How the Last Superpower Was Unchained – By Tom ENGELHARDT – (Strategic Culture Foundation)

How the Last Superpower Was Unchained
EDITOR’S CHOICE | 18.06.2018

Tom ENGELHARDT

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren’t so grim.

If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. “The Americans and South Koreans,” wrote reporter Motoko Rich, “want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country’s resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens’ economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive.”

Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that’s before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that’s still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there’s another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn’t be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don’t have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist’s couch, this might be the place to start.

America contained

In a way, it’s the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – “empire,” always “empires.” Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.

This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two “superpowers,” the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.

Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire, which it worked assiduously to “contain” behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.

However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.

This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn’t) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn’t have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, “contained.”

In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called “the shadows”).

The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.

That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn’t triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.

America uncontained

Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, “the end of history.” Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call “the last superpower,” the “indispensable” nation, the “exceptional” state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn’t all-American any more).

In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the “last superpower” at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a “peace dividend” – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country’s citizens).

Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington’s attic. Instead, with only a few rickety “rogue” states left to deal with – like… gulp … North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.

Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.

And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world’s greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).

In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn’t gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.

Unchaining the indispensable nation

On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.

William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.

To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that “Pearl Harbor of the 21st century,” it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, “Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not.”

Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be “at war,” and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have “terror networks” of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration’s potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.

In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.

There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush’s top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.

In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.

And this wasn’t to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration’s “unilateralism” rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration’s National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to “build and maintain” a military, in the phrase of the moment, “beyond challenge.”

They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be “shocked and awed” by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known.”

Though there was much talk at the time about the “liberation” of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet’s lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a “conservative” one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.

It was radical in ways that should have, but didn’t, take the American public’s breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.

Shock and awe for the last superpower

Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.

It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.

But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.

Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn’t cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?

Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of “infinite war” and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed statesdestroyed citiesdisplaced people, and right-wing “populist” governments, including the one in Washington?

Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?

Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down. Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.

The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America’s rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.

Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America’s political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.

The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.

Whether you’re talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of “regime change” on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that’s likely to prove to be.

All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush’s boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump’s America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.

atimes.com

Does the US provide military assistance to 73% of world’s dictatorships – truth or narrative? – By Rich Whitney – Truthout – (Sott)

US boots

© Sputnik News.com
US boots on the ground.

For decades, the American people have been repeatedly told by their government and corporate-run media that acts of war ordered by their president have been largely motivated by the need to counter acts of aggression or oppression by “evil dictators.” We were told we had to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. We had to bomb Libya because Muammar Gaddafi was an evil dictator, bent on unleashing a “bloodbath” on his own people. Today, of course, we are told that we should support insurgents in Syria because Bashar al-Assad is an evil dictator, and we must repeatedly rattle our sabers at North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin because they, too, are evil dictators.

This is part of the larger, usually unquestioned mainstream corporate media narrative that the US leads the “Western democracies” in a global struggle to combat terrorism and totalitarianism and promote democracy.

I set out to answer a simple question: Is it true? Does the US government actually oppose dictatorships and champion democracy around the world, as we are repeatedly told?

The truth is not easy to find, but federal sources do provide an answer: No. According to Freedom House‘s rating system of political rights around the world, there were 49 nations in the world, as of 2015, that can be fairly categorized as “dictatorships.” As of fiscal year 2015, the last year for which we have publicly available data, the federal government of the United States had been providing military assistance to 36 of them, courtesy of your tax dollars. The United States currently supports over 73 percent of the world’s dictatorships!

Most politically aware people know of some of the more highly publicized instances of this, such as the tens of billions of dollars’ worth of US military assistance provided to the beheading capital of the world, the misogynistic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and the repressive military dictatorship now in power in Egypt. But apologists for our nation’s imperialistic foreign policy may try to rationalize such support, arguing that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are exceptions to the rule. They may argue that our broader national interests in the Middle East require temporarily overlooking the oppressive nature of those particular states, in order to serve a broader, pro-democratic endgame.

Such hogwash could be critiqued on many counts, of course, beginning with its class-biased presumptions about what constitutes US “national interests.” But my survey of US support for dictatorships around the world demonstrates that our government’s support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule.

Sources and Methods

It was not easy to find out how many of the world’s dictatorships are being supported by the United States. No one else seems to be compiling or maintaining a list, so I had to go at it by myself. Here is how I came up with my answer.

Step 1: Determine how many of the world’s governments may be fairly characterized as dictatorships.

A commonly accepted definition of a “dictatorship” is a system of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute state power, thereby directing all national policies and major acts – leaving the people powerless to alter those decisions or replace those in power by any method short of revolution or coup. I examined a number of websites and organizations that claimed to maintain lists of the world’s dictatorships, but most of them were either dated, listed only the world’s “worst dictators” or had similar limitations, and/or failed to describe their methodology. I ultimately was left with the annual Freedom in the World reports published by Freedom House as the best source for providing a comprehensive list.

This was not entirely satisfactory, as Freedom House has a decidedly pro-US-ruling-class bias. For example, it categorizes Russia as a dictatorship. In the introduction to its 2017 Freedom In the World report, it opines that

“Russia, in stunning displays of hubris and hostility, interfered in the political processes of the United States and other democracies, escalated its military support for the Assad dictatorship in Syria, and solidified its illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory.”

A more objective view would note that claims of interference in the US election by the Russian government have not been proven (unless one is inclined to take certain US intelligence agencies at their word); that Russia was asked by the UN-recognized Syrian government for assistance, in compliance with international law (unlike US acts of aggression and support for insurrection there); and would at least acknowledge that any Russian intervention in Ukraine occurred in the context of the United States’ brazen support for a coup in that nation.

Nonetheless, the Freedom House reports appear to be the best (if not the only) comprehensive gauge of political rights and freedoms covering every nation in the world. It utilizes a team of about 130 in-house and external analysts and expert advisers from the academic, think tank and human rights communities who purportedly use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports from nongovernmental organizations and individual professional contacts. The analysts’ proposed scores are discussed and defended at annual review meetings, organized by region and attended by Freedom House staff and a panel of expert advisers. The final scores represent the consensus of the analysts, advisers and staff, and are intended to be comparable from year-to-year and across countries and regions. Freedom House concedes that, “although an element of subjectivity is unavoidable in such an enterprise, the ratings process emphasizes methodological consistency, intellectual rigor, and balanced and unbiased judgments.”

One can remain skeptical, but a key consideration is that Freedom House’s pronounced pro-US bias is actually a plus for purposes of this project. If its team of experts tilts toward a pro-US-government perspective, this means that it would indulge every presumption in favor of not categorizing nations supported by the United States as dictatorships. In other words, if even Freedom House categorizes a government backed by the United States as a dictatorship, one can be fairly confident that its assessment, in that instance, is accurate.

For purposes of the present assessment, I used Freedom House’s 2016 Freedom in the World report, even though its 2017 report is now available. I did so because the 2016 report reflects its assessment of political rights and civil liberties as they existed in 2015, which would roughly correspond with the military assistance and arms sales data that I had available for federal fiscal year 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015) and calendar year 2015. (I will work on a new report when such data for fiscal year 2016 becomes available.)

Freedom House uses a scoring system to gauge a nation’s “political rights” and “civil liberties,” in order to rate each country as “free,” “partly free” or “not free,” with a range of scores for each category. It describes its scoring system as follows:

“A country or territory is assigned two ratings (7 to 1) – one for political rights and one for civil liberties – based on its total scores for the political rights and civil liberties questions. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the greatest degree of freedom and 7 the smallest degree of freedom, corresponds to a specific range of total scores.”

For purposes of deciding whether a nation could be categorized as a “dictatorship,” however, I focused only on the “political rights” scores, classifying nations with a political rights score of 6 or 7 as a dictatorship. This does not mean that civil liberties are unimportant, of course, but the objective here is to assess the degree of absolutism of the political leadership, not freedom of expression, press, etc. Of course, in the overwhelming majority of cases, nations with low political rights scores also have low civil liberties scores. However, a political rights score of 6 or 7 corresponds most closely with our definition of dictatorship, based on Freedom House’s characterization:

6 – Countries and territories with a rating of 6 have very restricted political rights. They are ruled by one-party or military dictatorships, religious hierarchies, or autocrats. They may allow a few political rights, such as some representation or autonomy for minority groups, and a few are traditional monarchies that tolerate political discussion and accept public petitions.

7 – Countries and territories with a rating of 7 have few or no political rights because of severe government oppression, sometimes in combination with civil war. They may also lack an authoritative and functioning central government and suffer from extreme violence or rule by regional warlords.

While it may be debatable whether it is appropriate to consider a country with no “functioning central government” as a dictatorship, I would submit that the label is appropriate if that nation is ruled de facto by warlords or rival armies or militias. In effect, that simply means that it is ruled by two or more dictators instead of one.

By Freedom House’s measure, then, there were 49 nation-states that could be fairly characterized as dictatorships in 2015, as follows:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Libya, Mauritania, Myanmar, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

It should be noted that Freedom House included in its ratings several other entities with a political rights score of 6 or 7 whose status as an independent state was itself disputed:

Crimea, the Gaza Strip, Pakistani Kashmir, South Ossetia, Tibet, Transnistria, the West Bank and Western Sahara.

