Hollywood Propaganda: Why do Critics Love “American Sniper”?

NOVANEWS
Global Research
american sniper

I watched American Sniper the other night and it really is the most puerile propaganda imaginable. It is not even as though it is simply unfair to the “enemy” – that is, mostly ordinary Iraqis, who are shown to be ruthless and heartless killers filled with irrational hatred for the American soldiers sent to liberate them from … well, in this re-write of history it is seemingly from al-Qaeda. It is equally unfair to the US soldiers there, presenting them either as good guys being heroes or as good guys being traumatised by their exposure to the natives’ savagery.

And, of course, it also massively distorts the truth about Chris Kyle – a man who at best was so blinkered by his own childish jingoism that, by his own account, he never entertained a doubt about killing “Arabs”, even women and children, and at worst was a psychopath whom the US army gave a licence to go on a killing spree.

But even if one ignores the movie’s politics and its absolute failure to grasp documented facts about the invasion of Iraq and instead assesses it purely on its technical aspects, it’s a pedestrian affair at most. The romantic scenes, for example, are cliched and poorly written.

In other words, the only reason audiences could be raving about American Sniper, ensuring it becomes one of the biggest-grossing films in history, is that it closely aligns with the mood of self-pity that currently dominates in the US: the sense that those dark-skinned foreigners we tried to liberate were not only evil but, worse, ungrateful too.

Matt Tabibi has a good piece in Rolling Stone that sums up my feelings about the film. But one thing he doesn’t address is this: why, if it’s so clearly a mediocre film that soft-soaps the central character, ignores or deceives its audience on the context that brought soldiers like Kyle to Iraq, and has a plot that ought to embarrass a Walt Disney production, do 83% of “top critics” on a review aggregator site like Rotten Tomatoes give it the thumbs up?

In practice, “top critics” means the 50 or so film reviewers who work for the most prestigious US media outlets. So almost all of the US media’s supposedly finest critical minds are in agreement in lavishing praise on this dud. It is apparently “breath-taking”, “gripping” and “emotionally complex”. Or it is if the only complexity that interests you is whether Kyle gets to save another US soldier from the dark-skinned bad guys before he succumbs to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Reading the US reviews of American Sniper is a good way to remind ourselves not only of the critical role Hollywood plays in popularising lies about the West’s recent history and in sanitising our crimes, but also of the vital role the mainstream media play in giving these simplistic and duplicitous fables an aura of ethical complexity and intellectual respectability.

 

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The Persians Are Coming!

NOVANEWS
 

“The Iranians are on the march,” warned John McCain Sunday.
“Iran is building a new Persian Empire,” echoed Col. Ralph Peters.

So alarmed is Speaker Boehner, he invited Bibi Netanyahu to come and challenge U.S. policy toward Iran from the same podium where the president delivered his State of the Union address.

Bibi will make the case for new U.S. sanctions on Iran; sanctions that Obama has said he will veto as they would sabotage talks on Iran’s nuclear program and potentially put us on the road to war.

Why are Bibi’s insights needed?

Because, says Sen. Robert Menendez, the outgoing chairman of foreign relations, White House statements sound like “talking points from Tehran.” This beloved poodle of AIPAC is always a strong contender for best in show.

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence … a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

So warned our first and greatest president in his Farewell Address.

But this column is not about how Washington would weep at what has become of this Republic, nor a polemic against the corruption of a capital where the currency is campaign cash and national policy is the commodity bought and sold.

The issue is whether Iran represents a threat to our security worth risking a war. For that is where many, including Bibi, want us to go.

Last week’s panic was triggered by the ouster of the pro-American Yemeni President by Houthi rebels. Suddenly, we heard wails that Iran has now captured four Arab capitals — Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Sanaa.

“Death to America, death to Israel,” is a slogan of the Houthis who are a Shia minority in Sunni Yemen. But who do the Houthis view as their mortal foes?

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP. Our enemy, too.

The crown jewel of the new “Persian Empire” is said to be Iraq. So how did the Iranian imperialists manage to acquire it?

George Bush sent an army up to Baghdad, ousted Iran’s greatest enemy, Saddam, disbanded his army, smashed his state, and brought to power a Shia majority with religious and historic bonds to Iran.

A masterstroke of Bismarckian brilliance. And both parties voted in Congress to authorize it. Mission Accomplished! — as they say in Tehran.

As for Damascus, Iran is but backing the Alawite Shia regime of Bashar Assad, whose father, Hafez Assad, was Bush I’s ally in Desert Storm.

As for Beirut, Hezbollah arose as a resistance movement when Ariel Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982.

Yitzhak Rabin would come to regret the consequences: “We let the Shia genie out of the bottle.”

Looking over the chaos that is the Middle East today, we see failed states in Libya, Yemen and Syria, with Iraq and Afghanistan perhaps next.

A strategic disaster, largely of our own making. But if al-Qaeda and ISIS are our real enemies now, Iran, Hezbollah, Assad and the Houthis are all de facto allies, fighting on the same side with us.

Alarmists may see a new Persian Empire threatening all mankind.

A closer look reveals a Shia minority in a Sunni-dominated world where Shia are despised heretics. And of all the terrorist organizations we have the most reason to fear and hate — al-Qaida, Islamic State, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram — none is Shia, all are Sunni.

What about Iran’s drive to build a nuclear bomb?

Well, Israel has 100-300 atom bombs. America has thousands. Iran’s Muslim neighbor Pakistan has scores. And Iran? She has no bomb.

Iran has never tested a nuclear device. She has never produced weapons-grade uranium. Her Fordow underground plant now has IAEA inspectors and its 20-percent-enriched uranium is all being diluted. Construction of the heavy-water reactor at Arak has been halted. Half of Iran’s centrifuges are not operating. There are International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and cameras blanketing Iran’s program.

The U.S. intelligence community has twice said Iran has no nuclear bomb program. And the most recent finding, 2011, has never been reversed by the Director of National Intelligence.

And just how credible a foreign leader has Boehner invited to undercut his own president’s credibility?

This is the same Bibi who told the Jewish community of Los Angeles in 2006, “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany … racing to arm itself with atomic bombs.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.” Bibi even had the war plans:

“Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran’s tour of destruction, but at [Tehran's] planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year, [the arsenal] will be directed against ‘the big Satan,’ the U.S.”

Twenty-five Iranian nuclear bombs a year! What bullhockey it all was.

Boehner seem to have concluded that new sanctions on Iran, even if it aborts negotiations and brings on a war with Iran, will be rewarded by the electorate in 2016.

Perhaps. But if this is where the GOP is heading, we’ll be getting off here.

