp President Obama’s war plans for the Middle East. Both bodies, on a bipartisan basis, authorized the US to begin openly training and arming the rebels who have been fighting for three years to overthrow the Assad government in Syria.
Although the Syrian government has also been fighting ISIS and related extremist groups for three years, the US refuses to speak to the Syrians and has warned Assad not to interfere with the coming US attack on sovereign Syrian territory
President Obama promised that airstrikes alone would “degrade and destroy” ISIS, telling the US military in a speech last week that:
“The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission… I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”
But of course any US troops sent into a war zone are “combat” troops. And more are on their way.
While the president was swearing that there would be no boots on the ground, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, was in open disagreement. General Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that US forces would need to embed with Iraqi or Kurdish troops in combat situations under certain circumstances.
The limited mission the president promised just weeks ago has already greatly escalated, and now threatens to become another major regional war. In reality, however, this is just a continuation of the 24 year US war on Iraq that President George Bush began in 1990 and candidate Obama promised to end as President.
Under last week’s authorization bill, the president would have authority to train 5,000 fighters in Saudi Arabia for insertion into the civil war in Syria. This is in effect a re-arrangement of the deck chairs. To this point the training was carried out by the CIA in Jordan and Turkey. Now, the program will be moved to the Pentagon and to Saudi Arabia.
The CIA training of the rebels thus far has resulted in a direct pipeline of weapons from “vetted moderates” to the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front and to the very ISIS that the administration claims to be fighting. In July, a full brigade of 1,000 fighters affiliated with the US-backed Free Syrian Army joined ISIS! Of course they took their US-provided weapons and training with them, some of which will certainly be used against the rapidly increasing US military personnel in the region.
That Saudi Arabia is considered a suitable place to train Syria’s future leaders must be some kind of sick joke. While ISIS was beheading two American journalists – as horrific as that is – the repressive Saudi theocracy was beheading dozens of its own citizens, often for relatively minor or religious crimes.
If we want to stop radical terrorists from operating in Syria and Iraq, how about telling our ally Saudi Arabia to stop funding and training them? For that matter, how about the US government stops arming and training the various rebel groups in Syria and finally ends its 24 year US war on Iraq.
There are 200 million people bordering the countries where ISIS is currently operating. They are the ones facing the threat of ISIS activity and expansion. Let them fight their own war, rather than turning the US military into the mercenary army of wealthy Gulf states.
A top European court has struck down restrictions imposed by the European Union against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on an alleged charge of circumventing US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
In a judgment on Thursday, the Luxembourg-based EU’s Court of Justice said it “annuls… the EU March 23, 2012 [ruling] concerning restrictive measures against Iran in so far as it listed Central Bank of Iran.”
“The reasons relied on are so vague and lacking in detail that the only possible response was in the form of a general denial,” the court ruled on Thursday, adding that “those reasons therefore do not comply with the requirements of the case-law.”
It said the charge leveled against the CBI is “insufficient in the sense that it does not enable either the applicant or the Court to understand the circumstances which led the [European] Council to consider…to adopt the contested act.”
The court also ordered the 28-nation European bloc to “bear one half of its own costs and to pay one half of the costs of Central Bank of Iran.”
At the beginning of 2012, the US and EU imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany reached an interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva last November, according to which the six countries accepted to ease sanctions against Iran in return for the Islamic Republic limiting certain aspects of its nuclear activities. The deal came into effect on January 20 and expired on July 20. The two sides then agreed to extend the duration of the agreement until November 24.
The two sides are scheduled to resume talks on Friday to discuss removal of sanctions against Tehran.
If ever there was any need to prove that the US — not just under Bush but also under Obama — is using the “Iranian nuclear threat” as a manufactured pretext and cover for an entirely different policy of imposing regime-change on Iran, one only need remember the Turkey/Brazil nuclear deal with Iran, and how Obama pulled the rug out from under its own allies after they had gotten a “Yes” from Iran to terms that the Obama administration itself had endorsed in a letter just 1 week earlier — thus again moving the goalpost to ensure that the nuclear threat pretext would be kept alive.
This is what IAEA director Elbaradei wrote about that deal in his book, Age of Deception:
On May 17, 2010, in a joint declaration, Iran, Brazil, and Turkey announced they had reached an agreement on a fuel swap. Iran would send twelve hundred kilograms of LEU to Turkey, in a single shipment, to be held in escrow while Iran’s research reactor fuel was being fabricated. It was a leap forward-particularly because it signaled the willingness of new players, Turkey and Brazil, to take an active role in resolving the diplomatic impasse.
But the very next day, in a masterstroke of diplomatic futility, the P-5+1 announced that they had reached agreement on a fourth Security Council resolution to escalate sanctions on Iran for not bringing its enrichment program to a halt. Hillary Clinton called the fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil a “transparent ploy” on Iran’s part to avoid new sanctions.
I was dumbstruck and, to say the least, grievously disappointed. Once again, as I noted in an interview with Jornal do Brasil, the West had refused to take yes for an answer. Brazil and Turkey were outraged. Ahmadinejad urged the United States to accept the fuel swap as a move toward openness and dialogue. At the Security Council, Brazil voted against the sanctions-to no avail. The Western powers once more had touched a solution with their fingertips, only to brush it away.
When I had first proposed the fuel swap, Iran had produced about fifteen hundred kilograms of enriched uranium, so the agreement would have removed most of Iran’s inventory from the country. By the time of the agreement with Turkey and Brazil, the stock had risen to about twenty-five hundred kilograms, which of course made the agreement less attractive to the Americans as a diplomatic point of entry, since Iran would be retaining a “significant quantity.” Iran also had not committed, in the agreement, to stop enriching to 20 percent, although Ahmadinejad had hinted that they would do so.
The Western powers were not happy about these aspects of the deal, but it was obvious to me that they could easily and successfully have addressed these issues in the early stages of negotiation. It was incomprehensible and somewhat naïve to ask Iran-or any country, for that matter-to give up everything before the start of talks and expect a positive response. But the pattern was familiar: nothing would satisfy, short of Iran coming to the table completely undressed.
Demanding that Iran give up her rights before entering into negotiations was the same tactic that the Bush administration had been using in order to prevent any peaceful resolution to the standoff. These ‘excess demands’ — including that Iran give up enrichment entirely (“zero enrichment) before any negotiations — are imposed on Iran by the US precisely for that reason. In fact, Iran has long been making compromise offers that would address any real nuclear-weapons concerns, only to see them ignored or deliberately undermined by the US making illegal demands on Iran:
In 2005 Iran was ready to discuss an upper limit for the number of its centrifuges and to maintain its rate of enrichment far below the high levels necessary for weapons. Tehran also expressed its readiness to allow intrusive inspections, even in non-declared sites. But at that time Europe and the US wanted to compel Iran to ditch its enrichment programme entirely.
Iranians assume that this is still the European and US goal, and that for this reason the security council insists on suspension of all Iranian enrichment activities. But the goal of “zero centrifuges operating in Iran, permanently or temporarily” is unrealistic, and has contributed greatly to the present standoff.
Among the justifications provided later for the rejection of the Turkey/Brazil deal by Obama was that since Iran had continued to enrich uranium, the 1200 lbs that were to be exported did not constitute a significant-enough amount of Iran’s stockpile of enriched Uranium.
However, actual nuclear scientists pointed out too that even if Iran had agreed earlier to the same deal, the actual difference in the amount of enriched uranium in its stockpile would not have been significantly different:
“We have calculated just what the differences in the proposed sequences and timing of the swap really amounted to. The answer is: very little… Indeed, if the swap had been agreed when it was first proposed last October, by the time the fuel rods would have been ready the following October, there would be no difference between the two positions.”
