June 22, the day Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union; President Putin addresses the State Duma

From Kremlin.ru

Vladimir Putin addresses the State Duma’s plenary session
April 22, 2016

The President reviewed the Duma deputies’ results and work over the last five-year parliamentary session.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,

I wanted to meet with you as the parliament’s sixth convocation comes to the end of its mandate and thank you for your work over these years. I want to thank you and say a few words about the results of your work. Of course, I want to take a look forward too at the tasks the next parliament will have before it.

But first of all, let me turn to the tragic date we are marking today. Seventy-five years ago, Nazi Germany treacherously invaded the Soviet Union and the Great Patriotic War began. By this time, as we know, the Nazis has already enslaved many European countries.

The Soviet people took the brunt of the Nazis’ force, but they met the enemy with tremendous unity and resistance, and withstood the onslaught, fighting literally to the death to protect their homeland. They drove the enemy right back to its lair, inflicted a crushing defeat on the invaders and achieved the Great Victory.

Today, we bow our heads before this heroic generation. Our fathers and grandfathers gave their lives to save Russia and all of humanity from the fascist scourge. We will always remember their sacrifice and courage. We treasure the bright memory of all who gave their lives in that war, and all our veterans who are no longer with us now. I propose that we honour their memory with a minute of silence.

(Minute of silence)

It was the Nazis who unleashed this war. Their ideology of hatred, blind faith in their own exceptional nature and infallibility, and desire for world domination led to the twentieth century’s greatest tragedy.

We know the biggest lesson of that war: it could have been prevented. It could have been stopped if efforts had been made to firmly rein in the Nazis and their accomplices’ wild ambitions in time. But this did not happen. Our country, the Soviet Union, made direct proposals for joint action and collective defence, but these proposals were simply left hanging.

The leaders of a number of Western countries chose instead to pursue a policy of containing the Soviet Union and sought to keep it in a situation of international isolation. But it was Nazism that was the real and terrible global threat. Politicians underestimated its danger, overlooked the threat and did not want to admit that enlightened Europe could give birth to a criminal regime that was growing ever stronger.

The international community let its vigilance down and lacked the will and unity to prevent this war and save the lives of millions and millions of people. What other lesson do we need today to throw aside tattered old ideological differences and geopolitical games and unite our forces to fight international terrorism?

This common threat is spreading its danger before our very eyes. We must create a modern collective security system beyond blocs and with all countries on an equal footing. Russia is open to discussions on this most important issue and has repeatedly stated its readiness for dialogue.

For now though, as was the case on the eve of World War II, we see no positive response. On the contrary, NATO is stepping up its aggressive rhetoric and aggressive actions close to our borders. In this situation, we have no choice but to devote particular attention to the tasks we must address in order to increase our country’s defence capability.

I would like to thank the State Duma deputies for their deep and substantive understanding of Russia’s state interests and for knowing how to defend these interests decisively. Of course, I also want to thank you for your consolidated legislative support for the proposals on strengthening our country’s security.

Colleagues, your work and its results deserve a worthy assessment. It is particularly important that the laws you have adopted have played a big part in enabling us to fulfil our social obligations to our citizens, develop our most important economic sectors and improve our country’s political system. I want to stress this point.

You have accomplished a tremendous amount of work in all these areas. This successful work is the result of the efforts made by all parliamentary parties and their willingness to pursue a constructive dialogue with each other, with the Government, and with the other participants in the legislative initiative.

A truly historic result of this convocation’s work was the legal integration of Crimea and Sevastopol, which followed on your sincere and heartfelt moral support for the peninsula’s people on the eve of the referendum on joining the Russian Federation. You were active in supporting the view shared by the vast majority of Crimea and Sevastopol’s people, sometimes emotionally, and when needed, very professionally.

During this time, all parliamentary parties displayed a degree of unity of which your voters can be deservedly proud. In a very short period of time, you adopted more than 120 laws that smoothed the way for Crimea and Sevastopol’s entry into the Russian Federation. You helped people to get through the transition period’s difficulties, feel at home in Russia and know that their rights are reliably guaranteed and new opportunities have opened before them.

A readiness to consolidate for the sake of the tasks at hand and for Russia’s sake is this convocation’s distinguishing feature. It is very important now that the next parliamentary convocation continues these traditions, including this strict respect for the rules of parliamentary ethics. Continuity in law-making work is of tremendous importance.

This ensures the legislative base’s quality and also the authoritative reputation of the entire Russian jurisdiction. We should most definitely continue the practice of annual reports on the state of our country’s legislation. These reports are drafted by both chambers of the Federal Assembly together with the regional parliaments. This is a very useful practice, I think, very important work.

I want to stress particularly that the legislative branch is an independent branch of power and no opportunist, short term interests or desire to push some decision through as fast as possible should interfere with its work. There should be no hasty or superficial approach when examining and adopting laws. I particularly emphasise this point. The key task for the new convocation in the law-making process will be to ensure a well-planned and systemic legislative process with deep and substantive discussion of draft laws.

Colleagues, I particularly want to mention your great contribution to developing our political system. You have passed a whole swathe of laws that strengthen Russia’s democratic foundations, make the political system more transparent and effective, and set higher standards for political competition.

We now have ten times more political parties than we did five years ago. But we know very well that the political system’s quality cannot be measured by the number of parties, but by their ability to influence the decision-making process regarding the issues of greatest concern to our people.

The parliamentary parties have considerable advantages, and these opportunities are deservedly earned. But during the upcoming election campaign, you will have to pass the test once again before your voters. The executive order setting the date for the State Duma election has already been signed. The election will take place under the mixed-member system on September 18th.

Let me stress that the State Duma will soon get an influx of deputies elected in single-seat districts, and this will bolster considerably the parliament’s representative functions and ties with the regions. It is very important that your work gives our people added guarantees of their social rights. These rights should be guaranteed by laws that regulate education, healthcare, and the housing and utilities sector.

