Tag Archive | "Obama"

Obama Awarded JFK Medal of Courage after Eight Years of War and Drone Bombings


NOVANEWS
 
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Former U.S. President Barack Obama was just named the 2017 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, “the most prestigious award for public servants.” Named after JFK’s 1957 book, Profiles in Courage, it is awarded annually by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to “public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences.

Obama will receive this award for his efforts in promoting democratic principles in the face of severe political opposition by members of Congress and a divided national political body.

Faced with unrelenting political opposition, President Obama has embodied the definition of courage that my grandfather cites in the opening lines of ‘Profiles in Courage’: grace under pressure,” Schlossberg said. “Throughout his two terms in office, he represented all Americans with decency, integrity, and an unshakeable commitment to the greater good.”

Obama is being recognized for “his enduring commitment to democratic ideals and elevating the standard of political courage in a new century,” the foundation said, citing the expansion of health care options for millions, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and leadership on an international climate change agreement. [Source]

Of course, Mr. Obama is humbled, as he should be; however, an award like this gives pause for those who wonder why so much of Obama’s legacy of war, military adventurism, surveillance, and indiscriminate drone bombings of Middle Eastern and African people is so under-represented in conversation about the merits of his eight-year tenure as president.

Humbled to be recognized by a family with a legacy of service. Who’s your ? Tell me about them: https://www.obama.org/your-voice/  https://twitter.com/JFKLibrary/status/837318374233354248 

Photo published for Add Your Voice: Obama Foundation
Add Your Voice: Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation is a living, working start-up for citizenship — an ongoing project for us to shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen.

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Obama – 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

In 2009, then President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions in the first year of his presidency including the “promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a ‘new climate’ in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world.” When the Nobel Prize was announced, many on both sides of the political spectrum rightfully thought it was a joke at first, and as Obama’s presidency ground on, it became absolutely clear that while although Obama was indeed a charismatic, charming, and visually appealing president, he in no way was concerned with halting U.S. imperialism or even slowing down the infamous drone bombings which have killed thousands of innocent people, including women and children.

The Nobel Peace Prize, and now the JFK Profile in Courage Award, are indeed jokes because Obama has never been a true supporter of democracy, liberty, or even peace. Not only did he fail to honor his promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison, but he also ended up being the first president in U.S. history to be at war for the entire duration of his presidency, averaging a whopping 72 bombs a day dropped on foreign countries, most of which were majority Muslim nations.

Every Tuesday — reported the New York Times — he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target”. A leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, estimated, approvingly, that Obama’s drones killed 4,700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said, but we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al Qaeda.” ~John Pilger

Furthermore, Obama’s accomplishments as president include the destruction of Libya, the financing of political coups in other nations, launching U.S. military intervention in Africa, massive advances in domestic and international surveillance, unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers, and the material support of Islamic terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS.

An Anti-Democratic Legacy of Imperialism

While on the surface, awards like these are fantastic for public relations, we live in the era of half-truths, hypocrisy and ignored realities. A time when organizations which have historically promoted democracy, justice, peace and liberty openly engage in superficiality and sycophancy, choosing to remain blind in the presence of betrayal by our leaders. It is a sign of the times, though. People no longer seem to care for substance or truth, only style and bias confirmation. War mongers don’t deserve peace prizes, and presidents who leave behind a legacy of imperialism and warfare do not deserve to be honored for their so-called courage in the service of democracy.

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Barack Obama’s Betrayal


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Barack Obama rode into office on a wave of enthusiasm encapsulated in the hopeful slogan ‘Yes We Can’. Soon, reality set in and forced the administration to deal with the influence exerted by the deep state. A mythological monster with five heads, it essentially includes Wall Street, large industrial corporations, the intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, NRO, etc.), the military (war industry), and the mainstream media (large publishing groups and television).

Among the major merits of Obama, especially during his first administration, we can include a strong inclination not to tarnish his presidential legacy with disastrous wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. This commitment has outlined and defined to an enormous extent the United States’ engagement strategies in the international arena.

Another significant factor is seen in the efforts to regulate and define more precisely the parameters of the highly speculative finance that led to the financial crisis of 2008. The power of a president is very limited compared to the powerful entity that is the Fed. In this sense, the small efforts to limit the power of large financial and banking groups were immediately scuttled, forcing Obama to follow the leadership of Greenspan and the monetary policy decided by the Fed. This was the first huge betrayal of the people’s mandate.

Finally, the repeated spy scandals related to the NSA and other intelligence agencies have forced Obama to adopt rhetoric aimed at containing the unlimited power of the intelligence agencies. But in practice, the outgoing administration has done the exact opposite by greatly increasing the powers of government agencies with the intention of pursuing the new president’s war strategy. Another huge betrayal of the electorate.

Retracing the pivotal points of the outgoing administration, it is easy to understand that of the five conglomerates of power, three of them – the media, Wall Street, and the intelligence agencies — have been granted a free hand in the exercise of their powers.

This can be easily seen in the decisions the President took over eight years. Nevertheless, it is difficult to establish with certainty the degree to which Obama had to submit to certain branches of the deep state in order to implement certain strategies. For Obama, the work of democratic evangelism (stemming from the concept of American exceptionalism), has always been a matter of priority for him, together with the need to favor certain areas of the deep state.

