Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fascism in Ukraine

Fascism in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Washington bears full responsibility. Obama officials elevated fascist putschists to power. Neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland was lead instigator.

US-installed thugs rule lawlessly. They have no legitimacy whatever. They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

Obama's new friends include a rogue's gallery of societal misfits. They represent mob rule. They're militantly anti-democratic. 

They tolerate no opposition. They're polar opposite what Ukrainians deserve. Washington offers full support. 

One fascist regime backs another. Both operate the same way. 

Merriam-Webster calls fascism "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."

Mussolini called his version corporatism. It reflects "the merger of state and corporate power," he said. "The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of fascism."

"The keystone of the fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For fascism, the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative."

Today's version is no different. It combines police state harshness, disdain for fundamental rights, and brazen brutality with unbridled corporate power. It's ideologically over-the-top.

It's all take and no give. Monied interests control things. Ordinary people have no say. They're used. They're ruthlessly exploited. Resisters aren't tolerated. 

They're targeted, marginalized and eliminated altogether. Thousands of political prisoners languish in America's gulag. 

It's the world's largest by far. It's the most ruthless. It's supplemented by dozens of global torture prisons. Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg.

Torture is official US policy. Rule of law principles don't matter. Police state laws substitute. Constitutional protections don't apply. Post-9/11 legislation and presidential diktats reflect official policy. 

Fascist regimes rule this way. America's human rights record is by far the worst in world history. No other nation matches its sordid rap sheet.

Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide reflect longstanding policy. They continue globally. 

They're unprecedented. America is guilty of virtually every crime imaginable and then some. Atrocities repeat one after another.

Political scientist Lawrence W. Britt explained 14 fascist elements.
"These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share some level of similarity," he said.

They're present in America. They infest Ukraine. They threaten fundamental freedoms. They want them eliminated altogether.

Elements Britt explained are as follows:

(1) "Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism." They include flags, lapel pins, and other patriotic nationalist expressions. They rally people for a common cause.

(2) "Disdain for the importance of human (and civil) rights." They hinder elitist power.

(3) "Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause." They shift blame for failures. They "channel frustration in controlled directions." They vilify targeted groups and individuals for political advantage.

(4) "The supremacy of the military/avid militarism." They direct a disproportionate share of national wealth and resources for them.

(5) "Rampant sexism." Women are considered second-class citizens.

(6) "A controlled mass media." In public and/or private hands, power elite policies are supported. Popular ones are disdained.

(7) "Obsession with national security." It's use as an instrument of belligerence and oppression.

(8) "Religion and ruling elite tied together." They call themselves military defenders of the nation's dominant religion. They disparage others. They consider them inferior or threatening.

(9) "Power of corporations defended." It's done for economic power, military production, and social control.

(10) "Power of labor suppressed or eliminated." It's to assure unchallenged political and corporate dominance.

(11) "Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts." They represent intellectual and academic freedom. They're considered threats to national security and political control.

(12) "Obsession with crime and punishment." Draconian criminal justice measures and practices are instituted.

(13) "Rampant cronyism and corruption." Power elites enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people.

(14) "Fraudulent elections." They're manipulated to maintain control. 

In her book "The Origins of Totalitarianism," Hannah Arendt said it's "never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence." 

"(T)hanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within."

She called it dictatorship based on:

"(1) an elaborate ideology;

(2) a single mass party;

(3) (state) terror;

(4) a technologically conditioned monopoly of communication;

(5) a monopoly of weapons; (and)

(6) a centrally controlled economy."

Today's America qualifies. Duopoly power rules. Monied interests run things. Voters have no say.

Wealth and power are unprecedented. They're more concentrated than ever. They make policy. What they say goes.

America is the world's leading purveyor of state terrorism. Opposition isn't tolerated. Unchallenged global dominance is sought. War on humanity is waged to achieve it.

Major media managed news misinformation supports what demands condemnation. Freedom is being systematically destroyed.

Corporate bottom line priorities exclude popular ones. Ordinary people are pawns to be exploited.

Neocons infest Washington. They hugely influence decision-making. Permanent war is official policy. Police state laws target non-believers.

New world order extremism explains things. Obama is America's latest in a long line of warrior presidents.

Today's stakes are far greater than earlier. Weapons used in past global conflicts look like toys compared to today's.

Plans include militarizing space for future wars. Doing so alone means all bets are off.

The January 2001 General Assembly's Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Resolution A/55/32 was ignored. 

Over 140 nations endorsed it. America and Israel alone declined. It said:

"The exploration and use of outer space...shall be for peaceful purposes and be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development." 

"(The) prevention of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security."

Independent experts agree. Weaponizing space undermines world security. It threatens humanity's survival.

Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space co-founder, Bruce Gagnon, warned earlier:

"If the US is allowed to move the arms race into space, there will be no return. We have this one chance, this one moment in history, to stop" it. 

