Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mercenary Extremists in Eastern Ukraine

Mercenary Extremists in Eastern Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

On May 29, Itar Tass headlined "About 300 Ukrainian mercenaries from Syria fighting in south-eastern Ukraine - source."

Most "are from western regions of Ukraine, a source in the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces says." More on this below.

A previous article explained the following:

Bild am Sonntag is Germany's largest Sunday circulation broadsheet. It reported Academi operatives near Slavyansk. 

It's uncertain who hired them, it said. Washington's dirty hands are involved. Russia's Foreign Ministry said:

"(I)n the absence of support from the Ukrainian population, the Maidan government has only one option if it wants to remain in power - to mobilize any support possible from foreign sponsors, including foreign mercenaries."

"Among the candidates for the role of gendarme is the company Greystone Limited, registered in Barbados, which is integrated with the Academi corporation," it said.

"It is an analogue, or, probably, an affiliate body of the Blackwater private army, whose soldiers have been accused of committing rigorous and regular human rights abuses in troubled regions."

Note: Greystone is a private company. In 2010, it separated from Academi. Both firms maintain close ties. They operate the same way. They do so extrajudicially.

"It looks as though this practice, if it really is implemented, goes against the Ukrainian laws that ban foreign citizens from working with private security companies," said Russia's Foreign Ministry.

"Such initiatives demonstrate that those who have conquered their place in power in Kiev cannot guarantee minimal order or even their own security." 

"The question arises, what the price of this plan is and where the money will come from." 

"To what extent will the burden of spending on highly-paid foreign specialists be shifted to ordinary Ukrainians who, in connection with the painful tax increase, including taxes on gas as the precondition for securing loans from the International Monetary Fund, will have to tighten their belts even stronger?" 

Kiev putschists can't defeat Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters on their own. Mercenary extremists are enlisted to help.

So are neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs. On May 4, Fars News said Saudi Arabia shifted extremist Takfiri fighters from Syria to Ukraine.

They're Saudi and Chechnian nationals. They "receive financial and military backup from the Saudi intelligence agency…"

Weeks earlier, they arrived in Kiev. They were "immediately dispatched to Kramatosk city in Eastern Ukraine, and are now fighting beside the Ukrainian army forces against the pro-Russians under the name of militias who support the government."

A previous article explained. Fars News said Saudi Arabia wants revenge.

It wants Moscow punished for supporting Syria's Bashar al-Assad.

Last July, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan visited Moscow. He tried bribing Vladimir Putin.

In return for billions of dollars in Russian arms purchases and other economic incentives, he wanted him to stop supporting Assad.

He discovered Putin isn't for sale. He rejected Bandar's blood money. 

He "redoubled his support for the Syrian government in response to Bandar's blend of bribes and warnings," said Fars News.

He "issued his own thinly veiled threats against the Saudis."

On May 29, Itar Tass reported the latest, saying:

"About 300 Ukrainian mercenaries who fought in Syria on the opposition side against Bashar Assad returned to Ukraine in March-April and are now participating in the punitive operation of Ukrainian government forces in the southeast of Ukraine, according to a source in the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces."

"After returning from Syria, they joined the battalion of Right Sector radicals participating in the government forces' punitive operation against residents in southeastern regions of the country."

"Most of the mercenaries are from western regions of Ukraine. Among them are snipers and soldiers of Special Forces known for their cruelty." 

"They fought in more than one 'hotspot,' including in the North Caucasus where they participated in fighting against federal forces."

Kiev's war without mercy continues. It rages. According to its defense minister Mykhaylo Koval, military operations will continue until anti-government resistance is eliminated.

Scores so far died on both sides. Civilians suffered most. On Friday, Slavyansk was shelled. A children's hospital and clinic were hit.

On Wednesday, mortar fire targeted a school and kindergarten. A teacher said the roof "was simply blown away."

Luckily no children were hurt. Maybe next time they'll be killed. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay shames the office she holds.

She justifies the unjustifiable. She serves Western interests exclusively. She substitutes misinformation rubbish for hard truths.

Her words ring hollow. She "call(ed) on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that no excessive force is used, not to take discriminatory action and to avoid action that can harm the civilian population."

She sounds like Ban Ki-moon. They lie for power. They're imperial stooges. 

They say one thing. They support another. Pillay's policy papers speak louder than disingenuous words.

She blames victims for Kiev putschist crimes. According to Russia's Foreign Ministry, she "justifies the criminal punitive operation in the southeast of Ukraine…"

She "conceals casualties among peaceful civilians…" She irresponsibly blames "pro-Russian forces" for Kiev crimes. For horrific human rights violations.

For state-sponsored terrorism. For war without mercy. For murdering civilians in cold blood. For massacring them in Odessa.

For turning a blind eye to hard facts. For twisting them to fit Washington's agenda.

For "carrying out a political order to whitewash" Kiev putschists' crimes of war and against humanity.

Lugansk People's Front leader Alexiy Chmylenko said Kiev forces massed near Rubizhne and Lisichansk.

"We are receiving information that convoys of armored vehicles have been moving at a high speed to the town of Rubizhne since early morning," he said. 

"Apparently, forces are being amassed there." Self defense fighters are watching things closely. They'll resist Ukrainian aggression if launched.

On Friday, Russian presidential commissioner for children's rights Pavel Astakhov said Ukrainian forces targeted Sloviansk residential areas.