When looked at this way, it is easy to understand why spy agencies, the media and the world of financial speculation have enjoyed a free hand during the Obama administration. The outgoing president has focused on three main objectives during his presidency: to advance the role of the United States in the world; a domestic recovery of the economy; and the renunciation of wars involving ground troops. While clear goals, they are nevertheless incompatible, especially when seen in the light of the history of American foreign policy (preserving the unipolar world led by the US)

To succeed in this aim it is necessary to have the strong backing of the major financial institutions, national and international, in order to organize economic destabilization and financial terrorism against nations deemed hostile. The intelligence agencies were also relied upon to effect the type of aggression favored by the Obama administration, which relied on soft power (the Arab spring, color revolution, influence the vote). In all this, the media apparatus played a key role by boosting political propaganda that involved classic techniques (lack of information, distorted news, altered perception of reality, omissions) to win the support of Western populations for regime-change operations in North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Obama’s military strategy of avoiding direct military intervention at all costs greatly annoyed the military-industrial complex as well as large industrial corporations (in the petroleum, agriculture and construction fields). The bombing, the land invasion, the resulting occupation and destruction of the infrastructure of a country are great stimulants for generating contracts that are regularly awarded to US private companies (Iraq provides a prime example). The result is hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. This war machine thereby increases its earnings through perpetual wars, occupation and weapons that employ new technologies as a result of multi-million-dollar contracts.

Other major problems are still manifesting themselves around the world as a result of the weaponization of human rights, deployed over the past decade by the Obama administration as a pretext for bombing nations and supporting violent revolutions that have untold destruction in their wake. Obama’s foreign policy has only exacerbated global tensions, merely signifying a change in methods and means. This is the third massive betrayal of his electoral mandate.

Obama’s impact on the domestic front, a clear manifestation of a strategy based on the use of intelligence and the mainstream media, has seen an exponential increase in the power of the intelligence agencies, magnified by the repeated scandals revealed by Snowden. The same can be said about the credibility of the press with the massaging of news to favor a certain type of interpretation of reality.

Finally, of course, the saving of the too-big-to-fail banks has produced disastrous results for the financial and economic system. The Fed’s power (now languishing at a zero interest rate but still with its magical ability to print money out of thin air seemingly indefinitely), combined with financial speculation, the media’s distortion of news, and the unfettered freedom enjoyed by the intelligence agencies, bequeaths to the new president a country with an unstable economy that is hugging zero growth, and a foreign policy that has been disastrous for the United States and the rest of the world.

One of Obama’s few merits has been to halt large-scale military interventions, to the chagrin of the more interventionist elements of the deep state. In Syria, the failure of the 2013 invasion has been a sore point between Obama and the deep state, serving to undermine the credibility of the former president up to the last day of his residence in the White House.

In Iraq, the need to signal an important departure from Bush necessitated a forced withdrawal of US troops, as a result promoting the rise of Daesh. That Obama decided this strategy autonomously, or that it was betrayed by the intelligence apparatus (creators of Daesh at Camp Bucca), changes little. Obama’s political strategy has necessarily had to grant specific powers of autonomy to the intelligence apparatus, in the process betraying the mandate granted him by citizens. Obama has given weapons and funding to Daesh and elements linked to Al Qaeda, providing continued cooperation with other regional players (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey) to destabilize the entire area of the Middle Eastern and North Africa. This represents the fourth colossal betrayal of the electoral mandate.

The perpetual conflict between the deep state and Obama reached its heights on the matter Ukraine. The strong neoconservative pressure to escalate tensions in the east of the country met with little success. In spite of the intelligence apparatus always providing assistance to Kiev in its ‘anti-terrorist operation’ as well as in information warfare (MH17?), the Ukrainian military has never been armed by the West to the extent that it would like.

One of the major contradictions between the Eurasian and the Atlantic areas has been the misinterpretation of the two major actors. In Russia (but also often in other Middle Eastern nations), Obama was seen as an extremist who was setting into motion the steps that would lead to World War Three. Likewise, Putin was viewed in the same light by the Atlantic. This wrong perception of reality has often led to misunderstanding and a lack of trust that is difficult to overcome. The crisis in Ukraine has been the perfect example of the greatest danger that looms in terms of confrontation between nuclear powers. In Russia, Putin has been criticized for not intervening massively in Ukraine, while Obama has been harshly criticized both in Europe and back at home for not backing Kiev with all means necessary. It has been the moderation of both Putin and Obama in volatile contexts, especially in Syria and in Ukraine, that has prevented their respective hawks from escalating things.

In conclusion, Obama has often preferred to use alternative methods, no less harmful, to in some way impose his own vision on international politics. Some of his actions were done under duress, while others would have stemmed from his own initiative. Sanctions on Russia, drone operations, the intensification of patrols in the South China Sea, support for Saudi actions in Yemen through arms sales, the bank bailout following the financial crisis, and the continuation of Guantanamo fall into this category. These events, given to placate the five-headed monster known as the deep state, have tarnished Obama’s reputation. These were choices that Obama was in one way or another forced to take in order to prevent an open war with the various entities of the deep state. In other words, he has bent to the will of the powers that be without a fight, preferring instead to adapt to the situation in order to obtain some concessions.

