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What I find striking is the many ways that Americans are conditioned like Nazi Germans. On the one hand, in their discourse, they insist on following the law (and by “law”, they mean American laws!). So much so that when there is a law that would prevent American secret agencies from breaking laws regarding American citizens, that is, the national sphere of laws, these agencies must find a way to break the law secretely or to bypass the law through justifications, or to take advantage of legal loopholes, for example, all these secret courts and decisions for mass surveillance. In other words, they allege to the populace that they are “following the law” while behaving in a criminal way. But they must pretend to follow the “rule of law”.

On the other hand, Americans clearly state that they will break all laws in every other country if they want, for purposes of “national security”, “spying”, etc. In other words, the attitude is that they can disregard the rule of law completely once the sphere moves from internal to external. Yes, they justify acting in a criminal way internationally by pretending it’s to “catch bad guys”, but still they believe they are entitled to be criminals as they please. Internally they must pretend to be “following the law”, externally, no pretense is necessary.

It’s very Nazi.

See this article from National Review for a clear example:

 

Fred Fleitz March 7, 2017 3:06 PM @fredfleitz
According to press reports, WikiLeaks today released thousands of highly classified CIA documents on methods the CIA allegedly is using to conduct cyber warfare. If these documents are legitimate, this illegal release will ruin cyber programs worth billions of dollars that the CIA was using to do battle with America’s enemies, especially terrorist groups.
The CIA officer who took the law into his or her hands to release this material justified this release by claiming this data “urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.” The source also said he or she “wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”
What nonsense. If the traitor truly believed this program violated U.S. law or endangered the privacy rights of America, there are numerous legal avenues he or she could have used, including the CIA inspector general and the House and Senate intelligence committees. CIA officers take an oath to protect classified national-security information. Such a massive illegal disclosure in violation of the CIA secrecy oath is not an act of courage or whistleblowing, it was “a Snowden” — an act of cowardice by a disgruntled individual who never should have been hired by the CIA.
This disturbing development raises three urgent questions about mismanagement of the CIA during the Obama administration. Why did CIA have a cyber-warfare office at all? I noted in a December 2016 NRO article that there are cyber-warfare offices in four separate intelligence agencies. I suspect this is because different intelligence agencies all wanted to cash in on funding opportunities on a high-profile topic. Such overlap is getting worse and make U.S. intelligence more bureaucratic and less efficient. The new leaker may very well have been hired as a result of CIA Director Brennan’s decision to lower standards for CIA hiring because he wanted to create a more diverse CIA workforce and Brennan rushed to staff his new cyber office. I wrote about this in Investor’s Business Daily in 2015. It also reportedly has been difficult for the U.S. government to find personnel to staff cyber offices who can meet the agency’s usual security requirements. This probably is why Edward Snowden was hired despite his lack of a college degree and how he was able to increase his access to classified material and move between intelligence agencies despite his poor performance. …
A couple of points to note:
If these documents are legitimate, this illegal release will ruin cyber programs…
See the emphasis on the release being illegal, and not the fact that all these activities that the dump discloses are illegal around the world.
Then:
If the traitor truly believed this program violated U.S. law or endangered the privacy rights of America, there are numerous legal avenues he or she could have used, including the CIA inspector general and the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The pretense that corrupt secret agencies and politicians who deliberately state they can commit any crime they want in any country is the person to go-to in case there is a legal problem is downright funny. But still, there is the insistence on the lie that the US functions based on legitimate government officials.
programs worth billions of dollars that the CIA was using to do battle with America’s enemies, especially terrorist groups.
In other words, people that the CIA/Deep State wants to persecute without any regard to the rule of law anywhere, and who, by the history of the US, are usually the people fighting for basic human rights, health care and education, and democracy, in countries ruled by US-sponsored dictators.
I noted in a December 2016 NRO article that there are cyber-warfare offices in four separate intelligence agencies. I suspect this is because different intelligence agencies all wanted to cash in on funding opportunities on a high-profile topic. Such overlap is getting worse and make U.S. intelligence more bureaucratic and less efficient.
But this is what happens when you have a country of greedy and corrupt individuals in a monstrous capitalist system. Everyone wants to take part of the graft. Corruption grows because it meets no resistance, only like-minded individuals.
And why four different cyber-warfare offices? Well, unlike the author, the first and foremost one, I would say, is the greed – imagine just how much public money you can be given on a silver platter, without ever having to behave ethically or show results of any kind?  And then there is the mafia aspect. These people have all understood they are above the law since the American public is content to look the other way. The public is happy with a sham of an oversight. So multiple offices means they each work for a “mafia” head, having to answer to that political/elite faction only. It’s like ancient Rome.
Finally:
Heads should roll over this leak.
But, notice, not over the entire criminal activity of the CIA and other military and secret agencies.
American capitalism – corrupt to the core.

 

 

Well. It was amazing. It was mind-blowing. Nobody thought it could happen. Yet he pulled it off.

What a lesson, what a beautiful example of “nothing is impossible”.

I went to bed early on Tuesday – why torture oneself with the slow incoming counting of a Clinton win? – and fully prepared for the awful news of Hillary’s win the next morning, already detaching myself from the whole election affair. Life goes on and all that. Millions of errands and things to do the next morning, the election will be over, back to the normal drudgery of everyday life, let’s think about other things already.

Of course, when I got up the next morning, I went to check the news for the awful acknowledgement of Hillary’s win and just to see how bad it had been.

And then I was speechless. Stunned. Overjoyed.

And even though the witch keeps flying around, circling on her broom, still meddling obviously in the high circles of power that she has attained, she lost.

She lost like no one could, crashing from the highest pedestal that she had built for herself, with her mountains of lies and all that corrupt money the Clinton crime syndicate has amassed.

