Category Archives: Military

Quote of the day II: Hillary, just another killer


The hand of American imperialism is covered in blood, and Hillary Clinton is well suited to picked up the sanguinary presidential gauntlet.

From journalist John Pilger, writing at his website:

Since 1945, some 69 countries – more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – have suffered some or all of the following. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed. The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. With the demise of the European empires, this has been the project of the liberal flame carrier, the “exceptional” United States, whose celebrated “progressive” president, John F Kennedy, according to new research, authorised the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962.

“If we have to use force,” said Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton and today a passionate campaigner for his wife, “it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”

One of Hillary Clinton’s most searing crimes was the destruction of Libya in 2011. At her urging, and with American logistical support, NATO, launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, according to its own records, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. See the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the UNICEF report on the children killed, “most [of them] under the age of ten”.

In Anglo-American scholarship, followed slavishly by the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic, influential theorists known as “liberal realists” have long taught that liberal imperialists – a term they never use – are the world’s peace brokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified “failed states” (nations difficult to exploit) and “rogue states” (nations resistant to western dominance).

Headline of the day: Bibi rattles his saber again


From the Guardian, an ex-nightclub bouncer from Moldova gets a leg up:

Israeli PM asks Avigdor Lieberman to be defence minister in shock move

One of Israel’s most outspokenly hawkish and divisive political figures, the ultranationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman, has been offered the post of defence minister.

A rare glimpse inside a dictator’s prison camps


Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte reigned as  dictator of Chile amd commander of its armed forces between 1973 and 1990, seizing power in an 11 September 1973 American-backed coup that ended in the death of the first elected Marxist president in Latin America, Salvador Allende.

The 11 September date of the Pinochet’s coup would lead some CIA analysts to believe initially that the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon had been carried out by Chileans as retribution for the earlier coup, in which then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had played a key role.

As many as 3,000 people were executed in the course of the coup itself, tens of thousands were tortured, and thousands more were “disappeared.”

Some of those who vanished first passed through concentration camps, and thanks to a rare video we now have a glimpse inside two of those camps, thanks to an East German camera crew.

From Journeyman Pictures:

Inside Pinochet’s Prisons: The horrifying story of what went on inside General Pinochet’s secret prisons.

Program notes:

In September 1973 Augusto Pinochet, backed by America, overthrew Chile?s Marxist but democratically elected government. Under his direct orders the Chilean secret police erected vast prison camps to detain left wing sympathisers. No-one was safe – doctors, lawyers, trade unionists and Communists were all rounded up in the night. Held without trial in Pinochet’s prisons they were brutally tortured and many executed; an attempt by Pinochet to stamp his ideological mark on the consciousness of a nation. Dressed in his pristine white military jacket Pinochet chillingly told the camera, “Marxism is like a ghost, it’s very difficult to catch – even impossible to trap.”

As the numbers of Chileans arrested and imprisoned grew into hundreds of thousands their communist allies watched in horror. The media was banned from Pinochet’s prisons, but the crew behind this film was working with East Germany’s Stasi intelligence services. They managed to persuade Pinochet to allow them into two of the camps. Operating on Western passports they made 2 visits, pretending they were producing Western-backed propaganda. It was a classic case of the cold war double-bluff. Though their permits said they could visit the camps, but not speak to the prisoners, incredibly the prison authorities missed that vital information.

Out of the desert camp come the faces of frightened men ‘ uncertain of the future Pinochet had in store for them. One by one they tell their stories to the camera. Some admit they are politically active, others say they were arrested for reasons as simple as having studied in Cuba. Some are old people, some are women. None know what charges they face, or when they will come to trial. The camp doctor describes the neurosis and mental illness suffered by the prisoners who can only imagine the worst of fates. Young men in particular are forced through ‘re-education’ and the camera captures groups of them marching and singing military songs.

