The West kicks the Ukrainian hornets’ nest but who will the hornets sting?

CIA caught red handed in Ukraine

The three-ring diplomatic circus in Ukraine continues to entertain, even if sadly so. The White House found itself having to backtrack on the CIA’s denial that Director Brennan was not in Kiev over the weekend and his visit had no connection with the military crackdown ordered against East Ukraine during that time. It was a special moment.

Anti-govt protesters seize Ukrainian APCs, army units ‘switch sides’

Kiev’s military faced off with protesters in east Ukraine on Wednesday to sort out their differences…and found none. Soldiers appeared reluctant to go into battle against anti-government activists.

When Ukrainian Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) entered downtown Kramatorsk as part of Kiev’s military operation against anti-government protesters in the east of the country, they were stopped in their tracks, surrounded by crowds of local residents.

One YouTube video of what happened next shows a woman coming to a soldier with the reproach: “You are the army, you must protect the people.

We are not going to shoot, we weren’t even going to,” is the soldier’s reply.

Similar conversations could be heard at each of several APCs which entered the city, with locals promising to defend their neighbors, in case the soldiers start a military operation.

Military vehicles parked in downtown Kramatorsk have turned into hotspots for political discussion, with people beside the vehicles trying to get their views through to people on top of the tanks.

Another video features the Kramatorsk crowds loudly chanting “Army with the people” and applauding the soldiers as they were leaving their APCs.

“Guys, we are with you! You are great!” women are heard yelling to the vacating soldiers.

Six Ukrainian military vehicles in Kramatorsk actually switched sides and began flying Russian flags on Wednesday.

Around 60 crew members of Ukrainian armored vehicles sent to Kramatorsk for carrying out the military operation against anti-government protesters, have switched sides and joined the local self-defense squads, according to RIA Novosti, citing the self-defense leadership.

Ukraine presidential candidates attacked in Kiev

Radicals have attacked two Ukrainian presidential candidates. One of them, Oleg Tsarev, was “brutally beaten,” claimed the candidate’s press office. The radicals poured green antiseptic solution and flour on another candidate, Mikhail Dobkin.

Oleg Tsarev was attacked after being trapped inside the ICTV media building following his appearance on the ‘Svoboda Slova’ chat show, according to the statement released by Tsarev’s office.

“It was with great difficulty that government’s security forces were able to recapture Oleg Tsarev from the angry mob. He was severely beaten and is in serious condition,” the press office said.

Ukraine’s Batkivshchina announces formation of 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.

US-backed crackdown threatens civil war in Ukraine

The regime is also mobilizing the fascist forces that spearheaded the February 22 coup against the elected president, Victor Yanukovych, to crush anti-government protests. On Tuesday, Andriy Parubiy, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, announced that a National Guard battalion “comprised of volunteers from Maidan self-defense troops,” had left Kiev for the Donetsk region. The “Maidan self-defense troops” that spearheaded the right-wing, pro-European Union protests in Kiev were led by the fascist Right Sector militia.

Washington is fully supporting this military operation backed by fascist thugs, which threatens the lives of countless thousands of civilians in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian civil war day 1

I have watched as much video footage today as I could and here is what I see:

1) Lots of real civilians, unarmed, including women and seniors.  They seem both frightened and very angry.  Their plan is to form a human shield to stop the Fascist assault.

2) Lots of determined and solid looking men, many of the coal-mine workers.  They are armed with metal rods, sticks and a few Molotov cocktails.  Any trained force armed with real assault rifles could easily kill them, but they would probably make minced meat our of Right Sector thugs.  These are simple but *very* tough men, and boy do they look mad….

3) An assortment of self-organized armed groups, mostly equipped with handguns and assault rifles, they have some real firepower, but are poorly trained and poorly commanded.  They could not stop a determined assault either, but they could provide enough firepower locally to scare off the cops.

4) A few small groups (3-5 men) here and there who look like they know what they are doing.  Some are former paratroopers, others have served in other well-trained units.  They seem to be trying hard to get a more or less organized resistance going and they probably could mount an intelligent attack on an enemy column (as happened over the week-end in one case).  I don’t think that these groups are very numerous, but they could show up anywhere and they are therefore a real threat to any attacking force.

Taken separately, none of these defenders amount to much of a force to protect even a small city.  However, the combination of these very different type of defenders might present a real problem for the Ukrainian command, especially considering the morale problems on the Ukrainian side and what appears to be a fierce determination triggered by rage and fear by the Russian-speakers.