You have devoted much effort over these last years to precisely these issues, including support for motherhood and childhood. These are complicated issues of course, difficult problems, but their resolution is crucial for our country’s future. All of the different issues are important of course. Security and international affairs are important, but nothing is more important than the economy and the social sector.

We have put together an effective anti-corruption legal base over these last years, toughened requirements to all categories of civil servants, and introduced bans on opening accounts in foreign banks and possessing foreign companies’ assets.

Now we must ensure that all comply strictly with the law no matter what the office they hold. I am sure that we all share a unanimous position on this issue. I note too that the laws you have passed on strategic planning and industrial policy are extremely important, as is the law on priority development areas, for example.

The work on modernising civil law continues, including incentives for business and investment and measures to combat internet piracy. You have also passed the law on parliamentary oversight, which will most certainly raise the prestige and significance of the deputies’ work.

Improving our environmental legislation is an area of much importance today. Protecting nature and the animal and plant world and guaranteeing people’s right to a good natural environment are common tasks for all political parties. I know that during this parliament’s term you have examined draft laws on the preservation and restoration of forests and ensuring forest fire prevention. The new State Duma will have to continue this work just as actively as you have, all the more so as we have declared 2017 the Year of the Environment.

All parliamentary parties have also shown unity on foreign policy issues. I already mentioned this. Yes, there were some attempts to play up differences between parties, but no one succeeded in splitting your unity and splitting the consolidation in our society and between your voters. At the same time, your contacts with colleagues abroad have become more intensive.

Friends, many political parties have already set dates for holding their congresses to announce candidates and present their campaign programmes. Essentially, the election campaign has begun. Ahead of you is some fierce competition, debates with opponents, and a far from easy time for all who will be taking part in these elections.

I hope that you will do everything possible to ensure that this election is honest, open, and takes place in a spirit of mutual respect. It is also my hope that you will hold a battle not of mudslinging against each other, but of ideas, the implementation of which should strengthen our country and raise our people’s living standards. I appeal to you to do this.

It is very important that all political parties realise their responsibility for preserving social stability and strive not just for the best election results, but for voters’ trust in the election’s outcome. I am sure that stability and trust are key factors and foundations for our country’s successful development.

You are all experienced people and have traversed all the difficulties of election campaigns before. But let me say again nonetheless that the most important players now are not the parties and candidates, but the voters, our country’s people. They are most important. It is they who give you the powers to decide their biggest problems so as to make our country an independent and effectively functioning state in which people can live and work in comfort and safety.

I am sure that you understand well the tasks before our country today. You have already demonstrated this through your work as deputies based on the principles of patriotism and service to people. You have succeeded in developing high standards of political and parliamentary culture and applying them in practice in your everyday work. It will be useful for our country and for the voters if this constructive political style becomes the distinguishing feature of this election campaign too.

You all have much work ahead of you. No matter where you will be working in the future, I wish you professional success and satisfaction, and I want to thank you once again for the very important and responsible work you have done in the Russian parliament.

Thank you very much.

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/52198

U.S State Department’s collective madness: Launch military strikes against Syrian army

Global Research, June 18, 2016
Consortium News 18 June 2016

More than 50 U.S. State Department “diplomats” sent a “dissent” memo urging President Obama to launch military strikes against the Syrian army, another sign that Foggy Bottom has collectively gone nuts, writes Robert Parry.

Over the past several decades, the U.S. State Department has deteriorated from a reasonably professional home for diplomacy and realism into a den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions, a dangerous phenomenon underscored by the recent mass “dissent” in favor of blowing up more people in Syria.

Some 51 State Department “diplomats” signed a memo distributed through the official “dissent channel,” seeking military strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad whose forces have been leading the pushback against Islamist extremists who are seeking control of this important Mideast nation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

The fact that such a large contingent of State Department officials would openly advocate for an expanded aggressive war in line with the neoconservative agenda, which put Syria on a hit list some two decades ago, reveals how crazy the State Department has become.

The State Department now seems to be a combination of true-believing neocons along with their liberal-interventionist followers and some careerists who realize that the smart play is to behave toward the world as global proconsuls dictating solutions or seeking “regime change” rather than as diplomats engaging foreigners respectfully and seeking genuine compromise.

Even some State Department officials, whom I personally know and who are not neocons/liberal-hawks per se, act as if they have fully swallowed the Kool-Aid. They talk tough and behave arrogantly toward inhabitants of countries under their supervision. Foreigners are treated as mindless objects to be coerced or bribed.

So, it’s not entirely surprising that several dozen U.S. “diplomats” would attack President Barack Obama’s more temperate position on Syria while positioning themselves favorably in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton administration, which is expected to authorize an illegal invasion of Syria — under the guise of establishing “no-fly zones” and “safe zones” — which will mean the slaughter of young Syrian soldiers. The “diplomats” urge the use of “stand-off and air weapons.”

These hawks are so eager for more war that they don’t mind risking a direct conflict with Russia, breezily dismissing the possibility of a clash with the nuclear power by saying they are not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia.” That’s reassuring to hear.

Risking a Jihadist Victory

There’s also the danger that a direct U.S. military intervention could collapse the Syrian army and clear the way for victory by Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the Islamic State. The memo did not make clear how the delicate calibration of doing just enough damage to Syria’s military while avoiding an outright jihadist victory and averting a clash with Russia would be accomplished.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

 

Presumably, whatever messes are created, the U.S. military would be left to clean up, assuming that shooting down some Russian warplanes and killing Russian military personnel wouldn’t escalate into a full-scale thermonuclear conflagration.

