Pandering to israel Has Got to Stop



Most Americans have no idea of just how powerful Israeli and Jewish interests are. Two recent stories out of Kansas and Texas illustrate exactly how supporters of Israel in the United States are ready, willing and able to subvert the existing constitutional and legal protections that uphold the right to fair and impartial treatment for all American citizens.

The friends of Israel appear to believe that anyone who is unwilling to do business with Israel or even with the territories that it has illegally occupied should not be allowed to do business in any capacity with federal, state or even local governments. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association for every American are apparently not valid if one particular highly favored foreign country is involved.

Maryland became the most recent state to jump on the Israel bandwagon last week. Currently twenty-two state legislatures have passed various laws confronting boycotts of Israel because of its human rights abuses, in many cases initiating economic penalties on those organizations and individuals or denying state funds to colleges and universities that allow boycott advocates to operate freely on campus.

When governor of South Carolina, current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, an ardent supporter of Israel, signed the first state law attacking those who support boycotting or sanctioning the Israeli government, the country’s state institutions and its businesses. Haley, who is supposed to be defending American interests, has also stated her priority focus will be opposing “the UN’s…bias against our close ally Israel.”

Both the recent cases in Kansas and Texas involve state mandates regarding Israel. Both states are, one might note, part of the Bible belt. The anti-boycott legislation was sponsored by powerful Christian Zionist constituencies and passed through the respective legislatures with little debate. In Kansas, Esther Koontz, a Mennonite curriculum coach was fired by the State Department of Education as a teacher trainer because she would not certify in writing that she does not boycott Israel. Koontz’s church had passed a resolution in July seeking peace in the Middle East which specifically opposed purchasing products associated with Israel’s “military occupation” of Palestine. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Koontz is contesting the Kansas government position.

In Dickinson, Texas, in a case which actually made national news, if only briefly, the city is requiring anyone who applies for disaster relief to sign a document that reads “Verification not to Boycott Israel: By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.” Dickinson was half destroyed by hurricane Harvey last month and urgently needs assistance, but, in the opinion of Texas lawmakers and local officials, deference to Israel comes first. The ACLU is also contesting the Texas legislation.

The Texas law was signed earlier this year and took effect on September 1st. In January 2016, Governor Greg Abbott met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged Texas to push through the legislation. Abbott responded, and, when signing the bill, commented that “any anti-Israel policy is an ‘anti-Texas policy.’” Abbot is reportedly also considering Israeli endorsed legislation that would ban all business dealings on the part of Texas companies with Iran.

One particular pending piece of federal legislation that is also currently making its way through the Senate would far exceed what is happening at the state level and would set a new standard for deference to Israeli interests on the part of the national government. It would criminalize any U.S. citizen “engaged in interstate or foreign commerce” who supports a boycott of Israel or who even goes about “requesting the furnishing of information” regarding it, with penalties enforced through amendments of two existing laws, the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Act of 1945, that include potential fines of between $250,000 and $1 million and up to 20 years in prison

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Senate bill was drafted with the assistance of AIPAC. The legislation, which would almost certainly be overturned as unconstitutional if it ever does in fact become law, is particularly dangerous and goes well beyond any previous pro-Israeli legislation as it essentially denies free of expression when the subject is Israel.

The movement that is being particularly targeted by the bills at both the state level and also within the federal government is referred to by its acronym as BDS, which is an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It is a non-violent reaction to the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land on the West Bank and the continued building of Jewish-only settlements. BDS has been targeted both by the Israeli government and by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The AIPAC website under its lobbying agenda includes the promotion of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act as a top priority.

The Israeli government and its American supporters particularly fear BDS because it has become quite popular, particularly on university campuses, where administrative steps have frequently been taken to suppress it. The denial of free speech on campus when it relates to Israel has sometimes been referred to as the “Palestinian exception.” Nevertheless, the message continues to resonate, due both to its non- violence its and human rights appeal. It challenges Israel’s arbitrary military rule over three million Palestinians on the West Bank who have onerous restrictions placed on nearly every aspect of their daily lives. And its underlying message is that Israel is a rogue state engaging in actions that are widely considered to be both illegal and immoral, which the Israeli government rightly sees as potentially delegitimizing.

It is disheartening to realize that a clear majority of state legislators and congressmen thinks it is perfectly acceptable to deny all Americans the right to free political expression in order to defend an internationally acknowledged illegal occupation being carried out by a foreign country. Those co-sponsoring the bills include Democrats, Republicans, progressives and conservatives. Deference to Israeli interests is bi-partisan and crosses ideological lines. Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim, writing at The Intercept, observe that “…the very mention of the word ‘Israel’ causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy.”

Would that the anti BDS activity were the only examples of pro-Israeli legislation, but there is, unfortunately more. Another bill that might actually have been written by AIPAC is called Senate 722, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. The bill mandates that “Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence shall jointly develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategy for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities and threats that directly threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.”

Senate bill 722 combined with recent de-certification of Iran by the White House is a formula for war and a gift to Israel. And there’s more. A bill has surfaced in the House of Representatives that will require the United States to “consult” with Israel regarding any prospective arms sales to Arab countries in the Middle East. In other words, Israel will have a say, backed up undoubtedly by Congress and the media, over what the United States does in terms of its weapons sales abroad. The sponsors of the bill, want “closer scrutiny of future military arms sales” to maintain the “qualitative military edge” that Israel currently enjoys.

And there’s still more. The most recent trade bill with Europe, signed by President Barack Obama, includes language requiring the European blocking of “politically motivated” efforts to boycott Israel as a factor in bilateral trade agreements, so U.S. business interests will become subordinated to how foreign governments regard Israel. How does all this play out in practice? A Jewish group in New Jersey is seeking to blacklist with the state pension investment fund a Danish bank that has refused to provide loans to two Israeli defense contractors. The bank has argued that it has turned down loans to many companies in many countries for sound business reasons, but that common sense argument apparently is unacceptable to the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations.

And there’s bill HR 672 Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, which was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 14th. Yes, “unanimously.” The bill requires the State Department to monitor what European nations and their police forces are doing about anti-Semitism and encourages them to adopt “a uniform definition of anti-Semitism.” That means that criticism of Israel must be considered anti-Semitism and will therefore be a hate crime and prosecutable, a status that is already de facto true in Britain and France. If the Europeans don’t play ball, there is the possibility of still more repercussions in trade negotiations. The bill was co-sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Nita Lowey of New York, both of whom are Jewish.

There is also a Senate companion bill on offer in the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017. The bill will make the Anti-Semitism Envoy a full American Ambassador and will empower him or her with a full staff and a budget permitting meddling worldwide. There is also a Special Advisor for Holocaust Issues. There are no comparable positions at the State Department specifically monitoring anti-Christian or Muslim activity or for dealing with historic events like the Armenian genocide.

