and what sustains this violence?

The Rhetoric of Violence

At least nine people were killed and at least 35 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday police announced that a man had been arrested on charges of firing on a number of motorists recently, wounding three of them, on Kansas City-area highways. On April 13 three people, including a child, were murdered at two Jewish-affiliated facilities in Overland Park, Kan., leading to the arrest of a white supremacist. On April 12, armed militias in Nevada got the federal government to retreat, allowing rancher Cliven Bundy to continue to graze his cattle on public land. All this happened over a span of only nine days in the life of a country where more than 250 people are shot every day. In America, violence and the threat of lethal force are the ways we communicate. Violence—the preferred form of control by the state—is an expression of our hatred, self-loathing and lust for vengeance. And this bloodletting will increasingly mark a nation in terminal decline.

Violence, as H. Rap Brown said, is “as American as cherry pie.” It has a long and coveted place in U.S. history. Vigilante groups including slave patrols, gunslingers, Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts detectives, gangs of strikebreakers, gun thugs, company militias, the White Citizens’ Council, the Knights of the White Camellia, and the Ku Klux Klan, which boasted more than 3 million members between 1915 and 1944 and took over the governance of some states, formed and shaped America. Heavily armed mercenary paramilitaries, armed militias such as the Oath Keepers and the anti-immigration extremist group Ranch Rescue, along with omnipotent and militarized police forces, are parts of a seamless continuation of America’s gun culture and tradition of vigilantism. And roaming the landscape along with these vigilante groups are lone gunmen who kill for money or power or at the command of their personal demons.

Vigilante groups in America do not trade violence for violence. They murder anyone who defies the structures of capitalism, even if the victims are unarmed. The vigilantes, often working with the approval and sometimes with the collusion of state law enforcement agencies, are rarely held accountable. They are capitalism’s shock troops, its ideological vanguard, used to break populist movements. Imagine that, if instead of right-wing militias, so-called “ecoterrorists”—who have never been found responsible for taking a single American life—had showed up armed in Nevada. How would the authorities have responded if those carrying guns had been from Earth First? Take a guess. Across U.S. history, hundreds of unarmed labor union members have been shot to death by vigilante groups working on behalf of coal, steel or mining concerns, and thousands more have been wounded. The United States has had the bloodiest labor wars in the industrialized world. Murderous rampages by vigilante groups, almost always in the pay of companies or oligarchs, have been unleashed on union members and agitators although no American labor union ever publicly called for an armed uprising. African-Americans, too, have endured a vigilante reign of terror, one that lasted for generations after the Civil War.

Maggie’s Farm: Shocking Film of Extremist Training

Here’s a video of a heinous “material supporter” of violent Islamist extremism, brazenly pledging to give millions of dollars to armed “holy warriors” fighting to overthrow a secular government. This shocking footage shows us some of the deepest roots of the sectarian violence raging across the globe today — untold mountains of cash and arms shovelled to some of the most violent, retrograde religious gangs in the world by the leaders and war profiteers of the Western world and their economic cronies in Saudi Arabia. And this destructive dynamic is still going strong, still spreading death, destruction and hatred, most notably in Libya, Syria and Iraq. (Via the Angry Arab)

Or as Khurram Zaki, who posted the video, puts it:

Watch how the “free world” supported the same group of people (the “mujahideen”) along with notorious dictators they are fighting with right now to “free the world”. That is how they imposed the extremist ideology upon us in the name of “Jihad” only to later confront it with the name of war against “terror”. Check how a so-called “secular”, “liberal” state invoked the name of God and religion again and again only to further their strategic interests in the region.

“You left a godless country because you refused to live under a godless communist system which is trying to destroy your religion,; [know that] the hearts of the Free World are with you.” -Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, on a visit to the border with Afghanistan, during a state visit to Pakistan, 1981

Link to the video here.


DoD Directive Used Duplicity to Hide Current Use of SERE Torture Techniques in Interrogations

According to the Senate report, SERE-derived techniques included “the facial slap, walling, the abdomen slap, use of water, the attention grasp, and stress positions,” in addition to “use of smoke, shaking and manhandling, cramped confinement, immersion in water or wetting down, and waterboarding.” Many of these techniques also were used by the CIA in its so-called “enhanced interrogation program,” but were not the subject of the Senate Armed Services Committee investigation. They are, however, said to be a key aspect of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s program.