In short, it appears that the State Department has become a collective insane asylum where the inmates are in control. But this madness isn’t some short-term aberration that can be easily reversed. It has been a long time coming and would require a root-to-branch ripping out of today’s “diplomatic” corps to restore the State Department to its traditional role of avoiding wars rather than demanding them.

Though there have always been crazies in the State Department – usually found in the senior political ranks – the phenomenon of an institutional insanity has only evolved over the past several decades. And I have seen the change.

I have covered U.S. foreign policy since the late 1970s when there was appreciably more sanity in the diplomatic corps. There were people like Robert White and Patricia Derian (both now deceased) who stood up for justice and human rights, representing the best of America.

But the descent of the U.S. State Department into little more than well-dressed, well-spoken but thuggish enforcers of U.S. hegemony began with the Reagan administration. President Ronald Reagan and his team possessed a pathological hatred of Central American social movements seeking freedom from oppressive oligarchies and their brutal security forces.

During the 1980s, American diplomats with integrity were systematically marginalized, hounded or removed. (Human rights coordinator Derian left at the end of the Carter administration and was replaced by neocon Elliott Abrams; White was fired as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, explaining: “I refused a demand by the secretary of state, Alexander M. Haig Jr., that I use official channels to cover up the Salvadoran military’s responsibility for the murders of four American churchwomen.”)

The Neocons Rise

As the old-guard professionals left, a new breed of aggressive neoconservatives was brought in, the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Robert McFarlane, Robert Kagan and Abrams. After eight years of Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush, the State Department was reshaped into a home for neocons, but some pockets of professionalism survived the onslaughts.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who was a leading neocon inside President George W. Bush's National Security Council.

Former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, a leading neocon.

While one might have expected the Democrats of the Clinton administration to reverse those trends, they didn’t. Instead, Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” applied to U.S. foreign policy as much as to domestic programs. He was always searching for that politically safe “middle.”

As the 1990s wore on, the decimation of foreign policy experts in the mold of White and Derian left few on the Democratic side who had the courage or skills to challenge the deeply entrenched neocons. Many Clinton-era Democrats accommodated to the neocon dominance by reinventing themselves as “liberal interventionists,” sharing the neocons’ love for military force but justifying the killing on “humanitarian” grounds.

This approach was a way for “liberals” to protect themselves against right-wing charges that they were “weak,” a charge that had scarred Democrats deeply during the Reagan/Bush-41 years, but this Democratic “tough-guy/gal-ism” further sidelined serious diplomats favoring traditional give-and-take with foreign leaders and their people.

So, you had Democrats like then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (and later Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright justifying Bill Clinton’s brutal sanctions policies toward Iraq, which the U.N. blamed for killing 500,000 Iraqi children, as “a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Bill Clinton’s eight years of “triangulation,” which included the brutal air war against Serbia, was followed by eight years of George W. Bush, which further ensconced the neocons as the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

By then, what was left of the old Republican “realists,” the likes of Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, was aging out or had been so thoroughly compromised that the neocons faced no significant opposition within Republican circles. And, Official Washington’s foreign-policy Democrats had become almost indistinguishable from the neocons, except for their use of “humanitarian” arguments to justify aggressive wars.

Media Capitulation

Before George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, much of the “liberal” media establishment – from The New York Times to The New Yorker – fell in line behind the war, asking few tough questions and presenting almost no obstacles. Favoring war had become the “safe” career play.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

But a nascent anti-war movement among rank-and-file Democrats did emerge, propelling Barack Obama, an anti-Iraq War Democrat, to the 2008 presidential nomination over Iraq War supporter Hillary Clinton. But those peaceful sentiments among the Democratic “base” did not reach very deeply into the ranks of Democratic foreign policy mavens.

So, when Obama entered the White House, he faced a difficult challenge. The State Department needed a thorough purging of the neocons and the liberal hawks, but there were few Democratic foreign policy experts who hadn’t sold out to the neocons. An entire generation of Democratic policy-makers had been raised in the world of neocon-dominated conferences, meetings, op-eds and think tanks, where tough talk made you sound good while talk of traditional diplomacy made you sound soft.

By contrast, more of the U.S. military and even the CIA favored less belligerent approaches to the world, in part, because they had actually fought Bush’s hopeless “global war on terror.” But Bush’s hand-picked, neocon-oriented high command – the likes of General David Petraeus – remained in place and favored expanded wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama then made one of the most fateful decisions of his presidency. Instead of cleaning house at State and at the Pentagon, he listened to some advisers who came up with the clever P.R. theme “Team of Rivals” – a reference to Abraham Lincoln’s first Civil War cabinet – and Obama kept in place Bush’s military leadership, including Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, and reached out to hawkish Sen. Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.

In other words, Obama not only didn’t take control of the foreign-policy apparatus, he strengthened the power of the neocons and liberal hawks. He then let this powerful bloc of Clinton-Gates-Petraeus steer him into a foolhardy counterinsurgency “surge” in Afghanistan that did little more than get 1,000 more U.S. soldiers killed along with many more Afghans.

Obama also let Clinton sabotage his attempted outreach to Iran in 2010 seeking constraints on its nuclear program and he succumbed to her pressure in 2011 to invade Libya under the false pretense of establishing a “no-fly zone” to protect civilians, what became a “regime change” disaster that Obama has ranked as his biggest foreign policy mistake.

The Syrian Conflict

Obama did resist Secretary Clinton’s calls for another military intervention in Syria although he authorized some limited military support to the allegedly “moderate” rebels and allowed Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to do much more in supporting jihadists connected to Al Qaeda and even the Islamic State.

Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Under Secretary Clinton, the neocon/liberal-hawk bloc consolidated its control of the State Department diplomatic corps. Under neocon domination, the State Department moved from one “group think” to the next. Having learned nothing from the Iraq War, the conformity continued to apply toward Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Russia, China, Venezuela, etc.