Anyone who thinks that the government in the United States at all levels does not consistently and almost obsessively defer to Israeli and Jewish interests has been asleep. The requirement to sign a document relating to one views of any foreign government to obtain a job or disaster relief is an abomination. Protecting Israel and going on a worldwide search for anti-Semitism or Holocaust deniers are not the responsibility of the American government and they are not what state legislators and congressmen are supposed to be doing to serve the public interest.

Israel is sometimes referred to as the “51st State,” but that is hardly true as it contributes nothing to the United States, collects billions of dollars a year from the U.S. Treasury and is totally unaccountable in terms of the actual damage it does to American interests. The American people are being hoodwinked by their own elected leaders and laws are being passed to make it impossible for them to even complain. Well, enough is enough. It is past time to shut the door on the Israeli influence machine and take back what remains of truly responsive and representational government.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is


The Best Hope for Britain: National Emergency Labour Government

The Best Hope for Britain: National Emergency Labour Government

Make no mistake about it. As the former Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party Nick Clegg recently put it – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland faces its greatest and gravest existential national emergency – since the days of the Second World War. Large swathes of the British people are burying their heads in the sand at the oncoming Brexit economic, social, civil, political and national constitutional unrest and upheaval. The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union of which it has been a member for the past forty three years is being handled in the worst possible way by the British Conservative minority Government of Theresa May supported [and thus propped up and kept alive] in a confidence and supply arrangement by the ten MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party whose votes in the Westminster House of Commons as a pivotal national and local political player was bought at a massive 1 Billion Pounds promised back in June of [as of October late still not one penny of 1 billion promised by May/DUP] new investment in Northern Ireland.

The remaking of Britain is not going terribly well and neither are the Conservative Party management of the UK-EU Exit negotiations. The Conservative Party has been in charge of Britain for the last seven and a half years. Critically it was the Tory Party, which gave the United Kingdom and the European Union along with the rest of the world the UK Referendum on continued British membership of the European Union. It has also been the Conservative Party that has been in charge of organizing and executing Britain’s departure from the EU, in essence implementing the decision of the British electorate who constituted 52 per cent of the voting population who voted to Leave the European Union on June 23rd 2016th. The Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron made the disastrous short term intra-Tory Party tactical decision to call the Referendum to appease his hard-line anti-European backbenches and Cabinet ministers in a Tory Party civil war raging since the days of Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech of October 1988, Mr. Cameron went on to write the ridiculous 2013 pledge into his 2015 General Election manifesto and it has been his successor as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Leader of the Tory Party who has been in charge of implementing the democratic mandate of the British people to Leave the EU pledging during her leadership election launch at the Royal United Services Institute to ensure ‘Brexit meant Brexit.’

This Mrs. Theresa May has made a complete hash of. The UK’s departure from the EU -14 months on and still in the EU with only roughly anywhere between 3 to 17 months left before definitely being kicked out of the EU in March 2019- has been a complete catastrophe of national humiliation under the arrogant ego maniac vain incompetence of Tory Prime Minister Theresa May. Her Conservative Party civil war over the European Question in British politics has effectively led to the trashing of some of Britain’s most important international relationships, alliances and partnerships. The time has come for some brave, wise, socially liberal and One Nation patriotic pro-European Tories, the Liberal Democrat Party, Irish Nationalists and Unionists, Scottish Nationalists and Unionists to join with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Parliamentary Party and form a Government of National Emergency to stop a Hard Brexit and usher in a Soft Brexit with the UK leaving the EU soon and under a good Deal and Favourable Terms.

A domestically Whiggish progressive socialist Labour Ministry led by a Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and backed by One Nation Labour, Liberals, Conservatives and Unionists/Nationalists in the British House of Commons would be enough to overcome Theresa May’s Tory diehards and would work to ensuring the benefits of the Single Market and delivering a pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-equality, pro-green, pro-UK Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister should invite One Nation pro-European Tory Ken Clarke to become European Chancellor in effect Brexit Secretary with a newly formed Ministry for Europe, a subsidiary of the Foreign Office. Ken Clarke can get negotiations back on track with a Labour Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and a Labour Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry. New Labour Pro-Europeans should rest assured that Corbyn has effectively surrendered most of Labour European Brexit policy making to the pro-European Labour wing under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer Home Secretary.

Mr. Corbyn should invite New Labour founder Lord Mandelson to become Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Board of Trade in charge of negotiating the United Kingdom’s major Free Trade Agreements post-Brexit in a Corbyn Ministry of National Emergency. For bringing over some pro-European Single Market Remain Scottish Tories a Prime Minister Corbyn should send Ruth Davidson to the House of Lords and appoint her First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Scotland working closely with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Johanna Cherry of the Scottish National Party should sit in Mr. Corbyn’s Cabinet as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Secretary of Defence Angus Brendan Macneil, Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport.

The Westminster Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds MP should be offered the newly created post of Vice-Premier and Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Premier Corbyn should retain the services of John McDonnell as a soft-Brexit, anti-austerity, pro-market but socialist democratic Chancellor and Dianne Abbot should become President of the Labour Party replacing the old role of Chairman. Anna Soubry the former SDP now Tory MP for Nottingham should be offered the position of Secretary of State for Industry, Energy and Climate Change while either the cross-bench Peer Jim O’Neil or Labour’s Barry Gardiner or Lord Mandelson should be given a special brief as the dedicated Minister for China and deliver the best possible flourishing of UK-China relations.

A domestically and internationally Whiggish Labour Government of National Unity – with a dash of Marxism and progressive Scottish radicalism tempered by sensible non-ideological centrist Tory pragmatism and social democratic Lloyd George Liberalism finessed by a twist of Gladstonian Unionism and Irish nationalism leading to a new close British relationship and policy in Europe for a Euro-Asian Global Britain. The Irish unionists and nationalists in the form of the DUP and Sinn Fein should support such a British Government in the House of Commons at Westminster in order to restore devolved power-sharing government in Stormont and unlock the 1 Billion Pounds promised. Ironically it is Jeremy Corbyn who is the only potential British Prime Minister and British MP to be able to get the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement back up and running in Belfast between the two major local parties and preserve the gains made between Ireland and the UK and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Scottish nationalist and unionists should support a soft-Brexit Labour Government of National Unity to preserve Scotland’s benefits and access to the Single Market as will a Labour Government of National Unity for all of the United Kingdom engineered by a European Chancellor, the British Chancellor for Europe, Ken Clarke former Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in John Major’s Government and Education Secretary and Health Secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s Government as well as serving as an MP in the House of Commons since 1970 and holding the role of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in the first Cameron Ministry. Instead of Ken Clarke acting as a go-between for Theresa May’s right-wing nationalistic, pro-austerity, Hard Brexit incompetent Tory minority Government he should be delivering Brexit as Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn and Britain’s Chancellor for Europe leading the Ministry of Europe in charge of crafting a Good Exit Deal and shaping a future new partnership for Britain and the European Union with the UK firmly embedded in Europe and the World.

