According to Carol Greenwald writing at American Thinker on 27 August 2015, Washington Post writer “[Carol] Morello does not mention how incredible it was that a few people, mostly a woman named Marsha Halteman from New Orleans, in one week could get 190 flag officers to sign a public letter stating that “the JCPOA [Iran Deal] would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”
Well not so incredible at all thanks to the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA) very successful Generals and Admiral Program that has been in operation for many years. It has been the pipeline for 400 American military officers to visit Israel. Israel also runs similar programs for US military academy students and US law enforcement personnel.
The purpose of bringing American military personnel—and military academy students—is to maintain “Continued and robust military-to-military dialogue between the American and Israeli defense establishments is central to JINSA’s philosophy. The annual Generals and Admirals Program to Israel, in which recently retired American generals and admirals are invited to visit Israel with JINSA to meet the top echelon of the Israeli military and political leadership, ensures that the American delegation is well briefed on the security concerns of Israel, as well as the key role Israel plays as a friend and ally of the U.S. To date, JINSA has taken close to 400 retired officers to Israel, many of whom serve on JINSA’s Board of Advisors.”
As of this writing the Washington Post does not appear to have updated its story on the incredible effort of Marsha Halteman who is the recipient of a prestigious award from a US combatant command.
“It gives us great pleasure to announce that JINSA’s Marsha Halteman will be honored by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) with their Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for her tireless work on JINSA’s Soldiers Appeal, which raises funds for military members and their families who are in need of financial assistance. Her selfless and hard work is instrumental in actively supporting a USSOCOM priority – enhancing the quality of life of the individual warrior and family. Established by the Commander of USSOCOM in September 1998, the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal recognizes civilians who have provided outstanding support or service. For Marsha, this work has been both an act of love and admiration for our men and women in uniform, as well as above and beyond the call of duty. She has truly made a difference in the lives of so many soldiers and their families and she is most deserving of this award. This prestigious award will be presented to Marsha by a senior member of the USSOCOM Command at JINSA’s Spring 2014 Leadership Conference. Details of this meeting and a formal “Save the Date” will be released soon. We hope that many of you will be able to join us for the meeting and to honor Marsha.”
If the US national security and political establishment had the dedication, tenacity and thoroughness of the Israeli’s—in their pursuit of their national security interests, the USA would be a far more powerful country abroad and maybe at home. Israel’s interests are represented in every nook and cranny in the United States at the local, state and federal levels. They believe in Israel, nothing else. That deserves respect. American leaders, comparatively, are pathetic.
The British political and media elite have been agreed on one thing this summer: the need to character-assassinate Jeremy Corbyn, the only half-decent politician (make that, human being) running for the Labour leadership.
If Corbyn wins, it would be the first time in living memory that the UK has had a Labour leader who is actually of the left. It is a prospect terrifying our supposedly liberal media, including the BBC and most of the Guardian’s senior staff, from Polly Toynbee to Jonathan Freedland.
Because all indications are that Corbyn will win in a fair fight, the caretaker Labour leadership is trying to stitch up the election to ensure he loses. Corbyn’s entry into the race has led to a tripling of Labour’s membership, as those who had grown disillusioned with Labour politics or joined the Greens consider returning to the Labour fold. You would think the Labour party would be cock-a-hoop. Think again.
The problem is that, if Labour admits Corbyn is actually harnessing massive support from the real left, it would also have to concede that long ago it departed from its roots, becoming just another wing of the neoliberal elite. And more significantly, it would also have to be prepared to contemplate changing course, opening itself up to the possibility that someone with social democratic convictions might again lead the party.
Neither is about to happen, so Labour is finding the flimsiest of excuses to purge itself of any voters it can identify as likely to back Corbyn in the leadership vote. Farcically, among those is Mark Serwotka, the leader of one of the UK’s biggest trade unions, after he said he would consider affiliating his PCS civil servants union with Labour if Corbyn wins.
Below is a great article from Kerry-anne Mendoza, another of those purged. She’s not a Tory mischief-maker or a Militant entryist. She’s an old-fashioned Labour supporter. Her mistake was to tweet her local Labour MP before the last election to say she would be voting Green after becoming fed up with the neoliberal takeover of Labour. That was the pretext to bar her from the coming leadership vote.
As she points out, she’s exactly the kind of voter the Labour party needs if it ever wants to form a government again. Instead she’s been cast out.
Notice also how the self-righteous New Labour elites characterise her – a long-standing Labour supporter who became disillusioned with the party – as an “infiltrator”. They were so sure of themselves they even included her in a list of people they had barred from the vote that they then issued to the media. The list ended up being published uncritically by the Guardian.
If despite all this, Corbyn does win, there can be no doubt it will be far from the end of the story. The Labour party establishment will make the job of leading the party impossible, and Corbyn will face an even more intense campaign to discredit him from all parts of the media.
If there is any consolation to be drawn from these events, it is this: the pervasive myth that Britain still enjoys pluralism in its politics and media may finally be unmasked.
Washington is committed to be fully engaged in the talks aimed at settling the Transnistria conflict, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated in a statement on Wednesday.
“You may be sure that America will remain unwavering in its support for Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to play an active role in the 5+2 negotiations aimed at peacefully resolving the Transnistria dispute,” Kerry said.
Kerry issued his statement on the occasion of Moldova’s National Day. The secretary stressed the US support for Moldova government’s efforts to undertake reforms.
Transnistria, a region with a predominantly Russian and Ukrainian population broke away from the Soviet republic of Moldova in 1990, fearing its government could seek reintegration with neighboring Romania. The initiative triggered Moldova’s offensive on the region in 1992, after which it lost control over the Dniester River’s left bank.
The region is now striving for international recognition, while Moldova offers Transnistria autonomy within a unitary state.
The 5+2 format negotiators include Russia, Moldova, Transnistria, Ukraine, the OSCE and observers from the European Union and the United States.