“Thus, at very little actual, technical cost, Iran has appeared to make a significant concession. The US and its allies should have beaten Iran to it, but they didn’t. The question now is whether we could accept Iran’s “yes” as an answer.“
Ceasing enrichment was in fact never part of the original conditions to a deal that Obama endorsed just weeks earlier as the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim pointed out:
“It wasn’t on the agenda. Nobody told us, ‘Hey if you don’t stop 20 percent enrichment, forget the deal.’
In fact Iran would never have accepted such a demand and had consistently refused this precondition on talks for a while. After all, this entire deal was meant to be a “confidence-building” measure, not a permanent end to the standoff, and Iran had been demanding that their enriched uranium go to a third, neutral country to be held in escrow until Iran actually received the promised nuclear fuel in exchange, precisely because it didn’t trust the US to come through on its promises.
Nor was this the first time that the US killed-off a potential peaceful resolution to the standoff: the same happened in the EU-3 negotiations with Iran during the Paris Agreement affair of 2005, in which the Europeans and Iranians were engaged in negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program — limits that were supposed to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment — but apparently the EU negotiators themselves didn’t know that the Brits and Americans had already agreed not to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment, regardless of what they had been telling the Iranians.
Ultimately, and Peter Jenkins stated in an interview with Scott Horton in 2012
The Israelis don’t want to see peace between the US and Iran.
And that has not changed. The fact is, the Obama administration can’t make a deal with Iran, even if it wanted, because Obama can’t lift the sanctions on Iran due to the influence of Israel in Congress, and Congressional action would be required to lift the US sanctions on Iran – -without which there can be no deal.
When placed in the proper context, recent events in Ukraine emerge as part of a pattern of “silent coups” typical of the era of President Barack Obama in which “regime change” is disguised as “democracy promotion” but actually overturns democratically elected leaders.
The Ukrainian coup unfolded in three stages: the establishment of the justification for the coup, the coup itself, and the exploitation of the coup to move Ukraine into the American sphere. All three stages bear the Obama administration’s fingerprint of looking like democracy even as the democratic will of a population is negated and reversed.
These modern coups are unlike the classic military coups executed by earlier U.S. presidents, such as those that removed Mossadeq in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 and Allende in Chile in 1973. Nor are they like President George W. Bush’s “regime change” involving overt U.S. invasions. The Ukrainian coup was so disguised as to be unrecognizable as a coup. The Obama-era coups require no tanks and few guns. They usually don the trappings of “pro-democracy” domestic protests.
The first stage establishes the justification for the coup. It pretends to be the expression of the public will through mass democratic expression in the streets. But it actually amplifies the voice of a disaffected and defeated minority. This pattern under President Obama took shape in the streets of Tehran in 2009 after the people of Iran made the mistake of once again choosing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as their president – not the choice America wanted, so the choice had to be changed.
Next, the complaints of the U.S.-desired but defeated Hossein Mousavi and his Green Movement were picked up and amplified by the West, claiming that the election had been fraudulent, justifying a popular uprising for “regime change.” Except that the result hadn’t been forced on the people.
Despite frequent promises to furnish evidence and despite frequent opportunities to do so, Mousavi never delivered the case for electoral theft. And, as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself pointed out, this was no narrow victory where the rigging of a few votes or even a few hundred thousand votes could steal a victory. “How can they rig eleven million votes?” the Ayatollah asked of an election that got about an 85 percent turnout and saw 40 million people cast ballots.
But it is not just the titanic challenge of moving millions of votes from one side of the electoral ledger to the other. The polls, both before and after the election, continually showed that the votes were always there for Ahmadinejad. Former U.S. national security officials Flynt Leverett and Hilary Mann Leverett have documented that 14 methodologically sound polls — run externally by experienced Canadian and American polling organizations and internally by the University of Tehran — demonstrated the predictability, reasonableness and legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s 62.5 percent vote total.
On election night, the University of Tehran’s polls showed Ahmadinejad vacuuming up 57 percent of the vote. In post-election polls, between 55 percent and 66 percent of voters said they had voted for Ahmadinejad (who had a strong base of support among poorer Iranians and especially among rural voters whose opinions were less noticeable to the Western press).
The Western refusal to recognize the democratically elected Ahmadinejad coupled with the credence and amplification that America gave to the exaggeratedly popular Green Movement created the umbrella under which Mousavi’s movement could take to the streets and attempt the removal of a regime unwanted by Washington.
Such a coup-in-disguise exploits one of the potential troubles with democracy. It is the nature of democracy that the majority of people, not the unanimity of people, get to select the government. Even if a government wins a convincing 62.5 percent of the vote, that leaves a sometimes dissatisfied 37.5 percent of the people to take to the streets.
In a large country like Iran, where 40 million people voted, that translates into 15 million people who can take to the streets. When picked up by a sympathetic Western media, protests by even a fraction of those numbers can create the appearance of a mass social movement that justifies supporting what appears to be a popular demand for a change in regime. A “pro-democracy” social movement is born.
In Iran, a group that could not change the government through the democratic electoral process appeared to make a strong “democratic” case to change the government through social pressure. A mass minority protesting in the streets produced a cry heard more loudly around the world than a silent majority in a secret polling booth. It was still the minority, but – in such cases – “democracy” can be wielded as a weapon against democracy. If you can’t bring about the government you want in the polls, bring it about in the streets.
This Iran experiment of legitimizing a coup by transforming the minority, which failed to democratically change the government at the polls, into a mass movement expressing the “public will” to change the government in the streets fell short of its goal although creating a widespread impression in the West that Ahmadinejad’s reelection was illegitimate.
Other ‘Silent Coup’ Attempts
Four years later, a similar silent coup attempt appeared in the streets of Venezuela. With the death of Hugo Chavez, America saw the opportunity for the first time since 1988 to have a leader elected in Venezuela who did not insist on his country’s autonomy from the U.S. But, to America’s dismay, the people voted to continue the Bolivarian Revolution by electing Chavez’s chosen successor, Nicolás Maduro.
The Western media lens immediately focused not on the election of Maduro and Chavez’s party but on the claims of fraud issued by Maduro’s opponent (and Washington’s choice) Henrique Capriles. Despite Maduro agreeing to an audit of the voting machines, despite Capriles never filing his legal charges, despite 150 electoral monitors from around the world – including the Carter Center – certifying the election as fair and despite recognition by every other country in the world, the U.S. State Department continued not to recognize the Maduro government and continued to call for a recount and review.
When Capriles called his democratically defeated supporters to the streets, the Western media lens, as in Iran four years earlier, focused on and amplified the protests. As with Iran, Washington’s refusal to recognize the elected government and the U.S. legitimization of the protests provided cover to the opposition while it attempted to overturn the election results and overthrow the elected government.
Once again, “democracy promotion” was wielded as a weapon against democracy. Yet, in Venezuela, the experiment failed again, as it may have in Turkey and Brazil where Washington also looked with disfavor on the election outcomes.
In Brazil, Lula da Silva won 61.3 percent of the vote in 2002 and 60.83 percent in 2006. In the most recent election, in 2010, Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, won a majority 56.05 percent of the vote. In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, far from declining in popularity, had seen his government’s actions rewarded with increasing voter support: 34 percent in 2002, 46.66 percent in 2007 and 49.83 percent in 2011. Nevertheless, in both countries, the defeated minorities took to the streets to attempt what they could not achieve in the polls.
This silent coup technique would prove more successful in Egypt where the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi would be removed from office not by democracy and the ballot box but, at least in part, by the defeated minority walking out of the polls and into the streets. “Democracy promotion” protests in Cairo and elsewhere set the stage for Morsi’s ouster by the Egyptian military.
