The United States is perhaps the principle nuclear weapons proliferator in the world today, openly flouting binding provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Article I of the treaty forbids signers from transferring nuclear weapons to other states, and Article II prohibits signers from receiving nuclear weapons from other states.
As the UN Review Conference of the NPT was finishing its month-long deliberations in New York last week, the US delegation distracted attention from its own violations using its standard Red Herring warnings about Iran and North Korea — the former without a single nuclear weapon, and the latter with 8-to-10 (according to those reliable weapons spotters at the CIA) but with no means of delivering them.
The NPT’s prohibitions and obligations were re-affirmed and clarified by the world’s highest judicial body in its July 1996 Advisory Opinion on the legal status of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. The International Court of Justice said in this famous decision that the NPT’s binding promises not to transfer or receive nuclear weapons are unqualified, unequivocal, unambiguous and absolute. For these reasons, US violations are easy to illustrate.
Nuclear Missiles “Leased” to British Navy
The US “leases” submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to Britain for use on its four giant Trident submarines. We’ve done this for two decades. The British subs travel across the Atlantic to pick up the US-made missiles at Kings Bay Naval base in Georgia.
Helping to ensure that US proliferation involves only of the most verifiably terrible nuclear weapons, a senior staff engineer at Lockheed Martin in California is currently responsible for planning, coordinating and carrying out development and production of the “UK Trident Mk4A [warhead] Reentry Systems as part of the UK Trident Weapons System ‘Life Extension program.’” This, according to John Ainslie of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which closely watchdogs the British Tridents — all of which are based in Scotland, much to the chagrin of the Scots.
Even the W76 warheads that arm the US-owned missiles leased to England have parts made in United States. The warheads use a Gas Transfer System (GTS) which stores tritium — the radioactive form of hydrogen that puts the “H” in H-bomb — and the GTS injects tritium into the plutonium warhead or “pit.” All the GTS devices used in Britain’s Trident warheads are manufactured in the United States. They are then either sold to the Royals or given away in exchange for an undisclosed quid pro quo.
David Webb, the current Chair of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament reported during the NPT Review Conference, and later confirmed in an email to Nukewatch, that the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico announced, in March 2011, that it had conducted “the first W76 United Kingdom trials test” at its Weapons Evaluation and Test Laboratory (WETL) in New Mexico, and that this had “provided qualification data critical to the UK [United Kingdom] implementation of the W76-1.” The W76 is a 100 kiloton H-bomb designed for the so-called D-4 and D-5 Trident missiles. One of the centrifuges at Sandia’s WETL simulates the ballistic trajectory of the W76 “reentry-vehicle” or warhead. This deep and complex collusion between the US and the UK could be called Proliferation Plus.
The majority of the Royal Navy’s Trident warheads are manufactured at England’s Aldermaston nuclear weapons complex, allowing both the Washington and London to claim they are in compliance with the NPT.
US H-bombs Deployed in Five NATO Countries
An even clearer violation of the NPT is the US deployment of between 184 and 200 thermonuclear gravity bombs, called B61, in five European countries — Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and Germany. “Nuclear sharing agreements” with these equal partners in the NPT — all of whom declare that they are “non-nuclear states” — openly defy both Article I and Article II of the treaty.
The US is the only country in the world that deploys nuclear weapons to other countries, and in the case of the five nuclear sharing partners, the US Air Force even trains Italian, German, Belgian, Turkish and Dutch pilots in the use of the B61s in their own warplanes — should the President ever order such a thing. Still, the US government regularly lectures other states about their international law violations, boundary pushing and destabilizing actions.
With so much a stake, it is intriguing that diplomats at the UN are too polite to confront US defiance of the NPT, even when the extension and enforcement of it is on the table. As Henry Thoreau said, “The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it.”
The first airstrike hit an agricultural area in eastern Gaza City near the ruins of Gaza International Airport at around 4:00 a.m, locals told Ma’an.
The second targeted a military site of the Hamas military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, also near the Gaza International Airport, and three missiles were fired at a Hamas military site in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israeli fighter jets then fired a missile at a military site located in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, used by Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees.
The strikes came after a rocket fired from the strip struck southern Israel late Tuesday, causing no casualties or damage.
The Israeli army said it struck “four terror infrastructures in the southern Gaza Strip” in response to the rocket attack, according to AFP.