And every little tiny tinsy bit of news about her loss, her disappointment, the knife in her stomach, her resounding vertical crash was just savored. How it came from nowhere and just whipped her repugnant smug face. A lifetime of grotesque crimes, all that highest level corruption, a billion thrown to oil that horrible Hillary electing machine, and Trump just grabbed the win right out of her slimy hard clutching hands. Without much effort, it can also be added.

Trump was very smart – we all have to hand it to him. Talking to millions of dumb Americans, selfish and low-info as they are, takes talent. I never thought he had it, but he does.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. Trump means more of the same horrible criminal US of A – wars, torture, horrendous foreign policy, arms sales to barbarians abroad to commit relentless repression and mass murder, just to mention a few of the gravest international issues. He is not ethical and his number one priority is himself. I think he is poised to become richer than the Bushes and the Clintons. Only time will tell.

But he won. And that means Hillary lost. Her only chance and he smashed it.

And that is a lesson.

I’m still savoring that she lost her only chance and I’ll be savoring it for some time. What she most wanted and No. You can’t have it. Hard to know how many people the Clintons have gotten rid of, how many careers they have destroyed, how many people in Haiti are suffering because the Clintons robbed them of their resources (including Hillary’s brother and that Haitian gold mine plunder of his), how many masses of human beings have been murdered or starved because of the arms sales and foreign policies and deals orchestrated by Bill and Hillary, but she lost. In this world without justice, this is about the only thing we can get.

We’ll take it and savor it.

Good article on TAC:

The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy

How long will the people permit it?

 

 

The contemporary mission of the US armed forces is to make military contractors rich. As an addendum the foreign policy elite use the military to scare the world into political alignment with the US. How did this happen? The American people flat out don’t care and therefore the media just goes along with the corrupt government on this endless gravy train. At no time has it been more true that “war is a racket” as Gen. Smedley Butler noted long ago. In my view, the National Security State is our largest unit of organized crime.

[Amen.]

This comment is actually priceless in the bolded parts:

TG says:

Ah, but Hillary Clinton is ‘qualified’ to be president, and Donald Trump is ‘unqualified.’ Why? Because Clinton has been deemed ‘qualified’ by the New York Times, and she has been engaged with echo-chamber think tanks for decades that keep telling her how great she is, and she has been mucking about in government for over two decades, and anyhow she’s a woman. So even though Trump says a lot of sensible things, and has a track record of (mostly) succeeding with large complex projects in a very competitive business environment (and even when he fails he knows how to cut his losses), and he appears to care more about the national interest than selling out for personal gain, obviously we can’t vote for him, because racism.

[ 🙂 Well, since Trump is running on a Republican ticket, he’ll just end up being another neo-con just like Hillary. The fools wanting to vote for him are just as clueless as the Hillary fans.]

Karl R Kaiser says:

It’s only a failure if you believe the government’s STATED strategic purposes.

But if the purpose of our foreign policy is to enrich the military industry, bankers, oil barons, and opium importers, to empower Israel, and to frighten Americans into accepting a paramilitary surveillance state, then voila, American foreign policy is an unqualified success.

Douglas K. says:

I echo other comments here. Current policy is a failure only if you’re concerned about American lives, civil liberties, security, prestige, international reputation, military preparedness … stuff like that. You know, the metrics of success that normal people use.

But if the actual goal is to maintain permanent low-level foreign and domestic threats to justify continued massive military expenditures and the perpetual expansion of the security state, then it’s all working perfectly. The “war on terror” is like the “war on drugs” in that the point is to fight it forever, not to win. After all, the money is in the fighting. “Victory” — perpetually undefined and therefore unachievable — would end the gravy train.

Anarcissie says:

The US leadership/elite/ruling class decided that it had to rule the world, to make the world safe for itself and its interests, back during World War 2, and created a system to do that. It is now generally referred to as ’empire’. All arrangements eventually come to an end, and we are now coming to the end of this particular arrangement. It might be objectively possible for our leaders to try to work up a new arrangement, but my guess is that in their sentimental attachment to power and glory, they will just keep doing the same things until some catastrophe brings the sad game to an end. The present election seems to bear out this pessimistic view.

There was an excellent article on Tom Dispatch on this very question.

Excerpt below:

What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say, “Never Trump”?
The Enemies of My Enemy May Be War Criminals
By Rebecca Gordon

…we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men — and a few women — who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.

They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer “lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.”

That’s true of course, but it’s also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter’s signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice’s legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush’s CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the “global war on terror,” this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.

Their letter continues, “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.”

There’s a sentence that could use some unpacking.

What Is The “Free World”?

Let’s start with the last bit: “the leader of the free world.” That’s what journalists used to call the U.S. president, and occasionally the country as a whole, during the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “free world” included all the English-speaking countries outside Africa, along with western Europe, North America, some South American dictatorships, and nations like the Philippines that had a neocolonial relationship with the United States.

The U.S.S.R. led what, by this logic, was the un-free world, including the Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe, the “captive” Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the People’s Republic of China (for part of the period), North Korea, and of course Cuba. Americans who grew up in these years knew that the people living behind the “Iron Curtain” were not free. We’d seen the bus ads and public service announcements on television requesting donations for Radio Free Europe, sometimes illustrated with footage of a pale adolescent man, his head crowned with chains.

I have absolutely no doubt that he and his eastern European countrymen were far from free. I do wonder, however, how free his counterparts in the American-backed Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean, and Philippine dictatorships felt.

The two great adversaries, together with the countries in their spheres of influence, were often called the First and Second Worlds. Their rulers treated the rest of the planet — the Third World — as a chessboard across which they moved their proxy armies and onto which they sometimes targeted their missiles. Some countries in the Third World refused to be pawns in the superpower game, and created a non-aligned movement, which sought to thread a way between the Scylla and Charybdis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Among its founders were some of the great Third World nationalists: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, along with Yugoslavia’s President Josip Broz Tito.