Failure means all bets are off. Longstanding US policy prioritizes it. Imagine future wars fought from space. 

Imagine first-strike nuclear weapons launched this way. Imagine mutually assured destruction (MAD) for real.

Imagine shock and awe on steroids. Imagine the end of history. Imagine war ending future ones. 

Imagine destroying planet earth to control it. Imagine allies and enemies perishing together.

In their joint July 1955 Manifesto, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell explained the nuclear threat no punches pulled:

"Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable," they said. 

"Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war? (The) best authorities are unanimous that a war with H-bombs (or similar weapons) might possibly put an end to the human race." 

For some, instant death is certain. Most others will experience "slow torture of disease and disintegration." 

Imagine the leader of the world's most powerful nation risking this type denouement. Imagine mushroom shaped cloud finality. 

Imagine the world ending with a bang, not a whimper. Imagine destroying humanity to control it. Imagine no coming back if tried.

Imagine Ukrainian flashpoint conditions launching East/West confrontation. Imagine possible global war following.

Fascist regimes operate this way. Stopping them matters most. Resisting tyranny is a moral imperative. 

Washington threatens world peace. Permanent wars reflect longstanding US policy. Mass slaughter, destruction and human misery follow everywhere America shows up.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Nor fundamental human and civil right. Nor government of, by and for equitably and just.

Nor peace prioritized over war. Nor stopping its madness before it's too late. Obama has lots more warmaking in mind. 

He wants freedom destroyed. He wants dissent silenced. America already is unfit to live in. It's heading toward becoming intolerable.

Gangsterism rules. Morally depraved officials run things. Personal freedoms are dying. Democracy is pure fantasy. 

George Bernard Shaw once called it "a form of government that substitutes elections by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few."

Perhaps he had America in mind. Maybe today's Ukraine. Fascism operates this way. It bites hard. It causes unspeakable human misery. It denies fundamental rights. 

It risks the worst of all possible outcomes. Peace in our time doesn't exist. Doing the right thing is punished. Today is the most perilous time in world history.

Daily events should scare everyone. War-makers win peace prizes. Peace supporters are scorned.

So are social democrats. Fascism works this way. People power alone can save us. The only solution is nonviolent revolution.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


NATO's Dark Side

NATO's Dark Side

by Stephen Lendman

US-led NATO reflects pure evil. Threatening world peace. Seeking global dominance through one ravaged country at a time.

Comprised of over 70 members and partners. Over one-third of world nations. On every continent except Antarctica. Doing America's bidding. 

Run by its Deputy Secretary-General, Alexander Vershbow. A former Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs. 

Clinton's National Security Council European Affairs director. A former US ambassador to Russia.

Calling Moscow "more an enemy than partner." Diplomacy isn't his long suit. Intends Alliance measures to counter nonexistent Russian aggression.

Claims it "marks a turning point in decades of (NATO) efforts to draw Moscow closer." Intends stepped up US presence close to its borders.

Modernizing its neighbors militarily. "(U)pgrading" joint exercises. "(S)eiz(ing) the opportunity…Creat(ing) the reality on the ground. Accept(ing) membership of aspirant countries."

America's dirty hands run things. NATO is a US-led killing machine. A war-making alliance. A global outlaw.

Ludicrously saying it "promotes democracy. (E)ncourages cooperation." Seeks "to build trust." Prevent conflict.

Settle disputes peacefully. Truth is polar opposite. It bears repeating. Wants world dominance through one ravaged country after another.

Deplores peace. Prioritizes war. Threatens humanity's survival. Outrageously claims Russia wants force replacing the rule of law.

Its lower house State Duma Speaker, Sergey Naryshkin, wants America expelled from NATO. Urges European nations to act.

Calls expulsion "a fantastic proposal." What better way to curtail militarism. Achieve world peace, security and stability, he says.

NATO's collective security commitment is code language for war readiness. Against governments Washington wants ousted. Replaced with ones it controls.

Inventing nonexistent enemies. Turning allies into assets. Bullying them to go along with its imperial project.

Claiming an urgency to defend them. Despite no existing threats. Urging Ukraine to stand firm against Russia. Protect its territory.

Naryshkin believes Ukraine's "forcible European integration" may trigger a continental neo-Nazi upsurge.

Warning Europeans against letting this happen. Not underestimating dangerous Ukrainian radicalization.

"We are told that the role of Ukrainian radicals is exaggerated, but then why their elated attitude to Nazi abettors and an outright aggression against other nationalities are also seen more frequently in the conduct of official Kiev authorities," he asked? 

"We in Russia do not want a hotbed of neo-Nazism to appear in Europe." It runs things in Ukraine.

Except where Donbas freedom fighters prevent it. Putting their bodies on the line for democratic rights everyone deserves. 

At Sunday's Parliamentary Assembly's Annual Session, NATO's Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security proposed a draft resolution.

