Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Obama Wants More Sanctions against Russia

By Stephen Lendman
June 10, 2015
Global Research

 

25a0a-war-looms-for-obama-in-iran-syria-and-north-korea-img_Obama commented after two days of G-7 discussions. He repeated tired old demagogic boilerplate we’ve heard many times before.

“(W)e’re…here to stand up for the fundamental principles that we share as democracies: for freedom; for peace; for the right of nations and peoples to decide their own destiny; for universal human rights and the dignity of every human being,” he blustered.

Fact: Democracy in America is pure fantasy. Monied interests control everything. Ordinary people have no say whatever. Elections are farcical when held.

Fact: Throughout his tenure, Obama waged war on fundamental freedoms – including targeting more whistleblowers of government wrongdoing than all his predecessors combined and making America a Big Brother society more than earlier.

Fact: Peace is anathema for US policymakers. Endless direct and proxy wars rage.

Fact: Sovereign independent nations are targeted for regime change.

Fact: America is the world’s leading human rights abuser on a global scale.

Obama took credit for nonexistent economic recovery. Protracted Main Street Depression conditions exist.

Real unemployment tops 23%. Tens of millions wanting jobs can’t find them. Those created are rotten low-pay, poor or no-benefit part-time or temp ones.

“(I)n the global economy, America is (not) a major source of strength,” as Obama claims.

He urged punishing Greece more than already by forcing greater austerity cuts on people least able to tolerate them.

He outrageously corporate written TPP and TTIP trade legislation include “high standards to protect workers, public safety and the environment.”

Their provisions are polar opposite. They’re anti-consumer, anti-environmental nightmarish bills.

G-7 countries remain “strongly united in support of Ukraine,” said Obama. He promised continued political, economic and technical support. He omitted explaining heavy weapons America supplies Kiev to continue waging naked aggression on its own people.

“Russian forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he claimed.

“This is now the second year in a row that the G7 has met without Russia – another example of Russia’s isolation – and every member of the G7 continues to maintain sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine.”

Fact: The whole world knows Washington and Kiev partner in waging dirty war without mercy on Donbass Ukrainians rejecting fascism – wanting real democracy.

Fact: It’s common knowledge in Western capitals that no “Russian aggression” exists. The Big Lie otherwise drowns out hard truths.

Obama’s claim about sanctions hurting Russia are way overblown. EU countries supporting Washington’s agenda do so at their own expense.

Russia is strong and resilient. Its partnership with other BRICS countries represents a strong counterweight to G-7 dominance. America’s attempt to influence its geopolitical policies failed.

“…Sanctions against Russia will remain in place so long as (it) continues to violate its obligations under the Minsk agreements,” Obama blustered.

“Our European partners reaffirmed that they will maintain sanctions on Russia until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented, which means extending the EU’s existing sectoral sanctions beyond July.”

“And the G7 is making it clear that, if necessary, we stand ready to impose additional, significant sanctions against Russia.”

Fact: Russia scrupulously observes all three Ukraine ceasefire agreements – the latest one in February this year.

Fact: Washington and its proxy Kiev junta violated them straightaway – wanting war, not peace.

Blaming Russia irresponsibly for crimes they committed indicates protracted war, increased US saber rattling, more sanctions and other hostile policies risking direct confrontation.

America is the greatest threat to world peace and stability. As long as EU countries go along with its imperial agenda harming their own interests, the unthinkable is possible – the nightmare of potential humanity destroying nuclear war.

With lunatics in charge in Washington, the unthinkable could become reality.

A Final Comment

G-7 countries Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan foolishly yield to US pressure on bashing Russia.

A joint communique following two days of talks said “the duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

“(W)e…stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require.”

It bears repeating. Russia is wrongfully blamed for US/Kiev high crimes. All G-7 countries know what they won’t admit, including America – the greatest threat in history to world peace.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Obama Plays US Foreign Policy Roulette

By Jim Dean
May 29, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

20120307220508964I don’t often get shocked in this business anymore but Obama’s first Arab publication interview with the Ashraq Al-Awsat newspaper did the trick. We took a giant leap from Iran finally being taken off the terrorism list as part of the nuclear talks progression, to being put back on it in what cannot have been an off the cuff remark.

“Iran clearly engages in dangerous and destabilizing behavior in different countries across the region. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism,” he told the newspaper. But he got worse. He used an old Israeli trick, accusing a target of doing what you are doing to them… destabilization with a twist of terrorism thrown in. Iran he says is supporting violent proxies in the region.

I had to pinch myself to make sure it was all not just a bad dream. Here we have the US through the CIA, along with the Saudis and Qatar funding, training and supplying entire terrorist armies in both Syria and Iraq, and he has the gall to call Iran a state sponsor of terror. You just can’t make this stuff up.

And if you want a quick study in the history of America using Islamic terror over several decades, go to William Engdahl’s NEO archive and read his excellent piece, What if Putin is telling the truth. Here is one quote from it, “The Saudi- and CIA-financed Islamic International Brigade was responsible not only for terror in Chechnya. They carried out the October 2002 Moscow Dubrovka Theatre hostage seizure, and the gruesome September 2004 Beslan school massacre.”

For an American president after the first daddy Bush years to call Iran a state sponsor of terror is an outrage, when the victims of American and Saudi terror are hard to count. But the Brits, Israelis, Turks and the French all get honorable mentions.

The Obama staff people that pitched this brain dead idea should be shot, to remove them from the geopolitical gene pool. But statements like this are usually vetted by top people like the chief of staff and the national security advisor, and the top people at the State Department. They can’t all be crazy on the same day.

A lot of damage has been done here at a critical time in the nuclear talks. Allow me to explain. Iran has rightfully been concerned about a step by step removing of the sanctions with the stated reason being the US wants to monitor compliance. Iran had been pushing to keep the IAEA in that role, allowing expanded inspections. Meanwhile, back at the Zionist ranch, nuclear-tipped Israel gets to keep its position of no inspections at all.

Of course Iran’s concern is that the US could use this process to bail out of the agreement anytime it wanted by arbitrarily declaring Iran not in compliance. One example would be if the Republicans won the White House in 2016 and that loophole was open to them, would they wreck all the hard work of the agreement for their Israeli friends?
They would do so in a New York minute. Iran has not been assassinating American nuclear scientists, or hacking our nuclear facilities in a way that could cause a nuclear accident. If someone were to want that done here they would hire the Israelis to do it, as they have a long history of not being prosecuted for espionage here.

Obama is not alone in the shame blame. Congress is just tripping over itself, with one foreign policy humiliation after another. Bibi Netanyahu had them jumping around like the trained seal show at the circus. Our media has rolled over on the terror scams, by not fully reporting what we do, and suppressing real stories like Iran’s 17,000 terror victims, 12,000 of them murdered by the US and Israeli-sponsored MEK.

And there has been no public outcry about our foreign offensive quiver of color revolutions, regime change subversions, and false flag terror attacks, which have exposed innocent Americans to retaliation attacks. In fact, it seems that encouraging retaliation attacks is viewed as providing cover for our own offense.

Our own 9-11 was a glaring example of that. It kicked off a lightening speed removal of basic American freedoms, and a War on Terror that turned into a War OF Terror, including the looting of America by deficit financing in what turned out to be a war on America’s standard of living and future, an ongoing financial terror attack on our pocketbooks.

I have serious concerns over the US’ sincerity in decreasing Iran tensions, especially with this recent Obama political gaff. It was followed by some of the Camp David announcements, as in the US move to put a missile shield up in the Gulf States.

Last I heard they have been buying Patriot missiles for a long time. And if Israel went totally crazy — which all of us understand is certainly possible in Bibi-land — and launched a preemptive strike on Iran, and Iran retaliated, is the Gulf State missile shield really to protect Israel?

The most astounding statement involved selling the UAE “ground to ground missiles”. That would make the UAE a trip-wire offensive threat to Iran. Are the Gulf States being set up to be magnets for Iranian missiles if a shooting war ever developed so US targets would merely be one of many?

