Assassinations - search results
- "Grave" Geneva Convention breaches;
- "Willing killing..."
- "Intentionally launching an attack" knowing it will "cause incidental loss of life..."
- "Killing or wounding" combatants who've laid down their arms;
- extrajudicial killings; and
- "Killing or wounding treacherously a combatant adversary..."
The Post’s report, “Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program,” testifies to the integration of the surveillance apparatus exposed in recent months into US imperialism’s global military operations. Officials cited by the Post said that the NSA has deployed analysts to work along side Central Intelligence Agency personnel at the CIA Counterterrorism Center and at “every major US embassy or military base overseas.”
The report further documents the NSA’s systematic attempts to overcome encryption, including the extraction of PGP encryption keys from targets. The agency reportedly was able to capture 16 keys from a single electronic raid on a suspected Al Qaeda computer.
According to the report, the NSA’s “Tailored Access Operations,” a cyber-warfare and intelligence gathering program, conducts surveillance of targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Iran, and throughout Africa. TAO runs programs such as UNITEDRAKE and VALIDATOR, which launch cyber attacks using “software implants” to grab sensitive data such as keystroke logs and audio files.
ArsTechnica reported in August that advanced software used by TAO enables operatives to tap directly into hardware such as “routers, switches and firewalls,” and that TAO’s activities are integrated into data systems such as XKeyscore.
Information gathered by the NSA has been used in particular in the course of the CIA’s drone war in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan. As summarized by the Post, the NSA has “draped a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan.” One US intelligence official told the Post, “NSA threw the kitchen sink at the FATA.” To date, at least 3,000 people have been killed as a result of US drone operations in Pakistan, including hundreds of civilians.
Both the NSA surveillance and the policy of drone war that it facilitates are criminal operations, carried out in violation of international law. The Obama administration asserts the right to kill anyone in the world without due process, including US citizens, in violation of the Bill of Rights. Among those killed have been US citizens including Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, in Yemen.
A full accounting of the Pakistanis murdered by US drones may never be completed. However, a study published by Stanford University and New York University earlier this year showed that large sections of the population living in the FATA suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the buzzing of drones overhead and the never-ending barrage of ordnance raining down on the area.
UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Ben Emmerson wrote in March of this year, “As a matter of international law, the US drone campaign is therefore being conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people, or the legitimate government of the state. It involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent, and is therefore a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.”
The Post described the leaked NSA documents as “self-congratulatory in tone” and “drafted to tout the NSA’s counterterrorism capabilities.” According to Fox News, the Post withheld substantial information about the drone strikes “at the request of US intelligence officials.”
The Post report highlights the case of Hassan Ghul, who was killed as a direct result of intelligence acquired through electronic surveillance operations run by the NSA. After his capture in 2004, Ghul was held at a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe until 2006, where he was subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques” (i.e., torture), including slapping, sleep deprivation, and stress positions.
In 2006, Ghul was transferred to Pakistan, where he was released and rejoined Al Qaeda militants in Waziristan. Ghul worked to set up logistical networks for Al Qaeda after being freed, according to a Treasury Department document from 2011. No explanation has been offered by US or Pakistani authorities for Ghul’s release.
Ghul was then killed in 2012 by a drone strike in Mir Ali, after having been monitored for a year prior to his death by a secret NSA unit called the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell (CT MAC), which specializes in finding high priority targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Ghul’s location was discovered through analysis of an email sent to him by his wife. His death was never officially acknowledged by the US government, despite the fact that his interrogation supposedly provided intelligence about an Al Qaeda courier named al-Kuwaiti, which supposedly led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The scope of the integration of the NSA, CIA, military and police agencies extends far beyond what is taking place in Pakistan. The entire world is the subject both of the intelligence-gathering operations of the NSA and the drone strikes of the CIA.
Under the Obama administration, the NSA’s surveillance operations gather the communications of every telephone and Internet user on the planet, US citizens and non-citizens alike. This week has already seen new evidence emerge that the NSA is stealing address books—which often contain large amounts of personal information—from various web platforms and storing them in its archives. (See “ NSA ‘harvesting’ electronic address books and contact lists”)
The possibility of strikes being launched against American targets has been raised by top officials, and drones are already deployed on non-strike missions over the US. In a letter of March 4, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that the president “has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a US citizen on US soil, and without trial,” saying that in certain cases such action would be “necessary and appropriate.”
If and when such operations are initiated, the state will have no shortage of data with which to target Americans, whose communications are subject to constant scrutiny by the surveillance apparatus.
The Unnatural Death of Dr. David Kelly: Template for “Legalised Cover-up” of Political Assassinations
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: During his confirmation hearing Thursday, President Obama’s nominee to run the CIA, John Brennan, forcefully defended the president’s counterterrorism policies, including the increased use of armed drones and the targeted killings of American citizens. He also refused to say that waterboarding was a form of torture, and he admitted that he did not try to stop waterboarding while he was a top CIA official under President George W. Bush.
Four years ago, Brennan was a rumored pick for the CIA job when Obama was first elected, but he was forced to withdraw from consideration amid protests over his public support for the CIA’s policies of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" and extraordinary rendition program.
AMY GOODMAN: The start of Brennan’s confirmation hearing had to be temporarily halted following repeated interruptions by protesters. Members of the group CODEPINK began standing up one by one to condemn Brennan’s role in the drone war, much to the chagrin of Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein.
JOHN BRENNAN: Chairman Feinstein, Vice Chairman Chambliss, members of the committee, I am honored to appear—
ANN WRIGHT: [inaudible]
JOHN BRENNAN: —before you today as the—
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: All right.
JOHN BRENNAN: —president’s nominee to—
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Would you halt please? We’ll ask the police to please remove this woman.
ANN WRIGHT: ...no children, no women. We cannot—
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much.
ANN WRIGHT: [inaudible] the sort of thing going on [inaudible]. But we cannot [inaudible]—
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Please remove—
ANN WRIGHT: —torture. It’s jeopardizing U.S. soldiers. It’s not defending them.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That CODEPINK protester interrupting John Brennan was retired Army colonel and former diplomat Ann Wright, who oversaw the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan in 2001 as deputy chief of mission. When she interrupted Brennan, she was wearing a sign around her neck with the name of Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. The sign she held up read, "Brennan equals drone killing." Ann Wright and seven others were arrested. John Brennan later addressed the protesters as he defended the drone program.
JOHN BRENNAN: I think there is a misimpression on the part of some American people, who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorists for past transgressions. Nothing could be further from the truth. We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there’s no other alternative to taking an action that’s going to mitigate that threat. So, we need to make sure that there is understanding, and the people that were standing up here today, I think they really have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government and the care that we take and the agony that we go through to make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths. And as the chairman said earlier, the need to be able to go out and say that publicly and openly, I think, is critically important, because people are reacting to a lot of falsehoods that are out there.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, for more, we’re joined via Democracy Now! videostream by Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer of the documentary, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, which premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival. His book, Dirty Wars, goes on sale in April. He’s national security correspondent for The Nation, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army and Democracy Now! correspondent.
Jeremy, welcome to Democracy Now! Your assessment of what it is that John Brennan said yesterday and the questions he was asked?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, you know, if you—if you look at what happened yesterday at the Senate Intelligence Committee, I mean, this is kabuki oversight. This was basically a show that was produced by the White House in conjunction with Senator Feinstein’s office. I mean, the reality was—is that none of the central questions that should have been asked of John Brennan were asked in an effective way. In the cases where people like Senator Angus King or Senator Ron Wyden would ask a real question, for instance, about whether or not the CIA asserts the right to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, the questions were very good. Brennan would then offer up a non-answer.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s—
JEREMY SCAHILL: And then there’d be almost no follow-up.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy, let’s go to Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s questioning of John Brennan Thursday. He has led the push for the White House to explain its rationale—Senator Wyden has—for targeting U.S. citizens.
SEN. RON WYDEN: Let me ask you several other questions with respect to the president’s authority to kill Americans. I’ve asked you how much evidence the president needs to decide that a particular American can be lawfully killed and whether the administration believes that the president can use this authority inside the United States. In my judgment, both the Congress and the public need to understand the answers to these kind of fundamental questions. What do you think needs to be done to ensure that members of the public understand more about when the government thinks it’s allowed to kill them, particularly with respect to those two issues, the question of evidence and the authority to use this power within the United States?
JOHN BRENNAN: I have been a strong proponent of trying to be as open as possible with these programs, as far as our explaining what we’re doing. What we need to do is optimize transparency on these issues, but at the same time optimize secrecy and the protection of our national security. I don’t think that it’s one or the other. It’s trying to optimize both of them. And so, what we need to do is make sure we explain to the American people what are the thresholds for action, what are the procedures, the practices, the processes, the approvals, the reviews. The Office of Legal Counsel advice establishes the legal boundaries within which we can operate. It doesn’t mean that we operate at those out of boundaries. And, in fact, I think the American people will be quite pleased to know that we’ve been very disciplined, very judicious, and we only use these authorities and these capabilities as a last resort.
AMY GOODMAN: That was John Brennan answering Senator Wyden’s question. He’s been the chief critic. President Obama, two days ago, called Senator Wyden, because a group of them had said they would stop the hearing if information wasn’t provided about the legal basis for drone strikes. When Wyden yesterday attempted to get that information, he raised in the hearing that he wasn’t able to. Jeremy Scahill?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, you know, if you listen to John Brennan, I mean, it’s like he’s talking about buying a used car and what, you know, sort of little gadgets and whistles it has on it. He used "optimize"? Ron Wyden was asking him about whether—about the extent of the CIA’s lethal authority against U.S. citizens, on U.S. soil and abroad. And, see, the problem is that while some questions were asked that are central questions, there was almost no follow-up. People wouldn’t push—senators wouldn’t push Brennan back when he would float things that were nonsensical or just gibberish, you know, or using terms like "we need to optimize this, we need to optimize that." There was no sense that—I mean, remember, this is a guy who is, for all practical purposes, President Obama’s hit man or assassination czar. This guy has been at the center of a secret process where the White House is deciding who lives and who dies around the world every day, and yet the conversation that took place was as though they were, you know, sort of talking about whether or not they’re going to add a wing onto a school in Idaho or something, when they were talking about life-and-death issues for people, not only U.S. citizens, but around the world.
There was no discussion at all of the so-called signature strikes—the idea that the U.S. is targeting people whose identities it doesn’t know, whose actual involvement in terror plots is actually unknown. There was no discussion of the fact that the Obama administration authorized operations that killed three U.S. citizens in a two-week period in 2011, one of whom was a 16-year-old boy who was sitting and having dinner with his cousins in Yemen. No discussion of the case of Samir Khan, a Pakistani American who was killed alongside Anwar Awlaki. His family had met with the FBI prior to his death. The FBI told his family that Samir Khan was not indicted, that Samir Khan was not accused of a crime, and yet you have three U.S. citizens being killed.
When Anwar Awlaki’s name was raised during the course of the hearing, it was one of the most disgusting displays of a show trial or a faux trial that I’ve ever seen. Dianne Feinstein and John Brennan set out to put Anwar Awlaki on trial, posthumously, without presenting any evidence and to issue a guilty verdict. The whole thing was a show. And I believe that—
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy, let’s go to Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein asking Brennan to talk about Anwar Awlaki, what you’re describing, the American citizen who was assassinated in Yemen in a drone strike in 2011.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Could I ask you some questions about him?
JOHN BRENNAN: You’re the chairman.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: You don’t have to answer. Did he have a connection to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who would attempt to explode a device on one of our planes over Detroit?
JOHN BRENNAN: Yes, he did.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Can you tell us what that connection was?
JOHN BRENNAN: I would prefer not to at this time, Senator. I’m not prepared to.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: OK. Did he have a connection to the Fort Hood attack?
JOHN BRENNAN: That is a—al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has a variety of means of communicating and inciting individuals, whether that be websites or emails or other types of things. And so, there are a number of occasions where individuals, including Mr. Awlaki, has been in touch with individuals. And so, Senator, again, I’m not prepared to address the specifics of these, but suffice it to say—
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I’ll just ask you a couple of questions. You don’t—did Faisal Shahzad, who pled guilty to the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt, tell interrogators in 2010 that he was inspired by al-Awlaki?
JOHN BRENNAN: I believe that’s correct, yes.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Last October, Awlaki, did he have a direct role in supervising and directing AQAP’s failed attempt, well, to bring down two United States cargo aircraft by detonating explosives concealed inside two packages, as a matter of fact, inside a computer printer cartridge?
JOHN BRENNAN: Mm-hmm. Mr. Awlaki—
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Dubai?
JOHN BRENNAN: —was involved in overseeing a number of these activities, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s John Brennan answering Senator Feinstein’s questions. Jeremy Scahill, continue.
JEREMY SCAHILL: All right. I mean, see, what you’re seeing there—first of all, let’s remember, the Obama administration never sought an indictment against Anwar Awlaki, that we know of. He was never charged with a crime, that we know of. And he was executed on orders from the president of the United States in September of 2011. The issue here is not who Anwar Awlaki was or what we think of Anwar Awlaki. The issue here is the Constitution. The issue here is due process.
And what we saw, I believe—I believe that Senator Feinstein’s office coordinated this moment with the White House to put on this show trial because of the deadly serious questions surrounding the killing of a U.S. citizen without due process. And what we saw play out there was absolute theater, where you had Anwar Awlaki being posthumously tried, with no evidence. And what came after the clip you just played is Feinstein and Brennan agreeing, quite happily, that Anwar Awlaki was a bad man and that it was justified to take him out and kill him. There was no question about the fact that two weeks later they killed Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who no one has ever alleged had any ties whatsoever to terrorism or any militant organization. His only connection was his lineage, who his father was. So, you know, there was something really insidious that happened there, and I think it really is patronizing of the sensibility of the American people to engage in something like that, with one of the most powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill essentially conspiring with the White House and its nominee to be the CIA to retroactively justify the killing of a U.S. citizen who was never charged with a crime.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Jeremy—
JEREMY SCAHILL: I’m not—go ahead.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Jeremy, I’d like to move to another aspect of the hearing, because in a few cases, some of the Republican members asked somewhat tougher questions of Brennan, and especially Saxby Chambliss, questioned him about the whole—the whole issue of high-value targets and how effective this program had been. Here’s a clip from that exchange.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS: How many high-value targets have been captured during your service with the administration?