Pledging increased political, economic, material and technical support for Ukraine. Increased sanctions on Russia.

Refuse recognition of legitimate Crimean self-determination. Recognized under international law. 

Saying the "Alliance's door would remain open for further enlargement." To achieve Washington's goal of global policeman.

Its agenda fosters instability. Permanent wars. Ousting independent governments. Replacing them with pro-Western stooge ones. Puppets America controls.

Institutionalizing hardline rule. Preventing democracy at all costs. Inventing threats to advance its imperial agenda. 

Wanting increased military spending for more wars. Calling it collective defense.

Washington intends more covert and overt military aid for Ukraine. For genocidal Donbas war. Ramped up full force. Including against noncombatant men, women and children.

According to a US official, "(o)ur first radars for the detection and suppression of mortar detachments have been already delivered there, with a few more expected soon." 

"We are also delivering military equipment and technology surplus, particularly, high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (Humvees) and other vehicles." 

"We have already allocated $100 million for these purposes and hope we will be able to spend tens of millions (more) on training (Ukrainian military personnel). We're discussing the provision of funds with Congress."

Other NATO countries are supplying military aid. Intending greater than ever Donbas area carnage.

Including against ethnic Russians. Allowing Donbas slaughter means Crimea is next, says Paul Craig Roberts.

Threatening Russia's security more than ever. Global wars start this way.

Hitler could have been stopped long before WW II began. Western nations did nothing to prevent his Austrian Anschluss. Sudetenland annexation.

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared "peace for our time."

Fools alone believed it. Wise men knew otherwise. Chamberlain returned from Munich. Waving Hitler's agreement. It wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Hitler knew it. Chamberlain pretended otherwise. So did others. Foolishly. Hard reality awaited. WW II followed. Tens of millions perished.

America is a much more formidable adversary. Does WW III loom? Will Russia not intervene in time to stop it? Pay too dear a price.

The time to act is now. Later may be too late. Conflicts once begun have a life of their own. The best way to defuse them is intervening before they spin out-of-control.

Given Washington inexorable drive East, its reckless hegemonic agenda, drawing a red line now is key to preventing greater conflict.

Will Russia step up to the plate and act? Will China join it cooperatively? America is a world-class bully. 

Beating up on defenseless adversaries. One after another. Russia and China allied match its might. Perhaps enough for an effective deterrent.

If Syria falls, Iran is next. If Kiev crushes Donbas resistance, expect NATO membership to follow. 

Putting US bases on Russia's borders. What Moscow categorically won't tolerate. The time to prevent it is now.

It bears repeating. Later may be too late. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine joining NATO depends on fulfilling membership criteria.

"Our policy is the same. The door is open for countries" wishing to join, he said.

"I remember the summit in Bucharest where we decided that Ukraine will become a member, and that decision still stands, of course, providing that Ukraine fulfills the criteria for membership and providing that Ukraine so will," he added.

Its illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko intends a referendum on accession.

Perhaps rigged like Ukraine's farcical presidential and parliamentary elections. Rubber-stamping regime policy.

Challenging Russia irresponsibly. Risking open conflict if accession plans go forward.

It bears repeating. The time to stop reckless policy is before it spins out-of-control. 

Ideally diplomatically. If unsuccessful by whatever it takes. Drawing a red line with teeth may be all that's needed.

Washington may think twice before confronting Russia belligerently. At least at this time.

Kiev's puppet government does nothing without US consent. For sure on war and peace issues. 

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov calls Ukraine's drive to join NATO hugely destabilizing.

"I'm sure that what the Ukrainian leadership announced will lead to further aggravation of the situation in Ukraine," he said.

"This will not ensure security in Ukraine and this will not improve the Ukrainian people's life."

"This is the result of illusions, the Ukrainian leaders and many people in the West live in, the illusions that the geopolitical Western game is all of this and people’s life is nothing."

"I regret that these leaders are enthralled by such illusions." They portend bad thing to follow. Fascists operate this way.

Their latest anti-Russian diktat intends removing any mention of Soviet Russia's Great Patriotic War (1941 - 45). Affecting Ukraine greatly. 

On Tuesday, Ukrainian National Memory Institute director Volodymy Vyatovich announced the decision, saying:

"…Soviet-era propaganda and primarily (mythology) about the Great Patriotic War" should be removed from textbooks and other educational materials.

No nation paid more dearly in lives lost and mass destruction than Soviet Russia. Its war effort contributed hugely to defeating Nazi Germany. 

Things might have turned out differently without it. Russian lower house State Duma International Committee chairman, Ivan Kvitka, denounced Kiev's increasing recklessness, saying:

"They have already denied their Soviet past. Now they are denying the feat of their fathers and grandfathers." 

"I don't think attempts to deny their own roots could bring Ukraine closer to Europe."