Seven children were injured. They had shrapnel and bullet wounds. Expect lots more civilian casualties as long as fighting continues.

On May 30, Voice of Russia headlined "Right Sector militants suspected of plotting terror acts detained in Crimea - Russia's FSB.

They're suspected of planning sabotage and terrorist attacks. According to an FSB press release:

"The main goal of this criminal group was to stage acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks in the cities of Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol, as well as subsequently destroy a number of vital facilities such as railway bridges and power transmission lines."

On Thursday, Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Borodai said "(e)xplosive bullets are fired and all the banned ammunition is used by the other side."

"(M)ercenaries are fighting for the Ukrainian armed forces, and they employ all possible dirty methods."

Ukrainian armed forces, National Guard and Right Sector extremists arrive daily in Eastern areas. 

"The enemy is concentrating large forces and although we know how many of them are in the area, I wouldn't like to disclose the figures, said Borodai."

"Civilians are dying every day and no-one can provide the exact death toll figures as the access to the airport is strictly forbidden at the moment," he added.

"We are unable to carry all the bodies out of there and to say exactly how many people were killed."

On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov urged world leaders to demand all sides of the Ukrainian conflict comply with Geneva agreement terms.

"We do not impose any concrete forms," he said. "But we feel the need for the international community to make concerted efforts," he stressed.

On Thursday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said:

"Yet again we demand the Kiev authorities stop the war of kith-and-kin and start real nation-wide dialogue with all political forces and representatives of the country's regions to search ways for Ukraine to overcome the deepest crisis."

"Russia expresses deep concern due to further escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine."

On Thursday, Public Broadcasting (PBS) News Hour co-anchor Gwen Ifill interviewed John Kerry.

She asked soft ball questions. She gave him a platform to lie. PBS isn't public. It's government and corporate controlled.

Earlier promises long ago were abandoned. News reporting replicates other scoundrel media.

Misinformation substitutes for hard truths. News, information, and analysis viewers most need to know is suppressed.

Featuring Kerry insulted viewers. He mocks legitimacy. He shames the office he holds.

He lied claiming "evidence of Russians crossing over (into Ukraine) to stir things up, to engage in fighting."

No evidence whatever suggests Russian involvement. Plenty shows Putin, Lavrov and other top officials go all-out for peaceful conflict resolution.

Not according to Kerry. "We hope the Russians would actually engage more proactively in efforts to now try to de-escalate," he said.

Lies infested his interview. Ifill didn't challenge him. Viewers were cheated. Ukraine's war without mercy continues. 

Crimes of war and against humanity go unreported. Victims are wrongfully blamed for doing the right thing. How things turn out remain to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Egypt's Illegitimate New President

Egypt's Illegitimate New President

by Stephen Lendman

Egypt's sham process has no legitimacy. Elections are farcical when held.

General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ran practically unopposed. Hamdeen Sabahi masqueraded as an opponent. He supports junta rule. 

On most everything that matters he's anti-democratic. Anti-populist. Anti-what ordinary Egyptians deserve.

Egyptian elections require more than one candidate. Doing so provides a veneer of legitimacy. It's fake.

Junta power runs Egypt. Sisi heads its current regime. He's Egypt's Pinochet. He's Washington's man in Cairo. 

He's a US War College graduate. He maintains close Pentagon ties. He has no legitimacy whatever. He reflects fascism writ large.

Brute force is official policy. Ousting Morsi on July 3 was reminiscent of September 11, 1973. Chileans old enough to remember won’t forget.

A reign of terror followed. Sisi governs the same way. He sentenced hundreds of opposition figures to death. Thousands were imprisoned.

Sweeping crackdowns continue. Democracy is pure fantasy. Opposition elements aren't tolerated.

It bears repeating. Elections when held are farcical. Sisi is Egypt's new strongman. He's its anointed new president.

Turnout was embarrassingly low. IkhwanWeb is the banned Muslim Brotherhood (MB) web site. On May 29, it headlined "90% of Egyptians Boycott Sham Presidential Election."

MB issued a statement saying:

"With a 90% boycott of the blood ballot - the show presidential election, the Egyptian people have dealt a serious and humiliating blow to the illegitimate coup and its so-called roadmap." 

"This is the beginning of the end of the military coup. We hail the Egyptian People's resilience and steadfastness."

"The Egyptian people have turned their back to the sham presidential elections. All the military coup's begging, pleas and threats have failed." 

"The Egyptian people have thus told the whole world that they will not abandon democratic legitimacy, freedom or dignity."

"The people of Egypt are one nation and will continue to hold high their values and their unity."

"The honorable patriotic people of Egypt affirm that they are the only authority that can grant legitimacy to those they can trust, and that the murderous military coup has no legitimacy or popularity." 

"They further affirm that they will continue to reject the coup and resist it until they defeat it completely - with God's help - and with peaceful creativity and selfless devotion, patience and determination." 

"The Egyptian people will reclaim their rights and freedom, and will write glorious new pages of their homeland's history."

Egypt's junta-controlled press reported 37%. Independent sources said around 15%. Two electoral days weren't enough. 

Propaganda didn't help. It claimed Sisi enjoyed overwhelming support. Big Lies failed to convince most Egyptians. 

Sisi mythology fell flat. His 95% landslide was farcical. More theater of the absurd than real. More fiction than fact. More surreal than legitimate.