In order to secure the firm support of Tory MPs in the House of Commons consisting of Cameron/Osborne Lieutenants and pro-European Remaining Conservatives, anti-Theresa May One Nation rebels and disgruntled Leavers Mr. Corbyn will have to make some compromises and concessions on domestic policy and politics by not banging on so much about identity politics, and new left liberal western extreme multiculturalism identity politics which could lose Labour votes among its working class loyalists in the North who voted Brexit and the more centrist New Labour Tories that Lord Mandelson thinks Mr. Corbyn can win over for a really big majority further down the line. He should bring back Sarah Champion to the Cabinet and also not talk so much about identity politics. He can continue to combat such intolerances and preach wise universal enlightened harmony but it should not be the loudest issue being spoken about domestically.

The focus must be on stopping a Hard Brexit and getting the Economy sorted out for better jobs, better standards of living and better lives for hard working people. A Labour Government of National Unity for National Emergency times led by Jeremy Corbyn must not indulge in the Hillary Clinton mode of identity politics a la 2016 but focus on economics and trade and living standards and anti-austerity in the Bernie Sanders jobs and quality of life mode. By doing this Corbyn can peel away with across the floor defections from the Tory Party of further MPs such as Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry, Grant Shapps, Ken Clarke, Sir Oliver Letwin, Theresa Villiers, some Scottish Ruth Davidson Tories as well as Notting Hill members Ed Vaizey, Dominic Grieve, Phillip Hammond, Rory Stewart and form a viable working majority in the House of Commons to deliver the UK’s departure from the EU and a new domestic and foreign policy for Britain.

Internationally such a Labour British Government led by a socialist Marxist Labour Party leader will never be supported by the United States and the Trump administration or for that matter a moderate Democrat administration. The Americans and the CIA simply will not have Jeremy Corbyn. Nor for that matter will some in the money markets and certain banks and speculators and governments could well try to crucify such a Labour Government financially. Hence new sources of financing and markets and consumers and investment and trade are crucial to plugging lost opportunities and augmenting existing financial credibility while insuring against lost American backing in the international money markets. Thus a good strong UK-China relationship could help soften Brexit and a more mature UK-Russia relationship can evolve but the price for Eastern backing and support will be a hard headed realist reappraisal of UK-US relations. The Continental Europeans do want to do a deal but just not with Theresa May or the British Tory Party. They can do a sensible deal with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. If Jeremy Corbyn stops British interference in the Middle East wars and failed policies of Bush and Blair and stands up to Trump while maintaining a good relationship with Beijing and Moscow and the EU27 then his international stock despite cooling the UK-US relationship will actually rise both internationally and domestically as well as throughout European capitals. That is what a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Government could do for Britain

NATO Criticism of Russia’s Ukraine Policy Is Answered by Putin


NATO Criticism of Russia’s Ukraine Policy Is Answered by Putin

A NATO supporter criticized Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s Ukraine policy, on October 19th, at the Valdai Discussion Club’s annual meeting in Sochi, and Putin fired back with his most detailed statement to-date, describing the overthrow in February 2014 of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, as having been a “coup” by the West, especially by the EU (which he blamed for it, rather than blame the US).

Asle Toje, a Norwegian supporter of the NATO anti-Russian military alliance, had raised this subject when he asked Putin:

What about Ukraine? From the European point of view, the ball is firmly in the court of Russia. It has turned into a semi-frozen conflict; the sanctions that were meant to be dynamic have become semi-permanent. What does Russia intend to do about this?

Putin replied:

Well, we think the ball is in Europe’s court, because due to the completely unconstructive – I am choosing my words so as not to appear rude – position of the former members of the European Commission, the situation went as far as a coup.

On 4 February 2014 the agent whom US President Barack Obama had tasked to plan the coup, Hillary Clinton’s longtime friend Victoria Nuland, instructed the US Ambassador in Ukraine whom to appoint to run Ukraine as soon as the coup would be culminated, which occurred 23 days later, on 27 February: “Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience the governing experience he’s the” person to appoint, she told the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. And “Yats” Yatsenyuk got the post, which was the appointment as Prime Minister, because Obama wanted the rabidly anti-Russian Yulia Tymoshenko to win Ukraine’s Presidency in an election, so as to be able to describe the change-of-government as being ‘democratic’ i.e., ‘elected’, not imposed (as was the appointment of “Yats”). However, Tymoshenko had too much of a public reputation as being a US agent (and grifter), for her to win; and, so, Petro Poroshenko won the ‘election’ instead. It was an ‘election’ in all of the majority Ukrainian-speaking areas of Ukraine, but without allowing to vote the populations in many of the majority Russian-speaking regions, where the man whom Obama overthrew, Yanukovych, had won by over 75% of the votes, in the last democratic election in Ukraine, which was the Presidential election in 2010 — the final election in which Ukrainians in all parts of the country voted. Although Poroshenko was anti-Russian, he wasn’t nearly as anti-Russian as was Tymoshenko. Yatsenyuk was Tymoshenko’s subordinate, and he had been selected by Nuland because the Obama Administration were thinking that after the Presidential election, Yats would hand off the government to Tymoshenko, who led Yats’s Party.

Putin blamed the EU for the coup, though (in fact) when the EU’s Foreign Minister, Catherine Ashton, learned, on February 26th of 2014, that this overthrow had been a coup instead of a democratic revolution, she expressed shock and disappointment but went right on carrying out the Obama Administration’s plan for the integration of the formerly Russia-allied Ukraine into the EU, and, ultimately, as was expected, into NATO, so that US nuclear missiles will be able to be installed there, on Russia’s border, as close to Moscow as possible, for a blitz-attack against Russia, to conquer Russia. Furthermore, in Nuland’s instruction to the Ambassador in Kiev, she said “F—k the EU”, because the EU aristocracies weren’t nearly as eager to conquer Russia as the US aristocracy are; the EU aristocracies had wanted Vitaly Klitschko to head Ukraine; Klitschko wasn’t rabidly anti-Russian, like Tymoshenko and Yatsenyuk were. Putin knew this — he knew that the coup was done by the US, not by the EU.

Putin then described the coup as follows:

There were riots backed by the United States – both financially, politically and in the media – and all of Europe.

They supported the unconstitutional seizure of power, a bloody one at that, with casualties, and took things as far as a war in southeastern Ukraine. Crimea declared its independence and its reunification with Russia, and now you think that we are to blame for that? Was it us who brought about the anti-constitutional coup? The current situation is the result of the unconstitutional armed seizure of power in Ukraine, and Europe is to blame, because it backed it.