It is obvious that Bernie Sanders functions as the political “sheepdog” of the 2016 presidential election. The sheepdog makes certain that otherwise disillusioned Democrats are energized enough to stay in line and support the eventual candidate, in this case Hillary Clinton. That is reason enough to oppose his campaign but it isn’t the only one. A hard look at Sanders on foreign policy issues shows that he is a progressive poseur, a phony, a conservative Democrat, and not a socialist by any means.
The Sanders website looks like every other candidate’s with a bio, donation information and of course “Bernie on the issues.” But it seems that Bernie doesn’t have any opinions on foreign policy because they are nowhere to be found. How can he be a serious presidential contender if he doesn’t discuss foreign policy? How does he differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton or Republicans if he won’t state for the record how his foreign policy differs from theirs? The truth is obvious. He isn’t a serious contender and his foreign policy views are no different from those of the other candidates.
Sanders’ candidacy is as grave a danger to the rest of the world as that of his rivals. In no way does he challenge the belief that the United States has the right to determine the fates of millions of people without regard to their human rights. He doesn’t believe that other nations have the right to oppose what the United States chooses to impose upon them.
Sanders makes quite a big deal about voting against the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and says he wants United States troops to leave that nation for good. But he never says that this intervention was wrong. He never said that the United States had no right to destroy that country or kill its people. He never said that these interventions are war crimes and violations of international law. Instead he speaks of the efficacy of particular interventions and how they impact Americans.
A presidential campaign should be an opportune moment to say that the Islamic State, ISIS, is a creation of the United States. Instead Sanders repeats that the United States must defeat this force but he only differs slightly in saying that he wants the Saudis to spend their money doing it. “I’ll be damned if kids in the state of Vermont – or taxpayers in the state of Vermont – have to defend the royal Saudi family, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.” That mealy mouthed opinion does nothing to end the premise of an American right to do what it wants anywhere in the world. Imagine if Sanders was willing to talk about support for jihadists going back nearly forty years and how each one delivers a more terrifying result.
In 2011 Obama was bombing Libya and planning to kill its president but Sanders didn’t see it as being particularly problematic. He repeated almost verbatim the rationales that assassinated a president and destroyed a nation. “Look, everybody understands Gaddafi is a thug and murderer. We want to see him go, but I think in the midst of two wars, I’m not quite sure we need a third war, and I hope the president tells us that our troops will be leaving there, that our military action will be ending very, very shortly.” Libya’s obliteration was no problem for Sanders as long as the process didn’t take very long.
In 2015 the Bernie Sanders foreign policy still does not digress from American political orthodoxy. He doesn’t question American policy towards Russia. “Well you totally isolate him [Putin] politically. You totally isolate him economically.” “Freeze assets that the Russian government has all over the world.” At no time did Sanders oppose the American policy of intervening in Ukraine and expanding NATO in eastern Europe, the actions which created the current confrontation with Russia. He doesn’t question why the United States has the right to dictate policy to another nation or interfere in its sphere of influence.
Sanders supports the Iran nuclear energy agreement with the P5+1 nations, but issues the same dishonest rationales about it expressed by president Obama. Sanders doesn’t say that Iran was never a nuclear power, an easily provable fact. He doesn’t question the sanctions which forced Iran to the table or point out that the 25 years of inspections called for in the agreement are a violation of Iran’s sovereignty. Instead he repeats the discredited mantra that the United States must make war in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear nation when even the CIA said that it never had that capability.
The big elephant in the room, Israel, gets the standard Bernie Sanders treatment. When Israel killed 2,000 people in Gaza in 2014 he would only say that Israel “over reacted.” He didn’t like being questioned about his stance either. When protesters interrupted a speech he told them to shut up and repeated nonsense about Hamas missiles that rarely hit their targets while Israel massacred a civilian population.
When Sanders speaks out against American interventions he couches his opposition in terms of spending money at home instead of abroad. That is somewhat admirable, but there is no reason to cut the defense budget as he says he wants to do, if there is no change in how this country attempts to dominate the rest of the world.
The Sanders campaign may be an interesting footnote, but it won’t bring about needed conversation about United States imperialism. The supposedly socialist senator never even uses that word. There is blatant dishonesty in claiming to want a changed domestic policy in the United States without also changing foreign policy. The two are linked, and American workers can’t have a living wage or health care as long as imperialism goes unchecked. Liberals can’t claim superiority to followers of Donald Trump if they consent to war crimes and human rights violations. Their only requirement seems to be that Democrats ought to be in charge of the carnage. Sanders wouldn’t be a very good sheepdog if there weren’t so many willing sheep.
Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
Last week, NATO headquarters announced Exercise Swift Response-15, the largest Allied airborne training event on the European continent since the end of the Cold War. About 5,000 soldiers from 11 countries in the alliance will take part in the maneuvers, which will last until Sept. 13.
This is neither the first nor the last drill to be conducted by NATO, the largest military alliance in the world.
Over the past year and a half, NATO armed forces have almost doubled the number of military exercises they have staged near the Russian border: between 2012 and 2013 they conducted an average of 95 such training events per year, but there have already been 150 so far in 2015, and flights by reconnaissance aircraft along the Russian frontier have increased tenfold.
But in an attempt to unfairly place the blame on Russia for such exercises, the London-based European Leadership Network issued a report on Aug. 12 that uses a flawed methodology to compare one type of exercise held in Russia in 2015 with another kind of military drill organized by NATO this year. Criticism was only leveled at the large number of troops involved in the Russian exercise, because the alliance’s drill was smaller on that scale. The report’s purpose was obvious: to shift the entirety of the West’s own culpability for war preparations in Europe onto the Russians.
- First of all, it makes no sense to compare only two military drills conducted by opposing sides; one needs to take into account all the exercises that are being held, including the sum total of their scope and focus (the scenarios being rehearsed). In this regard, it should be noted that the aggregate number of NATO personnel taking part in the alliance’s military maneuvers is significantly greater than the estimate of troops involved in the Russian military exercises.