My count of 49 dictatorships in the world in 2015 excludes these subordinated or disputed state territories.

Step 2: Determine which of the world’s dictatorships received US-funded military or weapons training, military arms financing or authorized sales of military weapons from the United States in 2015.

For this step, I relied on four sources, the first two of which took considerable digging to locate:

A. Foreign Military Training in Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016 Volume I and Volume II (Country Training Activities), US Department of Defense and US Department of State Joint Report to Congress.

This is the most recent annual report, required by section 656 of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 2416), and section 652 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), which requires

“a report on all military training provided to foreign military personnel by the Department of Defense and the Department of State during the previous fiscal year and all such training proposed for the current fiscal year,” excluding NATO countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

This report provides data on US expenditures for military training programs under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants, the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, the Section 2282 Global Train and Equip (GT&E) program, the Aviation Leadership Program to provide pilot training (ALP), and the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) drawdown program, which authorizes the president to direct the drawdown of defense articles, services and training if an “unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to a foreign country” that cannot be met by other means. Such expenditures are listed by recipient country, in some detail. For purposes of this study, I include expenditures under these programs as US-funded military training.

The report also provides data on US expenditures for narcotics and law enforcement, global peace operations, centers for security studies, drug interdiction and counter-drug activities, mine removal assistance, disaster response, non-lethal anti-terrorism training and other programs that I did not count as military assistance or training for purposes of this survey. It is certainly more than possible that US assistance under these programs could play a role in providing de facto military assistance to recipient countries, but I err on the side of caution.

The report describes the IMET program as including civilian participants, and including training on “elements of U.S. democracy such as the judicial system, legislative oversight, free speech, equality issues, and commitment to human rights.” One could conceivably criticize my inclusion of IMET training, therefore, on the ground that it actually trains foreign civilians and soldiers in democratic, anti-dictatorial values. However, the IMET program is presumably called “military” training and education for a reason. It trains students in “increased understanding of security issues and the means to address them,” and provides “training that augments the capabilities of participant nations’ military forces to support combined operations and interoperability with U.S. forces.” Accordingly, I think it is fair to count IMET as a form of military assistance, while acknowledging that it arguably might, at times, play a pro-democracy role.

B. US Department of State, “Congressional Budget Justification FOREIGN ASSISTANCE SUMMARY TABLES, Fiscal Year 2017.”

Table 3a of this publication provides the actual fiscal year allocations for foreign assistance programs, by country and by account, including the two programs that interest us here, Foreign Military Financing and IMET. In that regard, it is somewhat duplicative of the previous source, but I reviewed it as a check.

C. Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Financial Policy And Analysis Business Operations, “Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales And Other Security Cooperation Historical Facts As of September 30, 2015.”

This source provides the total dollar value of military articles and services sold to foreign governments for FY 2015, including the value of agreements for future deliveries and the value of actual deliveries, which I have provided in the table below. It also includes other data on foreign military financing (credit or grants) extended to foreign governments and provides yet another source on IMET training.

D. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),Transfer of major conventional weapons: sorted by recipient. Deals with deliveries or orders made for year range 2015 to 2016.”

SIPRI provides an interactive tool by which the user can generate a list of major weapons transfers by supplier, all or some recipients, and the year. Although it only counts “major” conventional weapons transfers, I reviewed it as an additional check on the accuracy of the chart. It essentially affirmed the accuracy of the DSCA report but there were some possible anomalies. For example, the DSCA reports only $8,000 worth of military sales to Uganda in FY 2015 but SIPRI reports the transfer of 10 RG-33 armored vehicles, two Cessna-208 Caravan light transport planes, and 15 Cougar armored vehicles in 2015. The discrepancy may be due to the three-month difference between fiscal year 2015 and calendar year 2105, different methods of dating the transfer, differences in valuation or some unknown factor.

Step 3: Generate the Chart

The first column in the chart below lists the 49 countries classified by Freedom House as dictatorial in nature.

The second column shows those nations that received some US military training in FY 2015, relying primarily on source B, but also checking source C.

The third column shows those nations that received an agreement for future military sales or transfers from the United States in FY 2015, with the dollar value of the military articles listed, based on source C, but also checking source D.

The fourth column shows those nations that received an actual delivery of military articles from the United States in FY 2015, with the dollar value of the military articles listed, based on source C, but also checking source D.

whitney chart
Whitney chart 2

© Rich Whitney

I plan on providing similar reports on US support for dictatorships around the world on an annual basis. I will begin work on a report covering Fiscal Year 2016 as soon as the relevant data becomes available.

Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor.

Comment: Military sales of equipment and services represent a very lucrative business (see the chart for 2015 which represents ‘dictatorship’ remunerations only). Peace and minding US’ own business, in this sense, has no ‘value’.

In Yemen, Selling, Borrowing, Begging To Save Loved-Ones as Cholera Rages – By Ahmed Abdulkareem (MINT PRESS)

A man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Hani Mohammed | AP

What is taking shape across this Texas-sized nation at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula is an awful, perfect storm, a disastrous collaboration between nature and man that has caused a cataclysm unlike anything the world has ever seen.

SANA’A, YEMEN — When his wife’s vomiting and diarrhea simply wouldn’t stop, 40-year-old Ali Sherwaid, an English teacher, did a quick accounting in his head, calibrating the catastrophe that had befallen him. With cholera ravaging his wife, 28 years-old and nine-months pregnant with the couple’s first child, Sherwaid needed to get her medical treatment. Problem was, the constant Saudi airstrikes had decimated the healthcare infrastructure in Yemen’s northern Sa’ada province, and his village of Fudh was at least 6 hours drive, on bad country roads, to the nearest hospital.

Compounding the crisis was the fact that Sherwaid had no money — Yemen’s civil servants haven’t been paid in months — and he had nothing to pay a doctor to treat his wife, Fatimah.

And so Sherwaid auctioned off his wife’s jewelry, borrowed money from neighbors, bundled his wife’s doubled-over frame into his car, and sped off in the night, headed for al Jomuri Hospital in the city of Sa’ada, some 80 miles away. Days later, as her health continued to break down, his wife was taken to Al Sabeen Hospital in Sana’a, the capital.

In an interview, Sherwaid told MintPress News:

When we finally reached the hospital, my wife was inching towards death.”

What is taking shape across this Texas-sized nation at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula is an awful, perfect storm, a disastrous collaboration between nature and man that has caused a cataclysm, unlike anything the world has ever seen.

Yemen’s is the 21st century’s worst humanitarian crisis and, when measured by the proportion of the population affected, it might well be the worst in a century. Since the armed conflict erupted in March of 2015, more than 10,000 Yemenis have died, and 22.2 million people — out of a total population of just under 28 million — are now in need of food, medicine, water and shelter. Of that number, 11.3 million — mostly women, children, and the elderly — are at risk of dying, according to international relief agencies.

A nurse cares for a malnourished boy at Al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Hani Mohammed | AP

In addition to an aggressive bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and supported by the United States and the United Kingdom — targeting Yemen’s civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and clinics — the coalition’s blockade of Yemen’s land, sea and air routes has left more than 12 million people without wheat and other food staples. The combination of the blockade and bombing of Yemen’s electrical grid has left nearly 15 million Yemenis without access to health care, and 10 million are in jeopardy of losing access to potable water.

The shortage of potable water has driven Yemenis to drink from water sources polluted with their neighbors’ feces and urine, resulting in a cholera outbreak that is believed to have infected more people than any cholera epidemic in modern history. Since the spring of 2011,”nearly 1,490,000 cases of a particularly aggressive strain of the waterborne disease have been reported in Yemen,” Abdul Hakeem al-Kuhlani, general manager of the cholera observation unit in Sana’a said to a Journalist for MintPress; “tens of thousands have proven fatal.”

Even before the war, Yemen was the poorest country in the Middle East. The war has deepened poverty; millions of public-sector employees have gone months without a paycheck.

“Everything in Sa`ada has been destroyed by Saudi airstrikes,” Sherwaid told MintPress. “My wife, who is pregnant with our first child, contracted cholera; I didn’t have money and was forced to sell everything to save my wife and child.”  

 

The room of horrors

The cholera ward at Al Sabeen Hospital is a room of horrors. A dozen patients lie motionless in their beds; a couple watches their child take his last breath. A man vomits into a pan, his eyes dry and dazed. Patients’ families kneel in prayer to Allah. When Sherwaid arrived at the camp, the families welcomed him and helped his wife find a new bed. Saeed — a father of two children, ages six and nine, who are infected with cholera — whispers to Sherwaid: “I only want to see my two sons recover from cholera, and then we can celebrate.” He tells MintPress, “My youngest son Salem, six, was first infected, and then he transmitted the disease to his brother.”

“We expect to see a surge of cases during the rainy season,” Anton Camacho, lead author of a study on the epidemic published in The Lancet Global Health journal, told Reuters.

MSF`s cholera treatment center in Hajjah’s Abs, destroyed by Saudi airstrikes on June 11, 2018. Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News

The Saudi-led coalition targeted this particular center for the second time, and facilities managed by Doctors Without Borders have been targeted on six different occasions. According to a statement by the Ministry of Public Health and Population in Sana`a: “The U.S.-Saudi-led coalition deliberately undermines the health system,” in Yemen, and the “United States of America bears responsibility for these attacks.”