Many prisoners had been held at the National Stadium many miles away. The survivors were the lucky ones. The film crew secretly captured what went on there with telephoto lenses. The powerful images show men kneeling with their hands in the air, being kicked and beaten with the butts of soldiers’ guns. Others show men being marched into the stadium stripped naked with blankets over their heads, their fate probably electric torture or death by firing squad. They only hint at the full horrific story of a cleansing of leftist sympathisers.

A transcript of the film is posted here.

A must-watch: Requiem for the American Dream


The definitive Noam Chomsky video, featuring an extended interview conducted over four years in which he outlines his view of the state of American democracy.

And do set it to high resolution and full screen.

Requiem for the American Dream

The synopsis from IMDB:

REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM is the definitive discourse with Noam Chomsky, widely regarded as the most important intellectual alive, on the defining characteristic of our time – the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few. Through interviews filmed over four years, Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality – tracing a half century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority – while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation. Profoundly personal and thought provoking, Chomsky provides penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time – the death of the middle class, and swan song of functioning democracy. A potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed, REQUIEM is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future.
– Written by Jared P. Scott

Using interviews filmed over four years, Noam Chomsky discusses the deliberate concentration of wealth and power found in the hands of a select few.

Release date: January 29, 2016 (USA)

Directors: Kelly Nyks, Jared P. Scott, Peter D. Hutchison
Music composed by: Malcolm Francis
Screenplay: Kelly Nyks, Jared P. Scott, Peter D. Hutchison
Producers: Kelly Nyks, Jared P. Scott, Peter D. Hutchison
Cinematography: Rob Featherstone, Michael McSweeney

A remarkable interview with a great journalist


If any single journalist embodies the finest traditions of American reportage, it’s Seymour Hersh, the son of East European immigrants who rose to the heights of his calling and continues to break major stories at the age of 79.

His latest book, The Killing of Osama Bin Laden, exposes the lies of the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used to conceal the reality of the extrajudicial murder of Pakistani political prisoner Osama bin Laden.

In this wide-ranging interview by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, Hersch answers questions not only about the killing of America’s most wanted man, but also about the dark side of America’s war on Syria, the duplicity of American politicians, covert operations, and the nature of journalism itself.

It’s the finest interview of Hersch we’ve even seen, and it’s well worth your time.

From TYT Interviews:

Seymour Hersh Interview With The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur

Program notes:

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks interviews the premier investigative journalist of his generation, Seymour Hersh. Seymour Hersh is the author of ten books, including his latest, titled “The Killing of Osama Bin Laden.” Read some of Seymour Hersh’s work http://www.newyorker.com/contributors…

In this TYT interview Seymour Hersh and Cenk Uygur cover a range of topics, including:

  • Why did the Osama bin Laden operation go down the way it did? Why not take him alive? Should the perpetrators – from Seal Team 6 to Obama himself-be prosecuted for murder?
  • The politics around the death of Osama bin Laden.
  • Why were Osama bin Laden’s wives never questioned by US interrogators?
  • Oil’s impact on foreign policy, in particular Turkey and ISIS.
  • Conspiracy theories and the U.S. government spying on the public.
  • How he became an investigative reporter and developed his style and approach.
  • His thoughts on the state of investigative journalism today.
  • What benefit does the US get from our alliance with Saudi Arabia? What about Israel?
  • What do you think was Saudi Arabia’s involvement in planning and funding the 9/11 attacks?
  • What is the US objective in Syria? Do we have any hope of accomplishing it?

Follow Seymour Hersh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeymourHersh
Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CenkUygur

Cold War revival continues in Europe and Asia


Following up on yesterday’s post about the Obama administration’s preliminary moves to sell arms to Vietnam as the latest example of the White House effort to ensure a bellicose legacy rivaling that of previous Republican administrations, a story from Reuters:

Vietnam hosts a defense symposium this week attended by top American arms manufacturers, ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama and as Washington weighs whether to lift an arms embargo on its former enemy.

Secrecy has surrounded the event staged by the communist country and attended by firms including Boeing (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N). It coincides with the biggest arms buildup in the country since the Vietnam War.

