President Putin on Victory Day: This sacred holiday, remembering the millions who sacrificed and died and saved their country from the threat of Hitler’s genocide

From Kremlin.ru

May 9, 2017

After the reception, Vladimir Putin met with Slovenian veterans to congratulate them on Victory Day. “We are very grateful for what you are doing at home to honour the memory of Russian soldiers,” Vladimir Putin said.

The President also spoke with members of the Aleksandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army who were invited to the reception. Mr Putin congratulated its members and leader Colonel Gennady Sachenyuk on the holiday.

* * *

Speech at the Victory Day reception

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear veterans, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Let me extend my heartfelt congratulations on Victory Day!

This is a holiday of pride, joy and grief. These sincere, unabashed feelings unite millions of people, all generations.

There is no other day when we all have such a strong sense of the value of life and the importance of love for the Fatherland, when remembrance of the war becomes universal and extremely important both for those who fought and laboured on the home front, for those who were born after the Victory and for very young people, for our children and grandchildren living in the 21st century.

This sacred holiday is celebrated by all of Russia. And it is clear why.

It is not just the many millions of victims which our people sacrificed on the altar of Victory. If our country would have succumbed to the terrible tragedy and, like many other European countries, suffered defeat, a totally different fate would have awaited us than the enslaved countries of the European continent. It was not only a question of the existence of our country, it was a question of the existence of our people as an ethnos.

 And we are well aware of this from the documents of the Nazi party and the fascist state which are still stored in archives. Those who were not used for slave labour would have been subject either to physical elimination, plain and simple, or resettlement to remote regions without any infrastructure where they would have been doomed to gradual extinction.

This is what we must always remember when we talk about the truth of the Second World War, the Great Patriotic War, when we speak about the victims which our people sacrificed on the altar of Victory, as I already mentioned. This is something we must never forget. This is the most important thing.

This is why we reach out to veterans on Victory Day. The most heartfelt congratulations and words of gratitude are extended to you. The flowers, gifts, concerts and fireworks, these are all for you.

We revere your valour and self-sacrifice, modesty and strength of spirit. We revere your entire generation which steadfastly endured such an arduous, long, rough and heroic road to Victory.

The defeat of Nazism was an epochal event for the entire world and for our country – a great celebration of liberation from tragedy, death and destruction, a day of triumph for a people who defeated a brazen, treacherous and brutal enemy, a people who paid an enormous price in blood and lives to determine the outcome of the deadliest war and bring it to a victorious close.

Our gratitude to the generation of victors is immeasurable. We will always keep faith with your covenants and your heroic legacy, and we will pass down this inheritance to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Thank you. Thank you for everything!

I would like to propose a toast to the victors, to peace in our land, to great Russia!

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54469

The “beatification” of Barack Obama. The “good guy” storyline is set…

By Kit
Global Research, January 16, 2017
Off Guardian 15 January 2017
Obama's farewell speech tear, one more than he ever shed for Libya, Syria or Yemen.
Obama’s farewell speech tear, one more than he ever shed for Libya, Syria or Yemen.

As the eight-year term of America’s first black President draws to a close, the media are already in the process of myth-making. There’s room for an honest autopsy of a man who promised a new kind of world, and delivered merely warmed-over soundbites and a few fake tears.

“With Barack Obama’s exit the US is losing a saint.” writes Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, whilst Ann Perkins praises his “grace, decency and defence of democracy”. Lola Okolosie rhapsodises on his legacy of “warmth, love, resilience”.

Already the storyline is set – Obama was a good man, who tried to do great things, but was undone by a Republican senate, and his own “sharp intelligence”.

These people, as much as anybody, reflect the cognitive dissonance of the modern press. “Liberals”, to use their own tortured self-descriptor, now assign the roles of good guy and bad guy based purely on aesthetics, convenience and fuel for their vanity. Actions and consequences are immaterial.

For the sake of balance, here is a list of Saint Obama’s unique achievements:

