The New York Times’ latest endorsement of Hillary Clinton is, as any reasonable person might assume, and to use Hillary’s favorite new word, deplorable. In the interest of discharging the irritation engendered by reading it, I’ll just briefly highlight some of the Gray Lady’s more outrageous assertions.
First, though, I’d like to applaud them for a rather novel, albeit entirely incoherent, bit of duplicity. Acknowledging in their euphemistic way that Hillary Clinton has achieved nothing of any significance while serving in government (“Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformative change”), the editors contend that this ought to be counted as one of her strengths, for “[i]t shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.”
It’s a total non-sequitur, but at least they tried something wild. It’s sort of like what Robert De Niro’s character in Wag the Dog, Conrad Brean, does when he’s confronted by an intelligence official who says there’s no evidence of a war in Albania.
“Our spy satellites show no secret terrorists training camps in the Albanian hinterland, the border patrol, the FBI, the RCMP report no—repeat, no—untoward activity along our picturesque Canadian border,” the official (William H. Macy) says very sternly. “The Albanian government is screaming its defense; the world is listening. There is no war.”
Brean’s response is a masterclass in obfuscation. After being told again that the spy satellites show no war, he says the following:
“Then what good are they if they show no war? … What good are they if they show nothing? What are they, useless? Are they just broke? If there’s no threat then where are you? Let me go you one more: If there’s no threat what good are you?”
He succeeds in confusing the official into submission, making for one of the film’s funniest scenes. But that’s a film. This is real life, and one would need a very black sense of humor indeed to find the Times‘ doublespeak amusing.
One notes that they managed to squeeze the doctrine of American Exceptionalism—according to which every person we incinerate more or less had it coming to them—into their Breanian logic, taking for granted that the U.S. is a “force for good in an often brutal world.” Yes, such a brutal world; and what would its inhabitants do without the philanthropic United States military? Die of brutality, presumably.
Moving on. As a prime example of Hillary Clinton’s lifelong “record of service to children, women and families,” the Times cites her announcement in 1995 that “women’s rights are human rights”—”one of her boldest acts as first lady.” One wonders whether the good editors have gotten around to interviewing the children, women and families living in Honduras and Libya, whose idyllic circumstances bear the mark of HRC’s world-famous “pragmatism.”
(As I’ve written elsewhere, the idea that Hillary Clinton is a champion of women’s rights is one of the most preposterous, and pernicious, lies being peddled this campaign.)
Hillary’s “unusual capacity to reach across the aisle” (not so mysterious considering her right-wing fanaticism on issues of war and capitalist depredation) is what makes the Times confident that she’ll, you know, get things done as president. She’s even “earned the respect of [warmongering psychos] like John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.” And who wouldn’t want respect from those quarters? Such an honor!
The only “black mark” on Hillary’s record as a senator, according to the Times, is her vote in favor of Bush’s criminal war on Iraq (“but, to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history”—i.e. no big deal). In other words, the Times agrees with her votes in favor of the invasion of Afghanistan, the Patriot Act and the Wall Street bailout. No surprise there.
Which brings us to the Rodham woman’s tenure in the State Department, where “her achievements are substantial.” Among them: leading “efforts to strengthen sanctions against [the people of] Iran” (who, lest you forget, she’s prepared to “totally obliterate”), and helping to “negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas” in 2012, after the IDF had managed to kill over 100 Palestinian civilians in only a week. Needless to say, Hillary didn’t lead efforts to impose any sanctions on Israel.
Next, and this is interesting, Hillary is lauded by the Times for her support of the TPP, “an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.”
Of course, Hillary has since come out in opposition to the TPP, which only the most gullible of observers believe is sincere. Indeed, after acknowledging that her “reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters,” the Times emphasizes that Hillary’s “underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt.” So there you have it: the New York Times, in its endorsement of Hillary Clinton, has called bullshit on her current anti-TPP stance. Remember this the next time a Clintonoid tries to use her TPP about face as an example of her progressivism. Remember it also the next time one of your Democrat friends argues that the New York Times is not a purveyor of neoliberal propaganda.
These are Hillary Clinton’s “substantial” achievements as secretary of state, the ones that are supposed to offset the fact that “she bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya.” Funny how the dissolution of Libyan statehood—a major crime spearheaded by Hillary herself—is worthy only of casual reference. I suppose it’s better than total omission, which is the treatment given to Hillary’s successful efforts to undermine democracy in Honduras, as well as her pro-jihadist policy in Syria.
The Times editorial board proceeds to sum up its own ideology with the following:
“Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.”
In other words, the rest of the world can rest assured that relief from American imperialism, and all its gory consequences, is nowhere in sight—not if the New York Times has anything to say about it.
We all know by now that the real terrorists (the politicians in the suits and ties and the banksters that pull their strings) are waging their war of terror on multiple fronts for multiple reasons.
Domestically, it rallies the population around the flag, keeping the flock in check. At the same time it justifies the build up of the police state control grid to catch the thought criminals who resist.
It also writes a blank check for the illegal wars of aggression abroad. Simply place your terrorist boogeyman in the square of the chessboard you’re looking to occupy and — hey presto! — you’ve got yourself an excuse to invade. (Even if you “accidentally” end up supporting them, right Uncle Sam?)