Everywhere the goal was same: to impose U.S. hegemony, to force the locals to bow to American dictates, to steer them into neo-liberal “free market” solutions which were often equated with “democracy” even if most of the people of the affected countries disagreed.

Double-talk and double-think replaced reality-driven policies. “Strategic communications,” i.e., the aggressive use of propaganda to advance U.S. interests, was one watchword. “Smart power,” i.e., the application of financial sanctions, threats of arrests, limited military strikes and other forms of intimidation, was another.

Every propaganda opportunity, such as the Syrian sarin attack in 2013 or the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down over eastern Ukraine, was exploited to the hilt to throw adversaries on the defensive even if U.S. intelligence analysts doubted that evidence supported the accusations.

Lying at the highest levels of the U.S. government – but especially among the State Department’s senior officials – became epidemic. Perhaps even worse, U.S. “diplomats” seemed to believe their own propaganda.

Meanwhile, the mainstream U.S. news media experienced a similar drift into the gravity pull of neocon dominance and professional careerism, eliminating major news outlets as any kind of check on official falsehoods.

The Up-and-Comers

The new State Department star – expected to receive a high-level appointment from President Clinton-45 – is neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who orchestrated the 2014 putsch in Ukraine, toppling an elected, Russia-friendly president and replacing him with a hard-line Ukrainian nationalist regime that then launched violent military attacks against ethnic Russians in the east who resisted the coup leadership.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

When Russia came to the assistance of these embattled Ukrainian citizens, including agreeing to Crimea’s request to rejoin Russia, the State Department and U.S. mass media spoke as one in decrying a “Russian invasion” and supporting NATO military maneuvers on Russia’s borders to deter “Russian aggression.”

Anyone who dares question this latest “group think” – as it plunges the world into a dangerous new Cold War – is dismissed as a “Kremlin apologist” or “Moscow stooge” just as skeptics about the Iraq War were derided as “Saddam apologists.” Virtually everyone important in Official Washington marches in lock step toward war and more war. (Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, making them one of Washington’s supreme power couples.)

So, that is the context of the latest State Department rebellion against Obama’s more tempered policies on Syria. Looking forward to a likely Hillary Clinton administration, these 51 “diplomats” have signed their name to a “dissent” that advocates bombing the Syrian military to protect Syria’s “moderate” rebels who – to the degree they even exist – fight mostly under the umbrella of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its close ally, Ahrar al Sham.

The muddled thinking in this “dissent” is that by bombing the Syrian military, the U.S. government can enhance the power of the rebels and supposedly force Assad to negotiate his own removal. But there is no reason to think that this plan would work.

In early 2014, when the rebels held a relatively strong position, U.S.-arranged peace talks amounted to a rebel-dominated conference that made Assad’s departure a pre-condition and excluded Syria’s Iranian allies from attending. Not surprisingly, Assad’s representative went home and the talks collapsed.

Now, with Assad holding a relatively strong hand, backed by Russian air power and Iranian ground forces, the “dissenting” U.S. diplomats say peace is impossible because the rebels are in no position to compel Assad’s departure. Thus, the “dissenters” recommend that the U.S. expand its role in the war to again lift the rebels, but that would only mean more maximalist demands from the rebels.

Serious Risks

This proposed wider war, however, would carry some very serious risks, including the possibility that the Syrian army could collapse, opening the gates of Damascus to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front (and its allies) or the Islamic State – a scenario that, as The New York Times noted, the “memo doesn’t address.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Secretary of State John Kerry before meetings at the Kremlin on Dec. 15, 2015. (State Department photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Secretary of State John Kerry before meetings at the Kremlin on Dec. 15, 2015. (State Department photo)

Currently, the Islamic State and – to a lesser degree – the Nusra Front are in retreat, chased by the Syrian army with Russian air support and by some Kurdish forces with U.S. backing. But those gains could easily be reversed. There is also the risk of sparking a wider war with Iran and/or Russia.

But such cavalier waving aside of grave dangers is nothing new for the neocons and liberal hawks. They have consistently dreamt up schemes that may sound good at a think-tank conference or read well in an op-ed article, but fail in the face of ground truth where usually U.S. soldiers are expected to fix the mess.

We have seen this wishful thinking go awry in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and even Syria, where Obama’s acquiescence to provide arms and training for the so-called “unicorns” – the hard-to-detect “moderate” rebels – saw those combatants and their weapons absorbed into Al Qaeda’s or Islamic State’s ranks.

Yet, the neocons and liberal hawks who control the State Department – and are eagerly looking forward to a Hillary Clinton presidency – will never stop coming up with these crazy notions until a concerted effort is made to assess accountability for all the failures that that they have inflicted on U.S. foreign policy.

As long as there is no accountability – as long as the U.S. president won’t rein in these warmongers – the madness will continue and only grow more dangerous.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party” and “Would a Clinton Win Mean More Wars?’]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com).

Read this before the US government uses the Orlando shooting to start another war

Global Research, June 19, 2016
Antimedia 17 June 2016

Late Thursday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported, 51 State Department officials signed a statement condemning U.S. policy in Syria in which they repeatedly call for “targeted military strikes against the Damascus government and urging regime change as the only way to defeat the Islamic State.”

“In other words,” as Zero Hedge summarized,

“over 50 top ‘diplomats’ are urging to eliminate [Syrian Pres. Bashar al] Assad in order to ‘defeat ISIS’, the same ISIS which top US ‘diplomats’ had unleashed previously in order to … eliminate Assad.”

This gordian knot created by United States foreign policy — and intensified by that same policy — means not only could war with Syria be on the horizon, but if that happens, the U.S. could be facing a far more serious threat.

