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“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”
|News||Corporatism||Recommended Links||Skripal poisoning||Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations||Neofascism||Nation under attack meme|
|Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?||The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies||History of American False Flag Operations||False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy||False flag operations in cyberspace||FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike and very suspicious DNC leak saga||Vault 7 scandal|
|Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative||Operation Gladio - Wikipedia||The Deep State||Litvinenko poisoning||Inverted Totalitarism||Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance||To whom Euromaydan Sharp-shooters belong?|
|Mystery of Building 7 Collapse||Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers||Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo||Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?||Douma gas attack: Yet another false flag poisoning?||Khan Sheikhoun gas attack||Idlib false flag chemical attack|
|Demonization of Putin||White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings||Total Surveillance||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||Two Party System as Polyarchy||Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few|
|Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State||Facebook as Giant Database about Users||Social Sites as intelligence collection tools||DNC and Podesta emails leak and subsequent false flag operation to blame Vladimir Putin||Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||The Iron Law of Oligarchy|
|American Exceptionalism||New American Militarism||Machiavellism||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite||The Grand Chessboard||Humor||Etc|
"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"
the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947
“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”
Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”
Michael Hirsh in
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
- James Madison
The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies (called "Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency). It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as itdoes not reuare a single party system and the dominant ideology. Also the state can has less decisive, more flexible role in economic sphere. Formally, the National Security State is the state, where the institutions of imperial and state security override any elected government. In other words the state where Intelligence agencies are in change (and please note that CIA can be viewed as armed branch of Wall Street and historical ally top positions were initially staffed with Wall Street lawyers, such as Allen Dulles )
Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly the society of mass surveillance, with increasingly militarized police, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions.
Moreover intelligence services became Praetorian Guard of neoliberal elite that is in power and that completely changed the nature of governance in the USA. Now there is a country within the country in the USA. It can be called "Classified America". It has population of around 5 million people and it controls the other 320 million. Almost 5 million people is ~ 2% of total USA population but a higher percentage of the adult population of working age (around 200 millions). And now it become a formidable political force which in 20176 (and not only in 2016) strived to become a kingmaker.
Much like Praetorian Guard in ancient Role it is clearly out of control of elected government and has its own, sometimes nefarious agenda. All-in-all this is the fastest growing part of media-military-industrial complex and connected to it influential caste of "Imperial Servants" -- people well being of which is dependent on the existence and expansion of the US global neoliberal empire. This is probably no less then 10 million people if we count defense contractors, Pentagon brass, Intelligence agencies staff, State Department employees, top layers from Wall-Street and Silicon Valley, and the Staff of the Congress.)
In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produces social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap). At this point it requires police methods of suppression of dissent like was the case with "Occupy Wall Street" movement suppression. As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became more detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, and in 80th adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process.
|The neoliberal state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process.|
Under neoliberalism, which established itself in the USA since late 70th, tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became the result of political decisions favoring neoliberal elite at the expense of common citizens. So it was a typical revolution from above. To hide this requires constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat (with Russia as preferred object). That's where intelligence agencies come handy as they by-and-large control key journalists and key MSM. For example Washington Post for a long time was called "voice of CIA" even in the US establishment.
Since 9/11 terrorism is used as a smoke screen to hide the warts of neoliberalism and facilitate the transition of state into national security state. Adoption of Patriot Act and resulting hypertrophied growth of intelligence agencies in the USA are just a tip of the iceberg. In reality the situation became pretty much Orwellian with Intelligence agencies as the new incarnation of the "Big Brother" as well as the "permanent war for permanent peace" between Oceania (USA and NATO vassals) and Eurasia (Russia and China) in the Orwell's famous novel 1984.
It is clear that the war with terrorism launched also can be called "permanent war for permanent peace" as the enemy is illusive and can be really easily faked with minimal propaganda efforts by intelligence agencies (who control most "terrorists" anyway). The level of rampant militarism in the USA now is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements, especially under Trump when American Exeptionalism (or, more correctly, the American version of nationalism) got the features of a regular supremacist ideology similar to Zionism (Fascism - Wikipedia ):
Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.
Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war. The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.
Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society. Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation. Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.
Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.
Paradoxically intelligence agencies and Pentagon can't live peacefully with each other and struggle for power. That why intelligence agencies launched a color revolution against Trump, who can in some ways be viewed as the Presidential Candidate of Pentagon (especially if we view neocons as Pentagon lobbyists and Israel as a state-lobbyist for Pentagon; that might explain pro-Israeli stance of Trump).
After coming to power Trump introduced several new measures which in some way signify a new stage of the development of neoliberalism and can be "national neoliberalism". He explicitly rejects old model of neolioberal globalization on the base of multinational treaties (which was neoliberalism Modus operandi since its inception) and wants to use the power of the US to bully all nations "one-to-one" basis. Creating "exclusive" trading blocks. Those who behave against the USA wishes have sanctions imposed, cut from US dominated financial system and are threatened with war. Iran is the latest example here.
In this mutation of neoliberalism as a social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. The Deep state as it is now called. For example, intelligence agencies now strive and de facto achieved the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this: "mission accomplished"; Nixon removal is another although less visible one).
The colossal budget with juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives intelligence agencies and Pentagon not only tremendous power, but also create vested ideological and financial interests of the whole caste of "imperial servants", the well being of which depends of their continuation. Wars became necessary for maintaining the level of those budgets. Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.
|Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.|
It is important to understand that the USA intelligence agencies are probably closer connected to Wall Street and military contractors then the federal government and often serve as enforcers of specific interests. They are able to work against particular administration officially proclaimed policies, for example in organizing the foreign coup d'état. For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street.
There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Justice Department. But the reverse is not true: the intelligence agencies have appointees in all mentioned above branches of government. The natural line of development of intelligence agencies since its inception and toward acquiring more power and securing higher budget. With time, the tail start wagging the dog. This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. Actually the term the "Deep State" originated in Turkey. The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass (under Andropov, who was instrumental in installing Gorbachov into power), who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR.
The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day. Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA.
It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):
The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.
The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.
Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist) as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around a half are applicable to the national security state.
After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas ("America is an exceptional nation"). As an amazing example of doublespeak Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less).
Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality more then that). The total is probably over a trillion. Add to this several trillion dollars wasted on war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq. The Congressional Research Service estimate for 2001-2016 is 1.6 trillion; Brown university estimate is 3.6 trillion; some estimates are as high as six trillions (PolitiFact). Only future medical care and disability benefits for veterans of these war is near $1 trillion (Center for Strategic and International Studies )
Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the "deep state" is actually in charge. In most areas the Obama administration was more like Bush II administration, with "change we can believe in" as a smokescreen for nefarious actions. Obama launched more wars then Bush II too. In this sense this was the most blatant and the most successful "bait and switch" in the recent political history of the USA. Later is lightly different form repeated with Trump, who also during election campaign proposed reasonable steps of improving standard of living of the US population and finishing forign wars, but instance switched sides after election pushing neoliberal policies at home, and continuing all Bush-Obama wars foreign wars abroad. He also appointed open war hawks into his administration. The list of neocons in Trumps administration is as long as in Bush II administration and includes people in key positions such as Haley, Bolton, and Pompeo.
This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):
Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.
The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."
On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.
The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."
When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.
In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.
The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.
Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.
Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.
Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."
The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.
But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."
The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.
All this helps shed light
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;s strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.
In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?
National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.
It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.
While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs. Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.
But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate.
As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:
...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
- The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
- The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
- Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
- Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
- An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
- Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
- The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.
Post 9/11 "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies").
But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst, Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war. Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).
Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):
1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.
I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia. Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions) for surveillance.
Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in The Boston Globe. In which he stated:
It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.
Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”
The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”
If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.
By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.
Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”
This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.
There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)
Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pmAn excellent analysis and summation.
Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.
Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.
Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...
Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”
At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:
passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999
I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.
I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).
After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.
See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:
Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.
Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY
Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:
"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.
As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."
Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless. Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.
Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa.
In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would
protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.
In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.
In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:
The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?
Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.
The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.
We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.
Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.
The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.
Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.
How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.
In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.
That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."
The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.
Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.
The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.
If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.
The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:
On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):
For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:
Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.
The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.
Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):
Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...
We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.
We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…
These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...
They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.
Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?
Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.
Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…
The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…
"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.
"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”
There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...
Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...
Pretty good bet they win...
The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.
Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine
To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.
We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.
Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.
The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).
Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.
The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.
A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.
Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.
Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.
Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.
Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.
Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi might send a chill up your spine...
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
|National Security State Bulletin, 2017||National Security State Bulletin, 2016||National Security State Bulletin, 2015|
Jan 25, 2020 | www.theatlantic.com
The newly revealed comment is one of the former president's strongest known critiques of his successor.Edward-Isaac Dovere 4:44 PM ET
Barack Obama's private assessment of Donald Trump: He's a fascist.
That is, at least, according to Tim Kaine, the Democratic senator from Virginia and a friend of the former president. In a video clip from October 2016, Kaine is seen relaying Obama's comment to Hillary Clinton. The footage is part of the new Hulu documentary Hillary , which was obtained by The Atlantic ahead of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival today.
"President Obama called me last night and said, 'Tim, this is no time to be a purist,'" Kaine tells his then–running mate. "'You've got to keep a fascist out of the White House.'"
Clinton replies: "I echo that sentiment."
A representative for Obama declined to comment on the conversation. A representative for Kaine did not respond to requests for comment.
In an interview at Sundance today with Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic 's editor in chief, Clinton elaborated on her exchange with Kaine. "If you look at the definition [of fascist ], which I've had the occasion to read several times," Clinton said, "I think we can agree on several things: One, he has authoritarian tendencies and he admires authoritarian leaders, [Vladimir] Putin being his favorite. He uses a form of really virulent nationalism. He identifies targets: immigrants, blacks, browns, gays, women, whoever the target of the day or week is I think you see a lot of the characteristics of what we think of [as] nationalistic, fascistic kinds of tendencies and behaviors." Obama has been careful in how he's publicly discussed his successor. Campaigning against Trump in 2016, Obama said several times that "democracy is on the ballot," and he often portrayed the then–Republican nominee as an easily triggered hate-monger who couldn't be trusted with the presidency. The night before the November election, at a closing rally in Philadelphia with Clinton, Obama said that the presidency reveals people for who they really are, and that Americans should be worried about what Trump had revealed about himself. Since then, Obama has largely stayed away from offering specific criticism of Trump. But he campaigned in 2017 and 2018 to defeat the president's Republican allies, declaring, in a repeat of his 2016 message, that "our democracy's at stake."
Obama has never gone as far as using the word fascist in public, even though that's not an uncommon opinion, especially on the left. Journalists and academics who have lived in and studied fascist regimes regularly point to the traits Trump seems to share with those leaders, including demanding fealty, deliberately spreading misinformation, and adopting Joseph Stalin's slur that the press is the "enemy of the people." And that's not to mention Trump's apparent admiration for living authoritarians, such as Russia's Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and North Korea's Kim Jong Un. "He speaks, and his people sit up at attention," Trump gushed about Kim in a 2018 interview on Fox & Friends . "I want my people to do the same."
In the footage from Hillary , Kaine seems to suggest that Obama wanted him to be more aggressive against Trump. "He knows me and knows I tend to" hold back, Kaine says. (This past November, Kaine referred to Trump as a "tyrant" in an interview on the Radio Atlantic podcast . )
In the Sundance interview, Clinton said that Obama had never used the word fascist in conversations with her about Trump. But, she said, what Obama "observed was this populism untethered to facts, evidence, or truth; this total rejection of so much of the progress that America has made, in order to incite a cultural reaction that would play into the fear and the anxiety and the insecurity of people -- predominantly in small-town and rural areas -- who felt like they were losing something. And [Trump] gave them a voice for what they were losing and who was responsible."
In the documentary footage, Clinton also notes that she is "scared" and suspicious of what Trump is up to. "His agenda is other people's agenda," she says. "We're scratching hard, trying to figure it out. He is the vehicle, the vessel for all these other people."
"[Paul] Manafort, all these weird connections," Kaine replies, referring to Trump's former campaign chair, who is now in prison after being convicted of financial crimes related to his international business dealings.
"[Michael] Flynn, who is a paid tool for Russian television," Clinton continues, referring to Trump's onetime national security adviser and former campaign surrogate. "The way that Putin has taken over the political apparatus " she starts to say. Then, a voice off camera interrupts her.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.Edward-Isaac Dovere is a staff writer at The Atlantic .
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Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca
The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?
A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".
"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.
In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.
In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.
The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.
Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.
The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.
The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.
Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."
Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.
Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.
All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".
Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.
The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.
Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.
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Jan 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,
Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation , we shouldn't forget that the U.S. national-security establishment -- specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI -- was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover of the United States.
This occurred during the Cold War, when Americans were made to believe that there was a gigantic international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world. The conspiracy, they said, was centered in Moscow, Russia. Yes, that Russia!
That was, in fact, the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state type of governmental structure after the end of World War II. The argument was that a limited-government republic type of governmental structure, which was the national's founding governmental system, was insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists in what was being called a â€cold War, a€ť it would be necessary for the federal government, they said, to become a national-security state so that it could wield the same type of sordid, dark-side, totalitarian-like practices that the communists themselves wielded and exercised.
The conviction that the communists were coming to get us became so predominant, primarily through official propaganda and indoctrination, especially in the national's public (i.e., government) schools, that the matter evolved into mass paranoia. Millions of Americans became convinced that there were communists everywhere. Americans were exhorted to keep a careful watch on everyone else, including their neighbors, and report any suspicious activity, much as Americans today are exhorted to do the same thing with respect to terrorists.
Some Americans would even look under their beds for communists. Others searched for communists in Congress and within the federal bureaucracies, even the Army, and Hollywood as well. One rightwing group became convinced that even President Eisenhower was an agent of the Soviet government.
In the midst of all this national paranoia, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA became convinced that King was a communist agent. When King began criticizing U.S. interventionism in Vietnam, that solidified their belief that he was a communist agent. After all, they maintained, wouldn't any true-blue American patriot rally to his government in time of war, not criticize or condemn it? Only a communist, they believed, would oppose his government when it was committed to killing communists in Vietnam.
Moreover, when King began advocating for civil rights, especially in the South, that constituted additional evidence, as far as the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon were concerned, that he was, in fact, a communist agent, one whose mission was to foment civil strife in America as a prelude to a communist takeover of America . How else to explain why a black man would be fighting for equal rights for blacks in nation that purported to be free?
The website kingcenter.org points out:
After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict saying, there is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband Martin Luther King Jr. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal governments were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband.â€ť
And why not? Isn't it the duty of the U.S. national-security state to eradicate threats to national security? What bigger threat to national security than a person who is supposedly serving as an agent for the communists and also as a spearhead for an international communist conspiracy to take over the United States?
State-sponsored assassinations to protect national security were among the dark-side practices that began to be utilized after the federal government was converted into a national-security state . As early as 1953, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual that trained its agents in the art of assassination and, equally important, in the art of concealing the CIA's role in state-sponsored assassinations.
In 1954, the CIA targeted the democratically elected president of Guatemala for assassination because he was reaching out to Russia in a spirt of peace, friendship, and mutual co-existence. In 1960-61, the CIA conspired to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the head of the Congo because he was perceived to be a threat to U.S. national security. In the early 1960s, the CIA , in partnership with the Mafia, the worldâ's premier criminal organization, conspired to assassinate Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba, a country that never attacked or invaded the United States. In 1973, the U.S. national-security state orchestrated a coup in Chile, where its counterparts in the Chilean national-security establishment conspired to assassinate the democratically elected president of the country, Salvador Allende, by firing missiles at his position in the national palace.
The mountain of circumstantial evidence that has accumulated since November 1963 has established that foreign officials werenâ't the only ones who got targeted as threats to national security. As James W. Douglas documents so well in his remarkable and profound bookÂ JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters , the U.S. national-security establishment also targeted President John F. Kennedy for a state-sponsored assassination as well.
Why did they target Kennedy? For the same reason they targeted all those other people for assassination -- they concluded that Kennedy had become a grave threat to national security and, they believed, it was their job to eliminate threats to national security.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy achieved a breakthrough that enabled him to recognize that the Cold War was just one great big racket for the national-security establishment and its army of defenseť contractors and sub-contractors.
That's when JFK announced an end to the Cold War and began reaching out to the Soviets and the Cubans in a spirit of peace, friendship, and mutual coexistence. Kennedy's Peace Speech at American University on June 10, 1963, where he announced his intent to end the Cold War and normalize relations with the communist world, sealed President Kennedy's fate.
Thet's also what had sealed the fate of President Arbenz in Guatemala and what would seal the fate of President Allende in Chile. (See FFFâ's bestselling bookÂ JFKâ's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated Â by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s. Also see FFFâ's bestselling bookÂ The Kennedy Autopsy Â by Jacob Hornberger and his recently publishedÂ The Kennedy Autopsy 2 .â€ť)
But what many people often forget is that one day after his Peace Speech at American University, Kennedy delivered a major televised address to the nation defending the civil rights movement, the movement that King was leading.
What better proof of a threat to national security than that â€" reaching out to the communist world in peace and friendship and then, one day later, defending a movement that the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced was a spearhead for the communist takeover of the United States?
The loss of both Kennedy and King constituted conclusive confirmation that the worst mistake in U.S. history was to abandon a limited-government republic type of governmental system in favor of a totalitarian governmental structure known as a national-security state. A free nation does not fight communism with communist tactics and an omnipotent government. A free nation fights communism with freedom and limited government.
There is no doubt what both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought about a type of totalitarian-like governmental structure that has led our nation in the direction of state-sponsored assassinations, torture, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, alliances with dictatorial regimes, sanctions, embargoes, regime-change operations, and massive death, suffering, and destruction, not to mention the loss of liberty and privacy here at home.
Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
le="View user profile." href="https://caucus99percent.com/users/ggersh">ggersh
ggersh on Fri, 01/24/2020 - 9:37am https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/associated-press-sees-hundreds-whe...
At 10:01 UTC today the Associated Press tweeted that "hundreds" gather in central Baghdad to demand that American troops leave the country.
Thirty eight minutes earlier CNN had already reported that "hundreds of thousands" are protesting in Baghdad against the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
When AP sent the misleading tweet the commander of the Iraqi Federal Police Forces Jaffar al-Batat had already announced that the number of demonstrators exceeds one million.
That number may well be correct. Reports said that the column of protesters was already eight kilometers long even while many were still arriving.
From the comments
https://twitter.com/passenger_to/status/1220620900166520833Reminiscent of underreported antiwar crowds in 03entrepreneur on Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:43am
Same media, same MO. The mockingbird is a long-lived species.I noticed that AP attributed it to only supporters of a "Radicalhumphrey on Fri, 01/24/2020 - 1:21pm
What assholes they are.Pompeo offered a healthy serving of BS earlier.
Pic on the left of @SecPompeo promoting 12 Iraqis who danced after US assassination of Iranian general
Pic on the right of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demanding US occupational forces leave Iraq (today)
The schizophrenia of US foreign policy pic.twitter.com/HXtlNHDg1m
-- Bassem (@BBassem7) January 24, 2020
Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
A new poll shows a plurality of Americans approve of President Trump's decision to order the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Forty-one percent of Americans agreed with the decision, according to the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday. Thirty percent disapproved and the remaining 30 percent were indifferent.
On Jan. 3 the U.S. killed Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. The move raised tensions in the Middle East and fears of a new war. Iran launched rocket attacks on two bases with U.S. personnel in Iraq days later.
Jan 13, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org
Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel in the George W. Bush administration, powerfully summed up the vile nature of the US national security state in a recent interview with host Amy Goodman at Democracy Now.
Asked by Goodman about the escalation of US conflict with Iran and how it compares with the prior run-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states:Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp, for example, and bit Donald Trump just a few days ago, is alive and well.Wilkerson, over the remainder of the two-part interview provides many more insightful comments regarding US foreign policy, including recent developments concerning Iran. Watch Wilkerson's interview here:
America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is.
We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it.
What we saw President Trump do was not in President Trump's character, really. Those boys and girls who were getting on those planes at Fort Bragg to augment forces in Iraq, if you looked at their faces, and, even more importantly, if you looked at the faces of the families assembled along the line that they were traversing to get onto the airplanes, you saw a lot of Donald Trump's base. That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war.
Wilkerson is an Academic Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute Related
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Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Lurk , Jan 24 2020 15:13 utc | 26@ BM | Jan 24 2020 14:27 utc | 21
You are likely confusing the US with the UK. I tried to look up the tale of the "Basra bombers" again, but it appears to be pretty well scrubbed from the web.. Here's some of what I could scramble to find:
2 british soldiers caught trying to plant explosives (WaPo, via newsmine)
British soldiers dressed like arabs fired on police patrol (Guardian, via newsmine)
Were British Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs in Basra? (GlobalResearch analysis)
SAS propaganda trying to explain it away
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mao , Jan 23 2020 19:17 utc | 58The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Jan 23 2020 16:55 utc | 20An excellent article (by NYT standards). Strongly recommend reading it:
The Myth of Middle-Class Liberalism
Only one correction: the historian (who's British) excludes the British and American middle classes from the reactionary group, but he's lying.
The end is nearing for the Asian Paper Tiger:
South Korea posts lowest growth in a decade
The article mentions Samsung dismal profit rates from last quarter (that I posted here a few weeks ago) and China-USA trade war. Both excuses are false; instead, South Korea is just the latest victim of the chronic falling profitability stage, a stage every fully developed capitalist nation will go through.
The South Korea Times was more sincere, it mentioned the country is entereing a "slow growth trap" (the bourgeois term to designate Marx's Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall).
The real reason the West is blocking Huawei:
Backdoored backup? Apple nixed iCloud encryption after FBI complained your data is a valuable resourceApple was barred from offering customers encrypted iCloud storage because US intelligence agencies insisted on maintaining open access to users' files, their primary means of evidence-gathering, sources claim.
The FBI quashed a planned feature that would have allowed Apple users to encrypt their iCloud storage, claiming that it would cut the agency off from its best source of evidence against iPhone-using suspects, according to sources who spoke to Reuters on Wednesday. Apple reportedly went along with the agency , hoping to avoid being made an example of in the media or used as the test case for a draconian new anti-encryption law, and the program was put to bed two years ago – yet the crusading surveillance state has returned in the wake of the Pensacola naval air base shooting to demand still greater incursions on user privacy.
