Exclusive: President Obama is endangering his legacy by letting neoconservatives still set his foreign policy, including the creation of a new and costly Cold War with Russia that could have been easily avoided and that now risks spinning off into a nuclear showdown, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Whatever positive legacy that President Barack Obama might point to the first African-American president, the Affordable Care Act, the changed social attitudes on gay rights, etc. his ultimate legacy may be defined more by his reckless stewardship guiding the United States into a wholly unnecessary new Cold War.
The costs of this Cold War II will be vast, emptying out what’s left of the U.S. Treasury in a new arms race against Russia, assuming that the new East-West showdown doesn’t precipitate a nuclear war that could end all life on the planet. Already, the United States military has altered its national security policies to treat Russia as the principal foreign threat.
“If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,” said General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., at Senate hearings on his nomination to be the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “And if you look at their [the Russians’] behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”
Dunford also recommended shipping U.S. weapons to the post-coup regime in Ukraine so it can better prosecute its war against ethnic Russian rebels in the east who have resisted the overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych and have been deemed “terrorists” by the U.S.-backed government in Kiev.
“Frankly,” Dunford said on Thursday, “without that kind of support, they [the new powers-that-be in Ukraine] are not going to be able to defend themselves against Russian aggression.”
Which may prove that no one in Official Washington grasps the concept of irony any more. While Dunford sticks to the propaganda line about “Russian aggression” and the Kiev regime wages its “anti-terror operation” against the ethnic Russians in the east, we now know that Kiev has dispatched a military force spearheaded by neo-Nazis, who are eager to ethnically cleanse those ethnic Russians from Ukraine, and Islamic jihadists with links to Islamic State terrorists.
So, if you want to talk about “aggression” and “terrorism,” you might start with the inconvenient truth that the U.S.-beloved government of Ukraine which supposedly “shares our values” is the first European state since World War II to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to kill other Europeans and arguably the first ever to create a combined military force of Nazis and Islamic militants (described as “brothers” of the Islamic State). [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]
Yet, when Russia helps these endangered ethnic Russians, who saw their elected president illegally ousted from office in a coup supported if not sponsored by the United States, that’s “Russian aggression.” And, when the ethnic Russians resist the new order, which has now sent Nazis and jihadists to kill them, it’s the ethnic Russians who are the “terrorists.”
To push the irony even further, while Dunford decried “Russian aggression” in connection with a civil war on Russia’s border, he openly declared that the U.S. military stands ready to bomb Iran — halfway around the world — to destroy its nuclear facilities. Asked if the U.S. military had that ability, Dunford said, “My understanding is that we do, senator.”
An Up-Is-Down World
In the up-is-down world that is now Official Washington, such extraordinary and profoundly dangerous statements draw only nodding approval from all the Important People. In part, that’s because President Obama has allowed so many false narratives to take hold regarding Russia, Iran and other nations that there is a Grimm’s Fairytale quality to it all.
But the most serious false narrative today is the one about “Russian aggression.” Whatever one thinks of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he did not initiate the Ukraine crisis; he reacted to a provocation by neoconservatives in the U.S. government, especially Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who sought a “regime change” on Russia’s border.
And, while there’s plenty of evidence to support the fact that the U.S. intervened in Ukraine, there is no evidence that Putin sought out this crisis or had any designs to recreate the Russian Empire, two key elements of the U.S. propaganda campaign. The truth is that by encouraging and instigating the violent Ukraine coup on Feb. 22, 2014, the Obama administration struck first.
Putin, who had been preoccupied with the Sochi Winter Olympics at the time, was caught off-guard and responded with an emergency national security meeting on Feb. 23 to decide on what steps were needed to protect the Russian strategic interests in Crimea, including the historic naval base at Sevastopol. He was reacting, not instigating.
It may be that President Obama was also surprised by the political crisis in Ukraine, since he also was preoccupied by a variety of other international hot spots, especially in the Middle East. Possibly, he and Secretary of State John Kerry had given too much leeway to Nuland to press for the destabilization of the Yanukovych government.
Nuland, the wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan who famously promoted “regime change” in Iraq as a founder of the Project for the New American Century, pushed the envelope in Ukraine in the cause of achieving her own “regime change.” She even passed out cookies to anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square in fall 2013.
In December 2013, Nuland reminded a group of Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.” Then, in early February 2014, Nuland was caught in a pre-coup phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing which Ukrainian politicians should be elevated in the new government.
“Yats is the guy,” Nuland said, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who indeed would become the post-coup prime minister. Dismissing the less aggressive European Union approach to the crisis, Nuland exclaimed, “Fuck the EU!” and pondered how to “glue this thing.” Pyatt wondered how to “midwife this thing.”
Based on this and other evidence, the reality of what happened in Ukraine was never hard to figure out. It was a coup with President Yanukovych forced to flee for his life on Feb. 22, 2014, and extra-constitutional steps then used to remove him as the nation’s leader. It was reminiscent of similar U.S.-orchestrated coups Iran, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, etc.
