Category Archives: Military

Abby Martin vividly dissects Hillary Clinton

Abby Martin, by esnl‘s light the best television journalist to come out of the San Francisco Bay Area, conducted the finest dissection of the diabolical nature of the candidate that is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

War-monger, corporateer par excellence, friend of Wall Street, and enemy of the environment. . .Clinton is all of these, and more.

From teleSUR English:

Empire Files: Abby Martin Exposes What Hillary Clinton Really Represents 

Program notes:

Digging deep into Hillary’s connections to Wall Street, Abby Martin reveals how the Clinton’s multi-million-dollar political machine operates.

This episode chronicles the Clinton’s rise to power in the 90s on a right-wing agenda, the Clinton Foundation’s revolving door with Gulf state monarchies, corporations and the world’s biggest financial institutions, and the establishment of the hyper-aggressive “Hillary Doctrine” while Secretary of State. Learn the essential facts about the great danger she poses, and why she’s the US Empire’s choice for its next CEO.

Torturing video leads to Mexican army mea culpa

Once again, a viral video forces a rare admission from a corrupt law enforcement agency, only this time it’s an army.

From Agence France-Presse:

The Mexican army made a rare public apology on Saturday over a scandal in which two soldiers and a policewoman tortured a terrified woman in a video that went viral.

It is just the latest allegation of abuse committed by security forces in Mexico, who are often accused of violent acts against civilians, including murder.

General Salvador Cienfuegos, the defense minister, read out the apology before 26,000 soldiers assembled at a military base in Mexico City.

“In the name of all of us who make up this great national institution, I offer my heartfelt apology to all in society wronged by this impermissible event,” Cienfuegos said.

More from the Associated Press:

But the video of a young woman having a rifle muzzle pressed to her head by a female military police officer and having a plastic bag placed over her head by a female federal police officer has stirred outrage. The incident occurred Feb. 5, 2015, in Ajuchitlan del Progreso in the southern state of Guerrero. The state has seen a massive deployment of soldiers and federal police to battle the drug cartels.

>snip<In the past, the military has assumed a much more defensive position when confronting allegations of abuse. The widely circulated video made that impossible.

“Unfortunately they only give these apologies when they have no choice, when there is no alternative because the images are irrefutably captured in a video,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. The usual reaction is to deny and even cover up incidents, he said. “The lesson that these soldiers and officers take away is not to take photographs much less leave evidence like a video.”

And still more from El Daily Post:

The female soldier asks her repeatedly during and after the torture, “Are you going to talk? Yes or no? Now do you remember?”

“Do you want more? Who is this damn María?”

As the suspect lies inert on the ground, the female soldier asks her “Do you remember now? Or do you want the bag again? Or water? Or (electric) shocks? Tell me what you want.”

The soldier, who also holds a rifle to the woman’s head after cocking it in her ear, has been arrested, along with an army captain, reports the EFE press agency.

Ajuchitlán is less than 11o miles from another city in Guerrero much in the news of late: Iguala, where 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in rural Ayotzinapa remain missing after their 26 September 2014 abduction [previously] by drug cartel members, backed by local and state police and possibly the army.

And here’s the video, via New ViralTime:

We have to wonder what happened to the soldier or cop who recorded the video, and that of the leaker. too.

And we suspect the ultimate change effected by the video’s release will be a new vigilance against the display of cell phones and cameras during future torture sessions.

Quote of the day: The definition of insanity

From Corey Robin, journalist, theorist, and political science professor at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, in an essay for Jacobin:

By his own admission, President “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars” made the same mistake in Libya that President “Mission Accomplished” made in Iraq. It’s almost as if that Best and the Brightest thing doesn’t always work out.

President Obama’s admission that his failure to plan for a post-reconstruction Libya was his greatest mistake — and his concomitant refusal to say that the intervention was a mistake — makes me wonder how many times a government gets to make the same “mistake” before we get to say that the mistake is no mistake but how the policy works.

I mean when you have a former University of Chicago Law School professor/former Harvard Law Review editor doing the exact same thing that his alleged ignoramus of a predecessor did in Iraq, when you see that the failure to plan for a post-intervention reconstruction is not a contingency but a bipartisan practice, don’t you start wondering about the ideology of intervention itself?

Japanese public rejects TPP, reactor restarts

And they also have great doubts about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Obama-pushed plan to turn their country into a regional military power.

Those are among the findings in a new poll reported by the government’s NHK television network, as reported by NHK WORLD.

When asked if they favored laws backing Abe’s security agenda, 48 percent disapproved and 42 percent approved.