But of course the politicians, their string pullers and their fellow travelers benefit from the war of terror in a more straightforward sense. They get to use the terror scares that they themselves create to drum up billions upon billions in the name of fighting the boogeymen.
FULL TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=19925
If the British Empire was built on the playing fields of Eton, United States world hegemony gets its training in Hollywood studios and advertising agencies. Selling your product, or yourself, by looking sincere is a cultivated American art. Current top U.S. leaders are expert practitioners.
In the space of a few days, Samantha Power, John Kerry, and Barack Obama all turned in war-winning performances.
Three Deadly U.S. Blows to Hopes of Peace In Syria
Last August 8, on that serious think tank the Charlie Rose show, former acting CIA director Michael Morell said that U.S. policy in Syria should be to make Iran and Russia “pay a price”. Russians and Iranians should be killed “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it”, he said. Morell proposed that U.S. forces begin bombing Syrian government installations, in order to “scare Assad”. Probably angling for a good job next year, he is on record supporting Hillary Clinton as a “highly qualified commander in chief” and a “strong proponent of a more aggressive approach” in Syria.
Act I – An Act of War
Then, on Saturday, September 17, the U.S. Air Force did exactly what that CIA insider had called for. In sustained air strikes, four U.S. jets bombed a key Syrian Army position that had been defending the town of Deir ez-Zor from ISIS/Daech fighters. More than sixty Syrian soldiers were killed and over a hundred wounded. Daesh forces immediately took advantage of the strikes to overrun the government position. In effect, the U.S. Air Force acted as air cover for the Islamic fanatics U.S. to advance against the legitimate army of Syria.
This was not only a violation of the cease-fire painstakingly worked out by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It was an open military aggression by the United States on the territory of a sovereign state.
The Russians immediately called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to respond to this deadly violation of the truce supposedly intended to facilitate peace negotiations and humanitarian aid. When Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin took the floor to speak, his American counterpart, Samantha Power, draped in her long red mane, walked out to give a press conference that clearly illustrated the difference between Russian and U.S. diplomacy.
Churkin, like Lavrov a few days later, cited facts and analysed the situation rationally. Samantha Power put on a show of evasion and insults.
Why all the fuss? was her opening theme. After all, we halted the attack when we were informed that “it was possible we might be hitting Syrian regime personnel and vehicles”, she stated, adding that “if” we did so, “that was not our intention”. That should settle the question; who could believe that the United States might deliberately attack the regime their politicians have been saying “must go”?
The best defense is offensive, and Power can be most offensive:
“Even by Russia’s standards, tonight’s stunt – replete with moralism and grandstanding is uniquely cynical and hypocritical”, she declared.
Samantha Power, that conniving arriviste whose carefully constructed career has been built on moralism, grandstanding, cynicism and hypocrisy, had all the nerve in the world to turn these epithets against the prime target of her own habitual moralism, grandstanding, cynicism and hypocrisy.
If the air strikes hadn’t been enough to destroy Russian confidence in dealing with the United States, Samantha Power’s contemptuous reaction was sure to do the trick.
Act II – Change the Subject
Next ploy: change the subject. Our little accidental bombing is nothing, Power implied, compared to the alleged fact that “since 2011 the Assad regime has intentionally been striking civilian targets with horrifying, predictable regularity”. Here is the core of the Samantha Power fraud, containing two elements:
1/ While good-hearted bumbling America occasionally kills a few people by accident, the others do it all the time and above all intentionally.
2/ Killing civilians is what war is all about. War is not about battles between armed forces for control of territory. It is not about geopolitical power struggles. It is about “civilian victims”.
At the close of her stunt, grandstanding and scoring cheap points, Samantha Power exhorted Russia “to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them.” Good faith? They are supposed to believe we negotiated “in good faith” an agreement which we just flagrantly destroyed?
Lo and behold, only two days after the U.S. bombing of Deie ez-Zor, the subject was definitively changed when an international humanitarian aid convoy was attacked on its way to Aleppo. Twenty aid workers were killed and the aid mission was halted. Without waiting for any evidence, the unanimous cry went up from Washington that “the Russians did it!”
In the U.N. Security Council this time, John Kerry took the stage. Again, the critical point was the contrast between what we certainly did and what they allegedly did. Yes, we committed “a terrible accident”. But what they (allegedly) did was worse.
“I got to tell you, people running around with guns on the ground, from the air, is a very different thing from trucks in a convoy with big UN markings all over them,” Kerry declared. He was implying that the difference was between an understandable accident, whose victims were “running around with guns”, and an attack on civilians. Yes, but in war, attacking soldiers is the whole point. It can make a difference in the outcome. Hitting an aid convoy is “collateral damage”, as the U.S. calls it when the bombs are American. By bombing Deir ez-Zor, the United States was taking part in a war in which Syria is fighting for its life.
It cannot be ruled out that Syrian forces attacked the aid convoy because the truce was already broken at Deir ez-Zor and they believed it concealed weapons being transported to Daesh. Such things happen. Or the attack could have been carried out by rebels as an act of propaganda, a “false flag”, designed precisely to be used to accuse the adversary. Such things also happen.