Obama has in domestic and foreign policy certainly been a president in some ways worse than Bush. But it should be recognized that he limited the potential for destructive nuclear war, especially when taking into account the wishes of certain elements of Washington’s power elite. The main accusation that can be levelled on Obama is the failure to be faithful to even the most basic promises expressed during the election campaign. With the slogan ‘Yes We Can’ Obama promised a change in approach to US problems. But instead of fighting the establishment with a revolution from within, he preferred to come to terms with it in order to advance the role of the United States in the world simply by changing approach. He chose alliances and plot lines to advance his future biography (the contentious relationship with Israel regarding settlements, the withdrawal from Iraq, and the embargo with Cuba), but it has never come into direct conflict with important elements of the deep state. Israel can be seen as an isolated exception.

The consequences of this approach have generated catastrophic effects that we see every day in different areas of the globe. The American and European people are experiencing an existential crisis, with loss of faith in the media; the spy agencies are considered oppressive and intrusive, having eliminated privacy, thereby no longer enjoying the trust of the public; the military-industrial complex produces outdated and inefficient hardware involving stratospheric production costs driven by greed and corruption; large corporate groups are suffering the effects of a trade war (a problematic relationship with the value of oil); and such trade agreements as TTIP and TTP have failed.

Obama, while presenting himself as a transformative candidate in 2008 and 2012, continued in the tradition of American exceptionalism, the chosen people of God with the mission of instructing the world on how to conduct itself. The consequences are there for all to see. Iran, China and Russia, which have greatly gained confidence and consideration than the United States because of their devoid of exceptionalism approach.

The failure of Obama to live up to the expectations he created have added to the negative legacy of his presidency, making it overall one of the worst presidencies in US history. Seen in this light, Donald Trump’s election should not be seen as too much of a surprise, Trump’s arrival representing a bigger disruption than Obama’s, a repetition of the same electoral mechanism that led to the triumph of Obama in 2008 at the end of the Bush presidency. Trump was carried into office on a slogan that promised to put the United States at the center of the national and global project, then openly defying the interests of the five-headed monster of the deep state. There are indeed surprising similarities in this respect to the election campaign of the now former president.

Similarly, it is likely that Trump will decide to ally with certain factions of the deep state while declaring war on the remaining elements, thereby advancing this faction’s as well as his own strategic vision of the future of the country. This approach bears eerie similarity to the initial intentions shown by Obama. The basic problem remains intrinsically linked to the personal feeling of the US president, who often feels himself appointed as a moral and spiritual guide of the whole globe and not just the United States. In this case, the result will be the same as that of the last eight years, with the continuing growth of the role of China, Russia and Iran in the international arena. The Obama era ended with a paradoxical ‘No You Can’t!’ that rebuffed the initial ‘Yes We Can’. Trump will have to be careful not to undergo a similar transformation that ends up transforming the slogan from ‘Make America Great Again’ to the more realistic ‘Make Eurasia Great Again’.

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Zionist puppet Obama’s speech is out of touch with reality


NOVANEWS

Obama’s speech is out of touch with reality

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When does HOPE become false hope? This is the riddle of the Obama presidency, and Barack Obama’s answer, from the very first speech he gave as president-elect, has been clear and consistent. The night Obama won the 2008 election he told us that his victory is not the change his voters seek, “It is only the chance for us to make that change.” Last night, during his farewell address, he warned that the Constitution has no power, only the citizenry, the “anxious, jealous” guardians of democracy, can bring America’s founding document to life. HOPE will not die unless we, the people, kill it with self-pity, indifference, and cowardice.

Defining citizenship as a call to action rather than a status is essential for survival. If we live this truth as one of Obama’s great legacies, we owe him a debt. He has promised to do his part, as he tweeted last week that he “look[s] forward to standing with you as a citizen” once his term is through. If he is true to his word, Obama will use his platform and influence to live citizenship out loud, and fight alongside all who believe in civil rights and dignity for all. Obama’s farewell address contained clues as to what he sees as the key arenas in the years ahead, as he specifically cited battles over voting rights and protecting politics from big money and ethical decay. These are worthy causes in dire need of attention.

Despite Obama’s affirmation of citizenship and passionate call to action on Tuesday night, the speech felt slightly out of touch with reality. The elephant in the room was the explosive CNN report about President-elect Trump’s ties to Russia, released just hours before Obama took the stage. Intelligence chiefs gave both Trump and Obama unverified reports that Russia had compromising information about Trump’s personal life and business dealings, and that Trump’s team communicated with Russian intermediaries throughout the election process.

Obama would never mention such a thing during his farewell speech — it’s not his style. Many would argue that it would be irresponsible for the president to do so, given the intelligence agencies’ inability to independently confirm the information they received. However, Obama had to at least acknowledge the peculiar circumstances of Trump’s electoral victory, and the dangerous “post-truth” world we have been living in for months now.