Asked about restarting the reactors that had been producing about a third of the nation’s electricity, 18 percent of poll respondents said yes, 43 percent said no, and 33 percent said they’re uncertain.

But the lowest numbers came when they were asked if they supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade agreement pushed by Washington, Abe, and the governments of ten other Pacific Rim nations, only one if twenty five gave it a thumbs up.

Democratic Republic of Congo, a story of tragedy

For five centuries, Western nations and empires viewed the Congo as the source of vital raw materials: First slaves, then rubber, and now minerals, including those needed to keep the American war machine running.

Before the mass murders of European Jews, the 20th Century witnessed another genocide, the slaughter of slaves under Belgian King Leopold II, who held the country as his personal property and whose regime as estimated 10 million Congolese perished in a ruthless drive to produce rubber at the dawn of the automobile age — a story told with brilliant and compassionate precision in King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild, a scholar now on the faculty at the Graduate School of Journalism here in Berkeley.

The West has maintained its oppressive grasp on the Congo, though now through puppets who make deals with the new empires of the age, multinational corporations back by American military might and the dark doings of its intelligence agencies.

The tragic plight of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] is the subject of the latest episode of The Empire Files, the superb series on teleSUR English hosted by Abby Martin, a fine journalist who began her television journalism on Berkeley Community Cable.

Her interview subject is Kambale Musavuli, a native of the DRC who studied engineering at North Carolina A&T University and now serves as a human rights advocate and  Student Coordinator and National Spokesperson for the Friends of the Congo.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: Empires Feed on Congo’s Treasure

Program notes:

Every drone flown by the U.S. military has inside a piece of the Democratic Republic of the Congo–a valuable mineral, of which the DRC has trillions of dollars worth buried underground.

For five centuries, the continent of Africa has been ravaged by the world’s Empires for its vast untapped treasure. Today, the U.S. Empire is increasing it’s military role through their massive command network, AFRICOM, carrying out several missions a day.

With the Congo being arguably the biggest prize for imperialist powers, Abby Martin is joined by Kambale Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, to look at Empire’s role in their history and current catastrophe.

Disturbing parallels and censorship on campus

Israel is marching down a road well-trodden in Europe, the notion of a state composed of an elite destined to create a Greater State by driving out or eliminating the Other, those defined in terms that increasingly echo those uttered decades earlier in Europe.

But to accomplish this, the State of Israel needs to define those who oppose its policies as not anti-Israel but as racist.

Now certainly there are a fair number of folks who oppose the Israeli government who are racists, some of them with murderous intent.

But there are also a goodly number of Jews, especially in the United States, who don’t share the eliminationist sentiments of many in the Israel government.

One of the most effective measures used in recent decades to oppose oppressive governments has been the creation of boycotts and movements calling for divestment of investments in that state, along with official governmental sanctions.

A white minority government in South Africa brutally repressing black South Africans was brought to heel by similar movements after actions by Africans, some of them violent, failed to end the Apartheid regime.

Most nations of the world oppose the brutal repression and occasional open and overwhelming warfare used by the Israeli state to continue to suppress the people from whom that land that comprises the Israel state was seized by force of arms.

But Ziocons, the conservative Zionists who have come to dominate the argument in the United States, in part because of their influence with both major parties, have sought to criminalize and otherwise sanction legitimate actions of opposition to Israeli policies by American citizens and non-citizen residents.

Their goal is nothing less than creating a statutory equivalence between active, nonviolent opposition to the Israeli government and the loathesome antisemitism of the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

The most recent convert to this form of extremism is the Board of Regents of the University of California., voting last month to declare anti-Zionism unacceptable on college campuses.

But support for the measure had been dwarfed by opposition before the measure was enacted, as the Los Angeles Times reported a weak earlier:

One letter signed by more than 130 UC faculty members supported naming anti-Zionism as an expression of anti-Semitism, saying students need guidance on “when healthy political debate crosses the line into anti-Jewish hatred, bigotry and discrimination, and when legitimate criticism of Israel devolves into denying Israel’s right to exist.”

But another letter from more than 250 UC professors expressed fear that the proposed statement would restrict free speech and academic freedom to teach, debate and research about the complex and tumultuous history of Israel and the Zionist movement.

In a 23 March post for the Intercept, Robert Mackey described the rationale for adoption voiced by one of the Regents:

Before the vote on Wednesday, Bonnie Reiss, the vice chairwoman of the Board of Regents, argued that students opposed to Israeli policies, and those questioning the state’s unequal treatment of non-Jews, had fostered a dangerous environment for Jewish students by supporting the effort to pressure Israel to change its policies through a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions, known as BDS.