- Second, in regard to this matter, one must also acknowledge that it was not Russia who initiated this upsurge in military drills. The US and its closest NATO allies took that first step under contrived pretenses. For this reason, the European Leadership Network’s proposals to limit the number and scope of military exercises in Europe should be primarily directed at Washington and the alliance, not at Russia.
- Third, one cannot overlook the fact that many NATO members (the US, UK, France, Germany, and others) conduct their military drills far from their own borders. The Russian armed forces almost always oversee this training within their own country.
- Fourth, it should be noted that in addition to periodic military maneuvers, a special NATO Response Force has been created that will consist of up to 40,000 soldiers who can be quickly airlifted to wherever they need to be. In addition, the US Navy must now be able to instantly mobilize the resources to form “expeditionary forces” that can be rapidly deployed to any part of the world (for example, as part of a Marine brigade including up to 17 amphibious ships or a joint Marine Air-Ground Task Force with as many as 75,000 personnel). For comparison, a recent NATO Baltops naval exercise in the seas around northwestern Europe involved 49 warships and support vessels from 17 countries within the alliance.
- Fifth, it is important to note that while NATO has 24,000 combat aircraft and 800 ocean-going ships at its disposal, Russia does not own nearly so much equipment of that type. What’s more, the Pentagon is planning a further expansion of the forward deployment of its armed forces. That would station US troops, on a permanent or temporary basis, within more than 100 nations. There are plans to begin prepositioning weapons and military equipment in these countries, as is “needed to equip troops fighting in forward combat zones.”
- Sixth, during these military drills, the Pentagon is rehearsing scenarios for armed intervention intended to overthrow undesirable regimes. For example, throughout the post-war period, the United States and its allies have employed military force more than 50 times, and six times that has escalated into regional armed conflicts.
Even NATO’s leaders have acknowledged the alliance’s military buildup on Russia’s doorstep. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in 2014 these numbers have quintupled since 2013. And NATO member states’ naval operations have increased fourfold during this period.
In particular, the air forces of the 15 NATO countries that take part in the Baltic Air Policing operation over the Baltic states ramped up their activities more than 1,240 times (when calculated in flying hours) since it was launched 11 years ago. This operation is underway 24/7, year-round. Four of the types of planes used in this drill are considered “dual-capable” aircraft that can carry either conventional or tactical nuclear weapons.
At the same time the United States is refusing to adopt the new Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), proposing to revive the former act, which also never went into effect through the fault of its NATO signatories. New talks on CFE-2 have not even begun. At the same time, eight additional military bases in Eastern and Southern Europe, as well as seven command and administrative centers, plus American heavy weaponry and AEW&C aircraft have been added to the 150 military bases belonging to the United States and its allies that are immediately adjacent or relatively close to Russia’s borders.
Without exception, every military exercise that the alliance has recently staged in Europe has had very focused objectives. They are rehearsing scenarios that test the use of the Rapid Reaction Force, which includes the transportation of personnel and heavy equipment over long distances, the interaction between different varieties and formats of armed forces, and the operational “coupling” between the command and control structures. There is no doubt that such exercises have an anti-Russian bias, mainly because, as already noted, they are primarily (up to 55%) conducted in zones adjacent to the Russian borders. For example, an exercise that included 140 armored vehicles and 1,400 troops near the Estonian city of Narva in February of this year was held only 300 meters away from the Russian border.
In mid-February of this year the Pentagon shipped twelve A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Spangdahlem Air Base (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany), which will be deployed in Eastern Europe. There is no doubt about the identity of the potential enemy. Eight of these aircraft were flown to the Ämari Air Base (Estonia) in June of this year. And five USAF B-52H and B-2 strategic heavy bombers were sent to RAF Fairford in Great Britain to participate in NATO military exercises.
In March of this year NATO organized the Joint Viking military exercises in northern Norway near the Russian border, which was an event unprecedented since 1990. Over 5,000 troops and 400 units of military equipment were involved. During these drills, the naval and air forces of the region’s NATO countries were placed on alert. The last time a similar drill was conducted was in 1967.
In March and April of 2015 the US, Swedish, and Finnish air forces directed military maneuvers near the Finnish town of Pori, flying sorties with Gripen, F-16, and Hornet fighter jets. In May, the air forces from eight NATO member states staged the Arctic Challenge Exercise in Norway, which included more than 100 aircraft. In early May of this year major military drills known as Siil-2015 were held in Estonia, involving 13,000 troops. This was the first time such large-scale drills had been conducted inside Estonia.
The Pentagon is planning to set up warehouses of military equipment in NATO’s eastern flank in order to conduct “ongoing exercises on a rotational basis.” For these purposes, 1,200 armored vehicles, including 250 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, as well as artillery systems, are to be stockpiled in Eastern Europe. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter claims that Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland have already agreed to house this military equipment within their borders. Some types of weaponry can also be stationed in Germany, where, just like after WWII, large numbers of American troops are already concentrated.
Nor can we ignore America’s tactical nuclear weapons, which since the early 1950s have been deployed in four European countries (Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany), as well as the Asian part of Turkey. Furthermore, a US missile defense system will be installed in Romania in 2015, and then another three years later in Poland. These military forces and infrastructures are certainly not aimed at Iran. So how should Russians react to all of this, and who is actually rattling his saber in Eastern Europe?
The US Air Force said its F-22 Raptor stealth fighters will be sent to Europe to show “commitment to the security and stability” of its allies. The Air Force Secretary tied the move to the US’ “approach to Russia,” linking it to the crisis in Ukraine.
The deployment, slated to occur “very soon,” was described as part of the “European Reassurance Initiative,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said at a Pentagon briefing on Monday. She added that it was “to support combatant commander requirements” in the region.
James said Russia’s “military activity” in Ukraine continued to be of great concern to the US and its European allies, and that the deployment of the F-22s was “certainly on the strong side of the coin.” She also quoted Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who said last week, “Our approach to Russia needs to be strong and it needs to be balanced.”
James told reporters that, for operational security reasons, “we cannot share with you the exact dates or locations of this deployment.”