Why is it that the Russians are always talking about mutually assured security as a goal when the West, especially the US and Israel, like the preemptive strike doctrine on a target that has no retaliation capability? What country would voluntarily submit to that? Not Russia or China or Iran… and maybe not India, either.

When the West uses the term peace, it seems to mean, “We want to cool things off for a bit until we can find another way to nail you.” We heard the current version of this from the EU on keeping the Russian sanctions in place until the Minsk accords are fulfilled. Not a word was mentioned about Kiev’s troops now shelling civilian areas in Donetsk.
Sure, when Porky Poroshenko made the incredible statement that he wanted to retake the Donetsk airport to rebuild it and put up a monument to all the brave Ukrainian troops who were killed there, John Kerry had to spank him publicly for that. Missed in what was considered a magnanimous, statesmanlike comment from Kerry is that he has never denounced Kiev for its numerous ceasefire violations. Does he think we don’t notice that his saying nothing means America is okay with the violations?

Both the US and EU are playing their respective publics for fools with this “We’ll just blame the Russians for a failed deal.” While the fools in the West are pretending they are in the driver’s seat, Eurasia has observed their sordid behavior and is building another Great Wall against sanctions as fast as they can.

They are also planning mega infrastructure projects to develop their region independently of the West. Maybe what the West doesn’t really like about them is their anti-colonialist attitude. God bless them all for that — and hopefully the rest of us should take a lesson, as we are increasingly being treated like colonial subjects in our own countries.

Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Obama’s Gun-Running Operation: Weapons and Support for “Islamic Terrorists” in Syria and Iraq. “Create Constructive Chaos” and “Redraw the Map of the Middle East”

By Julie Lévesque
May 29, 2015
Global Research

 

Obama-Eyes-SyriaNewly disclosed Pentagon documents prove what we’ve known for a while now: the Obama administration knew as early as 2012 that weapons were being sent from Benghazi, Libya, to rebels in Syria.

The U.S. government also knew at the time that:

“the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda in Iraq were] the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

But did they just “know” or was it part of the plan?

These official documents of the Obama administration add to the large  amount of evidence proving that the actual chaos and havoc wreaked by extremist groups in the Middle East was deliberately created by the U.S. and its allies and is not the result of a “failed foreign policy”.

Judicial Watch recently revealed:

The DoD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons. (Benghazi Scandal: Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show, Judicial Watch 18 May 2015)

Although the documents do not reveal who was responsible for sending weapons to Syria, it is quite obvious from the language used in the documents that it was a US initiative and the CIA presence in Benghazi at the time suggests that US intelligence was behind this gun-running operation.

Libyan Terrorists in Syria

On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four people were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two CIA officers.

In August 2013, Business Insider reported :

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi. (Michael B. Kelley and Geoffrey Ingersoll, Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away, Business Insider, August 3, 2013)

Last January, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded that the “Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ‘changed sides in the war on terror’ in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power”, WND reported.

WND added that

“several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.” (Jerome R. Corsi,Libya: U.S. Generals Conclude Obama Backed Al-Qaida and Operated a Secret Gun-Running Program in Benghazi, WND, January 20, 2015)

We’ve also known for several years that Western special operations forces were on the ground training rebels to fight against Assad.

In January 2012, Michel Chossudovsky reported:

Several articles in the British media confirm that British Special Forces are training Syrian rebels.

The underlying pattern is similar to that of Libya where British SAS were on the ground prior to the launching of NATO’s military intervention.

A Responsibility to Protect (R2P) NATO intervention modelled on Libya is contemplated… The reports confirm that British military and  intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Syria. (Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: British Special Forces, CIA and MI6 Supporting Armed Insurgency. NATO Intervention Contemplated, Global Research, January 7, 2012)

Even CNN reported back in 2012 that rebels were being trained by defense contractors to handle chemical weapons:

The US and some of its European allies “are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria,” according to “a senior US official and several senior diplomats,” CNN reports.

The US-funded training is going on inside Syria, as well as in neighboring Turkey and Jordan and “involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials,” according to CNN. US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons

Bashar Al-Assad Is The Target

The deadly chemical weapons were later used against Syrian soldiers and civilians. The U.S. government and the Western mainstream media tried to blame President Assad, but a UN investigation later concluded that it was  the rebels who had used the chemical weapons.

Another official document from 2012 revealed by Judicial Watch indicates that the “growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. (Judicial Watch, op., cit.)

The U.S. did exactly what was needed to create “the ideal atmosphere” for Mosul and Ramadi to fall and for ISIS to declare an “Islamic state”.

With the fall of Mosul last June, the recent fall of Ramadi in Iraq and numerous reports about the U.S. delivering weapons and ammunition to ISIS, the recently disclosed official documents show once more that the U.S. gun-running operation created “the ideal atmosphere” for Al Qaeda Iraq and “the rise of ISIS” in the region. The war against the so-called Islamic State can thus only be a flatout lie.

The following articles pertain to the U.S. delivery of weapons to ISIS while it was supposedly fighting it:

U.S. Airdrops Weapons to ISIS as Iraqi Army Makes Gains

Delivery of US Weapons and Ammunition to ISIS: Iraqi Commander Wiretaps ISIS Communications with US Military

Terrorists Supported by America: U.S. Helicopter Delivering Weapons to the Islamic State (ISIS), Shot Down by Iraqi “Popular Forces”

Iraqi Army Allegedly Downs A US Helicopter For Providing Weapons To ISIS: Report

As a solution to the problem they created, with full knowledge of the consequences, the U.S. and its allies offered a military intervention with the stated intent of fighting the enemy they had created while covertly supporting it in order to sustain the war, for the greatest benefit of defense contractors and Israel, which has the a lot to gain in the dismantlement of neighboring states.

The purpose of this “constructive chaos” is nothing less than to redraw the map of the region and create a “New Middle East.”

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained back in 2006:

The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of  the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.

This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”, Global Research, November 2006)

Note: The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006). Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles (Mahdi D. Nazemroaya).

All the evidence is there to prove ISIS and their ilks are instruments of  U.S.-NATO-Israel foreign policy.

How long can the Western mainstream media ignore this overwhelming evidence that the U.S. and its allies are supporting the entities they claim to be be fighting in the Middle East without totally losing the very little credibility it has left?

Looking at the situation, Joachim Hagopian argues that the war on ISIS is just for show since its “enemy” is only gaining territory:

The US led coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq have failed to stop the Islamic State’s expansion. Four months ago it was noted that since the US air campaign began last August, the Islamic State has doubled its space in Syria, controlling more than one third of the country’s territory. In the same way that the US predator drone warfare policy has only caused more hatred against America in the nations it’s been deployed against in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, the same reverse effect is occurring in Syria where residents are increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State. Additionally, Syrian opposition groups bitterly complain that the US led coalition forces fail to coordinate dropping bombs with the rebels, thus not permitting them any tactical advantage in driving IS back. It’s as if the air strikes are more for show than to actually neutralize the enemy. (Joachim Hagopian,The US-Islamic State Dance: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back – By Design, Global Research, May 19, 2015)

This war on ISIS is just another disastrous endeavor for populations in the Middle East, another military intervention under a false pretext, another lie to divide and conquer. And once more, the Western mainstream media has failed to report the truth.

Below is a selection of articles on this topic.

SELECTED ARTICLES

U.S. General: “We Helped Build ISIS” – Islamic State Obtained Weapons from U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Paul Joseph Watson, September 03, 2014

U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility, Washington’s Blog, April 15, 2014

CIA Gun-running, Qatar-Libya-Syria, Phil Greaves, August 09, 2013

Benghazi, US-NATO Sponsored Base of Operations for Al Qaeda, Tony Cartalucci, October 21, 2012

Resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Fuelled by Saudi Arabia, Zayd Alisa, 3 March 2014

More Evidence of Israel’s Dirty Role in the Syrian Proxy War, Steven MacMillan, May 18, 2015

Obama Justice Department reaches settlement with Cleveland, Ohio over police brutality

By Jerry White
May 26, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

d1e48-american-decline-statue-of-libertyThe city of Cleveland, Ohio has agreed to a settlement with the US Justice Department over allegations that Cleveland police regularly brutalize and kill residents in violation of the US Constitution, the New York Times reported Monday.

