The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Armed to the teeth, yet palsied to the core and incapable of competing in a world governed by law, the U.S. abolishes the ancient notion of national sovereignty for everyone but its supranational self. The multi-armored aggressor wants his prey to be naked to his assault – as was much of the world in the 500 years of western European dominion over the planet. He promulgates a doctrine of “humanitarian” military intervention that recognizes only himself as the arbiter of human affairs – a posture of pure reaction and racism. Leaders of sovereign states are indicted by his kangaroo “international” courts, or murdered following unprovoked invasions, or prevented from flying while in imperial disfavor. American hit squads roam the globe, waging dirty wars against…whomever. The U.S. War Against the World

Inevitably, the point in time approaches when the empire perceives general war as its only option. Such a moment occurred in 2003, when the U.S. launched an invasion that was to begin in Iraq and end with the seizure of Central Asia’s energy resources, resulting in a U.S. choke-hold on China and sidelining of Russia. It didn’t turn out that way, necessitating a complexional change of face for the humiliated empire. But, Barack Obama’s charms cannot alter the contradictions inherent in finance capitalism’s DNA, which grow more acute by the day. In preparation for the next great offensive, Obama has waged holier-than-thou war against international law, seeking to eliminate every speed bump in the way of a U.S. blitzkrieg. He has also perfected George Bush’s blueprint for a Constitution-free America. The virtually unopposed nature of the operation is testament to the truth of Black Agenda Report’s assessment, that Obama is the more effective evil. Glen Ford, The U.S. War Against the World

Things Fall Apart | Rob Urie

[…] So far [the] framing [of the motivations behind the surveillance state] posits the single direction of government subsidizing tech for its own nefarious intent—paying for the privilege, but extracting its due in blood. But what commercial genius lay behind convincing several generations of children, the dependents whose psychologies aren’t yet developed by history and experience to beware the intentions of cynical technocrats bearing toys, that delivering their life-secrets to self-serving capitalists would leave them safe? Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs thought nothing of using the advantages of history and strategies of planned destitution to squeeze those making ‘his’ computers for everything he could take. The major Internet companies span the globe to find captive workforces to labor in slave conditions to program their technologies of global domination, or more likely, the latest moronic ‘app’ that notifies one of the need to use the toilet. These are the capitalists and capitalist enterprises bravely standing between ‘the government’ and totalitarian intrusion? And who, exactly, do they run to to protect their privilege?

Were ‘the government’ in control, why would all of ‘its’ power and resources be dedicated to making the lives and bank accounts of this technerati, public largess dependent financiers, and the sociopathic tools occupying executive suites, so remunerative and comfortable? There is tension, no doubt, between the self-interest of plutocrat tools in government and their plutocrat masters—the largest neighborhood of the largest houses I ever saw being built was in suburban Washington, DC at the very height of the most recent economic calamity. But given the theorized power of government, why don’t self-interested bureaucrats take what the plutocrats have for themselves? This question is for my friends with anarchist and libertarian tendencies. As Lenin had it, and the late Hugo Chavez understood, the way to restrain totalitarian government is to restrain capitalist imperialism. The NSA and CIA are but tools, aspects, of imperialist capitalism.

Framed differently, it requires improbably separating method from purpose to argue ‘private’ and government data mining and statistical analysis developed from the symbiosis of government and business serve fundamentally different purposes. ‘Private’ data collection and use, e.g. stores that use ‘store cards’ to track and analyze customer purchases, is intended to provide economic advantage. Given the NSA can only give implausible and absurd explanations for why it tracks and uses similar data from the citizenry, what possible explanation, aside from mindlessly squandering public resources, is possible than to gain political advantage from it? Again, if the claim they’ve interrupted terrorist plots is demonstrably bullshit and bluster, what use value does the data they’re collecting have?