While discontented officials used what’s known as the “Dissent Channel” — “an official forum that allows employees to express opposing views,” State Department spokesman John Kirby explained in the WSJ — Saudi government officials employed more direct means to press their interests with the U.S. in Syria.

In a meeting with President Obama on Friday, Saudi foreign minister Adel al Jubair asserted, “Saudi Arabia supports a more aggressive military approach in Syria to get Assad to agree to a political solution,” as CBS’ Mark Knoller tweeted.

Of course, this meeting and the push for increased military force couldn’t be more timely to drum up public support, as a heated national debate has ensued following the deadly attack on an Orlando nightclub purportedly carried out by Omar Mateen — who pledged loyalty to ISIS as he killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others.

Despite the CIA’s report acknowledging it found no tangible connectionsbetween Mateen and the so-called Islamic state — also released on Friday — the narrative concerning his ISIS ties saturated mainstream headlinesfor days, almost certainly cementing the link in the public’s mind.

Disgruntled politicians eager to overthrow Assad — thus also carrying out Saudi goals — can now facilely flip the script to assert deposing the Syrian government is necessary in the fight against everyone’s enemy, the Islamic State.

“Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as Daesh [ISIS, etc.], even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield,” the WSJ reported the dissenting cable stated.

But concerns about bloating ISIS’ following borders on comical, except for the potential waterfall of repercussions from carrying out targeted strikes on the Syrian government, considering the U.S. government, itself, once expressed the desire for the rise of an Islamic State to aid in the overthrow of — you guessed it — Assad.

According to declassified documents obtained by Judicial Watch last year:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

Former Director of National Intelligence and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, however, spoke to Al Jazeera about this ill-fated, notorious strategical blunder.

“You’re on record as saying that the handling of Syria by this administration has been a mistake. Many people would argue that the U.S. actually saw the rise of ISIL coming and turned a blind eye, or even encouraged as a counterpoint to Assad,” journalist Mehdi Hasan prefaced his query, adding,“The U.S. saw the ISIL caliphate coming and did nothing.”

Flynn responded, “Yeah, I think that we — where we missed the point. I mean, where we totally blew it, I think, was in the very beginning.”

Besides backing and blessings from the Saudi government for aggression on the Syrian front, dissent among U.S. officials couldn’t be more imperative in their eyes, because, as the WSJ reported:

The internal cable may be an attempt to shape the foreign policy outlook for the next administration, the official familiar with the document said. President Barack Obama has balked at taking military action against Mr. Assad, while the Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton has promised a more hawkish stance against the Syrian leader. Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he would hit Islamic State hard but has also said he would be prepared to work with Russia and Syria.

In fact, as Zero Hedge also noted, an albeit contested report from earlier this week claimed Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made comments including “a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to” Clinton’s campaign.

Politicians and officials, in other words, are fast aligning a narrative touting the need to wage war with Syria in order to have it carried out by the candidate they assume will next take the White House.

And despite being a risky move in its own right — not to mention a potentially superficial, if not muddying, solution to an almost solely U.S.-created problem — ramping up military airstrikes in Syria could quite literally spark war with Russia.

“The Russian Air Force bombed U.S.-trained rebels in southern Syria not once, but twice Thursday, and the second wave of attacks came after the U.S. military called Russia on an emergency hotline to demand that it stop,” an unnamed defense official with knowledge of the situation told Fox News.

Russia has repeatedly warned against U.S. moves to oust Assad, which President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, reiterated following the tense situation Thursday and the report calling for increased military targeting of the Syrian government saying, it “wouldn’t help a successful fight against terrorism and could plunge the region into total chaos.”

As recently as February, Saudi Arabia proposed sending its own troops to join the fight against ISIS — which Russia wholly condemned. As head of the State Duma committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov, warned“Syria has to give official consent, to invite, otherwise it will be a war.”

Now, it appears, that war might be closer than ever.

Syria doesn’t constitute the only arena of contention between the U.S. and Russia. As Anti-Media reported this week, continued buildup of NATO forces along the old Cold War foe’s borders in the Balkans and Poland — and particularly also in the Black Sea — has provoked Russia sufficiently enough for officials to caution the move might amount to aggression.

“This is not NATO’s maritime space and it has no relation to the alliance,”Russia’s director of European affairs told Interfax.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and E.U. have proffered a policy whereby defense of its installations on foreign soil is being carried out under the cloak of the NATO alliance — possibly with the intent of posturing dominance in the region to create a buffer zone for operations in Syria.

Pipelines through Syria would specifically allow oil and natural gas to flow to the European Union, which currently sources that fuel primarily from Russia. In other words, if Russia wants to defend its profitable relationship with the E.U., it must defend against the U.S.-led, Saudi-supported overthrow of its Syrian ally, Assad.

Meanwhile, civilians in Syria have been treated like cannon fodder and are fleeing for their lives — but the intensifying geopolitical maneuvers appear more likely than ever to have brought us all to the brink of a third world war.

Syria: Russian surprise attack blows up Kerry’s delaying tactic

Global Research, June 19, 2016
Moon of Alabama 18 June 2016
U.S.-Russia-Syria-570x332

The U.S. is unwilling to stop the war on Syria and to settle the case at the negotiation table. It wants a 100% of its demands fulfilled, the dissolution of the Syrian government and state and the inauguration of a U.S. proxy administration in Syria.

After the ceasefire in Syria started in late February Obama broke his pledge to separate the U.S. supported “moderate rebels” from al-Qaeda. In April U.S. supported rebels, the Taliban like Ahrar al Sham and al-Qaeda joined to attack the Syrian government in south Aleppo. The U.S.proxies broke the ceasefire.

Two UN resolutions demand that al-Qaeda in Syria be fought no matter what. But the U.S. has at least twice asked Russia not to bomb al-Qaeda. It insists, falsely, that it can not separate its “moderates” from al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda can not be attacked because that would also hit its “moderate” friends.

