Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Fire This Time: Second Time in a Week, Ukraine Seperatists Burned Alive by Fascist Mob

Burning Ukraine's Protesters Alive

by Robert Parry - Consortium News

In Ukraine, a grisly new strategy – bringing in neo-Nazi paramilitary forces to set fire to occupied buildings in the country’s rebellious southeast – appears to be emerging as a favored tactic as the coup-installed regime in Kiev seeks to put down resistance from ethnic Russians and other opponents.

Ukrainian Secretary for National Security Andriy Parubiy 

 The technique first emerged on May 2 in the port city of Odessa when pro-regime militants chased dissidents into the Trade Unions Building and then set it on fire.

As some 40 or more ethnic Russians were burned alive or died of smoke inhalation, the crowd outside mocked them as red-and-black Colorado potato beetles, with the chant of “Burn, Colorado, burn.” Afterwards, reporters spotted graffiti on the building’s walls containing Swastika-like symbols and honoring the “Galician SS,” the Ukrainian adjunct to the German SS in World War II.

This tactic of torching an occupied building occurred again on May 9 in Mariupol, another port city, as neo-Nazi paramilitaries – organized now as the regime’s “National Guard” – were dispatched to a police station that had been seized by dissidents, possibly including police officers who rejected a new Kiev-appointed chief. Again, the deployment of the “National Guard” was followed by burning the building and killing a significant but still-undetermined number of people inside. (Early estimates of the dead range from seven to 20.)

In the U.S. press, Ukraine’s “National Guard” is usually described as a new force derived from the Maidan’s “self-defense” units that spearheaded the Feb. 22 revolt in Kiev overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych. But the Maidan’s “self-defense” units were drawn primarily from well-organized bands of neo-Nazi extremists from western Ukraine who hurled firebombs at police and fired weapons as the anti-Yanukovych protests turned increasingly violent.

But the mainstream U.S. press – in line with State Department guidance – has sought to minimize or dismiss the key role played by neo-Nazis in these “self-defense” forces as well as in the new government. At most, you’ll see references to these neo-Nazis as “Ukrainian nationalists.”

Turning to the Neo-Nazis

However, as resistance to Kiev’s right-wing regime expanded in the ethnic Russian east and south, the coup regime found itself unable to count on regular Ukrainian troops to fire on civilians. Thus, its national security chief Andriy Parubiy, himself a neo-Nazi, turned to the intensely motivated neo-Nazi shock troops who had been battle-tested during the coup.

These extremists were reorganized as special units of the National Guard and dispatched to the east and south to do the dirty work that the regular Ukrainian military was unwilling to do. Many of these extreme Ukrainian nationalists lionize World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and – like Bandera – dream of a racially pure Ukraine, free of Jews, ethnic Russians and other “inferior” beings. The slur of calling the Odessa protesters Colorado beetles — as they were being burned alive — was a reference to the black-and-red colors used by the ethnic Russian resistance in the east.

Though the mainstream U.S. press either describes Parubiy simply as the interim government’s chief of national security (with no further context) or possibly as a “nationalist,” his fuller background includes his founding of the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blending radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Last year, he became commandant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.”

Then, on April 15, after becoming the Kiev regime’s chief of national security and finding Ukrainian troops unwilling to fire on fellow Ukrainians in the east, Parubiy went on Twitter to announce, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.”

Those National Guard forces also were reported on the ground in Odessa when the trade unions building was torched on May 2 and they showed up again in Mariupol as the police station was burned on May 9, according to a report in the New York Times on Saturday.

The Times mentioned the appearance – and then disappearance – of the National Guard without providing any useful background about this newly organized force. In the language used by the mainstream U.S. press and the Kiev regime, the neo-Nazi brigades are “volunteers” and “self-defense” units while the rebels resisting the post-coup regime are “pro-Russian militants” or “terrorists.” The Times reported the May 9 attack in Mariupol this way:

“Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote on Facebook that about 60 pro-Russian militants had tried to seize the city’s police headquarters. The police called for support from the Ukrainian national guard, a newly formed force of quickly trained volunteers drawn from participants in last winter’s street protests in the capital. Mr. Avakov wrote that 20 ‘terrorists’ had died in the fighting, while those who survived dispersed and hid in a residential neighborhood.”

The Times added:

“The national guard, though, pulled out of the city soon afterward …. Residents who had gathered around the police station offered an account that differed from the interior minister’s. The city police, they said, were sympathetic to the pro-Russian side and had mutinied against an out-of-town chief newly installed by the interim government in Kiev.

“Armored vehicles had driven into the city to confront the rebellious police, not the militants, residents said. Holes in the brick wall suggested heavy weaponry. Gunfire echoed downtown.”

After the deaths inside Mariupol’s police station, the Kiev regime rejoiced at the extermination of a large number of “terrorists.” As the UK’s Independent reported, “The military action is accompanied by stridently aggressive rhetoric from politicians in Kiev who are crowing about the numbers of ‘terrorists’ killed and threatening further lethal punishment.”

The Kiev’s regime’s concern that some local police forces have at best mixed loyalties has led it again to turn to the Maidan “self-defense” forces to serve as a special “Kiev-1” police force, which was dispatched to Odessa amid that city’s recent violence.

Deniable Forces

Though many Americans don’t want to believe that their government would collaborate with neo-Nazis or other extremist elements, there actually has been a long history of just that. In conflicts as diverse as the revolutions in Central America and the anti-Soviet Afghan war in the 1980s to the current civil conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, it has not been uncommon for the side favored by the United States to rely on extremist paramilitary forces to engage in the most brutal fighting.

In Central American conflicts that I covered for the Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s, some of the “death squads” associated with pro-U.S. regimes were drawn from neo-fascist movements allied with the far-right World Anti-Communist League. In Afghanistan, the CIA relied on Islamist extremists, including Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden, to kill Russians and their Afghan government allies.

Today, in Syria, many of the most aggressive fighters against Bashar al-Assad’s government are Arab jihadists recruited from across the region and armed by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms. So, it fits with a pattern for the U.S. government to hold its nose and rely on neo-Nazis from western Ukraine to take the fight to rebellious ethnic Russians in the east and south.

The key to all these unsavory alliances is for the American people not to know about the real nature of these U.S. clients. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration advanced the concept of “public diplomacy” to intimidate journalists and human rights activists who dared report on the brutality of U.S.-backed forces in El Salvador and Guatemala and the CIA-trained Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Thus, most Americans weren’t sure what to make of recurring reports about right-wing “death squads” killing priests and nuns and committing other massacres across Central America. Regarding Afghanistan, it took the American people until Sept. 11, 2001, to fully comprehend whom the Reagan administration had been working with in the 1980s.

Similarly, the Obama administration has tried to maintain the fiction that the Syrian opposition is dominated by well-meaning “moderates.” However, as the brutal civil war has ground on, it gradually has become apparent that the most effective anti-Assad fighters are the Sunni extremists allied with al-Qaeda and determined to kill Shiites, Alawites and Christians.

So, it should come as no surprise that the Kiev regime would turn to its Maidan “self-defense” forces – formed around neo-Nazi militias – to go into southern and eastern Ukraine with the purpose of burning to death ethnic Russian “insects” occupying buildings. The key is not to let the American people in on the secret. [For more, see’s “Ukraine, Through the U.S. ‘Looking Glass.’”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

The Odessa Outrage: West's Fascist Friends Murder Unarmed Citizens

U.S./EU Backed Neo-Nazis Murder 116 Unarmed Civilians in Odessa

by Steven Argue - IndyBay

The western corporate media are purposely confused about what happened in the May 2nd Odessa Massacre.

Yet, video, photos, and eyewitness accounts do make clear what happened. 

Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk Vow To Go Ahead With Referendum For Independence On May 11th, Despite Moscow's Disapproval 

On May 2nd, the pro-U.S. Maiden fascists violently attacked an encampment of anti-fascist protesters in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Tents were burned as the unarmed anti-fascist protesters then retreated to Odessa's Trades Union Building.

This antifascist protest in Odessa, a city in south western Ukraine, was opposed to the junta that came to power in Kiev on February 22nd. At that time the elected government was overthrown and created in its place was a government that is now composed largely of open neo-Nazis of the Svoboda Party.

After anti-fascist protesters retreated to the Trades Union Building, violent neo-Nazis surrounded them and blockaded the doors, set the building on fire with Molotov cocktails, and shot, beat to death, and strangled those who tried to escape the fire and many who survived the fire after.