 

After attack on Hodeida, the humanitarian situation worsens

The Saudi-led coalition escalated its airstrikes on the city of Hodeida in western Yemen, which is the lone remaining supply line for the millions of Yemenis in the north who rely on foreign aid for food, fuel, medicine for cholera, and other necessities. The number of Yemenis in danger of starving to death could rise from 8.4 million currently to 18.4 million by December of this year, according to UN officials.

On May 6, 2018, national health authorities launched an oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaign in cooperation with the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Almost 275,000 doses of OCV were administered in May across five priority districts in Aden, reaching nearly 70 percent of the target population.

A billboard raising awareness of the environmental campaign against cholera in the Tahrir district of Sanaa, June 11, 2018. Ahmed Abdulkareem | MintPress News

For his part, Sherwaid gets a double-dose of horrible news: His unborn child died and his wife has an incurable kidney disease and will need dialysis for the rest of her life. Realizing it could be worse, Sherwaid says almost jubilantly: “Praise Allah.”

Top Photo | A man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Hani Mohammed | AP

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

Assad Vows Resistance Against US, Israeli, Turkish “Occupying Forces” in Syria – By SPUTNIK

Middle East

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In an interview with the al-Alam News Network on Wednesday, President Bashar Assad underscored his country’s full support for “any act of resistance, whether against terrorists or against occupying forces regardless of their nationality.”

President Assad has described the US, French, Turkish and Israeli troops present in his country as “occupying forces.”

Mentioning the presence of fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in his country, President Assad said that “the battle is long and the need for these military forces will continue for a long time.”He added that even though Iran has no military bases in Syria, Damascus is ready to let them in if necessary.

In an earlier interview with the Daily Mail, President Assad accused the West of attempts to oust his government.

“We are fighting the terrorists, and those terrorists are supported by the British government, the French government, the Americans and their puppets whether in Europe or in our region,” Assad said.

“They tell lies, they talk about chemical weapons, they talk about the bad president killing the good people, freedom, peaceful demonstrations,” he added.

Invited by Damascus, Iranian military advisors are on the ground in Syria helping the government forces win the war, while Hezbollah units have been helping flush out terrorists in areas along Syria’s border with Lebanon.

READ MORE: Daesh Continues Resistance in Syria Only in US-Controlled Areas — Russian MoD

 
 
 
 

Related:

West Attacked Syria When Normalization Was Becoming Irreversible – Russian MoD
West Seeks to Bypass Russian UN Veto Amid Deepening Impasse Over Syria – Reports
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“occupying forces”, foreign troops, allies, Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah, Bashar Assad, Syria

James Corbett: Non-governmental organizations or NGOs are the Deep State’s geopolitical Trojan horses (VIDEO) – By James Corbett/The Corbett Report (SOTT)

NGOS Deep State

The Trojan horse was the earliest recorded military psyop. That psyop continues to be deployed on unsuspecting populations and it is just as useful as ever, but today’s tricksters have donned the mantle of philanthropy, and their Trojan horses are not wooden statues but non-governmental organizations offering “aid” to foreign nations. In today’s edition of The Corbett Report, we’ll learn about how NGOs are the deep state’s Trojan horses.

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

TRANSCRIPT:

Troy, 12th century BC.

The Greeks’ decade-long siege of Troy is drawing to a close. The cunning Odysseus has hit upon a plan to subvert the Trojans’ defenses. The Greeks build a giant wooden horse and then pretend to sail away, leaving the horse at the gates of Troy as an apparent offering to the goddess Athena. The Trojans, believing the gift will make their city impregnable, take it within the city gates.

But it is a trick. Odysseus and his men are hidden inside the hollow horse and they emerge during the night to open the gates and let in the Greek army, who have returned to take the city. The Trojans don’t get a chance to learn from their mistake; the Greeks sack the city and massacre its inhabitants.

The Trojan horse was the earliest recorded military psyop. The lesson of the story, recorded in the counsel to “beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” is that we should not let down our defenses when an erstwhile enemy offers us aid. Today, that counsel is as useful as ever, but today’s tricksters have donned the mantle of philanthropy, and their Trojan horses are not wooden statues but non-governmental organizations offering “aid” to foreign nations.

The bitter truth is that in a surprising number of cases, NGOs are the Deep State’s Trojan Horses.

This is The Corbett Report.

In 2015, Kyrgyzstan made what might seem at first glance to be a surprising move: It canceled a cooperation treaty with the US that had been in place since 1993. The treaty granted tax breaks and customs privileges to organizations like the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and gave their workers diplomatic immunity in the country. All of that came to an end after the US granted a human rights award to Azimjon Askarov, an activist swept up and thrown in jail for life for “creating a threat to civil peace and stability in society” after the Uzbek riots in South Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

Reaction from the usual Western outlets was swift and predictable: Kyrgyzstan has lost its mind. Or, to be more precise: It’s all Putin’s fault. Somehow. But don’t worry, the US will continue aiding Kyrgyzstan anyway, whether they like it or not, because that’s just how they roll. Go, Team America!

But Kyrgyzstan is not the only country to crack down on “aid” from foreign NGOs. In the last few years a series of countries, including Russia, China and India, have passed laws placing stricter controls on the operations of these organizations within their borders.

MARGARET HOWELL: Russia is throwing the smackdown on poor little old NGOs, these charitable organizations that were set up. Their reasoning behind them? That they might be trying to take down the Kremlin.

The Kremlin is moving to ban the US-backed MacArthur Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Institute and ten of their foreign groups, calling them “unwelcome organizations” by law. They’re also mulling over something called a “patriotic stop list.” Anyone caught collaborating with these groups, they’re facing six years in prison.

SOURCE: Russia Bans Foreign NGO’s

ANCHOR: China has passed the country’s first law regulating overseas NGOs, or non-governmental organizations.

HAO YUNHONG (VOICEOVER): The Chinese government always welcomes foreign NGOs to come to China to expand cultural and charity activities, and your achievements are highly spoken of by the Chinese authorities. But there are a few illegal exceptions in which NGOs came to China to harm its national security.

ANCHOR: The law covers activities of NGOs founded outside the Chinese mainland. They must register with public security authorities and declare where their funding is coming from.

SOURCE: China adopts law regulating overseas NGOs

REPORTER: India has placed Ford Foundation on a watch list and ordered all funds from the US-based nonprofit organization to be routed to recipients only after the Home Ministry’s approval. Citing national security concerns, the Home Ministry has asked the Reserve Bank of India to ensure funds given by Ford Foundation to Indian recipients be brought to its notice and dispersed only after its clearance. The ministry said in its order that it wanted to ensure funds coming from Ford Foundation were utilized for bona fide welfare activities without compromising on concerns of national interest and security.

SOURCE: Ford Foundation on India government watch list


REPORTER: An Egyptian Court has convicted 43 Egyptian and 16 American NGO workers for working illegally in Egypt while encouraging unrest. The defendants, who were mostly absent from court, were sentenced to up to five years in jail. The verdict calls for the closing of US nonprofit groups such as the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, which back in 2012 Egypt accused of receiving illegal funding and operating without licenses.

SOURCE: Egyptian court sentences NGO workers including Americans to up to five years in prison

So what on earth is going on? Why are all of these countries kicking out all of these US-based non-governmental and quasi-governmental entities? Why would they be opposed to charity and aid?

The answer is not difficult to understand. These organizations are Trojan horses: designed to appear as gifts, but containing secret trap doors through which hidden forces can enter the country and covertly undermine the governments in question. This explanation only sounds outlandish to those who look no further than the organizations’ names and have no idea of their history of operations.

Take USAID, for example. Created in 1961 by executive order, it’s a US government agency that seeks “to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.” So why did President Morales kick them out of Bolivia in 2013? Because he’s crazy and irrational? Or because USAID ran a program through its remarkably frankly-named Office of Transition Initiatives that provided $10.5 million of funding for “Strengthening Democratic Institutions” throughout the country, including in opposition stronghold areas? Was it paranoia on Morales’ part, or merely the recognition that mealy-mouthed rhetoric about “Strengthening Democratic Institutions” is a thinly veiled euphemism for “overthrowing the government,” exactly as leaked diplomatic documents proved was the case for USAID’s identically named program in Venezuela?

EVA GOLINGER: USAID was originally an agency created to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief to countries in need, and throughout the 1980s and the 1990s and more into the 21st century it’s evolved into a political arm and a funding branch of the US government for what they call “promoting democracy.” And it’s actually now a part of US counterinsurgency campaigns that involve the Pentagon [and] the State Department, in terms of diplomacy and obviously war activities. And USAID is the third agency involved in counterinsurgency, and their goal precisely is to provide what they called aid for promoting democracy or stabilizing or helping a country through some kind of political transition or economic transition.

In the case of Venezuela, Venezuela is a country that is oil wealthy so it’s never qualified for any kind of direct USAID help. Therefore, USAID has never had an office here officially, and they didn’t actually come the country and set up an office until 2002, right before the coup d’etat against President Chavez. And the documents-internal documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act-reveal that the sole intention of setting up the office here in Venezuela was to aid opposition forces to eventually ouster Chavez from power.

SOURCE: Is the US trying to “fix” Venezuela?