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Obama defends U.S.-Saudi ties

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U.S. President Barack Obama has defended the U.S. government’s willingness to cooperate closely with Saudi Arabia on national security issues despite increasing concerns over human rights abuses in the kingdom.
U.S. President Obama on Tuesday cut short his visit to India in order to meet with the new Saudi king in capital Riyadh and offer his condolences on the death of King Abdullah last week.
Saudi Arabia’s status as one of Washington’s highly important allies has often trumped concerns over human rights in the country and “terrorist” funding that reportedly flows from the kingdom.
The U.S. president has said that applying steady pressure over human rights during his visit has been most effective.
“Sometimes we need to balance our need to speak to them about human rights issues with immediate concerns we have in terms of counterterrorism or dealing with regional stability,” Obama said in a CNN interview that aired in advance of Obama’s arrival in Riyadh.
Obama has suggested that during his visit he would not be raising concerns regarding about Saudi Arabia’s flogging of blogger Raif Badawi, who was convicted of insulting Islam on an online forum for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.
Badawi is due to undergo 50 lashes every week after Friday prayers, which will continue for 20 weeks until his punishment is complete.
The United States had previously appealed to Saudi Arabia to cancel the sentence.
Despite differences the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have worked closely on issues concerning the region. Most recently, the kingdom joined the U.S. in launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.
Obama has acknowledged that U.S. willingness to pursue closer ties with Saudi Arabia has in light of the kingdom’s human rights record has often made American allies uncomfortable.
The U.S. president has said that he will continue ties with Saudi Arabia saying: “The trend-line is one that I will sustain throughout the rest of my presidency.”
This young Saudi Prince could become next big Saudi power broker
Since Obama already congratulated King Salman on his accession via telephone on January 24, the meeting with new Saudi king in capital Riyadh could be more substantive.
It is not the first time the two men have met. Salman was at King Abdullah’s desert camp outside Riyadh when Obama visited in March 2014 and also held talks in the Oval Office when he visited Washington in April 2012, before his appointment as crown prince later that year.
The U.S. readout on the latter meeting was a model of brevity and generalities: the two men affirmed the strong and enduring partnership between their countries and discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues.
There are many reports that the seventy-eight-year-old Salman is no longer up to the job mentally.
President Obama will doubtless meet with other top officials as well, including Salman’s half-brother Crown Prince Muqrin and their nephew Muhammad bin Nayef (a.k.a. MbN), the new deputy crown prince.
But the more interesting prospective attendee will be the king’s son Muhammad bin Salman (MbS), newly promoted to defense minister and head of the royal court.
Still in his early thirties, MbS — as he will doubtless become known — has emerged out of nowhere in the past two years to become his father’s closest advisor.
Apparently a bureaucratic infighter par excellence, he is credited with forcing the removal of four deputy defense ministers in fifteen months.
The last to go was Prince Khaled bin Bandar, who resigned in June 2014 after just six weeks on the job. Khaled, who is yet to be replaced, was subsequently made head of intelligence by the late king. One certain absentee is veteran foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, who is recovering from recent back surgery in the United States.
Some media outlets like Palestine Samaa TV have said Saud al-Faisal will be replaced with Prince Sultan, one of King Salman’s sons.
The meeting will likely be an opportunity for King Salman to raise the profile of some of his other sons, a well-established prerogative of being monarch. Prince Khaled bin Salman is an F-15 pilot who took part in coalition raids on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group targets in Syria last September.
Prince Sultan, head of the antiquities and tourism commission, was the first Saudi astronaut. Prince Abdulaziz is the long-serving assistant oil minister. Prince Faisal, who has a doctorate in international relations from Oxford, is the governor of Medina, the holiest city in Islam after Mecca.
One test of the meeting’s success could be the presence or absence of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington who served as head of intelligence until U.S. officials forced his removal last April because of differences over tactics against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
King Abdullah retained him as a special advisor, and he was a fixture of many top-level Saudi meetings, but his presence would be anathema to the U.S. side.
Whatever the final communiqué says, the subjects most likely to be discussed are Syria, Iran, ISIL, and oil prices.
The most interesting question for President Obama will be whether King Salman and his team of advisors have an order of priority that differs from King Abdullah’s. The answer is unlikely to be shared publicly but could be reflected in U.S. policy in the coming months.

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‘U.S. presidents, responsible for misguided policies in Iraq, Libya and Syria that encouraged rise of ISIL’

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The operator of the institute of Post-Communist Studies said “the terrorists were encouraged by our mistakes (Western Countries) and misunderstandings.”
Dr. Jiri Valenta said in an interview with Tasnim News agency that “my wife, Leni, and I, in a major study, are re-evaluating the impact of other U.S. military interventionism in the Middle East. We view both Democratic and Republican presidents as responsible for misguided policies in Iraq, Libya and Syria that encouraged the rise of ISIL.”
Following is the text of the interview:
- As you know France in early days of this month experienced terrorist attacks carried out by extremists, why some currents use the incident to pursue Islamophobia?
First, most people understand that there are moderate, peace loving Muslims and they are in the majority. Surely one of the heroes of the day was a Muslim worker in the Paris Kosher supermarket that ushered shoppers into a freezer so that they could not be killed. “Je suis Muslim.” No one is trying to foment “Islamophobia,” as you call it. The anger is directed not towards all Muslims, but only towards the terrorists. They are the people who believe that only they have the right to inhabit this planet and that everybody else deserves to be shot, beheaded, crucified, raped, enslaved or mutilated. Like our president (Obama), you refer to them as “extremists,” but the proper term in use is “terrorists.”
How can you expect us not to despise and fear groups like al-Qaeda, ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), and Boko Haram that financially support and encourage acts of terror by sleeper cells in Europe and perhaps America? We do question why moderate and peace-loving Muslims are not speaking out more loudly against the radicals and organizing large demonstrations against them. One must assume they are frightened of them.
- In past years western countries made it easy for extremists to join terrorist groups in the Middle East and supplied these groups with arms and money. Does such behavior in support of extremist groups, effect on improving their activities in west? 
If I understood you correctly this is a good question. Thirty years ago, traveling to the Khyber Pass and Peshawar in Pakistan, I was outspoken in my criticism of the Soviet intervention and occupation of Afghanistan. My country also helped the Mujahedeen with arms and supplies. My articles were published in Turkish and Arabic. I had very good ties with the moderate Mujahedeen’s who saw Soviet imperialism as the main threat. I even invited one leader to lecture at the University of Miami. His visit was supported by the Jewish community, concerned then about Soviet expansionism.
Things changed – and the Mujahedeens turned against us as we learned in the September 11, 2001 attack on our homeland.
Naturally, the subsequent U.S. Intervention and victory against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was justifiable punishment and self-defense. But now, my wife, Leni, and I, in a major study, are re-evaluating the impact of other U.S. military interventionism in the Middle East. We view both Democratic and Republican presidents as responsible for misguided policies in Iraq, Libya and Syria that encouraged the rise of ISIL.
Without going into details, our analysts and leaders believed these countries were ready for “Arab Spring” (Islamic Awakening) democratic transformation. Mea Culpa! I plead guilty too, as in the Washington Times; I was perhaps the first to use the term “de-Bathization” for Iraq.  But Iraq was more complex than we anticipated. Creating this country, Churchill put together Shias, Sunnis and Kurds figuring perhaps that they could live and work together like the Christians and Protestants who once were at each other´s throats. But it was naïve to think we could imbue the Iraqis with our values and political culture.  Thus it would have been better to overthrow Saddam Hussein with a small force and then withdraw at the earliest convenience. We should have helped to replace him with an enlightened and strong military figure presiding over a junta consisting of senior representatives of all three ethnic groups. Such a leader could have possibly established law and order. De-Nazification and nation-building were good policies to pursue in a European country like Germany, with some Western values. It was unworkable in Iraq.
The terrorists were encouraged by our mistakes and misunderstandings.  Brent Scowcroft, President George H Bush’s former National Security Advisor, warned us not to engage in nation building and he was right. ISIL is a partly a product of this misguided policy. Then, Obama went to another extreme. He pulled out of Iraq without leaving any small force that would train native troops and help maintain stability.
Gaddafi in Libya supported terrorists and ordered the bombing of a Pan Am flight. Nevertheless, he gave up his nuclear program fearing a U.S. military invasion. On balance, we should have not led from behind. But in front of the coalition that intervened. Here too, w should have tried to install an enlightened military leader who would not tolerate the terrorists´ militia now running the country.
- The entire world condemned Paris attacks, but as you know the Charlie Hebdo attack was because of the magazine’s insulting cartoons; however the French satirical weekly published them again. How do you evaluate this event?
I am not in favor of religious provocation of any kind. I do not believe in insulting heads of foreign states or religious figures. One should use civility and not hurt national pride. However, there is no way for us to look at the massacres of the Charlie Hebdo editorial board and the Kosher supermarket shoppers as anything but deplorable and shocking murders. They were counterproductive and hurt the Muslim cause in the world. Charlie Hebdo was a small, satirical journal with 20,000 copies weekly. It was not a threat.
-After Paris attacks some officials said these events are not Islam so what is your Idea about the Real Islam and extremism?
I was fortunate to learn about the positive side of Islam from two of my colleagues at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Professor, Kamal Said of Baghdad and one of the best experts on Afghanistan, Professor Ralph Magnus. I studied the holy Quran with Said and I recognized that you can find the message of peace and tranquility in it. The Quran can be interpreted in different ways and so can the principle contact of “Jihad.” It has different meanings – Holy war, but also spiritual renewal.