What could have been easier than to say back then: ”You staged a coup, and after all, we are the guarantors.“ As guarantors, the foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany signed a document, an agreement between President Yanukovych and the opposition. Three days later, it was trampled upon, and where were the guarantors? Ask them where these guarantors were? Why did they not say, ”Please, put things as they were. Get Yanukovych back in office and hold constitutional democratic elections.“ They had every chance of winning, 100 percent, no doubt. No, they had to do it through an armed coup instead. Well, we were confronted with this fact, accepted it and signed the Minsk agreements.

However, the current Ukrainian leadership is sabotaging every paragraph of these agreements, and everyone can see it perfectly well. Those who are involved in the negotiation process are fully aware of it, I assure you. Not a single step has been made towards implementing the Minsk agreements. Still everyone is saying, ”Sanctions will not be lifted until Russia complies with the Minsk agreements.“

Everyone has long since realised that the current leadership of Ukraine is not in a position to comply with them. Now that the situation in that country has hit rock bottom both in terms of the economy and domestic policy, and the police are using gas against protesters, expecting the President of Ukraine to take at least a small step towards implementing the Minsk agreements is an exercise in futility. I am not sure how he can accomplish this. But there is no alternative to it, unfortunately. Therefore, we will keep the Normandy format in place as long as our colleagues like, and we will strive to implement these Minsk agreements that you mentioned.

Nowhere has Putin ever blamed the US Government for that coup, but he knows at least as much about it as did the head of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor when Stratfor’s head described it as “the most blatant coup in history” because it had been so well documented via leaked phone-conversations and other solid evidences. There was no doubt that the US State Department had run it, and, ultimately, evidence became public that Google and the US State Department were already preparing the operation as early as in 2011.

Putin continued his response:

It is not enough only to appeal to Russia; it is also necessary to influence Kiev’s position. Now they have made a decision on the language, essentially prohibiting the use of ethnic minority languages in school. Hungary and Romania raised objections. Poland also made some comments in this regard. However, the European Union as a whole is silent. Why are they not condemning this? There is silence.

Now they have erected a monument to Petlyura. He was a man with Nazi views, an anti-Semite who killed Jews during the war. Except for the Zionist Jewish Congress, everyone else is silent. Are you afraid of hurting your clients in Kiev, is that it? This is not being done by the Ukrainian people; this is being done at the prompting of the relevant ruling authorities. But why are you keeping silent?

Putin was appealing for the EU to become neutral on the Ukrainian matter, not for the US Government to do so, because Putin recognized that the US Government wants to conquer Russia and took Ukraine in order to advance that goal, whereas many in the EU want instead to have peace and trade with Russia and aren’t so eager to invade. Putin has given up on America, whose Government is — along with Ukraine and Canada — the only defender of nazism (i.e., of racist fascism), at the U.N. But he knows that if he blames the coup on the US Government, this would make more difficult any possible efforts by the EU to move away from the US toward neutrality, because such an accusation against the US Government would only unify NATO, not break it up. He might be able to pick off a few EU members, to move toward neutrality and away from the NATO goal of ultimately invading Russia, but this can work only if he plays down the real power-contest, the contest between the US Government, whose goal is to conquer Russia, versus the Russian Government, whose goal is to remain a free and independent nation — to protect its national sovereignty. The reason Putin blames the EU instead of the US is thus tactical. Especially interesting is that he says “This is not being done by the Ukrainian people; this is being done at the prompting of the relevant ruling authorities. But why are you keeping silent?” He is there making his appeal to anti-nazi Europeans, for them to break away from today’s pro-nazi US regime. He is saying: Speak out against it; publicly separate yourselves from it. Then, he said:

I hope that this realisation will eventually come. I can see our partners’ interest, primarily our European partners’ interest in resolving this conflict. I can see real interest. Angela Merkel is doing a great deal, putting the time in, becoming deeply involved in these matters. Both the former president of France and President Macron are also paying attention. They are really working on this. However, it is necessary to work not just technically and technologically but politically. It is essential to exert some influence on the Kiev authorities, get them to do at least something. Ultimately, Ukraine itself has a stake in normalising our relations.

Now they went and imposed sanctions on us, as the EU did. We responded in kind. The president asks me, “Why did you do this?” I say, “Listen, you introduced sanctions against us.” This is just amazing!

He refers there to “the Kiev authorities,” instead of to the Washington authorities, because he knows that the Europeans he’s addressing are aware that Ukraine is now a vassal-nation of the US He knows that they know what he knows, on this. Then, he really does address, not the rulers of Ukraine, but instead the people of Ukraine, when he says:

I believe that it is becoming obvious and most importantly, it is becoming obvious to the overwhelming majority of Ukrainian citizens. We like Ukraine and I really regard the Ukrainian people as a brotherly nation if not just one nation, part of the Russian nation.

Even though Russian nationalists do not like this and Ukrainian nationalists do not like this either, this is my position, my point of view. Sooner or later, it will happen – reunification, not on an interstate level but in terms of restoring our relations.

Numerous polls have shown that many Ukrainians do feel “brotherly” toward Russians; he is trying to appeal to these people, to seek a restoration of that previous alliance: Russia with Ukraine’s anti-nazis, instead of America with Ukraine’s pro-nazis.

The pro-NATO Asle Toje could have interjected a retort to what Putin was saying, but kept entirely quiet, perhaps because he knew that if he objected to any of what Putin said there, then Putin would have had a terrific opportunity to respond by hinting at the real role that NATO (i.e., the US) was playing in Ukraine, the nazi role there, such as by perhaps alluding to the nazi American Victoria Nuland’s famous “F—k the EU!” statement, which she said when she gave the instruction, on 4 February 2014, for the next Government of Ukraine to be led by Ukraine’s rabidly anti-Russian nazis.

Hamid Karzai, the former ruler of Afghanistan (or at least of Kabul), was also one of the participants at this conference, and he spoke about his country’s long history of being a pawn in the ancient aristocratic “Great Game” of aristocracies waging wars of conquest in order to establish international empires and grab lands from each other. Then, he commented specifically about the role that America’s seizure of Ukraine in 2014 had played in the latest stage of the Great Game:

On Ukraine and the conflict phase there, I was, uh, it was during my last years of government when this crisis emerged in Ukraine. I and my close colleagues in my government and foreign policy and security issues convened, and we met. I told them that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the independent states, Ukraine was one of the closest countries to Russia, in ethnic relations and economic relations, and in cultural relations, and in terms of the value that Ukraine holds for Russia. So my approach was one of sentiment and sensitivity, but, keeping the Russian sentiment in mind, keeping the Russian sensitivity in this region in mind. Look at it this way: if Russia went and tried to turn Canada into an ally of the Warsaw Pact against America, what would America do? They would act more aggressively than what Russia did. On Crimea: to the extent that I understand, Crimea was given to Ukraine in 1957, is that true? 1954. So it was part of Russian territory. 