The Ukrainian ‘Success’
The first stage of the Ukrainian coup — the establishment of a justification for the coup — fits this same pattern. As Seamus Milne said in the Guardian, the protest in the streets of Ukraine was “played out through the western media according to a well-rehearsed script. Pro-democracy campaigners are battling an authoritarian government.” But, he adds: “it bears only the sketchiest relationship to reality.”
Though President Viktor Yanukovych is often portrayed in the Western media as a dictator who was flown in by Russia, the man the protestors were trying to remove on the streets was elected in 2010 by a plurality of 48.9 percent of the people in elections declared fair by international observers.
So this was not a mass “pro-democracy” movement ousting an unelected dictator. As in Iran, Venezuela and Egypt, this was the case of the losers of the last election trying to reverse those results by going into the streets. But, to make the script work, Western governments and media alter the roles and turn the democratically elected president into the undemocratic one and the opposition into the democracy.
Thus, the West cooperated in the de-legitimization of the elected government of Ukraine and the legitimization of a coup. Such a silent coup is made to appear “democratic” by making it look like a heroic “peoples” movement arising spontaneously from the street.
Having legitimized the cause of the coup-makers, the second stage is the silent coup itself. In this stage, the silent coup is disguised as the shuffling of the legal and constitutional workings of a nation’s parliament. Once again, the coup is executed by wielding “democracy” as the chief weapon.
This aspect of the silent coup – making it appear as simply a discontented population leading to a dispute among constitutional institutions – was developed and perfected in Latin America. During Obama’s presidency, it first appeared in Honduras where democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was whisked out of the country in a kidnapping at gunpoint that was dressed up as a constitutional obligation because Zelaya had announced a plebiscite to determine whether Hondurans wanted to draft a new constitution (since the old one favored the privileged oligarchy).
The political establishment – hostile to Zelaya’s proposal – falsely translated his announcement into an unconstitutional intention to seek reelection. The ability to stand for a second term would have been considered in the constitutional discussions, but was never announced as an intention by Zelaya.
The Honduran Supreme Court declared the President’s plebiscite unconstitutional; the military kidnapped Zelaya; and the Supreme Court charged Zelaya with treason and declared a new president. In other words, it was a coup in constitutional disguise. As American diplomatic cables made clear, the U.S. State Department knew the change in regime was a coup cloaked in the costume of a constitutional act. (Nevertheless, the result of the coup was supported by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.)
The second appearance of this coup pattern occurred in Paraguay when the right-wing Frederico Franco took the presidency from democratically elected, left-leaning Fernando Lugo in a replay of the parliamentary coup. As in Honduras, a coup was made to look like a constitutional transition.
The right-wing opposition opportunistically capitalized on a skirmish over disputed land that left at least 11 people dead to unfairly blame the deaths on President Lugo. It then impeached him after giving him only 24 hours to prepare his defense and only two hours to deliver it. Embassy cables again show that the U.S. was prepared to permit this kind of coup.
The Ukrainian coup is the third incarnation of this pattern of silent coup during the Obama administration. The coup that removed Viktor Yanukovych was disguised to appear as the workings of parliamentary democracy (after street protests in Kiev – supported by U.S. officials – and violent clashes between police and demonstrators created a crisis atmosphere).
With the clashes growing more intense, the parliamentary process that removed the democratically elected leader of Ukraine had three phases. In Act I, after Yanukovych had reached an agreement guaranteed by three European nations to accept reduced powers and to call early elections so he could be voted out of office, government security forces withdrew from the streets leaving public buildings unguarded. That allowed protesters to take control.
In Act II, the opposition made sure that it had the numbers and the strength to take over the parliament by pouncing when, according to the UK Guardian, “many of the MPs for southern and eastern Ukraine were absent from the session. Instead they were at a pre-scheduled congress of regional politicians in Kharkiv” and by intimidating those who remained who were loyal to Yanukovych.
Journalist Robert Parry wrote that neo-Nazi right-wing protesters occupied the government buildings “and forced Yanukovych and many of his allies to flee for their lives.”
In Act III, political parties that held just a minority of the Ukrainian parliament — mostly from the west — dismissed Yanukovych, favorably altered the constitution and formed a new government and began passing new laws often unanimously under intimidation. Parry wrote that “With Yanukovych and many of his supporters fleeing for their lives, the opposition parties seized control of parliament and began passing draconian new laws . . . as neo-Nazi thugs patrolled the scene” – a coup in constitutional disguise.
So, what was really a coup was made to look, as in Honduras and Paraguay, like the legitimate democratic actions of the parliament.
Creating a Pretext
The original issue used as a pretext for the coup was Yanukovych’s abandonment of an economic alliance with the European Union in favor of an economic alliance with Russia. But polls clearly demonstrate that the numbers on each side of the choice paralleled the numbers in the 2010 election: a nearly even split. So, the side that took over in the streets and in the parliament was the same side that lost in the 2010 election and did not represent a democratic change of the people.
As in Honduras and Paraguay, the silent coup in parliamentary disguise was assisted by the West. The trigger for the coup was consistently presented in the West as Yanukovych simply abandoning the E.U. in favor of Russia. But the West pushed him into a situation that made the crisis inevitable.
According to Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at Princeton, “it was the European Union, backed by Washington, that said in November to the democratically elected President of a profoundly divided country, Ukraine, ‘You must choose between Europe and Russia’.” Cohen added that Washington and the E.U. rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer of collaboration for the E.U., America and Russia all to help Ukraine without forcing it to choose.
Having said that Yanukovych must choose one or the other, the West then made it impossible for him to choose the West. Robert Parry reported that the E.U. was “demanding substantial economic ‘reforms,’ including an austerity plan dictated by the International Monetary Fund.” Russia, however, offered $15 billion in loans without such demands.
And in addition to the austerity measures, Cohen added that the E.U. proposal also “included ‘security policy’ provisions . . . that would apparently subordinate Ukraine to NATO.” The provisions compelled Ukraine to “adhere to Europe’s ‘military and security’ policies.”
In effect, the West forced Yanukovych to choose Russia, thus setting the stage for the violent protests in the street. The U.S. government then protected and nurtured those protests. Both Sen. John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Victoria Nuland publicly endorsed and supported the protesters’ undemocratic demand for regime change.
Washington then provided cover and legitimacy to the violent movement in the street by condemning not the protesters’ fire bombs and other acts of violence but the police response. And America did more than rhetorically support the protest: it helped finance the disruptions.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created by Ronald Reagan in 1983 to, according to Robert Parry, “promote political action and psychological warfare against targeted states.” Allen Weinstein, its original project director, said in 1991 that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the C.I.A.”
Parry reported that the U.S.-government-funded NED listed a staggering 65 projects that it funded inside Ukraine, creating “a shadow political structure of media and activist groups that could be deployed to stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn’t act as desired.” (In a September 2013, op-ed in the Washington Post, NED President Carl Gershman had referred to Ukraine as “the biggest prize.”)
In other words, NED money financed projects that helped drive the coup, but there was apparently much more U.S. money than what NED supplied. In December 2013, Victoria Nuland told an audience at the Ukraine Foundation Conference that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in a “democratic Ukraine.”
But Nuland said more than that. She accidentally revealed the American handwriting on the Ukrainian coup script. In an intercepted phone call that was made public, she was caught plotting who the Americans wanted to be the winner of the regime change. She told the American ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, that Arseniy Yatsenyuk was America’s choice to replace Yanukovych (and he did).
Pyatt also refers to the West needing to “midwife this thing,” a metaphorical admission of America’s role in the coup. At one point, Nuland even seems to say that Vice President Joe Biden, himself, would be willing to do the midwifery.
