[PHOTO: Ambassador Nikki Haley speaking at AIPAC convention, March 27, 2017. When she was Governor of South Carolina, Haley had been the first to sign into law anti-BDS legislation. See excerpts from her AIPAC speech below*]
We were deeply disappointed by your response to our report, Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid, and particularly your dismissal of it as “anti-Israeli propaganda” within hours of its release. The UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) invited us to undertake a fully researched scholarly study. Its principal purpose was to ascertain whether Israeli policies and practices imposed on the Palestinian people fall within the scope of the international-law definition of apartheid. We did our best to conduct the study with the care and rigor that is morally incumbent in such an important undertaking, and of course we welcome constructive criticism of the report’s method or analysis (which we also sought from several eminent scholars before its release). So far we have not received any information identifying the flaws you have found in the report or how it may have failed to comply with scholarly standards of rigor.
Instead, you have felt free to castigate the UN for commissioning the report and us for authoring it. You have launched defamatory attacks on all involved, designed to discredit and malign the messengers rather than clarify your criticisms of the message. Ad hominem attacks are usually the tactics of those so seized with political fervor as to abhor rational discussion. We suppose that you would not normally wish to give this impression of yourself and your staff, or to represent US diplomacy in such a light to the world. Yet your statements about our study, as reported in the media, certainly give this impression.
We were especially troubled by the extraordinary pressure your office exerted on the UN secretary general, António Guterres, apparently inducing him first to order the report’s removal from the ESCWA website and then to accept the resignation of ESCWA’s distinguished and highly respected executive secretary, Rima Khalaf, which she submitted on principle rather than repudiate a report that she believed fulfilled scholarly standards, upheld the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, and produced findings and recommendations vital for UN proceedings.
Instead of using this global forum to call for the critical debate about the report, you used the weight of your office to quash it. These strident denunciations convey a strong appearance of upholding an uncritical posture by the US government toward Israel, automatically and unconditionally sheltering Israel’s government from any criticism at the UN, whether deserved or not, from the perspective of international law. Such a posture diminishes the US’s reputation as a nation that upholds the values of truth, freedom, law, and justice, and that serves the world community as a regional and global leader. It also shifts the conversation away from crucial substantive concerns.
You fail to consider that Israeli leaders have themselves warned of the apartheid features of their policies. It may have been that the word “apartheid” alone was enough to trigger your response, a reaction undoubtedly abetted by Israel’s instantaneous denunciation of our report. In following Israel’s public lead, however, you fail to consider that Israeli leaders have themselves grasped and warned of the apartheid features of their policies for decades. The widely admired Yitzhak Rabin, twice Israel’s prime minister, once confided to a TV journalist, “I don’t think it’s possible to contain over a long term, if we don’t want to get to apartheid, a million and a half [more] Arabs inside a Jewish state.” Prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak both warned publicly that Israel was at risk of becoming an apartheid state and cautioned their constituencies about what would happen to Israel if the Palestinians realized this and launched an anti-apartheid struggle. Former Israeli attorney general Michael Ben-Yair has stated flatly, “we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories.” These prominent Israelis were clear-headed observers of their own country’s policies as well as patriots, and it was their cautions, as much as any other source, that inspired ESCWA member states to consider that the possibility of an apartheid regime existing in this setting must be taken seriously and so commissioned the report now under attack.
It is therefore wholly inappropriate and wrong for you to charge that, simply by accepting this commission, we as authors were motivated by anti-Semitism. The reverse is true. To clarify this claim, we call your attention to two features of the report that we hope will lead you to reconsider your response.
It is wrong for you to charge that, simply by accepting this commission, we were motivated by anti-Semitism.
Firstly, the report carefully confines its working definition of apartheid to those provided in the 1973 Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the International Crime of Apartheid and the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It does not rely on definitions developed in polemics about the conflict or taken casually from online sources. As the 1973 Convention and the Rome Statute are part of the same body of law that protects Jews, as well as all people in the world, from discrimination, this authoritative definition should not be set aside. Any responsible critique must therefore engage with these legal definitions, and the larger body of international human-rights jurisprudence in which they are situated, so as to address the report for what it actually says rather than concocting a straw man that can be easily dismissed. We hope you will reconsider the report in this light.
Secondly, the member states of ESCWA requested that a study be commissioned to examine whether Israel’s apartheid policies encompassed the Palestinian people as a whole. This meant that, as authors, we were asked to consider Palestinians living in four geographic regions within four legal categories or “domains”: those living in the occupied territories, those resident in Jerusalem, those living as citizens within Israel, and those living in refugee camps or involuntary exile. For each domain, we found that Israeli policies and practices are, by law, internally discriminatory. But more importantly, we found that all four operate as one comprehensive system that is designed to dominate and oppress Palestinians in order to preserve Israel as a Jewish state. It is this whole system of domination, too long misinterpreted by treating Palestinians as situated in unrelated categories, that generates the regime of domination that conforms to the definition of apartheid in international law. Moreover, it is this system that has undermined, and will continue to undermine, the two-state solution to which the United States has committed its diplomatic prestige over the course of several prior presidencies. Appraising the viability of this diplomatic posture in light of findings in this report would, we propose, be crucial for the credibility of US foreign policy and should not be blocked by political considerations.
We hoped our report would give rise to discussion of all these issues. Especially, we hope that its findings will inspire a review of this question by authoritative legal bodies such as the International Court of Justice. We did not seek a shouting match. We therefore now respectfully ask, against this background, that our report be read in the spirit in which it was written, aiming for the safety, security, and peace of everyone who lives in territory currently under Israel’s control. As the report’s authors, this was our moral framework all along, and we still retain the hope that the serious questions at stake will not be buried beneath an avalanche of diversionary abuse of our motives and character. Charges of crimes against humanity should not be swept to one side out of deference to political bonds that tie the United States and Israel closely together, or for reasons of political expediency. Such machinations can only weaken international law and endanger us all.
Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University
Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University
*Excerpts from Haley’s speech March 27, 2017 at the AIPAC convention, as reported by the Times of Israel:
“And this ridiculous report, the Falk report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is, or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems,” said Haley, lightly horrified. “Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state?”
“So for anyone that says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there’s a new sheriff in town.”
“The first thing we do is we call the secretary general, and say, ‘This [report] is absolutely ridiculous. You have to pull it.’ The secretary general immediately pulled the report, and then the director has now resigned.”
Original in Dutch and English translation, also by Max van der Werff, appear here.
On April 12, 2017, a thousand days had passed since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down above East Ukraine. Up until now, those who did it have not been identified, indicted or arrested, and many questions remain answered.
After publication of the final report of the Dutch Safety Board in October 2015, I summarized the results of my two visits to the crash site and more than two thousand hours of Internet research in the article MH17 – Lying for Justice. Since then, I’ve had four meetings with the members of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and in total about 6 hours of talks have been recorded. Finally, I handed over 14GB of data to the Dutch researchers with the assurance that only Dutch researchers would have access to the material.Special credits for citizen journalists Marcel van den Berg, alias MH17research and Hector Reban (alias). I frequently used Hector’s blog and Marcel’s blog for writing this article. No other public source can match the information that can be found on both websites.
For numerous topics related to MH17 I would like to refer you to the interview in Café Weltschmerz where I was interviewed as a citizen journalist myself. Purpose of this article
1) Analysis of evidence presented by the JIT on September 28th, 2016.
2) Reporting what was not presented by the JIT (including motive, exact weapon, lies of Kiev).
3) Information on MH17 discussions in mass media.
4) Presentation of plausible scenarios of what might have happened to MH17.
5) Speculating on prosecution and quality of the future evidence.
ChronologyThe entire press conference of the JIT is on Youtube and lasts in total 1 hour and 19 minutes. Left channel is Dutch spoken, right channel is with English translation. I divided the presentation into 74 parts and in an excel sheet [link] topic keywords and direct links are provided. This is useful not only as a reference, but is essential to split the press conference and discuss it in chronological order, the way events must have happened in reality, according to the JIT. Key conclusions drawn by the JIT
– The Buk-Telar was brought to the firing location from the territory of the Russian Federation [26min05s]
– The type of Buk missile which downed MH17 is 9M38 series and Telar after being used is returned to the territory of the Russian Federation. [20min31s]
Reconstruction of the route and the evidence presented by the JIT
Route of 235 Km that the Buk (on a trailer) might have passed during the night of 16/17th of July 2014 from the Russian border to Donetsk.
The JIT doesn’t indicate which border crossing has been used and neither which route exactly might have been followed, but states: “At eight o’clock in the morning a witness has seen the Buk in Yenakiieve ” [33min27s]. Furthermore, the JIT used animated information from an anonymous Twitter account claiming that the Buk was standing at this crossroads in Donetsk [34min52s].
Route allegedly been driven on July 17th, 2014 is N21. I’ve done this route myself several times, both in the direction from Donetsk to Snezhnoye and back.
Volvo trailer in combination with Buk-Telar was filmed at this spot in Donetsk, by an anonymous freelance reporter claimed to be working for Paris Match.
Paris Match published the first photo on July 23, 2014. The second photo was put online on July 25th. That’s one week after MH17 was downed. The freelancer took this picture in the morning and later in the day MH17 was shot down. It immediately becomes the world news that the passenger plane is probably shot down by a Buk missile.
– Why would a magazine like Paris Match wait one week for the online publication of such huge scoop?
– Why does Alfred de Montesquiou, the leading reporter of Paris Match, claim that pictures were taken in Snezhnoye?Only almost two years later, during the press conference of the JIT it is revealed that these two pictures are screenshots from a video recorded by hand.
– Why didn’t Paris Match ever publish the video and why de Montesquiou talked about photos?
Screenshot of one of the videos I took from within a moving bus:
May 3rd, 2016 (meanwhile, one year, nine months and sixteen days have passed) a new YouTube channel appears which is created specifically for placing of one video. The anonymous uploader uses the alias “Ivan Olifirenko. This video, just like the Donetsk video has abonimable quality and moreover is also edited with special software called Cropipic.
On July 15, 2014 a convoy of the fighting unit ‘Vostok’ is passing a petrol station which also appears in ‘Olifirenko’ ‘s video. This video clearly shows that the road surface is damaged by tanks and other vehicles.
But in the video of ‘Olifirenko ‘ that is supposed to be made on July 17, 2014, you can’t see any of this damage.
Thus, this video is from an earlier date than July 15th 2014, or the quality is (made) so bad that it is completely useless as evidence. It is also remarkable that video was put online on the same day as the BBC documentary about MH17 was broadcasted.
Zuhres video and the witness who wished to remain anonymous.
The original video has been removed from YouTube. If we search for “зугрес бук” (“Zuhres buk” in Russian), then we find this video with the upload date July 22, 2014. It’s not possible to check via the public sources when the original video was put online and removed.
Also the quality of this video is so substandard that it was a piece of cake to shop in another vehicle without being noticeable which vehicle is added:
This is the exact location in Zuhres 2 and I have interviewed many people here. On July 17, 2014 or on any other day nobody has seen a Buk on a trailer passing by and no one has heard anything about it from others.
However, I learned something else that is important for finding the truth. Several residents of apartment 31 told me that an alcoholic was living in the apartment where from the video has been recorded. This man passed away couple of months before my visit, in the summer of 2015.
Following information about registered persons at this address can be found:
Anatoli Alekseyevich Andryushin, born October 9, 959 (АНДРЮШИН АНАТОЛИЙ АЛЕКСЕЕВИЧ)
The neighbors indicate that there were often several people staying for a long time in the apartment while the main occupant was absent and many of them had a key. Three persons are officially registered at the same address:
Elena Anatolevna Andryushina, born on July 17, 1986 (АНДРЮШИНА ЕЛЕНА АНАТОЛЬЕВНА)
Tatiana Alexandrovna Andryushina, born on July 30, 1963 (ТАТЬЯНА АЛЕКСАНДРОВНА)
Andrey Anatolevich Andryushin, born on May 22, 1985 (АНДРЮШИН АНДРЕЙ АНАТОЛЬЕВИЧ)
Date of birth: 1985-05-22
Political views: Liberal
Education: Modern computer information technology
Exactly this Andrey Andryushin appears as a witness in a video from June 30, 2016:
Andrey claims that he recorded this video with the Buk-transport on July 5, 2014 and he didn’t put it on YouTube himself. The video was also on his VKontakte (sort of Facebook) page, but out of fear he deleted his entire account.
– Why does Andrey claim he made this video on July 5?
– Where is Andrey now? Is he safe? (See questions 4a/b/c/d)
– Did the JIT have contact with Andrey?
It’s worth noticing that the JIT presents the video for few seconds as evidence, but pays no attention to the statement of the creator of the video that he did not record it on July 17th. Photo of Buk-Volvo combination made at the location ‘Pit Stop’ in Torez.
Unfortunately, the same problems as with the videos:
– Abominable resolution
– Anonymous photographer
– Original recording is not an open source
– Metadata unavailable
During the press conference the JIT did not show the pictures, but referred to a until now unknown video supposedly made in Torez [36min03s]. The original link of the Dutch police is removed. Here is a backup.
“Because of the importance to protect the creator of these images, the background is erased,” says the JIT. It remains unclear why the jeep in the video is riding with the door open. Quality of the video is so poor that you can’t see whether the wheels of the vehicle are turning.
Animation JIT: “Around noon, the white Volvo trailer with the Buk-Telar arrives to Snezhnoye. Buk is unloaded from the truck near the supermarket Furshet “[36min24s].
The Furshet supermarket is located on Lenin Street, a major thoroughfare. If there was indeed a Volvo with a trailer standing at this place and Buk-Telar was unloaded there from the trailer, many people would have seen it. Let’s look at the map:
The Buk Telar allegedly drove independently from the red cross on the map to the firing location through the green cross in Karapetiyan Street. In this case, the route that the Telar drove according to the JIT animation (red) can’t be right [36min36s].
Of course, I’ve also been at this location, made measurements and searched for witnesses. Some screenshots of the videos I made on October 19, 2015:
After studying the lines of sight it’s obvious the picture must have been taken from an apartment on the top floor, from building No. 3. An old lady told me that this apartment was not occupied in July 2014.
Also valid for this picture: anonymous photographer, low resolution, original file is not an open source and no metadata.
This photo was taken on June 5, 2015, almost a year after MH17. For better visibility, I increased the contrast slightly. See the original video. (Credit: Yana Yerlashova)
We are sure that no Buk has fired on June 5, 2015 and that it must be another source of the black smoke on the photo of that day.
– I asked the spokesman of the OM three times to confirm that the JIT claims that the presented photo shows the smoke plume of Buk missile which shot down MH17. The final answer was evasive.
– JIT presentation: “The photo is investigated by the NFI. The NFI has no evidence that this picture has been manipulated. “[38min14s]
It is important to know what have been the research questions and what has been studied exactly. That information (just like the original photo itself) is not public. The photo has been investigated by the NFI, the NIDF and FOX-IT. One of the persons who examined the photo wrote me:
“My research did not go beyond determining that these were real RAW files, and therefore in principle, original camera results. About what’s on it, no idea. I haven’t paid attention to that, except being amazed by the value that was tied to the rather obscure images. “
– For more detailed explanation and discussion of other problems with the smoke plume picture, I refer you to this article.
“Painstaking detective work on social media”
“Additionally, in spring of 2016 the research team after painstaking detective work on social media found two new photos.” [38min46s] “From the first picture and testimony of witnesses an analysis of sightlines was made. The direction in which the witness looked when he or she saw or photographed the trace. The place where these lines of sight come together is very close to the agricultural field in question at Pervomaiskyi.” [39min04s]
The displayed image is made at exactly the same location as this one ….
… which appeared on Twitter on July 15, 2014, two days before MH17 was shot down. The coordinates of the recording location were calculated and published on the Webtalk.ru forum.
If we place cutouts of the both photos above each other, we see an exact match. Photos (or video recordings) are almost certainly made with the use of a tripod:
The smoke from the ‘new photo’ is located more to the left compared to the two columns of smoke from the picture of the tweet on July 15:
Having the recording location and the coordinates of the launch site claimed by JIT, we can draw on a map a line of sight (white) and an estimated line of sight (red) for the columns of smoke on the picture of the tweet on July 15:
The red line of sight points to Saur Mogila, the highest point of Donbass. A place where in July 2014 fierce battles took place almost daily. On images from Google Earth of July 16, 2014 two pieces of scorched earth can be seen. Probably the smoke spots were caused by an attack on July 15.
It is clear that the apartment from where the recordings were made, served as an observation post, but why did Andrey Tarasenko twitter a photo of July 15 and not the one of the smoke plume on July 17?
Andrey Tarasenko claims he was walking home from work at the time of the attack:
A Ukrainian miner says that at the moment of the catastrophe with the Malaysian Boeing he saw a white trace shooting from the ground into the air. Twenty seconds later, he saw smoke rising in the distance. Andrey Tarasenko said he and his friend were walking home when it happened. “Do you know how does a trace of a plane look like? It was the same, but this was a rocket launched from the ground,” Tarasenko said. Tarasenko estimated that he was on a 16 kilometers (10 miles) distance from the Boeing 777 crash site. He never saw the plane. (source)
From the firing of a Buk-rocket untill the creation of smoke rising from the crashed MH17, several minutes have passed. Twenty seconds as claimed by Tarasenko is nonsense.
If the rest of Tarasenko’s story is correct, in any case he was not in the apartment when the recording was made. Interesting questions:
– Who made the image(s)?
– Who is the occupant of the apartment?
– How and from whom did Tarasenko get the files?
The main question is of course:
Why was “the long research on social media” necessary and photo (or video?) of the smoke plume from Buk that shot down MH17 wasn’t made public immediately?
Most searched weapon in the world – route back to the Russian Federation
JIT presentation: “Immediately after the launch, the Buk-Telar was discharged. There are almost no pictures available of the discharge route because it took place in the evening and night hours.” [41min27s]
“The Buk-Telar presumably was driving independently in direction of Snezhnoye. There he was put again on the white Volvo trailer in the late evening hours of July 17th.” [41min49s]
What we know:
– MH17 was hit around 16:20h.
– The distance of the route from the ‘launch site’ to the square of the Furshet Market is about 7 kilometers.
– Sunset on July 17, 2014 near Donetsk was at 20:22hrs.
If the assessment made by the JIT is correct, then the Buk-Telar was at least four hours within a radius of seven kilometers from the launch location since the launch of a missile and only after that it was loaded back on the trailer in the center of Snezhnoye for transport back to Russia.
– Statistically speaking, how many witnesses should have seen the Buk-Telar during almost four hours in the neighborhood and in the center of Snezhnoye and how likely is it that no satellite or spy images were made after it was known that MH17 was shot down?
Following the JIT story. In the late evening hours of July 17, the Buk-Telar is again put on the white Volvo trailer and drives through Lugansk to Russia. There are 175 kilometers from Snezhoye to Lugansk. That is, if you follow the route that Telar drove according to the JIT. The shortest route is less than 90 kilometers. Why this huge detour of about 80 kilometers?
JIT-presentation: “In Lugansk in the early morning a video has been made of a Volvo-truck with a loader carrying the Buk Telar. It shows that the installation carries only three missiles. From there the transport drives to the Russian border and crosses the border.” [42min07s]
Arsen Avakov states on his Facebook page that the video is made by a surveillance-team on July 18th, at 04:50 in the morning.
The video displays a lighted streetlight next to the billboard. This is remarkable, as Lugansk was almost entirely without electricity in the morning of July 18, 2014.
Also regarding to this video the following:
– Abominable Resolution
– Anonymous photographer
– Original recording not open source
– Metadata unavailable
Regarding the route the question can be raised once again: why a big detour with a route of about 246 kilometers was chosen…
The JIT claims to have obtained a lot of evidence through wiretaps alongside many pictures and witnesses. Joost Niemöller asked the following question [1u6min32s]
“What is the source of the wiretapped telephone conversations?”
Answer by Wilbert Paulissen, head of Dutch Police Investigations:
“These are mainly wiretapped telephone conversations of the Ukrainian service. Thus, these wiretapped telephone conversations are becoming available to the JIT via the court. That is the source of the wiretapped telephone conversations”.
“You say mainly. Are there any other sources?”
“No, these are: wiretapped telephone conversations from Ukraine. To put it simply.”
Ukrainian secret service falsified wiretapped telephone conversations
Almost immediately after it became known that MH17 was shot down, the Ukrainian secret service SBU published some wiretapped telephone conversations that would prove the guilt of the rebels. Here is an analysis of the audio:
The so-called evidence proves something quite different: Ukraine does not hesitate to produce (poorly) falsified evidence.
The fact that the audio was forged is not being denied by anyone. Not even by the top of the Dutch investigation team. However, JIT countries have agreed information is only being made public if no member objects. What this non-disclosure agreement contains exactly is… confidential.
Various wiretapped telephone conversations were played during the JIT presentation. Since it is proven that the SBU forged wiretapped telephone conversations, I limit myself discussing only one tap [43min21s]:
Person 1: “Where is the vehicle now?”
Person 2: “The vehicle is already in Russia for a long time.”
The JIT indicates that the tapped conversation was recorded on July 18, 2014 at 07:44. The Buk, according to the JIT, was filmed in Lugansk the same morning at 04:50 and then still had to travel the entire route to the Russian border.
How is it possible that the “vehicle” at 07:44 was in Russia for a “long time” already?
JIT fails to fulfill its promise to appoint exact weapon
Head of Dutch Police Investigations Wilbert Paulissen:
“Based on the criminal investigation it can be concluded that the flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a missile from the 9M38-series.” [20min31s]
The 9M38-series consists of two types: 9M38 and 9M38M1. From the outside the two missiles are almost identical, but according to manufacturer Almaz Antey the warheads of the two missile types contain differently shaped particles. The warhead of the 9M38 contains square particles of two different sizes, while the missile type 9M38M1 contains square particles of two different sizes and butterfly-shaped particles.
JIT: “The warhead of 9M38 is composed of an explosive core with a sheath of preformed particles which are dispersed with great force during the explosion.” [23min35s]
Using the term “9M38” in combination with a warhead of missile type 9M38M1 is at least confusing.
The JIT also shows an explosion of a warhead with butterfly particles in an animation. A missile of 9M38M1 type. And thus, not the 9M38 type.
Why does the JIT say that flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a missile from the “9M38-series”, but does not specifically appoint 9M38M1 as the weapon?
Buk manufacturer Almaz Antey during tests has detonated a warhead 9N314M of a 9M38M1 missile near the cockpit of a disused Ilyushin-86 .
After the experiment the aluminum skin of the IL-86 (right) contains many butterfly-shaped entry holes. There are no butterfly-shaped holes found in the skin of MH17. How can this be explained?
Russia claims it has no longer 9M38 missiles in its arsenal. This type of missile is still used by Ukraine, according to the Russians.
Does the JIT use the term “9M38-series” to disguise MH17 has not been shot down by a missile of the 9M38M1 type?
Primary radar data absent, primary radar data present.
More than two years ago Russia claimed the primary radar data had been erased, but six days before the JIT presentation it was reported a copy was nevertheless preserved.
Paulissen: “Regarding the new primary radar images the Russian Federation spoke about last Monday, I can report that they are not yet in possession of our research team and that we were not able to see them yet.” [44min15s]
Ukraine claims it has no primary radar data, because all radars were either under maintainance or had been destroyed before July 17, 2014.
Dutch MP Omtzigt: “DSB report: Russians have deleted primary radar data
Ukraine had them switched off due to maintenance. (So no radar data of the missile)
Westerbeke: “There has been a lot of talk about radar images. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation provided radar data to the JIT.
Recently the JIT has, after intensive research, also traced a video file with relevant primary military radar data from the area. Recorded by a mobile radar in Ukraine. This radar was used at that time to test new software. Though this radar has a limited range, it did detect MH17 and completes the further completes the entire picture.” [14min16s]
Why Ukraine did not immediately make this primary radar information available to the JIT and why more than two years “intensive research” was needed?
Jeroen Akkermans rightfully states the Russians have wasted a lot of time and that the radar data “could obviously have been forged“.
Since we have already established Ukraine has produced falsified evidence, the uncritical attitude of the Dutch researchers and media towards that country is especially noteworthy.
Westerbeke: “The discussion about the radar images in our opinion can be closed. Today we want to emphasize that the material available to us is more than sufficient to draw conclusions in the criminal investigation. [14min55s]
This might be so as per Westerbeke’s opinion, but fact is the wrangling over the radar images is still ongoing after 1000 days. Point of discussion remains if the Russian radar data proves that no Buk was launched from the launch site designated by the JIT or the following applies:
“In this case the absence of evidence does not mean the evidence of absence” [46min06s]
No doubt about motive
Head of Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko:
“Terrorists and militants have planned a cynical terrorist attack on a civilian aircraft Aeroflot AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaka that was flying at that time above the territory of Ukraine.”
[source]According to Ukraine this false flag operation failed because the Russian crew drove to the wrong place Pervomaiske and accidentally did not shoot down the Aeroflot airliner, but MH17 instead. The shooting down of an Aeroflot airliner with Russian citizens on board would according to Ukraine be used as casus belli for an overt Russian invasion of Ukraine.
What was said during the JIT presentation about the motive?
Paulissen: “The research is still focused on this question, but I have started my story deliberately sketching the context in which the event took place. That context, as we have seen it and as I told you, was that there was heavy fighting and that men sought an answer to the many air strikes by the Ukrainian army. Thus, that is an indication in a particular direction. Whether it is so, the further research will have to clarify, but we are attending to this matter.” [1u08min39s]
Westerbeke “Our research is focused precisely on that question. Was it a mistake? Was it deliberate? Who was in charge there? Who gave the order? These are real follow-up questions, and that is exactly what we are going to look for further.” [1u10min26s]
? JIT member Ukraine announced in August 2014 it possesses hard evidence about culprits and motive, but the JIT reports in September 2016 it is still looking for the culprits and their possible motive ?
The (Dutch) researchers have had two years to verify and evaluate the hard evidence collected by Ukraine. The fact that during the press conference both Paulissen and Westerbeke stated the issue about the motive remains unsolved is a strong indication Ukraine also lies about the motive issue.
“We never said that Russians definitely shot them down, but they definitely provided the weapon for it.”
So what is the truth?
“You confuse the statements in the investigation report of Bellingcat with my personal opinion. Bellingcat is a group of individuals working together. It would be wrong to attribute statements made by one of them to Bellingcat. It is my personal opinion that it is plausible that the BUK installation was operated by the members of the 53th brigade. The Bellingcat reports do not go that far and leave the question open, so that people can draw their own conclusions on the evidence presented in the reports.” [source]
– an incorrect launch site was claimed
– at least one witness testimony was forged
The coverage of AD is based on information from detective buro Correct!v. The factual and demonstrable errors in the analysis of Correct!v have been investigated by Billy Six and myself and Marcel van den Berg discusses not less than eight errors.
Despite all the “overwhelming evidence” spread by (social) media about the involvement and guilt of Russia in the downing of MH17 Westerbeke says:
“We as Joint Investigation Team, on basis of the research, are not going further at the moment than to confirm that the Buk Telar was brought from Russia and that it was transported back. We did not go further in our conclusions and this means we do not comment on the involvement of the Russian Federation as a country or persons from the Russian Federation.” [55min27s]
Marcel van den Berg wrote two orderly posts on it:
This question keeps many people who rely on studying public information busy. What virtually everyone agrees on is the following: Ukraine should have closed its airspace.
Even DSB (Dutch Safety Board) is clear about it. If the responsible authorities claim to be aware of the presence of weapons in a conflict zone that can shoot down a civil aircraft at high altitude and still do not close the airspace, there is at least a matter of gross negligence.
Professor Giemulla has started proceedings at the ECHR against Ukraine on behalf of a number of German family members of the deceased based on this argument. Professor Giemulla describes The Netherlands as “a black hole“, because until now no Dutch family members have joined this lawsuit.
Paulissen of the JIT: “regarding the closure of airspace, we state that the JIT investigation is not focused on this. That was part of the DSB research. Conclusions have been drawn, so we do not focus on it within the criminal investigation”. [1u02min28s] Legal proceedings Ukraine vs Russia
Ukraine has filed a case against Russia at the International Court of Justice. MH17 is part of a complaint against Russia because of “aggressive” and “illegal annexation of Crimea”. According to Ukraine Russia has violated two international treaties by “financing of terrorism” and “racial discrimination”. The Court has not ruled on the case and experts do not know what the Court will finally decide. [April 19th 2017 – first order ICJ]
MH17 is a part of a geopolitical conflict
Main parties in this conflict are the United States and Russia. Netherlands (NATO) and Ukraine are in the US camp. Ukrainian rebels are in the Russian camp.
Opinions about the credibility of the JIT and especially the reliability of the input of the secret service of Ukraine are divided.
Based on public information (and thus not on the basis of information that the JIT claims to possess, but says it does not release due to tactical and strategic reasons), I am not convinced that a Buk coming from Russia shot down MH17. Who doubts the western narrative is being framed as a “useful idiot” and “Kremlin-troll”. So be it.
Back to the question: Which scenario can explain why all stakeholders frustrate and even sabotage getting the truth on the table? It is tempting to speculate on the basis of incomplete information and to fill in the missing pieces as “truth.” The last thousand days I was able to resist this temptation. I did however include a hypothesis of Colonel bd. Rudolph in Lying for Justice. According to Rudolph’s hypothesis, the Ukrainian air defense accidentally shot down MH17 during an exercise. Another hypothesis that also assumes it was an accident:
– Russian-backed rebels captured one or more operational Buks of the Ukrainian army.
– Nevertheless, Ukraine deliberatly did not close its air space.
– MH17 was accidentally shot down by rebels.
This scenario provides an explanation for the following motives:
– Russia does not want it becomes public knowledge MH17 was shot down by rebels backed by Moscow.
– Ukraine does not want to become public knowledge the murder weapon originated not from Russia, but from the arsenal of Kiev itself.
– Rebels obviously do not want to be identified as culprits.
– The Netherlands obediently follows the strategic interests of the United States and is committed to keep Ukraine out of the wind and make Russia look as bad as possible.
* Disclaimer: I still do not know what really happened *
JIT countries claim to know for sure the weapon came from Russia
It is nonsense to think that rebels could have organized a rent-a-buk without the highest authorities in Russia being informed about and having sanctioned it. If the actual murder weapon came from Russia, this claim will have to be substantiated. Eventually The Netherlands will have to initiate a lawsuit against Russia. If this is ever going to happen remains rather questionable.
Less unlikely is one day it will come to trial in which individual culprits with Russian nationality will be accused. (whether or not a trial in absentia).
“Which people were involved in the supply, command, protection, firing and discharging of the Buk Telar? [..] We now have a hundred people in the picture who can be in some way associated with the shooting down of flight MH17 or transporting the Buk. We have been able to determine the identity of these one hundred people.” [45min52s]
At the end of this article a reflection and prediction regarding the type of evidence that will be used in case of such litigation.
1) Tapped telephone conversations, videos and other materials that may have been forged by the SBU and of which the authenticity cannot be determined objectively.
2) Anonymous witnesses.
3) Evidence from classified US sources.
“What we have said is we have gotten access from the Americans to all relevant material they have available and that it contains a significant portion of state secrets. We were given access to the material through the MIVD and through a special officer of the district prosecutor’s office. In combination with that we have received a report from the US with conclusions based on that material. We can use that report in a criminal case, it is a part of the case and therefore constitutes evidence. Especially in combination with the possibility that the officer who has seen the underlying material can make a statement. It remains a state secret and is therefore not declassified, but we can now fully use it in the research. [1u3min50s]
[…] As far as the question about the state of confidential information is concerned, it will be some kind of a legal response, it is also a bit complicated… It can be used as evidence, but in an indirect way, the way it has been agreed on for now. Namely, through a statement that will be given by the national officer anti-terrorism. The latter can then declare in court. However, that does not mean that the underlying material becomes available for the court itself or for the legal defense of any suspects.” [1u15min47s]
Thus, the circle can be closed this way. The United States in the background determines what evidence will or will not be used and which material remains unverifiable for third parties, lawyers of the suspects and even for the judges.
On Tuesday, 4 April, the heinous chemical weapons mantra of criminal lies against Syria were re-launched.
At 0637, CNN added another ugly refrain to the chemical weapons fraud against the SAR. This time, Idlib, home of international human garbage terrorist invasion, got to play fake victim. Despite CNN’s disclaimer that its propaganda had “not been confirmed,” terrorists most trusted name in news website was been updated on the average of every 10 minutes, since its original “breaking” story. Though the trashy dramatic upgrades continued, throughout the day, CNN’s website kept a firm foundation with war criminal Senator John McQaeda McCain demanding the destruction of Syria (and Russia, and Iran, and Hizbullah).
The gods of cyberspace may have been perturbed, though, as the streaming of the original CNN report choked upon one of its co-liars using the words, “the truth.” When the streaming finally returned, the anchor was spewing propaganda as though all future raises were pegged to his lies. He, his colleague, and McQaeda McCain all challenged POTUS Trump to take more genocidal action against Syria’s not confirmed un-use of chemical weapons.
CNN‘s original source for its “not been confirmed” “reports” on chemical weapons (or “gases” or unconfirmed ”poisonous substances”) was the CIA, French and British intelligence fronted “Aleppo Media Center.” A lowly paid assistant to the script writer, trying to move up the food chain, might have reminded the honcho that the Aleppo Media Center was moved prior to the liberation of Syria’s second capital, via the Dulles-like Rat Lines. Subsequent reporting cited the Idlib Media Center, of course ignoring logistical problems such as the sporadic internet and electricity in the middle of a chemical weapons attack.
The second major source used is the EU funded, UK intelligence run “SOHR,” the one-man band who sneaked out of Syria about 15 years ago, in order to avoid yet another felony conviction incarceration.
Assad has nothing to gain from chemical weapons use. He is already winning the war. — American terrorist Matthew VanDyke, from Aleppo, 2013
CNN indecently, shamelessly, continues to lie that “Idlib province is largely controlled by an alliance of Syrian rebel forces.” The following graphic video is of beheadings in Idlib, committed by not Syrian Chechens, while an audience of not Syrian Uighars records, and an assortment of unidentified not Syrians blaspheme…in early 2013.
CNN’s not been confirmed earliest report included a quick pan of a standard, stage, overcrowded for dramatic inference. SyriaNews has previously exposed the choreography of criminal video fake news against Syria, in “Crushing al Khanzeera’s Latest Propaganda Video.”
CNN’s updates (“3 min ago,” “57 sec ago”) have dramatically increased the numbers of reported mortality and morbidity, and have also pimped out the CIA funded death squads, the al Qaeda White Helmets. Despite having received $23 million from the CIA, and millions more from the intelligence agencies of the EU, the gang still does not own a stethoscope, still does not utilize spinal precautions, still has not learned CPR. They do, however, know how to get nominated for a Nobel, win an Oscar, abuse corpses, and be friends with terrorists who cut off the head of a 12 year old child.
I saw a quick video clip. Victims lying down and for whatever reason, health care person was yanking and twisting one man’s head. — US-based health care professional who specializes in emergency care, on watching today’s fake news.
If today’s malignantly sociopathic news on the not been confirmed chemical weapons scam gives a sense of deja-vu, it is because CNN did the same thing in April 2013 when Christiane Amanpour interviewed a SAMS spokesman, stationed in Turkey. Amanpour had to coach Zaher Sahloul, new to being a mouthpiece. As background, CNN’s Vichy urinalist whose net worth is $12 million, showed an also not been confirmed video of those afflicted with shaving cream, as evidence of chemical weapons attack.
Sahloul Twitter-blocked this journalist for having asked for the Tennari fraudumentary shown in UN secrecy, April 2015. SAMS has a $15 million annual budget, and a “staff of 60 in five different countries.” Why does a group of reputed Syrian Americans need to be in “five different countries”? What are they doing in them? Should they not change their name?
Tuesday’s criminal lies against Syria, regarding the not been confirmed non-evidence of chemical weapons, neatly dovetailed into the two day Brussels conference on Syria — which, like the colonialist ISSG — does not include Syrians, only globalists who hate Syrians. It is called Supporting the future of Syria and the region.
This meeting, better called Halliburton and Betchel have waited long enough, is the brainchild of Syria-hater, High Representative Of European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Morgherini, who plotted it in January (her husband, of note, is an official of the anti-Syria Save the Children NGO, whose many officials have impressive relationships with war criminal politicians). Today she went full Kafka, decreeing that the “primary responsibility” for the suspected chemical weapons use belongs to the Syrian government (no concern that the EU countries have armed and funded terrorists against Syria, of course).
At 11:45, five hours after CNN launched the chemical weapons propaganda attack against Syria — and repeatedly condemning the Trump administration’s colonialist announcement that ‘removing’ Syria’s president was no longer a goal — Press Secretary Sean Spicer had a prepared statement demonstrating that Trump is now amenable to be cowered by the fake news he has frequently berated, the many MSM who have given humanity nothing but words of mass destruction, mass propaganda for the military-industrial complex. Ignoring all facts, including the obvious one, that Idlib has been under terrorist control for four years, Spicer read:
Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world. These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons, and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable act.
Before continuing to expose CNN et al.’s anti-Syria chemical weapons propaganda, SyriaNews points out some highlights of the actions of the fake civilized world and media propagandists:
UK used the chemical weapon, mustard gas on Iraqi tribes
France tested nuclear weapons on human beings in Algeria and the Philippines
Belgium’s Leopold massacred millions of human beings of the Congo
US and UK massacred a minimum of 35,000 civilians with their firebombings of Dresden
US used its only two nuclear bombs to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki
US used napalm against the Vietnamese, in their own country
US immoral sanctions against Iraq caused the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children
UK and US committed genocide in Iraq.
US used the chemical weapon P4 (white phosphorus) in Fallujah
Msm lied about the Iraqi incubator deaths
Msm lied about Hussein still having weapons of mass destruction
Colin Powell lied to the UN about Hussein still having weapons of mass destruction
Msm lied that Dr. al Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in al Ghouta. That the terrorists admitted that they were the perpetrators after they incompetently killed many of their own, msm did not mention. These US/EU backed savages received the chemical weapons from Saudi Arabia, and said that Bandar should have taught them how to use them
No one has ever been brought to justice for these any of these crimes against humanity, as noted by Syria’s UN ambassador, Dr. Bashar al Ja’afari, on 30 April 2013, forty days after the terrorist chemical weapons attack against Khan al Asal. Syria’s request for a UN investigation was sabotaged by UK, France, and then Israeli media.
The tweets throughout the day were beyond reprehensible, reaching feverish pitch, gluttonous demand for yet more Syrian blood. The rabid dogs of war were unleashed, and barked Havoc!, one after the other.
This tweet is from UK terrorist illegally in Syria, Shajul Islam. Quite early on Tuesday, he decreed GB (whose origin began in Jerusalem, with a press briefing by Ret. Brig. Gen. Bruin, of whom NYT reporter Sanger complained — after writing a missive the length of the bible — offered no evidence). Islam claimed that the bodies were piling up, everybody was dead, and by the way, he was available for video interviews.
War criminal msm never marvels at how terrorists in Syria are the only ones always have electricity, internet, and water.
Terrorist and illegal alien Islam was charged in the UK for kidnapping while on a previous incursion into Syria. Charges were dropped when the prosecutions witnesses could/would not identify him. In March 2016, the NHS revoked his medical license, upon which he returned to Syria.
In this undated screen grab, UK native, illegal alien in Syria, Islam, is interviewed by NY merc terrorist illegal alien in Syria, Bilal Abdul Kareem. Kareem recently filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to get him off the “kill list.” Treasury still does not have him listed as a Specially Designated National.
American terrorist Kareem was hailed for his ‘bravery,’ by CNN’s frequent illegal in Syria, Clarissa Ward of Death (who also Twitter-blocked this author), and interviewed by CNN as the last western journalist in Aleppo.
Here is the tweet from the psychic who planned to report on chemical weapons attack 5 hours before they were announced.
Why would Agence France-Presse do any research on any chemical weapons, when lying exudes a more dramatic fragrance?
War criminal Netanyahu, the butcher of Gaza, demands that the world destroy Syria, because of “cruel and outlawed chemical weapons” used “on children.”
SyriaNews also reminds our readers that CNN and all msm now lying that Syria has attacked Syria with chemical weapons, were mute on 5 December 2012, when al Qaeda FSA used VX on two rabbits — from a lab-like facility in Erdoganstan — while threatening the Syrian people.
There was mutism, again, after al Qaeda FSA threatened Alsinn Spring — Latakia’s main water source — with poisoning. Again, two rabbits were sacrificed to demonstrate how quickly the poison worked.
The moderate human garbage armed and funded by the civilized US, and the civilized US’s civilized allies, have brought a depravity to Syria, never seen before. The entire world has colluded in the most obscene conspiracy in the history of humanity, to destroy one country. They have committed cannibalism. They have kidnapped a child from a hospital and cut off his head with a kitchen knife, ignoring his last request to be shot, instead. They have slaughtered entire villages, kidnapped women and children, and murdered some to use as anti-Syria propaganda tools. They have raped and beheaded and baked in ovens. Yesterday, the neocon and the neolib msm joined together to lie about chemical weapons, to demand more Syrian blood. They have been diligent in attempting cultural genocide.
Savage media provides free advertisements, making the terrorists the victims, and the victims the terrorists.
Idlib is under terrorist control. Though these sociopaths have used chemical weapons in Khan al Asal, in al Ghouta, in Damascus, there is no way to know if they used them in Idlib, Tuesday 4 April. It is highly unlikely that they did, given that no fake first responder was stricken, that these human beasts continued tweeting all day, that they had time to set up their perfect photos, with perfect symmetry and nice splashes of color. Moon of Alabama, in June 2016, published 44 of their best choreographed fake emergency rescues.
They were busy, and yet able to do intense photo shoots, send them to international msm for immediate publication. They had no problems with internet connection, nor with electricity interruptions. They even had power water hoses.
Barely visible on the upper right side of this ghastly photo is a copyright, “Edlib Media Center Via AP.”
Dante could not have created the perfect bowel of hell for these monsters; how long did it take to capture such a perfect photograph, a photograph using the principles of classical art, rearranging the many corpses of the butchered?
Look, and you will see the golden mean; you will see perspective; you will see chiaroscuro; you will see a bit of Fibonacci.
Such perverse depravity is beyond words.
— Miri Wood, RNc
In 2003, Donald Trump was interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He sounded quite human, and called out the US criminals for destroying Iraq.
In his inaugural speech, President Donald J. Trump promised that American carnageends now. Possibly breaking all records, 13 days later, Mr. Trump went from oath to war criminal, when he bombed two bridges in Syria.
BARBARIANS IN SUITSTHE GLOBAL ELITE ACT CULTURED AND REFINED, BUT THEIR POLICIES ARE SAVAGE AND UNCIVILIZED.EXPLOITERS, PLUNDERERS, WARMONGERS AND MASS MURDERERS, THEIR GREED, ARROGANCE AND CRUELTY HAVE CAUSED UNTOLD MISERY.WHILE CHAMPAGNE DRIPS FROM THEIR LIPS, THE BLOOD OF THOUSANDS DRIPS FROM THEIR HANDS.THEY ARE BARBARIANS IN SUITS.THE MONSTROUS WORK OF MODERN-DAY BARBARIANSNANKING (CHINA)AUSCHWITZ (POLAND)HIROSHIMA (JAPAN)VIETNAM
(CLUSTER BOMB)FALLUJAH, IRAQ
(DEPLETED URANIUM)AFGHANISTAN (LANDMINE)GAZA, PALESTINEYEMENSYRIA“One cannot engage in barbarous action without becoming a barbarian.”U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright in his book “The Arrogance of Power”“U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars.
… The United States was also responsible for 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
… The United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.”James A. Lucas“Countries we seek to dominate, from Indonesia and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, are intimately familiar with these brutal mechanisms of control. But the reality of empire rarely reaches the American public. The few atrocities that come to light are dismissed as isolated aberrations. The public is assured what has been uncovered will be investigated and will not take place again. The goals of empire, we are told by a subservient media and our ruling elites, are virtuous and noble. And the vast killing machine grinds forward, feeding, as it has always done, the swollen bank accounts of defense contractors and corporations that exploit natural resources and cheap labor around the globe.”investigative journalist Allan Nairn“They have pillaged the world. When the land has nothing left for men who ravage everything, they scour the sea. If an enemy is rich, they are greedy; if he is poor, they crave glory. Neither East nor West can sate their appetite. They are the only people on earth to covet wealth and poverty with equal craving. They plunder, they butcher, they ravish, and call it by the lying name of ’empire’. They make a desert and call it ‘peace’.”Publius Cornelius Tacitus – a historian of the Roman Empire“The barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing America for quite some time.”Morris Berman“I spent thirty-three years in the Marines, most of my time being a hlgh class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.
I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1910-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.
In China in 1927 l helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
I had a swell racket. l was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions. l might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents.”General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935“What separates us from the psychopath is our conscience, and our conscience must become the voice of truth. True conscience raises us above the animal behaviour of the pathocrats.”Henry See“U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars.
… The United States was also responsible for 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
… The United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.”James A. Lucas” It has been true all through history, the way you get a small group of people to be very rich is by getting a lot of other people to be very poor.”Michael Parenti“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 of its population… We cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction… We should cease to talk about vague unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”George Kennan, secret State Department memo, February 1948“The greatest threat to our world and its peace comes from those who want war, who prepare for it, and who, by holding out vague promises of future peace or by instilling fear of foreign aggression, try to make us accomplices to their plans.”Hermann Hesse“How much proof do they want? There is every relation between congenital malformation and depleted uranium. Before 1991, we saw nothing like this at all. If there is no connection, why have these things not happened before? Most of these children have no family history of cancer. I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. It is almost exactly the same here; we have an increased percentage of congenital malformation, an increase of malignancy, leukaemia, brain tumours: the same.”Dr Ginan Hassen, pediatrician in Basra, Iraq, after the first Gulf War“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”Frédéric Bastiat“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?… A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”from George Orwell’s 1949 novel “1984”“Well, we had all those planes sitting around and couldn’t just let them stay there with nothing to do.”Deputy Chief of Mission in Laos Monteagle Stearns, when asked during Senate testimony about the bombing of Laos“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”Hermann Goering – Nazi leaderWEBSITES TO VISITTHIRD WORLD TRAVELERINCONVENIENT TRUTHSPATHOCRACY:THE GLOBAL ORDERREAL WORLD ORDERPLUTOCRACY CARTELBEYOND THE MEDIA MATRIXGLOBAL KLEPTOCRACYCRITICAL THINKERHOW THE WORLD REALLY WORKSMEET THE BARBARIANS (A PARTIAL LIST)Attila the HunIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu / British Prime Minister Tony Blair / Secretary of State Henry KissingerPresident Bill Clinton / Vice President Dick Cheney / Senator John McCainPSYCHOPATHS, SOCIOPATHS AND NARCISSISTS“Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, injure, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse.”Kevin Barnett“Within the highest circles of power and wealth, a lack of pity and remorse is practically a prerequisite to success, and only the psychopathic mentality can thrive.”Stefan H. Verstappen“Serial killers ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies and societies.”Robert Hare“What the psychopath considers to be good, has nothing to do with truth, honor, decency or consideration for others. In this way, any violation of the rights of others, any foul, evil deed, can be perpetrated by a psychopath, and he will still sleep like a baby at night.”Laura Knight-Jadczyk“A small proportion of people who suffer from psychologically abnormal personalities have, throughout history, had an immeasurable detrimental impact on our societies, our politics and our world. Enabled by their ruthlessness to readily acquire positions of power, they have long dominated the psychologically normal majority of the world’s population.”Ian Hughes“Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and warfare.”Stuart Hertzog“Interpersonal traits of psychopaths include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility.
… If violent offenders are psychopathic, they are able to assault, rape, and murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want. Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.”Jim Kouri“Achieving power for the sake of having power is the nature of the psychopath.”Robert Hare“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”George Orwell in his book “1984”“Psychopaths are naturally attracted to positions of power, and they will overwhelm anyone with a conscience, who plays by the rules and has good intentions. So you will have people with very dark interior lives, who are controlling channels of communication, controlling finance, controlling industry. And, they will promote their psychopathic “family” values. Psychopathic “values” now permeate all facets of our culture.”Stefan Verstappen“Psychopaths seek positions of power and influence, and politics offers publicity, prestige, and other perks. It also provides positions of ultimate authority over military, industry, and entire populations. In a world where psychopaths are understandably viewed as morally repulsive, often finding themselves at home in the criminal world, politics offers an opportunity to create a new world, to be free from the moral and legal rules of society.”Harrison Koehli“Psychopaths do well in politics. They are ideally suited to the ruthless, competitive, self-promoting and manipulative power games that dominate party politics.”Stuart Hertzog“Many politicians share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate.”John Kozy
Who is pulling whose strings? Obama or Netanyahu? Is the US controlling Israel or is Israel controlling the US? Tell us what you think.
How can we forget when Obama just started his first term in office in 2011, when he told the world he was going to take the Palestine borders back to 1967.
Israel has said endorsing the 1967 borders would prejudge negotiations. Obama also took pains to show respect for Israel’s views ahead of his meetings Friday with Netanyahu soon after.
Still, Mr. Obama’s tough stand could set the stage for a tense meeting Friday when Netanyahu goes to the White House.
In a statement following Mr. Obama’s remarks, Israeli Prime Minister rejected the president’s endorsement, and said a return to his country’s 1967 borders would spell disaster for the Jewish State.
Calling the 1967 lines “indefensible,” Netanyahu said such a withdrawal would jeopardize Israel’s security and leave major West Bank settlements outside Israeli borders.
Round one to Netanyahu, when Obama bows down to the wishes of Israel and one election promise out of the window.
Whatever Israel asks for Israel gets and we saw this in April 2014 when Obama signed away an additional $225 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
The U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for Iron Dome in the past. The new package is intended to replenish Israel’s capabilities.
Congress approved the money last week before lawmakers left for their annual summer break. Obama signed the bill in the late afternoon in the Oval Office with a handful of photographers present.
Congressman O’Rourke was one of the few who voted against an aid package to Israel. Overwhelmed by the swift avalanche of Jewish criticism, the young man won’t ever make the same ‘mistake’ again.
It took only one wrong vote to teach a freshman Democrat from Texas how sensitive, and even wrathful, the Jewish community can be when it comes to Israel.
But the real story of what happened to Rep. Beto O’Rourke did not stop with the angry reaction he got when he cast one of only eight votes in Congress against special funding for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system during the recent Gaza war.
It was almost a textbook case of how the establishment pro-Israel lobby works its magic — and a story not yet completed in early September, when The New Yorker magazine took note of what had happened to O’Rourke.
In an in-depth report on the work of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the large Washington-based lobby, during the Gaza war, New Yorker writer Connie Bruck recounted the blasts that rained down on the El Paso congressman following his vote.
The reactions, as Bruck reported, included a mass email blast labeling O’Rourke as “an anti-Israel congressman” and denouncing his vote as “shameful.” Critical local press coverage included a public comment by one of his own Jewish donors to the El Paso Times that in voting as he did, O’Rourke “chooses to side with the rocket launchers and terror tunnel builders” of Hamas.
But since then, behind the scenes, what has followed is a long process of mutual outreach and hours of hashing out differences, until the final act, which is now in the works: an El Al flight to Tel Aviv on the pro-Israel lobby’s dime.
“He’s a good guy, but he didn’t know how the Jewish community would react,” said Daniel Cheifec, executive director of the Jewish Federation of El Paso. “Now he knows that this community is not going to be very happy if he screws up again.”
O’Rourke, in fact, had no prior record of criticizing or voting against Israel. He did not even oppose more funding for the Iron Dome system. He only opposed rushing through the large appropriation with no debate as members of Congress were hurrying home for the summer recess when a more considered vote to boost the program was coming in October.
Israel, which receives more than $3.6 billion per year in various forms of aid from Washington, is already the single largest recipient of American largesse. But the August 1 House vote appropriating $225 million to Israel above and beyond its usual aid was meant to allow the Jewish state to restock on Iron Dome interceptors that had proved effective in countering Hamas rocket attacks into the country.
Congressional leaders squeezed the vote into the legislative schedule just as members were packing up to leave for their summer recess. The overwhelming support of 395 representatives with only eight voting against was not unusual for a pro-Israel piece of legislation, especially one that deals with military assistance at a time of war.
“I really don’t understand how he makes his decision,” Rabbi Stephen Leon of Congregation B’Nai Zion, a local synagogue, told the El Paso Times even before The New Yorker piece picked up on the pushback. “It’s a great, great disappointment to the Jewish community here. We had meetings with him prior, to talk to him about the importance of Israel, and the way he voted makes very little sense.”
El Paso, a city with a 70% Hispanic majority, has a relatively small Jewish community, estimated at 4,000, amid a population of some 862,000. But Jews are well represented on O’Rourke’s donor list, with local businessman Stephen L. Feinberg among the top contributors to his campaign.
O’Rourke, in a Facebook posting, tried to explain his vote. “I could not in good conscience vote for borrowing $225 million more to send to Israel, without debate and without discussion, in the midst of a war that has cost more than a thousand civilian lives already, too many of them children,” he wrote. He also stressed that with an aid package for Israel up for a vote in two months, he felt no need to rush more spending without adequate debate when Congress was all but empty.
To members of the Jewish community who later spoke with him, O’Rourke also explained that he was one of the last to vote in the roll call, at a point at which it was clear the bill was cruising toward passage. He consequently felt free to cast a vote on principle, knowing it would not impact the final outcome. O’Rourke believes that every appropriation should be properly debated.
Veteran Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia, who is known for refusing to vote along the lines of the pro-Israel lobby, tried to warn O’Rourke. “I tried to find him on the floor, but I couldn’t,” he told The New Yorker. “I’m afraid he may have a tough race in November.”
At O’Rourke’s office, emails flooded his inbox. The El Paso Jewish federation sent out an alert to members, urging them to take action. It contained O’Rourke’s contact information and a suggested sample letter. Another email, for which no one will now take responsibility, circulated among Jewish activists urging supporters not to re-elect him.
This threat is all but empty, since O’Rourke faces no real challenge in his strongly Democratic district.
Beto (short for Robert) O’Rourke, 41, is a fourth-generation El Paso native who started off his career in a teenage rock band. He studied at Columbia University and returned to his hometown, where he ran for city council before moving on to the national scene. His political focus has been on immigration and veteran affairs, two key issues for a border town that hosts a large army base. But he won more recognition for his call to legalize marijuana, an uncommon voice in the state of Texas. Foreign policy has never been a top priority.
Hours after the controversial vote, O’Rourke launched a damage-control campaign that proved to be effective. He reached out to Jewish donors and friends who were more than happy to start the healing process.
Politicians are meant to be representing the people who have elected them, but in the US it seems that this is not the case. Unless you vote on what Israel wants you to vote for, you get the wrath of the Jews and Israel on you.
Now we have just witnessed Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress in the style of a State of the Union speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 41 rounds of applause as U.S. lawmakers eagerly enlisted in the Israeli-Saudi conflict against Iran and its allies – an enthusiasm that may well entangle the U.S. military in more wars in the Middle East.
“In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”
Netanyahu’s reference to “Iran’s aggression” was curious since Iran has not invaded another country for centuries. In 1980, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – at the urging of Saudi Arabia – invaded Iran. During that bloody eight-year war, Israel – far from being an enemy of Iran – became Iran’s principal arms supplier. Israel drew in the Reagan administration, which approved some of the Israeli-brokered arms deals, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986.
In other words, Israel was aiding Iran after the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979 and during the time when Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and various acts of terrorism allegedly committed by Hezbollah, a Shiite militia in Lebanon. Israel only shifted toward hostility against Shiite-ruled Iran in the 1990s as Israel gradually developed a de facto alliance with Sunni-ruled and oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which views Iran as its chief regional rival.
Netanyahu’s choice of Arab cities supposedly conquered by Iran was strange, too. Baghdad is the capital of Iraq where the U.S. military invaded in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated government — on Netanyahu’s recommendation. After the invasion, President George W. Bush installed a Shiite-dominated government. So, whatever influence Iran has in Baghdad is the result of a U.S. invasion that Netanyahu personally encouraged.
More recently, Iran has supported the embattled Iraqi government in its struggle against the murderous Islamic State militants who seized large swaths of Iraqi territory last summer. Indeed, Iraqi officials have credited Iran with playing a crucial role in blunting the Islamic State, the terrorists whom President Obama has identified as one of the top security threats facing the United States.
Netanyahu cited Damascus, too, where Iran has helped the Syrian government in its struggle against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. In other words, Iran is assisting the internationally recognized government of Syria hold off two major terrorist organizations. But Netanyahu portrays that as Iran “gobbling up” a nation.
The Israeli prime minister also mentioned Beirut, Lebanon, and Sanaa, Yemen, but those were rather bizarre references, too, since Lebanon is governed by a multi-ethnic arrangement that includes a number of religious and political factions. Hezbollah is one and it has close ties to Iran, but it is stretching the truth to say that Iran “dominates” Beirut or Lebanon.
Similarly, in Sanaa, the Houthis, a Shiite-related sect, have taken control of Yemen’s capital and have reportedly received some help from Iran, but the Houthis deny those reports and are clearly far from under Iranian control. The Houthis also have vowed to work with the Americans to carry on the fight against Yemen’s Al-Qaeda affiliate [AQAP].
Leading the Battle
Indeed, Iran and these various Shiite-linked movements have been among the most effective in battling Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, while Israel’s Saudi friends have been repeatedly linked to funding and supporting these Sunni terrorist organizations. In effect, what Netanyahu asked the Congress to do – and apparently successfully – was to join Saudi Arabia and Israel in identifying Iran, not Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, as America’s chief enemy in the Middle East.
That would put the U.S.-Iranian cooperation in combating Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in jeopardy. It could lead to victories by these Sunni terrorists in Syria and possibly even Iraq, a situation that almost surely would force the U.S. military to return in force to the region. No U.S. president could politically accept Damascus or Baghdad in the hands of openly terrorist organizations vowing to carry the fight to Europe and the United States.
Yet, that was the logic — or lack thereof — in Netanyahu’s appeal to Congress. As he put it, “when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” He also argued that Iran was a greater threat than the Islamic State, a position that Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has expressed, too.
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime [in Syria] as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in a 2013 interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran” – even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
In June 2014, then speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.
Netanyahu made a similar point: “The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.”
Of course, Iran has disavowed any interest in developing a nuclear bomb — and both the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities agree that Iran has not been working on a bomb. Further, the negotiated agreement between Iran and leading world powers would impose strict oversight on Iran’s civilian nuclear program, leaving little opportunity to cheat.
Instead, Netanyahu wants the United States to lead an aggressive campaign to further strangle Iran’s economy with the goal of forcing some future “regime change.” The principal beneficiary of that strategy would likely be Saudi Arabia, which has served as the proselytizing center for the reactionary Wahabbi version of Sunni Islam, which inspired Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.
Elements of the Saudi royal family also have long been known to support Islamist militants, including forces associated with bin Laden. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that convicted al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui identified leading members of the Saudi government as financiers of the terrorist network.
According to the story, Moussaoui said in a prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of the group’s donors and that the list included Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many leading clerics.
Moussaoui also said he discussed a plan to shoot down President George W. Bush’s Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, at a time when Bandar was the ambassador to the United States and considered so close to the Bush family that his nickname was “Bandar Bush.”
Moussaoui claimed, too, that he passed letters between Osama bin Laden and then Crown Prince Salman, who recently became king upon the death of his brother King Abdullah.
While the Saudi government denied Moussaoui’s accusations, Saudi and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have been identified in recent years as financial backers of Sunni militants fighting in Syria to overthrow Assad’s largely secular regime, with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front the major rebel force benefiting from this support.
Shared Israeli Interests
The Israelis also have found themselves on the side of these Sunni militants in Syria because the Israelis share the Saudi view that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – reaching from Tehran to Beirut – is the greatest threat to their interests.
That attitude of favoring Sunni militants over Assad has taken a tactical form with Israeli forces launching attacks inside Syria that benefit Nusra Front. For instance, on Jan. 18, 2015, Israel attacked Lebanese-Iranian advisers assisting Assad’s government in Syria, killing several members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general. These military advisers were engaged in operations against Nusra Front.
Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from attacking Nusra militants who have seized Syrian territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. One source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria told me that Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with Nusra forces, who have even received medical treatment at Israeli hospitals.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have found themselves on the same side in other regional struggles, including support for the military’s ouster of the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, but most importantly they have joined forces in their hostility toward Shiite-ruled Iran.
Now that all calls for the US to invade Syria fade away and the longer the war goes on, the more lies are surfacing and the call for war is getting more desperate. With Netanyahu calling for war in Iran and Syria and Obama reviving the Cold War with Russia.
Unless Europe wakes up to what Obama and Netanyahu are up to there are going to be more wars in Europe. When are the US taxpayers going revolt against their hard earned dollars going to Israel and wars. What is the point of having elected leaders, when they can only do what Israel tells them to.
Who is running the US and who is controlling your police? The biggest enemy of Obama isn’t Iran, it should be his own people, that he is continually lying to.
Netanyahu has just spoken to Congress, let’s see how long it takes for him to get exactly what he wants. WAR.
Last October, three weeks before the presidential election, I wrote an essay for left progressives titled “The Ruling Class’s Hatred of Trump is Different Than Yours.” People on the left, I noted, loathed the white-nationalist, quasi-fascist Donald Trump because of his sexism, racism, nativism, authoritarianism, militarism, “law and order” police-state-ism, anti-intellectualism, his regressive arch-plutocracy, fake populism, climate denialism and promise to “deregulate energy” and thereby escalate the petro-capitalist, greenhouse gassing-to-death of life on earth.
The establishment’s contempt for the orange-haired beast, I noted, was different. The nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire were perfectly willing to live with most, if not all, of what the left hated about Trump. After all, I reasoned, they’d been backing or tolerating most or all of those terrible things under presidents from both major United States parties for decades.
Trump, I wrote, faced ruling-class disdain because he was considered bad for transnational capital and the American empire. For the most part, the “deep state” masters who backed Hillary Clinton did not appreciate The Donald’s blustering promises to roll back the neoliberal “free trade” agenda in the name of the forgotten working class. The foreign policy and “national security” establishment especially hated his criticism of Washington’s long march toward war with Russia.
They did not relish the related threat Trump posed to Brand America. It is longstanding, bipartisan, U.S. ruling-class doctrine that this country is the world’s great beacon and agent of democracy, human rights, justice and freedom. American reality has never matched the doctrine, but smart rulers knew that it would be especially difficult to align those claims with a president like Trump.
As a presidential candidate, Trump openly exhibited racist, nativist, sexist, arch-authoritarian, police-state-ist, Islamophobic, pro-torture, and even neofascist sentiments and values. “If our system of government is an oligarchy with a façade of democratic and constitutional process,” the veteran congressional staffer Mike Lofgren wrote last summer in the preface to his book “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government,” “Trump would not only rip that façade away for the entire world to behold; he would take our system’s ugliest features and intensify them.” They also had policy differences with Trump’s “isolationist” and “anti-trade” rhetoric. That is why the nation’s economic and foreign-policy elites preferred Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio over Trump in the Republican primaries and Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Flash forward to the present. Horrified at the rise of an Insane Clown President who evokes chilling echoes of classic fascism, millions have taken to the streets. The issues that concern the swirling, record-setting crowds that have arisen from coast to coast are evident on their homemade signs.They include women’s and civil rights, climate change, social justice, racism, nativism, the police state, mass incarceration, plutocracy, authoritarianism, immigrant rights, low wages, economic inequality (the top tenth of the upper U.S. 1 percent now owns more wealth than the nation’s bottom 90 percent), hyper-militarism and the devaluation of science and education. The marches and protests are about the threats Trump poses to peace, social justice, the rule of law, livable ecology and democracy.
Meanwhile, the national corporate media and the U.S. intelligence community have been attacking Trump for a very different and strange reason. They have claimed, with no serious or credible evidence, that Trump is, for some bizarre reason, a tool of the Russian state. The charge is as wacky as anything Glenn Beck or, for that matter, Trump (former leader of the preposterous “birther movement”), used to say about President Obama. Citing vague and unsubstantiated CIA reports, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other forces in the establishment media want Americans to believe that, in Glenn Greenwald’s properly mocking words, “Donald Trump is some kind of an agent or a spy of Russia, or that he is being blackmailed by Russia and is going to pass secret information to the Kremlin and endanger American agents on purpose.”
Beneath the wild and unsubstantiated charge that Trump is some kind of Moscow-controlled Manchurian president is a determination to cripple and perhaps remove Trump because he wants to normalize U.S. relations with Russia. Why, you might ask, would smoothing things over between Washington and Moscow be a terrible thing? It wouldn’t be for everyday Americans who don’t want to see themselves, their children and their grandchildren blown up in a nuclear war over, say, Ukraine (where the Obama administration provocatively helped create a fascist, NATO-affiliated regime on Russia’s western border) or Crimea (where the vast majority of the population welcomed reversion to Russia).
The U.S. power elite—rooted in key deep-state institutions like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, The Washington Post and The New York Times—thinks differently. As Mike Whitney recently explained on Counterpunch, Trump’s failure to grasp the necessity of the New Cold War with Russia “threat[ens] … Washington’s broader imperial strategy to control China’s growth, topple Putin, spread military bases across Central Asia, implement trade agreements that maintain the dominant role of western-owned mega-corporations, and derail attempts by Russia and China to link the wealthy EU to Asia by expanding the web of pipeline corridors and high-speed rail that will draw the continents closer together creating the largest and most populous free trade zone the world has ever seen. … The economic integration of Asia and Europe must be blocked to preserve Washington’s hegemonic grip on world power.”
Don’t be fooled by how much CNN’s anchors enjoy broadcasting images of mass anti-Trump popular protests. The U.S. imperial, financial and corporate establishment doesn’t care about the plight of the Standing Rock water and climate protectors, livable ecology, Muslim communities, Latino immigrants, Black Lives Matter activists, poor blacks, civil liberties, the working class (white and nonwhite) or Trump’s recent, insane, budget-busting call for a 10 percent increase in the U.S. military budget.
The Trump presidency is a problem for the American establishment for some very different reasons. He’s a public relations and marketing disaster for Brand USA. How do you sell the United States as a great model and agent of freedom, democracy and cultural diversity when its visible state is captained by vicious, white-nationalist authoritarians like the Twitter-addicted “thin-skinned megalomaniac” Trump and his quasi-fascist “alt-right” Svengali, Steve Bannon?
Trump is seen by many American elites as too stupid, narcissistic and crude to head the world’s most powerful nation. It’s an understandable concern. As The New York Times noted, Trump “spent the first 48 hours of his presidency bickering about the size of the inauguration crowd.”
We’ve never heard a U.S. president say anything as dangerously idiotic as what Trump proclaimed to the nation’s governors on Monday while calling for an over-the-top and dead-in-the-water increase in the Pentagon budget. “We have to start winning wars again. … We never win,” said the new commander in chief, who stands atop a giant nuclear stockpile (the U.S. owns more than 5,100 nuclear warheads) with the capacity to blow the world up many times over. “When I was young, in high school and in college,” the Vietnam-era draft dodger added, “everybody used to say we never lost a war. America never lost. Now, we never win a war.”
Talking so flippantly and childishly about wars and the nation’s need to “win” them—this without even referring to any purportedly legitimate war aims in the nuclear era—is beyond the ruling-class pale. It’s not that the establishment is pacifist or squeamish about killing people. Far from it. The American empire’s body count runs into the many millions over the last half-century alone. But Trump’s juvenile language makes the U.S. look all too transparently like a recklessly daft rogue state, not the wise and “indispensable nation” it has long been purported to be.
Recall Trump’s talk to the CIA on his first full day in office. In a rambling speech broadcast on CNN and other cable news outlets, he complained like a petulant junior high student about the media’s supposed underestimation of the number of people at his inauguration. Then he told stone-faced senior intelligence officials that the U.S. might get another chance to go into Iraq and “get the oil.”
The world shuddered two weeks ago when a U.S. Army officer posed for a photograph with a wealthy patron at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort while carrying the “nuclear football”—the suitcase that carries the launch codes for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The new president is going to spend many of his presidential weekends at his opulent Mar-a-Lago resort, where the membership fee doubled to $200,000 after he was elected, and members now have new rules to follow.
George W. Bush also was over his head in the White House. Still, with his longstanding, ruling-class, establishment pedigree and his history as a graduate of Yale’s secret Skull and Bones society, he had the decency and, well, the class, to know his limits and place. He subjected himself to certain rules of conduct imposed by his vice president and other more competent and knowledgeable handlers.
The malignant narcissist and Twitter-addicted Trump is a different breed. He might be able to clean himself up enough to read a semicivilized and half-conciliatory speech to Congress (earning thereby a fantastic description as “presidential” from the noted sycophant Van Jones). Still, he seems unable to stop himself from doing and saying things that shred the veneer of a wise, far-seeing and benevolent American empire.
Then there’s been his related failure to grasp the necessity of focusing his dangerous imperial energies on Russia.
Has Trump and/or the people around him gotten the message on Russia? Perhaps. He agreed to get rid of his incompetent and insufficiently anti-Russian national security adviser, Michael Flynn, under establishment pressure. Flynn’s replacement is Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who views Russia as a “hostile revisionist power” that “annex(es) territory, intimidates our allies, develops nuclear weapons, and uses proxies under the cover of modernized conventional militaries.” Two weeks ago, the White House said Russia needs to return Crimea to Ukraine—a preposterous statement that may reflect a newfound willingness for play along with New Cold War rhetoric. In his first annual address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump signaled strong support for Russia’s great antagonist, NATO.
Still, don’t expect the Trump-as-a-tool-of-Russia talk to go away. It’s too irresistible for Democrats to drop. Besides working to delegitimize Trump (something Democrats hope to turn to their advantage in 2018 and 2020), the blame-the-Kremlin narrative helps New Cold Warriors atop both reigning parties keep the heat on Moscow. It helps them hedge in Trump’s lingering promise of rapprochement with Russia.
At the same time, the Russia card helps the corporatists atop the Democratic Party avoid responsibility for blowing the election. After defeating the progressive Democrat Bernie Sanders (who would have defeated Trump) in dubious ways, the neoliberal Democrats ran a hopelessly wooden, Wall Street-captive and corruption-tainted candidate (Hillary Clinton) who couldn’t mobilize enough working- and lower-class voters to defeat the hypernoxious and widely hated Trump. The “Moscow stole it” story line is a fancy version of “the dog ate my homework” for a dismal, dollar-drenched Democratic Party that abandoned the working class and the causes of peace, social justice and environmental sustainability long ago.