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Russia In The Cross Hairs

NOVANEWS

Washington’s Threats have moved Into the Realm of Insanity

Global Research

 

Washington’s attack on Russia has moved beyond the boundary of the absurd into the realm of insanity.

The New Chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andrew Lack, has declared the Russian news service, RT, which broadcasts in multiple languages, to be a terrorist organization equivalent to Boko Haram and the Islamic State, and Standard and Poor’s just downgraded Russia’s credit rating to junk status.

Today RT International interviewed me about these insane developments.

In prior days when America was still a sane country, Lack’s charge would have led to him being laughed out of office. He would have had to resign and disappear from public life. Today in the make-believe world that Western propaganda has created, Lack’s statement is taken seriously. Yet another terrorist threat has been identified–RT. (Although both Boko Haram and the Islamic State employ terror, strictly speaking they are political organizations seeking to rule, not terror organizations, but this distinction would be over Lack’s head. Yes, I know. There is a good joke that could be made here about what Lack lacks. Appropriately named and all that.)

Nevertheless, whatever Lack might lack, I doubt he believes his nonsensical statement that RT is a terrorist organization. So what is his game?

The answer is that the Western presstitute media by becoming Ministries of Propaganda for Washington, have created large markets for RT, Press TV, and Al Jazeera. As more and more of the peoples of the world turn to these more honest news sources, Washington’s ability to fabricate self-serving explanations has declined.

RT in particular has a large Western audience. The contrast between RT’s truthful reporting and the lies spewed by US media is undermining Washington’s control of the explanation. This is no longer acceptable.

Lark has sent a message to RT. The message is: pull in your horns; stop reporting differently from our line; stop contesting the facts as Washington states them and the presstitutes report them; get on board or else.

In other words, the “free speech” that Washington and its EU, Canadian, and Australian puppet states tout means: free speech for Washington’s propaganda and lies, but not for any truth. Truth is terrorism, because truth is the major threat to Washington.

Washington would prefer to avoid the embarrassment of actually shutting down RT as its UK vassal did to Press TV. Washington simply wants to shut up RT. Lark’s message to RT is: self-censure.

In my opinion, RT already understates in its coverage and reporting as does Al Jazeera. Both news organizations understand that they cannot be too forthright, at least not too often or on too many occasions.

I have often wondered why the Russian government allows 20 percent of the Russian media to function as Washington’s fifth column inside Russia. I suspect the reason is that by tolerating Washington’s blatant propaganda inside Russia, the Russian government hopes that some factual news can be reported in the US via RT and other Russian news organizations.

These hopes, like other Russian hopes about the West, are likely to be disappointed in the end. If RT is closed down or assimilated into the Western presstitute media, nothing will be said about it, but if the Russian government closes down Washington’s agents, blatant liars all, in the Russian media, we will hear forever about the evil Russians suppressing “free speech.” Remember, the only allowable “free speech” is Washington’s propaganda.

Only time will tell whether RT decides to be closed down for telling the truth or whether it adds its voice to Washington’s propaganda.

The other item in the interview was the downgrading of Russian credit to junk status.

Standard and Poor’s downgrade is, without any doubt, a political act. It proves what we already know, and that is that the American rating firms are corrupt political operations. Remember the Investment Grade rating the American rating agencies gave to obvious subprime junk? These rating agencies are paid by Wall Street, and like Wall Street they serve the US government.

A look at the facts serves to establish the political nature of the ruling. Don’t expect the corrupt US financial press to look at the facts. But right now, we will look at the facts.

Indeed, we will put the facts in context with the US debt situation.

According to the debt clocks available online, the Russian national debt as a percentage of Russian GDP is 11 percent. The American national debt as a percentage of US GDP is 105 percent, about ten times higher. My coauthors, Dave Kranzler, John Williams, and I have shown that when measured correctly, the US debt as a percent of GDP is much higher than the official figure.

The Russian national debt per capita is $1,645. The US national debt per capita is
$56,952.

The size of Russia’s national debt is $235 billion, less than one quarter of a trillion. The size of the US national debt is $18 trillion, 76.6 times larger than the Russian debt.

Putting this in perspective: according to the debt clocks, US GDP is $17.3 trillion and Russian GDP is $2.1 trillion. So, US GDP is 8 times greater than Russian GDP, but US national debt is 76.6 times greater than Russia’s debt.

Clearly, it is the US credit rating that should have been downgraded to junk status. But this cannot happen. Any US credit rating agency that told the truth would be closed and prosecuted. It wouldn’t matter what the absurd charges are. The rating agencies would be guilty of being anti-american, terrorist organizations like RT, etc. and so on, and they know it. Never expect any truth from any Wall Street denizen. They lie for a living.

According to this site: [1] the US owes Russia as of January 2013 $162.9 billion. As the Russian national debt is $235 billion, 69 percent of the Russian national debt is covered by US debt obligations to Russia.

If this is a Russian Crisis, I am Alexander the Great.

As Russia has enough US dollar holdings to redeem its entire national debt and have a couple hundred billion dollars left, what is Russia’s problem?

One of Russia’s problems is its central bank. For the most part, Russian economists are the same neoliberal incompetents that exist in the Western world. The Russian economists are enamored of their contacts with the “superior” West and with the prestige that they image these contacts give them. As long as the Russian economists agree with the Western ones, they get invited to conferences abroad. These Russian economists are de facto American agents whether they realize it or not.

Currently, the Russian central bank is squandering the large Russian holdings of foreign reserves in support of the Western attack on the ruble. This is a fools’ game that no central bank should play. The Russian central bank should remember, or learn if it does not know, Soros’ attack on the Bank of England.

