How The US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

NOVANEWS

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Global Research

Andrew Cockburn has written a must-read book.  The title is Kill Chain: The Rise Of The High-Tech Assassins.  The title could just as well be: How the US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

The US military no longer does war.  It does assassinations, usually of the wrong people.  The main victims of the US assassination policy are women, children, village elders, weddings, funerals, and occasionally US soldiers mistaken for Taliban by US surveillance operating with the visual acuity of the definition of legal blindness.

Cockburn tells the story of how the human element has been displaced by remote control killing guided by misinterpretation of unclear images on screens collected by surveillance drones and sensors thousands of miles away.  Cockburn shows that the “all-seeing” drone surveillance system is an operational failure but is supported by defense contractors because of its high profitability and by the military brass because

general officers, with the exception of General Paul Van Ripper, are brainwashed in the belief that the revolution in military affairs means that high-tech devices replace the human element.  Cockburn demonstrates that this belief is immune to all evidence to the contrary.  The US military has now reached the point that Secretary of Defense Hagel deactivated both the A-10 close support fighter and the U-2 spy plane in favor of the operationally failed unmanned Global Hawk System.  With the A-10 and U-2 went the last platforms for providing a human eye on what is happening on the ground.

The surveillance/sensor technology cannot see human footprints in the snow.  Consequently, the drone technology concluded that a mountain top was free of enemy and sent a detachment of unsuspecting SEALS to be shot up.  Still insisting no enemy present, a second group of SEALS were sent to be shot up, and then a detachment of Army Rangers.  Finally, an A-10 pilot flew over the scene and reported the enemy’s presence in force.

By 2012 even the US Air Force, which had been blindly committed to the unmanned drone system, had experienced more failure than could any longer be explained away.  The Air Force admitted that the 50-year old U-2 could fly higher and in bad weather and take better pictures than the expensive Global Hawk System and declared the Global Hawk system scrapped.

The decision was supported by the 2011 report from the Pentagon’s test office that the drone system was “not operationally effective.”  Among its numerous drawbacks was its inability to carry out assigned missions 75% of the time. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that in addition to the system’s unacceptable failure rate, the drone system “has fundamentally priced itself out of our ability to afford it.”

As Cockburn reports:  “It made no difference. Congress, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and Democratic Congressman Jim Moran (whose northern Virginia district hosts the headquarters of both Northrop and Raytheon) effortless brushed aside these pleas, forcing the Air Force to keep buying the unwanted drone.”

Cockburn provides numerous examples of the utter failure of the unmanned revolution ushered in by unrealistic dreamers, such as Andrew Marshall, John Foster, William Perry, and David Deptula, who have done much harm to the US military and American taxpayers. The failure stories are legion and sad.  Almost always the victims are the innocent going about their everyday affairs.

The book opens with the story of three vehicles crammed with people from the same village heading to Kabul. Some were students returning to school in Kabul, some were shopkeepers heading to the capital to buy supplies, others were unemployed men on their way to Iran seeking work, and some were women bringing gifts for relatives.  This collection of ordinary people, represented on screens by vague images, was willfully mistaken, as the reproduced conversations between drone operators and assassins show, for a senior Taliban commander leading forces to attack a US Special Forces patrol.  The innocent civilians were blown to smithereens.

The second chapter tells of the So Tri, an indigenous people in the remote wilderness of southeastern Laos who were bombed for nine years because the stupid American military sowed their environment with sensors that called down bombs when human presence was detected.  High-tech warfare misidentified the villagers with Viet Cong moving through jungle routes.

One heartbreaking story follows another. If surveillance suspects the presence of a High Value Target in a restaurant, regardless of nominal restrictions on the number of innocents who can be murdered as the “collateral damage” part of the strike, the entire restaurant and all within are destroyed by a hellfire missile.  Remember that the Israelis denounce terrorists for exploding suicide vests inside Israeli restaurants.  What the US military does is even worse.

On other occasions the US assassinates an underling of a High Value Target on the assumption that the Target will attend the funeral which is obliterated from the air whether the Target is present or not.

As the murders are indiscriminate, the US military defines all males killed to be valid targets. Generally, the US will not admit the deaths of non-Targets, and some US officials have declared there to be no such deaths.  Blatant and obvious lies issue without shame in order to protect the “operationally ineffective” and very expensive high-tech production runs that mean billions of taxpayer dollars for the military/security complex and comfortable 7-figure employment salaries with contractors after retirement  for the military brass.

When you read this book you will weep for your country ruled as it is by completely immoral and inhumane monsters.  But Cockburn’s book is not without humor.  He tells the story of Marine Lt. General Paul Van Riper, the scourge of the Unmanned Revolution in Military affairs, who repeatedly expressed contempt for the scientifically unsupported theories of unmanned war.  To humiliate Gen. Ripper with a defeat in a massive war game as leader of the enemy Red force against the high-tech American Blue force, he was called out of retirement to participate in a war game stacked against him.

The Blue force armored with a massive database (Operational Net Assessment) and overflowing with acronyms was almost instantly wiped out by General Ripper. He sank the entire aircraft carrier fleet and the entire Blue force army went down with it.  The war was over. The 21st century US high-tech, effects-based military was locked into a preset vision and was beaten hands down by a maverick Marine general with inferior forces.

The Joint Forces Command turned purple with rage.  Gen. Ripper was informed that the outcome of the war game was unacceptable and would not stand. The sunken fleet magically re-floated, the dead army was resurrected, and the war was again on, only this time restriction after restriction was placed on the Red force. Ripper was not allowed to shoot down the Blue force’s troop transports. Ripper was ordered to turn on all of the Red force’s radars so that the Red forces could be easily located and destroyed. Umpires ruled, despite the facts, that all of Ripper’s missile strikes were intercepted.  Victory was declared for high-tech war.  Ripper’s report on the total defeat of the Blue force, its unwarranted resurrection, and the rigged outcome was promptly classified so that no one could read it.

The highly profitable Revolution in Military Affairs had to be protected at all costs along with the reputations of the incompetent generals that comprise today’s high command.

The infantile behavior of the US military compelled to create a victory for its high-tech, but legally blind, surveillance warfare demonstrates how far removed from the ability to conduct real warfare the US military is.  What the US military has done in Afghanistan and Iraq is to create far more enemies than it has killed.  Every time high-tech killing

murders a village gathering, a wedding or funeral, or villagers on the way to the capital, which is often, the US creates hundreds more enemies.  This is why after 14 years of killing in Afghanistan, the Taliban now control most of the country.  This is why Islamist warriors have carved a new country out of Syria and Iraq despite eight years of American sacrifice in Iraq estimated by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes to have cost Americans a minimum of $3 trillion.  The total failure of the American way of war is obvious to all, but the system rolls on autonomously.

 The Revolution in Military Affairs has decapitated the US military, which no longer has the knowledge or ability or human tools to conduct war.  If the crazed Russophobic US generals get their way and end up in confrontation with Russia, the American forces will be destroyed.  The humiliation of this defeat will cause Washington to take the war nuclear.

 Here is Stanislav Mishin’s view of what awaits the foolish West:  http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/22/4790

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“American Politicians are Fools”: Getting Russia Wrong All The Way To War

NOVANEWS

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Global Research

by Mat Rodina

American politicians in particular and European politicians in general are some of the most ignorant fools when the issue comes to anything outside their own borders. When it comes to Russia, it is an engima wrapped in a mystery…but only because, no one has every bothered to try to understand Russians, Russian history  and the Russian world view.