It has already been established by careful research that the notorious Al Ghouta chemical weapons attack, attributed to Assad, was almost certainly carried out by rebels precisely in order to incite the United States to cross the “red line” set by President Obama and bomb Damascus. The War Party which by now controls the Pentagon, much of the State Department, most of Congress, as well as leading media and think tanks, has been castigating Obama ever since for not having seized that opportunity to wage a full-scale “regime change” war against Syria. The critics have never forgiven Obama for accepting the Russian proposal to use the occasion to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal, instead of overthrowing the Syrian government.
But in recent weeks, as the Hillary Clinton campaign grows more frantic, Obama himself has joined the War Party.
Act III – Wallow in Sentimentality
On September 20, President Obama used a Leaders Summit on Refugees to portray the Syrian episode in what increasingly appears to be World War III as a sentimental children’s story. Obama read the letter from 6-year-old Alex, who lives in Scarsdale, New York, expressing his wish to adopt Omran Daqneesh, the bewildered 5-year-old boy with a mop of dusty hair whose photo sitting in an orange ambulance seat was iconized across the world. The letter, provided to mass media by the White House, with its childish writing but nearly perfect spelling, was full of touching details about butterfly collections and shared toys. Obama read the letter, as people reached for Kleenexes all over the country, and then commented:
“Those are the words of a six-year-old boy – a young child you has not learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where they come from, how they look, or how they pray. We should all be more like Alex. Imagine what the world would look like if we were.”
The little boys are very cute, very sweet. Fortunately, Omran Daneesh’s parents are alive, so there is no need to adopt him. Many other children are dead, notably in Yemen, killed by Washington’s ally Saudi Arabia with arms provided by the United States. Too late to adopt them.
“We should all be more like Alex”, Obama tells his good people. Imagine indeed, if all Americans were as innocent and naïve as six-year-old children. And indeed, that seems to be the goal of government propaganda.
This propagandistic heartstring tugging is aimed at distracting from U.S. involvement in a long-term joint criminal enterprise to overthrow a government that indeed did not discriminate against people because of “how they pray”, and replace it by fanatics who are ready to behead people because of “how they pray”.
An infantilized public will believe that “geopolitics” and “national sovereignty” are just big words that don’t mean anything. An infantilized public will believe that when the United States goes to war, it is all about protecting little children from their bad, mean dictators, whose only aspiration is to “bomb their own people”. They will believe that the world out there is Little Red Riding Hood, threatened by the Big Bad Wolf, and that there really is a Santa Claus.
It will never occur to an infantilized public that the war to destroy Syria has been planned for years – even though someone like General Wesley Clark revealed this years ago. Or that it is carried out to eliminate Israel’s enemies, keep Arabs busy killing each other, and incidentally help Saudi Arabia spread its Wahhabite fanaticism. No, that will never occur to them.
They won’t even notice that the Obama administration has now effectively given up any effort to justify the Nobel Peace Prize so foolishly bestowed on the apprentice president, and is now engaged in a scenario designed to prepare for Hillary’s next successful regime change war in Syria.
And it won’t occur to them that the photo of the little boy in the orange seat was quite deliberately iconized by Western media as part of the campaign promoting the Islamic rebel-connected “White Helmets” for the future Nobel Peace Prize.
Another subtle step in demonizing the “Assad regime” before Hillary takes over to administer the planned coup de grace. The future chuckler-in-chief is looking forward to seeing another head fall. This is called “smart power”.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Allegations regarding the “peace-loving nature of Saudi Arabia and its aspirations amid the so-called fight against terrorism have been recently discussed by political circles across Western countries.
Western officials have unleashed particularly harsh criticism toward Riyadh in connection with its ongoing military operations in Yemen that have claimed civilian lives by the hundreds. For instance, the UN coordinator for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, announced on August 30 that the Saudi armed intervention resulted in a civilian death toll of 10,000 people in just 18 months of fighting.
British political and business circles are now questioning the approval of the sale of 3 billion pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia that London approved, similarly such concerns are being voiced in France, with Paris having sold up to 13 billion euros worth of weapons to Riyadh.
This year, Saudi Arabia has been particularly busy purchasing weapons from among the largest arms exporters in the world, including the United States, Germany and Canada. The total worth of all contracts exceeds a staggering sum of 16 billion dollars. A brief analysis of the weapons purchased by the Saudis indicates modernization attempts made in a bid to prepare for a large scale ground conflict.
Last June, Saudi Arabia purchased 419 Canadian LAV-6 lightly-armored infantry fighting vehicles also known as Kodiaks. In August, the United States approved the sale of 153 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, a contract that will earn Washington 1.15 billion dollars. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is expected to purchase 153 .50 caliber heavy machine gun, 266 M240 medium machine guns, smoke grenade launchers and an extensive amount of equipment for field repairs for their new American-made tanks.
Along with the modernization of its ground forces, Riyadh continues to strengthen its naval fleet. In the first quarter of this year Riyadh has purchased 48 patrol ships (TNC-35s and FPB-38s) built in Germany.
The drastic increase in Saudi weapons imports is closely connected with Riyadh’s intervention in Yemen, and its possible confrontation with Iran, the conflict in Syria, and Saudi aspirations to take an active part in the resolution of various geopolitical crises across the Middle East in accordance with its own interests.
According to the The Boston Globe, certain representatives of US political circles opposed vigorously continuous arms shipments to Saudi Arabia. It’s been reported that a total of sixty-four members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter warning that the deal would have ” a deeply troubling effect on civilians“ in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is conducting a fierce military campaign.