Russian foreign reserves should be used to retire the outstanding national debt, thus making Russia the only country in the world without a national debt. The remaining dollars should be dumped in coordinated actions with China to destroy the dollar, the power basis of American Imperialism.

Alternatively, the Russian government should announce that its reply to the economic warfare being conducted against Russia by the government in Washington and Wall Street rating agencies is default on its loans to Western creditors. Russia has nothing to lose as Russia is already cut off from Western credit by US sanctions. Russian default would cause consternation and crisis in the European banking system, which is exactly what Russia wants in order to break up Europe’s support of US sanctions.

In my opinion, the neoliberal economists who control Russian economic policy are a much greater threat to the sovereignty of Russia than economic sanctions and US missile bases. To survive Washington, Russia desperately needs people who are not romantic about the West.

To dramatize the situation, if President Putin will grant me Russian citizenship and allow me to appoint Michael Hudson and Nomi Prins as my deputies, I will take over the operation of the Russian central bank and put the West out of operation.

But that would require Russia taking risks associated with victory. The Atlanticist Integrationists inside the Russian government want victory for the West, not for Russia. A country imbued with treason inside the government itself has reduced chance against Washington, a determined player.

Another fifth column operating against Russia from within are the US and German funded NGOs. These American agents masquerade as “human rights organizations,” as “women’s rights organizations,” as “democracy organizations,” and whatever other cant titles that serve in a politically correct age and are unchallengeable.

Yet another threat to Russia comes from the percentage of the Russian youth who lust for the depraved culture of the West. Sexual license, pornography, drugs, self-absorption. These are the West’s cultural offerings. And, of course, killing Muslims.

If Russians want to kill people for the fun of it and to solidify US hegemony over themselves and the world, they should support “Atlanticist integration” and turn their backs on Russian nationalism. Why be Russian if you can be American serfs?

What better result for the American neoconservatives than to have Russia support Washington’s hegemony over the world? That is what the neoliberal Russian economists and the “European Integrationists” support. These Russians are willing to be American serfs in order to be part of the West and to be paid well for their treason.

As I was interviewed about these developments by RT, the news anchor kept trying to confront Washington’s charges with the facts. It is astonishing that the Russian journalists do not understand that facts have nothing to do with it. The Russian journalists, those independent of American bribes, think that facts matter in the disputes about Russian actions. They think that the assaults on civilians by the American supported Ukrainian Nazis is a fact. But, of course no such fact exists in the Western media. In the Western media the Russians, and only the Russians, are responsible for violence in Ukraine.

Washington’s story line is that it is the evil Putin’s intent on restoring the Soviet Empire that is the cause of the conflict. This media line in the West has no relationship to any facts.

In my opinion, Russia is in grave danger. Russians are relying on facts, and Washington is relying on propaganda. For Washington, facts are not relevant. Russian voices are small compared to Western voices.

The lack of a Russian voice is due to Russia itself. Russia accepted living in a world controlled by US financial, legal, and telecommunication services. Living in this wold means that the only voice is Washington’s.

Why Russia agreed to this strategic disadvantage is a mystery. But as a result of this strategic mistake, Russia is at a disadvantage.

Considering the inroads that Washington has into the Russian government itself, the economically powerful oligarchs and state employees with Western connections, as well as into the Russian media and Russian youth, with the hundreds of American and German financed NGOs that can put Russians into the streets to protest any defense of Russia, Russia’s future as a sovereign country is in doubt.

The American neoconservatives are relentless. Their Russian opponent is weakened by the success inside Russia of Western cold war propaganda that portrays the US as the savior and future of mankind.

The darkness from Sauron America continues to spread over the world.

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Viewing American Sniper

NOVANEWS

by Dr: Richard Falk

Viewing American Sniper

[American Sniper was released on Christmas Day, 2014. It is a movie version of Chris Kyle’s memoir, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, with 255 kills, 160 officially confirmed by the Department of Defense. The movie set in Iraq is directed by Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper plays the part of Chris Kyle, and Sienna Miller is brilliantly cast in the role of his wife, Taya]

American Sniper is a fictionalized movie version of the war stories associated with Chris Kyle’s experience as a Navy SEAL in the Iraq War as recounted in his best-selling memoir. The film can be viewed from a variety of angles, including even as one more indictment of war as hell. A second line of interpretation focuses on the intense psychological tensions experienced by this single American soldier and his comrades caught up in the horrors of urban warfare in Iraq.  A connected theme are the adverse impacts of Kyle’s war service on his family that is made to cope with the complex and contradictory traumas of his absence (confronting his potential death on a distant battlefield) and his alienated presence whenever he returns, a scarred individual who longs to go back to Iraq to resume his assigned role as ‘legendary sniper.’  Multiple scenes in the movie portray Kyle as haunted by his service. In his book, Kyle consistently treats his victims as “savage, despicable.” At one point he makes such statements as “I only wish I had killed more,” “I loved what I did. I still do. If circumstances were different – if my family didn’t need me – I’d be back in a heartbeat. I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun. I had the time of my life being a SEAL.” The film avoids giving emphasis such to extreme statements, but it does portray this sniper as convinced he was cut out for the combat role given to him, and that he seems more alive and content when active in the killing fields of Iraq than when back home.

Kyle’s own violent death is also metaphorically significant—actual events disclosed by text in the film but not depicted, Kyle was killed by an American soldier wounded in Iraq whom he had helped at a nearby veterans’ hospital where he worked at the advice of a psychiatrist to overcome his own version of PTSD. Such an ending of his life conveys the irony that for Kyle the more dangerous battlefield turned out to be in the neighborhood of his family residence, his assailant not the evil ‘savages’ he mowed down in Iraq but a fellow American veteran who had experienced those very same encounters. Kyle had survived four tours of duty as a sniper in the midst of the most bloody military operations in Iraq, but these survival skills proved irrelevant to the minefields of innocence that now made the American countryside a dangerous war zone.

From box office success and right-wing praise, American Sniper, is obviously most commonly regarded as a celebration of Chris Kyle as war hero who deserves the thankful praise of the country. From this outlook, Kyle killed enemies of America at great risk and cost to himself, and spared the country a repetition of the 9/11 attacks. It is this self-serving and essentially distorted vindication of the Iraq War that the film presupposes, even to the extent of having Kyle watch on TV as the plane strikes the World Trade Center, with a quick scene shift in the movie to waging war against those presupposed to be the foot soldiers of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Embedded in this view was a double false narrative that the American mission in Iraq was to carry out a necessary counter-terrorism operation linked to the 9/11 attacks and that the Iraqis being killed in Falluja and elsewhere should be perceived as ‘terrorists’ rather than as fighters against an invasion and occupation of their country by a foreign power that disrespects their religion, culture, and sovereignty.

These narratives dominated my perception of the movie, although those associated with its production deny such lines of interpretation. Clint Eastwood (the director and producer) and Bradley Cooper (who plays Kyle in the film) have publicly questioned employing a political optic in commentary on the film. They insist, in contrast, that the movie was ‘a character study’ of Kyle and ‘apolitical’ in the sense of not taking a position pro or con the Iraq War. Eastwood has tried to lend credibility to his claim by pointing out that he opposed the Iraq War, and was even skeptical about Afghanistan. Yet whatever he privately feels this not how most viewers most viewers would experience the film, either being enthralled by Kyle’s exploits or appalled by them. Eastwood may have aspired to tell an apolitical story, but if so, he has failed badly.