One important historical fact about Russia is that Russia is a unique civilizational empire built upon defense not offense. What this means is that historically, Russia does not start the wars, or series of wars (though it may strike first in a confrontation that is punctuated by a series of wars). In Russian history, Russian leaders, since Russia’s baptism to Orthodoxy, have tried hard to avoid war with our neighbors, though just about every time this has failed. In parallel, as much as we do not like war, and in Orthodoxy killing in combat is still a sin as we do not have the heresy of Just War, we are very very good at killing and destroying. A paradox, but it is the reality.

This was so profound that in the summer of 1914, the Tsar Nicholas II, when war was eminent, even haulted mobilization to try and defuse the situation one more time and talk the Austrians and Germans out of what would become the great tragedy of early 20th century.

The problems with modern, and in truth historical, Western politicos is that these guys are absolute fools with no understanding of the Russian psyche and are sure to be the cause of WW3, be it intentional or accidental. They are projecting their psyche onto Russians.

What this means is that they are projecting a typical negative reinforcement mentality. Europe and the US are societies built on constant aggression towards neighbors. Aggression like that is staved by building up a credible large counter force of allies and blocks, which causes fear of defeat and deescalation…your typical European balance of forces approach.

Russia is a defensive empire, that is, most wars or series of wars were not started by Russians but by enemies attacking or massing on Russia’s borders. After 800 years of almost non-stop aggression by Europeans, Russia does not tolerate any enemy massing on her borders in what appears as a preparation for invasion or the creation of large scales basing areas as would be a US neo-con dominated Ukraine.This is also coupled with the Russian approach of not abandoning Russians (ethnic or cultural) and allies, as opposed to Anglo society where back stabbing allies when the opportunity to earn exists, is a prized skill.

As such, this is a spiral approach. Any escalation by the foreigners will lead to a direct escalation by Russia and not deescalation. Balance of power does not work when Russia feels her survival threatened. Enough of an enemy escalation in the hope of forcing Russia to back off will generate an exact opposite effect in generating a first strike and total war, as Russia feels her life and existence is threatened by the enemy.

Nothing like putting Russian society in a threatened siege mentality to force the individual chaotic Russian nature to crystallize into one direction: total destruction of the threat and the states that generate it.

Russia’s army may be only 1 million but the ready reserve is over 20 million with a follow capability of total mobilization of over 40 more million, and maybe more if one starts counting female combatants and one should.

Last time the factories were run by children, old people and women. Now with massive automation, even more of society is freed up to fight. Since Russian civilization is not just land but a cultural idea/philosophy it generates an absolute fanatical loyalty. This is a loyalty to a culture that allows the temporary surrender of land for time in the understanding that this will then be used, combined with non-stop partisan warfare, to grind down the invader and  decimate him deep in the Russian interior, before marching on his cities and burning them to the ground in revenge.

Europe needs to find some German or Romanian veterans and ask them how much fun they had. Mamal Kurgan, the highest hill in Volgorad (Stalingrad) a 1,5 km sq area had 35.000 identifiable bodies on it, half of them German, after 4 months of fighting. That is more than both sides lost on the beaches of Normandy. In WW2 the Germans were on average having 1 soldier killed every 30 seconds. Figure 3-4 times as many wounded.

The present serving armies of NATO would be used up in 3-4 months. That would amount to almost a million and a half dead and wounded.

NATO would collapse. Greeks would refuse to fight. Serbs would be a war in the middle of all this. Cypriots would refuse to fight. Turkey would likely also refuse to die in a war they could only loose from. Bulgaria would probably have a revolution. Romania and Italy and Spain and Portugal would not long suffer heavy casualties before their unpopular governments were overthrown. France more than likely also. US couldn’t fully concentrate their army as they would have to release their grip on all other sectors which in turn would be blowing up.

As for a second front, that is, if America was to invade the Russian far east, well, outside of grabbing Sakhalin and Vladivastok and Khabarovsk, all of which will cost hundreds of thousands of corpses, a US invasion force would be faced with a march of 3000km, or about 1,800 miles to the nearest major oil fields and forced to cover a land area larger then the continental United States, in wilderness terrain, with Russian partisans and the very cold Siberian winter (8 months long) filling the corpse lists on a daily basis. In other words, outside of a temporary land grab, nothing to fear.

Also if things got bad China would step in knowing they are next on the hit list, and thus Siberia would be fairly safe from US forces.

The reality, Americans, Germans, and foolish Poles, is, Russians will fight and 152 million people will fight to the end, not because Putin sits in power, or because we fear the enemy, but because love of Russia, the very idea of Russia, will drive fanatical, well trained and armed with advanced weaponry resistance. Russians will fight regardless of who sits the throne, because we are not fighting for the leader but “for Christ and for Russia”, the land He gave us as the Third Rome. What exactly will you be fighting for?

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Bankers Hate Peace: All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars

NOVANEWS
Global Research
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As Lee Fang writesThe possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might harm profitability.

Hewson replied that “that really isn’t coming up,” but stressed that “volatility all around the region” should continue to bring in new business. According to Hewson, “A lot of volatility, a lot of instability, a lot of things that are happening” in both the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region means both are “growth areas” for Lockheed Martin.

The Deutsche Bank-Lockheed exchange “underscores a longstanding truism of the weapons trade: war — or the threat of war — is good for the arms business,” says William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Hartung observed that Hewson described the normalization of relations with Iran not as a positive development for the future, but as an “impediment.” “And Hewson’s response,” Hartung adds, “which in essence is ‘don’t worry, there’s plenty of instability to go around,’ shows the perverse incentive structure that is at the heart of the international arms market.”

Former managing director of Goldman Sachs – and head of the international analytics group at Bear Stearns in London (Nomi Prins) – notes:

Throughout the century that I examined, which began with the Panic of 1907 … what I found by accessing the archives of each president is that through many events and periods, particular bankers were in constant communication [with the White House] — not just about financial and economic policy, and by extension trade policy, but also about aspects of World War I, or World War II, or the Cold War, in terms of the expansion that America was undergoing as a superpower in the world, politically, buoyed by the financial expansion of the banking community.

***

In the beginning of World War I, Woodrow Wilson had adopted initially a policy of neutrality. But the Morgan Bank, which was the most powerful bank at the time, and which wound up funding over 75 percent of the financing for the allied forces during World War I … pushed Wilson out of neutrality sooner than he might have done, because of their desire to be involved on one side of the war.

Now, on the other side of that war, for example, was the National City Bank, which, though they worked with Morgan in financing the French and the British, they also didn’t have a problem working with financing some things on the German side, as did Chase …

When Eisenhower became president … the U.S. was undergoing this expansion by providing, under his doctrine, military aid and support to countries [under] the so-called threat of being taken over by communism … What bankers did was they opened up hubs, in areas such as Cuba, in areas such as Beirut and Lebanon, where the U.S. also wanted to gain a stronghold in their Cold War fight against the Soviet Union. And so the juxtaposition of finance and foreign policy were very much aligned.

So in the ‘70s, it became less aligned, because though America was pursuing foreign policy initiatives in terms of expansion, the bankers found oil, and they made an extreme effort to activate relationships in the Middle East, that then the U.S. government followed. For example, in Saudi Arabia and so forth, they get access to oil money, and then recycle it into Latin American debt and other forms of lending throughout the globe. So that situation led the U.S. government.