Junta security services did nothing to even attempt to stop the violence. In addition, they arrested 130 surviving anti-fascists and did not arrest any of the neo-Nazis who carried out the massacre. Some of those protesters were released from jail, but many others have been shipped out of the Odessa region to prisons elsewhere in Ukraine. No investigation into the massacre is being conducted by the government. There are also accounts that police participated in the violence and that some of the fascists who carried out the attack were bussed in from Kiev by the coup junta. What is certainly clear is that the authorities did not interfere with this massacre of unarmed protesters and doubly victimized the anti-facists with no attempt at justice, just additional injustice with the arrests of surviving victims after the attacks.

Here is video of the Maiden fascists making the Molotov cocktails they would use to burn unarmed protesters alive. The Maiden fascists look like they are having a picnic, and, as was the case through the entire massacre, there was no police interference.

Here is an interview with a survivor of the massacre giving her eyewitness account of the massacre.

Officially, according to the neo-Nazi infested junta of Kiev, the number of people murdered May 2nd was 46 people. Yet, independent investigation has shown this to also be a lie. Ukrainian lawmaker Vadim Savenko, who has carried out an independent investigation, says the Kiev authorities are hiding the true death toll. “According to our data, there were 116 people killed in the House of Trade Unions in Odessa,” Vadim Savenko said.

Despite clear evidence through video, photographic, and eyewitness accounts of the crimes of Maiden fascists and the complicity and impunity granted by the Kiev government, the western corporate media refuses to tell the truth of May 2nd Odessa massacre. They instead pretend those unarmed people who were murdered were terrorists from Russia and that the building started on fire by itself. This fits in with a long narrative of lies that have been fed to the western public ever since the beginning of the U.S. operation to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine with the use of neo-Nazis. For more responses to those lies, read the links to my earlier articles at the end of this article. As I wrote when this coup government came to power:

"With the U.S. sponsored overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine, the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party has been given several key posts in the new coup government. Svoboda is a party that celebrates Ukrainian Nazi collaborator and brutal mass murderer Stepan Bandera. It also claims Jewish gangsters control the media and those Jews plan to carry out genocide against Christians. Svoboda’s top leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, is calling for criminal penalties for speaking in the Russian language and stripping all ethnic Russians of their Ukrainian citizenship, forcing them to become non-citizens in their own land. In 2010 the official Svoboda internet website included in its program their desire to "physically liquidate all Russian-speaking intellectuals and all Ukrainophobes (Fast, without a trial, shot. Registering Ukrainophobes can be done here by any member of Svoboda)."

"Within the coup government Svoboda has been given the positions of Prime Minister for Economic Affairs (Oleksandr Sych), Education Minister (Serhiy Kvit), Ecology Minister (Andriy Makhnyk), Agriculture Minister (Ihor Shvaiko), and Prosecutor-General of Ukraine (Oleh Makhnitsky). Not all posts have been given to neo-Nazis. Two other rightwing capitalist parties that have no problem working closely with neo-Nazis, the Fatherland Party and UDAR, have been given the rest of posts in the coup government.

"A cofounder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy, has also been given the portfolio of Secretary of National Security and Defense. Make no mistake, this is a fascist given a position of command in an impending war that the capitalist state of Ukraine and its fascist thugs have begun to wage against the working class, leftists, women, Jews, and national minorities of Ukraine."

Out of self-preservation, people in Ukrainian regions with sizable Russian populations have naturally risen up against this coup government. Crimea, which was part of Russia up until the 1950s voted in their overwhelming majority to rejoin Russia. Elsewhere in the east the working class rose up and seized power. Attempts by the coup government to put down this popular revolution through the use of the Ukrainian military have ended with the Ukrainian military refusing orders to fire on their own people, some turning their weapons over and surrendering, others joining the revolution.

It was under these conditions that the Kiev government formed the National Guard, a new military unit that incorporates in neo-Nazi units. Additional neo-Nazi Right Sector Units have also attacked and murdered many eastern Ukrainians. President Obama's response to this continued violence by the Kiev government against its own people has been to support Kiev's "attempts to restore order", aid the Kiev government, blame Russia for the everything, carry out economic sanctions against Russia, and move more NATO forces closer to Ukraine.

Imperialist motivations for the U.S. and EU intervention that helped impose this coup government include their desire to impose a government willing to impose IMF / World Bank dictates, including devastating austerity and to economically isolate Russia.

In response, Russia has rightly opposed U.S. intervention in Ukraine that is aimed at isolating Russia from its regional trading partners. Yet, Russia does not speak for the people of eastern Ukraine. Their negotiations with the western powers and Kiev that brought an agreement for the people of eastern Ukraine to disarm and to end the occupation of buildings was soundly rejected by the people of eastern Ukraine. Likewise, Russia has also demanded that the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk not carry out a referendum on independence planned for May 11th. Both have refused and will go ahead with the vote. The ballot will be very simple, it simply asks whether they would like to become an independent republic or remain part of Ukraine. This is a ballot vote for the right to self-determination of an oppressed people and should be supported by all authentic anti-fascists and anti-imperialists everywhere.

In response to the uprisings in eastern Ukraine, the Obama administration, EU, and Kiev government are blaming Russia. The reality, however, is that it is the imperialist imposed coup in Kiev and the chauvinism of that government that caused the anti-fascist uprisings in eastern Ukraine, not Russian intervention.

Leninist-Trotskyists support the anti-fascist uprisings in eastern Ukraine and call for the continued building of non-sectarian self-defense militias to protect oppressed nationalities, Jews, women, unions, and opposition political parties from fascist attacks. In addition, we call for the building of Leninist-Trotskyist parties that fights to overthrow the capitalist system itself, ending IMF austerity, massive unemployment, national oppression, and other devastation capitalism has brought to Ukraine.

For more on events in Ukraine leading up to the May 2 Odessa Massacre, check out the following articles by Steven Argue:

Flyers Telling Jews To Register Are Not From the Donetsk People's Republic

Ukrainian Military Joins Revolt, Troops Vow to Defend Protesters

For Ukraine's Self-Defense Militias!
For Crimea's Right To National Self Determination!

Communist Party Wins Mayoral Election in Russia's 3rd Largest City

Belarus: President Lukashenko Vows to Prevent a Coup Similar to Ukraine

Imperialists Out of Ukraine! Stop Supporting Neo-Nazis! (An earlier article before the coup with in-depth analysis)

US & EU Imperialist Hands Off Crimea, Ukraine, Belarus, & Russia!
by Steven Argue

Who Protects Us from the "Justice" Servers?

Call the Cops at Your Peril

by Paul Craig Roberts - ICH

Live free or die” is the motto of the state of New Hampshire. I hope the residents are prepared to die, because living free is not what they do. NH is merely a cog within the Amerikan Stasi State, but I am referring to what goes on within NH itself, not the police state existence imposed by Washington. On May 5 attorney William Baer was arrested at a school board meeting at which he went over a 2-minute speaking rule while trying to get some explanation from the Gilford, NH, school board for assigning sexually explicit reading material to his 14-year old daughter’s English class. The evasiveness of the school board angered Mr. Baer, and he spoke out again in support of another parents protests, and was promptly arrested by a goon thug cop.

The school board chairman, Sue Allen, who has no legislative power nevertheless managed to create a law backed by police violence. After all if Bush and Obama can create laws by edict, why not a school board chairman? Under Allen’s edict, if a parent violates the 2-minute rule that Allen imposed, she has the parent arrested. The goon thug cop wasn’t embarrassed to arrest a parent for making a legitimate complaint during the public comment period of a school board meeting.

Remember, we “freedom and democracy” ‘mericans have free speech and protest rights. Actually, don’t remember that, because you no longer have any such rights. These rights are dangerous. They enable terrorists and extremists such as those dangerous people who don’t believe The Government.

This is Amerika today. Mr Baer offered no resistance, but nevertheless was lucky that the goon thug cop did not taser him, pepper spray him, and call for a backup SWAT team to beat him senseless or even murder him.

Last month wedding guests at at the San Luis Hotel in Galveston, Texas, were set upon without reason by 34 crazed goon thug cops. The guests, including the father of the bride and the bride’s brother were brutally beaten and maced along with many guests including 13 who were arrested for asking, “what is going on?” The brother was so badly injured by the goon thugs that he had to be rushed via helicopter to a hospital.

