Category Archives: Governments

Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story, by John Pilger

Sweden for many years used baseless rape charges to get Julian Assange. From John Pilger at lewrockwell.com:

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”.

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along”.

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Perhaps this was understandable. WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians and the contempt for sovereignty and international law.

These disclosures are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistle blowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”.

In 2012, the Obama campaign boasted on its website that Obama had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had publicly pronounced her guilty.

Few serious observers doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, he is on a “Manhunt target list”. Threats of his kidnapping and assassination became almost political and media currency in the US following then Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist”.

To continue reading: Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story

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America Has Become a Total Joke, by Michael Krieger

The below picture of Trump with his hands on the orb of oleaginous homage honoring ostentatous oil oligarchs is worth a million words and a billion laughs. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

I’ve stopped calling what our government has done a cover-up. Cover-up suggests a passive activity. What they’re doing now I call aggressive deception.

– Former Senator Bob Graham, co-chair of Congress’s 9/11 Joint Inquiry

This country is becoming a total joke and it’s not merely because of Donald Trump. While he’s certainly becoming a key player in our national embarrassment, this country’s decent into a reckless Banana Republic has been a long time coming.

Let’s take stock of where things stand in mid-2017. Our opposition Democratic Party (Hillary in a leather jacket yelling about Russia) is a joke. Our corporate media is a joke. Our foreign policy is a joke. Our economy is a joke. Our justice system is a joke. It’s all a joke, and it might even be somewhat humorous if it wasn’t so incredibly dangerous.

Today’s post will focus on Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, a revolting spectacle which I could barely bring myself to follow. It all started Saturday morning as I tried to enjoy a beautiful day with my growing family and parents who were in town for a visit. My day was more or less ruined upon witnessing the appalling scene of Trump and his top advisors dancing with the rulers of the terrorist sponsoring state of Saudi Arabia while clutching swords. I’m sorry for doing this to you, but in case you missed it.

Then there was the speech. It was an inspiring display of soaring oratory if empty platitudes and belligerent neocon foreign policy is your thing. On various occasions Mr. Trump alluded to the fact that the U.S.-Saudi alliance was a “partnership based on shared interests and values.” Which got me thinking…which of the following was he referring to exactly.

 

Or perhaps it’s just a partnership based on oil and imperial ambitions. Nah, don’t be a conspiracy theorist.

To continue reading: America Has Become a Total Joke

Donald of Arabia: A Disgusting Spectacle, by Justin Raimondo

It‘s hard to argue with Justin Raimondo on this one. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

This is the worst yet

Has there been a more disgusting spectacle during the four months of this presidency than the sight of Donald Trump slobbering all over the barbarous Saudi monarch and his murderous family of petty princelings? It’s enough to make any normal American retch, especially when one remembers what Trump said about them during the election:

“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

And then there was this tweet:

“Tell Saudi Arabia and others that we want (demand!) free oil for the next ten years or we will not protect their private Boeing 747s. Pay up!”

Now Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, is calling up Lockheed-Martin to get a discount for the Saudis, personally brokering the biggest arms deal in US history. What a difference a presidency makes!

The old Trump told us that the Saudis were “mouth pieces, bullies, cowards,” who were “paying ISIS,” but now they’re our partners in the “war on terrorism.” Why it seems like only yesterday that he was calling out Saudi princes like Alwaleed bin Talal for thinking they can “control our US politicians” – today he’s kowtowing to them.

Most tellingly, it was Trump who made a campaign issue out of the missing 28 pages redacted from the Joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In calling for their release, he painted a scenario in which the Saudi royals assisted the hijackers and said:

“You know, it’s sort of nice to know who your friends are, and perhaps who your enemies are.”

Does Trump know who are our friends and who are our enemies?

While the US government, under both Trump and Obama, has routinely maintained that Iran is the biggest exporter of terrorism, that is utter nonsense: the Saudis easily outdo the mullahs of Tehran. Riyadh funds radical madrassas throughout the world that preach pure hatred of the West: they are incubators of terrorism, and have been wreaking havoc from one end of the globe to the other for decades. The terrorist groups that have destroyed Syria are the progeny of the Saudis, and their allies among the Gulf states.