Other countries weren’t so lucky. When the United States took over from France the (unsuccessful) project of defeating Vietnam’s anti-colonial struggle, people in the U.S. were assured that the war that followed with its massive bombing, napalming, and Agent-Oranging of a peasant society represented the advance of freedom against the forces of communist enslavement. Central America also served as a Cold War battlefield, with Washington fighting proxy wars during the 1980s in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, where poor campesinos had insisted on being treated as human beings and were often brutally murdered for their trouble. In addition, the U.S. funded, trained, and armed a military dictatorship in Honduras, where John Negroponte — one of the anti-Trump letter signers — was the U.S. ambassador from 1981 to 1985.

The Soviet Union is, of course, long gone, but the “free world,” it seems, remains, and so American officials still sometimes refer to us as its leader — an expression that only makes sense, of course, in the context of dual (and dueling) worlds. On a post-Soviet planet, however, it’s hard to know just what national or geographic configuration constitutes today’s “un-free world.” Is it (as Donald Trump might have it) everyone living under Arab or Muslim rule? Or could it be that amorphous phenomenon we call “terrorism” or “Islamic terrorism” that can sometimes reach into the “free world” and slaughter innocents as in San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, or Nice, France? Or could it be the old Soviet Union reincarnated in Vladimir Putin’s Russia or even a rising capitalist China still controlled by a Communist Party?

Faced with the loss of a primary antagonist and the confusion on our planet, George W. Bush was forced to downsize the perennial enemy of freedom from Reagan’s old “evil empire” (the Soviet Union) to three “rogue states,” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which in an address to Congress he so memorably labeled the “axis of evil.” The first of these lies in near ruins; the second we’ve recently signed a nuclear treaty with; and the third seems incapable of even feeding its own population. Fortunately for the free world, the Bush administration also had some second-string enemies to draw on. In 2002, John Bolton, then an undersecretary of state (and later ambassador to the U.N.), added another group “beyond the axis of evil” — Libya, Syria, and Cuba. Of the three, only Cuba is still a functioning nation.

And by the way, the 50 Republican national security stars who denounced Donald Trump in Cold War terms turn out to be in remarkably good company — that of Donald Trump himself (who recently gave a speech invoking American Cold War practices as the basis for his future foreign policy).

“He Weakens U.S. Moral Authority…”

After its twenty-first century wars, its “black sites,” and Guantánamo, among other developments of the age, it’s hard to imagine a much weaker “moral authority” than what’s presently left to the United States. First, we gave the world eight years of George W. Bush’s illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as CIA torture sites, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and a program of quite illegal global kidnappings of terror suspects (some of whom proved innocent of anything).  Under President Obama, it seems we’ve traded enhanced interrogation techniques for an “enhanced” use of assassination by drone (again outside any “law” of war, other than the legal documents that the Justice Department has produced to justify such acts).

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009 his first executive order outlawed the CIA’s torture program and closed those black sites. It then looked as if the country’s moral fiber might be stiffening. But when it came to holding the torturers accountable, Obama insisted that the country should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” and the Justice Department declined to prosecute any of them. It’s hard for a country to maintain its moral authority in the world when it refuses to exert that authority at home.

Two of the letter signers who are so concerned about Trump’s effect on U.S. moral authority themselves played special roles in “weakening” U.S. moral authority through their involvement with the CIA torture program: John Bellinger III and Michael Hayden.

June 26th is the U.N.’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. To mark that day in 2003, President Bush issued a statement declaring, “Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example.”

The Washington Post story on the president’s speech also carried a quote from Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to the effect that all prisoners being held by the U.S. government were being treated “humanely.” John Rizzo, who was then the CIA’s deputy general counsel, called John Bellinger, Condoleezza Rice’s legal counsel at the National Security Council, to express his concern about what both the president and McClellan had said.

The problem was that — as Rizzo and his boss, CIA director George Tenet, well knew — many detainees then held by the CIA were not being treated humanely. They were being tortured or mistreated in various ways. The CIA wanted to be sure that they still had White House backing and approval for their “enhanced interrogation” program, because they didn’t want to be left holding the bag if the truth came out. They also wanted the White House to stop talking about the humane treatment of prisoners.

According to an internal CIA memo, George Tenet convened a July 29, 2003, meeting in Condoleezza Rice’s office to get the necessary reassurance that the CIA would be covered if the truth about torture came out. There, Bellinger reportedly apologized on behalf of the administration, explaining that the White House press secretary had “gone off script,” mistakenly reverting to “old talking points.” He also “undertook to [e]nsure that the White House press office ceases to make statements on the subject other than [to say] that the U.S. is complying with its obligations under U.S. law.”

At that same meeting, Tenet’s chief counsel, Scott Muller, passed out packets of printed PowerPoint slides detailing those enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, so that Bellinger and the others present, including Rice, would understand exactly what he was covering up.

So much for the “moral authority” of John Bellinger III.

As for Michael Hayden (who has held several offices in the national security apparatus), one of his signature acts as CIA Director was to approve in 2005 the destruction of videotapes of the agency’s waterboarding sessions. In a letter to CIA employees, he wrote that the tapes were destroyed “only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries.”

Of course destroying those tapes also meant that they’d never be available for any future legislative or judicial inquiry. The letter continued,

“Beyond their lack of intelligence value… the tapes posed a serious security risk. Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

One has to wonder whether Hayden was more concerned with his CIA colleagues’ “security” from al-Qaeda or from prosecution. In any case, he deprived the public — and any hypothetical future prosecutor — of crucial evidence of wrongdoing.

Hayden also perpetuated the lie that the Agency’s first waterboarding victim, Abu Zubaydah — waterboarded a staggering 83 times — was a crucial al-Qaeda operative and had provided a quarter of all the information that the CIA gathered from human subjects about al-Qaeda.  He was, in fact, never a member of al-Qaeda at all. In the 1980s, he ran a training camp in Afghanistan for the mujahedin, the force the U.S. supported against the Soviet occupation of that country; he was, that is, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.”