His point about “if Russia went and tried to turn Canada into an ally of the Warsaw Pact against America, what would America do?” was merely rhetorical, because in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the US already had shown what the US would do if Russia were to place missiles on or near America’s borders: the US would launch a nuclear war against Russia. For some reason, Americans felt that that response — threatening World War III — was justified, by America, then, in 1962, but somehow don’t feel that it would be a justified response, by Russia, now, when the shoe is on the other foot and even more so than it had been back in 1962 (because Ukraine is right on Russia’s border). But, of course, it would be justified even more in the present instance, because conquest of Russia became, in 2006, America’s all-but-official strategic-policy goal, replacing the former reliance (by both sides) upon the strategic-policy peace-maintenance goal, “Mutually Assured Destruction” (or “MAD”), which was nuclear weapons being maintained in order to avoid a WW III, instead of to ‘win’ a WW III (such as it has been for the US ever since 2006). Russia still believes in MAD, but America is now ‘going for the gold’, of ‘victory’. This was implicitly the US and NATO policy ever since 24 February 1990, but it became, since 2006, overtly the US and NATO objective, called “Nuclear Primacy,” meaning the ability of the US to win a nuclear conflict against Russia — to conquer Russia.

The recent (October 19th) statement by Putin was the most extensive that he has yet presented on the Ukrainian matter, but it’s not the only statement he has made on this subject:

A year earlier than this latest Valdi discussion, Putin had said, on 12 October 2016, at the 8th annual investment forum VTB Capital “Russia is Calling!” seeking foreign investments in Russia:

You have just mentioned the crisis in Ukraine. But we did not bring this to a coup in Ukraine. Have we done this? No. Especially our American partners do not hide that to a large extent they stood behind this, funded a radical opposition, brought to an unconstitutional way of changing power, although it could be done quite differently. Former President Yanukovych signed all the requirements and was ready to hold early elections. Instead, they contributed to a coup d’état. What for?

And when we are forced to emphasize this, we were compelled to protect the Russian-speaking population in the Donbass, were compelled to respond to the aspirations of people living in the Crimea, to return to the Russian Federation, and immediately began to untwist a new flywheel of anti-Russian policy and the imposition of sanctions.

You have just said about the Minsk agreements. But we are not sabotaging them, the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

On that occasion, because he was responding then to a question which had been raised by Rick Boucher, a former member of the US Congress, and now a partner in a law firm, Putin had been more direct, by his saying, “We did not bring this to a coup in Ukraine. Have we done this? No. Especially our American partners do not hide that to a large extent they stood behind this, funded a radical opposition, brought to an unconstitutional way of changing power.” But he was ambiguous as regards whether America simply “stood behind this,” or instead actually “brought [the situation in Ukraine] to an unconstitutional way of changing power [i.e., to a coup there].” In any case, Boucher, too, had no response recorded there, to Putin’s statement.

Vagueness in political speech is the norm; it’s seen everywhere; and wherever it is encountered, tactical reasons are commonly being exemplified.

Still earlier, on 23 May 2014, just a few months after America’s coup, Putin took part in the plenary session of the 18th St Petersburg International Economic Forum, and said in response to a question from CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore:

President Yanukovych decided to postpone the signing and hold additional talks. What came next? A coup d’état. No matter what you choose to call it, a revolution or something else. It’s a coup d’état with the use of violence and militant forces. Who′s on whose side now? Who is using which tools from the past or the future?

It′s imperative to be very careful with regard to public institutions of emerging nations because if you are not things may slide into chaos, which is exactly what happened in Ukraine. The civil war and chaos are there already. Who benefits from it? Why would they do it, if Yanukovych agreed to everything? They had to go to the voting stations instead, and the same people would be in power now, only legally. We, like idiots, would be paying them the $15 billion that we promised, keeping gas prices low for them and continuing to subsidise their economy…

Let’s face it. We are all adults here, right? Intelligent and educated people. The West supported the unconstitutional coup d’état. It did in fact, didn′t it? Not only by way of the infamous cakes, but through informational and political support and what not. Why did it do so?

All right. And now you think that it′s all our fault? We proposed a dialogue and were denied it. What’s next? The last time I was in Brussels we agreed to keep this dialogue alive. That was before the coup. Mr Ulyukayev (he is sitting there across from me), a man of respect, speaks decent English, has absolutely market-driven brains, one of our top specialists in the economy, went for consultations. Ask him about it after the session is over. I won′t dwell on it now. But there were no consultations. Nothing but slogans.

What’s next? They made a coup and don′t want to speak with us. What are we supposed to think? The next step will take Ukraine into NATO. They never ask us about our opinion, and we have found out over the past two decades that there′s never any dialogue on this issue. All that they ever tell us is, ″It′s none of your business, none of your concern.″ We tell them, ″A military infrastructure is approaching our borders.″ ″Don′t worry, it’s not aimed against you.″ So, tomorrow Ukraine may end up being a NATO member, and the next thing you know, it will have a US missile defence complex stationed on its territory. No one ever talks to us on this subject, either. They just tell us, ″It′s not against you, and it′s none of your concern.″ …

if we did not do what we did in Crimea, Crimea would have it much worse than Odessa where people were burned alive. And there are no explanations, no real condemnations by anyone. It′s still not even clear who did it, I mean the tragedy in Odessa.

He said this, against “The West,” after the clear evidence that it had actually been the US regime that did the coup, and that had hired local Ukrainian nazis to carry it out, was already public knowledge, outside “The West.”

On the front page of the New York Times on 23 October 2017 was a news-report about the efforts by Republicans in the US Congress to focus on something else than the alleged Russiagate manipulation of the 2016 US election, and about the efforts by congressional Democrats to focus only on those allegations, and this front-page NYT story casually employed the phrase “the extraordinary efforts of a hostile power to disrupt American democracy”, as if that were already a proven fact, instead of being the Democratic Party’s incessant propaganda-line in order to ‘explain’ Hillary Clinton’s electoral defeat. The US propaganda-media do things such as that, in order to whip up, to the maximum, their audience’s hatred of Russians, and especially of the Russian Government, and so to promote the ‘case’ for war against Russia. Putin knows what the source of this march toward World War III is, and that it’s not in Europe. He knows that they’ve had more than their fills of wars, but that Americans are more malleable on this matter, more controlled by the aristocracy who own the nation’s “military-industrial complex.”