JOHN BRENNAN: There have been a number of individuals who have been captured, arrested, detained, interrogated, debriefed and put away by our partners overseas, which is, we have given them the capacity now, we have provided them the intelligence. And unlike in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when a lot of these countries were both unwilling and unable to do it, we have given them that opportunity. And so, that’s where we’re working with our partners.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS: How many high-value targets have been arrested and detained, interrogated by the United States during your four years with the administration?
JOHN BRENNAN: I’ll be happy to get that information to you, Senator, in terms of those high-value targets that have been captured with U.S. intelligence support.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS: I submit to you the answer to that is one. And it’s Warsame, who was put on a ship for 60 days and interrogated.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Saxby Chambliss. However, Dianne Feinstein had a little different take in terms of what had happened in terms of the high-value targets. This is what she said at a certain point in the hearing.
SEN. ANGUS KING: Having the executive being the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner, all in one, is very contrary to the traditions and the laws of this country, and particularly in a situation where there is time. If—a soldier on a battlefield doesn’t have time to go to court. But if you’re planning a strike over a matter of days, weeks or months, there is an opportunity to at least go to some outside-of-the-executive-branch body, like the FISA court, in a confidential and top-secret way, make the case that this American citizen is an enemy combatant.
JOHN BRENNAN: Senator, I think it’s certainly worthy of discussion. Our tradition, our judicial tradition, is that a court of law is used to determine one’s guilt or innocence for past actions, which is very different from the decisions that are made on the battlefield as well as actions that are taken against terrorists, because none of those actions are to determine past guilt for those actions that they took. The decisions that are made are to take action so that we prevent a future action, so we protect American lives. That is an inherently executive branch function.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Angus King, Senator Angus King, questioning Brennan, not Dianne Feinstein. But, Jeremy, your response to those two clips?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, I mean, first of all, Senator Angus King did a very good job of raising some of these issues. I mean, he’s new to the Senate and didn’t get the memo that you don’t talk to—to White House officials that way, so it was actually kind of a relief within the hearing when King started to ask these questions.
You know, Juan, though, you brought up the issue of the Republicans asking tougher questions. I mean, in general, what we saw the Republicans doing was engaging in a partisan theater of their own, where, you know, they made the whole issue about White House leaks, for the most part. They were talking about, you know, Benghazi, which is sort of the second coming of 9/11 to the—to a lot of the Republicans on Capitol Hill and this sort of Watergate-type scandal. But I think there’s something—while the Republicans did ask some good questions, there’s something that’s just fundamentally dishonest and full of hypocrisy with the GOP line on this. You know, they’ve been hammering, since the Department Justice white paper came out a couple of days ago, that sort of outlines some of the legal basis for—or, purported to outline the legal basis for targeting U.S. citizens—they’ve been hammering away on the Obama administration and saying, you know, "How is it that Obama is able to essentially conduct these killing operations around the world with very little protest?" The reality is that, you know, when George Bush was president, he was doing these very same actions and engaged in a widespread targeted killing operation, and he was running secret prisons around the world, and they were torturing people, and they were using waterboarding and other techniques, and the Republicans are sort of portraying it as though: "Well, in the good old days of the Bush administration, we would actually arrest people, and we would ask them questions, and now Obama is just running around the world bumping them off." Well, there’s some nugget of truth to the idea that the Obama administration seems to prefer to just kill people rather than take them into custody. But the idea that the Republicans have a moral ground to stand on with this is absolutely laughable. I mean, these guys were Murder Inc. for two straight administrations, where members of Congress just participated in rubber stamping these operations, particularly the Republican members of Congress. So, you know, I take what they say with a grain of salt.
But at the end of the day, I mean, I can’t say I was surprised at what happened on Capitol Hill, but it really was more or less a love fest between the most powerful senators, when it comes to intelligence operations in the U.S., and John Brennan, a man who could not get confirmed last time Obama tried to make him CIA director, because of very serious questions about his views on and role in the torture program under the Bush administration—has served for more than four years as the assassination czar, and it basically looked like they were discussing purchasing a used car on Capitol Hill. I mean, it was total kabuki oversight. And that’s a devastating commentary on where things stand right now.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Jeremy, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, in her opening statement, asserting few civilians have died in U.S. drone strikes.
JEREMY SCAHILL: I would invite all—
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to—we’re going to play a clip.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: [I’ve ... been attempting to speak publicly] about the very low number of civilian casualties that result from such strikes; I have been limited in my ability to do so. But for the past several years, this committee has done significant oversight of the government’s conduct of targeted strikes, and the figures we have obtained from the executive branch, which we have done our utmost to verify, confirm that the number of civilian casualties that have resulted from such strikes each year has typically been in the single digits.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill, your final comment?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah. I would invite Senator Feinstein and other members of the Intelligence Committee to travel to Abyan province in Yemen, where I was a few months ago, and meet with the Bedouin villagers of al-Majalah, where more than 40 people were killed, several dozen of them women and children, their bodies shredded into meat with U.S. cluster bombs, and then come back and go on national television and talk about single digits. There were over 40 people killed in one strike alone. And you know what? That wasn’t even a drone strike. That was a cruise missile strike. Everyone is talking about drones these days and obsessed with drones. The U.S. uses AC-130 gunships, night raids, Tomahawk cruise missile strikes. Some of the most devastating strikes were not even drone attacks.
So, you know, this Congress is totally asleep at the wheel when it comes to actually having any effective oversight. You know, they allowed John Brennan to say repeatedly, "Well, I’m not a lawyer," while simultaneously saying, "Everything we’ve done is perfectly legal." And then they say, "Well, what about torture?" And he goes, "Well, I’m not a lawyer, and that has legal implications." I mean, what kind of a show is this? I mean, what does this say about our society when this is the extent of the debate we can have when an administration in power has asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens and foreigners alike around the world without trial? I mean, it’s devastating. It should be a very sobering moment for all of us.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy, the last bit of news that we read in headlines today about the U.S. news outlets—you complained about the Democratic senators working with the White House. What about U.S. news outlets facing criticism for revealing they complied with an Obama administration request to hide the location of a U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia that had already been publicly reported?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, what’s new? What’s new? I mean, this has been going on—this has been going on forever in this country. I mean, look at how many times we had major powerful media outlets colluding with the Bush administration to either—you know, either facilitating administration propaganda, or as you’ve called it, sort of this conveyor belt of lies, or, on the other hand, concealing potentially illegal programs or actions that were being conducted by the Bush administration. I mean, this happened throughout the Bush era. And so, to have it right now with the Obama administration is just par for the course. I mean, this is how things are done in Washington.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy, we want to thank you for being with us. Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation magazine, he is also the narrator and subject of the new film, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, and is author of a forthcoming book by the same title.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, the woman who has just returned from Pakistan who went to John Brennan’s house, knocked on the door, and he answered, invited her in, and they had a conversation. She’s the founder of CODEPINK, Medea Benjamin. Stay with us.
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Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was employed under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. McGovern now works for “Tell the Word," a ministry of the inner-city/Washington Church of the Saviour, which sent him forth four weeks ago to join other Justice people on "The Audacity of Hope," the U.S. Boat to Gaza.
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.President Obama announced his nominations for the new secretary of defense and director of the CIA, Chuck Hagel at defense and John Brennan for the CIA. Now joining us to discuss these appointments is Ray McGovern. Ray is a former CIA analyst for several decades. He's a prolific writer, does many things, including he's an often-contributor to The Real News. Thanks for joining us, Ray. So let's start with Chuck Hagel at Defense. You wrote a piece for The Baltimore Sun where you thought it would be a good idea for President Obama to select Hagel, and he did. But why did you think that would be a good idea?RAY MCGOVERN, CIA AGENT (RET.): Well, in short, Paul, Hagel is no chickenhawk. He volunteered to go to Vietnam at the worst of the fighting, wounded twice. He'd been there, done that. Okay? And he's been very, very upfront about his reluctance or anyone's reluctance should be to send U.S. troops into battle for no good reason.JAY: And chickenhawk, for those that don't know, although I suppose everybody does, is somebody who sits in Washington ordering other people to go fight.MCGOVERN: That's exactly right. Or you could go back to George W. Bush, who, you know, his daddy got him a job with the Texas National Guard because expressly, explicitly George Bush said he didn't want to go to Vietnam. Or you look at Dick Cheney, with five deferments. How many deferments do you think Joe Biden had? Five. Okay? So you've got a bunch of people that have no direct experience in war. That is really important. Chuck Hagel would be the first person with combat experience to be secretary of defense in 30 years. Mel Laird was the first one. He was a naval—he was a midshipman.JAY: Okay. You would think with this kind of a record it would be a rather popular choice. He's a Republican. You would think Republicans would embrace him. But as we know, far from embracing him, there's a campaign to block this nomination. In fact, there's already a lobby group been formed with lots of money to take out ads against Hagel. Apparently there's been some website created specifically just to attack Hagel. So what's getting them all riled up?MCGOVERN: Well, Paul, Hagel has not been sufficiently passionately attached to Israel. He said some things that have really rubbed some noses out of joint. For example, he had the temerity to say that I am the American senator, not an Israeli senator. Oh. Now, on the face of that, you know, who could object to that? Well, there's an awful lot of people, like the felon Elliot Abrams, who I heard at NPR yesterday saying that Hagel was anti-Semitic. He's anti-Semitic because he's the senator from the U.S. [crosstalk]JAY: Well, no, they say he's anti-Semitic 'cause he talked about the Jewish lobby and not the Israel lobby. He used the—he didn't say Zionist or Israel; he said Jewish.MCGOVERN: Yeah. Well, okay. So he said that. The problem really is that these folks—they're called the neocons—these folks who have real difficulty distinguishing between the objective aims or the strategic aims of Israel on the one hand and the strategic needs of the United States on the other, those are the people that think that Hagel might decide that contrary to even what the president has said in terms of marching in lockstep with Israel, that Hagel might say, wait a second, wait a second, does this really make sense. I mean, Mr. President, I know you said before the Super Bowl last year that your primary objective is the defense of the United States, and also Israel; I think we should give the United States a separate sentence this year and say, your primary objective is to secure the United States, and then if you want to add as a second sentence, "And we're also interested in defending Israel," that'll be alright. But people need to know that you're interested first and foremost in U.S. policy toward the Middle East bereft of any passionate attachment, the kind of attachment that George Washington himself warned against in his—.JAY: It's a very interesting appointment by Obama, because he had to know the pressure that was going to be brought to bear against him on this. He knew that the Likud, the right-wing party in power in Israel, and their allies in AIPAC and the lobby group in the United States and all the senators and members of the House, he knew this was going to be not very well liked, and he did it anyway.MCGOVERN: Yeah, and that's a very good sign, Paul. It shows that there's a little bit of maybe a spine implant that Obama has gotten over Christmas. This is big. Last year was really a rollercoaster with respect to U.S.-Israeli relations. In February, as I already said, Obama's saying, we're going to march in lockstep with Israel. Israel is equal foot in terms of our determination to defend it. Come around September, come around late August, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is saying, I don't want to be complicit if the Israelis attack Iran. Hillary Clinton is saying, you know, these red lines about Netanyahu, that's BS; we're not interested in that. And the president is saying, sorry, I have to be on The View on TV. I can't meet with you, Netanyahu, when you come to the United States. There was a sea change there. Obama faced them down. Now, this appointment, which I dearly feared would be in jeopardy because of all this opposition, Obama stood by it. And that speaks volumes. It means that the second part of 2012 is the continuity here and not the blind, the blind support of whatever Netanyahu does, including the settlements that keep going on with just verbal opposition from the United States. But that's the thing of the past, that this is a new era, and Hagel's going to make some changes.JAY: Well, we don't know yet whether there's any change in terms of Obama and pressure on Israel vis-à-vis settlements and resolution with the Palestinians and two-state issues and those kinds of questions. What we do know from Obama's history—and if you look at what he said about the Iraq War, he opposed the Iraq War not because he's against projecting U.S. power all over the world; he just thought it was a stupid war, the Iraq War. And I think what this is telling us is he thinks an attack on Iran would be stupid and doesn't want to do it. It doesn't mean he's against projecting U.S. power. And you can see this from his second appointment of John Brennan—the guy he's been sitting with choosing who to kill with drones is now head of the CIA.MCGOVERN: Well, you're right about that. But, you know, he also realizes now, four years later, that Afghanistan is a fool's errand and he needs support in the Senate to contend with the backsniping that is already occurring about losing Afghanistan. So the Iran thing is crucial. And Hagel is one of the last people that would think that we could send U.S. service people into war with Iran simply because Israel started it or simply because Israel wanted us to do it. So that is big. Okay?Now, with respect to projecting power, you know, there's only a limited amount of power you can project. And what we're seeing now is a retrenchment. You know the problems here in this country. I think Obama will be helped by Hagel in sort of delimiting the defense budget, which is going out of all proportion to the threats that Americans face.JAY: I guess my point is I think it's a rational, it's a good thing that Hagel's there, because—I don't know if people on The Real News have heard me say this; I've been saying it informally right from the first day Obama was president, that the one thing I was actually hopeful for is he might be more rational on Iran than the Republicans would be. I didn't have a lot of expectations otherwise. And I think this Hagel appointment is that. But when you look at Brennan going to the CIA, does it not mean sort of an expansion of this drone assassination program?MCGOVERN: Sure. Now, Paul, just one little footnote about Hagel. Hagel has served on the president's foreign intelligence advisory board. That is key. He knows intelligence back and forth. And he knows very well that in November 2007, the entire intelligence community pronounced itself unanimously and with great confidence that Iran had stopped building a nuclear weapon at the end of 2003. And that judgment has been revalidated every year since by the director of national intelligence. I think Hagel will be able to use that cudgel against the neocons, say, why do we have to attack a country that's not building nuclear weapons. So that's a key thing. You're right to focus on Iran. I'm more hopeful now than I would have been if the president had sort of caved again and [crosstalk]JAY: Alright. So what do you make of the John Brennan appointment as director of the CIA?MCGOVERN: Well, I wish I could be more optimistic, Paul. I know Brennan. I know him as a young sort of failed analyst. The way you promote yourself these days at Washington is you find a job in the White House and catch the attention of people like George Tenet, who was at the White House. And Tenet brought him back when Tenet became deputy CIA director, brought him back to CIA and made him into what he is today. He even sent him to Saudi Arabia to be a chief of station. Now, Brennan pretends to know Arabic. He can say Abdulmutallab just really good—I'll practice that: Abdulmutallab. Okay? So when he goes before the press and he says "Abdulmutallab," that's very impressive. But when Helen Thomas asks him, why do they hate us, why did they do these things, why did Abdulmutallab try to knock down that plane over Deroit, he says, they're hardwired to hate us. It's their religion. Helen says, oh, so it's the—. Well, it's not the religion; it's the way—I—they just hate us, they hate us, and they're a danger to our homeland.Now, either Brennan is dumb (and that's possible, you know) or he's really sold out to the people who are profiteering on these unending wars. Right? Why would you continue to press these things? Pakistan has 175 million people. What are we doing? We're alienating hundreds of them every day with these drone strikes. They also have nuclear weapons. So, you know, it doesn't make any sense, unless—.JAY: Well, just to refresh everybody's memory here, Brennan sits in the White House with President Obama deciding who they're going to kill with drones. He helps draw up the kill list. Is that correct?MCGOVERN: That's right. Yeah. That's pretty confirmed now. You know, picture it. Now, I've been in the White House. I used to brief there. But, you know, my picture is Brennan comes in on Tuesday, 'cause that's the day they do the kill list, and he says, Mr. President, we have 13 here, here are the names, can you sign off on this. And Obama looks at him, and he says, well, number three—didn't you tell me last week number three has three small kids? Well, yes, Mr. President, but we know, we know he's a suspected militant, we know. So, well, look, take three, put him in—let's do three next week, and let's just do 12 this week. Sign off. And then he goes—Barack Obama goes to have a nice lunch with his wife.Give me a break. That's what goes on in the White House now. You know, that's almost as bad as Condoleeza Rice presiding over demonstrations of enhanced interrogation techniques, which were also done at the White House.JAY: And this was more or less leaked to The New York Times, right? It's not like you're speculating. The New York Times kind of described these meetings.MCGOVERN: Well, yeah. This was when the White House saw some incentive in showing the president to be a tough guy like Brennan, you know. I know Brennan. He's from northern New Jersey. He's a tough guy. When he says, yeah, we do this without due process, well, don't be stupid here. We do due process right here in the White House. That's how we do due process now. Eric Holder says so. Give me a break. That's the kind of mentality you have there. And what really, really is missing here: where's the legal profession in this country? You know? Due process means the judiciary, it means the courts. And here they're letting these people get away with saying no, no, we do due process here in the White House. It's unconscionable.JAY: So what does it mean for the CIA? Any changes from the way it's acting?MCGOVERN: Well, Paul, as you know, there are two CIAs, one the analysis CIA that Truman envisaged and set up. That's the one I worked in, and that's the one that prevented a war with Iran—that's no exaggeration, with that estimate saying they had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003. That one still has some people of integrity in it. The other one that Truman never envisaged, this operational, you know, covert actions sort of thing, well, they're riding high. They're flying drones all over the place. And Brennan can be expected to enhance the military capabilities that really should not belong in the CIA. And Truman said so before he died.JAY: And now President Obama has his guy controlling those drones. So in a sense it's an extension of the drone program and what they've been doing together.MCGOVERN: I think Obama, you know, has a certain confidence in Brennan that he has in nobody else. I hope it's not a misplaced confidence. Brennan's a pretty treacherous guy, and I think the way Obama looks at the CIA is, if he has his own man controlling the CIA, Brennan, that there's less danger that the CIA will play games, less prospect that the CIA will get involved in the kinds of things against John F. Kennedy that happened then.JAY: Thanks for joining us, Ray.MCGOVERN: Most welcome.JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
EndDISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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Hagel and Brennan Nominations: The Empire’s Agenda is Covert Warfare, Targeted Assassinations and “Counterterrorism”
Senate confirmation on both is required. Expect little opposition to Brennan. More on him below.