Along with the techniques listed by SASC, a separate but complementary set of procedures included “tactics derived from JPRA SERE school lesson plans… designed to ‘induce control, dependency, complia[n]ce, and cooperation,’ including isolation or solitary confinement, induced physical weakness and exhaustion, degradation, conditioning, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, disruption of sleep and biorhythms, and manipulation of diet.”

These “control” techniques ultimately formed an essential part of the military’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program. After the CIA’s “high-value detainees” were sent to Guantanamo in summer 2006, a new Army manual on interrogation introduced a special technique “restricted” to non-POW detainee “enemy combatants,” like those held at Guantanamo.

Titled “Separation” in Appendix M of the Army Field Manual 2-22.3 on interrogations, it was never one technique, but a collection of detention treatment procedures meant to disorient and break down prisoners using a combination of isolation (solitary confinement), modified forms of sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation, in addition to dietary and environmental manipulations, so long as they were not deemed “extreme.”

Yet the new interrogation techniques were so rough they required the presence of medical professionals, “in the event a medical emergency occurs,” according to the manual.

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‘In the little moment that remains to us between the crisis and the catastrophe….’

Ukraine and the grand chessboard

Ukraine is for all practical purposes broke. The Kremlin’s consistent position for the past three months has been to encourage the European Union to find a solution to Ukraine’s dire economic mess. Brussels did nothing. It was betting on regime change to the benefit of Germany’s heavyweight puppet Vladimir Klitschko, aka Klitsch The Boxer.

Regime change did happen, but orchestrated by the Khaganate of Nulands – a neo-con cell of the State Department and its assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nulands. And now the presidential option is between – what else – two US puppets, choco-billionaire Petro Poroshenko and “Saint Yulia” Timoshenko, Ukraine’s former prime minister, ex-convict and prospective president. The EU is left to pick up the (unpayable) bill. Enter the International Monetary Fund – via a nasty, upcoming “structural adjustment” that will send Ukrainians to a hellhole even grimmer than the one they are already familiar with.

Once again, for all the hysteria propagated by the US Ministry of Truth and its franchises across the Western corporate media, the Kremlin does not need to “invade” anything. If Gazprom does not get paid all it needs to do is to shut down the Ukrainian stretch of Pipelineistan. Kiev will then have no option but to use part of the gas supply destined for some EU countries so Ukrainians won’t run out of fuel to keep themselves and the country’s industries alive. And the EU – whose “energy policy” overall is already a joke – will find itself with yet another self-inflicted problem.

The EU will be mired in a perennial lose-lose situation if Brussels does not talk seriously with Moscow. There’s only one explanation for the refusal: hardcore Washington pressure, mounted via the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Dangerous Neocon-R2P Alliance

But an oddly discordant note was sounded in the Washington Post of all places. On Thursday, correspondent Anthony Faiola reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom he interviewed said the unrest was driven by fear over “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder.

“At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund,” Faiola reported.

In other words, even as Kerry, the neocons and the R2Pers blame only the Russians for the unrest in the east, a rare case of actual reporting from the scene finds a more realistic explanation, that many people in eastern Ukraine feel disenfranchised by the violent overthrow of their candidate Yanukovych and are frightened at the prospects of soaring heating bills and other cuts in their already austere lifestyles.

As for President Obama — as a timid “realist” — he has played his typical double game. He responded to the pro-Kiev bias of Official Washington by piling on with angry denunciations of Putin, but – recognizing the painful consequences that would come from a full-blown confrontation with Russia – Obama authorized negotiations to reduce tensions, an agreement that was announced on Thursday in Geneva.

Yet, even if the Ukrainian crisis is gradually walked back from the edge, I’m told that lasting damage has been done to the working relationship that had developed, behind the scenes, between Obama and Putin, collaboration that helped avert a U.S. war on Syria and hammered out a compromise to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.

We Cannot Still Ignore the Perils of Intervention

Western media has focused obsessively on how far pro-Russian militiamen in east Ukraine obey orders from the Kremlin, but such attention obscures a more significant feature of the Ukrainian political landscape. Every election in Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 has shown that the country is almost equally divided between pro-Russians and pro-Westerners with each side capable of winning closely fought elections. Pretending that the revolt in east Ukraine is phony and stage-managed by Russia is dangerous self-deception.