The United Nations has estimated that the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing Yemen is responsible for “twice as many civilian casualties as all other forces put together.” Yet the Obama administration wants to sell the Saudis 153 battle tanks made by General Dynamics, some of which are to be used in Yemen.
Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has made 42 arms deals with Saudi Arabia, worth a staggering 115 billion dollars. For some members of the US Congress, the latest deal represents a breaking point, since they are reluctant to send weapons that will be used first in Yemen and then in other conflicts likely to be equally as barbaric, serving Saudi, not American interests. “There is an American imprint on every civilian life lost. in Yemen, “said Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the resolution to block the deal. Another co-sponsor, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, called the deal ”a recipe for disaster and an escalation of an ongoing arms race in the region.”
However, despite the attempts made by a number of American politicians to put an end to Saudi war crimes, the Senate voted 71 to 27 to kill legislation that would have stopped the 115 billion deals. The overwhelming vote stopped an effort led by Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy to block the deal over concerns including Saudi Arabia’s role in the 18-month-long war in Yemen and worries that it might fuel an ongoing regional arms race.
It is clear that Riyadh is not going to end its current campaign of regional aggression, leaving few other options other than banning United States arms sales to the Kingdom.
However, the voice of reason has been drowned out by the sheer greed by the pro-war lobby in Congress, providing Riyadh with carte blanche to carry on with its military interventions across the region, unhindered and unopposed. The US political establishment has once again shown its true face, as a willing accomplice, and approving any sort of massacre as long as it can obtain profits from it.
Head of Ansarullah politburo Saleh al-Sammad
Head of the new Yemeni council, Salah al-Sammad, proposed on Sunday a truce on the country’s border with Saudi Arabia in an exchange for a halt in Saudi-led strikes on his country.
The proposal coincided with a surge in fighting after peace talks were suspended last month.
Sammad called on Saudi Arabia to “stop naval, air and land aggression, cease air raids and lift the blockade of our country, in exchange for an end to combat operations on the border and to missile launches into Saudi territory,” he said, in a speech published on the sabanews website.
Sammad also urged the UN and “peace-loving states” to exert pressure on the attacking Saudi regime to accept the offer.
He also suggested an amnesty for “combatants who have sided with the aggression,” a reference to fighters who back the Saudi-US assault on Yemen.
The Huthis are allied with soldiers loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saudi Arabia in March 2015 formed an Arab coalition to begin air strikes on Yemen. More than 6,600 people have been killed since the coalition launched its intervention, most of them civilians, and at least three million people have been displaced, according to the United Nations.
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed an official inquiry into British troops’ possible crimes abroad, while calling for smaller armed forces and intelligence services in Britain.
Speaking at Labour Party’s conference in Liverpool on Sunday, Corbyn argued that probing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans was necessary to show London’s commitment to international law.
“I do think there has to be a recognition that we have signed up to international law on the behavior of troops,” said Corbyn. “So I think there has to be investigation. Saying never to prosecute, I think, would be a step too far.”
The opposition leader, who was recently re-elected to lead the party, said that, the British military was consuming too much money and that Britain should no longer have a “huge land-based defense force.”
Corbyn then slammed the country’s intelligence services for planning new recruitment programs.
The UK Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6, is about to employ an extra 1,000 spies.
“I don’t necessarily think that’s particularly necessary,” he said. “There has to be security for everybody but I’m unclear as to why they want to be so much bigger.”
Corbyn’s call for the investigations is a slap in the face for former British prime minister Tony Blair, who backed the US in its 2003 invasion of Iraq by sending nearly 170,000 military personnel to the Arab country.
Blair, who was battered in the Chilcot report for starting a war that plunged Iraq into chaos, has condemned the investigation into British soldiers.
Corbyn’s remarks elicited attacks from both inside and outside of his own party.
“The current investigatory system has led to too many vexatious claims against service personnel. This has come at tremendous cost to them, their families and indeed the public purse,” Dan Jarvis, a former British Army Major and Labour MP, told the Telegraph.
“Unfortunately it shows he is out of touch with Labour policy – as he was over the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent,” said John Spellar, a former Labour Armed Forces minister.
The 67-year-old socialist has shown little interest for Britain’s special relationship with the US and is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the costly Trident nuclear missile system.
North Korean officials and state media are well-known for their bombastic rhetoric and threats to ‘wipe out their enemies’, while conducting a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests condemned by the international community, Russia included. But once in a while, Pyongyang manages to offer a somewhat reasonable explanation for their behavior.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday may have been such an occasion.
During his speech, Ri stated bluntly that Pyongyang would continue to build up its nuclear arsenal to deter against threats, including US nuclear weapons and conventional US and South Korean military forces, which regularly engage in ‘provocative’ military exercises along North Korea’s borders.
“The acquisition of a nuclear arsenal is the policy of our state,” the diplomat bluntly admitted. “As long as a nuclear-armed state exists that has hostile relations with our country, our national security and peace on the Korean peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence,” Ri added.
At the same time, the diplomat stressed that his country “is doing everything to prevent armed conflict and its escalation, taking countermeasures for self-defense when met with aggressive US exercises by the US and South Korea.”
“Our decision to strengthen our nuclear arsenal is a justified measure of self-defense to protect our nation from the constant nuclear threat posed by the United States,” Ri said.