Reuters said "lines outside polling stations in various parts of Cairo were short, and in some cases no voters could be seen on Tuesday."

Authorities were desperate. They ordered an extra day of voting. They threatened fines for anyone not doing so. TV commentators called non-voters "terrorists."

Al-Azhar is Egypt's highest Islamic authority. It called not voting tantamount to "disobeying the nation."

It didn't help. Turnout was disastrously low. It reflected widespread anti-regime sentiment. It showed most people reject Sisi.

They want democracy. The real thing. Not junta rule. Or Sisi heading things. He failed to get a popular mandate. 

He fell way short. He tried inventing one instead. He consolidated military rule. He represents state terrorism writ large.

Last July, he ousted Mohamed Morsi. Martial law followed. Egypt's constitution was suspended. 

Tanks patrolled streets. Peaceful demonstrators were murdered in cold blood.

Weeks before the election, he said he'd "finish the Muslim Brotherhood as a group" once and for all. 

He hunted them down. He rounded them up. He imprisoned them. Kangaroo court proceedings followed. Hanging judges sentenced hundreds of its members to death.

Fascist police states operate this way. Egypt is one of the worst. Obama supports what demands denunciation. 

Coup d'etat authority has no legitimacy. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Diktat power rules Egypt. Tanks patrol streets. Demonstrators are shot, killed, injured and/or arrested.

War on ordinary Egyptians continues. Against its working class. Anyone protesting junta rule. Sisi defended Egypt's anti-protest law.

He "will not let protests destroy the country," he said. His off-the-record conversation was leaked. He asked:

"Will you bear it if I make you walk on your own feet? When I wake you up at five in the morning every day?" 

"Will you bear cutting back on food, cutting back on air-conditioners?"

"People think I'm a soft man. Sisi is torture and suffering."

His comments warned Egyptians. Anyone challenging junta rule assures his wrath.

On Wednesday, Obama told graduating West Point cadets he cooperates with Sisi for "security interests."

Assuring Israel has a friendly neighbor. For both countries "shared efforts against violent extremism."

They represent the worst of its dark side. Low turnout showed most Egyptians reject it.

Pew Research showed around three-fourths of Egyptians expressed dissatisfaction with junta led governance.

Sisi is Egypt's new president. Its new strongman. Its illegitimate ruler. He represents fascism writ large.

It doesn't matter. He enjoys full US support. Including generous annual aid. 

Around $1.3 billion in military assistance in 2014. Plus another $250 million in economic support. Providing it violates US law.

The 1961 Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and 1976 Arms Export Control Act (AECA) prohibits it.

AECA permits military related sales only for defense or legitimate internal security purposes. FAA forbids aiding governments that engage:

"in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person, unless such assistance will directly benefit the needy people in such country."

The 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act's (FOAA) Leahy Law provision states:

"None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to support any training program involving a unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of Defense has received credible information from the Department of State that a member of such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, unless all necessary corrective steps have been taken."

FOAA prohibits funding foreign security forces that commit gross human rights violations unless its government "is taking effective measures to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice."

Egypt is one of many rogue states Washington supports illegally. Its high crimes against peace, equity and justice don't matter.

It receives generous aid. Obama approves it. Congress rubber-stamps it. Doing so violates US law. It's forthcoming anyway.

It bears repeating. Sisi is Washington's man in Cairo. He's one of many rogue Obama friends. 

They comprise a Noah's arc of world class scoundrels. They're part of America's war on humanity.

How long oppressed people tolerate them remains to be seen.

A Final Comment

Observers found Egypt's electoral process sorely lacking. It fell way below international standards. Eric Bjornlund heads Democracy International.

It's an election monitoring organization. "Egypt's repressive political environment made a genuinely democratic presidential election impossible, said Bjornlund.

European observers said much the same thing. Egypt's election "f(ell) short of constitutional principles."

It had no legitimacy whatever. It rubber-stamped coup e'tat rule. It prevented democratic governance. 

Junta authority runs Egypt. Challengers aren't tolerated. Rogue states operate this way. Egypt is one of the worst.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Manufacturing Crisis Irresponsibly

Manufacturing Crisis Irresponsibly

by Stephen Lendman

It's longstanding US policy. Enemies are invented when none exist. War on terror duplicity continues.

It's fake. It creates fear. It's used to justify the unjustifiable. It's to advance America's imperium. One country after another is ravaged and destroyed.

Ukraine is in the eye of the storm. So is Syria. Iran's turn awaits. Washington wants its sovereign independence eliminated. 

It wants pro-Western stooge governance replacing it. Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. 

It has no military component. It never did. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. Sixteen US intelligence agencies once said so. No longer. 

They dispel notions about a weaponized Iranian nuclear program. They do annually. It doesn't matter. 

Neocons infest Washington. Big Lies about Iran's nuclear policy persist. They do so despite public knowledge otherwise. 

Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. It wants it kept this way. It deplores nuclear weapons. It wants a nuclear-free world. 

It wants peace. It abhors war. Managed news misinformation claims otherwise.

Iran opposes violence and instability. It wants rapprochement with all nations. Especially hostile Western ones.

Ongoing P5+1 talks continue. So do efforts to subvert them. By Israel most of all. Netanyahu knows Iran's program is peaceful.

So do other Israeli hardliners. It doesn't matter. They want a Middle East rival eliminated. They want regional hegemony.

Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) spreads Big Lies. Iran is a prime target. On May 24, it headlined "The Big Charade: Nuclear diplomacy is a flop, the finale is secretly postponed to 2015."

"All hands on board the project for proving that Iran is amenable to dialogue and concessions on its nuclear program worked overtime this week to mask the truth, which is that negotiations were going nowhere," said DF.

Mid-May talks ended inconclusively, it added. It failed to explain why. Washington keeps raising the bar. 

New demands are made. Ones unrelated to Iran's nuclear program are introduced. Doing so shows bad faith. 

DF blames Iran. It does so irresponsibly. It claimed Obama officials "reached two important decisions." To change the earlier agreed on July deadline.

To "postpone (it) to January 15, 2015." Israel calls it "extremely problematic."

Iran's agreement "not to use its advanced IR2 centrifuges for rapid uranium enrichment…was valid for only six months," said DF.

According to its "military sources," Iran "will be able to reach the nuclear threshold in two to three months' time, i.e. by July-August."

Last year, Netanyahu claimed about the same thing. DF claims Obama wants congressional approval to attack Iran unilaterally "if Tehran (is) found cheating on its nuclear commitment."

He won't use it, claimed DF. It said nothing about Iran's peaceful nuclear program. It hyped nonexistent threats.

It's longstanding Israeli policy. It's like Washington's policy. Duplicity defines them.

On May 23, the IAEA said transparency measures "have been implemented by Iran as planned." It's fully complying with P5+1 interim agreement terms.

"Iran's engagement with the agency, including the provision of information, and the Agency's ongoing analysis is helping the agency to gain a better understanding of Iran's nuclear program."

Political analyst Gareth Porter calls Iranian nuclear program tensions a CIA-Mossad plot.

His new book titled "Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of Iran Nuclear Scare" discusses it.

It covers the history of Iran's nuclear program. It includes declassified US intelligence reports. Congressional speeches and documents. IAEA information.

It dispels anti-Iranian hype. Irresponsible fear-mongering. It shows Tehran's program is entirely peaceful.

No evidence whatever suggests otherwise. Plenty proves Iran's program has no military component.

Journalist Andrew Cockburn interviewed Porter. Questions focused on his new book.

He asked if Iran ever had a nuclear weapons program. In his book, Porter showed claims were "based on false history and falsified records."

They bear "no resemblance to the essential historical facts." For example:

"One would never know from the narrative available to the public over the years that Iran had been prepared in the early 1980s to rely entirely on a French-based company for enriched uranium fuel for its Bushehr reactor, rather than on enriching uranium itself," said Porter.

"Nor would one learn that the Reagan Administration sought to strangle Iran's nuclear program, which was admitted to have presented no proliferation threat, in its cradle by pressuring Germany and France to refuse to cooperate in any way."

Doing so forced Iran to the "black market." It defied "unilateral US policy." Doing so was deliberately misinterpreted. 

According to popular narrative Big Lies, it showed Tehran sought nuclear weapons.

History was reinvented to claim it. About the Iran/Iraq war. With regard to chemical weapons use.

US claims that both sides used them were false. Iraq alone did so. Not Iran. According to Porter:

"(T)he evidence is very clear that Iran never used chemical weapons during the war." Claims otherwise are Big Lies.

Since the early 1990s, "senior Iranian officials (made) cogent arguments against nuclear weapons based on strategic grounds…"

Where did fake US evidence come from, asked Cockburn?

Falsified intelligence, said Porter. In 2004, it "appeared mysteriously." Supposedly from an "purloined (Iranian) laptop…"

Porter learned otherwise. Exiled Iranian "terrorist organization Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)" fabricated them.

They gave them to German intelligence. Mossad was involved. It uses MEK. It does so "to launder intelligence it (doesn't) want attributed to Israel."

"Israel (is) the only country…known to have a special office responsible for influencing news coverage of Iran’s nuclear program."

It hypes nonexistent threats. It proliferates fake evidence. It does so about Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

Why did IAEA earlier believe Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program and may still have one, asked Cockburn?

IAEA was "crucial," said Porter. Because it's allegedly neutral. Mohamed ElBaradei headed the agency from December 1997 through November 2009.

He dismissed anti-Iranian evidence. Of suspicious origin, he believed. Things changed under Yukiya Amano.

Washington chose him. According to Porter:

"A WikiLeaks cable from July 2009 reveals that Amano promised US officials he would be firmly in their camp on Iran in return for American support of his election as director general."

" 'In their camp' could only have meant that he would support the publication of the intelligence dossier - based entirely on intelligence reports and documents from Israel - that ElBaradei had refused to authorize."

Its November 2011 publication was well-timed. It supported Washington wanting "crippling international sanctions" imposed.

"How do you compare the performance of the US intelligence community on Iran with its record on Iraq," asked Cockburn?

"The same political and institutional dynamics drove both failures," said Porter. Big Lies substituted for truth.

"(T)he most ambiguous evidence" about Iran's intentions was twisted to fit US policy.

Misinformation became facts. Iran's peaceful nuclear program was called heading toward becoming weaponized.

"In other words," said Porter, "intelligence followed the policy, not the other way around."

Hard evidence about Iran's peaceful program was suppressed. So was everything contradicting Washington's official narrative.

Claims about Iran having an earlier nuclear weapons program and stopping it were falsified.