The mayhem resulted from an off-duty goon thug witnessing a guest walk outside with an alcoholic beverage, thus violating the city’s “open container” law. Instead of advising the guest of the open container law and recommending that he step back inside, the goon thug called the cops who arrived on the scene in mass and enjoyed themselves by beating up the wedding party.

No charges have been filed against the goon thugs for gratuitously beating up wedding guests. The right of cops to beat and murder the citizens who pay their salaries is now a perk of the job. It is necessary in order to keep us safe from criminals and terrorists, descriptions that are ever expanding.

Don’t expect courts to put any restraint on police and prosecutors. Dave Lindorff and Molly Knefel have given accurate accounts of the frame-up of Cecily McMillan by a corrupt prosecutor and a corrupt goon thug. McMillan was convicted on the false charge of assaulting a police office when the goon thug seized her breasts from behind. The judge, Ronald Zwiebel, enabled the conviction by preventing the defense from showing the evidence. The gullible and very stupid jurors made certain that injustice was perpetrated. Now a young woman who was sexually assaulted faces a seven-year prison sentence for “assaulting” a goon thug.

This is Stasi Amerika today. And it gets worse. In Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Eileen Battisti, a 53-year old widow, had her $280,000 home seized by Beaver County officials and sold at auction for $116,000 because of an unpaid $6.30 interest fee on the late payment of her school district taxes. A corrupt judge did not insist upon justice for the widow but instead upheld the robbery that benefitted both the county and the purchaser at auction of her home, S.P. Lewis. Lewis offered to sell the widow her home back for $250,000.

To see what cops are really like, read this.

Whatever you do, never call the cops. However bad you might think the situation is, it will be much worse once the goon thugs arrive:

And do not show any compassion for animals. Showing compassion for animals is proof that you are an animal-rights extremist which lumps you in with terrorists. In Albion, Michigan, extremists who feed a stray cat are fined and locked away for three months. Mary Musselman, an 81-year old Alzheimer sufferer was locked away for 90 days for feeding stray cats on her own property. When you see a starving animal, turn your back and walk away. Your inhumanity will be rewarded but your humanity will be severely punished.

Just keep in mind that “we have freedom and democracy” and we are “the exceptional and indispensable people.” Our president told us so. This designation removes you from any responsibility to other humans, much less animals. Don’t lose sight of the fact that Amerikans are so exceptional and indispensable that we have murdered seven entire countries in the new 21st century, and we are just getting started. As it is perfectly acceptable for Amerika to murder countries, how can it possibly matter if a goon thug cop murders you, your pet or your wife or husband or daughter or son?

What is so discouraging is that this article could be hundreds of thousands of pages long. I could sit here writing this article for the rest of my life, adding one incident after another, and not get beyond the tip of the iceberg.

The inhumanity of which Americans are capable and indulge in every day must scare Satan himself.

Parents arrested for protesting the assignment of pornographic reading material to 14-year olds by school boards, elderly and ill people imprisoned for feeding starving animals, pets murdered by police who are supposed to protect the citizens but instead mace them, beat them, body slam them, and shoot them and their pets gratuitously for the thrill of committing violence against life are the reason the public sector is in disrepute.

The worst people in the country are in our public institutions. This is why there is so little sympathy for the public sector unions now under attack by the Republicans. Americans look at their county commissions, their city councils, their criminal justice (sic) system, their governors, state legislatures, Congress, and the White House, and all that they see is evil and corruption.

There is nothing else there.

Americans who trust the criminal justice (sic) system are completely stupid. A case of mass wrongful conviction that I wrote about years ago finally came to trial last November. Annie Dookham, a Massachusetts state chemist who falsified drug tests, thus sentencing thousands of innocent people to years in prison, destroying their lives and the lives of their families, was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison. Dookhan sent thousands of innocents to prison in order to aid prosecutors in attaining high conviction rates and in order to achieve her own rise as a highly productive state employee. The judge noted that Dookham had cost the state millions of dollars in settling wrongful convictions and had shaken to the core the integrity of the criminal justice (sic) system.

State officials say that Dookhan’s fake evidence could have tainted 40,000 cases. Ask yourself, what kind of person would destroy so many people in order to advance herself? And progressives think that the public sector is the answer.

You can ask the same question about the New York State Police and the Texas police who dropped little bags of ground up wallboard in cars stopped at random, conducted illegal searches, and arrested the occupants for drugs. Hundreds of innocents were convicted until finally one brave public defender demanded presentation of the alleged drugs and had the evidence tested. It came back: wallboard. All other public defenders had accommodated the conviction scheme and arranged plea bargains for their clients. You can read about these and other atrocities in my book, coauthored with Larry Stratton: The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

It only gets worse:

Psychopaths and bullies are naturally attracted to the police by the privilege of using essentially unaccountable force. The proclivity to violence is heightened by police training. The emphasis is on killing suspects, not on capturing them. CBS Miami reports that 23 goon thugs fired 377 rounds at two men trapped inside a car.

On May 8 a goon thug in Hearne, Texas murdered 93-year old Pearlie Golden. The elderly woman was shot five times in her front yard.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost.

The Race for Africa: Boko Haram's PR Usefulness

Boko Haram V. Nigeria's Crooks

by Eric Margolis

The kidnapping of some 200 girls in northern Nigeria has sparked world outrage. It’s a perfect media sensation: exotic locale and remarkably nasty kidnappers from a northern rebel movement, Boko Haram.

I’ve long been a connoisseur of Third World nasties, starting way back in the 60’s with Haiti’s voodoo chief, Papa Doc. Most have been nobodies who achieved instant international prominence by shooting off their mouths, making lurid threats and committing some dramatic outrage.

The latest is Boko Haram’s chief, a certain Abubakar Shekau. This lunatic has become a world bogeyman by kidnapping the school girls, gleefully prancing in front of TV cameras, and vowing to sell them into marital slavery.

Howls of fury erupted from leftist women’s groups in the US, and from President Barack Obama’s liberal warrior women, Susan Rice and UN ambassador Susan Powers. Hillary Clinton lost no time in jumping on this vote-winning issue.

In a truly heartwarming gesture, China says it will send “specialists” to aid the hunt for the missing girls. This is really about China’s race for Africa’s resources and its growing competition there with the US and Europe. The US wants its troops there before the Chinese arrive.

Few people anywhere cared much about the thousands of Afghan villagers just buried alive by a monster mud slide. Even fewer that Boko Haram’s previous rampages in northern Nigeria have killed over 1,500 civilians. Or that the thuggish Nigerian army and police’s brutal reprisals killed thousands of Muslim villagers.

Few outraged westerners knew that stealing girls is a traditional pastime in sub-Saharan Africa and child brides are second only to cattle rustling. There was no understanding in Washington that the tribal chaos and bloodshed now seething in South Sudan is merely a continuation of traditional raiding for cattle and women between rival Dinka and Neuer tribes. Washington failed to take this into account when it engineered the breakup of Sudan to create South Sudan as an oil-rich US vassal state.

American foreign policy reacts to oil and gas as my cats do to catnip. Now, under the pretext of deep concern for the missing schoolgirls, the US and Nigeria’s former colonial master, Britain, are rushing intelligence agents and special forces to this vast nation of 170 million, Africa’s largest.

Faux humanitarian missions are the rage for western intervention in the Third World. Libya and Syria offer vivid recent examples. US special forces are now operating out of Djibouti and Uganda in east Africa, ostensibly hunting fanatics of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a bunch of drug-crazed primitives hiding in dense forests. The US air base in Djibouti is being expanded to accommodate 4,000 military personnel and more attack drones.

Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil and gas producer. Over 40% of its exports go to the United States, supplying 10% of America’s energy needs. Nearby Angola has become another major energy supplier to the US.

Nigeria has important mineral and farming assets. Yet it remains mired in the deepest, shameful poverty. One percent of the population controls all the wealth and steals billions annually. In fact, the UN estimates almost all of Nigeria’s vast oil wealth has been stolen, squandered or stashed in Switzerland. Oil revenues flow directly to the government, then to powerful state governors. The only thing that trickles down to Nigerians is rain.

Northern Nigeria, mostly Muslim, is dirt poor. Oil wealth goes to the better off Christian south. The north’s Hausa and Fulani peoples have bitterly resented the massive theft of the nation’s resources by the more nimble southerners favored by British colonial rule. In fact, Britain was at fault for creating the multi-ethnic mess that is Nigeria, another colonial Frankenstein state, like Iraq or Burma.