The settlement, which could be publicly announced as early as Tuesday, follows Saturday’s acquittal of Michael Brelo, the Cleveland police officer who shot two unarmed people in 2012 at point-blank range while standing on the hood of their car.

The Times report, whose release was no doubt closely coordinated with the White House, claimed that “the details of the settlement were not immediately clear, but in similar talks in recent years, the Justice Department has required cities to allow independent monitors to oversee changes in police departments. Settlements are typically backed by court orders and often call for improved training and revised policies for the use of force.”

In other words, the settlement will likely be entirely toothless, with no one held to account for systematic and grave violations of the Constitution, including a series of gruesome police murders of which the 2012 shooting was only one example.

The expected wrist-slap settlement for the police department comes after a Justice Department investigation detailed damning evidence of abuse and brutality such as “unnecessary and excessive use of deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons” and “unnecessary, excessive or retaliatory use of less lethal force including Tasers, chemical spray and fists.”

The report, released December 4 by the Justice Department, said that Cleveland Police Department (CPD) officers view themselves as part of “an occupying force.” One police district station was found with a mock sign suggesting that the facility is similar to a military outpost, identifying it as a “forward operating base.” The report provided 16 examples of unnecessary use of force by CDP personnel, including using a Taser against a deaf man who was threatening suicide yet who “posed minimal risk to officers and may not have understood officers’ commands.”

“Supervisors throughout the chain of command endorse questionable and sometimes unlawful conduct by officers,” Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s top civil rights prosecutor, said in December.

The findings of the investigation were released just two weeks after Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy, was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer for carrying a toy pistol, fueling a nationwide wave of popular outrage over police killings.

The announcement of the settlement follows protests by hundreds of people over Saturday’s acquittal of Brelo for the 2012 shooting of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30. At least 13 cops fired 137 bullets into their stopped car after a high-speed chase, involving some 62 police cars traveling at speeds of up to 125 mph.

The cops claimed they heard a shot fired from the car, but no weapons were found inside the vehicle. Both victims had drug addiction problems and Williams, who was homeless, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Brelo fired 49 shots, including 15 rounds after he jumped on the hood of the car and unloaded the rest of his bullets at point-blank range. A medical examiner determined that Russell, the driver, had 23 gunshot wounds, and Williams, his passenger, had been shot 24 times.

Judge John O’Donnell acquitted Brelo of two counts of voluntary manslaughter, on the basis of the pseudo-legal argument that it was impossible to prove that the fatal bullets came from his gun.

Protests over the ruling were met with mass arrests by cops clad in riot gear and backed up by helicopters. Seventy-one people were arrested; those with misdemeanor charges were arraigned Monday, while those accused of felonies are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Outside the municipal courthouse, Richard Grayson, a 24-year-old city resident, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that police had “unlawfully arrested us.” He added, “Our generation is here to protect our rights, protect those who are criminalized, poor and everyone else who needs help.” Civil rights attorneys said that police had conducted illegal and indiscriminate arrests, sweeping up onlookers and news reporters, and had held defendants in jail for excessive durations.

The leak of the settlement agreement to the Times is part of a pattern of carefully timed actions by the Obama administration aimed at creating the illusion of accountability while sanctioning the exoneration of killer cops. The Cleveland probe is one of several federal investigations, including in Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri and other cities, which have been conducted by the White House to assuage public outrage over the wave of police murders.

In each case, police departments have agreed to a series of token measures, including “independent monitors,” the hiring of more minority cops and more sensitivity training, while letting officers and officials responsible for carrying out flagrant crimes go scot-free.

In fact, the ongoing wave of police violence has been facilitated by the Obama administration, which has no response to chronic unemployment, poverty, and the economic polarization in cities like Cleveland besides bringing the methods employed by the US military overseas to bear against workers and young people in the US.

Washington Blows Itself Up With Its Own Bomb

By F. William Engdahl
May 24, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

34275444These are sad days in Washington and Wall Street. The once unchallenged sole Superpower at the collapse of the Soviet Union some quarter century ago is losing its global influence so rapidly that most would not have predicted anything comparable six months ago. The key actor who has catalyzed a global defiance of Washington as Sole Superpower is Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President. This is the real background to the surprise visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Sochi to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then a four hour talk with “Satan” himself, Putin.

Far from a “reset” try, Washington’s hapless geopolitical strategists are desperately trying to find a better way to bring the Russian Bear to her knees.

A flash back to December 2014 is instructive to understand why the US Secretary of State holds out an apparent olive branch to Russia’s Putin at this juncture. At that point, Washington appeared about to pin Russia to the ground, with its precision targeted financial sanctions and its deal with Saudi Arabia to collapse oil prices. In mid-December the Ruble was in free fall against the dollar. Oil prices were similarly plummeting down to $45 a barrel from $107 only six months earlier. As Russia is strongly dependent on oil and gas export revenues for its state finances, and Russian companies held huge dollar debt obligations abroad, the situation was bleak as seen from inside the Kremlin.

Here fate, as it were, intervened in an unexpected way (at least by the USA architects of the financial warfare and oil collapse strategy). Not only was John Kerry’s September 2014 deal with ailing Saudi King Abdullah delivering heavy pain in the Russian finances. It was also threatening an explosion of an estimated $500 billion in high-risk-high-yield “junk” bonds, debt that the US shale oil industry had taken on from Wall Street banks in the past five years to finance the much-touted US shale oil revolution that briefly propelled the USA ahead of Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer.

US strategy backfires

What Kerry missed in his clever Saudi horse trading was the sly double agenda of the Saudi royals. They had earlier made clear they did not at all want their role as world premier oil producer and market king to be undercut by an upstart US shale oil industry. They were happy to give Russia and also Iran pain. But their central aim was to kill the US shale oil rivals. Their shale projects were calculated when oil was $100 a barrel, less than a year ago. Their minimum price of oil to avoid bankruptcy in most cases was $65 a barrel to $80 a barrel. Shale oil extraction is unconventional and more costly than conventional oil. Douglas-Westwood, an energy advisory firm, estimates that nearly half of the US oil projects under development need oil prices greater than $120 per barrel in order to achieve positive cash flow.

By end of December a chain-reaction series of shale oil bankruptcies threatened to detonate a new financial tsunami at a time the carnage from the 2007-2008 securitization financial crisis was anything but resolved. Even a few high-profile shale oil junk bond defaults would have triggered a domino-style panic in the US $1.9 trillion junk bond debt market, no doubt setting off a new financial meltdown that the over-stressed US Government and Federal Reserve could scarcely handle. It could have threatened the end of the US dollar as global reserve currency.

Suddenly in the first days of January, IMF head Lagarde was praising Russia’s central bank for its “successful” handling of the ruble crisis. The US Treasury Office of Financial Terrorism quietly eased off on further attacks on Russia while the Obama Administration pretended it was “World War III as usual” against Putin. The US oil strategy had inflicted far more damage on the US than on Russia.

USA Russia policy failure

Not only that. Washington’s brilliant total war strategy against Russia initiated with the November 2013 Kiev EuroMaidan coup d’etat has become a manifest, utter failure that is creating the worst imaginable geopolitical nightmare for Washington.

Far from reacting as a helpless victim and cowering in fear before the US efforts to isolate Russia, Putin initiated a brilliant series of foreign economic, military and political initiatives that by April added up to the seed crystal of a new global monetary order and a new Eurasian economic colossus to rival US sole superpower hegemony. He challenged the very foundations of the US-dominated dollar system and her global world order everywhere from India to Brazil to Cuba to Greece to Turkey. Russia and China signed mammoth new energy deals that allowed Russia to redirect its energy strategy from the west where the EU and Ukraine, both under strong Washington pressure, had sabotaged Russian EU gas deliveries via Ukraine. The EU, again under intense Washington pressure threw one monkey wrench after another into Gazprom’s South Stream natural gas pipeline project to southern Europe.