“The reality that Hamas’s territory is used as a staging ground to attack Israel is unacceptable and intolerable and will bear consequences,” military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said in a statement.
Hamas has not assumed responsibility for the attack, while Israel’s military initially believed Islamic Jihad to be behind the attack.
Shortly after the rocket was reported, the Palestinian Ministry of Interior decided to evacuate security headquarters in Gaza in anticipation of Israeli retaliation, while denying that Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam had any link to the incident, according to a press release.
The incident comes as Palestinian residents of Gaza continue to recover from last summer’s war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups that left over 2,200 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, and 73 dead on the Israeli side, mostly military personnel.
Tuesday’s rocket was the third fired from Gaza since the ceasefire, in addition to two mortar bombs reportedly fired at Israel since September, according to the Shin Bet internal security agency.
The UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO) released a report Monday saying the ceasefire that ended the latest war remains “perilously fragile.”
While Palestinian armed groups have test-fired around 150 rockets into the sea, Israeli forces have carried out a range of military incursions into the coastal enclave, including two air strikes, the report said.
Gaza-based Israeli watchdog Al Mezan documented Israeli forces opening fire in the border areas inside of the Gaza Strip six separate times during the first ten days of May, leaving four injured including one child.
Wednesday’s air strike was the third since the end of the 2014 war.
AFP contributed to this report.
Israel is seeking a large increase in annual military assistance from the United States and has begun preliminary talks with the Obama administration on a 10-year financial package that would provide up to $45 billion.
During unofficial talks in recent months by working-level bilateral groups, Israel has asked the US to increase its annual military assistance by 50 percent to an average of $4.5 billion a year over the 2018-2028 period, Defense News reported, citing an Israeli security source.
Under the existing agreement that was signed in 2007 and expires in 2017, annual military assistance to Israel grew to about $3 billion a year. That deal was negotiated during the George W. Bush administration.
US President Barack Obama agreed in principle with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to increase the follow-on aid package to between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion, the report said.
The money is separate from the nearly $500 million in annual US funding for Israel’s missile system programs in recent years. It is also on top of the US war-fighting material held in Israel, which is valued at $1.2 billion.
Last week, the US House of Representatives Appropriations’ Defense subcommittee drafted the 2016 defense bill which included $487.5 million in funding for various US-Israel active weapons programs.
US annual aid to Israel has held steady despite cuts to a wide range of domestic and military programs in the United States, including reducing the size of the US Army to its lowest level since before World War Two.
Repressive governments donated to Clinton Foundation, arms deals approved by Hillary’s State Dept. – report
Nations openly chastised by the US for dismal human rights records donated billions to the Clinton Foundation, while gaining clearance for weapons deals approved by the Hillary Clinton-led US State Department, according to a new report.
As the Obama administration increased military weapons exports, Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved transfer of more than $300 billion worth of arms manufactured by US defense contractors to 20 nations that were or have since become donors of the Clinton Foundation, a major philanthropic organization run by the Clinton family. According to a review of available records of foundation donors by the International Business Times, those countries included governments that have received frequent criticism by the State Department for repressive policies.
“Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents,” IBT wrote.
Algeria, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar were nations that directly donated to the Clinton Foundation during Clinton’s term as secretary of state, even as they were requesting weapons shipments. The donated money represents a loophole in US law regarding political contributions.
“Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions — a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy,” IBT noted. “But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.”
The reviewed sales — both commercial and Pentagon-brokered — represent those made during “three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as secretary of state (from October 2010 to September 2012),” IBT reported. The deals made with the nations in question during this time add up to far more than arms agreements made with the same countries during the last three full fiscal years of George W. Bush’s administration, according to the report.
“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, told IBT. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”
The Clinton Foundation’s donor list has come under closer examination since Hillary Clinton announced she is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. In April, the Clintons acknowledged they have made “mistakes” regarding transparency amid increased public scrutiny concerning donations from foreign entities, especially when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, from 2009 to 2013.
Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton defended his family foundation’s donors.
“I don’t think there’s anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people in countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up,” Mr. Clinton told NBC News.
The Clinton Foundation signed a foreign donor disclosure agreement just before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, yet neither the department nor the White House raised issues with potential conflicts of interest regarding the weapons agreements.