Boko Haram’s rampage must be seen in this context, a popular uprising against Nigeria’s limitless government corruption, poverty, and resource theft. Boko uses the idiom of Islam but there is nothing Islamic about it. As in other parts of the Muslim world, reformers call for imposition of Islamic law as an antidote to endemic corruption of governments and courts that has been too often fostered by Western colonialism.

Screaming “Islamic terrorism” won’t defuse Nigeria’s coming explosion. Considered one of the world’s most corrupt nations, Nigeria has to clean up its act – and fast.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.
 Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014

Everyone Getting Everything Wrong on Afghanistan

Everybody's Got Afghanistan Wrong

by David Swanson - War is a Crime

This goes deeper than the usual war lies.

We've had plenty of those.

We weren't told the Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over to a neutral nation to stand trial. We weren't told the Taliban was a reluctant tolerator of al Qaeda, and a completely distinct group. We weren't told the 911 attacks had also been planned in Germany and Maryland and various other places not marked for bombing. We weren't told that most of the people who would die in Afghanistan, many more than died on 911, not only didn't support 911 but never heard of it. We weren't told our government would kill large numbers of civilians, imprison people without trial, hang people by their feet and whip them until they were dead. We weren't told how this illegal war would advance the acceptability of illegal wars or how it would make the United States hated in much of the world.

We weren't given the background of how the U.S. interfered in Afghanistan and provoked a Soviet invasion and armed resistance to the Soviets and left the people to the tender mercies of that armed resistance once the Soviets left. We weren't told that Tony Blair wanted Afghanistan first before he'd get the UK to help destroy Iraq. We certainly weren't told that bin Laden had been an ally of the U.S. government, that the 911 hijackers were mostly Saudi, or that there might be anything at all amiss with the government of Saudi Arabia.

And nobody mentioned the trillions of dollars we'd waste or the civil liberties we'd have to lose at home or the severe damage that would be inflicted on the natural environment. Even birds don't go to Afghanistan anymore.

OK. That's all sort of par-for-the-course, war-marketing bullshit. People who pay attention know all of that. People who don't want to know any of that are the last great hope of military recruiters everywhere. And don't let the past tense fool you. The White House is trying to keep the occupation of Afghanistan going for TEN MORE YEARS ("and beyond"), and articles have been popping up this week about sending U.S. troops back into Iraq. But there's something more.

I've just read an excellent new book by Anand Gopal called 'No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes'. Gopal has spent years in Afghanistan, learned local languages, interviewed people in depth, researched their stories, and produced a true-crime book more gripping, as well as more accurate, than anything Truman Capote came up with. Gopal's book is like a novel that interweaves the stories of a number of characters -- stories that occasionally overlap. It's the kind of book that makes me worry I'll spoil it if I say too much about the fate of the characters, so I'll be careful not to.

The characters include Americans, Afghans allied with the U.S. occupation, Afghans fighting the U.S. occupation, and men and women trying to survive -- including by shifting their loyalties toward whichever party seems least likely in that moment to imprison or kill them. What we discover from this is not just that enemies, too, are human beings. We discover that the same human beings switch from one category to another quite easily. The blunder of the U.S. occupation's de-Baathification policy in Iraq has been widely discussed. Throwing all the skilled and armed killers out of work turned out not to be the most brilliant move. But think about what motivated it: the idea that whoever had supported the evil regime was irredeemably evil (even though Ronald Reagan and Donald Rumsfeld had supported the evil regime too -- OK, bad example, but you see what I mean). In Afghanistan the same cartoonish thinking, the same falling for one's own propaganda, went on.

People in Afghanistan whose personal stories are recounted here sided with or against Pakistan, with or against the USSR, with or against the Taliban, with or against the U.S. and NATO, as the tides of fortune turned. Some tried to make a living at peaceful employment when that possibility seemed to open up, including early-on in the U.S. occupation.

The Taliban was very swiftly destroyed in 2001 through a combination of overwhelming killing power and desertion. The U.S. then began hunting for anyone who had once been a member of the Taliban. But these included many of the people now leading the support of the U.S. regime -- and many such allied leaders were killed and captured despite not having been Taliban as well, through sheer stupidity and corruption.

We've often heard how dangling $5000 rewards in front of poor people produced false-accusations that landed their rivals in Bagram or Guantanamo. But Gopal's book recounts how the removal of these often key figures devastated communities, and turned communities against the United States that had previously been inclined to support it. Add to this the vicious and insulting abuse of whole families, including women and children captured and harassed by U.S. troops, and the revival of the Taliban under the U.S. occupation begins to become clear.

The lie we've been told to explain it is that the U.S. became distracted by Iraq. Gopal documents, however, that the Taliban revived precisely where U.S. troops were imposing a rule of violence and not where other internationals were negotiating compromises using, you know, words.

We find here a story of a bumbling oblivious and uncomprehending foreign occupation torturing and murdering a lot of its own strongest allies, shipping some of them off to Gitmo -- even shipping to Gitmo young boys whose only offense had been being the sexual assault victims of U.S. allies.

The danger in this type of narrative that dives deep into the crushing Kafkan horror of rule by brute ignorant force is that a reader will think: Let's do the next war better. If occupations can't work, let's just blow shit up and leave. To which I respond: Yeah, how are things working out in Libya? The lesson for us to learn is not that wars are badly managed, but that human beings are not Good Guys or Bad Guys. And here's the hard part: That includes Russians.

Want to do something useful for Afghanistan? Go here. Or here.

Israel's Asia Pivot

Israeli Ties Compromise Asian Support to Arabs

by Nicola Nasser

Israel has carved economic inroads into Asia deep enough to compromise the traditional Asian political support for Arabs. If this trend continues, the growing economic Israeli-Asian relations could in no time translate into political ties that would neutralize Asia in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s official visit to Japan from May 11-15 is not a historic breakthrough per se in bilateral relations that date back to 1952. Neither is the normalization of relations in “a matter of weeks” between Israel and Turkey, which was the first major Muslim country to recognize the State of Israel in 1949, as promised by the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 27.

However both events should highlight the historic breakthrough Israel has discreetly achieved in pivoting to Asia, once an Arab reservoir of support in their conflict with Israel over Palestine.

“For the first time, in 2014, Israeli exports with Asia will exceed trade with the US, pushing it from second to third place (behind the EU),” director of the Foreign Trade Administration at Israel’s Ministry of the Economy, Ohad Cohen, was quoted as saying by Israeli “Globes” on April 27.

While opening more trade attaché offices in Asia, the Israeli Ministry of the Economy has closed a number of European trade offices in Austria, Hungary, Finland and Sweden “in order to refocus on emerging markets,” Cohen explained.

“Today we have five offices in China, three in India, and we have added attaché in Vietnam and an office in Manila,” he added.

US President Barak Obama was in Asia last April trying to demonstrate that his promised Asian strategic shift was at last real. Meanwhile, the Israelis were already secured in their strategic shift to Asia.

While Obama was trying to forge a US-Asian counterbalance to China in what Chinese commentators described as “Cold War mentality,” Israel was courting the emerging Chinese economic superpower as well as India, which the World Bank on last April 29 reported it had overtaken Japan as the world’s third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.

“‘Pivot to Asia’ is a term that might be applied to Israel,” Roger Cohen wrote in The New York Times on April 24, citing a boom in its trade with China to more than $8 billion in 2013. Israel’s military and technological cooperation with China had once created a crisis in the U.S. - Israeli relations.

Cohen noted that while the US and Europe continue to “huff and puff” about the illegal Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank “Asia does business. India has already bought sea-to-sea missiles, radar for a missile-intercept system and communications equipment from Israel.”

India a case study

India could be a case study of Israel’s historic breakthrough.

According to the web site of the embassy of India in Cairo, Egypt, “Much of our external trade passes along the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” all almost exclusively Arab sea routes, and “Our total bilateral trade with the Arab countries is over US$ 110 billion and the region is home to 4.5 million Indians and caters to 70% of our energy imports.”

Indian Defence Minister Shri A.K. Antony told the 15th Asian Security Conference in February last year that “West Asia is a critical region” for India and the “Gulf region is vital for India’s energy security.”

During 2011 to 2012, India’s trade with the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was more than U.S. $145 billion (with exports and imports from the region standing at 20 percent and 14 percent, respectively), Antony said.