The Third Stage
Having made what was clearly a coup appear to be the legitimate shuffling of parliamentary democracy, the new government was ripe to advance to the third stage: moving Ukraine into the American sphere. Like the silent justification of the coup and the silent coup in constitutional disguise, the moving of Ukraine into the American sphere was a silent takeover: no invasion necessary.
The new government formally asked to ally itself with the patrons who helped place it in power in the first place. On Aug. 29, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk—the very man Victoria Nuland was caught naming as America’s choice to replace Yanukovych – announced that his cabinet had approved a bill putting an end to Ukraine’s non-aligned status that would pave the way for “resumption of Ukraine’s course for NATO membership.” The bill will now be sent on to parliament.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen responded immediately to Yatsenyuk’s announcement by reminding the world of NATOs 2008 decision that Ukraine would become a member of NATO if it so wanted and added that NATO would “fully respect” Ukraine’s intention to join.
So the silent coup had set the stage for the silent takeover of Ukraine by the West, as Ukraine slides out of Russia’s orbit and into NATO’s, a hostile takeover of a country in democratic disguise.
On its own, the Ukrainian intervention clearly has the markings of a U.S.-backed coup. But, removed from isolation and placed into the context of other coups and attempted coups that have taken place during Obama’s presidency, the Ukrainian coup can be seen to be the culmination of a pattern of coups made to look not like coups but like the admirable exercise of “democracy.”
Ted Snider has a graduate degree in philosophy and writes on analyzing patterns in U.S. foreign policy and history.
To be clear:
Are we clear?
The New York Times has one of its typically racist articles making fun of Iranians for their “conspiracy theories” — this time about who created ISIS.
The irony is that this is the same NY Times that helped promote the US lie about “WMDs in Iraq”
Meanwhile I am reminded of NeoCon Michael Ledeen’s rant about how “creative destruction” is our middle name.
Things are getting pretty “creative”, huh Michael? “Faster please” indeed.
The Iranians and the Iraqis and most of the rest of the world think that the Saudis (as US allies) created ISIS and for good reason.
And lets remember a point:
During the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the FBI had an informant named Emad Salem among the bombers, who offered to substitute a harmless substance for the bomb material but this was rejected by his FBI handlers.
Was this an “Iranian conspiracy theory too? No, it was reported even by the NY Times.
So what makes you just assume that the US and her allies aren’t behind ISIS?
Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, head of a powerful movement in Iraq, said on Wednesday during a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Iraq should not cooperate with “occupiers.”
“We wish for Iraq to cooperate with the neighboring countries and its allies, but not with the occupiers,” said Sadr, whose opinions hold sway over tens of thousands of militants.
Kerry, who arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday in a bid to build a coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, met Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haider Abadi and said he was impressed by the premier’s plans to rebuild the Iraqi military and push broad political reforms.
Speaking in front of reporters, Kerry told Abadi he was “encouraged” by the premier’s plans for the “reconstituting” of the military and “your commitment to broad reforms that are necessary in Iraq to bring every segment of Iraqi society to the table.”
Abadi called for the international community to help Iraq fight ISIS, urging them “to act immediately to stop the spread of this cancer.”
“Of course our role is to defend our country, but the international community is responsible for protecting Iraq and protecting Iraqis and the whole region,” Abadi said at the close of his meeting with Kerry.
Abadi said there was “a role for the international community, for the United Nations” in tackling the threat of ISIS in neighboring Syria.
During Kerry’s visit, three car bombs exploded in a neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, killing 19 people and wounding at least 52 others, officials said.
They said a suicide car bombing followed by a car bomb struck near a police checkpoint in a crowded area of eastern Baghdad.
Kerry due in Saudi Arabia “to battle extremism”
Kerry will meet with ministers from 10 Arab States and Turkey in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to hold talks on joint action against ISIS.
The talks coincide with an address from President Barack Obama at the White House, where he will outline the US’ strategy to confront ISIS and address criticism that he has been slow to respond to a wave of atrocities that has shocked the world.
Britain also announced on Tuesday that it will ship $2.6 million (two million euros) worth of weapons to Kurdish forces in Iraq, to help roll back the militants’ lightning advances.
Kerry’s arrival in the region on Wednesday comes as Washington hailed the formation of the new government in Baghdad.
Iraq’s campaign to claw back territory it lost in the north and west of Baghdad in June, and US efforts to engage neighboring governments in the fightback, have been complicated by regional politics.
Saudi Arabia and the five other Gulf Arab states have had deeply strained relations with the government in Baghdad, with each side blaming the other for the jihadists’ gains.
But their foreign ministers will be among those attending Thursday’s talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, along with top diplomats from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq itself.
They will address “terrorism in the region, extremist organizations behind it and means of fighting them,” Saudi state media said.
The Arab League, which has stopped short of explicitly backing ongoing US air strikes against ISIS, also drummed up regional support for the fight.
Ahead of his visit, Kerry vowed to build “the broadest possible coalition of partners around the globe to confront, degrade and ultimately defeat (ISIS).”
“Almost every single country has a role to play in eliminating the (ISIS) threat and the evil that it represents,” he said.
Notably absent from Jeddah will be Russia, the Syrian government – which has not been consulted over possible US airstrikes on its soil – and Iran.
ISIS has taken advantage of the conflict to seize a big chunk of northeastern Syria in fighting with government forces, rival rebel groups and Kurdish militia.
Damascus views itself as a bulwark against the militants, but Washington has ruled out any cooperation.
Washington launched airstrikes against jihadists in Iraq on August 8.
Obama is prepared to authorize air strikes in Syria against ISIS, The New York Times and the Washington Post reported late Tuesday.
An opinion poll published on Tuesday suggested Americans are hawkish towards ISIS, with nearly three-quarters favoring ongoing airstrikes against the group in Iraq while 65 percent would approve extending operations into Syria.
But critics opposed to US involvement in the conflict with ISIS have pointed out that Washington in partnership with its Gulf allies, including Saudi Arabia, played a role in the formation and expansion of extremist groups like ISIS by arming, financing and politically empowering armed opposition groups in Syria.
On Monday, a study by the London-based small-arms research organization Conflict Armament Research revealed that ISIS jihadists appear to be using US military issue arms and weapons supplied to the so-called moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia.
The report said the jihadists disposed of “significant quantities” of US-made small arms including M-16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings “Property of US Govt.”
It also found that anti-tank rockets used by ISIS in Syria were “identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013.”
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that more strikes had been carried out over the previous two days near western Iraq’s massive Haditha dam as part of operations against ISIS forces.
After months of wrangling, Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi finally formed a government on Monday that Washington said had “the potential to unite all of Iraq’s diverse communities.”
Kerry described the new government as a “major milestone” after the divisive rule of Abadi’s predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki.
Iran – alongside the United States, the key outside power in Iraq – said it hoped the change of government in Baghdad would help turn the tide against ISIS.
“I hope that during your new mandate, complete calm will return to your country,” President Hassan Rouhani said.
In reality, the new government does not constitute quite the sea-change hailed by Washington, as the divisive Maliki becomes one of three vice presidents.
In other developments, French President Francois Hollande will visit Iraq on Friday ahead of hosting a conference in Paris on security in the country next Monday, his office said.
(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)
Former US National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
The anniversary of the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington would be a propitious day to arrest Henry Kissinger for crimes against humanity.
For while Kissinger is guilty of many war crimes, including the slaughter of millions of Vietnamese, it was on September 11th that he committed two of his most memorable outrages: The murder of Chilean President Salvador Allende and installation of the torture-loving Pinochet junta in 1973; and the explosive demolition of the World Trade Center, and massacre of nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington in 2001.