Nothing suggests Tehran ever had such a program. Plenty shows otherwise. It was systematically buried.

It bears repeating. Big Lies substitute for hard truths. They proliferated under Bush and earlier administrations.

They continued throughout Obama's tenure. They do so irresponsibly.

"How (have major media) comported (themselves) with respect to Iran," asked Cockburn?

They've been "virtually unanimous," said Porter. They regurgitate official lies. Due diligence is nonexistent.

Fact-checking is verboten. Late 2007 and early 2008 New York Times and Washington Post misinformation was deplorable.

It was "(s)ome of the most egregious," said Porter. Its sole sources were Bush administration officials.

It substituted rubbish for hard truths. It's the same today. Fiction substitutes for fact. Iran is irresponsibly vilified.

How will Iran bashing affect P5+1 talks, asked Cockburn?

"It creates serious obstacles," said Porter. It lets Israel manipulate US policy.

Claims about an Iranian "breakout" are falsified. They repeat with disturbing regularity. Neocon think tanks do so.

So-called experts are well-paid to lie. Reliable analysts are ignored. Obama is "intimidated by…breakout" misinformation, said Porter.

"(F)ear-mongering propagandists may well succeed in pushing the United States into a situation of increased tension with Iran…"

Including possible military confrontation. It's what Netanyahu "long sought," Porter stressed.

It's madness if happens. It assures regional conflict. Perhaps global. Washington's agenda risks the worst of all possible outcomes. 

Fascist regimes operate this way. America is by far the world's worst. Peace hangs by a thread. Perhaps humanity's survival.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Obama at West Point

Obama at West Point

by Stephen Lendman

On May 28, Obama addressed West Point graduates. Why anyone showed up, they'll have to explain. Commissioning ceremony is traditional. 

It requires new "US Army officers to solemnly swear (to) support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that (they) bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that (they) take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that (they) will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which (they are) about to enter so help (them) God."

They're supposed to support, respect, and abide by constitutional principles. They include all US ratified treaties and conventions. 

They're automatically US law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

Supporting a war criminal president constitutes a flagrant violation. Perhaps West Point curricula omit instruction on fundamental rule of law principles.

Perhaps nothing on constitutional law. Or US statutes relating to war. Or appropriate international laws.

Obeying them is fundamental. Failure to know them is no excuse.

Presidents take an oath of office. It's hard imagining it given how they govern. 

Obama is a former constitutional law professor. He knows the law. He taught it. He spurns it. He does so knowingly, willfully and ruthlessly.

Under the Constitution's Article II, Section one, Clause 8:

"Before (presidents) enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

It means abiding by all its provisions. Without exception. At all times. No president ever did.

Some governed better than others. Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He's guilty of high crimes too grave to ignore.

Impeaching him is a national imperative. So is prosecuting him for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.

No one is exempt. Not presidents or anyone. He belongs in prison, not high office. Accountability is long overdue.

He delivered his usual demagogic mumbo jumbo. He justified the unjustifiable. He defended the indefensible. 

"…I congratulate you on taking your place on the Long Gray Line," he said.

"You are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan."

If not there, somewhere else. America has been at war throughout its history. Every year. Every day. Without exception.

From before July 4, 1776 through today. Don't expect longstanding tradition to change. Not now. Not anytime soon.

Not likely ahead. Not while 2014 class members remain in service. Perhaps not after they retire. America is addicted to war.

Its culture reflects violence. So does its history. It's blood-drenched. 

It glorifies war. In the name of peace. It's self-destructive. Today's super-weapons make the unthinkable possible.

Hyman Rickover knew.  Decades ago. He founded America's nuclear navy. In 1982, he told Congress:

"I do not believe that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation." Then you might ask me why do I have nuclear powered ships?" 

"That is a necessary evil. I would sink them all. I am not proud of the part I played in it. I did it because it was necessary for the safety of this country." 

"That's why I am such a great exponent of stopping this whole nonsense of war. Unfortunately limits - attempts to limit war have always failed." 

"The lesson of history is when a war starts every nation will ultimately use whatever weapon it has available." 

"Every time you produce radiation, you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases for billions of years."

"I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it."  

It's the only way to live in peace. The alternative is annihilation. The choice is clear. 

The wrong one assures disaster. America is heading humanity toward it. A slow-motion train wreck looms. 

A big one. With no second chance. No coming back. Either we end wars or they'll end us.

Today's weapons make earlier ones look like toys. It bears repeating. They make the unthinkable possible.

Governments operate in a realm of their own. So do presidents. Without checks and balances. 

Unresponsive to popular interests. Or general welfare. Government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly is fantasy.

Presidents are limited only by the boundaries of what's possible. Obama and likeminded extremists take full advantage.

"America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world," said Obama.

"Those who argue otherwise - who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away - are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics."  

"Think about it. Our military has no peer. The odds of a direct threat against us by any nation are low, and do not come close to the dangers we faced during the Cold War."

"(O)ur economy remains the most dynamic on Earth; our businesses the most innovative."  

"Each year, we grow more energy independent. From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations."

"So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation."

"Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors."

"It will be your generation's task to respond to this new world."

"The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead - not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe."

"…America's willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos, and America’s failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations not only violates our conscience, but invites escalating aggression in the future."

"Here's my bottom line: America must always lead on the world stage."  

"If we don't, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership."

"For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism."