The “links” with West Asia “have got deepened and further strengthened in the era of globalization.” Former Prime Minister of India’s Special Envoy to West Asia, Chinmaya R. Gharikhan, was on record to attribute the Indian economy growth at more than 8% to India’s “dependence” for 70% of its energy needs on West Asia.

Former Indian ambassador to Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia, Talmiz Ahmad, on last December 29, wrote in Deccan Chronicle: “The security and stability of the Gulf and West Asia are crucial for the long-term interests of the Asian countries. This calls for a review of the Asian security role in the Gulf.”

Yet, despite these vital Indian – Arab relations, India is now the largest customer of the military equipment, the largest military partner and the largest Asian economic partner of Arabs’ arch enemy, Israel.

Such Indian and Chinese exchanges with Israel have neutralized Asian pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian influence or at least created a contradiction between Asia’s economic dealings and its verbal political speech.

These Asian-Israeli exchanges deprived Israel of an influential incentive for making peace. They should have been at least postponed as an Asian prize for ending the Israeli military occupation of Arab lands in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

Until peace is made with Arabs and Palestinians in particular, Israel will continue to be the main destabilizing factor in the region.

Even then, it will continue to consider itself an integral part of western culture and strategy and to be a western influence doing its best to make the region a free market for western interests and a strategic monopoly of western powers.

Adding to the US empowerment of the Hebrew state by bolstering its strategic power will only bolster a formidable obstacle to peace in the region.

Controversial explanation

Writing in Forbes on May 14 last year, professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, Jonathan Adelman, and the acting executive director for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), Asaf Romirowsky, had a controversial explanation of Israel’s breakthrough in Asia:

Historically, “Asia largely lacks the anti-Semitism that was so prominent in Europe” and “Israel was like most Asian states … a new state born after World War II after a struggle with a Western colonial power, in this case Great Britain,” they said.

“Geographically, Israel is in West Asia, only four hours by air from India and 11 hours by air from China.

“Economically, Israel’s rapid transition from Third World power to First World ‘start-up nation’ echoes the great transformation underway in such Asian countries as India, China and the Four Tigers.

“Scientifically, Israel has emerged as a high-tech superpower, thereby very attractive to Asian high tech powers.

“Militarily, the Israeli military, a world leader in anti-missile technology (Iron Dome) … is attractive to Asian countries developing their own militaries.

“Politically, the growing threat of Islamism draws many of Asian countries towards a country that is in the forefront of fighting this threat.”

In intelligence matters, Israeli “Mossad, with its strong human intelligence capabilities, is attractive for helping these countries overcome foreign threats.”

Adelman and Romirowsky sound like labouring to produce an academic commercial to “sell” Israel to Asia.

Ironically both of them had nothing to say about Israel being promoted mainly by its US strategic sponsor as “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Historically Israel was not born after a struggle with the colonial power of Great Britain but was imposed by this colonial power by force on the region and born after military ongoing ethnic cleansing of the native Arab Palestinians of the land.

Militarily, the anti-missile Iron Dome technology has not proved a success in three Israeli wars on Gaza Strip and Lebanon since 2006.

Politically, the Israeli logistical support of the most extreme among the Islamist insurgents who are fighting against the government of Syria doesn’t vindicate that Israel is “in the forefront of fighting” their threat.

Taking the wrong side

The argument that Mossad is attractive for helping Asian countries overcome their threat deserves more elaboration.

The fact that the Muslim population in Asia is almost double that of the Arab countries combined is a factor that could potentially create a cultural bridge for more interaction between the overwhelmingly Arab West Asia and its mother continent, but nonetheless there is a worrying negative side.

The rise of Islamist extremism could make use of this cultural bridge as well, but the Israeli occupying power is making the best use of it by exploiting this threat to cement its intelligence ties with Asia.

But these extremists are at war with the Arabs and not with Israel, which was so far safe from their threat not because of its defence capabilities against them, but because it was not and is still not targeted by them.

Of course Asia could not idly watch the rise of Islamist extremism and could not avoid taking sides and embark on a defensive battle against it outside its borders otherwise it will be risking fighting this evil within its own borders sooner or later.

However, Asia seems to take the wrong side. The Israeli occupying power is not Asia’s best ally to preempt this threat, but the Arabs who have gained enough intelligence about them and enough experience in fighting them from Morocco in the far west of the Arab world to Iraq in the far east.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. An edited version of this article was first published by Middle East Eye. (

Friday, May 09, 2014

Foreign Army Conspires to Bomb Hawaii with Depleted Uranium

The Pentagon’s Dirty Bombers: Depleted Uranium in the USA

by Dave Lindorff -

The Nuclear Regulator Commission is considering an application by the US Army for a permit to have depleted uranium at its Pohakuloa Training Area, a vast stretch of flat land in what’s called the “saddle” between the sacred mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island, and at the Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu. In fact, what the Army is asking for is a permit to leave in place the DU left over from years of test firing of M101 mortar “spotting rounds,” that each contained close to half a pound of depleted uranium (DU). The Army, which originally denied that any DU weapons had been used at either location, now says that as many as 2000 rounds of M101 DU mortars might have been fired at Pohakuloa alone.

But that’s only a small part of the story.

The Army is actually seeking a master permit from the NRC to cover all the sites where it has fired DU weapons, including penetrator shells that, unlike the M101, are designed to hit targets and burn on impact, turning the DU in the warhead into a fine dust of uranium oxide. Hearings on this proposal were held in Hawaii on Aug. 26 and 27.

Uranium particles, whether pure uranium or in an oxidized form, are alpha emitters, and can be highly carcinogenic and mutagenic if ingested or inhaled, since they can lodge in one part of the body—the kidney or lung or gonad, for example—and then irradiate surrounding cells with large, destructive alpha particles (actually helium atoms), until some gene is compromised and a cell become malignant.

Among the sites identified by the NRC as being contaminated with DU are:

Ft. Hood, TX
Ft. Benning, GA
Ft. Campbell, KY
Ft. Knox, KY
Ft. Lewis, WA
Ft. Riley, KS
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD
Ft. Dix, NJ
Makua Military Reservation, HI

Other locations identified as having DU weapons contamination are:

China Lake Air Warfare Center, CA
Eglin AFB, Florida,
Nellis AFB, NV
Davis-Monthan AFB
Kirtland AFB, NM
White Sands Missile Range, NM
Ethan Allen Firing Range, VT
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

An application for a 99-year permit to test DU weapons at the NM Inst. Of Mining and Technology claimed that that site’s test area was “so contaminated with DU… as to preclude any other use”!

DU weapons have also been used by the Navy at Vieques Island off Puerto Rico (the Navy claimed it was a “mistake.”)

The Pentagon continues a long history of claiming that DU–which is the uranium that is left after the fissionable isotope U-235 is removed to make nuclear fuel and bombs–is not dangerous, although this official stance is belied by the warnings it has given to its troops (though not to civilians in battle zones), to stay well clear of tanks and other equipment destroyed by US tanks, which used DU weapons as the ordnance of choice in both the Gulf War and the current Iraq War. During both wars, DU ammunition was used by Army and Marine tanks, by the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the A-10 ground support jet, the Marine Harrier jet, and specially equipped F16 fighter jets. The Navy also switched from DU ammunition to tungsten ammunition in its Phalanx anti-missile ship defense system because of health and environmental concerns with the DU ammo.

In both wars, a high percentage of troops have returned with many physical ailments–auto-immune problems, cancers, and later, birth defects in offspring–which have been referred to as Gulf War and now Iraq War Syndrome. As many as a quarter of returning vets from the Gulf War have reported strange illnesses and cancers and the numbers are rising for Iraq War vets. As well, statistics from the National Institutes of Health show that counties hosting bases and test facilities where DU has been uses also show high cancer rates. This is certainly true for Hawaii’s Big Island, which has the highest cancer rates for the Hawaiian archipelago. Meanwhile, the lung cancer rate for the Ft. Knox area is 105-127 per 100,000 for the 2001-2005 period, high by state and national standards. The rate is among the highest in the state of Washington for Pierce County, where Ft. Lewis is located.

The Pentagon denies that it uses depleted uranium in bombs, missiles and cruise missile warheads, but military personnel have reported their use in all three delivery systems, and reports exist of DU bunker-buster bombs, DU-tipped penetrator warheads on Tomahawk cruise missiles and on some air-to-ground missiles.

It’s a good bet that all US munitions containing DU have been widely tested at various US military bases and testing grounds.