Finally, justifying North Korea’s intensification of missile and nuclear testing in recent weeks and months, the official suggested that the “successful test of a nuclear warhead carried out recently is part of the practical countermeasures against threats and sanctions – to the hostile sanctions of the United States.”
North Korean officials and the country’s state media are well-known for making loud, aggressive statements. For instance, in response to recent reports that South Korea was creating a special military unit capable of decapitating the North Korean leadership, Pyongyang announced that it might just respond by loading a hydrogen bomb into an artillery piece and dropping it on Seoul.
The country makes such threats on a regular basis, perhaps feeling that this was the only way for it to get the attention of their opponents. But for Russia, it is Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile testing, leading to the inevitable beefing up of the US presence on the Korean peninsula, which causes infinitely more concern.
Ultimately, Moscow’s only promising avenue of approach to resolving tensions on the Korean peninsula is the resumption of the six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization. However, for this to occur, Moscow and Beijing must be able to convince their American, Japanese and South Korean partners that Pyongyang’s saber-rattling stems from genuine fears of the conventional and nuclear threats posed by the US and its allies.
As the possibilities for confrontation between Russia and the United States seem to increase, it is worth remembering how close the world was to a nuclear disaster as a result of the nuclear missiles installed in Cuba by the Soviet Union. At the time, the world was saved from that horrific scenario by the agreement between President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
However, it is possible that the world came even closer to annihilation due to similar events that began to be publicly known in 2002. Those events culminated in what is known as Black Saturday, and made U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara state that the United States came “very close” to nuclear war, “closer than we knew at the time.” The hero behind the events mentioned by McNamara was Vasili Arkhipov, a Soviet naval officer.
As politicians discussed how to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis four Soviet submarines were sent on a mission known only to a few top officials of the Communist Party. The destination was unknown, to be revealed once the commanders of the submarines were at sea.
The order was for the four submarines to travel 7,000 miles, leaving from a secret base in the Arctic Circle. They would cross the Atlantic Ocean and remain at Mariel, Cuba, where they could serve as a vanguard for Soviet forces close to the mainland United States.
Probably because communication with Moscow wasn’t always easy, the submarine commanders had orders to act without superiors’ instructions if they deemed it necessary. Those orders involved even firing a nuclear torpedo of terrifying power called a “special weapon” by the Soviets, carried by each one of the submarines.
There was, however, a very strict safety protocol that required that three persons within the submarine be in agreement to launch an attack: the captain, the political officer—both of whom had half a key to activate the release mechanism—plus the Commander of the fleet, Vasili Arkhipov. He was one of the few men who knew about the mission’s objectives in advance. Unable to communicate with Moscow, the men in the B-59 were frightened and disconcerted.
The four submarines, among them the B-59, where Arkhipov was stationed, were diesel-powered and, according to the Americans, totally unfit for the mission. The Americans had deployed the most up-to-date and sophisticated submarine detection mechanisms which included destroyers, helicopters, and surveillance planes. At that time, President Kennedy had ordered U.S. ships to form a ring around Cuba to stop further flow of Soviet weapons. Forty destroyers, four aircraft carriers, and 358 aircraft were ordered to patrol the area.
The crew of the B-59 had been away from home for three and a half weeks, in trying conditions and practically cut off from communication with Moscow. The Soviet diesel electric subs had to surface to recharge their batteries but, afraid of being spotted by the Americans, the B-59 had to dive further down with enough charge in their batteries to last only for six hours.
In the meantime American planes had spotted three submarines in the area, the B-59 among them. President Kennedy, however, had given strict orders not to attack but that, once spotted, the submarines should be driven to the surface. Unable to communicate with Moscow, the men in the B-59 were frightened and disconcerted.
The aircraft carrier USS Randolph had trapped the B-59 near Cuba and started dropping depth charges, a kind of explosives used to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. Because the B-59 was stationed too deep to monitor any radio signals, those on board didn’t know if war had broken out.
The captain of the B-59 submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, thought that the war had started and wanted to launch a nuclear attack. A harsh argument broke out among the captain, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and Vasili Arkhipov, second in command in the submarine but Commander of the fleet of four submarines that included, in addition to the B-59, the B-4, B-36, and B-130.
Arkhipov’s position finally prevailed: he persuaded Savitsky to surface and await orders from Moscow. Thanks to his determination a nuclear war of devastating consequences was averted. A single man’s valor and determination saved the world from annihilation.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has retained the leadership of the opposition political party after a bruising campaign.
Corbyn, who was initially elected last year, took 62 percent of the vote, beating challenger Owen Smith on Saturday.
Surveys had indicated that Corbyn would easily defeat his challenger as he maintained widespread support of party members attracted by his socialist anti-austerity policies and “authentic” image.
On Wednesday, Corbyn urged for the party to unite behind his leadership. He reminded lawmakers that he has the support of rank-and-file members of the party and warned them not to challenge him again.
“We owe it to the millions of people Labour exists to represent to end the sniping and personal attacks, and work together for all those who depend on the election of a Labour government. Anything else would be destructive self-indulgence,” Corbyn said in a statement.
“All Labour Party members and MPs have a responsibility to work within the democracy of our party and respect the leadership of whoever is elected.”