Ours is a world where fake news spreads like wildfire over social media, government officials contradict themselves on a daily basis, and journalists weigh the costs and benefits of printing words like “Nazi.” Obama warned that democracies cannot function without science, reason, and a basic agreement about what constitutes factual knowledge. But he framed recent developments largely as outgrowths of partisan rancor and media polarization, and as threats still yet to arrive in full. In reality, there is evidence that the attack on truth has been deliberate, largely one-sided, and painfully effective.

Another piece of Obama’s speech that missed the mark was his treatment of racial inequality. As a president subject to abhorrent and life-threatening racism from the day he took office, Obama has carried himself with astonishing poise and dignity, and shown courage in talking about race at times other officials would not. He has always rejected the notion that his election meant America was “postracial,” and last night he acknowledged that in many respects, race relations are no better than they were decades ago. He also called attention to the fact that discrimination did not die with Jim Crow, and remains a significant barrier to economic security, safety, and dignity for people of color.

There were at least two troublesome pieces of Obama’s discussion of race, however. First, he continued to call for empathy and plead with us to see similarities between white resentment and black suffering that simply do not exist. And second, all too often, Obama uses terms like “race” and “race relations” when he should be talking about racism. Racist and xenophobic appeals were central to the Trump campaign, hate crimes spiked immediately after the 2016 election, and Tuesday, Dylann Roof was sentenced to death for the mass murder he committed in South Carolina. Yet Obama did not name white supremacy.

Further, Obama did not note that the recent economic boom he touted has not closed the racial wealth gap. Economists Sandy Darity and Darrick Hamilton find that black high school graduates with some college education have a higher unemployment rate than whites who never finished high school at all, and black Americans’ economic standing relative to white Americans has not improved since the 1960s. Darity and Hamilton suggest that even if Obama were able to realize his policy agenda, the universalist policies the president champions would not affect the root causes of racial inequality, which are intergenerational wealth transfer, segregation, and discrimination.

The speech was far from perfect, but Obama did manage to avoid disaster by resisting the temptation to brazenly defend his record during his final address. Doing so would have been a betrayal of his public persona and overall message. Obama is supremely confident and he thrives in the spotlight, but his insistence that it’s about us, not him, as well as the emotion he shows when discussing his family, made him uniquely relatable. A different sort of president would have taken more credit and spent more time talking about the Affordable Care Act, which resulted in the enrollment of over 20 million Americans who previously lacked health insurance. A different sort of president might have walked us through his decision to implement the stimulus package and bail out the automobile industry when there was considerable debate about whether either move would stem the recession. A different sort of president would have called more attention to his decision to eviscerate the Defense of Marriage Act, and essentially legalize gay marriage throughout the United States. A different sort of president might have at least mentioned that he appointed a far greater proportion of women and people of color to the federal judiciary than any of his predecessors.

In a few days, a different sort of president is exactly what we will have. Obama’s farewell speech lasted less than an hour, but it feels like a very long goodbye.

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President Obama Belatedly Says No to I$raHell


NOVANEWS

President Obama Belatedly Says No to Israel

By Marjorie Cohn

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For the first time in his eight-year presidency, Barack Obama said no to Israel. When the Security Council voted to condemn Israel for building illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, the Obama administration abstained, allowing the resolution to pass.

Resolution 2334 says the settlements have “no legal validity,” calls them “a flagrant violation under international law,” and demands Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities.”

Although 2334 is consistent with prior resolutions of the council, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threw a tantrum, calling the US abstention a “declaration of war.” In light of Obama’s unwavering enabling of Israel’s illegal policies, Netanyahu was likely shocked that Obama finally said no.

The United States, a permanent member of the council, vetoed a resolution in 2011 that would have condemned the building of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. And in 2014, the US opposed a draft resolution demanding Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank within three years.

Since 1967, Israel has transferred more than a half million of its own citizens into Palestinian territories, continuing to build settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice affirmed that the Palestinian territories are under Israeli occupation and Israel’s settlement building violates the Fourth Geneva Convention.

A state occupying territory not its own cannot build settlements on that territory and transfer its own citizens into them. Article 8.2(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) defines “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as a war crime.

Israel took over the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem by military force in 1967 and has held it under military occupation ever since.

Like Security Council Resolution 242, passed in 1967, Resolution 2334 reiterates “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” Although Resolution 242 called for “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,” Israel continues to occupy the Palestinian territories it acquired in the “Six-Day War.”

“Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel,” Jimmy Carter wrote in the New York Times. “Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel’s national elections.”

Complete Control

Israel exercises complete control over every aspect of Palestinian life in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. That includes borders, airspace, ingress and egress of people and goods, and the seashore and waters off the coast of Gaza. The occupation violates fundamental human rights of the Palestinians.

Flavia Pansieri, former UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, said last year that human rights violations “fuel and shape the conflict” in the occupied Palestinian territories, adding, “[h]uman rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are both cause and consequence of the military occupation and ongoing violence, in a bitter cyclical process with wider implications for peace and security in the region.”