Rather than be defensive, Putin shocked the EU during his visit to Turkey and meeting with President Erdogan when he announced on December 1 that he had cancelled Gazprom’s South Stream project. He announced he would seek an agreement with Turkey to deliver Russian gas to the Greek border. From there, if the EU wants the gas they have to finance their own pipelines. The EU bluff was called. Their future gas needs were more remote than ever.

The EU sanctions on Russia also backfired as Russia retaliated with a ban on EU food imports and a turn to Russian self-sufficiency. And billions of dollars of contracts or exports from German firms like Siemens or France’s Total were suddenly in limbo. Boeing saw large aircraft orders to Russian carriers cancelled. Russia announced it was turning to national suppliers in production of critical defense components.

Then Russia became an “Asian” charter member of China’s remarkably successful new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) designed to finance its ambitious New Silk Road Economic Belt high-speed rail network across Eurasia into the EU. Rather than isolate Russia, US policy backfired badly as, despite strong pressures, US staunch allies including Britain, Germany, France and South Korea all rushed to join the new AIIB.

Further, at their May meeting in Moscow, China’s President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced that the China silk road rail infrastructure would be fully integrated with Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, a staggering boost not only to Russia but to Eurasia into China, a region containing the majority of the world’s population.

In short, by the point John Kerry was told to swallow hard and fly to Sochi, hat in hand, to offer some kind of peace pipe to Putin, US leading circles, the American Oligarchs had realized their aggressive neo-conservative warhawks like Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland of the State Department and Defense Secretary Ash Carter were propelling the creation of a new alternative world structure that could spell the ruin of the entire post-Bretton Woods Washington-dominated Dollar System. Oops.

In addition, by forcing her European “allies” to toe the US anti-Putin line, to the severe detriment of EU economic and political interests, alone her vigorous participation in the New Silk Road Economic Belt project and the economic boom in investment that will bring with it, Washington’s neo-conservatives have managed also to accelerate a probable parting of the ways between Germany, France and other Continental European powers to Washington.

Finally, as the whole world (including even Western anti-Atlantists) came to view Putin as the symbol of resistance to the American dominance. This perception first emerged at the time of the Snowden story but has solidified after the sanctions and blockade. Such perception, by the way, plays a significant psychological role in the geopolitical struggle – the presence of such a symbol opens up novel venues in the fight against the hegemony.

For all these reasons, Kerry was clearly sent to Sochi to sniff out possible soft points for a renewed assault in the future. He told the rogue US-backed lunatics in Kiev to cool it and respect the Minsk cease-fire accords. The demand came as a shock in Kiev. US-installed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told French TV, “Sochi is definitely not the best resort and not the best place to have a chat with Russian president and Russian foreign minister.”

At this juncture the only thing clear is that Washington has finally realized the stupidity of its provocations against Russia in Ukraine and globally. What their next scheme will entail is not yet clear. Clear is that a dramatic policy shift has been ordered on the Obama administration from the highest levels of US institutions. Nothing else could explain the dramatic shift. If sanity replaces the neo-con insanity remains to be seen. Clear is that Russia and China are resolute about never again leaving themselves at the mercy of an incalculable sole superpower. Kerry’s pathetic attempt at a second Russia “reset” in Sochi will bring Washington little at this point. The US Oligarchy, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet put it, is being “hoist with their own petard,” as the bomb maker blows himself up with his own bomb.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Someone Finally Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal And Admits The TPP “Will Damage This Nation”

By Tyler Durden
May 24, 2015
Zero Hedge

 

There is a huge paradox surrounding what is supposed to be the crowning achievement of Obama’s second term, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a bill whose contents virtually nobody is familiar with or will be before it passes into law.

That’s not the paradox: the paradox is that back in October 2009, the White House Press secretary said that “the President has returned to a stance of transparency and ethics that hasn’t been matched by any other White House…. the President believes strongly in transparency… that transparency in that way in the best policy.

Or to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

And yet while everyone seems to have an opinion on the final formulation of the TPP bill, especially Elizabeth Warren and her circle of progressive democrats who have emerged as the bill’s most vocal critics, the truth is that none have actually read it for the simple reason that anyone who is familiar with its text could be jailed for disclosing its contents.

Most transparent administration indeed.

We won’t even comment that those who don’t care to have their opinion made public and do have access to the bill have also not read the massive bill which layers giveaway upon giveaway to mega corporations: in fact the only ones who are intimately familiar with the TPP’s contents are those who drafted it: America’s multinational corporations whose shareholders will be the biggest beneficiaries of the TPP.

And yet someone appears to have finally read Obama’s TPP: that someone is Michael Wessel, a cleared liaison to two statutory advisory committees and a commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, as well as the international trade co-chair for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign.

Earlier today, Wessel wrote an article in Politico titled “I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned” which we agree with wholeheartedly because while one may or may not disgree whether the US economy will benefit from a trade agreement which anecdotally benefits large multinationals, it should be unanimous that America’s transformation into a secretive, klepto-fascist state controlled by corporations is catastrophic for not only the republic but America’s people, or at least those who are not among the 0.001% who stand to benefit from the TPP.

* * *

From Michael Wessel, first posted in Politico:

I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned. 

“You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.

So-called “cleared advisors” like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we’ve seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific. Instead of simply admitting that he disagrees with me—and with many other cleared advisors—about the merits of the TPP, the president instead pretends that our specific, pointed criticisms don’t exist.

What I can tell you is that the administration is being unfair to those who are raising proper questions about the harms the TPP would do. To the administration, everyone who questions their approach is branded as a protectionist—or worse—dishonest. They broadly criticize organized labor, despite the fact that unions have been the primary force in America pushing for strong rules to promote opportunity and jobs. And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.

I’ve been deeply involved in trade policy for almost four decades. For 21 years, I worked for former Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt and handled all trade policy issues including “fast track,” the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization’s Uruguay Round, which is the largest trade agreement in history. I am also a consultant to various domestic producers and the United Steelworkers union, for whom I serve as a cleared advisor on two trade advisory committees. To top it off, I was a publicly acknowledged advisor to the Obama campaign in 2008.

Obama may no longer be listening to my advice, but Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren might as well be. Warren, of course, has been perhaps the deal’s most vocal critic, but even the more cautious Clinton has raised the right questions on what a good TPP would look like. Her spokesman, Nick Merrill, said: “She will be watching closely to see what is being done to crack down on currency manipulation, improve labor rights, protect the environment and health, promote transparency and open new opportunities for our small businesses to export overseas. As she warned in her book Hard Choices, we shouldn’t be giving special rights to corporations at the expense of workers and consumers.”

On this count, the current TPP doesn’t measure up. And nothing being considered by Congress right now would ensure that the TPP meets the goal of promoting domestic production and job creation.

The text of the TPP, like all trade deals, is a closely guarded secret. That fact makes a genuine public debate impossible and should make robust debate behind closed doors all the more essential. But the ability of TPP critics like me to point out the deal’s many failings is limited by the government’s surprising and unprecedented refusal to make revisions to the language in the TPP fully available to cleared advisors.

Bill Clinton didn’t operate like this. During the debate on NAFTA, as a cleared advisor for the Democratic leadership, I had a copy of the entire text in a safe next to my desk and regularly was briefed on the specifics of the negotiations, including counterproposals made by Mexico and Canada. During the TPP negotiations, the  United States Trade Representative (USTR) has never shared proposals being advanced by other TPP partners. Today’s consultations are, in many ways, much more restrictive than those under past administrations.

All advisors, and any liaisons, are required to have security clearances, which entail extensive paperwork and background investigations, before they are able to review text and participate in briefings. But, despite clearances, and a statutory duty to provide advice, advisors do not have access to all the materials that a reasonable person would need to do the job. The negotiators provide us with “proposals” but those are merely initial proposals to trading partners. We are not allowed to see counter-proposals from our trading partners. Often, advisors are provided with updates indicating that the final text will balance all appropriate stakeholder interests but we frequently receive few additional details beyond that flimsy assurance.