  • Obama is the first President in American history to be at war for every single day of an 8 year presidency.
  • Obama has carried out 10x more drone strikes than Bush ever did. Every Tuesday a military aide presents Obama with a “kill list”, and the “decent, gracious” Obama picks a few names off a list…and kills them. And their families. And their neighbours. These illegal acts of state-sanctioned murder have killed hundreds of civilians in 5 different countries in 2016 alone. The only reason that number isn’t higher, is that the Obama administration re-classified all males over 18 as combatants, regardless of occupation.
  • After declaring he wanted to build a “nuclear free world”, Obama committed to spending $1 TRILLION dollars on rebuilding America’s nuclear weapons.
  • Under Obama, the NSA et al. were able to spy on, essentially, the whole world. When this was revealed, not a single intelligence officer or government official was prosecuted. Instead…
  • Obama’s administration declared a “war on whistleblowers”, enacting new laws and initiating what they call the “Insider Threat Program”. Manning was prosecuted, Snowden sent into exile and Assange was set-up, discredited and (they hoped) extradited. It has never been more dangerous to be a government whistle-blower, than under Barack Obama
  • In terms of foreign policy, despite his press-created and non-sensical reputation as a non-interventionist, American Special Forces are currently operating in over 70% of the world’s 195 countries. The great lie is that, where Bush was a warmonger, Obama has sought to avoid conflict. The truth is that Obama, in the grand tradition of the CIA and American Imperial power, has simply turned all America’s wars into covert wars.
  • Before Obama came into office, Libya was the richest and most developed nation in Africa. It is now a hell-hole. Destroyed by war, hollowed-out by corruption. The “liberal” press allow him to agonise over this as his “greatest mistake”, and then gently pardon him for his good intentions. The truth is that Libya was not a mistake, or a misjudgment, or an unforeseen consequence. Libya is exactly what America wanted it to become. A failed state where everything is for sale, a base to pour illegal CIA weapons south into Africa and east into the ME. When war is your economy, chaos is good for business. When secrecy is your weapon, anarchy is ammunition. Libya went according to plan. A brutal plan that killed 100,000s and destroyed the lives of millions more. Libya, like Iraq, is a neocon success story. Syria on the other hand…
  • Syria, probably the word that will follow Obama out of office as “Iraq” did his predecessor, is a total failure. Both of stated intent and covert goals. Where the press will mourn Obama’s “indecisive nature” and wish he’d “used his big stick”, the real story is one of evil incompetence, so great that it would be almost comical…if it hadn’t destroyed an ancient seat of civilisation and killed 100,000s of people. Syria (along with Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Iran and Sudan) was on the list of the 7 countries America intended to destroy, famously “leaked” by General Wesley Clark. After the fall of Libya, Syria was (essentially) surrounded by American military on all sides. Iraq, Israel, Turkey and America operating out of Libya could pour “freedom fighters” into Syria to bring down “the regime”. When that didn’t work they deployed the trusty “WMD” method, to demand “humanitarian intervention”…the Russians saw that off. Then “ISIS” was created by the CIA, as al-Qaida were before them, and their manufactured barbarism was used as a pretext for invasion. The Russians, again, saw to it that this would not happen.
  • Perhaps in the hope of distracting Russia from the ME, or perhaps merely as a short-sighted punitive measure, the Obama’s administration next foreign policy target was Ukraine. Victoria Nuland’s own voice proves how much that “color revolution” was an American creation. Ukraine is broke, even more broke than it was, its people starve and freeze through the winter. The new “democratic government” has shelled 10,000 people to death in the East of the country….using American weapons.
  • In Yemen, the poorest country in the ME is being bombed to shreds by the richest….again, using American (and British) weapons. Obama’s “defense of democracy” doesn’t extend to criticising, or even discussing, the abhorrent Human Rights record of America’s Saudi Arabian allies, and in an act of brazen hypocrisy, even supported their chairing of the Human Rights Council of the UN.

This is the world Saint Obama has created. Guantanamo is still open, and terrorist “suspects” are still held there without trial or charge (they are probably still tortured). Other “suspects” can be simply declared guilty, and unilaterally executed…anywhere in the world. The NSA and CIA are illegally monitoring the communications of half the world. If any other leader in the world claimed even 1% of this power, they would be decried as “autocratic”, and their country denounced as a “pariah state”.

The Middle-East is ablaze from Libya to Afghanistan, and from Yemen to Turkey. Relations with Russia are as precarious as at any time since WWII, thanks to America’s efforts to break Russia economically and shatter their global influence. There is no sign that America intends to back-down (see the recent red-scare style hysteria in the American press). Likewise America has positioned itself to have a massive conflict with China in the South China Sea. Obama is, in terms of influence, nothing more than a used-car salesman. His job is not to create policy, but to sell neocon ideas to the general public, but his lack of agency cannot excuse his lack of vision or morals. Under Obama’s notional leadership the world has moved to the very brink of self-immolation in the name of protecting American hegemony. Domestically America still crumbles.

He had a nice smile, and a good turn of phrase. He was witty, and cool, and looked good in a suit…but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t just more of the same. He could say the right things, and sound like he meant them, but he was still a monster. As he moves out to pasture, the press will try to spit-shine Obama’s tarnished halo, to try to convince us that he was a good man at heart and that, as politicians go, we can’t do any better.

But yes, we can.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-beatification-of-barack-obama-the-good-guy-storyline-is-set/5568823

