Alleged Russia-Taliban Arms Link Disputed

Exclusive: Recent Russia-bashing has included U.S. claims that Moscow is arming the Afghan Taliban, but a senior U.S. intelligence official splashed cold water on that claim in barely noticed testimony, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

A tiny article from Reuters in late May quoted the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency as telling a Senate hearing, “I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred.” Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart was addressing widespread claims by top Pentagon officials of Russian arms flowing to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots fly near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 5, 2017.  (Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)

By conceding the reports have no real substance, Stewart quietly called the bluff of military hardliners who are invoking the Russian menace to justify prolonging and escalating the longest and second-most-costly war in U.S. history. Stories of Russian military shipments to Afghanistan began last December, with a typical headline from the Washington Post: “Russia begins supplying weapons to Afghanistan, sides with Taliban.”

Down in the body of the story, however, it emerged that Moscow had agreed to ship 10,000 assault rifles not to the Taliban but to the Afghan government’s police force in Kabul. A Russian Foreign Ministry official said, “Russia has been consistently pursuing the policy of providing comprehensive assistance to Afghanistan in the establishment of a peaceful, independent, stable and self-sufficient state, free from terrorism and drugs.” Russia previously supplied helicopters and pilot training to Afghan forces, under a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, which continued thanks to a special U.S. waiver on economic sanctions.

As to the Taliban, the Russian official said only that his government stood ready, in the interests of Afghanistan’s national reconciliation, to support “the possible weakening of the sanctions regime . . . against the Taliban, if it is not contrary to the national interests of Afghanistan.” He added that Russia shared the Taliban’s interest in defeating ISIS in Afghanistan.

Scapegoating the Russians

Starting in March, coincident with urgent requests by the U.S. commander in Afghanistan for thousands more troops to stem the Taliban’s military advances, senior Pentagon officers began blaming Russia for setbacks on the battlefield.

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

“I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban] in terms of weapons or other things that may be there,” General Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command, told members of Congress.

Defense Secretary James Mattis chimed in with claims, paraphrased by NPR correspondent Tom Bowman, that “the Russians are providing some support, including maybe weapons to the Taliban.” Noting that the details were “murky,” Bowman added, “the commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, thinks this is a way for the Russians just to undermine the U.S. and NATO.”

Staying on message, a spokesman for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan told the Los Angeles Times days later, “We know that actions by Russia in Afghanistan are meant to undermine the work of the United States and NATO to support the Afghan government.” The reporters then stated as fact, “It . . . represents another effort by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to exert power globally while weakening the U.S.”

In late April, a “senior U.S. military official,” speaking on background, asserted that the Russians had “increased their supply of equipment and small arms to the Taliban over the past 18 months.” He said “the Russians have been sending weapons, including medium and heavy machine guns, to the Taliban under the guise that the materiel would be used to fight the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.”

Secretary Mattis, quoted in the same article, said menacingly, “we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries.”

Russian Denials

Russia, increasingly considered a “hostile power” by many Americans, won few converts by denying what it called “irresponsible accusations” based on “rumors and conjectures.” Its special envoy to Afghanistan branded the allegations of its arms transfers to the Taliban insurgents “absolute lies . . . aimed at justifying the failure of the U.S. military and politicians.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

But Russia’s credibility – even after months of strident and varied accusations from Western officials – could hardly have been lower than the Afghan sources quoted in U.S. news accounts to bolster the Pentagon’s claims. One notable example was the police chief of Uruzgan province, who spoke of Russian agents, “dressed in doctor’s uniforms,” infiltrating his region and “enticing people against the government, providing training and teaching how to assemble land mines.”

The rotten corruption of the Uruzgan provincial police has been attested to by no less than the commander of the Afghan army in that province. Police there abandoned the provincial capital last year, allowing Taliban forces to walk in unopposed — not because of Russian weapons but because senior officials had pocketed police pay for months at a time.

Similar claims against Russia came from the governor of Kunduz province, whose capital was overrun by Taliban forces last fall in what reporters described as a “seemingly easy re-entry” into the city after a similar Taliban incursion in 2015 was repelled by U.S. Special Forces. Other Afghan officials, and independent reporters, ascribed the Taliban’s easy victories to the local population’s grievances against the “mafia-like” elite who run the province.