Republicans will challenge Hagel. At issue is political opportunism more than who serves. Questions about Obama’s nominee are exaggerated. More on that below.
Rarely ever are presidential nominations rejected. Expect nothing different this time. Candidates are carefully vetted. Selection depends on full support for US policies.
Hagel is a reliable imperial supporter. His Senatorial voting record offers proof. The Peace Majority Report rated him highly. The lower the score, the higher the rating. He scored 5%. John McCain got 4%, Joe Lieberman 26%, and Bill Clinton 74%.
The American Conservative Union called him solidly Republican. It gave him a lifetime 84% rating.
In 1996, Hagel suspiciously defeated Nebraska’s popular Democrat governor Ben Nelson.
At stake was a US Senate seat. Polls suggested a close race. Hagel won by 15 points. Few Nebraskans knew about Hagel’s ties.
He was part owner, chairman and CEO of Election Systems & Software (ES&S). It’s an electronic voting machine company.
At the time, it was called American Information Systems. AIS’ parent company founder, Michael McCarthy, was Hagel’s campaign treasurer. His easy victory made winning suspect.
He never disclosed his business ties. A Senate Ethics Committee investigation was requested. It was rejected. Nothing followed. Expect little or nothing said now.
Hagel serves as chairman of the Atlantic Council (ACUS). In 1961, former Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Christian Herter established it. It was done to support NATO.
It’s headquartered in Washington. It supports Washington’s global agenda. Past and current members include a rogue’s gallery of reliable American imperial supporters.
Among others, they include Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Schlesinger, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Jones, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Holbrooke, Susan Rice, and an array of current and former top military officials.
Frederick Kempe is president and CEO. He’s a former Wall Street Journal correspondent, editor and associate publisher. He’s a regular major media commentator.
Damon Wilson is executive vice president. Formerly he served on George W. Bush’s National Security Council. He’s committed to strengthening NATO. Like all past and current ACUS members, he supports America’s imperial project.
The Washington Post listed other Hagel credentials. Past and current ones include:
- US senator (Nebraska-R.) from 1997 – 2009;
- chairman of the US Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee;
- co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and Defense Policy Board member;
- Private Sector Council president and CEO;
- Vanguard Cellular Systems co-founder, director and executive vice president;
- Communications Corporation International LTD chairman;
- Hagel & Clarke co-founder, director and president;
- president McCarthy & Co,;
- Veterans Administration deputy administrator;
- Firestone Tire & Rubber government affairs director; and
He’s no dove. He’s solidly right-wing. He supported Bush’s war on terror. He backs it now. He voted for every National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). He endorsed NATO’s 1999 Yugoslavia war.
At the time he said: “When you’re in a war, you’re in a war to win.” He called Slobodan Milosevic “a butcher loose in the backyard of NATO.” He viewed Kosovo as a “goal-line stand.”
He said if America doesn’t respond, “we will be tested every day for the next who knows how many years.” He favored sending US forces to Kosovo. He said “never….take any military option off the table.”
He voted for the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts. He endorsed an “urgent need” for missile defense. He called the 1972 US/Soviet Russia Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) “obsolete.”
He said “We can’t hold America’s national security interests hostage to any threats from some other nation.”
After Bush withdrew from ABM in December 2001, he said “What the president did was responsible. I support it. I think it was the right thing to do.”
He accused North Korea of being “on the verge of fielding a ballistic missile capable not only of striking my home state of Nebraska, but anywhere in the United States.”
He supported the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”
The Afghanistan war followed. It rages. It shows no signs of ending. It’s America’s longest war. It was lost years ago.
Hagel supported the 2003 Iraq war. When it was too late to matter, his tone got more dovish.
He favors lawless warrantless surveillance. He opposes habeas and due process rights for Guantanamo detainees.
On January 7, the Washington Post headlined “On Israel, Iran, and spending, Chuck Hagel looks a lot like Robert Gates,” saying:
His opponents claim he’ll dramatically change defense spending and America’s position on Israel and Iran. Reality suggests otherwise.
“The bottom line is that” Hagel and Gates “are remarkably similar and appear to share a number of policy preferences.” They include drawing down in Iraq and arguing against Libyan intervention.
Both men differ somewhat on Iran. Gates is more hardline. Hagel tried having it both ways. On the one hand, he claimed sanctions are counterproductive. At the same time, he said they’re “working.”
In his first post-nomination interview, he said critics “completely distorted” his record.
“I have said many times that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism,” he stressed. “I have also questioned some very cavalier attitudes taken about very complicated issues in the Middle East.”
Nonetheless, he favors “direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.”
He called for direct Hamas/Hezbollah engagement. In 2008, he endorsed direct talks with Syria and North Korea.
There’s “not one shred of evidence” that he’s anti-Israeli, he said. “Israel is in a very, very difficult position. No border that touches Israel is always secure. We need to work to help protect Israel so it doesn’t get isolated.”
He calls “distortions about (his) record….astonishing.” During Senate confirmation hearings, he welcomes “an opportunity to respond” to critics.
At the same time, Politico quoted him saying “I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator. I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for the Senate in Israel, I’ll do that.”
Politico added that:
“In 2006, (he) used the term ‘Jewish Lobby,’ ” saying:
“The political reality is….that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel.”
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) head Abe Foxman responded, saying:
“What I find more troubling is, he had sufficient time to distance himself from the ‘Jewish lobby’ quote, to explain, and he hasn’t.”
“He let it stand. I find that more troubling than the original statement. He sees it out there. He sees it being seen as this truly conspiratorial view, that the Jewish lobby controls foreign policy, and there’s no comment.”
AIPAC withheld comment. The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) said:
“While we have expressed concerns in the past, we trust that when confirmed, (Hagel) will follow the president’s lead of providing unrivaled support for Israel – on strategic cooperation, missile defense programs, and leading the world against Iran’s nuclear program.”
On January 8, the right-wing Jerusalem Post headlined “Ayalon: Hagel sees Israel as ‘true and natural’ ally,” saying:
Ayalon is Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister. He’s positive on Hagel’s nomination. “I have met him many times,” he said, “and he certainly regards Israel as a true and natural US ally.”
Netanyahu withheld comment. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expressed concerns. “Because of his statements in the past, and his stance toward Israel, we are worried,” he said.
He added that Washington’s ties to Israel don’t depend on “one person.”
The New York Times commented on Hagel and Brennan. Obama chose “two trusted advisers,” it said.
Expect Senate hearings for Hagel to be “bruising,” it added. Confirming both will likely follow.
John Brennan is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. He’s Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor.
He heads the administration’s Murder, Inc. agenda. He chairs a panel of National Security Council officials. CIA, FBI, Pentagon, State Department, and others are involved.
America’s war on terror is wide-ranging. It includes direct and proxy wars. Special Forces death squads operate in 120 or more countries. CIA agents are virtually everywhere. They’re licensed to kill.
US citizens are fair game. They’re vulnerable at home and abroad. Obama’s kill list picks targets. Brennan advises on who next to assassinate. Victims are a closely held secret.
Anyone can be targeted anywhere in the world. Ordinary people, distinguished ones, or officials are fair game. Their crime is opposing US imperialism.
Drone wars are prioritized. Human lives don’t matter. Rule of law principles are spurned. Summary judgment overrides them.
Obama usurped diktat authority. He appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He and Brennan meet regularly. Eliminating America’s enemies matter most.
Washington calls innocent victims “terrorists.” Names go on kill lists. It’s called America’s “disposition matrix.” Brennan’s in charge of global assassinations. Prioritizing them made him top CIA director choice.
Expect drone wars to expand. So will targeted assassinations. Summary executions will be prioritized. Rule of law principles, standards, and protocols won’t matter. Counterterrorism takes no prisoners.
Context: As yet there are no context links for this item.
Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The Ratner Report with Michael Ratner, who now joins us from New York City.Michael is the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. He's chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. And he's a board member of The Real News.Thanks for joining us again, Michael.MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: It's always good to be with you. And happy new year to you and all your viewers.JAY: Thank you. And what are you following now?RATNER: You know, it's—unfortunately, it's more of the same, which is the war-on-terror excesses, first of the Bush administration, and now the Obama administration. We're going into, really, the middle of the 11th year of what I consider to be a lawless way of carrying out the so-called war on terror. The model that has been used is essentially presidential fiat, congressional fiat, no due process, no trials, indefinite detention. And just this week the president signed—and it's into law—the National Defense Authorization Act, which comes up every year. It's a 620-page bill. It funds all our military adventures all over the world. But for my purposes, on the so-called war on terror what it does is continue what I call the Bush–Obama policies.The first of those policies is indefinite detention, that you can pick up people anywhere in the world—and what's interesting: including American citizens—and hold them indefinitely without trial, and even hold them offshore. We expected this last Congress to try and put in legislation that would at least prohibit the holding of U.S. citizens. They didn't, so it's still authorized by the law. And, of course, that's the lawsuit that Chris Hedges and Daniel Ellsberg had gone to court to try and declare that section of the old law, now of the new law, unconstitutional. So you have an NDAA that first allows indefinite detention of anyone in the world, including U.S. citizens. Secondly, it really destroys any chance of closing Guantanamo.JAY: Before you get into that, Michael, wasn't there some amendment that came out of the Senate that ensures or at least is supposed to ensure habeas rights for U.S. citizens?RATNER: Well, they have a habeas right, but they can still be held indefinitely in detention.JAY: So explain what that means, a habeas right.RATNER: Okay. Everyone can now, because of the cases we won at the Center over the last ten years, has a right to go to court and say to the court, which will say to the jailor, the United States, are you holding me legally. The problem with it is is legally is now defined by the NDAA as holding someone in indefinite detention for their, quote, associational interests, or association with al-Qaeda or related forces. And so all that the government has to come into court and prove is that somehow this person has some relationship to al-Qaeda or whatever related forces means, which could be almost anything. And that's the way it's been used. So the U.S. picks up people, whether it's in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or Yemen,—JAY: Or Pittsburgh.RATNER: —Pittsburgh, or Somalia, or anywhere, or England, or anywhere, and says, well, that person's associated with al-Qaeda or associated forces. And then you have a right, yes, to go to court and challenge that.But the court has been completely unwilling to hear those challenges. The lowest court has heard them, and in some cases even said, well, the government's not holding with a good reason; it goes to the court of appeals, and they have never actually let anyone out of Guantanamo or any other type of this indefinite detention. My problem, of course, is not that they give habeas rights. Sure, that's good. But the problem is they use a indefinite detention model and not a law enforcement model. My view is no one should be held in indefinite detention. Every human being who's picked up anywhere in the world should be charged with a crime if they're going to be kept, and tried for the crime. Instead, you have these masses of people being held without being charged. And if we look at Guantanamo, it's the perfect example. And that gets to the second part of the NDAA legislation. There's 166 people left in Guantanamo. Eighty-six of those people have been cleared for release. That means they shouldn't be there at all. The rest of them—whatever, 80 or so—have not been charged, with exceptions of a few, such as the so-called, you know, people who were allegedly involved in the conspiracy of the World Trade Center, which is a half a dozen people or so. So most of those people have never been charged. And, in fact, more than half have been cleared for release. So what does the NDAA do to those people? It says two things, which it said consistently year after year, that the president can't transfer anybody to the United States, even those cleared for release. So that means: how do you get those people out of Guantanamo? And secondly, it puts very heavy restrictions on transferring any of those people to foreign countries. They have to notify the Senate, they have to approve it in certain ways. And, in fact, because of those restrictions, no one's been transferred to a foreign country, or to the United States, obviously, in the last two years.Now, so that's what you have. You have heavy restrictions. So that means you're going to have trouble closing Guantanamo altogether. Now, Obama made all kinds of noises last year, and he made all kinds of noises this year, that he was going to veto the NDAA because of what he considers these restrictions on his presidential power to, one, transfer people out of Guantanamo to the United States, or transfer them to foreign countries. But last year he didn't veto it, and this year he didn't veto it. So what he does is he does a bunch of saber-rattling. But what he did was do a signing statement. Now, signing statements, I want to explain, have no legal efficacy. In the United States, you either have to approve legislation as the president or veto it. Obama, by approving it, basically says this is the law. He then signs something that says, well, I don't like this law, I don't think it's constitutional, I don't think this, I don't think that, but that it has no legal efficacy. The law is the law, and he's not about to necessarily disobey the law—he didn't last year, and he didn't this year.Now, what's interesting about Obama's signing statements is two things. One, he criticized them when Bush used them, saying, Bush shouldn't be doing these signing statements; he should either veto the law or approve the law, but not say, I approve it, but—you can't do that. And secondly, last year when he made a signing statement on the NDAA, he said, I will challenge this law as unconstitutional in these respects, etc., etc. This time, because it's past the election, he didn't even say that. And so we now have an NDAA that ostensibly allows the indefinite detention of American citizens, makes it impossible to close Guantanamo, and a president who is unwilling to challenge Congress about the law.JAY: And what's the status of that lawsuit that Chris Hedges and his colleagues launched?RATNER: Well, Judge Forrest, who is a very good judge in the District of Columbia, actually ruled in favor of Hedges and Ellsberg that the law was unconstitutional because Ellsberg, Hedges, and others who challenge the law could actually be held in indefinite detention for the words that they spoke or what they wrote. And the government refused to say initially that they couldn't be held like that. And so Judge Forrest, who is the judge, said, well, I'm ruling it's unconstitutional. The government then, in the most aggressive way they could, Obama appealed that to the circuit court. The circuit court stayed the decision, which means they said, we're not going to hold this unconstitutional; we're going to stay it until we hear the entire argument again. So right now the NDAA is still good law, because the circuit court went against the district court, the lower court, and basically said, we're going to allow the law to continue. So it's still being heavily, heavily litigated. Now, it seems to me that two things are apparent to me. One is, of course, I don't think it's good to hold anyone in indefinite detention, citizens or not. Of course, Hedges attacked the most pernicious aspect and the most constitutionally protected aspect, which is holding an American citizen. And secondly, we're still left with Guantanamo. Now, it brings me to—so we have an NDAA out there. Now, it brings me to a second issue that I want to get to in this short piece, which is Obama's drone policy. Again, it comes up in the context of the murder of, killing of American citizens Anwar al-Aulaqi, his son, Rahman al-Aulaqi, and another American citizen, all in Yemen. The Center for Constitutional Rights challenged those killings initially. We lost. They were killed by drones after our lawsuit.We now have another challenge, challenging them in terms of trying to get damages for them. But an extraordinary decision was written this week by a judge about targeted assassinations by Obama and his administration. It was a case in which the ACLU and The New York Times went to court to try and get the legal basis under which Obama said he could designate people for death, American citizens and otherwise. And the judge said that they weren't entitled, in the end, to the document that was written by the Department of Justice laying out the legal reasoning about why you could kill American citizens or others utterly outside a war zone, whether in Yemen or in Somalia or in the United Kingdom or here in the United States. The judge said—because it was classified, while the judge didn't like giving the decision she did, she'd said, I can't do anything about it, my hands are tied, I'm in a catch-22. And what she said about it was extraordinary. She said, look it, when we had torture in the United States, it was critical to get out the memos regarding the legal reasoning about why the U.S. could torture people, so that it could be fully, fully debated. Here my hands are tied. And what we should have is, like torture, we should get out the legal memos about why the president should be able to assassinate people outside a war zone so we can have a serious debate about it.JAY: Well, does the president have to show these memos to anybody?RATNER: Not really, no.JAY: There's no congressional oversight? Not given the history of whatever oversight there's been would mean that much, but is there? I mean, I don't understand. The—then I don't understand. The president could create any memo he wants and—?RATNER: Well, the Justice Department creates the memo, they give it to the president. He could technically withhold it from Congress. I don't know whether Congress has asked him for it or whether he has withheld it, or whether Congress is entitled to find out much about the policy, because while the Congress is entitled to find out about, particularly, CIA covert operations, whether this falls within that is hard to say. And secondly, this isn't only done by the CIA, but targeted assassination is done by Joint Special Operation Command, or JSOC, the military. Congress has no ability to really—or no law that requires the president to report to Congress on the murders or assassinations by JSOC. So you have this policy of the president on his own deciding who can be murdered or assassinated, even if they're American citizens. And what was incredible about the judges' decision, the judge said or implied that the president could actually be criminally prosecuted for killing of a U.S. citizen overseas and said the president is not exempt from the law that prohibits people or citizens in the United States or people anywhere in the world from killing U.S. citizens overseas. So she made an implication that it may be that the president could actually be prosecuted for these targeted assassinations around the world. So while she denied, ultimately, the memo, it's just this opinion, which is some 75 pages long, just drips with anger and really, I think, what you would have to say is deep unease at the president saying on his own, without providing the American people with a legal basis, for assassinating American citizens anywhere in the world.Taken together, what you have here, you have the NDAA law which allows the indefinite detention of American citizens, you have the al-Aluaqi decisions, and this recent one which allows the targeted assassination of American citizens, both detention and killing, at the behest of one man. And what the judge says: this is supposed to be—supposed to be a democracy, a constitutional democracy based on the rule of law and not on the rule of men. And I guess she's questioning whether that's what we have any longer.JAY: Thanks for joining us, Michael.RATNER: Thanks for having me, Paul.JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
EndDISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink: Britain’s Defence Secretary...
Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – The relationship between the U.S. and Israel in the last 6 years under the Obama administration has never been stronger. In 2012, The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) declared that President Obama’s aid package for Israel was the largest in U.S. history, a fact that is hard to ignore:
President Barack Obama requested a record $3.1 billion in military assistance to Israel for the 2013 fiscal year. The requested amount is not just the largest assistance request for Israel ever; it is the largest foreign assistance request ever in U.S. history
President Barack H. Obama and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged tenuous relationship is not what it seems. Sure they probably annoy each other, but Obama has provided U.S. foreign aid just as every U.S. President before him. The invitation granted by the speaker of the house John Boehner to Netanyahu so that he can present his case against Iran to the U.S. congress to prove that Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program was a “bad deal.” According to Netanyahu, Iran threatens Israel’s existence and the world. Netanyahu’s speech was political theater. Several democrats did not attend Netanyahu’s show. Those that did criticized Netanyahu for trying to undermine the Obama administration is once again, all political theater. The democrats who skipped Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech to show solidarity with President Obama’s policy towards Iran were going to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) event featuring an appearance by Netanyahu the following week as the Washington Examiner reported earlier this month:
All of the members skipping Netanyahu’s congressional speech the Examiner interviewed were quick to say their anger toward the prime minister and his attempt to scuttle the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program did not extend to pro-Israel committee.
“Why would I not want to meet with my friends? They’re coming to see me next week and why wouldn’t I see them?” asked Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., referring to two American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists he’s known and worked with for 25 years
Since 1948, U.S and Israeli actions taken in the Middle East has proven to be a tragic period for all people of the Middle East whether Arab, Christian, Jew, Kurdish, Sunni or Shiite. Nothing but wars and Sectarian conflicts, poverty and Western-funded extremists has destroyed Arab countries and killed millions of Muslim men, women and children that are physically and emotionally scarred for the rest of their young and innocent lives.
Can anyone think of the U.S. and its Democratic ideals as a success? The U.S. has done everything it can to create “order out of chaos.” In 1947 following the “creation of Israel” by Great Britain when the Foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour confirmed a “national home of the Jewish People” when he sent the Balfour Declaration to Walter Rothschild, head of the Rothschild banking dynasty, the Palestinian people have been living in hell. Palestine became a prison enforced by Israel’s security apparatus that resembles what George Orwell described as a total police state in his classic book “1984.” Palestine has been divided; 1.7 million Palestinians live in an open air prison in the Gaza strip while others live in the West Bank under a police state controlled by heavily armed Israeli soldiers and police. The Palestinians have been losing lands in an unprecedented fashion and in recent decades only to be accelerated under Netanyahu’s watch with a 40% increase in 2014 alone, outpacing the prior year.
Israel’s ambitions for nuclear weapons capability began after Israel became a Western sponsored state with the U.S, U.K. and France as its main allies. Many conflicts in the Middle East soon followed. The Israeli war of Independence against the Arab countries included Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria which led to the 1949 Armistice which outlined the borders of Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soon began military operations against Egypt, Lebanon and Jordon to prevent terrorist attacks against its Jewish citizens. In 1956, Great Britain and France joined Israel in attacking Egypt after its government decided to nationalize the Suez Canal after the U.S. and Great Britain declined to fund the Aswan Dam. Israel was forced to retreat from the attack by the U.S. and the USSR. Soon after, the Six-Day War in 1967 began when Israel fought againstEgypt, Syria and Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others contributed weapons and troops to the Arab forces. Israel defeated the Arab armies and expanded its territory in the West Bank which included East Jerusalem to Jordan, the Golan Heights in Syria, the Sinai and the Gaza strip. Then the War of Attrition (1967-1970), the Yom Kippur War (1973) and the War in Lebanon (1982) which the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) invaded Southern Lebanon to eliminate Palestinian guerrilla fighters (the resistance) from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which led to the Israeli Security Zone in South Lebanon. Then the South Lebanon conflict with Hezbollah that lasted for at least 20 years. It still continues today. The first and Second Intifadas began with the Palestinian uprising against a brutal Israeli occupation and the disappearance of their lands. Several wars soon followed. The last war called ‘Operation Protective Edge’ which Israel launched against the Gaza Strip. According to the State of Palestine Ministry of Health who reported on August 17, 2014 that there were 2,300 deaths and over 19,000 injured in Gaza which was a devastating conflict that traumatized the Palestinian people especially the children. It is a tragic consequence that will last a lifetime for many.
During all of the conflicts, Israel was seeking weapons to defend their new “Jewish” nation. Israel was eventually exposed as an undeclared nuclear power thanks to an Israeli man named Mordechai Vanunu who spent 18 years in the Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, with 10 of those years in solitary confinement. Mordechai exposed Israel’s secrets nuclear program to the British press in 1986.
Israel is the aggressor. It’s an illegal occupation which began under the British government and it is supported by other Western-powers, mainly the U.S. and France. Israel’s history is filled with conflicts and terrorism against the Arab world. Israel has committed political assassinations, supported extremists to topple governments including its current support to “moderate rebels” to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. It has control over the natural resources including vital water supplies that Palestinians solely depend on to survive. So my question is why everyone is surprised by Netanyahu’s speech he recently gave in the U.S. House of congress? Several members of congress were “appalled” or “upset” because he disrespected U.S. lawmakers, but the reality is that the majority of elected officials in congress and every administration even before Obama have approved military aid for Israel’s security since Israel was created in 1948. Who are they fooling? Netanyahu sounded like he was the U.S. president with constant standing ovations and thunderous applauds by the AIPAC controlled congress. Those on both sides of the aisle whether democrat or republican always look forward to Jewish (Zionist) support for campaign funds. There are several members of congress who have dual citizenships that seek to protect Israel at all costs (although the actual “costs” come at the expense of U.S. taxpayers). The U.S. has been involved in the Middle East for a long time. Do not expect peace or stability. War and conquest is the true nature of both the Americans and Israeli’s regarding Middle East policies. ISIS is a perfect example of how the U.S. operates by bringing democracy to an already volatile region with its support of the Syrian rebels, al-Nusra and the decade old “al-Qaeda” with weapons to topple governments not in line with Washington only proves that war is on the agenda. Not only does the U.S. and its allies support ISIS and other terrorist organizations to topple Arab governments they protect them according to an article by Michel Chossudovsky titled ‘Obama’s “Fake War” against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Islamic State is protected by the US and its Allies’ and made an important point when he said:
What would have been required from a military standpoint to wipe out an ISIS convoy with no effective anti-aircraft capabilities? Without an understanding of military issues, common sense prevails. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June
The U.S. and Israel clearly want chaos in the Middle East. It is obvious. However, Netanyahu did say that:
The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics. Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama
Yes, the alliance between the U.S. and Israel is “above politics” and I agree it’s supposed to achieve “Full Spectrum Dominance” with the West and Israel controlling every aspect of Arab life including its lands, economy, and its natural resources in the Middle East. This is the “destiny” which Netanyahu speaks of. There is a vast amount of resources including the obvious oil, water and natural gas in the Middle East for which both the U.S. and Israel is solely interested in. It also provides a market for the Military-Industrial Complex and corporate interests. Netanyahu’s speech in Washington resembles what a genuine hypocrite that will claim it is he who is a victim of hatred, while committing heinous crimes against those he hates. Netanyahu thanked President Obama for his support over the years which are no surprise:
We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.