So, when the USA does it, it isn't "totalitarianism", but "national security".
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 19:56 utc | 71The Jewish Progressive Agenda According to Bernie SandersIn his recent extended article titled How to Fight Antisemitism, published by the purportedly 'Left' Jewish Currents, Sanders takes up the same line you'd expect from an ADL spokesman, ticking every Hasbara box from the Jewish right of 'self determination 'to the primacy of Jewish suffering.
The ideology of the Empire is Exceptionalism and Zionism is a key pillar. Zionists take pains to draw parallels between USA and Israel as divinely-inspired settler states .
Both parties support the Empire's New World Order (NWO) and Bernie has no answer for the toxic empire-building fantasies that plague those who rule in the West . He blithely joins other Democrats in focusing on "bread and butter" issues of "ordinary Americans" so as to distract from the truth that EMPIRE skews everything and disadvantages all of us except the ideologues and their wealthy backers.
Bernie is part of the problem. His sheep-dogging for Hillary was not an aberration. The establishment has doubled-down yet again on EMPIRE. And whatever the outcome, we lose.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgSeer , Jan 23 2020 17:38 utc | 32The Big Picture is unfolding... Great series start by Yasha Levine:
When I launched Immigrants as a Weapon back in September, I argued that America had done more to promote the far-right around the world than any other country on earth. I wasn't exaggerating. America really is the biggest and most active player in the field -- the biggest by far.
Even a cursory look at modern American history shows that promoting nationalism and backing far-right emigre groups has been a major plank of American foreign policy going back to the very end of World War II. This mixture of covert and overt programs and initiatives was first deployed to fight the Soviet Union and left-wing political movements but has over the years touched down all over the globe -- wherever America has some sort of geopolitical interest, including modern capitalist states like Russia and China. One of these nationalism weaponization initiatives -- which targeted the USSR for destabilization in the 70s and 80s -- was how a Soviet kid like me ended up in San Francisco as a political refugee.
This history is important. Without it, it's impossible to understand the mechanics of our reactionary foreign policy today -- whether in China or with our "strategic partner" Ukraine, a country that's at the center of today's impeachment show.
There are all sorts of possible entry points into this story. I guess I could go all the way back to America's support for the White Russians against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. But for now I'd like to start at the very end of World War II -- when this approach was just beginning to crystalize as a distinct strategy inside America's foreign policy apparatus.
... ... ...
As Ira was made to understand, to fight the commies the Allies needed a strong, economically stable Germany. That's why denazification efforts had been scrapped and Allied military command was busy putting former Nazis back in charge of industry to "reconstitute the German economy as quickly as possible." This new war footing against the Soviet Union was also why military officials didn't want to seize German property for Jewish survivors. They thought giving Jews anything at the expense of German citizens strained relations and caused bad blood between them and a vital new ally.
And anyway, it wasn't like military command had much sympathy for the Jews.
General George Patton, who for a short time ran occupied Bavaria after the war, was infamous for his contempt for Jewish survivors. In his diary, he described Jews as "lower than animals" who would multiply like "locusts" if not kept under strict armed guard in their camps. "I have never looked at a group of people who seem to be more lacking in intelligence and spirit," he wrote. Patton refused to authorize the confiscation of German property to house Jewish survivors because, he explained, it was "against my Anglo-Saxon conscience to remove a person from a house." And when an underling had no choice but to move a few wealthy German families to make room for Jewish survivors, Patton confessed to his diary that he felt guilty -- like he was committing a crime.
He had been fired shortly before Ira came to Europe, but many in the US Army agreed with his views about the Jews and continued to follow his lead. The debased and broken conditions of Jewish survivors only confirmed people's worst antisemitic stereotypes. The Jews were a filthy and disgusting race unfit for cohabitation with the civilized. Why give them anything? Maybe the Germans were right in trying to wipe them out. And the Brits? Well, if anything, even more antisemitic.
It didn't take long for Ira, an American Jew, to realize that most of the top Allied military command was set against Jewish survivors. To them, these Jews were a liability and a nuisance.
And the non-Jewish displaced groups? Well, they were a different story.
Among them were thousands of hardcore anticommunists. They were hardened fighters with plenty of killing experience. They had lost their fascist wars. Their dream of building ethnically pure utopias on their home turf had collapsed. The communists had won. Now they had nothing left to lose and had an endless appetite for revenge. And, as it turned out, they also had the same goal as the Allies: to destroy the Soviet Union.
No one told Ira that this was happening, but they didn't have to.
As he toured the camps it became obvious to him that the Allies were maneuvering to, as he called it, "consolidate the forces of reaction." On the sly, they were whipping these fascists and Nazi collaborators into the nucleus of what they hoped would to be a new fighting force against the Soviet Union.
He saw this as the ultimate betrayal.
Ira was a bit naive about the nature of American liberalism. But on the question of weaponized fascism, he turned out to be right. Even as he toured the camps in 1946, Britain and America had already started working with Eastern European fascist groups for intelligence gathering and covert commando raids on Soviet territory -- including in Latvia and Ukraine. And by the time his book appeared in stores three years later, the weaponization of European fascist movements had become official American policy, secretly crafted by the most celebrated foreign policy brain of that generation: George Kennan.
Norwegian , Jan 23 2020 17:20 utc | 27Posted by: A P | Jan 23 2020 16:57 utc | 22corvo , Jan 23 2020 19:53 utc | 69
To occupatio: We know that the US/ZATO is in the weaponized pathogen development business. The US has set up "plausible deniablility" black bio-weapons production sites in former Eastern Bloc countries, and the UK still runs Porton Downs, not far from the Skripal "poisoning" location.
They have been doing this for a long, long time at Porton Down. Not living in the UK, I first became aware of it in 1979 via a song called "Porton Down" by Peter Hammill. An excerpt from the lyrics gives it away
Won't hear a sound at Porton Down
The clear liquids keep their silence
Buried underground at Porton Down
The fast form of the final violence
Hurry on round about Porton Down
A quick glimpse of the future warfare
Hidden underground at Porton Down
Far too frightening to say what you saw there
>In the article you link to, Levine seems to use the Ira Hirschmann book,
> The Embers Still Burn, to reinforce the notion of the preeminence of Jewish suffering.
But of course: Hirschmann was very much a Zionist. But that need not compromise the validity of his observations regarding the US/UK's nurturing of Central and Eastern European fascisms.
Jan 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , Jan 22 2020 16:32 utc | 108This is a relevant quote from a commentary in NYT, March 26, 2018 by Kadri Liik (@KadriLiik) is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the former director of the International Center for Defense Studies in Estonia.
"The world does not yet know the full details of the Skripal poisoning, but it does not feel like waiting, as the expulsions make clear. Too often in the past, Moscow has denied its involvement in cases that later end up being traced to the Kremlin or its proxies. The result is that its denials lack credibility. Now, the successful use of "plausible deniability" in all the previous cases collides with the Kremlin's current interests and contributes to the verdict: guilty until proven innocent."
Punishment before the proof, if you reverse the order you [do what Putin wants|make Putin happy], the outcome so ghastly that we cannot risk it. The truth has to be declared, and then, optionally, proven. Another option is to just repeat that, say, Qassim Suleimani was a terrorist. And punish.
Bombing of Barzeh as a punishment for un-investigated crime follows the template, duly approved by the sophisticated Europeans from a myriad of outfits like International Center for Defense Studies in Estonia. I would move all of them to Tiksi (check accuweather), a quiet and somewhat depopulated city on the shore of beautiful Arctic ocean, with an airport, a few thousand of empty apartments should accommodate them (if not, there are also former mining towns in the interior, although the may be colder). Cold Warriors should embrace the cold.
Jan 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
bevin , Jan 22 2020 15:38 utc | 103somebody@94
Don't underestimate the transformation of residual 'blood and soil' themes in fascism into foundations of the Green movements. They were not simply dissenters within the communist tradition but rabid anti-communists. It was the intellectual traditions and the residual popular support among generations schooled in fascism-often literally schooled- which were preserved and amplified by the wave of anti-communism which came in from America. Like the legendary 'cavalry' rescuing the embattled settlers the US swooped into Europe, when all seemed lost, and turned the remnants of fascism into heroes.
Many of those who sneaked out to Argentina and concealed themselves would have done better to have waited for Canada and the States to invite them to come and 'do their thing' in Cleveland, Chicago, Montreal and Edmonton, Alberta.
Which leads me to the point I came here to make: the astonishing thing about the OPCW hearing is that Henderson was denied a visa. That really is shocking and a measure of how brutal, intellectually and actually, the US government has become. It has long been bad but things have reached the stage now where it has become clear that the likes Of Al Capone and the models for The Godfather movies, were babes in arms compared with the likes of Bolton or Pompeo.
When we consider Trump and the key, almost impossibly apt, fact that Roy Cohn was his mentor it is easy to forget that, in a sense, Roy Cohn was America's mentor. Cohn, who got the job of McCarthy's counsel, in competition with Bobby Kennedy, turned the Wisconsin Senator from a loose cannon into a guided missile against the residual American left and, a much easier target, the Intelligentsia.
And Cohn and McCarthy and the forces that they represented- the primordial forces of Capitalism- put the fear of poverty into them. It is impossible to understand the USA today, and its role in the world, without understanding that its intellectuals were intimidated into exile, silence, compromise, retreat and impotence as the new Imperialism set about its ruthless work. Look at the late forties, from Taft Hartley (and the crushing of the Unions)to such forgotten but signatory interventions as that in Guyana against Cheddi Jagan (repeated by JFK in 1960) Guatemala and Iran. Not to mention the imposition of semi colonial hegemony over Europe.
All these things have lasted. And Cohn's role in producing them was crucial-it was the bipartisanship of bigotry and brutality and Tammany gangsterism. (An old alliance that, between Jim Crow and the Machines.)
Trump is one of Cohn's kids but much more representative of them is Hillary Clinton, daughter of a John Bircher, a Goldwater girl, a 'feminist'-of the thoroughly sickening variety- and imbued with a hatred of Russia.
somebody , Jan 22 2020 21:00 utc | 118Posted by: bevin | Jan 22 2020 15:38 utc | 103karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 17:45 utc | 114
Foundation members of the Greens were very diverse, for sure. The right wing ecofascist faction left them soon though - they were incompatible.
There is the elementary conflict between SPD/Linke voters and Greens though on industrial economic growth and consumerism.pretzelattack , Jan 22 2020 18:01 utc | 115
The Soviet Union won the war, the United States won the peace... That didn't happen by accident.
The Outlaw US Empire immediately initiated the Cold War as soon as V-E day happened by collecting SS and Gestapo for redeployment into Eastern Europe to commit acts of terrorism, a preplanned exercise. It later held the farcical trials at Nuremburg. Walter's provided lots of nice insight into the aims of the Manhattan Project and real reason for murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese. The Great Evil that's today's USA got its start during WW2, but its philosophical underpinnings are as old as the Republic.
If History is going to be remembered correctly, then ALL of that History must be revealed--true and raw, just as Putin and the Russians propose to do with their historical memory project.another benefit for the u.s., all those german scientists via operation paperclip. helped keep the mic running after it would normally ramp down postwar.pretzelattack , Jan 22 2020 18:01 utc | 115 karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 19:02 utc | 116bevin @103--karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 20:04 utc | 117
Yes, Standing Ovation!! So much of that's now swept under the rug. Henry Wallace was all too correct about US Fascism in his 1944 essay. During WW2, Charles Beard wrote a book that was initially serialized in Life magazine beginning on 17 Jan 1944, The Republic: Conversations on Fundamentals , which was read by and sold more copies than any of his works--ever--and was the last major book he produced. Yet, when you look at the short bibliography at Wikipedia or the one provided by its link to the American History Association, it is omitted--WHY? I used it as a teaching tool for both history and polisci because of its brilliant construction--the way in which Beard composed it as a series of conversations. This link provides a hint , or you can join the archive and "borrow" it as there's no open downloading of this book available--WHY? Lots of his other works are feely available. It's not hard to find used first editions for under $4, which attests to the number published. But it certainly seems like we're not supposed to know of this work as its airbrushing from his AHA bibliography suggests.
Maybe what Beard wrote about was too contrary to The Plan. Aha!! Beard wrote that it was his rebuttal to Henry Luce--the owner/publisher of Life and Time magazines--and his idea of an American Century meaning American Empire a la Rome/Britain--Pax Americana. The mystery gets deeper upon reading the introduction at the first link above. I wish I could copy/paste, but I'm barred from doing that, so you'll need to read it yourself. One can envision Bradbury's Firemen rushing out to eliminate just such a book with its heretical ideas about how the US federal government's supposed to operate and for whom.
But back to bevin and his recounting of a critical historical chapter that's also being airbrushed. Some of us barflies are akin to Bradbury's "Train People" from Fahrenheit 451 , but how confident are we that the stories we have to tell are being heard AND remembered so they don't vanish with us?116 Cont'd--karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 23:51 utc | 123
This is more for Bubbles @71, but applies to all. This is from 2017 upon the release of UN Holocaust files held back on request by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassal Britain as reported in an excellent article by Finnian Cunningham:
"In other words, the Cold War which the US and Britain embarked on after 1945 was but a continuation of hostile policy towards Moscow that was already underway well before the Second World War erupted in 1939 in the form of a build up of Nazi Germany. For various reasons, it became expedient for the Western powers to liquidate the Nazi war machine, along with the Soviet Union. But as can be seen, the Western assets residing in the Nazi machine were recycled into American and British Cold War posture against the Soviet Union. It is a truly damning legacy that American and British military intelligence agencies were consolidated and financed by Nazi crimes.
"The recent release of UN Holocaust files – in spite of American and British prevarication over many years – add more evidence to the historical analysis that these Western powers were deeply complicit in the monumental crimes of the Nazi Third Reich. They knew about these crimes because they had helped facilitate them. And the complicity stemmed from Western hostility towards Russia as a perceived geopolitical rival.
" This is not a mere historical academic exercise . Western complicity with Nazi Germany also finds a corollary in the present-day ongoing hostility from Washington, Britain and their NATO allies towards Moscow. The relentless build up of NATO offensive forces around Russia's borders, the endless Russophobia in Western propagandistic news media, the economic blockade in the form of sanctions based on tenuous claims, are all deeply rooted in history. [My Emphasis]
"The West's Cold War towards Moscow preceded the Second World War, continued after the defeat of Nazi Germany and persists to this day regardless of the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists. Why? Because Russia is a perceived rival to Anglo-American capitalist hegemony, as is China or any other emerging power that undermines that desired unipolar hegemony.
"American-British collusion with Nazi Germany finds its modern-day manifestation in NATO collusion with the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine and jihadist terror groups dispatched in proxy wars against Russian interests in Syria and elsewhere. The players may change over time, but the root pathology is American-British capitalism and its hegemonic addiction.
"The never-ending Cold War will only end when Anglo-American capitalism is finally defeated and replaced by a genuinely more democratic system."
The picture becomes clearer as we begin to realize that today's monsters--Pompeo, Pence, Bolton, Abrams, Rove, and others--are the same as yesterday's monsters, although they've moved from one side of the Atlantic to the other. What's currently happening ought to make informed people think again about who the Arc of Resistance is actually defending and what message Trump's murder of Soleimani is meant to convey--it's TINA once again: Neoliberal Fascism. It should also be noted that the release occurred soon after Trump became POTUS, giving a strong secondary motive for Russiagate and the Skripals shortly afterward.
Bubbles @122--AntiSpin , Jan 22 2020 23:11 utc | 121
Thanks for your reply. Are you aware of Operation Unthinkable , Operation Sunrise from which the former sprang, and Allen Dulles's activities in Italy and Germany during 1945?
Good to hear from you! I had a hard time digging up a copy of Life to read Luce's screed on the American Century which I photocopied. Today, a quick search now finds it online here (PDF), while here's a dissection that sets up the conflicting outlooks of Beard and Luce that IMO's useful. Indeed, Luce's views are quite the read given what the USA's become--do note the political party that feared and predicted such an outcome. It's a great misfortune that a discussion of the two doesn't even enter into graduate seminars about WW2; at least my undergrads got some exposure and learned of the two essay's existence.@ karlof1 | Jan 22 2020 19:02 utc | 116
Thanks much for the information on Charles Beard's "forgotten" book. I just ordered a copy.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.
Whoever replaces outgoing BBC Director General Tony Hall, be sure that establishment interests will be in safe hands. But multiple scandals the broadcaster has been involved in damaged it quite possibly beyond repair.
... ... ...
Corbyn had to be destroyed at almost ANY cost. Their news and current affairs output (and appointments) over the Corbyn era of 2015-2019 was as crude, and crudely effective, as any screaming, screeching Rupert Murdoch tabloid. Perhaps they were worried the ghost of Sir Alasdair Milne would return to haunt them in the form of his son Seumas Milne, Corbyn's director of communications and strategy and right-hand man. The junior Milne – also Winchester and Oxford – is a considerably harder nut to crack than anyone the BBC had ever had to deal with before
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter. The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter – the host of a CNN show ironically named 'Reliable Sources' – on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.
According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate "disinformation and the cost of fake news." The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," according to WarnerMedia.
HBO just announced something I've been working on for a couple of years: A documentary titled "AFTER TRUTH: DISINFORMATION AND THE COST OF FAKE NEWS." The film will premiere on TV and online this March. Directed by @a_rossi !-- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 15, 2020
To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote.
"HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," radio host Mark Simone added.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.comAuthored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,
An app called Clearview allows the user to snap a photo of anyone. Once that's done, the person who took your picture will have access to all of your information. Privacy is now all but obsolete.
People will not, for much longer, be able to walk down the street minding their own business anonymously. According to a report by The New York Times, it won't be long before anyone at any time knows exactly who you are while you're in public.
What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk then use an app to quickly discover your name, address and other details? A startup called Clearview AI has made that possible. Perhaps the worst news is that the police state is already using this technology in some parts of the "land of the free." The app is currently being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the deep state FBI, says a Saturday report in The New York Times.
Our Orwellian future has arrived. We are to be tracked, monitored, spied on, and have no privacy whatsoever at any time. And now, other strangers will have access to your private information is you dare to show your face in public.
According to the Times, this human rights violating app works by comparing a photo snapped to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it's scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there, other info could be dug up online.
The size of the Clearview database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI's own database, which taps passport and driver's license photos, is one of the largest, with over 641 million images of US citizens.
The Clearview app isn't currently available to the public, but the Times says police officers and Clearview investors think it will be in the future. – CNET
Even though law enforcement says they've used the app's technology to solve horrible crimes, human rights advocates warn that the privacy violations are going to be immense. Privacy advocates are warning that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and other creeps. They've also warned that facial recognition technologies , in general, could be used to conduct mass surveillance.
Most facial recognition technology is already used for Orwellian and tyrannical purposes by the powers that shouldn't be. It should come as no surprise that this will also be used by the ruling class to eliminate basic human rights.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com
9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm GMTWhat a chilling statement attributed to Henry Kissinger that American soldiers are " dumb , stupid animals to be used as pawns in the conduct of [ American ] policy." Martin Luther King recognized that our soldiers were "pawns " and in his "searing" anti-war speech on April4, 1968
he advised ministers and boys facing the draft to register for conscientious objector status . This speech is said to have help seal his death warrant and exactly a year later he was assassinated . See :
"When MLK turned on Vietnam , even 'liberal' allies turned on him " cnn.com
"The verdict was harsh .By one count 168 newspapers condemned his speech . King became 'persona non grata' in the Johnson Whitehouse."
The MIC/deep state does not take kindly to anti-war/peacemakers .
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Ike Was Right!
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society."
General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961
Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.
Illustrating Ike's prescient warning, Brown University's respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called 'wars on terror' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.
The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that's a very conservative estimate.
Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public.
As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation.
A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world's military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I've visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.
The combined US intelligence budget of some $80 billion is larger than Russia's total military budget of $63 billion. US troops, warplanes and naval vessels are stationed around the globe, including, most lately, across Africa. And yet every day the media trumpets new 'threats' to the US. Trump is sending more troops to the Mideast while claiming he wants to reduce America's powerful military footprint there. Our military is always in search of new missions. These operations generate promotions and pay raises, new equipment and a reason for being.
Back in the day, the Republican Party of General Eisenhower was a centrist conservative's party with a broad world view, dedicated to lower taxes and somewhat smaller government. It was led by the Rockefellers and educated Easterners with a broad world view and respect for tradition.
Today's Republican Party is a collection of rural interests from flyover country, handmaidens of the military industrial complex and, most important, militant evangelical Christians who see the world through the spectrum of the Old Testament. Israel's far right has come to dominate American evangelists by selling them a bill of goods about the End of Days and the Messiah's return. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.
Mix the religious cultists – about 25% of the US population – with the farm and Israel lobbies and the mighty military industrial complex and no wonder the United States has veered off into the deep waters of irrationality and crusading ardor. The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what's going on abroad.
All the war party needs is a steady supply of foreign villains (preferably Muslims) who can be occasionally bombed back to the early Islamic age. Americans have largely forgotten George W. Bush's lurid claims that Iraqi drones of death were poised to shower poisons on the sleeping nation. Even the Soviets never ventured so deep into the sea of absurdity.
The military industrial complex does not care to endanger its gold-plated F-35 stealth aircraft and $13 billion apiece aircraft carriers in a real war against real powers. Instead, the war party likes little wars against weak opponents who can barely shoot back. State-run TV networks thrill to such minor scraps with fancy headlines and martial music. Think of the glorious little wars against Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran looks next.
The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com
Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:
In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.
Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:
One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
– Maya Angelou
"It's amazing," fellow CounterPuncher Eric Draitser recently wrote me, "that people ever thought a Trump administration would be something other than this."
"This" is the demented neofascistic Trump-Pence regime, which openly violates basic constitutional norms and rules while conducting itself in barefacedly racist, sexist, and eco-cidal ways.
The long record of this presidency's transgressions now includes the open dog-wagging assassination – on brazenly false pretexts – of a foreign military commander atop a state (Iran) with which the United States is not at war and without the permission of a government (Iraq) on whose soil the monumental war crime took place.