Experts also blamed aid from Pakistan — not Russia — to the Taliban. Echoing their complaint, former U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said last year, “The issue of the U.S. inability to deal effectively with Pakistan, and the [Taliban] sanctuary problem in Pakistan, has been the mother of all problems for U.S.-Afghan relations and of Afghanistan to some degree since 9/11.”

Another big supplier of the Taliban is Saudi Arabia. An exposé by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times revealed that as a longtime ally of Pakistan, “Saudi Arabia has backed Islamabad’s promotion of the Taliban. Over the years, wealthy Saudi sheikhs and rich philanthropists have also stoked the war by privately financing the insurgents.”

How US Arms Taliban

Perhaps the biggest arms supplier of all to the Taliban is the U.S. taxpayer. The Taliban rake off hundreds of millions of dollars from extortion of U.S.-funded projects in the country. They also fill their armories with U.S.-made weapons. A Taliban commander told Bloomberg News that when he needs more weapons and fuel, he simply buys or steals them from his foe. “It’s simple and cheaper,” he said.

A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter carries howitzer over Helmand province in Afghanistan on Dec. 29, 2012. (Defense Department photo)

As journalist and book author Douglas Wissing observed recently, “U.S-enabled corruption lost the Afghan War. . . Corruption funds the enemy, with hundreds of millions of dollars skimmed from U.S. logistics and aid money. . . . Empowered and financed by this corruption, Taliban strength has grown at double-digit rates annually since 2005. Insurgents now control about 40 percent of the countryside, and are pressuring government centers across country, including increasingly besieged Kabul.”

In the past, Donald Trump was correct when he tweeted that the war in Afghanistan was a “total disaster” – although as President, he is reportedly considering a Pentagon plan to escalate the U.S. role, again.

Blaming the Russians for the war’s latest reversals may let our Afghan allies and our own military off the hook for losing this long war in slow motion, but it won’t change the outcome.

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to

53 comments for “Alleged Russia-Taliban Arms Link Disputed

  1. Rick Patel
    June 1, 2017 at 10:42

    Why wouldn’t Russia arm & support the Taliban resistance to foreign invaders? Isn’t turnabout fair play?

  2. JoaoAlfaiate
    June 1, 2017 at 10:20

    If Uncle Sam is right about Russia and the Taliban, all I can say is what goes around gets around.

  3. Anon
    June 1, 2017 at 07:51

    Just spoke with an Afghani with a superb understanding of the situation there. His profound insights transcended anything I have ever read in the corporate media.

    He said that yes, Russia is making contacts in Afghanistan, but not with the Taliban, rather with the ethnic groups along its border.

    Russia knows the American effort is a disaster, the Taliban control the major cities and that eventually America will give up and do what every other power had done…pull out. Russia is merely hedging its bets by making sure there is a buffer between it ant the takafiri lunatics.

    He told me that there was no way the Russians would ever be stupid enough to supply weapons to a group that might turn on them. The weapons are coming from the Gulf states as they always have.

    The Afghan I talked to was a cab driver.

    It’s no wonder America can’t win a war. Their understanding of things is complete horse shit. They spend 80 billion a year on spying and do not have a single fucking clue as to what discernible reality might look like.

    Best they just go home.

  4. Max
    May 31, 2017 at 01:52

    In the introduction to the 1874 edition of “The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day,” which he co-wrote with his neighbor Charles Dudley Warner, Twain did write “History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends.”

    The Press is just presenting broken fragments and a rough draft of history. Buy antiques! Russia is broke and working on arms deals to expand the era of pickup truck warfare by creating future non-crisis crisis situations. The Putin KGB legend is growing along with runs on the bank thanks to the wife.

  5. May 30, 2017 at 07:40

    The Counterpunch article linked here by Dave P as to why Russia is hyped as adversary is very good, refers to Uncle (We Own the World) Sam and Putin stopped them in Syria and Ukraine. Same old stuff hyped for decades since the disgusting days of the Dulles brothers. The US is a global serial killer.