Those details have enormous repercussions. For instance, rules of origin specify how much of a product must originate within the TPP countries for the resulting product to be eligible for duty-free treatment. These are complex rules that decide where a company will manufacture its products and where is will purchase raw materials. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 62.5 percent of a car needed to originate within NAFTA countries. In the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it was lowered to 50 percent. It further dropped to 35 percent in the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In essence, under our agreement with Korea, 65 percent of a car from South Korea could be made from Chinese parts and still qualify for duty-free treatment when exported to the U.S.

That fact is politically toxic, and for that reason, we should expect the TPP agreement to have higher standards. But will it reach the 62.5 percent NAFTA requirement? Or will it be only a slight improvement over KORUS? Without access to the final text of the agreement, it’s impossible to say.

State-owned enterprises may, for the first time, be addressed in the TPP. But, once again, the details are not clear. Will exemptions be provided to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, all of which could be heavily impacted by such a rule? What will be the test to determine what is or is not acceptable behavior? Will injury be required to occur over a substantial period of time, or will individual acts of non-commercial, damaging trade practices be actionable? Again, it’s impossible to say for sure.

Advisors are almost flying blind on these questions and others.

Only portions of the text have been provided, to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official. Access, up until recently, was provided on secure web sites. But the government-run website does not contain the most-up-to-date information for cleared advisors. To get that information, we have to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials. Even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement.

Cleared advisors were created by statute to advise our nation’s trade negotiators. There is a hierarchal structure, starting with the USTR’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations at the top—a committee that includes people like Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and Jill Appell, co-owner of Appell’s Pork Farms. Then there are specific Committees covering subjects like labor, the environment and agriculture that make up the next tier. The last tier consists of the Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACS), which focus on individual sectors such as steel and aerospace. At last count, there were more than 600 cleared advisors. The vast majority of them represent business interests.

In an effort to diminish criticism, USTR is now letting cleared advisors review summaries of what the negotiators have done. In response to a question about when the full updated text will be made available, we’ve been told, “We are working on making them available as soon as possible.” That’s not the case overseas: Our trading partners have this text, but the government’s own cleared advisors, serving on statutorily-created advisory committees, are kept in the dark.

How can we properly advise, without knowing the details?

Questions pervade virtually every chapter of the proposed agreement, including labor and the environment, investor-state, intellectual property and others. The answers to these questions affect the sourcing and investment decisions of our companies and resulting jobs for our people. Our elected representatives would be abdicating their Constitutional duty if they failed to raise questions.

Senator Warren should be commended for her courage in standing up to the President, and Secretary Clinton for raising a note of caution, and I encourage all elected officials to raise these important questions. Working Americans can’t afford more failed trade agreements and trade policies.

Congress should refuse to pass fast track trade negotiating authority until the partnership between the branches, and the trust of the American people is restored. That will require a lot of fence mending and disclosure of exactly what the TPP will do. That begins by sharing the final text of the TPP with those of us who won’t simply rubber-stamp it.

* * *

And then, moments ago: OBAMA SAYS HE’S `PLEASED’ WITH DEAL IN CONGRESS ON TRADE

It almost makes one wonder just whom does “elected” government represent…

Ramadi and America’s Fracturing of Iraq

By Eric Draitser
May 24, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

e5d7475a299a4d079b9f695cafac21cd_isil_isis_ramadiThe Western media has been consumed in recent days with the news that Islamic State militants have captured the strategically critical city of Ramadi in Iraq. The narrative is one of incompetence on the part of Iraqi military forces who, the corporate media tells us, are simply either ineffectual or hopelessly corrupt. Some analysts and pundits, especially those on the right who oppose Obama for various reasons, have used the fall of Ramadi to legitimize their claims that Obama’s “weakness” on the ISIS issue brought events to this point.

While there is truth to the assertion that Iraqi military forces are riddled with severe problems, from sectarianism in the command hierarchy, to poor training and, at times, organizational disarray, none of these issues is singularly responsible for the loss of Ramadi. Nor is it entirely accurate to say that Obama’s alleged weakness is really the cause.

Rather the primary reason, the one which the media carefully avoids including in their reportage, is the political and military sabotage of Iraq perpetrated by the United States in pursuit of its long-term agenda.

Indeed, while Washington waxes poetic about the need to more forcefully confront ISIS and destroy its military and terrorist infrastructure, the actual policies it has pursued are designed to achieve just the opposite. Instead of promoting unity of command and execution within the Iraqi armed forces, the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House have done everything to fracture Iraq’s political and military structures, fomenting rather than mollifying sectarian conflicts. Then the Washington Post can publish editorials blasting Iraqi fecklessness, and calling for a more robust US military presence. In this way, the US policy of promoting division and weakness within Iraq has directly led to the dire situation in Ramadi and throughout the country.

How Washington is Destroying Iraq…Again!

The fall of Ramadi has provided ammunition to opponents of Obama whose central argument – if such insanity can be believed – remains that the US should wage further war in Iraq. Leading warmongers, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both claim that the failure is due to Obama’s “big mistake” in not leaving behind troops in 2011. Graham described US policy as “a failure of Obama’s military strategy,” while McCain referred to it as “one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history… [The] policy…is not enough of anything,” Aside from the obvious absurdity of their claims, McCain and Graham, and the media narrative surrounding the entire issue, are a perfect illustration of the utterly backwards narrative presented by the corporate media to the American public.

In reality, the US, with Congress very much playing a central role, has studiously worked to undermine any chances for national resistance and military victory inside Iraq by Iraqi security forces. Perhaps Graham and McCain forgot that the US has worked diligently to create divisions between Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish elements within the Iraqi military architecture.

As recently as late April 2015, Congressional Republicans were pushing for a defense authorization bill that would directly arm and fund Sunni and Kurdish militias inside Iraq, treating them as “independent countries.” An obvious means of fomenting further sectarian conflicts and fracturing the fragile and precarious unity of the government in Baghdad and its military forces, this bill is indicative of a broader policy, one aimed at de facto partition of Iraq along ethno-religious lines. Moreover, those who follow US politics and military adventurism should understand that legislation follows rather than precedes the policy. The US has likely been arming Sunni and Kurdish factions for a long time already, thereby further degrading the continuity of the military.

But aside from the political attempts to fragment the country, US military actions belie the real agenda which, rather than combating ISIS, is geared towards degradation of military capability of all sides, which is, in effect, support for ISIS.

Since the US campaign against the group in Iraq began, there have been countless media reports of US weapons and supplies falling directly into the clutches of ISIS, succoring it at precisely the time that it has suffered heavy losses at the hands of Shiite militias in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah across the border in Syria. As Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for one of the main groups fighting ISIS in Tikrit told the NY Times, “We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS… In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake.

This fact is critical to understanding the true motivation of Washington in this campaign, namely inflicting maximum damage on both ISIS and Shiite militias fighting it. In effect, this ‘controlled chaos’ strategy promotes and extends, rather than concludes the war. Additionally, the allegation of US-ISIS collusion is further supported by dozens of accounts of airdropped US weapons being seized by ISIS. As Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui noted in January, “The information that has reached us in the security and defense committee indicates that an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin… This incident is continuously happening and has also occurred in some other regions.

Looking at a map, one begins to see then that ISIS has received US support in each of the strategically significant areas where it has made important gains. When reports of US airdrops going to ISIS in the province of Salahuddin first emerged, it coincided with the group’s military success in Tikrit. Now we see Ramadi in the easternmost part of Anbar province has fallen within weeks of more reports emerging of US-supplied arms being destined for ISIS in the al-Baqdadi region of Anbar.