If giving self-interested sociopaths—the definition of successful capitalists, everything they wanted the roaring twenties and debt-fueled 2000s would have led to self-sustaining economic outcomes. But they led instead to financial and economic crashes. The move to consolidate political-economic power through the technocratic corporate state is likewise leading to increasing political dysfunction. One of the only political leaders in the U.S. with retained credibility, Barack Obama, appears to be losing his ability to serve as front for plutocrat interests. And technocratic overreach is leading to increasing skepticism of the corporate state nexus. The right-wing revolution started in the 1970s worked by demonizing government to the benefit of global capital. With both government and capital losing credibility, technocratic control and police repression are the tools remaining to sustain corporate state power.

The Lies of Empire: Don’t Believe a Word They Say | Glen Ford

The rulers would have you believe that the world is becoming more complex and dangerous all the time, compelling the United States to abandon previous (and largely fictional) norms of domestic and international legality in order to preserve civilization. In truth, what they are desperately seeking to maintain is the global dominance of U.S. and European finance capital and the racist world order from which it sprang.

The contradictions of centuries have ripened, overwhelming the capacity of the “West” to contain the new forces abroad in the world. Therefore, there must be endless, unconstrained war – endless, in the sense that it is a last ditch battle to fend off the end of imperialism, and unconstrained, in that the imperialists recognize no legal or moral boundaries to their use of military force, their only remaining advantage.

To mask these simple truths, the U.S. and its corporate propaganda services invent counter-realities, scenarios of impending doomsdays filled with super-villains and more armies of darkness than J.R.R. Tolkien could ever imagine. Indeed, nothing is left to the imagination, lest the people’s minds wander into the realm of truth or stumble upon a realization of their own self-interest, which is quite different than the destinies of Wall Street or the Project for a New American Century (updated, Obama “humanitarian” version). It is a war of caricatures.

Saddam “must go” – and so he went, along with a million other Iraqis. Gaddafi “must go” – and he soon departed (“We came, we saw, he died,” quipped Hillary), along with tens of thousands of Black Libyans marked for extermination. “Assad must go” – but he hasn’t left yet, requiring the U.S. and its allies to increase the arms flow to jihadist armies whose mottos translate roughly as “the western infidels must also go…next.” Afghanistan’s Soviet-aligned government was the first on the U.S. “must go” list to be toppled by the jihadist international network created as a joint venture of the Americans, Saudis and Pakistanis, in the early Eighties – a network whose very existence now requires that Constitutional law “must go” in the American homeland.

Naturally, in order to facilitate all these exits of governments of sovereign states, international law, as we have known it “must go.” In its place is substituted the doctrine of “humanitarian” military intervention or “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), a rehash of the “White Man’s Burden” designed to nullify smaller powers’ rights to national sovereignty at the whim of the superpower.

The Terror Diaspora: The U.S. Military and the Unraveling of Africa | Nick Turse

[…] 10 years after Washington began pouring taxpayer dollars into counterterrorism and stability efforts across Africa and its forces first began operating from Camp Lemonnier, the continent has experienced profound changes, just not those the U.S. sought. The University of Birmingham’s Berny Sèbe ticks off post-revolutionary Libya, the collapse of Mali, the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the coup in the Central African Republic, and violence in Africa’s Great Lakes region as evidence of increasing volatility. “The continent is certainly more unstable today than it was in the early 2000s, when the U.S. started to intervene more directly,” he told me.

As the war in Afghanistan — a conflict born of blowback — winds down, there will be greater incentive and opportunity to project U.S. military power in Africa. However, even a cursory reading of recent history suggests that this impulse is unlikely to achieve U.S. goals. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, there is ample evidence to suggest the United States has facilitated a terror diaspora, imperiling nations and endangering peoples across Africa. In the wake of 9/11, Pentagon officials were hard-pressed to show evidence of a major African terror threat. Today, the continent is thick with militant groups that are increasingly crossing borders, sowing insecurity, and throwing the limits of U.S. power into broad relief. After 10 years of U.S. operations to promote stability by military means, the results have been the opposite. Africa has become blowback central. [must read]

"Intelligence," Corporatism, and the Dance of Death | Arthur Silber

[…] How does the public-“private” intelligence industry make foreign policy? The NYT story [on Booz Allen’s connection to the NSA] offers an instructive example in its opening paragraphs:

When the United Arab Emirates wanted to create its own version of the National Security Agency, it turned to Booz Allen Hamilton to replicate the world’s largest and most powerful spy agency in the sands of Abu Dhabi.