To continue reading: Donald of Arabia: A Disgusting Spectacle

World Leaders Gather in Beijing While the US Sinks into Irrelevancy, by Wayne Madsen

“Mind your own business” used to be a classic American admonition. Now the US minds everyone else’s business, while most everyone else tries to mind their own. From Wayne Madsen at strategic-culture.org:

While vaudevillian comedy-like shouting matches broke out in the West Wing of the White House between President Donald Trump and his senior advisers and between the White House press secretary and various presidential aides, world leaders gathered in Beijing to discuss the creation of modern-day land and maritime «silk roads» to improve the economic conditions of nations around the world. Nothing more could have illustrated the massive divide between the concerns of many of the nations of the world and those of the United States, which is rapidly descending into second-rate power status, along with its NATO allies Britain, France, and Germany.

While Mr. Trump was threatening to fire his senior White House staff, reprising his one-time role in his reality television show «The Apprentice», China’s President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and presidents and prime ministers from around the world sat down to discuss the creation of new international and intercontinental highways, railways, and maritime routes under China’s proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Even countries that are cool on the Chinese initiative, including India and Japan, sent representatives to the summit that carried a bit more clout than the pathetic representation of the United States, Matt Pottinger, a little-known special assistant to Trump and the senior director for East Asia of National Security Council. In fact, the only reason Trump sent anyone to represent the United States at the Beijing gathering was because of a special request made by President Xi during his recent meeting with Trump at the president’s private Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

South Korea, which saw relations with China sour over America’s placement of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea, sent a delegation to Beijing after a phone call between South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, and President Xi. Moon responded to the phone call by sending a delegation led by his Democratic Party’s veteran legislator to Beijing.

To continue reading: World Leaders Gather in Beijing While the US Sinks into Irrelevancy

 

Media to Trump: Don’t Cozy Up to Dictators–Unless They’re the Right Dictators, by Adam Johnson

The US has a long and inglorious history of supporting dictators that toe the US line and opposing those who don’t. President Trump continues the tradition. From Adam Johnson at fair.org:

After a series of friendly gestures by President Donald Trump toward Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi over the past few months, US media have recoiled with disgust at the open embrace of governments that ostensibly had heretofore been beyond the pale.

“Enabling Egypt’s President Sisi, an Enemy of Human Rights,” was the New York Times‘ editorial position (4/4/17)—followed by “Donald Trump Embraces Another Despot” (5/1/17). A week later, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) lectured Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the Times op-ed page (5/8/17) on “Why We Must Support Human Rights.”

“How Trump Makes Dictators Stronger” was Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum’s lament (5/1/17).

“Trump keeps praising international strongmen, alarming human rights advocates,” reported an upset Philip Rucker (Washington Post, 5/2/17). Post contributor Tom Toles (5/2/17) added, “Trump invites ruthless dictators to the White House.” Trump had gone too far, was the media message, crossing a line with his enthusiastic outreach to brutal tyrants.

So the Trump administration’s announcement of a plan for not just a friendly visit to Saudi Arabia—scheduled for May 20–21—but also the sale of up to $300 billion in weapons to the oppressive regime, must have provoked the same outcry from these critics, right?

Actually, no. Thus far, the LA Times, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBShaven’t reported on Trump’s massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia, much less had a pundit or editorial board condemn it.

Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen has killed at least 10,000 civilians, resulted in near-famine conditions for 7 million people and led to a deadly cholera epidemic—all made possible with US weapons and logistical support.

John McCain, whose New York Times op-ed was unironically shared by dozens of high-status pundits, aggressively backs Saudi Arabia’s brutal bombing of Yemen, and has called for increased military support to the absolute monarchy.