Taken in total then, it seems that US strategy has been to overtly attack ISIS while covertly supporting it. Similarly, the US has claimed to be supporting, or at least collaborating indirectly, with Shiite militias connected to Iran. At the very same time, those militias have repeatedly claimed that US has bombed them deliberately. Such seemingly contradictory military objectives lead to the inescapable conclusion that US policy has been, and continues to be, chaos and fomenting war. So for Washington to now claim that the fall of Ramadi is somehow a major tragedy, that it represents a failure of strategy, is utter disinformation. In effect, the fall of Ramadi is an orchestrated outgrowth of the “managed chaos” strategy.

The History and Politics of America’s Chaos Theory in Iraq

From a purely geopolitical perspective, the aim of the US is to foment sectarian conflict and prolong the war in Iraq as a means of checking Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the region. The US is mostly incapable of achieving such an objective in Syria due to the continued success and cohesion of the Syrian Arab Army; in Iraq this is very much achievable. But this fragmentation and de facto partition of the country has been a long-standing policy, one that the US has pursued in myriad ways for more than a decade.

Keen political observers will recall that even before, and during the early stages, of the Iraq War in 2003, there was serious talk of dividing Iraq into religiously and ethnically homogenous territories. As influential neocon and President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Leslie Gelb wrote in an op-ed in the NY Times in November 2003, “The only viable strategy…may be to correct the historical defect and move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” While this policy was not enacted immediately, the United States has always pursued this long-term strategy to varying degrees.

The major stumbling block has been the stubborn desire of various members of Iraq’s political elite to be independent and sovereign actors, not US puppets. The primary offender from Washington’s perspective was former Prime Minister, and current Vice President, Nouri al-Maliki, who refused to bow to the diktats of Washington, and was instead portrayed as a corrupt, autocratic Iranian stooge. But what were Maliki’s real transgressions from Washington’s perspective?

First and foremost were Maliki’s attitudes and policies towards the US occupation and the presence of military and non-military personnel. In fact, it was Maliki’s refusal to grant the US request to maintain military bases in the country after the withdrawal – against Obama’s wishes – which prompted the first round of attacks on him and his government. And it was then that the image of Maliki as Iranian puppet truly became popularized, at least in Western media. Indeed, as The Guardian noted at the time, “The Pentagon had wanted the bases to help counter growing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Just a few years ago, the US had plans for leaving behind four large bases but, in the face of Iraqi resistance, this plan had to be scaled down this year to a force of 10,000. But even this proved too much for the Iraqis.

Maliki also took the absolutely monumental step of closing down Camp Ashraf and killing or expelling its inhabitants. Far from being a camp for “Iranian political exiles” as Western media have attempted to portray, Ashraf was the base of the Iranian terrorist organization Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), an organization supported wholeheartedly by neocons (as well as most “liberals”) in its continued terror war against Iran. Of course, because Maliki dared to cleanse Iraq of these US-sponsored terrorist thugs, he was immediately convicted in the court of US public opinion which described the operation as an assault on Iranian “freedom fighters.” We know all too well what the US means when it describes terrorists as freedom fighters.

And so, by refusing basing rights, refusing to extend immunity and legal protections to US contractors operating in Iraq, and wiping out Camp Ashraf and MEK members, Maliki became a villain. More to the point, it was his refusal to allow Iraq to be used by the US and its allies as a military and political bulwark against Iran that earned him the West’s ire. Far from wanting a “sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq” as Obama eloquently proclaimed, Washington needed the country to remain a client state to be used as a weapon of US foreign policy in the region. By rejecting this, Maliki, almost overnight, became “a dictator.”

By ousting Maliki, the US once again pursued a policy of fragmentation, deliberately installing current Prime Minister Abadi who they knew would be weak, incapable of maintaining the unity of Iraq, and most importantly, amenable to US demands. As the NY Times wrote in the wake of the fall of Ramadi last week:

At the urging of American officials who sought to sideline the [Shiite] militias, Mr. Abadi… gambled that the combination of United States airstrikes and local Sunni tribal fighters would be able to drive Islamic State fighters out of [Ramadi]…But as the setback brought the Shiite militias, and their Iranian backers, back into the picture in Anbar, intensified Shiite infighting appeared to leave the prime minister more vulnerable than ever… He became prime minister last year with strong backing from the United States on the belief that he would be a more inclusive leader than his predecessor, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and would reach out to the country’s minority Sunni Arabs and Kurds. Mr. Abadi has done so, by pushing for the arming of local Sunni tribesmen and reaching a deal with the Kurds to share oil revenue.

As the Times correctly notes, Abadi has, quite predictably, followed orders from Washington and pursued a strategy which, from the western perspective is “inclusive,” but is in reality very much sectarian. This is the inverted reality that the US and the Western media portrays; the arming and support for Sunni and Kurdish factions is “inclusive” rather than divisive, which is what it is in the real world. By forcing the Shiites, the dominant group demographically and politically in Iraq, into a secondary role, the US once again foments, rather than bridges sectarian divides. What is this called if not “divide and conquer”?

It should not be lost on anyone that this policy which, as noted above, dates back more than a decade, is all designed to curb Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. By forcing Shiites into the back seat politically, economically, and militarily, the US has hoped to stifle Iran’s development from isolated nation into a regional power. By doing so, the US once again acts in its own interests, as well as those, of course, of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Perhaps that grouping of countries rings a bell for people following the development of the war on Syria these past four years? Indeed, it is the same actors.

Seen in this way then, the US agenda and strategy in Iraq is precisely the same as that for the entire region: block Iran (and, on a grander scale, Russia and China) with regime change when and where possible. When regime change is impossible or undesirable, inflict chaos and foment conflict.

One might call such a policy cynicism of the highest order. While true, there are still other words that perhaps better reflect the true insidiousness of it all: colonialism and imperialism.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

US prepares new military provocations in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds
May 23, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

A Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft

Just days after a CNN news crew joined a P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft over a Chinese-administered islet in the South China Sea, it is clear the flight was a calculated provocation aimed at ramping up pressure on China. American officials immediately exploited the reportage to underline Washington’s determination to challenge Chinese territorial claims in these key strategic waters, regardless of the consequences.

US surveillance flights, along with naval patrols, have become routine since January when Washington initiated its scare campaign over Chinese reclamation activities in the South China Sea. But the presence of a news team for the first time on Wednesday, providing breathless coverage of the flight, along with the unprecedented release of video footage, focussed public attention in the US and internationally on the issue.

Just like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the media is once again being “embedded” as the propaganda arm of the military as the US prepares for war with China. CNN made no pretence of independent reporting, painting China as the villain engaged in “a massive military build-up” on the islets—an early warning radar station on Fiery Cross Reef—and dramatically highlighting warnings from a Chinese radio operator appealing for the aircraft to “please go away… to avoid misunderstanding.”

Responding to the CNN report, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren not only declared that the present “routine flights” would continue, but could in the future breach the 12-mile territorial limit around Chinese islets and reefs. While the Poseidon aircraft had not done so on Wednesday, he said, “that would be the next step.”

“We don’t recognise those islands as anything other than international space,” Warren remarked. “For us to fly through that, we wouldn’t see that as a change in the way we do business.” He acknowledged, however, that the US had not flown over Chinese claimed territory in the South China Sea in the past 20 years.

Warren’s comments confirm media reports over the past fortnight that US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has instructed the Pentagon to draw up options to fly American aircraft or send warships within the 12-mile limit. As Washington is well aware, such reckless actions have the potential to provoke conflict.

The CNN report featured the comments of former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell who warned “there’s a real risk, when you have this kind of confrontation, for something bad happening.” Asked about the danger of war between the US and China, he declared that while it was “not in their interests, [and] not in our interests,” nevertheless “absolutely, it’s a risk.”

In what can only be interpreted as a military threat to Beijing, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel told a press briefing on Thursday that the reconnaissance flight was “entirely appropriate” and the US would “continue to fully exercise” its right to operate in international waters and airspace. “Nobody in their right mind is going to try to stop the US navy from operating—that would not be a good bet,” he said.