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“the regime change industry is a scam”…

Seymour Hersh’s Blockbuster: Obama On The Red Line And On The Rat Line

And this gets us to Hersh’s expose. By 2011 Obama had donned the full regalia of the imperial presidency. With not so much as even a casual nod to the War Powers Act—-the first piece of legislation I worked on 43 years ago as a young aide on Capitol Hill outraged by Johnson’s and Nixon’s immoral, illegal and genocidal war on Vietnam—-the peace candidate conducted an air war and subversion campaign in Libya because he could.

Upon the bloody end of the Gadhafi regime, Obama than turned to making war on the Assad regime in Syria—without a sliver of logic as to why intervention in an age old sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Alawites would make the citizens of Nebraska one wit safer. This time he did it through the establishment of a CIA annex in Benghazi to gather and accumulate the former Libyans dictator’s lethal arsenals for transfer to the Syrian rebels—many of whom where jihadists and terrorists of the type we were allegedly trying to erase from the earth.

Moreover, as Seymour Hersh explains, the Benghazi weapons were then transited by means of an illegal CIA “rat line” through Turkey to the rebels. And the rat line was absolutely illegal because all CIA covert operations since the 1970s have been required as a matter of law to be disclosed to the Congressional leadership—-for whatever that has become worth in the post Frank Church era where shaking down the military-industrial complex for campaign money, rather than thwarting its propensity for rogue operations, has become a bipartisan pursuit of choice.

But our constitutional scholar-in-chief apparently had no problem splitting hairs. The “rat line” was deemed a “liaison” operation with England’s MI6 and thereby exempt from reporting requirements. So when the rat line operation blew up in Benghazi during the middle of the Presidential campaign in September 2012 in the incident that lead to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, the Obama White House just lied. No, the consulate where the deadly attack occurred was not a CIA annex and weapons depot; and, no, we never supplied any weapons to any rebels in Syria. All a pack of lies.

Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer turned political activist, discusses how the US intelligence community helped prevent military intervention in Syria; John Kerry’s repeated lies about the Sarin gas attack and an “unbelievably short war” scenario; Obama’s surprising resolve to defy the neoconservatives and the Israel lobby; and why the rift with Russia shouldn’t nix an Iran nuclear deal.

Washington, the Great Betrayer

The US government’s attempt to utilize social media in an effort to subvert the Cuban government dramatizes how and why such efforts are not only doomed to failure, but also why they have nothing whatsoever to do with the cause of liberty. Last month, the Associated Press exposed the provenance of ZunZuneo, a Cuban version of Twitter that was covertly originated, run, and financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a US government agency that supposedly engages in “humanitarian” work around the world – but which has a long history of functioning as a key cog in Washington’s regime-change machine.

The plan was to create a platform using non-controversial non-political content – at first – to lure in a substantial audience, and gradually introduce political messages which would create “smart mobs” that would – unknowingly – do Washington’s bidding. The key word here is unknowingly – deception was the methodology of these social media “entrepreneurs,” who hid the origins of the service using a series of front companies registered in the Cayman Islands. A USAID document cited by AP defined the project as aiming to “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.” In reality, however, the aim was to renegotiate the balance of power between the Cuban government and Washington, giving the latter an advantage in its efforts to manipulate the Cuban people and eventually install a regime more favorable to the US.

That, at least, was the ostensible goal. But if we look at what really happened with this “cockamamie” project – as Sen. Patrick Leahy dubbed it – even this is called into question.

The idea was to set up a text messaging system that would enable Cubans to communicate with one another cheaply. In order to disguise the source of the messages, Creative Associates, described in the AP piece as a “Washington, D.C., for-profit company that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. contracts,” would set up “mirrors” around the world to mask the source. They went to great lengths to disguise the effort as a commercial enterprise, using phony ads to convey that impression and staying away – at least initially – from overtly political messages.


False Flags and Imperial Facades: Tales of ‘Progressives’ in Power

In the end, at the last moment, when all signs were pointing to war with Syria, Obama called off the attack. It is not clear why, but several factors doubtless played a part. As Hersh describes, there was strong resistance to the attack from some segments of the military itself, which knew the ostensible casus belli was almost certainly false and feared the much larger, longer, debilitating conflagration that was certain to follow a massive American attack. More publicly, there was the remarkable vote in the UK parliament against military action against Syria — even as the ever-slavish British government was already sending its planes to join their American masters in the attack. This was undoubtedly significant, but one wonders now if it was the actual tipping point against war that it seemed at the time. After all, the Americans didn’t need their little dogsbody’s handful of planes nor its ever-diminishing diplomatic muscle to go through with the strike. (And in any case they retained the far more substantial support of France.) If Washington had wanted to act unilaterally, it would have done so. (And had a wider war ensued, Britain would certainly have entered on the American side.) There was also considerable domestic unease at the idea of war with Syria, which was also important. Although, again, once “our boys” were “in the field,” fighting for freedom against the new Hitler, no doubt there would have been a good deal of rallying around the flag.