The Russian foreign minster Lavrov has talked wit Kerry many times about the issue. But the only response he received were requests to further withhold bombing. Meanwhile al-Qaeda and the “moderates” continued to break the ceasefire and to attack the Syrian government forces.

After nearly four month Kerry still insists that the U.S. needs even more time for the requested separation of its proxy forces from al-Qaeda. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently expressed the Russian consternation:

The Americans are now saying that they are unable to remove the ‘good’ opposition members from the positions held by al-Nusra Front, and that they will need another two-three months. I am under the impression that there is a game here and they may want to keep al-Nusra Front in some form and later use it to overthrow the [Assad] regime,” Lavrov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The bucket was full and Kerry’s latest request for another three month pause of attacking al-Qaeda was the drop that let it overflow. Russia now responded by hitting the U.S. where it did not expect to be hit:

Russian warplanes hit Pentagon-backed Syrian fighters with a barrage of airstrikes earlier this week, disregarding several warnings from U.S. commanders in what American military officials called the most provocative act since Moscow’s air campaign in Syria began last year.The strikes hit a base near the Jordanian border, far from areas where the Russians were previously active, and targeted U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State militants.

These latest strikes occurred on the other side of the country from the usual Russian operations, around Tanf, a town near where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.

The Russian strike hit a small rebel base for staging forces and equipment in a desolate, unpopulated area near the border. About 180 rebels were there as part of the Pentagon’s program to train and equip fighters against Islamic State.

When the first strikes hit, the rebels called a U.S. command center in Qatar, where the Pentagon orchestrates the daily air war against Islamic State.

U.S. jets came and the Russian jets went away. The U.S. jets left to refuel, the Russian jets came back and hit again. Allegedly two U.S. proxy fighters were killed and 18 were wounded.

Earlier today another such attack hit the same target.

This was no accident but a well planned operation and the Russian spokesperson’s response makes the intend clear:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to confirm the attack Friday, telling reporters it was difficult to distinguish different rebel groups from the air.

Translation: “If you can not separate your forces from al-Qaeda and differentiate and designate exclusively “moderate” zones we can not do so either.”

The forces near Tanf are supported by U.S. artillery from Jordan and air power via Iraq. British and Jordan special operations forces are part of the ground component (and probably the majority of the “Syrian” fighters.) There is no al-Qaeda there. The Russians know that well. But they wanted to make the point that it is either separation everywhere or separation nowhere. From now on until the U.S. clearly separates them from AQ all U.S. supported forces will be hit indiscriminately anywhere and anytime. (The Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State with U.S. support are for now a different story.)

The Pentagon does not want any further engagement against the Syrian government or against Russia. It wants to fight the Islamic State and its hates the CIA for its cooperation with al-Qaeda and other Jihadi elements. But John Brennan, the Saudi operative and head of the CIA, still seems to have Obama’s ear. But what can Obama do now? Shoot down a Russian jet and thereby endanger any U.S. pilot flying in Syria or near the Russian border? Risk a war with Russia? Really?

The Russian hit near Tanf was clearly a surprise. The Russians again caught Washington on the wrong foot. The message to the Obama administration is clear. “No more delays and obfuscations. You will separate your moderates NOW or all your assets in Syria will be juicy targets for the Russian air force.

The Russian hits at Tanf and the U.S. proxies there has an additional benefit. The U.S. had planned to let those forces move north towards Deir Ezzor and to defeat the Islamic State in that city. Eventually a “Sunni entity” would be established in south east Syria and west Iraq under U.S. control. Syria would be split apart.

The Syrian government and its allies will not allow that. There is a large operation planned to free Deir Ezzor from the Islamic State occupation. Several hundred Syrian government forces have held an isolated airport in Deir Ezzor against many unsuccessful Islamic State attacks. These troops get currently reinforced by additional Syrian army contingents and Hizbullah commandos. A big battle is coming. Deir Ezzor may be freed within the next few month. Any U.S. plans for some eastern Syrian entity are completely unrealistic if the Syrian government can take and hold its largest eastern city.

The Obama administration’s delaying tactic will now have to end. Russia will no longer stand back and watch while the U.S. sabotages the ceasefire and supports al-Qaeda.

What then is the next move the U.S. will make?

Banking on cluster bombs: JP Morgan invests in banned weapons

Links to the report below
One of the easiest ways to take action is banking with clean banks. Truly local banks or credit unions are a great way to go. And have a credit card with a clean bank. 

From Telesur
June 16, 2016

“It is an absolute outrage that financial institutions are investing billions into … weapons which are banned under international law.”

More than 155 financial institutions have invested billions of dollars in companies making cluster bombs, weapons banned under international law because of their impact on civilians, an advocacy group said Thursday, according to Reuters.

The firms invested more than US$28 billion in seven producers of cluster munitions between June 2012 and April 2016, according to a report by PAX, a Dutch campaigning organization.

“It is an absolute outrage that financial institutions are investing billions into companies that produce weapons which are banned under international law,” said Suzanne Oosterwijk, author of the report. “It is time for financial institutions to stop disregarding the international norm.”

Cluster munitions explode in the air and scatter smaller “bomblets” over a huge area that detonate when stepped on or picked up. They leave behind large numbers of unexploded ordnance, which can kill or maim civilians long after a war has ended. According to monitors, the weapons have been used recently in Yemen, Sudan, Ukraine, Libya and Syria.

The weapons are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which has been signed by 119 states and came into force in 2010.

The majority of firms named by PAX—which includes banks, pension funds and insurance companies—are from countries which are not party to the convention, including the United States, China and South Korea.

One of the largest of these is U.S.-based JPMorgan Chase, which has invested US$1.17 billion in companies that produce the weapons, according to the report. JPMorgan officials declined to comment.

