Friday, October 30, 2015

Okinawa Still Standing In for America's Enemies

Living Under the Metal Osprey

by Buddy Bell -

October 28, 2015

Okinawa - In late October 2015, I was with 3 Okinawa peace activists and a British solidarity activist on a tour of local resistance to U.S. military bases. After an hour of driving north from the city of Nago, crossing deep ravines and shimmering blue bays, we approached a dense forest, where the U.S. military’s only jungle warfare training center is situated, way up in the northernmost section of the island of Okinawa.

As we continued driving, the highway was suddenly blocked by some large, camouflage military vehicles, and we got out to investigate. One of the vehicles was an armored personnel carrier with what looked to be about 25 soldiers inside, some of them looking out at us quizzically. I waved and a few of them waved back.

We watched two soldiers get out and direct traffic around their convoy, while they waited to enter the training center’s main gate. For a few minutes we chanted and banged our drums at the gate. Once the first vehicle cleared whatever impasse they had at the gate, all the vehicles soon vacated the highway and disappeared into the training center.

Such a sight seems to be commonplace in this region, yet a more grave concern lies in the fact that military aircraft fly low over people’s homes and fields. One family, which keeps a decibel meter in their home, says that the noise level sometimes reaches 100 decibels and that sometimes the pilots’ faces are visible. The blasts of heat from the flying machines and the smell of fuel further irritate the senses.

The U.S. Air Force plans to build six new helipads in the jungle as part of a deal to give about one half of the training center acreage back to Japan. Yet, right in the middle of these proposed helipad sites lies Takae, a village of little more than 150 residents. They are the people who will suffer the increased air traffic that is sure to result if the helipads are built. They will have to abide the possibility of a crash--- there have been at least 46 aircraft accidents since 1972, and in 1959 a plane carrying 2 missiles crashed into a school, killing 17 people and injuring 200.

Now that the air force has a new toy, the MV-22 Osprey helicopter, there have been a lot of trainee pilots going out on practice runs. Unfortunately, the Osprey has established an abysmal safety record compared to earlier models, and what makes the prospect of a crash even more unsettling for the villagers is the fact that its propellers are specifically designed to shatter on impact and disperse laterally, away from the pilot. This “safety” feature would not be safe for potential bystanders.

Takae residents also believe that the U.S. military would like to use their village as part of training exercises, an idea that doesn’t seem so far-fetched after considering what happened during the Vietnam War. At that time, the U.S. military built a “dummy” village in the jungle and forcefully conscripted Takae residents, one as young as six years old, to wear black clothing and carry on as though they were living in a Vietcong stronghold. The conscripted residents were even required to stage mock attacks from the village.

Now, Takae residents and solidarity activists from other parts of Okinawa maintain 2 protest camps that block either end of an access road to two of the helipad construction sites. Two more entrances to 2 already constructed helipads are permanently blocked with parked beater vehicles surrounded by a kind of welded scaffolding. At least a few activists watch the road to the unfinished helipads 24 hours a day, often in rotating shifts. So far, construction vehicles have been unable to enter the access road in order to finish building the helipads.

On the day I visited the protest camp, I met Professor Kosuzu, from Ryukyu University. She typically spends her weekends at the Takae encampment. A specialist in North American geography, particularly the Caribbean region, she says the Takae movement draws a lot of inspiration from the 1990s struggle that ended U.S. military training on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

“One of the Puerto Rican campaigners came to Okinawa to help us completely encircle Futenma Air Base back in 1995. I feel like the U.S. relationship with Okinawa is also a kind of colonialism.”

My goal in travelling to Okinawa is to tell other people in the U.S. about that reality, of bases maintained on forcefully expropriated land. With enough of a persistent uproar, coming from the Okinawa side and from the U.S. side, we will make it ever more difficult for the U.S. to maintain its overseas bases, rather than to simply close them.

Buddy Bell co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (

Saying Goodbye to the Wild

Extinction, the New Environmentalism and the Cancer in the Wilderness

by Christopher Ketcham  - CounterPunch

The word is in from the wildlife biologists. Say goodbye in North America to the gray wolf, the cougar, the grizzly bear. They are destined for extinction sometime in the next 40 years. Say goodbye to the Red wolf and the Mexican wolf and the Florida panther. Gone the jaguar, the ocelot, the wood bison, the buffalo, the California condor, the North Atlantic right whale, the Stellar sea lion, the hammerhead shark, the leatherback sea turtle.

Wolf in Greater Yellowstone. 
Photo: USFWS.

That’s just North America. Worldwide, the largest and most charismatic animals, the last of the megafauna, our most ecologically important predators and big ungulates, the wildest wild things, will be the first to go in the anthropogenic extinction event of the Holocene Era. The tiger and leopard and the elephant and lion in Africa and Asia. The primates, the great apes, our wild cousins. The polar bears in the Arctic Sea. The shark and killer whale in every ocean. “Extinction is now proceeding thousands of times faster than the production of new species,” biologist E.O. Wilson writes. Between 30 and 50 percent of all known species are expected to go extinct by 2050, if current trends hold. There are five other mass extinction events in the geologic record, stretching back 500 million years. But none were the result of a single species’ overreach.

I’ve found conversation with my biologist sources to be terribly dispiriting. The conversation goes like this: Homo sapiens are out of control, a bacteria boiling in the petri dish; the more of us, demanding more resources, means less space for every other life form; the solution is less of us, consuming fewer resources, but that isn’t happening. It can’t happen. Our economic system, industrial consumer capitalism, requires constant growth, more people buying more things. “I will go so far as to say [that] capitalism itself may be dependent on a growing population,” writes billionaire capitalist blogger Bill Gross, Forbes magazine’s Bond King. “Our modern era of capitalism over the past several centuries has never known a period of time in which population declined or grew less than 1% a year.” Growth for growth’s sake, what Edward Abbey called the ideology of the cancer cell.

The biologists, who in my experience tend to loathe the Bill Grosses of the world, begin to sound like revolutionaries. The most radically inclined among them – their goal to save some part of the planet from human domination and keep it wild and free (free of bond managers for sure) – agree that human population will have to halt entirely, and probably decline, in order to protect non-human biota. Then the biologists begin to sound like misanthropes, and they shut their mouths.

“What’s wrong with misanthropy?” I ask Leon Kolankiewicz, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who has written extensively about the human population footprint and its disastrous effect on biodiversity. “The human race,” I tell him, “has proven to be a bunch of assholes.”

Kolankiewicz laughs. My attitude, he observes, is not a very good tool for marketing conservation, given that the market, after all, is made up of people. We’re supposed to make biodiversity appeal to the buyer, the public, as something useful. We talk about ecosystem services – ecosystems that service us. “It’s a completely wrongheaded approach to conservation, of course,” says Kolankiewicz. “It’s raw anthropocentrism. There’s a lot of nature that isn’t particularly useful to people.”

Industrial-strength Homo sapiens could function without much trouble on a vastly simplified, even depauperate, planet, one wiped nearly clean of its fantastic variety of life. I read in Science magazine not long ago, for example, that Earth could lose 90 percent of the species that produce oxygen – not 90 percent of total biomass, mind you, just the diversity of the oxygen producers – and this would hardly make a dent in our modern lives. One of the conservation statistics that Kolankiewicz had encountered in recent years, one that he said “just blows me away,” shows that the combined biomass of the living 7.2 billion human beings, along with the few species of animal we have domesticated – dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens – now constitutes at least 95% of the entire biomass of all extant terrestrial vertebrates on Earth. That is, all of the living specimens of wild mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, more than 20,000 species in total, constitute a mere 5% of the aggregate living cellular tissue of all vertebrates. “Almost total usurpation of the biosphere for the benefit of one species alone,” says Kolankiewicz. “It’s ecological imperialism. Given this tragic reality, how can any sentient, caring person not be a bit of a misanthrope?”