Now, some of that is widely known. Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.
I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid. In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment. Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists
‘Operation Protective Edge’ was supported by the Obama administration. They have collaborated on various programs including Israel security forces that provided training to U.S. Police forces. I was not surprised by the recent revelations in Chicago, Illinois concerning its secret black sites used by the Chicago police department to detain and even torture suspects. This happened under former White House Chief of Staff and also an IDF civilian volunteer and Israel supporter Rahm Emanuel whose father Benjamin M. Emanuel was once a member of the Irgun, a terrorist organization that operated in Mandate Palestine. As Netanyahu continued:
But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.
The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship
Netanyahu said that “religious Zealots” imposed a dark brutal dictatorship? Well I guess the Western-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi or the “Shah of Iran” and his secret police force the Savak who terrorized the Iranian people was their preference to keep Iran under their control. Savak was trained and supported by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli Mossad. The most brutal dictatorship in the Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia is an ideal model for the U.S. and Israel. If you look at the dictatorships the U.S. has supported to spread “American-Style Democracy” in the last 100 years. The results of “American-style democracy” were disastrous causing human rights violations, countless deaths and disease. Those same nations the U.S. either invaded or helped overthrow their respective governments (many of them democracies) still suffer from Washington’s “medicine.” From Pinochet in Chile, to the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua, Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier regime in Haiti to the Gulf Monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the list goes on, U.S. policy is about dominating nations for geopolitical interests including for the control of their natural resources. The U.S. and Israel have an interest in the Middle East and that is to dominate it under their so-called “World Order.” If they remove Syria and then Iran, the Middle East would become a region that would look like Iraq or Libya. It would be a cash bonanza for the Military-Industrial Complex if they keep the civil wars among different sects and tribes going, creating a market for weapons exports. Netanyahu said Iran is a “grave threat” to World peace. Can someone say “Samson Option”? Seymour M. Hersh’s ‘The Samson Option’ noted a commentary by Norman Podhoretz that summarizes how Israel would respond if they were on the verge of defeat at the hands of Arab nations in the Middle East:
For Israel’s nuclear advocates, the Samson Option became another way of saying “Never again.” [In a 1976 essay in Commentary, Norman Podhoretz accurately summarized the pronuclear argument in describing what Israel would do if abandoned by the United States and overrun by Arabs: "The Israelis would fight . . . with conventional weapons for as long as they could, and if the tide were turning decisively against them, and if help in the form of resupply from the United States or any other guarantors were not forthcoming, it is safe to predict that they would fight with nuclear weapons in the end. ... It used to be said that the Israelis had a Masada complex . . .but if the Israelis are to be understood in terms of a 'complex' involving suicide rather than surrender and rooted in a relevant precedent of Jewish history, the example of Sarnson, whose suicide brought about the destruction of his enemies, would be more appropriate than Masada, where in committing suicide the Zealots killed only themselves and took no Romans with them."
Podhoretz, asked years later about his essay, said that his conclusions about the Samson Option were just that—his conclusions, and not based on any specific information from Israelis or anyone else about Israel's nuclear capability
What Mr. Podhoretz was describing was a “if we go down, everyone else is going down with us” scenario which is a dangerous policy for the world peace. Netanyahu also says that Assad who is backed by Iran is slaughtering Syrians. This serves the Obama Administration’s long-term goal to remove Assad from power:
Iran's goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world's oil supply
Netanyahu claim that the Jewish people can defend themselves which I agree especially when you have nuclear weapons that can destroy the entire Middle East:
We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves
Iran, Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) are targets for the U.S. and Israel. They want to destabilize Syria and Iran and turn it into an Iraq and Libya with tribal and sectarian infighting among the populations. The U.S. destroyed Iraq with the intention of dividing the people. They create the conflict, develop hatred along Sunni and Shiite sects, and enforce a government subservient to Western interests. How does this benefits Israel? They keep the wars going by destabilizing regimes through ISIS and other Western-funded terrorist groups while Israel expands its territories beyond its borders. Once Syria and Iran are destroyed, the U.S. and Israel will have no use for ISIS. No more weapons will be shipped to ISIS and other groups and the U.S. and Israel with its military capabilities can easily defeat ISIS as Chossudovsky mentioned in his article. It sounds cynical but it’s the truth. It is what I call “Mafia-Style” politics, something the U.S. and Israel are very good at. The world is not fooled by the bickering between the democrats and republicans because as we all know, they are one, united with an “unbreakable bond “with Israel as Obama declared in 2013. We all know that without U.S. support, Israeli occupation of Palestine would end tomorrow. But that will not happen unless the U.S. Empire falls from power and only then, a lasting peace will ensue.
Netanyahu concluded with “May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America” And no one else, right Mr. Netanyahu? What kind of God would bless two nations that have committed genocide against its indigenous populations? Why would God bless a nation that lies to its people and declares war on nations that want their sovereignty respected? If this is the God we as humans supposed to honor, then God is not who we think he is.
In conclusion, Netanyahu should listen to an interview conducted by Press TV based in Tehran, Iran in 2014 with Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, associate director of ‘Neturei Karta International: Jews United against Zionism’ (www.nkusa.org) and was asked about U.N. monitor Richard Falk who accused Israel of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. His response was as follows:
With the help of the almighty, I pray to the almighty to bestow upon me his truth, his wisdom. We are always confounded by this seeming ignorance of the issues and the ignoring of what is happening. The issues are clear from day one. Well over one hundred years ago when this Zionist ideology came about of Jewish people creating their own sovereignty and then eventually deciding to make their sovereignty in the Holy Land, the biblical authorities in the Holy Land, the chief rabbi of Palestine, Rabbi Dushinsky..., of that time, and later in 1947 prior to the ratification of... Israel by the United Nations, the chief rabbi was Rabbi Dushinsky; he went to a meeting in Jerusalem [al-Quds] with the members of the United Nations and he pleaded with them in the name of Judaism and the religious community that we do not want, in any form, a state …, that it is illegal, it is illegitimate. Judaism does not permit us to have to have a Jewish sovereignty, Judaism does not permit us to oppress other people, steal the land, or in any manner being uncompassionate to the people.
On the contrary we were living together with the Muslim community, with the Arabs and Muslims for hundreds and hundreds of years in Palestine and every Muslim state in total harmony without any human rights group to protect us and since this creation of Zionism and then eventually … Israel, there is an endless river of bloodshed. It is impossible to subjugate people and expect that there will be peace. Now, we are condoning what is emanating from this fact that there is a state but the fact is that it defies logic; it flies in the face of …, righteousness and everything that the humanity calls for, by occupying Palestine and so our rabbis universally opposed the existence of … Israel and that the world should totally confuse this issue.
- Nicholai Sergienko: former deputy "Ukrzaliznytsia" head;
- Nikolai Kolesnik: former Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city) regional council head;
- Sergey Valter: former Melitopol mayor;
- Sergey Bordyuga: Melitopol deputy chief of police; and
- Stanislav Melnik: former MP.
Yet it is Washington that accuses Moscow of invading Ukraine, of having had a hand in the downing of a commercial airliner and of ‘invading’ Ukraine based on no evidence at all – trial by media courtesy of Washington’s PR machine. As a result of this Russian ‘aggression’, Washington slapped sanctions on Moscow.
The mainstream corporate media in the West parrots the accusations against Moscow as fact, despite Washington having cooked up evidence or invented baseless pretexts. As with Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and other ‘interventions’ that have left a trail of death and devastation in their wake, the Western corporate media’s role is to act as cheerleader for official policies and US-led wars of terror.
The reality is that the US has around 800 military bases in over 100 countries and military personnel in almost 150 countries. US spending on its military dwarfs what the rest of the world spends together. It outspends China by a ratio of 6:1.
What does the corporate media say about this? That the US is a ‘force for good’ and constitutes the ‘world’s policeman’ - not a calculating empire underpinned by militarism.
By the 1980s, Washington’s wars, death squads and covert operations were responsible for six million deaths in the ‘developing’ world. An updated figure suggests that figure is closer to ten million.
Breaking previous agreements made with Russia/the USSR, over the past two decades the US and NATO has moved into Eastern Europe and continues to encircle Russia and install missile systems aimed at it. It has also surrounded Iran with military bases. It is destabilising Pakistan and ‘intervening’ in countries across Africa to weaken Chinese trade and investment links and influence. It intends to eventually militarily ‘pivot’ towards Asia to encircle China.
William Blum has presented a long list of Washington’s crimes across the planet since 1945 in terms of its numerous bombings of countries, assassinations of elected leaders and destabilisations. No other country comes close to matching the scale of such criminality. Under the smokescreen of exporting ‘freedom and democracy’, the US has deemed it necessary to ignore international laws and carry out atrocities to further its geo-political interests across the globe.
Writing on AlterNet.org, Nicolas JS Davies says of William Blum’s book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II: if you're looking for historical context for what you are reading or watching on TV about the coup in Ukraine, ‘Killing Hope’ will provide it.
Davies argues that the title has never been more apt as we watch the hopes of people from all regions of Ukraine being sacrificed on the same altar as those of people in Iran (1953); Guatemala(1954); Thailand (1957); Laos (1958-60); the Congo (1960); Turkey (1960, 1971 & 1980); Ecuador (1961 & 1963); South Vietnam (1963); Brazil (1964); the Dominican Republic (1963); Argentina (1963); Honduras (1963 & 2009); Iraq (1963 & 2003); Bolivia (1964, 1971 & 1980); Indonesia (1965); Ghana (1966); Greece (1967); Panama (1968 & 1989); Cambodia (1970); Chile (1973); Bangladesh (1975); Pakistan (1977); Grenada (1983); Mauritania (1984); Guinea (1984); Burkina Faso (1987); Paraguay (1989); Haiti (1991 & 2004); Russia (1993); Uganda (1996);and Libya (2011).
The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) is a recipe for more of the same. The ultimate goal, based on the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine, is to prevent any rival emerging to challenge Washington’s global hegemony and to secure dominance over the entire planet. Washington’s game plan for Russia is to destroy is as a functioning state or to permanently weaken it so it submits to US hegemony. While the mainstream media in the West set out to revive the Cold War mentality and demonise Russia, Washington believes it can actually win a nuclear conflict with Russia. It no longer regards nuclear weapons as a last resort but part of a conventional theatre of war and is willing to use them for pre-emptive strikes.
Washington is accusing Russia of violating Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty, while the US has its military, mercenary and intelligence personnel inside Ukraine. It is moreover putting troops in Poland, engaging in ‘war games’ close to Russia and has pushed through a ‘Russian anti-aggression’ act that portrays Russia as an aggressor in order to give Ukraine de facto membership of NATO and thus full military support, advice and assistance.
Washington presses ahead regardless as Russia begins to undermine dollar hegemony by trading oil and gas and goods in rubles and other currencies. And history shows that whenever a country threatens the dollar, the US does not idly stand by.
Unfortunately, most members of the Western public believe the lies being fed to them. This results from the corporate media amounting to little more than an extension of Washington’s propaganda arm. The PNAC, under the pretext of some bogus ‘war on terror’, is partly built on gullible, easily led public opinion, which is fanned by emotive outbursts from politicians and the media. We have a Pavlov’s dog public and media, which respond on cue to the moralistic bleating of politicians who rely on the public’s ignorance to facilitate war and conflict.
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst has spoken about the merits of the Kiev coup and the installation of an illegitimate government in Ukraine. Last year, he called the violent removal of Ukraine’s democratically elected government as enhancing democracy. Herbst displayed all of the arrogance associated with the ideology of US ‘exceptionalism’. He also displayed complete contempt for the public by spouting falsehoods and misleading claims about events taking place in Ukraine.
"We are now faced with a Russian leader bent not on joining the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations, but on subverting it… We are in familiar territory for anyone over the age of about 50, with Russia's aggressive behaviour a stark reminder it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security... Russia's aggressive behaviour a stark reminder it has the potential to pose the single greatest threat to our security."
In a speech that could have come straight from the pen of some war mongering US neocon, the US’s toy monkey Hammond beats on cue the drum that signals Britain’s willingness to fall in line and verbally attack Putin for not acquiescing to US global hegemonic aims.
International Media Barely Raises Eyebrow over Assassination of Pro-Government Legislator in Venezuela
Rummaging through Lee Harvey Oswald’s past can be a murky and sometimes frightening enterprise, but it is quite necessary if one wants to understand the residue of the tangled plot that took JFK’s life. Even casual perusal leaves no doubt that Oswald and his associates had deep-rooted intelligence ties. Some of Lee’s best friends were CIA operatives, from David Ferrie to the Dallas White Russian community, which included people like Oswald’s best friend in Dallas George DeMohrenschildt and his erstwhile Irving, Texas, landlady Ruth Paine. Obvious patterns of sheepdipping and shepherding emerge as one follows Oswald’s journey from Louisiana to Texas, and to Russia and back. He was a low-level agent on deep-background assignments for the Company. Just the kind of dupe who can be set up as the fall when the Agency needs a patsy. But how did Oswald get to that point? Who picked him out of the hordes of nickel-and-dime operatives the CIA was running in the 1950s and’60s? And why?
It began when Lee was just a teenager and he joined LCAP. On the surface this was a harmless group of post-pubescent wannabe fliers who signed up for air rescue techniques, campouts, and long speeches about duty and country. But in reality LCAP was much more. It was established by David Harold Byrd, a wealthy Dallas businessman and defense industry insider who fancied himself an Air Force Colonel. Indeed he was bestowed this title by none other than his great pal, General Curtis (Bombs Away) LeMay, virulent Kennedy hater and Air Force Chief of Staff under same. Byrd and LeMay made LCAP look like a unit of weekend flyboys to outsiders, just an excuse to make Byrd a colonel and to have an auxiliary pilot training presence in the South. This was merely the cover story, however. US military intelligence and the CIA wanted to train and recruit pilots to make surreptitious flights, into the Caribbean and elsewhere, involving weapons trading, support for paramilitary operations, and drug running (later Air America). Louisiana was a logical location for this (easy access to Cuba, Latin America and South America). Later, of course, Byrd, one of LBJ's most ardent political and financial benefactors, owned the Texas School Book Depository. I have always been confounded by researchers who overlook this one incredible fact (which, in and of itself, screams conspiracy): Byrd, a Texas oil millionaire with nefarious connections to potential suspects, provided the first and last places of employment for Oswald. This is either the most incredible coincidence in history, or Byrd's businesses were being used as fronts for intelligence operations. Think of it, JFK's supposed assassin fires from a building owned by the same man to whose air patrol unit he was attached a decade earlier. And Byrd neither admits to nor is questioned about this suspicious happenstance. Of course, he had plausible deniability because he merely provided the facilities for intelligence assets to perform their operations while keeping a safe distance from the action.