But in the end, we can’t say for sure what caused the reversal. There may have been other factors we have no inkling of. And that’s another valuable aspect of the Hersh story: it shows, once again, how the world is really run — in almost total secrecy, behind thin facades of hype, hypocrisy and auto-hypnosis that have little or no connection to the reality of power’s operations. Almost nothing we are told is true; yet billions of words are poured out every year in earnest disquisitions on the meaning and import of the dumb shows and distractions our betters put on for us while they pick our pockets and set our world on fire.

There is much more in the Hersh piece, including more details on how the administration of the Peace Prize laureate has assiduously pushed policies that it knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, would result in deadly weapons getting into the hands of some of the most virulent religious extremists on earth. It’s odd, isn’t it? In order to overthrow a repressive regime in Syria, the Peace Laureate allies himself in clandestine gun-running and the fomenting of sectarian violence with a regime, the Saudis, whose repression makes Assad’s Syria look like Haight-Ashbury in the Sixties. And while telling us that al Qaeda is such a deadly foe to all human values that our fight against it requires us to give up our own freedoms, violate our constitution, institute death squads, set up all-pervasive surveillance, and wage overt and covert wars all over the earth — the same Laureate is ensuring that groups openly allied with al Qaeda are being crammed full of weapons so they can spread sectarian violence across the Middle East and Africa.

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“brutal, and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers”

CIA and White House under pressure after Senate torture report leaks

A leak of the major findings of a landmark Senate inquiry into the CIA’s post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees led, on Friday, to intensified pressure on the White House and the CIA to release the inquiry speedily and with a minimum of redactions.

The classified study, prepared by the Senate select committee on intelligence, concluded that the CIA’s interrogations, secret detentions and outsourced torture sessions were “brutal, and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers.”

More suspected terrorists underwent the agency’s post-9/11 treatment, which largely lasted from 2002 to 2006, than the CIA has publicly admitted, according to the report’s findings, which were first reported by McClatchy. Last week, committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California stated that the Senate investigated the cases of 100 detainees – dozens more than previously known to have gone through the CIA’s so-called “interrogation, detention and rendition” programs.

In addition to misleading policymakers, the Senate report charges the CIA with selectively and leaking classified and inaccurate information to journalists in order to portray the program in a positive light.

“The CIA manipulated the media by co-ordinating the leak of classified information, which inaccurately portrayed the effectiveness of the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques,” the committee found.

The agency also, according to the report, provided factually inaccurate information to Bush administration lawyers, who relied on it to concoct the legal theories that underpinned an apparatus of torturous interrogations and detentions that quickly spread to US military facilities at Guantánamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The study took four years and $40m to complete, and has brought the relationship between the CIA and the Senate panel overseeing it to perhaps its lowest ebb in history.

Not only does Langley contend that the committee has developed a factually inaccurate picture of the since-shuttered program, it has appealed to the Justice Department to open a criminal inquiry into Senate staffers for taking a classified agency document out of a secured facility – a move Feinstein has called an attempt at intimidation.

CIA’s use of harsh interrogation went beyond legal authority, Senate report says

A still-secret Senate Intelligence Committee report calls into question the legal foundation of the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists, a finding that challenges the key defense on which the agency and the Bush administration relied in arguing that the methods didn’t constitute torture.

The report also found that the spy agency failed to keep an accurate account of the number of individuals it held, and that it issued erroneous claims about how many it detained and subjected to the controversial interrogation methods. The CIA has said that about 30 detainees underwent the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA’s claim “is BS,” said a former U.S. official familiar with evidence underpinning the report, who asked not to be identified because the matter is still classified. “They are trying to minimize the damage. They are trying to say it was a very targeted program, but that’s not the case.”

The findings are among the report’s 20 main conclusions. Taken together, they paint a picture of an intelligence agency that seemed intent on evading or misleading nearly all of its oversight mechanisms throughout the program, which was launched under the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and ran until 2006.

Some of the report’s other conclusions, which were obtained by McClatchy, include:

_ The CIA used interrogation methods that weren’t approved by the Justice Department or CIA headquarters.

_ The agency impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making regarding the program.

_ The CIA actively evaded or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

_ The agency hindered oversight of the program by its own Inspector General’s Office.

