Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton meet in New York, September 25, 2016.
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that she opposes a UN-brokered solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pledging to fight efforts to “delegitimize” the Tel Aviv regime.
The former US secretary of state and Netanyahu met at a hotel in Manhattan, New York, on Sunday evening, hours after the Israeli PM’s meeting with Clinton’s Republican rival, Donald Trump.
During the meeting, Clinton endorsed the two-state solution for the ongoing conflict in Palestine, but also expressed “her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution,” including the UN Security Council, her campaign said in a statement.
Clinton doubled down on “her commitment to countering attempts to delegitimize Israel, including through the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement,” the statement further read.
The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”
Since then, thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause.
The former first lady also backed Washington’s military support for Tel Aviv, saying that a “strong and secure Israel” was vital to the US.
Washington has been providing the Israeli regime with $3.1 billion annually since 2007, under a 10-year agreement with the administration of former president George W. Bush. The figure was recently raised to $3.8 billion for the next decade.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu went to the Trump Tower in New York City to meet with the billionaire businessman.
During the 90-minute meeting, Trump promised Netanyahu that he will “recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel,” the candidate’s campaign said in a statement.
He described East Jerusalem al-Quds, occupied by Israel since 1967, as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Like Clinton, Trump backed America’s military support for Israel, hailing it as an “excellent investment for America.”
Netanyahu, who was being accompanied by Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer during the meetings, thanked both candidates for their “friendship and support for Israel.”
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
President Barack Obama used a pseudonym when communicating with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by email, while her IT company referred to her email deleting as a “cover-up”, new FBI documents reveal.
The heavily-redacted documents, almost 200 pages, include summaries of interviews with senior Clinton aides concerning the private email server, and brings to light details previously unknown.
During the interview with Huma Abedin, who served as deputy chief of staff under Clinton, the FBI reportedly presented her with an email exchange between Clinton and a person she did not recognize. The FBI then revealed the unknown person’s name was believed to be a pseudonym used by Obama. Abedin reacted by saying, “How is this not classified?”
This exchange could expose Obama as having mislead the public on the issue, given his 2015 statement that he found out about Clinton’s use of a private email server “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.”
The State Department will not make public the emails Clinton exchanged with Obama, citing “presidential communications privilege,” as reason to withhold the emails under the Freedom of Information Act, Politico reports.
The documents also include interview notes with other senior Clinton aides; Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and former Bill Clinton advisor Justin Cooper, who registered the clintonemail.com domain. Romanian hacker Guccifer and a number of state department officials were also interviewed.
The latest FBI document cache also refers to the engineer who used BleachBit to permanently delete emails from Clinton’s server soon after the House Benghazi Committee issued a subpoena for documents relating to the 2012 attack on the US embassy in Libya. According to the engineer, he did this “of his own accord based on his normal practices as an engineer.”
Documents show employees from Platte River Networks, the IT company who managed Clinton’s emails, referring to a request to wipe emails in 2014 as the “Hilary [sic] cover-up operation”. An employee told the FBI this was a joke.
Clinton aide, Bryan Pagliano, said concerns were raised about whether Clinton’s server created a “federal records retention issue” by state department officials in 2009 or 2010. When he communicated these concerns to Mills, however, she said that Clinton’s predecessor, Colin Powell, had also used private email.
The reports further reveal Clinton’s alleged ineptitude with technology, with aides claiming she “could not use a computer,” and didn’t know her email password.
Abedin said she had two computers in her State Department office, one for unclassified communications and another for classified communications. She did most of her work on the unclassified computer and would go “days or weeks without logging into the classified system.”
One redacted interviewee described himself as a “Clintonista” and said he has a relationship with the Clintons dating back years. He said he would meet with Clinton four or five times a day and initially traveled with her until she was comfortable with the position of secretary of state.
The unnamed interviewee said he only became aware of the server after receiving an email from the address, which he thought was spam. He described Clinton as a “paper person” who preferred using paper over electronic communications.
Clinton’s spokesperson, Brian Fallon, responded to the new revelations by saying the interviews “further demonstrate why the Justice Department believed there was no basis to move forward with this case.”
He also criticized the timing of the release, three days before the first debate, in a tweet. Others also questioned the timing , but for a different reason.
The Trump camp said through advisor Jason Miller, the reference to a cover-up “suggests there was a concerted effort to systematically destroy potentially incriminating information.”
“I’m going to give you credit for the ‘peaceful’ protests” wrote Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt as evidence mounts that the United States manufactured the overthrow of an ally.
New documents first analyzed by Breitbart News show that the US State Department under Hillary Clinton developed and forged a program first started in the last months of the Bush presidency focused on training radical groups, including the controversial Muslim Brotherhood, on how to effectively use social media and other communication outlets to cause disruption and even topple governments.
The program known as Alliance of Youth Movements Summit was co-founded by a close adviser to Clinton, Jared Cohen, during his tenure with the State Department at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, which enabled anti-Mubarak activists to organize and plot the eventual overthrow of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
The program was forged on November 18, 2008, only two weeks after Barack Obama was elected US President but during the “lame-duck” portion of the Bush administration with the first summit held at Columbia Law School in New York.
The seminar focused on using social media outlets including Facebook and MySpace to engage in a tactic called “smart mobbing” in which mobile devices are used to quickly assemble and coordinate mass rallies and protests before authorities are able to fully respond according to Cohen.
The controversy surrounds a particular attendant of the event, a Muslim Brotherhood activist, who was allowed to attend the summit, speak before the audience, network and was introduced to US government officials despite expressing his interest in removing Mubarak from power. Government documents show that officials were aware that the activist had intentions to use social media with acute precision, including systematically alternating sim cards to avoid government detection and avoidance, to forge a movement capable of overthrowing the Mubarak regime.
One of the US government dispatches regarding the individual was even titled “Washington Meetings and April 6 Ideas for Regime Change” and detailed that the activist had met with a “variety” of congressional staffers, two US Senate staffers, and several think tanks and was even invited to speak at a US Congress hearing on House Resolution 1303 on political and religious rights in Egypt.