The bottom line is that at the same time that US government is continuing to warn about the danger of terrorists acquiring the materials to make a “dirty” bomb that could spread radioactive material in the US, the US military has for years been doing exactly that, and continues to do so, with no intention to clean up its messes, many of which are allowing depleted uranium to percolate into ground water or flow down streams to more populated areas.

Of course, it could have been worse. The M101 mortar that litters Pohakuloa was actually designed as a range-finder for the Davy Crocket mortar, which back in the late 1950s and the 1960s, and up until 1971 was designed to allow infantry troops to fire a small “tactical” nuclear mortar shell at targets just one to two miles distant. Some 700 of these “little nukes”, that had a power of “just” several kilotons or less, were made and actually made their way into the arsenals of troops in Europe and elsewhere during the Cold War. Fortunately there are no reports of any of them having been fired off at any of the military’s firing ranges–especially given that their radiation effect radius was larger than their firing range, meaning that launching one was an automatic suicide mission.

(Actually firing it would have been suicide.)

Then again, the Pentagon doesn’t exactly have a sterling record about telling the truth where nuclear weapons and DU weapons are concerned. (You start to notice as you look into this stuff that with uranium weapons, the military’s attitude towards troop safety is not a whole lot better than its attitude towards the people at the downrange end of the line.)

Nor is the NRC to be relied on to protect the American public. As an administrative judge wrote in a ruling on a case involving DU contamination at Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana, the NRC exhibited a “more than casual attitude with regard to decommissioning of sites on which radioactive materials remain as a potential threat to public health and safety and to the environment.”

In another case, involving cleanup of the ShieldAlloy Metallurgical Corp.’s site in Newfield, NJ, where DU weapons were made, a judge said;

 “at the very least, the (NRC) staff has countenanced…a situation that will leave the citizens in the area surrounding the activity site in doubt for close to two decades regarding what measures will ultimately be taken for their protection.”

Mothers of Creation Day

Producers and Reproducers

by Betty Krawczyk - Betty's Early Edition

Yes, it was women who, aside from reproducing the human race also became the first producers. The renowned US sociologist W.I. Thomas (1863-1947) wrote concerning the early life of women and men in what Evelyn Reed described in her famous book “Women’s Evolution” as the Matriarchal Commune”…

“Men did the hunting and fighting. He was attached to the woman but he was not steady. He did not stay at home. The woman and the child were the core of society, the fixed point, the point to which man came back. There consequently grew up a sort of dual society and duel activity. Man represented the more violent and spasmodic activities, involving motion and skilled coordination, as well as organization for hunting and fighting, while woman carried on the steady, settled life…her attention was turned to industries, since these were compatible with settled and stationary habits.

And then Thomas goes on to describe these women centered activities…

“Agriculture, pottery, weaving, tanning, and all the industrial processes involved in working up the by-products of the chase, were developed by her. She domesticated man and assisted him in domesticating the animals. She built her house, and it was hers. She did not go to her husband’s group after marriage. The child was hers and remained a member of her group. The germ of social organization was, indeed, the woman and her children and her children’s children. The old women were the heads of civil society, though the men had developed a fighting organization and technique which eventually swallowed them up. (Sex and Society, pp. 227-29).

This version of early family groupings (called “exogamy” which means young people must mate or marry outside their own grouping) seems to be generally accepted by most anthropologists. And if we look around at the global situation today we see that W.I. Thomas was also right about another thing…The fighting organizations and techniques that men have developed are indeed swallowing up the world big time.

And the women alive today are much the worse for it as are their children. Even women in the developed world are losing ground as their work efforts are increasingly being made to pay for men’s war machines, and in many countries the children women have always tried to protect, are being killed and maimed by these guns, killing machines, and bombs developed and deployed by men. The men who design and produce these destructive weapons grow grossly rich and stuffed with money while women, children and poorer men suffer and die.

The same male in-group attraction to aggression and assault also design and deploy dangerous weapons that are used against the earth to extract equally dangerous substances that continue to threaten our entire race to extinction. Under the cloud of this unspeakable threat women are struggling to become economically independent as producers in the market place on smaller wages, while fulfilling their biological role as reproducers of the human race, an activity that brings much debt along with great love. Women today stand as producers and reproducers while they get very little respect with even less decision making power.

To have a special day set aside to honour mothers seems almost an affront when male in-groups are still dictating to women how and what women can produce in the labour market, but even more tellingly, also how they can reproduce. Both areas are rife with the outrageous disrespect and contempt for mothers that women live with every day. I believe the day will come when there will no longer be a Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) because respect for women (and men who rear children) will be built into society’s bones.

In the meantime, a happy mother’s day to all mothers everywhere.

Still Commies After All These Years: The Russians Are Coming Again!

“The Russians are coming … again … and they’re still ten feet tall!”

by William Blum - Anti-Empire Report

So, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded.

Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror.

And how did this latest example of American foreign-policy exceptionalism come to be? One starting point that can be considered is what former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates says in his recently published memoir: “When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, [Defense Secretary Dick Cheney] wanted to see the dismemberment not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.” That can serve as an early marker for the new cold war while the corpse of the old one was still warm. Soon thereafter, NATO began to surround Russia with military bases, missile sites, and NATO members, while yearning for perhaps the most important part needed to complete the circle – Ukraine.

In February of this year, US State Department officials, undiplomatically, joined anti-government protesters in the capital city of Kiev, handing out encouragement and food, from which emanated the infamous leaked audio tape between the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, former US ambassador to NATO and former State Department spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. Their conversation dealt with who should be running the new Ukraine government after the government of Viktor Yanukovich was overthrown; their most favored for this position being one Arseniy Yatsenuk.

My dear, and recently departed, Washington friend, John Judge, liked to say that if you want to call him a “conspiracy theorist” you have to call others “coincidence theorists”. Thus it was by the most remarkable of coincidences that Arseniy Yatsenuk did indeed become the new prime minister. He could very soon be found in private meetings and public press conferences with the president of the United States and the Secretary-General of NATO, as well as meeting with the soon-to-be new owners of Ukraine, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preparing to impose their standard financial shock therapy. The current protestors in Ukraine don’t need PHDs in economics to know what this portends. They know about the impoverishment of Greece, Spain, et al. They also despise the new regime for its overthrow of their democratically-elected government, whatever its shortcomings. But the American media obscures these motivations by almost always referring to them simply as “pro-Russian”.

An exception, albeit rather unemphasized, was the April 17 Washington Post which reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom the author interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear of “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder: “At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.”

Arseniy Yatsenuk, it should be noted, has something called the Arseniy Yatsenuk Foundation. If you go to the foundation’s website you will see the logos of the foundation’s “partners”. Among these partners we find NATO, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs in the UK), the German Marshall Fund (a think tank founded by the German government in honor of the US Marshall Plan), as well as a couple of international banks. Is any comment needed?

Getting away with supporting al-Qaeda and Nazi types may be giving US officials the idea that they can say or do anything they want in their foreign policy. In a May 2 press conference, President Obama, referring to Ukraine and the NATO Treaty, said: “We’re united in our unwavering Article 5 commitment to the security of our NATO allies”. (Article 5 states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them … shall be considered an attack against them all.”) Did the president forget that Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO? And in the same press conference, the president referred to the “duly elected government in Kyiv (Kiev)”, when in fact it had come to power via a coup and then proceeded to establish a new regime in which the vice-premier, minister of defense, minister of agriculture, and minister of environment, all belonged to far-right neo-Nazi parties.

The pure awfulness of the Ukrainian right-wingers can scarcely be exaggerated. In early March, the leader of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) called upon his comrades, the infamous Chechnyan terrorists, to carry out further terrorist actions in Russia.

There may be one important difference between the old Cold War and the new one. The American people, as well as the world, can not be as easily brainwashed as they were during the earlier period.

Over the course of a decade, in doing the research for my first books and articles on US foreign policy, one of the oddities to me of the Cold War was how often the Soviet Union seemed to know what the United States was really up to, even if the American people didn’t. Every once in a while in the 1950s to 70s a careful reader would notice a two- or three-inch story in the New York Times on the bottom of some distant inside page, reporting that Pravda or Izvestia had claimed that a recent coup or political assassination in Africa or Asia or Latin America had been the work of the CIA; the Times might add that a US State Department official had labeled the story as “absurd”. And that was that; no further details were provided; and none were needed, for how many American readers gave it a second thought? It was just more commie propaganda. Who did they think they were fooling? This ignorance/complicity on the part of the mainstream media allowed the United States to get away with all manner of international crimes and mischief.