But the increasingly unprofessional mainstream U.S. news media had already ditched even a pretense of journalistic objectivity. The media stuck white hats on the coup-makers and black hats on Yanukovych (and his ally Putin). The word “coup” became virtually forbidden in the U.S. news media along with any reference to the neo-Nazis who spearheaded the coup.
Any deviation from this “group think” opened you to charges of “Moscow stooge” or “Putin apologist.” Yet, there were a few people who still spoke frankly. George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, described the overthrow of Yanukovych as “the most blatant coup in history.”
Why the Coup?
The motive for the coup was also not hard to divine. It was to deliver a powerful blow to Russia by forcing Ukraine out of Russia’s economic orbit and thus undermine popular support for Putin, all the better to build toward another “regime change” in Moscow.
The plan was laid out on Sept. 26, 2013, by National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, a major neocon paymaster who distributes more than $100 million a year in U.S. taxpayers’ money to undermine governments disfavored by the U.S. — or in Official Washington speak to engage in “democracy promotion.”
On the op-ed page of the neocon Washington Post, Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward toppling Putin, who “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
It’s also important to remember that in 2013 Putin had offended Washington’s powerful neocons by working with President Obama to avert a U.S. military strike against Syria over the mysterious sarin gas attack on Aug. 21, 2013, and by helping to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program. In both cases, the neocons wanted to bomb those countries to provoke more “regime change.”
So, Putin’s peacemaking made him the new target and especially his cooperation with Obama to reduce international tensions. Ukraine, with its neuralgic sensitivity for Russians as the historic route for bloody invasions, was the perfect wedge to drive between the two leaders.
Obama could have directed the confrontation in a less hostile direction by insisting on a more balanced presentation of the narrative. He could have recognized that the violent right-wing coup in Kiev provoked an understandable desire among the ethnic Russians of Crimea to secede from Ukraine, a sentiment reflected in the 96 percent vote in a referendum. The ethnic Russians in south and east Ukraine also had reason to fear the extreme Ukrainian nationalists in Kiev.
Instead, Obama bowed to the neocon storyline and bought into the rhetoric about a “Russian invasion.” Obama also could have told the American people that there was no credible intelligence suggesting that Putin had aggressive designs on eastern Europe. He could have tamped down the hysteria, but instead he helped fuel the frenzy..
Before long, the full firepower of U.S. propaganda arsenal was blasting away, enflaming a new Cold War. That effort was bolstered by the U.S. government pouring tens of millions of dollars into propaganda outlets, often disguised as “bloggers” or “citizen journalists.” The U.S. Agency for International Development alone estimates its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually.
USAID, working with billionaire George Soros’s Open Society, also funds the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP also collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins.
Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what was clearly the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.
Leveling with Americans
Obama could have neutralized much of this propaganda by revealing details about what U.S. intelligence agencies know about some of these pivotal events, but instead he has withheld any information that undercuts the preferred propaganda theme.
Regarding Ukraine, for instance, Obama could disclose what the U.S. government knows about whether the coup-makers, not Yanukovych, carried out the bloody sniper attack on Feb. 20, 2014, that killed dozens of police and protesters and set the stage for the coup on Feb. 22.
Obama also could release what the U.S. intelligence community knows about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down on July 17, 2014, an incident that killed 298 people and further escalated tensions. In the first five days after the crash, Obama let his administration put out sketchy information implicating the ethnic Russian rebels and the Russian government.
However, as the CIA collected and analyzed more detailed data, the administration shut up. One source briefed on the findings told me that the reticence resulted from the intelligence analysts seeing evidence implicating a “rogue” element of the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, not the rebels. The source said that if Obama let the full story out, the entire Ukraine narrative might collapse.
So, by staying silent on these key questions and preventing the U.S. intelligence community from telling the public what it knows Obama has protected the earlier narratives that put the ethnic Russians and Moscow in the worst possible light. That propaganda has fed the fires of a new Cold War and exacerbated dangerous tensions between the two biggest nuclear powers.
Unless Obama somehow decides to change course and level with the American people, rather than manipulate them he will leave behind a grim legacy of a bloated military-industrial complex and a new Cold War.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
Thats wierd…not a single mention of Crimea…or was that not aggressive enough.
Most Americans are not aware of it, but the first Cold War (1953-1992) was a totally contrived war on the same order as the new cold war being ginned-up by the same US Military Industrial Complex. The truth is that Russia (then or now) has never posed a military threat to this country.
Well it really makes you question whether the US had to use the atomic bombs to begin with! Really it was the dropping of the atomic bombs that started off the Cold War to begin with and created an arms race between the US and the Soviet Union. Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune wrote in August 1945 that the Japanese had actually offered the “exact” same surrender terms in January 1945 by a letter that MacArthur gave to Roosevelt. Something to consider and makes you wonder if we could have avoided a Cold War if the atomic bombs were never used.
Chicago Tribune: “Bare Peace Bid U.S. Rebuffed 7 Months Ago”:
“Washington, D.C., Aug. 18â€™ â€“ Release of censorship restrictions in the United States makes it possible to announce that Japanâ€™s first peace bid was relayed to the White House seven months ago.