The hypocrisy and cynicism involved is staggering. The US only began to assert its “right” to “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea in 2010, as the Obama administration prepared to unveil its “pivot to Asia” aimed at undermining China and encircling it militarily. Washington’s intervention into long-running and complex territorial disputes has transformed the region into a dangerous flashpoint.

While berating China for its land reclamation, the US remains silent about similar activities by South East Asian countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines on islets and reefs under their administration. No one in Washington is suggesting that the Pentagon is about to challenge the 12-mile limit around disputed territory controlled by Manila and Hanoi.

Indeed, one of the main US aims has been to drive a wedge between China and its neighbours and to establish closer military ties throughout South East Asia. Washington has encouraged both the Philippines and Vietnam to more aggressively assert their territorial claims in the South China Sea against China.

Last year the US and the Philippines signed an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement that will provide American forces with virtually unlimited access to military bases in its former colony. Indeed, relations are already close, demonstrated by the fact that on Wednesday the Poseidon aircraft flew out from Clark Air Base in the Philippines.

The decision to ask the CNN news team to accompany the flight is part of carefully choreographed preparations for war with China. It came days after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Beijing to insist China back off its land reclamation, and just prior to the appearance of Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore next weekend where he is likely to confront Chinese military officials.

Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) analyst Mira Rapp Hooper explained this week: “What you’re seeing by the US is a calculated, transparent effort to reveal the situation in all its details and potential dangers.”

The CSIS is heavily involved with the US military in implementing the “pivot to Asia.” Not accidently, as the Obama administration escalated tensions with China this year over the South China Sea, the think tank established the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) headed by Hooper. Following the CNN report, using its own close Pentagon ties, the AMTI website released its own exclusive video of US surveillance flights.

There is no doubt Washington intends to continue its provocative actions. When China announced an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea in November 2013, the US immediately challenged the zone by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers into the area unannounced. US plans to fly military aircraft within the 12-mile limit around the Chinese islets are far more reckless. Beijing regards the South China Sea, which is adjacent to major Chinese mainland naval bases, as critical to its strategic interests.

Reacting to the CNN flight, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei declared: “Such action is likely to cause an accident, it is very irresponsible and dangerous and detrimental to regional peace and stability. We express our strong dissatisfaction, we urge the US to strictly abide by international law and international rules and refrain from taking any risky and provocative actions.” He warned that China would closely monitor the situation and “take the necessary and appropriate measures” to secure its islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

US imperialism’s overriding aim is not to secure “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. Rather the South China Sea has become the pretext for a show of force intended to bully Beijing into accepting US hegemony in Asia. For this, Washington is preparing for, and willing to risk, war.

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Is the US planning a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident in the South China Sea?
[18 May 2015]

Massive military escalation looms as ISIS advances in Iraq

By Niles Williamson
May 22, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

The Pentagon announced Thursday that it will rush 2,000 AT-4 anti-tank rockets to the Iraqi military following the capture of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s western Anbar province, by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS fighters have seized control of tanks, artillery and large caches ammunition abandoned by the Iraqi military as they fled. More than 40,000 civilians have been forced from their homes by the ISIS advance.

US president Barack Obama, in an interview with the Atlantic published Thursday, described the loss of Ramadi as a “tactical setback,” but said that he did not think that the US was losing the fight against ISIS. “There’s no doubt that in the Sunni areas, we’re going to have to ramp up not just training, but also commitment, and we better get Sunni tribes more activated than they currently have been,” Obama stated.

The fall of Ramadi last weekend, just 70 miles west of Baghdad, is a major defeat in the campaign against ISIS, with approximately 7,000 Iraqi soldiers completely routed. ISIS deployed at least 30 car bombs in the successful offensive, 10 of which were reportedly equivalent in size to the truck bomb used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, annihilating whole city blocks.

Military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that the rockets were to be used by the Iraqi military to destroy possible car bombs from a much further distance than was possible with automatic weapons. “This is a good counter to that [type of bombing],” Warren stated.

Warren denied reports that the United States was considering training Iraqi soldiers to call in American airstrikes against ISIS targets. “If the JTAC [Joint Terminal Attack Controller] says, ‘Put a bomb there,’ no questions are asked,” he stated. “That is not something we are going to delegate to anyone other than Americans. Period.” Instead, Warren said, the US will train the Iraqi forces in better ways to call in air support by formatting their radio calls and identifying their positions to avoid being hit by American bombs.

The announcement of the expedited rocket deliveries came as ISIS continued to make advances towards Habbaniyah, 24 miles east of Ramadi. Iraqi Police major Khalid al-Fahdawi told Reuters on Thursday that ISIS forces had breached defensive positions in the city of Husaibah, six miles outside of Ramadi.

Far from activating the Sunni tribes, as suggested by Obama, the Iraqi government with US support is deploying approximately 4,000 Shiite militiamen to a military base outside Habbaniyah in preparation for an eventual counterattack against ISIS.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the Iraqi military in Anbar, Iraqi prime minister Haidar Al-Abadi has dispatched the Iranian-backed Shiite militias to spearhead the effort to retake the Sunni-dominated province. The militias have been ordered to coordinate with whatever remains of the Iraq military units that were routed and at least 2,000 police officers.

The deployment of the Shiite militias to retake Ramadi, a largely Sunni-populated city, will only serve to stoke sectarian tensions. American-supported Shiite militias and Iraqi Special Forces deployed in previous offensives against ISIS in Sunni areas have operated as death squads torturing and executing Sunni prisoners.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Shiite militias went on a rampage of retribution, looting and burning at least 3,200 buildings, including civilian homes, after pushing ISIS out of the city of Amerli in September 2014. Photos and videos have emerged showing men in the uniforms of Iraqi Special Forces posing with severed heads and dragging corpses behind their Humvees (see: “America’s ‘dirty brigades’ in Iraq”).

The logical outcome of the developments on the ground in Iraq is the reintroduction of thousands of American combat troops and an escalation of the air campaign. President Obama has already deployed approximately 3,000 troops to Iraq to serve as trainers and advisers for the Iraqi military.

Republican senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Senate Committee, criticized the White House on Monday and said that more US troops would be necessary as a result of the latest debacle in Iraq. “We will have to have more people on the ground and this is really serious, the fall of Ramadi,” McCain stated in an interview on MSNBC.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Thursday, Frederick Kagan, one of the architects of the 2007 “surge” in Iraq, called for the deployment of as many as 20,000 American troops to assist the Iraqi military in any eventual effort to retake Ramadi.

Kagan reported that the fall of Ramadi had “complete derailed” plans announced at the beginning of the year to retake from ISIS the northern city of Mosul. “I think the fight for Ramadi will be hard enough,” Kagan said. “I think that these operations in and around Ramadi demonstrate that the Iraqi security forces are current levels of U.S. support are not capable of defending even their territory against determined ISIS attack, let alone clearing a major ISIS safe haven.”

Marine general Gregory Newbold, who retired in 2002 in opposition to plans for war with Iraq and advised Obama’s campaign for president in 2008, told NPR on Thursday that he disapproved of the White House’s strategy against ISIS in Iraq.

He called for an escalation of the air campaign and an overwhelming use of force by US ground troops. “What we need to do is become the single most effective and welcome option for those local governments,” Newbold said. “And when we do that, our engagement can’t be timid. It has to be so decisive in employment and so overwhelming an effect that ISIS as an idea, as well as a force, is humiliated.”

As the United States and the Iraqi government prepared a counterattack, ISIS made a second strategic advance on Thursday, seizing control of the Syrian city of Palmyra, some 400 miles northwest of Ramadi. ISIS has made significant advances in Syria at the same time that the United States has initiated a new program to train and equip so-called moderate rebels.

While framed in the context of fighting against ISIS, which developed as an outcome of the US policy of fomenting civil war in Syria, the operations undertaken by the CIA and US client states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are aimed ultimately at the overthrow of President Bashar al Assad, a key ally of both Iran and Russia. Despite continuous airstrikes by the US and allied forces since June of last year, ISIS now controls at least 50 percent of the territory in Syria and a third of the territory in Iraq.