“Soft” Genocide: Kiev shuts off water and electricity to Lugansk

From Fort Russ

December 3, 2016 –
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ – translated by J. Arnoldski –
In addition to regularly shelling the territories of the Donbass republics and firing missiles over the airspace of Russian Crimea, Kiev has also not forgotten to use energy weapons. While Russia is helping the residents of the Ukrainian city of Genichesk (Kherson region) to survive the harsh winter by supplying them with free gas, Ukraine is using any and every opportunity to implement policies of socio-economic genocide against the people of Donbass. 
Today, I received fresh information from the front of the “energy war” being waged by Kiev against the Lugansk People’s Republic. This information is courtesy of Cossack Media Group from the city of Stakhanov in the LPR. The LPR’s authorized representative to the Minsk talks, Vladislav Deynego has reported that Ukraine has cut off Lugansk’s water supply from the Petrov reservoir. However, he assured that this has not harmed anyone in the LPR. In response to Ukraine’s disconnection of the water supply, a new water supply schedule has been introduced in Lugansk.
At the same time, the first deputy director of the Lugansk Water Company, Igor Ometov, has reported that the water shutdown has absolutely not affected any other districts of the Lugansk People’s Republic, which will continue to receive water according to the normal schedule.
But that’s not all. In December 2016, Ukraine plans to turn off not only water, but also electricity to the LPR. This has been announced by the director of the Lugansk Energy Association, Vladimir Gritsai, live on Hromadske Public Radio.
Earlier, the head of the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Alexander Hug, stated that 600,000 people in the LPR could be left without heating and electricity for Christmas. According to representatives of the Cossack Media Group whom I asked for clarification, Lugansk had actually signed a formal contract with Ukrainian energy providers and regularly pays them for their services. During this upcoming harsh winter (such are the forecasts), the deprivation of such a huge population of light and heating is a form of genocide.
I believe that the Donbass republics are obliged to submit a complaint on such behavior at the next meeting of the Minsk group or call an emergency meeting insofar as Ukraine, with these and other actions, is grossly violating the spirit and letters of the Minsk Agreements. Paragraph eight of the agreements concerns the need to “fully restore socio-economic ties, including social transfers such as pensions and other payments (receipts and income, the timely payment of all utility bills, the renewal of taxation within the legal framework of Ukraine).” 
The republics of Donbass are honoring and fulfilling their part of the obligations and are paying Ukrainian power companies for their services. Yet now Ukraine has refused to provide even those services that have been already paid for. 
Ukraine’s actions are no surprise. The only surprise is the actions of the leaders of the Donetsk republics, especially LPR head Igor Plotnitsky. In October of last year, the Minister of Fuel, Energy, and Coal Industry of the LPR, Dmitry Lyamin, was arrested for ordering enormous volumes of coal produced in the republic to go to Ukraine. This helped Ukrainian energy stations keep running thanks to acutely scarce Donbass coal. As a result, Ukraine was saved from energy collapse last winter. This problematic situation was compounded by the fact that the LPR received no money or tax revenues from the coal supply. Lyamin’s arrest was made in the absence of Plotnitsky and aroused his anger. The next day, Lyamin was released from custody on the personal order of Plotnitsky…

Zakharchenko: We have shown the international community our willingness to implement the Minsk Agreements

From Fort Russ

Fort Russ – 19th July, 2016
Today, on July 19th, parliamentary hearings on the topic of “Progress in realization of the Complex of measures on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, approved by Resolution 2202 (2015) on the 7384th UN Security Council meeting” took place in Donetsk. Correspondent of the official website of the Donetsk People’s Republic reported about this.
Head of DPR Alexander Zakharchenko took part in the event. In his speech he emphasized the importance of assistance of the international community in stopping the genocide of the people of Donbass, which was unleashed by the Kiev authorities.
“Today we are summing up the results of the signatures collected on the Petition concerning the nonfulfillment of the UN Resolution by Ukraine; more than 300,000 residents of DPR supported this appeal. We have shown the international community our willingness to implement the Minsk agreements and to end this conflict. Donbas residents said “no” to violence. We did not start the war, did not shell peaceful towns with aviation and artillery, we just wanted to live according to conscience and justice. Unfortunately, the Kiev government for almost 2 years of the Minsk process at all the costs was trying to sabotage the implementation of the complex of measures approved by the UN Security Council. By this petition we are one more time saying that here live not terrorists or separatists, but ordinary people who built their own state. We in any case will end the war and for sure will win because we should fight for the future,” the Head of Republic said.
Let us recall, on February 12, 2015, the complex of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements was initiated in Minsk, which was signed by the members of the Trilateral Contact Group – former ambassador of the OSCE, Heidi Tagliavini, the second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, as well as leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics Alexander Zakharchenko, and Igor Plotnitskiy. And on February 17th, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to approve the document. However, despite its commitments, Ukraine has continued to systematically bombard peaceful areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
In this regard, on June 1st, 2016, Head of DPR Alexander Zakharchenko announced the beginning of the collection of signatures for the Petition concerning the nonfulfillment of the UN Security Council Resolution by Ukraine. By this petition the people of Donbass initiated an appeal to the international organizations to stop the genocide of the residents of DPR and LPR by the Ukrainian authorities and to stop military operations in the country. At present, the appeal was supported by more than 326,000 citizens; the action of collecting signatures in Donbass is officially completed.

Are US-backed Iraqi militias committing ethnic cleansing under the cover of fighting Daesh?

From Sputnik

25.05.2016) Get short URL
Iraqi forces and affiliated Shiite militias are accused of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocities in Iraq, under the cover of fighting to liberate territory from Daesh.

On Monday, the Iraqi Army announced plans to begin an offensive to retake the city of Fallujah from Daesh forces. The heavily-populated Iraqi city was the first to fall to the extremist group in 2014, but in recent months Iraqi forces have been able to sharply reduce the militants’ stronghold over the city.

The city also played site for one of the bloodiest battles following the US-led invasion of Iraq, leading to mass casualties of US service members and leaving a once-prominent city in ruins.

Following the ouster of Saddam Hussein, Fallujah, like many other multicultural cities in the country, descended into sectarian strife leading then-Senator Joe Biden to call for the partitioning of Iraq in 2006.

The Sunni-dominated city faced the worst of the systematic effort to expunge loyalists of Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’ath Party, in a process now known as de-baathification, from positions within the Iraqi government, including ordinary social sector positions in education, medicine, and engineering.

The once prominent Sunni middle class found themselves the subject of persecution at the hands of the Shia-led government, and violent Shiite militias, notably Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

The widespread alienation of Sunnis and the repeated violent tides of ethnic cleansing by Shiite militias forced many secular Sunnis into league with the violent Daesh extremist group, whose Iraqi branch is now dominated by a cadre of former Saddam Hussein loyalists.