The F-22 stealth fighter is a fifth generation aircraft capable of dropping precision bombs on targets from up to 15 miles away.
A reporter asked if the announcement was a message the Air Force was delivering to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
General Mark Welsh said the deployment to Europe was “just a continuation of deploying the F-22s everywhere we can to train with our partners,” and that it “was primarily for a major exercise, training with our European partners.” However, he added that the deployment would put F-22s “into facilities that we would potentially use in a conflict in Europe.”
The F-22 fighter’s deployment in Europe was first floated in June, when Secretary James listed Russia as the “biggest threat on my mind” when asked about the greatest threat faced by the US Air Force by a reporter at a Paris Air Show.
In February and March, the Air Force sent two units of A-10 and F-15C jets to Europe along with about 300 airmen to spend six months flying missions across the continent, according to airforcetimes.com. The US currently has 65,000 active-duty service members stationed in Europe, with the majority made up of airmen and soldiers.
News of the deployment comes as the US military is engaged with 11 NATO member states in a month-long war game. About 5,000 soldiers are participating in simultaneous airborne operations. One of the most anticipated drills will take place on August 26, when NATO planes will drop more than 1,000 paratroopers in the Hohenfels training area in Germany.
In Moscow, a member of the Russian Duma’s defense committee, Franz Klintsevich, said the Russian military is “closely monitoring” the situation and is ready to react in the case of any aggression. He said Moscow has been taking note of NATO’s buildup up of forces, as well as all of the West’s rhetoric concerning “Russian aggression.”
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, meanwhile, told The National Interest in an interview last week that “breaking Russia has become an objective [for US officials]; the long-range purpose should be to integrate it.”
“If we treat Russia seriously as a great power, we need at an early stage to determine whether their concerns can be reconciled with our necessities,” he said.
Kissinger laid blame for sparking the Ukrainian conflict at the door of the EU, which he said had proposed a trade deal in 2013 without considering how it would alienate Moscow and divide the Ukrainian people.
ISRAEL’S OPERATION Protective Edge has killed almost 2,000 people in Gaza, the vast majority of them civilians, and laid waste to schools, hospitals, mosques and factories.
The savagery of the slaughter was met by growing international opposition to Israel and solidarity with Palestine. Even in the U.S., recent opinion polls showed a growing minority of Americans, including Jews, rejecting Israel’s war on Gaza. That minority includes a strong majority of people aged 18 to 29.
This global shift in opinion has been underway for some years. People are being swayed to support Palestine by Israel’s apartheid-like behavior: building an illegal separation wall in the West Bank, turning Gaza into an open-air concentration camp and conducting regular military assaults on the occupied territories.
Thanks to the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign–called for by Palestinians and mobilized by solidarity activists around the world–more and more people understand the reality that Israel is an apartheid state, and the cause of Palestinian liberation is simple justice.
But one political institution in the U.S. has stood completely unswayed by this evolving consciousness of the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel, with the support of its main international sponsor, the U.S. government.
That institution is the Democratic Party–including its liberal wing. Like their counterparts in the two-party U.S. political system, the Republicans, the Democrats never hesitated during the massacres in Gaza to reaffirm their unwavering support for Israel’s colonial project…
…The behavior of liberal Democrats during Operation Protective Edge has proved the rule. The darlings of progressive activists, from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (a nominal independent who campaigns for Democrats and caucuses with them in the Senate), have made their commitment to Zionism clear. In the Senate vote on the pro-Israel resolution, none of the liberal stalwarts like Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders, made a peep in opposition. The same was true in the House.
Warren’s position shocked her progressive supporters, who either had ignored or didn’t know about her support of Israel. Despite her Native American roots, she sides not with Palestine’s indigenous population, but with Israeli colonization. On her Senate campaign website, for example, she said:
As a United States Senator, I will work to ensure Israel’s security and success. I believe Israel must maintain a qualitative military edge and defensible borders. The United States must continue to ensure that Israel can defend itself from terrorist organizations and hostile states, including Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others.
The Democrats’ other new liberal lion, Bill de Blasio, outdoes Warren in Zionist proclamations. During his election campaign, De Blasio promised, “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC.” In a radio interview, he boasted that he opposed the “very, very wrongheaded movement to boycott, and disinvest from Israel. I’ve led the charge against that, whether you’re talking about the Park Slope Food Co-op or at Brooklyn College, I’ve stood against that divestment movement.” During the current war on Gaza, he announced, “I consider it my responsibility to stand up for Israel.”
Just as disappointing has been the traditionally progressive Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report reported on how CBC members in the House and Senate betrayed Palestine in AIPAC-backed resolutions. As Dixon wrote:
Not a single member of the CBC, despite their much heralded brand of standing for civil rights and against apartheid here and around the world, bothered to publicly question the racist ethnocracy that is the Israeli state. After signing the blank check with the rest of their colleagues, CBC members Conyers (MI), Lee (CA), Johnson (GA) and Ellison (MN) tried to cover their shame with a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging a cease-fire, something which Kerry claims to have been doing anyway.
The self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders has done little better. As left-wing Vermont writer Ron Jacobs noted, Senator Sanders has voted for “grants and loans to Israel, even after Israel bombed Gaza, attacked the Mavi Marmara and supported illegal settlements in the West Bank.” When asked by reporters for his view of the current war on Gaza, Sanders evaded the question, stating, “That’s not where my mind is right now.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –http://socialistworker.org/2014/08/13/liberal-champions-of-apartheid
Despite his own claims, Sanders has not been an antiwar leader. Ever since he won election to the House, he has taken either equivocal positions on U.S. wars or outright supported them. His hawkish positions — especially his decision to support Bill Clinton’s 1999 Kosovo War — drove one of his key advisers, Jeremy Brecher, to resign from his staff. Brecher wrote in his resignation letter, “Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support?”
So outraged were peace activists over Sanders’ support of the Kosovo War that they occupied his office in 1999. Sanders had them arrested. Under the Bush regime, Sanders’ militarism has only grown worse. While he called for alternative approaches to the war on Afghanistan, he failed to join the sole Democrat, Barbara Lee, to vote against Congress’ resolution that gave George Bush a blank check to launch war on any country he deemed connected to the September 11 attacks.