Twenty firms named by PAX are from countries which are party to the convention: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and Britain.

From Stop Explosive Investments

Report

On 16 June 2016, CMC member organisation PAX (Netherlands) publishes the seventh update of the report ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: A shared responsibility’. The report was first published on 29 October 2009, and subsequent updates were published on 14 April 2010, 25 May 2011, 12 June 2012, 12 December 2013 and 27 November 2014.

In the report CMC member organisation PAX (Netherlands) documents:

  • Financial institutions that are investing in cluster munitions producers
  • Financial institutions that have disinvested from cluster munition producers and established clear policies to prevent future investment in them
  • Other financial institutions that have taken positive steps towards fully disinvesting from cluster munition producers
  • Governments that have passed legislation banning investments in cluster munition producers
  • Governments that have issued statements interpreting the Convention on Cluster Munitions to ban investment in cluster munition producers.
  • Copyright © 2008-2016 stopexplosiveinvestments.org. All Rights Reserved.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Banking-on-Cluster-Bombs-JP-Morgan-Invests-in-Banned-Weapons-20160616-0035.htmlhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/banking-on-cluster-bombs-jp-morgan-invests-in-banned-weapons/5531401

Orlando killer worked inside global security system

From Project Censored

by Peter Phillips
June 14, 2016

The Orlando mass murderer, Omar Mateen, worked for G4S, one of the largest private security employers in the world. G4S has some 625,000 employees spanning five continents in more than 120 countries. As a private security company it provides services for both governments as well as corporations. Some of its well-known contractors are with the British Government, the United States, Israel, Australia and many more. G4S providers a range of services in the areas of corrections, policing, and security of important facilities. In the corporate sector it has worked with such well-known companies such as Chrysler, Amtrak, Apple, and the Bank of America.

A statement from G4S, published by The Independent June 12 says that: “We are shocked and saddened by the tragic even that occurred at the Orlando nightclub. We can confirm that Omar Mateen had been employed with G4S since Sept 10 2007. We are cooperating fully with all law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, as they conduct their investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends, families, and people affected by this unspeakable tragedy.”

Mateen worked with the company since 2007. G4S provides security personnel for the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection at the US-Mexico border, and helps transport undocumented immigrants from urban areas.

Mass killings like the one in Orlando directly benefit private security firms like G4S by increasing fears and demands for higher security services. Estimates are that over $200 billion is spent on private security globally with higher amounts expected yearly. The industry currently employs some 15 million people worldwide.

G4S offers security guards, alarms, management and transportation of cash and valuables, prison management, and electronic monitoring of offenders in 120 countries worldwide. They are the second largest private employer in the world. Their annual revenue in 2014 was $10.5 billion. Increasingly G4S operates in “complex environments” and accepts jobs national armies are not trained to do like land mine clearance, and military security in active war zones.

Chevron Oil in Nigeria contracts with G4S for counter insurgency operations that deploy armed groups of fast-response mercenaries both on land and on delta water patrol boats mounted with machine guns. G4S maintains a similar operation in South Sudan. G4S also provides surveillance equipment to checkpoints and prisons in Israel.

G4S has been plagued with problems in the last decade, most noticeably with the botched contract at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. They failed to provide the 10,000 plus trained employees they had promised under contract. Instead G4S had roughly 2,000 people properly trained, with many more getting only a few weeks’ worth of preparation. The result led to the British Military being called in to provide security with some 13,000 troops alongside G4S.

In June of 2014, G4S was accused of violently removing protesters from outside its own offices in London, a claim the company denies, and a few months after that G4S had to pay $100,000 for unlawfully restraining youths in a secure training facility. In 2011, a double amputee was improperly secured in one of G4S’s ambulance services and died when the unsecured wheelchair tipped over backwards as he was being transported to the hospital.  It was found that the G4S staff was not sufficiently trained to move patients safely from their homes to hospitals. And as far back as 2004, a 15-year-old died when three G4S employees at Rainsbrook Secure Training Center restrained him. None of the officers were charged in that incident.

G4S is a transnational security company in direct service to the global corporations and the transnational capitalist class. G4S protects capital and assets around the world and is increasingly taking a private military style approach as needed. As a multi-billion-dollar public company major investors come from the financial core of the transnational capitalist class including; Blackrock, UBS, Vanguard, Barclays, State Street, Allianz, J.P. Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, and FMR. Even the State of California and New York have holdings in G4S. Nine of the thirteen largest most connected money management firms and banks in the world have direct investments holdings in G4S. Omnicom, the largest public relations and propaganda firm in the world, handles media for G4S and undoubtedly is currently in full crisis management mode to protect the company and minimalize links to Omar Mateen.

G4S is a part of neoliberal imperialism that is leading to the substitution of and privatization of state police. Inside G4S’s 625,000 employees are undoubtedly a number of reactionary individuals with extreme racist, homophobic, and xenophobic feelings similar to Omar Mateen. These folks are armed walking time bombs that can individually or collectively unleash disruption and chaos on humans anywhere in the world. The resulting chaos and fear will be used to justify even more demands for private security, including even martial law, all resulting in improved profits for G4S.

____________________________________________

Peter Phillips is a Professor of Political Sociology as Sonoma State University and president of Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored. Fully footnoted research on G4S is available on line at:

Private Military Companies in Service to the Transnational Capitalist Class

CONFIRMED: FBI introduced Florida shooter to “informants”

Global Research, June 13, 2016

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims (M. Ch. GR. Editor)

It is now confirmed that in addition to two investigations and two interviews, Florida terror suspect Omar Mateen was also approached by “informants” working for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over a period of 10 months.