IBT reported that in 1995 President Clinton signed a presidential policy directive demanding the State Department take into account human rights abuses when considering the approval of military equipment or arms purchases from US companies. Yet Mrs Clinton’s State Department ignored this stipulation, helping the Obama administration increase weapons transfers.
The State Department, under the aegis of Clinton, hammered the Algerian government in its 2010 Human Rights Report for “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association,” allowing “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.”
“That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country,” IBT reported. “The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as ‘toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment’ after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.
“During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria — nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year — a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.”
IBT also reported that major US weapons manufacturers and financial corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton lucrative speaking fees “reaching $625,000″ just as arms deals they had an interest in were in the works with Mrs Clinton’s State Department.
Hillary Clinton had pledged during her Senate confirmation hearings in 2009 that “in many, if not most cases, it is likely that the Foundation or President Clinton will not pursue an opportunity that presents a conflict.”
US weapons sales tripled in 2011 to a new yearly high of $66.3 billion, according to the New York Times, mostly driven by sales to Persian Gulf nations allied against Iran. This dollar total made up nearly 78 percent of all worldwide arms deals that year, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Reuters reported in January 2013 that the State Department office that has oversight of direct commercial arms sales “was on track to receive more than 85,000 license requests in 2012, a new record.”
The boom in arms sales by the Obama administration has continued to the present day, as Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are using American-made fighter jets against Islamic State and for proxy wars in places like Yemen and Syria.
According to the Times, foreign weapons sales now represent 25 percent to 30 percent of revenue taken in by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US-based arms dealers.
Press TV has interviewed two journalists and political commentators Hafsa Kara-Mustapha from London and Maxine Dovere from New York, to discuss the United States’ rejection of a proposal made by Arab countries to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
A Virginia cop who tasered a man sitting in the driver’s seat of his car, following it with a ten-second blast of pepper spray into the man’s face, was forced to resign last week after his chief said he had used excessive force.
But Fredericksburg police officer Shaun Jergens said he only did it because the man in the car was not complying.
However, David Washington was experiencing a medical emergency, perhaps a diabetic seizure, which is why he struck another vehicle before running over a median and knocking over a city sign.
When the car came to rest, the 34-year-old man remained motionless in his car with the seat belt strapping him in.
“Get out the car or I’m going to fucking smoke you,” Jergens yelled after tasering and pepper spraying him.
“I can’t see,” Washington responded.
“That’s the point, get out. Don’t move around,” Jergens said, barking contradictory orders the way cops tend to do.
The cop ended up having to drag him out of the car, laying him face-down on the street where Washington remained handcuffed, continuing to moan that “I can’t see.”
Meanwhile, one of the three cops at the scene entered Washington’s car through the passenger’s side, causing the car to roll back on the suspect’s foot, adding to the pain and torture he was already enduring.
A female cop at the scene realized what was happening and jumped in the car to move it off his foot as Washington continued to moan in pain.
“You’re ok? We’re going to help you out,” asked one of the male cops who put him in that position.
Another cop then crouched down to Washington and asked, “you’re sick? Sick how?”
As if getting tased, pepper sprayed and his foot run over while laying face down on the hot asphalt wasn’t enough evidence of his medical emergency, it was later discovered he was having an actual medical emergency, not that any of the three cops were able to recognize that.
After all, they’re only trained to hurt, not help.
And that is important to understand anytime you hear the Police PR Spin Machine talking about how they are keeping everybody safe.
No, they’re only keeping themselves safe as was evident in this video where all three of them kept their guns trained on him, ordering him to show his hands when he was having a medical emergency.
Washington was transported to the hospital and will be charged with hit-and-run, hit-and-run (property damage), reckless driving, and driving on a revoked or suspended license.
In 2013, Fredericksburg police made the news for tasering a man for 42 seconds straight.
Below are three videos from each of the officers’ body cams.
Washington has blocked the final document of a UN conference that reviewed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, accusing Egypt of manipulating the gathering to target Israel. Moscow has slammed the US for rendering the four-week meeting futile.
The 9th international conference was held in New York from April 27 until May 22. A total of 162 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) participant states were in attendance. These conferences are held every five years to assess the worldwide disarmament process.
The blocked document included a plan to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. To do this, Egypt, who first proposed such a zone in 1980, suggested a regional UN conference on banning weapons of mass destruction. The gathering would have no pre-determined agenda and would go ahead with or without the presence of Israel.