With the government unravelling in Iraq, and the violent Mahdi army once again threatening to seize control of the country, the situation has been described as waves of ethnic cleansing by competing and increasingly extremist sectarian militias – the Mahdi Army, supported by Iraqi forces on the Shia side, and Daesh, along with al-Qaeda, on the Sunni side.

In this descent into social cataclysm, the Iraqi army, along with loosely-affiliated Shia militias, looks to ‘liberate’ Fallujah, using American weapons and support, but with many residents of the Daesh-occupied city fearing another violent round of ethnic cleansing. On Tuesday, Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with Iraqi-American and foreign policy analyst Raed Jarrar to discuss the latest offensive.

Has the offensive on Daesh-controlled Fallujah begun?

“The news coming from Iraq indicates that there are no signs that the offensive has begun yet, but the Iraqi government has announced its intentions to start an offensive,” explained Jarrar. “US sources have been denying that any operations have started taking place so there is some confusion about that.”

The foreign policy analyst observed that people remaining in Fallujah are frightened by the Iraqi forces and affiliated militias, who they believe will use the presence of Daesh as a cover for ethnic cleansing.

“Militias affiliated with the Iraqi forces have made shocking announcements of late, calling Fallujah a cancer that has to be cut out, and these proclamations are concerning because the militias have committed war crimes when they attacked towns controlled by ISIS in the past,” said Jarrar. “There is a real concern that the anticipated attacks on Fallujah will follow the pattern of abuses committed by Iraqi forces and affiliated militias in the past.”

What do they mean by ‘liberating’ Fallujah? Ramadi was ‘liberated’ but there was nothing left.

“There was a report by Human Rights Watch that came out last year that was titled ‘After Liberation Came Destruction.’ The word liberation is a very problematic word in this context,” said Jarrar. “Human Rights Watch reported the premeditated and systematic way that Iraqi forces and militias took towns back from ISIS and destroyed towns, committing ethnic cleansing. They targeted some ethnicities against other ethnicities, demolished homes of some sects and kept homes of other sects.”

“I expect that this is just another campaign of ethnic cleansing and they are using ISIS as a pretext to enter these towns and bombard them,” said Jarrar. “This is a premeditated policy of destruction and ethnic cleansing that the Iraqi government has been following since 2003.”

Where should forces attack to get a handle on the unravelling situation in Iraq?

“From my point of view, that is not the discussion that we should be having. It is not about which city to bombard first or what city to allow the US and its allies to bomb first,” said Jarrar. “That is why I wanted to comment on the word ‘liberate,’ because it implies that there is a legitimate force that will come in to kick out an illegitimate group. That is not the situation in Iraq. Iraq has many extremist and violent groups, including the government forces.”

“If the United States wants to give good advice to Iraq, then we need to start by stopping support to groups and the Iraqi government, that have been committing mass violations of human rights, funding these groups is illegal under US and international law,” said Jarrar. “We continue to give funds and weapons to groups committing atrocities in Iraq.”

Jaraa claimed that a more meaningful solution to the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq and throughout the region, would be to focus on policies of division and persecution that pit groups against each other, likening the violence committed by Shia militias to that committed by Daesh, which he referred to as a similar force on the Sunni side.

“The idea of getting rid of all these things will not include dropping more bombs on Iraq, it will not make the country more peaceful and it will not make these groups more moderate. It will actually make more death and destruction and that is what the US has been doing in Iraq since 1991,” stated Jarrar.

Daesh is blocking Fallujah residents from leaving while the Iraqis demand that they leave – what will happen to the civilians?

“They are the ones that pay the hefty price and many of them have been paying a heavy price, not as a consequence of violence, but because that is the actual goal of violence – displacement,” explained Jarrar. “The Iraqi militias, especially those affiliated with the Iraqi government, have been implementing a plan of systematic displacement to gain more territory for their own group.”

“This is a different analysis than you receive in the mainstream media that the violence is part of the medicine, part of the solution, and the US has to support attacks on Fallujah and Mosul because this is the way to get rid of the bad guys and liberate these towns,” explained Farrar.

“That is not what is going on in the real world. In the real world this is more violence that has illegitimate agendas to displace more Iraqi and create more sectarian enclaves,” he said.

http://sputniknews.com/news/20160525/1040198115/iraq-shia-sunni-daesh-fallujah.html

U.S. empire — the overview

From Empire Slayer

Posted by 

December 21, 2013

I knew that I could never again raise my voice… without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.  …for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?

– Martin Luther King Jr.  

Throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or “disappeared”, at the hands of governments or armed political groups.  More often than not, the United States shares the blame.

Amnesty International 

em·pire
ˈemˌpī(ə)r/
noun

an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

The US stands today as both the world’s – and history’s – largest empire.  Thus, to understand empire, we can study the attributes of the US.

The US:

  • Has more foreign military bases than any country in world history – the number is estimated to be approximately 1,000 to 1,100, though the US doesn’t take kindly to even satirical requests for other countries to put bases or foreign soldiers on US soil; see here.  No other country has a remotely comparable amount of foreign bases.  Russia has 12.  China has 0 (and see here).  The organization that had the second highest number of foreign bases in human history was the British Empire, which, at its height, had 40.
  • Came into existence and achieved its economic power through slavery and genocide, and has been waging expansionist war for nearly 100% of the time since.