At "the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Ukraine had a population of about 41 million, whereas by the end of the war there were only 27 million people" left.

"More than ten million Ukrainians died defending their families, their homeland from fascism." 

"And Kiev wants its citizens to forget about this irreplaceable loss. No wonder the Nazi ideology is flourishing in the present-day Ukraine on such background."

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland called Kiev's wall under construction on its border with Russia unacceptable.

It "destroys the fate of people and their families," he said. "It is necessary to strengthen an idea of a 'Common European Home.' "

Illegitimate prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk calls the wall project and related facilities a step toward "Ukraine's integration into NATO."

"(B)ecause a state that doesn't control its border can't be a member of a defense bloc," he claims.

Kiev finds new ways to prove its pariah state status. Naked aggression against Donbas civilians explains best.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Systemic Injustice in America

Systemic Injustice in America

by Stephen Lendman

Monday's grand jury exoneration of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson didn't surprise. Injustice triumphed.

A previous article called justice in America a four-letter word. Killer cops mock it. Nearly always with impunity. A badge lets them brutalize and kill. 

Blacks, Latinos, ethnic minorities and Muslims suffer most. They're targets of choice. Police violence occurs multiple times daily across America.

In big cities. Small ones. Urban areas. Rural ones. Militarized police make their own rules. Operating extrajudicially.

Killing with impunity. On August 9, officer Darren Wilson murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown. In cold blood. Without probable cause.

Brown was unarmed. Posed no threat. Had no criminal record. An independent autopsy showed he was shot six times. 

Ferguson police lied. Claiming Brown's shooting followed an altercation he initiated. Saying he tried to grab officer Wilson's gun.

He wasn't close enough to do it. No powder burns on his hands, arms or body proved it. 

Forensic evidence showed Brown was either walking away from officer Wilson or had his hands raised in a "don't shoot" position. Eyewitnesses confirmed the same thing.

At the time, ACLU staff attorney Nusrat Choudhury said killing  Brown raised disturbing questions about how often police brutalize unarmed black and Latino men in America.

"(F)ar too often," she stressed. Rarely ever are cops held accountable. More on this below.

Obama failed to express outrage. Ignored systemic police violence and brutality in America. Nearly always with impunity.

Saying "we are a nation built on the rule of law. (W)e need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make."  

"There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed…"

Dismissively asking everyone protesting the grand jury's decision "to do so peacefully." Ludicrously "appeal(ing) to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur."  

"Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day," he said. Protecting privilege from beneficial social change. Equity and justice for all don't matter.

Obama lied claiming "enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades."

Jim Crow thrives. America is separate and unequal. Its human and civil rights record is by far the world's worst. 

Most unprincipled. Most dismissive of rule of law principles. Fundamental democratic values.

Responsible for virtually every crime imaginable and then some. More police state than democracy. More battleground than homeland.

Fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights don't matter. They're disappearing in plain sight. Cops have license to kill.

Anyone can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned for any reason or none at all. Others can be detained indefinitely. Uncharged. Untried. Denied due process and judicial fairness.

Innocence is no defense. Wilson's guilt didn't matter. Federal, state and local authorities operate extrajudicially.

On July 2, 1964, Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It was more hype than reality. Things today are worse than ever in modern times.

Johnson's statement at the time rang hollow. Calling Civil Rights Act legislation a "proud triumph."

"Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom," he said. 

They died for imperial lawlessness. More than ever today. Johnson didn't explain. Nor presidents succeeding him.

"Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities," he said. For America's rich, well-born and able alone. 

"Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders," he added. 

It's selectively given. America has the best democracy money can buy.

"We believe that all men are created equal," said Johnson. "Yet many are denied equal treatment."

The vast majority today. A select few benefit. At the expense of all others.

"We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights," said Johnson. Denied for America's most disadvantaged.

Rule of law principles are ignored. Democracy is pure fantasy. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Popular needs and rights go begging. For people of color most of all.

Public outrage followed Brown's exoneration. Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren was clear and unequivocal, saying:

"It’s difficult to see how anyone in the community can have faith in the system at this point: the failure to indict sends the clear message that it's open season on people of color." 

"All resistance must be viewed through that lens, and the focus must remain on the injustice of a white police officer getting away - yet again - with killing a young unarmed Black man." 

"We stand with the community in anger and in mourning. We stand with the people in the streets of Ferguson…" 

"(J)ust as the world stood with protesters in (Egypt's) Tahrir Square, in Gaza," and elsewhere. "The world must learn: Black lives matter."

ACLU Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said the following:

"The grand jury's decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown's tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters." 

"Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable."

"(W)e must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement."

Reflecting "us vs. them" injustice. A national disgrace. At federal, state and local levels.

Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven Hawkins stopped short of condemning injustice, saying:

"Today, a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in August."