Two days before the late President Roosevelt left for the Yalta conference with Prime Minister Churchill and Dictator Stalin, he received a Japanese offer identical with the terms subsequently concluded by his successor, President Truman.
The Jap offer, based on five separate peace overtures, was relayed to the White House by Gen. MacArthur in a 40 page communication. The American commander, who had just returned triumphantly to Bataan, urged negotiations on the basis of the Jap overtures.”
Obama is a born-and-raised neo-con.
Obama was groomed for the job with the understanding that he would appoint the appropriate people and give them the leeway to execute the policies the CIA/neocons wanted.
How could someone with Obama’s thin resume, not even having finished his first term as Senator, get elected president? If you look at his election to the Senate in the first place it smacks of behind the scenes string pulling.
The power elite in this country knew that electing a black would give cover for all sorts of nefarious policies as most people would never believe he was really a neocon in disguise. He’s a more intelligent and thinner Clarence Thomas.
Obama has broken almost every campaign promise he ever made. Robert, stop making excuses for him.
I’ve been reading continuously about Nuland and The National Endowment for Democracy and the neocon dissemination of USA policy and taxpayer funds, yet cannot fathom why these people have this ability to control or destabilize situations. Why are these people able to do this? Is Obama in charge or not and, if not, why not? This is NOT what we the people voted for. Mr. Parry, please give us a simple, direct explanation of how this has happened.
It is simple—Clayton—-you presume that 0bama is competent—–he is a Professor—–you have government/foreign policy by Professor/Community Organizer==disaster
One thing I would say Clayton is that the US actually trained 11 Latin American dictators right within the US at the School of the Americas:
The US then helped install these dictators by overthrowing many democracies throughout Latin America. I think that this formula led to criticism of the US so in the early 1980’s, under Reagan I believe, the US created the National Endowment for Democracy. The US would use its’ NGO’s, including USAID, to fund opposition parties, opposition media, and protesters to force out governments that did not have US economic interests at heart. Mr. John Pilger, an award winning journalist and a contributor to Consortium News, documents this in his documentary “War on Democracy” (I would also suggest checking out John Pilger’s YouTube Channel for some of his other documentaries â€“ they are eye-opening):
You are making an assumption that he has not always been a ‘new’ neo-con.
There are actually now two groups of neo-cons in the US halls of power.
The old ‘Israel First’ ones. The new ‘Russia and China First’ ones.
The ‘old’ naturally want the US to finish up in the ME, smash Syria, go to war with Iran, etc. same old, same old.
The ‘new’ ones want Russia and China to be, at least, contained (ideally economically and physicallyisolated) and see the ME stuff as a distraction from that.
Obama is a true blue ‘new’ neo-con and has shown that at every stage, for example recently humilating Kerry over Russia and very visibly siding with the ‘new’ neo-cons.
So Obama would be very happy with a legacy of an isolated and contained Russia and China. The US military, while fighting against the ‘old’ neo-cons (such as undermining the near attack on Syria) are ‘all the way’ with the ‘new’ neo-cons.
Everyone in the halls of US power are neo-cons now, just that there are two flavours of them. It is debatable which are the most dangerous.
Parry does some really good work and I respect him. But he exhibits a strange unwillingness to hold Obama’s feet to the fire. He ascribes all of these aggressive and militaristic policies to neo-cons who are somehow manipulating the President.
“It may be that President Obama was also surprised by the political crisis in Ukraine, since he also was preoccupied by a variety of other international hot spots, especially in the Middle East. Possibly, he and Secretary of State John Kerry had given too much leeway to Nuland to press for the destabilization of the Yanukovych government.”
What does that mean? That Obama and Kerry were just giving ‘a little bit’ of leeway to Nuland to destabilize the elected government of Ukraine? That makes no sense.
I think its time for Parry to admit that Obama IS a neo-con who has already destroyed one country (Libya), is deeply involved in the destruction of at least two others (Syria and Yemen), and may be preparing for regime change in Iran as well.
And Obama’s attitude towards the Iranian government, which has never threatened the United States, is arrogant, condescending, racist and insulting. Yes I voted for Obama too and I didn’t expect too much. But I didn’t think he would be this bad. Parry should stop making excuses for him.
Not to defend Obama’s actions, but you need to understand that, like every US president since Woodrow Wilson, what his actions are largely determined by the fact that neocons (99.9% of whom are Zionist Jews) have total control over the US Treasury and economy via the foreign-owned Federal Reserve Banking Cartel.
This is a detailed, and yet succinct great piece of journalism that gives the reader an overall thesis on the complicated and myriad foreign policy subject. Thanks for the superb work.
ObamAssassin’s the RENEGING, PNACi DOUBLE åå CROÏŸÏŸER. FOOL!
Obama is a neo con. Mr Parry accept it deal with it. He fooled all the liberals. He is worse than Bush 1 and 2 who never pushed Russia in this way.
Obama employed these people to pursue an anti Russian policy. He undermined Kerry who tried a different approach.