 

  • Spends more on violence and means of violence (such as weapons and foreign military bases) than the rest of the world combined.  “One year of the United States military budget is equal to more than 30,000 dollars per hour for every hour since the birth of Jesus Christ.”  (Blum)  In 2014, the USA spent approximately 1.2 million dollars per minute on violence and means of violence.  (China is second highest, at less than one sixth of that in 2012.)  As every violent group in history has said, the US frames its violence and terror as being for “stability”.  Stability, in this usage, means conditions that benefit the conqueror (see here).  These are conditions that, to be reached, require mass, violent destabilization, which produces widespread carnage, as in the US attacks on Korea (millions of deaths; South Koreans finally overthrew the US-backed dictator in 1987), Vietnam (untold millions of deaths), Iran (millions of deaths), Iraq (millions of deaths), Afghanistan (millions of deaths), and many others.
  • Stockpiles more Weapons of Mass Destruction than all other nations combined, and, in defiance of the rest of the world, plans to weaponize and nuclearize outer space to increase its “full spectrum dominance”, regardless of the catastrophes that will almost inevitably result.  (The space around our planet is filled with satellites and debris.  Any explosion in that region will cause this debris to hurtle out of control, rendering the region useless for helpful technologies on which we rely.)  (Here)
  • Since WW2, has used more Weapons of Mass Destruction than all other nations combined.  Many of these weapons are indiscriminate, which can mean that simply to use them is to commit terrorism.  (Here)
  • Has up to 10,000 nuclear weapons, the most of the nuclear countries.  Obama is currently illegally spending 1 to 1.5 trillion on nuclear weapons, more than any other president by far.  International law requires immediate nuclear disarmament.  While spending these illegal trillions, Obama is also allowing for water to illegally be shut off to poor residents of Detroit.  (Here)
  • Is the world’s biggest violator of international nuclear law.  (Here)

 

  • Sells 70% of the total weapons sold on the worldwide weapons-dealing market.  Current biggest recipients of US tax money and/or weapons are Israel, which has up to 400 illegal nuclear weapons, regularly attacks other countries, and is carrying out an ethnic cleansing and colonization campaign in Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, which is the most “significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” including Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and the Taliban, and apparently helped sponsor the 9/11/01 attacks against the US.  The US sold arms or military services to well over 100 nations in 2008, and during the two Bush terms the majority of US arms sales to the third world went to countries that the US State Department defined as undemocratic regimes and/or major human rights abusers.
  • Currently under Obama, the top ten recipients of US aid are all torture regimes, because torture is one of the many anti-democratic methods of enforcing empire, and is necessary to terrorize and repress democracy since, to quote war criminal and Obama mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski, “democracy is inimical to empire”.

 