Anyway, back to LCAP. The ideal candidates for CIA recruitment were young, impressionable, adventuresome cadets seeking daring and stealth and lacking morals or a social conscience; or, in the alternative, they were outcasts and misfits, willing to commit abnormal or questionable acts without resistance. Consequently, an unusually high number of Louisiana Civil Air Patrol cadets became psychopathic killers, CIA pilots, or gullible, low-level fall guys. Among them were John Liggett, Charles Rogers, Lee Harvey Oswald, Barry Seal, and James Bath, all of whom were either tangentially or directly connected to the JFK hit.
In order to facilitate its recruitment of LCAP cadets, the CIA needed mesmeric leaders who had sway over young men. It found one such leader in David Ferrie, a defrocked priest, a skilled pilot, a hypnotist, and a pedophile. Oswald was probably directed to Ferrie and LCAP by Dutz Murret, Oswald’s bookmaking uncle who worked for New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello. Rogers likewise had a bookmaker in the family, his father Fred, who also paid tribute to Marcello. Ferrie worked for Marcello as a pilot. When Marcello was deported by Bobby Kennedy’s Justice Department in 1961, Ferrie flew a private plane to Guatemala, picked up the gangland boss and flew him back home. Ferrie fancied himself an expert pilot, and loved flying secret missions for the Mafia and the CIA. In LCAP he insisted on being called “Captain Ferrie,” and despite his weird appearance (he wore an orange wig and painted-on eyebrows), his trainees were apparently defenseless against his hypnotic powers. One of “Captain” Ferrie’s most unusual recruits was a future mortician/body reconstructionist/assassin named John Liggett. More on him later.
Ferrie taught his prized pupils the tricks of spycraft. And while most LCAP alums tried to maintain their covers after joining the CIA, Barry Seal was flamboyantly and unabashedly open about his occupation. His remarkable life is well-chronicled in Daniel Hopsicker’s stunning book, Barry and the Boys. Seal was entrusted by the CIA to fly drugs out of Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America; guns in and out of troubled nations across the globe; and operatives to secret CIA missions whenever it needed a democratic or socialist leader overthrown. Hopsicker writes, ‘[Seal] was a high-rolling mercenary, a rogue pilot, an infamous gun-runner, the chief Mena narcotics trafficker, a fast-talking, self-assured, 300-pound pilot and Special Forces veteran, a notorious drug smuggler, a mystery man, and the most valuable informant in DEA history.”
Seal’s abilities as a CIA pilot were so valued that he was protected by powerful interests. He had George H.W. Bush’s private phone number; it was found on Seal’s body after he was mysteriously gunned down in the mid-1980s. Hopsicker writes of a witness overhearing one of Seal’s conversations with Vice President Bush. Seal reportedly threatened to expose the Iran-Contra scheme if the IRS did not stop hounding him. One week after the phone conversation, Seal was dead. The witness goes on to say that the murderers were acting under orders from Oliver North. Seal, according to Hopsicker, was also involved in another monstrous operation—he was one of the getaway pilots flying out of Dallas after JFK was killed.
Facts uncovered by this author indicate that JFK’s body was surreptitiously flown out of Dallas via Red Bird Airport and not Love Field. Here’s where another LCAP grad enters the drama. John Liggett, a Dallas funeral home employee, was present at Parkland Hospital just minutes after the mortally wounded Kennedy arrived there. On November 22, 1963, Liggett was officiating the funeral of his wife’s aunt at Restland Funeral Home, when he was suddenly called away from the graveside. He returned after a few minutes to tell his wife that Kennedy had been shot and he had to go to Parkland Hospital. When his wife asked him if Restland was going to get the job, John replied that he did not know but that she should not try to contact him. This was quite unusual. Normally when Liggett was on a job or on call, his wife and kids visited him at the funeral home. Never before had he instructed them to stay away. His funeral home did not get the JFK job; no matter, Liggett had other intentions. Circumstantial evidence indicates that Liggett, with the assistance of treasonous Secret Service agents, switched JFK’s body for a fake wrapped in sheets in Emergency Room 1. The substitute body was placed in the expensive coffin which publicly left Parkland Hospital on November 22, 1963. The genuine corpse was placed in a cheap shipping coffin and spirited away by John Liggett in a Restland Funeral Home hearst. It was then rushed to Red Bird where Seal or possibly some other CIA pilot flew the body to Washington, DC, for body alteration prior to the autopsy. And, according to Liggett’s peers, there was no one better in the business at altering dead bodies than John Liggett. He even referred to himself as a “reconstruction artist.”
As incredible as this scenario sounds, several people close to Liggett have come forward to verify this story. It dovetails with the official record in many regards. The Dallas doctors saw wounds on the dead President which were radically different from the ones the Bethesda autopsy doctors saw. The only reasonable explanation for this is that someone, somewhere between Dallas and Washington, got access to Kennedy’s corpse and altered it. This ploy, this diabolical deception was the plotters’ ace in the hole. It is how they intended to forever cover up the truth of the manner of JFK’s death. For in any murder investigation where the victim dies by gunshot wounds, examination of the corpse reveals the direction and number of shots. The Dallas doctors saw evidence of frontal entry and rear exit, indicating Kennedy was shot from the grassy knoll area of Dealey Plaza, a place where Oswald definitely was not positioned. The Bethesda doctors saw evidence of rear entry and frontal exit, indicating Kennedy was shot from the TSBD, a place where Oswald definitely was positioned. At Bethesda Hospital several witnesses saw Kennedy’s body arrive in the cheap shipping casket and the not the expensive public coffin that flew back to Washington aboard Air Force One. One LCAP grad (Liggett) framed another LCAP grad (Oswald).
Liggett did not return home from Washington until the next day. When he arrived he seemed worn and disheveled, quite unlike his customarily cool comportment and dapper dress. He quickly ordered Lois and the kids to pack up; they were going to hit the road. The family traveled south, and along the way Liggett stopped for furtive meetings with unknown parties out of the earshot of his wife and kids. They finally settled on a motel for the evening, and on the morning of November 24, after witnessing Ruby shoot Oswald to death on TV, Liggett breathed a deep sigh of relief and told his family it was okay to return home now. At no time did he let on what he knew about the historic events which had taken place that weekend or that he even knew Oswald, Ferrie, or any other LCAP members.
After the assassination Liggett came into a good deal of money which he used to purchase a home for his family in an upscale Dallas neighborhood. There he was visited on several occasions by Ferrie, whose appearance was so bizarre and amusing that they could not forget him. It is likely that Ferrie was conveying “liquidation” assignments to Liggett, as he was connected to many of the mysterious deaths of assassination witnesses after the fact.
Certainly Liggett did not learn his morturarial talents in the LCAP; instead he joined the Air Force where he served as an attaché, a common euphemism for military intelligence work. At some point after his discharge he was encouraged by his benefactors (possibly Curtis LeMay, possibly D.H. Byrd himself) to enroll in a school for undertakers. Upon graduation, he went to work embalming and burying innocent people by day and underworld/intelligence victims by night. If the CIA or the local Mafia wanted a body disposed of, Liggett was called upon. He interred the poor saps in the “Field of Honor,” a Dallas joke for burial plots of the nefarious. If the unlucky stiff needed a transformation to disguise the manner of death, Liggett was equal to the task.
But Liggett was more than just a mortician; he was a killer, and, like Charles Rogers, he had a preference for bludgeoning his victims with a hammer. The Dallas police caught up to Liggett in 1974, when he was arrested for the attempted murder of Dorothy Peck, wife of Jay Bert Peck. Jay Bert Peck was Lyndon Johnson’s cousin, and he bore a stunning resemblance to LBJ. Liggett never divulged his reasons for viciously beating Peck and burning her home. But according to some researchers, Dorothy was about to talk about how her own husband had been murdered by Liggett. Jay Bert Peck had reportedly stood in for his cousin at the Fort Worth Hotel where the presidential party had stayed the night before the JFK assassination. This allowed LBJ to slip out the back door and attend a “Kill Kennedy” planning session at the home of local oil millionaire Clint Murchison. LBJ’s long-time mistress Madeleine Brown reported seeing many powerful JFK enemies at Murchison’s that night, including H.L. Hunt, J. Edgar Hoover, John McCloy (later a member of the Warren Commission), and George Brown (of Brown & Root, nee Halliburton). If this account is true it would explain the importance of silencing the Pecks. Lyndon Johnson, named by many as the prime mover behind the assassination, certainly had no qualms about killing those close to him if it suited his political purposes. He was once accused by his long-time associate and criminal co-conspirator, Billy Sol Estes, of ordering the executions of many LBJ political enemies. Estes’ lawyer wrote a letter to the U.S. Justice Department in 1984 which named these victims, one of whom was President Kennedy. But I digress.
The Dallas Police eventually caught up to Liggett when they arrested him in 1974. After his arrest, Liggett’s first wife Lois was warned by Liggett’s brother Malcolm to stay away from John and to avoid all contact with him. Malcolm was later appointed to a high-level presidential economic advisory commission by Gerald Ford. (As a side note, Ford was one of four future presidents closely tied to the events in Dallas. He served on the Warren Commission. Three future presidents—Johnson, Nixon and George H.W. Bush--were in Dallas the day of Kennedy’s murder. This was no coincidence. All played a role in the events of November 22, 1963. But that’s another story.)
Liggett’s death is just as fraught with subterfuge and deviousness as his life. In February 1975 the Dallas Times-Herald reported that “John Melvin Liggett died on a Parkland Hospital table about 30 minutes after he was shot by Dallas Police while trying to escape custody.” But Liggett left behind two widows who adamantly contradicted the official version of Liggett’s death. One saw a stranger with facial hair in Liggett’s coffin (Liggett was unable to grow facial hair); the other insisted she saw Liggett in a Las Vegas casino years later. It would be a relatively simple matter for the Agency which killed a sitting U.S. President to fake the death of a mortician, so the reports of Liggett’s death may well be exaggerated.
Another LCAP alumnus who became notorious was Texas native Charles Rogers, CIA pilot and murdering psychopath. Rogers was as brilliant as he was disturbed. A graduate of the University of Houston, Rogers worked as a seismologist for Shell Oil in the 1950s before joining the CIA. It is a seismologist’s job to determine if the underlying rock or substrata of any particular area is fertile ground to drill for oil or natural gas. This was and is vital information to oil companies; thus, seismologists and geologists are in great demand. But that kind of life was apparently not adventurous enough for Charles. So in 1956, he applied with the CIA and was interviewed in the offices of Shell Oil’s law firm, Fulbright-Jaworski (yes, the Leon Jaworski of Watergate fame).
Like other LCAP alums, Rogers graduated to the big-time when he was identified as having direct ties to the JFK murder. Many are convinced he is one of the three tramps who were photographed being escorted by Dallas cops away from the crime scene in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. The tramp photos have become part of assassination lore and have been the subject of much speculation and guesswork. What we know is the tramps bear a remarkable resemblance to killers Charles Rogers, Charles Harrelson, and the CIA’s E. Howard Hunt. Others claim they are real hobos whom the cops rousted from boxcars behind the grassy knoll. The matter ostensibly could be cleared up with some scientific analysis—comparison of height and weight, facial features, hairlines, arm length, and the like. Lois Gibson, a Houston Police Department forensics expert, performed such an analysis in 1991. Her meticulous study convinced her that Charles Rogers is the short tramp in the infamous photos. This begs the question, what was he doing there? Not likely he just happened to be boxcar-hopping just yards from the site of the murder of the century, at the exact time and day of its occurrence. There is no doubt that Rogers was a psychopath. He murdered his parents in June 1965, chopped them into pieces and stored them in a freezer before disappearing into the murky sub-world of CIA skullduggery.
It was most likely George DeMohrenschildt who recommended Rogers be hired by the CIA. A long-time CIA asset, and Lee Harvey Oswald’s handler in Dallas, DeMohrenschildt was also an expert in knowing where to drill for oil. He had an advanced degree in petroleum engineering, and he was associated with many Texas oil millionaires, including H.L. Hunt. LCAP founder D. H. Byrd once employed DeMohrenschildt at Three States Oil and Gas Company; DeMohrenschildt also was connected to Byrd through Byrd’s wife, whom DeMohrenschildt appointed to the board of his charitable organization in 1962. This would have provided cover for Byrd and DeMohrenschildt to have interaction during the time that Oswald was being shepherded to his tragic fate. DeMohrenschildt also had deep ties to the Bush family. George H.W. actually roomed with DeMohrenschildt’s uncle at Andover in the early 1940s. Later, when Bush was head of the CIA, DeMohrenschildt wrote a desperate letter to his old friend begging for help. DeMohrenschildt feared for his life because he was writing a factual book about his relationship with his old pal Lee Harvey Oswald. A few months later DeMohrenschildt was found shot to death in his home. The address and phone number of George H.W. Bush was on his person. Like Barry Seal, when DeMohrenschildt posed a threat of exposure of Bush secrets he met an untimely end.
Another Bush family intimate, one James R. Bath, turned out to be another “illustrious” grad of Byrd’s Civil Air Patrol. He served in his CAP unit in the mid-1950s, about the time Oswald, Ferrie, Seal and the other CIA recruits were active members. But it’s what he accomplished after his LCAP training that makes him notorious. Bath began a lucrative CIA career sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s, after leaving active duty with the Air Force. He joined the Texas Air National Guard in 1965 where he met his great pal, George W. Bush, just as the Vietnam War was escalating. The Air National Guard was a great hideout for those pilots who wanted to avoid combat. Bath was George W. Bush's good buddy in the Texas Air National Guard. Like W, Bath refused a medical exam and went AWOL when he pleased. Bath eventually became the Bin Ladens' money man in Texas; this included investments in W's failed oil business--Arbusto. According to author Pete Brewton, Bush claimed that he and Bath never went into business together; however, “…records filed in a Houston lawsuit involving Bath contradict the [Bush’s] son: they show Bath was an investor in a Bush oil and gas enterprise.”