‘Red line into illegality crossed’: UN expert mulls sanctions on israel


‘Red line into illegality crossed’: UN expert mulls sanctions on Israel over Palestine occupation

How America Spreads Global Chaos


The U.S. government may pretend to respect a “rules-based” global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is “might makes right” — and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.

Air Force F-105s bomb a target in the southern panhandle of North Vietnam on June 14, 1966. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)”

As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America’s international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA’s support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

The critical “lesson of Vietnam” was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War.  “At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing,” Barnet wrote, “It has become an impractical means of political domination.”

Losing the war in Vietnam was a heavy blow to the CIA and the U.S. Military Industrial Complex, and it added insult to injury for every American who had lost comrades or loved ones in Vietnam, but it ushered in more than a decade of relative peace for America and the world. If the purpose of the U.S. military is to protect the U.S. from the danger of war, as our leaders so often claim, the “Vietnam syndrome,” or the reluctance to be drawn into new wars, kept the peace and undoubtedly saved countless lives.

Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA’s politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country’s credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States.

Ironically but predictably, the U.S.’s aggressive and illegal war policy has finally provoked a real military threat to the U.S., albeit one that has emerged only in response to U.S. war plans. As I explained in a recent article, North Korea’s discovery in 2016 of a U.S. plan to assassinate its president, Kim Jong Un, and launch a Second Korean War has triggered a crash program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could give North Korea a viable nuclear deterrent and prevent a U.S. attack. But the North Koreans will not feel safe from attack until their leaders and ours are sure that their missiles can deliver a nuclear strike against the U.S. mainland.

The CIA’s Pretexts for War

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty’s book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty’s book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.

CIA seal in lobby of the spy agency’s headquarters. (U.S. government photo)

Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years.

Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq.

CIA in Syria and Africa

But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant. In late 2011, after destroying Libya and aiding in the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi, the CIA and its allies began flying fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey and infiltrating them into Syria. Then, working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Croatia and other allies, this operation poured thousands of tons of weapons across Syria’s borders to ignite and fuel a full-scale civil war.

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

Once these covert operations were under way, they ran wild until they had unleashed a savage Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra, now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), spawned the even more savage “Islamic State,” triggered the heaviest and probably the deadliest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and drawn Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Kurdish militias and almost every state or armed group in the Middle East into the chaos of Syria’s civil war.

Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their operations across Africa, the U.N. has published a report titled Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment, based on 500 interviews with African militants. This study has found that the kind of special operations and training missions the CIA and AFRICOM are conducting and supporting in Africa are in fact the critical “tipping point” that drives Africans to join militant groups like Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.

The report found that government action, such as the killing or detention of friends or family, was the “tipping point” that drove 71 percent of African militants interviewed to join armed groups, and that this was a more important factor than religious ideology.

The conclusions of Journey to Extremism in Africa confirm the findings of other similar studies. The Center for Civilians in Conflict interviewed 250 civilians who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya for its 2015 study, The People’s Perspectives: Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict. The study found that the most common motivation for civilians to join armed groups was simply to protect themselves or their families.

The role of U.S. “counterterrorism” operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the “global war on terror,” would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective.

“The more intimate one becomes with this activity,” Prouty wrote, “The more one begins to realize that such operations are rarely, if ever, initiated from an intent to become involved in pursuit of some national objective in the first place.”

The U.S. justifies the deployment of 6,000 U.S. special forces and military trainers to 53 of the 54 countries in Africa as a response to terrorism. But the U.N.’s Journey to Extremism in Africa study makes it clear that the U.S. militarization of Africa is in fact the “tipping point” that is driving Africans across the continent to join armed resistance groups in the first place.

This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale.

Taking on China

What seems to really be driving the CIA’s militarization of U.S. policy in Africa is China’s growing influence on the continent. As Steve Bannon put it in an interview with the Economist in August, “Let’s go screw up One Belt One Road.”

Then-Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business.”

China is too powerful and armed with nuclear weapons. So, in this case, the CIA’s job would be to spread violence and chaos to disrupt Chinese trade and investment, and to make African governments increasingly dependent on U.S. military aid to fight the militant groups spawned and endlessly regenerated by U.S.-led “counterterrorism” operations.

Neither Ledeen nor Bannon pretend that such policies are designed to build more prosperous or viable societies in the Middle East or Africa, let alone to benefit their people. They both know very well what Richard Barnet already understood 45 years ago, that America’s unprecedented investment in weapons, war and CIA covert operations are only good for one thing: to kill people and destroy infrastructure, reducing cities to rubble, societies to chaos and the desperate survivors to poverty and displacement.

As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world’s wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others.

But if that is the only “significant national objective” driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike.

Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty’s analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA’s role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy.

The Three Scapegoats

In Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he named North Korea, Iran and Venezuela as his prime targets for destabilization, economic warfare and, ultimately, the overthrow of their governments, whether by coup d’etat or the mass destruction of their civilian population and infrastructure. But Trump’s choice of scapegoats for America’s failures was obviously not based on a rational reassessment of foreign policy priorities by the new administration. It was only a tired rehashing of the CIA’s unfinished business with two-thirds of Bush’s “axis of evil” and Bush White House official Elliott Abrams’ failed 2002 coup in Caracas, now laced with explicit and illegal threats of aggression.

President Trump speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 19, 2017. (Screenshot from

How Trump and the CIA plan to sacrifice their three scapegoats for America’s failures remains to be seen. This is not 2001, when the world stood silent at the U.S. bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It is more like 2003, when the U.S. destruction of Iraq split the Atlantic alliance and alienated most of the world. It is certainly not 2011, after Obama’s global charm offensive had rebuilt U.S. alliances and provided cover for French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Arab royals to destroy Libya, once ranked by the U.N. as the most developed country in Africa, now mired in intractable chaos.

In 2017, a U.S. attack on any one of Trump’s scapegoats would isolate the United States from many of its allies and undermine its standing in the world in far-reaching ways that might be more permanent and harder to repair than the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to “make the economy scream” in preparation for the 1973 coup. But the solid victory of Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party in recent nationwide gubernatorial elections, despite a long and deep economic crisis, reveals little public support for the CIA’s puppets in Venezuela.

The CIA has successfully discredited the Venezuelan government through economic warfare, increasingly violent right-wing street protests and a global propaganda campaign. But the CIA has stupidly hitched its wagon to an extreme right-wing, upper-class opposition that has no credibility with most of the Venezuelan public, who still turn out for the Socialists at the polls. A CIA coup or U.S. military intervention would meet fierce public resistance and damage U.S. relations all over Latin America.

Boxing In North Korea

A U.S. aerial bombardment or “preemptive strike” on North Korea could quickly escalate into a war between the U.S. and China, which has reiterated its commitment to North Korea’s defense if North Korea is attacked. We do not know exactly what was in the U.S. war plan discovered by North Korea, so neither can we know how North Korea and China could respond if the U.S. pressed ahead with it.