  • Has overthrown or attempted to overthrow about 62 countries, the majority of them democracies, since it became a global power after WW2.  Recent US-backed overthrows of democracies include Honduras in 2009 (Obama/Clinton) and Paraguay in 2012 (Obama/Clinton).  Recent US-backed crushing of democratic uprisings include the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in Bahrain, where the US-backed family dictatorship is, according to Amnesty International, systematically torturing children as part of its repression and terrorism against the population.  More on why the USA supports terrorism and war in one country, such as Syria, but simultaneously crushes an Arab Spring uprising in another country, such as Bahrain, here and here.  More on the USA’s history of terrorism/imperialism against Syria, here.  (Imperialism is what empires do – it means the strong using an unequal relationship, i.e. superior weapons, force, wealth, propaganda, and the like, to coerce or forcefully influence the weak for the benefit of the strong.)
  • Since 1776, has invaded some 80 foreign nations.
  • Regularly wages war of aggression, which is the supreme international crime (meaning it includes and is worse than terrorism, ethnic cleansing, torture, etc.), and which includes all evils that follow as a result, meaning fighting due to instability, displacement of persons, etc.  “In the 64 years since the end of WWII, [the USA] ha[s] started and fought far more wars and invaded and bombed more countries than any other nation in the world — not even counting the numerous wars fought by… clients and proxies.  Those are just facts.”  The USA always uses its history of contributing to fighting Hitler (after supporting him – Germany declared war on the US, not the converse – and sustaining his aggression) as a justification for subsequent US acts of aggression.  The justification does not take into account that the USA acted aggressively before WW2 (George Washington called the USA a “nascent empire”), for the same reasons it has done so since WW2: to destroy conditions that limit US control and profit margins, and to create conditions to increase US control and profit margins (by, for example, forcing populations to be cheap tools of US international industry – expendable, uneducated, and given the minimum possible amount of sustenance, so the maximum amount of profit and luxury go to the owners, whose investment is protected by local proxy forces and backed by the US military).  “The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy.” – Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark
  • Has tortured virtually non-stop since colonizers tortured the Native Americans.  This continues up to today, under Bush and now Obama, who protects, supports, and mandates torture (see here).
  • Kills and mercilessly mutates (with various chemical, radioactive, and other weapons) millions of people around the world.
  • Kills indiscriminately, which is terrorism.  Uses weapons (such as WMD) that are by their nature indiscriminate, which can be terrorism.  “Reaper” drone “Hellfire” missiles, for example, have a kill or injury radius of 60 feet, making their use potentially indiscriminate, depending on where they are used.  Their use very often results in the murder of civilians and unknown people, meaning they are used indiscriminately, which is terrorism – not to mention that bombing other countries is illegal.  The USA’s disgraceful chemical warfare in Vietnam indiscriminately targeted and killed or harmed millions of Vietnamese people.  (Imagine if China sprayed 20,000,000 gallons of toxic chemicals, including some of the most toxic known in science, and dumped 373,000 tons of napalm over the USA, and refused to acknowledge or pay compensation for the resulting murders, birth defects and health problems that resulted: see here.)
  • Intentionally targets civilians for murder or collective punishment as a way of influencing them or their government, which is terrorism.  For example, the USA’s terrorist sanctions against the people of Cuba are, as is stated in internal US government dialogue, intended to hurt Cuban civilians and induce them to overthrow their government.  US siege and criminal bombings against Iraq in the 1990s, continuing through the 2000s, knowingly and, evidence strongly indicates, intentionally targeted civilians and murdered from 500,000 to 1,000,000 (or more) Iraqis, mainly children under the age of five.  In the USA’s Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, the US intentionally hunted and murdered 70,000 civilians, while overall torturing or disappearing 80,000 in this single operation (see here).
  • Constantly makes threats of force against countries like Iran and Syria.  Threats of force are strictly and patently illegal under international law, including the UN charter, article 2(4) (see here), which is supreme law of the US.  Threats of violence are acts of terrorism.  Terrorism means using violence or the threat of violence to influence people or governments.  Threats of violence also constitute use of dictatorial force.
  • Installs and/or supports military dictators (from Pinchet in Chile to Ceaușescu in Romania to Suharto in Indonesia, and dozens of others) who comply with the US material and political agenda of preventing democracy (rule of the people) and keeping authoritarian control in the hands of ruling elites that allow the US to control and exploit populations and natural resources, to maximize profit margins for US international companies.  This forceful maintenance of control is called hegemony.  With the USA as the world’s dominant hegemonic power, global poverty has risen faster than population, and the top zero point one percent of the world’s population has 81% of the world’s financial wealth.  The richest 85 individuals possess more wealth than the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population—3.5 billion people.  “Th[e] need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the… action of American forces…” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Assassinates people and political leaders around the world.  Since WWII the U.S. has been involved in the assassination or intended assassination of over 50 prominent foreign individuals in various nations.  See here.
  • Censors the media to prevent it from showing the realities of US wars of aggression, including images of dead US soldiers and coffins containing dead soldiers.
  • Vetoes, by far, more UN resolutions than any other country.  Included are numerous US vetoes, essentially in opposition to the entire world, against resolutions calling for conventions on women’s rights, ending South African Apartheid, ending the illegal US embargo of Cuba, and ending Israel’s illegal presence in and blockades of Palestinian territories.

 

  • Donates less of the required percentage to the UN than any other country in the world.  When the first Secretary General of the UN condemned the West (US, UK, France, and Belgium) for trying to maintain colonial dictate over the Congo, the Secretary General was murdered.  Just before he died, he said “It is better for the United Nations to lose the support of the United States because it [the UN] is faithful to law and principles, than to survive as an agent whose activities are geared to political purposes.”  When Secretary General Kofi Annan declared the 2003 US invasion of Iraq to be illegal, there was a concerted effort to label him a “crook” and discredit him.  He was vindicated of all smears by an independent commission.  (here)
  • Is isolationist (by the actual definition): The USA stands virtually alone in almost all of its positions at the UN, such as continuing its illegal sanctions against Cuba and blocking the international consensus for a resolution to Israel’s colonization of Palestine (see here).  It stands alone in its brutal war-making: support for the US invasion of Iraq barely reached above 11% anywhere in the world.  Numbers were similar for the US invasion of Afghanistan.  The handful of countries that supported the US in those invasions did so as dictatorships – in complete defiance of nearly their entire populations (see here).
  • Claims to wage wars on various things such as drugs and terrorism, while being a leading drug state (see here, here, here, here) and a (if not the – see here) leading terrorist state (see here, here, here, here, and here).  Examples of the hypocrisy include: 1) At the same time as invading places like Panama (an invasion that killed the per capita equivalent of what would be over 500,000 people in the US) and massacring civilians for claimed “war on drug” pretexts, the USA threatens places like Thailand with sanctions if it puts barriers on US cigarette imports; tobacco is the world’s most lethal drug, expected to kill a billion people in the 21st century.  2) In terms of terrorism, the USA has been complicit in the deaths of millions of people, in the Middle East alone, just since 1979 – incomparably more than any other group, and arguably constituting genocide, particularly against Iraq (see here) and Iran (see here).
  • Loots and harms the areas under its control: “…the US lost most of its influence in Latin America over the past 15 years, and the region has done quite well, with a sharp reduction in poverty for the first time in decades. The Washington-based International Monetary Fund has also lost most of its influence over the middle-income countries of the world, and these have also done remarkably better in the 2000s.”
  • Internally, the USA has by far the world’s highest rate of imprisonment, but not the world’s highest crime rates.  USA has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prison population.
  • Has a for-profit prison slave/labor system, and lobbyists that work to maintain and add obscure laws to keep their prisons full and profits flowing.  Dozens of corporations taking advantage of prison labor include Starbucks, McDonalds, Boeing, and Victoria’s secret.  More here.
  • Minority defendants are charged with and convicted of violent crimes requiring a mandatory minimum prison sentence far more often than non-minorities.
  • Is the only country in the world that refuses to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The only other previous holdouts, Somalia and South Sudan, have now ratified it.
  • Is the only country in the world to veto UN resolutions calling on all states to follow international law.  The resolutions were in reference to the USA being convicted, by the World Court and confirmed at the UN, twice, of waging illegal war of aggression against Nicaragua.  The World Court (ICJ) demanded that the US cease its aggression and pay Nicaragua massive reparations, on the order of 18 billion dollars.  The US responded by saying no, and escalating its war of aggression against Nicaragua.
  • Is the only country in the world where courts give life sentences to people who are found guilty of crimes committed before they turn 18.  The USA only made illegal the execution of juveniles in 2002, and the giving of life without possibility of parole to juveniles in 2012.
  • Executes more citizens than almost any country on Earth.  The USA ranks sometimes as high as number 3, behind only Saudi Arabia (a huge US ally/client) and Iran, (and almost certainly China, though numbers are unknown) for the number of executions it performs on its own citizens.  90% of countries do not perform state executions.
  • Has the worst income inequality in the industrialized world.  The top 1% has almost 40% of the financial wealth, while the bottom 80% have less than 13%.  Much of this is due to corporate welfare, meaning massive transfers of wealth from the poor to elite criminals, such as those running big banks, who are treated as an aristocracy above law.  Big US banks make no profit – all of their profits, usually around 83 billion a year total, come from money taken from taxpayers and transferred directly to these bankers.  See Bloomberg News, here.  These banks have been prosecuted for financial crimes unprecedented in scope and the harm they cause, yet they go virtually unpunished, and on the contrary are rewarded for their crimes (see here and here) and allowed to continue their massive heist of taxpayer money.  No top bankers whose crimes bring about the destruction of the economy are jailed.