"The community response to Mike Brown's death, and the response that is likely still to come, mark a pivotal moment in the human rights movement and in US history."

"It's a moment of passion, of frustration, and of activism."

"It's within this moment that officials in Ferguson and throughout the United States must stand up to ensure that each individual's human rights -including the right to freely express themselves in the form of peaceful protest - are respected, protected and fulfilled."

"Amnesty is calling upon law enforcement officers to facilitate peaceful protests."

"We are calling on them to bear in mind their role as partners and protectors of community, seeking to do no harm."

"We are calling on them to protect peaceful assemblies, even if a small minority tries to turn a peaceful protest into a violent one."

"That's what human rights looks like."

Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D. OH) expressed outrage saying:

"The Ferguson Grand Jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown is a miscarriage of  justice." 

"It is a slap in the face to Americans nationwide who continue to hope and believe that justice will prevail."

"This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that Black lives hold no value; that you may kill Black men in this country without consequences or repercussions."  

"This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of Black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America."  

"My heart goes out to Michael Brown's loved ones, and to the loved ones of all the Michael Browns we have buried in this country." 

Murdered by killer cops with impunity. Michael Brown's family expressed profound disappointment "that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions."

Family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said other legal options will be explored going forward.

Brown's family "do(esn't) trust this prosecutor. They never did from the beginning."

"And they are going to try to see if they can do something to get some positive change out of this because they understand this system needs to be changed."

A separate federal civil rights investigation into what happened remains ongoing. Officials claim evidence so far fails to support a case against Wilson.

Doing so must show intent to violate Brown's civil rights.

A second federal inquiry is examining whether Ferguson police violated fundamental civil rights protections.

Through excessive force. Searches and arrests. Treatment of detainees. Overall discriminatory practices.

Police in majority Black Ferguson employ a handful of minority officers only.

Brown's family may sue. Most likely under the so-called 1983 provision of federal civil rights law.

Probably claiming Wilson deprived Brown of his constitutionally guaranteed rights. While working as an officer "under cover of state law."

Proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" is required. Same as in criminal cases. Guilt would force Wilson to pay financial damages to Brown family members. 

Hardly just compensation for Michael's death. Losing a loved one matters most.

St. Louis prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch coordinated his efforts with White House and Department of Justice officials.

Denouncing public "speculation" of his version of what happened. Ignoring hard truths. They bear repeating.

Brown was unarmed. Posed no threat. Had no criminal record. An independent autopsy showed he was shot six times. 

Ferguson police lied. Irresponsibly blaming Brown for initiating an altercation. No evidence proved it. 

Truth is polar opposite. Politics trumped justice. America's judicial system works this way.

The American Bar Association (ABA) says grand juries review evidence to determine "whether there is probable cause to return an indictment." 

Critics say they rubber stamp prosecutorial aggressiveness. They have "extraordinary investigative powers." Developed since the 1950s. According to the ABA:

"This wide, sweeping, almost unrestricted power is the cause of much criticism." 

Prosecutors take full advantage of a rigged system they control. Manipulating proceedings for outcomes they want. 

Leaving targets unfairly vulnerable to indictments. Others like police officer Wilson unjustly exonerated.

The Fifth Amendment originally applied only to federal courts in criminal cases. Supreme Court rulings included states and municipalities. Under the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause. 

Grand juries originated during Britain's early history. Reflecting deep-rooted Anglo-American tradition. 

The process initially served to protect accused defendants from overly-zealous English monarchy prosecutions.

Though nominally independent, they only hear cases prosecutors choose. Able select witnesses. Exclude ones they wish. 

Grant discretionary immunity. Conduct virtually all questioning. Grand jury members may ask their own after witnesses testify.

Their job is solely to judge what prosecutors present. Decide if enough evidence warrants indictments or exonerations.

Proceedings are conducted in secret. No one may disclose what goes on. Unless ordered to do so judicially. 

Anyone may be subpoenaed. Must answer questions unless a specific privilege is claimed. Such as lawyer/client confidentiality or self-incrimination. 

Lawyers can't represent their clients while testifying. Double jeopardy doesn't apply to grand juries.

If prosecutors fail to get indictments, they need Criminal Division Attorney General permission to try again. Targets remain vulnerable.

Zealous prosecutors can charge defendants on rejected charges. Or new ones. The process can continue for years.

The ABA asks, "What protection does a target have against witnesses lying to the grand jury (perhaps for leniency on existing or threatened charges), or against the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence? None." 

Law Professor Mark Kadish says "grand jur(ies) (give) prosecutors extraordinary powers…" Providing "incredible pretrial and trial advantages…(E)specially where those powers are otherwise unavailable through authorized civil discovery tools."

Especially post-9/11. Prosecutors want grant jury indictments. Manipulate proceedings to get them. 

Leave targeted subjects vulnerable on their own. Or in the case of Darren Wilson, rig evidence for exoneration.