The Iraq War was a war of aggression undertaken in 2003 despite the rejection of a well-orchestrated (and misleading) American plea to the UN Security Council for authorization. Against such a background,  the attack on Iraq and subsequent occupation were widely regarded as international crimes bearing resemblance to the category of aggressive warfare for which German and Japanese leaders were punished for waging after World War II. In this light, the Iraqi violence associated with the hostile American occupation needs to be portrayed as a unilateral repudiation of the limits set by international law and the UN Charter on recourse to war by the world’s most powerful country. Additionally, American Sniperdepicts the doomed efforts of an outgunned society to resist a militarily dominant foreign invader that is imposing its will on the country’s future by force of arms. Such a viewing is not meant to imply that we need to endorse some of the horrific Iraqi tactics relied upon, but it should remind us that presenting the Iraqis as ‘evil’ and as ‘savages’ functions in the film as an unchallenged display of Islamophobic propaganda, and cannot be credibly explained away as a realistic exploration of a war hero’s temperament and struggle for sanity and survival. American Sniperalso presents Kyle’s story in such a way as to avoid any self-criticism directed at the American mission in Iraq.

The movie also lacks redeeming artistic merit. It is relentless and repetitive in portraying battle scenes of intensity intertwined with Kyle’s tormented relationship with his wife and efforts to become a father to their two children during his brief interludes of home leave between military assignments. We learn nothing about the realities of our world beyond a tired rendering of the embedded post-9/11 polemic on the necessity of foreign wars to keep America safe from evil forces lurking in the Islamic world. This orthodoxy is not even interrogated, much less rejected. And no where in the film is there any acknowledgement that the United States in Iraq was acting in defiance of international law and causing great devastation and suffering to a totally vulnerable foreign country, as well as producing a massive displacement of the civilian population. Leaving behind a devastated country and widespread chaos. The Iraqi experience of such carnage in their own country is treated as irrelevant, and is reminiscent of Vietnam War films that were mostly devoted to explorations of the victimization of the young Americans caught up in an experience of war that they could neither understand nor win, while overlooking almost altogether the massive suffering being inflicted on a foreign people in a distant land. That is, even most anti-war portrayals of these American wars accept the dehumanization of the foreign others.

For me the most significant impressions resulting from American Sniper’s narrative of the Iraq War are as follows:

            –the striking imbalance between the sophisticated military technology at the disposal of the United States versus the primitive weaponry in the possession of the Iraqi adversaries, creating an overwhelming impression that the Iraq War was more ‘a hunt’ than ‘a war;’ such an impression is somehow deepened by a scene in the film in which Kyle is teaching his very young son to hunt for deer;

            –the failure to make any effort at all to understand the experience of this war from the perspective of the Iraqis, creating the absurd impression that the only victims deserving empathy were Americans like Kyle who had endured the torments of warfare and suffered its admittedly disorienting consequences; the emotions of remorse as associated with the harm done to Iraq and Iraqis is no where to be found in the film.

What may be disturbing is the radical subjectivity of likely audience responses. In America, great popularity of mostly uncritical commentary on American Sniper, reinforcing the regressive national mood of glamorizing bloody military exploits as the most admirable expression of true patriotism. Elsewhere in the world the perception is likely to be quite opposite: American Sniper inducing anti-American attitudes either out of fear or resentment or both, solidifying the global image of the United States as a cruel geopolitical bully. That is, American Sniper is wildly pro-American for most domestic viewers, and severely anti-American for most foreign viewers. This gap in subjectivities exhibits the degree to which Americans are living in a bubble of their own devising.

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It is highly unlikely that many Americans will appreciate this disparity of perception, and even fewer will pause long enough to assess its significance. If more of us could see ourselves as we are seen in the mirror of foreign reactions it might help end this unhealthy national romance with permanent war that started after World War II with the Cold War and continues now in the form of the ‘War on Terror.’  Such a pattern of delusional geopolitics will never produce peace and security in the 21st century, and will fatally divert attention from meeting the challenges of humanity associated with climate change, nuclear weapons, poverty, and extremism. To question this American domination project is to antagonize the entrenched bureaucratic, media, and neoliberal forces that benefit from endless war making and its associated expenditures of trillions. In the end it is this grand project of late capitalism that American Sniper indirectly vindicates, thereby burdening the nation and the world, perhaps fatally.

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Former CIA Officer Convicted For Unauthorized Disclosure

NOVANEWS

Of National Defense Information and Obstruction of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A former CIA officer was convicted today by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, of illegally disclosing national defense information and obstructing justice.

Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director James B. Comey, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement.

“This is a just and appropriate outcome,” said Attorney General Holder. “The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures of classified information compromised operations undertaken in defense of America’s national security. The disclosures placed lives at risk. And they constituted an egregious breach of the public trust by someone who had sworn to uphold it. As this verdict proves, it is possible to fully prosecute unauthorized disclosures that inflict harm upon our national security without interfering with journalists’ ability to do their jobs. And I want to thank the investigators, prosecutors and support staff who made this outcome possible for their relentless efforts in advancing a complex case that spanned multiple years.”

“He violated his sworn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and he betrayed our country,” said Director Comey. “The FBI will continue to pursue these cases vigorously.”

“Jeffrey Sterling was trusted with the nation’s most sensitive secrets and chose to expose them – putting our national security at risk, and endangering lives in the process,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “These cases are challenging, but vitally important to our efforts to secure critical intelligence on behalf of the American people.”

“Over 10 years ago a disgruntled former CIA employee disclosed extremely sensitive classified information to a journalist,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “That classified information was critical to our national defense, and releasing it was illegal and went against Mr. Sterling’s professional commitments to the CIA. Mr. Sterling’s vindictive and careless choices ultimately led us here today and to this unanimous verdict. I would like to thank the trial team and our partners at the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Central Intelligence Agency for their hard work and commitment to this case.”

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, 47, of O’Fallon, Missouri, was convicted today in the Eastern District of Virginia of six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice. Sterling was indicted on Dec. 22, 2010, and arrested on Jan. 6, 2011. Sentencing is scheduled for April 24, 2015.

According to evidence presented at trial, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002. From November 1998 through May 2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program designed to undermine the Iranian nuclear weapons program. He was also the operations officer assigned to handle a human asset associated with that program, a person identified at trial as Merlin. Sterling was reassigned in May 2000, at which time he was no longer authorized to receive or possess classified documents concerning the program or the individual.

In connection with his employment, Sterling, who is a lawyer, signed various security, secrecy and non-disclosure agreements in which he agreed never to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, acknowledged that classified information was the property of the CIA and also acknowledged that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could constitute a criminal offense. These agreements also set forth the proper procedures to follow if Sterling had concerns that the CIA had engaged in any “unlawful or improper” conduct that implicated classified information. These procedures permit such concerns to be addressed while still protecting the classified nature of the information. The media was not an authorized party to receive such classified information.