The UK and Canada and Poland and the Baltic’s; all follow the US they have their own anti Russian views
The rest of Europe long term will not adhere to this policy as Russia is too important to them historically and economically.
It remains to be seen what is important to Russia. The US has never figured in any of its plans economically it is all about Germany and China. If Schroeder was in power and not Merkel, we would see a very different scenario in Europe.
Elections and change in Europe will add a new dimension.
Agreed- you are probably right about Schroeder vis Ã vis Russia today. Certainly, he has been a vocal opponent of the current policies and sanctions.
However, one must not forget that as Chancellor he was also part of the US-NATO cabal that dismembered and bombed Yugoslavia into the stone age, or that he instituted a number of harmful neo-liberal economic policies in Germany (see, for example, p.4 para 2, http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/18534/49600_1.pdf?sequence=1) So, while he was cutting social spending and taxes, he was padding the military budget to support an aggressive expansionist war, as part of an NATO agenda to turn the Mediterranean a NATO lake.
Just when you thought the summer sequels couldn’t get any worse, Cold War I I : Rise of the Neos comes out. I thought the original sucked, but this one is full of new characters : the heroic Neos (the neoconservatives, the neoliberals, the neonazis and the neo Islamic militants ) allied against “Russian aggression,. Joining them is an unlikely heroine, neoconservative sorceress Victoria Nuland repeating the incantation ” Yats is the guy, Yats is the guy. “It won’t be easy for the Neos facing off against the personification of evil himself the bare – chested, horse riding Vladimir Putin. If the Neos succeed, I don’t think we’ll have a Part III.
Upsetting the Reset: The Technical Basis of Russian Concern Over NATO Missile Defense
By Yousaf Butt and Theodore Postol
The New START Treaty, which entered into force on February 5, 2011, while modest
in terms of strategic warhead reductions, represented an important accomplishment for
Russia and the United States.
The US-Russia nuclear arms control relationship was placed at risk by US/NATO theater missile defense efforts.
Russian is concerned about the future capability of the US/NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) system to erode Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
Butt and Postol of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) presented a technical assessment that showed how the planned US/NATO system could be geographically
reconfigured to engage Russian (and Chinese) warheads.
The deployment of a highly integrated and layered missile defense system adds real strength to NATOâ€™s conventional capabilities. Russian war planners certainly fear NATOâ€™s overwhelming conventional military strength â€“ following the NATO intervention in Kosovo, it was such fears that led Russia to develop its military doctrine of â€œnuclear de-escalationâ€.
This is where the danger of military conflict between the US and Russia lies. The expansion of NATO to Russian borders provides opportunities for the clash of NATO and Russian troops. That such a conflict could quickly go nuclear is made even more probable by the forward-based nuclear weapons of NATO and standard Russian operating procedures that plan for the preemptive use of their tactical nuclear weapons against overwhelming NATO conventional force.
The deployment of US/NATO European missile defense is hardly a â€œdistractionâ€ to U.S.-Russian relations and it is a mistake to categorize it as such. Analysts who focus solely on the technical capabilities of missile defense, while ignoring the larger picture of missile defense as an integral part of NATO, are missing the forest for the trees. To continue to dismiss Russian concerns on these issues as trivial is a serious political mistake on the part of both the US and its NATO allies.
The Obama administration has reaffirmed and extended the existing US nuclear policy allowing for a first-strike, offensive nuclear war against its enemies.
Just as in the cold war, the current conflict with Russian and China brings with it the prospect of nuclear warfare.
Nuclear Warfare in the â€œNew Cold Warâ€
In its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the US government admitted that it reserves the right to wage a first-strike offensive nuclear war, although it hoped to work toward the goal of one day setting policies to restrict nuclear deployment to defensive situations. The Obama administrationâ€™s 2013 Nuclear Employment Strategy document only reaffirms this:
â€œThe 2010 Nuclear Posture Review established the Administrationâ€™s goal to set conditions that would allow the United States to safely adopt a policy of making deterrence of nuclear attack the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons. Although we cannot adopt such a policy today, the new guidance re-iterates the intention to work towards that goal over time.â€
Increasing the risk is the development and deployment in recent years of a greater number of so-called â€œtactical nuclear weapons,â€ supposedly designed for battlefield use to focus a nuclear attack on a pinpoint target.
The Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations (DJNO) outlines the procedures governing the use of nuclear weapons and the nature of the relationship between nuclear and conventional war operations. It states that â€œuse of nuclear weapons within a [war] theater requires that nuclear and conventional plans be integrated to the greatest extent possibleâ€.
The implications of this â€œintegrationâ€ are far-reaching because once the decision is taken by the Commander in Chief, namely the President of the United States, to launch a joint conventional-nuclear military operation, there is a risk that tactical nuclear weapons could be used without requesting subsequent presidential approval. In this regard, execution procedures under the jurisdiction of the theater commanders pertaining to nuclear weapons are described as â€œflexible and allow for changes in the situationâ€.
While presidential approval is formally required to launch a nuclear war, combat commanders would be in charge of Theater Nuclear Operations (TNO), with a mandate not only to implement but also to formulate command decisions pertaining to nuclear weapons.