Indeed, JP Morgan also purchased control over America’s leading 25 newspapers in order to propagandize US public opinion in favor of US entry into World War 1.

And many big banks, in fact, funded the Nazis.

BBC reported in 1998:

Barclays Bank has agreed to pay $3.6m to Jews whose assets were seized from French branches of the British-based bank during World War II.

***

Chase Manhattan Bank, which has acknowledged seizing about 100 accounts held by Jews in its Paris branch during World War II ….”Recently unclassified reports from the US Treasury about the activities of Chase in Paris in the 1940s indicate that the local branch worked “in close collaboration with the German authorities” in freezing Jewish assets.

The New York Daily News noted the same year:

The relationship between Chase and the Nazis apparently was so cozy that Carlos Niedermann, the Chase branch chief in Paris, wrote his supervisor in Manhattan that the bank enjoyed “very special esteem” with top German officials and “a rapid expansion of deposits,” according to Newsweek.

Niedermann’s letter was written in May 1942 five months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. also went to war with Germany.

The BBC reported in 1999:

A French government commission, investigating the seizure of Jewish bank accounts during the Second World War, says five American banks Chase Manhattan, J.P Morgan, Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, Bank of the City of New York and American Express had taken part.

It says their Paris branches handed over to the Nazi occupiers about one-hundred such accounts.

One of Britain’s main newspapers – the Guardian – reported in 2004:

George Bush’s grandfather [and George H.W. Bush’s father], the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.

The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.

His business dealings … continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act

***

The documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen’s US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.

***

Bush was a founding member of the bank [UBC] … The bank was set up by Harriman and Bush’s father-in-law to provide a US bank for the Thyssens, Germany’s most powerful industrial family.

***

By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world’s largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler’s build-up to war.

Between 1931 and 1933 UBC bought more than $8m worth of gold, of which $3m was shipped abroad. According to documents seen by the Guardian, after UBC was set up it transferred $2m to BBH accounts and between 1924 and 1940 the assets of UBC hovered around $3m, dropping to $1m only on a few occasions.

***

UBC was caught red-handed operating a American shell company for the Thyssen family eight months after America had entered the war and that this was the bank that had partly financed Hitler’s rise to power.

Indeed, banks often finance both sides of wars:

And they are one of the main sources of financing for nuclear weapons.

(The San Francisco Chronicle also documents that leading financiers Rockefeller, Carnegie and Harriman also funded Nazi eugenics programs … but that’s a story for another day.)

The Federal Reserve and other central banks also help to start wars by financing them. Thomas Jefferson and the father of free market capitalism, Adam Smith, both noted that the financing wars by banks led to more – and longer – wars.

And America apparently considers economic rivalry to be a basis for war, and is using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence.

Multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:

What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting tradeThe same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.

Senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:

Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.

Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal thinks the central banking initiative reveals that foreign powers may have a strong influence over the rebels.

This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.

Indeed, many claim that recent wars have really been about bringing all countries into the fold of Western central banking, and that the wars against Middle Eastern countries are really about forcing them into the dollar and private central banking.

The most decorated American military man in history said that war is a racket, and noted:

Let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers.

The big banks have also been laundering money for terrorists. The big bank employee who blew the whistle on the banks’ money laundering for terrorists and drug cartels says that the giant bank is still aiding terrorists, saying:

The public needs to know that money is still being funneled through HSBC to directly buy guns and bullets to kill our soldiers …. Banks financing … terrorists affects every single American.

He also said:

It is disgusting that our banks are STILL financing terror on 9/11 2013.

And see this.

According to the BBC and other sources, Prescott Bush, JP Morgan and other leading financiers also funded a coup against President Franklin Roosevelt in an attempt – basically – to implement fascism in the U.S. See thisthisthis and this.

Kevin Zeese writes:

Americans are recognizing the link between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street oligarchs—a connection that goes back to the beginning of the modern U.S. empire. Banks have always profited from war because the debt created by banks results in ongoing war profit for big finance; and because wars have been used to open countries to U.S. corporate and banking interests. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan wrote: “the large banking interests were deeply interested in the world war because of the wide opportunities for large profits.”

Many historians now recognize that a hidden history for U.S. entry into World War I was to protect U.S. investors. U.S. commercial interests had invested heavily in European allies before the war: “By 1915, American neutrality was being criticized as bankers and merchants began to loan money and offer credits to the warring parties, although the Central Powers received far less. Between 1915 and April 1917, the Allies received 85 times the amount loaned to Germany.” The total dollars loaned to all Allied borrowers during this period was $2,581,300,000. The bankers saw that if Germany won, their loans to European allies would not be repaid. The leading U.S. banker of the era, J.P. Morgan and his associates did everything they could to push the United States into the war on the side of England and France. Morgan said: “We agreed that we should do all that was lawfully in our power to help the Allies win the war as soon as possible.” President Woodrow Wilson, who campaigned saying he would keep the United States out of war, seems to have entered the war to protect U.S. banks’ investments in Europe.

The most decorated Marine in history, Smedley Butler, described fighting for U.S. banks in many of the wars he fought in. He said: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes how World Bank and IMF loans are used to generate profits for U.S. business and saddle countries with huge debts that allow the United States to control them. It is not surprising that former civilian military leaders like Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank. These nations’ debt to international banks ensures they are controlled by the United States, which pressures them into joining the “coalition of the willing” that helped invade Iraq or allowing U.S. military bases on their land. If countries refuse to “honor” their debts, the CIA or Department of Defense enforces U.S. political will through coups or military action.

***

More and more people are indeed seeing the connection between corporate banksterism and militarism ….

Indeed, all wars are bankers’ wars.

War Makes Banks Rich

Wars are the fastest way for banks to create more debt … and therefore to make more profit. No wonder they love war.

After all, the banking system is founded upon the counter-intuitive but indisputable fact that banks create loans first, and then create deposits later.

In other words, virtually all money is actually created as debt. For example, in a hearing held on September 30, 1941 in the House Committee on Banking and Currency, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Mariner S. Eccles) said:

That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.

And Robert H. Hemphill, Credit Manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said:

If all the bank loans were paid, no one could have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of coin or currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the Banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.

Debt (from the borrower’s perspective) owed to banks is profit and income from the bank’s perspective. In other words, banks are in the business of creating more debt … i.e. finding more people who want to borrow larger sums.

Debt is central to our banking system. Indeed, Federal Reserve chairman Greenspan was so worried that the U.S. would pay off it’s debt, that he suggested tax cuts for the wealthy to increase the debt.

What does this have to do with war?

War is the most efficient debt-creation machine. For starters, wars are very expensive.

For example, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated in 2008 that the Iraq war could cost America up to $5 trillion dollars. A study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies says the Iraq war costs could exceed $6 trillion, when interest payments to the banks are taken into account.

This is nothing new … but has been going on for thousands of years. As a Cambridge University Press treatise on ancient Athens notes:

Financing wars is expensive business, and the scope for initiative was regularly extended by borrowing.

So wars have been a huge – and regular – way for banks to create debt for kings and presidents who want to try to expand their empires.

Major General Smedley Butler – the most decorated Marine in American history – was right when he said:

Let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers.