"We have been through a long season of war…You will represent a nation with history and hope on our side.  

Your charge…is not only to protect our country, but to do what is right and just."

Fact: Nation strength depends on how it's used.

Fact: For good or evil.

Fact: America is lawless.

Fact: Ruthless.

Fact: Its human rights record is deplorable.

Fact: The world's worst.

Fact: No other nation approaches its unprincipled history.

Fact: Earlier high crimes were largely internal and/or regional.

Fact: Twentieth century ones went global. 

Fact: New millennium ones elevated atrocities and other human rights abuses to an unprecedented level. 

Fact: America is guilty of virtually every crime imaginable and then some.

Fact: It's in longterm decline.

Fact: It's a pariah state.

Fact: It makes more enemies than friends.

Fact: Russia challenges America's military might.

Fact: Its nuclear strength and delivery systems are formidable.

Fact: China is heading toward becoming the world's leading economy.

Fact: Sino/Russian unity matches America's political, economic and military strength.

Fact: They're heading toward besting them.

Fact: In all respects, America becomes less of a "hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations."

Fact: Calling it an "indispensable nation" insults all other sovereign states.

Fact: So-called "Russian aggression" doesn't exist.

Fact: China's growth worries America alone, not other nations.

Fact: Washington is unnerved about becoming Number Two.

Fact: It's inevitable.

Fact: China is rising.

Fact: America is declining.

Fact: Nothing foreseeable will change things.

Fact: "The question" isn't "whether America will lead." It's how it'll adjust down a slippery slope toward ordinary status and eventual ruin.

Fact: "America's willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate" assurance of chaos.

Fact: Perhaps eventual self-destruction.

Fact: The notion that "America must always lead on the world stage (because) no one else will" insults all other sovereign states. 

Fact: "The military (West Point grads) joined is the scourge of peace, stability and survival.

Fact: "The most direct threat to America at home and abroad remain(s)" its hubris, imperial arrogance and war on humanity policy.

Fact: "Your charge" is to shift from warriors to peacemakers.

National survival depends on it. So does humanity's.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Reactions to Obama at West Point

Reactions to Obama at West Point

by Stephen Lendman

This writer's accompanying article called his address typical Obama demagogic mumbo jumbo. 

He justified the unjustifiable. He defended the indefensible. He repeated one Big Lie after another. Media scoundrels reacted.

The New York Times headlined "Obama Warns US Faces Diffuse Terrorism Threats," saying:

He "tried…to articulate his vision of the American role in the world on Wednesday, telling graduating cadets here that the nation they were being called to serve would seek to avoid military misadventures abroad, even as it confronts a new set of terrorist threats from the Middle East to Africa."

Fact: America's war on terror is subterfuge deception to advance its imperium.

Fact: America's only enemies are ones it invents.

Fact: Military adventurism is longstanding US policy.

Fact: America lurches from one war to others.

Fact: Don't expect longstanding policy to change.

An accompanying Times article headlined "Rebutting Critics, Obama Seeks Higher Bar for Military Action," saying:

"After more than five years in office, Mr. Obama has become increasingly convinced that while the United States must play a vital role beyond its borders, it should avoid getting dragged into the quicksand of international crises that have trapped some of his predecessors." 

"It is time for an end to what he called 'a long season of war.' "

Fact: Obama is the latest in a long line of US warrior presidents.

Fact: He exceeds the worst of his predecessors by far.

Fact: His rap sheet is blood-drenched.

Fact: He's responsible for millions of deaths.

Fact: He's a serial liar.

Fact: His word isn't his bond.

Fact: He says one thing.

Fact: He does another.

Fact: He waged war on humanity throughout his tenure.

Fact: Claiming he wants "a long season of war" ended rings hollow.

Fact: Expect no change ahead.

Times editors called his address "largely uninspiring." It lacked "strategic sweep," they said.

It won't likely "quiet his detractors, on the right or the left."

He "did make a strong case (for) the use of force," they said. "Mr. Obama was steady and sensible on this vital issue."

"He (correctly) endorsed military action, even unilaterally, when the country is threatened or when the security of its allies is in danger."

His "comments on China and Russia barely touched on how he plans to manage two major countries that have turned increasingly aggressive."

"(W)hat matters ultimately is his record in the next two and a half years."

Fact: Core international law is clear and unequivocal.

Fact: Military action is prohibited except in self-defense.

Fact: America does it preemptively.

Fact: Repeatedly.

Fact: Without just cause.

Fact: No nation may intervene in the internal affairs of others.

Fact: Longstanding US policy prioritizes it.

Fact: Russia and China deplore war.

Fact: They threaten no one.

Fact: Don't expect Times editors to explain.

The Washington Post headlined "Obama lays out new postwar foreign policy, stresses nonmilitary options," saying:

He "laid out his vision for a comprehensive post-9/11 foreign policy after more than a decade of war overseas, arguing for a new form of American leadership that strikes a balance between interventionism and avoiding "foreign entanglements.' "

Fact: Obama's new "vision" reflects his old one.

Fact: Wrapped up in deceptive hyperbole.

Fact: Balance isn't a US attribute.

Fact: Meddling in the affairs of other nations is longstanding US policy.

Fact: Obama's agenda for five and half years featured it.

Fact: Expect no change that matters going forward.