The US State Department under Hillary Clinton took bold steps to execute the vision initially laid out by Cohen partnering with Google, Facebook and other tech companies to sponsor the 2009 Alliance of Youth Movements in Mexico City on October 16, 2009 in Mexico City addressing that summit for “citizen activists” interested in creating change in their countries via video message.
The Alliance of Youth Movements later spawned into Movements.org in 2011 which has been credited with playing a key role in enabling Egyptian activists to organize rapidly beyond the stretch of government surveillance and before the country’s officials could orchestrate an appropriate response.
The reality that the protesters behind the Arab Spring movement received Western training in how to effectively organize and coordinate using social media hardly comes as a surprise given the unprecedented level of sophistication employed by the activists, but the fact that the US State Department knew and accepted that the training may be employed to overthrow the government of an ally does represent a shocking and untoward revelation.
Putin Derangement Syndrome is the imperialist gift that keeps on giving. It was created in the American war party laboratory because Vladimir Putin made it clear he would not be the next target for regime change. That logic of self-preservation is problematic when dealing with the United States. The act of protecting a nation’s sovereign rights has placed many a world leader in America’s cross hairs.
Of course Putin fought back when the American-allied government of Georgia attacked the South Ossetia region in 2008. When the United States overthrew the Ukrainian president in 2014 Putin reacted by annexing Crimea, where a Russian naval base was in need of protection from United States and NATO adventurism.
Putin has been a useful foil ever since and the corporate media happily carry Barack Obama’s water whenever he wants to evoke the bogeyman image in pursuit of his ulterior motives. Putin has been accused of murdering a London based Russian exile who was in fact targeted by oligarchs, shooting down an airliner over Ukraine even though there is no proof of Russian involvement and now scheming to rig the upcoming presidential election.
It would all be amusing if it weren’t so dangerous. Only the reviled Donald Trump asked a simple and reasonable question about United States/Russian relations: Why must the two countries be enemies? A much needed reconsideration of foreign policy orthodoxy has gone unaddressed because facts don’t suit the imperialist cause beloved by both sides of the duopoly.
Now the full court press of Putin-bashing is serving another purpose: assuring victory for Hillary Clinton. Her surrogates are eagerly using Russophobia to demonize Putin and Trump, lest voters take a look at her dismal record and dubious activities. When emails from the Democratic National Committee proved that party’s allegiance to Hillary’s candidacy and not the needs of the of rank and file, Putin was accused of hacking. Suddenly, words like “Russian digital fingerprints” appeared in the media and were readily accepted as being valid. The New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC and their cohorts went into overdrive mode, making sure that the substance of the revelations was ignored. They repeated the fable of a Romanian hacker who suddenly became Russian and not just any Russian but one in Putin’s employ.
Julian Assange and Wikileaks have also been targeted in order to protect the Clinton candidacy from unknown shoes dropping. Only Russia benefits when western secrets are revealed, at least according to hyperventilation from the New York Times. Joy Ann Reid at MSNBC is so eager to please that she forgets the Soviet Union collapsed 25 years ago and ranted endlessly on twitter about “communist Russia.” Even the National Geographic channel has strayed from nature photography to present an hour long anti-Putin screed.
The press hysteria gives credence to every official lie. Despite the double talk of “isolating Putin” the Obama administration is in fact talking to Russian government representatives on a regular basis. The high school clique at the G8 group of nations may have kicked Russia out of their cool kids clubhouse, but Putin and Obama always end up talking when they are in the same place. The world is fortunate to have at least one leader who does his job despite being constantly insulted by an erratic and violent country. In a sane nation the fact of Putin’s relevance would silence foolish posturing.
The risks of American obstruction and pursuit of hegemony are already evident. It was bad enough that the United States killed Syrian soldiers as part of that ongoing regime change effort. Obama’s United Nations ambassador Samantha Power then went into full attack mode which made America’s culpability obvious. She offended her Russian counterpart, calling his demand for a Security Council meeting a stunt. She shrieked that Russia was to blame for its ally being the victim of American aggression. Without a hint of irony the New York Times then complained that the Russians and Syrians used the incident for propaganda purposes.
Despite nonsense about the media “normalizing” Donald Trump, it is the awful Barack Obama and his even worse would be successor who are being given a pass. Endless war has been normalized. Revival of the cold war has been normalized. The corporate media behaving like an arm of the government is normalized. Vladimir Putin is being used to normalize imperialism and to get Hillary in the oval office. Two birds dead with one stone.
The real loser is democracy, or rather what is left of it. Hillary’s campaign and its big tent of the ruling elites exposes the true nature of American politics. The Russians aren’t even in the same league.
Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
One explanation why U.S. policies serve no national interests
On September 9th the Washington Post featured a front page article describing how the Defense Department had used warplanes to attack targets and kill suspected militants in six countries over the Labor Day weekend. The article was celebratory, citing Pentagon officials who boasted of the ability to engage “multiple targets” anywhere in the world in what has become a “permanent war.” The article did not mention that the United States is not currently at war with any of the six target countries and made no attempt to make a case that the men and women who were killed actually threatened the U.S. or American citizens.
Actual American interests in fighting a war without limits and without an end were not described. They never are. Indeed, in the U.S. and elsewhere many citizens often wonder how certain government policies like Washington’s war on terror can persist in spite of widespread popular opposition or clear perceptions that they are either ineffective or even harmful. This persistence of policies regarding which there is no debate is sometimes attributed to a “deep state.”
The phrase “deep state” originated in and was often applied to Turkey, in Turkish “Derin Devlet,” where the nation’s security services and governing elite traditionally pursued the same chauvinistic and inward-looking agenda both domestically and in foreign affairs no matter who was prime minister.