War is also good for banks because a lot of material, equipment, buildings and infrastructure get destroyed in war. So countries go into massive debt to finance war, and then borrow a ton more to rebuild.

The advent of central banks hasn’t changed this formula. Specifically, the big banks (“primary dealers”) loan money to the Fed, and charge interest for the loan.

So when a nation like the U.S. gets into a war, the Fed pumps out money for the war effort based upon loans from the primary dealers, who make a killing in interest payments from the Fed.

War Is Horrible for the American People

Top economists say that war is destroying our economy.  But war is great for the  super-elites … so they want to keep it going.

And America’s never-ending wars are hurting our national security.

Never-ending wars are also destroying our freedom. The Founding Fathers warned against standing armies, saying that they destroy freedom. (update).

Perversely, our government – which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the big banks –  treats anti-war sentiment  – or protest of big banks (and here) – as terrorism.

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Lithuanians Under Police State Attack and the World under Washington’s Attack

NOVANEWS
Global Research
NATO-us-troops-lithuania-drills.si_-600x337

US and Lithuanian Troops

According to news reports and to this appeal by Kristoferis Voishka, the pro-American government installed in Lithuania is persecuting Lithuanians who dissent from the anti-Russian propaganda that is driving Washington’s NATO puppets to war with Russia.  Unlike their puppet government, Lithuanians understand that war with Russia means that Lithuania on the front line will be utterly destroyed, a result that would not bother Washington in the least, just as Washington is undisturbed when its forces obliterate weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games.

What is Lithuania?  To Washington it is a nothing.

Kristoferis Voiska runs an alternative Internet news site in LIthuania. Not long ago he interviewed me, and the interview appeared in both LIthuanian newspapers and on his Internet news program in video form.  I found him to be sincere and well informed.  I advised him that interviewing me would bring trouble for him, and he already was aware of that.

As I have said so many times, Americans are the worst informed people on the planet.

They are unaware of the growing momentum toward war with Russia.  The presstitute media throughout Europe, especially in the Baltic states and Poland, is hard at work creating in people’s minds the fear of a Russian invasion.  The orchestrated fear then provides the basis for the American puppet governments to beg troops and tanks and missiles from Washington, and the US military/security complex, counting its profits,  is pleased to comply.

 But what Russia sees is a threat, not a money-making opportunity for the US military/security complex and payoffs to the corrupt Lithuanian and Polish governments, which are increasingly perceived as neo-nazi like the government that Washington bestowed on Ukraine.

 The situation is dangerous, as I keep telling you, a message that some are too weak to accept.

  If you care to show support for Kristoferis and the independent media in Lithuania, send emails to  tautiniai.socialistai@yandex.ru

 In about one week I will be 76 years old.  I was born in 1939 as World War II was unfolding as the direct consequence of the Versailles Treaty that broke every promise President Woodrow Wilson made to Germany in exchange for the end of World War I.

 I remember as a child Cold War nuclear attack drills in elementary school during which we would cower under our school desks.  We were issued dog tags with our blood type just like the dog tags ripped by their comrades off US soldiers killed in the war movies by Germans or Japs (no longer a permissible word) and sent home to the dead GI’s family.

To us it was more romantic than scary.  We loved wearing the dog tags.  I have no idea what happened to mine.  They must be collectors’ items by now.

I have seen a lot.  As kids playing war–in those days you could have toy guns without being shot down by the police who are protecting us–we reveled in America’s World War victories.  We understood, thanks to our parents and grandparents, that the Red Army won the war against Germany, but we Americans beat the heartless Japs.

That was enough. We knew that the US was tough.

I was 14 when the Korean War broke out.  We expected to win, of course, and our expectations, we thought, were proven correct when General MacArthur’s amphibious landings rolled  up the North Korean army.  But what MacArthur and Washington had overlooked is that China and the Soviet Union were not about to accept a US victory.

Before Americans could cheer, the Third World Chinese Army rolled in and pushed the conquerors of Japan back town to the tip of South Korea.  It was a humiliating defeat for American arms.  In his dispute with President Truman about the conduct of the war, MacArthur, America’s most famous general, was removed from command.

Washington accepted defeat in Korea and again in Viet Nam where a 500,000 US force consisting of US Army, Marines, and Special Forces was defeated by a Third World guerrilla  army.

To these defeats we can add Afghanistan and Iraq.  After 14 years of killing, the Taliban controls most of the country.  Jihadist have carved a new state out of parts of Syria and Iraq.  The Middle East reeks of American defeat.  Just like Korea.  Just like Viet Nam.

Despite these facts insouciant Americans and their crazed rulers in Washington imagine that the US is a Uni-Power, the world’s only superpower against whom no country can stand.  Arrogance, ignorance, and hubris are leading the US into conflict with Russia and China, either of which can destroy the US with ease.  And Europe as well.  And the stupid bought-and-paid-for Japanese government, a total non-entity, a disgrace to the Japanese people, a collection of well-paid American puppets.

As Andrew Cockburn has documented, the US military is lost in abstractions and is no longer capable of conducting conventional warfare. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/03/24/us-government-us-military-became-murder-inc-paul-craig-roberts/

Any American or NATO army sent to attack Russia will be destroyed almost instantly.  Washington cannot accept the loss of prestige from defeat and would take the war nuclear.  Life on earth would end.

The only conclusion that informed analysis supports is that Washington is the greatest threat to life on earth.  Washington is a greater threat than global warming.  Washington is a greater threat than the exhaustion of mineral energy sources.  Washington is a greater threat than the rise in world and US poverty from Washington’s policy to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

The only possible conclusion is that unless Washington collapses from its economic house of cards or is abandoned by its NATO puppet states, Washington will destroy life on earth.

Washington is the greatest evil that the world has ever faced.  There is no good in  Washington.  Only evil.

Posted in USAComments Off

Nestle Continues Stealing World’s Water During Drought

NOVANEWS
Global Research
ARROWHEAD MORONGO NESTLE

Image: The Arrowhead Mountain Water Company bottling plant, owned by Swiss conglomerate Nestle, on the Morongo Indian Reservation near Cabazon, Calif. Photo credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP.

The city of Sacramento is in the fourth year of a record drought – yet the Nestlé Corporation continues to bottle city water to sell back to the public at a big profit, local activists charge. 

The Nestlé Water Bottling Plant in Sacramento is the target of a major press conference on Tuesday, March 17, by a water coalition that claims the company is draining up to 80 million gallons of water a year from Sacramento aquifers during the drought.

The coalition, the crunchnestle alliance, says that City Hall has made this use of the water supply possible through a “corporate welfare giveaway,” according to a press advisory.

A coalition of environmentalists, Native Americans and other concerned people announced the press conference will take place at March 17 at 5 p.m. at new Sacramento City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento.

The coalition will release details of a protest on Friday, March 20, at the South Sacramento Nestlé plant designed to “shut down” the facility. The coalition is calling on Nestlé to pay rates commensurate with their enormous profit, or voluntarily close down.

“The coalition is protesting Nestlé’s virtually unlimited use of water – up to 80 million gallons a year drawn from local aquifers – while Sacramentans (like other Californians) who use a mere 7 to 10 percent of total water used in the State of California, have had severe restrictions and limitations forced upon them,”

according to the coalition.

“Nestlé pays only 65 cents for each 470 gallons it pumps out of the ground – the same rate as an average residential water user. But the company can turn the area’s water around, and sell it back to Sacramento at mammoth profits,”

the coalition said.