Building illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories is not the only war crime Israeli leaders have committed. In 2014, Israel invaded Gaza and killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians. Nearly 10,000 Palestinians were wounded, more than 2,000 of them children. Tens of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes and infrastructure was severely damaged. Numerous schools, UN places of refuge, hospitals, ambulances and mosques were intentionally targeted.

Israel used the “Dahiya doctrine” to apply “disproportionate force” and cause “great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilians populations,” as defined in the 2009 UN Human Rights Council (Goldstone) report. Those acts constitute evidence of war crimes under Article 8 (2)(a) of the Rome Statute.

The ICC can investigate and prosecute these crimes. Yet, in order to prevent such investigation and prosecution, the United States consistently opposed Palestine becoming a party to the Rome Statute. Palestine, which was recognized as a non-member observer State by the UN General Assembly, acceded to the Rome Statute in January 2015 and asked the ICC to investigate Israel for building illegal settlements and committing war crimes in Gaza.

In January 2015, Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, opened a preliminary investigation into the illegal settlements and Israel’s 2014 bombing of Gaza. Netanyahu is upset because the new Security Council resolution bolsters the case for ICC war crimes prosecution of Israeli leaders.

Violating US Law

The United States’ unwavering support for Israel violates US law. Under the Leahy Law, military units that commit human rights abuses cannot receive US training or weapons, and individuals who commit human rights abuses are denied US visas. The State Department’s annual report has documented Israeli violations. And the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibits assistance to any country “which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Yet, throughout his presidency, Obama has unconditionally supported Israel and shielded it from accountability for the war crimes of building settlements and targeting civilians in Gaza.

In September, Obama promised Israel a record $38 billion in military assistance over the next 10 years, becoming the strongest financial supporter of Israel ever to occupy the White House. Obama, whom Israeli journalist Gideon Levy dubbed “the patron of the occupation,” increased the amount of money the US provides Israel each year from $3.1 to $3.8 billion.

Netanyahu called the increase in US aid “unprecedented” and “historic,” characterizing it as “the greatest accomplishment since sliced bread,” according to Aaron David Miller, vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable,” Obama declared, as he and Netanyahu shook hands.

The annual $3.8 billion, more money than the US gives to any other country, will fund the continuing Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands, now in its fifth decade. Obama, however, is to be commended for finally standing up to Israel, albeit at the 11th hour. We cannot expect President-elect Donald Trump to follow suit.

Trump intervened unsuccessfully to prevent Resolution 2334 from coming to the council floor. He stated he will move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, even though, as Resolution 2334 states, East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory. David Friedman, Trump’s incoming ambassador to Israel, is notorious for funding the rightwing orthodox Beit El settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

A Voice of Reason

We can hope Trump will listen to Gen. James Mattis, his nominee for Secretary of Defense. “I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel,” Mattis said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in 2013.

Mattis criticized Israel for building settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying they “are going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option.” He added that the settlements might weaken Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state and could lead to Israel becoming an “apartheid” state.

“If I’m in Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid,” Mattis said.

Meanwhile, Resolution 2334 has propelled the illegality of Israel’s settlements into the public discourse. While Israel has pledged to defy the council and continue building illegal settlements, Jewish Voice for Peace and other human rights organizations have called for “increasing grassroots pressure on Israel, through Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] campaigns, until full human rights of Palestinians are realized.”

Indeed, the text of Resolution 2334 implicitly invites countries to engage in BDS by saying they should “distinguish . . . between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

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President Obama’s Legacy: Broken Promises, Sanctimonious Pronouncements, Endless U.S War Crimes Against Humanity


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Barack-Obama discours

On the night of February 26–27, 1991, one of the most calculated and brutal massacres in war history occurred in Iraq on Highway 80, some 32 kilometres west of Kuwait city. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians were retreating towards Baghdad after a ceasefire had been agreed and announced, when the still unpunished war criminal President George H. W. Bush (1989 – 1993) — a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency — ordered U.S. forces to slaughter the retreating Iraqis.

Consequently U.S.-led fighter aircraft of the coalition forces descended on the unarmed convoy and destroyed vehicles at the front and rear of the convoy so as to prevent any escape. Successive waves of aircraft then mercilessly bombed the trapped vehicles and their occupants into oblivion. After the carnage was over, some 2,000 mangled Iraqi vehicles along with the charred and dismembered remains of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers stretched for miles along what came to be known as the “Highway of Death.”

(http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34041.htm)

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.”—U.S. President George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush’s high-minded hypocrisy — which in the best of American presidential traditions always fails to square with reality — was by no means different from that of either his predecessors or successors in the White House who, including his son the semi-illiterate President George W. Bush (2001 -2009), were also unabashed hypocrites and war criminals. The latest such example of American presidential betrayal was Barack Obama who during his campaign for the presidency and at the start of his first term, made numerous promises — thereby raising the hopes of the American people along with the rest of humanity — that were delivered with enticing but hollow slogans and soundbites such as “A New Beginning,” “Our Time for Change,” and “Yes We Can”: none of which had a hope in hell of being realised so long as the White House and bicameral Congress remained under the tight control of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the leading pro-Israel Jewish lobby group. \

(http://www.countercurrents.org/hanna200814.htm)

Apart from a campaign promise to waste not a minute in brokering a Middle East peace, Obama in a 2010 address to the UN declared that

“when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel.”