It was a natural choice: The chief architect of Booz Allen’s cyberstrategy is Mike McConnell, who once led the N.S.A. and pushed the United States into a new era of big data espionage. It was Mr. McConnell who won the blessing of the American intelligence agencies to bolster the Persian Gulf sheikdom, which helps track the Iranians.

“They are teaching everything,” one Arab official familiar with the effort said. “Data mining, Web surveillance, all sorts of digital intelligence collection.”

See how perfect this is? All the special people are making tons of money — and, when the day arrives that the U.S. wants to ramp up its confrontational stance with Iran, well, there’s the UAE helping to “track the Iranians” with all the tools that the U.S. has given them and taught them to use. And how easy would it be to get the UAE to provide the U.S. with just the right kind of new and disturbing “intelligence” that would get lots of people screaming about the “grave Iranian threat”? You know the answer to that: easy peasy. A wink and a nod — and off the U.S. goes, with bombing runs or whatever it decides to do. But whatever it does will be determined in greatest part not by a genuine threat to U.S. national security (there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Iran’s leaders are all suicidal), but by what will make the most money for the State and its good friends.

[…] How much is the intelligence-security industry worth? The NYT story offers this toward the end:

Only last month, the Navy awarded Booz Allen, among others, the first contracts in a billion-dollar project to help with “a new generation of intelligence, surveillance and combat operations.”

The new push is to take those skills to American allies, especially at a time of reduced spending in Washington. So while the contract with the United Arab Emirates is small, it may be a model for other countries that see cyberdefense — and perhaps offense — as their future. The company reported net income of $219 million in the fiscal year that ended on March 31. That was up from net income of $25 million in 2010, shortly after Mr. McConnell returned to the company.

They’re just getting started. Note that the $219 million is net income. Earlier, the Times told us that “more than half its $5.8 billion in annual revenue [is] coming from the military and the intelligence agencies.” The story also informs us that: “Booz Allen is one of many companies that make up the digital spine of the intelligence world, designing the software and hardware systems on which the N.S.A. and other military and intelligence agencies depend.”

It’s all about wealth and power. Here and there, in episodes notable only for their rarity, “the intelligence world” might actually provide a small piece of information actually related to “national security.” Again, I turn to Gabriel Kolko:

It is all too rare that states overcome illusions, and the United States is no more an exception than Germany, Italy, England, or France before it. The function of intelligence anywhere is far less to encourage rational behavior—although sometimes that occurs—than to justify a nation’s illusions, and it is the false expectations that conventional wisdom encourages that make wars more likely, a pattern that has only increased since the early twentieth century. By and large, US, Soviet, and British strategic intelligence since 1945 has been inaccurate and often misleading, and although it accumulated pieces of information that were useful, the leaders of these nations failed to grasp the inherent dangers of their overall policies. When accurate, such intelligence has been ignored most of the time if there were overriding preconceptions or bureaucratic reasons for doing so.

The incessant chatter about the indispensable, critical importance of “intelligence” to “national security” is marketing, the time-tested phrases that the ruling class knows are so popular with most Americans. And Americans dearly love the marketing:

So all of the feigned bafflement and incessant caterwauling about the supposedly indecipherable actions of the United States — Why, oh why, did we invade Iraq?, and Why, dear God, are we in Afghanistan? — represent only the capitulation of the purported critics to precisely those arguments U.S. leaders hope you will engage. They want you to spend all your time on those arguments, because they’re only marketing ploys having nothing at all to do with their actual goals. As I said the other day, if you want to stop this murderous madness — and I dearly hope you do — forget about what they say their goals are (fostering “democratic” governments, “regional stability,” “security,” and all the associated claptrap), and focus on the real problem: the carefully chosen policy of U.S. geopolitical dominance over the entire globe.