At fault is failed system. Rigged against justice. Convicting innocent victims. Exonerating killer cops.

Mocking judicial fairness. Denying equal protection for everyone. Showing contempt for rule of law principles.

Especially for America's most vulnerable. For sure not in Ferguson, MO Monday night.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hagel Sacking Suggests More War

Hagel Sacking Suggests More War

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, Pentagon controlled Stars and Stripes said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned under pressure. Code language for sacking.

"(A)fter bruising midterm elections. (A)mid mounting criticism of (Obama's) security and foreign policies."

Hawks want more wars than already. Stepped up belligerence in ongoing ones. In February 2013, Hagel succeeded Leon Panetta.

The former Obama CIA director/Clinton White House chief of staff sees an ongoing "30-year war." Beyond current theaters.

Obama erred, he said. He "lost his way." By not maintaining more US troops in Iraq, he believes. A residual force able to confront internal opposition.

By rejecting advice from top aides. Including himself. By failing to sufficiently arm anti-Assad forces sooner. With heavier weapons.

By not acting (based on Big Lies claiming) Assad used chemical weapons.

Panetta barely stopped short of urging troops on the ground in Syria. He questioned Washington's credibility. 

Especially with Obama in charge. His determination "to stick this out." 

He has "to jump in the ring and fight it out for the next two years," said Panetta.

Like other past and current Washington officials, he believes US imperial priorities matter most. Means justify ends.

Might justifies right. Regardless of harm to others. No matter the consequences. Hagel apparently wasn't uber-hawk enough.

It remains to be seen who replaces him. Administration sources said removing him came after weeks of discussions.

The New York Times said he "often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint…(W)as) widely viewed as…passive…"

Skeptical about Obama's Iraq war. Brought in "to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestrations."

Uncomfortable about stepped up war? Perhaps so. An unnamed administration official said "(t)he next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus."

Code language for more war. In Iraq and Syria. Maybe Iran. Perhaps confronting Russia over Ukraine. Arming its puppet government with heavy weapons. Covertly and overtly.

Violating Geneva and Minsk agreements. Risking all-out regional conflict. Perhaps global war if not stopped in time.

Was Hagel sacked to pursue the unthinkable? Who'll take the job to do what demands avoiding? According to The Times, possible replacements include:

Former Obama Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy. A key Panetta advisor. Highest ranking woman in Pentagon history.

Currently a Boston Consulting Group senior advisor. Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs senior fellow. Center for a New American Security (CNAS) board member.

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter. Serving as DOD's chief operating officer.

A former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. In five years of Pentagon service, he led two major national security strategy/budget reviews. Held its two key positions under the top job.

Senator Jack Reed (D. RI). A former House member. West Point graduate. His spokesman saying he's not interested. He "loves his job and does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other cabinet post," he said.

Other names mentioned include current Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work. Former Navy Secretary. Former marine achieving the rank of colonel. Current Nuclear Deterrent Enterprise Review Group chairman.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. Army Secretary John McHugh. Former Senator Joe Lieberman. 

The Times said "Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama's close circle…(W)as viewed as never gaining traction…"

(A)ter a bruising confirmation fight (with) former Senate colleagues…(F)or seeming tentative in responding to sharp questions."

Largely played number two to Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey. Critics said he failed to inspire confidence of Pentagon commanders. 

Had a propensity to commit gaffes. Like calling Islamic State fighters a "threat not just to the United States, but to the civilized world."

Confronting them "is a humanitarian issue of great consequence for all the world," he said. "And I think great powers understand they have responsibilities in this area."

In October, Hagel wrote a critical letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice. On administration Syrian policy. 

Warning it was in jeopardy. "(I)n danger" of unraveling. For failing to clarify intentions toward Assad.

Hagel was tight-lipped about his comments. Saying only:

"We owe the president and we owe the National Security Council our best thinking on this. And it has to be honest and it has to be direct."

"(F)ighting (in Syria) can go on for years and years to what end," he asked?

"It's in our interest not to have an unstable Middle East." Current threats must be managed while focusing on "longer-term strategies and objectives."

Hagel was exactly the kind of defense secretary Obama wanted, said The Times. One who wouldn't write a book criticizing  administration policy after leaving office.

He "spent his time…largely carrying out" Obama's wishes, said The Times. Including downsizing US Afghanistan forces. Waging Iraq war III. Bombing Syria.

His aides said he expected to serve throughout Obama's second term. It remains to be seen what agenda his successor follows.

Hagel focused heavily on administration Asian/Pacific policies. Military downsizing plans. He opposed the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

As a senator, he rejected containing Iran. Called sanctions ineffective. 

At the same time, said his "top priority" was planning military contingencies on Iran. Doing "whatever it takes" to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

In late August 2002, he confronted then Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking:

"What is going on here? You guys say you're not going to war. You're going to war! You're going to have to occupy Iraq for years."