    Article by Russ Winter, 12/2/16, “Trump Appoints Psychopath General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Secretary of Defense”,, gives a couple of quotes from Mattis:
    “Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.” (to San Diego Tribune) and
    “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

    • mike k
      May 30, 2017 at 17:22

      Typical high ranking military guy. Thinks himself super macho. Just be pure evil and nothing can touch you. Compassion is weakness, a chink in your armor that will be exploited by your enemies, who are violent, evil people just like you. A closed loop. Just pure darkness and death without a glimmer of light – the military ideal.

      Congratulations “Mad Dog.” I’m sure you wear your sobriquet like a badge of honor.

  6. tld
    May 29, 2017 at 22:38

    The West has been arming these thugs for years. Israel, Saudis, State Dept are the ISIS Inc.
    Just obscene. No end in sight. The horror…(Kurtz).

  7. May 29, 2017 at 22:13

    You are right, Joe, it is an insult, the constant lies. Mattis is completely mad, he was in command at 2nd battle of Fallujah when white phosphorus was used. Article by Russ Winter, 12/2/16,, “Trump Appoints Psychopath General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattie as Secretary of Defense”. A couple of quotes from Mattis:
    “Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. (to San Diego Tribune)
    And: “Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” (context was not given, have to search, could he really have said that?)

  8. exiled off mainstreet
    May 29, 2017 at 19:56

    It sounds like typical propaganda bullshit and totally out of character considering Russia’s hostility to jihadi thugs. Meanwhile, Trump’s visit to the Saudis, despite their proven track record as sponsors of terrorist thugs, reveals the moral bankruptcy of the yankee state. Even if these propaganda allegations were to be true, I couldn’t really blame the Russians. I think the yankee imperium has lost any residual claims on civilization or legitimacy.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    May 29, 2017 at 19:54

    Like listening to the boy who cried wolf, I’ve gotten to the point I don’t believe any narrative used to demonize Russia. This whole long campaign of war waged by the U.S. is built on lies, and more lies.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 29, 2017 at 22:19

      Like listening to the boy who cried wolf, I’ve gotten to the point I don’t believe any narrative used to demonize Russia

      Even if the criticisms of Russia were true, who the hell are these American critics to throw rocks at Russia for doing what our government does? Sometimes I get the feeling that 200-plus years of hypocrisy will preclude any hope for these United States.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 30, 2017 at 00:28

        When it comes to ‘no shame’ these creatures in DC are number one, Bill. It’s like today I read where John McCain who’s on a Asia Tour commented to Russia being a bigger threat to our democracy than ISIS. Then we have a media who’s all in on making negative sound bites, and narratives, only to portray Russia as an evil dictatorship, and the beat goes on. Between Arms Manufacturers and foreign owned Think Tanks who write our nations foreign policies, we average American folk are up a creek without a paddle.

    • mike k
      May 30, 2017 at 08:44

      When propaganda becomes finally boring, the truth bleeds through, and becomes finally obvious.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 30, 2017 at 09:57

        You might call it boredom, but I see my attitude as being a result of losing faith and credibility in our established governing ruling class. Like listening to a chronic liar you eventually come to a point where you doubt everything they tell you. For a liar ruins any hope of gaining your trust, when all you know them for is their constant lying.

        • mike k
          May 30, 2017 at 11:53

          My interest is in truth and beauty, I don’t get any of that from the likes of Trump. It would be nice if I could share my dreams for a better world, but I have discovered that unless people are willing to acknowledge the nightmare we are living in, those dreams would only serve them as escapist fantasies. There is no way to that dreamed of world except through the messy, painful wok of deconstructing our present mess. I feel like someone trying to do the messy work of de-littering a river, and never getting to celebrate and swim in the possible river I am trying to uncover. Dealing with the mess we have made is a necessary duty if we are to truly have a better world….. Love is not always easy.

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 30, 2017 at 13:35

            I wish there more of you mike K.

        • Bill Bodden
          May 30, 2017 at 11:53

          You might call it boredom, but I see my attitude as being a result of losing faith and credibility in our established governing ruling class.

          Faith and credibility in our established governing ruling class are qualities we should never have possessed in the first place. This was an inevitable consequence of the lies we were told after we learned to understand spoken and written words. It is a disconcerting experience to learn we were gullible and deceived for so long. The consolation is that we are now free to learn what is true and to recognize the few people we can trust.

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 30, 2017 at 13:36

            Well put.