In the midst of the rush of revelations concerning the NSA and surveillance, almost everyone forgets that the “intelligence” industry is founded on one of the most momentous lies in the history of statecraft. As I write this, I see the following:

National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told a House committee Tuesday that 50 terror threats in 20 countries have been disrupted with the assistance of two secret surveillance programs that were recently disclosed by former defense contractor Edward Snowden.

Ooooohhhhh! 50 terror threats in 20 countries, and “At least 10 of the plots targeted the U.S. homeland.” These guys suck stylistically, too. It’s exactly 50! And exactly 20! But kinda around 10 that targeted the “homeland.” C’mon, Keith. Precision is important in propaganda. Emulate a master: “I have here in my hand a list of 205 terror plots…!!”

Of course, they will never provide any evidence to prove the truth of these claims. You’re too stupid to be trusted with such information. You just have to take their word for it. Right. I wonder how many of these frightening plots were ones dreamed up by government agents themselves. And I wonder how many of them were, in fact, discovered by mundane, old-fashioned “police work.” Not incidentally, I wonder how many of these plots occurred at all.

I repeat again, for approximately the fiftieth time, that “intelligence” is almost always wrong. Don’t take my word for it: read the excerpt from Chalmers Johnson here. Read this. And this. See all the articles linked at the conclusion of this article. …

The intelligence-security industry isn’t about protecting the United States or you, except for extraordinarily rare, virtually accidental occurrences. It’s about wealth and power. Yet every politician and every government functionary speaks reverently of the sacred mission and crucial importance of “intelligence” in the manner of a syphilitic preacher who clutches a tatty, moth-eaten doll of the Madonna, which he digitally manipulates by sticking his fingers in its orifices. Most people would find his behavior shockingly obscene, if they noticed it. But they don’t notice it, so mesmerized are they by the preacher with his phonily awestruck words about the holy of holies and the ungraspably noble purpose of his mission. Even as the suppurating sores on the preacher’s face ooze blood and pus, his audience can only gasp, “We must pay attention to what he says! He wants only the best for us! He’s trying to save us!”

What the preacher says — what every politician and national security official says on this subject — is a goddamned lie. The ruling class has figured out yet another way to make a killing, both figuratively and literally. They want wealth and power, and always more wealth and power. That’s what “intelligence” and “national security” is about, and nothing else at all. When you hear Keith Alexander, or James Clapper, or Barack Obama talk about “intelligence” and surveillance, how your lives depend on them, and why you must trust them to protect you if you wish to continue existing at all, think of the preacher. Think of his open sores, of the blood and pus slowly dribbling down his face.

All of them are murdering crooks running a racket. They are intent on amassing wealth and power, and they’ve stumbled on a sure-fire way to win the acquiescence, and often the approval, of most people. They are driven by the worst of motives, including their maddened knowledge that there will always remain a few people and events that they will be unable to control absolutely. For the rest of us, their noxious games are a sickening display of power at its worst. For us, on a faster or slower schedule, in ways that are more or less extreme, their lies and machinations are only a Dance of Death.

The New Scramble for Africa and the War On Terror | Counterfire

The current scramble for Africa is not simply about the ongoing scramble for resources on the part of imperialist powers. The eurocrisis is an extra motivating factor. The crisis of neoliberalism which began in America in 2008 and then spread to Southern Europe and elsewhere threatens to spread much further still. This crisis has lit a fire under the US imperialists who are experiencing an economy in dire straits which is heading towards the ‘cliff edge’ we keep hearing about with no solutions in view and both government debt and the deficit increasing.