"So why did we invade Iraq," he asked? I believe it was the triumph of the so-called neo-conservative ideology, as well as the Bush administration's arrogance and incompetence that took America into this war of choice." 

"This ideology presented a myopic vision of a democratic Middle East that would inject a large permanent American force presence in the region to act as the guarantor of a regional realignment." 

"They believed that by taking the relatively easy step of toppling Saddam, they could begin to realize this vision through the use of America's unequaled military power, thereby establishing America's preeminence in the Middle East and bolstering the defense of Israel." 

"They obviously made a convincing case to a president with very limited national security and foreign policy experience, who keenly felt the burden of leading the nation in the wake of the deadliest terrorist attack ever on American soil."

"It is shocking how little Congress or the media challenged the Bush administration."

He favored engaging Iran and Syria. Let their people decide their future.

Policymakers "took (their) eye off the ball on Afghanistan," he said. Overextended America's military presence.

He voted no on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists. Said Iraq under Saddam wasn't developing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Had no connection to Al-Qaeda. Was developing missiles. "(B)ut not to reach the US," he said.

He opposed military escalation in Iraq. Thought his job was ending ongoing wars. Not escalating them. Or launching new ones.

Perhaps that best explains his sacking. Obama continues multiple direct and proxy wars. 

After "agree(ing) (with allies and Kabul) that this is the year we will conclude our combat mission in Afghanistan," he authorized business as usual.

Through at least through 2015. Likely throughout his second term. Perhaps for another 13 years. Under presidents succeeding him.

America's longest war looks like its forever one. Other regional conflicts rage without end. Perhaps Hagel wanted none of it.

Voicing opposition to administration policy. Assuring he had to go. It remains to be seen who replaces him. 

What agenda will be followed. Whether rhetoric straightaway will explain. Odds favor more wars, not less. 

At a time most Americans want them ended. Not with Obama in charge. Or whoever succeeds him. 

Permanent war is longstanding US policy. No end of conflicts loom.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Deadlocked Iran Nuclear Tslks

Deadlocked Iran Nuclear Talks

by Stephen Lendman

Interim terms were agreed on last November. Subsequent talks remain deadlocked. 

Longstanding US/Israeli anti-Iranian hostility persists. Without just cause. Sabotaging chances for resolving things responsibly.

Hours remain before an agreed on midnight November 24 deadline.  Chances for resolving remaining issues by then are virtually zero.

Except perhaps claiming resolution on some things. Agreeing to extend talks on others. More on this below.

Negotiations never should have been held in the first place. Iran's program is entirely legitimate. With no military component. US intelligence says so annually.

Claims otherwise reflect red herring cover for long sought regime change. Washington deplores sovereign independent countries. 

Wants pro-Western stooge ones replacing them. Puppet regimes it controls. Taking full advantage. 

In Iran's case, controlling its enormous oil and gas reserves. Removing Israel's main rival. Aiding its regional hegemonic objectives.

In 1979, Iranians ended a generation of US-installed repressive Reza Shah Pahlavi rule. Replacing it with participatory Islamic Republic governance. 

Washington continues trying to control its policy. Subordinating it to Western interests. What Tehran fundamentally rejects.

Wanting strategic autonomy. Normalized relations with all countries. Mutual cooperation. International peace and stability.

Multi-world polarity. "Neither east nor west," according to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Words carved in stone at Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry entrance.

More relevant now in today's tumultuous world. Washington and Israel bear full responsibility. Rogue EU states share it.

Key is resolving things peacefully. The alternative risks potential unthinkable consequences. 

Things today are more perilous than any time in world history. Either we find a way to end destructive wars or they'll end us.

On November 22, Kerry commented from Vienna. Where talks were held, saying:

"We've been, obviously, having difficult talks here - complicated topic. We're working hard." 

"We hope we're making careful progress, but we have big gaps. We still have some serious gaps which we're working to close." 

"The good thing is the P5+1 are united and working in concert, and we're simply going to not say anything substantive about the discussions while they're going on."

Kerry's rhetoric is code language for deadlock on key issues. Ones reflecting fairness Iran deserves. 

What Washington rejects. Continuing longstanding anti-Iranian hostility. Begging the question whether normalization to any extent is possible.

America needs enemies. Real or invented. Used to advance its hegemonic agenda.

Waging one war after another. Plans readied to attack Iran years ago. Perhaps jointly with Israel.

Last March, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered preparations for possibly striking Iran. Unilaterally. At an estimated cost of nearly $3 billion.

IDF generals confirmed a clear directive. Targeting Iran's nuclear sites. Regardless of ongoing P5+1 talks.

At the time, Netanyahu said "letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates."

"That must not happen. And we will make sure it does not happen." Ya'alon is likeminded, saying:

"We think that the United States should be the one leading the campaign against Iran."