  10. May 29, 2017 at 19:33

    See “Trump Appoints Psychopath General Mad Dog Mattis as Secretary of Defense”, Russ Winter, 12/2/16, He was in command at the 2nd battle of Fallujah where white phosphorus was used. A couple of quotes from Mattis:
    “Actually it’s fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.” (to San Diego Tribune) and
    “Be polite, be professional but have a plan to kill everybody you meet. ”

    We should demand his removal on grounds of insanity!

    • Gregory Herr
      May 30, 2017 at 18:56

      From a fairly in-depth article about Fallujah and Mattis:

      “During the siege of Fallujah, which I covered as an unembedded journalist, Marines killed so many civilians that the municipal soccer stadium had to be turned into a graveyard.
      In the years since, Mattis – called a “warrior monk” by his supporters – repeatedly has protected American service members who killed civilians, using his status as a division commander to wipe away criminal charges against Marines accused of massacring 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005 and granting clemency to some of those convicted in connection with the 2006 murder of a 52-year-old disabled Iraqi, who was taken outside his home and shot in the face four times…”

  11. Bill Bodden
    May 29, 2017 at 18:37

    Secretary Mattis, quoted in the same article, said menacingly, “we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries.”

    Presumably, the secretary of our war department considers actions “contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries” are the exclusive prerogative of the U.S..

  12. May 29, 2017 at 18:22

    I hope you keep your poetic chronicles of this Trump era, F.G. They should be collected and published!

    • F. G. Sanford
      May 29, 2017 at 19:10

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. I guess age and bad habits are catching up with me. I was beside myself trying to remember the name of that feisty little Italian guy who had the audacity to face off against the invincible Christopher Hitchens. In the end, the prolix arch polemicist was no match for Michael Parenti’s simple humanity and common sense. Parenti’s dissection of the Tibet mythology commonly disseminated by neoliberal dupes is a classic, and I believe it’s on youtube for anyone to see. I don’t know why that poem copied full of question marks, but this looks more like it:

      I found a poem penned by one long dead.
      His words: “Look upon my Works, ye Mighty and despair!”
      Said in a mocking….or to execrate the dread,
      Half hidden though the sands of time declare,
      “No force of God or man will profit in my stead.”
      The Tyrants works are ruins now, to some they matter not.
      His legacy has ceased to fade and while he reigned,
      His whim gave substance to the merest thing he thought.
      “Privately, you’ll envy me and all that you’ve disdained,
      For what has been will always be and cannot be forgot”.
      “Look upon my Works, ye Fools, and know I saw your flaws!”
      He beckons other architects who’d choose his path to fame.
      Secrets paved the way that trod King Ozymandias,
      His footprints faded in the sand where men had written laws.

      I never keep copies, and I don’t take credit. Poems write themselves. I really don’t know where they come from.

      • Zachary Smith
        May 29, 2017 at 22:37

        Poems write themselves. I really don’t know where they come from.

        I couldn’t create a poem if my life depended on it. Several years ago I actually did compose a barely respectable limerick, but the effort took three day. Yet some people can dash the things off as easily as they breath.

        • mike k
          May 30, 2017 at 08:40

          Poems say things that can’t be said otherwise.

  13. May 29, 2017 at 18:15

    We have certainly waxed poetic this Memorial Day. Americans could do with a little more of the arts. And your comment on Tibet is true, F. G., on another essay, Tibet has a violent history. Michael Parenti at has a good piece, “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth”. There were even torture instruments adapted to small size for children, and the concept of karma was used to excuse slavery. Many Buddhists denounced the religion because of the horrific tortures they endured. The CIA took advantage of Tibet’s uprising against the Maoists, and the Dalai Lama has denied being on CIA payroll although it’s clearly documented.

  14. mike k
    May 29, 2017 at 17:33

    I met a traveller from an antique land,

    Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

    Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

    Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

    And on the pedestal, these words appear:

    My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


    • D5-5
      May 29, 2017 at 18:31

      Beautiful work by Shelley here.

      • mike k
        May 29, 2017 at 21:44

        And Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. These were thoughtful people. They saw things others did not.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain
        May 30, 2017 at 19:45

        As Shelley also wrote, in ‘The Masque of Anarchy’, ‘Rise like lions after slumber, In unvanquishable number!, Shake your chains to earth like dew, Which in sleep had fallen on you:, Ye are many-they are few!’. No wonder they had to arrange for his ‘boating accident’.