Activists say that Sacramento officials have refused attempts to obtain details of Nestlé’s water used. Coalition members have addressed the Sacramento City Council and requested that Nestle’ either pay a commercial rate under a two tier level, or pay a tax on their profit.

Cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino, Calif. Photo credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

In October, the coalition released a “White Paper” highlighting predatory water profiteering actions taken by Nestle’ Water Bottling Company in various cities, counties, states and countries. Most of those great “deals” yielded mega profits for Nestle’ at the expense of citizens and taxpayers. Additionally, the environmental impact on many of those areas yielded disastrous results.

Coalition spokesperson Andy Conn said,

“This corporate welfare giveaway is an outrage and warrants a major investigation. For more than five months we have requested data on Nestlé water use. City Hall has not complied with our request, or given any indication that it will. Sacramentans deserve to know how their money is being spent and what they’re getting for it. In this case, they’re getting ripped off.”

For more information about the crunchnestle alliance, contact Andy Conn (530) 906-8077 camphgr55 (at) gmail.com or Bob Saunders (916) 370-8251

Nestlé is currently the leading supplier of the world’s bottled water, including such brands as Perrier and San Pellegrino, and has been criticized by activists for human rights violations throughout the world. For example, Food and Water Watch and other organizations blasted Nestlé’s “Human Rights Impact Assessment” in December 2013 as a “public relations stunt.

“The failure to examine Nestlé’s track record on the human right to water is not surprising given recent statements by its chair Peter Brabeck challenging the human right to water,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. She noted that the company famously declared at the 2000 World Water Forum in the Netherlands that water should be defined as a need—not as a human right.

“In November 2013, Colombian trade unionist Oscar Lopez Trivino became the fifteenth Nestlé worker to be assassinated by a paramilitary organization while many of his fellow workers were in the midst of a hunger strike protesting the corporation’s refusal to hear their grievances,”

according to the groups.

The press conference and protest will take place just days after Jay Famiglietti, the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine,revealed in an op-ed in the LA Times on March 12 that California has only one year of water supply left in its reservoirs.

“As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.”

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to fast-track his Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking operations. The $67 billion plan won’t create one single drop of new water, but it will take vast tracts of Delta farm land out of production under the guise of “habitat restoration” in order to irrigate drainage-impaired soil owned by corporate mega-growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The tunnel plan will also hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Klamath and Trinity rivers. The peripheral tunnels will be good for agribusiness, water privateers, oil companies and the 1 percent, but will be bad for the fish, wildlife, people and environment of California and the public trust.

The Delta smelt may already be extinct in the wild!

In fact, the endangered Delta smelt, once the most abundant fish in the entire Bay Delta Estuary, may already be extinct, according to UC Davis fish biologist and author Peter Moyle, as quoted on Capital Public Radio.

“Prepare for the extinction of the Delta Smelt in the wild,” Moyle told a group of scientists with the Delta Stewardship Council.

According to Capital Public Radio:

“He says the latest state trawl survey found very few fish in areas of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where smelt normally gather.

‘That trawl survey came up with just six smelt, four females and two males,’ says Moyle. “Normally because they can target smelt, they would have gotten several hundred.’

Moyle says the population of Delta smelt has been declining for the last 30 years but the drought may have pushed the species to the point of no return. If the smelt is officially declared extinct, which could take several years, the declaration could change how water is managed in California.

‘All these biological opinions on Delta smelt that have restricted some of the pumping will have to be changed,’ says Moyle.

But Moyle says pumping water from the Delta to Central and Southern California could still be restricted at certain times because of all the other threatened fish populations.”

The Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fall midwater trawl survey that was released in January.

Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of 100 sites sampled each month from September through December

The smelt is considered an indicator species because the 2.0 to 2.8 inch long fish is endemic to the estuary and spends all of its life in the Delta.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has conducted the Fall Midwater Trawl Survey (FMWT) to index the fall abundance of pelagic (open water) fish, including Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad, nearly annually since 1967. The index of each species is a number that indicates a relative population abundance.

Watch Nestle’s CEO declare water “food that should be privatized, and not a human right”:

Posted in USA0 Comments

Haiti: Martelly Government is the Most Retrograde

NOVANEWS

And the Most Subject to Foreign Dictates in Latin America and the Caribbean

Elections that bode ill for the Haitian people!

Global Research
protest-haiti-nov-25-2014-400x266

Anti-government protest, November 25, 2014.

It is hard to imagine a greater contra, st than that which is evident in Haiti today. On one hand, we can see the triumphant posturing of the de facto tandem of President Michel Martelly and his new Prime Minister Evans Paul. On the other hand, we witness the pusillanimity of the so-called opposition under the leadership of MOPOD (Patriotic Movement of the Democratic Opposition), the Lavalas Family Political Organization, and the Dessalines’ Children Platform, three rather inconsistent formations which are now prepared to play the game of electoral lottery concocted by the government. Despite its record of lawless behavior and of association with people accused of rape, murder, drug trafficking, and kidnapping, this government is still moving towards elections that will no doubt deliver a society which is even more unjust and corrupt, with the encouragement of those who don’t see anything wrong with that.

In Latin American and the Caribbean, the political regime that governs Haiti is indeed the most backward, most retrograde, most mercenary, and most subject to foreign dictates in the region. Even the New York Times had to recognize this in the article it ran on Mar. 16 headlined “Haitian Leader’s Power Grows as Scandals Swirl.”

Martelly is marching towards a renewal of political actors which bodes ill for the Haitian people. And it is not without reason that he appears to be the most stable president, the most indulged by the exploiting powers, because he is the straw man of the triumvirate of Washington, Paris, and Ottawa. All three presently want to make us hold elections which they can control, to serve their interests.

The main idea behind these elections is to replace some government officials with new ones, to allow the Haitian ruling classes and the imperial forces to better set in place and ensure their smooth domination of a new government which will do their bidding and which will not solve any of the people’s problems.

And it is not without reason that Martelly spoke to the Haitian people, with a triumphant tone,  through a presidential decree that was applauded by the entire political class, with the exception, of course, of a few progressive anti-imperialist parties. According to Martelly’s spokesman Lucien Jura “the president wants all political actors, including those of the opposition, to get on board the electoral train which is definitely under way.” And to reinforce this hypocritical lie, he hastened to add: “the strength of a party is demonstrated through the ballot box.” Isn’t this mocking the opportunistic opposition leaders who will be subject to the same political sleight of hand that we witnessed in the 2010-2011 election?

As proof of this, we have the words of the current president of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), and its former General Manager, Pierre Louis Opont. He revealed last week that “the results of the 2010 elections were not the real results. Those that were given to [then CEP President] Gaillot Dorsainvil and others were not published.” What could be clearer?

Shouldn’t such an open admission before political leaders be enough to edify even the most naive? We already know with whom we are dealing and what to expect. Opont, with unusual frankness, invites us to reconcile ourselves with the reality of elections under a United Nations military occupation. There is here a clear warning: Do not expect a democratic exercise; it is the weight of Haitian tradition which wants the electoral outcome to be determined well before the elections themselves, Opont seems to want to tell us.