It was necessary for the university to address anti-Semitism, Resiss said, because “members of the Muslim Student Association or Palestinians for Justice groups… that are anti-Israel have brought BDS resolutions” which have “created emotional debates.”

“Anti-Semitic acts against many in our Jewish community have resulted from the emotions over the debates over the BDS-Israel resolutions,” she insisted, without citing evidence of the linkage.

That the backlash against Israel on college campuses might be caused not by unreasoning hatred but by Israeli actions — like the ongoing blockade of Gaza, punctuated by three rounds of punishing airstrikes in the past seven years, the building of illegal, Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank, or the refusal to recognize the rights of Palestinians driven from their homes in 1948 to ever return — seems not to have occurred to students, faculty or politicians whose support for the Jewish state is unquestioning.

But not all Jews agree with the equivalence, as with journalist and author Max Blumenthal, interviewed here by Nadia Kanji for The Real News Network:

The Israel Lobby’s Growing Assault on Free Speech

From the transcript:

KANJI: So I wanted to ask you about this, because in the US, First Amendment free speech rights are one of the strongest in the world. In Canada there are hate speech laws which make it a sort of different ball game. So is there precedent for how they could go about attacking BDS by calling it hate speech, sort of like they’re trying to do in Canada right now?

BLUMENTHAL: Well, the precedent lies in other countries that have less protection for free speech, which really reveals the pro-Israel lobby as the greatest threat to free speech in the West. They’ve already triumphed in France through the Alliot memorandum, named after the former French justice minister, which is still enforced and has resulted in scores of pro-BDS organizers being brought to trial for their speech, for organizing in support of Palestinian equal rights. In the UK you’re seeing the conservative Cameron government attempt to pressure local town counsels, actually to forbid local town counsels from exercising their democratic right to divest from companies who do business in occupied Palestinian territory, and weapons companies. They’re basically attempting to prevent them from enacting other progressive measures.And you can see the smears of Jeremy Corbyn, and how Israel is being instrumentalized to break down progressive social movements across the West. In Canada, where you mentioned that there are hate speech laws, the government of Liberal Justin Trudeau has joined with the Conservatives to condemn BDS in an official resolution, condemning it as a form of anti-Semitic hate speech. [crosstalk] And so–

KANJI: [interceding]–Yeah, well he actually called it the new form of anti-semitism.

BLUMENTHAL: Yeah. Which is just, as I’ve said before, it’s absolutely disgusting, because they’re actually setting parameters on who can be a Jew. Now, what they’re doing in the US to limit speech and to create a free speech exception around Palestine is to force, attempt to force universities and even state houses to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that does away with traditional definitions of anti-Semitism which define it as discrimination against Jews as Jews, and re-orient it into discrimination against Israel, which is held up as the sole representative of world Jewry, according to this definition. It’s been conceived by an Israeli politician of the Likud party who’s a supporter of the settlement enterprise named Natan Sharansky, and he calls it the three-Ds definition, which is delegitimization and demonization of Israel. If you criticize Israel you’re an anti-Semite, according to this definition, and the pro-Israel lobby in the US has already forced the State Department to adopt this definition, and the University of California’s regents have just adopted the same definition, defining anti-Semitism as, defining anti-Zionism, a political perspective which is gaining in popularity among many Jews, I’m an anti-Zionist, as a form of anti-Semitism.So if an anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite, then who is a Jew? According to this definition a Jew is necessarily a supporter of Israel, and anyone who stands outside those narrow ideological confines is not a Jew. So Gentile authorities, under pressure from the pro-Israel lobby, are defining what it means to be a Jew. That’s how dangerous it is. Beyond the free speech implications it has implications for the future of Jewish political organizing, and I think we’re going to see this division among Jews in the US grow much more stark, in a much more stark direction.

Quote of the day: It’s not like a video game

From Rory Fanning, former Army Ranger turned anti-war activist, writing in  Jacobin about a talk he gave to Chicago-area high school students:

“Is the military like Call of Duty?” one of the students asks, referring to a popular single-shooter video game.

“I’ve never played,” I respond. “Does it include kids who scream when their mothers and fathers are killed? Do a lot of civilians die?”

“Not really,” he says uncomfortably.

“Well, then it’s not realistic. Besides, you can turn off a video game. You can’t turn off war.”

A quiet settles over the room that even a lame joke of mine can’t break. Finally, after a silence, one of the kids suddenly says, “I’ve never heard anything like this before.”