Different though Ukraine is from Iraq and Afghanistan there are some ominous similarities in the Western involvement in all three countries. The most important of these common features is that each country is deeply divided and to pretend otherwise is to invite disaster. In 2001, most Afghans were glad to see the back of the Taliban, but the Taliban and the Pashtun community – some 42 per cent of the Afghan population – in which the Taliban are rooted could not be successfully disregarded or marginalised. Creating a government dominated by the old anti-Taliban Northern Alliance leaders automatically destabilised the country.

Much the same happened in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein and his predecessors, the Sunni community, some 20 per cent of Iraqis, had held the crucial levers of power at the expense of the Shia Arabs and Kurds, four-fifths of the population. The fall of Saddam meant an ethnic and sectarian revolution was inevitable but the US and British belief that the only people angry and dispossessed in Iraq in 2003 were criminalised remnants of the old regime, wholly underestimated the danger of a Sunni revolt.

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He might not be the risen Christ…

as Saker almost suggests, but he does seem a more apt leader for a multi-polar world, guided by international law, than do the current gunslingers in DC and Europe.  Putin, that is.

Some say socialism will save us, some say enlightened capitalism, some say libertaranism, some say anarchism.  From pollution, lack of resources, inequality.  I don’t know; I suspect we’re headed for an experimental mix.  I do seriously doubt that a winner-take-all is going to be our ultimate choice but our US yahoos apparently don’t want to go down without taking a lot of us with them.

What is happening today before our eyes is the end of one international system and the birth of a qualitatively different one

So this is the Russian end-goal: to unseat the USA from its role as a world hegemon.  And that goal implies a much longer, bigger and more sustained effort that just force the freaks in Kiev to the negotiating table.  Among other things, this goal implies that Russia must:

1) Force the Europeans to fully realize the outrageous price they are paying for being the obedient and silent vassals of the USA and slowly drive a wedge between the USA and Europe.

2) Force the USA to admit that it does not have the military might to punish or, even less so, “regime change” anybody they don’t like.

3) Encourage China and other Asian powers to openly stand with Russia in demanding that international law be adhered to by the West.

4) Gradually replace the dollar with other currencies in international trade and thereby slow down the financing of the US debts by the rest of the planet.

5) Create the conditions for Latin America and Africa to be able to make choices about its future and replace the current monopoly enjoyed by the West in setting the terms of North-South relations.

6) Present another civilizational model which openly reject the current Western paradigm of a society run by small and arrogant minorities.

7) Challenge the current liberal and capitalist economic order embodied in the Washington Consensus and replace it by a model of social and international solidarity (call it “21 century socialism” if you want).

The Ukraine Imbroglio and the Decline of the American Empire

There is no denying that America’s uniquely informal empire, without settler colonies, expanded headlong across the globe during and following World War Two.  It did so thanks to having been spared the enormous and horrid loss of life, material devastation, and economic ruin which befell all the other major belligerents, Allied and Axis.  To boot, America’s mushrooming “military-industrial complex” overnight fired the Pax Americana’s momentarily unique martial, economic, and soft power.

By now the peculiar American Empire is past its apogee.  Its economic, fiscal, social, civic, and cultural sinews are seriously fraying.  At the same time the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and Iran are claiming their place in the concert of world powers in which, for a good while, one and all will play by the rules of a new-model mercantilism in a globalizing soit-disant “free market” capitalist economy.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Though largely subliminal, the greater the sense and fear of imperial decay and decline, the greater the national hubris and arrogance of power which cuts across party lines.  To be sure, the tone and vocabulary in which neo-conservatives and right-of-center conservatives keep trumpeting America’s self-styled historically unique exceptionalism, grandeur, and indispensability is shriller than that of left-of-center “liberals” who, in the fray, tend to be afraid of their own shadow.

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Michael Ruppert…he fought the good fight

Crossing Over the Rubicon: R.I.P. Michael C. Ruppert

Sunday, April 13, after finishing what would be his last, The Lifeboat Hour, radio show, whistle-blower, activist, author, American hero, Michael C. Ruppert, allegedly shot himself, taking his own life.

A close friend and colleague, Carolyn Baker, Ph. D., posted a notice on her FaceBook wall informing Ruppert’s friends, fans and followers of his death, assuring everyone that his suicide was not a “fake”; her message, in part, reads…

Sunday night following Mike’s Lifeboat Hour radio show, he was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This was not a “fake” suicide. It was very well planned by Mike who gave us few clues but elaborate instructions for how to proceed without him.”