By way of contrast the old 19th Century scramble for Africa was motivated by a period of rapid industrial expansion fuelled by the industrial revolution. Expansion within Europe had hit a wall with the unification of Italy and Germany and so on. So the European powers turned their focus outwards towards the untapped continent of Africa at the end of the century. This involved both an imperialist scramble between imperialist rivals but also involved partial agreements and marriages of convenience in order to carve up African resources whilst attempting to minimalise inter-imperialist conflict.

Today we have a eurocrisis instead of an industrial revolution. Where previously rapid industrial growth pushed the west into Africa in order to open up new markets, now we have an economic crisis forcing imperialists to try and monetise Africa in an attempt to get some kind of purchase in a tanking economy.

When talking about the New Scramble for Africa it’s worth noting that it’s not just the left using the phrase, however convenient it may be for the left to bring up the imperialist past in the context of our current liberal democracy. In fact we don’t have to look any further than the head of Meryll Lynch Bank of America, a man by the name of Richard Gush, who said that ‘a new scramble for Africa is underway’ in the economic sphere in terms of the competition for markets and resources in Africa.

We also saw US Secretary of State John Kerry almost putting his foot in it at his inauguration hearing when he said that ‘China is all over Africa and we’ve got to get in the game here, folks, because if we get in the game we can win’. Presumably realising that he wasn’t just talking to his mates, he was also being broadcast on TV as well, Kerry tried to cover up this gaff by quickly adding that ‘when I say “win” I don’t mean win in the cold war sense, I mean win in an economic sense in terms of creating jobs for Americans’.

So the new scramble for Africa is a very real question we need to address. It’s important that we don’t just seek to understand the significance of the New Scramble For Africa but that we actually oppose any interventions into the continent and also oppose proxy wars and drone wars. Drones and proxies are in a way a partial response to the fact that the anti-war movement stopped conventional wars from being politically viable, at least in the West, forcing the imperial powers to find new ways to be horrendous and new ways of killing people.

It showed that a mass movement did actually force the imperialist powers onto a new track. Of course it’s still a nasty and dangerous situation we find ourselves in. This means that it is vital that we don’t just try to understand this new phase in the War on Terror but that we organise to effectively oppose this imperialist project as well.

Marines, Army form quick-strike forces for Africa

The Marine Corps and Army have developed quick-reaction forces to respond to attacks such as the one in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

The Marines will base 500 troops at Moron [!] Air Force Base in Spain, about 35 miles southeast of Seville, said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine Corps spokesman. They can be flown on short notice to African crises aboard six Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Those aircraft can take off and land like a helicopter and cruise at more than 300 mph. Two KC-130 tanker aircraft have been dedicated to refuel them in flight, which will expand their reach.

The unit is known as the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force for Crisis Response. It will act as a first responder to U.S. embassies in the region on behalf of U.S. Africa Command, Flanagan said. It will be on standby to help evacuate Americans from hot spots and to provide disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

The Army has developed the East Africa Response Force, which operates under the Combined Joint Task Force — Horn of Africa. Its headquarters are at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. The company-size unit is equipped with aircraft to conduct evacuations and rescue missions in the region.

“Soldiers have been on the ground in Djibouti to support this mission since April and have the capabilities they need to conduct it,” said. Brig. Gen. Kimberly Field, deputy director of strategy, plans and policy for the Army.

The National Security State | As'ad AbuKhalil

… There are many ironies about the [NSA leaks]: never has the US bragged about itself to the world more than during the years of Bush and Obama. And never has the US preached freedom (rhetorically) to the world, as it has under Bush and Obama. It will be documented by historians that the shouting about democracy and freedom was most likely a smokescreen to camouflage one of the worst (un)constitutional power grabs by a US government since the Sedition Act of the late 18th century. The US government needed to fill the ears of Americans with rhetoric about democracy to distract from the actual violation of the freedoms of all Americans.

This scandal is the other side of globalization. There were silly books written about globalization (the most stupid of them all was written by Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree) and Bill Clinton presented globalization as America’s gift to the world. Voices of skeptics and critics were suppressed or marginalized. Now we know that globalization also refers to a global system of espionage that is run secretly by the US government and with the full participation of the American giants of globalization.