  15. May 29, 2017 at 17:10

    Thank you, mike, CN is a great place to discuss issues, lots of people with great thoughts and information. I’ve learned much from articles and comments here. And the Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake. The best message about destroyed empire, I think, is Shelley’s “Ozymandias”, the traveler in a desert who came upon a large broken statue of a king lying upon the sand, and the inscription says, “I am Ozymandias, King of Kings, look upon me ye mighty and behold”. The line that follows says the vastness of the desert stretches before the ruined statue. That may some day be the US empire if these madmen fail to grasp what they’re doing.

    • F. G. Sanford
      May 29, 2017 at 17:41

      Funny you should mention that. Four years ago, I submitted this original poem to the comments section in response to a Nebojsa Malik article at Antiwar(dot)com entitled, “Ozymandias”. Shelley, unfortunately, got it wrong. Even the most horrific failures of despots inspire others to try. Their common delusion convinces them that they’ll be the one to succeed. I was surprised to see that the poem was still there. I don’t keep copies of my work.

      I found a poem penned by one long dead. ?His words– “Look on my Works, ye Mighty and despair!” ?Said in a mocking….or to execrate the dread, ?Half hidden though the sands of time declare, ?”No force of God or man will profit in my stead.” ?The Tyrants works are ruins now, to some they matter not. ?His legacy has ceased to fade and while he reigned, ?His whim gave substance to the merest thing he thought. ?”Privately, you’ll envy me and all that you’ve disdained, ?For what has been will always be and cannot be forgot”. ?”Look upon my Works, ye Fools, and know I saw your flaws!” ?He beckons other architects who’d choose his path to fame. ?Secrets paved the way that trod King Ozymandias, ?His footprints faded in the sand where men had written laws.

    • Erik G
      May 30, 2017 at 08:00

      Yes, Ozymandias has often recurred to me in this sense as well, and I like FG Sanford’s ironic interpretation that perhaps that one despot already knew better, not only the sculptor whose hand mocked those passions.

      Of course, despots do not care about the devastation to others, and are blind to the economic damage of war because they define their own gain as the only good that matters. But as they age and see the ultimate futility of selfishness, the fact that they can live on only in the esteem of others, they may have a suppressed semiconscious recognition that the common good was the only sensible path, that they can only look upon their own works and despair. McNamara and perhaps Brezinski lived to doubt the wisdom of their own actions.

      With rational moral education, the cultivation of sympathy in literature and experience, we can give the young that recognition that the common good is the only sensible path. Of course that requires educating our test-oriented job-skills politicians of education, which in turn requires elimination of oligarchy.

      Perhaps we should require politicians to be at least age 60 and swear foremost to defend the basic interests of humanity, never to advance a regional or factional interest, or to accept donations from other than individuals, etc.

      Best wishes Jessica on your plans for DC.

  16. May 29, 2017 at 16:21

    And you are right, Grant, they don’t want the wars to end. In Afghanistan, a lot is about the opium poppies. The US empire is a threat to life on earth, perhaps the colossus will fall over of its own mendacity, stupidity, and sheer evil!

  17. May 29, 2017 at 16:07

    “Howl” is incredible, really gut wrenching. A real mind trip, and I think Moloch for the deep state says it perfectly, mike. Yes, it really is a black mass of evil. We have a lot of work to do. I am getting ready to move to the city and want to get with people who will organize, not “pink pussy hat” people, but people who will challenge the ugly black mass of government, Moloch.

    • mike k
      May 29, 2017 at 16:31

      More power to you Jessica in your move and plans. I wish you all kinds of success, and hope you will continue to share your wonderful thoughts and feelings with us here at CN.

  18. mike k
    May 29, 2017 at 15:51

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

    dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

    angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, …………….

    Allen Ginsberg

    • mike k
      May 29, 2017 at 15:53

      That was me too, years ago……………….

  19. mike k
    May 29, 2017 at 15:46

    It’s best to read Howl! aloud – and let yourself feel and express the passion Ginsberg felt in writing down this classic ode to the naked truth………..!

  20. mike k
    May 29, 2017 at 15:43

    Thanks for reminding of Howl! Jessica. Perhaps not coincidentally I reread it recently, and it still had it’s cathartic, illuminating effect. Those who step outside the acceptable box our culture imposes, have much to teach us.