... ... ...Another person likely unsurprised by Trump's horrifying presidency is New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik. "Trump," Gopnik wrote in July of 2016, summarizing elementary facts of Trump' life: "is unstable, a liar, narcissistic, contemptuous of the basic norms of political life, and deeply embedded among the most paranoid and irrational of conspiracy theorists. There may indeed be a pathos to his followers' dreams of some populist rescue for their plights. But he did not come to political attention as a 'populist'; he came to politics as a racist, a proponent of birtherism." As Gopnik had explained two months before, the correct description of Trump needed to include the world "fascist" in one way or another:
"There is a simple formula for descriptions of Donald Trump: add together a qualification, a hyphen, and the word "fascist." The sum may be crypto-fascist, neo-fascist, latent fascist, proto-fascist, or American-variety fascist -- one of that kind, all the same. Future political scientists will analyze (let us hope in amused retrospect, rather than in exile in New Zealand or Alberta) the precise elements of Poujadisme, Peronism and Huck Finn's Pap that compound in Trump's 'ideology.' But his personality and his program belong exclusively to the same dark strain of modern politics: an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum's or Barack Obama's, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and "success." It is always alike, and always leads inexorably to the same place: failure, met not by self-correction but by an inflation of the original program of grievances, and so then on to catastrophe. The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history (emphasis liberally added) ." [Adam Gopnik, "Going There With Donald Trump," The New Yorker , May 11, 2016].
Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)
Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
Daniel Lazare January 20, 2020 © Photo: Wikimedia The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.
But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who's behind it? Who's the real target?
Here's a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.
The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden's son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed "security experts" to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn't quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that "it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for."
So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted "experts" to the effect that "the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment." Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.
But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.
"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the vice president," the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. "Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections."
If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as "the favorite of the Russians." Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.
"Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine ."
If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:
"The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia's plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump ."
And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.
Let's get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange's statement six months later that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party" remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there's no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller's 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.
All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.
It won't work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he'll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump's speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he'll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.
After inveighing against billionaire's wars, he'll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can't because the rules are stacked against him. He'd know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he's too much of a socialist. Rather, it's that he's not enough.
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
...in what the paper described as a "significant break with convention", the members of its editorial board have selected not one, but two candidates - both of them women.
Its chosen candidates are: Elizabeth Warren, the Republican-turned-progressive who for years posed as a Native American to game America's system of affirmative action - and Amy Klobuchar, the midwestern senator from the great state of Minneapolis with a reputation for being an unhinged dragon-lady boss.
That the NYT selected the two remaining women among the top tier of contenders is hardly a surprise: This is, after all, the same newspaper that kicked off #MeToo by dropping the first expose about Harvey Weinstein's history of abusing, harassing and assaulting women just days before the New Yorker followed up with the first piece from Ronan Farrow.
...After all, if the editors went ahead with their true No. 1 choice, Klobuchar, a candidate who has very little chance of actually capturing the nomination, they would look foolish.
DeePeePDX , 2 hours ago linkGriffin , 2 hours ago link
NYT is like that ex you dumped that won't stop trying to get your attention with increasingly desperate and pathetic acts.Someone Else , 2 hours ago link
Warren is a much better candidate than Biden is in my view.
Warren seems to get into trouble sometimes for all kinds of reasons like most people do, but the problems are usually trivial, more silly than dangerous. There is tendency in her to stick to her guns even when she does not know what she is doing.
When i run into something unexpected or something that seems to be something i don't understand, i usually backtrack and look at the problem from some distance to see what happened and why before trying to correct or fix the problem, rather than just doing something.
Its not a perfect plan, but it seems to work most of the time.
https://9gag.com/gag/ap5AO19TheManj , 3 hours ago link
The tennis shoe I threw away last week is a better candidate than Biden. So that's not saying much.John Hansen , 3 hours ago link
NYT remains a joke. Their endorsement is straight up virtue-signalling.
Here's some reality: Warren's latest antics have cemented her image as dishonest and high-strung. Knoblocker has no charisma and remains practically unknown.pitz , 4 hours ago link
Why are foreign ownedNew York Times allowed to meddle in the election?
Where is the investigation?spam filter , 4 hours ago link
I've personally sat down and talked with Klobuchar. Not a lot of depth of intelligence in her, that's for sure, easily manipulated by lobbyists. Warren, at least, knows what the problem is, although she might have swallowed the proverbial Democratic party "kool aid".SheHunter , 5 hours ago link
Warren is the deep state establishment pick. If you must vote Dem, pick someone that isn't, or one the establishment seems to work against. Better yet, vote Trump, safe bet on gun rights, freedoms.
Here's the link. It is a gd editorial.
Jan 17, 2020 | original.antiwar.comIf you wonder what the post-Trump Republican Party will look like, take a glimpse at Tom Cotton, one of the US senators from Arkansas (where I live). Cotton has waged a relentless campaign for war against Iran and has supported every horror produced by the US foreign-policy establishment for the last 20 years. He makes other American hawks look like pacifists. Cotton once said that his only criticism of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where people are held indefinitely without charge or trial, is that too many beds are empty.
Typical of take-no-prisoners warmongers, Cotton savages critics of the pro-war policy that has characterized US foreign policy in the 21st century. No baseless charge is beneath him. He recently attacked the Quincy Institute in the course of remarks about anti-Semitism. (You can see what's coming.) According to Jewish Insider , Cotton said that anti-Semitism "festers in Washington think tanks like the Quincy Institute, an isolationist blame America first money pit for so-called 'scholars' who've written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money."
This is worse than a series of malicious lies – every word is false. In fact, it's an attempt to incite hostility toward and even disruption of one of the bright spots on the mostly desolate foreign-policy-analysis landscape.
The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (QI) started last year with money from, among others, the Charles Koch Foundation and George Soros's Open Society Foundations. Its officers and staff include respected and sober foreign-policy analysts and journalists such as Andrew Bacevich, Trita Parsi, Jim Lobe, and Eli Clifton. Also associated with the institute are the well-credentialed foreign-policy authorities John Mearsheimer, Paul Pillar, Gary Sick, Stephen Walt, and Lawrence Wilkerson. This is indeed a distinguished team of foreign-policy "realists" who are heroically resisting America's endless-war-as-first-resort policy.
Named for John Quincy Adams – who as secretary of state famously declared that "America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy" – QI "promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace." The QI website goes on to state:
The US military exists to defend the people and territory of the United States, not to act as a global police force. The United States should reject preventive wars and military intervention to overthrow regimes that do not threaten the United States. Wars of these kinds not only are counterproductive; they are wrong in principle.
It then goes on to indict the current foreign-policy establishment:
The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of US interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind. Political leaders have increasingly deployed the military in a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate manner, normalizing war and treating armed dominance as an end in itself.
Moreover, much of the foreign policy community in Washington has succumbed to intellectual lethargy and dysfunction. It suppresses or avoids serious debate and fails to hold policymakers and commentators accountable for disastrous policies. It has forfeited the confidence of the American public. The result is a foreign policy that undermines American interests and tramples on American values while sacrificing the stores of influence that the United States had earned.
This may not be pure libertarian foreign policy ("US interests" is too slippery a term for my taste), but compared to what passes for foreign-policy thinking these days, it's pretty damn good.
So why is Tom Cotton so upset? It should be obvious. QI opposes the easy-war policy of the last 20 years. Of course Cotton is upset. Take away war, and he's got nothing in his toolbox. He certainly doesn't want to see the public turn antiwar before he's had a shot at high office, say, secretary of state, secretary of defense, CIA director, or even the presidency.
Cotton's charges against QI are wrong on every count.
QI is not isolationist as long as it supports trade with the world and diplomacy as the preferred method of resolving conflicts.
It's not a blame-America-first outfit because the object of its critique is not America or Americans, but the imperial war-loving elite of the American political establishment. Cotton is part of that elite, but that does not entitle him to identify the mass of Americans with his lethal policy preferences.
It's not a money pit. As you can see, QI boasts an eminent lineup thinkers and writers. So the money is obviously well-spent on badly needed analysis. QI should have been set up long ago. Cotton shows his pettiness by putting the word scholars in sarcasm quotes. He should aspire to such scholarship as Bacevich, Parsi, et al. have produced.
But where Cotton really shows his agenda is his absurd claim that anti-Semitism "festers" in QI (and other think tanks – which ones?).
Cotton here is performing that worn-out trick that, alas, still has some life in it: conflating criticism of Israel and its American lobby with people who are Jewish (and who may well oppose how the Israeli state mistreats the Palestinians). I'm sure he knows better: this is demagogy and not ignorance.
On its face, the proposition that virtually anyone who criticizes Israel's conduct toward the Palestinians and its Arab and Iranian neighbors probably hates Jews as Jews is patently ridiculous. Any clear-thinking person dismisses that claim out of hand.
Undoubtedly Cotton has in mind primarily Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of The Israel Lobby and Foreign Policy , published in 2008. (It began as an essay in The London Review of Books .) In that work, Walt and Mearsheimer reasonably attribute the lion's share of influence on US policy in the Middle East to the Israel lobby, "a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively works to move US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction." They add, "[I]t is certainly not a cabal or conspiracy that 'controls' US foreign policy. It is simply a powerful interest group, made up of both Jews and gentiles, whose acknowledged purpose is to press Israel's case within the United States and influence American foreign policy in ways that its members believe will benefit the Jewish state."
This is hardly controversial stuff, although reasonable people can disagree over whether the lobby was decisive in any given case.
But does anyone doubt that American champions of Israel work overtime and spend a lot of money to advance what they see as Israel's interests? If so, see this and my book Coming to Palestine . (Many non-Zionist Jews disagree with them about those interests.) Organizations like AIPAC often boast about their influence. That they sincerely believe Israel's interests coincide with America's interests is beside the point. (I won't address that dubious contention here.) That influence, which supports massive annual military aid to Israel, has helped to facilitate the oppression of the Palestinians, wars against Lebanon, and attacks on Syria, Iraq, and Iran. It has also provoked hostility to America and vengeful terrorism against Americans. (For example, the 9/11 attacks as acknowledged by the government's commission .) Pro-Israel American political and military officials acknowledge this.
Cotton need not wonder why the lobby has succeeded so often since he himself is using the anti-Semitism canard to inhibit Israel's critics. No one wants to be condemned as anti-Semite (or as any other kind of bigot), so we can easily imagine prominent people in the past withholding criticism of Israel for fear of being thought anti-Jewish. (It's Israel and its champions, not Israel's critics, who insist that Israel is the state of all Jews, no matter where else they may be citizens.) Thankfully, despite the efforts of Cotton, Kenneth Marcus, Bari Weiss , Bret Stephens, and others, the invidious conflation has lost much of its force. More than ever, people understand that to oppose the entangling alliance with Israel and to express solidarity with the long-suffering Palestinians do not constitute bigotry against Jews.
Can Cotton produce any evidence that anyone at QI believes that pro-Israel Jewish Americans should be barred from lobbying and making political donations or that such an obvious violation of liberty would fix American foreign policy? Of course not. There is no evidence. Moreover, I'm sure the QI realists understand that other interests also propel the pro-war US foreign policy, including glory-seeking politicians and generals and the profit-craving military-industrial complex.
Those who reflexively and slanderously tar Israel's critics as anti-Semites seem not to realize that the worthy effort to eliminate real anti-Semitism is undermined by their efforts to immunize Israel and its American champions from good-faith criticism.
Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is Coming to Palestine . Reposted from The Libertarian Institute .
Jan 19, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
Fran Macadam , January 14, 2020 at 07:28
You've been zucked.
Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org
Back in 2003, an alternative media site based in Belgium – Indy Media, published a rather clever article titled "Why America Needs War" drafted by a renowned political scientist, Jacques R. Pauwels. Due to the fact that this article has recently been republished by a well-known and respected alternative media site Global Research, a lot of attention has been drawn to the topic of Washington's never-ending wars. In the above-mentioned article it was stated that wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. However, with the US being locked in a state of perpetual conflict with other international players, it's only natural to wonder what is wrong with American politicians? Are they all suffering from some mental disease?
The reason the events we're observing on the global stage are actually taking place is the fact that the US has been relying on the thing that Dr. Pauwels describes as the "warfare economy" that the US has been relying on for over a century now. This economy allows wealthy individuals and corporations to profit from violence and bloodshed, which makes them prone to advocating wars instead of peaceful conflict resolution. Yet, the article states that without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright. It's clear that the US couldn't escape the cold grip of the Great Depression without entering WWII, however, as it's been stated in the above-mentioned article:
During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words, the arduous task of maximizing profits -- the key activity within the capitalist American economy -- can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required.
Yet, the people of the United States didn't notice this change as they were mesmerized by the rapidly growing wages and booming corporations that needed an ever increasing number of new employees. That's why there's been no real opposition to America's warmongering inside the US, which means that Washington will be looking for new enemies even when it has none. This results in the states like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, that were willing at one point or another to discuss their differences with the US, being antagonized and getting designated as a threat to the US and its national security.
That's why the military expenditures in the US keep going through the roof, with research and development programs for the US military getting unprecedented funding. However, what is being presented as a race towards greater security represents a shameless siphoning of the money paid by American taxpayer into the pockets of the major defence contractors. It would be only logical if the US legal system, instead of investigating dubious reports of Russia's alleged meddling in the US election, would take a closer look at the way blood money is shaping the world of US politics.Will Baghdad Defy Washington? Iraqi Parliament Contemplates Buying Russia's S-400 Missile Defense System
Let us recall that the US military budget for 2020 has for the first time reached the mind-numbing sum of 750 billion dollars! Over the past few decades, the United States has invested some 30 billion dollars in various weapons programs, all of which have to one degree or another failed, according to The National Interest.
There's no shortage of media reports showing the complete failure of modern American weapons, which, in spite of the massive sums wasted on their development, cannot protect either the United States or its allies.
For instance, The National Interest has recently taken the effort to draw a comparison between the Russian Su-35 jet-fighter and a total of four American competitors: F-15s, F-16s, F-22s, and F-35s. The publication came to a disappointing conclusion that in spite of the massive advertisement campaign that accompanied the development of F-35, it cannot stand its ground against its Russian counterpart.
The ill-fated F-35 has recently been included in the list of the worst weapons ever produced by the US Army due to its unbelievably high cost and reliability issues, says the Business Insider. Therefore, it is not surprising that on top of Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan announcing his intention of buying Russian Su-35 and Su-57 fighters instead of siding with the US, Germany has also made it clear that it has no intentions of acquiring this overpriced winged catastrophe from the United States. To add insult to injury, the American portal We Are The Mighty has recently listed a total of three Russian fighters in the Top 5 list of the fastest jets in the history of military aviation.
At sea, the situation is no better. In the event of a hypothetical military conflict between the United States and Russia, even in the Black Sea, American aircraft carrier groups would get obliterated rather quickly by Russian diesel submarines, land mobile missile systems and small but dangerous missile boats. That's even before land-based aviation units armed with hypersonic anti-ship missiles dubbed the Dagger would have something to say about it, says The National Interest. Another publication emphasizes that Russian missile corvettes, that go at a price of 30 million dollars a pop have four times the missile range of the latest US destroyers and cruisers that come with a price tag of 2 billion dollars.
But it was the American missile defense systems, especially the Patriot, that have recently covered themselves with scandalous shame. A year ago, US President Donald Trump announced that among the new priorities of the Pentagon the sale of US missile defense systems to its allies ranked really high. To achieve this goal, Washington tried to force those states that chose a far more effective solutions – Russia's S-300 and S-400 to rethink their decision. These attempts resulted in Washington introducing sanctions against some of its closest allies, such as Turkey, India and Morocco.
Meanwhile, The National Interest admits that the new Russian S-500 is by far the most effective air defense system in existence, while The Hill acknowledges that Russia's hypersonic weapons have rendered such US missile defense systems as Patriot and THAAD meaningless.
A year ago, the United States announced that a network of ground and surface missile interceptors, radars and communications lines at a price tag of 180 billion dollars could protect the country from a limited attack launched by the DPRK or Iran. However, shortly after this statement was made, US-produced air defense systems failed to repel a surprise drone attack on Saudi oil refineries, thus demonstrating their low efficiency. At the same time, it will not be out of place to recall that a grand total of 88 Patriot launchers cover the northern border of Saudi Arabia, with three more US NAVY destroyers armed with the Aegis system being stationed off shore in the same area. None of these systems responded to the attack.
Yet again, during a retaliatory strike launched by Iran, American air defense systems were powerless to shoot down a single missile launched against two US bases in Iraq.
That is why a number of Western military clients have recently taken steps to acquire Russian alternatives. This was the result of serious flaws in US-produced air defense systems, such as the Patriot, the repeated failures of which have recently become apparent in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The last of these clients was South Korea, which has long shown strong interest in Russian military jets and air defense systems, but was unable to acquire them due to the pressure being applied on it from Washington.
Those facts show that the military vehicles and aircraft advertised by Western media are only good as scrap metal. Actually, this became clear to everyone, when Washington decided to show its rusty armored vehicles on the parade assembled in celebration of last year's Independence Day.
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Vladimir Platov , an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook ".
Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org
Starting from 2001, the US has been spending $32 million per hour on war .
The United States has spent about $6 trillion on combat operations over the past 20 years, according to Brown University studies . If the warfare ends by 2023, researchers estimate the total cost will be $6.7 trillion at least, not counting the interest on debt.
In total, almost half a million people have died as a result of the wars.
The cost of 87 major programs for the purchase of weapons and military equipment conducted by the US Department of Defense exceeded $2 trillion in 2018, according to the Pentagon's Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR), which detail the implementation of major defense purchases. The combined cost of all procurement programs was determined by the Pentagon to be over $2 trillion. This is equivalent to almost 10% of the annual gross domestic product of the United States ($21.3 trillion).
Trying to justify such exorbitant spending on the army, the US military and political elites actively promote their interests, advertising the national armed forces as the main fighting force. Recently, Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that 'there are no forces today capable of resisting an attack by the US Army.' Unsurprisingly, the Department of Defense (DoD) desires even more money, although there is no logical explanation as to why the most powerful army on the planet is in need of improvement when everyone else is clearly lagging behind.
But what is the real face of the US Army today and how does the public feel about it?
Global Research correctly remarked that, despite the largest military budget in the world (five times greater than in six other countries), the highest number of military bases in the world (over 180) and the most expensive military-industrial complex, the United States has failed to win a single war in the 21 st century.
Every year, Pew Research Center publishes hundreds of studies on a wide range of topics. Concerning the current problems of the US military, Pew studies note that most American veterans and the majority of the general US public believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting. Over 60% of the American public is convinced that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not paid off, when the costs and benefits are weighed. Responding to questions about the US military campaign in Syria, 55% of veterans and 58% of the American public said that this campaign failed to pay off as well.
Frustration with the country's military policy has now become a big problem among active US servicemen, veterans, and even among young soldiers who haven't participated in real combat.
The incautious question 'How has serving impacted you?' posted by the Pentagon's official Twitter account, has revealed the deep chasm of the US military's problems. So deep, in fact, that the Pentagon had to urgently close and remove a huge number of subsequent replies, most of which turned out to be very depressing in nature. US Army soldiers and officers shared the shocking consequences of their service, including drug addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders and nightmares – some admitting they had repeatedly wanted to commit suicide.
Currently there are up to 19 million retired veterans 'in the most belligerent democratic country in the world.' Every day, about 20 of them commit suicide. The causes of suicide cited by experts are diverse, the main ones being depressions, nervous breakdowns, spiritual and psychological devastation coupled with guilt for killing innocent people, post-traumatic stress disorder, increased military operations, medical abuse, and personal financial problems. Social media are full of horrific stories about how injured soldiers weren't provided necessary medical attention during military operations, which drove them to shooting themselves in the head. Meanwhile junior army members state that they are basically expendable for their commanders, and all of them combined present an endless means of earning money for the highest elite.
Suicides are rampant among all the branches of US troops, and their rate is increasing. US officials deliberately hide the horrific statistics of suicides among military personnel, seriously concerned about the increase in their number since they negatively affect the future of the 'most powerful armed forces in the world.' To date, suicide is the second leading cause of death among members of the US military.
Another extremely troubling statistic was revealed by experts from the American publishing house McClatchy. They studied the health of the US servicemen who had taken part in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 -- 2015. They have been literally mowed down by cancer, which is confirmed by the sudden increase in the number of cancer patients in military hospitals in Virginia. As it turned out, a significant cause of the disease is toxic rocket fuel, which was used to massively burn garbage and waste near military bases. In addition, it turned out that the fire foam used to extinguish these fires also causes cancer. It was quite often that US soldiers had to dispose of garbage and waste in war zones, including human corpses and animal carcasses. The Pentagon has not yet commented on the finding and is in no hurry to grant applications for disability benefits; out of 11,000 applications only 2000 have been 'lucky' so far.
The Heritage Foundation analysts published a report which shows that the US Army is at its limits. One curious fact is significant: the conclusion about the decline of efficiency and combat capability of the US Army came not from Russian or Chinese sources, but from American analysts, which is further proof of the systemic problems in the Pentagon. The Heritage Foundation analysts agree that right now, considering the current state of the US Army, simultaneous participation in several wars is leading to its noticeable overexertion.
Taking this into account, Washington can only be advised to tread more carefully on the international arena, avoid provoking armed conflicts that can lead to severe military defeats for the US Army and result in sizable human losses, both among current servicemen and veterans.
In the words of the Spanish newspaper El Pais , "The Americans pose a much greater danger to themselves than the Islamists, North Koreans, Russians, Houthis and all those who comprise the US-declared 'axis of evil' do."
Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook ".
Jan 19, 2020 | nationalinterest.orgsix principles of political realism , found in his seminal work Politics Among Nations . The second, fourth and fifth principles are of particular relevance to the current administration. Morgenthau's second principle states that "the main signpost that helps political realism to find its way through the landscape of international politics is the concept of interest defined as power." Morgenthau believed that international politics is fundamentally a struggle for power (understood in terms of the mutual relations of political control between nation-states), and that peace is often tenuous in a world lacking a sovereign authority that can protect the interests and survival of individual states (an insight that has been codified in the neorealist conception of "international anarchy"). As a result, the "national interest" is primarily concerned with the resources (especially military and economic capabilities) and limitations (primarily the balance of power) that determine the national power of the state in international politics.