Bellinger later chimed in, keeping the Abu Zubaydah lie alive by arguing in 2007 on behalf of his boss Condoleezza Rice that Guantánamo should remain open. That prison, he said, “serves a very important purpose, to hold and detain individuals who are extremely dangerous [like] Abu Zubaydah, people who have been planners of 9/11.”

“He Appears to Lack Basic Knowledge About and Belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Laws, and U.S. Institutions…”

That’s the next line of the open letter, and it’s certainly a fair assessment of Donald Trump. But it’s more than a little ironic that it was signed by Michael Hayden who, in addition to supporting CIA’s torture project, oversaw the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 secret surveillance program. Under that program, the government recorded the phone, text, and Internet communications of an unknown number of people inside and outside of the United States — all without warrants.

Perhaps Hayden believes in the Constitution, but at best it’s a selective belief. There’s that pesky 4th Amendment, for example, which guarantees that

“[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Nor does Hayden appear to believe in U.S. laws and institutions, at least when it comes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established the secret courts that are supposed to issue exactly the sort of warrant Hayden’s program never requested.

John Negroponte is another of the signers who has a history of skirting U.S. laws and the congress that passes them. While ambassador to Honduras, he helped develop a murderouscontra” army, which the United States armed and trained to overthrow the government of neighboring Nicaragua. During those years, however, aid to the contras was actually illegal under U.S. law.  It was explicitly prohibited under the so-called Boland Amendments to various appropriations bills, but no matter.  “National security” was at stake.

Speaking of the Constitution, it’s instructive to take a look at Article 6, which states in part that “all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” Such treaties include, for example, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand non-aggression pact (whose violation was the first charge brought against the Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg) and Article 51 of the U.N. charter, which permits military action only “if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

In 1998, Robert Zoellick, another of those 50 Republicans openly denouncing Trump, signed a different letter, which advocated abrogating those treaties. As an associate of the Project for a New American Century, he was among those who urged then-President Bill Clinton to direct “a full complement of diplomatic, political, and military efforts” to “remove Saddam Hussein from power.” This was to be just the first step in a larger campaign to create a Pax Americana in the Middle East. The letter specifically urged Clinton not to worry about getting a Security Council resolution, arguing that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.”

“He Is Unable or Unwilling to Separate Truth From Falsehood…” 

So says the letter, and that, too, offers a fair characterization of Trump, who has often contended that President Obama has never proved he was born in the U.S.A., and has more than once repeated the long-disproved legend that, during the 1899-1913 Morro Rebellion in the Philippines, General John J. Pershing used bullets dipped in pig’s blood to execute Muslim insurgents. (And that’s barely to scratch the surface of Donald Trump’s remarkable unwillingness to separate truth from falsehood.) What, then, about the truthfulness of the letter signers?

Clinton never bit on the PNAC proposal, but a few years later, George W. Bush did. And the officials of his administration began their campaign of lies about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake uranium from Niger, and “smoking guns” that might turn out to be “mushroom clouds” (assumedly over American cities), all of which would provide the pretext for that administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

The Bush administration didn’t limit itself to lying to the American people. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte was dispatched to the Security Council to lie, too. Security Council Resolution 1441 was the last of several requiring Iraq to comply with weapons inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Some members of the Council, especially Russia and France, were hesitant to approve 1441, fearing that the U.S. might interpret it as a license to invade. So, in the discussions before the vote, Negroponte assured the Security Council that “this resolution contains no ‘hidden triggers’ and no ‘automaticity’ with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions.” The British ambassador used almost identical words to reassure the Council that, before attacking Iraq, the United States and Britain would seek its blessing.

That, of course, is hardly what happened. On February 24, 2003, Washington and London did bring a resolution for war to the Security Council.  When it became apparent that two of its permanent members, France and Russia, would veto that resolution if it came to a vote, Bush (in consultation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) decided to withdraw it. “We all agreed,” he wrote in his memoir, that “the diplomatic track had reached its end.”

And so the U.S. was on its foreordained path to war and disaster in Iraq, the path that after much winding, much failure, and much destruction would lead to Donald Trump.

So much for keeping promises and separating “truth from falsehood.”

====end of excerpt====

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

I came across a report from a couple that traveled to Cuba that offered their experience. I have a similar expectation that this is what one could very well see in Cuba – particularly as a tourist.

Castro and his supporters achieved tremendous progress for Cuba, and he outsmarted the US’s evil desire to destroy this progress, and bring it under its heel of corruption and exploitation as it has done to dozens of other countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Caitlin Causey:

When my husband and I started telling others that we had begun making plans to travel to Cuba this summer, their reactions ranged from curiosity to something like thinly veiled horror: Cuba, of all places? Fidel Castro, communists, the missile crisis in the ‘60s — why Cuba?

For us, the answer was simple: Cuba today is at a pivotal moment in its history, and has not been this accessible to regular Americans in more than 50 years. It is also one of the most interesting, culturally rich, and astoundingly gorgeous natural areas on Earth. When Christopher Columbus landed on Cuba’s northeastern shore in October 1492, he wrote that he “never beheld such a beautiful place.”

This we had to see.

But first, we needed to figure out how to get there. U.S. travel restrictions had been locked in place for decades, embedded in our country’s 1961 trade embargo and loosened only in late 2014. With additional lightening of limitations in March of this year, travelers like us could plan our trip without needing to apply for a visa with the federal government so long as our trip’s purpose fit into one of 12 pre-approved categories. These include humanitarian work, academic research, sport competitions and journalistic activities (hint, hint: this article’s for you, feds!). Purely touristic travel, however, is still technically prohibited under U.S. law.