In countries where a deep state dominates, real democracy and rule of law are inevitably the first victims. A deep state like Turkey’s is traditionally organized around a center of official and publicly accepted power, which means it often includes senior government officials, the police and intelligence services as well as the military. For the police and intelligence agencies the propensity to operate in secret is a sine qua non for the deep state as it provides cover for the maintenance of relationships that under other circumstances would be considered suspect or even illegal.
It has been claimed that deep state activities in Turkey are frequently conducted through connivance with politicians who are able to provide cover for the activity, with corporate interests and sometimes even with criminal groups, which can operate across borders and help in the mundane tasks of political corruption to include money laundering. This connection of political power with the ability to operate under the radar and generate considerable cash flows are characteristic of deep state.
As all governments for sometimes good reasons engage in concealment of their more questionable activities or even resort to out and out deception, one must ask how the deep state differs. While an elected government might sometimes engage in activity that is legally or morally questionable there are normally some checks and balances in place to limit resort to such activity as well as periodic elections to repudiate what is done. For players in the deep state, there are no accountability and no legal limits and everything is based on self-interest justified through assertion of patriotism and the national interest if they are ever challenged.
Every country has a deep state of some kind even if it goes by another name. “The Establishment” or “old boys’ network” was widely recognized in twentieth century Britain. “Establishment” has often also been used in the United States, describing a community of shared values and interests that has evolved post-Second World War from the Washington-New York axis of senior government officials and financial services executives. They together constitute a group that claims to know what is “best” for the country and act accordingly, no matter who sits in the White House. They generally operate in the shadows but occasionally surface and become public, as when 50 foreign so-called policy experts or former senior officials write letters staking out political positions, as has been occurring recently. The “experts” are currently weighing in to both support and fund the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who, they believe, shares their views and priorities.
The deep state principle should sound familiar to Americans who have been following political developments over the past twenty years. For the deep state to be effective it must be intimately associated with the development or pre-existence of a national security state. There must also be a perception that the nation is in peril, justifying extraordinary measures undertaken by self-described patriots to preserve life and property of the citizenry. Those measures are generically conservative in nature, intended to protect the status quo with the implication that change is dangerous.
Those requirements certainly prevail in post 9/11 America and also feed the other essential component of the deep state, that the control should work secretly or at least under the radar. Consider for a moment how Washington operates. There is gridlock in Congress and the legislature opposes nearly everything that the White House supports. Nevertheless, certain things happen seemingly without any discussion, including the bipartisan, unconstitutional and extremely dangerous assumption of increased executive authority by the White House.
As the Post article demonstrates, there is also widespread acceptance by our country’s elites of the fiction that America is threatened and that Washington has a right to intervene preemptively anywhere in the world at any time. Unpopular and unconstitutional wars continue in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq while the American president routinely claims the meaningless title “leader of the free world” even as he threatens countries that do not adhere to norms dictated by Washington. In the case of Russia, some American leaders actually believe a potentially nuclear war can be won and should be considered while at least one general has taken steps to bring about such a conflict.
Meanwhile both targeted citizens and often innocent foreigners who fit profiles are assassinated by drones without any legal process or framework. Lying to start a war as well as the war crimes committed by U.S. troops and contractors on far flung battlefields including torture and rendition are rarely investigated and punishment of any kind is so rare as to be remarkable when it does occur.
Here at home banks are bailed out and corporate interests are protected by law. Huge multi-year defense contracts are approved for ships and planes that are both vulnerable and money pits. The public is routinely surveilled, citizens are imprisoned without being charged or are tried by military tribunals, the government increasingly cites state secrets privilege to conceal its actions and whistleblowers are punished with prison. America the warlike predatory capitalist operating with little interference or input from the citizenry might be considered a virtual definition of deep state.
Some observers believe that the deep state is driven by the “Washington Consensus,” a subset of the “American exceptionalism” meme. It is plausible to consider it a 1950s creation, the end product of the “military industrial complex” that Dwight Eisenhower warned about, but some believe its infrastructure was actually put in place through the passage of the Federal Reserve Act prior to the First World War. Several years after signing the bill, Woodrow Wilson reportedly lamented “We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”
As I have noted, America’s deep state is something of a hybrid creature that operates along a New York to Washington axis. Where the Turks sometimes engage in unambiguous criminal activity like drug trafficking to fund themselves the Washington elite instead turns to the banksters, lobbyists and defense contractors, operating much more in the open and, ostensibly, legally. U.S. style deep state includes all the obvious parties, both public and private, who benefit from the status quo to include key players in the police and intelligence agencies, the military, the treasury and justice departments and in the judiciary. It is structured to materially reward those who play along with the charade and the glue to accomplish that comes ultimately from Wall Street. “Financial services” might well be considered the epicenter of the entire process. Even though government is needed to implement desired policies, the banksters comprise the truly essential element, capable of providing genuine rewards for compliance. As corporate interests increasingly own the media, little dissent comes from the Fourth Estate as the process plays out while many of the proliferating Washington think tanks that provide deep state “intellectual” credibility are similarly funded by defense contractors.
The cross fertilization that is essential to make the system work takes place through the famous revolving door whereby senior government officials enter the private sector at a high level. In some cases the door revolves a number of times, with officials leaving government before returning in an even more elevated position. This has been characteristic of the rise of the so-called neoconservatives. Along the way, those select individuals are protected, promoted and groomed for bigger things. The senior government officials, ex-generals, and high level intelligence operatives who participate find themselves with multi-million dollar homes for their retirement years, cushioned by a tidy pile of investments.
The deep state in American is completely corrupt because it exists to sell out the public interest and it includes both major political parties as well as government officials. Politicians like the Clintons who leave the White House “broke” and accumulate more than $100 million in a few years exemplify how it rewards its friends while a bloated Pentagon churns out hundreds of unneeded flag officers who receive munificent pensions and benefits for the rest of their lives. And no one is punished, ever. Disgraced former general and CIA Director David Petraeus is now a partner at the KKR private equity firm even though he knows nothing about financial services. More recently, former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who supports Hillary and is publicly advocating assassinating Russians and Iranians, has become a Senior Counselor at Clinton-linked Beacon Global Strategies. Both Petraeus and Morell are being rewarded for their loyalty to the system.