This was stonewalled by the US, with Washington representative Rose Gottemoeller saying the final document reviewed on Friday was “incompatible with our longstanding policies.”
She accused Egypt and other Arab supporters of the nuclear-free zone of being “not willing to let go of these unrealistic and unworkable conditions,” AP reports.
Israel, which is an observer, but not a participant of the NPT, is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, which it has neither confirmed nor denied. It is also a close ally of the US.
Egypt expressed its disappointment and said: “This will have consequences in front of the Arab world and public opinion.”
Washington’s position was backed by the UK and Canada, ultimately sinking the proposal which had to be approved by all countries.
Russia, for its part, said it was committed to nuclear non-proliferation and saw similar commitment from most other participants.
“The vast majority of the delegations have noted that the treaty remains a ‘cornerstone’ of international security and stability, and serves their interests,” a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said. “Participant countries have confirmed their readiness to comply with their obligations under the NPT.”
“We regretfully acknowledge that because of the positions of the US, Britain and Canada, we could not adopt the final document which included provisions on fulfilling the 1995 resolution on creating a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction.” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It added, however, that Russia still has faith in the Treaty: “Despite such an outcome of the conference, the Russian Federation is ready to continue cooperating with other countries to help strengthen the NPT, provide its wholesomeness and viability.”
The failure of this conference means the next one can only be held in 2020.
Washington has threatened “not to sign” a final nuclear agreement with Tehran unless the Iranian government gives access to its possible military dimension-related sites and nuclear scientists.
“If we don’t get the assurances we need on the access to possible military dimension-related sites or activities, that’s going to be a problem for us,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in Washington on Wednesday.
“We and Iran have agreed that we will undertake a process to address possible military dimensions (of past nuclear work), and part of that includes access,” Harf said. “Under the Additional Protocol … which Iran will implement and has said they will implement as part of this deal, the IAEA does get access.”
“If we cannot agree in the final instance to something that meets our bottom line for what we need in terms of access, we’re not going to sign a final deal. And that’s just something we’ve been very, very clear about,” she added.
The remarks were made after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that Iran would not allow inspection of its military sites.
Iran says the United States is making fresh demands in the nuclear negotiations.
“They are making new comments in the negotiations. Regarding the inspections, we have said that we will not allow foreigners to carry out inspections of any military sites,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday.
“The enemies should know that the Iranian nation and officials will, by no means, give in to excessive demands and bullying,” the Leader underlined.
The US and its negotiating partners reached a framework nuclear agreement with Iran in Switzerland on April 2.
Tehran and the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – are currently working to draw up a final accord by the end of June.
Iran has repeatedly stressed that it will not allow inspections of its military facilities and insists that the nuclear deal must only include nuclear issues.
“Iran will brook no excessive demands. The agreed parameters are those confirmed by the two sides in Lausanne and these parameters need to be stipulated in a written agreement by Iran and the P5+1,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said earlier this month.
As if the Mideast weren’t troubled enough, we now learn from Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times that Saudi Arabia has apparently “taken the ‘strategic decision’ to acquire ‘off-the-shelf’ atomic weapons from Pakistan.”
This and many recent similar stories blame the emergence of Saudi Arabia’s alleged nuclear ambitions on President Barack Obama’s perceived failure to check Iran. “Saudi Arabia is so angry at the emerging nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers that it is threatening to develop its own nuclear capability — one more indication of the deep differences between the United States and the Persian Gulf Arab states over the deal,” commented The New York Times in an editorial on May 15.
Saudi Arabia has been playing the nuclear card for years, however. In 2003, the Saudis leaked a “strategic review” that included the option of acquiring a “nuclear capability” as a deterrent. The Guardian, which broke the story, called it a “worrying development” that reflected “Riyadh’s estrangement from Washington” and “worries about an Iranian nuclear programme.”
In 2006, Saudi Arabia announced its interest in developing a nuclear energy program with other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. As journalists reported at the time, “Few observers doubt that promoting the idea of a joint atomic energy program between the predominantly Sunni Arab states is a way for Saudi Arabia to send a message to the United States that the Arab state will match Tehran’s nuclear power if it needs to.”