Once the legal details were ironed out, we booked two flights: one to Mexico, and one from Mexico to Havana. The good news is that this type of roundabout entry into the country will soon be unnecessary, with direct flights from the States to several Cuban cities scheduled to resume this fall. Denver’s own Frontier Airlines has even been awarded a number of daily trips by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Soon, we were stuffing last-minute snacks and sunblock into our backpacks and locking the door to our Glenwood home behind us. As we exited customs in the Havana airport about 24 hours later, a blast of infernal tropical heat pummeled us — and I knew we had arrived.

For the next three weeks we drove across the island from east to west in a small Chinese rental car, beginning in the eastern metropolis of Santiago de Cuba and eventually making our way back to Havana. Santiago was a fascinating introduction to the country, a vivacious city pulsing with music, dance and youthful energy. Here we stayed in the first of several Airbnb’s throughout the trip, booked online before we ever left home. Airbnb has taken off since beginning operations in Cuba last year partly because private homestays, or casas particulares, are one of a few limited forms of private enterprise allowed by the government.

After Santiago we drove northeast through Guantanamo province, stopping near the top of its eponymous bay to see if we could squint hard enough to spot our infamous U.S. base at the other end. The road then took us to lush, secluded Baracoa — arguably the most lovely town we visited in all of Cuba. Accessible only by sea for centuries before a single road was constructed in the 1960s to connect it with the rest of the country, Baracoa maintains its own unique atmosphere, culture and food traditions today. The heaping plate of spiced tetí we ate there — tiny fish the size of rice grains, native to the region — was the most unusual culinary experience of our trip.

From Baracoa we went west along Cuba’s northern shore, with stops in the sleepy colonial towns of Banes and Gibara. Further inland we visited stunning Camagüey and roamed its labyrinthine streets, which were reportedly designed to confuse pillaging bands of pirates a few centuries ago. Afterward we continued to Trinidad, a cobblestoned village surrounded by ghostly old sugarcane plantations, and then skirted the south coast until hitting the Bay of Pigs.

Would anyone believe that the Bay of Pigs, once the gruesome site of the U.S. government’s doomed 1961 attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, is now a bona fide adventure destination attracting snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world? Well, it is — and for good reason. Along the bay’s eastern edge is a wild and uncorrupted 22-mile stretch of coral reef and gentle crystalline waters. What an odd place for us to spend the Fourth of July this year.

For our final few days in Cuba, we saved the biggest sight for last: Havana. At once grand and decrepit, Havana was everything we had seen in pictures and more. Vintage cars the color of bubble gum and banana cream, crumbling colonial architecture, horse drawn carts full of papayas, children playing handball in the street, daiquiris, dancing, music pouring from open doors, sunsets over the sea wall: as our Lonely Planet guidebook put it, “No one could have invented Havana. It’s too audacious, too contradictory, and — despite 50 years of withering neglect — too damned beautiful.”

The same, I think, could be said of the entire country. The fascinating thing about Cuba in 2016 is that all of its glorious contradictions are coming to a head. It is obvious that change is happening — but what exactly that change might bring is anyone’s guess.

Cuba surprised me in ways that I did not expect. At every turn, something or someone was waiting to dismantle the old Castro-Communist-Missile Crisis narrative of Cuba that I (and most other Americans) had grown up with. Where I anticipated animosity, I was granted kindness; where I assumed danger, I felt safety; and where I expected ugliness, I found beauty. Cuba is not what it was in the 1960s, or the 1990s, or even what it was five years ago — and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Of course, everyone could have overestimated Sanders as a leader that stands firm, myself included. Of course, he could have just sold out and merely folded to Clinton after working his behind off competing against her, not only abandoning his supporters and most things he fought for, but literally throwing them all under the Hillary neocon Wall Street bus. Of course, this election could have been just a game to him, a nice little ego trip, a symbolic medal for all the years he has fought for his ideals as a minority in Congress. Finally public acknowledgement and support – a chance to be heard and to lead. A chance that came to what still feels like a very abrupt end today.

But why am I getting the feeling, now, after all this, after nominating Hillary, that he is up to something?

Wishful thinking? Definitely. But he might know something he ain’t telling. Just setting it up for now. I turned off youtube in the middle of the DNC roll call today because it was just too awful to watch. It was about 1100 votes to 700 then, Hillary-Sanders. And yet Sanders wanted the roll call. He set his foot down to have it happen today. He also organized with his brother, of his utmost trust and confidence, for the latter to nominate him. Then, after all this, he hands it over to Hillary, folding.

Now it had occurred to me in the past the simple fact that if anything were to happen to Hillary, it’s him for the Dems. Anything as in an indictment or wikileaks. With the Clintons having bought off the Justice System and the FBI, wikileaks is all that’s left.

And now I am getting the feeling that Sanders’ plan isn’t just to ride off into the sunset, head sunken, and write his little book on his (defeated and deflated) revolution, as he has announced. He looked almost ebullient as he announced his nomination of Clinton.  Does that make any sense at all? What’s all the happiness about, just the symbolic fact that he still got many delegate votes?

For the life of me, I can’t find the final tally of the DNC’s roll call today anywhere on the Net. I suppose tomorrow it will be easier.

To finish, then, are all these little tidbits and clues about Sanders just mirages in the current political wasteland of American politics? Was Sanders bought off, did he quit, fold, or is something actually up?

=================

Updated August 1st, 2016:

OK, so I read that Sanders didn’t give Hillary his database of millions of supporters! And that he hasn’t denied he might run for president in 2020. Aha. So I think that’s his game. Fold now to work the bases so that he can run in 2020.

In any case, shameful. He could have run now. It doesn’t do much, but he’s helping Canova beat Debbie in Florida. Ha.

 

 

 

This is a really smart comment:

The man made an arena full of Republicans stand up and cheer as he pledged to protect the LGBTQ community.
The Republican party voted for a former Democrat liberal businesses man as their candidate.And the Democratic party picked a neo con big business backed hawk.