Brewton also claims that Bath became intertwined with some of the wealthiest and most powerful international players in global politics and finance. Among other things Bath became a trustee at a Saudi bank which provided financing for Adnan Khashoggi around the time that Khashoggi was involved in the arms-for-hostages transactions with the Iranians. The Khashoggis and the bin Ladens were intimately acquainted. Bath also went into business with Lan Bentsen, son of Texas politician Lloyd Bentsen. (Bath served in the 147th Fighter Group “Champagne Unit” Air National Guard with Lan Bentsen, George W. Bush, John Connally III—son of Texas governor John Connally, wounded in JFK’s death limo, Al Hill—grandson of H.L. Hunt, and several members of the Dallas Cowboys football team.) Bath formed a Cayman Islands company which moved money around for Oliver North in the Iran/Contra operation. And he worked for the du Pont family’s Atlantic Aviation corporation. Quite a success story for a guy who started out as a lowly cadet in David Ferrie’s LCAP.
Of all the sordid characters mentioned above, Byrd and Bath prospered the most. Byrd, rich beyond reason already, garnered million-dollar defense contracts for his Ling-Temco-Vought weapons company during Vietnam. His good friend LBJ apparently rewarded him for services rendered. Bath bilked American taxpayers for $12 million in Defense Department overcharges for one of his companies in 1990. Neither Byrd nor Bath was ever brought to account for anything. No investigative body—not the Dallas Police, not the Warren Commission, not the House Select Committee on Assassinations—interviewed Byrd. He answered no questions about the nature of his business, his associations, nor his weird connection to Oswald. Not a hint of suspicion was raised about who hired Oswald, nor who had access to the Texas School Book Depository building before, during and after the assassination. In his autobiography Byrd did not even mention the fact that he owned the TSBD, a tidbit he wanted to keep hidden for good reason. He does refer to his citation from General LeMay for starting up the Civil Air Patrol, but he excludes the names of all criminals therein bred. To remove himself as far from suspicion as possible, at the time of Kennedy’s assassination Byrd was on safari in Africa, his first-ever safari on foreign soil. He did not return to Dallas until the smoke had cleared.
Undeniable killers Charles Rogers and John Liggett were never convicted of any crime. Oswald, Ferrie, and Seal, all set up for murder by the covert forces which set their fates in motion, were the unluckiest of the lot.
In retrospect the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol was some sort of nexus of evil CIA recruitment and secrecy. Its founder and members went on to attain almost unfathomable notoriety. The truth of who LCAP members really were, the associations they made, and what they went on to do with their lives is quite provocative, and very dangerous information to the plotters of JFK’s murder. Their actions and connections speak to some sort of subterranean, for-profit enterprise that was dedicated to subverting democracy and creating what Jack Ruby called a “whole new form of government in the United States.” No wonder when the House Select Committee on Assassinations went to investigate the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol it found that all LCAP records prior to 1960 were missing.
The title of this video is 100% accurate. Now that Obama has successfully murdered three American citizens with barely a peep from Congress - and has successfully installed the author of his legal justification for the extra-judicial killings of American citizens onto the federal appeal's bench - it is not a stretch to believe that he will eventually use this power domestically. One reason is because Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA director John Brennan have both refused to assure the American people that drones will not be used to kill American citizens without charges inside the United States.
On September 30th 2011, Barack Obama became a Tyrant when he ordered the deaths of American citizens Anwar al-Alawki, Abdulrahman al-Alawki, and Samir Kahn. On September 30, 2011 the Republic of the United States fell and was replaced with what Madison correctly defined as a tyranny – and the ACLU agrees.
"MaryAnne Grady-Flores was convicted in DeWitt Town Court last night on 2nd Degree Contempt of an Order Of Protection. Grady-Flores, who did not intend to violate the Order despite its immorality and invalidity, was taking pictures of others at the base - the Ash Wednesday Witnesses - who engaged in nonviolent civil resistance blocking the front Gate to Hancock base for which they were subsequently acquitted.
"In a heinous abuse of an instrument meant to protect the innocent from violence, Orders of Protection are being used to protect violent transgressions of international and moral law from citizen oversight. While trying to publicize and support a movement to ground the drones and end the wars which take countless innocent lives, Grady-Flores was arrested for noncompliance with an order that does not specify particulars outside of how you might attack another human, something she would never do. She understood the Order to mean that she was forbidden to join the protest.
"The Guilty verdict was proffered by a jury 5 minutes after they had asked the judge for a legal definition of 'keep away', and he had replied that they 'are the sole triers of fact'.
"The two-day trial included testimony from Colonel Earl A. Evans who is the party protected by the OOP, Catholic Priests Father Bill Pickard and Tim Taugher, Catholic Workers Bill Frankel-Streit and Ellen Grady, sister. Grady-Flores also testified on her own behalf."
Back in the USA I had my senior high students watch as I climbed a fence into the largest store house of nuclear weapons in the USA. I was in a Santa Clause suit and a bag with candy and hand bills urging federal workers to find a real job….a life giving job.
Environment was major with my students and they commandeered the four corners of the original IBM setting in Endicott NY demanding that IBM pay per pound of hydroflorocarbons emitted each year…IBM the greatest polluter of the Ozone according to the EPA. Locals, with IBM the backbone of the job force, had no idea that their wonder company was doing wrong -- until students contacted media and the story was blasted. Kids can make a difference. (Two years later, President Bush met with IBM officials in the Rose Garden to award them for their winning reduction of ozone pollutants. Students by then were in college or elsewhere and of course, not mentioned.) My main claim to fame is my thousands of students who understood I didn’t buy the lies fed to them by the text books and media bullshit. I hope they are questioning and acting. But being a sheep has its advantages even for the committed.
So, my activism has been education. Our play, The Bench, a story about apartheid, made it to many schools around the Southern Tier of NY while Mandela was still incarcerated at Robins Island. Today, my play, The Predator, (you helped clean up a few items in it) has been done around the nation in small group settings such as the Pittsburgh Foreign Affairs Council etc. I believe education is the key -- slow, but it works if persistence is one’s forte.
I told you a bit about my activism to close the US Army School of the Americas and my southern jail, federal diesel therapy and various federal prisons for a six month ‘holiday’. It did close but opened up weeks later with a new name. C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.
Why do you believe protesting is a strategic tool?
It has worked historically. Need I repeat what most people of historical awareness know as fact….in the past 100 years….Gandhi, King, Chavez, Walesa, Mandela, Romero, Berrigans, etc.
Silence is the enemy of justice and we have great silence today. Silence is based in fear but is comfortable and safe. Sheepherders are our guides today rather than national leadership. Hiding in the middle of the flock is safe. Few speak out about our murderous ways.
How have the approaches of the police and the courts changed?
Police are doing their job. I once witnessed Federal Marshalls at the Pentagon (back in pre 2001 days) hosing down old ladies who were doing a ‘die in’ to protest Pentagon support for a school of assassination at Ft Benning. Elizabeth McAllister (widow of Phil Berrigan) was standing next to me and she asked one of the Marshalls if he would do the same thing if it was gasoline. The Marshall turned to Liz and said: "I'd follow my orders, Lady".
So cops are doing what they are paid to do. They are not told to stop the killing going on inside of the base so they do what they are told and arrest those who say our government should not be breaking the law of country and God and natural law. But like the pilots who do the killing and the surrounding support people, it's the system that thrives on doing what they are told to do by the criminals at the top. We need to educate the police to have a conscience and see the real enemy . . . the killers, not those who protest.
Courts are not much different. There is a sense of affinity between the Air Force personnel, smartly dressed, ramrod straight who stand or sit before judge and/or jury and make a fine presentation of patriotism . . . doing the job of heroes. It's a tough act to question. Judges and jurors have been taught to respect those who kill to keep us safe. The decisions made by the judges have been almost all in favor of the base and the killing Q9 drones and their crews. The one jury trial so far, just last week (May 17th.) rendered a decision in favor of the base. The case was a charge of a violation of an Order of Protection. An OPP is usually used to allow a spouse to keep away an abuser. Now, it is being creatively used at Hancock Air Base as an instrument to prevent First Amendment Rights to be practiced. Mary Anne Grady, a long time nonviolent peace activist, mother of four, every day hard working business woman was at a demo on Ash Wednesday at Hancock to do the media work of photos and video. She did not engage in the demonstration for she was ordered to not go on the base. She is shown in videos on the road in front of the base (cars and joggers going by right next to her) but Hancock Air Base now claims to have a lease on half of the public road that Mary Anne stood on and filmed. She faces a possible severe sentence on July 10th being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a Syracuse jury of six. (Mary Anne was told months ago that juries may not be any better than judges -- tens of thousands stand and cheer at Syracuse Basketball games for the military and staff of the 174th Attach Wing at Hancock.)
What is your current legal situation?
My legal status is a jury trial at DeWitt Court starting at 8:30 a.m. on July 14th. First day mostly picking of jurors and opening statements and second day direct and cross examination, judge advise to jury and decision of guilt or innocence. I could be sentenced to one year in the Jamesville Penitentiary for my nonviolent die to remember those we have killed in Afghanistan (and God and the NSA only know where else). I think there is a chance of winning this one. If so, it could set a precedent. There are many jury trials to follow mine. Schedules go into late 2015….all for the same action. One judge said: "This has got to stop". Former President of Veterans For Peace, Elliott Adams, agreed with the judge. Elliott said, "Yes, your honor, it has to stop, we need to stop the killing and you need to be part of that stop effort."
I’ve been to most trials and have to say that there is little concern of judges to do anything to stop the assassinations. They are doing their job and following the "law". Now, we need to prove the so called law is illegal.
What would you recommend that people do who share your concern?
Here is what Ed Kinane had to say about recommending what to do. Ed walks the walk. Ed has lived in federal confinement for his peace and justice activism. Ed says:
That depends on whether they are far or near and where they are in life (in terms of dependents and responsibilities). Our campaign has a whole range of tactics they can join in or support: educate themselves; read some of the key drone books and reports; write letters to the editor...to elected officials...to base commanders; take part in our twice-monthly demos across the road from Hancock; attend the De Witt court when we defendants appear there; take part in annual conferences (usually in April); invite us to speak to their classes, community groups or congregations; contribute $$$ to our bail fund or to such anti-drone groups as codepink; work to pass local resolutions and ordinances restricting surveillance and weaponized drones over local or regional airspace; take part in fact-finding delegations to drone-plagued areas (Pakistan); risk arrest at Hancock, at other drone bases, or other relevant venues (federal buildings, drone research or production facilities, etc.); become a federal tax resister -- i.e.stop paying federal income taxes (much of which goes to the Pentagon war machine).
I'll add a few more:
Visit Upstate Drone Action Reports at http://upstatedroneaction.org/wordpress
Plan for a Global Day of Action Against Drones on October 4, 2014.
Join the movement to end all war, with all weapons, at http://WorldBeyondWar.org
The Kindle version of The President's Mortician is available for under five bucks. Here's an excerpt from the book:
"In the time that has passed since the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was murdered, the topic has been addressed by hundreds of books, countless documentaries, numerous investigations—both public and private, and even a courtroom battle. The evidence in the case has been hashed and re-hashed many times over, yet the years (nearly 20 now) and the analysis overkill have not dulled the world’s fascination with the subject. Nor has time diminished America’s conviction that a conspiracy was afoot to take Kennedy’s life on November 22, 1963. Since the early 1970s the numbers have remained consistent—three in every four citizens believe that either accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, or he did not act at all…rather, he was likely just the “fall guy” or the patsy. Moreover, among people 27-39 years of age as of 1980, upwards of 85% were pro-conspiracy (1). In other words, all reasonable people with even a passing knowledge of the events and aftermath of JFK’s assassination suspect that an organized, far-reaching plot took the president’s life that day in Dallas.
"Who killed JFK? The easy answer is that rogue CIA operatives planned, orchestrated and covered up the murder. But this solution is too pat, too simplistic. For it does not take into account the other elements that played their parts in the drama—Texas oilmen, Mafia associates, future presidents and corrupt politicians, ambitious lawyers, Secret Service traitors, the military hierarchy, and wealthy defense contractors. Taken together, these elements form a Secret American Empire.
"Born of the anti-communist fervor which inflamed the nation in the 1940s and ‘50s; fed by the enormous wealth of oil and weapons makers; protected by ambitious, greedy public servants; and enforced by violent, pathological criminals, this Secret American Empire possesses what amounts to its own foreign policy, its own air force, its own militia, its own economy, and its own rules. It is not subject to the laws of the land. It is rich and powerful enough to operate outside the laws that restrict all the rest of us. As Haroldson Lafayette Hunt, one of its high ministers, once said, “I am the richest man in the world. I can do any damn thing I want to do” (2). This empire existed before JFK’s murder, but it had never before pulled off anything so outrageous and brazen as the crime it committed on November 22, 1963. In fact, some of the participants feared for their own apprehension and left the country before and after the execution. Their fears were unfounded, however, because the fix was in. The new president, Lyndon Johnson, was the Empire’s boy, and soon he cut off all legitimate investigations and appointed his own fraudulent commission made up of the Empire’s most ardent protectors. Once the perpetrators knew they were safe, America became their playground. They were free to romp through the public trust, trample the Constitution, start an unnecessary and catastrophic war, have free reign over domestic and foreign policy, and invoke immunity from crimes committed. The JFK assassination taught the Empire that it could get away with anything, and in the years subsequent to 1963 it has coalesced its power and consolidated its reign over democracy. Its candidates have been elected, by hook or crook; its power base has expanded; its wealth has grown unchecked. It has smugly, almost defiantly, moved on to evermore audacious, outlandish covert operations—the removal of Richard Nixon from office, the subversion of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the narcotic trafficking necessary to fund covert operations, and the overthrow of foreign governments. In short, the Secret American Empire, while waving the flag in our faces and clamoring to high heaven about the land of the free and the home of democracy, has done everything it can to undo the processes and the restraints that would impede it under a true democratic system. We are living in, and have been since 1963, a neo-fascist oligarchic state, where only wealth and power matter, where the ways and means of a free press are stifled, where the people are propagandized by disinformation and half-truths, where our elected officials represent their own greedy interests and the interests of the Secret Empire, rather than the interests of those who elected them.
