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Yemen war ‘unconstitutional’ says trio of US lawmakers

A Yemeni man walks past a destroyed school building on March 16, 2017, that was damaged in an air strike in the southern Yemeni city of Taez. © Ahmad Al-Basha
RT | October 11, 2017

A group of Congressmen from both major parties is hoping to force a vote over Washington’s involvement in Yemen, with a resolution invoking the War Powers Act to force the US to stop aiding the Saudi-led coalition in its bombing campaign.

Three members of the US House of Representatives tried to illustrate the horrors of the Yemen conflict by comparing it to a hypothetical war affecting the US state of Washington ‒ with a population of 7.3 million ‒ “on the brink of starvation, with the port city of Seattle under a naval and aerial blockade, leaving it unable to receive and distribute countless tons of food and aid that is waiting offshore.”

“This nightmare scenario is akin to the obscene reality occurring in the Middle East’s poorest country, Yemen, at the hand of the region’s richest, Saudi Arabia, with unyielding support from the US military that Congress has not authorized and therefore violates the Constitution,” wrote Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California), Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) and Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday.

In March 2015, the Obama administration began aiding the coalition led by Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthis, a rebel group that took control of Yemen’s capital Sanaa. Since then, Washington has supported the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen, by providing the Saudis with logistical support, intelligence and ammunition used in airstrikes.

This has led to the deaths of over 10,000 civilians and has plunged much of Yemen into a humanitarian crisis.

The three lawmakers teamed up with colleague Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) to introduce House Resolution 81, invoking the War Powers Act to guarantee a full House vote to withdraw US armed forces from the unauthorized war.

“We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians,” the three representatives wrote.

Several more lawmakers have expressed support for the proposal as well.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

US must end all military involvement in African continent: Analyst

Press TV – October 11, 2017

The US military must end its growing involvement in Africa and allow the nations of that continent to solve their own problems, otherwise the American people will pay dearly for these misguided actions, an African American journalist in Detroit says.

“We cannot accept the explanation of the US government at its face value. The US should end these military missions in Africa, the drone stations, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) stations; all military involvement in the African continent should end,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“Africa must solve its own problems, through its own regional and continent organizations and mass organizations. Otherwise the Unites states and the people inside the United States will pay dearly for these misguided and of course unfortunate military actions,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

The United States Army’s top officer says it is likely to “increase” its train, advise and assist (TAA) missions after the death of four soldiers in Niger by developing a new unit, he describes as “similar to special forces,” but “not special Forces.”

The US Army’s top officer said Monday it is likely to “increase” its train, advise and assist (TAA) missions after the death of four soldiers in Niger by developing a new unit.

General Mark Milley made the comments at the Association of the army’s annual meeting in Washington, not long after four special operations commandos were ambushed to death by militants in the Western African country of Niger.

The army’s chief of staff did not mention who was responsible for the attack although he asserted that the US military does know the group.

Two other Green Berets were injured on the October 4 ambush near the Nigerien capital Niamey by militants said to be linked with the Daesh Takfiri group in Iraq and Syria.

This represents yet another escalation by the US military in Africa,” Azikiwe said. “They are claiming that they are there just on a training mission.”

“Even though the US claims to be against these extremist organizations, they have worked with these groups in various geo-political regions including Libya, including Iraq, as well as Syria and Yemen,” he added.

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2007 under former US President George W. Bush and strengthened and enhanced the following year during the presidency of Barack Obama.

The force has been operating in at least 35 countries across the African continent.

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Power Corrupts: A Culture of Compliance Breeds Despots and Predators

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | October 10, 2017

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.”― Frank Herbert

Power corrupts.

Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.

We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.

A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.

Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.

For instance, 20 years ago, I took up a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of a young woman—a state employee—who claimed that her boss, a politically powerful man, had arranged for her to meet him in a hotel room, where he then allegedly dropped his pants, propositioned her and invited her to perform oral sex on him.

Despite the fact that this man had a well-known reputation for womanizing and this woman was merely one in a long line of women who had accused the man of groping, propositioning, and pressuring them for sexual favors in the workplace, she was denounced as white trash and subjected to a massive smear campaign by the man’s wife, friends and colleagues (including the leading women’s rights organizations of the day), while he was given lucrative book deals and paid lavish sums for speaking engagements.

William Jefferson Clinton eventually agreed to settle the case and pay Paula Jones $850,000.

Here we are 20 years later and not much has changed.