Should governments trust USAID after it was revealed that the agency secretly created its own social media network in Cuba for the express purpose of undermining the Castro government? Or when it was revealed that USAID had sent a team of agents to Cuba under the guise of “health and civic programs” to incite rebellion amongst youth, including creating a phony HIV-prevention workshop that the agency itself described as the “perfect excuse” to “identify potential social-change actors?” Or when it was revealed that the agency had attempted (and miserably failed) to infiltrate Cuba’s hip-hop scene “to break the information blockade” and spark a youth movement of “social change” in the country?

ANCHOR: A US agency infiltrated the Cuban hip-hop world in an attempt to launch a youth movement against the government there. The secret operation tried to use Cuban rappers to build a network of young people seeking social change. But the Cuban regime caught on and the operation failed. In the process the US Agency for International Development unintentionally compromised a vibrant music culture that produced hard-hitting grassroots criticism of the country. Several artists that the agency tried to promote ended up leaving Cuba or stopped performing after pressure from the government.

SOURCE: USAID Attempt to Co-opt Cuban Hip-Hop Scene Fails

In fact, USAID’s black ops programs for undermining foreign governments go all the way back to the founding of the agency itself. Some of the lowlights include USAID’s “Office of Public Safety” and its part in running a CIA front program for training foreign police in torture and terror tactics in Latin America; co-funding (with the CIA) the opium-smuggling Xieng Khouang Air Transport, a private airline for narcotics trafficker (and CIA point man in Laos) General Vang Pao; and co-funding opposition groups in Ukraine (prior to the 2014 coup) with Glenn Greenwald-backer Pierre Omidyar and, of course, George Soros.

FAREED ZAKARIA: George Soros, pleasure to have you on.

GEORGE SOROS: Same here.

ZAKARIA: First, on Ukraine: One of the things that many people recognize about you was that you-during the revolutions of 1989-funded a lot of dissident activity, civil society groups in Eastern Europe and Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine?

SOROS: Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia, and the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.

SOURCE: George Soros admits playing an integral part in the Ukraine crisis

But this NGO/Trojan horse problem is by no means confined to USAID and its associated organizations. Take the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as another example.

The official story is that the NED was created in 1983 by an act of Congress in order to “encourage the establishment and growth of democratic development” in target countries around the world in line with US foreign policy goals.

The actual story is that the NED was created expressly as a front for funding CIA activities inside target countries, a fact that Allen Weinstein, one of the members of the study group that led to NED’s founding, openly bragged about in The Washington Post: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” he was quoted as saying. Even more blatant is an admission by then-Director of Central Intelligence William Casey, who wrote a memo to the White House advocating for the creation of NED but cautioning that “we here [at the CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor do we wish to appear to be a sponsor or advocate.”

The NED’s participation in covert destabilization campaigns rivals that of USAID and, like USAID, involves too many operations to detail them all here. Lowlights include:

RON PAUL: What about Ukraine? I understand there are a few organizations that have been involved through this in Ukraine, trying to disturb that government. Of course, we have visited on this subject quite a bit, but I didn’t realize how much the NED is involved over there.

DANIEL MCADAMS: And this is a big issue, because I think the argument could definitely be made that NATO should have ended after the Cold War, but definitely the National Endowment for Democracy should have been ended after the Cold War. Instead, they say, like with every government program, “No, now’s the time we need more!”

But in Ukraine just this past year…Ah, this is an interesting article written by the president of the National Endowment for Democracy-he’s president for life-Carl Gershman. I know this might shock you, but he’s actually a Trotskyite. He was a founding member of a communist breakaway party, the Trotskyite Social Democrats USA. He wrote an editorial in The Washington Post [in] September of ’13, just before the events happened in Ukraine, and he wrote as the president of the National Endowment for Democracy. He said, “Ukraine is the biggest prize.” And he mentioned that “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents,” and “Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.” So his real goal is regime change. He spelled it out just before all of these events took place.

SOURCE: National Endowment for Democracy? Hardly!

These types of Trojan horse operations have been used hundreds of times in the past, and there is no sign that the deep state is ready to abandon the trick now. Quite the opposite.

It worked during the “Arab Spring” when even The New York Times blithely admitted that the leaders of the protests had “received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House” and the State Department blithely admitted they had spent $50 million helping activists in the region network, communicate and organize with each other through Trojan horse NGOs like Movements.org.

The deception also worked in Syria, where leaked documents proved the US had been providing millions of dollars of support to opposition groups in the country since 2006 through a variety of Trojan horse NGOs like the Movement for Justice and Development.

And as we saw earlier this year in “The White Helmets Are A Propaganda Construct,” even first responder groups like the “Syria Civil Defense” (founded by an ex-British military intelligence officer) have been used as Trojan horses to spread propaganda and advance the agenda of the US and its allies in their quest to topple President Assad.

Let’s be clear: This is not to say that all NGOs are Trojan horses. It is not the case that every group or program that receives money from USAID or the National Endowment for Democracy or a similar organization is thereby automatically a deep state change agent. That is not how the Trojan horse technique works.

No, what makes these NGOs so effective as disguises for regime change operations is that much of the time, they are doing what they claim to be doing: providing aid, assistance and charity where it is needed. It is for this very reason that the US and its allies can so effectively smear NGO skeptics as crazy.

But consider this: In 1938, the US Congress passed the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). With the notable exception of AIPAC, NGOs, lobby groups and individuals who are representing a foreign agent are required to register under the act and are subjected to greater scrutiny of financial records and other activities. The irony is that FARA is essentially the same type of legislation that has recently been passed in China, but when the Chinese do it, it’s craziness; when the US did it 70 years ago, it was just good common sense. Once again, the hypocrisy is evident for those who wish to see it.

If there is any good to come out of this, it is that the public is increasingly aware of these types of covert activities. Perhaps more to the point, victims of these operations are now more willing to stand up to the US (and suffer its potential diplomatic wrath) by scrutinizing, monitoring, watchlisting, regulating, or even kicking out these agents of chaos.

And now, just like the Trojans thousands of years ago, the world is learning the hard way that sometimes a “gift” is better left unopened.

See Also:

How and Why the US Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine – By Eric ZUESSE ( Strategic Cultural Foundation)

How and Why the US Government Perpetrated the 2014 Coup in Ukraine

This will document that the ‘new Cold War’ between the US and Russia did not start, as the Western myth has it, with Russia’s involvement in the breakaway of Crimea and Donbass from Ukraine, after Ukraine — next door to Russia — had suddenly turned rabidly hostile toward Russia in February 2014. Ukraine’s replacing its democratically elected neutralist Government in February 2014, by a rabidly anti-Russian Government, was a violent event, which produced many corpses. It’s presented in The West as having been a ‘revolution’ instead of a coup; but whatever it was, it certainly generated the ‘new Cold War’ (the economic sanctions and NATO buildup on Russia’s borders); and, to know whether it was a coup, or instead a revolution, is to know what actually started the ‘new Cold War’, and why. So, this is historically very important.

Incontrovertible proofs will be presented here not only that it was a coup, but that this coup was organized by the US Government — that the US Government initiated the ‘new Cold War’; Russia’s Government reacted to America’s aggression, which aims to place nuclear missiles in Ukraine, less than ten minutes flight-time from Moscow. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, America had reason to fear Soviet nuclear missiles 103 miles from America’s border. But, after America’s Ukrainian coup in 2014, Russia has reason to fear NATO nuclear missiles not just near, but on, Russia’s border. That would be catastrophic.

If America’s successful February 2014 overthrow and replacement of Ukraine’s democratically elected neutralist Government doesn’t soon produce a world-ending nuclear war (World War III), then there will be historical accounts of that overthrow, and the accounts are already increasingly trending and consolidating toward a historical consensus that it was a coup — that it was imposed by “somebody from the new coalition” — i.e., that the termination of the then-existing democratic (though like all its predecessors, corrupt) Ukrainian Government, wasn’t authentically a ‘revolution’ such as the US Government has contended, and certainly wasn’t at all democratic, but was instead a coup (and a very bloody one, at that), and totally illegal (though backed by The West). 

The purpose of the present article will be to focus attention on precisely whom the chief people are who were responsible for perpetrating this globally mega-dangerous (‘Cold-War’-igniting) coup — and thus for creating the world’s subsequent course increasingly toward global nuclear annihilation. 

If there will be future history, then these are the individuals who will be in the docks for that history’s harshest and most damning judgments, even if there will be no legal proceedings brought against them. Who, then, are these people?

Clearly, Victoria Nuland, US President Barack Obama’s central agent overseeing the coup, at least during the month of February 2014 when it climaxed, was crucial not only in overthrowing the existing Ukrainian Government, but in selecting and installing its rabidly anti-Russian replacement. The 27 January 2014 phone-conversation between her and America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, Jeffrey Pyatt was a particularly seminal event, and it was uploaded to youtube on 4 February 2014. I have discussed elsewhere that call and its significance. Nuland there and then abandoned the EU’s hope for a still democratic but less corrupt future government for Ukraine, and Nuland famously said, on that call “Fuck the EU,” and she instructed Pyatt to choose instead the rabidly anti-Russian, and far-right, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This key event occurred 24 days before Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych was overthrown on February 20th, and 30 days before the new person to head Ukraine’s Government, Yatsenyuk, became officially appointed to rule the now clearly fascist country. He won that official designation on February 26th. However, this was only a formality: Obama’s agent had already chosen him, on January 27th.