The 6,300-page report is the culmination of a four-year, $40 million investigation into the detention and interrogation program by the Democrat-led committee. A final draft was approved in December 2012, but it has undergone revisions. The panel voted 11-3 on April 3 to send the report’s 480-page executive summary, the findings and conclusions to the executive branch for declassification prior to public release.

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“Sharing is the key to solving the world’s problems”…

WAY: in this posting, Eve linked to Cynthia Kaufman’s Beyond Capitalism. There’s probably myriad ways to get beyond capitalism.  The problem, however, is that the way the world exists, today, is the lens through which we experience the world.

Modules on Marx: commodity fetishism

Transactions in feudal society involve the particularity of labor rather than the abstract universal equivalent necessary for commodity production. Marx therefore concludes that “Whatever we may think… of the different roles in which men confront each other in such a society, the social relations between individuals in the performance of their labour appear at all events as their own personal relations, and are not disguised as social relations between things, between the products of labour” (170).

Commercialisation: The Antithesis Of Sharing

Observe the basic psychological dynamic that is structured into our consciousness by commercialisation: constant measurement and comparison between different people, and the instinctive worshipping of success. The desire to ‘make it’, to become a ‘somebody’. And the same adulation of success and achievement is ingrained in our children from the youngest age; to make them want to look at themselves in the mirror one day and say: ‘I made it’. Even the artist strives to say ‘I achieved’, or desires others to say of him: ‘You know that man? He achieved so much’. But when we define ourselves in relation to others, when we constantly measure and compare ourselves with others who have what we don’t have, we end up creating a peculiar complex of inferiority that hinders the expression of our spiritual potential and right human relations. This dynamic suits commercialisation very well. Because in our continued worshipping of success and achievement, we thereby sustain the forces of profit and materiality in every area of our lives – in our schools, in our workplaces, in our homes, even in our dreams.

Imagine if a famous celebrity or a billionaire is brought into the room now, and how our attitude towards that person would be very different from normal. Because we are like that too, we are also conditioned to think: ‘Become successful, then you are a somebody’. We are all impelled through social conditioning to inwardly bow to the authority of a ‘somebody’, which is essentially how commercialisation creates machines out of people. Its first job is to make us believe that success is the way, but to achieve success we are told that we have to work very hard, that we have to achieve. Then we learn that to achieve we have to compete with everyone else, that we have to become a ‘winner’. It is not long before we have lost our inborn empathy and creativity, before we begin to follow ideologies and beliefs, and before we conform and become complacent.

This is the inevitable outcome of worshipping success and achievement: our complacency and indifference to the suffering of others. Because this is what the obsession with individual achievement in our societies inexorably does; it breeds indifference. So much so that even the virtuous person who we would call reasonably-minded – a respectable, law-abiding citizen who is more or less psychologically healthy – will say ‘there has always been hunger, and always will be’. Furthermore, it is curious to observe the obscure emotional effect that commercialisation has on the person who looks at this unfortunate planet and says: ‘I want to help, but I feel so helpless’. Of course there is always something we can do to help alleviate the suffering of the world, but it is largely the forces of commercialisation that lead us to feel overwhelmed, separated and helpless as individuals. The unchaining of market forces in every department of human life is gradually taking away our compassion, taking away our goodwill, taking away our awareness, taking away our common sense. These same forces have bullied the principle of sharing with all their might over several decades, growing in such an elusive and refined way that to be complacent is now the norm.

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Arundhati Roy…

Eight wisdoms from Arundhati Roy’s Vancouver talk

Reading from Capitalism: A Ghost Story, Roy elaborated how this has happened in the context of India: “Of late, the main mining conglomerates have embraced the arts — film, art installations, and the rush of literary festivals that have replaced the 1990′s obsession with beauty contests. Vedanta, currently mining the heart of our homelands of the ancient Dongria Kondh tribe for bauxite, is sponsoring a ‘Creating Happiness’ film competition for young film students, whom it has commissioned to make films on sustainable development. Vedanta’s tagline is ‘Mining Happiness.’”….

Roy doesn’t call herself an activist, but a writer. Her writing is political, and she said she struggles to understand how one might write any other way. “Why wouldn’t we write about the critical issues our society is facing?” she asked….

Roy’s work focuses on struggles in India, and for many years she was involved with opposition to the Narmada Dam. She ended her talk with a speech about dams and how they work as a symbol of the capitalist system. It reminded me of the consequences of dams in Canada, like the Cree who were displaced from Manitoba Hydro dams, as explained in Indigenous Rights are Not Human Rights….

Never before have I heard the challenge of our time articulated so clearly: “We have gone leaps and bounds in terms of human intelligence, but we have lost connection with our instincts and our survival.”

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