The fourth principle states that "political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action, but maintains that moral principles cannot be applied to the actions of states in their abstract universal formulation." Morgenthau did not reject ethical considerations in foreign policy (as is clear from his criticisms of the Vietnam War), but believed that political prudence (i.e., the practical consideration of the consequences of foreign policy) requires that moral principles be "filtered" through the "concrete circumstances" of power politics. Moral ends should be pursued to the extent that they are within the limits of national power and are consistent with national interests. The fifth principle takes this one step further by stating that "political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe." Morgenthau cautioned against the dangers of national "exceptionalism," which can lead to "political folly," such as the fighting of wars that do nothing to advance or protect the national interest, and can cause unnecessary human suffering through "moral excess." Thus, "moderation in policies cannot fail to reflect the moderation of moral judgment."
President Trump criticized the Obama administration for getting outplayed and outsmarted by Russian president Vladimir Putin, and yet he seems to be falling into the same trap as Obama by thinking that he can do better vis-à-vis Russia through diplomatic rapprochement. The problem is to see U.S. foreign-policy challenges with respect to Russia in terms of misunderstandings between political leaders and administrations, rather than the fundamental differences between United States and Russian national interests. Russia seeks to increase its power and sphere of influence while the United States aims to maintain hegemony. If the current administration seeks rapprochement by making concessions to Russia (e.g., by rolling back sanctions), then foreign-policy analysts will soon be writing about another failed "reset." On China, Trump broke with diplomatic precedent by accepting a phone call from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, which called into question the United States' commitment to a "One China" policy. The problem here is for foreign policy to extend beyond power, since the military balance within the first island chain -- and specifically in a Taiwan war -- is rapidly shifting in China's favor. While realism suggests that geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States is inevitable, interest as power would suggest that picking a fight with China over Taiwan is not a prudent course for U.S. foreign policy.
Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org
... ... ...
Two brothers are warning Japan not to succumb to this temptation, who were in one of the Imperial Japanese Navy's kamikaze groups during the final stage of the war on Pacific, but the war ended before they had the chance to fulfil their sacrificial military duty. Both elderly veterans (97 and 99 years old) felt they needed to tell students and teachers at Waseda University -- one of Japan's most prestigious institutions -- "what [to] do to ensure that we don't repeat an event like the war."
They asked students to consider their speech and answers to questions as their "last message" to the youth of today in Japan. They did not choose these words at random. Kamikaze soldiers would write a "last message" to their closest relatives before flying or sailing out on a mission which they would obviously not return from (these brothers were suicide vessel pilots, so they did not fly).
The kamikaze tactic is a centuries-old, very specifically Japanese cultural and military phenomenon. When other cultures try to copy the Japanese it turns into a parody or a meaningless act of gang violence. One of these parodies was an attempt made by the German Luftwaffe to do "something similar" to the Japanese kamikaze soldiers in the last days of the Second World War.
Then there are today's Islamist terrorists (pumped up with drugs) who do not value their own lives or anyone else's, and their acts have nothing in common with this concept.
Kamikaze volunteers were mainly undergraduates, which is reflected in the content and style of their "last messages". The two brothers who gave their lecture at Waseda University were both students when they voluntarily joined the Imperial Japanese Navy's kamikaze unit. This is probably one reason why they chose to address students with the "last message" they have now written.
Of course, we must take into account that the young sailors from 75 years ago and the elderly people who speak today are ultimately different people. Japan has experienced a lot since the war ended, as has the world in general, and the two brothers. All this experience has undoubtedly affected how the former kamikaze soldiers think about what happened "then" and what their "last message" should be, which they have now passed on. Apart from that, they will leave this world in a very different way than the kamikaze soldiers did 75 years ago.
The first thing the audience at Waseda University were interested in hearing about were the "last messages" written by kamikaze fighters, which make for extremely moving reading, even to this day . They were not dictated what to write, but the authors knew that their letters would be read by "the relevant authorities." This is, by the way, what happens to messages sent by servicemen from all different countries during times of war.
According to one of the brothers, not one of the kamikaze soldiers he knew really wanted to die, and even then it was clear that the war was meaninglessness: "Do not follow my example," said the author in his message after 75 years had passed. "That's what I want to leave with the young people today."
In this author's opinion, the main sentiment in the "last message" given by the two former kamikaze fighters, namely that "war is hell", has a great measure of "the wisdom of hindsight." That does not take away from this wisdom whatsoever, it is not something to be consigned to the history books in today's Japan. It is very relevant considering the persistent attempts the country's leadership has been making to "revise" Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution outlawing war, which would go directly against the prevailing sentiment in Japanese society.
Japan and its former Axis ally Germany have managed to climb to the top of the world's political and economic hierarchy without firing a single shot and without any bloodshed. Without harming any enemies or allies. In today's rapidly changing world, Japan and Germany will only strengthen their positions on the world stage if they can resist temptation and do not get trapped in the same vicious circle they got caught up in a century ago.
Moreover, it would be a perfect time for them to reignite and lead the (mistakenly forgotten) "world peace movement". It could not be more relevant in the current critical stage of the "Grand Global Game".
Something similar seems to have been implied in the "last message" passed on by the two former kamikaze soldiers.
Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook" .
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
V , Jan 18 2020 6:03 utc | 103Americans are sick of war. War anywhere.
I do not believe that for a second.
US initiated wars have been going on for decades, but I see no indication that US americans have any issues with it. The political parties are totally aligned on foreign wars, there are no people protesting in US cities.
Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 17 2020 21:46 utc | 27
I do not believe it either!
Since a good many Usians are morally bankrupt; they spend words like cheap cash.
Why not? It keeps them from having to actually do anything.
It's all out there; the lies, theft, murders, kidnapping, torture, and a corrupt educational system.
...and the band played on...
aye, myself & me , Jan 18 2020 6:35 utc | 107@ V # 103uncle tungsten , Jan 18 2020 7:06 utc | 111
'It's all out there; the lies, theft, murders, kidnapping, torture, and a corrupt educational system.
...and the band played on..."
The band plays on folks, because of that corrupt educational system. Every school kid in america is brainwashed from nursery school, kindergarten, even before the formal waste of time. Then if they decide on college, unless their parents are one percenters, or hollywood insiders the kids are in hock to the tune of six figures when they grab that diploma. No one has time to protest anymore. 'They' have 'em by the balls and they're in a vice bein' squeezed daily. Most have to pull two, or even three jobs, just to get by. No one has the time to realize all of america's boogeymen are cia assets.
Besides, one's protesting against one of the most powerful militaries in the world and the police state is ever tightening here. Protesting is pretty much a fool's errand anymore, if it's against the government in general it's not covered by the msm, so only the protesters and their friends are aware of it.
Life if rough for many americans struggling to get by. They don't have time to protest, however, if the dollar were to lose it's world currency and our financial systems collapses there could be a revolt with all the guns here, but i wouldn't count on it looking anything like america's first revolution.V #103V , Jan 18 2020 9:49 utc | 118
Thank you, my thoughts exactly. The USians are propagandised from cradle to grave every state has at least one Fort xyz and every stadium has military spectacles to ogle at. No football game without a military parade.
It will take a Herculean effort to turn that propaganda around and thankfully there are two candidates dedicated to that effort. More strength to their arm.
On the impeachment issue my take is like this:
Trump really cant afford to lose too many of them especially if the first motion to dismiss the impeachment case is to succeed. He can only be removed from office if there is a two thirds senate majority on the proposal to remove.
But a simple majority is what he has to hold to succeed at defeating all other forms of censure motions and getting the witnesses he wants dragged before the Senate.
The numbers are:
So three repugnant defectors would give a tied vote (assuming the independents vote with the democrazies).
Not a comfortable position and certainly not now after assassinating Souleimani, Afghanistan war report looking ugly and who knows what else. The 'permanent state' gangsters can do much damage to his brittle ego by getting four repugnants to defect.
So if Trump is damaged goods going into the election cycle he could well be defeated by Bernie Sanders IF he can overcome the jackals in the democazie party machine. Hope is all I have.Life is rough for many americans struggling to get by. They don't have time to protest, however, if the dollar were to lose it's world currency and our financial systems collapses there could be a revolt with all the guns here, but i wouldn't count on it looking anything like america's first revolution.Carciofi , Jan 18 2020 13:11 utc | 133
Posted by: aye, myself & me | Jan 18 2020 6:35 utc | 107
Yea, I know. I have a sister living in Oregon. She's still working @ 70yo.
Revolution almost never has a good ending; in the U.S., at this time; it would be the worst, IMO."Americans are sick of war"DFC , Jan 18 2020 17:59 utc | 154
Probably a sizeable chunk of the people. But not the ruling class."Most of this carnage by the United States is done in the name of dishonest and non-existent defense of country, of "spreading democracy" or of forced regime change based on the lie of protecting by force the people of other lands. The truth of all these politically motivated lies is that the brutality of U.S. aggression is purposeful slaughter for political and geo-political gain, all at the expense of innocent populations around the globe."So Trump said:
"I want to win," he said. "We don't win any wars anymore . . . We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we're not winning anymore."..."I wouldn't go to war with you people,"..."You're a bunch of dopes and babies."
If this is true, it means that Trump does not consider those ME wars useless or unwinnables, but only the people who manage them are not clever or resolute enough, which is quite scary, because imply that instead of "dupes and babies" if he put in charge "winners" and "real men" may be they can "go to Theran", or "win a land war in Asia" (Montgomery recommend not to start any never).
This language about "winners" and "losers" is so....American, it means that you do not "win" or "lose" as a matter of life, NO, but you are inherently a "winner" (always win)or a f**king "loser", it is the predestinationist (calvinistic) roots of the American culture and you can see it clearly in almost all the Hollywood movies with the "good gay" ("winner") overcoming an incredible number of obstacles, and at the end he kills all the "bad gays" ("losers"). It is all about is the Good against the Evil, the Winners (The Justs) against the Losers (The Doomed)
May be now the "winners" start to learn (again) how to lose (as in Vietnam), and this cultural roots make very dangerous for the US to lose a war, because it crumbles all this narrative of the Manifest Destiny, the Chosen People, and all that BS. The blow back could be devastating.
I think The American people love wars, they love to see in the CNN Tomahawks flying inside the Revolucionary Guard buildings and blowing them, US helicopters piercing with missiles the Iraqi APAC's packed with soldiers, the Abrams tanks blowing-up the Iraqi T72 with DU rounds, the videos US planes crushing the hangars, the command centers, the A10 straffing with their guns the "Highway of Death" and the bodies of Saddam soldiers scorched black inside the destroyed buses...They like it, especially if you carefully hide the busted bodies of woman and children from the cameras, or conceal the dead and injures GI's. They like the new tech weapons and how they "work" against the "bad guys"
American people love wars, what they hate is losing wars...and Trump represents, as someone said, what a good percentage of American people want to be, it is the archetype of "The Winner", a populists "Caesar", the last chance of a crumbling Empire
Jan 19, 2020 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"The Marxist political parties, including the Social Democrats and their followers, had fourteen years to prove their abilities. The result is a heap of ruins. All around us are symptoms portending this breakdown. With an unparalleled effort of will and of brute force the Communist method of madness is trying as a last resort to poison and undermine an inwardly shaken and uprooted nation.
In fourteen years the November parties have ruined the German farmer. In fourteen years they created an army of millions of unemployed. The National Government will carry out the following plan with iron resolution and dogged perseverance. Within four years the German farmer must be saved from pauperism. Within four years unemployment must be completely overcome.
Our concern to provide daily bread will be equally a concern for the fulfillment of the responsibilities of society to those who are old and sick. The best safeguard against any experiment which might endanger the currency lies in economical administration, the promotion of work, and the preservation of agriculture, as well as in the use of individual initiative."
Adolf Hitler, Radio Appeal to the German People, February 1, 1933
"Both religion and socialism thus glorify weakness and need. Both recoil from the world as it is: tough, unequal, harsh. Both flee to an imaginary future realm where they can feel safe. Both say to you. Be a nice boy. Be a good little girl. Share. Feel sorry for the little people. And both desperately seek someone to look after them -- whether it be God or the State.
A thriving upper class accepts with a good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings, who, for its sake, must be reduced and lowered to incomplete human beings,to slaves, to instruments... One cannot fail to see in all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast, prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness."
"At a certain point in their historical cycles, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties, in their particular organisational bias, with the particular men who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by their class as their own, and representing their interests. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and dangerous, because the field is open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic 'men of destiny' [demagogues].
The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters."
Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, 1930-35
"Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God. You agree? Good. Then go with my blessing. But I warn you, do not expect to make many friends. One of the awful facts of our age is the evidence that it is stricken indeed, stricken to the very core of its being by the presence of the Unspeakable."
Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable
"The more power a government has the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects."
R. J. Rummel, Death by Government: A History of Mass Murder and Genocide Since 1900
"This is as old as Babylon, and evil as sin. It is the power of the darkness of the world, and of spiritual wickedness in high places. The only difference is that it is not happening in the past, or in a book, or in some vaguely frightening prophecy -- it is happening here and now."
"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Plunder, rape, and murder they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."
"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage.
And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun."
Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
"Day by day the money-masters of America become more aware of their danger, they draw together, they grow more class-conscious, more aggressive. The [first world] war has taught them the possibilities of propaganda; it has accustomed them to the idea of enormous campaigns which sway the minds of millions and make them pliable to any purpose.
American political corruption was the buying up of legislatures and assemblies to keep them from doing the people's will and protecting the people's interests; it was the exploiter entrenching himself in power, it was financial autocracy undermining and destroying political democracy. By the blindness and greed of ruling classes the people have been plunged into infinite misery."
Upton Sinclair, The Brass Check
"Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction."
"We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another.
If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
January 17 marks the 59th anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech to the nation. After eight years in the White House, just three days before John F. Kennedy would be sworn in as his successor, Ike went on national television and touched on many topics, from promoting the economy to working with Congress.
Yet the heart of his speech was a finely chiseled critique of what he dubbed the "military-industrial complex." This criticism was all the more remarkable, of course, because Eisenhower had been a career military man. Having graduated from West Point in 1915, he had served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades, through two world wars, ultimately rising to the rank of five-star general.
Yet on January 17, 1961, Ike said: "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea." He continued: "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government."
By then 70 years old, Ike was no born-again pacifist. He quickly added of the military's enlarging, "We recognize the imperative need for this development." That imperative, of course, was the Cold War, the seemingly permanent eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation of two countries, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., each glaring at the other with ideological hostility tipped with nuclear technology.
In response to the Soviet threat, Ike had maintained the Cold War structures he had inherited from his predecessor in the Oval Office, Harry Truman. In fact, throughout the 1950s, defense spending hovered around 10 percent of GDP (by comparison, the current percentage is less than four).
In addition, Ike's America maintained substantial garrisons in Western Europe and Japan. At the same time, and more precariously, U.S. troops, advisers, and operatives fanned out across the globe, including to Lebanon, South Vietnam, and Iran.
In his speech, Eisenhower made no apology for his role in the further freezing of the Cold War. Yet he still urged caution as to the potential ill effects of cold warring on the home front: "We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society."
Then came the money sentences: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
Those three key words, "military-industrial complex," rocketed through the national consciousness. Eisenhower had long been a popular figure on the center-right; in addition to his leadership role in World War II, he had written a best-selling memoir and had won two national landslides in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections -- even as the left had dismissed him. Yet now, with those three words, Eisenhower gained the proverbial "strange new respect" among intellectuals, who mostly leaned left. Indeed, the phrase "military-industrial complex" has become a favored catchphrase for leftists, anti-militarists, and anyone else looking for evocative shorthand.
In fact, we all need a phrase that captures the immensity of the military establishment. The budget of the Department of Defense (DoD) for fiscal year 2020 will be about $718 billion ; DoD directly employs 1.3 million men and women in active duty, as well as more than 700,000 civilian employees. (Another 800,000 serve in the National Guard and reserves.)
In addition, millions more work for the DoD as private-sector vendors, from those who build ships and airplanes to the contractor who was killed near Kirkuk, Iraq, on December 27.
Indeed, the huge Pentagon budget doesn't fully capture the true scale of the military-industrial complex. To get a better measure, we should also include portions of other agencies harboring substantial military elements, including the CIA, NASA, and the departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Energy (the last of which manages the nuclear stockpile).
As Eisenhower cautioned in his speech, "We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes." So yes, Eisenhower was a vigorous leader in the Cold War competition, yet at the same time he was a citizen before he was a soldier, rightfully concerned with protecting our small-r republican institutions from "unwarranted influence."
During his time in the White House, the 34th president demonstrated his prudence. As historian Walter M. Hudson recently noted in The American Interest , after the Russians launched their Sputnik satellite in 1957 -- thus opening up a newer and higher frontier to geopolitical competition -- Ike did not respond with a big defense buildup. He boosted NASA, of course, yet skipping past the Pentagon, he also pushed for a substantial increase in federal aid to education.
In other words, the old Army man was thinking about the future, when struggles, and perhaps wars, would be waged with spaceships and computers, as opposed to infantrymen and tanks. Hudson explains Ike's thoughtful budget priorities as follows: "Ike's decision was consistent with his 'Great Equation' strategy that long predated Sputnik's blips. Running for the presidency in 1952, he set forth the formula to his friend Lucius Clay: 'Spiritual force multiplied by economic force multiplied by military force is roughly equivalent to security. If any one of those factors fell to zero, or nearly so, the resulting product does likewise.'"
In Eisenhower's "Great Equation," we can see a strategic mind at work: American strength must rely on more than just weaponry; the nation needed to maintain as well its economic and spiritual health. Long before the term was coined, Ike was a believer in "soft power" -- as well as, of course, the "hard power" of firepower.
Six decades later, we must ask ourselves: is the Great Equation still in place? As a nation, are we maintaining all the components of power -- military, economic, and spiritual -- in proper balance? And as we search for the right answer, we might pause over one subtlety in the Eisenhower equation: per the rules of multiplication, if any one of the three components falls to zero, then the product is zero, regardless of the size of the other two components.
So today, as we think about the Greater Middle East, where the U.S. is involved in a half-dozen conflicts, are we satisfied that all of our equation components -- including the meta-component of wisdom -- are being properly understood and utilized?
Many argue that, in fact, U.S. policy has been reduced to just one component -- the military. That is, whom can we threaten, bomb, or occupy?
This over-militarization of policy was ably chronicled in Dana Priest's 2003 book , The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military . The author describes a Pentagon that had grown so powerful bureaucratically that it had overwhelmed the State Department -- and nowhere more so than in the Middle East.
This disparity starts with visuals: the generals arrive in style, swooping in on military aircraft, resplendent in their uniforms, greeted by the pomp and circumstance of salutes and reviews, bearing PowerPoints of cool new weapons systems to buy and perhaps use. By contrast, unadorned Foreign Service officers tend to plunk along on civilian flights, typically talking only of caution and mediation.
As a result, the center of policy gravity for the Middle East has shifted from Foggy Bottom to the five-sided building across the Potomac, and from there to Central Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, and from there to myriad Centcom outposts 7,000 miles distant. As they say, if you're a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail -- and the Pentagon is one big hammer.
We can observe that this militarization had been building up long prior to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which began two presidencies ago. Indeed, the militarizing process has been both deep-rooted and bipartisan. And this, of course, is the sort of long-term transformation that Eisenhower warned against.
The argument here is not for a cut in the Pentagon's budget or for an increase in the State Department's budget. Instead, we need something more fundamental -- a national conversation about true national security. As Ike said in that fabled address, "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
Assuring that security and liberty "may prosper together" -- Eisenhower's message is as important today as it was then. about the author
James P. Pinkerton is a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a regular panelist on the Fox "News Watch" show, the highest-rated media-critique show on television. He is a former columnist for Newsday, and is the editor of SeriousMedicineStrategy.org. He has written for publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Fortune, The Huffington Post , and The Jerusalem Post . He is the author of What Comes Next: The End of Big Government--and the New Paradigm Ahead (Hyperion: 1995). He worked in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and in the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns. In 2008 he served as a senior adviser to the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. Married to the former Elizabeth Dial, he is a graduate of Stanford University.
kouroi • 5 hours agoGosh, but we still have to privatize, several economies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) for the benefit of Wall Street et. comp. How can we do that without DoD...?
Chuckles John Achterhof • 3 days agoJust to be clear, it's documented that Ike's first draft had Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex; aides convinced him to cut that out, which is sad because it's key. Defense contractors always spread out their facilities to different states andDavid Naas • 3 days ago
Congressional districts. Jobs!I Like Ike.polistra24 • 3 days ago
Always did, even as I recall when he was in the White House. In his time, the Right gnashed their teeth at his "liberalism", and the Left gnashed their teeth art his "conservatism".
His equation anchored on "spiritual". In Ike's view, America was an agency for Good, or at least aspired to be. Today, all of our "leaders" echo the words of Templeton (the Rat) in Charlotte's Web -- "What's in it for me?" And goodness is not even given the homage of hypocrisy.Thanks for bringing out the equation. I'd never heard of it before! Putin understands it and uses it. We lost it a long time ago.Chuckles • 3 days agoIke was likely familiar with General Smedley D. Butler (USMC) seminal work War is a Racket , and bought into at least some it.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.amazon.com
Hugh Claffey , December 9, 2012Book published in 2003, still very relevantSir Charles Panther , February 27, 2006
I read David Halberstam's `War in a Time of Peace' and this seemed like a good continuation. Halbersam covers the Bush 1, Clinton period, in retrospect an idyllic period. This book transitions through 9/11, but really covers the development of the Combatant Commander for the US Military in the various areas of the world - Pacific Command, Central Command etc. It does cover the successful invasion of Afghanistan, it covers conflicts in Kosova, Columbia and relationships in the Middle East and Asia. It doesn't cover the Iraq invasion or subsequent failures.
I was particularly struck by the contrast between the resources available for the military commanders in various countries, and the US ambassadors to the same countries. The commanders can have transport and material resources which are an order of magnitude away from the civilians, and therefore the local politicians/dictators get the message that the US relationship is mainly a military one. Priest gives a good overview, especially in the Kosovo, of the power and limitations of the military-only relationship. She also concludes that even the military must take some part in peace-making and low level nation-building, but the bigger story in that the US, by virtue of its size and power, must take a nation-development role if it hopes to avoid having a low-level war with the developing world for generations to come. In fact the situation has probably got clearly since, and the current debate about leaving Afghanistan and non-intervention in Syria, makes this book appear prophetic.