New York Daily News in their article, “FBI spied on Orlando gay club terrorist Omar Mateen for 10 months in 2013: FBI Director James Comey,” would admit (emphasis added):

Mateen first appeared on authorities’ radar in 2013 after the security guard’s colleagues alerted the FBI to inflammatory statements he made to colleagues claiming “family connections to Al Qaeda,” according to Comey. 

Mateen also told coworkers he had a family member who belonged to Hezbollah, a Shia network that is a bitter enemy of ISIS — the network he pledged allegiance to the night of the carnage, Comey noted.

The FBI’s Miami office opened an inquiry into Mateen. 

“He said he hoped that law enforcement would raid his apartment and assault his wife and child so he could martyr himself,” Comey said. 

Nevertheless, FBI investigators investigated Mateen, who was born in New York, for 10 months. They introduced him to confidential informants, spied on his communications and followed him. They also interviewed him twice.

Informants Posing as Handlers
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The significance of this cannot be understated. “Informants” in this context, according to FBI affidavits regarding similar counterterrorism investigations, refers to individuals posing as members of terrorist organizations who approach suspects, coerce them into planning and preparing for terrorist attacks, before finally aiding the FBI in the suspect’s arrest before the attack is finally carried out.

Among the activities these informants carry out includes providing and training suspects in the use of real explosives, providing suspects with arsenals of weapons precisely like those used in the recent shooting in Orlando Florida, and encouraging suspects to adopt “radical ideology” over the course of the investigation. Suspects are given the false impression that they are working on behalf of terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda or the self-proclaimed “Islamic State,” often cultivating delusions of grandeur among otherwise mentally ill suspects.

The Intercept in its recent article, “Before Nightclub Shooting, FBI Pursued Questionable Florida “Terror” Suspects,” would note that the FBI’s Miami office who investigated Mateen, has been “among the bureau’s most active and aggressive counterterrorism units.” 

It would also report on the specifics of this unit’s activities:

For more than a year ending in April — a time during which investigators will now be looking for any clues from Mateen that might have been missed — the FBI in Miami focused on a counterterrorism sting that targeted James Medina, a homeless man with mental problems.

The Intercept would reveal that the FBI informant, not Medina, came up with the idea of crediting the planned attack to the “Islamic State.” In fact, upon reading the FBI’s affidavit (.pdf), it is clear the FBI’s informant encouraged and walked Medina through every aspect of the planned attack, including providing him with what he thought was an explosive device.

Upon reading Medina’s incoherent conversations with various FBI informants, it is clear he possessed neither the mental or technical capacity on his own to perpetrate the attacks he was arrested for.

The Intercept would continue:

Nearly a year before Medina’s arrest, the FBI’s Miami office arrested another supposed terrorist, 23-year-old Cuban-American Harlem Suarez, also known as Almlak Benitez, whom former co-workers described as “a little slow.” The government alleged that Suarez conspired with an FBI informant to bomb a beach in Key West in support of the Islamic State. The FBI provided a fake backpack bomb.

Finally, the Intercept would reveal (emphasis added):

The Orlando shooting isn’t the first case to raise this question. In 2011, when the FBI investigated Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, agents did not deem him a threat.

Instead, at about the same time, the Boston FBI started a nine-month sting operation against Rezwan Ferdaus, who had no weapons and no connections to international terrorists, andwhose mental wellness had deteriorated so much that he was wearing adult diapers at the time of his arrest on terrorism charges.

Rezwan Ferdaus, like Medina, was provided assistance by the FBI every step of the way, including being provided 24 lbs of C4 explosives, 6 fully automatic AK47 rifles, and 3 grenades – the FBI’s own affidavit reveals (.pdf). He was brought deep into a fictional world where he believed he was working directly with Al Qaeda for nearly a year – told that “detonation devices” he constructed and passed on to FBI informants were “used” in Iraq to “kill” American soldiers.

Image: The FBI provided Ferdaus with thousands of dollars to purchase various pieces of equipment for his planned “drone attack” on Washington D.C. 
.
The FBI’s informants conduct similar practices in virtually all of their investigations.In 2010, the FBI investigated naturalized US citizen and Oregon resident Mohamed Osman Mohamud. In their own official statement titled, “Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland,” released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on November 26, 2010  it was stated (emphasis added):

According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack. 

The FBI in February 2012 provided another suspect with live explosives in the lead up to what was ultimately a foiled suicide bombing planned with the help of FBI informants at the US Capitol.

Image: The bomb the FBI constructed for the Portland “Christmas tree bomber.”

USA Today reported in their article, “FBI foils alleged suicide bomb attack on U.S. Capitol,” that (emphasis added):

According to a counterterrorism official, El Khalifi “expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times,” the Associated Press writes. During the year-long investigation, El Khalifi detonated explosives at a quarry in the capital region with undercover operatives. He is not believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, officials said.

Considering the disturbing activities conducted by FBI informants during these “investigations,” the FBI appears obligated to tell the American public just what their “informants” were doing with Florida shooting suspect Omar Mateen in the 10 months they were “investigating” him beginning in 2013.

Did they also walk Mateen through planned attacks he ultimately backed out of? Did he eventually change his mind again after the FBI’s investigation was allegedly closed?

The American media and US elected representatives have an obligation to ask these questions, obtain this information from the FBI, and to reevaluate the FBI’s means and methods of investigating potential suspects through what is clearly a dangerous process of entrapment, indoctrination, and deceit.

The FBI’s counterterrorism program has not made America safer. It has clearly been used to provide a steady stream of “foiled attacks” that otherwise would never have materialized – causing hysteria, hatred, fear, and division across American society. The FBI’s counterterrorism program has also clearly failed monumentally to stop actual terror suspects know to them before real attacks have unfolded.

The FBI is supposed to represent an asset for the domestic security of the United States – but in reality it appears to be one of the most compromised of liabilities.

Time for a break.