We talk about the remaining places on Earth where the imperial species has not usurped the biosphere, where the bears and the wolves and the tigers roam, where the little babbling bipeds with their iPhones might get eaten, and we agree that these places can be called wilderness. We agree that the language of the 1964 Wilderness Act best defined those places: “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,” where the land retains “its primeval character and influence.” Observe the original meaning of that word, trammeled. It means to shackle, to hinder, to chain, to make un-free. An untrammeled ecosystem is one where man may be present but does not dominate, where the willed self-propelling processes of nature have not been subjugated entirely to human ends. (Kolankiewicz observes that it is from willed that etymologically we get the word wild.) Wilderness, among its other purposes, is to be a refuge for wild animals and plants, their evolution to remain unmolested and unhampered. There is a practical argument here – the preservation of a genetic pool evolving without help or hindrance from us (as we busily meddle with and wipe out genetic diversity elsewhere) – and a transcendent one, related to the not-so-transcendent fact that when we do away with wilderness we are also doing away with the crucible of natural forces which birthed our ancestors out of the muck and which shaped our character as a species. Without wilderness, we lose two million years of evolutionary heritage. We lose our deep-seated and long-standing relations with the non-human; we lose the awareness, the consciousness, of a natural environment not arranged entirely for human convenience. We lose our capacity, in the words of Howard Zahniser, the primary author of the Wilderness Act and its principal mover, “to know ourselves as the dependent members of a great community of life…to know the wilderness is to know a profound humility, to recognize one’s littleness, to sense dependence and interdependence, indebtedness, and responsibility.” Kolankiewicz tells me to read Wallace Stegner’s famous Wilderness Letter of 1960, issued as a public rebuke to the Kennedy administration. I tell him I know it well. “Without any remaining wilderness,” wrote Stegner, “we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection or rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment.”

Kolankiewicz admits to a strain of Luddism in his blood, a dislike of technocrats, and certainly he is not the kind of environmentalist one finds salaried in the cubicles of the Big Greens in DC – by which I mean the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the half-dozen other multi-billion-dollar enviro-nonprofits. Peter Kareiva, the chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, is more typical of the breed. He’s an optimist, he’s people-friendly, full of bright ideas that promise hopeful partnerships with corporate business, expressive in his love of technological progress as the ultimate fix to conservation troubles, unabashed in the belief that good management applying the scientific method can handle any challenge no matter how frightful, and thoroughly dismissive of what he calls “the wilderness ideal.” In the new geologic era scientists are calling the Anthropocene – an era in which “humans dominate every flux and cycle of the planet’s ecology and geochemistry” – Kareiva believes that conservation has reached a threshold from which there is no turning back. Climate change, a world-encircling shroud of domination, is the most pressing fact of the Anthropocene. There is no place untrammeled by man, no ecosystem self-willed, and wilderness is therefore dead. Embrace the painful truth, says Kareiva: We are de facto planetary managers, and though hitherto we have been lousy at the job of management – selfish and self-aggrandizing, thoughtlessly destructive – we will not cease to dominate. And this is a good thing, as the very consciousness of our power as totalitarian managers of nature may be a blessing: It compels us not to question this power – for Kareiva it is unquestionable – but to become wise managers, like Plato’s philosopher kings, full of noblesse oblige, tyrannical but enlightened. So much for profound humility.

Let’s hear at length what Kareiva has to say about this “new vision for conservation”:

Conservation should seek to support and inform the right kind of development – development by design, done with the importance of nature to thriving economies foremost in mind….Instead of scolding capitalism, conservationists should partner with corporations in a science-based effort to integrate the value of nature’s benefits into their operations and cultures. Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people, especially the poor. Instead of trying to restore remote iconic landscapes to pre-European conditions, conservation will measure its achievement in large part by its relevance to people, including city dwellers. Nature could be a garden….
Conservation should seek to support and inform the right kind of development – development by design, done with the importance of nature to thriving economies foremost in mind….Instead of scolding capitalism, conservationists should partner with corporations in a science-based effort to integrate the value of nature’s benefits into their operations and cultures. Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people, especially the poor. Instead of trying to restore remote iconic landscapes to pre-European conditions, conservation will measure its achievement in large part by its relevance to people, including city dwellers. Nature could be a garden….
The notion of a gardened planet managed for “thriving economies foremost in mind” is a radical departure from the environmentalism of the 20th century, such that the Big Greens have marketed a nomenclature to describe the new thinking. They call themselves, variously, “ecomodernists,” “post-modern greens,” “neo-greens” or, simply, the “new environmentalists,” and their goal is the implementation of “eco-pragmatism.” Their most important departure from the old environmentalism is the jettisoning of any concern about the limits to economic and population growth. If human population doubled between 1804 and 1927, and doubled again between 1927 and 1974, and almost doubled again to 7.2 billion today, with the latest forecasts projecting more than 10 billion people by 2100, the New Enviros bid us look to nanotechnology, genetically modified crops and animals, laboratory meat, industrial fish farms, hydroponics, optimized fertilizers and bio-friendly pesticides, geoengineering (mass climate modification), more efficient transportation networks, electric cars, denser cities (with more people efficiently packed in them), unconventional oil deposits, safe nuclear energy, wind and solar arrays, smart grids, advanced recycling, and much else in the techno-arsenal to keep the human species from crashing against the wall of planetary carrying capacity. “There really is no such thing as a human carrying capacity,” writes Erle Ellis, a professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, in an op-ed in the New York Times. “We are nothing at all like bacteria in a petri dish…. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits.” 

The ideological shift in the New Environmentalism represents a historic alliance of conservation with the doctrines of industrial growth capitalism – which is to say, this can no longer be called conservation in the traditional sense. It has not arisen in a vacuum, but is the logical culmination of 30 years of corporatization of the Big Greens, as enviros starting in the 1980s degenerated into a professionalized, business-funded interest group and began to operate like the businessmen they once saw as the adversary. Consider that the president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy today, Mark Tercek, is a former managing director and partner at Goldman Sachs.

The advent of the New Environmentalism frames a central conflict to unfold in coming years in the conservation community. What happens to wilderness in a world where it is managed for the economic benefit of the “widest number of people” and not for the health of the inhabitants of the wild? And what if, as Leon Kolankiewicz notes, large parts of wild nature are found irrelevant to “thriving economies”? Whither wilderness if industrial capitalism’s expansion is our only measure of its value? And overarching all this: What happens to human beings – psychologically, spiritually, morally – when we no longer have an escape from the confines of our technological termite hill?

Christopher Ketcham, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY, is writing a book about secessionist groups in the US. You can write him at or see more of his work at
More articles by:Christopher Ketcham

Trudeau 2.0: Another Liberal Imperialist?

Will Justin Trudeau Be Another Liberal Imperialist?

by Yves Engler - CounterPunch

October 30, 2015

Right-wing commentators are calling Justin Trudeau’s decision to withdraw fighter jets from Syria-Iraq “un Liberal” and unfortunately they’re right.

But, by citing the Liberal sponsored Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to justify Canadian participation in the US-led bombing, these pundits are revealing the essence of this “humanitarian imperialist” doctrine.

Last week senior Maclean’s writer Michael Petrou called on Trudeau to rethink his commitment to stop Canadian bombing raids, writing “reasons for confronting Islamic State with force are decidedly Liberal. Your party pioneered the notion of ‘responsibility to protect’.” For his part, National Post columnist Matt Gurney bemoaned how “the Liberal Party of Canada once championed, at least with words, the so-called Responsibility to Protect doctrine.”

Ignored by the outgoing Conservative government, R2P was a showpiece of previous Liberal Party governments’ foreign-policy. In September 2000 Canada launched the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which presented its final report, The Responsibility to Protect, to the UN in December 2001. At the organization’s 2005 World Summit, Canada advocated that world leaders endorse the new doctrine. It asserts that where gross human rights abuses are occurring, it is the duty of the international community to intervene, over and above considerations of state sovereignty. The doctrine asserts that “the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect.”

But who gets to decide when “gross human rights abuses” are occurring? Lesotho? Uruguay? Or the USA?

The truth is, human rights rhetoric aside, R2P is an effort to redefine international law to better serve the major powers. While the less sophisticated neoconservatives simply call for a more aggressive military posture, the more liberal supporters of imperialism prefer a high-minded ideological mask to accomplish the same end. Those citing R2P to pressure Trudeau to continue bombing Iraq-Syria are demonstrating an acute, but cynical, understanding of the doctrine.

R2P was invoked to justify the 2011 NATO war in Libya and 2004 overthrow of Haiti’s elected government. Both proved highly destructive to those “protected”.

As NATO’s bombing of Libya began a principal author of the R2P report, Ramesh Thakur, boasted that “R2P is coming closer to being solidified as an actionable norm.” Similarly, at the end of the war former Liberal Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy and Canadian Ambassador to the UN Allan Rock wrote: “In a fortuitous coincidence, last week’s liberation of Libya occurred exactly a decade after the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle was proposed by the Canadian-initiated International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS).”

But don’t expect R2P proponents to discuss Libya today. “Since Col Gaddafi’s death in Sirte in October 2011,” the BBC reported in August, “Libya has descended into chaos, with various militias fighting for power.” ISIS has taken control of parts of the country while a government in Tripoli and another in Benghazi claim national authority. The foreign intervention delivered a terrible blow to Libya and has exacerbated conflicts in the region.