In August 2000, Sterling pursued administrative and civil actions against the CIA. Evidence at trial showed that Sterling, in retaliation for the CIA’s refusal to settle those actions on terms favorable to him, disclosed information concerning the classified operational program and the human asset to a New York Times reporter working on an unpublished article in early 2003 and a book the reporter published in January 2006. Sterling’s civil and administrative claims were ultimately dismissed by the court.

Evidence demonstrated that in February and March 2003, Sterling made various telephone calls to the reporter’s residence and e-mailed a newspaper article about the weapons capabilities of a certain country that was within Sterling’s previous clandestine operational assignment. While the possible newspaper article containing the classified information Sterling provided was ultimately not published in 2003, evidence showed that Sterling and the reporter remained in touch from December 2003 through November 2005 via telephone and e-mail. In January 2006, the reporter published a book that contained classified information about the program and the human asset.

Evidence at trial showed that Sterling was aware of a grand jury investigation into the matter by June 2006, when he was served a grand jury subpoena for documents relating to the reporter’s book. Nevertheless, between April and July 2006, Sterling deleted the e-mail containing the classified information he had sent from his account in an effort to obstruct the investigation.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, with assistance in the arrest from the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Eric G. Olshan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel James L. Trump and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick of the Eastern District of Virginia.

15-099
Public Corruption
Criminal Division

 

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Attorney General Holder Announces Charges Against Russian Spy Ring in New York City

NOVANEWS

Spy Ring Attempted to Collect Economic Intelligence and Recruit New York City Residents as Intelligence Sources

Evgeny Buryakov, aka “Zhenya,” Worked Under “Non-Official Cover” as a Bank Employee in Manhattan

Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York and Assistant Director Randall C. Coleman of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division announced charges today against Evgeny Buryakov, aka “Zhenya,” Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy in connection with Buryakov’s service as a covert intelligence agent on behalf of the Russian Federation (Russia) in New York City, without notifying the U.S. Attorney General of Buryakov’s status as an agent of Russia, as required by federal law. Buryakov was placed under arrest earlier today in Bronx, New York, and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in federal court in Manhattan later today. Sporyshev and Podobnyy no longer reside in the United States and have not been arrested. By virtue of their prior positions in the United States on behalf of Russia, both of them were protected by diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution while in the United States.

“These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States,” said Attorney General Holder. “We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country – no matter how deep their cover. I want to thank the dedicated men and women of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and New York Field Office, the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their skilled handling of this complex and highly sensitive matter.”

“The attempt by foreign nations to illegally gather economic and other intelligence information in the United States through covert agents is a direct threat to the national security of the United States, and it exemplifies why counterespionage is a top priority of the National Security Division,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “I want to thank the FBI’s New York Field Office and Counterintelligence Division as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their continued effort to conduct these highly complex and sensitive counterespionage investigations and prosecutions, and for their continued close partnership with the National Security Division and the Counterespionage Section.”

“Following our previous prosecution with the FBI of Russian spies, who were expelled from the United States in 2010 when their plan to infiltrate upper levels of U.S. business and government was revealed, the arrest of Evgeny Buryakov and the charges against him and his co-defendants make clear that – more than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War – Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst under cover of secrecy,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “Indeed, the presence of a Russian banker in New York would in itself hardly draw attention today, which is why these alleged spies may have thought Buryakov would blend in. What they could not do without drawing the attention of the FBI was engage in espionage. New York City may be more hospitable to Russian businessmen than during the Cold War, but my office and the FBI remain vigilant to the illegal intelligence-gathering activities of other nations.”

“This investigation is one of many that highlight the determined and prolific efforts by foreign governments to target Americans for the purposes of collecting intelligence and stealing secrets,” Assistant Director Coleman. “This case is especially egregious as it demonstrates the actions of a foreign intelligence service to integrate a covert intelligence agent into American society under the cover of an employee in the financial sector. Espionage is as pervasive today as it has even been, and FBI counterintelligence teams will continue to aggressively investigate and expose hostile foreign intelligence activities conducted on U.S. soil.”

According to the complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court today:

Buryakov worked in the United States as an agent of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, known as the SVR. Buryakov operated under “non-official cover,” meaning he entered and remained in the United States as a private citizen, posing as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank. SVR agents operating under such non-official cover – sometimes referred to as NOCs – typically are subject to less scrutiny by the host government, and, in many cases, are never identified as intelligence agents by the host government. As a result, a NOC is an extremely valuable intelligence asset for the SVR.

Federal law prohibits individuals from acting as agents of foreign governments within the United States without prior notification to the U.S. Attorney General. Department of Justice records indicate that Buryakov has never notified the U.S. Attorney General that he is, in fact, an agent of Russia.

Sporyshev and Podobnyy are also SVR agents who worked in the United States to gather intelligence on behalf of Russia by posing as official representatives of Russia. From Nov. 22, 2010, to Nov. 21, 2014, Sporyshev served as a trade representative of the Russian Federation in New York. From Dec. 13, 2012, to Sept. 12, 2013, Podobnyy served as an attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. Based on their official government postings on behalf of Russia, Sporyshev and Podobnyy are exempt from notifying the U.S. Attorney General of the true nature of their work. However, that exemption does not permit them to conspire with, or aid and abet, Buryakov in his work as an unregistered agent of Russia operating within the United States.

The intelligence-gathering efforts of Sporyshev and Podobnyy included, among other things, attempting to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources for Russia; tasking Buryakov to gather intelligence; and transmitting intelligence reports prepared by Buryakov back to SVR headquarters in Moscow. Specifically, during the course of the charged offenses, Sporyshev was responsible for relaying assignments from the SVR to Buryakov, and Sporyshev and Podobnyy were responsible for analyzing and reporting back to the SVR about the fruits of Buryakov’s intelligence-gathering efforts.

The directives from the SVR to Buryakov, Sporyshev and Podobnyy, as well as to other covert SVR agents acting within the United States, included requests to gather intelligence on, among other subjects, potential U.S. sanctions against Russian banks and the United States’ efforts to develop alternative energy resources.

Clandestine Meetings and Communications

During the course of their work as covert SVR agents in the United States, Buryakov, Sporyshev and Podobnyy regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages, in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents. These efforts were designed, among other things, to preserve their respective covers as an employee of a bank in Manhattan (Buryakov), a trade representative of the Russian Federation in New York (Sporyshev) and an attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (Podobnyy). In particular, the defendants worked to safeguard Buryakov’s work as a NOC.

Sporyshev and Podobnyy acted as covert intermediaries for Buryakov to communicate with the SVR on intelligence-related matters. As an agent posing as someone without any official ties to the Russian government or the SVR, Buryakov was unable to access the SVR New York Office – which is located within an office maintained by Russia in New York City – without potentially alerting others to his association with the SVR. As such, Buryakov required the assistance of other SVR agents, like Sporyshev and Podobnyy, to exchange communications and information with the SVR through the communications systems located in the SVR New York Office.

From as early as March 2012 through as recently as mid-September 2014, the FBI has conducted physical or electronic surveillance of Buryakov and Sporyshev engaging in over 48 brief meetings, several of which involved Buryakov passing a bag, magazine or slip of paper to Sporyshev. These meetings typically took place outdoors, where the risk of effective surveillance was reduced relative to an indoor location.