Lastly there are remarkable portraits of Generals Zinni and Blair who were combatant commanders in the Central and Pacific commands during this time period. The contrast between their power and status when in the military and their post-military career is significant (though not mentioned in the book), Zinni was messed about when proposed but eventually not selected as ambassador to Saudia Arabia, Blair was later director of National Intelligence in the Obama White House, but was could not get along in that particular fishbowl and was fired in mid 2010.An Adequate Overview, yet Factually Incorrect, Fundamentally Flawed
Overall, this book is a basic overview of the structure and operation of the US armed forces theater commands in the final days of their power and prestige, before the Bush administration centralized control, power, prestige, decision- and policy-making to Washington, DC. It is a view of the last great days of the regional Commanders-in-Chief, the CINCs, and their geographically-oriented theater commands of immense space, scope, power and influence.
My criticism of this book is straightforward and simple, yet speaks directly to the overall character and accuracy of this work: Dana Priest is grossly incorrect in her statements, and therefore in the conclusions she makes, specifically in Chapter Ten, "The Indonesian Handshake." I was intimately and directly involved in the entire episode, and it did not unfold as she describes.
I quote from page 230: "Meanwhile, since January 1998, seven intelligence analysts at the 'Joint Intelligence Center Pacific' (JIC), the world largest military-intelligence center, in a windowless concrete building near (US Pacific Command CINC, Admiral Dennis) Blair's headquarters in Hawaii, had tracked the movements of Indonesian military and militia forces in East Timor and Indonesia. The Indonesia desk in the JIC had grown from one to nine persons and maintained a round-the-clock 'crisis action' mode. Over the preceding year, the analysts had received a tenfold increase in imagery and a fivefold increase in electronic collection. It was actually too much to process."
First of all, Priest blows the name of the institution she's describing. It's the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, or JICPAC (now Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Pacific, or JIOC-PAC). Second, the "Indonesia desk" implies a single person monitoring this country. That was never the case, as a team of at least five analysts had always been assigned to maritime Southeast Asia. Suharto's 1998 fall had ramped up both Pacific Command's and JICPAC's attention to Indonesia, and the scheduled elections of mid-1999 and following East Timor referendum were anticipated months in advance, with commensurate analytical adjustments and assignments. Newly assigned to the Pacific Command intelligence directorate, I was detailed to JICPAC personally by the Pacific Command Director for Intelligence, Rear Admiral Rick Porterfield to assist in this effort.
I was one of two US Army Foreign Area Officers (FAOs) assigned to this issue. I had just completed five years of training in Southeast Asia, with an International Studies masters degree, both Indonesian and Malaysian language training, and attendance at the 1998 class of the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College. My partner was an Indonesian staff college graduate. We two Southeast Asia FAOs, both senior US Army majors, were the officers in charge. I was the Chief of the East Timor Crisis Cell for the entire period of the East Timor crisis, and I take immense pride in the work that I and especially my analysts performed during this period. This was the best analytical team I've ever worked with, experienced, highly intellectual, eager, motivated, and thoroughly familiar with the issue at hand, as well as all of the related regional and functional issues. They performed brilliantly in an extended crisis mode.
At no time was the information we were requesting and receiving "too much to process." Early on, Admiral Blair and Rear Admiral Porterfield recognized the potential for unrest and crisis, and supported all command activities to prepare for all possible outcomes, which we explored and analyzed continuously. I and my people updated both leaders daily with briefings, papers, and direct consultation, which increased in frequency, intensity and scope as events unfolded. We aggressively worked with all relevant and engaged national-level agencies and elements for our intelligence collection requirements, and based upon national-level reconciliation we were given what was available and appropriate to the situation. Yes, we were receiving increased collection and reporting, through all intelligence disciplines and channels, not merely the ones Priest cites. At no time was anything we were doing or being asked to do too much for us to process. At no time was the information that we were requesting from national-level intelligence collection too much for us to process. The support we received from the commanding officer of JICPAC, now Marine Major General Mike Ennis, was outstanding in every possible way. He supported our needs and actions personally and fully, a consummate professional and directly engaged commanding officer. Whatever resources and assets we requested, he personally attended to those needs, immediately.
I challenge Ms. Priest to name the source(s) who provided such grossly incorrect information. I was present in Hawaii as she did her research there, and at no time were either my FAO partner or I contacted to discuss our roles in the crisis.
I offer a highly telling anecdote which illustrates Ms. Priest's qualifications to write on this specific issue: Upon entering JICPAC for the very first time, Ms. Priest asked informally and good-naturedly of her escorts, "Why is the Australian flag flying outside?" Well, yes, both Pacific Command and JICPAC work very closely with our Australian partners, always have, and enjoy doing so immensely. But JICPAC does not fly a foreign flag from its quarterdeck. Of course, Ms. Priest had mistaken the Hawaiian flag with its Union Jack in the upper left corner as the Australian flag, telling the JICPAC intelligence specialists, researchers, and analysts more than enough about her familiarity with Pacific Command, showing a small yet true measure of the depth of expertise and background knowledge she brought to her work in the US Pacific Command theater.
Bottom Line: Take this book as a historical account of the now-gone days of the power and prestige of the theater commands, a late 90s snapshot. That being said, the book is fundamentally flawed and factually incorrect, at least as far as Chapter Ten reads. I cannot speak for the remainder of the work, but my direct and intimate experience with the events she grossly incorrectly describes here is more than enough for me to dismiss this book in its entirety.
Eric Johnson December 12, 2003
Dana Priest is a well-respected journalist with the Washington Post and a frequent guest on NBC's "Meet the Press." She specializes on military and intelligence topics, so it was with great interest that I read her book "The Mission". Her thesis, that the US military is playing an ever increasing role in US foreign policy matters and that the nation is becoming dependent on the military's presence in foreign affairs, could not be more timely.
She presents her argument via a series of vignettes which cover senior military leaders as well as a broad spectrum of recent military operations. She primarily writes from the military's perspective and its impact on foreign policy. The profiles of the four, 4-star commanders provide the reader with a sense of the situation each commander faced in 1999 and how their ideals influenced not only their area of responsibility but also our foreign affairs. Priest chronicles our military activities with examples that range from major operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, our covert drug war in South America, and the relatively unnoticed actions in Nigeria and Indonesia. Her stories capture the military's struggle to achieve success across the entire spectrum of operations.
She does a good job of stating her argument and offers varied examples of where the military is setting the foreign policy agenda. Unfortunately, the book does little more to move into an analysis of US foreign policy decision making beyond the military's impact nor does it make recommendations for changes to better the current situation. The book seemed to be more of a compilation of "reports from the field" than an analysis of foreign policy decision making and the military's role in it. I suppose the author's goals and my expectations were decidedly different but I expected more from this book.
I feel her point would have benefited from a comparison of the State Dept's and the DoD's role in US foreign policy making. She also needed to consider the contributions of non-governmental organizations to the foreign policy equation. Additionally, if the author thinks we are becoming reliant on the military to conduct foreign policy, she should include recommendations to counter that reliance. I enjoyed reading the well-written vignettes, thought this is a great introduction on the topic of political-military relations as it impacts foreign affairs, but would like to see more analysis and less story-telling.
A worthwhile read.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Sasha , Jan 18 2020 18:41 utc | 158From those muds...these mires...
Reinhard Gehlen: the Nazi father of the CIA
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
In another sense, however, the passing of the cold war could not have been more disorienting. In 1987, Georgi Arbatov, a senior adviser to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev , had warned: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you – we are going to deprive you of an enemy."
...Winning the cold war brought Americans face-to-face with a predicament comparable to that confronting the lucky person who wins the lottery: hidden within a windfall is the potential for monumental disaster.
Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mao , Jan 15 2020 8:54 utc | 139Posted by: V | Jan 15 2020 5:15 utc | 127
Oh, we'll spend the money alright;
$37 screws, a $7,622 coffee maker, $640 toilet seats; : suppliers to our military just won't be oversold
DOD and HUD $21 Trillion Missing Money: Report & Supporting Documentation
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm
Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?
The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.
The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.
The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.
The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)
In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.
It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.
IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.
State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.
"If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans
The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "
( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Likklemore , Jan 11 2020 17:48 utc | 201At 2016, here is the long bombing list of the 32 countries by the late William Blum. Did I mention sanctions is an Act of War?
Little u.s. has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying. Albright thought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. !!! it was worth killings and maiming.
Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population.
The u.s. will leave Iraq and Syria aka Saigon 1975 or horizontal. It's over.
2020: u.s. Stands Alone.
Searching for friends. Now, after Russiagate here is little pompous: "we want to be friends with Russia." Sanctions much excepting we need RD180 engines, seizure of diplomatic properties. Who are you kidding?
"we seek a constructive and productive relationship with the Russian Federation".
What a bunch of hypocrites? How dare you criticize commenters who see little u.s. in the light of day, not a shining beacon on the hill..
Jan 12, 2020 | smoothiex12.blogspot.com
Axiosromano • 2 days agoRob Naardin • 2 days ago
The tramp & nutNyahoo machismo show continues to be fun to watch. Both show off their penis worms as they arrogantly claim they can crush iran. Both the usa and israel keep banging on the doors and walls of their pissed-off neighbors' houses. That eventually gets you murdered whether in baltimore or baghdad.
A crushable iran is true if and only if they can mount a full-on nuclear war on Iran. But such horrendous cheating means all bets are off, and iran's allies will provide the nukes required to melt down the American homeland too. Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.
What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land. Sitting ducks, with nice armor, nukes and all, are ... still sitting ducks. nutNyahoo should ask his technical crew just how few megatons are needed, or just a few thousand modern missiles are required to transform sitting ducks into nicely roasted peking ducks.
So a conventional war it is. The usa and israel has exactly zero, zilch and nada chances of winning a war with iran. The usa keeps forgetting that it is a dying empire with dying funding value and mental resources. Just like israel which oddly thinks dozens of f-35s will give it immunity through air superiority. Proof of this fact that iran will win comes from simply asking american and israeli war experts to go on cnn or the washington post on how they intend to win a war with iran.
Im sure these expert bloviators will say that it is as easy as winning a naval war against china, which is capable of launching only 3 new warships in a week. Or an even easier time against russia, which can launch only a few thousand hypersonic nuke missiles because its GDP is no bigger than that of texas.tic_Fox Rob Naardin • 2 days ago • edited
The Pentagon is super slow to adapt and learn. If you understand that bureaucracy is an ancient organizational structure and that the organizational culture of the Pentagon is pathologically dysfunctional you could have predicted the moral and financial bankruptcy of America 15-20 years ago. The "Why?", finally made sense when I discovered what a sociopath was.
It's about time the US practices what it preachs and start behaving like a normal country instead of a spoiled narcissistic brat. see more
US military & strategic thought became lazy during the late days of the Cold War. It mirrored the decline & fall of the foundations of its opponent, USSR. Post-Cold War, US military & strategic thinking flushed into the sewer. It was all about maintaining the military as some sort of a social policy jobs program, operating legacy tech as the mission. And then came the "world-improvers" -- beginning w the Clinton Admin -- who worked to turn the world into a global "urban renewal" project; meaning to mirror the success US Big Govt showed in the slums of American cities from sea to sea. The past 30 yrs of US strategic thinking and related governance truly disgusts me. see more
Vasya Pypkin Arctic_Fox • 2 days agoDrapetomania Vasya Pypkin • 17 hours ago
Soviet union fall had very different reasons and Soviet military thought was doing quite well then along with military. Current russian military wonders is completion of what was started then and not finished earlier because of the disintegration of the Soviet state.
The soviet fall however is extremely regrettable because there was a new way how things can be done that Soviet union was showing to the world. USA fall long term is a very good thing because USA is a paragon of how things should be done the old way and basically a huge parasite. Many negative trends that are afflicting the world were started by USA. Unlimited individualism and consumerism would be a couple of those. see moreWhy does almost every person on Earth feel the need to force others to bend the knee to their beliefs?
Religious beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in an afterlife, political beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in this world.The world would be a far better, more civilized, of world if such beliefs were only shared on a voluntary basis.
As for individualism, I would rather be free than live in a modern day egalitarian hunter-gatherer tribe run by modern day psychopathic alpha-males.That is certainly not a recipe for success. see more
AriusArmenian Arctic_Fox • 2 days agoIt also mirrors the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It was Emperor Augustus that decided the costs to further expand the Empire were too great after losing one (or two?) legions against the Germanic tribes.Vasya Pypkin AriusArmenian • 2 days ago • edited
The US has reached its greatest extent. We are living through it. The US didn't go forward into war with Iran twice. The odds of humanity surviving this immense turn of history is looking better. see moreArctic_Fox Vasya Pypkin • 17 hours ago
Frankly, nothing in common. I read this comparison all the time. Yes, Augustus decided not to continue along with expansion into Germany after losing 3 Varus legions due to ambush.
But he famously noted that it does not worth to go fishing with golden hook. Basically speaking, Germany was not worth fighting for. Poor and remote it had nothing to offer. Just a drain on resources. As long as conquest was moving smoothly it was ok, but after losses were inflicted Augustus decided it was not worth it.
Roman expansion under augustus was carried mostly to consolidate previous conquests and create strategical debth along core and strategical provinces also creating linkage.
When enemy far stronger than germans posed resources which made the whole conquest worthy no amount of resistance saved Dacians and Parthia also almost died under Trajan attack.
Roman policies were adequate and wise. Treaties were respected, allies supported and benefited. Empire was build around Mediterranean creating good communication and routes considering obviously limits of that day technology.
Rome did not behave like crazy and did not deliver threats that she could not follow through. When war was decided upon thorough preparations were taken. Political goals were achieved. Wars were won. When Adrian considered that empire was overextended in Parthis, he simply abandoned all conquered territories. Just like that.
Logical calm thinking USA,is not capable of. Rome truly based upon superior military and diplomacy dominance lasted many centuries. USA few decades. One hit wonder, lucky fool I would call it. see moreWHAT • 2 days ago
Interesting account of Roman strategic concept of forward presence, versus administering the internal lines of communication... see moresmoothieX12 . Mod WHAT • 2 days ago
They left equipment in the open on that base and ran away. No AA fire whatsoever. This is how much they are ready to take a punch. see moreArctic_Fox smoothieX12 . • 2 days ago
Yes, this is somewhat puzzling. As I said, let's wait and see where it all develops to, but as Twisted Genius succinctly observed -- Iran now controls tempo because she has conventional superiority. Anyone who has precision-guided, stand off weaponry in good numbers will be on top. see moresmoothieX12 . Mod Arctic_Fox • 2 days ago • edited
The old submarine saying is, "There are two kinds of ships; submarines, and targets."
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets." (And per the photos, those Iranian missiles were quite precise; bulls-eyes.)
Iran and its missiles demonstrated that the entire strategic foundation for US mil presence in the Middle East is now obsolete. Everything the US would ever want to do there is now subject to Iran's version of "steel rain." Every runway, hangar, aircraft parking area; every supply depot or warehouse; every loading pier, fuel site, naval pier. Everything... is a target. And really... there's no amount of US "airpower" and "tech" than can mitigate the Iran missile threat.
Meanwhile, related thinking... Iran's true strategic interest is NOT fighting a near-term war w/ USA. Iran wants US to exit Middle East; and Iran wants to be able to pursue its nuclear program. Soleimani or no, Iran appears to have its eyeballs fixed on the long-term goals. see moreVasya Pypkin smoothieX12 . • a day agoThe new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets."
Exactly, and Iran has long-range TLAMs in who knows what numbers, That, in its turn, brings about the next issue of range for Iranian indigenous anti-ship missiles. Not, of course, to mention the fact of only select people knowing if Russia transferred P-800 Onyx to Iran She certainly did it for Syria. If that weapon is there--the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait will be shut completely closed and will push out CBGs far into the Indian Ocean. see more
Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin • 16 hours ago
It is simply pathetic after decades of talking non stop about developments of anti missiles and huge amounts wasted and nobody is responsible. This is the way capitalism works.profits is everything and outcomes secondary. Thankfully russia has got soviet foundation and things so far are working well. I come to think that in our times no serious industrial processes should be allowed to stay in private hands. Only services and so.e other simpler stuff under heavy state control to ensure quality. Otherwise profit orientation will eventually destroy everything like with Boeing.
I assume you don't mean a free market when you use the term capitalism.observerBG smoothieX12 . • 2 days ago • editedsmoothieX12 . Mod observerBG • 2 days ago • edited
I know, i already wrote a full scale war scenario in one of the comments. Iran can destroy all US bases in 2000 km range. But this does not mean that it can not be bombed back to the stone age, if the US really wishes so. The problem for the US is the high cost as well as the high debt levels, but it does have the technical capability to do that after 2 - 3 years of bombing.
Also low yield tactical nukes are designed to lower the treshold of the use of nukes in otherwise conventional war, producing less international outrage than the megaton city buster bombs. Why do you think the US is developing them again? Because they would want to use them in conventional conflicts.
Here btw is Yurasumy, he also says that the US can technically bomb Iran back to the stone age, but the cost will be too high.Play Hide
https://cdn.embedly.com/observerBG smoothieX12 . • 2 days ago • editedif the US really wishes so.
Again--what's the plan and what's the price? Iran HAS Russia's ISR on her side in case of such SEAD.
Does the United States want to risk lives of thousands of its personnel (not to speak of expensive equipment) in Qatar, KSA, Iraq. Does Israel want to "get it"?
There are numbers which describe such an operation (it was. most likely, already planned as contingency). Immediate question: when was the last time USAF operated in REAL dense ECM and ECCM environment? I do not count some brushes with minimal EW in Syria.
Russia there uses only minimally required option, for now. Iran has a truck load EW systems, including some funny Russian toys which allowed Iran to take control of US UAVs, as an example. As I say, this is not Iraq and by a gigantic margin. see moresmoothieX12 . Mod observerBG • 2 days ago
I already said that debt levels do not allow it and the price would be too high, but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means. It is another question that it is not in good fiscal shape. Anyway, US ballistic missiles (non nuclear armed) will be hard to stop by EW. Even if Iran gets rid of 50 % of incoming TLAMs, the US will keep sending more and more until most infrastructure, bridges, oil refineries, power plants, factories, ports etc. are destroyed. This is why i said it would take 2 - 3 years. see moreobserverBG smoothieX12 . • 2 days agobut yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means
That is the whole point: NO, it doesn't. Unless US goes into full mobilization mode and addresses ALL (plus a million more not listed) requirements for such a war which I listed in the post. Well, that or nukes. see moresmoothieX12 . Mod observerBG • 2 days ago
Yurasumy is a pretty good analist and he thinks that they can. I do not see it for the US being too hard to produce more TLAMS, ICBMs and IRBMs (conventional) to sustain the effort for 2 years, by that time most iranian infrastructure will be destroyed. If the fiscal situation allowes it. see moreobserverBG smoothieX12 . • 2 days ago
I don't know who Yarasumy is and what is his background, but unlike him I actually write books, including on modern warfare. This is not to show off, but I am sure I can make basic calculations. This is not to mention the fact that even Sivkov agrees with my points and Sivkov, unlike Yarsumy, graduated Popov's VVMURE, served at subs, then graduated Kuznetsov Academy, then Academy of the General Staff and served in Main Operational Directorate (GOU) until retiring in the rank of Captain 1st Rank from the billet of Combat Planning group. So, I would rather stick to my opinion. see moresmoothieX12 . Mod observerBG • 2 days ago • edited
Why do you think that the US can not destroy Iran with IRBMs? Actually this is their strategy vs China. If they think its viable vs China, then it should be viable vs Iran too. see moreArctic_Fox smoothieX12 . • 17 hours ago
Because unlike the US, Russia's Air Defenses have a rather very impressive history of shifting the balance in wars in favor of those who have them, when used properly. But then I can quote for you a high ranking intelligence officer:A friend of mine who has expertise in these matters wrote me:
Any air defense engineer with a securityclearance that isn't lying through his teeth will admit that Russia'sair defense technology surpassed us in the 1950's and we've never been able to catch up. The systems thy have in place surrounding Moscow make our Patriot 3's look like fucking nerf guns.
Read the whole thing here:
Mathematics is NOT there for the United States for a real combined operations war of scale with Iran. Unless US political class really wants to see people with pitch-forks. see moreobserverBG smoothieX12 . • 2 days ago • edited
"Mathematics is not there..."
Neither is the industrial base, including supply lines. Not the mines, mills, factories to produce any significant levels of warfighting materiel such as we're talking about here. Not the workforce, either. Meanwhile, where are the basic designs for these weps? The years of lab work, bench tests, pilot specimens & prototypes, the development pipeline? The contractors to build them? the Tier 2, 3, 4 suppliers? Where are the universities that train such people as are needed? Where is the political will? Where is the government coordination? Where is the money? Indeed, every Democrat and probably half the Republicans who run for office campaign on controlling military spending; not that USA gets all that much benefit from the current $800 billion per year. see moresmoothieX12 . Mod observerBG • 2 days ago
That would require S-500 - ballistic missile defense. Maybe 15 - 20 S-500 in Iran will be needed. And it is not yet in the army. see more
You see, here is the difference--I can calculate approximate required force for that but I don't want to. It is Friday. You can get some basic intro into operational theory (and even into Salvo Equations) in my latest book. Granted, my publisher fought me tooth and nail to remove as much match as possible. But I'll give you a hint--appearance of S-500 on any theater of operations effectively closes it off effectively for any missile or aircraft operations when deployed in echeloned (multi-layer) AD. see more
Jan 11, 2020 | www.rawstory.com
me name=Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday claimed that the killing of Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani had made the world "safer" -- even though the actions of Pompeo's own State Department directly contradict his words.
David Lapan, who served as the spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump , shredded Pompeo for his rosy assessment of the Suleimani killing even as the State Department frantically works to evacuate Americans from Iraq in anticipation of expected retaliation from Iran.ADVERTISEMENT
"The State Dept alert sends a much different message than this one from the leader of the State Dept, Secretary Pompeo: 'The world is a much safer place today. I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer,'" he writes on Twitter. "Which is it? (Answer: more dangerous, not less)."