We’re still shocked by sexual harassment in the workplace, the victims of these sexual predators are still being harassed and smeared, and those who stand to gain the most by overlooking wrongdoing (all across the political spectrum) are still turning a blind eye to misconduct when it’s politically expedient to do so.

This time, it’s Hollywood producer Harvey Weinsteinlongtime Clinton associate and a powerhouse when it comes to raising money for Democrats—who is being accused of decades of sexual assaults, aggressively sexual overtures and harassment.

I won’t go into the nauseating details here. You can read them for yourself at the New York Times and the New Yorker.

Suffice it to say that it’s the same old story all over again: man rises to power, man abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it because of a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they don’t want to lose their job or their money or their place among the elite.

From what I’ve read, this was Hollywood’s worst-kept secret.

In other words, everyone who was anyone knew about it. They were either complicit in allowing the abuses to take place, turning a blind eye to them, or helping to cover them up.

It’s not just happening in Hollywood, however.

And it’s not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.

For every Harvey Weinstein (or Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds—thousands—of others in the American police state who are getting away with murder—in many cases, literally—simply because they can.

The cop who shoots the unarmed citizen first and asks questions later might get put on paid leave for a while or take a job with another police department, but that’s just a slap on the wrist. The shootings and SWAT team raids and excessive use of force will continue, because the police unions and the politicians and the courts won’t do a thing to stop it. Case in point: The Justice Department will no longer attempt to police the police when it comes to official misconduct. Instead, it plans to give police agencies more money and authority to “fight” crime.

The war hawks who are making a profit by waging endless wars abroad, killing innocent civilians in hospitals and schools, and turning the American homeland into a domestic battlefield will continue to do so because neither the president nor the politicians will dare to challenge the military industrial complex. Case in point: Rather than scaling back on America’s endless wars, President Trump—like his predecessors—has continued to expand America’s military empire and its attempts to police the globe.

The National Security Agency that carries out warrantless surveillance on Americans’ internet and phone communications will continue to do so, because the government doesn’t want to relinquish any of its ill-gotten powers. Case in point: The USA Liberty Act, proposed as a way to “fix” all that’s wrong with domestic surveillance, will instead legitimize the government’s snooping powers.

Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.

Police officers will continue to shoot and kill unarmed citizens. Government agents—including local police—will continue to dress and act like soldiers on a battlefield.

Bloated government agencies will continue to fleece taxpayers while eroding our liberties. Government technicians will continue to spy on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors will continue to make a killing by waging endless wars abroad.

And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.

As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University of California, Berkeley, observed in the Harvard Business Review, “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior.”

After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how power corrupts, Keltner concluded: “Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical. They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully.”

Power corrupts.

And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to provide the foundations of tyranny.

As researchers Joris Lammers and Adam Galinsky found, those in power not only tend to abuse that power but they also feel entitled to abuse it: “People with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want.”

That sense of entitlement and immunity from charges of wrongdoing dovetails with Richard Nixon’s belief that “when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

For too long now, America has played politics with its principles and allowed the president and his colleagues to act in violation of the rule of law.

“We the people” are paying the price for it now.

Americans have allowed Congress, the White House and the Judiciary to wreak havoc with our freedoms. They have tolerated an oligarchy in which a powerful, elite group of wealthy donors is calling the shots. They have paid homage to patriotism while allowing the military industrial complex to spread death and destruction abroad. And they have turned a blind eye to all manner of wrongdoing when it was politically expedient.

This culture of compliance must stop.

The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.

For starters, let’s go back to the basics: the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Let’s recommit to abiding by the rule of law.

Here’s what the rule of law means in a nutshell: it means that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

Let’s demand scrutiny and transparency at all levels of government, which in turn will lead to accountability.

We need to stop being victimized by these predators.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, I’m not just talking about the political predators in office, but the ones who are running the show behind the scenes—the shadow government—comprised of unelected government bureaucrats whose powers are unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.

There is no way to erase the scars left by the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.

“We the people”—men and women alike— have been victims of the police state for so long that not many Americans even remember what it is to be truly free anymore. Worse, few want to shoulder the responsibility that goes along with maintaining freedom.

Still, we must try.


ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at http://www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Road to nowhere: NATO increased military presence in Europe

Dr Alexander Yakovenko | RT | October 5, 2017

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battle groups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4,500.