Washington Post contributor EJ Dionne headlined "Obama outlines doctrine where restraint makes us stronger," saying:

He "challenged his critics, at home and abroad…This is as close as we have gotten to an Obama doctrine."

He was "elect(ed) as a pragmatic antiwar candidate…(He) declared…he was opposed not to all wars but to…dumb" ones.

"It was clear Wednesday that it remains a source of pride to him that he has brought what he called 'a long season of war; to an end."

"In calling for restraint and realism - and by insisting on raising the threshold for wars of choice - Obama may yet prove himself to be the best friend American internationalists have."

Fact: Restraint isn't a US attribute.

Fact: It never was.

Fact: For sure not now.

Fact: Multiple direct and proxy wars raged throughout Obama's tenure.

Fact: They still do.

Fact: Expect no substantive change going forward.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined "Obama at West Point." Obama "skipped a few world events," they said.

He wasn't robust enough, they claimed. They called "listening to (him) trying to assemble a coherent foreign policy agenda from the record of the past five years was like watching Tom Hanks trying to survive in 'Cast Away:' " 

"Whatever's left from the wreckage will have to do."

They omitted what this writer stressed above. Obama is a serial liar. He broke every major promise made.

He says one thing. He does another. One speech sounds like others. Doublespeak duplicity defines them.

Chicago Tribune editors headlined "Obama's Strategy: Outsource the war on terror," saying:

Obama "charted a vision for protecting America that relies less on military power and more on training foreign security forces to fight on their own soil."

Fact: America is addicted to war.

Fact: It's the national pastime.

Fact: Obama's speech changed nothing.

Fact: Military might reflects official US policy.

Longstanding war on humanity won't change. Imposing Washington rules on other nations will continue.

So will targeting all independent states. America wants subservient pro-Western ones replacing them.

War is Washington's bottom line option. It's been this way since the republic's founding. It's much worse than ever now. Humanity itself is threatened.

Obama is an unindicted war criminal. He glorifies war in the name of peace. Might justifies right, he believes.

He calls imperial wars liberating ones. He ravaged and destroyed one nation after another throughout his tenure. Don't expect him to change now.                                                                                              


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Afghanistan: Permanent US Occupation Planned

Afghanistan: Permanent US Occupation Planned

by Stephen Lendman

America came to stay. Obama saying "(w)e will bring America's longest war to a responsible end" is false. It's his latest Big Lie.

His Monday statement included many others. "The United States did not seek this fight," he said.  

"We went into Afghanistan out of necessity, after our nation was attacked by al Qaeda on September 11th, 2001."  

"We went to war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies with the strong support of the American people and their representatives in Congress; with the international community and our NATO allies; and with the Afghan people, who welcomed the opportunity of a life free from the dark tyranny of extremism."

"(W)e have struck significant blows against al Qaeda's leadership, we have eliminated Osama bin Laden, and we have prevented Afghanistan from being used to launch attacks against our homeland."  

"We have also supported the Afghan people as they continue the hard work of building a democracy." 

Fact: On October 28, 2007, candidate Obama said:

"I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do." 

"I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank."

Fact: On December 1, 2009, President Obama said:

"(A)s Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan."  

Fact: After 18 months, "our troops will begin to come home," he said.

Fact: They didn't come home.

Fact: They stayed.

Fact: Afghanistan was Bush's war.

Fact: It's Obama's since January 20, 2009.

Fact: Waging it had nothing to do with necessity.

Fact: It was a war of choice.

Fact: It remains one.

Fact: It shows no signs of ending.

Fact: 9/11 was the mother of all US false flags.

Fact: It was pretext for war on terror duplicity.

Fact: It was a thinly veiled reason for maintaining Washington's permanent war policy.

Fact: It had nothing to do with striking "significant blows against al Qaeda's leadership."

Fact: Or eliminating bin Laden.

Fact: In December 2001, he died naturally from kidney disease. BBC said so at the time. So did other major media reports.

Fact: Afghanistan poses no threat to America.

Fact: Not post-9/11.

Fact: Not now.

Fact: Washington's Afghanistan war had nothing to with protecting national security.

Fact: It aimed to restore the world's largest opium supply for global heroin trafficking.

Fact: To control it.

Fact: To give Wall Street huge amounts of hot money to launder.

Fact: An estimated $1.5 trillion annually.

Fact: CIA involvement is longstanding.

Fact: So are business, financial, government and underworld figures.

Fact: Over 12 and a half years of war left millions dead.

Fact: Millions more deeply impoverished, unemployed, underemployed, without basic services and immiserated.

Fact: America deplores democracy at home and abroad.

Fact: Afghanistan democracy is fantasy.

Fact: Its elections are more farcical than real.

Fact: Fraud substitutes for a free and open process. 

Fact: Voters have no say. 

Fact: Pentagon commanders consider Afghanistan extremely important.

Fact: It's strategically located.

Fact: It straddles the Middle East, South and Central Asia. 

Fact: It's in the heart of Eurasia.

Fact: It's perhaps the world's largest land-based aircraft carrier.

Fact: Occupation projects America's military might.

Fact: It targets Russia, China, Iran, and other oil-rich Middle East states.

Fact: It advances America's imperium. 

Fact: It serves its aim for unchallenged global dominance. 

Fact: It seeks control over Afghan's untapped natural gas, oil and other mineral resources.

Fact: They're huge.

Fact: They're worth an estimated $1 trillion.

Fact: Perhaps more.