It was only in the 1980s when I began to do the serious research that resulted in my first book, which later became Killing Hope, that I was able to fill in the details and realize that the United States had indeed masterminded that particular coup or assassination, and many other coups and assassinations, not to mention countless bombings, chemical and biological warfare, perversion of elections, drug dealings, kidnapings, and much more that had not appeared in the American mainstream media or schoolbooks. (And a significant portion of which was apparently unknown to the Soviets as well.)

But there have been countless revelations about US crimes in the past two decades. Many Americans and much of the rest of the planet have become educated. They’re much more skeptical of American proclamations and the fawning media.

President Obama recently declared: “The strong condemnation that it’s received from around the world indicates the degree to which Russia is on the wrong side of history on this.” Marvelous … coming from the man who partners with jihadists and Nazis and has waged war against seven nations. In the past half century is there any country whose foreign policy has received more bitter condemnation than the United States? If the United States is not on the wrong side of history, it may be only in the history books published by the United States.

Barack Obama, like virtually all Americans, likely believes that the Soviet Union, with perhaps the sole exception of the Second World War, was consistently on the wrong side of history in its foreign policy as well as at home. Yet, in a survey conducted by an independent Russian polling center this past January, and reported in the Washington Post in April, 86 percent of respondents older than 55 expressed regret for the Soviet Union’s collapse; 37 percent of those aged 25 to 39 did so. (Similar poll results have been reported regularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. This is from USA Today in 1999: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled, East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.”)

Or as the new Russian proverb put it: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”

A week before the above Post report in April the newspaper printed an article about happiness around the world, which contains the following charming lines: “Worldwide polls show that life seems better to older people – except in Russia.” … “Essentially, life under President Vladimir Putin is one continuous downward spiral into despair.” … “What’s going on in Russia is deep unhappiness.” … “In Russia, the only thing to look forward to is death’s sweet embrace.”

No, I don’t think it was meant to be any kind of satire. It appears to be a scientific study, complete with graphs, but it reads like something straight out of the 1950s.

The views Americans hold of themselves and other societies are not necessarily more distorted than the views found amongst people elsewhere in the world, but the Americans’ distortion can lead to much more harm. Most Americans and members of Congress have convinced themselves that the US/NATO encirclement of Russia is benign – we are, after all, the Good Guys – and they don’t understand why Russia can’t see this.

The first Cold War, from Washington’s point of view, was often designated as one of “containment”, referring to the US policy of preventing the spread of communism around the world, trying to block the very idea of communism or socialism. There’s still some leftover from that – see Venezuela and Cuba, for example – but the new Cold War can be seen more in terms of a military strategy. Washington thinks in terms of who could pose a barrier to the ever-expanding empire adding to its bases and other military necessities.

Whatever the rationale, it’s imperative that the United States suppress any lingering desire to bring Ukraine (and Georgia) into the NATO alliance. Nothing is more likely to bring large numbers of Russian boots onto the Ukrainian ground than the idea that Washington wants to have NATO troops right on the Russian border and in spitting distance of the country’s historic Black Sea naval base in Crimea.

The myth of Soviet expansionism

One still comes across references in the mainstream media to Russian “expansionism” and “the Soviet empire”, in addition to that old favorite “the evil empire”. These terms stem largely from erstwhile Soviet control of Eastern European states. But was the creation of these satellites following World War II an act of imperialism or expansionism? Or did the decisive impetus lie elsewhere?

Within the space of less than 25 years, Western powers had invaded Russia three times – the two world wars and the “Intervention” of 1918-20 – inflicting some 40 million casualties in the two wars alone. To carry out these invasions, the West had used Eastern Europe as a highway. Should it be any cause for wonder that after World War II the Soviets wanted to close this highway down? In almost any other context, Americans would have no problem in seeing this as an act of self defense. But in the context of the Cold War such thinking could not find a home in mainstream discourse.

The Baltic states of the Soviet Union – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were not part of the highway and were frequently in the news because of their demands for more autonomy from Moscow, a story “natural” for the American media. These articles invariably reminded the reader that the “once independent” Baltic states were invaded in 1939 by the Soviet Union, incorporated as republics of the USSR, and had been “occupied” ever since. Another case of brutal Russian imperialism. Period. History etched in stone.

The three countries, it happens, were part of the Russian empire from 1721 up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, in the midst of World War I. When the war ended in November 1918, and the Germans had been defeated, the victorious Allied nations (US, Great Britain, France, et al.) permitted/encouraged the German forces to remain in the Baltics for a full year to crush the spread of Bolshevism there; this, with ample military assistance from the Allied nations. In each of the three republics, the Germans installed collaborators in power who declared their independence from the new Bolshevik state which, by this time, was so devastated by the World War, the revolution, and the civil war prolonged by the Allies’ intervention, that it had no choice but to accept the fait accompli. The rest of the fledgling Soviet Union had to be saved.

To at least win some propaganda points from this unfortunate state of affairs, the Soviets announced that they were relinquishing the Baltic republics “voluntarily” in line with their principles of anti-imperialism and self-determination. But is should not be surprising that the Soviets continued to regard the Baltics as a rightful part of their nation or that they waited until they were powerful enough to reclaim the territory.

Then we had Afghanistan. Surely this was an imperialist grab. But the Soviet Union had lived next door to Afghanistan for more than 60 years without gobbling it up. And when the Russians invaded in 1979, the key motivation was the United States involvement in a movement, largely Islamic, to topple the Afghan government, which was friendly to Moscow. The Soviets could not have been expected to tolerate a pro-US, anti-communist government on its border any more than the United States could have been expected to tolerate a pro-Soviet, communist government in Mexico.

Moreover, if the rebel movement took power it likely would have set up a fundamentalist Islamic government, which would have been in a position to proselytize the numerous Muslims in the Soviet border republics.

See (formerly Russia Today) for many stories, images and videos
Robert Gates, Duty (2014), p.97
If this site has gone missing again, a saved version can be found here.
Voice of Russia radio station, Moscow, April 18, 2014; also see Answer Coalition, “Who’s who in Ukraine’s new [semi-fascist] government”, March 11, 2014, news report March 5, 2014
CBS News, March 3, 2014
Washington Post, April 11, 2014
USA Today (Virginia), Oct. 11, 1999, page 1
Washington Post print edition, April 2, 2014; online here

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

← Issue #127

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Saturday Nanaimo Sez: "Break Dance Not Democracy!"

Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities - Break Dance Not Democracy

by Mid Island Council of Canadians 

 On Saturday May 10th, the Mid Island Council of Canadians will be joining Council of Canadians chapters, Lead Now and other organizations across Canada in a rally to Defend our Climate Defend our Communities and say YES to a sustainable, stable future for humans, and all other living species and eco-systems that are threatened by climate change. We Stand Together for the Future!

When: 3pm to 5pm Saturday, May 10th
Where: Maffeo Sutton park in Nanaimo.

The Nanaimo rally takes place at 3Pm, May 10th, at the band stand in Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo.

The event Includes a free break dance demonstration by Vancouver-based professional b-boy crew “Art Goes Everywhere” and an audience participation Zumba Against Harper dance party!

The event is intended to serve as creative opposition to the Harper government’s continued assault on democratic processes. From their proven record of electoral fraud, shutting down Parliament, to anti-democratic free trade agreements negotiated in secrecy, attempts to suppress the vote and ignoring the public will on mega-projects such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline the Harper government is breaking Canada’s democracy as we know it.

To this we say: “Break Dance Not Democracy!"

Around the world, more money is being invested in creating electricity with renewable energy than all fossil fuels combined. We’re at the beginning of a great transition to replace fossil fuels with clean energy and ensure a safe climate for all generations. Meanwhile, in Canada, our federal government is trying to bet our economy on boom-and-bust dirty energy projects that pollute the water and climate while piping the profits out of our communities. We will not let this stand!

This event is sponsored by the Mid Island Chapter of the Council of Canadians and the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union.


For Immediate release

Dead Ends: NATO Lies and Fabrication Lead Only to War and Destruction

Western Warmongering Based on Lies and Fabrication

by Finian Cunningham - Strategic Culture Foundation

Nearly a year ago American whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the global scale of US government spying. With an annual budget of over $50 billion, the National Security Agency has the technology and the highest political backing to tap into any phone call, email or other electronic communication – anywhere and at anytime. Even, said the Snowden, a president of the US is vulnerable to the NSA’s invasive spying power, such is the agency’s totalitarian reach.