Kissinger was undeniably the mastermind of the first 9/11. As President Nixon’s National Security Advisor in 1973, and the head of the “40 Committee” that oversaw US covert operations, Kissinger designed the coup that overthrew and murdered Allende. That operation was “Made in USA” and financed with American taxpayers’ money. Kissinger’s operatives paid lavish bribes to corrupt Chilean military officers including Pinochet, essentially hiring them to murder Allende and thousands of other honest, democracy-loving Chileans.
Kissinger’s complicity in the torture and murder of thousands of Chileans, and the destruction of democracy in Chile, is no secret. Kissinger actually confessed his intentions toward Chile on June 20th, 1970 when he famously said, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.” (In fact, Allende was a democratic socialist, not a communist; his sin, in Kissinger’s eyes, was believing that Chile should control its own economy and resources.)
During the past two decades, many countries’ judicial officials have tried to prosecute Kissinger for the first 9/11. In 1998, Kissinger’s Chilean stooge, General Pinochet, was arrested – and spent the rest of his life under real and virtual house arrest, fighting prosecutions for crimes against humanity before he died in 2006.
Prosecutors in Chile, Argentina, Spain and France have subpoenaed Kissinger. Chilean judge Juan Guzman submitted 30 questions to Kissinger about his relationship with Pinochet but Kissinger refused to answer them. At one point Kissinger had to flee France to avoid arrest.
Though at various times he has been a wanted man in various countries, somehow Kissinger is still walking around free…and planning new war crimes. Since the coup of September 11th, 2001, Kissinger has been a leading advocate of the neoconservative plan to destroy “seven countries in five years” as Gen. Wesley Clark revealed.
Though they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan first, and then destabilized Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Syria – all of which took longer than the planned five years – the neocons’ biggest and most important post-9/11 target has always been Iran. During the past decade Kissinger has been feuding with his fellow mummified ex-National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, about whether the US should attack Iran for Israel. While Brzezinski has been arguing against attacking Iran, Kissinger and his stable of Israel-loving neoconservatives have been beating the drums for war on Tehran.
Kissinger’s anti-Iran extremism was on display Saturday when he told National Public Radio that Iran is a bigger threat than ISIL. What he didn’t say is that by “threat” he meant threat to Israel, not the USA.
Kissinger’s close association with the fanatically pro-Israel, anti-Iran neoconservatives since September 11th, 2001 has surprised some observers, who traditionally viewed the former National Security Advisor as a realist rather than an ideologue.
Why did Kissinger turn neocon? Some speculate that as his mind deteriorates he is rediscovering his tribal roots and experiencing a Zionist second childhood. Evidence supporting this view includes his petulant statement to the New York Post that “In ten years there will be no more Israel.” Apparently Kissinger has fallen victim to the kind of Zionist existential anguish that lies at the root of the radicalism of such neocons as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakheim, and others of that ilk.
But there may be another reason for Kissinger’s succumbing to what Gilad Atzmon calls Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That reason, in a nutshell, is Kissinger’s complicity in the neoconservative coup d’état of September 11th, 2001. By helping design the 9/11 shock-and-awe psychological warfare operation, Kissinger appears to have indelibly wedded his own fate to that of the neoconservative September criminals.
How do we know Kissinger was involved in the 9/11-anthrax operation? Because President Bush, acting under orders of Dick Cheney and the 9/11 perpetrator cabal, appointed Kissinger to head the 9/11 Coverup Commission. Only a person with intimate knowledge of what needed to be covered up, as well as a strong grasp on the crumbling “19 hijackers led by a dying man in a cave” cover story, could have been entrusted to head the Commission.
Since Kissinger was a known war criminal, mass murderer, and Machievellian conspirator who had orchestrated at least one September 11th coup d’état, the victims’ family members protested his appointment as Executive Director of the 9/11 Cover-up Commission. Due to public pressure, Bush was forced to fire Kissinger and replace him with another likely planner of the 9/11-anthrax operation, Philip Zelikow.
Unlike Kissinger, Zelikow was a relatively unknown war criminal. The architect of the Bush Doctrine of disguising the supreme crime of aggressive war under the “pre-emptive” euphemism, Zelikow is a self-described expert in “the creation and maintenance of public myths.” One of the likely creators of the 9/11 myth, Zelikow wrote the 9/11 Commission Report in chapter-by-chapter outline in March, 2003, before the Commission had even convened. That early draft, which is virtually identical with the Report’s final draft, was probably based on a Hollywood-style script for the 9/11-anthrax events written by Zelikow, Kissinger and others to serve as a playbook for the covert operatives who perpetrated the attacks.
During and immediately after the 9/11-anthrax false flag operation, Kissinger sat on the Defense Policy Board under key 9/11 suspect Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle, a leading PNACer who demanded a “New Pearl Harbor” in September 2000 – and got one exactly one year later. As Perle’s senior advisor, Kissinger would have been one of the most significant architects of the 9/11-anthrax operation and subsequent cover-up.
Like Perle, who boasts of his satanic nickname “Prince of Darkness,” Kissinger revels in criminality and evil: “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”
9/11-anthrax wasn’t just unconstitutional; it entailed the destruction of the Constitution in an American Reichstag Fire. It took Kissinger and his neoconservative and Israeli allies years to plan; and they have spent the past 13 years covering their tracks by “fleeing forward” into a widening circle of wars.
If the 9/11 wars ever end, and the post-2001 state of emergency is lifted, the September criminals could face prosecution. No wonder Kissinger and his neocon pals are demanding war with Iran and Russia – either one of which could likely escalate into World War III.
To save the planet, we need to arrest Henry Kissinger for his September 11th crimes: those of 2001 as well as 1973.
Syrian media accused Arab governments Tuesday of giving Washington prior agreement for military action against jihadists, with one daily calling for Damascus to form an alternative alliance with Moscow and Tehran.
The commentary comes ahead of talks in Saudi Arabia on Thursday between Secretary of State John Kerry and US regional allies on joint action to tackle the threat posed by the Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq.
“Washington, which used the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction to enter the region militarily in 2003 and draw new geopolitical lines… is returning today under a new false pretext, the fight against terrorism,” said the Al-Baath newspaper.
“The Arabs meanwhile, are absent from every decision and are playing secondary roles,” it added.
The Baath party daily was referring to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 in which notoriously the alleged chemical and biological weapons that were used to justify the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime were never found.
Kerry is set to meet foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and the six Gulf Arab states in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
The talks are part of US efforts to build a coalition to tackle ISIS, which has seized large tracts of territory in both Syria and Iraq, and carried out abuses including the decapitation of Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and two American journalists.
On Sunday, the Arab League pledged to take “necessary measures” to confront ISIS, and said it was ready for “international cooperation on all fronts.”
But Syria, and its ally Iran, will not be present at the talks in Saudi Arabia, and Damascus fears efforts to tackle ISIS will involve air strikes on its territory without its permission.
State-run newspaper Al-Thawra warned: “The United States is setting the stage to bring new wars to the region.
“Its local partners are ready to carry out its orders without even knowing the details of the American plan,” it added.
Government daily Tishrin questioned why Kerry and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel were coming to the region “when the Arab League has already given its prior agreement for a new war in the region organized by the United States.”
A newspaper called for the formation of an alternative “Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition” against the jihadists to that being put together by Washington.
“Western and regional governments are excluding the nations that really want to fight terrorism,” it said, charging that the US-led coalition included nations that “support terrorism financially, military and logistically.”
Damascus considers all rebel groups fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad “terrorists” and has long accused the rebels’ supporters, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, of funding “terror.”
Similarly, critics opposed to US involvement in the conflict with ISIS have pointed out that Washington in partnership with its Gulf allies, including Saudi Arabia, played a role in the formation and expansion of extremist groups like ISIS by arming, financing and politically empowering armed opposition groups in Syria.