The idea of creating units to rotate through Bulgaria and Romania next year is being widely discussed within NATO. Taken together, these battle groups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

The presence of US forces in Europe is also rapidly growing. In January, the most significant American military unit (an armored brigade consisting of 3,500 troops and 2,500 pieces of equipment, including 87 tanks, 144 infantry fighting vehicles, 18 self-propelled artillery) was relocated on a rotational basis to Poland. This unit was involved in military training in the Baltic countries, Bulgaria, Romania, and Germany.

NATO activity along Russia’s borders contradicts the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation. According to this document, “in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defense and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces.” Unfortunately, the Founding Act does not specify what “interoperability,” “integration,” “capability reinforcement” and “substantial combat forces” mean.

Since 1997, Russia has been bringing up the issue of the mutually acceptable definition of “substantial combat forces.” In December 2009, at the ministerial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, Russia proposed a draft Agreement on the basic elements of the security relationship between the members of the NATO-Russia Council.

According to Article 4 of the draft document: “the Russian Federation and all the states, which were members of NATO on 27 May 1997, respectively, abstain from permanently deploying (including a temporary deployment of more than 42 days in a calendar year) their substantial combat forces (combat brigade or combat support brigade), air wing/aviation regiment, helicopter battalion/helicopter regiment, or having more than 41 tanks, or 188 armored vehicles, or 90 artillery units of 100 mm caliber or more, or 24 combat aircraft, or 24 attack helicopters) on the territory of all other European states in addition to the forces deployed on this territory as of 27 May 1997. In the event of the need to neutralize the threat to the security of one or several parties to the Agreement, this must be carried out with the consent of all the members of the NATO-Russia Council.”

Unfortunately, NATO members refused to discuss Russia’s proposals, that’s why the characteristics of “significant combat forces” still remain unspecified.

The intention of the US to provide “a constant rotational presence” on the so-called “eastern flank” is alarming (military personnel are rotated while equipment remains). These actions run counter to and are on the edge of breaking the provisions of the Founding Act. The lack of clarity on “permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” is used by NATO and the US to legitimize their efforts to build up a military presence and infrastructure along the Russian borders under the pretext of an alleged “Russian threat.”

If nothing changes, this would seriously undermine the European and global security system.

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Neocons and Israelis Are Pushing America into Perpetual wars

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Whose Bright Idea Was RussiaGate?

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | October 3, 2017

The answer to the question in the title of this article is that Russiagate was created by CIA director John Brennan.The CIA started what is called Russiagate in order to prevent Trump from being able to normalize relations with Russia. The CIA and the military/security complex need an enemy in order to justify their huge budgets and unaccountable power. Russia has been assigned that role. The Democrats joined in as a way of attacking Trump. They hoped to have him tarnished as cooperating with Russia to steal the presidential election from Hillary and to have him impeached. I don’t think the Democrats have considered the consequence of further worsening the relations between the US and Russia.

Public Russia bashing pre-dates Trump. It has been going on privately in neoconservative circles for years, but appeared publicly during the Obama regime when Russia blocked Washington’s plans to invade Syria and to bomb Iran.

Russia bashing became more intense when Washington’s coup in Ukraine failed to deliver Crimea. Washington had intended for the new Ukrainian regime to evict the Russians from their naval base on the Black Sea. This goal was frustrated when Crimea voted to rejoin Russia.

The neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony requires the principal goal of US foreign policy to be to prevent the rise of other countries that can serve as a restraint on US unilateralism. This is the main basis for the hostility of US foreign policy toward Russia, and of course there also is the material interests of the military/security complex.

Russia bashing is much larger than merely Russiagate. The danger lies in Washington convincing Russia that Washington is planning a surprise attack on Russia. With US and NATO bases on Russia’s borders, efforts to arm Ukraine and to include Ukraine and Georgia in NATO provide more evidence that Washington is surrounding Russia for attack. There is nothing more reckless and irresponsible than convincing a nuclear power that you are going to attack.

Washington is fully aware that there was no Russian interference in the presidential election or in the state elections. The military/security complex, the neoconservatives, and the Democratic Party are merely using the accusations to serve their own agendas.

These selfish agendas are a dire threat to life on earth.

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

US congressmen want answers on claims of secret Cold War radiation tests

RT | October 3, 2017

Three US Congress members have demanded answers from Washington after a new book claims to reveal details of how the government secretly sprayed, injected, and fed radiation and other hazardous materials to “vulnerable” people during the Cold War.

The congressmen’s outrage comes in response to the book ‘Behind the Fog: How the US Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans,’ which is said to have revealed the practices when it was published in August.

Author Lisa Martino-Taylor, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College, said the radiological weapons program was a top priority for the government at the time.

According to the author, unsuspecting people across the United States – and even in England and Canada – were subjected to potentially deadly material through open-air spraying, ingestion, and injection.

“They targeted the most vulnerable in society in most cases,” Martino-Taylor said, as quoted by AP. “They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women in Nashville. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations.” The testing took place in various locations throughout the United States.

Tests in Nashville in the late 1940s saw 820 poor and pregnant white women receive a mixture during their first pre-natal visit which included radioactive iron, Martino-Taylor said. The expectant mothers were unknowingly chosen to take part in the program.

Blood tests were apparently used to determine how much radioactive iron had been absorbed by the women, and the babies’ blood was tested at birth. Similar tests also took place in Chicago and San Francisco, according to Martino-Taylor.

In St. Louis, the government was busy testing a spray which it claimed was for a smoke screen which could shield the city from aerial observation in case of a Soviet attack. However, evidence now shows that the spray included radioactive material, according to the associate professor.

In California, investigators installed a radiation field inside a building at North Hollywood High School in 1961. Similar testing was performed at the University of California Los Angeles and at a Los Angeles Police Department building.

Martino-Taylor has revealed that other tests in Chicago; Berkeley, California; Rochester, New York; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, involved injecting people with plutonium-239.

The author used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including Army records, which revealed the government’s practices. She also reviewed public records and published articles.

She also told AP that she found that a small group of researchers aided by academic institutions worked to develop radiological weapons and “combination weapons” using radioactive materials along with chemical or biological weapons.

‘Why would you do that to people?’

Any negative health effects of the testing have not been proven, with Martino-Taylor admitting that tracing diseases like cancer to specific causes is difficult. However, Mary Helen Brindell, now 73, can remember playing baseball on a street in St. Louis as a child in the 1950s. Suddenly, a squadron of planes flew low overhead, covering her and her friends in a fine powdery substance that stuck to her skin.

She has suffered from breast, thyroid, skin, and uterine cancers, and her sister died of a rare form of esophageal cancer. “I just want an explanation from the government,” Brindell said. “Why would you do that to people?”

Doris Spates, now 62, was born on the top floor of the Pruitt-Igoe low-income building in St. Louis, where the Army sprayed material from the roof. Just three months after her birth, her father suddenly died. Four of her 11 siblings died from cancer at relatively young ages, and she herself has survived cervical cancer and suffers from skin and breathing issues.

“It makes me angry,” Spates said. “It’s wrong to do something like that to people who don’t have any knowledge of it.”
‘Shocking & disturbing’

Responding to the revelations, three congressmen who represent areas where the testing took place have expressed outrage at the practices.

Lacy Clay (D-MO) said he was angry that Americans were used as “guinea pigs.”

He was joined by Jim Cooper (D-TN), whose office plans to seek more information from the Army Legislative Liaison.

“We are asking for details on the Pentagon’s role, along with any cooperation by research institutions and other organizations,” office spokesperson Chris Carroll said. “These revelations are shocking, disturbing and painful.”

Meanwhile, Brad Sherman (D-CA) – whose district includes North Hollywood High School, site of a radiation field – called the government’s actions an “incredibly stupid, reckless thing to do.”

He said he wants a survey of people who graduated from the school around that time, to see if there was a higher incidence of illness, including cancer, and has vowed to seek more information from the Department of Energy.

Martino-Taylor says her book speaks of the mostly young scientists tasked with developing radiological weapons, noting that they were mostly unsupervised from anyone “who could say, ‘this isn’t right,’ or put some sort of moral compass on it.”

The book is a follow-up to Martino-Taylor’s 2012 dissertation, which found that the US government conducted secret testing of zinc cadmium sulfide in a poor area of St. Louis in the 1950s and 1960s. Although her 2012 report prompted an Army investigation, the probe determined that no evidence had been found to prove that the St. Louis testing posed a health threat.

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

What Did Washington Achieve in its Six Year War on Syria?

By Ron Paul | October 2, 2017

Now that the defeat of ISIS in Syria appears imminent, with the Syrian army clearing out some of the last ISIS strongholds in the east, Washington’s interventionists are searching for new excuses to maintain the illegal US military presence in the country. Their original rationale for intervention has long been exposed as another lie.

Remember that President Obama initially involved the US military in Iraq and Syria to “prevent genocide” of the Yazidis and promised the operation would not drift into US “boots on the ground.” That was three years ago and the US military became steadily more involved while Congress continued to dodge its Constitutional obligations. The US even built military bases in Syria despite having no permission to do so! Imagine if Syria started building military bases here in the US against our wishes.

After six years of war the Syrian government has nearly defeated ISIS and al-Qaeda and the US-backed “moderates” turned out to be either Islamist extremists or Kurdish soldiers for hire. According to a recent report, the US has shipped two billion dollars worth of weapons to fighters in Syria via eastern Europe. Much of these weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS directly, or indirectly through “moderates” taking their weapons with them while joining ISIS or al-Qaeda.

“Assad must go,” proclaimed President Obama back in 2011, as he claimed that the Syrian leader was committing genocide against his own people and that regime change was the only way to save Syrians. Then earlier this year, when eastern Aleppo was about to be liberated by the Syrian government, the neocons warned that Assad would move in and kill all the inhabitants. They warned that the population of eastern Aleppo would flee from the Syrian army. But something very different happened. According to the UN’s International Organization for Migration, 600,000 refugees returned to Syria by August. Half of the returnees went back to Aleppo, where we were told Assad was waiting to kill them.

What happened? The neocons and “humanitarian interventionists” lied. Just as they lied about Libya, Iraq, and so on.

While it was mostly ignored by the mainstream media, just this week a Christian was elected speaker of the Syrian parliament. The new speaker is a 58-year-old Orthodox Christian law graduate and member of President Assad’s Baath party.

How many Christians does our “ally” Saudi Arabia have in its parliament? Oh I forgot, Saudi Arabia has no elected parliament.

Why does it seem that US policy in the Middle East always hurts Christians the most? In Iraq, Christians suffered disproportionately from the 2003 US invasion. In fact there are hardly any Christians left. Why aren’t more US Christian groups demanding that the US get out of the Middle East?

The US is not about to leave on its own. With ISIS all but defeated in Syria, many in Washington are calling for the US military to continue its illegal occupation of parts of the country to protect against Iranian influence! Of course before the US military actions in Iraq and Syria there was far less Iranian influence in the region! So US foreign interventionism is producing new problems that can only be solved by more US interventionism? The military industrial complex could not have dreamed of a better scheme to rob the American people while enriching themselves!

What have we achieved in Syria? Nothing good.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

US Provides Military Aid To More Than 70 Percent Of World’s Dictatorships

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | September 27, 2017

About three-quarters of the world’s dictatorships currently receive military assistance from the United States. This is a strange record for a nation that consistently justifies its sweeping foreign interventions as aimed at “promoting democracy” and “thwarting evil dictatorships.”

In the Cold War it was “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Current analysis shows the U.S. militarily assisting dictators the world over, calling it “promoting democracy,” and disingenuously wondering why it’s all going so badly.

For much of its history, the United States government has explained or defended its intervention in the affairs of other nations by framing such behavior as necessary to “promote democracy” abroad and to thwart the advance of “evil dictators.” While the use of those phrases has hardly dwindled over the years, establishment figures have been forced to admit in recent years that the U.S.’ democracy promotion efforts haven’t gone quite as planned.

For instance, last year, Foreign Policy published an article headlined “Why is America So Bad at Promoting Democracy in Other Countries?” There, Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt noted that most of the U.S.’ democracy promotion efforts abroad end in failure, with nearly a quarter of the world’s democracies having been degraded in the past 30 years. Though Walt blames the U.S.’ muddled history of military interventions for failing to spread democracy, a new analysis suggests that the reason for this troubling trend is not that democracy wasn’t promoted the “right” way, but rather that democracy was never meant to be promoted at all.

By the numbers: U.S. backs three of every four dictators

Rich Whitney, an attorney and writer, sought to compare Freedom House’s rating system of political rights for 2015 to the U.S. government’s provision of military assistance – military training, military aid and weapons sales – to foreign nations that same year. Whitney’s stated goal was to determine whether the U.S. government actually opposes dictatorships and champions democracy at a global level, as is often claimed. His independent analysis found that the U.S. has actually manifested the opposite of its stated intention, by providing military assistance to 36 of the world’s 49 dictatorships. In other words, more than 73% of the world’s dictatorships currently receive military assistance from the United States.

For his analysis, Whitney used a commonly accepted definition of dictatorship: “a system of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute state power, thereby directing all national policies and major acts — leaving the people powerless to alter those decisions or replace those in power by any method short of revolution or coup.” He chose Freedom House’s Freedom in the World annual reports, citing it as the best source for a comprehensive list of dictatorships and “free” societies. Whitney, however, noted that the ostensibly independent organization has a “decidedly pro-US-ruling-class bias.”

Freedom House’s bias makes the results of Whitney’s analysis even more damning. The organization is funded by a combination of Western government and nongovernmental-organization sources, including the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations. Thus, its categorization of nations as dictatorships or as free societies is largely analogous to how the U.S. State Department classifies such nations — meaning that U.S. monetary support of such dictatorships is a knowing and willful repudiation of democracy promotion abroad.

Furthermore, many of the nations labeled as dictatorships by Freedom House are rivals of the United States, and thus tended to be labeled dictatorships even though they are not. For example, both Iran and Syria were labeled dictatorships even though Iran held democratic elections earlier this year and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was re-elected in 2014 with 88.7% of the vote. Russia, the eternal rival of the United States, is also considered a dictatorship according to Freedom House despite the fact that elections regularly occur there. If these three nations were removed from list, the U.S. would then support upwards of 78% of the world’s dictatorships.

In addition, other decidedly undemocratic nations that receive large amounts of U.S. military aid were not included as dictatorships in the Freedom House report and thus in Whitney’s analysis. For instance, Israel receives over $10 million in U.S. military aid every day despite the fact that all Palestinians living within its borders are disenfranchised and subject to either concentration-camp conditions or imposed military rule.

Circumstances change but justification remains the same

President Barack Obama greets one time ally of the United States, deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, during the G8/G5 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, July 9, 2009. (AP/Michael Gottschalk)

Though this analysis of the government’s own data and data from a pro-Western think tank has revealed the U.S.’ far-reaching support for dictatorships around the world, such a revelation is unlikely to change anything about the U.S.’ long-standing modus operandi. For of course U.S. support for dictators is nothing new: many Cold War-era dictators, particularly in Latin America and Asia, were installed and backed with full U.S. government support despite their despotism, in order to allow the U.S. to “contain” communism and Soviet influence.

Related | Reagan Documents Shed Light On CIA ‘Meddling’ Abroad

Ultimately, “democracy promotion” was never the true intent, but instead the disguise to mask the imperial conquest of nations that refused to acquiesce to U.S. government demands. For that reason, the notable military interventions of recent decades — particularly Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya — were sold to the U.S. public as being born out of the need to “restore” democracy and wrest control from “evil dictators.” That narrative continues to be used to justify pushes for regime change abroad, even though the U.S.’ self-image as the world’s greatest democracy hangs in tatters.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

US Takes New Steps to Dismantle Open Skies Treaty

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 30.09.2017

The US is going to announce restrictions to Russian military flights over American territory under the Treaty on Open Skies. The restrictions reportedly applying to flights over Hawaii and Alaska would come into force on January 1, 2018. The United States will stop waiving certain Federal Aviation Administration flight restrictions for the Open Skies flights and no longer allow overnight accommodations at some airfields designated for Open Skies flights.

Signed in 1992 and in force since 2002, the treaty, a fundamental trust-building measure, permits its 34 ratified member-states to conduct observation flights over one another’s territory while capturing aerial imagery of military personnel and materiel. US officials assert that Russia violated the agreement by imposing restrictions on flights over the Kaliningrad Oblast, a non-contiguous section of Russian territory squeezed between Lithuania, Poland and the Baltic Sea.

Under the treaty, nations get a quota of flights they can fly over one another’s territory. Russia began restricting that flight distance to 500km for all flights over Kaliningrad since 2014. “US experts have determined that 500 kilometers is insufficient to enable the United States to observe Kaliningrad in its entirety in one flight,” warns the State Department’s 2016 adherence report.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his reappointment on September, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US may scrap the treaty “if Russia is not in compliance.” According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the US military see a diminishing value of the treaty, which was negotiated in the early 1990s and came into force in 2002, due to advances of satellite imaging technology.

Russia restricted flights over the Kaliningrad region because some parties to the treaty crossed the length and breadth of the flight path, causing problems in the use of the region’s limited airspace and to the Kaliningrad international airport. The new regulation is in compliance with the treaty. The US, Canada, Turkey and Georgia have established restrictions within the treaty on flying over their territories.

The US claims that observation flights near Russia’s borders with South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been restricted in breach of the treaty. US media fail to present the Russian position on the issue. Moscow points out that that the two entities are sovereign states recognized as such by Russia. The Open Sky Treaty states that the flights must not violate a ten-kilometer corridor along the border of another state. As one can see, the refusal is in compliance with the treaty’s provisions.

Russia has some “no-fly zones” stipulated by national law. The treaty also allows for deviations under “force majeure,” or an event beyond a state’s control. Normally, it has not been a problem but it has become one as the bilateral relationship has deteriorated and anti-Russia hysteria has been whipped up in America.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia would take its own measures against the United States in response to any new US restrictions. Commenting on the expected announcement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said treaty members “should strictly follow its terms and raise any complaints through mechanisms of the treaty.”

Russia also has claims that a number of participating states, including Canada and the United States, are interfering with observation flights but it does not let it come into the open. “We have serious claims that a number of participating states are interfering with observation flights,” retired Maj. Gen. Alexander Peresypkin, a member of Russia’s Vienna delegation, told the Wall Street Journal.

Like in the case of INF Treaty, the US makes controversial issues come into the public domain before officials and experts are engaged in serious discussions to address the differences. It should be noted that the Trump administration has not yet formed a good team capable of negotiating with Russia on arms control related issues.

Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the Russian foreign ministry’s department on arms control, “As for the claims against us, we do not consider them grounded. In fact, the agreement is very complex; its provisions cannot always be straightforwardly interpreted, so it is necessary to look for compromises and solutions.” Steve Rademaker, former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control and the Bureau of International Security and Non-proliferation, told Congress that Russia complies with the Open Skies Treaty.

The United States launched the arms control erosion process by withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It still has not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) 20 years after it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996. In 2016, Russia suspended the bilateral Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PDMA) because of Washington’s failure to observe the terms of the deal. Now the US Congress is moving decisively to start dismantling the Open Skies Treaty along with other major arms control agreements currently in place.

There are only the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) and the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty still left in force. The future of both is in doubt. President Trump has already decried the New Start Treaty. The INF Treaty has become a controversial issue with both sides accusing each other of violations. The US has already taken practical steps leading to the withdrawal from it. Now Washington is on the way to tear up the treaty, which has enormous importance for confidence building.

The Vienna Document on confidence- and security-building measures is limited in its ability to garner information on the ongoing military activities. The Vienna Document and the Open Skies Treaty complement each other. Tearing up the Open Skies Treaty means killing the confidence-building regime between Russia and NATO. With the treaty in force, transparency is enhanced and the risk of war and miscalculation is reduced. It’s important to keep it in place and settle the disputes at the round table.

September 30, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

US Defense Department ‘Estimates’ of War Costs Look Like More Lies

Sputnik – September 30, 2017

The US Department of Defense has published data demonstrating that America’s “endless wars” abroad, from Yemen and Somalia to Afghanistan and Pakistan, have cost each US taxpayer just $7,500 since the fateful day the World Trade Centers were leveled in New York 16 years ago.

DoD estimates just $1.5 trillion has been spent on wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, Defense One reports. The figure is strikingly lower than independent estimates conducted by American economists in Ivy League institutions.

The Watson Institute at Brown University published data in September 2016 showing “total US spending on national security related to the post-9/11 war on terror has reached $3.6 trillion, and interest on funds borrowed to pay those bills could climb to $7.9 trillion by 2053.”

According a paper by Columbia University economist and former chief economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University’s Linda Blimes, former US President George W. Bush’s economic adviser Larry Lindsey touted that war costs would be capped near $200 billion when pitching the Iraq War, which he thought would be “good for the economy.”

“It now appears that Lindsey was indeed wrong – by grossly underestimating the costs,” the economists wrote. Indeed, they determined that $750 billion to $1.2 trillion had been spent on the Iraq invasion alone, three years after the conflict started (2006). Now, 11 years after their paper, the Pentagon actually says that the Iraq, Afghan, and Syrian conflicts combined have summed just $1.5 trillion.

In May 2017, Blimes penned an article stating that funds sunk into the foreign wars had not only reached four times what the Pentagon now says – but that “the US $6 trillion bill for America’s longest war is unpaid.”