Canadian officials also cited R2P to justify cutting off assistance to Haiti’s elected government and then intervening militarily in the country in February 2004. In discussing the January 2003 Ottawa Initiative on Haiti, where high level US, Canadian and French officials discussed overthrowing elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Liberal Secretary of State for Latin America and Minister for La Francophonie Dennis Paradis explained that “there was onethematic that went under the whole meeting… The responsibility to protect.” Similarly, in a highly censored February 11, 2004 cable from the embassy in Port-au-Prince to Foreign Affairs, Canadian ambassador Kenneth Cook explained that “President Aristide is clearly a serious aggravating factor in the current crisis” and that there is a need to “consider the options including whether a case can be made for the duty [responsibility] to protect.”

Thousands of Haitians were killed in the violence unleashed by the coup and the country remains under UN military occupation.

It’s telling that neo-conservative supporters of the discredited Harper government are now the ones invoking R2P.

Will Trudeau discard the doctrine or quickly reveal himself as just another liberal imperialist?

Yves Engler is the author of The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy
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Waiting for Humanity: Refuge Realities in Prague

In Prague You Get Beaten for Defending Refugees

by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

October 30, 2015   

When respected philosophers get attacked in the middle of the street, you know that something is going terribly wrong with the nation.

The Czech Republic (and before, Czechoslovakia) was always a tough, racist place. It had its shameful share of anti-Semitic pogroms (Franz Kafka wrote, after one of them, that he will never be able to feel that he belongs to Czechoslovakia, anymore).

It voluntarily exterminated a great number of its Gypsy (Roma) population during the Second World War. And it kicked out millions of Germans right after the war, following a shameless orgy of rape, murder and looting. “Shameless”, because the Czechs generally collaborated with the Nazi occupation regime, and therefore had no moral mandate to “settle scores” with its German minority.

“Czechs were always outrageously racist, and low”, I was once told by my dear uncle who, during the Communist era was helping to build industry in the Middle East and elsewhere. A true internationalist and Marxist, he fell in love with the Arab culture and the Arab people, and he despised the bigoted attitudes of his colleagues towards them:

“You would not believe what Czechs were doing in the Middle East. To make extra money, Czech workers were pimping their own wives, but then they were calling the Arab people names, despised them.”

I experienced Czech racism on my own skin, first hand. During my childhood, I was beaten after each class at my elementary school, simply for having half Asian and half Russian mother. “You have Asian ears”, I was told, after having my shoes pissed into during cold winter days, with urine freezing fast in a bitter cold.

Those Roma (Gypsies) who survived the war, and those who were later “imported” in cattle cars to settle the border regions that were left empty after the deportation of the German minority, had it, of course, much worse.

There have been millions of excuses and justifications for racism against the Gypsies. Most of them were outrageously and out rightly bigoted: “We are supporting them and they do not want to adapt, ungrateful lot.” To be a Gypsy meant that you had your children sent to some terrible “special schools” for retarded minors. It meant that you would never find a decent job. You were sidelined, insulted and left totally unprotected, because the entire society was against you, from those thugs at the street corners, to the Euro supremacists in the Parliament.

Zuzana Brejcha, a Czech-Austrian film director, wrote to me: “Discrimination and racism against the Czech and Slovak Gypsies (Roma) is absolutely horrifying.”

And now the refugees!


Czechs have collaborated with any power that bothered to penetrate their land. And they are collaborating now, more shamelessly than ever.

They collaborate with the West, and with its horrific imperialist onslaughts all over the world. After all, Czechs are proud members of NATO.

They are more “Catholic than the Pope”, attacking and provoking arrogantly all the great countries that are resisting Western fascism, including Cuba, China and Russia. They do it, as always, cowardly, knowing their backsides are being covered by the United States and Western Europe. They bark only if it brings some rewards. They do nothing for free.

Of course it all began with Vaclav Havel and his era. That arch darling of the West, and a member of one of the richest Czech families, immediately cashed on his dissident-ship and after the Czechoslovak people opted for their new (and richer) master, he went to Washington in order to perform a thoroughly embarrassing intellectual prostration in front of the US leadership, religiously and publicly licking the rectum of the most violent imperialist country on Earth.

Naturally, a “pragmatic” nation like this prefers not to see the big picture: not to understand how the refugees actually became refugees.

It only sees “a menace, a bother, and a discomfort” that arrived with those millions of destitute people whose countries were colonized, fooled and robbed by the West.

And on top of it, they complain, those refugees are mainly “black and brown and yellow” and “not like us, and absolutely unwilling to assimilate and accept that superior Christian Western culture.”

And so the Czech public opinion is now predictably totally against those devastated human beings, whose countries were royally screwed in order to make the West, including the Czech lands, so rich.

Consequently, the Czech army is deployed, and the concentration camps are being erected.

My friend, my fellow philosopher, Milan Kohout, has been threatened on the street only because he dares to defend the refugees; only for showing a mirror to the nation.

The line had been crossed. Outraged, I went to Prague, in order to add at least a few words to what was already said by Milan.


Death treats against Milan Kohout are unbelievably colorful. Milan himself sometimes jokes, sadly: “During the Communism, Czechs used to be very educated, a bookworm nation. Not anymore, of course, but their command of the language is still very advanced. This shows, unfortunately, in their intimidations:

“After we kill him he could perform in the Smichov Tunnel. His performance could be called: ‘Compositions and decomposition of the body’.”

“We will wait for you at night with fire torches, and burn your face.”

“I want to cut hands and feet of your family members and let them bleed to death.” (Milan has a three year old daughter)

“I would love to use pliers and pull out all your teeth.”

“I will first cut off your dick and then exterminate the rest of your family.”

“We will sent all immigrants and Kohout to gas chambers!”

“99.99 percent of the Czech people would love to chop your body to pieces.”

“Let us kick his ass not from the back but from the front.”

“I want to hang you on the tree, than to use acid so your body would decompose, and than burn it and throw it to some sewer as a food for rats.”

Milan is unrepentant. Now he carries a big knife and pepper spray in his pocket, while applying for a firearm license. He has no doubt where the Czech racism and wrath against “the others” really comes from:

“An identity of the Czech nation is very weak. Historically, it is the nation of collaborators”, he explains.
“It is a tremendously frustrated nation, which is not at all at peace with itself. And after the so-called ‘collapse of Communism’ here, the Christian religion, both Protestant and Catholic, began raising its ugly head, once again. And Christianity is almost synonymous with the racism and intolerance. On top of it, there is this overall European culture of intolerance and racism all around the continent.”

Milan Kohout is mainly hated here because he defends the refugees and because he dares to demonstrate, as a thinker and as a political performer, that the West in general and Europe in particular, have been busy destabilizing and looting countless countries all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia, forcing millions of people to flee their homelands, becoming refugees. He does not think that accommodating refugees is an act of charity: he thinks it is Europe’s obligation.

He holds Europe responsible for the crises, claiming that the continent is morally liable for all horrors the refugees are fleeing from, and therefore has to open its doors and accept millions of people that are seeking asylum at its shores. The Czech Republic, a member of NATO and one of the most eager allies of the United States, should take at least 1 million of migrants, he demands.


But Prague is quickly turning into one of the main centers of anti-immigrant sentiments, with people like Lutz Bachmann from German anti-Islam PEGINA movement often giving fiery and bigoted speeches here.

As AFP recently reported:

“Czech President Milos Zeman has come under fire for his fiery anti-migrant broadsides, earning sharp criticism from the UN’s human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who has also accused Prague of systematically detaining migrants in “degrading” conditions to deter others from entering the country.”

Mr. Milan Kohout recently confronted Milos Zeman, the Czech President, on several occasions. He also accused the Czech nation of racism. He managed to ‘infiltrate’ the most notorious “refugee camp” in the country, in Běla pod Bezdězem, which he described as “not too different from the concentration camps from the Second World War”.

President Zeman fired back, accusing Milan Korout of hypocrisy: “Go take some refugees to your own home, if you are so concerned about their fate.”

Milan accepted the challenged. He loaded his wife and baby to a car, and drove to Běla pod Bezdězem, in order to “pick up few refugees and take them home”.

What awaited him was a nightmarish camp, and extremely aggressive guards. “Have you fallen from Mars?” he was told. “Taking the refugees home?”

He got smuggled into the camp by a Syrian NGO employee. And what he saw was a horror. People stripped of all dignity, their passports and money “confiscated”.