The State Department on Friday advised Americans in Iraq to depart the country immediately, and even went so far as to suggest they travel to neighboring countries by land if they could not secure passage out of Iraq through airlines. The State Department also advised Americans in the country to not approach the American embassy in Iraq.
The State Dept alert below sends a much different message than this one from the leader of the State Dept, Secretary Pompeo: "The world is a much safer place today. I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer."
Which is it? (Answer: more dangerous, not less) https://t.co/bw7Py2y5WH
-- David Lapan (@DaveLapanDC) January 3, 2020
Jan 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Yes the war pigs like Esper, Miller, and Pompous deliberately tried to drag Trump into war with Iran! But noticed how it turned out!
by Tyler Durden Fri, 01/10/2020 - 23:45 0 SHARES
Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,
In 2016 during the election campaign of Donald Trump one of the primary factors of his popularity among conservatives was that he was one of the first candidates since Ron Paul to argue for bringing US troops home and ending American involvement in the various elitist fabricated wars in the Middle East . From Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Syria and Yemen and beyond, the Neo-Cons and Neo-Libs at the behest of their globalist masters had been waging war oversees unabated for over 15 years. The time was ripe for a change and people felt certain that if Hillary Clinton entered the White House, another 4-8 years of war were guaranteed.
There was nothing to be gained from these wars. They were only dragging the US down socially and economically , and even the idea of "getting the oil" had turned into a farce as the majority of Iraqi oil has been going to China, not the US. General estimates on the costs of the wars stand at $5 trillion US tax dollars and over 4500 American dead along with around 40,000 wounded. The only people that were benefiting from the situation were globalists and banking elites, who had been clamoring to destabilize the Middle East since the day they launched their "Project For A New American Century" (PNAC). Truly, all wars are banker wars.
The Obama Administration's attempts to lure Americans into supporting open war with the Assad regime in Syria had failed. Consistent attempts by George W. Bush and Obama to increase tensions with Iran had fizzled. Americans were showing signs of fatigue, FINALLY fed up with the lies being constructed to trick them into being complicit in the banker wars. Trump was a breath of fresh air...but of course, like all other puppets of the globalists, his promises were empty.
In my article 'Clinton vs. Trump And The Co-Option Of The Liberty Movement' , published before the 2016 election, I warned that Trump's rhetoric might be a grand show , and that it could be scripted by the establishment to bring conservatives back into the Republican/Neo-Con fold. At the time, leftist media outlet Bloomberg openly reveled in the idea that Trump might absorb and destroy the "Tea Party" and liberty movement and turn them into something far more manageable. The question was whether or not the liberty movement would buy into Trump completely, or remain skeptical.
Initially, I do not think the movement held onto its objectivity at all. Far too many people bought into Trump blindly and immediately based on misguided hopes and a desire to "win" against the leftists. The insane cultism of the political left didn't help matters much, either.
When Trump started saturating his cabinet with banking elites and globalists from the CFR the moment he entered office, I knew without any doubt that he was a fraud. Close associations with establishment swamp creatures was something he had consistently criticized Clinton and other politicians for during the campaign, but Trump was no better or different than Clinton; he was just an errand boy for the elites. The singular difference was that his rhetoric was designed to appeal directly to liberty minded conservatives.
This meant that it was only a matter of time before Trump broke most of his campaign promises, including his assertions that he would bring US troops home. Eventually, the mask had to come off if Trump was going to continue carrying out the agenda of his masters.
Today, the mask has indeed come off. For the past three years Trump has made announcements of an imminent pull back of troops in the Middle East, including the recent claim that troops would be leaving Syria. All of the announcements were followed by an INCREASE in US troop presence in the region. Consistent attempts have been made to foment renewed strife with Iran. The build-up to war has been obvious, but some people on the Trump train still didn't get it.
The most common argument I heard when pointing out all the inconsistencies in Trump's claims as well as his direct links to globalists was that "He hadn't started any wars, so how could he be a globalist puppet...?" My response has always been "Give it a little time, and he will."
One of my readers noted recently that "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (TDS) actually goes both ways. Leftists double down on their hatred of Trump at every opportunity, but Trump cultists double down on their support for Trump regardless of how many promises he breaks. This has always been my biggest concern – That conservatives in the liberty movement would ultimately abandon their principles of limited government, the end to banking elites in the White House and ending illegal wars because they had invested themselves so completely in the Trump farce that they would be too embarrassed to admit they had been conned.
Another concern is that the liberty movement would be infected by an influx of people who are neo-conservative statists at their core. These people pretend to be liberty minded conservatives, but when the veil is lifted they show their true colors as the War Pigs they really are. A distinction has to be made between Bush era Neo-Con control freaks and constitutional conservatives; there are few if any similarities between the two groups, but the establishment hopes that the former will devour the latter.
I've noticed that the War Pigs are out in force this past week, beating their chests a calling for more blood. The US government has assassinated Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, retaliations against US targets have begun, and now the Iraqi government has demanded that US troops be removed from the region, to which Trump has said "no" and demanded payment instead. A new troop surge has been initiated and this WILL end in all out war. The tit-for-tat has just begun.
How do Trump cultists respond? "Kill those terrorists!"
Yes, many of the same people that applauded Trump's supposed opposition to the wars three years ago are now fanatically cheering for the beginning of perhaps the most destructive war of all. The rationalizations for this abound. Soleimani was planning attacks on US targets in Iraq, they say. And, this might be true, though no hard proof has yet been presented.
I'm reminded of the Bush era claims of Iraqi "Weapons of Mass Destruction", the weapons that were never found and no proof was found that they ever existed. The only weapons Iraq had were the weapons the US sold to them decades ago. Any government can fabricate an excuse for assassination or war for public consumption; the Trump Administration is no different.
That said, I think the most important factor in this debate has fallen by the wayside. The bottom line is, US troops and US bases should NOT be in Iraq in the first place. Trump himself stated this time and time again . Even if Soleimani was behind the attacks and riots in Iraq, US assets cannot be attacked in the region if they are REMOVED from the region as Trump said he would do.
There is only one reason to keep US assets in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria at this time, and that is to create ongoing tensions in the area which can be used by the establishment to trigger a new war, specifically with Iran.
The War Pigs always have reasons and rationales, though.
They say the Muslim world is a threat to our way of life, and I agree that their ideology is completely incompatible with Western values. That said, the solution is not sending young Americans to die overseas in wars based on lies. Again, these wars only benefit the bankers and globalists; they do not make us safer as a people. The only moral solution is to make sure the fascist elements of Muslim extremism are not imported to our shores.
The War Pigs say that we deserve payment for our "services rendered" in the region before we leave, echoing the sentiments of Donald Trump. I ask, what services? Payment for what? The invasion the Iraqi's didn't want, based on fallacies that have been publicly exposed? The US bases that should not be there in the first place? The hundreds of thousands dead from a war that had no purpose except to deliberately destabilize the region?
We will never get "payment" from the Iraqis as compensation for these mad endeavors, and the War Pigs know this. They want war. They want it to go on forever. They want to attach their egos to the event. They want to claim glory for themselves vicariously when we win, and they want to claim victimhood for themselves vicariously when our soldiers or citizens get killed. They are losers that can only be winners through the sacrifices of others.
The War Pigs defend the notion that the president should be allowed to make war unilaterally without support from congress. They say that this type of action is legal, and technically they are right. It is "legal" because the checks and balances of war were removed under the Bush and Obama Administrations. The passage of the AUMF (Authorization For Use Of Military Force) in 2001 gave the Executive Branch dictatorial powers to initiate war on a whim without oversight. Just because it is "legal" does not mean it is constitutional, or right.
In the end, the Trump bandwagon is meant to accomplish many things for the globalists; the main goal though is that it is designed to change liberty conservatives into rabid statists. It is designed to make anti-war pro-constitution activists into war mongers and supporters of big government, as long as it is big government under "our control". But it's not under our control. Trump is NOT our guy. He is an agent of the establishment and always has been.
For now, the saber rattling is aggressive but the actions have been limited, but this will not be the case for long. Some may ask why the establishment has not simply launched all out war now? Why start out small? Firstly, they need conservatives psychologically invested in the idea. This may require a false flag event or attack on American civilians. Secondly, they need to execute an extensive troop build-up, which could take a few months. Declarations of a "need for peace" are always used to stall for time while the elites position for war.
War with Iran is pointless, and frankly, unwinnable, and the elites know this. It's not just a war with Iran, it is a war with Iran, their allies, and every other nation that reacts negatively to our actions. And, these nations do not have to react militarily, they can react economically by dumping US treasuries and the dollar as world reserve.
The establishment wants the US embroiled in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. until we are so hollowed out from conflict that we collapse.
They also need a considerable distraction to hide their responsibility for the implosion of the Everything Bubble and the economic pain that will come with it. The end game for the establishment is for America to self destruct, so that it can be rebuilt into something unrecognizable and eternally monstrous. They want every vestige of our original principles to be erased, and to do that, they need us to be complicit in our own destruction.
They need us to participate. Don't participate, and refuse to support new banker wars. Don't be a War Pig.
* * *
If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch . Learn more about it HERE .
LEEPERMAX , 17 minutes ago linkSanity Bear , 20 minutes ago link
ELIMINATING QASEM SOLEIMANI WAS DONALD TRUMP'S MIDDLE EAST FAREWELL LETTER
"The elimination of Soleimani was not a prelude to deeper US involvement in the Middle East. It was a farewell letter"freeculture , 36 minutes ago link
Brandon's prescription needs a refill... fast.VZ58 , 31 minutes ago link
Trumpino is MIGA all the way to the bank.Helg Saracen , 55 minutes ago link
Like all before him in the last seventy odd years...some Americans are finally beginning to understand this...rbianco3 , 1 hour ago link
The main problem of the United States in the existing political and economic system, which began to be intensively created by the American banking layer since 1885 and was fixed in 1913. This became possible only thanks to the Civil War of 1861-1865. I will explain. Before the Civil War, each state had its own banking structure, its own banknotes (there were not so many states, there were still territories that did not become states yet). Before the American Civil War, there was no single banking system. Abraham Linkol was a protege of the banking houses of the cities of New York and Chicago, they rigged the election (bought the election). It may sound rude to the Americans, but Lincoln was a rogue in the eyes of some US citizens of that time. And this became the main reason for the desire of some states (not only southern, and some northern) to withdraw from the United States. Another good reason for the exit was the persistent attempts of bankers in New York and Chicago to take control of the banking system of the South. These are two main reasons, as old as the World, the struggle for control and money. The war (unfortunately) began the South. Under a federal treaty, South and North were supposed to jointly contain US forts for protection. The fighting began on April 12, 1861 with an attack by southerners on such a fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. These are the beginnings of war.
This is important - I advise everyone to read the memoirs of generals, and especially the memoirs of Ulysses Grant, the future president of the United States. The war was with varying success, but the emissaries of the banks of New York and Chicago always followed the army of the North, who, taking advantage of the disastrous situation in the battlefields, bought up real estate, land and other assets. They were called the "Carpetbagger". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpetbagger They were engaged in the purchase throughout the war and up to 1885.
To make it clear to you, in the history of the USA, the period from 1865 to 1885 is called the "Great American Depression" (this is the very first great depression and lasted 20 years). During this time, the bankers of New York and Chicago completely subjugated the US banking system to themselves and their interests, trampled the South (robbed), after which the submission of the US as a state directly to the banking mafia began. At present (since 1913) in the USA there is not capitalism, but an evil parody of capitalism.
I can call it this: American clan-corporate oligarchic "capitalism" (with the suppression of free markets, with unfair competition and the creation of barriers to the dissemination of reliable information). Since such "capitalism" cannot work (like socialism or utopian communism), constant wars are needed that bring profit to the bankers, owners of the military-industrial complex, political "service staff", make oligarchs richer, and ordinary Americans poorer. We are now observing this, since this system has come to its end and everything has become obvious.
For example, in the early 80s, the middle class of the United States was approximately 70% of the population employed in production and trade, now it is no more than 15%.
The gap between the oligarchs and ordinary Americans widened. My essay is how I see what is happening in the USA and why I do not like it. It's my personal opinion. In the end, my favorite phrase is that Americans are suckers and boobies (but we still love them). Good luck everyone.ExposeThem511 , 56 minutes ago link
No longer a concern, a reality
Another concern is that the liberty movement would be infected by an influx of people who are neo-conservative statists at their core. These people pretend to be liberty minded conservatives, but when the veil is lifted they show their true colors as the War Pigs they really are.The Vineyard 21 - 33-43 , 1 hour ago link
Trotskyites.Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link
Prophetically speaking, Trump is a sign that the end game of the grand plan of the current age is swiftly coming to an end.
What does Frank the Skank (ostensibly an American taxpayer, but more likely an Israeli dual "loyalty" traitor) have to say about this?
We will never get "payment" from the Iraqis as compensation for these mad endeavors, and the War Pigs know this. They want war. They want it to go on forever. They want to attach their egos to the event. They want to claim glory for themselves vicariously when we win, and they want to claim victimhood for themselves vicariously when our soldiers or citizens get killed. They are losers that can only be winners through the sacrifices of others.
The War Pigs defend the notion that the president should be allowed to make war unilaterally without support from congress. They say that this type of action is legal, and technically they are right. It is "legal" because the checks and balances of war were removed under the Bush and Obama Administrations. The passage of the AUMF (Authorization For Use Of Military Force) in 2001 gave the Executive Branch dictatorial powers to initiate war on a whim without oversight. Just because it is "legal" does not mean it is constitutional, or right.
Jan 11, 2020 | fpif.org
Big Money in Politics Doesn't Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War.
Military contractors have shelled out over $1 million to the 2016 presidential candidates -- including over $200,000 to Hillary Clinton alone.
By Rebecca Green , April 27, 2016 . Originally published in OtherWords .Print
Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org
The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump's unorthodox candidacy.
The elections are also groundbreaking because they're revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy.
Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates.
The 2012 elections were consequently the most expensive in U.S. history. And this year's races are predicted to cost even more. With the general election still six months away, donors have already sunk $1 billion into the presidential race -- with $619 million raised by candidates and another $412 million by super PACs.
Big money in politics drives grave inequality in our country. It also drives war.
After all, war is a profitable industry. While millions of people all over the world are being killed and traumatized by violence, a small few make a killing from the never-ending war machine.
During the Iraq War, for example, weapons manufacturers and a cadre of other corporations made billions on federal contracts.
Most notoriously this included Halliburton, a military contractor previously led by Dick Cheney. The company made huge profits from George W. Bush's decision to wage a costly, unjustified, and illegal war while Cheney served as his vice president.
Military-industrial corporations spend heavily on political campaigns. They've given over $1 million to this year's presidential candidates so far -- over $200,000 of which went to Hillary Clinton, who leads the pack in industry backing.
These corporations target House and Senate members who sit on the Armed Forces and Appropriations Committees, who control the purse strings for key defense line items. And cleverly, they've planted factories in most congressional districts. Even if they provide just a few dozen constituent jobs per district, that helps curry favor with each member of Congress.
Thanks to aggressive lobbying efforts, weapons manufacturers have secured the five largest contracts made by the federal government over the last seven years. In 2014, the U.S. government awarded over $90 billion worth of contracts to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman.
Military spending has been one of the top three biggest federal programs every year since 2000, and it's far and away the largest discretionary portion. Year after year, elected officials spend several times more on the military than on education, energy, and the environment combined.
Lockheed Martin's problematic F-35 jet illustrates this disturbingly disproportionate use of funds. The same $1.5 trillion Washington will spend on the jet, journalist Tom Cahill calculates , could have provided tuition-free public higher education for every student in the U.S. for the next 23 years. Instead, the Pentagon ordered a fighter plane that can't even fire its own gun yet.
Given all of this, how can anyone justify war spending?
Some folks will say it's to make us safer . Yet the aggressive U.S. military response following the 9/11 attacks -- the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the NATO bombing of Libya, and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen -- has only destabilized the region. "Regime change" foreign policies have collapsed governments and opened the doors to Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS.
Others may say they support a robust Pentagon budget because of the jobs the military creates . But dollar for dollar, education spending creates nearly three times more jobs than military spending.
We need to stop letting politicians and corporations treat violence and death as "business opportunities." Until politics become about people instead of profits, we'll remain crushed in the death grip of the war machine.
And that is the real national security threat facing the United States today. Share this:
Jan 11, 2020 | fpif.org
Meet the CEOs Raking It in from Trump's Aggression Toward Iran
Major military contractors saw a stock surge from the U.S. assassination of an Iranian general. For CEOs, that means payday comes early.
By Sarah Anderson , January 6, 2020 . Originally published in Inequality.org .Print
Chris Devers / Flickr
CEOs of major U.S. military contractors stand to reap huge windfalls from the escalation of conflict with Iran. This was evident in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian military official last week. As soon as the news reached financial markets, these companies' share prices spiked, inflating the value of their executives' stock-based pay.
I took a look at how the CEOs at the top five Pentagon contractors were affected by this surge, using the most recent SEC information on their stock holdings.
Northrop Grumman executives saw the biggest increase in the value of their stocks after the U.S. airstrike that killed Qasem Suleimani on January 2. Shares in the B-2 bomber maker rose 5.43 percent by the end of trading the following day.
Wesley Bush, who turned Northrop Grumman's reins over to Kathy Warden last year, held 251,947 shares of company stock in various trusts as of his final SEC Form 4 filing in May 2019. (Companies must submit these reports when top executives and directors buy and sell company stock.) Assuming Bush is still sitting on that stockpile, he saw the value grow by $4.9 million to a total of $94.5 million last Friday.
New Northrop Grumman CEO Warden saw the 92,894 shares she'd accumulated as the firm's COO expand in value by more than $2.7 million in just one day of post-assassination trading.
Lockheed Martin, whose Hellfire missiles were reportedly used in the attack at the Baghdad airport, saw a 3.6 percent increase in price per share on January 3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO of the world's largest weapon maker, may be kicking herself for selling off a considerable chunk of stock last year when it was trading at around $307. Nevertheless, by the time Lockheed shares reached $413 at the closing bell, her remaining stash had increased in value by about $646,000.
What about the manufacturer of the MQ-9 Reaper that carried the Hellfire missiles? That would be General Atomics. Despite raking in $2.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts in 2018, the drone maker is not required to disclose executive compensation information because it is a privately held corporation.
We do know General Atomics CEO Neal Blue is worth an estimated $4.1 billion -- and he's a major investor in oil production, a sector that also stands to profit from conflict with a major oil-producing country like Iran.
*Resigned 12/22/19. **Resigned 1/1/19 while staying on as chairman until 7/19. New CEO Kathy Warden accumulated 92,894 shares in her previous position as Northrop Grumman COO.
Suleimani's killing also inflated the value of General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic's fortune. As the weapon maker's share price rose about 1 percentage point on January 3, the former CIA official saw her stock holdings increase by more than $1.2 million.
Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy saw a single-day increase in his stock of more than half a million dollars, as the missile and bomb manufacturer's share price increased nearly 1.5 percent. Boeing stock remained flat on Friday. But Dennis Muilenberg, recently ousted as CEO over the 737 aircraft scandal, appears to be well-positioned to benefit from any continued upward drift of the defense sector.
As of his final Form 4 report, Muilenburg was sitting on stock worth about $47.7 million. In his yet to be finalized exit package, the disgraced former executive could also pocket huge sums of currently unvested stock grants.
Hopefully sanity will soon prevail and the terrifyingly high tensions between the Trump administration and Iran will de-escalate. But even if the military stock surge of this past Friday turns out to be a market blip, it's a sobering reminder of who stands to gain the most from a war that could put millions of lives at risk.
We can put an end to dangerous war profiteering by denying federal contracts to corporations that pay their top executives excessively. In 2008, John McCain, then a Republican presidential candidate, proposed capping CEO pay at companies receiving taxpayer bailouts at no more than $400,000 (the salary of the U.S. president). That notion should be extended to companies that receive massive taxpayer-funded contracts.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance, has a plan to deny federal contracts to companies that pay CEOs more than 150 times what their typical worker makes.
As long as we allow the top executives of our privatized war economy to reap unlimited rewards, the profit motive for war in Iran -- or anywhere -- will persist. Share this:
Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits the IPS publication Inequality.org. Follow her at @SarahDAnderson1.
Jan 10, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Critics of the Soleimani assassination point out that it was an action devoid of strategic purpose. They are correct to do so. Yet let's not blame Donald Trump and his ever-changing cast of senior advisers for having strayed off the path of good sense. The United States lost its way decades ago when members of the policy elite succumbed to an infatuation with military power and thereby lost their strategic bearings.
The current crisis with Iran brings into focus something that ought to have long ago attracted attention: t his country has a Samson problem. The United States has become a 21st-century equivalent of the tragic figure from the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible: strong, vain, and doomed (although we must hope our nation does not share Samson's ultimate fate).
Most people are familiar with at least the outlines of the biblical Samson story: a mighty warrior who slays the enemies of the Israelites in great numbers using the jawbone of an ass among other weapons. Sadly, after the captivating Delilah seduces Samson into revealing the secret of his extraordinary strength -- his unshorn hair -- he ends up blind, in chains, and held captive in the temple of the Philistines. Samson asks the Lord to restore his strength. The King James Bible explains what happens next: "And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." It was a huge bloodletting, and among the victims was the hero himself.
It's a dramatic story, made for the movies. The 1949 Technicolor version, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, remains a camp classic of the sandal-and-togas genre. But whether in the original text or on celluloid, the denouement does not qualify as a happy one. Samson was a fool and his own worst enemy. Something of the same can be said of the United States in recent decades.
As the recently concluded war scare with Iran was unfolding, for example, President Trump took it upon himself to assure his nervous fellow citizens as to the matchless strength of America's armed forces. "So far, so good!" he tweeted, more than slightly prematurely. "We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!"
I confess that it's those exclamation points that leave me most uneasy. They suggest a manic personality oblivious to the seriousness of the moment. Can you imagine Kennedy in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis releasing a comparable statement?
Although not without his faults, Kennedy understood how quickly a position of apparent strength can dissipate. Our current commander-in-chief possesses no such appreciation. Trump's confidence in the U.S. military, expressed with his trademark bluster and bravado, seemingly knows no bounds. And although on this occasion the president and his counterparts in Tehran found a way to avoid pulling down the temple on all of us, his performance did not inspire confidence. We must hope that in the future he's confronted with few comparable crises. There's no saying when his luck (and ours) might run out.