These meetings were nearly always preceded by a short telephone call between Buryakov and Sporyshev, during which one of the men typically told the other that he had an item to give to him. Typically, during these telephone calls, which were intercepted by the FBI, the item in question was referred to as some non-specific ticket, book, list or other ordinary item (e.g., umbrella or hat).

Subsequently, at each meeting surveilled by the FBI, Buryakov and Sporyshev met and sometimes exchanged documents or other small items. Notably, despite discussing on approximately 12 occasions the need to meet to transfer “tickets,” Buryakov and Sporyshev, were – other than one occasion where they discussed going to a movie – never observed attending, or discussing in any detail, events that would typically require tickets, such as a sporting event or concert. In fact, Buryakov and Sporyshev used this coded language to signal that they needed to meet, and then met to exchange intelligence information.

Attempts by Sporyshev and Podobnyy to Recruit Intelligence Sources in New York City

In numerous recorded communications, Sporyshev and Podobnyy discussed their attempts to recruit U.S. residents, including several individuals employed by major companies, and several young women with ties to a major university located in New York City (University-1), as intelligence sources for the SVR. On these recordings, the defendants discussed the potential value of these sources and identified particular sources by use of a “source name,” which appears to be a coded name. In addition, during these recordings, Sporyshev and Podobnyy discussed the efforts of other SVR agents to recruit a number of other Russian-origin individuals associated with University-1 as intelligence sources.

For example, Sporyshev and Podobnyy discussed Podobnyy’s efforts to recruit a male working as a consultant in New York City as an intelligence source. During this conversation, Podobnyy explained his source recruitment method, which included cheating, promising favors and then discarding the intelligence source once the relevant information was obtained by the SVR: “This is intelligence method to cheat. . . . You promise a favor for a favor. You get the documents from him and tell him to go [expletive] himself.”

In other recorded conversations, Sporyshev and Podobnyy made clear that they worked for the SVR. For example, on Jan. 31, 2013, Sporyshev and another SVR agent not charged in the complaint (CC-1) had a discussion inside the SVR New York Office about their contracts with the SVR. Sporyshev stated that, “Everyone has a five-year contract,” and explained, in response to CC-1′s question about reimbursement for the travel of SVR agents’ family members, that “travel for military personnel and their families on authorized home leave is paid, and in our, in our SVR, this, the payment for getting to and from the duty station.” In addition, on April 25, 2013, Sporyshev and Podobnyy discussed the use of nontraditional cover for Russian intelligence officers and, in particular, the Illegals program that ended with the arrest of 10 “deep cover” SVR agents in July 2010.

Buryakov’s Intelligence Taskings

Sporyshev was responsible for relaying intelligence assignments from the SVR to Buryakov. The FBI obtained electronic recordings of several conversations relating to such intelligence directives being communicated to and carried out by Buryakov in his position as an SVR agent acting under non-official cover. For example, on May 21, 2013, Sporyshev called Buryakov to ask for Buryakov’s help in formulating questions to be used for intelligence gathering purposes by others associated with a leading Russian state-owned news organization (the News Organization). Buryakov responded by supplying Sporyshev with a particular line of questioning about the New York Stock Exchange for use by the News Organization.

Buryakov’s Receipt of Purported Official U.S. Government Documents

In the summer of 2014, Buryakov met numerous times with a confidential source working for the FBI (CS-1). CS-1 posed as the representative of a wealthy investor looking to develop casinos in Russia. During the course of these meetings, and consistent with his interests as a Russian intelligence agent, Buryakov demonstrated his strong desire to obtain information about subjects far outside the scope of his work as a bank employee. During these meetings, Buryakov also accepted documents that CS-1 claimed he had obtained from a U.S. government agency and which purportedly contained information potentially useful to Russia, including information about U.S. sanctions against Russia.

* * *

Buryakov, 39, Sporyshev, 40, and Podobnyy, 27, are charged on two counts. The first count charges the defendants with participating in a conspiracy for Buryakov to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, and carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison. The second count charges Buryakov with acting in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, and charges Sporyshev and Podobnyy with aiding and abetting that offense. The second count carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

The Attorney General is grateful for the investigative work of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.

The prosecution is being handled by Senior Trial Attorney Heather Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterespionage Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Fee, Ian McGinley and Anna M. Skotko for the Southern District of New York’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.Buryakov, et al Complaint

Posted in Russia, USA0 Comments

The Globalization of War and the Global Economic Crisis. Is there a Relationship?

NOVANEWS
Global Research

Global Research is launching a new book entitled:

The Globalization of War

America’s “Long War” against Humanity

by Michel Chossudovsky

This new book describes Americas hegemonic project in the post 9/11 whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of regime change is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

There is an intimate relationship between the Globalization of War and the Economic Crisis. This Long War against Humanity is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history. It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

Michel Chossudovsky views “economic conquest” as an integral part of the US military agenda. The US military and intelligence apparatus consults with Wall Street and the Texas oil conglomerates. Conversely the IMF and the World Bank are in permanent liaison with the Pentagon and the US State Department.

Global Research Membership

The contribution of Global Research Members enable us to make CRG articles and videos available to the broadest possible readership. Becoming a member essentially constitutes an endorsement of the Global Research website.

New Global Research members (annual) will receive a copy of The Globalization of War together with “The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the 21st Century. Both titles will be sent to all those who renew their membership (annual). The Global Economic Crisis addresses the issue of oil prices, financial manipulation and economic warfare.

Thank you for supporting independent media.

Global Research Annual Membership $95.00/year

All new members (annual basis) as well as all membership renewal (annual basis) will receive a FREE copy of The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century, as well as a FREE copy of the new book from Global Research, The Globalization of War: Americas Long War against Humanity by Michel Chossudovsky.

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A MEMBER

The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity:

Americas hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the Globalization of War whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of regime change is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

This Long War against Humanity is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of human rights and Western democracy.

Reviews:

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

The Globalization of War comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be bought or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovskys book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.

Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence

Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the worlds population.

The Globalization of War is diplomatic dynamite and the fuse is burning rapidly.

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century:

In all major regions of the world, the economic recession is deep-seated, resulting in mass unemployment, the collapse of state social programs and the impoverishment of millions of people. The meltdown of financial markets was the result of institutionalized fraud and financial manipulation. The economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide process of militarization, a war without borders led by the U.S. and its NATO allies.

This book takes the reader through the corridors of the Federal Reserve, into the plush corporate boardrooms on Wall Street where far-reaching financial transactions are routinely undertaken.

Each of the authors in this timely collection digs beneath the gilded surface to reveal a complex web of deceit and media distortion which serves to conceal the workings of the global economic system and its devastating impacts on peoples lives.

The complex causes as well as the devastating consequences of the economic crisis are carefully scrutinized with contributions from Ellen Brown, Tom Burghardt, Michel Chossudovsky, Michael Hudson, Tanya Cariina Hsu, James Petras, Peter Phillips, Peter Dale Scott, Claudia Van Werlhof and Mike Whitney.

Reviews:

This important collection offers the reader a most comprehensive analysis of the various facets especially the financial, social and military ramifications from an outstanding list of world-class social thinkers.
-Mario Seccareccia, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

In-depth investigations of the inner workings of the plutocracy in crisis, presented by some of our best politico-economic analysts. This book should help put to rest the hallucinations of free market ideology.
-Michael Parenti, author of God and His Demons and Contrary Notions

Provides a very readable exposé of a global economic system, manipulated by a handful of extremely powerful economic actors for their own benefit, to enrich a few at the expense of an ever-growing majority.
-David Ray Griffin, author of The New Pearl Harbor Revisited.