“Refugees looked like some dangerous criminals, like detainees; they were living behind bars and some terrible barbed wire”, explained Milan.
“They robbed them of everything, their rectums were checked, fingered, even the rectums of little children. Money was confiscated. I spoke to one family from the destroyed Iraq. A man used to be a journalist. He had to leave, with his wife and small children. They were all detained, near the border, and they were handcuffed, humiliated and interrogated, before being sent to the camp… Only because, by a mistake, they stepped few meters into the country, on the Czech soil, while moving through Austria.”

“Fuck the refugees”, I was told on board a train from Prague to Pardubice, by a teacher! “Those niggers should stay where they are.”

Many in the Czech Republic are now suggesting that immigrants should be gassed. I first though it is part of some shade of infamous “black” Czech humor. But it was not. It was Golden Dawn, like in Greece and rest of Europe.

Now people in Czech Republic are alert and very edgy. When we discussed the topic of racism with Ms. Infidelius, a middle-aged man, who was obviously upset with us, approached the table:

“You are talking bullshit!” He shouted at me.

“How do you know?” I replied. “Were you spying on us?”

“Yes, I was listening!” He replied aggressively. “You think you can hide by speaking English? Defending those Arab niggers!”

“What is next?” I asked. “Are you going to start gassing the Muslims?”

He backed up. He intuitively realized that I was going to fight him. Right there, in the pub, the old fashioned way. One more word he would utter, and it would be a fist in his muzzle. How else with the Nazis?


Later, Ms. Mara Infidelius, commented:

“Main-stream Czech musician Daniel Landa who used to sing in the racist band “Orlik” in the 1990s (and has distanced himself from it ever since) recently had a huge concert (50,000 attended) where he sang several Orlik songs such as “Bily Jezdec” (White Knight). He also told the audience that we are “at war.”

Czech racism seems to have always been about hating the under-dog (the Romany). Now the mass media is full of hateful quotes against the refugees from the President, politicians, and other prominent figures. Threatening ‘race traitors’ with nooses at demonstrations and spewing hatred on the Internet is the new normal.

There are anti-refugee and pro-refugee demonstrations, but no one seems to see the big picture. Who caused the crisis? Why aren’t we demonstrating in front of the Embassy of the United States or Saudi Arabia?”

But the sentiments do not seem to follow logic.

“In a Moravian village where I come from, you would not find one single Muslim in the radius of 20 kilometers”, my Czech publisher (Broken Books) once told me.
“But they all hate Muslims there. It is simply racism. I cannot stand it here, anymore. I myself am thinking about leaving this country, about emigrating. But I still don’t know where to go.”

Internationalists during the Communist era, the Czech people now seem to be under the spell of the lowest mass culture, under the most vulgar form of European and Christian racism, and a superiority complex, all that Carl Jung, after World War II, called “a pathology.’

Was it really worth overthrowing the socialist government for this, a quarter of century ago?

The Czechs really “returned home”. But their home is not some ”freedom and democracy” as the arch collaborator Vaclav Havel used to claim, but the Western oppressive imperialist regime, savage capitalism, as well as the two dreadful twin sisters: ignorance and racism.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.
More articles by:Andre Vltchek

Murder Without Borders, MSF Attacked Again: Making Doctors and Hospitals the New "Terror War" Targets

Murderers Without Frontiers: An American Tradition Details 

by Chris Floyd  - Empire Burlesque

29 October 2015

This is my latest column for CounterPunch Magazine, written earlier this month: When I heard of the deadly U.S. strike on the Médecins Sans Frontières facility in Kunduz on October 3, I thought of this fragment of ancient history, written by a lowly scribe years ago:

UPDATE: Since this piece was written there has been another American-assisted attack on an MSF facility, this time in Yemen, where with American bombs guided by American intelligence, an MSF clinic was hit repeatedly, for two hours, by America's favorite violent sectarians, the Saudis. (Although of course al Qaeda -- one of the chief beneficiaries of the US-Saudi berskerking in Yemen, and also an increasingly important, and increasingly open ally in Syria -- runs a close second. The Independent has more here.)

"One of the first moves in this magnificent feat of arms was the destruction and capture of medical centers. Twenty doctors – and their patients, including women and children – were killed in an airstrike on one major clinic, the UN Information Service reports, while the city's main hospital was seized in the early hours of the ground assault. Why? Because these places of healing could be used as ‘propaganda centers,’ the Pentagon's ‘information warfare’ specialists told the NY Times. Unlike the first attack on Fallujah last spring, there was to be no unseemly footage of gutted children bleeding to death on hospital beds."

The attack on the MSF facility might well be an unintended consequence of the "fog of war," as the Americans claim. (Although just before the strike, Pentagon massagers were opining to their media mouthpieces how awful the Russians were for bombing Syria without the super-duper-ultra-advanced "precision" technology and high-tech intelligence that the USA uses. So why did they strike the Kunduz hospital, having been carefully and continually informed of its location beforehand? And why did they keep bombing even after they'd been told of the supposed error? As the MSF tweeted: “Bombing continued for 30 minutes after American & Afghan military officials in Kabul & Washington first informed of proximity to hospital.”)

But whatever happened in Kunduz, America’s Terror Warriors certainly have form, as the Brits say, when it comes to deliberately targeting medical centers. The passage above was from a column I wrote in 2004 about one of the most brazen war crimes of the 21st century: America’s decimation of Fallujah in Iraq.

The city was marked for destruction after four mercenaries were killed there in the early days of the occupation. The incident was depicted as an act of pure evil by the brutal natives; left unreported in almost every story was the fact that the occupying forces had slaughtered more than a dozen civilians before the reprisal against the mercenaries. An initial punishment assault against the city failed, partly due to the bad PR generated by footage of the horrific civilian casualties, and US forces backed off for a few months. But just after the 2004 election, the Pentagon gave their warrior chief, George Bush, a human sacrifice to celebrate his victory, and launched their second attack on the city. As I noted at the time:

“So while Americans saw stories of rugged ‘Marlboro Men’ winning the day against Satan, they were spared shots of engineers cutting off water and electricity to the city – a flagrant war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as CounterPunch notes, but standard practice throughout the occupation. Nor did pictures of attack helicopters gunning down civilians trying to escape across the Euphrates River – including a family of five – make the TV news, despite the eyewitness account of an AP journalist. Nor were tender American sensibilities subjected to the sight of phosphorous shells bathing enemy fighters – and nearby civilians – with unquenchable chemical fire, literally melting their skin, as the Washington Post reports. Nor did they see the fetus being blown out of the body of Artica Salim when her home was bombed during the ‘softening-up attacks’ that raged relentlessly – and unnoticed – in the closing days of George W. Bush's presidential campaign, the Scotland Sunday Herald reports.”

I don’t know if the carnage in Kunduz was “collateral” or, as in Fallujah, carefully planned. But in many ways, it doesn’t matter. Since the days when Jimmy Carter joined his Saudi allies in creating the worldwide network of violent jihadis, through the expansion of extremist jihad by Ronald Reagan (who called the extremists “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers”) and the systematic campaign to destroy secular governments throughout the Muslim world and empower violent sectarians (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.) to fill the vacuum, the bipartisan military imperialists in charge of the American state bear the responsibility for an untold — and ever-growing — number of atrocities, committed on every side.

Without the invasion of Iraq, no ISIS. Without America’s arming of a global jihad movement to overthrow the secular government in Afghanistan, no al Qaeda. Without 70 years of American protection of the pushers of the most violent, extremist, retrograde off-shoot of Islam, the corrupt Saudi tyrants — coupled with 70 years of America’s relentless destruction and undermining of every single non-sectarian political movement in the Middle East in favor of tyrants, satraps and puppets — no worldwide “radicalization” of repressed and threatened Muslims.

But don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to be seen as part of the “Blame America First” crowd on this. I don’t hold with such a reductive stance, especially in the face of the vast complexities and nuances of geopolitics. No, when it comes to fixing the primary guilt for the dark thunderclouds of fear, war, madness, extremism, instability, tyranny and chaos that loom over our time, I don’t “blame America first.” I blame America first, second, third, fourth, fifth and last. And I damn the bipartisan leaders who have made this so.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"O! The Humanity" The Spy That Got Away

The Spy That Quit and Ran: Domestic surveillance blimp goes AWOL

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

October 28, 2015

Most Americans living in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic region of the country probably didn't realize that for the last year or so they've been being spied on from the sky by a sophisticated 'eye-in-the-sky' blimp tethered to the ground in Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Air Force jets, which notoriously were not scrambled as four commercial jets were commandeered and flown into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, were scrambled quickly in this case to track the wayward blimp as it drifted with the wind into Pennsylvania.

It just goes to show you that the military can do the job when it wants to.