Perhaps the most famous snoop conducted by the NSA was the revelation that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal mobile phone was being tracked. Merkel’s is just one of billions of private communications that the NSA have access to, according to Snowden’s disclosures. And Russia is among the top international targets for American eavesdropping.

Yet with all this capacity to breach private communications, the vast global web of American spy technology has not been able to produce a single piece of evidence to support Washington’s high-flown claims that Russia is secretly orchestrating protests in Ukraine.

For weeks now, Western governments and their dutiful news media have been propounding a mantra that Moscow has infiltrated eastern and southern Ukraine to whip up «anti-Kiev», «separatist» or «pro-Russia» demonstrations. The accusation has become almost a doctrinal truth. President Barack Obama says it. His Secretary of State John Kerry says it. The US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power says it… Day in, day out, Western politicians and the news media in the US and Europe echo the mantra of Russian subversion in Ukraine.

One variant of the mantra was that Russian agents had been captured last month in eastern Ukraine by the Kiev regime’s security forces. When Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded proof, his American counterpart John Kerry said the information couldn’t be disclosed in order to «protect sources».

In other words, Kerry doesn’t have any evidence. But what about the awesome invasive power of the NSA? Surely one phone call or email interception could be hacked into that would prove the West’s claims of a dastardly Kremlin plot to foment rebellion in Ukraine, and thereby show that Moscow is «building a pretext for outright invasion»?

Not an iota, not a scintilla, not a whiff of such Kremlin-directed covert operations has been produced, not even something that might provide the crude basis for a Pentagon fabrication.

At $50 billion a year, this has got be, on the face of it, the most inefficient spy industry in the world. To put that figure in perspective: it is about 10 per cent of the entire US military budget, or equivalent to the total military spend of Britain and France each. Remember too that the NSA’s spying activities is only a part of the entire US surveillance arsenal. In addition, there are the networks of the Central Intelligence Agency and the satellites and U2 spy planes of the US Air Force.

The complete dearth of evidence to support Western claims of Russian subversion in Ukraine is either gargantuan inefficiency of US spying operations – or, more likely, it betrays the simple fact that there is no evidence of subversion. In other words, the Western mantra of Russian destabilization in Ukraine is a propaganda myth. This is what Moscow has been maintaining all along, that its Special Forces or agents are not involved in the unrest, or now the deadly violence convulsing Ukraine.

If we dispel the Western propaganda myth, then we must consider an alternative narrative. That narrative is that ethnic Russian populations and other dissenting Ukrainians – more than half the Ukrainian total of 45 million – are simply rebelling against the Western-backed fascist junta that seized power in Kiev in February. Given the campaign of low-intensity terror that the Kiev regime and its neo-Nazi paramilitaries have embarked on since it grabbed power, the people of the east and south of Ukraine have every right to take up arms and defy the self-imposed reactionary rule of the illegal coup.

Following the massacre of more than 40 unarmed anti-Kiev protesters in Odessa last weekend and the ongoing military assault on towns and cities in the east of Ukraine the protesters have gained even more moral and legal right to resist with arms.

But to accept this alternative narrative of a people-led rebellion against a murderous reactionary, illegal regime is to destroy the Western propaganda cover for its own culpability in what is going on in Ukraine. The Western cover story is that a popular, grassroots pro-democracy revolution sprung up in Kiev’s Maidan Square last November and eventually overthrew the pro-Russian crony president Viktor Yanukovych.

If that were the case then why are dozens of cities and towns in the east and south of Ukraine rebelling against this «democratic revolution»? Why are innocent people being burned alive in buildings by supporters of the «democratic revolution»? Why are unarmed civilians being shot down on the streets for the only offence of voicing their dissent against the «democratic revolution»?

To avoid these questions, and the disturbing answers they lead to, Western governments and their media must keep resorting to the ideological mantra that Russia, led by the «Machiavellian Putin», is behind all the violence and chaos.

But as we have seen even with America’s global spy industry that can break into the personal mobile phones of world leaders not a shred of evidence has been unearthed to support the Western hyperbole of «Russian subterfuge».

The few ostensible scraps of «evidence» that have been presented so far have ended up being discredited, retracted or, at best, forgotten as worthless. Recall the NATO satellite photo that purportedly showed massive Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s eastern border and cited as evidence of imminent invasion. That was quickly ditched when it emerged that the image was from previous years apparently showing routine Russian military maneuvers within its own territory.

NATO’s top commander, American Four Star General Philip Breedlove was only a few weeks ago warning about Russian forces invading Ukraine based on the spurious satellite image. Now he has changed his tune because of his vanishing «satellite fact». Earlier this week, Breedlove said that Russia was not going to invade Ukraine… because, reports Voice of America, «he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin will keep doing what he is doing - creating unrest, discrediting the Ukrainian government [sic] and stirring up a separatist movement».

The VOA went on to report: «The NATO commander said he is certain Russian special forces are in Ukraine».

No facts, no proof, just a subjective, unverifiable «certain». Is this the same «certain» as Colin Powell’s WMD «certain» in Iraq? Or Samantha Power’s «certain» about the Syrian army using chemical weapons near Damascus last year?

Then there was the photo published by the New York Times last month allegedly showing Russian Special Forces in Ukraine. Days later, the newspaper of record had to issue a retraction for publishing misinformation.

Last weekend saw another embarrassing admission by the New York Times – albeit indirect and low-key. After weeks of claiming «Russian expansionism» and «covert destabilization» in Ukraine, this particular story should have produced a resounding mea culpa from the editors.

On May 3, the Times published an article under the headline: ‘Behind the Masks in Ukraine, Many Faces of Rebellion’. Its two senior reporters, CJ Chivers and Noah Sneider, spent a week in Slavyansk in the Donetz region with a company of People’s Self-Defense militia. It was clear from the newspaper’s recent biased coverage of events in Ukraine alleging a sinister covert Russian role that the reporters were expecting to find damning evidence of Kremlin Special Forces, FSB agents and bristling military equipment bolstering the local militia.

Well, after a week of being freely and openly received by the Slavyansk militia and the local people, the New York Times had to conclude: «There was no clear Russian link in the 12th Company’s arsenal…»

All of the military men turned out to be locals or from other parts of Ukraine, such as Odessa. Some of them served in the Russian military in the past. But all them flatly denied any Russian liaison in the ongoing defense of their towns against the «Kiev fascists». «There is no Russia master», said the group’s commander, named Yuri, who with good humor dismissed the probing of the American journalists as being silly.

Indeed, even the New York Times correspondents reported that the men complained of being short of fighting equipment and not having the latest Russian gear. So much for Kremlin-inspired subversion!

The significance of this report is that the New York Times has been leading the Western media propaganda campaign, in the service of Washington’s geopolitical agenda, in order to demonize Russia and specifically to portray Moscow as the provocateur in the Ukraine crisis. The absence of any proof, even when the New York Times paid propagandists are sent «behind enemy lines», is a damning admission.

Yet in spite of this vacuum of supporting evidence, the Western political leaders and their media persist against all reason and intelligent rationale with their specious claims that Russia is sowing subversion in Ukraine.

The gutter-level nadir of Western journalism was reached in the days immediately after the massacre in Odessa. Instead of clearly reporting the facts of this mass killing and the fascist perpetrators, the Western media engaged in muddying the waters, claiming that the deaths were the result of «street clashes». The Western media even indulged the Kiev regime’s odious claims that «Russian agents were to blame» and that the incident was an example of Russia’s «plan to destroy Ukraine».

Reuters, one of the main news feeds for Western media, reported: «Ukraine’s interior minister said on Monday he had drafted a new special forces unit in the southern port city of Odessa after the ‘outrageous’ failure of police to tackle pro-Russian separatists in a weekend of violence that killed dozens».

Similar misleading reports were carried by the BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Washington Post, France 24, among others.

The neo-Nazi murderers, the Kiev junta and its Western sponsors are sanitized from involvement in mass murder and the unfolding violence across Ukraine. Instead, the blame is insinuated against the victims of violence, and against Russia and fictitious pro-Russian agents, despite Moscow’s evident diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict.

The disturbing thing about this systematic lying and distortion is that its logical conclusion is war. Moreover, it is carried out by organizations that claim to be bastions of free and independent journalism. In reality, they are nothing but propaganda tools of a totalitarian regime led by Washington that is honed for war.