Yet we should not lose sight of the fact that the assassination of General Soleimani was only the most recent in a long series of actions in which confidence in America's military has underwritten rash decisions devoid of strategic common sense. Post-Cold War Washington specializes in rashness. Indeed, in comparison with George W. Bush, who ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Barack Obama, who greenlighted the overthrow of Libya's Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, Trump comes across as a small-stakes gambler.
The larger problem to which Trump calls our attention is the militarism that pervades the American political class -- the conviction that accumulating and putting to use military power expresses the essence of so-called American global leadership. That notion is dead wrong and has been the source of endless mischief.
Congress is considering measures that will constrain Trump from any further use of force targeting Iran, hoping thereby to avoid an all-out war. This is all to the good. But the larger requirement is for our political establishment generally to wean itself off of its infatuation with military power. Only then can we restore a measure of self-restraint to America's national security policy.
Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , is just out.
JLF • 8 hours agoWe start in a considerable hole. Last year (September 12) Forbes reported a survey of 60,000 Europeans in 14 countries and found only 4% trust Trump. "Our polling confirms that Trump is toxic in Europe, and that this is feeding into distrust of the U.S. Security Guarantee," https://www.forbes.com/site...Palichamp • 8 hours ago
Apparently they aren't so impressed by our massive military might . . . or at least they are not impressed by those who wield our massive military might.The US military isn't solving world problems, it's CAUSING world problems, primarily for Israel's Balkanizing Oded Yinon Plan and for the neoconJew's PNAC global agenda.Fran Macadam • 7 hours agoThe Full Spectrum Dominance policy posits that America can never be secure until all potential rivals are made subservient. What is the character of a nation that demands submission from the entire world, that all are to be vassals and satrapies?MPC • 7 hours agoIf Trump really did think that there was some Art of the Deal logic in this, kill Soleimani, let Iran have a symbolic retaliation, then back down and deal, I can respect that, but I want to see a deal. Obama got a deal, not a perfect one, but respectable considering we don't have long term interests in the Middle East anyways. Without a deal he just furthered the risk of neocons getting to push the fire button and commit us unprofitably once more, and pushed Iran further into the arms of China.JohnnLisa Broom • 6 hours ago
On the other hand his threatening to attack Iranian cultural sites was inappropriate and unwise and creating long term problems with no short term gain. It rhymes with some of his domestic issues too - tribalizing people does not make for a deal-making environment.Shades of the 1993 Essay in Parameters "The Origins of the Military Coup of 2012. When the only tool in in your kitbag that works at all is a hammer, every problem is a nail. That might be okay if we had a small tack hammer, but for some reason all we have is a 700 Billion Dollar 20 lb sledge. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=586Frank Natoli • 4 hours agothe assassination of General Soleimani was only the most recent in a long series of actions in which confidence in America's military has underwritten rash decisions devoid of strategic common senseChristopher Rice Frank Natoli • 3 hours ago
Ah, strategic common sense.
So Bacevich doesn't need to bother with tactical common sense.
Got it.As a respected authority on both strategy and tactics once suggested: "strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Strategy is fundamentally more important than tactics. Perhaps we could be a bit less dismissive?MPC Frank Natoli • 3 hours agoThe US has had a lot of tactical common sense in Afghanistan.Gutbomb • 3 hours ago"Congress is considering measures that will constrain Trump from any further use of force targeting Iran, hoping thereby to avoid an all-out war."Donna • 3 hours ago • edited
I'm always baffled when I hear about new attempts by Congress to limit the president's unilateral use of force, as if they have chosen to ignore that the Constitution itself already explicitly forbids it.Is "national security" really the goal of the US military, or is "multinational corporation security" the real reason the US has thousands of military bases around the world? The US taxpayer foots the security bill for the same corporations that buy all of our national elections. But you have to admit, it's a well-played scam: the CIA stirs up internal chaos in a country, and the US military then completes the destabilization program by bombing it into submission or terminal chaos.Donna • 2 hours agoWhich begs the question, "Why is it, that the Terrorists always live on the resources that the Corporations covet?"
Jan 09, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca
The 1933 Marx brothers film Duck Soup was meant to be a satirical look at Benito Mussolini, ruler of Italy. In the film the mythical country of Freedonia , ruled by the effervescent Rufus T. Firefly ( played by Groucho), due to an insult by the ambassador of rival nation Sylvania, declares war. Laughs abound. Well, in our own nation of ' Free markets', ' Free enterprise' and ' Free use of war' whenever it pleases us, we are led by another Firefly, who is as comedic as he is dangerous to peace.
Of course, the major difference with movie's Freedonia and our own is like night and day. In the film the leader, Firefly, had full control of every decision needed to be made. In our Freemerika , Mr. Trump, regardless of the image he portrays as an absolute ruler, has to dance to the tune of the Military Industrial Empire, just like ALL our previous presidents. Folks, sorry to say, but presidents are not so much harnessed by our Constitution or Congress ( or even the Supreme Court) but by the wizards who the empire picks to advise him. They decide the ' when and if' of such dramatic actions like the other day's drone missile murder in Iraq of the Iranian general. Unlike when Groucho decides he was insulted by Trentino, the Sylvanian ambassador, and declares ' This means war!', Mr. Trump gave the order for the assassination but ONLY after those behind the curtain advised him.Violence Is as Violence Does. All in the Name of "Restoring Democracy"
To believe that our presidents have carte blanche to do the heinous deeds is foolish at best . LBJ's use of the Gulf of Tonkin phony incident to gung ho in Vietnam was not just one man making that call.
Or Nixon's Christmas carpet bombing of Hanoi, Bush Sr.'s attack on Iraq in 1991 , his son's ditto against Iraq in 2003, Obama's use of NATO to destroy Libya in 2011, or this latest arrogance by Trump, were all machinations by this empire's wizards who advised them. When the late Senator Robert Byrd stood before a near empty Senate chamber in 2003 to warn of this craziness, that told it all! We are not led by Rufus T. Firefly, rather a Cabal that most in this government do not even realize who in the hell these people are!
Of course, the embedded mainstream media does the usual job of demonizing who the empire chooses to be our enemies. As with this recent illegal act by our government of crossing into another nation's sovereignty to do the deed, now they all tell us how deadly this Iranian general was. Yet, how many of the news outlets ever mentioned this guy for what they now tell us he was, for all these years? Well, here is the kicker. I do not know what this man was responsible for , regarding acts of insurgency against US forces in Iraq. Maybe he did aid in the attacks on US personnel. Maybe he also was there to neutralize the fanatical ISIS terrorists who were killing US and Iraqi personnel in Iraq and Syria. What I do know is that, in the first place, we had no business ever invading and occupying Iraq period! Thus, the rest of this Duck Soup becomes postscript.
Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ' It's the Empire Stupid ' radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at email@example.com
Jan 09, 2020 | www.unz.com
Steve Gilbert , says: Show Comment January 8, 2020 at 7:29 pm GMT@Authenticjazzman The US could afford lots of things if we cut the military budget by 99%, as we should have done after WWII.
The military works for the plutocrats, stealing money from the taxpayers. The ruling class turned Vietnam from an agricultural nation into a low paid factory nation which took thousands of textile jobs from Americans – i.e winning the Vietnam war. The problem lies in the taxpayers not understanding what winning means. Manufacturing havens with super low wages and homeless veterans begging at every intersection. West Point teaches people they have the right to drop bombs on civilians and torture them in Guantanamo. Of course these folks think of themselves as the smartest people who ever lived.
Dec 22, 2019 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , December 22, 2019 6:40 pm
I know Keynes said "In the long run we are all dead"
It might be not that long. The empire and war go together. And now this means the nuclear war, which will be decided on much lower level that we suspect. Ukraine is a real flashpoint as Russia is incensed with the USA stage coup d'état (aka the "Revolution of Dignity", aka Nulandgate ) and feels greatly endangered by it. As Daniel Ellsberg puts it in his 2018 talk at Google ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7cJG9j0NdY ):
But in terms of American traditions, we thought of ourselves as -- we didn't think -- of having run the first war of national liberation. But it could have been called that, the first war of separation for an empire. And we thought of ourselves as anti-imperial. And we still think of ourselves that way, as not an empire like the others. That's false.
That's very clear from the Pentagon Papers where we're deciding who should run Vietnam this year or next year or how they should stay in power, what criminal acts they're entitled to take, how much we need to support them. And so it's very obviously the documents of an empire. In fact, that's what I said to my wife, when she said, at one point, before they came out, does it really matter to get this history out? And I said, well, among other things, it's the first real history of imperial operations since the Nuremberg documents were discovered, covered after the Second World War. And before that, it probably goes back to Punic times, to the Syrian empire, to Sumerian empire, and so probably all the same, but we don't have the documents for it.
And here they are. And yet, even so, I managed to think of it as an aberration. We had somehow gotten ourselves into acting like an empire. Let me say just very briefly now– I could spend the whole time on this. But I'll just say, I've come recently to see what we are as a covert empire. And covert refers to plausibly denial covert operations.
Covert operations, I should say, are defined as operations that are not just secret, that you're not just keeping it safe, but that you lie about plausibly. And to make it plausible, you provide in advance evidence, false evidence, misleading evidence as to what's really going on and who's running it and why it's happening and who did it and so forth, a false flag in some cases, whatever.
But you provide several layers of cover for what's being done to protect the president from the notion that he is murdering, overthrowing governments, installing coup governments in democracies and so forth, as so often in the third world then and now, up until now. Well, you don't want the US to be associated with that. It's happening over there.
And if somehow a US hand surfaces, he or she wasn't working for any agency. And if you find the agency, it wasn't the CIA. And if it was the CIA, it wasn't the president. So you have layer after layer of cover stories with documents. I didn't know this. It didn't come to my attention. This so-and-so did it and so forth. The Vietnam War was run from beginning to end like that. That's how we run our empire.
We deny that we are an empire. And what is an empire? A country that determines the regime of other countries, decides who the police chief was, who shall live and who shall die, what the basic foreign policies are. We do that throughout Central America and always have, often many other parts of the world as far apart as Indonesia, now the Middle East. In general, we decide: Who do we want? Is this guy OK? We don't decide every detail but any more than you decide every detail of a military commander's operations.
But generally, they work. If they don't do what we want, we replace them with somebody else. We deny that we're an empire. We're against empire. When other people do the same sort of thing, they're empires. They're acting imperially. First level of denial on the American part. And then second, how do they get in power? Who has to be killed? What paramilitary forces have to be paid and go in, as into Nicaragua, for example, and other places? So the efforts are also plausibly denied OK, I could spend time. And I don't know if people have it in mind.
See also his book
https://www.amazon.com/Doomsday-Machine-Confessions-Nuclear-Planner/product-reviews/1608196704 . From one of Amazon reviews:
The author makes clear that the accidental nuclear war scenarios laid out in Dr Strangelove, Fail-Safe, The Bedford Incident et al are, in real life, very much more probable than the authorities would have us believe.
The probability of one or other of these being triggered unofficially is terrifyingly high.
Compare with https://news.yahoo.com/russians-heaven-event-nuclear-war-putin-153648833.html
"We have no concept of a preemptive strike," Putin told a forum of international experts in the southern city of Sochi in response to a question from the audience.
"In such a situation, we expect to be struck by nuclear weapons, but we will not use them" first, he said.
"The aggressor will have to understand that retaliation is inevitable, that it will be destroyed and that we, as victims of aggression, as martyrs, will go to heaven.
"They will simply die because they won't even have time to repent,"
Jan 08, 2020 | www.militarytimes.com
Before his death in 2015, renowned British author and neurologist Oliver Sacks penned an essay lamenting society's limitless plunge into the personality-depriving depths of smart phones and social media.
"Everything is public now, potentially: one's thoughts, one's photos, one's movements, one's purchases," he wrote in the essay published posthumously in The New Yorker. "There is no privacy and apparently little desire for it in a world devoted to non-stop use of social media. Every minute, every second, has to be spent with one's device clutched in one's hand."
Sacks' smart phone-induced melancholia, however, had yet to extend to the arena of national security.
But here we are.
Like the general population, today's troops entranced by the glowing hypnosis of iPhone and Android screens grow increasingly unaware of the security breach potential at their fingertips. Lurking enemies capable of crippling cybersecurity attacks seek to prey on the complacent, and junior personnel have shown little in the way of resistance -- opting instead to prioritize online popularity at the expense of information sharing and operational security.
A concerned Gen. Robert Neller, the now-retired former Marine Commandant, addressed this trend at a 2016 Center for Strategic and International Studies conference discussion in which he urged Marines to put down their inanimate soulmates and turn their focus to the mission.
"We're going to go to the field for 30 days; everybody leave your phone in the car and tell your significant other or your mom, your aunt, your uncle, that you're not going to get 75 texts each day and answer them," he said.
"You're living out of your pack, you're going to stop at night, you're going to dig a hole, you're going to camouflage, you're going to turn off all your stuff, and you're going to sit there. And you've got to be careful to not make any noise, and you're going to try to have absolutely no signature. Because if you can be seen, you will be attacked."
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
SharonM , Jan 8 2020 17:59 utc | 153@145 vk
"Isolationist" is a imperialist label put on someone against war. And the U.S. has always been an imperialist nation. There's no such thing as a limited era of imperialism for the U.S.
Jan 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.comThe threat of General Soleimani - TTG
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States had "clear, unambiguous" intelligence that a top Iranian general was planning a significant campaign of violence against the United States when it decided to strike him, the top U.S. general said on Friday, warning Soleimani's plots "might still happen."
Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters "we fully comprehend the strategic consequences" associated with the strike against Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander.
But he said the risk of inaction exceeded the risk that killing him might dramatically escalate tensions with Tehran. "Is there risk? Damn right, there's risk. But we're working to mitigate it," Milley said from his Pentagon office. (Reuters)
-- -- -- -- --
This is pretty much in line with Trump's pronouncement that our assassination of Soleimani along with Iraqi General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was carried out to prevent a war not start one. Whatever information was presented to Trump painted a picture of imminent danger in his mind. What did the Pentagon see that was so imminent?
Well first let's look at the mindset of the Pentagon concerning our presence in Iraq and Syria. These two recent quotes from Brett McGurk sums up that mindset.
"If we leave Iraq, that will just increase further the running room for Iran and Shia militia groups and also the vacuum that will see groups like ISIS fill and we'll be right back to where we were. So that would be a disaster."
"It's always been Soleimani's strategic game... to get us out of the Middle East. He wants to see us leave Syria, he wants to see us leave Iraq... I think if we leave Iraq after this, that would just be a real disastrous outcome..."
McGurk played a visible role in US policy in Iraq and Syria under Bush, Obama and Trump. Now he's an NBC talking head and a lecturer at Stanford. He could be the poster boy for what many see as a neocon deep state. He's definitely not alone in thinking this way.
So back to the question of what was the imminent threat. Reuters offers an elaborate story of a secret meeting of PMU commanders with Soleimani on a rooftop terrace on the Tigris with a grand view of the US Embassy on the far side of the river.
-- -- -- -- --
"In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, and instructed them to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country"
"Two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters that Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on US targets using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran."
"Soleimani's plans to attack US forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect Iraqis' anger towards Iran to the US, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi'ite politicians and government officials close to Iraq PM Adel Abdul Mahdi."
"At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases." (Reuters)
-- -- -- -- --
And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran? They were 1960s Chinese designed 107mm multiple rocket launcher technology. These simple but effective rocket launchers were mass produced by the Soviet Union, Iran, Turkey and Sudan in addition to China. They've been used in every conflict since then. The one captured outside of the K1 military base seems to be locally fabricated, but used Iranian manufactured rockets.
Since when does the PMU have to form another low profile militia unit? The PMU is already composed of so many militia units it's difficult to keep track of them. There's also nothing low profile about the Kata'ib Hizbollah, the rumored perpetrators of the K1 rocket attack. They're as high profile as they come.
Perhaps there's something to this Reuters story, but to me it sounds like another shithouse rumor. It would make a great scene in a James Bond movie, but it still sounds like a rumor.
There's another story put out by The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although it also sounds like a scene form a James Bond movie, I think it sounds more convincing than the Reuters story.
-- -- -- -- --
Delegation of Arab tribes met with "Soleimani" at the invitation of "Tehran" to carry out attacks against U.S. Forces east Euphrates
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that a delegation of the Arab tribes met on the 26th of December 2019, with the goal of directing and uniting forces against U.S. Forces, and according to the Syrian Observatory's sources, that meeting took place with the commander of the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassim Soleimani, who was assassinated this morning in a U.S. raid on his convoy in Iraq. the sources reported that: "the invitation came at the official invitation of Tehran, where Iran invited Faisal al-al-Aazil, one of the elders of al-Ma'amra clan, in addition to the representative of al-Bo Asi clan the commander of NDF headquarters in Qamishli Khatib al-Tieb, and the Sheikh of al-Sharayin, Nawaf al-Bashar, the Sheikh of Harb clan, Mahmoud Mansour al-Akoub, " adding that: "the meeting discussed carrying out attacks against the American forces and the Syria Democratic Forces."
Earlier, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, met with the security committee and about 20 Arab tribal elders and Sheikhs in al-Hasakah, at Qamishli Airport Hall on the 5th of December 2019, where he demanded the Arab tribes to withdraw their sons from the ranks of the Syria Democratic Forces. (SOHR)
-- -- -- -- --
I certainly don't automatically give credence to anything Rami sends out of his house in Coventry. I give this story more credibility only because that is exactly what I would do if Syria east of the the Euphrates was my UWOA (unconventional warfare operational area). This is exactly how I would go about ridding the area of the "Great Satan" invaders and making Syria whole again. The story also includes a lot of named individuals. This can be checked. This morning Colonel Lang told me some tribes in that region have a Shia history. Perhaps he can elaborate on that. I've read in several places that Qassim Soleimani knew the tribes in Syria and Iraq like the back of his hand. This SOHR story makes sense. If Soleimani was working with the tribes of eastern Syria like he worked with the tribes and militias of Iraq to create the al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi, it no doubt scared the bejeezus out of the Pentagon and endangered their designs for Iraq and Syria.
So, Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian soldier, the competent and patient Iranian soldier, was a threat to the Pentagon's designs a serious threat. But he was a long term threat, not an imminent threat. And he was just one soldier.The threat is systemic and remains. The question of why, in the minds of Trump and his generals, Soleimani had to die this week is something I will leave for my next post.
A side note on Milley: Whenever I see a photo of him, I am reminded of my old Brigade Commander in the 25th Infantry Division, Colonel Nathan Vail. They both have the countenance of a snapping turtle. One of the rehab transfers in my rifle platoon once referred to him as "that J. Edgar Hoover looking mutha fuka." I had to bite my tongue to keep from breaking out in laughter. It would have been unseemly for a second lieutenant to openly enjoy such disrespect by a PV2 and a troublemaking PV2 at that. God bless PV2 Webster, where ever you are.
John Merryman , 04 January 2020 at 06:33 PMWondering how much more intense the security will be around Trump's campaign rallies during the election.The Twisted Genius , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs.Jack -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 08:16 PM
Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. I was glad we went back into Iraq to take on the threat of IS and cheered our initial move into Syria to do the same. That was the Sunni-Shia war you worry about. More accurately, it was a Salafist jihadist-all others war. Unfortunately, we overstayed the need and our welcome. It's a character flaw that we cannot loosen our grasp on empire no matter how much it costs us.TTG,JamesT -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 09:48 PM
Thanks for your post. What it says I buy. We are in the Middle East and have been for a while to impose regional hegemony. What that has bought us is nebulous at best. Clearly we have spent trillions and destabilized the region. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed, including thousands of our soldiers. Are we better off from our invasion of Iraq, toppling Ghaddafi, and attempting to topple Assad using jihadists? Guys like McGurk, Bolton, Pompeo will say yes. Others like me will say no.
The oil is a canard. We produce more oil than we ever have and it is a fungible commodity. Will it impact Israel if we pull out our forces? Sure. But it may have a salutary effect that it may force them to sue for peace. Will the Al Sauds continue to fund jihadi mayhem? Likely yes, but they'll have to come to some accommodation with the Iranian Shia and recognize their regional strength.
Our choice is straightforward. Continue down the path of more conflict sinking ever more trillions that we don't have expecting a different outcome or cut our losses and get out and let the natural forces of the region assert themselves. I know which path I'll take.TTG,PavewayIV , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I think the protesters swarming the embassy was exactly the same kind of tactic that US backed protesters used in Ukraine (and are currently using in Hong Kong) to great effect. The Persians are unique in that they are capable of studying our methodologies and tactics and appropriating them.
When the US backed protesters took over Maidan square and started taking over various government building in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych had two choices - either start shooting protesters or watch while his authority collapsed. It was and is a difficult choice.
In my humble opinion, there are few things the stewards of US hegemony fear more than the IRGC becoming the worlds number one disciple of Gene Sharp.Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 07:21 PMTTG - "And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran?"
According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances?
If the U.S. only had a Dilyana Gaytandzhieva to bird-dog out the rat line. Wait... the MSM would have fired her by now for weaponizing journalism against the neocons [sigh].If a goal is to get the heck out of the Middle East since it is an intractable cess pit and stat protecting our own borders and internal security, will we be better off with Soleimani out of the picture or left in place.Jane , 04 January 2020 at 07:35 PM
Knowing of course, more just like him will sprout quickly, like dragon's teeth, in the sands of the desert.ME is a tar baby. Fracking our own tar sands is the preferable alternative.
Real war war would be a direct attack on Israel. Then they get our full frontal assault. But this pissy stuff around the edges is an exercise in futility. 2020 was Trump's to lose.Incapacity to handle asymmetirc warfare is ours to lose.There is no necessary link between the Iranian support for the Assad regime, to include its operations in tribal areas of Syria. The Iranian-backed militias and Iranian government officials have been operating in that area for a long time, supporting the efforts of Security/Intel Ali Mamlouk. That Suleimani knew the tribes so well is a mark of his professional competence. Everyone is courting the Syrian tribes, some sides more adeptly than others. It is also worth noting that in putting together manpower for their various locally formed Syrian militias, the Iranians took on unemployed Sunnis.Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 07:40 PM
That said, there are small Ismaili communities in Syria and there are apparently a couple of villages in Deir ez Zor that did convert to Shiism, but no mass religious change. The Iranians are sensitive to the fact that they could cause a backlash if they tried hard to promote "an alien culture."Well, The Donald has turned to Twitter menacing iran with wiping out all of its World Heritage Sites....which is declared intention to commit a war crime...Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:09 PM
For what it seems Iran must sawllow the assasination of its beloved and highjly regarded general...or else...