The 67-year-old socialist and peace campaigner has shown little interest for Britain’s special relationship with the US and is opposed to nuclear weapons, including the costly Trident nuclear missile system that is maintained by the US.
Corbyn also is a critic of Israel and NATO. As member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he invited members of the Hezbollah and Hamas resistance movements in 2009 to parliament where he called them “friends.”
By Jon Vale | The Independent | September 23, 2016
The Campaign Against Anti-semitism (CAA) has filed a formal complaint against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The group has taken action over a video posted on Mr Corbyn’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In the video, Mr Corbyn’s supporters answer questions on topics they are “tired of hearing” about, which includes whether they promote anti-semitism.
The video has subsequently been deleted from social media.
The CAA said this is the latest in a long of line of incidents where Mr Corbyn and his supporters have failed to address anti-semitism. […]
The letter accuses Mr Corbyn of “committing acts that are grossly detrimental to the party, namely characterising Jewish people as dissembling and dishonest in their reporting of anti-semitism, and by using the influence and prestige of his office to disseminate and normalise that lie”.
It continues: “The allegation that Jews lie and deceive in order to further hidden agendas is an age-old anti-semitic trope.
“It has now been manifestly deployed by Mr Corbyn in his leadership campaign video.” … Full article
Russia hopes that the next US president will be more committed to ratification by his country of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which Moscow has already ratified, Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaliy Churkin said Friday.
“We hope that the next president of the United States will be more strident in his commitment to [CTBT] ratification,” Churkin said at the UN General Assembly noting that Washington failed to ratify the treaty under the administration of President Barack Obama.
Earlier in the day, UN Security Council has adopted a resolution in support of the early enforcement of the CTBT.
The CTBT was finalized in 1996 and has been signed by the United States and 182 other countries. It was ratified by 166 countries but is yet to be ratified in Washington.
To enter into force, the CTBT requires ratification by all 44 states listed in the annex.
At present, the treaty is ratified by 36 countries, including the three nuclear weapons possessor states — Russia, France and the United Kingdom. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty provides for a legally binding global prohibition against nuclear explosive tests or any other nuclear explosions.
Excerpted from the just released book War Is Never Just.
World War II is often called “the good war,” and has been since the U.S. war on Vietnam to which it was then contrasted. World War II so dominates U.S. and therefore Western entertainment and education, that “good” often comes to mean something more than “just.” The winner of the “Miss Italy” beauty pageant earlier this year got herself into a bit of a scandal by declaring that she would have liked to live through World War II. While she was mocked, she was clearly not alone. Many would like to be part of something widely depicted as noble, heroic, and exciting. Should they actually find a time machine, I recommend they read the statements of some actual WWII veterans and survivors before they head back to join the fun.[i] For purposes of this book, however, I am going to look only at the claim that WWII was morally just.
No matter how many years one writes books, does interviews, publishes columns, and speaks at events, it remains virtually impossible to make it out the door of an event in the United States at which you’ve advocated abolishing war without somebody hitting you with the what-about-the-good-war question. This belief that there was a good war 75 years ago is a large part of what moves the U.S. public to tolerate dumping a trillion dollars a year into preparing in case there’s a good war next year,[ii] even in the face of so many dozens of wars during the past 70 years on which there’s general consensus that they were not good. Without rich, well-established myths about World War II, current propaganda about Russia or Syria or Iraq or China would sound as crazy to most people as it sounds to me. And of course the funding generated by the Good War legend leads to more bad wars, rather than preventing them. I’ve written on this topic at great length in many articles and books, especially War Is A Lie.[iii] But I’ll offer here a few key points that ought to at least place a few seeds of doubt in the minds of most U.S. supporters of WWII as a Just War.
Mark Allman and Tobias Winright, the “Just War” authors discussed in previous chapters, are not very forthcoming with their list of Just Wars, but they do mention in passing numerous unjust elements of the U.S. role in WWII, including U.S. and U.K. efforts to wipe out the populations of German cities[iv] and the insistence on unconditional surrenders.[v] However, they also suggest that they may believe this war was justly engaged in, unjustly conducted, and justly followed through on via the Marshall Plan, etc.[vi] I’m not sure Germany’s role as host of U.S. troops, weapons, and communications stations, and as collaborator in unjust U.S. wars over the years is included in the calculation.
Here are what I think of as the top 12 reasons the Good War wasn’t good/just.
- World War II could not have happened without World War I, without the stupid manner of starting World War I and the even stupider manner of ending World War I which led numerous wise people to predict World War II on the spot, or without Wall Street’s funding of Nazi Germany for decades (as preferable to communists), or without the arms race and numerous bad decisions that do not need to be repeated in the future.
- The U.S. government was not hit with a surprise attack. President Franklin Roosevelt had quietly promised Churchill that the United States would work hard to provoke Japan into staging an attack. FDR knew the attack was coming, and initially drafted a declaration of war against both Germany and Japan on the evening of Pearl Harbor. Prior to Pearl Harbor, FDR had built up bases in the U.S. and multiple oceans, traded weapons to the Brits for bases, started the draft, created a list of every Japanese American person in the country, provided planes, trainers, and pilots to China, imposed harsh sanctions on Japan, and advised the U.S. military that a war with Japan was beginning. He told his top advisers he expected an attack on December 1st, which was six days off. Here’s an entry in Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s diary following a November 25, 1941, White House meeting: “The President said the Japanese were notorious for making an attack without warning and stated that we might be attacked, say next Monday, for example.”