The second landmark item of evidence that it had been a coup and nothing at all democratic or a ‘revolution’, was the 26 February 2014 phone-conversation between the EU’s Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and her agent in Ukraine investigating whether the overthrow had been a revolution or instead a coup; he was Estonia’s Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, and he told her that he found that it had been a coup, and that “somebody from the new coalition” had engineered it — but he didn’t know whom that “somebody” was. Both Ashton and Paet were shocked at this finding, but they proceeded immediately to ignore that matter, and to discuss only the prospects for Europe’s investors in Ukraine, to be able to get their money back — their obsession was Ukraine’s corruption. Ashton told Paet that she had herself told the Maidan demonstrators, “you need to find ways in which you can establish a process that will have anti-corruption at its heart.” So, though the EU was unhappy that this had been a coup, they were far more concerned to protect their investors. In any case, the EU clearly wasn’t behind Ukraine’s coup. Equally clearly, they didn’t much care whether it was a coup or instead what the US Government said, a ‘revolution’.

The network behind this coup had actually started planning for the coup back in 2011. That’s when Eric Schmidt of Google, and Jared Cohen, also now of Google but still continuing though unofficially as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief person tasked to plan ‘popular movements’ to overthrow both Yanukovych in Ukraine, and Assad in Syria.

Then, on 1 March 2013, the implementation of this plan started: the first “tech camp” to train far-right Ukrainians how to organize online the mass-demonstrations against Yanukovych, was held inside the US Embassy in Kiev on that date, which was over nine months before the Maidan demonstrations to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected President started, on 20 November 2013.

The American scholar Gordon M. Hahn has specialized in studying the evidence regarding whom the actual snipers were who committed the murders, but he focuses only on domestic Ukrainian snipers and ignores the foreign ones, who had been hired by the US regime indirectly through Georgian, Lithuanian and other anti-Russian CIA assets (such as via Mikheil Saakashvili, the ousted President of Georgia whom the US regime subsequently selected to become the Governor of the Odessa region of Ukraine). Hahn’s 2018 book Ukraine Over the Edge states on pages 204-209: 

“Yet another pro-Maidan sniper, Ivan Bubenchik, emerged to acknowledge that he shot and killed Berkut [the Government’s police who were protecting Government buildings] before any protesters were shot that day [February 20th]. In a print interview, Bubenchik previews his admission in Vladimir Tikhii’s documentary film, Brantsy, that he shot ahd killed two Berkut commanders in the early morning hours of February 20 on the Maidan. … Bubenchik claims that [on February 20] the Yanukovich regime started the fire in the Trade Union House — where his and many other EuroMaidan fighters lived during the revolt — prompting the Maidan’s next reaction. As noted above, however, pro-Maidan neofascists have revealed that the Right Sector started that fire. … Analysis of the snipers’ massacre shows that the Maidan protesters initiated almost all — at least six out of a possible eight — of the pivotal escalatory moments of violence and/or coercion. … The 30 November 2013 nighttime assault on the Maidan demonstrators is the only clear exception from a conclusive pattern of escalating revolutionary violence led by the Maidan’s relatively small but highly motivated and well-organized neofascist element.”

Although Hahn’s book barely cites the first and most detailed academic study of the climactic coup period of late February, Ivan Katchanovski’s poorly written “The ‘Snipers’ Massacre’ on the Maidan in Ukraine”, which was issued on 5 September 2015, Hahn’s is consistent with that: both works conclude that the available evidence, as Katchanovski puts it, shows that:

“The massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power. It [his investigation] found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas.”

Hahn downplays US heading of the coup. But shortly before the coup, the CIA secretly trained in Poland the Right Sector founder/leader Dmitriy Yarosh (“Dmytro Jarosz”), who headed Ukraine’s snipers. So, even the Ukrainian ones were working for the US

On 19 November 2017 was issued Gian Micalessin’s “The hidden truth about Ukraine – Part 1” 

& Part 2

Summarizing them here: Two Georgian snipers say Saakashvili hired them in Tbilisi for a US-backed operation. But they know only about the “Georgian Legion” part. They think it was patterned on Georgia’s Rose Revolution. They each got $1000 for the operation and flew to Kiev on 15 January and were promised $5000 on return. (9:00) “We had to provoke the ‘Berkut’ police so they would attack the people. By February 15th the situation [at the Maidan] was getting worse every day. Then the first shots were fired.” It was February 15 or 16. Mamunashvili [Saakashvili’s man] introduced them to “an American military guy, … Brian Christopher Boyenger” a former “sniper for the 101st Airborne Division” who “after Maidan he went to Donbass” to fight in the “Georgian Legion” but during the coup-climax, the far-right Andriy “Parubiy came very often,” and “Brian always accompanied him” and also instructing there was Vladimir Parasyuk, one of the leaders of the Maidan. The snipers were told not to aim but just to kill people randomly, to create chaos. There were also two Lithuanian snipers in the room. Some went down from the Ukraine Hotel to the second floor of the Conservatory Building, balcony. “They started to take out the guns and distributed them to each group.” “Then I heard shots from the next room” It lasted 15 minutes, then they were all ordered to escape.

On 13 February 2015 was telecast a German documentary, “Maidan Snipers. German TV expose. ARD Monitor. Eng Subs” in which one of the demonstrators said that many of the bullets were fired from buildings controlled by the demonstrators, but that “We were also shot at from the other direction.” However, at least before 21 February 2014, police (Berkut) were seized by demonstrators and at least the possibility exists that some of the Right Sector snipers were taking positions in and especially atop some of the government buildings so as to fire down into the crowd and seem to be firing from Yanukovych’s side. Gordon Hahn hasn’t been able to verify any firing in February 2014 by the Yanukovych government. Moreover: “they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides.”

On 1 February 2016 was posted to youtube a French documentary, “Ukraine — Masks of the Revolution” which shows, from a meeting at Davos, at 48:00, Victoria Nuland, the announcer trying to speak with her and saying to the audience, “The US diplomat who came to support the Revolution, could she really ignore the existence of the paramilitaries?”; 48:50 Larry Summers at a meeting in Kiev during 10-12 September 2015 and then later at the “12th YES Annual Meeting” saying, “Ukraine is an essential outpost of our fundamental military interests”; 49:25: Petraeus also shown there and the announcer says, “He also thinks that Ukraine is essential to block Putin.” Petraeus urges investment in Ukraine to block Russia; 51:00 McChrystal there also urges arming Ukraine; 51:50 Nuland is there and the announcer says: “The country that is most invested in Ukraine’s future is the US” “She is the architect of America’s influence in Ukraine.” Nuland says there at the “YES” meeting, “We had a significant impact on the battlefield.” But the US regime blames Russia for that war.

Gordon Hahn’s restriction of blame for the coup only to native Ukrainian nazis doesn’t fit the evidence, because there clearly is leadership of Ukraine’s nazis by the US regime. Furthermore, the US regime and its Ukrainian client-state are the only two nations at the U.N. who vote and repeatedly to back fascism, nazism and Holocaust-denial. The anti-Russia nazis took over America’s Government, which has taken over Ukraine’s. All of this goes back to the key US decision, which was made on 24 February 1990.

ANOTHER AMERICAN CW FALSE FLAG OPERATION IS COMING; SYRIAN ARMY BEGINS RELEASING SOLDIERS TO CIVILIAN LIFE; SAA CRUSHES ISIS ATTACK IN DZ PLANNED BY U.S. SPEC OPER TERRORISTS – By Ziad Fadel

Read this article right away:
http://www.syrianews.cc/usa-new-chemical-attack-false-flag-syria/

Buffoon American WOG and permanent delegate to the U.N. brandishes more faked photos taken by the now-disgraced “White Helmets” at the U.N.S.C.  The British delegate to her left scowls as he pretends to be offended by the staged scenes.  Oh, yawn!  (Don’t forget to read the link at the beginning)

If our friends at Syrianews are right, the White Helmets, in perfect coordination with both MI6 and CIA, will stage a new atrocity in order to frame the Syrian government.  We expect Ivanka Trump, the know-nothing daughter of America’s chief meat head, to charge down the hallowed halls of the White House to beg her father to “get Assad!”  That’s what she did to cause the last attack on the Shu’ayraat AB in Homs last year.  “Please, daddy, you gotta make Assad pay for this.”  (Even if the CW attack didn’t happen!)

As sickening as these scenarios have become;  the persistent lying, hyperbole, poor acting, and incongruent evidence, all coming together to form an hastily-produced, stale porridge of putrescent and hackneyed pontifications; with Merkel and Justin Trudeau staring down solemnly as one photo-op replaces another –  we must, nevertheless, pinch our noses and suffer the olfactory emanations from this coming swamp of tarted up vilification.  Oh, our redoubtable Vanessa Beeley will call out the liars and rebut all the indictments, yet, the agenda plays on and on with no end in sight.  Brandon Turbeville will drown the perpetrators in their own cesspool of lies.  Eva Bartlett will rail against the prevaricating pimps of poop and imposture with her sterling coolness and sincerity.  And, if you read the readers’ comments to the articles by the MSM, you’ll find that the message is being absorbed by the public.