What makes the deep state so successful? It wins no matter who is in power by creating bipartisan supported money pits within the system. Unending wars and simmering though hard to define threats together invite more spending on national security and make for good business. Monetizing the completely unnecessary and hideously expensive global war on terror benefits the senior government officials, beltway industries and financial services that feed off it. Because it is essential to keep the money flowing, the deep state persists in promoting policies that otherwise make no sense, to include the unwinnable wars currently enjoying marquee status in Iraq/Syria and Afghanistan. The deep state knows that a fearmongered public will buy its product and does not even have to make much of an effort to sell it.
The United States of America is not exactly deep state Turkey but to be sure any democracy can be subverted by particular interests hiding behind the mask of patriotism buttressed by phony international threats. Ordinary Americans frequently ask why politicians and government officials appear to be so obtuse, rarely recognizing what is actually occurring in the country. That is partly due to the fact that the political class lives in a bubble of its own creation but it might also be because many of America’s leaders actually accept and benefit from the fact that there is an unelected, un-appointed and unaccountable presence within the system that actually manages what is taking place from behind the scenes. That would be the American deep state.
[This article is a lightly edited version of a paper presented at the Ron Paul Institute’s conference on peace and prosperity held on September 10, 2016 in Dulles, Virginia]
Review of Paolo Sensini’s book, Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention
It is rare for a historian to write a history of a significant issue and bring it into the present time; even rarer when the work coincides with the reemergence of that issue on the world stage. Paolo Sensini has done just that with Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention (Clarity Press, 2016). It is a revelatory historical analysis of the exploitation and invasion of Libya by colonial and imperialistic powers for more than a century.
It is also timely since the western powers, led by the United States, have once again invaded Libya (2011), overthrown its government, and are in the process (2016) of creating further chaos and destruction by bombing the country for the benefit of western elites under the pretext of humanitarian concern.
As with the history of many countries off the radar of western consciousness, Libyan history is a tragic tale of what happens when a country dares assert its right to independence – it is destroyed by violent attack, financial subterfuge, or both.
Although an Italian and Italy has a long history of exploiting Libya, a close neighbor, Sensini stands with the victims of colonial and imperial savagery. Not an armchair historian, he traveled to Libya during the 2011 war to see for himself what was true. Despite his moral stand against western aggression, his historical accuracy is unerring and his sourcing impeccable. For 234 pages of text, he provides 481 endnotes, including such fine sources as Peter Dale Scott, Patrick Cockburn, Michel Chossudovsky, Pepe Escobar, and Robert Parry, to name but a few better known names.
His account begins with Italy’s 1911 war against Libya that “Francesco Saverio Nitti charmingly described …. as the taking of a ‘sandbox’.” The war was accompanied by a popular song, “Tripoli, bel suol d’amore” (Tripoli, beauteous land of love). Even in those days war and love were synonymous in the eyes of aggressors.
This war went on until 1932 when the Sanusis’s resistance was finally crushed by Mussolini. First Italy conquered the Ottoman Turks, who controlled western Libya (Tripolitania); then the Sanusis, a Sunni Islamic mystical militant brotherhood, who controlled eastern Libya (Cyrenaica). This Italian war of imperial aggression lasted 19 years, and, as Sensini writes, “was hardly noticed in Italy.”
I cannot help but think of the U.S. wars against Afghanistan and Iraq that are in their 15th and 13th years respectively, and counting; they are not making a ripple on the placid indifference of the American people.
Sensini presents this history clearly and succinctly. Most of the book is devoted to the period following the 1968 overthrow of King Idris by the Free Unionist Officers, led by the 27 year old captain Mu’ammar Gaddafi. This bloodless coup d’état by military officers, who had all risen from the poorer classes, was called “Operation Jerusalem” to honor the Palestinian liberation movement. The new government, The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), had “three key themes …. ‘freedom, socialism, and unity,’ to which we can add the struggle against western influences within the Arab world, and, in particular, the struggle against Israel (whose very existence was, according to Gaddafi, a confirmation of colonialization and subjugation).”
Sensini explains the Libyan government under Gaddafi, including his world theory that was encapsulated in his “Green Book” and the birth of what was called “Jamahiriyya” (State of the Masses). Gaddafi called Libya the “Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriyya.”
Under Gaddafi there was dialogue between Christians and Muslims, including the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and visits from Eastern Orthodox and Anglican religious leaders. Fundamentalist Islamic groups criticized Gaddafi as a heretic for these moves. Gaddafi described Islamists as “reactionaries in the name of Islam.” His animus toward Israel remained, however, due to the Palestinian issue. He promoted women’s rights, and in 1996 Libya “was the first country to issue an international arrest warrant with Osama bin Laden’s name on it.”
He had a lot of enemies: Israel, Islamists, al Qaeda, the western imperial countries, etc. But he had friends as well, especially among the developing countries.
A large portion of the book concerns the U.S./NATO 2011 attack on Libya and its aftermath. This attack was justified and sanctioned by UN Resolutions 1970 (2/26/11) and 1973 (3/17/11). These resolutions were prepared by the work of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) that in 2000-2001 produced a justification for powerful nations to intervene in the internal affairs of any nation they chose. Termed the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), it justified the illegal and immoral “humanitarian” attack on Libya in 2011. The ICISS, based in NYC, was founded by, among others, the Carnegie Corporation, the Simons, Rockefeller, William and Flora Hewitt, and John D. and Catherine MacArthur foundations, elite moneyed institutions devoted to American interventions throughout the world.