It will be interesting to see what they do if this thing comes down. It's big enough to do some damage, but my guess is the feds will do a good job of keeping the public from getting too close to it.

As it is, they're not saying much about what this thing was doing in the first place.

The Army has claimed the purpose of this and a second blimp has been to defend the US against an attack by cruise missile, but that seems strange, given that most of its cameras point groundward. According to a December 2014 report in Intercept [1] magazine, these two blimps, built by Ratheon Corp. have the ability to scan 340 miles in all directions, covering an area the size of Texas, and to see and track vehicles within that range.

Ominously, while one blimp has high definition radar equipment, the other is equipped, according to the Army, to provide detailed "targeting information."

I'm wondering where spotting and defending against cruise missile attack, which after all would likely come from the ocean, not from a 340-degree radius, comes into any of that.

Giant government spy blimp cuts loose and heads for the open ocean

The Intercept noted a year ago that the Army originally had plans to put as many as 32 of these huge 600,000-cubic-foot monstrosities around the country (all presumably defending against cruise missile attack!), but that grandiose plan was dropped because of cost (each unit costs millions of dollars to build and operate, and the whole project would have cost over $2.8 billion) and also because of a history of product failures and cost overruns. The project was scaled back eventually to the present two unmanned airships.

Nobody, including the corporate media, has paid much attention to these two blimps, floating some 10,000 feet above I-95 outside of Washington, DC, conveniently near NSA headquarters, but now that one of the two has gone AWOL, drifting at a reported 16,000 feet over Pennsylvania, maybe people will start asking questions. One assumes that the military will have to shoot the thing down at some point if it drifts away from the continental US, lest it fall into the hands of our new enemy, the Russians.

Imagine the fun that Edward Snowden would have examining if it it were brought down by Russia.

The incredible monitoring program that the federal government has erected to spy in the American people since 9-11 is a grim thing to contemplate, but it's nice when something truly laughable happens to the bastards, so if you happen to live in Pennsylvania, and are lucky enough to be in the path of this errant behemoth, officially called a "Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System," take a look up and have yourself a good guffaw. But smile...the cameras might still be on.

UPDATE: Late in the day, it was reported that the blimp, technically called an aerostat, since it is tethered and has no propulsion system, came down outside Bloomsburg in eastern central Pennsylvania, knocking out power to 15,000 homes as it came down, dragging its tether lines. It was secured by local authorities who were awaiting the arrival of the military to take possession of it. The government claimed no "kinetic" methods were used to bring it down though there was no explanation given for why it deflated and lost altitude,


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Yonatan Shapira, #Refugees Welcome, Janine Bandcroft October 28, 2015

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

Daily it seem things are getting worse in Palestine. Sensing the sea-change in World opinion perhaps, desperate Israeli extremists are committing unspeakable crimes against innocents, to what end we can only speculate.

From a distance, it's easy to polemicize, but what we rarely see in the news here is resistance to policies in the Occupied Territories from within Israeli society, and the price those who refuse to go along with it pay.

Yonatan Shapira is a peace activist who's refusal to fly missions over Gaza led to the Pilot's Letter of 2003.

Listen. Hear.

Shapira has since participated in non-violent demonstrations within Israel, supported the BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement, "Boycott from Within," and was a member of the 2012 Freedom Flotilla, sailing on the MV Estelle to Gaza with former Canadian MP, Jim Manley.

Yonatan is currently on speaking tour in support of Israeli Refusenik's scheduled to stop here at UVic Thursday, November 5th.

Yonatan Shapira in the first half.

And; dramatic images of a great migration of humanity, the scale of which has not been witnessed since the late days of the last century's Second World War, has transfixed people around the globe. Though a full accounting of the truth of what lay behind the Syria conflict remains unrevealed, the scope of suffering inflicted upon those seeking refuge is beyond debate. Earlier this month, demonstration across Canada were held in solidarity with those teeming millions dispossessed by war, and I went down to join the demo in Victoria.

Refugees Welcome in Victoria in the second half.

And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of good thing going on on our town's streets and beyond in the coming week. But first, Yonatan Shapira and refuser solidarity in Israel.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:
G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.

A Checkered Career: Allan Dulles and the Devil's Chessboard

Checkmate on ‘The Devil’s Chessboard’

by Lisa Pease - Consortium News

David Talbot’s new book The Devil’s Chessboard is an anecdotal biography of not just Allen Dulles but of the national security establishment that he helped create. Talbot gave himself the monumental task of summing up a 25-year slice of important history.

Because Talbot has a keen eye for both the absurd and the darkly humorous, he managed to make the disturbing history of that period not only eminently readable but engaging and at times downright entertaining.

CIA Director Allen Dulles

I have consumed dozens of books on Allen Dulles, the CIA and Cold War history, yet I was still surprised by numerous revelations in Talbot’s book. He often covers well-known episodes through a less well-known set of incidents and characters.

Talbot writes about the ratlines (escape routes from Europe to Latin America for Nazis), but in the context of one particularly Machiavellian character. He writes about Lee Harvey Oswald from the point of view of one of his friends who sold him down the river to the Warren Commission, likely at the behest of the CIA, a friend who later ostensibly committed suicide just as a member of the House Select Committee on Assassinations was about to interview him. Talbot talks about the CIA’s mind-control programs in the context of Allen Dulles submitting his own son to those horrors.

Talbot and his research associate Karen Croft, to whom he dedicated his book, have found all sorts of nuggets in Allen Dulles’s papers, his appointment calendar, oral histories, and other less-used sources. In addition, Talbot infuses his book with anecdotes from interviews he personally conducted. While I found some points I could nitpick in various episodes, overall this is a worthy addition and a much-needed perspective that elucidates how we came to have two governments: the elected one and the one that doesn’t answer to the elected one.

Talbot’s presentation is not linear but episodic, jumping back and forth like a checker on the chessboard in his title to keep subjects thematically together. Doing this allows him to introduce the character of Allen Dulles quickly, by showing him handing over a World War I girlfriend, “a young Czech patriot,” to British agents who suspected her of being an enemy spy, after which, Talbot tells us, she “disappeared forever.”

Talbot demonstrates that Dulles always found a way to do what he wanted, regardless of what he had been asked to do, even from his entry into the World War II’s Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s forerunner. OSS chief William “Wild Bill” Donovan had tried to assign Dulles to London to exploit Dulles’s cozy relationships with high-net-worth individuals like the Rockefellers whom Dulles served as a lawyer at Sullivan and Cromwell. But Dulles instead got himself assigned to Bern, Switzerland, at the near center of Europe and a financial Mecca for secret bank accounts.

Allen Dulles’s older brother John Foster Dulles had funneled “massive U.S. investments” into Germany post-World War I that flowed back to the U.S. as war loans were paid off. Both Dulles brothers enabled the Nazis financially and socially, with John Foster Dulles at one point defending the character of a Nazi lobbyist who threw a party in New York City to celebrate a Nazi victory in France.

Sparing the Nazis

Talbot makes the case that Allen Dulles was all but a “Double Agent” for the Nazis during World War II. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew how close Dulles was to the Germans but thought Dulles, as an American, would do the President’s bidding, serving as a lure for high-profile Nazis so they could be identified and neutralized.

In pursuing victory, FDR pushed for an unconditional surrender, but Dulles had other plans. He told an agent of SS leader Heinrich Himmler that the Allies’ declaration of the need for unconditional surrender was “merely a piece of paper to be scrapped without further ado if Germany would sue for peace.”

Roosevelt had assigned Dulles to support Project Safehaven, a program to identify and confiscate Nazi assets stashed in neutral countries. But instead Dulles, aided by his friend Tom McKittrick, the head of the Bank for International Settlements, sought to protect his German client’s accounts.

Insubordination to presidents was a running theme in Dulles’s life. But the younger Dulles brother did not yet have the power he would command later in life, so FDR’s policies won out over Dulles’s covert challenges.

Money and the power that money enabled, not ideology, was the predominant motivator for Dulles and his ilk. As Talbot noted, “It is not widely recognized that the Nazi reign of terror was, in a fundamental way, a lucrative racket — an extensive criminal enterprise set up to loot the wealth of Jewish victims and exploit their labor.”

Dulles did not appear to have a problem with the decimation of the Jews. Instead, Dulles believed the real enemy were the Communists, who had the potential to shift the balance of financial power. So Dulles found natural camaraderie with the Nazi elite, who also viewed the Soviets as their biggest threat. Dulles ignored or downplayed the reports he was receiving from escapees and journalists regarding the burning of human beings in concentration camps.

