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.

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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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“a chilling experience”…

Photo: Jordan P/cc/flickr

FBI infiltrates Guantanamo detainee’s defense team

On Monday, the military trial of five 9/11 suspects was put on hold as allegations surfaced that the FBI had enlisted a member of the defense team as a secret informant. This brazen violation of basic democratic norms is a further exposure of an extra-judicial process that has been illegal from the start.
Defense attorneys filed a motion late Sunday night calling for a halt to the proceedings, a review of the FBI’s involvement and the appointing of new independent attorneys for the defendants.

James Harrington, a civilian attorney for Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the five accused, told the judge, “We have an impossible situation in terms of representing our client… on any issue.” Harrington added, “To say this is a chilling experience for all of us is a gross understatement.”

Harrington explained that the defense security officer serving bin al-Shibh’s defense team had an “ongoing” arrangement with the FBI.

On April 6, two FBI officers approached the defense security officer at his home in the United States. From what is known, the FBI obtained his signature on a document that established him as an informant. The legal filing of the defense team, which likely contains more details, has not been publicly released.

The military commission assigns defense security officers to the defense teams to advise them on how to handle classified documents. Harrington, speaking of al-Shibh’s legal team, said that the defense security officer would have had “unlimited access to our files.”

FBI Accused of Infiltrating Guantánamo Defense Team

The defense lawyers filed a motion on Sunday charging that the “the government has created what appears to be a confidential informant relationship” with a security officer on the legal team of Yemeni Ramzi bin al Shibh—one of five men at Guantánamo Bay facing charges related to the September 11th attacks, journalist Carol Rosenberg revealed in the Miami Herald on Monday.

The motion claims that “FBI agents recently developed the relationship during an investigation of how two news organizations got copies of prison camp musings” of Khalid Sheik Mohammed—who is accused of leading the attacks.

The lawyers allege that the FBI interrogated this informant “about the activities of all defense teams.”

“The implications of this intrusion into the defense camp are staggering,” reads the motion.

The motion calls for an emergency hearing about the alleged infiltration and urges judge Army Col. James L. Pohl to investigate the potential conflict of interest regarding the prosecution of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and four other people accused of participating in the attacks.

Challenge to Censorship of Torture Testimony at Guantánamo Military Commission Trial

The ACLU asked the Guantánamo Bay military commission to enforce the American public’s First Amendment right to open trials in the most important terrorism case of our time. Our motion challenged the government’s attempts to censor and hide from the public any statements by the 9/11 defendants about their torture and detention in CIA and military custody. The government’s request was granted, and we have appealed.

The Guantánamo military commissions were created in part to hide the Bush administration’s illegal and shameful use of torture while also permitting the use of information obtained through torture. The government contends that any testimony by the 9/11 defendants concerning their “exposure” to the CIA’s unlawful torture, rendition, and detention program is classified as “sources, methods and activities” of the U.S. and can be withheld from the public.

In May 2012, the ACLU filed a motion asking the commission to deny the government’s request to prevent the public from hearing all statements by the defendants about their torture and detention while in U.S. custody. On that basis, the motion asked the commission to bar a delayed audio feed of the proceedings, or, in the alternative, promptly release an uncensored transcript. A group of 14 press organizations also filed a motion arguing for the media’s right to access all of the commission’s proceedings. Oral argument at Guantánamo was held in October. In December, the judge granted the government’s request, and in February 2013 the ACLU asked the U.S. Court of Military Commissions Review to reverse that decision. Our request was denied in March 2013.

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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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