When the US/NATO attacked Libya, they did so despite the illegality of the intervention (an Orwellian term) under the UN Resolutions that prohibit arming of ‘rebels’ who do not represent the legal government of a country. On March 30, 2011 the Washington Post, a staunch supporter of US aggression, reported an anonymous government source as saying that “President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.” None of the mainstream media, including the Washington Post, noted the hypocrisy of reporting illegal activities as if they were legal. The law had become irrelevant.
The Obama administration had become the opposite of the Kennedy administration. Whereas JFK, together with Dag Hammarskjold the assassinated U.N. Secretary General, had used the UN to defend the growing third world independence movements throughout the world, Obama has chosen to use the UN to justify his wars of aggression against them. Libya is a prime example.
Sensini shows in great detail which groups were armed, where they operated, and who they represented. The US/NATO forces armed and supported all sorts of Islamist terrorists, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), led by Abu al-Laith al Libby, a close Afghan associate of Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda’s third in command.
“These fanatical criminals (acclaimed as liberators by the mainstream media worldwide) were to form Libya’s emerging ruling class. These were people tasked to ensure a democratic future for Libya. However, the ‘rebel’ council of Benghazi did what it does best – ensuring chaos for the country as a whole, under a phantom government and a system of local fiefdoms (each with a warlord or tribal chief). This appears to be the desired outcome all along, and not just in Libya.”
Sensini is especially strong in his critical analysis of the behavior of the corporate mass media worldwide in propagandizing public opinion for war. Outright lies – “aligning its actions with Goebbels’ famous principle of perception management” and the Big Lie (thanks to Edward Bernays, the American father of Public Relations) – were told by Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and repeated by the western media, about Gaddafi allegedly slaughtering and raping thousands of Libyans. Sensini argues persuasively that Libya was a game-changer in this regard.
Here, the mass media played the part of a military vanguard. The cart, as it were, had been put before the horse. Rather than obediently repackaging and relaying the news that had been spoon fed to them by military commanders and Secretaries of State, the media were called upon actually to provide legitimation for armed actors. The media’s function was military. The material aggression on the ground and in the sky was paralleled and anticipated by virtual and symbolic aggression. Worldwide, we have witnessed the affirmation of a Soviet approach to information, enhanced to the nth degree. It effectively produces a ‘deafening silence’ – an information deficit. The trade unions, the parties of the left and the ‘love-thy-neighbor’ pacifists did not rise to this challenge and demonstrate against the rape of Libya.
The US/NATO attack on Libya, involving tens of thousands of bombing raids and cruise missile, killed thousands of innocent civilians. This was, as usual, explained away as unfortunate “collateral damage,” when it was admitted at all. The media did their part to downplay it. Sensini rightly claims that the U.S./NATO and the UN are basically uninterested in the question of the human toll. “The most widely cited press report on the effects of the NATO sorties and missile attacks on the civilian population is most surely that of The New York Times. In ‘Strikes on Libya by NATO, an Unspoken Civilian Toll’, conveniently published after NATO’s direct intervention had ceased. The article is truly a fine example of ‘embeddedness’:”
While the overwhelming preponderance of strikes seemed to hit their targets without killing noncombatants, many factors contributed to a run of fatal mistakes. These included a technically faulty bomb, poor or dated intelligence and the near absence of experience military personnel on the ground who could direct air strikes. The alliances apparent presumption that residences thought to harbor pro Gaddafi forces were not occupied by civilians repeatedly proved mistaken, the evidence suggests, posing a reminder to advocates of air power that no war is cost or error free.
The use of words like “seemed” and “apparent,” together with the oft used technical excuse and the ex post facto reminder are classic stratagems of the New York Times’ misuse of the English language for propaganda purposes.
Justifying the killing, President Obama “explained the entire campaign away with a lie. Gaddafi, he said, was planning a massacre of his own people.”
Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, was aware from the start, as an FOIA document reveals, that the rebel militias the U.S. was arming and backing were summarily executing anyone they captured: “The State Department and Obama were fully aware that the U.S.-backed ‘rebel’ forces had no such regard for the lives of the innocent.”
Clinton also knew that France’s involvement was because of the threat Gaddafi’s single African currency plan posed to French financial interests in Francophone Africa. Her joyous ejaculation about Gaddafi’s brutal death – “We came, we saw, he died” – sick in human terms, was no doubt also an expression of relief that the interests of western elites, her backers, had been served.
It is true that Gaddafi did represent a threat to western financial interests. As Sensini writes, “Gaddafi had successfully achieved Libya’s economic independence, and was on the point of concluding agreements with the African Union that might have contributed decisively to the economic independence of the entire continent of Africa.”
Thus, following the NATO attack, Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank. Sensini references Ellen Brown, the astute founder of the Public Banking Institute in the U.S., who explains how a state owned Central Bank, as in Libya, contributes to the public’s well-being. Brown in turn refers to the comment of Erica Encina, posted on Market Oracle, which explains how Libya’s 100% state owned Central Bank allowed it to sustain its own economic destiny. Encina concludes, “Hence, taking down the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) may not appear in the speeches of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy [and Clinton] but this is certainly at the top of the globalist agenda for absorbing Libya into its hive of compliant nations.”
In five pages Sensini tells more truth about the infamous events in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American colleagues than the MSM has done in five years. After the overthrow of Gaddafi, in 2012 Stevens was sharing the American “Consulate” quarters with the CIA. Benghazi was the center of Sanusi jihadi fundamentalism, those who the US/NATO had armed to attack Gaddafi’s government. These terrorists were allied with the US. “Stevens’s task in Benghazi,” writes Sensini, “now was to oversee shipments of Gaddafi’s arms to Turkish ports. The arms were then transferred to jihadi forces engaged in terrorist actions against the government of Syria under Bashar al-Assad.” Contrary to the Western media, Sensini says that Stevens and the others were killed, not by the jihadi extremists supported by the US, but by Gaddafi loyalists who had tried to kill Stevens previously. These loyalists disappeared from the Libyan and international press afterwards. “The reports now focused on al-Qaida, Islamists, terrorists and protesters. No one was to mention either Gaddafi … or his ghosts.”