Fact: They include gas, iron, cobalt, gold, other minerals, and over 90% of global opium used for heroin production.

Fact: Afghanistan is considered the Saudi Arabia of lithium. 

Fact: It's essential for modern industry.

Fact: It's vital for producing batteries, laptops and other key products.

Fact: Afghanistan is at the crossroads of vital pipeline routes.

Fact: It represents huge potential.

Fact: An economic bonanza awaits profiteers.

Fact: Afghans won't benefit.

Fact: Surviving concerns them most.

Fact: Violence continues daily.

Don't expect Obama's drawdown to change things. Perhaps it won't come. Earlier promises he made were broken.

Several times during his tenure he promised an Afghanistan exit plan. Letting Afghan forces replace US ones.

Shifting America's mission from combat to support. Ending its longest war.

In January 2013, he said "transition is well underway. Plans are for Afghan forces to replace Americans." 

By yearend 2014, they'll "have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end."

By spring 2013, "our troops will have a different mission - training, advising, assisting Afghan forces. It will be a historic moment and another step toward full Afghan sovereignty."

"Afghanistan (has) a long-term partner in the United States of America."

US Special Forces and CIA elements came to stay. Search and destroy missions are prioritized.

Drone wars continue. They're instruments of state terror. They don't make America safer. Or Afghanistan and neighboring countries.

Mostly noncombatant civilians are killed. Few so-called high value ones. Claims otherwise are false. 

All wars are based on Big Lies. They're sold to gullible Americans. Facts are twisted to fit US policy.

It bears repeating, America came to Afghanistan to stay. Super-bases were built to accommodate US forces.

Tens of thousands of private military contractors supplement them. They're staying. 

Their skills range from technical to hired guns like Blackwater (now Academi).

Afghans deplore war. They want peace. They want America, its minions and related elements out.

They want their country back. Months earlier, an unnamed European diplomat said:

"Never in history has any superpower spent so much money, sent so many troops to a country, and had so little influence over" what followed.

As long as Afghanistan remains strategically important, US forces and influence will remain.

Troop numbers can surge any time. By presidential diktat. Pretexts are easy to invent. Fictitious enemies make it easy to do so.

Washington's current Afghanistan troop strength numbers around 32,000. Obama announced a reduction to 9,800. By end of 2014.

To 4,000 by end of 2015, he said. Mostly in Kabul and Bagram air base. By end of 2016, an unspecified number of US forces will remain.

To protect America's embassy, Obama said. To maintain a so-called "security assistance component." At least 1,000 US forces will be involved, he said.

After 2014, they'll no longer patrol Afghan "cities, towns, mountains and valleys." So-called "cooperat(ion)" will follow. For "training" purposes.

For "anti-terrorism operations against remnants of Al Qaeda." Since the 1980s, Al Qaeda and similar groups have been used strategically as enemies and allies. Obama didn't explain.

Washington needs a Status of Forces (SOFA) agreement to stay. It establishes the framework under which US forces operate abroad. 

The Department of Defense Technical Information Center calls them agreements "that define the legal position of a 'visiting' military force deployed in the territory of a friendly state." 

They delineate "the status of visiting military forces (and) may be bilateral or multilateral." 

"Provisions pertaining to the status of visiting forces may be set forth in a separate agreement, or they may form a part of a more comprehensive agreement." 

"These provisions describe how the authorities of a visiting force may control members of that force and the amenability of the force or its member to the local law or to the authority of local officials." 

"To the extent that agreements delineate matters affecting the relations between a military force and civilian authorities and population, they may be considered as civil affairs agreements."

Occupied countries get little choice. Pentagon officials draft provisions. They're largely one way. 

The late Chalmers Johnson explained them saying:

"America's foreign military enclaves, though structurally, legally, and conceptually different from colonies, are themselves something like microcolonies in that they are completely beyond the jurisdiction of the occupied nation." 

"The US virtually always negotiates a 'status of forces agreement' (SOFA) with the ostensibly independent 'host' nation."

They're a modern day version of 19th century China's "extraterritoriality" agreements. 

They granted foreigners charged with crimes the "right" to be tried by his (or her) own government under his (or her) own national law.

Most SOFAs prevent local courts from exercising legal jurisdiction over American personnel. 

Even those committing murder and rape are exempt unless US officials yield to local authorities. Usually, offenders are whisked out of countries before they ask.

America's total number of SOFAs is unknown. Most are secret. Some are too embarrassing to reveal. 

America has hundreds of known, shared, and secret bases in over 150 countries.

Johnson said they "usurp, distort, or subvert whatever institutions of democratic (or other form of) government may exist with the host society."

Their presence assures trouble. It includes murder, rape, theft, drunken driving, and other crimes. 

Locals also face unacceptable noise, pollution, environmental destruction, appropriated public land, and US personnel mindless of local laws, customs, and rights of ordinary people.

Locals lose control of their lives. They have no say. They have virtually no chance for redress. They're most harmed when occupations are permanent.

Current US-installed Afghan president Hamid Karzai refused to sign a SOFA. Presidential runoff candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said they'll support one.

Afghans have no say. Or Americans. They're tired of wars without end. Over 80% oppose them. 

They want them ended. They want long overdue vital domestic issues addressed. They want them prioritized.

Wars without mercy remain official US policy. Public opposition won't stop them. They continue. It's the American way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour