Friday, March 21, 2014

New York City Government Kills Man For Sleeping In Stairwell

A mentally ill, homeless U.S. Marine Corp veteran, Jerome Murdough, was arrested for trespassing when he was found sleeping in a stairwell in a housing project. Bail of $2,800 was imposed. Then he was put in a cell in the city's massive prison complex on Rikers Island. The temperature in his cell exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit, (38 degrees Celsius), killing him. He was 56 years old.

Sounds like a story out of some Third World hellhole. No, this is the U.S. Welcome to the real America.

There's so much wrong here- where to begin?

Let's start with arresting someone for the “crime” of being homeless. You would think the police could have told him to move on. Or taken him to a homeless shelter, or arranged that. Or, if he didn't respond in a way they considered rational, take him to a city hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

No, they arrest him. Now, a question that isn't answered- or even asked- is why set bail for trespassing? And an exorbitant amount that a destitute homeless man obviously doesn't have? His “case” wouldn't have been resolved for months. So in effect some vicious judge sentenced him, pretrial, to months in jail for allegedly sleeping in a stairwell. No information on this in the local media, except a passing mention of the bail amount. [1]

Next,- Why would the prison “authorities” allow there to be life-threatening conditions in a cell? How long was it like that? Surely some inmate would have complained. But you can guess the indifference and contempt with which prisoner complaints are met by their jailers. (If you've been in jail, you don't have to guess.) I suspect this was a “punishment” cell deliberately overheated (other punishment cells are freezing cold, a torture technique used by the CIA, U.S. military, and by the Border Patrol). What, you thought merely being imprisoned was punishment enough? You must be one of those bleeding heart soft-on-crime liberals!

The “authorities” have rushed to claim that the “condition” has been “fixed”- they claim a defect in the heating system. (!) Initially they cast blame on their victim, saying he failed to open a vent in the cell. (Yeah, I'm sure that would have helped a LOT. A cool sea breeze would've magically found its way into the bowels of the prison and wafted into the cell, reducing the temperature to a comfortable 70 degrees F, right?)

The only thing the local media is focused on is the “question” of why the guards didn't check on him more often in the sweatbox cell! This is to be “investigated” by the prison bosses. The establishment is keeping the focus microscopically on this one issue.

Oh by the way, the victim was black. Sort of predictable, that one. Not that “white” people are never killed by the system- if they're poor. It's just a lot more dangerous to be “black.” But this tawdry killing will soon be forgotten. So far, the new mayor, the “progressive” Bill deBlasio, has been silent. He has jumped into the media spotlight whenever it's snowed, however- important stuff like that. [2]

The propaganda system and those wielding government power probably won't draw any useful conclusions from this case of their criminally negligent homicide. (They already have a rule that the guards were supposed to monitor mentally ill prisoners. Maybe they could enact a new rule saying prisoners can't be cooked above 98 degrees, say.) But we can draw useful conclusions. They of course see it as a temporary public relations problem, to be smoothed over. It will be forgotten in days. The family will sue, and get some taxpayer money. Allowing this avenue of “redress” in such matters ensures there won't be a militant response of resistance- they don't want another Black Panther Party arising, after all. And they can keep people faith in “the system.” [3] Other than buying off the family, at most, a guard might be reprimanded for inattention. The police, the judge, the prosecutor's office- they aren't even mentioned so far by the media.

We should see three obvious conclusions here. First, U.S. society is cruel. No, one incident doesn't prove that. But this is one of millions of examples of gratuitous cruelty, piled up over the years. Many, like this one, end up in death. The specific cruelties here are indifference to providing care for the mentally ill, who if they don't have financial means or families who can provide for care, are left to their own devices, and draconian punishment for any poor person who gets out of line to even the slightest degree. (His slumbering body was where it wasn't allowed to be.)

Second, there's a generalized hostility to the poor. The mentality of those in power, and of their muscle that enforces their will, the police, is to see the poor as enemies, a source of potential resistance, rebellion, trouble. The U.S. has gotten increasingly oppressive since 1980, and one way this is manifested is in more and more repressive laws, the brunt of which fall on the poor. And the power of the police and prosecutors has been increased at the same time.

Third, this was a veteran. Once his usefulness as cannon fodder for the empire was over, he was discarded by the system like so much human waste. Once again the foolishness of joining (or submitting to being conscripted into) the U.S. armed forces is underlined. Loyalty is a one-way street with those in power. Exhibits for this thesis include: the abuse suffered by the Gulf War Syndrome vets, who were called malingers and fakers and gold diggers; the long battle Vietnam vets suffering from the effects of Agent Orange had to wage to get a bit of recognition that they actually were sick, and it was from Agent Orange (of course their offspring have to live with birth defects too, don't forget- and don't even ask about the Vietnamese!); the contempt and abuse heaped on soldiers mentally damaged by combat; and the fate of the World War I “bonus marchers,” who in the midst of the Great Depression, marched on Washington to demand payment of a promised war bonus, which they really needed at that time, but instead of paying up, the government sent in the Army to forcibly disperse them. This task was carried out by a new crop of soldiers, commanded by Douglas MacArthur and his aide, Dwight Eisenhower. (This based on the principle enunciated by one of the most notorious of the robber barons, Jay Gould, who quipped, “I can always hire half the working class to kill the other half.”)

After all this, and more, you'd think people would be wised up about the U.S. military. This is the great advantage to the rulers of never teaching people true history- there are new suckers born daily who can be duped. (By the way, they often cheat their dupes out of promised benefits, such as college tuition, and discharge the wounded on spurious grounds to deny them medical care. They've got a thousand tricks to evade their responsibilities and double-cross the credulous cannon fodder. Even the establishment media has run stories on such mistreatment of veterans- some of the propagandists are smart enough to know that this mistreatment is potentially a dangerous practice. Eventually they may not be able to dupe enough suckers into fighting their wars for them. People might actually stop volunteering for “service” if word gets around. Hence the media applies a bit of pressure on the government with infrequent reporting.) The only valid reason for joining the U.S. military is get obtain military training and steal weapons.

The utter hypocrisy and cynicism of all the “honor our vets” hoopla is exposed again as a cynical sham. The nationalism card is played to induce fools to fight for the power elite and enforce U.S. diktat around the world, in the name of “defending our country,” a ludicrously absurd claim on its face when set against the facts. U.S. power is as far from defensive as one can get, except in the sense that American imperialists are “defending” their global dominance. But they are actually doing even more than that. They are constantly driving for global hegemony, as their brazen grab for the Ukraine throws into stark relief. (Did they actually believe the Russians would just passively let themselves be pushed out of their key strategic naval base on the Black Sea, located in Crimea? Truly they are drunk on power.)

Just one more thing about the homeless man killed for trespassing. Last Sunday a teenager was arrested for trespassing in the replacement tower on the site of destroyed World Trade Center. He made it upstairs to take pictures. This put “the authorities” in a tizzy because of the sensitivity of the site. The episode made headlines in media across the U.S. and even abroad (such as the Guardian UK). Charged with two misdemeanors, he was released on his own recognizance- no bail.

1] Some local judges have been demonized by the NYC media when they were considered insufficiently punitive or released people on bail. No such high dudgeon about this- the judge hasn't been named or even mentioned. As for the cops, who were no doubt trying to make their monthly arrest quotas, they could have released him from the precinct after arresting him with a Desk Appearance Ticket, which orders the “perp” (cop talk for perpetrator, embedding the assumption that you “did it,” whatever they accused you of), to appear in court on a certain date. This is an option for minor “crimes,” at the discretion of the police in NYC. Instead he was “put into the system,” held, taken to court, where the prosecutor could have dropped the charges then and there, and the judge could have freed him “on his own recognizance” (without bail) and a return court date set.

Some people have been imprisoned for a year or more on Rikers awaiting trial. This is one way the local District Attorney's office (the criminal prosecutors) pressure people to plead guilty.

Housing projects are groups of multiple large apartment buildings where poor people are concentrated. New York City has a number of these projects. Increasingly they are run like quasi-prisons. The NYPD (NYC police department) has had a policy under the 12 year reign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg Billionaire of arresting visitors and even residents of these projects for “trespassing,” even when they had IDs proving they lived there. Finally, after numerous such bogus arrests over a period of years, a class action lawsuit was brought against the police and city government.

2] DeBlasio replaced Michael Bloomberg Billionaire in January, following the November 2013 local elections. Bloomberg, bored with the job, declined to grab a fourth term, which would have necessitated gutting yet again the city term limit law, passed twice by popular referendum, as he had to do when he ran for a third term.


3] There is a “New Black Panther Party,” apparently a project of the Nation of Islam, but they don't confront police or carry guns, and don't seem to be drawing members. It acts more like a theatrical project than a political one. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were inspired to create the first BPP to stop the rampant police brutality against blacks. It's original name was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Notorious racist J. Edgar Hoover recognized the “threat” it posed, and using his command of the national political police, the FBI, moved to violently destroy it.

Nowadays the police are still free to kill blacks, as long as they don't kill too many, or too often. That includes “liberal” New York City too, where city police on “narcotics” duty recently followed a young black man, Ramarley Graham, on the street, broke into his apartment building, smashed down the door into his family home, and shot him dead on the floor of his bathroom, apparently to stop him from flushing marijuana down the toilet. He was unarmed. No, they don't need a warrant to do that- they did it, didn't they? So obviously they don't need no stinking warrant. But the resulting outburst of public anger, and coverage by “alternative” (non-establishment) media, eventually forced the system to indict the killer cop for manslaughter. Of course the police union is solidly behind the killer. The outcome is pending, while the system kicks the can down the road. They have an unenviable choice of alienating their hired muscle that protects their power structure, or reinflaming that part of the public that identifies with the victim (“blacks”) or that has a sense of justice (people with a normal moral sense), and eroding a bit more of the legitimacy of their system. Legitimacy meaning people's acceptance of their system and willingness to submit to it and obey its rules.

Calibrating the correct level of oppression is delicate for them. Too much, and they risk resistance, even rebellion. Too little, and they risk having their captive populace escape their control.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Hypocrisies Keep Piling Up Thick and Fast In Ukraine “Crisis”

Well, as expected, the residents of Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine (now ruled by a mob-installed and foreign-controlled government) and become an independent nation, presumably in advance of rejoining Russia, which it was part of from the 1700s until around 1954. The U.S. and its European helpmates dutifully denounced the referendum yet again as “illegitimate” and “illegal” and contrary to the Ukraine Constitution (they apparently consider the mob overthrow of the previous elected president of Ukraine, and the choosing of the new “leader” of Ukraine by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, as Constitutional) and announced their refusal to recognize it. [1]

Obama has ordered the assets of top Putin aides frozen, and those of members of the Duma (Russian Parliament), and of Ukrainians who spoke in favor of secession, as punishment for their actions and advocacy. The U.S. can do this since it controls the world financial system. [2]

Since it doesn't control the world financial system, Russia can't freeze the assets of John Kerry, or Victoria Nuland, or John McCain, for destabilizing the elected government of Ukraine and replacing it with people more to their liking, and for stirring up opposition in Kiev to self-determination for Ukrainians who didn't support the mob coup.

Much has been made of the Tatars, indeed they've received more attention in Western media than the rest of the Crimean population. By the way, the Tatars are 12% of Crimeans, according to that same media (a fact deeply buried in long articles). We're reminded over and over that Stalin deported the Tatars during World War II. Not mentioned much is that this was because 9,000 Tatars joined the Nazi invaders to fight with them in the attempt to destroy the Soviet Union. (In fact, if the Germans had won, the Tatars probably would have ended up being exterminated, as Hitler's plan was to murder three fourths of the “subhuman Slav” population of the S.U. upon victory. I doubt if he held Tatars in high regard.) After the war, the Tatars were allowed to return. Whether or not this mass deportation was prudent and justified during a nation's struggle for its very survival or an unacceptable violation of human rights is something that can be debated. [3]

By the way, the Tatars weren't the only population internally exiled during that war. The Japanese-Americans of the U.S. west coast were forcibly deported to internal concentration camps, lined with barbed wire and guarded by watch towers with machine guns. They lost all their property, for which they were never compensated. The number of Japanese-Americans who joined the Japanese armed forces after Pearl Harbor totals, as far as I know, ZERO.

The words “self-determination” are taboo in Western media discussion of the “crisis.” Instead we're told Russia “invaded” Crimea and is “annexing” it. Yet the contradictions are visible even in the Western media. For example, the New York Times has reported on crowds of thousands of Crimeans- and in other parts of Ukraine- waving Russian flags and chanting “Putin” and Russia.” I don't think Russia imported thousands of Russians from Russia and disguised them as pro-Russian Ukrainians. (But the leaders of the militias are Russian veterans from Russia.) 

By the way, I can recall the U.S. dividing Vietnam in half and setting up a fascist dictatorship in a new “country” it called “South Vietnam.” And invading Grenada to overthrow the government there. And waging a decade-long terror and sabotage campaign against Nicaragua to destabilize the government there. And a three year campaign, including terrorism and the assassination of the Chilean Army chief of staff in 1970, to overthrow that government in 1973. And supporting in practice (and funding to the tune of billions of dollars in free military weaponry a year) Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem and the best parts of the West Bank. And numerous other examples of, let us say, “interference.” Hell, the U.S. “redrew” its border with Mexico to take a third of Mexico and make it part of the U.S., by force, not by referendum of the inhabitants.

Meanwhile, people in the U.S. who try to comment rationally and objectively on the “crisis” are smeared as parroting “Russian propaganda.” An asshole from the “Peterson Institute for International Economics,” in particular gleefully hurls this insult at people who cite facts he has no refutation for.

And before the referendum was even held, a propagandist on The Daily Beast website inoculated people against thinking the vote could possibly be legitimate by saying anyone voting in favor was either brainwashed by Russian propaganda (the Russians have had like a whole week to “brainwash” people- plenty of time to turn people into zombies, right?) or terrorized by Russian guns. Neither assertion has any relation to reality- as is clear from the Western reporters in the Crimea, who have done their best to skew the picture in the desired anti-Russian and anti-secession direction. But what makes the jobs of propagandists so easy is their total detachment from facts. They can just make stuff up- so much easier than having to study things, think seriously, and make sober judgments! And they get paid!

Which brings me to another- no, not hypocrisy, flat out psychological projection and the most cynical inversion of reality: propagandists from places like the “Peterson Institute for International Economics” (a reactionary factory of propaganda for greed) and the “Atlantic Council” calling serious scholars like Stephen Cohen and others “Russian propagandists” or “a shill for the Russian Government.”

We're also being subjected to official screeches that the Russians have violated the understandings of 1991! Excuse me, the understanding was that the U.S. bloc wouldn't advance right up to Russia's border. And various establishment politicians and polemicists keep accusing Russia of bringing back the Cold War. What is so like the Cold War is NATO pressing right up to Russia's borders, like Reagan did when the U.S. threatened the Soviet Union with a first strike nuclear attack. Given the history of European invasions of Russia (Napoleon, the Kaiser, 22 Western powers that invaded on the side of the White Russians against the Bolsheviks, Poland at various times, and Hitler), why wouldn't Russia (or any nation) want a buffer zone around itself? (We only ever hear about Soviet conquests, which are part of history of course. But deliberately excising half of history is the mark of propaganda.)

I think there's no question about two things: 1) the U.S. created the situation that led to secession by overthrowing the Ukrainian government and installing a puppet regime, and 2) the people in Crimea (and perhaps most of eastern Ukraine) want to join Russia, as they were deeply shaken by events in Kiev, including a new law delegitimizing the Russian language, which is the native tongue of many eastern Ukrainians. Indeed, most of the Crimeans are of Russian extraction. (The new boss in Kiev scotched the anti-Russian law after the new, reactionary-dominated legislature passed it, probably on U.S. instructions.) The U.S. wants the pro-Russian Ukrainians to live under repressive rule of its puppet government in Kiev, backed up by violent fascists who are now inside the government with their hands on key levers of power- police and prosecutor's office, for example.

As U.S. politicians run around denouncing Russian “aggression” and Putin as the second coming of Hitler (Hillary Clinton did as much, invoking the Nazi takeover of Czechoslovakia- if I remember, the Nazis didn't ask the Czechs if they wanted to be invaded, and didn't hold a referendum on that), the U.S. still expects Russia to be a “good partner” in bludgeoning Iran into surrendering its right to enrich uranium (which the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Iran signed says they have a right to do) and in other ways to be the U.S.' helpmate. This is the definition of being “a responsible member of the international community,” doing the U.S.' bidding.

So the U.S. thought Russia would just roll over and play dead as the U.S. moved to shove them out of their strategic Black Sea naval base. And it expects Russia to keep serving U.S. interests, such as in demanding that Iran wipe out its own nuclear research and uranium enrichment program. (By the way, the U.S. needs Russian cooperation as it evacuates its expeditionary force from Afghanistan. But don't expect gratitude, Russia. The U.S. takes it for granted that all other nations should serve U.S. interests. That's just the natural order of things. Refusing or failing to do so is a violation of the natural order.) This kind of extreme arrogance that blinds one to the obvious and predictable reactions of others to one's own aggressiveness and trampling on their vital interests, is a lot more reminiscent of the Nazis than anything Russia is currently is doing.

1] Regions seceding from larger political entities is a fairly common occurrence historically. Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan, West Virginia broke away from Virginia, when Virginia and the other southern states seceded from the U.S. to form the Confederate States of America. The U.S. and EU didn't object to Yugoslavia breaking up into several states, nor to Czechoslovakia dividing into two separate nations- both in the last couple of decades. And the U.S. pushed for the secession of South Sudan from Sudan and midwifed that breakup process.

Why it's considered absolutely essential that "Ukraine" continue to maintain it's current borders, and absolutely no changes must be allowed, nor formal political divisions created that reflect the real political divisions of the people there, is a mystery. Oh wait, not it isn't. The U.S. wants to swallow the whole
thing, THAT's the reason.

2] The EU is punishing 21 people, both Russians and Ukrainians, for supporting the holding of the referendum, with asset freezes and visa denials. And Obama has slapped sanctions on the overthrow, elected Ukrainian president for good measure.

3] The Tatars boycotted the referendum. Knowing they were going to lose, they can now denounce it as “phony” and “fixed.” (These words were being slung around even before the vote.) I wonder how much of this is on the advice of U.S. operatives.

As for their joining the Nazi invaders, at least initially, no doubt they were motivated by the delusion that the racist self-styled “supermen” would liberate them from Stalin's awful tyranny. The truth is they were caught between a rock and a hard place, or they jumped out of the frying pan into the fire, if you prefer. So I would not be too quick to morally judge their choice- nor the decision to deport their brethren. Reality can impose hard choices on people.


For Those Who Remember

And the tragedy that you referenced of tens of thousands of children who have dysentery and cholera, a million displaced, 10,000 dead, it seems that here we are sitting in Washington and listeners sitting around the country, it's hard to imagine.” -Yochi Dreazen of Foreign Policy magazine, speaking of Syria, on the Diane Rehm show, 3/14/14. [1]

Well pal, it shouldn't be so "hard" for you to "imagine." You guys killed 500,000 Iraqi children during the Clinton regime's sanctions on Iraq in a failed attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein by starving the populace there. That wasn't so long ago that you should have forgotten it already,

This isn't even disputed by Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who didn't deny it, didn't flinch, didn't apologize, when asked about it by Leslie Stahl during a 60 Minutes interview (CBS). Albright said “we think it was worth it.” What the “it'” was that was worth half a million children's lives, that is, what was accomplished, Albright didn't say, and Stahl didn't ask.

Here's iceberg-hearted Albright unperturbed by helping kill half a million children. And it won't do it blame it on Saddam Hussein. The U.S. can't wash its hands of the crime by putting all the blame on that cruel tyrant. Bill Richardson, another Clinton regime apparatchik and governor, also endorses this deliberate mass murder. We all know what the reaction would be to the sight of a Soviet or Nazi official coolly brushing aside the deliberate killing of half a million children in the alleged pursuit of some policy goal. (The fatuous Richardson defends the policy by saying "it was the policy," and claiming it "contained" Saddam Hussein. As if that was necessary to "contain" him. 

video

                                                                  
                                                                    

                                                                                           
But Albright got the usual reward for apparatchiks of her rank- made members of the U.S. nomenklatura. She's rich, she got paid far more for her book than its market value, she's paid handsomely to give talks on such topics as “The Art of Leadership,” and Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the U.S. equivalent of the Soviet Order of Lenin and the highest U.S. civilian medal). [2]

By the way, this is a good opportunity to recall that the U.S. and its Eurolackeys supported the murderous tyrant Hussein wholeheartedly for all the years of his career UNTIL he invaded Kuwait. They supported his war of aggression against Iran, supplying him with location information on Iranian troops so he could GAS them. They covered for his gassing of the Iraqi Kurds during the war, even putting out a false “intelligence report” by the Pentagon's “Defense” “Intelligence” Agency asserting that IRAN had gassed those villages. (Notice they never mention that these days. Down the memory hole!)

The West sold Hussein the precursor chemicals used to make the gas. Earlier in his career, the CIA helpfully provided him with names of communists so he could round them up and exterminate them. (The CIA's attitude towards communists is exactly the same as the Nazis attitudes towards Jews: they are subhuman vermin to be exterminated wherever they can be found. And the fascist CIA has a very loose definition of who is a “communist.” Could be a Jesuit priest, a left-wing activist, a labor organizer, a Marxist intellectual, a human rights lawyer- anyone interfering with a reactionary social order backed by U.S. power, covertly or overtly.)

And why did the corporate media refer to him as “Saddam”? That was his first name, and they hated him by then. Perhaps to avoid confusing him with U.S. lapdog “King” Hussein of Jordan? (Now deceased and succeeded by his spawn, “King” Abdullah, who like his daddy took an American woman as a bride- to show his loyalty to his masters, I suppose- who is now a “Queen,” as is his mother.)

1] The Diane Rehm show comes out of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the empire. It's carried on the government radio propaganda network NPR five days a week. Guests are typically from “elite” U.S. and European media. The thought processes of the hosts and guests are enclosed inside the ideological bubble of the media and political elite of that city, referred to by themselves as “inside the Beltway,” with only vague self-awareness.

Here's a typical example of the ideological mind-bubble in which these people operate. When now and then, someone on the show refers to U.S. torture, they never say “torture.” It's always the euphemism “harsh interrogation tactics.”



And there's all the other standard euphemisms and ideological and political assumptions. U.S. aggression is “defense.” U.S. power is “national security.” U.S. repression is “security” or “law enforcement.” Secret police agencies like the FBI and CIA are “law enforcement” or “intelligence” agencies. The U.S. is always good, everything it does has virtuous aims, and its opponents are malign or evil. Any doubt about official cover stories are crackpot “conspiracy theories.” Any political options outside the two-party dictatorship of the Democrats and Republicans is literally unthinkable. All economic analysis stays within the mystified realm of doctrinal economic dogma.

2]  FAIR made some pertinent observations at the time of Albright's interview. See 'We Think the Price Is Worth It'

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Annals of Newspeak

In George Orwell's famous classic of totalitarianism, 1984, the ruling dictatorship had its own vocabulary, called Newspeak, which basically meant inverting words to mean the opposite of their previous meanings. For example, Slavery is Freedom.

Barack Obama and his minions have shown themselves to be assiduous disciples of the principle of Newspeak; to invert the meanings of words. Examples are legion: here are two recent ones I happened to notice.

In Ukraine, a violent mob overthrew the elected government, and the U.S. installed replacement “leaders.” These people Obama refers to as “democratic leaders.” Unelected, yet somehow “democratic.” Capitalists better no longer sneer at Bolshevik misuse of the word “democratic.” [1]

Another recent example is Obama's secret police henchman John Brennan. Obama wanted Brennan to replace Democratic Party apparatchik Leon Panetta as CIA head a few years back, but Brennan's involvement in CIA torture programs scuttled that back then. So Brennan was brought to Obama's side to run Obama's drone assassination program for him. So beloved by Obama is Brennan, that Obama last year once again moved to install Brennan at the top of the CIA, and this time he succeeded.

Brennan, as you'd expect of a career secret police type like him, can barely open his mouth without lying. But he has a habitual phrase whenever he utters a real howler. It's “Nothing could be further from the truth.” So during his Senate confirmation hearings for CIA Director, in denying that the drone death program ever harmed a hair on an innocent person's head, he used the phrase. [2]

Now that he was caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers and stealing documents off their CIA-provided computers, he once again denies what is proven fact with the phrase “Nothing could be further from the truth.

You can be guaranteed that if John Brennan says of something that “Nothing could be further from the truth,” it's true. It's like a tell in a poker player, a dead giveaway.

Guide To Ukraine “Crisis” Vocabulary

Guide To Ukraine “Crisis” Vocabulary

First, “crisis.” That means, the U.S. isn't getting its way 100%.

Ukraine.” Can mean the actual country. Often it means the satraps the U.S. installed in power in Kiev. As in “Ukraine asked for Western help against the Russian invasion [sic],” or, “the American government supports Ukraine.”

International law.” The rules the U.S. insists on imposing, which boil down to, the U.S. does whatever it wants, and other nations do what the U.S. wants. If the U.S. does it, it's legal. So arranging the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government by a neo-Nazi led mob and installing people in power handpicked by the U.S. State Department is perfectly legal, whereas Russia protecting its naval base in the Crimea and letting people vote in a referendum to choose to secede from western Ukraine or not is “a violation of international law.” And of the Ukrainian Constitution, too, which apparently has a provision allowing for neo-Nazi hoodlums to overthrow the government and its replacement by U.S.-approved puppets.

The international community.” All the lackey and stooge nations that line up behind the U.S.

The rights of all the Ukrainian people.” The U.S. decrees there shall be no partition and the entirely of Ukraine shall henceforth be in the U.S. domain. Self-determination for the populace of eastern Ukraine is not allowed. Controlled elections next year will ratify U.S. and neo-Nazi dominance of Ukraine.

The territorial integrity of Ukraine.” No self-determination by the people of eastern Ukraine shall be allowed. A secession referendum is intolerable to the U.S. bloc, aka “the West.”

Legitimate government.” The government of the U.S' choosing. See Obama statement of March 6th.

"Illegitimate." Any action the U.S. doesn't like.

"Unconstitutional." See "illegitimate."

"Destabilize." Interfere with the U.S. takeover of Ukraine.

"Violation of internationall law." Action that conflicts with the U.S. program for controlling Ukraine.

Democratic leaders.” See “legitimate government.”
.
Democracy.” A regime obedient to U.S. wishes. This is what that word always means.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Naval Blockade of Russian Black Sea Fleet Suggested By Career U.S. Apparatchik

In an interview with the consistently reactionary NPR radio host Scott Simon on March 1st, former prominent U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering raised the possibility of bottling up the Russian Black Sea Fleet inside the Black Sea, presumably with the cooperation of NATO member and U.S. client Turkey, through whose territory the narrow Dardanelles straits passes. The Dardanelles are the only exit from the Black Sea, leading to the Mediterranean Sea. [1]

After invoking the Cuban missile crisis (a crisis of the U.S.' creation) and the U.S. military alert during the Yom Kippur War, Pickering suggests blockading the Russian fleet based in Crimea. After suggesting this “tougher step” as a possibility “to reinforce diplomacy,” he then claims “no one wants to see a military confrontation” and “no one that I know of now, is threatening the stability or indeed security of the Black Sea Fleet...” Well take a look in the mirror and you'll see someone who just did, pal. Although he did say one has to be “very careful” about such a move. And presumably only if “diplomacy” doesn't force the Russians to give in to U.S. diktat. “Diplomacy” includes every kind of pressure and punishment short of military force. And Pickering mentions some of them.

Other than Pickering, however, I haven't heard any other imperialist apparatchiks, active or “retired,” suggest a naval blockade. Nor am I aware of any politicians or media figures explicitly suggesting it, although probably one of Murdoch's minions or their “guests” have, given their chronic bellicosity. Nevertheless, Pickering has put the threat out there, and Ukraine's U.S.-installed puppet “prime minister” has been running around shrilly exhorting the U.S. and EU to push Russia out of Crimea. He even went to the Emperor's official lair, the White House; whether on his own desperate initiative or because the Emperor summoned him, I don't know.

One problem Pickering noted was the dependency of Europe and Ukraine on Russian natural gas. He invoked Russia's past attempt to raise gas prices (to something closer to the market value- Ukraine was getting gas dirt cheap from Russia, and still today pays below fair market value- a fact very rarely mentions by U.S. media and establishment apparatchiks, and Pickering, let us say, “forgot” to mention that, thus painting Russia as extortionist) and elides the fact that Ukraine stole gas transiting through its pipelines bound for western Europe. Seems to me if you're going to mention Russia raising the price, you should mention that they were selling it at a discount. Since Ukraine at that time was behaving in a hostile manner towards Russia, no surprise that Russia would say, “You know, we're selling you gas at way below market price- we want more now.” Instead what western elites do is distort reality by painting a picture of Russian “extortion.” And who knows? Maybe they've brainwashed themselves into believing their own propaganda.

Pickering also spews the standard blather about “fair treatment to all Ukrainian citizens,” which is boilerplace U.S. rhetoric. What he really means is “it's unfair to divide Ukraine,” because the U.S. wants it ALL.

If you want to hear the interview with this imperialist poohbah, or read the transcript, here's the link to npr.org.

1] NPR is the U.S. government-created and Congressionally-controlled domestic propaganda radio network.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Obama Dictates Terms to Russia To Keep Its Naval Base in Crimea

American Emperor Barack Obama made this public statement on March 6th:

“The proposed, referendum, on the future of Crimea, would violate the Ukrainian Constitution, and, violate international law. Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government, of Ukraine. In two thousand fourteen we are well beyond the days when, borders can be redrawn over the heads, of, democratic leaders. While we, take these steps [sanctions on Russia] I wanna be clear that there's also a way to resolve this crisis, that respects the interests of the Russian Federation, as well as the Ukrainian people. Let international monitors, into all of Ukraine, including Crimean, to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including, ethnic Russians. Begin consultations, between the government of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation, of the international community. Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea, provided that its abides by its agreements, and respects, Ukraine's, sovereignty and territorial integrity. And the world should support, the people of Ukraine as they move, to elections, in May. That's the path of de-escalation, and Secretary [of State John] Kerry is engaged in discussions with all of the relevant parties, including Russia and Ukraine, to pursue that path. But, if this violation of international law continues, the resolve of the United States and our allies and the international community, will remain firm. Meanwhile we've taken steps to reaffirm our commitment to the security and democracy of our allies in Eastern Europe, and to support, the people of Ukraine.” [video of Obama at bottom]

Now, it isn't easy to capture Obama's speaking patterns in a text transcript. His speech is typically (but not always) jerky, not flowing and smooth, so one must decide how long a pause between words merits a comma. He has pauses of varying lengths between words. Also, what words he emphasizes (which I have italicized) is tricky, since his speech is “cool,” not “hot,” that is, he mostly lectures like a university professor. So should the words on which his voice rises in tone be italicized? Sometimes the second syllable of a word seems emphasized. Anyway, you can watch and listen to him yourself below.

So let's parse this amazing speechlet. He really stands reality on its head in a most mendacious fashion. The chutzpah and hypocrisy would be breathtaking, except that it's more or less routine for U.S. Emperors.

First, he asserts that the referendum on secession would violate the Ukrainian Constitution. What, having a mob overthrow the elected government in Kiev, and then the U.S. anoint its hand-picked choices as a new “government,” is allowed under that Constitution? That just takes a lot of smug and arrogant chutzpah to assert. And I don't know what part of international law bars a referendum asking people to make a decision on their political alignment. On the other hand, international law might have something to say about foreign powers subverting and overthrowing a government and replacing it with one more to its liking. But the real reason the U.S. and its lackeys is so hysterically opposed to the referendum is because they know the majority in eastern Ukraine look set to vote in favor of it- hence the need to brand it as “illegitimate” and “illegal” in advance.

Then he refers to this puppet U.S.-installed “government” as “the legitimate government of Ukraine.” Not the elected one the U.S. just helped overthrow. And this new “government” is to have a veto on even holding a referendum in Crimea, the apparent meaning of his second sentence. His third sentence absurdly called the U.S.-installed, unelected puppets “democratic leaders.” I guess if you interpret “democratic” as code for “U.S.-controlled,” then it makes sense. The elected leader was overthrown. Most people equate “democratic” with “chosen by the people.” Which you would think would require an election. Obama promises a May election (which was already scheduled before the coup). Given that a fascist-led mob now wields significant power in Kiev, and just engineered a unanimous “vote” in the parliament there to endorse the coup, one is entitled to wonder how free and fair- and legitimately contested- the May election will be. After all, the mob now deemed “the legitimate Ukrainian government” by the U.S. and its lackeys couldn't even wait until that election to seize power.

As for borders: Obama doesn't have a problem with Israel redrawing its borders, in blatant violation of international law, to absorb its conquests of 1967. In fact the U.S. is paying it to do so, and protecting it, and arming it, so it can.

Next, feigning reasonableness, Obama tries to steer Russia down the path of surrender to the U.S. Let so-called “international monitor” into Crimea (and the rest of Ukraine, because Obama is SO fair and even-handed, you see) he demands, “to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected.” I don't even know what that's supposed to mean. I think it means “so we can veto secession in the name of the 'Ukrainian people.'” They're frantically calling the referendum “illegitimate,” apparently because they think the eastern Ukrainians will vote to split off from the coup puppet government in Kiev. Obama and his Eurolackeys just put a cop-killing mob in power in Kiev. Now he's prattling about “rights.” Obviously all he cares about is power. This is a guy who picks Americans to assassinate, who defends his right to imprison American citizens in military gulags without trial or charges indefinitely, who blows up wedding parties in other countries, and he wants us to believe he cares about the rights of Ukrainians? Are there sentient beings on this planet who still give the slightest credence to such guff?

Obama references the “crisis,” that is entirely of his and his Eurolackeys' making, and tells Russia what it has to do to “resolve” it. Russia has to pretend that the coup government is legitimate, and beg it to let Russia keep its naval base in Crimea. We can dismiss the empty rhetoric about “respecting the rights of all Ukrainians.” A fascist-led mob just overthrew the elected government and took over Parliament, and the U.S. installed a client regime. This blather about “respecting the rights of all Ukrainians” is horseshit. It is the RIGHT of the eastern Ukrainians to secede from this Western neocolonial creation if they so choose, just as it was the right of the southern Sudanese to secede (the U.S. supported that secession), for example, or the right of the Kosovar Albanians to secede from Serbia (again, with U.S. support). And those secessions were done by force of arms, not by referendum. (We're already being brainwashed to think that a Russian gun will be pointed at every eastern Ukrainian's head to make him or her vote for secession. The fact that Western propagandists- aka “journalists”- are freely roaming the Crimea makes me doubt that picture of repression.)

Then comes some doubletalk, starting with a demand: “Begin consultations between the government of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation, of the international community. Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea, provided that its abides by its agreements, and respects, Ukraine's, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Now in one sentence he's ordering Russia to talk to Ukraine. In the next sentence he says Russia “would” keep its naval “basing rights,” (not “base,” see the subtle difference?). Well how does Obama magically know in advance what the outcome of “consultations” between Russia and the “government of Ukraine” would be? Because it's a puppet government, and the U.S. said that for now Russia won't be immediately shoved out of Crimean.

But look at the poison pill Obama inserted, the conditions for the U.S. to allow Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet and access to the worlds seas and oceans from there: “provided that its abides by its agreements, and respects, Ukraine's, sovereignty and territorial integrity.” And who will be the judge of that? The U.S., obviously. And given how distorted the U.S. view of reality is, how could the Russians breath easy over that? The mere presence of Russian troops in Crimea has already been denounced, repeatedly, as “a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.” And if the easterners vote to secede? Why, that would be a “violation of blah blah blah.” The puppet “prime minister” who Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told the U.S. ambassador to install, in that infamous intercepted phone call (that the Western media has conveniently chucked down the memory hole) has already made noises about abrogating the base treaty with Russia. The rump parliament voted to demote the Russian language from having official status in Ukraine, jamming a thumb in the eye of millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians (hey Obama, who exactly is violating whose rights here?) which the “prime minister” had to hurriedly reverse, no doubt on U.S. orders.

And let's remember, that this business of moving NATO right up to the borders of Russia violates the understanding Gorbachev thought he had with the U.S. when he allowed the Soviet Empire to collapse peacefully. The U.S. wasn't supposed to push the edge of its empire right to the Russian border. Now, not only is Russia not to be permitted any buffer zone at all from Western encroachment, it is not even to be allowed to maintain its naval base on the Black Sea, through which it transits to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. This is the thanks Russia gets for aiding the U.S. in its war in Afghanistan (quite a generous gift, considering what the U.S. did to Russia there!). It doesn't pay to do the U.S. any favors, would seem to be the lesson. (Iran can draw a similar lesson from the help it extended to the U.S. after 9/11/01 when the U.S. went to war against the Taliban. The U.S. is an arrogant ingrate which thinks that all its demands are merely its due.)

The U.S. basically recognizes only its own interests as legitimate- and of course Israel's, which are Super-legitimate, superseding even the U.S.' own.

Obama throws in “the international community” a few times. Which is just a way of saying “the whole world against Russia.” The U.S. always uses that rhetoric. It seems that whichever nation the U.S. is attacking at the moment, it's always THE WHOLE WORLD against the target nation. Because the U.S. is so morally righteous and good, of course the WHOLE WORLD is always behind the U.S. I don't think there's ever been a nation as arrogant as the U.S. But “the international community” here really means the EU. Ever since World War II, Europe has been nothing but a collection of U.S.-flunky nations. We see that again here, as we have in the “war on terror,” where even Sweden- Sweden!- helped the CIA kidnap “terrorists” from Swedish soil and spirit them away to secret torture dungeons. (Some of those torture dungeons were in Europe too.) And thanks to Edward Snowden, we find that the European secret police help the NSA spy on the people of Europe, whose rulers supposedly care so much about human rights. Well, pleasing the Master comes first, I suppose. Politicians aren't really human beings. They are creatures of power. So they line up with the natural direction of power, like iron filings in a magnetic field.


Obama ends his peroration with a hackneyed faux-”stirring” pledge of support for “the people of Ukraine.” Well, the U.S. certainly supports some people of Ukraine- namely the new puppets it anointed as the “legitimate government” of Ukraine. And those satraps can rely on U.S. support until the U.S. decides not to support them. That happens sometimes. It happened to Diem in “South” Vietnam, where the U.S. gave permission for his assassination in a military coup. It happened to Ferdinand Marcos, dictator of the Philippines. It even happened, eventually, to the white racist rulers of apartheid South Africa, even though their regime was not much different from the “Jim Crow” U.S. South. Sometimes even the most iron-clad U.S. “guarantee” rusts away. [2]

Now, I don't really care if Russia keeps its naval base in Crimea. That's Russia's problem. I don't even believe that the division of humanity into nation-states is necessarily a good thing. I'm not on Russia's “side” in this. I simply don't side with this hyper-aggressive, megalomaniacally arrogant attitude on the part of U.S. imperialists that they should rule the entire planet. It's like the greed of the megarich. Just as the thirst of the megarich for more money is unquenchable, so the lust for more power on the part of the American imperialists can never be satisfied. While the U.S. maintains 750 military bases outside its national borders, an incredible number which is ignored in the western propaganda media, the U.S. want to shove Russia out of its historic Black Sea naval base, which is has maintained for centuries. [1] Crimea was part of Russia, until Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, a native Ukrainian, got it into his head to redraw the internal borders of the Soviet Union and transfer Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Ukraine then was like a U.S. state, like Texas, a political subdivision of a nation, not a nation in its own right. Now suddenly the U.S. says you can't redraw borders. As if borders aren't redrawn all the time! They're lines on a map! And Russia is not redrawing the borders, it is giving the eastern Ukrainians the opportunity to weigh in on whether they want to be dragged against their will, via a coup, into the arms of the EU (and sooner or later, of NATO).

The truth is, it's Russia that has been weak here. Russia has in effect ceded western Ukraine to the U.S.-bloc. Now it is trying to maintain a vitally strategic naval base. It's the hyper-aggressive U.S. that is demanding every inch of Ukrainian soil for itself, against the will of half the population (while Obama and the entire chorus of western politicians and propagandists falsely proclaim the fight is between “the Ukrainian people” and Russian “aggressors.”

Ask any American political scientist in the field of “international relations,” whether it is realistic to expect Russia to cede such a vital strategic interest as access to the sea. The U.S. won't even clear out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which it has no need for and where Cuba has made clear for over half a century the U.S. “presence” (occupation, in point of fact) is not wanted.

It's not a “crisis” if the Ukraine divides in two. The only “crisis” is ENTIRELY a U.S. creation, since the U.S. won't accept a Russian presence outside its own borders, except to fall in line behind the U.S. to gang up on Iran, say, or otherwise act as a U.S. vassal state, as the U.S.' European lapdogs do. It takes the kind of monumental gall that only the U.S. seems to possess, to destabilize the Ukraine, as the U.S. and its Eurostooges did, and then to loudly denounce Russia for “destabilizing” it, and for “interfering” in the Ukraine's internal affairs! I would submit to you that Russia has a far more pressing interest in Ukraine than does the U.S., which is thousands of miles away. Ukraine is on Russia's borders and hosts a vital Russian naval base. Yet Russia hasn't declared a “Monroe Doctrine,” as the U.S. did almost two centuries ago, claiming the entire Western Hemisphere as its exclusive property (“our backyard”). But apparently the fundamental foreign policy principle of the U.S. is- What's Mine Is Mine, What's Yours Is Mine Too.

Update: Kerry is threatening Russia if the secession referendum isn't cancelled. And German chancellor Angela Merkel has been yapping at Russia. Apparently she's forgotten all about how the NSA tapped her cellphone. And Obama never even apologized!

1] In case you were wondering, against the U.S.' 750 bases on other people's lands, the Russians have- count 'em- two. The one in Crimea, and a naval base in Syria. Which they'd have a hard time getting to if the U.S. succeeds in kicking them out of the Crimea.

Oh, and speaking of “occupations,” the people of Okinawa positively despise the U.S. military occupation of their small island, which the U.S. invaded and conquered in World War Two, slaughtering an estimated 100,000 Okinawan civilians in the process. They especially don't like the constant rapes committed by U.S. Marines and sailors. And roaring jets flying low right over the main city every day. Gets annoying. But hey, Russia has to respect the will of “the Ukrainian people!” So says the U.S.! And that's an order!

The best, concise description of Okinawa's condition, still true today, is this segment of a talk by the late Japan expert, Chalmers Johnson, "Okinawa, Japanese Colony under USN-USMC boot heel."

2] Here's an interesting semantical tally. In his self-righteous pronouncement, Obama used the word “violate” or “violation” three times, “respect” or its variations three times, “people,” referring to the Ukrainians, three times, plus a reference to “all Ukrainians.” “Rights” pops up twice. The word “international” appears FIVE times. And naturally the words “sovereignty,” “integrity,” “reaffirm,” “support,” “firm,” “commitment,” “allies,” and “democracy” trot across the stage. A word processing program could have written the speech for him. For all I know, one did. U.S. imperialist rhetoric at this stage of history is a grab bag of trite cliches and bogus hot air, intended to send signals rather than impart meaning.


Here's the Ukraine, with the Crimea peninsula, site of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. From there, Russian ships can sail through the Dardanelles (straits that pass through Turkey) into the Mediterranean Sea and from there to the Atlantic Ocean, or through the Suez canal to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and east Pacific.



Here you see the limits of Russian access to the sea. Its northern border is inside the Arctic Circle and is icebound much of the year- although global warming is gradually increasing the passable days. It has access to the Pacific on its far eastern coastline. Ukraine is on the left side, between and below the words "Europe" and "Moscow" on the map.


Here's a larger area view of Asia. You can see how cutting off Russian access to the Black Sea would add many thousands of miles of sea distance to the oil-rich Persian Gulf region for Russian ships.


video
                                                                 Here's that unctuous Emperor I was telling you about.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Obama Has Egyptian Military Regime Break American Peace Activist's Arm

Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of the anti-war activist group Code Pink, was on her way to participate in a solidarity action for Palestinian women imprisoned in the Gaza Strip when she was seized at the Cairo airport, held overnight, assaulted by secret police goons who broke her arm, tore her ligaments, and dislocated her shoulder, and then deported her to Turkey. During her over 14 hours as a captive, the U.S. embassy was called repeatedly to come and assist her, as is their putative duty, to aid a U.S. citizen in distress, and they never showed up, including after the vicious assault on her, which they were also informed about. I suppose the State Department apparatchiks were high-fiveing each other in their lair. This refusal to intervene constituted a thumbs-up to the Egyptian regime, which has long employed its torture skills to prisoners delivered to them by the U.S.

Last year (May 2013) Medea Benjamin committed the grave offense of interrupting a mendacious speech by Obama to confront him about some of his murderous policies. One question she shouted as she was being dragged from the room by Obama's Praetorian Guard was about the “killing” as she politely put it (murder is the correct word- and remember, Obama personally approves each name on the death list) of the 16 year old son of “terrorist” Anwar al-Awlaki, who was blown apart by a drone-fired Hellfire missile in a cafe in Yemen along with some of his cousins. She also shouted questions about various similar U.S. atrocities. Well you don't insult the Emperor like that and get away with it scot-free. [1]

So here's a concrete example of how Egypt “supports” the U.S. Mutual persecution of each other's dissidents is one way repressive regimes “support” one another and “protect” the “interests” of the each other.

There's no reason to think that the Egyptian secret police would have undertaken this assault on their own, or would be aware of Benjamin's travel plans, or even who she was, without the U.S. telling them.

The U.S. tracks the travel of dissidents (“terrorists” in U.S. government lingo) in advance, since any time a dissident books a plane reservation a computer alert immediately brings it to the attention of a secret police monitor. There were a hundred women participating in the solidarity action including Benjamin. Yet the Egyptian state thugs singled her out for seizure and mauling. The totality of the circumstances point to Obama's guilt.

Another strike against Benjamin was showing support for Palestinians, Anything that merely draws attention to the plight of Palestinians is considered an “attack” on Israel. The U.S. is Israel's rottweiler. When Israel murdered American Rachel Corrie, who stood in front of a U.S.-made bulldozer to try and stop the demolition of yet another Palestinian home, the U.S. was fine with that. As in the murder of 34 American sailors and the wounding of 174 in the 1967 Israeli attempt to sink the U.S.S. Liberty (a Navy spy ship) in a two-hour jet and torpedo boat attack, the murder of Corrie was called an “accident” by Israel, and the U.S. government said OK. Loyalty is a one-way street with our rulers. Citizens and soldiers are supposed to be loyal to them, but they owe us nothing. [2]

So Obama has an Egyptian goon squad do yet another favor for the U.S. imperialist government. Meanwhile the American media is keen to remind us almost daily that Putin is a “thug.” Which I don't dispute. It just gets annoying to constantly hear the pot calling the kettle black.

But the State Department has done worse than what they did to Benjamin. The movie Missing portrayed their complicity with the Pinochet junta of Chile in the murder of American Charles Horman, and their protection of the Pinochet regime, for example. So what's a broken arm? (The U.S. military had the junta murder Horman and another American, Frank Teruggi, because of their presumed political sympathies. At least 3 Americans are known to have been murdered by the fascist junta installed by the U.S., a well as citizens of other nations, especially Spaniards. For that matter, Kissinger gave the go-ahead to Pinochet's overseas assassination program, which included murdering Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C., by car bomb.)

So I guess you could say Benjamin “got off easy.” She wasn't murdered, like Michael Hastings was, for “sticking his nose where it had no business being,” in the gangsters' lingo. Or like the FBI execution of Ibragim Todashev in his apartment after hours of questioning. [3]

So what's a broken arm? Hell, they blow up grandmothers with drones! All in a day's work, for a repressive global empire that daily degenerates further into barbarism.

[Postscript: Obama's Revenge has proven durable. See "Medea Benjamin’s Arm 'Wakes Me Up Every Single Night in Pain.'”]


2] A surviving officer, James Ennes, wrote a detailed account of the attack and its context, Assault on the Liberty.

3] And this was at least the fifth day of interrogation of Todashev. A series of preposterous stories was then planted in the media by unnamed FBI agents aka “law enforcement sources.” The initial story was this vague line, anonymously sourced of course, which appeared on ABC “News;” “There was some sort of aggressive movement that led the FBI agent to believe he was under threat and he opened fire.” This version omitted the facts that the room was full of cops and FBI agents, and that Todashev was recovering from knee surgery at the time on which he could only hobble around. It also left out what we later discovered from autopsy photos smuggled out to Todashev's father- that he was shot 6 times, including in the top of his head. The U.S. media blacked out the father's press conference at which he displayed the photos. Todashev was obviously executed either as he was seated in his chair or on the floor.

Todashev knew the Boston Marathon Bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers. All three were Chechen immigrants in the U.S. During his interrogation by the FBI, they apparently discovered that he knew something they didn't want to get out, and so they silenced him. We know that the FBI was alerted to the Tsarnaevs by the Russians well before the bombings, yet they pretended to look the other way. At the least, it smells like another 9/11, where the secret police deliberately allow a terrorist outrage to occur in order to seize more power for themselves.

Or worse- that the FBI helped instigate the bombings.

The Tsarnaevs apparently went on jihadi websites to get instructions on making the pressure cooker bombs they constructed. Given that NSA, CIA, and FBI monitor jihadi websites and plant spyware on the computers of anyone who views those websites, it really stretches credulity to claim that the Tsarnaevs somehow “flew under the radar.” And it is a matter of public record, reported by the bourgeois media, that the Russians WARNED the FBI about the Tsarnaevs well in advance of the bombings. The absurd excuse that the Russians didn't give the FBI specific enough information is absurd. As someone who has been under surveillance (and persecution) for decades for having opinions that the reactionaries of the secret police hate, I find it darkly humorous for the FBI to claim they blew off monitoring people identified as terrorists because there wasn't specific enough information!

But the corporate propaganda system repeats this insulting (to the intelligence of any thinking person) nonsense uncritically and moves on. Thus do they aid and abet the crimes of the FBI. As indeed they do in covering up the FBI's murders. The FBI knows they can count on this media complicity, which is why their crimes get increasingly brazen.

See the numerous articles at the Atlantic monthly website, such as “Yet Another Explanation for the Killing of Ibragim Todashev,” and also their numerous articles on the matter.

The only corporate broadcast coverage I'm aware of was by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. See for instance “Maddow: Something's Very Rotten w/ FBI Tsarnaev-Todashev Boston Bombing-Linked 'Investigation',” and “Rachel Maddow Tries Her Best Not To Call FBI killing Of Ibragim Todashev A Conspiracy.





Saturday, March 01, 2014

U.S. Hounds Baying at Russia Over Ukraine

Here's U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha “Saint Sam” Powers speecifying at UN: [1]

“The United States would condemn any attempt [by Russia, it's understood] to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty.”