The stage for a long-term Western intervention against terrorists, who were armed by the US/NATO, was now set. The insoluble disorder of a vicious circle game meant to perpetuate chaos was set in motion. Sensini’s disgust manifests itself when he says, “Given its record of lavish distribution of arms to all and sundry in Syria, the USA’s warning that, in Libya, arms might reach ‘armed groups outside the government’s control’ is beneath contempt.”
Sowing Chaos: Libya in the Wake of Humanitarian Intervention is a superb book. If you wish to understand the ongoing Libyan tragedy, and learn where responsibility lies, read it. If the tale it tells doesn’t disgust you, I’d be surprised.
In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a stalwart and courageous truth teller, has written a fine forward where she puts Libya and Sensini’s analysis into a larger global perspective. As usual, she pulls no punches.
Copyright © Edward Curtin, Global Research, 2016
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s newest book sold fewer than 3,000 copies in its first week on sale, The New York Times reported.
The book, titled “Stronger Together,” outlines policies Clinton would pursue if she were elected president.
According to the Times, a book’s first-week sales normally make up about a third of the total sold.
The book features a photo of Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), on the cover and labels it: “A blueprint for America’s future.”
It gives readers “specific and practical solutions, while also articulating a bold and expansive vision of change and renewal” and runs about 250 pages.
The proceeds from the book will reportedly go to charity.
In line with the release of the book, Clinton plans to do “a series of ‘Stronger Together’ speeches over the course of the next several weeks,” campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said, according to the Times.
Clinton talked about her book last week.
“We’re putting out a book tomorrow, called ‘Stronger Together,’ which is our blueprint for America’s future,” Clinton said at the time, speaking with reporters on her plane. “We wanted voters to be able to find, in one easy place, all of the various plans and policies that I’ve been talking about throughout this campaign.”
OffGuardian has been quiet on the issue of Clinton’s health, about which there has been a whole lot of speculation in the alt-news in recent weeks, and a whole lot of denial in the MSM. Discussing someone’s health can be tricky, you have to tread a fine line between journalism and voyeurism. You have to have a baseline of respect for privacy that, one would hope, would be applied to oneself by others.
However, this isn’t about a private citizen, this is about the physical and mental fitness of the (notionally) most powerful person on the planet… and the absurdity of the current narrative cries out for a response. Stories about Clinton’s health in the Guardian or on CNN simply say “there is no evidence Clinton is sick!” and complain about Trump’s campaign stoking “conspiracy theories” (I was not aware that “Gosh, that old lady doesn’t look well!” was a conspiracy theory… but that’s the media for you).
The problem with the argument that “there’s no evidence Clinton is ill” is, pretty simply, that there’s quite a lot of evidence Clinton is ill.
- First, there are her coughing fits. Over the past couple of years Hillary has had repeated fits of coughing. See here, here and here.
- Secondly, there are her bizarre facial movements/spasms, what some people describe as “seizures”. The famous one here, and the odd one at the DNC.
- Third, there is her memory loss and cognitive problems, see this video, where she appears to freeze up. When she does eventually speak she simply repeats the phrase that was whispered into her ear by a man who appears to be secret service (there has been a lot of speculation as to his identity and/or role).
- Fourth, blood clots. She has had two major blood clots, one in her brain, and is consequently on blood thinners to prevent a third.
- Fifth, apparent weakness and unsteadiness. There are many photographs of Clinton seeming to need assistance standing, balancing, or climbing stairs. In many of her public appearances she is propped up on a stool rather than standing up.
The web is rich with speculation and theorising trying to tie these threads of evidence to a solid hypothesis, plenty of doctors have given their opinions, and some of their ideas seem to have merit. But that is not the point of this article. The point of this article is more to ask a simple question: How far will the media go to persuade people they cannot trust their own eyes? How self-evident must something be before it can no longer be dismissed as a “conspiracy theory”?
No mainstream media source has discussed the possibility that Clinton might be sick, no newspaper or network has offered a refutation of the evidence, or an explanation of her bizarre behaviour. They simply do not discuss it. That is not how a healthy media should work.
In her latest in a long line of Clinton-touting nonsense, Jill Abramson repeats that Hillary is “fundamentally honest” (whatever the hell that means), before summing up yesterdays collapse as:
…the candidate appeared to stumble after leaving the 9/11 memorial in New York.”
Which is akin to summarising the plot of Jaws as “Some fishermen appear, from some angles, to get rather too close to a shark”.
At the same time Barack Obama’s biographer, Richard Wolffe, describes the “stumble” in even more benign terms. A “hot wobble” he calls it, before launching into a rather long polemic about how Trump is worse than Hillary in practically every regard (including physically). It was just unfortunate, he says, that Hillary’s perfectly normal “hot wobble” happened to be caught on camera. She is actually totally healthy and fine.
All of which is rather undermined by the presence of an editor’s note which reads:
Editor’s note: shortly after publication of this article, the Clinton campaign revealed she was suffering from pneumonia.”
Friday’s beautifully Orwellian “Facebook Fact-check” (which, for the record, checked no facts) repeated the claim:
Unlike her rival Donald Trump, Clinton has released fairly detailed medical records. There is no evidence to suggest the 68-year-old should be worried about her health.
But Clinton has NOT released “detailed” medical records, rather her doctor – Dr Lisa Bardack – wrote an open letter to the New York Times… over a year ago. Incidentally, this is the same doctor who was shadowing the perfectly healthy candidate all yesterday morning…just in case she got
heatstroke allergies pneumonia.
Perhaps the most beautifully timed editorial on the subject was David Ferguson’s, it headlined:
I cough at all the wrong times. Thank God I’m not Hillary Clinton”
Before adding in the sub-head:
Those of us with allergies know only too well what that tickle at the back of the throat feels like. Luckily, no one assumes we’re secretly dying.”