  21. mike k
    May 29, 2017 at 15:38

    The US Military is perhaps the most corrupt, evil organ in the ugly body of the deep state. These people revel in an orgy of crime and destruction, rape, totrure – a true black mass of evil at it’s worst. Is it any wonder that they are at such pains to paint themselves as heroic defenders of all that is good and true. The hypocrisy of their patriotic lies is sickening. To parade their black evil as something pure and good! This is humankind at it’s very worst.

    Thank God there are those brave and clear headed enough to see through the lies of the militarists who are destroying our beautiful world and many innocent people only seeking to live in peace. These militarists pretending to work for peace is an outrageous lie, that the sleeping sheeple, zombied out before the flickering altar of their TV’s accept unthinkingly. May they awaken to the nightmare their acquiescence is enabling before it is too late for all of us. Those who worship the God of War will face an ugly fate…..

    • Mulga Mumblebrain
      May 30, 2017 at 19:29

      We here in Aust-failure, the USA’s most groveling satrapy, are currently being subjected to a visit from the ‘Hanoi Songbird’, John McInsane himself-the stench of sulphur is overpowering. He began by declaring Putin the greatest threat to humanity, then launched into an insidious denunciation of China, replete with staggering hypocrisy, for example declaring China a ‘bully’, and Chinese investment in its neighbours ‘coercion’. He wants us to join in fully fledged group naval exercises off China’s coast. The insanity of his belligerence is truly monstrous, yet our entire political and hatestream media elites are lining up to kiss his posterior.

  22. Grant S Fisher
    May 29, 2017 at 15:35

    Over the past year or so there has been some discussion that the US (read, Military-Industrial-Financial Complex) is now less interested in actually winning wars as it is in continuing &, where ever possible, expanding them, thus providing a steady market for the arms industry & al. As horribly absurd this seems, I am beginning to believe it. Apparently someone in the quasi-mythical “deep state” has adopted Mao’s dictum: “Politics comes out of the barrel of a gun.”
    The once mighty State Department is now a mere adjunct & facilitator for the Defense & Commerce Departments. The Afghan War could have ended years ago by sitting down with the Taliban & working out a settlement. Both Russia & Iran have been openly willing to talk with the US for many years, but the powers-that-be in Washington will have none of it.
    Unfortunately the vast majority of the US citizenry remains virtually ignorant of all this. The wars are fought far, far away; all of our military people are “heroes” & “warriors”; & nearly all the “news” is carefully doctored so that it becomes an intricate mixture of fact & fiction. This is as much the fault of the complacent consumerist society we have consciously walked into as it is of the power elite that virtually runs the circus. There are & definitely will be consequences.
    This current tsunami of slander against Russia reminds me of the anti-Polish propaganda campaign run by Hitler & Goebbels in the months leading up to Sept. 1, 1939.

    • ArchieBunker
      May 29, 2017 at 15:59

      Look, we brought Democracy© to the graveyard of empires – just like here, equal rights for all warlords – if the anyone wins its all over. Pocketing police pay and selling weapons to the enemy – dem’s good Republicans there – corruption pays good. If the Russians are giving Kabul weapons we gotta support the AlQaeda freedom fighters like the old days.

    • Dave P.
      May 29, 2017 at 17:53

      In the article – How Russia became “our adversary” again – in Counterpunch on May 19th Paul Street explains the real reasons why we are going after Russia. If you have not read it already, here is the Link:

      American population have never suffered in war on their own soil, ever. Civil War was a war between brothers; population as such was not touched by it. Russians have seen wars on their soil. Twenty five to twenty seven millions dead in Second World War, just think of the numbers. And the European part of Russia completely destroyed. People there would like peace.

      It hurts whenever I see the pictures of the complete destruction of Syrian Cities, and think of the men, women, and children who lived there. When I look around, I see that there is no such feelings left in vast majority of our population here in U.S. The very thought is gloomy, but it seems like that we are not going to have peace.

      • Erik G
        May 30, 2017 at 08:47

        The Civil War certainly touched the South, and it remembers, but neither North nor South were educated, that the war could readily have been avoided. The founders were all gone by 1828, and the spirit of regional reconciliation with them: in the lead-up to war 1820-1860 Congress consisted of regional demagogues who utterly failed to debate the real issues or apply the Constitutional principles that would have avoided war.