Dulles’s declassified communications showed little regard for the killing of the Jews and much more interest in psychological warfare tricks, “such as distributing counterfeit stamps behind enemy lines depicting Hitler’s profile as a death’s skull, and other cloak-and-dagger antics,” Talbot tells us.

When one reporter took a detailed report of what was happening to Dulles, the journalist said Dulles was “profoundly shocked” and thought action should be taken immediately. Yet Dulles had been receiving similar reports for more than two years and had done nothing about it, and he did next to nothing with this report as well.

Dulles wasn’t the only one keeping the atrocities from being reported, of course. First, the Nazis operated in as much secrecy as possible, so credible reports were hard to come by. But even when they came, many others in government, such as Secretary of State Cordell Hull, turned a blind eye. Hull was one of those who advised President Roosevelt not to allow the St. Louis, a ship of German Jewish refugees, to dock at an American port and who had blocked an important, detailed, first-hand account of what was going on in the camps from reaching the President.

In Italy, Dulles pursued his own secret peace agreement, which he dubbed Operation Sunrise, which flew in the face of FDR’s stated policies. And while Dulles presented himself to people as a personal representative of FDR, the absurdity of that was not lost on some of Dulles’s targets.

Launching the Cold War

During the Nuremberg trials, again, Dulles took the side opposite of what FDR had wanted, the meting out of stern justice for such egregious crimes. Where Roosevelt and other Allied leaders saw war criminals, Dulles saw potential spies to be rescued.

Talbot devotes several chapters to Dulles’s cooperation with and protection of the Nazis. One chapter is devoted to Dulles’s bringing the “Gehlen organization” into the fold of U.S. intelligence, with dubious results.

And, Talbot describes how James Angleton appeared to have blackmailed his way into his position of Chief of Counterintelligence by promising not to expose Dulles’s hiding of Nazi funds. That would explain how Angleton rose to such a key position despite his dubious fitness for the job. The paranoid Angleton ruined the lives of many intelligence officers whom he suspected falsely of being foreign spies, while missing the fact that his good friend in British intelligence, Kim Philby, was a Soviet double-agent. But Allen Dulles was ever Angleton’s protector.

Due to the scope of the topics covered, Talbot is necessarily unable to go in great depth into any of them. His coverage of the Hiss case feels superficial to one who has read a great deal on the subject. For example, Talbot speculates that Alger Hiss, a senior State Department official accused of spying for the Soviets, didn’t want to recognize Whittaker Chambers, the chief witness against him, because the two had perhaps engaged in a homosexual liaison.

While that may be true, I’ve always found Hiss’s own reasons compelling: Chambers had gone by another name when he had first known him; it had been many years since they had met; and Chambers’s weight had changed dramatically. That seems to better explain why Hiss claimed he didn’t know Chambers until he had a face-to-face meeting with him. Then, he recognized his long-ago tenant.

Talbot sprinkles a little sexual innuendo throughout the book. Personally, I find that takes away from the telling of history because anyone can say anything about someone else when the person is no longer alive to dispute it. In most cases, these suspicions are neither provable nor relevant. Fortunately, these are minimal interruptions to the overall tale.

Talbot makes a compelling argument that a lot of the abuses of the intelligence apparatus that we are dealing with now had their genesis under Allen Dulles’s version of the CIA. He traces the notion that the CIA is “above the law” and unanswerable to oversight to the McCarthy hearings, where Dulles earned the undying loyalty of the CIA by refusing to turn over Sen. Joe McCarthy’s targets for questioning.

McCarthy was clearly overreaching in his pursuit of suspected Communists and homosexuals – as alleged national security threats – but there should have been another way to deal with that than by claiming the CIA was above the law. That single act of defiance, perhaps more than anything else, paved the way to the egregious CIA abuses that have occurred in the years since, including the illegal wiretapping of elected officials, opening them up to blackmail.

In another part of the book, Talbot details the rise of Nixon under, in part, Dulles’s sponsorship. Most of us know that Nixon received illegal campaign donations when he was running for president. But Nixon also shook down those who wanted him to run for Congress, claiming he couldn’t afford to live on the salary of a Congressman and that he’d need supplementary income if he were to run. These are the kinds of juicy details Talbot’s book provides in spades.

As CIA Director

President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Dulles as the fifth CIA director – and the first civilian director – in 1953, but, as Talbot makes clear, Dulles overrode some of Eisenhower’s wishes by collaborating with his brother, John Foster Dulles, who was Secretary of State. By and large, Eisenhower was okay with letting the Dulles brothers run U.S. overt and covert foreign policy as they helped shape the worsening Cold War.

Their hard-line anti-communism and sympathy for colonialism included organizing coups in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954 and blocking a political settlement of the Vietnam conflict that would have involved elections leading to the likely victory of Ho Chi Minh. (John Foster Dulles died in 1959. The international airport outside Washington D.C. is named in his honor.)

One chapter focuses on the killing of “dangerous ideas” in the form of a lecturer at Columbia University, Jesús Galíndéz. He and compatriots had fought in the Spanish Civil War and fled to the Dominican Republic, only to find that they had “left Franco’s frying pan and landed in Trujillo’s fire.” Galíndéz later escaped the Dominican Republic for America and wrote a damning 750-page essay called “The Era of Trujillo,” as his PhD thesis.

Talbot reveals the role of CIA operative Robert Maheu and ex-FBI agent John Frank in the kidnapping of Galíndéz and his delivery to Trujillo, who tortured him, boiled him alive and fed him to the sharks. With the help of Dulles’s CIA, Galíndéz died in 1956.

Talbot also argues that the CIA was “too modest” when it claimed it was not responsible for the death of Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba who was assassinated just days before John Kennedy was inaugurated in 1961. The CIA basically handed Lumumba over to the people who killed him, making the Agency, at the very least, strong accessories to the plot, and hardly the failed-plot-bystanders, the story that CIA officials sold to the Church Committee.

Though Eisenhower had given the Dulles brothers a long leash for their foreign policy schemes, President John F. Kennedy had different ideas. As president, he wanted to run his own foreign policy, and this deeply rankled Allen Dulles. However, in his first months in office, Kennedy acquiesced to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Furious that he let the CIA sell him on the scheme that was hatched under Eisenhower, Kennedy vowed to rein in the freewheeling CIA.

Dulles hadn’t had to answer to anyone for a long time. But his sloppy Bay of Pigs operation cost him all credibility with Kennedy, who took the high road publicly, refusing to blame the CIA outright. But in private, he made it clear the Agency was not to be trusted and that he wanted to shatter it into a million pieces. The enmity between the pair grew.

Allen Dulles also defied Kennedy’s wishes when the President promoted an opening to the Left in Italy. Under Dulles, the CIA continued working against those same forces while supporting the Right as the spy agency and its predecessor, the OSS, had done since World War II.

Attorney General Robert Kennedy was so suspicious of Dulles’s secret reach that – after the Bay of Pigs fiasco – he found Dulles’s sister working in the State Department and had her fired. President Kennedy ousted Dulles in November 1961, replacing him with John McCone.

But Dulles did not go quietly into the cold night, as Talbot tells it, but ran, essentially, a government in exile from his home on the Potomac. Talbot details some of the comings and goings and how Dulles may have used his own book tour to help plan and plot the assassination of President Kennedy.

The JFK Assassination

Toward the end of the book, Talbot focuses nearly as much on President Kennedy and the plot to assassinate him as he does on Allen Dulles, with mixed results. While Talbot has the facts right in the broad strokes, if not all the small details, his focus was, in my opinion, a tad misplaced in spots. For example, he appears to believe E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed “confession,” which many in the research community do not.

Hunt, a career intelligence officer who became infamous as a leader of Nixon’s Watergate burglary team, implicated President Lyndon B. Johnson in the plot to kill Kennedy, which has never made sense to me. If LBJ was so ruthless that he killed his way to the presidency, why did he decide not to run again in 1968? Historically, when people have killed their way to the throne, they do not voluntarily abdicate it.

And Hunt’s “confession” seemed motivated more by the goal of leaving his family a little money after his death than by a desire to tell the truth. Indeed, even Talbot is puzzled at things Hunt appears not to know that he would necessarily have known had he been privy to the inner workings of the plot.

Clearly, Talbot focuses on Hunt because of Hunt’s well-documented long-term friendship with Dulles. And, I do believe, from my own research, that Hunt was likely in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, presumably as paymaster, his usual role in operations, based in large part on the fuller evidence from which Talbot created his abbreviated summary on that point. But I’m not persuaded, by this presentation or my other research, that Hunt knew the details of the actual plot.