There has been no mention in state-controlled media and defense reporters are not covering the forum. Efforts by Reuters to gain permission to attend have been unsuccessful and Vietnam’s defense ministry could not be reached for comment.

>snip<

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute think-tank, which tracks defense trade over five-year periods, Vietnam’s total arms imports during 2011-2015 represented a 699 percent jump from 2006-2010.

The World Socialist Web Site adds some context:

On Tuesday, in an open military provocation, the Obama administration authorised the US Navy to send a guided-missile destroyer into the 12-nautical-mile territorial zone surrounding Chinese-held Fiery Cross Reef, located in the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea. The operation was carried out on the fraudulent pretext of “freedom of navigation”—that is, the assertion by US imperialism that it has the right to send its military forces anywhere it chooses, at any time, in Chinese-claimed waters.

Yesterday’s action achieved its real aim of ratcheting up military tensions in the Asia-Pacific. The Chinese military responded by scrambling at least two J-11 fighter jets. Chinese pilots reportedly issued warnings to the American destroyer, the USS William P. Lawrence, to leave Chinese territory or face engagement. The Chinese Navy dispatched three warships, but there have been no reports that the rival vessels came into contact.

These developments represent a sharp escalation. The US Navy carried out a “freedom of navigation” mission last October in Chinese-claimed waters around Subi Reef in the South China Sea and a second operation in January, near Triton Island in the Paracel Island chain. On those occasions, China did not react militarily but issued strongly-worded diplomatic protests. The response to the intrusion near Fiery Cross Reef indicates that, from this point on, US provocations will be engaged by Chinese forces, posing the danger of a military clash.

Fiery Cross Reef is one of the most sensitive of all the disputed territories. It has been held by China since 1988, but is still claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan. Tensions have grown since 2011 as a result of the US “pivot to Asia” and Washington’s development of closer military ties with Vietnam and the Philippines.

And then there’s that other — and primary — Cold War adversary, no longer proclaiming allegiance to the Marxism that China and Vietnam still espouse.

The latest provocation from BBC News:

Russia’s foreign ministry says US activation of a European missile defence shield in Romania, scheduled for Thursday, violates a treaty on nuclear forces.

A ministry statement quoted by Interfax news agency said it was a breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987.

The US says the Aegis system is a shield to protect Nato from long-range missiles and is no threat to Russia.

Romania is hosting part of the system.

A ceremony will be held at a Nato airfield in Deveselu, southern Romania, on Thursday to mark the start of Aegis operations there.

Meet the Brave New World, same as the old one, with defense contractors the primary beneficiaries of both.

Obama prepares to escalate cold war with China


While China and Vietnam are both nominally communist states, they’re also nations which have been fighting each other off and on since Romans were fighting Gauls.

The last war broke out in 1979, a few years after Vietnam had witnessed the departure of the last U.S. troops, then continued to flare up until 1990.

As China, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam jockey for position in the seas along China’s coast with its newly discovered oil and mineral resources, the United States, already supporting new military force expansions by Japan and the Philippines, may be preparing to provide arms to that country that forced America’s military to stand down four decades ago.

From New Europe:

The US President Barack Obama is considering lifting an arms embargo put on Vietnam three decades ago. This step goes in line with the Obama’s policy towards strengthening relations with Hanoi against a backdrop of China’s increasing military abilities in the region.

The discussion on whether to lift the embargo can be taken before the American President historical visit to Vietnam later this month as two countries continue to seek better ties. In 2014, the US had already partially lifted its ban on the provision of lethal arms to Vietnam linking it to the improved human rights record in the country.

However, even if the embargo were lifted in the short run, a decision, which requires the approval of the Congress, it would not mean that Vietnam is allowed to buy all types of weapons, say the experts. The US could use human rights record, which is poor in Vietnam, and reject specific applications.

Moreover, if the US President opts in favour of removing the ban, such a decision will anger a more assertive China, who postured its military in the South China Sea and is also in conflict with the other US ally the Philippines.