        In fact the North was only half right that slavery was wrong, however absolutely true that is. Because no plantation owner could unilaterally convert to free labor because the market price would not cover wages, the South saw no path and the North failed to provide the path, and both retreated into self-righteousness. But in fact the North and England were the purchasers of slave cotton as well as the centers of abolitionism, and would therefore ultimately pay the wages of former slaves anyway. All that was needed was a federal transition plan, a cotton tax to cover wages subsidies and social workers and village builders.

        In fact, even with constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual donations, Congress is poorly organized for debate: too small, too little knowledge of the issues, too little time to debate every aspect of policy everywhere. To improve the quality of public debate, we need an independent federal college of policy analysis constituted to protect all points of view, and textually debate among university experts of all disciplines the status and policy options of each world region. It would produce debate summaries commented by all sides and available to the public for comment. The ability to see all sides challenged and responding in an orderly manner is essential to public understanding.

        Even the South destroyed by the needless “war of northern aggression” did not come to love peace, nor concede the humanity of the negro, even after the Civil Rights Acts of 1872 and 1964. Most southern federal judges are adamant opponents of constitutional rights for anyone but their own political faction. And so are the northern judges, for in fact tyrants never learn from war, whether they win or lose, for they do not value truth or justice at all. They are the selfish scammers always among us, actively opposing any public learning from the disasters they deliberately cause.

        All of which merely argues that humanity learns the the least lesson of war only, and only those who lose heavily, and only for one generation, so that as Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    • Mulga Mumblebrain
      May 30, 2017 at 19:24

      Yes-I saw an Imperial droog on TV yesterday opining that the USA would just stay in Afghanistan more or less permanently, to police the region. The Afghans, brutalised by US evil since the mid-70s do not, of course, come into calculations but as ‘collateral damage’.

    • Hank
      June 1, 2017 at 13:58

      War is today a used car for sale. The War Party has to go into overdrive to sell them to a public becoming increasingly aware of the lies needed to start wars!

  23. May 29, 2017 at 14:56

    Thank you, Jonathan Marshall, for informing and focusing on the obscene lies of US government now continued by the Trump officials. I remember hearing that on NPR, “Russia is arming the Taliban” a few weeks ago and knew it was an outright lie. Amazing, amazing corruption of truth, the “1984” doublespeak inversion, outright lies to control the sheeple. In 1961, far back in time now, William Lederer wrote the book, “A Nation of Sheep” and the great journalist, Edward R. Murrow, of whose caliber we see none today, said, “A nation of sheep will soon beget a government of wolves”. Don’t we see it now? (Not to malign the real wolf who does not kill indiscriminately.)

    Allen Ginsberg’s brilliant poem, “Howl”, should be brought back for community readings, it is so powerful. Especially section II, on the dreadful god Moloch. This is powerful imagery from a time when there was resistance to war as not overtly seen today, a sample: “Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!”

    An article on Global Research, “Exporting Revolution and Regime Change, Zbigniew Brzezinski on Trial at the UN General Assembly”, by Caleb Maupin, is a good look at Brzezinski’s calamitous effect on US policy. Wasn’t really “on trial”, though, but the essay is good to show how influential he was. With his passing we can still be sure his influence continues, as this article shows.

    • D5-5
      May 29, 2017 at 18:33

      A good reminder, Jessica.

      Here’s a copy–

    • Hank
      June 1, 2017 at 13:55

      Funny how a nation that exports far and away more military products than any other nation makes a stink about Russia allegedly arming someone! The USA has absolutely no business in Afghanistan other than protecting the heroin business, which is the biggest source in the world. Another planned project would be a major gas and oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Let’s not forget that the USA attacked Afghanistan on a pack of lies- that they were “sheltering” the alleged perpetrator of 911 Osama Bin Laden. The Taliban would have handed Bin Laden over had the USA offered evidence of his guilt, but since Bin Laden did NOT do 911, this was an inconvenient prospect, so the USA attacked anyway, as it had planned to do BEFORE 911. The USA arms terrorist mercenaries while Russia arms those fighting for TRUE independence from American imperialism.

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