__________________________________________

DAYR EL-ZOR:

The U.S. just can’t get it right.  When Trump announces his intent to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria “real soon” after they vanquish ISIS , another shadow agency is found providing bases, logistical assistance and planning for exactly the same terrorist group they are there to supposedly fight and destroy!

Yesterday, a two-pronged attack took place at 2 villages in the Albu-Kamaal area on the Euphrates.  At Al-Hasraat Villlage, the SAA killed almost all ISIS terrorists and destroyed over 3 pickups with 23mm cannons.  The captured terrorists confessed to being trained by United States Special Operations contractors working out of Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border.

At Al-Shu’fa Village, SAA troops, dug in inside well-prepared defensive berms, came under attack from another group of ISIS rodents who had originated on the Syrian-Iraqi border.  They, too, were annihilated by the SAA.

__________________________________________

DAMASCUS:  Imagine our delight when we heard that my wife’s nephew, Rayyaan, an officer in the SAA for over 7 years now, has been honorably discharged from service in the army so that he can go back to civilian life.  He had to put his legal career on hold to serve the cause of freedom from terrorism. This is now happening all over Syria as reservists and members of the NDF/PDC complete their overlong tours of duty.  The army will now go back to its original numbers with a 500% improvement in available military technology.  We are proud of them and their service to flag and country.

 

__________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

Here is a bunch of new articles from Brandon:

https://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/russia-hints-isis-linked-forces-operating-in-us-controlled-zones-in-syria-photos-already-show-us-protecting-terrorists-in-tanf.

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/us-warns-of-firm-response-if-syria-attacks-isis-no-really.

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/7-countries-in-5-years-2007-wesley-clark-interview-reveals-us-plan-to-go-to-war-with-iraq-iran-syria-libya-lebanon-somalia-and-sudan

htmlhttps://www.activistpost.com/2018/05/us-france-uk-establish-more-bases-in-syria-to-push-breakup-of-country.html

 

Great article from USA Today debunking the entire idea of overthrowing the government of Iran:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/31/iran-regime-change-american-troops-military-draft-column/656240002/

 

Mary Woodard and Kevin Hester sent me this RT interview with Dr. Assad conducted by Murad Gazdiev:

http://www.syrianews.cc/assad-all-syria-will-be-liberated/

 

Dimitry Porphyris sent me this article about the decapitation of 2 Syrian soldiers by ISIS west of Al-Mayaadeen.  It’s in French but the pictures tell the entire tale.  Note how ISIS refers to our army as the “Alawi Army”:

https://dimpenews.com/2018/06/01/18-l-etat-islamique-isis-a-decapite-un-soldat-syrien-a-ouest-de-la-ville-de-mayadeen-province-de-deir-ezzor/

 

 

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Sinister Choreography of the MH17 Probe to Smear Russia – By Finian CUNNINGHAM – (Strategic Culture Foundation )

Sinister Choreography of the MH17 Probe to Smear Russia

The Dutch-led probe into the 2014 Malaysian airliner disaster has the hallmarks of a psychological operation to frame-up Russia and to justify further sanctions and aggression from the NATO powers.

The so-called Joint Investigation Team (JIT) released an update last Thursday on its ongoing probe into the MH17 air disaster over Eastern Ukraine, in which all 298 people onboard were killed. The JIT’s latest release moves the accusation of culpability closer to Russia, with the team claiming that an anti-aircraft Buk missile, which allegedly shot down the plane, was brought into Ukraine by Russia’s 53rd Brigade based in Kursk, southwest Russia.

Then on Friday, the day after the high-profile JIT presentation, a news report compiled by US-based McClatchy News and UK-based self-styled online investigative website Bellingcat was published claiming to have identified a senior Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer as being involved in the transport of the missile system.

The Russian GRU officer is named as Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov. The report includes a photograph of the named man, who is said to have at least one residential address in Moscow and who used the call sign “Orion”. Tellingly, the McClatchy report claims that news of identifying the Russian military officer was not known by the JIT when it made its presentation the day before. But McClatchy reported that the Dutch-led investigators now want to arraign “Orion”.

Over the weekend, the Dutch, Australian and British governments upped the ante by formally accusing Russia, and demanding that Moscow pay financial compensation to families of the crash victims. Most of those onboard the doomed MH17 were Dutch, Malaysian and Australian nationals.

What we are seeing here is a choreographed sequence trying to give the public impression that developments in the probe are taking a natural course based on “evidence” imputing blame to Russia. The same technique of media psychological operation can be seen in the Skripal poisoning affair in which Moscow is blamed for trying to assassinate a former spy in England. Allegations, purported evidence, and then sanctions (expulsion of Russian diplomats) all follow a choreographed sequence.

On the MH17 incident, Russia has vehemently denied any involvement in the passenger plane’s downing. Moscow says its own investigation into the incident points to the Kiev regime’s armed forces as being responsible, possibly using their stock of Soviet-era Buk anti-aircraft missiles. Significantly, Russia’s investigative results have been spurned by the JIT, while Moscow’s offers of contributing to the probe have been rebuffed. As in the Skripal affair, where the British authorities have also refused Russia’s offers of joint investigation, or Russia’s ability to independently verify the supposedly incriminating data.

In a dramatic twist, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that the missile casing displayed by the Dutch investigators bore features dating the weapon to 1986 when Ukraine was a Soviet Republic. The Russian military said that all such Buk models were replaced by its forces in 2011. Therefore, the alleged offensive weapon presented by the JIT last week could not have come from Russian forces. Besides, Moscow denies that any of its brigades crossed into Ukrainian territory.

The JIT, which includes investigators from Holland, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and – invidiously – Ukrainian secret services, openly acknowledged in its presentation last week that it is cooperating with the Britain-based Bellingcat website. The latter is cited for its analysis of videos purporting to show the transport of a Russian military Buk convoy through Eastern Ukraine at around the time of the airliner being shot down. Those videos have already been exposed as fabrications.

Now it seems rather strange that the JIT was reported by McClatchy as not knowing of Bellingcat’s next “scoop” published the following day in which it claims to identify a Russian military officer, named as Oleg Ivannikov or Orion, for being involved in coordinating the transport of the Buk convoy, which the JIT says came from the 53rd Brigade in Russia’s Kursk.

The JIT and Bellingcat have collaborated in a previous update to its MH17 probe, in 2016, when the dubious videos were presented as purportedly showing the Buk convoy traversing Eastern Ukraine back to Russia. Bellingcat was cited again in the JIT’s update last Thursday.

That raises the question of why the information claiming to identify the Russian military officer was not available to JIT, even though the latter has worked closely with Bellingcat before? It was the next day when the McClatchy-Bellingcat news report came out, seemingly separate to the JIT presentation.

The sequence suggests a concerted effort to “build” a public perception that “clues” into the cause of the air crash and the incrimination of Russia are being assembled in an independent manner. When, in reality, the sequence is actually a deliberately orchestrated media campaign, to more effectively smear Russia.

Bellingcat’s media activities indicate that it is not the supposed “independent online investigative website” it claims to be. During the Syrian war, it has helped to peddle claims that videos sourced from the White Helmets are “authentic” when in fact there is strong evidence that the White Helmets have been fabricating videos of atrocities on behalf of NATO-sponsored terrorists in order to smear the Syrian government and its Russian ally.

For the Dutch-led JIT to associate with Bellingcat as a source of “evidence” is a matter of grave concern as to the probe’s professional credibility.

Moreover, what is also fatally damaging to the MH17 probe is that the Ukrainian secret services (SBU) under the control of the Western-backed Kiev regime, which came to power in the NATO-backed February 2014 coup d’état, is the source for much of the so-called evidence implicating Russia or the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine for shooting down the MH17 airliner.

The dubious videos cited by the JIT and Bellingcat were sourced from the SBU. Those videos were purportedly posted on social media at the time of the plane crash by anonymous members of the public. The Russian government has dismissed those videos as fake.

The latest claims by McClatchy and Bellingcat of identifying a Russian military officer are based on allegations that mobile phone intercepts are attributable to the man named as Orion. Bellingcat appears to have expended a lot of effort trawling through digital phone books to identify the individual. The report also relies on embellishment of Orion’s alleged secret military career in Ukraine and South Ossetia by way of lending a sense of credibility and sinister innuendo.

However, the bottomline is that McClatchy and Bellingcat both admit that they are relying on the Ukrainian secret services for their phone intercepts, as they had previously for the videos of the alleged Russian Buk convoy.

The SBU and its Kiev masters have an obvious axe to grind against Moscow. Their partisan position, not to say potential liability for the air crash, thus makes the JIT and subsequent Western media reporting highly suspect.

Such close involvement of a Western media outlet (McClatchy) with a fake news engine (Bellingcat) and Ukrainian state intelligence is indicative of coordinated public psychological operation to smear Russia.

The prompt responses from Western governments calling for criminal proceedings against Moscow are further indication that the whole effort is an orchestrated campaign to frame-up Russia.