We are no longer dealing with â€œthe riskâ€ associated with â€œan accidental or inadvertent nuclear launchâ€ as outlined by former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara , but with a military decision-making process which provides military commanders, from the Commander in Chief down to the geographical commanders with discretionary powers to use tactical nuclear weapons.
Moreover, because these â€œsmallerâ€ tactical nuclear weapons have been â€œreclassifiedâ€ by the Pentagon as â€œsafe for the surrounding civilian populationâ€, thereby â€œminimizing the risk of collateral damageâ€, there are no overriding built-in restrictions which prevent their use.
Once a decision to launch a military operation is taken, theater commanders have a degree of latitude. What this signifies in practice is once the presidential decision is taken, USSTRATCOM in liaison with theater commanders can decide on the targeting and type of weaponry to be used. Stockpiled tactical nuclear weapons are now considered to be an integral part of the battlefield arsenal. In other words, nukes have become â€œpart of the tool boxâ€, used in conventional war theaters.
Abe, what you informed us about here makes the film Dr. Stranglove suddenly appear very dated.
So will you please say hello,
To the folks that I know,
Tell them I won’t be long.
They’ll be happy to know
that as you saw me go
I was singing this song.
From your link:
For example, General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in U.S. Senate testimony claimed that the missile defense system in place in the United States was 90 percent effective: â€œIâ€™d be very comfortable saying 90 percent.</b"
The man is either a professional liar, or a total idiot. IMO the number would more likely be in single digits.
But for the sake of discussion assume the new Phased Adaptive Approach works at 95%. Assuming the Russians and/or Chinese aren't mouth-breathing morons, it's still worthless. Unless a person defines "winning" as witnessing the destruction of most of the Northern Hemisphere. There are just too many ways to defeat this scheme, but they all involve unlimited carnage.
Supposing the US hasn't become actively suicidal, I'll say that this is just a new/improved way to shovel money to the weapons contractors. Call it the "F-35 on steroids".
I agree, Zachary; Gen. James Cartwright’s an idiot. The USSA doesn’t have anything close to a 90% effective missile defense system. The ICBMs within their stationery silos in military bases in the outreaches of civilization in the Midwest and West are aging within these silos and losing their effectiveness on a daily basis; not to say, those silos and the missiles inside them are quite vulnerable to the far newer, more effective ICBMs Russia has deployed in mobile launchers; thus, safe from any missiles the USSA might use. These mobile launchers (rail cars, armored trucks, etc.) and their cargo can be deployed within mountain tunnels and quickly brought out to destroy incoming enemy missiles.
European capital cities would also be vulnerable to Russian missiles, should the USSA leadership completely lose its sanity and launch its aggression against Russia. Gen. Cartwright and all other military officers, as well as those they lead must realize that they took an Oath to Uphold and Defend the Constitution, not a single leader (Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and Kim Jung-Un, for example). In other words, they have a DUTY to disobey any unlawful order. The excuse of “I was simply following orders” no longer passes muster.
Okay, this is the part where I say, ‘I’ll be the first to buy the Former President Barrack Obama’s tell all book when it comes out’. There, I said it. Seriously, this is the best I can do. Yeah, I voted for hope and change. Yeah, I became leery when Doris Kurns Goodwin popped up on those Sunday morning talk shows all bubbly about her screwy book (thank god I finally forgot the title of the book she wrote). I honestly became afraid of allowing him to negotiate anything. If you recall he always started negotiating by giving away the store…remember that? Although, he always came off likable, and darn if he wasn’t just so entertaining at times. Only, thing that brought that down was ‘Tuesday Kill Day’ when he decided who was going to get hit with a drone attack this week. You know kill those terrorists guys, and possibly a family or two. Come on now, this is about bringing ‘Freedon & Liberty’ to these unexceptional people. President Obama is no where to be found as a signee to the ‘Project for a New American Century’, but he sure did follow their plan to the tee. It is likely he has dragged his feet on Syria, and Ukraine, but he sure as heck hasn’t been able to put his foot down to stop this mad ride.
I truly do like him for some reason, but I do believe in the end he will be judged as more of the problem, as opposed to the ‘Yes We Can’ man we all voted for.
Looking back to the phrase “yes we can”, it seems now like it was a coded reference and the neocon mantra that came into being as they began implementing Israel’s PNAC plan’s for world take over and domination.
In perfect Orwellian style the catchy little phrase and Obama’s ability to disguise his true intentions ultimately disappointed many while being the death of Americans and many others around the world..
Whether he lost his nerve, or sold out, or conned us all from the very beginning, we may never know the truth. The only way I would believe Obama now would be if he would turn states evidence against himself and the guilty among the Washington elites — including government officials, lobbyists, curript banking interests and corporate fascists in general, along with the entire mass media “news propaganda” machine.
That could be the beginning of what would likely be the world’s most beneficial regime change of all time, and which should have began on some level when Omama first took the oath as president.