 

  • Has the highest first day infant mortality rate in the industrialized world.
  • Ranks in the bottom four of the 29 industrialized countries for child poverty, education, and overall well-being, despite the USA having roughly as many people with fortunes greater than 50 million dollars as the rest of the world combined (approx. 46,000 people in the US).
  • Is not a democracy (country ruled by the people).  The bottom 70% of US citizens have essentially no influence on government policy.  The people making the above choices (such as for prison labor and virtually non-stop aggressive war) are principally the top “tenth of one percent… [these] people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine [US government] policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it’s plutocracy.”
  • And much more…  For details and further info, resources, and updates, check out the posts (see here, for example) and follow this blog, and share the information with as many people as you can (hit the +1 button and see other sharing tools to right) so we can improve on the above and, as US citizens, stop participating (through taxation and other means) in rampant immorality, brutality, and unmatched global criminality.  Step one is knowing what’s going on.
  • Two informative reviews:
    • “Rogue State”, by William Blum
    • “The Crimes of Empire”, by Carl Boggs
End of 2013 Win/Gallup poll of 65 countries around the world, 1,000 people in each country:
“…the United States was overwhelmingly viewed as the greatest threat to world peace—as it is each year the survey is conducted.” – Gary Leech

“…this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe?” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“Most icons of contemporary liberal Democrats are exemplars of armed empire: Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Obama, for example.  Martin Luther King Jr. is one exception to the rule but his inspirational civil rights speeches are celebrated, not his foreign policy views.” – Jeff Taylor is professor of political science at Dordt College.

“The United States Foreign Policy Establishment consists of liberal imperialists, reactionary imperialists, and middle-of-the-road imperialists. But they all share in common a firm belief in America’s “Manifest Destiny” to rule the world.” – Dr. Francis Boyle, JD, PhD

“My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that: namely, I can do something about it. So even if the US was responsible for 2% of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2% I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.” – Noam Chomsky

“Those of us who belong to former colonies think of imperialism as rape.” – Arundhati Roy

We must all be “dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism”. – Chris Hedges

http://www.empireslayer.org/2013/12/us-empire-overview.html?m=1

Guatemalan authorities arrest officers trained at U.S. School of the Americas/WHINSEC for massacres, disappearances

Also, see SOA Watch  www.soaw.org

In a daring and historic move just one week before a new president takes office, Guatemalan authorities arrested 18 former high-ranking military men Jan. 6 for massacres and forced disappearances during the bloodiest years of the dirty war that particularly targeted indigenous populations.

Most of the arrests resulted from an investigation that exhumed the remains of 558 people — 90 of them children — buried in clandestine mass graves on a military base in Cobán, formerly known as Military Zone 21. DNA testing identified victims who were killed or disappeared by the military in the 1980s. Many of the bodies were blindfolded, bound or dismembered.

Guatemala Attorney General Thelma Aldana called it “one of the biggest cases of forced disappearance in Latin America.”

Records show that 12 of the 18 arrested were trained at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA), highlighting the sordid U.S.-support for the war, which spanned from 1960 to 1996 and claimed the lives of some 250,000, many of them women and children.

The most prominent of those arrested are Gens. Benedicto Lucas García, and Gen. Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas, both graduates of SOA, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

In the early 1980s, during the peak of the government’s repression, Lucas Garcia was the army’s Chief of Staff while Callejas y Callejas was the Director of Intelligence.