Years have passed without the Saudis making good on these threats. And, there are strong reasons to question the veracity of leaks about Riyadh’s nuclear intentions now. Many experts seriously doubt whether the Saudis really intend to break their treaty obligations and risk international sanctions by trying to acquire nuclear weapons, particularly when they have lived with a nuclear-armed Israel for years.
Saudi Arabia would require many years to build nuclear weapons from scratch; the country has only a very modest atomic energy research program, not a single nuclear power reactor, and no known enrichment facilities. Thus Riyadh’s nuclear ambitions only make sense if Saudi Arabia has, as often claimed, arranged with Islamabad to obtain fully armed nuclear weapons in exchange for financing Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Such claims, while not totally implausible, remain “speculation,” according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a leading NGO devoted to proliferation issues. Stories about the Pakistan connection originated with a former Saudi diplomat who defected to the United States in the 1990s. He also claimed that Saudi Arabia provided almost $5 billion to Saddam Hussein to finance an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
“Riyadh has denied the veracity of Khilewi’s statements, and most experts dismiss their credibility,” according to NTI. “Most analysts believe it highly unlikely Pakistan would ever follow through with such an agreement, were it to even exist, given a host of disincentives.”
The story has been kept alive over the years by Israeli intelligence leaks. As BBC news reported in 2013, “it is Israeli information – that Saudi Arabia is now ready to take delivery of finished warheads for its long-range missiles – that informs some recent US and NATO intelligence reporting. Israel of course shares Saudi Arabia’s motive in wanting to worry the US into containing Iran.”
Pakistan called the claim of a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia “speculative, mischievous and baseless.” Of course, Islamabad would say that even if the deal were real. But Pakistan would face “huge disincentives” against transferring nuclear weapons, including the threat of international sanctions and the loss of military aid from Washington, notes Philipp Bleek, a proliferation expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
“Moreover,” Bleek writes, “Pakistan is locked in an arms race with archrival India, and New Delhi’s long-term nuclear weapon production capabilities significantly exceed those of Islamabad, so the latter can ill-afford to spare a meaningful number of nuclear weapons.” Pakistan’s recent refusal to send troops to support Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemen is further evidence that it is no puppet of Riyadh.
Bleek observes that the very frequency of leaks about Saudi Arabia’s nuclear intentions weighs against the seriousness of that threat:
“History suggests that while some states have trumpeted their potential desire for nuclear weapons — think Germany in the early years of the Cold War, or Japan more recently — they tend not to be those that later went on to actually acquire them. And for good reason: calling attention to proliferation intentions is counterproductive if one is intent on actually proliferating. Instead, states tend to draw attention to their potential proliferation in the service of another goal: rallying others to address the security concerns that are motivating potential proliferation, and especially securing protection from powerful allies.”
Saudi Arabia’s latest nuclear leaks may be having their intended effect of bolstering the Arab monarchy’s bargaining leverage with Washington. Although President Obama stopped short of promising a formal military alliance at the recent summit with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, he reaffirmed America’s “ironclad commitment to the security of our gulf partners,” and promised more wide-ranging military aid, including creation of “an early-warning capability for a regional missile defense system.”
The Obama administration should stop making such concessions in the face of dubious Saudi proliferation warnings. It should simply stick to its course of seeking a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. Such an agreement remains the best guarantee of Saudi Arabia’s long-term security. And in the short term, the Saudis have no legitimate reason to fear Iran’s nuclear program, which is one of the most closely inspected on Earth.
Iran has no known nuclear weapons capability and has enriched uranium only to levels useful for medical or peaceful atomic energy applications. The International Atomic Energy Agency has uncovered no substantiated evidence of Iran attempting to break out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Saudi Arabia is also a signatory.
If the Saudis ignore such evidence and really do seek nuclear weapons from Pakistan, the White House should take a hard line and follow the example set by the Ford administration in 1976, which warned South Korea that it would “review the entire spectrum of its relations” if Seoul moved to develop nuclear weapons.
Ideally, the United States should also begin exploring a more productive strategy for reassuring both Saudi Arabia and Iran without making concessions to either one. Instead of selling more arms, reaching new defense pacts, or cracking down further on Iran, why not get behind Saudi Arabia’s longstanding support for a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East?
That goal was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2012. It may be a political non-starter for now in Washington, but the surest way to reduce the risk of proliferation in the Middle East would be to inspect, control, and eventually eliminate the region’s one existing nuclear arsenal — in Israel.
By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | May 13, 2015
World leaders have long known that in order to stay in power, scaring the populace is a vital ingredient in any campaign. Look to the March, 2015 victory of Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, who fanned the fears of his racist population, claiming that ‘Arabs’ were going to the polls in droves. In the United States, for decades whichever candidate was more successful at stoking the flaming fear of communism glided to easy victory. And as Canada and the U.S. approach election season, with Canada’s election five months away, and the long, drawn out campaign for the White House a tortuous eighteen months away, it is now, apparently, time to begin fanning the fears of what is generally called ‘radical Islam’.
A CNN report of May 11 is headlined thusly: ‘Retired Generals: Be Afraid of ISIS’. The article refers to President Barack Obama as “naïve”; discusses “the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia”, and condemns “the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda….”
It is interesting that people who make their living from war are called upon to comment on whether war should continue or not. The writers of the CNN article are Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC, and congressional counterterrorism adviser Michael S. Smith II. Interestingly, these gentleman are co-founders of a ‘strategic advisory firm’ called Kronos Advisory. A small quotation from their website puts their fear-mongering into perspective:
“Increased global economic competition among rising powers could also exacerbate issues such as these. Indeed, as lucrative opportunities lure companies from nations with limited defense and intelligence resources into ungoverned areas and failed states the potential flashpoints for conflict will multiply.
“To manage increasingly complex international affairs, security officials require more robust decision-support solutions that leverage high-level subject matter expertise and innovative thought leadership in the areas of irregular warfare, geostrategy, and associated policy development. And history tells us human intelligence will be central to any successful programs that seek to advance American and allied interests in this volatile environment.
“From subject matter expertise with transnational extremist networks, to predictive analytic capabilities that can help officials identify and understand future challenges before they materialize, to strong relationships with lawmakers committed to helping defense and intelligence organizations achieve their missions, Kronos Advisory’s global network can deliver a range of vital resources national security managers require to more fully understand their operational environment — and define it.”
And as long as there is war, there can be little doubt that the costly services of Kronos Advisory will be in demand.
While the words from the Kronos Advisory website are self-explanatory, there is one small area that requires particular focus: “relationships with lawmakers committed to helping defense and intelligence organizations achieve their missions”. And now we get to the crux of the matter. Messrs. Flynn, Livingston and Smith all had prominent roles in the government, and now are capitalizing on the ‘strong relationships’ with those members of Congress who rely on the so-called defense industry to fund their campaigns. These members of Congress will keep the war machine working, thus keeping the military lobby happy, providing endless perquisites for the government officials, and keeping businesses such as Kronos Advisory very busy. Where in this is there anything about what’s best for the people?
Let us take just a moment to look at the three ‘frightening’ expressions quoted above. Mr. Obama, these august businessmen say, is naïve. Perhaps he has, naively, not yet sought out their services and expertise, which may have had a lot to do with their motivation for writing for CNN. Secondly, they state with alarm “the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia”, not mentioning that most of those victims die as a result of U.S.-provided bombs. Lastly, they bemoan “the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda…”, hoping, perhaps, for a wider, more comprehensive war which will require their services to a far greater extent, thus increasing their bottom line, at the expense of the blood of people around the world.
Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a short time ago considered vulnerable in this year’s election, said this during a visit to Canadian troops in Kuwait: “Make no mistake: by fighting this enemy here you are protecting Canadians at home. Because this evil knows no borders”. One is reminded of a statement made on September 12, 2008 by then Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, when bidding an official farewell to soldiers on their way to Iraq. She said that their mission was to “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.” Any connect between Iraq and the September 11 attacks against the U.S. had long since been debunked, but what is this to Mrs. Palin? When the flag can be waved in a patriotic display, what do facts have to do with anything?
The same is true with Mr. Harper’s bizarre statement. The indiscriminate killing of Muslims doesn’t protect ‘Canadians at home’. It has, indeed, the opposite effect. A ‘Tweet’ sent in 2012 by a lawyer in Yemen to Mr. Obama applies as well to Mr. Harper: “Dear Mr. Obama, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda.” So Canada, continuing to disgrace itself on the world stage, follows along with U.S. mass murder in the Middle East.
But jingoism sells, whether the original, U.S. version, or the copy that has now apparently been successfully exported to Canada. ‘They’ are bad; ‘we’ are good, and the only thing the ‘good’ people can do is kill the ‘bad’ people. Mr. Harper is positioning himself for victory by framing his campaign in the tried and true ‘us vs. them’ model that has long been successful in the U.S. As the U.S. election campaigning ramps up, with more and more clowns entering the two-ring circus known as the Democratic and Republican primaries, we can watch the candidates from both parties fall all over themselves to prove that they want to kill more of the ‘bad’ people, and will do it longer and more effectively, than any of their opponents. No doubt they will be assisted by Kronos Advisory.
What will future generations say? Will they look upon the current world situation as today we might look upon Neanderthal society, observing the way primitive man lived? Will they comment intellectually on the little value that human life had for twenty-first century society, and the way that society worked hard to develop more effective ways to eradicate it? Will they marvel at how close the population came to extinction through war?
This is the legacy we are leaving; this is what our descendants will say about us.
Sadly, with the media corporate-owned, and the U.S. education system only deteriorating, there seems to be little hope for any significant change in the near future.
Syria’s foreign-backed opposition group, the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), says it is not attending ongoing Geneva negotiations with the United Nations special envoy to Syria.
Hisham Marwa, deputy head of the SNC, on Monday dismissed the talks with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura in the Swiss city as “unimportant.”
De Mistura began talks on May 5 with the participation of parties engaged in the Syrian crisis, including the Syrian government’s envoy to the UN in Geneva, Hussam Eddin Ala.
Marwa further criticized de Mistura’s decision to invite some 40 “dissidents, artists, civil society organizations and research centers” to attend the talks as a sign of his lack of seriousness.
“It became clear to us that he does not treat the coalition in a way that gives the impression that he is serious about finding a solution,” he said.
Instead of taking part in the talks, a member of the coalition will travel to Geneva to deliver two letters addressed to de Mistura and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“The letters lay out our vision for a political solution as well as our observations on de Mistura’s performance,” Marwa said.
In response, de Mistura said later on Monday that he has taken note of the coalition’s decision but still looks forward to the arrival of the group’s envoy to Geneva to hear the opposition’s points of view.
Previous UN-mediated talks on Syria, dubbed Geneva I and II, failed to reach a solution to end the four-year conflict.
The two conferences ended in failure after foreign-sponsored opposition figures in the talks refused to discuss widespread terrorism in the country and persisted in demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a precondition.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 222,000 people, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says over 7.2 million people have been internally displaced, and more than 3 million have been forced to flee the country.
The Ukrainian president’s decision to reclaim Donetsk Airport, a key strategic point in the conflict in the country’s east, are in violation of the Minsk peace deal, says the Kremlin.
Petro Poroshenko vowed on Monday to take the airport back: “I have no doubt – we will free the airport, because it is our land. And we will rebuild the airport.” He also promised to erect a monument to the “cyborgs,” which has become a common nickname for the Ukrainian soldiers that fought against the forces of the self-proclaimed eastern republics for control of Donetsk Airport.
Poroshenko spoke at the premier of the documentary “Airport”, which was dedicated to the siege.
When asked if he thinks such words violate the Minsk peace deal, the Russian president’s press secretary said they do: “Of course, they are a violation. In fact, we have repeatedly said that Ukraine is not complying with the Minsk agreement.”
The Minsk deal is a peace roadmap for Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine. Brokered by Russia, Germany and France, it was signed in the Belarusian capital in February. It aims to implement the peace process agreed upon in the September 2014 talks, also in Minsk. Since February’s agreement was signed, the violence in the East has reduced, but both Kiev and the secessionists blame each other for violating the truce regularly.
As part of the Minsk deal, the sides agreed to move heavy weapons away from a demarcation line drawn across eastern Ukraine. The self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic says this leaves the airport in its territory. Its representative to Minsk Denis Pushilin says Poroshenko’s vow to reclaim the airport is a call to arms: “This is a direct violation of the Minsk agreements and a call to military action. We ask that the guarantor nations pay attention to these statements.”
Donetsk Airport has been one of the hottest flashpoints in the conflict in eastern Ukraine for about eight months. In January, Kiev admitted its forces completely surrendered the airport.
During the lengthy siege the airport was reduced to rubble. The casualty count is impossible to verify, with the two sides giving vastly different numbers, both saying they had lost dozens while claiming the opponent had lost hundreds.