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Join the June 19 London vigil demanding freedom for Julian Assange! – By Robert Stevens ( WSWS )

Image result for julian assange

“I don’t think Assange will be forgiven by our rulers because he educated the world”

By Robert Stevens
30 May 2018

Emmy Butlin is part of a group that has maintained a solidarity vigil in defence of Julian Assange for six years outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks editor was forced to take asylum there in June 2012. On June 19, the Julian Assange Defence Committee is holding a vigil to mark the sixth anniversary of the date Assange entered the building.

The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party is backing the vigil and working to secure maximum attendance. Emmy spoke to WSWS reporter Robert Stevens about the work of the group and the Julian Assange case.

Robert Stevens: Can you tell us about your group and its work?

Emmy Butlin

Emmy Butlin: I want to emphasise that we are not affiliated with any political organisation. Some of us have had experience with activism before. We have not worked in human rights work, we are not lawyers, we are not involved with Amnesty. We are ordinary people.

We have become experts in this case over a very long time and we want to assist in any way we can. The lady who owns the website we have is based in Wales. She’s done work with Chelsea Manning’s family and put together a family fund to assist relations of Chelsea who travel to the US.

Another is Ciaron O’Reilly. He did a 25-day non-stop vigil at the Embassy from March 28 to highlight Assange’s case and urge people to be vigilant because we expected the worse.

When the communications were cut off from Assange [by the Ecuadorian government], we tried to support Ciaron, going to accompany him two hours at a time.

We have a Twitter page, and Facebook account. Julian Assange needs defending to be able to continue his work. We support the work of WikiLeaks.

We focus specifically to the circumstances of his detainment, and his confinement in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the role of the police and the surveillance. Then there is the mindlessness of the persecution of this man over a long period of time and the corruption of the legal process.

RS: Can you tell us about your background?

EB: I was born in Greece in 1970, in the middle of the seven-year junta, which was a police state. Greece had had a lot of political instability in the century, full of war and political repression.

The geopolitical game that was played in Greece led to the most horrendous civil war, after the end of World War Two. My own family suffered from the division and the conflict in the civil war.

In 1967, the colonels overthrew the legally elected government. As I was growing up democracy was taking its first steps and I was fully aware that it was a painful and slow process. My parents during the dictatorship found themselves in trouble with the police because they were active in the early sixties in Munich in Germany as students. They were active in the peace movement there, and they knew that the local Greek consulate was collecting information on them.

They returned to Greece in 1966. Soon after that the dictatorship took place, and very quickly they found themselves being taken in for questioning. My father was imprisoned for two weeks, in the same place people were being tortured. For the entire seven years they had to undergo surveillance, and this affected their life profoundly. They became founding members of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK).

I became politically aware of what was going on there and took part in demonstrations, marches, etc. People became political in this period. After the return to democracy, there was jubilation, and people felt they could demand openly and without repercussion social demands for equality within the law, between men and women. They could demand workers’ rights, so you had the trade unions organising marches. There were debates and intellectual discussion. There was the role of the US taking over from Britain. You had the role of the CIA in the invasion of Cyprus. I left Greece in 1990 to come over here to study at university and I got married.

In April of 2010, WikiLeaks released the “Collateral Murder” video, and this affected me profoundly as both myself and my family were against the Iraq war. I was really shaken because the invasion of Iraq was a horrible event. When Julian Assange was arrested in December 2010, I knew it was wrong. At the same time, in November 2010, they did the Afghan war logs and in December 2010 they started publications of the diplomatic cables. I was waiting for the Greek stuff to come out.

I was following what was going on with Assange’s case in Sweden, and the open warfare against him with politicians and dignitaries in the media. Then there was the case of Chelsea Manning, at the time Bradley Manning. I could not be left untouched by the stories of these two people.

It was not until he entered the embassy in 2012 that I felt I needed to do something and began participating in the solidarity vigil.

RS: What did you think about what the British judicial system did to Assange in trampling on his democratic rights?

EB: When they started the extradition process, I realised that this was a very unfair system. I investigated the European Arrest Warrant [EAW] system and it was the British government that had pushed this forward, because of terrorist attacks in 2007. But this system was abused. It was not used to extradite terrorists.

The question came up, why are we witnessing this? Is there not another way of questioning Julian Assange? Are there other ways of accommodating the process that started in Sweden? Then I started to investigate in more detail, the “sexual misconduct,” or “assault.” And it’s not easy to do this, as you can imagine. Accusations of sexual misconduct have a stigma.

I found that the whole process had been politicised. Britain was not interested in furthering this case. The Swedish prosecutor responsible for the case, Marianne Nye, was sitting on her hands. Julian Assange was never charged.

After a while, the European Parliament did a review of the EAW out of which the UK Parliament passed an amendment that said no person should be extradited on an EAW unless charges have been laid down. So, I thought that’s it. They will now be forced to go down the route of Mutual Legal Assistance with Assange. But no, this didn’t happen. The amendment was not retroactive. Julian Assange did not benefit from the law, but everyone else after him did.

A couple of years later, the Supreme Court decided on another case, and they looked at the decision that the judges applied in the Assange case and they threw it out. But there was no appeal allowed for Assange. Every time there was a development you thought would move things forward, no one is interested.

Finally, when the UN in 2016, after looking at the case for 18 months, deemed Assange was arbitrarily detained, we thought this would be the catalyst. But no. The Conservative government said that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention were lay people and didn’t know what they were talking about.

Whatever happens to Julian Assange, his work is lasting, and it has changed the world. Whereas these ideas have always been around about accountability and knowledge, through the technology available with the Internet, he has catapulted this idea to a level never seen before. It’s extremely inspiring and he’s not alone.

I don’t think Assange will be forgiven by our rulers because he educated the world. Original documents which he published can be used in court, they can be used as sources for writing books, for telling the story as it is.

So, among the many functions that WikiLeaks plays, it’s a contemporary historian.

RS: What support have you had for Julian Assange outside the Embassy?

EB: Overwhelmingly positive. Most people know about the case and they want to know the latest. I’m surprised at how wise people are to immediately grasp what’s going on. They have seen it happen again and again where dissent to the status quo, especially in international affairs, provokes a backlash that can be devastating for people.

Politicians think people are fools, but I don’t think so. Even if you are not entirely educated in international affairs, you grasp that there is an injustice going on. “Of course, he is in there because the US want him.” All these years I’ve heard this again and again.

Public opinion can be manipulated, but only up to an extent. There is a dichotomy between the politicians and what people think. Look at Brexit. That’s an alert for the establishment that people feel very differently. Whoever is part of the establishment is out of touch.

Again and again, I come across British people who say about Julian Assange, “Enough is enough. Let this man go.” A lot of the people who we come into contact regularly are drivers, because Harrods is next to the Embassy. There are a lot of wealthy individuals who shop there and their drivers will park in the local area. The drivers are international, from a lot of Middle Eastern countries. They are behind Julian Assange absolutely. It’s the same with continental Europeans. They recognise the importance of free speech and democratic rights.

I spent some time talking to a German lady outside the Embassy about the case. Before she left, she pulled her jumper up on her arm and she showed me that she had, from her elbow to her hand, a WikiLeaks hourglass logo as a tattoo. So, I thought I was informing her, but she had the WikiLeaks tattoo on her arm. That’s how important it was to her. Particularly young people are inspired by WikiLeaks, inspired by [Edward] Snowden.

We have marched in London on the Pride event for Chelsea Manning and there was so much support for her. We’ve only recently being doing some marches for Julian, as we thought this is a crisis. We went on the May Day march on May 1. Some of us joined that and the TUC May 12 anti-austerity march with our Assange banner.

I knew nothing about Ecuador, but have learnt a lot more since learning about the Assange case. Because of their experience of dictatorship, they have strengthened the laws and constitution for the protection of people who are persecuted politically.

For a long period, they have been supportive and tried to unlock the situation and get him to Ecuador safely.

Then a year ago there was a change of government in Ecuador. Mr. [President Lenin] Moreno is from the same party as Mr. [former president Rafael] Correa and he said initially that he would support Julian Assange. But we saw that he didn’t have the same commitment. His government is seeking a rapprochement with the United States and is going to renew military cooperation. I know from my own country, Greece, what that means. When you align yourself militarily with a powerful country, you sign up for a lot more.

We are very concerned, particularly now that Assange’s communications have been cut off. We do not hear his voice.

Julian Assange has been in there for coming up to six years and it’s inhumane and is taking its toll. You have horrifying reports from doctors on him. This must be sorted. He can’t die in there.

The UN is the final arbitrator in international conflict. The UN Group on Arbitrary Detention look at the facts. It’s an adversarial process. The UK put forward its case and Julian Assange’s lawyers put forward their case. And the UN group gave their expert opinion that ruled in his favour. They said very simply: free him and compensate him. Under international law its rulings are binding.

The UK and Sweden in rejecting the ruling are degrading the institution that all countries turn to for arbitration and resolution of conflict.

You don’t have to be an expert on human rights. Over the last six years, Julian Assange has had no sunlight. No access to health care, no outside exercise. He has medical care where it can be accommodated within the embassy. But has no possibility of having an MRI scan, for example. He has a heart condition and needs root canal treatment. The doctors also said that because of the level of surveillance that he was experiencing, he was unable to openly speak with his doctors about his medical problems. Intrusive surveillance, 24/7, over a period of six years, with every conversation he has recorded, isn’t that intolerable? Isn’t that what nightmares are made of? It’s an abomination.