Ever since, he has voted for appropriations bills to fund the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, despite their horrific toll on the occupied peoples as well as U.S. soldiers.
Sanders has been critical of the war on Iraq, but he has supported pro-war measures — such as a March 21, 2003, resolution stating, “Congress expresses the unequivocal support and appreciation of the nation to the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.” … Full article
From Regional War, “Regime Change” to Global Warfare
2015 has become a year of living dangerously.
Wars are spreading across the globe.
Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity.
Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.
These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.
There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.
Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia: NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China. Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?
Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts
There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.
The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops. There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.
Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies. On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists – funded by the monarchist Gulf States.
Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.
Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.
The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.
The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses. Major cities and towns are devastated. Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians. The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.
The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets. Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.
The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands. They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.
Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.
Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.
Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent. Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.
Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.
Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.
Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.
There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client. Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role
The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria. The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.
Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.
US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.
There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps. It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up. The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.
The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.
The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat. US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.
As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops. The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.
Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties. These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.
In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.
Latin America – On the Verge
Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.
In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes. In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa. They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.
The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.
‘Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading. Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups – to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.
War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America. A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras. The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.
The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies. This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis. The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.
The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico. Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.
The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords. The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives. After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!
From Regional to Nuclear Wars
Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war. The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.
Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.
Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.
In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor. It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.
Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe. The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine. In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.
In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria. In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia. The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.
Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.
Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees
The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.
Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.
Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.
Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.
Droves of refugees perish each day. Tens of thousands crowd detention centers. Local labor markets are saturated. Social services are overwhelmed.
The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.
As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply. The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.
Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.
Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire. The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.
The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses. US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…
War is everywhere and expanding: No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.
Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle. There are no real diplomatic success stories! There are no enduring, viable peace accords!
Some pundits may protest this analysis: They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’. They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China. The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.
Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’. They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US [Israel] and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.
As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?
The war epidemic is not receding.
War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.
Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.
Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.
Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them. They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them. Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.
What a packet of lies! Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
It is time to wake up!
It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!
Where to start? Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there! Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame. We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing! Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!
Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune? And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them! As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US? We lead them by the nose…!”
Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.
What is to be done?
When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?
The British prime minister, David Cameron, places great emphasis on how he is regarded by the public at home and internationally. His personal promotion machine is extensive and highly-paid and his staff feed the media diligently with what they imagine to be positive slants on his character and actions (and with carefully selected photographs of his pretty wife). They provide advance copies of his speeches to favoured journalists with the annoying consequence that news broadcasts rarely report what the prime minister has just said on a topic. They are futuristic and use the infuriating phrase “the prime minister will say today that” he will propose something or other.
The reason for this is that if there should be adverse reaction to whatever sparkling new initiative he wants to put forward to the public, then the spin-doctors can make hasty amendments in order to avoid upsetting people. It is school playground stuff, but then a great deal of British politics is playground oriented.
Unfortunately for his image, Cameron sometimes says things without first putting a finger in the water to test the temperature, and he also says things that betray his appalling ignorance of life.
One of the unrehearsed things he said that he may well regret in future concerns his unscripted policy on bombing people. It was reported on 27 July that he said “he was ready to order air strikes on Islamist militant targets in Libya and Syria to prevent attacks on the streets of Britain as he stepped up his rhetoric against Islamic State insurgents.” From this it is clear the British prime minister wants his country to go to war again and bomb Libya as it did last time he ordered air strikes on that ill-fated country.
It was Cameron who was responsible for Britain’s enthusiastic participation in the 2011 aerial bombing and rocketing that destroyed Libya. In March 2011 he declared that “Tough action is needed to ensure that people in Libya can lead their lives without fear and with access to the basic needs of life. That is what the Security Council requires, that is what we are seeking to deliver.” And he and his fellow thugs delivered catastrophe.
When the US-NATO onslaught ceased, after the murder of Libya’s president, we were told that the war had been successful in achieving democracy by bombing. It might be summed up in the sniggering proclamation of Ms Hillary Clinton, on CBS on 20 October 2011 that so far as the killing of Gaddafi was concerned “We came, we saw, he died.” What a truly civilised statement from the likely next president of the United States.
Two weeks before Ms Clinton’s humorous observation Mr Cameron said “I’m an optimist about Libya; I’ve been an optimist all the way through and I’m optimistic about the National Transitional Council and what they are able to achieve. I think when you look at Tripoli today, yes, of course, there are huge challenges — getting water to that city, making sure there is law and order — but actually so far, the cynics and the armchair generals have been proved wrong.”
The “cynics and armchair generals” — who might be better described as experienced realists — were right in predicting that the country’s collapse was inevitable; just as they had been right about forecasting chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other hand, two highly placed intellectuals, Ivo Daalder, who was the US Permanent Representative on the NATO Council during the US-NATO war, and Admiral James G (“Zorba”) Stavridis, who was at that time US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the military commander of NATO), agreed wholeheartedly with Cameron and wrote in 2012 in the journal Foreign Affairs that:
“NATO’s operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention. The alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime. It succeeded in protecting those civilians and, ultimately, in providing the time and space necessary for local forces to overthrow Muammar al-Gaddafi.”
According to these expert analysts, Libya was liberated and became a free country thanks to US-NATO. And they were supported by columnists like Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times who wrote that “Libya is a reminder that sometimes it is possible to use military tools to advance humanitarian causes.” What a bunch of buffoons. Their statements would be hilarious were they not so obscenely bizarre, because Libya has collapsed into anarchic ruin — as forecast by the “armchair generals” so despised by Cameron and all the others who have never heard a shot fired in anger.
In April 2015 the saintly International Red Cross observed that “The violence shows no sign of abating. Libya remains a patchwork of conflict, fuelled by a plethora of armed groups with varying allegiances and diverse agendas. Thousands have been killed; hundreds of thousands more have been displaced. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.”