The arrests came just a week before incoming president Jimmy Morales takes office on Jan. 14. Morales, a former television comedian, ran as the candidate of the National Convergence Front (FCN), a party he co-founded that’s dominated by military officers.

Prosecutors are seeking to arrest Morales’ top aid, Edgar Justino Ovalle Maldonado, on similar charges of crimes against humanity and forced disappearances. Ovalle Maldonado, also an SOA graduate and a FCN co-founder who helped Morales get the FCN’s nomination, currently has immunity as a legislator. But Aldana has appealed to the Supreme Court to revoke his immunity.

Ovalle Maldonado was an Operations Officer at the Cobán military base in 1983, and later the commander of the base, according to Amnesty International. He is reported to have claimed that the mass graves merely served as cemeteries for two towns near the base.

Morales will be succeeding former President Otto Pérez Molina, another SOA graduate, who resigned last September as the result of a popular uprising over government corruption and is now facing bribery charges.

Further heightening the drama is the retrial of former military dictator Gen. Efrain Ríos Montt on charges of genocide. The proceedings begin today (Jan.11) for the SOA graduate, who was convicted of the same charge in 2013, but saw the verdict overturned on a technicality.

Another SOA graduate arrested in the Jan. 6 sweep was Col. Francisco Luis Gordillo Martínez, who helped Ríos Montt overthrow the government in 1982. He, Rios Montt and another SOA graduate formed a junta that created secret tribunals, repealed the constitution, abolished the legislature, and escalated a “scorched earth” policy to wipe out entire villages.

Records show that Gordillo Martinez was a three-time graduate of SOA, graduating from its infantry Weapons and Infantry Tactics programs in the 1960s and from its Command and General Staff College in 1974.

Another SOA graduate — Col. Ricardo Mendez Ruiz — commanded the Cobán military base where the bodies were found from 1980 to 1982, the year he became the Minister of Interior under Rios Montt. Mendez Ruiz died Jan. 1, five days before the arrests began.

Details on the current charges against the 18 officers are sketchy, and limited to the mass graves at the Cobán base and the case of a Guatemala City teenager disappeared in 1981 by the military. But human rights investigators have long documented the human rights records of those arrested.

The Guatemalan Catholic church’s human rights office estimated the number of dead from counterinsurgency operations in 1981 alone to be 11,000, most of whom were indigenous peasants living in the Highlands.

Lucas García took command of the counterinsurgency campaign in the Highlands in October 1981, according to anthropologist Shelton Davis*, writing in Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis. The campaign, Davis said, was marked by massacres, targeted killings of community leaders, and the burning of houses and fields to terrorize the Indian population into not joining the guerillas.

Callejas y Callejas was arrested in connection with the 1981 disappearance of a Guatemala City teenager, but his tenure as chief of intelligence coincides with the slaughter of thousands of Mayan Indians, the murders of 27 professors, more than 80 union leaders and four priests, including American Fr. Stanley Rother and the failed 1980 attempt to murder Quiche Bishop Juan Gerardi.

As it turned out, Gerardi was assassinated 18 years later, just two days after releasing a four-volume study showing that the military forces were responsible for 90 percent of the atrocities in the war.

Both Lucas García and Callejas y Callejas graduated twice from the SOA. Lucas García was trained in 1965 in combat intelligence while Callejas y Callejas was trained in 1962 in communications. Both men later graduated in 1970 from the school’s elite Command and General Staff College.

Callejas y Callejas rose to become the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and despite his horrific human rights record, the U.S. State Department approved his induction in 1988 into the School of the America’s Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame induction underscored U.S. complicity, says Roy Bourgeois, a former Maryknoll priest who founded the SOA Watch after learning that the school had trained the killers of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador 1989.

In 1990, Bourgeois was arrested after throwing blood on the Hall’s gallery where the portrait of Callejas y Callejas hung alongside that of several Latin American dictators.

The U.S. intervention, he said, was extensive. “Several U.S. administrations trained, advised, funded and armed the Guatemalan military. Many of its military and intelligence officers were on the CIA payroll.”

Bourgeois and other human rights activists have hailed the Guatemalan arrests.

Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action, a Canadian NGO engaged in human rights work throughout Central America, called it “an extraordinarily positive step forward” in a country where military impunity has been the rule.

In an interview with the Venezulean-based TeleSUR television network, Russell praised the Guatemalan attorney general for filing a “series of war crimes charges” stemming from “the worst years of the U.S.-backed repression and genocide.”

The filing was especially significant, he said, coming “just as another military-backed president is about to assume the presidency, in this as yet very undemocratic country.” With Morales strong links to the military, Russell believes that the country will likely continue to be “dominated by the same economic elites — national and international — that were in power during the worst years” of the 1970s and 1980s.”

Still, Bourgeois draws hope from the fact, that against all odds, Guatemalans themselves — from the prosecutors to the “courageous survivors and relatives of the disappeared” — have risked their lives to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“They want the truth, and they want it to come out. And they are willing to die for it,” he said. “They’ve waited some 35 years. The strategy of the military has been to keep stalling until those responsible have died off. But there will never be any justice or reconciliation until there is accountability and the perpetrators start going to prison.”

*An earlier version of this story attributed the wrong author for Harvest of Violence.

[Linda Cooper and James Hodge are the authors of Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas.]

http://ncronline.org/news/global/guatemalan-authorities-arrest-soa-trained-officers-massacres-disappearances

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