From my own 25-plus years of research into the documentary record of the Kennedy assassination, I have come to believe it more likely that Richard Helms, James Angleton and David Atlee Phillips were the top plotters, not Dulles. But, to Talbot’s point, all of these men were beholden, at different levels, to Dulles; in fact, Angleton carried Dulles’s ashes at his funeral in 1969.

David Atlee Phillips gained power in the CIA because of his successful operations during the 1954 overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala under Dulles. Helms was apparently insulated from the Bay of Pigs disaster in April 1961, perhaps by Dulles to keep a loyal person at the upper echelon of the CIA.

Given the hostility between Dulles and Kennedy, it remains a historical anomaly that Dulles managed to finagle his way onto the official investigation of Kennedy’s assassination. In that position, Allen Dulles was more responsible than anyone for the deliberate obfuscations of the Warren Commission. Dulles spent more minutes working for the commission than any other member. I agree with Talbot that the body should more appropriately have been named “the Dulles Commission.”

Talbot repudiated the recently resurfaced canard that Robert Kennedy had asked LBJ to appoint Dulles to the commission, a point lawyer and former House Select Committee investigator Dan Hardway has also recently made in detail recently with additional evidence. (See Section VIII in Hardway’s article “Thank you, Phil Shenon.”)

Dulles really did have ties to the family of Ruth and Michael Paine, the couple that housed the Oswalds in the months before the assassination. And Dulles really did monitor New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s case against Clay Shaw through the man Garrison had hired to provide “security,” Gordon Novel.

One of the most interesting people Talbot examined in the latter part of his book was JFK adviser and historian Arthur Schlesinger, who apparently had a distaste for Dulles and the CIA’s actions professionally while maintaining a personal and even warm relationship with Dulles – though Schlesinger came to question that friendship in later years.

One of Talbot’s chapters, “I can’t look and I won’t look,” is named for something Schlesinger said when confronted with evidence of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination. Here was a man so wedded to his circle that he did not want to believe someone he knew and admired could be responsible for such a heinous crime.

Toward the end of his life, Schlesinger reflected on his “truce” and friendship with Dulles’s protégé Richard Helms and later CIA Director William Casey. Talbot quoted Schlesinger as saying, “I did wonder at one’s [meaning his own] capacity to continue liking people who have been involved in wicked things. … Is this deplorable weakness? Or commendable tolerance?”

The same must be asked of the public’s tolerance of secret operations that run counter to the principles of democracy in an open society. Is it commendable to tolerate assassinations and the darker deeds in the name of preserving the republic, or, more accurately, protecting the holdings of corporate leaders in the republic, or is it our weakness, as citizens of a democratic republic, that we have not raised our voices in protest of a secret, parallel government that has and no doubt will continue to pursue an independent path, out of control of our democracy?

That is the question that Talbot’s book asks between the lines. The Devil’s Chessboard gives us essential information to ponder before we make our answer.

Lisa Pease is a writer who has examined issues ranging from the Kennedy assassination to voting irregularities in recent U.S. elections.

Law Suit Claims Facebook "Transformed into Anti-Semitic Incubator for Murder"

NGO Sues Facebook over Pro-Palestinian Posts

by IMEMC News and Agencies

October 27, 2015

According to the Israeli media, 20.000 Israelis joined the Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin – The Israeli Law Center on a civil lawsuit against Facebook on accusations of ignoring widespread Palestinian posts "calling for violence against Jews."

The suit was filed this last Monday, in the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, by three attorneys — Robert Tolchin of New York; Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of the Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, and Asher Perlin of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

PNN reports that, according to The Times of Israel newspaper, the 20,000 Israeli plaintiffs claim that the Facebook posts have inspired many recent “terror attacks” and that “Facebook’s algorithms and platform connects inciters to terrorists who are further encouraged to perpetrate stabbings and other violence attacks against Israelis”.

The suit alleges that Facebook has a “legal and moral obligation” to block much of this content but that it chooses not to. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Facebook requiring the social network to “immediately remove all pages, groups and posts containing incitement to murder Jews; to actively monitor its website for such incitement that all incitement is immediately removed prior to being disseminated to masses of terrorists and would-be terrorists; and to cease serving as matchmaker between terrorists, terrorist organizations, and those who incite others to commit terrorism.”

They are also arguing that Facebook is “far from a neutral or passive social media platform and cannot claim it is a mere bulletin board for other parties’ postings” and that “the terrorists do not come on their own; they write posts and encourage their friends to kill Jews,” Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, told Fox News. “Facebook has been transformed into an anti-Semitic incubator for murder.”

According to the israeli newspaper Haaretz, in a news release Darshan-Leitner also state that “Facebook wields tremendous power and this publicly traded company needs to utilize it in a way that ensures that Palestinian extremists who are calling to stab Israelis and glorifying the terrorist that do, are not permitted to do it on its platform.”

Search IMEMC: "Facebook"

Stealing Turkey: Erdogan's pre-Dug Election Theft Memory Hole

Open Grave: Western Media Memory Hole Pre-Dug for Turkey

by Peter Lee - China Matters

Turkey would seem to have every element that makes the heart of an idealistic Western journo go pitty-pat:

Democracy under attack, journalists getting detained and beaten up, fascism on the march, moderate, middle-class protesters getting shredded by Islamic suicide bombers with alleged government connivance, rampant skullduggery in the run-up to a crucial election on November 1, Turkish government backing ISIL and murdering Kurds in northern Iraq, the overall horror presided over by a sinister supervillain from a palace with the size and aesthetic of an Atlantic City casino…

…add to that brave, eloquent and, most importantly, English-speaking local journalists desperate to get the word out.

Whaddya get today with a Google search for Turkey?

Turkey ‘shoot out with ISIS’ leaves police and suspects dead via the Beeb, with the Guardian, Reuters, ABC News & USA Today running the same story.

This action, I suspect, was a PR op meant to deflect attention from Turkey’s “soft on ISIL” rep, solidified by the fact that one of the suicide bombers who been able to perpetrate the horror at the Ankara train station thanks to zero security provided by the Turkish police was the member of a “well-known” ISIL cell, “well known” because the cell had also harbored his brother, the suicide bomber who had killed 32 Kurdish activists at Suruc on July 20.

What else did the Western media give us?

A couple stemwinders on Erdogan’s coalition options if the AKP doesn’t win an absolute majority on November 1;

And some joshing about Turkey playing with the idea of postponing daylight savings to avoid confusion on election day.

Inside Turkey, the “slaughter the usual suspects” ISIL story didn’t even make the top 3 at Hurriyet Daily News. Readers continued their love affair with the account of the bizarre musings of a pro-Erdogan pundit in Canada:

A pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) columnist has claimed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would be the ‘caliph,’ or leader of Sunni Muslims in the world, under the much-anticipated presidential system.

Yeni Akit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak said the rooms of the controversial presidential palace would be reserved for the representatives from nations under the caliphate, adding that Turkey’s caliphate had never been abolished.

“If Tayyip Erdoğan shifts to a presidential system, he will probably assign advisors from the regions under the caliphate and open representative agencies of all Islam Union nations in that 1,005-room [the presidential palace]…

Meanwhile, here’s some stories that showed up on Twitter in the last three days:

On Sept.2 #Turkey's @todayszamancom reported on gov’t plans to seize critical media. It happened today …

UNBELIEVABLE: There is not even a court judgement ordering a seizure of major conglomorate that owns TVs & newspaper. Sheer banditry.

The judge at Ankara 5th Penal Court of Peace, a year old court dubbed by #Erdogan as special project, orders seizure of #Turkey media group.

Those tweets courtesy of Abdullah Bozkurt ‏@abdbozkurt , a Zaman journalist. Follow him! Retweet him!

Here’s some interesting items I tweeted courtesy of Today’s Zaman (follow me! retweet me! @chinahand):

RTÜK may cancel contracts with stream providers over censorship …

Only 25 percent believe ISIL responsible for Ankara bombings, survey reveals …

ISIL members housed in state-owned guesthouses, CHP deputy claims …

CHP has secret Oslo documents that Kılıçdaroğlu claimed to have seen … (this concerns rumors of a secret deal between Erdogan and Kurdish militants)

Bombs sent to ISIL by truck being exploded in Turkey now, says former deputy …

And that’s in addition to the big bang/disappointing squib...

CHP deputies: gov't rejects probe into Turkey's role in Syrian chemical attack …

That's the allegation by opposition lawmakers that they have a dossier documenting Turkey’s organization of the notorious 2014 sarin gas attack at Ghouta, Syria, as a false flag operation, organized with the purpose of drawing the US into direct military action against Assad.