Obama’s naivety in not knowing it was not U.S. President but AIPAC which dictated foreign policy was accompanied by more than 100 further periodic pledges including one to close the Guantánamo Bay prison facility at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba within one year; to hold accountable countless George Bush presidency civilian/military/intelligence officials who planned, authorised, or presided over the murder, rape, torture, unlawful execution, massacre and wrongful imprisonment of tens of thousands of mostly innocent individuals as part of the bogus “War on Terror”; to withdraw from Afghanistan by July 2011; and to prevent human rights violators from entering United States.

Needless to say the prospect of peace in the Middle East is about as likely as a kosher pig flying; the  decades-long mirage of a two-state solution has all but disappeared with the continual chutzpah theft of Palestinian land for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements; the Guantanamo Bay facility — where the majority of detainees have not been charged with any crime — remains conspicuously open; Bush-era war criminals were not prosecuted but instead protected and finally given immunity; American troops are still on the ground in Afghanistan where the killing of thousands of innocent Afghan men, women and children is casually written off as “collateral damage”; and as for human rights violators, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — amongst other sundry criminals — is a regular visitor to the country whose government Israel controls.

Furthermore —  as a parting gift to the American people’s constitutional rights — and in the final hours before the Christmas holiday weekend, Obama quietly signed the 2017 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) into law. Buried within the $619 billion military budget was a controversial provision establishing a national anti-propaganda centre which critics warned could threaten the “freedom of the press,” such as it is.

The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, introduced by Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, establishes a Global Engagement Centre under the State Department which will coordinate efforts to “recognise, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests.” This law will authorise grants to non-governmental agencies to help “collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda” directed at the U.S. and its allies, as well as “counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability” of the U.S. and allied nations.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”—The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 

(http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/)

Obama’s most serious failure, however, must be his administration’s unconditional support — apart from the recent last gasp abstention from UN Security Council Resolution 2334 regarding illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem — for a state which more than any other has tirelessly endeavoured to subvert Western democracy

(https://promosaik.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/sieg-heil-israel-zionisation-of-western.html?view=flipcard)

Such undying American support for the “only democracy in the Middle East,” has been profusely provided despite the U.S. Department of State’s claims that “democracy and respect for human rights have long been central components of U.S. foreign policy,” and that “the protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

(https://www.state.gov/j/drl/democ/and (https://www.state.gov/j/drl/hr/)

While Israel’s historic subversion of Western democracy has been clearly evident to anyone with a modicum of intelligence, those in the mainstream media who supposedly champion the five core principles of ethical journalism — Truth and Accuracy, Independence, Fairness and Impartiality, Humanity, and Accountability — have left it to Al-Jazeera in a four-part series to reveal how the Israeli government was in the midst of a flagrant campaign to covertly influence Britain’s perception of Israel including discussions between an Israeli diplomat and a UK civil servant to “take down” anti-settlement British politicians such as UK deputy foreign secretary Sir Alan Duncan.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCMKkmG2M8s)

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit also revealed that Israel was influencing student, activist, and parliamentary groups in the UK by offering financial and strategic assistance in order to gather support among young organisers with a view to moulding British politics in favour of Israel. Such efforts also included targeting students to boost support for Israel as a counter to the BDS movement; having pro-Israel groups — such as the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) comprising 64 Jewish societies at British universities which received money from the Israeli embassy — attempting not only to influence the National Union of Students (NUS) presidency election, but also of trying to oust Malia Bouattia following her victory as the first Muslim president of the NUS to identify as a Black British; and sending “pluralist” Fabian Society think-tank analysts on paid trips to Israel.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceCOhdgRBoc)

Israel’s Machiavellian subversion of democratic principles is by no means restricted to the UK and is rampant not only throughout the Americas and Europe, but also to varying degrees in other continents. So while hypocritical Western legislators with yellow streaks down their backs continue to subserviently prostrate themselves before pro-Israel Jewish lobbies and sanctimoniously condemn the “hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance” of those seeking justice for the Palestinian people, they — along with mainstream media whores — religiously avoid discussion of any negative aspects relating to Israel’s Apartheid crimes against humanity.

(https://theintercept.com/2016/02/16/greatest-threat-to-free-speech-in-the-west-criminalizing-activism-against-israeli-occupation/)

Such Israeli instigated censorship also works in concert with the hypocrisy of those who while wearing the mantle of pretentious moral superiority will nonetheless turn their backs on the reality of Israel’s Nazification as a Jewish state and its barbaric ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

 “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” —Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel (1928 – 2016), writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor.

While Obama may have recently ended his final State of the Union address on a note of optimism when he said “and that’s why I stand here confident as I have ever been that the State of our Union is strong,” the reality and actual extent of the nation’s malaise had already been confirmed by the election of a dangerous “grab them by the pussy” vulgarian whose clownish “you’re fired” credentials are more suited for lowbrow reality television shows, than for responsible democratic governance of the world’s only “Superpower.”

Nonetheless, the Donald “make America great again” Trump will continue being popular with all those Americans who are either partly or totally illiterate; cannot locate North America on a map of the world; and still believe that simply being American makes them exceptional.