Mark, I have come to believe it just doesn’t matter any more. Whether you were fooled by a 1999 George W. Bush pushing some vague idea about him being a compassionate conservative, or an agenda changing Barrach Obama, it just makes no difference. That’s why for whatever happens once these hopefuls enter the Oval Office they change their actions to not match their tune. In a strange sort of way I had developed an theory that if someone such as Ron Paul were to become president, it would be an interesting thing to see if he (or someone like Paul) were to be able and stay the course. If Obama were to leave office, and manage to pull the curtain back enough in order for a real change to occur, that would be great. Although, if you find yourself waiting a long time at the gate, well it be wise to cancel your flight and just stay home.
The problem is that “we” could have but did absolutely nothing.
Blogger Eliot Higgins is a deception operative.
Higgins and Bellingcat are at the center of a US/NATO Propaganda 3.0 disinformation campaign.
HIGGINS MANUFACTURES WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST SYRIA
In March 2012, using the pseudonym â€œBrown Moses,â€ British citizen Higgins purportedly began â€œinvestigativeâ€ blogging on the armed conflict taking place in Syria, claiming this to be a â€œhobbyâ€ in his â€œspare timeâ€.
A mainstream media darling, Higgins â€œarm chair analyticsâ€ have been promoted by the UK Guardian and New York Times, as well as corporate sponsors like Google.
In addition to social media, Higgins uses Google Earth and satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to manufacture his “investigation reports. Both Google and DigitalGlobe have deep ties to US defense and intelligence.
Higginsâ€™ â€œanalysesâ€ of Syrian weapons were frequently cited by MSM and online media, human rights groups, and Western governments seeking “regime change” in Syria.
Higginsâ€™ accusations that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack were proven false, but almost led to war.
Richard Lloyd and Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology observed that â€œalthough he has been widely quoted as an expert in the American mainstream media, [he] has changed his facts every time new technical information has challenged his conclusion that the Syrian government must have been responsible for the sarin attack. In addition, the claims that Higgins makes that are correct are all derived from our findings, which have been transmitted to him in numerous exchanges.â€
Despite the fact that Higginsâ€™ accusations have repeatedly been disproven, he continues to be frequently cited, often without proper source attribution, by media, organizations and governments.
HIGGINS MANUFACTURES WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST RUSSIA
On July 15, 2014, the day of the airstrike on the separatist-held town of Snizhne in eastern Ukraine, and three days before the MH-17 crash, Higgins launched the Bellingcat website. Vice News, Rupert Murdochâ€™s 70 million dollar Gen Y-targeted media channel, crowed about how â€œCitizen Journalists Are Banding Together to Fact-Check Online Newsâ€.
The Atlantic Council, a “regime change” think tank, recently released a report titled, â€œHiding In Plain Sight: Putinâ€™s War in Ukraineâ€.
A key author of the Atlantic Council report, Higgins is listed as a Visiting Research Associate at the Department of War Studies at the Kingâ€™s College in London, UK.
On page 1 of the report, the Atlantic Council praises â€œthe ingenuity of our key partner in this endeavor, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat. The information documented in this report draws on open source data using innovative socialmedia forensics and geolocationâ€.
The Atlantic Council claim that â€œRussia is at war with Ukraineâ€ and is summarized in the following key statement on page 8 of the report:
â€œSeparatist forces have been relying on a steady flow of Russian supplies, including heavy weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system (NATO designator SA-11/17) that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. 26â€³
The Atlantic Councilâ€™s claim that Russia supplied a Buk missile that shot down MH-17 has a single footnote. Footnote 26 directs the reader to the Bellingcat website and a pdf report by Higgins titled â€œMH-17: Source of the Separatistâ€™s Bukâ€.
On page 3 of the November 2014 Bellingcat report, Higgins claims:
â€œIt is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne on a transporter. The Buk missile launcher was unloaded in Snizhne approximately three hours before the downing of MH17 and was later filmed minus one missile driving through separatist-controlled Luhansk.
â€œThe Bellingcat MH17 investigation team also believes the same Buk was part of a convoy travelling from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to near the Ukrainian border as part of a training exercise between June 22nd and July 25th, with elements of the convoy separating from the main convoy at some point during that period, including the Buk missile launcher filmed in Ukraine on July 17th. There is strong evidence indicating that the Russian military provided separatists in eastern Ukraine with the Buk missile launcher filmed and photographed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th.â€
Higginsâ€™ November 2014 claim of â€œundeniable evidenceâ€ has become the Atlantic Councilâ€™s May 2015 claim that â€œpieces of evidence create an undeniableâ€”and publicly accessibleâ€”recordâ€.
Higgins â€œfact checksâ€ the disinformation produced by the Pentagon and Western intelligence regime, rubber stamps it with the Bellingcat â€œdigital forensicsâ€ seal of approval.
“OPEN SOURCE” INTELLIGENCE / OUT-SOURCED DECEPTION
The Atlantic Council is managed by Western â€œpolicy makersâ€, military leaders, and senior intelligence officials, including four heads of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Atlantic Council used video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian â€œ60 Minutesâ€ program â€œMH-17: An Investigationâ€(see video minutes 36:00-36:55) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU0kuHI6lNg to promote the report.
Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, is a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, highlighted Higginsâ€™ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:
â€œWe make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources.
â€œAnd itâ€™s thanks to works, the work thatâ€™s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, weâ€™ve been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up.â€ (see video minutes 35:10-36:30)
However, the Atlantic Council claim that â€œnoneâ€ of Higginsâ€™ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.
Higginsâ€™ primary â€œpieces of evidenceâ€ â€” a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates â€” were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.
A WHO’S WHO OF US DEFENSE AND INTELLIGENCE
The Atlantic Council, founded in 1961 at the height of Cold War, is managed by a Whoâ€™s Who of Pentagon and Western intelligence, including:
Michael Hayden (Board member) â€“ CIA Director 2006â€“2009
Robert Gates (Honorary Director) â€“ CIA Director 1991â€“1993
Leon Panetta (Honorary Director) â€“ CIA Director 2009â€“2011
William Webster (Honorary Director) â€“ CIA Director 1987â€“1991
In February 2009, James L. Jones, then-chairman of the Atlantic Council, stepped down in order to serve as President Obamaâ€™s new National Security Advisor and was succeeded by Senator Chuck Hagel.
In addition, Atlantic Council members Susan Rice left to serve as the administrationâ€™s ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke became the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, General Eric K. Shinseki became the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Anne-Marie Slaughter became Director of Policy Planning at the State Department.
Senator Chuck Hagel stepped down in 2013 to serve as US Secretary of Defense. Gen. Brent Scowcroft served as interim chairman of the organizationâ€™s Board of Directors until January 2014.
The Atlantic Council has influential supporters such as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh (Fogh of Warâ€) Rasmussen, who called the Council a â€œpre-eminent think tankâ€ with a â€œlongstanding reputationâ€. In 2009, the Atlantic Council hosted Rasmussenâ€™s first major US speech.
The Atlantic Council hosts events with US policymakers such as Secretary of State John Kerry, and sitting heads of state and government such as former Georgian President (and newly appointed Governor of Odessa in Ukraine) Mikheil Saakashvili in 2008, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in 2014.
In an interview with the Kiev-based Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (Ukrayinsâ€™ke Nezalezhne Informatsiyne Ahentstvo) or UNIAN, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated:
â€œevidence published by the media, NGOs and from Russian soldiers themselves that Russia is supporting the separatistsâ€ in eastern Ukraine. Think tanks have also published reports, most recently the Atlantic Council, which gathered proof from various open sources, including satellite imagery.â€
Stoltenberg cited the Atlantic Council report based almost entirely on Higgins and Bellingcat’s dubious â€œopen sourceâ€ disinformation and discredited â€œforensic analysisâ€ of satellite imagery.
Higgins and the Atlantic Council are working in support of the US/NATO â€œhybrid warâ€ against Russia.
In an August 2, 2014 article written by Higgins entitled â€œMH17 Missiles Canâ€™t Hide From These Internet Sleuths,â€ Higgins claims to have concluded that Russia or the anti-Kiev rebels must have shot down the plane with a Buk missile launcher â€“ a weapons system also in the possession of Kievâ€™s military. What is his evidence? Itâ€™s a series of photographs published in various media outlets that he cannot corroborate in any way. Instead, this â€œsleuthâ€ is making his case based on faith â€“ faith that the photographs were taken where and when they claim to have been, and show what they claim to show.
Of course, it has since been publicly acknowledged on more than one occasion that photographs purporting to show Russian military incursions into Ukraine have been fabricated and/or misrepresented causing tremendous embarrassment for US and European governments that have repeatedly claimed to have such evidence. But our dear BM is unfazed by such revelations. Instead, he seems to simply shriek louder. Rather than leaving analysis of MH 17 to aviation and military experts, he peddles his â€œopinion.â€ Rather than acknowledging the bias in his own reporting, to say nothing of the limitations of armchair technical analysis, he continues to grow his image, and with it, the lies, omissions, and distortions he propagates.
And so we return to the new â€œstudyâ€ by Higgins and his Bellingcat group of â€œdigital detectives.â€ They are obviously front-and-center in the western media because their conclusions are aligned with the US-NATO political agenda. They are a de facto arm of the western corporate media and military-industrial complex, providing the veneer of â€œindependent analysisâ€ in order to penetrate the blogosphere and social media platforms where the mainstream narrative is being questioned, scrutinized, and discredited. Bellingcat and Higginsâ€™ names should be known to everyone, but not because their analysis is worthwhile. Rather, they need to become household names so that those who understand how western propaganda and soft power actually works, will be on the lookout for more of their disinformation.
Perhaps The Guardian should also be more careful in how it presents its information. By promoting Higgins and his discredited outfit, they are once again promoting disinformation for the purposes of selling war. The US almost went to war with Syria (which it is doing now anyway) based on the flawed intelligence and â€œanalysisâ€ of people like Higgins. Naturally, everyone remembers how The Guardian, like all of its corporate media brethren, helped to sell the Iraq War based on complete lies. Have they learned nothing? It would seem so.