In any case, these elections, announced to offer the world an image of a stable Haiti and a democratic state, will be nothing more than just another well-executed maneuver by the United Nations occupation forces and Haiti’s guardian powers through their embassies to push us further into the unhappy state of poverty, misery, and chronic underdevelopment. It required the spending of a whopping $53 million, according to electoral advisers, to ensure this lusterless democratic veneer, to establish this hypocrisy that has served once again to deceive the Haitian people and satisfy the greedy appetite of candidates, who are surely salivating at the 500 million gourdes, or $10.61 million, earmarked to finance the campaign of political parties.

No country is too small or too poor to determine its own destiny and organize its own elections with the means at hand. Only Haiti seems to have avoided this conclusion. The Haitian people should pay no attention to these merchants of illusion and of false promises who come whispering to them the same songs, the same refrains, at each election. The dignity and future of the nation, the living conditions of the masses, will never be taken into account in their false speeches. Since Haiti’s birth, there have been many elections, but what has changed for the people? Nothing. With the exception of a very small number of individuals who have succeeded without the people, the fact remains that the vast majority remains as if locked in a prison, afflicted with despair.

Of selection-elections, we have had enough and too much. The so-called opposition parties are preparing to participate in these dishonest games prepared once again by the imperialist powers. By allowing themselves to be duped into this, they will just shove deeper and twist the knife into the gaping wound of the masses, who are being killed little by little.

No to selections-elections! Yes to popular mobilization!

This is a translation of Haïti Liberté’s March 18, 2015 editorial.

Posted in South America0 Comments

Jade Helm, U.S. Military Exercise: Troops To “Operate Undetected Amongst Civilian Population”

NOVANEWS

Role players to practice infiltrating towns during controversial exercise

Global Research
us-troop

A key component of the controversial Jade Helm military exercise set to take part in nine U.S. states this summer will involve soldiers operating “undetected amongst civilian populations,” to see if they can infiltrate without being noticed.

The “realistic” military training exercise, which will involve the Green Berets, Navy Seals, and the 82nd Airborne Division, is set to take place from July 15-Sepember 15, but has prompted concerns after Texas and Utah were labeled “hostile” territory in documents related to the exercise.

A Houston Chronicle report reveals that soldiers will attempt to blend in with the local population in an effort to test the effectiveness of infiltration techniques. Residents will be advised to report “suspicious activity” during the exercise.

“They’re going to set up cells of people and test how well they’re able to move around without getting too noticed in the community,” said Roy Boyd, chief deputy with the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re testing their abilities to basically blend in with the local environment and not stand out and blow their cover.”

By directly involving unwitting members of the local population, this aspect of the drill contradicts theArmy’s assertion that, “The public can expect nothing much different from their day-to-day activities since much of exercise will be conducted in remote areas.”

Jim Stewart, chief deputy with the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, told the Chronicle that the designation of Texas as “hostile territory” was merely a way of setting up a role playing exercise under which soldiers operate behind enemy lines.

The Army has failed to specifically address why Texas, Utah and a pocket of southern California were labeled as hostile territories in training documents for the exercise, merely insisting that the drill is designed to prepare troops for foreign occupations and has nothing to do with preparations for martial law.

No less than 17 different Texas cities will see an Army presence as part of the exercise, which will involve, “participants in civilian dress and civilian vehicles, military aircraft, low-altitude airdrops of personnel and weapons with blank rounds, to avert fearful reactions”.

The cities are Bastrop/Smithville, Big Spring, Caddo Lake, Caldwell, Christoval, College Station, Dell City, Eldorado, Goliad, Junction, Leakey, Menard, Mountain Home, San Angelo, San Antonio and Victoria.

News outlets, primarily Infowars, who questioned the nature of the exercise have come under fire from the Army and other mainstream media outlets, with the Chronicle characterizing the reaction as an example of, “ultra-right-wing fears of a government takeover in the Lone Star State”.

Despite assurances that the training is to prepare troops for overseas missions, Army documents in the past have made clear that plans for martial law are in place for within the Continental United States (CONUS).

leaked 2012 US Army Military Police training manual, entitled “Civil Disturbance Operations,” described how soldiers would be ordered to confiscate firearms and kill American “dissidents.” The manual also revealed that prisoners would be detained in temporary internment camps and “re-educated” to gain a new appreciation of “U.S. policies,” in accordance with U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations.

Jade Helm has also drawn comparisons to a 2012 scenario outlined by retired Army colonel Kevin Benson, in which the U.S. Military is used to crush an insurgent rebellion overseen by Tea Party militia members who take over the city of Darlington, South Carolina.

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Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

NOVANEWS
Global Research
The Last Whistleblowers

Following the late January guilty verdicts in the espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, more proof emerged — if any more were needed — that many elite mainstream journalists abhor whistleblowers and think they should go to prison when they divulge classified information.

One would think that a business that has relied on confidential informants for some of the major investigative stories of this and the previous century would applaud whistleblowers who risk everything on behalf of the people’s right to know what its government is doing in the shadows. But looking back at cases over the last five years, we see the unedifying spectacle of some of the nation’s best-known print and broadcast journalists venting their outrage at whistleblowers’ disclosures and expressing their preference for being kept in the dark by the government in the name of national security.

Most recently, Walter Pincus of The Washington Post, and an opinion writer for The Economist both weighed in critically against Sterling after his conviction. Pincus also strongly defended the integrity of the Operation Merlin program — details of which Sterling was accused of leaking to New York Times reporter James Risen — and contended that Risen gave an erroneous portrayal of portions of the program in his 2006 book “State of War.” (More about these later.)

Sterling, who has never admitted leaking any classified information, nevertheless with his conviction joined the ranks of those whistleblowers and conduits for whistleblowers who have come under fire from prominent journalists for disclosing classified information to the press — e.g., Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, and others.

New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and David Brooks, Washington Post columnists David Ignatius and Richard Cohen, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, NBC’s former Meet the Press host David Gregory, and the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin. These are among the journalistic heavyweights who have in one instance or another come to the defense of the government’s secrecy policies and who have pilloried those making the leaks. And, in the process, they frequently sounded more like government press officers than independent, skeptical watchdogs of the public interest.

Of course, some of these outraged members of press royalty have themselves benefited from “approved” government leaks designed to make the leaking parties look good — the kind of leaks that don’t get prosecuted.

For example, Ignatius, a veteran writer known for his CIA sources and insider information, derided whistleblowers in the aftermath of Snowden’s June 2013 National Security Agency mass surveillance revelations as “malcontents and self-appointed do-gooders who may get security clearances.” He darkly hinted that Snowden “looks these days more like an intelligence defector, seeking haven in a country hostile to the United States, than a whistleblower.”

The ever imaginative Thomas Friedman, in criticizing the NSA leaks, offered up a modern-day version of the Vietnam War’s “we had to bomb the village in order to save it” as the reason to condemn Snowden’s revelations. Read it here.

In Friedman’s telling, Americans must not overly concern themselves about our government spying on citizens and must accept a curtailment of privacy and civil liberties today in order to protect the nation and ward off a repeat of 9-11 — which, if it occurred, would lead to an even more serious crackdown on civil liberties. As he wrote: “…(W)e don’t live in a world any longer where our government can protect its citizens from real, not imagined, threats without using big data…under constant judicial review. It’s not ideal. But if one more 9/11-scale attack gets through, the cost to civil liberties will be so much greater.” Yes, a little authoritarianism today will forestall really big authoritarianism down the line.