Indeed – and that just goes to show what a failure the US is as a country and as a political system. But you must be getting tired of hearing me saying it. Still, I find it rather bizarre. So again it’s this weird center that congregates most of the American voting public. Whether it’s more neocon (Hillary) or more anti-globalist but pro-military (Trump), you see that all the candidates that were very left on geopolitics/Wall Street (Bernie and Stein)  or very right on culture war issues (Cruz, Carson, Rubio, etc.) lost badly.

Although Pence is really conservative and Kaine is somewhat conservative.

My comment left at Lionel Media’s video on Trump’s 60 minute interview:

Lionel is to his stupid support of LGBT “rights” what Hillary is to Wall Street and war. Shills who don’t have any decency or knowledge about what is a world with human rights. Just as we can’t expect Hillary to be honest about the damage that her agenda brings, we can’t expect Lionel to realize the problems with his homosexual agenda. He mentions he deplores the fact that today language has become crude and vulgar, along with the ideas expressed (or maybe he’s jumped on the “vulgarity is OK” bandwagon) – and who do we have to thank for that? Liberals (which includes the LGBT) – the people normalizing homosexuality, porn, and promiscuity, abortion on demand, adultery, and who are responsible for a lot of sexual harassment and sexual violence in society – as it couldn’t be otherwise.

In an exchange with a liberal troll the other day, he kept asking why Christians “hate women” because of the several passages in the Bible where women are mistreated, raped, etc. And I told him his question was rich given it came from a liberal that supports pornography (and I’m sure many more evil things), since there is nothing that contains more material that degrades and does violence to women than porn. Not just to women, because it’s one of the main venues for homosexual pigs to present themselves. The Bible is particularly tame compared to the extreme debasing of sex and women that all kinds of porn present. In short, that’s what the two sides of American society give us – either they are war perverts or sexual perverts – or both, such as the Clintons and also Trump, although I do agree with Lionel that Trump seems like a Clinton lite. My prediction is he will act quite similarly to Clinton if elected though.

All these idiots who are saying, “We know how repugnant Clinton is, but we don’t know what Trump will be like” are leading themselves into playing the role of Charlie Brown in Lucy holds the football.

And to this comment from One Man 1970:

This whole show (our country) ..has completely gone off the rails…
I agree – and a testament to the failure of the US public education system. It produces a country of war and sexual perverts who want to shove their wars, porn, and homosexuality agenda of death and destruction wherever they go.

 

 

It’s always the innocent who are killed in these “terrorist” attacks that pay the price for the horrible wars and killings the French are doing abroad.

The French, stupid and corrupt as they are, are not focusing on killing less innocent people abroad, nor destroying less other countries, nor bringing to justice their grotesque military and politicians who enable these wars and horrors. No – they want to stop the “terrorist attacks” – which are a reaction to all the killing the French are doing to other innocent people abroad, notably in Africa and the Middle East.

Every time I hear one of these people who were there on the Promenade saying, “Oh my god, it  was like a war zone, with bodies all over it, so horrible,” I feel like telling them, “See? That’s what the French, the Americans, and the British are doing to poor people in Africa and the ME every single week.”

You have to agree that a lone wolf attack like this – with something that is not a standard weapon – is a brilliant attack from a tactical perspective, because it is very easy to carry out (relatively speaking), it requires basically only one person, it’s incredibly cheap, it raises no suspicions if carried out in a minimally smart way (and this guy was really smart about how he went about it), and it causes a huge impact. The damage and the media attention is just berserk. I mean, he alone killed about as many people as the November attacks which were much, much more complicated.  Lastly, this kind of attack, as some authorities already underscored, is basically impossible to prevent.

I was extremely impressed by an account of an “action guy” who died tried to get on the truck to stop the driver. From the little information that was given, the guy was on a motorcycle, and he cuts in front of the truck (?), then tries to grab onto the door near the driver, but the driver shoots at him, and he falls and dies  overrun (?) by the truck. It was an eyewitness account and there wasn’t a lot of detail. But just with this little bit of information, I was just stunned at this guy’s capacity to just dive into action, like a scene from one of those action movies – except this was real life. Just incredible. Just amazing how someone could think about all this in a split second and just go into serious action, risking their life and all. I mean, just running out of the way of the truck is one thing, but this? Wow.

Updated on July 23: OK, so now the media has identified this guy (Franck) who told in more detail what happened. It’s still very amazing. His wife was with him on the motorcycle. His son was at the square the truck was heading to. He made a decision right then to try to save his son’s life even if he got killed in the process. He tells his wife to get off the motorcycle. He then nears the truck and ditches the motorcycle. He continues on foot,  manages to jump and cling to the truck’s door with one arm and starts punching the driver with his free arm. He says the “terrorist” didn’t even flinch! Terrorist grabs his gun and points at his face but gun doesn’t fire. Finally terrorist hits guy on his head with the gun and the guy falls off. Another guy who was also on a bike (Alexandre Migues) tried to do something similar. And he obviously wasn’t shot in the head so we have to ask: did the terrorist actually have bullets? Or just a malfunctioning gun? However, the description of what took place from grainy footage in the news report describes things a bit differently.

What was the response from the Nazi French regarding this attack? They’ve just announced they are going to bomb more  people in the Middle East. They are going to kill more innocent people – hence there will be more “terrorist” attacks.

We live in a world where there are big terrorist governments (e.g., the US, UK, and France) and small terrorist groups. The scale of horrors from the terrorist governments is much bigger than from the terrorist groups – although you’d never ever know this from Western media. And the so-called terrorist groups are often covertly funded by the terrorist governments in the West to fight their proxy wars. You have to say, it’s a horrible world.