But those interested in peace and truth, we have learned something about propaganda and lies used to sell war. We who have called out these lies repeatedly â€“ from Iraq in 2003, to Syria and Ukraine today â€“ we once again repudiate the false narrative and the drumbeat for war. We reject the corporate media propagandists and their â€œalternative mediaâ€ appendages. We stand for peace. And unlike The Guardian and Higgins, we stand on firm ground.
Lying About Ukraineâ€¦Again!
By Eric Draitser
Once again, I implore you, Robert Parry, to join with fellow journalists like Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer and many others to hold a joint press conference at the Washington D.C. Press Club and bring forth the TRUTH to the American people!
How difficult would it be to prepare such a joint appearance?
The entire world of innocents are sitting back hoping that a group of respected truth-tellers, like yourselves, will come forth to at least TRY to save this planet from a nuclear holocaust!
We must go beyond these pages and into an INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE immediately!
There is no more time left to debate “who did what and when”.
NOW is the time to lay it all out.
PLEASE! Use your contacts and resources to make such a press conference happen!
It would be filmed and uploaded to YouTube/Truthdig and would be quickly sent around the world.
We NEED YOU TO DO THIS!
It would be a complete waste of time and money.
I think it’s a good idea. I recommend taking it beyond press conference to a week long convocation, at a major hotel with massive audience invited, particularly youth. Include youth speakers and questioners.
A crowd-funding program could be launched by all the progressive websites together and could be advertised to raise the money.
How much could it cost? The filming of the event plus live-streaming for $5 a pop would also need to be done.
This reminds me of the 1980’s documentary about nuclear war that featured Dr. Helen Caldicott, “If You Love This Planet”.
If we love this planet the higher ups at Consortium and Truthdig and Anti-War etc. should organize such a panel discussion.
And for the record, the State of Israel and it’s control over the U.S. would need to be part of the discussion!
I agree with you totally but would it make a difference ? On the grounds that it might it`s well worth a try but it will need sponsorship and money behind it.
The U.S. just seems to be in world destruct mode ever since 9/11 and so far the rest of us have been totally powerless to stop it happening .
So far , in my opinion , Putin has saved us by his sensible actions in response to outright US aggression but how much longer will that be the case ? Obama , on the other hand , seems to be lead by the nose by the neo-cons who have been in charge since “W” seized power in the US .
…Affordable Care Act, the changed social attitudes on gay rights…
It’s hard for me to see the Affordable Care Act as any kind of ‘positive’ legacy considering what BHO promised and what we might have had instead.
Gay rights? It’s my view that Obama doesn’t give a hoot about that issue except for using it to his advantage. Back in 1996 he was for those rights, then in 2008 he was against them, and now he’s for them again. Talk about shifting sands…
General Joseph F. Dunford Jr
This gentleman has had an extremely fast series of promotions under two neocon Presidents, but mostly from Obama. Considering how Obama has pitched Hagel in favor of the neocon nut Ashton Carter, what does he see in Dunford if the fellow isn’t another one of those ass-kissing little chickenshits? Dunford’s statement about Russia doesn’t comfort me the least bit in that regard.
I’m worried that Obama isn’t yet finished crafting his “Cold War Legacy”.
In his analysis of the geopolitical and economic events ending the
“Great Depression” (MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN AMERICAN
HISTORY), historian Gabriel Kolko reached the irrefutable conclusion
that it was never the programs of FDR but World War II which
“solved” the Depression. He focuses on the impotence of the
programs (“for the general welfare”) of the FDR Administration
and the power of the US 1941 Budget, the first US war budget.
Almost all progressives and others want to believe in these
myths. Most are against war (for “us”, not for “them”—another
issue). But the 1941 Budget–the first real World War II
budget, provided profits and advantages galore to private
defense corporations, guaranteed expansion of employment
opportunities. The “Great Depression” disappeared.
Kolko never confronted the essential conflict with his
other views directly.
It is unknown whether or not the current Administration is
cyncical enough to perceive these facts as in some sense
a basis for action, is in fact more than willing to sacrifice
lives and property in a major world war to shore up a
creeky economy. (The expressions of “Fighting Joe”
Joseph Dunlop who while a pick of Barack Obama could
clearly work with and for Senator John McClain and other
Clearly no US Presidential candidate has even obliquely
questionned the war frenzy of the day in this nation.
As J.S. Davies pointed out in his analysis of the
US Air War in “Consortium”, it is easy and even desirable
on a collective basis to pretend “shock” at the “beheadings”
in foreign lands while simultaneously engineering so
much death and destruction at American hands. Learning
from the history of Israel (and America’s own history as well) the
US protects its “chosenness”, otherwise known as “American
But returning to my first point, when all is said and done few
turn down positions on principle. And the dismantling
of the weapons establishment does not seem immanent.
There is no “peace dividend” in sight. There never is.
—Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
The Germans aspired to becoming the master race. The Americans referred to in this article truly believe they are.