Even as it drops bombs on Islamic State targets and launches Special Forces raids against ISIS members in Syria, the United States is in a de facto alliance with Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate against Assad. The Islamist fighters have proven to be much more effective in advancing America’s goal of ousting Assad than the so-called moderates. Weapons funneled into Syria by the United States, including anti-tank missiles, have often ended up in the hands of Al Nusra and ISIS fighters.

Militarization Is More Than Tanks and Rifles: It’s a Cultural Disease, Acclimating the Citizenry to Life in a Police State

By John Whitehead
May 21, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

Image from: steeringlaw.com

By John Whitehead, Constitutional and civil rights attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute.

“If we’re training cops as soldiers, giving them equipment like soldiers, dressing them up as soldiers, when are they going to pick up the mentality of soldiers? If you look at the police department, their creed is to protect and to serve. A soldier’s mission is to engage his enemy in close combat and kill him. Do we want police officers to have that mentality? Of course not.”— Arthur Rizer, former civilian police officer and member of the military

Talk about poor timing. Then again, perhaps it’s brilliant timing.

Only now—after the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense have passed off billions of dollars worth of military equipment to local police forces, after police agencies have been trained in the fine art of war, after SWAT team raids have swelled in number to more than 80,000 a year, after it has become second nature for local police to look and act like soldiers, after communities have become acclimated to the presence of militarized police patrolling their streets, after Americans have been taught compliance at the end of a police gun or taser, after lower income neighborhoods have been transformed into war zones, after hundreds if not thousands of unarmed Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police who shoot first and ask questions later, after a whole generation of young Americans has learned to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates—only now does President Obama lift a hand to limit the number of military weapons being passed along to local police departments.

Not all, mind you, just some.

Talk about too little, too late.

Months after the White House defended a federal program that distributed $18 billion worth of military equipment to local police, Obama has announced that he will ban the federal government from providing local police departments with tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms and large-caliber firearms.

Obama also indicated that less heavy-duty equipment (armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear and specialized firearms and ammunition) will reportedly be subject to more regulations such as local government approval, and police being required to undergo more training and collect data on the equipment’s use. Perhaps hoping to sweeten the deal, the Obama administration is also offering $163 million in taxpayer-funded grants to “incentivize police departments to adopt the report’s recommendations.”

While this is a grossly overdue first step of sorts, it is nevertheless a first step from an administration that has been utterly complicit in accelerating the transformation of America’s police forces into extensions of the military. Indeed, as investigative journalist Radley Balko points out, while the Obama administration has said all the right things about the need to scale back on a battlefield mindset, it has done all the wrong things to perpetuate the problem:

  • distributed equipment designed for use on the battlefield to local police departments,
  • provided private grants to communities to incentivize SWAT team raids,
  • redefined “community policing” to reflect aggressive police tactics and funding a nationwide COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program that has contributed to dramatic rise in SWAT teams,
  • encouraged the distribution of DHS anti-terror grants and the growth of “contractors that now cater to police agencies looking to cash DHS checks in exchange for battle-grade gear,”
  • ramped up the use of military-style raids to crack down on immigration laws and target “medical marijuana growers, shops, and dispensaries in states that have legalized the drug,”
  • defended as “reasonable” aggressive, militaristic police tactics in cases where police raided a guitar shop in defense of an obscure environmental law, raided a home looking for a woman who had defaulted on her student loans, and terrorized young children during a raid on the wrong house based on a mistaken license plate,
  • and ushered in an era of outright highway robbery in which asset forfeiture laws have been used to swindle Americans out of cash, cars, houses, or other property that government agents can “accuse” of being connected to a crime.

It remains to be seen whether this overture on Obama’s part, coming in the midst of heightened tensions between the nation’s police forces and the populace they’re supposed to protect, opens the door to actual reform or is merely a political gambit to appease the masses all the while further acclimating the populace to life in a police state.

Certainly, on its face, it does nothing to ease the misery of the police state that has been foisted upon us. In fact, Obama’s belated gesture of concern does little to roll back the deadly menace of overzealous police agencies corrupted by money, power and institutional immunity. And it certainly fails to recognize the terrible toll that has been inflicted on our communities, our fragile ecosystem of a democracy, and our freedoms as a result of the government’s determination to bring the war home.

Will the young black man guilty of nothing more than running away from brutish police officers be any safer in the wake of Obama’s edict? It’s unlikely.

Will the old man reaching for his cane have a lesser chance of being shot? It’s doubtful.

Will the little girl asleep under her princess blanket live to see adulthood when a SWAT team crashes through her door? I wouldn’t count on it.

It’s a safe bet that our little worlds will be no safer following Obama’s pronouncement and the release of his “Task Force on 21st Century Policing” report. In fact, there is a very good chance that life in the American police state will become even more perilous.

Among the report’s 50-page list of recommendations is a call for more police officer boots on the ground, training for police “on the importance of de-escalation of force,” and “positive non-enforcement activities” in high-crime communities to promote trust in the police such as sending an ice cream truck across the city.

Curiously, nowhere in the entire 120-page report is there a mention of the Fourth Amendment, which demands that the government respect citizen privacy and bodily integrity. The Constitution is referenced once, in the Appendix, in relation to Obama’s authority as president. And while the word “constitutional” is used 15 times within the body of the report, its use provides little assurance that the Obama administration actually understands the clear prohibitions against government overreach as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

For instance, in the section of the report on the use of technology and social media, the report notes: “Though all constitutional guidelines must be maintained in the performance of law enforcement duties, the legal framework (warrants, etc.) should continue to protect law enforcement access to data obtained from cell phones, social media, GPS, and other sources, allowing officers to detect, prevent, or respond to crime.”

Translation: as I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the new face of policing in America is about to shift from waging its war on the American people using primarily the weapons of the battlefield to the evermore-sophisticated technology of the battlefield where government surveillance of our everyday activities will be even more invasive.

This emphasis on technology, surveillance and social media is nothing new. In much the same way the federal government used taxpayer-funded grants to “gift” local police agencies with military weapons and equipment, it is also funding the distribution of technology aimed at making it easier for police to monitor, track and spy on Americans. For instance, license plate readers, stingray devices and fusion centers are all funded by grants from the DHS. Funding for drones at the state and local levels also comes from the federal government, which in turn accesses the data acquired by the drones for its own uses.

If you’re noticing a pattern here, it is one in which the federal government is not merely transforming local police agencies into extensions of itself but is in fact federalizing them, turning them into a national police force that answers not to “we the people” but to the Commander in Chief. Yet the American police force is not supposed to be a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force for the reigning political faction. It is supposed to be an aggregation of the countless local civilian units that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

So where does that leave us?

There’s certainly no harm in embarking on a national dialogue on the dangers of militarized police, but if that’s all it amounts to—words that sound good on paper and in the press but do little to actually respect our rights and restore our freedoms—then we’re just playing at politics with no intention of actually bringing about reform.

Despite the Obama Administration’s lofty claims of wanting to “ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, that it must also include the presence of justice,” this is the reality we must contend with right now:

Americans still have no real protection against police abuse. Americans still have no right to self-defense in the face of SWAT teams mistakenly crashing through our doors, or police officers who shoot faster than they can reason. Americans are still no longer innocent until proven guilty. Americans still don’t have a right to private property. Americans are still powerless in the face of militarized police. Americans still don’t have a right to bodily integrity. Americans still don’t have a right to the expectation of privacy. Americans are still being acclimated to a police state through the steady use and sight of military drills domestically, a heavy militarized police presence in public places and in the schools, and a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign aimed at reassuring the public that the police are our “friends.” And to top it all off, Americans still can’t rely on the courts, Congress or the White House to mete out justice when our rights are violated by police.

To sum it all up: the problems we’re grappling with have been building for more than 40 years. They’re not going to go away overnight, and they certainly will not be resolved by a report that instructs the police to simply adopt different tactics to accomplish the same results—i.e., maintain the government’s power, control and wealth at all costs.

This is the sad reality of life in the American police state.