North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.

Most analysts have long concluded that any U.S. attack on North Korea would be met with a North Korean artillery and missile barrage that would inflict unacceptable civilian casualties on Seoul, a metropolitan area of 26 million people, three times the population of New York City. Seoul is only 35 miles from the frontier with North Korea, placing it within range of a huge array of North Korean weapons. What was already a no-win calculus is now compounded by the possibility that North Korea could respond with nuclear weapons, turning any prospect of a U.S. attack into an even worse nightmare.

U.S. mismanagement of its relations with North Korea should be an object lesson for its relations with Iran, graphically demonstrating the advantages of diplomacy, talks and agreements over threats of war. Under the Agreed Framework signed in 1994, North Korea stopped work on two much larger nuclear reactors than the small experimental one operating at Yongbyong since 1986, which only produces 6 kg of plutonium per year, enough for one nuclear bomb.

The lesson of Bush’s Iraq invasion in 2003 after Saddam Hussein had complied with demands that he destroy Iraq’s stockpiles of chemical weapons and shut down a nascent nuclear program was not lost on North Korea. Not only did the invasion lay waste to large sections of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of dead but Hussein himself was hunted down and condemned to death by hanging.

Still, after North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, even its small experimental reactor was shut down as a result of the “Six Party Talks” in 2007, all the fuel rods were removed and placed under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the cooling tower of the reactor was demolished in 2008.

But then, as relations deteriorated, North Korea conducted a second nuclear weapon test and again began reprocessing spent fuel rods to recover plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

North Korea has now conducted six nuclear weapons tests. The explosions in the first five tests increased gradually up to 15-25 kilotons, about the yield of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but estimates for the yield of the 2017 test range from 110 to 250 kilotons, comparable to a small hydrogen bomb.

The even greater danger in a new war in Korea is that the U.S. could unleash part of its arsenal of 4,000 more powerful weapons (100 to 1,200 kilotons), which could kill millions of people and devastate and poison the region, or even the world, for years to come.

The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction.

China has proposed a reasonable framework for diplomacy to address the concerns of both sides, but the U.S. insists on maintaining its propaganda narratives that all the fault lies with North Korea and that it has some kind of “military solution” to the crisis.

This may be the most dangerous idea we have heard from U.S. policymakers since the end of the Cold War, but it is the logical culmination of a systematic normalization of deviant and illegal U.S. war-making that has already cost millions of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in Century of War in 1994, “options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles.”

Demonizing Iran

The idea that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program is seriously contested by the IAEA, which has examined every allegation presented by the CIA and other Western “intelligence” agencies as well as Israel. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed many details of this wild goose chase in his 2011 memoir, Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

When the CIA and its partners reluctantly acknowledged the IAEA’s conclusions in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ElBaradei issued a press release confirming that, “the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.”

Since 2007, the IAEA has resolved all its outstanding concerns with Iran. It has verified that dual-use technologies that Iran imported before 2003 were in fact used for other purposes, and it has exposed the mysterious “laptop documents” that appeared to show Iranian plans for a nuclear weapon as forgeries. Gareth Porter thoroughly explored all these questions and allegations and the history of mistrust that fueled them in his 2014 book, Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, which I highly recommend.

But, in the parallel Bizarro world of U.S. politics, hopelessly poisoned by the CIA’s endless disinformation campaigns, Hillary Clinton could repeatedly take false credit for disarming Iran during her presidential campaign, and neither Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump nor any corporate media interviewer dared to challenge her claims.

“When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb,” Clinton fantasized in a prominent foreign policy speech on June 2, 2016, claiming that her brutal sanctions policy “brought Iran to the table.”

In fact, as Trita Parsi documented in his 2012 book, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy With Iran, the Iranians were ready, not just to “come to the table,” but to sign a comprehensive agreement based on a U.S. proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010. But, in a classic case of “tail wags dog,” the U.S. then rejected its own proposal because it would have undercut support for tighter sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. In other words, Clinton’s sanctions policy did not “bring Iran to the table”, but prevented the U.S. from coming to the table itself.

As a senior State Department official told Trita Parsi, the real problem with U.S. diplomacy with Iran when Clinton was at the State Department was that the U.S. would not take “Yes” for an answer. Trump’s ham-fisted decertification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA is right out of Clinton’s playbook, and it demonstrates that the CIA is still determined to use Iran as a scapegoat for America’s failures in the Middle East.

The spurious claim that Iran is the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism is another CIA canard reinforced by endless repetition. It is true that Iran supports and supplies weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both listed as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. But they are mainly defensive resistance groups that defend Lebanon and Gaza respectively against invasions and attacks by Israel.

Shifting attention away from Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other groups that actually commit terrorist crimes around the world might just seem like a case of the CIA “taking its eyes off the ball,” if it wasn’t so transparently timed to frame Iran with new accusations now that the manufactured crisis of the nuclear scare has run its course.

What the Future Holds

Barack Obama’s most consequential international achievement may have been the triumph of symbolism over substance behind which he expanded and escalated the so-called “war on terror,” with a vast expansion of covert operations and proxy wars that eventually triggered the heaviest U.S. aerial bombardments since Vietnam in Iraq and Syria.

President Barack Obama uncomfortably accepting the Nobel Peace Prize from Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009. (White House photo)

Obama’s charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budget of any president since World War Two.

But Obama’s expansion of the “war on terror” under cover of his deceptive global public relations campaign created many more problems than it solved, and Trump and his advisers are woefully ill-equipped to solve any of them. Trump’s expressed desire to place America first and to resist foreign entanglements is hopelessly at odds with his aggressive, bullying approach to every foreign policy problem.

If the U.S. could threaten and fight its way to a resolution of any of its international problems, it would have done so already. That is exactly what it has been trying to do since the 1990s, behind both the swagger and bluster of Bush and Trump and the deceptive charm of Clinton and Obama: a “good cop – bad cop” routine that should no longer fool anyone anywhere.

But as Lyndon Johnson found as he waded deeper and deeper into the Big Muddy in Vietnam, lying to the public about unwinnable wars does not make them any more winnable. It just gets more people killed and makes it harder and harder to ever tell the public the truth.

In unwinnable wars based on lies, the “credibility” problem only gets more complicated, as new lies require new scapegoats and convoluted narratives to explain away graveyards filled by old lies. Obama’s cynical global charm offensive bought the “war on terror” another eight years, but that only allowed the CIA to drag the U.S. into more trouble and spread its chaos to more places around the world.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is winning hearts and minds in capitals around the world by calling for a recommitment to the rule of international law, which prohibits the threat or use of military force except in self-defense. Every new U.S. threat or act of aggression will only make Putin’s case more persuasive, not least to important U.S. allies like South Korea, Germany and other members of the European Union, whose complicity in U.S. aggression has until now helped to give it a false veneer of political legitimacy.

Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler’s Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction.

Americans had better hope that we are not so exceptional, and that the world will find a diplomatic rather than a military “solution” to its American problem. Our chances of survival would improve a great deal if American officials and politicians would finally start to act like something other than putty in the hands of the CIA.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

israelis attack Britons on Balfour apology mission


Press TV – October 30, 2017

Israeli forces and settlers have attacked British activists who walked from the UK to Jerusalem al-Quds in solidarity with the Palestinian nation on the centennial anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

The 60 British activists arrived in Palestine after they walked for more than 135 days from the UK to apologize for the 1917 declaration by Arthur James Balfour that paved the way for the creation of Israel.

The delegation was welcomed by Palestinian officials and activists on Sunday, but Israeli forces and settlers attacked the group in the city of al-Khalil (Hebron), banning them from continuing the tour.

The deputy governor of al-Khalil, Nidal al-Ja’bari, was attacked during the confrontation while Mahdi Mor’eb, the al-Khalil governor’s adviser, was detained for several hours “at the request of the settlers,” the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

The British activists’ condemnation of Balfour Declaration comes while the UK government is refusing to apologize for its role in establishing the Israeli regime.

Britain’s insistence on celebrating the document has drawn criticism from Palestine, which has repeatedly called on the UK government to apologize for its role in the establishment of Israel.

Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said during an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen network on Thursday that Palestine was planning to take legal action against the UK for triggering a chain reaction that led to the displacement of millions of Palestinians.

Abbas had earlier threatened the UK with a lawsuit in case it refused to call off celebratory events linked with the Balfour declaration.

There is consensus that Israel has been in violation of a key caveat of the declaration, which states that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.”

Balfour Declaration: how Britain broke its feeble promise to Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook | The National | October 29, 2017

A century after its creation, the Balfour Declaration delivered only heartbreak to Palestinians, writes Jonathan Cook

Britain’s foreign secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter on November 2, 1917 to Lord Rothschild setting forth Britain's support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Photo12 / UIG via Getty ImagesBritain’s foreign secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter on November 2, 1917 to Lord Rothschild setting forth Britain’s support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Photo12 / UIG via Getty Images

There is more than a little irony in Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to attend a “celebration” dinner this week in London with his British counterpart, Theresa May, marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

Palestinian objections to the 1917 document are well-known. Britain’s Lord Balfour had no right to promise a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, on the land of another people.

But Israelis have been taught a different history in which they, not the Palestinians, were betrayed.

In 1939, Britain appeared to revoke its pledge, stating “unequivocally” that it would not establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Limits on Jewish immigration were imposed, at a time when Europe’s Jews were fleeing the Nazi Holocaust.

It was for this reason that nearly a quarter of a century ago, in his book A Place Among the Nations, Mr Netanyahu accused Britain of perfidy.

One can understand the reluctance of Israelis today to concede the pivotal help provided by Britain. The Balfour Declaration is an embarrassing reminder that a Jewish state was the fruit of a transparently colonial project.

In fact, Britain assisted the Zionists as best it could, given the need to weigh its imperial interests. Restrictions on immigration were introduced under the severe strain of a three-year armed uprising by Palestinians, hoping to prevent their country being given away.

Historian Rashid Khalidi has noted that the Palestinian revolt of the late 1930s included possibly the longest-ever anti-colonial general strike. It posed such a threat that Britain committed thousands of extra soldiers to repress the insurgency, even as war loomed in Europe.

By the time Britain departed Palestine in 1948, it had overseen three decades in which the Zionists developed the institutions of statehood: a government-in-waiting, the Jewish Agency; a proto-army in the Haganah; and a land and settlement division known as the Jewish National Fund.

By contrast, any signs of Palestinian nationalism, let alone nation-building, were ruthlessly crushed. By the end of the Arab revolt, less than a decade before the Palestinians would face a Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing, Palestinian society lay in ruins.

Israel learnt two lessons from Britain that guided its subsequent struggle to quash Palestinian attempts at liberation.

First, Israel continued the draconian measures of British colonial rule. In the early 1950s, Menachem Begin, leader of the pre-state Irgun militia and a future Israeli prime minister, had famously called Britain’s emergency regulations “Nazi laws”.

Nonetheless, they were incorporated into the military orders Israel uses against Palestinians under occupation. Significantly, the regulations are also still in force inside Israel against the country’s large minority of Palestinian citizens, one in five of the population. Israel has yet to end its seven-decade state of emergency.

The other lesson derives from the wording of the Balfour Declaration. It referred to the native Palestinians – then 90 per cent of Palestine’s inhabitants – as “existing non-Jewish communities”. It promised only to protect their “civil and religious rights”, denying them recognition as a nation deserving of political and social rights.

Israel followed suit. Palestinians in Israel were characterised as “the minorities”, or generic “Israeli Arabs”, rather than Palestinians. Israel’s perverse nationality laws assign them largely religious classifications as Druze, Arameans (Christians) and Arabs (increasingly synonymous with Muslims).

In occupied East Jersualem, Palestinians are denied all national and institutional representation. And in the West Bank, the powers of the Palestinian Authority – supposedly the Palestinians’ fledgling government – extend no further than acting as a security contractor for Israel and carrying out municipal services like garbage collection. In practice, the PA’s severely circumscribed authority is confined to a tiny fraction of the West Bank.

As a result, the Palestinians’ national ambitions have shrunk precipituously: from Yasser Arafat’s struggle for one secular democratic state in all Palestine, to today’s enclaves in Gaza and slivers of the West Bank.

Israel has consistently rejected for Palestinians the very self-determination it once demanded from the British.

Mr Netanyahu’s government is preparing this week to nullify any lingering hopes of Palestinian statehood with the most significant move towards annexation of Palestinian territory in 40 years, when Jerusalem was annexed. The plan is to greatly expand Jerusalem’s boundaries to include large Jewish settlements in the West Bank like Maale Adumim.

In addition, Mr Netanyahu has reportedly promised $230 million to build five highways in the West Bank, aiding movement between Israel and the settlements.

Is there an opposition? Avi Gabbay, new leader of the centre-left Zionist Union, sounds no different from the far-right. This month he stated: “I believe all of the Land of Israel [historic Palestine] is ours.” No West Bank settlement would be evacuated, even for the sake of peace, he added.

Britain fulfilled its promise to the Zionists in full, but broke even its feeble commitment to the Palestinians to protect their civil and religious rights. An apology from Britain is long overdue, as are efforts to repair the damage it initiated 100 years ago.

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