How's that for gall? This from the nation that just overthrew the elected president and installed its own handpicked replacements. That's not intervention? But maybe only the U.S. is allowed to “intervene” (meddle in the internal affairs of other nations), and those doing so with U.S. permission. Well, when you're Boss of the World, I guess it's only natural to see things that way.

Powers called for an “urgent” UN “mediation” committee to be set up, to try and cement the U.S.' precarious victory and keep the Crimea in Ukraine (which would give the U.S. puppet regime official control over the Russian naval base there) instead of splitting off. At the same time, Obama threatened to be a no-show at the next G-8 Big Shots' Preening gathering, to be held in Moscow, if Putin doesn't roll over and play dead in response to the U.S. seizure of Ukraine. Just a hunch, but I don't think Putin will want to trade Russia's Crimean naval base just to have Obama drop by for a photo-op. (No doubt the omnipresent neofascist chorus of U.S. right-wing politicians, ex-apparatchiks, "think" tank pseudo-scholars and professional opinionators will soon be out in force to denounce Obama for weakness and demand he get tough with Russia. As usual, these imperialist zealots will have no practical options to offer, just fulminations.)

As soon as the U.S. installed its puppet government, high State Department apparatchik William Burns hied to Kiev to “consult” with the newest U.S. clients/satraps. (I.e. to pull their strings.)

The U.S. now keeps threatening Russia- You better not intervene militarily! [2] (Or else what, I wonder?) At the same time, they're struggling to keep their newly filched prize from crumbling like a stale cookie in their greedy fingers. Ukraine seems likely to split in two, between the part “the West” just grabbed, (on the pretext that Yanukovych, the elected president their mob just overthrew, failed to sign a trade deal! There's the first rule of “international relations,” as imposed by the U.S.: do what we say, or else!) and the Russian-leaning eastern section. The population is genuinely split, it would seem, with easterners tied economically, culturally, linguistically to Russia, and the coupsters with dollar signs (or Euro signs, actually) in their eyes, thinking the West is a giant welfare state that will put them on Easy Street. (Those fools will soon learn. The World Bank is already hovering in the wings with its usual austerity demands to pay off debt.)

Oh, and Russia just raised the issue of Ukraine's arrears on paying for the discounted natural gas it gets from Russia. Russia is threatening to raise the price. We've seen this before. The West thinks Russia should give away free gas, and regards it as the worst kind of extortionist imperialist bullying if Russia wants to be paid for its product. Maybe the Russians should take a leaf from U.S. history and send in troops to collect the debt, as the U.S. repeatedly invaded Caribbean nations with Marines to act as collection agents.

Quick Quiz: What's the difference between a “democracy protester” and a “gunman”? Answer: the first are backed by the West, the second are not. “Pro-Russian gunmen” seized the Crimean parliament, the BBC “news” reiterated again March 1st. And more threats of “consequences” if Russia intervenes militarily. And here's an example of “objective journalism,” courtesy of the New York Times, the self-anointed “newspaper of record” of the U.S. (and presumably of the world), the top of page one headline and subhead on February 28th: “GRAB FOR POWER IN CRIMEA RAISES SECESSION THREAT” “Pro-Russia Militants Overrun Buildings as the Rift in Ukraine Deepens.” Say, didn't a Western-backed violent mob led by fascists “overrun” government buildings and “grab power” in Kiev, overthrowing the elected government? And isn't that violent seizure of power exactly what led directly to the current secession “threat”? Just asking.

And now, after destabilizing Ukraine, the U.S. and its Euro-lackeys are busy blaming Russia for the mess. Cute. I don't care for Russia. It's a repressive, autocratic, backward nation. But blaming them for what the West just did in Ukraine makes as much sense as blaming Russia for the global financial crisis the U.S. created in 2008, for example. It's absurd.

Prying Ukraine away from Russia's sphere of influence would mean threatening the Russian navy's base in the Crimea, the southern peninsula of Ukraine that juts into the Black Sea. The Black Sea provides Russia with access to the Mediterranean via the Dardanelles. From the Mediterranean the Russians can sail to the Atlantic Ocean, or through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Indian Ocean. Thus depriving Russia of access to this sea route would be a partial strategic blockade of Russia. It's incredibly aggressive of the U.S. and its Eurolackeys to attempt this- not to mention hostile. Yet at the same time the U.S. expects Russia to fall in line behind U.S. goals such as forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program and kill the Arak reactor.

The propaganda drumbeat is growing louder by the day, with the U.S. media and much of European establishment media shrilly accusing Russia of meddling, destabilizing, intervening...all the things the West is doing in Ukraine. The BBC has been particularly sleazy, constantly speculating that the eastern Ukrainians who seized the Crimean parliament and refused to accept the coup in Kiev of being Russian soldiers in disguise. “The West” regards it as a “crisis” that Russia would use troops to protect its naval base and other interests in the Crimea. Just as in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the “crisis” is entirely of the U.S.' making, with its unreasonable, hyper-aggressive demands. (Cuba had every right, as a sovereign nation, to invite the Soviet Union to station nuclear-armed missiles there to deter U.S. invasion. And the U.S. had long had nuclear weapons in Turkey and Europe and in the Far East aimed at the Soviet Union at that time, making it hypocritical as well as unreasonable to demand that the missiles be withdrawn, on threat of a nuclear war.)

This is a good time to deconstruct that word, “stability,” and its uses in U.S. Imperialist-Speak. “Stability” is invoked, always as a Good Thing, when the U.S. wants to keep some dictatorship or oligarchy in power. “Instability,” a Bad Thing, means unwanted changes in the political status quo. But as we see in Ukraine, the U.S. is fine with destabilizing things to get what it wants. Stability becomes a virtue only after the U.S. has the set-up it seeks. Then “instability” becomes a bad thing. So destabilizing and destroying democratic systems in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Brazil (1965), Chile (1973), etc., were Good Things. (They called it “fighting communism,” but that's just fascist code for destroying democracy, human rights, labor rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and so on.)

1] As part of the U.S.' never-ending “human rights” burlesque, Powers wrote a hand-wringing book about the Rwandan genocide that rued the fact that the U.S. didn't intervene to stop it. Based on that credential, Powers is put forth as a moral avatar. We've seen acts like this many times before. Jimmy Carter's entire presidency was in part a “human rights” charade. His actual record: forming the contra terrorists who helped the U.S. wreck Nicaragua; initiating the U.S. arms pipeline to Afghan jihadists after the Soviet invasion; conniving with China to invade Vietnam (he also opined that the U.S. didn't owe Vietnam anything for destroying that country, because “the destruction was mutual,” by which I guess he meant the U.S. bombed Vietnam, and the Vietnamese shot down some of the U.S.' bombers); praising the Shah of Iran, one of the worst dictators on earth at the time (as per Amnesty International) as a great friend; the standard U.S. support for Israel's crushing of the Palestinians (now, decades later, he's a critic of Israel- too bad he didn't say- and DO- anything when it would have made a difference); and more.

2] By the way, there are large numbers of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. When Reagan invaded Grenada to topple a regime there that was anathema to U.S. reactionaries, the excuse used was a bogus threat to the safety of American third-rate medical students there (who couldn't get into med school anywhere else, apparently). So it seems that Russia as ample VALID concern for a military incursion in Ukraine!

But of course the usual hypocritical double-standard applies, so Russia will be vociferously denounced by the West if it does so.