And then finishing on this note:
Sometimes, oh ye right-wing vultures, a cough is just a cough and the female candidate whose health you’ve never cared one iota about before now is probably just fine, suffering from – as her personal physician disclosed in detail – a round of seasonal allergies.
Three hours after this was published, Clinton collapsed in a parking lot. Ten minutes after that, the comments section under Mr Ferguson’s article was closed. It was a farce, and could not have been better timed if it had been deliberate.
Of course, the media’s refusal to deal with the subject of Clinton’s health goes beyond ATL denial, there is also the (now standard) BTL censorship.
In the interest of promoting educated discussion on this subject, I endeavoured to point out the relationship between pneumonia and some neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s, in the CiF comment section:
… Only to find that the Guardian is currently censoring any comment that uses the word “Parkinson’s”, I suggest you try it for yourself.
Interestingly, “Dr Drew” (real name Dr. David Andrew Pinsky), a famous TV doctor in the US, was subject to rather more high-profile censorship when he was fired just a week after airing his totally non-partisan thoughts on Clinton’s health, and the ability of her doctors.
I hope they realise that simply concealing a fact doesn’t change reality. I don’t know whether or not Hillary is ill, but IF Hillary is, in fact, very sick…no amount of censorship or denial is going to keep her alive.
“Containing the United States” is, of course, a ridiculous and self-contradictory idea in the U.S. and Western ideological and propaganda system. We all know that the United States had to “contain” the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1991, and since then has had the task of containing Russia and China. Only they threaten, bully, aggress and worry countries like Poland and Vietnam. Obama has had to reassure them both of our steadfast stand against Russian and Chinese military attacks. NATO has, of course, expanded greatly over the past several decades, despite the deaths of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, but only to contain the renewed Russian — and Iranian, Libyan, Syrian and other — military threats; and we have “pivoted” to Asia, supported Japanese rearmament, bolstered our own forces in that area and jousted with the Chinese in their coastal waters solely to contain China. Earlier we had been obliged to contain North Vietnam, or was it the Soviet Union in Vietnam? Or China? Or “communism”? Or maybe all of them? Or none of them, but just needing an excuse to enlarge power?1
The parallel propaganda has taken many forms. One is accepting as a premise that the United States only acts defensively and has no internal forces and interests that drive it to enlarge its sphere of control. I noted in an earlier article how Paul Krugman claims that internal Russian problems may well be the explanation of Russian “aggression,” but how at the same time it never occurs to him that the huge U.S. transnational corporate interests and “defense” establishment, and the pro-Israel lobby’s activities, might possibly make for an expansionist dynamic here.2 This reflects the standard establishment perspective that we are good and only react to evil. This was the view sustaining and justifying the invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003. That attack was taken here as not evil but a response to evil, even if involving lies and mistakes, hence not describable as “aggression.”
This framing has a long historical record. A classic and enlightening case was the organization and support by the United States of a mercenary army in Somoza’s Nicaragua that, with U.S. help, invaded Guatemala in 1954, overthrew its elected social democratic government and replaced it with a durable, murderous (and U.S.-protected) military dictatorship. This was done based on the lies that the overthrown government was “communist” and that its very existence constituted Soviet “aggression”! The New York Times and its mainstream associates swallowed these lies.
Another key element of establishment propaganda that is always mobilized to make U.S. actions appear properly defensive is the demonization of targeted country leaders, whose villainy shows that they needed containing. We had Saddam Hussein in 2003, Jacobo Arbenz (Guatemala) in 1954, and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) in 1964 and earlier, with Soviet and Chinese demons hovering behind the last two. In the present decade we have had Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad, and standing behind these but also a major menace on his own, Vladimir Putin. He is a useful demon, but if he did not exist we would find somebody else to serve the function he performs.
The longstanding and incessant demonization of Putin and verbal and policy assaults on Russia (including the shaping of the sports doping scandal) long ago reached comic levels and shows the corruption of both the mainstream media and political system. Russian “aggression” is, of course, a favorite, resting largely on the zero-casualty reincorporation of Crimea into Russia, following a U.S. sponsored coup in Ukraine. In contrast, the million-plus-casualty Iraq invasion of choice by this country is never described as an “aggression” in the Free Press, just as the March 2014 coup in Kiev is never called a coup here. John Kerry and Paul Krugman also express regret and indignation that Putin’s Russia fails to adhere to “international law,” notably in Crimea but also in supporting the indigenous rebels in Eastern Ukraine (regularly referred to as “Russian-backed,” whereas the rebel-attacking Kiev government is never called “U.S.-backed” —but after all U.S. backing to the legal government is perfectly acceptable, although Russian backing of the legal Syrian government is not.
There is also the steady attempt to pin the July 2014 shootdown of Malaysian airliner MH-17 over Ukraine on Russian villainy. Immediately after the shootdown John Kerry declared that we had clear proof that the pro-Russian rebels shot down the plane. But he has never yet supplied proof of this claim, and his alleged evidence failed to show up in the inconclusive preliminary Dutch report on the event. Investigative reporter Robert Parry cites a U.S. intelligence report which failed to find that the Ukraine rebels had an anti-aircraft battery capable of reaching the height of MH-17, but the Kiev forces do have such capability.3 Still, based on Kerry’s and other official claims, the guilt of the “Russian-supported rebels” (and demon Putin) has been swallowed by the mainstream media. The shoot-down has been a propaganda windfall for the Kiev and U.S. governments, so the factor of ”who benefits” adds to the substantive case that we have here another serviceable “lie that wasn’t shot down.”
As the establishment’s devil-of-the-decade it was inevitable that Putin would be brought into the U.S. electoral contest of 2016 and tied in to the domestic devil-du-jour Donald Trump. WikiLeaks was the recipient and immediate source of a massive trove of documents taken from the files of the Democratic National Committee that revealed the extent to which the members of that committee worked to undermine the Bernie Sanders challenge to Hillary Clinton. The leading media, like the NYT, instead of featuring the evidence of bias and dirty tricks of the DNC insiders, focused on the source of the leak to WikiLeaks. The Clinton camp, Obama officials and media quickly claimed that the hacking and leaks came from “Russian intelligence,” aiming at discrediting Mrs. Clinton and damaging her electoral chances. So the dirty tricks could be virtually ignored and Putin once more shown to be an evil force.