Finally, though Obama did notch up some successes that would suggest he was a dove with an olive branch — the Iran nuclear deal and the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba — he was actually a hawk who despite having pledged to end the wars of his predecessor George W. Bush, instead presided over U.S. military involvement in seven Muslim-majority countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen.

Moreover, he dramatically increased the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe with 2016 being “the Year of the Commando” during which U.S. special operators were active in 138 countries, or 70% of the world’s nations. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

(http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/01/05/year-commando)

Posted in USAComments Off on President Obama’s Legacy: Broken Promises, Sanctimonious Pronouncements, Endless U.S War Crimes Against Humanity

The System That Made Obama A War President Turns On Trump


NOVANEWS

Image result for Obama CARTOON

Jan 11, author Mike Whitney states,US  Intel Agencies Try To Strong-Arm Trump Into War With Russia…Powerful elites are using the credibility of the US Intelligence agencies to demonize Russia and prepare the country for war. This is the real meaning of the “Russia hacking” story which, as yet, has not produced any hard evidence of Russian complicity.”

Editor notes: These same sources gave us, ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’,  The manufactured yarn has a cost of about a million human lives in Iraq!

Counterpunch tells us:  “Note: We agree with Donald Trump’s claims during his campaign favoring detente with Russia. The conflict with Russia has been escalated throughout the Obama presidency and in the post-election time period by Obama, war supporters in Congress and intelligence agencies. Those who oppose war should stand in favor of decreasing conflict and finding ways of working with Russia. Conflict between the US and Russia is counterproductive and is coming primarily from the US with false and exaggerated claims about Russia. KZ”…

“Last week’s 25-page report, that was released by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, illustrates to what extent intelligence is being “fixed around the policy”.  Just as the CIA generated false information related to Weapons of Mass Destruction to soften public resistance to war with Iraq, so too, the spurious allegations in the DNI’s politically-motivated report are designed to depict Russia as a growing threat to US national security…”

“The “Russia hacking” flap shows how far the Intel agencies have veered from their original mandate, which is to impartially gather and analyze information that may be vital to US national security…”

“That’s what this whole “hacking” fiasco is about. The big shots who run the country are trying to strong-arm ‘the Donald’ into carrying their water so the depredations can continue and Central Asia can be transformed into a gigantic Washington-dominated corporate free trade zone where the Big Money calls the shots and Capital reigns supreme. That’s their dreamstate, Capitalist Valhalla…They just need Trump to get-with-the-program so the bloodletting can continue apace.”

FULL COUNTERPUNCH STORY

Posted in USAComments Off on The System That Made Obama A War President Turns On Trump

Obama Obstructing Syria Peace Talks. Washington’s Dirty Hands Supporting ISIS and Al Nusra


NOVANEWS
 
Image result for OBAMA SYRIA CARTOON

In his waning days in office, Obama seems determined to intensify US adversarial relations with Russia, obstruct Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan later in January, and who knows what else.

With attribution to Franklin Roosevelt’s December 8, 1941 speech to Congress in response to Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack, Obama’s tenure will live in infamy, a record of high crimes against humanity history won’t forgive or forget.

Yet in a New Year’s day interview on CNN, his close advisor Valerie Jarrett audaciously claimed “(t)he president…hasn’t done something to embarrass himself.”

Not according to Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, saying “(t)his is delusional. The Obama administration has a scandal rap sheet longer than my arm. (It’s) even more corrupt than Nixon’s.”

Among other end of tenure abuses of power, Obama continues waging war on humanity at home and abroad. He wants Russian/Turkish/Iran agreed on peace talks blocked.

The US-created and supported so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) is allied with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, operating as US imperial foot soldiers – responsible for massacring civilians and other atrocities.

In a joint January 3 statement with other anti-government groups, the FSA et al said they’re “freezing all contacts related to preparations to Astana talks planned for end-January 2017” – until “compliance with the truce agreement” by Damascus.

Fact: Syrian, Russian and allied forces halted all combat operations – except in areas controlled by ISIS and al-Nusra terrorists.

Fact: FSA et al lied claiming otherwise. Clearly, Washington’s dirty hands are involved, Obama going all out to sabotage ceasefire and conflict resolution in Syria – the war he launched and wants continued.

According to Tass, “Russian aerospace forces and Syrian air forces did not strike out on opposition armed forces that had announced ceasefire and revealed their whereabouts to the Russian and US reconciliation centers.”

At yearend 2016, Syria’s armed opposition, representing around half of anti-government forces, agreed to stop combat operations, control cessation of hostilities, and prepare for late January peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Yet daily violations occur, US dirty hands likely involved along with its rogue allies. Conflict resolution remains a distant hope.

Will Trump bring it closer to reality once in office or continue what Obama began? A lot depends on what he decides.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Obama Obstructing Syria Peace Talks. Washington’s Dirty Hands Supporting ISIS and Al Nusra

Obama Extends Global Reach of US Special Operations Death Squads


Obama

In major actions reported only briefly by the establishment press, President Obama has given vast new scope to the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), authorizing it to carry out assassinations across the globe.