Do you really think there is any explanation for this, whatever Soleimani´s history ( he was doing his duty in his country and neighboring zone...you are...well...everywhere...) or that we can follow this way with you escalating your threats and crimes ever and that everybody must leave it at that without response or you menace coming with more ?
That somebody or some news agency has any explanation for this is precisely the sign of our times and our disgrace. That there is a bunch of greedy people who is willing to do whatever is needed to prevail and keep being obscenely rich...
BTW, would be interesting to know who are the main holders of shares at Reuters...Board of Directors of ReutersElora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:33 PM
The same monopolizing almost each and every MSM and news agency at every palce in the world, big bank, big pharma, big business, big capital ( insurances companies nad hedge funds ) big real state, and US think tanks...In Elora´s opinion, Bret MacGurk is making revanche from Soleimani for the predictable fact that a humble and pious man bred in the region, who worked as bricklayer to help pay his father´s debt during his youth, and moreover has an innate irresistible charisma, managed to connect better with the savage tribes of the ME than such exceptionalist posh theoric bred at such an exceptionalist as well as far away country like the US.Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 08:48 PM
But...what did you expect, that MacGurk would become Lawrence of Arabia versus Soleimani in his simpleness?
May be because of that that he deserved being dismembered by a misile...
As Pence blamed shamefully and stonefacelly Soleimani for 9/11, MacGurk blames him too for having fallen from the heights he was...
It seems that Pence was in the team of four who assesed Trump on this hit...along with Pompeo...
A good response would be that someone would leak the real truth on 9/11 so as to debunk Pence´s mega-lie...Two years ago, the public protest theme for Basel's winter carnival Fashnach was the imminent threat nuclear war as NK and US were sabre rattling, and NK was lobbing missles across Japan with sights on West Coast US cities.blue peacock , 04 January 2020 at 09:54 PM
Then almost the following week, NK and US planned to meet F2F in Singapore. And we could all breathe again. In the very early spring of 2018.TTGJack -> blue peacock... , 05 January 2020 at 12:01 AM
This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.
I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour.
After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot!
Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Trump's re-election will go when we are engaged in a full scale military conflagration in the Middle East? It sure will give Tulsi & Bernie an excellent environment to promote their anti-neocon message. You can see it in Trump's ambivalent tweets. On the one hand, I ordered the assassination of Soleimani to prevent a war (like we needed to burn the village to save it), while on the other hand, we have 52 sites locked & loaded if you retaliate. Hmmm!! IMO, he has seriously jeapordized his re-election by falling into the neocon Deep State trap. They never liked him. The coup by law enforcement & CIA & DNI failed. The impeachment is on its last legs. Voila! Incite him into another Middle Eastern quagmire against what he campaigned on and won an election.
I would think that Khamanei has no choice but to retaliate. How is anyone's guess? I doubt he'll order the sinking of a naval vessel patrolling the Gulf or fire missiles into the US base in Qatar. But assassination....especially in some far off location in Europe or South America? A targeted bombing here or there? A cyber attack at a critical point. I mean not indiscriminate acts like the jihadists but highly calculated targets. All seem extremely feasible in our highly vulnerable and relatively open societies. And they have both the experience and skills to accomplish them.
If ever you have the inclination, a speculative post on how the escalation ladder could potentially be climbed would be a fascinating read."I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour."Something To Think About , 04 January 2020 at 10:19 PM
Yes, indeed. It is a testament to our susceptibility that there is such limited scepticism by so many people on the pronouncements of our government. Especially considering the decades long continuous streams of lies and propaganda. The extent and brazenness of the lies have just gotten worse through my lifetime.
I feel for my grand-children and great-grand children as they now live in society that has no value for honor. It's all expedience in the search for immediate personal gain.
I am and have been in the minority for decades now. I've always opposed our military adventurism overseas from Korea to today. I never bought into the domino theory even at the heights of the Cold War. And I don't buy into the current global hegemony destiny to bring light to the savages. I've also opposed the build up of the national security surveillance state as the antithesis of our founding. I am also opposed to the increasing concentration of market power across every major market segment. It will be the destruction of our entrepreneurial economy. The partisan duopoly is well past it's sell date. But right now the majority are still caught up in rancorous battles on the side of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.A question to the committee: what is the source for the claim that Soleimani bears direct responsibility for the death of over 600 US military personnel?Jack , 04 January 2020 at 10:33 PM
Craig Murray points to this article:
If that is the case (and it appears to be) then the US govt's claim is nonsense, as it clearly says " 'During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants,' Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email."
So those figures represent casualties suffered during the US-led military invasion of Iraq i.e. casualties suffered during a shooting-war.
If Soleimani is a legitimate target for assassination because of the success of his forces on the battlefield then wouldn't that make Tommy Franks an equally-legitimate target?Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caliphate, Romanian-American, Rukmini Callimachi, on the intelligence on Soleimani "imminent threat" being razor-thin.PavewayIV said in reply to Jack... , 04 January 2020 at 11:01 PM
https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761?s=21You just beat me to her thread, Jack. For the Twitter shy, this is the first of a series of 17 tweets as a teaser:Roy G , 04 January 2020 at 11:59 PM1. I've had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I've learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is "razor thin".
Summary: [Too shameful to type]IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors.
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41Yep - education is the key.
I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.
How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.
Jan 04, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
Former DNI James Clapper had his own words read back to him by Ray McGovern, exposing his role in justifying the Iraq invasion based on fraudulent intelligence.
... ... ...
Clapper was appointed Director of National Intelligence by President Barack Obama in June 2010, almost certainly at the prompting of Obama's intelligence confidant and Clapper friend John Brennan, later director of the CIA. Despite Clapper's performance on Iraq, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Obama even allowed Clapper to keep his job for three and a half more years after he admitted that he had lied under oath to that same Senate about the extent of eavesdropping on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA). He is now a security analyst for CNN.
In his book, Clapper finally places the blame for the consequential fraud (he calls it "the failure") to find the (non-existent) WMD "where it belongs -- squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn't really there." ( emphasis added ) .
So at the event on Tuesday I stood up and asked him about that. It was easy, given the background Clapper himself provides in his book, such as:
"The White House aimed to justify why an invasion of and regime change in Iraq were necessary, with a public narrative that condemned its continued development of weapons of mass destruction [and] its support to al-Qaida (for which the Intelligence Community had no evidence)."
What Clapper chokes on -- and avoids saying -- is that U.S. intelligence had no evidence of WMD either. Indeed, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had put him in charge of the agency responsible for analyzing imagery of all kinds -- photographic, radar, infrared, and multispectral -- precisely so that the absence of evidence from our multi-billion-dollar intelligence collection satellites could be hidden, in order not to impede the planned attack on Iraq. That's why, as Clapper now admits, he had to find "what wasn't really there."
Members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) who have employed Clapper under contract, or otherwise known his work, caution that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. So, to be fair, there is an outside chance that Rumsfeld persuaded him to be guided by the (in)famous Rumsfeld dictum: "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
But the consequences are the same: a war of aggression with millions dead and wounded; continuing bedlam in the area; and no one -- high or low -- held accountable. Hold your breath and add Joe Biden awarding the "Liberty Medal" to George W. Bush on Veteran's Day.
Protection Racquet , November 17, 2018 at 02:46
When did this perjurer before Congress have any credibility? The guys a professional liar.
Mild -ly Facetious , November 18, 2018 at 17:27
The guy is a professional liar,and
a member of The Establishment
"The Anglo-American Establishment"
Copyright 1981/ Books in Focus, Inc,
Vallejo D , November 19, 2018 at 21:15
No shit. I saw the video of Clapper perjuring himself to the US Congress on national television, bald-face lying about the NSA clocking our emails.
I wouldn't believe Clapper if he the sky is blue and grass is green. EPIC liar.
PS: Erstwhile national security state "friend" actually had the nerve to claim that "Clapper lied to protect you." As if. My bet is that ONLY people on the planet who didn't know about the NSA's grotesque criminal were the American taxpayers.
Mild -ly Facetious , November 20, 2018 at 12:38
RECALL THIS EXTRAORDINARY STATEMENT -- from the GW Bush administration
There was, however, one valuable insight. In a soon-to-be-infamous passage, the writer, Ron Suskind, recounted a conversation between himself and an unnamed senior adviser to the president:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernable reality."
I nodded and murmured something about Enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.
"That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create reality. And while you are studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Anonymot , November 16, 2018 at 20:56
Mild -ly - Facetious , November 18, 2018 at 19:33
Anonymot , Yes!
Here Is A Sequence of books for those who reside in chosen darkness:
"The Lessons of History" by Will & Edith Durant – c. 1968
"The Anglo-American Establishment" by Carroll Quigley – c. 1981
"Understanding Special Operations" by David T. Ratcliffe – c. 1989 / 99
" The Secret War Against The Jews" by John Loftus and Mark Aarons c. 1994
Douglas Baker , November 16, 2018 at 19:42
Thanks Ray. The clap merry-go-round in Washington, D.C., with V.D. assaulting brain integrity has been long playing there with James Clapper another hand in, in favor of the continuation of those that direct the United States' war on world from Afghanistan to Syria, staying the course of firing up the world as though Northern California's Camp fire sooting up much of the state with air borne particulate matter and leaving death and destruction in its wake.
JRGJRG , November 16, 2018 at 19:29
All this is fine, except it dares not touch the still taboo subject among these "professionals" of how all of this started getting justified in the first place when America attacked itself on September 11, 2001 in New York City and Washington in the most sophisticated and flawed false flag attack in history, murdering thousands of its own citizens Operation Northwoods style, blaming it on 19 Saudi hijackers with box cutters, the most grandiose of all conspiracy theory, the official 911 story.
The incriminating evidence of what happened that day in 2001 is now absolutely overwhelming, but still too incredible and controversial for even these esteemed folks to come to grips with. If we're going to take a shower and clean all this excrement off ourselves, let's do it thoroughly.
JRGJRG , November 16, 2018 at 19:46
In fact, wait! Let's ask the really important question of Clapper.
What was he doing and where was he on 9/11, the "New Pearl Harbor," and what was his role in the coverup and transformation of the CIA in the ensuing years?
Why doesn't Ray ask him about that?
GKJames , November 16, 2018 at 06:46
(1) One needn't be a Clapper fan to say that he was merely a cog in a body politic that (a) lives and breathes using military force to "solve" geopolitical problems; and (b) has always been driven by the national myth of American exceptionalism and the American love of war. The only issue ever is the story Americans tell themselves as to why a particular assault on some benighted country that can't meaningfully shoot back is justified. But for that, there are countless clever people in the corridors of power and the Infotainment Complex always eager to spread mendacity for fun and profit. Sure, hang Clapper, but if justice is what you're after, you'd quickly run out of rope and wood.
(2) What doesn't compute: Clapper is quoted as saying that he and cohort "were so eager to help that [they] found what wasn't really there". That's followed by: "Rumsfeld put him in charge so that the absence of evidence could be hidden . Clapper now admits [that] he had to find 'what wasn't really there'". While Rumsfeld's intent was exactly that, i.e., to prevent a narrative that he and Cheney had contrived, that's not the same as Rumsfeld's explicitly instructing Clapper et al to do that. Further, it mischaracterizes Clapper's admission. He doesn't admit that "he had to find" what wasn't there (which would suggest prior intent). What he does admit is that the eagerness to please the chain of command resulted in "finding" what didn't exist. One is fraud, the other group-think; two very different propositions. The latter, of course, has been the hallmark of US foreign policy for decades, though the polite (but accurate) word for it is "consensus". Everybody's in on it: the public, Congress, the press, and even the judiciary. By and large, it's who Americans are.
(3) Does this really equate the WMD fiasco with the alleged "desperate [attempt] to blame Trump's victory on Russian interference"? Yes, Clapper was present in 2003 and 2016. But that's a thin reed. First, no reasonable person says that Russian interference was the only reason that Clinton lost. Second, to focus on what was said in January 2017 ignores the US government's notifying various state officials DURING THE CAMPAIGN in 2016, of Russian hacking attempts. If, as is commonly said, the Administration was convinced that Clinton would win, how could hacking alerts to the states have been part of an effort to explain away an election defeat that hadn't happened yet, and which wasn't ever expected to happen? And, third, as with WMDs, Clapper wasn't out there on his own. While there were, unsurprisingly, different views among intelligence officials as to the extent of the Russian role, there was broad agreement that there had been one. Once again, fraud vs. group-think.
Skip Scott , November 16, 2018 at 13:46
I think there is a big difference between "group think" and inventing and cherry picking intelligence to fit policy objectives. I believe there is ample evidence of fraud. The "dodgy dossier" and the yellow cake uranium that led to Plame being exposed as a CIA operative are two examples that come immediately to mind. "Sexed up" intelligence is beyond groupthink. It is the promoting of lies and the deliberate elimination of any counter narrative in order to justify an unjust war.
The same could be said of the "all 17 intelligence agencies" statement about RussiaGate that was completely debunked but remained the propaganda line. It was way more than "groupthink". It was a lie. It is part of "full spectrum dominance".
I do agree that "Clapper wasn't out there on his own". He is part of a team with an agenda, and in a just world they'd all be in prison.
It wasn't "mistaken" intelligence, or "groupthink". You are trying to put lipstick on a pig.
GKJames , November 17, 2018 at 07:21
Fraud is easy to allege, hard to prove. In the case of Iraq, it's important to accept that virtually everyone -- the Administration, the press, the public, security agencies in multiple countries, and even UN inspectors (before the inspections, obviously) -- ASSUMED that Saddam had WMDs. That assumption wasn't irrational; it was based on Saddam's prior behavior. No question, the Administration wanted to invade Iraq and the presumed-to-exist WMDs were the rationale. It was only when evidence appeared that the case for it wasn't rock-solid that Cheney et al went to work. (The open question is whether they began to have their own doubts or whether it never occurred to them, given their obsession.) But there is zero evidence that anyone was asked to conclude that Saddam had WMDs even though the Americans KNEW that there weren't any. That's where the group-think and weak-kneed obeisance to political brawlers like Cheney come in. All he had to do was bark, and everyone fell in line, not because they knew there were no WMDs, but because they weren't sure but the boss certainly was.
In that environment, what we saw from Clapper and his analysts wasn't fraud but weakness of character, not to mention poor-quality analysis. And maybe that gets to the bigger question to which there appears to be an allergy: Shouting Fraud! effectively shuts down the conversation. After all, once you've done that, there's not much else to say; these guys all lied and death and destruction followed. But what if the answer is just as likely that the national security state created by Truman has grown into something uncontrollable, beyond legitimate oversight by the people it's supposed to serve? What if the people in that business aren't all that clever, let alone principled? After all, the CIA is headed by a torture aficionada and we haven't heard peep from the employee base, let alone the Congress that confirmed her. That entire ecosystem has been permitted to flourish without adult supervision for decades. Whenever someone asks, "that's classified". What do you do when Americans as a whole are perfectly fine with that?
Sam F , November 18, 2018 at 08:17
But fraud from the top was shown very well by Bamford in his book Pretext For War. Where discredited evidence was retained by intel agencies, as in the Iraq War II case, traitors like the zionist Wolfowitz simply installed known zionist warmongers Perl, Feith, and Wurmser into "stovepipe" offices at CIA, DIA, NSA to send the known-bad "evidence" to Rumsfeld & Cheney.
Skip Scott , November 18, 2018 at 09:27
They seem to conveniently classify anything that could prove illegality such as fraud, or in the case of the JFK assassination, something much worse. They use tools such as redaction and classification not only to protect "national security", but to cover up their crimes.
"But what if the answer is just as likely that the national security state created by Truman has grown into something uncontrollable, beyond legitimate oversight by the people it's supposed to serve?"
I believe this is very much the case, but that doesn't preclude fraud as part of their toolkit. The people at the top of the illegalities are clever enough to use those less sharp (like Clapper) for their evil purposes, and if necessary, to play the fall guy. And although the Intelligence Agencies are supposed to serve "We the People", they are actually serving unfettered Global Capitalism and the .1% that are trying to rule the world. This has been the case from its onset.
Furthermore, I am an American, and I am definitely NOT FINE with the misuse of classification and redaction to cover up crimes. The way to fix the "entire ecosystem" is to start to demand it by prosecuting known liars like James Clapper, and to break up the MSM monopoly so people get REAL news again, and wake people up until they refuse to support the two party system.
GKJames , November 19, 2018 at 10:20
(1) Assuming you could find a DOJ willing to prosecute and a specific statute on which to bring charges, the chance of conviction is zero because the required fraudulent intent can't be proved beyond reasonable doubt. All the defendant would have to say is, We thought WMDs were there but it turned out we were wrong. Besides, the lawyers said it's all legal. And if you went after Clapper only, he'd argue (successfully) that it was a highly selective prosecution. (2) If you're going to create a whole new category of criminal liability for incompetence and/or toadyism and careerism, Langley corridors would quickly empty. It's certainly one way to reduce the federal workforce. (3) The intelligence agencies ARE serving "We the People". There isn't anything they do that doesn't have the blessing of duly elected representatives in Congress. (4) That you, yourself, are "NOT FINE" overlooks the reality that your perspective gets routinely outvoted, though not because of "evil" or "fraud". A Clapper behind bars would do zero to change that. Why? Because most Americans ARE fine with the status quo. That's not a function of news (fake or real); Americans are drowning in information. Like all good service providers, the media are giving their customers exactly what they want to hear.
Skip Scott , November 19, 2018 at 11:25
(1) It is you who is "assuming" that fraud could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. What if evidence was presented that showed that they didn't really think there were WMD's, but were consciously lying to justify an invasion. I agree that it would be nearly impossible to find a DOJ willing to prosecute within our corrupted government, but if we could get a 3rd party president to sign on to the ICC, we could ship a bunch of evil warmongers off to the Hague. (2) As already discussed, I don't buy the representation of their actions as mere "toadyism". (3) As shown by many studies, our duly elected representatives serve lobbyists and the .1%, not "We the People". Here's one from Princeton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig (4) From your earlier post: "What do you do when Americans as a whole are perfectly fine with that?" Since I am part of the "whole", your statement is obviously false. And Americans are drowning in MISinformation from our MSM, and that is a big part of the problem. And please provide evidence that most Americans are fine with the status quo. Stating that I get routinely outvoted when many Americans see their choice as between a lesser of two evils, and our MSM keeps exposure of third party viewpoints to a minimum, is an obvious obfuscation.
Sam F , November 16, 2018 at 21:01
I will second Skip on that.
The groupthink of careerists is not "who Americans are."
"Broad agreement" on an obvious fraud is a group lie.
Tom Hall , November 17, 2018 at 10:49
What Clapper did was fraud. What went on in his head was group-think. The two are by no means incompatible. The man admits to outright fabrication-
"my team also produced computer-generated images of trucks fitted out as 'mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.' Those images, possibly more than any other substantiation he presented, carried the day with the international community and Americans alike."
He knew exactly what he was doing.
wootendw , November 15, 2018 at 22:41
"Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said vehicle traffic photographed by U.S. spy satellites indicated that material and documents related to the arms programs were shipped to Syria "
Syria and Iraq became bitter enemies in 1982 when Syria backed Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. Syria even sent troops to fight AGAINST Saddam during the first Iraq War. Syria and Iraq did not restore diplomatic relations until after Saddam was captured. The idea that Saddam would send WMDs (if he had them) to Syria is ludicrous.
Zhu , November 15, 2018 at 20:54
Cheney wanted to steal the oil. Bush wanted to fulfill prophecy & make Jesus Rapture him away from his problems. Neither plan worked.
Zhu , November 15, 2018 at 20:50
Our big shots never suffer for their crimes against humanity. Occasionally a Lt. Calley will get a year in jail for a massacre, but that's it.
bostonblackie , November 16, 2018 at 13:54
Calley was placed under house arrest at Fort Benning, where he served three and a half years.
JRGJRG , November 16, 2018 at 19:16
That's like less than 2.5 days served per each defenseless My Lai villager slaughtered, massacred, in cold blood.
What kind of justice is that? Who gets away with murder that way?
Helen Marshall , November 15, 2018 at 17:41
While serving in an embassy in 2003, the junior officer in my office was chatting with the long-time local employee, after viewing the Powell Shuck and Jive. One said to the other, "the US calls North Korea part of the 'Axis of Evil' but doesn't attack it because there is clear evidence that it has WMD including nukes." And the other said "yes, and that's why the US is going to invade Iraq because we know they don't." QED
John Flanagan , November 16, 2018 at 22:25
Love this comment!
Taras 77 , November 15, 2018 at 16:36
Thanks, Ray, for an excellent article!
You are one of few who are calling out these treasonous bastards. I am still .waiting for at least some of them to do the perp walk, maybe in the presence of war widows, their children, and maimed war veterans.
Chris Fogarty , November 15, 2018 at 12:27
Clapper played the central role in deceiving America into abandoning the republic and becoming the genocidal empire now terrorizing Planet Earth. If it is too late; if the criminals have permanent control of our government, there won't be a cleansing Nuremberg Tribunal, and our once-great USA will continue along its course of death and destruction until it destroys itself.
Where are our patriots? If any exist, now is the time for a new Nuremberg.
Zhu , November 15, 2018 at 20:56
The genocidal empire goes back to 1950 the Korean War.
bostonblackie , November 16, 2018 at 13:58
How about 1945 and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
JRGJRG , November 16, 2018 at 19:08
Keep going. Further back than that.
How about the Spanish American War, justified by the false flag blowing up of the Maine in Havana Harbor, which led to the four-year genocidal war against Filipino rebels and the war against the Cubans?
How about the 19th Century genocide of Native Americans? What was that justified by, except for lust for conquest of territory and racism?
How about America's role with other western colonial powers in the 1900 Boxer Rebellion in China.
The list of American violations of international law is too long to restate here, in the hundreds.
The only way out of