"Would it have been different if JFK had lived? Emphatically, yes! Kennedy, a conventional cold warrior when he took the oath of office, had transformed into a startling advocate of world peace by 1963. His landmark address at American University, in June 1963, laid out a revolutionary vision of America and its place in the world, one that made him a lot of deadly enemies. A world without endless war? An America free of what Eisenhower called “…the unwanted influence of the military-industrial complex”? A pullback on the power of the intelligence community? JFK became a marked man. He wanted to pull us completely out of Vietnam. He wanted to negotiate a settlement to the Cold War and live in peaceful co-existence with the communist world (3). The Secret Empire was not going to tolerate such a radical paradigm shift in domestic and foreign affairs. That was the entire point of the assassination."
How Washington Hawks Are Cynically Using Kidnapped Girls to Justify U.S. Military Intervention In...
- economic strangulation;
- collective punishment for being Muslims, not Jews;
- loss of basic freedoms;
- Gaza under siege;
- enclosures by separation walls, electric fences and border closings;
- regular curfews, roadblocks, and checkpoints;
- bulldozed homes, crops and orchards; as well as
- arrest, imprisonment, and torture without cause.
- borders discussed immediately for three months;
- a complete settlement construction freeze throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and
- release of 30 more agreed on pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners; 14 are Israeli citizens.
- "social aid for working Jews, poor immigrants and elderly Holocaust victims to political influence peddling at the service of the highly militarized state of Israel;
- from engaging in social welfare for American Jews to political lobbying for military transfers to Israel;
- from grassroots leaders sharing life styles and struggles with their rank and file donors to millionaire CEOs entertaining Zionist billionaires and banging tables for Israel at the White House while paying off the Congressional influential; and
- from reaching out and aligning with Americans working for peace with justice in the Middle East to embracing every tin horn monarch and dictator who signs off on Israeli annexation of Palestinian land."
- analyzing its changing structure and operational code;
- identifying its ideology and technological innovations;
- analyzing the domestic foundations of empire and the interplay between overseas expansion and internal decay; and
- locating idiosyncratic domestic political configurations which influence and direct the particular policies and strategies of empire builders."
- "black propaganda" through leaflets or other publications; it was "designed to discredit organizations and foster internal tensions;"
- "disinformation or 'gray propaganda' " for the same purpose;
- "bad-jacketing" to "creat(e) suspicion - through the spread of rumors, manufacture of evidence, etc." to turn some members against others violently;
- "harassment arrests (on bogus) charges;" and
- "assassinations (of) selected political leaders."
"Jack Ruby was convicted 50 years ago Friday for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. Ruby, born Jacob Leon Rubenstein in Chicago in 1911, shot Oswald out of some kind of deep-seated love for the president Oswald had just allegedly killed, according to the official version of events. But the real facts of Ruby’s mid-day November 24, 1963 shooting of Oswald on live national television do little to validate the Warren Commission Report.
Here are seven reasons Ruby likely killed Oswald as part of the conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy:
1. He said so
'Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts, of what occurred, my motives. The people had, that had so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world,' Ruby said on film after he shot Oswald.
Asked if these men were in very high positions, Ruby replied, 'Yes.'
2. He even suggested Lyndon Johnson ordered him to do it
'When I mentioned about Adlai Stevenson, if he was vice president there would never have been an assassination of our beloved President Kennedy…Well the answer is the man in office now,' Ruby said in 1963.
3. He was a known gangster
Jack Ruby ate at mafia-world restaurateur Joe Campisi’s Dallas restaurant the night before Kennedy was assassinated.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations found in a 1979 report that Ruby knew Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, a close Kennedy crony and Fidel Castro assassination plot insider who helped Kennedy win Illinois in the 1960 presidential election. Kennedy and Giancana shared the same mistress, Judith Exner. After Kennedy took office, his brother and attorney general Robert Kennedy used the Justice Department to go after organized crime, even saying, 'I want that dago Sam Giancana put away for good.'
4. Why was Oswald being led through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters in plain sight, accessible to the crowd?
Ruby had easy access to Oswald and nobody tried to stop him before he ran up to the alleged Soviet sympathizer, who was walking while being held on both sides by Dallas police detectives Jim Leavelle and L.C. Graves.
'Ruby’s shooting of Oswald was not a spontaneous act, in that it involved at least some premeditation. Similarly, the committee believed it was less likely that Ruby entered the police basement without assistance, even though the assistance may have been provided with no knowledge of Ruby’s intentions,' the House Select Committee on Assassinations found in 1979.
'The committee was troubled by the apparently unlocked doors along the stairway route and the removal of security guards from the area of the garage nearest the stairway shortly before the shooting… There is also evidence that the Dallas Police Department withheld relevant information from the Warren Commission concerning Ruby’s entry to the scene of the Oswald transfer,' according to the committee.
5. Oswald was asking to be silenced
'I’m just a patsy' Oswald shouted to reporters while in custody before being briskly taken away.
6. Richard Nixon recognized Ruby, having hired him at Lyndon Johnson’s request years before
'Nixon said, "The damn thing is, I knew this Jack Ruby. Murray [Chotiner] brought him to me in 1947, said he was one of ‘Johnson’s boys’ and that LBJ wanted us to hire him as an informant to the Committee. We did,"' former Nixon operative Roger Stone told The Daily Caller.
'I think Nixon immediately recognized that LBJ was using one his operatives to do ‘clean up’ work on the murder of John Kennedy,' Stone said.
7. The Warren Commission wouldn’t let him talk
'I want to tell the truth, and I can’t tell it here,' Ruby told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren in June 1964, after Warren and other commission members including Gerald Ford visited Ruby in Dallas. Warren, whose commission was hastily assembled at the behest of President Johnson to quell conspiracy theories, declined to transport Ruby to Washington, D.C. to testify about what really happened."
Having seen firsthand the devastation of a global war, Ike was happy to fight another kind of war in the 1950s. A virtually bloodless war staged by spies manipulating events in covert ways. In essence he turned the country over to the Dulles brothers; in return all they had to do was promise that there would be no six million dead in concentration camps, no American GIs committed to foreign soil, no atom bombs dropped here or overseas. Allen and Foster obliged, and they ascended to the throne. With their power they staged coups in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, and anywhere their clients’ interests were at stake. Who were their clients? The 1% who owned everything–-Dow, the Rockefellers, United Fruit, the duPonts–-and who relied on their legal advisors (Sullivan & Cromwell) and their bankers (Brown Brothers Harriman) to handle their money here and abroad. As shareholders, the Dulles brothers got their cut, of course, and the rest is the history no one knows. For the Dulles brothers were interested only in that part of America that benefitted them, not the rest of us. The rest of us wanted democracy; the Dulleses were invested in oligarchy. The system survives today; their legacy lives on. One percent of Americans feast at the table and the rest of us fight for the crumbs they spill. They’ve owned presidents, politicians, defense contractors, and judges. They’ve rigged the game to their own ends. They’ve starved us, lied to us, and killed us. And used the power of the CIA (Corporations Invisible Army) to do it. All for profit. That’s the Dulles brothers’ America. One president, and only one, challenged them. And see what happened to him in Dallas.
An inside source warned me over the weekend to be on the lookout for another banker "suicide," and sure enough I awoke this morning to the news that another JP Morgan banker jumped to his death.
An investment banker on Tuesday jumped to his death from the roof of Chater House in Central, where Wall Street bank JP Morgan has its Asia headquarters, several witnesses told the South China Morning Post.
Witnesses said the man initially went to the roof of Chater House, a 30-floor building in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district – and later jumped. The incident happened between 2pm to 3pm, one witness said.
Several policemen were seen on the roof but apparently failed to convince the man not to jump, one of the witnesses said. Police later confirmed to the Post that a 33-year-old man – surnamed Li – was found in a dangerous position on the roof of Chater House on Connaught Road Central at 2.08pm local time. Li threw himself off the building before the city’s emergency crew arrived.
This brings the total to 6 top levels bankers and approximately 20 when low level bankers are included, in a very short span of time.
We were warned by "V" The Guerrilla Economist, via Steve Quayle, in multiple alerts, that the "house is being swept," and financial footprints are being purged.
The other five are, Richard Talley who shot himself with a nailgun.
Mike Dueker was found dead close to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State.
William Broeksmit, was found dead on January 26 in his home after an apparent suicide in South Kensington in central London.
Karl Slym, 51, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok.
39-year-old Gabriel Magee, a JP Morgan employee, died after falling from the roof of its European headquarters in London.
The house is being swept folks and this rash of suicides seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.
What do those behind this have on these men that would make them kill themselves? Some type of mind control? Threats against their families?
The statistical chances of this many, in the same field, in this short amount of time, all committing suicide randomly, is remote at best and when the mysterious deaths of the approximate other 20 are added in, downright impossible.
Something huge is here and it is happening now.
[Update] Is this why the "fat cats" are running scared?
[Update] DAHBOO7, video below and in his video details he states "This is it folks ...without a doubt , something huge is brewing!"
Cross posted at Before It's News
1. War is immoral.
Murder is the one crime that we're taught to excuse if it's done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.
Over the centuries and decades, death counts in wars have grown dramatically, shifted heavily onto civilians rather than combatants, and been overtaken by injury counts as even greater numbers have been injured but medicine has allowed them to survive.
Deaths are now due primarily to violence rather than to disease, formerly the biggest killer in wars.
Death and injury counts have also shifted very heavily toward one side in each war, rather than being evenly divided between two parties. Those traumatized, rendered homeless, and otherwise damaged far outnumber the injured and the dead.
The idea of a "good war" or a "just war" sounds obscene when one looks honestly at independent reporting on wars.
When we say that war goes back 10,000 years it’s not clear that we’re talking about a single thing, as opposed to two or more different things going by the same name. Picture a family in Yemen or Pakistan living under a constant buzz produced by a drone overhead. One day their home and everyone in it is shattered by a missile. Were they at war? Where was the battlefield? Where were their weapons? Who declared the war? What was contested in the war? How would it end?
Is it not perhaps the case that we have already ended war and now must end something else as well (a name for it might be: the hunting of humans)?
If we can change our manner of killing foreigners to render it almost unrecognizable, who’s to say we can’t eliminate the practice altogether?
2. War endangers us.
There are more effective tools than war for protection.
In arming, many factors must be considered: weapon-related accidents, malicious testing on human beings, theft, sales to allies who become enemies, and the distraction from efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and war must all be taken into account. So, of course, must the tendency to use weapons once you have them. And a nation’s stockpiling of weapons for war puts pressure on other nations to do the same. Even a nation that intends to fight only in defense, may understand “defense” to be the ability to retaliate against other nations. This makes it necessary to create the weaponry and strategies for aggressive war. When you put a lot of people to work planning something, when that project is in fact your largest public investment and proudest cause, it can be difficult to keep those people from finding opportunities to execute their plans. Read more.
War making provokes danger.
While the best defense in many sports may be a good offense, an offense in war is not defensive, not when it generates hatred, resentment, and blowback, not when the alternative is no war at all. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion. Read More.
War's weapons risk intentional or accidental apocalypse.
We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There's no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many. As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. And possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military's ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States' ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes.
Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines.
The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. The world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military. Not only do we fight wars in areas of the globe that happen to be rich in oil; we also burn more oil fighting those wars than we do in any other activity. Author Ted Rall writes:
“The U.S. Department of [War] is the world’s worst polluter, belching, dumping, and spilling more pesticides, defoliants, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium than the five biggest American chemical corporations combined. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, 60 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions between 2003 and 2007 originated in U.S.-occupied Iraq, due to the enormous amount of oil and gas required to maintain hundreds of thousands of American military forces and private contractors, not to mention the toxins released by fighter jets, drone planes, and the missiles and other ordnance they fire at Iraqis.”
The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption.
The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars.
Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.
Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.
The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.
If militaries were made green in terms of their operations, they would lose one of their main reasons for war. (Nobody can own the sun or the wind.) And we would still have a long list of ... More reasons to end war.
We're often told that wars are fought for "freedom." But when a wealthy nation fights a war against a poor (if often resource-rich) nation halfway around the globe, among the goals is not actually to prevent that poor nation from taking over the wealthy one, after which it might restrict people's rights and liberties. The fears used to build support for the wars don't involve such an incredible scenario at all; rather the threat is depicted as one to safety, not liberty.
In close proportion to levels of military spending, liberties are restricted in the name of war -- even while wars may simultaneously be waged in the name of liberty. We try to resist the erosion of liberties, the warrantless surveillance, the drones in the skies, the lawless imprisonment, the torture, the assassinations, the denial of a lawyer, the denial of access to information on the government, etc. But these are symptoms. The disease is war and the preparation for war.
It is the idea of the enemy that allows government secrecy.
The nature of war, as fought between valued and devalued people, facilitates the erosion of liberties in another way, in addition to the fear for safety. That is, it allows liberties to first be taken away from devalued people. But the programs developed to accomplish that are later predictably expanded to include valued people as well.
Militarism erodes not just particular rights but the very basis of self-governance. It privatizes public goods, it corrupts public servants, it creates momentum for war by making people's careers dependent on it.
One way in which war erodes public trust and morals is by its predictable generation of public lies.
Also eroded, of course, is the very idea of the rule of law -- replaced with the practice of might-makes-right.
War has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what's thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government's discretionary budget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.
Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twise as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures.
The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.
War Spending Drains an Economy:
It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs -- with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.
War Spending Increases Inequality:
Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved.
War Spending Is Unsustainable, As Is Exploitation it Facilitates:
While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.
Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates' wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.
It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water. Again, that sounds like a lot. Let's round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.
Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don't share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.
But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning "college debt" can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as "human sacrifice"), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices. What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?
The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?
U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year. Taking it up to $100 billion -- never mind $523 billion! -- would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering. It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth. A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world. Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels, the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups, but only if one other factor were added -- only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.
Some U.S. states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace insustries.
- unaffordable housing;
- high food and energy prices;
- low wages and eroding social benefits;
- onerous taxes;
- education and healthcare increasingly dependent on the ability to pay;
- weak labor rights;
- construction funding disproportionately allocated for settlement development; and
- the high cost of raising children.