Posted in USA, World0 Comments

Kathy Kelly Begins Her Three Month Federal Prison Sentence Today!

NOVANEWS

Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and member of VFP International Advisory Board

Today, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, will begin a three-month jail sentence in federal prison for a protest against drones (also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles”) at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Medea Benjamin interviews her before Kathy turned herself in.

Medea: Can you just say why you have been particularly moved to take action against drone strikes?

Kathy: I think 21st-century militarism is very frightening when you combine the military’s Joint Special Operations Forces with drone and air strike capabilities. The military doesn’t need sprawling bases anymore because they can use these new technologies to control populations and instill tremendous fear. But the use of drones creates resentment and antagonism, and continues to kill civilians.

Wars have been killing civilians for a long time, but with the help of drones, 90 percent of the people killed in wars these days are civilians. The British organization Reprieve reports that for every one person who is selected as a target for assassination by drones, 28 civilians are killed.

The weaponized drones are operated here in the United States in Air National Guard bases and Air Force bases, and with the press of a button they are killing people thousands of miles away in places like Afghanistan. Many people are enamored with being able to send an unmanned aerial vehicle to kill people in another country without a soldier in this country being harmed. But we find that the people operating these drones are experiencing trauma and stress just like soldiers in war zones.

I’m also very worried about drone proliferation, with other countries acquiring these weapons systems. In 1945, only one country possessed a nuclear weapon, and look at the world now. I think the same thing is going to happen with drone proliferation.

I also think that with the activist focus on drones, we can have tangible successes. We have a good possibility of persuading the public that this is a wrongful way to move ahead. It violates international law and makes other people near the bases here in the United States vulnerable as targets themselves.

We’ve already seen considerable progress on this issue. The bases that were getting the drones systems, like the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek, Michigan, used to be so proud they were popping champagne. Now the commanders at the Battle Creek base, where the Guard is being trained to operate weaponized drones, are reluctant to talk about the drone program.

Medea: Can you tell us about Whiteman Air Force Base and what you did that resulted in this three-month sentence?

Kathy: A squadron at Whiteman, which is in Knob Noster, Missouri, operates weaponized drones over Afghanistan, which has been an epicenter of drone warfare. Whiteman Air Force Base won’t disclose information about the results of these drone strikes, but we, as American citizens, should have the right to know what is being done in our name.

I have spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, living with young people who have been victimized by our drones, young people who fled to Kabul and are too frightened to go back home to visit their own relatives, young people who see a future filled with prolonged and agonizing warfare.

We wanted to bring their grievances to the commander at Whiteman. So I crossed a line onto the base. A symbolic action for people in Afghanistan is breaking bread together, so I carried a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander asking how many people were killed by Whiteman Air Force Base on that day.

I took one or two steps over a line. Then I was arrested.

When I went to trial, the military prosecutor told the judge, “Your Honor, Ms. Kelly is in grave need of rehabilitation.” But I think it’s our policy that’s in grave need of rehabilitation. We’ve already spent $1 trillion on warfare in Afghanistan and will be spending another $120 billion. The Pentagon wants $57 billion for this year alone. We’re squandering resources that are sorely needed at home and abroad to solve extremely serious problems our world is facing, problems like the climate crisis and global poverty.

Medea: When you crossed the line into the Whiteman Base, did you know that you would be facing such a long sentence? Crossing the line at some bases, and even CIA Headquarters, has resulted in a small fine.

Kathy: My colleague Brian Terrell had previous crossed onto Whiteman Air Force Base and received a six-month sentence. I faced the same judge so I was pretty sure that I would get six months as well. When he only gave me three months, I was actually surprised. I certainly don’t think I did anything criminal; I’m proud of what I did. But I expected the penalty would be higher, and wondered if the judge wanted to look good for a change.

Medea: So I take it that means you would do it again?

Kathy: Oh surely, yes. I think it’s important to take these issues directly to the place where the grievance is occurring, and that’s certainly these military bases.

I also think it’s important to take these issues to all three branches of government. I love it when CODEPINK goes into the halls of Congress or challenges President Obama, because it’s crucial to pressure the executive and legislative branches. But we have to target the judicial branch as well. We have to try every lever and keep on insisting that the Constitution protects our right to express our grievances.

Medea: In early January, you fasted and protested with Witness Against Torture to call for the closing of the Guantanamo prison, including a protest at the home of former vice president Dick Cheney. How do you feel knowing that the people making these policies aren’t held accountable, but you’re heading off to jail?

Kathy: I actually don’t want to see anyone in prison because I don’t believe in the prison system. I don’t want to see people locked up. I believe in rehabilitation. How do you rehabilitate people who have been so murderous and greedy in their war-profiteering and cronyism, and so willing to sacrifice huge numbers of lives?  It’s very hard to know. I’d like to continue in a Quakerly fashion to see decency and goodness and potential in people like Cheney, Rice and Bush. It may be that somehow the examples they set will serve to persuade future leaders not to be that way. So who knows what will come of what they’ve created.

Medea: It’s interesting that you’re against prisons, yet you voluntarily put yourself in a position where you know you’ll be in prison for a significant time. How many times have you been in prison for protesting war?

Kathy: This will be my fourth time in a federal prison. And I’ve been jailed in various county jails and other kinds of lockups more times than I can count.

Medea: Why do you continue to go to jail when there are so many other ways to protest?

Kathy: I think it’s important for peace activists to go inside the prisons and have a vivid sense of how hurtful and punitive this system is. I can read about the realities that prisoners face and the really horrific sentencing procedures but if I’m not sitting in the bunk next to the person pouring out their story, it doesn’t grab my heart and mind in the same way. I’ve been to prison many times before, and I know that when I walk out of a prison, I feel like shouting from the rooftops, “Do you see what’s going on inside these gates?”

Medea: What can people do to support you while you’re in prison? And what about writing to you or sending you books?

Kathy: I love novels, especially novels written by people from other countries. People can contact Voices for Creative Nonviolence in Chicago to find out where to send books and letters.

And people can help Voices for Creative Nonviolence. We’re organizing a walk related to the environment and militarism; we’re sending volunteers to Jeju Island in South Korea to join the movement against militarizing the island; we’re working with the youth in the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul.

A good way to show support would be to join the Afghan Peace Volunteers in their duvet project–a project to make warm blankets for people in need. One winter in Kabul, 26 people froze to death in just one month, eight of them children. It was impossible to read those statistics and not think of something to do. So we helped start the duvet project. The Afghan Peace Volunteers invite women from the different tribal ethnicities, 60 in all, to pick up materials, like wool, coverlets, and thread. They go home and sew these very heavy blankets that can make the difference between life and death. Then the youth distribute the duvets to people in the greatest need. I so admire the young people because they act like social workers, going out to find out who are the neediest in their area. And very generous people in the US and the UK have donated the money. Each duvet costs about $17, and it’s now about a $40,000 project that distributes thousands of blankets each year. So people could help out by contributing to this project.

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