The Pentagon is putting out estimates entirely inconsistent with the academic literature – in other words, what some people might call blatantly lying – and has been swiping the metaphorical national credit card to pay for it all.

“I’m against endless war for principles that the US Army once articulated, which was that war is so unpredictable and expensive that you do everything to avoid it,” retired Maj. Todd E. Pierce, retired US Army Judge Advocate General, told Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines.

​Fault Lines host Lee Stranahan asked the retired major what exactly is meant by the term “endless war,” as it is constantly used as a buzzword to describe US foreign policy.

Tracing the idea’s origins to former US Vice President Dick Cheney, who sparked and disseminated the notion of “perpetual war,” military commanders, policymakers and think tank researchers have become convinced “that we’re in this world that’s different than anything that’s existed before, surrounded by enemies,” Pierce said.

As for who is pushing America endlessly toward conflict, one need not look further than the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute, Peirce says. “They’ve all been advocating [for] wars since the 1990s.”

September 30, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Militarism | | 2 Comments

North Korea Would Be Stupid to Trust the U.S.

By Jacob G. Hornberger | Future of Freedom Foundation | September 28, 2017

To many mainstream pundits, the solution to the crisis in Korea is for U.S. officials to sit down and “talk” to North Korea in the hopes of negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement. While it won’t guarantee that a deal will be worked out, they say, “talking” is the only chance there is to resolve the crisis.

They ignore an important point: Any deal that would be reached would involve trusting the U.S. government to keep its end of the bargain. And trusting the U.S. government would be the stupidest thing North Korea could ever do. That’s because as soon as U.S. officials found it advantageous, they would break the deal and pounce on North Korea, with the aim of achieving the regime change they have sought ever since the dawn of the Cold War more than 70 years ago.

Look at what U.S. officials did to Libya. Its dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, agreed to give up his nuclear-weapons program in return for regime security. That turned out to be stupid move. As soon as U.S. officials saw an opening, they pounced with a regime-change operation. Today, Qaddafi is dead and Libya is in perpetual crisis and turmoil. That wouldn’t have happened if Qaddafi had a nuclear deterrent to a U.S. regime-change operation.

Look at what U.S. officials are doing to Iran. They entered into a deal in which the U.S. government agreed to lift its brutal system of sanctions, which has brought untold suffering to the Iranian people, in return for Iran’s abandoning its nuclear-weapons [sic] program. After the deal was reached and Iran had complied, U.S. officials broke their side of the deal by refusing to lift their brutal system of sanctions and even imposing more sanctions. U.S. officials are also now looking for any excuse or justification for getting out of the deal to which they agreed.

Even longtime partners and allies of the U.S. government can never be certain that the Empire won’t suddenly turn against them.

Look at what happened to the U.S. government’s loyal partner and ally Saddam Hussein. U.S. officials worked closely with him during the 1980s to kill Iranians. But when Saddam invaded Kuwait to settle an oil-drilling dispute, U.S. officials went after him with a vengeance, and notwithstanding the fact that, prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, they had falsely indicated to Saddam their indifference to his dispute with Kuwait. Result? Today Saddam is dead, and the U.S. government succeeded in achieving regime change in Iraq.

Look at Syria, which for a time served as a loyal partner and ally of the U.S. government, as reflected by the secret agreement to torture Canadian citizen Mahar Arar on behalf of U.S. officials and report their findings back to the CIA. Later, U.S. officials turned on Syria’s ruler, Bashar al-Assad, in a regime-change operation.

Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. Recall the countless agreements that U.S. officials made in the 1800s with Native Americans. U.S. officials were notorious for breaking them once it became advantageous to do so. Native Americans were entirely justified in accusing U.S. officials of speaking with a “forked tongue.”

If you were a North Korean, would you trust U.S. officials? Would you give up the one thing that is deterring a U.S. regime-change operation in return for a promise from U.S. officials that they would not initiate a regime-change operation? That would really be a really stupid thing to do, from the standpoint of North Korea. As soon as the U.S. government found it advantageous to break the deal and invade North Korea, engage in another state-sponsored assassination, or impose a new round of regime-change sanctions, they would do it.

“Talking” to North Korea will do no good because North Korea will never trust the United States to fulfill its part of any deal that is worked out. There is but one solution to the crisis in Korea: withdraw all U.S. forces from that part of the world immediately and bring them home. Anything less will only continue the crisis or, even worse, result in a very deadly and destructive war.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 5 Comments