The US was ready to go to war over this incident, in which 1300 people died. That’s four times as many people as died in the MH17 shootdown. Even applying the “brown on the ground” casualty discount rate vs. air travelers, many of whom if not all were Western and middle class, the US intervention angle—and the corroboration the report apparently provides to Seymour Hersh’s story —would seem to make it newsworthy.

But zip in the United States. CounterPunch ran my story, basically a stub post blockquoting the Today’s Zaman report; five days later it’s still the top hit when you google “Turkey Syria Sarin”.

There are a multitude of excuses for not running with the various stories concerning Erdogan/AKP/deep state wet work coming out of Turkey.

The stories are coming out courtesy of the CHP, an opposition party hoping for a big day on November 1 that will force the AKP to abandon single-party rule and enter a coalition with it; and they are running in Today’s Zaman, which is associated with the Gulen movement, once a BFF and now arch-enemy of Erdogan. So there’s that whole election/grudge/bias/mudflinging angle.

But that’s a story in itself. The AKP refused to enter into a coalition with the CHP after the last general election, in July 2015, preferring a hung parliament and betting on the possibility that “somehow” it would reverse its slide into unpopularity in order to do better on November 1 and preserve its one-party rule. “Somehow” looks a lot like a terror/repression/suppression campaign against the AKP’s opponents, including bombing of opposition demonstrations, burning down opposition political offices, beating up of journalists, censoring and shutdown of undesirable media outlets…

Even if journos have decided to ignore their liberal bleeding heart leanings and get in touch with their cynical realpolitik side, there are still good Turkey stories out there to be covered.

There’s that story about Turkish consulates showering fake travel documents on Uyghurs to travel to Turkey, and maybe on to Syria to live in and fight from a rumored Uyghur militant colony near Idlib in Syria. Zero interest; fortunately for posterity, I blogged the stuffing out of that one.

There’s another interesting story line, about the refugee crisis, the biggest, most heartwrenchingesque thing going, from Hurriyet Daily News, the other big prestige Turkish daily with an English edition and international reach:

Turkey must make sure EU keeps promises - DIPLOMACY

The "promises" relate to the long-stalled accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey. The think tank expert says:

We have had a sudden revitalization in the process, and this is linked to the Syrian crisis and the influx of refugees to the EU…A new effort had to be made; some sweeteners had to be offered to Turkey. So we have some proposals from the EU to convince Turkey of a more cooperative approach."

The “sweetener” discussions opened with an offer of Euro 3 billion from the EU.

Read any exploration in the Western press of the interesting possibility that there might be more to the outflow of refugees than a seemingly spontaneous hive-mind conclusion that there’s no going back to Syria—and the sudden incapacity of Turkey’s relief and border control apparatus might have something to do with Turkey’s demand for a haven/No Fly Zone for the in northern Syria for refugees and/or militants looking for some rest and recuperation…or else?

Didn’t think so.

Well, Today’s Zaman had this:

Turkey says new wave of Syrian refugees will head for Europe

It contains the quote, "Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey should not be expected to turn itself into a 'concentration camp' for refugees," and goes on to say:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday there were "strong indications" a new wave of migration was starting from Aleppo and renewed calls for a "safe zone" in Syria to protect civilians, an idea that has won little international backing.

Kinda screams "refugee flows as TK weapon" doesn't it? But *crickets*

As I said on Twitter, somebody is doing their job on Turkish news, and doing it well.

Too bad "somebody" is not "journalists", instead it's a collective term for diplos and lobbyists inside and outside Turkey doing their best to keep a lid on the story of a US ally, European neighbor, and NATO member whose democracy is threatening to come apart at the seams.

I will resist stepping into the rhetorical minefield of “Is Turkey worse than China.” But I am willing to say “Western reporting on Turkey is worse than Western reporting on China.”

Rowling Responds to Clash on Cultural Boycott

Hamilton vs. J.K. Rowling, Round Two

by Omar Robert Hamilton  - CounterPunch

October 27, 2015

On Monday, CounterPunch ran an article by Omar Robert Hamilton that responded to JK Rowling’s joint letter to defend Israel. This was one amongst many responses to her letter. JK Rowling responded, and Omar responded to her. We run both below. - CP

JK Rowling Responds:

I’ve had a number of readers asking for more information about why I am not joining a cultural boycott of Israel, so here it is:

As the Guardian letter I co-signed states, the signatories hold different views on the actions of the current Israeli administration. Speaking purely for myself, I have deplored most of Mr Netanyahu’s actions in office. However, I do not believe that a cultural boycott will force Mr Netanyahu from power, nor have I ever heard of a cultural boycott ending a bloody and prolonged conflict.

If any effects are felt from the proposed boycott, it will be by ordinary Israelis, many of whom did not vote for Mr Netanyahu. Those Israelis will be right to ask why cultural boycotts are not also being proposed against – to take random examples – North Korea and Zimbabwe, whose leaders are not generally considered paragons by the international community.

The sharing of art and literature across borders constitutes an immense power for good in this world. The true human cost of the Palestinian conflict was seared upon my consciousness, as upon many others’, by the heart-splitting poetry of Mahmoud Darwish. In its highest incarnation, as exemplified by Darwish, art civilises, challenges and reminds us of our common humanity. At a time when the stigmatisation of religions and ethnicities seems to be on the rise, I believe strongly that cultural dialogue and collaboration is more important than ever before and that cultural boycotts are divisive, discriminatory and counter-productive.

Omar Robert Hamilton Responds:

Dear Ms Rowling,

I don’t know if you read my response in Counterpunch to your signing the Cultures of CoExistence letter. I hope you will take the two minutes it asks of you. You’ve since expanded on your position and so, although I may be speaking to an empty room here, I feel I should step in again.

Firstly, the cultural boycott is not designed to force Mr Netanyahu from power. If it were not Mr Netanyahu in power it would have been Mr. Herzog and his track record leaves us no reason to hope he would be the kind of visionary leader needed to bring a just resolution to the great injustices that Zionism has wrought upon Palestine. The cultural boycott is designed to isolate institutions that are directly collaborating with the Israeli government in the ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestine. The cultural, economic and political boycott is designed to bring justice for the Palestinian people.

It is misrepresentative to suggest that BDS is a blunt instrument that blindly targets people based on their ethnicity. That’s what Israel does. BDS, on the other hand, is a carefully considered campaign based on ethical principles. It does not target individuals, it does not target people for their beliefs; it targets institutions that profit from death and their brand ambassadors, it targets people who, by accepting money, make themselves complicit with the Israeli state.

Let’s take two examples.

  • Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress soon to be an international star for playing Wonder Woman. She served in the Israeli Army and has no problem acting as a representative of her country. However, as no Israeli state institutions contributed to the financing of her films, she is not someone that would be targeted by BDS.
  • Idan Raichel, on the other hand, has hosted gala fundraisers for the Israeli Army and provided morale boosting entertainment for soldiers on active duty in the most recent assault on Gaza. In his own words, Raichel said “I believe that our role as artists is to be engaged in the Israeli propaganda campaign [Hasbara].”

Mr Raichel is the kind of artist that BDS targets.

It is laid out very clearly on the website for the Palestinain Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

BDS targets artists, companies and institutions that are in the service of the state and its policy of ethnic cleansing.

You ask why we don’t boycott North Korea? This is a question often asked by Israeli apologists and the answer is simple: North Korea has no international cultural propaganda programme to boycott. How many state-sponsored celebrations of North Korean culture are happening this year? How many North Korean lobbyists are at work in Washington DC? How many popstars have had to rescind tweets against North Korea? The answer is zero.

BDS does not stop the sharing of art or of literature across borders. BDS stops government-sponsored propaganda from masquerading unchallenged as art. BDS demands that art be art and that artists speak for themselves and not be mouthpieces of an apartheid regime. Real cultural dialogue between individuals or institutions not affiliated with the state is of no interest to this campaign.

What BDS targets is state-sponsored smoke-screening designed to buy Israel more time to conquer more land.

As a signatory to BDS there would be no preventing you from talking and working with as many ‘ordinary Israelis’ as you like. In fact, it would guarantee that this sector about whom you are so concerned is identified. Israelis resistant to their state’s policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid are welcomed with open arms. But those that profit from it: they are the ones that we are no longer interested in dialogue with.

I believe that if you consider this carefully you will find that it is actually BDS, and not the Cultures of Co-Existence Clan, that is in line with your stated principles.


Omar Robert Hamilton

Omar Robert Hamilton is a filmmaker, writer and a producer of the annual Palestine Festival of Literature.
More articles by:Omar Robert Hamilton