The unelected rabble that is supposed to be a government in Libya has its very own set of Guantanamo Bays in which Human Rights Watch reported that “the Libyan Army and the Interior Ministry’s Counter Terrorism Unit are holding about 450 “security detainees” in connection with the current conflict. Of those visited, 35 detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured on arrest, under interrogation, or during their detention. Thirty-one said interrogators forced them to “confess” to crimes; four said that the authorities then broadcast their “confessions” on TV, leading to reprisal attacks on their families. All of the detainees Human Rights Watch interviewed said they had not been given access to lawyers, taken before a judge, or formally charged despite many months of detention.” From what freedom-loving democracy could the Libyans have learned to keep people in detention indefinitely without trial?
There have been no comments on the anarchic shambles in Libya by such as Nicholas Kristoff who rejoiced in 2011 that he had “Just arrived in Tripoli, Libya, after a wild ride from the Tunisian border. But Tripoli is festive, joyful and reasonably secure, its streets full of shoppers and honking cars, celebrating the end of Ramadan and the end of dictatorship. People are hugely welcoming to an American, and very grateful.”
When Gaddafi ruled Libya its citizens had ample water from many sources, not least being his “Great Man-Made River” which brought water from southern aquifers to the dense population of the coastal north. But the US-NATO blitz damaged or destroyed so many power stations and pipeline facilities that this supply has all but ceased.
Amnesty International reports savage religious persecution (unknown in Gaddafi’s time) and records that “the international community has stood and watched as Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 NATO military campaign ended, effectively allowing militias and armed groups to run amok.” The Christian organisation Open Doors records that “Since the downfall of Gaddafi, the situation for Christians in Libya has deteriorated. The government claims all Libyans are Sunni Muslims; it is illegal to bring Arabic Bibles into the country or to evangelise.”
So much for David Cameron’s idiotic statement that “I’ve been an optimist all the way through” about Libya. This is the man who declared in 2011 that his bombing would ensure that Libyan citizens would have “access to the basic needs of life.”
During their war on Libya, Obama and Cameron jointly declared that “We are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya.” Tell that to the millions of Libyans whose lives have been wrecked by NATO’s “model intervention” as it’s described by the two imbeciles, Daalder and Stavridis, who did so much to destroy a nation.
Yet David Cameron imagines that more bombing will solve all the problems, and on 26 July the UK’s Daily Telegraph, whose editors and journalists are in the pockets of Cameron’s spin-doctors, was happy to disclose that “Mr Cameron has ordered officials to begin planning for a new intervention in Libya, which has become a haven for Isil jihadists.” Cameron “was asked if there was a case for strikes on Isil in Libya, where the gunman who massacred Britons in Tunisia was trained,” and replied “That is my job, my duty as Prime Minister if there is a specific threat and you can act to stop it, you should act to stop it wherever it is and you are allowed under international law to do exactly that. I think that is very important.”
The reason Libya has become a haven for fanatical loonies is because it was struck mercilessly in a seven month aerial blitz that destroyed its government and social infrastructure. And the solution, according to those who attacked it in 2011, is to bomb, bomb and bomb again.
We live in a world of madness.
The Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement is dead but no one wants to bury the rotting corpse. Since it was signed in February of this year the Donbas governments and Russia have bent over backward to comply with the terms of that agreement hoping against hope that the Kiev junta would do the same. They hoped in vain.
Poroshenko and his fascist allies instead have refused to change the constitution to accommodate the concerns of the Donbas republics, have tried to suppress the Communist Party and other parties in opposition, have refused to withdraw heavy weaponry from the line of contact, have maintained increasingly heavy artillery attacks on the civilian populations and areas and cut off routes for essential foodstuffs, medical aid and technical equipment. Rather than enjoying a ceasefire, the peoples of the Donbas are under a state of siege.
Poroshenko openly calls for a military solution to the crisis and has increased the draft in the west. The NATO alliance continues to pour in its forces disguised as “advisers” and “mercenaries” and puts additional pressure on Russia with multiple military exercises from the Baltic to Bulgaria, where more tanks have been recently dispatched to “send Russia a message.”
The reality of the situation was stated on the 18th of August when President Putin stated, “It was the Donbas militias that suggested withdrawing all military equipment with calibre under 100mm. Unfortunately, the opposite side didn’t do that. On the contrary, according to the available data, it is concentrating its units there, including those reinforced with military hardware.” He continued to pay lip service to the Minsk-2 agreement, stating, “As for the Minsk-2 agreement, I believe there is no alternative for resolving the situation and that peace will prevail in the long run… “ and continued with “Our task is to minimize the losses with which we will come to this peace.”
There can be no doubt that the Minsk-2 agreements do provide the framework for a peaceful settlement of the impasse but there is also no doubt that the Kiev and NATO forces have no intention of abiding by its terms and are preparing for another offensive. Putin also stated, “I hope that it will not come to direct large scale clashes.” Yet, the people of the Donbas would be surprised to be told that the thousands of shells raining down on them from the Kiev junta’s artillery in order to provoke those clashes do not count.
But what is the purpose of this state of siege? Since the Donbas forces have proved their strength and resilience the Kiev regime has little hope of achieving the total destruction of those forces and imposing its will on the Donbas. Kiev and NATO also know that Russia does not want to be drawn into a direct clash with NATO that could lead to a general war. In consequence the Kiev-NATO axis have decided to engage in operations that have direct political repercussions designed to disrupt the Russian-Donbas alliance or to paralyze it and try to enlist new allies. At the same time they have decided to make the war more costly for the Donbas and Russia both in military and economic terms, and to try to bring about a gradual exhaustion of their physical and moral resistance.
We see this strategy being played out with the constant increase of economic warfare against Russia, which is clearly the ultimate target, the increasing use of propaganda including the planting in the media of the most absurd stories about Russia and its government, the use, once again of the OSCE observes as intelligence agents for NATO as happened in the Yugoslav war, and, in the political sphere, attempts by the United States and Britain to humiliate Russia with the politically motivated attempt to set up a tribunal regarding the downing of flight MH17.