We have even witnessed some journalists suggesting that Glenn Greenwald be charged with crimes for being the primary reporter of Snowden’s NSA disclosures — most notably, NBC’s David Gregory. (Gregory has snottily referred to Greenwald as someone who “claims that he’s a journalist” — as if true journalists are only those, like Gregory, who always bow to government authority.) In June 2013, two weeks after the Snowden revelations, Gregory asked Greenwald on Meet the Press: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” See video and read here how Greenwald demolished Gregory.

Over the years, Greenwald, first with Salon and The Guardian and now with The Intercept, has been the most vigilant documenter of the hostility of many in the mainstream press to whistleblowers and their support for secrecy in all matters connected to whatever the government claims involves a national security issue. See, for example, his 2010 column on the reaction of many journalists, politicians and others to the Wikileaks disclosures.

There is also the example of Bill Keller, then executive editor of The New York Times, who famously trashed Julian Assange in the Sunday Times Magazine in early 2011. Although Wikileaks provided a horde of secret documents that the Times used for major news stories, Keller, nevertheless, decided to do a gossipy hit-job on Assange — certainly one of the most peculiar acts of journalistic ingratitude and dumping of one’s source in the modern age.

In Sterling’s case, a January 29 article on the “Democracy in America” blog of The Economist came up with a particularly disturbing headline: “Why locking up leakers makes sense.” It was signed with the initials D.R., per The Economist’s tradition of not disclosing full names in bylines.

The anonymous blogger takes a sort of “I’m-all-right-Jack-f-you” attitude toward whistleblowers in their dealings with reporters. Noting that James Risen was excused by the Justice Department from testifying in the Sterling case after making it clear that he would not name his sources for a botched CIA nuclear-component-designs-for-Iran operation that he described in his 2006 book “State of War,” the Economist article stated:

“The conflict between society’s desire for a vigorous free press that holds government to account and its need for the state to keep secrets from foreign enemies can never be resolved. But Mr. Risen’s reprieve and Mr. Sterling’s conviction could shift the balance in the right direction.”

Let that sink in: A writer for a magazine adjudged in journalistic circles to be a serious, prestigious publication, says it strikes a nice balance to have a whistleblower go to jail. The writer skims over the fact that this reprieve for Risen was the result of a policy only recently adopted by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder and that today’s policy can change from one administration to the next — or even from one attorney general to another in the same administration. There was no binding precedent set in Risen being let off the hook; there is no guarantee that the next brave reporter who refuses to name a source in a national security case won’t end up in jail. And no guarantee that reporter won’t be indicted as a co-conspirator if an attorney general decides to cross that line.

In this regard, the Obama administration has already indicated that reporters who benefit from classified leaks can be considered partners in an illegal activity, as was divulged in 2013 in the investigation of a 2009 national security leak to Fox News reporter James Rosen. Rosen was described as a co-conspirator in a government investigator’s affidavit seeking a search warrant to obtain Rosen’s personal e-mails in a leaks case involving North Korea’s nuclear weapons testing. Stephen Kim, a State Department official with particular expertise in North Korea’s nuclear program, was subsequently indicted and pleaded guilty in April 2014 to one count under the Espionage Act of divulging classified information to Rosen. Kim’s case marked an especially egregious misuse of the Espionage Act, as reported by Peter Maass in The Intercept here.

Also in the Sterling trial aftermath, Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s veteran national security reporter, weighed in with the journalistic equivalent of an amicus brief in support of the bizarre CIA scheme — Operation Merlin. The CIA’s plan, as Risen’s “State of War” discloses, was to give flawed nuclear weapons component designs to the Iranians in the hope the supposedly clueless recipients would waste years going down this wrong path. Pincus asserts, as did CIA witnesses at trial, that Operation Merlin — far from being botched and possibly even helpful to the Iranians in their nuclear research, as Risen portrayed it — was really a marvelous success until its cover was blown with the publication of “State of War.” His argument that Risen got it wrong dovetails nicely with the CIA’s effort to rehabilitate what Risen described as “what may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.”

A May 2013 Politico article stressed Pincus’s closeness to the CIA and that agency’s point of view, quoting Post columnist Dana Milbank as saying: “Walter conveys the sense of what the intelligence community is thinking on any given subject.” Yes, he does.

Even before the Sterling case came to trial, Pincus had displayed animosity toward whistleblowers and some reporters’ dealings with them. He had even said it’s fine for the FBI to get secret warrants to rummage through reporters’ telephone records in investigating leaks, as was the case with six Associated Press reporters and editors. See here and here.

And in the month after Snowden’s June 2013 NSA disclosures, Pincus penned a speculative, innuendo-filled column, the gist of which was what he saw as the sinister possibility that Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras had all colluded with Snowden to leak secret documents for them to publish. Greenwald challenged Pincus’s piece over much of a two-day period before the Post finally appended multiple corrections to the article that shot down the key “conspiracy” points Pincus had laid out.

Even at this late date, with a record number of at least eight individuals charged by the Obama administration under the 1917 Espionage Act (compared to three such prosecutions for all of Obama’s predecessors combined), many prominent journalists can’t see, or won’t admit, or don’t believe, that an attack on whistleblowers is also an attack on the press and on the First Amendment.

They appear either not to care or to have scant awareness of the chilling effect on the symbiotic relationship between investigative reporters and their sources every time whistleblowers are charged or convicted for crimes that could land them in prison for decades, if not a lifetime.

They also appear to accept at face value the stories spun by the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon or other members of the vast U.S. national security state apparatus. It matters not to them the number of times those agencies have been shown to be liars, whether it be over non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the extent of the vast surveillance operations directed at American citizens and people worldwide.

Why do these stars of the news media so readily brush off concerns about our dangerous warfare/surveillance state revealed by Snowden, Manning and the others? Why do they cheer on the government’s crackdown on unauthorized leaks and tell us surveillance and the diminishment of our civil liberties is really for our own good in a scary world — rather than side with the Bill of Rights and the handful of other journalists and whistleblowers who expose secrets that people in a free society should have the right to know? Why do they sound as if they are angling for a position on the National Security Council or membership in the Council on Foreign Relations, rather than aspiring to be another I.F. Stone (who lived by the tenet, “all governments lie”) or Edward R. Murrow or Seymour Hersh?

James Risen, of course, “gets” why whistleblowers are vital to investigative reporting and a free press, as he explained to an unsympathetic David Gregory on Meet the Press shortly after Snowden’s disclosures in June 2013. (See cringeworthy video excerpts here of Gregory and correspondent Andrea Mitchell lecturing to one of the premiere investigative reporters of this generation why whistleblowers like Snowden are so dangerous.)

Risen fielded his colleagues’ pro-secrecy, anti-whistleblower comments deftly, pointing out to them the obvious: “The only reason we’ve been having these public debates” over surveillance and civil liberties “and that we’re now sitting here talking about this is because of a series of whistleblowers. That the government has never wanted any of this reported, never wanted any of it disclosed. If it was up to the government over the last ten years, this surveillance infrastructure would have grown enormously with no public debate whatsoever. And so every time we talk about how someone is a traitor for disclosing something, we have to remember the only reason we’re talking about it is because of it.”

Given the co-dependency of confidential sources and journalists, it would be worthwhile to remind mainstream reporters and editors that when it comes to investigative reporting you, too, are a species of whistleblower. And when a whistleblower goes to jail, a part of our press freedom goes to jail, too.