The evidence for Russian, let alone Putin, involvement in this case was problematic. Would Russian intelligence use internet vehicles that could be easily traced by U.S. government-affiliated internet searchers? Could the source be Russians unaffiliated with the Russian government?4 Would the Russian government be so stupid as to risk exposure with a tactic that was extremely unlikely to influence any U.S. electoral outcome? It is reminiscent of the alleged Soviet attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, which would surely have had negative effects on Soviet interests if successful. This plot was non-existent, but was a wonderful propaganda coup for the U.S. war party, with the (once again) cooperation of the NYT and its associates.
A potentially severe problem for Mrs. Clinton is that her foreign policy record is abysmal, that she is an established hawk whose electoral victory will almost surely lead to a quick escalation of war in Syria and confrontation with Russia.5 The Neocons who helped engineer the Iraq war and supported George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are firmly in her corner. She is fortunate that the mainstream media have given her a free pass on these crucial matters. In one kindly headline the NYT says “Clinton Calls for ‘More Love’; Trump Sees ‘an Attack on Our Country ” (July 9, 2016). Despite his many repellent statements and proposals, whereas Mrs. Clinton has called Putin “another Hitler” and shows not the slightest interest in a new detente, Trump has expressed admiration for Putin, suggested that he could do business with him, and called for a reduced U.S. presence abroad and a greater focus on U.S.internal needs.
This altered priority system would actually fit more closely the public interest revealed in polls, but not the desires of the massive war party, including the Neocons, nor the drift of the real Hillary Clinton program. This may contribute to the mainstream fury at Trump and fondness for Mrs. Clinton as well as to the media’s refusal to allow a debate on these important foreign policy issues.
Instead the media have chosen to feature Trump as an admirer and agent of Putin, an alleged Manchurian Candidate, and Putin allegedly interfering in the U.S. election by trying to discredit Mrs. Clinton and pushing for a victory for his ally Donald Trump. The foolish Trump not only actually swallowed the claim that the Russians were guilty of producing the WikiLeaks hacked documents, he urged Putin publicly to do more of the same! This has allowed the mainstream liberals to denounce Trump as a traitor6 And Trump has allegedly allied himself with a “dictator” and “strongman,” and a man “who doesn’t worry about international law”.7 Gee, Paul, if Putin doesn’t worry about international law could he be taking Hillary, Obama, Bush, etc. as models? Your irony here is comical.
Does the United States intervene in foreign elections? It did so massively in getting Yeltsin reelected in Russia in 1996 and it has done this with great regularity. I even coined the phrase “demonstration elections” to describe the numerous cases where it organized elections to show the U.S. public that U.S. interventions were well received and honest (they weren’t).8
With Hillary Clinton about to be elected and some advanced cadres of the war party preparing to take charge, who is going to contain the United States? The U.S. political system has failed its populace and the world and has imposed no brakes on the war machine. The UN and EU are still too much under the U.S. thumb. Russia and China are too weak and with too flimsy an alliance system to threaten U.S. hegemony and do more than make direct U.S. aggression against themselves very costly. We can only hope that compelling internal problems and the rising costs of enlarging and even preserving imperial power will cause even leaders of the war party to follow that segment of the Trump program that calls for turning to internal problems.
- On Vietnam, but with wider applicability, see Gareth Porter, The Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, University of California Press, 2005.
- Krugman, “Why We Fight Wars,” NYT, August 17, 2014; Herman, “Krugman, Putin and the New York Times,” Z Magazine, October 2014.
- Parry, “MH-17’s Unnecessary Mystery,” Consortium News, January 15, 2016.
- This is the theme of Madhav Nalapat’s “2014 Ukrainian coup behind anti-Hillary DNC email hack,” Sunday Guardian Live, July 31, 2016.
- See Gareth Porter, “Hillary and Her Hawks,” Consortium News, July 30, 2016.
- Among them, Kali Holloway, “Donald Trump: Traitor, Liar, Danger to the World,” Alternet, July 31, 2016.
- Paul Krugman, “The Siberian Connection,” NYT, July 22, 2016.
- See Herman and Brodhead, Demonstration Elections, South End Press, 1984; Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, Chapter 3).…
Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media.
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has warned that the Israeli regime cannot trust her Republican rival Donald Trump, who has “no reason to his comments about Israel.”
“He has said that we should be neutral on Israel on Monday. Then on Tuesday he has said that, oh he’s really supportive of Israel. Wednesday he might say Israel should pay back the defense aid it’s received over the years,” Clinton said in an interview with the Israeli Channel 2 aired on Thursday.
The former first lady said that Trump has floated the idea of using nuclear weapons against the Daesh terrorist group in Syria, right next to Israel.
“Using nukes against ISIS, not knowing the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas. How does that in any way help Israel,” she asked.
The former secretary of state contended that there is a “compelling case” that Daesh is “rooting for Donald Trump’s victory.”
“His understanding of the broader dangers in the region should alarm any Israeli no matter where that person is on the political spectrum,” Clinton said.
“The best I can tell, his only experience is marching in the Fifth Avenue Israel Day parade,” she quipped.
The Democratic candidate said that if elected president she would work closely with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to safeguard Israel’s strategic military edge.
“Shortly after being inaugurated I would invite the prime minister to Washington for meetings, I would send my joint chiefs and intelligence experts to Israel to meet with their counterparts,” she stated.
Washington and Tel Aviv have been negotiating the terms of a new 10-year military aid deal to replace the current one, which expires in 2018 and costs American taxpayers some $3.1 billion a year.
Netanyahu demands the US increase the annual aid to Israel.