On Monday, a study by the London-based small-arms research organization Conflict Armament Research revealed that ISIS jihadists appear to be using US military issue arms and weapons supplied to the so-called moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia.
In Hillary Clinton’s predictable, self-serving, overlong, boilerplate garbage review of Henry Kissinger’s new book, published last week in the Washington Post, she – well, the communications grunt who actually wrote the review – praises a man who should be serving life in prison for war crimes.
While there is no point addressing the majority of the article, nauseating and noxious as it is, a few things stick out. The first is that Hillary Clinton is friends with a whole lot of absolutely despicable people. This is unsurprising, but still gross.
“Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels,” Clinton writes in the review, echoing a passage from her own recent pre-presidential campaign manifesto, “Hard Choices.”
That book contains myriad references to Clinton’s “valued” and “invaluable friends,” most of whom are rich, powerful or famous public figures – often all three.
Included among these are war criminals Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. Clinton writes that she and Netanyahu “worked together as partners and friends.” Peres, she notes in the book, is an “old friend.”
In her role as Secretary of State, Clinton routinely referred to former Israeli Prime Minister and then-current Defense Minister Ehud Barak as her “friend,” “old friend,” and “longtime friend and colleague.” In April 2010, Clinton remarked, “I have known the defense minister for more years than I care to remember. We were both very young, Ehud.”
Barak endearingly replied, “Immediately after your bat mitzvah.” A hearty chuckle was had by all.
Hillary, Hosni and Shimon
While Netanyahu has, at times, called Clinton “a great friend and a great champion of peace,” Clinton and Shimon Peres have a history of gushing over one another. In early March 2009, Clinton meet with Peres in Jerusalem, describing him as “my dear and old friend” and thanking him “for the extraordinary example that your life sets, as someone who has devoted yourself to the state of Israel, to its security, and to the cause of peace.”
Shimon Peres – who was born Szymon Perski in 1923 in what is now Belarus and immigrated to Palestine in 1934 – procured weaponry for the Haganah during Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. He was the architect of Israel’s illicit nuclear weapons program and forged close ties with the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
In November 1974, after visiting the leadership in Pretoria, then-Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres emphasized to the Knesset the “vitally important” economic, political and military ties between the South Africa and Israel, explaining that “this cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and out refusal to submit to it.”
Years later, Peres was acting prime minister during the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in 1996, including the Qana massacre, in which Israeli warplanes shelled a UN compound sheltering hundreds of displaced civilians, killing 106.
Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton fawned, “I always come away from my times with you both inspired and encouraged to think more deeply and more broadly. And I also am silently challenged by your ceaseless optimism about the future.” In earlier remarks, Clinton said to Peres, “You are an inspiration to me personally, as a person who has dedicated your entire adult life to the State of Israel.” She hailed her presence in Israel as “truly a visit among friends.”
The feelings were mutual. Peres addressed her as “our very dear Hillary,” and expressed sincere gratitude for her “understanding and sympathy and friendship.”
When she returned to Israel 18 months later, Peres hailed “her wisdom, her friendship, her carefulness and caring.” Clinton, again, described Peres as “my friend,” saying it was “a personal pleasure, privilege, and honor to be here with you.”
When the two shared a stage at the Israeli-obsessed Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute in June 2012, Hillary called Peres her “longtime friend” whom she “so greatly” admires, while Peres expressed his “personal admiration, which is really tremendous” for Clinton.
Back in Jerusalem the following month, Clinton made sure to “be the first friend to wish [Peres] a very happy birthday,” and expressed “such great gratitude how much I appreciate you, our friendship, the work we have done together and the work that we will do together in the future.”
A day before Clinton’s first official visit to Israel as Secretary of State in 2009, she was in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. In an interview with Al Arabiya, Clinton effectively dismissed the State Department’s annual report on Egyptian human rights abuses as constructive criticism amongst chums, and declared, “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.”
In this context, her respect, admiration, and friendship with Kissinger makes a lot more sense.
Kissinger’s Democratic Values and Love of Legitimacy
In her sad stump speech/review of Kissinger’s book, Clinton assures readers that – though they have their differences -she, President Barack Obama, and Kissinger all share the “belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.”
Justice. Liberal. Clinton. Obama. Kissinger. Right. Gotcha. But that’s not all.
The review sheds some light on these supposed “shared values” and the politically powerful’s collective view of American imperialism:
During the Cold War, America’s bipartisan commitment to protecting and expanding a community of nations devoted to freedom, market economies and cooperation eventually proved successful for us and the world. Kissinger’s summary of that vision sounds pertinent today: “an inexorably expanding cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance.”
This system, advanced by U.S. military and diplomatic power and our alliances with like-minded nations, helped us defeat fascism and communism and brought enormous benefits to Americans and billions of others. Nonetheless, many people around the world today — especially millions of young people — don’t know these success stories, so it becomes our responsibility to show as well as tell what American leadership looks like.
Feel free to continue reading once you’ve stopped laughing and caught your breath.
Later, Clinton makes sure to note – in a glowing review of a book by Henry Kissinger, mind you – that “our devotion to human rights and democratic values” are an integral part of what “make[s] us who we are as a nation.” Adhering to such values, Kissinger apparently suggests in his new swag bag doorstop, is what leads to success.
Ok, I’ll wait.
One would be hard pressed to figure out where exactly respecting national sovereignty, an abiding commitment to democratic governance, and standing up for human rights fell into the policy prescriptions of the either the Nixon/Kissinger or Obama/Clinton administrations.
As David Corn succinctly wrote in Mother Jones, outside of Clinton’s twisted mind, Kissinger is best remembered for engaging “in underhanded and covert diplomacy that led to massacres around the globe, as he pursued his version of foreign policy realism. This is no secret.” Corn continues:
- Chile: Nixon and Kissinger plotted to thwart the democratic election of a socialist president. The eventual outcome: a military coup and a military dictatorship that killed thousands of Chileans.
- Argentina: Kissinger gave a “green light” to the military junta’s dirty war against political opponents that led to the deaths of an estimated 30,000.
- East Timor: Another “green light” from Kissinger, this one for the Indonesian military dictatorship’s bloody invasion of East Timor that yielded up to 200,000 deaths.
- Cambodia: The secret bombing there during the Nixon phase of the Vietnam War killed between 150,000 and 500,000 civilians.
- Bangladesh: Kissinger and Nixon turned a blind eye to—arguably, they tacitly approved—Pakistan’s genocidal slaughter of 300,000 Bengalis, most of them Hindus.
And there’s more. Kissinger’s mendacity has been chronicled for years. See Gary Bass’ recent and damning book on the Bangladesh tragedy, The Blood Telegram. There’s Seymour Hersh’s classic, The Price of Power. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens presented the case against Kissinger in his full polemical style. As secretary of state, Kissinger made common cause with—and encouraged—tyrants who repressed and massacred many. He did not serve the American values of democracy, free expression, and human rights. He shredded them.
Kissinger and Pinochet
Documents declassified a year ago, upon the 40th anniversary of Salvador Allende’s overthrow in Chile (the other September 11th), “spotlight Kissinger’s role as the principal policy architect of U.S. efforts to oust the Chilean leader, and assist in the consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile,” according to the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Peter Kornbluh, who directs the archive’s Chile Documentation Project, has said, “These documents provide the verdict of history on Kissinger’s singular contribution to the denouement of democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile.”
In her review, Clinton writes:
For an international order to take hold and last, Kissinger argues, it must relate “power to legitimacy.” To that end, Kissinger, the famous realist, sounds surprisingly idealistic. Even when there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not governments alone.
What Clinton of course doesn’t mention is that Kissinger despised legitimate, popular governments, as they too often undermined American domination and exploitation.