A few leaders of Congress are briefed in fulfillment of the supervisory intelligence role that came after the reforms of the Church committee hearings. But the Congress was concerned about the CIA, not knowing that the technological age is unleashing the power of a behemoth known as the NSA. Two members of the intelligence committee are briefed in most general terms and they give their consent once they hear the phrase “terrorist threats.”

The political side of this scandal should be sufficient to quell liberal illusions about the national security state. François Mitterrand famously said that he was surprised after becoming president that there was not much a president can do to cause change. In the US, it does not really matter who is president – whether he/she is liberal or conservative: the national security state is much larger than the person of the president. This is why Dick Cheney has praised Obama for following in the footsteps of the Bush administration in national security and foreign policy. But if the world knows that the national security state poses a threat to people of the world, Americans don’t seem to know yet that it also poses a threat to them, and to their highly touted freedoms.

Current ‘globalization’ is historically related to the epics of imperialism that preceded World Wars One and Two. In contrast to the theories of economists, existing ‘global’ relations retain strong ties to earlier imperial relations. The ‘state capitalism’ of modern China has roots in the mercantilist strategies of imperial England of which China was colonial subject. European ‘corporate’ relations in Africa strongly follow historical imperial relations. And these earlier imperial relations were clearly developed as modes of exploitation and extraction—the dependencies that developed were conceived to force cooperation with imperial imperatives. The results—vast wealth extraction, imperial tensions that led to the most destructive wars in human history, the temporary evictions of imperial powers from their colonies (only to return as ‘free trade’ relations) and new and ‘improved’ strategies of forced dependence. The relevant points are: current circumstance has precedence in prior history; engineered dependence is a colonial strategy of expropriation, and other than a few hundred rich families in the West, we are all colonial subjects under the ‘new’ globalization now. Rob Urie, The Corporate State and Manufactured Dependence

Pipelinistan | William Blum

[…] The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia – reportedly containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world – and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is well situated for such pipelines to serve much of South Asia and even parts of Europe, pipelines that – crucially – can bypass Washington’s bêtes noire, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.”

Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions.

Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban:

The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.

When those talks with the Taliban stalled in 2001, the Bush administration reportedly threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the Afghan government did not go along with American demands. On August 2 in Islamabad, US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca reiterated to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [oil], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” The talks finally broke down for good a month before 9-11.

The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990-1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory”. Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech … . It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy”, but certainly not “pipeline”.

War Crimes as Policy | Douglas Valentine and Nicolas J.S. Davies

In February the Guardian and BBC Arabic unveiled a documentary exploring the role of retired Colonel James Steele in the recruitment, training and initial deployments of the CIA advised and funded Special Police Commandos in Iraq.

The documentary tells how the Commandos tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Iraqi men and boys. But the Commandos were only one of America’s many weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Along with US military forces – which murdered indiscriminately – and various CIA funded death squads – which murdered selectively – and the CIA’s rampaging palace guard – the 5,000 man strong Iraq Special Operations Forces – the Commandos were part of a genocidal campaign that killed about 10% of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq by 2008, and drove about half of all Sunnis from their homes.

Including economic sanctions, and a 50 year history of sabotage and subversion, America and its Iraqi collaborators visited far more death and destruction on Iraq than Saddam Hussein and his regime.

For the last few weeks, American pundits have been cataloguing the horrors. They tell how the Bush and Obama regimes, united in the unstated policy of war crimes, probably murdered more than a million Iraqis, displaced around five million, and imprisoned and tortured hundreds of thousands without trial.

A few have further explained that the dictatorial administrative detention laws, torture, and executions that characterize the occupation are still in place under Prime Minister Maliki. The prime minister’s office, notably, is where the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau is currently ensconced.