I commented on the images in the media on my previous post about the attacks. I am just dumbfounded that we never see pictures of people dying and being blown up in the wars in African and the Middle East. They are being killed and killed and the Western media basically never show their bodies, their faces, their identities, they never interview the survivors, they never tell of their suffering…

You have to say, it’s very Nazi. It’s like the Jews just disappearing and disappearing and no one cared to know who they were.

Not a good time for the Olympics right now – not only because of the terrorism threat. This is not a new thought for me – I had already really felt disgusted at the Winter Olympics last time and at other games before that. This is how I saw the last Winter Olympics:  mostly just a huge expensive party for privileged kids from rich countries who promote a way of life that is totally disconnected from the horrible reality of many people around the world, including that brought about by poverty, oppression, and wars which their governments are profoundly enmeshed in producing. I was often disgusted while watching the Games because of this context.

Added July 20:

LOL!

“Nice est la ville la plus vidéosurveillée de France avec 1400 caméras visionnées par différents agents 24h/24 au CSU (Centre de supervision urbain). ”

So what do we find out now? Nice is the most camera-monitored city in France with 1,400 cameras! And yet the guy went ahead right under their noses. I saw an article describing the terrorist saying “he wasn’t very intelligent.” Maybe not, in the intellectual sense – but the guy outsmarted 60 million French idiots without much effort! The article above in francebleu also talks about the fact that France has two laws prohibiting these big trucks from circulating at certain times.  And yet nobody told the truck not to circulate. Why not? Because the city needs to give out exceptions to trucks making deliveries, etc., to all the restaurants and bars, for example. You know the French can’t be deprived of drinking their wine and having their cheese while their military is murdering masses of innocent people in Africa and the ME.

So I see that we are full steam ahead in the post-attack “find the people to be blamed!” stage.

The police, the city council, the prefecture, Hollande and Valls, everyone is now the target of blame, criticism, and seething anger coming from everyone else in a big huffing and puffing circus.

The police has defended itself saying that while they have this enormous quantity of cameras, they can’t assign an agent simply to watch one little screen 24/7 – this would mean 1,400 agents just sitting there for each 8 hour shift, or 4,200 agents just sitting on their stupid French behinds for a round-the-clock coverage – not counting weekends, because you know the French don’t work on weekends. LOL!  In other words, most of the their camera system is ineffective, not to say useless. Now what I’d be really curious about is just how many agents they currently employ to watch these 1,400.cameras. Like three? I would not be surprised.

The French president has also put a call out to French citizens to join their reservists. Oh, a militia! Here it is, folks. You’re watching it right before your eyes. The Milice française, or French Militia, is growing again.

What a disgusting world.

July 23, 2016:

Heh! New act in the Nice attack circus: the French government wants all video evidence of the attack destroyed. Unbelievable. Told ya – the French are corrupt to the core. I was surprised that the city of Nice stood firm and refused – but maybe they are afraid their heads will roll as scapegoats if the government has them destroy the footage – given all the compensation lawsuits that lie ahead.

Not only that, now my curiosity is extremely peaked at what that footage actually contains in this regard. I mean, it must be something quite damning about the police.

Added:

And I have found part of my answer: an interview with the policewoman (Sandra Bertin) that heads the police video surveillance center in Nice. She says that less than 24 hours after the attack, she was harassed by someone from the government to lie about the presence of  French national police at the attack site – contrary to what appeared in the screens/videos she was watching at the time. She has refused to lie and she has told the media about it! Hah! And that’s one answer as to  why the French government wanted to have them erase the security videos. They are going to be creamed with lawsuits – which are going to claim the government failed in its duty to provide the proper police security for such an event. The corrupt-to-the-core French are at it again! They lost this round however. Her full interview will be published tomorrow – it should make for an interesting reaction. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did this Tunisian/French guy, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, do this “terrorist” attack because of geopolitical reasons? I really don’t know. First, nothing in his profile presents any direct link to ISIS or any other specific  political group. Second, he was not part of a mosque or of Islam. Third, as any sane person, I don’t believe a word of what French authorities say until independent proof is furnished.

Let me first say that I was surprised the French police just didn’t find the guy’s passport  right next to the driver’s wheel, just misplaced there by oversight, with a refugee status stamp, with the date of the photograph taken the next day of the attack, if you catch my drift.

And now that “the usual suspects” have been rounded up (and taken into arrest – as if that were necessary – but in a police state, you know where fundamental legal rights lie: in the trash can), we find all weird things about the state of mind of the guy, but nothing, nothing that says he was wired into politics or “terrorism”. So he was a loner, and sometimes aggressive, and had been nasty to his ex-wife. OK, there are millions of people with this profile who aren’t political terrorists. Many millions.

And, ISIS, of all people, didn’t claim right away it was any of their doing. Nor did any other group. It took ISIS a long time to finally come out and state that the guy was a “soldier” for them. Big red flag. If he had directly been one of them, ISIS would have been screaming the fact even before people had finished running from the scene.

The problem here is that ISIS would have all the interest in the world to pretend this guy was one of them, even if he wasn’t, because it serves wonderful propaganda purposes for them – given the very successful and smart attack. And the French government, who wants to continue its mass murder and plunder of Africa and the Middle East, and needs to cover up its evil deeds with a phony claim of  “war on terror”, would want to also lie and make this into another ISIS/terrorist/Islamic attack even if it wasn’t one.

Now, of course, maybe Bouhlel decided to do this attack for political ME/ISIS reasons. And he simply kept quiet about all his plans and just shuffled along until the final day. Maybe he was angry about French society, but not geopolitics in particular. Maybe he was suicidal and angry regarding his personal life, and wanted to be remembered as he took his own life, so he decided to take many people with him. Maybe his attack had to do with French politics regarding Tunisia – not ISIS. There are so many possibilities. One thing is clear, in the hypothesis that this was some other kind of suicide, both the French authorities and ISIS have lots of reasons to lie that his was an ISIS-related act. Therefore, we will probably never know the truth. At least not until real proof surfaces.