After Allende’s inauguration in November 1970, despite prior covert U.S. operations to derail it, Kissinger sent a memorandum to President Nixon warning of “the insidious model effect” of his democratic election.
Kissinger was convinced that the “consolidation of Allende in power in Chile… would pose some very serious threats to our interests and position in the hemisphere” and that “a successful elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on — and even precedent value for — other parts of the world” that could “significantly affect the world balance and our own position in it.”
He was particularly frustrated that “Allende was elected legally” and “has legitimacy in the eyes of Chileans and most of the world; there is nothing we can do to deny him that legitimacy of claim he does not have it.” Furthermore, Kissinger lamented, “We are strongly on record in support of self-determination and respect for free election” and that Nixon himself was “firmly on record for non-intervention in the internal affairs of this hemisphere.”
“It would thereby be very costly for us to act in ways that appear to violate those principles, and Latin Americans and others in the world will view our policy as a test of the credibility of our rhetoric,” he wrote.
Kissinger immediately outlined a strategy to topple the Allende government.
Following the successful coup and Pinochet’s installation as Chile’s dictator, Kissinger maintained that “however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was.” Ignoring appeals to address the severe human rights abuses in Chile, he later told Pinochet himself, “In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here. We want to help, not undermine you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”
When Nixon complained that “liberal” press was giving him “crap” about the coup, Kissinger was indignant. “In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes,” he said.
Kissinger knew this would strike chord with his audience of one. Nixon was Vice President when Eisenhower authorized the 1953 CIA-organized coup that overthrew popular Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh for the crime of nationalizing the nation’s oil industry and not buckling to British and American diktat. The coup consolidated U.S.-backed dictatorial power under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah, who ruled Iran for the next quarter century.
“By restoring the Shah to power,” Nixon recalled years later, “it meant that the United States had a friend in Iran, a very strong friend, and for 25 years Iran played a role as a peace-keeper in the Persian Gulf area.”
Always valuing imperial interests over democratic and humanitarian values, Nixon made an official pilgrimage to visit the Shah in Iran shortly after the coup. Fifteen years later, as president, Nixon provided weapons systems and military assistance to the Iran on a massive scale, effectively bankrolling the Shah’s prospective $20 billion military build-up. At the time, Massachusetts Congressman Gerry E. Studds called the arms transfers “the most rapid buildup of military power under peacetime conditions of any nation in the history of the world.”
Kissinger himself mused, “[W]e adopted a policy which provides, in effect, that we will accede to any of the Shah’s requests for arms purchases from us (other than some sophisticated advanced technology armaments and with the very important exception, of course, of any nuclear weapons capability).”
In a private meeting with Kissinger on July 27, 1973 at Blair House, the Shah confirmed as much. “I have a friend in the U. S. that is ready to provide anything I need – short of atomic weapons and they are not an issue,” he said during a conversation about acquiring American fighter jets, tanks, and battleships and agreeing to arm Pakistan against India.
The Nixon White House – and Kissinger in particular – maintained very close relations with the Shah, in turn gaining a dutiful puppet in the region. This was especially beneficial during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, when Arab members of the petroleum exporting consortium “cut production and stopped oil shipments to the United States and other countries that were backing Israel in the Yom Kippur War.” With the Shah in power, Iran continued production and export to the United States and its allies, including Apartheid South Africa, throughout the embargo and was rewarded handsomely by reaping the windfall of the oil shock.
When the Iranian Revolution finally forced the Shah to flee Iran, it was Kissinger and a cohort of other “influential friends” like Chase Manhattan Bank’s David Rockefeller, former statesman and World Bank president John McCloy, and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who intensively lobbied the Carter administration to eventually admit the Shah to the United States. Carter’s begrudging acquiescence was the main catalyst for the November 4, 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
A month after the seizure of the embassy, Kissinger gave an interview to People Magazine. He had already visited the Shah twice since his arrival. He also insisted that Iranians had no legitimate reason to resent American foreign policy. Admitting that the Shah was “certainly authoritarian,” Kissinger praised his “reforming government” for its supposed economic, education, environmental, and medical advances.
“Not everybody who attacks us is doing so because we supplied a just grievance,” he said, adding that “it must be made clear that challenging the U.S. is not for free. There has to be some penalty for opposing us and some reward for being friendly. Unless we can reestablish that balance, this trend will continue.”
Regarding his belief that the United States was indebted to its former quisling, Kissinger told People, “I have held the position all along that the Shah was a friend of the U.S. for 37 years. Every President, starting with Truman, lauded the Shah’s friendship and his modernizing tendencies and spoke of the gratitude we owed him.” Such a partner deserved “private humanitarian asylum,” Kissinger said. “In light of the Shah’s help to our nation, I felt a duty to help.”
Despite all this, in her review of “World Order,” Clinton remarks that “Kissinger’s analyses of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are particularly valuable.”
While writing about Kissinger’s diplomatic philosophies and policy prescriptions, Clinton manages to praise herself a lot for her own work as Secretary of State, including what she terms taking “decisive action on challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program.”
As one might expect, this “decisive action” was actually just issuing threats, ultimatums, and imposing “crippling” sanctions upon a country over its refusal to abandon its inalienable right to a domestic nuclear energy program. It wasn’t until she left the administration that the current negotiations got underway.
Yet bringing up such a topic in an article about Henry Kissinger is itself ironic as Iran may never have had a nuclear program to begin with were it not for him.
In 1975, during his tenure as Gerald Ford’s Secretary of State, “Kissinger signed and circulated National Security Decision Memorandum 292, titled ‘U.S.-Iran Nuclear Cooperation,’ which laid out the administration’s negotiating strategy for the sale of nuclear energy equipment projected to bring U.S. corporations more than $6 billion in revenue,” reported the Washington Post‘s Danfa Linzer in 2005.
The strategy paper, Linzer wrote, “commended Iran’s decision to build a massive nuclear energy industry,” and argued that Iran needed to “prepare against the time — about 15 years in the future — when Iranian oil production is expected to decline sharply.”
Working alongside other Ford administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, Kissinger engaged in “intense efforts to supply Iran with U.S. nuclear technology” and even “tried to accommodate Iranian demands for plutonium reprocessing.” A directive signed by Ford in 1976 offered access to “a complete ‘nuclear fuel cycle’ — reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis.”
When asked by Linzer about the potential consequences and hypocrisy of such a deal in light of more recent punitive and preventive policies, Kissinger shrugged. “I don’t think the issue of proliferation came up,” he said, eventually adding, “They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn’t address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons.”
Diplomatic Double Standards
In mid-1969, when he was Nixon’s National Security Adviser, Kissinger outlined what would soon become official American policy regarding Israel’s clandestine nuclear arsenal. Once Israeli nuclear capability came to light – outside of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refused to sign – the Nixon administration attempted to devise a strategy to deal with it.
A National Security Study delivered to Kissinger in May 1969 by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Rodger Davies noted, “Israel has committed to us that it will not be ‘the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the area’, but there are grounds for believing that Israel does not construe production of a weapon to constitute ‘introduction.'” It further stated:
If the possession of nuclear weapons offered an ultimate deterrent for Israel we would perhaps be prepared to conclude that, whatever other disadvantages this development might have, its contribution to Israel’s security, especially with the prospect of continuing Arab hostility, was in the US interest.
Israel wants nuclear weapons, as was both explicit and implicit in our conversations with Rabin, for two reasons: first, to deter the Arabs from striking Israel, and second, if deterrence fails and Israel were about to be overrun, to destroy the Arabs in a nuclear Armageddon.
In a July 19, 1969 memo to the president, Kissinger introduced a new policy option, wring that “while we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact.”