Then you see the response of the politicians to him. Recently in Westminster, Conservatives minister Alan Duncan referred to Assange as a “miserable little worm.” What sort of statement is that from a minister of government? It’s not just arrogance against Julian Assange. It is arrogance against the people.

I find again and again that people’s stance on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, it’s like the bar against how you judge who they are. Everyone has the right to health care. People in prison have access to it and we recognise their right to sunshine, physical exercise and fresh air. When we find that prisons are failing, often heads will roll. Here you have a situation where none of this matters if your name is Julian Assange.

Now it’s Julian Assange, tomorrow it’s someone else and then someone else and someone else.

RS: The Australian government has refused to defend Assange, including the previous Gillard Labour government, and here Labour and the unions have done nothing to defend him. Can you speak about that?

EB: I think he is being ostracised by them because it’s convenient to do so. He exhibits tremendous courage in the simple determination to publish material, but it’s telling how little courage those you mention have. It’s very disappointing and I don’t really have an answer. I think in part it’s because they feel threatened. A few years ago, when Jeremy Corbyn was bidding for the Labour leadership, it was a bit like Assange. There was a torrent of attacks in the media. WikiLeaks at the time made a call for any leaks on this, calling for “Labour leaks,” and in response there was complete silence, even from Corbyn’s own supporters.

I also think their response has to do with foreign policy and issues of war. WikiLeaks leads to a strengthening of anti-war sentiment. And this is an area that cuts across political parties. They act in the same way, whether it is Australia or the UK. What is the big difference between the foreign policy of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party traditionally? So perhaps when someone is a strong advocate for peace and against military interventions, and let’s call it the old-fashioned word, “imperialism,” then perhaps that’s why national institutions are buying into the attacks on Assange.

What is the objective here? What is the next step? Detention in a UK maximum security establishment? How can this be justified on a flimsy arrest warrant, over bail conditions, over an extradition case that has been abandoned and has cost the taxpayer millions.

It’s important we act. People should come down to the embassy to participate in solidarity events. Journalists should research and report what is going on.

WikiLeaks recently published a video showing a car with individuals who were surveying the embassy way into the night. Who are these people? They were there around the clock, with a 24-hour presence for three weeks in April.

Up to October 2015, there were overt police with a 24/7 presence. You could see them at specific locations. After that the Metropolitan Police said they were increasing the covert operation, which was always taking place anyway. I have written to the London Assembly about it. It’s the elected body that controls mayoral spending and of course Sadiq Khan is responsible for the police spend in London. I have asked the assembly to confirm or deny, but they couldn’t because the police said they don’t comment on operational matters.

WikiLeaks invited people to try to figure out what one of the people was reading in the car. Out of that it came out that there were instructions on a piece of paper and the name “Op Kudo”—Operation Kudo. One of the people who investigated this on the WikiLeaks Twitter thread confirmed that is the name of the operation to snatch Assange. It must have been going on for years and must have a budget.

Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist with La Repubblica and she has been trying through Freedom of Information requests to get documents pertaining to the case from Sweden. She also has documents from the UK, but they were redacted. She took the government to court last year and she unearthed that, back in August, the UK Crown Prosecution Service deleted a large number of emails pertaining to the case while it was still active.

RS: We recently held a series of meetings in Australia and the UK to demand Assange’s freedom and young people were very responsive. How important do you think international campaigns and protests are?

EB: I think it’s a wonderful thing. First, it’s inspiring for others and activists around the world, and that is what we need to hear, the public’s voice. That is where the wisdom lies. This is exactly my experience speaking to people on the streets of London. People recognise the role that WikiLeaks has played. They know the way Assange is being treated is because of the work he has done. It is humbling to say, but some people congratulate us for being there. Some people clap. We express their own feelings.

But what is missing, this is what your organisation can provide—the linking up with others. This is how we can change the world. Individual contributions are great, but we change society as a group, acting together. We need a Julian Assange Defence Committee of the world, if you like, that will bring people together—workers, students, housewives.

RS: We have initiated an international coalition to fight Internet censorship of socialist, anti-war, left-wing and progressive websites, organizations and activists. And we have insisted that any serious campaign cannot be carried out while Julian Assange is silenced and is incarcerated. Our campaign demands the freedom of Julian Assange and is organising internationally to achieve that goal.

EB: I think that’s wonderful. It is spot on. That is excellent work.

Emmys group operates the vigil outside the Ecuadorean Embassy on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 3-5 p.m. People can sign up to the mailing list of the Julian Assange Defence Committee: Grassroots solidarity for the WikiLeaks editor at www.WiseUpAction.info.

Washington’s Antics in the South China Sea Seek to Provoke Beijing to Military Response – By Brian CLOUGHLEY ( Strategic Culture Foundation)

Washington’s Antics in the South China Sea Seek to Provoke Beijing to Military Response

The US media network CNBC reported on May 1 that China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on three of its islands in the South China Sea. It was fed the information by US intelligence agencies, or, as, CNBC coyly put it “sources with direct knowledge of US intelligence reports.” In other words it was a deliberate leak in order to ramp up anti-China sentiment internationally while providing an opportunity for the US Administration to put its oar in the water.

The White House promptly commented that “We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences.” This statement was made four days after “US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers flew a training mission over the South China Sea” as ”part of the US Air Force’s routine ‘Continuous Bomber Presence’ in the region.”

The Pentagon’s “Continuous Bomber Presence” is focused on the South China Sea, which is 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles) from the eastern coast of mainland America.  What would Washington say if China maintained a “Continuous Bomber Presence” off the west coast of the United States?  Or if Russia had a “Continuous Bomber Presence” in the Caribbean?

According to the Pentagon, “since 2004, Air Force bombers such as the B-1, the B-52 and the B-2 Spirit have been in continuous rotations, providing nonstop stability and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region… They provide a significant rapid global strike capability that enables readiness and commitment to deterrence…”  It is stated bluntly that the United States sends nuclear-capable bombing aircraft to fly round China’s coastline in order to demonstrate its “global strike capability.”

It was therefore no surprise when China stated on May 18 that “a division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force recently organised multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions.”

Further, China has given priority to developing air defence systems, and has installed HQ-9 missiles in and around the South China Sea.  These travel at four times the speed of sound and can destroy aircraft at a height of 27 kilometres, or some 90,000 feet, and the nuclear-capable B-52s and all the other US bomber and electronic warfare aircraft that trail their coats around China may one day witness (briefly) its capabilities being demonstrated.

Washington’s justification for the Pentagon’s aerial forays and equally frequent naval manoeuvres in and around the South China Sea is that they are intended to exercise the principle of “freedom of navigation.” According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), such freedom “is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law.”  The main factor to be considered in this context is that, as pointed out by the Voice of America, “the US has not accepted UNCLOS because of opposition from Republicans in the Senate.”  It has yet to ratify the Treaty whose statutes are accepted by 161 other countries. (China ratified it in 1996.)  

Yet the United States considers it has the right to quote the Convention as justification for its aggressive aerial and naval operations in and around a vast stretch of water through which enormous numbers of merchant vessels pass every year, totally unmolested. There has not been a single instance of Chinese interference with the passage of a commercial ship through the Sea, and it is not expected that there ever will be such an intervention.  But US combat aircraft and ships continue to challenge China in the region. 

It is not unusual for the United States to refuse to accept the legality and purpose of an international accord and then criticise or even penalise others for allegedly transgressing, ignoring or otherwise failing to abide by the accord’s intentions and stipulations.

In addition to Washington’s refusal to ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea, it rejects a host of other international treaties, not least being jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is responsible for investigating allegations of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The National Security Adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, made his opposition to the ICC clear by writing that the United States should welcome the opportunity to “strangle the ICC in its cradle” or “tell the ICC that “you are dead to us. Sincerely, the United States.” No administration in Washington will ever consider placing any citizen at risk of prosecution by an international authority for an alleged criminal act, no matter its gravity or provability.

There is small wonder, therefore, that the Pentagon’s policy on the South China Sea rests more on practising its “global strike capability” than on seeking to promote international trust and understanding.

China’s sovereignty over several islands in the South China Sea is contested by some of the countries in the region, but this has nothing to do with the United States, which has not the remotest claim to any of them, nor the slightest justification for becoming involved. There is nothing in the UN Charter that specifies any right on the part of the United States to take unilateral action to enforce observance of the conditions of an international accord. 

But this does not prevent Washington from confrontational meddling in the South China Sea (and elsewhere around the world), as evidenced by its policy on Freedom of Navigation which “consists of a two-pronged complementary strategy to maintain the global mobility of US forces and unimpeded commerce by protesting and challenging attempts by coastal States to unlawfully restrict access to the seas.”  The Pentagon is responsible for “operational challenges against excessive maritime claims.” 

“Excessive,” that is, in the eyes of Washington, which has not ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea, yet declares it “will exercise and assert its rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea on a worldwide basis in a manner that is consistent with the balance of interests reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.” President Obama had it right when he said “We can’t try to resolve problems in the South China Sea when we have refused to make sure that the Law of the Sea Convention is ratified by our United States Senate.”

Washington’s confrontational antics are not in accordance with international law and serve no purpose other than to provoke China to respond with military action.  There are rocks ahead in the South China Sea. 

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