Posted in USA1 Comment

US-NATO Policy Underlines Instability in Libya and Tunisia

NOVANEWS

Imperialist states debate over future course of action in dominating region

Global Research
Image result for NATO LOGO

Attacks on March 18 at the Bardo Museum in Tunis resulting in the deaths of 24 people have been credited to the Islamic State. 

Just two days prior to the 59th anniversary of the national independence of Tunisia from France in 1956, two gunmen took over a major tourist destination resulting in a police response that led to another high profile incident that was utilized as propaganda to escalate the so-called “war on terrorism” in North Africa.

Of the 24 people killed almost all of them were foreign nationals from Poland, Germany, Spain, Italy and other states. The recently-elected veteran politician President Beji Caid Essebsi criticized the security forces for being lax in their efforts to protect the museum which is a vital resource in the tourism sector, one of the most lucrative industries for earning hard currencies.

“There were failures…the police and intelligence [services] were not systematic enough to ensure the safety of the museum”, the president told the Paris Match weekly in an interview on March 21. Nonetheless, he went on to praise the police by saying they “responded very effectively to quickly put an end to the attack at the Bardo, certainly preventing dozens more deaths if the terrorists had been able to set off their suicide belts.”

However, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Abdelfattah Mourou reportedly told the French Press Agency on March 20 that the guards hired to protect the museum and the parliament building located close by were drinking coffee at the time of the firing of gunshots by the assailants. Prosecution spokesperson Sofiene Sliti said that “There are developments in the case, but to protect the secrecy of the investigation we prefer not to provide any details.” (AFP)

Although Tunisia is often cited by the western media as the most stable state among those which experienced upheavals and regime-changes in 2011, the country has experienced political unrest and assassinations. Two leading left-wing politicians, Mohamed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid, members of the same Popular Front alliance, were killed by gunmen just months apart during 2013.

In the aftermath of the assassination of Brahmi the country erupted in mass demonstrations led by youth and workers demanding the resignation of the government which took over after the forced exile of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Although the-then Prime Minister Ali Larayedh refused to resign, the post-uprising government dominated by the Ennahda Party did eventually dismiss the cabinet setting the stage for new elections and the appointment of a so-called “technocratic” administration.

During the period after the assassination of the two leftist leaders, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou stated in a press conference that “The same 9mm automatic weapon that killed Belaid also killed Brahmi.” The individual targeted in both assassinations was said to have been Boubacar Hakim, a Salafist who was sought in connection with the illegal transport of weapons from Libya.

Post-Gaddafi Libya is a Major Source of Instability

With reference to the March 18 attacks in Tunis, the government and western states have linked the museum assault with Islamic State fighters based in neighboring Libya. Since the beginning of the war of regime-change against the government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi the North African state has fallen into political instability and internecine conflict.

IS forces are said to have training camps in Libya while engaging in several high-profile attacks in the capital of Tripoli as well as in the eastern and southern regions of the country. The two men involved in the museum incident were killed when security forces stormed the building.

One of the gunmen involved in the attack, Yassine Laabidi, was said to have been known to intelligence services although they claim he had no formal links to a particular organization. These extremist organizations based in Libya are a direct outcome of the foreign policy of Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and their allies which coordinated the advances of these groups across Libya in 2011 through its massive aerial bombardments which lasted for over seven months.

During the course of the war between Feb. 17 and Oct. 31, some 26,000 sorties were flown and approximately 10,000 bombs were dropped on Libya. Tens of thousands were killed and millions more were displaced amid the destruction of the national infrastructure and the plundering of the country’s wealth.

Yet the western states which carried out the destruction of Libya and empowered the extremist groups now wreaking havoc on the country are never cited for their culpability in the current western media reports which ponder how stability can be restored to the oil-rich state on the Mediterranean. These armed rebel groups are spreading out from Libya into neighboring and regional states in North and West Africa.

European Union Denies Plan for Military Intervention 

At present the European Union (EU) is deliberating over whether it should establish another military force to supposedly secure the Libya-Tunisia borders and challenge IS and other rebels in operating in both countries. The EU plan as reported in the media would involve a stronger naval presence in the region as well as the deployment of ground troops backed up by air power.

However, it was announced on March 20 that the EU would continue to seek a political solution to the Libyan crisis and plans to send in troops were unsubstantiated. United Nations brokered talks between the two competing rebel regimes in Libya have failed to bring about the creation of a government of national unity.

Adherents to the former Jamahiriya political system under Gaddafi are barred from participation in the current U.S.-imposed political dispensation in Libya. Neither faction based in Tripoli or in the eastern city of Tobruk represents the aspirations of the workers and youth inside the country or throughout Africa, which under Gaddafi was the focus of the nation’s foreign policy.

An article published by the globalpost.com on March 20 revealed that “The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, said on Friday [March 20] that the EU is not planning a military intervention in Libya, but advocated the 28 EU countries to devote all possible means of support to the country, including security and defense measures, if Libya can create a unity government. Upon arriving at the European Council held in Brussels on Friday, the senior representative said that there is no plan for a European military intervention, but that Europe is ‘planning all possible ways of supporting, even on the plan of security,’ all of which is contingent on whether Libya can create a national unity government.”

Yet a progressive national unity government can only come about with the advancement of the revolutionary democratic forces inside the country to establish a political system that places the interests of the majority within Libyan society above those of the bourgeois classes which are allied with multi-national oil interests and financiers. Such a system of national self-reliance and regional integration was the basis of the Jamahiriya which was destroyed by imperialist intervention.

The EU along with NATO and led by the U.S. are responsible for the current chaos in Libya. This pattern of sanctions, massive bombings, ground interventions through direct occupation or proxy forces have failed throughout the entire region of North Africa and the Middle East. Any real reversal of the political crisis in the regions must take on an anti-imperialist character stressing the necessity of genuine political independence and territorial sovereignty designed to break with the legacy of imperialism.

Posted in USA0 Comments

Mainstream U.S. Writers Call for Supporting Both Al Qaeda and ISIS

NOVANEWS
Global Research
ISIS made in USA

At Best, An Insanely Stupid Policy

Sure, America’s closest allies support ISIS.

And admittedly, the U.S. has repeatedly fumbled, so that arms got into Al Qaeda and ISIS’ hands. Hereherehereherehere and here.

And poor U.S. policies have undoubtedly created more terrorists then they’ve neutralized.

And it’s true that the U.S. knowingly supported Al Qaeda in Libya in order to topple Gaddaffi. But that was on the QT.

But now – for the first time – mainstream flacks are publicly calling for the United States of America to support ISIS and Al Qaeda …

Initially, Barak Mendelsohn – an Associate Professor of Political Science at Haverford College, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a five year veteran of the Israeli army – argues in the Council on Foreign Relations’ publication Foreign Affairs  that the U.S. should support Al Qaeda … as a way to counter ISIS:

The instability in the Middle East following the Arab revolutions and the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) require that Washington rethink its policy toward al Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri.

***

Destabilizing al Qaeda at this time may in fact work against U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS.

Many mainstream players are suggesting that Al Nusra – the main Al Qaeda group in Syria – “re-brand”, so that it can pretend it is moderate … and so receive direct U.S. backing. See thisthisthisthisthis and this.

Not to be outdone, influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asks if we should arm ISIS to counter Iranian influence.

At best, this is an insanely stupid strategy.

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