- The war was not humanitarian and was not even marketed as such until after it was over. There was no poster asking you to help Uncle Sam save the Jews. A ship of Jewish refugees from Germany was chased away from Miami by the Coast Guard. The U.S. and other nations refused to accept Jewish refugees, and the majority of the U.S. public supported that position. Peace groups that questioned Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his foreign secretary about shipping Jews out of Germany to save them were told that, while Hitler might very well agree to the plan, it would be too much trouble and require too many ships. The U.S. engaged in no diplomatic or military effort to save the victims in the Nazi concentration camps. Anne Frank was denied a U.S. visa. Although this point has nothing to do with a serious historian’s case for WWII as a Just War, it is so central to U.S. mythology that I’ll include here a key passage from Nicholson Baker:
“Anthony Eden, Britain’s foreign secretary, who’d been tasked by Churchill with handling queries about refugees, dealt coldly with one of many important delegations, saying that any diplomatic effort to obtain the release of the Jews from Hitler was ‘fantastically impossible.’ On a trip to the United States, Eden candidly told Cordell Hull, the secretary of state, that the real difficulty with asking Hitler for the Jews was that ‘Hitler might well take us up on any such offer, and there simply are not enough ships and means of transportation in the world to handle them.’ Churchill agreed. ‘Even were we to obtain permission to withdraw all the Jews,’ he wrote in reply to one pleading letter, ‘transport alone presents a problem which will be difficult of solution.’ Not enough shipping and transport? Two years earlier, the British had evacuated nearly 340,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk in just nine days. The U.S. Air Force had many thousands of new planes. During even a brief armistice, the Allies could have airlifted and transported refugees in very large numbers out of the German sphere.”[vii]
Perhaps it does go to the question of “Right Intention” that the “good” side of the war simply did not give a damn about what would become the central example of the badness of the “bad” side of the war.
- The war was not defensive. FDR lied that he had a map of Nazi plans to carve up South America, that he had a Nazi plan to eliminate religion, that U.S. ships (covertly assisting British war planes) were innocently attacked by Nazis, that Germany was a threat to the United States.[viii] A case can be made that the U.S. needed to enter the war in Europe to defend other nations, which had entered to defend yet other nations, but a case could also be made that the U.S. escalated the targeting of civilians, extended the war, and inflicted more damage than might have occurred, had the U.S. done nothing, attempted diplomacy, or invested in nonviolence. To claim that a Nazi empire could have grown to someday include an occupation of the United States is wildly far fetched and not borne out by any earlier or later examples from other wars.
- We now know much more widely and with much more data that nonviolent resistance to occupation and injustice is more likely to succeed—and that success more likely to last—than violent resistance. With this knowledge, we can look back at the stunning successes of nonviolent actions against the Nazis that were not well organized or built on beyond their initial successes.[ix]
- The Good War was not good for the troops. Lacking intense modern training and psychological conditioning to prepare soldiers to engage in the unnatural act of murder, some 80 percent of U.S. and other troops in World War II did not fire their weapons at “the enemy.”[x] The fact that veterans of WWII were treated better after the war than other soldiers before or since, was the result of the pressure created by the Bonus Army after the previous war. That veterans were given free college, healthcare, and pensions was not due to the merits of the war or in some way a result of the war. Without the war, everyone could have been given free college for many years. If we provided free college to everyone today, it would then require much more than Hollywoodized World War II stories to get many people into military recruiting stations.
- Several times the number of people killed in German camps were killed outside of them in the war. The majority of those people were civilians. The scale of the killing, wounding, and destroying made WWII the single worst thing humanity has ever done to itself in a short space of time. We imagine the allies were somehow “opposed” to the far lesser killing in the camps. But that can’t justify the cure that was worse than the disease.
- Escalating the war to include the all-out destruction of civilians and cities, culminating in the completely indefensible nuking of cities took WWII out of the realm of defensible projects for many who had defended its initiation—and rightly so. Demanding unconditional surrender and seeking to maximize death and suffering did immense damage and left a grim and foreboding legacy.
- Killing huge numbers of people is supposedly defensible for the “good” side in a war, but not for the “bad” side. The distinction between the two is never as stark as fantasized. The United States had a long history as an apartheid state. U.S. traditions of oppressing African Americans, practicing genocide against Native Americans, and now interning Japanese Americans also gave rise to specific programs that inspired Germany’s Nazis—these included camps for Native Americans, and programs of eugenics and human experimentation that existed before, during, and after the war. One of these programs included giving syphilis to people in Guatemala at the same time the Nuremberg trials were taking place.[xi] The U.S. military hired hundreds of top Nazis at the end of the war; they fit right in.[xii] The U.S. aimed for a wider world empire, before the war, during it, and ever since. German neo-Nazis today, forbidden to wave the Nazi flag, sometimes wave the flag of the Confederate States of America instead.