I did a little venting yesterday on the NPR site, in the comment section of this article:

‘Sheer Terror’ As Attack Along French Riviera Kills At Least 84

regarding the Nice attack. (Am I the only person that, when reading headlines in English about the attack, mostly goes default on the pronunciation of the word Nice as it is pronounced in English? 🙂

In any case, the comment section was infested by American neocons and Muslim haters who were shrieking there fanaticism at the top of their typing lungs. The majority of people in the US, UK, and France are incredibly primitive and Nazi-like when it comes to geopolitics.

So I vented a bit – responding repeatedly by highlighting the ugly simple truth of the world we currently live in:

The US, UK, and France have killed and continue to kill millions of innocent people around the world, especially in the ME and Africa, in their endless corrupt wars to put their grubby hands on resources and to exploit other people. They are terrorist governments and military and do a lot more evil and damage in the world than any little so-called “terrorist” group. These “terrorist” attacks in the West are a blow-back from all the death and destruction the West is currently inflicting on other people.

Sample retorts:

You can’t stop terrorism until you become more violent and ruthless than the terrorists.

  • The US, the UK and France started the wars in the Middle East and Africa, in addition to instituting brutal dictators, so they have always been worse than the “terrorists” simple due a question of scale – they’re just as evil, but bigger – and the West kills many more innocent people than any little terrorist group on a weekly basis

    ==================

  • More attacks warrant more surveillance


    that’s exactly what Hitler said after the Brandenburg fire!!!

    history does repeat itself way too often…

      • So, you prefer no surveillance at all?

        • I prefer no fascism or corrupt kleptocracies with endless wars – you need to surveil the criminals currently in govt and put them in jail. Do you put American mass murderers like the Clintons and the Bushes in jail? No, all you do is blabber nonsense about muslims…

          =========================

           

    Of course, there’s nothing new about using vehicles as terror weapons. On December 21, 2014, a man ran over 11 pedestrians in the French city of Dijon, injuring two of them seriously, while shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great,” the standard jihadist mantra). The very next day, in Nantes, on the other side of France, another man ran over ten pedestrians, killing one of them—he, too, shouted “Allahu akbar” during his vehicular killing spree. Reports that last night’s Nice mass murderer likewise shouted “Allau akbar” before being felled by police bullets therefore ought not surprise.


  • Even less new is the use of bombs to commit mass murder. I won’t list all the dates when the US, the UK, and France dropped bombs and killed millions of innocent around the world because the task would take years!

    =====================

     

  • That’s exactly right – you and the Pentagon have no right to murder and terrorize millions of innocent people abroad – just to rob them of their resources

    Has the stupid Hollande said they need to go bomb more Muslims as a response? I mean, that’s saying and doing exactly what will generate more terrorist attacks in France

    Your logic implies France and the western nations should simply let ISIS establish it’s caliphate and exterminate the infidels in the process. If that’s not what you mean, what policy do you propose to deal with them?

      • a non-imperalist one , different than the wars and destruction to colonize their resources the West currently is engaged in. the US loves dictators and corrupt brutal elites like the Saudis, you have nothing to criticize about ISIS. You’re all the same. The only thing that differs is the language spoken

        ====================

         

    Hollande Warns What Obama Won’t: Islamic Terrorism Is Real


    And he fails to warn that corrupt endless wars generate terrorist attacks – because face it, the man is just another corrupt pol like Hillary, Bush, Blair, etc

    • ===========

    the US, the UK and France have murdered or provided the weapons for
    the murder of many more innocent people than the number killed by ISIS,
    but please continue your nonsense. And most of ISIS’s weapons were all
    provided from Western powers, which explains why they’re fighting Assad
    and the US hates the idea of Russia killing them all.

    _____________________

    As you can see, I was “on message” all the time. Very Nicely on message. 🙂 Oh, and speaking of Nicely, two more:

    Toulouse your head or not to Toulouse your head is the question in such a situation.

    That would be Brest but I don’t think I Cannes.

    ________

    Idk99: More senseless truck violence.

    Alessandra Reflections:     There are no Seine people left, I tell you.

    Back to serious issues, the problem with this ugly ugly propaganda from the US, UK, and France was also summarized in a few other comments at The Guardian:

    The Nice attack reminds us that France is at war –

    Did Iraq or Afghanistan invade France, Australia, Britain or the US?

    The US and NATO attack country after country even while financing and arming terrorists to cause even more attacks, and then use attacks on Western citizens (mostly by deranged individuals) to justify what they have been doing all along. It’s totally criminal and the citizens of the West have been propagandized to believe that they are innocent and undeservingly attacked.

    No one needs reminding the whole world is at war, not least the millions who have died due to the proxy crusades. The attacks from both sides have become more deadly and more frequent. And in what, the name of oil? Each attack desensitises the world to death further, to the point that people are now suggesting criminals be deported.. To where – labour camps? That mistake has been made before and it seems it could again. War is profitable and there are no winners apart from those financing it.

    Haiti atrocities
    Genocide in Algeria
    Indochina atrocities
    Pacific nuclear tests
    Rainbow warrior bombing
    Bombing in Iraq and Syria

    The French aren’t the egalitarian, innocent victims they make themselves out to be. Then there’s Chad, Lybia, Mali, and all the Northern and Central African countries the French love to exploit and destroy…

    The war against terrorism was invented by Ronald Reagan. Ironically the US is only country found guilty of terrorism in the International Court of Justice.

    Thankfully many commenters commented on the idiocy of the article’s title repeating the same idiocy that Hollande proffered  back in November: now France is at war!

    Now! And when it was bombing and killing people in myriad wars and committing every kind of atrocity against innocent people around the world, it was what? Peace?

    These people are such Nazis! The West is such a fraud, such a fraud!

     

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