All of this meets the definition of genocide in the Genocide Convention, and violates multiple articles of the Geneva Conventions, which guarantee protection to civilians in time of war. But the responsible Americans have gone unpunished for their war crimes, not least of which was falsifying intelligence about Iraq’s non-existent weapon of mass destruction as a pretext for the invasion. British legal advisors repeatedly warned their government that invading Iraq would be a crime of aggression, which they called “one of the most serious offenses under international law.”

For anyone familiar with the CIA, this was predictable. But the US Government, through secrecy and censorship, destroyed much of the hard evidence of its war crimes, making it harder to prove. And the media is content to revise history and focus public attention on front men like Steele, rather than the institutions – in particular the CIA – for whom they work.

History, however, provides contextual evidence that what happened in Iraq amounts to a policy of carefully planned war crimes.

[…] Another problem, apart from historical amnesia, is that each war crime is viewed as an isolated incident, and when the dots are connected, the focus is on some shadowy character like Steele. The Guardian made an attempt to connect Steele to Petraeus and Rumsfeld, which again, is commendable. But the fact is that the entire National Security State has been designed and staffed with right-wing ideologues who support the unstated US policy of war crimes for profit.

We know who these security ideologues are. The problem is, they regularly have lunch with the reporters we trust to nail them to the wall. [READ]

Africa is most unified in its abject military subservience to the U.S. and, secondarily, to France, which struts around Mali, Niger, the Central African Republic and other former colonies as if independence was a joke played on history. But, the big boss is AFRICOM, the U.S. military command established in 2008, whose barbed wire entangles the continent, linking the militaries of all but three African countries directly to the Pentagon. Glen Ford, The Irrelevance of the African Union at 50

Obama’s Militarism-Imperialism Lite | Norman Pollack

… At times one feels the identity of the “enemies” is immaterial, just that they be there to keep the people in line, and the dominant structure of power intact. In this regard, Obama is helpful, his speech tossing in all manner of terrorists, from the Right, from the Left, from the individual run amuck—it doesn’t matter, just let America always be on guard. For America to operate as it has, as it wants, as it strives to continue, with hegemonic “responsibilities” always in view, and a domestic class system which preserves the prerogatives and powers of wealth, terrorism must hang like a thick pall over the mental landscape. Otherwise, we may see what our Leaders, Generals, Bankers, Industrialists, and others fortunate to join the ranks of the ruling elite, are doing, and often doing in our name—transparency be damned.

To hang on Obama’s every word, in the hope that he understands the misery, privation, and death he has caused, or to be charitable, that has occurred on his watch for which he must be held accountable and himself take personal responsibility, merely creates a secondary level of meaning bearing no direct relation to reality, or worse, carries one down the dank public-relations tunnels of the White House and Democratic spinmeisters, in neither case giving one confidence he means what he says. Thus, discussing the difficulties of mounting military operations against reputed terrorists, in which the consequences of “putting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis,” incidentally, nice enough of him to notice (!), Obama nevertheless can turn, in order to avoid the potential “backlash,” to what he euphemistically terms “remotely piloted aircraft commonly referred to as drones,” as the most humane, cost-effective way of killing (they’re too hard to capture) the enemy: “Simply put, these strikes have saved lives.” (Italics mine; I couldn’t resist, given the profound cynicism)

It gets better (or worse?), a defiant shout of legitimation, still withholding the legal memos which rationalize the state of war—in this case, explicitly, our friend “the just war,” which may not require further explanation, given the memo-writer comes not from the Office of Legal Counsel but Heaven itself: “Moreover, America’s actions are legal. We were attacked on 9/11. Within a week, Congress overwhelmingly authorized the use of force. Under domestic law, and international law, the United States is at war with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces. We are at war with an organization that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first. So this is a just war—a war waged proportionately, in last resort, and in self-defense.” (Italics, mine) It is as though total annihilation awaits, if we do not act at once and decisively. And those “associated forces,” for there will always be more, given the logic of the hit-list (the “nomination” process, in which POTUS personally has the last word, on Terror Tuesdays at the White House), validates the idea of permanent war. [READ]