"But the US has entered talks with them and unfortunately, in the haggling in the Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better."

"Therefore, on this matter, we have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves."

On Sunday, Obama said "significant" negotiating gaps remain. Code language for Iran not unconditionally acceding to unreasonable US demands.

Key for Tehran is recognizing its legitimate nuclear program. No different from dozens of other countries. Treating it like all Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories.

Lifting lawless sanctions. Quickly. Permanently. Letting Iran enrich uranium. Like other nuclear states. Have enough centrifuges to advance its peaceful program.

The duration of any agreement reached. Terms of IAEA inspections. Iran's program is the world's most intensely monitored one.

Nuclear armed and dangerous US and Israeli programs aren't inspected. Despite posing a grave threat to world peace.

Normalizing Iranian/Western relations as much as possible is essential to avoid conflict. Ending over 35 years of hostility.

Obama categorically refuses. Showing America's intention is sabotaging talks. Maintaining business as usual. Perhaps intending a pretext for war.

On Thursday, Kerry said "(w)e are not talking about an extension. We are driving towards what we believe is the outline of an agreement that we think we can have."

Interim terms freezing much of Iran's program expires Monday night. Last July, talks scheduled to end then were extended.

Justified on progress made to that point. Despite significant disagreements remaining.

On Sunday, an unnamed Iranian negotiator said agreeing on remaining issues isn't possible by Monday's deadline.

On Sunday, Reuters suggested talks would be extended. Western officials named two possible options.

"Stop the clock." Let talks continue in a few weeks. Or formally extend them into 2015. Through midyear or longer.

After around 12 years of futility, it's hard imagining Washington softening its position.

It bears repeating. At issue isn't Iran's nuclear program. Known to be peaceful. 

It's regime change. Installing pro-Western stooge governance. Controlling Iran's enormous energy reserves. 

Exploiting its people. Eliminating Israel's main regional rival. Advancing America's imperium. 

What media scoundrels never explain. What Iran will never accept. Nor should it. Its sovereign independence is too precious to lose.

It made enormous negotiating concessions. Getting little back in return. It blames US-led Western nations for current deadlock. Justifiably.

It won't accede to over-the-top demands. Where things go from here remain to be seen.

Midday Monday Vienna time, Israeli media, AP and AFP said Western diplomats indicated extending talks. Based on weekend progress.

An Iranian source confirmed it. So did China's Xinhua. Saying talks will continue until July 1, 2015.

Negotiations will reconvene in December. Perhaps mid-month. At a yet-to-be-determined location. Possibly Vienna or Oman.

P5+1 foreign ministers discussed terms with their Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. 

He and Kerry held bilateral talks Sunday. Again Monday. Extending negotiations into next year was discussed. 

Aiming for broad agreement by March 1. Final details by July 1. Continuing talks through July 15. Maintaining sanctions throughout the period.

Neither side wants failure. For sure not Iran. It's gone all-out to resolve things equitably. 

It bears repeating. Washington is the main stumbling block. Along with Israel behind the scenes.

Netanyahu wants Iran's nuclear program entirely eliminated. Or at least reduced to a shadow of its current capacity.

"We must not dismantle sanctions before we dismantle Iran's (ability) to produce a nuclear bomb," he said.

Knowing no program exists to do so. No Iranian intent. Washington and Israel suggest otherwise. Big Lies consistently repeat.

Iran's Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Kezayee blames Washington for failure to resolve things, saying:

"The US and certain regional states are fully responsible in case no results are obtained and talks probably go nowhere."

Tehran tried everything to resolve remaining differences responsibly, he added. Failure shows Washington's real intent. 

Unreasonable US demands sabotaged talks. It's hard imagining America changing its position between now and next year.

Iranian officials said they'll turn to Beijing and Moscow if current talks fail. "Of course we have Plan B, one official said, adding:

Details "cannot (be) reveal(ed). (W)e have always had good relations with Russia and China."

"Naturally, if the nuclear talks fail, we will increase our cooperation with our friends and will provide them more opportunities in Iran's high-potential market."

"We share common views (with Russia and China) on many issues, including Syria and Iraq."

Iranian media confirmed Western reports about extending nuclear talks through midyear 2015. Press TV reported "major gaps" remaining between both sides.

Fars News said details on future talks are being negotiated. At the same time, no sanctions relief is expected.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Vladimir Putin discussed Vienna talks by phone.

Rohani will address Iranians Monday night on national television. Discussing P5+1 talks. Perhaps other issues.

Repeatedly he affirmed Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear development. Including uranium enrichment. Calling nuclear energy and technology inalienable Iranian rights.

What happens in resumed talks remains to be seen. Washington hardliners want war, not peace. Israeli zealots are likeminded.

It's hard imagining reconciliation ahead with extremists in both countries influencing policy. No matter how long talks continue.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.