Clausewitz said that “war is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore, variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges it energy’ and that “If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.”
Indeed, we see in Ukraine the expression of the Anglo-American-German political purpose: the desire to force Russia to submit to their will. They failed in World War I. The attempt failed again in World War II. The so–called Cold War succeeded in bankrupting the socialist state but the capitalist state that rose from that sad decline is gathering its strength once again and refuses to submit to anyone’s diktats. And so the NATO coup in Kiev, in order to take Ukraine away from Russian influence as the Nazis tried to do in World War II.
But the Kiev-NATO cabal cannot break the will of the peoples of the Donbas nor of Russia and so the constant attacks, the constant propaganda, the constant turning of the economic screws.
These actions are all illegal under international law and the laws of war. They are violations of the principles and articles of the UN Charter. They are violations of several Geneva Conventions and other international treaties. The attacks on civilians are war crimes. The use of prohibited weaponry, in these attacks, is a war crime. The collective punishment of entire populations is a war crime. The use of economic warfare is a war crime. Yet nothing is done by any western government to stop it nor does the International Criminal Court lay any charges where it can. Instead it stands by and condones these crimes by its inaction.
Article 7 of the Rome Statue that created the ICC states, “that crimes against humanity includes persecution of an identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic…grounds.”
Article 7-2(b) states that the crime of extermination includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia, the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.
Article 8 defining war crimes, states that it includes wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering, extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population not taking part in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, attacking or bombarding by whatever means towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives, declaring that no quarter will be given, using weapons designed to inflict unnecessary suffering or are indiscriminate, and intentionally using starvation as a method of warfare. The list goes on and is a compendium of the crimes being committed by the Kiev-NATO axis powers in Ukraine.
On April 17, 2014 the Kiev regime sent a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting jurisdiction of the ICC over alleged crimes committed on its territory from November 21 2013 to 22 February 2014. This was clearly a propaganda gesture at the time to justify the coup that overthrew the legitimate government. The Prosecutor has not reacted publicly to this declaration nor to its meaning but the argument can be made that if the Kiev regime speaking for Ukraine has accepted the ICCs jurisdiction for crimes in one time frame it should also accept it for the crimes committed since then. One could argue that the situation is so grave that the ICC must take action against any persons committing crimes in a territory over which it has jurisdiction that being Ukraine. Even if that argument were rejected on technical grounds, one would think that the Prosecutor would at least make a statement that the operations of the Kiev-NATO axis constitute war crimes under the Rome Statue and that they should stop those operations at once. But the Prosecutor stays silent, as silent as she was when she served US interests at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal and did not protest the on -sided indictments handed out there. As the saying goes, “Once in the American pocket, always in their pocket.”
On August 18th the Russian Foreign Ministry called for all sides to adhere to the Minsk agreements and expressed concern that the “bellicose rhetoric coming from Ukraine which is encouraged by a number of its foreign patrons, causes major concern and clearly attests to the intention to prepare the public opinion for another attempt to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by force. Under the circumstances, all responsibility for the negative consequences of such provocative actions will be borne by the current Ukrainian authorities.” Ominous words.
When the Minsk Agreements were signed in February I wrote an article doubting that the Kiev-NATO side had any intention of using it except as a means of pausing their operations in order to reorganise and prepare for the next offensive. My doubts proved justified.
The only way forward is to resolve the conflict at the political level on the basis of the recognition of the right to self-rule and autonomy for the Donbas republics, the creation of a federal state to assure ethnic stability, and the commitment by Ukraine that it will be a neutral state and not part of any plan to “contain” Russia, a plan that can only lead to world war.
But the NATO puppets in charge of Ukraine do not act in the interests of Ukraine. They act in the interests of the masters of war who have no concern for humanity in general or Ukrainians in particular and if they continue their operations they will not succeed in uniting Ukraine but only in laying it waste.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.
Two weeks ago, the Washington Post published an editorial saying that the governments of the NATO military alliance are being too soft on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. The editors want even more aggressive support to the governing regime in Kyiv than what is already being given.
In particular, the newspaper objects to the ceasefire agreement that it says beleaguered Kyiv was pressured to sign in Minsk, Belarus on February 15, 2015. The editorial was headlined, ‘Putting Ukraine in an untenable position’ and its reads, “Yet now the German and French governments have enlisted the help of the Obama administration in seeking unilateral Ukrainian compliance with Minsk 2’s onerous political terms, which if fully implemented would implant a Russian-controlled entity inside Ukraine’s political system.”
The editors of the Post are pulling off a ruse. Kyiv has not abided by a single clause of Minsk-2, and the regime’s foreign backers, including in the editorial offices of the nearly all of Western media, keep a careful silence on the subject.
Points ten, eleven and twelve of the Minsk-2 agreement read as follows:
10. Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
11. Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote, by the end of 2015.
12. Based on the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts”, questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR.
So the obligations are clear, but they are being utterly disregarded by Kyiv and, as we see, by its foreign backers.
The Post‘s editorial is also a clear example of the ‘two worlds, two realities’ which prevail in the world today over the Ukraine crisis. One view sees an extreme, right-wing government in Kyiv waging a civil war against a population in the east of Ukraine which rejects Kyiv’s anti-Russia, intolerant nationalism and Kyiv’s pro-austerity embrace of the European Union. The opposite view sees ongoing Russian “invasions”, “occupations” and intervention in Ukraine. Most regretfully, the latter view is shared by a sizable body of liberal, social democratic and even pseudo-Marxist opinion in the West.
The Post editorial describes the present situation in eastern Ukraine as follows: “[Russia’s] forces continue to shell and rocket Ukrainian positions on a daily basis. Far from pulling back heavy weapons or withdrawing its troops as required by the agreement, it has built military bases and deployed 9,000 troops inside Ukraine and stationed another 50,000 just outside the border, according to Ukrainian and NATO officials.”