The moneyed masters in charge of the “inauthentic opposition” party (the late, left-liberal political scientist Sheldon Wolin’s all-too-accurate description of the Democrats nine years ago) would rather not take a long, hard and honest look at what that political organization has become. It does not want to concede anything to those who dream of turning it into an authentically progressive opposition party. The “Russia did it” imputation works for establishment Democrats hoping to stave off demands from more progressive and populist types (who recently came close to claiming the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee) in their own party. So much better to blame external others for the richly deserved near-collapse of their party at all levels.
The Russia card also has proved tempting to U.S. progressives who should and may know better. Their understandable passion for seeing Herr Trump humiliated and removed from office has led some of them down a disturbing path. As Gareth Porter has noted, “Many people who oppose Trump for other valid reasons have seized on the shaky Russian accusations because they represent the best possibility for ousting Trump from power.” It’s a big mistake. Porter reflects and warns:
But ignoring the motives and the dishonesty behind the campaign of leaks has far-reaching political implications. Not only does it help to establish a precedent for U.S. intelligence agencies to intervene in domestic politics, as happens in authoritarian regimes all over the world, it also strengthens the hand of the military and intelligence bureaucracies who are determined to maintain the New Cold War with Russia.
Those war bureaucracies view the conflict with Russia as key to the continuation of higher levels of military spending and the more aggressive NATO policy in Europe that has already generated a gusher of arms sales that benefits the Pentagon and its self-dealing officials.
Progressives in the anti-Trump movement are in danger of becoming an unwitting ally of those military and intelligence bureaucracies despite the fundamental conflict between their economic and political interests and the desires of people who care about peace, social justice and the environment.
Do serious progressives committed to democracy, peace and social justice really want to lie down in the same warmongering and pro-surveillance bed as the CIA and the Pentagon? Doing so is bad for their souls and moral integrity. It’s also bad for democracy and for peace to help empower and legitimize the imperial system’s unelected and infamously nefarious deep state “intelligence” bureaucracy, “maybe the only [Washington] faction worse than Donald Trump,” according to Greenwald. As Whitney wisely counsels, “Leftists should avoid the temptation of aligning themselves with groups and agencies that might help them achieve their short-term goal of removing Trump, but ultimately move them closer to a de facto 1984 lock-down police state. Misplaced support for the deep state Russophobes will only strengthen the national security state’s stranglehold on power. That’s not a path to victory, it’s a path to annihilation.”
Take to the streets (and highways, town plazas, fossil-fuel extraction sites, shop floors, assembly halls, airwaves and airports, etc.) against Trump, by all means. But also take to the streets against the grim neoliberal Democrats who opened the barn door for his dangerous presidency and against the unelected “deep state” interests working always to increase the ever-upward concentration of global capitalist wealth and power. We don’t want to bring Trump down just to help install an administration more properly suited to selling and otherwise advancing American empire, inequality and ecocide.
U.S. loses influence on world stage; relations with allies fray
By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times – Sunday, January 15, 2017
From the Middle East to Russia to Asia, President Obama’s foreign policy has left the U.S. in a weaker position than when he took office, analysts say.
As Mr. Obama prepares to depart the White House, U.S. relations with traditional allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia have frayed badly, Moscow is exerting its power increasingly in Syria and in Eastern Europe, and even the U.S. relationship with Western Europe has been called into question. On his watch, U.S. influence has diminished in all of those regions.
“I can’t really think of any concrete success that President Obama’s had in terms of foreign policy,” said Nile Gardiner, a foreign affairs analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “You can point to an overall weakening of American power on the world stage and an eroding of key alliances.”
When he came into office, Mr. Obama was faced with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a total of about 180,000 troops deployed. He also was dealing with a global financial crisis and recession that caused the U.S. unemployment rate to rise to 10 percent during the first year of his presidency.
“The president came into office eight years ago with the view of being principally a domestic president, with the financial crisis looming, and to be transformative,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The administration felt that his victory and the fact that he was not President [George W.] Bush would be sufficient in transforming the trans-Atlantic relationship and relations with Europe.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said among Mr. Obama’s biggest achievements in foreign affairs were bringing home all but about 15,000 troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, ordering the Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 and re-establishing diplomatic and cultural ties with Cuba in 2014.
“That is an indication of the important progress that President Obama has made,” he said.
But the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in late 2011, critics argue, created a power vacuum that led to the rise of the Islamic State, the Salafist terrorist group that has launched horrific attacks against the West and has dominated the administration’s counterterrorism operations since 2014.
Meanwhile, Libya descended into extremist anarchy after the U.S. helped oust Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, with the Islamic State gaining a foothold there.
“President Obama’s approach was extraordinarily naive in the Middle East,” said Mr. Gardiner, a former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “He also failed to combine his optimism with any hard power. That really enabled a number of very dangerous actors to emerge and to threaten directly the United States and its allies. It isn’t very clear that the Obama White House has any real strategy for eradicating ISIS. It’s a containment strategy; it’s not one of victory.”
In a final address to military brass and troops last week, Mr. Obama insisted that his strategy against the terrorist network is succeeding.
“We are breaking the back of ISIL and taking away its safe havens, and we’ve accomplished this at a cost of $10 billion over two years — the same amount that we spent in one month at the height of the Iraq War,” he said, using another term for the Islamic State.
Mr. Obama rested much of his strategy for the broader Middle East on reaching the deal with Iran in 2015 to limit its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.
“When President Obama took office, the No. 1 threat that was identified by the United States and our allies around the world was the risk that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Earnest said. “That would be extraordinarily destabilizing to not just the Middle East, but to the world. It would be extraordinarily concerning to our closest ally, Israel. And it would pose a threat to our allies in Europe that are within range of some of Iran’s missile capabilities.”
He said the administration’s “principled, hard-nosed diplomacy” has ensured that Iran is “now farther away from being able to get a nuclear weapon than they have been in some time.”
“All of that was accomplished without deploying a single soldier or firing a single shot,” Mr. Earnest said. “And that certainly is a testament to the president’s success in addressing some of the most significant threats facing the United States.”
The president’s critics at home and in Israel contend the deal gave too much to Tehran and won’t prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Mr. Gardiner called it one of Mr. Obama’s biggest strategic failures.
“The Iran nuclear deal will go down in history as a massive failure and a very dangerous, poorly thought-out move,” he said. “This deal is very short-sighted and will certainly allow Iran to [get a nuclear weapon] within this generation.”
Mr. Obama’s relations with Israel, never strong, reached a low point last month when the administration failed to veto a vote by the U.N. Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Russia has confounded Mr. Obama almost since the start of his presidency. The infamous Russian “reset” of his first term is little more than a mocked memory, as the U.S. has been unable to reverse Russian military gains in eastern Ukraine or to thwart Russia’s decisive support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in that country’s 6-year-old civil war.
“The reset was a real foreign policy disaster and a complete misreading of [President] Vladimir Putin, and an underestimation of the scale of the threat posed by Russia,” Mr. Gardiner said. “Moscow ran rings around the Obama White House.”
Ms. Conley said Mr. Obama did receive cooperation from Moscow initially in several key policy areas, working with Russia and other world powers to negotiate the Iranian nuclear deal, cooperating on counternarcotics and military supply lines in Afghanistan, and negotiating the New START agreement to reduce nuclear weapons. But the relationship began to sour by 2011, as Mr. Putin confronted large public demonstrations and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Moscow of rigging parliamentary elections.
Mrs. Clinton’s actions so infuriated Mr. Putin that, U.S. intelligence agencies say, the Russian leader ordered a cybercampaign to undermine her presidential candidacy last year.
The problems with Mr. Putin culminated last month when Mr. Obama expelled 35 Russian operatives from the U.S. over the campaign of extensive cyberattacks in an effort to influence the November presidential election. While President-elect Donald Trump has questioned the administration’s conclusions, he and congressional Republicans have blamed Mr. Obama for failing to take seriously enough the overall threat of cyberattacks.
Even after highly embarrassing hacks of sensitive government personnel records in recent years, Mr. Obama said Sunday that he wasn’t paying enough attention to the threat from Russia.
“I don’t think I underestimated [Mr. Putin], but I think that I underestimated the degree to which, in this new information age, it is possible for misinformation for cyberhacking and so forth to have an impact on our open societies, our open systems, to insinuate themselves into our democratic practices in ways that I think are accelerating,” Mr. Obama told ABC’s “This Week.”
Mr. Trump and other Republicans have accused the administration of trying to undermine his victory with claims of Russian meddling. The president rejected that accusation, saying he ordered a review of the cyberattacks to better guard against Mr. Putin’s hacking in the future.
European debt and migration
The president’s deteriorating relationship with Mr. Putin has followed a predictable pattern in relations between Moscow and Washington, Ms. Conley said.
“Almost every U.S. president comes into office thinking that they personally can overcome profound challenges of the U.S.-Soviet, U.S.-Russian relationship,” she said. “They get about two years into it, and then they run into the same roadblocks. We have very different values and very different interests.”
In Asia, Mr. Obama tried to “rebalance” U.S. foreign policy chiefly through a 12-nation free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, hoping to use it as a counterweight to China’s influence. But Congress has not ratified the pact, and Mr. Trump has panned it as a bad deal for American workers.
Mr. Earnest said the blame rests with Congress, where virtually all Democrats joined some Republicans to kill the agreement.
“The president is disappointed that Congress didn’t act to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said. “That certainly had the potential to strengthen our security and economic relationships throughout the Asia-Pacific. That was a missed opportunity, but I don’t think that’s one that you can pin on the president of the United States, because he did the hard work of negotiating the kind of an agreement that would have advanced our interests. It didn’t move forward because of Congress’ failure to act.”
In Europe, Mr. Obama seems to have miscalculated the impact of the debt and migration crises on allies from Britain to Italy. He personally lobbied British voters last spring to remain in the European Union, a bid that failed spectacularly.
“It was a bold and risky move, because I think the average American would not appreciate a British prime minister spending three days saying what they should do,” Ms. Conley said.
With the approach of the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II, she said, “Now we are understanding how fragile the European project is.”
“All of that has come into question. Europe itself has come into question,” she said.
These international developments present “huge challenges for the new administration,” Mr. Gardiner said.
“It has to clear up a lot of the mess that has been left by the Obama presidency, especially in the Middle East,” he said. “It also has to deal with a greatly strengthened Russia that is increasingly assertive and menacing.”