RIP Mike Ruppert (Dmitry Orlov)

Mike Ruppert has shot himself. This makes me very sad, but I certainly won’t think any less of him for his decision to take his own life. Everybody has that option. I’ll remember him for the happy times we had together, and for the big difference he’s made in so many people’s lives, opening their eyes to what’s really happening in the world.

Abby Martin

 

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the threat to close “Pine Gap”…

The Forgotten Coup

Washington’s role in the fascist putsch against an elected government in Ukraine will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore the historical record. Since 1945, dozens of governments, many of them democracies, have met a similar fate, usually with bloodshed.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries on earth with fewer people than Wales, yet under the reformist Sandinistas in the 1980s it was regarded in Washington as a “strategic threat”. The logic was simple; if the weakest slipped the leash, setting an example, who else would try their luck?

The great game of dominance offers no immunity for even the most loyal US “ally”. This is demonstrated by perhaps the least known of Washington’s coups — in Australia. The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a “Ukraine” or a “Chile” could never happen to them.

Ukrainian civil war day 1

The short summary of the day is: absolute chaos and local violence.

A couple of things stand out:

The same source who reported that the CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev on Sunday or Monday also say that the US plan is to use the Ukrainian military to blockade the rebel cities and to use special units (national guard, SBU SWAT, a newly created unit called “Shtorm” and Right Sector gangs) to actually do the repression.

In a rather bizarre incident, some Ukrainian officers were told that 30 armed terrorists had seized an airport near Kramatorsk. They landed there supported by APCs and helicopters only to find out that only civilians were present. Rumors say that “several” to “eleven” civilians were killed in that operation. The amazing thing is that the officers really seemed to believe that they would be fighting some kind of military force. When they realize that this was not the case, most of the forces were evacuated and only a smaller force was left at the airport. It is currently surrounded by civilians who are blocking all exists.

Same thing happened to the recon battalion of the 24th Airborne Division which was sent in to locate “terrorists”. When the saw that only civilians were present they refused to continue their mission, turned around and left.
A convoy of Right Sector militants disguised as pro-Russian forces (they were wearing Saint George ribbons) were stop and searched by civilians. Soon, after some brutal interrogations the truth became obvious, the trucks full of weapons confiscated and the drivers beat up.

In Kiev the Right Sector has given the so-called President and his regime 24 hours to take action. If not, they promised to overthrow him. In other words, the small, disorganized and demoralized leftover of the Ukrainian police now might be told to put down both the Russian-speakers in the East and the Galician freaks in Kiev.
As for the always amazing White House, its press secretary has declared that the USA “praises” the neo-Fascist regime for its “restraint”.

Okay, so what is really going on here?

The Ukrainian military is told that it has to stop “terrorists”. Regardless of whether they believe it or not, the Ukrainian commanding officers are more or less willing to execute that order. What they seem to be unwilling to do is kill many civilians or, even less so, take a city by force. So they stop in the outskirts and conduct very tense and unpleasant dialog with very hostile and suspicious civilians.

The Ukrainian security services are probably more willing to shoot civilians, but they seem to be really weary of entering the rebel cities, and I can’t blame them. Unlike most of the barricades around the cities which are manned with civilians (including women and senior folks), some barricades and buildings inside the city are defended by armed men, some definitely with military experience, and supported by many civilian demonstrators. Any SBU force seen shooting civilians risks being killed by a lynch mob.

The Right Sector thugs would love to kill as many of the accursed Moskals as possible, but they have neither the training nor the numbers to seize a town. And should they be caught they have no hope whatsoever to make it out alive. They will be literally torn into pieces by the locals.

Ukraine’s Batkivshchina announces formation of national resistance movement

Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is running for president with the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party has announced the formation of the national resistance movement.

“Law enforcement structures and the army are failing to cope with their tasks because they have been plundered,” Batkivshchina’s press service quoted Timoshenko as saying on Tuesday. “That is why it is necessary to form special brigades in each city. Mobilization centres will be set up on the basis of our party’s offices, where everyone will be able to join people’s volunteer corps.”

Such brigades, according to Timoshenko, are already being formed in the Kharkov, Zaporozhye and Dnetpropetrovsk regions.

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