To continue reading: Media to Trump: Don’t Cozy Up to Dictators–Unless They’re the Right Dictators

The Fallacy of Demonizing Russia, by Natylie Baldwin

Americans have never had to live through the kind of hell Russians endured in World War II. That is perhaps why Americans so often seem utterly clueless about Russia and the Russians. From Natylie Baldwin at consortiumnews.com:

Today’s demonization of Russia is especially offensive when viewed against the suffering of the Russian people that Natylie Baldwin recalled in a visit to the monument honoring the defense of Leningrad against a brutal Nazi siege.

We entered the monument to the siege of Leningrad from the back. There is a large semi-circle with eternal flame torches at intervals and embedded sculptures of Lenin’s face, and other symbols of the Soviet era. The monument was built in the post-war period so the Soviet iconography is understandable. In the middle is a sculpture of a soldier, a half-naked woman looking forlorn into the distance, and another woman collapsed on the ground with a dead boy in her arms.

There are several concentric steps that follow the semi-circle and I sat down on one of them and took in the feel of the area. Classical style music played in the background with a woman’s haunting voice singing in Russian. It was explained to me that it was a semi-circle instead of a full-circle to represent the fact the city was not completely surrounded and ultimately not defeated.

I finally got up and went through the opening in the semi-circle and came out to the front where a tall column with 1941 and 1945 on it stood with a large statue of two soldiers in front of it.

There are several statues on either side of the front part of the monument of figures, from soldiers to civilians, who labored to assist in alleviating the suffering of the siege and defending the city. Soldiers and civilians helped to put out fires, retrieve un-exploded ordnance from buildings, repair damage, and built the road of life over a frozen body of water to evacuate civilians and transport supplies.

The siege lasted 872 days (Sept. 8, 1941, to Jan. 27, 1944), resulting in an estimated 1.2 million deaths, mostly from starvation and freezing, and some from bombing and illness. Most were buried in mass graves, the largest of which was Piskarevskoye Cemetery, which received around 500,000 bodies. An accurate accounting of deaths is complicated by the fact that many unregistered refugees had fled to Leningrad before the siege to escape the advancing Nazi army.

To continue reading: The Fallacy of Demonizing Russia

 

Why is Trump rewarding Saudi war crimes with more weapons? by Kristine Beckerle

The US is helping Saudi Arabia fight a war against its much neighbor, Yemen, that may amount to genocide. From Kristine Beckerle at thehill.com:

Why is Trump rewarding Saudi war crimes with more weapons?
© Getty Images

Last October, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition bombed a funeral hall in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, killing and wounding hundreds of people.

“The scene was catastrophic,” one survivor told me.  “Beyond what I can explain to you or describe … There were burned bodies and dead bodies all over the hall.”

Soon after that unlawful bombing, the Obama administration suspended the sale of nearly $400 million in weapons to Saudi Arabia.

It was a recognition, a long time in coming, that the coalition’s military campaign in Yemen had devastated the country, killed thousands of civilians and brought it to the brink of famine.

After the funeral bombing, unlawful airstrikes continued, but the decision to suspend arms sales sent an important message to the Saudis. President Trump, in his first trip abroad as president, is going to send an alternative, deeply troublesome message.

While in Riyadh this weekend, Trumpreportedly plans to announce more than $100 billion in arms deals to Saudi Arabia — nearly as much as President Obama authorized during his eight years in office.

The deals include Raytheon bombs, Lockheed Martin missile defense systems and BAE combat vehicles, and some of the weapons whose sales had been suspended.

The scars of unlawful airstrikes can be found across Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition has carried out scores of attacks that hit homes, schools, markets, and hospitals since March 2015, when it began its military campaign against the Houthi armed group and forces loyal to the former longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh. 

Human Rights Watch has documented 81 apparently unlawful coalition attacks over the last two years, many possible war crimes. In almost two dozen of these cases, including the attack on the funeral hall, we were able to identify the US weapons that were used.

To continue reading: Why is Trump rewarding Saudi war crimes with more weapons?