Despite the efforts of Nixon officials to place curbs on the program, they eventually “withdrew step after step from an ambitious plan to block Israeli nuclearization, until they finally acceded, in internal correspondence – the content of the conversation between Nixon and Meir is still classified – to recognition of Israel as a threshold nuclear state,” wrote Amir Oren recently in Ha’aretz, basing his report on newly-declassified documents.
The Nixon advisers concluded that, all things considered, “we cannot force the Israelis to destroy design data and components, much less the technical knowledge in people’s minds, nor the existing talent for rapid improvisation.” Thus, Davies wrote in July, two months before the Nixon-Meir meeting, the lesser evil would be to agree for Israel to “retain its ‘technical option'” to produce nuclear weapons.
“If the Israelis show a disposition to meet us on the nuclear issue but are adamant on the Jericho missiles, we can drop back to a position of insisting on non-deployment of missiles and an undertaking by the Israelis to keep any further production secret,” Davies added.
Such “nuclear ambiguity” has been both official Israeli and U.S. policy ever since President Richard Nixon meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in September 1969. Accordingly, Nixon formally suspended all American inspection of and visitation to Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant in 1970 and ceased demands that Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
When President Obama first met with Netanyahu in May 2009, he confirmed the continuity of the secret agreement, a stance one Senate staffer reportedly described as “call[ing] into question virtually every part of the president’s nonproliferation agenda” by giving “Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card.”
The Clinton Doctrine
Hillary Clinton’s review of Henry Kissinger’s new book provided her and her public relations team an opportunity to set the stage for what seems like another inevitable run for president. It affirmed her fealty to American imperialism and hegemony, her reliance on the advice of predecessors, colleagues and friends with demonstrably more appalling records than her own, and her firm commitment to continue the failed and dangerous policies of past administrations, all while standing on the same sanctimony and entitlement that got her where she is today.
From hailing Henry Kissinger as a gritty, truth-telling idealist to her role in the Obama administration’s expansion of the American surveillance state and drone program, the question remains: is there anything about Hillary Clinton that isn’t absolutely terrible?
As if we needed any more proof that the “Iranian nuclear threat” is just a cooked-up pretext which is unrelated to any actual nuclear threat, Australia, which holds about 1/3rd of the world’s uranium reserves, has decided to sell uranium to India. That such a deal violates the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, doesn’t seem to be an issue.
And why should it, considering that a few years ago, the US agreed to violate the same NPT by selling nuclear technology to India in exchange for buying India’s vote against Iran at the IAEA Board which sent Iran’s file to the UN Security Council even though Iran had not breached the NPT?
On the eve of his visit to New Delhi, US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns has said that with India voting in favour of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] resolution on Iran’s nuclear programme, Congressional opposition to the Indo-US nuclear agreement has disappeared and both sides would meet their commitments before President George W. Bush visits India next year.
Of course the US and Australia claim that this stuff is going to non-military use in India but all that means is that the deal would free-up India’s other resources to be used for non-civilian use.
Now, in the meantime, while the US (and Australia) are blatantly violating their own obligations under the NPT, they’re demanding that Iran apply even greater restrictions on its nuclear program than the NPT requires, by for example giving up uranium enrichment.
UPDATE: Bloomberg has an interesting article about two former British officials who say that excess demands on Iran are putting the nuclear talks at risk. This of course was the same as in the past when excess demands were deliberately made in order to kill off any chance of a peaceful resolution — the Obama administration even went as far as to pull the rug out from under its own allies Turkey and Brazil after they had had gotten a Yes from Iran, causing the miffed Turks/Brazilians to expose a letter Obama had written endorsing the same terms of the deal just weeks earlier. No further proof is necessary to show that the US was never really honest about these talks and had no intention of allowing them to work out.
In reviewing the history of the nuclear talks thus far, with the many extensions past arbitrarily-set deadlines, I can’t help but think that any actual negotiations still going on are really about jostling for the advantageous moral high ground from which to take pot-shots at the other once the talks are finally declared dead.
I’m reminded of the many zombie movies that were quite popular a couple of years ago in which the hero delivers the final blows to the walking dead, and usually in spectacular and cathartic fashion. I wonder if the talks now aren’t really simply about which side will be left to deliver the coup de grace to a diplomatic process that is by now effectively dead, if not still-born — knowing that the side that does so will not be treated as a hero as in the zombie movies but will instead stand accused of “backing away” from a peaceful resolution or “breaking” the negotiations, never mind that the entire idea of the talks was – to put it politely – very optimistic (if not a set-up) from the start since it was always quite apparent that the key issue — relief from sanctions — was never really on the table due to domestic political restraints on the US side. In all these talks about how many centrifuges Iran will be “allowed” to keep (by what legal authority are any limits imposed anyway? An ad hoc rewriting of the NPT for Iran?) it is simply taken for granted that in exchange the sanctions could be removed should a deal be reached — however, realistically, this was never going to happen because the President is simply not in a position to undo sanctions imposed by Congress, and there’s no hope in hell of Congress voting away sanctions thanks to the influence-peddling of the pro-Israeli lobby there.
The striking similarity to the previous Paris Agreement negotiations cannot be ignored. The EU side (apparently unbeknownst to the negotiators themselves, according to Peter Oborne’s book) had already agreed with the US to not respect Iran’s right to enrichment, regardless of what they had been telling the Iranian side, and instead the negotiators, hamstrung by the US refusal to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment, were reduced to simply trying to drag out the Iranian enrichment suspension as long as possible, and then to ultimately blame the Iranians for “breaking” the agreement when inevitably and quite predictably, the Iranians put an end to the charade and restarted enrichment. It was always just a political ploy, and a deliberately deceitful one at that. Of course, the media and our creators of “conventional wisdom” have since tried to rewrite history by shoving the “empty box in pretty wrapping” analogy of the EU offer to Iran down the memory hole, in favor of a manufactured narrative according to which the restarting of enrichment is attributed to the election of Ahmadinejad — though in fact the suspension of enrichment was ended before Ahmadinejad took office — and I similarly expect that should the Iranian side declare the current talks dead and restart what it had suspended, we’ll be presented with a similar manufactured narratives.
But the real-life impact will be significant and severe. For one thing the Rohani government will stand accused of once again having set back Iran’s nuclear program by self-imposing limits prior reaching a deal, and with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. I don’t follow domestic Iranian politics closely but I assume that these consequences will reverberate throughout the entire Reformist faction. The lessons to the Iranian side for this affair will not be soon forgotten. There’s still a fundamental political reality that cannot be overcome by bargaining over technical issues such as the number of centrifuges, etc. and until that political issue — the fundamental recognition by the US of Iran — is resolved, there will be no workable deal. If and when there are other talks, I’m pretty sure that the Iranian side will not start out making compromises in the hopes that a display of good faith will necessarily beget good faith.
And to think, all of this could have been avoided years ago, for example had the US not prevented Iran from simply buying the fuel for the TRR as usual, under international safeguards, not waved away the many compromise offers since then, nor used the “Iranian nuclear threat” as a pretext for imposing regime change in Iran as it had with “Iraqi WMDs.” The actual result of those policies, it should be noted, was to bring Iran closer to “weapons capability.”
Of course a number of complicit and bought-off analysts will claim that a deal could have been worked out had the Iranians just agreed to yet more reductions in their centrifuges, but that’s nonsense. Iran has every legal right under the NPT to have as many centrifuges it desires, and this is not only NOT a violation of the NPT, the demands that Iran give up enrichment are themselves a violation of the NPT. The “Iranian nuclear threat” is and always has been only pretext, just as “WMDs in Iraq” was just a pretext. No amount of Iranian nuclear compromises will resolve this dispute as long as Israel has the influence it has over US foreign policy. Even Henry Kissenger had to assure the Shah a number of years ago that the influence of the Lobby could be controlled — and even he was wrong.