The units of JSOC have long been employed by the chiefs of the six major regional military commands, such as Centcom, which covers the Middle East and Central Asia, to conduct counter-terrorism operations. One such unit, Seal Team Six, carried out the assassination of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Obama has approved a proposal to give JSOC independent authority to operate outside the regional commands, essentially as a globalized assassination force. JSOC units will bypass the regional commanders and report directly to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the Pentagon.

According to the Washington Post, “The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields of places like Iraq, Syria and Libya, where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past. When finalized, it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multi-agency intelligence and action force.”

The mandate of the new formation, to be called the “Counter-External Operations Task Force,” or Ex-Ops in Pentagon jargon, will embrace the entire planet. This means US military death squads could be sent to virtually any location, from European cities to South American jungles, including the United States itself.

According to the Post, a reorganization making counter-terrorism an independent, global command has been discussed in the Pentagon for 15 years, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it was always rejected on the grounds that it would cause friction with the regional commanders and create duplication in command structures.

The newspaper did not address the question of why now, a decade-and-a-half later, the Obama administration has decided to press forward with the new global counter-terrorism initiative. The decision is likely, at least in part, a response to the debacle of the US “war on terror” from the standpoint of the global aims of American imperialism.

The US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and repeated drone strikes in other countries, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, have inflicted catastrophic levels of death and destruction, but they have not achieved the hoped-for hegemonic control of the region and its vast energy resources. Obama’s decision represents a determination to escalate US military violence in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

Another likely consideration is the possibility that the ongoing military offensives against Islamic State territories in Syria and Iraq, and particularly the siege of Mosul, could lead to thousands of ISIS militants turning to terrorist attacks outside the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter traveled to Paris last month with SOCOM Commander Raymond Thomas for talks with security officials from several European countries. A major topic was the impact on Europe of a sudden weakening in the military position of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Carter told his European counterparts that JSOC “has been put in the lead” of countering ISIS external operations, the first mention of the impending Pentagon reorganization.

The Post report sought to present the Obama-approved reorganization as an effort to set limits on the operations of special forces under the incoming Trump administration, including “approval by several agencies before a drone strike and ‘near certainty’ that no civilians will be killed guidelines.” But these restrictions are for cosmetic purposes only and have not stopped the mass slaughter of civilians by drone missile warfare.

Moreover, Trump is not bound in any way by executive orders issued by Obama. The fascistic president-elect has already made his intentions clear, as far as US Special Forces operations are concerned. He has vowed to order the killing of the wives and children of suspected ISIS fighters, a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

The latest White House orders serve to facilitate these homicidal intentions. Less than a month ago, Obama was campaigning against the election of Trump, denouncing him as unfit to be commander-in-chief and as a menace to the world. Now, as Foreign Policy magazine reported, Obama is “handing the incoming Trump team tools to wage war that no president has held before.”

In one particular theater of US counter-terrorism operations, Somalia, Obama has taken additional action to escalate the carnage by declaring the Islamist group al-Shabab to be part of the armed conflict authorized by the US Congress in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.

The legal maneuver, reported Monday by the New York Times, demonstrates the infinitely expandable scope of the US-declared “war on terror.” The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress on September 14, 2001, approved military action against Al Qaeda and associated forces, including the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The 2001 AUMF has been interpreted by the Bush and Obama administrations as a blanket authorization for military action wherever the president claims to find a connection to Al Qaeda, no matter how tenuous. Al-Shabab was not founded until 2007, six years after the 9/11 attacks, in response to the US-backed invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian troops. It has never conducted operations outside of East Africa.

The Times noted that the Somalia decision was one of a series of Obama actions expanding the military’s authority, including broadening the scope of air strikes in Afghanistan and approving air strikes against Sirte, the Libyan city held by supporters of ISIS. More than 400 air strikes followed, pounding into rubble a city already devastated by five years of civil war following the 2011 US-NATO bombing campaign.

The preparations to reinforce the pseudo-legal basis of the war in Somalia no doubt began well before the election, when Obama expected to hand off authority to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But it has continued uninterrupted after Trump’s victory, and as the Times reported, it is “a move that will strengthen President-elect Donald J. Trump’s authority to combat thousands of Islamist fighters in the chaotic Horn of Africa nation.”

Earlier this month, the British-based Guardian reported that “Barack Obama will not tighten the rules governing US drone strikes ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration.” An Amnesty International USA official, Naureen Shah, told the newspaper, “Obama has normalized the idea that presidents get to have secret large-scale killing programs at their disposal.”

These events shed a new and sinister light over the reports of frequent closed-door discussions between Obama and Trump during the three weeks since the November 8 election. “They’ve been talking regularly on any number of issues,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday.

Obama was at pains, in his first post-election statement, to dismiss the bitter vituperation of the election campaign, declaring that the electoral struggle between the Democrats and Republicans was merely “an intramural scrimmage.” This is profoundly true: both parties represent the same class, the American financial aristocracy, and its global interests, defended in the final analysis by death and destruction inflicted by the American military machine.

Posted in USAComments Off on Obama Extends Global Reach of US Special Operations Death Squads


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