Funny, on the Post‘s extensive ‘Ukraine crisis‘ compilation of articles, one searches in vain for a single news report confirming the editors’ claims of Russian military intervention in eastern Ukraine and ongoing shelling and bombardment. The closest we get to that are reports by Post journalists embedded with the Ukrainian army. But their reports do not come close to verifying the editors’ claims; they consist merely of war-tourism style observations and photos.
So let’s pause for a moment to reflect. The Washington Post (and some other mainstream media) publishes articles and photo stories by journalists in and around Kyiv-controlled eastern Ukraine. But the Post‘s journalists can’t seem to provide examples of how “Russia’s forces continue to shell and rocket Ukrainian positions on a daily basis”. Surely, if the situation is that severe, there must be no shortage of visual examples to provide to readers? And surely the U.S. government can provide satellite images to mainstream media of the “9,000 Russian soldiers” in eastern Ukraine as well as other examples of Russian intervention?
Unless… it’s all, or mostly, make believe.
On the rebel side of eastern Ukraine, there is no shortage of examples of grim, daily shelling by Ukrainian armed forces, which are backed by NATO. Alas, and not by accident, such reports never, ever grace the pages of the Western media.
Canadian opposition parties cheer for more war
The blind, anti-Russia stand of the Washington Post is shared by the parties of the political mainstreams in the United States and Canada.
In Canada, the two main opposition parties are not only aligned with the pro-Kyiv, Conservative Party government in Ottawa. Similar to the Post editors in the U.S., they criticize the federal government in Ottawa for being too soft on Russia.
The New Cold War.org website has recently reported the pro-war views of the leader of the social-democratic New Democratic Party. Tom Mulcair presented his views to the first televised debate of the federal election in Canada on August 6. “We are proud members of NATO,” he declared. Mulcair criticized Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not adding even more Russian government and business leaders on the government’s war-threatening sanctions list. (The Canadian election will take place on October 19.)
Concerning the Liberal Party in Canada, it appreciates and backs the Harper government’s support of Kyiv, but it also criticizes both the government and the NDP for being too soft on Russia and the “pro-Russian separatists” in eastern Ukraine.
Key ideologues of Liberal Party foreign policy spoke to a public forum on Ukraine in Toronto on August 11. You can view excerpts of the forum here on YouTube, and you can read a favourable print report of the event here. A key demand on the Liberal Party wish-list for Ukraine is that the Canadian government begin to provide heavy weaponry to the Ukrainian army.
One of Canada’s better-known journalists, Dianne Francis, provides a particularly zany version of the “soft on Russia” argument in an article published by the neo-conservative Atlantic Council on August 17. She writes: “World attention focuses on ISIS and Iran, with its half an atomic weapon. But the biggest geopolitical issue is Vladimir Putin, backed by thousands of nuclear weapons, who is gradually conquering Ukraine, a democracy with 45 million people the size of Germany and Poland combined.
“In just over a year, Russia has seized nine per cent of Ukraine, killed 6,200, wounded 30,000, displaced 1.38 million people and shot down a commercial airliner with 298 people aboard.
“Even so, European and American retaliation has been soft, and ineffective…”
Only last month, Francis published several articles praising as heroes Ukraine’s extreme-right and neo-Nazi paramilitary battalions. She is Distinguished Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto and a former editor of the National Post.
Canada is already providing military training to Ukraine’s army, along with non-lethal (sic) military equipment and spying and communication equipment and data. The government and the media support or turn a blind eye to the fundraising going on in Canada by Ukrainian ultranationalists to purchase military equipment for the war. Some of the purchased or supplied equipment serves the ongoing shelling of civilian areas of eastern Ukraine.
The Minsk-2 ceasefire provides a roadmap to end the hostilities in eastern Ukraine. A real ceasefire could open the road to resolution of the large social, economic and political issues that have split Ukraine politically and driven a sizable portion of the its population into revolt. But for now, the cheering for war taking place in Western capitals and editorial offices is a major obstacle for achieving all this.
Roger Annis is an editor of the website The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. On June 12, he gave a talk in Vancouver, Canada reporting on his visit to Donetsk, eastern Ukraine in April 2015 as part of a media tour group. A video broadcast of that talk is here: The NATO offensive in eastern Europe and the class and the national dynamics of the war in eastern Ukraine.
A march protesting U.S. troops in Peru earlier this year. | Photo: teleSUR / Rael Mora
Ahead of the arrival of more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel in Peru, Peruvians marched in the capital city Lima to protest U.S. military intervention in the South American country, Prensa Latina reported Thursday.
Protesters condemned frequent U.S. military presence as an assault on Peruvian national sovereignty and security.
“We reject this presence and those who authorized it, like this traitor government and the congress that currently does not represent anybody,” said Guillermo Bermejo of the group Agora Popular, according to Prensa Latina. “Let it be known that this struggle for respect for our sovereignty is just beginning.”
The march began from the Plaza San Martin in central Lima and moved to the U.S. embassy. Demonstrators protested the government’s decision to allow the U.S. to send 3,200 soldiers armed with weapons, ships, and planes to Peru, whose arrival is expected September 1.
Activists said that the march would prove to be the first of many to raise this issue and put pressure on the government to change its ways with respect to allowing U.S. military involvement in the country.
Marches also took place earlier this year to protest President Ollanta Humala’s policies, such as welcoming U.S. troops, that contradict his electoral promises of increased independence from the U.S. in favor of Latin American regional integration.
The 3,200 military personnel will be in Peru only temporarily, while three more U.S. military groups of at least seven contingents that have arrived in Peru this year will stay for 12 months.
Protesters also drew attention to the history of U.S. military presence and its deadly consequences, including its involvement in massacres, torture, disappearances, and other human rights abuses.
Many of Peru’s more than 70,000 disappearances during the country’s so-called “war on terror” counter-insurgency strategy between 1980 and 200 have been seen as part of the U.S.-backed Operation Condor, which saw dictatorships quash rebellious voices and leftist movements throughout the continent.