- The “good” side of the “good war,” the party that did most of the killing and dying for the winning side, was the communist Soviet Union. That doesn’t make the war a triumph for communism, but it does tarnish Washington’s and Hollywood’s tales of triumph for “democracy.”[xiii]
- World War II still hasn’t ended. Ordinary people in the United States didn’t have their incomes taxed until World War II and that’s never stopped. It was supposed to be temporary.[xiv] WWII-era bases built around the world have never closed. U.S. troops have never left Germany or Japan.[xv] There are more than 100,000 U.S. and British bombs still in the ground in Germany, still killing.[xvi]
- Going back 75 years to a nuclear-free, colonial world of completely different structures, laws, and habits to justify what has been the greatest expense of the United States in each of the years since is a bizarre feat of self-deception that isn’t attempted in the justification of any lesser enterprise. Assume I’ve got numbers 1 through 11 totally wrong, and you’ve still got to explain how an event from the early 1940s justifies dumping a trillion 2017 dollars into war funding that could have been spent to feed, clothe, cure, and shelter millions of people, and to environmentally protect the earth.
[i] Studs Terkel, The Good War: An Oral History of World War II (The New Press: 1997).
[ii] Chris Hellman, TomDispatch, “$1.2 Trillion for National Security,” March 1, 2011, http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175361
[iii] David Swanson, War Is A Lie, Second Edition (Charlottesville: Just World Books, 2016).
[iv] Mark J. Allman & Tobias L. Winright, After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2010) p. 46.
[v] Mark J. Allman & Tobias L. Winright, After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2010) p. 14.
[vi] Mark J. Allman & Tobias L. Winright, After the Smoke Clears: The Just War Tradition and Post War Justice (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2010) p. 97.
[vii] War No More: Three Centuries of American Antiwar and Peace Writing, edited by Lawrence Rosendwald.
[viii] David Swanson, War Is A Lie, Second Edition (Charlottesville: Just World Books, 2016).
[ix] Book and Film: A Force More Powerful, http://aforcemorepowerful.org
[x] Dave Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (Back Bay Books: 1996).
[xi] Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times, “U.S. Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala,” October 1, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/health/research/02infect.html
[xii] Annie Jacobsen, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America (Little, Brown and Company, 2014).
[xiii] Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (Gallery Books, 2013).
[xiv] Steven A. Bank, Kirk J. Stark, and Joseph J. Thorndike, War and Taxes (Urban Institute Press, 2008).
[xv] RootsAction.org, “Move Away from Nonstop War. Close the Ramstein Air Base,” http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12254
[xvi] David Swanson, “The United States Just Bombed Germany,” http://davidswanson.org/node/5134
As an eye witness to the entire war in Syria, from March 2011 to present, I can state this was no revolution. I am an American citizen living permanently in Syria, which is my husband’s birthplace. I have been here 24 years.
A real revolution would have the support of the people, inside Syria, not Syrians living in Paris and London for the past 40 years. To have a real grassroots uprising, you need the support of the people living inside Syria, who would share your views.
If it had been a real uprising/revolution, the whole process could have taken 3-6 months, because the Army would have followed the will of the people, given the fact the Syrian Army is made up of Syrians of all ethnic and religious sects. The Syrian Army is a true representative of the Syrian population. If the population wanted the goals stated by the ‘protesters’, which was to establish Islamic law in Syria, and to abolish the current secular government, the Army would have eventually followed along, expressing the will of the people.
However, you had a small minority in the Syrian population who were for regime change, but this very small group was backed by USA, UK, NATO, EU, and the Arab Gulf Monarchies. Money talks, as we say in America.
Yes, Syria is home to many Radical Islamic ideology followers, as is UK, USA and Europe. However, their numbers are still in the minority. In a democracy, the majority rule. The Syrian opposition does include non-Islamist political people, mainly communists and other secular thinkers, but those people have never held a gun, and have never advocated violence, destruction or armed revolution. It has been strictly the Radical Islamic ideology followers who have supported armed rebellion. Because their numbers were, and are still, so small comparing to the rest of the 20 million Syrians, they never had a chance to win, and can not win on the ground. Their ‘revolution’ has just been an attack on the unarmed civilian population who do not agree with them.
We are hoping that a peaceful negotiated settlement, with positive changes and reforms, can be made through joint talks between the UN, and both sides of the Syrian conflict. This is our chance for peace.
Finally, this morning Sept 14, 2016 on the BBC they announced a UK Members of Parliament commission, studying the role of the UK in the war in Libya, had concluded the UK role was wrong, shameful and “opportunistic, and for regime change”. Meaning, the UK under PM Cameron should not have participated in the NATO and US attack on Libya, which was not a humanitarian effort, but an ‘opportunistic attack for regime change’, as stated on BBC. This is the same story of Syria. Perhaps in 5 years time, we may watch BBC announcing a UK Parliament commission, studying the UK role in the death and destruction in Syria.
My question to myself, and all others: Why can’t we study these types of decisions BEFORE we commit to destroying lives and countries abroad? I asked this question out-loud at the breakfast table this morning, and my son who is an MBA graduate, answered back, “Mom, because UK always takes their orders from USA, regardless of the consequences”.
That view should be the focus of every UK citizen and politician, on how UK can stand alone, and make decisions in the future which benefit UK, and not follow USA blindly, down a road of regret.
Lilly Martin is an American citizen, living permanently in Syria for 24 years. She is a retired medical professional, and now a homemaker and activist-writer during the Syrian conflict. Her son is the journalist Steven Sahiounie. She lost her home to terrorists in Kessab on March 21, 2014.